Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Resolutions for 2015

Yes, it's that time of year where everyone makes resolutions and then manages to keep them for about two weeks before falling back to their slovenly ways.  I try not to get too crazy with the resolutions, but I think it's nice to have some ideas in mind for the new year.  Self-improvement is always a good thing if you do it in an even-handed way, or at least I think so.  First, I'll fess up to how my resolutions from 2014 went over.

Food Journal/Spending Journal - I maintained the food journal for a few months (something I've had great success with in the past) but I eventually stopped.  Not because I fell off the wagon with it, but because I found it just didn't have the same effect it once did.  I used to be really into it - almost to a point that it was bad for me.  My brain can get obsessed with things in a bad way sometimes - damn that addictive personality.  This time around it was different though.  I would write things down and whether I was eating well or poorly it didn't really make a difference to me.  Same with the spending journal - I just wasn't finding that it was making a difference with how I was spending, so I gave it up.

The Bookshelf Challenge - I actually did way better on this one than I was expecting.  The only books I bought all year were either ones that I needed for book club/graphic novel group and couldn't get from the library, or were bought with a gift card (loophole!) or for a specific purpose.  For example, I bought one book in the spring because it was written by a blogger that I enjoy and I wanted to support her book launch.  It was fun to go through the books I already had and try to get through as many of them as I could.  I used my library a lot more (which was also a resolution!) which was lots of fun for both Vivian and myself!

Clothes that make me feel my best - I stuck with this one pretty well.  I found it was less of a resolution and more of a frame of mind.  If I was questioning myself in the change room or thinking "well, maybe if this shrinks up it will fit okay..." I just put it back.  I started to slip a little bit on this at the end of the year with a couple of online purchases that were only okay but for the most part I feel like I did well.

And so, for 2015...

  • Be good to myself.  Whenever I say something bold like "No more junk food!" or "I'm going to work out 3-5 times a week, no excuses!"  I end up falling off the little good intentions train in about two days.  This year, I just want to be good to myself.  Whether that means trying to be more active (which I need to be) trying to eat better (which I struggle with) or trying to sleep more (forever up too late) or trying to have less stress in my life by paying bills on time (never answer the phone at my house!) I just want to be better to myself, and try to put myself first sometimes.
  • Continue with the Bookshelf Challenge.  There are still far too many books on my TBR (To be read) list.  I've pulled them all off of my main bookshelf area and put them on my nightstand and on a smaller shelf on the other side of my bed so they are close at hand for when I need something to read.  Having them right out in the open makes it much easier.  The challenge was also great for keeping me out of the bargain books section at Chapters, which is basically the most dangerous place on Earth.  I'll keep my gift card loophole and buy books if I need them for book club and graphic novel group, but other than that I'm going to try to read what I've got and borrow what I need from the library.
Night stand TBR #1

Night stand TBR #2
  • Be more organized.  I'm a pretty organized person most of the time, but I have overflowing cupboards and piles of "deal with it later" paperwork on my desk and little bits of chaos all over the house.  I need to do a big sweep through all the closets, drawers, nooks, and crannies and get rid of things.  One tip I'll pass along that I've been using and has been really helpful is having a "get rid of it" bin.  I have a big Rubbermaid bin sitting in my office as a drop space for anything I want to donate.  So if I come across clothes that Vivian has outgrown or something that I don't need anymore, I can put it in there instead of putting it away to deal with it later.  That keeps it out of the general population and segregated until I can take a load to Goodwill or wherever else I'm taking it.  This is also going to include finishing projects that I start - it's all about the follow-through!
  • Be more creative.  I have my outlets for creativity - namely this blog.  I've also been writing in a journal a little bit, but I would like to use my sewing machine more.  I've only tried it a couple of times in the year since I've had it and I would really like to be more familiar with it to the point that I could do some simple projects for Vivian and I.  Who knows - maybe by the end of the year I won't have any more curtains that are hemmed with safety pins!
  • Continue with clothes that make me feel awesome.  This was a good one from last year!  Life is too short to wear clothes you don't like!
  • Watch more TV.  The way I watch TV is changing rapidly, as it is for many people right now.  I've been downloading more and watching more series as a binge instead of week to week.  I've dropped my satellite package down as low as I can to accommodate this change, and I feel like I've been watching more really great TV because of it.  I've been more discerning with what I've been watching - there's too much good entertainment out there to waste time on bad TV, unless it's bad enough to make it really worthwhile!  In 2015 I would like to finally get around to watching Buffy - I started it ages ago and got sidetracked.  I also need to watch Deadwood (I know, I know!  Don't throw things at me!) and I would love to do a rewatch of The X-Files.  Priorities, people.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

About The Tree

Well today is December 30th and my tree has been packed away since the 28th.  I might be a humbug, but I just can't deal with that tree being up a minute longer than it has to be!  I put away some of the loosey-goosey decorations on Boxing Day and tried to wait a bit longer to take down the tree, but I didn't make it.

A lot of people make a big deal about when you put your tree up - some people think that it shouldn't go up before December 1st.  Some people have real trees and put them up a bit later.  I like to put our tree up on December 9th so that we can get Vivian's birthday out of the way first.  I always say that the question isn't when do you put your tree up, but when do you take it down.

Personally, I just like to have my living room back.  My house isn't huge - I don't have a dedicated spot for the Christmas tree.  This year was the first year I put it right in the front window.  And it was nice having it there, it looked pretty from the street, all of that bullshit.  But I had to move a bunch of Vivian's toys to make room for it, which just made everything else that much more cluttered.  I also find that as long as the tree is up, the new shit doesn't seem to get put away as quickly.  As long as the tree is there new stuff seems to just find it's way under the tree and that's deemed as being put away.  No.  I can't deal with the chaos - I need things to go back to the way they were!

Vivian didn't seem the mind the tree coming down - she's been telling everyone that Christmas is over and is wondering what comes next (Uncle Brent's birthday and Daddy's birthday are up next on our schedule) but I've let her keep the small tree in her room for the time being, mostly because it's not in my immediate line of sight when I'm busy holding the couch down.

So there you have it - I might be a scrooge, but I just can't deal with the Christmas tree for much more than three weeks.  Let me know what your tree tolerance is!

Monday, 29 December 2014

Treats of the Week - A Week of Sundays

Happy post-Christmas friends! I hope you're lucky like me and are off work for a few days - enjoying that lazy period of time between Christmas and New Year's where ever day feels like a Sunday. I had a great Christmas and am not ready to go back to reality yet! 

My day today has been spent doing something I've wanted to do for years - a Star Wars marathon. Only Episode IV, V, and VI mind you, but it's still been a lovely day.

And it's been made even better by snacks!

I am notorious for judging wine by their labels. I've had my eye on this badass bottle for quite some time and can't wait to finally crack into it!

Like I said, we had a great Christmas. Vivian managed well with very few meltdowns and loved all of her gifts! 

Like many people I managed to watch The Interview after aome difficulty of managing stupid YouTube and my TV. I thought it was good, but not amazing. Mostly I'm just glad that I was able to watch it!

I also managed to burn my way through the first season of The Knick, which I really enjoyed. It was pretty dark but so well done - I especially loved the score. Looking forward to a second season for sure!

I put together a Lego set for Lucas that was for recommended ages 8-14. It was one of the most difficult tasks of my life.

Vivian has always been fond of spooky things and she's taking more of an interest in Tim Burton. We watched The Corpse Bride the other night and now she's asking to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I'm going to do another post about Vivian and her new drum pad, but I've been so pleased at how well she's taken to it! She even starts by saying, "A one, two, a one, two, three, four!

All right folks, I'm calling it quits because I'm posting from my phone and it's annoying. Enjoy yourselves ringing in 2015, even though New Year's Eve is a stupid dumb holiday. 

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

On Christmas Eve

If you're celebrating some form of Christmas tomorrow, I wish you all the wonder of the season.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Treats of the Week - Merry Everything

Down to the wire, everyone!  I still have one more day of work left, and I hope you're all close to that finish line too if you're not there already!  I'm still about 99% done because I'm the eternal procrastinator and it just wouldn't be Christmas if I wasn't out there on Christmas Eve standing in stupid lines at the grocery store and fighting crowds like a dummy.  Ah well, 'tis the season.

  • I'm not a candle person, but this time of year I cannot resist a Twisted Peppermint candle from Bath & Body Works!

  • I saw some really great movies this week - Citizenfour was the Edward Snowden documentary and was sufficiently terrifying.  Foxcatcher was frightening in its stillness and Steve Carell blew me away.  And I finally got around to watching Life Itself, the documentary about Roger Ebert that had me in tears.  It takes a lot for a movie to get to me, and I thought I would be prepared for that one since I had read his memoir, but it still got to me.  I also randomly watched Point Break, which remains the best of all bank robbing-surfer movies.
  • A coworker got me some Kahlua flavoured coffee for my Keurig and it is delightful, even if it isn't alcoholic.
  • I forgot about this one last week, but I'll still list it here.  I was in some training for work and made one of my dumb comments which ended in, "This feels like a trap."  The guy sitting beside me didn't even miss a beat, he jumped right in with his best Admiral Ackbar impression, "It's a trap!"  So I'm pretty sure that that's the easiest way to identify a fellow nerd in the crowd.
  • I got a really awesome gift this past week, but I'll blog more about it later since there's a DIY aspect to it.  Suffice to say that I'll have some badass T-shirts soon!
  • I was satisfied with the finale of Serial, even though I know that some people were expecting more of a resolution.  This parody from SNL was amazing though - so spot on!  "But what about the Nisha call?"

  • Vivian has been working hard at her reading "homework" and can now identify the word "is"!  
  • Vivian also had her first Christmas concert last week - it was a bit of a mess, but adorable nonetheless!

  • Just getting through this week has been quite the treat - it's been one long week!
All the best this week, guys!  I've got another post or two planned for this week, but I know a lot of people slip into internet radio silence.  I hope if you're celebrating something you enjoy every minute of it!

Thursday, 18 December 2014


I've always liked personality quizzes - takes me back to the days of reading YM and Seventeen magazine (remember when they would have a whole issue that was ALL QUIZZES?!) and that feeling that you would be able to solve all your problems just as soon as you find out what your backpack says about you or some such shit.

I'd heard about the 16 Personalities quiz around the old interwebs but figured it would be just as silly and basic as any other quiz.  So I took it and was shocked when my results came up to be scary accurate.  Apparently I'm an ISFJ - dedicated, loyal, the social introvert who retains information like crazy, is always more concerned about others than myself, is somehow both a constant procrastinator and completely reliable, and has a tendency to bottle up my own emotions.  It was pretty amazing.  There was no part of it where I was thinking, "Hmm, nope that part's not me".  It was bang on.  It even said that ISFJs will commonly work as public servants.

It's a fun way to kill 10 minutes if nothing else - go check it out and let me know what you turn out to be!  You can take the quiz here.

ISFJs unite!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Tell me I'm not the laziest person alive

A few weeks ago, Vivian and I made play-doh for her classroom.  In the same weekend, I made 14 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange.

There are still three spoons in my dishwasher from those events.

Now, it's not that I haven't run my dishwasher since then.  Quite the contrary, I've run it a few times since then.  But those particular spoons have proven to be quite stubborn and are still not clean.  And instead of being a grownup and taking them out of the dishwasher and cleaning them properly to be done with it, I keep putting them back in the dishwasher hoping that the next cycle will finally be the one to blast that last little bit off.

It's not the grown up way of handling it, and yet I just keep tossing it back in there.  So also: stains that I seem to think will come out if I just throw them back in the wash one more time.

So this is the part where you reassure me that I'm not the laziest person alive.  That you do similar things.  I'll even give you another one - I will push crumbs/dirt/etc. under my couch to avoid cleaning it up.  I shouldn't be allowed to live on my own.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Very Vivian - Some Things Never Change

A lot of things change as your kids grow up.  Toys and books come and go, clothes are outgrown, milestones are met.  For Vivian, one thing has remained constant.

She loves that blanket as much today as she does the very first time she grabbed it.  She still sleeps with her little hand stuck in the mitts (resulting in callouses on her wrists).  The head has been sewn back on (and needs to be repaired yet again).  She cries when she finds holes in him.  He soothes her when she's upset, follows her from home to daycare and back again, and keeps her warm every single night.  He's gone from being Bibby to Blanket and she loves that green thing.

It will be a sad day when she finally outgrows her beloved Blanket.  But when that day comes, even if all that's left is a worn little green square I'll be sure to tuck it away, and show her these pictures when she's grown up to remind her how much she loved her Blanket.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Treats of the Week - Crunch Time

December 15th - crunch time!  We are closing in on the holidays quickly and I'm actually feeling pretty prepared!  After a busy weekend (which included a trip to Waterloo to pick up Vivian's big present) I am 99% done with Christmas shopping and ready to start wrapping!  If that isn't a treat, I don't know what is!

  • I participated in a Christmas ornament exchange with my fellow Ham Cats from GOMI and was so pleased when mine arrived this week!  A Ham from Ottawa sent me these perfect maple leaf ornaments - you know those will end up on the Wall O Canadiana!

  • My house is a disaster, and will no doubt stay that way for the next few weeks.  I am, however, comforted by the fact that I finally got around to getting more bags and boards this week to organize my comics - small victories!

  • The gas prices are low, low, low which makes me happy, happy, happy!
  • I have to jay walk to get from where I park to where I work, and it's often a pain in the ass.  It made me laugh this week when one of the officers stopped the cruiser to let me cross.  Of course I yelled at him that he was blatantly letting me jay walk, but it was still very nice.
  • I watched the new HBO documentary Banksy Does New York and thought it was awesome.  I love Banksy's work, and this documentary really showed how people react to his work - which is even more interesting.  I thought it was really thought-provoking, especially as to ownership of art and its perceived value.
  • This bit of chocolate ridiculousness ended up on desk this week.  That's a chocolate donut with dark chocolate filling, chocolate icing, chocolate bits on top and a piece of dark chocolate just shoved right in there.  So it's a little sweet.

  • It was Christmas dinner with the book club ladies this week!  We went out for an awesome fancy meal at Waldo's on King.  It's not very often I go out for such a fancy dinner - this is probably my one time a year - so I thoroughly enjoyed it.  And I took pictures of my salad and salmon because of course I did.

  • I saw Horrible Bosses 2 and it actually wasn't terrible!  Definitely not as good as the original, but still a lot better than I was expecting!
  • I took Vivian to Crock A Doodle to make some Christmas gifts for the grandparents.  She had a blast - we will definitely be going back.  Can't wait to pick them up and see how they turn out!

  • This video popped up in my fee a couple of times today and I cannot get over it!  Amazing.

Happy holidays times, guys!  Hope you're getting ready to relax!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Easy Steps to a Tacky Christmas Tree

Complete with a fancy image, feel free to Pin it.

  • Get out Christmas tree and decorations, anticipating a lovely evening with your 4-year old.
  • Lose the child's interest approximately 2 minutes into the process.
  • Set up the tree.
  • Curse the tree.
  • Begin by arranging the ribbon.
  • Swear you had bought more ribbon last year.
  • Begin placing ornaments on the tree in a haphazard yet encompassing manner.
  • Get bored about 2/3rds of the way through the bin of ornaments.
  • Take a pizza break.
  • Continue to hang the decorations, now with the assistance of the 4-year old.
  • Stop caring about the placement of any and all ornaments.
  • Wonder why you have such small strands of garland.
  • Attempt to arrange the garland in some sort of arachnid-like bow.

  • Fail miserably.
  • Realize that the small garland was used to decorate the TV stand last year.
  • Stop caring.
  • Declare the tree done and Christmas season officially underway.
  • Take pictures of said tree.
  • Edit a picture for the sake of sarcasm and Pinterest.
  • Tell the internet about it.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Treats of the Week - FOUR!

It seems I've somehow managed to accidentally delete last week's Treats of the Week post.  I don't even know, it's been a weird day.

In other news - today is Vivian's 4th birthday!  She had an awesome birthday weekend complete with a trip to Niagara Falls and a birthday party at the movies.  It's hard to believe that she's already four, but at the same time she just keeps getting more and more fun and hilarious with every passing day and I can't wait to see what the coming years have in store for us!

  • This kid is always a treat.

  • Like I said - her birthday part was at Cineplex to go see The Penguins of Madagascar.  I really enjoyed the movie - it proves once again that Benedict Cumberbath is incapable of saying "penguin".  Why he keeps getting cast in penguin-related things, I'll never know.

  • The movie also had a hilarious and bizarre running joke.  I won't spoil it here, but it's definitely a great one for the parents in the audience to pick up on!
  • Vivian had an awesome birthday cake for her party - a custom made Coraline cake!  You can get in touch with Julie if you're interested in ordering your own tasty and awesome cake!

  • I love it when a waitress says that she appreciates my sarcasm, and she actually means it.  Everyone should appreciate my sarcasm.
  • I've watched an unholy amount of Inside Amy Schumer in the last couple of days.  Like I watched 14 episodes in one day.  She's just dropping truth bombs all over my life.
  • Hey look - my fence is upright!  Hooray!  I was very, very fortunate this week to have some amazing help from some family members - including my dad who stopped in to fix up my fence!

  • This gif.  OMG this gif.  I don't post gifs very often (unless it's a crazy post that's only gifs) but this one had me giggling at my desk for like 10 minutes.  I can't stop watching it - I've easily watched it 50 times.  It just keeps getting funnier the more you watch it!  

Have a great week, everyone!  I'll try to avoid deleting more posts!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Vivian's Stocking Stuffers

Stockings are obviously the best part about Christmas.  I go a little crazy with stockings, 
they're just so much fun!  Little stuff is always the best, and I love wrapping every little 
thing in those stockings!  I think Vivian's stocking last year ended up spilling into a grocery 
bag, but I'm fine with it.  Stockings are the best, there are no rules!  Here's what will be 
turning up in Vivian's stocking this year in case you need any ideas for your little ones!  

(P.S. - Did I do this last year?  I thought I had, but then I couldn't find the post so I'm 
probably just losing my mind.)

Vivian's stocking stuffers

Nat Geo has really stepped up their game for kids stuff.  Not only do they have awesome encyclopedias that are kid-friendly, they have loads of fun sticker books, joke books, activity books, and simple readers.  I found Vivian a couple of their basic readers for about $4 each.  Books are always perfect for the stocking!

Smencils are pretty awesome - all the fun of smelly markers, without the mess!  They've got special holiday scents which are perfect, especially since the full sets are a little pricey.

Pens and Notebooks

Vivian has been all about pens and notebooks lately.  She's been filling them up like crazy, so I made sure to grab a bunch of cute notebooks when I found some on clearance at Target.  You can never have too many on hand!  She also keeps stealing my Batman pens, so I might have to get her some Wonder Woman ones of her own.  She has a Monster High projector pen too and thinks it's just awesome, so a new projector pen just might find its way in there as well!

Vivian is crazy about blind bags.  She wants a new My Little Pony one every time we go to the grocery store.  Good thing I scored an awesome deal on a whole box of them back in October, I have a bunch tucked away.  You can find them for practically anything now - I want to get her some Lego blind bags as well.

I like sneaking some educational stuff in there too!  These Smarty Pants flash cards from Melissa & Doug seem cute and fun!

Similar to the blind bags are the mystery minis.  The toys are a bigger scale and have better detail.  Plus since she doesn't get these very often they will be even more exciting in her stocking!

Arts and craft supplies of any kind are awesome stocking stuffers!  

Kids love flashlights.  It's like a rule.  When I was a kid, we were allowed to open our stocking stuff first and play with that until it was a decent time for mom and dad to get up and do the rest of Christmas morning.  One year, we all got little flashlights in our stockings, which we of course put to good use creeping around the living room checking out the presents.  We weren't quite as sneaky as we thought though, since all of the flashing and "whispering" (seriously, anyone who knows me and my brother and sister knows that we're incapable of whispering) woke them up anyway.

I don't really get these things, but Vivian loves Shopkins.  They're like little food with faces or something?  I don't know, I think she found out about it on YouTube or something.

Yes, I would take apart a multi-pack of Play-Doh so I could wrap each tub individually for the stocking.  This is normal behaviour.


I think Vivian might have to get about 20 pairs of mittens in her stocking the way we've been running through them.  We have a whole lot of single mittens at this point, not many pairs.  It's nice to mix in some practical stuff - this also applies to socks and things like bubble bath and body wash.

Vivian loves her Calico Critters, and has a weird thing for pandas right now, so a little panda family will just be perfect in her stocking.

I'm sure there's some other stuff, but that's what I could come up with off the top of my head.  Basically anything that is smaller than a shoebox is fair game for a stocking, if you ask me.  And don't forget the candy!  Candy is basically required in a stocking.  How else can you have peanut butter cups for breakfast on Christmas morning?

(PS - the formatting is all messed up on this, probably since I uploaded the image from Polyvore.  I don't know, I'm too lazy to try and fix it.)

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

London Landmarks

So now that the office has been painted, I'm one step closer to getting the Wall O' Canadiana done.  Just need to frame a few things and it should be good to go.  As I've amassed items I've realized that I can have a Wall O' Canadiana and a Wall O' Londonana.  I love having bits of local history - and I want to start collecting Victor Aziz postcards to add to the London collection.  The other day, I was at Talize looking for some frames and came across this little sketch of the London Airport for $2.99.  I thought it would fit in just perfectly - not only was it a London landmark, but it was also in a wooden frame, which was what I was looking for.

So then imagine my surprise and delight a couple of days later when I headed over to Value Village looking for more wooden frames and came across this similar sketch of Eldon House.

Now this one is a little different - it says "From the CFPL Radio Print Collection" in the lower right corner, which is exciting because now I want to know how many are in this series since I obviously want them all.  I asked my friend Dan about them, since he's worked for the London Free Press for years, but he didn't know anything about them either.  I may have to make some trips to a couple of libraries to see if I can dig up any information about this print collection.  In the meantime though I thought I would see if any of you internet people know anything about it - have you ever seen anything similar?  Maybe your parents have some?  Or your grandparents?  If so, I'm coming over to steal them.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Treats of the Week - Sometimes you need a pizza

It's been one of those days.  I had that sense of foreboding all day.  You know that feeling?  When you just have a pit in your stomach for some reason?  Just waiting for the other shoe to drop all day?  There was no real reason for it, I just felt off all morning.  I get through to my lunch break and it starts - I get a text that Vivian's daycare provider has the stomach flu, so I'll have to pick Vivian up from school.  I manage to make arrangements for my court and get out the door on time.  Driving home was a little slow because the wind storm had knocked out power in a few places, but I made it to the school on time.  We head home and see that the fence has been knocked down by the wind.  Not unexpected since the whole thing is basically rotten and needs to be replaced.  We head out for the grocery store to get some stuff for Vivian's lunch, only to discover that most of Strathroy has lost power - including both the SuperStore and WalMart.  So I end up back at home, with a very asleep Vivian.  After an hour wait for delivery, we're both semi-awake and consoling ourselves with pizza.  The fence will have to wait for another day.  Instead, I'll focus on the treats - first and foremost, the fact that we're in a warm, dry house that still has hydro when most of town doesn't.

As for the rest of the week...

  • I finally cut a bunch of shows from my viewing schedule.  There was just too much piling up that I wasn't even excited to watch and too much other good tv out there to waste time on it.  It's a little thing, but it made me feel better.
  • Today when I got home from work in the windstorm, I expected to find my garbage can somewhere down the road.  I was pleasantly surprised to see it had been tucked up beside the garage with a package that had been delivered.  Thanks, Purolator person!
  • Amanda and I took the kids to the Santa Claus Parade in Strathroy on Saturday - where the usual chaos ensued.  Picture Amanda and I, plus the four kids all packed into a family bathroom at MacDonalds and then trying to get all of us into our snowsuits.  We were quite the sight.  The kids did great, even though it was a bit wet.

  • It was my friend Lisa's annual cookie exchange on the weekend.  I curse it every year - I always leave my baking to the last minute and have to force myself to do it.  But I always end up having a great time visiting at her house, and of course enjoy all the cookies.  I always end up eating Lisa's cookies first - she made egg nog cookies this year and they're awesome!
  • I love me some Qdoba - and it was even better when Jenn and I went on Tuesday and I ended up with free tacos!  I always make sure to swipe my loyalty card - and this time Jenn had forgotten hers, so I swiped for her order too, which put me over the top to make my Taco Tuesday a free one!

  • I went to see Mockingjay with my friend Kimberly, which made for a great night out.  Kimberly and I go to see three types of movies together - teen books which have been made into movies, dance movies, and Fast and Furious movies.  Sometimes X-Men movies, but we haven't seen one of those together in a long time.
  • I love a clever Wi-Fi name (sadly mine is just the standard Bell599 or whatever, I should get on that) so Bill Wi the Science Fi made me laugh way harder than it should have.  Sanctuary is pretty darn clever, too.

Stay safe out there, everyone!  It's been some wild weather this past week!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Single Best Piece of Parenting Advice

I defer to my friend Amanda for a lot of parenting things.  She has three young kids, and is a kindergarten teacher so she knows all the tricks and cool things.  I basically treat her house like a test lab for toys.  "Oooh, what's that toy?  Your kids seem to really like that, maybe Vivian needs one too!"  She's a good friend to have around.  She's also the friend who gave me my absolute favourite piece of kids/parenting advice.

We were out doing something with the kids one day, probably when Vivian was a baby.  Amanda was going to give me a picture of her kids so she pulled a pair of scissors out of the vehicle's console and snipped off a couple of pictures.  That's when she dropped this truth on me:

"Put a pair of scissors in your car and never EVER take them out."

That advice is gold, my friends.

I have a pair of car scissors, and they've come in handy so many times.  Got a new toy that your kid needs RIGHT THIS SECOND?  Car scissors.  Juice box or some other bag of snacks that won't open?  Car scissors.  Permission slip you forgot about?  Car scissors.  Kid threw up all over the place and you had to buy them new clothes and are trying to take off all the tags?  Car scissors.

If you don't have scissors in your car right now you need to get yourself to a dollar store and buy a pair of car scissors.  I swear you won't regret it!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Treats of the Week - Just another person obsessed with Serial

Yes, it happened.  After a couple of weeks of seeing articles and comments everywhere about this podcast called Serial I finally checked it out.  And now I'm just another person who can't stop obsessing over this podcast.  It's so engaging - I listened to the first seven episodes on Saturday.  At one point I was just sitting in my living room just listening to it.  I wasn't even multitasking - that never happens!  I listened to the eighth installment this morning and now I can barely wait for Thursday when the new episode comes out.  If you haven't listened to it yet, go do it now so you can obsess about it with me immediately.

  • I was accepted into the Emerging Leaders program at work, which isn't quite as important as it sounds, but it's a step towards another step that will hopefully lead to some bigger things down the road.  Laying that groundwork.
  • November 11th was a beautiful day - potentially the last nice day of this fall.  It was clear and warm and sunny and I was able to walk to the cenotaph with some coworkers for the service.  I'd never been to the cenotaph in London, and this year over 10,000 people showed up.  It was heartwarming to see so many people there.
  • My mom always pulls through for me - whether big or small, she always manages to fix things.
  • I've been without light in my bathroom and bedroom for the last two weeks and finally got an electrician in to fix things - hooray for not having to get dressed by the light of my cellphone anymore!
  • Oh internet.  Kim Kardashian tries to break the internet, and you give me this.  I love you, internets.

  • I am obsessed with these muesli Morning Rounds.  They are so freaking good - I just came across them at the Superstore last week, and when I went back to buy a million more they were gone!  So now I have to track them down somewhere!  
  • I went to see Whiplash on Friday and you should all go see it immediately.  The performances were stunning and that ending!  I mean, whoa.  You need to see it.
  • I also started watching Benched on the weekend - I love me some Eliza Coupe, and the legal comedy is totally up my alley!
  • My Thursday night was kind of hectic - just one of those days where I was stuck at work late, and Vivian was exhausted and whiny, and that was when the electrician was here.  I was heading back to London that evening to meet up with Jenn and was feeling frazzled and kind of wishing that I'd just stayed on my couch.  But as I pulled into the parking lot of the busy mall, I somehow managed to not only find her car (I only had a vague idea of where she had parked) but also found a parking spot right beside her.  It's silly, but I instantly had this feeling of calm come over me like, "Ah, see?  You're supposed to be here now.  You're good."
  • I had a super productive day on Saturday thanks to having an entire day and night of no Vivian and no plans.  That does not happen often, my friends.  Leading up to Saturday I had considered doing absolutely nothing but burning through my PVR for the day, but ended up spending a few hours ouside raking up all my leaves and then brought that productivity indoors to paint my office.  My muscles were not pleased with me the next day, but it was worth it to get so much done before the insanity of the holiday season starts up!

  • I came across a few links to Sacha Goldberger's new exhibition of photos of 16th century cosplayers. You have to check it out - the detail is incredible!  
  • The City of Neighbourhoods series of toques by local startup dpms is awesome!  I had never heard of them before this weekend, but I totally want one!  I'm leaning towards either Lake Huron or Forest City.  I love all of their stuff though.  And it's funny, because I've always referred to London as a city of neighbourhoods, but I didn't realize it was a real thing, I just thought it was something I said.  Obviously they must have overheard me and stole my whole idea.  Bastards.  I should get a free toque.
  • The new holiday cups from Tim Hortons are so darn cute!  

  • Speaking of so darn cute, have you ever seen a better school picture?  The answer is no, you haven't.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Some Christmas Stuff

I have always tried to give Vivian choices.  I don't like her to feel like she "has" to like anything, or that there are toys that she shouldn't play with because she's a girl.  That doesn't mean that I keep her away from things though - I think there are positives to be found in most toys.  Monster High and Disney Princesses might have their faults, but there are good aspects too.  And if Vivian likes those things and wants those things, I'm not going to stand in her way.  She is just a kid, after all.  I do, however, like to sprinkle in some toys that will show her things in a different way, or that give her a different perspective.

With Vivian's birthday and Christmas fast approaching, I thought I would do a little roundup of some of the more feminist-leaning toys that I'm looking at for Vivian.

I love Playmobil toys.  I think they do a great job of providing a variety of gender-neutral options.  Sure, they have the princess fairy castle fantasy sets too, but there are also the zoo sets, dinosaur sets, hospitals, vet clinics, horse farms, hotels - lots of great options!  That's why I was so disappointed when Vivian and I received our Playmobil catalog and it featured this:

Playmobil claims that they were featuring the fact that the figures now have interchangeable clothes, and not that the girls'dream come true is the shopping centre.  I still feel like interchangeable clothes shouldn't be a selling feature to girls though - last time I checked, boys have to change their clothes too.  

For Vivian I'm looking at things like this...

Vivian is really into both horses and pandas right now.  I don't really know where the panda thing came in, but she's into them.  I love Playmobil sets like this - and Vivian loves them too.  She'll spend long periods of time setting everything up and creating little stories for the animals. 

One new toy that's really caused a stir and has come under a bit of fire is the new GoldieBlox action figure.  I really admire what GoldieBlox is trying to do, and have bought Vivian a couple of their sets for Christmas and am planning getting her the action figure.  While there is some controversy over the fact that the doll is still a slim, white, blonde doll I think it's a step in the right direction.  There's also controversy that by labelling this an action figure for girls, it immediately deems that all other action figures are not for girls.  Sorry, Vivian loves her Iron Man just as much as her other dolls.  I do, however, like that she does something (you can build her a zipline) and I like that she has a child's body, similar to the Lottie Dolls that I've written about before.  

As I said, Vivian is pretty into horses right now.  This is what I'm anticipating Santa bringing as her big gift this year - the Our Generation Saddle Up Stable.  While is is all pretty pink and gendered, I like that horse toys focus on her taking care of something else rather than just brushing the hair of a doll.

I came across these architecture stamps on the A Mighty Girl website, which is a great resource for books and toy ideas.  What a fun way to encourage kids to think about things in a creative way!

I've been getting Vivian a lot of books lately (damn you, book orders!) so I definitely want to put a few more under the Christmas tree!  This children's book written by ballerina Misty Copeland is supposed to be wonderful for young girls.  

And I love sneaking in any comic book heroes when I can!  

I love this toy, but I think it might be a little old for Vivian and may be better next year.  Roominate allows kids to build their own dollhouse and then wire it with real working lights and fans.  I've shown Vivian pictures, and she seems into it, but I think it might be a little complex yet.  

I've been trying to get Vivian as many female superhero toys as I can.  It's proven to be quite the complicated task.  Many superhero action figures are geared to adults so they're often too pricey to give to a kid for a toy, and their proportions are often a little too extreme for a 4 year old.  So far I've found her a Black Widow and Wasp, and hope to get a Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl as well.  She loves the Funko Pop! series, so they might be a good option as well!  

I have kind of held back on LEGO with Vivian, only because I was worried that she would get frustrated with more complicated sets if I started her too early.  I found a great deal on this Merida set a couple of months ago, so I tucked it away for Christmas.  She loves Merida, as do I.  Hopefully we'll both have fun putting this set together!  

Like I said, there will still be lots of more "traditional" girl toys under the tree as well.  And that's okay.  She's allowed to like Barbie and Equestria Girls and all those other things.  It's just up to her parents to try and sneak in a little variety as well!

Let me know if you have some other suggestions!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Very Vivian - V-I-V-I-A-N

Vivian has been hard at work these days.  She's been writing her name like crazy - she's often carrying around a pen and notebook just practicing her name and drawing people.  It's so cute seeing her concentrating and even cuter to see just how proud she is of her name.  She's doing well with all of the letters, but hasn't quite mastered putting them in the right order yet.  

I like to stock up on notebooks during the back to school sales when you can get them for like 15 cents each.  It's a good thing too - Vivian's filled about four of them just with her name and drawings!

The big Sharpie is her favourite tool - I suspect she likes the smell.  Santa might have to give her a stocking full of notebooks, pens, and smelly markers!

In Case of Emergency Kit

I live in Strathroy, but I'm always on the road.  Between work in London, friends in London, family and friends in Lambton Shores, I'm always driving somewhere.  Because of this, my car is basically one big purse.  It's not unusual for me to end up stuck overnight somewhere - just this past weekend I spent the night at my mom's house unexpectedly, and I have my own room on standby at Jenn's place.  I like to try to be prepared, so I've assembled a bit of an emergency kit to have in my car/in my purse for those times when I do get stuck.  I also spent a lot of time getting dressed in my car for those times when I stay in London after work.  Yes, my car might be small but I make it work!

Like I said, I was stuck at mom's on Saturday night, and was without my emergency kit.  Because of this oversight, I've made a renewed effort to keep it stocked and in my car - especially with the winter weather on its way, it doesn't hurt to be prepared!

So here's what I drag around - with the exception of a few items that I didn't think needed to be a part of the photo - I don't think anyone needs a picture of extra tampons.  However, the one item that isn't pictured but is a very important part of the kit is the spare pair of underwear.  Definitely essential!  And I actually took one picture with them included, but then thought, you know what?  I've been blogging for over five years and my underwear haven't made an appearance.  Let's keep that streak running.

  1. Bandaids - especially in the winter my knuckles split and crack, so it's always nice to have a bandaid handy.
  2. Body Spray - always good for a quick freshening up!
  3. Headphones - I just seem to have extra pairs so I tossed one in there.
  4. Cell phone charger - absolutely essential.  No one wants to be stuck with a dead cellphone.
  5. EOS Lip Balm - my absolute favourite.  I have these everywhere - one at my desk at work, one in my purse, one beside my bed, one to bring into court - they're amazing.  I love how they feel and the round shape makes it easy to find in a deep, dark purse.
  6. Advil - I'm actually really bad at carrying this with me, but I've made a renewed effort.
  7. Mini flashlight - just a little keychain light.
  8. Contacts case - I don't wear my contacts very often, but when I do I want to know that I can take them out if I need to.  I can't handle sleeping in contacts.
  9. Pens and a Sharpie - sometimes people laugh at me for carrying a Sharpie with me, but you wouldn't believe how many times it's come in handy!
  10. Lip gloss - I actually don't use this too often, but it's nice to have something more makeup-y on hand if I need it.
  11. Mouthwash - always good on the go.
  12. Deodorant - not as necessary this time of year, but very good to have on hand in the summer.
  13. Flossing sticks - again, doesn't hurt to have them on hand.
  14. Elastic - even though my hair isn't long enough for a pony tail anymore, this is still floating around.
  15. Wet wipes - I should probably just throw a full-sized wet wipes package in my car, because I use them constantly.  Always good to have in the car for Vivian (aka Nutellaface McGee) and good to have in my purse for wiping down a table in a restaurant or if you end up at a rib fest.  I use wet wipes to wash my face too, so they're absolutely necessary for an emergency kit!
  16. Travel Toothbrush - yes, that funny looking thing is a folding toothbrush and I love it.  There's nothing worse than being stuck without a toothbrush. 
  17. Hand sanitizer - those mini hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works are my favourite.  They're super small so you can just have them everywhere.  Plus they smell pretty.
  18. Alka Seltzer - the little travel packs of Alka Seltzer are great to have on hand for if you are coming down with a cold or just have an upset stomach.  My mom swears by Alka Seltzer for when you feel a cold coming on.
  19. Excel mints - I eat these mints constantly - I've kind of given up on gum because I just end up biting the inside of my cheeks.  
That's what I like to have on hand - tell me what you like to keep stashed in your car so I can improve my kit!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Treats of the Week - Remember, Remember

Even though November is generally a pretty terrible month, I have to say it hasn't been so bad so far.  We've still had some nice warm-ish days (although I think that's supposed to come to an end this week) and I haven't yet had to break out the snow shovel.  Let's keep that momentum going for as long as we can.  It's been one of those weeks where I feel like it's been really busy, but I also haven't really done anything.  It's kind of that calm before the real chaos of the holiday season starts up.


  • I went to see Interstellar on Thursday night and it's a total cliche to say this, but it's really what going to the movies is all about.  I love the movie-going experience, and while this was far from a perfect movie (ignore those plot holes!) it was an amazing movie experience.  See it in IMAX - I wouldn't mind seeing it again in IMAX, to be honest.  My friend Geoff wrote a review that's actually positive for once - you can check it out here.
  • Because we went to see an early IMAX screening (it was actually a Thursday night show before the official Friday release) we got these awesome Kevin Dart promotional posters.  I came across his tumblr and was pleasantly surprised that I recognized so much of his stuff.  Can't wait to frame it and find a spot for it!  Please note - this is a terrible, terrible picture that I took in my car.  I just didn't feel like taking another one.

  • I ended up sleeping over at my mom's on Saturday night unexpectedly.  Luckily, I was able to borrow some pajamas from her, and she automatically gave me a sleeping hoodie because that's the standard uniform.  Sleeping hoodies forever.
  • Kelloggs has a great promotion on right now - you can send away for a coupon for either a free Hasbro toy up to a $20 value, or $10 off a Hasbro toy that's $25 or more.  Perfect for this time of year!  I've already sent away for 3 - they take 2-4 weeks to arrive so I might have to grab a few more boxes of cereal this week so I can get as many as possible before Christmas!
  • There are few things that are more interesting or fun that digging through someone's old comics collection - there's no telling what gems might be there!
  • It was the 5th of November this past week, which of course means I had to have my annual viewing of V for Vendetta!

Have a week, everyone!  And be sure to wear your poppies tomorrow and make it out to a cenotaph if you're able!  Time for me to put on my sleeping hoodie!