Thursday, November 18, 2010

25 Days of Christmas!

This year I decided to do a homemade Advent calendar. I always used to buy the ones with the little chocolate for each day for my husband and I... I don't really mind the thought of the one little chocolate each day for Little Man, but my main concern is that the chocolate is so gross and waxy. Plus, there are lots of Christmas activities I'm planning to try to fit in with Little Man this year. So I decided to do a homemade Advent calendar - one of the type where you write an activity on a piece of paper for each day. Andrea describes it here and here. I'm not crafty though, so was planning to look for some kind of store-bought calendar I could use... I was originally thinking of the ones I used to see at Starbucks when I lived near one that had a little drawer for each day. But then I found a super-cute mini-stocking garland from Avon that I think is just perfect. There is a picture of it in the top left corner here

I love it! I will hang it on the mantle in between our regular stockings. I bought a few treats to sneak in on some of the less-exciting days - mini candy-canes, small bags of gummy treats, etc. There will also be occasional days that have small presents associated with them. For example, I'm thinking Day 1 might involve some new X-mas books. And for the "Christmas dance party" day, I found a Christmas sing-a-long DVD with songs from the classic Christmas movies (Rudolph, Frosty, etc.). I've been scouring the internets for ideas, and here is the list I came up with so far - obviously I'll need to sit down with our calendar and narrow it down. 

  • Have hot chocolate with all the fixings
  • Write and mail letters to Santa
  • Use puppets to tell Christmas bedtime story
  • Special food (e.g., chocolate chip pancakes or other big breakfast, etc.)
  • Make decorations for the tree
  • Drink hot chocolate from Xmas mugs
  • take a picture in our santa/elf hats
  • Have a camp out /indoor picnic around the christmas tree
  • Wrap a toy and take it to a charity christmas tree
  • Make handmade something for relatives (crafts) - cards or crafts to mail to family
  • Christmas dance party
  • Christmas movies
  • Wildlife park
  • Walk/Drive to see the Christmas lights (drive in PJs with hot chocolate/apple cider)
  • Special christmas Eve activities (open new PJs, put out reindeer food, cookies for santa, etc.)
  • visiting particular people or having people over
  • make/decorate sugar cookies
  • put up tree/christmas decorations
  • make paper snowflakes (and decorate the house/windows with them?)
  • wrap presents or prep daycare teacher presents
  • christmas craft/collage/coloring pages
  • special activities (library, x-mas parties, etc.)
  • some kind of visiting/give-aways to neighbours, family, etc. (ornaments, cookies, etc.)
  • christmas picture with santa at the mall
  • food to food bank
  • skating
  • santa claus parades?
  • make a gingerbread house
  • make x-mas birdfeeders
  • winter walk with hot chocolate or apple cider
  • Big Man's birthday/birthday party
  • go to the bookstore and pick out a new christmas book
  • make christmas rice krispie squares
  • family swim
  • go to the video store to rent a christmas movie
  • get christmas movies/books from the library
  • special Dec 1 gift (new Xmas book?)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


So it's pretty windy out here today. It's also garbage day and they are late picking up the garbage for some reason. I guess a bag of garabage blew from my neighbour's across the street pile and landed in the pile of my next door neighbour. They never have more than a bag or two of garbage, and there is a 4 bag limit here, so it's no big deal. Plus they aren't particularly strict about the bag limit here anyway, not like there were when we lived in bigger cities. Yet, I just watched her go outside, pick up said bag of garabage, and return it to the pile across the street.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

These Boots Are Made For Walking...

Little Man took his first real steps today!!! He's taken a few steps before here and there, but only when he's been caught off guard, or if he's playing and hadn't noticed he was doing it. Until now, anytime you tried to get him to walk he just laughed and sat down or dived toward you. He wouldn't even really stand on his own if he realized you'd let go of him, although he stands lots while he's playing and doesn't notice.

Anyway, this morning Big Man's cousin was here babysitting while I worked. I came in and sat down on the floor with Little Man (*** holy cow - while I was typing this I just looked over and he was walking across the floor like it was nothing - probably walked about 12 steps in total there!!). He was using me to pull himself up, but then letting go, which he's never done before. So I started trying to get him to walk, and at first he was doing his usually thing - giggling and sitting down or falling toward me. Then it was just like all of a sudden he decided "OK, I'm 1 now, enough is enough, I better start walking"... and started trying over and over again. At first he'd only get about 1/2 step as he fell towards me, but as soon as he fell he'd grab my hands, stand back up, let go, and try again. (*** Double Holy Cow! - he just stood himself up without holding onto anything and walked 24 steps!!). So before too long he was cosistently doing 2-3 steps. Then we got a video of him and by the end of that he was doing 4 steps. After the video he did 5 or 6 steps. And then I was getting his lunch ready and had his highchair out, and he pulled himself up on his highchair, got himself turned around and balanced, and walked 7 or 8 steps! And then as you can see in my live comments above, he's walking like crazy now! I thought he'd get going quickly once he got started because he seemed capable of walking for a while now, he just wouldn't try... but I didn't think it would be *this* quickly!! I'm so proud of him, and he's so proud of himself haha.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Last Year At This Time....

I was probably starting on pitocin.... which did eff all but torture me, but that's for the rest of the story, which I may or may not post later.

Toys, Toys, and More Toys

Well, we had Little Man's birthday party on Friday. It went really well - he got a little nervous a couple of times with all the people around, but overall he had a great time. He was also such a good boy all day, I was so proud of him! He didn't touch his cake, but loved the mini ice-cream cone we gave him.

One of the things I was a little nervous about was the presents he would get. Unlike some other people I know, I haven't been able to stick with all wood toys - it's really difficult to find them in our small city, we've gotten way too many gifts that aren't wooden, and they're so expensive. I have, however, made a really attempt to stick with more "classic" toys - even if they are plastic - and continually purge all the noisy, button-pushing type stuff we get (although luckily not much so far). Right now his toybox basically consists of: a rubber ball, stacking cups, shape-sorter blocks, stacking rings, a few stuffed animals (including the In the Night Garden ones, which he loves to make kiss one another), some little cars and trucks, a big mega-blocks dump truck (which I expect might become an outdoor toy in the future - dumping rocks and dirt, etc.), a tonka fire truck (no buttons or noises!), a bead thingy from Ikea, a pop-up toy, some wodden puzzles, a wooden race car, a keyboard/xylophone, and a real ukelele. The only newer style noisy toys he has is a guitar (and at least a guitar is supposed to make noise!), the car wash fridge magnet set, Elmo Live (which he loves to hug and kiss lol) and his mater ride-on. When my mother-in-law bought the mater ride-on I was kind of upset - I wanted him to have a more traditional, non-noisy one... but really, he loves it. He still rides it like crazy and pushes it everywhere, but he loves to push the buttons too. Interestingly, he doesn't push the ones that make car noises or talk that much - he just like the ones that play music, and he likes to dance to them, either on the floor or while he's riding. So seeing how much he loved that, and how I'm still OK with how he likes to play with it, I'm trying not to be *too* strict about the toy issue, but trying to keep a bit of a handle on things. Really, looking over the above list, I think I've done a pretty good job so far. My sister's list for my niece at this age would have included a lot more small plastic junk, a few big noisy pieces, a ball tent... her house was basically overrun. All of Little Man's stuff fits in a rubbermaid bin with a couple of the bigger toys sitting on the floor next to it - all in one little corner.

Anyway, I think we ended up fairing out OK at his birthday. He really got mostly outdoor toys. My mom got him the classic Cozy Coupe (which we have the floorboard in to use as a kind of stroller for now), and we asked my father-in-law to get him a sand/water table. My aunt got him a pool and my uncle got him a bubble lawn mower. He got some books and clothes and we got him a wooden peg-pounder (which he loves!) and a growth chart for his room. We're also ordering him a nightstand and a few other things for his room (recently renovated) from Ikea. My brother got him a remote-control school bus designed for toddlers, which he also gets a big kick out of. The only thing I wasn't thrilled about was the Little Leaps video game system my sister got him - but luckily, it needs a DVD player to work, and we don't have one - we use Big Man's Playstation 3 to play DVDs, and Little Leaps doesn't work with it. So it will stay at my Mom's house for Little Man and my niece to use there.

We also did OK for Easter. We got him a new small bulldozer truck, baby crayons and a big pad of paper, some new books, and a few summer clothing items. He got some other summer clothes from various family members, a great trucks book from my father-in-law, and some outdoor beach toys (buckets, shovels, sand molds, etc,). My mother got him the Little People plane and my brother got him a small Little People car - and he loves them both ... I think most toddlers love the Little People stuff. And that's it.

So between his birthday and Easter, the only new additions to our indoor toys were the wooden peg pounder, remote control bus, a little truck, and the Little People plane and car. I'd already done quite a bit of purging in the last few weeks, so it worked out pretty well.

I was already thinking of posting about this when I came across this post at simplemom about classic toys. It really got me excited about things to get for him as he gets older. I've got a list now of things I want to think about getting him. Luckily, our family is pretty good at asking what we want/need for him, so I should be able to get their help in getting some of this stuff eventually. Most of this stuff we wouldn't get for a few years, but it's nice to have stuff in mind so we can plan out what to get for different occasions and what to save up for. So here's my list:
- beanbags - these I want to get soon, he loves throwing things and playing catch so I think he'll really like them
- wooden blocks (like the Melissa and Doug ones she links to)
- wooden train set and a train table
- car mat (I'm pretty sure we'll have lots of hot wheels-type cars when he gets older)
- kitchen, wooden food, cash register, apron, chef's hat (he already likes to play with my niece's kitchen, so I think this will be something he'll like when he's older)
- dress-up stuff (I want to start now collecting things for this - capes, old costumes, swords, etc.) and would love to get this cool mirror from Ikea to put near it
- craft stuff - hopefully eventually I'll have a shelf in a cabinet in our front room (once all the 2x4's and gyroc are out of there) with some bins for craft stuff - popsicle sticks, pipe cleaners, etc. - and eventually would like to get him an easel or craft table.... I also like the idea of adding real "office" stuff as he gets older (stationary, postage stamps, date stamp, name stamp, etc.)
- mailbox/mail set - my brother got a post office set when he was younger, and we all played with it, it was a great toy
- bongo type hand drums
- bug catching stuff for outside
- and of course Legos

For those of you who have kids, how are you dealing with the toy issue? Are you getting overrun? Any other ideas of great classic toys?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Update + Free Croc Giveaway

I am alive - just bogged down with a work deadline. Will post the details once it's done, but the gist is I offered to work 1-2 days a week from home for an organization I've worked for before - got stuck working on this project for which they had completely unrealistic expectaions regarding the timeline... but once it's done this weekend I should have enough money to get through until I start getting paid for the summer course I'm teaching, so next week I can get down to business on my own stuff. I want to post more soon on my work/school situation and goals (need to make myself accountable!!) and also planning a post about regret that lived spaces got me thinking about.

In the meantime I'll leave you with a link to a great new blog I discovered - simplemom. I have a bit of an organizational fetish (seriously... I get a little flushed looking at ikea catalogues), so this blog is right up my ally. I can't wait to try her plan for mealplanning for a month this weekend - I'll keep you updated on how it works out! I get totally overwhelmed when I try to mealplan, so I think the idea of theme days is going to work well for me! So right now simplemom is having a contest to give away free Crocs, and I totally want some! When we moved to the house we're in now at the beginning of December, I started wearing my slippers a lot again because it's an older house and the floors are always really cold. That worked well for a while, until I had to put them in the wash and they died. Whey did I have to put them in the wash? For those of you who have boys,  you know how when you find out that's what you're having people always make comments about getting peed on? Well that almost never happens to us... I honeslty could probably count on my hands the number of times Little Man has peed with his diaper off, and most of those we managed to catch with either the old diaper still under him or the new one going on... and a couple of times he peed standing up in the tub. The other few times it was when we were changing him in the crib and it just went on his sheets. Except one time not long ago (probably January?) when my Mom was changing him on our couch... he's bad for squirming and crawling away now when you're changing him... and she let him take off with no diaper on because god forbid he cry for a couple of seconds while you're wrangling him into a new diaper. I came and sat down to try to get him laying back down to put a diaper on him, and he promptly peed all over the couch - it dripped down between the cushions and poured out the front of the couch all over one of my slippers. I'm sure it was the hugest pee he's ever had! So anyway, I need a pair of Crocs to wear around the house to replace my slippers!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I started reading the comments to this story and was thinking of commenting. After I got about half-way through I just gave up reading and didn't bother to comment - I don't have enough room in my life right now to get that stressed and cranky over things.

Creative Problem Solving

So Little Man has one of those shape-sorter block sets. It's the Fisher Price one where the holes are in the lid that comes off and the blocks go in the bucket. Today we were playing with it, and he usually can get the shapes in the holes after I point out which one it goes in - sometimes with a bit of help to maneuver it, but often on his own. (By the way, I'm not one of those crazy parents who sits down and makes my son practice this - he genuinely likes it and usually starts playing with it on his own or brings the bucket or lid over to me). Anyway, today when we were playing he had one block that he just couldn't get in. When he couldn't get it in, he kept trying different holes even though I kept pointing out the right hole to him. And eventually I tried to help him position his hand at the right angle, but he was holding the block oddly in his hand, and it just couldn't get situated right. I could tell he was getting frustrated because he kept pushing harder and harder, as if that would make it go in.... Eventually, he grabbed the lid, ripped it off, and threw the block in the bucket, and then looked up at me with a look that said "There, that's how I'm doing it".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This Could Be Scary, But....

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm playing a "craft-it-forward" game from Profgrrrrl. I am *not* a crafty person. When I was in CGIT, it was a running joke about how bad I was at crafts.... one time we made something with felt and googly eyes for Halloween - a bat maybe? - and mine literally turned into a sticky ball of felt with eyes in random locations. I can guarantee that whatever I make will not involve a glue gun. But, in the spirit of the game, I will try to think of something I can do a decent job at.
So, here’s how it works:

The first 5 people to respond to this post will get something made by me! This offer does have some restrictions and limitations so please read carefully:
  • I make no guarantees that you will like what I make but I will do my best.
  • It will be done in the next few months.
  • Exactly what I make and send will be a surprise.
It could be a photograph, baked treats, a knitted item (although this would take longer) - something that qualifies as crafty

In return, all you need to do is post this text to your own blog and make 5 things for 5 others. Remember, this is a "craft it forward" so action is required.
If you're interested, be one of the five to leave me a comment with your email (or link to it) and we'll see what I can manufacture in the coming months.

As phd me said, "This should be entertaining."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Taking the Plunge

Well, I've been thinking about starting a blog for a while now. I read lots of them, and everytime I leave a ridiculously long comment on someone else's blog I think to myself, "I really should start my own blog so I can post things like this instead of hogging someone's comment thread". But, alas, I am lazy. In fact, I'm so lazy that often I am too lazy to sign out of my regular gmail account and into my canuck_grad one so that I can leave comments on blogs without anonymous posting. You might think, then, that I am too lazy to blog - but you've forgotten to take into account my great affinity for procrastination! Plus I like to talk (or write) - my nickname in high school rugby was "Yappy". And Blogger appeals to my laziness because I can just email my posts through my regular gmail acocunt.

So why am I finally starting a blog now? Because I like to get free stuff in the mail. And Profgrrrrl promised to send me some if I promise to send some to other people. I think I made the cut, but I'll wait for confirmation before I post the deal here.

If you don't know anything about me, you can get the quick version of my life in my "about me" box. For the record, I will probably talk lots about my 11 month old, Little Man - because he is sweet and adorable and hilariously funny. So if you find lots of baby talk annoying, feel free to skip it, or to not come back. I will talk about other things too, though! So it would be nice if you came back ... and leave me lots of comments too, I like to chat!


Hi everyone! First post to come later tonight thanks to Profgrrrrl!!