About me

I am a Stay at Home Mom. I love Chai Lattes, anything chocolate, and all of the Real Housewives. I hate cleaning bathrooms.

I've been with my husband since 2000, married since 2005, and together we have two little girls. Little Bear was born in 2009 and Crazy Plates in 2010.

This is my blog. A place where I share all the fun and frustrating things about being a Stay at Home Mom.

I hope you can enjoy, relate, and have a little laugh.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

10 Things From My Childhood My Kids Will Never Experience...

I was typing a reply to a Facebook photo the other day, and when I typed the word vacuum, I knew I had typed it wrong because that little red squiggly line appeared under it.  Thank goodness for that red squiggly line.  Had it not been there I might have had to grab my dictionary.  Which got me thinking; where the heck is my dictionary?  It's been so long since I've used it, it must be horribly out of date.  Then I thought, why would it be so out of date?  Oh ya, because no one uses dictionaries any more.  That got me thinking some more, this time about all the things from my childhood that my kids will never experience.  There are many, but these are my top 10. 

1) Dictionaries.  As discussed, the little red squiggly line has put the hard-working dictionary out of business.  I will admit, though, that I do sweat a little when I right click on the red squiggly underlined word and there are no suggestions as to the correct spelling.  Thank goodness for online thesauruses.  

2) Encyclopedias.  Do you remember those things?  No one ever had a complete set, but you almost always knew someone who had the missing volumes.  For you youngsters reading this blog, encyclopedias are basically Wikipedia in book form and, although usually out of date just after being released, still more accurate than Wikipedia. 

3) Phone Books.  I don't mean the contact list in your phones, I mean the giant yellow phone books we all had growing up.  Our kids will have no use for these since the Yellow Pages are now a website.  I think my kids won't even have use for the Yellow Pages website since everyone uses cell phones now, which aren't listed. 

4) Mixed Tapes.  Who doesn't love a good mixed tape?  They were the best.  I used to tape record songs from the radio, making my own playlists.  The best was when you had a boom box with a double cassette player so you could make a mixed tape from another tape.  Kids these days can download complete playlists depending on their mood or the type of music they like.  But where is the creativity in that? 

5) Compact Discs.  CDs, like the cassette tape, are becoming a thing of the past.  But not for me.  I love getting a new CD, ripping open the plastic wrapping and reading, cover to cover, the song lyrics for each song.  The best was when the CD had a hidden song, like on the Alanis Morresette You Otta Know CD.  You won't get that from a download. 

6) Talking on the Phone.  Seems silly, but kids don't actually talk on the phone anymore.  They text or Face Time.  Sometimes they will talk on the phone, but it's still not the same as when we talked on the phone.  Back in the day, our friends had to call our house, and it had better not be during dinner.  Once they got past our parents, we were stuck in the kitchen talking on the wall phone, unless you were lucky enough to have one in your room.  But, no doubt, your little brother would pick up the other line and listen in on your entire conversation.  No.  My kids will never experience talking on the phone the way I did.

7) Developing film.  I remember getting my first camera.  I was so excited.  My friends came over and we spent the whole night in my basement, taking silly pictures of each other.  I was so excited to drop the film off at Black's for developing.  A week later I got the roll of film back.  All black photos, and one blurry thumb.  Awesome. 

8) Great TV.  Full House.  Blossom.  Who's the Boss.  Family Ties.  Saved by the Bell.  Need I say more?  They just don't make 'em like they used to. 

9) Getting Mail.  I mean actual mail, in the mailbox.  Remember how exciting that was when you were a kid?  Letters from your Grandma, invitations to a party, an envelope in the mailbox with your name on it was just about the most exciting thing that could happen to an eight year old.  But now, everything is digital.  An e-mail, a text.  Even passing notes in class has become a thing of the past.  A lost art, if you ask me. 

10)  YM and Tiger Beat.  Remember these magazines?  Of course you do.  They shaped the woman I am today.  The quizzes, the make up tips, the fold out posters of Joey Lawrence.  Whoa! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

My Helpful Husband...

This is our laundry room / mud room. It's a pretty small space, so to ensure that organization reigns supreme in this room, I have implemented an ingenious system of hooks, baskets, shelving, and shoe cubbies. A couple of weeks ago I went into the laundry room to find that my husband had done this. He took off his running shoes, and left them there, instead of putting them in his designated shoe cubby.  He then would have come back a second time wearing sandals, and he would have had to have stepped over the running shoes to slip off the sandals.  Stepping over the running shoes suggests he was aware that they were there, right in the middle of the floor, yet he continued over them and left yet another pair of shoes in the middle of the floor. The kicker is I found these shoes after he had left for work, which means he hop scotched his way over both pairs to get to the garage to leave. Sigh...

Just a couple of days ago, I wandered into the laundry room to find that my husband was at it again.  Only this display of organizational defiance baffles me.  The sandals were left at the bottom of the step that leads from the hallway to the laundry room, and the sandals are facing away from the step, which suggests that he was wearing them in the house.  Then there is the coffee cup and newspaper by the garage door.  The mug would have come from the kitchen, and the newspaper from the front porch.  This suggests to me that he put on the sandals to get the paper from the porch, and went into the kitchen to make a coffee.  Then he took his coffee and the newspaper to the laundry room, slipped of his sandals and walked over to his shoe cubby to put on his work shoes.  Now, why are the newspaper and mug on the floor?  My best guess is this.  Little Bear's sandals are on the floor beside the newspaper.  I think she went to the laundry room with him to say good-bye.  He reminded her not to wear her shoes in the house and asked her to take them off.  She reminded him she can't undo the buckles.  He put down the newspaper and coffee mug to help her with her shoe buckles, gave her a hug, and left, forgetting his coffee and the paper on the floor.  Yup, I think that's it! 

I went to University for criminal justice, and one of my favourite knocks on stay at home motherhood is that I'm wasting my degree.  Wasting it?  As it turns out, I use it quite regularly.

For more on how I, and other stay at home moms, are not wasting their university education, check out this blog post I wrote on the subject. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Teacher Gifts...

I was at Chapter's last week, buying teacher's gifts for the girls' teachers, and I came across this.  Peanut Butter Cup Gourmet Popcorn.  Now this is the type of gift I would love to receive if I were a teacher.  The girls have 4 teachers between the 2 of them, and there were 4 flavours of gourmet popcorn, so it seemed like a perfect fit!  I picked up a container of Peanut Butter Cup, Bacon and Cheddar, Cookies and Cream, and Twix Gourmet Popcorn and skipped along to the cash, more than pleased with myself for finding what was sure to be the talk of the staff room.  I had found the perfect teacher's gift.  But, while at the cash, I wondered if the girls' teacher's shared my love of popcorn.  Would they drool over caramel popcorn drizzled with peanut butter and chocolate, or are they more traditional, liking just butter and salt?  Is it possible that they don't even like popcorn?  This got me thinking, what is the perfect teacher gift?  I decided to consult the experts, and have created for you a list of the best and worst teacher gifts.  You're welcome.

First, the Best list...

1) Gift Cards.  This was one gift that all my teacher friends picked for the best list.  They suggest Tim Horton's, Starbucks, and the LCBO.  One of my teacher friends received quite a few Cineplex gift cards at the end of last year, and, lucky for me, I've benefited from these gift cards on quite a few occasions.  We actually just saw Chef, have you seen it?  It's a great movie.  But...back to the list...

2) Alcohol.  This one surprised me, but, then when I gave it some more thought, it doesn't.  I actually think this would be a good gift to give in September, you know, like carb loading before a big race.  Not that I have ever run a big race, but I have carb loaded.  Anyway...the tip with this gift is that while alcohol is good, homemade wine is bad.

3) Flowers or Potted Plants.  Seems simple enough.  I like this one.

5) School Supplies.  Items like note pads, pens, markers.  This one is good if you're short on time and don't have a chance to go shopping.  If you work in an office, you'll find most of these items in the supply room. Another suggestion was a book for the classroom, with an inscription, "To Miss V's class.  From Little Bear".

5) Home baking, Chocolate, Candy.  This, like the gourmet popcorn, would be my choice if I were a teacher.

And now, for the worst list...

1) Cheesy Teacher Crap.  I've never given any cheesy teacher crap to the girls' teachers, but I know I gave a whole lot of cheesy teacher crap when I was in school.  You know, big red apple magnets that say "World's Best Teacher", things like that.

2) Soap and Hand Cream.  My teacher friends said that while the idea might be nice, it's way too over done.  I can appreciate that.  I have a cupboard full of hand creams I received as Christmas gifts when I used to work in an office.  A cupboard full of Christmas bonuses I do not have, but I do have enough hand cream to last me the rest of my life.

3) Candles.  Crap.  I gave candles to the girls' teachers at Christmas.

4) Mugs.  Crap.  I gave mugs last year.  But, they were full of amazing chocolate, which was on the best list, so that sort of cancels out the mugs, right?

5) Clothes.  Wait, what?  Clothes?  I would never think to give clothes, but my experts say they have received them, and they don't like it.  And you can't argue with that.

I hope this list finds you before you hit the stores, and makes teacher gift shopping a little easier for you.  Incidentally, I went with Chapter's gift cards for this year's end-of-school gifts.  Oh, and I did buy the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Gourmet Popcorn.  For myself.  And I started eating it in the car on the way home.  And it was amazing...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Stay at Home Mom, Party of One...

Today was the girls' last day of school before summer break.  Holy Hannah, this day causes me so much anxiety.  So this year, I decided not to let it bother me.  To treat it like any other day.  I got up, like I always do, and got the girls ready for school.  I decided to do something fancy with Crazy Plates' hair, and Little Bear decided to try her hand at her own hair.  This was the result...

The girls were extra excited to go to school today, partly because it was the last day, but mostly because they were both having pizza parties in their classrooms.  My husband was at a golf tournament all day, which also means all night because golf tournaments always involve dinner, prizes, and beer.  But for me, it was just a regular day.  Just like any other.  No reason to panic.  I got home from dropping the girls off, ready to tackle my chore list.  I had laundry and dishes to do, of course, because the laundry and dishes are really never done, but it was also deep-clean-the-kitchen day, and since I didn't get to it yesterday, it was also bathroom cleaning day.  Lucky me.  I stood in the doorway of the kitchen, looking at the pile of hair elastics on the floor, the cereal bowls on the counter, the sink full of dishes, the toys Crazy Plates had brought up from the basement, and realized that no matter how hard I tried to deny it, today was in fact, the last day of school.  Holy Hannah...

I decided that what I needed was not to spend the day cleaning the house.  I needed do take advantage of this day, do all the things I wasn't going to be able to do for the next two months.  And so I began to plan the 1st annual end of school party.  On the guest list - me.  This is what I came up with.

I started the day with a walk around the neighbourhood.  It was a sunny day, which I love, and I was able to walk at a regular pace, and didn't stop to pick up rocks or dandelions, and I didn't have to remind myself to look both ways before crossing the street.  Then I got in my car and went to Starbucks.  I got a grande extra hot soy chai latte and headed to my favourite nail salon.  I got a pedicure and a shellac manicure and this time, I got to pick the colour.  This is what I picked.  I was inspired by Ariel's make-up.

If you remember, this was the result when I let the girls choose my nail colour...

Once my nails were done, I picked up a bag of ketchup chips and headed home.  I poured myself a glass of Coke Zero, opened my bag of chips, and settled in for an hour of gossip with my friends, Melissa, Lainey, Jess, Cynthia, and Tracy.

Feeling relaxed and totally ready to face the summer, I picked the girls up from school.  It wasn't until I got home that I remembered that the dishes and laundry weren't done, and the kitchen and bathrooms still needed to be cleaned.  Oh well...guess it will have to wait until September...

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How Do You Pick Up Moms?

Back when I was a single gal, I loved going to house parties.  Saturday night, my girlfriends would come over, we'd do our hair and make-up, toil over what to wear, then pick up a 6-pack of Mike's Hard Lemonade on our way to the party.  Once there, there was the obligatory bowl of chips, but mostly it was an excuse to sit around and have a few (too many) drinks with friends, and meet cute, single guys.  Once a cute, single guy caught my eye, I knew just what to do.  We'd lock eyes from across the room, I'd play a little shy, then a little hard to get, hit him with some charm and some not so subtle flirting, and boom!  He was mine. 

House parties these days are a little bit different.  Now, house parties are usually held in the afternoon, and the occasion is someone's 5th birthday.  There are juice boxes, pizza, loot bags, and 15 or so kids hopped up on cupcakes.  And, instead of meeting cute single boys, I meet moms.  I was at such a house party tonight.  We were in the backyard, where there were two bouncy castles and a swing set.  I sat down next to a mom whose kids, like mine, had made their way over to the swing set and she, like me, was trying to avoid eye contact with her kids for fear of having them ask us to push them.  We bonded over our shared loathing of swing pushing.  Turns out we actually had a lot in common.  We have the same sarcastic sense of humour, same easy-going parenting style, she has two girls, I have two girls, her kids are 3 and 5 years old, my kids are 3 and 5 years old, she laughed at my jokes, I laughed at her jokes, and before I knew it, 3 juice boxes later, the party was over.  We gathered up our kids and their loot bags, and headed for our cars.  If this new mom had been a cute, single guy, I would have known exactly what to do to close the deal.  But, she wasn't a cute, single guy.  She was a fellow mom.  Should I ask for her phone number?  Should I arrange a play date with our kids?  Was it too soon to suggest a girls' weekend away?  I was busy contemplating my next move and didn't even notice that she had gotten into her car and driven away. 

So that was it.  A new mommy friendship lost, because I have no idea how to make the first move.  I know kids don't come with an instruction manual, but if anyone ever decides to sit down and write one, I sure hope it includes a chapter on this topic...sigh... 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Secret Life of a Stay at Home Mom

I am a stay at home mom. 

But, before I begin, let me say that the purpose of this blog is not to suggest that the role of the stay at home mom is harder than that of the working mom.  My mom was a working mom and so I saw first hand the challenges it presents.  After putting in a full day’s work my mom would come home and try to make the most of the few hours we did have together – reading stories, playtime, dinner, and once I was in bed a load of laundry and a quick cup of tea before falling into bed herself.  I have great respect for the working mom, as does everyone else, and that is why I have written this blog. 

It seems as though, somewhere between the days of Leave it to Beaver and today, that the perception of the stay at home mom has gone from a loving, nurturing home-maker, a woman who makes her own mayonnaise, and volunteers for the PTA, to a woman who watches Ellen, goes to yoga, has lunch with her girlfriends, and sips lattes while getting her nails done.  I’ll admit that I too once thought to myself, what do these women do all day?  But, now that I am one, I realize just how much we do do.   

Being a stay at home mom can be utterly frustrating at times.  It's a thankless job, with no staff parties, no promotions, and no Christmas bonuses.  We're a misunderstood group, since most of our work is done at home.  I often drop the kids off at school in my pajamas, because why dress up when I'm just returning home to do laundry and clean out the basement storage room?  Yes, you may see me at the nail salon on a Tuesday afternoon, but that is because my weekends are full of kiddie parties and ballet lessons.  And really, we deserve nice nails too, right?  But being a stay at home mom can also be hilarious work.  Kids really do say the darndest things, and we're always there to hear them say it.  We become so proficient at all things domestic, that we can't help but laugh at our husbands as they look for a big bowl for their microwave popcorn.  I mean, come on, there are only so many places in the kitchen in which to store a big popcorn bowl, how hard can it be to find one?  
I hope you enjoy my blog, my rants, my musings, my occasional tips and my even more occasional uplifting thoughts on marriage and parenthood.