2015 – A better smelling home

We have a 9-year-old schnauzer. A few years ago he had an embolism that left him with some paralysis and while he has mostly recovered it has had some lasting effects. Like sometimes he pees in the house because he doesn’t know how badly he needs to go. Like a toddler. When he does that, it’s often right at the top of the first flight of stairs. So now we have a high traffic area with nasty spots and a smell that’s tough to get rid of. I want to get rid of the stains and the smell.

He's a good boy, really

He’s a good boy, really


All of this means that when I got the opportunity to try OxiClean’s Versatile Stain Remover I jumped at the chance. We’ve tried other stain removers but I can still see the difference between the stained carpet and the rest of the carpet. I was hoping this would be our answer, so I attacked.



I mixed up the OxiClean powder with the instructed amount of water and soaked the dirtiest part of the carpet and then left it for a few minutes. When I went back and started patting the area with the towel I could tell that it smelled better, but I wasn’t sure if it was cleaning.

And then I noticed how dirty the towel was getting.


Those are results

Those are results

OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover is a powder that you can dilute to use on a large variety of surfaces. In fact, when I’m done here I’m going to try it on our shower grout. You can also used it with your regular detergent to give it a little boost. I’m going to do our gym towels I think… This whole house could smell and look better by the end of the week.

You can read more about the stain remover and its many uses here. You can find OxiClean across Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart. Check out their Facebook page for more great tips.

This post was brought to you by OxiClean Versatile Stain remover, however the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit http://oxiclean.ca/.


The friend zone

First the kid’s friends were the kids of my friends. Then her friends were kids she went to preschool with, none of whom has ended up at her current school. Also she seems to remember very little about her year in preschool – I’ll mention one of her friends and she’ll look at me and said “who?”

Three was such a long time ago.

Now we have entered the world of junior kindergarten, which is a whole new thing. She takes the bus to school instead of me picking her up and I don’t have duty days to spend in her classroom. This year all I really know about her friends is the names she repeats most often. And I haven’t met most of the parents.

But it dawned on me one day that her JK friends could be her friends for at least the next few years, possibly for life if she finds really good ones – which she seems to have.

I have now learned the importance of the class list, because I lost our copy and am totally helpless when the kid asks for a playdate. I also have no way of touching base with the parents of the little girl that our little girl seems to have regular misunderstandings with.


The drama, it starts early.

Sometimes I miss the times when I got to pick who she played with based on which parents I wanted to hang out with…


But it is nice to see her forming her own bonds and figuring out what she likes about other people and what maybe she doesn’t like. There are a whole lot of social lessons to learn – that not all friends are good friends, that sometimes someone might think they’re being funny but they’re not and maybe they just don’t realize.

It’s a world I still find difficult to navigate and I have to help her through it.

Get your brave on

We’ve put the kid into a lot of activities since she was a baby. At first she and I did them together – swimming and gymnastics. There have been classes she does with Daddy, like all sorts of sports, t-ball and soccer. She’s carried on in some and some we’ve left behind. Her constants have been gymnastics in fall, spring and winter, swimming in summer and skating in winter.

Except this year instead of skating she’s taking Introduction to Hockey.

She wasn’t sure if she really wanted to play hockey, but we wanted her to try it out, and we certainly didn’t want to enrol her in a league if she wasn’t going to enjoy that, so I found this course through the City of Ottawa, we registered her and she got all the equipment she needed – some used, some for Christmas from Grandma and Grandpa and then a jersey and socks to top it all off.

At the end of last winter she was a great skater. Fearless. She would skate as fast as she could until she fell and then got right back up to do it again. I was so impressed with her, especially given my skating skills.

But when she headed out onto the ice for her first hockey lesson it had been almost a year since she had last skated and she was wobbly. She fell often. Watching her my eyes filled with tears because I worried she was going to get upset or frustrated, maybe burst into tears. I was so worried about her it was hard to watch.

But she just kept getting back up. Even though she was one of the slowest on the ice, even though she couldn’t quite figure out how to hold her stick. She just kept going. With a big smile on her face.

When she came off the ice I told her I was SO proud of her and she turned to me and said “I’m proud of me too.” And that made my heart swell even more.


Last night she woke up after a bad dream and I brought her into our bed and snuggled with her. I took the chance to tell her again how brave I thought she was and all the reasons why – because what she had done was a hard thing for her put she pushed herself.

“I like doing hard things because then I get to be brave at them.”

That’s my girl. She’s smarter than me sometimes.


He’s Here For You

I am a big fan of the CBC and an even bigger fan of their children’s programming. I have been for a long, long time. My mother has told me that she opted to put me in afternoon kindergarten because it would have been too upsetting for me to miss Mr. Dressup every morning.

And if you don’t know Mr. Dressup stop right now and go and watch him.

There are episodes on YouTube.

We own the DVDs.

I was thrilled when my kid took a shining to Patty and Sid and Mamma Yamma - the Kids CBC team. And then last year a show started that I’m pretty sure I like as much as she does. The show that makes the whole family burst into song: The Adventures of Napkin Man.

Napkin Man is all about teaching kids how to deal with the emotions they have and adjusting the way they respond to situations.

We’ve been watching Napkin Man on TV, playing with him on the CBC website and now there are three ebooks that not only feature the same great stuff from the TV show, but my kid can use them in learning to read.

Reading Say Hello

Reading Say Hello

As soon as we finished the story in Say Hello she wanted to move on to Treasure for All. (We had already read Penguins A Go Go because penguins). I highly recommend Napkin Man in all his formats and I dare you not to break into the theme song once you fall in love with the show.

“If you’re happy, sad, scared or mad, these are all feelings I have had…”

Disclosure: I was compensated for posting about the new Napkin Man ebooks, but my opinions of them are my own. 

Made up

I like to clean the house for the New Year and one of the things I knew I had to do this year was to throw away all the makeup in my makeup bag. I’ve been  a reader of women’s magazine for years so I know that makeup should be trashed after 12 or 18 months. That meant that everything in my bag had to go because it’s all at least 4 years old.

Every once in a while I try to wear makeup but I have never really been successful. I never really learned how to put it on properly so whenever I do wear some I’m always worried that I look like a fool.

I think that’s also why I never really started wearing makeup – I didn’t want to show up at school one day looking like a clown. Basically I never really changed anything about myself during high school because I didn’t want everyone to suddenly notice that I was trying to be different.

Now I’m older and those same magazines are telling me that I should have started using eye cream at 30. I probably should have started using night cream too.

In reality it’s a good day when I remember to moisturize.

And I’m okay not wearing makeup because I’m a student and a mom. When I finish grad school and I’m networking and looking for jobs and I’m 35 then will it be time for me to get comfortable wearing makeup? Do I have to wake up early in the morning to shower and do my hair and makeup – none of which I spend much if any time on at all.

Believe it or not, not wearing makeup here

Believe it or not, not wearing makeup here

And how does a 35 year old woman learn?

So do you wear makeup? When did you start and how did you learn about it? What brands do you love?



1. First Home_JAN15_6_TW

It’s been almost three years since Joe and I bought our first home together. It was a huge decision that we made very, very quickly. We went to the open house one Sunday and had signed the mortgage by the next Sunday. It was a big risk, especially since we didn’t have a realtor and neither did the sellers, but we had a good lawyer and a good mortgage broker.

Basically we were kind of stupid and very lucky.

It would have been wonderful to have the chance to chat with experts, which is an opportunity that RBC is giving any of those of you who are looking to buy your first home and be smarter than we were.

1. First Home_JAN15_2_TW

You can submit any questions you have on Twitter using the hashtag #RBCFirstHome. The chat takes place Tuesday, January 20 between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. And participating in the chance gets you a chance to win 1 of 5 $100 gift cards.

I’ll be there to offer some of the lessons we learned during our adventure.

When she was five

There are so many specific things that I remember about that day five years ago when they finally checked me into the hospital and Joe and I knew that we wouldn’t be leaving without a baby. There are so few specific things I remember about the last five years.

I remember leaving the hospital with the car seat, just walking out and driving home and very suddenly being a mother. I remember our first day home alone together. I spent a lot of it crying after I managed to pour water all over my laptop – my only connection to the outside world.

I remember when she rolled herself over for the first time and shocked the crap out of herself, banging her head on the floor. I remember the time she was in my lap and the dog jumped up and scratched very near her eye. And the time she pulled my coffee mug off the table and I thought she would be permanently scarred until we got to the ER and she was walking around like nothing had happened.

I remember the first time she laughed and all I wanted was to hear that sound again and again.

Now I see babies and I think it’s impossible she was ever that small. I don’t remember a time when she couldn’t talk. I know she babbled almost constantly when she was awake but I don’t remember what that sounded like.

I remember that she started crawling at six months and walking at 10 but I don’t remember when she got so fast.

I remember when kindergarten seemed so far away.

I don’t remember what it feels like for her to just fall asleep on my chest. That might be the one thing I miss about her being a baby. Because 4 has been amazing and I really believe she can only get better.




Getting in order

Just before midnight

Just before midnight

This semester is going to be harder than last semester. I know this because I’m taking two fourth year courses instead of just one and I’m taking a statistics class that I’m very intimidated by. All this will be helped by the fact that my five professors appear to be awesome.

So what do I do when you know that this semester is going to be harder than the first one, and that this year will probably be one of the hardest of my life? Make it a wee bit harder.

Joe and I have talked a lot about our budget and our health, I’ve blogged about both. Getting things under control, being sick and tired of the stress.

Historically when I try to control these things part of my brain panics and I tend to do exactly the opposite of what I’m meant to be doing – I pull out my credit card, I eat more snacks that I normally would. I act like an addict. I get sneaky.

So if this year is going to be hard, then maybe it will work if I just tack on a bit more hard. But all that hard makes things easier. That’s what has to be my mantra this year – all the hard will make things easier. I can come out of this two year ready and raring to go.

2015 is getting our budget under control. 2015 is getting fitter, pushing myself a little harder.

The two go together too – because we’re working on a cash system there won’t be money there to buy the sneaky snacks that I shouldn’t be eating.

If, you know, being healthy, having more energy and having savings, less debt and less money stress isn’t enough of an incentive then Joe and I are also going to try out Gail Vaz Oxlade’s Hardest Ever to Win Contest.

I think it’s all going to be about paying more attention. It’s going to be about reminding myself and having other people remind me why I need to eat a certain way, why I need to get to the gym or get outside for a walk, why I don’t need to go shopping right now.

I’m relying on friends who have been there, done that and they seem ready and willing to help. Hopefully this will be the last time I start all over again. Ever forward.



One of the movies I really wanted to show the kid was the 1982 version of Annie that I grew up watching. I thought she’d love the singing and dancing, the happy ending.

But I also knew that there were bad people and scary parts – specifically the scene at the train tracks. In the past she’s shut down as soon as it becomes clear there are bad guys, she wants it turned off.

One afternoon at the beginning of the year Joe had gone out, the kid and I were looking for something to do and I thought this must be my opportunity.

Without telling her anything about it, I started streaming Annie to our TV. From the moment Hard Knock Life began she was totally transfixed. Honest-to-goodness transfixed. I don’t think she took her eyes off the movie until the final credits.

This is the power of Albert Finney people.

I’m going to try Hello Dolly next, maybe the Music Man. This child may just fall in love with all the movie musicals I loved as a child.

Insert evil laugh.

Disclosure: Staples Canada provided me with a Chromecast as part of their #StreamInto2015 campaign. 


They say you want a resolution

I don’t like resolutions. There’s a whole long year out there and I don’t know what’s going to happen. Last January I could never have guessed where I would be at the end of the year – waiting for grades and heading into my second semester. But there are things I need to do more of, remember to do, do better.

1) Floss

I have finally gotten through all the dental work I needed when I finally went back to the dentist after years of avoidance and no insurance. Now I must take care of my teeth.

2) Hit 5,000 steps every day

I track my steps and activity with a Fitbit, and there are days when I do pretty well, but there are other days when it’s pretty pathetic. I’m going to make a rule that if I don’t hit 5,000 steps I have to get myself on the treadmill. Also important because Joe and I have registered for the Ottawa Race Weekend 5K.


3) Read 50 books

I made it to 54 in 2014, I can do it again.

4) Do more art

I used to sketch with my Gramps, sometimes I draw with the kid, but I do miss being creative.

5) Do more jigsaw puzzles

I spent a good deal of my holiday doing jigsaw puzzles and very much enjoying it. You start out, you get your edge pieces, things start coming together and then you get into a groove or you get to a point where the thing seems truly impossible. And then you finish.

It’s not just jigsaw puzzles, I finally finished a blanket I was knitting, and now I’ve started another one. Small pleasures. I need to take advantage of more of those.

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