The world is a vampire

by , on
June 4, 2016

Tomorrow we are bound for Washington, and we’re headed there in a Ford CMAX. It’s a hybrid, which puts my mind at ease about money and environment.

I love driving this car – quiet, smooth, with extra little features like the rear camera that we don’t have on our car but I find very useful. Today I even used the navigation system to get us from gymnastics to the kid’s hair appointment in the allotted time. It also has that cool Ford sensor thing that lets you open your trunk hands free, which is genius.

If/when I head back to work in a real office or we need a second car for some other reason I am going to want a Ford hybrid. I’ve driven the Focus and now the CMAX and become a fan, despite my family’s Hyundai/Toyota history.

Actually my grandfather owned many, many cars in his life before giving up his license in his 80s. Maybe that’s where I get this love of driving.

Because I love to drive.

I have loved to drive since I got my license and first discovered the freedom of driving with the windows down and your own favourite music playing.

And thus we come to the thing I love the most about being allowed to borrow media fleet cars because I have a social media following: Sirius satellite radio. I love Sirius satellite radio. I love the Broadway station, I love 80s on 8 and 90s on 9, but today I mostly love Lithium. The Lithium station is me in high school. It’s 90s angst and blown out guitars. It’s beautiful.

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I took myself to a movie today – Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, totally inappropriate and hilarious with many cameos – and along the route there and back I heard Shine by Collective Soul, Glycerine by Bush, El Scorcho by Weezer, Where it’s at by Beck, In Bloom by Nirvana and Fell on Black Days by Soundgarden.

All those songs that I still remember the lyrics to, that I can still rock out to. I had a Soundgardern Superunknown t-shirt that I wore to pieces in high school because Black Hole Sun was awesome but The Day I Tried to Live was more awesome.

I recently referred to the early-90s as a golden age, but really the early to mid-90s is where my music lives.

I mean, I still listen to new music. Just last year I went to an Ed Sheeran concert and was totally blown away. And I love music from the 80s – the pure cheese that abounds. But the 90s, that’s where my taste in music was really born and where it’s stayed.

 

De-clutter

by , on
February 15, 2016

Life is a little bit of chaos right now. And when I say right now I mean ‘for the past several months.’

School, classes, work, kid gets sick, I get sick, Joe gets sick. I go a few days thinking it’s all going smoothly and then something crumples.

All this to say that when The Quick Maid offered to clean my house for free I jumped at the chance. Who wouldn’t? And I was happy to find that booking their services is not at all difficult. You just tell them how many rooms you have. They don’t have to come out for a consult or to see what they’re up against.

I try to keep up with everything, honestly I do, but sometimes laundry sits un-sorted for a week or two, the main floor hasn’t been properly swept since Christmas. I don’t want to talk about the basement.

I had to leave shortly after Stephanie arrived, but she seemed very pleasant and ready to get started right away. She brought all her own equipment, changed into shoes as soon as she came in, and didn’t mind the dog (who eventually left her alone).

She didn’t get to everything while she was here, but given the state of the place I can’t blame her for that. If we had more regular cleanings (Quick Maid offers scheduling for every week, every two weeks or every four weeks) the house would be pretty glow-y all the time.

Except for the kid’s room. You know how you tidy up before the cleaner comes to make sure that they only focus on the stuff that never really gets done? I gave up on the kid’s room and told her to just skip it. Someday we’ll get there.

What she did do is all the floors, all the bathrooms, the mirrors, the baseboards – do normal people dust their baseboards regularly?

When I got home the house smelled clean. The floors were shiny, the bathroom mirrors were shiny.

If you’re in Ottawa, looking to support a new local company, I’d recommend them. And their fees are about the same as other services I’ve looked at over the year.

Disclosure: The Quick Maid contacted me to offer a free cleaning to try out their services. Opinions are my own. 

She blinded me with science

by , on
October 28, 2015

My kid loves science. She loves experiments. She loves learning in general. (Though she also seems to think she already knows everything sometimes). All of this means that I am very excited to take her to Maker Faire to see what she thinks.

On November 7 and 8 a whole bunch of uber creative and imaginative people are getting together to show off and I full expect my daughter to wander around yelling “COOL” the entire time we visit.

It’s science, technology, 3D printing, art – a room full of creators who are keen to share what they know and what they love. And maybe, just maybe, their interest will spur something in my kid.

I suspect she’ll come home with a few ideas for new projects she wants to try out.

http://makerfaireottawa.com/about-maker-faire/

About the Event:

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement.  It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers.  They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2015 celebrated its tenth annual show with some 1100 makers and 145,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in four years to 600+ makers and 80,000 attendees.  Detroit, Kansas City, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Orlando, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Silver Spring, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Hannover, Oslo, Trondheim, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Newcastle (UK), Shenzhen and now Ottawa are the home of larger-scale, “featured” Maker Faires and over 120 community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced around the United States and the world.

You can find more information on the event here

Tourism in my hometown

by , on
August 15, 2015

When I first got the email from Ford about the Focus on my City campaign I was excited to drive around Ottawa and explore. Doing it all in an electric car was just a bonus.

Now I have a problem. Because I know that the Ford Focus electric would be a perfect second car for us when one of us has to commute. And it’s also really fun to drive.

REALLY fun to drive.

I decided to spend my Focus on my City day with my mom. We picked up the car and headed to Art Is In Bakery and had wonderfully buttery croissants and coffee. (Well, I had coffee. My mother, inexplicably, doesn’t drink coffee.)

We also bought some of their wonderful bread to take home.

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Then we headed over the bridge to the Gatineau side (seriously, have you really taken in that view of Parliament from the bridges? Postcard perfect).

We headed out to Le Nordik spa to spend some time in the baths. Le Nordik is a beautiful space, and getting there was a beautiful drive. But when we did get there it appeared that everyone else had thought about spending their day in the baths at Le Nordik. The parking lots were full and the line was to the door.

We debated whether we would actually be able to relax with this many people sharing the experience with us and decided to move on to stop number three.

To get there we had to drive through a bit of Gatineau Park, and I felt a lot less guilty passing all the cyclists knowing I was in an electric car…

IMG_7483If you’ve never been up to Kingsmere, it’s a beautiful place that also happens to be full of history. We had made a reservation for high tea but there was no problem with our being early.

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The traditional tea comes with a three-tiered platter of treats. The scones were so delicious (and still warm from the oven) that we bought half a dozen to take home, along with some of their jam.

There’s lots of space to explore at the Mackenzie King Estate. The fake ruins are of particular interest because that’s a really weird thing for a Prime Minister to build. Of course, walking up to the tea room there was also a picture of King with his two dogs, who he reportedly tried to communicate with through his medium, so what is weird, really?

As we wound our way back into the city I checked on our battery status – really liked the console in this car, especially since I was using the GPS and my directions were right in front of me.

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I calculated that we had enough power left to head home and give Joe, who is a fan of cars in general, and the kid a short ride.

Whenever we’ve driven other cars, Joe always misses the pick up that our VW has. When you’re getting on the highway or you have to pass someone you know you’ve got the power. I wanted to demonstrate that this little Ford Focus, even though it’s electric, has no trouble getting up to speed quickly.

And I also I wanted to drive it a bit more.

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I was sad to return this one after just one day of adventure. It was a fun little car to drive, with all the tools and extras. I didn’t have to recharge it during our trick, but the car itself can help you find the nearest charging station. Given the size and storage space it could never be our primary car, but as a second car for community and running errands I’d highly recommend it.

Disclosure: Ford allowed me to borrow a Ford Focus Electric for the day as well as providing me with some spending money for our adventure. All opinions are my own. Check out #FordFocus on Twitter to see what kinds of adventures people are having near you. 

Kidsfest 2015

by , on
April 1, 2015

My kid LOVES the Puppet Tamer. She loves puppets, she loves funny, and the Puppet Tamer is both. And so the Puppet Tamer’s appearance is one of the things I will tell her to get her excited about going to Kidsfest this year.

Also Peppa Pig, Junkyard Symphony, Splash ‘N Boots… the list goes on. It won’t take much convincing really.

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She loved it last year, she will love it this year (and it gives my husband a great way to spend some fun quality time with her while I study for my exams, which are all packed intp the week following Kidsfest).

Kidsfest is happening this year at the EY Centre (out near the airport) on April 11 and 12.

Just like every year (and this year is the 14th annual) there will be a lot of great exhibitors who will be doing giveaway, hosting activities and providing attendees with great information.

Last year the kid came home very happy with her face painted and a craft she had made. And she met a princess.

You can learn all about Kidsfest here.

You can also buy tickets here. And you can use the discount code Blogger10 to get a family pass for $30 or to save $3 on an adult ticket, or you can comment below to enter a giveaway for a family pass (2 adults and 2 children) that I will be drawing on Monday, April 6 at noon.

And you can get updates about the event by following @capitalparent on Twitter.

Disclosure: I was given passes to this event in exchange for promoting it, but all opinions here are my own. It’s a guaranteed good time. 

2015 – A better smelling home

by , on
January 26, 2015

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.

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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.

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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/.

 

He’s Here For You

by , on
January 19, 2015

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. 

#RBCFirstHome

by , on
January 16, 2015

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.

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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.

Stream into 2015

by , on
November 12, 2014

Disclosure: Staples Canada provided me with a Chromecast for the purposes of this post. 

I am a movie lover. For a long time settling in with a great movie has been my way to unwind, to stop thinking for a little while and escape into a different world.

There are movies for everything – if you feel like crying, being scared, laughing, being stupid. Everything.

When my daughter was newborn I would take the opportunity to get out of the house every Thursday to go to Stars and Strollers at the local theatre. I saw some movies that I didn’t really want to see, but that was what was playing.

I hoped that this would lead to my daughter loving movies as much as me. In fact, she does like going to the theatre, but mostly because she gets popcorn. She often tells me after the fact that she didn’t like the actual films.

She’s told me… more than once… that she doesn’t like the Muppets.

GASP

I mean, why is she trying to hurt me?

The Muppet Family Christmas is the movie that we watch while we decorate our tree. This is a tradition in our family that started before the kid was born and it certainly isn’t going to stop now no matter what she says.

And so I am on the hunt for great movies that we will both love, which is why I’m thrilled to be a part of the Staples Canada Stream Into 2015 campaign. Staples sent me a Google Chromecast and some movie snacks to share. Now I can stream my Netflix to the TV and show my daughter all the movies I think she should love.

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This month we will be settling in, watching movies and trying to bring this kid around to my way of thinking. Netflix has some great ones on offer. I can introduce her to Elf, The Grinch and the classic Frosty the Snowman. I’ve never seen Arthur Christmas, but Hugh Laurie’s voice is in it.

The kid announced when we got out first snow last week that this meant it’s almost Christmas and almost her birthday. And that means I need to grow my list of must watch movies for my 4-year-old.

Popcorn at the ready

Popcorn at the ready

We’re all set here, so please leave me comments and tell me about your family classics. In my family White Christmas and Holiday Inn are annual musts, and I love Scrooged, but that might be a little mature for the kid…

If it were just me? The Family Stone is a recent addition to my ‘holiday feelings’ movies, along with Love, Actually and Die Hard. Obviously.

You can see what other people are watching with the #StreamInto2015 hashtag.

What holiday movie were you excited to show your child for the first time?

#GameTimeCAN

by , on
October 30, 2014

I was thrilled to get an email from Mattel a couple of weeks ago, telling me about their new campaign: Anytime is Game Time. We are a gaming household. Joe and I have played trivia with a team – though we are missing this year’s World Trivia Night, the first time in years (if you’re interested, it’s a great time and funds go to charity). We have hosted game nights in the past, and attended many as well. We are a kickass Trivial Pursuit team.

We have been trying to get our daughter as much into board games as we are. We started young and we’ve been getting new games as she gets older and more interested. Uno has been a big hit, and, since it was one of my favourites when I was a kid, I’m thrilled.

We got a big box of games on our doorstep and last weekend I took some time out to take those games downstairs and declare it game time.

It came with a big button

It came with a big button

Kid loves the big button

Kid loves the big button

We started with a game I had heard about but never played before – Apples to Apples: Big Picture.

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This game was good for the kid, she had to try and explain why she chose the pictures she chose to go with the word. It was fun and a bit of an exercise.

But the biggest hit to come out of the box was Bounce Off.

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You bounce balls into a game board to try and make patterns. It’s noisy and goofy and I had fun. I know the kid did too because after I went back to working on my essay she played against Daddy and then against her Uncle who came over on Sunday. It’s definitely a hit. Probably because it’s a bit silly.

Getting down on the floor and playing a few games was a great way to get out of my office and spend some time with my kid, laughing. As we enter in to the busiest of seasons it’s something I’ll be doing again and again.

Disclosure: I was sent four games by Mattel to participate in the #GameTimeCAN promotion. 

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