Friday, 7 December 2012

Wohoo for Babywearing!

Babywearing - the act of carrying your child on your body with a piece of fabric, a sling, or any other of a myriad of carriers that exist for the purpose of keeping your child on your body, but your hands free to do whatever you need two hands to do.

Paxbaby is this really cool company/blog that I've recently discovered.  They have a wonderful array of resources, and also sell some gorgeous wraps and other things!

They've just hit 10,000 fans on Facebook and are hosting a pretty awesome giveaway!

You can enter their giveaway on the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Can I hear a cheer for home birth!!

Tonight I would like to write about something that is near and dear to me, and also bring something to your attention.

There's an awesome mama blogger over at Life With My Littles, who is expecting a baby in April, 2013.  She wants to have a home birth, and I want to see her get it!!

I firmly believe that every woman has the right to give birth to her child/ren in the environment most comfortable for them.  For some, that is a hospital, for others, a birthing center, and for still others, that means home.

I gave birth to my daughter in a pool in my bedroom, and it was the most incredible, indescribable, empowering experience I've ever had, or probably ever will have.

While there are a lot of people who think that it's unsafe, unsanitary, and/or just plain crazy (who wouldn't want drugs, right?), I think that it is one of the best and most amazing decisions you can make, as a mother!

There is loads of research on homebirthing vs. hospital birth, blah blah blah, but I really won't bore you with that now. (If you have any questions though, please comment!)  What I want to do now is talk some more about the mama I mentioned above.  There's a story behind her choice to have a home birth (you can read about it here), and due to these circumstances, this mama is holding a Facebook auction to raise money so that she can have the birth she wants.  Let's help her get it!!!

The auction runs until November 12, midnight EST, and features a variety of items, from cloth diapers to gift certificates to a Fujifilm digital camera!

Please check it out, and even if you don't want to participate in the auction, give this mama some love!

**PLEASE NOTE: I was not asked to promote this event, nor am I being reimbursed in any way.  I am doing this because I want to help a mama's dream of having a home birth come true :)**

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


There have been lots of things going on in my life, some good, some...meh....  Such is life though, right?

I've been wanting to change this blog a bit; give it a new look, a new style, a new title.  It's on my to-do list, and I've given myself a deadline, so here's hoping it happens!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Day 81 - Give a tip for new bloggers

This blog prompt is kind-of interesting, because I'm a new blogger :)

I read about different tips for starting a blog, and writing regularly, and so forth, and I joined this summer blog challenge to get into the habit of writing regularly and to meet other bloggers.

Part of me feels like I jumped off the deep end of a dock.  There is so much language that I'm not familiar with, there are computer things that I just don't know how to do (yay for Google!), and there are SO many people blogging!

I originally started my blog because I needed an outlet.  I've been so busy with my daughter (now seven months old) and so involved in her care and development, that I realized I've not been giving myself any 'grown-up' time.

In the past few months since starting my blog, I discovered that there are some things I wish I'd done differently.

- I wish I'd had a handful of topics I wanted to write about, because then I wouldn't have felt so 'guilty' for not writing anything for several days or weeks.

- I wish I'd scheduled time to write, either a little time set aside every day, or an hour or two a week.  What happens is that I'll think I've written just a couple days ago, and when I go to write again, it's been a week or two!

- I wish I'd had a more concrete idea of what I wanted to write about; whether it be a journal of our life, or summarizing research I've done, or talking about experiences, or discussing products or items I've discovered and love to use!

I don't really regret any choices I've made so far, but I know that my blog will be going through a bit of an overhaul.  I don't care if it becomes 'popular' or if it ends up like one of the really neat blogs I follow that do tons of reviews and giveaways and things.  I don't know if I'm that kind of person.

What I am is a researcher.  And an observer.  And a mum :)  I don't want to 'limit' myself to writing about certain things; I'd rather write about my life!

Number One Tip for New Bloggers?  Know what - and why - you want to write.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Day 67 - Do you have a favourite author?

It's a little sad when I feel like a few days have gone by, and then notice that the last time I blogged was before my birthday!!  *slap* BAD Hannah!

I adore reading, and adore books, and have sooo many in my collection that get read every 6 months or so.

One of my all-time favourite authors, however, has to be Robin McKinley.  I've loved her writing since I was around 13.  Have you ever read her re-telling of Beauty and the Beast?

It's simply called, "Beauty", and on my 'read every 4 to 6 months' list.  It's also on my list to read to my daughter when she gets a little older.

I have read many books by Robin McKinley, and her forté  is fairy tales and legends (like Robin Hood).  But telling them in a wholly different way, a way that lets you inside the character's mind, and into their life.

I read all kinds of genres, and in fiction, my tastes run from fantasy to mystery to a good laugh.  My hang-up is finding an author I like, whose writing style I appreciate.

While Robin's books might feel slow at the beginning and hard to get in to, it doesn't take long before you're immersed in the world that she has woven around you.

Give her a try!

And tell me, who is your favourite author?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Day 49 - If I were Prime Minister for a Day, I would...

Today's prompt was submitted by me, so I figured I should make a point of posting this one :)

The prompt, verbatim, was "If you were President or Prime Minister for a day, what law would you change?"

...and my first response is "only one??"  There's a lot I would want to change, but mostly I would want to re-evaluate the whole social assistance area.

For most of my childhood/teenage years, my family lived on a fixed income due to my father's illness.  My mom was his primary caregiver, and because of the nature of his disability/pension, if she (or any of us kids) worked outside of the home and made over x amount a month (I think it was in the neighbourhood of $200), over half of it would be garnished.  So basically she either didn't work at all or had to find a job that made enough money that we didn't need social assistance at all.  And Dad's medication cost A LOT of money.  In essence, we were screwed.

It seems that the way that social assistance is set up, once you need it and are on it, you can't get out.  When I was old enough to have a full-time job, I pretty much had to move out of my parent's house and find somewhere else to live so they didn't get penalized because I was working.

What really got our goat as well, was that we were scrutinized all the time, but knew of people on welfare who got away with (it seemed) anything.  (To clarify, we weren't on welfare, we were on disability.  But even with that there were problems.  Canada Pension Plan gives you a fixed amount, based on how long you worked (there might be other factors in place; I haven't done any current research).  ODSP (Provincial Disability) gives a top-up (kind-of) which takes into account how many kids you have, etc.  The only problem is that if CPP gives you extra money (like a winter clothing allowance for kids.  I'm pretty sure one can clothe a child for the winter on $200 (being frugal about it), but how do you clothe 5 children for the winter on $200????), ODSP says, "Oh, you're getting extra money from there, so we won't give you as much this month")

There's no way to save money to send your kids to college, try and put a down-payment on a home, get a decent (5 years old or newer) car to drive.

This issue is the main reason I got into Social Service Work.  I know that it needs to change, but I don't know how to start.  I guess the best I can do is keep researching issues, bringing them to others' attention, and go from there...

My apologies for this post turning into a bit of a rant.  This is definitely a topic that can gets me worked up, so that I have difficulty approaching it objectively.

Say that you're a leader for a day; what would you change??

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Day 43 - Photos of me; Then and Now

A Picture Post!

I couldn't find any decent photos from my kid days that I haven't already used, so here are some from the last few years...

Around 22 years old, with my favourite soundboard ever!!

During my college days, at the ripe old age of 26 :)

Our wedding day, December 2010

April, 2012.  Introducing my Sweet Pea to her Gammy's horse.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Day 42 - Talk about a favourite vacation you have taken

A Picture Post!

My most favourite vacation was probably my honeymoon :)
Long story short, having a wedding wasn't going to work, so we decided to elope, and were going to do so in Alberta, then ended up eloping in Ontario (one word: paperwork), but still had the trip booked, so we turned it into our honeymoon!

We went to a chalet in Canmore, Alberta.  It was absolutely gorgeous!!!

For the first three days, we hardly stepped foot outside of our chalet.  We both worked 50-hour weeks and it felt absolutely wonderful to sleep and take bubble baths in the jacuzzi and lounge in front of the electric fireplace!

The week we were there, they were experiencing a chinook, so we were comfortable in layers and hoodies! (And back home, there was a cold snap all week)

This is what we got to see out of our chalet window every morning...*wistful sigh*

We went to Banff National Park for a day and took a gondola up Sulphur Mountain.

My hubby doesn't like heights that much...

We walked across a part of the mountain to a weather station that was built in 1902!

The inside was set up as it had been when the station was manned, way way back in the day.
I love historical stuff like this!!

In the parking lot we came across a pretty cool vehicle; it's used for driving over glaciers and stuff.
(Size reference: I'm 5'2" in my boots)

 This could totally fit in the backyard of my triplex, right??

Went to a natural hot springs as well; it felt amazing!

I'm in love with the mountains...I definitely want to go back someday...

So how about you? Tell me about your favourite vacation!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Day 36 - What is a Holiday Tradition you have in your family?

We never were big ones for traditional things growing up, except for observing Sinterklaas (Dutch, December 6) and making taai-taai (trans. "tough-tough"; a Dutch honey cake with anise) and pepernoten (pepper nuts; a hard little cookie with a story).

The past few years we've simply tried to get together at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, which is no mean feat with five siblings, their spouses and kids, plus one or more parental units :)  We usually do Secret Santa between the siblings/spouses, so I guess that could be a tradition!

This is my Sweet Pea's first year of holidays, so we'll see what things end up becoming a tradition in our own little family.  I'm excited!

What traditions did you start when your kids were little?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Day 26 - What Does Your Significant Other Do That Makes Your Heart Melt?

Today's prompt came from Rachael at Little Britches

Hubby and I will have been together for four years, come Canada Day.  He is funny and quirky and likes to cook and clean!!  Really, could I be any luckier?

What does he do that makes my heart melt?  He buys me flowers.  For no reason.  Just because.


When we first moved to the city, I was finishing college and he was working at a bar/restaurant.  Money was tight.  Like, we fed the dog leftovers tight.  And one night he came home from work with flowers for me.  I was touched but protested that we couldn't afford luxuries like that right now, etc, etc.  Typical worried-about-money-spiel.

I don't remember exactly what he said, but it was something along the lines of, "But it makes you happy, and I want you to know that I love you."

He never got the worried-about-money-spiel again.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Day 24 - Favourite Eco-Friendly Thing To Do

Today's prompt came from Shai at The Vagabond Studio

A Picture Post!

Without a doubt, my favourite eco-friendly thing to do is cloth diaper.

I like it so much I even created a photo album on Facebook for my cloth diapers and to talk about the different brands, pros/cons, etc.

We used sposies (disposables) for the first two weeks, and then started cloth. 
(Two weeks old and in her very first cloth diaper...don't you love the smile?)

Lol, I'm weird and sort my diapers by use.  My drawer has recently had a minor makeover (due to outgrowing, selling, and buying), but everything is in the same place.  In this photo, my 'rainbow' is on the left (diapers that fit alright but not super-well; my back-ups), my main diapers are in the middle, and my night-time diapers are on the right.  Night-times (at the time) were the ones with the highest contrast between snap colour and PUL colour. Now my night-times include bamboo pockets and wool covers.

I recently ordered my first WAHM diaper and was pretty excited to try it out.  Sweet Pea was excited too :)

Really, how cute is this little bum?

One of the things I'm most proud of is that we took cloth with us on Easter Weekend to hubby's dad's house. It was an awesome conversation starter and I loved putting cloth on my girl instead of doing disposables and filling the garbage.

 I haven't taken pictures of my washing and drying, but that will pop up in another post, I'm sure :)

What's your favourite eco-friendly thing to do?

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Day 23 - Favourite Blog Post You've Written Before This Challenge

Today's prompt came from Alecia at Chicken Scratch NY

I haven't written many posts on this blog before the challenge, and I've actually already used one of those (mmm, banana bread).  Around 7 years ago I had a blog for a while, and there's one post from it that, to this day, I remember and have a chuckle over.


"Bye-bye" Letters

I needed some help with telling a guy that I really wasn't interested in him, and that he was kind-of freaking me out with calling me and emailing me all the time, so a friend of mine (my mom, actually) came up with some options for me to choose from.  She started the creative ball rolling, and one of my brothers started contributing, and I came up with a couple as well.
(*not his real name)

Thank you for your email and invite, but I feel God is focusing my attention in another direction...

Please BUG OFF.

Please take a long walk off a short dock.

You are freaking me out.  Go away.

Some people are suggesting to me that you are a stalker.  Go find someone else to chase.

You are a freak.  Good-bye.

Your good friend warned me never to go out with you.  If they know you and say that, well, I would be nuts to go anywhere near you.

My bodyguard is big and tough.  He will find you and punch your lights out if you ever contact me again.

I feel like puking every time I think of you.  Do you think this is a sign?  I do.

I am sure you are a really nice guy, but you are making me think you are someone dangerous.  Do not contact me again.  Thanks and have a nice day.

I am thrilled that the love of my life has moved back to my area.  So, I have no time for you.  Goodbye.

Go away.

Get lost.  Thanks.  Have a nice life.

Hope this doesn't seem rude - LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!  Thanks.

If you are having trouble telling someone to give you space, feel free to use any of these 'bye-bye letters' :)

Friday, 22 June 2012

Day 22 - What Did You Want to Be When You Grew Up?

For our Summer Blog Challenge, Kassie over at Going Green with the Grizls asked us, the Blog Hop Participants, if we had any ideas or topics for blog posts.

This one was my idea :)

....And now I'm trying to figure out what my answer to the question is...

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a mom.  Then I wanted to be a ballerina.  Then I wanted to be a mom.  Then I wanted to be an architect (until I found out how much advanced math I'd have to know.  No, thank you!).  Then I wanted to be an archaeologist or a paleontologist.  Then a marine biologist.  Then a farmer.  A mom.  A nurse.  A school teacher (ironic, seeing as I was home-educated).  A mom.  A writer.  A film-maker.  A sound engineer.  A social-service worker.  A mom.

I waffled everywhere.  At the back of my mind I always knew I wanted to be a mom.  When I was a kid I even had an imaginary family for several years; husband and five kids.  I still remember all their names :)  But when I got into my teens I thought that I had to be something besides a mom.  I thought I had to be 'something', and have my family on the side.  So I decided I wanted to have an interesting job.  Hands-on.  Creative.  Information-seeking.

I didn't go to college right after high-school.  I tried my hand at various 'careers' and in various industries, and, while I fell in love with some of the jobs I had (I still drool over professional audio equipment...), I felt like I hadn't yet come across my 'true calling'.

Then I met my husband.  Then we got married.  Then I had a baby.

And I've found my true calling.

I'm a mom.

While I might work outside the home to receive a paycheque, it will only ever be a job.  My career is and will be my kids, and I'm proud of that :)

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  If you want to hop to another blog to see what others have to say, click here.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Day 21 - Most Recent Words of Wisdom You Heard that Stuck With You

I haven't heard any Words of Wisdom recently, per se, but I did read some :)  I popped on Facebook this morning and saw this:

I believe in giving credit, unfortunately I can't remember who posted it, so, if you did, thank you!

This was meaningful to me, because I've come to realize that having a 5-month-old (and a busy, cuddly one at that) is rather time-consuming, not that I mind in the least :)  Sometimes other things (like blog posts and sweeping the floor) get away from me.  Instead of feeling guilty that I haven't cleaned the house every day or done what I would have expected myself pre-child to do, I just try to remember to do at least one thing every day.

And sometimes I need reminding...

What words of wisdom have you read recently??

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Day 20 - Photo of You as a Young Child

Today's challenge is fun :)  I didn't find the photo I'd originally wanted to use, so here's one of me and all of my siblings.

I'm the one holding the baby :)  This was taken when I was 9 1/2, around a month after my youngest brother was born.

Day 19 - Something You're Proud of From the Last Few Days

Well it probably doesn't sound like much, but I'm proud that I've been able to keep my house as clean as I have this past week.

Especially with the heat and humidity and having a baby who (I've discovered) really, really doesn't like either.

I still am amazed at how days can just get away from me sometimes...some days it feels like I wake up, have a cup of coffee, play with baby for a couple hours, put her down for a nap, and suddenly it's the evening and hubby's coming home.  And then I realize I've done no housework to speak of...ugh.

This week I've managed to sweep almost every day, put dishes straight into the dishwasher instead of the sink, and do laundry roughly every other day (we share laundry so I do a load of our clothes before a load of diapers, just in case someone else has done their laundry and used fabric softener).  Yay me!

SO, what are you proud of?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Day 18 - A Recipe You Love

I've been a bit behind on my daily postings, and have been trying to do my catch-up in order (I'm weird like that...).  As you can see, I gave up...I'll do the other posts when I get a chance.

This post is easy....One of my first blog posts was a recipe I've worked on and (I believe) finally perfected!

Here it is!

The (In My Opinion) Best Banana Bread Ever!!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Day 13 - How You See Yourself by the End of the Year

The first word I thought of when I saw this topic was:


And in shape.

And I'd love to have a WAHM business or a small business of some kind...

And possibly (hopefully) pregnant.

Well, we'll see about the last one...:D

Day 12 - Worst Injury and How It Happened

Ah, time for another story :)

I think we'll title this one, "Doing What You Love Can Hurt" or "If You Wash Dishes You Could Lose a Hand! (not that I did, I'm using poetic license)"

I was in my late teens.  My best friend's family and my family would get together after church almost every Sunday.  Lots of times we had other people join us.  We would have a big dinner together, and my best friend and I would always chat and do the dishes while the adults drank coffee/tea and the kids went off to play.  Later in the afternoon a bunch of us would go for a walk in the woods.

On this particular Sunday, there were around 14 people there.  R (best friend) and I did our usual routine, clearing off the table, me washing, he drying.  Enjoying hanging out and talking about anything and everything.  Nowadays I realize that a teenager doing dishes voluntarily is probably news-worthy, but I was used to helping take care of a household, and I loved washing dishes and gazing out of the window.  When people commented, I replied that washing dishes was my therapy.

So anyway, there I am, washing plates and cutlery and glasses.  I have super-small hands, so I'd always stick  my hand and the washcloth in the glass, because that was the easiest way for me to wash them.  So there I am, talking away, sticking my hand in glass after glass.

And then as soon as I stuck my hand in one and started swishing around the dishcloth, the glass broke.  A huge chunk off the side, and before I could stop my hand, the thick, broken edge caught the knuckles on my left thumb and forefinger.  It took a second for R and I to clue in what had happened, and for the blood to start flowing.  Then I clamped the sopping wet washcloth over my hand, and R and I argued what to do.  I wanted to tell my mom, but there were so many people in the other room and even though I knew all of them, I was really shy.

Finally, I poked my head into the dining room and said, "Mom, could you come here?"

As soon as she saw it, she shrieked, "OMIGOSH!!!" (my mother doesn't swear) and then shrieked for other people to come in.  Next thing I know I'm sitting on a chair in front of the sink and someone's patting my shoulder and the retired-police-officer-guy was examining my hand and R's mom was running around getting first aid stuff...

All in all, it didn't end up being too bad.  The wounds probably could have used stitches, but I didn't go to the hospital to get any.  We kept my hand bandaged for a week or so, graduating from gauze and tape to huge knuckle bandages to smaller, simple bandages.

I wore rubber gloves to wash dishes and didn't stick my hand in any glasses.  :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Day 11 - Best Day of Your Life

I've had a lot of Best Days.  I've had a lot of Worst Days too, but this post is about Best Days.  Or rather, THE Best Day.

I have four that vy for the top spot, but the one I want to tell you today is The Day My Husband Proposed.

First, a bit of background.  Hubby (aka M) and I met on Canada Day 2008 and moved in together 5 months later.  We knew we wanted children and we knew we wanted to get married, but we weren't in a huge hurry.  (My 'deadline' was that I at least wanted to be pregnant with our first baby by the time I turned 30).  Okay, enough background.

Two years ago, hubby and I were working in shops down the street from each other.  I dealt in produce, he was driving for a butcher shop.  We were planning our summer vacation; four blissful days at his mom's-side-of-the-family cottage in (kind-of) Northern Ontario.  No cell phone service, no internet, no hot water even!  I couldn't wait...  I, being quite organized (but don't look at my house, okay?), had been packing and getting ready to go for several days.  M and I had a system; I would pack our stuff, and he would pack the car.  It worked pretty well. 

Okay, back to the story.  So M had slowly been getting more and more stressed as the week leading up to our vacation progressed.  Finally 6pm on Saturday arrived, we whipped home on our bikes, threw the last bit of stuff into the car, and hightailed it out of Dodge.  5 hours later, we got to the cottage.  M's mom had arrived a couple hours prior, so she was there to help us haul everything in, and then we all went to bed, exhausted.

I woke up around 6am.  To this...

I have a thing for foggy mornings....

It was one of the most beautiful 6ams I can remember.  And what a way to start a vacation!!  I woke up M and we went for a canoe ride.  We were the only beings stirring; it felt like we were the only living things in the world!  Then we were joined by a pair of loons, who came over to check us out, and came within 6 feet of our canoe!  I thought, it can't get any better than this...

After we got back, we had breakfast with Mom and then proceeded with our vacation.  For me, that meant swimming, coolers, watermelon, reading, repeat.  And I thought, it can't get any better than this...

After lunchtime, I noticed M putting stuff in the motorboat (read: rowboat with a motor on the back) and asked him what he was doing.  He said, "Nothing", so I went back to my book and coolers. 
A while later, he said, "Come on, let's go".
"Go where?"
"To the island"
"Because we're camping there tonight."
"We don't have a tent"
"Yes we do."
"Where the heck did we get a tent?"
"From your mom"
I put my book down.  I remembered a couple weeks ago my Mom had come for a visit and brought the tent.  I asked why at the time, and she said that we'd mentioned we might like to go camping this summer and they weren't using it, so we might as well keep it at our place.  "We didn't bring it."
"Yes, we did.  I put it in the car when I was packing up."
I figured, it's vacation, why not, it'd be fun to camp on the island overnight.

So we went to Blueberry Island.
It's the further one.

We set up our tent and M started a fire and was puttering around.  And I thought, it can't get any better than this....

Mom had given us a woven picnic basket, and I love picnic baskets, so I opened it to poke through and look at everything (yes, I'm weird).  I said, "Oh look, honey, your mom put a bottle of wine in here!"
He ran up to me and practically grabbed it out of my hands. "Whatareyoudoing?Don'tlookinthere!!!!"
"I was just gonna look at it and set out the stuff for supper."
Okay, fine...I got out my book.
He got out some marinated duck kabobs. And corn on the cob.
When they had been cooking for a little bit, he brought the cooler and the basket over.  He gave it to me and said, now you can get everything out.  So I put it on the ground to use the top of the cooler as a table, and he went on one knee beside the cooler, and started handing me things out of the basket. 
"We'll need these" as he handed me plates and cutlery
"We'll need these" as he handed me the salt and pepper
"And we'll need these" as he handed me a handful of sugar packets and creamer substitute.
I said, "I don't think we need these for supper, honey"

"Well I think we'll need this..."
And he handed me a ring box.

And I started laughing-crying, and he said, "Will you marry me?"
And of course I laughed and said, "Yes"
And he said, "Put it on!"
...and it was too big for my finger!
And he said, "S**t"

And somewhere in there, I thought, it can't get any better than this :)

After a bit more laughing/crying/kissing, we ate dinner, and then went back to the cottage to tell his Mom and to phone mine.

Which is when I found out that everyone, EVERYONE! knew about the proposal.  Even the mailman!!!

M had ordered the ring and it was going to be delivered to his store and the entire week before vacation they were waiting and waiting for the ring to come (and M was getting more and more stressed), and finally on Friday morning they decided that if it didn't come, M and a couple others would leave the store on Saturday and go ring-shopping, because he was proposing while we were on vacation, and he had to have a ring, dammit.  Friday afternoon, the ring arrived.

Another bit of the story: when we got back, the mailman came into my store to deliver the mail, and was looking at my hand.  I laughed when I realized what he was looking for, and said that it was too big and we had to send it back to get resized.  When it came back to us, he went into M's store and they signed for it, but then he said that he'd deliver it to me :)  So he brought it into my store and then waited to make sure it fit!

And that's one of my Best Days Ever.  I hope you enjoyed reading!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Day 10 - Famous Art anyone?

Cost aside, what is a famous art piece you would have in your home?

I was laying in bed thinking of all the famous art I love.  Or rather, trying to think of all the famous art I love.  The only one that would come to mind was this:

It's called Kohler's Pig by Michael Sowa.

I first came across it around 10 years ago, in a catalogue of wonderful, more traditional artwork (I worked in a  classy gift shop at the time).  It popped off the page and made me laugh, and I still smile every time I think of it :)

What works of art make you smile?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Day 9 - Worst Cooking Disaster

My first thoughts when reading this topic were "Oh"  and then I remembered when I first started making bread.

I love homemade bread; the smell is incredible, kneading it is great physiotherapy for my wrists, it's a project that's incredibly rewarding, and there's nothing like biting into the heel of a loaf, so hot you have to hold it with a teatowel and the butter melts faster than you can spread it. 

I started making bread when I was around 11.  My dad used to bake bread when I was a kid (younger than 11) and then I decided that I wanted to give it a try.  The first few times it turned out alright, and then one time the yeast didn't seem to activate as well.  I figured it was nothing major, and kept going.  By the time they were done baking I had 4 loaf-shaped bricks.

That's it, end of story.  Except to say that we actually did saw into a loaf and try it out.  And then they went to live in the compost pile.

Since then I've hugely refined my bread-baking, have some excellent and delicious recipes in my book, and know how to troubleshoot.

By the way, if you want a really good 'tutorial' on bread baking and the whats and whys, check out a book called Back to Basics (published by Reader's Digest). 

Day 8 - My favourite guilty pleasure

I have a couple guilty pleasures (mmm, beer) but the one I want to talk about today is buying fluff, especially because I scored a super-good deal the other day.

Hi my name is Hannah and I like buying fluff; used or new.  And finding good deals while I'm at it. 

Like 9 wool covers for $45.

I know, eh?!?  I'm so excited :)  My girl's become a very heavy wetter.  Last week a bamboo diaper would last her the whole night (11pm to 7am-ish).  This week I used the same bamboo diaper plus two other diapers in the same time period.  Oy vey!  I've been reading about wool and how nice it is to use and breathable and how wonderful it is for overnight because it's so much more absorbent, etc, etc.  So I thought I'll keep my eyes open and if I see a couple covers I'll buy them and try them out.  (Until now we've just used pockets or AI2s)  Then I saw the ad on Kijiji.  Much too good of a deal to pass up!  To make it even better, the lady threw in a bottle of lanolin 2/3 full and a bottle of wool washing soap 3/4 full!!  And then gave me 6 Motherease one-size fitteds for $20!!  I'm a happy mum :D  (For those who aren't familiar with wool covers, the ones I bought range from $23 - $35CAD EACH brand new!)

I put one on girlie this morning to try it out :) (This is the 9th cover that wasn't in the picture up top)

This is my first venture with wool; I'm excited to see how it turns out!!  Has anyone else used wool? Do you have any tips, tricks, pointers?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Blog Challenge - Day 7

A Picture of Something That Makes You Happy

This is something I see every night while my Sweet Pea nurses before bed, and I never get tired of those cute little elf ears and soulful changeling eyes...

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Blog Challenge - Day 6

Nicknames You Have and Why You Have Them

I've had a couple of nicknames over the years, but none of them have really stuck.

There was always Hannah Banana (insert eyeroll here), which I heard WAY too much for my liking :P

I don't know how well this will come off in writing, but when I was a kid my mom would call me Hannikah (as in, Hannah can ya do this, Hannah can ya do that...)

When I went to visit some adopted family in New Jersey a few years ago, my cousin called me Banana the whole time, and still calls me that when I talk to him :)  (Don't know why I prefer Banana to Hannah Banana, but I do...I'm just weird I guess...)

When hubby and I were first dating, my sister would call us the Giant and the Midget (He's over 6'1", I'm 5'1")

I worked at a small produce shop for a while, and one of the guys there would call me Hannabee, (short for Hannah Banana again...), or simply, B, and I really liked that as well :)

Rather mundane, but still cute!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Blog Challenge - Day 5

I'm loving the topics that Kassie from Going Green with the Grizls is coming up with.  Here's today's blog topic!

Short-term Goals for This Month and Why

Lose the last 5 pounds of baby weight
 - It's been 5 months since baby girl's been born, and I want to fit into my summer clothes!!

Go running at least twice a week
 - I want to get fit for summer, I miss running, and it gets me outdoors and enjoying my city.  Hey, I might as well take advantage of all the bike paths around here!

Get rid of at least 2 garbage bags worth of stuff
 - Over the years we've accumulated an incredible variety of things, and I feel like my house is starting to get very cluttered.  When W came along, we got a masive amount of baby paerphanalia from a bunch of different sources, and I'm finding that some things weren't necessary (like the baby bath; she's been showering with me since about a month old), so why keep them?

Do my taxes
- Yes, I'm behind, and no, I didn't do any small business stuff last year, so I can't claim the June 15 deadline.  Plus, I don't get my baby bonus or GST rebates until I file, and they'd both come in handy right about now...

Read some books
- I used to inhale books.  Seriously.  I'd read an average of 4 books a week.  Since I've gotten busy with a baby, I've read about 10 in five months.  *sigh*  I want to read because I miss it, and also because what you read affects how you write, and if I want to write better, I have to read some good books.  Any suggestions?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Blog Challenge - Day 4

The Meaning Behind Your Blog Name

I wrote a bit about the meaning behind my blog name in my first post, but I'll take this opportunity to expand a bit...

In all of my research regarding pregnancy, parenting, etc., I came to really appreciate what some people had to say about the care of newborns and young babies.  Those I respected and identified with most were very common-sense and go-with-your-instincts oriented, because that's the way I am, and that's the way I was taught.  As the oldest of 5 kids, I was used to being around babies and toddlers, and then when I got old enough to babysit, I was always caring for kids of all ages.  I realized that what worked for some kids totally did not work for others.  

When my daughter was born, I quickly found her likes: being upright, being held, music, bouncing, water, physical contact.  She can feel a wet diaper before I can (well, she is wearing it...) and will squawk for a change if I'm not quick enough on the draw.  She also knows when she needs to eat, and will respond to my sign for 'milk' and lunge at my breast :)  She knows when she needs to sleep, and will rub her eyes and, when I pick her up, either rest her head on my shoulder or nestle into my chest.  She knows that the place she sleeps best is beside mummy on most nights.  Recently in the early mornings, she will squirm and wiggle until I move away from her, and then she will drift into a deep sleep again.  In time, I trust that she will know the best time for her to wean, when she wants to sleep in her own room, when she wants to learn to read (if she doesn't teach herself, like I did), and when she wants to exercise her independence.

I fully understand that many parents will not agree with me, but this is what works for us, and I am quite comfortable following my daughter's leads. While she has very specific needs (Miss Social Butterfly and Miss Cuddlebug), I fully expect any other children I have the privilege of raising to have their own needs, which will require me to adapt my parenting style for them.

One person, whom I respect quite a lot, said that before six months, a baby's wants are a baby's needs.  Being a first-time mom, that statement kept me going many times when I was just so tired and frustrated with my child who needed constant physical contact.  Then I took a moment, and realized that I'm the same way.  Ever since I've been a child/teenager, any time I was insecure or unsure of something, I would seek out physical contact.  Cuddling with my baby brothers, putting my head in my mother's lap.

My daughter cannot talk.  She cannot tell me how she is feeling, or what is bothering her.  If she puts her arms out to me, who am I to resist the most basic needs of a person?  To be acknowledged, to be held, to be loved.

I go with the flow.  Some days she's happy playing by herself (and I get a lot of housework/paperwork done), and some days I have a velcro baby.  But that's okay.  Right now, my Sweet Pea knows what she needs better than I.

There you go!  An epistle behind my blog name :)  Was it what you expected?

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Blog Challenge - Day 3

15 Interesting Facts About Yourself

I have to say, this blog challenge topic was the most daunting am I supposed to come up with 15 interesting facts about myself??  Five or six, I can do after a bit of thinking, but fifteen?!?  The answer: ask your family members :D

1)  I was home-educated from kindergarten to graduation  (I live in Ontario, and I'm old enough that that meant Grade 13)

2)  Right after I graduated, I moved to West Africa for a year; no small feat for a homebody such as I!  I worked at a boarding school for Missionary Kids, and kids of diplomats.  I came home with an international accent and the ability to tan darkly in as little as 20 minutes!

3)  I've played the harp off-and-on for 16 years.

4)  I once fainted in a tree (Long story here; maybe I'll post it sometime...)

5)  I have enough books to rival small libraries

6)  Hubby and I eloped on a little homestead in the middle of nowhere, Ontario.  My sister and her partner were our witnesses, and all they knew was that we were going on a drive to visit some friends.  Our little ceremony was in the woods, as the sun was setting, and as the snow just started falling....totally awesome!!  I'll have to tell that story sometime too :)

7)  Our little girl was born at home, in the water.  We aren't from homebirth families, but I hate hospitals and after doing some research (to present to hubby; he was leery of it...), I figured that it was the best option for me, and it was an absolutely awesome experience!!  Any more kids we have will definitely be born at home (unless there are complications).

8)  The most interesting meats I've eaten are Green Mamba (poisonous snake in West Africa) and Canada Goose (in a Cree community on the James Bay)

9)  My favourite job was installing sound systems in churches and being an audio engineer...I'm also a techie at heart :)

10)  Among other audio jobs, I've run sound and lighting for a community theatre performance on short notice...I got the script on Sunday, had tech on Monday, dress rehearsal on Tuesday, and then successfully teched 7 performances from Wednesday to Saturday!  And I was also working at the time! (The following year I asked for the script a few weeks in advance :) )

11)  I know how to make and use puppets.  My sister and I actually made a bunch that went to a Cree Community!

12)  (I don't find this one interesting, but my family does) A couple years before I moved out of my parents' house, I slept on the living room couch for a year - by choice.  (I shared a bed with my sister (who is a kicker and a bed/covers hog), so I moved to the couch in the summer because it was more comfortable, and a couple months ended up turning into a year!)

13)  Much to the annoyance of my family, I would rather park my car so I don't have to reverse to get out (e.g. pull through 2 parking spaces at a mall far away from the door), than park close to my destination.

14)  When I was a kid, we had a super-windy day and two of my siblings and I rigged our wagon with a sail and spent the afternoon 'sailing' down our long driveway.  Lol, and I even found a photo :)

15)  Oh, and I'm the oldest of 5 kids :D

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Blog Challenge - Day 2

Post a Picture of Yourself Smiling

I spent the past few days with my mom and her partner, at a little slice of Canadian paradise.  Part of it was to get out of the city, part of it was because Sweet Pea's started teething and I needed another couple pairs of arms, and part of it was to enjoy nature.  Oh, and maybe draft up some blog posts :)

I have hardly any photos of just me, so here's my little girl and me, at our rustic hideaway in the woods.

Friday, 1 June 2012

Blogging Challenge! Day 1

Going Green with the Grizls

I have embarked on a rather ambitious journey (well, I think it's ambitious), and have joined a Summer Blog Challenge.  To read up on the finer points of the challenge, click on the cool picture/button.  And to check out the other blogs in the Challenge, click on my "Summer Blog Challenge" tab.

The challenge is to write/publish one blog post every day from June 1 to August 31.  Ack!  Can I do it?  I hope so!

So, the first post topic:  Why are you doing this challenge?

I categorize myself as a researcher.  It's not my job (yet) but I'd say that it's what I am, at heart.  My parents taught me to love reading, and to question.  Not in a bad way, more in a "Why (as in, give me a good reason) should I believe/do/learn this?"  And yes, it did bite them back a few times (Just ask my mom about the advanced geometry and pre-calculus days...)

Whenever I have a question about something or want to know something, I research it.  I've gotten pretty good at finding information, and it's even served me pretty well in some of the jobs I've had.  (Presentation on what? In two days? No problem!)

When I got pregnant, it was only natural for me to research pregnancy, birthing options, cloth diapering, parenting styles, breastfeeding, etc, etc, etc.  Needless to say, I found a TON of information, and still discover new things every day.  I love it!  I've had a couple friends who've gotten pregnant after me, and it was so wonderful to be able to answer their questions and give them lots of sources and resources.  (I'm also a teacher at heart).

Usually I can retain vast quantities of information in my head, and recall whatever I need.  Since my little Sweet Pea's been born, forget it.  Hence my blog.  A place for me to talk about my research, about things I've learned, about products I've found useful (or not), about places to find good information, about my own experiences, plus anything else that strikes my fancy :)

In a nutshell, I'm doing the challenge to get back into writing regularly.  Because, as much as I love my little girl, I need something 'grown-up' that I can do to regain some energy.  Because I love writing, learning, researching, and teaching :D

Here's to the next 90 days!

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Intro to my cloth diaper love

I love my cloth diapers.  I remember, when researching the different styles and brands and numerous accessories, so many moms would have comments like, "They're so addictive!" and "I want/need/have to get one of every colour" and "My partner says I'm not allowed to buy any more."

I have become one of these moms.  I love my cloth diapers.  I love putting my baby in cloth diapers.  I love washing and hanging and stuffing my cloth diapers.  I can't wait until I'm pregnant again so I can buy newborn cloth diapers!

I did a lot of reading and researching before choosing which styles and brands I wanted to invest in, and was easily overwhelmed.  First of all, if I'm making an investment, I want it to be a good one.  Second, shelling out anywhere between $200 to $600 (depending on brand, quantity, etc) plus accessories (laundry soap, cloth-diaper-safe cream, doublers, wetbags, diaper pail, etc) can seem like a lot, but if I think of the other option, spending $20 to $30 every two to four weeks on disposables, plus accessories, and then after it's used (once), going into a landfill, I'd rather take my $400 investment and see it go through 3 or 4 kids (or more...:P)  Please note, these are my thoughts and opinions.

I had wanted to get into the reasons why I decided to cloth diaper, but my little girl just woke up, so I'll just have to save that for another blog post!

The past few weeks, I've been working on 'reviews' for all of the brands of cloth diapers that I currently own.  This is a purely independent project, mostly because I want to practice my writing again (it's been way too long...), but also because I'd like to have a place to keep my notes on the different brands I've tried, pros and cons, etc.  That way, when I'm talking to people who are thinking about taking the plunge into cloth diapering, I have a starting place for them :)

I'm also hoping, in the days and weeks to come, to write up my thoughts, opinions, and findings, regarding my cloth diaper experiences and research.  Most of my decisions regarding my cloth diapers were because I read reviews by moms and others who used them, and so I'd like to return the favour!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Best Banana Bread Ever!

I like Banana Bread.  Like I really like it. I found a recipe in one of my mom's old cookbooks that turned out to be just amazing, but I still felt like it could be tweaked a bit.  (I'm a tweaker; it's what I do....)

My stipulations for the ideal banana bread are the following:
  - It has to be moist
  - It has to have a great banana-y flavour
  - Chocolate chips are a must!! (unless I'm baking for my brother, who's allergic to chocolate)

After over a year of tweaking, I think I've finally come up with the best Banana Bread recipe ever!

And just to make you drool, here's a picture :)

(I'm learning how to take pictures of food, so the photo totally does not do it justice...)

Ok, so the good's the recipe!!  (This makes 3 loaves...we go through one loaf in no time, and hubby likes to take baking to work :) )

4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
6 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/4 cup (ish) of ground flax seed

5 cups mashed bananas (I 'coarsely' mash them, so I have chunks of banana in the bread)
1 cup applesauce
1 cup molasses
2 mashed bananas (instead of eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla
chocolate chips (amount to be determined by baker)
dried cranberries (ditto)

Put the flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Put all of the other dry ingredients into a cup or bowl and mash out any lumps.  Mix all dry ingredients together.  Add bananas, and mix.  Add rest of ingredients.  Mix thoroughly and divide evenly into 3 greased loaf pans.  Cook at 350F for 60 - 70 minutes.  Cut into it when you can't wait a moment longer :)

A couple notes: As with any recipe, this is a guideline and can be tweaked according to the baker's taste.  I discovered that adding the cinnamon and cocoa really round out the flavour and give it amazing depth.  The flax seed gives it just a hint of nutty taste, plus it's also good for you (that's always a bonus, right?).

Try it, try it!!!

Friday, 11 May 2012


So today's been one of those days.  As I type the period, a cry wafts down the hall as if on cue. My darling girl has slept a grand total of half an hour; not nearly long enough for her first morning we go...

4 1/2 hours later: So yes, today's been one of those days. *type the period, wait for the cry...okay we're good*  This morning, I laid down with my little sapling to try and get her to sleep.  After all, I have things to do!  Reviews to write, a house to tidy, laundry to fold and put away, food to eat, a coffee to make.   She'd been up well over 2 hours and hadn't had a nap yet.  She was having a clingy day and I was starting to get very tired...  Unfortunately (or fortunately?), she can always tell when I just want her to go to sleep, and seems to be more determined to stay awake.   Sometimes I feel bad, but she isn't a newborn anymore; she's almost four months old!  Wait a minute, she's still a newborn.  Her wants are her needs, and that is the way it is until she starts gaining her independence by sitting up on her own, moving about on her own, learning to eat foods other than Mummy's milk.

As I lay beside her, she nursed and wriggled and waved her little hands.  I looked at my cell phone, pulled up a Solitaire game to play while she nursed, counting the minutes until she would fall asleep and I could get on with my day and be productive.  I could feel her staring at me as she ate, while I stared at an object.  She kept wriggling, and then finally, thrust her arm up to grab at my collarbone, where she held on tight.   Have you ever had someone grab your collarbone?  It gets your attention in a hurry.  I looked at her, and she looked back at me, and slowed down her wriggling.   I kept looking at her, put down my phone, and put my arm around her instead.  Her breathing slowed down, and she relaxed beside me, all the while gazing at me with those bright blue bottomless pools.  A few minutes later, she was fast asleep.

What does my child want?  To be held.  To be acknowledged.  As she nurses, she wants/needs to be nursed as well.  As in nourished.  As in cuddled, held, loved, comforted.  And here I am thinking she needs to sleep so I can get on with my life.  She IS my life!  I've been given the incredible, astonishing blessing and task of raising a child, and instead of relishing this opportunity to hold her and provide her with the physical contact and undivided attention she needs, I play Solitaire.

As I wrap up this post, my little sapling wakes up, and I hear a single cry; she wants to know where her Mummy is, or if she is alone in her Universe.  She is not alone.  I pick her up, and she rests herself against me, resting her head on my shoulder and holding a handful of my shirt tightly in her fist.  She is content just to be in contact with me, and relaxes as I type.  I look around my house.  Not as clean as it could be, but you know what, I still accomplished something.  I played with my little girl.  I talked to her and she talked to me.  I made a coffee and showed her how to do it.  We did some exercises.  She practiced eating from a spoon.  We went for a walk and looked at the leaves and flowers and sunlight and she fell asleep on my chest.

I think it ended up being a good day after all :)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Getting Started

So I've been wanting to start a blog for a while myself a place to write again.

First of all, my identity.  I'm a wife and mother, a sound technician with a love for community theatre, a bookworm, a musician, an aunt, sister, daughter, friend.

My interests span hundreds of subjects, with my current chief interests being attachment parenting, babies and sign language, babywearing, bed-sharing and co-sleeping, breastfeeding, cloth diapers, making baby food, organizing, and doing further research into natural family planning, pregnancy, birth, and raising children.

In all the research I have done to date, in all of my experiences with kids of all ages, and in my own 4 months of parenting experiences, I have come to believe a truth; that my daughter knows what is best for her :)  She knows when she needs to eat, when she needs to have a nap, to have a cuddle.  She knows that the place she sleeps best is beside her mummy on most nights, and by herself sometimes.  In time I trust that she will know when she wants to wean, to have her own bed in her own room, to begin formal education, and to exercise her independence.

I fully understand that not every parent will agree with me, but I also believe that every child requires a different style of parenting, and while my firstborn has certain and specific needs (Miss Social Butterfly and Miss Cuddle Bug), I believe that my other children will have their own needs, which will require me to adapt my parenting to be able to fill their needs.  I definitely believe that baby knows best :)