Category Archives: Thoughts

A Worm Farm!

Some of my favourite memories as a child involved playing in the mud. Squishing it between my toes, making mud pies, or digging in it. I absolutely loved it.

This weekend while I started some pretty massive yard work, part of which involved moving some bricks that had been separating my garden area from my yard. It was hot, and the work was harder than my lazy self thought it was going to be. I pulled up one brick and noticed the fat end of a worm working his way down to dirt.

That was the end of the yard work. I suddenly had a flash back to a daycare idea I had Рcreating a Worm Farm. A way for kids to study what it is that worms do and how they do it.  I spent the next few hours with Ibrahim digging in the dirt in search of worms.

Fast forward to this morning where I had everything I needed to set up this little experiment.

We started off by putting a layer of rocks in the bottom of a clear vase. The rocks are supposed to help with air circulation…or something like that. I don’t know…I just put them there.

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Next, I put alternate layers of dirt and sand – this is so that (eventually) the kids will be able to see how the worms mix the soil up.

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We topped it off with some finely chopped banana peel (worms need to eat you know!) and our worms.

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After we checked it out and made a few observations, we covered it in black construction paper. Why? Because worms generally don’t like the light and would burrow into the center of the vase and now let us see what they’re doing! By covering the vase, they will (hopefully) stay closer to the edges and we can study their movements over the next few days/weeks. ūüôā

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Zombies? Yes please!

In today’s Monday Moves post I’m sharing my new fitness motivation…Zombies!

Now – this combines 2 things that I love. First running – in this case, from zombies (though you can certainly do this walking…I actually went out for a walk with Adam last week using this app and I’m happy to report the both of us survived!) The second thing is RPG. Yes…it’s a health driven Role Playing Game. And it’s¬†so awesome!!

The app is called Zombies, Run!¬†and it’s basically like listening to an audio story. It starts out with a helicopter crash…you are the lone survivor and you have to run (or walk) to safety. You’ve got a radio and there’s someone guiding you … warning you of nearby zombies…asking you to pick up medical supplies…telling you how close you are to their safe base. As you walk or run (in real life) you are notified in your ear piece that you’ve found items. On my first run, I found axes, baseball bats, first aid kits, water, a CDC box, trousers and a package of underwear. (lol!!) These items are stored in your app – and then when you get home from your run (or walk…or bike ride, whatever, you get the idea!) you go to your app and then you play your game! You trade your items, build your township, boost morale, etc. It’s almost like a Farmville type of game.

One of the cool features is the ability to turn on zombie chases. Now…I thought “whatever, you’re going to have zombies growling in your ears, lame.”

It’s not. You hear a moan…a groan…then you get “WARNING, ZOMBIE SWARM 20 METERS BEHIND YOU” ¬†and then a radar blip sound starts going off. I swear to God – your heart pumps and you move your butt to get away! It’s exhilarating! Sometimes they’re faster than others, but regardless, you need to try to outrun them.

So if you ever see me walking down the road or around Beaumaris Lake and I suddenly look panicked and start running – you’ll know why!

Friday Fun

Wow, I’d posted a pic on Instagram what seems like forever ago all excited because I’d made a plan (almost) for daily blogs. Yeah…the best laid plans, right?

So, I’m actually going to try. Previously, my posts have been very word heavy…so I’m going to try to just stick to my daily ¬†mini themes and hope that it can inspire the writer’s bug in me that needs to get out.

Here’s the plan:

Mondays – Moving (health/exercise related stuff)
Tuesdays – Tasty (food!)
Wednesdays – WIP (stands for Work In Progress for whatever the current craft is)
Thursday – Thoughts (whatever’s on my mind)
Fridays – FUN (daycare stuff? my own fun?? whatever’s fun at that time!)
Saturdays – Shopping! (this is a stretch for me, as it’s not an activity I much enjoy!)
Sunday – family

So – on to Friday’s fun. I’m actually SO excited for this! I found an awesome website of a fellow Canadian Home Daycare Provider. She has amazing stuff in her back yard for the kids to do…and I’ve been planning on making my yard equally as fun for the last few years. It’s just that…well, I had a baby 2 years ago, then last year, I had an infant to try to work around.

THIS YEAR IS THE YEAR! ¬†I have pallets that I’ve nabbed and am creating a water wall, a sand wall, a music (aka NOISY) wall and one that I’m going to fill with trinkets (latches, hooks, those door stops that make that awesome “twang” sound, etc). ¬†I’ve got all the stuff for these and we (my mom’s helping me out with this) have just been waiting for appropriate weather to finish it all up. We thought we’d be done 2 weeks ago – but we had wicked, wicked wind (90+ km/hour) which isn’t exactly conducive to spray painting!

There are just a few things that I need to finish up to get the yard I’m really looking for.

  1. an old wheel barrow. It doesn’t need to function – I really just want a space to make a mud play area (yes, mud!!) that the kids can gather around to play in.
  2. some sort of way to put up a privacy/shade screen on my chain link fence. I’m thinking of the ones I’ve seen on apartment balconies.
  3. a bucket – I’m on the lookout for a fun/funky/farm style type of bucket
  4. some sort of outdoor flooring that’s not going to cost me an arm and a leg – and that won’t get HOT in the sun.

I’m so excited to get this done, I could pee! I can’t wait – once it’s done, I’ll post up pics, so keep an eye on my instagram or facebook ūüôā

 

Where Adam hates his thumb

So the other day – we went out to Famoso’s for a quick and quiet Eid Pizza Dinner as a family. ¬†Everything was going fine…Adam was practicing his printing, the other two were happily watching the dough get tossed and Mr. D and I were debating over which pizzas to get.

Our pizza arrived and we happily tucked in. ¬†Half way through – Chili Bean says “I think Adam’s thumb is infected.”

So – I take a look at it. ¬†“think” would have been the wrong word. ¬†His cuticle was swollen and hot – and the puss oozing out the side was more than enough to tell me that it was indeed a cesspool of infection. ¬†*gag*

I took him quickly to the bathroom and tried to wash off as much of the puss and pizza debris as I could. ¬†Meanwhile, I was worried that things were really bad (there was a black line going from the major infected area down into the knuckle of his thumb – I instantly panicked thinking he was going to get blood poisoning). ¬†I was mad at him for not listening to my million rebukes about his recent nail biting habit. ¬†I was upset that I couldn’t have discovered the infection even 1/2 hour earlier when my doctor was still in his office. ¬†So – with all of this going through my mind, I did the horrible mom thing…I scared him.

“I hope your thumb doesn’t fall off before we get to the doctor tomorrow!” I said.

Yeah – not the best mom moment.

Adam then started rebuking himself. ¬†“Why did I bite my fingers! ¬†I won’t never bite my nails again! ¬†I don’t want my fingers to fall off!”

So I finished cleaning him off – consoled him…calmed him down and we headed back to the table. ¬†He took another look at his thumb (more puss coming out) and started crying again. ¬†He holds his little thumb up over his head and sobs, “I HATE THIS THUMB!”

Thankfully – the infection has cleared up thanks to a thorough cleaning by the doctor and repeatedly applied Polysporin….and Adam hasn’t bitten his fingernails since.

SBC Day 7

Not much to write about today. I have a post in the making, but it’s still brewing.

In the meantime, imagine a day in my life. After an (unusally) eventful day our plan to spend some quiet time at the library seemed like the perfect way to cap off the evening.¬†¬† I wasn’t expecting to go there with Spiderman.

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Yeah…just a typical library visit when Adam comes along.

Laundry

In any typical day around here, laundry is a part of the routine. ¬†It’s endless. ¬†I remember the days (before kids) when I could do laundry just once a week. ¬†*sheds a tear for carefree days long gone*

So today, I am – you guessed it – doing laundry. ¬†I often have the daycare kids “help” – it’s never really much help and I often have to redo all of their loving assistance, but whatever. ¬†They match up socks, fold towels, and so on.

Today their job was to make a pile of socks while I pulled the other stuff out of the basket to fold. ¬†As I worked at folding and sorting, they announce, “here’s a sock!” ¬†“This one is blue!” ¬†“I found a purple one!!”

Then I hear “Oh, Heder, look! ¬†I found my shirt!” (this is odd, as I don’t get paid enough to do my daycare kids’ laundry)

I look up, and there’s my lovely daycare child holding a pair of my panties.

Really? ¬†My undies can be mistaken for a 3 year old’s t-shirt??

Gee, thanks…now I’m off to the lingerie shops for something less….granny.

Life is a Verb Book Club – Introduction

I read books a lot. ¬†I like, and sometimes even love many of the books I read. ¬†It’s rare, however, that I read an introduction to a book and am moved to tears. ¬†This is what happened when I read Patti Digh’s¬†Life is a Verb.

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The book is basically about living as if your time is limited.  I know Рnot an unusual thought РI mean, how many of us are immortal?  Not anyone that I know!  Anyhow Рrather than just just living, she talks about embracing life and making each day count.  Ironically, this is easier said than done.

In her introduction to the book, she talks about how you need to carry around a pencil to read the book. ¬†She explains that you need to use the generous space in the margins to reflect on what you’ve read – and how this is an example of what we need to do in our lives.

Instead of a¬†book what if we’re actually writing (or not writing) in the margins of our¬†lives?What if our lives are books?¬†What is the sign of our presence? ¬†Are we pressing into the margins our¬†interpretations¬†and questions? ¬†Are we circling offending verbs and drawing furious arrows to the margin where we scrawl “irony,” “frustration,” “voiceless,” “unfair!” ¬†Or do we simply turn the pages, passively¬†receiving¬†what’s given, furiously disagreeing but remaining silent about it?
– page ix, Life is a Verb

I read that and was stunned into silence. ¬†I remember we were driving along a busy section of road in the city, Mr.D cursing at other drivers, the kids in the back fighting – and yet somehow, everything stopped. ¬†Those words sung so true into my soul…am I really just a bystander in my own life? ¬†Am I living passively? ¬†Is life happening to me, or am I living it? ¬†Sadly, I know the answers to all of these questions, and I’m not happy with them.

As you continue to read the introduction you’ll see that she talks about how she tells a story with the intention of making the reader to reflect on what that story means to them. ¬†She follows up these stories with two challenges – a Do It Now challenge which is intended to immediately reinforce the story. ¬†These are¬†typically¬†prompted writing challenges where she encourages the reader to “stop thinking and write” and are limited to just 10 minutes. ¬†Following that – she has what she calls Movement Challenges which she describes as challenges that “…are designed to be things you can dip into, come back to later, try out, practice over time.” (page xiii, Life is a Verb)

Since the Movement Challenges are meant as a long-term reflection, and the Action Challenges are more about our guttural reactions and may not be something we want to share with the whole blogosphere…what I’m asking of readers is to talk about what they are¬†comfortable¬†with. ¬†Mainly – what did you think of this story? ¬†Did it cause you to stop and think about how you’re living? ¬†Are you going to be making changes?

I think that as each story comes up, these questions may differ. ¬†I don’t want to be a Book Club Power Lord – I’ll ask questions as I read each story and complete the challenges – but please feel free to chime in with your own questions and thoughts. ¬†I think this is better to be a dialogue rather than a simple question/answer type thing.

I’m hoping to write 2 blogs/week – the stories are very short (some are even just 1 page) and as I said, the challenges are only supposed to take 10 minutes. ¬†I don’t want to overload with book club stuff though.

I’m still planning on starting this book club on May 1st. ¬†For those of you who already have the book – please go ahead and read the introduction all the way to page 14. ¬†We’ll start our conversation with a simple review of all that, and go on with the challenges in the following week. ¬†I’m hoping to posts on Mondays and Thursdays – which should give everyone plenty of time to read, write and reflect. ¬†One little story for each posting. ¬†Please feel free to post your thoughts here, or on my Facebook Page…or if you happen to see me out and about – chat with me about your¬†experiences¬†then!

Daily Childcare Report (Product Review)

I have to share this awesome site with you…I don’t care if you run a childcare center, a family childcare home, or bring your child to one – I’m telling you – you need to use this (or tell your caregiver about it so that you can!). I am not being compensated for this review – I just love this product so much, I feel that every childcare provider should have it!

Let me just set the stage for you – from a provider’s perspective:

I have 6 kids here from 6 different families.  These kids all range in age from 0-12 years.  All day long we do a variety of activities and crafts and eat our meals.  I plan on taking them on a Field Trip to (random place) and now I have to nag each family to sign a permission slip.

Meanwhile, as my day goes on – I have to prepare the meals and snacks, ensure that everything is clean and sanitary, remember to tell Little Johny’s mom that he is developing a bit of a diaper rash, tell Sally’s grandma that she’s has been tugging at her hear all day (possible ear infection?) and not to forget to ask Mary’s dad about her pickup schedule for the following week.

While I’m doing all of that, I also have to write out – by hand¬†– every where we went, everything we did, and everything we ate. ¬†You can bet that by the time the 3rd of 4th report – my writing is illegible.

Then there’s the chaos of pickup time. ¬†Mom is thinking that she forgot to pull out the meat for dinner, so now she’s going to have to figure something else out for dinner. ¬†Dad is worried about leaving here with his kid so that he can get to the school to pick up the other one on time. ¬†A thousand other worries are running through parents’ heads as I try to give them the low down on what went on that day, bundle a kid into his coat/shoes, jam a piece of paper into the parents hand (hoping that I’m giving the right paper to the right parent) and trying to get them to initial the sign-out sheet while I’ve got 5 other kids pandering for attention in the background.

This is not an unusual day for a childcare provider.  Notes sent home often end up crumpled in the back seat of the car.  Rushed conversations between myself and the parent are quickly forgotten.  Chaos ensues.

Enter the DailyChildcareReport.

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Now my day looks pretty much the same Рbut instead of having to fill out 6 different reports, I am putting notes into my DailyChildcareReport.  Checking off if a child needs a change of clothes, more diapers, or if a parent needs to sign something.  The foods served, and how much the child ate are completed with a click.  Same thing for naps, mood, and diaper changes (right down to the consistency of the stool!).  It takes me less than 5 minutes to fill out a complete report.

There’s a section where I can type a quick note to the parents about their child – knowing that it will be legible, and is going to the right guardian is great! ¬†Parents can even have it set up to go to aunts, uncles, grandparents…whoever they like.

And how does the parent get their child’s info? ¬†Through an email or text that’s sent automatically at the end of the day! ¬†Simple, quick, easy.

My brain is no longer fried. ¬†I’m no longer telling kids “just a minute hun, I have to write this down for mommy to read….sorry baby, just another few minutes, now I have to write a note for Emily’s mom…” ¬†Now, I get to say “You built a tower? Awesome, let me come take a picture!”

Oh – and speaking of pictures – you can attach pictures, video and PDF documents for parents to see.

I love DailyChildcareReport, and I love that I can contact Christian, the creator, if I have a question, comment, idea for improvement…whatever I need – and he’ll reply within 24 hours. ¬†So, what does it cost? ¬†Free for parents it’s free and for providers, it’s a¬†whopping $3.12 per child (and it’s a tax write off!)

I would never go back to any other way of communication with parents.  This works, works well, and I find that my parents are more involved now that I use this than they ever were before.

Click on the site Рand scroll down to the bottom where they have a YouTube video explaining the process.

Best of all – you can try it for FREE for the first 30 days. ¬†What’s better than free??

Islamic Design House (Product Review – and a voucher code!)

I did my last review for Islamic Design House nearly 2 years ago. ¬†I loved them then, and I still love them now. ¬†I believe I now have a total of 6 of their pieces. ¬†They’re just as good as they were when they were new – and still as fun and funky as ever. ¬†My kind of thing – quality, style, and worth every penny! ¬†All of the points that I made in that post remain true today – the 100% cotton, the different fits available (slim, regular, and loose), and the length options (5 different lengths to choose from!).

A few weeks ago, I saw that they were offering up an abaya for people who qualify to do a blog/video review of them…so I filled out the request form and was approved. ¬†I chose this one.

Not long after being approved and giving my sizing info – it arrived.

Look how beautifully it was wrapped!
Look how beautifully it was wrapped!

And, as beautiful as it looked all nicely tied up like that – I ripped open that package to see the abaya itself.

Lovely, as usual, just needs a bit of pressing.
Lovely, as usual, just needs a bit of pressing.

I don’t recall the IDH abayas having funky little sayings on the tags – but I loved this one:

"to dress is to express my faith, to be free is to live my deen."
“to dress is to express my faith, to be free is to live my deen.”

The next day, I pressed out the wrinkles and paired it up with some Pearl Daisy hijabs and underscarves.  The end look:

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Loved that my shoes matched!
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The funky printed jersey shoulder panel is my favorite bit!

I love everything about this abaya – with one exception…the sleeves are short on me. ¬†You may know that I complain a lot about my “chimpanzee” arms – they are freakishly long, and I found that this abaya could have used an extra inch or two on the sleeves. ¬†I wrote to Islamic Design House about it – and it turns out that the size I ordered (58) is one size smaller that I¬†typically order from them, a 60 would have been perfect. ¬†Oh well, my mistake – and it just means that I can wear some sleeves or a shirt underneath to match my hijab, underscarf, or shoes.

BUT WAIT – THE BEST IS YET TO COME!

You can get 10% off your purchase of an Islamic Design House abaya by simply using the voucher code STYLEMOM at check out!  Click here to start shopping now!

 

Update 2

It’s been a while since my last update and I thought that I’d give you all another one. ¬†So, you’ll remember that I’ve had an off and on struggle with depression and finally decided to go to the doctor about it.

He gave me a starting dose of Wellbutrin, then upped it a bit the following week onto what he called a maintenance dose.  I was to try this out for a month and then get back to him.

I noticed no difference at all in the beginning. ¬†I thought that this was yet another dead end for me. Then suddenly around the 3 week mark – something happened. ¬†It wasn’t a gradual “I’m getting better” –¬†it was an instantaneous thing. ¬†Like flicking on a switch. ¬†One moment I was in a fog, then the next, I was seeing clearly.

And not just metaphorically. ¬†I was seeing things clearly. ¬†As if I’d been looking at the world through a fogged up mirror that someone had suddenly wiped clean. ¬†I can’t really explain it any better.

And it hasn’t gotten foggy again. ¬†I am actually¬†feeling things again. ¬†I have patience. ¬†I have ambition. ¬†I have emotions. ¬†I feel like a human again.

I went for a follow up with the doctor last week. ¬†He was happy to hear that I’m doing better – and understanding of my (continued) fear of drugs. ¬†I don’t want to be taking something that isn’t needed.

He agreed – and wants me to take these meds for another 6 months at which point we’ll lower and lower the dose until I’m no longer on them…and if I go back into that fog – then we know how to get me out again.