So last night was a shit show

I only got half my Labour Day to do list completed. But that’s to be expected. The kids took forever going to sleep. That’s also to be expected. And the new lunch containers I bought are too big to fit in a standard lunch box. That one was a nice surprise.

BUT, I did find out that Mary’s first day of nursery school is today and not tomorrow which (given how much work I’ve put off until this week) is a saving grace for me.  I found a couple lunch bags that are stretchy enough to work. I even started packing school lunches by 10pm. A reasonable bedtime seemed to be within reach.

Bento school lunch

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Panic! Your last-minute guide to back-to-school

Summer is a season of contradictions for me. By May, I can barely wait for to indulge in lazy mornings and late nights with the kids. I entertain visions of far-flung picnics and afternoons at the pool. I imagine days whiled away at our neighbourhood park, an abundance of fresh local produce, and quick meals prepared on the bbq and enjoyed in the backyard.

I guess there is a little bit of that. But mostly it’s just chaos. I tried to save the cost of camp by keeping the kids home with me, figuring I’d lighten my work load and stay up late. Right. Throw a family wedding, my husband’s inconsistent work schedule and a couple getaways into the mix and I’ve barely been able to keep on top of laundry and meals, let alone work.

So, yeah, by mid-August I’m barely keeping up with the bare essentials of what I need to do, the kids have utterly trashed the place and I’m jonesing for that September routine so bad. Until the very last week when I suddenly fall prey to now-or-never-itis and plan a million day trips to try to salvage what’s left of the summer.

And now it’s Labour Day weekend and, if you’re anything like me, you suddenly realize you’ve done hardly anything to get ready for the school year. PANIC! No, don’t. It’s okay. You actually don’t have to start back-to-school shopping in July, despite what the advertisers tell you. It can be done in a day. And that day is tomorrow.

Here’s my plan.

School supplies: You can’t beat Staples for school and office supplies. They’ve got a huge variety of supplies at great prices and lots of everything. My kids don’t actually get a supply list until the first day of school and last year I was able to get everything on my son’s list at Staples for a very good price during the first week of school. So I’ll probably just wait until next week for these, but you can go ahead and buy yours tomorrow if that works for you.

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So how’d the camping go?

selfie bomb

Funny you should ask.

We rolled into a campsite outside St. Thomas, Ontario just after 4pm. I’d picked this particular campground solely for it’s proximity to Port Stanley, Ontario where we had a full slate of family fun scheduled for the next day. (Stay tune for a full recap of that adventure in a day or two.)

So we pull up to the campsite I booked online a mere six hours later than we’d planned. Though, if I’m going to be completely honest, I knew that the 6am getaway time was pure fantasy from the moment I dreamed it up and declared it “the plan.” This meant we had just enough time to set up our campsite, make a fire and eat dinner before sunset and no time whatsoever for family nature hikes, swimming or other camping activities. (Uh? Capture the flag? Help me out here.)

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Planning a family holiday? I hear camping is cheap.

Planning a family holiday? I hear camping is cheap

Image adapted from flickr.

It’s summer. Let’s go on a family holiday!

First, set your budget. I hear camping is cheap.

1. Buy a tent.
Get a tent that’s big enough to fit your entire family plus your gear and that’s reasonably easy to put up. (Vintage is great for dining chairs and statement hats, not so great for tents.) Cost: at least $200

2. Buy sleeping bags.
Now you CAN probably borrow the 25-year-old sleeping bags that live in your in-laws basement as long as it doesn’t get too cold at night. I mean, who needs zippers anyway? All the better for your children to crawl in with you just as soon as you finally get to drift off. But you decide that it’s probably a good investment for you to own your own sleeping bags at this point. So you buy the cheapest, crappiest sleeping bags you can find. Cost: $100 – $200. [Read more...]

Hack of the week*: Lip gloss painting

lip gloss painting

We went out for dinner last week and because I’m a seasoned and experienced mom of three, I brought exactly nothing to keep my kids occupied while we waited for our food. The number one tip I give to people going out for dinner with young children is to bring an activity for the kids; books, crayons and paper, small toys or games, that kind of thing. In actual practice, I’m never organized enough to grab that stuff.

But I also don’t like handing over my phone because of my high parenting ideals. Hahahaha. No, it’ s because my phone is an expensive piece of very nice technology and it’s pretty much the only thing I have that’s off limits. Besides, they’ve already smashed two of them. And they’d fight over it.  [Read more...]

Stuff I’m Digging: Seventh Generation (Giveaway)

Stuff I'm digging Seventh Generation

 Image source:

I’m not an eco-nut by any stretch. I live in a world constrained by budgets and time and the fragile limits of my sanity. So I do use paper plates for kiddie birthday parties and disposable plastic freezer bags, and I don’t make my own soap.

The good news is that I don’t have to make my own soap to do the right thing by mother nature. Seventh Generation makes plant-based, environmentally responsible cleaning products that are free from toxins and safe for your family. They’re the real deal, guys. You can trust these products.

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The McDonald’s mom story isn’t about free-range parenting at all. It’s about everything else.


The case of Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mom who was arrested for letting her nine-year-old play at the park while she worked at McDonald’s, has been widely discussed as a free-range-children issue. Shouldn’t a nine-year-old be allowed to play in the park, free-range advocates ask. Has our bubble-wrapped society gone too far?

But, guess what? It’s not a free-range issue. This is a class issue. This story is all about class and social welfare and feminism. It’s an example of how society fails to provide basic protections for women and children and then turns around and paints mothers as criminals. [Read more...]