Thursday, May 30, 2013

Book Review: Dear Life

I've made my foray into the writing of Alice Munro, who is a famous Canadian writer known for her short stories. I've always had it in my mind to pick something up of hers, so when my mother-in-law gave me her most recent book, Dear Life, for Christmas, it went to the (relative) top of the pile.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't a huge fan. There were a handful of stories in the book that I found interesting but, for the most part, the writing style just did not grab my attention. I felt like I was just dropped in to the middle of stories, and taken out before they finished.

This books was supposedly special because the last four stories were somewhat autobiographical. They were some of the more interesting stories in the book, but I found some of the narrative was really repetitive between the four stories.

Overall, though a few of the stories were really intriguing, I'm not convinced that I'll be reading another one of her books in the near future. I give this book a 2.5/5. 

I'm starting to realize that maybe I'm just more of a popular fiction type reader. And, since reading is supposed to be a hobby and not a job or chore, I might just have to embrace that fact and read more of the type of books I know I'll enjoy.

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's a...


Yup - we're going to have brothers, which is pretty cool. Here are some fuzzy ultrasound shots:

Fig. 1: Profile shot. Pretty sure he has my nose.
Fig. 2: Face-on with arm above his head.
Fig. 3: Hand (there was a thumb there too)!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

2013 Summer Bucket List

Not sure what it is about the summer - I guess from being cooped up inside for months on end in the winter, and dreaming of having warm enough weather to do stuff -  but there are always tons of things I want to make sure we do. Inspired by MJ's post at her blog, Living the Dream, here is our family bucket list for this summer (we did one a couple years ago too):

- Plant a garden
- Get deck built
- Furniture, planters, and flowers for deck
- Paint and decorate Jelly Bean's room
- Thomas the Train event
- Vacation at a lake with the ILs
- Swimming at the local pool
- Pick strawberries
- Chalk-board wall in kitchen (again, inspired by MJ's post)
- Garage sale
- Beach visits
- Visit 5 new playgrounds
- Farmer's market
- Local festivals
- Fly a kite
- Go for bike rides
- Finish knitting Jelly Bean's blanket

What are your must-do's or hope-to-do's this summer?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Boy or Girl?

It's that time to find out the gender of Jelly Bean! We have an ultrasound scheduled for early next week and are very excited to find out.

What's your guess? Here's a picture from this morning in case you want to see how I'm carrying:

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wordless(ish) Wednesday

Even though he drives us nuts sometimes, he makes us smile and laugh a lot these days.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Parenting Failure

Man, oh man, have we felt like failures lately in the parenting department. I get that 2.5 is a rough age, but it's like we have absolutely no control over our child these days. 

He rarely listens to us anymore, especially in public. Getting him to do anything that isn't his idea is like torture (for him and us). Things that used to be relatively simple - like dinner time - are now a battle of wills. He'll ask for one thing to eat, we'll make it for him, and then he doesn't want it and wants something else instead.

He has absolutely no interest in potty training, which is starting to get frustrating. He will sit on the potty, but only for a few seconds before bolting saying "you can't catch me! you can't catch me!". Cute the first 30 times, but not so much anymore. We're not pushing it on him. We just offer the potty to him a few times a day, but we're not making any progress.We might have to use the cold turkey method later this summer if it continues like this.

I know all of this is probably normal, but man, this age is definitely the hardest so far. I mean, we actually have to parent...can you imagine? We know the key is consistency, but sometimes it's tough to decide which battles are worth fighting and which are just better to let go. 

Thankfully, there are a lot of fun moments in between all the chaos and destruction. He makes us laugh every day, and we love how energetic, curious, and loving he is.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Can't Blog

I sometimes miss the days where I blogged as Mrs Comet Hunter. Even though it was a thin veil of anonymity, it was enough that I felt comfortable writing about general work or home situations.

Now, I just can't. All sorts of people I know in real life know about this blog. I can't rant, I can't ask advice, I can't do a lot of things. It sucks.  

So many things are going on right now that are unbloggable because I use my real name, and I wish that wasn't the case. I miss having that type of support from my readers and fellow bloggers.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Yard Sale Tips

We're planning on having our first ever yard sale sometime this summer. We do sometimes sell things on Kijiji here and there, but we've amassed a pretty big pile of stuff we want to get rid of, so I thought trying to do it all at once might be a good idea.

The last time I was involved in a garage/yard sale was at my parents house years ago, so I'm sure things have changed since then. So, I need some tips from people who have done this recently!

1. Where is the best place to advertise? Do newspapers still have yard sale sections, or is online the way to go (or both)?

2. Is one weekend day good (if so, which is better?), or should we do both days?

3. I've heard "opening" earlier is better - what's a good time to open and close the sale?

4. Prices - always the fun part, I imagine. Do you price to sell (I'm leaning this way) or price to make money? 

5. Do you sell everything individually (and then maybe give deals if they're buying more than one), or put packages together (this would be for things like VHS/DVDs, clothes, photo frames, etc.)?

6. Any other great tips?

I'm kind of excited about this - I feel like it's a rite of passage or something.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lobster Club

Evan has croup, and has been pretty sick since Friday. So, not a lot of blogging material lately. We're hoping he's feeling well enough for tomorrow's Toopy & Binoo concert.

I did manage to try out a new recipe from my Bobby Flay Bar Americain cook book. Pretty decent, but I made a HUGE mess in the kitchen!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fun Science Friday

Since I do a lot of outreach, I thought it'd be fun to share some of the activities we do in classes. These can easily be done at home, and could be fun on a rainy day.

Make Your Own Impact Craters!

A fun, and very messy (so, FUN!) experiment to do is make impact craters! 

- Some sort of wide, shallow bin (tin foil roasting pans or kitty litter pans work great)
- Flour
- Hot chocolate powder
- Sifter
- Various "impactors" (balls of various sizes, clay if you want to change shapes)
- Plastic sheets, garbage bags, or similar
- Paper towels
- Ruler and meter/yard stick if you want to be more scientific

- Put down a large plastic sheet or a view garbage bags/newspapers/whatever (or do it outside!)
- Fill the bin about 1/3-1/2 full of flour
- Using the sifter, put a thin layer of hot chocolate on top
- Choose an impactor

- What happens when the impactor hits? (A hole is made, obviously, but you should also see flour get ejected out of the crater - these are called ejecta rays)
- What happens to the crater if you change things in experiment? You can change things about the impactor (size, shape, mass), how you drop it (height, angle, speed), the material you drop it into (gravel, sand, jell-o, water, ice, etc.) - you can get very creative! Just see where it goes :)

If you want to be more scientific, you can go over dependent variables (things you measure as a result of the experiment: depth and width of the crater, length of the ejecta rays) and independent variables (things you change in the experiment: size/shape/mass of impactor, height of drop, type of material, etc.). You can then go over how to set up an experiment: chose ONE dependent variable to measure and ONE independent variable to change - all other independent variables need to stay constant (that way, you know what is causing the change). They can even come up with a hypothesis statement and take measurements.

If you want more information, just email me and I have additional resources that I can send!

Have fun!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1 to 2

Being the parent of one child with another on the way, I'm having the assumingly normal worries about what life is going to be like after Jelly Bean gets here. Everything seems so well balanced with the three of us right now, and I feel like it's all going to get flipped upside down. I know it will "just work out" and we'll get back into some sort of routine eventually, but it's hard to imagine.

So, if you're a parent of more than one child, how did the transition from 1 to more go? Any tips to make it go a bit more smoothly? 

If you're an older sibling and remember your younger sibling(s) coming in to your life, what do you remember about the transition? Being a younger sister, I'm blissfully unaware of this situation.