Friday, November 21, 2008

The fine art of painting...walls, that is.

I just painted our bedroom. Do you think there is some psychological connection to colour selection cuz I, ummm, just painted my bedroom in shades called milk chocolate and chocolate froth? Or perhaps my colour selections are entirely gastronomically related to my taste buds.

Really, I prefer chips to chocolate most of the time for snacking - although I'm not opposed to dipping my hand into the bag of chocolate chips for a quick pick me up. Funny though, I wasn't drawn to any potato chip coloured paint swatches. Come to think of it, I really didn't see any swatches called "sour cream and onion", "salt and vinegar" or one that I think would look great in the kitchen, "roast chicken."

When I was a kid, choosing paint was so much easier. If you wanted pink you went in and looked at the pink swatch - it had light pink, medium pink and dark pink. Wanted blue? How about light blue? Medium blue? Dark blue. Actually there were a couple of colours that were more definitively named. If you were a child of the 70s you might remember them - avocado green and harvest gold?

I have come up with a tried and true method of selecting paint colours. Choose the shade you really, really like, pay $35 for a gallon and come back the next day for the shade on the swatch that is two shades lighter than the shade you originally chose. Now that I've used this method a half dozen times I've progressed to the point where I skip the step where I buy the first gallon and immediately go for the two shades lighter choice.

Seriously, how can you tell from a 1" x 2" swatch of colour what a paint choice will look like in your room. Really, how was I to know that neon green would look so...well...neon-ish?

Another paint choosing tip. Remember that when you take in a small item to be colour matched (lets say, about a pillow with a teeny, tiny square of neon green) that the small item might not translate well to 180 square feet of walls.

And what about those lovely booklets with various rooms painted to showcase the current trends in colours? It has been my experience that if you don't have the furnishings, draperies, artwork, and other decorative touches pictured in the photos then your freshly painted room will still look like crap some one with no decorating talent lives there.

I'll leave you with a couple of photos of my current works of art.

The first one is Erin's room in shades of cotton candy. There is now a white chair rail installed (by moi!) at the point where the 2 colours meet. I'm pretty sure we don't have any chairs that will reach that high but we'll be ready if we ever get one!

This next room is Allie's funky new hang out. See the green???...Like it is hardly obvious! This is the 2 shades lighter green! Sometimes you may have to go 4 shades lighter. This photo is a bit dark so in case you can't tell the obvious colour palate is aqua, chocolate brown and lime green...but a light lime green. Haven't gotten curtains up yet so just pretend there are some lovely chocolate brown panels...putting that on my to do list this week along with 1,265, 984 other things.

By the way...anyone in need of 3/4 of a gallon of bright neon green paint (as opposed to the obviously (??) less bright 2 shades lighter neon green paint.)

And because this blog is also supposed to be about sharing some of my scrapbooking works of art here is a layout about Allie's new room. She's giving me the thumbs up so i must have done something right...not always the case around here. And to think she is only 9.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Schools out for summer how freaking long???

So school ended somewhere around the end of June and then we almost immediately had company for a week in which we went to 3 museums, the Musical Ride, and did Canada Day on the Hill with 250,000 of our closet friends. Oh yeah...and a little bit of scrapbook shopping managed to get done too.Then I made 374 trips from the house to the trailer getting ready for our vacation. The first week we spent on quiet (until we got there) Lake Cayamant, Quebec where I positioned a lounge chair next to the lake while everyone else fished, swam and boated and did my own small bit of obligatory fishing, swimming and boating (it was a family vacation you know!) between reading and sipping cool drinks. After an eventful departure (Dan will hate that I'm sharing this but his beloved GM truck got stuck, with trailer attached, trying to get out of the cottage driveway and had to be towed out - by a FORD!) we returned home for a quick turn around where I took 72 loads of dirty clothes into the house and then took 72 loads of clean clothes and 67 loads of food back to the trailer for a trip to a Provincial Park.Today is Monday. Dan went back to work today. Leaving me at home alone with 2 girls who, although they have been sleeping in quite nicely, are still short about 2 hours of sleep each night due to extremely late bedtimes. This does not make for an enjoyable summer vacation.

I have not been relaxing on a lawn chair, magazine in hand and drink (preferably a pina colada) on the side table. Instead I've been doing lots of work around the yard. Why, you ask, would Denise, the Queen of Chillaxin', be doing manual labour? Duh! Of course there is an ulterior motive...don't tell Dan, but the jobs I've been choosing to do all involve really loud machines and, while time consuming, do not require much physical effort. So, in order to keep sane I have taken up a new hobby. It is called pressure washing. So far I’ve done the deck, the patio, the windows and the stone walkways. It has taken me hours and hours to get all that work done. “Quite a hobby!” you say. Well don’t knock it til you try it. Pressure washers are very noisy. Get it? Very noisy? Due to the loud noise generated by the pressure washer I've been required to spend long periods of time without hearing any of the disruptions going on around me. I don’t hear all the fighting, screaming, bickering and crying - I just plug in my MP3 player and spray away

I also kind of wish my grass would grow a little faster. Nothing like a ride on lawnmower for noise. And why is it that every time I start mowing one of the kids comes out and starts hollering at me? I just point to my ears and shrug my shoulders, avoiding the entire explanation of why Sister A hit Sister B after Sister B

a) took Sister A’s favourite Barbie (my kids are deprived, only 1843 Barbies!)
b) sat on the wrong couch cushion (we have assigned seating in our house)
c) ate the last Popsicle (which Sister A dozen’t like anyway, but that is beside the point.

I’m thinking I could probably come up with a couple more noisy hobbies. Unfortunately we don’t have any hedges and we don’t have a wood burning fire place or else hedge trimming or chain sawing might have been good choices.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Temper Tantrums - Unfortunately they aren't just for 2 year olds!

So have you seen this show on TLC - Jon and Kate Plus 8? Jon and Kate couldn't have kids so they went through fertility treatments and had twins and 3 or 4 years later went through treatment again and had sextuplets. The show focuses on their life with 8 young kids and to me I think John and Kate are keeping it real (why do I want to type a Randy Jackson-ish "Dawg!" at the end of that sentence?) - they argue, the kids act up, Kate belittles Jon, etc. They manage to go on many outings and I'm really surprised that they haven't become "John and Kate Plus 5 or 6 cuz we lost one at the zoo and another 2 haven't surfaced after yesterday's trip to the mall"

In our household recently we were seriously considering becoming "Denise and Dan Plus One" as we were just about ready to list Erin on E-Bay to see how much we could get for her. Frankly, we may have even considered paying a small price for someone to take her.

We've recently had three very serious incidents where for whatever reason something ticked Erin off and resulted in the spawn of Linda Blair's vomit spewing, head rotating Exorcist character and Godzilla taking up residence in our house.



plus this


equals this????????????


Thankfully there was no actual vomit at our house (oops - I forgot the 3 am dog emptying her stomach of assorted Easter candy and wrappings vomiting that happened Sunday night) but there was some definite head rotating, crying, stomping of feet, fire breathing, stomping of small homes and other generally unappreciated behaviours.

Now we don't ask much of our kids - keep your room clean (well, we do ask!), eat what we put in front of you (even though you hated it the last 17 times we had it), be polite (funny, we didn't put any qualifiers on this like "be polite in school and in public" but apparently this is all we are getting), play nicely with your sister (obviously far too much to ask of them), etc. We don't ask them to scrub toilets, eat out of garbage bins or to work in a sweat shop 20 hours a day. Come to think of it, they do like to scrub toilets but they generally ask me if they can do that. Last weekend I guess I asked too much of Linda Blair-zilla - I asked her to have a bath or shower. The nerve of me to request such a thing, especially from the girl that loves to splash amongst her bath toys until she is all wrinkly toes and fingers. Apparently tho, it was too much and pandemonium in the form of a titanic tantrum ensued. Did I mention that Erin is far removed from 2. She'll be 7 this week.

I have a theory on the terrible twos. Seems, amongst my crowd of friends anyway, that most people have their second child right around the 2nd birthday of their previous child. Wouldn't you be a little ticked off if you were your parents' pride and joy and then along came this bundle of poop baby powder scented sweetness that got attention when ever it cried? Don't tell me you wouldn't cry too. And if that wouldn't work you would then resort to kicking, screaming, flailing arms and as a final act, an all out rolling on the floor fit? I'm seriously thinking I should go to grad school and develop this as my thesis. I'm sure lots of parents would drop their temper tantrumming 2 year olds off with me to study.

I tell you, when Allie was 2 (which coincidentally occurred 3 weeks before Erin was born) I was sometimes scared to go out in public. Really scared. How this sweet little child could instantly turn into the Tasmanian devil (emphasis on devil!) was beyond me.

Cute tasmanian devil - 1095000_25tas_devil

Slightly ticked off tasmanian devil - angry

Now the experts say that when these fits and tantrums occur the parent should explain in simple terms the consequences for such behaviour - usually removal from the situation. Well, let me tell you...the experts obviously didn't have $200 worth of food and sundries (always wanted to use that word!) in their grocery carts. They didn't just spend 2 hours lovingly selecting nothing but the best for their family - organic fruits, trans fat free cookies and lean cuts of the choicest meats (mind you, neither did I - we're all about yogurt in a tube, apple sauce in a plastic cup and the occasional pogo stick.) Damn those experts - there is no way I would be leaving my groceries behind (crappy as they may be) just to remove my screaming toddler from the grocery store to alleviate stress on other peoples' usually enjoyable shopping experience. Besides, when you try to put a tantrumming child into a car seat they go stiff as a board and won't bend in the middle like they are supposed to. Thankfully they only need to be in car seats until they turn 8 in Ontario. Only 1 more year of assisted bending here!

And while the temper tantrums do tend to lessen both in intensity and number (but not in the non-understanding of what starts them) my spawn of the devil above gives proof to the fact that even almost 7 year olds can still go stiff as a board when they don't get their way.

Unfortunately, I'm here to tell you that even almost 9 year olds can behave like 2 year olds. I was booked to teach at the girls' school recently and up until 7:29 our morning routine went off without a hitch. Then the clock turned over to 7:30, here on after known as the witching hour. AKA the time we have to leave the house! That was when Allie discovered that her snow pants were missing. First she argued that yes, she had indeed hung them up yesterday (because she does this every day - NOT!) Yes, she did indeed remember carrying them home from the bus stop. No, she did indeed not leave them on the bus because she quite explicitly remembered carrying them off the bus and hanging them up at home. Yes indeed! Cue the crying and the wailing (I find at almost 9 they generally save throwing themselves on the ground for the bigger items - like when I say they can't have the piece of crap from the dollar store) This from the girl who I fought with more often than not to actually even get her to wear the freakin' snow pants. Then comes the blame game. Blame the younger sister for taking the snow pants which the younger sister,who is busy blaming someone for taking her agenda and homework out of her backpack, cuz, yes, she did indeed put them back in her backpack last night after completing her homework, denies. Blame me, who wasn't even home from teaching yesterday when they got home from school. Blame the dog cuz she always has a guilty look on her face. Suffice it to say, once the blame game was over (meaning there were no other humans or animals that had been in our house during the last 15 hours that could possibly have had the opportunity to move said snow pants) we make our way to school and lo and behold, those snow pants had miraculously accomplished the great escape and found their way right back to school where Allie promptly refused to put them on.

Do you think I'll ever win?

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Friday, April 4, 2008

He (or she, as the case may be) who hesitates...

misses out in registering for cheap group swimming lessons and instead must pay for private swimming lessons at an exorbitant hourly rate.

Nuff said!

sink or swim

And to go along with the swimming lessons theme, here's a layout from last year's cheap group lessons! This year's layout will likely look the same but will have fewer onlookers and include the receipt as a priceless piece of memorabilia!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The luck of the Irish!

My paternal grandmother was a McKenna from Nova Scotia who had her family traced back to Ireland. I think that if there was any luck in her Irish blood that it must have thinned out by the time it got to me. My luck, when it comes to prizes, lotteries and games of chance, is pretty much non-existent. Oh wait! I did win that Nike tote bag one time. And there was that time when I was about 8 or 9 that I won the jackpot when I went to bingo with Grandma and Grandpa. Of course my older cousin Dave had let me stand in front of him in line so my Mom made me share my winnings with him cuz you just know that my lucky card was supposed to be his lucky card.

I'm thinking my cousin Dave got more of the lucky Irish blood than I did.

So here I sit with my less than full strength lucky Irish blood pondering life (cuz you know I have nothing better to do!) and I've decided that I am indeed pretty lucky...

Why just last week I was lucky to have any hair left on my head when I went in for a TRIM. Why, oh why do I always get the hairdressers that are measurement impaired? I know, I know! We have moved to the metric system here in Canada but surely when I say I want an inch trimmed off my hair the hairdresser should be able to make a good guess at what an inch actually represents. I swear I can almost see the hairdresser's mind turning while she is doing the math - "1 inch equals roughly 2.2 centimeters. Or is that 1 pound equals 2.2 kilograms? Or 2.2 kilograms equals 1 pound? Does she want me to cut off 1 pound of hair? Or one kilogram of hair? Damn! I'll just cut a chunk off and pretend I know what I'm doing."

And what about that time my credit card was "compromised" at the mall so the credit card company cancelled it immediately upon hearing from the Police. Why that was really lucky for me that criminals stole my card number and that I couldn't go shopping until I had a new card issued. Wait! That was really lucky for Dan. I on the other hand suffered miserably for the 3 days it took for Canada Post to deliver a new card (and then promptly made up for it - hey! give me a break, it was Christmas time!)

I was also really lucky to marry a man that is so handy in so many ways - he can fix cars, furniture, electronics. He can build whole computers from spare parts lying in a box in our storage room. He can even sew! Why he has literally saved us thousands upon thousands of dollars by not having to purchase new items for our house - Boy! Am I lucky! I'm even luckier that so far his sewing prowess is basically limited to hemming pants and mending rips. I couldn't stand the thought of how lucky I would be if he started sewing clothes!

And I've also been really lucky in getting my wish to be the mother of girls instead of boys. I looked forward to playing Barbies and house, baking cookies - you know- girl stuff. Putting worms on hooks and pretending to be overjoyed at the thought of having rodents, amphibians and other creepy crawly creatures as pets just isn't my thing. Boys, from my limited experience, never, ever, ever sit still (unless of course they are trying to catch a rodent, amphibian or other creepy crawly creature.) Girls, on the other hand, are really good at sitting still and playing for hours. That is why every toy they own must be within arms reach, entirely covering the floor, never to be picked up until the threat of a super sized garbage bag is made. Boys like to run around yelling and hollering. Girls just sit still and emit high pitched screams. So, I am really lucky that I don't have to chase around a couple of hollering boys but instead have to tread gingerly trying to avoid serious foot damage from stepping on Barbie's stiletto heeled shoes or the antenna on her pink convertible while refereeing screaming matches. But you know, while all that running around after boys might be a good exercise program I think any benefits are outweighed by the ensuing stress of watching boys dangle from tree branches, popping wheelies on bikes or swinging "sword" sticks at the evil monster/ninja turtle/escaped lion/brother. I think stress lines age you faster than a few extra pounds. So in my round about thinking - I'm lucky to have a few extra pounds?????????

(and for those of you that think I have just propagated a gender stereotype...well, I guess I'm lucky I live in a country that allows free speech. Furthermore because this country also allows YOU the right to free speech I am even luckier that I subscribe to a blog that allows me to moderate comments.)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sounds of crickets chirping

No, this post title is not a reference to the much anticipated but definately far off into the future arrival of Spring. It refers instead to the total abandonment of this blog and the ensuing silence.

I freely admit it. I am a terribly bad blogger. I haven't been on this blog in months but have certainly managed to spend some time on the other 2,593blogs on my favorite lists. I have scrapping blogs, photography blogs, coupons and deals blogs, blogs of friends. There is a blog for everyone out there. Just so you don't think all I ever do is sit in front of my computer screen I thought I’d do a quick run down of all that has been going on in my life since my last post that has kept me away from here.


Dan comes home. Dan has 5 weeks off work. Dan can't sit still for more than 5 minutes. Dan orders hardwood for entire house. Denise, who has no problem sitting still watching TV, sitting still reading a book, sitting still eating chips, no longer has the opportunity to sit still for even 1 minute. Denise helps Dan lay hardwood floor in 4 rooms and a very long hallway. Dan lets Denise rest over the holidays but hung-over Denise helps Dan finish a room on New Year's Day. Denise takes opportunity to lay down later that day.

Denise supply teaches a lot. Denise sends most horrid student ever to the office. Denise agrees to teach class of most horrid student on multiple occasions. Denise is not sure if a) she is doing a good job with the class of the most horrid student ever or b) no one else is willing to supply in the class of the most horrid student ever. Denise sucks it up cuz every dollar earned is going in her pool fund. Plus, the most horrid student ever is frequently suspended from school so it's a 50/50 chance whether he will actually be in school that day. Unfortunately, most horrid student ever has a twin brother who is second most horrid student ever. Denise feels sorry for Grade 5 teacher that will have this class next year! Denise is happy to report that she also supplies for a lot of other classes including French Immersion (Denise can count to 39 in French now!), and all grades from Junior Kindergarten (they aren't all as cute as they look!) to Grade 12 math (Hey, Denise took this twice when she was in grade 12 so she is verrrry qualified.)

Denise single handedly does the Christmas shopping and holiday preparations. Dan continues to be oblivious to the fact that Christmas occurs on December 25th each year. During the over use of the trunk for transporting gifts and groceries the hinges somehow let go and Denise needs to hold the trunk open with a block of wood or risk amputation from rapidly closing trunk. Denise guesses that she has gotten many strange looks at the Super Store parking lot as she stands back and fires the grocery bags into the trunk. Denise uses some of said groceries to make 6 batches of cranberry almond bark. Denise eats 5 batches of cranberry almond bark and sends one batch into Dan's work.

Denise enjoys Christmas with her Mom, Dad and brother Greg visiting for a week. Santa brought Denise a new DSLR camera that has been occupying much of her time since. Mom and Dad brought Denise a chocolate fountain. It has also been occupying much of her time since. Santa brought the girls Nintendos. They have also been occupying much of her time since – especially that addictive Brain Age game. Once Denise realized that Suduko only involved numbers AND NO ACTUAL MATH SKILLS a new addiction was born.

Denise takes artsy photos with new DSLR and ever present snow!


Denise's friends enjoy the chocolate fountain. Denise thinks chocolate fountain is tons-o-fun until she has to clean chocolate fountain.


Dan goes away for 6 weeks. Dan spends 4 of those weeks in Texas. You know, one of the warm states. Denise spends these same 6 weeks snow blowing and shoveling. Denise lives in a city that will soon break the yearly snowfall record that has been held for over 30 years. Denise has a large ice rink in her back yard. Denise also shovels the ice rink on occasion. Thankfully Denise’s neighbours share the ice rink and shovel it too!

Before Dan leaves for Texas (the aforementioned warm state) he fixes Denise's trunk hinges but secretly hopes she does not buy anything to put in the trunk. Denise's trunk continues to work. Denise's front exhaust develops a large hole. Denise's car is embarrassing (not to mention probably illegal) to drive. Cheap, Frugal, mechanically inclined husband tells Denise what to do to fix car. Denise digs a can out of the recycle bin, searches for 3.5 hours for the tin snips and cuts a piece of the can to surround the large hole in exhaust. Denise lays on her back on the snow covered, sloped driveway under the exhaust challenged car WITH NO WORKING PARKING BREAK! Denise wrestles with 2 hose clamps and a wrench and manages to cut exhaust noise by about 1000 decibels.

The writer’s strike hits hard and Denise is relegated to watching stupid reality shows. Oh wait, Denise always enjoyed stupid reality shows. Denise like to explain that it is the sociologist in her – she is enthralled by the group interactions of survivors, apprentices and models. Throw in American Idol for its pure entertainment value and a token well-written drama (She’s a huge LOSTie) and her TV dance card is full.

Denise paints the dining room. Denise thinks about painting another room. Denise decides to wait til after March Break when everyone is out of her hair again. Denise decides Cocoa will spend painting time in her kennel. Denise does not like dog hair on her freshly painted walls.

Denise enjoys (huge understatement) a Brownies and Sparks sleepover at a local museum. Denise continues to wonder who coined the term SLEEPover??? Denise also continues to volunteer at the school. The staff needs to clarify if she is a teacher or a mother on any particular day.

Dan comes home from Texas. He snow blows driveway for the 3 storms that week (OK one was an ice storm that immobilized the city but didn't require any snow blowing) that dumped 80 cm of FREAKING SNOW! During the worst storm of the year, Denise, Dan, Allie and Erin drive clear across the city to see Disney’s High School Musical on Ice. Denise stands in line at intermission to buy cotton candy. Denise abandons the cotton candy line when she learns it is $10 a bag! Denise buys a box of Tim Bits for less than $3. Denise white knuckles the entire drive home and vows never to pre-purchase tickets for a winter event again!

Once the city is plowed out Denise gets a new van. This is a stock photo. Had it been Denise's real van it would have been surrounded by 10 foot snow banks!

new van

Girls and dog are fine.


So, this post has proven to be of epic proportion. And to think I’ve even left out some of the important and/or exciting details of the last few months. Of course they were so important and/or exciting that they have totally slipped my mind right now but rest assured, I will be back to share those with you as well.

Until my return, I leave you with the chirping crickets.