Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wrapping my kids in a high-tech bubble

This past summer, a friend who was growing veggies in her garden, had a cucumber plant that she was harvesting with her two young boys.  Her 6-year old son, upon plucking a large cucumber from the vine asked, "Mom, is this the world's largest cucumber?" My friend, seizing on a potential educational moment replied, "I don't know- let's go inside and google images of big cucumbers". I think you Internet savvy people can guess what happened next...and it did not involve pics of  veggies!



Maybe because I studied the media in University, or maybe because I work in it today, I am extra cautious when it comes to TV and Internet with my kids.  Amazingly, they have never watched any prime-time sitcoms, are blissfully unaware of reality television and have never surfed the Internet freely without supervision (at least not on my watch).  We have a PVR and they watch shows that we have chosen for them to watch, with the freedom to tune-in anytime to channel 810, Oasis HD- nothing brings a kid down from hyperactivity like a documentary on the desperate plight of the rare Albino Rhino!

This past Christmas, as we wrapped gift after gift of lame, un-fun (i.e. educational) toys, my husband cracked.  "That's it!" he cried.  "Can't these kids get even one cool gift for once- instead of this boring crap?" The next day, he went out and finally fulfilled my eldest son's long-standing desire to be like "everyone else at school!!!!" He purchased an iPod Touch.  Christmas morning, when my son unwrapped that little package of endless possibilities, his eyes were alight with excitement and appreciation.  He jumped up and down, he beamed from ear-to-ear, he hugged us continuously and then he turned it on and....(insert record scratch)- bust.  "Mom, why don't I have Safari?  Where's Twitter?  Where's Facebook? Where did the App Store go?  Why are there no songs? Why is this iPod missing all the cool stuff??"

Well, to bottom-line it for you, I removed all of the cool stuff- all of it.  There is NO WAY my 9-year old is going to be huddled up in his room, surfing the net (is "surfing the net" a term we still use? I'm so not down with the times), looking at who-knows-what, chatting to who-knows-who...downloading god-knows-what...NO WAY!!  If he wants a song, or an app, or supervised Internet access, he has to go through me to get it.  Essentially, I have dialed-down the fun-factor of the iPod Touch so that he has a $200 date and time display. 

These are scary times for our kids- they are just one click away on a remote control or computer from seeing revolting, violent, inappropriate things I cannot even fathom!!  Back in my day, all we had were some old back issues of National Geographic...and seeing long, droopy boobs on an indigenous person does not keep you coming back for more!  I know that in a couple of years, no matter how I try, he will likely see all sorts of bad things, probably through friends with older brothers (damn you older brothers of friends!!), or watch unsupervised when I leave the house.  For now, is it so wrong to wrap kids up in a cyber bubble and listen to them complain about my being a mean and oh-so-lame Mom?  I don't think so.  I wear my Lame-Mom badge with pride and until the day they can finally outwit me, I will endeavor to stay two steps ahead of them.  I should have bought the web domain:  www.lamemom.com but it's already taken...and it likely leads to a site with prancing, nude older women, goats and jell-o!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Smart and Snazzy DIY Xmas Crafts- sure to impress your friends!!

As you may well know, I fancy myself quite the little Martha.  Pop over anytime and you'll find DIM (Did It Myself) artwork, DIM draperies, DIM vinyl lettering, DIM floral arrangments, DIM treats, etc...  Upon a second glance, I'm not sure how fond I am of this "DIM" acronym...sounds a bit blond-joke-waiting-to-happen.  No matter, the point is that I enjoy crafty projects and I thought that I would share two of my new holiday faves: Felted Sweater Stockings and the No-Sew Felt Tree Skirt.  Here are directions for both and some pics are to follow once I cut down my fresh pine- another DIM!  The stockings idea came about after I accidentally shrunk the bejeezers out of one of my husband's nice wool sweaters!  Oh well!  Better to re-purpose than throw out!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

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Easy Felted Christmas Stockings

Supplies:

100% Wool, thrift store sweaters (1 per stocking)

Dollar-store stocking for template

Fabric scissors

Pins

Needle and coordinating thread or sewing-machine

Decorative accessories (buttons, broaches, ribbons, appliqués, etc...)


Directions:

1.       Wash all sweaters in hot water in your washing machine.  Tumble dry on high heat.  This will felt the sweaters making them easy to cut without fraying or unravelling.

2.      Lay sweaters out and pin dollar-store stocking to the front or back of the sweater to hold in place.  This will create your cutting template.

3.      Cut along the outside of the dollar-store stocking through both sides of the sweater.  Once fully cut, remove the pins and voila- your felted stocking shape is revealed.  

4.      Flip the two felted pieces so that they are inside out and pin along the edges to secure, leaving the top of the stocking open.

5.      Using a needle and thread or a sewing-machine, sew along the outside of the stocking to secure the two pieces together.

6.      Once sewn, turn the stocking right-side out and voila!  It is now yours to decorate.  Use your imagination to create unique personalized designs, embellish with ribbons, feathers or ornaments and have fun!


Easy No-Sew Christmas Tree Skirt

Supplies: 

1, 60” square of felt from a fabric store, any colour you desire

Fabric shears or sharp scissors of any kind

Pinking shears

Piece of string with paper clip on one end and chalk fastened to other

Optional decorative items such as ribbon, appliqués, etc... 

Directions:

1.      Laying out the square piece of felt on a flat surface, fold corner to corner into a triangle once, and then corner to corner again into a second triangle.  It should now look like a cone.

2.      Take your piece of string and measure it out so that it runs from the tip of the felt triangle down to the bottom on the triangle, in a straight line.  This will be your compass for creating the perfect rounded circle edge.

3.      Fasten the string using a paperclip to the tip of the triangle and secure the piece of chalk to the other end by tying the string around it.  Now, like a pendulum, swing the chalk along to each side creating a perfect arc shape.  This will be your cutting guide.

4.      You need a hole for the trunk, so trace a half moon at the tip of the triangle and cut along to open up that end.  About 2-3” from the tip is plenty.

5.      Now you need to have one side opened up to get it around the tree.  From the tip where you just removed fabric, cut along one side of the closed off fabric triangle (watch out not to cut through both layers).  Now you’re done!  Open it up and take a look.

6.      Use the pinking shears to re-cut along all edges just to make them look a little prettier.

7.      Using fabric shears, cut small holes along the open back and add ribbon so that you can hold it together under the tree. 

8.      Add your own special touches and decorations to the skirt to make it your own.  Add plenty of pizzazz keeping in mind, that it will be the showpiece under the tree until Santa arrives with gifts! Watch my Canada AM segment on this DIY!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Duggar for a day: the experiment

My boys are good boys...most of the time.  But there are days (we all have them) when I am a mere mouse-click away from posting their pics and profiles on Ebay and auctioning them off to the first nut-job bidder.  To quell my rage and seek advice,  I used to turn to parenting books for solace, guidance and reassurance.  But as I've grown older and lazier,  I have come to realise that reading books requires effort, proper lighting and two hands to hold the book- difficult to do with an aquarium-sized glass of Sauvignon Blanc in my left...and the classy box it dispenses from in my right.  So alas, I have come to rely on the ever-dependable and always hands-free reality television as my guide to becoming a better Mom.  More specifically, I am a disciple of everyone's favourite reproductive dynamos, the Duggars from good ol' Arkansas (as seen 24/7 on TLC).
First off, let's just take Jim-Bob Duggar right out of this discussion, because I think it is pretty obvious that apart from some great swimmers below the belt and the world's most awesome side-part, his contribution to a household with 19 kids is pretty weak.  But Michelle Duggar- holy crow!!  How does this lady survive daily life with all those kids and all those meals and all that laundry and after all those pregnancies...? To her I say, "Madame, you are amazing-  a true heroine of domesticity and childrearing...and also, I completely get why you only wear denim muumuus...because I know what my gut looks like after only three kids...two words: cottage cheese!"

A few days ago, I watched as Michelle, my heroine, wrangled her litter of J-named tots, tykes, tweens and teens into a van so ridiculously large, it could legally be considered a locomotive.  As the camera zoomed in on the clean, neatly-combed and smiling faces of all 19 kids, eagerly hopping aboard,  I flashedback to my most recent trip to a local Tim Hortons for an extra-large double-double and three Timbits.  The boarding of my bus, was not as smooth.  There I sat in the driver's seat, honking impatiently in the confines of my hot, smelly garage whilst my three non J-named spawns crammed through the door fighting over who was going to sit where.  Yelling, pushing, shoeless, bed-headed... What's her secret?  She makes it look so easy!!

This past Tuesday, I thought it would be pretty neat if I channeled my inner-Michelle and really tried to become her- in the physical sense.  Just maybe, the parenting prophecies that she preaches would come more naturally to me if I looked the part.  Now as you know, Michelle Duggar does not wear makeup.  As you may also know, I have never (and I mean NEVER) NOT worn makeup.  I put on extra makeup in labour so that my baby birth pics would look good.  So I knew that this first part of the transformation was going to be tough. But as luck would have it, I was getting a facial at the local spa once the kids got on the bus (sorry- not doing the home-schooling- no way!) so that could be my fresh start from there.  At 11am, cleansed, pores exposed to the world, my facial skin made its debut in town as I drove home, visor flipped down and oversized sunglasses shielding my insecurities from the world (or more like the six random strangers my van passed on my route home).  Once back on the homestead I thought, "What next?  What would Michelle do after her facial?" It is then that I went upstairs to search for some homemade, loose-fitting, unflattering jean dress with built-in dickie for added modesty.  The closest thing I could find was a factory-made pair of designer denim jeans and a form-fitting top, for those with no modesty.  As I quickly dusted my face with mineral makeup I thought, "Wow- this assignment is tough".  But come on, how can one's appearance alter their parenting?  The secret I realised must be in her sweet-as-sugar, soft, whispery voice.  She never raises her voice- ever!  She's always talking as if she's just kissed a baby..and chances are, she has.  When the kids arrived off the bus, I greeted them with just such a voice.  "Welcome home my darlings," I whispered with a smile as they completely ignored me and barged through the door, pillaging the cupboards for food. 

Well, I'm no quitter!  Tomorrow is another day for TV, wine and more Michelle!  If she can make it look easy, well then...what the heck's wrong with the rest of us?

 

Monday, April 23, 2012

I'll show you a "Real Housewife"!

Maybe it's the full moon, maybe it's hormones, maybe I'm feeling just a bit bitchy today...but you know what?  I am sick to death with the surge in popularity and constant pop-culture bombardment of these ridiculous "Real Housewives" shows.  Um, hello ladies?  Have you looked in the mirror lately?  You are not a friggin' housewife!  You are a wife...with a house (albeit a monstrous mansion)...that's pretty much it.  House + Wife does NOT = Housewife!  Half the time, you're somebody's ex-wife...so you should not even be allowed on the show to begin with.  And do not even go there on the "Real" descriptive in the show title.  Unless the word "Real" is a euphemism for real...ly good plastic surgery, I do not think "Real" is the term I'd use to describe these ladies. 
Correction:  Oh wait, further research yields a legal clause in the network's fine print telling me that the term "Real" may indeed be applied to a physically altered person insofar as a minimum of 50% of their internal organs and 40% of their earlobes remain untouched by a scalpel.  Well, I stand corrected then.

Right now you may be wondering what gives me the right to criticize and judge a bunch of women I have never before met, who are on TV, doing their darnedest to show the world what it is to be a humble housewife...  Well, to you I scream angrily, because I am a REAL, REAL HOUSEWIFE!! 

Now that that has been established, why then is nobody lining up at my door with a digital camcorder and a sound crew?  Because the truth is, we'd much rather watch a woman pumped so full of Botox that rats drop dead at her scent, then watch me narrowly pinching away at a blackhead on my chin using a teaspoon as a mirror.  We prefer watching women sip Champagne whilst trying on sexy pumps in a Manolo Blahnik boutique than watch me wrestle my gnarled toes into an ill fitting pair of flats on a clearance rack at Winners!  The Real Housewives of Vancouver lay out architectural plans for their ocean-front playgrounds.  The real housewives I know lay out plans to finally scrape up the week-old cat puke from the front hall rug.  Does anyone truly want to see real life?  No!  Not even the housewives on my street want to watch a show about actual housewives.  We live it- we don't need to watch it unfold in our spare time. 

DAYDREAMING INTERLUDE:
Brad:  Kas, what are you watching?
Me: Oh, just an awesomely interesting show about housewives like myself!  Quiet!  Sue is about to do another load of laundry...no...lookout...a white blouse got tossed in with the darks...ohhhhh...this is going to be a nail biter....
"What is she doing?  Is that cat puke?  Ewww...she is so not a real housewife!"
Ok, now that I am thoroughly depressed, I'd better get off this Blog.  Fictitious Sue from my daydream just reminded me that I have the duties of housewifery that await...  Laundry, then mopping, then meal prep, then cat puke removal...then LBBDU (Little Boy Bathroom De-Urinization) to the uninitiated.   Maybe I should video it and post it as a "REAL, REAL HOUSEWIVES" show.  Would you watch?  I'll take your silence as a NO!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Forget April 1st- let's be fools year round!

Recently, I visited my hometown and met up with some friends from "the good ol' days".  You remember the good ol' days don't you?  When the term "responsibility" meant showing up to school on time and paying back the $0.50 you borrowed from a friend to buy an ice cream sandwich from the caf?   In the good ol' days, "time management" meant spending as much time laughing until your cheeks hurt as you did sleeping in.  My friends and I spent hours recalling these times of complete fun and frivolity and I took great pleasure in listening to them recount all of the unnecessarily stupid and hilarious things that I, Kasie, supposedly did for a cheap laugh. 

That's when reality hit me in the face like a hot pink can of Aqua Net- I am soooo boring and soooo lame and soooo un-fun now that I have kids and a husband and jobs and carpooling duties and bills and kitty litter and wrinkles and dry hair...in strange places...  I am such a bummer so much of the time.  My poor family, was the first thing that popped into my head.  What happened to Krazy Kasie of yesteryear? 

Growing up, my house was always filled with hijinx.  My whole family was comprised of pranksters and it wasn't reserved for April Fool's Day either.  My Mom routinely sent me to school with my brown-bagged lunch, knowing full well the level of sheer embarrassment I would experience when I dumped out the contents to find a pile of dog biscuits mixed in with the standard sandwich and yogurt.  My brother and I once found an old slide-projector in the basement and hung it out his bedroom window, projecting a 40 foot image of my Dad in bell bottoms with handlebar moustache onto the side of a neighbours house in the darkness of rush-hour traffic.  One time,  my sweet, Betty White look-a-like of a grandmother sat me down and explained that the pots of soil on her coffee table were actually tiny marijuana plants being grown for medicinal purposes and that all of her friends were "really into it".  Turns out they were merely Amaryllis bulbs.  The point is, tomfoolery is in my blood! 

But back then, life was so unpredictable and fluid and changing and spontaneous!  When you're a parent, everyday starts to feel the same- same routine, same "where are your socks, sit on your bum" speech...the days come and the days go and where is the fun I ask?  Kids want parents who act like kids!  At least some of the time.  So starting yesterday, it's April Fool's Day come early in the Savage household. 


When the boys got home from school they discovered what turned out to be a Tootsie Roll, slightly melted and crafted to look like a fresh animal dropping in the foyer.  Boys love poop jokes! Who doesn't really?  I put on my straight face and accused each of them of the mess and then threatened to investigate further by touching and tasting the sample.  We all had a great belly-laugh and also enjoyed a soft Tootsie Roll snack- a win, win I tell you.  Today, who knows what prank shall emerge from the cobwebs of my inner joker...  All I know is, I'm back baby!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Van. The Shame.

Ah, the dreaded minivan. The auto industry's equivalent to sweatpants. Roomy, comfy, non-threatening and generally unflattering to the owner. My parenting mantra was "I will never own a minivan"...and then suddenly I found myself preggers with baby #3 and had to face facts- the only vehicle on the road able to accommodate three car seats was the very beast I had mentally battled for so long. Ugh. This was not going to be good for my image, I worried.  The mere thought of owning a van was tantamount to pulling up next to a studly guy at the lights and seeing that he drives a red Mazda Miata- strangely repulsive. 

somebody shoot me...
But what choice did I have?  So I went van shopping.  Entering the dealership, my stomach turned as I shuffled into the purveyors of these "sweatpants on wheels".  Did I mention that I do not even own sweatpants?  This was all so tremendously unsavory to me on a core level.

But those who owned vans swore by them. So it was either, travel as a family of four and leave one kid behind to fend for themselves, or the more pragmatic and logical approach, purchase a minivan (even the mere name brought bile up my throat).


And then, it happened.  I stepped inside of one and the rest is history.  For those of you who have not yet embraced your inner minivan, let me tell you that not all minivans are saggy-bottomed sweatpants. No! Some are Lululemons. Sleek, sexy and best of all, flattering to be seen in- with a nice rear-end (or at least this is what I tell myself to ease the pain of being seen driving one).

Once I stepped foot inside that black and beautiful Nissan Quest, with its cheeky chrome roof-racks, leather seats that beg for more and drop-down DVD player to keep the kids mum on road trips, I was overcome with rapture. No wood panels, rusty wheels or leaky tailpipe for me. I would be a yummy mummy in motion, gliding through the 'hood, wind in my hair (from the A/C of course) nodding cordially to gawking wannabes. Yes ladies, the minivan was cool...well, for five blurry, overtired years it was.


Now I've come to my senses again and the van is really all too practical for my tastes.  Especially now that I have options again.  Yes!  Wyatt (aka Bossy) has graduated to a simple lap-belt like the rest of 8+ civilization.  Oh, what possibilities!  Now I can wedge his skinny bum anywhere into almost any vehicle and even between his booster-seated bros!  Life is full of promise again!!

Plus let's face it, a five-year old van that transports three young boys, day in and day out, is really a 20-year old vehicle in terms of wear and tear, stench and destruction.  Mama needs a new ride friends...and come hell or high water, it will be a vehicle that has pep, speed, corners like it's on rails and yes, looks awesome! 

(Ok, fine...it will likely be another van, who's kidding who...but please don't burst my tires on this fantasy- everyone needs a dream!).

Monday, December 12, 2011

Get ready to toss your cookies kids... Yep, it's Christmastime!!

'Tis the reason to be tired of the season...falalalala, lalala, hack.

If you've got little kids you know that Christmastime is as much about throwing parties as it is about throwing up, and as much about gifts as it is about greed. In our humble home it's an annual xmas tradition that anywhere between one and three boys will toss their gingerbread cookies, develop Croup or break out in some other rarely experienced and unpleasantly named childhood infection.
"I'll take my hot cocoa with a side of Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, Mum!"

It's also the time of year when my little angels utter the words "me", "mine" and "gimme" once every 6-seconds...even as we're dropping off a bunch of blankets to the SPCA in an attempt to teach the holiday virtues of giving and charity.  As they frantically shred the bag I've packed the canine delivery in at the back of the van, I can hear 30 little fingers grabbing at the donation, "Gimme....that's mine...I'm giving it to the dog with 3 legs and the glass eye...let go....mine, mine, mine!!!!"

Real-time update:  Noah (aka Needy),  in an act of eager, overzealous excitement, has just thrown up- that's a whole 13 days early!!  Way to go, son!!  But please save some of that bitter, watery gunk for xmas!  It just wouldn't be the same without it!

The season also brings questions- questions about Santa.  But in our house, it isn't questions about the big guy's existence, or how those wacky reindeer actually fly, or why Santa at the mall smells like gin...  No, the #1 question I get asked every Christmas is, "Mum, why doesn't Santa ever bring me anything I ask for?"   To which I reply, in my sweetest I'm-from-a-1940's-Christmas-classic-movie voice, "Because little munchkin, Santa knows that there isn't a chance in sweet hell that an eight-year old needs an iPhone 4...and besides dear, the only phone number you know, is your own!"

Ahhh....breath it in.  Can you smell it?  It's Christmas my friends... Oh no, sorry, that's Noah....forgot to wash the vomit from his hair.  Gotta run....

                                                       Merry Christmas everyone!!