Sunday, 29 January 2012

Poetry Picnic: The Wanderer

Okay, so as I said a few posts ago, I am going to start posting some of my poetry I have written over the years.

Poetry has always been a hobby of mine and a way to cope with different emotions and situations. The majority of my best work is from my high school days, probably as a result of all that teen angst, so that is when most of it was written. I will include the dates of when it was written on as many as I can. I am going to make it somewhat of a regular feature so you know I had to pick a catchy name for the title. So, without further adieu I present to you the first edition of my Poetry Picnic. This poem was written in 2004 when I was the tender age of 16. Enjoy:)

This picture from describes this poem perfectly

The Wanderer

Fear, Love, Pain, Denial,
Staring out the window through the eyes of a child.

Eyes full of fire, spirit gone wild
Wanting to run, the finish the mile.

Fought it, wanted it, lost it, gone.
End of flowers, End of song.

Stumbling, Falling, Moping Along.
A picture of pain so delicately drawn.

Won some, lost some, from high to low.
Seeds of ambition that we'll never sow.

To return I first must go,
You'll probably never even know.

Sinking, drowning, flailing, crying.
Through I'm living, somethings dying.

Gave up wanting, even trying.
Reached the stars, No, I'm lying.

Fought it, wanted it, lost it, gone.
A picture of pain so delicately drawn.

Been better yet best forgotten.
The fruits of life are bruised and rotten.

Waited outside to be brought in.
Left behind is all I've gotten.

Shouldn't, could have, didn't, don't.
Wished and wanted, now I don't

Always petted yet never stroked.
Screamed and yelled but never spoke.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Latest Randomness Plus An OOTD...

I have been uber busy in the last few days and have been unable to blog daily as a result. 

I have a lot of little projects going on at once, including an upcoming feature for my blog that I am pretty psyched about. I am also trying to balance finishing up some other posts that are floating around my head, taking care of the kiddos including Nelly who is suffering from a bout of nasty diarrhea. She literally blew up on my couch this morning and no matter how hard i scrub there is still a faint odour of shit. Then there's getting Coder to and from school each day in the damn snow with no car. I still have yet to finish making the lollipop Valentine's for his kindergarten class, which I will also be posting a tutorial of. 

The kiddos have been a bit sick....Poor Nelly has the runs..oops TMI?
We just got another snow storm down yesterday and school was let out early on Friday. We have actually had a pretty mild winter so far but I have still had my fill of cold and snow. Spring can not come fast enough. I just find that I get so down and unmotivated in the winter months. The short days and lack of sunshine throw my system all out of whack. I feel like I am constantly trying to find new ways to keep my kids entertained as choruses of "I'm bored," ring out. I try to bring them out to play as much as possible but getting them all bundled up is such as hassle and usually results in the youngest whining that she is cold after twenty minutes. Or one of them needs to use the bathroom and I am forced to strip it all back off. I probably sound so negative right now and I am sure all those Mom's who spend hours doing outdoor activities with their families are probably tsk tsk-ing but it is the truth. We did make a few snowmen and manage to bring Coder skating on the pond at Centennial lately so the kids have had some outdoor fun this year so far. 

 All bundled up for a car ride to visit Nana and Pappy:)

 Another thing that has been keeping my occupied is that I have been looking into getting my GED or adult diploma lately. Pretty much everyone has heard of the G.E.D but another option many haven't heard of is the adult diploma. It is the equivalent of a regular high school diploma but it is for people                                                                                                                                                                                                                          who are 21 years old and up (to old for regular high school) and it only requires nine credits to graduate, as opposed to the usually twenty-something. You are only required to earn one credit in each basic subject including Science, Social Studies, Math, English, French, one Computer course and a few others I can't recall at the moment. My sister graduated high school via the adult diploma and is now working at a high paying law firm so it is definitely accepted as you high school equivalent at many places. The reason I want to do this is because i never graduated from high school and that is one of my biggest regrets ever. 
I was several months pregnant when i stopped going and swore i would go back after the baby was born, but then i ended up spending all my time raising my son so I kept putting it off longer, then i got into drugs and what later blossomed into a full blown addiction and school was the last thing on my mind. However, now that i am clean and drug free, my son is in school and my daughter is older I feel it is the perfect time to go back to school. I sit home with the kids all day anyway as I am not working now so what do I have to lose? I know that Nanny Trites will watch Nelly while brother is in school if I can attend morning classes. I want to eventually go to college and pursue a real career once my children are older so some type of high school diploma is essential. Plus, the hubby  raduated and I want to set a good example for my children as well because their education is very important to me. Anywho, I am finished yapping now so I will leave you with my latest outfit of the day. Enjoy:)

OOTD: Plaid is RAD

Plaid Shirt- Urban Planet for 4$ (Regular 24.99$)
Black Low Cut Halter Top underneath- Urban Planet for 14.99$
Distressed Jeans- Urban Planet for 29.99$
Ugg-Style Boots- Giant Tiger for 12.99$
Wide Black Belt- Urban Planet for 5$
Black and Silver Necklace- Given to me by my sister
Brown Sunglasses- Dollarama for 2$

Messy ass house in the background- PRICELESS

Here is a closer looks at my belt and necklace (and boobs...oopsie)

Drop by tomorrow for the debut of my first poetry post. As I said before I plan on poster a series of poems written by me throughout my angsty teen years through to now. They have been collecting dust in a box until now so I decided to dust them off and share them with the world (Well, at least with the blog world). Please leave me a comment to let me know what you think after you read them (Keep in mind that many of them were written when I was at the tender age of sixteen so be easy on me.) The first will go live (I love the sound of that..."It goes live at six..." I feel like a real reporter or something when I say it that way...It sounds much more exciting, AmIRight?) Later Peeps:)

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Jumping on The Wiggles Drama Bandwagon!

With parents everywhere in an uproar over Sam Moran's dismissal from the children entertainment super group The Wiggles, I decided I may as well throw my opinion out there as well.

Normally, I could care less about something like this and would certainly not bother posting about it, however, I have been reading about it on every webpage I visit so I feel inclined to join the masses. I have actually brought my son to see The Wiggles in concert live in our hometown in New Brunswick, Canada a few years ago. Now, I would never pay fifty bucks for tickets to a children's show and I certainly didn't make an exception for The Wiggles. It happened like this: I was doing some shopping with my children at Giant Tiger on the same day that our local radio station happened to be doing a live, in-store show about the that weeks sales or whatever. I saw the radio guy at his booth doing his thing and pointed him out to my son because it was kind of neat seeing him talking into a mic and then hearing him on the radio over the loudspeaker at the same time.

As we were walking away, the dude called after me and asked if my children liked The Wiggles. Truthfully, they didn't even really like them much at the time but, sensing he was about to give us something, I said yes anyways. Sure enough, he gave me four tickets to the Wiggles show that was happening the following week. As I was thanking him a passing mother overheard and quickly pounced him asking if he had anymore. He said that he didn't and that he had only brought four of them. Sensing that things were about to get ugly I began to hightail it out of there before I got rolled by some crazed mom for my Wiggles tickets. Sure enough, as I took one last look over my shoulder on the way out the door, this poor radio DJ was now surrounded by a hoard of Wiggles crazed mothers and crying snot-nosed kids demanding that they too should get free tickets. I am only lucky that I managed to escape unscathed. So, that my friends,  is how we ended up with four tickets to the Wiggles.

At the Wiggles live show...It was chaos!

My daughter was too young at the time to attend the show and hubby looked less-than-thrilled when I asked him to come with us, so instead I invited the Hubby's sister and her son (who was the same age as Coder) to join us instead. Needless to say, the kids loved it, but my god it was the longest show of my life. Seriously, by the 25th song I wanted to veer off a cliff at high speeds. I will give them props though, The Wiggles sure know how to work a crowd. My son, like every other child in the place, was absolutely memorized.  I, on the other hand,  couldn't help but find the concept of grown men in skin tight bodysuits, singing for children, a tad creepy. But if it kept them entertained (and quiet) for a while, then who was I to judge? At the time I didn't know their names or that the yellow one wasn't one of the original members. I actually recall Googling them when I got home from the show later that evening to find out the back story on these four dude dancing in their colorful skivvies.

Coder still watches the Wiggles from time to time, usually when there is nothing else on TV that interests him, but he never really got hooked on them like many other kids have. And thank God for that because I probably would have lost my shit after one week of listening to "Fruit Salad"...Anyways, when The Wiggles faces and names kept popping up all over the net yesterday I finally gave in and Googled it to see what the eff the big deal was. Now, from what I gather, everyone is in a huff because Sam Moran, the Yellow Wiggle  (Thank you, Google) has been dropped from the gig because one of the original founding members (and the original Yellow Wiggle) who had been unable to perform for several years due to health issues, now wants to return to the limelight. From what I have gathered, Sam was Greg's understudy for some time and when Greg fell ill and was unable to perform Sam was hired to stand in for him for an undetermined amount of time. I also read that many people aren't angry simply because he was let go but because they feel he was treated unfairly in the process. So, let us look at the facts before I give you my final conclusion.

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The Wiggles FAQ:

  • The Wiggles were formed  when Anthony Field, Murray Cook and Greg Page met while studying Early Childhood Education at Sydney's Macquarie University. They began writing children's songs as a music project. They enlisted the assistance of Jeff Fatt, who played with Anthony in the popular 1980's band The Cockroaches, and The Wiggles were born. The Wiggles took the finished tape to ABC Music, who released a self-titled album in 1991. MORE INFO...
  • Sam Moran, the understudy of the original yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, was hired to fill in for him. He has worked for The Wiggles for almost ten years, fulfilling his role as Greg's replacement in the public eye for five of those years.
  • Sam was payed an annual salary of around 200 000$ during his time performing as the Yellow dude. 
  • Sam was let go with no prior warning because Greg, the original, has decided he is ready to return to the limelight.
  • Sam was payed a reported $60 000 bonus upon leaving. He will also recieve approxamately 60 000- 100 000$ per year in royalties.
  • During an interview on National TV regarding Sam's departure, Anthony Field, the blue Wiggle, dismissed Sam as being nothing more than a "hired hand"
  • While The Wiggles brought in approximately 28.2 million in 2011 alone, Sam was forced to accept less than 1% of that upon being dismissed.
  • He received no notice in advance of Greg's return or his dismissal.
  • Sam Moran has only wrote three songs out of all the Wiggles songs.

Now, I sort of have mixed feelings on this situation...

In regards to them letting Sam go in favor of Greg's return I feel as though Sam knew going in what the role of an understudy entailed.  He understood that he would only perform as a replacement in the event that Greg was unable to for one reason or another. It doesn't matter if it was for one week, one year or five years, an understudy is still an understudy. He obviously would have signed a contract upon entering into the position and was obviously aware the fact that he was only being hired on the basis that Greg had fallen ill. Yes, it was an awesome opportunity, but it was based solely on the fact that the ORIGINAL member was unable to perform for one reason or another. He got a chance that none of the other understudy's got and should be grateful for that.
Yellow Wiggle Sam Moran has been Greg's replacement for five years.

However, as with any job, the bottom line is that business is business. Greg was one of the founding members of The Wiggles; Sam was not. Sam did not create the Wiggles in any way, shape or form. He was simply an employer. Yes, he did a fantastic job and was brilliant on stage, but he did not help to create the franchise and was not there since the beginning. Being great at your job does not put you on the same level as the business owner. I think that 200 000$ is a great annual income considering that he went into the position as an understudy knowing that he may not get a chance to perform at all. He should be thankful that he was given the opportunity in the first place and I am sure that he is. Many people would love to have an opportunity like that including the other three understudy's, yet they didn't. As far as the 60 000$ goes, that was simply a bonus and a fair one in my opinion. Most people don't get the equivalent of four months pay upon being let go. It is unrealistic to expect him to receive a lions share of the profits when he was not the creator or owner of the business. I do not think that he can take the sole credit for their success. I think he did a great job and was loved by many children, but that never stopped it from being a business agreement. Also, do not forget that he will also be entitled to royalties of anywhere between 60 000$ to 100 000$ per year. During his run as the yellow Wiggle he has grossed at least a cool million dollars. That is more than generous for a position he probably never would have gotten had the original member not fallen ill. It is business, he entered into a contract and I do not believe that anything illegal has been done. I think that they are right to welcome the original member back with open arms. He was part of the original vision and without his contribution the Wiggles may not have came to be.

 Now, with that out of the way I will say I do agree that they could have handled the publicity end of the whole situation a bit better. They didn't come off very well in the interviews and it most definitely didn't help their cause. Anthony Fields came off as ill-prepared for the question and looked like a deer in headlights, basically dismissing Sam as simply an employee who has come to the end of his contract. He claims that he has not spoke to Sam since and doesn't know how he is taking the news, and that they were going to leave it at that. It all came off as rather cold to me and I can definitely understand how people may have taken it the wrong way. To view the full interview CLICK HERE. With all of their millions you would think that their PR person would have sat them down and briefed them on how to answer questions regarding Sam's dismissal in a classier manner. I can see why their responses would have rubbed a few parents the wrong way.

Sam taking a stroll just a few days after being let go...

I also agree with others who have stated that a couple members are getting up their age wise (pushing sixty!) and that they should be giving to some thought to the future of the Wiggles. As they years pass it will be harder and harder for them to jump around on stage and have the energy necessary for the gig. They should be starting to plan ahead and line up some replacement Wiggles for the next few years. Sam was a bit younger and did seem to have a lot of energy so hopefully they will keep him in mind for the future of the Wiggles. Other people have suggested adding Sam as a fifth member, but I can see why they would be hesitant to do that. They Wiggles rose to success as a foursome and all of their skits and shows are based on that foursome. Throw in a fifth member and it throws it all off. Why mess with a good thing?

In regards to the claim that the children will all be devastated by the change...Yeah,  I don't think that is going to be much of an issue. Kids adapt very well to change and truthfully I don't think my son would even notice that it is a different man playing the Yellow Wiggle. Most children are just down for the singing and dancing, they don't really give much thought to the "man behind the mask," so to say. As for parents claiming that they are boycotting The Wiggles and refusing to let their children watch it anymore: You are being RIDICULOUS!. Your kids don't give two shits about all of the politics!! They don't care about what goes on behind the scenes. They just want to watch four colorful dudes sing, dance and drive around in the Big Red Car!!
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All in all, I think that Sam should just be thankful for the time he was given with The Wiggles, the opportunity to travel around the world and bring joy to children. He brought in over a million dollars during his stint as the Yellow wiggles and I am sure that this will open many doors for him in the future. He seems to be handling it very well and I am sure he will enjoy the chance to spend time with his wife and child after touring around the world for several years. The public is taking this much harder then he appears to be and it is quite silly. Business is business, that's the way the cookies crumbles, C'est La Vie and all that jazz. As for Greg, I am sure it feels great to be back and I think that he will also do a fine job!

Greg Page, the original Yellow Wiggle, is probably thrilled to be back...
So, what are your guy's opinions on The Wiggles situation? Do you think they could have handled it better or do you think they were fair? Should Greg be able to come back after all that time away or should he just accept that he is getting older and that Sam has been doing a great job in his absence? Please share...

Couldn't Resist Sharing...

I am pretty sure that this image I cam across made my week! Snoop Dogg just posted it to Google+ and I think it is freakin' HI-LAR-IOUS!! Man, I love Snoop!! ~Tha Dogg-Father~

Monday, 23 January 2012

YAY! I won the "Versatile Blogger Award"!!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce that Two Tiny Tyrants been awarded the "Versatile Blogger Award" by Mel and Kat, over at Two Moms, a Little Time, and a Keyboard! I encourage everyone to take a minute to go check out their fabulous blog. Thank you very much for the award ladies!

Recipients of this award are asked to:
  • Thank the person that nominated their blog for the award with a backlink to them.
  • List 7 things about themselves.
  • Award 15 newly discovered blogs with the award and notify them of the award.

Here is my list of seven interesting facts about myself:

1) Deep down I am the biggest nerd ever! I am always reading something whether it be a book, a magazine or the back of every product box I purchase. I cannot sit at the table and eat without reading a book at the same time. I am also obsessed with conspiracy theories, documentaries and the paranormal.

2) I cannot sleep without a fan blowing directly on me, even during the winter. 

3)  In high school I was a total punk rocker. I had red hair, ripped clothes with patches all over them and chains. I stopped washing my hair for like a month in grade ten trying to give myself dreadlocks. I listened to punk (The Ramones, Sex Pistols, Black Flag), old rock (Pink Floyd, Def Leppard, Black Sabbath) and jam bands (Phish, grateful dead, etc). I was all about hip hop prior to high school and I have since reverted back to the rap scene simply for its upbeat tempo and fast pace, although I still appreciate all musical genres from time to time.

4) My biological father and my step-father who raised me both passed away. My biological father died of Cancer when I was younger and my step-father, whom I still call Dad and raised me since I was six, passed away in 2010 from an accident resulting in severe head trauma. I love and miss them both dearly<3

5) I struggled with an addiction to opiates and cocaine for about four years. I went on Methadone to help combat the opiate withdrawals and I am happy to tell you that I have been clean for two and a half years now and couldn't be happier. I am finally loving life again and wake up each morning looking forward to the day ahead. I am finally the person and mother that I always knew I could be! I am finally healthy and happy again:)

6) I do my hair and makeup (and get dressed) every single morning even if I am not going anywhere. It helps to give me the confidence to face the day! Plus, you never know when an opportunity may present itself or who you may run into!

7) I am a poet! I have written poetry for many years now. I prefer writing darker poetry as opposed to the cheerful stuff. I have books full of my poetry from as far back as elementary school to now. I have had my poetry used at an addiction rehab facility for addicts. I frequently write poems for other people for many different occasions. I have written poems for others that they have requested for a lost loved one (to be read at the funeral service), for people in prison, for significant others, etc. I read a poem I wrote at my step-dad's funeral and then folded it up and left it beside his urn. It was the only copy of that poem I had and I wanted him to have it.  So, if anyone needs a poem, email me!

Here are 15 the fantastic blogs that I am awarding the "Versatile Blogger Award" to:

Be sure to take some time to check out all of these awesome blogs!

PS- If anyone knows how to change my text background color back to the original please tell me!! I cannot find my original color on the colors tab...UGH!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Top 8 Websites That I Use Daily

While I still prefer to keep track off many things with good old fashion pen and paper, there is no arguing that the Internet has made scheduling and task management much easier.

I have compiled this list of my favorite programs for each section of my life and why I like them. Some of them I have been using for a few years now and some of them I have only been using for a month or so. If you know of any websites or programs in any of these categories that you think I will like better then what I am currently using then please don't hesitate to share in the comments.

Email: Gmail

For my everyday email I use Gmail. I have two separate Gmail accounts, one for personal and one for blogging and everything related to my blog. I love Gmail because it is simple to use and I really love organizing my emails with their "labeling" system. You can file emails under their preexisting labels or create you own labels. bI have it broken into categories like Personal, Receipts, and Household. I then have it broken down further with sub-categories like Bills, Subscriptions, School, etc. I also love that I can choose to have certain emails bypass my inbox altogether and go straight to the folder of my choice. For example I have all emails from NB Power and Roger's go straight to my Bills folder. It saves me having to read through a bunch of unnecessary mail and keeps my inbox free of clutter. Another thing I LOVE, is that you can use Remember The Milk as an Add-On with Gmail and view your To-Do List/Tasks right on the same page as your inbox.Which brings me to the next website...

To-Do List/ Scheduling- Remember The Milk

I am currently using Remember The Milk for my to-do lists, scheduling activities, appointments and managing my families day-to-day life. I have only been using RTM for about a month now so I have yet to unlock its full potential. So far I like that I can organise tasks by family member and level of priority. I like being able to "Tag" tasks and then I can search for multiple tasks under the same tag. As I mentioned earlier it can be used as an ad-on with Gmail and my To-do list appears right next to my inbox when I sign on Gmail, saving me from having to check the RTM website every day. One thing that drives me nutso about RTM, however, is that there is an icon of a calender when scheduling dates, but when you click it nothing happens. There is no pop-up calender to chose a date from!! Yes, you can type in "next Friday" and it will automatically detect the date, but I need to actually see a calender in front of me when scheduling a date in order to see the actual day. As a result, I have to open another program to check a calender, which kind of defeats the purpose of saving time. A pop-up calender when selecting a date is standard on any scheduling program so I don't really understand how Remember The Milk didn't think of this.  This is the one thing preventing my RTM experience from being the most efficient. If anyone can suggest a better program for task management and to do list please let me know as I am definitely open to trying a new one.

Pictures- Picasa

I have been using Picasa to manage my photos for over a year now and I love it. I upload tons of photos on a monthly basis and Picasa allows me to upload straight from my camera to Picasa. It is easy to organise pictures and you can edit them with Picnik from Picasa. It also has online albums and the option to email folders or single photos which makes sharing with family and friends extremely easy. Adding captions to photos is another option I really like because it is kind of like when you write on the back of a real photograph, you can add details, the loaction or just a cute comment and it can be seen on the online albums. When I am looking for a picture from my blog it allows me to browse through Picasa, instead of tiny thumbnails, and simply copy the path and post to Blogger. It is much easier for me that way because I can find a picture, crop and edit it and then add it to my blog all from Picasa.

Music and Burning CD'S- Blubster

I have been through so many music programs, including Bearshare, Kazaa, Limewire, and many of them caused issues on my computer or just didn't work for me for one reason or another. I have been using Blubster for about a year and a half now and it has been the best so far. Mainly because it hasn't slowed down my computer or gave me a virus...yet. I use it to download songs, organise my music and burn Cd's. Well actually, I don't actually use Blubster to burn them, I use Windows Media Player to burn them, but I download them on Blubster then simply drag the songs from Blubster to my Media Player burn list and push burn. It is super simple! One downside to Blubster is that while they have millions of songs, songs that are less popular and not as well known can be difficult to impossible to find. It is frustrating when you have a song you really like but you cannot find it. However, I have yet to find something better (Feel free to recommend one:) so in the meantime, Blubster it is!

Music and Videos- YouTube

Okay, I know that Youtube isn't really a website I "need" but I honestly can't go without it. I use Youtube every single day. If I am looking for new music to listen to or I want to just listen to music without downloading it, Youtube is what I use. I also use it all the time to find tutorials on things such as crafts, makeup, etc. While I love written tutorials, I am the kind of person who has to see something being done as opposed to just reading about it. The downside to so much Youtube is that with Roger's High Speed Internet you have a monthly cap on how much GB you can use (I think it is usually 60GB, but you can pay for a higher cap) and once you reach 100% of your usage then you are charged by the Gigabyte. It is stupid and I learnt the hard way that Youtube sucks up usage like there's no tomorrow. Trust me when you are streaming videos it doesn't take long to reach your limit. But until I can find a better ISP I am gonna keep on YouTube-ing.

Organizing/Bookmarking Projects/Recipes/ETC-Pinterest

Until about a week ago I had yet to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. Not because I didn't want to but because I could not get them to send me a damn invite! Finally, after begging another blogger on their comments to send me an invite, I finally got to see what I was missing. And boy, was I missing out!! I absolutely LOVE Pinterest now for quickly bookmarking things such as projects, activities for the kids, cleaning tips, you name it! I love how you can make several different bloards for whatever you wish. Right now I have a pinboard for Valentine's Activities, one for Organisation and Cleaning Tips, Projects/crafts to Try, etc. Plus, the "PIN IT" button on my toolbar makes it a cinch. So to the creators of Pinterest: THANK YOU!

Financial- Scotiabank Online

For financial stuff I simply use my regular banks online banking service. I do almost all of my day-to-day banking online because it is just easier then calling them or dragging the kids all the way to the bank. Pretty much anything I can do over the phone or in person I can do online (except cashing cheques and withdrawing cash obviously). I can pay bills, transfer funds, check my balances, review my statements, order cheques, etc. It saves time and is environmentally friendly (no more paper statements!) However, I do NOT get any emails from my bank containing any personal or banking information. This is because I don't feel that email is secure enough, and I was right!! My Gmail account just got hacked last week!

Organisation/Meal Planning/Calender- Cozi

While I use Remember The Milk for my To-Do lists, I use Cozi for all my other family planning and organisation. I use the calender to schedule appointments, activities, school stuff, birthdays, etc. There is also a meal planning feature, a journal, shopping lists and more. I am currently using the Flylady version because I LOVE Flylady. There are also some neat extras and ad-ons available for download such as the Cozi desktop widget (To display your tasks on your desktop) or the Cozi screensaver (which not only posts reminders but also a slide show of all your photos on your screensaver). Just make sure they are compatible with your version of Windows before you download them. I downloaded both and turns out I don't have the right version of Windows for them to work properly: Overall, the Cozi webpage is fairly easy to use and navigate and I will continue to use it until I find something better.

So, there you have it! It is so hard for me to remember what life was like before all these great programs! Or imagine having to go without them! So, what types of websites can you just not live without? Feel free to suggest any programs that you think I will like better!!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Thursday Tidbits: Back 2 School, Gmail Hacker and more!

After a long and eventful Christmas break it's back to the same old hum-drum of normal day-to-day life. 
 Coder returned to school yesterday after two weeks off and I think that he is glad to be back in school. While he enjoyed staying up a bit later and not getting up so early, he seemed to be getting a bit antsy and was asking when he got to go back to school. I think all kids are like that. They don't want to go to school, yet when they are on a long break they start to realise how boring it can be and long to return. They start to miss their friends and having something to do each day.
He was begging to go back to school!

When I was a kid I LOVED school. I was a total goody-goody, teacher's pet in every sense of the word. I got the Principal's Choice Award each year from Kindergarten through to Grade 8. I take my children's education very seriously and I try my hardest to be involved with Coder's schooling. I never got to graduate from high school because I got pregnant with my son and dropped out in grade 11, one year away from graduating. Then between raising a child and having my daughter, my education took the back burner. However,  I am only missing a few credits so I have been really looking into getting my adult-diploma, which is the equivalent of a high school diploma except it is for people over 21 and only requires nine credits, one in each subject. My hubby graduated in 2006 and one of my biggest regrets ever is not finishing high school.

So yeah, I try to stay involved in any way I can. I attend all parent teacher meetings, I try to volunteer to help in any way possible. For example, before Christmas I donated a big bag of Christmas craft supplies that I had purchased at the dollar store (Plus, a few I already had kicking around). It only cost me ten dollars but it was hugely appreciated. The entire kindergarten population (Two classes) all got to make a Christmas craft from the supplies I donated. It makes me feel good when I can help out like that. I also make sure to send treats for his class for each class party and holiday. Speaking of which, I have decided what I am going to make for his class for Valentine's so you can expect a tutorial on that in the next few weeks. In my opinion, handmade is so much more special and memorable than some expensive character-themed, store bought Valentine. I try to include something edible with each little holiday treat for his class. However, because allergies (especially peanut) are so rampant in schools these days, I try to stick to pre-packaged treats such as lollipops, candy canes, etc. As much as I would love to hand out hand baked goodies I have this horrible fear of some kid dying from a peanut allergy because of my cookie. I will have to save the baked goods for the next bake sale, though to tell you the truth I am not much of a baker anyways. My cookies always seem to come out burnt or too soft.

Donate your craft odds and ends to your child's class.
I haven't been able to crank out a very inspirational post in last day or two because I have had a lot going on here at home. Nelly woke up in the middle of the night last night burning right up with a fever, but I gave her some children's Advil and she fell back asleep. She was better the next day, but still a bit warm.  Coder is off to school right now. I had to get Hubby's sister to come pick him up and bring him to school because it is FREEZING outside and Hubby just went back to work. That is good because it is extra money but bad because now he cannot drive Coder to school or pick him up and it has been like minus thirty degrees every single day. Coder is gone to Nanny's right now, where is having a sleepover with his cousins. There probably won't be any school tomorrow because we are supposed to get a big snowstorm. If there does end up being school then Pappy will most likely drive him there in the morning. Hub's couldn't go pick him up because he is in the process of changing our tires on the car right now. I really need to get my drivers licence so I don't have to rely on other people to drive me places. Don't get me wrong, I love walking, just not in the cold, and especially not when I have to drag Nelly out into it as well.

Speaking of Coder, I have to bring him back to the dentist this month to get some cavities filled. He has three cavities but one of them is pretty big and he has been complaining about it lately. Even though I have dental coverage, we still have to pay 70$ for the initial consultation (we will get it reimbursed later though). They are going to decide if they should put him to sleep for the procedure or not. I am voting yes on that one because he freaked at his last dentist appointment and I had to basically pin him down and hold his mouth open. I think part of it was that the dentist wasn't used to seeing kids and she showed him the sharp tool they were going to use which freaked him right out. I couldn't believe it when she showed it too him and then pressed it against his fingernail to show him what she was going to do on his tooth with it. I understand that she meant well and was trying to show him it doesn't hurt, but you do NOT show a five year old (four at the time) a sharp tool and tell them you are going to stick it in their mouth and poke their teeth with it!! Bad idea...So, I am guessing he will have to be put asleep. The largest cavity is on his front tooth and truthfully, I wish it would just fall out already. But it is important to treat cavities even if they are baby teeth because they can affect the adult teeth and prevent them from coming in right. I am trying to be hyper vigilant about Nelly's dental care also as to prevent cavities with her. We tried to brush Coder's teeth at least twice daily but he still got cavities. I honestly think dental health is somewhat genetic because I know people who are anal about teeth brushing and stuff who get cavities, then I know people who never brush and have none.
Start brushing young. You'll be the one paying if you don't...

Another issue I have been having has to do with my electricity and heating of my home. I got my bill yesterday and almost had a friggin stroke. It was 350$ for ONE MONTH! I don't know how much power costs in the US of A, but in Canada, well New Brunswick at least, that is crazy for a basement apartment. I am running my own washer and dryer so I know that is contributing a chunk of it, but still. I rarely have my heat on during the day, I only turn it up a bit at night. Plus, I am able to control the heat in each individual room and only about three of the six rooms ever have heat actually on in them. But I am having trouble with the heater in my hallways, as in it won't turn off. Although, I can control the heat in every room in my house, but the hall one is broken and is running constantly. However, it is not a large heater and nt enough to account for the insane bill. I already know that this place isn't properly insulated and there is cold air coming in from every window and door. I have heard that you can request to have an air test done to determine if there is outside air coming in. I am going to go to the Dollar store in the meantime and buy some weather stripping to fill the cracks in the doors and windows. I hope to resolve this issue soon, though, because it is costing me money. When I first hooked up my services, NB Power required a 400$ security deposit, the equivalent of an average two months payments. My bill just from last month cost almost the same as what they consider an average amount for two months! Something is up when your bill suddenly increases by almost 150$. When i find out what the issue is I will let you know. Any tips or advice on how to lower your power consumption would be greatly appreciated.
NB Power, why do you hate me?

Oh, another thing I wanted to mention! So, I was checking my Gmail the other night and when I signed in a pop-up appeared saying that someone had accessed my account from somewhere in Bosnia. WTF? Sure enough there was a sign-in by some unknown IP address that originated in Bosnia. The first thing I thought was what did they read?? I checked through all my emails to see if there was any personal info that they could have gotten their hands on but (luckily) although I do my banking online, I do NOT receive my statements or any banking info by email. It is scary to think that if I had that some random person with less-than-honest intentions could have access to my funds. It was a very good eye opener to me that the Internet and even password protected accounts are not as secure as we think. I read a really neat article I wanted to share on the subject, titled "5 Things We All Do That Make Hackers' Lives Incredibly Easy." While it is written as somewhat in a humorous manner, it really does offer some great info on how to better protect ourselves online. So obviously, after my Gmail hack, I had to change my password to something new. Now my old password, I had thought was pretty secure, but the truth is that any password that consists of everyday words can be hacked fairly easily. There are programs that will scan every possible word until it finds a match and when it detects a match,  BAM!! The hackers are in! It is really that simple. As quoted from the article "The average new computer can guess 10 million passwords a second. For reference, the unabridged Oxford English Dictionary lists about 600,000 words, and the average adult knows a fraction of that". And as far as adding numbers to the word, well all the does is increase the time it takes to detect the password by about a half second.


So, I wanted to change my password to something that wasn't a word, but I knew it had to be something I could still remember. Enter the article I just mentioned. They had a great trick to make a secure yet easy to remember password. All you do is take a sentence (or part of a song, a favourite quote, or whatever...Anything that you know you will be able to remember with relative ease). For example, lets take the phrase: "I Kissed A Girl And I liked It"(I really didn't, I swear). All you do is take the first letter from each word, throw in a few uppercase and some lowercase and voila! You have a new secure password of: IkAgAiLi. Then, for even more security add a few numbers, preferably something easy to recall yet not obvious like your birth date. Lets say, the last three digits of your social security. So your new password would be: IkAgAiLi586. Much more difficult to hack then, say, Katyperryrocks87. There are also many more great tips throughout the article, such as why the answers to secret password recovery questions make it easier for hackers to access our accounts. But if you want to know why that is then you will have to go read it yourself!!

So, I was trying to think of some ideas for new weekly post topics and I remembered the pile of poems that I have stashed away that I had written over the years. I have always been a writer and have always loved the English language and the written word. As a teen I filled pages upon pages of angsty, who-am-I-really, depressed poetry. However, within all that depressed, teeny-bopper poetry, I did crank out a few real gems. Some of them I really love and i am very proud of. So, I decided that instead of those pages collecting dust in my drawer, I would dust them off and share them with you guys. So, once or twice a week, I am going to share one of my poems with you. Please let me know what you think, okay? If you like them, then I will make them a regular feature:) The first poem will debut tomorrow so be sure to come check it out. But be prepared, I have always been into the darker side of poetry I just can't do unicorns and rainbows. So don't expect some cheery poem about flowers and bunnies, expect something darker. Much darker (MUHAHAHA).
This adequately describes my poetic stylings...

I frequently (even to this day) write poetry for other people. I write poems for people for various occasions such as: for a lost loved one, for a significant other, etc. So if anyone wants a poem written please feel free to email me and i will see what I can do! I simply get the person to provide me with some facts and a bit of background on the topic they wish to have a poem about, whether it be a person or whatever, and then I take it from there and write a great poem:) I have had my poetry read at funerals, in rehab centres for addiction, etc. I would love to write a poem for you so shoot me an email!! Alright, I will shut up now. Class dismissed!


Monday, 9 January 2012

Interview With A Kindergartener

As I was sitting in front of my computer trying to muster up some inspiration for today's blog post,  I remembered something I had read a while back in which a Mom asked her child a series of questions and posted the interview on her blog.

I can't remember what the blog name was and I tried to find it again but came up empty-handed. Anyways, I thought it was a super cute idea and I decided to give it a shot. Kids come up with the craziest things so I thought it would be fun to interview Coder for today's post. The questions and responses that are in bold are me asking questions and commenting on his answers. The responses in normal text are his answers word for word, I did not change them at all. I think it is totally cute and I am thinking of interviewing him again each year with the same questions. I think it would be neat to see how his answers change as he gets older. Here is what Coder, who is five years old, had to say:

1) What is your happiest memory?
Going at the fair. 

On the Roller Coaster with Daddy!!
(He means Crystal Palace, which we just went to yesterday. I guess his memory doesn't reach too far in the past).
2) What do you like most about being a kid?

Cuz I get to have fun with my mom and dad and I get to play and stuff like that.

3) One word to describe you would be _______.

4) If you could be any animal, which one would you be and why?
A moose because I like them.
(LOL, Alrighty then, a moose it is!)

5) Whats your least favourite animal?
(What did a frog ever do to you?)

6) What do you like to do for fun?
Jump on the trampoline and swing.
(He hasn't jumped on the trampoline since the summer because we put it away for the winter but I guess he liked it more than I thought!)

7) Tell me something funny.
Imagine everything was made out of biscuits. 
(Haha, what the hell?!)

8) What is your favourite thing to do? Why? 
Ride my bike because I like to do tricks and stunts. 
(This is definitely true, he LOVES riding his bike. He has been riding with no training wheels since he was three. He is quite the daredevil and loves trying to do stunts. We even put trick pegs on his bike for him. You can see him in action by clicking HERE.)

My little stunt man:)

9) What is your favourite thing to do at school?
Do art class.

10) What is your least favourite thing about school?
When I have to be quiet and read books.
(*Sigh* Kindergarten ain't easy...)

11) What do you love most about your sister?
That she does funny things and that I get to play with her and chase her.

12) What do you want to be when you grow up?
Dirt bike rider.
(This is his answer every single time he is asked this question. At least the kid has goals.)

13) What is your favourite thing to do in the summer?
Go to the beach.
(Me too!)

The beach is my favorite too!!

14) What is the grossest thing you can think of?
A dead earwig.
(LOL, What the actual f*ck!?!? From the mind of a child)

15) How old is your Mom?
(Pretty darn close!! I am actually 24. At least he guessed under and not older!)

16) What is your favourite colour?
(Also his answer every time he is asked his favourite colour or anytime you tell him to pick a colour/flavor)

17) What is your favourite food?
Grapes and strawberries. And tacos.
(He does love strawberries...Grapes..not so much but he does like them. Who doesn't love tacos?!)

How can you not like these guys?
18) What is your favourite TV show?
Toopy and Binou
(Toopy is pretty funny...Not even gonna lie.)

19) What do you like most about mommy?
Because you cook my favourite food.
(Yes. Yes, I do.)

20) What is your favourite thing about daddy?
Because I get to play with him and work with him and he teaches me grown up things that he does.
(Awww. Such a Dad's boy)

21) What super power do you wish you had?
Be super strong and see through walls.

22) Whats your favourite song?
Little guy 
(*Heart melts* It is a song by Gord Bamford, about his son,that him and Daddy listen too together)

23) Whats your favourite toy?
My little Lego's and my dump truck.
(If I step on one more Lego in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom...They freakin kill)

He does have a crap load of Lego...As you can see here!

24) Where is your favourite place to go?
The dollar store to get a toy. I am going there later.
(Oh, are you now? And who is paying?)

25) What are you scared off?
When icicles hang from my window I am scared because I think they are scary teeth. And lions and tigers.  
(I am pretty sure he threw lions and tigers in there when he noticed I was looking at him like he was nuts...Which he is! But aren't we all..)

26) How does your mom make you laugh?
When you tickle me.

27) What do you think your mom does when you’re not around?
(Smart kid!)

28) What is your mom really good at?
Drawing and painting things that are hard.
(At least he thinks I'm good at something..)

29) What is your mom not very good at?
Driving a car.
(Again...Smart kid!)

30) What is your dad really good at?
Taking care of me.
(I'm pretty sure Mommy does most of that but I'll let you get away with that answer because it's cute.)

31) What is your mom not very good at?
Lifting super heavy things
(LOL, Don't tell Daddy that, you will deflate his ego)

32) What colour are your eyes?
*Runs to the bathroom mirror* Green
(Actually, they're blue. Apparently my child is colour blind...)

33) How do you know your mom loves you?
Cuz you kiss me and hug me.

34) What do you and your mom do together?
Do crafts

He loves crafting with Mommy!

35) When is the last time you got in trouble?
When I pushed my sister today.
(Little shit...)

36) What do you like to do with sissy?
I like to pick her up
(This usually ends in him dropping her and tears...From her hitting the floor. And me screaming)

37) What do you like to do with daddy?
Go for drives far away

38) What is your favourite game to play?
Mario, with Tyson.
(He means Mario Cart on Nintendo DSI)

39) Who is your best friend?
(His older cousin. The Hubby's sister's son, who is 10...I think)

Coder and Tyson, his BFF & partner in crime!
40) What is your teachers name?

41) What grade are you in?
Grade four
(Errr..No. You are in Kindergarten, but good guess)

42) Whats is your favourite number?
One hundred and two thousand, together.
(For some reason this is his go-to number when asked anything involving numbers. The time, his age, how many toes does he have? One hundred and two thousand it is!)

43) Tell me a joke.

Your a nana (banana) face.

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Banana Peel
Banana Peel, Who?
Banana Peel, Apple Peel *Bursts out laughing*
(AHAHAH. Now that's a knee slapper. Comedic gold!)

44) Tell me something you learnt at school?
How to stand in a line.
(At least they're learning something!)

45) What's your favourite holiday?
(I wonder why? Could it have something to do with the shitload of presents?)

Could this be why Christmas is his fave holiday?

After I finished the Q & A, Coder decided that he wanted to interview Mommy. I limited him to five questions to narrow the chances of a potentially awkward question. This is what he came up with:

Coder Interviews Mommy: (Coder in BOLD, Mommy in plain text)

1) Why did you leave up the Christmas tree for a long time?
Because it looks pretty and I always leave it up until New Year's Day.

2) Can you lift up super heavy things?

3) Can you drive a car?
 Yes, but not very well. Plus, I have no drivers license. (I know, I know...I'm working on it...)

4) Why are you on the computer so much?
Because I like it. I like to work on my blog and find fun ideas. (Shit! Don't show Daddy this, he already bitches that I am on it too much...But I am really NOT. Well, not THAT much. Plus, I do all the hard work so I deserve a few hours minutes on the computer a day.)

What is your favourite food?

Cap'n crunch cereal and Smarties McFlurry's from McDonald's (That counts as "food", right?).

So there you have it! Straight from the mind of a five year old. It was a really fun little project and I would love to see some other Mommy/Child interviews. They are just so darn fun! I came across a cute idea to incorporate these interview ideas into a keepsake craft but I can't for the life of me find the link or remember which blog I saw it on. Basically, you type of ten questions (or however many you can fit ) and get your child to write the answers in, or do it yourself if they are too small, then you frame it beside a picture of them with their name at the top. It is kinda hard to explain, I will try my best to find the link, but the one she made was adorable and would be a great gift for a parent or grandparent. If anyone knows the project I am referring to please share the link in the comments!!

*** Thanks to Kara for letting me know that the framed version of this project I was referring to can be found on the craft blog Oopsey Daisy! You can check it out HERE! Thanks again!***

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sunday Snapshot: Family fun at Crystal Palace!

The kids each received a Crystal Palace Day Pass for Christmas from Nanny and Pappy this year and had been begging to go ever since.

Crystal Palace is an indoor amusement park with rides and games for those who don't know. We had been putting off going since they got the cards but with Coder going back to school this Tuesday, we couldn't really put if off any longer. After a ten minute struggled to get the car started (It can be tempermental) we were finally on our way. We left around lunch time so we could get there kind of early. The kids wanted a PB & J sammy before we left, a request to which I happily obliged, hoping to save a few bucks not having to feed them lunch at Crystal Palace (who's prices on food are practically criminal! 3$ for one corn dog!! I could run to the Sobey's across the street and grab a box of them for the same price!).

 Nelly had been talking about going on the "Horsey's" (AKA the merry-go-round) for, like, three days so that was the first ride she wanted to go on. "Horsey bite me? Is horsey real?" was the first thing she asked upon seeing the horses on the merry-go-round. After I assured her they we indeed fake horsey's and would not bite her, she was ready to go on it. She absolutely LOVED sitting on the horses while they went up and down. She randomly shouted "Kiddy-Up!" throughout the duration of the ride.

Nelly flying on the airplane!

Nelly with Coder,  the pilot...

Next up were the air planes, which you sit in while they go up and down and spin around. Coder and Nelly went together on one airplane the first time, then Nelly rode solo later on in the day. Nelly also loved this and yelled "Look Daddy! Hi Daddy!" every time she went around. Coder, on the other hand, looked a little bored with that ride. Being a big boy now, he was ready for the big kid rides this time around. He insisted that he wanted to go on the roller coaster. After debating back and forth for a minute, Daddy and I decided to let him go, but Daddy had to go on with him. He tried the Roller Coaster last year with me and almost gave me a stroke by freaking out and basically trying to climb out of a moving ride. I was a bit nervous because this Coaster doesn't have over the shoulder harness just a lap bar. Last year he kept trying to pull his knees out of under the bar and I was sure he was going to fly out and fall to his death. Anyways, he went on with Daddy and did okay the first time around. The only part that scared him a bit was when it goes through a pitch black tunnel, but Daddy told him to close his eyes and he was fine. He loved it though and went on it about five more times with both Mommy and Daddy taking turns. At the end of it he was having a blast and holding his hands up in the air for the whole ride.

On "The Bullet" Coaster with Daddy!

 Nelly and brother went on the Choo-Choo Train together where they sat in the front car and got to toot the horn and ring the bell, which they did to no end.


Coder liked going on the big monster truck ride, where you sit in a monster truck and go around the track. Next they went on the shooting star, which you sit down in a seat and it shoots you straight up about fifteen feet in the air then drops you down bit by bit. Nelly went on too and laughed her butt off on the way up. The drop down freaked her out a bit the very first time but she was shrieking with joy by the end of it.

The "Shooting Star" was a hit!
We all went on the Crazy Submarine (or whatever it's called) as a family, which is like a bus thing you sit in and go in big circles up in the air forward and backwards. Nelly loved looking out the window and laughed every time we went up because you had a view of the whole place. It was actually pretty fun and one of my favourite rides.

We took a break for a bite to eat, the kids didn't really want anything so Mommy and Daddy got something and gave them a few bites. Daddy got a poutine and I got a Nacho with cheese and salsa. It came to almost 12$ just for those two things but they were a decent size and I couldn't even finish my whole nacho. Daddy polished off his poutine and some of my nachos. After we were done eating we went back for another couple rounds on the rides.

There is a big play park built like a tree house that they wanted to go on, but poor Nelly was too small to go in it, so Coder played on that for a bit while Daddy brought Nelly on some more rides. We stopped at the arcade for a few minutes while they kids ran around "playing" the games (They weren't really playing because we didn't have any change on us, plus it is a MAJOR rip-off)." Honestly, it didn't even matter that they weren't actually playing because they still had a blast.

Taking turns "playing" the soccer game.

Daddy brought Coder to play Laser Tag while I brought Nelly to get some candy out of the quarter machine and we walked around for a bit. I kept asking her if she wanted to go back on the horsey but she would simply answer "No" and keep munching on her candy fruit (You know, the mini bananas, oranges, limes, etc). We never got around to playing mini golf this time and there were a few rides that they were both too short to go on, but other than that I would say that the day was a huge success.

Riding the big rigs...

We left around 5pm after Daddy brought Coder for one more round on the roller coaster. At this point Nelly was starting to get a little drowsy so I knew we better head home before a melt-down happened. I thought it was going to be a major tantrum when I said it was time to go but I think that they were so tuckered out that they couldn't be bothered. They left without a fight and both of them passed right out in the car on the drive home. Overall, we had a great day as a family and I can't wait to do it again soon.
Nelly ready to go home.,,
What was the last activity the you did as a family? What is your fondest family outing memory?