Friday, October 31, 2008

Thought for the Day

Sugar-charged preschoolers are a scary sight, indeed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Victory is (Fairly) Sweet

I think the baby cereal before bed is working its magic. Our timbit finally slept all the way through the night until 8am. Hooray! Here's to hoping he keeps it up.

I think I've grown accustomed to functioning in a sleep-deprived state. Last night was the first time in a long time I slept eight uninterrupted hours ... and still woke up exhausted! I feel like my feet have been dragging through mud all morning. My body is getting greedy for sleep.

Babe was fussy until about 10:30pm last night before finally dropping off. (We first put him to bed at 7:30pm.) It was quite out of character and I think he may be cutting those top two teeth. His mouth seemed sore. Poor little guy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Victory and Defeat

Some days are filled with both highs and lows. Today was a real mixed bag in Inksterland. At some points of the day the kids' behavior drove me crazy. At other times, however, I marveled at how quickly they are growing and maturing.

The victory: Our baby boy is finally catching on to the mysterious process of eating. He's learned how to swallow food (rather than push it out with his tongue). Most of his supper actually ended up down the pipe instead of splattered on the bib! Here's to hoping the solids help him sleep through the night.

The defeat: Today was not great in the potty training department. Our toddler had three accidents --- two of them in her car seat. (Thankfully, I had lined the seat with a plastic bag and old towels.) I am baffled by her repeated setbacks. She sits on the potty regularly, produces, and still has many accidents.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In the Park

A huge chinook arch covered our city in a canopy of clouds today. The weather was warm. A perfect fall day! We took advantage of the mild weather (because who knows when the snow might fly) went for a walk in Fish Creek Park.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
October 27, 2008

This week I've had a few random thoughts regarding food:
  • Candied salmon is heavenly.
  • My baby likes mashed avocado. He's not too crazy about rice cereal.
  • I am falling in love with Mighty Leaf tea.
Here's my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week:

Monday: No cooking! (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Leftovers
Wednesday: Hamburger soup, homemade bread
Thursday: Lentil curry (from the freezer), brown rice, steamed cauliflower
Friday: No cooking! (Party with my parents)
Saturday: A special boy's birthday! Waffles, bacon, fruit salad, "rat" cake
Sunday: Chili, cornmeal muffins, avocado, raw carrots and celery

Laura hosts Menu Plan Monday each and every week. Check it out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Notes from the Trenches

A few days ago a friend sent me a very kind email. (She's a new mom who I enjoy spending time with and see far too seldom.) My friend wondered if we had any parenting wisdom to share with her and her husband.

My goodness! Ben and I have been parents for a grand total of five years. We've barely scratched the surface of this adventure called parenting! Our kids constantly throw us curve balls and test our limited abilities. We feel ill-equipped to offer any sort of parenting advice.

Therefore, I'll share my thoughts with the following disclaimer: Ben and I are far from perfect and our kids are not angels. We make plenty of mistakes. We definitely don't have this parenting gig completely figured out!

Here are a few things we've learned from our journey thus far:
  • Hungry kids + Tired kids = Meltdown city. (The same applies to hungry and tired parents.) Regular meals and good sleep can prevent tons of aggravation.
  • Routine is wonderful. Our kids thrive on it. We're not strict about keeping a minute-by-minute schedule but our days do have a predictable flow.
  • Ben and I intentionally choose to socialize with families we admire. We're learning to make friends with parents of terrific teens. (We figure they have a lot to teach us. The proof is in the pudding!)
  • Focus on the Family has hugely influenced our marriage and parenting. I often visit their website and we subscribe to the Canadian magazine. The FOTF podcasts are great too.
  • Consistency is key. Ben and I always try to follow up our words with actions. (For example, no means no.) We don't cave to whining, complaining or manipulation. Giving in only reinforces poor behavior.
  • Our kids need lots of hugs, kisses, snuggles and tickles every day.
  • We try to keep our home clean and uncluttered. I'm naturally a neat freak, but I also think a tidy home helps kids feel peaceful and secure.
More to come...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Crafty Goodness:
Pop-ups Rock

Check out at this awesome video about pop-up books. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea looks terrific.

Our family's favourite pop-up book (hands down) is Star Wars: A Pop-Up Guide to the Galaxy. The book is a mind boggling feat of paper engineering. We also like Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art. I find it totally fascinating to learn how illustrators (and paper engineers) engage in their craft.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Husband is Handy
(I Think I'll Keep Him)

Yesterday our furnace gave out. (Thank God the calendar says October and not February.) We have a programmable thermostat that turns off at night and warms the house again early in the morning. Tuesday morning our house never warmed up. We sat at a chilly 16C through most of the day.

Ask my husband to fix a computer and he will get the job done. Fixing things around the house is another story. Ben is no Bob Villa but he's slowly gaining handyman skills through trial and error. Last night my beloved pried the cover off our broken furnace, found a flashy error light, and did some serious Googling.

One helpful forum suggested giving the furnace circuit board a "sophisticated tap" with a screwdriver. My handy husband figured the advice couldn't hurt, so he tapped away (in a completely sophisticated manner). Sure enough, the furnace fired up and has been running beautifully ever since.

Who knew? Perhaps my beloved really is a handy guy after all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Our sons recently started a new game. Basically, the boys have systematically covered every available surface in the house with dozens of tiny stickers. (Not my favourite activity, to be sure, but they're not hurting anything. I choose to pick my battles.)

This morning I found two shiny new stickers on my knife block in the kitchen. I'm always amused by our five-year-old's growing understanding of letters and words. Appropriately enough, the stickers both read:


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
October 20, 2008

We have a full week on our plates so I'm taking things easy in the kitchen. Here's my proposed menu plan:

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Thanksgiving soup (from the freezer), homemade bread (from the bread machine)
Wednesday: Daddy date!
Thursday: Lentil curry (from the freezer), brown rice, spinach salad
Friday: Beef and veggie tortillas, bean salad, melon cubes
Saturday: Clean out the fridge
Sunday: Whole wheat spaghetti, meat sauce (from the freezer), salad greens

Laura at Org Junkie hosts Menu Plan Monday every week. Check it out here.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Crafty Goodness:

Warm Fuzzies
by Betz White

Few things in life are sweeter than cupcakes and ice cream, however, Betz White's tasty new book takes the cake. Warm Fuzzies is chock full of quirky, cute and delicious crafty goodness. My favourite projects include a soft felted baby blanket, an ice cream cone tape measure, and of course, White's signature cupcake pincushions.

Warm Fuzzies is an absolute pleasure to devour. The photography is delectable and each project is creative and cute. I personally love White's material of choice --- recycled felted sweaters. Her tips and tricks for felting old wool sweaters are invaluable and I look forward to experimenting with some of my own projects very soon.

Truly, anyone who loves food, felt and crafty fun will enjoy Warm Fuzzies. Yum.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby Birdie

Our baby boy loves to flap. He happily flap, flap, flaps his arms all day long.

Daddy's home! Flap, flap, flap.

Time for my nap! Flap, flap, flap.

My brothers are silly! Flap, flap, flap.

I'll have to keep my eye on our little guy. One of these days he just may take off.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Very Merry Un-Birthday!

I suddenly realized that yesterday our littlest family member attained a big milestone. He turned six months old! How did that escape my notice?

I can hardly believe how much our baby has grown over the past six months:

He has two sharp new teeth.
He smiles and giggles all the time.
He loves to babble.
He "plays" with his older brothers and sisters.
He's grown out of the swing and can sit in the exersaucer.
He's chubby and cute and totally adorable!

Our timbit is a wonderful little guy. I'm sure the next six months will fly past even more quickly!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Potty Training Diaries: Week One Recap

Our big girl is now wearing panties full-time through the day! Yesterday she abandoned wearing pull-ups for treks outside of the house and so far hasn't had an accident. (I did lay an old towel in the car seat just in case.) Our potty trainee still wears a diaper to sleep, though. I am not worried about night training at this point.

Unfortunately, our daughter is batting about .300 for pooping in the potty. She's had several accidents in that regard. Any suggestions? She's very good at telling me when when she feels to poop but it's usually too late to run to the potty.

All in all, I'm very pleased with our big girl's accomplishment. We've never had a child potty train so early. Now that I've experienced it both ways, I definitely agree girls are easier to train than boys. (Our first son was nearly three when he trained. Our easy-going second-born was almost four. Our daughter turned 28 months this week.)

I'm feeling practically giddy --- only one child wears diapers in our house!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Nearly every morning at 9:20am (give or take a few minutes) our phone rings.

"Hello," says the computer generated voice, "This is the Calgary Public Library holds and overdue notification system with a message for (pause) Lindsay Marie Iiiinkster. You have (pause) one item being held at this time..."

At least that's the message 99.99% of the time. A couple weeks ago I was surprised to pick up the phone and hear:

"This is the Calgary Public Library holds and overdue notification system with a message for (pause) Benjamin Mitchell Iiiinkster. You have (pause) one overdue item..."

My beloved is also a devoted bibliophile. He's not so much a library geek, though. He'll borrow library books now and then but rarely has more than one or two out at a time.

"Man," I thought to myself, "Can't that guy keep track of his own library book? It's not like he has dozens piled up on the shelves. Now I'll have to go hunting for the stupid book because I'm sure he's completely forgotten. Why can't he ever keep track of is own stuff? I'll bet he can't even remember what book it was!"

In a huff, I mentioned the phone call to Ben when he returned home that evening. Within a few minutes we both promptly forgot about it.

This morning I picked up our mail from the box on the corner. Inside, I found a letter from the Calgary Public Library. It was addressed to my dearly beloved.

"Oh great," I inwardly groaned, "He still hasn't returned the stupid book. When will that guy get his act together?" I tore open the notice and read through the page.

Wait a minute.

Ben's overdue book was the Taste of Home Baking Book???

That clearly wasn't my husband's book.

It was mine.

I suddenly remembered a night a couple months ago when I was too tired to go to the library. Ben kindly offered to pick up my book on his way home from work. He checked the book out on his own card.

And I had totally forgotten about it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We are now into Day 4 of Daddy's business trip. Ben will return home sometime tomorrow afternoon. I think things are going exceptionally well, really. The kids have been good and Ben's teenage sister has come to stay for the weekend. The extra set of hands were a great asset last night when I had to run out to the store!

Potty training is going fairly well. We had two puddles yesterday, sadly, but today our big girl has been completely dry. I even took the children to the zoo for a couple hours this morning. Our H. Bear wore pull-ups and refused to use the public washroom. She waited until we returned home and then used her potty. Our big girl received a big marshmallow for that feat!

Last night I realized that after almost nine years of marriage Ben and I have never been apart for so long. I really miss him. The bed has been cold and I've taken to wearing flannel pajamas and thick socks. I hope he's enjoying the weather in sunny California...

Our littlest family member is still working on tooth #2. I wish that thing would finally poke through! He's been up two or three times every night lately. (Oh how I pray my baby will sleep 12 hours again!) I also suspect our timbit is ready to start solid foods. He will be six months old next week and is a fairly big boy. I think he's getting hungry in the night.

Yesterday we slept in and I kept our three-year-old home from school. (Our kindergartener had a PD day.) I am feeling quite guilty about skipping preschool. Our son doesn't really understand he missed school, at least. I was simply too tired to load up all the kids first thing in the morning. Yes, I'm feeling horribly guilty.

All that to say, I'm looking forward to Ben's return tomorrow. I've been so grateful for our caring friends and family. I can't count how many people have offered to help. Thank you so much!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner Revised

So I've been battling with what to make for Thanksgiving dinner this weekend. Originally, I wanted to buy a free-range turkey from here but I simply couldn't swallow the expense. I then considered buying a turkey from the grocery store. However, after reading about turkeys in the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I just can't bring myself to do it.

I've finally decided we're going to eat chicken.

I have two, rather large, organic chickens in my freezer. The huge roasting pan I inherited from my grandmother should contain them both quite nicely. I hope none of our family is offended by eating chicken for Thanksgiving dinner...
The Potty Training Diaries: Day 3

Day 3 is shaping up to be somewhat challenging...

Mommy did not have a great night without Daddy at home. The kids woke up seven times in the night :-(. Little Timbit is working on tooth number two and our sensitive Middle C had several bad dreams.

One of our artistic children coloured on all the stairs with green crayon.

Our potty training novice pooped in her panties.

The toilets have plugged three times so far.

At least we've had no puddles this morning! (Thank goodness. I don't know if my carpets can take much more abuse.) Our big girl has used the potty five times successfully today.

The Potty Training Diaries: Day 2

We had an accident-free day! Our big girl even kept her diaper dry at nap time. She wore pull-ups when we went out of the house and stayed dry in those as well!

We used up an entire roll of rocket candies. (Yikes!)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


My beloved took his tweed jacket to California this morning. What was he thinking?!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The Potty Training Diaries: Day 1

A quiet day at home
One eager two-year-old
A drawer full of pretty panties
One cute little potty
Rocket candy bribes
Ten successful attempts!
A sugar-charged toddler
Four small yellow puddles
An empty pantie drawer
A full basket of laundry
One proud mommy
A very good day!
News Flash: Toddlers are Clumsy

Our two-year-old is sporting a fashionable new look these days. A few days ago she was on the losing end of a battle with the bedside table and now has an impressive black eye.

Those sneaky end tables. They can just jump right out at you.

On the day of the table incident our daughter bumped her forehead on the hardwood floor as well. (On the same side as the black eye, of course.)

She also had her fingers closed in a door.

It was a very traumatic day for our young princess.

All this to say: Toddlers are clumsy. They're accident-prone. They tend to be top-heavy. They often wear bruises as badges of honour.

This thing called walking can be very tricky business, indeed.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Menu Plan Monday
October 6, 2008

Here is my proposed menu plan for the upcoming week :-).

Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Honey dijon chicken, brown rice, carrots, green salad
Wednesday: Vegetable and bean soup, whole wheat toast, grapes
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Lasagna (the old stand-by in the freezer), green salad
Saturday: Bean burritos, avocado and tomato salad
Sunday: Clean out the fridge

Next Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving. I'm still working on our Thanksgiving menu, but here's the plan as it stands. Many of the following recipes are from my new Taste of Home magazine.

Apple and herb roasted turkey

Old-fashioned dressing
Slow-cooker mashed potatoes
Candied sweet potatoes
Herbed corn
Strawberry gelatin salad
Pumpkin cheesecake deluxe
with pecan brittle garnish (mmmmm!)

Menu Plan Monday is hosted each week by Laura at Org Junkie.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Stylin' (Part 2)

The votes are all in and the consensus is this --- Ben's new tweed jacket is cool. Who knew?

Saturday, October 04, 2008


Last night our five-year-old was struck by his muse while on a family outing to Ikea. He created the following poem in the van on our way home:

Pencil on the floor
Pencil on the floor
But not any more...

Pencil on the floor AGAIN!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Lookin' Good?

Ben's new tweed jacket is causing quite the stir. His jacket + jeans combination has received rave reviews from several men our parents' age. Considering my husband is not yet thirty, I haven't decided whether or not this admiration is a good thing...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Out in the Sunshine

I don't believe today could have been any more perfect. I am grateful we did not stay cooped up inside. This morning I spontaneously chose to take the kids to the zoo and we enjoyed a fabulous day.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Wide Open Space

I am watching some men drill post holes into our field. I like to think of it as "our" field but the land is actually owned by the city. The field is more correctly known as an "stormwater dry pond" and it stretches several hundred metres behind our house.

I'm told the northern half of the field belongs to the Calgary Board of Education. One day they plan to build a school there. The section of land behind our house, however, will never be developed. I pray we'll always enjoy that beautiful grassy expanse outside our back door.

And, so it seems, after today we'll also have soccer matches to look forward to!