Tribute Garden Update

After some heavy rain last week, it’s time to cart Violet into the yard so we can work on our Tribute Garden. I’m not entirely sure how this endeavour will go because so far she has been more interested in pulling up the plants, rather than encouraging their growth.

Let me bring you up to speed on our efforts:

As I explained in THIS post, the garden area is very dark. Under the tutelage of an experienced gardener friend, I was instructed to monitor the hours of sunshine in the planting areas and subsequently research which plants require the corresponding amount of light.

It turns out that some leafy greens can flourish with as little as 2-3 hours of sun per day and peppers and carrots would be alright in one area of the plot that receives more light.

Next came the tilling. I bought myself a Garden Weasel and worked that land. I pushed and twirled so long and hard it was almost romantic.


Onward! To the local greenhouse/garden supply shop I went! These folks were really helpful and I bought some seeds as well as some pre-started plants.

Just in case you’re thinking, “Hey! That’s cheating! You bought pre-started plants!?” I have a response for you:

I want my first foray into gardening to be a positive one. I fully believe in the importance of food sustainability but I’m no farmer. I know my own personality enough to realize that if I don’t see results, I’ll probably quit. With less than perfect gardening conditions and no pre-existing gardening skills, I feel like I should set myself up for success.

Also, it’s kind of late in the season to start planting. (Note to fellow novice-gardeners: You can’t just up and start a garden whenever you get a hankering for some fresh produce.)

Another tip I’ve picked up: Plants are like goldfish. They do their own thing and it’s acceptable to leave them on their own for a few days and, in the initial days, you need to climatize them to their surroundings! I let my pre-started kale and pepper plants hang out in their new home for a few days before immersing them in the ground just like how you would dangle your new pet goldfish in a plastic bag in its aquarium before setting him free into the alarmingly cold expansive waters atop your dresser.

The next stage is where I made my first critical error of gardening that I hope will not have too harsh of effects. At the gardening shop I picked up some bags of composted manure and seaweed-treated soil (okay, my first error was calling it “dirt” and not “soil” at the gardening shop but I don’t figure that will actually impact the growth of my plants). I told them the estimated-dimensions of my garden and they recommended a quantity of soil/manure. When I got home I really felt like I had bought too much of the stuff to fill my tiny garden. I only used half of what they had sold me.

My cynical side believed I had been gouged. Imagine! Trying to upsell me on DIRT!

My realistic side figured that I had probably overshot on the dimensions I’d given.

Both sides were wrong. After again consulting my gardener friend, I was reminded that I was supposed to have removed some of the old crappy dirt to replace it with new crappy dirt! (See what I did there? Because I had to add manure, right? “Crappy” dirt…get it now?)

In any case, the plants had been planted and it was too late to turn back. Instead, we must wait to see what turns up! #MelHal



Whose Routine is it Anyway?

In our bedroom we have these bamboo blinds over the windows. We bought them when we first moved to New York and thought it would be so cool to have trendy window dressings now that we were fancy and living in ‘Murica.

Turns out they are kind of a pain in the ass.

Unlike less-cool but more-efficient blinds, these ones have a long string attached that needs to be looped around a little hook on the wall when you pull them up at the start of the day. It’s not hard work but it’s time-consuming enough that I think a lot of people wouldn’t bother putting up these blinds on a daily basis.

But, I put them up every day.

After breakfast and after Violet gets washed and dressed and Daddy is safely delivered to work, I pull up each of the four blinds and wrap each of their strings around the little irritating hook. Then I make the bed. Then we come downstairs and Violet is ready for her nap. No one else goes in that room for the rest of the day. I thrive on praise and no one pats my back for making the room look bright and presentable but I still pull up those aggravating blinds.

Then, at 6:30 after supper has been been eaten, a little playtime has been had and Violet is splashing in the bathtub under Hubby’s watchful eye, I head back up to the bedroom to unwind each of those egregious strings from their hooks and lower the blinds for bedtime. I pull down the covers and unmake the bed for Violet to crawl into for storytime with me and her dad.

At first I cursed those stupid, albeit attractive, blinds and the time they were costing me in my otherwise busy day. And then, gradually, I found the opening and closing of the blinds almost ceremonial. Meditative. Ritualistic. One day I realized that opening and closing those blinds was the routine I had created for myself while creating a routine for Violet. In the same way that she knew once the bedroom was tidied it was time for her nap, I knew that once the blinds were up I was about to get a break and get some time to myself at the start of the day. In the same way that splashing in the bath meant two stories and bedtime for Violet, pulling down the blinds meant things were winding down and I was soon going to crawl into a snuggle with my best girl and settle her into a warm and cozy sleep.

The word “routine” is probably the most iterated in all parenting guidebooks. If you set a routine, you’re golden. Everything will be smooth sailing. But what I’m coming to realize is that the routine is as much for the parents as for the wee ones! If naptime comes and goes and Violet hasn’t rested her little head it’s me who is in more of a fit than her! #MelHal

Out of the Darkness

Today I’m trying to focus on growth in the darkness.

It has been a dark week. Like many others, I have spent countless hours glued to the media. At first, I was waiting to hear “breaking news” that the horrible man had been captured and eventually I was watching the funeral services of the men whose lives he stole.

It has been hard for me and who am I? Sure, I’m connected to the RCMP because my dad is a member but life went back to normal for me shortly after midnight last Thursday when the gunman in Moncton was taken into custody. Life for the families who were given bad news has been changed forever. There will be plenty of days in my life that the recent events in Moncton won’t even cross my mind. That can’t be said for the families who are living our worst nightmare.

I have been wanting to plant a garden for a little while but conditions for gardening around my house are dismal. It’s too dark. There’s one patch that sees some sunshine though and the internet says that some things can grow with dappled light if given enough attention.

We’re in a time of sadness and a time of mourning. We want to come together but we don’t know how. We want to express something but we don’t know what. I can feel connected to the families affected directly in Moncton but I won’t reach out to them. That would be absurd. I’m a stranger. I can’t offer them anything they want.

But we can’t do nothing. Nothing won’t do any good. What happened in Moncton feels completely senseless and it’s upsetting because it can’t be fixed.

I want to offer something, somehow. I want to offer something good out of the darkness.

So, I’m putting plants in the dark garden in my yard and hopefully, with enough care, they’ll be able to grow. They might not flourish but maybe, with the right amount of encouragement, some sprouts will push through the ground to reach for the light.

My garden will need more attention than other gardens but it will be worth it because my garden will be a tribute to the members lost last Wednesday night. Every time I tend to my plants I’ll be forced to remember them. I’ll remember Cst. Ross, Cst. Larche and Cst. Gevaudan but not the man who took them away and brought darkness on our communities. I can’t promise my garden will grow but I do hope that, eventually, something will come out of this darkness. #MelHal



Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do you see? I Love Planning a Party…



We found our place to be a bit of a party house in the last 4 weeks. Now, if you know me personally, you probably ‘Laughed Out Loud’ at the idea of MY place being a party house    and …yeah, you’re right! We had a 3 year old birthday party followed by a Convocation “gathering” that my mother planned (at my house.


As you know I am the mom that loves planning a birthday party for my kids! Once I get a theme, I am pinning, list-making and buying like a crazy person! Get out of my way, ’cause that is my mission for the 2 weeks before!

So this year’s theme was “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?” by Eric Carle… I know, right? Super easy to find stuff for that theme! Nope. I had to search and search for ideas and forget BUYING decorations. Why did I pick such a challenging theme?! Well, if you heard LittleL recite this book over and over, you’d quickly know why! He’s in LOVE with it.

Here are some theme things I made or came up with for his party:

Banner: I found the premade banner at Michaels and just added printed pictures from the book. It was a simple cut and paste project.


Cake: Thanks to my mother-in-law, my kids always get an awesome cake, that looks like the Cake Boss made it.




Balloons: No big deal right? But this year I bought helium so these balloons were the main source of entertainment for the kids. Adults passed them down, kids let them float up to ceiling. This game did not get old!


Photo Booth: So in my searches I noticed the trend of photo booths. I thought, I can do that! I cut the cute little things out of card stock, covered the door with yellow tissue paper and I made a photo booth. Great! However, sharp bamboo skewers, dress-up hats and scarves to three years olds did not scream “ HEY LETS GET OUR PICTURES TAKEN!” Take a moment to pause and create a picture of what 3 year old little boys would do with those objects! OK, enough said! Lesson learned. Leave that idea for the weddings &/or showers or any other adult type parties.


Take home favours: I found my inspiration for this on a few different pinterest posts and compiled them to make my own thing. I had * green Frogs * Yellow Ducks * Bear Paws * Goldfish – If you know the book, you will know the significance of each of those items.

Entertainment: I played the Youtube video of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” on the TV, I had printed colouring pages to match the theme, and we also tried one game of matching. I quickly learned the crowd was not into games that day!  So, they went back to the toys and the balloons!




T-shirt Challenge Accepted!

As the warm weather approaches, I had to do what most other moms were doing, and that was cleaning out the kids clothes. That meant checking out what still fits, putting the snow pants to the back of the closet, and packing up the too small clothes.

This leads me to the Tshirt Challenge. As I was organizing BigB’s drawers I quickly noticed that he had an abundance of tshirts. He had the dry weave tshirts, printed shirts with characters, brand name Tees and shirts he had picked up from various camps/sports events (take away gifts). After I had determined what fit, I said to BigB “You have enough T-Shirts here that you could go a full month without duplicating a t-shirt once.” He chuckled and I said “ HEY, let’s try it for the month of June!” He is totally on board; so stand by and watch our facebook page for the daily updates of “What BigB is wearing today…”

Starting June 1, 2014