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What To Do This Weekend - Get Out There!

Well folks, I think we have to accept that there is still a fair bit of snow out there, and just go ahead and enjoy it while it lasts! This may be one of the last weekends of the winter where snowshoeing or sledding are even a possibility, after all! So get out there and enjoy :-) 

Looking for a new outdoor haunt? Here are some ideas:
  • Bannerman Park - enjoy a winter walk through the park, then head down to the harbour front for a fun, relaxing afternoon in the City :-)
  • Victoria Park - so much fun to go sledding in!
  • Bowring Park - sledding, snowshoeing, the playground - everything at your fingertips. Bring Duck feed and be prepared to get swarmed :-)
  • East Coast Trail - find a portion online that appeals to you and ski or snowshoe it!
  • Signal Hill - Look out over the ocean, visit Cabot Tower, and then slide down :-)
  • Pippy Park - go at dusk for a night-time walk on the trails!
  • Your neighbourhood soccer field - build a snowman, or build snow forts and have a huge snowball fight!
If I can't convince you to get out and enjoy the last few hours of winter (wishful thinking?), then perhaps you can be convinced to visit Kid's Tree Early Learning & Music Centre's Open House on Saturday from 10-2 (see calendar for details), or take in Family Fun at the Rooms (Sun. 2-4) - this week's theme is Jolly Jellyfish, where children can make creatures from household items and take a Movie Monster Quiz!

Have a good one!

You Need to Know: April Fool's History & Pranks!

I heard some one say recently that they thought April Fool's Day - a day for pranks - was the most ridiculous holiday they had ever heard of. I for one think it is quite fun - why not celebrate pranks? But then, on the other hand - why? Why do we reserve one day of the year for trickery?

Well, according to a very in-depth (and important sounding) Internet Investigation by yours truly, it is generally accepted that the modern tradition (LOL!) began in France during the Sixteenth Century, and dates to the changes brought on by the Gregorian Calendar. (Of course, prior to that, there were similar Celebration Days held on or around that day for various reasons -advent of Spring, a god's feast day, etc. Like many ancient practices, many of these traditions have since morphed with current practice and April Fool's is a very international holiday.)

At the time, as I am sure you know (my Readers, as we all know, are extremely intelligent after all), communications were not great, so when Pope Gregory changed the calendar in the 1580's, it took a while - maybe even years - for folks to hear of and accept that the New Year now started on January 1, not on April 1, as it had previously. Through ignorance or disbelief, a portion of the populace continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1.

Those "in the know" started playing pranks on these "fools" by inviting them to parties that didn't exist, or putting a paper fish on their back (because young fish are so naive - this is why the holiday is called Poisson d'avril in French). Of course, over time, the new Calendar was widely accepted. But did the holiday become obsolete with this new knowledge and now-popular belief? Heck no! Why give up the fun? Instead, it evolved into a day to make a fool of someone by playing pranks on them :-). The practice later spread to England, Scotland and North America.

Some folks play pranks only in the morning of April Fool's Day - this comes from the English tradition, where it is considered bad luck to play a prank on someone after noon.

In Scotland, pranks involving the buttocks became popular (I realised when I read this that this is how my boys' Scottish roots must be showing up!) such, the origins of the "Kick Me" sign can be traced back to the Scottish observance of April Fools!

Now, you'd probably like some prankish ideas, huh? Wouldn't you know it, but I've compiled a round-up of ideas just for you! You can thank me later ;-)

Here are my favourites:  
  • The Perfect-For-Kids Prank: When your children are asleep, sneak into their room and draw clown faces, mustaches, eyebrows, etc. on them.... how long will it take them to notice? Hilarious!
  • The Everyone-Can-Do-It Prank: Stick a tiny post-it note under the prankee's mouse so that the paper leaf covers the mouse ball (make sure the sticky part is NOT on the ball) - the mouse will no longer work! Don't tell DH - this one's for him!!
  • The What-To-Do-With-All-Those-Darn-Balls Prank - I'm talking about those silly balls that come with kids' play tents, or even ping pong balls.... stick them in a cupboard or closet you know will get opened - the higher up the better - easy-peasy :-)
  • The One-Kids-Can-Play on Their-Dad Prank - Help your kids put a balloon on the tailpipe of the car. (Make sure the car isn't already on!). When he gets in and starts the car, the balloon will pop - sounding like a tire popped. (Be careful!)
  • The Newspaper Prank - Tape the pages of the newspaper together in a way it can't be noticed... the prankee won't be able to flip the pages to read it.
  • The Works-Well-Every-Time Prank - when outside, suddenly stop and point up to the sky with alarm. When others follow suit - April Fool's. The kids can do this one on Grandma, their friends, Uncle Joe.... 
  • The Oh-So-EVIL Prank: Sticky Shower...remove the shower head and place a hard candy in it, and put the shower head back in place. Your prankee will take a shower as usual and not notice the difference until  they get out, start to dry off and the towel stick to them. Of course, I wouldn't do this to DH if he was running late for work ;-)
Many of these can be found on:  Fun MunchApril Fool's; Kidz World or April Fool Zone  - visit them for even more ideas!

Have a good one :-)


Destiny (OR: What Am I Going TO Do With That Child?)

I have come to realise that Toad is just not meant to have a left eye. Or at least, he is not meant to have sight in it.

Oh, it is there...

...and he can see...

For now.

He just got his third VERY black eye. His third oh-so-near-it-makes-me-sick-to-my-stomach-with-fright- near miss. Always THAT eye.

The first was from falling off  the bed when he was ~ 2 years old. He struck his eye on the corner of my bedside table. Left a gash on that bone right under the left eye. The scar - I never thought the scar would go away - for a good 18 or 24 months it was there, still red & glaringly bright under his eye. It is gone now though, just a faint line (all the better to identify him with if he ever gets stolen ;-)

The second was from running through the grandparents house while being chased by his uncle. He mis-judged a corner and rammed right into a table. Unfortunately, he was at the right height for the corner of that table to bang him right in the eye. Fortunately, he was at the height for it to leave a nice gash on the bone right above his eye. Another day, another scar, same eye.

And now, this past weekend, Toad was playing with Mario - rough-housing, like brothers do when they are supposed to be cleaning their rooms. Of course, someone moved too suddenly and guess who fell off the bed, bumping his eye on the way down? That's right: Toad. 

And where does he have another nice gash? On that bone right to the side of his left eye.

Oh my.... 

Really, the could-have-beens twist and turn in my stomach every time I look at him and his yet-again-black-eye.

Its too early to tell if he will be left with another scar. For the time being he looks like he was in a major hockey fight - his two front teeth are also missing (simply a product of his age, thank goodness).

So, we are averaging a black left eye every two years, and I wonder if I should put him in a bubble now, or just accept defeat? At this rate, my prediction is that by the time he is 10 something will actually get him IN the left eye (there are only two spots left after all: the inner corner and smack-in-the-middle-dead-centre). 

Wager, anyone?


Lovely Crafty Home

Well, guess what? Rachael at Lovely Crafty Home (which, by the way, is a lovely, crafty blog :-), included me in her blog swap! She visited St. John's Mom for the post on my kitchen island (here); but was kind enough to comment on my papercrafts as well!

I am so touched when my little creations and ventures get shared... and because this table was a project with my Dad - and one that had been around for a while -  it makes it all the more special :-)

See her post here.

Thank you Rachael!



Tasty Tuesday - Ideas to Make Friday an April "Food's" Day Success!

April Food's Day Fool's Day is the perfect time to play with your food! Here's a round-up of some clever ideas to brighten the day for your kids :-)

I love this lunchbox idea from Come Together Kids - Candy in a Fruit Can! And she provides step-by-step instructions with pictures - easier than you'd think!

The Food Network has a great slideshow of fun recipes: Cinnamon Stick Fries, Fried Ice-cream Crab Cake; Rice Crispie Sushi.... browse all their ideas here.

Visit for Spaghetti Torte, Fish Cake Surprise, Fake Eggs and more:

Last but not least (I think these ones are my favourite) - check out the 26 (26!) foolish recipes on FamilyFun - there's Chicken-NOT-Pie; Rice-Crispie Meatloaf and a Cashew Chicken Stir-fry that will be perfect for us!

Some other thoughts:

  • Mario loves his cereal - he'll be surprised when he pours out green milk Friday morning! (Just add a few drops of food colouring to the milk in the carton - if you don't want to dye all of it, remove some milk first and store in the back of the fridge until after the prank).
  • Classic - swap the salt & sugar :-)
  • My kids love their PB & Banana sandwiches so.... I think I'll make banana hot dogs! (Put peanut butter on a peeled banana and place it in a hot-dog roll... top with chocolate sauce or strawberry jam "ketchup" depending on your mood :-)
  • My Nana used to say they used mashed potatoes as ice-cream when filming movies (who knows.... but, that is the inspiration behind this idea!): For supper, have mashed potato ice-cream and Meat-loaf Cake (Make mashed potatoes, then use an ice-cream scoop to put in a cone; bake the meatloaf in a Bundt pan and serve it on a platter drizzled with gravy "icing").
  • Easiest-ever: just do things backwards - have supper for breakfast; serve a 3 course in reverse lunch (dessert, then a sandwich, then a soup or salad) and have breakfast for supper. 
  • Let them think you have gone off the deep end: put their drinks in bowls; and their meat & veg in cups for the day!


Recall - Toxic Waste Gum & Chew Bars (contain lead)

First of all, with a name like Toxic Waste, how ironic is this?

The following recall notice is from HSW:

Event Highlights
Event Update - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that an additional Toxic Waste® product has been recalled because of excessive lead. The additional product is Toxic Waste® Short Circuits™ Bubble Gum.Testing has revealed that certain lots contains elevated levels of lead that potentially could cause health problems, particularly for infants, small children, and pregnant women.Recalled products:
Toxic Waste® brand Nuclear Sludge® Chew Bars: All lots and all flavours of both the 0.7 oz (20g) and  0.3 oz (8 g) size products distributed from the product's inception in 2007 through January 2011 are involved in this recall. The recalled Nuclear Sludge™ Chew Bars were distributed nationwide in Canada and the US in retail stores and through mail orders. The 0.3 oz (8 g) size flavours were sold individually, as part of a 'Party Bag’ or Membership kit, and packed in 30 ct., 80 ct., and 120 ct. bags and a 120 ct. fishbowl.

Toxic Waste® Short Circuits™ Bubble Gum: Certain lots of 3.2 oz (90 g) bags. The recalled Short Circuits™ Bubble Gum product was distributed nationwide in retail stores and through mail orders. The product was also distributed in limited quantities into Canada and Switzerland.
See HSW Product Details tab for specifics on the affected items.
Anyone in possession of the recalled product should telephone the company for information on destruction of the product. Candy Dynamics is sending recall notices to its direct customers.  Please call Eileen O'Neal at 317-228-5012 (Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm EST) for further information.
The CFIA is working with the importers to have the affected products removed from the marketplace. For more information consumers and industry can call the CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).


Sunday Snippets

Tidbits of information I picked up this week: 

  • First of all, this gives the notion of a young grandmother a new twistStumble Upon reports that Ridca Stanescu of Romania gave birth to her daughter Maria when she was only 12 years old; her daughter Maria gave birth to a baby boy at only 11, making Ridca the world's youngest known grandmother at 23 (OMG)!
  • Studies show that children who grow up with a pet dog are active 11 minutes more per day than those without a dog in the household. It might not seem like much, but it equates to over 4000 minutes of extra activity over the course of the year! Whether you have a pet or not, try to fit in physical activity with your kids every day - even if it is dancing around the living room for 10 minutes or a short walk around the block :-) (Parents magazine, March 2011)
  • Bad breath in young children rarely originates in the mouth unless it is from an abscessed tooth that is harbouring bacteria (& your child is in obvious pain). If bad breath is persistent, and without apparent cause, consider visiting the doctor - it could be a sign of sinusitis, acid reflux, swollen tonsils or another illness. 
  • If your energy is low or, like me, you sometimes feel "foggy" in the head, Viva magazine recommends working the following foods into your diet to increase alertness: oatmeal (and other low-glycemic, whole grain carbs that contain vitamin B-12 and iron which both affect the ability to focus); blueberries (by reducing the amount of damaged free radicals - try to get a cup each day); onions & garlic (both contain sulphur derivatives which have been shown to improve memory); Oil fish (omega 3 fatty acids); and green tea (can provide relaxed mental clarity). PS - Viva magazine is free at Dominion stores (in the Health food/supplement section), and has Canadian content and coupons.
  • Ever wonder about the stuff in your first aid kit and how long it can last? While alcohol should be tossed within a year, hydrogen peroxide is one first-aid assister that you don't need to worry about: its antibacterial agent is very strong and can remain effective for a good 5 years (you'll likely finish the bottle first!). Solid over-the-counter pain relievers can remain effective up to 3 yrs past their expiration date (though always check with a pharmacist if in doubt), however, syrups and gel capsules meds should be tossed by their expiration date - their liquid components are not as stable long-term. (iVillage)


Reminder: Earth Hour is Tonight @ 8:30!

Don't forget - Earth hour is fast approaching :-). Lights out at 8:30 tonight!

Here are some articles & sites pertaining to environmental awareness... just to get ya thinkin' :-)

I challenge all of us to find just one more thing we can do, before Earth Day on April 22nd, that will reduce our impact to this great planet :-)

What do you say? Are you up for it?


Small Changes Challenge - 11/50

You may have noticed - last week was #10 in my Small Changes Challenge! After I wrote the post, I started thinking about which challenges were becoming part of my daily life and had actually stuck longer than the initial week. Here's the scorecard I gave myself:

  1. Marching - excellent - part of the normal weekday routine and I even sometimes do it on the weekend!
  2. Making the Bed 1st thing - good, make it early most days, even weekends!
  3. Dishwasher on before bed each night - still a challenge, but I am trying to get into it still - I love it when I come down and the dishes are all ready for us!
  4. Unload Dishwasher during breakfast time - uhhh, see #3. One doesn't work without the other ;-)
  5. Boys to not pee on the seat - well, they are A LOT better, but they didn't manage to get their Club Penguin membership yet which surprised me. They asked me for a second chance - OK, because I really want them to stop spraying my walls! - but there are 4 days left and they still need 15 stars to get it....
  6. Second March - good, but not as consistent as I would like it to be. Sometimes I dance around after the boys get home though... I think that counts ;-)
  7. That was the 0/5 week - oh well!
  8. Spending one-on-one time with the boys daily - I would say fair - this could definitely be improved upon. 
  9. Walk around the block right after school - pretty good, we get out on nice days...
  10. What was it again - oh right - gut & sort, ummm.....
So what pray tell does this have to do with week 11? Well, crazy gal that I am, after I had the list above done, I thought I would give my more dismal attempts one more try until they get put to the back burner 'til who-knows-when....

The final verdict?  Well....

I think I am going to have to accept that daily one-on-one time is tricky for us, and leave it as a spontaneous or once-a-week activity. I'm OK with this: the after-school walks are working out well, and I do read to them, so we do still get those quiet times where conversations can take their own turn. Likewise with the second march - I end up putting it off until late enough in the day that the walk with the boys becomes way more appealing ;-)

I still forget to put the dishwasher on before bed....But, I am getting really good at turning it on first thing in the morning, and unloading it as soon as it is done, then reloading it throughout the at least I am making the failure work for me!

I did tidy off the DR table again, and finally sorted the baking cupboard (did a mighty fine job too, if I do say so myself!). Plus, I am half way through the office desk (that was a bigger job than anticipated!). Now that I am actually started, I am hoping this will be the start of a nice big gut-the-whole-house-of-all-clutter Spring Cleaning (yeah, right! Good one!).

And, as for the boys and my walls - do I really have any choice but to keep trying that one? Short of moving or painting the bathrooms weekly, I mean ;-) At least they managed to get another 9 stars.... 6 to go (we're not using a timeline anymore - I've extended it so much now that what's the point? Pushover :-)

So, 40 weeks of Small Changes Challenges left - hopefully, I'll be able to fit "drink more water" in there somewhere ;-) 

Recall - Kingsman Fireplaces (propane gas can explode and break/shatter glass door)

The following recall notice is from HSW:

Event Highlights
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports of a recall involving Gas Fireplaces manufactured by Kingsman Fireplaces, of Canada.  Delayed ignition can cause the fireplace's propane gas to explode and break or shatter the glass door. This poses a laceration hazard to consumers nearby.

See HSW Product Details tab for specifics on the affected items.

Kingsman Fireplaces has received two reports of fireplace glass doors breaking.

In the U.S., recalled fireplaces were sold by authorized distributors and specialty fireplace stores nationwide from April 2008 through December 2010 for between $1,700 and $2,900. HSW confirmed with the manufacturer that affected items were also sold in Canada.
Corrective Action:Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled fireplaces and turn off the gas supply to the fireplace. Contact Kingsman Fireplaces to schedule a free repair.Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Kingsman Fireplaces toll-free at (855) 593-3304 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at

HSW Comment: At the time of posting this Event, Health Canada had not issued any information about this recall. Because the recalled items were sold in Canada, we elected to post this information prior to any official notice from Health Canada.  If additional information becomes available, we will update this Event.  JA

Recall - Whey-26 Protein Powder (sold under different brands)

The following recall notice is from HSW:

Event Highlights
Event Update - The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration report of recalls involving specific lots of Whey-26 Protein Powder and several products made from the recalled whey as they may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The affected whey protein products are sold under a large number of different brands:

•Several different brands of "Whey-26"- distributed in Ontario
•Jump 6 brand Strawberry Flavour Whey Protein - distributed by CGBI in Ontario
Several protein-based supplements manufactured by Universal Nutrition of New Brunswick, NJ. Products were offered through a variety of distribution channels including health food stores, gyms, and internet-based, e-commerce sites. HSW confirmed with Universal Nutrition that products were also distributed in Canada.
See HSW Product Details tab for specifics on the affected items.

The CFIA is working with the United States Food and Drug Administration to identify and have the affected products that were imported in Canada removed from the market place.

Food contaminated with Salmonella may not look or smell spoiled. Consumption of food contaminated with these bacteria may cause salmonellosis, a foodborne illness. See Hazard Details tab for more information.

Consumers who purchased any of the affected lot numbers are urged to return the product to the place of purchase for a full refund or credit. Consumers with questions may contact Vitalabs, Inc. at 1-800-241-3017, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

For more information, consumers and industry can call CFIA at 1-800-442-2342 / TTY 1-800-465-7735 (8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday to Friday).


What To Do This Weekend - Honour Earth Hour!

Earth Hour is this Saturday, March 26, at 8:30 PM. Now, while some have said an hour doesn't make a difference - I say every little bit counts, and when millions of people join together - heck, yeah! an hour makes a difference ;-)

Getting off soapbox now....please stay tuned....

So, all you have to do to participate in Earth Hour is turn off your lights and electronics for one hour... but have you thought about how you and the fam can make it even more fun? When Earth Hour first started and my boys were younger, we'd let them stay up the extra half-hour, then put them to bed at 8:30. Instead of a bedtime story book, we would tell stories on the fly. It led to a couple of good discussions too (like why humans have hair)...Here are some other ideas we've had:
  • Give your kids their bath!
  • Make faces by candle light.
  • Read by candle light.
  • Tell ghost stories.
  • Play Jenga, Twister or another game where a lack of sight can really mess up the action :-)
  • Play hide-and-go-seek, spotlight-style in the house.
  • Go for a walk around the neighbourhood... leave an anonymous "Thank you for participating in Earth Hour" note in the mailboxes of dark houses.
  • Draw family pictures, or sketch your favourite cartoon characters.... without candles or light. How crazy will they be?
  • Paint each other's faces in the dark - when the hour is up, see who looks the silliest.
  • Have a scavenger hunt - for younger kids, you can go with easy to find objects that can be located in their regular spots (i.e.: a spoon, a shirt), for older children, be more specific (i.e.: a red shirt; a spoon with flowers on the handle), or hide items earlier in the day (i.e.: a chocolate bar hidden in the family room).
  • Have a sing-along... 99 bottles of milk on the wall?
  • Have a tickle fight!
  • If you don't mind a bit of mess, get everyone in their swimsuits (OK, so you'll have to be able to handle a slight chill as well), get out the washable paints (put each colour in a separate pie pan), put a huge piece of paper (or several taped together) on the kitchen floor, and make the craziest finger-hand-foot-painting poster ever!
Even if you already have plans, you can find ways to incorporate Earth Hour into your evening - if you are entertaining, eat dinner or have a chat by candlelight; if you are out - turn off the electronics you have on you (iPod; cell, etc.). Or, just talk about ways you can incorporate energy-efficiency & environmental awareness into your life - every bit counts :-) You can also pledge your support to Earth hour and the environment by visiting

Have a fun one!

For details on events in & around town, check my calendar regularly! It is on the bottom of every page, or click Events Calendar in the navigation bar :-) The Tely Go Guide is also a good source. 


More Jokes for Kids (Or: What's Making Us Laugh Lately)

Some G-rated funnies for you and your imps :-)

What did the paint say to the wall?
~ I've got you covered!

Why are teddy bears never hungry?
~Because they are always stuffed.

What did the stamp say to the envelope?
~ I'm stuck on you!

What did the galaxy say to the sun?
~You're my biggest star!

Why did the ghost go to the hospital?
He had a boo-boo.

What do you call a shy lamb?

Why was the broom late ?
~ It over-swept!

What do you call a snowman in June?
~ A puddle.

What is as big as the Easter Bunny but weighs less than a feather?
~The Easter Bunny's shadow!

What do snowmen eat for lunch?

What's an owl's favourite subject?

What do the Irish call a fake rock?
~A Sham Rock!

Why did the Queen go to the Dentist?
~She wanted to get her teeth "crowned"!

PS: After you share these with your child, why not ask her what her favourite  joke is? Leave a comment or email it to me with first name and age - if it's a new one, I'll include it in a future riddles/jokes post :-) 

Protecting Your Children From Accidental Medication Poisonings

Do you have medications around? I do, and keeping them away from the children is always a big concern. This informative article about accidental poisonings is from HSW:

Event Highlights
The theme of this year’s National Poison Prevention Week, "Locked Out of Reach", focuses on protecting children under six who are the most at risk. The following was adapted from information provided by Sick Kids Canada and the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control.  In addition to the advice below, please stay abreast of product recalls as advisories relating to the lack of child-proof containers or the lack warning labels are not uncommon. JA
Quick facts:Younger children are curious by nature and explore their environment by touching and putting everything they find in their mouths. "Medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, are involved in two-thirds of unintentional poisonings in children under 14," says Pamela Fuselli, Executive Director of Safe Kids Canada, "but household cleaners, garden chemicals, personal care products, plants and art supplies are other common causes of poisoning."

Children are natural explorers, and when it comes to finding medicines and chemicals in the home, it is vital that caregivers lock these out of reach.

The most common poisonous substances children are exposed to include cough/cold medicines, pain and fever medicine, plants and cleaners. Many poisonings in children happen just before lunch or dinner when children are hungry and least supervised, as the caregiver is busy making a meal.

Each year an estimated five Canadian children under 14 die and another 1,280 end up in the hospital with serious injuries due to poisoning. In BC, poisoning is one of the top three causes of death.

"Poison Control Centres across Canada receive about 160,000 phone calls each year," reports Dr. Martin Lalibert√©, President, Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres (CAPCC). "About 43 per cent of those calls are from frantic parents involving children younger than six years old.

Recommendations:Poisoning in young children is usually unintentional and can be significantly reduced through increased education for all caregivers, including parents, grandparents and babysitters. Many of these poisonings can be prevented by understanding how they occur, who is most at risk, and by ensuring hazardous substances are safely stored out of reach of young children.

•To help keep your child safe from poisoning, keep all medications and potential poisons in their original containers and locked in a cabinet or box, out of reach. Be sure to keep the phone number of your local poison control centre by your home phone and enter it into your cell phone and home phone contact lists.

•Many of these poisonings can be prevented by following directions on product labels, ensuring hazardous substances are put away safely, and keeping medicines and cleaners out of reach of young children.

•If you think your child has been poisoned, immediately contact the nearest poison control centre or call 911. More than 70 per cent of cases can be treated successfully at home.

For more information on unintentional poisoning and for tips on how to prevent them, please visit the websites for Safe Kids Canada (, Health Canada( and the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres, ; where you can find a list of poison control centres.

For more HSW @dvice Events, click on the  button in the "Event Filters/Search" box located in the top left.


St. John's Baby & Toddler Magazine

Guess what?! We've got another mention! And, this one might be the best yet - because it is local :-)

A while back, I posted here about a new local parenting magazine, St. John's Baby & Toddler. I also signed up for the electronic version of the quarterly magazine, which I found in my inbox this AM - and - yay! - St. John's Mom Blog is listed on page 10 as a resource for parents. Cool, hey?

Since you now know they have great taste - :-) - you can subscribe to future issues of the magazine by visiting their website here, or pick up a free copy at various locations throughout St. John's, Mt. Pearl or CBS (I got my last one at Chapter's - the website lists locations where it is available).

Congrats on Issue #2 and keep up the good work!

Recall - Blues Buster Light Bulbs (light bulbs and CFLs)

This recall notice is from HSW:

Event Highlights
The Electrical Safety Authority reports of a recall involving all models of Blues Buster Light Bulbs (light bulbs and CFLs). The affected products have not been tested to determine whether they are compliant with the Canadian Standards for product safety and may pose a safety hazard.

See HSW Product Details tab for specifics on the affected items.

Recalled bulbs were sold by various retailers in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, and the Maritimes (possibly NL). Light bulbs were sold from Sep 2006 through February 2011; Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) were sold from Mar 2008 through February 2011.

Corrective Action:Consumers should disconnect and stop using the affected products immediately and return to place of purchase for a refund or dispose of them in accordance with applicable waste regulations.

Consumer Contact: Ontario Natural Food Coop Phone: 1-800-387-0354 (toll free)

Tasty Tuesday - Easy-Peasy Pasta & Veg

One of my favourite magazines is Prevention - my grandmother used to read it when I was growing up, so I have been reading it forever. They always have great health advice and wonderful recipes. You can check them out online at

This recipe was in the March issue - Shells with Cauliflower and Peas - all food my family loves so I figured we'd give it a try. Wouldn't ya know it, but we had broccoli on hand not cauliflower (switch); and I substituted macadamia nuts for the pecans (pleasantly yummy). Since DH is not a big fan of meatless meals, and there was leftover turkey in the fridge, I threw that in too :-) Here is the oh-so-simple recipe with my substitutions:

Prevention's Shells with Cauliflower and Peas
(my substitutions in parentheses)

1/4 c walnut pieces (1/4 c. macadamia nuts, crushed)
8 oz whole wheat pasta shells (or rotini)

1/2 head cauliflower (or broccoli) cut into small florets
1 lg carrot, cut into small slices (or 12 baby carrots sliced)
1 c. frozen peas

1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c chopped parsley (1 tsp dried parsley)
1 clove garlic (1/4 tsp garlic powder)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
(I also added 2 tsp Parmesan-herb blend and 2 c. diced leftover turkey)

1/4 c grated Parmesan

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Toast nuts until brown, about 5 min; set aside.
  • Prepare pasta per package directions. When 5 min. of cooking time remains, add cauliflower (broccoli) and carrots. Add peas for final 2 minutes.
  • Before draining, ladle out 1/2 c cooking liquid and set aside. Drain, return to pot and add oil, cooking liquid and herbs/salt/pepper immediately (I added the turkey here too). Stir to blend, and until heated through.
  • Serve hot, sprinkled with nuts and cheese.

How the kids can help: measure & pour ingredients; crush nuts; sprinkle the cheese

My family LOVED this recipe! Mario was skeptical on the nuts, but he tried them once Toad reassured him it was OK... oh, that child :-)

PS: Today IS "We Love Broccoli Day" so, if you try this, why not make the "switch" too ;-)


Marvelous Monday - Magic Crystals

Some days, you wake up and the children are playing happily together, laughing, and it makes you smile.
Then, someone looks at the other the wrong way, or has his "man" defeat the other's in a way deemed unacceptable, and bickering ensues... leading to an edgy, erratic energy amongst your kids for the remainder of the morning. At first, it's OK - at least the fighting stopped, but as the AM progresses, the high-pitched squeals and the accompanying rough-housing begin to grate-on-your-nerves.... 

Tell me I'm not the only one who has been here, right? Right. Oh-Thank-The-Powers-That-Be!

The way I see it, my options at this point are:
  1. Lock myself in my room and ScReAm
  2. Kick kids outside - forever
  3. Engage kids in something that will calm-them-the-heck-down
I usually choose option three... though two is sometimes the most appealing ;-)

Anyhow, yesterday, when this happened, I decided we'd just have to do another experiment and make some crystals. This really appealed to Mario, who had visions of selling them and becoming oh-so-rich!, and to Toad, who planned to give them to the girls in his class (he's 6. Did I tell you he's 6?!)

Want to make crystals yourself? It is fun and easy, and involves a little "cooking" which is always a child-pleaser, n'est-ce pas? Here's the basic method:
  • Boil water - say 1/2c. or 3/4c.
  • Add equal amount of Epsom salts. Stir. Remove from heat.
  • Continue adding Epsom salts, while stirring, until they no longer dissolve. Set aside for 4-5 min to cool. 
  • Get a metal washer, some string, a Popsicle stick and a glass. 
  • Put washer on string, suspend from Popsicle stick over lip of glass (should be at a height where it will not touch the water, but hover just above it). 
  • Put water solution in glass, put stick with washer on top, set in a window for several days (week-10 days).... as the water evaporates, the salt will be attracted to the metal washer and you will see a trail of crystals appear. 
We've done this before, so yesterday we tweaked it a little:
  • We added green dye to some of the water and red dye to the remainder, and ensured we put these in separate glasses - we wonder if we will have clear crystals, or if the crystals will take on the colour of the dye.
  • We also added glitter to the green solution to see if we could create crystals with sparkles inside.
  • We super-saturated the red solution (kept adding salt over heat until it would no longer dissolve) to see if it would result in bigger crystals or nothing at all.
Now, obviously the crystals aren't ready yet - I will update you on them next week - but, here is what we have so far:

Try this with your kids! Believe me, they will think it's simply marvelous ;-)


Sunday Snippets

Tidbits of information I picked up this week:
  • Your personality traits can affect your health! Impulsive Risk Takers, for example, tend to have more accidents (the highest cause of death if you are under 41). Take the quiz on the Dr. Oz website to see what you should watch out for.
  • Would you like a manners cheat-sheet for your kids? The March issue of Parents magazine lists the 25 Manners Every Kid Needs by Age 9 - among them using eating utensils properly and always knocking on closed doors and waiting for a response before entering. You can review the slide show with your children here.
  • Also in Parents March issue - how to estimate your child's adult height: for girls, subtract 5 inches from the father's height and average with the mother's height; for boys, add 5 inches to the mother's height and average it with the father's. 
  • If you have kids, chances are you have hand sanitizer nearby, right? I read in Woman's World (3/7/11 issue) that it is useful for removing labels off packages and bottles due to its alcohol content. Yea! a solution I can really use!
  • Just 4 min/day of exposure to daylight can cause chemical reactions in dairy products that reduce their content of vitamin A and can lead to a metallic flavour. Take milk from farther back in the store cooler and store near the back of your fridge to keep the vitamin at its peak (Woman's World 3/7/11)
  • SPRING STARTS TODAY! Winter is over - officially at least ;-)


Small Changes Challenge - 10/50

I'm gonna confess right off the bat - this week was not a good one for me when it came to following through on my Small Changes Challenge! Not only did I get a dismal score (1/5) I barely gave it a thought after Monday.

My challenge this week was to "gut & sort" a space for 15 minutes each day... those tasks I have been putting off since last Fall - I thought that if I made them part of the Small Changes Challenge, perhaps they would finally get done.

Ummm.... nope. Apparently, the reason the stuff had made every To-Do List since the Autumn and was still not done is because I really have no desire to do them ;-). Just what are these terrible tasks? Oh, they are dreadful! Let me show you:
  • Day 1 - gut clutter on dining room table
  • Day 2 - office desk sorted
  • Day 3 - baking cupboard sorted
  • Day 4 - pantry sorted
  • Day 5 - linen closet sorted

Aren't those horrendous?! I'm sorry if it turned your stomach. Really, I am.

I did manage to gut the mail, model dump-trucks, paints, craft supplies and stamps off the dining room table on Monday.... and despite "playing" there this week, it is still not half bad. Yes, the stamps are back, but they are in nice little piles, and the scraps are in a recycling box off to one side.

Of course, in saying that, I am neglecting to tell you that Mario felt the easiest way to abide by my new "tidy table policy" was to do his models and painting on the dining room floor.... Where there's a will there's a way  - for the kids at least, not me!

Wish me better luck next time...

Have a great weekend!

Recall - prescription product containing the wrong medication

Recall notice from HSW:

Note: this is directed mainly towards pharmacists, however, if you take either of the drugs, you may want to check with your pharmacist to be sure you didn't receive affected drugs - potentially life-threatening interactions could occur

Event Highlights
Health Canada reports that following a complaint by a pharmacist regarding a prescription product containing the wrong medication, Mylan Pharmaceuticals has begun a voluntary recall of one lot (1037180) of MYLAN-MINOCYCLINE 50mg capsules, (bottles of 100) and MYLAN-AMLODIPINE 5mg tablets, (bottles of 100).
According to Mylan Pharmaceuticals, the quality investigation, which is ongoing, revealed a labelling error in which the MYLAN-AMLDODIPINE 5mg tablets label was mixed with the MYLAN-MINOCYCLINE 50mg capsules labels.

See HSW Product Details tab for specifics on the affected drugs.

MYLAN-AMLODIPINE is used to treat high blood pressure and angina (chest pain). MYLAN-MINOCYCLINE is used to treat certain types of skin infections, urinary tract infections, gallbladder infections, and respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and sinusitis.

The risk to a patient, who is sensitive or allergic to tetracyclines or minocycline, and is taking MYLAN-AMLODIPINE to treat their high blood pressure or angina, but is now using MYLAN-MINOCYCLINE due to a labelling error, can be life-threatening. 

In addition, a patient who requires MYLAN-AMLODIPINE for their high blood pressure or angina will not get the medication needed to help them treat these conditions.

Recommended Actions:The company is advising pharmacists and wholesalers to return all quantities of the affected lot to Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

Canadians with high blood pressure, angina, or allergies to tetracyclines or minocycline should...
•Speak to your healthcare practitioner and pharmacist with any questions or concerns regarding further use of this product.
•Report any adverse reaction potentially related to these products to Health Canada.
•Contact Mylan Pharmaceuticals concerning this recall at 1-800-575-1379

Consumers and health professionals wanting more information about this advisory from Health Canada can contact the Public Enquiries Line at 613-957-2991, or toll free at 1-866-225-0709.
Media enquiries related to this Advisory should be directed to Health Canada Media Relations at 613-957-2983.


Bumble Beats Spring Semester

The Spring Semester of Bumble Beats begins Sat., April 9th for 10 weeks.

Visit for class schedules and descriptions.

Feel free to call (709-782-5778) or email ( to register.

What To Do This Weekend - Explore & Support Other Cultures

This weekend, there are two fabulous opportunities to explore & support other cultures and share the delights of the world with our children!

First of all, like many folks, I have been glued to the TV and its images of the devastation in Japan this past week. My heart aches for the people affected and for those who worry for friends and family in the region. When such disasters strike, we want to help and reach out, but don't always know how. Tomorrow, March 18th, from 9-4,the Japanese Student Society will be holding a fundraiser for Japan, hosted by three Japanese women living here in Newfoundland. They plan to  give out origami cranes or flowers to all who donate on-site, with funds going to the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts. There will also be a cloth decorated with a Canadian Maple leaf in the middle where people can write messages to the victims (it will be sent to Japan at the end of the month). Not only is this a wonderful initiative to help those affected by the Earthquake and Tsunami, it will  also help your children identify with the people and culture of Japan and connect in a concrete way with the donation they are making! For more information, check out this article from The Independent. 

On Sunday, from 2-4 PM, at various stations through out the public spaces in The Rooms, families can explore firsthand the games played all over the world! This is part of  Sharing Our Cultures, an educational and multicultural project The Rooms is participating in as part of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Through game-play, children will be able to learn about different cultures, what they eat, how they dress, and get a feel for customs and traditions. More information is available at or through the link to The Rooms in the sidebar.... check it out! I am sure you will be as excited as I am!

Also this weekend:
  • Spring officially starts on Sunday, March 20th!
  • Why not do some Spring Cleaning with the kids, then get a head start on Earth Hour (next week!!!) by dropping off your old books to be recycled at the Book Blitz stations at the Arts and Culture Centre & Pearltown Rd Lester’s Farms? And for extra Spring Celebration, use those old magazine you come across to make paper flowers with the kids! (Start with a square, fold in half 4 times until you have another square, cut semi-circle from one folded edge to another, open up for a petal shape.... string several together onto a pipe cleaner, arrange to look like flower. Done.)
  • So you think you've got talent? is a free event featuring local kids at Holy Heart Theatre. Visit their website (sidebar) for details.
  • Why not take in a movie with the family? There's lots to choose from this weekend: Rango, Gnomeo & Juliet, and Mars Needs Moms, or, if your DD has Bieber Fever, and hasn't seen it yet, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never is still playing ;-)

Have a good one, People!

For details on events in & around town, check my calendar regularly! It is on the bottom of every page, or click Events Calendar in the navigation bar :-) The Tely Go Guide is also a good source. 


Recall - Costco/Kirkland Signature Date Nut Loaves (may contain pieces of finishing nails)

The following recall notice is from HSW:

Event Highlights
Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. has announced a voluntary recall of Kirkland Signature Date Nut Loaves purchased between February 5th and March 15th, 2011 inclusively.

This product should not be consumed because they may contain pieces of finishing nails.

There has been one reported injury associated with the consumption of this product.

Customers are being advised to return the product to Costco warehouse for a full refund.

For more information, please contact Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. at 1-800-463-3783.

HSW Comment: At the time of posting this Event, CFIA had not issued any information about this recall. Because the recalled items were sold in Canada, we elected to post this information prior to any official notice from CFIA.  If additional information becomes available, we will update this Event.  JA

What You Can Find Online for Some St. Patrick's Day Fun!

I am just going to start off this linky post by saying it is amazing what you can find on the internet - there is a slew of ideas out there! Here are just a few of the ones I found to help you out with your St. Paddy's Day planning:

Foodie Ideas:
  • Why not make up a batch of this Irish Bread for breakfast? (From Chasing Fireflies - a lot of ideas here if you poke around her site.)
  • Prefer a dessert idea instead? Check out this Rainbow Pudding  from or these Marshmallow Shamrocks on - they both look seriously fun!
  • Ivillage has a collection of 20 Irish-inspired recipes - take your pick here! The potato cakes look YUM.
Play-With-Your Food Ideas: 
Crafty Ideas
  • Mario likes this cute, easy Leprechaun, made from a paper towel tube, on Family Fun
  • Both of these ideas from are quick & adorable: Pot of gold or Shamrock puppy. If that's not your style, why not try their watercolour rainbow idea, or their selection of colouring sheets?
  • Looking for an easy treat you can put together for your peeps? This one is my favourite: licorice rainbow pot of gold from (if you can't find the diffeent colours of licorice, I would try sorting Skittles by colour, arrange one colour at a time in a line on plastic wrap & carefully roll to create the lines of the rainbow to substitute for her licorice strings).

Mixed Bag:
  • Visit this link from Craft Gossip for a collection of ideas ranging from a "Shamrock Pizza" to "Marshmallow Rainbows" to "Thumbprint Leprechaun Bookmarks"!

  • has a selection of  goodies chosen with St. Pat's in mind: check them out here. Don't forget to check out their Kid Friendly Irish Menu featuring an awesome cheesecake!
  • A girl's gotta dress too - fashion picks for you from, my dear, are right here.
  • Still haven't found what you are looking for? Check out this link for History, games, printables, clothes, crafts, quizzes and other fun activities collected by 
That's quite the list, if I do say so myself! (Who's got your back? St. John's Mom, that's who! :-)

Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow! 

Hope it is a fun one :-)


Tasty Tuesday - Leftover Potato Casserole (aka: Weekend Leftovers Supper)

Well, well, well... that sounds interesting...{not}.

Seriously though, who doesn't have leftover potatoes? And wouldn't you like something other than hash to make out of them (not that hash isn't good, but it can get a little been-there-done-that-ish). So, when I came across this recipe on Creative Homemaker, I remembered the pommes de terre in the fridge and thought, I can work with that! We didn't have everything from the original readily on hand, so this is the tweaked recipe with my additions, omissions and substitutions (you're shocked, right?):

Leftover Potato Casserole aka: Weekend Leftovers Supper

6 -8 medium pre-boiled potatoes, chopped (Leftover from Sunday night!)
3/4 cup of leftover grilled chicken breast (ditto ;-)
3 slices cooked (crisp) bacon, chopped (Leftover from Saturday mornin' ;-)
1 can sweet corn (Leftover from... wait a minute - just opened ;-)

1 can broccoli & cheese condensed soup
3/4 cup sour cream (left over from Saturday Night!)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt, 
1 tsp. basil
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tsp dried Parmesan & herb mix

3/4 c. shredded cheddar
10-15 crushed bacon crackers

  • Mix potatoes (gently) with bacon, chicken & corn.
  • In a separate bowl, mix soup with sour cream, garlic powder, salt, pepper & herbs.
  • Carefully add potato mixture to soup mixture & fold in. 
  • Transfer to stone ware baking dish; bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. 
  • Take out & top with shredded cheese & crushed bacon crackers. Return to oven, bake another 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and casserole is heated through. 

How the kids can help: measure & pour ingredients, chop potatoes (regular butter knife or plastic knife will work fine on the boiled spuds), mix soup with cream & herbs, crush crackers. 

Now, while Mario is not a fan of potatoes in any form, he did eat everything else. But, this recipe was a HIT with everyone else: Toad announced it is his FaVoUrItE cAsSeRoLe - woot! He's been getting tricky to feed supper to here lately, so this was a personal victory :-) And, DH felt the potatoes were better the second time around than they were the first - which WAS a compliment because I don't do cooked dinner!

Enjoy :-)

Recall - Rosebud Wooden Cribs

The following recall notice is from HSW:

Event Highlights
Health Canada and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission report of a recall involving Rosebud drop-side cribs manufactured by Status Furniture. The drop-side rail hardware on the cribs can break or fail, allowing the drop side to detach from the crib. When the drop side detaches, a hazardous gap is created between the drop-side rail and the crib mattress in which infants and toddlers can become wedged or entrapped, posing risks of suffocation and strangulation. In addition, children can fall out of the crib when the drop-side rail falls unexpectedly or detaches from the crib. Drop-side rail failures can also occur due to incorrect assembly or with age-related wear and tear.

See HSW's Product Details tab for specifics on the affected items.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and The Land of Nod have received 13 reports involving drop-side hardware that has malfunctioned or failed.

The manufacturer is no longer in business and as a result, the exact model number(s), quantity, and time period over which the recalled cribs affected by this recall were sold in Canada are unknown.

Corrective Action:Consumers should carefully examine the drop-side rail hardware for any signs of damage. If consumers determine that the drop-side hardware is broken, loose, missing, or deformed or that there are any other reasons for concern, consumers should immediately stop using the recalled cribs and find an alternative safe sleeping environment for their baby.

Recall - Wooden Fruit Puzzles by Kid O

The following recall notice is from HSW:

Event Highlights
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports of a recall involving wooden fruit puzzles by Kid O Products. The knobs attached to the puzzle fruit can come loose, posing a choking hazard to young children.

See HSW's Product Details tab for specifics on the affected items.

Recalled product was sold at specialty children’s stores nationwide from November 2010 through February 2011 for about $12.HSW confirmed with Kid O Products that recalled product was potentially shipped to Canada.
Corrective Action:Consumers should immediately take the recalled puzzles away from children and return them to the retail store where they purchased it for a full refund. Consumers can also contact Kid O Products for instructions on how to mail the product to receive a full refund.Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Kid O Products collect at (212) 366-5858 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at

HSW Comment: At the time of posting this Event, Health Canada had not issued any information about this recall. Because the recalled items were potentially sold in Canada, we elected to post this information prior to any official notice from Health Canada.  If additional information becomes available, we will update this Event.  JA