Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pete the Cat #MagicSunglasses Blog Tour + Giveaway

The following is sponsored conversation with Put Me In The Story. All opinions and goofy grins, as always, are my own.


The first time we read Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, it was from a copy that was a few inches big. Seriously. It came in a Happy Meal.

Despite its small size, we read it over and over. I loved the message of looking at the world in a new way and changing your attitude.

So when Put Me In The Story asked if we wanted to review an actual full-sized (non Happy Meal-sized) copy that was going to be personalized for our own cool cat, I jumped.

We're building up quite the collection of Put Me In The Story books, and I honestly can't rave enough about them. They're so easy to customize -- it takes about two minutes to pop in their names and photos -- and they make a very special keepsake.

They are just so flipping cute!

I always love adding the dedication. 

(I used to make the books from "Mommy and Daddy," but I like it even better now that the kids give them to each other.)

If you've never read Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses, you're going to like it. Trust me. It's not one of those annoying kids' books. It's cool. I mean, look at that frog. He is totally cool. 

Any time you can see your own picture in a beautiful shiny book, it's definitely a good day.

 The kids love it, of course. It's like the Happy Meal copy grew 10 sizes ... and got personalized!

Now that you're dying for your very own copy, how about a free one? Sound good? You, my lovely readers, can enter for the chance to win a #MagicSunglasses Gift Bag that includes:

Here's how to enter ...

  • Share a selfie of you and your child wearing sunglasses with the hashtag #MagicSunglasses
  • Share a Tweet
  • Sign up for Put Me In The Story’s newsletter 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Yes, you can actually win by posting a selfie! Here's mine. (Don't forget the #MagicSunglasses hashtag!)

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Teaching little kids about LGBTQ+ issues

Long before the kids really understood what we were saying, we told them they could grow up and love anyone they wanted. Marry a girl, marry a boy, marry anybody they’d like! Two moms, two dads — it’s all good.

For a long time, our daughter insisted she wanted to marry my sister’s best friend and a family friend who is about 50-odd years older than her. I told her that was fine, as long as they were both OK with it.

Our son went back and forth between his best buddy and a special friend from preschool. Sometimes he said he didn’t want to get married, ever, and just wanted to live with me and Daddy forever. That’s totally cool, I reassured him.

After years of peacefully agreeing that “anybody can marry anybody,” I wasn’t pleased when my son came home from school announcing that “a boy can’t marry a boy.” Someone in his class had said so — and, yes, you could see the smoke rushing out of my ears ...

Continue reading in my weekly parenting column, The Mom Scene ...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Oversized ironing board tutorial

I made this a longggg time ago and it somehow never made it to the blog, so today's as good a day as any, right?

I always say that I don't iron clothes -- just fabric (and hair, back in high school when my sister perfected a method for pressing our heads up against the ironing board). 

The thing about sewing is that you need to iron a LOT. I still don't like it, but it's a necessary evil. Ironing fabric before you work with it (sometimes), ironing pieces in progress, ironing quilts, pressing seams, blah. Sometimes I skip it and sometimes I can't.

So ...

Since I only use our ironing board for fabric, I decided to give it a little upgrade and treat myself to a bigger ironing surface! 

Let's get started ... 

Ye olde ironing board (super sturdy and stolen from my mom)

I sprayed it (well, the parts that would be visible) with Krylon's Blue Ocean Breeze.

I snagged a leftover piece of melamine countertop-y board (from my DIY desk) and traced the ironing board onto it with a pencil.

I marked the spots where screws could fit through the grates and pre-drilled holes. (Apologies for the dark photos -- this was a spur-of-the-moment DIY conducted late at night.)

I spread fabric out on the floor ("Beautiful Garden Girl" by Studio E fabrics from Atlantic Fabrics -- also used for my daughter's bucket hat), added two layers of quilt batting, and set the board on top to make sure it would fit.

Then I bolted the ironing board to the white board, set the whole (HEAVY) thing back down on the batting, and got to work wrapping and stapling the edges.

When I was done stapling, here's how it looked from underneath (not so pretty, but who cares about the bottom?)

Oh, but wait! I had a weird end jutting out. Hmm, I guess the board wasn't long enough? What's a DIY-er to do? ... 

A shelf! I can add a shelf! (Another stolen chunk of a wood from a scrap pile, screwed through the grates of the ironing board). 

I slapped on a couple of coats of glam gold paint (Fusion Mineral Paint) ...

... and then Mod Podged-on a little gold glitter for extra bling! (Notice the Christmas lights in the background? I told you this was a seriously old DIY.)

The finished ironing board is HUGE and I can easily iron a yard/metre of fabric without having to shift it around a million times. It's also amazing when I'm quilting

And even though it's huge, it still folds down when I'm not using it just like a regular ironing board.

Tell me this doesn't make you want a GIGANTIC ironing board. Imagine the hair (fabric) you could iron on this sucker!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Mom confessions from mid-July

I'm trying to feel grateful that I don't have to pack school lunches at the moment, but honestly I do miss school. A lot. (Also, I'm still MAKING just as many lunches -- I'm just not making them at 6:45 a.m.)

I'm trying to be patient with them. It's hard.

I'm trying to remind myself that it's nice not to be missing my oldest from 7:30 a.m. until just after 2 p.m. every weekday, but I also wish he'd leave me alone occasionally. The youngest, too, while we're at it.

I'm trying to embrace the flexibility -- the freedom! -- of "summer vacation," but mostly I'm just aching for the routine that comes with the school year. I'm a creative of habit and structure is my game. I *like* getting to places early, with everyone dressed and coiffed. I *like* having a set schedule to our days. I'm *good* at that!

I'm trying not to twitch when they ask me for the 426th snack in a single morning. I'm really failing.

I'm trying not to wish the summer away -- or this time when my kids are young and cute -- because I know the days are long but the years are short. But let's face it: the days can be really longggggggg.

I'm trying not to feel jealous of my teacher friends and SAHM/SAHD friends who don't need to work amidst the shrieks and banging coming from overhead.

I'm trying not to feel guilty when I have to work, but it's much easier said than done when the kids are around constantly. My work can't stop because they're off, and yet I feel guilty. They tell me they don't want to go to day camp (!!!) even though I was counting on it (!!!) and now I'm like $%&#!

I'm trying not to feel sad when everyone is hanging out in the backyard with the neighbours and I really want to join them but I have to work. (There's currently a random groundhog, too, and I want to be out there pointing and taking pictures of it, dammit!)

I'm trying not to beat myself up because I'm not revelling in summer fun and excitement. Nobody wants to be the lame nerd who *misses* the routine of the school year! But, you know, I am who I am.

I'm trying not to ----- SERIOUSLY, YOU JUST HAD BREAKFAST! You don't need a snack yet! Go back outside! Mommy's working! Aughhhhh!