Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Camping Trip

In the past few days, I've been perusing my favourite internet shopping sites and looking to see if they have started selling winter and skiing gear. **ducks head**
I know, I know, you are screaming at me that I'm crazy.
It's not that I can't wait for winter, because I can, it's just that I do love window shopping online, and as I've said before, my secret obsession is buying outerwear.
Yes, I'm weird.
The number of times I actually purchase anything is really minimal, but I can still dream, right?
Anyhow, back to summer.
We have only one week left until school begins, and I'm still unsure as to whether I'm happy or sad about that. More sad, I think.
In an effort to take advantage of the good weather while it's still here, we decided to go camping last weekend in Arrowhead Provincial Park that is in Huntsville.
We had a pretty good time, even though my DH really doesn't like car camping. He says it's not "real" camping, but sleeping in a tent practically on the ground, having to hike to the bathroom and cooking outdoors is real enough for me.
When I was a kid, my dad used to take my sister N and I camping quite a bit. I don't really remember many camping trips involving my younger siblings (S and A), nor my mother, so I'm guessing she declined a lot in favour of staying behind with the littler ones and a comfortable bed and private washroom. We used to take hikes through the woods, and my dad would point out all the flora and fauna and fungi that he could identify, and the ones he couldn't as well. Any love of nature I have is due to him. I think if he had never done this, exposed us to camping and nature, I really wouldn't be very outdoorsy at all. And I'm pretty lacking in that area as it is. So, thank you Dad.
The coolest part of our nature hikes were looking at all the fungi and mushrooms. We really don't know any names of any of them, but always found them fun to look at and poke. Here are some pictures of our trip and wildlife. Sorry they are all out of order and mixed up. I still can't figure out how to get them the way I want...Hope you like 'em!

At the falls in the park. The sign says "no swimming" but everyone does anyway. Who can resist a natural jacuzzi?

Some awesome fungi. I really like the one above, it looks like lacy coral to me.

Above, the boys climbing the falls (probably not the best idea), and below, L holding a salamander found in a rotting log.

Below, a shot from our canoe ride.

The falls again.

R taking a turn to paddle the canoe. He did really well!

This guy (a great blue heron) was hanging out at the bottom of the falls watching everyone watching him.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer's End

Summer feels like it has gone both quickly, and slowly. Weird, I know. On one hand, I can scarcely believe that we have only two weeks + a day left until the first day of school, but on the other, it feels like my kids have been home for ages. Again, I am feeling bad sometimes because we really haven't done much with our summer. We've been to the local beaches several times, and of course to the parks a lot and the splash pad twice, but I feel somehow that we really haven't got much out of our summer. We haven't been camping, we haven't gone on enough bike rides or walks, we've done nearly no summer attractions, such as Wonderland, Ontario Place, etc...
I can't help but feel badly about that, but it's just not in our budget. We did go to a small local zoo last week with Kady-bug, as she was the only daycare kid I had for the day. That was fun, but still cost me a pretty penny, even with the toddler being free. I just don't want my kids to grow up and think back on their summer vacations and realize how boring they really were. I'm lucky that my kids are home-bodies like me. They really just like being home and hanging out with their Lego and toys. I guess I shouldn't complain if they aren't complaining. Really I think it's just me. I'm so bored lately. So bored with my life. I am missing the routine of school (I just don't miss the lunch-making), I am missing the after-school sports/activities. I am tired of the same walls, the same tv programming, the same internet pages, the same view outside my window and in my neighbourhood. I miss talking to other moms at the school yard.
I'm not really anxious for school to get started though. It means so many unpleasant things, mainly the passage of time. I know, I know, whether there is school or not makes no difference on how time moves, but it seems that once school starts, time flies. My babies are growing up, and much too fast. R starts grade five this year (!!) and L grade 3. I know that in the blink of an eye, it will be Hallowe'en, and then another blink, boom, Christmas, and then another and it's February and we're all looking forward to spring. Another blink and it's the end of another school year. Before I know it, they'll be graduating.
Of course, along with that unpleasant thing are others that come with school. Making lunches (yes, I had to mention that again because I despise it so), early mornings, earlier bedtimes, grumpier L, dealing with teachers, dealing with issues, and the exponential increase in exposure to illnesses.
Yes, I'm a hypochondriac of sorts. I hate dealing with illness, the kids', mine or hubby's. And guaranteed every September as soon as school starts, so do the illnesses. And this year R is in a portable, which means even more chance of him getting sick. Yes, it's not a proven thing, but just think about it. A closed-in environment, one room with no great ventilation, thirty kids breathing/coughing/sneezing on each other and most of them do not wash their hands at all.
And I will miss my boys. Yes, they've driven me crazy with fighting at times. But mostly, they've been pretty good all summer. I like having them around. It kills me to think when they're at school that the teacher sees more of them than I do. I guess that's probably the way parents feel when they send their kids off to daycare.
So I have this week off and I am desperate to fill the days with fun activities we can look back on during the winter months and remember fondly.
I just have no idea what those things will be. Anyone have any great (cheap) ideas?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Is This Real?

Recently, I've been trying to find new business for my daycare. I need to take on a couple of new kids for the fall so I can fill the spots vacated by kids going to grade one. 
So I have an ad on Kijiji, which has worked pretty well for me in the past. I also have people spreading the word, and on Marketplace via Facebook.  
I haven't had much luck, and to be honest, I'm starting to get anxious and worried. I really need the money, but that's a boring and ongoing story. 
Anyhow, every once in a while I get an email from a mom looking for more info, or if I'm lucky enough, an interview. Even though I have a website with all my info, and my ads direct them to said website, the contents of the emails are usually questions like, "Where are you located?", "What school do you service?", "What do your charge?" and "Are receipts included?", plus many others. I always try to be polite, and give a prompt answer even if they don't match well with me. I mean, who knows, maybe they'll pass on my name to a friend that does match. 
But today I received this email. It's just...weird. It's sending up alarm bells in my head. It's not from Kijiji, because emails through that state they're through Kijiji. 
It could be someone that arbitrarily found my website and emailed me from that, but they don't say where they got my email from. 
They obviously don't speak English very well, as you can tell from the mistakes in the letter. 
The weirdest part is that they say "your area" (non-specific) and that they don't really ask any questions other than hours and price. If I was coming from another country I would be asking a million questions, even if this is a preliminary "feeler" letter. 
And, missionary work?? WTF? I'm not religious, and I don't know much about the goings-ons of a church, but isn't missionary work done in poor countries and stuff? And where they want to teach the "heathens" (me!) about Christ? 
Um, yes there's poverty in Canada and even where I live, but not to the degree of say, African countries. And most of the people where we live are already Christians. 
Ok, so here's the email, read for yourself:

Hi there, 

   We are christian family from California, USA coming to Ontario,Canada for a missionary work and this will last for 6 months so we are looking for a loving caregiver to take care of our son age 2years old (Dominic).  The care giver will take care of our son's academic and personal requirements. The caregiver should able to converse reasonably well in English and should be willing to work 5 days a week.Kindly get back to us stating the best time for you to care for our son daily and your fee per month.Our missionary work can be done anywhere in your area so your location will not be a problem.

Please respond if only you have a vacant spot.

Thanks and God bless
Jessica and Thomas Piteau

Ok, so if this isn't a scam or spam then I'm going to feel bad for these people. But this really isn't the way to go about finding childcare. They make it sound as if they are moving into any area they find childcare. And that's just…
You find childcare where you work or live, not the other way round. 
But it screams fake to me. But the question is why? Why would you use this approach as a scam? And for what purpose?
Well, I won't answer them, purely based on the fact that they sound extremely religious and I'm not. 
And yes that weighs heavily on my scale. Because you need to mesh and have similar ideals with the parents. And that doesn't make the cut. 
Sorry Jessica and Thomas, if that's who you really are. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


There's nothing I hate more than bugs, except maybe bugs in my house! A week ago or so, I was dealing with mysterious maggots. This week, despite my best efforts to seek out and destroy all of them and their source, it seems the little buggers have matured, and after the long weekend away at the cottage, I returned home to a house full of flies!


It's sooooo disgusting! It was so bad, that we actually opened up all the windows and doors hoping most of them would fly out. I am usually screaming at reminding the kids to hurry and close the screens/doors so the flies and assorted bugs don't get in. But for the one or two flies that flew into the house during this "open house", probably about five to ten flew out.

Now, two days later, I am still finding random flies buzzing around. And it annoys me so much! Because I can't figure out where the hell they're coming from! I took the compost garbage out before we left for the weekend. There was nothing in the regular garbage bin like old meat trays that would attract the pests. Nevertheless, I wasted a garbage bag just to empty the garbage can of it's pitiful contents so I could be sure. We cleaned the guinea pigs out. I cleaned the whole main part of the house, and all the bathrooms. I can't detect a rogue, rotting smell anywhere (and I have a pretty good smeller).

Just now the boys informed me that there were quite a few more of the bothersome creatures zooming around in the basement. So I went down there and went through the same routine. Emptied the garbages. Sniffed around. Searched for rancid or rotting food.

Nothing so far.

Tomorrow, when I have no daycare kids here, I am going to scour that basement. It's something I LOATHE doing, because it takes me all day, and it's like having to go to work for free on your day off. But as much as I hate it, I hate those pesky vermin even more.