Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bought a chainsaw 2day to be able to go out and harvest fallen trees and be able to cut it up easy
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Living in windy rural area has been proing to be beneficial-free firewood on road from storms!
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Had to solve heating issue fast-friend sold me woodstove for donation 2 her charity-lifesaver!
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Have not been able to blog much over the holidays w/ so much going on! Hopefully soon though
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Hiku

Christmas Haiku It's Christmas today Time to eat turkey and pie Then unzip yer pants

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Ramblings

After a few days of EXTREME pain in my hips and back from what I can only imagine had to be from shovelling the INSANE amount of snowfall in such a short period of time. I'm finally feeling a bit better. I've been trying to do some Wii fit Yoga moves.

The pain was so bad I cried and could barley think straight. The crappy part was it was our solstice day holiday that I woke up feeling this way and was unable to move. It got worse throughout the day, and hubby just kept giving me pain meds, and trying to rub it was as bad or worse then when I was in back labor with both of the kids, and when my pelvis went out of alignment at my son's birth and took weeks to snap back into place.

I was lucky in that I happen to live in a place where neighbors are nice and my 70 year old neighbor with a snowblower cleared out the bottom of my driveway! yes he's 70, but the man was out at the other neighbors last week shlepping a lazy boy chair over his back into the back of their car!!! I hope I have that kind of energy when I'm his age.

At any rate even with a lot of pain, dinner was nice, and hubby and DD8 did sbaking while I made a turkey dinner... yes I know I just posted that our Solstice dinner is roast beef... but this year we opted to switch it around and do our solstice menu on New years day...mainlt because DD wanted to, and we didn't have much objection.

Thinking I was doing a good thing, I started a turkey soup in my new crock pot that Hubby bought me last week ( complete with auto shut off etc for my ADHD brain!!) and i guess my old crock pot was lacking in ability somehow, because what would have been nice soup in my old crockpot, was mush in my new crock pot!! What a waste, but a good lesson and I'm glad it was with leftovers and not wit fresh ingredients for stew or something!!

Monday i had an appointment in the City fo my ADHD.. a while back I had some health issues that scared me and my Doctor was nervous about me staying on a stimulant medication for my ADHD and lowered my Ritalin dose significantly to the point of rendering me pretty much a bumbling idiot, and I went and saw a heart specialist to have my heart checked.. I got the all clear from him, and I'm as fit as a fiddle he informs me, so all is a go for Stimulant meds for the ADHD. We are trying Concerta for the first time and hoping the all day slow release effect will help a lot. So I got the script, and met back up with DH and the kids at the Mall after my appointment. We browsed as we were finished our minimal shopping for the holidays weeks ago.. there is something interesting in watching others around you panic shop on the 22nd of neat lesson in human nature.

We picked up Rock Band 2, a gift for the whole family we've been saivng for since we knew it was coming out...Hubby was so excited it wasn't even funny... we tried to buy Wii points for buying new songs but not ONE Walmat in a 100 klm radius of us had them...( we drove to every one of them!!!so I suggested we check the Zellers, and there they were...why doesn't anyone shop at Zellers anymore???? So that excursion got us home with two sleeping kiddlets and a van full of groceries to put away at like 3 am!!! What a brain was fried.. I can't drive with no ADHD medication...i get bored real fast mentally, and need to either speed, which hubby won't let me do, or I get drowsy while driving...I ate baby carrots to keep myself awake...and took 3 caffeine pills...I ate a LOT of baby carrots, and I paid the price for that much fiber today!!

Needless to say I didn't get to bed until 5 am!! and the DS3yo had me awake at 8!! Yikes..then someone called at 8:5o0, when I HAD JUST got DS to snuggle with me.. I got up and started my day.

Today I Cleaned the KItchen more, made great turkey leftover stuffed potatos and then made pheffernuse cookies for the first time and they turned out pretty good too!!! Hubby LOVES pheffernuse, so I thought I'd try a recipe from an online friend out west, and they were really good :) i think they are a keeper and an addition to our holiday.

Tomorrow I have to fill my RX, and grab some ginger for the ginger bread house dough...and we have a winter storm watch pending right now...with freezing rain warnings, so I might not be going any where, but I'm anxious to try the Concerta and see if it helps anymore then the Ritalin did.... it had such a short lifespan in my system the doctor thought the Slow release of COncerta would be better. The problem is I've got a compassion prescript form the company to try it, and it is a drug not covered by my drug plan!! so if it works I'll be fighting to have it covered...and my Dr warns it is a HARD process. :(

Hubby is playing RB2, and I'm exhausted.... so I'm signing off and going to bed.. tomorrow I am making a meat pie as pat of our traditional Christmas eve Meal...Hope you are enjoying your holiday too.. all my followers.. all....3 of you... LOL

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I NEED one of these!!! Someone tell the Toro company to ship me one of these and I'll advertise the thing for them for LIFE...I near killed me back shoveling last night.... and environment Canada says we have more to come! With two small kids and a disabled husband...I don't want one... I NEED one!!!!

Making Family Traditions

I thought I'd share our Holiday Traditions with you.

Most of our families traditions come from many beliefs and customs combined into one stretch of 12 winter fun days for us :) DD calls it the "12 days of winter".

We have been Buddhist for over 8 years now, and being Scottish and of a Celtic decent, it was fun for us to sit down and do a totally different holiday season than what most of the world around us does.We wanted to still have fun, but for it to be more suited to our beleifs and revolve it all around nature and the season and the things that are important to us.

We started to write out our own traditions we wanted to incorporate when we were pregnant with our DD and each year we have followed it and added a few other little things to it)

We start off with Bodhi day which is December 8th ( the day observed as when Buddha achieved enlightenment), and then spend the rest of December from that day on cleaning the house. We don't "spring" clean, we do the deep clean in December and finish any unfinished business ( emotionally, financially etc,) and try to be done before the 1st of January to start the year off fresh with no looking back. It's a Buddhist custom.

We have a norfolk island pine tree that we start to decorate on the 8th and add small decorations to daily until we get to Midwinter's eve.(the day before the first day of winter/Solstice.)

On Solstice eve the kids get to open one gift from old man winter in preperation for the longest darkest night of the year.It is usually new PJ's and a small toy.THe PJ's is a tradition my mom did with us on Christmas eve growing up.

Then we are ready after most of the clenaing up etc for our Midwinter day celebration and family dinner.

Our Midwinter celebration ( the solstice) is a Celtic holiday and we celebrate each year. It is our big holiday ( we don't observe Christmas /Santa besides attending a family dinner with the rest of our extended family who do and give one small stocking and a "Santa present" on the 25th morning. the kids know they come from us. But they still enjoy the fun of playing Santa and trying to stay awake and never managing to, to see us hang the stocking on their bedposts.

The Midwinter eve feast is always a candle light dinner of garlic and basil rubbed roast beef and gravy, Stuffing stuffed croissant sacks and potatoes and cheese perogies with sour cream and bacon bits, broccoli and cauliflower and carrots ( winter medley frozen veggies) with homemade cheese sauce, and a little sweet potatoes with honey ( mashed), brussel sprouts, and a sparkling drink in wine glassses ( non alcoholic).

Many dessert items are made over the course of a few days to choose from and to have things to offer company should they pop in. the recipes are mostly traditions from DH's family, and I usually make a lemon merange pie, which my mother used to make every year.

That day before sundown we open our the doors and throw back the curtains and let the sun shine in all day and at sun down we put the blinking lights on our living tree to light the longest night. It is decorated with crochet snowflakes and hand made icicles made of recycled pop bottles and blue and silver garland, we sometimes sing "Oh Winter tree" ( our variation on oh Christmas tree). We then leave the tree light until the end of our 12 days of winter on new years day.

Midwinter's day marks the first day of our 12 day Celebration of Winter that we start with a feast and end with a feast on new years day . The kids receive a small gift each day until new years day, they open them after dinner usually.I love that the kids are just as excited over new socks and underwear as they are toys.

The first day of winter and technically the day in which the sun is up for longer then yesterday and marks the beginning of the days shortening, we go for a walk at sundown and watch the sun and we picks some pine cones and twigs and inter foliage on our walk for our nature table.

Every day of the 12 has a special event that we pick to do. One day will be Animal day when we will make popcorn and peanut butter balls for the neighborhood critters ( and go for a walk and hang them from the trees.

Other days we make bread and surprise a neighbor with a steaming hot loaf of bread for them to share with their family. AS the kids get older we may pick certain days to help a shelter. On boxing day we box up all our dry and canned goods we won't use and donate them to the foodbank or a halfway house. Make an art or craft for our scrap book about the year we had.Be kind to a stranger, be kind to a friend etc.

We equate the winter solstice with wisdom, so we sit and talk about our year gone past and what we have learned and what we want to change and what we want to keep the same ( we don't do resolutions for new years we make vows of change and keep them written in a family journal that we go back and look at the next year)

On new years eve we rent movies or play games with family or friends and just before midnight I go outside in the quiet night and ring a bell 108 times. it is a Buddhist tradition that rids of the 108 "sins" man can be afflicted by. I then place a bowl of fruit and pine bows at the door of our home (outside) to bless the house with good karma and greet neighbors or call friends and family to tell them how I am thankful for them in our lives and what I hope will continue in our relationship in the next year.

New years day we cook a huge turkey dinner and prepare meals for the upcoming weeks ( turkey soups, sandwiches casseroles etc)

Then we settle in for a quiet Jan & Feb and veg out at home a lot between skating, sledding and skiing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cool Mom Points MEGA

I made the kids octodogs tonight for supper LOL.. they LOVED em :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The kids are currently playing "adoption center" & dd just read ds's price tag-$2 for a newborn :)
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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fun at the Library

today we took the opportunity to go over an check out the little library in our new home town.

it is literally around the corner and I could probably hit it with a snowball from my back yard! so we went over and switched our addresses for our cards and got Bupba his very own card today. He was pretty excited.

it's a cute little satellite library for the main one in the town we used to live in. I'll be able to order any books from there online and pick them up here.Or I can pick up books while in town and drop them off here when I'm done with them :) i LOVE LOVE LOVE my library.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Snowmen & Santa

No one under 12 should read this entry

Today had a slow start. We were lucky to find a Guitar hero World tour game in the city last night while we were shopping for some supplies to build the much needed wall and door for our bedroom in our new to us- 108 year old house. We're converting the original living room into our bedroom so Dh can do all his living on the main floor of the house. Anyway...we had been putting aside funds for when rock band came out for the Wii as our family holiday gift, having had the kids put in some allowance over the last few months into the sock for it, as well as monies we've been gifted for the kids for the holidays, and we were waiting for the release. World tour pretty much does everything Rock band 2 does, and the drums have the cymbals already, and we found out that RB2 will be compatible with GH:WT so we decided to make the purchase and save the line ups and crazy headaches on December 22ns when RB2 comes put. we DESPISE holiday shopping crowds, and we opt every eyar to make gifts, or buy early and get it out of the way. this year we've had our buying done early before we even moved to this house.

So anyway... due to the time of day we left last night to go to the city because DH was tired and resting while I shoveled snow, the foggy weather driving home... we got to bed late due to playing GH until almost 2 am. The kids played until midnight with us totally throwing out the brand new bedtime routine on the second night LOL... oh well the joy of being homeschoolers is we can make these provisions and then get back to the routine straight away... Special occasions can be the exception.

Dh and I woke early to the dog barking like he has never barked before when in his kennel, and he sounded like he was outside. DH got worried that I'd forgotten him outside all night, since I have ADHD and have a tendency of meaning to do something and then getting side tracked and forgetting to do it and thinking somewhere along the way that i DID in fact do it.

He wasn't outside, but he was driving me nuts with the barking so I ended up putting him out for a pee and crawling back in bed. When I put him out it was then that I noticed how icy it was outside. Overnight, contrary to the "forcast" the temperature dropped significantly and froze up all the rain we had driven home in only 8 hours earlier. I was thankful that the ice held off until early this morning. But was disappointed that our trip to town was going to be put off due to the condition of the roads.We are still without nuts for the kitchen table and eating off of tv table trays is getting tiresome.

We are fast finding that living in a rural back water AKA a Hamlet that is 11 KLM from the small town of 4000 we used to live in, that they don't salt or sand our roads very promptly. Not that I'm complaining, I grew up in a backwater, and half the fun of doing so was the icy winter days where no plow trucks have been through for days and you can literally skate up the road for miles. Due to being stuck home I crawled back into bed and snuggled with DH for a bit, and enjoyed the peace and quiet. The kids being on the second floor means they sleep less disturbed from Dh's ear;y AM bathroom trips, and they got caught up on their sleep today.

I stumbled about trying to wake up most of the day today, finding myself saying to DH that I wished I could learn to like Coffee. I mean REALLY wished I could learn to like coffee since I have 3 containers of unopened perk coffee in my cupboards that I don't use.

I've been without Ritalin for my ADHD now for about a week, and between that and the craziness of the move , and trying to live a normal day to day AND unpack the house and get it organized, my brain is just having a day where it was saying take a vacation!

My intentions were to get the washer and dryer set up,and keep on top pf the laundry, and not get behind on that as I usually am, but Guitar Hero called to me instead. I played a few songs with DH and DD8, and mostly just puttered about the house trying to get things done.

I made Chicken Curry and Roti bread for supper which took most of my concentration and brain power for the day. The enjoyable part of that is that DS3 helped me roll the roti bread out and did a really GOOD job at it! he was very impressed with himself and proud of his efforts. while he was doing that with me DH and DD8 were playing GH... Which as a matter of fact they are still doing now as I write this.

I managed to make a loaf of bread today in the bread machine,but in doing so, while grabbing the sugar from the roll out drawer in the pantry the whole drawer fell out and landed on top of the one below it with the cans on it, and knocked it out too and that one took the track off the wall of the cabinet with it! :(

Feels like two steps forward and three steps back somedays LOL

We've started a new bedtime routine fo the kids with separate bedtimes, and Bupba got tucked in at 8:30 with an ice pack and a t towel for his cheek, he's left a pretty good mark on his lower cheek jaw area, from slipping about in slippery soles on his PJ's and wearing his rocket boosters. I changed his sheets and I spent an hour with him, reading, doing his journal printing, and talking to him... which brings me to the title of this blog entry...

I thought given his age, I should ask Bupba what he knew about Santa being the season and all...he said he didn't really know who he was or where he came from or what he did...he said that in the Caillou Christmas special Santa came and gave him and Rosie and his mommy and daddy presents.

Since we are Buddhist and only "play Santa" with the kids fully aware of where stuff comes from, I told him about Santa being an elf and a story like Winnie the pooh, or Caillou and that they are fun stories to share and read, and that we "play Santa" and we keep that as a family secret because other families play Santa different with their kids and he should not tell other kids his age how his family plays the risk of trying to to make it sound like a dirty little secret. I need to make sure he doesn't end up being the kid who destroys he belief in Santa for some other child/family.

Long ago when DD8 was an infant We decided to go this route because we were both raised on the whole Santa thing, but both feel that lying to our kids was not right speech or right action when it comes to the eightfold path.

Given that both DH and I felt greatly betrayed with the truth about Santa when we got older we came up with playing Santa for the kids to keep it fun and so they had a similar thing to share with other kids.

SO on Christmas eve the kids play "waiting for santa" like all other kids, and have a hard time with excitement getting to sleep but trying to stay awake once they are beyond tired, trying to catch Santa/Daddy putting a stocking on their bed knobs. Naturally, the never manage to stay awake for it, and they awake in the AM with a stocking of treats from "Santa" this is a small part of our 12 days of winter holidays and is a nice way to keep the idea of Santa going without lying and disappointing our kids at 8 or 10 or whenever, when they finally realize that he is not real and they lose all enjoyment of the holiday that was solely based on a lie for them.

Anyway....Bupba told me tonight that Santa travels on a trailer hauled by Snowmen in a truck, and that is how he gets around everywhere to say hello to kids, and give presents. I thought it was so cute but could not figure out why he thought I asked him...and he looked at me and said in that "geesh mom don't you know ANYTHING?" voice..." Mommmmmmeeeeee I knowed dis is how Santa comes to town cause dat is how he did it on daddy's big tv when we wived in the owd house!"

it was then that it dawned on me that just a few weeks ago the Toronto Santa Parade was on tv and the Santa float was hauled by two men dressed up as snowmen in a big pick up truck with duel wheels LOL...

Duh mom!!! that's I've taken this long to write and spell check and post this, the kids are in bed and I'm gonna go play GH:WT with Hubby and then do the dishes.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Move-The new House

Well it was hectic, an crazy... all of which was my fault, being ADHD I didn't allow for snags in the plan or time line and things didn't go as I hoped, but we're here in the new house, getting settled and unpacked a little each day.

Thankfully the snow held off until we got moved, which was always a concern for us given that our original closing date was December 1st. we were able to get the closing early and had the weekend to get some things moved on our own before the movers came on Monday, and with that, two truckloads from the movers and another 4 loads of a minivan hauling a 10 foot trailer I got it all moved.

the kids are enjoying their new bedrooms (seperate bedrooms) and we are slowly getting new bedtime routines established.

The water here is full of iron so when you run the tub it looks like weak tea in the tub...we are cooking and drinking with Spring water that we haul, but we knew this going into the move, so it's not an issue really. We hauled spring water before we moved here anyway.

The whirlpool tub works again now, after a little fiddling around on DH's part, and the kids were the first to enjoy a therapy bath.They slept so well that night. and now they are bugging for one everynight! lol I've told them they need to preserve water here and that the can have one very second night or so. Hubby had a therapy bath in the tub, which was something we really needed for him to have access too woth his disability and chronic pain, and he said it helped his muscles relax in a way that they have not in years and he can't beleive how long he's been living with and enduring the pain at the level he has for so long. I'm so glad that this is going to be helpful for him.

The kitchen was set up terrible, and the space for the fridge under the cupboard would not allow our double door fridge to sit in the space, so nwe had to move the cupboards. we figured that since we had to we might as well start moving the cupboards to where we will want them when we switch the kitchen around a little at a time as we can freecycle stuff to build an island. So DH mustered up the energy and I helped him move the large food cupboard over to the other side of the kitchen,level it and screw it in place leaving provisions for a pantry door into the under the stairs closet, and a space for when we move the fridge some day. IT will be an ongoing project with no finish date in will all depend on what we can recycle for materials, or buy cheap at the Re Store ( habitat for humanity store)

The upstairs needs a bathroom and we have a freecycled toilet for it alread that we've been saving for 2 years for "someday" and DH had the epiphany he needed for a decent placement of where the bathroom will go up there to not take away any space form the bedrooms, my office or the closets space,. just by changing where the doors to my office and Bupba's bedroom is to use the wasted hallway space in the upstairs landing. Of course before and after pictures will crop up on all this stuff as we go along.

We need to build a wall to close off the now bedroom/once living room from the kitchen on the main floor and build a door to shut off the bedroom, to the main of the house so DH can rest and sleep in the day.

The washer and dryer need to be moved from where they are provisioned to go, and we eventually need to move where the side door from the driveway and back porch is, to go off the back of the house in order to make i more windproof and weather proof, it's so cold back there now with the cracks in the door fame for the side door I hung a comforter over the back door to keep the wind from blowing straight through into the living room.

We knew the house had things that needed to be done to it, since it IS 108 years old at LEAST that we can trace it back. So I'm no complaining, but right about now I wish I could knit sweaters really fast! LOL it's gonna be a snuggle and put on another layer kinda winter...and we have not had the -28 weather in mid Feb here yet!!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

-can't call it a failure cause we're mostly moved-but it is chaotic mess as per my usual-sorry DH!
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Sweet-laying in bed watching the fireplace flames as they dance about keeping us warm
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Tired-still have some stuff left to move-we get wifi isp from library though so will blog soon
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Mostly moved no internet now -just phone-@oldhouse cleaning and last packing left from move 2go
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

@ the new house alone dropping off a trailer of outside stuff-1st &last time it will be this quiet
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Friday, November 28, 2008

ADHD Haiku

Out of Ritalin
Doctor is out of city
spinning in circles

Thursday, November 27, 2008


We went to the lawyers office today and signed the papers to close the deal on the house. All the money has been paid to land transfer taxes, to the lawyers, deposit to the seller and first mortgage payment has been made.We asked the lawyer to try and see if they could firm up the lose ends tomorrow instead of waiting until Monday and possibly getting the keys tomorrow so we'd have the weekend to move fragile stuff like gerbils, budgies, and plants. He said that the sellers lawyer usually takes of Fridays, but he'd call him this afternoon with all the paperwork and details to see if they could firm it up tomorrow for us. So we're hoping the layers call us tomorrow with the good news that we can pick up the keys and the house will be ours to start moving stuff on Saturday.

We then went for a drive to the house to have a look and they have it all cleaned out and vacuumed and ready for us to just move our stuff in. Looks like the rowing machine and the large painting I was hoping they'd leave behind is still there :) I only want the painting for the frame and the canvas I plan on painting over it.

The Kids are stressed out and picking at each other and driving ME and themselves nuts. DD doesn't do well with change ( read "no puke pills" in 2005 archives) and little ADHD boy is climbing the walls and hanging off my last nerve. I keep breatheing but I'm about to hyperventilate LOL, thank goodness for a blog to vent.

hubby the darling that he is, thought ahead and burned a bunch of our DVDS to one disk for them in the dvd player and they are in their room watching Lilo & stitch 2. we bartered with them for staying in their room with the video, to stay out of my way to empty the attic. Some would call it bribing, and say it is a negative thing to do, but I look at it as teaching compromise and symbiotic relationships.A handy tool to know in life.

Just taking a break from emptying the attic currently...seasonal stuff and baby stuff I wanna keep for when the kids have kids ( bassinet, crib toy etc) Now that I'm all done having babies...oh my gosh, can you IMAGINE how much more I'd be moving right now if we still had baby stuff younger then 3 yo stuff to move? so thankful and blessed to be the family we are.

OK one more paragraph and this will be bordering on procrastination. I hate the attic stairs theya re like a ladder and very rickety.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Homeschooling Grade System- By an 8 Year old

My daughter just came to me while I was cooking dinner and told me that school grading system suck, and this is how it should be a-Awesome b-Bad c-Close d-Do it again e-still undecided f-Fantastic t-Terrific!!

First Snow of the Year

While every where else around us has had enough snow to play with, we here, being so close to the lake, can't count on the weather systems to work the same way for everyone else. we are jetted out into lake Ontario, are are very often in our own little world when it comes to precipitation.

So, only today did we finally accumulate enough snow for the kids to actually be able to get dressed and go outside and play. It's a very dense wet snow and while not a welcome sight for hubby or I with us moving to our new house in 5 days, it IS the perfect snow for sledding and snowmen, which please the children beyond belief.

This is the first real winter that Bupba has the vocabulary to express himself well as the unique individual that he is. He's decided that he doesn't like snow pants and mittens because they make him sweaty.

I discovered this when I was packing the yard stuff on the trailer a friend lent me, when bupba came outside in just his spider man Halloween suit, boots and a wide open coat informing me of just how sweaty and yucky they made him.

Thankfully it is half snow and half rain so it is only about 2 degrees celcuis outside so he didn't freeze, but he will sure learn that mitts and snow pants are a welcome wardrobe for Canadian winters.

My daughter decided on making a snowman, and started one before we left to go grab more packing boxes from some stores in town, but came home to find that the said friend who'd brought by the trailer for us to use, had run over her snowman...she's doesn't build em big, so it was understandable that he didn't see it in his huge pickup truck backing the trailer into our yard.

when we got back, DD rebuilt her snow girl.
Bupba shoveled snow things around the yard while I put the yard stuff getting covered in snow into the trailer and then threw the shed roof over the top of it to keep it all from getting more covered with snow.

I've been so busy packing and cleaning and getting this move sorted out, that I haven't really been stopping to smell the roses like I try to do on a daily basis. So for a few minutes while outside I grabbed the small camera and took some pictures of the kids, and just stood in the yard and looked at the snow covered trees and took a breath.

It was nice, for just a moment I forgot that our life is housed in boxes right now.

Then I came inside and the crashing reality of just why we are moving hit me like a lead brick. the front hall in the house really walk in from the front door, and there is stairs to go up, and then a door to the living room. And in the winter this hallway gets soaked with snow on the floor, wet clothes, and boots,mitts, hats and scarves. 4 people trying to undress from winter clothing in a 3 by 6 "hallway" really sucks...kind of like when I was in my 20's and would take the TTC home from work at rush hour being packed like sardines, but all trying to take off your boots and coat and not get your socks wet all at the same time. it's a chaotic awkward ballet of sorts.
This first snow was a reminder of just exactly why we are so blessed to be moving to a new house.

Green for Cheap

As a homeschooler, everything is a chance for learning, so a recent trip to the grocery store really presented itself as a lesson in marketing and being environmentally friendly for little or nothing, when my daughter suggested we buy a pretty bottled “green” cleaner for the toilet.

It drew her attention because of the pretty daisy on the clear bottle and the word “Green” with a picture of the earth. I just had to cringe at the blatant marketing scam, and shake my head as I watched three women pick up the bottle and stick it in their cart without even reading the bottle, all for the low, low price of $3.98 for a 500 mg spray bottle!

Green is the new marketing/advertisement buzz word these days, and it drives me nuts! If it says “green” on it, it must be good for the environment right?

I’m amazed that people will pay extra for something that claims to be environmentally friendly, not knowing if it really is, or even considering that there are much cheaper options available. Our society is far to conditioned to the use of convenience/time saving products that allow them to not have to put any thought into stuff because they are too busy. Meanwhile, these companies are laughing all the way to the bank with your green, just by claiming they are green and packaging it all in a pretty convenient spray bottle that lessens our “environment guilt” with each squeeze of the trigger.

The cleaning solution in question was made by a large company that makes other popular “non green” cleaners for every surface or appliance in your home, and this one’s claim to being green is that it was made with plant extracts and had no phosphates in it. On closer inspection on the back it did not even list it’s “natural plant extracts” ingredients, since they are only required to list the alcohol that was this cleaner’s base. It made me wonder if this product was simply green colored alcohol?

The pretty picture of a flower with water droplets on it’s peddles implied “fresh”, and the clear plastic bottle to show off the pretty green color of the cleaning liquid inside all call to me “buy me, I’m green”. I admit, the marketing department of this product did it’s job! Bravo! They make the consumer feel like they are doing good by buying this green product by making it appealing to look at. There was no denying it was actually green, so they cannot even be accused of false advertising. But heck, you can make your cleaning solutions green by soaking some fresh plant leaves from your back yard in the bottle of alcohol, or vinegar to clean the house if it makes you feel like your being “green”.

“Going green” does not need to be expensive with these gimmicky "Green" bottled cleaners that many people end up buying because they are so used to the years of brainwash marketing campaigns for things like Mr. Clean and Lysol., and air freshners that are laden with chemicals. Does anyone know what a natural house smells like anymore?

Being green means getting back to the way my grandmother’s generation did stuff before the fifties, when recycled newspaper and vinegar was used on windows rather than Windex and paper towel.

An old rag, a discarded tooth brush, baking soda and vinegar and elbow grease work just as well, or better. They are much cheaper, healthier for your family, and have much less packaging to recycle. All of which give piece of mind that you know what your actually using in your home. Some people complain that it takes longer and they don’t want to use “elbow grease” because they don’t have the time. But these products on TV they show wiping way the caked on dried spaghetti splatter on the stove takes “elbow grease” anyway! They don’t wipe it way as easy as they show in the commercials. A sponge with hot water and baking soda left on the dry spaghetti sauce splatter for two minutes while you do something else will wipe away just as easily with minimal “elbow grease”, as it would if you used a spray bottle of name brand kitchen cleaner. You still have to leave it to soak in, and scrub hard to get off anyway. Don’t be head faked by these company’s marketing ploys.

For the last seven years I have cleaned the house with only vinegar, baking soda, rags, cloth mops, elbow grease and a small amount of beach or alcohol for disinfectant when need be, which I limit due to my husband's severe chemical sensitivities from his illness.

I don’t buy paper towels, or disposable duster gloves or flushable toilet bowl wipes, or special cleaning solutions for floors that spray out of a mop and throw away wet mop rags that are marketed to women these days.

Are they convenient? I guess so, but the time it take one to throw that in the garbage, creating more waste for a land fill, is the same amount of time it takes me to dump my mop water down the laundry sink, and throw my rag or reusable rag mop top in the washing machine for the next load, that I can use again and again until I wear it out a year down the road.

Being environmentally friendly doesn’t need to cost you anything, and in fact it can save you money.

A box of no name baking soda at your local large chain “no frills” grocery store costs .99 cents, a large bottle of vinegar costs about $4.00, a bottle of lemon juice costs about $1.29, and bleach costs about $1.99. Rags can be made from kids old flannel pajamas, or cloth diapers for free.

We don’t need five different bottled products to clean the different areas of the house. The marketing of “bathroom” and “kitchen” cleaners has been ripping off consumers for years, and now they are making the same specialized cleaners in their “green” lines. They all do the same thing! Shop wise!

When I use dryer sheets in the winter when I’m not hanging my clothes on the line outside to save energy, I cut a box of 100 sheets into thirds, making 300 sheets. They work just fine to keep the static cling away cut in three, and last three times as long. The added benefit is I don’t go around smelling like the perfume scented fabric sheets. Liquid fabric softener, if you use them, can be diluted by ¾ softener to ¼ water, to make your bottle last longer It still works as well to soften the clothes and keep away the static.

Often I use a .99 cent lemon laundry soap bar that I grate up and soak in a dish of warm water to make it more gel/liquid state before I add it to the laundry load, because I do not have time to rub dirty areas of each garment with a bar of soap. In a pinch when I’m out of laundry soap this is a good cheap backup option to wash the laundry.

When I do use a bottle of laundry soap, which I only buy when it is on sale, I use half the recommended amount for a load. You never need as much as the bottle or box recommends. The company just wants you to buy more of their product sooner, to keep them in business. Sure, they are going to recommend more than is required to actually get your clothes clean. It’s good business for them. I can make a bottle marketed for thirty two loads last over 60 loads! Of course, if your clothes are really dirty from rolling in the mud and catching frogs in the swamp, which is known to happen around here, it won’t last as long, but it still can be stretched way beyond the suggested amounts.

Being environmentally friendly doesn’t need to be an expensive choice in life. Make your choices wisely. Don’t be fooled by gimmick marketing and pretty packaging.

Bathtub Blogging

Oh joy-laying in bed this morning rolling over to wake up to the request of breakfast by my daughter, I stretched and got a charlie horse in my calf. It has not loosened up in the least all morning,so here I sit in the tub soaking my leg in Epsom salts and flexing the muscle in hot water-hoping for fast relief so I can get back to packing the sewing room and start emptying the attic. Totally cool that I can blog from the bathtub on my cell phone though!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

blogging from my cellphone

This is my first blog from my cellphone. when we move we're going to have no internet for a few months until the wireless company who actually charges a decent price comes into our area. if your from my area don't buy KOS ISP they are a ripoff

-- mama to two beautiful kids Butterfly born 22/10/2000 & Lil' Squirt 02/02/2005 best friend & wife to my "Mr Incredible" since 10/02/1999

Monday, November 24, 2008

7 more sleeps

This time next week we'll be surrounded by half unpacked boxes in our new home...unpacking stuff and getting ready for our first sleep in our own home. here's a pic from back in August when we signed the offer and it was accepted.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

3 year old's Question of the Day

Bupba: "Why do moons have to be here at night?" Mommy: " Ummm..well....why do you think moons come out at night" Bupba:"cause it's dark and the world needs a night light?" Mommy:"I suppose that could be why, can you think of any other reason?" Bupba:"it keeps the sky from falling!?" ( Like a button holding a shirt closed I guess he means?) Mommy:" LOL... I suppose that could be too...but....the real reason the moon is in the sky at night is becasue it is really there all the time, it is just that it is so bright in the daytime that....." Bupba:"Mommy, I'm firsty... can I have a drink of milk pwease?" Mommy:"Uh...oh.. umm can't see the moon when it is daytime, but it's there...come on let's get you some milk" Bupba:"fanks mommy"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This is a test blog entry from my cell phone,some days i'll only be able to micro blog
Sent by Text Messaging from a mobile device.
Envoyé par messagerie texte d'un appareil mobile.

Friday, November 21, 2008


My 3 year old son claimed to me last night that the pillsbury croissant rolls I made looked like snails all excited :)

kinda a silly thing but those are the types of silly things he says in a day that make me stop for a moment and be in the moment, and enjoy life. Hubby decided that from now on we'll call them escarolls. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Let's bridge the gap between parents of kids Diagnosed with Austism Spectrum

In recent years parents of Autistic children have been divided into two categories. Being told their child's vaccinations didn't cause their autistic traits, or parents of children with Autism from birth being made to feel like choosing to vaccinate ( or other parental choices) caused their child's Autism.

It is time to knock down the wall and stand together, rid of the guilt one way or the other and band together.

My daughter has been diagnosed with PDD NOS, the general blanket term for a child who has autistic traits co-morbid with other combined traits like oppositional defiance, sensory integration, auditory processing etc.

She's been that way since birth. In fact it runs deep in the family DNA, so I am well assured that any delayed and selective vaccination we did with her did not make her the way she is.

However, I do not agree with recent scientific studies and claims from the medical society saying that vaccines are not causing health issues for some children that are being labelled as Autism.

I don't disagree that families are seeing a correlation between the vaccinations and other environmentally caused health issues presenting them selves as a neurological issue that can be categorized under Autism Spectrim Disorder. It is something that I've been saying for years.

The problem is that when it walks and talks like a duck we assume that it is "just a duck", but we fail to see that there is more then one kind of duck in the world.

It seems at this point in scientific study, the medical establishment is unable to call what children affected by vaccines and other environmental issues like food allergies what it really is. The families of kids with acquired autism are being told they are wrong, when the correlation is as real as you or I.

I believe that we do not know a lot about the brain yet, and it's mechanics, and therefore nothing can be counted out...I believe that yes...environmental things like toxins, and things in vaccines could cause issues that present like textbook autism.. we just don't have a name for it yet, so these kids are being labeled as Autistic.

When the parents start to change diets, and stimuli and detoxify they child's system, and there is improvement, it looks negatively on us parents with a child who have ASD from birth due to wiring. ( some days I swear If one more person tells me my kid needs to stop drinking milk and she won't be like she is I'll smother them with a cow!)

No one wins when we are not open as a society at looking at both sides of this autism coin. We are doing these children and families of these acquired autism cases a disservice by not looking at it and accepting it as a legitimate issue.

We are doing the families with children who have had ASD from birth a disservice by fighting about the "cause " of autism, and making them think they did something "wrong" in choosing to vaccinate or drink milk , or eat hot dogs, or lick the batter from a cake batter ( or whatever someone thinks is the reasons tomorrow) while we waste time trying to find a "cure" and ease our parental guilt rather then learn to adapt and cope, and live better WITH autism.

I'm not for nor against vaccinating for the record... it is a personal choice that each family must make on their own.... as a parenting team my husband and I could not agree on vaccinations so we met in the middle with the decision to selectively delay vaccinations administered individually.

It is my belief that any child who presents with symptoms or traits of autism should be tested for toxins in the system... and tried on an elimination diet etc., and if that doesn't work, it can be assumed that they were autistic from birth and should be given the diagnosis of ASD GIN ( Autism Spectrum Disorder, Genetic In Nature) , and if they respond to detoxifying the system, or diet eliminations process, they should be given the label AASD EIN (Acquired Autism Spectrum Disorder-Environmental In Nature)

Which ever form of ASD you child has, however it happened, whenever it was notice, the children are showing signs of developmental delays and have extra needs that need to be addressed. We need to stop fighting about how it happened, it just did. We need to band together without guilt and blame, and work together to give the children the best lives we can. Be it, through learning to accept and cope with lifelong autism, or while going through reversing AASD EIN.

It's time to recognize both, and it's time to stop fighting with each other.

Rock Make Up

When I was 7, my best friend and I used to make our own make up. We'd take pretty colorful rocks and scrape them against other rocks to get a powder and apply it to our eyes for eye shadow. He'd take Vaseline and mix it up with berries from her grandfathers garden and make our own lip gloss. It is a fond memory I have of my childhood, and it recently came flooding back to me while in a store looking at makeup with my daughter.

She is fascinated with makeup right now, and being the cool , totally out of the box mother that I am, at 8 years old I'm letting her wear blush and lip gloss and eye shadow. I helped her pick out the colors, and gave her tips and hints on how to apply, and let her go to town.

She somehow manages to put the eyeshadow on like she is a cyclopes every time and has big blue and green streaks across the bridge of her nose! :) But, she's 8 and she thinks she is beautiful.

Some might wonder why we'd agree to let our 8 year old daughter wear make up, while I'm sure others think that we are outright wrong for doing so. It doesn;t matter to me what anyone else thinks, because it is our choice.. but for the sake of discussion...we did it for two reasons.

1. I'd rather she experiment now and make her mistakes at this age, so that when she's a teenager she knows how to put it on already and the novelty of it will have worn off by then, and she won't look like Mimi from the Drew Cary Show.

2. I'd rather she desire wearing make up for herself, rather then as a teenager because it is somehow tied to being pretty enough to attract the attention of the boys.

Now, I'm writing this because she and I have decided that we are going to experiment when we move to the new house and start making our own makeup. Namely gloss, blush and eyeshadow. The reason for this is because there is not much these days that does have "made in china" marked on it when we look at make up ( that is in our price range mind you), and with the tainted milk ( and powdered milk often being a filler in bubble baths and makeup) and lead in things these days, I'm in fear of giving my daughter lip gloss that has some sort of chemical in it that would leech into her lips and make her sick.

If we know where it came from, and what's in it, I'll feel better about it, and I think it would be a good chemistry/cooking lesson for her for homeschooling.

So my latest googling project has been to acquire homemade make up recipes and some small jars to hold stuff....things that are simple and that have easily attainable ingredients.

I think this will be fun, and I can't wait to get started :) Stay tuned ....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cutest Ugly Doll Ever

Made by my daughter, who she named "Scrumples" The world's cutest ugly doll. Made of socks and a knitted winter hat and embroidery thread, stuffed with my 3 year old's underwear for stuffing LOL And it never would of happened if I didn't have a sock box full of unsorted socks, because I never pair them. I'm not lazy, I'm supplying materials to help bring out my daughter's creativity :) Ya.. that's my story and I'm sticking to it :P

The List

I'm not sure who can be credited completely for "The List", my husband or myself, but it is a little thing we've been doing when in stores, especially the toy department, ever since our daughter was old enough to say "I want this".

It was a technique we used with her to get her to be accepting of putting down something she saw and liked and wanted to play with or look at longer,and coming along with us to finish our shopping trip. Until we implemented the list, there was a lot of crying and begging, and not listening when she was looking at things. Not an uncommon sight in a department store.

Like most parents I'm sure, we dreaded the toy section of most stores...until the list.

"What is the list?", you ask.

The list is simply a page in the back of my day planner with the things they like written down on it. When I want them to come along with me and stop looking at something, I simply acknowledge what they like and write it on the list...most of the time it works, and I no longer have to drag my child through the store or confine them to the cart because I'm in fear of them hanging around and refusing to stop looking at something, and making my shopping trip miserable and last 3 times as long as necessary.

Mind you I AM shopping with kids, so they do need reminding sometimes, or they have bad days, or, it does take a bit longer, but the list has been a sanity saver for us many many times.

At one time, I had to keep a physical list, and they had to see it being written down for them to feel like they could leave the thing behind, but now, they show me something, and I say "oh, ya that's very interesting, I can tell you like that very much!" and they'll say something like "ya I really like it, can you put it on the list?" and I'll agree...make a mental note of it, or simply tell my husband, "Ok Daddy, this transformers toy is going on the list" and when he agrees with me, that is all they need to hear , and they are right beside me leaving that isle and going forward continuing on with our shopping.

It makes me feel good that although I have a list that is 25 lines long after a shopping trip, or every 5 steps down an Isle, I'm verbally putting something on the list, I have kids that are relatively compliant and are not screaming or begging for things asking why can't they have them all the time.

We have set a precedent with our kids early in life that we are not wealthy people, in fact down right poor by societies standards, and that everything that gets purchased in our home is a decision not taken lightly and one that is discussed and planned.

They see us go over the grocery ads every week to see what is on sale and what is not, and now my kids can even go through the grocery store with me and ask for something that catches their eye, and all I have to do it say " I'm sorry, that's not on sale this week, but I can put it on the list for you?" and they will most always, go" ohhh ok"... mind you it is not a cheery response, or sometimes my daughter will get mad that the store NEVER has pogos on sale, but they are not flipping out on the floor over fruit loops, or pogos like some other kids I see in the stores.

For a family that shops together out of necessity, the list is a lifesaver. The good thing about it too, is that it teaches our kids that although you might want things, you can't always get them right away, or maybe even ever, and that it is ok to desire things, but not to lament over them. It teaches them to acknowledge the desire for something, but t not let the desire eat them up emotionally and let it consume them. Once it is on the list, it is no longer an issue, or a source of suffering emotionally, over something they can't afford.

It doesn't hurt to let them see your list either. Tonight, I put a pair of dressier winter boots on my list. It would be nice to have some nicer boots then the mucking around boots I have now. I looked at a conservative pair for $14.99 My daughter immediately brought me a "nicer pair" that were $34.99 and I told her they WERE nice, but that I just wanted a relatively ok-nice then the ones I have now- pair for a cheaper price and showed her the price difference. She put them back, and was happy with the answer.

If your a parent who dreads shopping with the kids due to the gimmie gimmie's....try starting a list of your own :)

If you ask me... it's a pretty effective parenting tool.

Let me know how it works for you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

3 year olds make up interesting descriptive words

My 3 yo son yesterday had an incident when he went to go potty and had the runs, which was unknown until he had an accident on the floor on the way to the washroom. He was a little upset, and called me to the washroom to help him.

"Help me mommy, I had an accident on the floor, I have dia-water-reah!"

Poor kid....I giggle at his cute descriptive explanation but he thought I was giggling at his misfortune of having an accident.

Friday, November 14, 2008


So, i went to the lawyers office in town today to do some paper work for the house closing for December 1st, and while I was there I went to the No frills store to buy a block of margarine to make fudge for family fun night tonight. But when I got to the register i got the dredded"insuff funds" notice on the bank card.

With a quick check in with my hubby, turns out we only have .85 cents to our name at the moment until CTTB comes in. That totally sucks, but aside from the margarine for the fudge we were good until then anyway.

So, after discussion, we decide I'll go to A & P to buy the margarine even thought it is more expensive, and put it on the visa. So off I went... with my baking margarine in hand I stand at the counter and wait for the cashier to ring it through. She tallies up the bill, and was appalled at the price of the single block of margarine, but then even more shocked when I pulled out my Visa to pay for it. She said "really?", though not in a rude way, so I took no offense and giggled.

"Really" I answered. " My husband and I agreed we only make important purchases with the visa."

" That must be some pretty important baking margarine!?" she smiled. To which I replied " yes indeed, that's not margarine, that's a promise to my 3 year old and 8 year old for fudge for family fun night tonight."

she smiled and said "AHHHHH that's pretty important then"

I smiled as I signed my name to the slip she keeps a copy of for her records and passed back her pen, and I said..."yes...because to a child.... a promise is everything."

The older lady behind me purchasing her small order with her trundle buggy over heard the whole conversation and looked at me and smiled knowingly.

I bid them good day, smiling on my way. As I was walking away, I over heard the older lady tell the cashier "That's good family values for ya!"

How's that for reassurance that your doing the right thing? That's Attachment Parenting values for ya.

UK School Uses Hug Therapy To Modify The Behavior of Troubled Children

I hope you watch this... it is sure to be a testament to the need for our society at large to guide new parents to know and use Attachment Parenting philosophies at home.

Hugging should not have been needed to be discovered as a therapy for these kids in the first place, but at least it has been, and genuine attachment and affection with adults in their lives is showing to be a positive thing to help them gain control of their self destructive behaviors.

Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go

Airs on Sunday November 16, 2008 at 10 pm ET/PT on CBC Newsworld

Acclaimed documentary film-maker Kim Longinotto (Sisters in Law, The Day I Will Never Forget) brings us an incredible film about a unique last-chance boarding school that uses hug therapy to modify the behavior of troubled children. The Mulberry Bush in Oxfordshire looks after and teaches children who have been expelled from regular schools for extreme behaviour. The three-year programme gives them the chance to turn their lives around and re-enter the regular school system.

Longinotto spends a year at the school following the progress of four charming but troubled boys. All have severe problems with anger and violence; they punch, kick, spit and curse at the remarkably patient teachers who are trained never to raise their voices and who encourage the students to express their emotions. The film compassionately captures the battle these children go through to give voice to the hurt they carry inside. It is a sensitive and heart-wrenching study of the results of family dysfunction and also stands witness to the effects-bad and good-adults have on growing children.

Mulberry Bush is not an average school. It costs 113,000 British pounds a year and is highly selective. But you don't get there by being super rich. Each child is carefully chosen and paid for by local education authorities hard strapped even to buy enough books for their normal classrooms. They pay for these children for one reason only: they have no idea what else to do with them.

This film explores the remarkable relationships which are formed between the staff and children. We are drawn into the arduous and emotionally charged process of trying to break the kids' violent and self-destructive patterns of behaviour.

Schools Fail to Educate Unless They Emulate Homeschool Learning Through "Special Classes"

I read the article I've posted below, and my first response was not like most people would probably have of "well good for them for finding a way to teach these kids math". My first response was " Took them this long to figure out that a more one on one teaching method works!?"

This is a best testament that homeschooling works. When the schools and teachers start trying to create "special classes" that emulate a more homeschooling style of teaching in our countries school because the traditional ways theya re doing it now don't work, that speaks volumes.

Reported in Globe And Mail Today

Melissa Marsh is a special education co-ordinator at Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw School in Port Hardy, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Its students include some of the most challenged kids in Canada. Many struggle with learning disabilities, cognitive disabilities and behaviour problems. The community has its share of social issues, and parental involvement is low.

For kids like these, academic failure is depressingly familiar. "The shutdown mode comes extremely quickly," Ms. Marsh says. But now, kids at this school are experiencing the unaccustomed taste of success in a subject that far more advantaged kids have grown to dread - math.

The JUMP program, pioneered by Toronto mathematician John Mighton, breaks almost every rule of current math pedagogy. It does not depend on the "discovery" method, group work or real-life examples. It is highly structured, relies on a great deal of direct instruction, repetition and reinforcement, and proceeds in small, incremental steps.

It also works.

"Repetition is crucial for many of our students," says Wayne Peterson, the principal. He adds, "Your regular math texts have too much reading." JUMP (Junior Undiscovered Math Prodigies) is structured so that every kid can solve the problems, one small step at a time. That builds their confidence and self-esteem, and keeps them motivated and engaged. It can get even low achievers excited about math. Teachers say their math skills dramatically improve - and so does their behaviour, their levels of engagement and their attitude.

"The kids aren't fighting me tooth and nail any more," says Ms. Marsh. "They know what's expected. They have the steps set out in front of them and they know they are going to be able to achieve all of those steps. The kids in my special education class go, 'Whoo-hoo! I did the bonus question and I got it right!' One Grade 7 student has never been able to sit in math class without completely disrupting it. JUMP has changed that. Today, he participates in class discussion and does the written work by himself."

The JUMP program is now being used in more than a dozen first nations schools in B.C., as well as in many regular schools in the Vancouver area. "We found that the regular textbook way wasn't reaching all the kids," says Christine Hammond, head teacher of N'Kwala School, near Merit. The program is especially effective with her ESL students, because they don't have to wade through oceans of text. One floundering Innu boy, for example, quickly became a math whiz. The kids at her small band school are now performing at the regional average in math, she says. JUMP is also effective with adult learners, some of whom, after a lifetime of frustration, are getting their GEDs.

Liz Barrett is a South Africa-born educator who travels the province doing outreach and teacher support in first nations schools. For her, proficiency in math is a social justice issue. "These kids are falling by the wayside, and that's unacceptable. If your students aren't getting a Grade 12, the door is closed to them." She discovered the JUMP program four years ago, when she heard Mr. Mighton lecture in B.C., and became a passionate advocate. She's now helping to launch a JUMP pilot program in South Africa.

Mr. Mighton, 52, is an unusual man. As well as being a mathematician (currently in residence at Toronto's Fields Institute for Research in Mathematical Sciences), he is one of Canada's best playwrights. He got interested in math education because he thinks the state of numeracy in Canada is a disaster. Judging by the evidence, he's right. In Ontario, for example, a third of community college students are in danger of failing first-year math. Mr. Mighton also believes we must reverse the "culture of failure" that permeates math education. "There's no reason the vast majority of kids can't learn math."

Ten years ago, Mr. Mighton began tutoring inner-city Toronto kids in his apartment, with great success. The next task was to determine whether JUMP would scale up. He began working to persuade school boards, a far tougher task than he expected. But the initial results have been good. One British inner-city school district, in London, agreed to try it. At the start, the kids were performing an average of two years below the national level in math. After one year of JUMP, 60 per cent of them passed the national exams.

JUMP works for middle-class kids, too. One Toronto teacher used it with her Grade 5 kids, whose math skills at the start of the year ranged from Grade 3 to Grade 7. By the end of the year, every student signed up for the Pythagoras competition, which is written only by top students. Fifteen out of the 17 achieved distinction.

The JUMP program is founded on observation, evidence, teacher feedback, continuous improvement and rigour, combined with new research findings on how the brain learns. By contrast, most programs taught in school are not. For the past couple of decades, both math and reading instruction have been an ideological battlefield that pits the "progressives" - educators who favour good things such as discovery and creativity - against the traditionalists, who favour bad things such as repetition and direct instruction. The progressives have had the upper hand, which is one reason why JUMP has been regarded in some quarters - especially in progressive-minded Ontario - as positively dangerous. Last May, consultants with the Toronto District School Board dismissed JUMP as a form of "rote, procedural learning." In Ontario, that's the kiss of death.

Now the tide is turning, though not fast enough. Last spring, the U.S. National Mathematics Advisory Panel endorsed the seemingly obvious idea that, in order to succeed in math, children need to understand what they're doing.

But the school system is plagued by other barriers that actively discourage best practices. One is the widespread use of consultants, who often write the very textbooks they then are paid to recommend. Some teachers are heavily discouraged from using instructional methods or materials their school board frowns on, even though they work. Many schools and parents are beaten into submission by claims that certain programs are "evidence-based" even though they're not. There's a lot at stake in how curriculum decisions are made - but parents and teachers seldom have a clue, or a voice.

So if you're interested in JUMP for your kid, you may have to move to Vancouver or Port Hardy. You could also check out the JUMP website ( And Mr. Mighton has written two books, The Myth of Ability and The End of Ignorance. The program survives on charitable support, and he is a more or less full-time volunteer.

"Teachers get so excited by this," says Liz Barrett. "Suddenly they've got the tools to reach the students, and suddenly they're all achieving."

Thomas Beatie and his wife are expecting a second child

SOURCE: Thomas Beatie, known around the world as the "pregnant man" who gave birth to a girl, is carrying another child, says a report. In an interview with ABC News, Beatie said he is currently in his first trimester and his baby is due next June 12. Born a woman, Beatie underwent hormone therapy and had his breasts removed to become a man in the late 1990s. However, he kept his female reproductive organs and stopped taking his twice-weekly doses of testosterone ahead of his first successful pregnancy. Beatie said in the interview that he did not start taking testosterone again after the birth so that he could get pregnant again. He gave birth to a baby girl, named Susan, on June 29 of this year. He decided to get pregnant the first time because his wife, 46-year-old Nancy, could not become pregnant. She had a hysterectomy as a result of endometriosis. Beatie, 34, was impregnated through artificial insemination, using donor sperm and his own eggs. He has said he had a natural birth, not a C-section. Beatie has written a memoir, which goes on sale this week, called "Labour of Love." The couple also sold exclusive photos to Getty Images and were paid for their appearance in a British documentary, ABC News reported. However, Beatie told ABC's Barbara Walters that money isn't their motivation. "We've turned down about $2 million altogether from people wanting to do all sorts of things with us. But as far as you know, doing it for the fame, I have to say I'm infamous. I mean, who wants to be unpopular, controversial and despised?" Beatie has now been pregnant three times, but his first experience was an unsuccessful ectopic pregnancy, which was hampered by medical complications. Beatie has said that it was a "life-threatening event" which resulted in the loss of three embryos (he was expecting triplets) and his right fallopian tube. He made those revelations in an interview last March with The Advocate, which is a magazine for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people. "How does it feel to be a pregnant man? Incredible," he told the magazine. "Despite the fact that my belly is growing with a new life inside me, I am stable and confident being the man that I am." Beatie started his sex reassignment therapy about a decade ago and lives with his wife in Bend, Oregon. The couple operates a T-shirt printing business.