New Home For Triage From Home!

Don't forget:
I'm transitioning my blog over to my own domain, so please come and visit there. For the time being, I will continue to update both blogs so I don't lose anyone, but please update your following status and bookmarks to my new page:

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Sad Ending

I've been a member of an email group through Yahoo for several years. I think I joined around 2001. It's a support group for couples in long distance relationships. Most of us had met our partners over the internet in one way or another. The group is moderated by a couple who live in Australia (her) and Texas (him) Their story was so inspiring to me at the time because they had been having a long distance relationship (LDR, we call it) for a few years by that time. I was in awe of the strength they seemed to have and the fun they would have when they were together. They were determined to keep their relationship strong, despite not knowing if they would ever be able to live together. There were some obstacles and I don't know all the details-but she had children and he couldn't travel for some reason. So, she would travel to Texas to visit him whenever she could, and they would share their stories with the rest of us and we would try to comfort them when they were apart.
During all this, my husband Jon and I were having our own LDR. He was in England and I was here in Canada. We knew we would eventually be together, but it was a rough few years before it actually happened. Jon has been here for 5 years now and I've stayed on the LDR email group, mainly just to keep in touch with what was going on with the other couples, but also because I wanted to be there if and when the Texas/Australia couple were ever able to become an NDR (near distance relationship:-) I wanted to see their happy ending.
Well, today she sent a message to tell us that after 11 years of their LDR, he passed away yesterday in Texas- just a few days after she had to go back to Australia. He had been quite ill for a few years, but I don't think anyone can ever be prepared for the end. She is so devastated. My heart is heavy for Carolyn tonight. Rest peacefully Donn.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Green Thursday- for Swingers!

As you can probably tell by the crafts I make- I'm into re-use and recycling. I've decided to start a regular Thursday posting dedicated to earth-friendly topics. Could be a product review, giveaway, advice on being green, websites of interest on the topic or anything else I can think of:-)
If you are making or selling something 'green' and you'd like me to blog about it, please contact me.
I chose Thursdays because it's our garbage and recycling pick-up day. Maybe it will help me remember to get the bins out to the curb on time...yeah right! Let's see, I need a title for it, maybe 'Green Thursdays', or perhaps 'Oh-Crap-I-Forgot-Again'

Today, I'm going to show you something TOTALLY cool, made out of recycled tires. I remember seeing something similar to this quite a few years ago when my kids were small. I wanted to buy one, but at the time we didn't have our own yard, so I had nowhere to hang it. I just surfed around this morning, trying to find it online and I found this:

Close The Loop is a company in Kunkletown, PA (love the name) that makes the most incredible kids' swings out of recycled tires. I'm not just talking your normal run-of-the-mill tire swings here- not even CLOSE. Check these out:

Yes! A motorcycle!

...and a dragon!
Not to mention all the others they have pictured on their site, including a kangaroo, an airplane, a shark (so cool!), an elephant, a T-Rex and many more.

They're priced from around $90 to $120, depending on the design, which I think is very fair, considering they are handcrafted and so creative.

Looks like the only deliver inside the USA *pout*, not that I have anyone to buy one of these for at the moment...but Canada isn't like overseas or anything, sheesh.
Anyway, all you lucky American parents and kids can go and check them out or buy one of these swings here

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Update on Pretty In Pink

What is wrong with the marketing department at CapriSun? How dare they change their packaging without consulting me? Don't they realize that some people LIKE pink? Lots of pink...entirely PINK?!
Nope, I don't think they considered me in this decision. Not only can I NOT get them here in Canada, now it looks like the pouch on the right is the new packaging that I'm stuck with from now on. What do you think? Are my bags still going to be pretty, even if they aren't ENTIRELY pink?

The Laundry Room- Loads of Fun

It's funny what kinds of things get me excited:-) My sweet and smart husband built these shelves and work surface (bracket system is Antonius from Ikea) for our laundry room. Check out the fold-down drying rack above the sink. Ikea ROCKS! The shelves he cut and finished himself so we could do custom sizes. We just bought the new machines from Sears, after our 30+ year old existing dryer stopped working. The laundry sink is quite new too. The old one was falling off its broken legs when we moved in. Looking at these before and after photos you can see that pretty much everything has been replaced. The back door was replaced when we changed all the windows and doors in '05. Jon put an electronic combination lock on it so the kids don't have to worry about forgetting their keys. (trouble is- they tell all their friends the combination!) All we need now is the new floor, but I promised I wouldn't go there just yet...

I painted the room Cabbage Patch green a few months ago and I love it. Don't you just love paint names? Sometimes I think the colour names influence my choices. My living room paint is Warm Muffin and my dining room is Ryegrass. The only one I think I didn't like the name of was the bathroom-- Candlewax...reminds me of earwax- eww!
Anyway, I it's time to find some nice storage boxes and open bins to use on the shelves to make it look all tidy and Ikea-Catalogue-ish.

Update: High praise came from my 16 year old son Devon, who said "hey, the laundry room actually looks like a laundry room now"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday Tips

As you know by my little bio up there in the corner, I'm an RN. I have 15 years experience in Pediatrics, mostly from the emergency department in a children's hospital. For the past 5 years I've been working as a telephone advice nurse. As you can probably guess, I get many calls from parents about everything from A to Z, including growth and development and symptoms of illness.
There are many subjects that come up over and over again. I thought I would address one question here each week to try to shed some light on some of the common concerns. I would love it if readers added their comments. If you have a question you'd like me to cover here, please send it to

**This information is not a replacement for your doctor's advice and I don't diagnose. All the information I share is from reliable sources and my nursing experience and is general in nature. For advice on a specific child's situation, please consult your Health Care Provider**

Today's Question: Why won't my toddler eat?

This is a very common issue and there are many things that contribute to feeding problems in this age group. I get so many calls about this and the problems that it causes. First, it's important to remember that a toddler's stomach is very small and their appetite is easily satisfied with small amounts of food.

Bottles and Sippys
Keeping their stomach size in mind, if they are drinking milk or juice (anything other than plain water) from a bottle and/or sippy cup throughout the day or night, their appetite will be low for other foods. Excessive milk or juice consumption is a big problem for toddlers. It can cause tooth decay when bottles and sippy cups are used as pacifiers. It can also cause constipation and iron deficiency anemia.

Too Much Cow's Milk or Juice
Did you know that a toddler's daily milk intake should be limited to 16 ounces per day? That's 2 cups over 24 hours. Juice should be limited to 4 ounces per day. It can be offered in small servings at meals. Milk or juice is not a good snack if it exceeds their daily requirements. Teaching your child to use an open cup early on (while seated to prevent spilling and choking) rather than carrying a bottle or sippy is preferable. Other dairy products like yogurt or cheeses should be given in moderation as well. Remember that servings for toddlers should be smaller. Drinking too much milk can also contribute to iron deficiency anemia, because milk is very low in iron. Anemia makes kids sluggish and tired and can interfere with brain development. I once cared for a child who was 3 years old and drank ONLY cow's milk and drank it constantly from a bottle. She ate no solid foods other than pancakes. Her anemia was so severe that she didn't even have the energy to play. Of course, this is a very extreme example!

When I child drinks milk or juice at night, the natural sugars in milk or juice pool around the emerging teeth and erode the enamel. There is even a name for it: Nursing Bottle Caries. Many parents don't even know their children have this problem until it causes them pain and needs surgical intervention. The cavities (or caries) begin behind the upper and lower front teeth so they often aren't noticed until they spread around the teeth or cause pain. As you can imagine, damaged teeth can affect the child's desire to eat solid foods. The teeth often require extraction or crowns. It's heartbreaking to see a young child with rotted or missing front teeth from such a preventable problem!
Too much milk and dairy products can also cause constipation. Constipation can be very painful and can become worse once toilet teaching begins. If milk or dairy products replace fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your child's diet, bowel problems are very likely at some point. If your child starts to resist toileting due to fear of pain, the constipation will become worse and then the cycle begins. Once constipation becomes a long-term pattern, it takes a long period of treatment with diet and sometimes stool softeners or other treatments to get it under control.

So, you might be wondering if that's enough fluid for a child to drink in a day. Well, water is the best thing for thirst and will also help to prevent constipation. Plain water should be available to your child throughout the day to quench thirst. It won't satisfy hunger the way milk or juice does, so your child will be more likely to try new foods and eat more solid foods. If you are trying to transition away from a night-time bottle or sippy cup, try offering water only in the bottle, although it is obviously much better to avoid starting the bottle-in-bed habit than to try to change it later on! Get your own water bottle and model water-drinking to your child.

Variety and Autonomy
It's important to offer your child a choice of a few different foods at each meal and serve them food when other family members are eating. Make mealtime enjoyable but not distracting. No TV, video games or toys at the table. Let them feed themselves (I know it's messy, but it's all part of the learning) and offer milk or juice after the meal instead of alongside. Meals and snacks should only be served with the child safely seated to reduce the risk of choking. A suggestion for breakfast might be: a small bowl of hot whole-grain cereal, a few pieces of cut-up fruit and 1/2 a scrambled egg, with 2-4 ounces of milk offered in a cup after he's finished eating. He may not eat it all, but he will likely eat more than if you offer only one food. Allow your child to decide when he is full. Don't force him to eat more than he wants. It's important for him to learn to eat to satisfy hunger, not to please Mom! Focus on offering whole grains breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables at each meal. Since toddlers' stomachs are tiny (and their attention spans are short!) 3 small meals and 2-3 snacks per day are recommended.
If you are breastfeeding, nursing after meals is preferable at the toddler stage, to encourage the child to try new foods. Breastfeeding doesn't cause the same problems as cow's milk, but limiting night-feedings can help to encourage a more varied and complete diet.

Remember to offer foods again and again periodically, even if your child rejects them the first few times. Children's tastes change, and they will often accept foods they previously refused (or threw across the room!) This is even true in my house where the kids are teenagers now, although they don't throw food (when I'm around anyway:-)
Try to offer your child similiar foods to what other family members are eating. Toddlers like to copy what older siblings and parents do. Mealtimes are excellent opportunities to model healthy eating habits.

Here is a good, general online resource for Toddler Feeding advice in PDF format.
From "Toddler's First Steps"

This is a big topic. I tried to keep it concise, but there's a lot to be discussed and I'm sure other parents have great tips to share. Feel free to comment!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Giveaway Mondays

I've been thinking about running giveaway contests here once a week. I picked Monday because I think most people would like a little something for FREE on a Monday, just to make the start of the week less painful:-)

Who wants to giveaway something in this space? I'll do a nice little write up on it, tweet about it on Twitter, (I have over 2000 followers there) and post a couple pics for you too. Great way to get traffic (and sales!) to your shop or website.
Email me and I'll get back to you so we can work out the details!

I'll need:
-photo of the item
-second photo you'd like me to include
-where you will ship to
-any other offers you'd like to add (discount for buyers during the giveaway, etc)

My Juicybags Giveaway is currently running HERE until Feb 6th, so make sure you get your entry in on time!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sunday love

I got this idea from another blog. Meg Fowler-She's here. I thought I'd add my 'Love List' to share. It's easy to forget all the positives in life at times and dwell on what seems to be lacking.

My Loves:

1) Jon: My very significant, significant other:-) He makes me smile everyday, just by being here. He keeps me steady, slows me down when I'm in too much of a hurry and basically keeps me going! I wondered if I'd ever find someone right for me, but he's definitely my 'other half' and I'd be lost without him.

2) Alison: My social butterfly daughter. She's a lot like I was at her age; all about the friends and the fun. She is getting prettier everyday and I see as she grows that our relationship just going to get better. We've had a rough few years, but I love her through it all and always will.

3) Devon: My sweet boy. He'll be my baby forever, even though he's nearly 17:-) Creative, smart and funny. He makes me laugh and frustrates me all at the same time. He's got a very special part of my heart forever too.

4) Mom: My kind, tiny, loving and wonderful mom. She taught me so much. She stands behind everything I do, even if she disagrees. I'd do anything for her and I know the feeling is mutual. She raised 5 children-- an incredible accomplishment for any woman. She stuck with a sometimes very difficult marriage and kept our family together. My mom has a lot to do with the person I am today. BIG love for mom:-)

5) Dad: I miss my dad very much. He died 10 years ago, but I can still see and hear him clearly in my mind. He taught me a lot. He took care of me and loved my babies. He had a tough life and wasn't always an easy person to be with, but I wish I could tell him again how much I loved him. He was proud of me and that meant a lot. I wish he'd lived long enough to know Jon. Dad would have loved him. He wanted so much for me to be happy and "taken care of" -You got your wish, dad!

6) The Sibs: I'm so lucky to have sibs that I love and can count on for anything. They are all great in their different ways. I know we will always be there for one another. I love them very much.

7) My BFF, Yvette: We've known each other longer than any other friend I have. We've been through marriages, getting jobs, losing jobs, going to school, moving away, moving back, working for peanuts, deaths, divorce, boyfriends, break-ups, babies, weight loss, weight gain, sadness, fears, joy, and everything in between. She's been there for me when I thought I had nobody who understood. She's my rock. She never judges me, just helps me see things more clearly. I don't know what I'd do without her. She's my bonus sister. She'll always be family to me. Love her, no question.

8) Buster: our crazy little neurotic Malti-poo. I love you even though you're a little nutty.
9) Molly: our silly, energetic bundle of fluffy Maltese/Yorkie cuteness.

...and the little things:

- my daffodils coming up in the garden
- morning coffee
- toast and peanut butter
- fireworks on a summer evening
- cuddling in the morning after working a night shift
- either of my kids being happy or excited about something
- ice cream
- new appliances
- the first snowfall of the season, especially snowing at night
- Christmas morning
- painting a room a new colour
- watching Jon fix things
- emails from Jon
- Devon emptying the dishwasher without being asked
- Alison calling to check in
- getting cards from Jon
- sunshine in the morning
- fresh, clean sheets
- having a fire on a cold night
- chips and salsa for dinner
- warm feet against my cold ones
- getting sale in my Etsy shop:-)
- Getting comments on my blog!

Post yours on your blog or in the comments. I'd love to read them!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Keeper of The Cheerios: Juicybags Tote Giveaway

Keeper of The Cheerios: Juicybags Tote Giveaway

Here's your chance to WIN one of my Juicybags! Click above and go visit Miranda's blog for your free chance(s) to win! Good luck:-)
**Contest is open Jan 23rd to Feb 6th at noon**

Night shifts are for the young

I mean it. Being over 40 should get you a 'get out of night shifts free' card. I remember how easy it was to do night shifts when I was a new grad. I was 23 and could sleep right through the day, waking up around 5pm in time to get ready to go back for another night. Piece of cake!

These days I struggle to stay asleep past noon between night shifts. At least working from home has made things much easier. No commute time and the freedom to work in my PJ's if I want to. (and I do)
If there's one thing I didn't know would be so difficult about being a nurse, it's working nights. Why can't people just get sick during the day time?
I just LOVE sleeping too much to work nights. I get cranky when I haven't slept enough. My kids will tell you they can tell when I haven't slept enough after work. One wrong word and you get your head bitten off.
Well...hopefully this night shift thing will be ending in March. I'm supposed to be starting a full time line with only days and evenings. Oh- to be in bed every night like a normal person...
Bring it on!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Pretty In Pink

I've had a couple of customers ask about a smaller bag for little girls, or something that could be used as a handbag, so I came up with this tiny tote the other day. I made it out of CapriSun
Berry Breeze pouches which are mostly pink. It's got a velcro closure inside the top, so it could be used as a handbag or an
open-top tote bag.
I'm going to have to hunt down some more of these pink pouches, second
because the bag sold just a few minutes after I listed it in my Etsy store, and I've got at least 2 more customers that are interested in buying it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Should Have Gone Back To Bed

Ohhh yesterday was a real winner for me. Our upstairs toilet was running really slowly, so I tried using the plunger on it. That wasn't helping, so I went for the big guns and dug out the toilet snake (we have teenagers- our toilets get plugged alot!)
As I'm looking down, trying to get the end of the snake through the toilet something flies past my face, and CRASH! The handle of the snake had bumped against a heavy crystal vase that was on the window sill. The vase came down and landed on the lid of the toilet tank. Both the vase and the tank lid shattered all over the floor. I think I was just having an emotional morning for some reason...I just walked into the bedroom, sat down on the bed and started crying.

What a mess!
(then I got the camera and took a picture of the disaster so I could blog about it of course!)

Looking back on it today, it must have been quite comical to see. Especially when my daughter came upstairs and I was showing it to her and I picked up a piece of the broken porcelain off the back of the toilet tank and cut my finger on it! The day certainly didn't start out well.
Of course, it could have been alot worse. This could have happened after we'd renovated the bathroom. Luckily it was the old toilet with the giant tank that we want to get rid of anyway. We just weren't planning on replacing it NOW.

The day did eventually get better. We went downtown to the Taboo Naughty But Nice Sex Show which was lots of fun. We made a few excellent purchases and saw some crazy stuff. It's a 4-day event, so next year we'll make sure to go during the day and not on a Saturday night. It was so crowded it was hard to see the shows and no chance at all of getting a seat for any of the seminars. I was thinking that the vendors must have done incredible sales though. There was a woman there who was selling handmade corsets and period clothing. Jon asked her if she'd spent the whole year sewing to get ready for this show and she said yes. Her work was pretty amazing. Her shop is called Felix & Kitty She tied me up into a corset and WOW-- I can see now why women used to wear them. They give you a defined waist and it actually feels really comfortable. My sore back stopped hurting too! I'm not sure I could wear one all day long though.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Blog I Discovered

I came across an amazing blog the other day. I think I found them via Twitter. It's written by a young couple who are experiencing their first pregnancy. They are blogging in secret from family and friends, so that they can express every detail freely. It has a great title too: His Boys Can Swim. They call themselves Tarzan and Jane. LOL!
I LOVED being pregnant, even though everything about it wasn't enjoyable. I wished I could have had more than 2 children. I always wanted to be a mom, every since I was a little girl. I still love babies and I'm fastinated by pregnancy. In fact, I always wished I could have had twins- I know it sounds crazy! Even though there were sleepless nights and times the babies were sick or whatever, I loved the time when my kids were small. It's harder now when they are teens, maybe because it's just so hard to let go. In my mind, they will always be those babies. My desire to continue to protect them and take care of them is so strong. It's like they have become different people as they grew and I miss the babies I used to have. It's funny, when they were little I used to look forward to each stage in their growth (finally-no more diapers, no more night feedings or finally- they are in school all day, etc) but now that my job as a mom is nearly finished, I look back and wish that the time had lasted longer. No more little ones jumping up on my lap for hugs, no more stories before bedtime, no more making pancakes with faces on them on a Saturday morning, no more quiet times in the middle of the night rocking my babies to sleep.
So I guess the message is: If your babies are small or you're looking forward to becoming parents, try to focus on the present, enjoy your kids at every age. They grow so incredibly fast and it doesn't last very long...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

New Year, New Stuff

Wow, I haven't updated in weeks. I took a break from Etsy, Twitter and the blog over Christmas. We did our usual Christmas morning at home with the kids. Jon created scavenger hunts for the them (and me!) which was really fun. He makes up the cutest hints and each hint carries a letter- put all the letters together and unscramble them to find the location of the gift. Examples of his hints: 'Touch this drawer and the dogs will bark like crazy' (drawer we keep the dogs' leashes in) and 'Jon spent a long time under this lately with not much progress being made' (leaky bathroom sink) It draws out the gift opening for a while and makes the morning more fun. We had our (now traditional) baked breakfast casserole and baked french toast. Then we made our way over to my Mom's place in Langley for Christmas dinner. My aunt (my mom's older sister who is 91) was here from California over Christmas and my sister, her husband and daughter came from Campbell River, as well as the rest of the local family members. It was so nice to have everyone together.
Jon and I spent Boxing Day in our traditional way: in our pajamas watching movies. We had a nice fire in the fireplace and nibbles and drinks while we watched "Wall-E" (loved it) and "The Dark Knight" (I was lost half-way through).

New Years Eve was spent having a fondue dinner with the kids, who both ran off to parties afterwards. I think Devon and I might have poisoned ourselves by eating the chicken. I do remember touching the raw chicken with my fingers when putting it onto my fodue fork to cook it. Probably cross contaminated....I started to feel quite ill a few hours later. Jon and I watched "Slumdog Millionaire" and I had to go to bed before it finished (at 11:30!) because I felt so sick. We finished watching the rest of the movie the next night. Great film if you get the chance-- see it! I haven't seen many good movies lately, so this was a treat.
Backing up a bit, I think it was right around Christmas time; our clothes dryer stopped working. The drum wasn't turning. Jon took it apart but it wasn't obvious what was wrong. We did a search online and found that the dryer is about 30 years old. Here's how our laundry room looked before we moved in:

I think we both realized it was time to take advantage of some Boxing Week sales (I hate that term, it's BOXING DAY, there is no Boxing WEEK!) Anyway, we bought a set of front loaders at a deep discount, no PST and a hydro rebate of $50 on the washer, no payments till April on our Sears card. We even got the delivery thrown in free of charge. I found someone on Craigslist to come and pick up the old machines, which saved us another $40 Sears was going to charge to take them away. We waited 10 days for them to be delivered and then spent 2 whole days washing and drying everything we could find. The clothes come out of the washer so dry already from the high speed spin, that the drying takes no time at all. We love our new laundry team! Jon even got a new vent pipe and exhaust for it. Now he is constructing some shelving and a work surface to go over top of the machines for me. (Yeay, Ikea) I love order and organization:-)