Pages

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR !


We hope that 2009 will be as great as 2008. Without a doubt 2008 is the most special year of my life so far it is the year I became a mother and saw a new side of life that I did not know existed. All the best to everyone and to health and happiness for all in the New Year.

Traveling with a 9 1/2 month old

I am sorry I have been absent for a bit, but as we do every year I was off to New Brunswick for the Holidays. Tones to talk about but this entry will be about travel.

So you are all packed and you head out to the airport (60 minute drive) and arrive there to find out that your flight is delayed because the plane you are supposed to be on is stuck in Vegas because there is snow in Vegas. Yes snow in Vegas. they ended up finding another plane for us but we only got to leave at 1:30am by the time I was at my sisters house it was close to 6am. This would not have been anywheres as bad as it was if it was not for the fact that I traveled alone with my son. Geoff was joining us on the 23rd. Luckily Geoff stayed with us at the airport until I had no choice to go threw security, not because my flight was leaving but because security was closing for the night.

The 23rd rolls around along with a snow storm in Toronto, Geoff was in the same boat as we were with a plane being delayed and delayed some more. I was starting to think he would not make it to us for Christmas. He should have arrived in Moncton at 11pm but got to my mom and dad's around 7am.

You would think that was enough delays, well no. The day we were supposed to come back to Toronto our flight got canceled.

Well we are now home and all is back to normal.

What did I learn from all this travel.
  1. Pack enough diapers for 1 1/2 days in your carry-on
  2. Have a good long nap before you leave for the airport just in case you need to stay up all night holding a sleeping baby on the plane wishing you were sleeping
  3. Bring head phones so you can watch Satellite TV on the plane to help keep you up at 3 am when you have been up for 20 straight hours.
  4. Pack healthy snacks for your baby
  5. Pack toys to distract him at the airport while you wait for your flight
  6. The Baby B'air vest is useless for us. In Canada you can not use it during take off and landing, Christophe falls asleep during take off and does not wake up until we land; so I am not about to risk waking him up to put on the vest.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

I was cleaning my computer the other day and found this old picture of Christophe I took using photobooth.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stay at Home mom

It's official I told my boss (former boss) I am not going back to work. I am a Stay at Home Mom; my "job" is Christophe and I love it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

HealthyToys.org

I think it is absolutly sad that we need a website that helps parents navigate trew all the various azards that comes with choosing a toy for your child. When you are shopping of a toy for your child you should not have to think those this contain lead, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, bromine or mercury? Those are the chemicals this site will inform you about. The site is still a work in progress therefore it does not have all toys however I was able to find many items Christphe has at home and was very please that the majority of his toys passed the test. However we had one with a red flag - his Whoozit Activity Spiral.

The only thing that would be great is if this site also talked about what toys have BPA, vinyl and Phthalate.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sleep is overrated

Well at lease Christophe thinks it is; I on the other hand quite enjoy sleep. Last night I swear the devil took over my child; well maybe not the devil cuz he was still his very cute self just an awake cute self from 11pm to midnight; then from 2:30am to 4am; then from 4:30am to 5am; then from 6:15am to well now.

That leaves 2 very tired parents.

I have to say thank god for my sling, when he was up last night and wanted to be bounced will I was standing half asleep otherwise I am sure we would have both ended up on the floor due to shear exhaustion.

He has been very gassy all morning but not producing so I am wondering if he has a tummy upset that kept him up...

Hopefully it will sort itself out before tonight as I NEED A "FULL" NIGHT OF SLEEP.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Hazards

This the season to be Merry; however there are all sorts of hazard from little ones that come with the holiday. How did we as parents deal with these?

One of the major hazard is the Christmas tree and I know first hand how dangerous this is. On my first Christmas is the day I learned how to crawl and I made a b line to the tree and ate a glass Christmas ball. To make sure the same thing does not happen to Christophe we installed the tree in an area of the house that Christophe can not get to on his own.

Other decorations can also pose a problem to we made sure that all decorations are out of Christophe reach and securely hung.

Christmast wrapping, you would not think this is dangerous but the ribbons and bows can cause havoc if swallowed, same goes for tinsel - all of these are banned from our house this year. I opted for natural fabric ribbons to add a bit of decoration to some presents.

The last thing you want is to give the gift of danger; so before you buy presents for your little one make sure they are age appropriate. Don't forget to remove all wires, hooks, ties and packaging before letting your little one play.

Also just cause you are hopping from the house to the car and then to another house over and over while visiting friends and family it is no reason to skip on bundling your little one. You may decide to skip the coat and hat but make sure you bundle up your kids always in the cold canadian weather. (Sometimes I envy our friends to the south but I don't think I would take the heat over the cold if it meant loosing the snow also - I just love a white Christmas).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bugaboo Friends

Bugaboo has launched this new website that is an online community for Bugaboo Owners. You can make friends online (that also have bugs), you can upload pictures of your adventures and share stories. I think it's worth checking out for those bug owners out there. So far there are not to many other Canadiens on the site so lets unit and change that.

You will find us on the site as Wiseman_mama,

Earth Hour 2009

It's never to early to start planning for earth hour 2009 that will be held on March 28 at 8:30PM. What is earth hour you say it's one hour that we as a human race give a breck to our planet by shutting off all lights; if you want to take one step further you pledge to not use any for of electricity for that hour. Just as we did this year we will be participating in earth hour as a family in 2009. This is a great moment to take time to explain to your kids why the planet is so important and out energy conservation. If this is a concept your kids already know then you can take this time to bond as a family...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I am no longer a vegetarian...

OK before anyone thinks I am ill... I am not talking about me.

Last weekend Christophe was playing on the kitchen floor with some pots and pans, and then suddenly it got really quiet. I had forgotten that Geoff had fed the cats wet food that morning, and I am sure you've figured it out by now: Christophe was covered in cat food with some around his mouth.

We are still planning on raising him a vegetarian but he has been tainted with Turkey and giblets (I think). Instead of freaking out we just laugh at this one and are assured by the fact that we only buy really good cat food that only use human grade ingredients.

The black eye

There are so many things I have been meaning to blog about but Christophe has been keeping me so busy...
The first one was the black eye.

Last week on tuesday the garbage can attacked me, I like saying that way because then I was not an idiot. I was on my way to the La Leche League Meeting and noticed that our bins were still at the curb so I parked the stroller and commenced to bring the bins back to the house when wham I slipped on ice and came falling down on my back with this massive bin on top of me the lid opened and hit me right in the eye. My glasses looked like pretzels. May I add that we requested the 2nd smallest bin but received one of the larger ones and are still awaiting for our new bin.

I have to say thank you to Tim and Val next door that took me in for a few hours and help with Christophe while I iced my head (see Geoff had agreed to go to this tech thing since I was going to be out that evening so I was solo). The lady at Envy eyware was also great she was able to rescue my glasses and this is a good thing because they are were not cheep.

Originally I was not going to go to the hospital because all was fine other then a few bruises but on the Thursday my vision started going blurry, so I sucked it up and went to the hospital again solo with Christophe, this time because Geoff had a job interview. Having a baby at the hospital actually makes time seem to go faster, Christophe makes for a fun distraction. We were there for about 2 hours. I got a cat-scan and Cristophe got to play with some nurses. The diagnosis was I had a mile concussion but I would be fine.

Today as I write this my black eye is gone but I still have a huge bruise left on my leg I hope it will be gone one day and my wrist is a bit sore.

Toy Thursday

Christophe is now 9 months old and we though he would need a few 9 month old toys to help stimulate his development.

My parents recently got him NooBoo Pound a Sound from Manhattan Toy. He seems to find it interesting and each time he triggers the sound on the toy; he is like were did that come from. (He does not seem to understand how to make the noise deliberately but he will get there.) I just love the crazy colour and prints on the fabric.We decide to get him the Peek-a-boo barn from Melissa & Doug. So far he seems to like to chew on it more then anything else. When I close and open the flaps it seems to intrigue him; again he will get there eventually.
Images from: Manhattan Toy website and Melissa & Doug website.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Movie Monday

Lets go swimming

This is a little movie of Christophe swim lesson last week, after about 6 weeks of swimming he is finally starting to kinda like it...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christophe has gone mobile

It's official our son is mobile, he can crawl, cruise, crawl to an object and pull himself to standing and don't forget the scariest situation of them all crawl to him push toy pull himself up and take off. This is quit an accomplishment for him as he had been cruising since mid october (7 1/2 months) but did not show any interest in crawling. Were we ever happy when he decided to to pull himself forward on all 4; however now that he has mastered this new skill along with his other mobility skills life is a bit hectic and scary.

First we had to baby proof; I moved all our household items that were dangerous to upper shelves, we bolted all our tall bookcases to the wall (thank you dad for helping out with this); we bought gates and various baby proofing hardware. However I don't think we went overboard, I want Christophe to learn and understand the house; to know that if he collides with things it might hurt (trust me, we moved everything that could seriously injure him). I did not want to create a padded house for him.

The gates we ordered from Safety Super Store. We selected the Safeway gate by Kidco for a few reasons, good safety ratings, stylish and most important in our case it fit our extra narrow doorways. We ended up installing 2 of them one at the bottom of the stairs leading to the second floor and the other at the top of the basement stairs. I was concerned that our cats would not be able get pass the gates, all of them except for Cain have seemed to have figured it out. Able does not even slow down she just walks through the gate like it's not there.

I also read up on baby safety on the internet one article that I came across that I particularly liked was "How to accident-proof your kids" on the CNN website.

To celebrate Christophe new found freedom here is a little video of him cruising with the wall:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Breastfeeding Rally at Queen’s Park, Toronto

Breastfeeding Rally at Queen’s Park, Toronto

Wednesday, December 3rd

Dr. Jack Newman, the Toronto doctor known around the world as a leader in breastfeeding education and support, needs your help. The Newman Breastfeeding Clinic and Institute sees more than 2500 mothers and babies each year, but is on the verge of closing its doors unless it receives more funding. The NBCI is requesting donations, but until the government recognizes the importance of institutional breastfeeding support, the clinic will always be in danger.

Supporters of the NBCI are asked to come to Queen’s Park on Wednesday, December 3rd at 10 am for a quiet nurse-in. Demonstrators will be advocating for the provincial government to recognize the importance of breastfeeding and to commit to funding breastfeeding clinics like Dr. Newman’s. The rally is supported by the New Democratic Party, and NDP health critic France Gélinas will be holding a press conference at 10 am. At 10.30 am, question period will take place in parliament, and Gélinas will use the opportunity to call for a provincial breastfeeding strategy and encourage the government to support hospitals going baby friendly.

The objective is to hold a nurse-in in the viewing gallery of Queen’s Park during question period. IMPORTANT: formal protests are not allowed within the building, so it is asked that no one bring signs, placards or banners. The hope is to fill the viewing gallery which will require a huge turn out, so please spread the word. This is an opportunity to change the status of breastfeeding policy in Ontario for years to come.

If you wish to attend please RSVP to Helen or Dani by December 1st. Spaces in the viewing gallery are limited and the NDP are asking anyone wishing to participate to add their names to the list of guests as they will have to go to the security desk to give their names in order to get in.

What: Breastfeeding Rally and Nurse-in

Where: Queen’s Park, Toronto

When: 10 am, Wed. December 3rd

RSVP to:

dani@naturalmothering.ca
or
helen@naturalmothering.ca

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Santa Clause

This morning we did a time honored tradition and wrote our letter to Santa. We took a more eco-friendly route and sent an email. If you want to email santa just go to the Canada Post website.

This is what Christophe wrote:

Santa Clause,

Z
mm nmk,uxw uiiyh 66x3g6 hhhhh kcxcc is w c mr re ec w km kmsss dcnjg

yyhnynynvf

hjnbbhbhggvbhnjhhgbbnbbbnk

x

xddxhhhhhhhhhmnhhggvefsbbbj

.


(Translation: I am 9 month and been very good. This is my first Christmas. I promise not to eat the decorations. I want for Christmas a wooden shape sorter. I will be at my auntie Cathy house on Christmas Eve. Love Chritophe.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hiding in a tent

In one of my baby developmental books it mentioned that some babies like playing underneath tents. So a month or so ago I built a tent using blankets for Christophe. I think we played underneath all day, that is also were we took our nap with mama. Seeing this picture reminded me that I should do this again with him.

I can make music.AVI

Every day this child amazes me...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blacklisting GoodLife Fitness

After I left Exchange Solutions, GoodLife acquired Bally's, where I had a membership.  I took a few months to explore the available options.  There were several clubs near the new office, including a GoodLife, and also GoodLife was opening a new location near my home.  Given that none of the work options were terribly convenient, and the location near my home wasn't open, I cancelled my membership

Several months later, our credit card expired and GoodLife started to call to complain that they weren't being paid, so I reiterated my cancellation, which they say they hadn't received notification of.  They then cancelled my membership but continued to request payment for previous months.

I brought it up with their customer service department.  Either they could honor my original cancellation and walk away with several months of 'fees already paid but not used' and the potential to have a future customer relationship with me, or they could get their extra couple months of fees from me at the cost of all of my future interest in GoodLife fitness.  I assumed that any reasonable business would rather keep a customer relationship than pick a fight with someone who might well have a much higher long-term profit potential for them.

I assumed wrong.  GoodLife would rather have a couple months fees than retain a decent customer relationship with me.  They explicitly chose to take the payment rather than maintain a relationship, even when phrased in those terms.

So, fair enough -- GoodLife, when you open your location near my home, I won't join.  When I find new employment, if you're the nearest fitness club, I still won't join.  I'm not willing to enter into contract deal with someone who's clearly not willing to operate in good faith.

Just thought I'd pass on my negative vibes to the internet, and those of you who might consider them in the future.

I have to say, I think the entire fitness industry is doing a fine job of pissing off its customer base.  There are very few fitness clubs that seem to operate an ethical business model.  Do you know one?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


What would your family do if your were hospitalised

After receiving an email from one of my fellow mommy friends informing me that another mom that attends of ours groups had been admitted to the hospital for a stroke it got me thinking.

Before going any further with this post I want to mention that the mom is doing fine and is in recovery with her family to her side.

What would I do if I were admitted to the hospital? Does Geoff know my wishes? Would he be strong enough to advocate for my right to breast-feed? Would he push and push with the nurses and doctors so Christophe could stay in my room overnight? I don't know and this is a discussion we will have tonight.

Does your spouse know what to do if the unthinkable happened? They say mommies are always there and never out of commission even when they are sick but at last we mommies are just humans also...

To all our fellow mommies that are battling with there health my thoughts are with you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Controversial Motrin Moms Commercial

There is all this talk on blogs, twitter and just about anywheres else where people can voice their opinions about this add, so I looked it up to watch it; since by the time I heard about it Motrin had already pulled it. I am glad they did since this add gives you a false idea of baby wearing. If you are correctly wearing your baby it does not hurt, ever. I still wear my son at 20lbs regularly, now I don't wear him all day like I used to but that is not because it hurst it's because I get to tired from caring and extra 20lbs around and Motrin is not going to give me more energy.

I think Motrin was pretty stupid to think they could get away with this commercial and launching it on a friday was suicidal it gave moms the whole weekend to get work-up about it.

What's your thoughts on this?

Friday, November 14, 2008

mama turn

So I have now been sick for 2 days, I am feeling a lot better; however Wednesday night I had a fever of 39.1. Papa is now starting to feel ill.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

When we first started looking at high chairs for Christophe we decided from the get go we wanted something that did not look like a big hunk of plastic. After lots of research and consideration we selected the Trip Trap from Stokke. A big shout out and a thank you to my coworkers at KML for getting us the chair - we love it. I have to admit at the begining we found the straps frustrating and anoying but have since then found out that it was because Christphe has 2 sleep deprived parents that were not using the chair correctly, since we have figured out how to use the chair - IT ONLY TOOK US 2 MONTHS - we love it.

On of the best parts about this chair is it grows with your child from a baby high chair; to a toddler chair; to a child's chair; to an adult chair. We hope to have many years of use out of this chair.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Laura Bourque Arsenault AKA memere

At the age of 94 my grandmother has recently published another book "La Vie a travers ma poesie". I felt compelled to blog about this because first of all I am extremely proud of her but furthermore she is probably the person I look up to the most on this planet. She is an amazing women that has always lived by her own rules; she was a feminist before one knew what the word meant. She has always shown unconditional love to her family and respect to everyone that cross her path. These days if you goggle my memere's name some of the items you will find are: An interview with Radio-Canada; An article in l'etoile; A poem written for her; to name a few.

Here is a snippet from her book:

"Une mere est une personne
Qui est a l'ecoute
Donne des petites attentions
Jour apres jour.
Aime sans retour et
S'efface
Pour laisser ses enfants vivre leur propre vie."
Laura Bourque Arsenault 11 mai 1994

These are words every mother should live by.

Christophe already has his copy of her book autographed by her that he will be able to read once he is older as a way to know her. Hopefully he will find it amusing seeing pictures of himself and his mother published in a book.

Je t'aime memere.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

He was so small


7 weeks old...

36.8

I think we may be in the clear now....

Also Christophe now has 3 teeth.

still going down

37.8

Mama's weight in

I am not one to talk about my weight but I felt compelled to I am so happy. See for those of you who do not know me I have struggled with my weight all my life. Not only have I shed all my baby pounds but I am officially 15lbs lighter then I was the day I got pregnant. I guess becoming a mother is the best weight loss regime I have ever had.

Mange pas les feuilles

Christophe's new fall toys are the leaves... he can play with them for hours without being board and gets upset when I pick him up.

going down

37.9

Friday, November 7, 2008

fever

38.1

I'm sick

Christophe's temperature reads 37.7 his first fever....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Day in the life of...

This morning we spent at home playing with some toys while mama clean a bit. One of Christophe new favorite games is to play with a muffin pan and his blocks; you can place one block per muffin cup he enjoys taking them out and attempting to put them back. When it was time for nap I let him seep in my arms while I watched some TV.

After nap Christophe had some orange for lunch while I ate pasta; then we got ready to go out. 1st stop the drop in at Roden School by our house. We got there just in time for gym; Christophe had a blast playing with all the ride on toys and watching the older kids. I just love the drop in centers it is such a great way to entertain him and he always naps to perfectly afterwards.

Our 2nd stop was Monarch Park were we played in the leafs for about an hour and then sat down and nursed. The park is so beautiful at this time of the year; there is just something special out sitting on a park bench under a tree nursing your baby while leafs are falling all around you.


On our way to the subway we passed a kitty that ran right up to us and put his paws up on Christophe stroller this amused Christophe for 10 minutes or so until I told him we needed to continue.

Then we walked up to the Subway where we boarded a bus so we could go to Fresh From the Farm. Christophe fell asleep somewhere between us getting on the bus and us arriving at Fresh From the Farm. After I was done my shopping I stopped at this great little Fish and Chip place for some chips and walked to a nearby park to sit down and enjoy them.

Then back off to the house were we made turnip soup for supper and to my astonishment Christophe actually liked it and it about 10 spoonfuls, miracles to happen.

On our way home we stopped at the Greenwood TTC Yard to look at the trains pass. The TTC drivers are so great they honked and waved at Christophe as they drove by.

Nurse-in Nov. 7 in Newmarket

Below is an email I received from INFACT:

Breastfeeding Rights Rally in Newmarket, ON
Mother was asked to breastfeed in the change room
Violation of Human Rights


Friday Nov 7th, The Aquacentre Pool at
2:30-3:30pm
1215 Stellar Dr., Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 7B8
Phone: 905 895 2782, Fax: 905 853 4229,
email: info@aquacentrenewmarket.com and ellie@trinityrehab.com

I was breastfeeding my daughter on the steps of the swimming pool when Ms. Ellie Karkouti, the owner of the facility, came to speak with me. Ms. Karkouti said they had one complain and that I could not breastfeed my daughter in the swimming pool. She said if I wanted to breastfeed I would have use the changeroom. I tried to say that based on the law I had the right to breastfeed in public places but Ms. Karkouti said that she was the owner and I could only breastfeed in the changeroom. After that I stopped breastfeeding. Ms. Ellie Karkouti left. I stayed in the swimming pool.

It was the first time I have suffered discrimination in my life! I wanted to cry so bad. I tried to pretend this has never happened. My daughter kept asking to nurse and I denied her while we were in the pool. My heart was broken. I did not know what to do. I was completely sad, lost and numb.

Only after a few hours, I believe I started to think clearly again.

I informed the group of families registered for this swim time at The Aquacentre about the terrible episode. The leader of this activity, Carol-Anne Brockington, sent an email to The Aquacentre asking for an apology. Their feedback was "At no point did we discriminate against the act of breastfeeding." They did not offer any apology.

After several emails of support from mothers ready to fight for the right to breastfeed, we have decided to organize a Breastfeeding Rights Rally, a peaceful nurse-in for Friday, November 7th in The Aquacentre at 2:30pm.

Please inform as many people as you can about this discrimination episode and the nurse-in. Feel free to use this email. Also, everybody is welcome to the peaceful nurse-in, you do not have to breastfeed to participate! All support is welcome! If you are unable to attend the nurse-in personally please feel free to email, phone or fax the facility to voice your concerns over this incident and show your support of breastfeeding rights – anywhere, anytime!

Unfortunately, the Aquacentre in Newmarket is a private facility that charges to use the pool. For this reason, to be able to participate in the Breastfeeding Rights Rally it is required that you pay the fee of $5.25 per swimmer. I wish it was not necessary to pay but the law requests it. We also welcome supporters that would like to be outside with signs. Please bring your own sign! Supporters that will be outside do not need to pay any fee.

If you are interested then please email Carol-Anne Brockington off list ASAP at thebirthden@yahoo.ca. If you do not get a reply within 24 hours then please send another. Please do not contact the facility.

Thank you!

Cinira Longuinho

Toy Thursdays

North Star Toys has been making non-toxic wooden toys since 1979 they are a family run business and are based out of Questa New Mexico. All there toys are very well priced and they are an eco-friendly company. Some of the key points that make them eco-friendly are very interesting such as:
  • Their saw dust is used to supplement compost and for chickens
  • The wood-scraps are donated to schools for art projects and are used for kindling
  • Only use local hard woods
  • They only use solar and wind energy
Some of our favorite picks from there catalogue are:


Little Rollie Vehicle Set at $45.00 USD. At less then $6.00 per wooden vehicle this is a steal we will definitely be ordering this one for Christophe when he is a little older.

Busy Boat at $16.00. We were thinking of ordering this one for Christophe at Christmast or for his 1 year birthday. The boat floats in water so this is a great non-toxic bath toy.

Baby's first Toy at $9.00. I find this one very elegant and simple.

Credits:
Images from North Star Toys website

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Politics

I don't usually talk politics but this week an important part of history was made the 1st african american president was elected in the United States. I wanted to mention this in our blog so that when we look back at this in years from now and Christophe can see how important this year was for our neighbors to the South. I hope for our neighbors and the world that with this new president will come positive change.

Congradulations to everyone that got out and voted; regardless of who you voted for voting is a our right and to ensure it stays that way we must exercise it.

CONGRATULATION TO OBAMA WE HOPE YOU ACHIVE GREATNESS...

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hockey Fan


Neither Geoff or I are huge hockey fans however pepere is a die hard fan of the habs. In this picture Christophe is sporting his new habs outfit that pepere got for him during his visit. I have to admit he is pretty cute even covered in habs logos but I may be bias.

1st Halloween

Hello from Christophe

jnnnnnmk v67 m78 m89h
ZZZZZZZMB N GFZZZZZZZ MZ
?_>
?Z
ZI
ZZZZZZZZZZZZ/ZZKKK KNMBB

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Unsafe Food Additives

MSG: "Children whose protective blood-brain barrier is not yet fully developed are especially susceptible to the effects of MSG. That's because MSG contains glutamic acid, a neurotransmitter, and the unregulated amounts to which kids may be exposed can have the effect of literally excitting brain cells to death. (Brain cells remember do not regenerate)"

How to avoid MSG:
  1. Check labels to see if food contains MSG
  2. Check labels to see if they contain hydrolyzed proteins, glutamic acid (these both contain MSG)
  3. Inquire if foods contain MSG when eating out. Big culprits of this are deli counters and chinese food.
  4. Avoid foods containing hydrolyzed corn gluten and hydrolyzed wheat protein as these may contain hidden MSG
  5. Avoid the sweetener neotame as it has a similar effect on the body then MSG.
Source: Chemical Free Kids

Want help remembering what chemicals to avoid check out my quick guide to chemical additives.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We just finished waving goodbye to memere and pepere they are off to the airport to return to Moncton. It's weird some of the time while they are here I feel overloaded and wishing for quiet but as they left I got all teary eye. I have not gotten teary eyed saying goodbye to my family in years; I remember when I first moved to toronto I would cry quietly every-time I left Moncton. Now Toronto is my home and I almost never miss Moncton. I think the sadness comes from the fact that I know Christophe loves his grandparents and I wish they could spend more time together. They get to see each other 4 times a year for a few weeks but so much happens between each visit, next time they see him I am sure he will be crawling or walking...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What's this white stuff?

Christophe makes me laugh all the time...

He almost never spits up anymore. However, today, while he was on his tummy, he spat up a bit and immediately started playing with it: "What's this mama, a new toy?"

Why wont you help me mommy

My son hates his car seat, however sometimes we need to travel by car.

Today we went to Rexdale and Brampton to pick up a few things and where I go, Christophe goes , because he is still nursing. This is how the trip went: 10 mins content but not happy in his seat. 30 mins crying and looking and reaching at me to pick him up while I sing Brother John over and over to him. 30 mins of screaming while his face is turning red.

Now we are at our first destination, we stop, I take him out of his car seat, he is happy. Once we are done, we get back in the car and the ordeal starts all over again, this time skipping step one, as he starts to cry as soon as he touches his seat.

We get to our second destination then get back in the car he is actually happy for the short 10 mins to our final destination. Now we need to get home, he starts to scream, he is red in the face, he has tears pouring down his cheeks. Nothing I do can help he falls asleep. I hope he understands that we put him in that horrible car seat because we love him.

Unsafe Food Additives

Brilliant Blue FCF: Artificial Coloring. Inadequate test suggest a small cancer risk.

Fast Green FCF: In 1981 studies showed hints of bladder cancer in animals, but after the FDA reanalyzed the data, it concluded it was safe.

Erythrosine: The evidence that this red dye causes thyroid tumours in rats was "convincing" according to a 1983 report requested by the US FDA.

Information Source: Nutrition Action

Want help remembering what chemicals to avoid check out my quick guide to chemical additives.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Toy Thursday

If you are a mom in the east end of Toronto there is a great chance your wee one has a blabla. (I say this because I think half of the babies in all our groups have blablas) We purchased our blabla at Baby on the Hip when Christophe was minus 8 months. This is actually the first purchase we made for him, I am pretty sure we had yet to tell anyone that we were expecting. At the beginning he was not very interested in his blabla but now it is one of his favorite toys to chew on. We keep it in his stroller so it is with us when we are on the go.

Thank you Baby on the Hip for bringing in such great toys.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day in the life of...

Yesterday, Tuesday October 21, 2008 was not a very exciting day but a busy day.

First thing fist it is cold cold cold, we actually had a bit of snow today.

We started the day by playing a bit with memere and pepere while mama worked on some educational picture cards for me (more about those another time). After all the adults were ready Christophe got dressed in the cutest little overall that he wet within 2 hours with an overflowing diaper in the car (luckily nothing got on the car seat). When I changed him in the spare outfit that had been sitting in the diaper bag for over a month now I realized that his pants now looked like a pair of capris (time to retire these).

During all that peeing we were on our way to Scarborough Town Center with a stop at Grain Process Enterprises were mama picks up flour once a month. For anyone out there looking for cheep organic flour and other goods such as pasta, nuts, rice, baking supplies, sugar, stock try this place they are an actual mill and manufacturer of goods that have an outlet store open to the public. They are located at 115 Commander Blvd. (416-291-3226).

Once at the mall mama and memere did lots of shopping for Christophe, Gymboree was having a great fall sale with lots of great discounts.

After all of that back home for some pasta, broccoli and carrots for supper and a bath with papa to finish off the night.

Memere and Pepere

They have arrived. Well, they arrived last week but we have been so busy that I have not had a chance to post.

My parents are here till the end of the month, they live in my home town, Moncton NB, so they don't get to see Christophe in person that often (we chat almost everyday via the web cam). This is there 3rd visit with him. We are going to try to have 4 visits a year (2 in Toronto and 2 in Moncton)

I just love seeing my dad play with Christophe.  My father is a very animated man and loves making people laugh and joke around, so kids love him. Geoff phrased it perfectly, "Your dad was probably waiting since you were 2 to have someone to laugh the way Christophe does with him again."

It's been great having them around as it has given me the time to work on a few things that I have been wanting to, since my mom helps around with the housework and Christophe definitely likes the idea of having 3 playmates to choose from all day.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Presents are too big to eat

We received this lovely present (a blanket made by Isabelle we will post a picture of the blanket at a latter date it's too cute) that Christophe could not seem to eat and was very unhappy with that.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What's your favorite...

What's your wee one's favorite book?

I wish I could say Christophe favorite book is a french book however it's Rutsty Robot.

References:
Image: Amazon.com

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Unsafe Food Additives

Indigotine: The largest study suggested that it may cause brain cancer.

Sunset Yellow FCF: Animal test indicate that the dye causes tumors of the adrenal gland and kidney. Small amounts of several carcinogens can contaminate Sunset Yellow. The US FDA concluded that the coloring doesn't endanger humans. Also known to cause allergic reactions.

Stevia: High doses fed to rats reduced sperm production and increased cell proliferation in their testicles, could lead to infertility. Can only be sold in canada as a dietary supplement.

Information Source: Nutrition Action

Want help remembering what chemicals to avoid check out my quick guide to chemical additives.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Toy Thursdays

What is your favorite microbe?

Ours is the Chicken Pox.

Since we are a bit of geeks I am sure by the time Christophe is 5 or so he will have a dozen microbes from Giant Microbes. Cost is approximately 10$ per microbe.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays

How do I avoid plastic baby spoons without buying metal spoons. The reason why I say not to buy the metal spoons is it is so easy to accidently hurt a fussy eater with metal spoons.

We found these great sets from Bambu available online at Kai Kids for only $14.99.

I absolutely love these; we have yet to try the fork because our little guy is still too young but the spoon is just the right size for his little fussy mouth. Now only if we could find something he likes the taste of to put on this spoon.


For those stylish moms and dads out these that love cooking check out Bambu's website to see the rest of the line that they offer...

References:
Image: Kai Kids
Pricing: Kai Kids

Monday, October 13, 2008

No food for me

For the past month this is what feed Christophe has been like. 0% of the food gets in...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Swimming


Christophe started taking "swimming lessons" every Saturday morning at a community center in our neighborhood with his papa; it feels weird to be on the sideline watching...

The City of Toronto has a great swim program, 9 weeks, 30 min classes for $29.

What's your favorite...

I though it would be intreasting to see what my readers think about various baby related items. I decided to try to post a question once a week for you to answer. I hope to find this an interesting way to learn about new baby products that I might not have tough about.

What's your wee one's favorite toy?

Christophe's favorite toy is hands down Skwish.

References:
Images - Manhattan Toys

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Unsafe Food Additives

Aspartame (NutraSweet): Artificial sweetener. Italian research in animals indicate that long term consuption may increase risk of leukemia, lymphoma and breast cancer. Some people report dizziness, hallucinations, headaches after drinking diet pop. People with PKU need to avoid aspartame.

Saccharin: Animal studies indicate that it can cause cancer of the bladder, uterus, ovaries, skin and other organs. It also seems to increase the potency of other carcinogens. Can not be sold as an ingredient in foods or beverages in Canada.

Sodium Nitrate, Sodium Nitrite: Adding this to foods can cause small amounts of potential cancer-causing chemicals called nitrosamines.

Information Source: Nutrition Action

Want help remembering what chemicals to avoid check out my quick guide to chemical additives.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Growth Chart

I had been looking for a growth chart for Christophe for a while now and we found the perfect one on Etsy. The 1 2 3 Grow With Me chart by Inklore is simple and contemporary looking. You don't feel like you need to hide this one in your child's room; we hung ours in the front hall so everyone can see the great progress our little guy is making. I was very pleased with the quality of craftsmanship when we received our product and delivery was very speedy.

One of the things I like the best is you are supporting a small business as these are hand made.

Also since it is made in fabric we can one day fold it up and store it as a great souvenir we can pull out for Christophe once he is older.

References:
Image - Inklore/Etsy

Eco Friendly Fridays

Pesticides:

Everyday your child under five consumes on average eight pesticides a day. You may not see an immediate reaction in your child but pesticides are know to have a cumulative effect, particularly in growing bodies and could cause health problems in the future. I will not explain all the negative effects they can have here but will share a few easy tips on how to avoid pesticides.
  1. Use non toxic pest control options at home.
  2. Wash and peel conventionally grown vegetables and fruits.
  3. Remove an discard the outer peel of conventionally grown leafy vegetables.
  4. Rotate foods so that you are not eating the same food every day. (different pesticides and amount of pesticides are used with different foods)
  5. Purchase organic foods when available
  6. Only purchase organic foods if you are consuming the peel or outer layer (i.e. berries, broccoli)
  7. If you have the space start your own organic garden
  8. When eating conventional grown foods stay away from the core of the fruit as pesticide then to accumulate near the seeds.
  9. Try to only purchase organic pre-packaged goods as it is impossible to confirm what parts of the vegetable and fruits were used and how they were washed.
  10. Only purchase organic dairy and meat products as conventional dairy and meat have a high percentage of pesticides.
Have a happy toxic free friday.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Toy Thursday

OK this on is not a toy per say but it was worth a mention...
Over a month ago now we picked up from With Child the Wisey Play Mat. This mat folds up into a bag, so you can easily bring your toys and play mat anywheres. I have yet to travel with it but the reason why we wanted this play mat was for easy clean up to keep the mat and toys away from our cats. So far so good we love it. I have a hook in my hallway and at the end of each play session we fold it up with the toys and all and hang it up. It helps keep my living room clean and I no longer find cats sleeping in Christophe's play mat. Approximate cost $50.

A little warning to moms with dare devil babies such as my Christophe, the mat has 3 little red straps on the inside to attache toys (we never use ours) Christophe discovered these a few weeks back and literally pulled the mat from under him sending himself flying and crashing. He did this twice and then decided it was no longer fun. Even with this mishap this is one of my favorite buys.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October 7, 2008 - Day in the life of...

I decided to start once and while writing a brief journal of a day in the life of Christophe. That way he can look back at this and see what things were like when he was a baby.

Today was a busy one we started the day off late by sleeping in then off to our weekly trip to the market where mama bought tones of veggies. Christophe got to take the bus as mama hurt her foot the day before and the 30 min walk seemed a bit too much. We also stopped at Jerry's this great little grocery store at and Monarch Park to pick up a few items.

Once back home we built a fort using a bed sheet and the 3 kitchen chairs in the living room and played, nursed and napped in it while we waited for our friend Amitav and his mom Sara. Christophe really seemed to enjoy having a friend over; we have had other moms and babes over but never one in his age range (Amitav is around 7 1/2 months also). After some play we walked Amitav and Sara back home stopping on the way for some hot chocolate (for mama) and to check out a new second hand clothing store in the Beach.

Once we got back home we prepared supper; home made pasta for mama and papa; avocados for Christophe. I was amazed Christophe actually ate some food. We have been having a hard time convincing him to eat anything that is not breastmilk.

We were supposed to finish the night with a bath but all tired from a long day we fell asleep in mama's arm before the bath was even poured.
All in all we had a great day.

Wordless Wednesday

A few weeks back we attended our first birthday party; Sebastian turned 2 and Morgan 5.




Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tasty Tuesday

For me tasty tuesday is al about Christophe and feeding him; in order to feed a baby in todays modern world you "need" gear so this entry and the next few weeks will be about gear.

Bibs:

there are thousands of bibs these days to chose from however and eco friendly parent or just an aware parent needs to ask themselves many questions:
  • Is it made out of natural fibers
  • Is it PVC free
  • Is it Vinyl free
  • Is it Phthalate free
  • Does it have ties (ties are a no no these days with kids as they can strangle themselves)
  • Can it be easily washed
  • Does it stain easily
  • Does it fit a long age rang (you do not want to be buying bibs every 6 months)
  • Does it have a pocket to ketch falling food
I am sure there are more questions to ask but this is all we could think of. We found a bib that answers almost all these criterias from Crocodile Creek. We have 2 of these an so far these are our favorite bibs, the only criteria from above that they do not meet is 100% natural fibers. They are made of cotton but have a non-toxic coating for easy cleaning.

Refrences:
Image from Crocodile Creek

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Unsafe Food Additives

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): Helps prevent rancidity in fats, oils and food containing oils. According to the US government's National Toxicology Program it is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen", based on animal studies.

Partially Hydrogenated Oil: Oils can be made into semi-solid shortenings and margarine by chemically adding hydrogen. This process creates trans fats, which raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.

Propyl Gallate: Preservative. The best studies hinted that it might cause cancer.

Information Source: Nutrition Action

Want help remembering what chemicals to avoid check out my quick guide to chemical additives.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Eco Friendly Fridays

This one is a bit more about your families health, but is also about the environment. Get your water tested for lead if you have an old home. Many old homes have lead pipes leading into the house from the cities water main. In Toronto it's easy; if your home was built before 1955 all you need to do is send an email to waterqualityline@toronto.ca with the following information:
  • contact person
  • address
  • nearest major intersection
  • contact phone number
One of the city's Samplers will drop off a sample bottle with instructions in 6 - 8 weeks (from time of request). All you need to do is collect the sample as directed and leave it out for pickup on the date indicated on the instruction sheet.

In the meantime, if you suspect lead in your drinking water, you may filter your water (a filter certified to remove lead ie. Faucet-attached Brita Filters remove 90%+ lead) or drink bottled water, until test results are determined.


You may also contact a Public Health Inspector at 416-338-7600 for more information on the health risks associated with lead.


I strongly recommend anyone that has small children and an old home to do this.


If you do not live in Toronto I would recommend to contact your city all and ask what is the procedure for your city.


As it stands we are waiting for our sample bottle I will keep you posted on the results once we have them.



Thursday, October 2, 2008

Toy Thursday

We recently ordered and picked up from Treasure Island Toys Haba's Discovery Wagon
Christophe has been showing interest in walking for over a month now so we decided it was time to get him a push toy / wagon. Well its a hit, this is the toy that he wants to play with all the time. I hope this continues as it was not cheep (average cost $250), but so far it is worth it. He will also be able to grown with this toy as it should last till he is about 3 or 4 years old. So far I have to say both his balance and walking ability are improving fast and furious with the help of this wagon.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Music for kids

This is something I have been meaning to blog about for a bit now. Christophe loves music and we always have something playing in the background. I also make sure we do some music time every day; sometimes we sing fun little songs for him; other times we dance to music; or even sometimes we play with instruments. Whatever it is we do we usually have a minimum of 30 minutes of music time everyday.

Christophe has a Rain Stick, Cage Bell, a few maracas, some jingle bells and a harmonica. I think that is pretty good for a 7 month old. Of course all music play is supervised as some of these instruments could be dangerous if left unattended. Once he turns one I want to pick him up a few more instruments from Plan Toys: Xylophone, Drum and Castanets.

As for Music CD's some of our favorites are:

New Orleans Playground
French Playground
A Pas de Velours
Cajon for Kids

We are always looking for new music I would love to know what your favorite CD's are.

References:
Photograph - Amazon.com

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I can stand

Christophe decided to sneak in one more mile stone before he turns 7 months he can stand unsupported for 3 seconds, he made it all the way to 7 seconds today.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

First cold

It's official Christophe has his first of many colds. He has an extra runny nose and a pretty bad cough. No fever so far so we are happy with that.

We picked up this great humidifier from crane in the shape of a penguin; the mist seems to help with his cough. So far we have not given him anything for the cold as he has no fever but we picked up same infant Motrin just in case and also a nasal spray in case his congestion gets to the point were he is having a hard time breathing.

I have to say the little guy is a trouper he is still full of energy when he is awake; however he is probably napping a bit more then typically and when he get tired or frustrated he is a bit more irritable the typically.

We had a Wee Hands group today but decided to stay home and relax. We played a bit, read some books, watched 15 mins of a movie and fell asleep (this is probably the first time Christophe has been aloud to watch more then 2 minutes of TV), had a teething biscuit instead of his typical baby foods for lunch and supper (he already hates eating baby food I was not about to try feeding him when he is feeling under the weather).

I am off to bed as Christophe is sleeping in Geoff arm under the mister.

Unsafe Food Additives

Each week I am going to attempt to present a few new food additive that we are trying to avoid as a family.

Acesulfame-Potassium: Artificial sweetener, Poorly done saftey test in the 1970s suggested that it may cause cancer. Is often used together with sucralose. The US Food and Drug Administration has refused to conduct better studies.

Cyclamate: Artificial sweetener. Researchers believe it doesn't cause cancer directly, but increases the potency of carcinogens and can harm the testicles. Can not be used as a food additive in Canada.

Olestra (Olean): Fat substitute. Not available in Canada. It can cause severe and incapacitating diarrhea, loose stools, abdominal cramps and flatulence.

Information Source: Nutrition Action

Want help remembering what chemicals to avoid check out my quick guide to chemical additives.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Breast-feeding Chalange

Are you a nursing mom? Do you want to participate in a nurse-in to help bring awareness to breast-feeding? The Quintessence Foundation is chalenging you to attend the Breast-feeding challenge on October 11, 2008. Christophe and I would be participating but we will be away on our first family vacation that weekend celebrating Geoff and I's second year wedding anniversary. If anyone out there attends a chalange I would love to hear what you tough about it.

On-line song database

I was trying to find the lyrics to Zoom, Zoom, Zoom the other night and stumbled on this great database of song and finger play put together by the South Riverdale Child Parent Center in Toronto.

Thank you to the South Riverdale Child Parent Center... we love this site.

Eco Friendly Fridays

Plum Creek Bags Snack Bags

I am always looking at ways to reduce the use of plastic bags in my home. We are thinking of ordering these to try them out. I find it just seems like a sensible idea for snacks on the go. You can get these at Etsy, 4 bags for 14$.

Immunization - Christophe


A while back we posted about vaccination and that we were trying to figure out what to do. A few months have past and I think we have it figured out. We read tones of websites and documentations on the various vaccinations; below is our reading list:

http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cig-gci/index-eng.php
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/cig-gci/p01-tab01-eng.php
http://www.vran.org/
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/reports/cireports07_e.html
http://www.thestar.com/living/article/257518

The Vaccine Book by Robert W. Sears

I am sure many of you are wondering what we have decided to do. The basics that we decided to follow is:
  • no vaccinations until 6 months or older
  • only one injection per visit
  • a minimum of 3 months between each injection
  • delay the MMR until at least 2 years of age
  • only give the chickenpox vaccine at the age of 7 years assuming he has not been exposed to this virus
  • no influenza (flue shot) vaccine since this one still contains mercury
In order to help me keep track of Christophe's immunizations, I have made a revised vaccination schedule that I will be proposing to our doctor on our next visit. If you would like to see how this compares to Ontario's Proposed schedule you can check out the Health Canada Web Site.

I want to give a shout out to Kim as if it was not for her I would not have had such a great list of websites as references. Thanks.

Once we show our proposed schedule to our doctor I will let you guys know what he though about it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Toy Thursday


A few weeks back I picked these up for Christophe; Christophe loves rolling the balls around, he is still to little to play with the turtle bottom part. I love these kinds of toys that can grow with your baby. Geoff and I however think racing the turtle are fun all you have to do is put a bit pressure on the ball and it send the turtle rolling away. I can't wait till Christophe is older and we can have turtle races.I hope he lets me race the red one.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

All About Christophe

I just added some links to the right hand side of the blog with a list of various milestones and accomplishments that Christophe has reached. I think this is going to be a great way to keep track of all the little things.

Teeth everywhere

Tooth number 2 is poking through Christophe's gums.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Eco Friendly Friday


Minimize the amount of plastic bags you use...

I will never get to zero plastic bags as I don't think I will ever go bag-less for the garbage and our green bin. However all other plastic bags can be permanently banished from my home.

The first and easiest step to get rid of plastic bags is get some cloth shopping bags. We chose envirosax they are very compact when folded and do not attract pet hair. That second one is very important to me as the typical cloth bags you can buy at grocery stores just getter cat hair like there us no tomorrow.

Now that you have cloth shopping bags you can take the next step and replace other plastic bags, below is a list of great products to think about:

Garden bags
: these are great to store leafy green vegetables in the fridge and actually prolongs there life. Just wash your greens and wrap them up in a cotton kitchen towel then pop in the bag. Voila you have salad green that are pre-washed and ready to eat.

Produce bags : these basically do not weight anything so they are great for buying produce at the grocery store, be warned do not use with string beans or peas as you will spend says picking them out of the mesh.

Trash bags: if you can buy biodegradable plastic garbage bags for your green bins and waste. If you can not get biodegradable bags make sure you buy plastic bags that are made from 100% post consumer recycle material.

Food Storage: Instead of grabbing a zip-lock bag use a glass or metal container in the long run this will save you money. We love the Glass Lock containers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Toy Thursdays


Thanks Kim for posting this image on your blog. These Water Blocks from Plan Toys are beautiful and educational all at once. If you hold 2 different colour blocks together kids can see what new colour they make. These have definitely been added on our wish list for Christophe.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Baby sign language - have you tried it?

Since Christophe has been born we have been practicing signs with him, just recently he has started paying attention to them. I think he understands milk, cat and more. However on my side I am proud to say that I now know over 30 signs. To help us learn we bought 2 sets of sign cards: mocobabies and Signs and Smiles. The mocobabies cards are nicer looking but the Signs & Smiles cards are more functional. Each time we learn a new sign I mount the card up in our hallway so I can easily look at them for review. Geoff also ordered some books and a dvd about signing I will let him tell you guys about them.

Have any of you guys had success with baby signs?

Blind dates for moms

I have recently joined a group called mommy meetup group. It's basically blind dates for moms and babes in Toronto. I have met a bunch of moms in our area and gone to a few events. It's great everyone is very welcoming and all the moms are super nice. It's just really nice to have a chance to talk to other moms about everything and anything baby related.

I now have teeth, well kinda

This morning Christophe 1st tooth broke through his gums. It only sticks out a millimeter or so but its there and it sharp. It's the bottom middle right tooth.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

We have been keeping crazy busy so I have been neglecting my blogging duties...

On Fridays we started attending French Circle time at Ella Minnow Book Store, they have a great space in the basement where various mom and baby classes are held. This is also one of the best book stores (for english books) for children that I have ever been to in Toronto. They keep a great selection of books and the staff is extra helpful. They do have a section of french books but not tones.

Christophe has been "eating" apple sauce, peach mush, sweet potato mash and rice cereal. I say "eating" because most of it ends up on him... I have been trying to give him fruit in the morning and vegetable a super time with a bit of the rice cereal. I think he likes the apples but its really hard to tell, he still finds having food in his mouth kinda weird.

On another note Geoff thinks Christophe may have signed the work milk!!! We offered him milk and guess what he was hungary. For the past few weeks Christophe has been opening and closing his hand while nursing. I always though he was just playing but maybe he has been signing...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tasty Tuesdays

Edamame

Many people have no clue how to eat or prepare edamame; however it's extremely easy to cook and very nutritious and tasty.

You can use frozen edamame (still in pods) but fresh is much better. All you have to do is bring a pot of water with a teaspoon of salt to a boil. Once boiling toss in the edamame (aprox. 3 cups). Boil for about 8 minutes. Drain. Toss with about a tablespoon of butter and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Enjoy. (for those of you who have never eaten edamame simply squeeze the beens out and eat, do not eat the pods)

On Tongues and Grooves: Hacking Bamboo Flooring

Way back in February, before Christophe came along and took primary position in my spare time, I was installing bamboo flooring in our house.  The bamboo flooring we have is tongue-and-groove (as opposed to click floating flooring, for instance).  One of the things you'll discover if you lay any significant amount of bamboo flooring is that you'll find yourself with a piece that is more than suitable for a particular location, other than the fact that you've already cut the groove off that piece, and a piece with a groove is required to fit into the tongue of the previous piece within that same course.
That's usually no big deal - that piece becomes a good starter piece for a subsequent course instead.  That works as long as you don't get heavily over-subscribed in starter pieces, but you may also find a time when you have neither tongue nor groove on an otherwise usable piece of flooring.  What's a homeowner to do?

In this case, I discovered that our  cheap table saw makes a fine groove.  It takes careful aim and tweaking to get the groove cut, and it's not likely to be perfect, but it doesn't need to be.  The groove is entirely invisible supporting infrastructure for the flooring, so the fact that it may be a little wider than it needs to be or slightly rough is irrelevant, as long as the previous tongue fits into the groove and you haven't weakened the material to the point of irrelevance.

This is surprisingly painless to do, so i'm happy to recommend the process for anyone laying bamboo floor.  If I have to do another one, perhaps I'll capture some video.