Morning Math: The Worst Math of the Day

by Andrea Mulder-Slater




There were two lines at the Tim Hortons kiosk - one for those ordering bacon, bagels and specialty drinks - and another for the rest of us.

As the young man behind the counter handed me my tea, I began digging through the giant expanse that is my purse. Gloves. Princess stickers. Altoids. Chocolate bar wrappers…

I was one customer away from my place at the cash register when I remembered the leftover taxi fare change in my pocket.

When I looked over the railing, I could see that it was turning into a busy morning in the hospital so I was glad to have arrived early. I was tired, but anxious to find out if my mom would be able to come home after a frightening 38 hours involving a blood transfusion.

“One fifty-five, please.”

The girl behind the counter watched my money land on the counter. She began to scoop it up and then, she stared at me.

Why are Dutch Moeders so Damn Happy?

by Andrea Mulder-Slater


I'm a Dutch girl. And so, when my editor at The Yummy Mummy Club recently asked if I would share my feelings on a Washington Post article suggesting that my people (specifically Dutch moms) are the most relaxed in the world.

I did, and here's how it went...

I’m five years-old and I’m in a small a town in northeastern Netherlands, visiting family with my parents. 

It’s late afternoon and some neighbourhood kids are riding bicycles on the paths that run beside my aunt’s house. I ask my uncle if he has any spare fietsen (bikes) in the schuur (shed) behind his garden. He does, but they are all too large, except for one that – if modified – should do the trick. He and my father make some adjustments while my mother and her sister enjoy a relaxing cup of tea. Moments later, I pedal past the house, sitting on a bed pillow strapped to the seat post of a too-large Dutch bike.

You can read the rest (and I hope you do) at:  http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20151120/dont-worry-be-dutch


Don't Drop the Ball

by Andrea Mulder-Slater



“Girls have balls. They’re just a little higher up, that’s all.” 
~Joan Jett 
My husband and I don’t often talk about his boy bits but when we do, I’m usually throwing out questions like, “Hey, do those ever fall out of your underwear”, “How do you fit everything inside your pants?” and, “Can you please put that stuff away now?”

I mean come on; those things aren’t cute. You know I’m right.

Still, I feel for the men, I really do. It can’t be easy, walking around with all that junk.

When I asked my guy what it’s like having a set of testicles, he said, “It’s like having pocket watches permanently attached to your crotch.”

Before and After Craft Room Organization


by Andrea Mulder-Slater

There was a time when a few pretty baskets and a couple of coffee cans were enough to contain my kid's craft supplies.

That was then.

Now, I’ve become an unwilling expert in a new, bewildering math process known as multipladdition. It works like this. If x is the child’s age, and y is said child’s genetic tendency to add glue to all the things, then the answer is four hundred and eleventy billion craft supplies in my office.

This is not an exaggeration. It’s just how math works.

Read the rest at the Yummy Mummy Club...

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20151112/10-minutes-to-an-organized-craft-space

Pierce my kid's ears? No Way!


by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Paige didn’t go to my school, but we rode on the same school bus and we shared a bus stop. Paige didn’t have a home-haircut. She went to a salon and smelled of hairspray. Paige didn’t wear t-shirts and jeans. She wore blouses and slacks. Paige didn’t have a pool that had to be deflated and dismantled at the end of the summer. She had an in-ground, indoor swimming spa.

But most of all, Paige had pierced ears.

Read the rest at the Yummy Mummy Club...

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150901/i-wont-pierce-my-daughters-ears

Owl Puke

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Allow me to preface this post with the following words:

If you have a weak stomach, you probably shouldn't read this.

-----------------

Having an animal-lover for a child means I'm learning far more about animal behavior than I care to know.

For example, just recently, my daughter informed me that naked mole rats like to roll around in their own urine; grasshoppers spit brown goo when they are nervous and owls - after eating small mammals whole - regurgitate the indigestible parts in the form of pellets.

Like so.




Yeah. Raising children is disgusting. Almost as disgusting as owls. Especially when they come to you, with their little voices and sweet faces - wooden spoon in hand - asking, "Mom, can you help me make Owl Puke Balls?"

You say yes to the owl barf because frankly, you are far too intrigued (and exhausted) to say no.

To make your own, you will need a small rodent. And, an owl.

Or, you can substitute the following ingredients, like we did.


INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick of butter 
1 tsp cocoa powder (Cuisine Camino makes a fair-trade, peanut/tree-nut-free Dutch processed cocoa powder)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup of peanut butter (substitute soy butter or sunflower butter for kids with peanut allergies)
1 1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup pretzels (for bones)
1/4 cup coconut (for fur)

Mix brown sugar, butter, cocoa powder and milk in a pan and heat on the stove.


Heat and stir mixture until smooth.


Allow to come to a boil. Then, remove from heat. Try not to hear your child when she tells you it looks like poop.


Hold back the tears as you add peanut butter and oats to the warm combo while your kiddo breaks pretzels into tiny bone-sized pieces. Attempt to block any and all images of mice, squirrels and baby rabbits being devoured by the Barred Owl who lives in your yard. 


Add the broken pretzel pieces to the mixture and stir, stir, stir.


Finally, wrestle the coconut into the sticky goop while regrettably hearing the words, "It does look like bones and fur mommy."


Drop spoonful sized chunky lumps onto a parchment paper lined cookie tray and refrigerate for an hour or so.


Display proudly on a plate and enjoy the flavor (and texture) while holding the family's pet hamster on your lap.


Store the remarkably tasty morsels in the fridge for a week or so, or at least until all unsuspecting house guests and members of your household are offered the opportunity to eat "animal vomit."

No, really.  And, you're welcome.



Are you packing heat?


The product description read: Witness one of nature's most spectacular transformations - up close - with a reusable, collapsible habitat.



Totally appealing, no?

When I saw the live butterfly garden advertised online, I became restless. Against my better judgement, I knew I had to get one for my insect-obsessed 6 year old. I mean, the kit promised an easy-to-use feeder and complete instructions. And butterfly larvae with food shipped directly to my home.

There was no way this wasn’t happening.

Despite my aversion to having bugs in the house, I placed my order and – as is typical in my area – I requested it be shipped to a drop-off location on the USA side of the border so I could pop across, pick it up and bring the parcel home.

Now before I continue, I want to make one thing perfectly clear… I am a law-abiding citizen. For the most part. I drive below the speed limit. I almost always tell the supermarket cashier if she accidentally rings my apples in at the regular price instead of organic price and I don’t let my daughter pocket stray items that have fallen out their packages onto the floor at Canadian Tire. However, when it comes to rules like Do Not Transport Live Insects Across the Border, I scoff at the law and morph into a criminal. A trafficker, if you will.

Here’s my reasoning. If the insects can crawl or fly to my house from across the river, then why can’t I help them along by giving them a lift in my car? I mean, it’s not like I’m hauling them off to Newfoundland.

On the day of the pick up, I neglected to tell my kid that my mother and I were smuggling FIVE LIVING THINGS into the country, so as not to make her an accomplice. Reentering Canada, we declared our olives, our gluten-free bread and our brand new packages of socks while blissfully omitting the as-yet-unopened box in the back of the vehicle.

Upon our arrival home, my daughter and I opened the carton (which had magically appeared in our kitchen) because one of us was excited to see what was inside. An expandable mesh habitat, a small green feeding device and assorted bits of paper all fell out onto the floor.

“Where are the caterpillars?!!!?”

Panic ensued as mom and I scoured the area. Holy crap where are hell are they? Did they crawl under dishwasher? Are they still in the car? Are they really that small? Are they stuck to the inside of the box?

That's when I noticed the fine print, which read: caterpillars sold separately. 

Oh shit.

I went online and ordered the critters after being assured by someone at a California caterpillar farm that the creatures would arrive in a timely manner, and would be very, very small – as long as they stayed cool. 

 
I could handle that.

On the afternoon of the smuggling, I left my mother and daughter in the car and entered the drop-off location which - truth be known - is a sun porch attached to house belonging to a woman named Nell. Once inside, I spotted the box with my name on it, bathed in beam of bright, hot sunlight. I held my breath and opened the cardboard while people inside the house stared through the windows, becoming increasingly interested in my movements. Inside the box was a small plastic jar, with a flimsy lid and five big, hot caterpillars crawling around in their own poop.

They were f#%*ing ENORMOUS.

I briefly considered running and abandoning the mission, leaving Nell to care for the beasts but instead, I cringed and placed the jar in my purse. My purse! Then, I exited the porch, careful not to trip. In the car, I handed the handbag to my mother who promised to keep it upright at her feet as we traveled through the border crossing.

"What did you pick up?" my six year old inquired.

"Nothing, there were no parcels," I replied, voice shaking. I couldn't tell her. She's a crappy liar and she'd cave at the border.  

I begged my mother not to jostle the purse, without being able to explain that there was a very real possibility of five giant hairy beasts escaping their temporary home and appearing at her ankles.

"Anything to declare?" The guard at the Canadian side of the border was not in the mood for chit-chat.

"We bought a carton of milk."

"Any alcohol or tobacco?"

"Nope."

"Firearms?"

"None."

"Live plants or animals?" 

"Ha ha! What? No. Of course not."

The border guard stared at me. I stared at the border guard. He looked at my purse. My purse! I looked at my mother. Then, I did the only thing I could do. I opened the rear window.

Within seconds, my mile-a-minute daughter began regaling the man in the booth with tales about the turtle we saved at the end of our road – two years ago. And the donuts she ate - last year and the birthday party she was attending - next week and...

Suddenly, our passports were handed back to me as the guard smiled, said, “Have a nice day” and sent us on our way.

"THEY'RE HUGE!!!!!!"

The words fell out of my mouth as soon as we sped away from the booths, prompting my mom to gingerly pulled the jar out of my purse and show it to my daughter who squealed with utter and complete delight.

At home, I had a closer look.


Yeah, that's right.

And with that, our butterfly-raising journey began...

No, really.

It's ALIVE!

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I woke up this morning with two thoughts in my head.

1) Coffee. Because, coffee.

and

2) Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?! Because, holy freaking crap – I’m in a book that’s being released TODAY. As in right now.

Did I mention I’m in a book?  Yes a book! This book:



Shannon Day and Tara Wilson of Tipsy Squirrel Press have collected 37 amazing stories that will make you laugh, make you cry and make you pee your pants (in a good way).

I’ll be honest here. The thought of my words hanging out in a book, with other - much cooler words - written by thirty-six other women - phenomenal women - from around the world, makes me want to go straight to the mirror to check if I have any flax seeds stuck between my teeth.

----------------------------------------------------
Who are the Wonder contributors
Who are the Woe contributors?
Who are the WTF?! contributors?
 ---------------------------------------------------- 

It’s mind boggling and exciting and terrifying. And it’s enough to drive a girl to eat chocolate bars. Or chocolate chips. Or at the very least a tablespoonful of those candy sprinkles you find in the cake aisle.

But all of that is nonsense because I am in a book and that book is – as of this moment – available to the world.

And because YOU my faithful reader are a BIG part of why I am in this book, I am going to share a brief excerpt of my essay, found in the WTF?! section of Martinis & Motherhood, published by Tipsy Squirrel Press.

I'll warn you ahead of time, the essay involves this:



--------------------
 Bug House
When my daughter was a toddler, she could whack a housefly like nobody’s business. And when I say whack, I mean annihilate.
Wings. Guts. Everywhere. 

When other parents were busy making sure their tiny tots Knew their red circles from their blue squares, I was encouraging my kid to work on her gross motor skills with the help of a fly swatter named Smack. 

 Her natural-born tracking abilities were most welcome during the year we lived in a rental while our new home was being built. 


Our temporary place was an A-frame with large, south-facing windows and about 70 billion fly-sized holes in the walls. 

We had a good system. My child would hunt, and I would help her ceremoniously flush her conquests down the toilet where they would (and I quote) “go to the fly fair” to be happily reunited with their friends and family.
And presumably, their legs. 

But then my daughter turned four, and just like that, the free ride was over...
--------------------


If you want to read the rest, you'll have to buy the book. It's available (print and Kindle) on amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. and (Kindle) on amazon.ca. My fellow Canadians can buy the print version from amazon.com now or can hold on for the 6 weeks it will take to become available from amazon.ca.

Now because sometimes I speak too quickly or too quietly or not at all, I should pause here to let you all know what Martinis & Motherhood is all about. So here, from the publisher, are the deets.
Stories that inspire, entertain, and make you laugh ’til you pee. Plus martinis! And not just any-old-martinis—these ones were designed just for moms! These tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?! share a little glimpse into the lives of other moms, who are a lot like you. Through their tales, we’re reminded to savour the little things (like capturing extra morning snuggles), to let go of the stresses (they won’t be in that unfortunate phase forever), and to be grateful for the laughs that the unexpected brings (because laughing is better than crying and it may be the only workout our abs get!). So shake up an easy-to-make martini, put your feet up (quickly, before the kids find you) and join us on our journey as we toast to the many clink-worthy moments that motherhood brings.
Awesome, yes? But WAIT! There's more!

To celebrate all of this wonderfulness, I'm giving away a copy of Martinis & Motherhood and all you need to do to enter is leave a short message in the comments section below. Be brave, be honest and be quick because I'll pick a name at random on June 25th.

And... thanks for your support. I mean it.

No, really.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ps: Here is a list of my co-conspirators. They are all AMAZING!


Tellers of Wonder
Lynn Morrison nomadmomdiary.com
Angila Peters detachedfromlogic.com
Magnolia Ripkin magnoliaripkin.com
Louise Gleeson latenightplays.com
Jocelyn Pihlaja omightycrisis.com.com
Alison Huff crumbsdown.com
Leigh-Mary Barone Hoffmann happilyeverlaughterblog.com
Shannon Drury theradicalhousewife.com
Patricia Mirchandani raising-humans.com
Lauren Stevens lo-wren.com
Cordelia Newlin de Rojas multilingualmama.com
Sarah Deveau doingallthethings.com

Tellers of Woe
Shannon Day martinisandmotherhood.com
Tara Wilson dontlickthedeck.com
Vicki Lesage vickilesage.com
Abby the Writer littlemissperfect.com
Brooke Takhar missteenussr.com
Kate Parlin shakespearesmom.com
Christina Antus christinaantus.net
Jennifer Baird-Dean thechiofjen.com
Sara Park crcrsmommyblog.com
Tamara Schroeder thattamiam.com
Kristen Hansen Brakeman kristenbrakeman.com
Lori Lu Green LeRoy theinadequateconception.com
Carolyn Mackenzie facebook.com/carolynmackenzietvpersonality

Tellers of WTF?!
Susanne Kerns thedustyparachute.com
Sarah Halsall del Rio established1975.com
Lisa Webb canadianexpatmom.com
Jessica D’Andrea Kapp jesskapp.com
Kim McDonald twobugsandablog.com
Lisa Carmody Doiron momologues-soliloquies.com
Olga Mecking europeanmama.com
Holly Rust mothersguidetosanity.com
Kathryn Leehane foxywinepocket.com
Jill Hudkins Robbins rippedjeansandbifocals.com
Kristine Laco mumrevised.com
Andrea Mulder-Slater noreallyandrea.com

25 Minutes in a Medical Office

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Yesterday, I went for a follow up visit with my optometrist, after something peculiar was discovered during an earlier appointment. Perhaps pure spun gold was found at the edge of my iris. Maybe I had a third pupil. Really I had no idea because I had asked exactly zero questions.

Remarkably, I wasn’t the slightest bit concerned about my ocular oddity, which was completely out of character considering the fact that over the past year, I’ve been painstakingly working my way alphabetically through the medical community (cardiologist, dermatologist…) you know, just to “rule things out.”

But, for some inexplicable reason, what can go wrong with my eyes is a question I had not yet asked Dr. Google.

I arrived early for my 3:30pm appointment. This is what happened next.

3:25pm: Enter waiting room, sit down and grab home decorating magazine. Flip through pages of pristine kitchens with monstrous bowls of glossy lemons sitting on gleaming countertops while speculating why wealthy homeowners require so much citrus. Glance at the teenage boy sitting to my right. Imagine how bizarre it would be if I could read his mind. Turn my attention to the radio as Taylor Swift encourages me to “shake it off.”

3:27pm: Say, “No, actually I’m Andrea,” after the receptionist looks at me and declares, “you must be Mary.” Watch the receptionist rifle through file folders before abruptly leaving her desk.

3:28pm: After finding out that today is Monday and my appointment is on Tuesday, I pull out my iPod and pretend to look at my “schedule” while apologizing profusely to the flustered woman behind the counter.

3:29pm: Say thank you repeatedly when my optometrist agrees to see me today instead of tomorrow. Breathe a sigh of relief since I wearing my last clean pair of underwear and laundry tonight is not in my plans.

3:31pm: Follow a cheerful eye technician into a dark room. Sit down and rest my chin on a padded cushion - wet with the scent of rubbing alcohol. Press my face firmly into a machine designed to encourage captured spies to turn in their co-conspirators. Feel my body jolt uncontrollably as tiny puffs of air are repeatedly forced into my eyeballs.

3:32pm: Willingly trail the same technician into another dark room where a giant camera sits, waiting to snap photographs of the inner workings of my weepy eyes.

3:33pm: Sit down in a second waiting room with a nice supply of children’s books and toys.

3:35pm: Smile at my optometrist who has just emerged from her office with a tissue in one hand and a small bottle of liquid in the other. Answer yes when she asks if I have someone to drive me home. Lean my head back and allow a woman I barely know to drizzle an unknown substance into the corners of my eyes. Listen to her tell me to keep my eyes shut for a few minutes while also adding that the drops might cause a slight burning sensation.

3:36pm: Hear my optometrist walk away.

3:37pm: Open my eyes. Feel an immense burning sensation. Do a quick scan of my immediate surroundings. Notice a giant stencil of a pair of glasses on the wall down the hallway. Wonder what time it is. Bend down to grab my purse.

3:38pm: Try to focus on the contents of my handbag while searching for my phone. Blink furiously in a futile attempt to clear the haze from my eyes. Realize that I am unable to see my fingernails. 

3:39pm: Look here. Look there. Look at the wall. See pictures of large eyes on giant posters. See black lines where words once appeared. Key in on the LARGE PRINT WORDSEARCH book that is sitting in a basket on the floor. Pick it up to get a closer look. See nothing but colors.

3:40pm: Wonder why my mother neglected to mention this symptom when she had the same procedure two weeks ago. Then, freak the fuck out.

3:41pm: Breathe in. Breathe in again. Wonder where everybody went. Hear nothing.

3:42pm: Strain to look at a colorful wave of spectacles hanging on the wall in the distance. Think about everyone who works in this office. Realize THEY ALL WEAR GLASSES. Reflect on the fact that after their examinations, both my mother and daughter ended up WITH GLASSES. Deduce that that everyone who has ever set foot in this space is now WEARING GLASSES. Convince myself that these drops are how my optometrist talks people into BUYING GLASSES. 

3:43pm: Picture myself in glasses. Imagine deciding on a nice turquoise frame with a bridge wide enough to accommodate my enormous Dutch nose. Wonder what contact lenses might feel like.

3:44pm: Hear footsteps. Reach out into the foggy abyss…

3:45pm: Shuffle behind my optometrist into the examining room. Ask if I will ever be able to see well enough to pluck stray hairs from my chin again. Feel much better when I hear that in order for my doc to properly inspect my eye, she had to use a medication that relaxed my focusing muscles, effectively give me the eyesight of a drunken ninety-year-old man.

3:48pm: Leave the office with a warning (to watch for any bright lights and/or sudden darkness) and a recommendation to see an eye surgeon just to make sure my retina isn’t trying to quietly defect from my body. 

3:49pm: Pay the bill with utter and complete difficulty. Because, blurry everything.

3:50pm: Climb into the passenger side of a stranger's car. Exit said car. Find my mother and child by scent. Ride shotgun to the grocery store to purchase many new items without being able to read any ingredients. 

Once I arrived home, I strained – with no luck - to see my reflection in the mirror. Instead, I took this photograph of my eye so I would be able to inspect it once my vision returned. Keep in mind; this photo was taken in a brightly sun-lit room and typically, bright lights will reduce the size of your pupil. But as you can see, mine looks like a dinner plate. A big black dinner plate that does not budge. I mean seriously, You could serve a tuna melt on that thing.

 Full disclosure: I Picmonkey’d the hell out of this image.

That was yesterday.

Today my pupils are properly expanding and contracting and I can see clearly again, although my head is aching which may or may not be normal.

Wait, let me just go and ask Dr. Google…

No, really.

Make Flowers

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Do you like flowers?  Of course you do. 

Do you like it when flowers start to wither and die, leaving cupfuls of thick, stinky water in their wake? Of course you don't.

To bridge the gap, I've come up with five blossoms that won't drop their petals in your cereal bowl.

This week on The Art of Childhood, find flower-making ideas that are super-easy, even for non-crafty types.





Read it here: 5 Stunning Paper Flowers Kids Can Make

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150429/5-flowers-that-will-live-forever




Enough With the Arting and Crafting

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Children and art DO NOT go together.

Yes, you read that right.

This week on The Art of Childhood, find out why I am banning my kid from making art, and why you should too.

End the madness before it's too late. Trust me, I'm an artist.


Read it here: Kids Crafts: Just Say NO

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150421/im-banning-my-kid-from-making-art-and-so




21 Questions That Changed My Life

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

The best-laid plans are doomed to fail.

As you may or may not know, I began 2015 with the goal of painting/drawing a coffee cup each and every day for the entire year.

#ACoffeeADay

Three hundred and sixty-five cups!

 



I was chugging along... drawing, painting, Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming - well on my way to completing month two of the project - when I did something that would forever change the course of history. Well, not YOUR history. Just mine, mostly.

I came across a note on a friend’s Facebook page.

The note was called 21 Questions to Ask Your Child and like a happy-go-lucky puppy, I did it.

Here's how my daughter responded...
 
1. What is something I always say to you? 

I love you.

2. What makes me happy?

I make you happy.

3. What makes me sad? 

When I get hurt.

4. How do I make you laugh?

By dancing funny.

(I don't try to dance funny, but whatever.)

5. What was I like as a child?

I wouldn’t know.

6. How old am I?

I don’t know... 27?

(I love this kid.)

7. How tall am I?

Tall.

So far so good, right? I was smiling and thinking about how much fun this was and how it would be so great to get in the habit of asking my daughter these 21 questions every few years - or months.

But then, things deteriorated. Quickly.

8. What is my favorite thing to do?

Work.

9. What do I do when you're not around? 

Work.

10. If I become famous, what will it be for?

Working.

11. What am I really good at? 

Working.

12. What am I not very good at? 

Playing with me.

When I asked my daughter why she felt that way, she replied, "Because you work all the time."

At this point, I felt the pain of a thousand daggers puncturing my heart.

13. What do I do for my job?

You work. You write, but mostly you paint coffee cups.

This is when the needle scratched the record, the nails ran across the chalkboard and the theme song from Growing Pains started running through my head.

The thing is, I really don't have a lot of extra hours in my day. I work from home and I usually have a million things on the go at any given moment. My writing usually takes place after my kiddo is asleep or before she wakes up. But, the fact of the matter is, that in order for my coffee cup project to be successful, I had to steal time away from somewhere - or rather - someone. 

As it happened, I had been stealing time from my 6 year old kid.

As I choked back the tears, I made a decision right then and there to make a change. But not before finishing the quiz…


14. What is my favorite food?

Cheese.

(She doesn’t know about all the chocolate I consume while hiding in the bathroom.)

15. What makes you proud of me?

We look the same.  

(Note to self: teach child the meaning of the word proud.)

16. If I was a cartoon character, who would I be?

A mother cat.

(I really don’t like cats but she loves them, so there’s that.)
  
17. What do you and I do together? 

Talk.  

(Yeah that's right. Mother of the Year, here I come).

18. How are you and I alike? 

We look the same. We both work.

(That work thing again.)

19. How are you and I different?

Our eyes are a different color.

20. How do you know I love you?

You tell me. You hug me all the time.

21. Where is my favorite place to go?

Florida Or maybe Wendy’s.

(Of course! Because, poutine. This kid knows me. Too well. )
 
So, here's the thing, instead of a painting #ACoffeeADay,  I’ve been painting a coffee only when I have a few spare moments here and there that don't take away from what precious time I have available to hang out with my kid.

I thought about renaming the project but the hashtag would be a real bitch to remember.

No, really.

-------------

By the way, if you are prepared for the answers, here are the 21 Questions You Should Ask Your Kid(s).

  1. What is something mommy always says to you?
  2. What makes mommy happy? 
  3. What makes mommy sad?
  4. How does mommy make you laugh?
  5. What was mommy like as a child?
  6. How old is mommy?
  7. How tall is mommy?
  8. What is mommy's favorite thing to do?
  9. What does mommy do when you're not around?
  10. If mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
  11. What is mommy really good at?
  12. What is mommy not very good at?
  13. What does mommy do for her job?
  14. What is mommy's favorite food?
  15. What makes you proud of mommy?
  16. If mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
  17. What do you and mommy do together?
  18. How are you and mommy alike?
  19. How are you and mommy different?
  20. How do you know mommy loves you?
  21. Where is mommy's favorite place to go?

Glitter is the spawn of Satan

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

When I say glitter, what images come to mind?

Yes, it’s dark and it’s disturbing, but whenever I see glitter, I want to take it home and craft the hell out of it.

This week on The Art of Childhood, you can read all about my love affair with glitter. Ryan Gosling is (sort of) involved.



Read it here: A Love Letter to Glitter, the Herpes of Craft Supplies

www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150405/glitter-craft-projects-for-kids




Easter Egg Decorating Ideas - Complete with Dye Bath Recipe

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

It's easier than you might think to decorate Easter eggs with your kids...

This week on The Art of Childhood, I show you how to make old-school Easter Egg dyes using food colouring.



Read it here: 3 Kid-Friendly Creative Easter Egg Ideas

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150326/fun-easter-activities-for-kids




Martinis & Motherhood: Are you kidding me?!

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Earlier this year, I submitted an essay to Shannon Day (Martinis & Motherhood) and Tara Wilson (Don't Lick the Deck) of Tipsy Squirrel Press in hopes of it being selected for an upcoming anthology.

Minutes ticked.

Days passed.

Months disappeared.

Hope faded.

And then... an email arrived letting me know that my submission had been chosen for inclusion in the WTF section of Martinis & Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe and WTF?!

Needless to say, I'm f&%*#ing  excited beyond belief. And the more I find out about the unbelievable women I am going to be sharing pages with, the more I'm convinced that Shannon and Tara have made a huge mistake by inviting me to be part of the team.

Not that I'm about to tell them.


No, really.





Get back to nature, with the Easter Bunny (all-natural egg dyes)

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Sometimes you just want to dig into your fridge, pull out some veggies and make some homemade dye, just like the pioneers did back in the olden days. 

This week on The Art of Childhood, I show you how to get back to nature, as I share Easter Egg dye recipes that make use of all-natural ingredients.




Read it here: DIY Kid Fun: 8 All-Natural Easter Egg Dips and Dyes

www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/20150324/all-natural-easter-egg-dyes-for-kids




Think Spring!

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

The first day of spring has come and gone, without fanfare. It continues to be cold outside. There is still a giant pile of snow on the ground and if any robins dare return to my part of the world any time soon, they will surely perish from the lack of worms.

Still, it's no reason not to stay positive and get growing. (At least that's what I keep telling myself).

This week on The Art of Childhood, I share a neat way to decorate flower pots. I also have a few seed-starting tips to pass on. No, really.



Read it here: DIY Kid Craft: Spring Garden Mosaics

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150225/DIY-seed-pots-gardening-with-children




5 Awesome Crafts Kids Can Do ALONE

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

Would you like a cup of coffee? Of course you would. But, if you've got kids - and those kids are home - there is no way you're going to make it though that coffee before it turns cold. Am I right?

Well guess what? I've got some ideas to keep your kids occupied while you sit down and enjoy that hot cup of delightful liquid.

Because...

This week on The Art of Childhood, I share five cool crafts that kids can do on their own, without adult assistance!


Read it here: 5 Fun Craft Activities to Keep Your Kids Happy and Busy

http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogs/andrea-mulder-slater-the-art-of-childhood/20150228/5-creative-activities-kids-can-do-themselves


To Catch a Mouse...

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

I opened the car door, glanced at the back deck, tossed my purse onto the seat, and pulled the seat-belt loose from the booster.

“WAIT!!!” I shouted as the six-year-old began to make her way into the vehicle.

“Oh, crap,” I continued, “not again.” 

The turds were everywhere. On the floor. On the back seat. In my daughter’s booster chair. On the front dash. In the cup holders. In the door pockets.

Everywhere I looked there were tiny little shits.

Every. Where.


It wasn’t my first time discovering rodent poo in the car and so I went into full-on Fixer mode. I began removing the reusable grocery bags from the back of the automobile. And by removing, I mean I threw those suckers clear across the driveway in case one or more poop machines might be hiding out inside one of our President’s Choice sacks.

Meanwhile, Jan – who had been watching from the house – joined me until it looked like the car had thrown up on the gravel.

Twice.

Unfortunately, we were in hurry and so – after a quick shake of the booster chair – Jan, the kiddo and I left the pile of canvas sacks on the ground and drove to town with our pants securely bunched up in our socks, our hair tightly tucked into our hats and our eyes open emoji-wide.

 
The first time I found evidence of mice in the car, I had accused Geoff of being careless with his bike bag. The second time, I blamed the farm where we pick up our produce in the summertime. Where this latest little fellow (or fellows) came from was anyone’s best guess but the fact remained… we needed to extricate him (them).

I won’t lie. Although I’ve never physically dumped dead vermin into the ditch next to the driveway, I have been “involved" in the murder of a fair number of mice. (In our family I’m known as the squeamish accomplice.) But - and this is a big but - I’ve NEVER shared the details with my daughter who believes that whenever we catch a mouse, we set it free.

What? The kid LOVES animals. All animals. Even especially rodents.

We once nursed an adorable, abandoned baby field mouse back to health.


Unfortunately, he died five days later. From his appearance on day 4, we could have known the end was near, but to be fair, none of us are veterinarians.


And, we own a hamster. He is healthier than he looks and yes, those are mighty big balls. It's a curse of all black bear hamsters.

 
In any case, a hamster is a rodent which makes him a cousin to the victims who infest our car. You wanna tell the six-year-old the truth? I didn't think so.

Under normal circumstances, we would bait a snap trap, place it in the car, let the mouse do it’s thing and dispose of the remains without the kiddo having any knowledge of the barbarity. But on this day, my child had a request. She wanted to see the mouse before we set it free.

She wanted to SEE IT.

Since we weren’t quite ready to confess to previous homicides, and seeing as how we were in town, Jan popped into the hardware store to procure a couple of wildly expensive catch and hold/release mousetraps designed to trap multiple mice at once. MULTIPLE MICE.


Then she and the kid went into the grocery store – pants still tucked into socks - leaving me to figure out the complicated plastic contraption while desperately trying not to hear the rustles, scuttles and scratches coming from the back of the car.

The concept was simple. Slide the trap open. Set the bait. Slide the trap shut. Presumably the mouse would be so tempted that he would crawl through the one-way gravity-activated door, thus trapping him - temporarily - in a temple of protein, until we happily released him into the wilderness.

Like so.


Unlike the video demo, we had to force the hell out of the sliding panels, just to pry them open enough to toss in pieces of Mini Babybel cheese. We had no idea how we would ever get a mouse – or the cheese - out of that trap.

We placed a loaded snare on the back deck of the car and one on the floor. Then we drove home.


Once there, we checked the traps religiously – as in, every several hours. Because the instructions said we should. But then it got cold outside. Siberia cold. And that’s when we stopped leaving the house.

One half a day and one full night later, Jan walked out to check the car.
 
The mouse was much smaller than we expected him to be. In fact, he was so pint-sized we almost didn’t see him. Also, who makes a mouse trap out of opaque, smoky grey plastic? Who can hell see through that stuff? Seriously.

The level of moisture inside of the trap led us to believe that the mouse had probably been in there since we had first baited it, the previous morning. It was then that we remembered the words of the manufacturer.




The poor little guy wasn’t moving because, of course he wasn’t. After all, it was minus 36 degrees outside and the well-meaning, yet negligent women who provided the cheese had misunderstood the concept of the word humane. This was not how this was supposed to go down. This was not at all like the online reviews said it would be.



Clearly "Bill" and "JAB" were better at checking their traps than we were.

Nevertheless, we brought the contraption inside and placed it in front of the fireplace - in the event of a miracle - much to the delight of the six-year-old.

I dare you to see a mouse.


Is he alive? 

Um… of course!

Can I see him?

Uh… in a minute.

What’s that slimy stuff all over the inside of the trap?

Cheese. Probably.

What’s that smell?

Cheese.

Can I take him out now?

Not right now. He’s sleeping.

We all piled into the car to drive our mouse somewhere away from the house - as per the manufacturer's instructions. But Jan and I both knew there was no way that little fella was making his way back to anywhere - what with him happily scurrying around in the afterlife - so instead of driving two miles away, we drove around the corner.

At our destination, Jan carried the critter to his final resting place, taking care not to vomit from the stench.


Then, she pried the plastic lid open and laid the little bugger on the ground while the kiddo said, "see you later mousie" and walked away, completely satisfied that we had just transported a sleeping mouse from our car to our neighbour's yard.


Meanwhile, Jan and I resolved to never make an attempt at being humane again. Ever.


Poor wee dead mouse. And yes, we let him go at the base of our neighbor’s summer cottage. He was stiff. What damage could he do?

 No, really.