It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Mary’s Little Helper

Ottawa has an organic collection program — aka the compost collection, or The Green Bin. Here is our Green Bin, being filled with fall leaves.






She kept this up for a solid 25 minutes. She’s not fast, but she’s got FOCUS.

November 17, 2010 Posted by | Lily, Ottawa, socializing | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Craftiness, Day 3

I now have my storage bags. Another thing I’ve wanted for some time is bibs. I had a set for a while — freebies from Huggies — that I loved, but eventually they were just plain used to death. Since then I’ve found it remarkably difficult to find a set of bibs that do the job as well.

I bought half-a-dozen from IKEA a year or so ago. I checked the website so I could show them to you… and they don’t seem to be selling them any more. Good marketing decision, IKEA! They’re some form of plastic (good! wipe clean and saturation-proof!). They attach with velcro at the neck … weak, insipid velcro that FALLS off, people. Just … falls right open. Doesn’t even require a child to tug at it. Moreover, they’re too big round the neck. Even when the bib stays put, which is not often, the children still stain the necks of their shirts.

Pointless, really. An anti-bib.

Next I tried some of those molded plastic ones with the trough at the bottom. Equally wipe-clean-able, and saturation-proof. The closure at the neck was better (though still not flawless – a child could tug it off, but at least they didn’t FALL off), and they fit properly at the neck. Problem is, those plastic troughs don’t fit in behind a high chair tray. They’d work in a booster seat at the table, but in my high chairs the child ends up squashed at the belly and/or has the top edge of the bib digging into her pudgy little neck.


So. Bibs have been a problem for a while. But, hey! I have time — I’m on holiday! I have space — my very own Craft Room!!! AND, I have fabric! Lots of that Value Village denim still left over.

But of course, these are fabric bibs. Fabric doesn’t just wipe clean, and it will saturate. Thus, I’ll need to line them: two layers are better than one. Something with a nap, something absorptive. I thought of towelling, but I didn’t have enough. Once again, I trawl my fabric stash, and… oh, isn’t that so cute?

The kitty-cat lining is flannel. Perfect. Not quite as good as terry-cloth, perhaps, but decently absorptive. Once upon a time, that fabric was a set of sheets. Then they became a duvet cover, and THEN they were curtains. Now they are bibs. Really cute bibs.

I am the queen of fabric recycling.

And, because I won’t be able to wipe them clean, and will probably never be able to use them twice in a row, I’ll need to make enough so that I can have a set in the laundry while I have a set in use. They attach with a press-fastener (aka ‘snaps’). If these prove to be inadequate to the tugs of a toddler, I will attach ribbons for tying.

Oh, they’re just so gosh-darn CUTE! I can hardly wait to see the tots in them!

September 1, 2010 Posted by | crafts | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Noah’s train of thought

…is more like a roller coaster.

“We had POPCORN last night! My daddy made it, and I ate popcorn, and Emily, too.”

The children are playing in the drive as I weed my front garden. Tyler has popped over to share this Important News. I don’t even blink at the implication that Emily was consumed along with the popcorn. Grammar comes slowly.

“That was nice of daddy,” I note with appropriate levels of enthusiasm, dumping an armful of weeds into my green bin. I think they’re weeds, anyway. I’m not the world’s most competent gardener, and I am handicapped by the world’s worst memory. So those plants suddenly appearing all over the rear half of the garden: Were they the ones I planted, or are they interlopers? I’m not sure. Not wanting to pull intentional flowers (I have still not quite gotten over the trauma of realizing all those vines I trashed the first year were lovely, lush, purple clematis), I gave them the benefit of the doubt, and some time.

Two months later, they’re a full metre tall, they’re ALL OVER the yard, and they have yet to flower. Tall, shaggy leaves, dozens of plants, and no flowers. My poor hostas are being strangled, and the little stone path is vanished. I strongly suspect them to be weeds. Weeds of the particularly invasive variety. I’m not going to remove all of them, just in case, but they are being thinned out. Severely.

Even if they were intentional, I don’t like their character. Pushy things, brash, un-subtle and aggressive. They have another month or so to prove themselves to be things of beauty, but in truth I am not optimistic. For now, I’m content to give the hostas some air and find my flagstones again.

“We were going to have popcorn,” Noah comments at Tyler, “but we didn’t have any milk.”


“You don’t need milk to make popcorn, sweetie.”

“Yes, you do.” He’s not argumentative. He’s just stating a fact. “It is garbage day today.” Another fact. Equally misguided.

“No, that’s tomorrow. Tomorrow is garbage day.”

“Tomorrow,” he agrees, seemingly oblivious to his 180. “You are putting weeds in your green bin. And tomorrow we will put out our white box.”


Here in Ottawa, we have a terrific and comprehensive recycling program: weekly garbage collection, of course, but also a black box (for paper and paper products), a blue box (plastics, some glass, tin foil), and a green bin (organics).

That’s black, blue, and green, mark you. No white. Unless he means his garbage can? Is it white? He gives me The Look.

“Our garbage can is BROWN, Mary.”

Okay, then. “What do you put in your white bin?”

The Look, redux. “The white bin stuff.”

I don’t think I’ll ever get to the bottom of this. And I’m feeling a tad disoriented.

“Are you throwing out those plants, Mary?”

Another wild change of direction, but this one I’ll take with thanks. At least it makes sense.

“Yes, I am. At first I thought they might be pretty plants, but now I think they are ugly.”

He nods in agreement.

“I think they are ugly, too.”

Thanks for the support, little bro.

“And my mummy thinks they are ugly.”

She does?

“And my daddy thinks they are ugly.”

Somehow I just can’t picture Noah’s super-sweet parents standing in my driveway, sneering at the horticultural blight I am passing off as a garden.

“And my baby sister is going to be coming next month.”

I’m dizzy. Roller coasters have that effect on me.

June 15, 2010 Posted by | Noah, Ottawa | , , , , , | 3 Comments