Monday, April 25, 2011

Invalid Link redirect and help requested

For some reason, my blog redirect has been hacked. If you click on a link to a specific posting, you will get there, but if you come here via just my blogspot address, you will likely get to a mega site of bible studies!! Seriously.

I'm trying to figure out what happened and fix it. Several places say it was installed with a widget, so I'm slowly removing all my widgets to see if I can fix. I'm sorry if yours goes away. Sigh. I'll try to put all of them back once I figure it out.

In the meantime, if you've experienced this yourself and can help me track it down, I'd really appreciate it. This is very annoying. More so because I'm running a contest right now too.

I'm not sure when it started, which doesn't help things.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…..Repurpose? (Giveaway Closed)

While repurpose can fit into the reuse category, it often gets overlooked. What is it you ask? Well, it’s reusing something that would normally get trashed in a way that is different from the original use.

Along with being a great mom and an incredible artist, my sister Hilary is the master of repurposing things. Some of it came from need (supporting her family on no other income) some from being an artist and some because she really gives a damn about the earth.

A few years ago on my birthday, Hilary made me this most amazing coat rack out of a used board. Look at it. Really look. It’s all hand carved, hand painted from a design all her own. Each scale is not just painted on, it’s carved into the wood. Can you feel the love? Can you see the work that went into it? I have this mounted at kid level for the boys to use. I want them to see it daily and appreciate the wonderful things in life.

Her more recent artistic endeavors have moved over to jewelry. All of it is amazing and is almost the only jewelry I have. These two pieces were Christmas and Birthday presents 3 or so years ago. Nice eh!

But then 2 years ago, she sent me this amazing piece. Along with this narrative:
The pendant for this necklace is made from the leg of an old and broken mahogany headboard that was set out on the curb for garbage pick up. I'm on a mission to divert as much old wood from landfills as possible. Items that can't be fixed up and re-used are repurposed as jewellery or other household items.
The pendant is hand carved and completely unique. No patterns were used for its design. I hope you enjoy both the necklace and its story.
I was blown away. Luckily that headboard is big, because this year, I got this piece and was even more impressed (sorry for the poor photography)

Then, to be more wonderful, she made and sent these great puzzles for the boys. They were made from an old bookcase that was destined for the dump. Can you imagine, instead of taking up room in the landfill, these wonderful toys have emerged. I put my glasses in and turned one piece on the side so you could see how sturdy these are. Incredible, wooden,  hand painted and hand carved toys! What lucky boys I have.

I really want to share her work and support her efforts to keep her family going. So I offered to host a giveaway on my blog. No, you can’t have any of the pieces above, those are mine and I won't part with them for anything. Hilary probably doesn’t know, but I still even have the soup tureen that she glazed when she was still in high school and working with for potter for the summer.

If you would like to buy a work of art in either a toy or jewelry form, you can contact Hilary directly at to work out the details.  The pendants start at $50 unstrung, and go up based on effort, what other beads are used in stringing etc. Of course, you would also cover shipping (which is minimal on the jewelery) For more information, email Hilary at

If you want to take the chance, you can win this incredible necklace, made from the same headboard as mine were. It will also include the document about its origin.

Mandatory entry: Tell me how you have repurposed an item (with a use not originally intended) that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

Extra Entry 1: follow me publicly on google friend connect

Extra Entry 2: tweet this giveaway (can be done daily) and leave me the direct link (I check)
#Win jewelry @ChrisRFretwell (Can/USA) Ends 04/24 #Giveaway

Extra Entry 3: blog about this giveaway and let me know how to find it (2 entries)

Contest closes May 24 (midnight PST also my birthday) and is open to Canada and the USA.

Although you won't get entries, you can get good karma by clicking on the button for Top Mommy Blogs (just click, your vote will be counted).
And for my undying thanks, you can also vote on Facebook to help us win a lifetime family pass to the Aquarium. It's such a wonderful thing and not something I can't always afford. It's a one-time vote, so if you've already done it. Thanks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Facebook Favor

Sorry to interrup the usual picture-fest but I'm hoping to win a contest that requires votes on facebook.

Winning would get us a lifetime family pass to the Aquarium! What a prize.

It will require an app to be installed, so I understand if you don't want to do it, but thought I'd ask anyway.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Progess of a sort

Before you ask, no, we are not currently potty training. BUT this is a huge step forward. Up until Saturday, neither boy would even consider sitting on the toilet(with or without the padded seat) or on the potty with no diaper on. For some reason on Saturday, when changing them, Nathan picked up the seat. So, I put it on the toilet, picked him up, expecting the usual arched back "don't you dare put me there" response only to be surprised that he wanted to sit. More than that, he was happy to sit there.

Now he wants to sit on it every diaper change (well, pretty much anytime he walks past the bathroom). So far, he hasn't peed in it. Once, within a couple of minutes of taking him off, he peed on the floor, so the connection still isn't there, but it will come in time.

Brushing teeth is his favorite pasttime while sitting there. Using my electric toothbrush is even more fun. His stuffed monkey has very clean "teeth". Happily most of the time, Corwyn is happy to bring him things to do, brush his own teeth, or just sit in the bathroom and hang.

We use cloth diapers and I know some people say it encourages potty training because kids don't like to be wet. Mine don't care. They are just as happy in a wet diaper as a dry one. I know they need to be changed and I'll ask if they want to, only to be met with a resounding "no" as they keep playing.  They do enjoy running around mostly naked though.

We've been watching The Potty DVD and have read the book a few times. I think the concept is starting back there somewhere. Both are showing interest when anyone goes to the bathroom.  I don't know when they will be ready. I don't know when I'll be ready. Once they are potty trained, then I can't take those extra few minutes to myself in the morning when they wakeup. How are we going to handle 3 people and 1 toilet during the training period when it can mean sitting on the potty for extended periods?

Any tips, hints and survival strategies out there?

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's harder when it hits close to home

As much as we try to avoid them, we all read or hear the news stories about teen violence. We comment on the sorry state of things. We worry about our own kids. We wonder where the parents are in all of this. Then we continue on with our lives and hope it doesn't touch us. Then it does.


This weekend, a friend was attacked by a group of teens on his way home from work. He is one of the kindest, gentlest men I've ever met. He's a great husband, a wonderful father and a talented musician.

Happily he will recover, although it's going to take a while. In the meantime, he can't work. And if he can't work, he can't get paid. He was working as much as he could lately because he and his wife are expecting their second child next week. Their daughter, an angel herself, is staying with her grandparents while he recovers. His wife is trying to take it all in stride. Their family and friends are rallying around them.

Charges Laid

The police have caught the 5 teens involved. Two were 14 year girls. Yeah, girls. They hurled racial slurs while they attacked him with the heels of their shoes as weapons when he was already on the ground, unconscious. They have been released into their parents custody pending a hearing. They will probably all get off with a warning.

Its hard hearing about violence, worse for teen violence. It's harder somehow when it affect someone you know. It shouldn't be, but it is.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Where did I go wrong?

I gave birth to a ketsup lover! Say it isn't true. Today, while waiting for lunch, Corwyn ate so much of it, I thought he wouldn't eat his lunch. Personally, I can't stand the stuff. Nathan takes after me that way.