Mr Eggs Goes To School

Friday, October 24, 2014

At the beginning of September Rockstar and I made the decision to enroll the kid in a preschool program offered through the local family centre. His class runs twice a week from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

After the first month of drop-off-drama, we now have a kid running into his class yelling "bye mommy/daddy" while racing towards the toy tracks.
While we were working on basic counting, reading and writing skills at home, we soon had a kid coming home obsessed with shapes and practicing other skills we didn't think to show him (IE. matching, following patterns). We've since purchased a new app to add to his ever growing game obsession to help him with these newfound skills.

Twice a week we pick up the happiest little boy from school telling us about "Miss Jenny, Georgia and the boys!" My boy is learning how to make friends and has started to ask every day when he wakes up when he can go to "school".  I am so glad we decided to enrol Mr Eggs into this fabulous program and look forward to more artwork and his continuous explosion of skills. He shocks me daily.

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Vineyards, Neighbours and Hidden Wells in Prince Edward County

Friday, October 17, 2014

The other day while Rockstar was out doing some yardwork (AKA stacking wood) he noticed someone cutting through the neighbouring fields on a golf cart. He decided to flag him down and ask him if he by chance owned the fields surrounding our home, and indeed he did.

(Look very closely. Do you see it?)

After a 20 minute conversation, Rockstar learned that our neighbour's family has owned the acres surrounding ours for decades and he is in the process of planting vineyards, slowly making his way to the fields immediately next to ours. While his family lives in Toronto, they have a summer home located across the road from their workhouse.

{Did you spot it? Rockstar just discovered this abandoned well located 20 feet from our deck}

Since we do not own much vacant land (AKA any land) we were struggling to find a solution to our firewood needs. Our neighbour told Rockstar we were welcome to make use of his land to store, chop, and split logs until he needs the land to farm. 

(Seamus was very curious about this well. Another reason why the he can't be left to run the wild fields without supervision)

Our neighbour seems to think we own more of the land in back of our house than we think, so Rockstar and I have been reviewing the documents from when we purchased the house. I may look into getting an official survey done (there is none on record at the land registry office) just in case we own more than what we think we do. Can you imagine if we actually owned more land? How awesome would that be!

(Not sure how Mr. Bunny will escape. Come the spring, Rockstar will be tasked with kid proofing this well including figuring out how deep it goes)

I'm not sure if our neighbour will be creating the next greatest PEC wine, or if he's only into the farming business. Had I met him I would have got the skinny, but in reality, we have years to find out his plan and even more years to find more hidden secrets on our neighbouring land.

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Living in The County is Amazing, The Job Security Sucks

Thursday, October 9, 2014

WARNING: This post is all over the place, and for that, I apologize in advance.

Living in the county is amazing. The fresh country air, the accessibility to fresh farm food, the amazing beaches, access to independent festivals, and the people. Some of the most amazing people live in the county.

With an upcoming election coming up, there has been a great series in the Wellington Times by Mike Harper about County Youth and the Election. Throughout the series Mike interviews a number of folks (age 18 - 40) about why they chose to live in the county and what they think needs to happen to improve county living.

If I was asked about the downside of living in the county, the job situation would be #1 including the lack of them and low pay scale. Moving here we knew that job security was non existent but here's what I have discovered over the year:
  • Most ex-pats moved here with money in their pockets. They owned a home in Toronto or Ottawa, and upon selling their home and moving to the county, the profit they made on their house came with them. 
  • Many county implants own a business and don't employ much staff. Any staff that are hired (and this goes for all businesses in the county) are paid the minimum wage or just slightly above it.
  • Many folks who moved here still work in Toronto or Ottawa. While many are able to work fulltime from the comfort of their homes, many commute to Toronto (some daily). Rockstar still travels to Toronto twice a month for music gigs.

Reality is, I will likely take on a job in Toronto that will require regular commuting. While not ideal, if we want to remain living in this beautiful place, it's currently our only option.  I would love to get a job in the county, but unless we want to significantly downsize and live paycheque to paycheque, it's not an option.

I'm not sure what the solution is. Many articles I read talk about bringing entrepreneurs to the county. The thing is, not everyone is capable or wants to be their own boss. What about families like ours that want to be part of a team? Have job security and money that allows us to save and further invest in the community? Sadly, there is no job market for this. The way I see it, if you want to live in the county, your only options are:
  1. Start you own business and hope it turns a profit
  2. Get minimum paying jobs and pray you'll have enough money at the end of the month to stay out of debt
  3. Work in the city and commute (or if lucky find a job that allows telecommuting)
  4. Have deep pockets
I want to reiterate that we knew about the job situation when we moved here, we really truly did. The plan was for me to return to a Toronto-based job once the babe was old enough, so again this is not a surprise to us. It's just reality coming to fruition, that's all.

I love the county, I really really do.We love the county. I just hope we can stay long enough to raise our kids here and have them experience a culturally enriching community. I also hope some brilliant person in the county with a voice can help solve this job problem, as the county truly is magical and deserves more implants. Pin It

10 Reasons Why You Should Hire Me

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hi, my name is Alison and you should hire me. You can see my resume here and my corporate website here, and below, are 10 other reasons which are not on my resume on why I would be a great addition to your team.

1. I had my first "T4 providing" job going into grade 9. My father came home one night in the summer of 1993 congratulating me on my new job as a canteen attendant at the Quinte Sports Centre. I was the first of my friends with a job, and funny enough once my friends found out I was working, one by one they too were getting jobs. In other words, I'm a trend setter for teens.

2. I have never been fired from a job. Ok, that one babysitting job in grade 9 where I did have friends over when I was told not to did result in the "we no longer need you" talk, but other than that, each new job I accepted were fabulous opportunities I jumped on.

3. I once had a serious debate on an elevator ride with my peers about wishing I was a unicorn with an invisible horn. My peers fought a great case as to why being an unicorn with an invisible horn was the same as a horse, but I still believe they are not the same.

4. While visiting a friend in Newfoundland, I started a breakdance competition at one of the popular bars on George Street. Sadly when I tried to get one started in a Toronto Bar it was shut down when I asked the bar staff for cardboard boxes.  Basically, I think random dance parties are fabulous and spice up everyone's day.

5. At the age 13 I was a competitor on home grown cafe. We made it through to the 2nd round, but lost out to a sister piano act. Blerg. I also sang "Blitzkrieg Bop" when asked last minute to join my sales team "garage band" at a client's Halloween party. Not when I was 13, I think I was 28 at that time.

6. I own a full piece unicorn onsie that I have worn every Halloween for the past 5 years. Greatest costume ever. I will gladly loan it to coworkers who appreciate a fabulously warm onsie.

7. One of my most favourite jobs was working as a dog walker. I actually left my cushy corporate job in pursuit of "something else". My boss was the greatest, most genuine person I have ever worked for who continues to amaze me with life achievements. It's also because of that job that we brought Seamus the GSP into our world and I became a board member of Pointing Dog Canada Rescue.

8. One of my best friends was the youngest regular on Sharon, Lois and Bram. See? I know famous people. She's actually quite awesome herself.

9. I used to honestly enjoy a nice cold Labatt 50. True story.

10. I used to make my friends homemade cards. My friend reminds me every few years about the time I made her a birthday card which exploded confetti when she opened it. She was horrified, I loved it.

So there you have it, 10 reasons aside from my professional skills, why you, yes YOU, should hire me. While I live in Prince Edward County, I am available for telecommuting positions. You can trust me to meet or exceed all my deadlines as I have done for past positions. The moral of this post? I'm an awesome, hard-working person you will not regret bringing on board. I promise. 

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Hanging Out at Campbell's Orchards

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yesterday my mother and I packed up the kids and decided to head to Campbell's Orchards in Redneserville. I can't recall the last time I went there, but it was likely in the eary early 90's.

Recently they built a children's corn maze which Eggs ran through injecting squeals and laughter. We thought about tackling the adult maze as well but decided the smaller (more shady maze) was more than enough. Instead we took a short stroll down the dirt roads and took the tour offered to us my Mr Mac (the cat).

Yesterday proved to be the perfect day to pack into the car and zig zag across the colourful county roads. Eggs had a blast and loved burning out all of his energy while taking in the country air, while Miss A laughed at her brother and "hung out".

One would think we'd do some apple picking while at the county's famous orchard, however we opted to explore the corn maze and play on the play ground instead. Maybe next time we'll go for the "pick your own" adventure. That's the beauty of Campbell's Orchards. There is so much to do that you can return regularly and have a new experience each time.

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4 Months In and We Have a Roller!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Remember when R was born I wrote a monthly update called the "The R Files"?

Do you remember when A was born I started to write ... no wait ... nope, no regular updates. Oops! Poor 2nd child, already getting overlooked.

Just over 4 months old, Miss A is awesome. She is such a happy baby who smiles all of the time. She is totally mama's girl and is just starting to get used to Daddy and her time.

Like her brother, we lucked out on another beefy baby who loves to eat and sleep (last I weighed her she was 18 lbs. Her last dr's visit at 2 mos had her at 98 percentile for height and weight). We've figured out the napping routine (she naps 3-4 times a day, 1-3 hrs per nap) and are a week into her bedtime education. She's doing awesome and only seems to vocally wake up is if she's rolled over or her legs are stuck between the crib bars. She discovered rolling over this week and has been practicing all day every day. Abs of steel!

She's been hinting at wanting to crawl by pushing onto her knees and popping her butt in the air, but I doubt she's actually thinking about crawling (gawd help us all is she does).  She's a constant drooler thanks to her hand always inserted in her mouth, but this makes sleeping that much easier as she's already able to self soothe.

Miss A adores her big brother. She watches his every move, grabs onto him whenever she's within reach, and laughs at their inside jokes. R is also a great big brother offering her lots of hugs and kisses, and encourages her to snuggle next to him on his couch. I can't wait until I can throw them out in the yard with Seamus the dog and let them have hours of fun.

When I first found out I was having a daughter I was freaking out. Being a girl, I know how challenging we can be. Now that Miss A is here, I'm embracing my role to help raise a strong, smart, beautifully-souled individual alongside her equally strong, smart, beautifully-souled big brother.

In other news, check out an interview I did on Lealou about moving to the county and opening a B&B. Be sure to spend time on Stephanie's blog as it's full of awesomeness (just like her) Pin It

5 Toddler Ipad Apps I Don't Hate

Saturday, September 6, 2014

As a non-mother, who else heard themselves say "my kid will never make use of an ipad. Nope, my kid will (insert anything we did as kids, pre internet here)". This lady did!! Then my mother came down, showed Eggster some games on her ipad, so I caved. As of now, the only games I have on the ipad are educational, and I must admit are incredible. The explosion in knowledge and vocabulary coming from my 26 mos old child is jaw dropping. Here are 5 apps I encourage other Ipad parents and grandparents to invest in.

Endless Numbers

This was the first app we downloaded, and at the time it was free. We have since purchased add ons that go all the way up to 100. Here's the description from the website:
Set the stage for early numeracy learning with Endless Numbers!  Kids will adore learning number recognition, sequences, quantity, numerical patterns, and simple addition with the adorable Endless monsters. Each number features interactive sequences and equation puzzles with numbers that come alive, and a short animation that provides context and meaning to each number. (source)
After 4 months of use, counting to 10 (sometimes 20) is the norm and he can recognize numbers up to 25. We only upgraded to 100 last week so I'm predicting he'll be able to recognize them all by Christmas, with counting to 100 taking a little longer. We love counting in our house now (this isn't the app, but just a sample of his counting)

Endless Alphabet

Another app by Originator we downloaded early on when it was free.
Set the stage for reading success with this delightfully interactive educational app. Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable monsters in Endless Alphabet. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Before you know it, your child will be using words like gargantuan and cooperate!  (source)
After only 2 months of use, we were able to recognize all letters of the alphabet, and while we are still working on the order of the alphabet, he does pretty good with the alphabet song. He is also able to recognize most of the 50+ words in the app (we tend to turn the sound off now).

Endless Reader

Yes another app by Originator that we downloaded for a reasonable fee.
As a follow-up to Endless Alphabet, set the stage for early reading success with Endless Reader! This app introduces “sight words”, the most commonly used words in school, library, and children’s books. Kids need to recognize these words by sight in order to achieve reading fluency. Recognizing sight words is advantageous for beginning readers because many of these words have unusual spelling, cannot be sounded out using phonics knowledge, and often cannot be represented using pictures.

Kids will have a blast learning sight words and their context and usage with the adorable Endless monsters. Each word features an interactive word puzzle with letters that come alive, and then a sentence puzzle with words that become what they describe. See the word “dog” as a barking dog, and the word “up” reach for the sky! (source)
After 4 months of use, we've been forced to purchase the add on package as he was starting to get board with the initial 20+ words he had mastered (with the sound off). I am shocked with how much he is able to read! I'm talking about words such as farm, house, kite, and now he can recognize and clearly say invention. I know!! This app is seriously impressive. My mother-in-law, a retired kindergarten teacher is highly impressed with these Originator apps.

I also attribute this app as the reason why this happened the other week.

Learning Money With Leo

A freebie  from our friends at Royal Bank.
Brought to you by the RBC Advice Centre, Learning Money with Leo has been designed to provide parents with a practical and fun way to help teach their children (3 to 6 years old) about the concepts and value of money. (source)
This one is fun encourages recognizing Canadian coins. While we don't spend too much time on this app, it's FREE so the price is right.

Cookie Monster's Challange

We recently downloaded this one after I read about it on Mashable. This is the new fav, and makes Eggster giggle like crazy.
Cookie Monster needs your help! Play through sets of fun and challenging mini games to build a cookie contraption and deliver cookies to everyone’s favorite Monster!

Cookie Monster’s Challenge offers a series of brain-building games designed to challenge and engage children (ages 3-5) by practicing self-control, focus, memory, following directions and problem solving – skills that are essential for school readiness. (source)
While pretty good at it, we have determined R has zero patient (like his mother) and when told "no touching" by Cookie, he develops a sly smile on his face before he touches. Yep, a little rebel. He would not pass the marshmellow test. It's also entertaining to hear Cookie Monster gets a little annoyed and make passive-aggressive remarks when the same mistakes are made.

So there you have it, as a "no Ipads will be in my house" mother, these are the toddler apps we have that have made my little dude look like a genius.

BONUS: Check out Bebop Blox as well. Since he started playing this game, everything he looks at resembles something else. Love his creativity! Pin It