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Did you hear the news? The Wiggles are retiring! (I know, I know, there’s a joke in here somewhere, but I have a longstanding and perhaps inexplicable affection for the Wiggles, and so I decided to play this one straight.) Well, not all of the Wiggles, but three of the four original members are handing down their colourful jerseys to a new generation of Wiggles. According to the press release for their farewell tour, stopping in Ottawa on October 16, 2012:

The Wiggles, the fast-dancing, fun-loving Fab Four from Down Under, are returning to Canada (and select U.S. cities) with their brand new show CELEBRATION, which will reunite Original Yellow Wiggle Greg Page with Anthony, Jeff, and Murray for their final tour together at the original Wiggles. After 21 years of entertaining and educating children around the globe, Red Wiggle Murray Cook, Yellow Wiggle Greg Page and Purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt have decided to hang up their trademark colored jerseys to a new generation of Wiggles starting in 2013. The Wiggles have entertained children throughout the world for over two decades and are bringing all the excitement and joy of their movies and television shows right before your eyes, live on stage! Come Celebrate with Anthony, Greg, Murray, and Jeff!

Someone asked on a Facebook group recently if it was “worth it” to splurge on a set of Wiggles tickets for her family, and I had to chime in with an enthusiastic yes. It’s been (eek!) seven years since we splurged for floor seats for our Wiggly fan Simon, and I still remember the experience as a joyfully fun family adventure.

And I’m delighted to be able to share the Wiggly experience with a lucky Ottawa family!

Would you like to win your own tickets? I have a set of four to give away for the 2:30 pm show on October 16. Please note this is a Tuesday, so please don’t enter if you aren’t sure you can attend!

  1. This is a giveaway for a set of four tickets to the Wiggles live show at Scotiabank Place on Tuesday October 16 at 2:30 pm.
  2. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me who you would take to the concert.
  3. Everyone who “likes” Postcards from the Mothership on Facebook will get a bonus entry. (This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.) If you already like Postcards from the Mothership on FB, just say so in your comment.
  4. This giveaway is open only to Canadian residents, excluding residents of Quebec. (sorry!)
  5. This giveaway will run until 11:59 pm EDT on Monday October 8, 2012.
  6. One winner will be chosen at random from all comments posted.
  7. If you win, you must be willing to provide your full name and contact information to me to share with Scotiabank Place. You will need photo ID to pick up your tickets at Scotiabank Place the day of the show.

Here’s a little bit more information about the show:

Children can have even more wiggly fun while they wait for the show by visiting www.WiggleTime.com, The Wiggles’ very own virtual world created specifically for preschoolers and their parents. Parents can monitor their child’s progress and have access to premium promotional offers, contests, merchandise discounts and presale Wiggles tickets! You can also follow the gang on Twitter via Twitter.com/ItsWiggleTime or become a fan of the group’s official Facebook page Facebook.com/TheWiggles

The Wiggles are proud to announce that their Canadian charity partner for October 2012 is UNICEF, receiving 50 cents from every ticket sold. The Wiggles have a long history with UNICEF including being named Goodwill Ambassadors in 2008, donating a special “handwashing” song to UNICEF in honour of Global Handwashing Day, (annually October 15), and the production of their book Travelling the World for UNICEF, available at www.TheWiggles.com, and of which a portion of proceeds is donated to UNICEF.

There are still tickets available for both shows on October 16. Visit Capital Tickets for details!

Edited to add: Congratulations to our winner: Jill Moffatt. Jill, I’ll be in touch to arrange for your tickets. Thank you to everyone who entered, and to the Wiggles for providing the tickets to give away.


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CBS and Mark Burnett will launch a new reality series that promises to find the next great rock star.

ROCK STAR: WIGGLES, from “Survivor” executive producer Mark Burnett, combines the world of preschool ditties with relationship-style unscripted drama, performance competition and a weekly contestant elimination. The last singer standing will become the lead singer of the internationally renowned band The Wiggles and embark on a worldwide concert tour with the band and be part of the group’s ongoing bid to dominate the world of children’s entertainment.

Each week, the show will feature a LIVE performance competition that will eliminate one contestant, as determined by a combination of celebrity judges, Wiggles band members and preschool audiences around the world. Blonde ingenue Wendy of Bob the Builder fame will co-host, a role popularized by Rockstar hottie Brooke Burke.

Speculation has been rampant about who would replace the band’s lead singer, Greg “the Yellow Wiggle” Page, after he recently announced his retirement from the band due to illness. “We’ve already been contacted by representatives of Elton John, George Michael and Billy Corgan,” said purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt. “We told them that they would have to try out just like everybody else.”

The series, which will be broadcast weekdays starting at 6 am and repeated thrice daily, will also focus on the relationships and interaction between the contestants as they live together with a select group of fans in a Hollywood Hills daycare facility.

The new show will be produced by Mark Burnett Productions. Mark Burnett, Captain Feathersword and Wags the Dog are executive producers. Dorothy the Dinosaur is co-executive producer.

The Wiggles are Australia’s highest-grossing entertainment act. They have sold more than 17 million DVDs and five million albums worldwide.

(* not really)


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Before I had kids I used to be secretly horrified by the conditions of the cars of my friends with kids. How hard is it to keep your car clean, I wondered sanctimoniously. Ha. Shame on me.

How hard indeed. My little Mazda 5, a car I continue to adore into its fifth year, is filthy. Despite my ongoing (oh fine, occasional) efforts to keep it tidy, I have failed. My car is a mess. I have managed to keep the outside more or less clean, depending on the season, but the inside is no match for me. Candy wrappers, hot chocolate cups, bits of crayon, goldfish crackers, and pieces of dollar store crud toys are just a few of the things ground into the upholstery and carpet. I’ve slopped enough coffee in it to fill a kiddie pool, and you could make four whole dogs out of the dog hair in every crack and crevice. And why why WHY Starbucks, do you insist on giving me those little green stopper sticks that serve no purpose whatsover except to migrate into unreachable fissures and reproduce?

In every season but winter, I honestly do make efforts to keep the interior clean. I just don’t understand why it’s so consistently dirty – I throw away the trash regularly. Well, there’s the aforementioned coffee slops, of course. And erm, the undisturbed dust on the dashboard. And well, of course I haven’t done anything about the dog hair, because oh my christ but it is everywhere. But at least I try, when it’s not winter, to pass a vacuum over the hotspots every month or two, and fish out the flotsam and jetsam the kids wedge under the seats. All bets are off in the winter, though.

Which is why I was cursing this endless winter just yesterday when I found myself with my head mostly under the front seat and my arse sticking out the passenger side door, fishing Crayola marker lids and car wash receipts (oh the irony) out from under the seat. I filled an entire bag with accumulated crap. Though my hands were frozen into claws as I continued to root out bits of a deteriorating Wiggles colouring book and a dried up chapstick, my heart was light. I was removing the surface clutter in anticipation of a more serious cleaning – I’d acquired a coupon for car detailing, and my car was going to have a well deserved beauty appointment!

185:365 My new Mazda 5!

Back in the day when we were both a little more shiny and new.

I don’t think I can put into words exactly how excited I was about getting my car detailed. Not just a quick pass at the gas station vacuum, not a few embarrassed swipes at the dashboard grime with a napkin before my mom got into the car, but a full-on bath! Maybe, maybe – dare I hope? – maybe they could even vanquish that odd but omnipresent smell that was less like new car and more like, well, feet?

And I don’t think I can put into words how annoyed, how frustrated, and how mortified I was when Canotek Auto Detailing refused the job.

I have waffled back and forth on whether to out the company here. I try to always be cognizant of the reach of my voice, and to always use my powers of social media for good. I have to be righteously offended to turn on the spotlight and out someone for crappy service. Sorry to say it, but Canotek Auto Detailing belongs in the hall of shame.

I cleared most of a precious Wednesday off to make the 30 km trek out for my appointment. He barely glanced at my car before telling me that oh no, there was no way he could do this job in 45 minutes (though I’d been told on the phone to expect the appointment to last 60 to 90 minutes.) No, it would be extra to clean this car.

No thanks, I said with my best smile. I’d read some reviews that complained of this business upselling, and I was mostly prepared for it. Do what you can in 45 minutes and that will be good. Oh no, he said, I can’t do that. I can’t just start the job and not finish it. I asked him what’s involved in the package, and he says interior vacuum, clean surfaces, exterior wash, window cleaning, and undercarriage wash. Great, I say, looking at the snow still caked on the roof and falling outside. Skip the exterior and undercarriage wash and just do the vacuum – that’s all I want. He flat out refuses.

No matter what I say, he’s got an argument. Just do the vacuuming, I say and he replies that he can’t run his $1700 vacuum for 45 minutes, he’ll burn out the motor, he’ll pay more in hydro than he will earn from the coupon deal. He is fixated on the $7 that he says he earns from the group deal and I tell him that I totally get it (you might remember I costed out the value of these deals from a business perspective and it’s rarely worth it for the business) but that he chose to offer the deal and I am choosing to take him up on it. The more we talk, the more obstinate he gets. I hate confrontation and I don’t like to be rude and I really just want my car a little bit cleaner than when I got up this morning. I’m totally willing to negotiate on what gets done but when tell him that there’s no way I’m paying for anything extra, he flat out refuses my business. He tells me to go back to Living Social and get a refund, because he’s not running the risk of ruining his expensive vacuum and paying all that electricity consumption for $7.

I’m equal parts shocked and mortified as I back my car (still dirty) back out of the bay. I mean, yes, the car was dirty — that’s why I bought a detailing package! And yes, I get that it may have been dirtier than baseline. But for a business owner (I checked, he was the business owner, or at least said he was) to completely refuse to honour the deal or come to any sort of compromise was, in my opinion, ridiculous. He clearly gets by on the up-selling, and while I’m sympathetic to his need to make a profit, I’m not cool with him doing it via bait and switch. His obstinance and eventual rudeness didn’t do much to ameliorate my opinion of him and his business, either.

Don’t get sucked in by this deal. I’ve got a note in with Living Social, and I’m reasonably confident they’ll refund my money, but I’ll pursue this if I have to. He’s still running a deal with Groupon, although his website is returning a 404 right now. (Kinda wish I’d clicked that before I bought the deal. :/)

So, anyone want to recommend a car detailing place? Preferably one with an industrial vacuum and a better attitude? Because, sadly, my car still smells like feet.


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My only regret about becoming a Fisher-Price play ambassador is that we couldn’t milk their relationship with Thomas & Friends when my Thomas-obsessed boy was a toddler. Thomas the Tank Engine was Tristan’s first obsession. Oh the hours we spent building Thomas tracks, pushing Thomas trains, watching Thomas DVDs and reading Thomas books. Simon was not at all interested in Thomas (he was a Wiggles man) and while Lucas is fond of the train tracks and play sets, I wouldn’t say he is anywhere near as fixated as Tristan was.

I still have a soft spot for the querulous little blue engine and his colourful friends, though. And I have to tell you that Lucas was hopping-up-and-down excited when he saw the Thomas & Friends Take-n-Play Thomas’ Adventure Castle track set and the Thomas & Friends TrackMaster Castle Quest Set come out of a box from our friends at Fisher-Price recently. I always liked the Take-n-Play metal die cast trains when Tristan was wee – the wooden engines were a little too precious (read: expensive as well as well-loved) to bring out of the house, but we ported various bits of our collection of metal engines everywhere. The Adventure Castle set is nice because it folds up to easily bring it with you on a playdate, or even to move it from room to room. (Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a play set spread out on the bathroom floor so you could keep an eye on your toddler while you took a shower? *raises hand*)

Photo by Ivan Wu ©2012 Mattel:: Inc.

It’s the TrackMaster Castle Quest Set that really won us over, though! From the Fisher-Price website:

Can your little engineer help him navigate the crumbling castle grounds and emerge with the prize? Use the crane to swing the missing track in place so Thomas can continue on his journey as walls collapse around him. He needs to chuff through the castle before the gate drops down, then descend into the abandoned mine and escape with the crown! With excitement around every turn, the TrackMaster™ Quest for the Crown Set provides endless entertainment for your little engineer!

The TrackMaster Castle Quest Set is based on the new forthcoming Thomas & Friends DVD, King of the Railway, to be released on September 24. You can check out the movie trailer, or if you’re quick, you can collect one of the five family passes I’ve got for the “blue carpet” premier of King of the Railway at the South Keys theatre this Saturday September 21 at 10:30 am! Interested? Visit the Postcards from the Mothership facebook page and leave a comment on the Thomas & Friends King of the Railway post I put up earlier today. First five families to claim a pass will win!

I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Thomas and Friends, maybe despite and maybe because of the way they got under my skin and grated on my nerves through sheer endless repetition when my toddler was most obsessed with them, and we’ll probably always a spot in the cupboard where we’ll keep those trains and tracks long after the boys have grown. There are some things worth holding on to! 😉


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Isn’t it funny how each kid has his or her own unique interests and obsessions? Since Tristan had such an obsessive adoration of Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine, I assumed all three boys would have the same fascination for them. Then came Simon, who cared not one whit for Thomas, Percy, James or Gordon, but was instead a card-carrying fan boy for Murray, Jeff, Anthony and Greg Wiggles. And while Lucas was mildly interested in the Wiggles and does enjoy the friends from Sodor, he has lately shown a real fascination for something I thought all little boys loved: dinosaurs!

We’ve been feeding into his fascination this summer. We brought him to the Museum of Nature where he walked in awestruck excitement from one massive set of dino bones to another, and oh boy did he love the dino gallery!

IMG_3988

Then, when we went to Canada’s Wonderland, Beloved convinced the lot of us to fork out the extra exhibit fee to visit the Dinosaurs Alive section of the park. I was not overly jazzed by it, I have to admit, but the other kids enjoyed it and Lucas adored it. Totally worth the extra $5 per person, or whatever nominal amount we paid.

IMG_4178

So when I saw that the Imaginext Mega Apatosaurus was one of the toys up for review from my friends at Fisher-Price this month, that was a hands-down choice. Lucas was so excited to get it out of the box that I barely had time to take a picture before we took it out of the box.

dino Lucas

Not only does it roar, but to Bella’s utter bewilderment, it walks! Check it out:

Get ready for a MEGA adventure with the Imaginext® Mega Apatosaurus. With motorized action, it walks and roars like a real dinosaur! Plus, this one comes with cool transforming tech armor and cannons that fire at the press of a button! Kids will love placing the figure in the cockpit of the dino’s armor and pretending they’re in a cool futuristic world where dinos and humans live together. And when it’s time for classic dino play, just remove the armor (and the figure) and this cool dino is ready for any prehistoric adventure with its rotating head, moveable jaw and tail, and motorized action. Includes Mega Apatosaurus with motorized action, pop-up armor, two projectiles, and Imaginext® figure with armor.

And, heh, if you’ve got a mom home for a week of summer vacation with a little too much time on her hands, you can have a lot of fun. Like this!!

Imaginext dinos in Manotick!

(Seriously, that photo was so much fun to put together, but masking the finicky bits around the trees was WAY harder than I expected!!)

Also in our review pack this month was the awesome Imaginext SuperFriends Batcave. Like all the Imaginext toys and playsets, this toy is specially designed to encourage a range of creative play. It also facilitates fine motor development, and helps build confidence and self-expression through role playing and mastery of the various features. The Batcave has a Batcomputer (heh, maybe it’s a Samsung Chromebook? *wink*), an elevator, a jail for the bad guys, and secret passageways. I have to admit, I was a little perplexed about the functionality of some of the pieces, but Lucas happily adapted them all into his play. I’m not sure of the original intent of the removable Batwing, but according to Lucas they help Batman fly up and disable the Penguin’s umbrellas. Okay then!

I may have mention (ahem) a few times how much we love our Imaginext superhero toys, and we are getting quite the collection! I continue to love the Imaginext toys because of the creative play they inspire. One day this week we had Robin riding the Mega Apatosaurus to rescue the knight being held captive by Batman’s evil twin in the Eagle Talon castle, which still ranks as our favourite Imaginext toy of all time. There may have even been a pre-teen boy or two drawn in to play as well. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!

I’m delighted that our toy review opportunity coincided so neatly this month with Lucas’s growing obsession with dinosaurs. Now all we need is a Fisher-Price rock tumbler, to feed their other obsession with rocks and gems. 🙂

Disclosure: I receive special perks as a part of my affiliation with the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada. The opinions in this blog are my own.


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When the nice folks at Scotiabank Place contacted me and asked if I would like to host a Wiggle ticket giveaway, I smiled. We are old-skool Wiggles fans around here. I had no idea how much the Fab Four in multicoloured jerseys had infiltrated the blog, though, until I searched for a few favourite posts and came up with FOUR PAGES (!) of search returns mentioning the Wiggles.

A few highlights:

  • Our first Wiggles concert review, where Anthony Wiggle gave the stink-eye to one of my boys.
  • Since I wrote it in late 2006, this post about CBS producing Rockstar: Wiggles has consistently gotten a dozen or more monthly visits.
  • Simon’s second birthday cake was a Wiggles cake, and since 2006 has been one of my most viewed pictures on Flickr.

Wiggles cake

And then there’s this classic piece of quality footage, one of my earliest YouTube uploads from April 2006 of Simon accompanying the Wiggles to “Do the Owl”:

All that to say, apparently we have a bit of a Wiggles fixation that has crossed into all my favourite social media platforms, and I’m more than happy to share the love with you in the form of a family four pack (4 tickets*) in the 100 level to see The Wiggles Wiggly Circus Live! at Scotiabank Place on October 27 at 2:30pm. You’ll also receive a copy of The Wiggles DVD “Hot Potatoes – The Best of The Wiggles”.

Want to win? Simply leave me a comment telling me why you’d like to win in the comment section below. Please make sure you can attend the concert if you enter — it’s a Wednesday afternoon.

Here’s the fine print:

  1. The contest runs from October 11 to 15, 2010.
  2. The approximate value of the prize is $140.
  3. A winner will be selected from all entries using Random.org around noon on October 16, 2010.
  4. To enter, you must leave a comment with a valid e-mail address.
  5. I will provide your contact information to a representative from Scotiabank Place, who will arrange the delivery of the prize package directly with you.

Thanks to Scotiabank Place and the Wiggles for a fun giveaway opportunity!

Good luck!!

(*I know, not all families consist of four people. It irks me a bit, too!)

Edited to add: Congratulations to Karen of Virtually There, the very excited winner of the Wiggly Circus tickets and DVD. 🙂


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Big brothers, little brother

11 June 2009 Ah, me boys

I’m endlessly fascinated by the dynamic (trynamic?) among my boys, and the way our parenting style has changed over the years. When Simon arrived, Tristan was still less than two years old, and one period of babyness blended rather seamlessly into another. With a four year gap between Simon and Lucas, though, I was concerned […]

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In which we talk about Lucas’s other favourite boob

23 March 2009 Lucas

Baby’s first smile, first laugh. The first time baby slept through the night. Baby’s first food, and the first meal baby feeds to himself. Baby’s first tentative steps, and baby’s first words. All milestones worthy of marking on the calendar, of noting, of celebrating. And now, finally, after a YEAR of waiting — baby’s first […]

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Another dream comes true

20 October 2008 Working and mothering

Around the time the boys started school in September, I started truly panicking about the idea of going back to work. It was still five months away, but I knew back-to-school season was only a quick hop to Halloween, which would start the slippery slide down to Christmas and before I knew it, February would […]

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Kids’ music: a review in three parts

16 May 2008 Consumer culture

Thanks to the quirks of Canada Post and Amazon, I received three new CDs in the mail one day this week. (Can we pause for a minute here and reflect that the idea of buying CDs has become vaguely anachronistic, while I clearly remember not only when the technology debuted but was an adult when […]

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