Saying goodbye to a (t)rusty old friend

Almost 10 years ago to the day, after our Dodge Caravan went up in flames in my one and only serious car accident, we bought my ‘little blue car’, a 2009 Mazda 5. It was so long ago that one of our primary concerns was room in the cargo area for a stroller; Lucas was barely over a year old at the time, and Simon hadn’t even started JK yet.

That little blue car served us well over the years. I loved it so much that when Beloved needed a new car, we bought a 2012 Mazda 5 to make a his-and-hers matching set. Alas, after 10 years and 175,000 km, it’s time to trade it in.

It’s been about five years since our failed attempt to get the car detailed, and I can’t say I’ve been scrupulous about keeping it clean since then, aside from an occasional swipe with a vinegary paper towel or $1 worth of gas-station vacuuming. Cleaning the car out for trade-in has been like an archaeological excavation of the past 10 years of our lives. I expected the crayons, goldfish and the Starbucks stir sticks, smiled at the acorns, sea glass and installation manual for a forward-facing car seat, and laughed outright at the three (three!) lens caps and the Apple charger cord – so that’s where they went. I can’t remember the last time someone needed a baby spoon, but there was one of those, and a rainbow Pride flag, too.

I’m super excited about the new car, but I’m nostalgic about trading this one in. I’ve never owed a car this long before, and the kids have gone from babies to teenagers begging to sit in the driver’s seat. It’s been to every province east of here save Newfoundland and Labrador, and down the 401 to southern Ontario more times than I can count. It gets cranky in the deep winter mornings and won’t always open the windows when I ask, and I’ve learned not to pull out of the driveway until I’m sure the window won’t freeze-fog over on me. It never once broke down on me, though, and I’ve only had to put a post-it note in front of the pesky check-engine light a few times when I just didn’t have the spoons to deal with it. It has been our family car as our family grew up, and like the rest of us, it has a few eccentricities that we mostly overlooked because it was otherwise a good friend.

185:365 My new Mazda 5!

We both have a few more miles on us now!

And about that new car – holy smokes but cars have changed since the last time we were in the market. Stay tuned for the big reveal on the next-ten-years car!

Photo of the day: PD day lunch date

When you have more than one kid, it’s important to remember to spend time with each kid on his or her own. Today’s PD day provided an excellent opportunity for a lunch date with Lucas, and the crazy delicious light in Five Guys was almost as tasty as the salty, yummy fries.

PD day lunch date!

Hmmm, maybe today’s lesson should also be “let your poor children have lunch without sticking a camera in their faces.” Can you tell I’m getting twitchy for portrait season? Must! Take! All! The! Photos!

(Don’t you love his day-dreamy look though? I love the black and white for this.)

Photo of the day: Sunshine and smiles at 10 months old

I so enjoyed working with this sweet family of three that I told them they should give lessons on how to be great subjects. They were easy-going and friendly, followed my directions and even anticipated what I was thinking, were open to my suggestions and came with a few of their own. And on top of all that, they were all three as adorable as the day is long.


happy family on the porch

And isn’t he just the sweetest, chubby-cheeked, dreamy-eyed little fellow? He did not stop smiling genially the whole time they were on the porch. Here’s an extra peek, just because they’re so cute:

happy family on the grass

Sometimes I wonder why people love autumn above all seasons for family portraits, but on a chilly but sunny October morning like this, it’s easy to see why!

If you’re looking for your own family’s autumn portraits, there are still a few weekend slots left, but you’ll need to get in touch soon! đŸ™‚

Vintage comic collection for sale – more than 2,100 books!

It is with a nostalgic heart that Beloved is parting with his collection of comic books loving collected at comic stores, flea markets and used book stores over the last 30 years. In his words, “It is time for someone else to enjoy my collection.” Could you please feel free to share this information with your networks? I’m thinking there may be a comic geek or three in my extended bloggy network.

Comic collection

I can tell you that these are well cared-for books, as any suggestion I made that they be stored in, say, the garage was met with horror. They’ve been stored upright, individually wrapped, dry and flat.

Photo 2015-07-08, 2 49 23 PM copy

The collection comprises mostly Marvel and DC titles with a few Dell Four Color and Classics Illustrated, and the books were published from the 1970Ă¢â‚¬â„¢s to the 2000Ă¢â‚¬â„¢s. There are large runs of titles such as Avengers, New Mutants, Teen Titans, Fantastic Four, What If, Suicide Squad, Superman, and the various Justice League titles.

Photo 2015-07-08, 2 50 50 PM copy

You’ll also find complete series of titles such as Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Blue Devil, and keystone moments in comic book history such as Dick Grayson becoming Nightwing and the Death of Superman. A full list of the contents is available in an MS Excel spreadsheet upon request. The guide value ( of the collection is over $5,600, and he is willing to entertain serious offers. (Hint: serious offers start at $2,800.)

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He is willing to sell full runs of individual titles, but not individual issues. Feel free to leave a comment below if you’d like to see the spreadsheet with all the titles, or email me at danicanada (at) gmail.

Please share this with your geeky friends!

Photo of the day: Willie in the window

It’s been a while since we’ve had a photo of Willie, hasn’t it? He likes to hide out in the unphotogenic basement where the big boys have their bedrooms – and where Bella can’t go. He’s figured out that although Lucas is not one of his favourite people (that list comprises Tristan and Beloved, and Simon in a pinch), Lucas’s room has a window with a perch and is also a baby-gated Bella-free zone.

willie in the window

You can pretty much read the derision on his face, though. Oh Willie, I’m not nearly as evil as you seem to think I am – although I will admit to being the catalyst that brought the dog into the house, and an unapologetic dog person.

One day, maybe we’ll have pet harmony in the house.

Flash Giveaway: Kinder Surprise Minions!

I have a bloggy confession to make. I have never actually seen any of the Despicable Me movies, although the kids have seen them all. And yet, of course I know all about the Minions, because you’d have to be living completely off the grid to miss the Minion memes. There are tumblers, dedicated Facebook pages, and of course, a Minion Meme generator.

Speaking of generating memes, here’s a fun way to bring a little old school fun to a 21st century meme: how about making your own minion? Have you ever noticed that the inner capsule of a KINDER® Surprise Egg is like a minion waiting to happen?

To celebrate the pending release of the Minions movie this July, you’ll soon be able to find a whole line of Minions toys in specially marked KINDER® Surprise Eggs. Fun, right? There are 11 Minion toys to collect, for a limited time only. And for you, my funny bloggy peeps, here’s a chance to win a $40 KINDER® Sur-prize pack, with a chance to find the ENTIRE Minions collection.


  1. This giveaway is for a KINDER® Surprise prize package.The approximate prize value is $40.
  2. To enter the giveaway, two steps are required. Please use the widget below and (a) visit the KINDER® Facebook page and (b) leave a comment on this blog post answering this simple question: bananas or apples?
  3. ONE winner will be chosen at random from all entrants.
  4. This giveaway is open only to residents of Canada, excluding residents of Quebec. (sorry!)
  5. This giveaway will run until 11:59 pm EDT on Tuesday May 26, 2015.
  6. The contest winner will be required to provide a full name and complete mailing address to be shared with KINDER® for shipping purposes.
  7. While you may enter as many of the KINDER® contests as you like, you can only win once.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Kinder Minions

DISCLOSURE: IĂ¢â‚¬â„¢m a #KinderMom/Maman/Dad who is part of the KINDER® Canada influencer team. As part of my affiliation with KINDER® Canada, I am provided with special perks and products. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Photo of the day: Dickinson Days parade

It was a perfect night for the Dickinson Days parade in Manotick. The parade itself is simple enough, but seeing the boys having fun and hanging with their buddies is priceless. I love seeing them grow up a little more each year.

Love Dickinson Days in Manotick. :)

Won’t be long before they’ll be going without us! (So I’ll take great pleasure in these years when they’re still happy to go with us.)

Quick idea for family fun this week: Strawberry picking at Rideau Pines Farm

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids around Ottawa sometime in the next few days, I highly recommend a wee adventure at Rideau Pines Farm for berry picking.

Although we’ve gone on excursions to pick apples, pumpkins and even Christmas trees, we have never yet managed to go strawberry picking, although I have been intending to do it with the boys for years. In fact, I have never been strawberry picking and so was not exactly sure what to expect. Since Friday was a rare clear and warm (albeit sticky and humid) day, I was afraid it would be terribly busy and I was also worried it might be swampy after all the rain we’ve had. I was wrong on both counts.

After a goodly wander to the furthest field in the farm, we had the place to ourselves.

Strawberry picking 2013

One of the farm hands warned us that it was toward the end of the season and the berries weren’t as plentiful, but I can’t imagine how it must have been before because we had no trouble founding a bounty of berries to pick.

Strawberry picking 2013

Strawberry picking 2013

Strawberry picking 2013

We may have snacked on a few, too. đŸ™‚

Strawberry picking 2013

We also inspected a few other familiar crops, like runner beans and squash and tomatoes and our new favourite, kale!


And on our way back we picked a few currants and raspberries, too!

Strawberry picking 2013

In addition to our investment of $4 for two pints (give or take) of strawberries, we bought some new potatoes that went perfectly with a little garlic scapes for dinner. They have all sorts of other fruits, veggies and honey in season throughout the year.

I’m sure there are lots of great places to pick strawberries around Ottawa, but we were deeply charmed by Rideau Pines Farm, and we’ve found a new summer adventure to repeat every year. Their website suggests you call ahead before you visit to make sure there are still berries to be picked. The number is (613) 489-3601.

If you go:
Rideau Pines Farm
5714 Fourth Line Rd
North Gower ON
K0A 2T0

Flashback Friday: Lukey’s Boat is painted green

Every now and then I stumble across a post in the archives that makes me smile, and I like to share them with you. I have no memory whatsover of writing this post nearly five years ago, but since I was deep in the sleep-deprived madness that is life with a newborn, I’m not really surprised I don’t remember writing it. I’m just glad the blog remembers these things so I don’t have to. This gem is from summer 2008.


When he’s really frothed, I can rely on three songs to calm Lucas down. “You are my Sunshine” is my lullaby standby, and I have sung it to all three boys. It reminds me of my Granda, my grandfather on my mother’s side, and I cringe when I hear it used to huck orange juice. Chet Baker does a much better version of the song than I do, but Lucas seems content to listen to me serenade him endlessly as he fights off sleep.

The second song is Great Big Sea’s “Lukey.” Beloved sang this to him ’round about the time he was a week or two old, and in those first colicky weeks we must have sung it hundreds of times since then. I like this song because it comes with many verses, and Lucas doesn’t seem to mind if you mix and match them so long as you just keep singing. On a good day, humming may be permitted.

I have one failsafe song in my arsenal: I have never seen him so worked up that “Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes” doesn’t immediately calm him. (Yes, it’s weird. Don’t judge me, it works!) He will settle and listen as long as you keep singing, and will resume his histrionics with renewed vigour if pause for so much as a quarter-rest worth of time between repeats. I have bellowed it across the back yard to him, trying to yank just a few more weeds from the backyard jungle while he demands attention from his swing; I have blushed rather furiously while singing it to him in a crowded waiting room over and over again; I have danced a little jig while singing it in the grocery store, just to spice things up a bit. Did you know that the song comprises only 10 words, and even with repetitions the whole thing only draws out to 23 words? Do you have any idea how many times you can sing a 23 word song in the average trip to the grocery store, let alone when traversing a highway across a national park? Many, many, many.

Anyone who has had the misfortune to hear me warble in person knows I’m no Amy Winehouse (which, all things considered, may not be such a bad thing), but I have to say there is something sweetly empowering about being able to soothe my baby simply by singing to him. One of my favourite memories of this age will be of Lucas with his face red from bellowing against some indignity, chin trembling and tears held in abeyance. “Well, okay then,” his teary gaze says to me. “I’m righteously ticked off, but as long as you keep singing, I suppose it’ll be alright. But don’t you dare stop. And no, as a matter of fact you may NOT sing any other song. Don’t even think about trying that Old Macdonald had a farm shit with me.”

For the record, it has not escaped me that the song my son best loves me to sing has no actual melody to speak of. And no, I do not accept this as a criticism of my inability to carry a tune.