Keeping the house, the kids and the hubby without breaking the bank, the earth, the people I love, or myself.

Screen-Free Tuesdays Spawns My First Small Giveaway

It's a new tradition in our house.  (Can you call it a tradition after one time?)

It's so easy to get into an electronic rut in the wintertime.  The kids fell into habit with the Wii, PCs, PS2 and TV.  Tired of the daily battle over who's watching/playing what, I exercised my dictatorial powers and decreed Tuesdays to be Screen Free.  Nothing with a screen is to be used on Tuesday.  This covers gameboys, PCs, tvs and all game systems.

Now, what to do?

Ah, there's the rub.

Well, I happened to be recovering from a virus so I spent the day dabbling at my housework and resting  (right after I remembered it was screen-free and pulled myself away from the PC.)  I think I might have gotten more done than on days when I'm perfectly fine but "taking breaks" on the internet!  When the kids got home, my youngest and I tried our hands at the new Battleship game.

It's really a little advanced for him, but he wanted to try.  After an hour he decided it just wasn't for him.  While I made dinner the boys played with action figures and cars.  After dinner everyone played a few rounds of Triominoes before doing homework, having baths and heading to bed.

You should know I've been on a kids' games losing streak for ages now.  I have never once won a round of Monopoly Junior against my five year old.  No, I do not stack the odds in his favour.

 I have lost every game of Mousetrap against these guys (you really cannot cheat to lose in that, either!)

  And in recent months, I haven't been able to beat my husband at a game of cards either!  (Though I did break that streak in December.)  Wouldn't you know that the first round of Triominoes was won by my five year old?  Of course it was!  He had no idea what he was doing, but he sure won!  I did, however, win the second round.  Luckily we weren't keeping score because the numbers might not have been in my favour.

The final verdict on screen-free Tuesday:  it was enjoyed by all.  The kids were already making plans for next Tuesday.

Now for that giveaway.  Up for grabs to those who follow and comment on this post is one coupon good for $10 off a Hasbro, Parker Brothers,  Milton Bradley and/or Cranium board game.  The coupon is only good in Canada so this is a giveaway just for Canadians!

Winner will be selected and coupon mailed on Monday, February 1st, 2010.  That will give the winner two months to use the coupon! 


Use for stale (rancid) brown rice found!

Any whole grain will go rancid, meaning the oils in the grain get strong and off-smelling.  It will give the grain itself a nasty flavour.  I don't think it's bad for you and won't make you sick, but it does not taste good.  It tastes awful actually.

In the interests of frugality, I knew there had to be a use for rancid rice whether it was an art project or small animal food. 

You can make a heating pad using rice grains.  Take an old, but not holey (unless you sew the holes shut), clean sock and fill it with rice grains.  Either sew or tie the open end shut.  Heat the rice filled sock in the microwave for 90 seconds.  There, you have a heating pad to apply to muscle aches or to use as a kitten warmer as I currently am.

You can freeze the same rice sock to use for first aid applications.  Reuse it indefinitely.

Here is an article on how to make a rice sock: 

Here is a very comprehensive article on the benefits of brown rice:


I thought my days of mixing formula were over...

but here I am taking care of two babies.  And it's hard to bottle feed two at once.  It's hard to clean two bums simultaneously.  It's hard to keep one from scratching the other's eyes out when they sleep next to each other. 

My husband brought home two babies on New Year's Eve.  Two baby kittens, that is!

They are roughly four weeks old, going on five.  My husband works for a company that manufactures wind towers.  These kittens were in an area where large steel plates (think tonnes) are stored.  Just as he was about to move some of this plate, a coworker heard a sound.  It was the sound of two tiny kittens mewling.  Since it was a holiday weekend, everything was going to be closed up tight and the mother, if she hadn't intentionally abandoned them, would have no way to get back to them.  The temperature was well below 0C and nights substantially below.  My husband couldn't leave them to freeze.

They were hungry and cold after a day in a box of rags in subzero temperatures.  We syringe fed them watered down wet cat food as they likely never had solid food before and they are quite wobbly still.  As soon as I could get to a pet supply store we purchased a nurser and formula.  Isn't this bottle just the cutest thing?

Cute, yes, but not quite so cute as Steven and Simon:

They're standing on top of the barrier I made to turn my living room into a kitten playpen. It's not safe for them to wander around the house.  I do cage the kittens during naps and at night, they are out of the cage during feedings and after for play time.  Obviously, the barricade isn't working so well. It only took two days for them to overcome it! As long as I'm in the living room, they will stay there.  I have become mom so far as these two guys are concerned.  They'll follow along as I walk, climb my pants' legs when I sit, and crawl up on my shoulder to sleep after they've finished their bottle:

(Try to ignore the folded clothes behind me on the couch.  It's amazing how much time these guys actually require in caring for them.  I truly feel like I have a baby or two in the house.  Though I don't mean to diminish the work of human childcare at all.  I'm only comparing the two. )
I (we) have fostered cats and kittens for the past five years for the Animal Assistance Society of Niagara.  We socialize them and get them ready for adoption into forever homes.  There are three fosters with us now in addition to Simon and Steven.  The baby brothers will also be available for adoption once they've been neutered. 

I'll tell you more about the other fosters in another post.

I suppose you might be wondering about their names.  My husband works in Stevensville.  The kittens were found next to steel plate from Seimon's Steel.  I couldn't call a kitty "Seimon" (which sounds just like "semen") so Simon it is!  How do I tell them apart?  Well, Simon has a redder face than Steven.  It just so happens that my husband has an Uncle Simon, who when he grows one, sports a red mustache!  I need all the help I can get when it comes to memory assists.


About This Blog

Saving money. Saving graces. Raising children, husbands and, sometimes, cats. Laughing. Living. Thinking. Doing. Life in the Niagara Region of Ontario.

About Me

I am a happily married woman with four children and various cats and kittens (fosters). I love to read and my favourite authors are George RR Martin, Thomas Hardy, Raymond Carver, PD James, Kurt Vonnegut, J. K. Rowling, and Margaret Atwood. I know there are only three women in that list (and none of them American), so if you'd like to suggest some I'm willing to give them a shot! And yes, I am an American living in Canada. (Hence the nick -- CannedAm.) I like it here. There are things about the states that I miss, but my love is here and this country has things to offer that my own does not. Things that make my quality of life much better than it ever was in Ohio. Guess I'm stuck here. Though there's a nice spot in the Appalachian hills where I'd love to spend my retirement.

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