Browsing Tag

natural living

Motherhood, Natural Living

Spatial reasoning, toddler logic, and my man the artiste

Compass Cardinal Directions by RandomsPrint on Etsy

Today I tried to drive to a grocery store three times, and not ONCE of those times did I actually make it there.

I have tried to blame the city’s layout, too much traffic, and my iPhone’s map function too, but I think it is becoming readily apparent that I lack both an internal compass and the most basic spatial reasoning skills.

I pull up a map on my trusty ole iPhone 4, memorize the directions by muttering them several times under my breath (like a boss) and then I bravely head out into the world like the pioneers of yore. I navigate turns and I merge, I make connections and exit off-ramps and then at a crucial moment in the middle of my muttered directions, I spot a highway sign.

What does that say?

I squint, trying to make it out, wondering if it’s my turn.

Is that my turn?

Is it?

Shit, it is.

That’s my turn!

I can’t get over!

There it is! Ahhhh let me in, let me in!


[expletive deleted] I missed it!

…There it was.

That was my turn.

That was my turn!

Shit! Shitty shit shit!

Now what?

I’ll tell you now what. Now I have to pull over, pull up my map again and redo my route. More memorizing, more muttered directions. Then in pulling back onto the main road I turn the WRONG WAY on the highway. My phone gives me helpful directions like “Make a u-turn on Highway 16”. Oh, you mean this highway? The six lane highway divided by a cement meridian? Fabulous! Here I go!

More pulling over, more iphoning. More muttering.

These shenanigans went on for an embarrassingly long time, in three separate occasions today. It was utterly humiliating and at the end of it, when I went to go pick Adam up at work I threw the keys at him and wailed “YOU drive!”. I was honestly just so frustrated with myself.

I feel that the ability to know where you are in relation to a different location, and make a reasonably successful attempt to get there is sort of a basic life skill. One that I am sorely lacking.

Clearly it’s been easy to ignore this over the past ten years as we have lived in two different small towns with literally one or two main streets. I mean, I’m not going to say I never got lost there (I told you, it’s bad) but at least I had the mountains or the ocean to orient myself. No such luck this time.

As we drove home, Adam patiently explained the various routes and cross streets, where the city centre was in relation to us. As we kept driving, every so often he’d ask me to orient myself by pointing to a location, like “Where do Liam and Kate live?” or “Where’s my work?” and every time, even when he asked which was was North, every time I got it wrong!

So basically I just have no clue where I am, anywhere, ever. If you kidnapped me I wouldn’t even need to be blindfolded, in fact having me describe where I thought I was would probably even buy you some time.


Anyway. Typically Olive and I walk to the grocery store because it’s a nice little outing and when I have the time  I generally prefer to do a few small shops during the week rather than one large one. It means our produce is fresher, we’re only buying what we need and I can carry everything in a stroller rather than needing a car. But this time we were going to a specific grocery store to buy supplies to strip Olive’s cloth diapers which have become horrifically stinky over the last few weeks. I think they are overdue to be stripped, but the hard water here isn’t helping either, and in fact it’s throwing a wrench into  virtually  all of my hippie regimes.

Guys, my shampoo and conditioner is not what it was. Hard water is a bitch! Instead of feeling light, fluffy and bouncy after my baking soda/ACV treatment, it feels heavy and sort of…grimy. I am not exaggerating when I say that I’m heartbroken over this.

There is simply no way that I can abandon it – not now, not five years of loving it, and especially when so many of you have finally tried it and let me know how much you loved it, too! So I am scouring The Internets for a solution, but in the meantime  as I trial and error and error and error, my hair is abominable. There are lots of mom buns going on over here. The moment I find a solution I will share it with you, promise! I mean at least now I know why none of my Alberta friends have taken on the no-poo challenge. I don’t blame you, guys! I promise, that this is NOT what it’s supposed to feel like.

My skin, too, is suffering the effects of the move. I wash my hands a ton during the day because I’m doing so many diaper changes and meal/snack preparations for those three adorable blonde toddlers, and my hands actually started bleeding around my cuticles last week because they were so very dry. Coconut oil has been my go to moisturizer for years – a quick massage session after a shower and I’d be set!- but this desert dryness calls for something richer. I am testing a cocoa butter/jojoba oil mix, and I will keep you posted on that, too.


In other news, today Olive asked for a piece of toilet paper so I gave her a piece of toilet paper. Then she threw it in the toilet. Then the indicated that she wanted me to flush the toilet. “Do you want me to flush the toilet?” I asked. “Yes!” she nodded. So I flushed it. Then she opened the lid, saw that the scrap of toilet paper was gone – GONE!- and lost. her. mind.

Is this real life? Was I really like this at one point? Is she actually a demon?I have compiled a helpful diagram of toddler rationale to help those who might not have the good fortune of encountering it’s affront to reason on a daily basis:

Toddler Logic, by


Essentially, toddlers want two entirely different and mutually exclusive realities to occur simultaneously (eg. flushing the toilet paper, and the toilet paper still being in the toilet). The fact that they can’t, (or, in their eyes, we won’t LET them) achieve these two entirely incompatible states of being, enrages them.

The fact that I drew a diagram doesn’t make the tantrums any better – in fact it may make them worse because it took me an embarrassingly long time to do that there drawring and damn it’s midnight already I was supposed to go to bed early tonight for real this time!


In my third and final tangent, Adam spent well over an hour on the custom portrait which I raffled off without his knowledge or consent way back in January (what? JANUARY? god, that’s embarassing.). He let me see the half-finished product and guys, I am seriously impressed!

Legitimately surprised at how much his talents have improved. I don’t want to spoil the whole thing, but here is a sneak peak at Fee’s lovely right eye:




Adam – who knew?!

Natural Living


…but not in a cool skateboarding dude way. Sick like, SICK.

We are all sick. Mucous and coughing and Olive even woke up with a gross gunky eye. No one is sleeping because our coughing keeps waking each other up, and if you have never heard a ten month old cough, I mean I swear I could sell the audio. It’s the tiniest, sweetest little “ahem, ahem” but still. STILL not great to hear at 10pm and 10:13 pm and 10:30 pm and so on and what’s more, I have to put her back to sleep each time because the coughing wakes her up and ever since she learned how to stand, waking up sends a signal to her mind that says STAND UP IMMEDIATELY!

So she doesn’t really ever go back to sleep by herself anymore, which is not really an issue when she’s only waking up once a night, but when she’s waking up eleventeen million times… it’s insanity. We are all crazy. And sick.

As soon as we woke up and I understood the full reality of this evil bastard that had overtaken our little family, I started brewing a large batch of Magic Tea. What is Magic Tea you ask? It’s one of the wonderful natural crazy hippie lady things I do in my spare time, that’s what. Neo Citron’s got nothing on this tea.

And here is the recipe! For you! In case you too have a throat that feels like razors and a gunky eyed baby and a husband horking phlegm into the toilet every few minutes (Sorry. For you and for me)

Madeleine's Magic tea for Cold and Flu

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. When it comes to a boil, add the following:

  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1-2 Tbsp honey
  • 1-2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

Simmer for around five minutes, then pour into mugs and enjoy when it’s cool enough to drink.

This stuff is honestly the best hippie cure for every single cold and flu you will ever get, and is even effective against Man Colds! It’s best if you brew a fresh batch each time but if you are all “Phht! I’m sick! Ain’t nobody got time for that” just double or triple the recipe, make a big batch and heat and serve as needed.

The reason behind the magic is that garlic is a powerful antifungal, honey soothes and coats your throat, lemon juice cleanses your system, ginger is anti-inflammatory and helps ease achy joints, and that little pinch of cayenne (or more if you’re brave) clears out your sinuses.

BOOM. Hippies to the rescue!

You’re welcome, Internets. Now I’m going to go dig out my neti pot and join the rest of my family in pajamas like the slugs that we are.

Natural Living, Uncategorized

Inexpensive, Plastic-Free Pregnancy Tests

Pregnany Test Strips


Buying pregnancy tests in the grocery store or the pharmacy is crazy expensive. Like, $10-$15 each for your basic line-or-no-line deal. That much just to find out if a baby is sneaking around in your lady chamber? Ridiculous!

Here’s an eco- and wallet-friendly alternative. It, like all good things in this world, starts with a google search.

Go ahead and type “Pregnancy Test Strips” into the search bar and then head to the results.  Pregnancy test strips look like this:


and they are basically the diagnostic part of a pregnancy test, without all of the clunky plastic housing. Test strips are available to be purchased in bulk, and they are often less than a dollar a test. I’m no mathematician but I think that is approximately 98% off – what a deal! Now instead of trying to sneak a test through the checkout hidden under a container of ranch dip, you can buy them in bulk on The Internets and pee on one every morning if you like,

Test strips can be purchased in bulk, and they are often less than a dollar a test. I’m no mathematician but I think that is approximately 98% off – what a deal! Now instead of trying to sneak a test through the checkout hidden under a container of ranch dip, you can buy them in bulk on The Internets and pee on one every morning if you like, just to be sure!

These tests are totally legit, and we used to order them at my job for the teens we worked with – y’all know a non-profit can’t be shelling out $15 every time someone thinks they are pregnant – and I got my first positive when I was pregnant with Olive by using one of these little darlings.

The ones we used to order came from here, but there are a few different places you can buy them from so feel free to shop around.

Not that you need more convincing, but if you DO, just think of dear, sweet old Mother Nature! I know that there are a lot of paranoid “Am I pregnant? Am I pregnant? Oh god, I can feel my uterus I am 100% positive I am pregnant!” ladies out there (and I know because I am one of them). All of that crazy adds up to a lot of pregnancy tests, and a lot of pregnancy tests equals a LOT of plastic and I mean let’s be honest here, nobody is recycling these.

By choosing to forgo the drugstore tests you save yourself some cash AND you save a huge hunk of plastic from ending up in the landfill. Win, win, win.

So there you have it, pee-on-a-stick addicts! Ditch the drugstore, get yourself on Google and never wonder if you are pregnant ever again.




Alright, this is a VIP (very important post) for anyone that owns a Tassimo coffee maker or wears flip flops; uses toothpaste or hand cream or hair gel. Anyone who eats chocolate bars or bags of chips, and DEFINITELY anyone who is a teacher or works at a large corporation with hundreds/thousands of students/employees who wouldn’t mind a little light enviro-nagging.

The company is called Terracycle, and they recycle everything. You go to, or and sign up for different brigades that recycle different things (there’s dozens of different categories). Once you’ve joined a brigade you start collecting, and once you have enough of whatever you’re collecting, you log on again and they send you a UPS shipping label and you ship the stuff back to them. For free.

So, not only are you recycling a ton of stuff that would have otherwise gone to the landfill, but you are doing it in a totally easy and cost-free way. 

BUT WAIT! There’s more! Each item you send back earns you a point. The points translate into dollarsm and you can use the dollars to buy the products being made from the recycled waste, OR you can donate it to a charity of your choice.

To date, Terracycle has diverted 18,340,211 items from landfills, and raised over $169,000 for charity.

Um. That’s absolutely lovely.

It would be awesome if you would sign up, especially if you could set up a collection station at your work. The beauty product brigade recycles everything from mascara tubes to hand cream bottles, and what woman doesn’t burn through a few of those a year? Similarly, if you work at a school there’s a juice pouch brigade that would be a great chance for kids to learn about recycling, and charity, too.

If you have any questions about Terracycle just ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them, but seriously they are just all kinds of awesome.

I have not been paid or perked or bribed by Terracycle in any way. I’ve just participated in their recycling program for two years now and it suddenly occurred to me that I should share it with all of you.


Is there a green way for me to clean my laptop without buying those prepackaged computer babywipe things?

Why yes, there sure is!

Lightly spray a microfibre cloth with a solution of 50/50 white vinegar and water and then give the whole thing – keyboard, screen, touchpad etc.- a good wipe down. 

Vinegar is a great streak-free cleaner, making it ideal for screens, and also kills up to 99% of bacteria, which is great for that germy keyboard. Especially if you have a husband with big gross dirty meat paws. For example.