All about the books… Why e readers suck

I love this video from a British Columbia bookstore!

Personally, I hate E readers. I have an iPad but I don’t use it for reading at all. I think we have too much screen time in our culture as is, and a book should be An escape from technology. There’s nothing like the feeling of a real book in your hands as you escape away from electricity and flickering screens.

Often we have different standards for our children then for ourselves. We would never want to child to talk away with an electronic device for hours on end, would you? Of course not! It’s been proven many times over that electronic device time lowers your child’s concentration, affects their academic marks, and even negatively affects their happiness  so why would we  often we have different standards for our children then for ourselves?

Real books help you go to sleep; e-readers keep you up at night. Real books are reusable, recyclable, and can be shared. You can mark them up and curl into bed with them.

I get that you can take multiple books in one e reader when you were traveling. Total advantage. But even better yet, why don’t you take one or two books with you on a long trip, and then trade them for other people’s books along the way?

Yes, real books use trees. But e readers create horrid electronic waste, and source a lot of content from countries that don’t have any environmental regulations. Trust me… The electronic readers have a MUCH larger ecological footprint.

Truth: You can take multiple books in one E reader when you were traveling. Total advantage. But even better yet, why don’t you take one or two books with you on a long trip, and then trade them for other people’s books along the way?

My vote? It’s all about the (real) books!

Ecotherapy: Spring gardening with my puppy

It’s the first day back to school after spring break, and I just finished an hour of yard cleanup in the backyard. The birds are chirping, and I can see Laughlin and Tully are sunning themselves on the back deck. (Maggie, meanwhile, has chosen a quiet place in the sunny living room.)

We’ve been working away at the yard for almost a month now… Boy! It takes a lot of work to keep our little backyard homestead running.

Gardening with my puppies

Gardening with kids and dogs is a messy business. First of all, we don’t look outside for four months of the year. Except to pooper scoop of course. But besides that, we just let everything run amok over the winter months. Then in the spring, there is a lot to do. There are toys, garbage, and overgrown vines everywhere.

The kids add a bit to the mess as well, as they are finally getting outside and playing our d the neighbourhood. Below is a “nest” they made in the front yard magnolia tree last night. They’ve also set up the hammock, despite the apple branches still all over the ground.

Kids and spring gardening

On top of the usual maintenance, we didn’t really do a lot last fall. We were so in the midst of starting our clinic that we didn’t even eat all the tomatoes on the vine. Sacrilege! We just didn’t have the time. So there were tomato vines to take down, perennials to cut back, and all the usual autumn maintenance as well, on top of the spring work this year.

There is something deeply satisfying about all this work, however. Last year in the spring when I was dealing with bad health and stress at work, I took to starting my day with a half hour in the garden. It was my own little ecotherapy program. I found that every day I did this, my heart was later and my productivity was higher. There are many studies that show our connection with nature feeds the soul, and focuses the mind. It’s good for me to start the day with some exercise and fresh air, and the dogs love being outside with me together. They are calmer and more content through the day as well.

Spring flowers coming up

Gardening with the puppy has its challenges! This morning I found myself constantly looking over my shoulder. I usually let the chickens run around the backyard when I am doing some gardening, so they can get some extra greens. Tully is still learning about chickens, and how, specifically, to leave them alone. His sight hound instinct comes out, and I can see his body strengthening, lengthening, and aiming right for the hens who at peacefully nibbling. Then he bounds with joy towards their fluffy bodies. I had to throw myself on him a couple times, as he was galloping towards the poor birds, who were by this point madly clucking and running away.

It’s a work in progress. Just like a spring garden.

I remind myself that Maggie, especially, was horrible about the chickens when they first arrived, and now neither of the two older dogs pay them any mind. I will just have to be patient with him, and soon, too, he will be chicken proof. And as I train him to leave the chickens alone, I will also get more peaceful time in the garden.

Thumbs up! Spice is recovering


Several hours after my last post…

Spice was giggling and making funny faces with the drug they gave her. She didn’t exactly go under… Just completely spaced out. The little operation was conducted right there in emergency, and was a first for the doctor. He said he had never before done a procedure with another person in the bed. Because you see, Sugar kept her arm around her and watched a movie while Spice had her thumb put back together. The nail was taped on until it falls off, and her thumb was set, as he suspected there was a little break.

Bless the doctor for letting me stay there with her… I felt much better being involved and sitting by her side.

As we left just after midnight, I had one child draped over my shoulder with her thumb hanging out, and another drearily plodding along beside me. Sugar, by the way, had been an angel all evening.

The doctor called out to us: “sure have a nice family there. It was lovely to meet you.”

It was lovely to meet him as well, but I’m hoping that I will not see him again anytime soon.

My babies are such troopers! I can’t believe there hasn’t been one off behavior or whining with all this medical stuff in the last couple days. Truly, they are tough little birds.

My heart in the hospital


There’s an old expression that says your children are like your heart, walking around outside of your body. Every time we end up in the emergency ward, that’s exactly how I feel.

This time, Spice slammed her finger in the gate, and has likely broken her finger as well as detached the nail from the nail bed. It was incredibly painful, and even with high doses of painkillers, she couldn’t stop crying.

There were a lot more serious times… Like when she had a seizure and we had to spend the night, and when she had Bell’s palsy. Oh, and wait… We can’t forget when she broke her collarbone at three years old. That was just horrible. The other two were much scarier… Because we didn’t know what was going on. But seeing your child in pain, and not being able to make it better, is a killer.

I don’t know why it is always her and never her sister. Not that I wish it on her sister! But the poor thing does seem to be way too familiar with the hospital beds and IVs.

I know quite a few of my friends have much more serious medical challenges to deal with, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child go through multiple surgeries, or be in and out of emergency all the time. A couple of times a year is plenty for me.

I don’t think that you can love anyone as much as your own child. When they are hurting, it’s physically painful for you too. There is nothing in the world that you want to do more than to make them feel better, and take away their pain. Whenit’s appropriate, I can bring out the mama bear and advocate like tech form my kids. This waiting passively by, however; it’s much harder. We’ve been in the hospital four hours, and soon they will put her out, under anesthetic, so they can operate on her hand. And there isn’t anything I can do.

My heart will be getting her finger back together, and I will be cuddling my other heart in the waiting room.

Emergency. This really is one of the hardest things about being a mother.

Home Cold Remedies

Every family has their go-to home remedies for colds, and our family is no exception!


When I was little girl growing up in the north, my parents would always give us warm chicken noodle soup, the kind made of powdered stock and dehydrated noodles, and copious amounts of orange juice. My father also tortured me by rubbing our chests and noses with vapor rub, full of Eucalyptus.

Then, as a teenager, I lived in Germany. My host mother Nanne had a different formula: smelling eucalyptus oil on a tissue or on our pillows, going into the sauna to release the sinuses, and a shot of schnapps to soothe the throat. And yes, even the six-year-old got the shot of schnapps. I think it probably put him to sleep as well.

Around our house, we rely on herbal remedies and soup as well. Our go-to soup is full of lemongrass and chillies, with a coconut base. Have you guessed it? It’s Thai Tom Ka Gai soup. This tradition started when I was sick, and my husband couldn’t/wouldn’t cook enough to make me chicken noodle soup. So we started getting Thai soup as takeout, and the tradition has stuck ever since.

When the girls are under the weather, like Spice has been this week, I give them immune system boosting echinacea tea and ginseng pills. I have an immune system disorder, so unfortunately, I can’t take these helpful tools. But all of us can have good night tea, full of valerian and passionflower. That stuff puts you out like you were hit by a train.

We all have our favorite cough syrups… Jason and the girls get the horrid tasting Buckley’s. But it works, as they say.

I spread eucalyptus drops on pillows for enabling breathing, and we rub the girls’ chests with vapor rub, full of the same stuff. Amazingly, they don’t feel as tortured as we did by my father. Maybe we’re just a little more delicate rubbing it in.

Lastly, we have the best sinus clearing tool out there. When we were at a traditional Berber pharmacy in Morocco, we bought some nigella seeds from the pharmacist. All you do is put some seeds in a tissue and rub them in a ball in your palm until that oils are released. Then you take the big sniff of the nigella seeds… Wow! Sinuses cleared!

Oh, and I forgot one last thing. Usually we don’t have any kind of tissue around our house. But when the girls get very snivelly, I treat them to a little package of tissues of their choice. Somehow this encourages them to wipe instead of snivel. Which is one of my pet peeves.

I would love to hear what kind of home remedies you use, and where they came from!