Surviving the first big slumber party

Everything was going great … until it wasn’t.

I was washing the dishes when a wide-eyed child appeared in my kitchen, motioning to the backyard where six little girls had all been playing nicely just moments earlier.

“You’d better get out there,” she told me darkly. “People are sad.”

Um, what?! 

I hurried out back to find tween turmoil. Some were crying, some had stormed off, and some were comforting the ones who were upset. What happened? No idea. I couldn’t understand everyone’s tears and shouts.

Nervously, I called my daughter over and hissed “We need to do something!” She was wailing, too, worried that her very first slumber party was ruined before it had really begun. 

Thankfully, she’d planned a scavenger hunt, with scribbled marker clues leading her guests to discover which movie they were going to watch. The distraction calmed everyone down and they forgot about their squabble.

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Fun on the Fundy Shore

Tasty Treasure Hunting on the Fundy Shore

Treasure hunting with Secret Nova Scotia

Thanks to Secret Nova Scotia for inviting us on a media tour! As always, all opinions and hyper children are my own.


It’s a gorgeous, sunny Sunday morning, perfect for cruising along the Glooscap Trail. I’m not sure where we’re going yet, and the best part is that I don’t need to know — it’s all part of the adventure.

I’m being chauffeured around in Secret Nova Scotia’s tour vehicle along with my son, daughter and sister for the “Tasty Treasure Hunting on the Fundy Shore” tour. 

I never thought of taking a guided tour of places less than an hour from my house, but I loved the idea of experiencing a bunch of different spots without figuring out a schedule and packing a day’s worth of lunches and snacks. We’ll be spending six hours eating and adventuring, and I won’t have to lift a finger.

So excited to spend the day adventuring on Secret Nova Scotia’s Tasty Treasure Hunting on the Fundy Shore tour.

“When you go on a tour with us, you’re going to get special perks you wouldn’t get if you visited these places on your own,” explains Tanya Conrad, Secret Nova Scotia’s Chief Operating Officer and one of our tour guides. 

Our very first stop is one of those “I’ve-always-wanted-to-go-here!” spots. Our family has driven by the Great Village Antiques Exchange many times on our way to Advocate Harbour, but never stopped to explore the massive historic building. Today’s finally the day!

Our daughter answering a banana ‘phone’ at Great Village Antiques Exchange
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Summer brings new guilt for working parents

The guilt trip always comes at bedtime.

“You’re always working. I feel like I never see you!”

There are tears, too. Our daughter only just turned nine, but she already knows how to twist the knife. Even though I’ve worked steadily since she was six weeks old, this is my first summer as a full-time, work-from-home, nine-to-five employee.

And some people are handling it better than others …

Continue reading in my SaltWire parenting column, The Mom Scene.

Read the full column

Hair donation leads to lesson in misgendering

When our son got a haircut in the summer before Grade 3, we had no idea he wouldn’t let scissors touch it until almost the end of Grade 5.

More about that here

Growing his hair long was never something he planned. It just kept growing, little by little, and he kept preferring to keep it that way. It spilled over his eyes until it could be tucked behind his ears, and it crept over his collar and past his shoulders until it was halfway down his back.

People asked him when he’d cut it, and he’d shrug. They’d ask how long he planned on growing it, and he’d shrug again. He really didn’t know.

His hair grew so long that he grudgingly agreed to wear it in a ponytail for taekwondo because it was uncomfortable having it hang over his neck, thick and sweaty. It started to tangle when I brushed it in the mornings before school, and he hated that, too.

When I measured it and told him it was long enough to donate to a charity that makes wigs for sick children, he loved the idea and decided we should book a haircut. We divided it into rubber bands, just like the donation website specified, and I held my breath while our stylist chopped off his long, thick hair.

Holding two long ponytails in his hands, the first thing he exclaimed was “It’s so short!” The second thing he said was “Now people won’t call me a girl anymore!”

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#InStrankinWeTrust (Free cross-stitch pattern)

#InStrankinWeTrust Nova Scotia COVID cross-stitch (designed by Heather Laura Clarke @HFXHeather)

Happy Saturday, friends!

I was doing online Zumba this morning in my home office, looking at a framed cross-stitch I have just behind my monitor, and thinking “Wow, it’s been forever since I cross-stitched anything.”

I knew I’d have some couch time today because we had two of our daughter’s online dance recitals to watch via Zoom (lots of Zoom happening today in this house!), so I was exercising and thinking of what I might stitch.

I have a barely-started piece that says “F*CK COVID,” but it’s on black canvas and I quickly abandoned it at the start of the pandemic because it was hard to see the squares. So I started thinking about what I might start, and if there was a new pandemic-y phrase I might like hanging up somewhere.

BOOM! “In Strankin we trust.”

An ode to Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, and the Honourable Iain Rankin, Premier of Nova Scotia.

InStrankinWeTrust Nova Scotia COVID cross-stitch (designed by Heather Laura Clarke @HFXHeather)

Feeling very grateful to them both, these days, as my husband and I have both had our first vaccination for 2.5 weeks now (#TeamModerna) and are eagerly looking forward to our second doses.

Their guidance has gotten us all through the terrible third wave, and now I get to see my sister again (ourdoors for now, but still way better than not seeing her at all!) and the kids are back in school (yayyyyyyyyy!).

So after Zumba, I whipped up a simple little design in Paint (yes, the same program I used as a kid to doodle jpegs of figure skaters and screw around with the spray paint tool) and started stitching on some pale blue aida fabric from my stash.

Please feel free to download the pattern, print it out, and stitch it yourself for personal use, but not for sale. If anyone asks you to make them one, tell them you’ll do it in exchange for convincing five people to get vaccinated. (Joking, but not really.)


Happy stitches, b*tches! Love you all! xo