We just finished dinner, my husband and brother* are doing the dishes and I just wandered into the living room to check my emails, and I was struck by how green the room seems right now.  I’ve never really understood when to use the word verdant, but this is definitely it!  Then as I took a picture out my window, I realized just how many pictures I’ve taken in the last little while feature the colour green.  I live in a very green province. It is, after all, 85% forest.  And I love that they don’t clear cut whole swathes of land to build houses, they just plop streets in amongst the trees.  The air always smells so fresh and clean when I wake up in the morning, and I firmly believe that the huge birch tree on my front lawn is what keeps my living room so much cooler than it should be on a day when it’s 34 degrees Celsius 1-11 photo 3-6photo 5-3photo 4-6


See what I mean? very green.  Perhaps the 8 months of winter barrenness have made me appreciate the green so much more.

*My brother lives with us.  Helps pay the bills, has a cheap place to live and I cook for him. 🙂


What’s in a toy?

The other day I remarked on Facebook that my children, and by extension my daycare kids have a lot of toys. It looks like Toys R Us threw up in my living room, rec room, and children’s rooms.  I found a my little pony in my bedroom and tin whistle in the kitchen today. There’s rubber ducks in the – You get it. Lots of toys.  And yet, as I was making that Facebook post, I also observed that the kids in my care that day, aged 4, 3 and not quite 2, were playing with some plastic easter eggs, some pompoms and a bit of string.  The millions of toys were on the shelves and in bins, ignored.  And I got to thinking, what makes a good toy? Is it brightly coloured plastic? Is it flashing lights and robot voices? Or is it something that engages the imagination and makes the child manipulate their environment and their imagination in a new way?

I am not going to be one of those new age parents who takes away all of their kids toys and gives them “learning experiences” in their place. My daughter would explode if I took away her ponies and Legos.  But more and more, I see her building in the sandbox, or moving the living room furniture around to create forts (forts and jails are HUGE at my house right now). She’s never been the kind of child who needed a fancy toy to be amused. As a young toddler, around a year old, her favourite thing to do was to empty my grandmothers costume jewellery on to the floor and admire each piece, putting on necklaces and clip on earrings and then rushing to the mirror to admire herself.  The fancy toys in her toy box were ignored for the most part.  Give her a tin of coasters, or a pen and a bit of paper and she was your firm friend.

And even now, as I finally sit down from tidying up the mess of having extra kids all day, i’ve noticed that yes, my house is full of toys but they are not toys that “are” or toys that “do”. The toys that are being played with are the toys that “can be”.  The blocks, the Lego, the play-doh, the musical instruments and the kitchen and plastic food.  The remote controlled car and the pirate ship with real voices and music and other toys like that are on the shelf, collecting dust. I don’t think they’ve been played with in weeks.  

Fisher-Price’s slogan back in the 80s was “fuelled by imagination”. They didn’t make toys with batteries.  And I think that’s how it should be*.  Kids have amazing brains, and they can turn anything into anything else, and they don’t need to be told how to play with things.  It’s wrong to stifle them with toys that only play one way, or to make them only play with one set of toys at time.  The ponies and the dinosaurs should go visit Barbie in the dream house, and they should take the PotatoHead with them.  Yes, it’s messy. Yes, it’s loud, Yes, my house looks like a primary coloured bomb went off on a regular basis, but you know what? They are learning, and they are having fun.


*and batteries, my friend, are EXPENSIVE!

Cover Reveal: Bound

Exciting news! A friend of mine is just about set to release her debut novel!!  I read it a long time ago in an early draft and I just loved it! Magic, Dragons, the most perfect description of a migraine headache I have ever read, it’s fantastic! If you’re into epic fantasy novels, check it out on June 26th! I highly recommend it! (As you can guess from the excess of exclamation points in this post)

With no further ado, I give you:

Artist credit: Ravven (

Artist credit: Ravven (

Beautiful isn’t it??? I love it!


Welcome to Darmid, where magic is a sin, fairy tales are contraband, and the people live in fear of the Sorcerers on the other side of the mountains.
Rowan Greenwood has everything she’s supposed to want from life— a good family, a bright future, and a proposal from a handsome and wealthy magic hunter. She knows she should be content with what she has. If only she could banish the idea that there’s more to life than marriage and children, or let go of the fascination with magic she’s been forced to suppress since childhood.
When Rowan unknowingly saves the life of one of her people’s most feared enemies, a simple act of compassion rips her from her sheltered life and throws her into a world of magic that’s more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than she ever could have imagined.
Now Rowan might just get everything she ever dreamed of— that is, if the one thing she’s always wanted doesn’t kill her, first.
About the Author:

Kate Sparkes was born in Hamilton, Ontario, but now resides in Newfoundland, where she tries not to talk too much about the dragons she sees in the fog. She lives with a Mountie, two kids who take turns playing Jeckyll and Hyde, three cats with more personality than most people she meets, and the saddest-looking dog on the planet. Her first novel, Bound, will be released in June 2014, assuming the dragons don’t eat her, first.

sparkes profile

Kate Sparks

blog: Disregard the Prologue (
Twitter: @kate_sparkes



Day 20: 5 Things you are passionate about

Well, personally, I feel that the word passionate gets thrown about way too often these days.  It gets used for anything that anyone is more than mildly interested in, and is becoming synonymous with Love, or Enjoyment. A passion, to me anyway, is something that you embrace with your whole being. Something that means so much to you that you throw yourself into it, heart and soul and feel empty without it.  I can’t think of 5 things that make me feel that way.

I’m an avid reader, and I would very upset if someone took away all my books, and denied me access to more reading material, but I still don’t think I feel a passion towards my books or any type of printed word.
I’m an environmentalist, but not a member of greenpeace or PETA. I’m not a zealot about animal rights and cleaning up pollution. I recycle, and even go so far as to avoid eating meat because of animal husbandry practices. I plant flowers to feed bees and butterflies and feed the local birds, squirrels and raccoons.  Still not sure this counts as a passion.
I love some of the television shows that I watch, one might even say that I am obsessed with some of them, but again, it’s not a burning passion.

I actually cannot think of a single thing that I am passionate about.  Maybe I need to work on my enthusiasm for things. (I do have a headache right now and it’s been a really long day)

What’s in a bag?

Day 19: What’s in your bag?

Whoa. Scary. Even I don’t know what might be buried down at the bottom that thing!

Well, at least this gives me an excuse to clean it out and switch from my winter purse to a summer bag.  Images are not for the faint at heart!

In no particular order, I found the following in my purse:

photo 1-10

  • 2 wallets: mine and my old one, which Olivia is using
  • 1 package of AA batteries, with 4 still in it.
  • 3 dead (presumably) AA batteries
  • 2 McCafe Stamp Cards. One full, one with 2 stamps on it.
  • 3 gift cards: Itunes, Reitmans and Toys R us
  • 3 temporary tattoos
  • 60 cents in Canadian Tire money (If you don’t know what that is, I apologize) ;
  • 2 WIN FREE WINGS FOR A YEAR! coupons that expired in April
  • 2 ketchup packets, a knife and a spoon in a baggie. The fork seems to have vanished
  • 8 crayons and 2 pens
  • a tampon
  • a package of 2 lip balms with one still in it
  • half a tooth brush holder (the lid seems to be missing)
  • some sort of toy bottle
  • 2 sheets of stamps, each with 3 on them
  • a small pile of clean napkins
  • 3 hair clips that don’t match each other and one big clip.
  • 40 cents in loose change
  • the battery charger for my camera (no camera)
  • the case for my glasses
  • 2 home depot paint stir sticks (unused)
  • Olivia’s ribbon for completing Preschool 2 swimming lessons
  • a teeshirt from Old navy that I took too long to return and am now stuck with
  • a pile of random receipts and candy wrappers
  • 1 lollypop
  • a small containter with TUMs and Advil in it.
  • a small pill bottle with a completely different medication in it than the label says. (chosen for it’s childproof packaging)

And that seems to be about it. Very little garbage, but some completely random stuff. This was fun! I should do it again in the fall when I want to switch purses.

photo 2-7

I’m going to my happy place.

Day 18: Where are you happiest?

I honestly don’t know.  Outside, for sure.  I really don’t have a favourite place to be. As long as I’m warm and comfortable in the sun with a book and a cold drink, I’m happy.  The actual location doesn’t matter. I prefer being near water. A river, or the ocean, even a lake or a pond.   I’m really not too fussy. I’ve never been anywhere tropical, so I can’t say if I would prefer a sandy beach and palm trees to my own backyard.

Any of these places, alone, with a book, would work for me.


Atlantic ocean at Shediac. Low Tide. (granted, it was only 2 degrees Celsius when I took this, I’d like it a litre warmer)


Cottage we rented at Barry’s Bay. Very pretty.


Lynde Shores Whitby. I love it here. This was taken from the boardwalk. There are swans and geese and turkeys to feed. Very peaceful for being right of a main road.

Even this will do in a pinch. It was 37 degrees that day, any shade or water was a happy place to be.

Even this will do in a pinch. It was 37 degrees that day, any shade or water was a happy place to be.

Highs and Lows

Day 17: The highs and Lows of this past year.

Highs: smiley-face-cupcake

  • Buying a house.
  • Getting to live in the same province as my husband
  • Getting a pet hedgehog! I’d wanted one my whole life. Now I have 2.
  • Meeting some great new friends
  • starting a new business from home – scary at first, but it’s going really well.
  • Winning Camp NaNoWriMo
  • Seeing my daughter blossom into a young lady and make new friends and really love school for the first time in her life.


  • Moving 1000 kms away from my entire family.
  • Finding out what “House poor” really means
  • Husband losing his job three weeks before christmas
  • Having some of the new friends we found move back to Ontario.
  • Not having a family doctor, and having to take Olivia to the ER every time she gets sick. (It SUCKS)

It’s been an interesting year, with  much more in store, I’m sure of it.