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Monday, May 28, 2012

Don't Bother Knocking, No Vacancies Here

The "Zoo Hotel" has been at full capacity for two weeks. It all started when Poppa arrived on May 15. During his visit, we went hiking,

dove into mud piles,

ate handfuls of dirt,

picked Dandelions (this activity is never ending),
planted the Garden,

and after.
On the Friday, Poppa left in the morning and Uncle Andrew and Kevin arrived in the afternoon for the "Second Annual Men's Long Work Weekend".

As usual, we got tons of work done. Most importantly, (in my opinion and seeing that I'm the author of this blog, what I say goes), the boys spent all of Sunday "preparing my new craft closet". I'm sure you're thinking, what prep work is required for a craft closet besides removing the clothes, installing a table and hanging some shelves. This is The Zoo you know so nothing is quite what it seems.

First off, they had to remove the old wood stove chimney (the woodstove was removed from the basement as one of last years's work weekend projects). In doing so, they had to patch up the roof. In order to do this, they needed some matching shingles. Seeing as we didn't have any of these, they needed to remove several from another of our outbuildings. In doing so, they figured that they'd just choose to put a hole in that roof (seeing as they didn't have any shingles to replace those shingles) and install a whirlydig. After repairing all the rooves (google that one) they came inside to continue with the prep. They started with fixing the hole in the basement floor (where the fire bricks had been inset into the floor. They then fixed two ceilings and a floor. Not wanting to do things half "as good", they removed the existing asbestos tiles and replaced them with matching wood flooring (that the previous owner left behind). Here's a before picture (note that the chimney has been removed but you can see the hole in the floor). I'll post an after picture when all is said and done.

I have to admit that I don't have any pictures of people from the long weekend. I have some before and after pictures because blog post content comes before family portraits. Priorities people. I know that Kevin took some, including a video of Max running after the soccer ball (a favourite activity).

The boys left on holiday Monday and Nanna arrived in the morning on Tuesday. I think that I forgot to mention that Ed was in Edmonton (on business).

As of May 22, 2012 (seven days since planting), you can clearly see the radishes and beets peaking out, two bean plants (not sure if they're the ones that I dried out the seeds from last years crop of green beans or the yellow wax beans that I just bought) and lettuce or spinach. I'm not organized enough to have row markers (although I have great plans) but I have a system, plant things in alphabetical order; beans, beets, lettuce, onions, spinach. That was until I decided (after the fact) to plant radishes, red peppers and something else in my spare offset rows... I guess it won't matter in another week or two. I am so excited I can hardly stand it.

On Tuesday, we went out for lunch and did some errands. Thankfully, the kids were better behaved than for Uncle Eric's birthday party.

On Sunday, May 27, Rene and Sidney came for Pancake breakfast and then we all went to the Dandelion Festival. We caught an interactive puppet show (some of the puppets were human, they spoke a ton of French) and visited with the animals from the Sunny Acres Barnyard Zoo (in Spencerville). The kids loved petting and holding the rabbits and guinea pigs.

In the evening, Uncle Fred came for a leg of lamb dinner (one of my favourites!) so we got out Nanna's and my Nanna's jewellery box and got dressed up for the occasion.

And this morning, Nanna left for the cottage and the kids did some interior decorating. I knew that they were too quiet...

The Joys of Being Two Years Old!

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Made by LinLin Jewelry Giveaway, WW, 06/20

Remember how I won that giveaway from "Made by LinLin" (rhetorical question), well, Lindsay and I have teamed up to offer you more of her creative goodness!

This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Lindsay is a fellow Canadian based out of Vancouver, British Coloumbia. She writes;

"I sell handmade, unique, quality, and affordable jewellery and accessories for all ages and styles. I opened MadeByLinLin on November 2011 and have never been happier designing and creating products for people around the world."

Lindsay has graciously offered up 3 pairs of rose stud earrings, 1 rose ring and 2 rose bobby pins. You get to choose the colours you'd like. What a haul!

Made by LinLin Earrings
Made by LinLin Rings
Made by LinLin Bobby Pins
As for me, I chose lavender, black and red and left the ring colour up to Lindsay. She chose yellow which just happens to be one of my favourite colours (I didn't even tell her). I have worn each of the items several times and love the compliments.

I mean, (another rhetorical question coming here), where can you get affordable, handmade, Canadian-made jewellery for less than $10 but that makes you look like a million bucks?

Have something in mind that you don't see in her shop (unlikely as she makes everything from necklaces, to hair accessories to bracelets)? No problem, send Lindsay an email with your ideas and she'll work with you to bring them to life. Want to stay on top of all things "Made by LinLin"? Join their newsletter.

This giveaway will be open until 11:59pm EDT on June 20, 2012 at which time I will randomly select a winner. Note that we will once again get Ed to pick a number out of thin air use "The Zoo Standard for Random Number Selection". I will contact the winner via email (please be sure to leave yours) and the winner will have 72 hours to respond at which time, I will pick another winner. Please leave a comment for each entry. If I forgot anything or you have any questions, please contact me at journeysofthezoo at hotmail dot com.

This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!

Mandatory. Note that you must complete BOTH of these entries to be eligible to win this prize. Please leave TWO COMMENTS
1. "Like" Journeys of The Zoo on Facebook.
2. "Like" Made by LinLin on Facebook.

3. Follow Journeys of The Zoo via another form of Social Media (i.e. GFC, Pinterest, G+, see right hand column for links, let me know which way you followed).
4. Visit Made by LinLin's Etsy Shop and comment with which colour(s) you'd get or something else that catches your eye. It would be great if you added her shop to your favourites.
5. Share on Facebook (button at the bottom of this post, provide direct link). Daily
6. Tweet the Giveaway (button at the bottom of this post, provide direct link). Feel free to use; "Check out the MadebyLinLin #giveaway @JourneyofTheZoo, open Worldwide, closes June 20,". Daily
CONTEST CLOSED 7. Enter the Loopeez Shoe Tie Giveaway. Open until midnight on May 31, 2012.

Note that I received product from Lindsay that enabled me to conduct this review. I am not responsible for any prizes not received nor will I be sending out the prize myself. All opinions are my own yadda, yadda and whatever other legal jargon I'm supposed to write.

Personal Note for my totally underpaid editor Uncle Eric. I'm using the American Spelling of jewellery (as opposed to the British English version) in the title to save on characters.

Good Luck!

This giveaway was posted to Linkies Contest Linkies.

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Monday, May 14, 2012

What Winnings are in The Zoo's Mailbox? {Canadian}

Time for another installment of "What's in The Zoo's Mailbox". The only difference is that this time, all the prizes come from Canadian companies.

I I Love Canada Logo Canada.

1. Porcelain Bead Bracelet Earring Set from Jaya at The Jewel Street
I don’t wear a lot of jewellery (Eric, check here for spelling accuracy); one ring and a pair of earrings. I have a few other pieces that I pull out for special occasions but nothing like this. Especially because it’s my one and only "set". I can definitely see myself wearing it in my day-to-day casual wear (is there anything else?) but could also wear it for a formal dinner out.

Porcelain Bead Bracelet

When I first tried to put the bracelet on, I kept trying to twist the clasp (open) until I realized that it's attached with a magnet. Neat! I'd never seen that before (I don’t get out much). It feels so strong that I have little doubt that I'll ever lose it. I find no difference in weight to my bracelets with clasp fittings (they’re both lightweight).

I can safely say that I'm glad that someone who shall remain nameless (you know who you are...) no longer has their ears pierced or else this set would no longer be in my possession. In addition, I’ve recently lost my "go to" pair of earrings so these have taken up the role nicely.

Seeing as Jaya has a great sense of humour, I thought that I'd ask her a couple questions.

One: What is/was your favourite piece in your collection?
I like everything I create. Can a mother answer who's your favorite child (smile)? My mom is the greatest inspiration for me. She's a very strong hearted lady. In my childhood, she looked like an ordinary mom to me. But as I grew up and particularly after my marriage, am seeing something great in her. I see this necklace as very simple but it portrays a bold and confident attitude.

Two: What item is your best seller?
My earrings sell the best. My customers love these green turquoise ones. They say that they’re fun and unique.

Three: What is your favourite Zoo animal?
Can I pick 2? I like the Zebra and Giraffe for their patterns.

Four: A "normal" person has 32 permanent teeth. How many do you have?
I have 30 as I had two removed and had to wear braces for three years (when I was 12).

If my review and Jaya's interview don't convince you to check out her Etsy Shop, then how about the fact that she sent along a lovely handwritten card and you know what I think about that!

As you mentioned Jaya, we’ll have to get together for a coffee when I’m in Toronto.

2. Pwark from Louis a.k.a. TiWi (the caretaker of all things "Pwark")
Let me start out by saying that The Professor almost didn’t come to live with us. You see, Louis sent me a Facebook message on March 27 and I didn’t see it until April 15. "Normally", you have from 24-72 hours to respond or you forfeit your prize. But, Louis is no "normal guy" nor are his creatures!

So, who is "The Professor" you ask. Well, the latest addition to The Zoo. In keeping with the French(ish) theme (he’s actually Belgian) we named him with this guy in mind. It's like he was All my favourite colours; oranges, yellows with a retro vibe.


A face that only a mother could love!?

Opening up the package (the cool creature on the front was such a nice touch) was like getting a birthday present on my birthday (hey, it WAS my birthday). Out fell handfuls of stickers, a screened fly jean patch and TWO Pwarks (apparently The Professor, formally known as Pwark #444 was too afraid to travel alone so he brought his friend "Skwid"). Note that the only thing that I won was the Pwark so all the extra’s were such a nice surprise.

Want your own Professor (well he’s a one-of-a-kind but there are many other special ones to choose from), check out Louis's Facebook Page ( and his Website ( for other unique and creative items (much more than just creatures)!

We look forward to creating many more adventures with the latest member of The Zoo.

In keeping with the Canadian theme of this post, Louis has kindly translated his review into French (Canada’s other official language).

Merci Louis! (that would be French for thank you).

Le PWARK de Louis, a.k.a TiWi ( le créateur de l'univers "PWARK!")
Pour commencer, je dois dire que Le Professeur a bien failli ne pas venir habiter avec nous. En effet, Louis m'a envoyé un message sur Facebook le 27 Mars et je ne l'ai vu que le 15 Avril. Habituellement, vous avez de 24 a 72 heures pour répondre ou vous ne pouvez réclamer votre prix. Mais, Louis n'est pas un gars ordinaire, tout comme ses créatures!

Vous vous demandez surement qui est "Le Professeur". Bien, c'est le petit dernier addicion au Zoo. Dans le but de garder son nom dans un thème français (il est Belge) nous l'avons nommé "Professor Calculus" en tête.

[See pictures above]

N'est-il pas adorable (un visage que seul une mère peut aimer!?). C'est comme s'il était fait spécialement pour moi. Toutes mes couleurs favorites; orange, jaune avec un accent rétro.

En ouvrant le colis (la créature sur le dessus est un joli ajout) ce fut comme un cadeau de fête (en plein jour de ma fête). Il en est tombé plein d'autocollants, une pièce de jean avec une mouche sérigraphiée dessus et DEUX PWARK! (il paraitrait que Le Professeur, a l'origine PWARK #444 était effrayé a l'idée de voyager seul, donc il est accompagné de son ami "Skwid"). A noter que le prix était seulement le PWARK, donc tous les petits extras étaient des surprises.

Vous voulez votre propre Professeur ( bien qu'il soit unique, il y en a plein d'autres que vous pouvez adopter), visitez la page Facebook ( ou le site internet ( pour les autres items uniques et disjonctés (beaucoup plus que seulement des créatures)!

On espère faire plein d'aventures avec le dernier membre du Zoo.

Pour conserver l'aspect Canadien de ce billet, Louis a gentiment traduit la critique en Français (la seconde langue officielle du Canada).

Thanks Louis! [That would be anglais for merci]

3. Split Pack from Loveable Labels
I did it! All my time wasted hard work paid off. I finally won my coveted prize; a Loveable Labels Split Pack. I know, I need to get out more.

This time (versus the last time), I got personalized stickers in each of the kids names. Besides blankie and teddy, I think that this is the first thing that they don’t need to share. Ed and I have no problem with them sharing (it’s an important concept of our parenting style) but seriously, our poor kids.

I love that each pack (name) comes in their own booklet with tabs. Talk about sleek. They’ve thought of everything and even provide instructions. Not because they're difficult to install (they're stickers for Pete's sake, poor Pete) but to ensure that you get the maximum stickability (new word!?). I for one appreciated (and read) them.

Max's real name (yes, Max is only his super secret spy name) is kind of long (10 characters) but I was pleased to see that it didn't look squished at all. However, I already knew that because you can preview your order!

My one minor issue with the split pack is that it isn’t really ideal if you have to split the pack with a boy and girl. I chose the "Nature Lovers" design and I find it a bit girly for Max. Not so much in the colours but in the designs (flowers and butterflies, not that we aren't an equal opportunity family over here, Max wears his fair share of tutus). Next time (and trust me, there will be one), I'll choose their Licorice Twist design with a frog icon. Or even better, maybe I’ll ask them if they could use our "Z" icon.

So just to clarify, I've updated my goals. Now it isn't to win a Loveable Labels Pack but to win TWO Loveable Labels packs. Want your own pack? Check out their site at and support Canadian!

4. Jewellery from Made by Lin Lin Lindsay creates beautiful handmade pieces from her studio in Vancouver. Not sure if it's the fresh air, or being surrounded by beauty (love the ocean and forests) but she sure knows about colour! I was fortunate enough to have my choice (of colours) of three pairs of earrings and a ring. The ring is adjustable (brass) but it just slipped on my ring finger like that.

Be sure to check out all her other items (she does custom work). I especially like the bobby pins!

5. Herringbone Pants from Hugh Fielding
Let me introduce you to the cutest (capri) pants. Well actually, they aren’t supposed to be capri pants but Hugh Fielding had already sent their prize (pants sized for an 11 month old) to the giveaway hosts so I couldn’t get them in Max’s size. No worries, they’re big enough in the girth so Max has been wearing them as capri pants.

Herringbone Pants from Hugh Fielding

Note that this picture is from their website. I still need to add a picture of Max wearing them!

They have this label on the inside that looks "personalized" (it's earthy looking and worn, not a bad thing, just the way it is) and so Ed keeps telling Max that he’s wearing "Hugh Fielding's" pants. Tee, hee.

Herringbone Label

Love the stripes around the waist and cuffs. The cuff length is 3" and I would have turned them up more but it was creased (I just need to iron it) and didn’t want to make the picture even worse, considering I take such bad pictures negatively affect the creative integrity of the photo. A.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. Looking forward to warmer weather so he can wear them outside.

Hugh Fielding has great stuff for your home and kids. Be sure to check out their shop.

6. P-Touch Scrapbooking Labeller from Brother Canada
Seriously, how lucky can a girl get (rhetorical question)? This week, this labeller showed up at my doorstep (see comment about UPS guy below for additional details).

Brother Scrapbooking Labeller

As I mentioned, recently I’ve been bitten by the crafting bug. In turn, I'd borrowed Ed’s Brother Labeller (for men) but he took it back because I was using up too much of his labels because he needed to use it. I don't need to worry about Ed borrowing mine because it came in a pretty "your husband will never steal your labeller from you" pink. The package included a handy carrying case, instructions, batteries (seriously, who provides batteries anymore, BONUS!) and TWO packs of labels (amongst other important things but I don't want to cut into my labelling time by mentioning them, refer to the links I provided for more details).

The installation of the batteries and tape was really easy (especially because I followed the instructions, yes, I'm like that). I immediately started to label everything items of importance. Needless to say, I'm really excited to finish up my craftroom revamp.

Aries the Cat gets Labelled

The only problem I had was that I broke one of the (plastic) clasps on the box and now it won't close. They have a "one year brother labeling machine limited warranty" so I'll give them a call and let you know what happens. Speaking of which, brother is so efficient that my package came with a personalized letter (love those!) to be used as a "proof of purchase" (which was necessary for me to register my labeler online, which I did and was so easy that it took me less than 2 minutes to do!).

7. Family Four Pack to Chimpanzee the Movie (Disney) Believe it or not, I have been entering giveaways for prizes that I have no intention of using (quell the laughter please). This was one such prize. While entering, I thought, Grey, Drey and Nanna who live in Toronto (I do not) could use it but when the time came (and I'd actually won), it turned out that my Aunt Bib was getting married on that day and so they couldn't attend. Plan B: my cousin Heidi. Luckily, she totally rearranged her life and cancelled her plans in order to attend the advanced screening. Here's what she had to say.

Thank you so much for this opportunity for a family outing. No popcorn tales, I snuck in Girl Guide cookies, fruit snacks and granola bars. No drinks though, that would be wrong. The movie was great, Jeffrey (seven year old boy) had seen trailers for it the week before and was asking to see it. He and Cameron watched the whole thing. Stephanie (five-year old girl) only lasted 45 minutes. It showed a chimpanzee family live in the wild, play, sleep, gather food highlighting the challenges and rewards of the search and success of opening a nut. They all had names and an important role in the family. I love the way Oscar stayed so close to mom until he was strong enough to explore on his own.

As for the drink comment, that is "Classic Heidi"!

Heidi My Cousin and Her Family
Note that this picture was used with permission.

8. One Year Subscription to

Last but not least, the first ever edition of EcoParent magazine arrived and even the feel of it tells me that this magazine is special

EcoParent Magazine

It feels extra durable (kind of like tyvek) but still the nice feel of a paper magazine that you're used to. It feels this way because it's been printed on "Canadian-made Enviro100 Satin 100% post-consumer waste recycled paper compared to a typical 100% recycled paper. In turn it saved; 53,000L of water, 963kg of water, 3,217 kg of CO2 (the average emission of one car for a whole year), 12 kg NOx (37 days worth of a large truck's emissions) and 22GJ (101,259 60W lightbulbs for one hour). Who knew that there were differences in recycled paper!

In flipping through, it appears that the magazine is regionalized (the address sticker for mine references Smith Falls) and there are local (provincial and national) advertisements one of which is from "A Mother's Touch" which I love (and have done business with).

Know someone that has everything but wants to make a difference? By giving them a subscription to this magazine you're helping the environment, supporting Canadian and learning about the world around you. I'm looking forward to catching some time to read.

Off to check the Mailbox!

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Loopeez Shoe Tie Giveaway, CAN/US, 05/31

Journeys of The Zoo is pleased to bring you another great giveaway only this time it's for a Loopeez Shoe Tie! THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE CONFIRMED WINNER IS...


As part of my extracurricular activities, I came upon the company Loopeez, Their website states;

"Loopeez is a mom invented product that revolutionizes the way kids learn to tie shoes. Loopeez is the first shoe tying aid to teach directly on the child’s shoe and teach BOTH methods of tying. With Loopeez, parents and kids can learn to tie in a fun way eliminating the frustration of shoe tying. Kids love the cool designs and colors and parents love how fast they work. Kids learn to tie in minutes."
If you have kids, know any kids or want to borrow some, you need to check out what they have to offer. After the challenges joys of toilet training, why not make shoe tying a breeze for you and your child.

Since my kids aren’t tying their shoes yet, I decided to try out the (boys camouflage) loopeez for myself. It took me (way) less than 30 seconds from start to finish. It’s made of light weight rubber (don’t know what I thought it would be made of) and was really easy to thread.

The verdict, I'm able to tie my shoes I think that it would work for kids. I mean, it’s difficult for them to hold a loop in either hand and tie them. This takes away half the workload from the child until they have the dexterity to do it themselves. With them tying their own shoes, you can get out the door quicker. Their increased independence = Priceless.

Like what you see, don’t want to enter or wait? Don’t, order now!. They are really reasonably priced, you’ll get years of use out of them and you they're so durable they can be handed down. They come in tons of fun and different colours and designs. As an added bonus, they have other products too!
Loopeez has graciously offered all of you the chance to win a girls or boys loopeez in camouflage colours.

This giveaway will be open until 11:59pm EDT on May 31, 2012 at which time I will randomly select a winner. Note that we will once again get Ed to pick a number out of thin airuse "The Zoo Standard for Random Number Selection" unless of course we get our act together and use the application that Murray (you may remember him as Martin), my last giveaway winner wrote for us. I will contact the winner via email (please be sure to leave yours) and the winner will have 72 hours to respond at which time, I will pick another winner. Please leave a comment for each entry. This giveaway is open to Canada and USA.

If I forgot anything or you have any questions, please contact me at journeysofthezoo at hotmail dot com.

Besos, The Zoo

Monday, May 7, 2012

Getting Ready for Spring, Oops, Too Late

You're probably thinking "Hey, how can you be getting ready for spring when it started on March 20, 2012 at 1:14 A.M. (EDT)." Simple, it snowed on April 23 so I've allowed an extra (almost) two weeks past this point to announce "My Official Day of Spring". Besides, it was so lovely out, it HAD to be spring.

The day started out like (almost) every Sunday with pancake breakfast.

Unfortunately, it ended like every other Sunday with Ed eating cereal and me having eggs. Those kids love their pancakes.

When you live on a 15 acre property, there's always lots of yardwork to do. Thankfully, the weather was on our side (it was lovely out) so we spent our afternoons; tackling the neverending battle with the dandelions (they always win), preparing and seeding the previous home of the larger than life lilac tree bush, tilling and edging our garden (with cedar posts). The kids went for walks around the cedar bush, picked 976,092 dandelions, got really dirty and then clean again (I'm not sure that it was a total mistake that Artemis got sprayed in the face with the hose by Max...) and generally had a great time. They love to play outside.

Besos, The Zoo