I love Dollarama. Not as much as I used to before they added all of those extra prices (Now with items at $1.25, $1.50, and $2.00! (Although I’ll tell you a secret—most of the items were the $1 items, now with higher price points. Just saying.)), but it’s still pretty awesome.

Having one within walking distance has been fabulous. (There are over 600 across Canada, it’s almost hard not to have one within walking distance in a major city.) I probably go there weekly. You never know what they might have.

On a previous trip, I saw an awesome book: Fun & Creative Dates for Dating Couples: 52 Ways to Have Fun Together. To have a successful marriage, I believe it’s important to always keep dating (with your spouse, obviously!). Naturally, for $1.25, I picked it up. I can’t yet say that it’s quite as cool as the $2 book I bought my hubby for Christmas, Entertaining with The Sopranos (as Compiled by Carmela Soprano), but it’s still pretty awesome. So that’s what I’ve decided to do—try out some of these “great dates” and see what happens.

And some of them even sound kind of interesting. There’s the Alphabet Date, where you pick a letter out of a hat and everything you do on that date has to start with that letter. You’re supposed to bring along a pocket dictionary so you can get inspired which would help, because off the top of my head, if I get stuck with Z, other than Zebra watching at the Zoo, or going to the Zoo on Osborne,  I’m kind of out of ideas. I guess we could go Zealot hunting? (But what about X? Do we go to the hospital and get x-rays of our hands holding one other? Do you think they do that? Although I suppose we could draw x-rays of our ourselves (Ooh! Or each other, because that’s super romantic!) and then Xerox them…And that would all be done with the sweet serenade of a xylophone in the background followed up by some XBOX. Hmm, that might just work…)

I think the Alphabet Date would be entertaining just trying to figure out what you could do. Then there are other obvious ones that we don’t often think to do—go play at a park on the jungle gym, play in the rain, make pizza from  scratch (together!), horseback riding, a snow date, or just cruising flea markets and estate sales to see what other people trash and what others still treasure. (NOTE: If you are dating and considering marriage and currently not living together, I strongly recommend this date. It will let you know if your future mate is a clutter-freak, and if you’re not, get out now! (Unless they like cleaning or you always wanted to be a TV celeb and can get on the show HOARDERS.)

I’m not sure which date we’ll try first. I’d say let’s start at number 1 and then go from there, but there’s no guarantee that there will still be snow on the ground in 19 weeks.

Hah, who am I kidding? This is WINTERpeg, ManiSNOWba—of course there will be snow by the second week of October!
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My nephew is four. This past summer he had his very first sleepover at our house. I have my husband to thank for that.

After spending the day together, Ryan, who had plans that night to go to a concert, asked him when he was going to sleep over at our house. “How about tonight?”

Sure, he was kind of joking because the little guy had never been away from his parents over night before, but when you make an offer to a four-year-old, you’d better be willing to deliver.

His face turned to sheer delight. You would have thought we were offering ice cream for breakfast for life or something. Because he loves my daughter so much, the chance to spend even more time with his big cousin was an automatic yes.

That’s OK, I love my nephew and I have the greatest daughter in the world (no really, she’s so easy to take care of—I credit that to my husband and the fact that she has no blood relation to me whatsoever!). This was going to be a great Saturday night. A nice easy, somewhat relaxing night.

I ‘m starting to think that nephews should come with a handbook.

Bed time was 9:30. Or at least that was when I was able to get him calmed down enough to try. Was he really calm? No. He and Leah were going to sleep in her bed, so I put him in there and let him choose the stuffed animals he wanted most to sleep with.

As I’m about to leave the room, I hear “It’s not comfy. I’m not comfy.”

Fair enough. He can always sleep in my bed and Ryan can sleep on the couch when he gets home. So I propose that to him. “Do you want to sleep in mine and Uncle Ryan’s bed?”

“OK.”

We move into our bedroom and he lies there, tossing and turning after about 10 seconds. “It’s not comfy.” So I lie down with him. It’s better, but still not “comfy.”

I turn to him and say, “You have to sleep somewhere. It’s either in Leah’s bed or my bed.”

“Your bed! Where’s your bed?”

“We’re in it, Sweetie.”

“No, this is Uncle Ryan’s bed! Where’s your bed? Is it comfy?”

I considered putting him in the basement on the futon, but that’s just mean. Also, he is afraid of Smith who lives in our basement (he’s a life-size Frankenstein monster type figure who talks when you press his hand. We’ve had him down there for almost a year and he still freaks me out. No, I could never let a child sleep down there alone. That’s just cruel.).

After reading to him, singing to him, and watching most of a movie with him, I eventually got him tired enough to almost fall asleep. By that, I mean I got him really cranky and homesick. That’s when the tears started. Luckily, crying is pretty exhausting, and just before midnight, the little guy finally fell asleep.

Poor Leah, though, who graciously shared her bed with her little cousin. Apparently he is quite the kicker. While he eventually got a good night’s sleep in a bed that wasn’t “comfy,” she barely slept a wink and around 3:30 in the morning, she snuck downstairs and slept on our living room couch. (Not the basement, because I don’t think even she wants to sleep near Smith.)

(Are you getting the hint, Smith? Kids and adults find you creepy!)

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NOTE: when the incredibly unattractive Smith talks, his mouth moves and his eyes light up. That's not the creepiest part. It's the fact that he stands alone in a dark corner waiting, and, well, just being creepy!

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Sadly, Smith is not the creepiest thing that lives in our basement. That would be Smith 2 (pronounced "two," not "the second").Smith 2 is the result of my husband's corpsing phase. A gentleman, but still ugly. He needs to put on some clothes. Hmm, I guess he's not a gentleman after all...