Word Game Party


A couple of weeks ago, Daddy’s sister organized a family get-together in celebration of her birthday. We played a notorious skill-testing game and ate some delicious food, and it was so much fun I wanted to share some of the evening with you! 

The Word Game

Suitable for ages 8-99

You will need:
Paper for each player
A pencil with an eraser for each player
A dictionary or dictionary app
A timer
Some books

Snacks and drinks (very important during the score tallying)

One person will have to be appointed the Judge. This person should be tough as nails and not afraid to make decisions that might make other people angry!

The judge begins by opening one of the books and choosing a word that is no more than eight letters long. The judge announces the word and the correct spelling to the players, and then starts the timer for fifteen minutes.

The object of the game is to make words using the letters of the word selected by the judge. The player with the most unique words at the end of the game is the winner.

Some rules:

1. No glancing at other players’ words!
2. You must be prepared to defend your words with proper definitions, and may be asked to use them in a sentence.
3. No proper nouns.
4. No slang, unless commonly accepted and listed in a dictionary.
5. No non-English words unless they are commonly used.
6. No short forms unless commonly used.
7. No acronyms.
8. If you use more than one word from the same root, they must each have a different definition, i.e. runner and runners – a person who runs and the shoes they wear on their feet.

When the timer goes off each player counts his or her words, writes down the final number and circles that number. The player with the most words begins the scoring round by calling out each word they have created. If all of the players have a word that is called out, everyone draws a line through that word. If any of the players have missed that word, everyone circles the word. When the player with the most words is finished calling out all of their words, everyone else takes a turn adding any missed words. The player with the most circled words at the end of scoring is the winner.

The scoring round can take FOREVER so this is when snacking and drinking usually happens. It’s also likely when your family feud will begin.


Here are a couple of recipes from our day of feasting that I thought you might enjoy!

Beef Mishkaki (Tanzanian Cuisine)

Beef sirloin steak cut into 1” cubes – 1 kg
2-3 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
2-3 Tbsp fresh minced garlic
Half a large onion finely minced
1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp Tikka Masala – you can find all kinds of masala in an Indian grocery store, or the International section of your grocery store
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
5 Tbsp olive or vegetable oil

Marinate beef with all above ingredients and refrigerate for 6 hours or over night. The longer the more tender beef will be.

Thread beef on skewers (soak the skewers in water for at least an hour first, and be sure not to crowd meat) and grill over high heat for 5-6 minutes for medium. Serve hot off the grill with the chutneys (basically the Indian word for sauce) of your choosing.

Ama’s Green Chutney

2 bunches fresh coriander
7-8 green chilies
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil

Trim off the roots and leaves of the coriander and rinse the stems repeatedly and well in a light-colored container until you can no longer see any sand in the container. Wrap the unwashed leaves in some paper towel and reserve for other cooking. Coarsely chop the stems.
Trim the ends off the chilies and coarsely chop (wash your hands well after handling chilies!)
Add all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Store in refrigerator until serving.

Great accompaniments to Mishkaki include:

Grilled corn
Grilled sweet potato (par cook in the microwave, then slice and brush with coconut oil and sea salt before grilling. Garnish with coriander)
Any kind of salads
Fresh naan
Plain yogurt

For those of you who don’t like red meat, the marinade also works well with chicken.

Enjoy, and remember The Word Game is meant to be fun.

Mommy’s To-Do List – Week of July 15th


Weekend Highlights

Mama S and I began our weekend with a surprise girls’ night in Toronto. Our dear friends Emily and Jordan just had their first baby, and Jordan scored the husband-of-the-year award by inviting all of Emily’s girlfriends over for a surprise girls’ night in because she was missing everyone. He even prepared a delicious table full of snacks to satisfy our many dietary restrictions. It was lovely to see all of the ladies, and the commute to Toronto on Go Transit gave me two hours of reading time. 

Noah hit the nine-month mark! Now my little baby has been out in the world for as long as he grew inside my belly. I can’t believe it’s already been nine months.

Our Bapa returns to Africa on Tuesday morning, so we spent the weekend close to home puttering around the house and eating. The easy schedule allowed me to plough through all of our laundry and tackle the classroom, freeing me up for fun through the week.

VIP Tasks This Week

The Classroom

I’ve done all that I can to organize the stuff in this room. Now I just need to get some extra muscles to help me move out the things that don’t belong there. I’m hoping daddy can make some time this week to help me! (Batting eyelashes)

Summer Camp At Home

I purchased the Summer Nature Camp at Home curriculum that I mentioned last week, and now I just need to start reading through it. With the insane heat today, it might be fun to try to bake these solar oven s’mores! Perhaps we can prepare some delicious popsicles this morning too? It’s not even 8am and I’m roasting in my room with the AC on!


The garden is tiny, but determined to grow, for the most part. We’ve got some holes to fill now where I think we have some dud seeds and bulbs, but otherwise everything is coming along. It’s time to fertilize I think, and perhaps mulch the tomatoes, but I’m saving gardening for a day later in the week when the high isn’t 32 degrees!


It’s time to zip across the border and pick up the shopping that’s accumulating in our UPS box. Plus, I need to find a new bathing suit for Hannah who has grown out of all of hers. This reminds me, I need to write a post about shopping online!

Library Card

I now have mail with my new address, so it’s time to get our library cards at both the St. Catharine’s and Niagara libraries. Meanwhile, I have a bookshelf filled with summer reading potential!

Final Touches

I’ve got to finish my room by hanging the few pictures I have to put up. I’m hoping that will help to make it a little less cluttered in here.

What I didn’t get to last week:

Gluten Free Baking

I think it would be wise to hit the Bulk Barn for some gluten-free ingredients in the next day or so. I can then order whatever else I might need online, and pick it up when we go across. I’d like to go fruit picking with the girls either this week or next, and I plan to do a baking lesson using the fruit we gather.

Personal Goals

I so enjoyed my reading time on transit last week that I want to carve out more time for reading. I’m frankly not sure how to do this with a nine-month old who is in perpetual motion. Maybe I need to take advantage of his naps and the girls’ excitement with their new room to enjoy some reading time? When I do this, I always feel guilty, but maybe the secret is to just know that on a certain day of the week, that’s what my baby-free time is for.

Things to Look Forward To

Shopping with Daddy!

I love our trips across the border, even though it’s often a bit epic. It’s nice to know that we have that time together, with a guaranteed lunch date. It’s been so busy around here that we haven’t had much one-on-one time.

Work Day!

Heading to my mom’s for some uninterrupted work time was a fantastic idea. I’m hoping to do this again this week, and I know I’ll be even more productive because I’ll be riding in with Mama S on her way to work. This way there’s no scary bus ride on the highway with the baby in my lap, and I won’t have a car seat to install.

Easy Week!

I’m looking at my calendar for other events to look forward to and there aren’t any! I know I want to take the girls on an outing this week – either another hike (huge success) or perhaps a trip to a local farm to pick some fruit – but otherwise it’s an easy-going week. I love not having every moment scheduled.


The week ends with a family reunion and open house at Mama S’ folks in Barrie. They have such a lovely home and property, and I feel like we haven’t been there in ages. It will be nice to watch the kids run around and play and it will be Noah’s first cousins photo opportunity!

Now, if I’m going to get anything accomplished, this mama needs coffee. I hope your week is off to a great start, and I hope if you’re facing the kind of heat we are, you’re finding smart, fun ways to keep cool.

What Size is Sexy?

Madmen's Christina Hendricks

Dear Mommy,

I’m a 20-something female who feels sexy even though I’m well above a size 8 and have no trouble waking up beside a handsome fella. Feeling sexy or just feeling good about myself has been a constant struggle since childhood, but coming into my full-bodied adult life I now see that skinny doesn’t always mean sexy. 

A very single, very sexy guy I was talking to the other day said that short dresses and model-bodies aren’t sexy if the personality wearing them is that of a house fly, but a voluptuous woman, confident and comfortable in her own skin, can be nothing but sexy.

Ladies and gents are just as insecure as the other, so please, Playboy Mommy, do what you do best and give us a taste of what’s sexy, the unconventional way.


Ms Loves Her Lady Lumps

Dear Lady Lumps,

This note gave me pause. Have I been doing a bad job representing the women I’m hoping to inspire and empower?

So many of the photos I choose for my Freaky Friday posts feature model-types. I love fashion, and fashion photography, and want to celebrate the talented artists who shine in that industry, but sadly that industry is still in the habit of perpetuating entirely unattainable, false beauty standards. It’s no secret that very few people are actually able to be so thin by nature’s own hand, and I want this blog, and all of my work, to really resonate with everyone who visits here. It should be said that by no means do I think that only a women who can fit into a size 0 is attractive, or sexy. In fact, I think it’s truly fucked up that size 0 even exists. Why would anyone aspire to NOTHING?? I feel confidant that the rest of the real world feels that way too, and I hope that this particular post inspires an interesting dialogue here.

I’m not talking about perpetuating a society that promotes obesity either. Either end of the scale (pardon the pun) is too extreme and both need to be painted as the unhealthy, seriously physically and psychologically damaging lifestyle choices that they are. The fact is, real women come in all shapes and sizes, and even when we take measures to eat healthy and exercise regularly, a size six might even be impossible for some of us. Does that mean we should sacrifice our sensuality or sexuality? Absofuckin’lutely not. In an ongoing effort to acknowledge and celebrate every reader’s sexuality, here are some Internet finds that are for bold, bodacious, real-figured women and the people who love them.

Thank you Lady for speaking up!

Sizzling Lingerie Sites

Shockingly, this ad was deemed too risque for a host of networks. The same networks who air Victoria’s Secret ads without hesitation. Makes you think, doesn’t it? I think the gal in the ad is scrumptious.

The web is a sea of resources, but after an afternoon of careful poking around, here are some of my favorite lingerie sites for women with serious curves:

Secrets in Lace


Hips and Curves

Sites with great “plus-size” sections:

Oh Cheri

Trashy (only up to size 14)

Further Inspiration

Here are a few additional resources, tidbits, and morsels from the web:

This compelling segment from the Ellen show features four of the most popular plus-size models in the fashion industry, and some really promising words from Glamour magazine. This popular fashion magazine has made a pledge to its readers to feature a real variety of body types in it’s pages. It’s about time someone did.

The Curvy Life is a blog I stumbled on that I think is really brilliant. It’s good reading for any woman, and a really positive, beautifully laid-out site. Here’s their mission statement:

It’s The Curvy Life’s mission is to empower women to stand in the full power of their bodies and to embrace their beautiful curves, no matter the size. It’s time to create a culture of body love, so GET YOUR CURVE ON!

Plus Model Magazine is the premiere magazine celebrating and inspiring the plus size fashion, beauty, arts and plus size modeling industries. Check out their blog and subscribe online here.


Gallery of Gorgeousness

Finally, here are some smokin’ hot pics of some of my favorite buxom beauties. For more incredible beauty, check out Plus Models

Natalie Laughlin

Maggie Brown

Barbara Brickner

Crystal Renn

Kate Dillon

Mia Tyler

Toccara Jones

Whitney Thompson

Christina Hendricks

There’s so many more gorgeous curvy women in the media! Tell us who your favourite buxom babe is.

Ask Playboy Mommy

Tug of War www.paulvanginkel.com

Tug of War www.paulvanginkel.com

Dear Mommy,

I’m in a fairly new polyamorous relationship with my husband and my lesbian partner. Do you have couples nights? I feel like I am walking a tight rope trying to keep both partners happy and if one of them isn’t annoyed with me the other one is! I had an emotional meltdown the other night and really hope you can help.



Dearest M,

I remember the early days of my relationship with my partners. We were all so excited and fond of each other that none of us wanted to impose any formal rules, and boundaries felt like a rude barrier to our organic love fest. We wanted things to flow freely, but instead we created was a shit storm of weird feelings and jealousy that haunts us all to this day.

Make no mistake; turning the conventional relationship model on its ear will challenge the nerves of even the steeliest soul. We are doing everything differently than the relationship models we grew up with. I don’t think this means we shouldn’t challenge convention to make our lives richer, but I do think it means we ought to be realistic about what we expect of each other and ourselves.

At some point in a polyamorous relationship, everyone is going to feel jealous. Anyone who tells you they haven’t felt that way is lying to you. We are conditioned to feel jealousy from our very early days in our culture that constantly encourages us to focus on what we don’t have. The media perpetually reminds us that we aren’t enough. Throw the dynamics of your family of origin into that special sauce and we are easily turned into green-eyed monsters. Jealousy will happen. Be patient and forgiving with yourself and your lovers. Let those jealous feelings come, but don’t wallow in them. When you feel them, find something you love to do and do it immediately. Force yourself to reflect on all of the abundance in your life; after all you have TWO people who adore you! You must be awesome. (Do share that idea with your partners too so they don’t have to feel bad about jealousy).

Your relationship with everyone in your life will only be as healthy as your relationship with yourself. This is why I’m a huge proponent of therapy, which is a long process, but the best gift you’ll ever give yourself. There are also some practical measures you can implement to help your poly life flow smoothly.

Make a Schedule

Divide the week like this; time for your man, time for your lady, time for yourself, time for the grown ups, time for the whole family. Before you panic at how insane that seems consider this sample schedule:

Alternate your nights between your two partners. On these nights, you can enjoy a date night out when your budget permits. One of the best things about poly life is that if one pair wants some time out, there’s always a great sitter! Spontaneity comes with what you decide to do with your alone time with your partner.

If possible, and if your space permits, spend at least one night a week on your own. If you can’t spend a night sleeping on your own, make absolutely sure you are carving out time to just have some alone space. If you can afford the space in your home, each adult should have just a little nook to call his or her own.

Spend some time in the evenings with both of your partners doing the things you enjoy, even things as simple as vegging out with your favourite TV show. Encourage your partners to spend time together without you there so they can get to know each other better. Reserve one day on the weekend for family day and chose simple, fun activities to enjoy together. If you have kids, family day should be focused around them and their needs. Keep family ties strong by insisting on family dinners all together, and bed time story and tuck in (if you have kids) with all three partners.

Tend Your Relationships

All of your relationships need tending, and if you haven’t done the math, here’s a breakdown of your relationships and the hierarchy they should be in:

1. Your relationship to yourself  – This one is the most important! You must take care of yourself first, and really understand your own needs and wants. Take care of your heart, your mind, and your body so that you will be a well-oiled love machine.

2. Your relationship to your children. If you have kids, they come next. Some would argue that the adult relationships come first, but I think that’s bullshit. Our kids rely on us wholly, so we owe it to them to be as close to the top of the ladder as possible.

3. Your partners’ relationship to your children. This needs to be strong if your poly family is all under one roof. Some poly parents keep their adult relationships at a distance from their kids, but if you are aiming to be one big happy poly family (like us) you must make sure your partners are getting their own quality time with the kids, and that you’re helping to strengthen their relationships with your support.

4 (a & b) Your relationship to each of your partners. You signed up to love more than one person, so you need to make sure you’re doing that in a fair, balanced way. Be careful not to get too caught up in the glow of a new relationship and thereby neglect your more mature relationship with your first partner. One of those relationships may feel like more work than the other, but I promise you that balance will shift back and forth, so you need to make sure you’re tending both.

5. Your partners’ relationship to each other. True, it’s not your responsibility to manage your partners’ relationship with one another, but it is important that you are clear about how important their good relationship is to you. Remind them that you want them to enjoy each other’s company, buy them tickets to a movie or a game, offer to sit back while they go out and hang on a patio. Make sure they know that you want them both to get along. Don’t get in the middle of things if they don’t get along from time-to-time. This will give you ulcers and/or make you bald. Ask Daddy about that one. All you can do is be an ear, and let them know how you feel about their actions/words/behavior.

Be Okay with Being Selfish

Remember how hard it was to learn to appreciate each other’s needs when you were in the early stages with your first partner? Maybe you haven’t even really figured that out yet. Well, now you’re adding layer upon layer of complexity!

Nobody is going to know what you need and want unless you are comfortable asking for those things. You won’t be comfortable asking for anything until you are spending quality time understanding your own needs. You must not be afraid to speak your mind and ask for what you want, even if those needs and wants are really scary.

The three of us made the mistake of not clearly defining and expressing our needs and it led to huge, devastating imbalance in our lives. We aren’t always able to meet each other’s needs, but at least if we know what they are, we can work towards compromise and harmony.

Make Time to Talk

You need one-on-one time to talk with your partners about your relationships, but you also need to create safe emotional space where the three of you can talk with each other about these needs. Beware the mistake of trying to ‘shelter’ the other person from anything you deem threatening or negative. I think most of us would really just address any elephants who may wander into the bedroom rather than dance around them. They will stomp on your head if you try to ignore them.

Good luck with the adventures ahead, and thanks for reaching out. I hope I’ve helped, and I hope you can carve out some quality time where you can focus on all of the loves of your life, including you!

Kisses on your nose,


Playboy Mommy

Mommy’s To-Do List – Week of July 8th

Mama S shot this amazing photo of Noodle and Hannah.

Mama S shot this amazing photo of Noodle and Hannah.

Another busy week begins! Our weekend fun continues with a Monday jam-packed with kid energy, and there’s lots of fun to be had this week.

Weekend Highlights

This weekend was a whirlwind of family fun. On Saturday we hosted some of Nekky’s family for a barbecue and a round of a game called “The Word Game”. The premise of this game is to take a large word and find as many other words from the letters of this word before the 15-minute timer goes off. Sounds like fun, right? Well it was, mostly, but it also turns out that a highlight of the game is watching Mama S and Bapa (Nekky’s dad) argue over the rules. They cleared the room after only the second round, but fortunately there was a lot of delicious food to distract everyone. We were celebrating Ia Fui’s (Nekky’s sister Nadia) birthday, and I’ll share more on that later this week, including menu highlights and family recipes.

As I’m typing the main floor of the house is alive with sound. That’s because Mama S’ sister Crystal arrived yesterday afternoon. She drove here from Texas with her three boys who are all under the age of five. It’s like a hurricane of cute and crazy in our home! The crew is staying until later today and then they are off to Barrie to see Mama S’ folks. I’ll be posting Crystal’s secrets for staying sane later this week, because I know there’s no way I could hold it all together as beautifully as she does.


VIP Tasks This Week

The Classroom

I’d say most of the house is in good shape now, and everything looks very settled in. Our classroom is piled high with boxes and it’s a bit of a minefield. I’d like to begin organizing and purging in there, and get the space ready for painting. I think we could use the classroom for some summer fun activities before we even begin our curriculum for the fall.

Summer Camp At Home

One of my favorite blogs, Simple Kids, featured an at-home nature camp curriculum. I think I’ll give it a whirl and plan some fun activities for the kids for the rest of the summer. We now have swimming lessons to look forward to at the end of this month, but it’s really nice to have some tricks up my sleeve when they run out of their own ideas for fun.

Work Day

I found a bus that runs from the nearby plaza to a stop that is a five-minute drive from my mother’s house! It’s a short trip – only twenty minutes – so now all we have to do is choose a day this week that works for us. I’ll spend half the day writing, and half the day working on home school curriculum and finishing those thank you cards from Noah’s baby shower and Bayah that need to get sent out!

Gluten Free Baking

I plan to hit the local Bulk Barn and see how many of the ingredients I can find for the Gluten Free all-purpose flour I’d like to try. My experiments in gluten-free baking should make for some hilarious writing. How many of you reading these posts eat gluten-free? Do you have any great recipes to share? Please do!

Personal Goals

This week I want to be mindful of spending quality time with the kids. They seem to really thrive when I’m conscious of spending some focused time with them each day. We start our hiking club on Tuesday, so that’s one really fun thing we can count on.

I’d also like to start shifting my focus back to my theatre company. In the whirlwind of moving and getting settled, it seems like a far-away memory, but we have a Halloween show to plan and get working on! I hope that inspiration will come once I turn my mind to the show because I’m feeling a little tapped now.


Things to Look Forward To


I haven’t been on a proper hike in years, and I can’t wait to go out with the kids on Tuesday. Hiking was such a huge part of my childhood. The hiking club has been arranged by one of the moms in our local homeschool group, and I really hope we have the chance to meet some of the other families. The girls want to go rain or shine, so I guess we’ll know who the real nature people are. I’ve got a kick-ass pack for Noodle, and I’ve been practice walking with it this week. It’s very comfortable and he usually settles in for a good nap.

City Time!

I’ve got to head back into town for an errand at the end of the week. I’m really hoping to connect with some of my city peeps. I’ve been craving a meal at Fresh, which is probably the best vegetarian restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. It will be nice to get back there and feel that crazy city energy again.


I plan to hit the local thrift store this week because we have a large pile of stuff to donate. I think it will best for me to have a couple of hours there alone because I like to be so thorough in my searching for stuff that most people find it annoying to shop with me.

I have a feeling this will be one of the weeks that goes by in a flash, which can be fun, but also leave me feeling really tired if I’m not careful to take some down time too. How is your week shaping up? What’s the one thing you’re most looking forward to this week?