Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Recipe Tuesday - A Sandwich Twist

I don't know about you but I have combed the internet, parenting and good housekeeping magazines for kid friendly lunch tips and ideas. While I have learned a few interesting tips, I've mostly discovered that my children will not eat 98% of those kinds of foods.

Hummus - No Way
cold pasta salad - no way
tortilla roll ups - no way

I literally flip through the cookbook saying they don't like this, they don't like that, they won't eat this, they won't eat that. So when I find things that my kids actually will eat, like the mini meatballs or mini muffins I like to share my ideas or successes.

Today's idea is pretty simple. I was thinking of how my kids aren't really that crazy about tortillas when it occurred to me that if I took the crusts of the bread, flattened it out with the palm of my hand I could roll it up and cut it, just like rolled up tortillas.

So I did just that --->
<---- Then I spread a thin layer of peanut butter and jam and rolled them up.
And there you have it Sandwich Roll Ups!
Then I added some fresh fruit, ham and cucumbers, things I usually have hanging out in the refrigerator and voila. Lunch is served.

I know it looks amazingly simple but the bites of sandwich were so small, that O had no problem popping them into his mouth and actually ate a whole sandwich. Normally all he'd do was lick off the jam and leave the bread. He cleaned his plate. E love it so much she asked for 2nds and 3rds. J liked it just fine and ate her sandwich up in record time and ate what E left behind because she was too full. So I'd definitely consider that a success.
The next day I even added mashed banana to it and they loved that as well. So really you can add whatever you like to the sandwich, plus if you get the kids involved they will have lots of fun squashing bread. *L* Other things I add to this sort of lunch are, grapes, sausage, yogurt, apple sauce etc.
And that's my amazingly simple Tuesday Recipe Tip!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baking Just Got Easier!

Have you seen the new Dr. Oetker Shakers? They are amazing. They come in a variety of flavours from muffin mixes to cupcake to pancake mixes. All you have to do is add water or milk to the container, shake, shake, shake and pour out. How cool is that?

The biggest deterrent for me in baking more with my children is the mess. This way there is next to no mess. Once the liquid is added and the lid is on both E, J and even 2 year old O can take turns shaking the container. Of course, I will still have to do the pouring, unless I'm feeling very adventurous but how easy and simple is that?

When I first saw this product I thought for sure that it was going to be expensive. Most new things are, right? Well that's not the case. I did a quick check online and found the shakers on sale for $2.99 at Thrifty Foods (here in the West). That's actually a really good price point. And if you check out their site Dr. Oetker you can see what other happy users are doing to "customize" their mixes. Much like what I was doing with my last Recipe Tuesday Post on muffins. My favourite, fill the muffin or cupcake tins half way, add a dollop of jam and fill the rest of way and bake. That sounds delicious to me! Best of all the shakers have 0 trans fats and is a good source of fibre and prebiotics.

Also, right now you can enter to win everyday for a $1,200.00 Visa card or a 1 of 10 Dr. Oetker Shaker Fun Packs.

I absolutely love the idea of getting the pancake shaker and using it on the weekends as we are definitely a family that loves their pancakes. I definitely will be putting this on my grocery list for my next shop and will be waiting for the next rainy day to break it out with the kids.

E's birthday party is coming up next week.. this might just be a great idea for a cupcake party.

Post?slot_id=40874&url=http%3a%2f%2fsocialspark

1 in 4 Women Misread Pregnancy Test







Have you seen this commercial from Clearblue for their digital pregnancy monitor

1 in 4 Women Misread Their Pregnancy Test

I say....

1 in 4 women need to go back to school.


I mean seriously.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's Friday

Well, we've got company this weekend so I don't think I will be posting much unless I get particularly inspired at work tonight. *l*

On a side note, would you believeI've now passed my 200th post? Seems like it wasn't that long ago that I was celebrating my 100th post and now the 200th has simply sailed by.

I never knew when I started this blog that it would become such a big hobby in my life. I am continually amazed by the masses of talented and creative people out there. Sometimes it's overwhelming but it's always interesting. It's gotten so that when I'm searching crafts or things to do I'd prefer searching blogs over generic websites.

For those that don't understand the true power of the blog, they are surely missing out.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

That's it! I'm renaming my blog!

to the Poop Diaries. I realize that you are all still reeling from my clever and witty post on poop yesterday (Did I mention how modest I am?)

Can we say enough with the poop already?????

Apparently O did not get the memo. Of course, if I had not of been on the computer trying to blog this may never have happened.

J: "E come see something gross outside"
E: goes running outside
Me: thinking I should stop what I'm doing and go check it out
E: comes running inside "mom, there's poop outside"
Me: CRAP!

Sure enough there's a little naked O standing outside and there's the poop. Only it's squished poop. OMG what is that between his toes. Yup. Poop again. Off to the tub, scrub, scrub, clean, clean. Lecture, Lecture. I know lecturing a 2 year old is about as useful as eating dirt.

Where are the little tattle tales when you need them? "Mommy, O hit me. Mommy O's touching my shoes, Mommy E's taking my dolly." Did I hear a "mommy, o's taking off all his clothes and pooping on the sidewalk and stepping in it." No. Arrrgh.

Hmmm The Poop Diaries. That does have a nice ring to it.

Oh and for all of those laughing your ass off... well if you've done and been through it, you've paid your dues and earned that right. For those of you with wee little babies... just. you. wait. MWAAAA HAAA HAAA oh and don't forget to post about so I can laugh. ;)

*BTW I don't mind the laughs... it really is funny after the fact and boy am I going to remind them about this when they get older heh heh*

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

No WW Today it's the Poop Diaries


It starts immediately, the poop, from the first outpouring of that sticky, tarlike stuff that was nigh impossible to wipe off their newborn baby butts. Then there are the many shifting phases of poop from nursing poop to formula poop to solid foods poop (OMG the smell) and real milk poop. Oh yeah.

Then we get the diarrhea poop, that explodes from their butt all the way up to their ears and down to their toes. So slick with runny poop you have to peel their sleeper off and there is no way you're gonna get this done without getting your hands dirty. Every mom has worn poop on some part of their body at some point in their mommyhood.

Then there's the sneaky poop. The baby is lying there, googling and gurgling in their bouncy seat. No noticeable malodorous smells, that is until you pick up the baby. You notice a dark stain on the cuddly seat, turn the baby and notice a dark poop stain spreading up the baby's back. The baby usually giggles gleefully at this point. Even as young as a newborn they giggle at our discomfort at the many, many presents they are so gracious enough to share with us.

Am I leading up to something with said poop dialogue? You bet I am.

O is two. He's on the path to potty training, expressing an interest in it this last week or two. He likes to take off his diaper and sit on the potty. Imagine mommy's surprise when she's trying to have a shower to peek out of the shower curtain to see O sitting on the kid potty telling her he had a poop. Sure enough he's poopy and so is the entire potty seat plus there is a poopy diaper out there somewhere just waiting to be stepped on by amazingly unobservant children. Mommy has to find the diaper, wet and naked, and scoop up the nice little pile of poop that fell out of the diaper, clean O's butt and the potty cause you know you can't leave it until you are done your shower. Nice try dude, next time go on the potty before you poop.

But yesterday.. well that was the topper. I look outside to see O, naked butt, pushing the cozy coup car around the backyard. Naked. Not a usual state in our backyard for this household. I look a little closer, what's that on his butt.... yup it's poop. His entire backside is covered with poop. I run for the wipes and head outside.

Not only does he have a poopy diaper out there but there's also a pile of poop on the sidewalk, plus at some point he must have visited the sandbox because he's got sand stuck to the poop on his butt. Then E says I'll help Mommy, and grabs one of her plastic shovels and shovels up the poop. Because, after all that's what you do with poop, right, shovel it up. I'm trying to catch and wipe the poop off O and turn in time to see J run over with the sand bucket in which E now proceeds to dump the poop in. WTH?!? STOP TRYING TO HELP!!!!

Course at Nana's we shovel up the dog poop off the lawn. Yes but that's generally dried out poop and it's a garden shovel. Not a toy shovel and bucket that we have now got to wash in addition catching said poopy kid and cleaning him off. Cause you know they just run when they see you coming. Laughing gleefully, of course.




Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Recipe Tuesday - Palacinkas

My father is from Slovenia (formerly Yugoslavia) and as a child my Oma would make these for us by the dozen. My father has passed on his know how to us. These are easy and simple to make and a fun way to eat breakfast or lunch.

Basically like a crepe, it's the most fun to eat when you have lot's of fruit and other tasty things to roll up in them. Otherwise, the good ol standby of syrup, jam and even just a wee sprinkling of sugar works just as well. Best of all because they are meant to be flat, there is no fussing around with the ingredients etc. Really, really basic. There was never an official recipe but here's what I've broken down.

Ingredients:
  • Approx 2 cups of flour
  • Aprox 2 cups of milk
  • 2 TBS of sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
Mix all ingredients together really well. I make this ingredient by feel rather than precise measurements so start off slowly. The amount of flour determines how many pancakes you get out of it. The milk determines the consistency. You need to have a fairly runny consistency to make these flat pancakes. When the batter is fairly runny test it in a hot frying pan. If the batter rolls smoothly and effortlessly around then it's ready.


Pouring the batter: In a medium fry pan, melt a small pat of butter and spread around the pan. Take aprox 1/4 cup of batter, pour it into the pan and swirl the batter around the pan, using a dipping and swirling motion (pan is held in the air), when the batter has swirled around to cover most of the bottom of the pan place back on heat. Cook for approx 1 minute. If your pan is already hot enough it will cook very quickly, if your pan is still warming up, then it may take longer. you will notice it starting to slightly brown. You do not want your pancakes to brown too much. Flip your pancake and cook on the other side for 1 minute, starting to slightly brown.


When done, slide pancake off onto another plate and set in a warm oven to keep warm.

If you have a non stick pan you can move straight onto the next pancake, if your pan tends to be sticky then please continue to use small amounts of butter. You will find that the butter makes for crispy edges, which I love, but it does not help the waistline.

When you have made all the pancakes, cover with a cloth and place on table. We dish everyone out one pancake at a time, spread small amounts of jam or syrup or a few sprinkles of sugar on the pancakes and roll up into a log, cut and eat.

The sky is really the limit for these types of pancakes, you can add eggs, sausage, peanut butter, nutella, fresh fruit and whipcream. Anything reallly. However, you do it the kids are certain to love it. You can get yourself one of those crepe maker pans and it would work great too but I've always just used a plain old fry pan.

We eat them for breakfast or lunch at least once or twice a month.


*photos borrowed from Ehow and About.Com* I didn't have a chance to take my own photos today.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What Makes My Husband A Delicious Daddy - A Father's Day Tribute


This is something I had published in the Yummy Mummy Club Newsletter last Father's Day and thought I'd repost it in honour of my husband for this year's Father's Day. Even though we've had a really tough year, it's even more true today and it's good for me to remember how good I actually have it.

Fatherhood automatically makes our men more delicious than ever. After all, what woman doesn’t go soft at the sight of her man playing with his son or daughter.

Sometimes I worry too much about me being taken for granted that I am blind to all that my husband does for me. He has always been a “hands-on” dad from the day we brought our first baby home. I was a little worried at first because he didn't want to change E's bum in the hospital. I thought OMG this is a sign of things to come but no, he was just nervous to do it in front of the nurses. When we got home, he more than made up for his share in bum changing.

When our second child was born, he promptly rose to the occasion and took over most of the care of our toddler, E, so I could tend to the baby, even getting up at night. He used to sleep through night time crying but all of a sudden he starting waking up when E would cry.

He always makes sure he carries the groceries in for me. At the mall, he’s always the one to take back the cart. Our oldest child recently went into the backseat of the van but she can’t buckle herself in yet so we have to climb into the middle aisle, past two car seats and do it for her. I was apologizing to him for him having had to do it, he was surprised I'd apologize and told me but that was his job, to make things easier for me. For me. He's 6'5" climbing down the narrow center aisle of a mini van to make things easier FOR ME.

When there is anything unpleasant to be done, he does it. I found a bottle of formula in the diaper bag that had been forgotten. It had leaked and gone mouldy. I didn’t have to ask, he simply took the bag from me and cleaned it out. You see, he knows I gag easily at gross sights and smells. He will be the first one to jump in and wash out the coolers when we've come back from the beach, rinse out shoes, wash off the toys, you name it.

When I went back to work full-time evenings, he re-arranged his schedule so he could get off an hour early so he’s home in time for me to leave. He has completely absorbed himself into his evening parent role making sure the kids are bathed and put to bed on time. Dishes from supper are clean and put away by the time I get home.

He helps with the laundry. So he’s not that great at getting it put away, but at least we have clean clothes. I haven’t had to vacuum my house in months. That is a job he has taken on, unasked. He washes walls, he cleans behind things. I never clean behind things. Ugh.

Then just recently, he made the ultimate sacrifice for me. He shaved off his mustache for me. He’d had this mustache for the past 14 years. I so badly wanted him to shave it off. It was bugging me and bugging me. I had been working on him about it, subtly of course ;). One night I came home from work and it was gone. I think I just about fell in love with him all over again right then and there.

Is my husband so unusual? I’d like to think that he’s the norm out there but in many ways I know he’s pretty special. We still have fights over the craziest things but in the end I am secure in the knowledge that he loves me, unconditionally and is always there making things easier for me. Can a daddy get any more delicious than that?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

No Snack for You!


Much like the "soup Nazi" in a Seinfeld episode, I have turned into the "snack nazi".

Is it too much to ask for 20 minutes of cooperation from these three little monsters er angels? Do I really have to break up continuous crying, screaming, hitting, fighting matches? Could they not just sit for 20 minutes peacefully and watch the damn show? Or better yet, go to their playroom which is full to the brim of all sorts of delightful toys and *gasp* play with the freakin toys?

Obviously, I ask too much. My brother is having a pig roast today. Yes, he's roasting a pig. No we are not barbarians.. well... he is. I'm just going for the potluck and yes I'll be eating pig. So in the interests of saving money I and my husband decided to make our own buns to contribute (that and devilled eggs). Of course, hubby may have the bright idea but guess who the actual making of the buns falls down to. Yes, you guessed it.

So I rolled out of bed this a.m. bent over with this ongoing bad back I've had for the past week and decided to make bread dough. Yes, this semi suzy homemaker actually made bread dough from scratch. Course I used the bread machine to make the actual dough. So all I needed was about 20 minutes to roll the freakin dough. Course I didn't get that as I had to dash into the living room with greasy dough covered hands and grab O for a time out, snap at J to stop crying and threaten E within an inch of her life to stop bugging her sister and brother. You know those annoying little sticking your foot out and touching your sibling... barely. The said sibling instantly screams, starts crying and yelling at you that E is touching them. O. M. G. That is just a taste of what 20 minutes in kiddie hell can be like.

So I finished up my dough balls, rising before I even get the last one rolled and, of course, they want their snacks I had been promising them for the last 40 minutes. By this point I am so steamed that I told them that was it, no snacks. If they can't help me out.. I can't help them out. Which, of course, turns into a prolonged shrill crying fest. J has perfected the annoying cry down to an art form.

Then I ask myself, why do I set myself up for this crap? Why even bother trying to make or do anything outside of the normal mommy taking care of the kids and house stuff? Why, why, why, why?

Good news, is once the crying has stopped they've gone off to play. Bad news, they are still torturing each other but less so. E is on a timeout for biting J's bum. Yeah.. how that happened, I have no idea.

At least its only 40 minutes till lunch time and I'll get at least 5 minutes of peace and quiet while they are shoving food into their surprisingly large mouths.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Movie Stars that Make you Drool - well me drool.

We all have our little guilty pleasures. You know those innocent little dreams wherein some hunky movie star takes one look at you and knows he has to become your love slave or die trying?

Of course, when push comes to shove, we wouldn't really give up our own darling husbands but a girl can dream, can't she?

So here are My Top Hunky Men:

1. Colin Firth - I fell in love with him first in Pride and Prejudice. Not the biggest speaking role ever but he met all the criteria for the perfect Mr. Darcy. This coming from a huge Ja
ne Austen fan who even named 2 of her children
after characters in her novels. Of course, Colin has continued to delight us in Bridget Jones' Diary, 1 and 2, Nanny Mcphee, Then She Found Me, Love Actually, Mamma Mia... Loved him all of those. He also starred in the
Importance of Being Ernest. I haven't seen it but it's on my list. Looks great. I actually once saw him in an interview on The View and he's actually hilariously funny. A very sharp British wit.

2. Jeremy Northam - I first saw him in The Net with Sandra Bullock but he played the villain in the piece so I never really paid too much attention to him. I later saw him in Emma wherein he played Mr. Knightley. I have seen both versions of Emma, the A&E and the BBC version. Both versions were good but the A&E version with Gwyneth Paltrow was more enjoyable becuase it was prettier and Mr. Knightley was to be shallow... better looking. I have yet to see him in anything else that I like him half so much as I did when he played Mr. Knightley.



3. John Hannah - Okay, you may be going who? He plays the main character in Sliding Doors, one of my all time favourite chick flicks. If you haven't seen it, watch it. It's great! He may not be drop dead gorgeous but there is just something so sexy and appealing about this man and his sexy Scottish accent.

See I have a thing for accents.. First 3... very sexy accents! I almost moved to England so I could marry me an accent, then hubby finally got his act together and proposed. *L*


4. Robert Beltran - yeah.. you are definitely going who, what, huh? He played Chakotay on Star Trek - Voyager. He was very sexy in that role. Was he or wasn't he going to get together with the Captain. Played the strong silent type. I haven't seen him in anything since.

And well that's my hunky movie star list for today... I could probably mention a few others but you know.. wouldn't want to make my
husband jealous... or anything. *L*


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Truly the Road is Never Smooth

I've been sitting on this since last night. Hoping really that I wouldn't even have to mention it, that it was just a minor blip on the horizon. Twentyfour hours have now passed and it's still as true today as it was last night.

The deal has fallent through on our house. The buyers cannot obtain financing.

What a blow.

Not only is our stupid house not sold, we have lost out on the house we were intending to purchase.

We are well and truly bummed at this point. We are starting all over again. We only have a listing contract with our realtor till the end of the month. I don't know if we'll relist or simply give up at this point. My FIL has surgery at the beginning of September to have his prostrate removed and even though they've made significant advancement in surgery procedures in this area, he will still have to recover. We were hoping we'd be moved before his surgery. Obviously his cancer is progressing though because they've been pretty on top of getting his surgery rushed through.

Our only smidgeon of hope with this house thing is that our mortgage broker contacted the buyers through their realtor and said he thought he could help them. It's up to them if they want to pursue it or not... they may have just decided they are in over their heads.

Now on top of this my poor E is sick and is going to have to stay home from school tomorrow so I can take her to the doctor's. Hopefully she will be able to do her sports day on Friday but at the sound of her right now... I'm betting on bronchitis. sigh

Monday, June 15, 2009

Recipe Tuesday - MMMMmuffins

Okay, I am no Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray or even a little Miss Suzy Homemaker. I like to cook when I have the time and the ingredients but otherwise in a busy momma's life, it's all about the short cuts.

To me, muffins are one of the more intimidating goodies to bake. Now little Miss Suzy Homemaker in the back.. you know who you are, right now is saying... "Muffins inti
midating, say what!" But it's true. I think perhaps I read one too many complicated recipes, shied at the many ingredients you are required to purchase and basically threw out the whole idea of making my own muffins.

Enter in the pre-made muffin mix.

We make cake from boxes, why not muffins? I know, I know, from scratch is really the best and my first attempt at muffins from a bag/box pretty much proved that. For lack of a better description, they were dead. lifeless. without pizazz or flavour.

So what's a momma of 3 hungry snackers to do? One word.



Improvise.




Take
  • 1 cup of that applesauce I made up last week (any store bought will do too)
  • 1 very well mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips
and add it to the mix and follow baking instructions. Or any other fruit you'd prefer.

Suddenly, the muffins weren't so dead, the kids are getting extra fruit and fibre in their diet and they are loving the touch of chocolate.

I thought I'd take it one step further. Remember how I said kids like things small? Well, I bought myself a mini muffin tray and I use the mix to make mini muffins. They are bite sized for little hands and it makes the muffins last longer. One batch of muffin mix (1/2 the bag) made like 36 mini muffins instead of the usual 12. I just dole them out through out the day when I need to give them a quick snack to tide them over or pop a couple in their backpack for snack time at school.

So while today's not a new recipe per say it is definitely a time saver tip. It takes literally 5 minutes to mix up and throw in the oven. And it's pretty cheap. A bag of muffin mix here costs about $3.99 and you get two batches out of it.


Okay my pan looks a little yucky there but I had a little "help" if you know what I mean. ;)




So, that's my frugal momma tip of the week. Please share yours with us. I'd love to get more ideas. Who knows, maybe I'll even let you host Recipe Tuesday next week. Cheers.

Let the Packing Begin


So we have a minor hiccup in the sale of our house.

As far as I know the buyers have financing but it's not finalized yet so they've asked for an extension until Wednesday. We are crossing our fingers because we have to remove the conditions from the house we want to purchase on Friday. So things are getting pretty tight time wise.

That being said I am not going to let it stop me from getting a head start on my packing. So who do I turn to when I want some organizational ideas? Why Sandy Jenney of Organize with Sandy, of course! A quick search didn't turn up any specific moving tips so I emailed Sandy and she kindly wrote two posts this week dealing with moving. How nice was that!

Like all really great tips, they are practical and a great reminder of how to get things done.

I wish I could add to it but she really covers it all and writes it way better than I do, so I'm gonna give all the credit to her (of course) and send you on over to check out these two articles.



Of course, you will want to stay and check out some of her great organizing tips! I'm hoping to be able to put them in use when we move... well and for the move, of course!+

Friday, June 12, 2009

Rollercoaster Friday

This really should be called Rollercoaster Friday because that's what I have been on or so it seems all day.

Hubby called me back late afternoon and told me that the accountant re tweaked everything and now that she has previous years income tax returns in hand she can adjust it all properly and now we DO NOT owe $8,000.00 and even have a small refund coming. So all we have to pay is our pension.

PHEW!

Can you imagine my relief at this moment? I am sure you can.

These next two months may just possibly be the hardest two months we've had to put in in a long time but I am going to just have to hold on to what it is we are working towards. That by August we will be able to put most of this behind us.

So... tomorrow the bank.

Then I need to sort out my business with my business partner. Yes, I can do this.

Well things are never smooth

Because of time pressures we are in a frantic struggle to get our taxes done (being self employed you get to file them later) and get approval so we can buy the house.

This is easier said than done. If we had gotten our stuff into the accountant sooner, if they hadn't sat on it for the last two weeks, if we had a magic wand to stop time... this would have made life a wee bit easier.

What does not make life easier is that the accountant figures we owe about $8,000.00 between the two of us in taxes and pension. Yup. *heavy sigh* It has taken me the last half hour to just calm down enough to even wrap my head around it. This is on top of the previous $5,500.00 tax bill. And it's all due Monday.

So rather than cry and whine... again ... to you all. I think I'm going to crawl off into a little corner on my own for a little while. I probably won't be posting this weekend. ;(


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Buying a New Home - Update and Tips

Well we had our 2nd showing on a home today and we've put in an offer. After some haggling we were able to reach an agreement and we now have a house. Of course there are conditions that need to be met, like financing, etc and those will be removed by June 19th if all goes well.

It's not the best home. It's not the dream home. Neither is it the worst home, the ugliest home, the dump. And believe me there were lots of those out there. As much as you can save money on a fixer upper, I'm sorry stuck in the 70's style, gold shag carpet, harvest green appliances, pink tub, toilet and sink, bright purple and green flowered mactac papered kitchen walls... it's just too much for one woman to handle.

The house we've chosen needs some fixing but it's completely livable the way it is until we can afford to fix stuff. Plus it comes with a pool. Wahoo!

So here are some tips today re buying your own house.

  • Do not try to see too many homes.
  • Make a list of absolute "must haves" followed by a list of "would like" but is negotiable. Narrow your home choices down that way. Viewing homes that do not fit into your needs wastes your time, the realtor's, the home owner's and may sway you into choosing a home that really doesn't work for you. Like if it has a really great pool in the backyard but the kitchen is the size of a pin and you have 5 kids. That pool is going to be great in the summer but what about the winter?
  • Take your list with you. Make a note of the room sizes, locations, bathrooms, layout etc. You will be surprised at the little details you can't remember when you get home... like where the laundry room is. We completely missed that on the first viewing. We couldn't remember if it was a tub and shower in the en suite bathroom or just a shower.
  • Look at the ceiling, always a good guide if there was any water damage.
  • check in to corners of the closets, a great place for mold.
  • Try to look past the home owner's decor and furniture. Can you picture your stuff in it? This can be especially hard if a home has been staged. That lovely rented furniture won't be staying. Will the house still look so nice when you've got your own perhaps rather dated or rather worn furniture in it?
  • Scout out the neighbourhood. What do the other homes look like? Are they well kept or rundown?
  • If you can, drive through the neighbourhood at different times of the day. What is the noise level like in the morning vs the night, the traffic flow, etc.
  • Take a walk through the neighbourhood and see what is has to offer. Are there parks around, where is the closest school. Is it a good school.
On a second showing, things to look out for:

  • check where the telephone and cable outlets are. How many are they, are they in a convenient location.
  • Check room measurements, bring a tape measure. Are the room sizes quoted accurate? Will your furniture fit. For example: we measured our washer and dryer to ensure they'd fit into the closet where the current laundry hook ups are. They do.
  • Where are the crawl space and attic access (if you have them).
  • What condition are the appliances in. Are they included in the sale?
  • Make a note of anything extra you want to ask for if you make an offer. Do the living room curtains look like they only would belong in that house. In our home we have a rather large picture window and we are leaving the curtains behind because they are very long and obviously were made specifically for the size of the window. Don't hesitate to ask for extras, just be prepared to pay a little.
Well, those are my tips for today. It's getting rather late and that's all I can think of for now.

Cheers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Worldless Wednesday - Moving


This is from when we moved from E's first home, and first home we had owned, at 17 months old.

Recipe Tuesday - Applesauce

The nicest thing about homemade? You control the ingredients. No chemicals, no preservatives, no artificial flavours, no food colours.

My kids actually like this better than the Mott's fruit cup I usually buy for them. It takes a small bit of extra effort because you have to peel your own apples and chop them up but it's worth it.

So here is homemade applesauce a la Zeemaid:

  • Water
  • chopped or grated apples (11 medium apples makes four cups)
  • approx 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup of honey or 3/4 cup sugar
Optional: Cinnamon

In a large pot add a skiff of water, enough to cover the bottom of the pot and for the apples to sit in. Add lemon juice. Set on medium high heat.

Chop or grate your apples. Grating your apples allows them to cook and break down faster. If you like a chunkier texture to your sauce then I'd recommend chopping. I chopped mine.

Add your apple slices to the pot as you go, pausing to stir once in a while to ensure that all the apples get covered with the water/lemon mixture. Keeps apples from browning.

Keep the pot at a low simmer. Once the apples seem to have started to break down and soften add the sugar or honey. I used honey because it's supposed to be better for you. Add the sugar at a half cup at a time. Taste it and see if you want to add more. Depending on how sweet your apples are you may need more or less than what I've written here. Also do you like sweet or more tart apple sauce?

Test the apples with a fork, are they soft enough to mash? If you want to add cinnamon do so a t this stage. Then take a potatoe masher and mash apples in the pot. Allow the apples to continue to simmer for a couple of minutes until it's the consistency you are looking for. If after mashing you find that maybe the apples are not soft enough, add a little water if needed and continue simmering until you're happy with it. Remove from heat and cool before serving.

I didn't add cinnamon to my batch because it tends to make the mixture a browny color which can be nice but I wanted a nice golden apple sauce to appeal to the kids.

This is basic recipe that you can add on to and tweak to your heart's content. Add peaches or berries and you have a nice mixed apple sauce.

I used freezer jam plastic containers to "jar" my sauce and freeze. I even started add a spoonful their dinner plates. They really like it and it's helped them their meat. I just tell them to dip their meat in the sauce and voila no complaints.









Hope you try it out. If you do, let me know. I'd love to hear your ideas.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just when I thought the Cleaning was done

So now apparently I have to clean for the home inspector.  This according to my MIL is the best way to ensure a passing grade.   There is to be no mold or dirt in any of the window sills.  All closets are to be cleaned out so that you can see into the corners to check for mold and the list goes on.  

She would be absolutely embarrassed if the home inspector who is probably a guy sees my house in this state. She has not specifically said that but I know it's true.  Of course she wouldn't admit it but say she's trying so spare me the embarrassment.   Like I care what a male home inspector thinks about my mess.. like he would probably even notice.  

At least hubby is home today and will be able to help me tidy up somewhat.  I hate my house looking this messy anyways.  

Also we are going to look at our first house today.  Hooray.  The realtor was only able to book one showing as of the weekend but hopefully this morning will be more promising.  I'd hate to go all that way just to look at one house.  

So my posting may be sporadic this week.  Please bear with me.  I do have a recipe for tomorrow if I can just get it posted.  

Happy Monday to you all and hopefully you will have a great week.  

The great house search begins. 


Saturday, June 6, 2009

In over my head

I think I am in over my head.

I have just spent the past two days attempting to sort through J and E's outgrown clothing. I have made some headway but OMG was it ever difficult and my entire house looks like a tornado hit it. There is not a room you can walk into that is okay.

What made me think that I was possibly going to be able to do any sort of organizing with the terrible three around. E was actually gone this afternoon and it didn't get any easier (usually she's the volcano around here). Oh no, I think I have whiplash from how many times I had to pop up to either fetch a snack, a drink, put shoes on, settle an argument, stop O from eating a bug, close the door, tell them not to throw rocks on the lawn, make O put shoes on again, push O & J on the swing, close the door, insist on O and J wearing their helmets, confiscate said bike until O puts on helmet, close the door, attempt 7 times over a half hour period to get O to nap until I gave up, had the inlaws sitting in my messy dung heap of a kitchen for over an hour on my laptop looking at homes, close the door, while I go and wrangle outside with my kids once again over wearing their helmets, gluing coloured rice to paper, teaching O not to eat food coloured rice covered in glue..... and sort 5 drawers of clothes, pack one bag into keep, one bag into recycle and the other back in the box because I am just too freaking tired to deal with it.

Top that off that I practically dragged half my clothes out of my closet onto my bed because I was looking for a lost pair of shorts, which I never found, and I never had time to put back because the terrible three were tormenting each other outside and Nana was on the deck reporting back to me all what they were up to while I, bad mommy was in my room TRYING to get dressed all while telling them to just wait a minute until mommy got dressed.

Don't you hate those days you can't even go pee by yourself? I find myself craving that small piece of privacy to get dressed, pee and poop, shower ALL BY MYSELF. I am at almost freaking level with my husband. I lock the door, he actually uses the nail to unlock it. He just HAS to come in the bathroom while I'm in there. ARRG.

To be fair this is our main bathroom that we use. The other one just has a toilet and for some strange reason none of us like to use it. It gets dirty from lack of use. Did you know toilet water still goes black and moldy if you don't use it? Yup.

If this is some sort of foreshadow of what it's going to be like the next two months, I just may not survive. No, I'm serious. Somebody may end up sitting on the curb with a "free to good home" sign and it may just be me!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Phew but this is just the beginning

It's still a little hard to believe that after all this time our house is finally sold. We still have one week for the conditions to come off the offer but unless the guy can't obtain financing I think it's a shoe in.

Would you believe that the person who is buying our home hasn't even stepped foot in it? He had a "representative" go through it for him. I have no idea what relation these people are to him but we had gotten the impression the house was for her and her family. Doesn't matter, really. It's just interesting to note.

It's amazing to think that I won't have to run around cleaning the house for one more showing. I can actually let my house get good and grungy. Okay, I don't like grungy. It's messy now and it's driving me crazy already after one day.

I decided to tackle my first big project today and that was get my daughters' closet under control. It seems like there was never enough time to properly deal with the mountain of clothes they outgrow and I would end up just stashing them in their closet. But with summer coming along (we've actually been experiencing a heat wave here) I need to find their summer clothes, see what fits E this year and what I can pass on to J, cause seriously money is so tight there is none for clothes.

Anyways, I managed to get E's dresser drawers sorted out and have amassed a pile of clothes to be put away for next year. So it's a good thing. It's just that while I'm sorting and organizing, the house is a chaotic mess because, of course, you get interrupted like a 100 times to the tune of "mOOOOOMMMMMmmm". Some days I'm tired of hearing that name.

And this is just the beginning for the two months. I think I will have to start checking our Organize with Sandy's page some more... maybe she has something about moving. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Calling all Canadians


Do you lust after techie gadgets? Would you like Kindle to become available to Canadians?

If so, please take a few minutes out and sign this petition http://techchicklets.rockonchicago.com/kindle-petition/

I don't know if online petitions work etc. but I don't see how it can hurt. I have no idea why Kindle cannot be made available to Canadians. Some days it is very frustrating to be Canadians because we are inundated with advertising on American channels getting us interested in things that we find out can't be sent to Canada. Like Hulu. Because of some kind of broadcasting laws it's only available in the U.S. Well... we get those channels on our t.v. so what's the big deal?

Anyways, I'd really like a Kindle. Wouldn't you?

Drum roll please... trrrrrrrrrr


Thank you to all of you who had their fingers and toes crossed and said a little prayer for us because we have sold our house. YUP, You heard correctly.

Well, it's not completely legal yet. We have the final papers to sign and they have a week to take the subjects to's off but we see no problems with that.

It has been one stressful day. I had a Wildlife Recovery field trip with J's preschool this a.m. and I got a call while we were just getting started at the Centre. They countered back to us with a $25,000 increase. We countered back at $7,000 more than that and they took it. Woo hoo.

We are all ecstatic. We have until August 7th to be out. The next few weeks are going to be a little stressful because not only do we have to go to the bank and sort out our finances and how everything is going to play out.. we have to find a house and buy it and give the other people enough time to move so that it all can be done by August 7th. Phew. Just thinking about it has little tingles in my tummy. Best of all, I get to go SHOPPING. CHARGGGGGGGGGGGGE it. *LOL* House shopping that is. I love looking through people's homes. I'm just one big snoop.

So come on and join me in the happy dance... you know it's a lot like the pee pee dance.. just happier. *L*




Tuesday, June 2, 2009

oooohhhhhhh it's getting close now.. yet another real estate update

My husband phoned me up this afternoon at 4:00 p.m.  When I get this late of a phone call from him when he's supposed to be walking in the door in 10 minutes.  It's never a good thing.  

he asked:  "is mom and dad there?"
Me:  " Why"
he says:  "just because, are they there?"
I sigh and say:  "yes they are"
He says:  "I have some bad news"
I'm like crap, he has to work tonight. 
Then he says:   "John (realtor) is coming over at 4:30 to present us with an offer."
Me:  Squeal, Shriek, jump up and down. 

YES! Finally, an offer.   Somebody out there finally likes our house.  

Of course, it's never that easy.  We did not get the perfect offer.  They low balled us, of course. About $49,000.00 less.  We discussed it and including the realtor, have come to the consensus that they are just trying to see if they can get a good deal.  We are already $43,000 less than the assessed value according to our Province.  So... we countered back at about $10,000.00 less than our asking price.  I am not too hopeful.  They could always go and buy that other house down the road.  Although even our realtor says it's not a comparison at all.  On the other hand this buyer is from out of province and a lot of people from their province has been selling and buying homes on our island like crazy.  It's our mild climate that attracts them. 

So.... hopefully we will find out pretty quick.  They have until Thursday to come back to us. Otherwise, we start all over again.   Wish us luck. 


Monday, June 1, 2009

Kids - You Need Eyes in the Back of Your Head


Or may be you just need to never take your eyes off of them. 

Along the back of our house runs a cement sidewalk.  It's a great place for them to ride their bikes, albeit in single line formation, but it's better than riding on the grass.  It's also great for them to push themselves along in their Little Tikes Cozy Coupes. 

So I'm sitting in my chair, just off to the side trying to flip through a gluten free recipe book when I look up.  There is little J, sweet little J, all prettified in her yellow summer dress and floppy summer hat, straddling the top of the cozy coupe like a frog.  To be absolutely clear, she was lying flat on top of the car.  The car was being pushed by O at a very fast speed towards the cement wall.   I yell out... "Oh My GOD"  sorry G... it just slipped out in the moment.  I jump up and race towards them as J flies off the front of the coup and lands head first .... fortunately on top of their frog sandbox.  She's crying, I'm just about crying cause I stepped on like 10 rocks while I was running.  I hold her tight and all I can think of... "what if she had landed on the cement and not the plastic frog top."  

I took her inside, calmed her down, hugged her and talked to her about not doing dangerous things like that and explained that she could have been really hurt.  As it was, she was lucky she didn't land on her neck the wrong way.  I hugged her close again and tried not to tear up. 

As mothers I am sure you can all appreciate that one close call that just about scared your socks off, how you feel guilty because if you were watching them just a little closer that would never have happened... like the time J fell off the back of the couch, hit her head and required 8 stitches.  Bad mommy.  Bad mommy.  

My philosophy is that I can't be a hoverer.  Nor do I want to, I want to be able to accomplish some other things in my life while I trust them to play.  Unfortunately, kids are kids and wild ideas will always enter their tiny, mischievous little brains.  

Thank fully, we were lucky this time.  Phew.  I just thank God he had his hands on them again and pray he continues to watch out for them because Lord knows I need some help. 

Being self employoed

Being self-employed definitely has it's draw backs.  Oh sure, you are your own boss, there's no one to complain if you slough off work or if you're late.  No one to nag you about putting in too much overtime, taking too much sick time etc.  

Here is my list of drawbacks to being self-employed
  • you don't get paid for the extra 15 minutes it takes you to close up but your employee does
  • when someone calls in sick, it's you that has to replace them or you have to close
  • when you want to take a vacation you have to find someone reliable, responsible and trustworthy to fill in for you and you have to do twice as much work preparing for being away
  • when someone doesn't pay their bill, you still have to pay your overhead.  No one is cutting you any breaks because of a deadbeat debtor
  • you have to worrk about payroll and tax remittances and ensure that they are paid in time or you'll get nasty letters from the governmeny
  • when you're sick, you still have to go in because chances are no is available to replace you
  • the chances are pretty high that whenever a family event like a BBQ or dinner is planned, you will get a call saying your employee is sick or injured and can't work, thus leaving you to cut your dinner short
  • you have to work every statutory holiday because you already have to pay them a day's pay whether they work or not, you don't want to have to pay them another day's pay at a time and a half, cause you just can't afford it. 
  • people think you are a bank or that because you are self-employed and own your own business you must rolling in it.   
At least when you are working for someone else you get a regular pay cheque at the standard rate.  Unless, of course you work for someone like my last boss who quite frequently either bounced my cheque or was unable to pay me on time.  I once went 7 weeks without being paid.  Fortunately, I had just moved back in with my folks so I was able to manage.  In the end he was paying me by money order.  *L*   Would you believe I worked for him almost 10 years?   Yup, a poor lawyer.  Who would have figured it. *L*

I am a little grumpy today because K and I basically had to work the entire weekend because of staffing problems at both of our stores.  At least we save money on wages but it's a drag when the weather was so nice and I didn't get to play with the kids outside yesterday.   It seems to always do this every summer.  One of K's employees just got told she can't work anymore (she's expecting in August) so we're going to be short handed.  It wouldn't be a problem if our house was sold and I wasn't working and we lived by his store.  

Moan, groan, snivel, whine and complain.  I know.  I'm being a whiner.  I'm just tired cause first J was up sick in the night and then O was up and then they all got up at 6:00 a.m.  I think I need a nap. 

I hope your day goes better than mine!