Thursday, December 31, 2009

Closing out the Old Year 2009

There is just something about ringing in the New Year that makes you want this year to be better than the last. After all, it is a blank slate. It's fresh. It's clean. It's new. Kind of like getting into that new car only without the new car smell. ;)

As this year draws to an end, I am more relieved than ever to be putting a phase of life behind me. I have a new home in a new city and a new adventure to look forward to in January. I know that next year so far does not have one bad day in it, no one has raised their voices or lost their temper or have any regrets at all. In that shiny new year, all the faces are clean and eager and just waiting for something wonderful to happen.

This year brought us further in E's education with her completion of kindergarten and start of grade one. We had wonderful Valentine and Easter celebrations with the children and our family. We went camping in the summer, spent some time at the beach and celebrated E's 6th, O's 2nd and J's 3rd birthday. We went to the fall fair and had a wonderful time. E has learned to be a learner and is finally starting to see some results of her hard work.

All three of our children had a wonderful halloween, enjoyed their parties and pumpkin carving. J has learned to transition into preschool without tears this year and O is on the cusp of potty training. I hosted Thanksgiving this year for the in laws and it turned out marvelous. Christmas was wonderful and although it started off a little rocky was still a very blessed day.

I have learned that mother's do indeed possess secret knowledge of each child's character's traits, the good and the bad, and always can sense when one is up to something as well as truly having eyes in the back of our heads. It actually makes me proud when I can read my kid like a book and know just what they are up to. It means I really am in the ranks of motherhood and not just playing at it.

We also learned this year that my FIL had cancer and had surgery to remove his prostrate. Then that his cancer has spread and that it's terminal. However, we also learned that his PSA numbers are very low which means the cancer isn't doing much at the moment and that's a good thing.

I learned that a family of five can live in a very small space for 2 years and survive. Totally chaotic but survived nonetheless. That children sharing rooms actually are closer to one another.
So while being a rambunctious little household, at least it's never boring. Apparently the more rambunctious you are the smarter you are or so I've been told. If that's the case, my kids must be all geniuses.

Check back tomorrow for my resolutions.

Hope you all have a wonderful New Year!




Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Gets Off To A Rocky Start

It's been crazy having the kids home from school... well E from school because that's the only one that goes to school. E has and probably always be the instigator. Suddenly they go from being reasonable little beings to wild terrors racing around the house to pushing her little brother so hard he hits his head on the door frame. By the end of day 1, Monday, I had had it. To top off K was late. That never makes it easier and when I am forewarned that it may happen I'm better prepared for it. So by the time he got home I had to run out for an errand and told him I might just not come back. He thought I was joking. I wasn't. I took off to my mother's and stayed long enough for him to have to call me to see where I was. It may have been petty but I was hoping it gave him a taste of what it's like to expect someone to come home and have them call up after they are already late and say they are going to be another hour. Course it almost backfired on me because we had planned on putting the Minivan express into play that night, which I had forgotten.

What did they do that was so terrible? Well, even though I tried to keep them busy with crafts and cookie baking, they decided to climb the dressers taking money down, E got a time out for yelling bloody frikin hell at her siblings, then she picked two holes into the drywall because she was "mad", then O and E decided to use markers on the floor in the kitchen and stick their Santa stickers onto the floor. Of course I wiped the markers up first so it made the stickers wet which made it harder to just lift them off the floor. I ended up having to pick at them for 10 minutes with my nails. Where was I? folding laundry on the couch. If I'm in the kitchen they terrorize the living room, if I'm in the living room they destroy the kitchen. I just can't win. Plus that was also the day I dropped my cookie dough bowl.

So through some trial and errors and much needed deep breaths and attempts to keep them busy on my part we made it to Wednesday, My grandmother's birthday. We went to my mom's house to wish her a happy Birthday where everybody kept asking the kids "who's coming to your house tomorrow?"

Now we all know that well meaning adults understand that they mean after the kid's go to sleep. But my dear children somehow got it into their head that meant that Santa was coming tomorrow, being Christmas Eve, morning. We weren't aware of this because we kept making sure to tell them after they went to bed. So it was three very disappointed children that woke up on Thursday to find Santa didn't come. Of course, it wasn't too hard for them to get over it because they now knew that Santa was still coming the following day.

All in all though, we had a pretty nice Christmas. Much better than last year. It wasn't perfect, we still yelled once or twice when they weren't listening but in generally we seem to have handled it better this year and I didn't have any emotional breakdowns like last year. That alone marks it as a good thing. Well.... aside from Monday. *LOL*

And I got some pretty nice presents. If it wasn't for my mom, it would have been a dull Christmas present wise for us. I mean I know Christmas really is for the kids, but it still is nice to get something under the tree. I lucked out this year because everything my mom picked out for me this year, I really liked. Some years it doesn't go so well. Not to be ungrateful but there's always a matter of a difference in taste. ;)

Well, I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Win Jewelry


Okay, who doesn't want to win some jewelry? I know I do. Let's face it we are just too poor to actually go out and spend money on diamonds. Sigh

LaShue is holding a $5,000.00 (to spend anywhere you like) sweepstakes. Simply display one of their jewelry badges on your website or blog and be automatically entered each and every month. The sweepstakes giveaway is open to all countries and there is also a monthly random draw of $200.00.

And for those of you who can afford to spend... LaShue is offering all entrants a 15% discount on the entire LaShue jewelry range.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to LaShue Jewelry and enter today!


The Verdict is In

After a very long tense weekend we finally received the news on Monday morning that we have been approved for the financing for the home. Yes, that's right. We are now the proud soon to be owners of a lovely 4 bedroom home. Not only that but the interest rate dropped another .25 percent. woo hoo

I still can't believe it's true and there is a part of me that is still worried that it's going to all go horribly wrong and the bank is going to pull out at the last minute. Which is crazy, I know but it's still there. Things have been just so tough for so long that it's hard to believe that things are starting to look up.

Of course this last month is going to be stressful. We have a move to organize, schools to inform, work to sort out for me and continue to survive through my MIL's constant attempts at organizing me.

The papers removing the subjects are being signed tonight and she is already trying to coordinate movers. As far as I am concerned that can all wait until after Christmas. They even have things half packed already. Course they are retired so it's not like they have much else to do. Would you believe she had expected that I wou
ld have called her banker to inform him of which lawyer we're using? Like I know who her banker is #1 and #2, hello I have three children running around screaming every time I pick up the phone, she's the retired one why doesn't she call?

Not a major deal I know but just odd.

Then we've been told that we are to downplay the whole house thing to K's brother and SIL when they come over for xmas. The four of them live in a cramped 2 bedroom condo in the big City and so we should be sensitive. Which I get.... sort of. Because after all, they've made their choices to stay in the Big City. They chose to move into a smaller place, they CHOSE to stay there when they were expecting their second child and they are CHOOSING to stay where they are. Sure it's expensive living in the Big City but they just can't seem to get their act together and buy something bigger. There is always a reason why this house or that house isn't right. I think they keep holding out for the "perfect" home when in reality no home is ever really 100% perfect. If they were put in a position where they had to move then suddenly any one of those homes would have been okay.

The house we're buying.. it's not perfect but it ticks enough boxes that makes us believe it will do for us.

Anyways, it's nice to know we can take a big sigh of relief this Christmas and hopefully have a relaxed and less stressed holiday because we know we are finally going to be able to make some changes that will benefit our family.

In case you forgot, this is the house we're buying.



That just makes me want to get up and do a little dance.



Monday, December 21, 2009

Cookie Tragedy :(


Oh Cookie dough,
Oh Cookie Dough,
How lovely you were to thee

Oh sweet and moist you were sure to be
full of butter and cream cheese
You were at least a 1000 calories
But in the oven you were never meant to be

Oh Cookie Dough,
Oh Cookie Dough
How lovely you were to thee



Fortunately, I did get a dozen cookies out of this before I decided to drop the bowl and smash it all over my kitchen floor losing at least 4 or 5 dozen cookies.

Unfortunately, my beautiful glass bowl broke, the only glass bowl I have to go with my harvest gold Sunbeam MixMaster. I had to pay $75.00 for an older mixmaster at a second hand store just to get the bowl. Snap.

My hips; however, are extremely grateful. Anything with butter and cream cheese could not have been good for me.


Countdown to Christmas

Well we are still on pins and needles today to see if we get the financing for our home. We hope that we hear today. We've been trying to be positive all weekend but still the stress is pretty high for my husband. I figured he'd feel better once it all went through on the house being officially sold and seeing the sold sign up but he tells me he won't be able to relax until he knows we have a house to go in to. I just hope it works out because he didn't want to bump the house inspector and it will be a total waste of money if it doesn't go through. You need to cancel 24 hours in advance.


So as there wasn't much other news today I thought I'd post a few photos of what we have been up to so far this Christmas season.

These are some cards I created with Clipart I purchased from Country Clipart.. same site as the one I have posted on my sidebar for my Christmas background. I actually sold a few in K's store so it was a success that way. Next year I just have to start earlier and source out the costs maybe a little cheaper. I think I finally learned about layering and how to send images to the back or front etc. Having a decent software program makes all the difference as I had to "build" each scene out of different clips etc. ON the bottom of each card I added a row of shimmering sparkle to hopefully represent snow.












A little Tree Decorating

A little cookie decorating


O was more interested in eating than decorating.



and what's Christmas without Rice Krispie treats


We've been asked if we're packing like crazy. I have to admit that the question itself is crazy. We are four days away from Christmas, do you really think I want to focus all my time and energy into packing when it can just as soon as wait until after Christmas? No, this week is about my children and I'm going to try my best to relax, no matter what the house outcome, and work hard on creating some good memories for this last Christmas in this house.

What are you doing with your children this week?

Zeemaid

In the Mommy Trenches

Friday, December 18, 2009

SOLD!

It's official! So right now we're doing the happy dance. For those that don't know.. the happy dance is a lot like the pee pee dance... only less urgent. ;)

No word on the financing for our new house.

Zeemaid
In the Mommy Trenches

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Would it Jinx Me?

Would it jinx me if I posted a photo of the house we're hoping to buy?

They accepted our offer. It took until 8:10 p.m. for them to call but it's accepted as is, they even gave us the appliances. Yea.

Then today the realtor called to book a home inspection of our house for tomorrow so that's a good sign. The last two offers never even made it this far. If they are willing to pay for an inspection then they must have the financing. So hopefully nothing major shows up tomorrow. I can't imagine it will. You'd think after 4 1/2 years that we'd notice something by now.

Talk about stressful. We've had so many disappointments to date that we are still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I'm not normally a pessimist by nature so it's hard for me not to get excited. Although we've been pre-approved at the Bank, I'm still worried that they will say no way because we are both self-employed and a lot of our income is based on declared income.

Add to this that the house is at the top of our budget. So what makes this house the one?

It has/is:
four large bedrooms, each of the children will have their own room.
8 years old
a formal living room and a family room
a double garage
a patio
a front porch
close by a k-7 school, literally around the corner.
2 minutes from K's work. He could come home for lunch if he wanted.
master suite has a window seat. I've always wanted a window seat since
I was a little girl.

Add to that they we are paying just under the assessed value, which is going up this tax year, so once the papers are signed we will already have made money on this house.

We do have to fix up the back yard. It is pretty awful with tons of spindly trees. Yet my kids will love exploring the yard because it's "interesting".

Plus we have to paint a bit. Some of the colours are quite dark.

We had looked at 8 other homes this weekend and although some had potential, they were just too much work and none had 4 bedrooms on the same floor. Two would have to share a really small bedroom. Just for the kids to be able to have their own decent sized bedroom I think is worth it. At this point in our lives both of us know that we are not prepared to take on a reno. We've been living a stressed out life for the past 2 1/2 years what between running our own businesses and selling our home so we kind of think it's time for us to have a break. Taking on a reno project would just add to the stress.

So here's a peek at my hopefully soon to be new home.



Zeemaid
In the Mommy Trenches

Monday, December 14, 2009

Hopefully Good News

Alright my hopeful supporters. We received an offer on our house Friday. Not perfect but we got it to an acceptable level and so it's been accepted. They have until Friday to dot all their i and cross all their t's so to speak. If all goes well, we will be moved by the end of January.

We have also found a perfect house to move into. Funny thing was we went to see it on Sunday. It had just dropped their price to be more closer to what we can afford. Several other people went to see it on Saturday as well. Would you know someone else made an offer same as us and they took the other people's offer. Disappointment does not even begin to describe it.

So we went back today armed with about 6 possible homes to view when we got a phone call, those people's offer fell through for whatever reason. So the house may still be ours. We still went and looked at all the other homes just to see what else was out there and this was hands down the best home for the money.

So we made them an offer again tonight for the same amount we made on Saturday. Really we can't go any higher. So far we have not heard back. They have until 9:00 p.m. to get back to us. It's already 7:30 and we still have not heard. Pins and needles time. We're still worried that the deal on our house could fall through... it's happened twice before.

So I may be in and out this week dealing with housing, Christmas concerts etc. Hoo Boy!

Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Top Ten Thursday - People I'd Like to Meet

Another week has gone by and it's time for another Top Ten Thursday. Last week I did my top favourite gifts I'd like to receive so this week why not My Top Ten Favourite people I'd like to meet.

1. Colin Firth - He's an absolute hunk and with that British accent he could say just about anything that would make my socks roll up and down.

2. Ophrah Winfrey - no not for her free stuff. I'd just like to be able to say I met her. Strip away the talk show etc and she is definitely an interesting person.

3. Albert Einstein - I once did an oil pastel drawing of him in art class and I'd like his opinion on his hair. Is it crazy enough?

4. Queen Elizabeth - I am after all a solid Canadian citizen and a fan of all things British. It would be really amazing to actually meet the monarch just once.

5. Jane Austen - If anyone ever invented a time machine I'd love to travel back in time and visit good old Jane and see what her life was really like. Perhaps I'd even rescue her personal letters from being destroyed by her sister, Cassandra, upon her death. Or see through Jane's eyes just why she detests Bath so.

6. Vincent Van Gogh - When I was 16 I visited the Vincent Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and like many arrogant 16 year olds thought I could paint something just as well. After all it was only globs of paint standing straight up out of the painting. How hard could it be? Now many years later, I have a healthy respect for artists and their work.

7. Joan of Arc - was she really crazy? Did she really hear voices? Inquiring minds want to know.

8. Cate Blanchette - an amazing actress. I would love to see her work in person or even just attend a play at her theatre in Australia.

9. Corrie Ten Boom - an amazing holocaust survivor. She wrote a few books and travelled around the world sharing the gospel and message of forgiveness. They thanked God for fleas because it was the fleas that kept the guards at bay from their little bible group.

10. Nora Roberts - I really enjoy her books and it would be great to get some pointers from a woman who started out much like me with an idea when she was a stay at home mother.

I had to laugh because I told my husband he could help me do my list and as I typed #1. he suggested Colin Firth himself. Guess he knows me well. *L* It's a good thing he's my Mr. Darcy. ;)

So that was easy right? Why not play along. Either use my idea or make up one of your own and come back here and link up. Don't forget to check out my lovely co-hosts blogs. Oh and don't forget to grab our button there on the right.



Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Merry Sitsmas!

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday this season. I pray that it will be less stressed and more fun than any other holiday year. I pray that we will spend more time with our family and loved ones and remember those that are gone with fondness and warm memories.

I am hopeful that 2010 will see positive things for us all and a real change for the better.

Sitsmas is December 8th over there at The Secret is in the Sauce site with lots of contests and tons of fun so be sure to hop on over and enjoy the fun!!!

Zeemaid
In the Mommy Trenches

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Skin MD Natural Skin Care - Review/Giveaway


When I first started out blogging I had no idea what a phenomenon it was. I had never heard of mommy bloggers. Who knew when I started this blog that I would not only have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people but I would even have opportunities to do product reviews.

Skin MD Natural is one such review. I had been a little hesitant to really jump on the whole review bandwagon until I read an email about Skin MD. You see, I have really bad knees. I mean really bad. So bad I won't wear shorts or skirts in the summer because people always ask me what's wrong with my knees bad. I hate having to expose my knees at the pool. It's been like this for years and it seems that no matter what I do they just never get better. Would you believe I have knee envy? Envy of those with perfect smooth knees.

After checking out their website Skin MD Natural I learned that what makes their lotion different from regular moisturizers is that it is a Shielding Lotion.

"A shielding lotion is unlike any other conventional, artificial moisturizers because it
works with the skin to naturally moisturize and heal. Most conventional, artificial moisturizers only add moisture to the surface of the skin, but do little to repair the
skin’s natural barrier against moisture robbing irritants. Continued use of artificial moisturizers can cause the skin to actually begin producing less of its own natural oils, thinking that the skin has enough moisture. This can cause skin to form a
dependence on the moisturizer for hydration. Skin MD Natural breaks the dry skin
cycle by working to help restore skin’s natural protective abilities by bonding to
the outer layer of skin, strengthening skins natural barrier against toxins and irritants
that can dry the skin, while locking in the skin’s natural oils."

Okay, I was intrigued. Of course I tried not to get my hopes up because I had been disappointed so badly before. Still I was excited to get my bottle in the mail. For fun I decided to take a photo of one of my knees. I can't believe I am going to show a photo of my knee. AAAck.


This is my worst knee.

Let me just say I was pleased with how light and non greasy Skin MD was. It has almost no scent and it's so barely noticeable that I don't mind having it on my hands at all. I like pretty smelling moisturizers, I just don't like them on my skin. Plus any of the creams I had purchased that said they helped really dry skin ended up having either an icky smell. Seriously there is no way I'm going to continue to use the cream if I can't stand the smell. Plus a little Skin MD seems to go a long way. I've been using the bottle continuously for 3 weeks and I still have half the bottle left. Course, I'm using it just for knees and hands but still.

This is the same knee now.



Okay it's not perfect and it certainly won't win me any prettiest knees of the year contests but it's a big time improvement over what I had before and I am thrilled. The other knee looks even better. Plus it only makes sense that since I have had these awful dried out knees for literally years that it would take some time and effort on my part (applying the product) for it to get better. I could actually see a noticeable difference within one week which is what kept me going with it.

I should mention that while I've been extolling the benefits of Skin MD as a moisturizer, I should mention that it is a shielding lotion and many people use it to protect themselves and their children from harmful chemicals in toys, crayons, carpets etc.

As for the ingredients, Skin MD is ...

"Made in the US using high quality natural ingredients making it over 90% all
natural. All ingredients are considered to be of food grade and are also on
the FDA's most safe list. It is free of harmful fragrances, parabens, and
colorants making it hypoallergenic. We don't participate in animal testing
nor does the lotion contain any animal products."

Plus the wonderful people at Skin MD is offering a free bottle of Skin MD Natural to one of my readers. This is open to Canada and the U.S. Contest Ends December 16th.

To enter visit Skin MD Natural and come back and tell me one thing you've learned from this site or even.

For extra entries:

1. post a comment telling me about your worst problem area
2. become a follower or my blog
3. follow me on twitter and tweet this contest. RT@Zeemaid Skin Care MD Natural Giveaway

A special thank you to Marilyn at Natural Skin MD for the opportunity to try out this product.

In the Mommy Trenches

*Please note that the only compensation I received for this review was the free bottle of product. This review is unbiased and reflects my actual experiences with the product.


MckLinky Blog Hop

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Little Product Review Preview - Rachael Ray Cookware


I am so excited that I have been asked to do a product review for Cookware.com. Much like a kid in a candy store, I have spent quite a bit of time pouring over their cookware sets deciding what to choose. As you can imagine it was a very difficult task narrowing it down but I can certainly tell you it was an enjoyable one. Everything on their site is simply gorgeous.

After much careful consideration I decided I'm going to review Rachael Ray's Bubble and Brown 2.75 qt Round Casserole dish in cobalt blue. Seeing as how the days are shorter and definitely getting colder, I figure what better than to review a dish that is sure to provide my family with some much loved comfort food and some much needed style. ;)

So stay tuned.

In the Mommy Trenches.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top Ten Thursday - Christmas Prezzies

Top Ten Thursday Button

Okay, we're a little late but I figured better late than never, right?

LZ over at My Messy Paradise is our host this week and she is offering up another giveaway. So once you've read my list, head on over to her blog and comment. For an extra entry, create your own Top Ten List, grab our button and link up.

Now on to my Top Ten List.

What with the recession and all, money is tight for everyone. Even the wealthy are cutting back, right? *snort* Not to mention once you have children all your focus (and money) goes toward them and not yourself. We have found ourselves not really buying Christmas presents for each other the past few years. Which is a total drag. I love prezzies. So I decided my Top Ten list for this week would cover the Top Ten Things I'd Most Like for Christmas. Just to clarify that this is not a "if money was no object" kind of a list but more of a we have some money kind of list.

So without further ado, here's my

Top Ten Things I'd Most Like for Christmas

1. Little Black Dress- You know "the" dress. The one perfect little black dress good for any occasion. I would love to have one of those.

2. Trip for our family to Disneyland.

3. New clothes. I know, I just got some but now my new jeans are embarrassed to be seen with some of the t-shirts in my closet.

4. Diamonds. Of course I want diamonds or sapphires or amethysts. Anything sparkly and pretty that I can wear in my ears, around my neck or on my fingers. ;)

5. A good pair of snow boots. Last year I had to go through the entire snow
event without boots. I hate wet feet.

6. A holiday from work. That would be a real treat.

7. The Inkheart series. I've been looking to buy the first one second hand
and can't find it. I'd love to read them all.

8. A Tassimo or Keurig coffee maker. You know, one of those coffee makers
that make just one cup but it can be whatever flavour you choose.
I'd seriously like one of those. I have enough airmile points to get
one but hubs doesn't think we should "waste" our points. Yeah
like airmile is ever going to get us anywhere.
10 years, I've got 1100 points.

9. A Kindle or Sony E reader. Did you know they are finally
shipping to Canada but you have to pay duty. BOO!!

10. My house to be sold. That would be the greatest xmas gift of all


Oh I'd also like World Peace and to end world hunger but I figured that goes without saying. ;)

Thanks for playing and Don’t forget to visit my great co-hosts: Jennifer at It’s a Beauty Filled life, Sara at Domestically Challenged as well as LZ at My Messy Paradise.