Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Memories - Really Just an Excuse to Show off My Kids

I really enjoy Halloween.  Apart from all the candy (which is huge in it's favour), I love to see all the kids in their cute costumes.  Which is why it was one of the first things I was looking forward to doing when I finally had a child. So even though E was only 4 months old at the time and there was no way she was going out trick or treating at that stage, I couldn't resist dressing her up. 



You can tell how thrilled she was. ;)

Of course the following year I got ambitious and was determined to make a Halloween costume myself.  Monster Inc was big then and since my little E was (a) adorable and (b) had a full head of hair, I figured she'd be a perfect fit for Boo from Monsters Inc.  Of course, I didn't want her to be just an ordinary Boo with pigtails in a pink nighty, oh no, that would have been too easy. Instead, I had to devise a Boo in her Monster costume instead. 

While I'll admit it did turn out pretty cute, I was disappointed because how I pictured doing it, didn't work out at all.  Plus I had a hard time purchasing supplies.


Freakin cute, right?

Of course, back then we had all sorts of spare time to get all creative with our pumpkins.






Now we settle for more simpler and quicker pumpkins.


Although life has gotten more hectic now that we have 3 children, Halloween is just as much fun as it was when we just had one.  Cause now we get to see three cute kids in costumes, instead of just one.



Happy Halloween!

This post brought to you by the Lovely Girls at SITS (Cause Tiffany really is so pretty ;) who are holding a camera giveaway.  Not familiar with SITS or want to win a camera  Check them out here SITS

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Cheese Touch

The Cheese Touch.  It's from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie.  I had watched this movie myself as I watch most of the new movies that come down the DVD line but still it took me awhile to remember what that meant when my daughter asked me about it.

You see she hadn't watched the movie herself so you can only imagine her dismay when one girl in her class proclaimed that E had "The Cheese Touch" and incited all the rest of the kids to run away from her.  Fortunately, one boy did stand up and say that that wasn't very nice and refused to participate but still, it embarrassed my daughter to no end. 

When it finally struck me what the heck the cheese touch was, I was able to tell her where it came from but she wanted to know why the kids would do that.  (If you don't know what it is.. the story goes that there is this piece of cheese lying on the basketball court, no one knows how long it's been there but we're talking years here.  If anyone so much as touches the cheese, they instantly become labeled with the cheese touch and are completely ostracized, no one wanting to be accidentally touched by the person who has the cheese touch.)  I didn't know how to explain why kids would do that.  Sure I could go on and on about insecurities, jealousies etc.. but really, how much would she get?  In the end, it comes down to reassuring her that there is nothing wrong with her.

Thinking back, there was a good reason why I didn't let my daughter watch this movie.  It's the same reason why I felt bad having let her watch Alvin & the Chipmunks 2:  because of the bullying that's portrayed.  Sure there's always a message in the movie, don't bully, just be yourself etc but how much of that message actually sinks in?  Did the no bullying message sink in with that little girl in my daughter's class?  No.  What she learned was a creative way to single out a kid for teasing.

Do my kids really need to learn about swirlys? I don't think so. 

Going to school is daunting enough without being shown all the many ways one can be bullied.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Life Does Not Suck

I recently watched a movie where that was a phrase repeated several times by the main character. Of course, he was trying to convince himself (unsuccessfully) that his life really wasn't that bad. 

Being a very much in the moment kind of person, I found myself repeating "My Life Does Not Suck" to myself a lot lately.  In the midst of things going wrong, it sometimes can be hard to remember that it's really not all that bad.  Between asking myself what did I do to deserve to be taken so for granted, to O deciding to colour on our LCD television (with a wax crayon fortunately), to money being too tight to get groceries at the moment so we are living on the dregs of the pantry (bleh), to headaches, meeting a new doctor and feeling very foolish in front of said doctor, to constant cracks from my children about my weight or "did you used to be skinny" or to daddy "maybe we should get some of those (diet) pills for mommy", to being in a new community where so far it's been very difficult making friends, there are days I just want to throw in the towel and put my head in the oven.  Too bad we don't have gas.  Sigh.

I have to stop and remind myself of the moments of fun, like making my little ghosties, playing "Go For It" with hubby and getting together at McD's for coffee with my girlfriend while O played and made new friends.

I am actually blessed in a multiple of ways including my husband and three children.  I just haven't figured out how to live peacefully with everything that I have been blessed with. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Easy Peasy Halloween Ghosties

I had an epiphany.  While I consider myself a crafty person, I generally have to rely upon someone else's ideas.  I am a sponge.  That I am.  AND even if I do have an original thought ;)  I never can get it to turn out like I wanted to.. case in point E's "Boo" costume for halloween years ago.  I wanted to recreate little boo's outfit from Monsters Inc. 

So I was particularly pleased when this little inspiration struck and I have to say, that as far as I am aware this idea is 100% me.  The idea came when I was walking past a neighbour's house all decorated for halloween.  They had what look to be skulls hanging in white nylons strung along their porch.  I was wondering if I could do a similar effect but with ghosties.  I think I came up with something better and cuter and even better yet, something the kids could help me with.  I was actually able to draw something that was pretty close to what I was imagining and E and J were able to sew this up with minimal help from me.  All I had to do was keep threading the needle for them.  Of course, I couldn't leave O out, so I placed the stitches but he got to pull the needle and thread through the fabric. 

What you will need:
  • paper
  • white felt
  • white thread
  • googly eyes
  • sewing needle
  • black thread or felt for mouth
  • cotton batting for stuffing

Depending on size or how many ghosts you'd like to make you can get at least two out of one felt square.  Ghosts are double sided.

Draw a ghost on paper, cut it out and use as pattern for cutting the ghosts out.  Pin your ghosts together, and using a overcast stitch sew your ghosts up leaving a space for stuffing to be inserted.  Stuff lightly.  Glue eyes and felt and voila you have an Easy Peasie Halloween Ghostie.


I liked it so much I decided to do a bat too.  I think it still needs a mouth though.  I'm working on that.



The plan now is to attach a string to the top and hang them up.

So, what's your favourite Halloween craft?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Journey To Promethea - Movie Review

If you are like me you just love historical movies like Gladiator, Rome, King Arthur, Kingdom of Heaven and the list goes on.  These movies are known not only for the great story lines but also for the acting and amazing presentation of the historical period. 

So even though I knew this title was a small title coming out this week, meaning we didn't get many copies of it in to rent in our video store, I still set it aside with the pile of movies that I wanted to watch this last weekend.

I was hopeful.  After all the cover art made the movie look promising and I figured it was going to be this little gem of a movie that we will be chatting up all week long. 

Obviously you can tell from my preamble that this was far from the case. 

I probably spent the first 20 minutes laughing at the stupidity of this movie before we finally turned it off.  The acting was terrible, the set, the design, the dialogue.. everything about this film was awful.  You take medieval peasant type people, send them off into the wildnerness doomed to wander all the days of their lives because of some curse and they do it too... in sparkling white shirts and bold green and read skirts.  Their faces are dirty but their clothes are a walking advertisment for Medieval Tide. 

In another scene this 20 year old "boy" was being taught to milk a cow because he never knew when his father might not be around to help him, when his brother comes up and says "that's not how you do it, do it as you would to yourself, a gentle tug and pull".  I kid you not.. that is the line in the movie. 

Watch the trailer.  If I had watched this first, I never would have watched the movie at all. 


I have to say that I am surprised that someone like Billy Zane, who is an experienced actor, would even be in something like this.  It reminded me of the time we watched In the Name of the King, starring Jason Statham.  After watching him in all those movies like Crank and Transporter, it was hard to watch in something as poorly done as In the Name of the King.  I mean, can the actors not hear how bad the dialogue is?  Don't they get an idea of how stupid the story is when they read the script? 

So don't waste your money on this one unless, of course, you'd like a good laugh!

An In the Mommy Trenches Movie Review

Monday, October 18, 2010

Chair Renovation

It seems that something is in the air at this time of year because apparently a lot of bloggers are painting their homes at the moment.  I think for me it's because so much of my time has been spent outside supervising or playing with the kids this summer and with the great weather it would have been a waste to spend it indoors.  Now that the weather is turning cooler, we've moved back inside and we can actually get to some of those long awaited projects.  That doesn't keep me looking back outside with some regrets of all the projects we didn't get completed this summer. 

Still, this project is one that I am particularly pleased with.  My husband brought into the marriage a lovely antique oak dining table.  It's nothing spectacular, a rather plain table in all except that it has two leafs and can seat up to 10 people with ease.  I also like it's simple lines as the legs are in the corners where they belong, which no one ever has to sit in front of a table leg.  Kind of a pet peeve with me having grown up with my mom's antique table that folded out.

The one thing I did not like about my husband's table was the seat cushions.  They were well worn and used when we married but after three kids, they became disgusting. I am serious.  I was actually beginning to be embarrased to have anyone sit on my chairs they were so awful looking.  In our old home the table sat in a nook and E always sat in the nook.  Well imagine to my disgust some months later when I discovered she had been wiping her hands on the seat cushion all that time.  The corner was positively turning blue with mould.  Yech. 

So I finally manage to get my hands on some inexpensive material and it only took me a couple more weeks to actually get my husband to find his staple gun for me.  Once I had my tools in hand I was all set and I guess my enthusiasm, or perhaps a deadline of getting the chairs ready for our company dinner, got my husband into the act and he became my champion staple puller.  Of course, I quickly googled "recovering dining chair" so I'd have some idea of what I was doing.  What did we ever do before Google and Youtube?

In the end, it was really quite simple and I am very pleased with the results.  I was more pleased with my MIL's reaction when she came to dinner.  Being the germaphobe conscientious woman that she is, I can only imagine how much she probably cringed everytime she had to sit on my chairs.

I also went the extra step by covering the chairs with clear vinyl so that any spills or sneaky hand wiping by children, can be easily cleaned. 


BEFORE


I know, pretty awful right?


AFTER


Look how nice it's going to go with my new paint colours!

So what do you think?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Have Been Deceived

I  have continued to neglect my blog and somewhat my house this week since I am still reading books I've downloaded from the library on my Kobo Reader.  As you may know, I have a weakness for Jane Austen and even though I am a purist, I thought I'd try to read one of the Pride and Prejudice knock-offs.  You know, one of those books that claims to know the inner voices of the characters like what Mr. Darcy really felt etc.

So I downloaded  Pride/Prejudice by Ann Herendeen

This is the description of the book as had from the library itself.

For readers who've loved Jane Austen's most popular novel—the inestimable Pride and Prejudice—questions have always remained. What is the real nature of Darcy's intense friendship with Charles Bingley, to explain why he would prevent Bingley's marriage to Elizabeth's beautiful and virtuous sister Jane? How can Darcy reconcile his own desire for Elizabeth with his determination to save his friend from a similar entanglement? What is the disturbing history behind Darcy's tortured relationship with his foster brother, George Wickham? And what other intimacies, besides their cherished friendship, are exchanged between Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas?


Ann Herendeen, acclaimed author of Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander, reimagines this classic love story, focusing on the untold aspects of Jane Austen's timeless novel. Pride/Prejudice brings to light all the buried secrets, potential scandals, and unspoken, forbidden loves of Austen's story, weaving a tale of intertwined passions, pride humbled, and ultimately, freedom from prejudice.

Okay, now I know I'm guilty of skimming and I'm pretty sure I missed the innuendo in this sentence "And what other intimacies, besides their cherished friendship, are exchanged between Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas?"

But really, the last thing I expected to read was Mr. Darcy getting all jiggy with Mr. Bingley in bed in the very first page.  Or was it just me being naive?  Going back to read the backflap excerpt once again, I can only imagine how the rest of the book is going to go. After two pages, I knew I couldn't read anymore as it just didn't get any better.

I should have realized what was coming when I read the dedication page wherein in the author admits that she realized too late that she shared a dark and twisted sense of humour with her late father. 

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a gay bashing thing at all.  I just have my Mr. Darcy up on a pedestal and want him to stay there.. devoted to me.  There's no room for a third in this fantasy and I know if I read this book, however, interesting it may be, it will forever taint my view of him.  Kinda like watching a movie before reading the book then you when you do read it, you have the actor's faces in your head the whole time.

Sigh... I will just have to find myself another book to read now.

Painting 101

This week I have been painting my living room and thought I'd pass on a few tips here.  Who knows, I might just have to refresh my own memory when I do it again in a couple of years!

Now I don't profess to be an expert on types of paint or what rollers you should use.  I will unashamedly admit that my husband bought both the paint and the rollers for the job.  It was also his recommendation what paint brush I use to cut the paint in.  Apparently it's a specific brush, it's cut on an angle and it does do a very nice job.  My only insistence on paint for my walls is that it has to be satin finish. 

Now the paint experts will tout eggshell as the be all and end all paint for ease of cleaning etc but I have never once had anything but grief with egg shell paint. Now granted, not all paint brands are created equal.  However, I am not interested in wasting my time or money figuring out which brand of eggshell works the best.  In our old home, I had permanent grease marks down the entire hallway from my kids' hands and nothing, NOTHING I did removed the stains.  Which is why my kids were pretty much banned from their grandparents part of the house the entire time we were trying to sell (2.5 years).  Yeah.. lot's of fun.  Whereas I've never had a problem cleaning grubby marks from Satin finish. 

Now there was a little setback when hubby went to buy the paint.  Apparently, I had picked colours from the Martha Stewart line and apparently she does not offer satin paint as an option.  This does not sound like a big deal but apparently, you can only use Martha Stewart colours with Martha Stewart paint and it's a whole copyrighted thing so they'll get in trouble if they accommodate us.  OMGoodness!  We eventually found a similar enough colour and my husband quipped to the sales girl how we should write Martha Stewart and tell her she should offer her paint in Satin finish.  To which the girl replied... "Martha Stewart would probably just shake her head and say 'oh those Canadians'".  That gave us all a good laugh.

So Martha if you're reading this, well I know you're not reading this, but possibly have some assistant or autobot gleaning references to your name, please offer Satin finish to your sales line in Canada.  We Canadians tend to do things just a tad differently from our American cousins.  Thanks so much!

Okay... here are my paint tips.

  • Be prepared.  Gather all your supplies into one spot and have it ready for use. 
  • Use old sheets as drop cloths. Unless you're tres experienced like my husband, there are bound to be droplets.
  • Fill any holes or dents with polyfil and allow to dry.  
  • Remove outlet covers, place plates and screws in one spot out of reach of little fingers. 
  • Sand your walls lightly.  This roughens the surface enough to give the paint something to stick to.  You don't need to TSP or wash your walls when you sand but you do need to wipe your walls down with a slightly damp cloth including over the polyfil areas to get rid of dust.
  • My FIL recommends dabbing a little paint with your paint brush over any polyfilled areas before rolling it, it eliminates the spot from being shiny. 
  • If you are going to paint with the same colour for more than one day, simply wrap your brush in a plastic bag (a sandwich bag works great) and place your paint tray and roller in a garbage bag.  Close up the bags as much as you can.  The brush and roller won't dry out this way and you will save yourself some cleaning.
  • When rolling, it's best to place your roller on the wall and paint a "W" shape.  This first roll usually has the most paint and this way you spread the paint out a bit and avoid runs.  My husband pooh poohs this suggestion but all the big painting sites recommend it and I found it worked great for me. 
My biggest suggestion is take your time and don't worry when it's drying and it looks all splotchy. You didn't mess up it's just the paint drying.  Give it an hour or so and it will all come together perfectly. 

PHOTO TIME

Since my house is still reasonably clean from Thanksgiving, I figured it would be a good time to take a few photos to show you the end results. Yeah, yeah, I'm bragging, I know.  I am that pleased with it!

It's hard to tell in these photos but the wall by the fireplace is a light green while the wall by the couch is a darker contrasting green in sage.  I absolutely love the colours myself!



We also did one accent wall in the family room the darker green as well.  That's as far as we've gotten painted so far and I hope to finish off the rest of the family room/kitchen soon.  



I just have to show off my new light fixture.  After hitting all the lite shops and home fix it type of stores in town, I finally found something I like and best of all, I could afford it.  I am inordinately pleaesd with it because it's different and whimsical looking.  It is one bright bad boy though as it takes 4 50 watt halogen lightbulbs which means my living room is now lit up brighter than day.  It took us a few days to get used to all that brightness because the lighting was so poor in the room before.  Now I can sit and do crafts while we watch our movies without squinting.


Do you have a paint suggestion for me? I'll be working on my family room next so any tips would be greatly appreciated!






Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Arm & Hammer - Review and Giveaway

I was recently given an opportunity to review three laundry detergents from Arm & Hammer.  As I had been adding baking soda to freshen my laundry for years, it seemed crazy that it hadn't occured to me to buy a laundry soap that already had baking soda in it.  Especially since I find Arm & Hammer to be very reasonably priced.



Arm & Hammer® Essentials® Power Gel



• The added power of Arm & Hammer® Baking Soda helps freshen, while the gel formula works to remove stains


• It is the first gel detergent made with biodegradable plant based soaps in Canada and can also be used to pre-treat stains


• Is gentle on fabrics


• Contains no phosphates or bleaches



Arm & Hammer® Original Laundry Detergent

· Arm & Hammer® Liquid Laundry Detergent is designed to power out dirt and odours. Special agents in the detergent trap soil in the wash water, rinsing away dirt and stains so it does not redeposit on clothes.


· Arm & Hammer® Liquid Laundry Detergent fights odours leaving laundry smelling fresh and clean. Available in Clean Fresh Scent and Clean Mountain scents.


· Arm & Hammer® Clean Fresh High Efficiency detergent is specially formulated for today’s technologically advanced and environmentally friendly washers. Designed for use in less wash water, trapping soil and rinsing it away clean every time


· Arm & Hammer® 2x concentrated Liquid Laundry delivers 44 medium wash loads in a 2.03 litre size; SRP: $4.99-$5.99.


· 2.95 litre size with Clean Fresh scent delivers 64 medium wash loads; SRP: $7.99


· 4.43 litre size with Clean Fresh scent delivers 96 medium wash loads; SRP: $9.99



Arm & Hammer® POWER GEL plus OxiClean®

· The new gel formula attacks the toughest stains to power them out, quickly dissolves in the wash, and then rinses clean, leaving no residue behind

· The added power of ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda helps freshen, while the gel formula works to attack and remove stains

· Gel formula can be used to pre-treat


· 2x concentrated enzyme formula works great on the toughest stains


· Available in an Ocean Breeze scent· Delivers 31 medium wash loads in the 1.62 litre size
 
 
I have to say I absolutely loved using these cleaners.  Not only did they work great but they smelled great and that great smell lasts for days.  One thing I really appreciated in having three different cleaners in my cupboard is that I chose a different cleaner depending on what I was washing.  If I had a really tough load that I felt needed an extra cleaning boost, I used the Arm & Hammer® POWER GEL plus OxiClean®.  Otherwise I'd simply use the regular one. I also used the POWER GEL to pretreat any stains I had and it worked like a charm.
 
I also especially liked that there was a green option with the Arm & Hammer® Essentials® Power Gel.  I actually said to my husband that it smells exactly how you would expect "green" to smell.  It worked absolutely great and I could see no difference in the cleaning capabilities than the other two.  In other words, just because it didn't have the harsher chemicals didn't mean it didn't clean as well. 
 
My husband told me specifically that I had to add in here that what he liked about the Arm & Hammer® Essentials® Power Gel and the Arm & Hammer® POWER GEL plus OxiClean® was that their bottles were see-through which meant we could see exactly how much detergent we had left. 
 
The GIVEAWAY
 
Arm & Hammer has graciously offered one of my readers their very own chance to try out each of these three products plus a little something extra as you can tell from the photo!

 
TO ENTER (leave a comment for each entry)
 
MANDATORY:  Must be done before any other additional entries.  Leave a comment telling me the worst stain your child ever made and on what.
 
Extra Entries:  Leave a comment for each one.
* follow my blog via Google Friend Connect
* follow me @zeemaid on twitter
* retweet this giveaway.  You can use the button at the top of the page. May be done once per day!
 
Contest open to Canadians only, ENDS Oct 25, 2010.
 
*Disclosure.  The only compensation received in return for my review was the product upon which to base my review.  All opinions declared herein are the honest and true opinions of Zeemaid of In the Mommy Trenches.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

With the Canadian Thanksgiving looming this weekend, I have been busy trying to get my house in order for company and figuring out how I'm going to get everything accomplished that I want to.  Like any aspiring hostess, I want to not just satisfy my guests but dazzle them a little with my culinary skills and leave them begging for more.

So on top of everything I have to pre-prepare this weekend, I added homemade cranberry sauce.  I'm not a fan of it myself but my husband and FIL are and you know how to keep the men happy?  Feed em, Feed em and Feed em some more. ;)   This sauce was incredibly easy and takes next to no time at all to prepare.

Basic Cranberry Sauce

8 oz cranberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water



Make sure you pick over the cranberries carefully. Use only the ripest or reddest berries and remove anything that looks yucky so you don't add in any nasty or odd flavours to your sauce.

Add sugar and water in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

Add cranberries and reduce to low heat and simmer 10 minutes or until cranberries pop.  And I do mean pop.  You will hear them literally popping in the pot.  I made sure all of mine were popped and good and soft.

Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature before placing in the fridge.  The sauce will set as it chills. 

I'd definitely make this the day before to give it plenty of time to set.  Also, for variety you can add orange zest while cooking to give it some zing and I understand many people also add walnuts or pecans to the sauce.  Also, you just serve it as it is or puree the sauce for a more smoother sauce.

I have to say it smells absolutely fantastic and I will definitely be trying this with my turkey this year.



Ps.  My reluctance to eat cranberry sauce could stem from my own youthful memories. My mother, not a fan it either, would grudgingly serve it by dumping a can of it into a dish and placing it on the table where it sat with canned rings and all adorning it. She didn't so much as mash it into the bowl. Nothing looks so unappetizing as seeing a jellied mound of red stuff with can rings.  Yummm.

Added Sunday, October 10 2010  - We had our turkey dinner last night and the cranberry sauce was a hit.  My FIL knew immediately that it was fresh sauce and everyone raved about it.  Our friends said that they tolerated the canned sauce but this was something else.  So there you go.  Once again, fresh beats out canned!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do You Believe in Name Brands?

I'm talking Grocery Name Brands.  We've all grown up with specific brands of food items and we continue to buy those same name items simply because of that.   Robin Hood Flour, Kraft Dinner, Kelloggs, Delta Rice, Hershey etc.  I bet you could pull two names right off the top of your head that brings back not only child hood memories but you also buy today to recreate those memories for your own children.

Somewhere down the line we've absorbed the belief that name brands are better and no name knock-offs are just not the same.  But is it really true?  I mean it's pretty hard to buy that bag of Robin Hood Flour when the no name brand is sitting right next to it at almost a dollar less.  Which would you buy?  I bought Robin Hood because it's familiar and I know it's good quality.  For years, I have stuck to my guns on certain name brands but when you are feeding a family of five, it's tough to stay true. My eyes now automatically slide to the cheaper can next to it and more often than not I'm buying it.

So what have I learned in the process?  Are the name brand products really all that superior? 

Yes and No.

I know that doesn't really help but really it comes down to a product by product comparison.  Some products are better than others.  Take chocolate chips. I generally buy Hersheys but sometimes I get frustrated by how expensive it is for a little bag (Thankful they now sell jumbo bags) so I tried the much larger bag of no name chocolate chips and I have to tell you it was so bad, we still have chips sitting in the cupboard that I won't make cookies with.  I don't know why I don't just throw it away.  So I've learned you can't mess with chocolate.  Quality of ingredients is very important or you just might find yourself buying "chocolate flavored" products like they now sell in Advent Calendars and Easter Bunnies.  Gross.

Other items, I swear it's the same company just repackaging the same product in a cheaper package so as to target us cheapos er thrifty people.  Safeway corn or Green Giant corn?  Uncle Ben or the knock off Uncle Paul rice?  Pretty much tasted the same to me. 

However, when I tried to switch to the bulk bag of fruit loops vs Kelloggs.  That didn't go so well.  While the ingredient list seemed the same and it had the same amount of Iron as it's more expensive sistah, they definitely were a poor quality turning into a big soggy mess in five seconds.  I definitely could not pour the milk until the child was at the table or they'd refuse to eat it. 

No Name Macaroni and Cheese? Blech.  It just doesn't taste the same something even the kids noticed and they wouldn't eat it.  Not that we eat much of this but I do like to have it now and then.

We don't have all the big box stores like they do in the US or the bigger cities in Canad so unfortunately, I have to really be aware of the sales going on at my local stores and shop as smart as I can.  Which, when you are lazy busy is hard to do.

What about you?  Have you tried no named brand?  What is the one brand you would always stick with no matter what the price?


Do you look for grocery coupons by brand?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Family Photos

I think I might be a little old fashioned in my decor choices and I often wonder what one of those designers off of HGTV would say when they saw my china cabinet full of tea cups, mother and child plate collection and my mantle covered with photos. 

When we were trying to sell our house I had to put my photos and other knick knacks away and away they've stayed for 3 (THREE) whole years.  When we moved to the new house, I ended up not unpacking those boxes because there didn't seem much point since we were planning on painting. 

Today was the day that box finally got unpacked and my mantle was graced once again with lovely photos of my family.  Until today I had almost forgotten what was missing from my home and I can't tell you how pleasing it was to walk into the front room and see those photos on display.  It may be out of style or old fashioned to have those types of photos and decorations out but to me, it really makes my home seem a home.

It's sad to think that my children had forgotten the pretty frames and photos that mommy used to have out.  O was a newborn when the photos first went away and J was only 17 months.  Sad also to think that I had not a single framed photo of my O because that's how long the box had been packed away and how long since we were able to put photos out.  Believe me, he noticed immediately that there were no photos of him.  I assured him that I had photos, I just had to find them.  Thank goodness I have a digital photo frame full of baby O photos. 

It was worth the extra work today when the girls came home and were oohing and awing over the photos and hubs agreed that we had just made one more step towards making this house our home. 

Do you think it's weird that I'd still have my wedding photos out?  I mean it has been 11 years.  I can't recall my mother ever having wedding photos on display.  What do you think?



By the way, that's my husband with his folks and then me with my dad and my mom.  No, they are not divorced.  I couldn't find one decent photo of the three of us like K and his parents so I just put out my favourites.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Multi-Tasking = Multi-Disaster

I've been a tad busy this week.  Oh I've got the usual mom stuff taking care of the house, making lunches, getting kids off to school.  It's when you throw in two after school activities on top of trying to paint my living room all while trying to keep up with posts and hosting a couple of giveaways on my site that things start to go wrong. 

Day one of painting on my home was wonderful.  It felt so good that I actually painted a whole wall by myself.  So the cutting in didn't blend in with the rolling but that's what second coats were for.  This is something I did sans help and/or without someone standing over me telling me how to do it better.  IE Father in law.  Last time he intimidated me so much, I gave up trying and just let hubby do it.  My FIL was a professional painter so to say he's picky is an understatement.

I digress.  Day two was somewhat trickier.  I had to take O downtown to preschool, meet up with a friend for tea, scope out a light shop and make it back in time to pick up O before heading home.  I might mention here that our city is currently under siege.... to construction.  It seems every major route in our town is getting upgrades and has been for months and it doesn't seem like it will ever end.  Some days it's not so bad and other days if you go so much as one street too far.. you're well screwed. 

I also desperately wanted to get another day of painting as my husband has informed me that if I paint every day there was no need to clean out my brush and roller. (so long as I wrap in plastic in between etc).  What a prime example of my laziness right?  Only E had jazz after school and so I needed to get home and get the wall done prior to picking the girls up from school at 2:30.  This gave me two hours to do everything on top of feeding O lunch.  No problem I thought.  After all the paint job went so well the day before. 

Well, I couldn't have been more wrong.  It meant I was rushing and when you rush you make mistakes.  First, I had a hard time cutting in without getting paint on the trim or ceiling and once when I was two vigorous with the roller I hit the ceiling and we've got that textured ceiling style that's so popular in Canada.  If you wipe it the texture dissovles leaving a smeared discoloured blob.  I just barely got the wall done when it was time to slip on my shoes and run out the door to get the girls when O put his hand right into the wet paint.  Apparently you can't open the door without a little wall support too.  Sigh.  I refrained just barely from swearing and marched him over to wash his hands before leaving.  His hand print is still there.  I was bummed because I so much wanted my husband to come home and say WOW, what an awesome job. Not... it looks good dear but I'll do the cutting in for you next time.  ;)

In the middle of all this my house is a disaster.  I have taken to closing my blinds before leaving the house in case someone stops by and rings my doorbell and peeks through the window.  The furniture is all askew, I've got paint cans and paint trays on my counter, screws, outlet covers, hammers all on my kitchen counter to keep little fingers from fiddling with.  Despite this,  I still found a screw sitting on my son's headboard. 

I figured the mess would be worth living with just so my house can get painted and I thought I was doing well keeping up with the basics like laundry until O ran out of jammies and then underwear.  Um borrow your sisters. Just pick out a nice non frou frou pattern. Fortunately, he's only three so he doesn't really care. So I madly rushed to throw his laundry in this morning before taking him to preschool.  I get home to switch over his clothes only to find........ (dramatic drumroll please)  an exploded pull up in the wash.  That's right.  In my haste, I had not noticed that he had tossed a pull up in his laundry basket.  Most likely it was still in the legs of his pajama bottoms.   I've been literally trying not to gag every time I accidently touch that mushy gel stuff.  Would you believe it went through the entire wash cycle and it still looks yellow?  Yup. 

Add to all this a Meet the Teacher night, choir practice for E and getting good solid nutritious meals on the table every night.   

Okay, so no real major disasters (apart from the exploded pullup) actually have happened.  Just a lot of minor frustrations and mistakes that can easily be fixed. Still I know I piled too much on my plate this week when one of the moms approached me and asked me if I was okay. Apparently I had seemed "off" at E's dance class and they were concerned.  Which when you're trying to make new friends and hopefully arrange playdates for your kids with these mom's kids... you don't exactly want to come off as a grump. 

I do not know how you really active moms do it all.  All I could think all week was how much I wanted to sit down and read on my Kobo.  Do you find you take on too much in a week?  How do you say no?
Any tips on getting my washing machine clean from the pull up disaster would sure help!