Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kid Friendly Restaurant–Vancouver

Calling all Vancouver moms. I recently had an email from Charnelle letting me know that they have put in a kids play area in her parent's De Dutch Pannekoek House. What a great idea. You won't be surprised to learn that she's a mom to two young little girls because who else but a mom would realize just how much a place like this is needed.

De Dutch Pannekoek House is open for breakfast and lunch and offers traditional Dutch pannekoeks (thin, crepe-like pancakes) with over 30 different topping options as well as your basic bacon and eggs breakfast and sandwiches and burgers. The restaurant has a large kids menu with items such as “Baby Pannekoeks” and smaller portions of most menu items. It is located in Vancouver and the address is: 410 West 2nd Ave,Vancouver, BC V5Y1E2.

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I say it’s a win win.  You get out of the house, the little ones get to play someplace new and who knows maybe you’ll get to connect with some other moms and start your own “breakfast club”. 

While I am from the Island myself and don’t live in Vancouver, I definitely plan to stop by the next time I’m over there.  I love Dutch Pannekoeks!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Going to Church

church I’m embarrassed to admit that up until this past summer, we have never taken our children to Church.  Not once.  I’m crazy right?  A believer actually so intimidated by the whole taking your kids to church process that she’s avoided the whole thing for 8 years. 

I did not grow up in the Church.  My family didn’t feel the need to take us to Church although one of my Uncles kindly took me to Sunday School with his family.  It wasn’t until years later that I started to go to a home church.  I eventually met my husband there and it wasn’t until our pastor passed away that the home church ending up falling apart. 

So you could say I haven’t been in a formal church setting in years.  We did try going to a Full Gospel Church after we were married but I found it really hard putting myself out there to meet new people.  Strange to say that pastor ended up dying too. 

I’m seriously hoping this is not a pattern here.

So while we’ve talked to our children about God and we pray at every meal, it has been bothering me that they are not really getting enough instruction.  After all, I have no clue how to explain to them the ins and outs of the Christian faith never mind what’s age appropriate.  Seriously, is it really appropriate for the children’s Bible to show Jesus on the cross when we won’t let our kids watch Scooby-doo? 

So we decided to take the plunge and put ourselves out there.. not only for our children but for us.  This past summer has shown me, if anything how drained and exhausted I am.  I seriously need some help.  When my MIL starts pointing out to my husband that she can tell that I’m not happy, there’s a problem somewhere.

How then do you handle then the embarrassment tadd_toon_infohat is of your  children not behaving in Church?  I like to think that my kids aren’t all that bad and comparatively speaking they certainly could be worse.  But lately E has been pushing all my buttons and challenging everything I say.  Not to mention she takes everything to the extreme and goes on and on.  I never know if she’s going to simply listen to what I have to say or freak out. 

In the Church we’ve started attending, children stay in for the worship time which generally runs about 20 minutes if it doesn’t run over.  I’ve brought coloring pages, felts, activity pads and even allowed them to bring a couple of small toys.  Only the last time, E set up a mini kingdom on her seat and talked and sang to herself rather loudly.  If I so much as shushed her she’d frown and  practically growl at me. Fortunately, our praise team is pretty loud. But still. 

I get that much of it is our fault because she’s not used to Church and so we should cut her some slack.  Still, I’m afraid that not only will we look like bad parents but bad Christians in front of all these people when she acts up. That it’s going to be painfully obvious what a failure of a parent I am.

Add to this that we’ve decided to put our kids in the local Christian School.  While part of me is excited about smaller class sizes and all the great activities the school has to offer, the other part of me is afraid of not measuring up.  I don’t read devotions everyday, I have a hard time fitting prayer in and sometimes, I am probably quite worldly. 

My walk has always been a bit different.  While the rest of the church was forswearing The Simpsons, I could see the satire and humour in it and appreciate it for what it was.  I think I was married to my husband for 6 months before I’d admit to him that I watched it.  I guess you could say I believe in moderation. I don’t just jump in and agree with everyone else and say “that’s bad”, rather I want to see why they say it’s bad and decide for myself.  Not all Christians can accept that.  Just like I will have the occasional (and I do mean occasional) drink. 

I guess what it comes down to is that we don’t know what this Church and this School’s positions are yet.  I am afraid that I won’t be able to be just me, flaws and all.  Right now I have to trust that it’s all going to be okay and boy is that tough.

So if you’ve made it this far through my ramblings, the big question in all of this is…. how do you keep your children entertained during church?

Zeemaid

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Ravings

I uh was going to post something a little more put together today when I realized that I was in no shape to write anything.   Aunt Flo is visiting and while she doesn’t normally get me down, every now and then she’s a real bummer.

Why is it that when anything fun is planned you get a visit from “Aunt Flo”? 

I’ll be glad when I can actually explain to my girls why mommy is so moody and crying over every little thing… oh wait by that time I will have to deal with their moodiness and crying.  Crap.  I had to have two girls.  My mother better feel sorry for me.

Could someone else tell me why it had to rain this particular weekend?  You know the weekend family was coming over and I was really  counting on the kids spending their time in the pool.

Instead, I got to deal with two four year olds who thought it was fun to huck toys at O’s bedroom walls and three girls who think it’s funny watching O skydive off the top of his dresser onto his bed.

Oh and they sat on one of the dresser drawers so it’s bent out of shape.

…and O decided to pick at the vinyl on the dining room chair  while they were watching a show  meant to settle them all down. I’m talking about chairs that I had spent hours recovering.

Today their cousins are coming back for more “fun”.  

Tonight just might be the night for this new wine I bought myself. Only I have to work and it’s raining and there’s nothing like a rainy summer day in a video store.

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I’m not normally a wine drinker but when I saw this I just had to buy it.  My husband laughed at me and said obviously their marketing works.  I had to laugh and agree.

The back label says:

Cabernet Sauvignon

Somewhere near the cool shadows of the laundry room.  Past the litter box and between the plastic yard  toys.  This is your time. Time to enjoy a moment to yourself.  A moment without the madness.  The dishes can wait. Dinner be damned.

Apparently there is a whole line of these wines.  I’ll let you know when I finally crack it open.

In the meantime, I’d like to crawl back into bed and have myself a little snooze. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Trailer Lied ~~Jane Eyre

Part of owning a video store is that you a) you have to watch the movies and b) you get to listen to the trailers running over and over and over again while you work. A well put together trailer will draw you and in make you want to rent the movies. 

jane eyreWhich, of course, is good marketing and in this case it worked a little too well.  As you all are aware, I’m a big fan of these types of films.  So after listening repeatedly to the new Jane Eyre trailer for the past for weeks, well I was intrigued to watch this new version. 

You see, it promised a “bold new vision” and focused the trailer on the spookier aspects of the film.  Cool.  But it was not to be.  What I watched was not particularly good.  It was choppy and missed a lot of what I felt to be key elements of the film.  It was like they took a scene and then omitted 50% of the dialogue.  You got no sense of how this relationship developed between Mr. Rochester and Jane, how he tried to make her jealous by courting Blanche Ingram. Oh Blanche was in the film but it was almost a passing thing. 

Same as for Mrs. Rochester.  They couldn’t omit the famous fire in the bed scene but did they focus on any of the eerie laughter Jane occasionally would hear and the “remember orders, Grace” by Mrs. Fairfax.  Not a bit of it. 

They glossed over her relations with St. John, you got no idea of his domineering personality and how he almost broke her down, they didn’t even mention that they were cousins.  Sure there were some good acting scenes, Mia Wasikowska who played Jane did a superb job in the scene where she says “do you think that just because I am poor, little and obscure that I am soulless and heartless?”

I get that a lot of the cutting down has to do with screen time and costs etc but really, I wish these filmmakers would realize that you can’t take epic novels like this and condense it all down into 90 minutes. Can you imagine what it would have been like if they had of done that to the Lord of the Rings? 

One of our employees thought this version was fantastic. Although I seriously doubt she’s ever read the book. Anyways, this got me thinking about past versions of Jane Eyre.

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My favourite version to date has to be the tv mini series with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke.  Perhaps I like this version the best is because as it was a mini series they actually took more time with it. 

Sure it was a little cheesy and Timothy Dalton comes across as far too handsome for the role he is playing but the script is true to the book as is the dialogue.

I see that there has been another mini tv series with Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester (I loved him in a Tenant of Wildfell Hall)so I am going to have to check it out.

janeEven this 1996 version of Jane Eyre with John Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg was better than the one I watched this week.  The main reason I couldn’t get into this one was that the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester didn’t seem believable.  Of course a lot got cut out and paraphrased in this version too.

 

There is even another one with Ciaran Hinds (another favourite actor of mine) and Samantha Morton but I can’t remember if I’ve watched it or not.  Apparently it didn’t get great reviews and a lot of the dialogue was re-written which is always a shame when they do that. 

Do you have a favourite?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taking the Stink Out – Arm & Hammer Giveaway

Do you have an indoor cat?  I do.  We love our cat, we really do and it’s because we love him that we feel it’s best for him to be an indoor cat.  What we do not love, however, is having to deal with the litter box. (Well, I don’t … I make hubby do it.)  Especially on warm days.  There is nothing more embarrassing than to step into your house and get a whiff of the litter box.  Yuck.  Is that what people smell when they come over to our house? I hope not.

We’ve tried all sorts of cat litter from those little white beads, which quickly turned into little yellow beads that rolled everywhere, to clumping cat litter for multi cats (we have one) and even self scooping litter boxes.  They all more or less pretty much worked the same.  The odour was kept at bay for the first day or so and litter was tracked everywhere. 

So when I agreed to do a review for Arm & Hammer’s Cat Litter, I didn’t really think it was going to be much different.   It only took a few days for us to realize that Arm & Hammer’s Cat Litter really is very different. The first thing hubby mentioned to me when he filled up the cat box was how pleasant smelling the new litter was.  After a few days the clean smell remained and was evident every time our cat “visited” his box.  Even after we went camping for two days, when hubs came home and cleaned the box he commented on how much pleasanter a job it was.

Of course, when you realize that Arm & Hammer baking soda has been used for years from everything from odour control to freshening whites, it only makes sense to add it with cat litter. 


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“Ammonia Odour Block formula with powerful Baking Soda crystals and ammonia odour neutralizers eliminate even the toughest odours instantly.”

 


The best part (after the smell that is) was that after a few days I realized that there was barely any litter on my laundry room floor proving their 99% dust free and low track claim.  With the old litter it had been getting so bad at one point that I was even finding litter on my washing machine and I’d have to sweep the floor before I could even step in the doorway.

In fact, the only negative comment my husband had to make about this brand was that the box was too small. At the local Canadian Tire, they only had the small box.  Next time we will source out the bigger one.

In fact, I’m not alone in liking this product, apparently “36,500 Canadian consumers voted ARM & HAMMER® Double Duty Clumping Litter as the 2011 Best in Household Products for the 8th annual BrandsSpark International’s Best New Product Award.”

Do you have in door cat? If so, Enter to Win a Coupon for a free box of ARM & HAMMER® Cat Litter.

TO ENTER:

Mandatory:  Leave me a comment about something you love about your cat. 

For an extra entry:  follow In the Mommy Trenches on GFC & leave a comment

or Tweet this giveaway (may be done once per day) and come back here and leave your comment.

Open to CANADIANS only.  Contest ends August 19th Midnight Pacific.

Disclosure*** Thanks to Arm & Hammer for providing a coupon to purchase this product for review.  All comments and opinions herein are my own and truly reflect my experience with this product. ***

Monday, August 8, 2011

Are We Home Yet?

119-1971_IMG I haven’t been around much this past week as we decided to go camping for three days.  Fortunately, we had good weather and it seems like the summer is finally here. 

Camping was a mixed bag.  For the most part it was fun but it’s rather unfortunate that so much fun goes hand in hand with so much stress.  We tried our best to pack light and I think we succeeded but we ended up being behind schedule because all the prep work we had planned to do Monday didn’t exactly go as planned.  

If ever we had one of those notoriously disasterous Mondays this was the one.  Nothing went right at all.  Hubs left for work before I had come downstairs and he forgot to take my Amazon orders with him.  They absolutely needed to be shipped before we left for camping so I got the kids dressed only to discover my keys were  missing. Now I hate, HATE, hunting for things.  It drives me crazy.  After about 15 minutes of searching I called hubs because he was the last one to use my keys.  He doesn’t recall what he did with them.  Argh.  So we searched some more and by this time mommy was starting to lose it.  All three kids swore up and down that they didn’t take my keys.  I had so much stuff I needed to get done today and the stuff had to be shipped by 11 so finally I gave up and we walked to the store.  keys

My keys, I finally found them at midnight stuck down the cushions in the middle of the couch.  We had already searched the couches but I guess I hadn’t stuck my hand deep enough.  The only way my keys could have gotten in there is by one of the three monsters known as my children.  Arg.

So a little behind we arrive at the campsite ready to put stress behind us and just have some fun.  Which is where I realized I was sadly mistaken.  THERE IS NO RELAXING when you’re a parent.  It’s can we go in the pool, can we go bike riding, can we get ice cream, I’m hungry, I’m bored.  No matter what we were in the middle of doing the kids were three steps ahead of us onto the next thing.

We specifically went to a private campground because it had a pool and playground.  We even handpicked our site the week before so we’d get a spot right across from the playground.  See we’re so smart.  Only we had the hottest three days of summer we’ve had so far and while it was a perfect keep your eye on the kids camp spot, it was also the only non shady site in the entire campground. 

And of course, since we packed light, we didn’t bring any extra things like a pop up gazebo thing to go over the picnic table. Did I happen to mention we were tenting?  So we baked.  My back is still sensitive to the sunlight days later.  Yes, I used sunscreen but when following three kids, who don’t seem to burn at all, around a campground to every non shady activity they could possibly find, makes it a little difficult to avoid getting burned.  Especially when hubby takes both sets of keys with him when he goes to pick up E from her craft activity so I can’t get in the van to get the sunscreen. Because, “Oh BTW, please pack up your stuff whenever you’re not at your site because we have people going around stealing stuff.”  Guess they didn’t want to put that in the brochure, huh?

By day three, I was beyond caring what I looked like as I sat huddled in my camp chair holding one of the kids brightly colored swimming towels over my head in a tent like fashion.  The only good thing to getting burned was that it actually made me want to get into my bathing suit (shudder) and jump in the pool with the kids. 

Two big accomplishments this camping trip was that J and O both learned to ride their bikes without their training wheels.  It was a little hard for E to see her brother and sister master something at a younger age that she didn’t learn until she was almost 8. Although most of the blame for that lies with us as we hadn’t taken the time to practice with her. 

I have to say I enjoyed camping, probably because of the daily walks to the ice cream store, but I can’t say that I’m all that eager to repeat the experience. It’s just so much packing and unpacking and while I love setting up camp, I can’t stand the constant nagging we get from the kids until we’re done.  That alone I think had me completely drained by the last day and I was more than ready to go home.  For those that say tenting is the only way to go part of me agrees but the other part (the lazy part) wishes we had a trailer.

In fact we were supposed to stay for supper but I had hubby packing up after lunch.  Of course, we had to go for one last ice cream cone.

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