Friday, October 28, 2011

I've been Nominated

What do you know, little old me has been nominated to the Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs list on Circle of Moms.  I couldn't be more surprised or pleased. 


Of course, it's all based on votes and all that so I don't think I have much hope of actually making the list because let's not kid myself, there are a ton of Canadian mom bloggers out there with more followers than me. 


Still, a body can hope. So if you feel you can vote for me in good conscience.. please do so by clicking this link.  
  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting the Kids off the Street

Normally, I’d be all behind getting the kids off the street.  But this isn’t a case of finding productive or more fun activities for kids to do rather than hanging around street corners and playgrounds at night. 

No, we’re talking about good old Halloween.  A local elementary school is planning a Halloween event next Monday to “Get the Kids off the Street”. 

I don’t know about you but I have a problem with this.  Is this what it has come down to?  It’s bad enough we are so paranoid that we don’t allow our children to walk by themselves to school and shake our heads over those kids we do see walking alone.  Do we have to take trick or treating from our children too?  What about traditions. What about community spirit and good old neighbourly friendliness? 

Every Halloween my kids dress up and we go up and down our street.  Not the entire block, just our street.  Now I may not know all my neighbours by their first names but I do know that many of the older ones look forward to this time every year. Not only do they get to have a bit of fun and interaction with the kids but I am sure it also brings back fond memories of their own Halloween nights with their kids. 

What happens then if everyone decides to forgo the door to door trick or treating? Who tells the neighbours who bought candy and goes to all the bother of carving pumpkins and putting up spooky decorations?

Last year I thought the neighbourhood was a little thin of trick or treaters but then we were new but now I’m wondering if it’s a sign of things to come.

This year we have the option of going to a candy carnival at our Church, which is the Church’s way of allowing the kids to have fun without calling it “Halloween”.  Yet, I’m reluctant to take them. While I am up for letting my kids have fun, what about our traditions?  If we’re at the Church, who is at my house giving out candy? Who is going to admire our carved pumpkins?  Or will my house join those (who I call in my head party poopers) who keep their lights off and their blinds and curtains shut tight against the veritable cuteness that abounds this night? 

Honestly, haven’t we gone just a wee bit too far in trying to protect our kids?  Isn’t it enough that we can keep our kids safe by using some common sense? 

  • We don’t accept baked goods from neighbours, which is a total shame because really a homemade cookie is so much better than one of this mini chocolate bars.
  • We use glow sticks necklaces and bracelets to try and keep our children more visible. 
  • We carry a flashlight and use reflective bags for collecting candy. 
  • At home we inspect the candy before doling it out to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. 
  • We make sure costumes fit properly so our kids don’t trip and they can see through their masks.

Do we really have to curb their freedom too?

Maybe I'm just a homebody but I think I’d rather stick to our family traditions of staying close to home and making it a small yet fun event.  My kids don’t need to go to a big hyped up party where not only will they get over full on sugar but have to compete with crowds of other kids just to line up for activity booths. In the end they are tired, grumpy and miserable. 

Halloween may be all about dressing up and getting candy but I’d like to think it’s about more than that.  It’s not just about what you can get. 

What does Halloween mean to you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Weekend Away–Sort of

trishI am going to a women’s conference out our new church this weekend.  I have mixed feelings about it.

I didn’t actually think I was going to get to go.  I was all excited when I first heard about and then I found out it costs $75.00 to attend.  I get it.  They are hosting a ton of amazing workshops plus they have this amazing speaker coming for the weekend and they are throwing in our meals. 

I just don’t have $75.00.  We are at an all time financial low, so low in fact I didn’t think we were going to be able to cover our business’s rent this month. 

So although I had expressed a passing interest to my husband which generally goes in one ear and out the other, I pretty much told myself maybe next year.  This last Sunday though, while I listened to our pastor’s wife talk about all the fun they were going to have this upcoming weekend, I couldn’t help but cast up a little prayer.

Then mid week I found out from my husband that he had signed me up for this weekend.  I was astonished to say the least and a little upset.  We can’t afford this.  He said that I needed it and just imagine a weekend without having to worry about the kids etc.  Well, of course, that appeals to me. 

I considered phoning and cancelling but then I was afraid that my husband would be disappointed in me because I was chickening out.  Which in a sense is what I’d be doing.  I hardly know anyone at this Church and am not good going into these types of situations on my own.

Besides it saddens me when I see the sense of community all these women have with each other because they’ve known each other for so long.  It seems like I’m always trying to fit in somewhere, trying to make new friends but can’t because there’s no room really for someone new. Let’s face it, it’s hard to make friends when you’re older.  Or is it just me?  It’s pretty much shaken my confidence in myself.

Besides it was nice that my husband actually put some thought into something like this for me and acted on it. Usually it’s the well I was thinking about this or that or I haven’t had time to plan or what do you want to do and it gets left up to me to decide. Like my 40th, I ended up planning my own dinner party just so something would be planned.

I told my husband that yes I wanted to go but that if I was to go then God would lay me on someone’s heart.. he said AHA, see, God answered your prayer.  He layed you on my heart.

Well, I can’t argue with that even if it isn’t exactly how I had hoped He would answer my prayer. 

Answered prayer is answered prayer.

So I’m going to have a weekend away.  Sort of.  I will still be sleeping at home but I won’t have to worry about kids or meals or husbands.  I’m really hoping that I will be able to relax and enjoy myself, not say anything stupid or embarrassing or too much and that I will make a friend. 

What are you planning for the weekend?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Traditions

I love this time of year.  If you live on the West Coast you learn to appreciate all the seasons because let’s face it… the warm and sunny season is by far too short. 

One of the reasons I love fall so much is Halloween.  Especially since I had children.  After all, Halloween is the one time of the year that you pretty much give yourself permission to eat junk food.  That and I get to raid the children’s goody bags. It’s sad they are getting so much older that they actually notice when the pile gets depleted.  Winking smile

I guess I’ve been too busy just living life and never actually thought my family was creating traditions.  It wasn’t until I was asked by Mom Central for the Allan Candy blog tour to write a post about my family’s Halloween traditions that I actually stopped and thought about it. What do you know, we’ve been making family traditions with our kids every since E’s first Halloween. 

One of the very things we do every year for Halloween is visit the pumpkin patch to pick out our pumpkins.  When we lived up Island, we used to drive to a farmer’s market an hour and half away just to climb over their mountain of pumpkins.  Then when preschool started we started visiting local farms where picking pumpkins now entails petting farm animals and feeding the chickens. 

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Deciding what costumes to wear also plays an important part but even in that we had our traditions. When E was two years old we bought a puppy costume at the 2nd hand store.  It was adorable.  It was fluffy and brown and had a wide bum so the tail wiggled when she walked.  Each of my children since wore that costume and when J came along we even found a second puppy costume, slightly different, and both my girls were puppies.  O was lucky because for his first three Halloween’s he was all set.  It was with great sadness when we finally let those costumes go because they no longer fit. 

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The biggest part of our Halloween traditions I think has to be our pumpkin carving.  Long before kids, hubs and I had fun carving out fancy pumpkins using stencils.  A lot of work but it was fun hearing all the wonderful comments on them.  Of course, once you have kids you have to give up some of the control and let them do what they are going to do.  Hubs and I still reserve ourselves each one pumpkin and let the kids get creative in their own way. And you know what?  Some of their pumpkins were pretty inventive.

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At first they were hesitant about all the goo but eventually, they came to love it!
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Note the Boogie 
on the end---->
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I love Calvin & Hobbes!







And of course, Halloween, wouldn’t be complete without the candy.  Such an important part of the occasion after all.  Nowadays it’s even vital that we make sure we hand out not only yummy safe treats but treats that are peanut free. 

This year thanks to Allan Candy, I will be handing out their peanut free Halloween Treats in my neighbourhood.  A Canadian company, Allan Candy Halloween Treats are all made in Canada and are peanut free.  Celebrating their 77th year, their line up includes Allan Intense Jubes & Jellies, Allan Chewy Rascalz and Allan Fruit Buddies.  You’ll find these selections at key retailers, including Wal-Mart and Loblaws.

What are some of your family’s Halloween traditions?  Did you realize that you’ve been making them all along?

Disclosure – I am participating in the Allan Candy Company program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation (Candy)for my participation in this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Getting Creative with Crayola

Crayola BadgeAs part of the Mom Advisory Panel for Crayola, I get to or rather my children get to try out various products from Crayola every few months.  While Crayola sometimes challenges my inner picky neat freak, I have yet to be truly disappointed or unhappy with their products.  Better yet whenever I pull out the familiar green and yellow packaging, my kids get excited because they know something fun is in store.

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Pop Art Pixies:  Ice Chandelier 

Maya’s Ice Chandelier is a fun way to add a touch of cool class to any room. Create custom designs that crystallize like ice with the Ice Markers…then link it all together and hang it.  Retail:  $14.99  Ages 8+

 

My oldest really had a ton of fun with this.  It may look complicated but she pretty much had it out of the box and partway assembled without so much as a glance at the instructions or any involvement from me.  The biggest role I played in this was helping her pop out the silver discs from the sheet.  It’s amazing how pretty this looks. 

At first there was some frustration because she’d color the discs and then it would smudge because she wanted to assemble it right away.  After a quick look at the instructions, we realized we needed to let the ice marker dry on the discs before handling it any further.  It didn’t take long and then she had a smudge free decoration. 

There are a lot of discs to color and so to avoid that overwhelming feeling or need to rush to get done, we decided that this was a multi-day project. 

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It’s going to be very pretty when done.

75-2063-0-200_MLB_FINAL_COMPColor Wonder Magic Lightbrush        Mess-Free paintbrush that magically lights up in the color of each clear Color Wonder&trade paint! Now includes Color Wonder&trade Metallic Paper for extra shiny metal effects!                Retail: $26.49 Age 6+

Again another fun product.  My five year old daughter was thrilled to try this out.  It didn’t take long for her to grasp the few simple requirements to make things work well… like wiping the brush between paint colors and how to unscrew and rinse off the paintbrush tip when you’re done.  We set her up with some paper towel and away she went. 

What I particularly liked about this was that we weren’t dealing with cups of water like you do with water paints so there were no issues of too much water soaking the paper etc.  What my five year old liked about it was how pretty the metallic paper made every color look.  Now we didn’t successfully create the bright colours like it shows in the picture on the box nor was she able to do any finer sort of lines etc because the brush is quite broad but she was happy with what she was able to draw.  In the end, isn’t that what it’s all about?

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oooh shiny

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Crayola Color Wonder Marvel Superhero Activity Book. 

18 page Marvel Superhero Squad coloring pad and five Color Wonder markers. Retail:  $11.65  Age 3+

If you have a little colourer like mine, meaning they like to colour EVERYTHING including themselves, this has got to be the miracle product of the century.  It is truly mess free.  I can hand this book and a basket of color wonder markers to my son and let him colour to his heart content without worry.  I have even taken to bringing one of these activity books to Church to keep my son occupied. 

Plus Crayola has a variety of themes from Handy Manny to Toy Story to Superheroes sure to please any boy and Tinkerbell and Princess themes to charm the little girl in your life.

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Do you Crayola?

Disclosure:  products for review are provided to me by Crayola.  I do not receive any other compensation and the thoughts an opinions herein reflect my true experience with the products.

 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Men are Clueless

cluelessI worked the evening shift last night.  After six and a half hours on my feet, I was feeling pretty tired. 

I came home to a completely dark house. 

Strange, hubs doesn’t usually go to bed before 10:00 and if he was planning on it he probably would have let me know.  That’s when the first suspicion dawned.

Instead of investigating by going upstairs to see, I chose rather to proceed into the kitchen and make my usual after work cup of tea. It didn’t take long of my banging around before hubs came downstairs. 

My suspicions were correct. Hubs apparently thought that after a long day with the kids and a six hour shift that I’d be in the “mood”.  Yeah, right.

To be fair, he picked up on my “I don’t think so” cues pretty quick and went back upstairs to put out the candles. I didn’t have to say anything which was probably a good thing and just continued on as if nothing happened.

But inside, I was stewing. What was he thinking?

What is it with men and women that they are never on the same page at the same time. 

Take mornings for instance, men wake up raring and ready to go. 

I can’t speak for other woman but as for myself, I wake up stiff and sore and more often than not groggy. Generally we’re listening to the kids or the cats running up and down the stairs, rattling the bannister as they go or screaming at each other.  I’m not thinking much beyond getting up, using the washroom and getting my tea and feeding the monsters so they’ll stop fighting. 

But give men a perfect opportunity like an evening alone together at home and they do what? 

Surf the internet, watch t.v.

And yet, if I told him how annoyed I was that he chose last night to romance me after a late night at work instead of the evening before when we had the entire evening to ourselves, his feelings would be hurt. 
And cause he’s a man, he won’t actually tell me he gets what I’m saying, he’ll just get that look on his face, tighten his lips and say nothing cause he can’t do anything right. 

ARGGGGGHHHH

How about you?  Are you on the same page as your man?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Diagnosis

blogADD


This is the result of weeks of doctor’s appointments, blood work and filling out questionnaires.  I expected to feel some sort of relief knowing that there is something behind her often very frustrating behaviour. 

And yet….

There really isn’t.  After all, most kids have trouble focusing and paying attention and are easily distracted.  Aren’t they?  I find we’ve been dealing with the uniqueness of E’s personality for so many years that I no longer have a guage to guide me as to what is normal behaviour for her age level. 

I know the neighbour kid down the street, who also was in E’s class last year, no longer wants to play with her.  Whenever E goes down the road to play, she makes up weird excuses like having to go in for dinner at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon, so she can’t play.  Fortunately it all goes over E’s head but eventually she will clue in.  I can’t help but feel that E is awfully immature at her age.  Is it her or have we been too limiting and not allowed her to mature?  Or should I just be grateful she’s more innocent than a lot of other kids. 

They keep harping at school how E plays with the younger kids but when I’m there, what I see is the younger kids coming up and asking her to play so she does.  After all she has two younger siblings, she’s used to playing with younger kids. 

So what does a diagnosis really mean?  Medication?  A cure? Life suddenly gets easier?

It doesn’t help me react any differently to her behaviour.  I still get just as angry even though now there’s a name for it. 

It doesn’t help to know that three years ago I would have fought tooth and nail before I’d let anybody label her as ADD.  The media is full of how kids are over diagnosed these days.

Yet after three years of struggling, I’m could practically jump at the chance to make it all just a little easier with a daily dose of medication. Doesn’t that sound just awful? 

That thought alone makes me question whether medication is the right option.  Maybe it’s us who need to adjust for her and not the other way around.

Unfortunately, I think I'd need a pill to accomplish it cause Lord knows, I’m not succeeding very well or I wouldn’t be so stressed out.

Has ADD affected your life?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Getting Spooky with Hallmark

Hallmark has such great stuff for every special occasion so it really shouldn't surprise me that they go all out for Halloween.  I had the pleasure to review a few of their "spookiest" products.

tp_template.psdHokey Pokey Skeleton
Special: $14.95 with each purchase of 3 Hallmark cards MSRP: $29.95

“Watch as this skeleton dances and sings to a parody of “The Hokey Pokey” song.”


This little guy really is adorable.  My kids have had so much fun watching him do the hokey pokey.  It’s a short tune so it doesn’t get a chance to drive you crazy.  In fact, it makes me smile every time one of them pops into the living room and pushes his button.  Even more fun in the fact that he glows in the dark.  I have a feeling he’s going to be a big hit with my trick-r-treaters come this Halloween.

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It’s the Great Pumpkin,Charlie Brown Book with Sound
Special: $9.95 with any Hallmark purchase MRSP:$14.95

Push the buttons and read along! Based on the beloved television classic, this new special book edition captures the story for all ages

Nothing like a little Peanuts to bring back memories and what a lovely way to share those memories with your children.  Reading together is so important and creates bonds that will last all their lives.  Not only do you get to read together but push the buttons and you hear actual clips from the show.  This has been a nightly favourite in my house.

tp_template.psdHocus Pocus Treat Presenter
MSRP: $14.95 Special Value/ Reg $19.95

This festive book holds “Halloween tricks and treats”. Open if you dare for unexpected, cackled greetings.

I don’t know if this is based on the movie or not but when I saw it, it immediately brought to mind the Hocus Pocus movie with Bette Midler.  I love that movie.  This book is such a fun idea.  It’s neat but not scary so it’s a fun way to present treats to the younger crowd, give them a giggle without freaking them out.


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Flickering Witch Candle
MSRP $19.95

This creepy candle for Halloween sets the tone for all things scary!

This candle is battery operated so it not only makes a wonderful Halloween decoration but it also could be just the perfect accessory to your witch costume. 
These are just a few of the Halloween items that Hallmark stocks for this spooky season. For more Halloween ideas check out their website Hallmark.

*I received these items from Hallmark Canada in order to conduct my review.  The observations and experiences contained herein reflect my true opinions. *

Monday, October 3, 2011

New Arrival to the Family

Okay you can tell you’re a busy mom of three when it takes over a month to announce a new addition to the family.  Not that we aren’t excited because we are, it’s just the busyness of day to day living has caused me to rather neglect my blog of late.

So without further ado, I present:
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Willow
 (short for Pussywillow)
It’s amazing, we attend a birthday party and come home with an 8 week old kitten.  Isn’t he sweet? 

We had full approval from hubs since he was the one whose ears perked up when he heard there were kittens available. Considering he is the designated litter box cleaner, I was surprised he was willing to take another another kitty.

Of course, the kids have fallen absolutely in love with this cat and so far he’s turning out to be just as placid and docile as Jingles.   It’s remarkable how much this kitty tolerates from the kids, letting them pack him around, put him in things (they love to make him beds) and play with him so much that he’s not getting his requisite 23 hours of sleep in.  ;)

Plus after some initial hissing and hesitation between the older cat and the baby, they have now hit it off.  The cutest thing was when Jingles actually caught Willow by the scruff when he was starting to fall off the stairs. 
Although the kitten has adjusted to the kids quite well, who are impervious to his hisses or growls when they disturb him, he doesn’t actually like to be held too much by us big people.  All I can think is that he’s so worn out by them packing him around that when they are in bed, he considers that his time.  *L*

Now how many of you thought I was going to announce a baby?