Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Need Gift Ideas? Check Out Crayola!

If you are anything like me, you’re having a hard time figuring out what to buy your children for Christmas.  After all, aren’t their rooms stuffed chock full of junk toys already?

Not only do they want practically everything they see but then we also feel like we should buy it for them.  Why, I don’t know.  So for the past two years, I’ve been trying to find more balance.  Buy less toys thereby teaching them less is more and also throwing in practical gifts like new quilts for their beds.  Things they will actually use.

Which is why I love Crayola! I have been so fortunate in participating in Crayola product reviews this past year.  It has been a great reminder of just how amazing their products are and how Crayola goes way beyond crayons and markers. 

Four products that I have recently had the opportunity to review are:

fabPop Art Pixies fab snaps jewelry Ages 8+  $9.99

This is a great creative product for older girls. My eight year old daughter loved this.  She made her own customizable bracelets and necklaces that simply snapped together.  Get bored with that design? No problem!  It’s a snap, and I do mean that literally, to redesign a new creation.  Which means that this is not just a one-time use kind of product.  It comes with 32 fab snap patches, 6 snaps, 2 necklace cords, 3 bracelet bands and 5 multi attachments.  What I liked about this product was that it gave my daughter an opportunity to make something pretty that didn’t involve gobs of glue or dragging out the sewing machine.  I basically handed her the box and she was off.. creatively speaking.

Model Magic Fragrant Bud Vase Ages 5+ $8.49model

I’ve actually tested the Model Magic Presto Dots before and I do mean, tested because this is a product that even grown ups can’t help but try out. What I like about the Presto Dots is that there is so much you can do with it.  It’s almost like using modeling clay but without the mess. The scented model magic; however, is new.  It’s a nice touch which makes the flowers smell almost like real roses.  A big hit for my six year old.

firetruckDry Erase Fun & Learning Firehouse Pre k –k  $6.99

Okay, I wasn’t a big fan of the dry erase crayons because the last time I used them I ended up with a big mess, but I love LOVE this item.  This is so great for my 4 year old son.  With two older children having to do homework every night, it’s been a struggle finding something that O can do because he wants to have home work too. The pages are bright and crayonscolourful and full of great activities from tracing letters to connecting the dots.  Best of all, when he’s done he simply takes the mitt included in the Dry-Erase crayon package and wipes it all off.  I just make sure that I’m there to clean up the crayon bits that get erased so that it doesn’t end up on the floor.  Sometimes, I just let him do his thing and do the “erasing” myself.  I’m sure you could use dry erase markers with this book if you prefer; however, considering my son is a scribbler I’d rather stick with the crayons myself, felts having been banned until he turns 21.

Be sure to check out Crayola.ca for more gift giving suggestions.

*Disclosure note: I received the above products to try out.  The opinions and experiences herein are my own as always!*

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'ts Beginning to Look a Lot like....

Okay, okay.  I'm a little early in dragging out my Christmas Blog theme but if the stores can do it, I figure why not me too.  After all, I just had to decorate our store last week, we've already had Christmas light up ceremony in town last weekend and the annual Christmas parade is this weekend.

Of course, making changes is never easy when you work with Blogger and widgets.  So if there is something missing off my site that I'm supposed to have on here, please let me know so I can add it back on. Like if I entered a contest and posted your button and now it's gone.... this would be why. Thanks.

By the way... only a few more days for Canadians to take advantage of my Pizza coupon giveaway.  Be sure to enter.  I've only had one real entrant so far and there are four winners so chances of winning are pretty good!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Take A Bite out of Hollywood

TStands ENGHow would you like to star in a cameo on CBC’s hit show, Being Erica? 

Well on November 17th to the 19th McCain® Ultra Thin Crust pizza is hosting an open audition in Vancouver to give one talented Canadian their 15 seconds of fame by starring in a cameo on the show. Vancouverites are invited to attend TD Square from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily to audition and enjoy the delicious flavour and crispy, ultra thin crust of McCain’s newest line of pizza.  To ensure entrants are camera-ready, audition locations will be outfitted with a casting director, lighting and a stylish Hollywood-themed lounge.  You can also audition online by uploading a 15-second video to www.cbc.ca/15seconds from now until November 20th.

The Grand Prize is valued at $10,000 and includes return airfare to Toronto for two, 3-nights’ accommodations, and $1,000 cash.  Secondary prizing includes free “Pizza for a Year” from McCain® Ultra Thin Crust (valued at $400).

Canadians will also have the chance to vote for their favourite from ten finalists at cbc.ca/15seconds or facebook.com/McCainCanada from November 28th – December 12th.

To help celebrate the 15 second of fame auditions, McCain® is offering 4 of my readers a chance to try out their newest pizza line. That’s right, there are four chances for each of you to win two coupons each.

To ENTER:

Mandatory:  Leave a comment below telling me what your dinner strategy is on those busy nights.

Extra Entries:

Follow In the Mommy Trenches on GFC

“Like” me on Facebook Zeemaid

Follow @Zeemaid on Twitter

Leave a comment for each entry.

Contests ends November 27th. Open to Canadians only.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Santa Can Do Anything

listIt’s that time of year again when children turn their thoughts to Christmas which inevitably leads to Santa and their wish list.  Normally, I’m all for the list and even don’t mind them discussing it a little early so it gives me hints and ideas to keep an eye out for.

This year, however, I am in big trouble. 

E wants a parrot. A real one.  She has been on a parrot kick ever since her dad took her to the pet store and she saw this beautifully gorgeous one that’s rainbow colored.  We told her she could get a hamster.  She wants this bird.  Would you like to know how much this bird costs? 

$997.00

That’s right.  $3.00 shy of a full grand.  Why don’t they add the $3.00 and call it a day?  E was pretty disappointed that we couldn’t afford such an expensive pet.  Not to be daunted though, she said she’d ask Santa. We had a pretty good response to this and explained to her that Santa knows our situation and would know that we couldn’t afford to take care of pet like that cause I’m sure it’s pretty expensive to care for a bird like that.

That worked for about a week.

Now she wants a robot, rainbow coloured parrot that talks.  I told her that I didn’t know if Santa could get her that because I don’t know if they make that.  To which she replied.  “Santa and his elves can make anything, mom”  like DUh.

So basically …. I’m screwed.

How would you handle this?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Show and Tell

A while back I think I might have mentioned that I have found a new passion.  Rather I think I might have moaned and groaned and whined about how money is keeping me from pursuing this new passion.  Which is still true but I’m learning to wait.  While the early lightning bolt has somewhat diminished, it’s still smoldering and I know that eventually I will get there.

I mean, course, pottery making. pottery

Imagine the reaction when I told my sister-in-law that I had thrown my first pot.  It was complete and utter shock.  I’m sure she actually thought I had thrown a pot.  What bizarre ritual was this?  It’s amazing how quickly I slipped into a new language, forgetting that less creative people weren’t apt to follow my meaning.

Lessons were made affordable because I was able to pay for one at a time.  That and the fact that my “teacher” was busy with her own life made scraping together the $20.00 fee every few weeks easier.  I still love it so much that I am planning on taking a course at our local college when I can afford it. 

In the meantime, I thought I’d share the fruits of my labour.  While not perfect I am immensely pleased with the results.

DSC03418

While my husband was trying to be supportive, I know that he felt that this was just something that would have to wait, that the time for this wasn’t now and probably not until the kids are bigger.  I have to admit I felt crushed like someone just stepped on my dreams.  I had always wanted to try pottery, I just never expected how deeply it would affect me.  I didn’t want to wait years to do it again, not when my fingers are itching to get back to it.

Still I kept my hurt inside and told myself, when he actually sees what I have done he will think differently.

I was right.  He’s absolutely amazed and even now considers it something of a priority to make sure there is space for a pottery area if we decide to move.  If we don’t move, we are going to figure out how to make it possible for me to have the space necessary. He even apologized for telling me that this wasn’t the time for it. 

Of course, he can’t make money where there is none and so I still have to wait.  We are going through a terrible financial time right now.  I say this not to whine but would appreciate any supportive prayers from believers if possible.  We are facing the loss of everything if things don’t turn around but still I’m trying to keep my joy in the Lord and not to be bound by my circumstances. 

In the meantime, since we don’t have room for a proper wheel, I am going to buy myself a kid’s wheel just so I can keep playing.

What’s your passion?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

HALLOWEEN 2011

DSC03459I can’t believe it’s taken me a whole week to get these photos posted. It’s just been that crazy busy this last week.

The kids had a great Halloween from carving their pumpkins Sunday night, to dressing up and going trick or treating Monday night. 

Our street was a little quiet to begin with, I think we were like the first to be out.  Not wanting to be complete dorks by being the early birds we took a quick side trip down to the local haunted house to help kill some time.  We are friends with the people who host the haunted house every year and so feel we should visit despite the fact that even I’m a just a little too nervous to go through their haunted garage house.

This year though with our kids getting older it really hit home how we can’t really protect them from the more gruesome side to Halloween. We’ve tried.  We don’t let them dress up in gory things or let them watch scary movies etc. and I know they are absorbing the limits well when every time they see something a little gruesome even my four year old is pointing out to me “that’s not appropriate mommy”.   So it was a little harder visiting our friends this year because little eyes take in every detail.  Although I did turn one horror decoration into a nifty history lesson on the execution methods used in medieval England.  See.. there are lessons to be learned in EVERYTHING.

DSC03471

Disemboweling the pumpkin.

DSC03469

Pumpkin Brains mmmm

DSC03481

 A fairy, a Witch and a ?

DSC03501

 A Pirate, a Minnie Mouse and the Princess of Sheba

Watch where you’re pointing that sword Jack.

And I’ll leave you with a joke….

Why wasn’t the pirate able to watch the movie?

Because it was rated….

DSC03505

ARRRRRR!

How does your family handle the overload of candy? Do you dole it out sparingly or let them go crazy so it’ll be over with faster?