; window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-6252405-9'); In the Mommy Trenches: December 2011

Friday, December 30, 2011

Having a Good christmas

What’s the secret to having a successful and happy Christmas? 
Well, it certainly isn’t the presents, the decorations or even the turkey dinner. 
It seems silly but it was  the message in a Christmas movie that the children were watching that actually got my attention. 
“Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect to have a perfect Christmas.” 
Trust me, we’ve had our share of less than perfect Christmases over the past few years from financial woes, bickering,  fighting depression to downright unrealistic expectations of ourselves and our children. 

This Christmas wouldn’t have fared any different.  I started off December with plans to host both a birthday party and a cookie decorating party which meant I had to have the house cleaned and the decorations up in record time, I had to bake several dozen sugar cookies for decorating and figure out when I was going  to make my signature chocolate truffles.   Throw in a tonsilectomy, a 40th Surprise Birthday Party, after school activities and a new extended work hours and Christmas shopping in there somewhere and well … I’m sure you’ve been there and understand what I mean.  It seemed like every time I turned around I would remember someone else who I needed to buy a gift for.

So how did I get through it?  Well, a supportive husband helps but most of all it took checking my expectations at the door.  Laying off some of the pressure on myself and on the kids.  So what if some things didn’t get done.  So what if a pillow has hit the Christmas tree for the umpteenth time and the ornaments keep falling off and the garland looks atrocious.  The kids love it anyway.  That’s why we don’t put glass ornaments on the tree anymore.  Oh well that the cats keep messing up the tree skirt.  If it’s not the cats it’s the kids anyways.

So I didn’t get all of my chocolates done but I got enough to give to my family as gifts and the rest are in the fridge waiting.  I did get sugar cookies baked for the party but no other Christmas baking.  Who cares.  My mother does enough for both of us and I don’t need the extra calories anyways.  The kids still got to decorate cookies and that’s all they care about. 

So we had to wait until the last weekend before Christmas to do all our shopping.  We still managed to find everything we wanted and got the kids some really cool presents and we supported the local economy by not buying online.

My biggest tip for success is to keep the kids busy instead of expecting them to entertain themselves.  They are all hepped up on excitement for the big day.  Of course they are going to be a little crazy. Staggering out the activities over  several days really helped.

Taking more than one drive around the neighbourhoods looking at lights.  It didn’t have to be all on one night.  Grab a cup of hot cocoa and a cookie and we’re good to go almost any night after dinner.
AND.. we stayed home.  This year we visited with my folks on Christmas eve day and then stayed home on Christmas Day and did our own dinner with his parents that afternoon.  I really thought I’d miss being with my family but it was just so nice not to have to rush out anywhere.  It was a lot of work putting the dinner together but again, instead of fussing too much I opted for simple prep vegetables instead of getting all fancy.  Turkey tasted amazing and the rest of the meal was familiar to my picky eaters.

I’m not saying I breezed through it all without a care.  I had my moments of shame but mostly when it began to become overwhelming again, I’d just tell myself.. It doesn’t have to be perfect. 

It’s so true.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Keeping the kids busy

So what do you do with the kids when the countdown to Christmas is on and the kids are jittery and hyper from being too much inside and when you think you might just go crazy if you hear one more. “MOOOOMMMMMYYYY (insert name) is hitting/touching/bugging/looking at me”?

Why,you keep them busy.

First you ….

String Popcorn

DSC03743 DSC03744

Bake Sugar Cookies for Santa


Make a  Gingerbread House


and then you clean, clean, clean and then clean some more.

I have to say it has worked well for me this week and more than once I’ve been thankful that we didn’t get to these projects earlier.  As soon as the rowdiness or fighting starts up, I whipped out another activity.  Of course, it’s the 24th and now I am all out of fun stuff to do (worn out is more like it) but we’re heading off to my parents today so I’ll leave it up to their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins to entertain them. 

What Christmas projects has your family been working on?

Friday, December 23, 2011

My Own Domain

I finally did it.  I broke down and bought my own Domain.  You can now point your mouse to http://www.zeemaid.com.  Of course, my blog is still hosted on Blogger and all the old links still work but I'm really excited to have my own little parking spot in the big old internet universe.

I have been thinking for awhile now of changing my blog title to just Zeemaid especially since there is another blog out there already with a very similar title as mine (she's been blogging much longer than me). I've always felt a bit like a plagiarist about it even though I didn't consciously steal the title idea.  I think most of you probably know me more as Zeemaid but I'm just not sure.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I can't believe we're taking the family to see another Alvin & the Chipmunks movie.  But everyone has been saying how great it is and it's rated G and Arthur's Christmas is no longer playing. The downside of living in a smaller community.

Still it's hard to keep the kids entertained over Christmas especially since J's recent surgery means anything more strenuous is out.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

What do you do to keep your kids entertained this close to Christmas?  Because I have to tell you it's almost like an episode from Kids Gone Wild in my house.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Girl’s a Trooper

115-1599_IMG  You are never quite prepared to let your child go especially when it comes to trusting relative strangers to care for her.  Especially when every tragic story relating to children and hospitals are running through your head.  Especially when your baby girl picks daddy to go with her down the operating room to hold her hand while she goes to sleep.  I have to admit that hurt just a teeny weeny bit.

So when the waiting was done and they called us to go to the recovery room, there was no way I was letting Dad take over on this one.  Thank goodness they let us both go in because I really needed his strong, yet silent support as I had to calm down my extremely agitated child.  It’s not so much as what he did as just by being there he helped me be stronger because I knew that I couldn’t show how much I was affected to my agitated child.  It may sound odd of me to say but it fills me with a sort of  motherly pride to know that instinctively I knew how to reach her and by stroking her hair and doing a quiet shushing sound like I did when she was a baby worked. 

Still it was difficult to watch her be in discomfort and was with relief that the morphine kicked in (although it’s somewhat scary to think of morphine being given to a child) and she was able to sleep.  Still it wasn’t for another 6 1/2 hours that we were allowed to take her home.  A very long night of urging sips of ice water on her and watching her doze.  I’m not generally an inactive person and I have to admit it was hard just to sit there and be quiet and yet it was so peaceful watching her.

Too it was funny watching her alternate between the worst day ever and how much she hates this place to being a not so awful day because she got a stuffed bear from the Hospital and then Westjet had come by with toys for kids and even though she was in surgery her thoughtful nurse saved a toy for her.  You should have seen her face light up when the nurse asked her if she liked Little Pet Shop. Boy does she ever and now she has a LPS Hotel just like her big sister.  Then the drugs wore off and it was back to “I want to go home”.  

My highlight was when I was telling her about how wonderful it was to have the surgery done because she was going to be able to smell things again and she told me “I can smell already” and gave a little sniff.  Hooray! 

Still through it all she tried her best to keep taking sips of water even when she  threw it all up later.  Even when she didn’t want to swallow I was still able to coas her into taking her medicine.  Her tongue is swollen which I wasn’t expecting and so she talks a little funny but it is the most adorable sound in the world. 

Now she’s back to looking pretty tired and I feel bad because I’m going to have to lay down the law and make her nap.  It’s bad enough being the bad guy making her take the awful medicine.  Still she’s so much better today and I’m thankful that we are through it and look forward to seeing her grow healthier day by day!

That’s my baby J!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Holidays with Hallmark

I have had such a wonderful time this past year exploring all the great Hallmark products.  I have to admit that when I first signed on with this review opportunity with Hallmark that it was this particular holiday that I had been looking forward to the most. (Although Halloween did move up to a close second with all the great spooky stuff Hallmark had to offer.)

Of course, I just love decorating at Christmas and Hallmark has so many really neat items that it’s hard to just pick one.  So here’s what I’ve been playing with recently.


Rockin’Talkin Hat Elf or Santa
Value Priced:  $19.95
MRSP:  $24.95
`The Rockin‘ Talkin‘ Elf‘ and Santa  hats ―dance‖ to music like Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

Guaranteed to crack you up! The top of the hat actually moves and dances along to music. Lots of fun!



Value Priced:  $14.95
MSRP: $14.95
Ever wanted to know how you’d sound like an Elf?  Well  this  microphone changes your voice so you sound like one (or a chipmunk).  It has six pre-recorded holiday songs to sing along to and comes with a book of original lyrics plus silly versions too! This was a lot of fun and a big hit with my kids.  I even used it to start an Elf-Oke sing off at my daughter’s birthday party in an attempt to get the kids to calm down.  (It didn’t work to calm them down but they had fun).


Jingle the Husky Pup Interactive Storybook and Story Buddy
Value Priced:  $29.95
MSRP: $39.95

This is a Hallmark favourite,  and winner of 2 Dr. Toy Awards, ―Jingle the Husky Pup” is ready to bark, whimper and even sing when he hears the magic words.   Now available with DVD and mobile app
for downloading on iTunes. 

This is truly one of those magical toys for the kids. My three just love to listen to me read the story book and watch Jingle respond to the magic key words.  Lots of fun!


Make-A-Wish ® Recordable Bear
MSRP: $24.95

A feel good gift for the holidays, this bear will record a message or wish to send to someone special.  A
portion of the proceeds will support Make-A-Wish® Canada, an organization that grants wishes to terminally ill children.

My six year old was instantly drawn to this bear.  He or she is unbelievable cuddly and soft and literally warms your heart.  When my daughter learned that we could record a message in the start, she asked me to record “I love you bubba J”.  Doesn’t that just melt your heart?  My daughter will be undergoing surgery this week and this is one bear that will be going along with us to the hospital.  When I can’t be there by her side, she will have her bear to remind her that I love her.   Best of all every sale sees a portion donated to the Make-A Wish Canada foundation.


Wayne Gretsky Ornament and Don Cherry Bobble-Head
MSRP: $ 24.99

A great gift for true Canadian hockey fans, The Great One will surely find a prime spot on the Christmas tree -alongside Grapes on the mantle – this year and
for years to come! 


Of course Hallmark has so much more to offer like the Prep and Landing collection (if you haven’t seen this Elf animated film, you and your children will love it) and of course, gorgeous cards like their cut-out Snowflake Christmas cards.

Be sure to check out Hallmark.ca for more great gift or decorating ideas!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

It's Happening too Fast!

My just turned 6 year old daughter is scheduled for surgery next Monday to have her tonsils and adenoids removed.  I knew it was coming, we've been on a wait list for over six months.  It's just when we finally got the call, I didn't expect it to be happening quite so quickly. 

I rashly agreed to the date thinking that, of course, we're available we've been waiting six months for this appointment.  Only afterwards I realized
  • she is going to miss the last week of school before Christmas vacation
  • which means she is going to miss singing in her Christmas concert
  • which means I now have to look after her when I'm supposed to be working with hubs
  • which means we can't schedule any vigorous activity for 1 - 2 weeks afterwards
  • which means going up the mountain and tobogganing is out.
You see where I am going with this?

Of course the benefits are going to be huge.  The circles under her eyes are going to disappear because she will finally be getting a good night's sleep, she is going to start gaining weight finally and just be all around so much healthier once it's done. 

However, I wouldn't be a mom if I wasn't just a teensy bit worried about my baby going under the knife.  Okay let's say a whole lotta worried.  I know, I know, it's just her tonsils (and adenoids).  I mean hasn't almost all adults my age had theirs removed?  Yet, I can't help think of how sometimes complications arise and of others who lost their children during so called "routine" surgery. 

Still if it wasn't for the fact that her overall health and development is going to be improved by this surgery we wouldn't bother.  Nowadays we're a whole lot more cautious before rushing to put ourselves through the dangers of surgery. It's funny how 30 years ago we didn't recall surgery as being dangerous.  At least I didn't, I was only ten and younger than that when I had my tonsils out and it seemed like they recommended the surgery at the drop of a hat.

Whereas now our family doctor is reluctant to send our oldest daughter for an x-ray at 8 years old because while yes it does appear she's missing a bone in her spine, if it isn't bothering her why expose her to radiation needlessly just to see.

Have you had to face surgery with your child?  How did you cope?

Crayola - Giveaway

Okay, so if you haven't already checked out my great Crayola Products Review, check it out here and then come back and enter the giveaway for the Crayola Fragant Bud Vase.


1.  MANDATORY:  check out my most recent Crayola Product review at the above link then come back here and leave a comment about which product you liked the most or any that you've tried etc.

2.  Extra entry:  Follow In the Mommy Trenches on GFC

3.  Extra entry:  "like" In the Mommy Trenches on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/zeemaid

4.  Extra entry:  Follow In the Mommy Trenches on Twitter http://twitter.com/zeemaid

Contest Closes:  December 16, 2011.  Open to Canadians only!