Browsing Posts published in December, 2010

PVR

Everyone should have a PVR. It just makes sense. Gone are the days when people went to bed angry because they missed their favourite show having spent the evening at a child’s recital. Finally, we can watch our programs whenever we want and commercial free.

I know a lot of new mothers PVR their shows and watch them during a midnight feeding. It actually gives them something to look forward to if they have to be awake at 2am. And yes, The Daily Show is even funnier in the middle of the night.

The only downside is becoming spoiled and reaching for the convertor to fast forward through commercials on one of the rare occasions you find yourself watching a show in real time.

Robeez boots

Anyone living in Canada with a baby must have a pair of these booties. Again, a great baby shower gift but be sure to buy at least size 6 months or larger because the baby will grow out of the small ones too quickly to really benefit from them.

I have used these booties both indoors and out. When the baby is too young to walk but still wants to enjoy the outdoors with older siblings or parents with just one child who feel the need to take their baby tobogganing and snow fort building, the Robeez booties keep baby’s feet warm and the leather shell keeps them dry.

There is no point in putting hard, rubber boots on a baby that is not yet walking. They weigh them down and when they accidentally kick you with them while loading them into their car-seat, you will feel it.

Zen Green Tea–Tazo

We’ve all heard we should be drinking copious amounts of green tea because it’s going to save the whales, make us all young and cancer-free forever but I had never found a green tea I could really sink my teeth into. I always found green tea smelled of a horse barn and tasted like cow patties. That feeling of being on a farm with my nose plugged while drinking this steaming hot, colourless drink just wasn’t appealing enough to add it into my daily routine, even despite the promises of a thick, shiny coat.

I don’t remember when I first tried Tazo’s Zen green tea but I have at least one cup everyday. It’s like a drug. Perhaps I should read the label more closely to be sure it isn’t in fact drugs.

The box boasts “a harmonious blend with lemongrass & spearmint,” it doesn’t say anything about hay bales or barns. Maybe it’s the spearmint and lemongrass I like and not the green part of the tea at all. Still, I feel as though I’m doing something good for my mind, body and spirit and it tastes great.

OXO Good Grips Peeler

In the interest of saving time, this peeler rocks. Greg is into tech-gadgets, this is as close as I get. I keep a new back-up in the cupboard should this one ever die but so far, no signs of aging. You can find them at Kitchen Stuff Plus or online for less than $10.

Camping blanket–this was probably the best $20 I spent all year. I used this Canadian Tire camping blanket everyday this spring/summer at the park, the beach and any day-trips we went on. The vinyl backing kept everything dry, it washes well, great for a picnic at the park or in the backyard and it gave the baby a dry place to sit and play without eating more than her necessary daily intake of sand. For those of you living in Switzerland and Dubai, go to the nearest Canadian Tire store. Would also make a great baby shower gift and it would get used.

A kettle with an automatic shut-off.

I have melted many kettles while busily playing polly pockets with the girls. This is a must-have for any parent who loves spending time with their kids but requires some flexibility when it comes to the timing of their tea-break.

Every year, Greg always comes through with a great Christmas gift for me.

And every year, I come up short trying to find something for him.

I spend my time in the think-tank trying to come up with amazing and inspiring gifts for the kids. I browse, I shop, I wrap, I eat cookies and I am thoroughly exhausted and retaining a lot of water by Christmas Eve. By the time shopping for Greg comes around, I think back to a time in the year he mentioned wanting some sort of tool or gadget and inevitably, my memory fails and tossed into the re-gift pile is a ratchet set that had no business on his sophisticated shelving system made from recycled IKEA wooden furniture.

It’s hard to feel sorry for the Dad’s. They typically buy themselves whatever they want or need throughout the year so the wish-list is never very long and for the last time, I am not a mind reader.

Isn’t Christmas supposed to be about the wives kids?

This year, after badgering Greg for ideas, he finally told me to get him another pair of dress shoes. A solid idea, we have just enough left over IKEA fabricated wood to build yet another shelf for the many pairs of dress shoes that have never been worn because he still wears the ones he wore on our wedding day, eleven years ago.

I bought some shoes and worried the entire drive home they were the wrong size. He is a size eleven and I bought a twelve so technically, my worries were substantiated.

They didn’t have an eleven in stock, the sales girl and I agreed this particular brand of shoe probably fit on the small side. Of course they did, what other option did a desperate shopper and a commissioned sales person have?

I sat on the shoes for a couple of days and finally presented them to Greg for a try on. Merry Christmas a couple of weeks early, let’s see if these puppies fit. They didn’t. Go figure.

I’m not saying I didn’t want to be the one to return the shoes for the right size but again, thinking of the children, wouldn’t it make more sense to send him back to make the return and try them on in the store before making the same mistake twice?

The happy Christmas shopper returned with his new shoes but wasn’t permitted to wear them to any Christmas events because he had to wait for the grand unveiling Christmas morning. Unfortunately, Christmas luncheons and staff parties are really the only time of year he has any reason to wear dress shoes so this gift was becoming unnecessarily cruel.

A note came home from school the next day requesting that parents send a shoe box to school with their child to carry home the gingerbread houses they were working on.

I knew just where to find one. As I unwrapped the size elevens, removed them from the box and stuffed them back into the shopping bag, I wasn’t feeling very good about Daddy’s Christmas but was surprisingly excited about gnawing on a gingerbread house come three o’clock.

The box was returned, filled with crusted over, white icing and yet, I debated about placing the best gift ever back into it because it would certainly make wrapping easier if I didn’t have to come up with some sort of origami swan presentation to encase the shoes.

Five years ago, I bought Greg a Big Daddy Insta-Net. It’s a backyard net meant for driving golf balls into. Greg likes golf, he likes backyards and I thought he would enjoy the 7’x7’ net that sets up instantly for quick and easy use. I know this because it says so right on the box which is sitting next to me and has been for five, long years.

Redemption is a funny thing. Racking my brain for something to surprise Greg with, something I know he will absolutely use and appreciate, I came across this commercial for a product that he will be thanking me for, for years to come.

Cyber-clean.

Merry Christmas sweetheart. Shall I make room on the shoe shelf?

Today, I either witnessed the greatest scam artist of all time pull a prank that works only during the Christmas season, or, the happiest, well-wisher on earth is at home feeling terrible, oblivious that she stole my quarter while at the same time trying to be my friend. Or maybe, just maybe I was part of something bigger than all of us, a Christmas miracle?

I was in the parking lot at Food Basics, feeling miserable as I always do after leaving Food Basics. I went in to pick up a butternut squash for Christmas dinner knowing I should have followed my better judgement and carried on the additional ten minutes to a grocery store I knew would have what I needed. Instead just as I had expected they had some strange variation of the butternut squash, pygmy squash I think, so instead of one large, I ended up with seven dwarfs….hi ho.

Just the thought of trying to slice seven, mini-squashes almost sent me to the Band-Aid aisle so I guess I was distracted when I first slammed my cart into the row, expecting it to spit out my quarter before I was given the opportunity (after it bounced back) to carefully place it in between the shell of the one in front of it, noting the carts from all of the surrounding stores that had also made the line-up, quantifying the number of homeless people that shop, trade carts and loiter or live in Food Basics.

A woman approached with a kind smile. She said, “Let me take that for you.”

Me: Oh thanks.

Thief: Merry Christmas.

Me: ?

She walked away with my cart without giving me a quarter but she was so sincere, full of holiday spirit I’m still not sure she knew that she had just stolen half of my gym locker at the Rec Centre. The locker directions suggest it’s only one quarter to retrieve a key for use but the first one is always eaten, disappearing somewhere behind the metal, false-door, magic trick so it’s best to pack two.

Maybe she asked, “Merry Christmas?” as in “Are you willing to donate this cart to the less fortunate so we can also buy squash by the dozen and not have to lug them in a box with no bottom around the store?”

Maybe she had never shopped at Food Basics and had no idea the cart required a deposit which I’m still confused could act as a deterrent from theft when the engineering team designed the mechanism. Surely a $200 cart is worth trading twenty-five cents which you really never lose, it’s still in there. I bet one of my miniature squash stumps could fish it out.

It seems to me, every time my kids are in a moving vehicle longer than thirty minutes, they are napping. Everyone is napping except the baby, the one person I would genuinely like to have a nap.

The seven and four year olds who wouldn’t nap indoors unless the house was on some sort of conveyor belt, fall asleep as soon as that thirty minute mark has been reached and it destroys a schedule we’ve been perfecting for years.

Maybe it’s in the exhaust they’re inhaling but whatever knocks out kids four and over, has the opposite effect on those thirteen months and younger. Her trick is to fall asleep when we are three minutes from arriving at our destination. This could mean a ten minute outing to the grocery store has her sawing logs at minute seven or a two hour trip to the cottage means at precisely one hour, fifty-seven minutes, she’s drooling on her onesie.

The nap is a tricky thing. If the baby naps for three minutes, she is unable to be transported into a proper bed without waking up, which really only works when we want her to wake up at which time she flops around like a ragdoll while we remove her outdoor gear, is licked by someone’s dog and beaned in the head with a flying super-ball but remains motionless, expressionless and in a fully relaxed dream-state.

When we tip-toe in, first setting up soft lullabies to serenade her, change the temperature on the thermostat in the house so it exactly matches the temperature in the vehicle removing the hot –to-cold or cold-to-hot shock to her system, we dim the lights, we spray car air freshener, crumble Cheerios around the carpet and speak as though we are radio announcers, any or all of which may have played a role in lulling her to sleep in the first place. She first opens her eyes as though the starter pistol has just been shot at a dog race, looks at us like she hasn’t a clue who we are, squints, scrunches up her scared, angry, sleepy little face, delays making a sound which means whatever is about to come out will be monumental and then a scream that can only be heard by those same racing dogs.

I’m trying to figure out who this “holiday” is for and who thinks playing charades all day everyday instead of all day every other day while the kids were at school should be deemed a holiday?

It’s the season of angry drivers and no parking spaces.

The season for disgruntled Wal-Mart shoppers who appear even more aggressively perturbed at their children than any other time of year.

It’s the season for shoplifting (also at Wal-Mart). Greg actually witnessed a woman screaming at the elderly woman whose only job at Wal-Mart is to check everyone’s bags on the way out. When she caught this woman actively attempting to steal, the thief began shouting obscenities as if it were the happy greeter’s fault for not letting her slip out of the store with seven too many snuggies.

It’s the cold, wet season which means ugly layered clothing, unflattering hats with ear flaps, driveway shovelling and snowboard injuries followed by hot chocolate with too many marshmallows that spill on the table, followed by hot chocolate round two with no marshmallows and crying, deprived children.

It’s not usually the season for Ruby Red vodka/tonic and fresh lime juice although I can see how it might find its way into my evening routine.

It’s the season for wrapping presents, hiding presents, hiding paper that might match Santa’s paper, forgetting to buy for someone that buys for you and awkwardly pretending their gift is on order and then staying up until midnight surfing amazon.com looking for something your ex-lover’s, neighbour’s, sister’s friend’s photographer might find less offensive than no gift at all.

It’s the season for days with almost no sunshine, trying egg nog and once again, like every other year, swearing you’ll never drink it again. This year I saw an egg nog display at the end of the grocery aisle in an unrefrigerated display case. Aren’t there eggs and cream in there? No wonder my stomach turns at the sight of it.

I can understand why it’s the time of year people are most depressed. Money can be tight, there’s no time to shop for everyone on your list, cook enough food for everyone expecting a decent meal and seven people will not be getting a snuggie this Christmas. (Thanks Wal-Mart). So if we didn’t throw a tree, an elf and some banana ornaments in the mix, we might just all go in sane.

‘Tis the season.

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