Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Mowing The Lawn Is Harder Than You Might Think

Growing up my dad cut the grass.  When he died, my mom hired a neighbourhood teenager to do it for her (my brother is highly allergic to grass, and fresh mown grass can cause an asthma attack, so him doing it wasn't an option). Eventually she hired a yard company to do it for her, and then she took over the job herself a few years ago.

When hubby and I moved into our house, he mowed the grass (and still does)  I can remember him complaining the odd time about having to do it, and I always wondered why. It seemed so simple to me....walk up and down with the mower on and watch out for your feet.

My mom injured herself a few months ago and wasn't able to cut her grass, so I have been doing it for her.  The first time I did it, I realized that it really isn't as easy as it looks.  If you have a perfectly square or rectangular yard, with no obstacles it may be simple.  My mom has a BIG yard.  Her front yard has a garden with curved edges, and also a pine tree.  It isn't too bad to do (but definitely needs a whipper snipper around the garden edging).

The backyard, however, is not so simple.  There is a hill in the middle of the yard, so that makes it a bit tricky, and there are a few gardens along the fence, and then in the middle of the top part of the yard as well. Add in a few trees and it's not as simple as going up and down, or side to side when you have to worry about getting around all these curved areas.

She also has a table with 4 chairs, and 2 benches for seating on the lower part, so once I have done one area all the items need to be moved to be able to do the rest.

I am in NO WAY an expert at lawn cutting, and there are spots that I end up missing, but it gets done so she doesn't have to look at her yard and think it's turning into a jungle of tall grass and weeds.

Tips For Cutting The Grass

  • don't wear sandals (you want to keep your toes)
  • wear pants (getting hit with a flying twig or rock hurts - at least pants provide *slight* protection)
  • if you have an electric lawn mower, keep the chord out of the way
  • do a quick sweep of the yard and move any toys or items that might get damaged/damage the mower
  • don't cut the grass in the middle of the afternoon when it is H-O-T out
  • be sure to keep an eye on pets and children to avoid injuries

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Bucket List - Update Week 4

Hard to believe that 4 weeks of summer have gone by!  The boys took part in Vacation Bible school last week and had a blast.  They ended Friday with a recital (each group had worked on a song or skit) and a potluck lunch.  

July 27th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

So hard to believe that we have finished FOUR weeks of summer vacation already.  The time has gone so fast.  Last week was a bit rough for me emotionally as the 21st marked the 20th anniversary of my fathers death.  The boys and I went to the graveyard with my mom and had ice cream and toasted my dad with a beer - so it turned out to be a pretty good day.

Tales of Mommyhood, giveaways, linky, monday madness

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Fuel Up For Summer With This Kellogg's Vector Giveaway

kellogg's vector giveaway, kelloggs, vector, fuel your summer

Summer is such a busy time of year; we are on the go a LOT. Sometimes, it is easy to forget that our bodies need fuel to keep us going.  I am definitely guilty of grabbing quick snacks as we head out the door.

Kellogg's sent me a package last week containing their line of Vector products.  I was super anxious to try them (especially the Honey Almond Granola and the Chocolate Chip energy bars - which are a chocolate lovers dream, by the way!).

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dreamworks HOME Available July 28th {giveaway}

HOME, blu ray, oh, kyle

"The HOME PARTY EDITION is Packed with over an Hour of Hit Music and Fun Dancing Content that will Get the Whole Family Shaking Their Boov Thing!

LOS ANGELES, CA – Celebrate family, friendship and fun in the surprise smash comedy hit of the year from the creators of How To Train Your Dragon and Shrek! In DreamWorks Animation’s HOME, Oh, a lovable misfit from another planet meets a girl named Tip. The two unlikely friends embark on the greatest journey of all time...the journey HOME. Hailed by critics as “an animated triumph” (CBS Radio News) that is “family fun with tons of heart” (Fox TV), Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment will release DreamWorks Animation’s HOME PARTY EDITION on Digital HD June 26 and Blu-ray 3D™, Blu-ray™ and DVD July 28."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ice Cream Memories From 20 Years Ago

20 years ago today, I went for ice cream with my cousin. You wouldn't think that a single trip for ice cream would have such a lasting effect on you, but this one did. When we arrived back home, my father was dead.  I didn't know it at that moment, just that my mom said the ambulance had taken him to the hospital - she thought he'd had a heart attack.

After arriving at the hospital, we were taken to a small, quiet room (a clue to getting bad news, they didn't make us wait in the common waiting room) and were told he had died.

I was 14 years old.  20 years later and I still remember the exact events of the day, and all that happened leading up to those moments.

My cousin and I had gone horse back riding with a friend that day, and then back to my friends for a swim.  My cousin stayed at my place for dinner, my mom made taco's.  We wanted ice cream for dessert, so I yelled down the stairs goodbye to my dad, and she and I walked to the ice cream place; I ordered a mint chip ice cream cone.  We walked home, and half way there I had to stop and throw my ice cream away.  I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.  We sat for a few minutes and then continued home.  I must have heard sirens (we were close enough that I would have) but never in a million years would I have thought they were going to my house.

Coming down the street, a car stopped and my mom jumped out and threw my cousin into the vehicle...she was petrified that I would get home and see the ambulance outside.....she had to get to me first. The paramedics had left by the time we got home though.

20 years of memories that he didn't get to be a part of.  20 years of wishing things had ended differently.

20 years later and I still think of him everyday.....20 years later and I still miss him as much as I did then.  20 years later and some memories still have me in tears.

20 Tear Jerker Movies

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need to have a good cry.  Not because of anything happening in my life, but just for some tension that has built up and needs to be released.  I don't spend hours weeping, what I do is put on a good tear jerker movie.

tear jerkers, make me cry, sad movies,

I have put together a list of Tear Jerkers (the top 6 are my go to's when I need a cry) and the rest are from other bloggers. If you have one not on the list, let me know in the comments!

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

Tales of Mommyhood, giveaways, linky, monday madness

It's a new week, and time for a new linky! If you are a blogger, feel free to list any open giveaways you have on your blog. Make sure to list the prize, end date and country eligibility (CAN/US/WW) any listed without this information will be deleted.

Please share this tweet before you link up your giveaways

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Summer Bucket List - Update Week 3

Week 3 has ended and we didn't get anything else crossed off the list.  The boys spent last week in full day camp, and were beat by the time they came home.  We did manage to read more books, and are ahead of schedule so far.... Hope you are all having a great summer!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Tales of Mommyhood Celebrates It's Blogiversary #BloggersFete

#bloggersfete, blogiversary, twitter party, tales of mommyhood, @tlsofmommyhood

This August Tales of Mommyhood will be celebrating it's 7th "Blogiversary".  Hard to believe that it's been 7 years since I started this little space on the web.  I am partnering up with 5 other fantastic bloggers that are also celebrating blogiversaries (The Koala Mom.com, Maple Mouse Mama, The Canadian Homeschooler, In R Dream and Life, Love and The Pursuit of Play) and we are going to have an awesome #BloggersFete!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lively Little Learners Pre-reading and Arts Camp

pre-reading and arts camp, lively little learners, kids learning to read

Before my kids started kindergarten, I enrolled them in a day camp to help them adjust to being away from me each day. It surprised me at how hard it was to find a camp for them to attend prior to their first year of school. Most of the camps I saw were for 5+, and I needed one that would take 3 year olds (Mr. K is a late August baby).

Lively Little Learners is more than just a camp. They have a reading program including self-published books that engage kids in pre-reading skills, and they want to distribute these books free of charge to child care centers, schools and libraries.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Bucket List - Update Week 2

We managed to cross more items off our list in Week 2....I also, at times, questioned WHY I had been looking forward to summer vacation so much. The boys are in camp next week, so we probably won't get anything crossed off for week 3.  Do you have a bucket list? I would love to know what's on yours.  

July 13 Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

Tales of Mommyhood, giveaways, linky, monday madness

I hope that you are enjoying July. It's been hot around here the last few days, but we (along with the neighbours) didn't let that stop us from enjoying the outdoors!  My kids are in day camp this week, so I plan on using the time to get the house tidied up a bit...my floors are a DISASTER from everyone being outside and not taking shoes off when they come in.

It's a new week, and time for a new linky! If you are a blogger, feel free to list any open giveaways you have on your blog. Make sure to list the prize, end date and country eligibility (CAN/US/WW) any listed without this information will be deleted.

If you are linking up, or find this linky helpful as a contester, PLEASE share this tweet!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Beat The Heat With Backyard Fun

beat the heat, waterslide fun, diy slip and slide, mama in her bathing suit

The forecast for today had me worried. I figured we would end up spending most of the day in the house, with the kids fighting and us getting cranky.  My prediction was wrong though.  I have written before about the wonderful neighbours that we have....today was another great day in our neighbourhood!

Friday, July 10, 2015

#PassitOn Arm & Hammer Laundry Gift Basket - #giveaway

Summer is here, and with that comes even more laundry than normal.  Between the inevitable freezie spills, ice cream drips and dirt, there is also the sweat that comes from being outside most of the day with active little boys.  They spend a lot of their time running around playing soccer, bike riding and climbing trees - and their clothes definitely need to be changed more often because of it (sometimes 3 times a day).

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Outdoor Family Time At Home

Once springtime hits, our family tends to spend most of our *free* time outside.  Family bike rides, backyard soccer games, tree climbing, frisbee, croquet and many more outdoor fun activities.   Often times the kids will be playing on the play structure or climbing trees, but they want me to watch.

Perfect area to watch the kids play
I was constantly *borrowing* a chair from the neighbours backyard, or sitting on the bottom of one of our slides.  A few weeks ago hubby mentioned getting a bench to put between 2 trees at the back of the property.  It sounded great to me, so I searched through O.co and found a few benches that would work well in the area.

O.co sent me out the Daffodil Metal Park Bench, and it arrived a few days ago.  Hubby put it together right away.  The first thing he mentioned to me was how well packaged it was.   There were paper layers between the bench pieces to keep it from getting scratched, styrofoam pieces to help protect it, and packaged inside a sturdy box.  Then the box was put into ANOTHER box - it arrived in great shape.

It took him less than 15 minutes from the time he started un-packaging to when the bench was completed.  He did most of it himself, but he did need an extra pair of hands to  help align the arm with the back of the bench.
overstock.com, bench, outside bench,

Mr. J was practicing skateboarding with another child from our street, and I was able to sit and watch while reading my book.  It's also a great place to sit and cheer while the kids (and hubby!) are playing soccer.

backyard bench, metal outdoor bench, overstock, o.co
The neighbours and I seem to gather here now to chat while we watch the kids playing, or climbing trees.  I am a little surprised at how much of a difference the addition has made to our backyard!

Tales of Mommyhood received the above mentioned product in exchange for this post.  All opinions are honest and belong to ToM; your experience/opinion may vary.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Black Eye

kids black eye, frisbee injury, canada day fun, kids hurt
My Not So Wordless Wednesday
We had a wonderful party on Canada Day; the kids and husbands played Frisbee and had a blast....until Mr. K intercepted a pass......with his eye.  Our neighbour passed it to hubby, but Mr. K happened to walk in front at the WRONG time.  This picture was taken after a dose of advil and 20 minute of ice.  A week later and the swelling is gone, but the bruising is BAD. Green, yellow and brown.  So thankful it missed his eyeball.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Bucket List Update - Week 1

The first week of summer vacation has ended, and we managed to cross off a couple of items from our summer bucket list.  Do you have a bucket list? I would love to know what's on yours.

July 6 Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

Tales of Mommyhood, giveaways, linky, monday madness

Happy Monday! July is now in full swing.  Hubby was on vacation last week so we enjoyed lots of family time!  We had our annual Canada Day bbq, spent lots of time playing outside, celebrated Mr. J's birthday and went to Saunders Farm! It was a perfect way to start our summer vacation!

It's a new week, and time for a new linky! If you are a blogger, feel free to list any open giveaways you have on your blog. Make sure to list the prize, end date and country eligibility (CAN/US/WW) any listed without this information will be deleted.

As always, sharing the linky is appreciated and helps gain maximum exposure for everyone that links up.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Celebrating Mr.J 's 8th Birthday With Video Games and a Water Fight

Mr. J turned 8 today.  On his first birthday I snuck into his room and wished him a happy birthday at 3:16 am (the time he was born) That started a tradition and every year on the kids birthdays I quietly wish them a happy birthday at the time of their birth, give them a kiss and then head back to sleep. That was the start of his birthday this year.

When planning his party, he wanted a video game party. Then he wanted a water fight party. Then he wanted a video game party and I finally told him we could do BOTH!  We kept our fingers crossed that we would have a hot day for the party (so much better to have a water fight on a hot day) We contacted a mobile video game service and booked them for 90 minutes (8 year old boys seem to LOVE video games).
games to go, mobile video games, ottawa mobile video games, birthday party

The expert game coach was fantastic, and all the kids had a really great time.  The 90 minutes went by pretty quick, and the only reason there wasn't complaining when we were finished was that they knew they got to have a water fight!
the boys playing video games (with their dad)
We came in the house for cake and presents, and then we headed outside for the water guns. HASBRO was kind enough to send us water guns for ALL the kids at the party (which means they even got to take them home with them).
american eagle, 4th of july birthday, canadian celebrating 4th of july
Mr. J chose an American themed cake since his birthday is July 4th!

We received 7 NERF Super Soaker Floodfire Blasters (these are pretty cool because you can actually hook them up to the garden hose for a never ending supply of water) and 1 NERF Super Soaker Flashflood Blaster (this has 2 separate nozzles - one for a flash strike and one for a flood strike) I used a permanent marker and wrote their names on their water guns.  I gave Mr. J the choice of gun, and he wanted to the Flashflood Blaster, so the rest of the guests got the Floodfire Blasters.

HASBRO, Nerf Super soakers, water fight birthday party, summer birthday, outdoor fun, boys 8th birthday

Hubby set up the hose to use for a refill station (which was also a safety zone) and we let them all have a  blast running through our yard and the field behind our house.  I made a sign so they would know where the safety zone was (although they all tried to be sneaky and hide in the safety zone and then shoot people from there)
Water Fight Refill Station, nerf super soakers
the sign I made for the refill station

I thought that 30 minutes might be too long for a water fight, but I was WRONG. We ended up calling it off after 35 minutes (parents were starting to come, and Mr. J and hubby had to go to the football game) but all the kids were still having a blast and didn't want to end.  We had to tell them they could come back on a non-party day for a water fight!

NERF super soakers, water fight birthday party, summer party, boys 8th birthday, water guns
Tales of Mommyhood received Super Soakers at no charge in exchange for this post. All opinions are honest and belong to ToM; your opinion/experience may vary.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Does Your Partner Keep You Awake At Night?

This post is sponsored by RANA. All opinions belong to Tales of Mommyhood and your opinion/experience may vary

OSA, Sleep Apnea, RANA, Snoring, my husband snores, snoring keeps me up at night

Does the picture above seem familiar to you? One person exhausted but unable to sleep as a result of their partner's incessant snoring.  It may surprise you to find out that 1 in 4 North American couples sleep in separate bedrooms - often due to one partners snoring.  Snoring can be extremely annoying to your spouse by keeping them from falling asleep or waking them up during the night.  While it may seem harmless, snoring could be caused by an underlying health issue - 76% of people that snore are affected by Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea actually causes you to stop breathing (often for 10-30 seconds per episode) until the brain reacts to the problem - and you end up gasping for breath.  OSA can leave you (and your loved ones) feeling tired and irritable, and you may even notice you are falling asleep during the day.
You can learn more about OSA on the RANA website, and they even have a quiz you can take.  If you or your loved one is a heavy snorer, then you should consider mentioning it to your physician and see about being tested. It may help you and your family get more sleep, AND get your health on the right track.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Just Like That, My Brother Is Married

My brother and his wife have been together for 15 years.  They have 5 children, and as of Friday evening, they are now married.  When my brother first told me that he had proposed, I was thrilled.  I love weddings, and couldn't wait to watch the 2 of them say their vows to each other.

My brother and his guys got ready at my mothers place; a photographer came to the house to take some pictures of them.  It was such a change to see how calm and quiet things are compared to the bride getting ready where there is so much going on (hair, make-up etc).

I managed to sneak a photo in with him before they left for the ceremony

brother and sister before wedding, brother getting married

Before the photographer left, she offered to take a picture of hubby and I (which is rare for the two of us, so of course I said yes)

sister of the groom, speech, wedding speech, wedding toast
photo credit: Tracie Lessard

The ceremony took place by the water, and the back drop was beautiful.  My sister-in-law looked absolutely stunning, and the reception.....what a GREAT party.  I had an absolutely amazing time with all my family (my dads side is not local, and it was lovely to see so many of them).  My moms side I see regularly, and we always have a great time (doesn't matter where we are).

carleton place canoe club, wedding, marriage

I knew that I wanted to say a few words at the reception, but I wasn't sure how I could do it without being super emotional.  I sat down at my computer one day and the words just flowed out.  I was really happy with what I had come up with, and I *think* my brother was as well.

"Good evening everyone. For those of you that don’t know me, I am Wes’ sister. I could tell you that my name is Ashley, but for most of my life, especially high school, it seemed I didn’t have a name and was known as his sister….so let’s just go with that for tonight. 
You may know that we are fairly close as siblings now, and it might surprise you to know that it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, when we were young we really didn’t get along at all.

In typical big brother fashion, Wes felt that he should have special privileges since he was the oldest. These privileges included having control of the TV remote, choosing which video games to play, and even getting to be first player in whatever game he chose. Being the younger sibling, it also meant that I put up with a lot of teasing from him and jokes played on me. 
There were nights where we were left home alone and he would convince me that someone had broken in. The first time he did this, he convinced me that it was a good idea to search for the burglar in the house – with a knife from the kitchen. After coming up empty in the basement and main floor, he led me up to my parents bedroom. He got on the bed, and told me that on the count of 3 I should lift up the comforter – while I am standing on the floor. He counts to 3, I lift up the comforter and he drops his hand down with the knife while laughing hysterically…..why was it so funny you may ask? My parents had a water bed….there is no way someone could hide UNDER their bed. 
There were also numerous occasions where I would bake pretzels (a double or triple batch) only to wake up the next morning, go to grab one for breakfast but they would all be gone (thanks to him, or matt…or brandon….or mike) 
I can look back at many of these instances with a smile now; and I should add that not all the times when we were young were bad. Wes was biking with me to a friends house (mom made him come with me) and my bike tire caught the gravel and I fell. I scraped up my knees, elbows and hands pretty badly and couldn’t (or more likely I just wouldn’t) get up. He biked home on his bike using one hand, while holding my bike with the other hand to get mom to come and help. Then there was the time I murdered my pet goldfish and he was quite helpful in the moment….until the teasing started after my “grieving period”. 
As teenagers, we often fought more than ever, but I must admit having an older brother had it’s advantages…there was never a shortage of cute guys in the house, and of course I felt special when they would acknowledge me and were always super nice since I was “wes’ sister”. Then there was the time when mom blamed him for smoking in the house while we were in high school, he didn’t tell her it was actually me and she only found out the truth many years after the fact (well, I only found out about it at the same time….I had no idea she had blamed him.) We also had many fun times at the casino, starting on my 18th birthday when we both signed out of school to go

Wes, we have been through a lot together – some good times, and some not so good times. But we have always had each other’s backs – no matter what. I love you, and am so happy to be here with you on this day. 
Tash, I wish you luck as you continue on this path with my brother and am glad to have you in my life. I came across an Irish Blessing online and thought it fitting for today. So, Wes and Tash, this is my toast to you as you start your marriage: 
May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace;
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship, and your hearts joined forever in love "
My poor mother injured her knee a few weeks ago and was on crutches. She managed to walk down the "aisle" with my brother not using them, but she needed them for most of the evening.  She stood on the dance floor while we danced, kind of shaking her upper body (this was really hard on her - as she LOVES to dance) and at one point one of our "family" songs came on (American Pie) but she just couldn't get up to join us.  My cousin and I dragged her chair over to the dance floor (with her on it) and another cousin held the back and moved the chair for her so she felt like she was joining in!

I have heard from other people about photo booth's that can be set up at weddings and events, but never experienced one before....oh, my goodness - was it EVER fun!  I was in a few with groups, but here are the shots from hubby and I

I can't say enough how awesome the party was.  What a great way to celebrate their relationship. Congratulations Wes and Tash (again) and all the best as you start this new chapter in your life!