Monday, May 30, 2011

Our 1st Giveaway: Free Movie Passes from Cineplex!

Note: This Giveaway is now closed. Thanks!!

One thing you may not know about me is that I am a huge movie fan. My first job was in a movie theater, and I worked for quite a few years in a movie rental store as well. I have seen a lot of movies. It is one of my favourite things to do on weekends. There is nothing quite like a night out at the movie theater. Just the smell of the popcorn is amazing...mmm...popcorn...

This summer, one of the most anticipated movies (probably ever) is being released: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. After seeing the first movie, I started reading the books, and like most other people, I loved them. Such a great blend of adventure and fantasy, all mixed with a little teenage angst. And the movies have been phenomenal so far. So it is with great anticipation that I look forward to seeing the last installment of the series, which comes out (coincidentally enough!) on July 15th; the same day Peanut is also supposed to come out!

Cineplex Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures Canada have an awesome deal this summer. They are offering a Harry Potter passport, which means you get to see all 7 Harry Potter movies in the theatre on the big screen again. Plus, you get 700 Scene points, and priority ticketing for the Deathly Hallows Part 2. You also get a contest entry, and download deals. To check out the details, go to the Cineplex website. The passport only costs $24.99, which considering the price of movies these days, I think is a steal of a deal. The best part about the whole thing, in my opinion, is that they are showing one movie each week, so you pretty much have plans for you and your Hubby or your kiddos all summer. They run each weekend (Saturday mornings and Monday evenings) until the new movie comes out. So it’s also a good refresher for those of you who are like me, and  have trouble remembering what the heck happened in the last movies. You can also grab tickets for the individual shows for only $5...I don't remember the last time I only paid $5 for a movie. 

Now for the exciting news: Cineplex is giving 5 of my readers a night out for 2 at the movies! Yay! Who doesn’t love free stuff? And who doesn’t love movies? So, for your chance to win, here are the details to enter:

  • Post a comment below this post telling me what your favourite Harry Potter movie is, and why you love it. This doesn’t have to be a book report…just let me know what turns your crank. Maybe you have a thing for snake-men with no nostrils? (ewww…)

  • If you share this post on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter, you will receive a bonus entry. Just post an additional comment with the link. 

  • At the end of the contest period, I will choose the contest winners using the random number generator at, and post the winners here.

  • The passes are good for general admission for ANY movie of your choice at your local Canadian Cineplex theatres...sorry my international friends. Just to be clear, it is not the passport you will be winning, and you don't have to use the passes for Harry Potter, you can see whatever movie your little heart desires. 

And that’s it! Easy-peasy, no? The contest will close at 7pm MST on Friday, June 3, 2011. 

If you are a Harry Potter fanatic, or even if you just sorta like him, you can check out all things Harry here.

I feel like I should end off with something wizardly, like a spell or something…goodicus luckioso???

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I've Climbed Mt Everest!

Well, not literally. More in the figurative sense. If you recall my sewing project (here for a refresher), it was not going too well. Ok, that might be an understatement. It was going atrociously. However, I have done it! The masterpiece is completed!

A friend of ours had finally had enough of reading along with my horrible failures. She came over with a different sewing machine and gave me some lessons. And thanks to her (Thanks Joan!!), I did it! 

First off, let me start by saying that most of my failure can be attributed to the sewing machine I was using. I have a feeling that no matter how skilled you are, you might have encountered some difficulty. I have absolutely no skill, so it was a train wreck. With the new sewing machine, I actually was able to produce a half-decent product.

And now for the results:

First, here was my practice project. This was started because I found out that I can't actually sew in a straight line, and needed the practice. I thought jumping right in to dressmaking was a little over my head, so I decided to make a baby blanket. 

All I had to do was sew 2 pieces of flannel together, and then bind it with a satin blanket binding. It actually was super easy once I got the machine figured out. And it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I mean, it's not like I could sell them or anything, but it's for our little Peanut. And as Hubby says,  as if he'll know the difference! It looks great from across the room. 

After I came off the high of actually completing something, and rather successfully, I tried to tackle that beauty of a dress. Remember the one? Here's what it's supposed to look like:

I went with the red and white version. The material was from 1980, and has been laying all folded up in a bag with the half cut-out pattern for 30 years. I've laundered it twice, and it is still holding on strong to the creases. My mom didn't get too far with the whole project. After Joan gave me a quick tutorial on how to gather the fabric, I started off on my own. 

It was pretty difficult, I'm not going to lie. Mostly because I have no idea what most of the instructions mean. Sure, it sounds easy, and they have little pictures, but I really don't know what the heck they are talking about. I had to apply a healthy dose of logical reasoning to figure out what they MUST mean, and tried it from there. 

I had one fatal error, which was buying a zipper which was 2 inches too long. I just looked for a red zipper. It didn't occur to me that they come in different sizes!! Also, I really didn't do a very good job of sewing that puppy on. The hard won straight-sewing skills all went to hell after I put on the zipper foot thingy. In any case, some unsightly improvised adjustments and it became functional. 

I put it on to show Hubby, and he was all proud and gushy about me finishing it. Although any compliments on how it actually looked were noticeably absent. And I do have to admit, it looks rather like a floral potato sack. Any thoughts of me having this amazingly retro dress to stroll around in, amidst the oohs and aahs of envious preggos were put to rest that day. In order to make it slightly less sacky, I added a ribbon between the ever decreasing area between the bust and the belly. But I just tied it on. That part wasn't in the instructions. 

So, without further ado, here she is! The most hard-won, unattractive maternity outfit EVER!!

I wore it over to my Mom and Dad's place for mother's day, and it was a cute little surprise for my mommy. 

This adventure has definitely not inspired me to start sewing my own clothes yet, although I think I might tackle some sheets and a crib skirt for the nursery. But there really is nothing like the feeling of defeating an inanimate object.

Duck Face

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Choices...Do We Have To??

One of the hardest things about this whole pregnancy journey, and impending arrival of our little man is all the decisions we have to make. Some decisions have been so easy, and we are excited about them. For example, we are going to cloth diaper our little one. But others? Oh boy…and Hubby and I may be the most indecisive people in the whole world.

When we were travelling, this indecisiveness was perfect. Since we could not really make plans in advance due to our inability to actually opt for one course of action over another, we usually just ended up going with the flow, and that was always the right choice. Not being tied down to a strict itinerary really made for an amazing travel experience. However, now that we are settled down, and decisions need to be made all. the. time. we are struggling. Take for instance the simple act of what to do on a Friday night. Last Friday we were trying to decide what to do after work. Would we go to a movie? Out for a bite to eat? Stay in and watch one of the 3 million movies we have on the PVR (we just got HBO…it’s a habit)? We could NOT decide. Luckily, my parents sent a text that they were going to the pub by our house for some wings, so they decided for us, and we joined them. Phew! Crisis averted!

But now that we are supposed to be the adults, and we will be responsible for someone else’s life, the stakes are much higher. It’s not just us that we can potentially screw up! The decisions range from inconsequential in the grand scheme of things (what to do with the nursery) to potentially life-altering (naming our baby…will he need therapy because of our choice later in life??).

When we first got pregnant, it was easy to postpone these decisions because we didn’t know the gender, and so we didn’t really feel any pressure. But it’s been  3 months since we found out we are most likely having a boy, and we were still stuck in the rut of not actually deciding anything last week. We talked about a million different options for names, and looked at paint samples in Home Depot 10 times, and were still never any closer to deciding anything. Every new option we came up with just made things harder.

However, we finally have made some headway this week, and I think we have both a plan for the nursery, and a name. The problem is, neither of us really want to fully commit to it yet, since we keep thinking there might be something out there that is the “perfect” one. These plans are awesome, but are they perfect?! I think we have to give up the dream that we will ever feel we have 100% made the right decision. This, from what I understand, is part of being a parent, and it’s going to get a lot harder!

Finally making a firm (well, sort of), confident (it’s not set in stone or anything) decision on these 2 things has really given Hubby and I a boost. We did it (for the most part)! We decided important things like adults do!  Huzzah!

I have an update about my sewing project, but in order to post it I would like to have a little photo session. Every night after work we have planned to do it, and every night a hurricane-force wind blows in (ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration…but it’s really windy), and we can’t do them. So, hopefully we will be able to grab some this weekend, and then you can see the monstrosity  dress.

Also, a huge thank you to everyone who voted for the Top 25 Pregnancy Journals from Circle of Moms. We did it! I placed 3rd! How exciting! There will be a feature on their website, including an interview. So stay tuned for that…

Monday, May 16, 2011

5 Things That are Awesome About Being Pregnant

It's really easy to focus on all the negative stuff associated with pregnancy, but in reality it's amazingly awesome being pregnant. Here are some reasons why:

1. Feeling Peanut squirm around. It's so awesome to feel the little guy moving and shaking in there. It's also equally fun to try and guess what the heck he is doing in there. 

2. Wearing comfier clothes than usual to work. While this might not technically be allowed, I certainly am taking full advantage, flip flops and all. As if they are going to tell a massively pregnant woman that her wardrobe is not appropriate work attire. Score one for me! 

3. All the love and attention Hubby gives me. This is not limited to me being pregnant, of course, but it seems extra special now. Plus, he is more willing to do those extra things, like go and grab me a water, or run to get me ice cream, since I am way too lazy to do it myself. It's also adorable to hear him talking to my belly. Swoon...

4. All the cute little baby things we are slowly accumulating. The adorable little cloth diapers, and the itsy-bitsy shoes are just too cute for words. 

5. Imaging what our little guy is going to be like. We just can't wait to meet him!! 

Another thing that is awesome about being preggo? Pregnancy lunges by the waterside. Oh yeah!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Hey all, 

Just a quick heads up, as I am sure you have noticed, that I am playing around with the design of the blog. So please hang in there while things are being switched up. 

Would love to hear feedback on what you hate, or what you love. 


Fast Food at Home

So, lately I have had my first real pregnancy craving, and that has been Dairy Queen Blizzards. I am not usually a big ice cream fan, but this pregnancy has converted me. Also, now that they have introduced the new mini size (well, it’s new here in Canada), they have now created the perfect amount of Blizzard for me. My indulgence of choice is usually Chocolate Covered Cherry/Skor (I believe the other name for this chocolate bar is Heath elsewhere). Mmmm…I’m drooling just thinking about it. For the first few days, Hubby was indulging me by running to DQ to grab one for me after dinner (I think he secretly wanted the excuse for ice cream treats too). However, lately he has been putting his foot down. This is partly due to the fact that having treats from Dairy Queen everyday is both a)excessively indulgent, even if you are pregnant and b) very hard on the old bank account. Also, I think that he also is just tired of driving to get it for me.

With my delivery method thwarted, and my laziness trumping all, I grumpily resigned myself that I would no longer be eating ice-creamy, candy goodness. But that’s when I had a genius idea. I probably looked like the Grinch when he figures out he can steal all the Who’s pressies by dressing up as Santa…I just had to wait for the perfect opportunity to sneak it past Hubby’s defenses. 

So, when he suggested that we go for a walk to get some exercise, I had the perfect opportunity. If I agreed to go on this walk  waddle (in the rain, I might add) and reap all the health benefits associated with it, then we could grab some ice cream from the corner store. Just vanilla. Hubby agreed eagerly, and off we went. I will not regale you with the details of how long it took me to waddle my butt down to the corner store, or how my rain coat wouldn’t do up over my belly, so it got all soaked. I will let your imagination fill in these details.

When we got to the store, I also grabbed 2 king sized Skor bars along with the vanilla ice cream. When Hubby asked me what I was doing, I told him my genius plan: We would make our own Blizzards!! They would be delicious, and we wouldn’t have to pay a lot for them, and best of all, he wouldn’t have to leave the house! Hubby could hardly argue with me when I looked so deliriously triumphant in front of the sweet little girl behind the counter. So I won. MWAHAHAHA.

I also made some buffalo chicken sandwiches for dinner to go along with our homemade Blizzards, so it was like a fast food meal at home. This way, we could control the portion size and the ingredients to make it a smarter meal. And it’s cheaper. We substituted potato salad for fries, since it’s what we had on hand. I am not sure if this is a healthier choice or not, but it feels like it, and that’s all that matters.

Actually, it is an incredibly quick meal to make, so it really is fast food! These are both such easy dishes that they don’t really warrant recipes, but here they are anyway, just in case. J

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches a la Amy

This recipe is incredibly simple, but has many variations depending on your taste. We used BBQ’d chicken breasts, but you could also bread them in panko crumbs and bake them for a crispy version, or used ground chicken to make burger patties first. Whichever way your little heart desires!

Chicken Breast (I used only 1 and halved it so that they wouldn’t be too big for the bun and would cook evenly)
Your favourite Buffalo wing sauce (we prefer Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo)
Hamburger Buns or other bread (ciabatta would be delicious)
Ranch or Blue Cheese dressing
Extra Old Cheddar Cheese (if such a thing appeals to you. It certainly appeals to me!)

Prepare the chicken how you prefer. We tossed it on the BBQ for about 10 minutes until cooked through. Once the chicken is done, place some wing sauce in a bowl or plastic baggie (if you don’t like to do dishes) and shake the chicken until it is covered in the perfect amount of deliciousness.

Spread some salad dressing (ranch for Hubby, blue cheese for me) on your bun, and top with lettuce, a big slice of tomato, and the cheese. Place your chicken on top of the cheese, so it gets nice and melty, and then devour. Mmmmm…

Homemade Blizzards

Vanilla ice cream
Candy, chocolate or cookie of your choice

If you are using a candy bar or cookies, I suggest putting them in a plastic baggie and smashing them to bits with a kitchen mallet. If you put them in the blender, you run the risk of making them too small. This way, you can control how chunky you want the pieces of yumminess.

Place the ice cream in a blender, and then slowly add enough milk to make it blendable. It’s important to add just a little bit at a time, or your Blizzard will end up more like a milkshake, which isn’t a good thing for suspending chocolate-y goodness in. You want the consistency to be similar to soft-serve. Once that’s done, you can add your pre-smashed candy and gently pulse it until it’s mixed.

Pour it into a mug, and you are ready to go! I do not recommend doing the famous Blizzard upside-down turn they do at DQ. Unless you like cleaning your kitchen floors…

You can also add a little cherry sundae topping to it to recreate my favourite flavor…that’s on the agenda for next time.

Of course, it’s not the same as the real thing, but it sure does satisfy the craving in a pinch.


PS Thank you all for voting for me for the Top 25 Pregnancy Journals on Circle of Moms. There are 5 more days left in the contest, so if you wouldn't mind giving me a thumbs up? Much appreciated!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

30 Weeks: A Mixed-Bag of Emotions

Well, I am now officially 30 weeks pregnant, which means I am ¾ of the way through the pregnancy. This is a crazy fact for me to accept. That means it’s almost done, and we will have a baby soon (in approximately 10 weeks, to be sort-of-precise). EEP!

I have had about 15 ideas for blog posts (ok, that’s perhaps a little exaggerated…the actually number is more like 5), but I have been hit with a rather inconvenient bout of small-attention-span-itis. Even my small-brained ADD Kitty has a longer attention span than I do lately; she remembers that she still wants to lick the bath salts remaining in the bathtub every time I open the bathroom door. I start one thing and am on to the next within 5 minutes. So bear with me if I jump around a lot. I really am trying to remain focused.

I am reaching the point in pregnancy where Peanut is getting pretty big. The movements we used to try so hard to feel for have now become so completely obvious you can see my belly jump from across the room. Every little thing he does I can pretty much feel and see. It’s pretty strange. A very good reminder that there is actually an independent little human growing in there. Pretty amazing! This also means that I am getting much bigger as well, and the full-on waddle has become rather standard for me, unfortunately. It also means that it’s almost impossible to get comfortable no matter what I am doing, and Hubby is getting rather frustrated with my flip-flopping and wriggling and sighing. It doesn’t make for the most pleasant TV watching or sleeping experience. Sorry Hubby! It also means I have a cute little baby bump that is definitely unmistakable, so there isn’t that awkward confusion about “is she or isn’t she” anymore.

The emotions of this stage of pregnancy are really what I am trying to understand. This seems to be something that not many people talk about, or at least not that I have encountered. For Hubby, he is in the excited and impatient stage. He just can’t wait to meet his new little man, and he is looking forward to the birth and holding his son. And it’s been a long wait! 7 months of anticipation, and he still has 2 and a half to go. He’s reading books about labour and birth (Best. Husband. Ever!), he’s shopping for baby clothes, he’s dreaming up all the cool things he’s going to do with his amazingly awesome son. I, on the other hand, have reached the point where I realize that this ever-growing awesome baby is going to have to come out. And he still has a lot more to grow. And once he actually comes out, then he will be here, and he will be alive and loud and completely dependent on us to survive. And there isn’t an instruction manual that comes out along with him. So I am experiencing a lot of anxiety and apprehension lately.

I feel that I need to defend myself when I say this though, which is where the problem lies.  There are usually 2 schools of thought surrounding this issue. The first is the response I usually receive when I am disclosing that I feel this way, and it’s somewhere along the lines of “Oh, but it’s going to be so awesome, and you will do fine. There’s nothing to worry about.” I feel that this somehow trivializes what I am feeling, and doesn’t actually DO anything to alleviate the anxiety at all. Of course I logically know that chances are things are going to be just fine, and that millions of women give birth to babies, and they all survive, and they all raise healthy, happy children. But it’s not the logical part of my mind that I am dealing with here; it’s the emotional part. So telling me it will be fine is not helpful, because I already KNOW that it will most likely be fine. But it doesn’t help me feel any more secure or confident about the whole thing.

The second is what you find if you Google “Prenatal Anxiety” out of curiosity (I recommend you don’t do this. It will not help, so stop typing it now!!). You find that it’s viewed as pathological, and that it will come with increased risk of harm to your child’s emotional and social well-being, and a whole variety of bad things during pregnancy. Now THIS seems like a good way to allay women’s fears of having a child. Sheesh!

Is there no in between? Can it not be normal for me to feel this anxiety and apprehension? I am sure that I am not the only one out there who feels this same way, so I am not sure why more people don’t talk about it. Of course I am still excited, and I can’t wait to meet my little guy, and it’s a joyful and amazing time, and I am enjoying it immensely. But I am also apprehensive. This is a massive life change. My life will literally never be the same ever again. No matter what. So shouldn’t it be normal for me to feel scared and excited?

I know that things will turn out, and when I look into my little guy’s face all the fear and apprehension will disappear and the sun will shine, and angels will sing, and the world will be perfect (at least in theory). And I truly am excited to meet him, and to hold him in my arms, and to start learning about this new little life. But I am also scared about the whole shebang. And that’s ok too.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Best Pregnancy Books (According to Me...)

The choices for pregnancy reading are incredibly overwhelming. There are a million books, and they all claim that they are "essential reading" for pregnancy. Well, if you are like me and your first instinct is to read all you can, you will probably feel overwhelmed when you head to the book store.

So, here are the books the I feel are worthwhile (or not). Of course I haven't read all that are out there, and there are probably a ton of fabulous books I am missing, but I can provide you with some honest feedback on what I have read.

by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
Well, this is probably the first book you think of when it comes to pregnancy books, and most likely the first book you will buy. It was for me. I picked it up the day I got my big fat positive. There seems to be a lot of discussion around this book and it's value to pregnant women. Let me tell you what I think: it does what it claims to do. It tells you what you can expect in pregnancy. The reason that I still have this book, is that I like reading about the baby's development each week, which is kind of cool. Of course you can do that on the internet now, and there are many different sites that are fabulous for this, but I like just picking up a book every now and then. Also, it sort of functions as a pregnancy encyclopedia for me. If there is something I am curious about, I can just check out the index and there is usually a pretty decent blurb about it. Very useful. What I don't really like about the book is that it isn't really all that useful otherwise. It tells you what you can expect to feel at each month of your pregnancy, and what you can expect to happen to your body. But women vary so widely that this is not really accurate, and you can sometimes get the feeling that you aren't normal because you aren't experiencing all the things that it says you should. But you ARE normal. Also, I find it a little bit patronizing sometimes. Especially the part about what you should and shouldn't do in pregnancy. Groan. 

I also purchased the book  What to Expect: Eating Well When You're Expecting since my eating habits are not the best. This book was a waste of money, in my opinion. I do not have half of the ingredients that they call for to add in and make the meals "healthier". Also, the recipes are pretty bland. In addition, if you are not used to watching what you eat and being strict about observing what you eat, then this is totally not the book for you. To be honest, I read it through, used one or 2 recipes and now it just sits there collecting dust. I got the feeling from the book that if I didn't follow their diet, I would be making horrible choices for the health of my baby. You know what? My baby does not have a 3rd head because I didn't follow the Pregnancy Daily Dozen diet...and your baby won't either. With all the things we preggos have to worry about, I don't need to be counting how many food items from different categories I am eating. I just make healthier choices (for the most part) and still make some unhealthy ones (I do love me a fast-food burger every now and then!), and that's just fine with me. 

By Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz
I got this one in e-book form, and read it all in about 1 day. I found it infinitely more entertaining than the What to Expect book, and the humour they throw in makes for a great read. I enjoyed reading it, and probably got some useful things out of it, but I have never looked at it since. Some of the things were a little "out there" for my own beliefs and experience, so it was a take some/leave some kind of thing. All in all, it was an enjoyable read, and satisfied my "" compulsion, but I don't think it is a must-read.

By Harlan Cohen
I bought this one for Hubby since he expressed an interest in reading What to Expect, and I thought that would not be very useful. The book is organized into "tips" and they aren't always in the most intuitive of orders in my opinion, but the information is really good (of course I read it to see what information Hubby was getting...wouldn't want to give away any top-secret pregnancy info that might ruin my advantage!!).

Here are Hubby's thoughts:

The layout is great in that it provides the information in small bites rather than long-winded paragraphs. Most dads are probably like me and don't want to get into the nitty gritty of the whole process and are just looking for a general overview.

Also, I feel they group the subject matter really well so if you get this into a dad-to-be's hands, right away he should be able to follow along with what is happening. I also appreciate that the author really tried to get a lot of anecdotal commentary from real couples; it kept the book fresh and relevant.

All in all I think it’s a great resource for those who probably won't do a lot of reading, or don't like to read, especially about subjects they may not ordinarily read about. But I think there are far better resources for being prepared for the birth then this one. Its good for an overview of the whole pregnancy.

by Jenny McCarthy

Ok, I read this one after having it recommended by a pregnant friend. I actually enjoyed it. It took me only an afternoon to read it, and it's not like it's winning any prizes for literature or anything, but it's pretty entertaining. It's also sort of nice to have a break from all the seriousness and medicalization of pregnancy and laugh at someone else's experiences. Definitely good if you need a laugh. Also, she does bring up a lot of things that most "good girls" would never talk about, so you get some frank talk about the things most people don't tell you about pregnancy. 

I also wanted to mention what I think would most likely be a very useful book, but I actually haven't read it. I picked up The Mother of All Baby Books by Ann Douglas as it's a Canadian focused guide, which proves to be very useful when you are talking about health care, etc. This book was fabulous, so I imagine the pregnancy one would also be fabulous, but I never picked it up since I was already pretty far along in my pregnancy before I found this one. So might be worth a read for sure!
Those are my thoughts. I also have some books on labour and birth I will review, but in the interest of keeping you from snoozing on your keyboards (i.e. for the sake of brevity), I will post those seperately next week.

Hopefully this helps you a little bit to navigate the jungles of pregnancy books overflowing the shelves of your local bookstore. Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions!

And thank you, dear readers, for all your kind votes for Up Mommy Creek at the Circle of Moms Top 25 Pregnancy Journals. You guys are amazing! xoxo


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