Saturday, May 23, 2009

Neighbours and the dog.

We have a dog. A great big chocolate lab named Cadbury. He's very trainable, and we've trained him to 'go' in a certain spot in our yard, in the back corner. We are in a new subdivision and don't have fences yet between the backyards (although we are meeting with all the neighbours and a fencing company tomorrow to hopefully get that underway).

This morning I was out in back with the yard and one of our backyard neighbours (we have 3 along the back, since we have a corner lot) came out and asked to talk to me. We have been in our house for a year and a half and this is the first time they have spoken to us, ever! Even though we wave to them and say hi if we are out there, they ignore us! Four weeks ago we went around with a letter from us asking our neighbours to talk to us about getting a fence - and left our email, phone, said talk to us if we're out (we're out back a fair amount) and they totally ignored it!

So what did she want? To complain about the smell from our dog's 'area' that he goes in. Now I know we need to clean that up more regularly than we do (we did it about 6 days ago). And yes, popular belief has it right - poop stinks. I could smell it in her backyard and I could understand, nobody wants a backyard to smell like that. She suggested that we move the area to somewhere 'beside our house'. (It was up beside our house until a month or so ago when we moved his area so we could put in the vegetable gardens. Our plan has always been to use this particular back corner of our lot for him).

So we cleaned it up this morning. But, we are not moving his area. I am hoping the smell is reduced when we get fences up, at least blocked. And we are going to really make a point of cleaning it up more often than once a week. I don't want to make our neighbours unhappy, but it is our yard.
What do you think? Are we doing enough? Should we let our neighbour decide how we use our yard? Are we being totally awful neighbours?

I don't want to make an enemy :(

Anyway. I have found a couple giveaways today (I don't usually do this on weekends but here I am).

For the ladies:
  • Win a $25 Layers Clothing gift certificate at Dev's Favorite Giveaways. Ends May 29th.
  • Win a Hip-T at Blessings Abound! This is great for short shirts, low pants, or even as a belly band! Ends ay 26th.
For grown-ups:
  • Win new Durex products at Household Treasures! Five winners each get two new products - Utopia and Quiver. Ends June 6th.
For baby:
For the dog:
  • Win a Dog Duvet from Karma Charms at Sweet Dog Organics! Every dog needs a comfy place to lie down! Ends May 29th.
For anyone:
  • Win a tea wallet by Recupefashion at Recuperation Nathalie Brault. I love tea wallets since I always take my own decaf Earl Grey teabags when I go to friends' houses or restaurants. Ends May 30th.
  • Win an audiobook of Michael Connelly's The Scarecrow at Book Love Affair! Ends June 8th.
Don't forget to enter my Snugs Boutique giveaway!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Snugs Boutique - Giveaway *CLOSED* Winner announced!

This giveaway is now closed!
I chose the winner with which came up with lucky #43!
Congratulations to the winner....
Nicole D.
who said "I would choose the Belly Band."

I'm so excited to be hosting a giveaway here for Snugs Boutique! You may recall my review of the Bamboo Diaper and Diaper Cover a few days ago. I was so impressed by the quality of both these products, and as a mom-to-be on a budget, the amazing prices of Snugs Boutique!

Snugs Boutique is a Canadian company which I am happy to support. Andrea has generously offered one of my readers a prize!

The winner may choose any item from Snugs Boutique under $15!

What could you get for under $15 you may ask? Well, go take a look - you can choose from many different styles of cloth diapers (including the bamboo style I reviewed), diaper covers, belly bands, mama pads, and baby leggings!

How to enter:
Mandatory first entry - Visit Snugs Boutique and let me know what you would choose if you won! Don't worry, you can change your mind if you do win :)

Extra entries (only after you have completed the first entry, please!):
  1. Sign up for Snugs Boutique mailing list (on the contact us page) and let me know that you did, please include the email address that you signed up with in your comment for verification.
  2. If you have a product from Snugs Boutique, write your own review on your blog. Include the link in your comment.
  3. Blog about this giveaway with links to Snugs Boutique and to this post. Include the link in your comment.
  4. Become a follower of my blog (publicly).
  5. Add my blog button to your blog. Include the link in your comment.
Comment separately for each entry! I moderate comments so please submit only once, it will appear once I accept the comment.

This giveaway ends next Friday, May 29th at 11:59 pm EST. I will choose a winner at random, announce the winner on this post and email the winner, who has 48 hours to get back to me or I will choose another winner. Please leave your email address or be sure it's set to public in your profile - if I can't contact you I'll draw another name.

This giveaway is OPEN TO CANADA and US residents!

This giveaway is now closed! Thank you for all the entries and welcome to my new followers - I hope you stick around.
Meanwhile I do recommend popping over to Snugs Boutique for your diapering and mama needs. The prices are great and it's so nice to support a Canadian mom's business!

Almost the weekend!

And I don't know about you, but I'm having a pretty good week so far.

I love this
onesie from Snugfits! Great designs (one pictured here - can you read that? "sleep is for the weak", it says! Ha ha! Love it!).

Don't forget to enter my Snugs Boutique giveaway!

Eden Fantasys Review - Part 1

***adult content below!***

I haven’t done a lot of reviews, though I’m interested in the review process and definitely always happy to share my opinion! I was offered a review opportunity recently that I couldn’t pass up. Be aware, this is meant for adult eyes and it’s a little, er… racy!

As some of you may know, my husband and I have been TTC for a while now. And while the trying part is fun, certainly, it can feel a little like work sometimes when you know there is a goal loftier than just having a good time. So with the spirit of keeping things fun in mind, we were thrilled when Eden Fantasys approached me to do a review on my blog.

We spent some time together browsing on the Eden Fantasys site for adult toys (they also sell lingerie, videos, lubes and other things like candles, games, bath products and massage oils, really there is a lot of selection and not all of it as racy as what we picked!!). I’m going to get personal here and say, girl to girl, that I - like many other women - have had some experience with toys. The trusty vibe in the nightstand is not an uncommon thing. At least among the women I’ve talked to who are confident enough to admit it! But we were looking for something that would be for both of us as a couples thing.

So what did we choose? We ended up picking the Tantus vibrating c-ring which is not *quite* what you might think (at least it’s not *quite* what we thought it was! Yes, I will explain that!).
Silicone ring with attachement and removable vibrating bullet.
This toy is 100% silicone, so it is non-porous, hypo-allergenic, you can sterilize it (apparently even in the top rack of the dishwasher?! We won’t be trying that one). The bullet it comes with has a battery so there is no cord to get in the way. He picked the black one (it also comes in red and purple), which I think has a nuance of BDSM about it. I didn’t mention that to the DH ;)

The shipping packaging from Eden Fantasys was very discreet. The return address is ‘web merchant’ so it’s not screaming out that it's a sex toy to your UPS guy.

First off let me say on opening it up – being a novice to the whole ‘ring’ scenario – it was not what we expected. Let’s just say we were expecting a c-ring and it’s really more of a c-&-b-ring if you know what I mean! To be fair the website has an ‘actual size’ photo on it and does give the diameter so it was because of us not looking that closely. My first thought was, oh but it’s huge! I mean a 2” diameter, really, you hear people talk but I’ve never seen one that, well, girthy, lol. Then we looked at the back and when we saw the instructions, the light dawned – the whole package goes through the ring! Whoa. DH and I weren’t quite expecting the whole package to be involved here!

Now my DH is willing to try new things for sure, but this had him a little worried. I could see the ‘yikes’ in his face! He is brand new to the whole toy issue (I don’t think he’d even seen any in real life before he met me) and, shall we say, not exactly comfortable with the whole idea. He’s a down-to-earth kind of straightforward guy. This is all very new to him.

So that is our first impressions… I’m going to follow up in a few days with part two of this review and let you know what we thought! You might be surprised! And I promise I won’t get too explicit with the details but I will be honest.

What would you have picked to try if you had the opportunity?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday's exhaustion

Okay so Tuesday night I got 5 hours of sleep and last night I got about 6. I know all you moms out there are going, "6 hours?! That's awesome!" But I'm not used to it and I am BEAT.

On the plus side, it's a pretty day. The crabapple we planted last fall is in full bloom and does it ever look nice!

Some giveaways for today... I am far from caught up but I'm trying!
For baby:
For grown-ups:
For the ladies:
For anyone:
  • Win a t-shirt of your choice from mchen's Etsy shop at the rikrak studio! Nice! Ends May 26th.
For the home:
  • Win a $20 gift certificate to Scribble It (wall decals - they even have chalkboard ones) at My Mom's View! Ends May 25th.
  • Win a Dream Sacks bamboo throw in Maize at Barefoot Mommy! Ends June 4th.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Snugs Boutique Bamboo Diaper Review!

Note: you can click on the images for a close-up! Just ignore how old my hand looks in that one pic... why does it look like that! I swear I have regular early-thirties hands in real life!

A while back I was lucky enough to win a one-size bamboo pocket diaper with insert, and a diaper cover from Snugs Boutique! The contest was hosted by one of my favourite blogs, My Mom's View. I received the diaper today and as soon as I saw it, I really wanted to review it right away.

Snugs Boutique is a Canadian company (yay!). The owner, Andrea, is a mom whose sewing skills led to the founding of this company. When she saw that cloth diapers were a great solution to diapering, but they were expensive - she set out to make her own. Now her company not only makes diapers but imports them as well, allowing her to control the costs and materials.

I received the Small Bamboo Pocket Diaper. The first thing I noticed was how amazingly soft it is. The lining and insert are made with microfiber and bamboo. If you don't already know about the amazing qualities of bamboo, let me just say it's first off a sustainable resource, perfect for your eco-baby! Secondly, and this is a great feature, it's naturally anti-microbial. Third, it's more absorbent than cotton! I would say this makes for a perfect diaper. The outer layer of the diaper is made of PUL, which is waterproof. I picked the yellow, going for gender-neutral, and the colour is a nice lemon meringue pie kind of yellow. The lining is beige.

The insert is also fully removable (it snaps in place in the pocket so won't bunch up), which is great for laundering and allows for quicker drying. I can't really think of a feature that this diaper doesn't have - unless a self-cleaning option was possible! I wish!

I also got a really nice diaper cover! The diaper cover is not absolutely necessary with this diaper, since it's waterproof already, but a little extra leakage or blowout protection can't hurt! The cover is blue and yellow - a bright blue on one side, and a paler blue with yellow accents on the other. Yes, its reversible! Awesome. Snugs Boutique will even do custom colour orders for the covers if you have something specific in mind.

One thing I wanted to mention that really impressed me was how adjustable these are. The snaps are all plastic, no cold metal on baby's skin, and there are two rows with four possible snaps in each row. This means that for babies with chubby legs and tiny waists (or vice versa) you can adjust for that. Not only that, snaps are more likely to stay on the baby - what's more fun than ripping off velcro and running around in the nude? Hey, the Chippendales made careers of it.

Now let's talk about prices. If you have looked into cloth diapering you know they seem like a huge investment (though they pay off in the long run, compared to disposables)! But these are very reasonably priced. The diaper itself is $9 and the diaper cover is $8. This is in Canadian dollars, no exchange or duty (bonus!).

Let's do a quick look at some of the other comparable brands you might have heard of. I think you can figure out which they are... I don't want to look like I'm criticizing these since I have formed no opinion of them, this is purely a price comparison. (I just stopped in at Kelly's Closet to check out some of theirs, if you're wondering where I got these prices.)
  • Fu**ibun* Perfect Size pocket diaper with snaps: $17.95 USD
  • Happy H****s one-size pocket diaper with snaps: $18.95 USD
  • Swa**leb**s Econa**i one-size pocket diaper with snaps: $28.95 USD
None of these are bamboo and ALL of them are a great deal more expensive (plus for us Canadians you have to factor in the exchange rate and customs/duty charges). Now don't you think Snugs Boutique is a better option?! I sure do.

Yay, it's Wednesday!

I woke up this morning at 5 am, thinking about raspberry canes. Seriously, this is what keeps me up at night. I couldn't get back to sleep for trying to figure out where to put in some canes in our backyard and where the heck my blueberry bushes are going to go. Not that I have these plants yet but I have had them in my previous gardens and I definitely want them here. Crazy, no?

We have improved the greenhouse on our one vegetable bed (the 'hothouse' - it has peppers and tomatoes, zucchini and cucumber). The peas are about 2" up, starting to reach for the netting, and the radishes just started sprouting yesterday! With a forecast for 28 degrees and sunny I'm sure today will be a big growth day.

I wanted to let you know about Dealcetera as well. If you are Canadian and looking for a great site for deals and freebies, you should definitely check it out. They have a Monday Giveaway each week and I won last week's! Yay! Now, I can't win again but you could. This week if you blog about Dealcetera you could win a $10 Shoppers Drug Mart gift card! I subscribe to their email feed and although I get sometimes 60 emails a day or more (that sounds like they're all from Dealcetera - that's not what I mean) I always make a point to read theirs.

Ok, time for some more giveaways:

For baby:
For the ladies:
For anyone:
  • Win an audiobook by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child called Cemetary Dance at The Novel Bookworm! They have three copies to give away! Lincoln Child is a favourite author of mine. Ends May 27th.
  • Win a $10 Starbucks card at Sweet Savings! Ends May 24th.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday, errand day!

After the Canadian long weekend this past weekend I have a few errands to run that I have let slide. Like grocery shopping (groan). I don't hate it, it just takes so long. They've opened up a new No Frills nearby which is great, but the aisles make no sense. It seems so disorganized and I'm still getting used to it. I wish there were a standard grocery store layout and everyone would just stick to it! I'm used to organizing my grocery list and coupons by aisle (it saves time) but I haven't figured out their system yet.

Oh, btw, we saw the new Star Trek movie last night - it was really good! Loved 'Sylar' from Heroes (Zachary Quinto) as Spock. I recommend it. Lots of action and lots of funny parts.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Happy Monday

Today is truly a happy day for us. We have the day off - we went for a hike up in the woods with the dog, it was lovely. Tonight we're going to see that new Star Trek movie - I can't wait to see "Sylar" from Heroes as Spock! We got some good news today, one of my galleries e-mailed me to say they have just sold three paintings and have two more on hold for clients. Yay!

I know I haven't been posting the giveaways as much lately, I do promise that I will get back into it. I still haven't moved everything from the old computer yet, there's not that much left, I just don't feel like it so I've been procrastinating. The quilt I'm making (as a procrastination exercise) is so nearly done. It was really fun to do and I think I'll do some more. Not sure if these will make baby shower gifts for my friends or if they will end up in my Etsy shop!

Anyway, here are a couple that I wanted to post -

For anyone:
  • Win a Mystic Wonders Complete Laundry System at Thrifty Minnesota Mama! I love the idea of these. No more chemicals in our house, water or on our clothes. Sounds good, right? Ends June 1st.
For adults:
and a little heads up: I'll be doing a review of Eden Fantasys (and maybe, hopefully, a giveaway too) soon!