Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Moving Continued.....

I did it! But alas, I didn't record anything. It figures! We made up our mind on a date to list and it was a whirlwind from there! I must admit, however, in spite of the chaos and pain that cleaning my house has caused, it was pleasant to be in a clutter free and clean space! I say was, only because, the last two days have been activity free (no showings) and I was feeling so guilty about neglecting the kids (although they truly loved their baby sitters The Backyardigans!) so we got messy!!!! I just had to do it! I am committed to getting them places and doing projects again. At least one a week!! The real problem, however, is finding all of those items that I cleverly stored away.. such as the camera!! Ugh!!!

Friday, April 5, 2013

snack basket

Snack food was everywhere!!! It was literally taking over our cabinets, our pantry, our lives. Solutions: The Snack Basket!! Inside one of our bottom cupboards there are now two baskets; one for the grown up snacks and one for the kids. The kids know which one is theirs and when a snack is needed they are directed to this basket and they may choose one item for a snack. Now, I can still just toss everything in, but it is contained in place!!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Beaches --Turks and Caicos, with the kids

(my apologies in advance; I don't know why this won't space properly!) I always considered writing for a travel magazine, because travelling is truly one of my greatest joys, right up there with crafting, reading, cooking... okay, I have a lot. However, my passion was put on hold after the birth of my children because I really enjoy the "backpacking" sort of experience more than anything. My husband and I once spent two glorious weeks bouncing around Eastern Europe with no particular plan in mind. However, I don't feel like that is realistic with two small children. So, we've made some smaller trips (which I think I will review as well at a later date), but we had our first big adventure this past week to the Beaches Resort at Turks and Caicos.

I have never considered myself a resort type of person; I don't particularly care for crowds, all you can eat anything, or group activities, so I was a bit leery. However, my husband received some deal through his job and he asked if I wanted to go last minute. I hesitated; I panicked; and finally I said, "OK, Just book it." (I believe I was actually quite perturbed at being pressured and was frustrated that I had to decide while both kids were beckoning me and he was somewhere warm and glorious away from it all!) Well, we were committed.
We arrived and were treated quite well and of course, seeing Elmo on arrival was too much of a good thing. We were escorted to our room in the Bahama area which was, eh. I've definitely been in much nicer and the four of us in one room was not anything to look forward to (at the time of the vacation the kids were 4 and 2 1/2). Sitting on the patio while they were asleep wasn't that great either. It was tiny and not very comfortable, without a view of anything. The pool in the area was okay. There wasn't a kiddy pool, however. THat made it a little bit labor intensive for us since our kids don't swim yet. But, at least we were in a warm tropical climate in January, right?
However, we got lucky. One night there were some shenanigans from the room above and our air-conditioner broke. Of course, I complained. So we packed up and they allowed me to "view" the room before we got our new one. It was a suite in the Italian Villa and it was PERFECT. We had a room for the kids and a ground floor sliding glass entry to get to the pool. The pool, by the way was gorgeous!! The kiddy pool was large and shallow, the adult pool was also shallow and had a great swim up bar, and the warm pool... perfect for the slightly colder days. It was also very close to the beach which was nice.
Okay, the room was good so now it was the perfect vacation, right? Not so fast... the food was the worst! It was horrific. Now, I will admit, I am a food snob in a big way. I have lived in either New York City or Philadelphia most of my life, but... ugh. We did find one half way decent place down by the beach, but that was it. We hired a sitter one night and went out for an adult meal and my husband couldn't even eat his fish; it tasted freezer burnt and just gross. I had scallops that were like small rubber balls.
What made bad even worse was the service. Yes, there were a lot of people at dinner time, but aren't they supposed to be able to handle this? If you are a "family resort" then you cannot expect people, who are pretty much forced to eat at your poor choices for restaurants, with small children to wait 45 minutes for food. Perhaps if it was excellent I would have been more tolerant, but not so much. We found one restaurant that we did like; it wasn't great, but it was the best of the bad choices. It was close to the beach and it was in the sand so the kids could play or sit at one of the kid sized picnic tables. We ended up eating all of our meals there. Although, the buffet (gag!) in the French Villa wasn't too bad and it was a prime spot to see the parade and shows at night.
Speaking of entertainment, there were a lot of add ons that you could do. We tried three of them and in all honesty, that are expensive and not worth the money in my opinion. 1) Breakfast with the characters: It was TOO crowded. Yes, the characters came to each child, but you could experience that if you just hung out at the pool long enough. The food wasn't anything above the ordinary either. 2) Cruise with Abbey and Elmo: Save your money again! Conceptually, it was a great idea. Sailing aboard a beautiful, huge catamaran, while the kiddies have some fun. They didn't even raise the sail when we were on it. We motored out ( I felt sick!) and then back in. There were a couple of games played with to little space and a photo op with each character. 3) Photo shoot by the beach: This was fun, I have to admit. However, our photographer wasn't all that friendly. We had some okay pictures, but nothing better than what I took myself. And, just to get the pictures, I waited almost 1 hour in the photo shop!
But wait!! They have a kids camp. Okay, I have to admit, I am the wrong person to judge this since my kids are basically home with me and the older one only goes to preschool half a day, but when we walked in and a little kid came sprinting and launched himself over the half wall to escape, I reconsidered. The people working their seemed bored and the one hour we left my kids, I could tell they weren't that happy. This might be because they were too young. The kids at the older camp seemed VERY happy.
We did utilize a babysitter one night after the kids went to bed and that was REALLY nice! Also, you can rent a wagon instead of lugging your stroller with you. That was something I very much appreciated.
The shows were actually a lot of fun and so was the parade. The water park was GREAT even for non-swimmers. So, in a nutshell.... for customer service, I will give this Beaches location 4 stars out of 5. (There were a couple other issues.) For food, I will be generous and give it 1 1/2 stars. For entertainment, I will say 4 stars. It is a very expensive trip and we were lucky to get a big discount through my husband's job, plus the upgrade, plus we had free airfare. If we had to pay full price, I don't think I would go back. All in all it was a great vacation. We were relaxed and really enjoyed the amenities.

WE ARE MOVING... what now?

It is official, we have to move. The exorbitant cost of private education in the city, plus a ridiculous commute to work for my husband is driving us north! I am in a state of panic!! How does one begin?? I truly don't even know. We've done the basics: we've obtained the services of a local real estate agent; we've scouted out the towns and schools we are considering;but now what?? How can I even begin to deal with the mess that is our unorganized life??? Previously, I was going to start my "home happiness project." Well, I did finally find the book and no, I didn't finish reading it, but I think I can apply it (sort of) to my dilemma. I will set a weekly goal and just have to get it done! My goal is to have the house on the market by April 5th. The first Friday of April!!!! Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

sock basket and pinning

Do you have problems finding socks for your little ones?? We always did. My biggest problem is that I am NOT a sock person. I will wear slippers, UGGS, and various shoes all without socks. Of course, my kids have sort of adopted this mantra as well, but of course, they need them now and again. I found the biggest dilemma to be that I always had to run upstairs to their bedroom to retrieve socks and then run back downstairs, rushing, rushing, rushing, as always. So the first thing I did was to eliminate the sock drawer upstairs and throw them all in a pretty basket close to the front door. This of course led to the chaos of matching socks, so I have started pinning them together before they go into the hamper. Now they always have a mate!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My Happiness Project.... (MIA)

Have you checked out The Happiness Projectyet? This book (what I have read thus far) has really made me take a good look at my life! It has brilliant points, and Gretchen (the author) has some wonderful "easy" tips on her blog for getting it together.
Here's the glitch I have encountered so far: now, you must realize, that this book stresses getting your life together... clearing the clutter.. etc. uhm, well, I lost the book in my clutter. I'm off to a brilliant start, eh? Stay tuned and wish me luck! I know it has to be here somewhere!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I love Safe Mama!!!

I don't know about you, but the world scares me. Everyday I wish there was some way to keep my little angels (ha, ha, ha, ha.....infinity) safe from all the dangers we learn about daily. With all of the technology we have today, can't someone just invent a bubble to put my two babies in????

There are SO many concerns I have: lead in Christmas lights, fumes from someone doing work on their house, fires that would cause toxic fumes, insecticides, car exhaust, toxins in toys.... the list goes on and on.

What is a mom to do???! Well, I turn to the SafeMama blog (see button to the right!). It is a wonderful compilation of safe alternatives to the common toxic products that we use and also an eye opener to some things you may have considered safe, which aren't.

I believe Kathy to be a saint (although she has admitted to not being one). Please check out her website and remember that every little step we take makes our kids a little safer.