Monday, April 14, 2014

Our First Spring in the Country

When we moved, we knew that Logan Lake was located in mountain terrain and was therefore prone to colder and longer winters, however over the past week our family has been embracing the warmer weather and the decline of the snow.

It's been borderline t-shirt weather; our (almost) three year old seems to be immune to the cold and not only thinks it t-shirt weather, as far as he's concerned shoes are optional as well.

We've built planter boxes (though its still too cold in the evenings to plant the seedlings that are scattered throughout our kitchen) built forts in the backyard, acquired a picnic table, enjoyed sunny outdoor snacktimes, spent hours at the local park and even took the kids hike for about a kilometer partway around the local lake.

And its been amazing.
I've especially loved the tranquility and the ever elusive peace that seems to settle (at least for moments) between my boys when they are adequately stimulated, entertained and full of fresh air.

So all of this begs the question, what next?

What activities can we take up as a family that will entertain all four of us and get us outside exploring the bounty of nature our new home provides?

I'm thinking geocaching, because what kid doesn't love a good treasure hunt?

Does your family geocache? 
Do you have any suggestions for a reasonably priced, kid-friendly, geocaching GPS? 
(I've been considering the Magellean Explorist GC and almost bought one last year, but couldn't justify it when we were still living in the city.)

Monday, April 7, 2014

What I hear | City vs. Country

We used to live in the City; a large neighbourhood park, the bus and an elementary school were all within a 5 minute walk. The grocery store, the mall, the Skytrain and a 7-Eleven were all within a 15 minute walk. We were living the City life in our quaint little townhouse; our family, our friends and our lives all revolved around the Lower Mainland.

And then we took a chance on life. 

We now live in a little mining town with 2,500 people. The pub closes at 9pm regardless whether there’s a hockey game in progress, the grocery store doesn’t open until 9am, Bolt’s kindergarten class is anticipated to be 13 kids and although there are very few stores, one of them is a video rental shop (apparently they still exist).

So many things have changed and I struggle with where to start and what to share, but as I sat on my beautiful backyard deck yesterday, enjoying a sunny Sunday afternoon, I had an epiphany and knew exactly where to start; with my ears.

What I heard in my City Backyard:
  • Traffic and vehicles horns.
  • Emergency sirens.
  • School bells.
  • Asian Karaoke.
  • Drunk Teenagers.

 What I hear in my Country Backyard:
  • Birds chirping.
  • Leaves rustling.
  • Chopping wood.
  • Silence.
  • Nature.

 And I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good about this particular aspect of my new life.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Change

Blue skies and powdery snow,
My children smile as the wind blows.

Get outside, enjoy the sun,
Be free, my boys, find your fun.

Smell the trees, touch the sky,
Take time to dream and learn to fly.

Just now our steps are small,
Gingerly we tread, for fear we may fall.

But hope is our mantra and change is our friend,
This road that we follow, we’re travelling a bend.

Each day’s an adventure, something new to behold,
Our hearts brim with excitement, in spite of the cold.

I can’t help but wonder what tomorrow will bring,
When the grass turns green and we experience the Spring.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Marvelous Morning

This morning I was happily awakened by a subtle buzzing on my wrist and the best part about it was that didn't wake up my almost 3 year old minion that was sound asleep bedside me. 

In an effort to thwart 4am wakeup calls, we've been cutting Simba's naps short and letting him stay up about an hour later each evening and after a few crazy weeks and a time change, we now have a boy that gets up between 530 and 6am, unless he hears his mom get up for work at 5.

With a sick hubby infecting my bed, I was sharing with Simba last night and was pleasantly surprised when he didn't wake when my Fitbit (which has been lost for a week) woke me.

I had a shower, got dressed, blow dried my bangs, made coffee and almost had my breakfast made before my little man showed up.

As much as I love him, that half an hour alone was amazing and even though it's not even 630 am yet, I feel more relaxed and awake than I have in ages.

Now, the question is, HOW do I make THIS happen every day?

Do you have an early riser? How do you get a moment to yourself in the morning?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

3 Simple Ways to Keep Eczema in Check | #EczemaAndMe

The word ECZEMA is practically a cuss word to anyone who is directly affected by the dry, scaly and itchy skin that defines it. If you or your children are affected by eczema you have probably tried a multitude of products and skin care regimes in an attempt to rid it from your lives.

And, just as I know, you probably know, that's never going to happen: eczema's persistent.

Eczema is my reality, just as it is Bolt's. We live with eczema and we make choices every day that may help or hinder our skin condition. As Bolt ages I will give him more freedom to make those choices, because his eczema won't kill him; when he's a teenager who wants to go out without gloves, that will be his perogative, he will be the one who suffers.

But until he can truly grasp the consequences, I rule the roost when it comes to eczema management and here are a few of the hard and fast rules at our house.
  1. MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE, MOISTURIZE - When you have eczema, there is no such thing as too much moisturizing. If at all possible, cream should be applied to damp skin after bathing to seal in as much moisture as possible. Using a heavy, unscented cream works best before bed and the new Polysporin Eczema Essentials Daily Moisturizing Cream is a great choice. It's accepted by the Eczema Society of Canada, which is high praise, feels thick and rich but absorbs quickly without any greasy residue.

  2. MINIMIZE THE SOAP - Although its essential that we wash ourselves and our children, there is no need to lather our children up every day with heavily scented or processed products. When I use soap on my children, I tend to use a very gentle, homemade soap but a great alternative is to use a very mild body wash as a bubble bath. The very diluted body wash cleans my children while they play and there's no soapy irritation. My kids love all the fragrance free bubbles that the new Polysporin Eczema Essentials Daily Body Wash creates  in their bath and I love that they are squeaky clean and not the slightest bit itchy.

  3. USE CORTISONE as needed - Many parents are fearful of using cortisone on their children, but I know with certainty, that almost none of those parents have eczema. Although, cortisone is a steroid, and should be used with caution, in an intense eczema flare up, nothing will calm the irritation like cortisone and I know this first hand. Although we have prescription strength cortisone in our house, there are times when a budding flare up really doesn't call for such an intense amount of medication. In those moments, the new Polysporin Eczema Essentials Hydrocortisone Anti-Itch Cream does the job. It's also great for managing random itchiness, like the spider bite I got in my eyebrow last week.
    I was super excited to try out the brand new Polysporin Eczema Essentials line and I'm happy to report that the products stood up to the standard I expect from Polysporin. Have you tried them in your home?

    What are your tips for keeping Eczema in check?

    “Disclosure: I am part of the the POLYSPORIN® Eczema Essentials Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

    Monday, February 3, 2014

    We had a Crack'n Win Chinese New Year with Kinder Surprise | #kindermom

    As a #Kindermom I love seeing the delight on my boys faces when I pull out a Kinder Egg as a special treat or reward and watching my boys share them with others just fills me with pride. I know sharing is supposed to be an inherent trait, but in reality, sometimes its just hard to share all the goodness that is a Kinder Egg.

    By a strange twist of circumstances, my boys and I found ourselves in Vancouver for Chinese New Year this past week. Although we were exhausted from the four hour drive from Kamloops, both boys were getting over the flu and Simba proceeded to be carsick all over me as soon as we arrived, we had a great time.

    We ate good food and exchanged lucky money and THIS time when everyone pulled out treats (most of which are not safe for Bolt to eat), I pulled out two boxes of #peanutfree Kinder Surprise Eggs and sent my boys to do the rounds. It's amazing how easily Kinder Surprise can cross age gaps; the little ones love them, the teenage girls loved them and the adults, well we happily devoured ours too.

    And as we all enjoyed our full tummies and sugar buzzes, we immediately had entertainment for the rapidly fading children. They loved their little animals, cars, puzzles, spirographs and bracelets and suddenly spending another half an hour together seemed totally feasible.


    And the three teenage girls in attendance were the ones most excited about the Kinder Crack'nWin Campaign. All the specially marked Crack'n Win Kinder surprises have a PIN that can be entered onto the Kinder Website for a chance to win some great prizes.  There's a Fiat 500 POP!, two family trips to Orlando, over 27,000 family movie nights and 201,000 free Kinder Treats all up to grabs.

    Maybe its your turn to be lucky.
    Have you entered a PIN to see if you're a winner yet?

    “Disclosure: I’m part of the Kinder® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own”

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    The Healthy Shopper | Pamela's, Simply Natural, Oreganol & Olympic Krema

    When I go grocery shopping there are a few key criteria, that my food needs to meet, the majority of the time.

    In short, I'm looking for food that is:
    • Healthy;
    • Delicious;
    • Allergen-Friendly; and 
    • Affordable.
    These are obviously subjective terms that mean different things to different people, but I think striving to meet these goals on any given grocery trip is an attainable and reasonable goal. 

    If you shop in Health Food Stores across Canada, you've probably seen The Healthy Shopper Coupon Book in your travels. The Healthy Shopper is the ONLY organic and natural coupon book in Canada and was founded by two women, a holistic nutritionist and a life-long health advocate who were eager to spread the word about health and wellness. 

    Each season the Healthy Shopper features a number of great products, and I was super excited to try out the Fall 2013 campaign; it was chock full of items that are perfect for my family.

    I have had many friends suggest Pamela's Gluten-Free Baking & Pancake Mix to me, however, I admit I had never actually tried them. Although they are peanut free, they do contain almond meal, which is safe for our house, however I have a mild sensitivity to almonds that occasionally rears its ugly little head.

    I should have tried Pamela's Pancake Mix ages ago. They are delicious. They are fluffy and light, the texture is divine and they sop up my 100% maple syrup perfectly. Seriously, my cupboard shall not be without this product ever again, and that's saying a lot, because as a rule, I try and make nearly everything from scratch.

    At our house, we also have a problem with condiments and by problem, I mean we have an entire shelf where only condiments reside. Unfortunately, although tasty, condiments are not exactly the healthiest addition to your meal. I loved the Simply Natural Organic stone ground mustard. The flavour was deep and authentic and the graininess was amazing on a sandwich. I was pleasantly surprised to discover this mustard was another total win for me.

    Just this past week, I popped the last few Oreganol capsules from my Healthy Shopper campaign. These tiny little oregano gelcaps are made using the purest, highest quality ingredients and contain 100% wild oregano which has a number of known health benefits including combating colds. 

    My boys have been sick with the flu this past week, and granted I have been at work during the day, but that's not to say I haven't been covered in vomit multiple times and shared beds with those sick little boys. And somehow, I've managed to stay healthy through it all. I think I'll be grabbing a package of Oreganol capsules for my cupboard next time I hit the health food store.And next time they have a cold (rather than the flu we've currently been combatting), I'll be reaching for the Hyland's Cold and Cough 4 Kids that came in our Healthy Shopper campaign.

    Another great product, Olympic Dairy Krema Greek Style Yogurt, is delectably creamy and I LOVE that its locally produced in the Fraser Valley. It's just yum and with some fresh berries mixed in, it's desert any day of the week.

    As expected, the organic flavour combinations of Kiju juices were a total hit with my kiddos, we were especially fans of the orange mango flavour! Have you tried them out? I personally love that I can grab them for my kids when we hit our local Starbucks.

    I try to be a Healthy Shopper every time I hit the grocery store and The Healthy Shopper Coupon Book can help me (and you) reach our health & wellness goals. 

    You can find the Healthy Shopper online and on Facebook.

    If you haven't read it already, I had the chance to try out another Healthy Shopper Campaign last year and tried a whole other round of deliciousness!

    I received product in exchange for sharing my experiences in this post, however all opinions are my own.