Thursday, December 19, 2013

No More Naughty List | Guest Post by Alexis

As parents, we struggle every day to help our children thrive. To help them grow into independent, empathetic, courageous and thoughtful human beings. And sometimes, its so easy to get wrapped up in something that we lose sight of THAT bigger goal.

My friend Alexis, who happens to be an amazing preschool coordinator and teacher, shared something on Facebook today that touched me. And I think it will touch you too.

The message I took away, was that as parent's we need to do away with things like 'The Naughty List'.
I am so upset right now with the Kid Carson show on Radio Station 104.9. As I listened this morning to 5 year old Annabelle from Langley crying while talking to Santa Claus, my heart broke and my anger grew! 

I am guessing that parents contact the radio station with information so Santa can call their child at 7:15 in the morning. Santa confirms the child is who he is supposed to be talking to. 

Are you Annabelle from Langley, BC, Canada? Do you go to 'name of' school? Do you want a Furby for Christmas? Does Butterscotch ring a bell? 
The child on the other end of the phone is very hesitant (perhaps just waking up?) and her Dad is encouraging her to talk to Santa. As Santa goes along with the questions, I could hear Annabelle realizing that yes, this is Santa! She is getting very excited.

Santa then says, he has bad news for her. Her name is on the Naughty List. 

Do you know what the naughty list is Annabelle? It's the list of children who won't be getting presents this year because they have been naughty. **Annabelle is now crying**But, Annabelle if you tell Santa 2 of the bad things you have done, I can take your name off the naughty list.
Annabelle can't answer, she is crying. Dad with Mom's encouragement in the background are now encouraging her to talk to Santa. "Santa wants to help you...." Since she can't answer, Santa reads off the list...
"You haven't been listening to your Mommy and Daddy, have you? And I see that you use your outdoor voice inside." 
SERIOUSLY!!! THESE ARE NAUGHTY LIST ITEMS? This is 5 year old behaviour especially before Christmas! 

Santa goes on about how he used to use his outdoor voice in the house when he was young. Also talks about how he knows her family just came back from Disneyworld and the Caribbean. By the end of the conversation, 5 year old Annabelle is happy because she might get the toys she asked for.

So, what are my issues with this? Why am I am so upset? Here goes!!

What kind of parent messes with a 5 year old like that? To publicly humiliate their child...and humiliate them for appropriate behaviour

Speaking of the behavior of "not listening," I honestly don't know many children who don't listen. Every child listens. Even children with hearing loss will "listen" in their unique way. What a child may not do is to choose to follow what is being said to them. They may not follow as directed....they may ignore what is being said to them, because they are engaged in something way more important or exciting to them. But trust me, they listen to what is being said. 

And, naughty children get no presents? 

How about the families who don't have money to buy gifts for their children? 
Their children may not get gifts....does that mean they are on the Naughty List? 

By getting a 5 year old to "confess" her naughties to Santa in exchange for gifts is another wrong. Children who actually do things that are truly "naughty" should not be given presents just for telling what they have done. Children quickly learn how to get what they want...."Hmmm, so if I tell someone I did something wrong, I get something good for this...not a bad gig!" This is setting a child up with wrong expectations about life. 

I thought by typing this out, I might be able to let this rest in my heart and in my brain, but I am still frustrated by it. I will NOT be tuning in tomorrow to see how another child can be messed up. (I listened yesterday and was upset with the concept, but today just pissed me off too much, I had to share!)

I am going to go and enjoy my preschool children who will listen to what I say and then do what their bodies tell them to do...not what I do. And, guess what, I wouldn't have it any other way!!

So, do or did or will you be using The Naughty List this year?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monster Cookies for Breakfast | a gluten-free, vegan, soy-free recipe

monster cookies
The first night that I arrived in Kamloops, I had an empty apartment and a NEED to bake. I needed to create something, to feel balanced and normal in the midst of a situation that was anything but. That night I make chocolate chip cookies; they were delicious and I ate them for a week, even when they got crumbly and stale.

Since that first night, I've been cooking, but I haven't really felt the urge to bake again until last night. I found myself leisurely perusing the pages of the few chosen cookbooks that aren't in storage but everything I felt even remotely inspired to make wasn't possible. I'm lacking much of my simple equipment from muffin pans to spatulas and my ingredient list is sparse to say the least.

Before the frustration kicked in however,  I remembered how simple and satisfying my monster cookies are to make and devour. A quick dig through the cupboards and I found all my little bags of goodies that I packed precisely for making these breakfast cookies.

This recipe comes together in a flash, requires only bowls, spoons and measuring cups and its completely customizable to your tastes and what you have on hand in your home.  

It's an adaptation from the ever fabulous Meghan Telpner's Breakfast Cookies that I have tweaked to suit my needs. I change up my add-ins depending on my mood but I always add the hemp hearts. They are a great boost of omega fats that will keep you (and your kids) full and I find when I eat a regular dose hemp hearts, my skin is happier and it plays a role in controlling my eczema. 

RESIST the temptation to add chocolate chips, I always want to, but never do, because I know they don't need them. Substitute what you have in your kitchen and what meets your dietary needs, these cookies will be fine if you use vegetable oil instead of coconut oil, if you don't have pure maple syrup, throw in some honey (that's what I did yesterday) and if you don't keep coconut sugar on hand, try a little bit of brown sugar. These cookies will be a little bit crumbly if you don't use the xantham gum, but I couldn't find mine yesterday and none of my coworkers complained when I brought them to our morning meeting. In fact, more than one of them asked for the recipe.

Be brave, go ahead and experiment a little, these cookies can handle it.

My kids dubbed these MONSTER COOKIES because they are so big and honestly, who doesn't want to eat a giant cookie for breakfast?

Monster Cookies
gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, vegan (can be nut free)
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together brown rice flour, xantham gum, baking soda, sea salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a seperate bowl mix together (or you can blend this to disperse the coconut oil more evenly) coconut oil, chia, coconut milk, maple syrup, coconut sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
  4. In a third bowl place the oats, quinoa flakes, hemp hearts, almonds, pepitas, cocoa nubs and cranberries and set aside. You don't need to mix this.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a wooden spoon to stir thoroughly. This will be thick, do NOT add more fluids.
  6. Add the bowl of oats and add in goodies. Stir, stir, stir. The batter should be thick and a little sticky.
  7. Scoop batter a 1/4 cup at a time and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Press down lightly with the back of a spoon, or use moist hands to shape.
  8. Bake your cookies for 12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Allow to cool completely (or they will fall apart).
  10. Eat COOKIES for BREAKFAST!
YIELD: 8 monster cookies

Other add-in ideas: goji berries, raisins, chopped dried apricots, sunflower seeds, chopped dates, sesame seeds.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

'A Joy to Share' with Kinder and the Children's Miracle Network | #Kindermom


To say life has been busy lately, would be an understatement. Life has been hectic, exciting and full of change, so much so, that I almost forgot to let you know about an exciting campaign that Kinder has embarked on to help us remember to think of others this holiday season.

But I digress, over the past month and a half, we have packed box after box and through the process we've taken the time to explain to Bolt and Simba that we don't need to keep everything.  We explained that they could donate some of their toys for other children to enjoy and they seemed to take pride in placing their old toys in the donate box.  They did get a little crazy at one point and started putting EVERYTHING in the box, only to fish it back out the next day.

In this materialistic world we live in, its important to take the time to teach our children to think of others and I'm excited to tell you about a very fun and easy way to donate $1 to the Children's Miracle Network, from the comfort of your own home, with the help of your children.

Can it get any better than that?

Kinder® has partnered with the Children's Miracle Network's 'A Joy To Share Program'.  Head over to the 'A Joy To Share' on Facebook and they will donate $1 to the Children's Miracle Network when you create a digital greeting card. The program is super easy to use, you can click through options to choose your background, character, greeting and message and of course you can sign it with your own name.  

A Joy to Share is a fun way to teach your kids about giving and you end up with a card to share with all your friends and family.

And if you're looking for delicious morsels for your children's stocking, be sure and check out the Kinder holiday goodies. It's been such a challenge to keep from busting open that giant egg, I do have two children and there's an odd number of treats, no one would ever know!

“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, December 1, 2013

#Tassimo Cyber Monday Coupon

I'm curious how many of you are going to be up in the wee hours of the morning this Cyber Monday trying to grab a deal. Last year I searched and searched all weekened, but much to my disappointment, didn't actually find anything I HAD to have.

As you know, I've teamed up with the folks at Tassimo to giveaway a FREE #Tassimo T55 to one lucky reader (you still have time to enter if you haven't already) but they have also given me a coupon code that's only valid on Cyber Monday (December 2nd, 2013).

Enter code TACYMON3 at checkout and take advantage of one of these great offers.

If you already have a Tassimo, SAVE 20% off T Discs (maximum 6 packages)
OR
Save 20% off a Tassimo Machine and get 2 FREE packages of T Discs (maximum 2 brewers)

Unfortunately, this coupon code is valid in the US only on TassimoDirect.com and coupons cannot be combined with other offers. Limit one coupon per customer.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tassimo T55: Unlock a Perfect Cup this Holiday Season | Cyber Monday Giveaway

Although we celebrated last month in Canada, I would like to wish a Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends and readers. I hope you have had an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones and truly reflect on all that you are thankful for. Every year, my mother in law heads to Washington to do her Christmas shopping at all the Black Friday sales, and for good reason. Black Friday shopping is amazing and now with the inclusion of Cyber Monday, the entire weekend ends up being a bit of a shopping extravaganza, no matter where you live.

This year, the fine folks from Tassimo invited me to 'Unlock a Perfect Cup this Holiday Season' by sending me one of their new T55 brewers and a selection of T-disc's to try out in my home.

And we are also going to be giving one lucky Momma Stuff Blog reader their own opportunity to 'Unlock a Perfect Cup this Holiday Season' with a brand new Tassimo T55, delivered right to your doorstep.
The Tassimo T55 is a one cup brewing machine that can make a variety of delicious beverages such as coffee, lattes, hot chocolate and tea. Although there are others on the market, the Tassimo uses intellibrew barcode technology, which reads the barcode on each tdisc to ensure that the machines brews your beverage perfectly. The barcode tells the machine the exact temperature, cup size and brewing time to make your bevvie delicious, every time. I love watching the machine create the soft foam on the top of an americano (one of my personal favourites).

Unfortunately, with my recent move to Kamloops and delivery schedules, I haven't had much of a chance to try out my new T55 brewer, but this new features an enhanced slide-control cup stand for added stability as well as a built in water filtration system. I'll keep you posted on any other features that I love as I begin using it on a daily basis.

One of the most common comments I hear regarding the Tassimo is with regard to the waste generated by the T-discs and I must admit that as an environmentalist it is certainly a concern. Fortunately, Terracycle provides recycling opportunities and they pay for the shipping to their warehouse. I set up a Tassimo recycling brigade in my old office and we collected over 1300 Tdiscs in only three months.

But I digress, in celebration of Cyber Monday, we are giving away a Tassimo T55 and a selection of tdiscs to one lucky reader. This giveaway is only open for the weekend, so  enter using the rafflecopter below RIGHT NOW!

I was provided with a Tassimo T55 and a selection of tdiscs for the purposes of this post, however all opinions are my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, November 24, 2013

And so, it begins

It’s almost 9am on Sunday morning and I’m still in my Pyjamas, drinking coffee and listening to Adele. There are no cartoons on the TV, no one vying for my attention, I hear no screaming and there are no tears in sight. It’s peaceful and after four and a half years of parenthood, it feels completely foreign.

Is this what it’s like to be single?

I had a cookie with my breakfast, and I didn’t have to hide it from anybody. I slept until 8am without guilt, and I’m planning to nap later. Today’s plans include trying to find a solution for the lack of wifi in my apartment (seriously!), picking up some essentials for the apartment and perhaps going for a little run, but it sure looks cold out there, so we will see.

I only arrived in Kamloops yesterday afternoon and although I’m embracing this ‘single life’ without my boys, I miss them like crazy.

This peaceful morning feels empty without all the snuggles and cuddles and kisses that come along with the tears and frustration of children and the warm embrace of my husband. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive the next 5 days without them and worse, I’m not sure how I’m going to continue to repeat the cycle of being without them 4 days a week for the next month or so.

I believe life is about the journey and THIS is the start of our family’s adventure; we just have to take it a day a time and before we know it we WILL have found our balance.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Quinoa Curry Soup | A gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free recipe

Quinoa Curry Soup
Although making the decision to accept a job in Kamloops, has thrown our entire life into a tailspin of the unknown, it also seems to have brought me some peace. I know this is true, because I've been cooking.

The day after I accepted the job, I baked cookies and yesterday as I chopped, stirred and simmered while listening to the words of Mackelmore I found a sense of serenity in the process that I haven't felt in ages. And this, despite the fact that I was creating food, to take with me, when I leave my family behind, albeit temporarily.

This soup is delightful. It's only slightly adapted from Janet and Greta Podleski's Multigutawnski soup and despite the presence of a slightly curry flavour, quinoa and apples my husband loves it, as does everyone whom I've ever fed it to. This soup is flavourful but not overwhelming, light but filling and the smell is delectable.
Making quinoa Curry Soup

After over four years of cooking for children, I tend to chop my vegetables small so that its easy to eat, and in this particular case I don't find it has any negative effect on texture. The quinoa, chicken and apples add complexity; there's no need to worry about cutting all your veggies around the same size. I actually cut my celery as small as possible because the hubs dislikes it, but I know it adds a lot of flavour that I don't want to lose out on.

Quinoa Curry Soup
(Slightly Adapted from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski)
gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup diced onions
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approx 6)
  • 1.5 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1- 540ml can diced tomatoes (I like Alymers accents, olive oil and garlic)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 large apple peeled and chopped
  • 1 - 400ml can coconut milk*
Directions:
  1. Heat oil over medium-high heat, and sautee vegetables and garlic until tender and softened. About 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice (approximately 5mm) the chicken thighs lengthwise. You should end up with strips of chicken thigh.
  3. Add chicken to the softened vegetables and cook until the chicken is no longer pink.
  4. Add ginger and spices and cook until fragrant and the chicken, vegetables are well coated. (2-3 minutes)
  5. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, quinoa, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  6. Add chopped apple and simmer 5 more minutes, until the apple is tender but not mushy.
  7. Add coconut milk and simmer 1 more minute.
  8. ENJOY!
*The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of light coconut milk, so feel free to reduce the amount or fat content to your liking, but I use a whole can of regular coconut milk.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A different type of Monday

I just finished making lunches for my boys, a perfectly normal, Sunday night task. But tomorrow is not just any Monday, its the first Monday of the rest of our lives.

My husband is now unemployed, by choice. After nearly 7 years as a public servant, I'm moving to the private sector and will be financially responsible for my family, at a job that I will start in a week. I've always been a working mom to my boys, but THIS, it changes things.

It's going to change our entire family dynamic. My boys will learn to NEED their dad, to get their comfort from their dad, their dad is about to become their new constant. Without question, it's going to be horrible for everyone, for a while.

But then my boys will get into a groove and a rhythm and they'll learn to get along just fine, without me around. And although I want that for them, so bad, it still makes me just a tiny bit sad. My babies won't ever need me, the same way they do now.

But, knowing my husband is caring for my children, in combination with an opportunity to feed my pursuit of knowledge, learn a new job and a new industry while providing for my family is a trade-off I'll take in a heartbeat.

I'm excited. Excited for the adventure my family is about to embark on and I'm excited to learn.

Tomorrow is the start of everything new and I can't wait to see how this story unfolds.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Finding Our BETTER Than Good Enough

Back in August, after a  particularly difficult couple of weeks I asked When is Good-ish Not Good Enough? And the ever amazing Julie Nowell told me "Good-ish is never good enough sweetie" and in  my heart, I knew she was right.

That simple statement and her related post made me realize that staying stagnant and doing what we're doing, simply because we always have, is far from the only option. It may take time, effort, tears and a little will-power but we can change our lives.

This was a turning point for me, particularly because just as this revelation was becoming clear, a life changing opportunity was in the midst of landing squarely in my lap.

If you follow me on Twitter and Facebook, then you already know the news; we are moving to Kamloops.

I have accepted a job (still in the Environmental field, something I can feel passionate and good about) that is going to afford us the opportunity to buy a large house with property and allow my husband to be home with with the boys. I will work four, ten hour days, and although those days will be long, it also means a 3 day week with my family, every week.

My boys will have space to play and roam, my husband won't have the stress of working the 9-5 grind (though time will tell how he will cope with the stress of little boys all day) and we will have the opportunity to grow together as a family.

We are going to miss our friends and family in Vancouver like crazy and it feels like a huge risk to leave both our permanent jobs behind (for a two year contract), but when life presents you with an opportunity to change everything, and you're living in the hurricane of chaos, sometimes you just have to jump in with both feet and hold on for the ride.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Kinder® Surprise® Marvel Superhero and Disney Princess Collection

This year, Bolt is dressing up as Batman for Halloween. A last minute choice, but his alter ego has been slowly developing over the past year and I'm excited to see him embrace it. He asked me for a batman cape close to a year ago, but after I made it, he barely wore it, or even looked at it, for months. I'm not sure what happened, but one day he came home and asked for his cape.

I saw his imagination begin to blossom as he ventured into pretend play.

He WAS Batman.

And in the past few weeks, he's worn his cape to daycare, more than once.

In a home with two sons, Superheroes are quite certainly in my future, and having boys that aspire to both greatness and altruism seems pretty awesome if you ask me.

This year I have the opportunity to be a #KinderMom, which means I get to share Kinder Surprise with my friends and family, and tell you all about it.


Kinder Suprise are Gluten-Free and Peanut-Free so they are safe for us to have in our home; for those of you wondering, they do contain soy and dairy.


Kinder Surprise is celebrating Superheroes, and Princess, everywhere with their Marvel Heroes and Disney Princess Limited Toy Collections. Two out of every three eggs contains a Superhero or Disney Princess. Of course no kid is happy when they are the one without the Superhero and the kids weren't keen on the flying jelly either, but it certainly keeps things exciting.


Much to my boys delight, we shared Kinder Surprises at daycare and I shared them all over my office and let me assure you the adults were just as excited as the kids. it Those with families took them home for their kids and those without were eager to discover their toy. In fact, I've promised one particular co-worker that I'll share my Ariel.


Curious about the toys? You can check them all out and vote for your favourites on Facebook, then come back and tell us who you voted for. Around here, we like Spider man and Ariel.

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.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

The UMBRA Cuppa & Dash | Review

I love to create in the kitchen, specifically, I love to bake. There's just something so special about taking simple ingredients and transforming them into a mouthwatering and delectable treat. I learned very early on however, that in order to achieve such success, there were a few facts that could never be ignored.

Most importantly, baked goods require precision and careful measurement, so when Umbra offered to send me their new Cuppa and Dash measuring products to try out in my home, I jumped at the opportunity.

Umbra is known for making simple, stylistic and modern accessories and their new kitchen measuring tools absolutely fit the Umbra brand. Not only do these measuring tools look unique they are heat resistant, dishwasher safe and BPA free.

The Cuppa is a four piece measuring set, inspired by a classic coffee mug; if you have a kitchen that's not cluttered with sippy cups, the Cuppa would look amazing on display alongside your other mugs. If however, you never get an opportunity to bake without little helpers, there's no need to worry, Simba had tons of fun using the Cuppa to dole out our various gluten-free flours and he made no more mess than usual. 

The Cuppa is also be great for doling out snacks to little people; they don't look like they are for kids (which they love) but they provide a handle to minimize spills and size wise they hold the perfect amount for a little toddler to consume.
The Dash is a perfect compliment to the Cuppa. It's simple design means that one spoon can measure 1/4 tsp, 1/2 tsp, 1 tsp and 1 tbsp.  Since I perpetually lose things in my kitchen, the search for an adequately sized measuring spoon happens more frequently than I'd like to admit.

Although Bolt held steadfast to our old tablespoon (which he thinks is for stirring), I happily used Dash to make all the measurements for our baking without having to dive into the kitchen drawer where accessories go to die.

You can find the UMBRA Cuppa and Dash in stores and Online and you can connect with UMBRA on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Disclosure: I received free product in exchange for this review, however all opinions are my own.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Taking Time for Mom and Dad

For the first time in over three years, the hubs and I had the opportunity to get away for the weekend with good friends and no children. As much as I love my little boys, to say Mom and Dad needed some time away is a major understatement.

Our weekend away was just what we needed; peace, tranquillity, good food and good people.

And I'm certain the grin on my face was huge when we came home to our two little men bounding towards us with hearts full of love and happiness.

It's amazing how much more connected the hubs and I feel, after hanging our Mom and Dad hats up, for just a few days. After four and a half years of parenthood we have days, even weeks where we barely talk. Our lives circle around the amazing little creatures we have the honour of raising into men, but in so many ways they strip us of ourselves. Of the people we fell in love with and the traits that make us unique.

I knew that a weekend away would help us find ourselves, but for some reason, I didn't expect that we would find each other.

And I'm so happy we did.

There's no way we're waiting that long for another weekend away.

Friday, September 27, 2013

RESP's for our Children's Future | #SaveWithRBC

When my Mom graduated high school, she wanted to go to art school, but she had no money. There was no scholarship, no savings, no student loan. She never went to art school.

When I graduated high school, I went to University and I earned my degree; quite simply because my Mom saved money when there wasn't enough to go around, so that we could have the choice. She put away a little bit of money each and every month, sometimes only $5, to give us the opportunity she never had. And for that, I thank her (and my Dad who was working his tail off to make the money in the first place).

When my boys were born, one of the first things I did was apply for a social insurance number on their behalf and opened up a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) to start saving for their future education, whatever that may be. If my Mom taught me one thing, she taught me that every penny counts and the earlier you start saving, the more time that money has to grow.

Are YOU saving for your child's future education?
Did you know that as a Canadian, YOUR CHILD could receive FREE money from the government?  The Canada Education Savings Grant will match up to 20% on the first $2,500 that is contributed annually. Your child can earn up to $500 a year, to a lifetime maximum of $7,200!

Here's a tangible example, if you contribute $25 a week into your child's RESP, that money can grow to over $50,000 in 18 years, which should be enough to at least get your child started on the education of their dreams. And that includes a career in the trades or an apprenticeship program. If your child doesn't pursue post-secondary education, the funds you contributed can be transferred to an RRSP or a sibling's RESP depending on your plan.

Growing up with a Mom who worked in banking, it was instilled in me early on that it was important to 'pay your bills before you spend your cash', so our RESP contributions are on automatic payment and have been since day one. The good folks at RBC can help you set up an RESP-matic if that sounds like just the thing you need to start getting money in the bank.

I know talking money and saving for the future in today's economy sometimes feels like a bit of a a pipe dream, but I know first hand that every little bit can help your child make their dreams a reality and I'm very excited to be part of the select blogger team that has teamed up with RBC to spread the word about RBC RESPs.

If you are ready to #SaveWithRBC you can check out their website and chat with them on Twitter at @RBC_Canada .

“Disclosure: I am part of the RBC RESP blogger program 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.”

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

5 Things You Don't Know About Me

I recently had the honour of being nominated as one of Vancouver's Top Mom Bloggers by Vancouver Moms; it is an absolute honour to stand among so many talented and unique local women. Since attending GLAM I have found myself inspired to continue with the development of the Momma Stuff Blog and perhaps more importantly, I feel a sense of community and camaraderie with my fellow nominees that I hadn't even realized I was missing.

In the spirit of sharing, I have joined up with 9 of my fellow nominees to link up and share 5 Things You Don't Know About Me. To find out more about my amazing new friends, you simply need to click on a face below to delve into someone else's secrets.


Now that's you've learned a little bit more about me, click around and discover a little bit more about some of the other local ladies!
|Raj at Pink Chai | Shannon at Truthfully | Danielle at Motherless Moments |
| Cher at EcoBravo | Heather at Mother Your Business | Sarah at More Than Your Average Mom |
| Salma at Real Life For Mom | Jackie at Savvy Suburban Mama |

Friday, August 30, 2013

Clean My Green Bin Please!

After about 4 years of waiting, I finally have green bin pick up at my townhouse. With two kids, food waste is a fact of life and I adore the fact that we are no longer sending compostables such as sandwich scraps, chicken bones and paper towels to the landfill.

Unfortunately, green waste brings with it grime, bugs and odours.

I soak and wash my kitchen waste bin at least every few days, but the outside green bin gets horrendous quickly. I like to layer newspaper throughout to help minimize the amount of exposure the waste has with the air, but that only does so much and cleaning green bins is a dirty job to say the least.

So what if you NEVER had to wash out your Green Bin again?

Last week when I arrived home from work with the kids I asked my husband if the Green Bin was clean and a pleasantly surprised look washed over his face as he asked me what that was all about. I excitedly peeked my head inside and was greeted with a fresh, clean smell; a refreshing change.

The fine folks from VIP Bin Cleaning had been by our house (while we were at work) and cleaned, sanitized and deodorized our Green Bin, a service they provide for about $8/month. Perhaps the best part of all is that VIP Bin Cleaning uses an average of 2L of water compared to the average 9L that residents would use so you can go ahead and consider this a water-wise investment.

I know 9L sounds like a lot, but when the hubs told me he'd been dreading washing the maggots out of the bin all day, it didn't sound like near enough water.

In fact, in that moment $8 a month to never have to clean our own Green Bin suddenly seemed like a pretty reasonable budget expense.

Check out this video of local Owner Colin Bell demonstrating exactly how they get your bin all sparkly clean.

You can check out VIP Bin Cleaning Online, on Facebook and on Twitter!

Disclosure: I received a free bin cleaning in exchange for this review, however all opinions are my own.

Friday, August 16, 2013

When is Good-ish NOT Good Enough?

Today, in the midst of our morning chaos, I started to cry.  Feeling overwhelmed by life,  I took a moment to breathe and before I knew it, I was sitting on the stairs, my head in my hands, my body quivering as I tried to contain the tears.

I know it's cliche but as a mom I'm used to feeling like I'm fraying at the edges,  but the  last few weeks have left me feeling like I'm ripping apart at the seams. 

Everything started when I took an intense week long course that had me studying until 1 am every night and commuting 45 minutes in each direction.

Then I spent 3 days at the hospital when 4 year old Bolt slipped off the top of a little tykes play centre at daycare and broke his elbow, fractured  both bones in his forearm and needed surgery, pins and wires to put everything back together.
I spent another day at the hospital when Bolt started showing signs of infection with a 40 degree fever, which ultimately required removal of his cast for careful examination prior to recasting and a round of heavy duty antibiotics.

At the same time, in addition to feeling neglected, 2 year old Simba has also had a flu complete with a fever and diarrhea.

And since both boys have been sick, they only want their momma and sharing her isn't an option.

And forget the pile waiting for me on my desk when I finally got back to work.

I'm already feeling stretched so thin and today's fun includes dragging Bolt back to the hospital to have blood work and confirm his infection has cleared up. I can see the fight already; what kid likes a 'poke'?

When asked how I was doing at work this week, I answered simply, good-ish.  My friend laughed and told 
me she was going to steal the phrase because her life is in the midst of different, but equally draining, turmoil.

But it begs the question, when does good-ish become not good enough? 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Some Days I Feel Like a Bad Mom

We all have moments where we feel like we are inadequate, moments where we feel like we are failing our children in some way.  These moments are often far and few between and my rational mind knows that it's simply not true, but my emotional self can't help but give in every now and then.

Last Sunday night, after Bolt and Simba were asleep in their beds I realized that we had a bag full of our boys' art on our living room floor that we hadn't touched all weekend.

Suddenly my mind was filled with thoughts of 2 year old Simba drawing pictures over the weekend and telling me he wanted to put them on his cubby to show Daddy.

Was he excitedly putting his art in his daycare cubby to show his parents who never looked or acknowledged it?

And there you have it, in a matter of moments I felt like the worst Mom ever. What parent doesn't nurture their children's inner artist,  encouraging them to be all they can be?

I resisted the desire to self-loathe and instead decided to look for a solution; a skill I'm trying to teach 4 year old Bolt.

With the help of some painters tape,  I had my boys' art on the wall for everyone to enjoy and as the hubs pointed out once the art gets ripped down and torn up, we can simply throw it in the recycling bin without any guilt. My boys' art will have been displayed, enjoyed and appreciated.

And just like that I had myself back on track; I'm not a bad Mom, I'm a real Mom who gets tired,  overwhelmed and sometimes forgets the little things, but aren't we all?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The 4 because I'm Four Rule

4 Because I'm four

Preschooler logic is simple, straightforward and generally innocent. This is not always a good thing, but the 4 Because I'm Four rule takes advantage of our little ones need for power and our need for control.

Here's an example of 4 Because I'm four being the ultimate negotiating tool; on occasion Bolt will wrangle the bag of mini marshmallows out of the cupboard while I'm cooking dinner and although I don't want him to have treats, if I fully refuse him screaming, hitting and general chaos will ensue, which will negatively affect my ability to make dinner and ultimately result in hungrier, grumpier children.

So instead of just saying no, I start by reminding Bolt that I'm making dinner and we don't really need any snacks. When he assures me that the sky will surely fall if he doesn't have a marshmallow, I ask him how old he is. With great pride he will inform me that he is four and when I suggest that must mean he needs 4 mini marshmallows he tells me what a great idea I've had. Within moments the crisis has been averted; he happily runs off with 4 mini marshmallows in his grubby little hands and I finish cooking dinner in peace. It's truly win-win as far as I'm concerned.

I'm a firm believer in choosing your battles and 4 Because I'm four is a great compromise. It has almost infinite potential to be applied to negotiations with your child:
  • 4 books before bed
  • 4 vegetables before dessert
  • 4 toys each when sharing
  • 4 MORE minutes of snuggles
  • 4 MORE minutes of TV/computer
  • 4 treats
It's a simple rule, that we started about a year ago (and of course back then it was 3 because I'm three) but this simple concept has gone a long way to tame the frustration in our household.

Try it, you might be surprised. 4 Because I'm four is a great rule for preschoolers and toddlers alike.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How do you know WHEN do you give your 4 year old an Epipen?

I know that anaphylaxis is a very serious thing.
I know that epinephrine saves lives.
I know that epinephrine won't harm my child if administrated unnecessarily.
I know that if you even consider administering an Epipen, you should.

But last night, when I suspected my boy was having an anaphylactic reaction, I didn't give him his Epipen.
How do you know WHEN to administer the EPIPEN
I didn't want it to be true, I hadn't actually seen it happen myself and his breathing wasn't laboured; I told myself he didn't need his Epipen, not yet.

He complained ferociously of a sore throat and made a wet grunting kind of noise, I thought he might be having an oral allergy of some sort so I gave him some Benadryl. I worried it could be an anaphylactic allergy, but in truth I worry about Bolt a lot so I tried to dismiss my fears.

Then the grunting became gurgling and Bolt threw up everywhere, with intensity. At that point I  really began to worry. I almost ran for the Epipen, but Bolt seemed calmer, like the reaction might have passed.

Despite my hopes, I noticed a body rash coming up on Bolt's torso and legs. I snuggled with Bolt, gave him a large dose of Benadryl and the rash began to subside fairly quickly.  For a moment, we were both able to relax, just a little bit. 

About an hour, a half a piece of bread and a glass of water later, Bolt vomited again. He began to complain of stomach pain and his body was starting to hunch over.

Immediately, I was scared. Scared that I had fed him something that wasn't peanut free, scared that he had found one of the few treats we have in the home that MAY contain peanuts or potentially worse, I was scared that Bolt had developed an anaphylactic allergy to something new.

With my Mom in tow, I packed Bolt up and drove him to Children's Hospital. But I still didn't give him his Epipen.

I can only conclude that I was in some sort of denial, that I didn't want my boy to have a reaction that required an Epipen and that I didn't want to HAVE to give my boy a shot in the leg to save his life. I just didn't want any of it to be true, event though I knew it was.

I know, for a fact, that if his breathing was laboured, I would have administered the Epipen without question. I also know, that in my heart I must have known that he was having a reaction. Perhaps worst of all, I know that my 4 year old boy suffered more than he should have because I didn't want to believe he needed his Epipen. It makes me sad, but I refuse to wallow in guilt, instead I will learn the lesson and I will remember:

I am the mother of my children and no one knows them like I do. 
If I am worried, I have just cause.
My instincts will keep my children safe,
I need only follow them.

The ER doctor also said something very simple that really resonated with me: 'TWO symptoms, you JAB him in the leg'. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Four Ways We're Surviving the Sleepytime Battle | My Sleepytime Routine

Although I hate to admit it,  for a long time  when it came to discussing bedtime, I was a teeny bit of a smug mom, but can you blame me, for a while, I had two kids that went to sleep on their own.  But, karma has kicked in, these days I have a negotiating,  manipulative four year old who is not against screaming and flailing to get his way.

Have you read the book 'Go the F**k to Sleep'?  In a nutshell, that's Bolt, except you can sprinkle in a bit of the ADHD power struggle to make things a little more fun.

We are doing all sorts of things to help my 4 year old manage his emotions and bedtime is no exception.

Since my boy loves the '4 because I'm FOUR' rule, here's four ways we're Surviving the Sleepytime Battle

1. Manage Expectations:
We started by identifying a consistent bedtime routine and developing a checklist to help our boy manage his expectations and prepare for bed. It also ensures that he moisturizes, takes his medications and brushes his teeth. This goes hand in hand with his calendar, which we review nightly; we use clip art magnets to illustrate what he's doing each day of the week.

Download a PDF copy of 'My Sleepytime Routine' here.

2. Help your child "calm his/her body":
Relaxation scripts are bountiful on the Internet, search for child friendly ones and try to find one that resonates with your child.  Bolt seems to like this Treehouse Relaxation Script and I hope it will eventually become a calming visualization for him.

3. Implement rhythmic white noise:
I ordered a noise machine and with the help of ocean waves, when he's tired and relaxed, Bolt seems to be settling into sleep in 10-15 minutes if I lay with him. Interesting fact, our psychologist tells us that rhythmic sounds change the way neurons fire in the brain and helps calm the body.

4. Go with the flow:
In the few weeks we've been following this routine, Bolt has been willing to do the relaxation script about 2/3 of the time. Some days he's eager to do his deep breaths on his own, others he isn't interested at all. It's his routine, he can skip steps if he wants, but he can't replace them with steps we've already done such as playing or reading. After 'calm my body' the only step left is sleepytime and that I'm firm about.

How do you survive the sleepytime battle?
Do you have a sleepytime routine?
Do you use white noise?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Learning to Run | Wellness Wednesday

As a Mom with a squishy tummy, jiggly bits and stretch marks I never used to have, I often find myself reminiscing about my pre-baby body. When I was a student I practiced pilates and went to the gym for cardio and weights at least a few days a week, not to mention I got a full nights sleep each and every evening. Back then, even though my tummy was firm-ish and my limbs were lean and muscular I was constantly striving for improvement.

Now that I’m a mom taking care of myself barely registers on my to-do list; it’s a good day if my clothes don’t have food, snot or some other sort of child love smeared all over them and managing to comb my hair and add a splash of makeup before work is almost a dream.

Since returning to work and spending the majority of my day at a desk, I’ve gained the additional 5 pounds that make my pants just a little too tight and my tummy looks a little bit too much like a muffin-top for my liking. So I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it. It’s time to make me a priority. I’ve been working on my eating habits since undertaking Meghan Telpner’s Fab Detox (which is amazing) but I’m finally ready to try and get my body back in shape.

But time is not on my side.

Between working full-time and wrangling kids into bed (Bolt has been fighting bedtime despite exhaustion and keeping himself awake until 9 or 9:30 every night), its hard to commit to a class and even the time spent driving to and from the gym seems like a waste of precious moments. So I decided to try something I swore I’d never do.

Yesterday, I started running; I downloaded the Couch-to-5K app and armed with my new Nexus 4 I trotted off to the park.

I love that I started my warm up the second I left my house, the C25K app, guided me through 1 minute jogging and 1.5 minute walking intervals and rather than feeling overwhelmed, out of shape and exhausted I had a sense of pride that I hadn’t felt in ages.

Today, I’m still buzzing from the thrill of taking some time devoted entirely to my own wellness and I can’t wait to do it again.

What are you doing JUST FOR YOU?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Zoku Quick Pop Bundle Sale on Well.ca


You may remember me oogling over the ZOKU Quick POP maker last year. In only seven minutes it creates three custom pops and can make a total of nine pops before the base needs to be refrozen.

That's right, you can make nine healthy and delcious pops in under half an hour and starting today, Well.ca is having a great sale where you can get a FREE Zoku Tool Kit or a FREE Zoku Chocolate Station with the purchase of your Zoku Quick Pop Maker.

I had almost forgotten all about the Zoku, until my friend posted a picture of her kids enjoying homemade quinoa and blueberry pops on Facebook and suddenly I found myself lusting after a Zoku again.

I just got a juicer and I'm imagining all the healthful deliciousness I could feed my kids in the guise of frozen pops if I owned a Zoku. Fortunately, its my birthday next month and I'm asking for the Zoku  Tool Kit bundle, in fact I'm sending the link over to my husband right now.

And because shipping is always a concern; Well.ca offers FREE SHIPPING within Canada on orders over $25.

If you want to see the Zoku Quick Pop Maker in action, check out this utube video demonstration!

I am an a member of the Well.ca Affilliate Program, however all opinions are my own.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My GLAM Night | Vancouver Moms

Last Wednesday night was GLAM, the Vancouver Mom's 2013 Top Mom Blogger Event. Honestly, I was initially thankful for an excuse to get me out of the house for a few hours, but as the event neared, I got more excited and ended up enjoying myself immensely.
Bathroom Art Secret Location
Although I didn't win, I was more than honoured to be nominated to stand beside such high calibre bloggers as my fellow Top 30 Nominees. The event was held at Secret Location in Gastown, a hidden little gem of a place with amazing bathroom art.

In addition to the 2013 Top Blogger Mitzi, there were speeches by three past nominees that focused on 'What I Know Now', but at this particular moment, I can't get Nat Nanton out of my head. Telling us that there was a time when she constantly worried about editing and perfecting her posts before publishing, and that eventually she reached a place where she let that go, and it was a good thing. I need to do that too.

But I digress, my amazing sister Kat attended GLAM with me. In fact she helped me find a dress, styled my hair and applied my makeup and armed with less than twenty minutes left for herself, she looked stunning as always.
Sisters #VM2013
I had the opportunity to spend some quality time with Sharilyn of Weekdays from Scratch; Kat and Sharilyn have known each other for years but this was my first (of what I hope will be many) visits with her.
new friends #VM2013 068
As much as I loved meeting and mingling with the lovely lady bloggers of Vancouver, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I loved having Purdy's Chocolate on hand to help us indulge ourselves by sampling their new Single Origin Chocolate Bars and amazing Himalayan Salt Caramels.
Dukes Gluten-Free CiderPurdys #VM2013

After GLAM, I was ready to head home, make lunches and go to bed, but Kat convinced me to go out and eat with Sharilyn and her cousin. We enjoyed some delicious food at Chill Winston's, including a delicious Duke's Gluten-Free Cider for me. I had a wonderful night, met some amazing ladies and hope the experience will help me grow as a mom and as a Blogger.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Momma's DIY Buckwheat Cold Pack Tutorial

Momma's DIY Buckwheat Cold Pack
Although they hated them for a long time, my kids love ice packs, especially Momma's DIY Buckwheat Cold Packs. If Mommy's kiss isn't quite enough to soothe their owie, Momma's cold pack almost always does the trick.

These were borne out of necessity; before our DIY cold packs it was almost impossible to get ice packs back from my children, which was bad on a number of levels.  First my kids were literally numbing their little hands, second, we could never find ice packs when the hubs and I needed them and  worse, lost or warm ice packs were not sufficient for little boy boo boo's.

I decided to make my own and partially because I had it on hand and partially because I thought the larger grain might not hold the cold as well, I used buckwheat as filler. Flax is also a good option I've used before (which can be heated in the microwave as well) but it has a lot more surface area and I think would stay cold for longer.

The buckwheat is perfect, it warms back to room temperature in 5-10 minutes depending on the size, at which point my kids tend to abandon it somewhere for me to rescue.

They are a super easy DIY that could be completed during naptime if you have a sewing machine. You can make these any size, or shape, you want and whatever scrap fabric you have available. I usually use quilting cotton and this tutorial uses a cute Batman flannel. It's the first time I've used flannel and my boys haven't complained it warms up faster, but its something you may want to consider in your fabric choice.

These are super quick and super easy, I'm sure you can do it.

DIY Buckwheat Cold Pack for Kids
    1. Cut the Fabric
  1. Fold your scrap fabric, right sides together and cut out a square or rectangle. Then, keeping your fabric folded, pin around the three open sides.
  2. 2. Sew and Clip Corners
  3. Starting at the fold, sew up the side and turn the corner. Stop sewing and leave a 2 inch gap before you continue sewing around the corner down to the fold. Make sure you backstitch everytime you start and stop. Clip your corners and turn your cold pack right ways out. Use a chopstick to ensure your corners are pointed before you iron your cold pack flat.
  4. 3. Turn, Press and Topstitch
  5. Starting next to the gap, topstitch all the way around the edge, stopping at the other side of the space.
  6. 4. Fill Your Coldpack Up
  7. Use a spoon to fill your coldpack no more than 2/3 full with the buckwheat groats. Push the buckwheat to the bottom and place pins horizontally to keep it from shifting while you are sewing. 
  8. 5. Finished Cold Pack
  9. Topstitch the gap shut, making sure you backstitch at both ends. Then throw it in the freezer and wait until its needed. Maybe next time Mommy's kisses don't work, Momma's DIY Cold Pack will.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cocoon Apothecary Skin Care Starter Kit | Review

I have sensitive skin; in my youth, I had been to the dermatologist before the age of 10 and I rarely test out new skin care products for fear of adverse reactions. That said, when given the opportunity to test out the Cocoon Apothecary Skin Care Starter Kit, made from organic, eco-friendly products, all I needed was assurance that the products were appropriate for sensitive skin, and I was sold.

When the box arrived, it was beautiful; a small unbleached cardboard box, tied with a simple ribbon and a fluttering butterfly. I almost didn't want to open the box and delve into my goodies.

Step one is the Petal Purity Facial Cleanser, which felt light on my skin, but effectively cleaned my face of the days' grime with extracts of and lavender and geranium, without leaving my skin feeling tight and dry.

Step two of the Cocoon Apothecary regime is the Rose Dew Facial Toner, which takes advantage of the natural astringent properties of witch hazel and combines them with rose hydrosol to calm the skin and reduce irritation.

The third and final step was the very rich and creamy Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream, which is 'packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids to support elasticity, promote collagen production and fight free-radical damage'.

The Cocoon Apothecary products are strongly rose scented, and I was extremely cautious during the first few applications of the product, as scented products rarely work for me. Fortunately, I had no redness or irritation as a result of using the products, in fact, my skin feels softer after a month of use and I no longer have dry, dull spots on my cheeks. A little bit of product goes a long way, so the 3.3 oz bottles of product in the starter kit feel like they are going to last a long time.

 Our skin is the largest and most visible organ in the body and if we think, even for just a moment, that it doesn't matter what products we use on our skin, we are certainly fooling ourselves. Cocoon Apothecary is bringing nature back to us and I for one am loving the softness I'm feeling after using their products.

Cocoon Apothecary Skincare Products are available at select stores and online on their website, Well.ca and Amazon.ca.

I received product in exchange for this review, however all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Family Comes First: A Working Mom's Dilemma

Three months ago I made a difficult decision that really wasn't a choice at all. I temporarily reduced my work week to three days so that I could spend more quality time with my boys, particularly with Bolt who was, at the time, repeatedly crying for for Mommy on an almost daily basis.

At that particular juncture, Bolt's behaviours were peaking. He was hitting, he was crying, and he was overwhelmed on a daily basis. He cried each morning that he didn't want to go to daycare, then cried each evening that he didn't want to come home. The stress level in our household was through the roof and literally all four of us were miserable.

I admit I cried more than a few tears; when I had children I assumed I could do it all. Work full-time, be an attentive mother, a loving wife and still have time to blog and follow my personal passions. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought that I would have to choose between my family and my job, because truly, its not a choice.

Family comes first. Always.

No question about it, the past three months have been tough, not only have I been attempting to spend quality one-on-one time with my boys, we have been implementing techniques to help four year old Bolt manage his emotions, we've been working with an amazing psychologist who specializes in parenting, children and families, we've changed daycares, we've had a doctor identify that ADD and anxiety are likely contributing factors and after much effort we finally seem to have gotten Bolt's asthma and eczema under control.

I feel like 2013 brought our family to a crossroad and rather than choosing the easy path of denial, we've been putting one foot in front of the other as we travel along the rocky road to our brighter future.

So after three short months, I'm at work full-time, as of this week. My boss expressed concern that my return to full-time was too soon, but my boys are happy. They cheerfully go to daycare each morning (and they've been going four days a week for the past month), we have had literally no reports of excessive hitting or aggression and there are almost no cries for Mommy in my absence.

I'm confident that my boys are ready for Mom to go back to work full-time and I'm even more certain that the personal sacrifice I made, putting my work on the back burner, was without question one of the most important things I have ever done for the health of my family.

What sacrifices have you made for your family?
Working Mom's do you work full-time, part-time or at home? Do you ever consider switching?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Camping Overview...sadly not demonstrated via Instagram

After spending a week camping with my family, I feel grateful. Not for the amenities of home, but for home itself. Thankful that in our life we have the luxury of worrying about the little things, secure in the fact that our home is always waiting for us.

That being said, camping was good.

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It was wet and mornings started with a 5am wake up call from Simba.

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On Monday morning Simba and I saw a goose wandering around with an arrow stuck through it. He seemed to have one friend, or mate, that stayed close throughout the day. The SPCA came by the campground but the scared little guy continually scooted away and ultimately evaded capture.

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Aside from the adjacent Vedder River, one of my favourite features of the campground is that it connects to the municipal trail system, which connects to the dyke system, which leads to the front entrance of the campground. It's an leisurely way to enjoy a 45 minute stroll with my boys. We sing songs, tell stories, eat snacks and generally enjoy each other's company. Truly its lovely, for the most part.

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Sometimes we detour a short ways from the campground and stop to look at the horses and donkey in a local field. If Simba had his way, we would spend hours each and every day watching the animals.

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We don't watch animals all day, however we do spend hours in the playground; the swings are always a favourite.

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And, what would camping be without a campfire? We had campfires at least once a day (I LOVE morning fires) and we went through oodles of wood.  Interestingly, Bolt talked non-stop about s'mores but only ate a grand total of four and was otherwise disinterested in the fire, whereas Simba loved both making and watching the fires and ate no s'mores at all.

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Camping, or perhaps I should say glamping (at my sister-in-laws trailer) was time well spent with the family. I enjoyed listening to my boys giggle, laugh, run and play, though I will also admit that I enjoyed my brand new phone and data package (as if you couldn't guess).

Does your family camp?
Do you tent or trailer?
Do you travel the 'world' or you frequent the familiar?

What's your must-bring item for the kids?

FYI - apparently you CAN'T just embed your Instagram photos which is frustrating me to no end...so please do click through to the pictures so you can see all the fun we had!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Top Vancouver Mom Blogger - I'm a Nominee!


By nature, Bloggers are opinionated folks who spill the beans about their life, their experiences and pretty much everything in between. As a Blogger, I love when my posts illicit comments, discussion or a sense of community; I'm no expert at reader engagement, but I try and I'm certain my ability to reach people improves with each and every post.

All that being said, perhaps more exciting (though not more important) than building blog community, is being nominated as one of the 2013 Top Vancouver Mom Bloggers by Vancouvermoms.ca.

I am one of THIRTY local mom Bloggers that are being celebrated and featured by Vancouver Moms, and let me tell you, this years nominees are top notch. My Blog roll is about to be expanded in a huge way, and I suspect yourS is too!

If you're interested, head on over to the VANCOUVER TOP MOM BLOGGERS VOTING PAGE and cast your vote (I'd love it if you voted for me!!) Voting is open until Monday June 10th and you can vote for your favourite THREE bloggers once this week and once next week. You can vote two times total!

All the nominees will be celebrated at the 2013 GLAM event at a secret Gastown Location and YOU are all invited to join in the fun. Tickets can be purchased on eventbrite for $39 until June 1 or $49 after that date.

Just because you're my friend, and I'm a nominee, you can get $5 off your ticket with coupon code 2013friend. Hope to see you there!