Sunday, December 22, 2013

Why Leaving the House is The WORST

Ok. Upon reading the title of this post, you may assume it is because of my recent struggles with anxiety. But it's not. It's because of these 2 little angels: 

Sweet, right? Yep. They generally are. Until we have to leave the house. As if my sanity wasn't fragile enough, I also have to wage fullscale WAR in order to walk out the door. No matter how much strategy I employ, no matter how clever I think I am being in preparing hours in advance, I am always outwitted, outlasted and outplayed. I am the weakest link, there can ONLY BE ONE!!!! and it's not me. 

Let me explain.
Sometimes, we just have to leave the house. Maybe we have an appointment, maybe I'm crazy enough to think an outing would be nice, who knows. In any case, I have to be somewhere at some time. I try and start at least an hour before we have to leave, but this has proven to not be sufficient. I get them changed, which is like trying to wrangle an octopus into a ziplock bag, but twice. I eventually succeed, and then it is my turn to try and make myself presentable for the outside world. 

This is impossible. The oldest is running around and throwing toys and dumping puzzles and pushing his brother and chasing the cat and evil laughing while dumping a glass of milk on the carpet. The youngest is screaming and crying like I have abandoned him in the wilderness despite the fact that he is 2 feet away from me. If I have to go to the closet to get a sweater, he crawls after me with his head up screaming and wailing at the ceiling. The 10 minutes it takes me to get dressed and run a comb through my hair is the loudest and most chaotic 10 minutes that has ever existed in space and time. It never fails either. I can have a ton of well-timed activities planned, I can even resort to putting Thomas the Tank Engine doesn't matter. None of this holds any power compared to the innate instinct to make mommy lose her ever-loving mind. 

This is usually the point where I start to really lose my composure. I shut down into a resigned zombie with no feelings on auto-pilot. I think it's a coping mechanism. "No Finn, don't hit your brother, Q, you are ok sweetheart, Mommy still loves you even though I am not physically touching you" while I smear eyeliner on and pull my greasy hair into a "messy bun" (understatement of the year). 

After this, the hunt for the boots/coats/hats/no-not-the-green-ones-the-blue-ones-mommy-mittens begins. This is where my adrenaline starts to kick in and I wake up out of the zombie-state and start to get into a state of panic. I have usually noticed that if we don't leave the house in exactly 5 minutes, we will once again be late. But of course this one boot cannot be found. How can it not be there?! It's always in the box with all of the stuff. Could it be in the closet? I have checked absolutely everywhere, including the places that is doesn't even make sense to look. Maybe it's behind the toilet in the bathroom?! Any attempt at recruiting help from the toddler is just enlisting him to run around yelling "where's my boot mom?"about 30 times. Eventually, with one minute until we have to leave I unearth the missing boot from underneath the couch in the basement (I have no blooming idea how it could have gotten there) and get it on. 

I put Q in his bucket seat and begin to buckle him in. Maybe I'm actually going to make it this time!! I can't even believe my hair is in disarray and I have non-matching socks on, but we may have actually done it. Just as I clip the last buckle, I hear the tell-tale rumble and know that it is not to be. Somehow the diaper which is designed for the specific purpose of not allowing everything to explode everywhere has failed, and it requires an entire change of wardrobe for the babe. Any chance we had at being semi-punctual is out the door (unlike us). 

Once we get that settled, we all head into the car, and I strap the toddler in, while he tries to escape so he can drive Francesco Bernoulli. Why my toddler thinks our tiny little Honda Fit is a Formula One Racecar from Cars 2, I have no idea. 

I finally sit in the car and heave a sigh of exhaustion. We haven't even pulled out of the garage and I am ready to go home. 

And this happens every.single.time. 

So THAT, my friends, is why leaving the house is the WORST (and also why I will be late every time we arrange to get together...sorry). 



Friday, December 20, 2013

A Few of my Favourite Things

It's almost time for Christmas, so I thought I might share with you a couple of my favourite things, just in case you are still looking for something to put on your lists (or to snag in some great Boxing Day (week...month...??)  deals!)

The Nexus 7 Tablet

Up until very recently I had never owned a tablet. In fact, I had only used an iPad very briefly. I LOVE this tablet. It's nice and small, and the screen is incredible. It looks better than my TV! The sound is also pretty amazing. I don't even need to plug it into my speakers when I am listening to Songza (another one of my favourite things!). I also liked how easily it synced to my phone and automatically downloaded all my apps. Pretty slick. It would make a great e-reader due to it's size, but I still prefer reading on my non-backlit Kobo, as it's easier on the eyes. The only thing I'm not that crazy about on the tablet is the camera, but that's fine. I always think it looks funny when people take photos with their tablets anyway. ;) I always thought that tablets were sort of redundant for me, since I have a laptop and a phone, but it changed my mind. 

My moccasin slippers

I loooooove these slippers. I don't even know where they are from, as I got them as a gift from Hubby last Christmas. They are so warm and comfy, and I love that when I wear them I don't get cheerios and crumbs and all the other little treasures my boys leave all over the floor for me stuck to my feet. They take a beating and keep on cozying my feet. 

The Sodastream

I wasn't sure about the Sodastream. I hemmed and hawed about it for a long time. I mean, it seems like an awesome idea, but I'm a bit of a soda snob, especially when it comes to Cola. So I knew I wasn't going to use it much for making pop like Cola or Rootbeer. I didn't use it too much at first, but then I branched out and tried the other syrups they have, and the Kool-Aid syrup is my absolute favourite! I loooove bubbles, and that is the reason I drink so much pop. It's awesome to be able to control the level of syrup I use, as well as to add some bubbles to things like orange juice so I get that fizz fix but without adding calories or sugar. I also picked up some Torani syrup and make myself Italian Sodas as a treat every now and then. For those who like carbonated water, this is a must. It's so handy, and it was definitely something that grew on me. 

Dogeared Jewelry

If you haven't heard about Dogeared, please don't Google it, since you will probably fall in love. I adore their designs; so clean and simple and beautiful. I have coveted the Karma necklace for a few years now and finally decided to buy myself a little present and picked it up, as well as a bracelet. I love them and wear them every single day. I am pretty sure I want one of everything...hint hint Hubby!! ;) 

*Please note: I have received some items listed in this post for the purpose of review, however all opinions (as always!) are my own. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

THE most delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding

This recipe is the devil. It's basically the most delicious thing ever, and it's really easy to make. 

I was recently obsessed with the Sticky Toffee Pudding from President's Choice. Hubby got real sick of me thinking of things we needed from Superstore just so I could get my hands on more. It's seriously amazing. But I always think homemade is way better than store-bought. So if this stuff was so good, what would homemade sticky toffee pudding be like? It would have to be mind-blowing. 

As fate would have it, a friend of mine just so happened to post on Facebook that she thought that sticky toffee pudding was perhaps the most perfect dessert ever created. I shared with Sarah my love for the gooey stuff and I started on the lookout for a good recipe. There are many out there, but they all seemed a little intimidating, or missing the gooey factor (which is the best part). I wanted something that was easy to make and preferably not using ramekins, as I don't own any (gasp!). 

A few days later, Sarah says her mother-in-law is visiting from Scotland, and happens to have a recipe for sticky toffee pudding which is both easy and scrumptious. And let me tell you...that is an understatement. This is literally heaven in a bowl (or straight from the pan if you have no self-restraint like me). 

Many thanks to Ann and Sarah for bringing this into my life, although I'm not sure my waistline thanks you as much. Ha! 

So without further ado, I bring you

Oh mannnn...that sauce! Drool.

THE most delicious Sticky Toffee Pudding 

Sponge (cake)

1 cup sliced, chopped dates
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups of boiling water
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
1 1/2 cups of flour
2 1/4 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Toffee Sauce

1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup whipping cream
1 vanilla bean

Place dates and baking soda into a medium saucepan and pour the boiling water over them (mixture will foam up). Set the pan over medium heat and simmer for one minute. Take off the hear and leave to cool for 15 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 350F, and grease a 8" square baking dish. 

Place butter and sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition. Mix flour, baking powder and salt together, and gently stir into bowl with a spoon, followed by date mixture and vanilla extract. Stir until combined. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for 35 minutes until springy to the touch. 

While cake is baking, make the sauce. Place sugar, butter and cream into a medium saucepan and add a split vanilla bean. Heat gently until butter is melted, then bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes until thickened and a rich toffee colour. Try not to eat the whole pan. 

When cake is done, spoon a little sauce over the sponge to coat the surface and return to the oven for 5 minutes. 

Remove from oven, cut into squares and pour hot sauce all over the sponge. Lick the plate. 


Sunday, December 8, 2013

We Day 2013

I've been lucky enough to be a part of We Day for the last 2 years. This year when Telus asked me to be a guest to attend the event, I jumped at the chance. I was so excited to attend the actual event, and as I was able to bring a youth guest, I began trying to think of someone I knew in that age range. It turns out I don't know that many people between the ages of 8 and 18...who knew?! So when my husband suggested the daughter of his coworker, I thought it would be an awesome experience. After all, while I feel I am sort of hip and know a bit about pop culture, I have to be honest in saying I had to google a couple of the celebrity guests at We Day this year...shhhh...don't tell! 

Anyway, my hope was that in bringing Emily along I would be able to get a better idea of how We Day effects someone still in the prime of their young years. When I was Emily's age I was a true idealist, looking to change the world by buying tshirts to save the otters (remember There Otter Be A Law? NO? Just me?! Ahhhh well...). Sadly, I have lost a little bit of that shine since I've become older and a bit more jaded with life. So I was looking forward to catching the enthusiasm and really enjoying We Day in the way it was intended. 

I knew I was going to be very moved, and I was. But what really was inspirational for me was to see the entire stadium filled with young people, all inspired to make changes, no matter how small, in this world for the better. I know that if even 10 of those whom attended carry that forward into their life that this world is a better place. 

On the red carpet with Emily 
If you haven't heard of We Day, it's an event put on by Free the Children. Thanks to generous sponsors like Telus, the event is free for the youth to attend, but they have to earn their way through volunteering in the community and in the world at large. It's a full day of speakers, music, celebrity guests and inspiration. And one of the cool things they have introduced is an app called We365. It's a completely safe digital social space for youth to inspire each other, and bring the spirit of We Day with them into their lives. They can choose causes they identify with and complete challenges from small things like using a reusable coffee cup to larger ones like fundraising. And it can also track your volunteer hours for school projects, etc. It's basically the Facebook of Doing Good. My favourite part about it is that it is totally moderated and it is safe (i.e. you can only "friend" people you know in real life, no geo-tagging of posts for youth, etc). It's a great way to make these ideas real, and to have a tangible way of making changes in your everyday life. It may seem small, but you can see that hundreds of users are doing the same thing, and you can know that you are indeed making a difference. Love it! 

I can write a summary of the event for you, but I think I would rather have Emily tell you in her own words, as they are so perfect. It was such a pleasure tospend the day with such an amazing young woman, and I hope that the experience will remain with her for some time. Thanks Emily for helping me to get a little bit of that old shine back and for inspiring me. 

My experience at We Day is one that I will never forget; from all the inspirational speakers to getting to meet part of one of my favorite bands! When we first arrived at the Saddledome I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect since it was my first time going. All I knew was that I was excited to have the chance to get to see all the amazing people speak. My junior high had always been a big supporter of We Day so I had a general idea of what it was all about but I never imagined the impact it would have on me. 
We got to watch from one of Telus' private suites which was amazing and when we went to our seats there were swag bags waiting for us. Inside were many things including a bracelet that lit up every time you clapped. The idea behind it was that the light was a spark, and a single spark can grow to be so much more. They would get everyone to begin clapping together so that it would demonstrate how everything starts with an idea and eventually that idea can grow to be big and can change the world, like We Day itself. I loved the whole concept of the bracelets and it really got me thinking about how I too can change the world. 
There were many speakers including Spencer West, Martin Luther King the third, Magic Johnson and more! However I was really inspired by Amanda Lindhout. Her story had stood out to me. She was a lady who had always dreamed of travelling the world and going to see exotic places and when she became a journalist she got the opportunity. However her trip to Somalia had gone terribly wrong when she was kidnapped. She had been held captive for almost a year and was treated horribly. She was kept in a dark room and was only allowed to lay on her side. I had heard part of her story already as my mom had read her book she wrote, but I didn’t expect to be as affected by her speech as I was. I think she is an amazing person to go through that, manage to escape, then come back home and get back to living a normal life where she doesn’t always have to fear everything. I can’t imagine how hard the whole thing must have been for her. I think it is incredible that she can take her story and use it to inspire people like she did me. 
Meeting Nelly Furtado. She's even more gorgeous in person, and she is so passionate about Free the Children. Amazing. 
I also really liked the Kenyan boy’s choir! Not only did we get to see them perform with Nelly Furtado and Shawn Desman on stage, but we got to see them perform at the press conference too! They were really fun to listen to and each performance was really energetic! The press conference was also a really neat experience. Nelly Furtado and Craig Kielburger also spoke at the press conference and it was cool how we got to get a kind of inside look into the show before it had started. 
One of my favorite parts of We Day aside from the inspirational parts was the red carpet. We got to meet Shawn Desman, Kardinal Offishal and Down With Webster! I have to admit I was pretty star struck especially when Down With Webster came. I am a huge fan of Down With Webster and it was crazy that I got to meet them! Anyway, each group got to ask each of them questions and I was pretty impressed with many of the answers especially Kardinal Offishal. In one of his answers he had compared his view of the world to glasses. He had said that it was like when you have a pair of glasses and you think you see everything perfectly well but then you go and get your vision checked and realize you need new glasses and when you get those new glasses then you truly see the world clearly. I thought that was a really good analogy and it really got me thinking about what I’m missing in the world that I could help with. 
At the end of the day I was sad that it was over but grateful to have gotten the experience. I decided I would download the app “We Day 365” so that I could make a difference. It is an app that gives you little challenges that can help make a difference in the world. You get to choose what causes you want to support and from there they give you tasks that can help with that issue. They aren’t big tasks but they can be little things that help. For example, if you follow the cause of bullying, then maybe it’ll tell you to give random people compliments or something like that. I think the app is a great idea and I think that the tasks no matter small do make a difference in the world whether it’s helping just one person or many. 
Emily with Down With Webster. Pretty epic. 
We Day was an incredible experience that I will never forget and I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am so grateful to have gotten the experience to go and it definitely had an impact on me. Since We Day I have been looking for more things I can do to help with anything and everything! If you ever get the chance to go to We Day I suggest you take it because you won’t regret it and you will leave with the experience of a lifetime and the want to go and change the world. 
If I look through my “We Day glasses” I can see acts of kindness everywhere just like the act of kindness Amy showed by inviting a stranger –me--  to experience the life changing event filled with the energy of many great people all joined together to celebrate the changes that WE can make in the world. 
Ok, I fan-girled a little meeting Kardinal Offishall. 

Thank you soooooooo much once again for the opportunity Amy! I can’t thank you enough times for the experience it truly was amazing and I will never forget it!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes & Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins

It's fall, which means it's that time of year to PUMPKIN ALL THE THINGS!!!!!

I have to admit I'm a late convert to the pumpkin craze. I actually don't like pumpkin pie (gasp!!) so I was pretty reluctant to think I would enjoy pumpkiny goodness in every single incarnation. Turns out it's actually really yummy! 

If you know me at all, you know I am pretty addicted to Starbucks; I love their Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I have tried for a few years now to recreate a similar coffee at home, and have tried everything from syrup to creamer recipes. None have ever really made the cut. Most of the time they are either really sweet, or they have a pretty gritty texture which I'm not a fan of. But I have finally found it! This latte tastes pumpkin-y and spicy and coffee-y...just right. 

And because you can't have a cup of coffee without a treat, I also whipped up some pumpkin zucchini muffins to go with them. I don't like zucchini at all, actually, but for some reason it tastes delicious in baked goods. So it seemed natural to toss some pumpkin in there too and make a fall pumpkin explosion. They are super moist and tender, and since they have 2 types of veggies in them, I feel like they are basically a health food. It would be easy to "healthify" this recipe a bit by subbing some whole wheat flour for the white, and reducing the sugar a bit, but I like em just like this. 



Homemade Pumpkin Spice Lattes

Place 2 1/4 cups of milk in a saucepan. Whisk in 3 Tbsps of pumpkin puree, 3 Tbsps of white sugar, 1 Tbsp of vanilla and 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Bring to a simmer. Add in 2 shots of espresso (I use my Tassimo for that) or 1/2 cup of strong coffee (to your taste). Pour into a mug and top with whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. 

I didn't find the texture too gritty, but run it through a fine sieve or some cheesecloth first if desired. 

If you have a bit leftover, but it's not enough for a full cup, it's also delicious if you add a little bit to your regular latte or coffee. Yum yum!

adapted from Food Network Magazine

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffins

2 cups of flour
2 tsps baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsps cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps ground nutmeg

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup zucchini, grated
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp ground ginger)

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in bowl. Set aside. Cream butter and sugars for about 5 minutes until creamy and well incorporated. Add in eggs and combine well. Add vanilla, ginger and pumpkin and combine. Add zucchini and stir until mixed. Slowly add flour mix and stir until combined. 

Scoop batter into muffin pan (I use a silicone one so they just pop right out...they are amazing!) until almost full. Top with some cinnamon sugar if desired. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20-25 mins until toothpick comes out clean. 


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Kidoodle TV

Peanut has now discovered the magic of was inevitable I suppose. We don't watch too much of it, but he certainly is captivated by it! 

I just wanted to share something cool with you that I am looking forward to trying out. It's called Kidoodle TV. They are currently looking for testers to try their beta version for free to give them some honest feedback and test it out before they launch! You can head over to to check it out. 

I am looking forward to trying it out! I think it would be ideal for tablet users, which unfortunately we don't own...gasp! I can I be tablet-less in this world?! I don't know myself.  But it looks like it is a secure program; once you are in you are in, so the kiddos can't escape and refill your Starbucks card with $100 (this actually almost happened on my phone...even Peanut knows my Starbucks love, I guess!).  Plus you have total control over the content (so the last episode of Orange is the New Black we just watched isn't going to be accidentally played. Yikes!) and can even set time limits. 

Anyway, you know I love a good deal, and free is a good deal. Had to pass it on! :)

*Please note, this isn't a sponsored post. I have not received any compensation for this post in any form, and all opinions, as always, are my own. Thanks! 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I'm Struggling

I'm not sure where I want to go with this post, I only know that I am just going to sort of vomit it out through my fingers on the keyboard. It's probably not going to be pretty, or all that funny. What I do hope is that it is honest, and not too self-indulgent. So bear with me. 
I am struggling a lot lately. As you have probably noticed, I haven't been writing much. This is because, for the most part, I am a lazy blogger. I am attempting to juggle quite a few balls, and it turns out I'm not the best at juggling. Blogging is the ball that seems to drop first. 
It's not that I am having a lot of difficulties. I'm just struggling with the every day life that all of us lead. I have 2 boys taking up most of my energy, and so I sort of feel like my energy reserves have been depleted, and I just don't have the motivation or the desire to expend it on anything else. My house is usually a disaster, and I feel like I am not even doing that wonderful a job at parenting. Peanut is so independent that a lot of the time I am checking Facebook or making dinner or a myriad of other things that make me feel a bit like an absent parent. I am there but not THERE, you know? 
This is not meant to be a pity post about how I am not the Pinterest mom with the organized house, adorable outfits and perfect kiddos. We all know that is all just for show and people don't actually live like that...or if they do then they must be some sort of superhuman and/or bionic robot. I just mean to say that I am pretty sure that I am not doing my best. I think I am doing a decent job, but I know I could be doing better. 
So I am struggling to parent in the present moment. 
I am also struggling with my self-image. I treat my body pretty badly. I eat terribly, and very rarely am active at all. Then I feel pretty horrible when I still look pregnant with my mommy pooch. Logically I know that none of my self-worth is tied up in my appearance, and that I am most likely my harshest critic. The feminist in me rebels against wanting to look cute in this season's fashions and putting so much emphasis on my physical appearance...but this isn't logical at all. It's a purely emotional and irrational desire, and I'm struggling. I'm struggling to get the motivation to go to a yoga class. A class I know will make me feel 10000 times better, but then I would have to get dressed, and organized and head out. It's easier, so much easier, to stay home in my yoga pants and lounge on the couch eating DinoSours (not that I'm doing that RIGHT NOW or anything...noooooo....). 
So I am struggling to accept my body as it is. 
I'm struggling to keep my anxiety at bay. I haven't really shared much, but I struggle a bit with anxiety and depression in my life. I am on top of it for the most part, but some days are harder than others. I have yet to leave the house with both kids to go to the grocery store. It's been 5 months. I get my husband to get the groceries or go later when he's home. I am positive that if I go both kids will have a huge meltdown and all those shoppers will turn and look at me, and give me the evil eye and judge me to be a horrible mom. A horrible mom with annoying kids who just won't shut up. In my head I know this is not likely, and if it is, then screw 'em. But it's not a logical thing, anxiety. It's a crazy thing. A hard-to-control thing that sometimes gets the best of you. 
So I am struggling to stop worrying about the past and the future and just live in the moment. 
I am struggling with finances. Money is tight. I also realize this is not something many people talk about, and that I am probably breaking a million and one societal rules of etiquette by saying it. But it's true, and it's on my mind, and this post is about me writing what I am thinking without editing myself. So there it is: money is tight. It's a constant struggle, and I hate that so much of our happiness and stress levels rely on our bank account. I know that money doesn't buy happiness, but goodness is it ever hard to be happy without it. I would love to have many awesome things and go many awesome places like so many others, but we can't. I am not bitter about that, as it's our choice. I know how lucky we are to have what we do, and to have the lifestyle we have. But I just wish we were better at managing our finances so that it wasn't an issue. Because that is what it boils down to: we aren't good with money management at the moment. I am hoping we change this soon. 
So I am struggling to be more financially responsible. 
And I am struggling with this blog. Inspiration is hard to find lately, I won't lie. And even when I do have an idea, I usually choose watching TV over putting the work in here. 
So there it is. Reading back over this post, I realize that most of my struggles are emerging from not living in the now. I don't expect to solve all of this. Parenting, marriage, life's hard work. And sometimes when you live in Internet-land so much you get bombarded with posts and pictures and you start to think "Am I the only one who sucks at all this?". You aren't. And maybe you don't think that, but I do every now and then. So this post is what came from all of those thoughts bouncing around in my head. It doesn't really have much of a point I guess, but I felt like maybe being honest with the random void of the internet would maybe help in some way. 
So there you go, Random Internet Vortex. I give to you: my thoughts. Do with it what you will. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

My Favourite Nursing Must-Haves

I thought I would share with you my favourite nursing products. If you are a nursing mama, you know you spend quite a bit of time in the act of nursing your little(s). And there are a few products out there that make that job a little easier for me. 

By the way, this isn't a sponsored post, it's all products I purchase myself, I just thought I would share the awesomeness!


1. Bamboobies Nursing Pads

 Luckily, I haven't been as leaky this time around, but it's so unpredictable that I always wear them. Because the one time I don't wear them, I leak all over and have to pop into a store in the mall to purchase a scarf which I creatively drape to hide the giant wet spot on my shirt. Not that that has happened or anything. Please note: this actually happened. 

So my favourite pads are Bamboobies. They are amazing. They are supersoft, which is a plus (I hate the scratchy disposable ones!), as well as incredibly thin. The thinness is the absolute best feature, along with their unique heart shape. Those 2 things combined mean you don't get that super-obvious nursing pad ridge that shouts "HEY! I'M WEARING NURSING PADS!!". Very attractive...ugh. And they have never leaked on me, despite how thin they are. They have a milk-proof backing on them. Love them! don't get a pic of me wearing them. Sorry. I am sure you are super upset...ahem. But you can trust they are being well-used in each of these photos. 

2. Undercover Mama

 I wish I would have got this nursing tank the first time around. Instead I purchased a bunch of cheap shirts that I could easily nurse in, but didn't necessarily look that great. This time I grabbed one of these Undercover Mamas, and my life was changed. It's basically just a strapless tank top that you can attach to any of your nursing bras. So, you throw this puppy on underneath any shirt and it's instantly a nursing shirt; you can pull up your top shirt without exposing your tummy. And that is my biggest uncomfortableness about nursing...I don't really care if I flash a little boob by accident, but tummy? Horrors! The other thing I love about it is it's just tight enough to add a little bit of slimming action. So I can wear all my regular shirts without having to worry about easy nursing access. Life-changer. I wish I could grab them in every colour. 

3. InfinityMOM

I prefer to cover when I'm nursing in public for my own comfort level. Last time I used a nursing cover, but I have to say it's kind of annoying fighting with it all the time. So when I heard about this next product, I rushed out to the store to buy it. InfinityMOM is an infinity scarf, but nice and wide so you can use it as a nursing cover when you need it. I bought one in teal chevron. Sooo cute! I love it. It's awesome because it's a great accessory, but also functional. And there is a lot less fabric so you don't have to fight with it. Plus it's made out of cotton (feels like a t-shirt) so it's breathable and I don't end up with a super sweaty babe and heat stroke from being under it. Ugh. 

4. Ergo Baby Carrier

This one isn't technically a nursing product, but man does it make my life a million times easier when nursing! The Ergo baby carrier is our go-to for outings. It's super comfy and easily adjustable so Hubby and I can swap no problem. It's also really easy to get the baby in and out, which is a must when you have a toddler as well. But by far the most convenient aspect of the Ergo for me is that I can nurse in it. I just strap Q in and he's happy and when it's time to nurse I just loosen the strap a little and latch him on. The Ergo has a wind hood you can clip on, so I do that for some privacy and voila! No one can even tell that I'm nursing, and I am free to keep doing whatever I'm doing! It is super handy when we are out and about with Peanut, as I don't have to stop whatever we are doing to nurse. It's also awesome when we are somewhere where there are no convenient spots to nurse. I remember the first time I did this was at a hockey game with Peanut. There is nowhere in the arena to nurse, and I wasn't going to go sit in the bathroom (ick). So it was perfect! Plus, it's always a bit of a super-mom moment when you are doing all the things while nursing your kiddo. Woot! 

So, those are my faves. What are your favourite nursing products? Any awesome ones you can recommend? 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On Being a Super-Mom...or Not.

Being a mom to 2 boys under 2 has been interesting to say the least. It's a crash-course in multi-tasking. If I wasn't a good multi-tasker before, then I have to be one now as my sanity relies on it. But I think I have developed a pretty successful strategy. 

Let's work through an example.
Situation: Toddler is crying because he is hungry. Baby is crying because he is hungry. House is a mess. Dinner needs to be made because adults will be hungry. Kitty is running around like a maniac. Mom is losing her sanity. 

Step One: Assess the situation
You need to prioritize which screaming/crying/tantrum is most urgent, and then attend to that kiddo first.  In this situation, I can hope that Toddler is probably open to some sort of reason. I first try and appease him by giving him the apple he is asking for. If I am lucky, that is the end. I'm never lucky. 

Step Two: Damage Control
Most of the time the simple solution of giving my toddler what he wants just results in me not actually grasping what he really wants. For example, he asks for an apple. I assume this means he would like an apple. I am a fool. What he really wants is an apple, but only after being offered 3 other things, and then he wants it cut in a certain way, in his blue bowl and sitting in a certain section of the kitchen. While I try and discover what the magic routine is this time, I let him have his little meltdown and attend to screaming Baby. 

Step 3: Neutralize one of the threats to sanity
I feed Baby. This is an easy fix, and I am pretty much guaranteed he will be super happy afterwards for at least 10 whole minutes. 

Step 4: Return to the original problem and re-attempt damage control
By this time I can usually hug the toddler and help him calm down. We can then reattempt the apple-giving and he will usually concede at least 1 of the requests (perhaps this time I can use the plate instead of the blue bowl) and be content.

Step 5: Accept the things you cannot change
I know I cannot make Kitty sane. I also know I cannot keep my house clean. It's best to just abandon all hope that these things will ever be accomplished. 

Step 6: Attempt the task you need to get done
Yesterday I actually was bouncing a bouncy-chair with my foot while baking muffins and keeping an eye on my toddler. This actually happened. For a second I felt like a pro. I mean, look how amazingly I am multitasking! 3 things at once! And muffins to boot...that's like Martha Stewart stuff right there. Then I remembered I hadn't showered in 2 days and my house looked like a bomb containing toys, food crumbs and random kitchen utensils had exploded. See step 5, and then make dinner.

Step 7: Once the kids are in bed, attend to your sanity
Pour yourself a huge glass of wine, or cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Pat yourself on the back and say "Congratulations Mommy. You made it through another day."

Oh man, are they worth it! xo


Monday, May 13, 2013

$100 Room Makeover Results!

So last week I posted about the Walmart Frugal Heroes Challenge here. Basically I decided I was going to redo our office on only $100. It was tough, but it turned out much better than I thought it would! 
Here is our "Before":
And here is our "After":

We bought the blue paint for only $15!!

We haven't transitioned Peanut out of the crib yet, and also haven't found a place to move our massive desk to. So, the desk is currently taking the place of the crib until those 2 things happen, and you will have to use your imagination to picture a dark wood crib in place of the desk. 

I Mod-Podged (is that a verb?!) an old map of Thailand we had while traveling onto some foam board. It makes for a very interesting wall piece, and it only set us back $11! 

Wrinkly bedsheet alert! You all know now I don't iron my bedsheets. Ain't nobody got time for THAT... 

These curtains were the biggest surprise. I thought buying the cheapest curtains they had would turn out horribly for us. I wasn't really digging the sheer thing, and was unsure of the pattern. They were $8/panel. Once I hung them up against the blue I loved them! 

Those frames for the photowall were only $1 each!! We also bought the "Love is all you need" plaque as well. I had to have it. The rest are photos from our travels, an old airplane picture that Hubby had, and a mask we bought in Indonesia. Ta Da! 

There you have it; It CAN be done! We spent exactly $94 to update this room. We used some of our leftover paint (the brown) from when we painted our bedroom, but otherwise everything else was purchased for the challenge from Wal-mart. I must say, I love it! It really refreshes the room and makes it much less junky. Hubby and I just looked at our before photo and remarked how nasty the room used to look. Frugal for the win! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

$100 Room Makeover?! The Wal-Mart Frugal Heroes Challenge

I have accepted a crazy challenge. Wal-mart issued a Frugal Heroes challenge to see how far you could make $100 go. They gave a list of suggestions that included things like "Feed your family of 4 for 4 days" or "Outfit yourself from head-to-toe". You know what I chose? I chose to re-do an entire room. 

That's right. I have had it on our to-do list for a while now; we want to turn our office into a guestroom/nursery for Q for when he moves to the crib (right now he sleeps in a bassinet beside our bed because I am lazy and don't like getting up during the night for feedings. It's how I roll...). 
This is a true "Before" pic...I didn't even clean up our giant filing mess from searching for tax documents. Enjoy this slice of realness. Ick. 
So basically I got it in my head that it would be a cool idea to see if I could re-do the room for this challenge. Which means that now I have committed to try and re-model a room for $100. Frugal? Yes. Stupid? Yes. Impossible? Probably. 

I have been doing some research (which I should have done BEFORE deciding what to do for the challenge...ahem), and this is going to be a lot harder than I anticipated. I have some ideas on how to stretch my buck as far as possible, but we will have to see if I can actually make them work. 

We headed to Wal-mart armed with our $100 giftcard and determination. We left the kiddos with my parents so we could really get down to business (and actually fit things in the cart that aren't children). It took a lot longer than a normal trip as we circled the store about 10 times gathering intelligence, comparing prices and colours, generally engaging in child-free shenanigans like trying on sunglasses and playing hide-and-seek in the know, essential shopping strategies. 

I will tell you that despite our best intentions, our planning consisted of me pinning some ideas on my Pinterest board and taking 1 measurement to see if the desk would fit under the window. The problem with this plan is that the things that I pinned are all different, and of course look gorgeous in the giant showroom-y houses of Internetland. What I actually have to work with is a teeny room which needs to work as both a nursery and a place for our guests to stay. There is not a lot to work with, believe me. 

We grabbed a cart full of supplies and are all set to attempt this insanity this weekend. It was amazing how much we could actually purchase for $100 when we really stuck our mind to it.  I'm pretty impressed with our haul, and am looking forward to sharing our success (failure?!) when it's complete! 
It might not look like that much to re-do an entire room, but it's going to be awesome. 
Wish us luck. We will need it. 

**Please note: This is a sponsored post. I was provided with a $100 Wal-mart giftcard to complete the challenge. 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Circus is Coming to Town!

For my local readers, I have an awesome family event to share with you! The Royal Canadian Circus is coming to Calgary May 10-20, 2013. 
The Zerbini Family Circus is celebrating it's 250th anniversary under the Big Top. It's basically good, old-fashioned family fun with all the classics! They have an Equestrian act, the largest display of tigers in North America, elephants, acrobats and clowns. Basically everything you could ever want from a circus. 
I am really excited to take Peanut. He loves elephants and will be so excited to see them! Plus clowns, face-painting and acrobats? I know he will love it. I have fond memories of going to the circus when I was little (oddly enough, I remember the cotton candy the most vividly...). He is just getting to that age where everything is THE AWESOMEST EVER! and the circus is the perfect place for childhood amazement. Though if he does get his hands on some cotton candy, I can assure you that he will be making an impromptu visit to Grandma and Grandpa's to burn off all that excitement. 
If you want to know more about the Circus and to keep up with all the latest news, you can head over to their Facebook page and give them a "like" or follow them on Twitter. They also are supporting Kids Up Front by providing tickets for children who otherwise might not be able to attend. Love that. 
It's always awesome to have an affordable family event in town, and I know that it can get expensive to attend events with your whole family. So I am happy to share a discount code with you for a 2-for-1 general admission! Just enter the code "FUN" at the checkout. 
You can purchase tickets on the Royal Canadian Circus website or through the Royal Canadian Circus Facebook page
See you under the Big Top! 
**Please note: This is a sponsored post. I have received compensation from the sponsor(s) of this post, but all opinions (as always) are my own. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Q is 2 Months!

At 2 Months Q:

~ weighs 14.6 lbs
~ is 24 inches long
~Is smiling and cooing like crazy
~Has outgrown a ton of his clothes, and is wearing 3-6 month sleepers (!!!) He's a very chunky monkey!
~Is actually a pretty decent sleeper for now. I am not really anticipating this will last though...
~Took a bottle no problem last week. Fingers crossed this continues! (Might actually get some use out of that pump I bought for Peanut...)
~Loves being held over our shoulder. He holds his head up and just talks and coos away
~Compared to his brother at this age, he is a much more solid little guy. Lots of baby rolls of cuteness! 
~Actually enjoys tummy-time a lot. 
~Has a very strong grip! 

It's been so much fun to see how different Q is from Peanut. I love watching him smile and tell us the most interesting stories. He loves his big brother, and is constantly trying to watch him when he hears him near. 


Monday, April 15, 2013

Adjusting to the New Normal

Well, I have had 6 weeks now of being a mom to 2 boys under 2 years old. And no one has gone crazy. For the most part. 

Things were a bit harder with Peanut than I anticipated they would be. I didn't think jealousy would be much of an issue at 19 months, because he didn't really seem to "get it". Boy, was I wrong. But despite occasional bouts of "Baby...all done!" and getting upset when someone he wants to play with is holding the baby, Peanut has now become a tolerant big brother. He brings the baby his soother or blanket and he often tries to share his toys with him. It really helped to have Peanut "help" with the baby and really went a long way in easing that jealousy. 

The lack of sleep has not been that bad. This was one of the pluses of having the boys so close together; we are already used to the sleep deprivation. We had been spoiled for the last few months as Peanut sleeps through the night and well into the morning (he's not much of a morning person...takes after me). But for the most part the baby has been pretty decent at going back to sleep after nursing through the night. Let's hope I don't jinx it! 

The thing that has really suffered is cleanliness. In many ways. The house is pretty much a disaster. It seems like I can accomplish one task a day, but what's the point in having a clean floor amidst a disaster area?! It's hard to notice! And showers? Yeahhhhh....rrrriiiiiiighhhhht. Let me enlighten you with a scene from a recent (typical!) day. 

Here's the scene: 

Hubby enters from a long day at work. Zoom in on a disaster: toys strewn everywhere, an explosion of crumbs and remnants of a toddler's uneaten lunch littering the floor (and perhaps even the walls). The toddler in question is wearing one sock and pyjama bottoms. His top does not match (the evidence of a third dumping of milk all.over.everything). He is either crying/angry/screeching in delight/terrorizing the cat...basically anything but sitting quietly reading a book. The baby is in the midst of getting changed, having pooped all.over.everything. The husband looks at his wife. 

Hubby: (cautiously) Hi hon. How was your day?
Me: OK I guess. Yours? 
Hubby: OK. 

The husband begins to get his hopes up. He can smell that there is obviously something being made for dinner. That's something! 

Hubby: What's for dinner?
Me: Freezer mystery. 
Hubby: ...

Me: We are short on supplies and I haven't had time to make anything. So I went to the freezer and found a tupperware container of something. I am not sure what it is. Is it spaghetti sauce? Chili? Stew? The only thing I can say for sure is that it has been there a long time, and it's freezer-burnt. It's thawing now, and we'll know more in a few minutes. 
Hubby: ...
I love you. 

Me: Listen. I know that this looks bad. Like I didn't do anything all day. Like I probably just sat around letting Peanut wreak havoc on the house while I napped. But I actually did a ton today! (Proudly) I SHOWERED! 

(I proudly smile and wait for him to acknowledge that this is, indeed, a tremendous feat. That he knows that in order for me to accomplish this task, I had to orchestrate a grand series of events all culminating in the miraculous and elusive Tandem Nap. I then had to manage to get into the shower without the baby's radar detecting that personal hygeine was about to be performed, thereby resulting in an epic screaming session the moment my foot hits the water. This is epic!)

Hubby: ...
I love you. 

Me: Oh look honey! Freezer Mystery has thawed enough that I can conclusively deduce that it is, in fact, chili. So we're having chili for dinner. 

End scene. 

Yes...this is the new normal. And we seem to be making our way through it just fine (for the most part). 

As an aside, I just want to thank the amazing women who have been dropping off meals for me and saving my husband from having to endure too many Freezer Mystery nights. You are angels, and have made my life so much easier. THANK YOU! 



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