Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Awesome Holiday Gifts

I'm a very practical and frugal person usually a very practical person. With our ever growing family, the holidays can be a bit hard on the pocketbook. This is why practical is good.

We know it's not all about the presents, the buying, and the receiving, but it sure is fun to put a smile on someone's face when you know you've given them something truly amazing. Donations to special charities are a wonderful way of spreading the holiday cheer and spirit. Doing something for others is also a great way to show you care. Making something from the heart like a craft (kid art is the best!) also means a lot.

Aside from those, here are my Holiday must-gives!!!

BornFree Twist 'n Pop straw cups are fabulous in so many ways. Little One loves that it's easy to hold and she loves drinking from the straw. I love that the top can slide shut so that when not in use, the straw is protected (so little fingers can't touch the straw and spread germs all over it). We love this product!

Mabel's Labels are perfect for every kid...and the adults in their lives! We lose things often in this household. We forget Little One's items at friends and family members' houses, we lose items from Little One dropping them at the mall or elsewhere...and we even lose things when our littlest friends accidentally take them home with them after a play date. What better way to keep track of Little One's items than by putting her labels on her belongings? Absolutely brilliant! EVERY child needs Mabel's Labels!

Wean Green Cubes are ideal for storing homemade baby food in and toting healthy snacks in. Little One absolutely LOVES her Wean Cubes. I love that they're made of durable glass, they're BPA-free, they're compact, and they are super cute!

Rub a Dub Whale of a Time bath toy made by ALEX.
 Little One absolutely loves this bath toy! Each part has a special function (spraying, twirling, etc). Loads of bathtub fun for your toddler!

BigSkyBrands candy as stocking stuffers! Big kids and little kids alike will love the Sunkist, Jones Soda, Maple Ice Mints, and Yogen Fruz candies. The tin containers that the candy comes in are super cool and have multi-purposes! I store my change in my containers once the candy is all gone. Hubby keeps nails, screws, etc...in them and keeps them in his truck.

Today I Ate A Rainbow! is a great tool to teach young children about eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. It's a fun and interactive way to get them eating their fruits and veggies!

THERMOS Lunch Kit and FUNtainers
was great for carrying lunches in our parents' time and in our generation too. Thermos has passed the test of time and is still very popular in our kids' generation. Their styles and products just keep getting better and better. For me, there's nothing more nostalgic than old school Thermos lunch boxes and containers! The new items are really fashionable and the FUNtainers are really cute with all the popular Disney characters (among other designs).

Wee Warmers are perfect for the wee ones in your life...especially now that the weather warrants warmer attire! These super cute and super fashionable wee warmers protect sensitive skin, keep babes warm, and add a little sense of style and originality to every outfit.

Krafty Creations adorable handmade creations from crocheted beanies with flower pins to pillow case dresses and super sweet headbands and clippies, you are bound to find something special for every little girl on your shopping list.

Ultimately Chocolate TOFFLES make a fabulous, elegant, and decadent gift for the holidays and for all occasions!

Mo'Lovely Designs - the perfect way to let any mama know they're special. Mo'Lovely has got necklaces, earrings, sets, and other beautiful creations. I already have my eye on one particular item! I'm  hoping Hubby gets it for me for Christmas or my birthday!

Stellar Dendrites are a fabulous way to greet loved ones during the festive season. What says "winter" better than gorgeous photos of snowflakes?!

Laundry Tarts' sensational and delectable fragrances are sure to make mouths water in your house during the holidays!  I told you that I am a practical girl, and I would LOVE it if someone gave me Laundry Tarts laundry detergent for Christmas! I'm not kidding! Yummy smelling clothing and natural ingredients = a good thing!

Krafty Creations has adorable handmade items for kids. I'm addicted to Krafty Creations and have bought items from them several times already. The pillow case dresses are the cutest!

My Dandelion Wishes is the place to shop for adorable kid and mama stuff. I've ordered several owl hats from My Dandelion Wishes. They are too, too, toooooooo cute! I *was* considering keeping my owl hat source a secret, but I thought it wouldn't be right to not share. I was tempted though! Everyone who sees this adorable hat on Little One always asks where I got it!
Piggy Paints are perfect for every little girl on your shopping list! The ingredients are "natural as mud" and safe for little fingers and toes!

 Bobs and Lolo's music will surely get your little ones groovin'! My toddler loves Bobs and Lolo! What better Baby's "first CD" than a Bobs and Lolo CD? Fun-filled songs, learning and dancing...chock full of good stuff! We big, fat, fuzzy heart those girls! They're so much fun!

Orglamix organic glam is a fab gift for those who love their organic mineral make-up! I'm hooked! I've got several different shades of very cool organic mineral eye make-up!
 Crayola products are classic, good, wholesome, creative fun. With their huge line of products, you can inspire every budding young artist on your shopping list. Cultivate creativity and share the Crayola luv...or just have your toddler draw all over herself and the floor. Hey! At least Crayola products are washable!

 Simply on Board straps are great for those who hate having baby toys, teethers, and sippy cups flung out of a stroller and onto the floor. Never drop, misplace, or lose baby's favourite items again! Nothing irked me more than having Little One's Sophie fall on dirty shopping mall floors. Simply on Board = smart!
 PhotoCaptiva is a great way to spread holiday cheer! Even if you may be too late to get your holiday portraits taken, it's never too late to have a fun family photo session! Better yet, why not GIVE a session to loved ones? I'm thinking we may have to book a session with PhotoCaptiva for my parents with all their grandchildren! How special is that?
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, I'll be posting more of my fave places to shop online. Stay tuned!

NaBloPoMo Day 30: Married With Secrets

Hubby and I got married in 2006.  One would think that after being married for a few years, we'd know some very important facts about each other.

On the weekend, I discovered a very important fact that my husband conveniently forgot failed to tell me! Yes, people! He's been  holding out on me and this secret can potentially change our lives as we know it.

My husband can cook.

That's right. For the past few years, I have been cooking 99% of our meals when all along, the man can cook! I knew he was great with the BBQ (the guy makes a wicked potato dish on the BBQ that is perfectly paired with his steaks!). I knew he could make a tuna and macaroni salad. He can do a mean "farmer's breakfast" (bacon, eggs, sausage, etc).

However, I had no idea that he could actually "cook"!

Artsy Teacher Mom and I were so exhausted from our Mommy Misadventures, where we conveniently managed to get ourselves stranded in a the middle of traffic, in a city two and a half hours away from home, in the winter...with our toddlers and a baby.

Artsy's husband had to come fetch us, the kids, and our purchases. When Artsy's husband brought us back to the Island, Hubby had an amazing feast prepared for us upon our arrival. He made a beef stew with curry, potatoes, chickpeas, corn, herbs, and some other mouthwatering items!

I was in complete and utter shock. The aromas that permeated the air as we entered our home were divine! How could Hubby not tell me that he was capable of something like this? We'll be married five years in June and I'm always surprised at the new things I learn about Hubby. He never ceases to shock and amaze.

Psssst! I did it! I survived NaBloPoMo! I posted every day for the month of November! 
Monday, November 29, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 29: Tangled

Many of us are familiar with the story of Rapunzel.  You  know the fairytale.  Young girl is trapped in tower, hidden from the world outside her.  Dashing young man comes and rescues her. Blah, blah, blah.

Disney has put a twist on the fairytale of the young girl stuck in her tower and striving to find independence. Though the story is simple and all the classic Disney components are present (beautiful young girl, strapping young lad, animal sidekick, evil older person, magical elements, romantic interest, obstacles, adventure, catchy music and lyrics, and a happy ending), I'd have to say that Tangled is not just your ordinary run of the mill love story.

The story opens with the king and queen and their happy kingdom. There's mention of a selfish old woman (Mother Gothel) who tries to hide a flower with magical powers so that she can stay young forever. The queen falls ill and drinks from the magic flower and thereby receives its magical healing qualities. The magical healing powers get transferred to Baby Rapunzel and Mother Gothel kidnaps her.

Fast forward 18 years later, and Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) has grown up knowing only the life Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) has taught her. Sheltered from the outside world, Rapunzel seeks something greater. She wants to see and learn what life is like beyond the confines of her tower walls.

Mother Gothel uses the magical powers from Rapunzel's hair to maintain her youthful looks. Meanwhile, Flynn Ryder (Zachary Levi), a wanted bandit happens to find Rapunzel's tower and hides out there. To his surprise, he encounters a long-haired, frying pan toting Rapunzel.

What I loved about Tangled is that this this wasn't simply an in-your-face-girl-power-love-sucks-I-don't-need-a-man-to-rectify-my existence story, but more about Rapunzel's journey to finding her own independence, and her new self-awareness. She just happens to find love in the process of discovering this.

Though Mother Gothel's character gives the presence of a slightly evil, selfish older person and one who tries to keep Rapunzel to herself, there is something almost likable about her character. She's the kind of lady people love to hate. Rapunzel's and Mother Gothel's relationship is a reminder of many relationships where young adults try to assert their independence under the watchful eye of their parents. There's the idea of the parent trying to protect and shield their young ones (though Mother Gothel's motives are for her own benefit).

My friend, Artsy Teacher Mom and I took our three girls to see Tangled on the weekend. We were in awe of the animation and seeing the movie in 3-D was a treat for young viewers. It was really sweet to see my toddler reaching out to touch the flying lanterns. The chase scenes were spectacular.  I had to remind myself a few times that I was watching animated characters and not actual actors.

I can't wait for Tangled to come out on DVD so I can get it for Little One!
Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 28: Leaving

That's right. I packed my bags and bundled up my two year old daughter.  We're leaving.

Ha! Only for the weekend though!  My lovely friend, Artsy Teacher Mom and I are going on a girls' weekend away. Just us and our girls. She's got a two and a half year old and a four month old. We're taking them to the big city (Ha! Ha! As if Sudz can be considered "the big city"!).

We'll let you know how our road trip turns out. Two mamas, two toddlers, and a baby. Should be interesting!

Post edited to add:
This is actually a funny story. I had written this post and postdated it, but didn't publish it because we had a snow storm and didn't end up going to "the big city" on Friday night.  Saturday rolled in and my friend, Arsty Teacher Mom called me and told me that the plan was back on and we were going to Sudz.

We had a full day of retail therapy Christmas shopping and instead of driving back to the Island in the dark, we decided to crash at her sister's place.  We were due for a good girls' night anyway.  We ordered Thai food, had a few drinks (okay, I'm such a lightweight that two Barcadi Breezers totally did me in!), and watched a chick flick (He's Just Not That Into You).

We figured we'd get in a bit more shopping before heading back to the Island this morning, and while in the middle of a very busy intersection, Artsy Teacher Mom's car died. No, seriously. It died!!! Trapped in the midst of crazy traffic and angry Christmas shoppers, there we sat with our three little girls (2.5 years, 2 years, and 4 months of age).

A few phone calls, a few meltdowns (ummm...and it wasn't the kids who had the meltdowns), and a few hours of sorting things out, we ended up getting the vehicle towed (funny how the dealership was closed). Not knowing how we'd haul ourselves, our kids, and our purchases back to the Island (a 2.5 hour drive!), there was a bit of panicking.

Artsy's husband ended up driving 2.5 hours to Sudz to get us. All I can think of is how lucky we were that we didn't decide to drive home last night. Who knows where we would have ended up getting stuck in? There's a huge stretch of highway where you won't even see another car late at night. Thank goodness we didn't get stuck in the middle of nowhere last night (in the cold and with three babies!).  Thank goodness I remembered to charge my cell phone and thank goodness Hubby had his cell phone on so that we could contact our men.

It never seems to fail that Artsy and I always end up in some kind of misadventure when we're together! :) Hubby even text messaged me when we were en route to "the city" with: "You girls BE GOOD! Stay out of trouble. I love you."

That sounded rather ominous and foreshadowing of what would happen this weekend. Artsy's vehicle is still in "the city". I think we may have to pick it up sometime this week. Oh, the drama! ;)
Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 27: Friday Funnies

Here are some Friday funnies (on a Saturday):

Filling the tub with water for her bath, I warned Little One not to touch the water because was still too hot. Little One leaned over the side of the tub and started blowing the water to cool it down! She did it again when I told her not to go near the oven when I was cooking. I told her it was hot, so she blew on the oven door!

"Put! Put! PUT!!!!"
Little One ran toward me at full speed and shoved a sleeve of stickers in my face. "PUT!" Apparently, she wanted to put stickers in her sticker book...and on the floor...and on the table...and on her face.

Ever since she experienced her first bout of pneumonia last month, Little One has been terrified of her inhaler. I don't blame her. The chamber and the piece that goes over her nose and mouth look rather daunting.  I think she feels like she's going to be suffocated.
Today, I caught Little One quietly playing with...her inhaler! She placed everything correctly on her face and then pretended to press down on the inhaler part and said, "Pfffffffft! Pfffffffffft!" (the sound the inhaler makes when it sends out puffs). She is too funny.

Little One was playing with her Baby Alive doll. She kissed the baby, rocked it to sleep, fed it, and then pulled off the baby's underpants and said, "Bum! Bum!". She then pretended to change the baby's diaper.

Little One is a fiercely independent 2 year old. She's not overly affectionate and is never very liberal with her hugs and kisses. Last night, I said, "Kiss Mommy?" and I gave her a big hug.  Little One started pushing me away and pleaded, "Peas! Peas! Peas!" (which I took for "Please! Please! Stop smothering me, Mom!").
Friday, November 26, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 26: Randoms

* Today, I came home to a parcel waiting for me at my front door. I was soooooooo excited! Really, it doesn't take much to get me excited. It was the two sofa covers I ordered a few days ago and they arrived today! I have a set of two cream coloured sofas in our living room. I love creamy, off-white, egg shell-ish shades. It just makes a room feel really clean and crisp. Sadly, with a two year old, cream is not an appropriate colour for a couch! Sticky, dirty, gummy little hands can wreck a cream coloured couch in seconds.

My solution? Ditch the sofas? No way! Instead, I purchased these from Sears.ca! Is it sad that this is the most exciting purchase I've made this week? I LOVE them! It's almost as if I've got a new set of sofas! They fit so snugly and perfectly. They literally hug each and every contour of our couches. There's none of that bunching up or coming undone when you sit or get up! Love, love, LOVE!

I know. Who gets excited over couch covers? *sigh*

* I scored some pretty awesome dresses, clips, crocheted beanies, and headbands from one of my favourite online shops ever! Krafty Creations Boutique Gifts for Mom, Baby, and Family has the cutest items ever! Check them out!

* My friend's two and a half year old daughter was at our Zumba class with us and after all my throwing some extra oooomph into the workout, I was sweating...A LOT. My friend's toddler came up to me and said, "Why you all wet???" Bahahahhaha! It was too funny...and so embarrassing!

* Little One is definitely "talking" a lot more. She has been telling us "Bum! Bum! Bum! Bum!" every day now when it's time to change her soiled diaper.  Let the potty training begin. Fun times! Wooooo hooooo!
Thursday, November 25, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 25: The End Is Near

I am in sheer disbelief that November is coming to a close.  I am also quite shocked that I've survived posting every day of the month for NaBloPoMo! Wait. The month is not over yet.

Thoughts at large:

- Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married. There goes my dream of marrying royalty. In all seriousness, I think it's great that they are getting married. Why should we even care? Well, I think it's refreshing to hear something on the news that isn't about terrorism, murder, natural disasters, and all those other depressing things.

- I tried to recreate my friend's curried squash soup.  It turned out really well, except I used pumpkin instead of squash. I  had three pumpkins left over from Halloween. They were actually pie pumpkins, but I used one for the soup.

 Photo from seriouseats.com via Google Images.
Curried Pumpkin Soup Recipe:
1 pumpkin (not too big and not too small), seeded and cubed
salt and black pepper
chicken stock
a touch of brown sugar
1 onion, chopped
garlic, minced (as much or as little as you like)

In a large pot, add water and cubed pumpkin. Add onion and garlic. Cook until pumpkin is soft.  Puree with hand blender or use a potato masher. Add chicken stock, cumin, salt, black pepper, curry, basil, a bit of brown sugar, and cook everything. Let simmer (stirring occasionally). ** I  usually cut the squash or pumpkin in half and then place the halves face down on a baking sheet and bake it in the oven for an hour. I actually prefer it that way, but my friend's technique of just cooking the cubed pieces in a pot seemed a lot faster. The results was equally delicious.** Oh! My friend also uses a bit of peanut butter to add a special hint of "je ne sais quoi"!

Makes a delicious soup for a crisp winter day! Oh, and in case you were wondering...I don't usually use specific quantities in my cooking. Just go by taste, is what I say! ;)

- Little One has become surprisingly clingy. She was never a cuddly baby, and all of a sudden she wants to be with me ALL THE TIME. She wants to be carried, she cries if I leave the room, she wants to cuddle all the time...It's sweet, yet frustrating since I am having a hard time getting things done around the house when I get back from teaching.

- I just realized that I'll be turning 35 in a few weeks. THIRTY-FIVE!!! Yikes.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

T'is The Season...For Stellar Dendrites! Review and Giveaway!

It's hard to believe that it's already the end of November!  This means the holidays are just around the corner! 

I was thinking of creative ways to send notes to our loved ones and I absolutely fell in love with some of Christine Williston's stellar dendrites.

Stellar what? That's exactly what my ESL student asked me.  Luckily for us, Ms. Williston was kind enough to be a guest speaker and discuss what stellar plates and stellar dendrites are,  how they are formed, how to capture them on camera (Ha! I *was* going to say "film"!), and she also fielded questions about her stellar dendrites.

They are so stunning! If you've ever really paid attention to how unique and beautiful a snowflake is, you'll appreciate these photos. Don't you remember being a kid and each year having that feeling of sheer awe at the first snowfall of the year? I remember trying to catch snowflakes on my tongue or trying to "save" them from melting.  Being a kid, it was hard to understand that a snowflake's beauty only lasts momentarily...and then it melts.

Ms. Williston captures stellar dendrites in different forms.  She's even captured stellar plates -  the core and beginnings of a stellar dendrite! She sells her photographs as well as her cards.


5X7 Prints on sale now!Chose from Best Sellers of Contact Sheet Album.
5X7 - ........................................
............... $10.00 

5X7 - Matted - ...........................................$15.00

5X7 framed and Matted to 8X10 - ...................$20.00
..................................................         set of 3 - $50.00
4X6 Gift Cards, pack of 6 - ..............................$20.00


To order, please contact the artist at http://nouveauart.bravehost.com.

What's up for grabs?  This fabulous trio of stellar dendrites by Christine Williston is free to a good home.  The photographs are matted and framed. That's right. The artist was kind enough give these framed photos to one lucky reader.

How to win?
To enter, go to Facebook and "Like" Stellar Dendrites! (4 entries)
Go to "Contact Sheets" and  let me know which image you would like to have on a greeting card! Make sure you leave a separate comment here for each entry to let me know that you've entered.

Extra entries (Optional):
- Check out Christine Williston's other works of art at Masks and "like" her Facebook page. (2 entries)
- "Like" Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS on Facebook! (4 entries)
- Follow me on Twitter @chancesmommy and Tweet this contest. (2 entries)
- Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)
- Grab my button (on the sidebar) and post it. Leave me a link to where I can find where you've posted it. (2 entries)

Good luck, everyone! Contest closes on Friday, December 10, 2010. Just in time to receive these beautiful photographs for the holidays!

Christine Williston Biography:
Originally from Montreal Q.C., Christine is a Set/Costume Designer for Theatre. She has a D.E.C.C in both Creative Arts, and Professional Theatre Design. Various credits include Shaw Festival and Banff Center for the Arts, and De-Ba-Jeh-Mu-Jig Theatre Group. Before leaving Montreal in 2000, she worked in French Theatre, Film, and Television. Various credits include Cirque Du Soleil, Student Bodies (FOX Network), and Théâtre Sans Fils. She began making masks while working in Theatre. Now a resident of Wikwemikong, she has had more time to focus on visual art and new Media, with notable exhibits through 4elements Living Arts and The Redlake Woodland Art Festival: Tribute to Norvel Morrisseau 2008.

 Learning from the native community about aboriginal art forms, she is exploring and incorporating these visual styles into her practices as a mask sculptor and digital 3D artist.
Since 2004, she has been collaborating on a series of new media projects Entitled “The Millennium Project”, with David Osawabine and Eddie King. Based on the teachings of the Petroglyphs found at Stony Lake Ontario, this project is an audio visual montage of how these teachings are manifest in the environment. Within this she incorporates 3D Animation, Composite Editing and Digital Photography. This has further lead to an interest in Macro Photography, generating a 50+ image series of Stellar Dendrites.

Website: http://nouveauart.bravehost.com/

NaBloPoMo Day 24: While I Was Out

The one thing that makes me sad about having to teach and leave Little One with her grandparents is that I miss out on a lot of fun and exciting things that go on during the day.

Last week, she learned the word "bum".  Today, she pooped and then told Grampy "Bum! Bum!" while pointing at her posterior.  She has officially started telling us when she needs a diaper change.  This leads me to believe that soon we can start her on potty training.

I've become much more astute when it comes to deciphering "Toddler Talk".  I now know that "ope!" means "open", "mo" means "more", and "peas" means "please".  Usually these words are accompanied by frantic gesturing and pointing toward objects of desire.  For example, "Juice! Juice! Ope! Ope! OPE!!!!" means, "Mommy, I'd like  you to open the juice for me, please."

Likewise, "Mo? Mo? MO!?!?!?!" while pointing to the Halloween candy that she was never intended to see means "I've been such a good girl, Mom. I think a little bit of chocolate won't kill me. Would you please give me just a little piece?"

The other morning, I was trying to get us ready and out the door so she could go to Grampy and Lola's and I could teach an ESL lesson.  Little One kept saying, "Juice! Juice! Juice!" so I added  a few drops of juice to her water and gave it to her.  She kept coming back to me with an empty cup and pleading, "Mo? Mo? Mo? Juice! Juice! Juice!"

I decided that instead of brushing my hair and applying make-up, I should check on what the toddler was doing.  To my shock and horror, she was watering my 6 ft tall banana plant...with JUICE!!!
Of course, I'm not claiming to be an expert in Toddler Talk 101.  There are days when I have absolutely no idea what Little One is trying to articulate.  For some reason, my brain cannot process "Op! Bababada...Brrrp...lala...diddle, diddle, ope, OPE! Liggle, liggle, liggle."  When I can't comprehend, Little One gets frustrated, flings herself onto the couch, folds her arms and buries her head in her hands, while sobbing.

It is the strangest thing.  It feels as though while I was out, my baby has turned into a toddler.  She's turned into a toddler with her own thoughts, wants, opinions, and wants to have things done her way...and right now! Seriously! It's as if I woke up one morning and all of a sudden, Little One has started articulating her demands wants.  I've seen wild animals on National Geographic TV make less noise than she does sometimes!  I suppose it's part of being a toddler and kids do have to learn to express themselves and learn how to communicate what they want. Does it have to be so exhausting and so dramatic though? 

Oh, we deal with things in a constructive and positive way.  We're trying to teach her that she doesn't need to get frustrated when she's asking for things and that we will respond to her. Of course, I'm exaggerating with this picture of Little One I am painting for you. She really isn't that much of a drama queen. She's actually pretty well behaved. This said,  in all honesty, parenting is much more difficult for me than teaching grammar all day.  Infinitives, gerunds, dangling modifiers, conditionals, adverbial clauses...Pffffffft! All of those are a cake walk compared to figuring out how to best deal with parenting your child.

Hmmmm...Wait until she realizes that her Mama's as headstrong as she is!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Share A Smile!

What makes you smile?

For me, it's the simple things in life that make me smile.  The sound of my toddler snoring in her sleep makes me smile.  The way she says "PEAS!" when she really means "Please!" just melts my heart.  The way she seems to acquire several new words a day makes me smile! In just one day, "fish", "hand", "Lola", "bum-bum", "bus", and "bath" have been added to her list of vocabulary. THAT makes me smile.

You see, I never expected her to speak at the age of two. Someone from Infant Development was following up on Little One's case and told me that since she was so premature, she would not likely be speaking now and that if by two, she wasn't speaking in short sentences that she'd have to be seen by Speech Pathology and have speech therapy. Of course, every parent dreads that something will be wrong with their child (developmentally, physically, neurologically, etc).  The fact that Little One is trying to vocalize her wants and needs makes me smile. It makes me smile a crazy, big, goofy smile!

She's up to over 80 frequent use words and counting!

Another thing that makes feel good and spread the smiles is when I support a cause I believe in or to see the help I have offered be put to good use. Donating to Sick Kids Hospital and Mount Sinai Hospital makes me smile. It makes me smile just knowing that in some little way, we are helping save the lives of so many precious children out there.

We also donate to other charities in hopes that our funds will help make a better life for children in those places. Medical assistance, food, shelter, education, and all the basic needs are so important for everyone and if we can help just a little bit, then that makes me smile.
Since we're on the topic of making people smile and doing something good for others, I wanted to bring awareness to this really amazing campaign by Snack Pack Canada. Adults and children go hungry every day, and the holidays are no exception. Do you help out by putting together food baskets? Do you donate your time to serving hot meals at local shelters? Do you donate non-perishable goods at your local grocery store's Food Banks bin? How do you help others?

Check out the Snack Pack Share a Smile Campaign and help them reach their goal of raising $20,000 for Food Banks Canada in time for the holidays! Just log into Facebook and go to the Snack Pack Canada page. Every day for the next 10 weeks, there will be a new idea for different ways to enjoy a smile with a Snack Pack. Snack Pack will donate $1 to Food Banks Canada each and every time you share a smile with a friend. And, to add an extra smile to your day, you are also entered to win a great weekly prize from Sony.

Taking  part in the Snack Pack Share a Smile Campaign and raising funds to help feed the hungry could not be any easier.  Share a Smile and a $1 donation will be made on your behalf to Food Banks Canada. You can also opt to Share a Smile and Snack Pack will make the donation on behalf of one of your Facebook friends. You will then be given the option to register for the contest and receive a ballot into their weekly prize draw. Plus, you’ll earn a point towards one of the fun Smile badges! Remember, the more often you smile, the more donations, ballots and badge points you’ll collect.

I am really excited about this campaign and hope that you will join me in spreading the word! If you want to spread the word on Twitter, please include the #SnackPackSmile hashtag.

Smile! You never know! You may be making someone's day a better one just by smiling! :)

Disclosure - I am participating in the Snack Pack program by Mom Central on behalf of Conagra Foods Canada. I received a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

NaBloPoMo Day 23: I Got Nuthin'

The sun's not out and
It's kinda gray.
I've got absolutely nuthin'
I want to say.

It's NaBloPoMo Day 23
I wish I had something to inspire me.

Instead, I sit here staring at this screen
Thinking how much better this post could have been.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Best Bath Toy EVER!

Hubby and I try not to buy Little One too many toys.  Quite frankly, she's got enough.  Oh, okay.  The truth is that I am tired of finding toys everywhere and want to keep them contained!

I did splurge the other month and found this amazing bath toy for her.  Why? Well, I felt badly that she was playing with empty containers in the tub.  Sure, she could care less. She thought they were fun. 

I wanted to get her something that would stimulate imaginative play and help her with hand-eye coordination/development of motor skills.  I found this:

It's the Rub a Dub Whale of a Time bath toy made by ALEX.
You simply suction cup the whale to your bath wall and your child can stack up all the whale's friends.  All together, the set includes five pieces. Each cup has a different function (spray, twirl, spin). 

Little One LOVES her Rub a Dub Whale of a Time toy!  All the parts move and spin when water is filtered through.  Little One really enjoys pouring water from one cup into another. It's amazing how a toy like this can teach young children about problem solving skills.  Little One has learned that if she doesn't scoop water into the cups, there will be no spraying, twirling, or spinning. She learned very quickly how to make each piece operate.

Another thing I love about this toy is that you can stack the pieces and let them drip dry!  

You can find this product and other toys by ALEX on the company's website.  I purchased Little One's Rub a Dub Whale of a Time bath toy  at Chapters IndigoChapters Indigo carries a wide range of Alex products as well.

NaBloPoMo Day 22: Why? Oh, Why?

 Photo from The Canadian Press Images, Jeff McIntosh
Trying new food is always exciting for me. I LOVE being adventurous and sampling food from other countries.  I've eaten octopus in Japan, and spicy noodles in Singapore. I've had Brazilian feijoada and Mexican chocolate sauce with chicken (mole).  I've even had spaghetti with squid (the noodles were black from the squid ink)!

Having tried many exotic dishes, I enjoy being open-minded when it comes to culinary techniques. I draw the line at certain foods though. I've often wondered why some people are fascinated by food that is so bad for them? I recently heard people talking about the artery clogging, heart attack inducing menu item at KFC, and then came across this article yesterday.

Why do people want to tempt fate like that? The mere thought of all that grease, sodium, and the high caloric intake for that one sandwich just makes my chest hurt! Just reading the description of the sandwich makes me feel really, really ill.
Excerpt from the msn.com article: "the Double Down - two pieces of seasoned fried chicken, two pieces of bacon and processed Pepper Jack cheese all topped off with the Colonel's savoury, secret sauce - is the most successful menu item in KFC Canada history. Canadians ate more than one million Double Downs in just the four-week period they were available across the country, according to a press release."

I know! I know! Lady, you'll eat octopus, but you won't eat two pieces of fried chicken with bacon, and processed cheese all sandwiched together?  I'm just crazy like that. Seriously. I feel my arteries harden as I look at that photo above!

A friend of mine tried it. He said it was "awesome"!  He's a food rebel and will try anything unhealthy just for the sake of saying he tried it.  It's almost as if there's something thrilling in trying the most unhealthy item on a menu.  He's traveled far and wide to sample the greasiest of foods. The greasier the better.

I won't lie.  I like the odd onion ring or spring roll.  I'm not completely adverse to the odd "bad for you" kind of food. I'm just curious as to why the fascination with such unwholesome kinds of foods...especially when there are so many delicious, healthy alternatives out there.

I can tell you now that I will never try the KFC concoction mentioned in the article I am referring to. To be honest, I am far too aware of the effects of colossal colon clogging foods. I'd like to stay healthy for my daughter for as long as I can. Thank you very much. But, by all means...if you want to try it, please let me know what you think!

Penny for your thoughts?
Sunday, November 21, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 21: Bathing With Baby

 Image from Saplings.ca via Google Images
I have a question for all you parents out there.  How many of you take baths with your toddlers?  Do you sometimes just stick your toddler in the shower with your spouse/partner/significant other?

 I don't take baths with Little One very often.  I probably stick her in the bath with me once a week or so.  It's not that I mind or anything.  I think it's a perfectly natural thing to do.  She's only two years old.  I do enjoy hanging out with her, but bath time takes soooo much longer when I'm in there with her. She just wants to play...and play...and play.  She would stay in the bath ALL night if I let her.

Little One and I were splish-splashing in the bath and singing Broadway show tunes.  All of a sudden, her eyes widened and her mouth was gaping open.  "Oh, dear. Here we go. She's going to ask what my hoo-ha and boobies are."

Instead, she reached over to my shoulder and touched my tattoo (which I completely forgot about!) and said, "Oh! Oh! Mommy!"  She tried to rub it off, but realized it wasn't going to come off.  She then leaned over and kissed my tattoo and said, "All done!"

A little more "swimming" around the tub and eight show tunes later, Little One was in top form.  She was giggling and babbling away.  Then, the  unmentionable happened.  Ha! Of course I'm going to mention it, and pray she doesn't decide to disown me when she's older!  Little One stopped what she was doing and made this really strange face.  All of a sudden, I saw two logs floating in the tub!

I jumped out of the tub, soaking wet, and screamed!

"Honey! HONEY!!!!!! Come in the bathroom! Quick! QUICK!!!!!"

Hubby came running in with a puzzled look on his face.  I pointed at our toddler, sitting quietly in the tub at the opposite end of those two little floating logs.


"Ummmm...Your daughter pooped in the tub!"


"Well? Can you please do something about it?"

Hubby disposed of the two little floating logs, washed the toddler off, and took her to her room to change her into her pyjamas...while I sat on the toilet seat and contemplated what just happened.

I honestly do not know why I reacted that way.  I mean, it's just poop!  Man, I've got a weak stomach when it comes to things like this though.  Poop and vomit.  Ack!  I've gotta toughen up.  I sense many years of poop and vomit ahead of me.  Gross.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 20: Hookers

When I first moved to "the Island" six ago, I didn't realize how big a difference country life would be from city life. I was at a tea and bazaar when a lovely lady in her mid-80s started talking to me about her life. She told me that she was a hooker for over 60 years and that she started "hooking" when she was a young girl! She talked about how sad it is that not many girls are "hookers" anymore and that "hooking" is a dying art. I just about fell out of my chair and almost choked on my tea and sandwich! Nearly killed me! 

I learned that day that "hookers" here weren't the same kind of hookers I thought they were.

Image from www.loopknitting.com
Friday, November 19, 2010

NaBloPoMo Day 19: Not Guilty

I went to my first Zumba class last night and had so much fun! The workout was exhilarating and the other girls who were taking the class were a hoot!  Incidentally, I've lost 5.5 lbs in the past two weeks. Nothing major, but it's only been two weeks.

I have to admit that on my way there, I felt this terrible knot in my stomach. It is the feeling I get when something really bothers me.  I felt awful about leaving Little One at my parents' house ALL DAY. They watched her when I was teaching and then again when I went to Zumba.

I know moms need time for themselves. I don't know why I can't get over the feeling that I'm a neglectful mom if I don't have my daughter with me. To be honest, I really envy this one friend I have. She's got two little ones and every weekend, the kids stay at either her parents' or her in-laws'.  I can't stand being away from Little One for too long. I don't know why. She's had one overnight at my parents' and she survived. Apparently, she and my parents had a blast.  I was the one who was all stressed out and couldn't sleep!

After last night and that fabulous workout, I came home and didn't feel so guilty.  Little One was happy to see me,. I got lots of hugs. I took her home and got her ready for bed.  I got even more hugs.

I think we're going to be okay.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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