Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Style Kid: Summer Sale!

Thinking of cute, practical, original gift items for baby showers, birthdays, or "just because"?  Style Kid's Annual Summer Clearance Sale starts now!

 If you're looking for items babies, toddlers, kids, AND parents will love, I'm sure you'll find something you'll like at Style Kid.  Recently, we had 5 (yes, FIVE!) baby showers to attend. We were only able to make it to two out of the five, but bought gifts for all five (of course!).  My toddler also wanted to give a gift to Lolo and her baby (from the Canadian singing duo, Bobs & Lolo). Guess where the gifts came from? Ummmm hmmmm. Style Kid.

Hop on over and check out Style Kid's website. I know you'll love them!

Sale Details
30% off already reduced Sale items  (some exclusions may apply)
Cannot be combined with any other offer
Use code SUM30
Expires at Midnight, July 28, 2011 PST
Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It's My Potty And I'll Cry If I Want To

Actually, it's not my toddler who is having issues with this whole potty training thing. It's me!

Part of it is due to me feeling guilty. Guilty that I have to work all day and not spend the time I need to be with her to teach her how to use the potty. She's pretty much potty training herself.

No. Seriously. She is.

Little One wears panties at home or goes around au naturel and tells us, "I have to go toilet!" She's been pretty good at #2, which surprises me. I've read that some children have a harder time with #2.  It's #1 she forgets about and has little accidents sometimes. Occasionally, I'll step into a warm puddle and moments later will hear, "I peed!"

Another thing is that though I should embrace each and every milestone and enjoy each stage of childhood, Little One being almost potty trained makes me a little sad. It signals the end of her babyhood. Of course it means the end of diapers (wooo hooo!), but the end of babyhood too.

Yes, I realize she's no longer a baby and I don't treat her that way. It doesn't make it easier though. I feel like having to work and being with students all day means I spend more time with other people's children than my own child.

One last potty issue is that I feel pressured by other moms who say things like, "Oh. She's not potty trained yet?" or "My child was out of her diapers before she turned two!"

Little One's pediatrician and Neonatologist mentioned that by 3, children are "ready" to start potty training and they "understand" what it's all about. She said that many parents rush their children and think that "Oh! The magical number has to be 2. By 2, they need to be out of their diapers!"

The more reading and research I've been doing, the more I realize that Little One is on the right track. She's showing interest in going on the toilet, she knows what to do, she tells us (most of the time) when she needs to go, and she's pleased as punch whenever she has a successful trip to the potty.

I guess what I really need to get into my head is that all children are different. They don't have to go by the same time tables...and, don't compare! This would be a lot easier if people didn't compare. Why do people do that? I know that we don't say, "Well, your child must be delayed because Little One was doing that a year earlier than your child" or "Wow. I can't believe he is so far behind! Our child was walking, feeding herself, saying the alphabet, talking, and writing her thesis and defending it before she was 2!"

Fortunately for Little One, I don't project these feelings onto her. I don't want her to grow up with a complex or anything. Instead, I keep the annoying things people say to myself (Ha! Or now on the blog!) and hope I don't die of stress or an anxiety attack.

Who says things like that? Why would it even matter? What pleasure do people get in comparing babies, toddlers, children?

Do any of you have inspirational potty stories to share? Tips, perhaps?

*Photo of Little One just after she got into one of our students' toiletry bags. She's covered head to toe in toothpaste. Nice.
Monday, July 25, 2011

Canadian Small Businesses - Want to Win $15,000?

Everyone knows that owning and starting up a small business can be exciting, but challenging and costly at the same time.  Just thinking of even here on Manitoulin Island, we have many talented small business owners with fabulous products and services to offer. Whether your small business be in the form of an organic soap making company, chocolate shop, photography business, jewelry making business, or quilt shop, (just to name a few!), extra funds are always useful.

This is why I am excited to spread the news about! Small businesses all over Canada can will be happy to hear this!

CentrSource is having a contest for all Canadian small business owners just like you. You can win a grand prize of $15,000! 

Simply enter your business information and a product offer for friends and family to vote on.

Over $40,000 in prizes to be won!

* Grand prize of $15,000 cash + 6 months of free advertising on CentrSource.

* Secondary prize: One ad will be randomly selected out of 50 entries for one prize of $5,000 cash + 3 months of free advertising on CentrSource.

Every Week, there are chances to WIN! A winner will be drawn randomly from ALL ad entries each week to win one of 8 weekly prizes of $1,000 cash + 1 month of free advertising on CentrSource.

Think that's great? It gets even better!  Even if you don't have a small business, you can still enter to win an iPad 2 just by voting!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tales from the Crypt

...The Crypt being MY BRAIN!

It seems these days, my poor Mommy brain isn't functioning as it should. I know what you're thinking. That's because I'm up at 4AM, blogging. Right? Truth be told, I'm not usually up this early (or this late...depending on how you look at it). We just got back from an airport pick up. A new ESL student arrived tonight. The airport is 2 hours from the Island. You do the math.

I'm so wired now, I can't sleep!
 At the airport, 2 hrs by car from the Island. We were the only ones there.
 Still at the airport. There's just so much one can do at a small airport at almost midnight. Yes, my toddler was still awake. We had to drag the poor kid with us. Luckily for me, she thinks our airport pick ups are fun.

I was just thinking about how my brain seems to have gone to mush. Do you know that today was the first time I realized that BOGO means "Buy One, Get One"!?!?! I feel so stupid! I've seen commercials on TV for Payless BOGO days. It never even occurred to me that it meant "Buy One, Get One", even though I knew that Payless Shoes offered those deals! Duh!

The other day, I said "Steffi and Liz is" instead of "Steffi and Liz are". That really bugs me. I don't usually make slips like that. I majored in English and Linguistics. I teach grammar for a living! Incidentally, did you know that a "mistake" is different than a "slip"?
"Mistakes are errors in choosing an objective or specifying a method of achieving it whereas slips are errors in carrying out an intended method for reaching an objective." (Sternberg, 1996)

Just sayin'.

 Then I do really strange things like orchestrate a Surprise Birthday/Going Away party for one of my students and make the 4 (for the "24") backwards on the cake! I didn't even notice it until the other student pointed it out to me. My friend, who happens to also be a teacher commented, "Well, you teach literacy. Not mathematics."
Bwahahahahahaha! I'm so embarrassed. I'm thinking that I clearly need more sleep.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

So...I'm Looking for an Economy Hooker

Message from Hubby on my BlackBerry: Hon, I need you to pick up an Economy Hooker for me.

Me: A what!?!?!

Hubby: Just go to [name of store on the Island where Hubby gets most of his parts and equipment for the farm from] and tell them you're getting me an Economy Hooker and they'll know what I mean.

Me: Ummm...Okay.

I sauntered into the shop, chatted with the kind folks who work there, and then said, "[insert Hubby's real name here] wanted me to pick up and pay for an Economy Hooker for him".


Owner: I didn't know there was a such thing as an "economy" one! I thought they were all expensive.

Guy1: I've never heard of a husband ASKING his wife to get one for him, let alone PAY for it!

More laughter.

The owner went to the back and returned with the Economy Hooker.

She was not what I was expecting at all.

I learn something new every day on the Island!

An Economy Hooker is an anchor for a boat. Now our boat has an anchor! Yay!


My friend and his family came up to the Island for a visit last week. They gave Little One the most fabulous gift. A Ms. FOOD FACE plate!

It was the first time I had seen or heard of the Fred & Friends product. Little One loves it so much that she takes it everywhere with her!

Here's a photo of Little One's FOOD FACE plate on our recent brunch date with friends at The Garden Shed Cafe!

What a novel idea! Little One taps into her creativity through food art. It's fun and she loves eating from this plate. At first, I thought it might deter her and make her want to just play with her food. On the contrary. She actually wants to eat more from it!

Little One is not a picky eater at all and she's got a hollow leg. We have no problems getting her to eat, but this plate would be great for parents to try on their kids who may need some inspiration when it comes to eating. It's appealing, fun, and Little One approved!

The mid-sized plate is crafted from food-safe, hotel-quality, high-fired ceramics. It's heavy enough that Little One doesn't easily fling it across the table. Not that she would do that or anything. No. Our child never knocks over bowls and cups, and she never drops cutlery on the floor either. Pfffffffffft! 
Judging how much Little One loves this plate, it's something I would definitely get my nieces, nephews, and friends' kids as presents. 
JUST AN ASIDE: While perusing the Fred & Friends website, I found these brilliant CHIMPSTICKS! The chimp is made from washable, food-grade silicone rubber and the removable chopsticks feature little monkey hands at the tips to help grasp food. Aren't they the coolest? Tell me you don't want a set of these?!

There are all sorts of great gift ideas for everyone on the Fred & Friends website. I'm making my wishlist now!
Saturday, July 16, 2011

Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Winner!

We're  headed to the beach as soon as Little One wakes up! Yes, it's 8:30 on a Saturday morning and my toddler is STILL sleeping!
We're fortunate to be living on an island, surrounded by lots of beautiful beaches! Of course, we're taking along her Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Sand Toys! A day at the beach without building sand cakes? 

Before we head out, I would like to say that megcolmcg is the winner of 4 sets of sand toys from the Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks collection! Congratulations! 
megcolmcg said... 18
"Liked" Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS on Facebook. me*******
You will be contacted via e-mail. Please reply within the next 48 hrs or a new winner will be chosen. Thanks to everyone who entered! 

Hope everyone has a great weekend! Enjoy!
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Press Pause for Family

This year has been my first year teaching ESL again since I gave birth to Little One. I can honestly say that being a mom, a farmer's wife, an ESL teacher (among many other things), I've noticed just how valuable time with family is. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done or to be everything to everyone. Little One craves my attention and I am reminded of the need to "Press Pause" and take time for family...even when you're exhausted from everything else.

Now that Summer is here, our weekends are filled with countless baby showers, birthday parties, weddings, and other special occasions. Every weekend of the Summer has been booked with one thing or another. Thanks to Hallmark, we've got all our bases covered!

As part of the Hallmark Press Pause Panel, I have the opportunity to sample and review some fabulous Hallmark products.  Hallmark has been a trusted brand in our family ever since I can remember. With thoughtful greeting cards for every occasion to keepsakes to pass down to family members (photo frames, albums, etc), they've got something special for every loved one on your list.
I was excited (and shocked) to receive this in the mail! It is now one of my absolute favourite items in our house.
I love my new family tree from Hallmark! The branches can hold little picture frames that hang from them. Photos of the special people in your life can be put in the frames and displayed on this gorgeous tree. It makes a great focal point/centre piece/conversation piece!

I would definitely get this family tree for any of my friends or even for my mom, aunts, or grandmother. Anyone who loves displaying photos of their family would love this beautiful family tree.
I have to admit that ever since I gave birth to Little One, I've been addicted to scrapbooking and memory keeping. Hallmark now has a variety of amazing Recordable Memory Albums. You can relive stories from behind favourite photos and preserve them in an album. How cool is that? Little One can replay stories that go with the photos of all of her favourite people (Ahem! Grampy and cousin Kenny!).
We received this adorable Kids Recordable Memory Album and a Disney Recordable Storybook with Sound. Little One immediately went for the What Makes a Princess? storybook! She loves the Disney princesses and she LOVES books! 
Little One and I read lots and lots of books together. I think we go through a dozen books each night. She'd have me read all of her books if I let her! The beauty of the recordable storybooks is that I can record my voice reading the book and if for some reason I'm not able to read to Little One at night, Daddy can either read the book to her or play my voice reading it!

I now have lots of great gift ideas for all occasions! I appreciate thoughtful gifts and what can be more special than helping preserve all those amazing memories with loved ones? I love the recordable storybooks for kids, scrapbooks, photo albums, picture frames, gifts for all occasions, and of course the greeting cards!

For more gift ideas, check out the Hallmark website.
Disclosure: I’m part of the Hallmark Press Pause Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Monday, July 11, 2011

Meatless Monday: Veggie Quinoa Burgers

My old college and university buddy from my Montreal days is up visiting with his wife and baby.  Crazy to think that we've known each other since we were 17 and now we are both married and with kids!

Back in the day, I was hardcore vegetarian. The funny thing is that I married a beef farmer and I eat a bit of meat now.

My buddy is still veg, and in keeping with our Meatless Mondays, I decided to make Veggie Quinoa burgers. My buddy and I both agree that it's hard to find a good veggie burger. Licks' Nature Burgers are pretty good, but a good homemade veggie burger is like striking gold!

I'm happy to say that this recipe I concocted is a keeper. Even my beef farming husband agrees! That says a lot, people! My husband loves his steak and potatoes!

C's Veggie Quinoa Burgers

I have to apologize first for not including any measurements. I don't really use measurements when I cook, but mostly just go by taste. Also, please note that because of the nature and consistency of these burgers, you will have (like with pancakes), the first two sacrificial patties! After the first patties are cooked, the rest should come out flawlessly!


Brown rice
Kidney beans
Black beans
Red pepper, diced (small)
Green pepper, diced (small)
Green onion/scallions, chopped
Cinnamon (just a touch!)
Black pepper and sea salt
Garlic and celery powder

Cooking instructions:
In a large bowl, add ALL ingredients. I used two cans of assorted beans/legumes because I didn't  have my regular beans in stock. I drained the beans and rinsed them. I cooked some Quinoa and brown rice (just enough to keep all the other ingredients "together". The eggs also help "bind" the ingredients. This time, I used 3 eggs as my binding agent. (I didn't have red or green pepper today, so they were omitted from the recipe)

You can either mash or puree the ingredients so that it forms a paste, but I kept them all in their original form. I don't like the way the mixture looks if it's pureed or mashed. With a serving spoon, I spooned some of the mixture, formed into patties, and placed into a heated pan (with oil already heated). Place no more than 4 patties in the pan at one time.

Sadly, it's difficult to grill or BBQ veggie burgers because of their consistency. You'll have to cook these veggie burgers some light oil. Lightly brown/cook in olive oil until firm and toasty brown. Very carefully, flip patty over with spatula and cook until firm. It only takes a few minutes on each side.

Serve on good quality buns or bread, topped with your favourite condiments.
I wanted to roast some garlic scapes to add as a topping, but ran out of time.

Sadly, Little One isn't much for the aesthetics that go hand in hand with food. She dismantled her burger!
Friday, July 08, 2011

Another Round of...What's in your Purse?!?!

These days, I've been feeling a little like Inspector Gadget.

I can magically produce anything and everything  from my purse. There once was a time when my purse contained just lip gloss, my wallet, keys, and cell phone.

Now, it looks more like this:

Oh, I know. It looks misleadingly normal from the outside. This is one of my favourite Christianna Jones originals. I've got four purses made by her and I love them all. What I love about this one is that it's roomy, but not too big. It's light and because it's neutral, it goes with pretty much everything.

Wait! Look at the inside of my purse!


1. Born Free Twist 'n Pop Straw Cup (I made a mango smoothie for Little One to take on our grocery/bank/post office/do everything and be home to make supper excursion)

2. Purolator slip (picked up an awesome parcel from Hallmark for being part of the Press Pause Panel! Blog post to come!)

3. Business card holder with business cards

4. Lip gloss (Rimmel "East End Snob")

5. 2 diapers for Little One (just in case)

6. Wipes

7. Keys

8. Wallet (don't get too excited, people! I've got no money!)

9. Sandra Boynton books (to keep Little One entertained in case she gets restless)

10. Assorted toys (see #9)

11. Hand cream, children's sunblock (Aubrey Natural Green Tea Sunblock) and hand sanitizer

12. Kleenex

13. Hair clips, elastics, and ribbons for Little One's hair (she always seems to yank them out, so I don't know why I even bother)

14. Memo pad and a few pens (for jotting down notes, addresses, phone numbers, directions, grocery lists, etc).

15. BlackBerry (can't live without it!)

16. Seaweed

Yes! I said SEAWEED!
I carry a few packets of seaweed in my purse because they keep Little One busy and content when waiting in line, at restaurants, in the car, etc. I'm tellin' ya, seaweed saved my life a few times. Little One LOVES seaweed and thinks they're "chips"! Seaweed and kale chips...gotta love 'em!

What's in your purse? Go ahead! I challenge you to reveal what a mess your purse is (or isn't)! 

Seriously, I've been looking for a purse that is fashionable, big enough (but not the size of an overnight travel bag!), and has compartments so I don't lose my keys and cell phone amongst all the other "stuff" all the time! Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Absolutely Kidorable!

Character towels for kids

Yay! 10,000 Facebook Fans for Kidorable! In celebration of their 10,000 fan likes, Kidorable is announcing a special coupon on their Facebook wall! The first 10 fans to use the code will receive the free Kidorable umbrella, rain boots, and raincoat ensemble of their choice, all with free shipping. Facebook url:

Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Giveaway!

Summer is finally here! I can think of no better way to spend the summer than by being outdoors with my family and friends. We live on an island and are surrounded by many beautiful beaches. You know where we'll be this summer!
I am looking forward to creating lots of fun memories with my toddler. She loves running on the beach, swimming, and...playing in the sand!

Melissa & Doug is one of my absolute favourite and most trusted brands when it comes to children's toys. They've got everything from educational toys, art supplies for kids, wooden puzzles, to play food and all kinds of other fun items to promote children's imaginary play and cultivate their imagination! Not only are their toys fun, but they're also safe, durable, and high quality.

My own toddler has an impressive collection of Melissa & Doug toys and puzzles. She loves them! She loves to scoop ice cream and make sandwiches with her toy food and she absolutely loves her Trunki!
You can only imagine how thrilled I was we were when Melissa & Doug sent me us a set of their Sand Play toys!
Perfect timing! The weather is gorgeous, it's sunny outside, and the beach is beckoning! It's definitely time to hit the beach and have fun in the sand with the new Sunny Patch Sand Play toys!
Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set 

When I'm not teaching or helping Hubby with something on the farm, I'm in the kitchen preparing something for my family and ESL students to eat. Little One really enjoys being in the kitchen with her Mama. Sometimes she loves it too much and it makes getting dinner on the table a lot slower.

Thankfully, she now has the Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set! The set is complete with a mixing bowl, a lid (which when turned upside down can double into a sifter!), three measuring cups, a mixing spoon, and a whisk. To say that Little One enjoys playing with her baking set is a huge understatement! She's been screaming, "I cooking! I cooking, Mama!" all afternoon!

 Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cupcake Set
What does one do with a sand baking set? Bake cupcakes of course! With all the mixing and whisking, Little One created adorable sand cupcakes with her cupcake set! Cake Boss, watch out!
The set comes with a cupcake tray, four cupcake tins, four cupcake toppers, a molder, icing tool, and a mesh bag to keep everything handy and together! The mesh bag is by far Mommy's favourite! What a great way to keep all these amazing sand toys together!? Love it!

Seaside Sidekicks Sand-Molding Set
What kid doesn't love to create things with sand? These sand molds help make creating sand creatures even more fun! Mommy loves that all the pieces fit perfectly inside the turtle. It makes for a hassle-free, compact way to store toys when going to and from the beach (or even the sandbox!).

Clicker the Crab Pail and Shovel
A must for kids in the Summer? Definitely a sturdy pail and shovel! There's nothing worse than a cheap plastic pail and shovel that will break into pieces under the weight of wet sand! This cheerful, bright pail and shovel is fun with the adorable Clicker the Crab designs!

Want a set of your own Melissa and Doug Seaside Sidekicks Sand Toys? I am very excited to be working with Melissa & Doug and to give one lucky reader a chance to win a complete set of the Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks sand toys! That's right! All FOUR sets of Sand Play toys! Melissa and Doug is generously offering a prize pack of all four products to one reader!

To win, leave me a comment on my blog and tell me how these Melissa and Doug Seaside Sidekicks Sand Toys would make your summer an even better one! (1 entry)

Please leave your e-mail address (and a separate comment for each entry if you are making additional entries).

Additional entries:

1. "Like" Melissa and Doug on Facebook and tell them  Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island  REVIEWS sent you. (1 entry)

2. Follow Melissa and Doug and @chancesmommy on Twitter and tweet this giveaway!
    "I entered to win a @MelissaAndDoug prize pack from @chancesmommy " (1 entry)

3. "Like" Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island REVIEWS on Facebook. (1 entry)

4. Follow me on Google Friend Connect. (1 entry)

5. Follow me on Networked Blogs (1 entry)

6. Grab my button and post it on your site. Please leave me the link where I can find where you posted. (1 entry)

Contest Rules:
This contest is open to U.S. residents only. Contest ends on Friday, July 15, 2011 at 11:59 PM ET. A winner will be chosen at random via Random.Org and will be notified by e-mail. The winner has must respond within 48 hrs of being notified, otherwise another winner will be chosen. The prize will be mailed directly to the winner from the prize sponsor.

Good luck, everyone! Hope your little ones enjoy these sand toys as much as my toddler does!
 "Look, Mama! I cooking!"

DISCLOSURE: This giveaway is sponsored by Melissa & Doug. All the thoughts and  opinions expressed on this blog are my own. Facebook has no responsibility for this giveaway.

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About the Blog Author

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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