Friday, 21 February 2014

Friday Fun Snack - Snow Ice Cream

 Remember when I talked about "embracing Winter"? Today, we did just that!

 Here's our recipe for Snow Ice Cream !!

1 huge bowl of snow (clean snow of course)
1 cup of Sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla
1-2 cups Milk (depends on your desired consistency)

Mix it up !

Happy Weekend !!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Travelling with Kids

This time of year, my Facebook Newsfeed is littered with pictures of People going on trips! Friends and family posing beside Mickey Mouse, laying on the beach, in front of a ski slope and packed up at the airport ready to hop a plane somewhere!

I'm very jealous.

We travel frequently with the kids and usually take a mid-winter trip. However, we stay within our budget, which means staying within a few hours drive of our house.  This year we're forcing ourselves to stay put so that we can save our money for one of those big trips everyone is going on this time of year!

Traveling with kids is always a challenge, whether you're just driving a short distance, or hopping a plane for a foreign destination.

Here are a few tips I think are worth sharing.

1. Hotels
When booking a hotel, check for family rates or if breakfast is included in the price. I rarely stay at a hotel that doesn't offer a complimentary breakfast. We're a cereal and toast type of a family who love buffet style meals.
If you're traveling with a baby, check ahead to make sure they have proper baby sleeping essentials available so you don't have to lug along yours.

2. Sticking Together
My biggest fear on trips is that I'll lose a kid. In a new place, we always designate a meeting point in case anyone gets separated and make sure the kids repeat the plan back to us to make sure they understand. It's a good idea to have them wear bright colored shirts, or similar colors so you can spot them in a crowd.

3. Snacks
We always pack a cooler of snacks whether it's for a long drive, or if we're headed to an Amusement Park. Park food can be abnormally expensive and not very healthy. If my kids want to survive a full day of fun, they need fruit and water, not french fries and Pepsi.

4. Entertainment
Whether you're waiting at the airport, on a plane or driving a long distance, your brain could use a break from entertaining. Pack some books, games or a gaming device. A few minutes of silence can be golden.


5. Get Along Bag
I always have a small bag of essentials with me like it's my 3rd leg. It can be a long walk back to the van and a huge waste of family time just for a new pair of underwear.

6. Easy Pack-Up
When you're packing to come home, do your best to make the unpacking as smooth as possible. Put all the dirty clothes together in a bag so they're ready for the wash and pack everyone's clothes separately so clean clothes are easier to put back in drawers. I've been guilty of just tossing everything in the suitcase and telling myself I'll worry about it when I get home. I've discovered that when I get home is NOT when I want to worry about organizing clothes, garbage and laundry.

Happy Traveling !!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Day

For me, Valentine's Day has changed it's meaning entirely since I had kids. Once upon a time, I spent all my time and money on presents, surprises and romantic gestures for just 1 adult.


Now, Valentine's Day means buying and helping Madison and Jessee fill out Valentines for both their classes and planning a Valentine's party for Lily and Noah, and the kids I babysit. Oh, if I remember, Mike gets a gift and card too!
The kids love Valentine's Day. They enjoy making up all their Valentines for their classes, decorating bags, and dressing festive for the big day. Not to mention the thought of any type of "party" ! I love any reason to celebrate something, so I tend to go all out for such holidays too!

Of course, we should celebrate LOVE everyday, but Valentine's Day is a fun way for everyone to maybe go a little overboard on the love (which isn't a bad idea) and just have fun with it.

Making Valentines!

I'm planning a party today for the kids I babysit. We're decorating cookies, putting on Valentine tattoos and making heart hats from paper plates. You can find the tutorial here.

Happy Valentine's Day !!

Monday, 10 February 2014

Celebrate the Olympics with your kids!

We are loving the Olympics this year! My kids are always tuning in to watch the events, cheer for their country, and watch some amazing athletes show off their talents.

Another way to beat the winter blues is use these 2 weeks to celebrate and enjoy this fantastic world event with some great kid ideas!

Visit nobiggie where fellow mom-blogger Kami shares some great kids snacks to celebrate the Olympics

Here's a great Olympics craft from

Homemade medals made from cookies courtesy of

Go Canada !!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Guest Post - Being a Stay-At-Home Mother

Alena is a busy mother of 2. She went from working full time to being a stay at home mother to her kids. She's here to share her experience, her ups and downs and why she loves being a Stay-At-Home mom!

13 Months ago I became a stay at home mom. I went from working full time outside of the home (at a job that I LOVED) to being a stay at home mom to my 2 kids (at the time my son Xander was 6 years old and in grade 1, my daughter Cameron was 4 years old and home with me). When I first got the news that I was losing my job due to a store closure (I worked retail, I’m good at it and I enjoy it very much) I was scared! Home alone, all day every day, with my kids… I was sure I would go stir crazy and wishing to be back to work in 2 months tops. I mean, I love being busy, I love having a huge to do list to check off every day. I loved working retail and the interactions with people. I loved the break from my kids; I felt it made me appreciate what time I had with them more. I would have sworn that being a working mom made me a better mom (and in some ways I was right); I just couldn’t imagine being home.  So after my last day of work last January I became a stay at home mom. What happened next surprised me. After years of hearing how hard it is to be a stay at home mom, how you never get a break and it’s your whole life, I was not expecting the best, but what I found out is that for ME being a stay at home mom is easy, and I love every second of it.

Xander lost his 1st tooth,
and Alena was able to be the first to see!
Alena welcomed Cami home
with her 1st report card!

However, 4 months in to being a stay at home mom (who provided child care in my home), I made the mistake of saying this to my friends and family in a general Facebook status. It did not go over well, the black lash I received from this status update both surprised and hurt me. I was up all night unable to sleep, so at 1am (when I have normally been asleep for a couple hours) I got up and got it off my mind the best way I know how. I wrote it down and sent it to my 4 best friends. This is what I wrote:

Okay Ladies I have been in bed for the better part of an hour unable to come anywhere near sleeping. This thing is bothering me so instead of losing several more hours of sleep, which I will do because that’s how I work, I am getting it out of my system. I don't feel that I expressed myself well earlier because I got very emotional. I am not a writer and I don't say things the way I mean to most of the time. I am sarcastic. I speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in, I am not afraid of confrontation. I cry when I am frustrated and talk over myself and things come out wrong, that’s what happened tonight. Hopefully I can express myself the way I want to now and get some friggin sleep tonight, so bear with me it’s going to be long winded.
First of all I am a good mom, being at home now does not make me a better mom. If I could CAP, bold italic and underline the words ME and I in the following paragraphs I would (however I am tech dumb and I only know how to do that in word). This is how I feel being at home makes it easier for me to be a mom.

When I was a working mom I spent a measly 39 of my kids approximate 91 awake hours with them a week. A very large chunk of these 39 hours were spent going through the motions of getting ready to go to work/school/ babysitters for the day, cooking a fast supper eating, showering the kids, doing school reading and getting the kids ready for bed. This left about 10-20 minutes of quality time with them 5 out of 7 days a week. I was cranky all the time and tired too, this meant that although I so looked forward to my family time on my days off and had the best intentions, my kids are just that, kids. As much as I wanted perfect days off my kids wanted to fight with each other and whine and cry and not spend time doing the things I wanted to do. This normally ended up in my being cranky due in part to my disappointment that things weren't going the way I wanted them to (mature right), but that’s me I'm not perfect either. I would ask "what did you do at school today Xander" and he would answer "I don't know" because school was over 4 hours ago and this was the first chance I got to ask him. I was lucky if I got to go to 1 swim lesson out of every 20 which means Dave told me how they were doing and they gave me their swim reports 6 hours after they got them. I missed countless birthday parties. Xander begged to have friends over and I wasn't here so he didn't. My phone rang every night and often when I was putting them to bed about something work related. I missed bed times.
In many ways being a working mom made me a better mom, more often than not it gave me better patience because I knew I only had some much time to enjoy with them (you know when I wasn’t cranky), it gave me socialization which helped keep me sane and it made me appreciate the little time I had with them.

Staying at home makes it easier for me to be a mom because now I spend a whopping 85.5 of my kids approximate 91 awake hours with 1 or more of my kids! That’s a difference of 46.5 hours a week and I am thankful for every one of those. Now those 46.5 extra hours a week aren't all on the floor playing one on one time with my Kids. I still have a house to clean, meals to cook and other kids in my home to watch and spend time with. BUT and for me this is a very big BUT, those hours are spend under the same roof as them, most often in the same room as them. I get to sit down in the middle of the day and read stories just because one of them says "mommy will you read this book to me?" and I don't feel the need to answer "later hunny mommy has to get stuff done for tomorrow first" because I had no other time to get ready for tomorrow. I can't tell you how good it felt to be the first person Xander showed his missing tooth to and how happy it made him that I was the one he got to hand his report card to when he got off the bus (and not hours later after we picked him up from the sitters) I get to be the person to greet him at the door every day after school and say "how was your day today" and then listen to something totally awesome that happened. I get to cook meals for them that take more than 10 minutes to make. I don't have to rush, which means they don't have to rush. I get to see them interact with the kids I babysit and see how awesome they are instead of someone telling me. I put my kids to bed every night uninterrupted. I have been to all but 2 swim lessons since January and was there when they got their medals. I've been to 9 birthday parties with them in the past month and a half.
My kids are still not perfect, they are kids, they still fight and whine and still don't always want to do the things that I want to do, but it’s okay because we can do it tomorrow instead. They still make me wanna tear my hair out and make me yell to be heard more often than I would like. They still do dumb kid things like leave the bathroom sink running and complain for an hour that they can't find one of their toys that is on the table in front of them. They spill drinks and start crying right away instead of cleaning it up. But staying home makes being a mom easier for me.
I'm still tired and I still get cranky but I love and appreciate every second that I have to spend with them, because in reality in 6 months from now, I'm going back to work and I have to go back to seeing my kids 39 hours a week while other people get their other 52 hours.So skip to 11 months later (now), I didn’t  meet my go back to work dead line in 6 months, or the next one after that, or the one I set after that (I have a new one now, I hope I fail at that one too). My kids are still kids (both in school now), I still take children into my home, I still love being a stay at home mom and I still find it easy! I consider myself lucky every single day that I am home and have tried my hardest to make the most of my time here (and I think I have), because like before I know it won’t last forever, I will be a working mom again at some point.

Alena and her family

Monday, 3 February 2014

Easy Kids Crafts

My kids love to do crafts. Especially Lily, she's a craft junkie. I enjoy them myself, it's the prep and cleanup that I don't enjoy. Paper cut outs, glue, googly eyes everywhere... I came across some pretty easy and fun crafts to add to our agenda.

Check them out!

Paperbags make great crafts. They're cheap and easy to work with and make great puppets!

We always have empty egg cartons, Lily has made one of these caterpillars with her Grandmother and loved it!

We're big Monsters Inc fans, so this will be fun to make!

Happy Crafting !!

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