August 13, 2012

Artsy Farts

A study in black and white…H pointed to a blob on the bottom and said ‘mommy’

One really cool part of being a parent is when you see your kid’s personality, style and interests start to poke up. Kinda makes all those other crazy times (like our hospital visit late last night, or a temper tantrum today at Chapters) seem forgettable and inconsequential.

Upon first glance, H would seem like a bit of a brute.  Whether it is his sometimes surly demeanor, his loud and commanding yell, or his larger-than-most stature – the kid wouldn’t necessarily strike you as being a softy.  However, from an early age he has absolutely loved scribbling, ‘drawing’ and anything arts and crafts related.  He can literally lose himself in his ‘art’ forever (toddler translation – 15 minutes).

So while he has a definitely fondness for monster trucks and soccer balls – we wholeheartedly encourage his creative side.  As somebody who has always loved the arts and designing, I feel like maybe this side of him might come from lil’ ole me and it makes me feel kinda squishy inside 😉

Here are some awesome artsy & craftsy type toys for those who love to create!

from ellaandelliott.com $8

If your kid is anything like mine, he/she has cultivated quite the obsession with rocks.  So when you take two of his loves – rocks and crayons and combine them…bam…toddler-winning!  These crayon rocks by Clementine are super-cool.

via kolkid.com $84.95

Most of you will know the name Melissa and Doug and associate it with feel-good wooden toys, especially those of the ‘sensory play’ type.  This easel is no exception and has all the trappings to keep your little Picasso busy for a good while.

via chaptersindigo.ca $12.95

Texture is a big one in our household – so anything crinkly, squishy, crunchy…you name it, H wants to get his hands in it!  This might be a bit advanced for him right now but for the older ones its a lot of fun.

via ago.net $30.95

The AGO is a great place to take your little to hang for an afternoon, especially since they’ve opened the Weston Family Learning Centre.  Take home something from the gift shop after you get inspired!  This Giant Art Jar is…exactly that.  Can’t beat it.

via toysrus.ca $29.99

As a kid, I pretty much would have died over this.  I was often caught drawing on the walls at home, so this would have been the perfect way to let the graffiti artist in me let loose.  Let your lil Banksy go wild.

What kinds of activties does your kiddo get up to?  How do you like to encourage their interests?

August 12, 2012

Hipster Toddlers

toilet paper circle scarf

I stumbled upon a pretty great site recently when I googled ‘hipster toddler’ after I became concerned that I was raising a ‘b-ipster’ (baby hipster)….

Signs that prompted me to question whether I was raising a ‘b-ipster’:

1. Child has epic meltdown because he wants his fedora (and not his newsboy hat nor his baseball cap, god forbid)

2. Child can’t string a sentence together yet enjoys both drawing tattoos on himself as well as the application of fake tattoos however only if they are ‘gulls’ (skulls) or basketballs, and only if said tattoos are applied en masse all over his legs/arms.

3. Child’s favourite colour is black…(but which he, for some bizarre reason, insists on calling ‘lellow’)

4. Child has already mastered (at the tender age of 22 months) the art of giving an ironic stare coupled with a smirk.

5. Child dislikes authority.

Anyhoo….my overall thoughts after checking out the Hipster Toddler tumblr is that while no, H is not a ‘b-ipster’, he definitely has a unique little character and personality that seem to be coming out more and more each day.  He definitely keeps the laughs going on strong with his silly antics and his funny sense of style.

 

August 9, 2012

Desk presses at work

Since the majority of my daytime hours are spent toiling at a desk these days, it can be hard to find any time to ‘keep fit’ and stay healthy.

And yet it is so important to take care of yourself, especially as a mom when I find I am taking care of everybody else 🙂 Watching the Olympics lately has totally inspired me to take some action towards being healthier.

Eating Well:
It is a proven fact that eating well has a direct affect on your overall wellness. With a little planning and some budgeting it is possible to pack a healthy and tasty lunch.

Some ideas for lunches that are good for your body, your wallet and your taste buds are:

Wraps made with whole wheat tortillas
Bagels with low-fat cream cheese and veggies
Chicken salads
Bento boxes <–I especially love this idea, though its not a new one, because I personally love variety and this mix and match concept works perfectly for moi!

For more lunch ideas that are cheap and cheerful, try this link.
If you buy lunch, try opting for a healthy option (sub, salad, soup, sushi) instead of a burger and fries…as hard as that can be sometimes when the golden arches seem to be pulsing and waving hi to you! Ultimately the sodium and grease will just sit in your tummy and contribute towards the dreaded afternoon slump…

Speaking of the slump…don’t forget to pack some high-energy snacks to get you through to 5pm…

Assorted nuts (although be careful of any office allergies)
Cubed cheese
Fruit
Baby carrots and dip
Trail mix
Rice Crackers

Staying Fit:
I'm pretty much a desk jockey at work, meaning the extent of my physical activity is walking to and from H's daycare to pick up and drop off. Oh…and walking to get a coffee 🙂

Use your desk to work out (see here for instructions on how to do a desk press)
Take the stairs instead of the elevator (though being on the 13th floor, this one's not realistically going to happen for me!)
Get outside for a walk on your lunch break and enjoy the fresh air
Check the ergonomics of your desk

Relieving Stress:
Who are we kidding…work can be a huge source of stress! Being stressed can affect our sleeping and eating habits and can make us more susceptible to falling ill. This in turn can become a Code Red emergency when the sickness spreads to the rest of the fam. It is important to have some healthy ways of relieving stress while at work:

Stretch
Keep your sense of humour (aka…laugh it off when yet another one of your terrific ideas gets pooh-poohed or stolen)
Plan ahead as much as possible
Use deep breathing exercises (to avoid screaming in frustration)
Play with a stress ball or shoot some paperball hoops
Take a lunch break with a co-worker

There are some great tips here that go into more depth on how to relieve workplace stress.

Since we spend most of our daylight hours at our workplace, it is important to try to maximize the time and stay healthy and fit.

Hopefully these tips were useful, but I would love to hear your advice too! Do you have a healthy lunch idea to share? What is your favourite way to grab a few minutes of activity while at work? How do you relieve stress? Please click on ‘comment’ just below this post and let me know.

July 26, 2012

Doors

Had a dream recently about standing in front of an antique door.

I didn’t try to open it, but I woke up feeling like there was something behind that door that was exciting, positive and unavoidable.

None of these look quite like the one in my dream but thought they were pretty…

via traditionalhome.com

via danheller.com

via google.com

via google.com

 

 

 

June 29, 2012

Get Invited Back To The Cottage…Guest Tips

Lots of goings-on in our busy lil household lately! Between the daily grind and, well, the daily grind, we have been moving non-stop! Feels like we haven’t stood still in ages but that’s how we like to live our lives 🙂

Well we blasted right on through Spring and have cruised into Summer full-force…
Part of the fun of Summer in Canada is cottaging. Though we don’t have a cottage of our own, we are lucky to have friends and fam who like to host us and for that we are very thankful.

I truly believe in the concept of being a ‘good guest’.  Along with the common sense things (don’t be a slob, help out around the place, go with the flow of your hosts, know when to arrive and when to leave, don’t show up with a sick child or bring your dog along uninvited…) I think the key to being  a good guest (aka. someone who will be asked back) is to not only pitch in for food and booze (natch) but to bring along something thoughtful that shows you are thinking of your hosts.

Ideally you want to personalize your gift for the host/hostess but I’d be pretty darn pleased if I received any of the below…

Here are some fun things that I think would make a great Cottage hostess gift:

via obad.com, perfect for around the firepit

via sanforized.blogspot.ca, Hudson’s Bay Blanket for snuggling up on the couch

via mistralsoaps.com, Simple luxuries like french milled soap are a nice way to scrub off the sandy grime from being outdoorsy

via http://lifeofpolarnper.blogspot.ca, Who doesn’t like some white ceramic crockery at the cottage? Or at home for that matter

via apartmenttherapy.com, Number one – how cute is this spool table?! Number two – coffee table books are a great way to unwind when you don’t have wifi or cable

via potterybarn.com, Who wants a fly in their quinoa salad? Not moi. Save the food in style with a woven cloche

So for all of you tag-a-longs who will be guest-ing at a cottage this Canada Day long weekend, don’t forget to show your appreciation for the good times and bring along a little something for your hosts…

Happy Canada Day!

 

April 29, 2012

Slow Cooker Chili

Bought a slow cooker just before starting the job-ola and its come in very handily.  We probably end up using it once a week (for my work late days).

Here is a Chili Recipe that I’ve messed around with based on a mix of my moms and my mom-in-law’s recipes…(note the cocoa powder…makes a big difference)

Ingredients
1 lb lean ground beef (or ground turkey)
1 large, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 jalapenos, chopped (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
2 14 oz can diced tomatoes (unsalted)

1 can corn kernels

1 can red kidney beans

8 oz beef stock

salt

pepper

Garnishes
sour cream
shredded cheddar
sliced green onions
tortilla chips


Lightly spray the inside of the crock with cooking spray. Throw everything into the slow cooker, cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 hours or high heat for 4-5 hours.

Go to work, deal with a ridiculous commute with agitated toddler who doesn’t nap at daycare anymore on way home, open door and voila…the yummy smell of ready-made dinner greets you and takes your blood pressure down a notch.

Serve with garnishes.

 

April 18, 2012

Egads! My Baby’s Disappeared!

where did the time go?

Before you put out a 911 emerg call, H is totally fine and (hopefully) asleep in his room right now.  But, as you can see from the pic above…I came to the shocking conclusion that he is no longer a baby!

Tres obvious, I know.  But it’s like when you’re growing your hair and it seems like its taking forever and then bam – a year later you’re walking around with a full-on mane and you didn’t even realize.

Time plays tricks on you, and I’ve found this to be especially true as a parent.

From the early days where everything is a speedy blur of feedings, sleepings, cryings, changings…to a few months in, when every hour seems like its an eternity…to right now where, 18 months later we have a full-grown toddler on our hands.

H has had his outspoken and enthusiastic personality from the get-go.  Amplify that by 900 and you’ve got an active, super happy (unless sick) lil dood.  I realized today (when he was running down a hill, falling and laughing…then doing it a trillion times over) that he was a total boy.  And I felt a smidge of a choke-up as he ran away from me instead of crawling towards me.

But overall I am just completely amazed that time has flown by (they always tell you it does, but trust me…for real…it does!!!) and I’m happy that we’ve managed to ‘cherish the moments’ as per the wise advice of many an experienced parental unit.

Its just totally bizarre and awesome – Toddler time and everything that comes with it 🙂

Tags:
April 14, 2012

Sickie-Holster

image courtesy of googleimages

The Sickie-Holster:

Holds 3 thermometers (thermal/infra-red forehead scanner model, digital ear and good ole-fashioned regular), Baby Tylenol, Baby Advil (need both for alternating during a bad fever), Baby Benadryl, nose aspirator, saline solution, saline wipes, Babyvicks rub, various medicine droppers/plungers/cuppies, Pedialyte, sippy-cup, bottle, Pacis since toddler reverts to babyhood while sick, tablet/laptop for googling symptoms and nearest after hours kids clinic, bottle of wine for stressed out parents…

This tool would be useful if it existed because, as you may have guessed…this weekend will be one spent nursing H back to health…AGAIN. We’ve gone through a rough patch the past few months where he has had 2 bouts of pink eye, ear infection, flu, colds (though these barely count as being sick anymore), cough, fevers of up to 104.5….and now…the lovely HFMD (hand foot and mouth disease).

Though I love H’s daycare (or as he calls it, ‘skoo’) we are definitely going through that phase that everybody warned us about where he is catching what seems like every virus around.  Its so hard to see the little guy go through all of this (at one point, while popping out 4 new molars at the same time…FML)  There’s not much we can do for most of these things except give him tons of love and try to keep him as comfortable as possible.  Its totally the pits to see your little guy or gal unwell and I’ve found that its that much worse as a working mom – nothing quite like getting the call from daycare while you’re in the middle of a meeting that already makes you want to claw your eyes out.

However, if there is one thing all this sickness has taught me, its that H is a resilient lil dude and a super trooper through it all.  He still manages to crack a smile (currently one filled with mouth sores thanks to HFMD) or wink his crusty lil eye (damn you, conjuctivitis!) and is thoughtful enough to weakly make it over to his big sister Sammie and offer her a treat.

We’ve been lucky enough to make it to 15 months before he had his first real fever and a few runny noses, rashes and fevers are definitely not the end of the world so I am trying to take it all in stride.  Was just feeling a bit angsty about the whole thing but – looking forward to healthier days ahead!

I hope that all of you are having a much healthier weekend, with no dreaming of sickie-holsters at all!

 

April 12, 2012

Back into the swing…

of things!

Have finally….FINALLY…been able to come up for some air after what seems like a very hectic and super-fast-like-lightning few months.  After being absent for this long from blogging, tweeting and basically any form of social media (Facebook doesn’t count since its more of a primary mode of communication these days) I think I’m back in action…

Its not that I haven’t thought (often) about posting or have been lacking in inspiration.  There have been many a time where I’ve started and then stopped a post… the commitment-phobe in me didn’t want to get back on track ’til I knew I could make a decent effort at regular posting.

The quick and dirty recap of the past coupla months:

–  I’ve actually been loving being back at work full-time.  I work with a great group of peeps in a fast-paced environment doing something that I enjoy…even if at times it can be a shitstorm super-stressful, for the most part its actually pretty awesome.

– H has been *KNOCK ON WOOD* *throw salt over shoulder* *fingers crossed* having an absolute bizzall at daycare.  He transitioned like a champ and hasn’t looked back since *argh so scared to jinx myself!* So far, he has set a record at the daycare when last week he ate 5 servings of lasagne for lunch. Yeesh.

– The art of juggling career, child, husband, family and friends (oh yeah…and myself!) has me in constant awe of anybody who manages to do so with their sanity intact.  Its a daily miracle if I show up to work in a clean blazer with cookie-free hair.

Well anyways, I come to you (if there are, in fact, any of you left!) with cap in hand asking for forgiveness for my lacklustre blogging activities…hopefully I can be entertaining in the coming months with some fun new style features, H’s many adventures and some insights into the world of a newly working mom.

 

After a hard day at work...big smiles 🙂

February 8, 2012

Thoughts on Biz Caj

biz caj or just caj?! via janehasajob.com

A heck of a lot since the last time I posted!

Life can be a little cray (that’s right, cray!) sometimes and ya just gotta roll with it.

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time as a SAHM with H but the time has come to throw some heels on and get back into the workforce.

H is on Day 3 of full-time daycare and the process has been a bit insane but honestly – he is so resilient and seems to enjoy it already!  He has made it easier for me than I expected, though the anxieties before actually starting were at an all-time high.  He has been such a star and so very brave that I feel very, very fortunate.

We found a facility that we all love with teachers that make us feel uber comfortable.  H even has a male teacher who he instantly bonded with (he’s such a guys’ guy!) so that definitely helped.

I managed to get a job working at in communications…that’s right – a job in the actual field that I got a degree in…who knew 😉  I start the new gig this week and its with a mixture of nervousness and excitement that I’m going into it.  Definitely a bit of a change from being self-employed but I am ready to jump right in and see what is in store for me.

A new job equals a terrific excuse to go shopping.   Business casual is not a look I had much (or at all) of in my existing wardrobe so it was time to hit the streets in search of some great basics that would help me navigate the corporate jungle.

So, what does one need to lay the foundation for a great work wardrobe that won’t make you collapse into a bored heap on the boardroom floor?!

I figure its best to start off basic and build my way up.

1 great quality black blazer – tailored within an inch of my life and not trendy at all. Investment piece.

1 more laidback charcoal blazer with sleeves destined to be rolled/scrunched up.

1 black cardigan

1 hot pink cardigan

1 charcoal cashmere cardi

2 pairs black dress pants – 1 long, flowy, medium weight; the other cropped to ankle, tailored in to be slim fitting.

1 pair charcoal trousers

2 skirts

A few work appropriate dresses – now here I found it hard to be restrained.  It was a fine balance between purchasing something I loved but that would stand out more and thus not be usable in a 2 or 3 wk rotation and then getting something so plain that I would be dying to spill some white-out on it to give it a little character.  Luckily FCUK had some good options that were right in between.

A myriad of tops/blouses/camisoles

Some pumps, some booties.

I actually didn’t realize the fun you could have putting together work-appropriate attire!  Though I’m sure in about 2 weeks time when I am scrambling to get H out of the door while trying to throw food into the slow cooker and remembering to turn on the dishwasher that managing to grab anything that matches and is clean will be a feat in itself.

What are your thoughts on office attire? What do you wear as your ‘Fail-Proof’ work outfit?!  Would love to know…

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