Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Mexico!

This Saturday, at an obscenely early hour, my family and I are off to Mexico for Christmas {my grandparent's are taking all 16 of us to celebrate their 55th Anniversary}. And since I still have so much to do before we go, this will be my last blog post for a couple of weeks.

Therefore, I would like to wish you all a safe and joy-filled holiday! Enjoy the time spent with your family and friends, and be sure to take a moment to reflect on the special memories from 2009! All the best!

Monday, December 14, 2009

To Go Or Not To Go

On Monday mornings I take my son to a Totally Tots class at Petite Beats, a baby/toddler studio located just a few short minutes drive from our house. It starts at 10:00.

Last week we missed class because I couldn't get my little man out of bed and fed in time, and because the little guy said he didn't want to go {he cried when I tried to pick him up out of his crib}. His birthday party was the day before, so he had had an evenful day, and I decided I would rather not take a grumpy child out. Plus, it was snowy and cold out so it was pretty easy to give in and stay in my nice warm house.

After this incident I was on my facebook account updating my status to see what other moms thought about forcing a two-year-old to go when he didn't want to. My theory was that he likely doesn't really understand at his age what he is missing out on by not going, right?

A couple of my mommy friends gave me their feedback, both saying that I had done the right thing by not taking him. One said that she also misses things when her little girl has had a big day the day before, or missed a nap or something and they "lay low" the next day. The other mommy said that it was okay to miss out at this age, since he doesn't truly understand yet, but that when he is older she would make him hold true to his commitments. I agreed with both women, and was grateful for their advice.

This morning was the same problem as last week... I woke Toddler B up this time, and he said he didn't want to go to class. Again, we had had a busy weekend, and a late night the day before, but this time I picked him up kicking and screaming {it only lasted a few moments}, made him eat breakfast quickly, and put him in the car.

Every few minutes while we were in class he was asking when we were going to "go home" and tried to open the door and run away from me. He participated very selectively in the activities. Such a catch 22 really... if I don't take him I feel like a bad mom {mostly because I think kids need to spend time with other kids and I hate wasting money}, but if I force him to go I feel like a bad mom too. But, I suppose this is just the beginning, and it is pretty "normal" to feel torn as a mother.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Best Friends

Yesterday I mentioned a special celebration that is happening on Sunday with my Best Girls... we do it every year, rotating hostessing duties between the four of us. This year my friend Kayley is hosting, and we are doing a Fondue. Yum!

This event is one of the most important ones of the holidays for me because I don't get to see my girls nearly often enough, with all the other commitments that we now have. But, they truly are my "extended" family, and a love them to bits! Females need other females, and I am so thankful that I have these three girls in my life. Love you ladies!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Oops, I forgot...

Yep, it happened. I knew it would eventually... I knew that one day I would simply forget to write a blog post, and yesterday was that day.

It was not without good cause though. I dropped off the little guy at my mom's house in the morning because I had a dentist appointment, then took advantage my alone time and went to the mall and finished {jealous, Santa baby?} my Christmas shopping!!!

Today I have already baked banana bread for a special celebration with my bestest friends on Sunday, made some Christmas cookies, and started to decorate the tree.

We are celebrating Christmas with my hubby's family this weekend, then we leave for Mexico on the 19th, so I am going to be a busy lady over the next couple weeks, therefore no promise that my forgetfulness will not continue! Good luck with your own busy preparations!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Capturing the Moment

Yesterday we had Baby B's 2nd Birthday Party... it went really well. Lots of good memories with good friends, and most importantly, Baby B {or should I call him "Toddler B" now?} enjoyed himself!

My one regret? There are not nearly enough pictures!!! We took some pics before the party of the cake, table set-up, and decorations, which I will be sure to share in a post in the coming weeks, but we do not have enough pictures of the party itself.

It's on days such as birthday parties that I wish I had a photographer that followed us around everywhere capturing memories for my family. Of course, it's hard to expect that my husband and I will be able to find time between being a good host and hostess to ensure that a picture is taken of every guest, though we did manage to get all the major moments covered {Baby B blowing out candles, wearing a party hat, opening presents, etc.}. But, the pictures {especially the ones I took} certainly aren't professional looking.

These thoughts, which I was already contemplating this morning when I woke up, tie in nicely with the blog post I read on Simple Mom today entitled "Five Simple Techniques for Enhancing Your Images With Children." It is a guide to taking better pictures of your family written by a guest blogger who is also a professional photographer. Some great tips that will hopefully help me improve my photo taking skills in the future!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Alternative Gift Cards

I have come to notice that more and more often people are resorting to gift cards as Christmas Gifts, especially for the individuals on their lists that they don't know very well, or "that person who has everything." Who can blame us, when the malls are getting crazy busy, and they make it so easy when you can pick up a gift card for just about anything at the grocery store?

I think that some recipients will surely appreciate a gift card to their favourite clothing store or an iTunes gift card where they can choose what they really want {especially teens}.

However, for those out there who, like me and my husband, see gift cards as basically exchanging cash with someone {what's the point, really?}, I think there are some "alternative" gift cards that are a little more personal, and more focused on allowing the recipient to have an "experience."

How about a gift card to a spa for your mom, sister, wife, or mother-in-law? Maybe consider passes to the zoo for your friend who has young kids, or tickets to the theatre/a concert for the couple who might like a date night? That way you are gifting something more valuable then a new sweater, it's time to themselves getting some relaxation, or time spent with those they love creating memories.

Extra bonus? Many of these alternative gift cards can be purchased online and then either mailed to you {or the recipient directly}, or printed right from home! Good news if you are in Calgary today where it is snowing and miserable.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Shocking Confession

Wanna hear a confession? I am an organization junkie, who is perpetually unorganized.

I adore storage containers and baskets of all kinds, and I pick them up wherever I go. The trouble is that I never know what to put in them. I can never seem to take the leap to getting things organized even when I have the space and supplies to do so. I make piles of things here and there until finally they drive me {or my husband} crazy enough that I put them away, or I simply move them somewhere else to bug me at a later date.

There are piles of mail and to-do lists {ironically often listing 'tidy up the to-do lists' on them} in my kitchen; stacks of magazines waiting to be read and manuals for my sons toys in the home office; and school assignments, coupons and other junk in a corner of nearly every other room in the house. I hide these things away when we are expecting guests, but drop-in unexpectedly and you will see my little quirk at it's worst.

I credit this habit to two things. First, genetics. My dad makes piles of stuff too. I love my dad dearly and he has been the most devoted father a girl could ask for. But, yes, he suffers from this affliction as well {do you suppose there is a name for it?}. Weirdly enough, I think it is kind of neat that we have this in common.

The second reason that I think I am a pile maker? I have the worst memory in the world. If something is not in front of my face, left out to remind me that it needs to be done, it will never be accomplished ~ another reason for the bazillion to-do lists. {I know that there are others out there who make lists of lists. I have read about them. They do exist.}

It's sort of ironic that my husband is a bit of a neat freak, and I am a clutter maker, but not really since we are polar opposites in many other ways as well. I know that my bad habit drives my husband crazy, and it torments me as well. I often find myself doing laps around the house looking for a spot to put something only to pile it up on top of some other poor item that is without a place to call home.

A place for everything and everything in it's place. My dream.

Any organization tips to share?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Elmo & Cookie Monster Birthday Invitations

I wanted to wait until all of the guests had a chance to receive their invitations before I posted a picture of them on here... the party is a week away now! My sister helped me make these invitations using construction paper/cardstock, glue dots, and a bunch of various circle cutters and punches. They were lots of fun and pretty easy! The original idea is from a blog post by Couture Parties.
I plan to visit Canuck Amusements and a few dollar stores this week to pick up the decor and goodie bag stuff.
My mom helped me bake letter B and number 2 cookies today {this Sesame Street birthday party is brought to you by...}. My oh so helpful sister has offered to make the Elmo cake for me since I likely won't have the time {and don't have the skill either}. The rest of the menu will likely consist of platters from the grocery store since I want to enjoy the party rather than spend it in the kitchen!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Calgary's Next Top Event Planner

This will be a short post again today... my beautiful sister and I just discovered yesterday that there is a contest going on in Calgary called Calgary's Next Top Event Planner, so we are going to be focusing on a submission this weekend since the deadline is Monday!

Wish us luck!

Oh, and there are only 4 weeks left until Christmas today... just in case you wanted to add a little stress to your weekend as well! ;)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I know that Canadian Thanksgiving is long past now, but in honor of American Thanksgiving tomorrow {my dad was born in California, and I have family all over the US} I am going to list a few things I am thankful for today:

I am thankful that my family is healthy and safe.

I am thankful that I have good friends.

I am thankful that tonight is my last night of class for this semester, and I get seven weeks off before the next classes start. {Wish me luck with the verbal presentation I have to give tonight, I am not one to get up and speak in front of others often.}

And I am thankful that you have taken the time to read my blog, whether this is your first visit or you check in regularly!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Love You Too, Mommy!

I don't think there is anything more rewarding for a parent then when your little one expresses their love to you! This weekend Baby B's favourite thing to say was "I love you too!" So, of course, hubby and I capitalized on this by telling him that we loved him a million times a day just so we could hear his sweet little reply! C'mon, it won't be that far down the road before he will pull out the "I don't love you!" in response to us telling him that he can't have or do something that he wants {just like the little princess seated at the table next to us at the Keg last night yelled at her mommy}.

Of course, he also said "I love this song!" while we were driving in the car listening to the Black Eyed Peas, so I suppose he doesn't completely understand the meaning of the words he is saying yet. But, still, it is exciting to watch him comprehend the world around him, and his own emotions. In the last few weeks Baby B has also said, "I so happy," "Don't be sad, mommy," and the best one yet, "Calm down, mommy." {Guess I need to work on my road rage...} We have not only noticed that he is learning the words to express how he feels or thinks someone else is feeling, but he has also become increasingly sensitive and moody as well. The great big quivering lip has been showing up a lot more often, and the angry face has made a few appearances as well. Terrible Twos and Threes here we come!

Guess I need to work on toughening up a bit! My goodness it's hard to stay upset when they are putting on those too gosh darn cute faces, and throwing out their Kid's Say the Darndest Things worthy quips! I often melt into a fit of giggles while disciplining him....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Spotted at Hostess with the Mostess

It's no secret that I love planning parties, but truly Jenn Sbranti, founder of Hostess with the Mostess, is in a league of her own. I will forever aspire to catch up with her amazing ideas and trendy designs.

I love that Jenn writes about everything to do with entertaining, from menu planning to decorations. And she is uber talented ~ if you read her bio she has a graphic design background, which is probably why her site looks so fabulous!

Some of my favourite categories on the HWTM Blog are:

Real Parties {where Jenn highlights a real party that a real person like you and me planned}
Free Printables {where Jenn shares her incredible graphic design talents with her readers}***Check out the Free New Moon Printables {for the Twilight obsessed}
DIY {where Jenn gives tips and tutorials for the do-it-yourself fan}

Of course, you can't miss the Party Themes section of the wesbite either, where you will find some of the most creative, fun ideas I have ever seen. The Bedtime Story Baby Shower is adorable, and the Santa Baby Christmas party almost makes me wish it was my turn to host Christmas this year! I could get lost on this site for hours {if I had the time}!

Warning: You may become as addicted as I am to Hostess with the Mostess - don't say I didn't warn you! ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Because Girls Enjoy Shopping!

I don't know if things in your home are the same as mine, but in my family I am put in charge of most of the gift buying for holidays and birthdays throughout the year. I am under the impression that most often the wife {or female partner} is asked to perform this task!

Just because there is a stereotype that women enjoy shopping doesn't mean that this task comes easy to all women though. In fact, it can be a huge burden for some! So, I thought I would share a few Canadian online shopping websites, and gift guides to help those who, like me, struggle to find something for every person on their Christmas list! Of course, if you have something to add, please feel free to email me or comment below!

Online Shopping
For Baby/Toddler/Expectant Mother - Dear Born Baby or Mom & Baby Works
For Eco-Concious Friend/Wife/Mother - Lavish & Lime
For Grandma/Wife/Mother - Charming Mommy
For Grandpa/Dad/Husband - Canadian Tire
For Anyone - Sears or Etsy or Chapters/Indigo

I also just discovered {a little late} that you can shop at many stores through and collect Air Miles on your purchases! {Thanks Morgan!}

Gift Guides
Gifting Outside the Box
Parents Canada

Wishing you a stress-free shopping experience this year!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Big Boy Bed

This weekend we ordered a big boy bed for Baby B from Costco. To all you people that are waiting on a Baby #2 announcement, please note that I am NOT making such an announcement through the previous sentence. We are just eager to get started on planning Baby B's big boy bedroom, and, of course, the bedroom set is currently on sale, so we are taking advantage. I can't believe that he is going to be old enough to move out of his crib soon! Craziness! Time is passing too quickly... I am collecting images of decor and ideas for his toddler room inspiration board, and I will be sure to share it with you soon!

Another example of time passing much too fast: Yesterday afternoon, while doing my weekly grocery shopping trip, I ran into a friend of the family whom I hadn't seen in a while... a lovely lady named Bev. I asked her how her granddaughters ~ sweet twin girls that I used to babysit ~ were doing, to which she replied: "Good, they are turning 16 in December." AHHHH! How old does that make me? Anyone else starting to feel a real contradiction between their calendar age, and how old they feel inside?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holiday Decorating

I have holiday decorating on my brain lately, probably because it's in every flyer and all over the internet already. However, I have promised myself never to put up Christmas decorations until after Baby B's birthday {December 8th} so that his birthday never blends with the holidays {no joint gifts either!}. So, I still have a few weeks to decide what I'm going to do this year.

We haven't collected much in the way of decorations in the almost 4 years we have been married, since we never really saw the point {we haven't hosted many gatherings in the past} but now that we have a little one, it's much more fun, and necessary, to decorate! We bought a new tree at Costco when they first came out, and I picked up some decorations last year when things were on clearance.

I am working towards a more sophisticated colour scheme since the majority of our decorations are blue and purple and were purchased from Ikea {nothing wrong with their stuff, some of my favourite white glass balls with ribbons are from there - we are just ready for a change}.

I am also coveting a gorgeous wreath from Pottery Barn. I love it's simplicity, and that it's not too traditional looking. I am hoping to collect a few other items this year as well, like a wooden or metal reindeer... maybe a trip to Pier 1 will be in my future!

I was totally blown away by a recent post by Centsational Girl, showcasing her handmade Manzanita Advent Tree! Simply amazing!

Where is your favourite place to shop for holiday decorations?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

So Sew!

I have been really wishing that I knew how to sew these days... I had been wanting to get Baby B a card table playhouse from Etsy {missprettypretty}, but she has stopped taking orders already for Christmas. Super cute right? {I am assuming that you have clicked on the link by now.} But way too intermediate of a project for me, even if I did run out and buy a sewing machine this week.

I also wanted to get a play/splat/splash mat to use for crafty projects and play-dough playing with Baby B. Most are made out of an easily wipeable and washable fabric such as laminated cotton. The ones by Mimi the Sardine are adorable, but hard to find in Canada. So, I have requested that Great Grama {or GG as Baby B calls her} make us one for his birthday. She is amazing with a needle and thread, and would gladly teach me if I had the time to learn all of her secrets.

I was also super-impressed when I visited a friend's Facebook page and saw a picture of two of her beautiful kids dressed up in the sweetest Halloween costumes ~Dorothy and the Tin Man ~ which she made!! How fun it would be to be able to customize Baby B's Halloween costume next year, I thought. But, alas, knowing me the costume would never be done in time!

So, until I get really motivated to learn a new trick, I guess I will just have to keep admiring the work of others!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Baby B's 2nd Birthday Party

I have been collecting images and ideas from all over the internet whilst planning my son's 2nd Birthday Party, which is less than a month away now {sigh and a sniffle}. I found a simple {read: easy enough for a beginner like me} tool called Mosaic Maker for displaying the images in a collage, or what I have come to discover is known as an "inspiration board."

The theme for the party is "Sesame Street" because my son is obsessed with the show and characters right now. Unbeknownst to me until recently, it also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the beloved children's show {the Google homepages have been so cute this week, right?}!

I thought I would share my inspiration board with you today... and in the coming weeks I will try and share images of the stuff that I gather/make for the party as well. My wonderful sister spent her Saturday afternoon helping me put together the Elmo and Cookie Monster invitations and they are almost finished!

I am new to all of this stuff, and I now realize that I should have recorded where each image that I collected was from so that I could properly credit the site or individual who created it. My apologies for not doing so. If you know where one of these images is from please email me! I know that I found some of them on Hostess with the Mostess, Everyday Celebrating, Etsy, and Couture Parties, but that may not necessarily be where they originated.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Close to Home

Last night two houses burned down only a few blocks away from where we live. Due to the high winds the first house fire quickly jumped to the next house, and even damaged a third a bit. Needless to say, it's scary to think how easily it could be you in the situation that those poor families are now in, when it happens that close to home. Even if you are the type of person who is extra cautious about turning off your curling iron, everyone forgets sometimes, and if it's not you, it could easily be your neighbour.

While I was lying in bed waiting for sleep last night, I spent a lot of time thinking about the items that I would try and grab if I were ever staring down a fire at the house next door to mine {if it is mine that is already on fire, my only task will be to get myself, hubby and Baby B out safely obviously}. I started to realize how much of my stuff is irreplaceable and how even more is totally replaceable ~ if you have insurance of course {shameless plug for the industry that my husband works in}.

Hubby and I take extra care to back up all the pictures that we take on a separate external hard drive that he keeps at work, so I guess pictures are no longer at the top of my priority list. The albums we have from before the digital age would be sadly missed of course, but we keep them in such obscure places {closets} that they wouldn't be able to be saved likely.

Most of my jewelry doesn't have value aside from the sentiments associated with it, but I would probably want to try and grab my jewelry box if I could. However, I guess my priorities have changed since becoming a mother, because I found myself mostly thinking about trying to save my son's favourite toys, newborn booties, and his adorable little clothes. I thought more about how becoming homeless would affect Baby B... and didn't think much about even grabbing a coat {not even my fab gifted coat from hubby a few weeks ago} for myself before heading out the door. I guess it just shows how unconditional and immense my love is for my little guy... and how thankful I am that we are safe and healthy today! My thoughts are with my neighbours who lost everything last night.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mmmmm... Nana Bread!

My apologies for the afternoon posts of late... I have been busy working on an assignment for the Event Marketing class I am taking. But, I just finished the assignment {or rather decided I'd had enough of it is probably more accurate}, and things should go back to normal around here. My husband will be happy to hear this news since I have had to let a few areas of the house get untidy {not dirty, just cluttered} while I have been focusing on the assignment, and I will now be able to get things organized again!

I was able to distract him from the mess for the last couple days with the yummy banana bread {or mmmm... nana bread as Baby B calls it} I baked. Yes, another success for me... I was able to replicate the banana bread that my mom and aunts make that my husband loves, and lucky for me Baby B enjoys it as well! The recipe I used is for Best-Ever Banana Bread from the Best of Bridge in case you were wondering. My family chooses to leave out the blueberries though.

Hopefully now I can start to focus more on my son's upcoming 2nd birthday and, of course, Christmas! Monday I will try to post my inspiration board for my son's Sesame Street themed birthday party! Friday's post is still a suprise {even to me ;)}... see you then!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Happy Birthday True Cuddles

I have been a fan of True Cuddles for a really long time now... I guess almost a year since they are celebrating their first birthday this week! In case you aren't familiar with them, True Cuddles is an online store {} that offers up one baby or toddler product for sale per week, usually at a very deep discount. I love their business model {one of those, "now, why didn't I think of that" moments}, and I am always excited to get my weekly email on Monday mornings to see what they have found next!

I had a little chat with one of the owners and creators of the company, Sarah Milne, over email a few months ago. Super nice lady, very driven and exceptionally talented. And, of course, a mom! Which is what makes the products that True Cuddles sells interesting and unique... they are often mom-made or designed, and always mom-approved. Some of my favourites have been the bugalug hair clips {of course since I have a boy I couldn't get some, at least not without my hubby freaking out}, changing mats by The Modern Baby Co. {I missed out on these}, and mittens by mimiTENS.

True Cuddles also features lots of mom-run companies and mompreneurs on their site, which I love. I am all about supporting other moms in business!

Be sure to check them out on Facebook as well as they are giving away great prizes this week in honor of their birthday! Happy shopping!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Learning to Create

So, if you haven't noticed through the many crafty/creative websites and blogs that I have added links to, I am totally inspired these days by the many creatively cool women out there. However, at this point my skills are lacking to truly keep up with most of the fabulous ideas they come up with... and my craft cupboard is pretty much bare.

Today, I went to Wal-Mart and picked up some paper and a bucket containing fun little things like pipe cleaners, pom poms and googly eyes. Maybe I will be inspired to create something with my little guy in the next while. In the meantime, I have been wanting to replicate these fun pumpkin decorations that I found at Hostess with the Mostess {originally at Three Wheels Turning} for a long time, and now hopefully I will have everything I need to do it! Wish me luck!

Oh, and if you have any tips on building up a craft cupboard {must-have items} or beginner projects please send them my way!
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Looking at the Bright Side

Yesterday my husband came home from work, and he had found some time throughout the day to get to the mall and purchase a new coat for himself. He had wanted a jacket like this for a long time now, and he was pretty excited that he had found one.

But, he was even more excited that he had purchased a jacket for me as well. It is a very nice coat, but instead of being enthusiastic about his random, unexpected thoughfulness, I told him {rather rudely I must admit} that the specific jacket he purchased wasn't the one I had previously looked at and wanted.

He pointed out to me that I was being very negative. And who can blame him for being diappointed with my reaction? Afterall, what wife wouldn't be excited to receive a beautiful new coat for no reason, and not really needing one, from their husband? Hello?!

This made me realize that I too often look at the negative in life rather than focusing of all the amazing things that I have. I am being very ungrateful. So, in order to attempt to correct this behaviour I am going to list five things that I am grateful for right now, in this very moment:
  1. I am thankful that I am able to be a stay-at-home mom.
  2. I am happy that it was warm enough this morning that I was able to take Baby B outside for a few minutes to hang some Halloween decorations with me.
  3. I am lucky enough to have an amazing son who brings a smile to my face just by being himself!
  4. I am fortunate to have the flexibility and support from my family to be able to go back to school part time to learn more about something I am passionate about.
  5. I am grateful for my mom and my sister and our relationships with each other.
If you found yourself relating to this post I challenge you to create your own list. If we all took the time to remind ourselves about what we have that we often forget to be thankful for, I'm sure we'd all gain a better perspective on life. Oh, and thanks for the amazing coat hunny... you were so right when you thought it would suit me, and it was very kind of you to think of me!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Talking... and talking back!

Let me just start by saying that I love my son as they say "to the moon and back." But at 22-months my wonderful, loving, sweet Baby B is already talking back. I am not sure if it is early for this {isn't it called the Terrible Two's?}, but some days {when I can stop giggling at how goofy it sounds at times} it really drives me crazy. "No mommy, stop it" along with a quick swat at my face is said in my home about a dozen times a day. Ironic, that we are so excited when our children say their first words...

How to deal? Well, this being my first child and all, I am not an expert, but I have adopted a few methods of dealing with a difficult and unhappy little one. First, we are a time-out house. The first step in the typical time-out sequence is to firmly, but still lovingly tell Baby B that his behaviour is not appropriate nor acceptable in our house. The second time he repeats this behaviour, we simply remind him that what he is doing is unacceptable and that if he does it again he will get a time-out. The third occurance results in the actual time-out.

I have read that a general rule of thumb is one minute of time-out per year of age. We have a time-out mat that actually keeps track for us, and is pressure sensitive with an alarm that sounds if he gets up before the time is over. A little overkill sometimes, but better than me leaving him in time-out for a longer than appropriate time because I get busy with laundry and forget to tell him he his done. But, if we aren't around the time-out mat, any empty corner of a room will do.

Another successful way to deal with a toddler who is misbehaving, so my Today's Parent magazine tells me, is to simply remove him from what he is doing or distract him with another activity. This has had varying results, since my little guy is pretty stubborn, and when he wants something it's pretty hard to get him to forget about it.

Oh yes, my little guy is quite a talker, and many people say he talks more than most kids his age. There have been quite a few humorous moments in the past 6 months or so, and I have been trying to collect them to share with you in a later post... I am sure if most of us wrote down the cute/funny things our toddlers/preschoolers say each day we'd all have quite a book of smiles to share! Feel free to post a favourite diddy your child has said!

Friday, October 16, 2009

More Inspiring Blogs

I am going to be taking next week off from blogging, so while I am on hiatus, here are some blogs I am totally inspired by these days for you to peek at if you are interested:

The Creative Party Place

The Creative Crate

Love. Obsess. Inspire.

How About Orange

Hostess with the Mostess

I'll be back again next Monday (October 26th)!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halloween Costumes

Here is a picture of the Halloween costume that I ordered online for my son {the photo is of another adorable little one since it hasn't actually arrived yet}. Too cute! What are your kids {or you} dressing up as this year?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wife Confessions

While I have been truly amazed with the amazing blogs that I have found lately, yesterday I discovered that there are some pretty outrageous ones as well. Did you know that there are "anonymous" websites and blogs where wives are able to post confessions about their husbands?

It wouldn't be so bad if the majority of the confessions went something like this one I found: "I love that we still have so much love and affection for each other even after all these years. Sometimes I feel like we are still newlyweds and I pray everyday that that feeling doesn't go away." However, many of these confessions are about the horrible things that wives have done to their husbands ~ cheating, lying and other dirty secrets.

Does posting these things online somehow make the person feel better? Does it release the associated guilt in some way? I suppose there is comfort in knowing you are not alone, but in this context I think it is not healthy for the individual or the relationship. I hope that most of the posts are gross exaggerations, and these women are not running around sleeping with their husband's cousins or best friends.

I know some days it's tough to communicate, and you can feel as if you are not even in the same book as your husband, let alone on the same page. But, how can airing your dirty laundry on the internet make things better? The sites seem to be quite popular and they have received a few "awards," so reading/writing these confessions must do something for the women who are on there... an extreme reality soap opera of sorts.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Roundup of Mommy E-newsletters

A couple of Mondays ago I rounded up a bunch of places in Calgary that offer Mom & Tot classes... today I have rounded up what I think are the best of the e-newlsletters that parents can sign up for {since there really are hundreds to choose from}. Some of these newsletters offer parenting advice or forums, and others offer products. I have tried out many "subscriptions" and these are my favourites {in no particular order}:

Today's Parent

BabyCenter Canada

Simple Mom

True Cuddles

Baby Steals

If you are loving roundups as much as I do, visit Morgan's blog post on Mon Petit Amour where she rounded up baby/maternity stores in Calgary.

Friday, October 9, 2009

11 Weeks Until Christmas

I get a plethora of e-newsletters every week/month, and one of them this morning ( reminded me that there are 11 weeks until Christmas. That may seem like a lot of time, but really when you put into perspective all the things that most people try to accomplish before the holidays, it really isn't!

Simple Mom writer Tsh (pronounced "Tish") is attempting to help everyone stay sane this year by setting weekly goals for each of us to accomplish so that we aren't doing everything last minute again this year. She has entitled the series of newsletters "12 Weeks to a Peaceful Christmas"

This week she suggests that you gather up all the addresses you will need for your holiday cards and research the different option that you have for sending said cards. Tsh suggests three options to consider {excluding the traditonal store-bought cards}, including making your own cards, ordering custom photo cards, or sending e-cards {and donating the money you would have spent on cards and postage to a charity}.

This made me curious, what option do you think you are going to pursue this year??? This year my family and I will be in Mexico for Christmas, something I am both excited and sad about {yay for getting out of the cold, boo for the change in traditions}. But, since I am already going to be having an un-traditional holiday, perhaps I should consider stepping out of my usual holiday card plan and look into the e-card option. Just not sure if the older generation will embrace this new-age idea... I think Grandma likes to proudly display her card {and the enclosed family photo} for all her friends to see.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Date Night

Last Wednesday I suggested that going on dates with your husband {or significant other} was one way to maintain your relationship {certainly not a groundbreaking concept, but true none the less}. Whether you have been together for a while and are feeling the passion fizzle, or your life is dominated by a new role as a parent, going out every week {or month if that's all you can do} and spending time together like you did in the beginning of the courtship is a great idea! Here are some suggestions on things that you can do together as a couple in various price ranges:

  • go bowling {even glow bowling if you want to feel nostalgic}
  • go to a play or dinner theatre {try Theatre Calgary or Jubilations here in Calgary}
  • go to a comedy club
  • visit a museum
  • go to a sporting event {extra points with the hubby usually}
  • try painting pottery
  • take a cooking class together
  • go for a walk {before it gets too cold}
  • go to a farmer's market
  • drive to a nearby city/town and get ice cream
  • volunteer somewhere together
  • walk around a pet shop {cute window shopping}

Share your favourite less conventional dates by posting a comment!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Blissfully too Busy to Blog Today

Hi everyone! My apologies for the lack of Mother Monday post this morning... I was at an all day women's conference called the Business of Bliss... attempting to discover my passion and live a life I love. While I did enjoy the day (especially speakers Martha Beck, Danielle LaPorte, and the wonderful Peter Walsh), I did find the ticket price to be a bit steep for what was included. {Although, I really have no idea how much something like that would cost to put on, so I guess I can't truly comment.}

I also enjoyed chatting with a few of the women involved with Entrepreneurial Moms {}, one of the event sponsors. Check them out if you are interested... I am definitely going to look into joining since it always helps to have mentorship and guidance from others when you are looking to start something new in your life.

One day... when I get my act together and answer the questions that Danielle LaPorte {} says we should ask ourselves... such as "what is your relationship to life?" and "what is your core desired feeling?" Then maybe I will know what it is that I want to do and will be able to go after it, all with the support of other mom entrepreneurs!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Celebrating Each and Every Day

When I first started my blog, about a month ago now, I had read a handful of blogs before and was following a couple. Now I find myself enthralled with the vast numbers of creatively cool women that are out there blogging about things they love. I discover a new, exciting blog almost everyday. Topics range from DIY projects, home decor, and renovating, to motherhood, online shopping, and crafting.

While I don’t have the ability to follow each and every blog I find, I do make time for my new favourite site that I have subscribed to which is all about a topic that is very near and dear to my heart... events! {I love event planning and I am currently going to school one evening a week to get my Event Management Certificate from Mount Royal.} Michelle Stepp is the fabulous female behind “Everyday Celebrating,” and is an event planner in the Nashville, Tennesee area. I, quite simply, love reading her blog. I am fascinated by the stuff that she both finds and creates, and the events that she features.

I was super pumped when, after emailing Michelle to ask her about her fun blog header {which I love and hope to be able to emulate with my own one day when I have the skills}, and she got back to me – that very day! I am amazed that not only are the blogging women I find talented, but they are gracious and sweet too... and Michelle is no exception. When I emailed her back again to ask if it was okay that I feature her on here today, she was kind enough to say yes.

If you are as passionate about events as I am, or even if you just need some fresh new ideas for an upcoming family shin-dig, please check out Everyday Celebrating. I am positive you will be as hooked as I am after viewing the cute kabob invites Michelle found, or the fun Halloween ideas she’s rounding up. As Michelle’s concept implies, we should all celebrate each and every day... whether there’s an official reason to or not! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Practical Advice

When you are pregnant you can attend prenatal classes to prepare you for the birth of your baby that teach you about labour, and diapering, feeding, cleaning, and otherwise caring for your baby. But, there is a huge flaw in this counselling, because most couples ultimately will figure out how to put on a diaper, get their baby to sleep, or cope with their own sleep deprivation. What we really need to learn, is how to deal with each other once the baby comes! We need to be prepared for all the changes that happen in our marriage after having a child. Skills for staying connected would be much more practical, since it is widely believed that as many as 25% of couples split up in the first five years after having a child.

It certainly hasn't been easy for my husband and I to transition from a couple to a family, and I have talked with other women who find it difficult to balance their roles as both a wife and mother.

In my research on this issue I discovered that Drs. John & Julie Gottman put on workshops in the US called "Bringing Baby Home" that focus on the changing relationship between mom and dad, as well as how to care for a newborn. On the Gottman Institute website it says that after having a baby "40 to 70% of couples experience stress, profound conflict and drops in marital satisfaction during this time, all of which affect their baby’s care."

So, it isn't uncommon to feel stressed out, and since we don't have these workshops in Canada {at least not that I am aware of}, I guess we just figure it out as we go and do our best. To maintain our relationship my husband and I try our best to commit to going on dates together as much as possible. We also support each other in outside interests {hubby plays sports, I have school and book club for example}. One major source of conflict after our son was born was housework {it's no secret that I hate cleaning}. So, we compromised by working a monthly cleaning lady into our budget.

Share your tips on keeping your marriage strong after becoming parents by posting a comment.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mom & Tot Classes

As a new mom it is important to stay busy and interact with other moms and their babies/toddlers. Here is a list I have compiled of some places in Calgary where you can take Mom & Tot classes {in alphabetical order}. I live in the deep south end of the city, so most of these classes are located in my area. If you know of any others in the Calgary area please post a comment below or email me and I'll add it to the list! If I have tried the class/venue personally before I have marked it with a star rating from * {1} to ***** {5}. No rating means I haven't had the opportunity to try them out yet... if you have please share your thoughts!

Fitness with Kids


Gymtastics {I am excited to take a GymTots class in January...}

****Little Wonders

*****Petite Beats {Miss Connie is so nice and my son adores her}

South Fish Creek Recreation


*****YMCA {rating is for the Swim & Gym classes offered at the Shawnessy YMCA}

I am going to take as many classes as possible to stay busy this winter... being stuck in the house with an active toddler can drive a mommy crazy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New Blog Header

I thought I would attempt to add a new header to my blog... and through the help of an online tutorial provided by Jill from "Sneaky Momma" and Scrapblog I was able to do so.

I didn't spend too much time on it because I wanted to see if it would work for me first, so it's likely that I will change the header again in the not so distant future. Let me know if you have any other tips or suggestions for a future header, I am loving learning everything I can about what the internet and blogging have to offer!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fab Female in the Limelight

I discovered Paula and her company Limelight Photography through a good old fashioned Google search for "baby photographers in Calgary." I fell in love with her work, and after looking at her portfolio even decided to do some prenatal pictures. Since then we have worked with Paula three more times: when Baby B was 3-months-old, again when he was 9-months-old, and most recently we did a family shoot in August.

I have the pictures Paula has taken for us everywhere in my house. It's so important to me to document the growth of my family, and capture whatever moments we can forever in photographs. Paula is not only super-talented, but she has this amazing ability to click that button at just the right moment finding the smile between the cries of a newborn, or playful innocence in a tired, moody toddler. She also offers packages that include your touched-up digital negatives ~ a total must for anyone who is indecisive like me {I could never go through a bunch of pictures, and just pick a few poses}!

Paula is an inspiration to me for a variety of reasons, one being that I always wanted to be a good photographer, but never really had the skill {a photography class in college helped me discover this}. Second, Paula has turned a skill and obvious passion into her own business. And, third, she is also a mom and wife and somehow makes it all work!

I highly recommend Paula if you are looking for a photographer to help you hold onto your memories {she also does amazing weddings}. Here are pictures from each of the photo sessions my family has had with Limelight Photography. Please note that I have chosen to only share pictures that do not show our faces because I want to maintain a certain amount of privacy for my husband and son {they didn't decide to start writing this blog afterall}. This is not meant to devalue Paula's work... trust me she does also take fabulous pictures from the front! Check out Paula's blog to see more!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cooking Up Compliments

It seems to be becoming a pretty common theme for Wife Wednesdays that I am in the process of learning to cook. It has been the most challenging aspect of being a stay-at-home mom for me, personally. When my husband and I were both working full-time (outside of the home) before becoming parents, we shared the meal preparation duties. To be honest my husband did the majority of the actual cooking, with me focussing on side dishes and such.

Now I do the grocery shopping, and plan and prepare the meals, occasionally asking the hubby to barbeque as required. It's still a huge battle for me every weekend to come up with a meal plan and then, each day at 5:30pm, attempt to turn my groceries into something that is edible and the whole family enjoys. It's no secret that toddlers are picky eaters, and after spending the time and energy making something it can be so disheartening when my son refuses to eat what I put in front of him.

That's why it was the highlight of my month {I am not exaggerating either}, when a few weeks ago after preparing my mom's spaghetti sauce recipe for the first time by myself, both my husband and son gobbled up the food on their plates whilst making the appropriate slurping and smacking noises, and then asked for more. I couldn't have been happier or prouder of myself. It definitely gave me the motivation to continue learning all that I can about cooking. I am even looking into some cooking classes to further my culinary skills. If anyone knows if any such classes in Calgary please share {or a favourite "beginner" recipe website will be equally appreciated}! And, if you are in the same boat as me, know that you are not alone, keep trying, and celebrate every little compliment!

Monday, September 21, 2009

As I have noted in the About Me section of my blog, I am an avid online shopper. I have only had a few problems so far, such as items that suddenly become discontinued five weeks after I placed my order {and after being told at least three times that my order had already shipped}, but nothing serious enough to deter me from ordering on the internet.

I get very frustrated when I am looking for something in particular, and I head out with my little man for a day of shopping, but come home empty handed because stores in Calgary are out of stock! So, I buy online to save myself the time and headache, or at the very least research the different options online before I leave the house.

My favourite online maternity/baby/toddler store that I have used for the majority of my baby-related purchases, is Toronto-based Dear Born Baby {}. They offer free shipping on orders over $100, and they have consistently provided me with good customer service and a great selection of products. The site is easy to navigate, professional and appealing to look at. I have mentioned this company to my mommy friends too many times to count. {Fabulous Friend: "Lauren, where did you get this great thing?" Me: "From Dear Born Baby of course."}

I highly recommend that you check here first before heading out to the stores! Especially if your little one doesn't particularly like to go shopping for more than an hour or two like my little guy! {Bonus: you get to receive your new stuff in the mail, and who doesn't love that!?}

Happy shopping!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Blissful Life

I am super excited because this week I ordered my ticket for the upcoming Business of Bliss conference here in Calgary on Monday, October 5th. I have always wanted to attend a women's conference, and this one is of particular interest because it is focussed on living your passion (in your personal and business life), and because I dream of starting my own business one day. Tickets are a little pricey at $249 a piece, but I am hoping it will be worth it.

One of the speakers at the event is Peter Walsh from TLC's Clean Sweep {who I adore for his ruthless organization skills}, and another is Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell. This conference also does double duty for me in that I get to spend the day with a whole bunch of adult women, something that every new mommy knows doesn't always fit into the schedule. Big thanks to my fabulous mom and awesome hubby for sharing childcare duties for the day so I can attend! Here's to living a life you love!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

To Love, Honor, and Vacuum

**As I mentioned in my previous post, we are leaving today for a mini vacation in San Diego. I will be back on Monday afternoon, but being the keener I am, I have already written posts for the days that I am away and they will automatically go up at 9:00 on Friday and Monday mornings.**

I discovered this gem of a blog about a year ago and immediately signed up to receive the weekly emails. Author of To Love, Honor, and Vacuum, Sheila Wray Gregoire from Belleville, Ontario, has lots to say, and whether you are Christian or not, have kids or don't, it is a good read for anyone and everyone who is married. I am certainly not an expert on marriage, probably no one is, but I think Sheila is pretty darn close. Her writing is encouraging and straightforward. I learn something about myself every time I visit her site, and I find tools to help me change the things that I don't like about myself or my life.

The email that I received on Friday was all about not fretting when you feel like you aren't good at anything early in your marriage, and not comparing yourself to women who have been doing things {like cooking} alot longer than you. It's always nice to know that there are others out there who are going through the same thing as you! Here's a quote from Sheila's post/email entitled "September Resolutions":

"Simply by living, life often gets easier. We get practice. Practice at making a decent meal. Practice at putting our toys away. Practice at sharing our lives and our hearts. Hopefully practice at keeping our wallets—and our mouths—closed when necessary. And most importantly, practice at showing others how much we love them. And practice does a lot more for you than an endless list of resolutions."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Have Kid, Still Travel

I have been very fortunate to do quite a lot of traveling in the last year and a half. For most of these trips my husband and I took our son along with us. His first plane ride was when he was five months old, and we leave this Wednesday for San Diego for our last "free" trip before he turns two. I feel like I am becoming a bit of an expert on traveling, by both car and airplane, with a child in tow. At the very least I am a pretty quick packer, and fairly confident I will have everything I need with me {as long as our luggage isn't delayed for two days again like we experienced in Hawaii, but that's another story}.

So, for today's Mother Monday post I thought I would share a few tips on traveling with a baby or toddler.

Keeping in mind your child's age and individual likes/dislikes you may want to consider bringing the following items:
  • New small toys and books {that they have never seen before, or you can reserve particular items for travel only and your child will look forward to being able to play with that item again the next trip}
  • Crayons, colouring books, and stickers
  • Flash cards
  • A small dollar store photo album filled with pictures of your child, their friends and family {our son loves flipping through albums and naming people or the things they are doing, so this is my newest trick for our upcoming trip}
  • Snacks and wipes {small bite sized foods take longer to eat}
  • Portable DVD player and a few favourite movies {if the airline doesn't have those built-in seat back TVs}
  • A travel "Aqua Doodle" or "Magna Doodle" {less mess then the crayons and colouring books}
  • Inexpensive electronic travel games {if they aren't old enough to actually play they will still enjoy pushing the buttons, and fellow travelers will prefer the beeping sounds over your fussing little one}

When packing for your trip don't forget to put any medications you or your family members are taking in your carry on luggage {I didn't have my birth control pills for the two days we were in Hawaii without our checked bags}. Please do not count on your child having a nap during the flight, whether it is their typical nap time or not. If you can, allow them to burn off as much energy as possible in the airport before boarding the flight. And, above all else try to put on your patient hat for the day ~something I sometimes forget~ because I think kids can sense our tension and it may cause them to be stressed out as well.

Please share your tips by posting a comment below!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blog Tips

I know, it's Sunday... what the heck am I doing on here? Well, I was hoping that other bloggers out there might be able to help me out. Since I am new to this, I don't know all the tricks and tips to making a blog look good, and work effectively, so please, please share your thoughts with me by commenting below or sending me an email at!


Friday, September 11, 2009

The Blog that Inspired Me

There is one blog in particular that inspired me to stop thinking about writing my own blog and actually do it, and that is Mon Petit Amour ( by my seven months preggo and unbelievably talented {I'm serious, there isn't anything she isn't good at I am pretty sure} friend Morgan. It seems fitting therefore, that I feature Morgan and Mon Petit Amour as my first Friday post since she is such a "Fabulous Female."

Morgan has found some really interesting baby and maternity products and companies over the last six months or so, since starting the blog, and I check it out at least a couple times a week. She even has contests to enter and promotions exclusively for her readers from some of the companies she has featured.

I am inspired that she has turned her cute little blog so quickly into something that so many women enjoy, and that might even make her some moolah down the road. Morgan is such a kind and generous person, and it definitely comes through in her writing ~ she makes you feel right at home on her blog. Please check it out!


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Inaugural Post

I have always wanted to have a blog, and well, everyone has to start somewhere, so why not today, right!?

I have also always wanted my blog to be unique. I am a mother, and completely obsessed with all things baby and toddler. But when I thought about writing a blog I decided that I wanted it to be a little more then just what silly thing my little man said or did that day, or the neat toy I just bought for him (although I will still be sharing these tidbits as well). I wanted it to be readable by any woman.

So, I am going to focus on three me's, writing three weekly posts {I may be a little naive and ambitious as a newby blogger, so it remains to be seen whether I can actually do this}. The three me's are:

{M is for Mother and Monday}
Being a mommy will be the focus of Monday's post. I will share my experiences raising my 21-month-old son ~ good and bad. I may also highlight a particular mom, baby, or toddler product or company that I enjoy.

{W is for Wife and Wednesday}
Wednesdays I will focus on being a wife and homemaker. I struggle with this aspect of me everyday. I am not a good cook, cannot sew or knit, and I hate cleaning. Admittedly I am not blessed with any of the skills that befall the typical doting housewife. But perhaps there are others out there and we can learn together?

{F is for Female and Friday}
Fridays will be all about being a woman in general. How I try to maintain balance in my life by nurturing the other relationships in my life with friends, my mom, and my sister. I will also write about other things I am passionate about including event planning, stationery, and reading.

Thanks for stopping by, and remember to take time to embrace "you" today!