Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Monday, December 27, 2010

Disney Live! Colouring Page

Disney Live! Coupon Code





Use the coupon code BLOG and receive $5 off tickets to see Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show!

Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show














DISNEY LIVE! MICKEY’S ROCKIN’ ROAD SHOW TAKES AUDIENCES ON HILARIOUS, HIGH-ENERGY ADVENTURE WITH FAVORITE DISNEY CHARACTERS
Brand-New, Live Stage Production Produced by Feld Entertainment
Stars Mickey Mouse and Friends in Original Storyline with Contemporary Twist

Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show, Feld Entertainment’s newest stage production, whisks audiences on a wacky, fun-filled journey with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they embark on a talent search adventure filled with unexpected, exciting encounters and favorite Disney friends. As this original storyline unfolds, families will sing, dance and laugh along with the ever-lovable Tigger; Cinderella and her conniving stepsisters; and for the first time in Disney Live! history, Buzz Lightyear, Woody and friends from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story.
“In Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show, fun knows no boundaries,” says Producer Kenneth Feld. “Audiences will feel like they’re seeing a cartoon come to life as they experience the humor, hijinks, twists and turns of Mickey’s road trip and talent show. The only rules are ‘cartoon rules,’ and anything goes.”

“Families will feel like they are traveling alongside Mickey and Minnie as they set off on an exciting theatrical excursion, right in their hometown,” Producer Alana Feld comments. “Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show is a combination of hilarious escapades, hip music and modern choreography that fuse together to present the Disney characters like you’ve never seen them before.”

As a special bonus, fifteen minutes before every performance, families are treated to the Playhouse Disney Pre-Show Party. This interactive experience features a live host as she gets the audience revved up for the show with fun video highlights from Playhouse Disney favorites “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny,” “Imagination Movers,” “Special Agent Oso” and “Jungle Junction.” The Pre-Show party is free to all ticket holders.

The excitement begins when Mickey and his pals decide to put on a talent show, with Mickey as the director, Minnie as the costume designer, Goofy as the clumsy stagehand and Donald in charge of the big “Ka-Pow”! Realizing that they need more performers, they embark on a road trip in Mickey’s fantastical bus, where they face a series of misadventures and eventually round up a few friends to help put on their show.

“What sets this show apart is how we unite characters that normally exist in separate worlds and incorporate the kind of music that kids listen to everyday to create a fresh, original story,” says Director Jay Smith. “We want families to feel like they’ve played as much a part in the show as those on stage, so whether they join Cinderella as she sings ‘Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo,’ bounce along with Tigger to ‘The Whoop-De-Dooper Bounce’ or rock and roll to songs by the Jonas Brothers and Hannah Montana, there is really something for everyone.”

The show is based on the concept of a live cartoon, and writer Bradley Zweig sets the stage for fun when Mickey surprises his pals with the vehicle for their adventure: an amazing bus equipped with unusual gadgets. When the characters need to get over a mountain during their talent search, the push of a button inflates a hot air balloon from the roof. When the bus rolls into the ocean, the flip of a switch transforms it into a submarine. “These are things that only happen in cartoons, but we’re doing them live on stage. You don’t explain them; they just happen,” says Zweig. “In a cartoon, nothing is impossible. The silliest, craziest, funniest things can happen for no reason whatsoever, and in Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show, they do.”

The Mickey Mouse Bus was developed by the Feld Entertainment props team led by the show’s scenic designer and Feld Entertainment Vice President of Scenic Elements Rick Papineau. Special effects like the hot air balloon, periscope and propeller advance the storyline as the characters move from location to location.

To transport audiences on their virtual journey, the bus functions in conjunction with original video content displayed on a giant projection screen. Created by Feld Entertainment Video Designer Ilja Nowodworski, the animated video establishes multiple scenic environments and captures the essence of each character’s world. When Mickey and his friends are traveling to their next destination, the digital video images move to create the illusion that the bus is traveling and the characters are able to zoom up and down hills and around curves, drive underwater and float through the clouds.

To enhance the experience, Papineau incorporated multiple scenic projection panels that flank the screen to create an extension of the backdrop. “The panels are made directly from video screen shots, so it looks like the images run out of the screen,” says Papineau. Because the panels can configure many different scenic combinations, audiences are able to enjoy a truly visual experience as the scenic backdrop takes them through country hillsides, a cactus-filled desert, a royal village and other picturesque locales.

Costume Designer Scott Lane’s youthful and colorful designs enhance the playful, contemporary feel of Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show. “I wanted to incorporate bright, fun ‘kid’ colors so the show is like a coloring book and yet keep the silhouettes of today,” says Lane. To create costumes that reflect current youth fashion trends, Lane used clothing catalogs and magazines as inspiration and then added his own touch by infusing vibrant primary colors and mixing patterns. He also looked to current pop star fashion for the costume designs of the host and male ensemble, incorporating vests, ties, untucked shirts and pinstripe pants to create a casual and preppy look, reflective of current trends.

For the Disney characters, Lane maintained traditional silhouettes, but added a modern flair. Cinderella first appears in her classic ball gown crafted from 45-year-old vintage fabric, but with the help of the Fairy Godmother, it magically transforms into a sequined, beaded, light blue dress with accents of pink flowers. One of Lane’s challenges was designing an outfit for Mickey Mouse that is timeless, yet current, and reflects his active, youthful personality. To convey both vibes, Lane dressed Mickey in red plaid shorts, a multi-colored striped shirt and tie, a blue vest and sneakers during the road trip, and then switched to a classic showbiz look: a bold three-piece suit with red, white, yellow and black polka dots and stripes.

Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show features a unique blend of music that incorporates both timeless and remixed Disney songs, along with hip tunes that pave the way for choreographer Robbie Mackey’s distinctive dance numbers. From Cinderella’s comical tap-dancing stepsisters and a Broadway-style kick line to a knee-slapping hoedown and Tigger’s hip-hop-inspired bounce routine, Mackey combines a range of dance styles to create an energetic and fresh look that conveys a classic yet contemporary feel.

Host Chris Chatman provides the link between the audience and the characters throughout the show. The 23-year-old Chatman, one of the final 54 contestants in “American Idol” Season 8, guides families along the road trip and energizes them with his charisma, impressive vocals and dance moves.

Mackey collaborated with Music Director Stan Beard to choose pieces of music that support the action on stage and deliver the right tempo for the choreography. “The music is the energy behind everything,” Beard comments. “We wanted to show a different side of traditional characters so we used the song selection to add a little edge, which opened up endless possibilities for fresh takes on well-known Disney friends.”

For Tigger’s talent show number, Mackey choreographed an athletic, upbeat routine set to “Bounce, Bounce,” a re-mixed version of R&B artist J.Moss’ “Jump, Jump.” The scene showcases Tigger flanked by four backup dancers in an exciting, fast-paced music video-style routine. “It’s a current, very hip section of the show, and everyone in the audience bounces as much as the dancers on stage,” says Mackey.
Lighting Designer Sam Doty sets the mood of the show by creating colorful and vibrant lighting designs that transform the stage and complement the music as they transport audiences to each destination. “The music’s really fun and upbeat, and I wanted to match that,” says Doty. “Everything’s based on the music and the action of the show.” Tigger performs his hip-hop routine while subtle tiger stripe gobos embellish the proscenium and the stage floor. The stepsisters’ clumsy antics are supplemented by sharp, crazy lighting cues, while Cinderella’s elegant solo is matched by beautiful, soft pink, blue and purple lights. For scenes where the Mickey Mouse Bus is traveling, Doty mimics the motion on the screen so that the lights move with the road, like shadows going by.

Throughout the process, Doty was conscious of the practicality of lighting a children’s show. “It’s very important for kids to see the faces of the characters they love, while creating the environment of the scene and keeping the lighting fun and exciting,” he says.

Disney Live! Mickey’s Rockin’ Road Show invites audiences to experience a high-energy adventure jam-packed with hip music, eye-catching choreography and one-of-a-kind scenery that combine to create an unforgettable journey full of laughs and surprises with favorite Disney friends.

About Feld Entertainment

Feld Entertainment is the world’s leading producer and presenter of live family entertainment. A privately owned and operated family company, Feld Entertainment is the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, Feld Motor Sports, Disney On Ice, and Disney Live! With more than 5,000 performances annually and tours in over 65 countries on six continents, the company’s shows are seen by more than 30 million people each year.
For more information about Disney Live!, members of the media should visit www.feldentertainment.com.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Disney on Ice - Winner Announced

The winner of the 4 tickets to Disney on Ice is.....

Melissa!!!

Please email me at info@glowbaby.ca.

Guest Post: Massage Therapy an Essential Part of Your Body and Baby Care During Pregnancy

Massage Therapy an Essential Part of Your Body and Baby Care During Pregnancy

Article by Nicole Nifo from Fully Alive Wellness Centre
Most of us make a visit to see our Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) at least every 1-2 months for a “tune-up” or sometimes every few months to relax and let go.

As you are progressing though each Trimester, your body is slowly adapting to a growing baby, belly, weight gain and more flexible joints. This puts a lot of strain on the muscles and joints that hold up your posture. Oftentimes body pain can be relieved with a stretch or a heated compress. Not when you are pregnant! Don’t forget that if the baby is already pushing into your ribs or lower back-as baby grows, so does your discomfort.

The benefits of Massage Therapy when you are Pregnant are:
• Reduced stress hormones and anxiety in the body
• Reduced postural discomforts (back pain, headaches, sciatica, carpal tunnel, etc.)
• Reduced swelling in hands and feet (reducing leg cramping)
• Improved maternal mood (decreasing depression)
• Promote neonatal health and development
• Promote awareness in the changing pregnant body
• Bond mother to baby growing inside her (important for 1st time mom)

Which Trimester is safe for Massage Therapy?

All of the trimesters are safe for Massage Therapy. Minor modifications will be made to accommodate your pregnant body during each trimester (eg. positioning, techniques, pressure).

So you have never had a Massage?

Then there is no time like the present! Face it, once baby arrives- all that “Me” time that you like to take for yourself will turn into “Baby” time. Most moms find it hard to do self care, but being a new mom is the beginning of parenthood. We all know that parents want the best for their children, but when it comes to themselves its mediocre.

Think about it: happy mom equals happy baby! Please do not think that your baby cant sense stress or fatigue; they are very receptive so make sure that you give you self lots of love before, during and after pregnancy to ensure optimal health and happiness.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Birthday Presents - When to open?

I have been planning Juliet's 2nd birthday party this week and while planning the party itinerary,I struggled with the question of when do we open the presents? When I ask this question, what I mean is do we open present with everyone or after the party and send out thank you notes.

We don't usually open presents but as the girls get older, when is it ok to open the presents at the party? In the past, we don't open presents as there is not enough time and I have this vision of toddlers fighting over the newly unwrapped toys. I think it is probably wise not to open presents at Juliet's party, but at Ainsley's 4th, should we?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Celebrating the Gift of Communication...for all children, of all abilities...everywhere!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfeBXIy_VAI

Who? Parents, teachers, librarians, speech language pathologists, early childhood educators and their children. We'll be counting the number of children involved, the number of locations and event the number of countries involved.

If you'd like to organize a WeeHands Challenge in your community on December 7th, please email: info@weehands.com. You don't have to be a WeeHands Instructor to organize a challenge in your area!

The WeeHands Challenge? Groups across North America will organize and meet in their own communities to sign and sing this year's song "This Little Light of Mine". This is a free event for families, teachers & children!

This fun event is a challenge for which geographic area (province or state) has the most children signing and sing this year's song at 11am local time.

The Challenge: 11am local time. Some sites will include a few signing parents/caregivers and their children who get together to "be counted" and others are much larger events with live music, speakers, prizes etc.

When? the event will occur across North America on Tuesday December 7th at 11am (local times for each location).

Where? Organizers will seek out and set up their own locations, e.g., libraries, speech clinics, early years centres, community rooms, mall or any other venue. We anticipate that schools and child care centres will also participate.

Why? to celebrate the gift of communication for all children, of all abilities, everywhere! A chance for education and peer support in a fun social way.

Visit the Weehands website for more information:

http://www.weehands.com/challenge.htm

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another reason why I hate the time change

For the few weeks, it has seemed as if getting the girls out of the house and into the car has been especially inefficient and I couldn’t figure out why. We used to have our morning routine down to a science and were always out the door on time and at school with time to spare without rushing. However, to my great puzzlement, the last few weeks have seemed increasingly rushed and time seemed to fly as we went from house to car.

No matter how early we left the house, we were still later than usual at school. It was really beginning to frustrate me as I hate being late and could just not understand what it was that was slowing us down. Then today it hit me. We weren’t late, our clock in the car was fast. I don’t know about you, but often after the clocks have been changed, whether forward or back, I have to make small adjustments to our clocks a few times to get them all relatively in sync. Well, turns out that the clock in the house was correct, but the clock in the car was about 8 minutes too fast. One would think that this was not a big deal, but for someone who only has 2 hours and 30 minutes to herself in the morning while the girls are at school, 8 minutes is a big deal.

I am glad I finally figured out why there was such a time discrepancy as it was frustrating and now I feel relieved to know that we are in fact on time and even early! Now I can stop stressing about the time. I will make sure I do a better job of changing the time on all clocks in the spring.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Spotlight: Momstown






momstown.ca
is for neighbourhood moms wanting to connect for support, conversation and just plain fun.

Momstown brings you an online calendar chock-full of momstown specific events, a 24-hour interactive message board (perfect for those sleepless nights), and exclusive member privileges and discounts.

Odds are that when you were growing up your mom knew all of your neighbours. Your street was full of kids you knew and your mom invited the neighbourhood over to run through the sprinkler while the other moms had coffee and chatted. If a neighbour had a new baby, you were probably sent over with a hot casserole and the new mother would have been warmly welcomed into the folds of the other families. Although some social conventions have (sadly) changed, what hasn’t is the need to connect with other local mothers. It has always been said it takes a village to raise a child. We say it takes a town. Who resides in the town we fondly call momstown? Well, it’s moms like you.

What began as a small mothers group run by one mom has flourished under tender loving care by local women to make momstown the supportive, organized ‘neighbourhood’ it is today. Founded in August 2007 by moms from Burlington, Ontario, momstown.ca has now found a niche within many communities by providing moms with consistent activities and daily encouragement. momstown uses the internet to connect but our goal is to get moms off the computer and out of the house!

Momstown provides a unique offering for local moms. A membership is inclusive and offers over 20 exclusive momstown events monthly (per chapter!), an active local website with tons of dialogue and awesome member discounts and privileges from our partners.

The annual fee of $45 per mom (not per child) includes our events and social opportunities. An amazing deal that works out to be about 10 cents per event! Your membership will link you with so many local moms both in person and online and your social and support network will explode.

To join, just click on the communities page and complete the registration and watch your email (check your junk mail!) for your password and other details. Hope to see you in the neighbourhood soon!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

New: Spotlight Posts

One of the reasons behind creating Glow Baby was to help parents. With our products we are helping parents take control of their lives and get organized! With products firmly under our belt (and new products on the way) we have decided to also share our knowledge with you. Whether this is knowledge of other great products or fabulous businesses that provide a service to help you, we will be bringing our readers this information.

From Doulas to momsgroups, if we think they can help make being a parent easier, we will tell you about them! If you know of a business or product that helped you as a parent feel free to send us a note at info@glowbaby.ca and we will contact them for a possible Spotlight.

Look out for our Spotlight posts starting on Monday!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Big Decision

So after much debate and help from my readers, I have purchased a birthday dress for Juliet and one for Ainsley.

I chose......



For Juliet, the birthday girl. Even though I loved the white one, I could just picture how it would probably be ruined with the pizza and cake we will be having at the party. This dress is a dark blue (stains will not show) and it's girlie with the tulle skirt. I am sure she will be thrilled to wear it for her birthday. (Note to self, don't show her the dress until the day of her birthday or she will want to wear it)



I chose this dress for Ainsley as I think the eyelets are adorable. It's a bit more muted than Juliet's and can see it being worn with a shirt underneath for school as well. Therefore I will get more use out of it. Oh, and it was on sale! A total plus :)

I will be sure to post pictures of the girls wearing their new dresses.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dress Dilemma - Found another great option

I don't know how I missed this dress the first time I was on Gap.com. I was just about to buy the white tiered dress when this one caught my eye. Now what do I do? The white one or the blue one? Clearly I need help!!!

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Birthday Dress Dilemma

My adorable Juliet is having her 2nd Birthday Party in 2 1/2 weeks and I was browsing the web to find a nice dress for her and her sister to wear. I came across the Gap and they have some SUPER adorable dresses and I am having trouble deciding which one to get!

Please help and comment on which dress/skirt you like best:

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Anyone Else Need A Vacation From Their Weekend?

Our weekends seem to be getting busier as the girls get older. With ballet for my eldest, gymnastics and music class for my youngest, plus family get togethers, playdates, birthday parties and more, I need a vacation from our weekend!

We no longer have lazy Sundays where we can sleep in and relax. Chores have replaced reading the paper or going out for brunch. Don’t get me wrong, our weekend plans are great fun. The girls love their respective activities and I love going with them. They have so much energy that if we don’t get out of the house by 10am they start to go stir crazy. We plan playdates and other activities because they love them and allows them to use up some of their endless amounts of energy. It’s also a chance for us to catch up with our adult friends. But no matter how many activities we do, they just don’t tire out!

Yesterday, even after a playdate where the girls had a dance party, pretended to be animals and literally hopped around the house for two hours, they still had energy to burn! We took them swimming after Juliet’s nap and the only people who were exhausted after that were me and my husband!

How do you get the rest and relaxation you need to recharge? For me, it helps that the girls are in nursery school in the mornings which gives me a chance to work and write. At least I get a two hour chunk of time during which I can actually sit down for awhile and get things done. I am also very thankful that my mom comes over two afternoons a week to play with the girls. Making dinner is much easier when they are occupied!

I hear parents of much older children talk about a return to lazy Sunday mornings as their children start to sleep in and don’t need them anymore. While this sounds lovely, I already know I will miss their early morning snuggles, their wrestling, their dancing and all the time we spend together. Despite how tired I find I am most of the time, I know this period will go by so quickly and I don’t want to miss a moment!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Guest Blog by Sprout Right: How To Avoid Winter Flu's

I came across this posts for alternative ways to boost your immune system and avoid illness this winter and was happy when Lianne from Sprout Right let me post on the blog. I will definitely be printing this out to try and stay healthy!

How to Avoid Winter Flu's
By: Lianne Phillipson-Webb, www.sproutright.com
It’s cold and dark outside. Yes winter is coming and we all know what that means—colds, flu, and other bugs flying around the office, school or daycare, and then brought home to circulate the family.

So far I’ve heard of Norwalk hitting hard, lingering coughs and colds, but not the flu… yet. Whether you find yourself achy all over, warming up with a fever, that scratchy throat feeling or nose is running like a tap, it means something’s coming. Those damn bugs gotcha!

Do you go for the medicine cabinet, or vitamin cupboard? In my house, well you can guess, I get out my remedy first aid kit and start there. I pull out the oregano oil (mixed in some Echinacea syrup so we can get it down), probiotics, vitamin C, garlic drink and specific homeopathic remedies depending on what the symptoms are. My daughters know that feeling sick means the caster oil and cold wet socks are coming at bedtime too (I’ll explain that craziness later on).

That may sound like quite a list, but I really hate being sick. If I could just lie on the couch and let it ride, I still wouldn’t like it. So I throw it all at us. And it works. If we’ve had some virus or whatever bug gets us, it generally hits us less or leaves faster.

What can you do to help your family? Here are my top tips:

Find yourself a naturopath or homeopath. As well as booking an intro consult, ask if they offer phone/email consults for acute situations. I’m able to email mine with symptoms and get feedback of what homeopathic remedies that will help speed recovery and lessen symptoms. If you aren’t familiar with homeopathy, it sure packs a punch. Your naturopath or homeopath can help you with specifics, so don’t worry about not knowing what it’s all about.
Create your own remedy first aid kit.
Start with vitamin C. A powder is best and most versatile for the family. It should dissolve in water or dilute juice and can be downed in one or sipped throughout the day. Adults can take about 2000 mg once or twice a day and kids 200 – 400 mg per day (too much vit C = diarrhoea, so ease off if that’s the case). Chech out the link below for my favourite product, Ascorbate C.

Oil of Oregano has potent antiviral and antifungal properties. It is taken against colds and flu’s, candida and parasites. Start it as any symptoms start. Adult dose – one to two drops mixed in with juice. Babies and children – put one drop on the soles of their feet. *Oregano oil is not recommended for breastfeeding. Use for no longer than three weeks and dose up on probiotics too while taking it.

Echinacea is an herbal immune booster. It works best when you feel the start of a cold or other symptoms. Long-term use is not advised. Take for one week then not the next. Continue over the winter months.

Probiotics are a sneaky way to boost the immune system. It sounds kind of backwards, taking good bacteria when it will go to my intestines – but when you understand that about 80 per cent of your immune system is in your digestive system, it all makes sense. Check out the link below for a description of Genestra’s products that I’ve used for years.

When you are hit with something, these crazy sounding remedies can be used on the whole family.

Castor Oil - Rub a loonie size of caster oil on the chest, over the lung area, front and back. Do this before bed, and use a hot water bottle over the area if age appropriate.

Cold Wet Socks – This is a great natural remedy for coughs, colds and congestion. Here’s what you do:

Before bed, make a pair of cotton socks with cold water, squeeze out excess water. Put the socks on the feet and cover with wool or wooly overtop. As crazy as it sounds, it really works. I’ve got up in the middle of the night before to re-wet my socks so I stop coughing. It’s better than cough medicine.

I have not made either of these up, they’ve been around for years. I know it sounds completely nuts, but I promise you it really helps!

Check out SproutRight.com here for more information on specific supplements.

Other suggestions include:

Avoid sugar – I know, I know, you only feel like snacking on comfort foods. Sugar can suppress the immune system for a period of hours, so it might be the difference to one day off to a few.

Drink immune boosting herbal teas and ease off the coffee and milk – don’t send me packing with my ideas just yet – let me explain. Your body (or your kid’s) need fluids so herb teas are warm, wet and also can help give a boost. Dairy products are mucus forming, so you may find yourself not needing any help in the mucus-producing department (both coughs and colds), so just shelve it for now.

Try the ‘Garlic Bomb’. You are at home anyway so it doesn’t matter if you have garlic breath. This one is probably only for adults, not kiddies. Fill a mug with boiled water from the kettle. Use a garlic press to crush a clove of garlic into the water. Add a teaspoon of honey, a squeeze of lemon and even a chunk of fresh ginger if you have it. Drink it all. The garlic bits at the bottom too.

So now that you’ve got more than enough ideas of how to make this a healthier winter, go stock up and be ready for what comes!

This is not meant to take the place of medical advice or a visit to the doctors.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Communication and Men - I just don't get it

My husband hosted his annual Rally weekend up at the cottage this past weekend. This is a time that all the men who have been friends for a long time go away for two nights, drink beer, play poker and eat. Apparently, these three things are all they do for 48 hours as according to my husband, they don't talk about anything.

Every year, when Brett comes home, I ask him what was discussed. Every year his answer is nothing. No gossip, no tidbits, no insight into their lives. Apparently, nothing of any note gets talked about. How can this be?

When I went away to Blissdom Canada two weeks ago, everything was discussed! From children, to business, to twitter, to sisterhood. Not a topic was left uncovered. How is that women communicate in such a fundamentally different way than men?

I have tried many times to explain to my husband the power of social media and the relationships I have made through twitter and he has yet to understand what I am talking about. When I told him I wanted to create a resource page on the Glow Baby website and connect with other like-minded professional in the infant and child industry, he didn't understand. I tried to explain how connection and discussion and shared experiences were how women connected but it did not sink in.

I guess men bond through drinking, loosing money, bad jokes and gross bodily functions while women share what is in their souls to form the connection. I am thankful that I have found a wonderful group of women both online and offline who I can share my anxieties and joys with and who understand why details like the length and weight of a newborn is important.

One of these days I will send Brett up to his rally weekend with questions for the guys to fill out so I can find out what they have been up to over the past few months. Do you think he'd be embarrassed?

Friday, November 5, 2010

I need a break!



The past few weeks in our household have been nuts. With my husband on a business trip one week, my trip to Blissdom Canada the following week plus various school meetings and networking meetings thrown into the mix, organizing our schedule was nuts! These obligations were in addition to our regularly scheduled routine and trying to juggle the logistics have been exhausting.

I need a break. I need one week in which all we have to worry about is our regularly scheduled routine. The beauty of routine is that it becomes second nature. You don’t have to think about it. You know where your kids are, you know who is picking them up and that is it. No coordinating caregivers, no piece meal solutions, no stress. It just runs as usual.

I had the tools and the ability to make it work and our household ran like a well-oiled machine despite the absence of one or both of us. I do not, however, have the stamina to keep this going. I have also noticed my children being affected by our absence. Very rarely do we have someone other than me or my husband put the kids to bed. In the past few weeks, bedtime routine has been done by my sister or mom at least twice a week. This has lead to a more difficult time saying goodbye at school and saying good night. When I start to see my usually happy children become more clingy and sad, I know it’s time to take a break.

I have had enough and will take a break from over scheduling myself. I missed my children when I was at Blissdom. I admit it. I missed snuggle time, their stories, their dancing. I love hanging with them and being there for them. Blissdom was definitely worth it but I am glad to be home and getting back into our regularly scheduled programming.

They say these days that kids are overscheduled but what about us parents? How can we keep the balance in our lives? I think the first step is recognizing the need to change. Now the challenge becomes learning to say No to some of the great opportunities that are presented to me. I must be strong, at least for a little while, and take a break. Wish me luck.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Free tickets for Mickey and Minnie's Magical Journey


I have four tickets to Mickey and Minnie's Magical Journey in Toronto to giveaway! So I thought I would host a contest!! What a great way to start November.

Here is some information on the show with contest entry information at the end:

JOIN A GLOBETROTTING TOUR OF DISNEY DESTINATIONS IN DISNEY ON ICE PRESENTS
MICKEY & MINNIE’S MAGICAL JOURNEY

Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey takes audiences on a fun-filled tour to four exciting destinations filled with favorite Disney friends. With Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as tour guides, guests will visit the enchanting worlds of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch and Peter Pan.
The arena will be filled with music and magic in every scene including an enchanting undersea kingdom with Ariel and Sebastian, a jungle adventure in the African Pride Lands with Simba and Nala, a Hawaiian luau with Lilo and Stitch and a trip to jolly old London with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.

“It’s an extraordinary show and a family vacation all rolled into one incredible night,” says Producer Kenneth Feld. “You really get a sense you are traveling right alongside Mickey, Minnie and their friends.”

Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey features an international team of award-winning skaters, exciting choreography and a musical score filled with familiar Disney hits and rock-and-roll classics the whole family will enjoy.
The unconventional mix of music inspired Choreographer Cindy Stuart to incorporate original moves, like the boisterous pirate line dance. Stuart has also included more classic skating, like David and Nani’s touching surf duet and Prince Eric and Ariel’s tender pas de deux.

“Not only is this show a journey through favorite Disney stories, it is a journey of emotions,” says Director Jerry Bilik. “From the antics of Sebastian, Simba and Stitch, to the high-flying adventures of Peter Pan, the audience will experience excitement, humor and friendship.”

Costume Designer Arthur Boccia has assembled specific and appealing looks for all the Disney locales. Creatures and characters along the way sport everything from nightgowns to grass skirts. Surfer gear and lion’s paws give way to Triton’s fin-clad daughters.

Each destination has its own mood created by Lighting Designer Patrick Dierson. The foggy London skyline that can be seen from the Darling children’s window soon changes to the mysterious forest where Peter Pan and the Lost Boys live in their tree house. Ariel and Sebastian dive into undersea excursions and Lilo and Stitch cavort surfside surrounded by tropical sunlight and foliage.

The many settings of the show are enhanced by Robert Smith’s scenic design both on and above the ice. For example, Lilo’s Hawaiian home is on the ice, while Stitch’s alien planet is depicted above it, creating a multidimensional feel. Captain Hook’s rollicking crew sails across the ice on an enormous 35-foot pirate ship, and King Triton’s daughters emerge for their music lessons from oversized seashells.
To learn more about Disney On Ice, log onto www.disneyonice.com or visit us on Facebook and YouTube.


How To enter:

-Follow the Glow Baby Family Blog and and answer the question Who does King Triton instruct to keep constant supervision over his daughter Ariel?
-Fan the Glow Baby facebook page and leave a comment on the blog
-Follow on Twitter @lindsayGlowbaby and leave a comment on the blog

This contest will end Monday December 6th.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Activities, Playdates and More – Managing your Busy Family Life


Managing the many details of family life can often seem more difficult than being an air traffic controller! With my schedule, work, Brett’s schedule and the girls’ schedules to remember along with doctors appointment, dentist appointments and the list goes on; I have had to come up with a number of ways to deal with the inevitable chaos.

1.Menu Planning – By setting aside a small amount of time during the week to menu plan, you can save yourself the hassle of multiple trips to the grocery store by ensuring that all the food you need for the weeks meals and snacks are on hand. It can also save you money as you know what you need and don’t end up buying extra food that may go to waste. It can also help ensure that your family is eating healthy, well-balanced meals instead of choosing whatever is fastest at the last minute.

2.Family Calendar - The use of one master calendar for the whole family is very useful. By having all family members’ schedule in one place can avoid confusion and missed appointments. Your family calendar can not only be used for schedules but also for chores, To Do’s and for leaving notes for other family members. A Family Calendar is an easy way to keep everyone informed about what will be happening on a weekly and monthly basis.


3.Drop the unnecessary – Take a look at your schedule and see if there is anything on it that is not necessary. Is there anything that can be consolidated? A trip to the drugstore can be combined with a trip grocery shopping perhaps? Or perhaps, there is an activity that you have to convince your child to go to that can be eliminated. Are there any tasks that can be delegated to someone else? If you can cut corners with your chores and To Do’s than do it! Our family has invested in a cleaning service twice a month for those extra chores so that I can use this time more wisely on the girls or on work. It is definitely worth it!

4.Ask for HELP – There are a number of ways one can find help with the daily grind whether or not you have family around to help you. Some ways to do this is:
-Carpool/share drop offs pick ups – Find someone at your child’s school who can share pickup and drop off responsibilities. It may only save you 20 minutes at a time but this quickly adds up.
-Share caregiving – Another way to find help is to share caregiving with another parent as well. One day you can pick up their child and have them over for lunch and a playdate in the afternoon. Then you switch.
-Drop off centres – There a number of parent relief centres in Toronto run by the Ontario Early Years Centres. You can drop your child off with them for a few hours to get a break or have time to run errands. Do some research where you live to see if there are any options available to you. While the OEYC drops offs are free, there may also be paid options available as well.

5.Assign tasks to certain days – One of things I struggle with daily is the urge to procrastinate. To combat these urges I find that when faced with an overwhelming to do list (which I often have), it is helpful to assign one or two tasks to each day. For instance, I would assign Tuesday and Thursday to be laundry day. My main focus would be laundry for these days. By doing this, it helps me stay on track and focused and keeps me from being derailed by the enormity of all that must get done.


I welcome any tips you may have for juggling your busy weeks. Comments can be left on our blog post http://www.glowbabyfamily.blogspot.com

Friday, October 15, 2010

Mickie & Minnie are coming to Town!!!


This year both Juliet and Ainsley are old enough for us to take them to a show around Christmas time. Last year we took Ainsley to Disney on Ice, Princess and she LOVED it. From start to finish she was mesmerized. We are super excited that we can take both girls this year and can't wait to see Juliet's reaction.

This year we have chosen Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey. The website www.disneyonice.com has a sneak peek of what to expect at the show and the girls are already excited and watch it over and over! This show is filled with favorite Disney friends who the girls love. They will get to see Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and visit the enchanting worlds of Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Ainsley's favourite), The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch and Peter Pan.



The girls will love the music and magic (and will probably dance through the whole show!). We are very excited to visit the Enchanted undersea kingdom with Ariel and Sebastian, a jungle adventure in the African Pride Lands with Simba and Nala, a Hawaiian luau with Lilo and Stitch and a trip to jolly old London with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.




I am so excited to be able to share this with the kids. I love taking them on adventures and giving them new experiences and I know this show will be a hit.

Tickets go on sale Monday, October 18th! If you are looking for a family friendly event to take your children to or a great gift for grand children, this is a fabulous option!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Mom's evolution into Author


I never dreamed I’d be an author.

I never dreamed I’d be a ‘mommy blogger’.

I never dreamed I’d have 4,700 followers on Twitter, one of them being @MarthaStewart (?!)

Actually that’s not strictly true, because I did plan to write a book, but a children’s picture book, you know the kind with 2 sentences per page the length of a single blog post. I still will write this book. In fact I have written this book, but I’m building up to the hard part of illustrating it. If I procrastinate long enough perhaps my daughter will illustrate it for me.

So it’s quite amazing to me that I can now state ‘author’ as my occupation. I’m filling in all sorts of application forms just for the kick of it. Yet even though I can leaf through the pages of the book I (half-)wrote, it still seems like a dream. Someone pinch me, please. Ow, not that hard!

One thing is for certain: I would never have done it on my own. Fate meant that I found the perfect co-author in Erica Wells. We make the perfect partnership not only because we are the best of friends, but because we have such different personalities. Erica is an ideas person, a go-getter and a born saleswoman, oozing with enthusiasm and positivity. I’m the glass half empty type with my feet planted firmly on the ground. I’m a doer who likes to be given tasks. I like to beaver away behind the scenes and shy away from the spotlight. We frequently marvel at how fortunate we are to have forged the perfect partnership for our project.

Most conceptions are enjoyable. And so it was for The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms, albeit a little unorthodox as it took place in a crowded Vancouver Indian restaurant and involved 2 women. When Erica threw the idea of collaborating on a parenting book on the table I was skeptical (as I always am); unsure whether I had it in me to write half a proper, adult, full-length book. But the idea quickly blossomed and I hunkered down and found writing was both an enjoyable and therapeutic process. I had struggled with the first year of motherhood and writing about it helped me a lot.

Having a baby was easily the biggest lifestyle change I have experienced. It was as if I’d entered a whole new world, without a map, guidebook or phrasebook. Luckily, after only a few weeks adrift in ‘Baby World’, I was lucky to find some fellow castaways and soon built up a lifesaving band of ‘Mommy’ friends. Chatting with this group I discovered a whole lot more truthful and helpful info than I did reading the typical baby book. The group was soon discussing the nitty-gritty about how difficult breastfeeding really is and how explosive baby poo can be; sharing tales of vaporized sex drives; admitting that it’s fairly common to pee your pants at this stage postpartum. Quite often it’s not an answer to a problem that brings relief, but simply knowing that what’s happening is normal; other moms have been there. It makes you feel a whole heap better to have a comrade and being able to laugh about your woes with other moms might just save your sanity.

Our aim with The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms was to get these ‘no one told me’ topics out in the open. It’s a practical, helpful and humorous survival guide covering the things you need to know but no one ever tells you. We want to reassure and appeal to moms feeling low or lonely and raise a smile from the reader even through the pain of chafed nipples; regardless of the fact that she can’t sit down except on a doughnut cushion; even when she hasn’t slept more than four hours in the last forty-eight.

Erica and I embarked on this venture way back in September 2006, and it wasn’t until March 2009 that we finally signed contracts with John Wiley & Sons, Canada to start the publishing process, so it was a l-o-n-g pregnancy. The labour was a bit of a marathon too, but finally in April 2010 we were celebrating having a published book on bookstore shelves. We headed straight to the bookstores armed with cameras to take photos of our new arrival. I can’t describe the feeling of holding your own book in your hands for the first time.




Lorraine Regel is the co-author of The Survival Guide for Rookie Moms, now available in bookstores across Canada and the US and on Chapters.Indigo.ca, Amazon.ca and Amazon.com
Lorraine and Erica blog at www.survival4moms.com
Join them on facebook
Follow @RookieMommy and @MomSurvival on Twitter

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Mommy's Dilemma

I find myself, once again, all by myself this weekend. I had to stay in the city today as I was attending a mom2mom sale in Brampton. Brett decided to take the girls up to the cottage to have Thanksgiving dinner with his parents and they will return Monday to have Thanksgiving dinner with my parents.

Now, upon initially hearing his plan, I thought about the time I will have to work, clean the house and do other things I normally do not have time to do. The dilemma is that I miss them! I was actually anxious on Friday before they left. I hate saying goodbye even if for a few days. I've always been this way but have done it millions of times (had a three year long distance relationship with my husband) but it never gets easier.

Brett often tells me to go and take the day off, go out and get a break. What he doesn't understand, and I try and tell him, that when I say I need a break, I don't mean a long break. I just need an hour to get something done and then I want to hang out with the girls. I like having the freedom of popping in and out but like being able to also have the girls around. What can I say, I'm attached.

I really try hard to keep my feelings hidden around the girls so that they won't have anxiety about leaving and I think I do a good job as they love the cottage and although Ainsley did ask me if I could come, she was find with me saying I couldn't.

How many other moms out there have trouble letting their children go and miss them when they are gone, even if it's for a short time? Am I alone?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oh! The Cute things they will do

Okay, so my title is a takeoff from the Dr. Seuss book Oh! The Places we will go, but this post is all about the adorable things children do when they are young so I thought it was fitting. My youngest, Juliet, is a character. She is a very social and happy child and makes me laugh. She has her quirks like most children and today I wanted to write about her latest which is where she sleeps.


Juliet decided in August while both Brett, my husband, and Ainsley were in England that she would no longer sleep in her crib. One night, she woke up in the middle of the night and I went in to comfort her and put her back to sleep she screamed bloody murder. She then tried to climb out. Hint #1 to mommy that the crib was getting old. So I laid her mattress on the floor and that’s where she spent the remainder of the night. I was hopeful that this was an anomaly as I was in no rush to lose the caged in qualities of the crib but at nap time, the same thing happened and I took the hint. The crib was passé.

Since moving into her toddler bed, Juliet has found other places to sleep. While she does sleep in her bed, she has been exploring other options. We started off not using a gate on her door as for the first few nights she stayed in her room. Then we found her sleeping on a box of diapers in the hallway (I kid you not). The gate went up.

Juliet’s favourite alternative to sleeping on her bed is her pottery barn chair (see picture). Not quite sure why but we often will find her asleep here and move her to her bed. The other night though, she found a new place. My husband was putting Juliet to bed while I put Ainsley down. I finished and realized about 20 minutes later that my husband was still in Juliet’s room. I peaked in and saw him asleep on the floor covered in a blanket, which after speaking with him realized Juliet had put on him. I looked around for Juliet, first searching the bed then the pottery barn chair and could not see her anywhere. I then noticed two little feet dangling off the end of the rocking chair. Juliet had climbed up into the chair and this is where she had fallen asleep after tucking her daddy in.



All in all, we think it’s hilarious that she can and will fall asleep in the oddest of places and we do wonder what will be next. Her closet? The carpet? On top of her toy box? Apparently she isn’t picky.
What adorable things do your kids do?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mompreneur Spotlight - Petra King Photography




I believe that photo’s play a very important role in our lives. They have a unique way of lasting much longer than our natural memories.

They also remind us of where we came from, and usually bring with them warm fuzzy feelings inside.
They keep us mindful of how really precious life is.
We just happen to have a keen eye and a good sense of timing to capture those precious moments that you’ll end up treasuring forever.
Whether it be during a pregnancy, the first days or weeks of a newborn’s life or a photographic record of your family together, you might want to try us out.
We’re good at what we do, you won’t be disappointed!

Ajax and Durham Region maternity, newborn, family photographer. Petra King is an on location photographer who specializes in lifestyle photography for maternity,newborns and families.
Petra King Photography is located in Ajax and serves the Durham Region including Pickering,Ajax,Whitby and Oshawa. Petra also serves the GTA, Greater Toronto Area.
Petra offers a variety of custom created items including, custom birth announcements, Christmas cards, leather albums, art gallery wrapped canvas prints, custom image boxes and gift certificates.
If you are in the final months of pregnancy or have just had a baby and for more information on having custom pictures, photographs, portraits of your maternity and pregnancy and or newborn and are located in the Ajax, Durham Region, Toronto or GTA, please feel free to visit Petra King Photography.
I highly recommend to book a newborn session before your baby arrives, to ensure we get a date scheduled for you.
I look forward to working with you!

Petra King Photography
www.petrakingphotography.com
petraking@rogers.com



Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back-to-school and the exotic germs it brings

Okay, so maybe we don't get exotic illnesses here in Canada. However, I got an email today from my daughters' nursery school informing us that one of the children has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. Now, I have heard of this virus, really only in passing. I have never seen a child with it or have had it myself. So for me, it is exotic.

When I was in school the only illness that freaked me out wasn't even an illness. It was lice. I had it when I was six and still remember staying up all night having the nits picked out of my hair. I know my mom was traumatized by this as she never let us share any clothes, hair things, pillows etc. again. During Ainsley's first year at nursery school there was an outbreak of panic at the thought of lice in our home. Luckily we avoided it.

Today's email sent that same panic coursing through me. And this time I had no past experience to draw upon. I turned to my parent friends to ask what to look for, how sick my poor kids could get and treatment information. It turns out, this virus is really only exotic to me. Turns out it is fairly common in nursery schools and since it is extremely contagious, small epidemics will break out in classrooms.

So right now I am on the look out for the symptoms of HFMD and am watching my girls a lot more closely than I usually do. If they do get it, I hope it's mild and quick and that the bounce back quickly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

On-going Key debacle

What is it with children's fascination with keys? It is uncanny the way they know the real keys from the props. We have even given the girls real keys that no longer have a purpose on real key chains and they still prefer ours. Over the past few months, we have had our keys go missing many times.

This fascination started at the beginning of the summer. We were all packed up and ready to leave the house for a playdate when I could not find my keys anywhere! I searched the entire house with no luck. I had no idea where the keys were. I ended up borrowing Brett's key so we could make our playdate but I had pretty much written off ever finding my keys again. That night, I went to file some documents for work and guess what was filed away? My keys! After that I was pretty careful that I would put my keys where little hands could not reach.

My husband, on the other hand, has yet to learn the lesson. Just three days later his keys went missing. We searched the house again top to bottom and he had to take my key for his car. This time the key was found in one of Ainsley's purses. Since then there have been a variety of hiding spots of for the keys. In the mixing bowls in the kitchen, in Ainsley's back-pack and in Brett's shoes. Today, Brett is missing his keys again. He said to me this morning that Juliet had been playing with his keys yesterday and he's actually said to her "Don't play with those Juliet, you will loose them". Yet he didn't take it from her. So it was no surprise to me that this morning, they were no where to be found.

Hopefully we have both learned our lesson to keep our keys out of the reach of little hands.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Epic Shopping Spree

I used to be a shopaholic. I loved shopping. I could shop all day everyday and not break a sweat. My feet wouldn't ache and I could keep going except the stores would close. That was the old me. Since being pregnant, my relationship with clothing has been a negative one. Starting with maternity clothing. I hated maternity clothing. I hated how expensive it was and how ill-fitting it was. After having my kids, shopping consisted of sweats and t-shirts. I no longer wore heels but flip flops or running shoes. I didn't bother buying anything nice as after having Ainsley by the time my body would have been back to my pre-pregnancy weight (about 1 year) I got pregnant again with Juliet. It's only been recently that I feel like my body has settled and I am ready to go shopping.

My fashion epiphany happened in the spring of this year. I was invited to two book launches and going through my closet was scary. I had nothing that wasn't worked in by the kids (I won't go into detail but I'm sure you can imagine) or that couldn't double as sleep wear. I posted on facebook asking my friends if they could recommend a good place to shop for a dress. The epiphany came when a friend of mine who knew me pre-baby but hadn't seen me post-baby said "How can you not have anything to wear? You were always so fashionable in school". I was taken aback as I honestly did not remember that once upon a time, people would complement me on my style. This was the moment that I decided that I would make an attempt to embrace my inner-fashionista once again.

So this past week I have been shopping like my life depends on it. I don't mean that I have bought a ton of things and spent a fortune. I have however, taken the time to find truly special items for a great price. I can no longer stomach the thought of spending more than $100 on one item so finding special items on a budget is tough. But they are out there.

I set out to find a pair of ballet flats. I didn't want standard ones though. I wanted ones with some bling. I literally went into every shoe store in Yorkdale and Vaughan Mills (two huge malls) and apart from a pair of shoes at The Bay of all places that cost $250 (not going to happen) I could not find anything! I finally went into my very last store at Vaughan Mills, Winners, when I found them. These Guess shoes were exactly what I was looking for and were meant for me.



They were an acceptable $69 and I love them!

I also found these boots at Winners too for $69.00 as well. For Boots!!



Another score I had this week was at Sears. I always do a walk through Sears especially when they are having a sale. You never know what you are going to find and occasionally you can find a gem for a great price. Last weekend I found these ankle boots for $49!!! They were on sale from $69 and I am so glad I got them. When I visited Sears today they were gone.



I got this necklace at Sears as well on sale for $19.99. It was the last one.



And last but not least, my favourite find of the week is this jacket. I found it at Zellers of all places. I wasn't looking for a jacket and I just stumbled upon it. It was on sale for 25% off and cost $49.00! I still can't believe I got it at zellers.





I would love to hear about any of your Fab Fall finds!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day Back at School

Today is Ainsley's first day back at school and this year Juliet is joining her. Ainsley was super excited to go back. This is her third year at this preschool and she loves her teachers! There are quite a few returning students as well so she still has her friends but the most exciting part was that she gets to show Juliet the ropes.

Juliet was pretty excited too. I don't think she really knew that we were going to school until we pulled up to the building and she recognized it from dropping Ainsley off last year. She then got excited and off the girls went as quick as can be to their classroom. I wasn't sure if Juliet would be ok although last year she never wanted to leave when we were dropping off Ainsley. When I went to say goodbye this morning, she waved and went off and played. Clearly she felt comfortable and was excited to finally get to stay.

I am so glad that the two of them are finally at school together. I think this will be a great year. The two of them are very close and play well together. I look forward to seeing them grow over the next year and make new friends. I am so glad I found a great preschool in our area. It really helps to minimize first day of school anxiety. For me especially!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Back to School Shopping - Part 2

I am really getting excited about my trip to Buffalo with Ainsley. She is excited but she has yet to experience a real shopping spree. I have gone through her closet this weekend and pulled out clothes that are two small or in rough shape and I have determined which clothes can make the transition into fall and which will be put away for next summer.

As mentioned in my last Back To School post, I have a list for both of us so we have a good idea what we need. Of course, I am sure we will find some cute things that neither of us need but will treat ourselves to it anyways. I haven't been shopping in awhile and I need to get some business type attire. I will be attending more sales, conferences and work related functions this fall so I must have options and sweat pants just don't cut it.

The main goal of this trip is for clothing but I couldn't help but look at bedding on the Target website and I really hope some of these styles are available:






How can I resist? They don't have cute bedding at these prices in Canada!

Monday, August 23, 2010

How to handle the influx of artwork coming home from school

Getting organized for the new school year is in full swing at our house. For a three and a half year old and a 20 month old (both are going to nursery school) this really only involves buying new clothes for the eldest and some for the youngest and labelling everything! While this is not the full back-to-school prep people of older children go through, there is something we all have in common once school starts and that is answering the question: What do we do with all the artwork?

I don’t know about your kids, but mine are mass producers of artwork. When we do art projects at home, the girls go through pages and pages of drawings and paintings before they are finished. Add to that what they bring home from school and we have a major clutter situation. Some of the artwork is easy to throw in the recycling bin but a lot of it is hard to throw out. Over the past few years of receiving art, I have come up with a few solutions:

1.Use art as art is intended: Frame it!

As we have small children and lots of expenses, when we started decorating our house we found that we had a lot of wall space and no money or inclination to purchase expensive ‘art’. When I was in Grade 4, my parents framed a pastel drawing I had done and to this day it still hangs on my wall. It’s a great keepsake and I am proud that my parents thought it was special enough to frame. When decorating Ainsley’s big girl room, I went through the pile of art we had accumulated and picked out three of her drawings and framed those using inexpensive Ikea frames. I love the look of them and Ainsley is very excited every time I remind her that she drew those pictures. I will do the same for Juliet once we have a collection to choose from. What a great way to boost self-esteem by showing them that what they have created is special.



2.Art as a Gift
To take the framing of art one step further, I have given framed pieces to my parents and in-laws. I find it very hard to shop for them as really, what do you get your parents let alone your in-laws? Whether they hang the art on their wall in the office or at home, it’s a really nice thoughtful gift that is an Original piece of artwork that is priceless. This is a great way to save the art that you don’t want to throw out but at the same time, make room in your house for new art.


3.Art as Fundraiser
This past year at Ainsley’s nursery school we did a fabulous fundraiser for the school using the children’s paintings. Both girls created a painting and it was sent to Acorn Custom Cards, a company which took the art and made cards and placemats. This was a great idea as it provided a fun art activity for the kids, earned money for the co-op school and parents were able to have cards made that showcased their child’s skills and again, the children would get a self-esteem boost by seeing their art used in a new way.



4.Art as wrapping paper and cards
Another great option is to reuse your children’s artwork as wrapping paper and as cards. I love getting home made mother’s day cards and my girls love making cards for others. This is a great use of artwork that would otherwise be thrown out and save you from buying overpriced cards and wrapping paper!



5.The Art Book
This is something I haven’t created yet but have hopes that when the girls get older and start drawing people and animals we can create our own books. I would love to take a bunch of their drawings and work with them to create a story to go along with them. It would be something simple but I love the stories that Ainsley has started telling me about her drawings and think that soon we will be able to start putting them down on paper. What I would do is mount the artwork on scrapbook paper and add the caption below telling the story. To finish off the “art book” we would either insert the scrapbook pages into clear page protectors and put in a scrap book or we could punch holes into the pages and bind with ribbon. I look forward to the opportunity to make our first book by Ainsley.

The other option for this is to not have a story at all and just put together a collection of art and store it in a scrapbook. This is a really nice idea as you could pick a variety of work done over the course of a school year and have a volume for each year.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Back-to-School Shopping Part 1 - My list

I have started to think about my Back-to-School shopping. Not only do I have to get the girls ready for school, but I have to think about what I will need for some of the business events I will be going to in the fall as well as our trip to Cuba in December. Late August is the perfect time to prepare for Cuba as there will be a lot of summer clothes on sale. I haven't done any real shopping for myself in a long time and am really looking forward to it. I will be heading to Buffalo and this year Ainsley will be coming along to shop.

I won't be able to make this trip until early September. I wish I could go sooner but with Ainsley's trip to England, followed by my husband's business trip the only day we could go with my mom and have Brett babysit Juliet was in September before Labour Day weekend.

Ainsley is super excited to be coming with as she loves to shop. We have started our list for this trip to keep us focused so we make sure that we get everything we need.

So far our list includes:

Mommy
-Laptop Bag
-Purse
-Tankinis
-dress clothes

Ainsley
-pants
-sweaters
-dresses
-skirts
-tights
-shoes

This is what we have so far and I'm sure as we get closer there will be other things we think of. Especially since we are heading to Target which I love! I have already been on their website to check out what they have and I can't wait. I wish Target would head North to Canada.

Monday, August 16, 2010

My latest project



I finally found some time this week to finish two beading projects I had started a few weeks ago and thought I would share the finished results. I created a necklace and earring set and a charm bracelet. I will probably add make some earrings to match the bracelet but I will have to find some time for that!

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Fabulous 33rd Birthday!

It's almost been a month since my fabulous birthday outing with my husband. I have been meaning to post about it for weeks and I have finally found the time to download the pics and talk about our day. I had mentioned in passing that my dream birthday would include lunch and a couples massage and I was pleasantly surprised to be heading out of town.

My parents took the girls for the day and Brett and I set out for our day at the spa. We travelled up North to the Millcroft Inn and Spa in Caledon, Ontario. It was gorgeously nestled in nature and welcoming quiet.





We arrived and checked into the spa a little bit early and had time to read and relax before our couples massage. We both had a wonderful 50 minute massage and it was over way too soon. Totally could have gone for twice that time. We then spent some time by the outdoor pool. I was in heaven!

We headed over for a late lunch in the restaurant overlooking the water. I was lovely. The weather was perfect and the surroundings were very relaxing.



We kicked off our lunch with some champagne. Why not? We were celebrating finally getting a day just the two of us. We ended our lunch with the most delicious cheese plate EVER!! We had to order another one.



After lunch we took a walk around the grounds and then headed back to the pool. It was fabulous just to sit by the pool for 2 hours and read. What a wonderful day. There was nothing else I would have wanted to do for my birthday. I think I would like to make this an annual birthday present!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I miss you! Come home!

My week sans husband and eldest child is coming to an end. They will be back Thursday after dinner and while I have gotten tons done (it's actually quite amazing how much I can do with only one child) I am starting to really miss them.

I miss hearing Ainsley's stories about her day and hanging out with her and playing barbies or making jewellery. I miss my husband as he is my sounding board about business and life. It is a bit odd to not have his input on things.

I am glad that this separation is almost over. It's tough not having two of your best friends around.

Come home already!!!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Giselle Bundchen sticks her foot in her mouth

When I first heard that Giselle Bundchen had stated that there should be a law forcing moms to breastfeed their kids for 6 months, I thought it was a joke. I thought, that can't be right. What a ridiculous statement. Well, the joke was on me as she did in fact say this. And the kicker is apparently she only breastfed for 3 weeks. So I guess she should be arrested?

Where do I start with this unfair and ridiculous statement! To pass a law telling women what they can or cannot do with their body is something I don't agree with. When it comes to breastfeeding, there is enough guilt projected onto moms from nurses, friends, family and other moms that adding the government into the mix is just ridiculous. Obviously someone didn't think before she spoke.

I breastfed both my girls for just under a year. I was fully prepared to breastfeed my first baby. The idea of formula never even entered my mind. I was blissfully unaware of the difficulties some women have with breastfeeding and I found out the hard way that I would be one of these women. I persevered through a lot of stress and emotions but was lucky enough to end up with a positive breastfeeding experience. However, I still remember how difficult it was at the beginning while I was waiting for my milk to come in and Ainsley kept dropping weight.

I know a number of moms who had even more difficult experiences and were not able to breastfeed. I have a friend who's failure at breastfeeding affected her ability to bond with her baby and added to her post-partum depression. Statements like the one Gisele made just adds to the idea that you are not a good mom unless you breastfeed your baby. Your goal as a mom is to keep your baby healthy and do what's best for him or her. If that means formula because you are struggling with breastfeeding, your baby is not latching or for any other reason, that should be ok.

Every woman should have the individual right to do what's best for them and their baby. You will never know what another mom's situation is as you are not living their life. It is so important for moms to be supportive of one another as being a mom is tough. We have to stop beating each other up about the choices we make and realize the only choices we need to be worried about are our own.

I would love to hear your thoughts on Giselle's statement.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Productive Day

I really dreaded Brett leaving me with Juliet for his trip. Not because I don't like hanging out with her, but I really wondered how I would juggle looking after her, the business and all the household chores without him. Not to mention my parents are also out of town so I have limited babysitting options.

Well, I am super impressed with myself today. I wish Brett was here only to show him how much I got done today. Juliet and I woke up just after 7am, had breakfast and cleaned up. Then I cleaned our bathroom. Then we went out and bought diaper genie refills (there has got to be an alternative as these are so expensive) and bought Juliet new shoes. We then went to the park and had lunch.

Got home and Juliet went straight to bed as she was exhausted. I worked for two hours straight. Filled orders, answered emails and even made some sales calls. When Juliet woke up we headed to the bead store to get supplies for my new hobby (see previous post) and then we went grocery shopping.

We got home. Put away the groceries and I tidied up the kitchen. Then we had dinner, I gave Juliet a bath, put away two baskets of clean laundry, put in another load of laundry, fed Winnie our rabbit, emptied all the garbage bins in our house and took it outside. I tidied Ainsley's book shelf (it was a mess) and went through her clothes and put away clothes that were too small. I then repaired a number of books that had been ripped.

I thought that was enough for the day and now I'm blogging, tweeting and watching TV.

My goal is to have the whole house completely clean by the time they get home. I don't know how I found the time today but I hope I can keep this up all week. I am looking forward to a tidy home.

Day 1 as a Single Parent to one Child



It's wierd. It was definitely quiet last night when Juliet went to bed. I have forgotten how easy it is with just one child. There's no dividing attention. I have less dishes to do, less laundry, less stuff to pack in the diaper bag. There's no fighting over TV or toys. But it's wierd.

When Juliet woke up this morning she went straight to Ainsley's room and said "Ainsley?". She knew that Ainsley was not here and then she said "Daddy?". So I guess I'm not the only one adjusting to this change. Last night I felt a bit lonely without Ainsley and Brett but this morning I'm feeling better. I got an email saying that they had arrived safely and had a good flight (Relief). I think I was anxious about this and am now glad that they are okay. Only 6 more nights to go.

I have a plan for Juliet and I this week. We are going to do all the things that is hard to do with two children like go swimming at the pool. We are going to do a bit of back to school shopping which is great because it can be hard to tell a 3 year old that she won't be getting new shoes right now. We will go to the park, the library and I will get to spoil her a bit which I don't usually do. I am taking this time to focus completely on her and having Mommy and Juliet time.

I will also try and make some headway on tidying the house. It is time to go through the toys and take some to goodwill. This will definitely be easier with Ainsley away as she will often go into the Goodwill book and take toys out to play with. Toys she hasn't played with in ages.

But I miss her. I sometimes still feel like she is a part of me and when she is not around something is missing. I wonder if this will ever change.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My Baby's First Trip




Ainsley is going on her very first trip on an airplane this week with her dad. Brett's side of the family is having a family reunion in England and he is taking Ainsley to meet them. I thought long and hard about whether or not to join them with Juliet but I knew that it would be a stressful trip with a very active 19 month old and the thought of a 7 hour over night flight with her on my lap gave me serious anxiety. It was a tough decision, but paying thousands of dollars to be stressed out was not worth it. Juliet has never adjusted to change very well and so I felt we would have a better week staying at home in Toronto and spending quality time together. And then we could take the money we would have spent and go on a family vacation later in the year when the flight is much shorter and there is not time change.

Having made this decision not to go was very tough. The longest I have been apart from Ainsley is two nights. It will be tough to be away from her for 7 nights and days, especially since this will be her first airplane ride and she will get to experience some wonderful things for the first time and I won't be there to see her reaction. I love history and would have loved to be there with her to visit her first castle and describe to her what the castle would have been like in the old days. She loves princesses and castles and I think this will be a magical adventure for her. It makes me sad that I will not be there with her for it. At the same time I know I have made the right decision however for my own sanity.

I think she will have a wonderful time with my husband and his family and she is super excited. I look forward to our daily phone calls when she will tell me of her day and how much fun she is having. I also looking forward to spending some alone time with Juliet and giving her my undivided attention. I am thinking of fun and special things to do with her while her sister is away.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Mommy Connections - Sanity Saver for the new mom!!



Saying that having my first baby was a huge shock is an understatement. I thought I was totally prepared for becoming a mom but I don't think that you can ever be prepared for the life changing event of having a child. I felt lost as times and lonely and isolated. I dreaded the day my husband went back to work and had a lot of conflicting thoughts about my loss of a natural birth (I had an emergency c-section) and my role as a mom.

I had the presence of mind at the time that I needed to get out of the house even thought I knew it would be hard. So I signed up for a new mom and baby class at a centre that unfortunately no longer exists. This was the best decision I have made. By attending this class, my maternity leave was completely changed from one that could have been potentially lonely to one where I made lasting friendships for myself and hopefully for Ainsley.

In this class we talked about everything. And I mean everything. We talked about our disappointment with our births (I was releived to know I was not the only one mourning the loss of the birth we wanted) to whether our husbands were supportive or not. We talked about our fears and anxieties that came with being a new mom and nothing was off limits. When the class ended after 6 weeks we all keep meeting every few weeks to check in with each other. I am still friends with a couple of these moms and it's really neat to see how our children have grown.

As I mentioned, the company that ran this program closed as the owner had her own baby. It was really disappointing to me that this centre was no longer running classes as I would have liked to join such a class again when Juliet was born to meet peers for her. Recently I have come across an organization called Mommy Connections. They have post-natal classes similar to the one I went through. They are new to Toronto but I think that it is fantastic that they are here. I recommend every expecting parent to check them out. Their classes are a great way to meet other new moms to spend your mat leave with and at the same time gain information about your baby and resources available to you.

Mommy Connections is a modernized Post-Natal Program & Social Network featuring 6 weekly sessions of expert presenters. Sessions are designed to enlighten, support and educate, plus give new mom’s a place to go and socialize with other new moms. Topics include fitness, nutrition, safety, infant communication, and more. The first class starts on September 21st at Swansea Town Hall and costs only $60 for a 6 week program. If you know anyone expecting you should let them know about this program.

For more details go to: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Toronto-ON/Mommy-Connections-West-Toronto/116945278352604?ref=sgm&__a=8&ajaxpipe=1 or check out their website www.mommyconnections.ca