Find out how Your Child’s Day at School REALLY was!

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How often do you ask your kids how their day was and get the answer, fine.  What did you do at school today? Nothing. More and more I learn that this is common amongst kids but I found out the hard way that there are better ways to find out how your child’s day went.

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When I think of one of my biggest parent fails, I think of the time that my son was in grade 1 and he lied to me.  He lied to me and it was the best thing that could have happened.

Every day I would ask him who he played with and he would say nobody.  He said he walked around by himself, read a book or look at his Pokemon cards.  You can understand as a parent that this broke my heart to think that he was alone and had nobody to play with.  He didn’t seem to be bothered by this and said he enjoyed recess.  I would continue to ask every day how his recess was and who he played with and the answer remained the same, recess was fine and he played by himself.

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And then it happened one day, when I asked him who he played with, he named off two boys in his class and my Mommy heart swelled with happiness… and then it broke.  He quickly recanted his statement and said “Mommy I lied, i’m sorry, I played by myself but I didn’t want you to feel sad.  I enjoy watching the other kids and just doing what I want to do.”  In that moment I felt like a total failure as a parent as my child felt like he had to lie to spare my feelings.  He was a happy child and what I felt should make him sad was actually what made him happy and made him enjoy his recess.  Now that he is a little older he has lots of friends that he plays with and recess is all about the fun with his buddies.  What I learned from this experience is that I needed to change up the questions I asked when the kids came home so I would get actual answers and get a little more insight into the whole school picture rather than dwelling on one area and assuming that I knew how they were feeling

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Here are some of the questions we now ask our kids about school and we can’t get them to stop talking about their day now…

– What was the high and the low of your day? (this is their fave)

– Tell me your favourite new thing you learned today?

– What was the hardest/easiest thing you had to do today?

– How did you help or someone help you today?

– What was favourite thing you did at recess/lunch?

– If you could sit beside anyone in class who would it be and why?

– Who do you think has the best lunch at school?  What do they bring?

– Math, Science or Social Studies – Tell me one thing you learned today

– What was the funniest thing that you saw today?

– If you were a teacher, what is one rule you would make for the classroom and what would you want the kids to learn the most?

 

 

 

Inch by Inch, Row by Row … Gonna Make my Garden Grow

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There are so many reasons I love summer but one of the big ones is our vegetable garden.  A couple of years ago we decided to plant a small garden in our backyard as a fun project for the kids.  The kids loved picking out we should grow and enjoyed checking on it each day and giving it some tlc.  Since that first trial garden we have made it a family project each year.  We enjoy being able to go out into the backyard and pick some fresh veggies/herbs to add to our dinner or just as a mid-play snack.  Nothing beats the taste of fresh veggies from your garden.

Now I will say that for us it was trial and error on what grows well and what doesn’t.  Although a watermelon sounds like a great idea, it takes up a lot of space as we quickly learned.  Last year our daughter brought home a pumpkin seed that we planted in the garden with little expectation but boy were we wrong.  That thing grew and grew and tried to take over our backyard and weworried that it might entangle the children.  Come Halloween we did end up carving that pumpkin we grew into a Jack-o-lantern which was very cool!

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When pumpkins attack!

We have had great luck with other veggies and each year we grow some awesome tomatoes, cucumber, peas, beans, strawberries, green onions, basil, thyme, and hot peppers.You can grow from seed but we never remember early enough so we generally buy the starter plants from Home Depot, Terra Greenhouses, Superstore Garden Centre and local nurseries.  I watch the flyers and buy them on sale to keep the costs down.

What you’ll need:

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Planting soil, seeds/plants, gardening gloves, pots (If container planting or starting from seed), small shovel, Miracle Gro, sunshine, water and of course some patience for the wee ones.

It’s as easy as digging a whole in the prepared dirt of your garden and/or pot and placing the plant in.  Be sure to repack dirt around the base of the plant and press firmly to make sure it is secure. Be sure to read the tags that come with the plants/seeds so you understand how much space each plant will need to grow.  Space plants appropriately in the garden before actually planting them. I love Miracle Gro and swear it is the only reason that this non green-thumb has a successful garden each year.  Once all plants are planted, be sure to give them a good watering with Miracle Gro to give them a good start.  Be sure your garden is in good sunlight and gets lots of water on a daily basis.  You really can’t go wrong and trust me when I say that your kids will love watching their garden grow and love eating it even more.

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Don’t think you have the space to grow your own veggies?  Think again!  The best thing about growing a garden is you don’t need a ton of space.  We built a 4’x4′ box out of 2x4s to raise the garden up and to keep little hungry critters out.  It is amazing how much yumminess comes out of this little space.

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We also do some container planting which is great if you have little space.  Container planting is also great if your little ones want to sample throughout the day.  Place the containers where they can easily get at them without having to climb through your garden.  Generally, we plant cherry tomatoes and strawberries in our containers as these are loved snacks for our kids.

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Now I know that not everyone has the time or want to grow their own veggies so thankfully there are an abundance of Farmer’s Markets in Ontario.  To find one near you click here

Is it really “The most wonderful time of the year”

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As I talk to friends and read their Facebook status’ all I hear is how excited they are for September to come and for the kids to be back at school. I think I must be in the minority here as I dread the first day of school every year. It’s not because I’m not ready with the sharpened pencils, new lunch bags and indoor shoes, but because I am going I miss my kids.

Summer is our time to forget schedules, sleep in if we want to, stay in our Jammies all day if we so choose or take off on a spur of the moment adventure. This summer has been a whirlwind of adventure and we have been go go go, and I truly just need a big long nap come September, but I have loved every minute of it!

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How do I go from spending every minute of the summer with them and then they’re just back and school and Mommy is on her own? I have a hard time with this every year. I am sure to be “that Mom” on the first day of school that sheds a tear or two as I watch my kids walk into the school to start grade 2 and grade 4! Yep I’m a sap and I’ll be the first to admit it. Summer is short and kids are only young for so long.  So as the summer vacation comes to an end, I plan on spending every last moment riding bikes, splashing in pools, pitching a tent or visiting a local attraction to get in the those last memory making days of Summer 2014! So yah, to me it’s not “the most wonderful time of the year”!

How are you feeling as back to school approaches?  Are you excited for the kids to go back or are you going to miss them like crazy?

How to Clean Your Child’s LEGO Creation Station

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legosSometimes you have that “AHA” moment or better yet, what I like to refer to as my moment of brilliance!  😉  Today’s moment of brilliance is brought to you based on my love/hate relationship with LEGO.

My love for LEGO starts way back when I was a kid and the fond memories of playing LEGO with my brother.  Nowadays my son and daughter love LEGO and although it can be quite the investment, we buy them lots as it’s a great outlet for their creativity, gets them off the electronics and it’s an activity that they can do together.

Now here is where the hate comes in…

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This is the bane of my existence … my 8 year old son’s LEGO table.

Hours upon hours of creative genius are spent at this table by my son but just imagine how much dust collects on this table amidst every tiny tiny piece.  How does one even begin to clean/dust this?

Here were my cleaning options

1. Take every piece of LEGO off and dust  …. Uhmmm no thanks

2. Take a wet cloth and swipe around the LEGO pieces – Easy enough but no sure it would be very thorough

3. Vacuum the table – End result could be traumatizing for my son and really expensive for Mom & Dad

Option #3 it is!!

 Today I vacuumed my son’s LEGO table and it was the best thing I ever did!  Not one LEGO piece was harmed in this cleaning act! TADA

Downy sheet + Elastic band + Vacuum = A dust free LEGO table

As simple as it is, I placed a Downy sheet over the end of the vacuum nozzle and secured it with an elastic band.  Turn the vacuum on and off you go.  Dust and other particles will either go right through the dryer sheet or stick to it.  LEGO of course will stick due to suction but will fall off as soon as you shut the power off.  Presto…an easy and really effective way to clean your child’s LEGO creation station!

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Earth Hour 2014 – Family Fun Ideas

Earth Hour 2014

This Saturday, March 29th, from 8:30-9:30 pm join millions of homes across the world as they switch off their lights for Earth Hour.  Earth hour takes place to raise awareness for the planet.  By turning off your lights, and unplugging your appliances and electronics for this hour, you are showing your concern for the future of the environment. Find an Earth Hour event near you or make your own family fun with the ideas below.

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Earth Hour has been a 10 year event that has grown into a global movement.  According to the official website, the vision for Earth Hour is … To bring people together through a symbolic hour-long event. To galvanise people into taking action beyond the hour. And to create an interconnected global community sharing the mutual goal of creating a sustainable future for the planet.  Earth Hour now inspires a global community of millions of people in 7,001 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories to switch lights off for an hour as a massive show of concern for the environment.

Connect with Earth Hour on Facebook and Twitter @earthhour and @earthhourcanada using hashtag #momentofdarkness for loads of information, facts  and cool ideas

Earth Hour 2014

Earth Hour & Kids

Make this a time to teach your children about the importance of saving energy and being more environmentally conscious.  To learn more, go online to the Earth Hour website to teach them how to make a positive impact on the planet.  Not only can you teach them environmental responsibility but you can also have some great fun while doing it.  Give the kids some flashlights, light some candles and enjoy being unplugged together.

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Fun things to do with your family during Earth Hour

Have a Campout – Although it’s still a wee bit chilly to be camping outside, who says you can’t do it right in your house.  Set up a tent in your basement, throw in some pillows and sleeping bags and have some pre-made smores to munch on.

Have a Dance Party – Fire up that battery powered radio or charged iPod and have some fun dancing in the dark.

Tell Jokes – Have everyone share some of their favourite jokes or grab a joke book from your library.  With little kids in the house I know that this could definitely go on for longer than an hour.

Make Shadow Puppets – See who can come up with the best shadow puppet.

Play Games – Make it a family game night by playing one of your family’s favourite boards games, cards or hide and seek in the dark sounds like fun!

Have a Picnic – Prepare the food ahead of time and lay out a blanket with candles around the room for a picnic.  Cheeses, crackers, meats, dips, and some sweets sounds good to me!

Go for a Walk – Why not get out for some exercise and fresh air while you check up on your neighbours to see how many people are participating in Earth Hour.

Eat Junk Food – If you can’t really see what you’re eating then it doesn’t count right?!  Have everyone’s favourite junk food or make your own sundaes and eat them by candlelight

Invite Friends Over – The more the merrier right?  Have your guests bring their favourite food/wine pairing and have some snacks for the kiddies and enjoy some time with friends

 

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EARTH HOUR & SPIDER-MAN JOIN FORCES TO SAVE THE PLANET

I Feel Like I’ve Lost My Best Friend… #Sochi2014 #WeAreWinter

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Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics #GoCanadaGo #WeAreWinter

They’ve made me smile, cry, laugh and I’ve cheered them on and been a dedicated friend … for the last 2 weeks!! Like many Canadians I have been glued to my television for the past couple weeks watching the Olympics and oozing Canadian pride.

A feeling of sadness has come over me like I’ve lost my best friend because man am I going to miss the Olympics. Only 4 more years…FOUR more years!!

My whole family has thoroughly enjoyed watching all the different events and shockingly my daughter is convinced she will be going to the Olympics in the near future for skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, well and every other sport.  My kids would ask every day when they came out if school what the medal count was now and then we would hurry home to watch the replays.  We have spent so much time crowded around the tv cheering on our Canadian athletes as they ROCKED the Sochi 2014 Olympics!

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics #GoCanadaGo #WeAreWinter

Here’s some of what our family takes away from the 2014 Winter Olympics (other than some awesome quality family time):

– An overwhelming sense of Canadian pride

– An urge to get out more often and enjoy all the great winter sports we can do in Canada

– Dream BIG and follow your dreams

– You can do anything you set your mind and heart to

– Hard work pays off

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics #GoCanadaGo #WeAreWinter

One of the best parts of the games was that we got to cheer on an Olympian from our home town!  Travis Gerrits is an aerial freestyle skier from Milton, ON and i’m sure you could hear the cheers coming from Milton as he hit the slopes in Sochi.  Travis came in 7th and Milton couldn’t be prouder. Way to go Travis!!  #BeyondNormal

Here are just a few of our favourite moments(in pictures) from the games…

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Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics #GoCanadaGo #WeAreWinterSochi 2014 Winter Olympics #GoCanadaGo #WeAreWinterSochi 2014 Winter Olympics #GoCanadaGo #WeAreWinter

To all the athletes, Thank you for your grace, superior sportsmanship and dedication to your sport.  You have made us SO proud to be Canadian and we are honoured to have you represent our country. Whether you were successful in your quest for gold or were defeated, you did it with dignity and true pride.  Thank you!

Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics #GoCanadaGo #WeAreWinter

As the saying goes … “All good things must come to an end”  So we say farewell to the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and we can’t wait until 2018!

 

Thank you Oil of Oregano for Saving my Vacation!

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Many people I know are huge advocates of using Oil of Oregano to ward off sickness but despite their praise of the product, I have never bought a bottle in my life.  Until now….

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A few weeks ago we were leaving on a family vacation to Cuba at 6:20 am.  Rewind to 16 hours before when we get a call from my son’s school that we need to come get him because he’s in the office vomiting.  Now I will admit that my first thought was not “Oh no I hope he’s okay” but more of a “crap we fly out first thing tomorrow morning”.  Not my best maternal moment but hey we all have them.

Panic mode kicks in and I debate secluding him to his room to keep the germs away from his sister, Daddy and myself.  We opt for sending my daughter to my Moms for a few hours to reduce her exposure and hubby and I turn to a lot of sanitizer and clorox wipes and a whole lot of hoping and praying. My Mom drops off my daughter with a bottle of Oil of Oregano in hand and urges me to get everyone to take it. My daughter takes it down pretty well chased by some apple juice and my hubby shakes, gags and complains like I’ve just given him poison.

By morning my son is good to go and we’re off for some fun in the sun!! There were a couple incidents of vomiting on the plane, which we let the other passengers chalk up to motion sickness, but after a quick nap, once we land in Cuba his colour has returned and he can’t wait to swim and have fun.

Well the fun ended for some pretty quickly. My husband got sick our first night and my daughter the next afternoon. Now we were traveling with my daughters BFF and her family. By the 3rd day they went down with the stomach flu one by one. In the end, 7 out of the 8 of us ended up with a brutal stomach flu while on vacation! Not what we envisioned but it was what it was. Who was the 1 out of 8 that didn’t get sick you ask? Well that would be me!! Like all good children, I listened to my Mom and took the Oil of oregano about 5 times a day. I was surrounded by the germs and sickness everywhere I turned!  I honestly think there is no other reason why I didn’t catch it other than my new found obsession with Oil of Oregano!  So I say thank you Oil of Oregano (and Mom) for saving my vacation!!

Now i’m not going to say that this stuff tastes great because truly it does not BUT it works!!  For kids (or husbands) make sure you have a chaser of juice to help them avoid the burning after you take it but I honestly have to say that this is the my new fave thing to ward off illness this season!! IMG_8064

 

 

The Finality of it all Makes me a Little Sad

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So as I’m writing this, I am sitting in a clinic waiting for my husband to come out from having a vasectomy. (Insert groan from all men here). As I sit here and wait I can’t help but feel a little bit sad with the finality of it all.

Once we had our 2nd child we said we would wait 5 years until we made the final decision on whether we were done having kids or not. The 5 years came and we both agreed that we were happy with having just the two kids and that there was no way we wanted to go back to sleepless nights and diapers.

Having both agreed that we were done and he was going to go for the procedure why do I feel like crying? Is it the fact that he is giving up his “manhood”? (He’ll be happy I threw that in) Is it that I know that we will never hold a new baby of our own? Because we have closed a chapter in our lives?

Whatever the reason, most of all I am so thankful for the two beautiful children we have and the great life we have together!

How did you feel when your hubby went for a vasectomy or did you have your tubes tied? How did you decide who had the procedure?

Yep That’s me Rockin’ out in my Mini Van!

Our family loves to listen to music!  Our neighbours must think we’re nuts as we dance around our house and sing into whatever we can find (fly swatters, hair brushes, shoes, etc…).  Now our singing is not just limited to behind the closed doors of our house.  We also love to rock out in our mini van!  Like really, who wouldn’t?!  Mini Vans scream rockin’ out right?

I don’t mind the stares and laughs as people beside me at a stoplight look over and see me air guitaring, singing into a straw or waving my hands in the air.  The other day I got the thumbs up from an older gentleman that was beside us and I just smiled and carried on with my Katy Perry impersonation!  Now I will admit I have got some weird looks like i’d lost my mind or needed some sort of therapy but I laugh and feel sorry for the boring person in the car next to me.  lol

Our kids love music, love to sing and play instruments and I know that they will remember these fun moments in the car when they are older and likely will do the same with their kids.  So cheers to all you parents that think rockin’ out in your mini van is where it’s at!

Here are some of my fave videos of the kids loving their music…

This is my little man a couple of years ago but I just love this video!  He is king of the Robot!

Our little Diva in the making rockin’ out on the Wii to the Beibs  in her monkey jammies!

It’s Ear Piercing Day

I fully remember the day  when I got my ears pierced.  It was my sister’s 10th Birthday and I was on my way to get my ears pierced.  I don’t remember my sister being bitter but probably more excited that she got to see me in pain!  haha  I was 5 years old and had decided that I wanted to get it done.

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Fast forward many years later to me having a daughter of my own.  Many of my friends pierced their children’s ears as infants but I wanted to wait for my daughter to be ready so she could make the decision herself and remember it.  For the last couple of weeks my daughter has been determined that she wanted her ears pierced.  Every morning I would hear “Mommy, can I get my ears pierced today?”  I set a date and decided if she kept asking, we would go and do it.

Well, today was the set date and she was still good to go.  Her BFF was on board to come watch and in the end decided she was in as well because she wanted to have her ears pierced with her best friend.  My sister came along for support and also because she is the Mom of 2 boys and wanted to be a part of this big day in a little girl’s life.  I’m not going to lie, I was alittle emotional  as it approached and ahem…during the entire process.

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There were tears (by one and all)  but in the end the girls looked beautiful and loved their new “fancy” rainbow earrings in their ears.  Next we were off for some ice cream to congratulate them on their bravery.  They spent the afternoon telling one another how beautiful their new earrings looked and how happy they were they did it together!  Enter heart melting here!

I am so glad that I waited for her to make the choice for herself and love the fact that she had her best friend by her side.  This is definitely one of those memories I will cherish forever!

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Thank you to the fab ladies at Halton Hills Jewellery for doing such a fantastic job!