RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: March 2011

Who is in Charge Here?

Posted on

You know all those warning labels attached to children’s toys and furniture?  The ones that tell you how the product should be used, then they give a blanket statement;  “Nothing takes the place of parental supervision.”   Well, I read those labels and still end up in parental messes.  It all started with the crib recall  3 months after my daughter was born.  It was only the biggest crib recall in recent history, crossing Canadian and US borders, affecting more than 2 million families.  The company was quick to come up with a solution to “fix” the crib and make it safer.  We waited a day on the phone to order our free kit that would take a few weeks to arrive.  It meant that we now had to find another place for baby girl to sleep in the mean time.  Nevermind that she had actually started to sleep through the night!  So we put her in a bassinet she was nearly too big for, bring her into our bedroom for supervision, and went back to having broken sleep for a few weeks.  The kit came and it permanently fixed the rails in the up position.  So we could never again put the rail down to actually help us transfer a sleeping baby into the crib.  I have to lean in as far as I can reach and let her plop the last 1/2 inch.  Real smooth huh?

Well last night, parental supervision once again failed me.  I was sitting at the dining room table, ‘supervising’ baby girl’s evening snack.  She was feeding herself yogurt in her highchair.  What could possibly go wrong?  She spontaneously grabbed the yogurt tub and squeezed it!  As if that wasn’t enough, in the 2 seconds it took me to reach her, she immediately rubbed the exploded

yogurt into her eyes, hair, nose, and ears.  She then began to scream and cry.  I’m sure cold yogurt feels terrible in your eyes huh kid!?  She stopped screaming long enough to say; “Bubbles?” Meaning she wanted another bath.  Very sneaky way to force the issue.  So inspite of it being 5 minutes to bedtime, we now had spontaneous bath time.  I managed to snap a few pictures before hosing down every yogurt covered surface.  I was trying hard not to laugh at her, she was upset.  Really in the grand scheme of everything that can go wrong, yogurt explosions are low on the danger scale. 

The longer this parenting gig runs, the more I realize that I am not in control.  Control is an illusion.  It can be quickly shattered by the impulses of your child, and the reality of living in a world where we have to adjust to the consequences of other people’s mistakes.

What’s For Dinner?

Posted on

The dreaded question that hangs over my head EVERYDAY…Whats for dinner?  This question is a pain in the rump!  

Lately, I have become more involved in connecting with other parents and visit a few online forums.  I had noticed an open chat about the importance of shared family mealtime and weighed in on how I felt about the issue.  Thanks to Everything Mom and Swiss Chalet I had the WFD question answered for me.  After participating in the online convo at Everything Mom, my name was picked to receive a $50 Swiss Chalet gift card.

I was thrilled to win, and even more thrilled that it would take a little pressure off me for at least one meal.  The gift card arrived in perfect timing.  Our busy life had become more chaotic when my husband’s grandmother entered hospital.  My hubby and I work opposite hours to avoid childcare fees, we each have volunteer commitments, and now added visiting sweet Nan to the crazy schedule.  One day before heading to work, I didn’t want to leave my WFD question until that afternoon.  I went on the Swiss Chalet website and discovered that I could pre-order our meal and get it delivered or choose the take-out/pick up option.  In a few clicks I had a Chicken and Rib Family Meal reserved for pick up at 6 pm.  It was a welcome treat after a crazy busy week.  Even better?  There was very little clean up.  We had enough food left for lunch the next day.  And we still have ‘money’ left on the gift card to fund another meal. 

Connecting with other parents on Everything Mom fed my need for social interaction.  Swiss Chalet fed our bellies and made a very happy mommy. 

*This blog is the authors genuine account of winning a contest and is not endorsed or sponsored by Everything Mom or Swiss Chalet.

 **photo is from Swiss Chalet  .ca

No H-8

Posted on

I had a perky blog saved in my draft’s folder to add to the usual jubilance I feel on Friday’s.  I don’t know why Friday is my favourite day of the week.  It’s not like I ever really have weekends off, but anyway, I digress.

I had a little Twitter scuffle yesterday.  Someone that doesn’t follow or have a relationship with me decided to make offensive remarks about the child of someone I follow.  Since I am still naive inspite of my crazy mixed-up life experiences, I was surprised at the ‘drive-by hate’.  It was random and unsolicitated.  I want positive relationships, so tried to find a redeeming quality in this stranger that had made her presence known in my little world.  After visiting her profile I found that it was FILLED to the brim, top to bottom with slurs, and negativity.  This stranger posted one more negative comment about my weight, before I blocked her.  I actually laughed at being called ‘fatso’ because it was so childish.  I would be more offended if someone called me stupid, I have reconciled my weight issues a LONG time ago. 

So this kind of put me in a funk.  I began thinking about the large number of people that use social networking sites.  I was an avid Facebooker for years, until I got a blogging gig last summer and was asked to Tweet for the CNE.  So timidly I stepped into the Twitter-verse for the first time.  I know that human nature can make us feel safe when critisizing someone while hiding behind a computer.  Really, we are offering information about ourselves for strangers to judge or misuse.  You know the ones.  Every site or group seems to have at least one user that will attempt to use the forum to spread their message of negativity or hate.  It may seem like we won’t have to take responsibility or ownership for any nastiness we put into cyberspace.  One payback for being rude; it doesn’t usually lead to positive relationships or success in the ways that count.  Relationships are everything in social networking.

In light of this, I still believe in the social networking power held within our computers, and smartphones.   Blogging has changed my life in the last year.  And relationships I have made in various sites and forums have helped me through this new transition called parenthood.  I would like to ask, “Can’t we all just get along?”.  I know the answer is “No”.  Being unique, with different personality querks, opinions, and points of view, is what makes life interesting.  How could we ever learn respect or acceptance if we all agreed on every single topic?  As we meet people with opposing views, we learn more about the world around us.  The world is a shared space afterall, and becoming ‘smaller’ as the social networks grow.  As we meet people with similar life experiences we find comfort in knowing we are not alone.

Some important things to remember;

Have control over what people know about you online. 

Know the security limits of the sites you use. 

Stand up against cyberbullying.  You can disagree without hate.  It’s requires maturity and falls under the umbrella of such social skills as acceptance and respect.

*stock photo courtesy of dreamstime.com

HUMP DAY SLUMP DAY

Posted on

This is the mid-week SLUMP DAY for me.  I was never excited for Wednesday to appear as many other people are.  What is so special about Wednesday?  This is Day 14 of sugar detox for me and I have been lacking the motivation to continue on with this new plan.  I woke up needing a boost of cheer so decided to make a photo gallery of some of my favourite things.  

Number one, I love my family and friends but didn’t get permission to post images of them on this site.  You will have to be my friend on Facebook to see those pics.

So we will have to settle for other things that bring me joy.  Christmas Morning, a smile from my sweet girl, and a blissfully sleeping baby, enough said.

I love being outdoors and don’t give myself enough opportunities to go out.  Walking from car to work, or car to grocery store, to home doesn’t count.  Whether it is walking in the park, sitting on a patio with a cool drink and soaking up the sun, or feeding the ducks, I would rather be there.  Ugh, I just looked out the window and saw that the snow is actually accumulating.  What happened to our brief glimpse of spring?

Let’s find my happy place again…Going to the CNE every summer, and eating TINY TOM DONUTS.  It is an annual tradition, and I can already taste the warm, powdered sugar goodness.

Sitting in a quiet corner of my favourite coffee shop with a book.  I haven’t been able to do this in years, probably since University.  But a girl can daydream right?

Well, I am being snapped out of my revery by a grumpy girly that has oversplept.  I need to shake off this SLUMP DAY mood.  But first I need to climb the mountain of laundry.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You Had Me At Free

Posted on

I am cheap by nature, but that doesn’t mean I’m not generous.  I am generous with my time and affections, for sure.  Money? Not so much, teehee.  I clip coupons every week, much to my husbands annoyance.  I have stopped telling him how much I spend in a shopping trip.  At the beginning of the month I find out my budget and instead come home reporting how much I saved.  Coupons and flyers do take over our tiny kitchen sometimes, but I am learning how to keep them more organized.   

First place to start? Get a purse-sized organizer with accordian folds.  I got mine at my favourite dollar store, and it has ten pockets to organize my coupons.  I sort them into categories, and put the closest expiry dates in the front of the pile.  My every week shopping list gets tucked into the front.  This list has items I need every week because I can’t rely on my memory anymore.

Coupons can offer a way to try something new without wasting too much money.  Two weeks ago I got a FREE MAIL-IN REBATE for the new Lysol No-Touch Hand Soap Pump.  I bought the pump for $9.99, filled in the rebate and mailed it with my original receipt.  In a few weeks I should get a cheque in the mail.  I make sure to only do this with brands I trust. 

I plan my meals and purchases for the next week, based on the new flyers I get on Thursday evenings.  This is when the second list gets made, list your needed items by store and include the prices advertised.  This saves you from reading through all the flyers over over and over again.  I decide who has the best deals then bring ALL my flyers to the store that will price match.  There are people that still don’t know about price matching.  It is practised in many grocery stores, but in some stores it can also be applied to appliances, electronics, health & beauty, pet food, and baby items.  Sometimes it is only a matter of saving a few cents, but other times it means getting a $50 video game for $20.

Patience is important when it comes to getting good deals.  I will wait for the perfect sale and still hang on to every receipt.  Just in case the item goes on sale even more in the next two weeks, I will wait in line to get a price adjustment.  Some stores will give you money back up to a month after original purchase (Future Shop, I love you for this reason).

When I find a really good deal, will ask friends for the coupons in their newspaper too.

Visit websites of  the companies that make or promote your favourite things.  There are also free coupon websites that will let you browse through the brands that have offered deals.  Companies want your business.  They will give out free samples, coupons, and hold great contests to get your interest.  I just got 30% off my OLD NAVY purchase and saved more than $30 including the markdowns on the clearance items.  I got a long sleeved T-shirt for $1.23!!!  My total bill was $36 (for two T-shirts and a pair of yoga pants for me, and spring outfit including; 6 pairs of socks and a pair of sandals for baby girl).

Can you tell that I love a bargain?  I could go on and on about how much I love free stuff.  I am happy to do a little bit of work every week, to clip coupons, search the web, or pour over flyers to find the best deals.  It means that we get to live well, and within our budget, so we may have enough money to treat ourselves to a dinner out.  In the really tight budget months it means we don’t have to use credit cards just to eat and put diapers on the baby.  With a little time and planning, a good deal could mean stretching your budget a long way.  For me it means sneaking in a cute shirt, or a new lipgloss.  Especially when I shop at a department store that has everything under one roof.  Happy Savings!

*stock photos courtesy of dreamstime.com

Sugar Sugar

Posted on

Well, day 10 of sugar detox is going surprisingly well.  I am not crazy hungry, and no one has run away from home in fear of my mood swings.  I am not going to use the “D” word, that begins with “DIE”.  I prefer to call this new eating plan, downsizing.  Mostly because I hope it results in downsizing my pants, shirts, dresses, etc.  It is also a prettier word to describe something that isn’t always pretty or easy.  I have lost significant amounts of weight in the past, and even managed to keep most of the pounds off.  For me it requires constant vigilance, and that is the part that wears me down eventually. 

Here are a few things that keep me moving forward in my downsizing plan:

Before you start: See your doctor for a check up and tell them you are thinking about losing weight.  Then talk to a dietitian and find out healthy ways to reach your goal.

Set goals: Set a weight loss or health goal and figure out how you are going to acheive it.  Do you have more success with a work-out partner?  Do you need a weigh-in buddy to be accountable to or give moral support?  I am a lone ranger for the most part, but do need a meal plan to give me specific examples of what I should eat.

Keep positive: Don’t let negativity keep you from reaching your goal.  If you have a bad day or week, move on and try to do better, allow yourself a do-over.  Reward yourself with ‘non-food’ treats when you have success.

Educate yourself :  Read packages, you will be surprised at what is hiding in some of your favourite foods.  Learn about portion sizes, invest in a good food scale, measuring cups, and digital weight scale.  I find that using a smaller plate, or bowl will help me keep portions in check too. 

For example, I began to measure portions, and took note of just how much the serving sizes are for some of my favourite foods.  They aren’t necessarily all junk foods, but things I eat everyday, and contain some sugar.  I don’t eat a lot of take-out or junk food, ‘normal’ foods are making me fat because my servings are often super-sized!  My morning cereal regime was double the suggested serving.

cereal serving 1

Suggested Serving

 

serving 2

Normal Serving

 

More ideas?  Some people find that counting calories and keeping a food journal helps them.  I opted out of those routines.  I have a meal chart from my dietitian that tells me how many starches, proteins, veg, and dairy I should be aiming for during the whole day.

Last, but not least, get moving!  I enjoy walking, but not much else when it comes to exercise.  Find something that works for you and your schedule and stick to it.  Consistency is important, it is hard to reach any goal without it.  Whether it is working toward a promotion at work, or teaching your toddler to potty train.

I am finding it difficult to fit some of my new goals into an already busy schedule.  I find that I have to constantly give myself permission to ‘think of me’.   Like a lot of people in a caregiver role, I sometimes feel guilty for putting my needs into the list of priorities.  I realized that if I don’t take care of myself, I am an unhappy mommy who can’t keep up with her toddler.  I’m sure you will get to hear a lot more about this new ‘sugar-free’ adventure!

Live the Change You Want to See.

Posted on

Well it is Wednesday.  And I am extra late getting a new blog out into cyber space.  I have a few blog drafts saved, but couldn’t decide on one that was appropriate for this mid-week post.  My heart is heavy with the images I see on the news.  Even while having it play in the background, sound turned down, the images of what is happening in JAPAN are so heartbreaking. 

I am BLESSED beyond measure and repent for these things I grumble about; our 20-year-old car,  mis-matched chairs around my 30-year-old table, a TV made in 1977, a minimum wage job, and clothes that are hand-me downs or bought at Value Village

I don’t have a house, but I have a HOME.  My family and friends are scattered around the world but I am LOVED.  I don’t always have much choice in what I eat, but I am NEVER STARVING.  I have HOPE living inside of me. And I don’t live in FEAR because of my gender, religious beliefs, or for expressing my opinions.

Earlier today, I watched a video about A. Krishnan.  CNN paid tribute to him during their HEROES show in February 2011.  He gave up his job as a chef because he saw the desperate conditions of people on the streets .  And began showing compassion to people who are otherwise ignored or forgotten.  It broke my heart wide open and reminded me that I am a millionaire compared to how some people are forced to live.  

Mr. Krishnan you recognized a need for change, so YOU changed.  You are a friend to the friendless, an inspiration, and a hero.  You are right, people don’t only need food to live.  A hug, a place to shower, and kind word can “nourish the mind and heart”.

To view the video that moved me to tears, click on the Link obtained from CNN

Donate:
Canadian Red Cross 
American Red Cross