- Play Date - plan a day with friends, whether it be a girlfriend with her little or a daycare friend! Alternate times at each others houses so that it allows the kids to play with new toys and get out of the house.
- Indoor Playground - we are super lucky that we have quite a few around us but honestly for $3-8 you can pack up a lunch/snack and spend the day in there. Aves usually makes a friend and they follow each other around and she is getting to the age where I don’t have to stalk her through every tube and slide, I can sit back and watch her play which is really neat to see her interact.
- Indigo - okay so this is like my best kept secret but most Indigo stores have a children’s section and if you’re lucky yours has a Starbucks and “the train.” A large tracked train that is in the middle of the kids section that they can go nuts with while you enjoy a Starbucks! It’s also a great opportunity to have Avery pick out a book she likes and we can read it together before nap time or bed time.
- Swimming - so we usually frequent our local YMCA through the winter. They have “open swims” almost everyday that you can drop in for under $5. It’s a great energy burner plus, I believe that learning to swim is such a good skill to have!
- Movies - so this one I haven’t yet tried, I’ve been tempted but I’ve been waiting for the perfect age and I think we’re there. Through the week, most cineplex theatres have a “Stars & Strollers” day where they play a kid friendly movie and it doesn’t matter if you have a crier, chatter or a bouncing toddler because everyone is in the same boat! I’m going to do one of these soon so maybe I’ll do a post about how it went!
- So I don’t know about you but I HATE the cold, and in the last 3 weeks we have had 3 snow days because this winter is hitting us hard! I think I was meant to live somewhere in the world where I could celebrate winter on the beach in sandals and a bathing suit - yet here I am living the Canadian life! With this being said, once this weather hits I really only go outside when needed. Aves enjoys it, and when she’s at school through the week she spends lots of time outside every day. She almost knows that if she wants to head out on the weekends and it’s cold to ask her dad and he’s a trooper! This being said, our Friday’s home I have to get creative for November - March. These are our top faves when we get stir crazy…Needles to say, if you are like me and don’t love getting out to play and your little one already gets lots of outdoor time there are options to stay active, get out and stay warm!
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I always find myself trying to think of something creative to send into pre-school. There is a firm policy on no “home-baked” goods (for allergy reasons and food must be individually wrapped - peanut free. There are so many cute ideas to share with the class and the best part is that they are pretty simple! See here for some simple and adorable ideas!- Mini Cereal Boxes - “I Cerealsly Love You”- Mini Play-Doh - “You are a Doh-Able”- Bubbles “I am Bubbling With Joy That we are Friends”- Squeeze Pouches “You are my Main Squeeze”- Curly Straws “You are Ex-Straw Special”- Glow Sticks “You Make my Heart Glow”- Gold Fish Pack “You O-Fishally Have my Heart”Always remember that there are options other than candy and sugar - although those are fun too! And there is nothing wrong with the traditional card valentine or hand-made cards either!Happy Valentine’s Day!
- Leaving that morning at 6am for the airport was one of the hardest things I have ever done and I know that sounds dramatic but it was so tough. I had my sister stay over the night before so that she’d be there when Avery woke up and I would have to wake her. I did my final visit into her room before we left, watching her sleep so peacefully with tears flowing down my face. I couldn’t stop thinking “why am I doing this?” None the less we ventured to the airport and got a FaceTime with our girl before boarding the plane.The first 3-4 days were magical! Some much needed R&R - we hadn’t been away just the 2 of us since our honeymoon for 4 years and we were due! We would get a morning and evening FaceTime with Avery and she would tell us about her day, ask to see the pool and tell us what she was up to. To top it off, she even had a sick day in there where she stayed home with a fever. I finally got into a rhythm of thinking “wow this is great, why did we wait so long!” But around day 4 things started to shift. She didn’t really enjoy FaceTime as it would upset her and she was generally getting sad and let me tell you, there is nothing worse than not being able to snuggle her! Selfishly I wanted to call her all the time to see how she was but we made the decision to limit the FaceTime and approach it with an “out of site, out of mind” kind of attitude which seemed to slightly help. As the week progressed I got more and more “ready” to just be home with her as it broke my heart to hear she was like this.Now for the other side of things, let me tell you how amazing 7 nights of only thinking for yourself is. Late dinner reservations, sleep ins, full days at the beach. Not playing lifeguard or worrying about nap time/bed time, just taking some much needed time as a couple and not “mom and dad.” If you have the support to make it happen, I would say do it! We have just learned that our “us trips” are more around that 3-4 day length.To say I underestimated the impact that 7 nights would have on her doesn’t even scratch the surface. We are 4 days back and I am still struggling with leaving her anywhere, in her room at bedtime, 45 min dance class, pre-school drop off - she literally tells me she thinks I won’t come back. It is HEARTBREAKING! It is also one of those growth milestones for both of us, a trust builder that when I go, I will come back. Now, trying to really have this sink in to an almost 3 year old is tough but we are getting there! But with consistency and back to routine my hope is we will get back into everyday life in no time!
So if you've been keeping up with my journey the last couple months then you know we have been having some night time struggles with Avery's sleep. A nightly battle to get into bed, nightly wakings and early morning wake-ups. On several occasions of seeking advice and ideas everything and everyone seemed to lead me towards a "kids clock." After some further research, I decided to give the Gro Companies "Gro Clock" a try.
When heading out and purchasing it, I had a moment of "oh my gosh, $60 for a clock for a toddler" but the more I walked around with it in my hand I came to the conclusion that a one time $60 purchase for a good nights sleep and a simple bedtime is worth every last penny.
Once we got the clock home, I sat down and explained to Avery that when it's time for bed the clock will be blue and the stars will come out, and once it's morning and time to get up (a time which YOU get to set) the clock will turn yellow and the sun will come out - she really showed some excitement. I had her be very hands on with the setup process, she got to pick where in her room she wanted it to sit and we made her room nice and dark so that we made sure she could see it clearly. This was the first bedtime in a LONG time that I saw her excited to get into bed. That night at bedtime she acknowledged that the screen was blue so that it was time for bed and I walked her through that if she woke up in the night and she was okay and the screen was still blue, that meant it was still night time so to close her eyes and go back to bed. Night #1 was by far my favourite night, as she woke up around 1am and all we heard from the monitor was "oh no Dodo (her bedtime stuffed duck) it's still blue so everyone is sleeping" AND WENT BACK TO BED! I didn't have to get up, go in - NOTHING it was magical!
Now I can't say that every night in the last two weeks has gone this well but I can say that I have seen a HUGE improvement. I went from having to go in there at least once a night, every night to going in once a night maybe twice a week. The bedtime can still be an on/off struggle as some days she's just overtired and cranky and other days she has too much energy for bedtime, however she still does check for the blue stars every night. Mornings have also gotten a lot better! She still has mornings where she wakes up before the sun (which I set for 7:10am) but if I go in before she yells out "it's yellow!" then she actually gets quite upset with ME for not waiting! I do still have her in a crib so I don't know if this would change if she was in a bed, but I plan to transfer her in February so time will tell!
I have had a good experience so far, plus it has a "nap wake up" feature - not just morning wake up which is great if you still are blessed with naps! You can also control the brightness of the screen for how dim or bright you want it, but for us it is a clock and nightlight all in one. It is easy to use, and can become just a regular clock with an alarm feature for future years so the $60 doesn't feel so crazy anymore. My only dislike would be that it has a few extra steps to setting the time(s) compared to a regular clock and it needs to stay plugged in, so plug it in and set it up in the spot you want to keep it!
All in all, I would recommend the clock - it has made an impact and improvement for our family. If you are wanting to try it, I would say go for it!
- Recently, this has been a question I have gotten many times so I wanted to share my experience. I had planned on my return to work when Avery was about 6 months old and that’s when my research began. For some areas, wait lists for some daycare centers are quite long so best to find out how far in advance your research needs to begin for your area.Once I wrapped my head around returning to work and needed childcare I started my research with center vs. home based. I have absolutely nothing against a home facility, I know many who swear by them. I just quickly discovered that for what I wanted the experience to be like for myself and Avery that a center was my better bet. I liked that there were separate classroom progressions based on her age which came with new teachers, I liked that she was out of a home based learning environment and now feels as though she is going to school to ease that JK/SK progression and I like the classroom monitoring app, that I can look at through my phone app at anytime during the day. I also knew that having Early Childhood Educators (emphasis on educators plural) as I know that everyone enjoys and deserves vacation time but the truth is, it won't always line up with mine.After realizing that the childcare center was the route I wanted to go, I started interviewing. I think I went to 8, even though the last 2 were simply because the appointments were already booked because like anything else, when you know - you know! Each center I went into had their own procedures and handbooks but to be honest - they are all a lot alike. You need to walk through, meet the teachers, observe a class, try and find a parent of another child to talk to and most importantly - go with your gut! There were centers I walked through and knew within minutes it wasn’t the one. Quite like the one I chose, I knew within minutes. Prepare your questions for when you have one you like - flexibility, cost, sick policy, drop-off and pick up times, security etc.We went through the “trial days” where day 1 I sat in there with her for 2 hours and then day 2 I left her there for 2 hours and came back and I could tell she wasn’t upset which was the best part. Now, don’t get me wrong - we have tough days even still that she doesn’t want me to go or she’s having an off day but I can honestly say I’ve never had a single day where I felt as though something was “off” and most days when I pick her up I have to chase her around because she doesn’t want to leave.My best advice is go with your mom gut. It’s a very real thing!
Do you struggle with finding the perfect gift for the men in your life? I always find that either guys are prepared with a list or you get the generic "you know what I like" or "I'm good with anything." This can make purchasing the perfect gift difficult.
Check out these great gift options with perfect timing to take advantage of Black Friday specials!
Whether you're buying for your own kids, neices, nephews, cousins, grandbabies or family friends there are so many options for kids. This gift guide has a variety of options ranging in size, age and cost.
Just a quick note coming from the mind of a parent, if you are buying for someone else's child - remember pay back can be a killer if you choose to buy the loudest and largest toy - but have fun with it!
Okay, so I don't know about you but I always find the ladies in my life the most difficult to buy more. I feel like the guys typically have 5 items on a list and you can easily just pick one, order it, wrap and they're happy! With Black Friday and all the deals that come with it right around the corner, I am sharing my gift guide for the ladies in your life!
1. MAC Creme Cup Lipsick - a classic shade of the perfect nude
2. Toddler Mug - for days when you are on your 4th cup of coffee
3. Girl Wash Your Face - a great & very relatable read
4. Olaplex Hair Treatment - give yourself a hair makeover at home
5. Holiday Sweater - this cozy sweater is the perfect essential for the holiday season
6. Frank Coffee Body Scrub - you will never feel as soft and refreshed as after you "Frank"
7. "On Cloud Wine" Stemless Glass - for when it's 5 o'clock somewhere
8. Vinylux Weekly Polish - a great alternative to salon upkeep
9. Neutrogena Blue Light Mask - a 10 minute treatment for an at home facial
10. SoftMoc Winter Boots - waterproof and oh so warm
11. Pandora Glacial Beauty Sliding Bracelet - the perfect accessory all year
12. UGG Sequin Slipper - a cozy staple all year long
13. Saje Dusk to Dawn Diffuser Set - the perfect gift for those getting into essential oils
14. Victoria Secret Shine Robe - a lightweight and go to robe for around the house
- For as long as I could remember, way before I had Avery, before I was married, likely before I even met Mike! I was sure that I was going to work until I had children and then that would be it for me - I would be a “stay-at-home mom.” Heck, even when I got pregnant with Avery this was still my goal. As much as I went on to love every moment I was home with Avery from day 1 to day 365, I quickly learned (probably around day 182) that I was not meant to stay at home. I was missing a very large component of what made me, me! This is the first time in my life that I made the realization that I like to work (words I thought I’d never say) but I guess when you have a love and passion for what you do then this makes sense.This being said, going back to work and not spending my days with Aves (after 9 months of literally being attached and then a year of being together every day) was NOT EASY! I had so many mixed feelings and learned so much by going back and the decision I made definitely isn’t right for everyone, but it was right for me.I had the luxury of a slow transition, starting with daycare 1 day a week then slowly grew to 2, then 3 and then (and still now) 4 days a week. I aim to keep Fridays as a “mommy & me day” and we both look forward to it every week.These are my 5 truest truths about returning to work:
- MOM GUILT IS REAL - so this is something that I always heard about but never really understood. For me, it is best described as this awful pit in your stomach when you really want to do something for yourself but your emotions, fear of judgement, peers, society and your mom brain make you feel as though you shouldn’t. FYI - this isn’t something that goes away! I have been back at work for almost 2 years and I still have a couple mornings a month that drop-off doesn’t go smoothly and I think “what if I’m not doing the right thing, they’re only little for such a short time.” But I get in my car because my career is important to me and the run and hug I get when I pick her up is everything!
- MISSED MOMENTS - this goes hand and hand with the mom guilt. I was always so worried about missing the moments and the milestones that come with growing up. Avery started daycare at 11 months old so I was concerned I would miss her first steps (which thankfully I didn’t) but the reality is that I got lucky there. You will miss some moments but one of my favourite times of the day now is her telling me what she did and learned today and being so excited to share it with me. It gives her some independence and the ability to share moments with me through her eyes.
- SPECIAL TIME - as I mentioned above, I keep Avery home on Fridays for a day just the two of us. We take our time getting out of bed, stay in our pj’s till noon if we want, run errands etc. and share time together with no distractions. This time is so special and since I haven’t had her most of the week we are both 100% focused on each other. Being apart through the week gives us time to miss each other and make the moments we do have that much more special.
- OPINIONS - everyone will have their own opinions on how you should parent - what to do, products to use, how to discipline, what to teach etc. but to be honest most focus on what you’re doing wrong and not what you are doing right. How you parent is your choice - take the opinions you want and don’t stress about the rest!
- ROLE MODEL - I like to think that I am a mom who yes, returned to work and uses a daycare centre but I am leading by example for my daughter that in life you can have more that one passion. You can be a great mom and a boss! If you have a passion in life, nothing should get in the way - there is a balance you just have to find it. Whether your passion includes your career, a hobby or being a mom, being happy and doing what you love comes through in who you are and that is a valuable trait to show and teach!
These are a family favourite for us and a recipe that has been handed down throughout my extended family. They are a great option for baking with little helpers as they don't require the oven!
INGREDIENTS2 cup rolled oats1 cup shredded coconut1/2 cup butter2 cup white sugar1/2 cup white milk1/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- Combine oats, coconut & cocoa powder in a bowl
- In a pot, bring milk to a boil and stir in butter & sugar
- Remove from heat and stir in the bowl of dry ingredients (oats, coconut & cocoa)
- Lay parchment paper (wax paper) onto a baking sheet or cooling rack
- Scoop desired size spoonfuls of the mixture onto the paper
- Leave to sit until cool - usually ready after about 2 hours