Saturday, March 31, 2012

Benefits of Breastfeeding

I have said it on here many times before - I am very pro-breastfeeding. I would never hold it against someone that chose NOT to breastfeed - but for my family, there wasn't a choice. I suppose if I hadn't been able to nurse, then I would have gone to formula (and Julien was on a mix of breast milk/formula in the NICU) - but I didn't have to cross that path.

I am fortunate that I have been successful at nursing, as I know many that haven't been. I have witnessed their feelings of failure (which I don't think they need to feel) and their guilt of using formula (again, I don't think you should feel guilty about how you nourish your child).

I am also a believer in the health benefits of breast milk.  My oldest was in the NICU for 10 days, and I have been told by more than one health professional that his intake of breast milk is probably one of the reasons he recovered so quickly.

Until I had Kyle, I was a little skeptical - I really wondered how they could know for sure that breast milk has so many benefits - here are just a few "un-orthodox" uses for breast milk I had/have heard:

- use it to clean out nasal passages instead of saline
- use it for conjunctivitis (eye gunk)
- to clean your child
- to clear up baby acne
- use on diaper rash
- helps to build immunity and protect against illness

When Kyle was born, I used breast milk to clean his eyes, his nose and it helped to clear up his baby acne.  When he was a few months old, I heard about the diaper rash trick - and it worked there too.

Kyle is 19 mths old, and has never TRULY been sick; he has had the odd case of sniffles, or the start of a cold - but when hubby, Jules and I are knocked flat - he generally gets a very MILD case of whatever we have - and I attribute that to the breast milk he is still getting.

The body is a wondrous thing - it still amazes me that my body can produce the nourishment he needs every day.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mommy time out

Today, I needed to give myself a time out....the past few weeks have been pretty stressful in terms of getting a certain project done.  The only time I really have to work on it is when the kids go to bed, so I have been pretty much spending from 7-11pm most nights trying to get this finished.

Needless to say, I am exhausted and cranky. When Julien got home from school today, Kyle was napping and we decided to make a cake/cupcakes.  I had it all ready so all he needed to do was throw everything in the mixer and turn it on. As soon as that was done, I sent him upstairs so I could continue my work while Kyle napped. So what should have been fun times baking with mommy turned into a really quick get it done and move on sort of thing....

When K got up, he was cranky...Julien was cranky because I had left him on his own, and I was cranky. It didn't make for a good afternoon. I ended up snapping on the kids so often, that finally I told Julien to go to his room and play for a little while; I put kyle in his high chair with a snack and I sat and did nothing for a few minutes.

I hate that I have been so short with the boys (Jules mostly) and really hope that once all this work is behind me things will be better.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Summer Camps and Labels

Summer is fast approaching, and that means summer camps. To ensure that your child's personal items don't get lost, place an order at Lovable Labels

I am a lovebug, and if you use the code AshleyPLB1 - you will get 10% off of 1 item purchased!

make sure to take the time

Have you ever noticed that time goes by without catching up with old friends/family? And often, when you do get the chance to catch up it happens to be at a funeral?

This happens to me. It sucks.

A beautiful, dear soul passed away last week - she was 30 years old. Someone I had known for a very long time; I knew her through my brother. The last time I saw her was just in passing at a local shopping centre, and I am not even sure exactly when it was (either 1 yr or 2 yrs ago....)

At her funeral today, there were a number of people that I haven't seen in many years - and it was sad. It was really nice to catch up with them, but so sad that it had to be at a funeral.

My BFF moved back to our city 19 mths ago - and to be honest, I think we see less of each other now that we are soooo close in proximity - why is that? maybe because we are so close we figure that there is always time? where as when she lived 4.5 hours away, we always MADE the time. It didn't matter, we made sure we got to see each other.

2 mths ago a high school classmate of ours died, and we made the time to get together.....but alas, it has now been 2mths and we haven't seen each other again.

So please, cherish the time you have with your friends and family - its easy to think that tomorrow will always be there, but sometimes, tomorrow just doesn't come

Saturday, March 24, 2012


As a teenager, I experienced a few life altering events - the one with the most impact was my fathers death.

I was going through a box yesterday looking for photographs, and I found a binder full of poems that I wrote. I am going to be sharing some of them here - but please remember, I was only 15 or 16 when these were written - so here goes with the first one

Stars Above

As I stare at the stars above, like so many nights before, I wonder
I wonder if my father is gazing down at the same stars from the heavens above; thinking of me like I am of him.

I remember the nights we used to stay up late, talking with him about nothing, but about everything
Then I wonder if maybe, just maybe, he remembers too.

Then I wonder what I would say if I could see him again one day, one last time before having to say goodbye.
I wonder if I would even recognize him, would I even see him or just know that he was there, like so many nights before.

Would I be scared or angry? frightened or sad?

I wonder how I would feel, if I would cry or smile; then I think what would I do?

Then I look at the stars above and with tear filled eyes I whisper "I love you daddy" and hope that he hears from the heavens above

Written by Ashley M. April 1996

**this is original content written by me, and is not to be used without permission from the author**

Astro Original Greek Yogourt

Parmalat Canada is thrilled to announce that its Astro Original Greek yogourt brand has won the 2012 Best New Product Award in the Yogourt category. The 2012 Best New Product Award winners were determined from the BrandSpark International Canadian Shopper Study, which surveyed more than 53,000 independent consumers who voted in 53 categories. 

Astro has been providing great tasting dairy products to Canadians for over 30 years. From the beginning, they have helped consumers maintain balance in their lives with products true to yogourt roots.  They have kept up with the industry and consumer needs by creating new and exciting product lines.

Astro Original Greek yogourt is available in Canada wherever Astro products are sold, in both a regular and fat free version. The regular 500 g format is available in three different flavours (Plain, Honey and Strawberry) and the fat free 500 g format is available in Strawberry and Peach flavours. More information can be found at

Astro Original Greek provides two times more protein than Parmalat Canada's regular Astro Original yogourt products; it is an excellent source of calcium, contains eight essential nutrients and is made from natural ingredients.

Interest in Greek yogourt is a rapidly growing trend in Canada as consumers look for a yogourt product that has superior taste, significant health benefits and is also versatile in use. Whether eaten on its own, used as a base for a favourite dip or spread or as an ingredient for cooking and baking recipes, Astro Original Greek yogourt is the clear choice for consumers.

Parmalat Canada sent me a gift basket filled with goodies this week! Included in the beautiful wicker basket was yogourt parfait glasses, yogourt bowls, yogourt spoons, a Cuisinart smart stick hand blender, ice cube trays and coupons to redeem for Astro Original Greek yogourt.  I bought 1 of each regular flavour (honey, plain and strawberry) to try out.

the basket of goodies I received

I am very happy to say that we liked the Astro Original Greek yogourt. My oldest had some of the strawberry with breakfast and he really enjoyed the taste. I made some yogourt pops (using the shaped ice cube trays) with the strawberry as well and they were a hit with the kids in the nice weather yesterday! The yogourt is smooth and creamy and, most importantly, tastes great!

I am looking forward to trying out some recipes using the yogourt - so stay tuned to the blog to see how they turn out.

Parmalat is also sponsoring a giveaway through Tales of Mommyhood! They are going to offer one of my CANADIAN readers THREE coupons to redeem for Astro Original Greek yogourt (you could try out all 3 flavours or just buy 3 of your favorite!)

To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter form below, but remember - it is open only to Canadians (excluding residents of Quebec)

**I was sent a gift basket including coupons for the product mentioned in exchange for this post; the opinions expressed belong to Tales of Mommyhood and your experience/opinion may vary**

Monday, March 19, 2012

cleaning out the car

I have a horrible habit - which involves leaving everything in my car (well, not my children! they come with me). But I find that I get the mail ,and the junk mail stays in the car. The kids have a snack, and the container/wrapper (and crumbs) stay in the car.

I grew up with a father that drove a messy car, and my brother and I both swore that our cars would be clean when we had our own.......well, we both lied. We both generally have horribly messy cars.

Today, that changed.

My oldest is home sick, and the youngest is at Grandma's. So, once I completed the work I needed to get done, we set out with a garbage bag and vacuum.  I had Julien empty everything out of the backseat onto the laneway, and I worked on the front.

We then filled the garbage bag with all the garbage and the rest of the toys/books/shoes and socks made their way into the garage.....then I got the vacuum ready and I am now proud to say that I have a pretty clean car!

I can't say how long it will stay that way - but I am really happy about it for now at least!

Enjoying the beautiful weather

Yesterday afternoon was spent outside! We got the kids out on the back deck for some very much needed fun in the sun.

I filled up the water table and the kids had a blast.

Kyle also discovered a new use for the water table

Julien had fun hanging around

I also realized that my children are going to hate me when they grow up and see what they wore - but how can you not love a romper - they are just the cutest thing ever

While we were sitting outside, soaking up the beautiful spring sunshine, I mentioned to my husband that before  we had kids, we would have wasted the beautiful day lying around on the couch watching movies or playing a game.  We didn't really appreciate the warm, sunny days as we do now that we have our wonderful kids.

How did you spend this beautiful weekend?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Buttercream Icing Transfer - Happy St. Patrick's Day

baked and decorated by Me
I am Irish (at least, from Irish descent) and have always celebrated St. Patrick's Day. Not necessarily out in the bars, but it is always a date that I try and mark somehow.

This year, I decided to surprise my guys with a shamrock cake. Being that I am not super talented when it comes to carving cakes, I decided to try a buttercream icing transfer.  

So, my first step was to dirty ice my cake.  Then I placed it in the freezer; I traced my shamrock design onto wax paper, used a round tip to outline and fill in, then smoothed it out. 

I only left it in the freezer for about an hour. Towards the end of that hour, I covered my dirty iced cake with the rest of my buttercream. When that was done, I took out my shamrock, placed it onto the cake and peeled away the waxed paper.

I was really happy with how it turned out given it was a first attempt from me. Next time I will make sure to smooth it out a little bit more.  
I hope the boys are as happy with it tomorrow night as I am!

While it was

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Decorate an Egg and have $1.00 donated to Breakfast for Learning

Breakfast for Learning and Egg Farmers of Ontario team up for “Eggs-Factor”

Want to know how you can help Breakfast for Learning raise money? And by doing so, help provide nutritious meals and snacks to children that may go without? It is simple – decorate an egg online. Really, it is that easy. You decorate your egg, hit submit, then fill out a small form with your name, address, age and a button that says you agree to the terms and conditions!

Egg Farmers of Ontario is teaming up with Breakfast for Learning with an online contest – the “Eggs-Factor”; to participate in the contest, visit the Eggs Factor and decorate an egg. For every egg that is decorated, Egg Farmers of Ontario is going to donate $1.00 to Breakfast for Learning (to a maximum of $10,000).

Breakfast for Learning is the leading national non-profit organization solely dedicated to child nutrition programs in Canada. They know that when a child is well-nourished, they perform better in school and work to ensure that students receive the healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks they need to succeed.

With Easter coming up in a few weeks, this is a great way to spend time with your children, while helping other children get the quality nutrition they all deserve. They also give some tips on egg coloring at home - you can check those tips out HERE. Oh, and as an added incentive, you have the chance to win a $50.00 gift certificate to Indigo or Toys R us....what are you waiting for, get cracking and enter you egg design!

Contest is open until April 9, and is for residents of Ontario

**I was contracted by a PR firm and asked to post about this contest. While I did receive compensation for this post, the opinions expressed are honest and belong to Tales of Mommyhood**

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin (bzz agent review)

I am a member of Bzz Agent, and the most recent campaign I was involved with is Burt's Bees. I received the products featured below to try out, share and give my opinion on.

Burt's Bees, a company that makes natural, personal care products, has been around for over 25 years - and they have recently released a new line. It is the Burt's Bees Natural Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin. They have used natural ingredients (cotton, rice and aloe) to help make it gentle on the skin.

I have been using the Sensitive Facial cleanser and Sensitive Daily Moisturizer for a few weeks.  I use the cleanser every evening, and the moisturizer every morning. I am happy to say that I have noticed a big difference in my skin - I find it is actually well hydrated now, where as before it was quite dry and often flaky.  It is really easy to use; the moisturizer doesn't leave my skin feeling greasy or heavy; it has a light scent - nothing to powerful.

Burt's Bees products do not use ingredients like phthalates, parabens or sodium lauryl sulfate and are committed to not testing on animals.  They offer 150 natural personal care products in 14 lines, including face, body and baby care.

**I was supplied the products by Bzz Agent to review free of charge; the opinions stated belong to Tales of Mommyhood and your opinion/experience may vary**

spring is in the air

The other morning while I was driving to a play date, I smelt a telltale sign of spring - a skunk. I must say, that while I am glad the nice weather is approaching (and we are already experiencing double digits around here) I really don't like the transition between winter and spring.  The melting snow makes everything all mucky and gross - I am never 100% certain how to dress my kids when we go out (snow pants or not; mittens or not; boots or shoes?)

I will be very happy once the snow has melted and things have dried up.....

Halloween Costumes - Review (Tomoson)

Wholesale Halloween Costumes recently sent me a costume for my kids to try out.  I was able to choose from their website - here is the website picture of the plush giraffe I chose:

website picture
Shipping was really quick, and the quality of the costume seems to be good.  It is super soft, VERY easy to put on (even with a struggling toddler - hah!) I really like that the head piece is seperate, and that it isn't a mask.
I chose the size 2-4, since my boys are 18mths and 4.5. It is pretty true to size - the costume is a bit big on Kyle (but he is 18mths old)

and it is just a tad too small for Julien (who is just starting to outgrow his 4t clothing)
you can see here, that the head piece doesn't do up
The photo on the website is a pretty good depiction of the actual costume - the only difference I noticed was the spots seem more brown than orange (like the photo shows) but that could also be lighting differences.

If your in the market for a costume (and with Halloween happening EVERY year, most of us parents are) then head on over and check out the Baby Costumes that they have. Lots of selection to choose from in terms of styles and sizes, and the prices are pretty decent as well! You can also connect with them on Twitter and Facebook

**I was sent the above product free of charge in exchange for this review. The opinion expressed belongs to Tales of Mommyhood and your experience/opinion may vary**

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sign ups are open for the "It's Raining Cash Giveaway" event

I just signed up to participate in a CASH giveaway happening April 16th - April 29th! If your a blogger and want to join, it is only $4.00/link - head over HERE and sign up! Please tell them Ashley at Tales of Mommyhood sent you!

If your not a blogger, check back here in April for the entry form!

Friday, March 9, 2012

The first time they say "I love you"

Do you remember the first time your child told you they loved you? without you saying it first?

Julien was a late talker - he had a few words, but his first word explosion wasn't until he was 2.5.  I don't remember the first time he said it back to me, but I do remember the first time he said it on his own.

picture taken *around* the same time

It was Mother's Day weekend, 2010. I was pregnant with Kyle, and we had taken Julien out to one of our favorite restaurants for an early dinner.  He looked across the table at me, started doing a wierd thing with his hands/arms and then ended with "I love you". The following week, I figured out he had been acting out "skinna marinky dinky dink) and he ended it with I love you....but after that, he said it often.

Being pregnant and hormonal at the time, he had me near tears and I still remember the emotions of the day - *almost* 2 years later.

Do you remember the first time your children said it to you? Leave me a comment and let me know!

11 things you may not have known about me

I was tagged by Chris, over at Canadian Dad. Here are my answers to the questions he has given me

1) What SuperHero would you be if you could choose one? You could make one up if you want!
A) I would be a mom that could "fix" every hurt their child experienced. I wouldn't make them not happen, because I believe that the events we experience help to shape us as humans, but to be able to make it better for them would be great
2) What is your dream job?
A) I don't have a dream job. My biggest dream was to be able to stay home and raise my children. I am fortunate enough to do that. While I do sometimes work part time, for the most part they are with me. I have been around for *almost* all of their firsts, and that is extremely important for me.

3) Who is your favorite Canadian Dad TV Dad?
A) this is tough for me. Heathcliff Huxtable (bill cosby) and Tony Micelli (tony danza) come to mind.

4) Where is your ultimate vacation destination?
A) I have 2 - disneyworld (which I have been to twice, first for our honeymoon and 2nd with our children and my IL's) and Ireland - never been, but it's a place that has always called to me

5) What do you do when you think no one is watching?
A)dance in my kitchen while cooking - although anyone could see me, as we have a big patio door and our backyard has a neighbourhood path right behind.....

6) What reality show would you be on if you could pick one?
A) I wouldn't. I think that amazing race would be a wonderful experience, but they are all WAY out of my comfort zone. I will stick to watching on TV

7) Why do birds suddenly appear, every time you are near?
A) because I can't stand them, almost as much as I dislike squirells. Birds from afar are fine, but I have a fear of them....I imagine they are going to swarm me and peck at my skin

8 ) What could you do better as a parent?
A) I could have more patience; I could teach more, and get frustrated less by the endless questions and "why"s" out of Julien's mouth...I know he is just curious and wanting to learn - but the answer doesn't change the more times you ask the question...oh, and I suppose my house could be cleaner - but then that would give me less time to play with the kids

9) What/Who’s music inspires you?
A) I am not really inspired by music.....while I love to listen/sing/dance, I am not a musician by nature and don't really find music "speaks" to me like others do.

10) What is your favorite activity to do with your kids?
A) baking. It is one of my hobbies, and being able to share that special time in the kitchen with them is great for me!

11) Tell us something interesting about you that very few people know about?
A) I can ACTUALLY touch my tongue to my nose....apparently I have an abnormal trait there.....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Maternity Swimwear (guest post)

The following is a guest post from Simply Maternity

Get Swimming During Your Pregnancy

The first few months during my twin pregnancy were probably one of the hardest times in my life. As it was my second pregnancy, I found that I was gaining weight a lot quicker than I had the first time around and maternity clothes that I had worn previously at the end of my pregnancy were already getting too tight in my second trimester. I was at an all time low, feeling fat and lethargic and knowing I still had a long way to go.

It was at this time that a friend of mine suggested we go swimming. Though I had always avoided swimming in the past due to image of me in my plus size swimwear doing a fantastic impression of a distressed whale, I was up to giving anything a try and I’m so glad I did.

Stepping into the water for the first time was a complete revelation. As soon as the water covered my tummy, I found that I could experience a weightless feeling that I had only ever been hinted at when I was in the bath.

The warm water lapped over my tummy and muscles that had been tense for weeks could suddenly relax and unwind in a way that I had forgotten my body could even be.

Even the babies realised we were doing something special as they both started to kick making little ripples in the water.

In the weeks following this experience, my entire outlook to my pregnancy changed. I started to be able to replicate the relaxed feeling I felt in the pool in my own bed, making sleep easier and much more beneficial. I became so confident in the water that I started to teach my baby girl to swim and started a life long love with swimming for all three of my children.

It doesn’t cost a lot to go swimming and maternity swimwear is so reasonable, that swimming during pregnancy is accessible to almost anyone, yet so few of us do it.

So whether you want to wallow in the water and wind down, or use the impact absorbing benefits to do a full body workout while you are pregnant, why don’t you pop down to your local pool and see what facilities they provide for pregnant women.

This could be your chance to turn your pregnancy around and create a fabulous experience for and your baby. I know I did and I will never look back.

Simply Maternity

Monday, March 5, 2012

I DID IT!!!!

For those of you that read my Perplexus Review - I had not been able to complete it....however, that all changed on Saturday afternoon - I managed to make it to level 100!!!

Super happy about it, and for those of you that have yet to try it - head on out and pick up a perplexus of your own!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Drop My Alexa Blog Hop

Want to lower your Alexa Rating? Join the Drop My Alexa Blog Hop - hosted by Parga's Junkyard

Head on over and enter in your info!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Maternity Clothes

When I was pregnant with my oldest, I had a hard time finding trendy, affordable maternity clothes.  I found a few places that I could buy from, but discovered that you were either paying a lot of money for only OK quality, or you were paying a small amount for very cheap quality, and the styles to choose from were pretty limited. I wasn't overly impressed that I had to sacrifice quality for price.

When I was pregnant with my youngest, I was lucky enough to find that the selection had increased a little, but still not super trendy - and again, the quality wasn't super impressive.

Even though I am not pregnant now, I have come across a website that has some pretty stylish Maternity Tops. They carry it all - lingerie, swimwear, dresses, jeans, tops, pants pj's and more!

**This is a sponsored post, and received compensation for writing it**

Do as I say, not as I do....

I have never been a big fan of this. I know that it was the "old" way of parenting, but it isn't for me. HOWEVER, how do you tell your kids not to do something that you do.....I have a really bad habit of biting my fingers (the skin around my nails etc) it's horrible - I have done it for as long as I can remember; when I am really bored, or nervous - lots of the time I am not even aware that I do it.

Julien does it now too. How do I get him to stop, when it is something I am often not aware I am doing myself? He will pull the skin off and have sore fingers because of it, sometimes even bleeding.

I don't want him to end up 31 years old and still having this nervous habit. I guess it really isn't all that much different than biting your nails, but still - how can I help him to stop?