Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winterlude 2014 - January 31 2014- February 17 2014




When I think back on memories from my childhood, many of my favorites come from attending Winterlude festivities with my family.  My parents would take us out of school one day during Winterlude and we would visit Jacques Cartier Park and Snow Flake Kingdom.  We would go skating on the canal and of course enjoy a delicious beavertail (as good as they are, they always taste best when enjoyed outside at Winterlude).

For those not from the area, Winterlude is a festival that happens in late January/Early February every year. It has been running for over 30 years - this year being the 36th! , and attracts more than 600.000 visitors each year.  There are ice sculptures in Confederation park, Snowflake Kingdom if you cross the bridge into Gatineau or you can skate down the Rideau Canal.

I decided this year I would do a round-up of Winterlude posts from other Ottawa bloggers - check out the posts below to see how they have enjoyed Winterlude in past years.


Sandy at Canadian Blog House talks about the different festivals (including SnowFlake Kingdom) in Gatineau.

A Parents Guide to Winterlude from The Ottawa Mommy Club

Karen from Simply Fun Families made the trip to Ottawa with HER Family to take in Winterlude

Have you ever visited Winterlude? What is your favourite part?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CLOSED Tag Along Toys - One Stop Shop For Family Day Fun {giveaway}

Tag Along Toys reminds me of the stores from generations ago. Stores where the owners worked the shop, knew everyone that came in and made you feel welcomed from the moment you open the door. Whenever I head in to Tag Along Toys, I am greeted either by Patti (store owner) or Debbi.  They are so upbeat and pleasant and always have a big smile.

Artsy Play Wednesday 1/29 - Coloured Ice Balloons #ArtsyPlay

I am so happy to be featured at Shannon's View From Here for Artsy Play Wednesday. If you have a craft or activity you would like to link up, please feel free to use the linky below!  This week you will see my Coloured Ice Balloon activity that I did with my boys last year.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What Is A Stay At Home Mom Worth?

For the past many years, there have been info graphics released yearly stating what a SAHM's salary would be if it were a "job".  They list the different tasks that fill our days (driver, cook, laundry operator, daycare teacher etc) and then work out the average amount of hours spent in each area, and assign the appropriate salary.

Simple and Delicious Cookies and Cream Cake

I have seen a recipe floating around the internet for the last year that I wanted to try out. It only required a few items from your pantry/fridge and a few simple steps to have a delicious cookies and cream cake at your fingertips!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Memories of Buying A Vehicle



Do you remember buying your first car? I do. It was the summer of 2000 and I was 19 years old. My mom and I were out shopping one day and decided to stop at a car lot. We honestly stopped in just to look around. While we were walking the lot, we found a 1996 Mercury Mystique. It was a lovely seafoam green colour. It was 4 years old and it had really low mileage (less than 30,000 KM).

We saw the price, went in to talk to a sales rep and took it for a drive. It drove nice, the price was right (although the interest rate was ridiculous - but I was 19 and didn't realize it at the time) and I signed the papers that day. It was such a spur of the moment decision, and I did no research. I was SO SO excited when I picked up my car a few days later.  It was really good to me, no major problems, I kept it for 4 years and then traded it in for a 2004 Toyota Corolla - brand new!

That was another amazing feeling. Driving a brand new car off the lot. It was my baby - I loved that car....and again, I was lucky and had no issues with it at all. When I bought my Corolla I had been looking around for awhile. I knew that it had a good safety record, and Toyota's are known for holding their value and being good resales. Toyota's always get great auto reviews and I had zero regrets with my Corolla. When I bought the Corolla we didn't have children. While there is nothing wrong with the Corolla as a family vehicle, it was just slightly smaller than what we wanted.

When I was pregnant with Mr. K, we decided that we wanted something a little larger that could fit the stroller in the trunk, with room left over for groceries or other items.  The back seat is slightly larger, so having the extra room for a forward facing carseat as well as an infant bucket seat, diaper bag and often times an adult in the middle. We ended up buying a Jeep;  Hubby always worried about me driving in the winter, and by getting a 4 wheel drive vehicle it made him feel a little more secure when I was on the road with the kids.

I laugh when I think about my 19 year old self buying a car - no negotiating, nothing. I just walked in, found out what the monthly payments would be and signed on the line....I was smarter by the time I bought the Corolla, I made sure it was a decent interest rate and that I was getting a great deal. When I bought my Jeep, well, I walked away because they would not give me what I wanted....the phone rang a few hours later asking me to come back.

The next time you go to buy a vehicle, make sure you are looking at the purchase cost and interest rate. Dealers can play with financing times (48 months, 60 months or 72 months) and give you a really low monthly figure - but when you factor in the interest and add up the entire term, you are paying much more than you need to be.  Don't fall for their sales tactics - the vehicle you are looking at will most likely still be there in a few days, and if by chance it isn't, then it wasn't meant to be and something better will be waiting for you.

What was your first car buying experience like?




Bye Bye Sami Brady

I will preface this by saying that I love TV. Yes, I know there are many more things I could be doing with my time when the kids are in bed, but I don't. I spend that time catching up on my shows - one of them being Days of our Lives.

As a longtime Days of our Lives watcher, I was very sad to hear that Alison Sweeney will be leaving the show later this year.  I was a tween when she started on the series and was always a big fan. Although her story lines were often odd and twisted, Alison Sweeney did an amazing job with whatever direction they took the character.

I, personally, am hoping that they will not re-cast the character and only write her out - who knows what will happen in the future - maybe she will decide to come back.  I am not a huge fan of re-casting roles immediately (I often find I have difficulty getting used to a new actor) - I would much rather see them write the character out for a bit (even if it's only a few weeks) and have them come back with a different actor.

What about you? Are you a TV fan - any favorite shows? Do you watch Days?

Sochi 2014 Olympics - Hayley Wickenheiser Named Canadian Flag Bearer

We are only a few weeks away from the opening ceremonies of the Sochi 2014 Olympics. I was so happy to read that Hayley Wickenheiser was named as the Canadian flag bearer! It's always so interesting to me to see the ceremonies, and how they vary each year based on the host country.

2014 Sochi Olympic Games
photo from http://www.hayleywickenheiser.com/

I love to watch the different sports, and cheer on the Canadian athletes. Of course it is nice to see medals come home, but I like to cheer on all of them -whether they will place in a medal position or not.

All the hard work and dedication to their training, and making it to the Olympics is amazing. I want my kids to see that hard work pays off, and it is not always about a gold medal.

My favorite winter sports to watch are Figure Skating (singles and pairs), hockey, skiing and bob sled (also was excited to read that the Jamaican's will have a bob sled team again this year - I always loved the movie Cool Runnings!)

In December 2009 we had a chance to see the Olympic Torch come through our town, and that was a really neat experience!

Do you watch the Olympics? What is your favorite sport to watch?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Eczema Relief With POLYSPORIN® Eczema Essentials #EczemaAndMe


Eczema care, dry skin,


I am a lifelong eczema sufferer. It wasn't a huge surprise to me that both my children ended up with it. There have been times where Mr.K's has been so bad that he has had difficulty sleeping. He is by far the most severe of the 3 of us.

Another Day, Another Injury

Being the mom to two very active little boys can be nerve racking. They have no fear when it comes to being physical (standing at the top of the stairs and throwing themselves off, hoping to fly; jumping from the arm (or top) of a couch and again, hoping to fly)  We are forever plagued with bumps, bruises and scrapes.

I am very surprised that we have not had to deal with a broken bone yet (and fingers crossed, we never do) but we HAVE dealt with concussions.....one for each of the boys.

Mr. K had his first concussion last winter....he and his brother were on a chair in the kitchen and Mr. J pushed him off (I wasn't a witness, so I can only hope it was accidental - although I suspect it wasn't) and he landed on our tile floor on his head.

He was inconsolable, lethargic and I knew immediately the reason why.  He couldn't keep his head up very well, and he was confused.  I put a call in to our pediatrician's office (he happens to specialize in concussions) and off we went to see him.

Mr. J was lucky, he made it until 6.5 before getting a concussion....we were at the bus stop waiting earlier in the week, and another little boy decided it would be a good idea to throw a chunk of ice at Mr. J...it hit him right above the eye.  The bus came around the corner, the other child got on the bus and Mr. J was in no condition to go to school.  He was hurt, crying and upset (which is completely understandable)

head injury, concussion in kids

He managed to walk home, and when I took off his hat he had a large welt right above his brow bone. He calmed down, was much more himself but I was worried about swelling so decided to keep him home.  When I got off the phone from the school, he was no longer upset and seemed much more his usual self - or so I thought. 30 minutes later he tells me has a headache and then proceeded to vomit everywhere....

I got him some water and made sure he was ok and then we headed to the pediatrician's office.  The verdict - very mild concussion for Mr. J, no sports or school for 5 days. He was so upset to miss his skating lesson that night, and soccer practice on the weekend. Friday happened to be a PA day, so he only ended up missing 2 days of school.

I had a mild concussion a few years ago, symptoms only lasted a few hours but it is NOT a nice feeling at all. Have you had a concussion before?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review: Everything I Needed To Know I Learned From My Six Month Old

kuwana haulsey book

In the fall I was given the opportunity to read Kuwana Haulsey's book "everything i needed to know i learned from my six-month-old".  It is a book about a woman's journey through the first few months of motherhood, and one that most mothers will be able to relate to.

I found myself nodding my head in agreement at many parts of the book where she is talking about really listening to her baby to find out what he needed in that moment.  Some of it brought me back to those moments of frustration and tears (both mine AND theirs) where I wish I could have had a different response.

The book is separated into 13 chapters (or 13 Life Lessons as she calls them) and brings you through some of her time in Africa, her marriage, the labour and birth of her son, and the first six months of his life.

Kuwana Haulsey is the author of The Red Moon, which was a finalist for the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. She has led seminars for the PEN/Faulkner Foundation in Washington, D.C., and at Rutgers University. She lives in Los Angeles.
Tales of Mommyhood received the above item free of charge in exchange for this review. For more information, please read the Tales of Mommyhood Disclosure Policy 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Runner Runner - Review

Runner Runner released for home
entertainment
on January 7
Synopsis

Runner Runner
Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck star in this high-stakes crime thriller where the lure of easy money is the riskiest bet of all. When Princeton grad student Richie Furst (Timberlake) believes he’s been swindled by an online poker site, he heads to Costa Rica to confront gambling tycoon Ivan Block (Affleck), the man he thinks is responsible. But Richie will soon face the ultimate power play as he finds himself caught between Block’s promises of unlimited wealth and the zealous FBI agent (Anthony Mackie) trying to bring him down.

Review 

I did not know much about Runner Runner before watching the movie, other than that it was supposed to be a thriller about online gaming, but that was about it.  When we sat down to watch the film, I found it a little bit all over the place at first while they were introducing the characters.

Runner Runner was entertaining, but slightly predictable; they could have done a better job with back story on a few of the characters, but overall hubby and I enjoyed it and were glad that we saw it.

Tales of Mommyhood received the above item in exchange for an honest review. You can read more about the Tales of Mommyhood Disclosure Policy.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Easy Valentine's Cake For Kids

If your children like to help in the kitchen, then this easy valentine's cake is a great way to have some fun together!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Charities Close to Our Hearts

Everyone has charities that are close to their heart for whatever reason. For me, I have 3. CHEO (our local children's hospital - they saved Mr. J's life at 1 day old, and he spent 10 days in their NICU) Ottawa Heart Institue - my mother was born with Aortic Stenosis and had her Aortic valve replaced 12 years ago and the Canadian Cancer Society.

My bloggy friend, Deanna, at Maple Leaf Mommy has decided to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.  How is she doing it? By chopping off her beautiful, long locks.  For every $100.00 raised, she will cut off 1 inch of hair. Her goal is 25 inches.  Yes, you did read that correctly. Her hair IS long enough to chop off 25 inches.

Check out her Cut For Cancer HAIRity Fundraiser, #PonyitUp with Pantene post.  Can you help her reach her goal?

Winter Outdoor Activities

As much as I am a home body and couch potato, I don't want my children to be. I feel that the best way to ensure that they stay active is to do things together. The more they see us doing it, they more they will (hopefully) want to continue themselves.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Our Winter Walk

We had such a beautiful day in Ottawa on January 9th that I decided Mr. K and I were in need of some fresh air and exercise.  We are fortunate to live 1 minute from the Trans Canada Trail, which makes for great bike riding and walking.

We bundled up in our winter gear and headed out for a nice leisurely stroll. Of course, he needed to bring his shovel with him in case the snow was deep (and I inevitably ended up carrying it at one point)  We saw a few people walking as we were on our way, watched some squirrels run along a fence line and heard birds chirping.

We then found ski tracks in the snow, and Mr. K was eager to learn more - it was much easier to explain to him what they ski tracks were when a cross country skier passed us by a few minutes later.

When we got home from our walk, we had some fun on the toboggan run before we had to meet Mr. J at the school bus.


Friday, January 10, 2014

Disney's Frozen Available on Blu ray Combo Pack March 18

Have you had a chance to see Frozen yet? Don't worry if you didn't make it to theaters - Frozen will be released for home viewing on March 18 2014!

Toboggan Run 2013/2014

Over the last month or so, hubby has spent time getting the toboggan run ready for the boys.  This includes snow blowing the lawn to help build up both ends of the run.

the boys and hubby getting the base ready for the sled run

hubby building the ends up higher

This is the 3rd year that he has built the run, and it quickly became one of our favorite family activities. It can be difficult to stay active and get outdoors during the winter. It is very easy to stay warm and cozy in the house.  Having 2 rambunctious boys though makes for some wild behaviour if they are cooped up too long.

We have bundled them (and us) up in -25 degree weather to get outside and play for a short time to help with burning off energy and getting exercise. We don't do it EVERY time it is super cold (we didn't use it for most of this past week because of super cold temperatures - we were hitting close to -40 with the windchill)


Here are a couple of video's from our outdoor family fun time!

What are some of your favorite outdoor family activities?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Mr. J and his BeyBlades

I wrote a little about Mr. J and his fascination with BeyBlades before Christmas.  He was super excited to find the stadium and new blades on Christmas morning.  Santa also brought him a few different types of blades in his stocking, and his dad picked up a few extra's over the holidays so that we could battle with him.

They discovered that he needed some kind of case for all of his blades and accessories, so they went out and bought a small plastic tool box for him to keep everything in.


Hubby and I each spent time with him having battles - sometimes we use the stadium, and other times we use an empty train table (which we have found makes a great stadium).  Mr. J and I had a few battles and I am happy to say that I actually won a few (normally he ends up winning)


Did your children spend their break playing with their Christmas toys?


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Start Something New with DK Canada


It's a new year and time to start fresh.  Why not start something new this year? My husband bought me a bread maker last year, and I was so excited to be able to make fresh bread for our family over the last year. Having the ability to make a baguette or garlic bread to accompany our supper was awesome.

After finding out how easy it is to make home made breads, I have decided that I want to try my hand at some without the maker.  DK Canada sent me a great book to help me get started. I am super excited to try out the recipes in the book. The first one I plan on trying is the Sweet Roll recipe, and next up the chocolate croissant recipe (I am not a huge fan, but hubby loves them)

They have a huge selection of books to choose from: cooking, baking, gardening, jewelry, languages and more! What would you like to start this year?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Savings Goals for the New Year

It's the beginning of a New Year, and that means it is a great time to sit down and figure out what your savings goals are for the coming year.  Long term may be to increase retirement savings or education savings for your children. Short term may be a vacation, a new vehicle, home renovation or major purchase (new tv, appliances, new furniture etc).

For us, this year we have 2 savings goals (in addition to our regular RRSP and the education savings for the kids bank accounts) We are saving for a Disney vacation, and we are trying to increase our "rainy day" fund.

For the Disney savings, I am using the 52 week saving challenge to add to what we have already saved and for our rainy day fund I have automatic deductions set up from my chequing account, similar to the TD Automatic Savings Plan.  I found that if I had to transfer the money myself, I often forget to do it or find something else that the money can go toward. Having the deductions set up leaves me with no work to do - the money transfers over the same time every week - and I can sit and watch the account growing!

Even if you only have $5.00 a week that you can take from your budget, you would find an extra $260.00 at the end of the year - it may not seem like a lot, but every little bit helps ($260 is approximately what I spend on groceries for the month).

Are you a saver? What do you find the best way is to save money for your family?

Tasty Tuesday - Skor Bark

Over the last few years I have heard a lot about this delicious treat, but never paid much attention to it. When I read the ingredient list I didn't see how it could be good.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back to the Grind - Holidays Are Over

Well, today marks the first day back to school after Christmas holidays.  Hubby was off after Christmas and goes back to work today, and we had so much fun at home with the boys.  Unfortunately the weather this past week was super cold, and we didn't get to play outside as much as I had hoped. We had some fun on the toboggan run before New Years, and over the last 2 days as well.



Over the 2 week break the boys spent time playing with their Rescue Bots and BeyBlades; Mr. J spent time on his Nintendo DS, Mr. K spent time with play doh. My mom and I took them to see Frozen at the movie theater (I highly recommend you see this film with your kids)
We had a fun New Years Eve (even though hubby was the only one to make it midnight); I was hoping to have friends over for a sledding party, but the weather did not co-operate with us so that did not happen.
How did you spend your time over the holidays? Working? Vacation? I would love to know!

ETA: WE woke up today to find out that the school buses have been cancelled after freezing rain overnight, warmed temperatures and a flash freeze warning on for the day. Is it a snow day where you are?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hiccups - Fun For The Family (Product Review and #Giveaway)

Have you ever had a game or puzzle that kept you coming back to it? Sometimes very frustrating, but for whatever reason it draws you back in? Well, that is what Hiccups is like for me and Mr. J.

Hiccups is a PlaSmart product; it is a hand held puzzle and meant for ages 6+. When it first arrived at our house, Mr. J was really excited - he loves to try out new games and he thought it would be easy. Well, he thought wrong. After numerous tries, he still had trouble making it from the first cup to the 2nd but that hasn't stopped him from trying again and again.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Saving money a little at a time


Last year I posted about a neat money saving trick I had found while browsing on Facebook.  Hubby and I already have regular contributions to retirement savings, and I *try* to put away 10% of our monthly income (it doesn't happen every month, but I do try) so this was just a way for us to increase our savings for our Disney trip (which ended up being postponed to next year).

Having the money in the bank was really great when we had to send the Jeep in for a new starter and some regular maintenance work - $700.00 later we were able to pay for that in cash instead of using our credit card and slowly paying it off while gaining interest payments at the same time.

If you have a specific goal in mind (I have heard a lot of people that started this last January and they used the money in the account for their Christmas shopping) then it is a great way to help you reach it.  I would highly suggest that you not rely solely on this as your savings, but if you are not able to put anything else away, then this is definitely a great way to start.

This year I will continue to contribute these amounts to my account, and hopefully we will be able to use that money for our Disney trip next winter - but it makes me feel great knowing that should a small household expense come up that was not planned, or another vehicle repair that we will have the money to handle it immediately.

What about you - what are your savings goals this year?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

WW: New Years Day Breakfast


Child Friendly Mimosa: 1/4 cup 7 up, sprite or ginger ale with Orange Juice added to fill the glass!

Happy New Year

2013 was a year of changes, both here at Tales of Mommyhood and personally.

Changes with friends - some friendships lost, but new ones gained.

Changes with the kids - they are now 3 and 6 years old.  Changing and developing daily. They are growing into the men they will become.  Mr. J entered grade one, that in itself was a huge change for all of us as he was now full days at school.

Mr. K is spending time at nursery school and activities without mom. He is flourishing, and now the practice for JK starts (learning to zip up coat, put on boots etc himself) so that he will be ready come September.

For me, I made a vow to yell at my kids less.  For the most part, I have done pretty well.  There are still times where the ugly yell shows up, but I am happy to say that it is less and less. I am learning to be more patient - and figuring out different ways of getting things across.

I am not one to make a new years resolution, but I will say this.  2014 is going to be a year in which I parent for my children's needs.  I am going to accept all the hugs and kisses; I am going to embrace the chaos and loudness that my little boys are.  I am going to curb the "in a minute" or "I am busy".

Are you happy with 2013? What are you looking for going into 2014?