Friday, February 28, 2014

My Heart Is Now Full - Guest Post

Today I am sharing a guest post from HeartMom.  In honour of Heart Month, we thought it would be a great way to end off the month.

Heart Mom and her hubby with their son, stinky monkey
6 years ago our family began a journey, one I want to find meaning in, one that was given to us to share, to learn from, to challenge and to inspire. Our sick, premature, first born son was diagnosed 10 days after birth with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and eventually pulmonary stenosis. Our prognosis kinda sucks, he may die early in life. It may be slow and drawn out with many interventions and challenges, it may be quick and sudden, ultimately the end result is the same. Our warrior will more likely than not succumb to his big heart or complications there of.

This prognosis is not a defeat for us, it is one we can and do draw strength from. It has connected us to a community. A family. Our heart family. They exist near and far, they support us, guide us, help us through the tests, appointments, results. This family inspired me to do something to draw attention to our community, to bring awareness to families living with heart defects. To reach out to the world and say look at our kids and how wonderful we are, how wonderful they make us!

In 2012 a simple social media conversation with a local photographer (and friend), Sara McConnell, turned into a project inspired by the heart babies who have come into my life and taught me about community, about family, about being inspired and inspiring. The RED BALLOON project was born. It has taken a little more than a year to complete the project. Now in the cardiology clinic at CHEO the walls are lined with the smiling faces of the beautiful children and families who frequent the clinic, accompanied by a rhythm strip mural done by a staff member in the clinic. This familiar place has now become a home.

To all the families who have been part of our journey, this is our thank you for all you do. To my beautiful son, this is how you inspire me. You inspire me to give and be someone better, to cherish every minute of your beautiful journey and never forget the importance of life. This project really has filled my heart.

And now a few pictures of the NEW waiting room!

I love this shot, showing all the kids that were involved in the Red Balloon Project!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How To Create A Secret Board In Pinterest

Have you ever come across something on Pinterest that would be great, but you needed to keep it a secret from someone that may happen to come across it if you pin it?  I have! When it comes to birthday surprises, or bridal/baby showers there are pins I love but want to keep them hidden from the guest of honour.

Pinterest has an easy way to do that  - a secret board!

Want to set one up?

  1. Log in to your pinterest account
  2. Go to your profile
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom
  4. You will see a box that says "Create Secret Board"
  5. Click and create!
  6. Pin away all those things you want to keep for yourself!
I have deleted my 2 secret boards so they remain hidden, but this is what the bottom looks like
Have you ever created a secret board? Will you now that you know about it?

Super Cute Baby Announcements From Minted

After attending a baby shower on the weekend (and being surrounded by 3 beautiful baby bumps) it had me thinking about my boys and when they were born.  One thing that I kind of regret, was not sending out birth announcements.

We put a birth announcement in the newspaper, and I cut out both of them for keepsakes, but it is different than the cute photo cards that people do now.  While I was browsing through I found some really adorable ones:

minted birth announcement

Minted has beautiful styles, high quality print and a selection of over 500 designs to choose from - something for every taste!  You can sort the styles by gender, photo/no photo, price, format (you can get magnets - which I personally think is a super cute idea!) and more.

The site allows you to easily personalize your card by adding photo's and customized information for your child's birth date, height, weight and time.  You will receive a digital proof from a designer to be approved before printing to ensure accuracy.

minted birth announcement

Minted offers a number of other types of paper products including wedding invitations, business cards, stationary and more.

"Our purpose in life is to uncover exceptional design from all over the world and bring this to savvy consumers who won't accept anything else."
"At Minted, we love the idea that our products will find their way into your most personal celebrations, and we don't take that honor lightly. That's why we only use fine paper stock, rich inks, and crisp printing methods. We guess you could say that quality is an obsession for us. We stand behind our products with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We are proud to offer a stunning and exclusive assortment of holiday cards, Christmas cards, and wedding invitations sourced through our global community of indie designers. Whether you're looking for non-photo or photo cards, modern or vintage designs, Minted allows you to customize a design to be uniquely yours."

 Did you send out birth announcements for your children? Were they photo announcements?

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Top Family Movies

I am a movie lover. I love going to the movie theater, and I have often said that if I hadn't gone to so many movies in high school, I could have bought a car by the time I graduated.

Now that we have kids - we find ourselves on the hunt for great family movies (new or old) so that we can have family movie nights.

Here are a few of our favourites (in no particular order)

1) The Great Outdoors
2) Rise Of The Guardians
3) How To Train Your Dragon
4) Frozen
5) Tangled
6) Harry Potter Movies
7) Toy Story Trilogy
8) Despicable Me  1 and 2
9) Ice Age Movies
10) Madagascar Movies

These aren't our only favourites, there are many more but it's a good start if you are looking to build up a library or make a list of must watch family movies.  What are your favourites?

Monday, February 24, 2014

March Break Paypal Cash Giveaway

How would you like to start off March Break with some extra cash? I have teamed up with a great group of Canadian Bloggers to offer this wonderful March Break Paypal Cash Giveaway!

This awesome March Break giveaway for $250.00 USD PayPal cash is open World Wide from February 24th- March 7th. Winner will be emailed as soon as chosen and will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. All entries will be verified, so please ensure you are completing the ones you are committing to! Thank you to Ninja Mommers for Hosting this awesome giveaway! Good Luck!

This giveaway is not sponsored by PayPal.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Something New From Kellogg's

Whenever I have a red Kellogger box delivered, I get excited! I love seeing what new products Kellogg's has come up with and being able to try them out.
Mr. J couldn't wait to open up the pastry crisps!
This package included:
  • Kellogg's TO GO Breakfast Shakes (chocolate and vanilla)
  • Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Fruit Crunch Bars (2 flavours - strawberry and apple crunch)
  • Special K Chocolatey Red Berries Cereal
  • Special K Protein Morning Shakes (cafe latte and mocha flavours)
  • Special K Pastry Crisps (cookies & cream and caramel flavours)
  • Special K Cracker Chips (salt and vinegar flavour)

We dug into the pastry crisps right away, and they are so good. Definitely great to keep on hand for when a chocolate craving strikes!  I also really enjoyed the salt and vinegar cracker chips - awesome for when I want something crunchy to snack on! 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Disney On Ice: 100 Years of Magic {recap}

If you are a Disney fan, then you are sure to love Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic.  Our family had the chance to see the show today, and it was great.  The boys sat, eye's glued to the ice watching as some of their favourite characters skated around the ice.  Mickey and Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Daisy.

The show takes you through short versions of Finding Nemo, Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Pinocchio and more.

Hubby and I loved watching the excitement on the boys faces as they took it all in!

If you plan on heading to the Ottawa show you can order tickets from Capital Tickets - use the discount codes below:

MUM44 (*4 tickets for $44.00 - weekday shows only) and MUM4 (*$4.00 off tickets for weekend shows)

Excludes Front Row, Rinkside, and VIP tickets. No double discounts. Additional Fees May Apply. Weekday is defined as Monday thru Thursday and Friday Matinee. Weekend is defined as Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday

A few things to keep in mind if you will be attending:
  • Parking was $8.00 (not sure if that changes for the evening performances or not)
  • Disney products for sale when you walk in the door (immediately in front) 
  • Sno cones can be purchased in souvenir cups - they range in price from $12-$15
  • Programs can be bought for $20.00
If you go - have fun! It is such a wonderful family outing!

*As a Feld Family Entertainment Ambassador, we received tickets at no charge in exchange for helping to promote the show on Tales of Mommyhood. All opinions are honest and belong to Tales of Mommyhood, your opinion/experience may differ*

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: How to make Raspberry Coulis

For our anniversary a few weeks ago, I made a delicious Double Chocolate Cake, filled with Chocolate Mousse and topped with Raspberry Coulis.

Follow the simple steps below and you can make it yourself!


1/8 cup white sugar
1 cup raspberries


  1. Combine sugar and raspberries in a small sauce pot on low heat
  2. Stir to coat, and let mixture heat
  3. Continue stirring occasionally, berries will release juices and start to melt
  4. Once you have a pretty liquid mix, remove from heat
  5. Place your sieve or fine mesh strainer over a bowl
  6. Pour mixture into sieve and allow to drain

You should be left with tiny chunks and seeds - you can discard this

Chill your Coulis and serve over ice cream, cake or fruit

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Spy Clothing - Quality Online Children's Consignment Store {review}

I am not one that loves to spend a lot of money on clothes (I don't for me, but especially for the kids who outgrow items so fast). I was thrilled when I found out about an online consignment store - I Spy Clothing .

When I first saw it, I was a little hesitant. Buying consignment I want the clothes to be in great condition, and when shopping online you can't really tell.  I was pleased to see that they have a rating system for the clothing, and each item has a spot so you can see how it is rated
  • “New with tags” – items that are unworn, in perfect condition, with tags.
  • “Like new” – items that feel/look new but do not have original tags.
  • “Gently used” – items that are in excellent used condition.
  • “Well loved” – items that show some signs of wear. They are clean with no rips, tears, stains, or holes, but have been well loved as is reflected in the lower pricing.
I was in contact with I Spy Clothing, and they offered me a credit and free shipping in exchange for a review of their site. Off I went to check it out and see what they offered.  

Navigating the site was fairly simple. I chose the boy section, and then they have sub sections where you can search for specific items (outerwear, tee's, bottoms etc) They also have buttons you can choose so you only see items in the size you are looking for.

They have many, many, many items and more are being added everyday. 

I spotted a winter jacket that would be great for Mr. J and a pair of snowpants that would fit Mr. K next year (I always like to have a spare coat and pants for days we spend LOTS of time outside....that way when we come in for a quick break they can take off their wet gear and warm up, then when we head back outside they have dry gear to put on!)

With my $50.00 credit, I was able to purchase the above snow pants, winter jacket, 2 shirts and a pair of fleece pants.

Shipping was really quick - I placed my order on a Friday and had my items Tuesday afternoon!

At the moment, they accept clothes for consignment at a drop off location in west Toronto. They are working on setting up a mail bag program for out of area consignors, but that is not in place just yet.

Checkout was simple and straight forward. There is an option to input a coupon code (and they are so kindly offering Tales of Mommyhood readers a 25% discount - just enter TLSOFMOMMYHOOD25 at checkout!

If you are ordering in Canada, they offer free shipping for orders over $50.00. In Canada, for orders less than $50.00 the shipping fee is a flat rate of $8.99. They also have a referral program (with no maximum referrals) if you refer a friend they receive $10.00 off their first purchase and YOU receive a $10 credit for your next purchase! To refer a friend, send an EMAIL to I Spy Clothing  with the name of who referred you (and their email address) and they will issue the credit to both accounts! You can use my email  as referrer if you want to start off with a $10.00 credit - then you can start referring your own friends also (and yes, I will receive a credit for anyone who uses me as a referral)

Have you purchased from I Spy Clothing? If not, I suggest you give it a try!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sponsored Post: Never Say Dieting Oath

This post has been sponsored by Multi Grain Cheerios, however all opinions are honest and belong to Tales of Mommyhood. Your opinion may vary.

Watch the video below to see the wonderful message Silken Laumann has for her daughter, Kate. I am so thrilled to see this video - it makes me so happy to see women (women that our kids may look up to) talking about HEALTHY body image. Dieting is not healthy - Physically or emotionally. Eating properly, exercising, and taking care of yourself physically and emotionally - that is healthy.

Growing up, I struggled greatly with body image. I developed acne at a young age and wasn't comfortable with the physical changes my body was going through.  Everywhere I looked there were women talking about dieting; talking about needing to lose the baby weight or how they were unhappy with their body (they didn’t like their nose, or their breasts were too small/bum was too big or they were fat)

It was really hard to get away from it all.  Watching TV there were teenage girls taking diet pills to lose weight or starving themselves to be thin. The messages that we saw were that our bodies weren't good enough the way they were.  That we had to take drastic measures to change things so that we would be perfect.

It took a long time for me to be comfortable with my body. A very long time. I was worried before I had my children that I might end up hating myself after all of the changes pregnancy puts you through - but I don't.  I am still comfortable with my body. It is MY body. It doesn’t look like everyone else’s because it isn’t anyone elses. IT IS MINE!  The stretch marks on my stomach are from sheltering my children inside my body; protecting them for 36 and 40 weeks. The changes in my breasts are from nourishing their tiny bodies from my own. How could I hate that?

Wanting to get healthy – that I understand. Changing your lifestyle by adding in physical activity (or increasing it) and changing your eating habits to include healthier food choices is great. I love that she is sending such a positive message to her daughter.  Watch the video and let me know what you think. 

I am taking the oath to leave the word "dieting" - what about you? Will you join me?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

DK Canada Sticker Books

Like most little kids, mine are obsessed with stickers. They love to peel them off and stick them to any surface possible....that includes my walls, baseboards, fridge and even their BEDS! While I am happy they have fun, and peeling stickers is great for fine motor development, I don't really want their batman, lego and vehicle stickers adorning every surface of my home.

DK Canada has a promotion running in their sticker book boutique right now where you buy 2 and receive the 3rd for free.

DK Canada was kind enough to send us 3 books to test out! What I love about the books we received, they have pages and pages of characters (with their names) and then they have the sticker pages. So you have to hunt for the character or item you want, find it and then go back to the page and stick it. Which means that they have an actual place to PUT the stickers, and that saves my walls!  They also come with a ton of extra stickers for them to do with as they like.

They are great activities when you have a long wait (doctors office etc) or even just for filling in some time when they are "bored".

Are your kids into stickers? What is their favourite?

The above items were sent to Tales of Mommyhood at no charge in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are honest and belong to Tales of Mommyhood. Your opinion/experience may vary.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Sweet Memories of Pregnancy

I have been thinking a lot about my pregnancies over the last few weeks (lots of babies being announced on facebook!).  I remember all the anxieties I had (nervousness around an epidural) and the happiness I felt.

I had so much fun planning the nursery (both times) and shopping for the perfect coming home outfits for my sweet boys.  I enjoyed seeing my little ones on the u/s, although I had more than I would have liked because of pre-eclampsia (they needed to make sure the growth wasn't being affected).

I made lists after lists of different things:

1) Possible names (for boys and girls)
2) Colours for the nursery
3) Questions to ask your doctor about cord blood banking
4) Questions to ask doctor about weight gain and foods

I thought a lot about what I wanted for a birth plan, and for me it came down to not having a plan. My plan was no plan.  I knew going in that I wanted what was best for baby and me. I didn't want to be disappointed afterwards if I ended up needing a c-section (I didn't).  I wanted to try and make it as long as possible without an epidural, but in the end I had pre-eclampsia and it was strongly recommended I get an epi as it can lower BP.

The only thing that I really didn't want to happen that did, was getting induced. With ODS I was induced at 36 weeks because of the pre-e, and with YDS it was at 39w6d - again because of pre-e.  I am really happy with how things ended up (well, asides from ODS needing the NICU, however my health and his were both at jeopardy by continuing with the pregnancy - so it was for the best.)

Even with the inductions, I had a relatively easy, fast labour both times. I worried that it might be too hard on my body, but it all went very smoothly.

Did you have a birth plan? Did it all go according to your plan?

Tasty Tuesday: Home Made "Cheater" Chocolate Mousse

Have you ever been tempted to make chocolate mousse, but then gotten discouraged thinking it was super difficult? If yes - then I have the answer for you!  Check out the recipe below for a tasty treat that only takes a few minutes to whip up!

Monday, February 10, 2014

My Top Phone App's

I was late in getting a smart phone. I bought an Iphone in August 2012 - until that time I had a motorola razr that was 4 years old.  I rarely remembered to charge it and often calls went unanswered. I really only carried it in case I had an emergency in the car.

Since getting my Iphone, however, I have become somewhat of a phone addict. I have no problems not checking it during dinner, or at movies etc. I am more than willing to play games with my kids, read with them and spend lots of time together.  However, when they are busy and I am not doing housework (that I should probably be doing) I am most likely on my phone.

It is so handy to be able to check my emails super quick, or see what is happening on facebook!

My top 5 apps are:

1) Facebook 
2) Candy Crush - check out my post The Secret To Candy Crush
3) ReeBee - I price match my groceries, and it is so nice to have access to flyers that we don't get delivered to our home
4) The Weather Network - so nice to be able to have a quick look at the weather forecast before heading to the bus stop in the morning!
5) Checkout 51 - a great little app that allows me to upload my receipt for rebates after shopping! In the year or so that I have been using it, I have earned back $87.00!

What about you? What are your favorite phone apps?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kids and Their Loveys #mommyfail

When my oldest was a toddler, my mom and I were out with him at Toys R Us.  We were walking through the store, and came upon a wall of stuffed animals.  My mom saw a cute monkey (it was a hand puppet, had a long tail and if you squeezed his head he made a monkey sound). She picked it up and showed it to Mr. J and he was hooked.

She bought it for him and it became his "lovey".  He slept with it, he cuddled with it and he brought it with us in the car almost anywhere we went. He always seemed to hold it by the tail - it was never used as a puppet.   He loved that monkey so much, and when he was 2.5 ended up with a tummy bug and vomited all over it. Because of the voice box, I couldn't put it in the washer and dryer, so I did the best I could by hand washing it with a mix of dish soap and vinegar/water.

Sound asleep with "ee ee"

I still wasn't comfortable letting him have it though. He knew it was being cleaned and would be a few days before he could have it  back.  When we were at Toys R Us looking for a coming home outfit for his baby brother, we passed the same wall of animals and he saw the monkey. He grabbed it and looked at us with big eyes "wha ee ee doin?" (he didn't talk much, and ee ee was what he called any monkey)  We let him have it and paid for it on our way out.  A few months after his brother was born, he happened to find the old monkey - he was so excited that he had TWO monkeys.

He ended up with another stomach flu a few months later (he was 4) and vomited all over it again - well, both this time (he woke in the night throwing up, and it was all over his bed and monkey).  I chucked the original monkey, and cleaned the newer one best as I could.  I am not sure exactly when it happened, but one day monkey stopped showing up around the house.  He was left in bed. Then, monkey somehow ended up in the laundry basket, and I found him when I was washing clothes. I put him on a shelf in the basement, and Mr. J seemed to forget about him.

A few months later (he was almost 5) hubby and I were going through stuff in the basement cleaning up and throwing out - he saw monkey and asked if we could chuck it ... I wasn't so sure, but he did it anyways.  Mr. J didn't ask about him, and every now and then I would wonder if he remembered but never brought it up.

Then, last week we had a friend over for supper and we were talking about lovey's (he saw that Mr. K was carrying a red sweater) and I mentioned monkey....later that night, Mr. J got VERY upset and started sobbing - he finally told me that he missed monkey terribly and wanted him back.  I guess he HAD forgotten about it, but when we were talking it brought it all back up.  I promised him I would look for a monkey, but that I didn't know if I could find one.

So far, my search has failed. He and hubby even went to 2 different Toys R Us locations and no luck.  I refuse to give up my search - even if it takes 20 years, I will continue to look for "ee ee".

Do your kids have loveys? How old were they when they gave them up?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Valentine's Day Treat Ideas

Here is a roundup of recipes and treat ideas for Valentine's Day!

8 Years of Wedded Bliss

Outside St. Patrick's Basilica immediately after our wedding ceremony Feb 4 2006
On February 4, 2006 we both said our vows and promised ourselves to each other for the rest of our lives.  Over the last 8 years we have made wonderful memories together.  Our love created 2 beautiful boys - watching them grow and discover the world is my favourite thing to do.  

Of course it hasn't all been sunshine, there have been times where we have fought or disagreed, but we always find our way through it together.  There have been times where we have needed the other to get through situations where we didn't know how to get through.

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful hubby - can't wait to celebrate the rest of them together!

Us Now

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Craft Ideas

With Valentine's Day around the corner I thought I would gather a few different craft ideas that you would be able to do with your children or grand children!

First up is this super cute Owl craft from Mommy Moment
 Owl Craft from Mommy Moment

Thumbprint Butterflies from Mommy Moment

Foam Flower Bouquet from Baby Giveaways Galore

Heart stamping from Mom Vs. The Boys 

Valentines sun catchers from Mom Vs. The Boys

Quick, easy and fun activity for toddlers from Multi-Testing Mommy

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Super Bowl XLVIII - February 2 2014

Today is the day that football fans await all season - SuperBowl XLVIII (Super Bowl 48) has arrived! Today the Seattle Seahawks will take on the Denver Bronco's at the MetLife Stadium in Rutherford New Jersey.

Myself, I am not such a football fan, however hubby is and I watch it with him every year.  He cheers for the San Francisco 49'ers and was very disappointed when they didn't move on to the Super Bowl. Years ago we used to have friends over for a Super Bowl party, but that was a long time ago. Now, we normally order in pizza and wings and eat our food during the first half of the game.

I am always up for watching the half time show, and the new commercials that are aired during the game....although being in Canada most of the commercials are subbed out and so we don't see all of the great ones that are often shown.....and of course I sit wondering why businesses pay the amount of money they do for such a short spot, but then again when you have over 100 million viewers it's probably worth it.

What about you - will you be watching the game tonight or will you be finding something else?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

2014 Goals - UPDATE

I wrote at New Years how I don't make New Years resolutions, but that I do give myself goals for the coming year and about my savings challenge.

In terms of yelling at the kids less and being a better parent for THEIR needs, I am doing ok.  There are days where my patience is gone and the yell comes, but they are not happening as often. I am finding myself better at spending the time on what they NEED me to instead of telling them to wait.

With the 52 week savings challenge, I am right where I should be at the end of January. I am happy that I have been able to stick with it and my savings account just seems to be growing (these savings are in addition to what was in the account from last years challenge).  It's really nice to see the figure growing week by week!

What about you? Are you on track for your 2014 goals heading into February?