Thursday, June 27, 2013

#TGCBB giveaway - sponsored by Green Beaver

The Great Canadian Blog Bash
green beaver gift bag giveaway

Just in time for #TGCBB - a great CANADIAN giveaway!  Last year I did a review on Green Beaver sunscreen; Green Beaver is actually a local company (located approximately 90 minutes from where I live).  This year, they have kindly agreed to sponsor a giveaway for The Great Canadian Blog Bash here on Tales of Mommyhood!

The Great Canadian Blog Bash is BACK! #tgcbb

The Great Canadian Blog Bash

It's here! It's here! The Great Canadian Blog Bash (#TGCBB) is back for a third year!  This is my 2nd time participating in this awesome event.   #TGCBB will run from June 27th until July 11th. There will be lots of blog hopping to be done and a lot of prizes (the hosting blogs have giveaways running and the participating blogs may have some too! You can check out my giveaway HERE)

#TGCBB is set up in time for Canada Day. It is a way to celebrate Canada, being Canadian and our heritage!  Did you know that there are a lot of famous Canadians?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

#CanadaDay in #Ottawa

If you live in Ottawa, or will be visiting - you may be wondering where you should go to celebrate Canada Day.

Here are a few options:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I had a stare down with a deer - who do you think won?

female deer in woods
this picture is NOT from my encounter - thanks to my friend Sandy for letting me use it

I had to take my car into the shop the other day (routine oil change, A/C wasn't working)  Where it is located, I can easily walk home in about 20 minutes (25 or so with the boys). To do this, we cut through a VERY well used path in a wooded area. It takes us to the park behind our house and then we are home.

WW: Tomato Plant

tomato plant starting to flower

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Giveaway Linky

Please leave a direct link to your giveaway post and make sure to include in the title who is eligible to win; sharing is always appreciated

Saturday, June 22, 2013

How to Make a Coupon Binder

coupons, saving money, coupon binder

I have been couponing for over a year, but could never come up with a system I liked for holding/organizing them.  I didn't think I had enough coupons to make a binder, so I usually just kept them all in an envelope and took out what I thought I would need on my shops, and kept in a separate spot in my wallet.

However, over the last few months this has not been working so well. I decided to go ahead and make a binder.

Friday, June 21, 2013

GIVEAWAY Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness

My kids love Po and his Kung Fu friends.  Check out the post below for your chance to win 1 of 2 copies of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.  Thanks to Think Jam and Twentieth Century Fox for providing the 2 copies for Tales of Mommyhood to giveaway!

Brace yourself for awesome action and legendary laughs in this fun-filled animated TV series based on the Academy Award®-Nominated hit movie Kung Fu Panda! As the chosen Dragon Warrior and sworn protector of the Valley of Peace, Po the panda is highly skilled, ever vigilant and hungry for justice...and dumplings. Together with the Furious Five—Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Crane and Viper—Po must fend off fierce villains, including an evil version of himself (courtesy of the Mystical Mirror of Yin and Yang) and the toothy Croc Bandits!

More than two hours of adventure including:

· Good Croc Bad Croc
· The Princess and the Po
· Chain Reaction
· Bad Po
· Jailhouse Panda
· Father Crime
· Po Fans Out

Croc Crackdown Game:

The adventure continues with the interactive online game, “Croc Crackdown!” Fans will play as Po in this fast-paced and addictive arcade-style game in order to protect the Noodle Shop from the evil crocs. Each DVD set comes with a unique code allowing fans to join the action, unlock power-ups and find exclusive downloads. Do you have what it takes to be the Dragon Warrior?

For a chance to win a copy of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, simply answer the question below in a comment on this post, and fill out the rafflecopter form

Po the Panda is identified as which of the following:

· Dragon Warrior
· Viper
· Cute Panda

Mom's Pure Wisdom - Nestlé® Pure Life®

This post is sponsored by Nestlé® Pure Life® - as part of their Mom's Pure Wisdom campaign in collaboration with Linqia

moms pure wisdom

My mom is my best friend; she always has been.  She has always been a great listener, and full of awesome advice.
"Be kind to others, and always treat them how YOU want to be treated"

June grocery challenge - FINAL week

This marks my last post for my June grocery challenge.  I was challenging myself to spend $400 for 4 weeks of groceries.

Last week I was left with $108.03 to shop this week.  Today I spent $79.00 - and I have 2 things left to pick up, which were not available at RCSS.  The roast and chicken should come to about $22.00 - which will bring my total to $101.00  for the week.

Celebrating Summer with Backyard Parties

backyard parties

Summer is here and that means lots of parties! Hubby and I love to host gatherings at our home. Whether it is a backyard BBQ with friends/family, Canada Day party or baby/bridal shower - doesn't matter, I love them.

If we are hosting a big crowd for a lunch gathering, then I find that sandwich platters work well.  Let someone else do the work for you, saves you time to get the house ready for your guests. Team that up with a pasta salad, fresh fruits and veggies and dessert (keep it light - fruit and dip, strawberry shortcake or even just popsicles) and you have a great spread of food to offer.

The best thing about hosting parties is keeping my kids in their own environment.  I find it is easy for kids to get overstimulated when they go somewhere new (so much to see, play with etc) and this way they are at home in their comfort zone.  They are familiar with the toys, rules and expectations. Plus, they get to show off their cool toys to the kids that are coming over.

To save myself from waking up to a house full of chaos the next day, I try and stay on top of clean up as the party is happening.  I make sure that all dishes are done (whether by hand or in the dishwasher) as soon as the meal is over and then any cans/bottles/garbage gets collected periodically through the evening.

Recycling gets done before we head off to bed, and we generally come down to a clean kitchen in the morning!

Do you like to host parties? or would you prefer someone else do all the work and just attend as a guest?

Meal Plan - June 21-27

Here is my meal plan for the upcoming week

- Roast, carrots and potatoes (enough for leftovers)
- Spaghetti with meat sauce and home made garlic bread (enough for leftovers)
- BBQ Chicken, rice and asparagus
- Shepherds Pie (enough for leftovers)

I made this meal plan around the sales for the week. Great price for Top Sirloin Roast, Ground Beef, and ok price for chicken and potatoes. I have pasta stocked up already, and corn in the freezer, and rice in the pantry.

What's for dinner at your house this week?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Strawberry season is here - enjoy these Fresh Strawberry Recipes

home grown strawberry
First Strawberry
Strawberry season is upon us (at least where I live it is). Strawberries are my favorite fruit - and thus this is one of my favorite times of year.  Strawberries are available all year round- being shipped in from other places - but nothing beats the taste of a fresh strawberry.

I normally take Mr. J (will start bringing Mr. K now too) once a year to pick strawberries at a local strawberry farm.  This year - we are growing our own at home too - very excited about it.  We had our first ripened berry on Saturday (Mr. K was a thief and picked it off the plant and popped it in his mouth when I wasn't looking)

Given that this is one of my favorite times of year, I thought I would do a round up of Strawberry posts that have yummy easy fresh strawberry recipes and droolworthy photo's!

  1. Tales of Mommyhood - Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
  2. Tales of Mommyhood - Summer Fruit Pizza
  3. A Busy Mommy - Strawberry Shortcake
  4. A Busy Mommy - Chocolate Strawberries
  5. Little Miss Kate - Strawberry Rhubarb Loaf
  6. Snip-Its of Me - Strawberry Lemon Yogurt Cake
  7. Nugglemama's Handful - Strawberry Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
  8. Nugglemama's Handful - Canada Day Dessert
  9. Sober Julie - Berry Rhubarb Parfait
  10. Sober Julie - Watermelon Cake
  11. Sober Julie - Strawberry Mango Mocktail Recipe
  12. Mom vs. The Boys - Strawberry Raisin French Toast Bake
  13. Our Family World - Strawberry Smoothie
  14. Our Family World - Strawberry Romaine Salad
  15. Life on Manitoulin - Valentines Love Berries
  16. Canadian Moms Cook - Pampered Chef Santa Hat Brownies
  17. Just Us Girls - Strawberry Shortcake Martini
  18. 1 Heart, 1 Family - Food Friday, Creamy Strawberry Delight
Do you love strawberries? What is your favorite strawberry recipe?  I would say mine is probably strawberry shortcake or chocolate covered strawberries.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

DIY: Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Valentines treat, chocolate, strawberries

  1. Choose your strawberries (x-large ones work best)
  2. Wash your berries REALLY well (I normally let mine soak in a bowl of cold water with 2 tbsp of vinegar for approx 15 minutes. You will be amazed at the bottom of the bowl when you remove them - then rinse under cold water)
  3. Choose your chocolate (belgian chocolate is my favorite, but I just use whatever I have on hand, even if it is plain old chocolate chips)
  4. Melt your chocolate (best to do it in a double boiler, but the microwave works too - just make sure not to scorch it, check it and stir every 30 seconds. Should take about 90 to melt)
  5. Hold your berry by the green, dip in the chocolate, swirl it around
  6. Lift berry out of chocolate, let excess drip off
  7. Place berries on a plate/tray lined with parchment paper and put in fridge to set
  8. ENJOY (on your own, or you can share with friends/family)

WW: berries

make sure to really WASH your berries well

Monday, June 17, 2013

1,000 posts

This is my 1000th post.  CRAZY.  I started this blog in August 2008 when my oldest son was just over 1year old.  The purpose was to update friends/family about funny stories and cute pictures.  I never could have imagined where it would end up going at that time.

Almost 5 years later, and it has become so much more.  I have received so many items (many which we couldn't afford to add to our home/give to our children); I have made some money (no, I am not getting rich from monetizing) and given some opportunities which I would never have even thought possible (a cool one coming up in a few weeks....check back mid-July to hear about it!)

I have "met" some great people, who are very kind and always willing to help out.

So that's it - my 1000th post.  Thanks for reading Tales of Mommyhood - without readers, many, if not all, of these opportunities would not have been possible.

Monday Giveaway Linky

List your open giveaways here! Make sure to list which countries are eligible to win. Not required, but a share/tweet would be nice - maximum exposure for everyone! Thanks for using my linky and good luck to those that enter!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Fathers Day

Today is the day set to celebrate those special dad's in your life.  Your father/step-father, your husband/partner - and anyone else you feel deserves some special recognition.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Things to do and places to visit in Ottawa

I have lived in Ottawa all my life.  There are lots of great places to visit and things to do in and around the city.  Even though I have grown up here, there are still lots of things I haven't done/seen.

While thinking of our summer bucket list (we make a list of things we want to do/places we want to go over summer vacation and cross them off as we do them), I thought that I would compile a list of places to visit in and around the area for people that may be visiting this summer or even for residents that are looking for something to do.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Grocery Challenge - week 3

Miss last weeks post? You can read about it week 2.

picture of grocery shop

This week is a rough shop; most of what I needed was not on for great prices, so I spent about $15-20 more than I was hoping. However, in that price I also purchased baby wipes (which will last approx 1 month) and a cake (I RARELY buy cakes from the store - but we are having company and I was too tired to make dessert)

Here is a breakdown of the overall cost:

Total VALUE: $136.86
Total price matching: ($31.81)
Total Coupons: ($4.00)
Total out of pocket: $105.02

This is what I bought:

2 jars of Sweet and sour sauce ($2 cpn WUB2) and price matched to $2.49/each = $2.98 total
2 breton crackers price matched to $2/each = $4.00 total
2 goldfish crackers price matched to $2/each = $4.00 total
2 cream cheese price matched to $2/each = $4.00 total
6 pack sponge towels ($1 cpn) price matched to $3.00 = $2.00 total
2 yogurt tubes price matched to $2.00 each = $4.00 total
2 bacon price matched to $2.66 each = $5.32 total
1 cantaloupe price matched to $1.50 = $1.50 total
4 english cucumbers price matched to $0.49 each = $1.96 total
Nectarines price matched to $2.18/kg = $1.63 total
Green pepper price matched to $2.18/kg = $0.93 total
Chicken breasts price matched to $10.98/kg = $9.51 total (not a good sale price at all)
2 x pint of blackberries
3x pint of raspberries
Baby wipes
Bagel Crisps
4 lt milk
orange juice
party mix
nutrigrain bars
Lunch meat
2 x 6 pack bagels

Everything else I purchased was either regular price or on sale at RCSS

Remaining total to complete the grocery challenge = $213.05 - $105.02 = $108.03.  Unfortunately, unless next week has some GREAT sales, I will NOT make it. However, if you take out the items that I bought for stocking up (peanut butter, bbq sauce and pasta) I would probably come in under $400 for the month.  Those items are not feeding us this month, and are sitting in the downstairs pantry until needed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Yummy Jello and Kool-aid popsicles

trying the popsicle - it's a hit!
Growing up my mom used to make us popsicles all the time.  She would make pudding pops, jello pops, juice pops - and probably other varieties.

I was reading my friend Sandy's blog the other day, and she had posted a recipe for home made popsicles that reminded me of when I was a kid.  I knew I had to make them for my own kids.

With the house in chaos today (the windows/doors are being replaced) I needed something to help entertain Mr. J - and I knew it was going to be quite warm, so it was a great day to break out the popsicle molds!

Do you like popsicles? What is your favorite flavour?

Home Renovations - replacing windows and doors

Old door on the left, NEW door on the right!
I am so excited - by Friday, I will have a new front door. And windows. And patio door!  A few years ago, hubby was doing some renovations and something fell - and shattered the glass next to our front door.  We didn't have the money to replace it, so he blocked it off with wood and we kind of forgot about it (well, not really - but it was easy to just put off replacing it). Today begins a transformation for our home of 8 years.  We are having ALL of our windows replaced, as well as our front door and our patio door.

We have known for many years that they needed to be done - but money just wasn't there.  Hubby would "bandaid" them by caulking around the edges and trying to seal them best we could.  However, the condensation inside the windows and draftiness weren't the only issues.  Our frames were rotting.

This was made even more apparent to us approximately 6 weeks ago. I noticed an ant in the upstairs hallway. Killed it and moved on. I figured it had come in on something, as we had been spending quite a bit of time outside.

A few days later, hubby and Mr. J noticed 5 or so inside Mr. J's bedroom. Hubby ripped the room apart, vacuuming and cleaning (he found some hidden crumbs - apparently Mr. J had secretly brought food upstairs) and hoped we had solved it. A few hours later, there were more crawling around the walls.

We finally tracked the source to the window. After doing some research, apparently ants LOVE rotting wood. That was it, window needed to be replaced.

I called the company that did our neighbours (we had both heard of them before, and our neighbours were very happy with them - so happy that they used them for all the windows over a 2-3 year period).

We decided to have a quote on everything, but figured we would do 4 now, 4 next year and finish off the 3rd year.  After getting the quote, it was a little cheaper than what we had been thinking would be the case (well, I say that - it was HALF of what I had in my head, but I know NOTHING about this type of thing, and it was slightly less than what hubby had thought).

We looked at what we had in the bank, and what we could come up with and decided that we would just go ahead and get it all done now (slight discount in price that way also)

So today, the replacements begin.  I am so excited to have it done. Hoping that it will save us a little money on our heating bills in the winter too....
Have you done any home renovations recently?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DK Canada - The LEGO Book

My hubby was a huge LEGO fan growing up.  I am talking HUGE. He had a LEGO city in his basement. Seriously, it spanned a few tables with bridges and what not linking everything.

Having a relationship with DK Canada, I am given the opportunity to review books periodically. With Father's Day coming up, they had a selection that I could choose from - and included in those titles was The LEGO Book.

When I saw that, I knew the one I needed to choose.  When the book arrived, he was quite happy to open it immediately and start reading up on the history of LEGO.  The book offers a complete history of the company (even back before LEGO bricks were made); it has LOTS of pictures throughout the book of different sets that have been released (even some of the newer ones) and it also talks about LEGOLAND.

Hubby enjoyed reading the history, and it was nice for him and Mr. J to sit down and share it together - because he has his fathers love of LEGO!.

If you have a LEGO fan in your house, then this is definitely a great book to add to your library!

**I was sent the above mentioned product free of charge; opinion stated belongs to Tales of Mommyhood and your opinion/experience may vary**

Little Ray's Reptile Zoo - WIN a week at Camp! (giveaway OTTAWA only)

I am super excited to be helping Sandy at Canadian Bloghouse with this giveaway. Your chance to win a week at Little Ray's Reptile Zoo Summer Camp for one child (any week the camp is operating summer 2013!!) . Keep reading to learn more! Paul_lady_logo

Welcome to the Little Ray's Reptile Zoo Summer Camp Giveaway!!






I love animals. As a child, I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up (this is written in one of my old school books). I never did make it to "vet school", however, my passion for animals remains the same. I especially love "critters", animals that make many people a little (or a lot!) squeamish. I adore mice, rats, chinchillas, hedgehogs...and chameleons. In fact, the first real chameleon I ever saw was at one of my favourite zoos - Little Ray's Reptile Zoo here in Ottawa, Canada. It was at Little Ray's where I got to see a chameleon out of its cage and being hand fed. I found it fascinating to watch. Let me tell you, their tongues move at lightning speed!

If you have ever been to Little Ray's Reptile Zoo, you'll know that one of their regular features is their feeding shows. These feeding shows allow the audience to sit up close and personal with various creatures, learn a bit about them, and watch them being fed. I've seen Little Ray's staff feed snakes, turtles, chameleons...and even alligators! To enhance the "animal experience", Little Ray's even encourages the audience members to touch (and sometimes hold!) the animals. This is where I (the arachnophobe ) got my first chance to hold a tarantula. This is one thing I thought I would NEVER do. You can read more about Little Ray's Reptile Zoo in my previous blog about them here.

coloured logo

Did you know that Little Ray's Reptile Zoo offers some fantastic programs and shows outside and away from their zoo? One of these programs is their Little Ray's Zoo Camp. In 2013, Little Ray's Zoo Camps are set to become their best camps ever. Kids attending the interactive camps will get a chance to learn about the care and maintenance of the animals, and so much more. They will even get to learn about the plants and animals that live in the forests around Ottawa. For those of you living in the Ottawa area, but living far from the Little Ray's Reptile Zoo location, they have added a second camp in conjunction with Dovercourt Rec Centre and the Midway - centrally located in Westboro.

By the way, for those of you living in the Hamilton, Ontario region, you are in luck! Little Ray's Reptile Zoo has just opened it's newest zoo on June 8th in Hamilton. Be sure to visit them! They have an opening month special - $9.50 per person from June 8-July 15th.

The great folks at Little Ray's have so generously offered up a fantastic prize for one lucky Canadian Blog House member - a whole week (for one child) at Little Ray's Zoo Camp in Ottawa, valued at $240! What young child wouldn't love to spend a week learning all about great creatures and having the chance to interact with them? This camp sounds pretty fantastic to me! I wonder if Little Ray's would allow this "big kid" to sneak into the camp, lol. Many thanks to Little Ray's Reptile Zoo for helping Canadian Blog House make one little Canadian very happy!

Here's how you can enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway 54224y783wpiiyxb89ic      
 Disclosure: Canadian Blog House did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Watermelon Bassinet - Baby Shower (edible) centerpiece

A few weeks ago, my mom and I came across a Watermelon baby carriage in a magazine.  It was so cute, that I wished we had a baby shower to host sometime soon so we could make it.  While we didn`t have a baby shower, we were having a girls night for a chance to visit with my cousin`s wife - as they were visiting from out of town. Hollie just happens to be pregnant, so we decided to go ahead with making it.

You can find the directions below, unfortunately I was so set on making it that I forgot to take step by step photo`s...but it`s pretty self explanatory.

Fruit centerpiece for baby shower
Watermelon Baby Bassinet

What you need:

1 x-large watermelon (seedless is best)
1 small cantaloupe or orange for head
different coloured fruits (strawberries, grapes, cherries, honey dew, kiwi, orange slices)

Step 1: Wash the outside of your watermelon and any other fruits you will be using.

Step 2: Carve your watermelon into a carriage or bassinet (you can do this by marking with pen or pencil; draw a line from the right side of your watermelon across lengthwise, stopping about 3.5 or 4 inches from the end.  Do the same on the other side and then connect them)  You can then follow your markings with a large sharp, serrated knife to carve out.

Step 3:  Using a melon baller, scoop out the inside of your watermelon.  Depending on how many guests, you can either scoop out the entire thing (leaving a thin layer of pink around the edges) or if there aren`t many guests, scoop out less.

Step 4: Make the babies head (we used an orange, although you can use any fleshy coloured round fruit)

Step 5: Use toothpicks to hold on halved cherries or grapes as eyes, whatever fruit you would like as the nose and ears, and if you choose - you can make a small hole and use a soother for the mouth.  We used a food writer marker to draw a smile

Step 6: Mix the extra fruit together and pour into the watermelon to act as a blanket.

Step 7: If you want a bassinet, you are done. If you want a baby carriage, you can then use either orange pieces, grapefruit pieces or kiwi to make wheels.

Step 8: If you have leftover fruit, you can place around the watermelon on the tray

Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday Giveaway Linky

List any of your open giveaways below! Please include who the giveaway is open to, and the end date. Sharing isn't required, but a tweet would be appreciated - if everyone who links up shares it, your giveaways will have more exposure

Friday, June 7, 2013

#shop Fathers Day with Sobey's (FreshCo). #cbias

grocery shopping at Freshco
I am a member of the Social Fabric Collective Bias community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client, Sobey's. All opinions are 100% mine.

My hubby works really hard all week long, often times taking overtime shifts - all to allow me to stay home with our children. I always wanted to be a SAHM and he was very supportive of that choice - even though it means more work for him. He tries to spoil me and the boys as often as he can (whether it is bringing me home my favorite treat, or building a large play structure in our back yard for the kids). He likes to build things, so he has also handcrafted storage units for our house - and most recently, he built me a beautiful bench/storage rack for our entrance way.

hubby on play structure
hubby standing on the play structure he built the boys (before the roof went in)

One way that I get to spoil him is to bake/cook for him. I try and make his favorites as often as I can - he seems to enjoy my cooking, and it is something I love to do. One of his favorite meals is Chicken Parmesan - and it is not something that I make often. With Fathers Day around the corner, it got me thinking about his favorite foods and that was the first that came to mind. I didn't have everything on hand, so I needed to make a quick trip to FreshCo (part of the Sobey's family of stores) to pick up the needed items - along with other groceries for the week.

Other than sharing a delicious dinner, we don't really have any Father's Day traditions. I always head out to visit my dads grave, and hubby goes to visit his dad also. We let the boys decide where they would rather go, and we make sure to meet back at home for supper (well, I guess that is somewhat of a tradition). Sometimes I cook, and other times he bbq's - it all depends on what he is in the mood for.
#sobeys fathers day #shop #cbias

To learn more about my FreshCo shopping trip, check out my Google + Album - it is a picture guide of my grocery visit!

cheese section at FreshCo
groceries, fridge
Fridge is stocked with everything we need to spoil hubby with Chicken Parmesan

What about you, do you have any fathers day traditions?

Grocery Challenge - week 2

Week 2 totals for my grocery challenge:

Total out of pocket: $77.14
Total coupons used - ($2.87)
Total Price Matching - (33.40)
Scanning code of practice - (4.77 - they charged the wrong price for grapes, so I got them FREE)
TOTAL savings = ($41.04)
What I SHOULD have paid = $118.18

Week 1: $105.81
Week 2: $77.14
= $182.95

That leaves me with $213.05 left for week 3 and week 4 

Hollie's Handmade - Crocheted Amigurumi Dolls and Toys

Below you will find info about Hollie's Handmade; Hollie's Handmade features crocheted Amigurumi dolls and toys. When I first saw the items Hollie made, I was in love. At that time, she was not selling them, they were for her own children. As soon as she listed a few items in her shop, I knew what I wanted to order. Mr. J is having an Angry Birds party for his birthday this year, and I was sure a couple of crocheted birds would add to the party, and be a lasting keepsake which he would love.

When Hollie finished the birds and loaded the pictures to facebook, I was giddy with excitement (I still am, Mr. J has NO idea - and he is going to be ecstatic when he sees them). When I had them in my hands, I was even more impressed! They are perfect.
crocheted angry bird dolls by Hollie's Handmade
The 2 birds from Hollie's Handmade

Tales of Mommyhood:
When did you start crocheting/how did you learn?
I started crocheting when I was a little girl and my mom taught me.
Tales of Mommyhood:
Why did you start making dolls?
I started making dolls because I kept seeing all of these super expensive Waldorf dolls that I loved but couldn't afford. I like the idea of toys that are washable and encourage open ended play. It's so fun to crochet unique toys for my kids. They can pick their favorite colors, animals, accessories, etc. the first doll I made was a baby doll for Teagan. She named her "Sally" and there is no doubt that she is practically part of our family. She doesn't go anywhere without Sally. She even manages to squeeze her into her backpack and takes her to school every day.
Tales of Mommyhood:How did Hollie's Handmade come to be?
I started Hollie's Handmade because I was always getting compliments on the dolls when my daughters would bring them to the store and such. I crocheted a couple of dolls and put them on Facebook thinking that they might not even sell. I have been totally surprised at how well my little business has done so far. I absolutely love crocheting and getting paid to enjoy my hobby is wonderful!Tales of Mommyhood:When do you find the time?
Hollie:Anytime that I am not running around taking care of my kiddos I am crocheting these days. I get most of my crocheting done at night after the kids go to bed.

If you are on the hunt for a great gift that will be treasured, then head over to Hollie's Handmade on facebook and take a look at her dolls/toys. You won't be disappointed. If you don't see what you are looking for, send her a message - she takes custom orders!

**This is NOT a sponsored post. I purchased the dolls from Hollie, but was so impressed I had to share. All opinions belong to Tales of Mommhood; your opinion experience may vary**

Letting Kids enjoy the little things

I like my kids to explore what is around and learn all they can do; I try not to structure too much of our time, and just let them learn from their own curiosity.

Check out my latest post on the CHEO blog to read about Kyle's puddle jumping

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Making the Best From the Worst #AverysActOfKindness

Life in the NICU is one I am familiar with; if you read the blog regularly, then you are aware that my oldest was born at 36 weeks, and spent his first 10 days in the NICU of our local hospital.  We were fortunate, our little boy came home healthy and happy - but that is not always the case. Please read below to find out about Avery's Act of Kindness - and how you can help raise money to purchase an incubator for Sunnybrook's NICU.

"The birth of your child is supposed to be one you look forward to and dream of. This is so different, feelings I can’t explain. The tears you cry during a birth are to be one of happiness and joy but mine were of fear and sadness" - Ashley Pullen
Ashley is a mom who knows the heartbreak no mother should have to endure, the loss of a child. Her precious daughter Avery made a far too early entrance into this world at 12 weeks premature. Although Avery was a fighter, after 11 days in the NICU she lost her battle and grew her wings.

In her memory Avery's family is holding a fundraiser in support of Sunnybrook Health Science Center NICU. Avery's Act of Kindness is working to raise $10,000 to go towards an incubator for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sunnybrook Hospital. These incubators are the first home for many preemies providing a stable environment that controls the heat, humidity, and oxygen for the baby. This equipment will help many more babies like Avery in the future.
If you are in the Shelburne, Ontario Area come join in the Avery's Act of Kindness Fundraiser on Saturday June 8, 2013. You can find all of the details on their event page here. Starting at 11:00am this family friendly event will include a BBQ, music, wagon rides, games, a silent auction and more! Tickets are $10 for adults or $5 for children which includes a Hamburger or Hot Dog and Baked Potato.
You can also support Avery's Act of Kindness and Sunnybrook Health Sciences NICU by donating online. Every donation large and small makes a difference. Let's keep Avery's memory alive, help other preemies and change those sad tears into happy ones through Avery's Act of Kindness.
A guest post by Kate. You can find her over at her blog Little Miss Kate, and connect on Facebook and Twitter. Kate is mom to 2 active little boys. Little Miss Kate is a chronicle of her parenting adventures, mixed with helpful product reviews and some exciting giveaways as well. t

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Giveaway Linky

It's Monday - Tales of Mommyhood Monday Giveaway Linky is live! List any of your open giveaways, please be sure to include which countries are eligible to enter; Good luck to those entering and thanks for visiting Tales of Mommyhood. Tweeting or sharing of this linky to gain maximum exposure is appreciated

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How To Make Your Own Angry Birds Birthday Party Invites

Mr. J decided that for his 6th birthday, he wanted it to be an angry bird party. I went searching online for ideas on decorations, food and games.  As I was searching (pinterest was a GREAT source for me) I found these really cute home made invitations (you can see her BLOG post)

how to make red bird invites
front and back of invites (the kids names are written on the front, where the white part is)

I am including a step - by - step below!

1) gather all your supplies (red, black, white and yellow construction paper, ruler, scissors and glue stick)
2) decide how big you want your invite and draw a template on 1 piece of red paper
3) cut the template, then continue by cutting out the rest of your invites
4) cut out circles from white paper for eyes (I traced around a large glue stick lid)
5) cut out small black circles for the pupil
6) cut out small strips of black for the brows
7) cut out yellow beaks (I made them 3d, but you coul just cut a triangle if you want(
8) cut out white semi-circles for the breast area

all my cuts are complete, ready to glue
9) glue the pupils onto the eyes

eyes are ready to go
10) assemble invites one at a time (I started with the beaks)

12) flip invite over and add details (I printed out my info, and then cut the paper to the size I wanted)

13) if you want, you can add the kids names to the white breast part on the front - which is what I did

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Circumcision - my thoughts

It's not necessary. Yep - those are my thoughts on it.  I really don't understand why anyone would want to put their child through an UN-NECESSARY medical procedure. If it was deemed medically necessary, then  it would STILL be highly recommended by medical professionals.

OK - so a little more to it than that; to circ or not is a question that often comes up on chat forums and moms groups that I belong to.  It often turns into a heated debate with name calling and the like (which I refuse to partake in - my opinion is MY opinion; I will not force it on someone else, just as I don't want their opinion forced on me)

I knew when I was pregnant with my oldest that I did NOT want it done. Unfortunately, hubby and I were not on the same page.  He was adamant it be done, I was adamant it not be done.  After doing all my research, I told him to do his. He didn't feel it was necessary to do any research.  If the procedure was the right decision for his parents to make, then it was the right decision for us to make.  WRONG - when we were kids, it was normal. It WAS recommended back then, but as with everything - research is done and thought processes change (and that means that recommendations could change again, and maybe when my kids become parents, it will be recommended to circ)

In the end, we decided we would ask my family doc (who would be the physician for our son) and no matter what, we would go with her recommendation. She was against it - so I won!

When all was said and done, he was a preemie and in rough shape, so the doctors recommended that we wait if we wanted it done. Since we didn't want the procedure anyways, it didn't make a difference (and, the doctor that came to check with me asked if we wanted it done - he is the one who would have been performing the procedure, and himself said it wasn't recommended even on healthy babies)

Below are some reasons why many feel the need to circumcise:

- it's harder to clean an uncircumcised penis (actually, you don't need to do anything different than if you were washing a finger; no pulling back of the foreskin - THAT can do damage; leave the foreskin alone, it will retract on it's own as the child grows)
                     - and really, all the work to take care of a circumcised penis at first is more effort than I have                  put into cleaning the boys so far, at 2.5 and 5.5
- they will wonder why they don't look like their father (baby penis, little boy penis, teenager penis and old man penis ALL look different anyways)
- it's better to do it when they are a baby and don't feel the pain (babies feel pain - if you don't want an older child to go through the procedure because of the pain involved, why would you want your NEWBORN to, when they can't tell you it hurts?)
- protects against STD's (this, there is some evidence to point, but all the things I read were NOT from North America - and really, condoms - much more effective at preventing STD's than circumcision)

For me, one of the biggest reasons is that I don't want to change my children's bodies.  They were born with foreskin, if it's something that creates a medical issue - then we will deal with it when the time comes.
Honestly, I wouldn't even pierce a girls ears if I had a daughter until she asked me for it.  My ears were pierced when I was little - and as I got older I hated it.  I am NOT a jewelry person.  I rarely wear anything other than my wedding ring (and I didn't even wear that for the longest time.) I am 33 years old, and my holes have NEVER closed over.  I really wish that my parent's had NOT pierced my ears.

I think circumcision is a personal decision. Meaning, the PERSON should make that decision.  Nowadays, with so many boys NOT being circumcised, I doubt they would even question it.

What about you - what are YOUR thoughts on it?

Lovable Lables: Camp Pack Giveaway

Summer is just around the corner, and with that comes camp!  My oldest is registered for 2 different week long day camps this year - and he is really looking forward to it.  Time to get another Camp Pack from Lovable Labels.

Lovable Labels has been in business since 2003, and their products are sold world wide.  I have reviewed them in the past - you can read about them here. The labels stand up well to the dishwasher, washing machine, dryer and microwave. 

The camp pack has 150 multi-purpose labels to suit all your needs, and is priced at $44.95;
This year, Lovable Labels has teamed up with Tim Horton Childrens Foundation in support of Camp Day, June 5 2013.  Lovable Labels will be donating 20% of all sales purchased through THIS special link to THCF. 

THCF was founded in 1974 to help make a difference in the lives of children.  It was built in Parry Sound, ON  and was home to 200 campers it's first summer open, 1975. THCF provides the opportunity for thousands of children to head to summer camp every year.  THCF offers these kids the chance to make lifelong memories and friendships.

Help send a kid to camp by purchasing labels using the special link. If you have forgotten to use the link, just make sure to put "Tim Horton Childrens Foundation" in the Agent/Seller box and your purchase will be credited to the fundraiser.

Are your kids going to camp this summer?  Remember "Don't Lose It, Label It!".  Enter to win a camp pack of your own using the rafflecopter form below!  Open to Canadian and US residents and giveaway will run from midnight June 1, 2013 until 11:59pm June 9, 2013.