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ARRRR

13 Sep

Lately in my house life is about pirates.  Playing with pirate playmobil, watching Jake and the Never Land Pirates on Disney Jr and imaginary play with pirates (who somehow always end up driving some truck through the sand).

So of course there was much excitement when Little Tikes sent us this wonderful Little Tikes Play and Scoot Pirate Ship.

We received the delivery after a long day of playing, swimming and eating dinner out but when Dominic saw the picture on the box waiting on the front step there was no way we were going straight to bed. “Pirate mommy, play mommy, pirate!”

The box was ripped open in 2 seconds. Okay well about 5 minutes as it was packaged well and I had a 2 year old jumping all excited, a 2 month old wanting to be fed and just go to bed and me with a pair of scissor jabbing through packing tape. Daddy was driving in his own car since we had two vehicles at dinner. His car is without air conditioning but sometimes I think about trading my air conditioning for being able to play my music as loud as I want or having extreme quiet while I drive without 2 littles in the back! and…..I have gotten off track of this posts topic 😉

The pirate ship was assembled with little hands eagerly “helping” and there were many shrieks of excitement.  Luckily it did not take long for daddy to put together.

Dominic immediately was intrigued that he could actually ride on it.  On he got and away he went! To the kitchen to get his nightime bottle! He was quite creative and found a nice little holder for his bottle on the front of the ship.

This pirate ship has been a toy of interest since it came through our front door.  With the seat of the ship lifting up and allowing for some storage of small toys underneath it I am continually finding new things that have been hidden inside. It continues to amaze me how kids can put something somewhere and a week later go right back and remember where they had “hidden” it.

I am also a big fan of toys that “grow” with the child.  Baby girl, 6 months, is already enjoying leaning against it as she learns to stand.  I can see her sitting on it in another 4-5 months and her big brother pushing her around!

Disclaimer: The Play n Scoot Pirate Ship was sent to me. I did not purchase the product. I was not compensated in any other manner for this review and post and all opinions are my own!

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What To Expect When You’re Expecting- Movie Review

30 May

I am in that stage in my life where I seem to be fully immersed in the world of baby, toddlers, snotty noses, poop, crushed cheerios in my car and you know what?? I am LOVING it! I should really saw “we” as my husband totally rocks the daddy card and could not imagine having our life without our sweet babes.

We attended the screening for “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” last Wednesday thanks to Alliance Films.  Many are familiar with the book of the same title that details your pregnancy journey from the moment of conception through to delivery and life in the immediate postpartum.

Those who know me know that this book is not in my top picks of books to read for the mom to be.  I always suggest reading some Ann Douglas, Penny Simkin, Ina May Gaskin and Jack Newman for parents to be looking for some educational and informative reading material.  I find the book too generic and quite often makes a new mom panic-stricken with the scenarios that play out and the repetitive answer of basically “call your doctor.” However, I had seen the movie previews and if a preview catches my attention enough to stop and watch it then I know it’s a must see. The fact that my husband actually expressed interest in coming with me (something we haven’t done in over 5 years together!) because he had seen the previews and said it would be funny, was a bonus for me!

The movie follows the experiences of 5 very different couples on their journey to parenthood.  These journeys are quite realistic and ones I have seen various friends experience over the years.  It continues to amaze me the different experiences women have trying to become pregnant and while they are pregnant.  My pregnancies are even more extreme then Wendy’s (one of the movie characters) but growing up and dreaming of having a baby I always pictured my experience would be more similar to Skyler’s (with my personality though…not hers….and a younger husband).

The dad group strollercise adds great hilarity and character to the movie as it greatly reminds me of my friend Jules (no not the Jules in the movie but just as awesome!) strollercise classes. A wonderful environment for parents to come together, get out with baby, get some physical fitness in and best of all a time to be surrounded by others who are also knee deep in poop, snot, baby smiles, giggles and endless laundry.

This movie kept me intrigued with fun comedy and laugh out loud moments.  A few tears were shed along the way- both of happy and sadness at a few points.   It caught a place in my heart, my mommy heart, and it reminded me how blessed I am to be on this amazing but sometimes rough rollercoaster ride called parenthood.

I really hope that this movie is part of Stars & Strollers or Movies for Mommies as I know the theaters will be packed with moms and their babes.  I know I will be seeing this movie again in the future!

Disclosure: I was not paid or compensated for this review other than the movie tickets to attend the Ottawa screening.

Disclosure 2: I love love love chick flicks and any movies with relationships, families, kids, etc.

Getting It Done- Holiday Shopping

26 Nov

The end of November has quickly crept up on me and I have been telling people for weeks that I would be completely done my  Christmas shopping by December 1st.  I am determined to stick to it, or pretty close to it, and only have a few more items to cross off.  I love thinking of gift ideas and putting together packages for various people in our lives. Last year we made fun baskets for the grandparents that contained various gifts from photos, tim hortons gift cards, cappuccino, and more!  The grandparents are almost done this year and they are getting a wonderful…..oops can’t tell you until Santa arrives as they also read this blog 😉

There are definitely times when I struggle and cannot figure out what to get some of those trickier people on my list.  You know that teenager who really doesn’t need another matching hat and mitt set.  What they tend to ask for is hard cold cash and then I never know what exactly it will get spent on. Then there are the dance teachers, swim teachers, daycare providers, and the list goes on. Where do you begin in purchasing gifts that they will find useful?

Movie Ticket Packages, gift cards and more!  Who doesn’t enjoy watching a great movie while enjoying the ever delicious buttery popcorn from the theatre? mmmmm that popcorn!  Empire Theatres is running their fab gift card holiday program again this year.  It offers so much! So much in fact I wouldn’t mind if I received it as a gift 😉

When you purchase $30 in Empire Theatres Gift Cards you will receive $30 in Empire Theatre Coupons.  You don’t have to just purchase one card in a $30 denomination. You could buy 3 cards at $10 each. If you purchase $60 worth of gift cards then you will receive 2 bundles of coupons!

This steal of a deal only runs until December 24th. But that’s okay because you will be buying your Christmas gifts at least 12 hours before the actual day right? If you are purchasing online the deadline is December 18th to ensure you receive your package(s) in time before HOHO arrives!

Now here is the BIG question.  Will you also be gifting your coupon bundles you receive with your gift card purchases or will you keep them for yourself?  I think they would make a great stocking stuffer, but I do like that movie popcorn. Wondering what the coupon bundle includes? Well here you go…..

Coupon Bundle includes:
o BOGO Admission (January 9 to January 31, 2012)
o $2.00 off any Combo – excluding Kid’s Pack (January 9 to January 31, 2012)
o $9.99 (Admission, Regular Drink, Small Popcorn) (February 1st to February 29th, 2012)
o Buy a Large Popcorn, get a Large Drink Free (March 1st to March 31st, 2012)
o $6.99 General Admission(March 1st to March 31st, 2012)
o Get $4.00 off a General Admission Ticket(April 1st to April 30th, 2012)

Also Gift Tins are back again this year to be used as a “gift box”.  If you are anything like me you hate wrapping presents. I much prefer to put it in a basket, bag or stocking. The only person in this home who always will get wrapped gifts are the kids. Something about watching them tear open the paper with curiosity and amazement. Empire Theatres are selling them for $1.00, plus tax with net proceeds going to Kids Help Phone.

To learn more about Empire Theatres and their Holiday Gift Pack Bundles – check out their site at:  http://www.empiretheatres.com/gift

So if you are looking for those hard to buy people,  are just leaving it to the last minute and not sure what to get, or would like your teenagers out of the house for an evening of quiet with a book and bottle of wine then add movie theatre tickets to your list 🙂

Happy Holidays & Happy Shopping. Oh yea, and please don’t ask me on December 1st if I am done my shopping. Give it a few extra days okay? Thanks!

Disclosure – I am participating in the Empire Theatre Gift Card Holiday Campaign by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation for my participation in this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Exploring & Vacationing with …..the Ergo!

22 Aug

So if you know my family at all or have been an avid blog reader you know that we are an active babywearing family.  We have snuggled with babe in numerous ways with slings, wraps and soft structured carriers since the day we brought him home from the hospital. At 15 months he still loves to be snuggled close to use on our outings in between his running and exploring.  We recently made a weekend family trip to the Eastern Townships & Montreal.  Our trip included the wonderful Granby Zoo, where you can read about our adventures here, and fun at the Biodome in Montreal.

When packing to go away with a baby or toddler there are many things you need to bring with you.  Especially when staying in a hotel and need to bring “extra” things like a playpen.  Sure there are things we sometimes compromise and leave behind but a baby carrier is NEVER one of them for this family.

Thanks to Ergo & Fulton Sales we received a lovely Performance Ergo Carrier in a vibrant “Spring Green” colour to take with us on our explorations of the Granby Zoo & Montreal Biodome.  When you are in a busy place with a babe who wants to see all the action at your eye level baby wearing is definitely the way to go.  With a tot who is now over 25lbs we carried him comfortably throughout the zoo and the biodome, as well as the streets of Montreal!

Here are some of the fab features that the Ergo Sport Performance has:

*the Sport Performance is 1/3 lighter than their “standard” carrier. It sports mesh lining and increases the breathability of wearing your baby for long periods compared to the “standard” ergo.

*With a durable outer layer, it truly seems that this carrier will have a great extended life!  I look forward to reporting back on how much we still love this carrier after we build our basket ball team 😉

*Comfortable shoulder straps!  Really!  Wearing a heavier baby or toddler of extended period of time can be hard on your back or shoulders at times if not properly made or worn correctly.  This carrier is truly comfortable for wearing hours on end.  It encourages and enables proper posture and supports baby well.

*Chest strap is on a slider to enable easy adjusting.  This is a great and easy feature when I am wearing babe on my back.  However, I do find it a challenge at times to adjust this strap when babe is on my front (and the strap is therefore across my shoulder blades).  I am not sure if it’s because I am fairly broad here or whether I would have a small challenge no matter what.  As a yoga instructor I do find myself fairly flexible though 😉  The challenge for me is to slide this strap down far enough so its well below my neck and then be able to tighten it.  This is truly the only small issue I have when wearing the carrier.  When I am on my own I can jiggle it down with some patience.  When my lovely husband is with me he quickly ensures it is in a comfortable place for me….thanks babe!  I have tried both colours (the blue/grey combo and this one) and find the green/black combo warm to wear when outside for long periods of time.  The blue/grey combo is lined with grey mesh inside (instead of the black) and find it more comfortable when outside in the sun and warm weather.

Baby D loved staying close to us in the Ergo (and we loved it to being in such a busy place like the zoo with a 15 month old who can already run….fast!) and getting to see all the animals and scenery at our height.  He truly got a better view of everything and got a full experience out of the zoo.  His favourite? Definitely the African Safari!

I even got my father in law to try out the Ergo.  He was a babywearing virgin until he tried on the Ergo.  After much reassurance that Dominic was completely comfortable (don’t worry a babe will tell you when they are not!) and that he was safe, the two of them enjoyed the zoo together.

We also hit the Biodome in Montreal for a day after a sleep over in Montreal exploring the city and all it has to offer.  Full disclosure if you read my blog you will know that we love Montreal, travel their often and really do call it a home away from home!

We have tried many many many carriers and this is one that we usually always have in the car and it comes along everywhere with us.   It does take up more room than something like a ring sling that you can just throw into your diaper bag but with the weight of a small toddler and the ability for my husband and I to both wear him easily (or other family members) it is very hand to have on hand when out and about.

Have you heard what is coming out and new at Ergo? They will be offering their Ergo Carriers in Petunia Pickle Bottom prints!

I have had a Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag that I have used since baby D was born and we have gotten a lot of use out of it and it’s stylish!  The fabric has lasted extremely well and is very durable.

Have you checked out Fulton Sales on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest and greatest products they have to offer?  You know what else is cool? Once Fulton Sales hits 2500 fans on facebook they will be having some great giveaways via various bloggers across Canada.  Guess what?! We will be one of them!!  Please go and check out their website, “like” their facbeook page and send them some love!


Giraffes, Elephants & A Water Park…..Oh My!

5 Aug

I am joining in the Summer of Awesome fun that was started by Lynn at Diary of a Turtlehead.  My friend Sara at My Points of View joined in and I decided to jump on board as well!

My lovely husband has been talking about us going to the Granby Zoo for years. Long before we ever had a cute little toddler running around our house.  My husband grew up in the Eastern Townships and went to the Granby Zoo numerous times as a child but that was over 20 years ago!  So we decided this was the summer that we would make our first trip, one of many to come!  We were invited by Granby Zoo to attend for the day as their guest.

We loaded the car up and left Ottawa around 8 on a Thursday morning (don’t leave earlier than this on a weekday if heading to the other side of Montreal. One word….TRAFFIC!)  The cooler was packed with our lunch for the day and snacks for the drive.  The drive is extremely reasonable for families within the Ottawa area.

We arrived at the Granby Zoo an hour after it opened, and thankfully the parking lot was not yet full.  This meaning that the zoo was not going to be packed.  Many families had the same thought as us to hit the zoo during the week, but not an overwhelming amount, and there were some large buses with day campers.

Immediately upon approaching the ticket kiosks there are bathrooms, with several stalls.  This is very much appreciated, especially for us on longer drives who may not want to wait until after purchasing tickets to find a washroom.  When you gotta go….you gotta go!  Our tickets were waiting for us at Base de Camp so we were able to bypass the ticket kiosks right outside the main entrance but there were no long line ups and there was plenty of staff to ensure everyone was served in a timely manner.

The first thing we did after entering the zoo was visit the new South Pacific Pavillion.  There are rays you can touch up close and personal.

My favourite was definitely the fish tank that was a tribute to Dory & Nemo 🙂

The pavillion was definitely a great addition to the zoo, especially with the brand new show Kaila.  This fantastic multi media show was created by Moment Factory, a company who has also worked on Cirque de Soleil in Montreal and Celine Dion’s Vegas shows!  More to come on Kaila in an upcoming blog post!  See a sneak peak here.

Our busy toddler definitely enjoyed the petting zoo where he got to get up close and personal with pigs and goats.  For 25 cents you can purchase animal food but be warned that those silly goats will most likely have the food taken out of the machine before it even gets to your hand.  I tried to give them a gentle nudge out of the way but they are determined and very friendly 🙂

We sat down for a quick bite to eat with the sandwiches we had packed on a nearby bench.  There are numerous benches and picnic tables throughout the zoo.  The next time we go I will definetely be waiting to eat our lunch in the Africa section where you can get up close and personal to the giraffes, elephants and zebras.  With beatiful thatched roof huts for shade while enjoying your yummy lunch the view is gorgeous!  When we hit this part of the zoo it was around 1:30 and there was hardly anybody there.  Would have been a great time for a later lunch.

Africa was most defintely my favourite section of the zoo with large pieces of land for the giraffes, elephants, zebras and many other animals could room freely in the “savannah”.

Oceania allowed us to discover Australia with kangaroos and wallabies jumped, moved and rested as zoo goers walked along a path all within the same open area.  According to their website sometimes these Wallabies will even come up to visitors so you can give them a pet (please do not feed them or approach them off the path….this is their home!) but they seemed very happy to play with their friends in the longer grass not too far away as we observed.

Tigers & leopards can be found in the zoos Asia section, along with shaded picnic tables and a fun play area for kids to slide, run off some energy and laugh with their friends.  This is a great place to stop either for lunch or a mid visit stop and snack. Take a break, sit and relax, while the kids continue in the fun.  We took a few large water bottles frozen that we enjoyed throughout the day as they melted and we could cool off as well as all of our snacks and lunch.  We did enjoy a shared ice cream cone with babe.  There are various options for food for those who do not want to pack their lunch.  Please note that glass containers are not allowed within the waterpark area.

We ended off the day by taking all of our things back to the car (just a short walk from the main entrance) and got our things that we wanted to take to the water park.  Yes, there is a water park!  This is definitely an addition to the zoo since hubby went as a kid 😉 The Amazoo Yoplait Water Park was a great place to cool off and was quite busy as everybody else had the same idea as us to top off their day with a visit here.  On our next visit (yes, we are already planning to go back!) if it’s a warm day we will be doing the waterpark first and the zoo after as it seems others do the opposite.

We ran into a small issue while at the waterpark that cut our visit short. You see I was wearing my Bravado Nursing tank. A top I  wear quite often while swimming, as it makes a cute tankini and is still breastfeeding friendly.  However we were unaware that cotton is not allowed in the water at the Granby Zoo waterpark. I had worn the top at several other facilities over the past year and as a lifeguard have never had a problem with patrons wearing cotton in the pool.  This was not properly explained or written in the rules upon entering.  We were only made aware of this right before getting on the lazy river, after standing in a line up!  I was not overly happy with the lifeguards explanation, as he stood there with his cotton shirt on.  Anyways a rule is rule and I definitely respect that.  I understand that rules are in place to keep everyone safe and that each facility is able to develop their own rules and regulations.  Safety of all patrons is extremely important while in such a large area and I know first hand the diffculties that can be brought forward when trying to balance water chemicals and levels with the sun and the number of people in the water changing the equation of keeping everything well balanced.  I was disappointed that this was not properly written for visitors to understand the rule (it just states you must be wearing tight fitting bathing suit, doesn’t state certain type of material) so I clarified the situation with somebody within the communication department. I was extremely happy with the quick response that was given and am happy to report that the website now contains easy to understand and very clear rules and was told that the signs at the main entrance and before entering the water park will be changed.  This small snag did not impact our experience as it was the end of the day and we were all getting tired and I am glad we will know for next time 🙂

All in all we cannot wait to go back for another visit and are thinking of maybe heading there in early September to enjoy a Fall visit!  It will definitely be part of our summer visits to Nana & Poppa Coaches.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit the Granby Zoo, just a short distance away from Ottawa & Montreal I highly recommend that you try to head that way with the family this summer or next.  Even if you are in Toronto it would make a great few day short vacation!  Take a day or two to enjoy Montreal, visit Granby Zoo, spend some time in the Eastern Townships and enjoy the scenary.  Cottage rentals are quite popular in this area of Quebec.

If you have been to the Granby Zoo before I would love to hear what your favourite parts where, any info you found useful and would like to share for our next visit and more!

In the meantime you can follow Granby Zoo on twitter @zoodegranby  and find them on facebook where they post lots of fun info and upload videos of what is happening at the zoo. Check out their youtube channel and catch up on great videos of what is happening at the zoo.  This baby giraffe is super cute in this video from April.

I would like to thank Granby Zoo for providing my family with entrance tickets for our visit.  All opinions in this blog post are 100% mine and no money compensation was received in exchange for this review


Communicating with Baby

30 Mar

Families sometimes come up with their own lingo and words. Pacifiers can become “suces”, “paci”, “sucky”. Breastfeeding can become “nummies”, “numnums”, “boobies”, etc. But why not use, or use in conjunction with any “family words”, a universal language that many others in the world can also understand? Why not use a a way of communication that enables you to ask a questions or make a statement without making any noise at all? My family has done just that thanks to the PTPA Award Winning My Smart Hands baby sign language tools. I have had the opportunity to meet the wonderful Laura Berg, creater and mom extraordinaire behind the My Smart Hands business. We have been using sign language with our son since he was approximately 4 months old. At 10 months he now can sign for milk and gets extremely excited when we sign it to him. He gets excited and understands the sign for “eat”, “more”, and a few other signs all ready! This makes our job as parents a little easier as we have a way to communicate with him instead of letting our frustrations just rise. As my husband was rocking babe to sleep last night when he woke up a few hours after we put him to bed I was able to walk quietly to the door and sign for “milk” to see if he wanted me to bring him a bottle. By being able to use sign language I ensured I did not disturb them by making any noise, was able to see if my husband needed me to get anything for him and everyone knew what everyone was talking about. Not convinced that sign language can be taught that effectively to a baby? Check out this video with Laura Berg and her super cute daughter Fireese as she shows the world how easy and possible it is to incorporate sign language into your family life.

PTPA Harlem Globetrotters

28 Jan

I married into a basketball family.  When you are raised as a hockey girl this is a big change!  My father in law coached university basketball for years, mother in law spent many of weekends in gymnasiums and my husband and brother in law played for years.  I can sort of dribble a ball,  but have been known to “double dribble” a time or two.  I played basketball in elementary school but it was mostly because we needed enough players to make a team. I will never forget the game where I aggressively charged right into some poor girl and then felt bad so I apologized!

I have yet to see the spectacle of the Harlem Globetrotters, but have been told from many, including my husband that it is definitely great family entertainment.  I am excited as part of the PTPA team to have the opportunity to see them live in action in April with my family and some friends.

I am excited to be able to extend an offer of $7 off each ticket for any of their upcoming events for their North America tour.