Friday, November 30, 2012

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The Magic of Santa

Sidney - Christmas Morning 2010

When I was a (younger) teenager, before Sidney was even conceived I thought that if I ever had children I wouldn't lie to them and teach them about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or any other sort of “magical” creature.

Now that I’m actually a parent I really do believe that children should believe in magic. Could you imagine a childhood where fairies didn't exist? That’s unicorns just aren't real and Santa isn't logical? How dull and boring that would be? 

I’ve heard a lot of people say that it’s teaching your children that lying is okay, that it’s deceiving and makes you lose credibility. 

I think that it helps strengthen her imagination, 
that it gives her hope, 
Is a part of childhood and growing up,
That it’s a nice tradition, one that’s been around for a long time.

Can’t you remember Christmas Eve? Trying to stay awake, lying silently in bed waiting to hear hooves on your rooftop? That excited feeling? Why wouldn't I want my daughter to have that experience? Being able to wake up early, race downstairs to admire all the gifts, to feel that special magic on Christmas morning that Santa, a kind and generous man, had brought to us on Christmas Eve.

There really is no harm in Santa Claus. I remember when I first realized he wasn't real. I overheard my friend’s parents talking about which presents to sign by Santa and which to sign Mom and Dad. I was a little upset, but I already had my speculations. And did it traumatize me? Did I look at my parents as evil, lying and deceiving human beings? No, I didn't  I still looked and thought of them as the same parents as before. Only now I would thank them for the presents instead of Santa. 

Children are only children for so long, and every decade, every year that seems to be getting shorter and shorter. People expect so much of their children these days. We put them in a ton of extracurricular activities, force them to do extra homework and force so much responsibilities on them that they don’t even get a moment to relax. Now we expect them to stop believing, to start thinking like adults, too? 

I’m not saying people can’t and shouldn't reveal the truth about Santa Clause to their children. Everyone has different parenting methods, and none of them is right or wrong. In fact I know an atheist couple who doesn't even celebrate Christmas or any winter Holiday and that’s their choice, not mine. 

All I’m saying is I personally like having my daughter believe in magic.

What are your opinions on Santa Clause?


Fitness Fridays, And Photography

Moving Train - Cole's Photography

Okay, can I just come up with a reasonable excuse as to why I didn't do so well this week? 

I had the flu, and didn't feel completely better until Wednesday. It really put a damper on my plans.

However, after that whole ordeal I did start eating breakfasts in the morning (so it’s only been three days…) and I have been going for walks.

I actually switched it up. 

Instead of extending my walk home from dropping Sidney off at school I decided to kill two birds with one stone and go for walks and work on my photography! On Wednesday I walked through Riverside Park, and yesterday I walked around my neighbourhood, taking pictures of anything that looked interesting enough. My boyfriend Nick was telling me about this abandoned nursery (like a flower  nursery?) and I figured that would be another great place to take pictures. So if I have the time today I want to go there and walk around. Otherwise, I’ll have to settle for a boring walk around the neighbourhood again and hit up the nursery another day.

It takes me a lot of energy to motivate myself. Sometimes when I don’t want to do something, like go for a walk, I have to make it more fun and interesting. I found that bringing my camera along does just that and therefore inspires me to want to go out! 

Some people like going with a friend, 
walking a certain trail or 
listening to their iPod. 

Not me. 
I like solitude, 
and fresh scenery. 

So, I’m sure I will continue this routine into the next week. 

As for my breakfasts… Well, on Wednesday I had a Muffet with milk and orange juice. Yesterday I had a bagel with cream cheese and I know that’s not the healthiest option but I really don’t care for most breakfast foods. Today I had a Bolthouse smoothie, which is just a fruit smoothie that comes already made from the grocery store. I’ll do better next week, for real. 

Now, I don’t feel comfortable enough in my two new routines to add another. Like I said, I was sick for half the week so I am going to stick with this for another week and hopefully next Friday I will tackle the more difficult tasks. Eeks!


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dealing With In Store Tantrums

Sidney March 2012

Sometimes my daughter gets really hyper, and it seems like she gets more hyper than most other children I know. Usually it’s a happy hyper where she just wants to run around giggling and singing and acting silly. But she also gets an attitude going now and then that seems impossible to deal with, especially when she doesn't get what she wants. She’ll make faces at me, cross her arms and stomp her foot, run away screaming or laughing - just to get on my nerves. It feels like there is just no reasoning with her at these times. 

  • I've tried bribing her, 
  • rewarding her and praising her when she’s good, 
  • time outs when she won’t listen. 
  • I've tried to make “deals” with her.
  • I've talked to her about how we need to respect each other 
  • because we love one another. 
  • I've yelled, 
  • I've taken her toys away, 
  • didn't let her have dessert. 
  • I've threatened to call Santa (it used to work…).
  • I've sat down calmly and tried talking to her, 
  • but still she is just stubborn. 

When We’re Out At Stores

For example, we like to go thrift shopping a lot with my mom and niece. Particularly at this one store that’s a two minute drive from our house. And most of the time we leave with me carrying her out kicking and screaming because I wouldn't let her get another junk toy. I know it’s only $2 or $3, but why does she need another Barbie horse when she’s already got an entire crate full? Why another stuffed animal when she’s got a basket full? Why any more toys when it’s a month away from Christmas and a month after her birthday? 

I've never spoiled her. I've never let her get away with this, yet she still kicks and screams and stomps her feet and yells “You’re being mean and unfair!” And her screaming is LOUD! It’s like this high pitched squealing sound as if she’s being kidnapped and everyone in the store can hear her and is staring at me. It’s actually really embarrassing! 

But still, I hold strong, keep to my rules and never give in to her tantrums. I’m hoping she’ll outgrow this eventually. For now, I just have to keep trying (key word: try) to hold my temper. 

What I Find Works For Us … Sometimes

The times we’re able to leave the thrift store peacefully are maybe two times out of ten and those are such nice times. I have a few methods that will work every now and then. Typically it begins with talking to her before we go out. I don’t do all of these at once, it’s usually one or the other.

  • I let her know at home that we’re going out to the thrift store and she’s not allowed to get any toys.
  • That if she’s on her best behaviour she can get a book, or a dress.
  • That I might let her get a new toy if she donates an old one she no longer plays with (can you believe it’s hard to even get rid of her toys without a tantrum?).
  • That she can’t get anything today, but possibly next time.
  • I will give her a toonie and tell her that’s all she has to spend, that she can’t get anything that’s more than $1.99 whether she chooses a book, movie, toy, game or dress.
  • That if she acts up we’ll leave straight away and she won’t be allowed to go the next time.

I pretty much always keep my word, too. But like I said, it only works sometimes. Why do I even take her there? Because I love thrift shopping, I love spending time with my mom and niece and because Sidney needs to learn (clearly the hard way) that she can’t have everything she wants when she wants it - even if it’s taking her a long time to learn that.

The weird thing is, she’s always on such good behaviour at any other store, restaurant or other outing. It’s only the thrift store. I want to blame my Grandma and my mom for that… They always let her get something when they go out thrift shopping, but I’ll pretend I didn't just write that (sorry mom).

What can you do? Move on, stay strong and love ’em anyway.

How do you deal with your child’s tantrums? Do you have this problem when out at a specific store?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Photo Calendars - The Perfect Gift

When I worked at PhotoLab in 2009 I discovered the most amazing gift - personalized photo calendars! 

Since then I have been making one for my Grandma every Christmas. My mom and I used to buy her Elvis calendars every year, she thinks he's gorgeous (can you think of a woman at that age who doesn't?). But now I think she might enjoy looking at her family members pictures even more than hunky Elvis because every year that she gets a personalized photo calendar she has the biggest smile on her face. 

Well, if you live near a PhotoLab/Zehrs you're in luck because right now they are on sale! Instead of paying $24, it's only $16.80! Just go on over to their website, upload your favourite pictures and customize a calendar! While you're browsing over there, why not take the time to look at all the other great gifts they offer, since a lot of them are on sale this time of year? 

The website says that you have until December 12 to place your order if you want to receive it before December 23. So get to it!


9 Teen Mom Stereotypes, Part Two

Stereotype: “a set of inaccurate, simplistic generalizations about a group that allows others to categorize them and treat them accordingly”

This is Part 2 of my list of 9 Teen Mom Stereotypes. You can read 1-3 here

4-6 Teen Mom Stereotypes

Teen moms are single

This stereotype plays true for a lot of teen moms. It would be wrong to say that high school sweethearts will stay together forever. It would be wrong to say that anyone at any age will stay together forever. In today’s society most parent’s are divorced or separated. 

Even so, not all teen moms are single. Some even stay with their child’s father. In fact, my boyfriend Nick and I have been together since I was 16 years old. Our six year anniversary is coming up in February. I know just as many teen moms who are with their baby daddies as I do teen moms who are separated. 

Teen moms are bad mothers

Anyone can be a bad mother, regardless of age. Everyone will sometimes feel like a bad mother, regardless of age. Parenting is one of the most highly judged topics. Everyone has different opinions on what is good parenting, and what’s not. 

But what I’m talking about here is that people assume that a teen mom will be a bad mother in general. Not always true. 

When I became a pregnant, I didn't know a thing about being a mother, but I quickly learned. I ran out and bought What to Expect when You’re Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, What to Expect the Toddler Years, and took out any other parenting book I could. I signed up for's newsletters.  I researched the best ways to discipline a two year old, when they should start solids, what foods to avoid, sleeping schedules, best baby products. I researched until my brain was about to burst with knowledge. I never assumed once that I knew what I was doing. I would research different sources that had different opinions and advice and try to figure out which one was the best advice for me and Sidney. And a lot of young parents I know did the same thing. Not to mention, we all had our parents support and advice, too.

To say that just because someone is younger automatically makes them a bad parent is wrong. If teenagers are so horrible at taking care of children, then why are so many of them babysitters? 

It is true that some teenagers turn out to be bad mothers. You hear in the news all the time about it, and on television shows but those are worse case scenarios. The media rarely talks about anything good.

Teen moms will never go to post-secondary school

 My friend is in her third year of college and she has a three year old daughter. My other friend just started a Practical Nursing program this year with a two year old. I’m looking into post-secondary school right now for next September. My sister is also a young mom, she had her daughter when she was 19, and she’s looking into a hairstyling program. Having a child doesn’t mean that post-secondary school is not an option. It just means you have some figuring out and planning to do that other teens and twenty something year olds don’t. 

Before I had Sidney I didn’t even seriously consider college. I thought I might go, but probably not. I wasn’t a very motivated person, money never appealed to me the way it did to others. After I had Sidney, money had a whole new meaning, and a successful career became a top priority. If anything, having Sidney motivated me to want to graduate post-secondary school. 

It all comes down to the individual and what they deem important. Becoming a parent when you’re a teenager makes life a little more difficult then if you’re already graduated, or starting your career. Money becomes an issue, school becomes an issue and your social life becomes an issue but just because you have different problems, or different priorities doesn’t mean  you’re destined for failure, will be an awful parent or doomed to remain single. It just means your problems and priorities are different, but every parent faces their own problems and chooses their own priorities at any age. 


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Metric Concert!

Last night my hubby Nick and I went to see Metric at the ACC (Air Canada Center) in Toronto. Metric has been one of my favourite bands for a few years now, and I finally got to see them play live! And to be honest, it was everything I had hoped for. 

Emily Haines was so energetic, so talented and so entertaining. The lighting was awesome to watch, but not too blinding like some other concerts I’ve been to. Everything was just perfect! 

I think it’s important to go out every now and then with your significant other, child free, no friends or family. Nick and I don’t do it very often, but when we do it’s nice to be able to sit down and catch up on everything. Just getting out of the city took a lot of the pressure off my shoulders that has been building up. I felt like I could breathe again (even in the big(ger) city). 

  • We got into Toronto shortly after five o’clock, and there was no traffic! 
  • We managed to find a parking spot right nearby. 
  • It was only a five minute walk to a nice Irish pub where we had dinner,
  • then walked a bit further to another enjoyable pub for a couple drinks. 
  • We found our seats easily, which were pretty good seats! 
  • Our seats were on the end, so we didn’t have to squeeze past anyone, I hate having to squeeze past people. 
  • And luckily we only had a couple sitting directly in front of us, and they weren’t standing and jumping around like the rest of the crowd so we could stay sitting, too. 

Sometimes things just work out amazingly, and last night was one of those nights. It felt so good to be able to go out and enjoy ourselves. It’s not very often I buy myself anything, but I’m sure glad I bought those concert tickets on a whim during the summer. I guess now and then you have to spoil yourself.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Fitness Fridays

As a mother, or a parent really, I think that my health is extremely important for several reasons. 
  • I want to set a good example.
  • I want to be able to keep up with Sid.
  • I want to be alive and well for a long time to be with Sid.
  • I want to have enough energy to get everything done.
  • I want to feel good about myself.


My Weight Struggles

Well, here is the problem; I have allowed myself to gain weight and get out of shape (again). Like a lot of people I struggle with my weight. Well, the weight really is not an issue for me, it’s the way I feel and lately I feel like CRAP! 

I’ve been eating junk, I haven’t been exercising and I’ve even been slacking on personal hygiene. I’m not sure why, or how this happened all I know is that I need to switch things around and get back to where I was over a year ago. 

I used to workout multiple times a week; jogging, yoga, aerobics DVDs, lifting weights and a lot of walking, walking every where! 

I ate healthy; on schedule, tons of fruits and vegetables, mostly vegan foods, whole wheat everything and barely ever ate out. 

After I had Sidney I went all out and completely changed my lifestyle. It was hard work, I had never lost weight in a healthy way before. I had to learn everything, because I didn’t know anything about being healthy! It was a great experience and I loved how I felt. Now it’s time to get that  back.

The Obstacles

Clearly things need to change in my life if I want to be healthy, energetic and a good example for Sidney. My problem is I often get overwhelmed when I try to change things too quickly. I get so worked up and thinking, “Why bother, I know I’m just going to fail again?” that lately I don’t even want to try! 

I’m also kind of scared that I am so out of shape that if I start working out I’ll hurt myself. Which is possible. I hurt something in my side when I leaned over to talk to Sidney last week… 

Well, if you read my Monday post, you’d know I’m following The Magic which is all about gratitude and positive thinking. I feel that with The Magic, I can conquer these feelings of failure and work towards a healthy lifestyle again. It will be hard, I have a lot of bad habits I need to switch around, but I know I can do it. I did it before, I can do it again. 

My one and only obstacle is my mindset. Once I overcome that I can do anything.

The Changes

I’m going to have to take baby steps if I want this to work. My eating habits have gotten so out of control I don’t really know where to start first. My exercise routine (or extreme lack of) will need work, too. 

So, I’ve decided that each week I will work on one goal, one switcheroo for both eating habits, and exercise habits. And hopefully by next Friday that will be better and I can move onto another one, but if not there’s no shame in continuing to work on it for another week (or two?).

This week I want to eat healthier breakfasts. My usual breakfasts lately consist of coffee… and sometimes pop tarts, but usually I don’t remember to eat until noon.

Healthy breakfast options:
  • Oatmeal with fruit and almonds
  • Smoothies
  • Yogurt with granola and berries
  • One egg omelette with veggies OR
  • Scrambled tofu (if I can get Nick to make it for me)
  • Whole wheat toast with peanut butter and grapefruit
  • Cottage cheese with fruit
  • Home-made whole wheat muffins

Now, as I said above, I’m terrified of hurting myself due to being extremely out of shape and not exercising for months. I want to start going for walks at least three times a week, and do some simple stretching in the mornings. 

Well, I guess that's it for now. I'll update on my progress next Friday. 

What are some of your healthy tips? Favourite health/fitness blog?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Young Mommy Life Blog

I've recently started following The Young Mommy Life written by Tara Pringle Jefferson.

This is an excellent blog because it's honest, it's real and it's informative. When I read this blog I don't feel insignificant any more. I feel like I'm not alone.

Yesterday I downloaded one of her books on Kindle through Amazon titled "Make it Happen: The Young Mommy Guide to Creating a Career You Crave" 

I've been fighting with myself. One part wants to think rationally and go to college for something that will guarantee me a job. The other half wants to follow my dreams and go to school for Journalism and work on becoming a writer. It can be scary to follow your dreams when you have someone else depending on you, someone who needs you to succeed.

This book is very inspirational, has excellent tips and is well worth the $2.99 that it costs.

Tara Jefferson does an excellent job convincing me that I can become a professional writer through her own experiences and advice. She talks about following your dreams, budgeting to save money, thriving at your job, how to take care of yourself, branding yourself, a list of useful resources and much more. 

Take the time to look through her blog, it's really interesting! 

What are some of your favourite parenting blogs?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

20 Stocking Stuffers! For The Entire Family

Everyone comes up with different ideas for stocking stuffers. When I was a kid this usually involved small, inexpensive things. These days I hear about people getting ipods and other gadgets. However, I prefer to keep our stocking stuffers simple, and useful.

For our little girl (some good ideas for boys, too!):
  1. toothbrush (or toothbrush head)
  2. dental floss
  3. hair accessories (clips, elastics, headbands)
  4. bubble bath, bath paints
  5. Lip Smackers lip balm
  6. nail polish in girly colours
  7. small colouring book
  8. candy and gum
  9. crayons and markers
  10. fun socks
  11. cute underwear
  12. funky bandaids
  13. small dolls
  14. mittens
  15. stickers
  16. temporary tattoos
  17. paint brushes
  18. flower and vegetable seeds for springtime gardening
  19. adorable gardening gloves
  20. pretty plastic jewelry
For my hubby:
  1. comb
  2. lighters
  3. lottery scratch tickets
  4. candy, gum and mints
  5. socks
  6. batteries
  7. car air freshener
  8. Burt's Bees lip balm
  9. deodarant
  10. body spray/cologne
  11. Tim Hortons gift card
  12. key chain
  13. nail clippers and tweezers
  14. pens and pencils
  15. beer cozy
  16. razors
  17. USB stick/flash drive
  18. deck of cards
  19. boot laces
  20. Dr. Scholl's Odor-X foot powder for his stinky work boots
For the mommy:
  1. toothbrush head
  2. make-up (eyeliner, mascara, eye shadow)
  3. lip balms
  4. nail polish
  5. hair elastics
  6. manicure or pedicure kit
  7. jewelry
  8. perfume or body spray
  9. SD card for camera
  10. fridge magnets
  11. journal or notebook
  12. pens and pencils
  13. teabags, coffee or hot chocolate packets
  14. pocket mirror
  15. chocolate
  16. Dr. Scholl's gel soles 
  17. bath salts, body lotions and candles
  18. measuring cups/spoons
  19. loofah sponge
  20. pocket knife (I could really use one *hint hint Santa!*)
What are some of your favourite stocking stuffers?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dealing With Head Lice

This is embarrassing to admit, but every parent deals with it at some point. Over the weekend I discovered head lice on my daughter. I had noticed her scratching profusely and sure enough when I looked near her roots around her ears I saw a couple eggs, and after some searching a louse.

At first I didn't want to tell my daughter about it. I was just going to pick through her hair and keep it a secret. However, I changed my mind. I wanted to let her know about it, to explain what it was, why it was there and how to prevent it. I also didn't want her to think I would let her stay home from school for no reason. 

I had my head checked, no lice. Sidney asked me why she had lice and I didn't. I told her it was because her hair was so beautiful, shiny and clean that they thought it made a lovely home. Plus I just dyed my hair a few days ago... If there was anything the hair dye chemicals probably killed them. 

When I was buying the lice shampoo kit from the drug-mart I was really embarrassed. It was really busy at the store, and I was trying to hide my purchase. Lice don't spread disease, they're just harmless but annoying insects that live on scalps but nobody wants to get them. Who would? So when someone sees or hears that you have lice they avoid you, judge you, make fun of you. That's why I told Sidney not to tell anyone she has it.

Head lice shouldn't be something to be ashamed of though. Most children in elementary schools or childcare facilities will get it at some point. Even if you ignore that part, there's still the pain in the butt with getting rid of them! Vacuuming, washing, drying, cleaning brushes and combs, shampooing and picking through hair. It's a lot of work to get rid of these! Then Sidney has to miss more school. She missed three days last week when she was sick, now this. 

Oh well, such is life! (Besides I kind of enjoyed our time together yesterday!)

After picking through Sidney's hair multiple times in the past couple of days, I think I have managed to get everything. The past two times I wasn't able to find even an egg, so that's good!

Anyway, if you're ever unfortunate enough to have to deal with this (which is quite likely), here's some resources that helped me:

What are your best tips for dealing with head lice?


Tuesday Treasuries - Peanuts Gang

As you might already know, I'm a seller on Etsy. I'm also a buyer on Etsy, because Etsy has a lot of great things for sale! Every Tuesday I post a Treasury list of items that I love on my Little Shop of Treasures blog. I'm also going to start posting them on this one, too! This week's theme is:

'Nothing Beats a Peanuts Christmas!' by shemonster31

In our house, we simply cannot celebrate Christmas without the Peanuts gang! Just take one look at our tree! And around our living room, and on the book shelf, and in my daughter's toy box.... We love The Peanuts gang!

snoopy joe cool pat...

Snoopy Strolls With...

Vintage Hallmark Ke...

Caroling Peanuts Ga...

Vintage Peanuts Gan...

SALE-Snoopy, Woodst...

Peanuts and the Gan...

Peanuts Gang Holida...

Peanuts Snoopy Char...

Vintage Snoopy & Wo...

Vintage Snoopy Stay...

Vintage Peanuts Orn...

RARE Vintage Snoopy...

Christmas Signature...

Peanuts Christmas 1...

linus and snoopy st...
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