Mom of two Mischievous Monkeys: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

WW: I love Children's artwork w/ Linky

I love this picture that Karensa made for me the other day so I had to post it!


Please post a comment after linking up, follow my blog if you are new ( I will follow back!) 

Cupids Cash $850 PayPal Cash Giveaway







Welcome to the Cupids Cash Giveaway hosted by MamaNYC! I have teamed up with an fabulous group of bloggers to bring you a terrific CASH prize that is sure to amaze you. One lucky winner is going to receive a $850.00 PayPal CASH prize!

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter this giveaway. Open to residents WORLDWIDE 18+. Winner must have a PayPal account in order to claim this cash prize. All entries are optional, but the more completed entries – the higher your chances will be to win this prize.

Good Luck & Have Fun!

My First Giveaway

I have some exciting news to share. I am happy to be able to soon offer my readers the first official Give-away on my Blog for My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software.

Myself, I have just started getting all my pictures organized again so that I can start scrapbooking after having not even looked at the stuff for a couple years. Needless to say I have some very nice pages created for Nathan that stop at about 2 years old or so. Never  mind even having started on Karensas. Plus I have hundreds of pictures of myself as a kid that I would like to deal with. My mom was a photographer when we were growing up and gave copies of pictures to all my aunts and uncles, grandparents, etc. These people are now getting older and therefore sending me all these pictures! Now I have about 3-4 copies of the same pictures...

It is great to have material to scrapbook with but not so great if you don't find the time to use it which seems to be my problem. This is where the My Memories Software would come in handy I think. With options for premade templates I am sure you can quickly create some very nice pictures.


I am looking forward to testing this out using all my pictures and will be posting my review and giveaway within the next two weeks. So one lucky winner will receive a copy of this software just in time for Valentines Day!

So keep your eye out for my upcoming post which will also feature a discount code for those looking to purchase the software.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Our Weekend in Pictures

Karensa started off our weekend by coming down with the flu on Friday night. Thankfully I had the day off on Friday and got our grocery shopping all done. Jeremy and I started to feel a little sick too by Saturday morning. Due to the illness we had to find some indoor activities to keep everyone entertained so I decided to capture them in pictures.
Nothing like a little indoor fishing
We played countless games of "dice"
We had a snowfall warning and did get a significant dump.
Due to the warm weather it looked more like it was raining.


Karensa found her own methods to keep entertained.....
So proud!

Thankfully we felt better by Sunday and managed to get out and enjoy the snow!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Book Review: Teach Your Kids to Think

I recently had the opportunity to read and then provide a review on a book designed to help parents to guide their children in their day to day learning. I found this book a very beneficial tool in one's role as a parent. I love that the author began this book by discussing intelligence and not only in terms of IQ score. Intelligence is so much more and the author did a good job of making readers aware of the four basic forms of Intelligence - Analytical, Creative, Social and Emotional and Practical.


Teach Your Kids to Think!: Simple Tools You Can Use Every DayThe book is then split into these main areas in which practical activities are provided to do with your children. I really liked how the activities were easy to implement and in some cases were very "fun" things you could do with your children. This helps for it to seem like you are just "playing" a fun game with your child, while learning at the same time. Also, there are different suggestions of how to adapt the activities if the original idea is not working or too advanced for your child.

There are examples of questions to ask and words to use in the activities but also overall information on the benefit of the activities and what can hope to achieve. I also appreciated how there are tips on gradually introducing the activities building up to the overall goal.

These activities will work for a variety of ages given the excellent info provided on adapting the lessons based on abilities of children and varying topics covered. The book provides plenty of valuable information in an easy to understand format.

I am looking forward to continuing to utilize this book. I tested out some of the activities on my 9 year old son and he didn't really notice that we were doing anything other than playing some fun games. I will wait until my daughter is a little older to try some of these with her as with her language delays the majority are not practical at this time.  There are some that would be good for younger age such as one activity where you have child touch different objects with their eyes closed and name the item. This would be a fun one for a younger (or older) child.

Thanks to Maria Chelsey Fisk for the opportunity to review this book.

Please note that I was not compensated for this review however was provided with a complimentary copy of the book for the review. All opinions are 100% my own!

Opportunity for Bloggers: Be part of Cupids Cash giveaway (sign up closes Jan 27)


I am participating in my first give-away event and am very excited. Pairing up with other Bloggers seems very worth it in terms of pooling resources to create a larger prize amount and gain traffic to your site. This event is not open for entries yet, but for those who want to join check out the info below!





Cupids Cash Giveaway Event Hop Bloggers
MamaNYC will be hosting a giveaway event! Interested and want to participate? Keep reading for additional details. Participating will only cost you $5.00 (minimum), but the perks and promotional benefits are priceless! You can choose to include more than one entry method - ($5.00/each)! MamaNYC will be handling all tweets, Facebook shares, and even linking up all of the blog participants that pay for 3+ entries! She is going to add each of the giveaway {direct} URL's to 10+ daily giveaway linkys and all of the high traffic sweepstakes/giveaways sites! 
The plan is to make this a HUGE event.
The goal is for over 200 participants ($1,000+ prize!). Let's start off expecting $500.00 prize (100 bloggers), but aim for the stars!
I just signed up for this event and wanted to share some of the details with all of my readers. Giveaway events help promotion, traffic, and readership for blogs. Each of the participants will be sharing the cash prize by putting all of our money together to create a HUGE cash prize for one lucky winner. The giveaway is going to run from February 1-14, but you can read more about that and sign up for this event @ MamaNYC's Cupids Cash Giveaway event sign up's page! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Book Review: The Sitting Swing by Irene Watson



When I fist saw mention of this book, what drew me to it was that I myself was a child of abuse and know firsthand the lasting effects this can have on one's life. Plus I learned that while she doesn't live here now, Irene Watson is originally from Alberta, Canada in a small community. Living in Canada myself, I thought this was pretty neat.  
 
Irene's book tells her stories from her childhood in a matter of fact way with real life advice and examples of strength on overcoming one's past to make the most of your future. I love how she was not overly negative in the book, she simply told how things happened and how they shaped her as a person.
 
The major event in this book that resonated with me was the mental image created of The books name, The Sitting Swing. At one point Irene describes how she was allowed to play outside on the swing her dad had hung in view of the window so her mom could watch her. Her mom's words "Careful now. Don't swing too high," struck a chord as you picture a child sitting on a swing with a rosebush planted directly behind it. The placement of the swing was not intentional for torture, it was done more so her mother could keep a close eye on her.  
 
This theme overshadows the story in the book and is a masterful metaphor for so many elements in Irene's story. The words "Don't swing too high" were always in the back of my mind as I read through this book and imagined the dynamic between mother and child. Imaginee a child growing up in a small town, overshadowed by her brother's death living with an overprotective mother and distant father.  
 
This book starts off with Irene entering a treatment Centre (Avalon), for which she is not sure at first why she is there. Through some interesting adventures, Irene takes you on a journey of self discovery that results in her learning about herself and why she has struggled throughout her life, marriage and continues to do so.  
 
While recounting stories from her childhood Irene gives a touching account of how everything from her parents culture, upbringing, and challenges they faced formed her into the person she became and sent her on a certain path. Irene goes on to offer her readers faith in being able to re-write your path through her experiences at Avalon. 
 

 
Please note that while I was provided with a copy of this book and was compensated for writing this review, all opinions are 100% my own! Thanks to Irene Watson for this opportunity!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WW: Olsen Twins Look-A-Like! (with linky)

I posted this picture up on my personal Facebook account and had some comments that she sure looks like the Olsen Twins. Now I might be biased here, and I see the resemblance but I think she is cuter!

source: http://squareeyes.blinkx.com/tag/ashley-olsen/



Please post a comment after linking up, follow my blog if you are new ( I will follow back!) 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award



I was very surprised to have been given the Versatile Blogger Award from Jodie at Wilson`s (almost) Irish Twins. Thanks Jodie! 

I just recently started following Wilson`s (almost) Irish Twins. Jodie is mom to two children born 13 months apart. As I learned after starting to follow her blog, Irish Twins are babies born a year apart. Needless to say I am sure she has her hands full. Check her out here.

Now on to the blog award rules... 

1. Thank the person that nominated you with a link back to them. (see above)

2. Tell 7 things about yourself. (see below)

3. Pass this award on to 15 newly discovered blogs and let them know that they’ve received an award! 

Seven Things About Myself
  • I am terrified of bugs. Grasshoppers are the worst or anything that can move really fast...
  • I love to eat Dutch Salted Licorice. The more salt the better!
  • I planned on working with Children and took college course for Early Childhood Education, then I got pregnant with our son and didn't finish it.
  • I love to cook (or experiment) as my husband calls it sometimes. I love baking too.
  • I love to read..books, magazines, newspapers, blogs, Facebook......
  • I have three younger brothers. Respectively, they are 3, 11 and 13 years younger than me. I always wanted a sister but thankfully my best friend in High school was 11 and 58 minutes older than me and I spent lots of time with her and her family so in the end it all worked out.
  • I like to scrapbook but just started get back into it after taking a break.


15 blogs I have found recently that I enjoy reading (in no particular order)
  • http://www.littlecrunchy.com/  - Kimberly is a home-schooling mother of four, whose Blog covers a little bit of everything from parenting, home-schooling, crafts along with product reviews and more. I love that she is open and honest and shares her real life stories even when things don't go as she plans!
  • http://www.forloveofcupcakes.com/- Jamie writes about her daughter aptly nicknamed " Cupcakes" and includes posts about motherhood, education, marriage, saving and making money, and has some blog tutorials posted up too that are helpful. 
  • http://ssmandhersidekids.blogspot.com/ - Crystal is a Super Single Mom with three awesome children who writes some pretty comical posts about their many adventures. She also includes lots of neat (and lots of times) frugal ideas for meals and crafts. 
  • http://hearingsparks.blogspot.com/ - Aside from choosing this blog because Megan provides lots of info and resources on hearing loss, and insight into life for my daugher in the future, she also has a witty humor and welcomes guest posts on her blog including info on other disabilities too. 
  • http://thebiggreenbowl.blogspot.com/ - Lot's of yummy recipes here if you like to bake. We love the Bozo Bar's.






So feel free to check out some of my favorite bloggers! And if you have some of your own favourites, please share I would be interested in checking them out!






Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate: What fuels your day?



I myself can't stand the taste of coffee, but enjoy a good cup of tea or Hot Chocolate. The kids of course like Hot Chocolate as does Jeremy. When someone gets sick with the flu or a cold we find that tea helps. We have found that Mint Tea is great for settling your stomach.

We do own a coffee maker specifically for company but most of the time it just collects dust. I even forgot we had it and didn't buy coffee when Jeremy's Mom came to visit recently. Since she was only here for a couple days she just used the instant stuff.

As a special treat we enjoy going to Tim Horton's for Hot Chocolate, which we did today. While there I learned that starting next week a newextra large cup size will be made available in Canada. This will put Canada in line with the sizes in the states, however we do have the extra small (formerly known as a small) that is not available in the US. All other cup sizes will remain the same, just the names are changing.


tim-hortons-2012-sizes.jpg


I don't know about you but I will likely not even be able to drink 24 oz that comes in the extra large. For reference this size is equivalent to the following:

  • more than two bottles of beer
  • two standard soft drink cans
  • four six ounce glasses of wine
  • the juice from 12 medium size oranges
  • Four average cups of coffee
  • 1.5 U.S. pints
What about you? Tea, Coffee or Hot Chocolate? Which one gets you through the day and will you be ordering an extra large on your next visit?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WW: Past and Present, Father and Daughter



Nap time



Watching cartoons while potty training


Jeremy - July 1981
Karensa -  January 2012


Bubble Wrapped or Free Range......

While checking out an online news site today I came across an article about a Parenting Movement called Free Range Parenting. The article talked about Mother of two Lenore Skenazy who has a website titled Free Range Kids and is expanding to a new TV series called called "Bubble Wrap Kids".  The Free Range Parenting movement involves allowing your kids to experience life without being overprotective. The way I see it this is basically allowing children to grow up as we did as Children, to play outside, go to friends houses to play (not scheduled, planned "play dates, prepare there own food, etc).


In this new series Leanne first spends five days evaluating the families home life and sees areas where the kids could gain more independence. Things such as taking transit by themselves, using a knife to help prepare a meal all while their parents watch and learn to watch their children perform at the various challenges presented. Typically these parents are what we nowadays call "Helicopter Parents" those who do pretty much everything for there children and monitor all that they do.


Does the thought of giving your children more freedom instill fear inside you or are you comfortable with allowing your child to have all the freedoms we typically had as children? I admit that my son certainly has not experienced many of the things I had by his age. At nine, I had taken public transportation by myself and like many others on the weekend would call out to my mom as I left the house that I would be home in time for dinner..I am sure this is how many of us grew up. 


My husband and I have been trying to learn to loosen up a bit and allow more freedoms but it is difficult.  Our son does walk to school, which we started in grade three, just a few years later than when I walked myself to school as a child. I even noticed having brothers much younger than myself that my mom walked them to school rather than send them to go by themselves. He makes his own lunches and has started to use sharp knives to cut veggies. He asked this year to walk himself to judo club by himself, but as it occurs in the evening and is a bit farther from home we said no.

In reading the news article here it states that "Canada is enjoying a 25-year low in crime. America is enjoying a 40-year low in crime. So why do we feel the need sometimes to monitor all that our kids do, schedule play dates instead of just letting them go out to play? I myself am still worried about all that can happen in the world but are we just paranoid if crime rates are truly down...


Share your thoughts, advice, suggestions, tips on this topic.... I would love to hear them!



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mommy Organization: Finding the Right Purse

I love little purses. I have never been able to stand lugging around a bigger purse and find that I just stuff more things in it and make a mess of it. So I wouldn't be able to imagine what the inside of something like this would look like if I were to get a hold of it.





Maybe like what my garage looks like (junk heap) and my filing system (throw things in a box and forget about it till really need it) on a smaller scale.

All that being said I recently decided that I had outgrown my little purse that had just enough room for my wallet, set of keys, maybe some lip gloss. More so, that I was getting frustrated with my wallet, which I was having trouble closing and couldn't easily find the cards I needed or fit them in their nicely so half the time I would just throw them in my purse and then inevitably have to phone the bank to cancel one after it would fall out somewhere while retrieving something from inside.

So I went out on a mission to find something slightly bigger and a wallet that was a tad bigger with more slots to better organize my cards.

It must have been meant to be as I found both items I needed very quickly in the same store. I am looking forward to all the new possibilities with this one and hoping it will serve me well.

How about you, do you prefer a little purse, big purse, and what kind? If I ever need something bigger I tend to just use a backpack, like when traveling as a carry-on to store my netbook etc, but I could see the advantage of a bigger purse in that case.  Do you carry all your cards in your wallet or leave some at home that don't use often. What is in your purse?

I did some searching online and their is tons of info out there devoted to choosing a purse, info about purses etc. I even discovered that the use of purses dates back to the 14th century. The below site even provides info on choosing the right handbag for your body and goes over the different styles too!


http://fashion.about.com/cs/handbags/a/bagforbody.htm


BEFORE



AFTER

Can't wait to get this new one filled and start using it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Homemade Corn Dogs

So today I only had to work 7.5 hours instead of my usual 8.5 I usually do. What did I do with a whole extra hour? Well, getting home earlier gave me some time to just relax before jumping right into dinner and the rest of our evening. Then I only had to figure out what to do for dinner, which for Jeremy was easy as he has been following the P90X exercise/food plan so it was salmon, rice, asparagus and soup for him. I though was feeling like something different.

I had  picked up some Schneiders Country Naturals hot dogs recently after Nathan saw frozen Corn Dogs and wanted some. At the time, I suggested instead that we just buy the hot dogs and look for a recipe on-line. Having found what looked like a good recipe a few days ago I figured tonight was a good night to try it out.  I know, not very supportive am I, making fried food instead of something healthy.



Anyway, I have to say that I like the Country Naturals hot dogs, specifically as they do not contain MSG, by-products, added preservatives, artificial colors and flavours. But, onto the actual making of this yummy meal.

I found that it worked best to make my hot dogs shorter by cutting them as the store was out of the regular size so these ones were quite long which also made for easier frying, less oil and easier eating for kids.  A tip, it worked best to dry the hot dog first, put the batter in a cup, dip in and then had to use finger to even out batter in spots it missed.



I also took the time tonight to play a game of Yahtzee with Nathan and make him a paper air plane.



So I am curious to know.....


What would you get done with an extra hour of time?

Is there an hour of time in your life you would like back to do over or would like to experience again?
How about a minute, a day, a week, a year...please post and let me know!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop - Week 40


I am very happy to be guest host for the Finding New Friends Blog Hop this week. Hope you have fun linking up and finding some new friends!



Welcome to a New Year!  It's week 40 of Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop hosted by Shelly from My Saving Game, Sam from Have Sippy Will Travel and Jeannette from The Adventures of J-Man and MillerBug!  Thank you all for helping make this hop so successful!  We love you tons!  Now what are you waiting for?  Let's get to hopping!  We are finding some fabulous blogs through this hop and having a great time getting to know so many of you!  So thank you for linking up again this week to those of you who are hop veterans and welcome to those who are new!  Let's continue to make new bloggy friends and increase our traffic! We do have a few simple rules for you - nothing too tough though.  So here we go!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Important Info : Updates to Canadian Car Seat Regulations


I want to share the news of the recent updates to Canadian car seat regulations that came into effect on January 1st, 2012, and hear your thoughts on the subject. 

As a parent of children still making use of safety seats, I immediately wondered how these new regulations would apply to the seats we already owned.
  Thankfully, these new regulations do not  require me to replace our existing seats. I have, however,  experienced other issues in the past when traveling to visit family members in other provinces, where the age restrictions were different than back home. So remember to look up your specific provincial car seat regulations as well as those you may be traveling to.

Here is a quick summary of the major changes taken from Transport Canada's website:

Major Updates are:
  •  a new testing requirement using a three-point seatbelt to secure car seats in vehicles;
  • changes to child seats' dynamic testing to adopt most of the U.S. testing parameters;
  • changing the definition of an infant from 9 kg to 10 kg;
  • an increase in the maximum allowable weight limit of child seats from 22 kg to 30 kg;
  • introducing dynamic testing requirements for booster seats; and
  • allowing harnesses to be certified for use on school buses by special needs children.

Source: Transport Canada : Updated child car seat safety regulations


What does this mean for you?

According to Transport Canada, previous regulations have provided a high level of safety for many years, so current child car seats will continue to provide excellent protection throughout their useful life. All new car seats being sold however, will need to comply with the updated regulations. 

Transport Canada does also state that if your car seat is expired, has damage to the shell, materials or has been in an accident it should be replaced.

These changes also mean that you will not be able to sell any seats that are not compliant with the new regulations. For car seats manufactured between May 12, 2010 and December 31, 2010 Transport Canada advises to contact the manufacturer with the date of manufacture and serial number to ask whether the model is compliant with the new regulations. There are more frequently asked questions answered  here on the Transport Canada website.


Transport Canada recommends that when you are done with a car seat or booster seat, you remove the straps and take a hammer to the outer shell so that it cannot be reused.

How do you feel about these new regulations?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

WW: Where not to store your food



Karensa has a habit of hiding her leftover food in interesting places, but this is a new one even for her!







Sunday, January 1, 2012

Thankful for Great Friends (who also take great pictures)

As many of you may know our daughter Karensa, was born with a hearing loss in both ears. Over the past three years we have been exploring ASL with the help of our speech therapist and using a great set of "Signing Time" DVD's, but really felt we needed a class to help boost our confidence.

In 2011 we enrolled the entire family into a ASL course being instructed by Nancy Zavaglia, who has herself been profoundly deaf since birth. Nancy has been teaching sign language at the College of New Caledonia for the past 11 years.

Little did we know what an incredible connection our little princess would make and a great friend we would find. Immediately you could see Karensa forming a bond which was just wonderful to see. It wasn't soon after that we discovered both my husband and Nancy shared a passion for Photography.

Since the course, we have kept contact through Facebook and during the summer we went down to the park and she took some great photo's of our family. Jeremy and Nancy continue to challenge one another with their cameras, and Nancy has watched Karensa while we were off to appointments.

We have become great friends and look forward to what 2012 will bring.

Highlights of 2011: Pictures

Now that  2011 is over I thought I would share some pictures of our Adventures from the past year! Looking forward to sharing more fun times in the coming year.....



April - Nathan turned 9. Made him a guitar cake as this was also the year he started guitar club at school. He loved having his hair spiked up!



August- We were finally able to take our trip to see Jeremy's family after the road washed out in July. After about five hours of driving we made it and thankfully Karensa slept part of the way.
 




A nice spot to stop and stretch our legs on the trip home.

Crews hard at work on the roads. Rough driving at times.

Things were a little slow going at times!





September - Karensa started Preschool. She looks like such a big girl walking home!

November - Karensa turned 3. Halloween costume did double duty for her Birthday Party!
Elmo cake for the Birthday Girl!