Monday, February 28, 2011

Dishwasher Challenges

Am I the only person whose dishwasher seems a bit challenged in getting peanut butter off of cutlery? or yogurt on anything? or balsamic vinegar and banana?

I know, I know, dishes are supposed to be rinsed and I do usually do a quick rinse, but my dishwasher seems to be a bit temperamental these days.

And don't even get me started on the hard water spots on the glasses (that's really nice when you have anyone other than immediate family over).

And what about just plain ol' tea or coffee on my mugs or hot chocolate? If I need to scrub everything down with baking soda and an SOS pad before I put it in this "time-saving" device, what the hell is the point of even using it.

I do have to admit though that unloading the dishwasher is the one chore that I have gotten used to. I remember as a teenager and young person loathing the task and in fact, doing everything in my power to avoid having to do it. Now, I still don't love discovering that its full and "yeah!" it looks like I'll be unloading it again, but if I'm honest with myself, it really only takes about five minutes and unless my one-year-old is trying to help, is really quite easy.

Here's hoping your dishwasher is empty and hard working today!

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's That Time ... Spring Cleaning and Closet Cleansing

I have felt the urge to clean out my closet since Christmas.

Not just a neat little tidy up, but a massive gutting that leaves holes and gaps as I pear in at the hangers.

During the past four years I have had two pregnancies and two post-pregnancy wardrobe eras that have:  added a lot of interesting clothes to my closet, had me shopping in various size ranges, taken me from working full time in an office environment to working at home in a very casual one (wardrobe 180 degree switch);  thus the need for a clean out.

Perhaps I need to call someone or recruit my husband for an evening to assist with the affair.

While I was surfing a few weeks ago, I came across an absolutely delectable blog:  The Farmer's Trophy Wife. And what do you know, but she was featuring a complete, step-by-step plan on how to clean out your closet.

So how many of you want to clean out your closet with me?

Would love to hear from you - please leave a comment and we can do this together - ask questions, look for advice, provide feedback, etc.

Stay posted next week for more information on Cashmere & Carrot Sticks CLOSET CLEANSING, compliments of The Farmer's Trophy Wife.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

HUUGE Upside

The HUGE upside of no naps (after a very exhausting day):

It's 6:58 p.m. and they are both asleep.


No Nap ... Here Goes Nothing

Today is the first day that I am intentionally withholding my eldest son's afternoon nap (wipe away tear).

So far, so good.

He is currently playing in the living room with his Playmobil set (pieces too small for youngest son), and having a great time. Youngest is sleeping.  House is relatively calm and quiet. I have, surprisingly, also gotten some things done - load of laundry in, load of laundry folded, dishwasher unloaded and even wrote this post.

I will keep you posted.

I think it's also helping that I took them out this a.m. and got brownie points by stopping for hot chocolate, complete with whipped cream! Love the power of those brownie points.

Just heard a minor crash sound, must go.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Am The Jean Machine

Tonight as I entered Winners with jeans in mind.  I don't usually have much luck with Winners. I am always amazed by those people who seem to find the most spectacular purchases at  Winners - not me.

But tonight was different.  The denim gods were rooting for me.

I picked out approximately ten pairs of jeans, shoved them in a cart and went to the change room.  If you can believe it, EVERY single pair of them fit me perfectly.  That never happens to me.  As I have mentioned previously, I am of the pear-shape variety and am about an 8 in the waist and 10 or 12 in the hips/butt region and that does not make for easy jean shopping (especially when you're looking for a bargain)... except for tonight.

I left with two pairs of name-brand jeans (I could have bought more) for under $70. Yeah!
(Plus $15 to maybe get one of the waists taken in - my favorite alteration).

Well, tonight was my night ... if only I had as much luck in their shoe department.  Can't have it all I guess ;)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Just In Case It Gets Hairy... An Afternoon Activity

It's Friday, we're all anxious for spouses to arrive home from work (if you are at home with your kids) and for the weekend to officially begin.

Any day can be hairy when the kids' energy levels are high and they're literally bouncing off the walls (or their siblings) and sometimes you just can't come up with anything to do ... especially when it's the end of February and you've  been inside for four months.

Here's an activity I did with both my sons a couple of weeks ago and it bought me at least a half an hour if not more and it was easy and cheap.

Find a roll of tape, preferably masking tap (or perhaps painter's tape) and simply create a road made out of tape on one of your carpets. The one I made went under a stool, did a loop and had a dead end.  Once the road is finished, tell the kids that they have to drive all their cars on the road, line them up or race.  If you have any extra props from other games - stop lights, trees, pedestrians, etc - pull them out and place them around your new street.  Have fun and here's hoping I just bought you thirty minutes and a cup of tea!

FYI - I left the tape on for a few days and no harm was done, but I would recommend testing ahead of time and removing sooner than later if you're worried.

"The Toddler's BUSY BOOK" by Trish Kuffner (p. 28)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Creepy Crawlies or Snow?

It's about this time of year that you over hear conversation that include: " ... why do we live here? ..." The snow, the cold, lack of sunshine and below zero temperatures start wearing on us Canadians come mid-February.

After today's visit to Reptilia - a reptile zoo with snakes, crocs and other reptiles - I was reminded why I do live here.  As I was looking at all of these creatures (thankfully with a pane of glass between us), I noticed that in the posters describing each creature and where they live, the great majority were thousands of miles (and sometimes several oceans or continents) away from my postal code. Boa constrictors, pythons, Nile crocodiles (huge!), poisonous frogs, water monitors - no thanks! I prefer my fresh water lake swims with the odd siting of a garter snake.  And I though leeches were creepy?! ... quite mild in comparison.

Perhaps you are a creepy crawly lover - go ahead, move south or far east. 

I love my no-hurricane, no-python living up here in good ol' Ontario!

P.S. But if you live in the Toronto/York Region area - awesome place to take the kids.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey Hey Good Bye

I don't know if I can do it.

My oldest son is almost three-and-a-half and I know he is ready to drop his afternoon nap.  He still passes out for a good two-hour nap and gets to bed around 7:30 p.m. But recently he has started waking up in the range of 5-5:30 a.m. and really fighting his bedtime and not falling asleep until close to 8:30 or 9:00 p.m.

Children's sleeping patterns are such a personal thing for parents. No two parents are really alike. Some don't mind late bedtimes, in favour of later sleep ins; some prefer earlier bedtimes, but don't mind waking up earlier.

I am more of an early evening bedtime person. I can't imagine my kids going to bed at nine or later as I would virtually be tucking them in and then going to bed myself with no adult time or any chance to spend a moment with my husband.  The fall out has been that my kids have always gotten up close to 6 a.m., if not earlier (ugh!) BUT, and this is a big but, they have always been great nappers. And for this I am SO grateful.

Right now, my routine is that both boys go down for their afternoon naps between 12:30 and 1:00 p.m. and stay down for close to two hours (on most days).  I soooo look forward to this time as I can totally regain my composure, get some chores done and have a tea (ahhhhh!).  I love this routine.  Although I love spending time with my son's, the idea of not having a break throughout the day is daunting. And just how well does enforcing a mandatory "quiet time" really work?

So, just as the song goes and the title of this post says, "Na na na na, Na na na na, Hey hey hey Good Bye!"

I'm going to try and hold on for a few extra weeks, and in the mean time have been trying to go outside and get a bit more of a "run" in before dinner to burn off a bit more energy (and aid bedtime).

I'm thinking dropping it in the spring when the weather is nicer, will make everyone's transition a bit easier:)

Wish me luck!

Any advice or personal experience is welcome!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Like Valentine's Day

I like Valentine's Day.

I don't go crazy for all of the red stuff that shows up in malls and store windows, but I do think it's a nice idea to have a day reserved for the loves of your life.

No, we don't need a day dedicated to this; we should be living it every day, but you and I both know that life gets busy and sometimes we all need a reminder or a reason to take some time out for the special people in our lives. And I don't mean spending a lot of money or buying lavish gifts - just time and effort will do.

With kids who don't quite understand the concept of Valentine's Day yet, I thought some special edible treats would do the trick:

Pink Smoothies

Heart-Shaped French Toast with Jam & Swedish Berries


(Deflated) Cupcakes

Hope you had a great day and managed an extra hug or love note to someone close.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Found A Dress: Mission Accomplished!

After trying on approximately 30 dresses and trying to convince myself into quite a few, I found this:

I really like it. And bought it. At BCBG for approximately 30% of the original price - score!

Have to get the top altered slightly (of course!), but all else is good.

This is the first time I have worn a skirt this length in a lonnnnnng time. Time to crank up the Jillian tapes!

In case you hadn't figured, that's not me in the picture :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sassy Dress for Wedding Needed: HELP!

So one of my nearest and dearest girlfriends is getting married in under a month and my husband and I are flying to Calgary for the wedding.

I have decided I would like to get a new dress for the occasion as most of mine in my closet have been worn several times (and some while pregnant) and I think it's time.

I was so excited as last night I dedicated to going shopping. I had my hopes set high as I knew a BCBG outlet store that is piled high with cocktail-type dresses.

Twenty dresses later and ... nothing. The first dress I tried on was absolutely perfect except it, and about half of the other dresses, reminded me of the difficulties of shopping for my body type - size 8 top and size 12 bottom.  Errrrr. and I'm not about to get a dress and assume that I can take in the top because I've made that mistake before (sometimes it is very difficult or impossible to take in!).

Now, my confidence is shaken, the outlook is bleak. Hello pregnancy dresses?! Hello university graduation dress? (ah, this is one of my friends from university so that wouldn't quite work ... but bonus it still fits), time to turn to my good ol' Joe Fresh black strapless number (that feels like I'm wearing a jogging suit ... in a good way)?

Tomorrow I'm hoping for some luck and need your suggestions. The type of dress I was hoping for was a classy (with a splash of sexy) strapless cocktail dress to above the knee. Now I need your suggestions? Online, boutiques, at the mall?

During Christmas shopping I fell in love with this dress from Banana Republic, but of course reminded myself Christmas is a time for buying for others and obediently did not buy or even try on.
I just saw it online and half price. I am hesitating to order it because I don't want it to turn into one of those dresses you absolutely love because you can't have it and you haven't tried it on and once you do try it on it actually turns out to look absolutely horrible with your skin tone and looks dreadful on your body.

P.S. No pressure. A lot of the people at the wedding I haven't seen for more than a decade, since pre-kids. I have to represent the Mom-segment ... show that there is a body and life after kids ... is there? :) ha ha

Happy Friday!

Ironing Sheets

Am I the only person that does not iron sheets?
FYI - this is not my bed (Source)

I love the idea of nice crisp seams at the top of my sheets and no wrinkles as I spread them out freshly on the bed as I make it, but I have never done the ironing of linens thing (except when necessary with napkins and out-of-control guest bed linens before people come over).

So do you iron them? Did you used to pre-kids? Do you want to? ... and are the top seams of your flat sheets as crinkly as mine?

Yours in wrinkles,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Great Wolf Lodge: Our First Visit

This past weekend, my family and I bravely ventured to Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls, ON for the first time.

The experience was really great and far exceeded my expectations.

It wasn't that I didn't think we would have some fun, I was just unsure as to what my two non-swimming toddlers could do for an entire day at a water park.  Well, let me assure you there is tons of water and non-water stuff just perfect for this age group.

When you walk in the lodge, you are welcomed into a massive lodge-like lobby, complete with giant fireplace, and life-like animals (wolves, bears, gofers, moose) that move and talk.  Everyone present is in the exact same boat as you (sleep-deprived, kids in tow, multi-tasking) so no worries about any judgement re: the kids whatsoever.

In the indoor water park area there were shallow pools, splash pads, water jungle gyms and believe it or not, six kiddie slides that my oldest son mastered and loved!  My one-and-a-half year old loved the splash pads and having fun in the puddles.

The lazy river (which wasn't too lazy) was also perfect for this age group as they could sit on the tubes and watch all that was going on. 

There is also one large water slide that uses a giant tube that the kids (provided they are tall enough) can go on with the whole family.

Massive arcade, kind of like Chuck E Cheese's where you walk around with wads of tickets and then cash them in at the end (for candy and an extremely small teddy bear). I'm not a huge video game gal, especially the violent ones, but I was very happy that there were many games for young children and only two or three gun-type games that I actually saw.

The rooms were adorable. Typical queen-bed room, but with a cozy little 8x8 nook for the kids, complete with twin bunk beds and their own television (different room styles are available). Mini fridge was nice surprise too.

The Lodge's evening story time is also a big hit. All the kids are invited to the main lobby in their pyjamas for a giant story-time party with interaction with all of the "live" talking animals. Unfortunately we weren't able to make it, but it looked like tons of fun.

We ate at the main restaurant for all of our meals and again, quite impressed with the balance of kid-friendly foods and adult-appropriate options. Always some mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, fries, etc. for the picky eaters but also always salad bar, interactive station (fajitas, jambalaya, omelets), pasta dishes, meat and seafood and of course dessert! Yummmm ... make your own sundaes.

We were fortunate to go with my sister and brother-in-law and their two kids as well as Nana and Papa. Kids entertained each other, adult company was good and allowed a bit of shared watch over the younger kids (i.e. we got to go down some big kids slides!).

Very busy but manageable. Going during the week would definitely be worth looking into if possible.

I would definitely recommend and will most likely be back again when winter hits next year and we are in need of a close-to-home beach vacation.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What's In Your Beauty Bag?

Don't you love it when you find out your girlfriends' makeup secrets or little tricks of the trade they have for every day challenges and pet peeves?

Liz, who is the creative diva behind the blog Wallpaper has created the "Beauty Bag Series" where she features various lady blog friends sharing their beloved beauty bags (and the secrets inside).

I was lucky enough to be a part of this special series and am featured today. Hope you can check it out ... not that I have tons of secrets, but just to check out Liz's site it's worth it.

Would love to hear what your go-to makeup essentials are? What could you NOT live without? What manages to wiggle its way into the ever-important inside zipped pocket of your purse?

Monday, February 7, 2011

CSN Giveaway Results

Thank you to everyone who checked out the blog last week - there were a lot of you.

Welcome to all of our new followers!

And CONGRATULATIONS to Domestic Diva - winner of our CSN $35 Store Giveaway.

Domestic Diva said... I always write my sweetie a love note for valentine's day.
I follow on gfc.lovelydomesticdiva (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter and share your plans for Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

No Need For Chomping After 25

In my opinion, there's not much need for it after the age of 25.

I mean gum has its purposes - something to do when you're bored, freshen up the ol' breath after a spicy meal or pre-meeting and something to offer friends or attractive peers while in college.

If you're like me, I don't get bored very often, I am much more confident in my spicy breath than I was when I was 21, I don't attend meetings regularly and now that I have my husband, there is no need for the pick-up chiclet.

Now if you chew your Dentyne nicely, quietly and rather uneventfully, then you're not on my hit list.  But, on the other hand, if you are a chomper and do so in public, you are definitely who I'm talking about.

See, I'm talking about the person that looks like this when they are chewing.

No, quite literally, they look like that.

I started drafting this article after spending quite a bit of time in airports during the Christmas holidays and there are definitely some middle-aged aggressive bubble gum chewers out there.

In the privacy of your own home, perhaps relishing in some delicious strawberry Bubblicious nostalgia post-Halloween - sure, by all means. But in public? At a formal event? (there's always one at every wedding). At work? (... maybe, and that is a HUGE maybe, if you are very discreet and keep the gum 99 per cent of the time in a cheek pocket).

I don't mean to be all Emily Post etiquette on your asses, but come on, it looks silly, so unclassy and like you should have head phones and high tops on and at least two different colours in your hair. Oh and a "1" in the first digit of your age.

How does this look to you?

I know there will be a lot of you out there that disagree with me and that is fine.  Just thought I would share some thoughts.

So what is your gum chewing style?  Still chewing? Closet chomper?

Reminder to everyone to sign up for my CSN Stores Giveaway. Contest closes Sunday. Click here for more details.

P.S. This post is dedicated to my Mom :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

You Know Your Child Is Sick When:

You know your toddler or young child is sick when they:
  • ask to go to bed
  • enjoy lying in bed for longer than a millisecond (try 15 minutes) even after they have woken up
  • refuse to eat crackers
  • say their spoon is too heavy and that you need to feed them
  • happily drink and ask for water
  • don't want to play
  • ask to take a nap
  • will sit on the couch and watch TV without the slightest interest in getting up or moving
  • haven't disagreed/fought/stolen from/gotten mad at their younger sibling for longer than you remember


You know your toddler or young child is getting better when they:
  • say that they don't want to go to bed
  • jump out of bed the moment they wake up and ask you to play
  • eat a lot of crackers and then ask for more, five minutes before dinner
  • have no problem with the weight of their spoon and ask for seconds
  • ask for juice, milk or better yet, hot chocolate, saying they don't like water
  • want to play every second of the day and want you to join them
  • no longer ask, nor have any interest, in taking their (extra) nap
  • may watch one TV show, but after awhile get antsy and at least have to multi-task TV with playing
  • begin to notice their younger sibling's existence again and their ability to alienate them :)
Such was the case in my home last week.
Hope you're fighting all those germs and flus with success!

P.S. Reminder about the CSN Giveaway Contest, click here to find out how you can easily enter (deadline is this Sunday!).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I just came across CSN Stores - an amazing online hub for anything and everything! CSN has more than 200 online stores accessible through their main website where you can find anything from amazing gifts, shoes (who can't use more shoes!), decor items for all you up and coming designers out there and even outdoor furniture like a wooden swing set for the kids! CSN Stores has virtually thousands of great products (for less!). Check their site out ... betcha can't visit just once!  

And here's the great part: CSN Stores has given me a $35 coupon for one of my lucky readers to use on their site!

Here's what you have to do to be entered to win:
  1. You have to be a follower of this blog. (For anyone who is not, just click the "follow" button and sign up. If you run into ANY challenges or questions, email me at: and I will gladly help so you don't miss out.
  2. Once a follower, post a comment on this entry and tell me what your plans are for Valentine's Day - either with you, your kids or someone special. Could be a splurge, a craft or a date - do tell!
Voila - you're entered!

(Contest will close Sunday at 8:00 PM)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valentine's Day Candi!

Some of you may recall my post pre-Christmas featuring great gift ideas and the Candi Factory.

Ladies Undies by the Candi Factory

I fell in love with the Candi Factory when I visited their booth at the December One of A Kind Show in Toronto and I did not leave empty handed. I purchased these for my sister in law, these for my sister and mini kid-versions of these for my three-year-old son.

Man Briefs by the Candi Factory

All of the products are beautiful, unique and made with the softest cotton.  If you're looking for some gift ideas for Valentine's Day or just need some new gitch, the Candi Factory is a great place to start.

Everyday Dress by the Candi Factory

And now for the good part ... all of my readers can receive a 40 % off discount until February 6th just by using the code xoxo at checkout

You're welcome.

Now go and visit the Candi Factory
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