Don’t Miss “The Window”…

So, it has been a long few weeks– emotionally draining, physically exhausting… dealing with family, work, teething toddler, home maintenance– just life in general.  Most of my family are vacationing in my hometown, which makes me a bit homesick for the town and my family.  Also, I think Josh and I not having a proper vacation together in years is starting to take a toll…

Anyway, life just kind of caught up to me yesterday.  I guess there is only so much before one can run out of steam!

Most days I can push myself pretty far– from 4 or 5am non-stop to 8 or 9 at night.  Last night however, I just KNEW I would not make it to 9pm.  This mama needed a time out!

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I had just finished cleaning up the kitchen and Josh came home from work earlier than normal.  Norah still had awhile to go before bedtime so there was my window of opportunity…and I took it!!

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Here’s a lesson parents–do NOT hesitate.  TAKE that window- even if it is just a 5 minute one!

Anyway, I poured a glass of wine, shut the blinds, climbed right into bed, and completed “vegged” for 20 minutes.  I could not believe how fast I became refreshed from taking that time out!  And I don’t feel guilty at all!

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It’s funny- I always read about not missing ‘that window’ for a baby’s bedtime, but I never thought about MY window! I am going to try and look for those more often… and actually take them, instead of feeling guilty of taking a break.

 

Until next time..T. xx

 

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Toddler Tuesday-Behaviour & Self Care

I have come across a very important lesson in parenting that I really want to share.  It honestly has answered a lot of questions on “how do I parent my child”…

A child’s #1 learning tool is our behaviour.  Children learn by observing how we treat ourselves and others, how we handle situations, how we react.  There is no special club, no top secret tip– it is simply OUR behaviour that will help our children grow into courageous, compassionate adults!

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Toddlerhood has been a HUGE eye opener for this.  At this stage, Norah is just starting to learn how to process/express emotions and feelings, mainly by watching Josh and I:  if we are adaptable, how we handle stress, how we learn from failure, how we appreciate, how we love.

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There is a bit of pressure in that.  This is the responsibility parents should take very seriously!

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sidenote: I totally chose that GIF because it was Chris Pratt.. lol…. you are welcome ladies!

This really has me analyzing myself as an individual too.  How DO I handle stress?  How do I calm myself down to think clearly?  How do I show love?

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Yesterday, Norah had a temper tantrum worthy of a guinness world record, and I definitely did not handle the situation the way I wanted to.  I lost my patience.  I lost my model behaviour.  I was weak.  Why?  The answer is simple- I am lacking in self-care.   

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Before I had Norah, I had a lot of spare time…but now, any spare time is often filled with chores and errands, and I have stopped making even a sliver of time for myself.   I began to think, ‘my family is the most important-I have to put them first’ or ‘that’s the sacrifice of being a mom’.

The truth is- we ALL need self-care to grow as individuals and to continue to love ourselves! (and to RECHARGE!)  

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Just recently, I started planning some upcoming painting/organizing projects (stay tuned- I am very excited!!) and am FINALLY starting to work on decorating the house, one room at a time!  I cannot wait to dedicate some evenings for this!!   Yes, I will probably have to sacrifice some housework, but to put some music on and do something that is passionate to me will be some major self-care for this mama!!

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So my advise today, on this toddler tuesday– is take time for yourself.  Even if it is just for 15 minutes. (errands and bathroom breaks do not count!)  Take a bath, put some photos in an album, paint a picture, build a table, write a blog, whatever you want to do!  Obviously there will be those days of complete exhaustion, but do not ignore the importance of self-care!!

Until next time..T. xx


 

 

Happy Friday!

Yay-it’s Friday!!!   I didn’t think we would make it through this week, but we did!

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This week, Josh started his 12 hour shifts (Monday-Friday) so he is pretty exhausted.  He is enjoying his new job though, so.. happy husband, happy life?

The contractors in our basement finally finished the painting and cleaning!  It is now time to finally put the basement back together.  Since it is a blank slate, this is my chance to rearrange–and to set up part of the living room as Norah’s little playroom (hoping to eliminate SOME toys/books scattered throughout the rest of the house)

This week, I managed to squeeze in a yoga session,a singing practice, a facetime call with my parents and nephew, I painted my nails, another facetime call with my sister and nephew, and did some reading (on top of working 40 hrs).   I tried something new (made my own pesto-simple and delicious) and have had some great quality time in the evenings with Norah (minus the tantrums) and the dogs-I haven’t seen too much of Josh, but we have a movie night planned for tonight-providing we can stay awake for it!

I was wondering why I enjoyed this week so much- NO HOUSEWORK!  (aside from cooking and cleaning kitchen..)lazy eyes with clothes everywhere

There was no point cleaning this week since the contractors were trucking in and out of the house (except to wipe the bathroom down a million times due to the extra traffic), and it was hard to get to the laundry room with all of their supplies in the way, so I said, screw it! (doesn’t happen often..)

Our family has started pizza fridays too!  I am loving these- no cooking at the end of a long week is a holiday in itself!

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Ok, it’s time to go relax now..since (let’s be honest…) I will be up early tomorrow despite it being a Saturday….Unless Norah sleeps in?

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Until next time..T. xx

 

Toddler Life 101

You know you’re living with a toddler when…

  1. There are crumbs literally everywhere:   in between couch cushions, all over the car, in the carseat, in the bed.. everywhere!! (I have 2 dogs who are quite efficient with the food clean up- and I STILL find crumbs!)
  2. The house has become art:  At least one piece of furniture/wall/door/floor has been coloured on with a crayon or been attacked by stickers
  3. You’ve become an expert at negotiating (and bribery)
  4.  You dread leaving the house to go anywhere:   If it normally takes you 10 minutes to get ready to go out the door, add about 5 hours (toddler mood depending) to give enough time for them to put on their own boots/hat/coat/mitts all by themselves, with no help.  
  5. You know all the words to every Wiggles song (and most actions too..):  I’m honestly considering making this into an aerobic workout to do 3 days a week. The actions to these songs are intensely energetic…I’ll be fit in no time!
  6. You automatically sit on the floor when chatting with any friends or family
  7. The house is on lockdown: It is now more difficult to break into the cupboard to get to my cleaning supplies than to rob a bank.  
  8. Sleep-ins are just a distant memory: Waking up at 7am is now the new sleep in.. this being said, parent bedtime is not much later than 9pm! (that’s my limit for pure exhaustion anyway..) 
  9. You have said “don’t drink the bath water” at least once a week
  10. You have said “don’t touch” at least 50 times a week
  11. You have become a human vending machine:  I now carry emergency snack supplies in my vehicle, purse, coat, etc!  It has been a saving grace on more than one occasion..
  12. All the lower shelves of bookcases/end tables are empty:  This is just smart.  Unless you like cleaning up glass from broken picture frames, and taking trips to emerg for stitches..
  13. You know all the characters and episodes of Peppa Pig and Dora the Explorer
  14. Bathtime is like the Perfect Storm:  toys and water, everywhere!
  15. You’ve stubbed your toe at least a million times on a toy, toybin, baby gate, etc
  16. You dread daylight savings time..
  17. You cry when reading the book, “I Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch 

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Moms-feel free to add more to the list!

Until next time..T. xx

Meal Planning/Budget tips

As we are a family on a very tight budget, I have picked up a few great tips to stretch our money out and now have some routines revolving around groceries and meal planning.

Between 2 adults and 1 child, we spend about $700/month on groceries (this includes diapers right now, and the odd bottle of wine..).  Not bad I think! (this does not include dining out, which we do once a month if that)

In order to stay within that budget, and to cook up quick meals within the half hour time frame I have when I get home from work, I had to figure out some little tricks/tips to meet my goals. 

Here is what I have learnt:

  1.  Meal Planning.  I never believed that this worked, but it is actually SO important!!  You do not have to stick 100% to it (some people are very diligent and get a meal planning calendar), but I usually have at least 7-10 meals planned within a 2 week span.  note: try and plan your meals around leftovers for lunches as well, this has really helped us save!  
  2. Stock the Freezer.  Every other weekend I will make a couple of freezer dishes- giant batches of chili, spaghetti sauces, soups, shepard’s pies, etc.  I buy in bulk and cook in bulk so there are leftovers for lunches and for the freezer-this saves time and money!
  3. Waste not.   When I cook a meat (ie a ham, chicken, roast), I try and make at least 2 meals out of it (and lunches if I can).  Meat is so expensive these days, and by splitting it into 2-3 meals (ie-for a whole Chicken–1)chicken with rice 2)chicken nachos  3)stuffed peppers), you really save money!   note: you can always freeze the left over meat by wrapping in siran wrap and into a baggy for another week, incorporate it into your meal plan for a stir fry backup!
  4. Couponing/Grocery Apps.  Living in the modern world, there aren’t as many paper coupons out there (I still find the odd one that pertains to my grocery list!), but there are so many apps out there that help you save on your grocery bill!   Here are the 3 main apps I use:

Flipp-This app contains all the flyers in your area.  You can clip deals and compare grocery store prices, and it also provides coupons that you can print!  This app is great for meal planning as you can compare this week’s flyer and upcoming flyers to determine the best pricing for certain items.

Checkout 51– This is an app where you actually get money back!   Each week there is a list of items (food, toiletries, diapers) offering money back after purchase.  Scan your grocery receipt with the items on it, and you will receive money in your account almost immediately.   I started this account half a year ago and I have earned $34.50 (any cent counts)!

PC Plus– The main grocery stores in our area offer the PC Plus points system, so I use this app a lot.   There are instore points and online points, so if you follow this app well, you will save more!  When my usual food staples are being offered, I stock up.   I have received over $500 in savings with this app in the past couple of years!

5.Recipes Organization.  I am a big pinterest fan for gathering recipe ideas and then making them my own.  When I use the recipe a few times, I put them in a ‘favourite recipes’ category.

There are many ways to store recipes- recipe box, recipe apps, and recipe books.

I am a huge fan of the recipe book. I had too many recipes in multiple books, so I finally bought this amazing recipe book to put my favourite go-to recipes in!


I’ll play around with this one, but I also have my eye on a recipe box as well.. (nice and easy to organize in categories)

Happy planning!! until next time..T. xx 

Reflection: Toddlerhood

As I compared pictures of Norah from last year to this year, I realized something- my little baby girl is not a little baby anymore!  Where did that time go?  It feels like yesterday I was carrying her everywhere with me, propping her up with pillows so she could practice sitting, spoon feeding her pureed foods, and (I miss this the most) swaddling her and rocking her to sleep.

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Honestly- where did that time go?

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In what seems like a blur of time, Norah now insists on doing everything on her own.  Her independence in one year astonishes me!!  Bedtime now consists of HER reading to US at least 3 stories (or the same story 3 times..). She only wants to use a fork at dinner (a spoon is so last year), even if it takes an hour to eat 15 peas.  She has to put her boots on with no help, brush her hair with no help (and all of ours-including the dogs),  and go up and down the stairs with no help!

Um hello…am I not needed anymore?  

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The good news is- she has replaced all of the joys that she brought to us as a baby with new, different joys!   She talks a mile a minute- and her little voice is so adorable!  She has gone from unpronounceable words to full sentences in the blink of an eye!   Always asking us questions and imitating our phrases.

She also is mimicking our parenting actions.   I saw her scold Josh with her little pointy finger one day (it is hard not to laugh at those moments) and she now does her complete bedtime routine for her little dolly each night (changing diaper, doing her hair, reading stories, putting on bedtime music)- so cute!

As she continues to change, so do Josh and I as parents.  Trying to evolve as she does.  We are definitely in uncharted territory right now.  Just as we became “baby experts”, Norah transitioned into an entire different realm:  Toddlerhood.

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This is an entire new world to us. For example, we now have to watch what we say at all times (you never realize how much you swear until a child repeats your every word)!  We also have started to hide eating certain snacks (ie chocolate, popcorn) because let’s face it- kids always want to eat what we are eating! (admit it parents- we aren’t the only ones hiding the junkfood!) 

and can we talk about temper tantrums for a moment?  WOW.   I love my daughter with all my heart, even when her little face turns red and her tiny lungs are screeching at me.  Most of these outbursts are due to the difficulty in communicating at that age.  She was an early talker so thankfully those tantrums will be short-lived.

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But then there is the power struggle tantrum.  Battle of the family- Parents vs kid.  Who will give in first!  These are the tough tantrums.  The ones where Josh and I have to help each other to not throw in the towel!  Survival of the fittest.   (I fear these will last a lifetime…..)

There are so many other elements of toddlerhood to expand on, but I think the most important highlight of this stage is the bond we have with Norah and how our love grows each day.

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Next up- potty training….  until next time, T. xx

 

 

Valentine’s Day; at Home Date Nights

Valentine’s Day: the day dedicated to love.

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Unfortunately, for so many, this is a hard reminder of a broken heart, financial struggles (not being able to live up to the extravagant commercialization), and feelings of loneliness.   For these reasons, I am not a fan of this day. anti-valentines-day

My husband and I have never celebrated Valentine’s day.  We always skip the large bragging gifts, the romantic getaways, the flowers, everything.  I find the pressures of this day really trump the true meaning of love.

This does not mean I am a scrooge about this day! We have a daughter now, and this day is a little exciting for a child, so we make it special for her (she now is a proud owner of a brand new pink dollar store bucket for her pom poms, which she has been decorated with Dora stickers)– the littlest gift, but it has made her so happy!tenor.gif

For Josh and I, we like to have random date nights- those are so special to me.  However, times have changed and now we very rarely make it out just the two of us. (Come to think of it, I don’t think we have gone overnight somewhere alone since our honeymoon 5 years ago!)  With us both working full time jobs (plus planning around a toddler which can be tricky), we now wait until we both are feeling only semi-exhausted, and enjoy a night in together; an at-home date night!

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Last weekend, Josh was off work before Norah and I were home, so he picked up a pizza and a bottle of wine, and turned our Friday night into a mini date night!  Norah went to bed after eating pizza with us, and Josh and I continued the night with movies (ok, it was one movie-it would not be realistic to try and stay awake for two..) and some snacks/wine!  That night was so simple, relaxing, and fun.

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We have become hooked on at home date nights.  For our anniversary last year, we stayed home, cooked appetizers and baked peaches for dessert, and played scrabble.  We talked and laughed- it was a great evening, and still kid free!

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So, for those that do celebrate this day today, but either can’t afford an elaborate celebration or are too tired to go out tonight, here is a list of some fun at home date ideas (Im going to keep these in mind for our random date nights):

-movie night

-indoor picnic

-paint a picture together

-cook a meal together-sushi, pizza.. something hands on

-have a beer or wine tasting

-bundle with some blankets and have a bonfire

-fondue or raclette

-watch a sports game together- get some vendor snacks and beer and cheer your favourite team on!

-video game night

The list can go on!  Be creative & have fun!!  (and happy love day!)

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Until next time…T. xx

Life as a Working Mom

cd907512eb0cc583b1e8a41f9aa44f0aWell, I haven’t written on here in ages.  My life has drastically changed as I went back to work and learnt a whole new adjustment of working full time in a high demanding job, and coming home to being housewife and mother.  This, along with other stresses such as loved ones becoming seriously ill, and financial stress (coming back from mat leave), it has taken 6 months for me to finally realize I need to reflect on this.

Having a child in my 30s has been a difficult transition.  I lived my life only worrying about myself, and then added pets and a husband- and now my little daughter is here, 18 months old and full of toddler energy.

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During the week we all have a routine in the house and it is a very busy time.  Before work we all rush around before leaving the house, and after work has completely changed.  I pick Norah up, we rush home and I make dinner within 30 minutes. (I will have to start posting 30 minute meals, I have really learnt a few good recipes on a very tight budget!)  After bath and bedtime routines, dishes, packing up the lunches for the following day, I struggle with sitting down and doing something for myself.

I look around, and the house isn’t in shambles, but my mind is whirling- there is vacuuming, dusting, laundry, all of the daily chores that are ignored throughout the week.  Why do I expect a spotless and tidy home when I have 2 shedding dogs and a toddler?   Why would I risk quality time with my husband and family just to clean something that will need cleaning again tomorrow?

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the only one who would pose under the tree

 

I have set expectations in my life that are completely irrelevant to LIFE itself.  I have loved ones battling serious illnesses- yet their focus is on the happiness in their lives.  It is truly inspiring.  It has taught me to accept my happy mess, and to enjoy the life I have and the loved ones around me!  Life is a gift, we should all appreciate it!

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enjoying cuddle time

 

 

 

 

Happy Easter ✝

Well, this Lent was a very challenging one, but it is finally over!

 This Easter weekend, we unfortunately could not spend with our extended family because poor Norah had her first big cold.  Lots of crocodile tears, little coughs, and sleepless nights.  So our little family spent the weekend watching movies in our pjs.   

 I still managed to decorate a few eggs, and Norah (with dad and Pepere’s help) found a few hidden eggs filled with cheerios.  We even received a turkey dinner care package from Josh’s relatives- how thoughtful! (and delicious!!) 

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!! 

 God Bless! xx

Birthday Wishes to My Mom 💕

My mother is truely an amazing woman. She raised 5 kids, has been married to my dad (her highschool sweetheart) for almost 47 years, and is always available to help those in need.   

 
She touches every life- as a wife, a teacher, a mother, a friend, a Christian. She has shown me what it means to sacrifice for her family and those she loves.    
All my life she has been my mother- my wisdom, my guidance. As I got older, she became my friend. And now that I have a daughter of my own, we share motherhood together, which has been an incredible experience.   
Wishing her a wonderful birthday today!!! XOXO 

 
God Bless! xx