Friday, February 27, 2015

It's Friday!!

Happy Friday, everyone! Here a list of just a few things that have brought a smile to my face… but truth be told, really don't warrant an entire post. 

1- I've spoken about this before but if you're an online shopper and  haven't jumped on the eBates bandwagon- you're totally missing out. There's no catch... really no catch… and look what I got in the mail both from eBates and

It seriously is free money!

2- I received these lovely belated cards from my brother, sister in law and baby nephew amidst all the mail- In Canada our mailbox is down the street together with everyone else's mailboxes and in this weather I  didn't check it for a couple weeks. Nothing makes me smile like an unexpected card or package….especially from some of my favourite people. I can't wait for them to come to Canada in June for a WHOLE year- my brother got a fellowship! We are beyond excited.

3- We are seriously thinking about a Disney cruise this summer. We are not huge cruisers but they come very recommended. Any advice, internet friends?

4- If you have a young kid and want to teach them the importance of respecting and playing with all kids--- a life lesson we all need, Odd Velvet is the book for you-- 
Book Synopsis- Velvet is odd. Instead of dolls that talk and cry, Velvet brings a milkweed pod for show and tell. She wins the class art contest using only an eight-pack of crayons. She likes to collect rocks. Even her name is strange-Velvet! But as the school year unfolds, the things Velvet does and the things that Velvet says slowly begin to make sense. And, in the end, Velvet's classmates discover that being different is what makes Velvet so much fun.
It's a wonderful read! 

5- Who here loves Makeup Forever. Their pigments and colours last… well forever… not quite but longer than others out there. I bought this amazing gel eyeliner from them for a smoky eye and so far it does not disappoint. Does not smudge excessively like the regular pencil but also doesn't give that hard line that liquid eyeliner does. 

 And there you have it. Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

AndreaErika and Narci for Favourites on Friday
Amy for Hey Friday
Amanda for Friday Favourites and 
Christina for Five on Friday

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Clean up, kids!

I won't lie, I love a clean house. A clean house = happy me. Clutter free surfaces, not too much stuff around and everything put back into place- that's my love language. But you know who is the opposite? Who has admitted to liking 'lots of stuff', has a tendency to leave things out and lovestshotchkes? My very own five year old! So I could nag her or just pick up after her but because this mama does not do that we've had to make cleaning up simple and a little fun. Although our house can be in a sincere state of disarray sometimes, here are just a few tips that I've found works for us. 

First off, they're never too small to begin cleaning up… okay under a year maybe is off limits but I think it's best to begin early… at least packing up toys and books and putting clothes in hampers…. but then again, conversely, I think it's never too late to begin as well. 

Everything has a home
Toys go here, books go there, these are for C's room, these are A's, you get the point. When they know what belongs where, it's easier for them to find it when they're looking for it too. Also, we used to put all C's toys in a huge toy chest. Now that's way more empty (and in A's room) and we use furniture like this instead with compartments for things-- big and little. 

Also, my kids have lots of toys so ever so often, we take a huge chunk of stuff to the basement and rotate them. That way, there's not too much boredom. 

Not too much stuff around
Less is definitely more in this case. The less stuff there is, the easier it is put things back in its place. As a rule, we keep counters and table tops pretty clean so if something is there, it's easy to spot it (play a little bit of the blame game) and then put it back.

Ready, Set, Go
This one works especially well in times where people are coming over and you're running late… We've ALL been there.  Set a time and everybody race around like they're certifiable trying to get the house clean and beat the clock at the same time. Lots of giggles usually ensue. And I may or may not play this game by myself when my kids aren't around.

Routine Stuff

My kids, like myself (and my D), thrive on routine so this one worked really well. A pretty little sign taped up in her room so that she could follow her routine and mama doesn't have to really go in her room and pick up after her. You can also just use pictures for the kids who don't read yet.

So there you have it. Yes, my house is sometimes messy and sometimes shiny. More than all of that though. I want my kids to clean up after themselves since I think it's a good life skill to have. I don't want them to think their parents will always be picking up after them.  I want them to go to other houses and pick up after themselves when they're done as well.  They're 5 and 2, there are long, sometimes messy years ahead. But all I can hope to do is be a good example, keep my cool and remember that a messy house never hurt anyone. 

Linking with with Annie and Nat for Thoughts on Thursday and
with Salma, Raj and Nisha for Three Things Thursday (although I have four tips listed- just call me a rebel without a cause)
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Monday, February 23, 2015

Favourite Things-Target Edition

We are finally on the mend from this awful flu that hit our house like a stack of bricks. This weekend was filled with lots of R&R, play-dates, takeout, TV watching and of course the Oscars! We did manage to hit the mall and D and I had a belated Valentine's dinner at a local inn which was absolutely de-yummy- my five year old's combo of delicious and yummy.

Linking up today with Erika and Andrea for Favourite Things at Target. It's kinda with a heavy heart as my beloved Target is leaving Canada. I mean, I thought I spent enough money to keep Target afloat here but apparently my funds did not suffice. So soon Target will once again have to become a destination whenever I head to the US.

Target's motto is "expect more, for less" and working in the corporate world and dealing with them before, their offerings and line up is different from other mass merchandisers. They really force encourage companies to provide different items for them than say Walmart. So you'd find a SKU (product) at Target like a pattern, appliance, type of shampoo that you simply can't find anywhere else.  

Here are a few of my favourites:

This is my favourite brand of hair care products. Love, love, love how it makes my hair feel after. And there are always specials at Target.

This line of Shea Moisture Baby products is my favourite, not only for the babes but for the entire family- can also be found in Walgreen by the way. Your baby will smell like cake.

Target's seasonal gel clings for windows can keep toddler hands busy for quite a while.

And honourable mention of course goes to:
1- The Liz Lange maternity line. Good enough quality for 9 months at a great price
2- Work out clothes
3- The Dollar Bins at the front for seasonal fun stuff
4- Their party stuff is so funky and unique… and not too much licenced stuff.

So Target, you and I will once more begin our long distance relationship but our love affair is far from over. 


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday mish-mash

Happy Friday. No school in these parts today due to extreme cold weather alert. After the week we had,  our day will be filled with snuggles, tv and maybe a craft or two… And mama needs to clean up! And do some work…. but maybe we'll wait for next week for that one. 

Here's the stuff that's being going on around here.

1- Valentine's playdate

We had a few friends come over for a playdate this Valentine's Day. Super simple. Think dollar store crafts, Valentines muddy buddies and cupcake decorating. Everyone bought an appetizer and we ordered pizza for dinner. Pretty easy and the kids had a great time. 

2- Trini Pool Party- Carnival Sunday- Food Fest

This weekend was Carnival in Trinidad. However, it was -39 here. Thank the Lord for Joann who invited about 50 of us over for a (heated and indoor) pool party at her condo. The company was great, there were Trini soca tunes and the-food-was-a.m.a.z.i.n.g- Jo is a phenomenal cook.!! And she always packs us up with tons of leftovers. #truefriend #didntneedtocookallweek

3- Chocoholic no more

I'm not a Christian but I have great respect for the tenets of Christianity. This Lent, I'd like to give abstaining from something a try…. and I've chosen--- wait for it…. chocolate to give up until April. Anyone who reads this blog for more than a minute knows that it's kind of a big deal for me. Let's see how that goes…

4- Snuggle Time

I've got to admit, the best part of my kids being sick is that I get all these sweet snuggles from two otherwise very active kiddos. Of course I got sick as a result but I just love all the cuddle time in this cuddle friendly weather.

5- Smile a bit
And because I can't seem to ever stop talking about the weather these days.

That was me this weekend. D was a champ though.

But not chocolate ice-cream

Have a good one, friends!

Linking up with lots of people.
AndreaErika and Narci for Favourites on Friday
Amy for Hey Friday
Amanda for Friday Favourites (Happy Wedding Weekend, girlie!!)

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Weeks 5 and 6- life lately

Apologies for the radio silence on this end. 3 out of 4 members of this family have been sick with the most awful flu/cold ever. Think extreme weakness, body chills, fever and dizziness combined with all the yuck cold symptoms as well. I've been almost flat on bed for the last couple days but thankfully with the help of some friends and my D, I'm on my way to some sort of recovery. 

In the meantime, here's what's been going on before I've been feeling like I was hit by some sort of oncoming vehicle. 

Day #34 Most great days begin with tea and a list.

Day #35
Love me some chow in the winter-time. Chow is a trinidadian dish- it's basically a spicy fruit cerviche and it's a great way to get that fruit in. 

Day #36
Our carpets were being cleaned so I took this little lady for a little lunch. She inhaled her quesadillas. 

And then off we went to the pharmacy to drop in some prescriptions.
She wanted me to buy these for her #noway #mamasnotcrazy #youhaveadozenoftheseathome

Day #37
My friend Jenn invited us to Chucky Cheese to spend her birthday with her an her family. However, I think some of the grown ups had a better time than the kids. 

Day #38
No pictures on this day as my sweet family V passed away

Day #39
Potty training has become a spectator sport apparently #noshamenofame

Day #40
Got those Monday morning blues

Day #41
A quick lunch with Dani and her girls. A wanted to hold the baby.

Day #42
No pictures again as it was the day of the funeral.

Day #43
Prepping V Day treats for everyone.

Day #44
Look what I found scribbled on the wall. Thank the Lord for Magic Erasers. And there was a time out that ensued!

Day #45
Valentine's morning. Daddy made breakfast and is being thanked by our monkeys and their Valentines monkeys.

Day #46
Yep, this happened. And yep, charged my phone after.

Day #47 
Family Day was spent with snuggles and snacks.

And there you have it. I feel like I have to play catch up with all of my favourite blogs and see what everyone has been up to.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

Linking with with Annie and Nat for Thoughts on Thursday.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Favourites

Happy Friday everyone. Extreme cold temperature alert here- think -25 to -30 Celcius. That's -13 to -22 Farenheit…. Yep, for the first time I can remember my poor hands are beginning to get winter burn…. I guess all the constant hand washing from potty training doesn't help as well. Onto topics that make me just a bit happier and hopefully you too :-)

1- Favourite Valentines Treats

I'm all about the treats here in these parts so my girls are giving out their treats today at school. I did chocolate (on a stick) for A's friends and little fruit snacks for the bigger kids in C's group. Bigger kids seem to be all about the sugary stuff. Then there are teachers- some handmade (not by me) soaps for some and lindt chocolates for the others… and then there's stuff for my kids… and not forgetting D! No wonder, I'm needing more caffeine these days. 

(PS. If you need lovely Valentines label templates and you are just as uncreative as I am, the Avery  website has your back with some great free ones)

2- Valentine Fun

So what are your plans for the Day of Love? This year we're having some friends with kids over for the actual day. I've bought some crafts and some cupcakes to decorate. Everyone's bringing an appie and there will be wine… and chocolate… and some takeout for dinner for whoever's staying. Should be a good time. And we have our alone dinner next week when things die down a bit. 

3- Cauliflower rice

I am obsessed with cauliflower rice after trying it for the first time this week. My take on a recipe coming soon. Just use in place of ordinary rice and eliminate those grains- and cut the calories. Win/win in my book. 

4- Nordstrom clearance 

The weak Canadian dollar is holding me back a bit but I'm still heavily tempted to buy a couple items in the Nordstrom clearance sale. I'm loving this dress coat for C at $29- even though it will be big, we can keep it for later. And I'm so partial to Caslon tunics- they are such easy wear. I only buy them on sale though. 

5- Calorie Counting

From chocolates to… well no chocolates. My old workout buddy has me counting my calories. My Up Band is helping. You see, I eat fairly healthy-- it's just when I started counting my calories, I realised that I eat a lot of the healthy stuff. Even though, I work out like it's my job, if I don't cut some calories, I'm not going to see results. So stay tuned… but let's just say there will be some cheats this weekend. A couple. Maybe more. 

That's what I got for you. Hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine's Day and a great weekend (a long one for some of us!).

And finally a few Valentines funnies--- I had to work really hard to find clean ones-- I mean really hard. My parents read this blog!

So very true

Ok this one's mean but made me chuckle

For you, D 

Ain't that the truth?

Linking up with lots of people
AndreaErika and Narci for Favourites on Friday
Amy for Hey Friday
Amanda for Friday Favourites

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

On the potty train

Yes folks, these past few days have been spent on the potty… literally. We planned to do it on Saturday and Sunday so we made absolutely no weekend plans. However, on Friday morning en route to school, C complained of an upset tummy. I took this as a sign that A should stay home as well and we would do the whole three day potty training-- and boy oh boy, starting the training on Friday was the best decision ever made. 'Cause people, on Friday I thought that I was about to lose my mind. 

Personality type A that I was, I got a couple books on potty training from the library, got the training panties and read up my stuff. From Friday morning, lots of juice packs were given. I mean my cupboard is empty. 

And there were 3 pees one after the other. But not on the potty. I would put her to sit every fifteen minutes and she would just sit there. Nothing. Then we'd have accidents. Once, she sat down on the potty, got up and proceeded to pee standing up less than a foot away from it. And then we had enough. Maybe it was a bit of tough love/baby torture but Cassia and I sat with her for almost an hour next to the potty. We watched tv (yeah the potty's in our family room momentarily, deal), used the iPad, read books.

and like many stickers
and then she got it, and there was success. And there was a huge celebration. and some candy bribery. 

This was an exchange with my friend, Jenn. 

And another one 
Can you sense my frustration?

But that day was tough and we probably got less than 50% success rate. We went out that night with friends to Chucky Cheese and I put a pull-up on her. She just wasn't ready. The thing is though, the pull up was so soaked after a while because of all the juice, it was pulling down the pants with its weight! Think plumber's smile. 

The next day  started the proceedings but what he didn't realise it that you couldn't take your eyes away from her. No TV, no computer, no napping, you basically had to make her sit down, pull out your party tricks and then she eventually would go. So there were a couple morning accidents but we stuck to it. We used the iPad, played with her babies and did fancy hairstyles. All on the potty but for much shorted periods. By evening, the successes far out weighed the accidents. By Saturday night, she got it. So much so she ran downstairs and tried to go herself. Spillage but still a success still in my books. 

On Sunday, she got it! It was almost like a switch turned on. Though I still timed it, I didn't have to make her sit for hours on end. She virtually had one accident.

So here we are almost a week in, and we are doing well. Today for the first time, she has no accidents and school. Next stop, the toilet!

And another text exchange. I've become way less cranky!

So there you have it, pull ups still being used at night and maybe if we go out for a bit, but we are so proud of our little lady and her big milestone!

I'm absolutely no potty training expert but here are a few tips I found worked well for me.

+Plan nothing for the couple days you're committing to this. We did manage however

+Summer, when I trained C was way easier as I just put her in dresses. For boys or at winter time, pants that are easily taken off is key. Leggings or easy pants are our friends, my friend.

+ Lots of juice on the first day and then time it, every twenty worked  for us. Eventually, it progressed to thirty and now even more.

+Get a dollar store egg timer or use your phone to time the potty usage as you might forget from time to time.

+ Be patient. Your house will be a total mess for the couple days, you won't be blogging or not too many projects but it's temporal so deal. Your sanity will be restored soon, I promise.

+The potty in a more prominent location around everyone made more sense for us as she didn't feel she was missing out on the action and the four of us didn't have to crowd into our tiny powder room. 

What about you? What are your best potty training tips?

Linking with with Annie and Nat for Thoughts on Thursday.

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