Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Explore the world with Little Passports

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions and comments are strictly mine. This post contains affiliate links.

 

I don’t know about the rest of the parents out there, but I am really tired the constantly being asked by my son “Can I play on my tablet?”.  Just this past weekend, I told him that I sick and tired of talking to the top of his head, as it’s all I see of him when he’s playing on it.  If he is going to be using his tablet, I would much rather he be using it to explore and learn about new people, places or things, rather than aimlessly collecting jewels or points in a game.

That is why I really enjoy the Little Passports program.   It’s get the kids away from the tablet games and gets them learning about the amazing world we live in.   Little Passports is a monthly subscription with different programs for children starting as young as age 3.

We received the World Edition for 6-10 year olds and my son is loving it.  And what kid doesn’t love getting things in the mail for themselves?  In our first delivery, we received the starter kit that contains the signature blue suitcase, their very own passport, Wall-sized world map, a welcome letter, stickers and other activities plus access to online games in the Boarding Zone.

sticker-on-suitcase

In each subsequent month, we received a package highlighting a different country around the world with activities, fun souvenirs and information about that country. You get a sticker for your suitcase, one for your passport and then a “pin” sticker to locate that country on your world map and a fact sheet about that country.  Geography is not my strong suit, so I am learning just as much as my son.

sticker-in-passport

sticker-on-map

Each time, there are also fun activities included for your child to enjoy.  This past month we got to explore Japan.  My son loved learning about origami.  There were instructions and origami paper included so he could make some pieces of his own.

origami

My son enjoyed using his tablet to explore the games in the Boarding Zone but he also wanted to lean more about the countries.  I would help him find the information and increased his knowledge about these areas of the world quite a bit.  Exactly how I want him to use his tablet.

This holiday season give the gift of adventure.  It’s a gift that will last the entire year and get them learning about the world we live in.  Also, it might just tear them away from those tablets or at least use them a little differently.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Staying cozy this winter with Briers Blankets

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

briers blanket

This past weekend, the furnace came on, the winter coats, hats and mitts came out.  Summer is definitely over and winter is starting to rear it’s ugly head here.  The cotton sheets were replaced with flannels and the warm, cozy blankets came out of the linen closet.   The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cold, miserable winter this year and I want to be ready for it.

Even at 8 years old, my son tends to be a bit of Linus.  He always has a bunch of blankets cuddled up with him on the couch when he’s watching a movie or in bed with him at night.    He has this one polar fleece, knotted blanket that he’s had since he was just over a year old that we love but it is getting too small to actually cover him properly.  I knew I wanted something similar so I start looking for someone local that could possibly provide one for me.  That is when I happened upon Briers Blankets.

warm-blanket

Although Briers Blankets has only been selling online since April 2016, these blankets started being made back 10 years prior as gifts for her own children followed by nieces and nephews.   Ten years later, they still use their blankets and after encouragement from her sister, Briers Blankets was born.

The blankets are double layer polar fleece, knotted around the edges.  Each one, crafted with love, can be custom created.  The largest (approx 50″ x 70″) can even accommodate an adult. (I know, I use ours when my son isn’t home) and are so amazingly soft and cozy.  Almost makes me enjoy the cold weather upon us.  There is also a smaller version (approx 36″ x 50″) which is great for younger children.  And most recently she has introduced toy blankets that are perfect for dolls, stuffies or as a lovey at sleep time.  They would even work in a cat carrier.

big-blanket

With the holidays soon upon us, these would make a great gift for the children on your list or even the sports parents.  These would be great to keep warm and cozy in a cold arena or late season outdoor sport.  Briers Blankets currently have some blankets available in stock and ready to ship but if you are looking for a custom made blanket for arrival prior to the holidays, orders must be received no later than November 13th to ensure they are ready and shipped in time.   Working with Briers blankets was so easy and they are incredibly sweet and lovely.  It’s small businesses such as this that are always such a pleasure to support.

cozy-blanket

To learn more about Briers blankets or to place your order, check out their Etsy page, FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – it’s all in the planning

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So I think I finally have gotten the exercise portion of my fitness journey on track, now I REALLY need to tackle the eating portion.  This isn’t my first rodeo, I know that it doesn’t matter how much you exercise if you are eating way more calories than you are burning.  And not planning what I am eating is my biggest downfall.

I am forever seeing posts about people meal planning.  And when I see them, I know I should be doing more.  Previously, I would semi meal plan for the days my son is with me.  I use this plan to help me buy groceries and that is about it.  When my son is with his Dad, it’s game over and that  is where the problems begin.  Without a game plan in place, the drive thru window becomes an easy substitute for a good, healthy meal.

So last week, I received this amazing #FitMamaPlanner from Acorn & Coco and I decided that I would give meal planning a go this week.  OK, so it has been less than a week but so far it seems to be helping out a lot.  On Sunday afternoon, I sat down and filled out each day with a menu for the entire week.  The planner has a section for a grocery list which is very handy.  I made sure I accounted for all meals, even my son’s school lunches.

planning

Having everything planned ahead of time and ensuring I used the accompanying grocery list to ensure I had everything available has been a real help.  I am trying to make sure I stick to my guns and follow along.  Every Friday, my office mate and I buy our lunch for making it thru the week alive (LOL) and I even planned for that.  We don’t decide until the day of on where we will eat but I planned the rest of the meals that day around to keep on track.

My goal this week is to not eat out or hit the drive thru unless I have specifically planned it and stick to my meal plan for the week.  For example, we have an event next week and dinner will be eaten out.  Put it the planner and work around it.  I can really understand how this works for people in the long run both in a weight loss/maintenance kind of way but also in a financial way.  Hopefully I will see a not only a difference on the scale but in my bank account as well.

This week has been somewhat slack exercise wise just due to other commitments but hoping to step it up this next week as well.  Still using my #everydamn day motto and at least getting my steps in.    Wish me luck!

getting-my-sweat-on

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

The Clouds are Crying, Mommy.

clouds are sad

I was not planning to write a post today but then on the way to dropping my son off to school today, he said something that broke my heart.  It’s a typical rainy and windy fall day here today.  As we were getting in the car, he said “When it rains, it means the clouds are crying Mommy! Why are the clouds so sad?”

In retrospect, we’ve had a lot of death and sickness in our circle of family and friends lately.  We’ve had family members, family of friends, and even pets pass in the past few weeks.  It is also the anniversary of several friends family passing around this time of year.   By this time in my life, I had already been subjected to the death of my twin sister, more than any 8 year old should have to bear so I try to keep the subject of death as far removed from my son as possible.

I tried to explain that sometimes things happen that make the clouds sad.  Crying can help them deal with their emotions.  I tried to use examples of times he was sad and cried to make him understand. And then he said it “Mommy, why are so many sad things happening lately?”  My heart broke into a million pieces.  Keeping my composure was tough.  How was I supposed to respond to this?  I simply asked him what he meant.  As he started listing off a few things, I knew he wasn’t just a baby anymore that I could just pass things over.  He is a boy now and sadly able to comprehend the world around him.

I tried to explain to him that there was no explanation for it.  I tried to explain my superstition of things happening in 3’s.  I tried to explain that there will be times in our life with dark clouds and rain but we have to look for the sun shining behind those clouds.  I am not a overly religious person, but I try to believe that above those dark clouds are our angels up in heaven.  I tried to explain that sometimes our Angels up in Heaven get sad too and this is the result of that.

My explanation seemed to give him some comfort and give him an answer he could understand.  Crying is life helping us deal with our emotions, crying isn’t a bad thing.   So during those dark and gloomy days,  try to look on the other side of the darkness into the brightness ahead.   And when it seems like a multitude of bad things are happening, there will be an end and things will get better.  I want him not to dwell on the bad things life hands us but look for the good instead.

Tonight I will hug him a little tighter and try to focus on good things we have in our life and try to remove those rain clouds from his mind.

Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

Get there on time with JORD Wood Watches

 

Wood Watch
//www.woodwatches.com/widget-article/aboyandhismom/850/250

This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.  All comments and opinions are strictly mine.

As a Mom, I am constantly needing to know what time it is.  Whether I am trying to get to work on time, getting my son to school or extracurricular activity on time, I am forever needing to know that I am not running late.  I hate being late and am forever checking the time.

womens-watch

I went for years always having a watch on my wrist but then for some reason I stopped wearing one.  Having the time readily available on my phone was probably one of the main reasons.  Let’s be honest though, I hate constantly having to reach for it in my purse and would much prefer having a stylish accessory on my wrist this fall like this JORD Wood Watch.

JORD Women's watch

Whether is it s women’s watch or a men’s watch that you are looking for, JORD Wood Watches has something for you.  They have a wide range of different styles and wood finishes from ebony to bamboo to maple if you are looking for a unique watch to add to your wardrobe. My watch is from the Fieldcrest line in the zebrawood and maple finish and is absolutely gorgeous, pictures don’t do it justice.

cool-watch

I have very small wrists and often have problems finding watches that large and overwhelming.  JORD will size your watch for you so it fits perfectly.

fall-outfit

You can update your fall wardrobe with one of these fabulous pieces by entering here to win a $75 gift card to use towards any watch of your choice.   Even if you don’t win, all entrants will be emailed a $20 e-gift code just for entering.  Contest ends November 6/16.

I wish I could tell you that wearing a JORD Wood Watch would give you the ability to always arrive on time but regardless you will at least look good whenever you arrive.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday (sort of) – Disappointed in myself

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I was doing so well, regardless of how tired I was or how busy I was, I was making sure that every single day I was getting my 10K steps in. I kept telling myself that even if life was getting in the way of me getting to the gym as much as I would like to, that if I got at least my 10K steps in, I was more active than I normally would have been in the past.

Regardless of what I was doing over the summer, I was determined and got my steps in.  Every single day since July 3 — 99 days consecutively, and then Monday, I totally blew it!  It was Thanksgiving day here in Canada.  I had already had my dinner with family, I had enjoyed a great day with my son going to a local hockey game, there were no excuses not to do as did every day to get in my steps in.  It was bedtime and I still had almost 4k steps to get in.  The sitting at the arena for over 2 hours didn’t help the situation but I was tired, bone dead tired. I had nothing in me.  I just wanted to crawl into bed.

I had to decide whether suffering thru a good half hour or more of stepping in place was more important than the guilt I knew I would feel the next day.  I gave in and crawled into bed.  And now, days later I am still feeling guilty and kicking myself in the proverbial ass for not sticking to it.  I was so close to getting over 100 days in a row, and I let pure laziness get the better of me.

I think the biggest regret is knowing that giving in to the laziness once, I set myself for failure again and again.  When I have only been on track for a couple of days, it’s easier to say “I will start again tomorrow.”  I  have been saying that for years and tomorrow never comes.  That is why I really was pushing myself this time to stay on track.

At the beginning of my journey I stasted using the #NeverMissAMonday mantra, but let’s be honest life sometimes gets in the way and missing a Monday happens and it set me up for disappointment yet again.  But don’t get me wrong, I try to start my week out on a good note and to never miss a Monday. I even made motivational hangings for my bathroom with my “You Can Do This” and “Never Give Up” to help me along the way.  never-give-up

you-can-do-this

But Sunday just got the better of me and I shouldn’t have.

And I know I can do this and I don’t want to give up.  So I have given myself a kick in the pants and will do this and won’t give up.  I take a look at my son and I remember that I am doing this so that I am healthy and around for him as long as I can be.  I don’t care if I am a size 2, I just want to be healthy and happy with myself.

I have decided that I need a new mantra….and it is #everydamnday !  Too bad if I am tired, too bad if I just don’t feel like it.  I need to and will take that extra 15, 20 or how many minutes it takes to get those steps in.   Yes, I can do this!

believe-in-myself

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

A Single Mom’s Guide to Easy Car Care

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FRAMFresh #CollectiveBias

 

easy-car-care

As a single Mom, I have to pretty much rely on myself to get things done. Whether it be cutting the lawn, shoveling the driveway or changing a light bulb. If it is needs to be done, I am the only one there to do it. Being very reliant on my car, I need to make sure it is kept in good shape at all times. Being on a tight budget, however,  I don’t want to have to always rely on the dealership for maintenance. If I can do things such as change the filters myself and save the costs of having someone else do it, I will.

Not only do I want to keep my car in good shape, I need to ensure that when driving my car, I am not subjecting myself and my son to unwanted dust, dirt and allergens.  Considering the air inside your vehicle can be up to 6 times dirtier than the air outside, it is important to keep those air filters clean.  If this is something  I can do on my own that not only saves me money but is good for our health, why wouldn’t I take care of it myself?

A dirty air filter can prevent fresh air coming into the system and subsequently into the cabin of the vehicle.  It can also restrict air into the ventilation system which could prevent your A/C , heating and defrost system from working as efficiently as possible.

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FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filters can help remove up to 98% of dirt, dust and allergens from the air passing through the car’s air conditioning and heating ventilation system.  The FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filters are made with carbon and Arm & Hammer baking soda to absorb and eliminate odors.

To change  your cabin air filter, or any filter, start at your local Canadian Tire store and head to the automotive section of your store. I was able to find the part number for my FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter part number by using the Canadian Tire website.  I just searched for the product and then it asked me to select my car make and model and it provided me the correct model and even told me where I could find it in my local store.

photogrid_1475692403214-1

Once I got it home, I emptied the contents out of my glove compartment so that I could get a unobstructed view of the cover of the cabin air filter. You may need to unlatch the glove compartment to get better access to the filter.

air-cabin

I removed the cover to the cabin air filter to expose the filter. It was a bit tight, but I was able to remove the old filter by simply grasping it between my index finger and thumb and pulling it straight out.

putting-it-in

its-gross

I removed the FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter from its packaging and ensured that I slid it back in with the arrow on the end of it pointing down.

this-side-down

After the new filter is snug in place, I snapped the cabin filter cover back into place and voila, a nice, new clean filter is ready to go.   It was so easy and took no time at all.

and-its-done

I also took the time to replace my engine air filter.   FRAM recommends that you change both your cabin air filter and your engine air filter at the same time since they are both subjected to the same conditions.  Your engine air filter is your first line of defense again direct and dust from getting into and damaging your engine.   It can be changed simply as well in under 5 minutes.

engine-filter

All I needed to do was unlatch the 2 latches on the end to remove the lid and placed the new filter in.  I am always a bit hesitant when touching anything in my car’s engine but this was so incredibly easy.

engine-filter-clean

Your engines acceleration, horsepower and over performance can be affected by the condition of your air filter and I can actually say I noticed a difference in my car after installing the new filter.

So, now instead of relying on a mechanic at the dealership to take car of changing the filters, I will be doing it myself.  Another tic on my  “I can do it” list!  Why don’t you try it yourself?  You can learn more tips and tricks here.

 

Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

Breast Cancer Awareness with Giant Tiger

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

hope-love-cure

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.   The statistics for Breast Cancer are shocking.  Breast Cancer accounts for 30% of all diagnosed cancers in Canadian women and this year alone an estimated 25000 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer.   I think what statistic that is most alarming to me is that the lifetime probability of developing Breast Cancer is 1 in 9.  This statistic means that if not me, then one of my close friends will be directly effected and that is pretty scary.

Each year The Cure Foundation uses funds to provide financial support to breast cancer research, purchase state of the art equipment for hospitals and promote breast cancer awareness and education in communities.

I was honored when Giant Tiger asked me to help promote their partnership with The Cure Foundation to support Breast cancer awareness.    Giant  Tiger has been a partner since 2007 and have a Cure branded line of products to support their partnership, breast cancer awareness and research.

The Giant Tiger Cure line of women’s branded clothing is not only stylish, but with each piece being at a price point of between  $10 – $30, it is affordable and everyone is able to support this incredible cause.  What I also love about this line and Giant Tiger clothing in general, is not only does it flatter every body type, it is super comfortable and easy to wear.

The line contains t-shirts, leggings, hoodies, fleece pants, slippers, pajamas, and more in various colors and styles.

track-suit

hands-wide

pink-top

laughing

cure

foot-up

nightie

pjs

So head over to your local Giant Tiger or go online to check out the entire Cure line to support this amazing cause.  You can also learn more about Giant Tiger on their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

 

Special thanks to Melissa Nash for photography help.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Staying Strong during the season of gluttony

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As much as I love summer, I have to say I do really love the fall as well.  Truth be told, I just hate winter and love all the other seasons.  But as much as I love the fall, to me it is the season of gluttony.  Before the kids are even back into school the stores are full of Halloween and Thanksgiving paraphernalia.

The worst for me are those “bite size” chocolate bars.  They sit there and they tempt me like no tomorrow.  I try to reach for just 1 and then try to convince myself that a regular chocolate bar is the equivalent of 3 of the minis.  So 1 turns into 2 that turns into 6.  And then I am beating myself up for eating the first one that started this whole mess.  😦

gluttony

And I swear as soon as the clock strikes midnight and it becomes September 1st, everything and I mean EVERYTHING turns into pumpkin.  Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice candles, and so and so on.  The other day I was on Facebook and I thought I had seen it all.  It was a picture of Charmin pumpkin spice toilet paper.  At that point, I was done!!!!  But luckily it was just a hoax.  It was so realistic that Charmin even acknowledged it on Twitter.   Unlike my weakness to the mini chocolate bars, I have been fairly strong with the temptation of the pumpkin.  So far, I have only had a pumpkin muffin.  It was tasty but as soon as I realized it was over 450 calories, that was the last of that.

pumpkin

With this weekend being Thanksgiving here in Canada, it’s yet another chance for the gluttony to prevail.   I love the turkey, the dressing, the mashed potatoes but I am going to have to have it all in moderation.  As it is, I have been eating terribly for the past few weeks and my body is complaining about it.  It’s a real eye opener to me that my body has actually gotten used to me eating healthier and letting me know when I don’t.

So this week I have been eating much healthier, getting back on track and my body is starting to forgive me.  Getting to the gym this week has been difficult due to other commitments but I am still managing to get my 10,000 steps in each day.  That has been somewhat of my saving grace.  I am hoping to step my exercise game up this next week and get the whole package back on track.

What is your game plan to keep things under control during the season of gluttony?

 

What I'm Wearing

Getting ready for fall in style with PinkBlush

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

Now that summer is over, it is time to put away the flip flops and the shorts and time to bring out the fall clothes.  The one thing about fall that can often make deciding what to wear a bit difficult is that in the morning you could need a coat/sweater and by the afternoon you almost want to go back to summer wear.  It’s all about transition pieces with me, like hat light sweater and light dress that can lead you from cool mornings to warm afternoons in comfort.

sitting

That is what I love about PinkBlush.  I have to admit when I first heard about PinkBlush, I thought they were just a trendy online boutique for maternity wear.  But not only do they carry super stylish maternity clothes, they also carry a great line of clothes for women.  A huge plus is that a lot of their line are amazing transition pieces.  They carry you from everyday into maternity and back again.  So that great dress or sweater that you love, can be worn anytime.  I know that a lot of women struggle with feeling stylish during there pregnancy and afterwards, luckily with there is no need to worry with the PinkBlush line.

standing

Their line does not just include dresses, there are tops, pants, sweaters and their dress line ranges from casual to formal.  There are so many beautiful pieces and they are easy to wear.  I love this tunic dress that I found at PinkBlush.  It is so incredibly comfortable and the lightweight fabric makes it a great piece to pair up with a jean jacket or sweater on a beautiful fall day.  Pair it up with a set of tights and a heavier sweater and it will easily work into my winter wardrobe as well.  I am looking forward to ordering more pieces from them.  This dress is so easy to wear, I want to add other easy to wear pieces to my wardrobe.  sitting-2

Interested in winning a $50 gift card to use to update your wardrobe with something from PinkBlush?  Head over to my Instagram page and enter to win.  Contest open to residents of Canada and the US and must not have won from PinkBlush in the past 3 months.  Contest ends Wednesday, October 12th at 12 noon EST.

Special thanks to Melissa Nash for photography help.