Travel

Medieval Times review and contest

Royal guests, you are about to take a journey back to the age of valor and chivalry. You will join his majesty with all the pageantry in the ancient  realm for an unforgettable experience of a tournament of knights.  Welcome to Medieval Times!

Recently, we were invited to visit Medieval Times Toronto Castle for an afternoon of knights, princesses and all the pageantry that comes with it.

P1030498

If you have never been before, I highly suggest that you make a reservation.  It is a perfect outing for any family.

From the moment you arrive, it is like you have been transported back in time.

Before the show begins you are welcomed into the give shop where there is a wide range of souvenirs and medieval fare.  There are plastic and wooden swords and shields for the kids to actual swords for the avid adult collector.  My son was thrilled to add a stuffed dragon to his collection from previous visits.

20160312_124636_HDR

As the show is about to begin, the team rivalry starts with the “cheering” competition to see which color group gets to be seated first.

Once everyone is seated, the wenches begins to serve the dinner. It is a wonderful feast of soup, chicken, potatoes, corn on the cob, garlic bread and a tart for dessert.  (There is a vegetarian option available as well.)  I remember the first time, I wasn’t quite sure how eating medieval style would work (no utensils) but it ended up being no issue at all.  Packing some extra napkins in my purse, did help.  My son can be a bit of a picky eater and he loved the meal.

20160102_132948_HDR

While enjoying the feast, the tournament began.  The arena is split into color sections:  green, blue, yellow, red, red & yellow, back & white.  We were a part of the red and yellow team.

The show was non-stop action and excitement.  I was definitely startled a few times at the intensity of the battle when the swords collided and sparked.

The skills of the knights and their horses was amazing to watch.  We enjoyed ourselves so much that I couldn’t believe how fast the time passed.

20160312_134726_HDR

When the competition was over, the red was the winner and the Queen of the tournament was chosen from the audience.

It was definitely an afternoon to remember and we thank Medieval Times for the opportunity.   A special thanks to our wench, Caitlyn.  She was amazing from the minute we arrived until the end of the show!!

20160312_150836_HDR

Now it is time for you to get the opportunity as well.

Medieval Times Toronto Castle has given one lucky reader the opportunity to win 2 tickets to see a show at the Toronto Castle.  You can enter to win below.  Tickets must be used for an available show in March or April 2016.  Contest closes on Tuesday, March 15th at midnight EST.

You can get more information on Medieval Times on their website, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

 

**** Please note that although these tickets were provided to me, all comments, opinions and pictures are mine.
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Contests at AllCanadaContests.com

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

My favorite age so far!

Don’t get me wrong, I have loved everything about my son growing up so far but I have to admit this has been the best age so far.  He’s that perfect combo of “he’s still my baby” and “he’s a baby anymore”.

DSC_2744

What I love about him being this age:

1.Right now girls are still “icky” and Mommy is his one and only girl.  I know this won’t last too much longer, so I will take it while I can.

2.Hugs and kisses from Mommy are still ok, most of the time. Cuddles at bedtime are a must.  There have already been a few instances where I got the “Mommy, not here!”

3.His still considers his stuffies his best friends. They must be in bed with him every night.

4.Movies and TV don’t always have to be cartoons.  I am sorry, but it will be a cold day in h*&% before I watch another episode of “Caillou” or “In the Night Garden”.

5.We both sing along to the top 40 on the radio. I swear he knows the lyrics to every song out there.

6.We can play board and card games together. And most of the times, I don’t have to pretend to let him beat me.  He does it all on his own.

P1030494

7.Now that he is reading chapter books, I feel like we are reading real stories, not just “watch Spot run”.   That continuation of a story gives us something to look forward to each night when we read.  That “what happens next”?

8.Jeans and tshirts are perfectly acceptable and rarely cares what I choose for him to wear.  Although he seems to be growing out of them faster than I can keep up.

9. He still wants me to play Lego with him every single day.

20160130_095919_HDR

10.We have full on conversations about everyday events, and topics at a higher level.  Don’t get me wrong, we don’t talk politics or about the crime in the world but he’s smart enough to talk to me about more than just juvenile topics.

I can’t wait to see what the next years bring us, as I am sure they will be great.

What was your favorite age with your child?

Thanks,
C.

 

 

 

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

I’m guest blogging!

I am thrilled to have been selected to be a guest blogger in March on an amazing blog, Single Mom, What a Life!  The creator of this blog, Iman, is the true definition of a super Single Mom!!!  Please check out her blog, it is very inspiring.

Merging March! (Meet the Guest Bloggers)

My actual piece won’t be posted until March 25th but my profile and the profiles of the other great Mom’s featured this month are now posted (link in photo above).  I am so honored to be a part of this!!

Thanks,
C.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

If I knew then……..

If I knew then

By no means do I claim to be an expert in the divorce field.  However,  if I knew then what I know now when I had to start the whole process, things would have gone a lot faster, easier and definitely cheaper.  I just want to share my little bit of knowledge with any of you starting this process so that you don’t fall into some of the pitfalls that I did or if nothing else, I can give you a little hope that it will all work out.

  1. Document, document, document – This is going to be a difficult time for you, especially if you have little ones to take care of.  Documenting everything will just ensure you don’t forget things or conversations don’t get misconstrued.  If you have a verbal conversation, send an email after the fact, outlining what you discussed and have that person confirm the details.  Keep all documents you  receive from your lawyer, their lawyer and anyone else involved all together for easy reference.
  2. Don’t leave things unsaid or assumed.  Do not assume everyone is on the same page as you or going to do you any favors.  You need to be sure you have all your bases covered.
  3. Find a well respected, seasoned lawyer.  The last thing you are going to want to do is spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer that isn’t there to support you and your case.  Even if you and your ex are on amicable terms, things need to be legally documented and lawyers will be able to advise you on items that you wouldn’t even know to consider.    If the first one you hire isn’t doing the job, fire them!
  4. Get yourself a strong support network – friends, families, others who have been in your shoes. There are going to be times that you need to rely on your support system to get you through the day.  There will be good days and there will definitely be bad days. They will pick you up when you are down.   Don’t shut people out, you need people around you.
  5. Find something that you can claim as your own.  Be it a hobby or activity that you didn’t share with your ex.   Find something to help you start becoming your own person again.  Not meaning you weren’t your own person before, but your own person now being single – something that has no ties to your previous life.  You will need an escape every once in a while.  Trust me on this one!
  6. Don’t ask your friends to pick sides.  In my experience, they will do that on their own.  Just be cognizant of what you share and with who.
  7.  If you have little ones, keep them as far away from any discussions whether in person or on the phone as possible with your ex or anyone else involved.  They do not need to hear any disagreements or arguing.
  8. Regardless if your split is amicable or not, there are going to be times your ex upsets you or things they will do that you don’t agree with.  Do not badmouth them in front of your children.  Just because you two don’t love each other, your children still love them.
  9. Try to keep daily life as normal as possible for your children.  In the grand scheme of things, I was lucky.  My son was only 6 months old, so he has never known any different.  Although, as he gets older, I know that consistency in routines and schedule are better for him.  He knows what to expect and when.
  10. Divorce is not the end of the world.  You are a lot stronger than you think, you will surprise yourself. You will get through it!

Thanks,

C.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Pink Shirt Day – putting an end to bullying

20160222_113503_HDR

This Wednesday, February 24th is Pink Shirt Day.  Everyone is encouraged to wear a pink shirt to show their support to end bullying everywhere especially in our schools and online.

Pink Shirt Day started back in 2007 when 2 high school students in Nova Scotia, Travis Price and David Shepherd, decided to take a stand against bullying in their school.   You can read more about Travis and David’s message in this article from the Globe and Mail.  

Since 2007, the anti-bullying message has spread across Canada.    Unfortunately, bullying has become a growing issue in our schools and online. Kids need to understand that this is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.  Schools and businesses alike are spreading the message about standing up to bullying.  There have been many initiatives started across Canada to help end bullying.

Just a few examples of this initiative……

In British Columbia,  Coast Canada (@Coast_Canada) has pledged to donate $1 for every social media post with #PinkITforward up to $45,000 to stop bullying.

Gs3ggzAN_400x400
Image from pinkshirtday.ca

And right here in Oshawa, the OshawaCentre has teamed up with Post-ITs and Shaw Communications for #PinkShirtPromise campaign.  People are encouraged to come to the mall and  post their message against bullying on Post-it Pink wall by Guest Services in Centre Court.  For every Post-It message, the Oshawa Centre will donate $0.25 to Big Brothers Big Sisters Oshawa-Whitby, up to $2500.

20160222_113421_HDR

20160222_113538_HDR

I know that on Wednesday, I will be wearing my pink shirt and promoting the #PinkITforward and #PinkShirtPromise campaigns on social media.  I hope you will too.

Let’s put an end to bullying!

Thanks,
C.

 

 

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

A different kind of Mommy guilt.

We’ve all heard the term “Mommy Guilt” and I am sure most of you have experienced it at one point or another.  We all felt that pang of guilt when we had to go back to work and leave our little ones, or that first “date” night after they were born.  It’s natural and nothing to feel guilty about.  Everyone needs some “me” time once and a while.

From the time my son was 6 months old, I have had a 50/50 custody split with his father.  So half the time, I have time to myself to do whatever I want, whenever I want.  Sounds perfect, right??  WRONG.   I didn’t sign up to be a parent half of time, I signed up to be a Mom 100% of the time.  This is something I will never be happy with, but over the years slowly have come to accept.

I begrudge when other parents tell me I am so lucky to have all this free time.  Sure, being able to have a nap on a Sunday afternoon is great when he is at his Dad’s or getting groceries alone is definitely less stressful.  But I don’t get to pick what days are good days and which days are bad days.  So on those bad days, I don’t always get to come home and get the hug and kiss I need to make the world feel right again.  I don’t get to choose when I get to and don’t get to see my son.  It has been chosen for me.  I think if people really thought about it, they would sing a different tune.

Aside from the regular Mommy guilt that comes naturally, I have suffered for years with another kind of Mommy guilt.  That guilty feeling for actually trying to enjoy the time that my son is away from me and at his father’s.  For years, going out with friends on a Saturday night, although fun at the time, I always felt guilty about being happy and having fun.

I shouldn’t be happy that I don’t have my son with me.  I should be sad and missing him. For years, I struggled with this.  The last thing I would want my son is to think that I didn’t want or enjoy my time with him.   So many a Saturday night, I would sit home thinking that was the right thing to do.

And yes, I know this is crazy talk.

And it took me a lot longer than most but I now understand that I shouldn’t be feeling guilty at all.  I am using that time apart from him to make myself a better Mom.  I have started using “my” time to do the things that make me happy.  For example, I enjoy running.  I may not be fast or able to run a marathon but it is just something where I can just put on my headphones and go to my happy place.  So now, a couple of times a year, I find runs that occur on weekends my son is with his father and enter them.

20150919_100337

 

I have done a couple with friends and even pushed myself even further out of my comfort zone and did one of those obstacle course runs on my own.  Normally, I would never have done a run such as that on my own, but I knew that it was something I needed to do for myself and at the end I was so happy I had pushed myself to do it.

20150711_090921_HDR

So what does all of this mean?  It means that I have realized that I should not feel guilty about enjoying my time that my son isn’t with me.  I don’t have a choice in this schedule we have, so I need make the best of it and use this time to make myself a better person.  Instead of sitting home on a Saturday watching TV, I go out and do things with friends like snow tubing or bowling, or to a movie that I have been dying to see or even it if is just out for a workout at the gym. I do things for me!

20150221_153906

As a result of this, my son is benefiting too.   Being a single parent isn’t easy.  You have to juggle the 2 parent roles, regardless of how you feel and if you are tired or not. I have done the things that I wanted to do on my time so that when he is with me I am refreshed and ready to take on my Mom role.  My focus is on him and the things he needs and wants to do.

I am sure I am not the only single parent out there that feels or has felt this way.  Just know that although you may not have wanted this alone time, it is ok to use it to enjoy yourself.  There is no need to feel guilty about it.

Thanks,

C.

 

 

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

My review of Brookside Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bars

Recently I was selected by ChickAdvisor to review the latest product from Brookside, their Dark Chocolate Fruit & Nut Bars. I received 3 different flavors:
1. Cranberry with Blackberry
2. Blueberry with Acai
3. Cherry with Pomegranate

20160212_072300
I decided to recruit my son into reviewing these products as he is a fan of granola type bars and chocolate. 🙂

When I first showed him these bars, he was a bit disappointed to see they weren’t “chocolate bars”. I think he heard the word chocolate and instantly thought it was going to be a candy type bar.  After further inspection, he was happy to be my assistant in tasting this product.

As a Mom, it was nice to see that the product was made with real fruit, a source of fibre, non-GMO and gluten free. At 180 calories each, not bad on the waistline either.

20160212_072755

We tried each and I was pleased at the amount of flavour in each bar.  Each one had its own distinct flavour, too. The amount of chocolate wasn’t too overpowering and the fruit flavour was more prominent.   They were chewier than I had anticipated.  Containing nuts, I would have thought they would have been a bit crunchier.

20160212_073151
Out of the 3 flavors, the Cherry and Pomegranate was my favorite. To me it had the fullest flavour. My son preferred the Cranberry and Blackberry flavor.

20160212_073234

My son’s reactions was ” Mom, you have to buy these!!”  He tends to be a picky eater so this was a great review.

The retails price on these bars is $1.99, which is a bit steep but when they are a good quality bar, I will be looking for them in stores the next time I am out shopping.

Thanks,
C.

**** Please note that although this product was provided to me, all comments and pictures are mine.

 

#brooksidefruitnutbars @brookside_choc

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Liebster Award!

Liebster award

Yesterday, I got a notification on Twitter that I was nominated for the Liebster award from “Beautifully Marked” !!!  I am thrilled that my tiny little blog has been noticed!!

A HUGE shout out to Rachel from Beautifully Marked! Her blog is amazing and you should definitely check it out!

This award is given from one blogger to another to find out more about new blogs.

The rules are as followed:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and post a link to their blog in your post.
  2. Show the award on your blog or in your post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
  4. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5-11 bloggers that you feel deserve the award.
  6. Create a list of new questions for your nominees to answer.
  7. Once your blog is published, let your nominees know that they have been nominated and link them to your post for more details.

Here were the questions I was asked and I hope you enjoy reading my answers!

  1. What made you start blogging? Blogging is something that I have always wanted to do but never really had the courage to start.  A fellow blogger friend of mine told me to do it and not to be scared and just to have fun.  So, I finally decided to give it a try.
  2. What is one of your favorite childhood memories? I have so many great childhood memories, trying to pick one was really tough. One thing I will always remember is going to Washington, DC in Grade 12 while the Earth Day was happening and saw Tom Cruise.  (He really IS short.)  🙂
  3. What do you hope to achieve in your blog this year? I really should sit down and put together a game plan for the year. Right now, I just want to have fun and hopefully get some loyal followers that enjoy my blog too.
  4. Who is your favorite actor and why? Chris O’Donell. I have love him ever since I saw him in Circle of Friends.
  5. How would you describe yourself in 3 words? Loyal, hardworking, loud
  6. What is it about your blog that draws people in? I hope that people are drawn to my blog because of my honest account of being a single Mom with a great little boy.
  7. Is there a blogger who inspires you? There are so many great ones out there. I have been following Heather B. Armstrong’s blog Dooce for years.
  8. What is your favorite animal and why? I am a cat person. My current cat has a bit of a bad attitude but in general cats are just so easy going.
  9. What are some of your goals for this year? My goal for this year is to lose the 20lbs I told myself I would lose last year.
  10. What is your best joke? What do you call cheese that is not your own? Nach-yo cheese
  11. Who is your role model? My Mom! She is the one that keeps my family together and has always instilled in us that regardless if we fight or argue, we always love each other and are always there to help each other out.  I hope to be that person for my son as well.

11 Random Facts about me! 

  1. I love Math.  I would rather do Algebra than a crossword puzzle, any day!
  2. I won the Most Outstanding Art student award at my Grade 8 graduation.
  3. Running is my favorite escape. I may not be fast or able to run long distances but give me headphones and some music and I am in my happy place.
  4. I was a cheerleader in High School and we didn’t even have a football team. 😉
  5. Remember how as a kid you were always told to walk with the blades of the scissors down? I followed that rule and now have 2 scars on my foot where the blades of the scissors cut me when they fell.
  6. This totally ages me, but I was told I looked like Mary Lou Retton as a kid.
  7. I have a tattoo.
  8. Twister is my favorite movie of all time.
  9. One day, I would still like to finish my Bachelor degree.
  10. Regardless of my marriage ending, I will always look back at my wedding day with fond memories.
  11. This was a LOT harder than I thought it would be.

MY NOMINEES!

According To Amanda

I Don’t Blog

Pragma Mamma

Postpartum Obsession

What Mamma Wears

Questions for my nominees:

  1. If you could only listen to one CD for the rest of your life, what would it be?
  2. Which of your teachers inspired you? Why?
  3. Name one thing on your “bucket list”.
  4. Favorite subject in school.
  5. What do you want to be remembered for?
  6. Best concert you have ever attended.
  7. What is the scariest thing you have ever done?
  8. What is the strangest thing people would find in your purse?
  9. If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would you go?
  10. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  11. Who is your hero?

Again, thank you Rachel for the tag! It was so incredibly nice of you and a real surprise for me!   I enjoy your blog and these questions were amazing.   I can’t wait to contact my nominees and see their answers.

Thanks,

C.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Our Home is Not Broken

broken home
noun
1. a family in which one parent is absent, usually due to divorce or desertion:  (Definition courtesy of Dictionary.com)

So yes, by definition, I have a broken home.

Do I ensure that my son has food on the table, a roof over his head and warm clothing on his back?  Yes

Does my son come home to a house full of love, trust, stability and understanding?  Yes

So why is my home considered broken, just because I don’t have a husband, boyfriend or significant other?  I thought women today were supposed to be strong and independent and we were supposed to be teaching our children to be the same?

P1010952

Someone needs to edit the dictionary, because my home is far from broken.  In fact, I have seen homes where both parents are present and it is far more broken than my home.

My son’s father and I separated when he was only 6 months old and now have a 50/50 custody split.**  So my son has never known anything different.  He has never known Mommy and Daddy together.  He has only ever known that he has a Mommy and Daddy, that both love him, just apart.  He knows he has my family and friends that love him all the time, even when we are apart.  This is his norm, nothing is broken.

So stigmatizing any child to say that there is something wrong with their life just because they don’t conform to the stereotypical perfect home with a Mommy and a Daddy and siblings is just plain wrong.  Does that mean that children that live in a home with 2 Fathers or 2 Mothers is broken too?  I think not.

I go out of my way to ensure that my son has all the opportunities that other children from these unbroken homes do.  Sure, having only one income makes certain things a bit of a struggle but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the good things that life has to offer.   There are many great things to enjoy and do in our community that doesn’t require 2 incomes.  We have parks and beaches and great events at our museums and galleries.

P1020913

So perhaps we can’t enjoy a yearly trip to Disney or somewhere sunny and warm in the winter, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have happy lives.  We live by the proverbial phrase “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”    We make the best of what we have and live life happy and not dwelling on what we don’t have.

Our home is not broken.

P1030196

 

** Please note that aside from the basic facts that my son's father and I are divorced and we have a 50/50 custody split, no other information regarding my ex-husband and our relationship will be a topic of discussion on this blog.