About me

I am a Stay at Home Mom. I love Chai Lattes, anything chocolate, and all of the Real Housewives. I hate cleaning bathrooms.

I've been with my husband since 2000, married since 2005, and together we have two little girls. Little Bear was born in 2009 and Crazy Plates in 2010.

This is my blog. A place where I share all the fun and frustrating things about being a Stay at Home Mom.

I hope you can enjoy, relate, and have a little laugh.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dear Santa...

Dear Santa: I cleaned out the playroom the other day and got rid of every toy that has 5 or more pieces. Things with 5 or more pieces are not welcome in my house since these pieces end up in my drawers, vents, under the couch, or lost in the Bermuda Triangle that is my playroom. If any of these multi-pieced items find their way under the tree this year, I'll be putting you on the naughty list. Not sure what that means exactly, since you're sort of the boss at Christmas time, but, just consider yourself warned.

In addition, I'd like to draw your attention to three toys that I also disapprove of.

1) The Micky Mouse Playhouse floor puzzle.  This puzzle doesn't come on a puzzle board or in a box.  It comes on a piece of cardboard.  So, when my kids ripped off the plastic wrapping and the puzzle pieces fell off of the cardboard, this is what we were left with.  A big pile of puzzle pieces.  We can't remember what it is supposed to look like, since there is no picture on a box lid to refer to, so putting this puzzle together is a bit more challenging than it needs to be.  And, how am I supposed to store this giant pile of puzzle pieces?  No.  Puzzles should always come on a puzzle board or in a box.  Stamped it.  No erasies. 

2) Barbie.  I don't have a problem with Barbie herself, she's a great girl.  She's been around forever, had a bunch of cool job, her own TV show on Netflix; it's her shoe collection I have a problem with.  I mean, why does a plastic doll need so many shoes?  It's not like she ever goes outside.  And, she doesn't need to wear high heels for the height, her feet are permanently in the high heel position.  My problem with her shoes is that when they come off they go missing, and then I find Barbie shoes in the most random places all over my house.  And I don't find a pair of Barbie shoes, I find one shoe, or two shoes that don't match.  I think Barbie shoes should be painted on, or glued on, or somehow permanently affixed to her feet so they'll stay on for all of eternity.  I just have no time for Barbie shoes. 

3) Porcelain tea set.  Don't get me wrong, it's adorable.  It's a brightly coloured, polka-dotted, mini porcelain tea set, with a tea pot, mugs, and saucers.  What's not to love?  My daughters had the most epic tea parties ever.  Until this happened.  Obviously.  Because it's a porcelain tea set.  For kids.  I mean Santa, what were you thinking?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back To School Fashions

All the day time talk shows are showing back to school fashions for kids, and since I have two fashionistas in the making, I thought I'd do a fashion show of my own.  But first, my thoughts on kids fashion.  You didn't think I'd write a blog post without sharing my opinion, did you?

Most days I let my girls chose their own clothes.  I don't mean I show them a pink shirt and a purple shirt and let them chose between the two, I mean I tell them if it's hot or cold outside, and then let them pick out an outfit.  Sometimes they wear a party dress to the grocery store, sometimes they wear their pajamas to the park, and sometimes they wear their bathing suits to bed, as I discussed in a previous post.  I think kids should be kids, free to express themselves and their creativity.  It's only our stuffy adult conventions that say we shouldn't wear a formal dress to the grocery store, but why not?  I enjoy watching my girls try out new outfits.  Sometimes they get it right, and sometimes, not so much.  But, they're learning what they like to wear, and developing a personal style that some adults are still struggling with.  Here are a few of my favourite outfits.  Little Bear has a bit more styling experience under her belt, and she's getting pretty good at it.  She's into accessorizing these days.  She rarely leaves the house without her pink purse, her phone, a necklace, and an armful of bracelets.  She gets her love of accessories from me.  Remember my necklace collection?

In this first ensemble, Little Bear is wearing a striped t-shirt with flowers.  She's paired it with a colourful polka dotted skirt.  A bold mix of patterns, that only she could pull off.  Runners with no socks is part of her signature style.  Big Baby is wearing last season's snowsuit from Joe Fresh.

In this outfit, Little Bear is wearing her favourite pink cardigan.  It's a staple in her wardrobe.  She's paired it with a simple black t-shirt and my infinity scarf.  Her track pants with gold stars add a bit of unexpected fun to this look.  

Crazy Plates is wearing a white t-shirt under my mom's sequined tank top, and has paired it with Nike Shox and a pendent necklace.  She's still developing her style, but I think she nailed it with this outfit.

This is one of my most favourite looks that Little Bear has put together.  A bright orange tank top, brown tutu, sneakers and knee socks, paired with a colourful necklace, her pink purse, and of course, her phone.  Big Baby is taking more of a fashion risk, wearing only her under garments and an arm party on each wrist.  

Little Bear is once again sporting her favourite pink cardigan, this time with a star patterned skirt and leggings.  Her purple shoes pick up the purple flowers in her hat.  Big Baby is wearing Little Bears striped shirt with flowers as a dress.

This shot shows the versatility of the above outfit.  Layering is key with the unpredictable weather we've been having, and perfect for back to school.

On a related note, I also let the girls' creativity run wild when doing art projects.  It's boring to colour inside the lines all the time.  Art is definitely a personal expression, and if the girls want to colour the sun blue and the grass yellow, so be it.  This art project was supposed to be a Plasticine fairy standing on the grass with a blue sky behind her.  These are their interpretations.  Little Bear's is on the left, Crazy Plates' is on the right.


Monday, August 18, 2014

My Helpful Husband...Continued

My husband didn't have to be in the office until later this morning, so he slept in a bit. I woke up at 2am when Crazy Plates peed in her bed, and again at 4am when Little Bear woke up and needed help falling back asleep, and again at 6:45 when both girls were up for the day. I got out of bed, made breakfast, broke up a fight over a doll, packed their lunches, broke up a fight over crayons, got them dressed, did their hair, broke up a fight over hair clips, brushed their teeth and took them to school. But, at least my husband got to sleep in.

When it comes to household chores, I don't ask too much from my husband. In fact, I only have two requests. 1. Don't tell me you're out of underwear when you are literally out of underwear. I can't wiggle my nose and have the laundry done in an instant. If you wait until you're out of underwear to tell me you're out of underwear, then you're going to work without underwear.  2. When you're done eating, put your dishes in the sink. Not next to the sink, in the sink. And if there is something sticky or messy on the plate, rinse it off. Is that too much to ask?

I've heard it said that marriage is getting to have a sleep over with your best friend, every night of the week. This is true, except for the nights he's away on business, or asleep on the couch, or at an 11pm men's league hockey game. Or in the dog house. And then there are the nights when you have two crazy kids crashing your sleep over. But, yes, other than that, this is exactly what marriage is like.

I find it funny that my husbands fingernails on his fingers don't gross me out, but if I find a clipping on the bathroom counter, I throw up a little in my mouth.

Angry Letters

Dear people who make parks: I would like you to build in my neighbourhood a park with a soft ground that doesn't consist of sand or wood chips, swings that push themselves, two of everything so my girls don't fight, slides that don't get hot in the sun, a comfortable chair for me, and clean washrooms. And a Starbucks. And no bugs. Thank you.

Dear people who make car seats: As part of your testing, I think you should have a 4 year old throw up multiple times while strapped in, then take the car seat out and try and clean it. If it's easier to buy a new car seat than it is to clean the car seat, you need to go back to the drawing board...

Dear coffee shops: If I roll through your drive thru and ask for a buttered bagel, then please give me a buttered bagel, not a bagel with butter packets and a knife. It's a pretty safe bet that if I'm going through your drive thru, then I'm in my car, not my kitchen. And I'm sure Oprah would agree that buttering a bagel while driving is a no no.

Dear companies who compile e-mail lists: If I unsubscribe to your e-mail list, don't send me an e-mail confirming that I have unsubscribed to your e-mail list. My unsubscribing from your e-mail list means I don't want e-mails from you. Not sending me e-mails would be confirmation that I have unsubscribed from your e-mail list. Thank you.

Dear teenagers who sat at the table next to ours at East Side Mario's tonight, and spent the whole time on their phones. When I was your age, I used to go up to my bedroom to talk on the phone, and I went out for dinner with my friends to spend time with them. You should try it! I know it's a bit old school, but...I think you'll like it.

Random Thoughts on Motherhood

At Target, I overheard two employees talking about how on an 8 hour shift they get two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute break. I brought this up with my kids, but they don't think it applies to me. I may have to call the labour board on this one.

Before I was a stay at home mom, I was a working gal. Sure it was hard work, but I never had a co-worker hand me his booger and say 'I don't want this'. Just saying.

Tonight at dinner, my youngest daughter ate all the ketchup on her plate with a spoon. When she asked for more I gave it to her because it was the closest thing to a vegetable she had had all week. That's ok, right?

Every night, after the girls go to bed, I clean the playroom, and every night I think...why bother?

Am I doing something wrong that Little Bear can recognize the Starbucks and Target logo, but thinks that eleventeen is a real number?

If you ask a skinny stay-at-home-mom how she stays so thin, she'll say it's from chasing after her kids. I chase after my kids all the time, mostly when I want some of their goldfish, which I have come to realized is counter-productive, so I decided to join the gym. I did a step class this morning, and do you know what I found? A class full of skinny stay-at-home-moms. Imagine that! Lied to by my own co-workers. Don't you just hate office politics? I guess it's true what they say...it really is a rat race out there.

How can my girls make such a mess with Crayola's Mess Free Colour Wonder paint? They never cease to amaze me.

Little Bear's teacher sent her home with a reader, so we could practice reading together. The first word in the book is 'Mac'. Little Bear sounded out the M, the A, and the C, then with great enthusiasm yelled, "Matt!". So we tried again. She sounded out the M, the A, and the C, then yelled, "Matt!". This happened a third time, and after the fourth time I put the book away and we all had ice cream and watched a movie. I think it's best to leave the teaching to the professionals.

Being a stay at home mom is frustrating work, at times. You think you're done the laundry, then your kid spills spaghetti sauce on her shirt. You reach the bottom of sink full of dishes, only to have your husband throw in his empty coffee... cup. You grocery shop and fill up the fridge, and then it's empty again at the end of the week. It's a bit like running on a treadmill. You go and go and go, but never really get anywhere...

Housewife Hacks: Part 2

It's time for another round of Housewife Hacks!  If you missed Housewife Hacks: Part 1, you can find it here.  

This first hack is more of a functional decorating tip.  Functional decorating...that's a thing, right?  Anyway.  We have floating shelves on either side of our hood vent in our kitchen.  I have a bunch of jars that I have collected over the years (some are our original canisters from when we got married, the one with the red lid was my Grandma's, the little one is from a candy station at a wedding) so I grabbed all the loose baking / cooking items in my cupboards (salt, sugar, flour, etc) and filled the jars.  Then I got some wraphia and brown paper labels from Michael's, and now my cupboards are a little less crowded, and my shelves functionally decorated.  

I got this next idea from this website. I put my husband to work, and this is the result!  It's just a giant board from Home Depot painted with chalk board paint and then screwed to our fence.  So simple to do, and the girls just love it. This definitely puts hubby in my good books.  For now, anyway.

I love all things maple.  I mean, LOVE.  We were recently at a farmer's market and I picked up some maple hot chocolate, maple tea, maple chocolate, maple sugar, and those little maple candies that are shaped like maple leafs and melt in your mouth.  But I didn't buy maple syrup, because of this little tip that I came up with all by myself.  You can buy, at the grocery store, real maple syrup in a can.  Buying it in the can is a lot cheaper than buying it in a glass bottle.  The container I keep it in is one of those protein shake shakers, the ones with the little whisk inside, because the drinking whole in the top makes for a good maple syrup spout.  Just take the little whisk out.  Maple syrup is way better than protein shakes, so you'll be happy you did.  

These are poor man sausages.  My parents made them all the time when I was growing up, and now, so do I.  Just slice a hot dog and cook the slices in a dry non-stick pan for a couple minutes on each side.  They're delicious.  Oh, and I know the waffles look burnt, but they're not.  They're chocolate.  And they're amazing.      

Do you ever buy those pizza kits from the grocery store?  They usually come with two crusts and sauce.  I make both pizzas, cut them into slices and then freeze the slices either in a Tupperware with wax paper between the slices, or in freezer bags.  Then, when the girls want pizza for lunch, I bring out two slices and heat them from frozen in the toaster oven.  Sometimes, I take a jar of carrot baby food and mix it with the pizza sauce.  It doesn't really change the taste, and I feel like they're eating some veggies.  On a side note, how dirty is the bottom of my toaster oven?  Geeze...someone better clean that.

The cupboard under the kitchen sink can get pretty dirty, with the soaps and detergents and cleaners that are usually stored under there.  I put a shoe mat in the cupboard under my sink, and keep the detergents on it, so there is no soapy, sticky mess in the cupboard.  The idea is, when the mat gets dirty I can take it out and rinse it off...but...I have yet to do that.  But when I do get around to it, it will clean up easily.

This hack may only apply to my family, but nonetheless, here it is.  My husband's office is in the basement.  I got a file holder from Staples and hung it on the wall at the top of the basement stairs.  Ok, my husband hung it on the wall.  Anyway, when I get the mail, I sort it, and put his mail in the file holder so he can grab it on the way to his desk.  

I saw this idea on the Steven and Chris show and I just had to try it.  I tried it and I love it.  I picked up this super cute paper towel holder at Homesense.  The little knob on the top looks like a big crystal, perfect for little girls.  And big girls.  I took a a pink pillow case and wrapped it around the paper towel roll.  I cut the pillow case in half first, cutting around the edges so the size didn't change, but I was just wrapping one layer of fabric over the paper towel roll instead of two.  Once you've wrapped the paper towel roll, tuck the extra pillow case fabric at the top and bottom into the roll itself.  Then put the paper towel roll back on the paper towel holder and it makes a super cute way to store headbands.

This idea is so simple, but it took a few trips to the beach with friends for me to think of it.  Every time we'd go to the beach, the toys would get mixed up and us moms were left trying to figure out which pails and shovels belonged to which kids.  I had some extra Mabel's Labels left over from the last school year, so I got them out and labeled all the beach toys.  Problem solved!

That's it for Housewife Hacks: Part 2.  As always, if you have any hacks to share, please do so in the comments.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Confessions of a Stay at Home Mom

I was chatting with a mom I met at the park the other day as we were watching our kids play in the sand.  Her son was 18 months old and barely walking, something that obviously bothered her and caused her mommy anxiety to sky rocket.  So, I shared a secret with her.  Little Bear didn't walk on her own until the day before she turned 20 months.  She was so excited to hear this.  Not because she was happy that Little Bear was a late walker, but because it meant that there was nothing wrong with her little boy, and she didn't need to worry so much.

This encounter made me realize just how much pressure is put on us moms.  The books and experts tell us at what age our babies should be rolling over, crawling, walking and talking, and if our babies don't meet these milestones in a timely manner, it's somehow our fault.  But you know what, Little Bear didn't know at 19 months that she should have been walking.  She was too busy eating Gold Fish and playing with her toys.  She was happy, healthy, slept well and was loving life.  And instead of patting myself on the back, I was worried that I wasn't pulling my weight as a mom.

So I decided to confess some more secrets, because I think if we're all a little more honest with each other, it should take some of the pressure off, right?  There are so many expectations put on us moms to do it all, and do it all perfectly.  I'm by no means a perfect mom, but I am doing my best.  We're all just doing our best, and hopefully my confessions will hep you realize that too.  Here goes...

1) In the winter months, I drop my kids off at school in my pajamas.  I put jeans on, but under my winter coat I'm wearing a cupcake pajama top and no bra. 

2) One time, a couple of years ago, Little Bear and I were out shopping and she pooped.  A lot.  I didn't have any diapers with me because refilling my diaper bag was something I could never get the hang of, so I scooped the poop out of her diaper...and put it back on. 

3) Crazy plates doesn't wear pajamas to bed.  She will wear the clothes she wore that day, she may wear her fancy party dress, last night, in fact, she wore a bathing suit.  She's a stubborn little girl, and by bed time I have no fight left in me. 

4) Little Bear is 5 years old, and I lay beside her every night until she falls asleep.  I know Dr. Ferber would cringe, but she falls asleep so peacefully with me beside her, and watching her fall asleep is the cutest thing ever.  Plus it gives me a chance to rest a bit before I go back downstairs and clean the kitchen.  And sometimes, when I get downstairs, my husband has already cleaned the kitchen, so, I really see no harm in it. 

5) Once in a while the girls have cereal for dinner.  They're really picky eaters, and sometimes I just run out of ideas.  And sometimes I'm just too tired to cook.  And sometimes I just haven't had a chance to go to the grocery store. 

6) After we get home from a birthday party, once the girls are in bed, I eat all the candy in their loot bags.

7) I skip pages when I read bedtime stories.  A lot of pages.  And on the pages I do read, I skip whole sentences. 

8) The girls had skating all last season on Monday nights.  It ended at 7:10pm.  The arena is 7 minutes from our house.  Every Monday, I'd take the long way home so the girls would fall asleep.  Then I'd hit up the Starbucks drive thru.  When we got home I'd transfer the girls to their beds and watch The Real Housewives and drink my chai latte. 

So there you have it.  Feel a bit better about your mothering?  I hope so.  Don't forget to share your confessions in the comments below.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dear Starbucks. I Love You.

This post has nothing to do with being a stay at home mom, but has everything to do with me, and, quite frankly, there are a few things I need to get off of my chest.

I don’t smoke or do drugs. I don’t have a sippy cup full of vodka. I haven’t gone all 50 Shades of Grey on the guy who cuts our grass. No. When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, (which is most days) I take a drive to the Starbucks drive through window and order a grande extra hot soy chai latte.  That warm, frothy beverage calms me, soothes me, pats me on the back and says, “There, there, It’ll all be ok”.  Seems that there are some people who don't share my love of chai and to them, I have a few things to say... 

Coffee drinkers.  Get off of your percolated pedestal, would you?  When I say I need to have a grande extra hot soy chai latte, don’t roll your eyes.  My need to have a chai latte is as legitimate as your need to have a cup of coffee. 
Coffee drinkers, again.  Don’t tell me you only drink Tim Horton’s coffee because Starbucks coffee sucks.  I’m not asking you to drink Starbucks coffee, nor have I opened up a special place in my heart for Starbucks coffee.   Comparing Tim Horton's coffee to Starbucks coffee is not a compelling argument to get me to loosen my addiction to grande extra hot soy chai lattes.

To those who think Starbucks chai lattes are too expensive.  They’re not.  Coach purses are expensive.  Quesadillas in restaurants are expensive (it’s just a tortilla and cheese, people!).  Ordering a beer at a sporting event is expensive.  Starbucks chai lattes are hand-crafted little cups of heaven, and you just can’t put a price on that.
To those who tell me that chai lattes are better or cheaper at other coffee shops.  They're not.  Tim Horton’s doesn't offer soy milk, something us dairy intolerants can’t live without.  Second cup uses a powdered chai, whereas Starbucks uses a concentrated syrup. Power makes for a gritty chai.  No thanks.  At the Starbucks drive thru they ask me how my day is going. I like that.  They will make my chai extra hot.  I like that too. 

To those who say chai lattes takes too long to make; a.k.a. coffee drinkers.  Again.  Chai lattes aren't brewed in large pots and left to sit on a warmer until someone orders one.  They are made to order, with water or without, 2 pumps or 4, extra hot or regular, soy milk or skim.  It's a custom drink and custom takes time and custom is always worth the wait. 
Ahhh...that feels better.  I’m actually writing this blog post at my local Starbucks.  Why?  Free Wi-Fi and there isn’t a 30 minute time limit on my stay, as is the case with most Tim Horton’s.  Starbucks says, come in, pull up a comfy chair, listen to the classic light hits quietly playing in the background and stay a while, old friend, we've missed you.

I've missed you too, Starbucks.  I'll see you tomorrow.