Friday, 28 November 2014

Rich Friday

It's black Friday today and on Monday it's officially December which puts people into a shopping frenzy.  Last week I read an article on how to decide on what/how much to spend on your kids over the holidays that mentioned getting them: something they want, something they need and something to read - and that's it.  I love this basic idea as a guideline to keep everyone happy (budgets included) and have tried to employ this into our shopping for the minions as well as ensuring that my gifts for the other little people in our lives (primarily the nieces and nephew) meet at least one of these categories, with the addition of one more category - a gift of nostalgia or sentiment.

All through December I would like to highlight specific areas from my gifting that reflect

1) Something they want
2) Something they need
3) Something to read
4) Keepsake gifts/memories and gifts that inspire the true holiday spirit.

Today's category features: something they want - care of Molly and Jack's wish list, that are fairly budget friendly.

Frozen Dolls....Molly wants Anna and Elsa dolls, Jack wants Olaf and Sven....Buying the four pack and dividing it up saved us money and by dividing them up before we wrap them it means that Christmas morning won't be spent tearing toys out of their packaging.

frozen dolls
We bought our four pack from Walmart.

Jack is in love with TTC buses and garbage trucks.  Unfortunately, we couldn't find TTC buses for sale anywhere (There is a huge market for this toy if anyone wants to design and sell it). Amazon supplied this Melissa and Doug Garbage truck for under $20 although I've noticed it's nearly doubled in price since we bought it a few weeks ago. 

toy garbage trucks
Melissa and Doug Garbage Truck

What are the must have on your kids list this holiday season?  Where do you set the limit?

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Thursday, 27 November 2014


There are all of these books that people read to prepare for the birth of their children and I'm certain that the "What to Expect" authors are thankful for all the people they've been able to help over the years.  There are other moments that no book can help you with, or provide comfort when you feel that nagging sadness that is sometimes unjustified, but that doesn't mean that you don't feel it just the same.

Chris and I both know that we are very blessed to have two healthy and happy pre-schoolers in our lives and we truly are grateful.  All the same we have faced a number of challenges over the past year surrounding Jack and his speech therapy and it can seem like a bit of a roller coaster sometimes.

This week a child psychologist came in and provided an assessment and feedback on Jack and his learning needs.  The report came back with no red flags towards the spectrum of autism and they are not worried about OCD, however there are some delays in emotional and social development with specific skill deficit areas as well as a hunch that we may be facing some learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, which runs in my family) down the road.

toddlers on swing

I really wanted to share some things we've learned, felt and experienced in our 16 month journey in the land of speech, language and social development because this is something that people don't really like to talk about, even though they probably should.

Every time you have an appointment, brace yourself for...more appointments
I am currently in the process of booking some time with our doctor to get a referral to a specialist in children's hearing testing and a referral for a private speech therapist so we can apply for some insurance coverage.

A is no longer for's for Autism
One thing has been consistent with every single assessment or appointment we've gone to: the first thing that will be talked about is red flags towards the autism spectrum and whether or not they are suspected for your child.  If we had $20 for every time we heard, "There were no red flags towards autism, but..." we would have a lot more money for speech therapy.

Expect to be emotional about things...sometimes
I had a big old pity party after the last assessment and left the one last week feeling okay, whereas the hunch about learning disabilities really hit Chris with a sucker punch this time.  Not everyone in the family is going to react the same way at the same time.  You just need to give yourself permission to feel that way and then move forward.

Enthusiasm is contagious 
The more supportive we've been in our efforts with Jack surrounding speech and social development therapy, the harder our daycare staff and family and friends have worked to help us work with Jack.  People want to help, you just need to ask.

People will say things that you don't want to hear
I am very open about our lives and the hurdles that we face as parents.  That doesn't mean that it's an open invitation for someone to compare their child's development directly to my children's like it's progress in a race.  We all do it, and I'm guilty too, but please, just don't.  It hurts, even though I know you mean the best.  We can talk, we can share stories...but please don't line your child's achievements up against mine.

You need to keep yourself in check
I didn't realise quite how much pressure I was putting on Molly until Chris called me on it.  She had three accidents over the past ten days or so when she didn't make it to the washroom in time, and all three times she was on her way and I was a little harsh with her about it - Chris pointed this out and he was right.  It's not fair to put unrealistic expectations on anyone, period.

No one is perfect, Even Mary Poppins
Just because I wish that I was taller doesn't make it so.  We become who we are because of the journey, bumps, bruises, struggles and everything else included.  Just keep perspective. Most of the time issues you're facing as a parent pass, many children outgrow any development delays they experience when they are young, quite possibly Jack as well.

To read what I've learned about managing anxiety, Obsessive tendencies and encouraging speech development click here

To read about our first assessment  click here

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Peace, Love and Understanding

With only a month to go until Christmas the pressure is starting to mount.  This is the third post in my holiday spending survey where I focus on some alternative and charitable gifting.  To read part one of my survey on holiday budgeting click here. To read my post about tips on saving money click here.

Here are some ideas that are a little "out of the box" that I hope help you with your gift giving this holiday season from people who tried them first.

Have you ever purchased an activity or event as a part of your holiday giving?

"We prefer doing this instead of buying toys.  They get enough stuff from other relatives and we like the idea of having family time vs. just another toy.  We encourage people to do the same." says E.

"I've bought theatre tickets and memories or events as a part of my gift giving for family, but not for kids yet." says G.

"One year we bought a family trip to Cuba. It blew her mind and was totally worth it!" says KM.

Have you ever participated in charitable giving instead of exchanging gifts?

When I read the reactions to this question I immediately thought of Seinfeld's character George Costanza and his fake charity "The Human Fund" that he made up because he was too cheap to buy gifts for people and giggled a little.  I think the key here to making charitable giving a success is to balance it with other family traditions and make sure that everyone is on board to balance the spirit of giving to others in need as well as your loved ones.

George Costanza
"George Costanza" by Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of George Costanza via Wikipedia

"Nope, we're greedy and grinchy." says Uyen.

"One year I bought a goat for a family in need for my extended family in place of regular gifting.  It wasn't really well received and I wouldn't do it again." says Plover.

"Sometimes, I feel guilty saying this, but the charitable giving isn't quite as satisfying as seeing my child's face when they open their gifts." says KM.

"One side of the family started a tradition where we only buy gifts for the kids.  The adults each take $200 per couple and donate it to a charitable cause in place of gift giving.  We alternate who selects the charity of choice.  It alleviates a lot of stress and you're putting your money towards a good cause." says P.

Would you/do you have your kids participate in donating old/unused toys to help clear out clutter for the holidays and encourage a giving spirit?

"We donate stuffed toys that never really get played with, but for the most part we just end up moving toys to storage.  We need to clear things out more often." says Needs a Nap.

"I would donate, or sell items they've outgrown at a yard sale to make some money for the next year's holiday spending." says Plover.

"This is a spring cleaning activity for our family." says K.

I don't think it's really ever too soon to start teaching our kids about giving to others, whether it's donating old clothes or toys or purchasing items for kids in need.  How do you plan on teaching your kids about the holiday spirit?

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Love Cats

It's not really a surprise to anyone that I clock a lot of hours watching children's cartoons.  In fact Chris and I deliberately avoided watching cartoons or children's movies for a year or two before we had the minions because we knew that our consumption of kids programming was going to rise significantly once we became parents.

As I watch more and more cartoons with Molly and Jack, I have come to the unsettling conclusion that creators of children focused media content hate cats.  I would like to vocalize my distaste for the villianization of felines within the cartoon world.  When you put it all together, the portrayal of cats as miscreants is overwhelming.

taby cat in drawer
This was my cat Pan (named after Peter Pan)
 He loved to hang out in Chris' underwear drawer, hardly diabolical.

Cats are Psychopaths
Si and Am from Lady and The Tramp are like a cartoon preamble to Natural Born Killers Mickey and Mallory.  Okay maybe that's a slight overstatement, however they sing a song about their plot to steal milk from, and presumably suffocate, a newborn baby.  They are greater antagonists to this story than the dog catchers, cause at least the dog catchers are doing their jobs, whereas Si and Am focus on mass chaos and destruction for their own personal amusement.

Cats are Bent on Domination
Cats are portrayed as motivated creatures who will stop at nothing to get what they want.  In Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung (aka Bad Kitty as per Jack) betrays his master, Shi Fu, because the need for power outweighs the good in his heart.  Shere Khan terrorizes the world of Jungle Book because of his hatred of man and in turn protagonist Moglie, leaving Baloo and resident wet blanket "cat" Bagheera impotent to protect him.  Scar betrays his Lion King family in his quest for the crown and forms an unfavourable partnership with a group of hyenas that jeopardises the prosperity of their kingdom.

Or at least side kicks to those Seeking Domination
Cats are the side kick of choice to a super villain in need.  In Inspector Gadget, Dr. Claw had Mad Cat, in He-Man Skelator fought battles atop his trusty cat Panthor and even The Smurfs bad guy loser wizard Gargamel had his cat Azriel.

orange cat in bowl chair
This is a photo of our rescue cat Tweaker.  He was deaf and screamed a lot.
As you can see he was clearly focused on world domination.

Cats are Spoiled Sissies
In Disney's cartoon version of Robin hood, Prince John is an indulgent, pampered tyrant who keeps his royal subjects in the poor house.  When things get tough he relieves his tension by sucking his thumb like a baby, so he's a joke - If Game of Thrones character King Joffrey has a Disney spirit animal it would be Prince John.  Cinderella serves four masters in her house, her wicked step mother, her cruel stepsisters and a big fat pampered cat named Lucifer (who is even named after the devil).  In the land of cartoons even the good cats are portrayed as wimps.  He-Man's cat Cringer is so fearful that he's constantly on the brink of a nervous breakdown, unless he is possessed by the Power of Greyskull and becomes Battle Cat.

Cats are Crazy
Maybe everyone is a little bit mad in Wonderland, but the Cheshire Cat (or as Molly says, "The Treasure Cat") is more than a few pickles short of a jar. In the world of reality, Alice's cat Dinah (bizzaro Cheshire cat) watches his master, Alice, fall down the rabbit hole with minimal effort to save her.  Dinah is no Lassie.  Madder than Wonderland's portrayal of cats is the way that cartoon sees the Hyena (yes they are cats, not dogs - I checked), stark, raving, mad lunatics, as portrayed by the hyena clan in The Lion King.

I am aware that there are some outliers here and movies that focus on feline heroes.  What's the cat equivalent for "Every dog has his day"?

To read 8 lessons I learned about business from Mr. Walt Disney click here

To read about the black and white nature of children and cartoon teachings click here

To read about violence in classic cartoons click here

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Wednesday Morning

I am going to try my hand at a wordless (or less wordy) Wednesday.

Last night Chris and I had a chance to go out Christmas shopping for a couple of hours while Grandma and Grandpa (or the two Grandmas as Molly likes to call them - there are some issues getting the Pa out in Grandpa) watched Molly and Jack.

We went to Goodwill and managed to get some sweet bargains.  I managed to get Jack a pair of black snow pants in his size for only $5.  How did I do on the holiday shopping?  I'm so glad you asked.

For the description of the condition of my purchase I have used Ebay's Card Condition Grading Guide to communicate the level of wear and tear.

One hardcover copy of Ian Falconer's award winning book: Olivia for Molly in near mint condition. 

Image of Olivia Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Retails at Amazon for $16.60, purchased at GoodWill for $3.04 - Total savings $13.56

One soft cover copy of Robert Munsch's Alligator Baby for Jack in Average Condition.

Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch
Image of book Courtesy of a listing for the book on Ebay

Retails at Amazon for $7.19, purchased at GoodWill for .99 - Total savings $6.20

I hope I've inspired you on some of the merits of shopping pre-loved books!

Where do you like to shop to save some money or buy used gifts?  What are your best money saving tricks?  Please share!  If you'd like to answer any of my holiday surveys drop me a line: - subject line Holiday Surveys.

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Penny Lane

As we continue our quest to provide the minions with a fun and somewhat fiscally responsible holiday season, we are looking everywhere for ways to save a bit of moola.  This is the second part of my holiday spending series featuring a lot of ideas that can help all of us stay on track.  To read part one click here

Christmas 2011

Have you bought used toys, books or clothes for your kids as a gift? 
Only about half of the people I spoke to have already incorporated or were open to the idea of purchasing used items as a part of their holiday gifting.  That being said, those who embrace the spirit of recycled or pre-loved gifts had some great feedback on getting value.

"One year we bought a big Fisher Price castle set with all of the little people from a family that had posted it on Kijiji.  We spent a lot of time washing and drying everything, giggling and wrapping it up.  The kids thought it was amazing and didn't notice at all that it was used.  We would totally do that again." said Needs a Nap.

"Yard sales are DA BOMB!" said Uyen.  I've personally seen a lot of near new, or never used items at garage sales, so they're a great option if you're willing to start your gift planning really early.

This year I made a wish list of classic books, personal favourites and ones that received great reviews online that I can't wait to read to Molly and Jack.  I'm taking that list to our favourite used book stores and Good Will stores to see what I'm able to find to give to the minions from mom and dad!  Jack wanted some wooden puzzles for his birthday this year and a lot of used children's apparel stores (Once Upon A Child is one of my favourites!) also sell VERY gently used toys, books and puzzles, my mom was able to grab three puzzles for under $12 to give to Jack.  This stuff is in such good shape I know that there is no way that they'd ever accept any used goods from us, since the minions are typically pretty rough on their toys.

What are some of your money saving holiday tricks that you have found most effective?

"I like to bake for some people that normally I wouldn't buy for." said J.

"Use cash.  If you don't have it, don't spend it." said KM.

"Start shopping early.  That way you get sales and all the bills don't come in at once." said Needs A Nap.

"Using PC points for groceries, not paying for shipping for presents for my family in another province. Buying through and anywhere else I can get free shipping (saves me money)." said Plover.

Chris and I have used air miles before for gifts or gift certificates to purchase holiday gifts, we've also set a family rule of only doing stocking stuffers for adults (gift maximum of $15-20 per adult). This lets us to get a little silly and/or go together on a gift with other family members for someone if we see something really special.  This is the second year we've had this rule for shopping with my in laws (and about the fifteenth year with my family).  All together it saves hundreds of dollars every Christmas. November is also a prime time to find some deals.  There are a few toy stores that offer gift cards back for every $40 or $50 you spend, we used our Mastermind Toys gift card from last year to buy some birthday gifts for our nieces and nephew this year.

Where do you like to shop to save some money or buy used gifts?  What are your best money saving tricks?  Please share!  If you'd like to answer any of my holiday surveys drop me a line: - subject line Holiday Surveys.

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Friday, 14 November 2014

The Holiday Season

I've been trying to ignore it for as long as I could, but it started before Halloween.  First it was a Christmas display at The Bay in late September, next they brought out the "festive" coffee sleeves at my morning watering hole and now with The Santa Clause Parade this weekend there is no denying it.  Winter is coming!  Okay, this isn't the world's most convoluted path to a blog entry about Game of Thrones, it's my acceptance of the fact that there are now only 40 days until Christmas.

This year we're paying particularly close attention to our budget and making sure that our holiday celebration focuses on what's important to us, family, rather than just the commercial aspect of the festive season.  Over the next few weeks I'll be providing some information on spending habits, ideas on saving cash as well as holiday traditions.  The first in my series focuses on the financial aspect of the holidays.  Thanks to a little help from some wonderful people, here's what I found out on holiday spending.  If you've never thought about holiday budgets, I hope this starts a conversation that will make your holiday giving a little less stressful.

holiday photos
Christmas 2012


Do you have a holiday budget?
About half of the people I spoke with don't have a set holiday budget, but most people try to keep tabs on what they spend.  Everyone I spoke with wishes they could find more ways to save money during the holidays as budgets can skyrocket into thousands of dollars when you include the costs of entertaining, food, gifts, greeting cards and travel.

How do you pay for your holiday gifts?
It was a pretty even split between cash, credit to fund their holiday spending. Most people try to use cash when they can to avoid an unpleasant surprise when the credit card statement comes in January, others cash in reward miles to save.

What's most likely to break your budget or increase your spending significantly?
"Last minute shopping.  If we can get out ahead we're better planned and spend less." said CH.
"Santa breaks our budget on big ticket items." said Needs Naps.
"If I see something that screams someone's name then I'm willing to go over budget."said J.

How much do you pay (per child) for holiday gifts (including Santa and stockings - please provide an approximate breakdown for each if you have this)?
People are generally spending around $200-300 for their own children and between $20-$100 for friend's kids, nieces or nephews.  Most people spend around $30-$40 on stockings with costs going up to $100 per stocking for folks who buy practical items like underwear and socks.

Where do you shop for most of your kids gifts (Discount chains, online, local shops etc)?
Online (Amazon), Ebay, Etsy, small independent shops in the neighbourhood, Chapters, Toys R Us, Target, Joe Fresh, Once Upon A Child, Good Will, Gap, Old Navy, Joe Fresh.

Stay tuned for my holiday series posts on alternative gifts, saving money and staying on budget.  If you want to fill out one of my holiday giving surveys drop me a line at

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

Disciplining children is tricky, it's a controversial topic with no one size fits all answers. For the past month it seems that Chris and I have been victims to Jack's ongoing Karate Kid montage.  He has been hitting and kicking like crazy and despite our best efforts it hasn't seemed to have let up on its own.  Our focus on Jack and speech therapy continues to help him better express his feelings, but that doesn't provide much solace when you've been hit three times because you've insisted that, "No, you can't have Halloween candy for breakfast today."  After a recent assessment at Toronto Pre-School Speech and Language the assessor commented, "I don't know if he has delays, or if he's just being stubborn.  This isn't going to be a very accurate assessment." This commentary highlights one of our main struggles with Jack as we question, "Is he struggling with language or just being a jerk."  Truthfully the jerk genetics in my family are super dominant, ask anyone.

baby goat cut out
Our Billy Goat "Gruff"

One of the items that stands tried and true when it comes to children is the importance of consistency. The big stumbling block that we hit (pun intended) is that Jack's karate kid moments often happen when we don't have the time to properly apply positive discipline.    When we are trying to get four people out the door at 7:30 in the morning, we simply don't have time for lengthy solutions.  I am fully aware that you don't use a band-aid on a gaping wound, but sometimes I need ideas that can help us keep somewhat on schedule until we hit an incident where we have some time for teachable moments.  Most of the time I don't need 20 minute solutions, I need 10 two minute ones.  It took some digging but here's what I've found.

How to Assert Positive Discipline in Two minutes or Less

  1. Consider triggers and time of the day and avoid the trigger as much as you can - AKA Polly Wants a Cracker
    This one is easy when it comes to a hungry child.  My purse and our car has become a travelling buffet and about half the time we just need to get crackers into the mouth of Jack to calm him down.  Bed time can be adjusted if you're dealing with an over-tired child.   The big Everest here is dealing with morning meltdowns.
  2. Stop the Blow, But Don't Retaliate 
    Basically block the hit, reinforce (as calmly as you can) that we don't hit and walk away for a minute or two.  In the mornings I generally use this time to get Molly ready because it gives Jack a chance to settle down a bit.
  3. Model Good Behaviour
    This one goes against every fibre of my being when I'm trying to get out the door and have just endured an upper cut to the jaw over insisting that my child wear socks.  We noticed a while ago that Jack often goes for affection after he's hit or kicked one of us and clearly he's struggling with getting positive attention and communicating what he needs.  Try saying "Hugs not hits", give a hug and then walk away.

    corn maze
  4. Redirection & Distraction
    Basically avoid eye contact, remove them from the situation  and let them calm down.   Another option is to offer them something to distract them.  "Look at this book while I go get you some apple juice, because you must be thirsty".  Leaving the room to focus on another task for a minute not only works on them, but it will help you chill out too.
  5. Time-Outs
    We usually don't have time for them in the morning (or more than one or two), but they're still an option.  Dr. Sears suggests saying, "If you hit, you must sit."  Since toddlers (especially mine) are big fans of rhymes, this will help them remember.
  6. Don't Demand an Apology
    This is another one that is tough for me.  I want him to be sorry and I want an apology, but when you're both frustrated all that this does is waste even more time.  It's suggested to delay this conversation, "Later you might tell your child, "That really hurts" or "That hurts my feelings. If I have done something to hurt your feelings, I would like to know about it so I can apologize. When you are ready, an apology would help me feel better." suggests Dr. Jane Nelson.
  7. Tag, You're It
    Sometimes when we really need to get moving it's best to have the other person tag in - if/when you can.  If they're not "mad at daddy" they're more likely to let him help them into their coat.  This also gives the other parent a chance to calm down.
  8. A Cool Drink of Water
    When the tantrum is over, offer a drink of water or a face wash.  If you're still heated have one yourself.  This will literally give your child a chance to cool down. (resist the urge to throw said water in their face and yell, "Snap out of it")
  9. Encourage Gentle Play 
    This is more modelling.  If you notice little Billy is beating the crap out of Teddy Ruxpin, suggest he hug him or give him a kiss instead.
  10. Counting Game
    Count backwards from ten and remember this too shall pass, and likely be replaced by a different, equally annoying behaviour.  

What works best for you to stop unwanted behaviour from your toddler or pre-schooler?

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Dogs, Frogs and Nature Songs

One of my favourite things about being a parent is when I get to share things from my childhood with the minions.  A while back my mom managed to locate two books from my youth at the local Good Will.   I couldn't wait to share them with Molly and Jack.  I am happy to say that both books were just as enjoyable as an adult, which isn't always the case - There is a darkness to Shel Silverstein that I see very clearly now that I'm an adult.

Big Dog Little Dog PD Eastman

Big Dog...Little Dog by P.D. Eastman
Fred and Ted are best friends even though they are very different from each other.  An entertaining read that celebrates differences, sharing and working together.   Two side notes:  1) There is a board book version of this story that cuts out several pages of the story, so it doesn't really make sense.  If you go to get this book make sure that you get the full version. 2) My brother speaks some French, so a number of years ago my mom was super excited when she saw a copy of Big Dog....Little Dog (his favourite childhood story) in French and she bought it right away.  When she presented it to my brother he was confused as to why she had bought him a book in Spanish.  Lesson learned – you probably don't want to ask nana for help with your French or Spanish homework.

the mysterious tadpole

The Mysterious Tadole by Steven Kellogg
Every year Louis's uncle McAllister sends him an unusual birthday gift all the way from Scotland. This year he gets Louis a tadpole which he names Alphonse.  Unfortunately, Alphonse doesn't grow into a normal frog, he doesn't stop growing and has an appetite for hamburgers that is more voracious than the Hamburglar.  Eventually Louis's parents say that their apartment can't hold the tadpole any longer after he gets too big for their bathtub and Louis needs to find a new home for his friend.  Since this is another classic there is the original version and a 20th and 25th anniversary edition, which apparently has new reimaginations of parts of the stories and additional illustrations.  We've only read the original so I can't comment on which is best.

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Punched in the Teeth by Love

It seems somehow fitting that in the week following Halloween, I am writing about taking your kids to the dentist.  Molly and Jack went for their first dental appointment over a month ago, but my trip to the dentist this week, following the Tootsie Roll incident, reminded me.

toddlers in dentist chair

10 tips to help make your trips the dentist a little less painful!

1. Talk about it ahead of time.  Tell them about what will happen so you can manage their expectations.  Call your dentist, they may also have tips.

2. Let them pick out their own tooth brushes to help motivate them to brush (Jack has a Dora toothbrush and Molly has a Cinderella one) - Confession of the day They will not always be motivated to brush their teeth- Molly had a huge tantrum this morning because I made her brush her teeth (i.e. put her in a head lock and brushed her teeth myself while she cried about what a mean mommy I am).

3. Read stories about going to the dentist to manage expectations, I have been told that Dora the Explorer, Show Me Your Smile is a great book to help them mentally prepare for the trip.

4. Play dentist at home.  That way they can practice ahead of time and understand that they need to hold their mouth open for more than the three seconds they do at the Doctors when they say Ahh.

5. Bring a support team, as always I am a huge fan of the adults outnumbering the children in new and uncontrolled environments. At the very least they can take photos when things go sideways.

6. Be patient and gentle.  Nothing scares a child faster then pinning them to a dental chair and forcing them to stay completely still. Jack wanted to sit in my lap on the dental chair for part of the visit, so we just went with it.

7. Let them ask questions and have your dentist show them how things work.

8. Make it short and sweet.  And even if it is not a success repeat the experience in six months.  The more exposure they have the easier it will be the next time.

9. Reward them for a job well done with a special treat (a lot of dentists may already have sticker books and prizes for kids).

10. Schedule the trip for their best behaved time of day.  Our hygienist said that kids and mornings usually work best.

To read some basics on early tooth care click here

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Eye of the Tiger

In case you're wondering why my brother and Molly are so excited in the photo below, it's because I've been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the Year Award!  Okay, maybe it's because splash pads are awesome, but you get the idea.

vine avenue toronto splashpad

Your votes helped me earn #4 in the Top 10 Comedy Blogs and #2 in the Parents of Multiples Blogs awards this year and this week I found out that  I've been nominated for The Blog Influencer of the Year! I am truly grateful!

Of course this means now I need your help, cause I am a pain in the butt like that! The rules are fairly strict: 1 vote per IP address per day and no shenanigans/giveaways or promotions to solicit votes.  You can vote daily for the next month.  I am competing against top ranked blogs from numerous 2014 categories.  I am very honoured that the judging panel at Voiceboks has selected me to compete.  

Your participation in the following three items will help me get closer to my goal of making the Top 10, or even better numero uno! 

1. Click Here Now and cast your vote for Multiple Momstrosity. There is a little thumbs up icon that pops up in the top left hand corner. Click on that to register a vote. Please vote daily and if you've got access to  another computer, cell phone or other IP address please vote again daily.

2. Send an email to friends, fellow parents, relatives, any people you think will enjoy reading about the minions and include this link: asking them to cast daily votes for Multiple Momstrosity.

3. Tweet, share and like my Facebook updates or create your own talking about how funny and crazy Molly and Jack are.  If I get enough re-tweets this could give me a bonus 500 votes, which can be a game changer.

I want to thank all of you for being so incredibly supportive, it means so much!

I also apologize in advance for the holiday tunes on the voting site.  I feel like I've been Rick Rolled right into Christmas and it's only early November.  

Monday, 3 November 2014

Lips Like Sugar

On Saturday morning the candy coated sugar hangover was in full effect.  I could feel the modified corn syrup sweating out of my pores as I completed my morning exercise.  I was also numb from the piece of dental work I pulled out the night before on a tootsie roll.  So not worth it.  We had a very rainy Halloween and because of it we had just under half the kids we normally get.  This meant a ton of candy left overs with the added bonus of trick or treat candy courtesy of the minions who visited over 20 houses this year.

Now that we've had a few days of candy gluttony under our belt (taken form as a muffin top) it's time to get that candy out of our house.  We had the minions select treats to share with everyone we visited over the rest of the weekend, but that barely made a dent.  Tonight I am going to package up some giant zip lock bags to bring into both Chris and my offices.  I fired up Google and found some creative ways to use up that Halloween Candy, get a head start on your holiday baking, gifting and maybe even start some new traditions.

toddler dragon halloween costume
Dragon Molly

9 Great Ways to Use Your Halloween Candy
(Beyond snacking on it in front of the new episodes of Grimm after your Children go to Bed)

1. If you can keep your hands out of the ice box...FREEZE it.  You can bring it back out later on to use for sundaes, decorate your gingerbread house or on or any of the recipes I mention below.

2. Turn it into trail mix and bring it on your next hike when you check out the fall colours.  Here are some recipes for Tasty Maple Trail Mix and Mountain Trail Mix.

3. Make Halloween Candy Bark: Melt it down and make it into a festive treat, like this version on Pinterest.

4. Make Halloween Candy Cookie Cake - This looks AMAZING.

5. Know anyone with a November Birthday?  Make them a Halloween Candy Cake.  Or buy them a pinata and fill it up.

6. Get Crafty...Taste of Home offers ideas on candy wreaths, ornaments, frames and napkin rings.

7. Make home made "flavoured booze".  Here's a tutorial on how to make Skittles Vodka.

8. Pull some out to put into your home made advent calendar for December, cause it's gotta taste better then that cardboardy tasting stuff in the store bought versions at the dollar store.

9. Get patriotic.  Some dentists will buy back Halloween candy and donate it to Canadian Forces who are overseas.

How do you use up your Halloween Candy?

Thanks to your support I have been nominated for VoiceBoks Blog Influencer of the year. If you have a moment please visit and vote for me and if you're feeling extra generous share this message: You can vote daily.

I'm creating some posts on how to save cash this holiday and need your help! If you are interested in participating PM me or drop me a line to

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