Saturday, November 22, 2014

Christmas tea

For my birthday, which was a couple weeks ago (27! What!) my husband decided to go the Victoria Secret route in the present department. Which I was so hoping for. Because of this, he felt the kids should buy me something separate. You know just in case someone asked Ollie what he bought his mommy and he said lingerie? Ha ha. So they the kids got me...

12 TEAS OF CHRISTMAS by DavidsTea. 

It's a tree shaped package of holiday inspired teas and it is amazing so far!

I have tried:
Organic super ginger. This one stood out to me right away from the smell. It really is SUPER ginger and your nose will agree. It contains green roiboos (caffeine free) as well as black, white and pink peppercorns for spice and stevia for sweetness. Great for when you're under the weathe r 

Eggnog. This one is also green roiboos which is great because it's more of an evening tea. It contains white chocolate and meringues as well as the yummy taste of nutmeg. At first I thought it was not very strongly flavoured but by the end of my mug I was like: wow is this tea or real eggnog? Yum. 

And lastly, sleigh ride. It's a blend of apple, hibiscus, pineapple, papaya, beers, cinnamon, raisin, almond, coconut, almonds and popped rice. I brewed a pot and my entire house smelled like the world's best cinnamon apple cider. Sleigh ride is currently in the lead for best holiday tea but I'm only a quarter way through. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fun questions for a day off

I've worked 21 hours in 2 days so having today off is a big pile of I WANNA DO THIIIIIS! Laundry. Hugging my children. Not wearing a bra. Breakfast over the course of 25 minutes. Yes, I said laundry. But also: social media! Today is a delicate balance between I wanna eat my little children right up (and my husband too) aaaand, I gotta read all the blogs! Here's some fun questions going around the blogosphere. (And PS after the kids went to bed and Cal was out with friends [recovering from being a stay at home dad? ha ha] I was totally on Reddit for like 2 hours: so relaxing.)

Four names that people call me other than my real name:

  1. James
  2. Bugsie
  3. Haimer haimer
  4. Soy duck

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Christmas wrapper
  2. Barista
  3. Freelance writer 
  4. Food service technician 

Four movies you’ve watched more than once:

  1. Fletch
  2. Bruce Almighty
  3. A Walk to Remember
  4. Into the Wild
(Most other movies I have fallen asleep before they ended.)

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. How to Raise a Spirited Child
  2. Sacred Marriage 
  3. Haunted 
  4. How to be Parisian Anywhere
This is just what I'm reading now; they're all quite good. 

Four places I’ve lived

  1. Pond Mills backing on to the Environmentally Sensitive Area
  2. The Harriston downtown
  3. Marigold St
  4. Now, Cedar Hollow

Four Places you have visited:

  1. Curitiba, Brazil
  2. Riviera Maya, Mexico
  3. Chicago, US
  4. Huntsville, Canada

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. So
  2. Happy
  3. At
  4. Home

Four things I don’t eat:

  1. Gummy candy
  2. Coke
  3. Overly dry desserts 
  4. Poor cut/improperly cooked beef steak that's super chewy and I'm scared I'll choke on it

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Black cod, rare
  2. Buttered toast
  3. Instant mashed potatoes
  4. Costco's quinoa salad

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. Survivor
  2. 19 kids and counting
  3. Saturday Night Live
  4. Brooklyn Nine Nine

Four things I’m looking forward to this year:

  1. Family vacation
  2. Ballet class
  3. Making friends in our new neighbourhood
  4. Ollie starting JK

Four things I'm always saying:

  1. Is there coffee on?
  2. Have you seen Dakota's soother?
  3. Don't unplug that, the battery is almost dead.
  4. Go back to bed: It's still sleeping time. 

Four people I tag to answer these questions:

  1. Bethany
  2. Britt
  3. Kelly
  4. Steph
Off the top of my head some folks who blog or keep group pages. Cheers!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Oh, You should see MY diaper bag

I just read an adorable post by my friends over at threelittlecrowns highlighting what's in Britt's toddler diaper bag. As with everything they do, I loved it. And what's more, despite all of the over-stylized, picture perfect bloggers out there who try to make their life seem one way when really it's another, I actually believe Britt. On every item. Those two at threelittlecrowns are a rare combo of beautiful and honest.

But I had to laugh. Because my current "diaper bag" is not even worthy of being seen by me.

I mean if you could only see what's insi....


Here's the really-not-beautiful truth of my mother-of-two diaper bag:

- The bag: a black "I don't know what this style is called, you could cart a bowling ball around in it?" purse that I bought at Forever 21 with a giftcard from my brother Curt, who I've recently just started calling "my brother" instead of "my brother in law" because he gave me work out tips (he's a body builder type) on how to make my butt bigger and I feel like that makes us close. The bag is both a diaper bag and a purse because my kids are pretty important to me, but not important enough to make me carry two bags.

- The wallet: it came inside of a Nine West purse that my best friend (in Amsterdam!) bought me years ago and despite the fact that it was free inside, I still feel like an elitist designer snob when I pull it out (to get my coupon for a free coffee at Tim Horton's)

- Diapers, on diapers, on diapers: the thing is, days when we leave the house at 7am and return at midnight happen more often than I'd care to admit. Like, my best friend on my street thought we had already moved away because our car is never home. So when I have a little lady who still pees in her pants, the purse is getting filled to the brim with diapers.

- A broken travel wipes dispenser: which I have notified Huggies about because things I paid $2 for should not break.

- A pair of sunglasses but only one eye has a lens and I'm unsure why I haven't thrown them away. Like maybe if I really need them I could just squint one eye closed and give up depth perception while I'm driving for a minute?

- Usually my phone, well like 75% of the time, the other 25% it's still on the charger or laying on the kitchen table (Crap!)

- Usually my keys, well like 98% of the time, there was that time last week that I drove 40 minutes home then realized I left them with Calvin, so I drove all the way back to where he was got them and drove home. Just kidding I stopped at Starbucks midway through and poured hot espresso in my mouth to make the situation bearable

- Between 1 and 28 socks that don't belong to me, same goes for mittens and hats

- Enough wrappers from straws, Halloween candy and granola bars, coupled with receipts I don't need and parking tickets (like the kind you pay for, not the kind a cop gives you), to fuel a small fire for 24 hours

- A panic button for my job because I work in high security, I have never pushed it in jest, but I have accidentally broken it by storing it in the fridge with my lunch

- Eco-friendly organic alcohol-free hand sanitizer in "grapefruit & oil of oregano", for the kids; Bath & Body Works all-in alcohol-bonanza hand sanitizer in "harvest peach" for me

- 1 sole packet of stevia in case I become a diabetic who likes sweetened coffee one day soon

- A diva cup, because we all know lightening doesn't strike twice and my first round of motherhood I was blessed with a break from lady-cycles from October 2010 to Spring 2013. It's only fair that this time around, despite my passion for extended breastfeeding freakshow, my shark week's a-coming.

- A handful of stale granola, I've had plenty of opportunity to dispose of it but you never know when you'll be stuck in the car for a few hours.

- A few lip colours that don't look good on me, but never a plain lip balm when I need it

- Enough loose change to buy a muffin, minus ten cents usually, when I'm in the drive thru with 8 cars behind me

- Enough restaurants crayons to keep Oliver busy for 90 seconds

- 3 travel sunscreens that surely expired in 2001, why I'm unable to finish a 0.75 ounce sunscreen is beyond me

So there you have it! I think you can gather why this post hasn't been enhanced with photos. I need not prove this information. This information is real as it gets.

What do you keep in your bag of tricks?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kylie Jenner big lips Halloween costume

I adore playing with my Fullips lip enhancing tool. It's like an all natural lip injection surgery. 

Knowing Halloween is tomorrow and I have nooooo costume (such is the life of a mom) I played around with makeup for 30 seconds, cut an old t shirt into a headband and plumped my lips to be KYLIE JENNER. So fun!

Here's the look and instructions below:

So before the lips even come into play, a dark wig and some turquoise pieces will be perfect. Plus a headband and some circle sunglasses. She typically wears fashionable but goth type clothes. You'll want a clean light look for skin with lots of contouring and highlighting. Then dramatic angled brows and winged liner. Use false lashes if you have them. Then for the lips:

I simply added a balm to begin. My lips were light and dried out from sloppily applying Bb cream. I prefer the round Fullips enhancer but other people like the ovals. Hold it over your lips and suck in a few breaths to create auction. Some people like to leave it on for a few minutes others like to take it on and off a number of times for short periods. You can also place it in different locations for different looks. Here I wanted big all around. I could have gone much bigger (like botched plastic surgery big) but stopped here. Then I applied Make up Forever nude lipstick and gloss over. 

Don't forget selfies. 

Here's a video to show you:

Have fun!

What's in a natural mama's medicine cabinet?

As we are moving so, so, so soon I'm in packing boxes beast mode. Today I was organizing our bathroom closet and snapped this photo. 

If anyone is interested in seeing what a natural mama keeps on hand here it is:

1. Let's start with a nice mainstream product: Gravol kids. It's not in any way natural but like heck if I can get a 3 year old to take the natural Ginger variety. Great for nausea and vomiting. 
2. Oscillococcsinum: this is my go to flu product. Homeopathic. 
3-6. Homeocan Kids 0-9 line: Cough &
Cold, Calm, Flu Buster, Pain & Fever. All self explanatory and all effective. 
7. Hyland Calms: one dissolvable homeopathic tablet and Oliver is a new kid!
8. St. Francis Ear Oil: smells like a snack, gets rid of pain. 
9. Stimulus an Pink Eye reliever: wish we never needed this. 
10. Vitamin D drops. Can't remember the brand. Can't be bothered to go upstairs and check. 
11. Traumeel: sports injury cream. Don't know if I use this more often for Cal after hockey or Ollie after... life. 
12. Camilia teething drops. They simply work, no question. 
13. Thermometer. 
14. "Neti pot" type saline nasal vials. 
15. Snot sucker. The classic. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

9 month / 39 month update

I feel like as the kids get older, doing these updates monthly is borderline overkill. "Well they each gained an ounce and continue to enjoy playing and eating..." Maybe Dakota's 1st birthday can be the cut off and I'll do some less frequent things from there on out. That being said, here's the update. 

Dakota had her 9 month check up and is 17 lbs 8 oz and 28 inches long. (I think?) She's getting places but in a non traditional crawling form. And she's saying "Dada", in fact she began saying it when Calvin was out of town with his band. I think she missed him. She enjoyed doing more swimming with her Ma this month and she also had her longest session ever being babysat which was 2:30-10:00pm for a wedding. She leaned to successfully drink from a bottle which was troubleshooted by a friend of mine who realized she needed a bottle nipple that is designed for breastfed babies. So now she can enjoy water and cashew milk at her leisure. I will be returning to work before her 10 month update so a bottle will be essential for pumped breast milk. And Dakota has just about outgrown her baby car seat so she's ready to go rear facing in a convertible car seat -- Christmas present! Dakota's favourite activity is dance parties. 

Oliver was also weighed at the appointment and is 30 whole pounds. He cycles between eating like a maniac and being too busy to barely eat a bite. I am forever offering him an overflowing spoonful of peanut butter because he didn't finish his lunch and we need to leave he house soon. My fridge is full of half eaten plates and bowls that he might finish later. His favourite is still cherry tomatoes but he's been devouring raspberries also. "Gimme 1, 2, 8, 10, 14 raspberries!" he'll say. He's discovered Lego Junior games on his tablet and loves them because they're exciting but not too difficult. We signed him up for introductory hockey starting this winter at an arena near our new house. He loves going over there and playing trucks or planes in the basement. He's also been building rocket ships out of my packing boxes... yay. I noticed this month just how popular he is at church: as soon as we walk in the door he is bombarded by boys and girls anywhere from age 3 to 12 who just seem to be in love with him and immediately want to play with him. I'm starting to feel more comfortable with letting him go off and play as long as I know where he is. Lots of scootering and biking (with training wheels) and rides in the race car shopping carts at Home Depot. 

Ollie and his bestie Abigail who just became a big sister to Ellianna, the newborn all wrapped up in the wrap on MY bestie Bethany. 

We realized our feet are the same size. 

Kota got a new batch of hand me downs from Megan. So much Disney. 

Oliver tripped carrying his dinner to the table and food went flying. Minutes later he burst out laughing when he realized one cucumber had stuck to the pantry door. He told me to take a picture. 

Dakota devoured a big bowl of Aunty Angela's homemade applesauce. 

He was solely responsible for choosing and sprinkling the seasonings on this chicken. A great job. 

Apple picking, much cuteness. 

Every tower gets a picture. He makes sure. 

This project that still doesn't fully make sense to me took up at least 20 hours this month. 

Bath time wearing Dakota's teething necklace. 

Shirtless breakfast time. French toast. Natalie knows. 

Meet Jacko. His insides were delicious. 

This tested my patience for sure. Cocoa powder, meet freshly washed bed sheets. 

My little beauty on our fun living room mattress. 

It was very important to him that he have a Sheriff star. It was important to me that I spell it correctly. 


Another successful unpacking session at the new house.  
So the kids discovered RockBand. Dakota is the singer.

The helmet is for riding his scooter but let's be honest, when stunts like this are the norm a helmet on the playground doesn't hurt. 

Touque, pull up, footie jammies & a leather jacket. The Oliver uniform. 

Ollie taking photos at the Detroit Zoo (thanks Ashley) and Dakota snoozing. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Planning a packed lunch for crossing the border

Living in Southwestern Ontario, we are less than 2 hours from a number of major US cities. This makes air travel really handy but also opens up tons of fun day trips options as long as you've got a valid passport (or for kids: a birth certificate). 

My beautiful friend Ashley, who has contributed to this blog even in the early days, has a Detroit Zoo membership which includes bringing guests! Woo hoo! This means tomorrow we are packing my crew up and doing a ladies & littles trip to see the ankmals. Ashley is an animal lover and humane treatment advocate. She has volunteered with animals and recently invited a rescue dog to join her family so I trust that this zoo is one we can trust to make good choices!

I didn't want to risk paying "attraction prices" for food (oh my gosh, new blog theme: Amy is a cheapo!) so I am in the process of packing a lunch. Problem is: the border is picky about what you can bring with you, particularly no meat or fresh produce. 

Here's what's in the works:

I can't skip fruit for the kiddos so a batch of nutmeg banana chips and cinnamon apples is dehydrating. Can't deny me for non fresh fruit! 

Here is: our insulated lunch bag, some packaged treats (raspberry oatmeal bear paws, and rice baby crackers), Oliver's daily vitamin (Nordic Berries), Green Beaver organic sunscreen just in case and a bag of cherry tomatoes we have to finish before the border. Also some pasta salad as seen below. 

Excuse the hilarious photo but it hasn't really mixed well yet and the top just looks like dry pasta, ha ha. I mixed chilled pasta with vingearette, avocado, red onion, cucumber, red bell pepper, chickpeas and boiled eggs. 

Lastly I have a huge bottle of water freezing so it'll be cold all day. 

Just have to add our ID, some diapers and wipes, hats, etc and we are off!