Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weekend Recap

Our weather was still pretty chilly this weekend (but I'm not complaining because our snow is pretty much all gone).  I don't spend a lot of time in our house during the day, but I was home on Saturday morning, doing some work at the table, and I was enjoying all of the natural light pouring in the windows. I am so excited for summer in this house. 

Bright sun

While I was doing some work, Dave and E want to Home Depot to pick up some supplies for the weekend project.  We have a great spot for storage in our basement, behind a cement wall.  Even when we finish this room the storage space can remain where it is.  Dave built a rather large shelf so we could stack our stuff. 

This is the before.  A jumble of baby stuff, Christmas decorations, photos, etc.

E helping with the shelves.

Moving on to trains while Dave finishes up.

Here is the finished project.

Good work Dave!

In the middle of building the shelves and then putting them together, we went to a birthday party for one of E's friends.  She was turning three.  One of our friends who just had a baby also came.  It was nice to visit with everyone, but very nice to hold a three day old (!) baby.  Side note, I think people who are negotiating world affairs should hold quiet sleeping babies while they are talking.  No one can be angry when they're holding such a sweet little thing like that. 

The kids made a little craft.  An owl made out of a pompom and felt pieces. 

E working diligently with his glue.

Homemade and hand decorated cake by the birthday girl's mama!  So good!

By the time we got home after the party, I was exhausted.  We picked up a rotisserie chicken and some taters at Sobeys on our way home.  Sometimes that is all you need for a meal, and it was so tasty!  I fell asleep watching TV so I gave up and went to bed. 

Sunday was Palm Sunday.  We got to church bright and early to get our palms.  

In the afternoon we did the usual walk up the street for some groceries, and then I went to the actual grocery store for the canned goods, milk, etc.  Then we cleaned up, decorated for Easter, and made supper. 

I tried this new recipe from Jamie Oliver's 15 minute meals, and it was so good!! You could say it was "just" nachos and tomato soup, but there were so many delicious flavours in the soup, it was anything but simple.  It was easy to make and although not a 15 minute meal, it was certainly no more than 30.  Here is the recipe.  The picture is the one from the cookbook but mine looked pretty much like that. 

A busy week ahead with work, church, family visitors, and hopefully some warm weather!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Saying anything but "no"

When you have a toddler, the word out of your mouth more often than not is "No!".  Mostly there are good reasons for this, like "No, don't touch the stove" or "No, you can't eat all of that candy", but saying "no" all of the time gets tiring and it seems like you're a more negative person that you actually are.

I am a yes person living a in a no environment!  
(Zooey Deschanel, Almost Famous...anyone?)

One of things I am constantly trying to make a conscious effort to do is to stop saying "no".  That doesn't mean that I'm going to let E do whatever he wants, that isn't safe or practical or good for my nerves. But finding new ways to say "no" makes me feel like I'm not repeating myself constantly.

Some things I've been trying to do and say are:

When E is running away from me (into the street) or making a mess or something else that he isn't supposed to be doing but that requires immediate action, I yell 'stop' instead of 'no'.  It is still a negative type word but it is more of an action word rather than just scolding.

Walk away from there/hands behind your back.
When we are in a store or at someone's house E wants to touch everything. So instead of saying "no touching" I try to get him to put his hands behind his back or tell him to walk away.  It doesn't always work but at least he hears something he can do instead of something he can't do.

Walk please.
This is similar to the last one.  Instead of saying "no running", when all E really hears is "running", I say "walk please".  Then he hears the word "walk".

We don't do that.
This is good for yelling at the table, running around a store, etc.  "We don't yell when we are at the table", "we don't put stickers on furniture", "we don't throw things in the house", "we don't lick things on the subway".

Hey, let's do ___ instead.
Redirection is used often in our house.  As upset as E can get over not being allowed to do something, he is also quick to cheer up if he's got something else to hold his interest, and thank goodness for that!

Sometimes I feel like I spend all day yelling at E for different things, but for the most part he is a pretty great kid.  I know he mostly just wants to help us out and be involved with what we're doing.  So although there are definitely occasions when I know he is doing something he's not supposed to be doing on purpose, trying a few of these tactics works just as well for getting him to listen.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika and Narci for Friday Favourites.

I came across a few great You Tube videos this week so I thought I'd make that the subject of my Friday Favourites post today.  Enjoy.

1. Shut Up and Dance - a compilation of the great dance scenes from movies.  I cannot tell you how happy this video makes me.  I love so many of these movies and watching people dance brings me great joy.

2. Tom Cruise runs in every movie.  Here is a compilation of these running scenes.  I think the Bruce Springsteen - Secret Garden background music is a little distracting, but since Jerry Maguire is one of my favourite movies I'll go with it.

3. This is kind of fitting that after my post last week that this came out (no pun intended).  This sweater is actually gay, it is made out of hair from gay people.  That sounds icky but it is an interesting take on the adjective "gay" so when you say, "That sweater is so gay", it's actually true.  Watch the video, it will make sense.

4. This dog cannot catch and watching it in slow motion is pure pleasure.  You cannot watch this video without laughing, I promise you.

5. I liked Entourage when it was on TV so I am definitely interested in the movie.  The official trailer came out this week.  Turtle! Ari! Vince! E! Drama! Can't wait.

Hope these brighten your day!  Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Easter Goodies

I was inspired by my own post yesterday to start decorating for Easter.  I picked up a few things at Michael's, Homesense, and Dollarama.  Here is a sneak peak of what we'll be decorating with this year.

For some treats, I always like to make some version of festive Rice Krispie squares.  Last year I made pink ones with little pastel coloured candies mixed in.  This year, I wanted to make these:

Trix marshmallow squares, but then I realized that I've never seen these at the store, and a quick google search confirmed that Trix are not sold in Canada.  I'll have to see what substitute I can find.  They look so pretty.  There must be a reason they aren't sold here - my guess high sugar, too many artificial colours.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Want it Wednesday

For Easter I usually put up an Easter tree (a twig tree with wooden eggs and other little ornaments) and that's about it.  Last year I expanded a bit with an egg garland.  I don't want to get too many ornaments, but there are a few things I want.

Egg Cups to show some decorated eggs.  Our neighbourhood has a large Polish and Ukrainian population and many of the stores are selling wooden Ukrainian style eggs.  I will probably get a few and stick them in these egg cups.

 I have this already but I can use it to hold eggs too.

I always love some new tea towels, and these ones are so cute with the pompoms for bunny tails.

I love Beatrix Potter and these darling bowls would be great for candy and for eating out of.

I'll probably also stop by Dollarama to pick up a few things too.  

And for a fun craft Martha Stewart has this one for kids to make a cherry blossom tree out of a branch  and tissue paper.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Weekend Recap

We started off our weekend celebrating Dave's birthday.  He opened his gifts and we enjoyed homemade cinnamon buns, his Nana's recipe (by the way Aunt Isabel, they turned out better this time, but still not perfect.  I guess I need more practice). 

For supper we went to Mad Mexican and this time ate in at their new location.  

Dave and E laughing at Jared, who came out to eat with us

Guacamole and chips, my favourite type of appetizer

On Saturday, it was kind of grey, but still above zero.  I went for a run and then we headed out to do some errands downtown.  We took the subway down to MEC to get a few things (new bike tire, new duffle bag).  

Some signs of spring!

Spadina and Queen. The streetcar spider web.

We ate at the O+B Canteen at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.  While we were waiting for our table, we browsed the gift shop.  E was able to stand at the window with this perfect view of the digger and construction workers.  Day made. 

Turkey Panini, yummy!

E enjoyed his "small" macaroni and cheese.  This was the half portion!

After we got home from downtown and rested on the couch, we walked up to the playground.  It was still chilly, but at least the sun was out. 

Trying to capture the sparkling Humber River.

On Sunday, we played hooky from church and instead went to Canadian Tire and the mall to return some things.  We were able to get E's cleats and shin pads for soccer at Canadian Tire.  We got to rummage through the clearance table and find some Nike cleats for $20 in his size. He was cute running down the aisle in his cleats.  I hope he will enjoy his first organized team sport.

After lunch E and I went to the grocery store, but we made a quick stop at Starbucks for a treat and some selfies. 

We decided to finish up our weekend at another favourite restaurants of ours, Queen Margherita Pizza

Some fried squid for our appetizer.  E ate it right up!

Can you believe that Easter is two weeks away?! I know it is early but this seems really early.  Spring is on its way and we were happy to get a taste of it this weekend at the playground.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Potty Training

You've seen them, and maybe even read them, those articles that said you can potty train your kids in less than five days.  This is not one of those articles.

It took us several months to fully potty train E.  This is not an article with five easy steps to potty train your child, because I don't know what those steps are.  Also I realize that your child is not my child, so maybe you are one of those people that trained their kid in five days, and I salute you, but maybe your child is like mine where it takes several weeks/months/years to completely finish this process.

Here are some things that worked for us, and since I'm always interested in other people's ideas, then I hope you are too!

Once you decide to potty train, don't go back to a diaper or pull-up (nights excluded, I'll talk about that later).   Kids need to know what it is like to feel wet and a pull-up doesn't accomplish that.  On our first weekend of potty training we wanted to go sledding in High Park.  Since E was going to be wearing a snowsuit and there would be no washrooms open in the winter, we didn't want to have him end up cold in a wet snowsuit in the middle of the park, far from home, in case he had an accident.  So instead we left his underwear on and put a diaper over it.  That way if he peed he would still feel wet and uncomfortable, but he wouldn't mess up his snow pants.  Luckily he didn't pee while we were out but it was a good compromise.  You could do this on long car trips too if they interfered with your toilet training "schedule".

Give them a choice to the answer "do you want to go to the potty?" rather than just "yes" or "no".  If you have a boy teach them to pee standing up early on (this is for you dads!). Then our question became "Do you want to pee sitting down or standing up?".  The question for boys could also be "Do you want to pee inside or outside (if you have an appropriate place for them to pee outside that is)?" For girls, you could ask if they would like to use the upstairs or downstairs washroom.  Or you could go with them and ask if they want to pee before you or after you.  Giving them a choice between two peeing scenarios usually works.

Sometimes there are tears, and that's okay.  I don't mean scaring them, threatening them, or making the potty a totally uncomfortable place, but there are times when they are going to get upset and maybe you need to let them cry it out.  There were many times when I sat in front of the bathroom door and wouldn't let E out of the bathroom until he peed. Sure he cried but he would eventually go.

Teach them to use the real toilet from the beginning.  We didn't bother with a little potty mostly because I didn't want to clean it.  But also I didn't want to train him to use the potty and then have to re-train him for the real toilet.  We had a little seat that fit on the toilet (including one of the fold up ones that we could travel with) and a stool, but that was it.

Don't be afraid to leave the house.  Sure there is a risk of accidents, but I think kids need to get familiar with public washrooms because that is a part of life.  A few tips for that: bring the fold up seat so they won't fall in.  Bring lots of antibacterial wipes because they will touch everything in the washroom.  A post-it note is also good to put over the sensor for the self-flushing toilet.  Also going to the washroom while you're at a restaurant or a store is an adventure to be excited about.

Always be prepared with a change of clothes.  E had been potty trained for several months, and then we went for his 3 year check up at the doctor and the one time I didn't bring an extra pair of pants, he peed in the waiting room. Seriously!!

Never stop asking them if they have to pee.  We went on a great streak where E would tell us when he had to pee, and we thought we were sailing right along.  Then he would pee his pants several times in one week.  It has been over a year since we started potty training and I still ask.  I think I'll be reminding him for a few more years anyway.

I said I would mention nights separately.  We left E in a diaper overnight for a long time.  The deciding factor for taking the diaper off eventually was forgetting to buy more diapers.  This is another example of once you decide to take the diaper off at night, stick with it.  He has only had a few accidents at night (including in our own bed the other night!), but I would say 98% of the time he wakes up in a dry bed.  No need to make a big deal out of it, we know it is an accident and he knows he needs to get to the potty.  I sometimes hear him in the middle of the night get up by himself and use the potty and go back to bed.

I don't know if we started him too early or too late. Some people talk about this "window" where there is the perfect opportunity to potty train (and maybe that is where the five day success actually happens), but mostly people talk about missing this window.  I don't know if I believe that, but I don't know if it really matters.  As with most things when it comes to kids, being persistent, consistent, and positive about the experience usually leads to success, even if it takes several months.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Favourites

Linking up with AndreaErika, and Narci for Friday Favourites.

1. First of all Happy Birthday to my husband Dave!  I posted yesterday about some reasons why he is my favourite guy!

2.  Earlier this week, I linked up for Show and Tell Tuesday about my most embarrassing moment.  I must say I was skeptical about this topic, but it turned out to be one of my favourites so far. After reading everyone's most embarrassing moments, I remembered another one of mine that I thought Id share with you today.  One day in high school we had an assembly with a guest speaker.  The guest speaker was a gay student (I can't remember if he was in university or still in high school, but doesn't matter), and he spoke about coming out in high school and what that was like, how he was treated, etc.  One of the things he said was about how he was really bothered when people said something was "gay", meaning stupid or dumb or whatever.  I remember thinking that I should stop saying that, it was the least I could do.  So then a few months later, I think we were still in high school (I seem to recall being in our gym), I met this guy again.  I don't remember what he was doing back at our school, but I told him I recalled his speech and how great it was, etc, etc.  So we keep chatting, and there is a bunch of us there (and you can probably guess where this is going), in the midst of the conversation, I respond to a statement with "That is so gay!".  It just slipped out, and obviously an old habit that was hard to break, and I was so embarrassed!! I turned to him immediately and apologized and said how I remembered that he had mentioned specifically that that bothered him, and that I was making an effort not to say it anymore.  He was very gracious about it, but I can tell you that I've never said that something was "gay" again (or if I've said it, it has probably been less than 5 times since 1999). 
So not only did I want to share that embarrassing tale as a follow up to Tuesday's post, I also wanted to share the story because I still hear people saying something is "gay" all of the time, and these are grown adults, who are educated and mature, and have gay friends.  Maybe it doesn't bother all gay people, but it bothered this guy, and it is such an unnecessary word to say in that context.  Similarly "retarded" is another word that should be removed from people's vocabulary, even mine, as it does slip out occasionally. 

3. We made one of my favourite easy vegetarian meals this week.  Pita pizzas made with hummus, tomatoes, feta cheese, fresh herbs (we used basil), and a sauce of olive oil, red wine vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper.  No cooking required. So simple and really tasty.  E built his own and we both took a picture of our pizzas when we were done (Dave was out).

E's picture of his own pizza

My pizza

4. March Madness is underway!  I follow NCAA sports 0% of the rest of the year.  I know absolutely nothing other than what has seeped into my subconscious from watching the Raptors or Twitter.  I do however love filling out a bracket and betting on sports.  I've chosen Kansas to take it all, based on absolutely no background information.  We'll see how that goes.

5. This week at E's school, because it was March Break for the regular schools, they do a special week of events.  Monday was Backwards Day, Tuesday was Green Day (for St. Patrick's Day), and they watched a movie, Wednesday was Cooking Day (they made pancakes), Thursday was Crazy Hair Day, and today is Pastel Colour Day (for the first day of spring).  This was E's favourite week.  He, like his mother, loves to follow instructions like this.  You say wear green, he needs every piece of his clothing to be green so he wears pyjama pants.  I even bought hair chalk for his hair because what else to do for a kid with a short hair cut? 

If you're a link up reader, thanks for visiting, look around my other posts and get to know me. If you're a regular reader, click over to Andrea, Erika, and Narci and see what they have to say today, and then visit some other links in the link up, there is always lots to see and learn about!

Happy Friday!