Halloween Decor from Hallmark Canada #giveaway (10/17) #LoveHallmarkCA

My favourite season is here. I love Autumn! Bring on sweaters, spiced lattes, pumpkin pies, and harvest/Halloween decorations. My friends at Hallmark Canada have shared a variety of Halloween and harvest themed products to get ready for the changing season.
Spooky Metal House Decoration Hanger (decorations sold separate)
$24.99 MSRP
Spook-tastic Ghost Sound & Music
$24.99 MSRP

Treat Presenter Book
$14.99 (special purchase)


Inside view of the
 Treat Presenter Book.

Lift the lid to activate one of three messages: 
A haunted evening waits for you 
Be careful! Beware! In all you do! 

Listen, look and be very wary,
for I've seen what's out there, and oooh, it's scary! 

Keep your treats and candy near, or soon they may just disappear!

 (Product description from Hallmark Canada)

Disclosure: I receive occasional perks as part of my involvement in the Love Hallmark Canada blog community. Images are property of Hallmark.com


Love Yourself to Battle Care Giver Fatigue. #Life

This is the days old tattoo. I think I may need a touch up
in a couple places, but have to wait a few weeks for the final
reveal once the crust falls off.
I did something that I've wanted to do since I was a teenager, which is, to get a tattoo. I have one on my back, that is never seen by me, and rarely seen by anyone else either. I have my daughter's name inked in a permanent tribute on my back left, shoulder. My hubby wasn't against me getting this new tattoo, but couldn't understand my choice of  inking my leg with the word "beloved".  This word has been on my mind for years, I just had to commit to where I wanted it inked.

In the 80's it was a big deal to get plaques, posters, and book marks with your name and it's popular meaning. I have a few of these childhood artifacts and each one gives similar descriptions for my name, beloved is top of the list for the descriptions of my name meaning. What does the word mean to me?

My tattoo artist didn't evaluate my tattoo choice, but was curious about it. I said simply, it is supposed to be one of the meanings of my name and it would be too vain to just get my name inked on my leg.  I've spent a lot of years in self hate and denial of my own needs, so it's a 40th birthday gift to myself.  I have never struggled with vanity. In the sense of loving my physical self or being obsessed with my physical appearance. I am a product of genetics, life and food choices, and my body is the vehicle for my physical existence. So what does it mean to be beloved?  As I got closer to my fortieth year, I realized that I give the best of my self away every single day.  I am a nursery school teacher that uses every part of my being;- touch, sound, smell, sight, thought, emotion, and physical strength. Holding at least one crying infant on my hip for most of the day while trying to plan and implement meaningful learning opportunities, empathy for parents, and working with a large team of educators, when we all may have a different opinion on how to do our jobs.  I come home after already giving my best self to my career, and have to draw deep on reserve patience and empathy to care for my family

Please don't think I'm a whiner. I love my job. I chose my job. I love being a wife and mother. I chose both of those life changing relationships as well. BUT -Being a full time caregiver often leaves me empty. There are days that I get up at 5:15 am, go to work from 6:45 to 3:30, and on the way home, realize that I haven't taken one sip from my water bottle the entire day. I would go home and do my "mom shift" and work until midnight on family and mom chores.

After a series of illnesses last year, I had to evaluate my level of self-care. It's not okay to go 7-8 hours without eating or drinking. It's not okay to ignore symptoms of illness for guilt of putting off something in my full schedule. I had a nagging sinus problem for 12 weeks last year because I just couldn't give myself the time to do a follow up appointment with my doctor.

Beloved means;

I am a beloved mother, daughter, and wife. I deserve to be loved. Even when I mess up.

I will eat and drink at regular intervals to keep my physical self fuelled.

I will go to the doctor if I have a new or persistant health issue.

I will take time to charge my mind, and soul. So I'm not running on empty.

I will ignore the dishes and laundry for the chance to have my seven year old read me a book or walk to the park.

I will treat my whole self as a valuable person who needs care, love, and support as much as the people around me. Which means admitting when I need help or a shoulder to cry on, instead of bottling everything up.


New Kellogg Products: Brown Rice Krispie Squares and Nutri Grain Bars #giveaway #sponsor (09/17 CAN)

There are few items I can count on my daughter eating without getting sick of them. Kelloggs Rice Krispies cereal and treats are on our list of favourite things. She has the cereal almost everyday for breakfast and we make the classic recipe treats about once a week. I was excited to try the new Brown Rice Krispie Squares, and can honestly say my girl didn't notice a difference in them compared to the original product.  Kelloggs Canada sent me a back to school care package with new products to taste, and are kind enough to give one to one of my Canadian readers.

New product (full size) sampler:

Nutri Grain bars Fruit and Nut Bars, available in Orchard Cherry and Blueberry varieties. They aren't nut-free school friendly, but have found a home in my own lunch bag. With 3 grams of fibre, they are filling and satisfy my mid afternoon sweet tooth cravings.

Brown Rice Rice Krispie Squares contain 8 g of whole grain per serving (20 g) and have the same soft texture and classic taste that make Rice Krispie Squares our favourite snack.

I like that Rice Krispie squares are school lunch friendly and can be a sweet treat to accompany a healthy lunch- I usually pack my daughter's bag with fruit, veggies, cheese, crackers, and popcorn.

Here's to a healthy school year with no wasted lunches!

Backpack and Kelloggs Product Sampler

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  This giveaway is sponsored by Kellogg Canada, I receive occasional perks as part of my involvement with their blog community. Please visit the product pages for more information on ingredients and nutritional content. Images are property of Kellogg Canada.


Reflections On The Big 4-0

Summer 2016
This is what 41 looks like on a good day. I am mature enough
to say that I can love myself in the face of disappointing life goal "failures"
and focus of my blessings instead.
I turned 40 last August, and hit another birthday this week. This year was much less emotional than last. As I approached 40, I was filled with regret and remorse for not achieving even half of my life goals, set by my pie eyed, twenty year old self. This year I am resigned to being 41, in my forties, middle aged, fat and forty.  This may sound cynical, but really, I am past my coming of age induced depression, and am looking at life differently. I haven't accomplished the goals set 20 years ago, but have been successful in many other ways. The first time I had an age induced crisis, was in my teens. The teen years nearly killed me, literally. I almost didn't survive it. So when I finally grew wings at 19, and had a transformational year that birthed dreams, goals, and a life plan. I flew with it and had some of the best years of my life. Nothing in life has been as easy as the years between 19- 24, seemed.

The one thing I would tell my 20 year old (know it all) self, make goals but roll with the changes when life doesn't work the way you hoped or planned.  Also, don't burn your bridges. I prided myself in cutting out toxic people or situations, but lacked the grace to be humble about it. I burned a lot of bridges, and was judgmental. I would tell my twenty year old self to keep the confidence and independence, but temper it with grace and humility. But chances are, I wouldn't have listened anyway...


BTS With Stationary from @Hallmark_Canada #SchoolAgeActivities

BTS: The New Code Word That Inspires Six Year Old Wrath

My daughter doesn't want reminding that I will be pulling her out of bed two hours earlier in two weeks, so she won't even let me say "back to school". I have tried desperately to restart a bedtime routine for the last three weeks, but the "wiser than mom" six year old has decided that natural consequences will be in her future.  For all the times we don't agree, I'm reminded of the times we are alike. We both love to write, draw, and be creative.  Hallmark Canada has sent me a box of stationary products to get us ready for BTS. I have picked a few of my favourite items, but there are dozens more to choose, including colour and pattern variations. 

Parent/Teacher Picks:
 Notepad $5.95, Monthly Colouring Calendar Planner $14.95, Slim Journal, $11.95

School Ager Picks:
My girl is going to grade 2 and I recently discovered a chewed up, pages missing, note pad that she has made into an informal diary. I have given her a notebook this week and encouraged her to use it as a place to write about herself, her school, or life in general. I have also given her a mini clipboard with note pad and a doodle pad.  This is perfect for us to write reminders to each other, and we like to doodle as we create.
Clipboard, small $9.95, Colouring Memo Pad $5.95, Notebooks, 3 pack, 4 x 6 $9.95

I am wishing you all a happy last week of school break, here in Canada. Some places are already past the first week/s hump, so kudos to you!

Disclosure: I receive products as part of my social media involvement with Hallmark Canada. All opinions are expressly my own. Prices may vary from USA/Canada markets.


Is Your Child Ready For Pets? #archivedpost

Original post from July, 2013
I hadn't even considered the idea that we might have to factor allergies into the equation. We ended up having allergic reactions from our 4 day visit and it was a good trial run. We excluded guinea pigs from our pet list and went with a fish tank instead.
Gus spent the long weekend with us as a trial run for getting our own guinea pig.
Most children like animals, our Princess Destructo has been acquainted with Gus the Guinea Pig at our local Early Years Center for the last year and talks about him often between visits. When they needed someone to take care of him for the long weekend I offered to bring him home. Since we have been considering getting a small pet of our own I thought this would be a great chance to see how Princess handled the excitement of having a small animal in the house.  I wondered if our three year old would have a hard time keeping her fingers out of the cage.  Here are a few tips for deciding if pets are a good idea for your family, and a few benefits to caring for small animals.

Getting a pet should be a shared decision since it should be a shared responsibility for the whole family.  The main question I have to ask myself- Do we would have time to care for another living creature? I knew I would be doing most of the care (cage cleaning, grooming, etc.) and am already working full time and caring for a family of three plus an elderly cat.  Also, I have to consider travel plans this summer. Will I be able to find someone to take care of a guinea pig as well as the cat?

A good way to see how your child will behave around animals is to spend time with other peoples pets to judge wisely.   Young children have a hard time with containing their excitement and with staying within behavioural limits consistently.  The visit with Gus went well, but did I really want to spend the next year asking her to keep her fingers out of the cage if we had a guinea pig full time? Or to remind her to hold him gently when he had freedom on a towel. 

Caring for living creatures can help establish a feeling of responsibility and build confidence.  Princess helped me fill Gus' water bottle and feed kibble and veggies twice a day. She showed pride in her efforts, "Mommy, I'm a good zoo keeper! I'll help him be big and strong."

Our four days with Gus were filled with cuteness and continued desire for a guinea pig of our own.  I haven't ruled out getting a guinea pig yet, but with a few big family transitions coming in the next 6-8 weeks we will definitely have to wait on adding another fur-baby to our home.

How are your children with pets?

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