You Know You’ve Been Watching Too Many Cartoons When…

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I totally get why children’s T.V. shows and books are they way they are.  Fun characters, catchy songs, bright colors and happiness all around.  The majority of children out there need these things to capture and hold their attention and, like I said, I totally get that.  However, have you ever been so tired of these shows/books that you start to over analyze them?  That’s what I found myself doing today.

Dora the Explorer.  My goodness, where do I start with this?!  First of all, I think she should reconsider “The Map” as a friend.  Crocodile Lake, Snaky Forest, Broken Bridges, Muddy Mudholes…does this map have a death wish for Dora?!  Why can’t he find safer ways for her to reach her destination?  One shouldn’t have to risk their life just to reach “Play Park”.  The other thing I want to know is – where is this child’s parents?  Why aren’t they teaching her to make safe decisions?  Take this scene for example:

ImageDon’t let their fake smiles fool you, these crocs would happily devour Dora and her faithful friend, Boots.  In the end, Dora waits for the turtles to line up so that she can hop across their backs to the other side.  Seriously b’ys?  Her parents are ok with this?  Why not teach her to simply walk around the obstacle?!  The same can be said for so many scenes both in the T.V. show and the books.

Let’s move on.  How many of you are familiar with the show “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”?  The characters are the same, lovable friends that we all grew up with – Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, etcetc.  Answer me this question…why is it that all of the characters can talk except for Pluto?  Think about it!  Two talking mice, two talking ducks, talking chipmunks, a talking cow…heck Goofy is a talking dog!  Why not Pluto?  It’s just not right I tells ya!

What about the show “Bananas in Pajamas”?  My question here is why do the characters run everywhere they go?  What’s the hurry Bananas?  Is there a fire somewhere that we can’t see?  Care to explain this phenomenon Teddies?  How about you, Rat in a Hat?  No?  Well “cheese and whiskers” on that!

Am I being truly serious about any of this?  Of course not!  Again, I know that these are children’s cartoons/books.  They’re meant to be fun and exciting for kids.  It honestly just amused me when I found myself thinking these silly questions!  Hopefully, you managed to get a laugh or two out of my post.

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Wait a Minute…THIS Wasn’t In the Parenting Books!!

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Did anyone ever tell you “make sure to read the fine print before signing that”?  Yeah, that’s sort of what parenting is like, except the “fine print” isn’t listed anywhere.

When I was pregnant with my first child, I thought that I knew a lot about what it took to raise children.  I had friends with kids and I was also a proud Auntie of two.  Despite that, I read the books and interacted on pregnancy websites learning all that I could so that I would be prepared.  After my Son was born, slowly but surely, I began to discover the aspects of parenting which were unwritten…things that your friends don’t tell you in fear of scaring the crap out of you!

The biggest change in my life was the addition of worry.  Holy moly b’ys…the worry!!  The reality hit me the second time I was feeding my Son.  I looked at him and realized the huge responsibility which had been placed on my shoulders – I was responsible for a life.  A life which was not my own.  This tiny, precious being was completely dependant on me (and his Daddy too of course).  It was up to us to keep him alive, to help him grow, to help him discover who he is meant to be in life.  Do you realize how HUGE that is?  I would check on him constantly at night to make sure he was still breathing, obsess over how much he was eating and was totally strict on his sleeping schedule.  Not only was I worried about my Son, I suddenly became fully aware of my own mortality as well as my Husband’s.  Yes, I’ve always known that life is fragile and it doesn’t last forever but now I feared death.  The thought of not being around to watch my child grow up caused great anxiety as well as the thought of losing my Husband and having to raise our Son alone.  Five and a half years have passed since my Son was born and I have learned to deal with my worries, however there are still times when I find it hard to cope.

Don’t worry, my next paragraph isn’t as “deep”!  Do you guys remember what it’s like to use the bathroom alone?  No?  Me Neither!  Ahhh the good old days…the days when one could walk into the bathroom alone and do their business without interruptions.  I have yet to figure out what is so interesting about me going to the bathroom.  No matter what I try – books, games, coloring, even T.V. – the moment they realize that I’m in the bathroom, they’re right in there with me.  It’s not just quiet speculation either!  “Are you going poopie Momma?  Poopie stinky!  Can I see the poopie!  Good poopie Mommy, good job!”  I guess I just have to see the bright side – at least I get praise?  LOL!

Trust me, I could write a book about all of the things that you experience as a parents which nobody warns you about.  Not all of these experiences are doom and gloom, some are funny and some are even eye-opening.  No matter what, it’s all worth it in the end.  My children are blessings and I will do anything for them.

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Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than the prospect of my kids getting sick.   I go from being this laid back, go-with-the-flow kind of Mom to a survivor of the zombie apocalypse who’s defending her house from the walking dead!

Illnesses don’t just come and go in my house.  Everyone gets sick, no matter how much I clean and sanitize.  On Friday, one of the teachers from my Son’s school informed me that there was a nasty stomach bug going around.  In fact, an entire class of grade three students were absent that day due to the illness.  She added that it would only be a matter of time before the bug made its way down through the grades.  My stomach turned (pardon the pun!).  Colds and flus are annoying enough, but I do NOT want to deal with projectile vomit!

Naturally, the unrealistic thoughts start to brew in my head.  First, I try and convince myself that everyone will be well by Monday.  Yeah right brain…the health fairy is gonna fly around to all of the sick children and magically banish the stomach bug.  Next, I convince myself that my Son hasn’t been in contact with anyone who is sick (which is totally possible!).  That silly thought was stomped into the ground when I discovered that several of his friends are just getting over the bug.  Ok…Ok…I can handle that.  He really didn’t spend much time around those friends over the past few days, so we should still be good.  So I try and reassure myself once again that we are contact free.  Well this evening I went to the local corner store and was speaking with one of the employees and she proceeds to tell me about her day which consisted of cleaning up vomit from her two very sick sons.  WHAT?!  Are you kidding me?!?!  *gasp* *choke* *cough*  CONTACT!!

After leaving the store, I sanitize the crap out of my hands and finally come to terms with reality – if my kids are going to get sick, they’re going to get sick…no matter what I do.  I can’t very well quarantine them from their friends, school and other activities.  If they do get sick, I will simply deal with the problem then.  It’s not the end of the world after all.

I certainly hope I didn’t jinx myself by purchasing Lysol spray and Mister Clean in advance.

5 Things NOT to Say to a Stay-At-Home Mom

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There is one thing of which I am very sure – not everyone is cut out to be a stay-at-home Mom.  I wholeheartedly laugh at the people who think that we SAHMs (stay-at-home Moms) are lazy, freeloading, or selfish.  Clearly, you have no idea what we do all day.

I’m not here to get into all of the things I do in a day.  If you’re a fellow (or former) SAHM, I know you hear me!  The following is a list of phrases that I never want to hear again.

1)  “It must be nice to have so much free time.”  Oh it sure is!  With the skydiving lessons and pool parties, I find it so hard to work on my latest book.  Are you kidding me?!  Free time??  There are days when I wonder how I will find time to get the dishes done, let alone find any free time.  Being a SAHM isn’t about me wanting to be on a permanent vacation…because it’s not like that at all.  Working parents pay babysitters/daycare workers to care for their children.  Would they be paying good money if these caregivers were sitting on their butts all day long watching TV?  No!  They pay good money so that someone can care for their children for the day.  Caring for children is a JOB.  People get paid money for it.  As a SAHM, the only difference is that I don’t get paid.

2)  “What a shame to let your education/career go to waste.”  I didn’t toss my career out the door, it’s simply on hold for a while.  Right now, staying at home with my children is much more important to me.  Jobs and schools will ALWAYS be there.  In ten years, they will be there.  In 20 years, they will be there.  In 50 years, they will be there.  My kids will only be young once in their lives.  Once.  It will never, ever happen again.  I want to savour every single moment that I can and be there for them.  When they are grown and no longer need me to care for them, I will return to my career.

3)  “I wouldn’t be able to stay at home.  I’d die without adult conversation.”  I find that rather offensive.  You’re saying that I can get along without adult conversation?  Of course I crave the company of other adults!  It’s not hard to find that company through other SAHMs, friends, family and so on.

4)  “Your husband must be making a ton of money”  I’m sorry, but when did my family’s financial situation become your business?  Please don’t assume that just because I stay at home that we are rich.  The same is for the opposite.  Please don’t assume that we are struggling either.  It’s best to avoid statements like this all together.

5)  “Let’s ask the SAHMs to volunteer for (insert function here) since they don’t work”  Again with the “not working” thing?!  It really surprises me that many organized groups/clubs will say things like this.  Just because I stay at home with my kids, it doesn’t mean I have time to bake endless trays of cookies for your bake sale.  I volunteer at my Son’s school when I’m able to and they appreciate the time I am able to donate.  They know and understand that I have two children and can’t always commit to doing things.  Why can’t more people be like this?

The list could go on and on, but these are my top five pet peeve phrases.  What about you guys?  What things do you wish people would stop saying/asking to SAHMs?

Eat Your Vegetables! They’re Good For You…or Not?

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We all want our children to live long and healthy lives, am I right?  Making sure they eat the right foods plays a big part in helping to achieve this goal.  Here’s the thing – do you know which foods are the “right” foods?  Are you sure about that answer?

When I first became a parent, I figured that keeping my son healthy would be easy.  When the time came, I made my own baby food from fresh fruits, crisp veggies and lean meats.  He also didn’t have any sugar or junk until he turned one.  Off to a good start, right?  Skip ahead another four years and he continues to eat, what I consider to be, healthy.  Things such as chips and cheesies only happen perhaps once per month (if that) and take out is limited as well.  All the same for my daughter of course.

Over the past year or so, there have been more and more news articles and reports about deadly chemicals found in food, animal growth hormones, deadly dyes and so on.  Let me give you an example.  The following (non-organic) fruits and vegetables are considered the most dangerous because of the level of pesticides found in them:

The Dirty Dozen for 2013
  1. Apples
  2. Celery
  3. Cherry tomatoes
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Grapes
  6. Hot peppers
  7. Nectarines (imported) 
  8. Peaches
  9. Potatoes
  10. Spinach
  11. Strawberries
  12. Sweet bell peppers

The reason these are considered “dirty” is because all of these fruits and vegetables have very thin skins which are edible.  Pesticides are sprayed directly onto them and absorbed into the fruit/vegetable to keep crops insect free.  Even if you peel them, the skins are not considered thick enough to filter out the pesticides.  Do you see some of your child’s favorite foods on that list?  Apples, grapes and strawberries are my kid’s favorites.

How about dyes?  Kraft recently stated that within the next year, it will be removing the artificial dyes Yellow No. 5 and Yellow No. 6 from the ingredients found in Kraft Dinner (a popular meal among children).  These dyes are proven to increase hyperactivity in children.  In the UK, a warning about these dyes MUST be included on the packaging of the foods they are contained in.  Rather than add the warning to their packaging, Kraft decided to remove the dyes all together (You can read more about this story here).  Artificial dyes can also be found in beef (to make them red which is supposed to make them appealing), cereal, candy and water flavor enhancers (such as Mio).

Then of course there was the 20/20 news report about “dirty meats”.  Hot dogs, bologna and certain sausages are made with the scraps of multiple types of meat which are not considered pure enough to go into quality cuts.  These scraps are found on a “sanitary” floor, put into a huge vat to be boiled (and therefore sanitized), then they are pureed, seasoned and formed into the right shapes.  My kids love hot dogs, so I decided to switch to “Maple Lead Natural Selections”.  The ingredients are right on the front of the package – pork, water, sea salt, vinegar, spice, cultured celery extract, dehydrated garlic, smoke.  That all sounds good and natural, right?  Yeah, that’s what I thought too.  Well cultured celery extract is just a fancy term for nitrite – a preservative that may be linked to cancer according to the Canadian Cancer Society.  What’s funny is that on the package, you will find the words “No preservatives”.  (Read more about this here)

So by now I’m sure you’re all ready to eat organic.  After all, that’s what everyone says is the healthiest way to go, right?  There are a growing number of people who are attempting to live a more organic life and those people too are being fooled.  Many companies see organic as a fad and are trying to get in on the action.  A product, such as baby food, may be listed as organic but only certain ingredients of the product are actually organic foods.

By now, if you’re like me, you’re ready to move to an island and attempt to grow/raise your own food!  With SO much contradicting information out there, how on earth do you know what to believe?!  Some people are lucky enough to live in areas where actual organic fruits, vegetables and meats are grown locally.  However, that lifestyle isn’t possible everywhere.  It also isn’t possible for everyone.  Eating organically can be very expensive and when you’re on a tight budget, spending five dollars on two avocadoes as opposed to an extra value meal at McDonald’s seems crazy.

So how on earth do we get our children to eat healthy?  Personally, I’m trying to live by three rules:

  1. Everything in moderation
  2. Less is more
  3. Education is key

I’ve decided that I’m not going to go crazy with trying to live organically because in my town, it’s just not possible to live a true organic life.  My children delight in a Happy Meal from McDonald’s once in a while and I’m not going to deny them of that.  As long as I limit how often they have such a treat, then that will be ok in my eyes.  As for the “less is more” rule, in making my food choices, I will choose the foods which have less chemicals/additives in them.  For example, I will purchase a pint of strawberries over a frozen pizza any day.  My final rule is pretty self explanatory.  If you educate yourself about the ingredients which are found in the foods you eat, you will be better prepared to make smart choices.  Don’t be afraid to google ingredients you don’t know.  I do that all of the time!

I’m not here to try and persuade you one way or another, I’m simply sharing some surprising information that I’ve learned over the past year.  In the end, you have to do what’s right for you and your family.

Love is in the Air…or is it?

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I find Valentine’s Day is the one holiday which is met with the most mixed reception.  You either love it, you hate it or it’s just another day of the week.  I like Valentine’s Day, but not so much for myself.  I enjoy how much my children look forward to it.

My son is in Kindergarten and this will be his first year to exchange Valentines with his classmates!  There will be a party (featuring my famous chocolate chip cookies!), with games and all sorts of fun things.  My daughter was able to help with her Valentines for family and friends this year.  She is not able to print her name just yet, but she “signed” each card with precise letters of her own creation.  Being able to do this made her very proud indeed!  My children being excited makes me excited.

I have a card picked up for each of them and my Husband and I had planned on taking them out for lunch.  However, due to a major storm warning, we decided to have the special dinner a day early.  We will have TV time with the special “Madly Madagascar” followed by a nice supper.  That’s about it.  I don’t play into the crazy commercialization of Valentine’s Day.  Cards that can cost up to $10, fake flowers, junky candy, silly stuffed toys…all in the name of love?  No thank you very much!  Hubby volunteering to watch the kids so that I can have a few hours out with my friends means so much more to me than an over priced, heart-shaped pillow.

You don’t have to spend much to makes Valentine’s Day fun for your little ones.  Last year I made a fancy bath for my kids complete with pink bubbles, pink lemonade in fancy glasses and heart-shaped rice crispy squares.  They had a blast!  In addition to that, along with their cards I gave them each a book of coupons that I had made myself.  There were five coupons:

  1. Good for one batch of your favorite cookies
  2. Get out of trouble card (for minor offences only)
  3. Good for one deluxe bubble bath (same as the one they had on Valentine’s Day)
  4. Good for one Happy Meal with no questions asked (had to be presented before meals were cooked)
  5. Good for one movie night ANY night you choose

My kids were thrilled with the coupons!  It made the excitement of Valentine’s Day last a little bit longer and they loved being able to have little treats at the drop of a piece of paper.

So whether you and your special someone are heading out to dinner or you plan on spending the day catching up on laundry, this Valentine is for YOU!Image

Of Course I Want to Take You to the Bathroom!

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Does anyone else find it hard to eat proper meals on a regular basis?  By “proper”, I mean a well balanced meal.  Before you ask, no, the leftovers your kids didn’t eat from their plates does not count!

We all know that there are plenty of interruptions when the family sits down to eat.  Someone may be missing a fork while someone else needs more water.  Perhaps someone is finished early and is hoping for their dessert.  Lately, the only time I can seem to eat without too much interruption is breakfast.  After that, I’m lucky if I get one “proper” meal before the day is out.  Oh I would absolutely LOVE to be able to eat on a more regular basis, however there is one main obstacle that I must face everyday – my Daughter.  Don’t let her beautiful face or adorable mannerisms fool you.  This child knows when I’m trying to eat and for some reason, it’s in her genetic code to prevent that from happening.

In the beginning, she tried to keep my attention with cute conversation which was filled with questions, songs and the like.  When she was small, I would do my best to go along with her but now that she is a bit older she knows that talking with a full mouth is not appropriate and the conversation is kept to a minimum.  I thought that my troubles were over but then she went all out and pulled her trump card – “Momma, I hafta go pee/poo weelly bad!!”.  Oh yeah, she went there.

She is still only two and while she is completely potty trained, she still needs help with wiping.  That means she needs someone to accompany her to the bathroom each time she goes.  My husband works away so he is not often around to assist with potty breaks.

I have tried to combat this latest tactic.  The most obvious solution was to make sure she went to the potty before we ate, but somehow…someway…she always manages to save something in her reserves for when I sit down to eat!  Once the kids have been completely taken care of, I will sit down to my meal.  Within minutes she will come over to me and urgently say she needs to go to the bathroom.  My mind is screaming ‘NO!!  No I just sat down!  I want to eat my food while it’s still sort of warm!  Just give me five more minutes!’.  However, I’ll smile sweetly and always answer “Of course I’ll take you to the potty my sunshine”.

I know that this won’t last forever.  One day she will be able to properly handle herself in the bathroom all on her own.  Until that time comes, I think I’ll just set up a dinner tray and chair in the bathroom.