Toddler #GiftGuide

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Today Miss S spent the day with her maternal grandparents while the mister was out at his  LAST MBA group meeting (omg is that even real to say???).  I mentioned these ideas a few days ago, but sometimes it’s nice to let helpful and loving grand parents take over :)

I spent the day tidying the house, wrapping christmas gifts, pinnin’ meal ideas/”cozy vibes”, doing laundry, watching another SATC marathon (thanks SLICE) putting up more holiday decor (& photographing it… in the most ahhh-mazing day light!!).

Also, I thought I’d put together a cute toddler holiday #giftguide (while watching Home Alone 2!) because I know I needed a little gift inspo for Miss S this year.  Definite staples for most toys we buy her are creative, pretend play and motor skill building options (of course this doesn’t mean we don’t buy her a talking elmo or a girly purse) but I thought I’d share the most neutral options in these areas.  Enjoy!

PS: if you need any other #giftguides, be sure to check this out!

Toddler Book Favs!

Like any parent with babies or toddlers in the house – we are reading a lot of books.  And some books are read over and over and over and over again.

So for us we make a lot of trips to the library (sometimes twice a week) and pick up 5-10 books at a time!

I was actually kind of surprised with the variety of books we find there.  Of course there are the silly rhyme books/tongue twisters, the books that have the best pictures, the numbers, letters, days of the week etc practice books, tons of seasonal books (teaching us about Summer or Christmas etc)

But then there are books that just fun to read (but also teach a lesson or have great pics/sound effects that are just really entertaining!)

Here is a list of our fav books of the moment!  Links to these books are below (amazon.ca or chapters.ca)

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We Are Going on a Bear Hunt This was a recent buy for us (something to add to her new room) but I read all about this book online and on #MomBlogs – didn’t realize what all the fuss was about until about the 5th time I read this book.  It’s a fun read and the sound effects are addictive (Miss S loves the snowstorm sound)

Baby Be Kind
This book has been checked out at the library (and renewed) by us for what feels like 2 months.  Such a sweet book and easy to read.  PLUS the message is super important especially for kids in daycare/preschool or where they are constantly interacting with other children.

Little You
This book was gifted to us for Miss S’s 1st birthday by a dear friend.  The meaning to parents is relatable and shows your kiddo how much they mean to you.

Being Thankful
This is definitely for the older kiddo age group and it’s a longer read which might make it harder for your toddler to keep focus.  Buuuutttt the meaning is too sweet to not read several times a week. :P

Life Lately

As busy as this time of year is for us (Rakhi, Diwali, Kaurva Chauth, Birthdays and Anniversaries) we are still pretty much pulled in a million different directions with a million other things not related to any of those.

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The mister is on the last leg of his MBA (we are ALL looking forward to it being over – especially Miss S).  She is the most happiest when he doesn’t have evening class or group meetings but she’s kind of use to it.  Crazy how kiddos are so aware.

Outside of that I have registered for a marketing class.  It’s a lot of reading and writing – and I didn’t realize how much work it would be.

The weather has tremendously cooled down so our park days are over for now (unless we can make it on a sunny Saturday – which hasn’t happened yet).  So I’ve picked up some more art and craft supplies to give Miss S some new creative activities.  Beads, pipe cleaners, glue stick, feathers, pom poms and water colour paints (still trying to find a pair of toddler friendly scissors).  Her water colouring painting require some serious concentration!

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Outside of that doing my very best to eat more veggies, protein, get my 10K + steps in a day (#LOVEMyFitBit), reading ACTUAL books, dishes, home cooking, keeping up with 1se (gaah missed a few days) and reeelaaax when I can.

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How we dine out with the kiddo #TipsAndTricks

We celebrate a lot of birthdays and anniversaries in my family.  And for us…that means a lot of meals outside of the house. When I was little, I was always so happy to go out for a treat meal.  When the mister and I got married, we ate out a lot.  Mainly because we lived downtown and it was fun to try new places.  Now with a little one in tow, we don’t go out as often, but we do enjoy it and try to go often (read: at minimum twice a month).

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When we do go out for dinner, we plan and “early bird” dinner usually and pick family friendly restaurants.  That isn’t always the case when it comes to celebrations with the extended family (being out way past bed time and sometimes the kiddo doesn’t get a complimentary distraction aka crayons with her paper menu).

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After becoming a mom I quickly learned that kids between the ages of 1-5 aren’t designed to sit quietly and respectfully for 45 minutes.  They want to explore, run, say hi to strangers – they get easily distracted and just want to be kids!!  (And who can blame them!)

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I used to be way more strict about it, but I’ve learned let it go and go with the flow because #MommyNeedsAGlassOfWine and it’s easier to have one when there are other hands to help.  That said I have a few survival tips when dinning out with kiddos.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-9-24-33-pm1. Try and choose a family friendly restaurant outside of sleep times – this is an obvious one but not necessarily something you can control if you have various ages dinning out.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-9-24-49-pm2. Bring a distraction – for our family it’s a small toy (or a few), these awesome activity packs or even the sugar packs at the restaurant lol.  We tried to limit use of our phones/technology at dinner time (at home or at a resto) we don’t encourage it for Miss S either…..But if your kid has a fav ipad game or show, bring it along!  (I’ve been known to give her my phone when she needs a quick distraction).

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-9-25-22-pm3. Bring a stroller – we bring our umbrella stroller.  It’s small but comfy enough for her to nap in.  Of course this depends on the age of your kiddo, when Miss S was younger, we could use our ring sling.

screen-shot-2016-09-20-at-9-25-32-pm4. Take help! – This was a big one for me but if I am out with my family and my toddler is willing to be entertained by someone else that means I can use both hands to eat my 25 dollar meal :P

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What are your tried and tested tips for dining out with your kiddo?

The one with (extra information)

Yeep, it’s Thursday again (that was fast).  Today I rode the big bike for the 3rd  year (2012, 2015 and now 2016).  It’s always a non invasive (no training required) way to get a break and have a laugh with your coworkers + it raises money for a good cause.

This weekend is going to be another busy one.  We have an engagement brunch, kids birthday party and I am also volunteering at a soup kitchen. (The mister and I’ve have wanted to do this since before we even got married – but I found an opportunity to do it on my own so maybe next time we can do it together.)

I’ve also been doing some research on #FlatlayHacks and #PhotographyTips because I’m always interested in learning more and staying up to date.

I love photographing clouds – the depth and colour of the imagery is so beautiful, plus it’s the easiest way to re-familiarize yourself with fstop and iso ranges.

Lastly, Miss S and I have a nightly routine (like all children and parents) but it’s really interesting to see her be more responsive and independent.  She knows that before we start reading books (before bed), that I will tell her to close the door and pick out a stuffie (stuffed animal – I didn’t even know what it meant until a month ago).  The confidence she eludes when she does these two small tasks is incredibly humbling (as human raising another human) but also endearing.

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Shades | Journal

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Eddie the elf [Dec 10th 2015]

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This guy has been ALLL over our main floor checking up on Miss S, who seems to have transitioned to the #TerribleTwos early.  Can you tell I am #OutOfPictureIdeasRightNow!

We have a jam packed family weekend ahead of us: Sleep over at the grandparents, apps downtown for my lil sister’s bday and then family lunch on Sunday.   Other than that looking forward to wrapping up my christmas shopping, brown paper wrapping my gifts, christmas cookie baking, attempting to keep up with my workouts, vino and finalizing our Christmas Eve dinner menu, spoiler: there’s no turkey!