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?

CNE 2016 #letsgototheex

Last weekend, we made our annual trip to the CNE.  This was our 3rd trip since Miss S was born, but only her second time being there.  This time she definitely enjoyed a lot more.  She was really into the kiddie rides, shows (we saw Splash and Boots), the food (hello 1 dollar spaghetti with meat sauce and pop corn) and even tried her luck on a carni-game.  I love the Ex and I am so glad I got to re-experience the air show (the last time I saw it was before I got married – 7 years ago!).  The mister won us a poop emoji stuffie (among other cute stuff that Miss S snatched up).

Even though the CNE signals the end of summer it is a lot of fun and gives me last bit of excitement before I pull out my uggs and order my PSL.  …Until next year.

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#FlyingWithKids – Joys and Triumphs

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Purse | Sunglasses | Watch (vintage) | Bead Bracelets | Gingham Shirt

Flying and generally being on an airplane can be both exhilarating and frightening.  Within in a few hours you’ll be in a fun destination, but you gotta hang out in a tube in the sky for 5 hours to get there.  :)
All of those things you love (or hate) about flying definitely get amplified when you are #FlyingWithKids.  After going on three trips – taking advantage of the “free” tickets for children under 2 years of age and reading/watching tons of blogs/youtube videos about how to keep your sanity while taking your little one on a plane, I thought I should part some wisdom (or at least write it down for myself so I remember for the next time we fly)

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  • Your diaper bag should filled with all the necessities and kept under the seat (not in the over head bin).  I actually overpack the diaper bag, outside of diapers and wipes keep a change of clothes (for you and baby), sanitizer, water, milk, pacifier/comfort item, blanket, stuffie, some new toys/activities …and make sure everything id doubled up!
  • Keep everything light-weight, that goes for carrier, stroller, blankets etc.
  • Have your children biting, crunching or sucking on something during take off and landing.  Just like adults need to chew gum (or move their jaw up and down like crazy), babies need to do the same thing to help normalize the pressure in the ears.  I’ve nursed on our last two flights and this time it was all about crunchy snacks (crackers) or bite size fruit (grapes).  You could also go with high protein options like nuts or seeds to help baby feel fuller longer.

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  • Bring goodie bags (for other passengers haha!).  Although I have not done this, I’ve been tempted to.  See 4 below.
  • Be OK with things not going perfectly …because they won’t and that’s fine.  So your baby is sweet and quiet in your home, but cried and fussed the entire flight? Completely normal.  You had to deal with a blow out or baby couldn’t contain their last meal – it happens – clean it up and move on :)
  • Bring a new activity for the plane + something they are comfortable with.  If your kid is into iPad apps, there are a few apps that work well for distraction, I particularly like this one (or this free option).  Other things that work are taking selfies, putting stickers on a water bottle, colouring and an empty gum packet (seriously, Miss S was obsessed with trying to get the tin package out of the cardboard).
  • Have fun! This will be the only time in your life when your kid will be willingly (aka have no choice because they are a dependent) going with you on vacation (teenage years come fast) so breath in every moment, smile and enjoy! :)

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#LearnWithTLY On Creative Pursuits

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Often I look at the people around me and try to see their creative soul.  Sounds pretty odd but it’s true.  Like my co worker likes to sketch, a friend of mine is such an artistic cook/chef and my sister has a hidden talent of being able to put paint brush to canvas.

Creativity does not only need to be an artistic talent but it can be the fuel for learning something new, building on your problem solving skills and thinking outside the box.

Part of the reason I have Thru Les Yeux, my camera and my Etsy shop is because I found my creative soul and realized she needed to be released.  Here are my tips on how to pursue your creative talent:

  1. Listen to what your creative soul is telling you.  It’s probably a voice you’ve heard all your life but were too lazy, afraid, embarrassed to listen.   I know since I’ve started “listening” my mind is filled with all sorts of creative ideas and thoughts.
  2. Make time for your creativity.  This is definitely a tricky one.  In our busy society, who has time to sit down and do something creative when lunches need to be made, phone calls need to be returned, kids need to be reared etc.  I know I would rather just sit and decompress in front of the TV after 8 hours working for someone else.  But, if your really love exploring your creative side, you’ll want to fit it in whenever you can (might even loose sleep because of it!)
  3. Start at the beginning.  I think when you want to be creative, you have to start somewhere and it’s okay to start from the beginning.  Ask questions, practice your new skills, research and carry a notebook (like your a student) :)
  4. Exercise and get some fresh air.  Getting your heart rate up and breathing clean air (aka change of scenery) can give you the boost you need to either keep going or get you out of a rut/block.

#LearnWithTLY – 4 steps to dominate your first Art Fair and Sale

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I am starting my blog series with 4 tips on how to DOMINATE your first Art Fair and Sale.

I was planning on writing a debrief of my experiences at the #VaughanOfAKindShow but that happened over 4 months ago and I figured I could post something more helpful!   I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you prepared for your first art show or community craft sale so leave me some comments down below and come #LearnWithTLY!!

  1. Get a handled on your product offering and prices:  This is one area I am definitely going to improve on when I do another show.  It’s best to have your products and pricing completed 1.5-2 weeks in advance.  If not, you’ll feel flustered when your prints are not ready at the photo-lab *points at self*
  2. Start advertising early: Blog, email, tweet or Facebook post about your upcoming event (including all the details of time and location) a few weeks leading up to the event.  You may think you are bombarding people but your friends and family are your FIRST customers so give them the details they need to come visit and buy in advance.
  3. Design your booth to be inviting to your customers: Design a booth that will invite your customers to be able to really see your product (even pick up and inspect – enter clear plastic envelops).  Community fairs and sales are really about the community so everyone who comes by your booth is both a potential customer and a neighbour :)
  4. Be ready to make sales: Be (“overly”) friendly, have a credit card payment device + money box with cash on hand, offer a show discount, have bags for your product after it’s been purchased, come with plenty of business cards (including your email and social media accounts), bring water and snacks

I hope my tips help – I know I’ll be reviewing them when the next fair and sales comes around!

Blog Series Introduction #LearnWithTLY

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Captured this lonely table a local eatery near our house.  It’s a bustling place and the food is fab.

Sooo…I’ve decided to start a short mini series for the month of February!

I love reading inspirational blog posts, quick lists of tips or even a few links that provide me some motivation and that can help me improve with different parts of my life.
So I thought I would join the blogging bandwagon by doing a blog series.  Now, I am not an expert but I definitely think I am a life long learner so I am calling this series #LearnWithTLY.

One post a week for the month of February will be dedicated to this series.  Stay tuned for the first in the series this week.