How to beat the heat this Summer! #YMCCommunity

Finding ways to stay cool during the Summer can really make Summer that much more fun!

Mom, it's too hot!

Mom, it’s too hot!

When I was a kid, our options were:

1) the sprinkler ; usually a fan-type one that we just jumped back and forth over

Girl jumps through water sprinkler.

2) Slip ‘N Slide ; long strip of yellow plastic that we ran and slid down as the water from the sprinkler fell on it to make it slippery

Slip n Slide

3) a trampoline ; you either tied the hose to one corner of the trampoline and had the water run into the middle where every bounce sent the giant puddle into the air, drenching everyone around. If you happened to have the “mesh” trampoline, we would put that awesome fan sprinkler underneath and have it spray through the mesh. Add some dish soap, and you had a slippery good time.

Photo credit: Little Girl Big Glasses

Photo credit: Little Girl Big Glasses

4) waterballoons ; balloons filled with water and tossed at your friends or an unsuspecting passerbyer

waterballoons

5) waterguns ; this was where the Super Soakers made their appearance!

super soaker

6) swimming pool ; you had to make friends with the kid who had the only pool in the neighbourhood

backyard pool

7) the waterslides ; hopefully there was a Stay-At-Home-Mom with a mini-van that could take a pile of kids

waterslides

There are so many options now that I’m a parent.

All of the above options mentioned, are still available, but the sprinklers have improved and are WAY more fun for the kids.

There are water tables, a variety of pools to choose from, and inflatable water gyms/ slides/ castles etc.

inflatable water slide

Inflatable slip n slide

 

Other than buying a pre-made water toy, you can fashion your own DIY ways to keep the little cool this summer.

1) Kids car wash ; Lowes has a how-to guide online here.

Photo credit: Lowes.com

Photo credit: Lowes.com

2) Water blob ; check out this tutorial from Homemade Toast

 

Photo credit: Homemade Toast

Photo credit: Homemade Toast

3) water filled air mattresses; fill, lay back and enjoy the coolness without getting wet

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4) sponge balls; Here’s the DIY instructions from Livingnspired

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5) DIY pop bottle sprinkler; self explanatory

6) a kiddie pool; the whole family can enjoy this too!

Photo credit: Married with Dogs

Photo credit: Married with Dogs

7) a good old fashioned water fight; no one is safe if one of these breaks out!

 

Photo credit: Earnest Parenting

Photo credit: Earnest Parenting

What creative ways have you come up with to keeping the family cool when it gets hot out?

My first bike! #MammaCangura {Giveaway} #YMCCommunity

Kids and bikes go hand in hand.

Kids on bikes

When I was a kid, I rode my bike EVERYWHERE! And this was before the helmet laws were in affect. I even rode my bike to places that I should have never gone, like from my home in North Vancouver, over Lions Gate Bridge and down to Second Beach in Vancouver. Not a huge deal to me because I LOVED my bike and I was an awesome bike rider. I was probably 12 years old.

Now as a parent, I want my kiddos to learn how to ride their bikes as well as I did and get just as much enjoyment out of it.

We had a tricycle for our daughter when she was smaller, but never really had the opportunity to pull it out as we live in a condo in a neighbourhood where there is a lot of traffic. The underground parking that we have also wasn’t the ideal location to practice and the parks nearby didn’t have the best conditions for learning to ride a bike.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen a significant increase in the number of balance or stride bikes that the little kids are zooming around on. There are metal ones, wood ones and even plastic ones. How do you decide which to choose?

MammaCangura

We chose the MammaCangura B-Bip Balance Bike.

Here are the features for this bike:

  • Reviewed by Prôtegez-Vous!
  • Non-toxic certified plastic frame, lightweight, sturdy and easily washable
  • Removable and washable soft padding on saddle and handlebar
  • Wide range of saddle height settings
  • Synthetic anti-puncture tires; full rim to avoid finger traps
  • Stickers set included. The child will enjoy placing them on the toy, without any health risks: our stickers enjoy the non-toxicity certification.
  • Flush bolts to avoid scratches and injuries
  • Steering lock to prevent sudden turns on uneven ground
  • Hand guards protection

b-bip-balance-bike_26_222x296

Our little guy is loving his B-Bip! At 22 months, he’s still using his tippy toes to sit on it, but everyday he’s getting taller and a bit more brave and as soon as we know it, he’ll be taking off and Mum and Dad will certainly get a great workout trying to keep up with him.

MammaCangura has provided a Raincity Parent with s B-Bip Balance Bike ($149 values) to giveaway to one lucky reader! This giveaway runs from July 7th-13th, 2014 and us open to residents of Canada and the US only. Please enter via the Rafflecopter link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MammCangura made in Italy

Ear piercing: When to do it and where to go? #YMCCommunity

I had my ears pierced when I was 9…I think.

Piercing kids ears

I don’t actually recall when I had them done, but I remember riding my bike to the mall with my girlfriend and popping into the hair salon by the food court.

Almost 30 years ago (I’m seriously dating myself here), hair salons were the place to take your kids to have their ears pierced. Most of the kids having this done were school aged too. I don’t recall any little kids or babies with their ears pierced when I was a kid, but it may just have been the community that I lived in.

Nowadays, parents take their little one’s in to have their ears pierced when they are babies. Maybe it’s done while they’re still too little to muck about with their ears after they’ve been done. Maybe it’s done at this age so that there is no memory of the procedure. I must say, it looks pretty cute seeing a little one with their ears pierced, but it’s totally your choice to have it done when you choose to or when your child asks to have it done.

The familiar way to pierce ears is to use the “guns”. If you call ahead, the technicians will have a second person assist in the piercing so both ears can be done simultaneously, this way it can be less traumatic for the piercee.

Piercing ears with a gunHair salons and accessories stores like Claire’s are probably the most appealing places to take the kiddos because of their locations, decor and ambiance, but you could also take them to tattoo and piercing parlours. It’s all dependent on your comfort level.

Piercing ears with a needleThe cost of piercing has changed over the years. It used to be that you bought the earrings, which were usually around the $20 mark, and the piercing was FREE. Now, I’ve heard that it can cost close to $100 to have it done.

My husband and I decided that we’d wait until our daughter asked to have her ears pierced.

She has been asking.

I’d like to take her in for her birthday this year. She’ll be five. But Daddy needs to agree or we will be waiting until she’s a bit older. It’s always 2 “Yes”‘s or it’s a “No” when it comes to decision making in our family. If we do have them done, I know that these Monster High earrings will be on her wish list.

Monster High Earrings

Have you had your child’s ears pierced yet? How old were they and where did you take them? How much did you pay?

Our toddler’s current stage, in pictures. #YMCCommunity

Our toddler is currently going through the stage where he prefers to stay near or on Mommy.

This makes using two hands, preparing meals, going to the bathroom and utilizing child care at the gym or at Mommy functions, next to impossible.

Date night with Daddy will continue to be a no fly zone until this stage is over. Hopefully 6 months to a year.

These are a few ways that I like to describe this awesome stage of our toddlers life:

1) The barnacle.

1) The barnacle.

2) The lingering smell that just won't go away.

2) The lingering smell that just won’t go away

3) My shadow.

3) My shadow.

4) The Klingon.

4) The Klingon.

The baby koala.

5) The baby koala.

6) The Remora.

6) The Remora.

7) Gum in my hair.

7) Gum in my hair.

8) A stubborn stain.

8) A stubborn stain.

9) That song you just can't get out of your head.

9) That song you just can’t get out of your head.

 

10) The shoe streamer that goes unnoticed.

10) The shoe streamer that goes unnoticed.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but sometimes this Mama needs her personal space.

When it rains…it pours! And those puddles are AWESOME! #Kamik #YMCCommunity

To live in Vancouver, you really need to be OK with wet weather.

image

And when it’s wet out, you better be prepared to get wet too.

Puddles turn into small lakes and kids can’t avoid them.  Even grown-ups can’t stay away sometimes.

The other day, we were treated to a spectacular event, brought to us courtesy of Mother Nature. There was thunder and lightening, but best of all…there was a torrential downpour! It rained so hard, that the sewer drains couldn’t ‘t keep up with the amount of water racing towards them. This made for some truly fantastic puddles and rivers to develop in our neighbourhood.

We donned our rain gear complete with our new favourite Kamik Raindrops rainboots.

image

The rain was no match for these durable, yet comfy boots.

We splashed around until the thunder started to crash and then made a hasty retreat back to the safety of our home.

With the monsoon subsiding, our galoshes have been put aside until the next rain fall. They will definitely be going to Kindergarten this Fall. The kiddos will be learning and playing outside a lot, and we’ve been guaranteed that they will be getting wet and dirty. So our Kamik’s have been designated the “Official Sock Keeper Driers”.

The made in Canada, Kamik rainboots are not only waterproof, but they are 100% recyclable! When your boots have lived their life to the fullest, you can send them back to Kamik for recycling.

I love these rain boots for the kiddos! I don’t remember the last time that I actually owned a pair of rain boots for myself, so I think that I will definitely scoping out a pair for me too!

Kamik

Father’s Day…a shopping experience. #YMCCommunity

Father’s Day is this weekend, so I loaded up the kids and headed to the local shopping mall.

Photo credit: The Now News

Photo credit: The Now News

We arrive and hit up the play area so the kiddos can burn off some of their excess energy and build up an appetite for a bite of lunch.

There’s a pile of kids running amok and our little spazzes are terrorizing the small enclosure. Our daughter decides that she’s the only one allowed to play in the Hollow Tree and mouths off to another kid. So Mama Bear makes her appearance and demands an apology be said or we will be heading home post haste.

The apology is made under her breath and in a huff.

Then our young lad feels that he should be driving the car (as most men do) in the play area and bops the little girl sitting in the driver’s seat, in the nose a couple of times before my go-Gadget-go arm is able to stop him.

Another apology session is played out in protest, but it too is made.

The play area starts to get crazy, so I manage to persuade our spawn that it’s lunch time and if we go now, we can get pizza! The most appropriately priced meal in the entire fast food selection in the mall. Three of us can eat for $5, not $15.

We get our food, our daughter gets the job of putting the Parmesan on the slices. She proceeds to empty the entire shaker onto our food…awesome.

Lunch is had, but most of the wee lad ‘s portion, ended up on the ground and the little lady’s pizza ended up topless. I reflect back to my comment about the most appropriately priced meal in the mall.

Now, it’s time to get Daddy’s Father’s Day gift.

We hit up Cole’s and they’ve got a table stacked with books right at the front of the store marked, “Great reads for Dads”, so this makes my life a bit easier. I won’t have to spend too much time scouring the shelves while my monsters start to get bored. As I’m reading the inside leaf of a book, our son takes a swipe at the neighbouring table and a stack of books go sliding off and onto the floor with a loud crash! I pick them up and he decides to launch his bear and soother across the store.

Not exactly as shown.

Not exactly as shown.

Time to go.

I collect our daughter, who has planted her bum down in front of the magazine rack and is leafing through a Monster High and a Scooby Doo magazine, pay for the book that I had chosen and as I’m doing so, the boy rips a shelf talker off the checkout display and totally destroys it.

Good grief….

I hand the pieces to the cashier, apologize and make like the wind and break.
We head to Old Navy as fast as our daughter’s legs will move and as I’m looking for Daddy’s size, the lad pulls a stack of jeans off the shelf and onto himself. Our daughter is running around the racks playing hide and seek and laughing maniacally while the other shopper’s deke out of her way. I pick up the stack, grab a couple pairs of shorts that may or may not be the right size, and B-Line it for the checkout.

Last stop, card store.

We race to the other side of the mall and find the Father’s Day card section.
I manoeuvre the stroller so that it’s right in the middle of the aisle, and to my delight, little guy can reach both sides.

Hmmm…which side to choose? The highly breakable side containing ceramic and glass ornaments, or the rack of cards. I choose the latter. Possibly the safest (and cheapest) choice if Armageddon ensues.

I must say, that when it comes to card shopping, I make really good choices and can do so quite quickly. But not as fast as our son, who had now pulled several cards out and is on the verge of destroying them. I pry the wee lass away from her Show & Tell of the “sound” cards to the fellow patrons and we get through the checkout without too much trouble. Only a few items grabbed and replaced.

It’s now nap time as the Spazzometer starts to go off!

image

Screaming through the mall, past the play area, where the volume increases because we don’t stop, we get back to the van.

Little Dude doesn’t want to get into his seat. He protests by performing his best impression of a 2×4, and won’t bend in the middle so I can click him into his seat belt. He slides down the seat and as I hoist him back in, I bonk his head into the ceiling of the van causing even more yelling and crying.

Spectacular.

When he takes a breath and relaxes, I am able to get him restrained in his moment of weakness.

The 15 minute drive home feels like half an hour from the screaming going on. But our daughter merrily sings along to the radio, completely tuning out her brother.
We get home, put the lad in his bed, I finally sit down for a minute and….

“Mom! Done! I went poo!

Aaaahhhh…the life of a parent to young kids.

Happy Father’s Day, Dear! I hope you like your presents.

#WhenToddlersAttack

#WhenToddlersAttack

Role reversal…Stay-At-Home-Daddy. #YMCCommunity

Four and a half years ago, I hung up my steel-toed boots to become a Stay-At-Home Mom, when our daughter was born.

Work boots

Prior to having kids, actually, prior to getting married, my husband and I decided that I would be the primary caregiver to our children and he was going to be the bread winner.

I was looking forward to staying home and raising our wee ones rather than paying someone else to do it while we both worked. My pay check would also have been completely been eaten up by child care anyways, so what’s the point in going back?

Almost three years later, we welcomed our Little Dude to the family. Now that the wee man is approaching 2 years old, and his big sister starts Kindy in September, days with these two can get pretty hairy.

Worn out Mom

With the fighting, bickering, yelling, stubbornness, throwing of things, and trying to prevent the boredom from taking over causing the maniacs to spin out of control and drive Mom batty, I savour the afternoon nap that our son still takes while our daughter gets the opportunity to do crafts without the “help” of her little brother.

I get to sit down, catch up on my emails, check my notifications on Facebook, and perhaps, blow out a blog post or two. Some days, I even manage to close my eyes as I lay back on the couch, while still being with our daughter. Never really having a nap because, “Mom, I need to pee! Mom, I need some water! Mom, I’m hungry! Mom, I want to watch something! Mom, can I play the game!”, tends to snap you back to reality pretty quickly.

I often pour a VERY large cup of tea in the afternoons to keep me going until my second wind comes.

Life as a SAHM, for me, can have some pretty stressful days that knock the wind right out of my sails causing me to seriously consider getting back into the workforce.

The other week, I had my eyes opened as to the stress my husband undergoes.

Stressed out Daddy

A few years ago, the economy and a business partnership that went down the toilet, caused hubby to have to find a new job. He is a born leader, takes his job very seriously and is a very hard worker. In fact, he goes above and beyond to prove his worth, only to not have it recognized in the appropriate monetary value. So the stress of providing enough of an income to support his family, babysitting grown men, and dealing with his former business woes, are weighing down on him pretty hard lately and I’ve decided that Daddy needs a break!

I’m ready to switch roles.

Switching roles

He can stay home with the kiddos now. It should be easier for him, as one will be in school full-time in the Fall, so he and the wee lad can have some Father-Son bonding time. I will look forward to having meals prepared instead of preparing them myself. Daddy used to be a really great cook and has gotten out of practice since I took over the role.

Stay At Home Daddy

A small part of me thinks, “Ha ha! Now you’ll understand what it’s like looking after small humans ALL DAY…EVERYDAY, come up with meal ideas and prepare them, keep up with the household duties, go grocery shopping, be a constant source of entertainment, be a referee, maintain a schedule with the kids and still have the energy to exercise or perhaps, have a little Mommy and Daddy Time!” (wink wink, nudge nudge).

Playing with the kids

So now, I’m searching…

Searching for THAT job. The job that will pay me what I need to support my family. The job that will allow us to buy a house, finally. The job that will afford us to get away for some much needed Family Vacations. The job I will love, succeed at and give Daddy the break that he needs.

THAT job.

Have you and your spouse decided that your circumstances weren’t working for you anymore and that a change was needed? Did you switch roles or perhaps relocate?