Kids music can be fun for us too!

Most children’s music is completely horrifying but my friends D and B, who have infants, introduced me to KidsTV123 on YouTube. Their favorite is The Planets Song, which I agree is super fun and catchy!

Check it out HERE

There are many more of their songs on YouTube and on their website www.kidstv123.com


I also like the children’s folk singer Elizabeth Mitchell, especially this song, “Little Liza Jane”

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Road Trip with a toddler- were we crazy?

We recently returned from a twelve day car trip through New York state en route to Montauk, Long Island…. with Buds…. in a car… for a long time.

Are we crazy, you may ask?  Maybe, but we planned for insanity and it worked, for the most part.

Here are our tips for traveling with a little one.

Toys Toys Toys

– I spent about a month collecting a bunch of inexpensive toys and books (think Value Village and garage sales) to entertain Buds in the car. I picked up a small laundry basket at the Dollerama and filled it with these toys for the backseat. This was a huge hit as all the toys were completely new to him and therefor the coolest thing ever.

– I also bought a tray that attaches around the car seat so that kiddo can play and eat while in the car. This is an awesome product and I hope to use it in the future but on this trip, my little man flat out refused to have in on his lap. Sigh. This meant lots of reaching around from the front seat to pick up fallen hockey books and tractors.

Snacks and More Snacks

I may not be winning any parenting award for this, but Buds was a real snacker while we were away.
Snacks are an easy way to not only distract a toddler who is nearing his breaking point, but also to make sure that he got some reasonable nutrients while eating from kids menus (AKA the land of fries and chicken fingers). The US has a great selection of organinc kids snacks available at practically every grocery store (I got them at Target, of course). I was able to pick up puffs and “slamos”, what the little man calls those squeezy tetra pack puree things. These were perfect for the car as they minimized the mess.
The brands that I like are Plum, Happy Baby, Earth’s Best and Annies.

Try (and I mean this loosely) to stick to your toddlers nap schedule

Remember “Sleep when your baby sleeps?”
On the road, try “Drive when your baby sleeps”.
We tried as best we could to plan all car rides over 3 hours to roughly coincide with Buds usual nap schedule. This would allow him some wind down time before going to sleep while still getting in a good 1.5 to 2 hour nap. This worked about 50% of the time. He usually slept but never for as long as we hoped and we had a couple of serious wake up freak outs.

When we were in one place for a few days, we were pretty good about his nap schedule and he was pretty happy to go down. One reason for this, I think, is that we made sure to make it as consistant as possible with home. We brought his pack and play from home, all of his sleep toys, before bed books and his Sleep Sheep. Surrounded by familiar things, nap times and bed times were pretty smooth.

A trip like the one that we took is never going to go exactly how you hope, no matter how military your planning strategy, so lots of patience is required. However, the adventures I was able to share with my two favorite guys wastotally worth the occasional aggravation.

Happy travels!!

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Getting your kid to eat

Buds is not a great fan of green veggies so I have had to get creative on how I get these incredibly important nutrients into his picky belly. I will admit I often use misdirection and subterfuge.

Here are two of my tried and true recipes both from Weelicious

Green Veggie Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup zucchini, broccoli, and/or cauliflower
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • canola or vegetable oil

Preparation

  1. 1. Place the vegetables in a food processor and pulse to chop fine.
  2. 2. Add the chopped vegetables into a bowl along with the flour, salt, egg, basil and garlic powder. Mix to combine.
  3. 3. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat and place 1 tbsp of the batter into the pan for each pancake.
  4. 4. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side.
  5. 5. Serve with marinara sauce or dip of your choice.

Accompaniments: Marinara sauce, Ketchup, or Mustard

 

 

Zucchini Muffins  (makes 12 large muffind or 24 mini muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded (about 2 small zucchini)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1.  Place the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2.  Place the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
  3.  Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture and stir just until the ingredients are combined.
  4.  Pour the zucchini mixture into large or small muffins cups
  5.  Bake 15 minutes for small muffins and 20 minutes for large ones.
  6.  Cool and serve.

 

Weelicious is an AWESOME website for food ideas, from new eaters right up to the grownups in the house!

Happy cooking!!

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Toddlers and TV

We let our little guy watch about 20 minutes of Thomas the Tank Engine on Netflix each morning after he wakes up. This gives Himself and I a little time to get ourselves ready to start the day.
This is basically all the TV that he watches, but sometimes I think that this is only because we have our TV on the third floor, where he rarely goes (he plays in the living room)

My question is- How much TV does your one to three year old watch per day?

If you want to elaborate, please do so in the comments. No judgement- I am just really interested!

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merrily merrily merrily merrily…. life is but a….shoppe

I am back after an extended vacation and I am resuming my blog, so watch out for lots of posts in the coming days and weeks.

Now back to the matter at hand, which is one that all mothers are familiar with- shopping smart for the little ones.

My friend Moxie (she of the shabby chic fame from one of my earlier posts) has decided, after years of thinking about it, to take the plunge and open a consignment kids store. She has decided that she will open Merrily Merrily online first to test the waters and then open a bricks and mortar store sometime next year in the Leslieville area of Toronto (an neighbourhood that is lousy with kids and their cool parents).

This will be no ordinary consignment store (on or off line)- Moxie is very particular about what she is willing to sell so everything is in near perfect condition. She also sells handmade items created by local mums, so if you are a crafty lady, contact her at moxie@merrilymerrily.ca about selling through her.

The prices are amazing, the stock rocks and with everything you buy and sell, you are supporting local “Mompreneurs”! Oh, did I mention that she also plans on doing good for the community? Anything that is donated that is not quite perfect enough to sell or anything that fails to sell in store will be donated to a local women and children charity.

The site went live TODAY so check it out! www.merrilymerrily.ca

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Autumn is here… now what? (Toronto- Part 2)

 

Here are a few more ideas for fun with your little one this fall!

 

Lil Bean & Green (Leslieville)

I have never been here, but I have many East End friends who have. This cafe caters to the hip Leslieville mum- fair trade coffee and a healthy menu (one for grownups and one for kids) featuring organic cheese! The prices for food and coffee seem reasonable and the play area looks amazing. However, I believe that there is a play fee for your little one, but I couldn’t find that info online.

Small Wonders Discovery Centre (Mississauga)

Small Wonders features a 100,000 square foot indoor playground for children ages 1-8, with different areas catering to different age groups. There is also a cafe that serves kid friendly food. Daily pass is $8

Smock (Roncesvalles)

This new child friendly cafe is just lovely inside. My friend J thinks it looks like something out of the Notting Hill area of London. They have a little play area for kids, lots of high chairs and healthy menus for both adults and kids (they even have baby puree!) I went in there this week to escape a torrential downpour with J, her son and my son. The boys were happy to play while we dried off but I was extremely unimpressed that no one spoke to us as we were trying to get organized… a few vague smiles in our general direction were all we were afforded… right then and there we decided the lunch at Barque, the BBQ joint a few doors up! I will go back again in case the service that day was an fluke.

Sportball (various locations)

This seems like organized chaos to me- toddlers playing soccer…. really?  This sports program is designed to grow with your child and teach them self-confidence as well as the fundamentals of various sports (such as soccer, hockey and golf). I am thinking that if I gave Buds a golf club, even a kids sized one, there could be some damage done… but hey, I am sure that they know what they are doing!

Wholeplay (various locations)

I have been seeing posters all over my neighbourhood advertising Wholeplay. There are programs for babies and  toddlers and the focus is on understanding the stages of childhood development and learning tools to aid your child through these changes. While parents are learning from experts, the kids get to enjoy playtime with kids their age. Sounds really interesting and fun! There are locations in Roncesvalles, North Toronto and Leslieville.

If you head over to my Pintrest I have pinned lots of ideas for indoor play with your little person!

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Current Mummy Obsession: Birchbox (again only available in the US) UPDATE

I read about Birchbox on a couple of the fashion/style blogs that I follow and I was super excited!! New beauty products to try every month for only $10 (and FREE Shipping). Alas, they only ship to the US. Sigh.

Check out Birchbox if you love products as much as me and live below the 49th Parallel

UPDATE: A savvy reader and fashionista just informed me that there is a similar Canadian site ! Topbox.ca! Click here for the site

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Current Kids Obsession- Wittlebee

Full disclosure: Wittlebee only delivers in the US. I know… it sucks. Maybe we can convince them to ship to Canada if we barrage them with emails!!

Wittlebee maybe the greatest thing ever created for the sartorially savvy mum! This website sends you a box of clothes every month based on a style profile that you create for you little one. With brands like Tea, American Apparel and Calvin Klein, the choices are amazing.  New clothes every month for my kid and receiving packages in the mail!!! I love that SO much!!

The cost is $39.99 USD per month. If you live in the US, this is a totally amazing and cost-effective way to shop for your kids.

Learn more about Wittlebee here or call  1-888-WITTLEBEE

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Autumns coming…. now what? (Toronto- Part One)

I know that it is still August and still certainly feels like summer, but the cool weather is coming to Toronto soon!  I love this time of the year- it makes me want to buy sweaters and back to schools supplies. However, as mums with young kids know, it is a tough transition from the splash pads and parks to indoor activities. I have compiled a list of indoor activities for  your little one to enjoy during the cooler months .

Rainbow Songs

Buds has been attending Rainbow Songs this summer with his babysitter and we are going to do the fall session together starting in September. I am really looking forward to an excuse to belt out some tune (although do I ever need an excuse?) There are locations all over town, so there is sure to be one near you!  Check the website.

Babytime and Toddlertime at the TPL

These programs are fun for the kids and best of all they are free (although some locations require pre registration). Check out the TPL website for more details.

The Weston Family Learning Centre at the Art Gallery of Ontario

I haven’t checked this out yet, but it looks awesome. The AGO always goes to great lengths for their youngest visitors!

KidSpark at the Ontario Science Centre

I LOVE this place so much. I would be there everyday if we lived closer. Buds loves to run around and look at everything and I love the fact that he can’t get into too much trouble there! Fore more details, check out the website

Playful Grounds (Little Italy)

This cool coffee shop/cafe is run by two moms (Tera Goldblatt and Davina Cheung- Brown) and the rational is for parents to have a place to gather together with their children in a comfortable space for everyone. They have a tasty menu, great coffee and a liquor licence. When I was in there, there was a group of young moms with their infants in tow enjoying a late afternoon beer! Love that!  There is no judgement if your kid screams and no weirdness if you need to breastfeed. There are awesome books and toys for the children. More details here.

 

Please let me know if there are other places I should mention in Part Two!!!

 

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Toronto Store of the Month: Coal Miner’s Daughter

I am in the process of (finally) getting back in shape post baby (yes I am aware that he is no longer a baby) and while I am certainly more confident in my skin than I have been for a while, I still get a that feeling in the pit of my stomach when I have to enter a change room. This fear has led me to make some bad online purchases, which are such a bitch to return. Trying on clothes that I have already paid for and hating what I see in the mirror proved to be a pretty strong motivator to get my butt into a store to try stuff on before I paid duty and shipping to get it from the US.

My friend T suggested that I check this place out and I was hesitant. I have been walking by the Queen West location since it opened and always assumed that I wouldn’t be able to find anything in my size…. the fact that the friend who recommended it  is supermodel thin didn’t do much to convince me otherwise.

However, I was getting desperate for something to wear to a series of events in the next month, so I popped in after work one afternoon.

SO happy I did.  The store is cozy and full of a well curated selection of designers, most of them Canadian.

Krystan Caddy, one of the owners (with Janine Cockburn-Haller), helped me choose a dress that will work for several of events that I have to attend and we had a lovely discussion about different styling ideas. However, the best thing about this shopping experience was that she remembered T and her family and the exact dress she bought… I think that is super classy!

Check out Coal Miners Daughter at their two locations:

744 Queen Street West and  587 Markham Street

and check out their website here for all the details about the designers they carry.

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