Categories Family Life

“No Junk” Easter Gifts for Children

Every year at Easter we put together a little scavenger hunt for our boys – but it’s a little different than most, since we really enforce the “no junk” rule.

"no junk" Easter Gifts for children

“no junk” Easter Gifts for children

While we make exceptions to what our kids eat, I’m just not a fan of bombarding them with tons of tiny “hardly real ingredients” chocolates. So the hubby and I started a fun little tradition years ago where we set up a treasure hunt of sorts, and the boys find little gifts left by the Easter Bunny on their way.

The Easter Bunny will of course bring 1 chocolate treat for each boy, but just one. Some of the “no junk” Easter Gifts for children the Easter Bunny likes to leave our kids include puzzles and art materials, but usually our kids each get one new Spring outfit, along with some other little goodies!  It’s a fun morning of surprises and our children know that the Easter Bunny only brings items they can use so we aren’t filling up the landfill with more useless “junk”.

Some great “no junk” Easter Gifts for children include:

  • Spring Outfit
  • Running Shoes
  • Rain Boots
  • Rain Coats
  • Sun Hat or Sunglasses
  • Bathing Suit
  • Art supplies
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Deck of Cards
  • Kite
  • Sand Toys
  • Bubbles
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Gardening kit

Aside from chocolates, what does the Easter Bunny bring to your house?

If you liked this post – you might also want to read my post on DIY Natural Easter Egg Dyes!

Parents, It’s Time to Start Planning Your Summer Activities! 12

It’s a miracle, Spring has finally sprung! So with summer just around the corner, it’s definitely time for us parents to start planning summer activities for our kids!

summer activities

Whether it’s informal playdates at the local park or joining a day camp, be sure to research what your town or city has offer early on (as in, now) and register if need be so you don’t miss out on the more popular programs and activities!

summer activities

So far we’ve got our oldest (4) registered for soccer & an art program but nothing yet for our 2 year old.  I’m thinking he’ll likely enjoy playing at our local park the most! :) 

What sorts of things do your kids enjoy taking part in during their summer holidays?

My thoughts on having 3 children #parenting 6

Ever since giving birth to our 3rd child last week, we have had an overwhelming amount of love and support thrown our way. But with almost every card, congratulations and freezer meal comes these little words: what’s it like having three kids now? Almost like an anomaly, this intriguing question keeps popping up during our visits. So after much deliberation, here are my thoughts on having 3 children…all whom are *gasp* boys! 😉

Now to be honest, I know that most people don’t have 3 children in and around my city. In fact, I’d say families consisting of 2 children seem to be the “norm” around here. But it’s not for lack of gusto. It’s due to personal preference. So seeing as we wanted three children, it will likely not come as a surprise that we are doing just great! Actually  there isn’t much of a difference that I’ve noticed going from 2 to 3.

my thoughts on having 3 children

The way I see it, every time you introduce a newborn to your family things get jostled around a bit. Like your schedule (so when exactly do I get a nap?), your personal hygiene routines (shower, anyone?) and of course once you throw in breastfeeding, well all bets are off because you will find yourself nursing your little one for more than half of the day. So with that said, having a newborn with 1 other child in the home really is no different than having a newborn with 2 other children in the home. Although, depending on the older siblings ages, things can be a little easier or more challenging at times. But if you’re already a parent, you would know that’s just a part of your normal day – somethings go without a hitch, others not so much. So like I said, having a newborn is what changes things, not how many other children you have in addition to that newborn.

Check out these famous brothers, starting with the Hansons, all grown up and looking quite stellar:

The Wayans brothers –

And last but certainly not least … the Bee Gees:

So tell me, how many children do you have and are you ‘done’ yet or would you like to have more? 

Birth Story: Our third SON has arrived! :) 19

Ironically enough, right after writing my last post on feeling scared of another labour and delivery, I stood up from my desk and pop – my waters released! It was exactly one week from my due date and I was immediately overrun with a trillion emotions – but oddly enough, being scared wasn’t one of them! Here is my birth story…

organic mama - natural birth story

Being GBS+, I knew I had to head to the hospital right away so I could start my 2 doses of antibiotics. I phoned the L&D ward at our local Birth Centre and let them know I was on my way.  I wasn’t having regular contractions at this point, in fact I only described them as mild cramps that came and went without any rhyme or reason.  By the time my parents arrived at our house to care for our boys, the hubster and I left for the hospital.  Leave it up to him to ask to stop by a Tim Horton’s on the way for a coffee. Umm no honey, let’s get to the hospital, you can grab a coffee once I’m admitted…lol.

So we arrive at the birth centre and by this time my cramps were a little stronger but still inconsistent in both timing and intensity so I knew it would be a while until I could meet our newest addition.  I was hooked up to an IV and was receiving my first dose of antibiotics while hooked up to the fetal heart monitor. All was good in baby land, so we decided to get up and walk around.  After a few long hours of walking, nothing had changed. I wans’t in active labour and feeling a bit defeated.  The doctor on duty was pushing me to take pitocin to speed things up. His reasoning? I was GBS+ so the longer I waited to give birth, the bigger the chance I was putting my unborn child in danger. Thanks for the guilt trip doc, but no thank you. I was content having my antibiotics (I was also GBS+ for my first son, but not my second and didn’t even get to the hospital in time for the antibiotics so I wasn’t persuaded by his scare tactics) and didn’t want to be induced because I wanted an all natural labour and delivery. Needless to say, the attending nurse and doctor continued to pressure me but I held my ground.

birth story - say no to pitocin

12 hours later, I was still pregnant and not progressing. In fact, I wasn’t dilated more than 1cm and at that point wasn’t even contracting. It was now 8am and I began to pray things would pick up soon because I knew they wanted to induce me by 9am and would be back to lay the pressure on me. I was given another dose of antibiotics at this point, which the nurse had pouring into my veins instead of the slow drip, drip like my first dose. I knew what she was doing, she wanted it all in me so they could go ahead with the induction. She kindly excused herself from the room letting me know that another nurse would return in 1 hour to start pitocin because her shift was now over. I immediately turned away and the tears flooded my face. At that point I looked at my husband and told him I needed the baby to come now. He said I had an hour so let’s get walking.

So I walked over to the nurses station and asked to be unhooked from the IV stand since my antibiotics had already been dispensed and I wanted to walk freely. My newly assigned nurse agreed, unhooked me and let me know she needed me back in the birthing room in 1 hour.  I asked if she would be checking my cervix seeing as I don’t want pitocin in the first place because I have issues with having an over-stimulated uterus in labour that put both my boys at risk and I definitely wouldn’t agree to it should I actually be progressing on my own. She said simply replied with, no.  In shock, I simply walked away from her, grunting under baited breath.

At exactly 8:45 I had a very strong contraction. One that came out of nowhere and had me leaning against the wall railing in the halls. 5 minutes later, another one hit me and I needed to stop, breathe and focus.  By 9am they were coming every 3 minutes so I instructed the hubster to keep me hidden from my nurse until I was contracting closer and closer so I could escape her pleas to induce me.  By 9:15am she managed to hunt us down in a far away corridor and told me to head back to the room. We followed her, whom at the time felt like a principal after I was caught doing something wrong at school.

We walked into the room and the first thing that popped out of my mouth was “I don’t need to be induced. The baby’s coming!” She proceeded to come closer to me in hopes of checking my cervix but I swiftly thew myself over the nearest table and breathed through the contraction. She knew I meant what I was saying and asked to check me. I gave her permission and she said I was 100% effaced and already 4cms. I was so happy I started to cry. I told her I knew once I got started things would progress quickly!

About 15 minutes later I was entering the moaning and groaning stage. You know what I’m talking about ladies, the part where we sound devilish.  At one point I went into a screeching voice and she said, “okay, okay, things are getting closer – do you feel the need to bear down?” I snipped “no” hastily at her and continued focusing through the contraction. She asked to check my cervical progress and I agreed – and get this: I was already at 7cms!

Jokingly, I said, okay transition phase – let me see what you’ve got.  Knowing this is the most intense but shortest stage, I was fueled with adrenaline and determination to birth my baby quickly and peacefully.

10 minutes later I felt the urge to pee during each contraction. I told my nurse and she said the baby wasn’t facing the right way.  This came to me as no surprise since both my older children were born sunny-side up.  She instructed me to get on the bed, lean over the birthing ball to encourage the baby to turn. Within 2 contractions the urge to pee vanished completely and I was feeling the need to bear down. She checked my progress and told me I had a cervical lip and not to push. Ha – ya right!

She frantically tried calling the doctor on duty to come deliver the baby, while in between telling me to pant through the contractions and not to push. Ummm that’s just not possible – and I made her aware that I was pushing, I couldn’t stop and that the baby was coming. She told me the doctor’s phone wasn’t working and she would have to deliver the baby for me in the event the doctor could’t get there in time. I nodded and said get ready!

As I pushed, the baby began to crown and the nurse slipped the fetal heart monitor up against my belly. The baby’s heart rate had dropped to 80bpm and wasn’t coming back up in between contractions … deja vu for me seeing as my first son’s heart beat dropped to 34bpm during the pushing phase and they immediately gave me a spinal epidural which ultimately stopped my about and allowed him time to recover. Remember that hyper-active uterus I was telling you about? Yep, it was up to it’s old tricks again.

The doctor still hadn’t arrived, and the nurse said to me, you need to push your baby out right now with a sense of urgency in her voice that told me I better listen or else. So I pushed, and the contraction ended but she instructed me to push again, without the contractions because I had to birth him/her right then. At that point the doctor rushed in and saw what was happening. She told me to push (duh!) and I did – and his head was born.  Then she instructed me to pause while the shoulders were being birthed.  With a pop HE slid out and the hubster was told to cut the cord NOW. As he was cutting (who can do it in 1 shot? that stuff is thick!) he was urged to hurry up. He snipped the cord and they took our baby away and we listened for his first cry. It felt like forever  but the sound came out and I was in tears.  He was absolutely perfect. Just Perfect. Here’s the proof:

birth story

After delivering the placenta, the shakes hit me hard from all the adrenaline. I must have been hyper-ventilating too because my entire hands and arms were pins and needles. I was shaking so hard I couldn’t breast feed him right away. Since I have a history of hemorrhaging after delivery, I was given pitocin to stop the bleeding. I then passed large clots so my nurse put all her weight on my uterus to push them out. It was more painful than birthing naturally. Seriously. Unbelievably painful. Let’s just say no one could mistake me for a superhero at that point in time.

I then happily nursed our newest member of the family for almost an hour. He is a natural – he has the perfect latch every time and I eats like a champ. Born one week early at 39 weeks, he weighed 8 pounds and 9 ounces. He’s our biggest baby yet :)

This labour and delivery was just 1.5 hours long from start to finish and I didn’t have any pain medications. How long was your’s and did you opt for any pain relief? 


Are you a mom snob? You’re not alone! #parenting 25

You know that feeling you have when other moms give you unsolicited advice or make a rude parenting comment and you simply reply with a smile, a nod and then quickly change the subject? Well as it turns out, now that I am pregnant with baby #3, I have to admit I have become one of “those moms” who apparently needs to be put in time out every now and then. Yikes!

It first dawned on me when I was talking to a former co-worker during a play-date when she was opening up about her struggles regarding her 2.5 year old refusing to eat anything other than fast food and Halloween candy and the words “that’s why I don’t over-expose my kids to crappy food…I know how some kids can get addicted and then it’s a battle to get them detoxed” spilled from my lips. I couldn’t believe I had just said that, I mean seriously who says something so rude like that?! Why in the world would I have gone out of my way to insult her parenting? Ugh, I tell you – I was pulling my foot out of my mouth so fast I didn’t even know what was going on. And then it hit me, am I a mom snob? Could be. Ouch.

So let’s take a minute to break it down: Having more children than someone else might mean I have more experience dealing with certain issues or milestones, but it certainly isn’t grounds to be a self-proclaimed expert in parenting. And more-so, it doesn’t mean that we have a licence to pull the whole “my way is the best way” card. In fact, I usually make it a point to mention that everyone will find their own bearings in whatever it is they are doing, and certainly what has worked for me may or may not work for you. I think the hard part in all of this “mommy talk” is that as women we often compare ourselves to others around us, and sometimes we feel a little less than up to par on certain things and it only makes our insecurities worse when another mom’s words or actions come across as “know it all” or well, snobby.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel pretty crummy for having such a rude reaction to my friend’s problem. I should have responded with compassion and open ears. She hadn’t asked for my opinion, nor did she ask for my help in anyway other than just to listen, after all. I guess I can chalk up my hasty comment as just an overload of pregnancy hormones, but in all honesty it was a tacky thing to say and has served as an important reminder to ‘not say anything at all if I have nothing nice to say’.  Besides, do I really want to be like her?:

Chime in: How have you dealt with a ‘mom snob’ in the past?  And be honest, have you caught yourself acting like a know-it-all mom?