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There's always something to do in your own backyard, grab a Glass of Rose. I'll be here


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Toddler Best Pals — Watching relationships develop

As a parant you have the privilege of watching your child grow and develop into their own person.  Sure Little A is currently in the “terrible 2’s” stage but I think it is so much more than just the temper tantrums  – it is also a new stage where they begin to develop relationships with other children.

As a full time working mom I don’t get much time to do a lot of play dates on the weekends.  Now so many of my friends with kids have full weekends running to soccer, ballet or swimming on top of grocery shopping, laundry and visiting family.

Lucky us – this past weekend we had a play date with one of Little A’s friends.  Isla and Little A have known each other all their lives (hahah cracks me up) but never really did much interacting previously.

In my opinion, early infant play dates are more about mommies getting together to bond and talk about the development of their kids, the lack of sleep etc.  Their kids usually play with the toys, only noticing their playmates beside them every once in a while.  This is because at that age they can only focus at one thing at a time and out of site really is “out of site, out of mind”.

Battle of the Bounce

Battle of the Bounce

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The first of many Lunch dates

Sharing Snacks .. but not hanging out yet

Sharing Snacks .. but not hanging out yet

But now in they’re 3 (Isla) and 2 1/2 (Little A). They are beginning to co-play it is absolutely entertaining to watch.

When children extend their knowledge and play experiences they move into “Associative Play”.  In this stage kids start playing together albeit in a loosey goosey fashion rather than in any organized way.

Little A is learning to play tag. Isla being a bit older knows the game well.  We spent a good part of an afternoon together at the park watching these two laugh hysterically as they chased each other all around the playground and took turns being it.

Near the end of our visit us we asked if the girls wanted to give each other hugs.  The comedy with these two never ends.   They not only hug but they hug with vigour and pizzaz! There is true passion in their friendship.  The car ride home was the loudest car ride ever, they were egging each other on on who could say silly words loudest.

An instant hug from Little A

An instant hug from Little A

Then came the love reaction from Isla

Then came the love reaction from Isla

I do believe these two will have a long friendship and continue to have many laughs for years to come.

Best of Pals for sure

Best of Pals for sure

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FAB Giveaway to Modern Mama’s Modern Bump Luncheon

Families Against Boredom has its first giveaway! I have one ticket to give to a FAB member for Modern Mama’s “Modern Bump Luncheon” this Sunday – Are you expecting? – know anyone who is expecting.. join FAB  enter and winner will be announced tomorrow!

To enter: Join FAB then comment on what prize you would love to win (see Modern Mama Bump Luncheon link for list) and pick a number – I’ll then pull a name from a hat (old school style)


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The Value of Play… my first parenting seminar

I recently went to my first parenting seminar.  Modern Momma held an intimate gathering of mothers whose children ranged from just over a year and to teenagers.  The seminar was “The Value of Play” and focused on children and unstructured play. The speaker was Margery Healey of the Compassionate Parent Coach

What did I learn?  Free play creates the ability to visualize and creative expression which will aid in gaining confidence and self actualization.  Sounds heavy but I remember this is about play and hopefully I can explain the key notes i took from listening to Margery.

Let Little A play.  Sounds like an easy concept.  Thru play Little A can develop life skills – she will learn to think within her own thoughts, to ponder pros and cons, and to figure out the next step, stage or engagement in the process of play.  I don’t have to be involved – this is hard for both of us… She is very “mom” oriented and I know I cater to that as well.  I learned I can be close by reading a book, sipping a latte watching, or in another room completely prepping dinner.

Another big part of free play is Image Making.  I don’t have to lead the story, if I lead every play time how will she learn to use her brain to create her own visualizations. Does my boss tell me how to do every step of my job. No , the work place is made for independent thinkers, manage your own time, make your own decision.  I must give Little A the freedom to develop image making. This will be harder for me to learn. I’m a talker and I want to help with her imagination. But l’m not reading a Choose Your Own Adventure Book here -This is her life, her development. Visualization/Image making is a learned skill that can be gained from listening to audio books and having Little A describe what she heard. No audio books, it was suggested I can even read books but not show her the pictures or she can play on her own.

A big “ah ha” moment for me at the parenting seminar was learning that Boredom is not a bad thing.  Margery had a great concept of “the boredom chair” -The idea is that when your child says “I”m Bored”  to let your child sit in a “boredom chair” until they – on their own – think of something to do.  A challenge for them to overcome on their own. When Little A is old enough to say “I’m bored”  I’m implementing the boredom chair.  It isn’t up to me to solve the issue of Boredom. It is up to her. No leading her by suggesting to play blocks, or go color.  Again it is up to her.  I may have to tape my mouth shut to stop myself.

Margery said  “The first thing they learn is that they are unsure as to what they would like to do and this is a challenge.  When they solve their own challenge they see themselves as an individual who can work through a problem.  Not only do they gain confidence in themselves by doing this, they also learn their likes and dislikes, they tap into pure unrestricted intrinsic motivation and they choose things that have meaning to them”.  How inspiring is it to be a part of that sort of development, to watch your child gain all that richness on their own.

Free play allows for creative expression.  A child is able to see themselves as capable of creating their own ideas and then having the ability to elaborate on them.   I look forward to watching Little A grow older and develop her ability to share her ideas, to learn the give and take of playing with her friends.

It is amazing how a simple thing like independent play teaches a child to be expressive with their individual thoughts and ideas, to know what they like and what they do not like, to create confidence in themselves and have confident in their ability to make choices and to stand by their choices.  That is self actualization.    My daughters development is now even more exciting to watch… if I could just keep my mouth shut.

Little A and the beginnings of Self Actualization

p.s. Modern momma has more Parenting seminars that I would highly recommend attending. Check their upcoming events for more


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Happy 60th Birthday – Little things to make the party unique

My mom and I are the best of friends and it was her 60th birthday this month.  My brother and I wanted to throw her a special party filled with love and little touches to make her happy.  It was amazingly hard to keep it a secret from her.  I’m the kind of person who gets super excited and wants to dance gangnam style over fun ideas.  But this was a surprise party.

After calming myself down and putting aside what “I” would like in a party; I came across a couple ideas that would speak for themselves and would be meaningful to my  mom.  My mom is an outdoor lover.  She loves hiking, walking, cross country skiing and being out in the sun.  She is also an amazing woman who has survived cancer more times than anyone should be allotted in life.

Life and Nature floated around my brain.

Idea #1 – Trail mix bar

My mom is always nibbling on trail mix .  You can always find – almonds, craisins  close at hand when my mom is around.

Trail Mix Bar

I found some clean white bowls to serve a variety of individual trail mix options.  I paired the bowls with some large white spoons for scooping.

What to serve trail mix in?  I took brown lunch bags and cut them down with some squiggly scissors.  Then I hand stamped them with some birthday themes and some cute flowers.    Everyone could pick and choose their own amounts of pretzels, almonds, sunflower seeds, wasabi peas, teddy grahams, mini marshmallows, dried apricots etc.

Individual Trail Mix Bags

Idea #2 – Tree of Life/Love

My brother and I worked together to create a memorable guest book and Tree of Life.  A friend drew a beautiful tree with bare branches.  As guests arrived we asked each of them to add a “leaf”  with their thumbprint and then to do the same in the guestbook with a wish or happy birthday comment.

Tree of Life and Love

Thumb Print Stamping

The party was a great surprise and my brother and I even managed to surprise my dad with a dear friends traveling from Ontario to attend the party that he didn’t even know were invited.

Just a couple touches we hoped would make the evening unique and special.

Happy Birthday Mom with lots of love from your kids and grandkids to you!


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recognizing being good in oneself

Its been a particularly trying week of unkind words, throwing food and uncooperative behavior.  We both sat Little A down and had conversations about how words hurt and make “even” adults sad.  My husband had the conversation alone with Little A over dinner last night and I had my conversation while reading books this morning.

You never know what sticks in a two year old’s mind.

Fast forward to going to the “muffin store” and me asking her to sit on her bum and not climb on the furniture at the coffee shop.  She turns around on the chair and sits down.

A flash, a sparkle hits her eyes and she smiles grandly  “I listen mommy,  I good”  she proudly states.

Yes she is good.  Bit by bit it will sink in.  We are doing “good”.