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Who Am I?

I am a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter. I am a writer, a lover of literature, a woman of influence, a policy changer, I stand up to be counted, I listen, I sing, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.

"It's Like Herding Cats"

I have 3 young boys. My oldest has ADHD and loves to talk to everyone he meets, my middle one never stops moving even when it is extremely important that he do so, and the littest is a combination of both and then some! I am in for a wild ride! Nothing to do but survive!


We follow a blended program which means that my kids go to school 2 times a week instead of 5. We have such a great time and we do activites at home and weekly fieldtrips to supplement learning. Best thing I have ever done as a parent.


Since watching Forks Over Knives and Food Inc we decided to go vegetarian. We will eat meat if we know where it came from and know that it is free of antibiotics and other nastys…so not very often.


I love all the holidays but Halloween is my favourite. Check out all the great decor and food ideas for the best holiday of the year! You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

LEGO KidsFest Review

We had an absolute blast today at LEGO KidsFest! I knew that my kids would be so excited to go - I just didn't realize HOW excited they would be. They basically ran over one another just to get through the door. 
I knew that they would want to see everything so I was sure to print out a copy of all the different activities that were available to us and made sure that we got to the ones that the kids really wanted to see first. 

The very first thing that we saw was the LEGO Model Museum. My kids were amazed to see all the different life-sized figures. We made sure to take pictures next to all of the ones that they went crazy over. The full sized LEGO Batman was a huge hit for all three of the boys, but there were plenty others that made the cut. My boys kept asking if we could make them at home with our own LEGO bricks - I encouraged them on, but said that we would have to go to The LEGO Store to supplement our collection of LEGO bricks. 

Next stop was the Big Brick Pile. Was it even a question that my boys would be all over this - literally?!? As soon as they saw it their eyes lit up and their jaws actually touched the ground. We spent quite a few minutes here before they were racing to the next awesome activity.

We had to visit both the DUPLO construction zone and the LEGO construction zone - so my husband and I split up. He took the older two to see the LEGO zone and I kept the younger two with me at DUPLO. This was the area that we spent the most time at. My 4 year old is just starting his love affair with DUPLO so he wanted to show me how many different things that he could build with all the different DUPLO pieces that we do not have at home. (It was a lot!!) 

We took our time at the Monochromatic build and then of course at MINDSTORMS. My boys are also huge fans of LEGO Starwars, and LEGO Chima so we stopped there too! There were so many really cool activities that I can't even begin to go through them all.

In all it was the best event that we have ever been to with regards to LEGO. If LEGO KidsFest comes back to Calgary in the future we will be buying tickets for more than one day....we needed more time! 

ps. Thank goodness that there was a retail section there as we were able to buy some new sets while the kids still had all that creative energy coursing through their veins after being able to meet real life Master Builders (oh did I mention, that was an activity too!!!)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Birthday!!! and more LEGO

It was my son's birthday yesterday and I let him know that we are going to LEGO KidsFest this weekend. (Hurry if you want to get tickets as they are sure to sell out!!) He was so excited!
As usual he got some really great sets as gifts and I didn't even see him until he was finished building. I really was amazed at how much he has grown.

When we first started building with LEGO bricks he would always need my help. Now, as a tweenager he is able to build really complex sets in record time. The best part is how it really boosts his confidence. (not to mention his imagination).

I bought him Cloud Cuckoo Palace from The LEGO Movie. He really wanted a Uni-Kitty mini figure and that is the set that has her. I pulled my mom magic and had The LEGO store call me as soon as the new sets came in (as they were back-ordered) and got my mom to pop in and grab one minutes after I got the phone call. (thanks mom!!)

My grandmother bought him another set, the Castle Cavalry. It's really neat as it is a 2 in 1 so he built it one way today and said that he wants to try and build it the other way tomorrow.
He also got a CHIMA set from his friend. This one was a little tricky, but he was super proud of himself after he figured it out.

Of course my other boys were really jealous of their brother and all the stuff he got for his birthday, but I made sure to pull out all of our LEGO and try and make other lands for the boys to all play together.

Nothing is better than the silence and quiet cooperation that LEGO brings (I would step on many a LEGO brick to get that regularly!!!)

I really can not wait to see what my kids will build at LEGO KidsFest. The monochromatic area is where I think we will set up shop for most of the visit, well that and the MINDSTORMS area.
I will be writing up a blogpost as soon as we get home to review our visit so make sure that you check back on Friday night to get the scoop on what my kids thought of LEGO KidsFest and it's visit to Calgary.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

LEGO KidsFest is Coming to Calgary and We are SO Excited!! (plus a GIVEAWAY!!)

Awesome creativity!!
It's no secret that my kids love LEGO. I grew up with two brothers that really enjoyed playing with LEGO bricks and so did I! While they made rocketships and battle scenes, I made the houses and gardens for our minifigure families to come home to. LEGO was pretty much the go to toy in my house growing up. So when my first-born son was old enough we went out and bought him some DUPLO and they were an instant hit. As he got older he transitioned to LEGO sets, and the DUPLO went down the line to his little brothers. Almost 8 years of building and creating and we have some pretty awesome Master Builders in this house.

Now each of the 3 boys has their favourites of course. My oldest is currently enamoured with Unikitty from THE LEGO MOVIE, my middle child loves everything CHIMA, and my youngest son is a big fan of LEGO Batman.

My kids are going to LOVE this!!
We have tupperware tubs full of LEGO bricks and pretty soon we will be building a LEGO table and will have a dedicated space for the boys to go nuts with their creations (blog post to follow).
I do love how open ended the LEGO bricks allow my kids to be. How they can make everything and anything, and how it really allows them to focus their attentions for quite a long time.
We also use LEGO bricks in our homeschooling - and LEGOLAND is where the boys beg for us to take them. (not

Look! I see Batman!!

While we are not ready to take them to LEGOLAND just yet - LEGO KidsFest is coming to the BMO Centre in Calgary, and I am incredibly excited to take them there.
I can not wait to see their eyes light up when they see the 3 full acres of educational fun!
There is going to be a LEGO Model Museum with life-sized models (including a LEGO Batman),  a construction zone with more LEGO bricks than my kids could ever imagine, they get to meet with Master Builders who play with LEGO for a living, as well as check out all the geekery that is the LEGO merchandise. There are many more activities that we will be enjoying, and you can check out which ones that you want to see here.

This event is so awesome that it may sell out so pre-purchasing tickets would be a good idea!
Five sessions - all identical - are available for the May 16 - May 18 tour stop in Calgary. LEGO KidsFest tickets are $25 for adults and $23 for children (plus tax and fees - and in USD) and can be purchased here.

I have 2 tickets available for you to win! All you have to do is enter below and a winner will be chosen next Wednesday April 30th at 7pm MST. Good Luck!! Hope to see you there!!

Win Two Tickets to LEGO KidsFest Calgary for Friday May 16th

Monday, April 14, 2014

Social Media, Post Partum and My Life - An Ongoing Battle.

A few days ago I was offering advice on a Facebook group that I belong to about anxiety as a first time mom. This wasn't in any special group, another one of those mommy-clubs that are over represented on social media. This particular group is just a bunch of women who shared the same month of pregnancy; a due date club or what have you, nothing else other than the date of conception, morning sickness commiseration's, and the sharing of birth stories and milestones to keep the group a cohesive unit.

It's not that I needed to join another group of mothers, I have plenty of real life amazing girlfriends and a tribe within my own parenting circle of almost 10 years. However, for some reason I am drawn to the first time mom to help and support her. This is probably because I felt so alone and isolated when I, myself, was a first time mom.

As the story goes, I gave this mother some heartfelt advice and it was not well received. Since the invention of Facebook I have noticed new mothers are increasingly more unsure of their new life, maybe because we post statuses every couple hours and our whole lives are up for public scrutiny. I reached out to try and quell some fears that she had on illness, about this whole vaccine crisis, about how everything is risky, and we just have to live our lives well in spite of that. She disagreed vehemently with my viewpoint and it was actually some of the most hurtful words that have ever been thrown my way. This may have been from fear, insecurity or just anger - I am not sure really; but it has profoundly changed the way that I think about myself at the moment.

I have been struggling with post partum depression for a while, and I find that my viewpoint of myself is really coloured by ppd. It's hard to tell what are normal feelings and which ones are exacerbated by the illogical side effects of depression. On a regular day this would have been water off my back, but because of my ppd I have been stressing about it, over analysing and over thinking 2 paragraphs of hurtful comments that happened over a week ago.

This one chance encounter really made me look at why I participate in these online mommy groups, and why I feel that I should be giving advice to people who don't want it, didn't ask for it, and probably really don't need it from some random stranger online. I know that I go into a helping mode so that I don't have to pay attention to the insecurities and fears that I have surrounding my own abilities as a mother. That for me the internet is somewhere to hide when my depression is all encompassing and incredibly hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's somewhere that I can distract myself from the chaos that surrounds me and try and help those who look like they need support when I can't figure out how to support myself.  

This mother told me in not so many words to fuck off, that she hadn't asked for my advice. That I am self-centered and condescending. Patronising even. Pretty much the exact opposite of what I try to be in my life. 

I am not sure if I would have taken it so much to heart if I wasn't in the midst of post-partum, but her words cut so deep to the core that it is hard to get past them. The logical part of my brain tells me that this is insane to continue to feel anxiety and sadness over this as it is just one woman who I don't even know in real life. Just a random mom on the internet with a difference of opinion. Just like me.  I can't help but wonder if she lashed out because of her fears and her insecurities or if it really is a case of me putting my nose where it really shouldn't have been. (as I have been guilty of the latter before.)

All I know is that perhaps my time to help the insecure and frightened mothers online is really a losing battle. It's not for the faint of heart and truth be told I am much too sensitive. I can't take many attacks to my vulnerable spirit. The torch must be passed on and as much as I would like to think that new mothers want the advice that older more experienced mothers have - it's not really so. I remember as a first time mom how much I thought I already knew, and wasn't really open to getting any advice even though I was so desperately lonely and really needed someone to hold my hand.

It's only when you have been a mother for a while do you see value in those that came before. 
This isn't to say that I won't continue to help mothers in need of validation or support as that would go against my very nature. However, I am going to focus on the people I interact with on a real life basis and leave the Facebook couch psychology realm for some other mother/ activist
who is not so burnt out and who doesn't need the support herself. 

So as with everything, this was a wake up call to get my spirit out of the Facebook world where it can so easily get trampled and place it back into my body where it belongs. I guess I should be grateful for that. 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

All my kids are sick with a nasty cough. No one is feeling well, and with this perpetual winter I decided to take a great Moosewood classic and put my own spin on it. My kids are not into spicy soup, but I wanted to use one that had all of the Indian flavours that are so soothing to the senses.

They gobbled this one right up!!

Vegetarian Mulligatawny Soup

Yield 9 Cups
Time: 55mins

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 1/2cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of peeled and grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander seeds
1 fresh hot pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (you can omit these if you have kids who don't like spicy things)
4 cups of water
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup seeded and diced bell peppers
1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup *cooked* rice (make sure to make this before hand)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 can of chickpeas or lentils
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice. (I cut cut up half a lemon and squeezed)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

As with all Indian inspired dishes the secret is to cook the spices right into the oil at the very beginning. First take your oil and warm it into the pot. Then add the onions and salt and cook until the onions are softened, around 10 mins. Then add the ginger, turmeric, coriander, and hot pepper and cook for 2 mins. Add the water, carrots and potatoes and bring to a boil. (if you do not have any cooked rice on hand here is where you would add an additional 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup of rice.)
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 10 mins.
Next add the bell peppers, tomatoes and the cooked rice. (unless you are doing the uncooked rice version). Simmer again for 5 mins, or until all the vegetables are tender.
Lastly, stir in the coconut milk, chickpeas/lentils, lemon juice, and cilantro.
Simmer again for 5 mins.
If you would like you can add more salt, lemon juice, cilantro to taste.


Monday, March 10, 2014

R is for RAINBOW

I am taking two weeks to do each letter of the alphabet with my preschooler and Kindergarten/Grade 1 child. The first letter that we have looked at is the letter R.

We started by doing a whole week on Robots which was a whole lot of fun! (check it out here)
I decided to also touch on the Grade 1 Alberta program of study objective of "Creating Colour" by continuing our lesson in R with Rainbows. 

The first day we watched some videos on Rainbows. The kids really enjoyed all the different "Sing a Rainbow" versions. We also watched some PBS videos on how rainbows are made

Next, I gave the kids some bingo daubers and let them have at it. My kids are extremely kinaesthetic learners so smashing the daubers on the paper to make the ink fly was the highlight of this project. While they didn't make a rainbow, they definitely enjoyed themselves seeing all the colours that they could choose from to make for a really open ended art project.

My oldest son just did a science project on polymers for his Grade 3 Celebration of Learning, and so the next project that we did with the younger boys used the same materials.

One polymer that my kids LOVE to play with are water beads. If you have not had your kids play with water beads before you need to stop reading this post right now and buy some off Amazon and then come right back!

Water beads are SO much fun! They are sold as a substitute for soil for plants and for decoration, but as a learning toy they are much more useful! First I had the boys try and separate the beads into all the different colours, which was a true test of fine motor skills. Next I had them use pipettes to fill the test tubes with water. It took about an hour for the beads to absorb all of the water, but when they did the kids dove right in! It is one activity that really fills that need for sensory play. The beads are slimy and bouncy so the kids kept squishing them and popping them, and then sorting them again and again and again. They spent at least a good two hours each day just playing with them. So the $1 investment for the beads it was well worth it!! 
The next polymer that we played with was "InstaSnow". This stuff is incredible! You just use a tablespoon and some water and it expands to a 4th of a cup or so. To make the rainbow I took a little bit of the snow, put 3 drops of each food colouring into separate cups (using 2 drops of red/ 1 yellow etc to make orange etc.) and then put them all into a shallow dish in the correct order. It was so pretty for about 10 mins, and then it was all mixed up. All was not lost though, as it showed the kids what happens when you mix all the colours together....grey!!!

We saved the best for last. As a kid I remember making rainbows with Fruit Loops and loving it! I happily bought the colourful cereal for my kids to do the same. Of course they were able to sneak a few into their mouths without me noticing (or they think that I didn't notice). I always like to have a box of Fruit Loops in my craft room as they are really fun to play with, completely non toxic (lol), and they smell good too! I absolutely loved the rainbows that the boys made - they went up on our display wall as soon as they were dry! 

Once we finished our project with the Fruit Loops our lesson on the letter R and rainbows was complete! However, the boys had a different idea. My middle child decided to use the Fruit Loops and make himself an R out of them and exclaimed "Look mom! A rainbow R!" He was so pleased with his creation.

My older son who was participating in the crafts was influenced by the rainbow theme going on as well. Later that day I found that he had organized all his Trash Pack by colour. It was neat to see them take the lessons one step further.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Crockpot Monday - Vegetarian Butternut Squash and Chickpea Coconut Curry

I love coconut curries. I tend to make a ton of them in the winter months when I want something to warm me up.

I just registered the kids in a karate class that spans two hours at dinner time and we were always rushing to eat before or after, which was causing me so much stress.  To combat this I decided that the best solution for my dinner woes was to make crockpot meals every Monday so that we are not eating at 9pm.

This one is my absolute favorite. It can be eaten on top of rice, noodles, in a bread bowl, or all by itself for those who are grain wary. It's also vegetarian (actually vegan) and it has a ton of protein and iron!

My kids love it (and love helping me make it) so it is win/win/win for me!!

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Coconut Curry
serves 8
2 1/2 cups diced butternut squash
1 1/2 cups chick peas (dried or canned)
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
I didn't have any fresh so I used these!
1 can 13.5 ounce organic coconut milk (light or whole fat)
1 bunch of fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped (or kale, or chard)
1 1/2 cups freshly shelled edamame (you can use fresh or frozen peas as well)
1-2 large tomatoes, diced
3 cups vegetable broth or water
3 tablespoons yellow curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (if you don't have any fresh you can use frozen as well)
Kids love to help cook!!

Take 15 mins to prep all of your veggies. Take the skin off the squash, remove seeds and cut into squares. Add them to the crockpot. Add the onion, garlic, coconut milk, edamame, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, curry powder, salt and cilantro.
If you are using dried chickpeas, sort and rinse and add at this step. If using canned add them 30 mins before you want to serve. Add spinach (or other leafy greens) 30 mins before you are going to serve as well. 
Cook on high for 6 hours. If it seems too watery to your liking you can add a little cornstarch 15 mins before serving to thicken it up. It does thicken as it cools. 
 You can serve over brown basmati, jasmine rice, noodles, or even in a bread bowl.  Toppings can include mint, fresh cilantro, basil or some shredded coconut. (anything goes!) 
Bon Appetit!! 

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