Browsing Category: The Littles

Little Readers: 5 Fun Books that Rhyme

Five Rhyming Books

To be fair, most children’s books rhyme– and really, they all should, shouldn’t they? (Or is it just me who gets a bit annoyed when a kids’ book doesn’t rhyme… insert that little eye roll emoji right here…) I love the flow and rhythm created by rhyming stories, and so does Vienna. She spends a lot of time “reading” books lately and I love listening to her make up little rhymes (some aren’t words at all, of course) and she mimics the rhythm and rhymes of her favourite stories. It’s so sweet.

Here are five of our favourite books that rhyme! I’ll have to do subsequent versions of this list because it was nearly impossible to only pick five. For this round I’ve included three books that are greater for kids who have longer attention spans (age 2.5 seems to be good, Aria is not quite there with some of these), and two that are all time favourites for both of my girls: I mean, Goodnight Moon? A classic that can’t be missed. And for some reason they have always loved the book Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? which is noticeable given the teeth marks and wear on the corners of this book. 😉 Finally, Jillian Jiggs gets a spot on the list because this is my favourite book from my own childhood.

I hope you enjoy these fun books as much as us! xo

The Gruffalo

Julia Donaldson
A fun rhyming story about a mouse that tricks a gruffalo. The quick pace and fun plot line keep little readers’ engaged. My husband really likes this story too! 😉

Jillian Jiggs
Phoebe Gilman

A story about a girl who’s room looks like it has been lived in by pigs! This fun story follows the adventures of Jillian’s imagination, where it’s just too fun to clean up! This was my favourite book as a child and I love reading it to my girls.

Little Blue Truck
Alice Schertle

My girls are in love with the Little Blue Truck. Vienna now reads it to Aria from memory, which is impressive! And now this little blue truck is taking over holidays with Christmas and Halloween versions too.

Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?
Dr. Seuss
A hit with both my girls! When Vienna was a baby I carried it around in my diaper bag because of its small size. It turns out she loves the rhymes and copying the sounds, and now this is one of Aria’s favourites, too. It’s short and fun and perfect for little ones!


Goodnight Moon

Margaret Wise Brown
This classic book with simple illustrations is the perfect bedtime story. And, chances are, you read it when you were a kid, so it’s a nice story to pass between generations. You can’t go wrong with a classic like this.

 

 

Back to School

September is here and Fall routines have begun! I say that with an exclamation mark because although I love summer, something about the slightly cooler Fall weather and all the energy to be organized for Fall makes me so happy. Don’t worry, it wears off in about a month 😉 And in other good news, my husband is home a lot more as our seasonal business slows down, which is a welcomed change after a summer of me and the girls.

Vienna is so excited to head back to school this year! She has been asking for the past few weeks if it’s time yet. She loves learning and playing with her friends, and absolutely adores her Teacher. I can hardly believe that she will be in full day Kindergarten next year, that seems like a much bigger milestone that I might not be so prepared for.

The night before preschool she went to bed the happiest, most excited little girl. I asked her a few questions to capture V as she starts her year at preschool:

  • How old are you? Three
  • What is your favourite food? Avocados and Broccoli (no joke here guys)
  • What is your favourite toy? Rollie! (a small rabbit? Mouse? I don’t even know figurine? And I have no idea where its from. All the toys in the world and she chooses this).
  • What do you like to do for fun? Run around in the park.
  • What is your favourite colour? Red! (She always tells me because it’s the colour in her heart).
  • What do you love the most? Rollie (Again, toddler randomness at its finest)
  • Where is your favourite place to go? To soccer
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? “A doctor. And you will be the nurse, Mom”. Turns out I’ll always be working for this girl 😉

It’s so fun to look back on these questions from last year and see how much she has changed. V and I read last year’s responses together before bed, which she thought was so fun. And seriously… those pictures of her from last year? ALL. THE. TEARS. So crazy to see how much she’s grown in just a year.

This morning I took her to school and on the way she said “I’m going to miss Aria, Mom. When I’m back I’ll tell her all about my day at school.” I’ll just be over here scooping my heart off the sidewalk, guys. Seriously cute.

Happy back to school and happy Fall! xo

The Little Big Things: Age 3.5

With Vienna’s first year of preschool wrapping up, I wanted to capture a few memories of her at this age. Although they’re about nothing substantial per se, these are my favourite posts to look back on.

Miss V, or “Nenna” to her little sister, is now 3.5. She is still the sweetest girl with the biggest heart (three-nager tantrums aside). She loves to play, especially outside, and she still has that sweet tooth, just like her Dad. Lot’s of people say she is tall for her age and people are forever shocked that this blonde-haired, blue-eyed baby girl is mine.

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Easter Baskets for the Girls

Spring is here and we’re getting ready for our next holiday festivities (of course!) I love holidays, and having the girls has taken this to a whole new level. #sorrynotsorry. I’m a sucker for holiday anything.

I put the girls’ Easter baskets together this weekend and they turned out so sweet! Yes, my kids don’t need anything, but no, I’m not willing to forgo holidays in favor of minimalism. I enjoy it too much! I am however becoming more mindful of what goes into the basket (read: not random throw away junk, but stuff that we use or need –save for the Shopkins this year– because apparently that is the thing for V). I’m also getting smarter and buying more of the same things for the girls despite their age difference, especially since lately they have to have what the other has.

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Here Comes The Sun: Navigating the Time Change with Kids

Navigating the Time Change with Kids

I don’t know about you, but over here we are (rather desperately now) dreaming of summer. Anyone else feel like this winter is never ending? It seems that we’ve had a few glimpses of spring (and we immediately commence conversations about riding bikes, blowing bubbles and hitting the park) and every. single. time. winter shows up the very next day to prove us wrong. Sigh.

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Our Christmas

Well, that in-between week of hanging on to anything Christmas has come to a close (remind me again, when do I have to stop putting Salted Caramel Baileys in my coffee??) and I’m reflecting on what an amazing thing it is to have little kids at Christmas. (Truth: I started this post during said week but never finished it and now it’s January).

We I set out our Holiday Bucket List in true Type-A, Pinterest-loving fashion and we had a great month of celebrations. Here’s a quick recap of the festivities!

We started off the month with meeting our new Elf on the Shelf, despite the recommendations of some friends deeply regretting starting this madness after a few years. V has been going through a stage of naming things random words, like “Chroccoli”, which was the word of the the month in November, so there was no way I was letting that fly and having an Elf around every Christmas from now forward named “Chroccoli.” I went ahead and named the Elf Jovie, of course from one of my favourite Christmas movies! V basically rolled her eyes and said “No Mom, that’s Red Riding Hood.” So, Red Riding Hood it is. Mike even tried to swap in Jovie a few times: “Hey Vienna, where’s Jovie?” to which she replied “Red Riding Hood is on the tree, Dad” very serious and matter-of-fact toned. The Elf was pretty uneventful for the most part, but she did really go out with a bang surprising Vienna with a mini Christmas Tree in her room when she left.

We took the girls skating and out on the sleigh, looked at lights, baked cookies galore, drank hot chocolate on the daily, visited Santa and attended holiday parties. We wrapped up the festivities with a tractor ride with friends out to a bonfire where we roasted s’mores and drank hot chocolate, and then on our way back visited all the horses in the pasture. Magical! All in all, our Holiday Bucket List was a success and we loved all of it! Next year I hope to make an advent calendar, but that requires some pre-planning (before the day before) and I might not have that in me yet.

For Christmas Vienna asked Santa for a “Dress-Up Room” (“You know Mom, like at Preschool?” i.e. the entire back half of the preschool). Santa brought a trunk full of dress up clothes and, the little closet under the stairs that is joint with V’s room was turned into a dress-up space! It is SO cute. V’s still a little unsure on the Santa part in that she actually expected to see him deliver said dress-up room, which we learned when she told some of our visiting relatives “well, my Mom and Dad just brought me that.”

We spend Christmas at home now that we have kids and we host all of our family for dinner on Christmas Eve for a traditional(ish) Ukrainian twelve dish dinner, including:  wheat, borscht, cabbage rolls and perogies, among other dishes. We’ve done this is on Christmas Eve my entire life and it comes from my Gramma’s family.

Truth be told, I personally love the build up to Christmas more than Christmas morning itself. The morning seems a bit chaotic and overwhelming, and disappears SO fast. But, seeing the magic of Christmas building for them and the excitement of Christmas morning is really so amazing.

One thing I struggle with is capturing “good” photos on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning; there is too much going on and I don’t want to miss the moments trying to get a beautiful picture. So, here’s a recap of Christmas and December from what I’ve got (i.e. mostly grainy Iphone photos).

Enjoy and Happy New Year! xo

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Christmas Countdown!

It’s Christmas week! Can you believe it? Anyone else love the build up to Christmas more than Christmas itself? I am always sad Christmas afternoon when the excitement is passing and I know it will just be regular winter again soon. I truly love all the chaos and fun that comes with Christmas planning.

Both girls got pretty sick last week, which delayed a lot of our Christmas festivities. So now we are taking it ALL in and loving every minute of it! We took V for her first ice skate at the local outdoor rink; mailed our lovely Christmas cards; did some festive baking and made a gingerbread house (which is slowly, mysteriously losing all of it’s decor, as per the photo); took a few sleigh rides down the nature trail by our house; and are binge watching Christmas movies in our Christmas PJs all night, every night. On our list this week is cookie decorating, a Christmas light tour, eating too much and drinking all the Christmas coffees. 😉

Oh, and shopping. Because we still haven’t done that.

Although it’s really late (we’ve got 4 shopping days left?) I’m  hoping to wrap things up tomorrow and avoid all of my last minute errands– I literally run out every Christmas Eve to pick up something I forgot. This year Vienna asked Santa for a “Dress Up Room”. Yup, you read correctly, girlfriend wants an en-suite. Just wait ’til you see how we are trying to pull that off last minute.

If you’re local and last minute like me (ahem…. shipping deadlines have surely passed by now… sh$t), then check out this Local Last Minute Gift Guide I’ve put together with the help of some great small businesses offering promos to get those last items crossed off your list! I love supporting local, and these shops are a few of my fave!

For Her
None other than my go-to self-care place, Illuminate Skin Care and Aesthetics. If you have not treated yourself to a facial by Meredith than it’s a must-do! Treat yourself or anyone you want to spoil! The Eminence Organic Hungarian Facial is Ahhhhhmazing. And, because the owner, Meredith, is also amazing, she’s offering my readers 25% off an Eminence Organic Hungarian Facial gift certificate purchased through her online site from now until December 24th!!! These only go on sale ONE other time per year (and that time isn’t coming around again for a while). START THE CAR! 😉 Use the code GIFTOFGREATSKIN to score your deal today! You won’t regret it!

For Him
Anyone else never know what to buy their husband? I barely know anything about electronics, but recently impressed my husband with a decent pair of headphones as a gift! If you are local head over to Andres Electronic Experts and you can pick up a set of Bose SoundTrue headphones for $89 (That’s 10% better than any price online price). Or, tell them about your husband and I’m sure they will find something that fits! If he really doesn’t need anything what about a Parasail adventure with Eldorado Parasail for HALF price. Say what? Maybe buy this for anyone on your list!

For the Babes
We are in toy overload over here, and  the girls really need nothing. Of course they will still get some gifts, but Aria’s stocking will be filled with a few of my go-to baby products this year. If there is one thing we still always need, it’s baby products: diaper cream or baby lotion. And bunny crackers. Can I put those in a stocking? For amazing baby products shop online at Nu.Babee and save 15% off your purchase with code MAMAWRITES until December 24, 2016!

As for toys, my shopping go-to’s this year are local kids stores or Chapters, which has a great selection of toys too!

For Them
Ok- this is the only self-serving item on my list (in that I would indirectly profit from it) BUT I am honestly only including it because it’s a great idea for locals! If you have hard to buy for in-laws, or relatives that need nothing,  a gift certificate to Kelowna Cruises is a great local option (full disclosure, this is my husband’s company). Buy a gift card for a dinner cruise for two for the 2017 summer season before December 24, 2016 and we’ll give you $20 off (Mention code MAMAWRITESBLOG) ! We get lot’s of last minute requests for these GC’s every year and always have great feedback! (Or, if this isn’t their “thing”, I suggest local wine. Lot’s of local wine).

Merry Christmas, the countdown is officially on! Here’s some shots of our Christmas week so far! xo

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Share the Love

I am so excited to share details from my Girls’ Night In last night! Most years I try and have a fun gathering with a few girlfriends to catch up and drink wine around the holidays. I always add a fun activity, and this year I wanted to share something that I love and something that makes life easier…Chatbooks!

Does anyone else never print pictures anymore? I literally have a massive storage bin full of great scrap booking supplies that were passed on from my Mom, and I have not made a single scrap book in years and NONE since having kids, which turns out to be the time when I want photo books the MOST!

You guys, I can’t even make it to the store to pick up printed photos from the lab for our Christmas cards. It’s that bad. Add to that the fact that I have roughly 14,000 photos on my phone. I take a LOT of photos of those kiddos of mine!

Enter Chatbooks. Life saver! When V was a babe I did a 100 Happy Days Instagram challenge where I posted a photo every day for 100 days, and then had them printed in my very first Chatbook. I’ve since signed up for a series, and every time I post 60 photos on Instagram, it prints them into a little book and sends them to me. Genius, right? I’m starting to feel like I have to tell you about the second set of free books, free t-shirt, and unicorn I’m going to throw in when you buy them hahaha (totally kidding). Really, this is just MY opinion and I simply LOVE them that much!

5 Reasons why I love Chatbooks:

EASY. It’s done for me with zero participation on my part if I choose. There is a three day reminder where I can go in and make changes to the book, and even then I try to keep this to just updating the cover to my favorite picture from the book. Sometimes I don’t even do that. #momlife. This way the book is a true snap shot of our daily life, and I love it.

COST. SUPER affordable. $8 for a book and $2 for shipping! I don’t even care if the Canadian-Us exchange rate is total crap. My Starbucks (and/or kids’ matching pajama addiction) will tell you this is peanuts.

DESIGN. I love the simplicity of these books. Yes I could print a bigger, more elaborate photo book and there is a time and place for that, BUT I love that these are small and simple. And, if one of the kids tears a page I’m not going to lose my shit, I’ll just re-order it. P.S. Vienna LOVES flipping through these books. I’m starting her own series, too!

PROCESS. You can either have it sync with your Instagram or Facebook feed,  a specific #hashtag, or, if you aren’t a social media user, you can have it paired with your favorite roll on your phone. I actually love having it tied to my Instagram, because the pictures I post just so happen to be my favorite pics that I want to share, so it’s almost like a filter from my overflowing camera roll. Plus, it includes the caption. (I’ll regret the second half of this statement in 10 years when my kids can read and hashtags are sooo #2016).

PERSONAL. Chatbooks is an amazing company to work with. If I’ve ever had a question or needed support, they are there in an instant and super friendly. They stand behind their products and if anything goes wrong, they will work to make it right! They still have a small shop feel, even though they are definitely killing it as a big company now. I like supporting this company!

Want to join in on the fun? Download the app and use the code MAMAWRITES to get your first series book FREE or 10% off prints or custom books! How awesome is that? Thank you Chatbooks! Plus I have the pleasure of giving away some Chatbooks bucks to help some lucky peeps get started! I’ll do a draw for anyone who starts a new series before January 1st, 2017 🙂 (Please follow the link above if you want to be entered, that is how I will track entries). If you’ve got any questions about how Chatbooks works for our family, contact me @ mamawritesblog@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

If you are a local friend and follower, you should probably just come over already for a festive coffee. I’d LOVE to catch up over a seasonally-flavoured, Baileys-induced coffee. ‘Tis the season to find aannnnyyy reason to get together. Fa la la la la. xo

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Oh Christmas Tree

One of the first things to check off our Holiday Bucket List was decorating the tree, of course! And I am really loving reading Christmas books with Vienna by the tree! We (Mike) decided last year’s tree was a little small for our space, so we went to look at bigger trees and ended up with what in comparison seems like a ginormous one (it’s really only 1.5 feet taller). Mike and I were laughing thinking of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when they undo the ties and the branches go shooting through the living room window. Anyone else thinking “It’s not going in our yard, Russ?”

One of my favourite things is how personal our tree is becoming to our family. I love a beautifully coordinated window-front tree, but even I will let my OCD slide for special memories 😉 A tradition we have started is every time we travel, we pick up a new ornament from our destination! It’s the perfect souvenir and saves us from buying tourist junk. When we put them out on the tree it’s fun to reminisce about the trip we took. I started collecting ornaments on a family trip to Ireland, Scotland and Spain. And then Mike and I continued the tradition on our honeymoon– we went on a Caribbean cruise and picked one up from each of the islands we visited, which helped to quickly build our collection. Vienna is now helping pick out the ornaments, hence the zebra carousel from our recent trip to San Diego— the perfect addition to our tree! It was really sweet when we pulled that one out: with the trip still fresh in her mind she got very excited remembering the carousel ride.

My Aunt gives the girls an ornament with their name or initial each year, and one day these will be theirs for their own tree. Finally, we have a special angel we hang on the tree in memory of my Mom. The last few years before she passed she started decorating beautiful, amazing trees. My Dad said she waited years until my sister and I lost interest in the (tacky) tree decorating and then started making beautiful themed trees. I’m sure in a few years I too will be overrun with homemade Christmas ornaments from school, but right now one of my favourites is V’s little Santa hand from daycare when she was one!

It’s so funny to see how different Aria and Vienna are at this age– Vienna had zero interest in touching the ornaments on the tree when she was a baby and really just loved looking at the lights. Aria on the other hand has made ripping the silver beads off the bottom of the tree a daily occurrence. I have a feeling it might be a long month.

Christmas is such a special time of year and I love creating traditions and memories for my girls. Share below if you have any special tree traditions that you are passing on to your kids!  xo

P.S. Anyone else seriously struggling with the multi-colour light option? Miss V is obsessed with changing them from white to multi-colour, and I can barely handle it, LOL!

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Family First

Last weekend we visited our family in Alberta to celebrate the life of my Uncle Len. He was like another grandparent to us, especially given his own grandchildren came along many years later than my sister and I. It was a busy, emotional weekend. Bittersweet in that all of my crazy family got together (think the stereotypical ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ crew… except we aren’t Greek, and there’s no wedding), yet it was over the loss of one of our “greats.” It’s pretty amazing that my girls get to know all of our big extended family, and their Great, Great relatives.

My Uncle Len always told one of my favourite stories of me as a child. He loved it and would share it any chance he got. He even told it at my wedding in his toast to the bride. The story goes…

When I was about three my Uncle took my sister and I to visit our Grandparents who lived about four hours away. As we traveled we started playing I spy. My turn to choose was up and I left my sister and him guessing forever, until finally they gave in. “It was that brown horse back there you guys!” I exclaimed, to the annoyance of my sister. We continued on and he said out of nowhere I screamed (anyone with a three year old right now knows how loud that is) from the back seat. He pulled over in a panic thinking that at I probably needed to use the bathroom or was sick. He said he raced to get me out of the car, concerned and flustered that something was wrong, stood me up on the road next to him, only to have me adjust my three-year-old-little-tights and say, “ok, we can go now.”

He told that story so. many. times. We were so blessed to have him visit us for the girls’ birthday just a few short weeks ago and to meet baby Aria, something he always talked about doing. He loved his family so much.

I didn’t intend to blog about this, but this week I’ve been wanting to share some family photos, and this family story just came out as I typed. Part of my reason to blog is to create a memory for my girls, and now this story that I loved to hear him tell is written for the first (and yes, likely  only, time).

All this goes to say that I love my family and I am lucky to have them. And it’s pretty cool to see Mike and my own little family grow and change. Below I’m sharing photos of our little family of four.

Over the past five years we have had many family photos done, given that we have had so many of those “big” life events: engagement, wedding, maternity, newborn, maternity, newborn. I think I’m addicted. We have had all of our photos done by Jennifer Harwood with Blink Photography. Jen, what are we going to do when we run out of life events to celebrate!? And how cool is it that one photographer has our entire story?!

I truly love the way Jen captures exactly who our family is. She is amazing with kids– all of our sessions have been fun and relaxing, and it shows in the final product. This last session is my favourite, I think because of the beautiful fall colours. Fall just might becoming my favourite season (sorry, summer). I can’t wait to put these on my gallery wall (read: project coming soon!)

Thank you again Jen for these amazing photos! Here’s a small sample of some of my favourites! xo

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