Drinking the ‘juice’ of the toilet brush holder!!!

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My name is Calan, I’m the founder of a new product that we’re hoping will replace the toilet brush. The Loogun is a hygienic, child-safe and chemical-free way to clean your toilet using clean water.

58b808aa8b9822b47ef40af1f9889dfb_originalWe’re currently running a Kickstarter campaign to try bring our product to life, and the majority of our 850 backers so far are mums. Through Facebook parenting groups they are sharing hair-raising stories of their children’s exploits with the dreaded toilet brush, some of which you’ve already read above.

We have 10 days to go on the campaign, then we start manufacturing, and hope be ready for Amazon/retail in Feb next year when you can finally say goodbye to that dreaded toilet brush.

Breastfeeding in public – another debate

breastfeeding-motherA mother from Burnaby, B.C., says she was embarrassed by a United Airlines flight attendant when she started breastfeeding her baby on a recent flight.

Kristen Hilderman and her husband were on board a flight from Houston to Vancouver on Sunday when their five-month-old son started to cry. Not wanting her noisy baby to annoy her fellow passengers Kristen decided to feed him in the hope that it would stop him crying.

It was then that a male flight attendant appeared with a blanket, asked her husband if he was with her, and then tossed a blanket at him and told him “to help her out.” When Kristen tried to question the flight attendant as to what she needed help with he ignored her and walked away.

“I went beet red and the passengers around us stared with their mouth agape,” she wrote in a post on Twitter.

“It made me feel like I was doing something wrong. It called into question feeding my son in public. I started thinking should I not be doing this? Should I have a blanket over myself? Are people offended by this?”

Amazingly it seems that even in 2015 some people are still offended by breastfeeding in public. Erica was the guest on CBC Radio Vancouver this week when the topic was discussed. To listen to the podcast follow this link:

http://podcast.cbc.ca/mp3/podcasts/bcalmanac_20150311_38120.mp3

Staycation or Awaycation?

For the first five years of motherhood I lived nearly 5000 miles away from my family. It’s my fault – I chose to up-sticks and move away. When we were just a couple I was fine with a visit from my parents once a year, a yearly trip home for us and weekly phone calls, but somehow, having babies made me feel closer to my family despite the vast distance between us. I realised just how much a rookie mom needs her mom.

As Pickle grew and Bowser arrived seeing my family only once or twice a year and the limited time my parents had with their grandchildren fanned the flames of my smoldering feelings of homesickness. Surviving the nine hour flight and the accompanying jet lag also made traveling home less appealing. So, when Pickle was five and Bowser 18 months we packed up and went home. Now we are a much more sensible 60 miles apart and can see them, if not whenever we want, at least six or so times a year.

IMG_4996So that’s how we’ll be spending our upcoming school break – with Nanny and Grandad. We won’t do anything terribly exciting; it’s very relaxed. We will visit with some extended family, catching up with Aunties and Cousins. I usually get to have some precious ‘me time’ and have a couple of nights out with old friends. We’ll have our annual trip to the theme park, adventure playground and, if weather permits, a day at the beach. Pickle in particular is just as excited about seeing Nanny and Grandad as she is about what we will do when we’re there. For her it’s all about being together. It’s like she’s making up for lost time.

IMG_5005Pickle would like it if we were part of an African or Indian culture where the extended family all live together under one roof, but we adults know that we also need our own space. We always try to explain to her that if we spent all of our time together then we wouldn’t be able to look forward to visits. However, when we leave there are always tears that last for at least the first 15 minutes of the journey.

Nanny always has a little welcome gift for them: usually a sticker book and a craft kit for Pickle; a couple of Hot Wheels or some Angry Birds paraphernalia for Bowser. And there’s always a pack of Kinder eggs each. No matter how many of these babies we’ve had in our house over the last few years (and being a part of the #KinderMom program this is quite a few!) the kids are always excited to open another one and shortly after munching on the delicious chocolate the toy bartering begins.

Wishing you all a happy holiday – be it a staycation or an awaycation I’m sure it will be fun, fun, fun!

Time for an Egg-stravaganza!

easter egg huntWe’ve all had plenty of time to get our ducks – or perhaps chicks – in a row this year as Easter is late coming!  We’re all having to wait until mid April to crack open those eggs. Whenever Easter falls we always take a family trip to Papa and Grammas’ house to celebrate with the Aunties and Cousins. It’s a big family affair and Papa always puts on a big Easter Egg hunt that keeps the kids occupied for hours.

Somehow the Easter Bunny always knows to go to Papa’s house instead of our house. This might have something to do with the kids writing said bunny of Easter a lengthy and pointed letter each year to remind him of our Spring vacation plans and the change of venue. Adding to the excitement are special touches like Mr. Bunny leaving a foot print trail around the house so the kids absolutely know that he’s been there. You try crinkling up your foot into the shape of a bunny paw…sheesh, the things we do to keep traditions alive. I am a bit concerned that my husband seems to be as shocked as the kids on the paw print trail and I may have to have a heart-to-heart discussion with him over the viability of human sized magical rabbits.

Another great tradition for us is to wake up on Easter morning to little hollow plastic eggs with secret notes inside scattered around the homestead. Open the egg and read a rhyme that tells you where to look for some seasonal presents.  The presents can be hidden anywhere from inside the dryer to outside in the backseat of the car. The adventure is more in the finding than the little trinkets that make up the booty.  A pack of Easter stickers or a bag of Kinder Mini Eggs is always a favorite. To cap the day, decorating eggs is always a fun activity for the whole family.

egg hunt basketThis year our hunt will be helped along by the fantastic package we KinderMoms received from Kinder® containing everything we need to create an egg hunt. You could win one of these packages too – visit the Kinder® Canada Facebook page on April 8, 10 and 12 where a basket will be up for grabs.

Kinder® has partnered with Children’s Miracle Network and will be providing 12 of these baskets to CMN hospitals.  As well, Kinder® will be donating another $25,000 to help support this non-profit organization dedicated to saving and improving the lives of children by raising funds for children’s hospitals across North America.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Kinder® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.


It’s never too early…

As far as kids are concerned, the earlier the Christmas celebrations are allowed to start the better. If my kids had their way the tree would have been up weeks ago, but my rule is 2 weeks before the big day… and no matter how much pleading and badgering I’m subjected to I’m sticking to it. But of course, at school they are busy rehearsing for Christmas plays and carol concerts and the Christmas fair is done and dusted, so I can understand that in their little minds the festive season is well and truly upon us.

If your little ones think celebrating Christmas for a twelfth of the year is mandatory then they’ll be overjoyed to hear that the holiday excitement has started already on Disney Junior!

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Holiday Programming on Disney Junior

  • Every week night at 6pm ET from Dec 2nd to 24th tune in for special holiday episodes of your favourite shows.
  • On Saturday, December 7th at 10.30am ET don’t miss a special episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse with extra-special guest appearances by favourite Disney characters including Snow White, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh and many more!
  • And although you might be a little busy on Christmas Day, be sure to set the PVR for a marathon of holiday movies and specials from 6am until 11pm ET.

For full details of all the holiday programming check out the Disney Junior holiday schedule.

As well, parents and little ones can enjoy holiday-themed games, activities and more on the Disney Junior website. You can even design your own holiday e-Card to send to a loved one.

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Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Celebrate the Holidays Minion Style!

Gru, his adorable girls, and the mischievous Minions are back with a whole host of new characters in the blockbuster sequel to Despicable Me. Just as Gru has given up being super-bad to be a super-dad, the Anti-Villain League recruits him to track down a new criminal mastermind and save the world. Partnered with secret agent Lucy Wilde, Gru, aided by the wildly unpredictable but lovable Minions, must figure out how to keep his cover while also keeping up with his duties as a dad.

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The top box-office comedy of the year Despicable Me 2 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment arrives on Blu-ray™ and DVD on December 10, 2013. A Blu-ray combo pack will include more than 45 minutes of hilarious bonus features plus three all-new mini-movies starring the film series’ breakout stars, the mischievous Minions.

You could be one of the first to own a copy of Despicable Me 2 if you’re the lucky winner of our giveaway.

To enter simply leave a comment below telling us the name of one of the three all-new mini-movies starring the Minions available in the DVD and Blu-ray Combo Pack special features.

After you’ve completed this mandatory comment entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway is open to Canada only
  • Winner will be drawn at random
  • Giveaway closes November 29th, 2013

You can’t beat a good bedtime story

DSC00992I cherish our fabulous collection of kids’ books. We started reading bedtime stories to our babies when they were six months old and it is very rarely left out of our bedtime routine. Reading stories at bedtime is Daddy’s job pleasure. As he is at work all day and sees little of the kids it’s nice for him to spend this last 20 minutes of the day snuggled up on the sofa reading with them.

Pickle is now nine and we are trying to persuade her that it’s time to start being weaned off bedtime stories and that she should read to herself in bed instead. But when the books come out for five-year-old Bowser she’s still to be found on the other side of Dad on the sofa listening to the same old stories she’s been hearing for the last nine years.

Kids love repetition. If you’re going to read the same book over and over and over… you might as well pick something that is fun to read. Some toddler books are dire lovey dovey drivel. I prefer one with a pinch of humour aimed at the parents to lighten it up.

This week’s post is dedicated to my top five kids’ bedtime stories from our collection.

Knuffle Bunny1. Pickle’s favourite stuffed toy has always been Bedtime Bunny. She was more or less bald and was not much of a talker until she was 2 1/2. Consequently we warmed to the main character Trixie in Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and felt Mo Willems could have written it about our family. I think most people would find the Knuffle Bunny books highly entertaining.

2. Julia Donaldson could easily take up all my top spots with all her rhyming gems. Which one of Julia’s books is my favourite? It’s just so hard to pick just one. Everyone knows the Gruffalo, but I don’t think that is my #1 pick. I’ll go with Room on the Broom, but it could just as easily be Tabby McTatt, Stick Man, Monkey Puzzle, Tiddler or The Snail and the Whale. All feature Julia’s masterful rhyming stories and Axel Scheffler’s ingenious detailed drawings.

511HXP01EHL._SY300_3. In Marjorie Newman’s Captain Pike Looks After the Baby new dad Captain Pike finds out that looking after the baby isn’t as easy as he thought which will make a lot of SAHMs smile. There’s a lovely moral of down with fighting, up with friendship and beautiful illustrations.

4. Julia Donaldson is on my list again but this time paired with illustrator Lydia Monks with a rhyming tale of friendship and cooperation in Sharing a Shell.

5. Adrian Reynolds bright, bold illustrations really steal the thunder in Someone Bigger. It’s a lovely, simple rhyming tale by Jonathan Emmet which appeals to the little ones who are always being told they are too small to do this or that.

All our picks are aimed at the 2-5ish age group, but as Pickle will attest there is no true upper age limit.

peter-pan-disney-poster-cartel-6This month on Disney Junior you can join Wendy and her brothers John and Michael as they are whisked away to the magical world of Neverland with the hero of their own bedtime stories, Peter Pan. Don’t miss the commercial free screening of this classic Disney feature film on Saturday November 23rd at 6pm ET.

And if you have a favourite bedtime tale in your house, please let us know – we’d love to try it!

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program andI receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinionson this blog are my own.

Too Excited to Sleep!

downloadThey tell us we should live in the moment. The past is behind us, we can’t change it. What lies ahead we can’t predict. What will be will be. “Your brightest future hinges on your ability to pay attention to the present.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, all very well and very wise, but surely that doesn’t apply when you’re looking forward to something?

Isn’t the excitement of an outing or holiday a big part of the enjoyment? Something as exciting as a first trip to Disneyland is really hard to keep a lid on: the build up; the countdown of how many more sleeps; Eeeeep!

A big part of any adventure is the planning process: spending countless hours poring over the destination website; reading through guidebooks; dreaming of what’s to come. The holiday may only be booked for ten days, but if you add in the anticipation and it starts sooner and lasts longer. My kids love to download a theme park map and pour over it for days, weeks in advance, planning the day to the last detail: which part of the park they want to hit first; which rides are at the top of the list.

The thing is, when you factor in kids, the excitement can bubble over to disastrous levels. When kids get wound up emotionally, their bodies need to discharge all that energy – they become boisterous, hyperactive and might be more prone to bad behaviour or tantrums. They typically have trouble sleeping. We all remember that Disney World commercial where the mom tells the little boy to go to sleep, and he responds to her, with Disney fantasies in his head, “We’re too excited to sleep!!” In extreme cases getting over-excited can lead to illness. More than once my brother spent the first day of our annual summer holiday in bed with a temperature due to being over-excited. And for children who suffer with asthma, excitement as well as laughter can bring on their asthma symptoms.

That’s why some parents with over-excitable children would say the best way forward is to surprise their kids. My cousins took it to the wire by telling their kids they were going to the mall. Instead they drove to the airport and it was only when they met their grandparents sporting Mickey ears that the surprise Disney vacation was sprung!

Disney Junior’s Princesses & Heroes Contest

Disney Junior is giving you a chance to win an exciting trip for your little ones – and if you’re a lucky winner, whether you tell them all about it or keep it as a surprise is entirely up to you! In this latest Disney Junior contest you could win a trip to Toronto to experience the live Disney on Ice Princesses and Heroes show.

left_imageThe Grand Prize includes:

* Round-trip flights for a family of up to 4
* 2-night hotel stay for a family of up to 4
* 4 rink-side seats to Disney On Ice presents Princesses & Heroes
* A backstage character meet-and-greet
* A $1,000 Disney Store shopping spree experience

Enter now by following this link and for more chances to win:

* Enter every day until November 13th.
* Receive 25 bonus entries by watching Belle make a special appearance on Sofia the First! Look for the Bonus Code to appear during the special on Sunday November 10th between 11:30am and 12pm ET, and enter it on the entry form.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Win Personalised Fine Art from Sears Portrait Studio

Sears Portrait Studio can turn your portrait into an artistic masterpiece! Their Portrait Art collection provides a variety of innovative products, from contemporary to classic, for showcasing your favourite portraits.

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vintageClassic_10x30The #SearsBabysRoom bloggers are hosting a fabulous giveaway of a framed 20×20 or 10×30 custom portrait from Sears new Vintage Classic range – a series of portraits grouped together to create a beautiful piece of wall art. And of course you’ll receive a complimentary photo shoot as the start point to creating your masterpiece.

This fabulous prize is valued at $244.98.

For a chance to win simply pop to the Sears website and leave a comment below telling us one of the shopping categories in Sears baby departments (eg ‘Playtime’).

Once you’ve completed this mandatory first entry you can do the following for bonus entries:

Please be sure to leave a separate comment below for each of your bonus entries.

  • Giveaway closes October 20th.
  • Potential grand prize winner will be chosen at random.
  • Open to all Canadian residents over the age of 18 (excluding Quebec).
  • This giveaway is being run across all #SearsBabysRoom blogs. There will be only one winner across all the participating blogs. You may enter across as many blogs as you want.
  • A potential winner will be selected from each #SearsBabysRoom blog and the grand prize winner will be randomly selected from these names.

Disclosure: I am part of the Sears The Baby’s Room Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

It’s worth waiting if you’re meeting royalty

“How did this happen?” I asked myself more than once a hundred times as we waited in long line-up after longer line-up at Disneyland. It was Spring break. How did we end up at Disneyland during Spring break when our little one was only two? Bad planning, that’s what. Being a Brit out of water I was under the misconception that US and Canadian school holidays were like the British ones that I was used to – basically everyone has them at the same time, give or take a day here or there. So when I’d Googled ‘Sping Break dates’ and booked our holiday NOT to coincide with them, I didn’t realise that Spring Break varied from state to state and in fact our visit to Disneyland coincided with what seemed like the holidays of most of North America. The place was heaving.

I’ve been to Disneyland a few times as a teenager and adult, but this was my first trip with my own child and I was so excited to be there with her. Pickle was 2 ¾ and, like most little girls her age, a huge princess fan. I just knew she was going to love it! Yet I couldn’t believe Disneyland was the busiest I had ever seen it. I was astounded that we needed to queue for 30-45 minutes for the classic kiddie rides in Fantasyland. We bit the bullet and got into our first line-up waiting over 30 minutes for the Mad Tea Party after which our little Pickle turned round and asked “Can we go home now?” My face fell, my shoulders slumped, my heart dropped. This was Disneyland and she wasn’t enjoying herself – she wanted to go home!!! After that my hubby embarked on military operation ‘She WILL enjoy Disneyland’. We scampered round the park making full use of the FASTPASS system; while one parent took her on one ride the other parent would be in the line-up for the next one and we’d pass Pickle over the fence. It was exhausting, but worth it to see her delighted little face as she experienced the rides without experiencing the waits.

DSC_0057Towards the end of the day we still had the Princesses to visit, but the queue was over an hour’s wait. By this time Pickle was having a blissful nap in her stroller so I paced up and down to keep the nap-inducing-stroller-motion going and Hubs got in the queue and dutifully waited…and waited. By the time we got to the official red roped off entrance it was nearly 5pm and the royal ladies were about to go off and attend to their princess duties for the evening. We were among the last royal visitors of the day. We gently woke Pickle up and told her she was about to meet the princesses. I will never forget her face of wide-eyed wonderment as she stood waiting her turn and the look of pure joy as she raced into the arms of Belle. It was well worth the wait. When I look at the photos of my joyous toddler that day I’m reminded of the fabulous time she had on her first Disney experience, not the hours we spent in line ups (much).

4-princessI know my little Pickle would have been delighted to find the new surprises hiding in pink Kinder Eggs this month are Disney Princess collectibles! In fact, both your Princess and Superhero fans will be happy with the new specially-marked Kinder® Surprise® packages because in two out of the three eggs they’ll find a limited edition Princess or Marvel Super Hero toy. Take a peek at the new toy collections on Kinder’s facebook page.

Disclosure: I’m part of the KINDER® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.