How to Style Your Babies Nursery

So, show of hands, how many of you have crawled Pinterest for hours looking at home decor? I know I have, and I’ve totally done the same with nursery decor. Even though my kid’s room is pretty much where I want it to be, or at least I’ve all got it figured out in my head. I can’t help it! They look so cute, and there is so much love put into them that it warms my heart. The decor of a nursery is what a parent envisions their child waking up into from every nap, and growing up into. It’s curated and crafted with love, just for the baby (and the parents aesthetic of course).

So this past year my daughter has gained two cousins (one I planned a baby shower for). And lucky for me, their moms both sent me pictures of their nurseries that I can use to illustrate ways to decorate your nursery, and the artistic liberties you can take when creating the room.

baby's room babies room bedroom kids room

This post contains affiliate links

Statement Piece

You might choose to have one (or two) bold piece of decor. The rest should be more subtle, as to not distract from your focal point. If you do choose to have more than one statement piece, they should be symmetrical, or adjacent to each other in the room. A statement piece could be something colourful, high contrast, or maybe just very large.

Figuring Out Your Colour Scheme

Generally, it’s a good idea to keep to a colour scheme. Paint swatches always have the little symbols on them to indicate what colours go well together BUT, there’s another easier way that doesn’t leave you staring at paint swatches for 4 hours. There are websites (here and here are some good ones) that are specifically for finding shades that go well together. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to avoid too many bold colours in a nursery. If you choose to have some bold colours, using them in moderation is key. Pops of colour here and there, or a feature wall. Maybe you have the crib coloured fire engine red? that should probably be the only fire engine red thing in that room, with the exception of a few prints/photos on the wall.

Murals

A mural can be made to match any room theme. You could go simple, or complex, you could sketch it out in pencil, freehand, or if you have access to a projector – trace something. One of the great things about murals is that it really helps cinch a theme if you’re going for one. One of the downsides is that if you make a detailed one, it might become dead space in your nursery. After all, you wouldn’t want to cover up a beautiful mural so much that it won’t be seen, right? But if you use a minimalist design or a partial mural, the wall likely won’t become dead space. If you aren’t the artistic type, there are wallpapers that make great murals as well, or you could buy some cool wall decals.

Gallery Wall/Wall Collage

I’m sure everyone has seen those adorable signs or boards that say “Dream big little one” or “I love you to the moon and back” or even “let him/her sleep, for when he/she wakes, he/she will move mountains”, right? Yeah, I thought so. Anyways, I don’t know about you guys but every time I see those I’m like OOOOOoooOOOOOOOOO DAYUUUM. I feel like any gallery wall needs at least one of those cute typographical signs with a cutesy quote on it. A good gallery wall can distract from some mismatched pieces here or there by becoming the focal point.

Pick A Theme

Nautical

With a nautical theme your friends are blue, white and red (I say with a grain of salt, red should definitely be used sparingly). Using weathered wood, or distressed painted wood for shelves can really help cinch the image. Buoys, anchors and ropes or nets can be excellent additions to help with the rooms flavour.

Nautical themed nursery

This is my daughter’s room. The mural was an absolute pain to paint but I’ve been very pleased with how it looks. Pro tip, don’t try to paint a gradient on your wall. What you can’t see in this picture is a jar of shells. I plan to incorporate some shelves or a net to store some excess plushies.

Fairy Tale

The colour of a fairy tale room really depends on which sort of fairy tale you’re going for, so I really can’t say much for colour. If you’re going for something with princesses or knights the room should have a dragon somewhere, be it a stuffy or an illustration. The fun thing with fairy tale rooms is that you can get creative with the design. Pinning dress-up clothes to the wall is a cool way to keep your theme, and also add your statement piece. You can use netting or curtains to delicately frame the crib. A barrel or bin with toy swords, arrows, or trusty stick steeds is a cool way to decorate and also keep toys for when they are old enough.

Woodland

With a woodland themed nursery, your colour options could involve blues, greens, greys. Using muted tones for blue and/or green is ideal. Vibrant shades tend to pair poorly together. Wood signs or wood shelves would make lovely accents to this style of room. Add in some stuffies of forest critters, and a play tent or teepee and it’s a perfect woodsy getaway in your own home. The beauty of a woodland nursery is that it evokes the feeling of getting back to nature. If you want to encourage your kid to be outdoorsy, having a room that breeds familiarity with the outdoors will likely make them feel more comfortable in that sort of environment.

Woodland themed nursery

My cousin decorated her son’s nursery with a woodland theme, she did a subtle mural of mountains on the back wall. It’s tasteful and elegant. The curtains have a delicate design of branches, that doesn’t distract from the rest of the room. She used blues and greys for her colour scheme. The plaid change pad liner adds a nice pop of colour while keeping to the theme, giving the room a nice lumberjack-style accent. The illustration of a stag brings some nice artwork to the table without distracting from the room itself. She managed to find baskets featuring critters decorate and add some storage. The wooden dresser and shelves along with the mason jars bring a rustic feel to the room.

Classic

A classic nursery generally uses creme/white/off-white, pastel colours, or even subtle wallpapers (nothing bold). Picture frames and furniture in a room like this are generally white. There isn’t necessarily anything that is meant to stand out in a classic nursery. A classic nursery is more of a calm, serene space with fewer distractions. A nice addition to a classic would be some delicate curtains. The purpose of a classic room is to feel more minimalist. While you could add a gallery wall, I think less is more in this room. A few framed images in a line or a square should be all you need to keep this look elegant. Attach a crib skirt to complete the look.

Modern

A modern nursery has a lot of similarities to the classic nursery but is less rigid in its rules. You can have walls that have a bit more colour to them, and you can have some statement pieces. Modern nurseries still tend to have a lot of white in them but will have pops of vibrancy here or there, without fear of distracting from anything. You could have a funky rug or modern art to decorate. No toys are out of the question in a modern room, I personally am a fan of the ones Ikea sells based on children’s drawings. The wonderful thing about a modern room is that there’s really no wrong way to do it.

modern nursery

My sister decorated her daughters room with some high contrast accents. The navy curtains, black/brown table and black chair with the rainbow pattern are bold, yet don’t clash with anything in the room. Decorating the wall with cover art from the comic Fables (really good series, by the way; you should absolutely read it) gives the room a geeky touch to add personality to the room. The focal point of the room lands on the play mat, to accentuate that this is indeed a child’s room.

Licensed Media (ie. Disney/Pixar/Nintendo/Hello Kitty etc.)

Using licensed media content would probably be one of the easiest ways to style a room. You can find stuffed animals, furniture, posters, pictures, fanart, quotes, ideas for colour schemes… you name it. Basically, if you want to design your room after something that markets itself, you will have absolutely have no problem finding decorations for your walls, shelves, bedding, night lights, whatever else. if you need help picking a colour scheme, try and find an image that uses colours that you like and plug it into this website, It will break down the main colours and set them as a palette.

What does your nursery look like? Does it adhere to a certain style or is it mismatched? Was it a style and you never knew until now? Let us know in the comments, or share your style tips with us.

The Benefits of Teaching Your Baby Sign Language

This week was pretty chaotic. Christmas had us fully booked for from Sunday to Wednesday. Thursday I got to see The Shape of Water with my bestie and her family. Needless to say, I am frantically typing this post on Friday to make sure I have it done for Saturday. Actually, The Shape of Water inspired this post. The main character uses sign language, and I actually understood some of it because I’ve taught Cog some. So, other than the rare occasion of me getting to flex my veeeeery basic sign language skills, signing has been wonderful for my relationship with Cog.

Sign Language, for us, has been pretty rad because we can know what’s bugging her for the most part. Understanding results in fewer tantrums. Toddlers have a lot of tantrums, and a lot of them are caused by trying to communicate something but not being understood. Sign language helps break that barrier a little bit, not flawlessly of course and there is a learning curve, but it still helps.

sign language, asl, gestures, language, baby, toddler, parenting, communication

How to Learn Sign Language

Memrise (language learning app)

I tried out Memrise for a while, it is one of the few language learning apps that actually offer sign language. It was handy in learning a lot of words, many of the words in the beginner tier were not necessarily helpful words for teaching a baby; that being said, it is meant for learning sign language in general, not sign language specifically for babies. One of the pros of this app is that it uses gifs rather than still images. Users can submit suggestions that help them remember the words/signs.

Youtube Videos

Often I found myself wanting to know the sign for something, but many image-based sign language dictionaries were a bit hard to understand. Fortunately, there are plenty of YouTuber’s that will have quick videos that show you some signs. I know with youtube they say “never read the comments”, but in this case, it can be helpful. Some of the YouTuber’s are people who are just learning sign language, and want to share what they’ve learned, and some of the commenters are people who are more experienced and correct or give suggestions that make things more useful. (ie. The sign for help is a thumbs up with one hand on top of a flat palm moved in an upwards direction. A commenter might add that moving the thumb in the direction of who needs the help can clarify things.)

Google

Google is always your friend. If you want to know basically any sign you’ll find something for it on Google. Switching to images help, and sometimes there are gifs. It can lead you to various sign language dictionaries, which I’m not going to list because I feel like some work better depending on who you are.

BabySignLanguage.com

This website offers paid services (Which I’ve never used, I’m just going to make that clear) BUT, it also offers free stuff on their website.  They also have a handful of printable flashcards that you’d have a hard time not seeing on every square inch of the internet when searching up sign language.

Cons of Sign Language With a Child

More!

The first sign my daughter took to was “More”. It’s apparently a pretty common first sign with children. The pro of this being the first one is that… well… you know they want SOMETHING. The downside is that they start using more for any time they want something, even if it’s not necessarily anything they were having in the first place. More could mean more food, more milk, more boob, more play, more funny faces. Just… MORE. Or to a baby? I want that thing that I want. For us, it eventually evolved past that once she learned other signs to specify what it was that she wanted.

Word Avoidance

Sometimes my husband and I found ourselves wondering if Cog was avoiding learning to say the words because she knew another way to communicate what she wanted to get across. For example, she often signs please instead of saying it, even though she knows how to. There are studies though, that suggest that babies that use gestures or sign develop language and cognitive abilities faster than their non-signing counterparts.

Always Being Asked, “What’s the sign for ______”

This is might just be a quirk in my household. So many times Gear is talking to Cog and trying to get something across and he whirls around to me and asks “What’s the sign for ________?”. Most of the time my response is something like “Why on EARTH would I know the sign for that?”, but I’ll admit, a lot of the time it gets me curious and I learn more because of it.

Pros of Sign Language with a Child

Understanding

If you teach your child the signs for some emotions or moods, it can help them express their feelings to you. So if they seem upset you can ask if they are grumpy, tired or frustrated. If they are silly, you can ask if they are having fun, or are happy. This help’s them become more in tune with their emotions as they now have a name to put to the feeling.

Communication

My daughter has recently been signing change when she wants a different song on, or us to change what she’s watching on Netflix or Youtube. It’s been awesome! instead of throwing a tantrum (ok, she still does sometimes) when it’s something she doesn’t like, she mostly just asks us to change it. She’s able to let us know when she wants food, milk or water. She can tell me when she wants music. It clarifies a lot of things that a small child might have a hard time communicating.

All in all sign language has been fantastic for my family. It helps my daughter be able to communicate her feelings and needs. She gets so excited when we know what she’s saying. For a little kid, all they want is their parents to understand them. And while all parents have a good idea of their child’s needs even without sign language, using it definitely helps clear things up.

What are your thoughts and experiences on using sign language with children? Let us know in the comments!

4 Cool Ways To Make a Memory Log For Your Child

When you are a parent, time is fleeting. In an instant, everything has changed and you wonder where the time has gone. When your kids grow up, what will they think of you? How will your relationship be? Though there is no guarantee about how your relationship will be, you can make sure they know how you’ve felt about them every step of the way. This past while I’ve been able to bond with my sister about parenthood. It’s really been a treasure to have someone to talk to about it. On one of our walks, she told me about something she’s been doing for her daughter. Now, I’ve had a similar idea, but hadn’t actually gotten around to it until talking with her. She created an email for her baby. Every once in awhile, when the mood strikes or a silly moment happens, she emails it to her. Things that maybe my sister won’t remember in 10, 15, 20 years. It’s a very special sort of memory log. The beautiful thing about this idea is that there are countless ways you could do it.

Recently, my friend gave me a beautiful leatherbound journal. I am the type to get intimidated by beautiful things, not wanting to ruin them. I had no idea what I could use it for. My friend suggested I use it for story ideas or cute things that Cog does, and while writing down cute things that Cog does was a neat idea I was still intimidated. I held off. My sister helped me gather the courage to write in it. If it’s full of memories, it doesn’t matter if my writing is ugly, or I don’t think it’s flawless; it will be a cherished treasure for my child. It will be important to her. I’m the type who isn’t really great at anything. I am good at a lot of things, though; I’m good at writing, I’m good at poetry, I’m good at art. These are things that I love. These are things won’t mean anything to the world, but they can mean something to my daughter. I can give her the gift of seeing how I see her, and I can show her with my writing, my poetry and my art.

Memory log journal email e-mail diary
Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

The relationship experienced between a parent to their child is vastly different than the relationship experienced from the child to their parent. Both loves are very strong, but I know I’d never experienced a love like this until I had Cog. It makes me view my mom in a whole new light. But who’s to say if your kid will have kids of their own, if they don’t, they might not ever know just how you experience your love for them. Making a memory log could let your child see how you’ve seen them their whole life, as they’ve grown.

In any case, there are various ways that you can do this!

Email Account

You can start an email memory log just like my sister did! One of the bonuses of this is you can reserve an email with their name so that they don’t have to have NameLastname27658@email.com. You can organize it by folders, and by years. If you go this route, be sure to check it regularly for spam, and to make sure it isn’t hacked. After all, it would be awful to present this to your grown-up child with a whole bunch of ads for penis enlargements. Try your best to keep it organized. Also, after digging around the net to see other people who are doing this, over at Rookie Moms they wrote a post on why it’s better to wait until they are older. Another bonus of going this route is that other people can join in too; grandparents, aunts and uncles can send memorable moments to your child too. Ramp up the awesome by attaching photos relevant to your emails.

Journal

This way is a bit more traditional, I suppose. Definitely a good way to use beautiful journals you’ve been hanging on to. I’m using my journal memory log for poetry, art, and stories about my daughter and the way she makes me feel, or the sweet things she does. There’s something to be said for a memento that you can hold in your hands. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s like how many would rather read books than e-readers. Perhaps it’s the romantic idea of my daughter sitting in an alcove with the rain pattering against the window while reading a custom, handwritten book just for her that appeals to me. In a journal you can add in printed out photos, pressed leaves or flowers, or other small glimpses into a moment past.

Cards

Another neat way to make a memory log is by using cards. My husband actually did something similar to this when we celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Buy (or make) cards for every holiday or special event. Write sweet notes about what happened that day, and what was wonderful about it. Then place each card in an envelope with the date and the event (if an event happens, if it’s a ‘just because’ one, simply use a blank card). When my husband did this for me, it wasn’t done like it will be for anyone making this for their kids, he did this in the weeks approaching our anniversary. He had actually drawn a picture on every envelope to say which event it was about.

Jumble Jar

This way gets to be a bit more of a surprise. In a jar or box, write on cue cards or paper the memories you want to share. When you eventually gift this to your child, it won’t be in any particular order, and that will be the fun of it. They could be pulling something out that’s about them going through puberty, or they could pull something out that’s about the first time they used a potty. Life is like a box of chocolates when you make your memory log a jumble jar.

Are you making a memory log for your kids? How are you doing it? Or do you have grown up kids and have done something like this before? How did it go? Let us know in the comments!

Parenting Related Injuries and How To Prevent and Care For Them

My little Cog has been growing up so fast. She still enjoys cuddles as much as she always has though. The downside, however, is that the bigger she gets, the more strain it puts on my body to carry her around or pick her up. I adore cuddling Cog; but lately, I’ve been feeling really really sore! My back, my shoulders, my hips… they have been stiff and achy. Parent-related injuries are actually really common. Constantly lifting your kid, bending over to chase them, cleaning toys off the floor… It eventually takes it’s toll, just like any other Repetitive Stress Injury.

RSI, PRI, Parenting Injury, Parent Related Injury, Chronic Pain, Care

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a physiotherapist, a chiropractor or any other professional on the human body. This is just based on my experience and personal research. If you have any concerns about pain, consult your doctor.

What Kind of Injuries Am I At Risk For

Wrist injuries (‘Mothers wrist’ is the most common)
Hip Problems
Back Problems (from stiffness, to totally thrown out)
Neck Pain
Shoulder Pain

What Can I Do To Help Current Pain

Doing stretches on the sore muscles or joints is a great start. I like to do stretches with my shoulders, hips and back because I find those spots carry the most strain. Keep your stretches low impact. Trying out some yoga poses, or physiotherapy exercises. Make sure to exercise your core muscles, a strong core goes a long way in keeping the rest of your body safe from injury.

I generally stick to easy poses like the cat, warrior, triangle, and child poses. As for stretches doing arm circles, neck rolls, and the cross-body arm stretch. I find it’s much easier to pick from poses and stretches that you are familiar with, because you are more likely to keep up your routine that way.

What Is Harmful and What Can I Do To Prevent Long-Term Pain

Proper posture and lifting techniques are key.

Carrying your car seat can cause back and shoulder pain, and affect your posture. There are a slew of tips to help with that. A common tip is to hold the car seat in front of you with both arms, near your core. Half the time we’re carrying diaper bags or shopping bags at the same time though, so that might not be very practical. Another way to carry the car seat (A chiropractor came up with this one) Is to loop your arm around the handle and grab the side of the seat with your hand facing away from you.

Lifting your toddler by the armpits can cause wrist injury, especially if you are already at risk for it. Grabbing kiddo with Barbie doll hands (with your thumb and fingers creating an L.) is begging for trouble. You can, however, have your thumb relaxed and closer to your fingers to reduce stress. The recommended way to pick up your toddler is under the bum and supporting their back, bringing them close to your body before lifting. Keep in mind, bending down to pick up kiddo is bad for your back as well, so crouching is ideal.

Cracking your back is really bad. Do NOT crack your back or neck. I was cracking my back whenever it got stiff, you know, every once in awhile. Then, every day. And then it progressed to multiple times a day. It feels good in the moment after relieving the pressure, but I did some research and it can cause long-term damage. It can in some worst case scenarios cause a slipped disk or even stroke.

Nursing your baby hurting your wrists? Wrist injuries are common because many mothers support their baby’s head with their wrist at an angle. You can keep your wrist in its natural position, recline and let baby rest on you that way, or you could let baby rest in the crook of your elbow with support from a nursing pillow.

Obviously taking care of your child is your number one concern, but don’t forget to take care of yourself. After all, when your little kid is not so little anymore, they will want you to be in good health so you can enjoy growing with them.

Rescources:
http://www.bttoronto.ca/videos/three-hacks-to-minimize-new-parent-injuries/
http://newlifept.com/repetitive-use-injuries-common-with-new-parents/
http://www.parents.com/parenting/moms/healthy-mom/new-mom-injuries/

Why Mom-Shaming Should Just Die Already

So this week Cog and I went on our first ever play-date. Maybe it’s weird that it’s our first one since she’s a year-and-a-half old, but whatever. While the other mom and I were chatting she kept saying things like “I know it’s bad, but…” and “I know I probably shouldn’t…”. This is something that I do as well, and you know why? Mom-shaming.

So many moms, and not just moms, really, other people too are critical. They judge every mistake, every tiny detail. When you are a mom people place you under a microscope. This doesn’t happen so much with dads because in this patriarchal world, dads sadly aren’t held up to the same standards as moms. Dads are held up to more human standards, and moms are held up to incredibly impossible standards. Thus mom-shaming.

Moms feel the need to apologize for being who they are, and raising their kid in a way that works for them. It’s not fair. It throws our self-worth in the toilet and causes many moms to have anxiety about their parenting.

Things I’ve been criticized for:

Not letting my daughter have sweets
Not feeding my daughter healthy enough
Nursing too long
Wanting to quit nursing too early
Being too watchful
Not being watchful enough
Not being able to take sexist jokes directed at my daughter
Spending any time away from her
Spending too much time with her
Buying her too many books
Dressing her in boys clothes
Dressing her in a sweater dress
Letting her eat food off of our (clean) floor
Not letting her eat food off of a public floor (“It’ll build her immune system”)

Honestly, it seems like anything that a mom does is open to criticism. I’ve heard people mutter about me under their breath “I wouldn’t let my child…”. In my humble opinion, people who do this can shove it where the sun don’t shine. Being a parent is really hard, made only harder by the fact that everyone has an opinion on how you do it. I mean, obviously, it’s fine to comment and act when there is neglect or where a child’s welfare is concerned, but judging every single decision a mom makes? What you say about others says a lot more about yourself than it does about them. 

In addition to everybody having their own parenting methods, there are other factors at play. Not everyone is on the same level. Some of us are battling mental illnesses, others of us don’t have support, or we aren’t doing well financially, or some of us have strong-willed children. Before you judge someone, you must walk a mile in their shoes. If you can’t do that then you have no right to be mom-shaming them (not that you’d have any right to begin with).

Nobody is perfect. N O B O D Y .

What happened to the days of ‘It takes a village’? When did people decide that the only right way is their way? Is the only way we can feel good as parents by saying other people are bad ones? Shouldn’t mums be understanding of each other’s plight? Don’t you think we should be lifting each other up rather than shoving each other down? What are your thoughts?

 

Other posts you might like:

5 Reasons That Harnesses for Kids are Awesome
Now Hiring: Parents
5 Times Movies Got Life as a Parent Just Right

How to Keep Your Kids Safe This Halloween

So, Halloween is pretty much my favourite holiday. I just love baking tons of treats and sharing them with my friends. It’s a time for dressing up, having fun, and gorging out on delicious, delicious sugary treats. Honestly, I don’t understand when people don’t love it, it’s great! However, there are things to be cautious of, as with any holiday. Like, no matter how much I love Halloween I still tell people to be careful because you can’t trust that everyone else will be in the same good spirit.

Halloween Safety Tips, Keeping Your Kids safe this halloween, how to keep kids safe for halloween

This post may contain affiliate links.

Every year I urge people to keep their pets inside. Fireworks can scare your pets, and potentially make them run away. And truth be told I’ve heard some pretty horrific stories about people harming animals as a ‘prank’, some leading to animal death. So it’s always a good idea to keep your fuzzy friends indoors for the night.

Another thing I like to remind people of is to be considerate of anybody in their neighbourhood that has PTSD. Since fireworks can often sound like guns, it can be triggering for Veterans or survivors of shooting. If you are dead-set on using fireworks, it’s a good idea to let those neighbours know that you plan to, and maybe offer them some earplugs as a gesture of good-will.

But I digress. Getting back to the point of this post: Halloween is pretty much the best adventure a kid can have, and as long as they keep safe and follow these guidelines, they are sure to have a fantastic time!

Reflective/Light-Up Gear

Now that it’s autumn and it gets darker a bit earlier, it’s a good idea to have your kids wear something to help them be visible in the dark. This is especially important in areas that might not have that many streetlamps, or if your child’s costume is dark. Drivers are generally a bit more cautious around Halloween because they know kids could jaywalk, but not everyone is a safe driver. Having your child be visible on the road will help keep them safe. Reflective tape works, or if you have an old dog collar that is reflective, they could use it as an armband. You can also buy LED armbands or key-chains that can flash or give solid light. I’ve seen some people use flashlights too (but let’s be real, their hands will be full, hahaha)

Check Halloween Candy

Although almost every rumor of pins, needles and poisoned candy is a hoax, there have been a small handful that have been true. In fact, most of these have been committed by family members. But, why chance something that doesn’t take very long to check? You never know if one year someone is going to take those stories as a malicious inspiration. Once they are done trick or treating, get them to dump their haul on the floor; inspect the seams of the candy, or see if the packaging looks deflated. If there are no holes, cuts or other things that raise alarm, the candy is safe! Anything else should be tossed, at the very least if it’s not tampered with it’s probably stale. If you’re extra paranoid, you can always make sure to break candy bars in half before they are eaten, to be positive there isn’t anything inside.

Discuss Halloween Hazards

Though Halloween is awesome, a lot of people take this fun holiday a little too far. So it’s important to talk to your kids about Halloween hazards. I know generally trick-or-treaters are out early, but that doesn’t mean that people haven’t been getting their drink on early. Make sure your kids are wary of drunk drivers. Fireworks can also happen early if it’s dark enough. If they see someone operating fireworks they should be sure to keep their distance. One of my friends once had debris hit her eye from across the yard! Talk to them about what they should do if they see something dangerous. Maybe someone is playing with fireworks and now there’s a small fire, or maybe some jerks are hurting a cat (happens all

Talk to them about what they should do if they see something dangerous. Maybe someone was playing with fireworks and now there’s a small fire, or maybe some jerks are hurting a cat (happens all too often on Halloween). Let them know to keep their distance from dangers, but to find an adult to help (Just knock on any door with a light! Everyone is ready to answer!) or if they have a phone, to call 911.

Go Over Basic Road Safety

This might seem like a no-brainer, especially if your kids already know the drill. The thing is though, Halloween is so exciting for kids that they forget the rules sometimes. Remind your kids never to jaywalk and encourage them to make eye contact with drivers before crossing the street. If they have dark clothes but have visibility gear on them, they should make sure it’s visible while crossing the road.

Keep in Groups

If you won’t be trick-or-treating with your child you should make sure they are in groups. If they stay in groups they will be less likely to get lost if they too get eager about exploring different neighbourhoods for candy. It will ensure that if someone gets hurt, that they have people with them to help out.

 

Do you have any tips for keeping things safe on Halloween? Please share them with us in the comments, and remember to have a safe, fun, and Happy Halloween!

Is My Halloween Costume Racist?

Over the years, more and more people have been realizing that it’s not okay to dress up as a stereotype. But somehow, costume stores still carry racist costumes. It seems that the lines can be a little blurred at times. This is generally a white people thing, but other races aren’t immune to acts of racism.

I feel I should preface this by stating that I am a white woman. I am not the voice for all cultures, but I will use my privilege as a platform to do my best to help. People seem to think that people of other backgrounds are being overly sensitive, without considering why it bothers them so much. Hint: When you deal with microaggressions and dog-whistle racism on a daily basis, you get kind of fed up (not to mention hate crimes).

So, here we go, let’s tackle this thing.

is my halloween costume racist, racism, costumes, outfits, prejudice, bias

Race Costumes

Generally, nowadays most people know that it’s not kosher to dress up in blackface/brownface/yellowface/redface. But I’m still gonna say right now, for those of you who might not know it, don’t dress up as a disgusting generalization of a race. It’s disgusting that there is still an abundance of costumes that you find that are like “Mexican Guy” fully equipped with sombrero, poncho, taco, and moustache. If you don’t know why it’s wrong to dress like that I’m not sure if I can help you. I mean, I’ll try, but, not sure you’ll get it.

Question: Isn’t my costume funny?
Answer: No. It’s wrong. It’s not funny. People and their culture are not a joke. Someone’s heritage is not a joke. Try to imagine that someone took something very important to you, part of your identity, part of your family’s identity, part of your friend’s identity and shat on it. They make fun of it, they laugh at it, they’ve made something integral to your identity a joke. Suddenly it’s not funny anymore. It’s not a joke, it’s an attack.

Question: Isn’t it okay if I’m not actually racist? I love [race/country]!
Answer: You might not think you are racist, but the fact that you think that a costume representing a race is okay shows that you still have a-ways to go. Casual racism often goes unnoticed by ourselves because it is almost innate in our everyday interactions, and what we see in the media. So, though you might not perceive yourself to be bigoted, you undoubtedly have thoughts reinforced by society’s bigotry. (common examples include thinking: Chinese people are bad drivers, black people are thugs, all Indian people smell like curry… saying things like “I’m not racist, but…”)

Question: But what if I’m wearing my costume ironically? My costume is a racist idiot!
Answer: Is it really ironic? You are still buying a costume and giving your money to a company, telling them that it’s okay to keep manufacturing these awful costumes. People are not going to know just by looking at you that you are wearing it ironically. When a racist person sees you wearing a racist costume, it reinforces their opinion that other races are not on the same level as them. It tells them that it’s okay to think of other races as a joke, and it tells them they are not alone in their awful opinions. So even if you’re wearing it ‘ironically’ and you ‘don’t really mean it’, you’re still a part of the problem.

Cultural Influences

I have to admit that even I partook in this one before I ever knew what cultural appropriation was. I painted my face like a catrina (skull), wore a poncho, and one of those black hats with a ball fringe. It wasn’t to be offensive. I was wearing it because I was genuinely interested in Day of the Dead. Dia de Muertos is a cool thing. But the thing is, it’s not my cool thing to turn into a costume. It’s an important part of Mexican heritage. This article from Bustle lays out some pretty good outlines.

Characters

Characters are where the line starts to get a bit fuzzy. Especially when it comes to children in costumes. Dressing up as a character is generally fine, regardless of race, as long as the character isn’t wearing an outfit that crosses over into the other two sections I’ve listed. Like, if your white kid wants to dress up as Mulan, go for it, but don’t dress up as Mulan when she’s visiting the matchmaker/singing Reflection.

I feel conflicted on this sometimes, because I feel that for adults the standard should be a little bit different. It might be a bit more questionable for a white adult to dress as a character of colour. After all, in 2017 there was like, what? Maybe 5 movies with lead characters that were POC? How many movies starred white people? Pretty much all of them. I don’t see anything wrong with people of colour dressing up as white characters. However, I feel like, at some point, white people need to step back and let others have the characters that they relate to.

Do you have any other thoughts on this that I didn’t mention? Are there any stories of a time where you were insulted by a costume? Do you disagree with anything I’ve said? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Perspective on Parenting: Dealing With the Loss of Identity After Becoming a Parent

The other morning I was out for a walk with my mom. We were talking about life, struggles, and the like. I was telling her about how I feel that parenting is really humbling. You go into it with all of these preconceived notions about how things are going to be, and what kind of parent you are going to become. You think that things won’t be so hard, because you have a plan. But things don’t go according to plan.

All the beautiful blog posts you’ve saved to Pinterest from all the super-moms who seem to have their whole life together. It’s part of your plan. You will have a beautiful seamless life, you will be a super-parent just like all those bloggers. But you don’t and you aren’t. Because in your excitement and ambition of wanting to be a good parent, and raise the perfect kid, there’s something that you forgot about.
Yourself.
Sure, you know to some extent that your life is going to change. You know you’ll be very tired. But it’s so much more than that. The emotional toll of giving 100% 24/7 is immeasurable. You fall apart, you don’t feel like you have an identity anymore, you feel like you’ve lost yourself.

What’s worse is that there are so many people who want to judge how you parent. The shame posts you see on the parenting forums that condemn certain ways of parenting are seemingly never-ending. Judging people for using a harness, screen time, cry-it-out, or not having eyes on your kid at every waking moment. Taking a few minutes to look at your phone while your kid plays generates comments from passers-by. It feels like all eyes are on you, and holding you to their own standards of what you should be.

People forget when you are a mom (moms get this way more than dads (moms get this way more than dads) that you are a person of your own. People judge like you have no right to any time to yourself. They’ll judge a messy house, yet condemn you for cleaning while your kid is left to their own devices.

Eventually though, you are able to regain control; but you have to lower your expectations for yourself.  And it takes a while, but you need to parent like people aren’t watching. You’ve got to stop feeling ashamed of taking time for yourself. For me, it took some time before I began to think “You know what? Maybe I’m not a crummy mom for letting my kid watch a couple episodes of Paw Patrol while I take a moment to myself.”

I was so hung up on the idea that any screen time was going to ruin my daughter. But one day she was sick and had no energy. She needed to be entertained, but didn’t have the energy to play. Gear and I were sick too, and didn’t have the energy to entertain her either. So we watched Moana. And you know what? Her brain didn’t melt out of her ears. She didn’t want to stop going outside or stop playing. And I realized that I could use this to take some me time in the future.

The thing is, as a parent, you’ve got to look after yourself. It’s not shameful to ask for help sometimes. You aren’t weak for needing a break. You are good enough. And you know what? Your kid won’t be perfect, but they’ll be perfect to you, and you can bet your butt that as they grow, they will want you to be happy. Your kid would be mortified when they grow older if they found out that your life basically stopped when you had them. So for your sake, and your family’s sake, go on a date! Enjoy your hobbies! Get stuff done! I promise, things will look up.

Munchkin 360 Degree Training Cup Review

Ok guys, so, very seldom I come across a product that is so great that I could shout about it from the rooftops. But I have found one, and it is the Munchkin 360  Degree Training Cup. My daughter has been having an impossible time trying to transition to big kid cups from her sippy and straw cups. Every time she tries to bring it to her mouth, the bottom of the cup would be below her chin and whoosh, she’d be drenched. There have been countless outfit changes, countless towels soaking up spills, and countless occasions of a very frustrated toddler. So I started wondering if there was such a thing as a training cup. After a quick google search, I found that there are a few different ones on the market. I bought the Munchkin one because it looked easy to clean and easy to use.

sippy cup how to teach your baby toddler to use a cup

This post may contain affiliate links

One of the best things about this cup is the 360° function. I love that Cog can drink from all sides without any trouble. Basically, whenever her lips press down on one of the silicone edges it makes a small opening that allows the liquid to pass into her mouth. The design is dentist recommended too! Sippy cups seem to be getting some flack in the dentist community because of the spouts getting sugars get behind the teeth, but the spoutless design of this cup allows the fluid to flow into the mouth naturally.

I love that it is virtually spill proof. I say ‘virtually’ because let’s face it, with kids, where there’s a will, there’s a way. The only way Cog has been able to make it spill is either by throwing it on the floor or by pressing on the sides while holding it sideways or upside-down. But if she decides she’s done with her drink and lays it down on the floor, it won’t spill. If she knocks it over it won’t spill (unless dropped from a hight). And if she shakes it, it won’t spill. Honestly, this thing is teaching her how to behave with a cup without all the mess.

sippy cup how to teach your baby toddler to use a cup

This cup is super easy to clean. It has 3 pieces: the cup, and two pieces which make up the valve. It’s top rack dishwasher safe, and since none of the pieces are too tiny you don’t have to worry about them getting lost. What’s great is that after your kid has mastered the training cup, you can just take off the valve, and let it function as a regular cup.

You can buy it here on Amazon.ca or here on Amazon.com

Recipe Round-up: 6 Cheesy Recipes to Sneak in Veggies

hidden vegetables, hidden veggies, sneaky veggies, cheese, cheesy, recipes

Lately, I’ve been having a little bit of a problem. A veggie problem. Or to be more specific a little-monkey-that-refuses-to-eat-her-veggies problem. It drives me absolutely bonkers when I try to cook a well-balanced meal and she tosses it all on the floor. If she so much as sees a vegetable in her meal, she won’t even give it a test bite. It’s already black-listed as far as she’s concerned. Sometimes if Cog doesn’t notice the vegetable right away, and it does actually manage to make it in her mouth, she separates whatever else is in her mouth and spits out only the vegetable.

That being said, this problem is not with my daughter alone. Both Gear and I also need to sneak veggies in for ourselves from time to time. Usually, we just toss some kale or spinach into a smoothie. But as far as meals go, we are big lovers of comfort food. Big hearty meals loaded with flavour, and well, not that many vegetables to be quite honest. I’m a big fan of meals where you hardly notice that there are any vegetables at all. If we can’t taste them, it’s so much easier to eat them. And, if I’m being perfectly frank, it’s nice to have the veggies in a meal rather than having green smoothies all the time.

You can only blend cauliflower into mashed potatoes so many times before it gets boring, so here’s a few recipes that I’ve found leave you wanting more.

Creamy Avocado Spinach Pasta – Jo Cooks

I’m a big pasta-head, I can hardly get enough of it. This recipe takes things to the next level. It’s is so smooth and creamy. And the parmesan in the sauce? MUAH! beautiful! The recipe calls for spaghetti or fettuccini, but I think that if you wanted to make it a veg loaded recipe, you could even make zucchini noodles for it!

Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet – Primavera Kitchen

Every time I make this I’m so happy with how easy and tasty it is! I especially love that it only uses one pan. My husband loves it, I love it, and most importantly my picky toddler gobbles it all up. Now, the veggies might not be super concealed in this recipe, but when it’s all mixed up and stuck together with ooey-gooey mozzarella, who could say no?

Cheezy Zucchini Tots – Lil’ Luna

These tiny tots positively BURST with flavour. My mom had cooked these a little while back, and I begged her to send me the recipe. I’ve got to say, these are the tastiest dang tots I’ve ever eaten in my life (yes, that includes ‘tater tots). You can have these as a delightful little snack, or a great side to have with breakfast, brunch or brinner.

Cauliflower Cheddar Fritters – Gimme Delicious

 This is yummy with a capital Y-U-M. Gear took one bite, looked at me and said “You have to make these again!”. When I made these I didn’t properly get all the water out of the cauliflower so they fell apart a little bit, but they still tasted just as awesome. Be sure to blot the oil off of them after to keep it light!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese – Little Miss Kate

This recipe comes from a fellow Canadian (and mom) blogger! So first off, mac n’ cheese? Yum. Butternut Squash? Double yum. Put ’em together and you’ve got a tasty dream come true that your little one won’t think twice about.

Crockpot Creamy Taco Chicken Chili – Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Tacos are pretty much the best thing ever, but when you make taco chili? I’m pretty sure that’s the best thing ever. This recipe is loaded with good-for-you ingredients but doesn’t taste like it. No kid will question it.

 

Have any favourite hidden veggie recipes? share it with us in the comments!