These Are Crazy Times – Mommy Blogger

Elyse Lalonde has always called Saskatoon home. She started on the motherhood journey in the Summer of 2015 when she had her son. Elyse is a working mom, always seeking a fine balance in life with a busy toddler. As a MommyConnections “alumnus,” she enjoys socializing with moms and babies her son’s age. Elyse has always enjoyed writing and journaling, and hopes to share her experiences (good, bad, and sarcastic) with the online parenting community in Saskatoon.

The stress and anxiety in our communities, on social media, and at the dinner table are palpable.

This time last week, the COVID-19 virus was just talk and conversation amongst friends and family. And in such a short amount of time, our world has shut down. Just like that.

We are adaptable beings. We’re parents, after all. We know that some days are just done on the fly, while some days are carefully crafted, orchestrated and executed with precision (parenting wins! Few and far between…) But mostly we know that routines and days can be derailed at any given moment with a hangry preschooler, a major diaper blow-out, an unexpected tantrum (in essence, all tantrums), a sick kid, a cancelled play date, etc. We have to be flexible because we’re parents. We know how fast things can change.

I like the word resiliency. Anytime I hear it, I instantly picture Martin Prince from The Simpsons, who in one episode explains to his friends that “individually, we are weak like a single twig….” We are easily broken on our own when pressure is applied to us.

But when we are surrounded by other twigs? We form a mighty bundle! Not easily bent or broken.

Resiliency is our ability to bend without breaking. And we can’t be fully resilient alone.

I for one know it is tough to have a routine and lifestyle disturbed. It feels like the rug has been swept from underneath me, and I am now responsible for creating a daily routine out of the opposite situation I normally find myself in: staying in the house, not venturing far, not visiting with anyone face to face besides our own family. But we have been called to make lemonade from lemons. And those creative juices are flowing… Thank goodness for the Internet!

Just remember, mama, through this whole scary situation– You are enough. Our kids might be used to all sorts of activities and routines, and you might feel like the days inside will be long and difficult. Let’s remember to be gentle on ourselves, our kids, our spouses. We will get through this difficult time as a community, and come out stronger on the other end.

Take heart in the simplicity of our new situation. There is no place to be at any designated time. There is no need to rush your kids into their clothes for the day. Let’s make memories, instead of worrying about the current state of the world. We owe that to our kids, and to ourselves.

PS – I want to commend our local community businesses for thinking outside the box to maintain engagement during these difficult times. Organizations that are still running classes and programs, and reaching people at home, via technology– Thank you! Your continued engagement with those of us at home is a beacon of light through a dark tunnel.

 

Hello! My name is Keira, and I am a new mom to a beautiful baby girl.  Motherhood is as everyone says – the most amazing thing.  It is also the hardest, loneliest and most exhausting thing.  I’m here to share both sides of motherhood with you.  I hope you enjoy.

To my friends who became mothers before me,

I get it now.

I’m sorry if I didn’t give you enough of what you needed in those newborn days.  If I only came to visit once, and didn’t think to bring you food, or a coffee – or both.  I should have asked you if there was anything ELSE you needed picked up before I stopped by: your groceries?  Sure, no problem.  A second pacifier for baby?  You got it.  A bag of adult diapers?  I got you, girl.

If you have older kids, I should have taken them to play and burn off some energy.  Or kept them and baby entertained so that you could take a shower (I had no idea how sacred those 5 minutes alone in the shower could be – until I had a baby).

I should have asked you how you were really feeling, because I know now how hard it is.  Everything is so foreign to you, including your own body.  Everyone knows that having a baby is life changing, but you really don’t understand it completely until you’re in the trenches.  I’m sorry that I didn’t know how intensely exhausting trying to feed a baby is.  Whether you’re breastfeeding, exclusively pumping, bottle feeding, or a combination of it all – it’s all so damn  hard.  The feelings of guilt can be so thick that I should have been able to feel it; and if I didn’t, I’m sorry.

To my friends who are now back to work after maternity leave, I feel for you.  I still have eight months before my time is up, and the thought of leaving my baby sends my anxiety through the roof.  You are so strong, and if you ever feel as though you aren’t – I’m here for you.

Most importantly, I wish I would have told you a million times what a warrior you are.  You’ve given your all to a new human being – you now wear your heart on the outside.  Everything you do now is for that little one and for that, you are AMAZING.

 

Our rice sensory bin can be a bit messy but we set it up and just have a broom handy. To make this bin we got a bag of rice and wanted to dye it so it was more visible. IMG_0377To colour the rice you need food colouring and rubbing alcohol. You can do small batches to make rainbow coloured rice (ex: a bag of red, a bag of green, etc.) – to save time we just did 1 solid colour.

We used rubbing alcohol because the rice won’t absorb it like water. If we were to use water and dye the rice would absorb that water as well as the dye making the rice wet. By using rubbing alcohol the rice only picked up the dye, leaving the rice dry and perfect for a sensory bin.

We added the bag of rice to the dye

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And then we let it sit for 2 hours (the longer you let it sit, the more dye it will absorb – so for a lighter colour you won’t let it sit for as long (about an hour) and for a deeper colour you would let it sit for 4+ hours. IMG_0386

Once the rice was the colour we wanted it, we drained out the rubbing alcohol and laid the rice out to dryIMG_0387Once the rice was dry (a couple hours) we added it to the bin

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We had enough rice so there was about 2 inches of rice along the bottom of the bin

We then added some different toys that my daughters can play with in the rice, along with a little shovel and strainer

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Macaroni sensory bin

Schools and daycare are closed and I’m sure you’re looking for ways to keep your child entertained. We love our sensory bin and change out the contents every couple days to keep things fun and interesting. This is also great for moms with a new baby and an older child – keeping your busy older child preoccupied while you feed baby.

I like the macaroni because it’s big enough that it’s not a pain to clean up but also small enough that my daughters uses their fine motor skills to pick up the macaroni. We wanted to dye the macaroni to add some colour and make it more visible – but this isn’t necessary – you can use regular pasta. To colour the macaroni we placed it into a pan.

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We poured a mixture of food colouring and rubbing alcohol over the macaroni

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We used rubbing alcohol because the macaroni won’t absorb it like water. If we were to use water and dye the macaroni would absorb that water as well as the dye making the macaroni wet and soft. By using rubbing alcohol the macaroni only picked up the dye, leaving the macaroni dry and perfect for a sensory bin.

And then we let it sit for 2 hours (the longer you let it sit, the more dye it will absorb – so for a lighter colour you won’t let it sit for as long (about an hour) and for a deeper colour you would let it sit for 4+ hours.

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Once the macaroni was the colour we wanted it, we drained out the rubbing alcohol and laid the macaroni out to dry

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Once the macaroni was dry (a couple hours) we added it to the bin

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We had enough macaroni so there was about 4 inches of macaroni along the bottom of the bin

We then added some different toys (construction themed) that my daughters can play with in the macaroni, along with a little shovel

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My daughters love this sensory bin. They like to fill the dump truck up with the macaroni and drive it over to unload it.

Elyse Lalonde has always called Saskatoon home. She started on the motherhood journey in the Summer of 2015 when she had her son. Elyse is a working mom, always seeking a fine balance in life with a busy toddler. As a MommyConnections “alumnus,” she enjoys socializing with moms and babies her son’s age. Elyse has always enjoyed writing and journaling, and hopes to share her experiences (good, bad, and sarcastic) with the online parenting community in Saskatoon.

We try to diversify our screen time shows, and when we’re not watching the mindless drivel of Paw Patrol or PJ Masks, we try to balance our time with some of the shows below. They’re not totally annoying, and they have an educational piece to boot! Note this is simply my opinion and there are more shows out there that could’ve very well made the list. But here it is, my fave 5 toddler and pre-school friendly TV or Netflix shows:

  1. Super Why – Whyatt and his storybook village friends take you into a book each and every episode to help solve a problem that one of the friends has encountered. The problem in the selected story mirrors the problem that the storybook friend is experiencing. At the end of each episode, they put two and two together and voila! Problem solved. I like this show because it breaks down letters and words in the story and asks the audience members for help solving the problem. The graphics aren’t the greatest, but the content of the show is still solid.

 

  1. Wild Kratts – Do you remember the Kratt brothers from “Zooboomafoo?” I was not a fan of the original show, but this show is sort of a re-vamp featuring the same energetic brother duo, only with more adventure! It’s part cartoon, part real life, where the brothers explore the natural world, and encounter villains and problems along the way, with a team of scientists and futuristic technology. Adventurous and informative! Also, you’ll be signing the theme song all day. You’re welcome.

 

  1. Octonauts – Similar to Wild Kratts, this British cartoon is set in the deep sea, with cute little characters (including a turnip!) who are both scientists and super-heroes monitoring the activity on the ocean floor. Each episode has the team solving a problem, rescuing an animal or two. “Creature Report!” is a summary at the end of each episode where they show the audience the real-life animal equivalent. Educational, fun, and cute!

 

  1. Magic School Bus (and the Magic School Bus Rides Again!) – This was a favorite of mine as a kid; curious elementary school students embark on new adventures with their school bus each episode! Their adventures take them on educational outings that are fun and exciting. I feel good letting my kid watch this one, new or old episodes. As for me, I’m always enamored by Miss Frizzle’s calm and quirky demeanor. That lady has a lot of energy….

 

  1. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Because the development of a child’s social skills are so important… there’s Daniel Tiger! My favorite feel-good show for my kid. This cute and relatable Tiger brings you along in his neighborhood, and encounters many types of social “problems” that your young child will be sure to experience, in one way or another. And he solves these problems in a fun and relatable way, which includes a little rhyme or song. For instance, “Try to solve the problem yourself, and you’ll feel Prou-ud!” or, “If you have to go potty, STOP! And go right away…. Flush and wash and be on your way!” We watched the episode where Daniel goes to get a vaccine, and his mom explained that yes, the shot will hurt a bit. But there are ways to distract yourself from the discomfort. My son applied this situation when he went for his flu shot this year. It worked like a charm! This show is inspired by the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and my favorite feel-good toddler show. Try it, and you will not be disappointed!

A big shout out also to Big Block Singsong, the 1-minute distraction between TV shows on CBC. You are awesome.

Elyse Lalonde has always called Saskatoon home. She started on the motherhood journey in the Summer of 2015 when she had her son. Elyse is a working mom, always seeking a fine balance in life with a busy toddler. As a MommyConnections “alumnus,” she enjoys socializing with moms and babies her son’s age. Elyse has always enjoyed writing and journaling, and hopes to share her experiences (good, bad, and sarcastic) with the online parenting community in Saskatoon.

It’s been said a million times before, but this gig is hard.

There are days I wish I was better at this whole parenting thing. There are days I feel I fail my kid. There are days I feel like the opposite of a Supermom.

Nope, I’m not always Supermom. Should I strive to be?

Who is this Supermom, anyway? All I envision is a woman running on a perpetual treadmill, with a continuously increasing incline, who’s speed only increases. It never decreases. It never ends. All the while, she has a smile on her face that looks like she is straining every last ounce of her being. Slowly but surely, the life is being sucked out of her.

Is she even real? Is that even possible to take on more and more and more while “perfectly” balancing your life, your house, your spouse, your child or children, your responsibilities, your commitments…. Your family, your work, all the while projecting perfection, and happiness, and positivity? Hells no.

I don’t know why Supermom is the standard. I don’t know who she is, or where she came from. I don’t know where she is going, either.

It’s not possible. It’s not the standard to reach for. Supermom, you can do better for yourself. You can do better!

Real balance in life and in parenting is possible. I know it exists because I’ve seen it. Because on good days, it’s palpable. And here are some situations that may come up, and ways to avoid the Supermom trap:

That, to me, is a Supermom. Someone who does what is needed. Someone who realizes that balance is not just about the kids—it’s about you, too. You are a part of the family, and you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes its in the little things. Sometimes it’s whatever you need to do to complete the day, or get to bedtime, or me-time.

Let’s re-define the Supermom.

 

It is hard to believe that it is already Thanksgiving! Where has the time gone! The leaves are changing and falling down – it is truly a beautiful time of the year. One of the things I love at this time of the year is harvesting the garden! Every year we have pumpkins and I’m always looking for things to do with them. One of my family’s new favorite Thanksgiving desserts is Pumpkin Cake- it’s a bit different then the usual Pumpkin Pie. I thought I would share this recipe with you to try with your family this Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Cake with Brown Butter Icing

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Brown Butter Icing

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ENJOY!

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I was fortunate to be given the chance to review Boiron Coryzalia. I have an 8 month old daughter and a 2.5 year old and we do our best to use natural remedies for both of them. See my review below

Boiron Coryzalia
Cold (1 month – 6 years)
Nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing

Boiron offers a full line of homeopathic medicines for children under 6. Coryzalia relieves cold symptoms such as nasal congestion, runny nose and acute rhinitis in children ages 1 month and up. Available in easy-to-administer drinkable unit-doses, Coryzalia is sugar-, dye-, and preservative-free.

Why choose Coryzalia?

Parents and children alike will appreciate the ready-to-use, sterile water–based unit-doses, which are faster and easier to administer than ever. No mixing, no measuring, no fuss! And because they’re a cinch to tote, they’re a must for your travel bag as well as your home medicine cabinet.

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This review was written by Jennie Vessey, Director of Mommy Connections Saskatoon and a mother of two.

Since having children my husband and I have become very aware of the products we use and we do our best to use  natural products with both our children. Health Canada has issued a warning to parents about some over the counter cold medications – they have found very few studies that prove over-the-counter or pharmaceutical-based cough and cold products work effectively on children under 6. However Coryzalia has been approved by Health Canada for children under 6 years of age.

I was excited to receive our samples of Boiron Coryzalia. Shortly after receiving our samples my then 3 month old came down with a cold. With her being so young I was very cautious about what I wanted to give her for her symptoms.She developed a very stuffy nose and started breathing out of her mouth which was very problematic when it was time for her to nurse. She would latch out for a couple second and then would unlatch to take a breathe and then re-latch – over and over again! She wasn’t able to nurse effectively which resulted in a not so happy baby.

I gave my daughter one of the pre-packaged doses of Coryzalia in an attempt to help clear her stuffed up nose. It was very quick and easy to administer the dose. I easily twisted the cap off and then did a couple squeezes of the remedy into my daughters mouth. She is a breastfed baby and therefore often spit out anything else but to my surprise she drank the liquid with no problems and did not attempt to spit it out. My husband who had watched my daughter struggle to nurse, and who had just recently introduced to homeopathy was very skeptical – he didn’t think a small package of clear liquid would do anything for our daughter.

To his surprise and my relief within about 15 minutes of taking the remedy by daughter was able to breath out of her nose again. She attempted to nurse again and was able to do so successfully without having to struggle for air through a stuffed up nose!

Like most colds this one lasted a couple days. We used the Coryzalia remedies a couple times a day for 2 days and then once on the last day. Each time it worked great and quickly to clear her nose. The individual doses were great for throwing into the diaper bag when we were on the go and I didn’t have to worry about bring along a measuring spoon or anything.

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We have used the Coryzalia remedy with my youngest twice now and my oldest once. All 3 times it worked great for both our children. I would and have recommended Coryzalia to other parents whose children have a cold and are suffering with the symptoms.

Pros

 

For More information about Coryzalia check out their website

Health Canada Concerns About Children’s Medication

 

I was fortunate to be given the chance to review both the Could b Tranquil Frog and the Alligator Twilight Buddies. I have an 8 month old who is not the best sleeper around and a 2.5 year old who is newly completely off her soother. I have been able to use both products for about a week and a half now.  See my review below

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Tranquil Frog

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Tranquil Frog is a multi-sensory plush night light, sound soother, and calming companion all in one. Based on pediatric sleep research, Tranquil Frog combines soothing sights and sounds to help your little one fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. With the touch of a button, Tranquil Frog projects a magical underwater light effect with a gentle wave motion and plays either white noise or a soft lullaby to help ease children to sleep. Turn any room into a peaceful oasis!

Features:

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This review was written by Jennie Vessey, Director of Mommy Connections Saskatoon and a mother of two.

When I heard I would be reviewing the two Cloud b products I was excited. Like many moms I’m always looking for things to help us with our bedtime routine that will help both my daughters get to sleep as quickly and painlessly as possible! My 8 month old daughter is still in our bedroom, we are in the process of transitioning her to  her crib in her own room but it hasn’t been going so well!

Once receiving the Tranquil Frog  we set it up in our room and turn it on during naps and bedtime. From the first time we turned it on Izzy was in love with the lights – she was completely mesmerized and calmed by them. One thing we are working on with her is putting her down to sleep awake so she gets used to falling asleep on her own – this wasn’t going too well! However, once we started using the Tranquil Frog this seemed to change – I was able to nurse her and lay her down awake, turn on the Tranquil Frog and leave her. She would lay and watch the lights on the ceiling and this really seemed to calm her down and help her relax and fall asleep.

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I also really like the white noise and music options – with a two year old in the house naps/bedtime can sometimes be interrupted by a not so quiet big sister. I found that by turning on the sound Izzy was able to stay asleep for longer and would not wake to the household sounds.

The Tranquil Frog is very easy to use – my 2.5 year old will sometimes set it up for Izzy at nap time. With the push of a button you can turn on the lights. The lights project a gentle wave motion on the ceiling and walls which is very calming – you can also turn the light so it does not move, but still gives the feeling of being under water. You can easily switch between the white noise and song and  I really like the adjustable volume.

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For us the Tranquil Frog worked very well with our daughter in helping her get to sleep and stay asleep – and like every mom knows the more sleep your little one can get the better!____________________________________________________________________________________________

Twilight Buddies – Alligator

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Twilight Buddies™ are ultra-cuddly friends that help ease children’s fear of the dark by projecting a starry night sky onto bedroom ceilings and walls. Hidden within the soothing starry projection are the moon and 3 constellations! Little ones find instant soothing companionship with the fun and cuddly animal collection that can travel with them wherever they go.

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This review was written by Jennie Vessey, Director of Mommy Connections Saskatoon and a mother of two.

I was excited to try out the Twilight Buddy – about a month ago we completely weaned our 2.5 year old from her soother, which she used a every nap and bedtime! Bedtime used to be fairly easy – we would do our routine and send her to bed with her soother and she would fall asleep fairly quickly and would stay in bed. Once we removed her soother she started getting up out of her bed multiple times, knocking at her door – sometimes for hours before she finally crashed. We were willing to try anything to help!

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The first night with her new Twilight Buddy we did our usual routine and then we turned on her Alligator Twilight Buddy. The Twilight Buddy has 3 different colours – either blue, green or orange – or you can have it alternate between all 3 colours. Addie’s favorite colour is orange so she asked for the stars to be orange. We then sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and I left the room. I was expecting to hear her knocking at her door within a few minutes, but to my surprise I didn’t – she stayed in bed, didn’t get up once and went to sleep quickly. I was completely amazed – it had been a month since we had such a smooth bedtime routine.  We continued to use the Twilight Buddy at bedtime and continued to get the same results.

The Twilight Buddy is very easy to use – a button to turn it on and off with and then a button for each of the 3 colours. I like how the stars will be projected for a long enough time that Addie is asleep by the time they turn off automatically – which is great as I don’t have to try and seek in and turn it off and risk waking her.

11870728_10207030316577218_3794947757039102074_nBoth Cloud b products worked very well with our children and help both of them to fall asleep quicker and easier on their own. Sleep is so important for our growing little ones and I know with our daughters you can always tell by their mood how well or not so well they slept the night before. I would definitely recommend these products to other parents.

For more information check out Cloud b’s website http://cloudb.com/Canada/ or Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cloud-b-Canada/365210723669378?fref=ts

 

I was fortunate to be given the chance to review the BRICA Push to Close Extending Metal Safety Gate. I have a newly on the move 8 month old daughter and a 2.5 year old. I have been able to use the gate for a couple days now.  See my review below

Munchkin BRICA Extending Metal Gate

The Extending Metal Safety Gate by Munchkin has no unsightly adjustment holes along the bars, and is equipped with a unique tilting spring mechanism to reduce stress on walls every time its used. The spring mechanism allows the gate to tilt open or close, which minimizes pressure applied on walls. Handy quick-release settings allow for quick and easy removal when needed, too. Safe for use anywhere in the home (especially in the stairway), this hardware-mounted baby gate stands 30.5″ tall and fits openings 27.5″-45″ wide.

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This review was written by Jennie Vessey, Director of Mommy Connections Saskatoon and a mother of two.

I was excited to receive the BRICA gate – with an 8 month old and 2.5 year old I have used a few different gates and I’m always looking for something that is easy to use. I found that this gate was fairly easy to assemble. I liked how easy it was to set to the width of our hallway and the fact that it doesn’t have the adjustment holes along the top and bottom of the gate. It took us about 1/2 hour to get the gate assembled and mounted. The instructions were just diagrams, not written instructions, which made some steps a bit more difficult to follow, but it wasn’t too complicated.

The gate can easily be opened with one hand, which as a mom is very important as we always seem to have our hands full! The handle is easy to use for adults, but not for children, which is great as I don’t have to worry about my daughter opening it. It is also easily closed – I can ask my 2.5 year old to close it and she is able to with no problems. Another added bonus is you can choose which way the gate opens – towards you or away from you.

The gate locks securely at both the top- and the bottom, making the gate very solid – which is very important with a not so gentle toddler who likes to stand on and pull things! Unlike some gates, the BRICA does not have a bar across the bottom, that could be a potential tripping hazard, which is very important if you are wanting to mount the gate at the top of the stairs.

Overall I really like the product! We felt confident that it would keep our girls safe, which is the most important thing. I highly recommend this product to ay family looking for a gate.

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Pros:
– Easy to use, secure locking mechanism
– Can swing both in and out
– The lack of adjustment holes makes the gate more aesthetically appealing
– No bar at the bottom as a potential tripping hazard
– Gate can be adjusted to fit a variety of different sized openings

Cons:
– Instructions were sometimes hard to follow without words, just diagrams

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Available online at Babies R Us

 

To enter to win this great gate Enter Here

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