1/16/17

September 2017 is the month we will officially have a house full of school-aged kids. No more babies in this family!


Miss M turned 4 at Christmas time, therefore she will be registered to go to school this coming September. Our registration begins this week, I have to get on filling out all of the many forms. 

I'm excited about her new journey into the real world but also scared even though I have two older kids in school already. She lives in a world of preschoolers right now, I know it may take her some adapting to the routine and ways of school days but I know she will be fine. It's letting go of my baby that's the hardest part I think. 

Then I remind myself I had these same exact feelings for my older two kids when they started school, even when my oldest was starting junior high school I had those feelings, too. Nervous for nothing because they did just fine. I'm sure she will do just fine, too.

Once she is registered, Miss M will be included in any school tours and special preparations before her big first day in September. I may be nervous on the inside, I'm keeping this a positive thing for everyone, especially her. She shows such enthusiasm about going to school with her brother. 

The best thing we can do for our kids when they are heading on a new journey of any kind is always be their biggest backer and always be their voice. It's a big world out there and they need big humans to help them navigate. They will tell us when they're ready to let go of our hands.

While we are excited about our youngest's kindergarten experience, we can enjoy the moments we have left when she's still "the baby".

Do you have a little one heading off to school for the first time? What are you doing to prepare them (and yourself.) Share your thoughts in the comments below!

1/11/17

For the past 10 years and some, our home has been filled with the sound of children's entertainment. Name a cartoon or children's musical entertainer and chances are we know exactly who you're talking about.

As the kids are getting older, their interests are changing. We still have Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol playing on TV with a four-year-old in the house, but there are many different shows my older kids enjoy when their little sister isn't occupying the living room screen with her preschooler fun. 

The older two kids tend to lean toward shows geared for their ages and beyond, with themes and jokes we can finally laugh at together. They're bigger than I thought! 

Sadly, there comes a day in a child's life when all good preschooler cartoons must come to an end. Although I wouldn't go as far as letting the kids watch mature shows like The Walking Dead or the OA, I am happy Netflix has such a wide variety of programming for all ages and stages. 

This month, Netflix brings even more great programming for all ages, here is a list of what you can find for your bigger (but not too big) kids! 

Tarzan and Jane. Saved from a plane crash and given supernatural powers, teen Tarzan joins forces with brave city girl Jane to protect his jungle home from threats. A Netflix original take on a classic adventure, season 1 streaming now!
Netflix_Tarzan

Dreamworks TrollHunters. After uncovering a mysterious amulet, an average teen assumes an unlikely destiny and sets out to save two worlds. Created by Guillermo del Toro. A new and exciting adventure for the whole family. Season 1 streaming now! 

Netflix_Trollhunters

Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events. The extraordinary Baudelaire orphans face trials, tribulations and the evil Count Olaf in their fateful quest to unlock long-held family secrets. The classic books are brought to life in this Netflix Original starting January 13th! If you are a fan, you will not want to miss this! 


Voltron: Legendary Defender In an all-new series, five unlikely heroes and their flying robot lions unite to form the megapowerful Voltron and defend the universe from evil.Season 2 of this space adventure is coming to Netflix January 20th.


Home: Adventures with Tip and Oh. A misfit alien named Oh moves in with Tip and her family, in a series that picks up the dynamic duo's adventures where the hit film left off. Season 2 of this exciting adventure comes to Netflix January 27th! 

No matter what your age or your interest, you'll find something exciting to watch on Netflix! How do you decide when your kids are ready for more complex entertainment?




*Posted in participation with the Netflix Canada StreamTeam. Perks and initiatives are provided as part of the program however comments and opinions on this blog are always my own.*


1/9/17

Winter break and the holiday season are officially over as the older kids head back to school this week. Little Miss M was saying her brother and sister were still sick, so they had to stay home (they weren't and they didn't). She always misses them when they go to school, even if they constantly argue when they are home. Funny how sibling love works sometimes. 


Things were more relaxed during winter break (we were also sick the majority of the time) but it didn't make it any less busy between Christmas celebrations and other obligations.

Although most of us feel like we need a vacation from this "vacation", we still find ourselves jumping right back in where we left off before the holidays or at least trying to. Oh how I wished I could have hit snooze just one more time. 

I have plans to clean up and rearrange the kids rooms (again) sometime this month. There is so much I didn't get around to doing before the holidays and it's almost impossible to do with a small house full of kids. 

It always takes a few days to catch up with the every day after a break so let's just take it one day at a time. We can get back to reality after a nice hot cup of coffee.

How has your 2017 been so far? Share in the comments below! 





1/4/17

When I was first pregnant back in 2004, I had little resources (and little clue) into the new parenting world I was about to enter. When we first brought our baby girl home, we had no idea how much our lives had just instantly changed in front of our very eyes. 

In 12 years and 3 kids later, we've learned a thing or two about parenting our kids. Although there are various books, websites and blogs (ahem.) - there is nothing that beats the real life experiences you will have that you never expected. These are the things they don't tell you about parenting! 


You will finally know what real love is. You thought you knew all about love but you did not. Yes, you love your partner but this is a whole new kind of love. The first time you hear your new baby cry, the first time you hold them live, you will know what love is from that moment on. The sleepless nights and frustrated times won't matter when that baby looks up at you and smiles for the first time. You will know love, no matter how big they get.

You will teach and you will learn. That motherly instinct isn't always instant. Babies don't come with a manual. Everything takes practice, being a new mom included. You will teach them and you will also learn from them. It's all part of the parenting gig.

You will hear your mothers voice. One day when you call out to your little precious kids you will hear it: your mothers voice. That familiar voice you knew growing up is now you whether you like it or not. (Btw I love my mom!)

Eating/Drinking will never be the same. You will most likely have to reheat your morning coffee or tea several times, if you're lucky enough to pour one before the kids get up. Dinner will be nuked in the microwave, unless you like it cold or eat your kids leftovers. Snacks don't exist, unless you want to share (by share I mean give it all to the kids) or hide away in the bathroom/closet/bedroom/cubby under the stairs and sneak yourself something sweet. Tip: wait until they are all fast asleep and dig into that ice cream mama!

Pinterest isn't always real. Those super neat and tidy living rooms with kids playing happily, perfect lunches, unwrinkled laundry, awesome crafts - forget it. Before you know it you're stepping on yesterday's dried up, whatever fell onto the floor, throwing last nights leftovers into a lunch bag and wondering when you will ever get the glitter out of your hair as you rewash the load you forgot in your machine from the day before. Seriously, life isn't always perfect and that's OK!

You will make mistakes. Your job is to learn by them. Your job is to not beat yourself up over them. Everybody makes mistakes, even the best put together looking parents.

You will have good days and bad days. That's OK! Some days I feel like an award winning mom-of-the-moment and others I wonder what I'm doing wrong. Those are the times we need to sit back and remember we are only humans trying our best to raise little humans.

Each stage is different in its own way. From babies to toddlers, Tweens to teens - every stage of your child's life is also a new chapter in your life as a parent. Embrace changes and enjoy the enjoyable moments.

Time goes by too quickly. Everybody says it and it's the truth. It's 2017 and my oldest daughter will be 13, my son is 8 and my youngest baby just turned 4. My parents are grandparents X3 and have changed so much over the years. Cherish the small moments and let go of the trivial things that don't really matter. Keep the negative moments out and let the positive ones flow in. In the end the good memories are all you need. One day you'll miss that yesterday's dried up, whatever fell onto the floor, leftover lunches and glitter in your hair.

All fun aside, being a mom of 3 isn't always easy (I wonder how you moms of many more do it on the daily, kudos to you!) but I wouldn't trade it in for anything.

What have you learned that they just didn't tell you about being a parent? Share in the comments below!



1/2/17

2017 is upon us and it has me thinking back over the years about all we've done, all we've been through and how we've all grown, not just in 2016 but as adults in general.




I compiled a list of 10 Memorable things I've done before I hit 35. I'll be turning 36 this summer, time waits for nobody.

1 - Met that one person I know I'd want to spend the rest of my life raising a family with. I grew up with divorced parents, it's not something I like to talk about and it's not something I wanted to mirror as an adult. We are a great team. We compromise and delegate. We have our ups and downs but who doesn't, especially raising kids. I know I wouldn't have those ups and downs with anybody else.

2 - Became a mother, three times. After three, we can say we are officially off the baby making market. I love our children, they make a great trio. We still have a lot of raising to do!

3 - Became best friends with my own Mom. Life hasn't always been easy and there were many times when I was growing up that my mother and I did not see eye to eye. Maybe it was because I was immature in areas she was wise or maybe it was because we are so much alike, maybe a mix of both. Either way I'm grateful for our adult mother daughter relationship.

4 - Found something I am passionate about. Writing. Even if it's "just on the blog", I'm writing. I have always had that spark but it took a while to light the flame.

5 - Learned to make peace with people and things that I cannot change. There have been bad experiences and bad people in my life over the years. Situations I could not control but situations I could decide if I wanted to continue on with or not. I took those as lessons learned. I still have a lot to learn.

6 - Travelled to overseas. Before children, my family (mom, brother etc) went on a trip to Holland. Sure, there is much more of Europe to see and I would love to go back one day but I'm proud I was able to have the opportunity to go when we did.

7 - Travelled alone. Even if it was just to Toronto and back or staying downtown for a conference, I did it and I did it solo. I came out of my shell without anybody having to hold my hand and it felt great.

8 - Purchased a vehicle. Although due to my hip disability I do not drive but hubby does. We bought our first family vehicle in 2015. It may not be a huge luxury to some but it beats the city bus or walking.

9 - Met a celebrity. I've met several celebrities, grateful for each experience. Gail Vaz Oxlade, Jordan Knight, Katy Perry, Craig and Marc Kielburger (WE Day), and a few others. The ones I named would probably be my most memorable ones.

10 - Grew in more ways than one. I have been through many ups and downs, all experiences which model who I am today. Not just as a mom but as a woman in general.

These are nothing "over the top" and my accomplishments may not seem like much to others but they are something I am very proud of. I'm looking forward to see what 2017 promises. 



1/1/17

Another year over, a new one just begun...


Happy New Year 2017, the world is grateful to wake up this morning and know the craziness of 2016 is officially OVER.

So, what will 2017 bring us? 

This year #AMEblog will be celebrating EIGHT years online! Two years short of a decade, can we get a "WOW"? Thank you for being such amazing fans all this time!

For 2017 on the blog I would like to sit down and write more. Not just reviews but more conversation pieces, things that will get you talking, in a good way. The kids may not be babies anymore but there are still plenty of Motherhood Experiences to have, plenty of stories to tell! I may even give this place a professional facelift, we will see what happens over the next few months! 

Do I have any personal resolutions? Perhaps, have more patience. I tend to get frustrated or annoyed easily these days. Sometimes over the littlest things. That could also have to do with the holiday season just passing. That's always one of the most stressful times of year for us. 

Bring on the New Year, let's make it the best one yet! Hope you all have a wonderful start to 2017! 


#AMEblog


12/28/16

Busy just doesn't describe the last few weeks, or even the last month of craziness that has been the holiday season. It was all worrying about getting things ready, the kids being overly-excited, family feuds and being sick, I don't know how we survived. 

We had a good but quiet family Christmas, neither hubby nor I were in any shape to host or attend any kind of Christmas parties this year so we kept it low key at home. I made us a yummy Christmas Eve dinner of ham, potatoes, carrots, rolls and more. The kids stayed up a little later than usual, watching the movie Elf and excitedly awaiting Santas arrival that night. 

Christmas morning was so much fun. We have a tradition, once the adults are up (and caffeinated), we turn on Christmas music and let the present opening begin!  We may have been a bit under the weather still but we made the best of it and as far as I could see in the kids faces, we had a very Merry Christmas.



Never being big Boxing Day shoppers (I think we spent enough this month), we spent the day after Christmas recovering from the weekend and hiding away from the freezing rain. The city and beyond was covered with a layer of slippery, ice. Definitely not ideal conditions to go out driving with the family. 

We planned post-Christmas family visits to both of my parents houses the next day since the roads would most likely have been cleaned up by then. The visits were short but they are always nice. Seeing everyone happy is what's most important.

Christmas time doesn't have to be about big parties, over-the-top dinners and presents through the roof. For me, as long as I have the people who are most important to be by my side, that's what makes a Merry Christmas. 

We hope you had an amazing holiday celebrating with your family! Merry Christmas! 




12/21/16

Christmas is only a few more days away. We have been very busy making plans and getting things done. Running around like a bunch of secret Santas to make sure we are ready so that our kids can enjoy the magic of Christmas. 

Once the presents have been unwrapped, the meals have been eaten and the toys have been played with, winter break blues can set in. It's that time between Christmas and New Years before the kids go back to school that it hits them. "I'm BORED!"

Bored? That word doesn't exist in my vocabulary. If you can't find something to do, you can always find something to watch on Netflix. 

Did you hear about the new Netflix Original Series Dreamworks Trollhunters created by Guillermo del Toro? It's streaming December 23rd, right on time to help cure the winter break blues! 

A bit about the show: "After uncovering a mysterious amulet, an average teen assumes an unlikely destiny and sets out to save two worlds!"



Celebrate the release of DreamWorks Trollhunters by making some yummy Hard Rock Candy and make your own Trollhunters Battle Armour and Sword with handy (printable/downloadable) instructions below! 


DreamWorks Trollhunters - Hard Rock Candy Recipe!

Click  the image to get the recipe! 


DreamWorks Trollhunters - Create Your Own Battle Armor & Sword!

Click the image to get the instructions!
My kids will love this show (plus, the candy and crafts!), especially my son who is always asking me or browsing Netflix kids section to find the latest releases! 

Heading out of town for winter break? You can bring Netflix with you, even if you don't have internet access where you're staying! Now, you can download certain series and movies right onto your device (tablet or phone) and take your favourites with you! Make sure your Netflix app is update check out the "Available for download" menu! You never know when the weather outside may be frightening! :) 


Thanks to Netflix, the winter break blues are a thing of the past! Not a Netflix member? You can sign up today and get a free 30 day trial! 




Posted in participation with the Netflix Canada #StreamTeam. Special perks are part of my affiliation however comments and opinions on this blog are always my own. 

12/14/16

Christmas is only a few more weeks away and we have already started organizing everything from decorations to presents and deciding what we are going to eat (and who's hosting!).

Every year, even if I'm not hosting the big family Christmas dinner get together, I always love to have the house all decorated up and looking like Santa's work shop! There doesn't even have to be a specific theme as long as all the decorations scream Christmas!

Hallmark Canada never disappoints when it comes to getting ready for any occasion, especially Christmas with a wide variety of decorations, gifts and thoughtful (and unique) holiday cards. It's all about putting smiles on faces and that is just what Hallmark Canada does once again this holiday season!

Holiday decorating:

Rockin' around the Christmas tree we have some amazing new ornaments to add to our collection this year with Disney Star Wars BB-8 and Disney Frozen Elsa itty bitty's ornaments. I like these because they are cute and also plastic so if the kids decide to "look" at (touch) them, I don't have to worry about breakage. $6.95 each
Being a coffee lover, the Coffee Signature Ornament is proudly displayed on our Christmas tree. Yes, it's breakable but that's what the higher branches of the tree are for! I love the little cozy around the cup! Adorable! $16.95 each

Something a little more delicate but simply beautiful is the Red Poinsettia Blown-Glass Ball from the Hallmark Heritage collection. It's HUGE, not something I added to the tree but hung as a decoration on a hook in the living room. It almost looks like a Christmas disco ball. So pretty when the lights shine off of it! $24.95 each

Bring gifts to your next Christmas party in style with a Reindeer and Snowflakes Carryall Tote Bag. These are reusable, fabric totes with handles that are cute enough to gift, decorate or tote your holiday goodies in. $24.95 each



Give as a gift or lighten your holidays with a beautiful Snowflake Candle Holder $16.95 - $19.95

What's Christmas without stockings to stuff? This beautiful velvet and cotton stocking is perfect for Santa to fill with goodies for someone special!

Gift Ideas:

There is always a last minute gift to be bought. Invited to someone's place last minute, just one more stocking stuffer or the last minute announcement of extra guests at the gift exchange - whatever the reason, these would make great gifts for family!



- Peanuts Holiday Through The Years book $14.95
- itty bitty Frosty The Snowman Stuffy and Book set $6.95 
- Guest Towel and Basket Set $16.95
- Not on the naughty list socks $12.95
- Scottie Dog Ornament-Shaped Memo Pad $7.95
- Frosty's Friends Shivering Polar Bear $29.95
- Smiling Snowman Flannel throw blanket $24.95



Gift Bags and Tags:

Of course Hallmark wouldn't be Hallmark without its beautifully creative, signature greeting cards for the holidays.



- Preppy Multi pattern Gift tags $4.99 pack of 10.
- Cute Snowman Honeycomb Characters Bow gift attachments $4.99 pack of 2.
- Wonder-folds White Christmas Tree Cards $19.99 5 cards + envelopes.
- Home and Native Land Canadian Exclusive Boxed cards $19.99 box of 16 cards.
- Signature Boxed Card, Enjoy every merry minute $16.99 box of 8 cards.
- Joy Medium bag and Cheers Bottle Bag $7.99 each

Last but not least, for those celebrating Hanukkah, Hallmark Canada has a beautiful Hanukkah Menorah and Decorated Dove Hanukkah cards



However you celebrate this holiday season, may your home be filled with laughter and love! Find these and more gorgeous holiday greetings, gifts and more at your local Hallmark Canada store or online at the Hallmark Canada website!

Follow Hallmark Canada on social media for the latest updates! 

Facebook - Twitter - Instagram

WIN IT!

We want to share the joy with you this holiday season! One lucky AME reader has the chance to win a Hallmark Canada Peanuts Holidays Through The Years Book ($14.95 value). Enter using the ballot below!

Open to Canadian residents 18+ Excluding Quebec. One entry per household. Mandatory entries must be complete to be eligible. Please see our site disclosure for more detailed giveaway rules. Ends December 21st 2016!




Posted in participation with the Hallmark Canada #LoveHallmarkCA blogger panel. Complementary product recieved as a Thank You. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.

12/12/16

The Power Of Toys #PowerImagination With Hasbro and Duracell
Christmas is coming which means the room I made purging all of our old toys, clothes, and other items this past fall will come in handy with new gifts under the tree for the kids. The lists aren't long but they are things they have been asking for. We hope they are as happy to get them as we are to give them. 

Everyone deserves to smile on Christmas and nothing brings that smile to any parent's face more than seeing the joy their child has Christmas morning, opening that new toy they've been hoping for like Hasbro's Bop It powered by Duracell batteries. 


Bop It has always been a family favourite, it's been around for ages and keeps getting better with every new update to the classic speedy memory game. I know the kids are going to just love it this Christmas! 

As much as we love the holidays, an unfortunate reality is that many Canadian families spend the holidays in the hospital with a sick child. Something as simple as a new working toy or game can brighten a child's hospital stay by sparking the power to imagine a better tomorrow.

Duracell believes in powering the imagination of sick children by making sure kids can still be kids, and enjoy the magic of the holiday season, no matter what. For a 10th year in a row, Duracell will be donating a year's supply of brand new batteries to hospital playrooms across the country to power smiles this holiday season and beyond. 

You can help simply by purchasing Duracell batteries at your local Walmart this December.  For every pack of batteries sold, Duracell will donate to Children's Miracle Network with a goal of $150,000. There's nothing more disappointing than "batteries not included".

Find out more about how you can help Children's Miracle Network hospitals this holiday season by visiting Duracell.com/cmn.

Sponsored post on behalf of Duracell and Hasbro. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.