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Kids Motherhood

our current reading list

November 23, 2017

My house is filled with a lot of crap. It’s true. My kids have way to much clothes, toys, too much stuff. But one thing I will never mind them having more of, are books. If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for the children in your life but can’t think of what to buy: give the gift of reading. No parent will be unhappy with more books. Here are some of our favorite at the time being. There are “mommy picks” but I’ve also included those cheesy rhyming books randomly bought on grocery shore shelves too. Because sometimes it’s not the educational books your kids love, it’s a book of a little yellow duck that has them truly captivated. And that’s okay too! Here it goes!

  1. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, rhythmic and melodic. A book about the letters of the alphabet climbing a coconut tree. Simple, brightly coloured, good choice to familiarize little ones with letters.
  2. A Little Stuck, we love Oliver Jeffers books. Mommy appreciates the gorgeous artwork and kids will love naming random objects and the repetitive sounds. It’s simple, silly, and short. Good for toddler’s limited attention span.
  3. Little Blue Truck, the boys loveeee this book! It’s their top pick at bedtime. Great rhyme and rhythm. Good introduction to farm animals and the noises they make.
  4. Green Eggs and Ham, a beloved Dr. Seuss classic. It’s probably the longest book the boys will actually want to sit through. Max will still request this book even though we’ve read it a million times.
  5. Good Night I love You and other Caroline Jayne Church books, these were among the first books we read to the boys. Easy reads for getting them ready for bedtime.
  6. What Do you Do With a Problem?, definitely more of a mommy pick. Beautifully illustrated and a great message about turning your problems into a positive opportunity. A bit mature for younger readers but I read it to them anyways!
  7. A Cuddle For Little Duck, we found this book on a random walmart shelf. Max loves the story of a little duck going about doing little duck things. He requests this book often and even demands it be put into his bed!
  8. Peppa Pick Bedtime Box Set, another Max and Loggie pick. They are obsessed with Peppa Pig and these books are exactly like the show. Sure, it’s not that well written and borderline annoying but the boys love these books and I aim to please.
  9. Goodnight Moon, another classic. It’s calm moods and sleep inducing prose usher in bedtime. Even though as an adult reading it, the book is kinda creepy. Like why is there an old lady in the corner saying hush?? And why are there mice in the room??
  10. We Are Better Together, a cute book teaching names of various objects.
  11. Construction Alphabet, because my boys are their father’s sons and anything that has the word construction in it flies by really well with Steve.
  12. Finding Nemo and Dory, First Look and Find book, this isn’t a reading book but more of a “Where’s Waldo” for babies. The boys love pointing out items in the legend and have the other find it. And at three years old, they still open this one. To make it more of a challenge, we’ve started counting the fish and discussing what colour they are etc.
  13. Bright Baby ABC, Numbers, and Animals books, along the same vein as the find and look books. These help with building vocabulary with its large pictures and different scenes. My kids love them.
  14. Are you My Mother? I loved this book growing up and hopefully it will become one of my children’s favourites.
  15. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, another very popular kid’s book and Loggie’s favorite.

Books I plan on buying the boys this christmas:

  1. Here We Are, Once Upon an Alphabet, Heart in a Bottle – all by Oliver Jeffers
  2. A couple more of those Peppa Pig books I promised the boys.
  3. Little Blue Truck leads the way and Little Blue Truck Christmas
  4. Please, Mr. Panda

I randomly follow Eva Chen, an Instagram fashion writer and former magazine editor and she just released a list of books her daughter loves. I stumbled upon the link as I was writing this and felt it was very relatable. Follow her on IG, she has the cutest kids! Here’s the link to her list. http://mailchi.mp/evachen212/hooray-childrens-books

Happy Reading!

Kids Motherhood

’tis the season of holiday pjs!

November 6, 2017

Ahh, its that time of year, there’s nothing quite like it! I’ve compiled a quick list of comfortable items for your little one this holiday season. Weather its a for a casual photo session or you’re looking for a cute and unique pj set for Christmas morning, here are five small shops for you to check out! Support small and local business, makes the spirit of the holidays even more special! Happy Shopping!

Avenue G’s #CookieThief and #MilkThief Pj sets, $38

Bear and Roo Christmas Tree and Hipster Deer Pj sets, starting at $41

Little Navy’s Personalized Leggings (Christmas-y print I recommend would be “Plaid Forrest”), $40

Whimsical Fox’s Milk and Cookies Romper, $42

Whistle and Flute’s Kawaii Snowflake Sweatshirt, $40

Happy Shopping friends!

Kids Motherhood

developing Max’s fine motor skills

October 20, 2017

Max is very easily frustrated when he can’t figure how to do something with his hands. Coupled with the fact that it’s hard to understand him through his whining, has made for a difficult situation. I don’t take developmental milestone charts too seriously. Kids are kids, they are learning at different rates, some will be faster, some will take more time. It’s unhealthy to get wrapped up the percentages your kids are supposed to be at or comparing them to other children who seem to know much more. But, with that said, I have noticed Max’s fine motor skills aren’t quite up to speed. When I recognize a “problem”, I will try to find ways to help. If he is frustrated all the time, it’s not fun for anyone involved.

Here are a couple fine motor activities we’ve been working on at home and that he enjoys. Hope this gives some ideas to help develop fine motor skills. Even if there is no reason for concern, these are fun activities to add to your playtime rotation! As always, if you are concerned about your child in any way, little or big, contact your Pediatrician and start the conversation. No worry is ever invalid when it comes to your own babies. Continue Reading

Food Kids

sugar cookies with toddlers: tips and recipe

October 16, 2017

Baking with toddlers. It’s going to be messy, might even be frustrating. However, if you learn to let go of expectations, accept that your kitchen will be covered in flour, it can be a great time! It helps nurture their creativity and improve their fine motor skills. Being in the kitchen with my kids are some of my fondest memories. Here are some tips to make the activity more seamless and sharing one of our favorite sugar cookie recipes!


This recipe comes from my dear friend Emma. What are the odds of meeting someone who lives next door to you, is the same age as you, who has the same hobbies and has a child the same age as your own?? Those odds are slim friends and I hit the freaking jackpot. My neighbour is better than your neighbour. Just sayin’.

Emma’s sugar cookies are thick, fluffier and has a cake like texture due to the sour cream. Another thing I like about this recipe is it’s not very sweet. I find sugar cookies use a lot of royal icing and that alone is very sweet. A cookie base that is less so makes for an overall more balanced cookie eating experience. I will also share a thinner, crispier sugar cookie down the road but for now, try these!

Emma’s Sugar Cookies

Ingredients
3/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Variations
1) No sour cream – use 2 1/2 cups of flour
2) Substitute 1/4 flour with 1/4 cup cocoa or add 3 oz. melted unsweetened chocolate

Method
– Mix dry ingredients, flour, salt, baking powder. Put aside.
– Cream butter, sour cream, and sugar.
– Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
– Add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Mix until soft dough forms.
– Divide dough into two batches. Mould into two round discs, cover with plastic wrap.
– Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400F
-Flour table surface and rolling pin. Roll dough to 1/8″ or thicker. Thicker cut makes for nicer cookies.
-Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 6-8 minutes or until edges start to lightly brown.

I used this icing recipe for my cookies. Its a straightforward royal icing for sugar cookies. Click here.



Tips on decorating cookies with toddlers

  • To minimize mess, use different containers for sprinkles, decorative candy, and sanding sugar. Use one container at the time.
  • Use shaker bottles for sugar and sprinkles. Keeps the flow slower and hopefully, more clean.
  • Have them decorate their cookies on cookie sheets (I used two small quarter sheets). It helps catch stray sprinkles. Afterwards you can dump leftover sprinkles into a container and reuse.
  • My kids were too young to pipe their own cookies, so I piped the icing for them. But you can buy ready made icing in tubes that they can squeeze onto their cookies.
  • Alternately, you can also put little bowls of icing, give them a spoon and help them spread.

Their cookies won’t be the prettiest but it will be made with so much love. And they will be so proud at their creations. Let go, expect a mess, and have fun! Enjoy!

 

Featured Food Kids

Max and Logan’s 3rd Birthday Party!

August 14, 2017

Steve and I were debating forever if we were going to throw the boys’ a birthday party this year. As fun as they are, they are lots of work! We kept it to family and some of Max and Loggie’s best friends. We didn’t do a themed birthday like previous years. The loose “theme” was “Everything Max and Loggie Love”. Included was everything they loved eating, such as Oreos and popcorn, donuts and even cookie monster made an appearance. We wanted everything bright and colourful, essentially, fun! I did end up doing a dessert table and a cake (c’mon it’s me we’re talking about here). The dessert table may look impressive but it was very easy to set up with a lot of store bought items, just spruced up.

Dessert table: Here are a few ideas for your next party!

  • Oreo cookies dipped in chocolate and dunked in sprinkles.
  • Cookie Monster Macarons – This item is more of a specialty item. You can find your local Macaron maker and see if they will make a specialty kind. Or give it a go yourself with my tutorial here.
  • Birthday Cake Popcorn – Max and Logan love popcorn, this birthday cake version was a special treat! Recipes here and here.
  • Shortbread Dino Print Cookies – I used this recipe here (without the earl grey tea). I took a toy dinosaur and stamped its feet into the cookie before baking.

  • Store bought Timbits (donut holes), put them on a lollipop stick, dip in chocolate, dip in sprinkles. It was a favorite!
  • Little party cups filled with mini chocolate chip cookies and m&ms.
  • Cheesecake pots – Used this recipe, these pots can be made a couple days in advance, top with cherry the morning of the party and voila!

Decor: I used a lot of items we already had in our house to decorate the table. It was more of a rustic theme. Here are some decor ideas that are a bit more subdued but still kid friendly.

  • Toy Dinosaurs: I had them scattered here and there on the table for visual interest.

  • Tree cookies that we borrowed from my sister. Gave the table a more rustic edge and were neutral.
  • Dollar store stems of leaves. I cut them up and placed it around the tree cookies giving off a jungle, rustic vibe.
  • Wooden crates as risers to add height and dimension. I flipped them upside down and placed whatever I wanted on top.
  • Mason Jars, continuing the rustic theme.

Viola! Use what you have and make it work!

Entertainment
To keep the children entertained we rented a single bouncy castle for 5 hours and that alone kept the kids (mostly toddlers) happy for the entire party. Who doesn’t love a bouncy castle? Max and Logan still talk about it! We also had a piñata and lots of balloons to throw and kick around. We opened our sand pit with buckets and had water balloons as backup.

Food

  • To keep it simple, we had two camp coolers left out, one with adult drinks and one filled with water and juice boxes.
  • The main was a Taco/burrito bar. We smoked shredded pork shoulder and barbecued tex mex beef flank for the protein. There was a table with all of the fixins: shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, onions, grilled veggies, bell peppers and onions, Pico do Gallo, Peach and strawberry salsa, tortilla wraps and various hot sauces for everyone to assemble their own plate.
  • I also made a half a batch of Pioneer Woman’s Queso Blanco, threw it into a crockpot and had a bags of tortilla chips. This was my favorite food item! So so so good! Who doesn’t love melted cheese?!

Party Favorurs
For treat bags, we didn’t go with a “bag”, it was more of a treat jar. Continuing with our theme, we had mason jars filled with the following items Max and Loggie love.

  • A toy dinosaur
  • Two packaged Oreo cookies
  • A individual pack of fruit gummies
  • Avengers and Peppa Pig Tattoos
  • A mini container of PlayDoh
  • Starburst and Rocket candy to fill gaps
  • A toy car
  • We used a mason jar as a container because it kept with our theme and parents could re use the jar again!

And of course that day was so busy I forgot to take a picture of one!

Cake

I have been baking semi professionally for years. So no matter how big or small a birthday is, there will always be a cake made by me. This year to keep with the theme of “everything they love”, I made a cake with just that: everything they love. I kept the colors light but bright and all the elements on the cake are all the things Max and Loggie care about in the world. 🙂 So some trivia below for anyone who is interested!

  • Blue bus: They scream “blue bus” EVERYTIME there is an ETS bus around
  • Dump trucks: Because, well, boys. 
  • A green shower cap: Loggie has an odd obsession with shower caps
  • A bowl of random stuff: Max will make “soup” every night, he puts fake food into a bowl with a specific silver spoon and then puts it next to him to sleep…weird. We know.
  • Peppa Pig: Their current favorite.
  • Logan’s blankie: Because he will have this to the end of time.
  • Minions, Buzz Lightyear: Because they’re like every other kid.
  • Orange and Banana: Loggie and Max’s favorite fruit, respectively. 
  • Happy Meal box: Clearly, we eat there tooooo much.
  • An elephant: Logan’s favorite animal
  • Two JellyCat bunnies: Max can’t sleep without them.
  • Chocolate drip on the pastel cake as a subtle homage to Ice Cream which is their favorite food group. 😉

And there you have the cake that means so much to me!

That was their party this year. I swear it was only family and a handful of their best friends and I still went slightly overboard haha. Next year, Chuck-E-Cheese and call it a day! 🙂

Hope this gave you some ideas for your own birthday party! Team Wonger hopes you have any amazing celebration!

Kids

Birthday Adventures

August 2, 2017

After I overcame my denial and subsequent sadness that the boys turned 3 this passed Sunday, we decided to do something different for the day. Our boys have a lot of toys and was not in need of anything new. A gift of experience would be a wonderful way to celebrate! We wanted to take them somewhere they’ve never been before and decided on our local zoo. It was by far the smallest zoo I have ever been to but it was the perfect walking distance for my tiny humans. We didn’t even bring our stroller, our boys are big boys now and we believed they could make the walk and they did. Oh god, I’m going to go ugly cry in this corner.

The Edmonton Valley Zoo was a good place to introduce younger children to animals. There was a small train, carousel, petting zoo and multiple ice cream kiosks. And if you’re children are ice cream demons like mine, they will love this place just for that point alone.


The walks are short and easy for toddlers to trek the whole place as it’s small. The downside is the zoo is rundown and in desperate need of renovations. The animals seemed content but I personally felt the zoo was too small for the animals they did have. Honestly, I was a bit sad. I’ve never felt like that at any other zoo so I don’t think we would make another trip back. But with that said, it was a good, different outing for my little ones, who didn’t seem to notice anything besides how fun it is to see animals in real life.


That was our day! What do you like to do with your toddlers? Fire off in the comments so I can have ideas for next year!