Category Archives: Uncategorized

Easy mango salsa

9th October 2015

The cooler weather has me missing summer living already. All of a sudden I have a craving for mango salsa. This salsa is the perfect side for fish tacos. I love it as a summertime dip as well.

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Here’s all you need to do:
2 mangoes diced, handful of chopped cilantro and red pepper, 1/4 red onion finely sliced, 1/2 diced jalapeño, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste.

What’s on my mind this week?

7th October 2015

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What’s on mom’s mind this week?
Christmas. I know we haven’t even made it to Thanksgiving yet, but it looks like we’ll be spending Christmas in Canada this year. My first one here since 1987. My parents will be visiting us which I’m excited about. I am a little sad, though, that my time of jetting off to somewhere warm over the holidays has to come to an end. I will miss you Christmas brunch at Grovesnor House in Dubai.

What I’m currently coveting?
Most weekday mornings I hit up the Davids Tea by my work (current favourite tea is glitter and gold). I recently checked out their revamped website and am wanting to make this soup. Seems like the perfect fall food. Warm and nourishing!

What I’m loving?
The new local Pilates studio that opened on Bayview. It is clean, bright and welcoming. And my abs definitely felt it after one class!

What’s headed to the recycling bin?
This SkipHop bath mat. I love SkipHop products, but this one did not live up to expectations. It basically disintegrated.

What I read on the Internet this week that was kind of cool
Since going back to work I’ve been really aware of articles that discuss the pros and cons of sending your kids to daycare (i.e. are you a bad parent if you aren’t keeping them at home with you?). This article is written by one of Canada’s top health journalists and looks at why we need more data in this area to really make an informed decision. My two cents we are all doing the best we can do for our children.

What Chloe’s eating or not eating
In an effort to get Chloe to eat more than just pasta, I made zucchini/carrot fritters recently. I grated up half a zucchini, one carrot, some onion. Mixed in 1 egg and a little bit of flour to make it substantial enough to form into patties. I fried these up and served with some plain yoghurt. I enjoyed them. Chloe did not. Oh well! On to the next recipe…

Books, books, books
We went to a local church fair over the weekend and scored 8 kids books for $4. After mom wiped them down with toy wipes they were perfect (yes, I’m that person). One of the books we picked up, Winnie the Pooh and Ten Busy Bees, Chloe loves. I think it may be an older edition, but you may be able to find it on Amazon.

Chloe’s jam of the week
Ex’s and Oh’s by Elle King.

What to do if you happen to be in Toronto this week with kids
We’ve been wanting to go to a harvest festival at a local farm. We’ve been eyeing up Springridge farm in Milton as a place to check-out pumpkins and fall fun. After all what’s the fun of having a little one if you can’t get your requisite photo of baby with pumpkin?

If my husband and I had a night out this week
We’d be eating out at George. We went there once for Valentine’s and it was delicious.

Busy moms need quick solutions
Sometimes you just don’t get 8 hours of sleep and need this product.

Rant of the week
This isn’t really a rant, but I have to say it…if I see one more pumpkin spice advertisement I may scream. Nothing against pumpkin, but it is pumpkin spice overload right now. And I know I said I wanted to take photos with pumpkins above 🙂

And just because…
As I live in Toronto this is kind of interesting.

Coffee with Chloe’s mom – September 14, 2015

14th September 2015

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If we were having coffee this week, here are ten things I would be telling you about…

1. Chloe’s only been in daycare a couple of months, but I’m already trying to figure out what to do with her artwork. At the moment I’m just stuffing it into a storage box in her room. A friend of mine mentioned this artwork scanning app that stores your child’s artwork electronically. Why didn’t I think of this?

2. Kid & Coe is like the AirBnb for family vacations as all of their offerings are kid-friendly property rentals. We haven’t used it yet, but will definitely be taking a look at this website for any upcoming travel plans.

3. I hate when summer ends. It depresses me. Thankfully the release of Entertainment Weekly’s Fall TV preview cheers me up a bit. It is like my bible for the year in terms of what shows I will be watching.

4. I think I may be the last parent to discover Convos with my 2-year old. It’s funny, although kind of creepy at the same time as the 2 year old is played by a full grown man. My favourite episode so far is ‘dinner time‘.

5. This article. My favourite line in it is ‘as parents, we need to do what we need to do in order to get the most sleep possible. Everyone else can take their fresh eyes and rested faces and shove it.’

6. Sometimes you find yourself reading a book that you just love. If you haven’t read The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry go out and buy a copy now (I’m also willing to lend you mine!). 

7. The fact that the Royal Ontario Museum is continuing their mom and babies programs. In the spring, when Chloe and I participated in one of their classes we were told that it may be the last time they run it. We’re so glad that the administration changed their minds, listened to everyone who wrote them and decided to continue.

8. My ‘You know you’re a mom when‘ blog post for Mommy Connections. Shameless self-promotion I know.

9. Smitten Kitchen’s butternut squash galette. One of my best friends will be impressed that I actually made it and I didn’t find it as hard as I thought I would.

10. This Instagram account. Their posts usually put a smile on my face.

Feeling grateful

4th September 2015

This week is different. My heart feels heavy after seeing so much sadness in the news. I feel sadness because I am a mother and to see a child’s life taken away at such a young age is a horrible thing to see. I also feel ashamed that I have been living in my own little bubble and been more or less oblivious to the pain happening in the world. I won’t post the photo here, but if you haven’t looked at it you should. We all need to wake-up and shouldn’t close our eyes or turn away because it makes us feel uncomfortable.

This weekend hold your babies a little tighter and be grateful for what you have. I know I’ll be doing this and also spending time thinking about what I can do to make a difference. We can all do something to help now and in the future.

I can’t imagine living in a world where you think the sea is safer than the land you live.

Life lessons to my daughter

27th August 2015


Last week a video from CBC Radio’s WireTap about how to age gracefully was making the rounds. The video contained life advice from people aged 7 to 92. This week I thought I’d share my own life advice (to date!) for my daughter…

    1. Sharing is caring. Play fair. The lessons you learn in kindergarten are valuable ones to keep with you throughout life.
    2. High school may or may not be the best time of your life. If it isn’t the greatest experience, just know that you will find your place and that the popular kids in high school usually end up struggling later on in life.
    3. Cultivate your own style. Booty shorts may be in at some point, but that doesn’t mean you have to wear them (Please don’t. You’ll give your dad a heart attack).
    4. Going to university is an exciting experience (and one we hope you’ll have!), but make sure you take the time to still connect with your parents. Call us, text us, email us (or use whatever technology is available when you are 18). Let us know you are alive. Please.
    5. Never feel pressured to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
    6. Dance, dance, dance. There will be a time when you don’t get to do this as much.
    7. I wish I could protect you from this, but sadly we usually all end up dating losers at some point in our lives. Heartbreak does make you stronger and until it passes dance, dance, dance.
    8. You are never too young to start saving. How I wish I had taken the advice of my own parents on this one. I may already be a real estate mogul.
    9. Explore the world near and far. And when you do go off-the-beaten path. The real travel begins there.
    10. Learn another language. This will open doors for you.
    11. Friendship is a two-way relationship. You get out of it what you put in.
    12. Sometimes friendships end and this is ok. Those friends were there for you during a period of your life when you needed them. Your close friends are the ones who will be there for you through thick and thin.
    13. Choose to spend your life with someone who makes you laugh, is kind and has a generous heart.
    14. Do something you love in life. Change your job or career path to something you will enjoy (at least 90% of the time). You’ll spend a lot of the week at work and life is too short to be somewhere you dread.
    15. Be kind to everyone at work, regardless of level. You never know when you’ll need their help.
    16. You are never too old to dream. When you are little, you’ll think anything is possible. As you get older adult responsibilities will come, but always carve out the time to dream. When I was 5, I wanted to be a lawyer during the week and a ballerina on the weekend.
    17. Reading is awesome. Take time out of your day to read – fun things, serious things, romances, mysteries. Whatever you enjoy best.
    18. Have at least 5 go-to recipes that you know by heart. This knowledge will come in handy.
    19. Look after your health by being active. Go for walks, runs, play tennis, soccer…find an activity that makes you smile while working up a sweat. Being active not only benefits your health, but makes you feel good/burns off frustration.

And above all…Be yourself. No matter what (and spend time with your family!)

Coffee with Chloe’s mom – August 19th 2015 edition

19th August 2015

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My creative energy is depleted this week it seems (getting up at 530 am will do this to you), so it is back to the regular old Coffee with Chloe’s mom format of what we’d be talking about over coffee this week 🙂

What’s on my mind this week?
Chloe is now a walking machine! Having a walker in the house is fun, but also kind of scary. We really need to do a better job of child-proofing. Once she picks up speed she’ll be everywhere.

What I’m currently coveting?
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was coveting a play kitchen for C. Well, we went ahead and bought her this one as a belated 1st birthday gift. She loves it and now I’m wanting to buy the whole Pottery Barn kitchen line for kids. How fun is this pasta kit?

What I’m loving?
The fact that my husband reads these newsletters and picks up on my hints to buy me things like this. I’d also like this handbag if you are looking for ideas 😉

What’s headed to the recycling bin?
Sadly the Rock’n’Play sleeper is saying good-bye. You saved our sanity in the first few months and were a great friend to have when I needed somewhere to put Chloe while I showered. Sadly Chloe is way too big to be in it now. You will be missed.

What I read on the Internet this week that was kind of cool?
So this is why 6 p.m. kind of sucks in the world of parenting.

What Chloe’s eating?
This category should really be renamed ‘what Chloe decides to not throw on the floor at dinnertime’ or ‘what Chloe eats one day and not the next’ 😉 That said she does seem to be loving the pasta I made recently with ground turkey. I sautéed the ground turkey with onions, added some pepper, Mrs. Dash seasoning and threw in some chopped orange peppers/peas. Then added a tomato sauce over top. Once the sauce all came together I mixed in the cooked pasta and grated cheese.

Books, books, books
This week it isn’t a kids book, but a book that I’m reading. I had such high hopes for this book, but it basically is a trainwreck that I can’t stop reading. All I can think is if you hate the Upper East side so much why do you live there?? But I’m determined to get to the end of this book. I’m not a quitter 😉

Chloe’s jam of the week
It appears that we are into Flo Rida these days. Tonight belongs to U by Jeremih (featuring Flo Rida) is an upbeat song to start the day in a good mood/remind mom of their times dancing the night away.

What to do if you happen to be in Toronto this week with kids
The other weekend we finally went to the Children’s Discovery Centre in Liberty Village. Fun times were had by all. There was creativity, imagination and a lot of fun things to do for small ones. C loved the kitchen/grocery store area. Is only open until the end of September as of now, so make sure to check it out if you are able to (and show your support so it stays open post-pilot phase)!

If my husband and I had a night out this week
After a failed weekend brunch attempt with C (someone was not in the mood to be out at a restaurant or in a highchair it seems), I’d honestly just be up for being able to have a bite to eat anywhere with my other half. That said Cluny in Toronto’s distillery district looks pretty cool.

Busy moms need quick solutions
When you are short on time and have no equipment, this workout fits the bill.

Rant of the week
I don’t know if there is a proper name for the little plastic tags stores attach multiple times to kids clothing (for price tags and everything else it seems), but they drive me nuts. They look like this. I hate them because they end up everywhere in the house and you never ever seem to manage to find them all when cutting them off new baby products. Even tonight there was one still in the washcloth we were using for Chloe’s bath.

And just because…
This is too cute.

What’s on your mind this week?

Coffee with Chloe’s mom – August 12, 2015

13th August 2015

What a week. Tonight is definitely a night where I’m defrosting some of Chloe’s leftover birthday cake and treating myself to some wine. I need it. Here’s hoping the next couple of days bring happier times. Calls from daycare in the middle of the day suck.

In other news, I’ve decided to take the leap and set myself up with a proper blog. Who knows what direction it will go, but every now and then I have the urge to test my domain purchasing and WordPress set-up skills. One of the things that I’m hoping to do with it is create a list of things to do for new moms in Toronto. A lot of the websites I visit have great resources, but aren’t necessarily geared toward the new mom and babies under the age of two. I’d love to hear if you have any recommendations that I could include!

Random photo of me as a baby follows…

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And now onto this week’s Coffee with Chloe’s mom…

Some are old. Some are new. But I wanted to share some of the things I’ve seen and read recently. I liked all of them for different reasons and each of them made me think in some way.

The new baby taco boxNew parents don’t need more gifts for the baby. What they need is food (for themselves). I didn’t really get this until I became a parent. To the friends that brought my husband and I food when Chloe was born we thank you.

“Digital kidnapping” trendI know this is ironic to share as I am sharing what life is like as a parent, but after seeing a friend post this article I had to share. It is beyond disturbing. Sometimes I really hate technology (and I work in the field) and how it has allowed creeps likes this to exist. Another article about this was written by Fast Company. What do you guys think? While I am careful with what I share, I am wondering if I should be more cautious.

The new face of motherhoodSimilar to the article above, this one looks at how technology has enabled a new generation of moms to share how they parent to the masses. More often than not the photos and content being shared make motherhood look like a breeze. My takeaway after reading this piece was to start to sharing the messy moments of motherhood as well. You aren’t always whipping up gourmet baby food after all 😉

Hands free mama blogThere is a definite technology theme going on here, but this blog serves as a good reminder that it is good to put down your devices and to focus on living in the moment.

The ultimate list of 100 non-toy gift ideas: This is a list I’ve referred to when I want to give a non-toy gift. Lots of great ideas on this list.  A trip to the Toronto Zoo is my go-to gift at the moment.

Is maternity leave a bad idea? I forget if I’ve shared this before, but I thought it was interesting read and maternity leave returns are on my mind. I especially liked Edelman’s maternity buddy program mentioned in the article. We need to see more programs like this.

Canada’s best places to raise kids (2015) Not sure I’d want to live in all of these, but lower cost daycare really appeals to me.

When love feels heavyI love the Coffee + Crumbs collaborative approach to blogging about motherhood.

 

The emotional mom roller coaster

10th August 2015

Hi, hope everyone is doing well. I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that it is August already. Seeing back to school ads still make me sad even though it has been a long time since I was headed to the classroom…random photo of me when I was in the 5th grade on a Turkish beach follows.

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This week I’ve been thinking a lot about how motherhood is definitely a bit of an emotional roller coaster. In celebration of my emotions and feelings, I’m sharing all that I felt this past week. As you’ll see it is all over the map, so some things may contradict one another 🙂

Angry
This ad. I’m actually kind of ashamed I own a stroller from this brand after seeing this.

Anxiety
Am still having some anxiety related to my job. With so many new people in the office, it is taking me a bit of time to figure out my place again. I know it will come with time, but there is still some anxiety at the moment as I want to make a good first impression on the people I haven’t worked with before.

Frustration
Let’s face it motherhood can be frustrating at times. There have been definite moments of frustration this week as she’s been teething and not content unless she’s being carried around/entertained. She’s also in a ‘I want daddy’ phase, so this has been a bit rough for me. A perfect segue way to my next feeling…

Guilt
The ‘mom guilt’ is ever-present these days. It never seems to stop. It comes when I drop C off at daycare crying and wonder if she’ll have a good day (9 times out of 10 she does). It happens on the weekend when I feel like I’m never doing enough and should be doing more as I wasn’t around all week. It’s there when I complain to the other half that I need a break.

Happiness
There is a lot to be happy about these days. Seeing your baby take her first real steps on her own is quite something. Although I have to admit when she becomes a full-blown walker I’m going to be very afraid. She is going to be everywhere and faster than she is now.

Hungry
The snacking needs to stop. We need to stop keeping things like Twizzlers and chips in the house. When you don’t eat dinner until late these things are dangerous.

Impatience
Teething sucks. I just want it over with or at least for some more teeth to make an appearance. Just need to feel like we are making progress here. Where are these teeth?

Joy 
The joy in Chloe‘s face when my husband opens the door after work is something else. She squeals in delight and is so excited to see her daddy. It gives me joy too.

Laughter
I stumbled across these motherhood comics the other day and this one in particular made me laugh out loud.

Love
Seeing Chloe at the end of the workday and having her reach up her arms as she wants me to pick her up fills my heart.

Panic
Those of you who know me in real life know I hate flying. As crazy as it may seem I panic even when loved ones are on planes. Am now happy my parents have arrived back home after a couple of long-haul flights this weekend.

Relaxed
I’ve discovered reading again and am enjoying reading at night. For those of you looking for an easy and entertaining read check this book out.

Surprise
I’ve surprised myself over the past couple of weeks as I have actually been able to make my 630 a.m. workouts. If I don’t do it then it’s not happening at the end of the day.

Teary
As mentioned above Chloe is in a ‘I want daddy phase’ when we are both around. I have to admit it is making me kind of sad as she only seems to really want me for the boob.

Want
I want this dress. It looks like it be a good work dress for fall.

A day in the life of a 1 year old

4th August 2015

Hello, I hope everyone is well and having a good start to the week. Definitely looking forward to the fact that there is a long weekend coming up in Ontario. Long weekends in the summer are the best. You get to do things like dine outdoors and have your first taste of ketchup 😉

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While each day is different I thought it would be fun to give you a bit of a day in the life now that I’ve returned to work. I’ve decided to start my ‘day in the life’ the night before as my day really begins then as I need to be super organized in the a.m. Well, my version of super organized…

My day in the life….(results not the same each day!)

7:15 p.m.
Wash and dry hair after Chloe’s bath so I don’t have to do it tomorrow morning. The other half plays with Chloe and gets her ready for bed. Decide what I’m going to wear to work so I’m not running around like a maniac in the am.
7:33 p.m.
Clean up after Chloe’s dinner and put finishing touches on part of our dinner (pasta salad with avocado yoghurt dressing). I kind of feel like this when I clean up her highchair. Think to myself that I really need to call potential cleaning lady tomorrow. I always seem to forget.
7:46 p.m.
Feed Chloe before she goes to sleep. Wonder how we are going to get her to sleep when I stop feeding her. I know I should’ve broken this feeding to sleep habit months ago…She’s also taken to stuffing her fingers in her mouth while feeding. Not fun. September 2nd is my target end date.
8:03 p.m.
She appears to have gone to sleep.
8:08 p.m.
Realize I’ve gotten sidetracked with looking at Facebook on my phone after she falls asleep on me.
8:09 p.m.
Transfer her to the crib and creep out of the room/pray she doesn’t wake-up so I can eat dinner. Have you ever watched the escaping a sleeping baby video?
8:33 p.m.
Eat dinner while watching House Hunters and wish we live in the US where apparently you can buy mansions for 250K.
8:36 p.m.
And she’s up…daddy goes in to give her a cuddle. We have become complete failures at the cry-it-out method.
8:56 p.m.
Husband reappears
9:00 p.m.
Watch Mistresses while listening to a running commentary around how this is the worst TV show ever/how can I watch this?
10:00 p.m.
Go to bed after playing a bit of my ‘geeky’ game. No clue why I’m playing Dominations…
11:36 p.m.
And she’s wailing in her crib…try to get her back to sleep, but give up and bring her into our room. Sometimes you’ve got to pick your battles and sleep/feeling somewhat smart at work wins. When is her sleep going to improve again?
4:43 a.m.
Up again. Feed her back to sleep. Boy she really takes up a lot of room in our bed. She keeps kicking me in the face while sleeping.
5:44 a.m.
Now it is my turn to get up. Sneak out of our room and wonder why I decided that working out at 6:30 a.m. was a good idea. Have to take advantage of the days when hubby can do the morning daycare drop-off/I’m too exhausted to workout when I come home. Choke down some coffee and have a quick wake me up shower.
6:15 a.m.
Friend picks me up
6:30 a.m.
Workout begins. Feeling sluggish today so not the best time.
7:30 a.m. 
Quick shower and change at the studio.
7:50 a.m. 
On the subway. Have a newfound appreciation for the ride to and from work as I get to read books again!
8:15 a.m.
Arrive at work. Husband lets me know daycare drop-off is done sometime around now. Now it is meetings, meetings, meetings. You get the drift 🙂
4:14 p.m.
Leave work a bit later than I hoped. Am trying to leave each day at 4 p.m. as I’d rather get in earlier, so I can leave earlier. Is nice to have some quality time with C in the evening.
4:49 p.m.
Decide to take the bus to daycare instead of walking. A decision I always regret. Arrive at the daycare and spend some time admiring her artwork/hearing about her day.
5:00 p.m.
Playtime and getting her dinner ready. Think that I need to offer her more variety/different foods.
6:00 p.m.
A messy dinner is had and then we head to the bath…glad it is a Friday so we get some relax time tomorrow 🙂 Realize I still forgot to call the cleaning lady today…

Moms need to eat lunch too

3rd August 2015

Eating out with a baby can be tough, especially in Toronto where a lot of people seem to have opinions on the matter (e.g. babies should never ever be seen at restaurants). While I definitely agree that some places are better suited for adults-only, there are times when a mom needs to get out of the house and have a restaurant quality meal with some friends. It is good for the soul.

A couple of tips when dining out with little ones:

■ If you are going with a group, call ahead to see if you can make a reservation. Restaurants appreciate the heads-up when it is a group of moms coming by. Will also give you a chance to ask about highchairs and all the other stuff babies need
■ Try to go pre or post lunch rush as this will mean it is not as crowded.

And now in no particular order here are my top five lunchtime picks to go with babies in tow:

Pizzeria Libretto: (close to Pape subway station)
Pizzeria Libretto holds a special place in my heart as it was the first restaurant I ventured with Chloe. It felt amazing to eat at a place I used to go to before becoming a mom. I think I inhaled the entire pizza I ordered. The one downside here are the steps to get inside. Having done it many times, though, I haven’t found it too challenging with a stroller and the staff are always willing to help.

Combine Eatery: (close to Broadview subway station)
I seem to have had a lot of luck with finding mom-friendly restaurants on the Danforth. They have high-chairs, friendly staff and good food (the Baja fish tacos are the way to go!). When I’ve gone for lunch with friends the staff have been able to help us park our strollers in an area that is out of the way and they have also given us a big table at the back of the restaurant. This is great as it means a bit more privacy for breastfeeding moms.

Uncle Betty’s: (Yonge, north of Eglinton)
Uncle Betty’s is in my eyes the place to go if you have kids. My husband and I went there once before Chloe was born and it was a big mistake. If you aren’t a parent you probably aren’t looking for a restaurant that has kids running all over the place. Once you have kids it is another story. The food is decent, you can be as messy as you want and they are well-equipped to handle a group of moms. For larger mom groups, you can also contact them to see if you can book their downstairs private dining room (minimum food order applies).

Vero Trattoria: (Bayview & Millwood)
This Italian restaurant in Leaside is a bit of a hidden gem for moms. This is one of my picks because it is never too busy at lunchtime (or it hasn’t been when I’m there) and they’ve always been super welcoming.

Bareburger (close to Dundas subway station):
This place is an all-natural, organic and customizable burger place. It’s a great place to go after you’ve visited the hands-on centre for kids at the AGO. Only con is this part of the city is always super busy.

And finally on a completely random and somewhat related side note: To the people who complain about moms and babies taking up room at their local Starbucks, I have the following thing to say. If you are using Starbucks as your personal office space, you don’t have any right to complain about a group of moms taking up room on a weekday morning. We have just as much right to be there.