Reeling In The Big One First Birthday Party

Full Disclosure: I have included some affiliate links within my posts. I only recommend products I would use at home or have used in the past. Please feel free to make a purchase through these links as it won’t cost you anymore money but will help me support my blog. THANKS and happy reading!

My Nephew turned ONE in January and I helped my sister plan and execute his party. My sister put together a board on Pinterest and we used her inspiration to plan the party. My Brother in Law and his family are avid hobby fisherman so the theme was of course going to be fish related. We decided on the theme “Reeling in the BIG One” Here is the pins we narrowed down as most important:

  1. A Fish Themed Chalkboard: Etsy
  2. One Fish Two Fish Cupcakes: asparkleofgenius.com
  3. Cat In The Hat Guest Book Sign: catchmyparty.com
  4. Vintage High Chair with Banner: Etsy
  5. Balloon Colours: one-stop-party-ideas.com
  6. Fish Banner: sunshineparties.com
  7. Under The Sea Streamers: Pinterest
  8. Bobber Banner: outdoorworld2.com
  9. Direction Signs: spaceshipsandlaserbeams.com
  10. O-Fish-ally One Onesie: Etsy

Food

  1. Seaweed Dip: craftinessisnotoptional.com
  2. Crabby Sandwiches: Pinterest
  3. Fish And Chips: catchmyparty.com
  4. Fruit Cones: wisediy.com
  5. Veggie Tray Fish: pionik.com

SO I’d like to next explain that I got so involved with the party not only because I LOVE that little guy like mad but also because I got a Cricut Explore Air 2 for Christmas from my Mother in Law (THANKS Dawn!)

I LOVE this thing! It is amazing! It cuts and draws and can do basically both at the same time. I had so many ideas before the party planning and then once we were starting to get stuff done I was able to get it to good use!

I was glad once we got into the preparation that I had bought the Explore Complete Starter Set on Sale because having the tools and the extra mats really came in handy. I’m going to go over everything from the Pinterest board and explain how they came to be finished (in no particular order):

The Chalk Board Poster

This cute chalkboard poster we got the idea from Pinterest as I mentioned above. I designed it in Adobe Illustrator and we just printed it on card stock. It was a cute idea so people could see Baby’s milestones on his birthday. We hung it up with the bobber banner of baby pictures (more on that in a bit)…

One Fish Two Fish Cupcakes

My sister made the cupcakes for the adults and older kids. She wanted to do the One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish style cupcakes she saw on Pinterest. We got chocolate and white cupcake mix from Walmart and she made them and iced them with yellow frosting and added Swedish Fish to the top for decoration. They turned out really cute and they were SUPER yummy!

One Fish Two Fish Guest Book

One of my favourite ideas my sister found on Pinterest was the guestbook of One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss and she had all the guests write messages in the book for him. She also found a fun saying from a Dr. Seuss themed party that I borrowed. I designed it in the Circut design space and cut the Red out of red card stock and had the pen tool draw the rest of the wording onto white card stock. I think just glued the red on the white paper and she added it to a frame she already had. I love this idea because the book is something that baby boy will have to look back on and cherish from this special day.

Vintage High Chair for Photos

My brother in law’s mother still had the vintage high chair that was passed down through many generations in her family. From looking at Pinterest we saw that this item could be used well for photos. My grandma had some scrap fabric and I cut the lettering and fishes out of card stock and hot glued them onto the burlap. My sister served the smash cake to him here (although he wasn’t super happy for the photo opp) the set up was a nice touch!

My sister made this really healthy cake (get the recipe here) for the cake smash cake (she left out the blueberries) so Baby wasn’t getting an overload of sugar at the party and made it in a cupcake shaped cake pan. She iced it using this icing recipe.

Balloons and General Decor Colours

The main theme we were going for was the fishing/red and white bobber theme but we wanted to pull the fun colours in as well. We did each table a different colour table cloth and had the helium balloons in the One Fish Two fish theme as well. The fish I had cut out for the table decor had metallic gills and really tied the fishing theme together.

To Buy the Cut file for the Table Fish visit My Etsy Store

Fish Banner

We really liked the fish banner that we saw on Pinterest. I designed a fish shape in Illustrator and imported it into the Circut design space. I designed a wavy line in Illustrator for the gills and also imported it into the design space. I then added the two small circles for the eyes as well as the two small holes to thread the banner string through. The Cricut Explore Air 2 drew the gills and then cut everything out. We glued the eyes on by hand with a glue stick. In hindsight I kind of wish I had thought to use google eyes for the eyes instead it would have saved time. My Grandma actually mentioned that to me at the party… oh well can’t think of EVERYTHING! The pictures below show the different stages of the process.

To buy the cut files for the Fish Banner visit My Etsy Store

Under the Sea Streamers

This was one idea we were really excited about but because of running out of time on the day of we didn’t quite get to it. We had the streamers and there were great big windows that would have been perfect for this but sometimes things just don’t make the cut. SPEAKING of cut… I had also bought the Cricut Party Foil in green and cut out about 25 2.5″ fish (using the same file as the banner fish) to hang from the streamers to make them look like they were swimming under the water. They turned out great and I think we could still use them for another project.

To buy the cut file for these foil fish visit My Etsy Store

Gummy Worm Take Home Gifts

My sister had Baby’s newborn pictures done in this vintage bait bucket that her husband had and we thought it would be a perfect addition and decided to put the gummy worm take home gifts inside and I think it looked AWESOME! We went to Bulk Barn and got gummy worms and plastic bags to put them in and tied them up with twine (which really added to the fishing look!). I designed the tags in Illustrator and then constructed them in stages.

 

 

First the Cricut drew the words on with the black pen and cut out the red including the holes for the string to attach them to the bag.

Then the Cricut drew the Thank You! on the white card stock and cut the circles out.

I then glued them together using a glue stick. We made about 40 so that everyone invited would have one to take home.

We also wanted to have a sign that would make sure people didn’t forget to take the worms home with them. I cut these out of two pieces of 8.5″x11″ red card stock and one 8.5″x11″ piece of white. The “Please Take  NE” is drawn on by the Cricut using a red pen and the bobber for the “O” is cut out of red and white card stock and it is all glued together.

To Buy the Bobber Tag Cut Files visit My Etsy Store

 

Bobber Banner

My sister had found another really cute idea to have each milestone month picture hung in a banner style. I used the same bobber design from the tags and just added the numbers and the word Months in Cricut Design Space.

I used the same process as the tags for the gummy worms. The Cricut drew the word “Months” on with black pen and then cut out the red bobbers. I did forget to add the holes for the string we had to add those with a hole punch after the fact but they can be easily added. We decided to make the numbers smaller than the above picture in Design Space. We cut one for 0, 3 Months, 6 Months, 9 Months, and 12 Months but she added more pictures. She had professional photoshoots for each of those months so there were lots of pictures to choose from.

To buy the cut files for this Bobber Banner visit My Etsy Store

Direction Signs

We made the direction signs like the one’s in the Pinterest board to help direct guests to the party however we didn’t get any pictures of them. They were quite honestly the last thing we did so they were a little bit sloppy. I have no way to prove that HA HA HA as I have no photo proof that they even exist!

O-Fish-Ally One Onesie

 

My sister had a local friend make a custom onesie for Baby Boy to wear that said “O “Fish” ally One” SO cute! Look at that FACE! It is iron on and totally added to the theme of the party.

Banner

I designed this banner in Illustrator for the big day. We originally were going to print it on actual banner material but opted for a large paper material. We had this printed at our family’s sign shop but you can likely have this printed at Staples or a local printing place for a reasonable price if you wanted to do something like this yourself.

FOOD:

We had fun fishing themed food for the party so I made fun tags with the Cricut for the dishes. I just used a stock shape from the Design Space and the machine used the pens to draw on the names of each dish and I glued them together.

Cricut is Easy as 123
 
Seaweed Dip

This one is SO easy! It is a Summer Fresh store bought spinach dip that we called Seaweed Dip. We served this with crackers and tortilla chips

Trophy Fish Veggie Tray

Originally the Pinterest post we were inspired by had the veggies organized in the shape of a fish. On the day of it was decided to just serve them on a fish shaped “Trophy Fish” dish. The Veggies were served with a dill dip.

Fish And Chips

“Fish and Chips” are a classic Pinterest post. As I will show in another post I have planned “Pirate Half Birthday Party” I will explain that I mixed the Goldfish Crackers with the chips and it didn’t go over well. No one ate them so we decided to keep them separate for this party. The kids love the goldfish crackers and I personally LOOOOOVE (beyond love obsessed might be a better word) the rippled Lay’s Cheddar and Sour Cream chips.

Catch of the Day

More Veggies also served on a fish platter. Originally we were going to use this sign for the fruit salad in the waffle cones but that was another dish that got altered the day of for ease of serving. The fruit was just cut up and served on a plane serving platter without the cones.

Mini Crab Sandwiches

The Mini Crabs were SO fun! Mini croissant sandwiches with blueberry eyes. Blueberries are Baby’s favourite so we decided to use those instead of olives like the Pinterest post. The sandwiches were egg salad and ham & cheese.

This party was a LOT of fun to plan! If you have any questions about our planning or want some tips on how to throw a party like this of your own PLEASE don’t hesitate to contact me anyway you see fit! Instagram, Facebook, or email!

I am working on getting all of these cut files put together in a package. If you are interested in buying one or all of them please check out my Etsy page as I hope to have them posted ASAP!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share with your friends and family! Pin IT, Like IT on Facebook, email IT to your relatives, or whatever gets the word out! Also please subscribe to my email updates, that way you will stay in the loop of what is coming to the blog!
Thank you for your support and time! XO Meg

Stay Tuned Later Today…

My Blogging Face (and hiding a pimple face!!)

I AM back after a long (heck I’ll even say SUPER long) break. Sickness, holidays, new year, more sickness and NOW multiple NO bus days at school. I promise it was worth the wait! I have a good post coming your way later today (maybe tonight depending on how the baby naps!)

Thanks for reading and sticking it out with me… means the world to me!

So Today I Eat Baloney

Full Disclosure: I have included some affiliate links within my posts. I only recommend products I would use at home or have used in the past. Please feel free to make a purchase through these links as it won’t cost you anymore money but will help me support my blog. THANKS and happy reading!

So I’m sick… again. Seems like since my son started junior kindergarten he has been perpetually sick which leads to our house being a den of germs. I have a deep cough. I don’t “feel sick” but I have this ball of gunk way deep down in my lung that just won’t go away no matter how hard I try to hack it up. Which makes me feel even more stuck in the life rut I spoke of in an earlier post. Just can’t get ahead. I wanted to have at least three blog posts done per week and I haven’t had the ability to meet my goal. I feel so down about it.

I have had a few things going on that had me out of the house and that for sure put me behind. We have been taking a course at our local Early Years Centre on Mondays called “Making the Connection” about early baby development and parent interaction. Which is great and I have met a great group of mothers with babies the same age as my daughter. Getting out of the house is important. We also had a big family Christmas party which had a lot of build up and running around involved last week. My house has been a disaster.

I am so lucky I have a baby that is good. She naps very well at home… about an hour at a time at least three times a day. I can also set her down and she is happy to play on her tummy while I run around and do the things I need to do to survive life! Today I put her on the floor and put on my favourite playlist on slacker and went to work!

So today the heat isn’t working… again. I used my brain though and decided that it would be an ideal day to get the oven cleaned (clean oven + heat = a good day over all!)

I tried to nap while this was happening but of course I had a million things on my mind that I needed to accomplish (first and foremost my blog… so here I am typing this post) while the baby napped so onto laundry I go…

So it is clean… its not all folded but it is clean. This is the most I can hope for on a day where I feel crummy and have to take care of a 4 and a half month old. My almost four year old will be home from school soon and then I will have no chance to do anything else… so ON to getting my kitchen clean before I have to mess it up making dinner.

Dishes done… now if I’m going to get a blog post done (while breastfeeding the baby of course) I need to eat lunch and because I don’t want to cook for fear of more dishes… today I eat a baloney sandwich

I am yet again doing what I can to obtain that feeling of being accomplished and less overwhelmed day to day but tomorrow will be another day…

How do you other moms do it? What steps do you take to get ahead? What are the most valuable lessons you have learned about the day to day grind? I’m still working it out… some days I feel I’ve finally figured it out and then I get another curve ball. I’m finding that the best recipe for me is to throw on some music and do the mundain tasks first and get them over with. Today a lot of my favourite songs came on that really had a “motherhood” theme and all the feels for my kids!

SO I’m going to share my “Baloney Sandwich” songs for a Mom playlist:

You Really Got a Hold on Me – Smokey Robinson and the Miracles

Yer So Bad – Tom Petty

If You Leave Me Now – Chicago

Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie

Hey Mama – David Guetta

AND a good one to end on…

Believer – American Authors

 

I believe things will always get better… sometimes they get a little worse but then it can only go up from there! CHEERS to a positive LIFE ATTITUDE! 

So I’m sure there are many more songs I can recommend but I am just running out of time and can’t think of anymore! If you have more that should be on the list send them to me and I’ll add them here!!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share with your friends and family! Pin IT, Like IT on Facebook, email IT to your relatives, or whatever gets the word out! Also please subscribe to my email updates, that way you will stay in the loop of what is coming to the blog!
Thank you for your support and time! XO Meg

Things To Learn Before Starting Kindergarten

Full Disclosure: I have included some affiliate links within my posts. I only recommend products I would use at home or have used in the past. Please feel free to make a purchase through these links as it won’t cost you anymore money but will help me support my blog. THANKS and happy reading!

SO I realized when my son was about to turn 3 (he is a December baby) that in 9 SHORT months that he would be starting school. My baby would be a BABY when he started junior kindergarten. I was very freaked out… and PREGNANT with my second baby. It was all I could do to not cry about it… my decision to get prepared was out of fear of him being completely unprepared. There were a number of things I did to get him ready AND he WAS ready ans I am so glad that I did. I was advised by my cousin who is an Early Childhood Educator, the school supplied suggestions, as well as a lot of online research. I am in no way an expert and that being said the following article is just how I prepared my son and myself and is in no way expert advice! Use this info as you see fit!

One of our greatest resources was the Ontario Early Years Centre in our town. We are so blessed to have such a great centre for parents to lean on and learn along with their kids. I have taken a few parent programs and we were going to the centre almost weekly (sometimes up to 3 times a week) to just play and enjoy the facility. Where we live the facility has a running room (a big room with bikes and space for the kids to move even on a rainy day) as well as a family room with toys, books and craft supplies. On most days the ladies that run the centre do story time where the kids learn about sitting in a circle and listening to instruction. They also have a program called Kids First which is like a nursery school program run by some of the most wonderful ladies. Unfortunately my son never made it off the waiting list but any of the kids in his play group who got in got very OBVIOUS benefits from that program to prepare them for kindergarten.  I learned a lot about what my son needed to get prepared from the OEYC for sure. I learned that he hated sitting in a circle, he was good at play learning, he was a very visual learner and he was good at making new friends (as long as he introduced himself by his full name). I suggest if you live in Ontario that you see what the Early Years has to offer in your community. Like I said before we are SO lucky that we have such a great centre and our county helps a lot with funding.

My local OEYC Facebook page posted the video from Today’s Parent that sums up some really important things.


The most important thing (especially for the younger kids starting when they are 3) is potty training. Teachers can’t help kids in the bathroom so it is VITAL they can use the toilet, pull up their pants and wipe themselves clean. I know that we worked really hard on getting my son prepared for this before school. The Early Years Center was an excellent place to practice him going in on his own and doing it all by himself. I can say we accomplished this task before school started even if he had a few accidents at the beginning.

This next item goes “hand in hand” (pun intended) with the potty training point. Washing their hands on their own is VERY important. I know that my son has been in school for three months and is on his third round of a cold. I’m still working hard on getting him to use soap every time but he is getting better all the time. If you want to ward off the gross bugs that go along with starting school get your kids used to washing their hands before and after eating, after the washroom and anytime they touch community toys. This is hard I know with toddlers but they will catch on if you make this normal. The video above suggests getting them to sing a song while they do it to ensure they do it long enough and this has worked for my son and myself. We sing twinkle twinkle little start start to finish every time!

Another important thing you and your chid must master before school is dressing themselves. There are usually up to 30+ kids in each kindergarten class and the teacher can’t help dress each and every one of them. This is very helpful for your teacher if you can get your kid to dress themselves. If they have an accident (trust me it will happen no matter how prepared you are) you want them to be able to put on their own underwear and pants. When they get wet socks they should be able to change them on their own. When going out for recess and home at the end of the day you want them to be able to put on their own coats, gloves and shoes. Get them shoes that are velcro or have no ties so they can put them on easily.  Mabel’s Labels has a great product for helping them put on their shoes on the right feet as well as label them so they come home:

You will also want to work on recognizing their own name. You will have to label everything (and I mean EVERYTHING… three months in I’m still using labels from my Big Kaboodle Mabel’s Label pack!) now you have them labeled you need them to be able to recognize the labels. No use in having the things labeled if you have to go into the school every other week to collect it. I put cute dinosaurs on our labels to start to help him have something familiar to look for. Now he knows his first and last name and knows to bring home his things every day! The next step is to have them write their own name. They will learn this in school but you will be so much further ahead if you can have their first name mastered. We tried practicing during the summer prior to school but my son refused. He was doing it all on his own within two weeks of school so sometimes you can’t push it… sometimes the teacher will have an easier time and that is ok too.

Another very important thing to learn is how they can open and close their lunch containers. The first step is to get kid friendly containers. I talk a lot about this in my post about What To Buy For Kindergarten. I love love LOOOOOVE the Yumbox  and how easy it is for the little hands to get open and closed and it is leak proof. Teachers and classroom ECE’s have a lot of kids to support in a day and they can’t open containers for everyone. I still help my son along by opening applesauce pouches and replacing the lids, taring the wrapped items like granola bars and I even take the straw out of the rewrapped package and tape it to his juice box to help him do it on his own. This will help his teachers and the support team by freeing up that little bit of time for other kids who might actually need the help.

We faired pretty good on that list of things to learn. We got most of them mastered or nearly mastered by the end of August. My son is lucky to have a smaller class with only 20 kids and so I don’t have to worry too much about him not getting the help he might need. Some kids aren’t so lucky so if they have a parent who can help them with the above list they will be that much further ahead when they start kindergarten! Best of luck to all the moms and dads who have kids who are starting the big JK this coming fall! Time to get to work!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share with your friends and family! Pin IT, Like IT on Facebook, email IT to your relatives, or whatever gets the word out! Also please subscribe to my email updates, that way you will stay in the loop of what is coming to the blog!
Thank you for your support and time! XO Meg

Cream Soup

Print Recipe
Cream Soup
This is a hearty soup that has lots of options depending on how you are feeling. It can be vegetarian or you can add a meat stock or meat into the soup.
Cuisine Home Cooked
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 1 Hour
Servings
People
Ingredients
Cuisine Home Cooked
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 1 Hour
Servings
People
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Saute the onion and celery in the butter until tender
  2. Stir in the flour, pepper, salts and stir constantly to cook the flour
  3. Gradually add the broth
  4. Stir to mix in well. Cook the stock mixture until slightly thickened
  5. Add cooked vegetables and cook for a few minutes until incorporated
  6. Add milk and cheese. Do not boil
  7. Optional: Use a hand blender to blitz the soup
Recipe Notes

Here are a few variations I have tried (and LOVED) of this recipe:

  1. Puree the Broccoli prior to adding to the soup for a silky smoother version of this soup.
  2. Use corn and cooked ham as the "vegetable" component for a corn and ham chowder version.
  3. Try shredding the onions instead of chopping them to hide them for picky eaters
  4. Try using cooked potatoes instead of flour. This makes for a nice heartier style soup. One of my favourite variations!
  5. Use bacon fat instead of margarine and add the bacon back at the end for a bacon version
  6. Add ginger and butternut squash as your vegetable but substitute coconut milk for the milk... Mmmm
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Do You Ever Get Stuck In A Life Rut?

Do you ever get the feeling like no matter what you do you can’t catch up on LIFE? Never ending laundry, dishes, waiting for the bus to come, picking up after kids and the circle goes round and round? I have for sure found myself in this predicament currently. I feel like my wheels are spinning in place no matter how I try to get ahead.

I wonder if it is just this time of year. That no mans land between summer and winter called autumn where winter routines haven’t kicked in and the change in time affects everyone to varying degrees. Sleep isn’t what it was in August and the weather is just BLAH to say the least. Things just seem to keep ticking on like we are just going through the motions. I feel this hardcore today and for the last week. I’m not feeling depressed just UNACCOMPLISHED and underwhelmed at the same time.

I want to get so much done with my limited free time but I feel like that free time is getting eaten up with the day to day things that never seem to stay DONE! I would LOVE some ideas you have out there in the world on how to get past these things. This is one of those rare blog posts where I don’t have a solution and DARE not give a gimmicky made up solution either. I want to hear from you!

So this is the time in the post where I’m going to go through all the ways you can contact me!

INSTAGRAM: I use Instagram quite often if not every day. Lately I feel like I haven’t even had time to do that! NONE the less you can contact me there @meganplainandtall Please follow me even if you don’t need to contact me. I’m always up for sharing fun photos and not so fun ones like the one above!

EMAIL: You can email me anytime! I am really good at getting back to emails as they come right to my pocket computer (AKA my phone ha ha ha) and love feedback and blog ideas so send what you may!

CONTACT FORM: Oh yes… I have one of those! If you don’t want to leave my site (and why would you want to right?) you can zip on over there to the Contact Me page!

FACEBOOK PAGE: This is in the works… I will update this post when it is ready so you can obviously just click through… One of the things I want to be done but can’t get to until I have fed, bathed, put the kids to bed and all the many other life chores are complete… Check back for that!

PINTEREST: If you are over at Pinterest more than anywhere else… I’m there too! Message me or follow me if you want! @meganplainNtall

NEWSLETTER: I have a newsletter! You can sign up to and get all the site updates on the regular HERE! Do it. For Me? So I feel like I have gotten something done today?

GOOD luck all with getting YOUR life stuff done… when you do… let me know how you did it!

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share with your friends and family! Pin IT, Like IT on Facebook, email IT to your relatives, or whatever gets the word out! Also please subscribe to my email updates, that way you will stay in the loop of what is coming to the blog!
Thank you for your support and time! XO Meg

My First Birth Story

Full Disclosure: I have included some affiliate links within my posts. I only recommend products I would use at home or have used in the past. Please feel free to make a purchase through these links as it won’t cost you anymore money but will help me support my blog. THANKS and happy reading!

So I guess it is finally time to do a post about MY FIRST BIRTH STORY. I know a lot of people enjoy reading all the details of how a special little baby came into the world… So here goes:

So I had just turned 29 years old and started thinking about how the next birthday coming around for me was going to be my 30th. This made me think that if I was going to have a baby I had better start to seriously think about it. I had been laid off from my job (which I didn’t love anyway) the Christmas prior to my 29th birthday and that spring started to discuss seriously about getting pregnant with my husband. We hd been together for 9 years and married for 2 so it wasn’t an outrageous thing to talk about. My husband was on board and we started trying in March of 2013 and to my surprise we got pregnant pretty well right away. We can’t be sure but we think he was conceived while we were on a March Break trip to Myrtle Beach SC. My original due date was January 10 2014. So began my first experience with being pregnant.

So this magical journey of being pregnant started out PRETTY rough. I had extreme morning sickness (I liked to call it ALL DAY sickness) from morning until night, bedtime started being 5:30pm some nights, for the first 15 weeks. I would say the first trimester was my least favourite time in my entire life. The second trimester I started to feel less sick and had a pretty easy time. The third trimester was very uncomfortable. I had a very long baby inside me that had a knee or a foot in my ribcage at all times. I can say honestly I didn’t LOVE being pregnant but I enjoyed the experience of learning what it was all about.

Some of the books I read included:

What to Expect When You’re Expecting is a GREAT book that walks you through pregnancy. My mistake was putting it on my Kobo and syncing it to my Facebook for all to see. I got a message from one of my husbands cousins asking if I was pregnant and I was horrified LOL I immediately took down all my Kobo settings ha ha ha. This book I highly recommend! It is a great gift to a friend who is pregnant for the first time.

Mommy IQ: The Complete Guide to Pregnancy by Rosie Pope was another book I read and LOVED during my first time pregnancy. She is very knowledgeable and I had watched her show Pregnant In Heels and enjoyed her British ways. I enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who is pregnant.

One THING I highly recommend if you are pregnant or planning to be:

The Jolly Jumper Mama Sleep EZ Body Pillow was a life saver and ABSOLUTELY worth the money. I used this sucker for both my pregnancies and I wouldn’t be able to sleep if I didn’t. I was so grumpy as I was getting less and less sleep and this was a life saver!

I was originally due January 10th but when I had my ultrasound the tech changed the date to December 27th 2013. I really wanted a January baby. December babies are the youngest in their classes and a baby born at the end of the month has to share his/her birthday with Christmas. My doctor was planning on being on holidays during the Christmas season so he agreed to leave me unchecked while he was away to hope to stretch out the date until January.

I worked up until the last day of work before the Christmas season. Everyone made the holiday plans local so I didn’t have to travel. My mother in law came for a few days and left Christmas day. I was so tired I decided to leave the dishes until Boxing day, ate a turkey sandwich and went to bed early as I was exhausted. Above is the last picture of me before the big event lol a little blurry but real lol. I woke up about midnight on Boxing Day with my first contraction. I wasn’t sure I was actually in labour, I thought for sure they had to be WAY more intense and if I went to the hospital they would send me home. I went into the spare bedroom and laid down to try and go back to sleep. I also used my phone to start timing the contractions… it didn’t take long for me to realize they were about 5 minutes apart. I called the hospital and the nurse in the maternity ward told me to have a hot shower and then head in. I took this advice. Then I went and woke up my husband. It was about 3am at this point and I thought for sure we would still be sent home or have HOURS and hours of labour to deal with so I wasn’t anxious or in any sort of rush. My husband sprung up and we jumped in the car. It was a brutal snow storm so it took us a slow go to get to the hospital which is normally a 25 minute drive. We got to the hospital safe and sound about 4am.

My first question was “When can I get drugs?” the nurse checked me and said “Oh you are already 8.5 cm dilated so you are too far along.” I couldn’t believe it. This meant I would be doing it naturally. I laid on my right side for an hour and progressed quickly. My doctor was on holiday so I had the doctor on call deliver my baby.   I was pushing by 6amI also did get an episiotomy to help with the delivery. My beautiful baby boy was born at 7:05am. He was an amazing 7lbs 1oz and 21inches long. AND I WAS IN LOVE. We had to call my mother in law to drive back the two hours and all my family was up north at the cottage. They all came back to meet the bundle of joy we had on Boxing Day 2013.

I learned that it IS possible to give birth without drugs. If I did it anyone can. Not everyone is as lucky as I am with a 7 hour start to finish labour and delivery but women are strong. You are stronger than you think but that doesn’t mean you CAN’T have the epidural. I went in wanting to have it but wasn’t able to get it. Choose a birth plan that suits you and if you have to change your plan during the event don’t worry Mama once you have that baby in your arms you won’t have time to regret the things you did or didn’t do… all that matters is your baby is healthy and you are happy. I know I was.

Writing this post brought up ideas for other posts… the days and weeks after having a brand new baby for the first time was a whole other learning experience. Let me know if you have questions or ideas you want me to write about.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share with your friends and family! Pin IT, Like IT on Facebook, email IT to your relatives, or whatever gets the word out! Also please subscribe to my email updates, that way you will stay in the loop of what is coming to the blog!
Thank you for your support and time! XO Meg

Things To Buy For a First Time Kindergarten Student

Full Disclosure: I have included some affiliate links within my posts. I only recommend products I would use at home or have used in the past. Please feel free to make a purchase through these links as it won’t cost you anymore money but will help me support my blog. THANKS and happy reading!

My boy and his friend checking out their new school

So MY SON started Kindergarten in September. I had a very VERY mixed bag of emotions leading up to that life change. With a 2 month old baby I was looking forward to some one on one time with my girl but on the flip side he was my first baby starting school at 3 and a half and I never really was away from him. After he was born I had such an internal shift I never went back to work full time. When he turned One Years Old and it was time for me to go back to work I started to freak out. I couldn’t bring myself to put him in any sort of daycare SO I started one of my own. For a whole year I did home daycare. I loved it. Within that year though we had downsized from a house to an apartment and doing daycare just wasn’t feasible anymore. About his second birthday I got a part time job cleaning in the evenings so I could be with him everyday. That year was great. We did toddler music class, swimming, play dates with play group and all sorts of fun stuff every day. When it was time for him to go every day ALL day I felt a little bit lost and a LOT sad.

 

Waiting for the School bus on the first day

 

ME crying like a blubbering idiot after he got on the bus… I took this to remind me in July how I felt when I left for the first time!

I am a planner and a list maker and I got on top of things in April in preparation for September. I didn’t want to have to go in August to and spend a bunch of money in one big shot. I knew there would be a new baby coming in July so money was going to be tight! So here is my list of what I needed to get, what I got, and my quick review on each item. I hope this helps some moms who have kids who leave to start school for the first time next September! This list will also work for those sending kids to a nursery school or pre-school program as well!

Here Is What You Need:

A Good Quality Backpack:

I did a lot of research on which backpack to get my little man for the big transition. I eventually settled on the Lands End back pack. I decided on this for a few reasons. The main reason was these bags have a lifetime warranty. If my kid drags this bag on the ground all the way from the bus stop to school and it breaks they will replace it no problem. This is HUGE value for me. I have a rough and tumble child so I think its best to cover these bases! They have a great chart for measuring the size of the bag to make sure they will fit your child before you order. I also ordered the previous years design so I saved a substantial amount of money on a great quality bag. I went with the medium size for my guy and its a bit big but I’m hoping to get at least two years out of this bag. So far its needed very little cleaning and has stood the test of a 3 and a half year old starting school and taking the bus on his own.

A Good Quality Lunch Bag:

This is the lunch bag that I decided to go with. It is a large bag that has the ice pack built into it. This was a bonus for me as I see it as one less thing for my kid to loose at school. With the ice pack built in his lunch and snacks will stay cold whether he likes it or not! I did some research to see if I could find a lunch bag that will fit a yumbox (see below) because I had decided early on that I was getting him one for his lunch. Its also a fun pattern and easy to open and close for little hands. It has a zipper but also velcro on the flap. While writing this post I came across this other bag from the same company:

I bought this bag today to try out and see if its a good second option for when the other bag is messy or he doesn’t need to take as much to school. If you want a review on this bag let me know and I’ll do that!

Easy Open and Close Containers For Lunch:

So the word is OUT and a Yumbox is the way to go. The best part about this container is its easy to open AND close for little kids AND adults. The next best part about this product is the leakproof design. The lid has a silicon that suctions to the tray making it leakproof (as long as its closed correctly). You can put liquid or things like yogurt or salad dressing in the tray and it won’t seep into the other compartments. In the picture above I put yogurt and dressing in for dipping. Each compartment is also conveniently labeled so you can give the appropriate amount of each food group. On the right is Protein (I put chicken in this one), the top is Dairy (I put vanilla yogurt with honey in) then top right is Fruit (apple slices of course) and the bottom is Vegetables (cucumbers always go over good at our house) the big compartment in the middle is for Grains (a bowtie pasta salad with Italian dressing and peppers). I bought two of these containers, one in blue and one in green. I ordered these from Well.ca and I warn you they are a bit pricey but in my opinion TOTALLY worth the price. After school started I went to a local shop and bought a snack size version:

This one only has 3 compartments and no labels. It is about half the size of the regular one. This one pictured I put in some Honey Dew melon, gummy candy in the middle and home made nut free trail mix on the right. There are two other sizes of yumbox so you will be able to find one that is right for you and your kids. The hard part is sometimes finding them as they sell out quickly!

Labels for EVERYTHING:

Big Kaboodle™ Label Pack
So now you are sending your kid to school with all this stuff its probably for the best that you send it all with labels on it.  I HIGHLY recommend Mabel’s Labels I was told by a friend they were the best and they really ARE. I use them on everything. My son’s clothes, his lunch bag, his yumbox, his boots, his shoes, his coat… EVERYTHING. They withstand the dishwasher and the laundry so they are high quality. I also tried the iron on labels and put them in his clothes including his underwear. I got the Big Kaboodle™ Label Pack and still have tons of the labels left over so anything that needs replaced or new labels I’m still covered… best value in my opinion!

Easy Open Thermos or Insulated Food Jar:

For the winter months I thought my son would want a warm lunch on occasion. This is the “thermos” I bought him at Walmart. I put a label on both the lid and the metal container so both will come back home at the end of the day. The reason I picked this one instead of a fancy one is simple… I took him to the store and asked him to try and open a few and this was THE ONLY one he could open and close himself. It has a great kid friendly lid that is easy to get on and off.

Easy Open Water or Juice Bottle:

I send juice boxes to school but it is always a good idea to send a water bottle as well. Some days I even fill the bottle with milk so he gets an extra serving of milk. I like this bottle for a few reasons. One is its really easy to clean. Inside the lid is two separate spouts that are removable but stay attached to the bottle. This insures you aren’t getting any mold build up. I always clean mine in the dishwasher and it has lasted a long time. Again I put labels on the lid and the bottle just incase busy hands take the bottle apart. I got this one at Walmart as well but you can also get them from the Contigo site.

Easy On and Off Pants:

They start kindergarten so young now a days. I started when I was 5 years old and my son started at 3 and a half! That being said he was only potty trained for less than a year when he started. It was essential that I sent him in pants that didn’t have buttons or zippers or we would have been in big trouble! Carters and OshKosh have a great selection of pull on pants that are stylish and practical. I also really love the Gap pants as well because they have track pants and other styles that are pull on with or without a draw string.

Shoes:

You will need a good pair of Indoor and Outdoor shoes (and boots in the winter months). I didn’t put any recommendations here as this totally depends on what your child likes and or has already. Both pairs of my son’s shoes have velcro straps for him to do himself as he is not yet able to tie laces. Get what fits and you like. That is the main thing… you both have to like the shoes they wear! As far as boots go I HIGHLY recommend Boggs although they can be very pricey they keep their feet warm and are waterproof. I always splurge in this department and get my son Boggs.

YOUR BIG GIRL PANTS:

Here I am waiting on that first day for the bus to drop him back at home. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and we all survived. You have to put on that brave face for your kid so that they will not be afraid or timid when it comes to school. I didn’t start crying until my son was out of site and really now he loves school. He doesn’t want to miss a day and I’m not sure if its because I was brave for him or if my big girl pants had anything at all to do with it. In the end we all have had a good school experience and everyone deserves that. I hope that you manage and don’t have too much heart break when it comes to starting school.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share with your friends and family! Pin IT, Like IT on Facebook, email IT to your relatives, or whatever gets the word out! Also please subscribe to my email updates! That way you will stay in the loop of what is coming to the blog!
Thank you for your support and time! XO Meg

Raffi

Full Disclosure: I have included some affiliate links within my posts. I only recommend products I would use at home or have used in the past. Please feel free to make a purchase through these links as it won’t cost you anymore money but will help me support my blog. THANKS and happy reading!

Absolutley NOTHING makes me more nostalgic than listening to songs sung by Raffi. I come from a time when Sharon, Lois and Bram, Fred Penner, and Raffi were the norm for entertainment for kids. Singing songs and being silly was one of the biggest parts of my childhood that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. We loved putting on the cassette tapes and dancing around the living room and singing every word like there was no tomorrow! Even still today when I am brushing my teeth I catch myself singing this:

 

It can drive my son nuts because he has never really been exposed to LIVE video of Raffi. When I ran day care from my house I played Raffi all day! They were mere babies then and didn’t quite get why I loved it so much. Now that my son is almost 4 (yes a tear just fell from my eye) I think it is the perfect time to reintroduce him to this timeless children’s music!

Although I can’t say for sure exactly WHY kids like Raffi I know that it resinates. He has this way about the songs that just get everyone involved. I never saw him live myself but I would take my children to a concert in a heartbeat. These days it is hard to get into a Raffi concert. I think because of the generation of parents now are the kids who were in love with him as babes themselves. I will try to get tickets of course the next time he is in my area!

I still know ALL the words to songs like:

I know watching him play that acoustic guitar also makes me wish I had stuck with my guitar playing. I hope that someday my son wants to play and learn!

If you want to buy the MUST have Raffi to get your kids to LOVE Raffi here are a few suggestions:

The best of Raffi includes Baby Beluga, Banaphone, Wheels on the Bus and is a great starter! There really is no doubt you and your kids will love this one!

The Singable Songs collection is the album I remember and love when I was a kid. The More We Get Together is a classic and makes me think of being 6 with chocolate milk and cookies on the table while we all sing and dance around together. Down by the Bay was a song we used to sing at girl guides and still makes me laugh.  The other classics include, Brush your Teeth, Must be Santa and Mr. Sun.

I hope that if you LOVED Raffi as a kid you will introduce him to your kids. Take your kids back to the wholesome 80’s and 90’s when we loved what we loved even if you can’t show them what cassette tapes are I’m sure they will appreciate the time spent indulging in something WE loved too.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Please share with your friends and family! Pin IT, Like IT on Facebook, email IT to your relatives, or whatever gets the word out! Also please subscribe to my email updates! That way you will stay in the loop of what is coming to the blog!
Thank you for your support and time! XO Meg