Nintendo Switch #fivefavesfriday

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Mar 3, 2017

mommydo.ca || Nintendo Switch Mario Edition Five Faves Friday

Nintendo Switch is here!

Today is the day! It’s Launch Day for the Nintendo Switch. My son and I had the chance to test out the Switch here in Toronto. And I have to say, we were both smitten. I am not a gamer by any stretch as was evident earlier today when I stood in line to nab a console for our family. It was def a case of one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other. But I’m quite certain this is the next great family console. And here’s why.

Valentine’s Day Edition 2017 #5favesfriday

by , on
Feb 10, 2017

mommydo.com | Valentine's Day Edition #5favesfriday

A day where we celebrate love? I do have a soft spot for Vanlentine’s Day. Growing up my dad ALWAYS bought my sister and I at least one red rose and a box of Turtles. It wasn’t big or fancy or anything, but that Valentine’s Day tradition still warms by heart around this time of year.

Do you exchange gifts?

We don’t really give big gifts here for Valentine’s Day. We’re not anti-v-day or anything. But our anniversary is just around the corner, and my b-day just passed. But I still love to check out what I might like, you, know, if we WERE going to get gifts. This year I got my husband a coffee mug and a few other little sweeties. He’ll probably bring me some flowers. But if I was going to make a wish list, here are five things that caught my eye this year.

Five Faves Friday Valentine’s Day Edition

mommydo.com | Valentine's Day List #5favesfriday

Ok, here’s the list.

  1. The first one is the new drool-worthy Fuji X-A3 camera. For starters, it comes in PINK, so there’s that. I haven’t gotten to try one yet, but it lists and impressive number of features including the ability to change lenses – has wi-fi photo transfer and killer display. I can’t wait to get my hands on one to test it out. If you have one, do tell every juicy detail.
  2. Popcorn is one of my favourite foods. And now that Natrel makes Lactose-Free butter, I’ve renewed my popcorn passion in a big way. The girls at work have been talking up this Lekue popcorn popper. It folds flat and pops corn in the microwave without needing to add oil or anything. Yum.
  3. My friend Lindsay from the Penny Paper Co. makes these adorable enamel pins. She has a lovely Valentine’s Day collection (and they’re on sale right now). We bought pins for the kids’ teachers at Christmas and they were a big hit.
  4.  Have you ever owned duck boots? These remind me of when I was a kid and my sister spent all her time at the barn. I never had a pair of my own but I saw these Sperry boots and realized how much I’ve always wanted a pair of my own. In fact, I may or may not have ordered a pair of these as a Valentine’s day gift for myself.
  5. Every year, Indigo makes reading socks around Christmas time. The ones I have already are so warm and fuzzy inside. This is the first time I’ve seen PINK ones for V-day and I have to say, I’m pretty smitten.

So that’s my 5 Faves list for Valentine’s Day 2017. What’s on your list this year? Have you picked out a gift for yourself? I’d love to hear about it.

This post is solely my opinion and the topic, items and links have, in no way, been sponsored, endorsed or affiliated.

Finding Balance #TetleyFindYourBalance

by , on
Feb 3, 2017

1Finding balance

I think this is the most challenging aspect of my life, and I know I’m not alone. For me, it’s the push and pull of work and kids and keeping the household up and running. And then there is volunteering, the added complications of Alma’s syndrome. My own health, personal growth, our marriage and fun are buried under all the must-do’s. Sadly, I’ve learned you can’t sacrifice yourself for long, without consequence.

Working on it

I’m definitely working on it. Part of finding balance is trying to get out and do things just for me. It’s true that I don’t always succeed, but I try to do one thing each week. Lucky for me, I had the good fortune of receiving an invitation to an event called TEA talks put on by Tetley.

I’m 100% a tea person. In fact, one of my finding balance simple pleasures is drinking a cup of tea (while it is still hot). The sad part of this statement is that I probably only accomplish this goal about 1 in every 5 days. Another thing on my list of tools to help find balance is going to yoga. I say this like it’s a common thing. I aspire to go to yoga, but I have managed one class in 3 weeks.

So with the promise of hot tea and aspirations of going to yoga swirling in my head, TEA talks seemed like the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.

mommydo.com | finding balance Tea Talks

Tetley Tea Talks

We enjoyed a series of talks from a number of presenters including Yogi Cameron, a supermodel turned yogi who felt called to lead a more spiritual life. We also heard from a holistic chef, a doctor of eastern medicine, a Toronto wellness practitioner and more. All of these enlightening speakers had one thing in common. They were all Ayurvedic experts.

If you’re new to the idea of Ayurveda, here’s what you need to know. Developed more than 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. With rich origins in the Vedic culture of India, the word Ayurveda in Sanskrit means “science of life”. This practice teaches that holistic well-being is achieved through the balance of the mind, body and spirit.

Ayurvedic practitioners believe everything in the universe — living or not — is connected. And that to achieve good health, your mind, body, and spirit need to be in harmony with the universe. The aim of Ayurveda is to understand mind, body and spirit in relation to the universe with the aim of fulfilling human potential.

mommydo.com | finding balance Dosha

Finding my Dosha

As someone searching for well-being, looking to achieve harmony in my life and live up to my potential, this was one of the most fulfilling mornings I have spent in ages. It was very interesting to me to hear from someone who felt they had a calling to do something different. That’s a phrase I have seldom heard outside of those who have joined the clergy, but in the past few years have wondered if I am being called to a different path (more on that in the future). I loved exploring the notion of Doshas, and learning how to understand my dosha Pitta. You can find your own Dosha here.

I left with a renewed sense of why I am committed to finding balance, and some new tools to help me along that path – including the new line of Tetley Balance teas. The teas were created using the ancient wisdom of Ayruveda.  All three are quite delicious. The Pitta tea with Peppermint, Hibiscus, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Coriander, Lavender is my favourite. A close second is the Kapha tea with Ginger Root, Tulsi, Peppermint, Spearmint, Cloves, Turmeric, and Cumin.

Is balance possible?

I’m not sure I’ll ever truly achieve balance with so many things on my plate, but I believe attempting to have greater balance in my life every day is a worthwhile pursuit. With that in mind I’m off to yoga tomorrow AM. Today, I’m spending a little time writing and organizing. Then I look forward to a HOT cup of tea in the later afternoon.

My friends at Tetley wanted me to be able to bring one of my readers on the same journey, so they have generously offered some tea and other goodies to one lucky winner. Maybe we can have a cup and chat about finding balance together.

mommydo.com | finding balance giveaway

Enter the Tetley Giveaway

The giveaway is open to Canadian residents (outside of QC) over 18 years of age. The contest closes on Sunday February 12, 2017. Please read the contest entry details below, and read the full giveaway terms and conditions here. One winner will be drawn at random from eligible entries. Winner’s name and address will be provided to a third party to facilitate mailing of the prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Tetley Canada. But but all opinions in this piece are all my own and are in no way influenced by sponsorship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Kitchen with #GEMakeItSlate

by , on
Sep 8, 2016
mommydo.com| #makeitslate dream kitchen

What does your dream kitchen look like? I thought I was living with mine. But as time goes on, I’m finding the dark wood in the middle of our open concept house to be a bit of a black hole. More and more, I seem to be lusting over light grey and white kitchens – with just enough slate and black to add a heap of style without making the area feel too dark.

I threw together a quick mood board which included the new GE Slate gas stove. Not only do I love the colour, but the versatile grills on the top make it a serious cooking machine. I don’t have room for a real ‘6 burner chefs’ range but I’m pretty sure this would make all the imaginary cooking shows I imagine I’m starring in while I’m cooking, shoot to the top of the imaginary cooking show ratings in no time.

I’m also loving yellow these days. I think maybe a little extra sunshine is doing a world of good.

I’m fairly certain it’s going to be years until we can afford to do a full dream kitchen overhaul, but if I had money in the bank and time to contemplate a reno, it would certainly look very much like this.

 

mommydo.com | #makeitslate dream kitchen

 

This is definitely a high-low effort with a premium range, faucet, lighting and designer chairs. I also chose big box store cabinets, flooring and countertops, easy to order framed prints and even a DIY. But I think a dream kitchen should be at least within the realm of reality so it’s perfect for me.

Most can be ordered online too, to make project management a breeze. Enjoy!

  1. VITA Copenhagen Kitchen Island Pendant from Wayfair.co
  2. Delta TRINSIC®Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with Touch2O Technology
  3. Home Depot Arctic Fog Glass Backsplash
  4. Mineral Art Print from Minted.com
  5. Wheatland double bowl sink from Home Depot
  6. Odessa Kitchen Cabinet door in white from Home Depot
  7. Volt all weather stacking bar stools from O.co
  8. GE Slate gas convection range
  9. Benjamin Moore paint – Grey Owl
  10. Rosé s’il vous plait Art Print from Minted.com
  11. Quartz Countertop in Snowy Ibiza from Home Depot
  12. Urban Grey stained Natural Maple flooring from Home Depot
  13. Scandinavian Animal Mugs by Lia Griffith for Cricut

5 Faves Friday – Winter Style Edition

by , on
Feb 19, 2016
Five faves friday mommydo

five faves friday - winter style edition

five faves friday winter style products

 

Winter has finally landed in Toronto so it’s time to grab your favourite winter garb and enjoy the season.

  1. There’s nothing better than a turtleneck sweater for chilly Sunday afternoons. This one, from Eileen Fisher is on my wish list. With the new retail location opening soon, it might be in my closet in no time.
  2. These amazing fleecy hats are made just around the corner from my home and are available in baby, toddler and adults sizes. You can find MiniEm on Etsy.
  3. This Lululemon jacket has been on my wish list since last year. I’ve been saving up my nickels and I’m hoping maybe this is the winter this jacket comes home. I might have to take up running again to justify the purchase, but it would be worth it.
  4. Oh Sorel, my cold Canadian heart (and feet) are pining for these kicks. I love the slip-on style, colour and height. I’m pretty sure I can’t justify ANOTHER pair of Sorel’s, but…
  5. These boots are also cute, but focus on the boot cuffs. I know these are old news, but I still love how boot cuffs look, feel, keep the tops of your calves warm and create the optical illusion that I could fit those this socks in my tall boots and therefore must have very skinny calves. These are another Etsy find. I’m digging the oatmeal colour and the cable knit.

That’s it for another 5 Faves Friday. See you next week.

5 Faves Friday: Can’t buy love but…

by , on
Feb 13, 2016

five faves friday, mommydo

 

Five Faves Friday Valentine Ideas

 

So I know Valentines Day is just a couple of days away, but I thought I’d list off a few things that have been making my heart beat a little faster.

  1. This beautiful white quartz pendant from Mason Birks. Even the photo version makes my heart go pitter patter. It’s simple and stylish, and while it is pricy, it’s not astronomical.
  2. I love Starbucks. I’m not sure if words can even express how much I love to get a hot tea from Starbucks. And as a tea is less than $3, this one can suit any budget.
  3. I often get up at 5:30am to work, blog or just sit quietly before the commotion begins. These slipper socks from Indigo would be perfect for those cool, quiet moments of solitude.
  4. Setting up our new home has been a slow, slow process. After living here for 1.5 years, it’s become clear we could really use a work station on the main floor. We could tuck important papers into it and set up a laptop to work while the kids are playing nearby. A quick search found this desk, also at Indigo. I was afraid to look at the price but it wasn’t totally crazy. And it looks really sharp – ideal as the spot it would sit is front and centre in our day-to-day open concept living space.
  5. If love had no mortgage, car payments, childcare or other budget concerns, I’d love to find one of these wrapped in red tissue instead of a grocery store bouquet and some gummy candies. The new iPad Pro with keyboard and pencil. Drool. Droolie. Drool.

Five Faves Friday: Customer Service

by , on
Jan 30, 2016
5 Faves Friday Customer Service Edition

5 faves friday brand review customer service

1.

I’ve been seeing a post that praises the customer service at US online retailer Zulily on my Facebook page. Their customer service sounds amazing. But I hate for people to think that it’s out of this world. I’ve encountered 5 brands with stand-out customer service over the past 6 months or so, and I’d love to spread some love to all of them.

  1. I wrote this past year about how much I love my Zoku pops maker. Shortly after that, I went to take it from the cupboard and something had happened to it. Something bad. It looked like whatever it has inside the casing that amplifies the freezing had expanded and escaped from the cover. I sent them a tweet with a photo showing them what happened and asking how to dispose of it.  They got back to me very quickly and let me know they’d send me a new one. I told them the warranty had likely passed but they said it was no problem. They took my info and a new one arrived shortly after. Sweet!
  2. Well.ca has customer service policy that is very similar to the one that has made Zulily famous. I sent a note asking if I could exchange a gift that was purchased for one of the kids and was a double. (I had the gift receipt.) The lovely customer service person wrote back and said it was no problem. She asked that I donate the item to charity and they would credit my account with the amount for the toy. JUST DONATE THE ONE I HAVE TO CHARITY! I hope the kids in the play area at Holland Bloorview Hospital enjoy it. Well done, well.ca.
  3. When I was making my Christmas turkey this year, I went to check the temp of the bird and my beloved OXO digital thermometer was no longer up to the task. I actually felt a wave of dread wash over me. I LOVE THAT THING. It’s not easy to find any more and I am a little bit over attached to the thing so I tweeted the OXO company to ask if they had replacement parts, or knew where I could purchase a new one. Again, I was honest that it had been a while since I bought it – no receipt, no warranty. They tweeted me back promptly and told me to call customer service who would take care of me. Indeed, customer service took down the problem, my info and purchase details (which consisted of “I may have bought it at Sears but it was a long time age”) and mailed me a brand spanking new one – no charge. I roasted a chicken to celebrate. Thank you OXO. I really appreciate it.
  4. I have a bit of a stroller problem, but one of the many I’ve accumulated, the Bumbleride Indie gets more use than most. This one transports my daughter back and forth to her special needs preschool each day. The trip involves a car ride, subway travel, a walk and a bus trip on the return leg. This stroller works HARD. Some time ago we realized it was missing a nut. It’s the one that holds the strap to lift it once folded. We let it go, then lost another nut, then the strap itself. I tweeted Bumberide to get details on purchasing a new strap and hardware (and that I should have replaced the first nut and tightened the other ages ago…before the whole strap fell off). The let me know they would send one to me and not to worry. Yes! The stroller is still under warranty, but the never asked. Now we love the stroller even more.
  5. This hop & squeak pogo jumper from Kidoozie WON Christmas. I would never have known about it if it wasn’t for the incredible owners of our neighbourhood toy shop The Swag Sisters. In this day and age it’s rare to have a store that knows just about every family that shops there. It’s even more rare to have them pull something like this out in the madness of the list checking, lego this, beanie boo that, line around the corner rush 3 days before Christmas to say “Shane would love this and it’s only $20” then proceed to give you a full demo (which includes hopping around the store because it has a 250lb weight limit). Three hops in I knew he was totally right. Add it to the counter, place it under the tree then watch as it is used for countless hours over the Christmas break by everyone who came through the door – little kids, big kids and even Nana. No batteries. No tech time. Just people bouncing all over the house – morning, noon and night. Next time you need to win a birthday or Christmas, they can help. You can shop The Swag Sisters online too.

Five Tips: Buying gifts for littles with exceptional needs

by , on
Dec 7, 2015
mommydo.com | 5 tips for buying gifts for toddlers with special needs from a Mom of a child with Williams Syndrome

It’s that time of year. Make your list. Check it twice.

Except, when one of the kids on your list has a developmental disability or other special needs, what do you get?

It’s our 3rd Christmas with Allie, and each one has been a bit of a struggle. I don’t really know what she’d like. Certainly no one else knows what she’d like. Shopping for kids with exceptionalities isn’t easy. Every child comes with a unique set of likes and watch outs – many of which the parents have never articulated. The age guides on the box are no help. And tired special needs parents often don’t really know what to tell you.

This year, I set out to make sure that I found Alma something great. I also set out to help guide friends and family shopping for Alma or for other kids that aren’t typical, to gifts the kids will love and the parents will appreciate.

Here are my 5 tips, in no particular order:

1: While no one wants therapy for Christmas, ask if there’s something the child is working on and see if you can find a toy that makes learning or using that skill fun. Alma has just started taking some independent steps, so toys that get her up and moving would be a great motivator. This Skip Hop Explore More Push Owl looks like a fab choice. It seems sturdy, she’d love the owl and it looks like a smooth push so she won’t get discouraged as she’s building this skill.

owl_no_text

2: Ask about “Watch Outs”. As an example, Allie is very “mouthie” so everything goes in. This means she’s really only safe with toys that are listed for children under 3 or have no small parts.

Giving us toys that she’ll grow into just means more to store – and stare at with disappointment that she’s not there yet. The perfect toy is one that she can use now, but can also grow with her – even if toys with small parts are never safe for her.

Alma loves animals. She makes the little sounds…she waves them around. So this toy, the Melissa and Doug Animal Rescue would be a great choice.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.46.38 PMShe can play with the little animals and make vroom-vroom sounds with the car now, and eventually use it as a shape sorter.

She would also enjoy this Janod wood hedgehog. Though the numbers are still a little beyond her grasp, she would love the bright colours and having pieces to bang together.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.52.23 PM

Other toys in this category would include blocks, a baby doll with no small accessories but outfits to change or other toys that will eventually lead to imaginative play.

3. Find out what the child likes, then figure out how to deliver in a way he or she can enjoy it. Alma’s absolute favourites are pulling things in and out of other things, listening to music and helping with chores. I had to sit down and think pretty hard about that. Not because these things aren’t abundantly clear, but because I always find myself saying “Well she likes X but…” so I inadvertently steer them away from things she’d love instead of towards them. Let the parents know you’ve heard what the child enjoys and you’ll find a way to give them something they’ll love (now) and will safely enjoy. When I allowed myself the same leeway, I found lots of things to add to Allie’s list.

Like this awesome Melissa and Doug Pretty Purse Fill and Spill. She would get hours of entertainment from it. We could take it to appointments to give her something to do and it’s cute to boot.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.23.19 AM

Then there’s the Melissa and Doug Let’s Play House kit. Not only does it have things that she can take in and out, but it will also give her realistic tools for when she’s mimicking chores.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.53.00 PM

She already has a number of musical toys so I couldn’t find one to add to her list, but she sure would appreciate someone else doing the legwork and finding something new.

4. Try and come up with something that would engage a sibling too. Allie and her brother are 3 years apart, but the gap keeps widening. I love it when she has a toy or an activity that works well for her, but her brother can enjoy too. Once they get going, they have a lot of fun together, but it’s hard to find toys that keep them both busy safely. And let’s face it, speech, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and social skills all develop faster when you’re modelling someone else. And lucky for kids with siblings, they have the best role model right in their own home.

I came across these Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Sets and was instantly intrigued. These blocks appear to be safe size-wise and would definitely capture both their attentions. Plus, it’s another toy we can take on the go. Bonus!

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.53.13 PMThis KidKraft Mega Ramp Racing Set would also score high marks with both of them. It looks stable, which is idea for little miss – her balance isn’t great so toys with a larger base give her more confidence to explore. And there’s a racing ramp, which can help satisfy her brother’s competitive nature. Is this a toy I would choose for him? No, he’s likely mostly outgrown it. But if it’s there, and she’s playing with it, I also know he wouldn’t be able to resist joining in the fun.

5. Ask what else they need. This seems like a no-brainer, but I never seem to take stock of all the little things that would make a big difference for me, and benefit Allie in the process.

Like hair clips… because she throws them out of the stroller when we’re walking along. Something like this would be amazing.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.20.59 AMShe also needs leggings. Since she’s still mostly knee walking, her tights, leggings and pants sometimes only survive 3 wears before she’s snagged holes in the knees. Love the geometric pattern on these Babylegs.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.21.19 AM

Then there’s the lunch bag that I’ve been meaning to get for a month. And if you think this is a ho-hum gift to give, you haven’t seen this soon-to-be-released Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies unicorn.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 12.23.50 AM

She also could use some new cream, and this Matter Company Substance Baby creme is my favourite baby cream but it’s kind of fancy so I rarely splurge.

Screen Shot 2015-12-07 at 2.51.52 PMWhen I sat down to really think about what Alma could use for her own good, but still be safe, that she’d really love and that maybe her brother would love too, I realized there are lots of great gifts out there if I ask the right questions and have a good think. This means there are lots of great gift ideas for any child on your list who’s needs aren’t necessarily met by reading the ages on the box.

And, when you give one, don’t watch the child, watch the parent. Because you, taking the time to ask questions, to understand their exceptional child better and find a gift the kid will love, is the greatest gift you can give them.

well-dot-ca

All the gifts featured here are available at well.ca and, with the handy Wishlist feature, I was able to compile an easy way for friends and family to find exactly what I think she’ll like or give them the inspiration they need to find something new.

5 Faves Friday: Kitchen Gadget Edition

by , on
Nov 6, 2015

5favesfriday_kitchen gadget5 Faves Friday Kitchen Gadgets KitchenAid, OXO, JosephJoseph, Chef'n and dreamfarm

We’re heading into holiday season! Which means a LOT of time in the kitchen. I truly love all the baking and cooking, but it’s so much more enjoyable with the right tools.

Four of five of these are my go-to fav’s at home  – so much so that a few are starting to show some wear.

If you’re looking for the right gadgets to get set for the holidays, these might be just what the head chef ordered.

  1. If you make meat, go into your gadget drawer. Throw out your meat thermometer. Get one of these. It’s the OXO Good Grips Chef’s Digital Leave-In Meat Thermometer. Love the OXO tools but this one is my fav. It really is awesome.
  2. It’s embarrassing to admit that I have a bit of a measuring cup/spoon problem. I have a number of sets. These ones are my go-to. They are the Chef’n® SleekStor™ 8-Piece Collapsible Measuring Cups and Spoons Set. The spoons are particularly awesome. And I love how the cups collapse to take up less space in my messy, messy kitchen drawer. You can order them in Canada from Bed, Bath and Beyond.
  3. This one is an icon. The KitchenAid Stand Mixer. If you bake and don’t have one, you should put it on your wish list. I know, it’s pricey. But it really is the gold standard. I can’t imagine making it through holiday baking, birthday parties, fundraiser cupcakes, waffle mornings and life in general without mine.
  4. I love these tools that sit up on their own and keep the goopy end off the counter. They are from JosephJoseph but I get mine at IQliving. I have a few and would love the rest of the set. I love the grips, I love how easy they are to care for and I love that they have one for every task. Excellent stocking stuffer.
  5. This last one is the product I haven’t tried but is def on my Wishlist. These Dreamfarm Clongs look awesome. This brand out of Australia has all kinds of neat stuff. I picked these because I use tongs A LOT and these look comfy to hold, seem to be the right length for tons of different kinds of dishes and they are also make to keep the goop off the counter. I hope to find them somewhere soon. Can’t wait to try them.

5 Faves Friday: Craft Beer Edition

by , on
Oct 16, 2015

5 faves friday Craft Beer

Fresh off the Blissdom craft beer tour bus, I give you 5 faves friday with the golden nectar of the gods. Three of these are local to Collingwood and delicious. The other two are close to home and are regulars both when we head out for a taste and in our fridge.

5 fav's friday Craft Beer Tour

  1. Rooster Tail Pale Ale from Northwinds Brewhouse, Collingwood. Not only is the beer delicious, the french fries at the brew pub are also top notch.
  2. Downhill Pale Ale from Collingwood Brewery is one tasty brew. The cans are also super cute and the staff at the brewery are delightful.
  3. Wheat from Sidelaunch Brewing Company is a staple at our house. The brewery is clean and very modern. Worth a stop if you’re rolling up to Blue Mountain.
  4. Maris American Pale Ale from Left Field Brewery. This is our local brewery and the staff and beer on tap are both amazing. Our family stops by for a taste and a visit every few weekends and we keep this one in our fridge too. Stop by and say hello!
  5. KLB Raspberry Wheat Beer from from Amsterdam Brewery Co. This is one of my all time favourite beer. Mmm. It’s what summer was meant to taste like.

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