Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Kids to do list: Dartmouth North Outdoor Library

This post is sponsored by TD Bank and the #TDCommonGround project, revitalizing over 150 community green spaces in celebration of Canadas 150th birthday.

Read more on the project - here
And see more on the Dartmouth North makeover - here (the before photos are amazing to see once you've enjoyed the new space, what a difference!)

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

I was thrilled when we were invited to tour the new outdoor library, located at 105 Highfield Drive, its close to home and feels central to most any part of HRM.

My first thought was "how does an outdoor library work??"
A single rack of books in a field sounded like a great idea to me... but boy, was I shocked when we arrived and I realized this was a complete library: from books, blocks and computer screens.

But the big (beautiful) surprise is that one wall in the building completely opens up to reveal a gorgeous patio, complete with table/chairs and power sources. (phone charger anyone??)

The makeover then continues outside to unveil a massive play structure made of climbing ropes, rubber slides and beautiful wooden seats, seesaw and crawl through.

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

The kids were in love, they're little social butterflies and so enjoy this style of mingling but most kid-friendly days like this come with a price tag.
But not the outdoor library, it is completely FREE.

They also have free scheduled programming that changes week to week -yoga, puppet theatre, cooking, book club, arts and crafts. I will link these below and I've posted a photo for you, if you hover over the photo you can pin it to Pinterest so you'll be reminded - what, where, when!

Beyond that, its a space for both parent and child.
I love a good playground adventure but that usually leaves me sitting on the sidelines, on a tiny wooden plank (you know the ones that enclose a playground structure but only wide enough for half your bum lol).

The outdoor library patio is close enough to the play structure that I can comfortably sit in a chair on the shaded deck, watching Elliott run and play.

Sometimes having a 3 year age gap between the kids means Elliott has to miss out, he will have to 'age down' so Noelle can have a chance to play but at the library Noelle can be right beside me reading books, playing blocks while Elliott plays with the 'big' kids, his "friends".
("That's my friends, they're my friend's mom! - I hear this about every kid Elliott meets, ever.)

I can take my laptop, maybe get some blogging done. Sometimes I just need a quiet space to write down notes, calendar dates, diary entries but its impossible to do at home, with the kids begging me for "whats next???"
So I love the ease of the patio, not to mention nearby bathrooms and activities galore.

I met with two of the most lovely librarians: Carla and Kim.
They're so sweet and willing to help you with anything/challenge you to a game of oversized connect four.

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

This is a personal preference but I LOVE the wood chip base, you have no idea how much work it is to keep tiny rocks out of Noelle's mouth at most other playgrounds. It is a full-time job! 

The wood chips are squishy and safe for all the climbers plus Noelle didn't think to put a single one near her mouth. That alone is enough to keep me coming back!

Click here to see the list of upcoming events at Dartmouth North Outdoor Library
Click here to learn how to get a library card - FREE
(I spoke to the ladies about signing up the kids and they said both Elliott and Noelle could get their own card. Any age, any time!)
Click here to learn about TD Summer Reading Club and find a club near you

I want to know what you think!
Have you been to the outdoor library yet??

I feel like it would be a great spot to have a date with my girlfriends.
We are always making excuses that there is not enough time to get together, with kids/schedules/budgets, we're always on different pages.
Since this is an all-ages club, with flexible hours and (say it again for the people in the back!) FREE!
It's the best of all worlds.

Don't forget to pin these if you want to save the dates/times and share this blog post so word gets around!

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Halifax public library, outdoor library, free things to do with kids, HRM

Monday, 9 July 2018

Massive Monster Mayhem = Monster sized FUN!

*This post is in Partnership with Massive Monster Mayhem 
All opinions are my own and it goes without saying, genuine.

Guess who went to Monster Jam yesterday?!
Yup, it was us.

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

The show was amazing and our favourite of the day, by far, was Cynthia Gauthier (click).

She was the donut queen, she's Canadian and she drives the cutest Dalmatian dog (Monster Mutt) decked out truck!

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

Uncle Jac came with but when I sent this photo to my sister she thought a stranger was thumbs up photo bombing us! ^

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

The food was fab, the crowd was wild and the only complaint of the day was the weather was TOO nice! If you can call that a complaint, I don't know but I know I walked away with a nice shade of tan (burn lol)!

After all that time in the sun, we were more than happy to snuggle in on the couch and watch a family-friendly program - Massive Monster Mayhem.

You guys know, Elliott LOVES monsters vs good guys.
He lives for shows like this, so I was not surprised when he was super into it and wanting more after we finished our sneak preview episode.

I'll break it down for you in case you haven't seen it: action-packed, comedy, sci-fi, real kids, athletic challenges, monster superstars!

 It's exciting and funny, I love the hosts and they will seem very familiar to us adults, I think so anyway!
You'll have to watch the show yourself to see what I'm talking about.

New Episodes will be available, Sundays at 4:30pm on Family Channels CHRGD
(check your local listings!)

monster jam, massive monster mayhem, family channel,

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Win 4 Monster Jam Tickets!

Disclosure: We received free tickets to this event and free tickets for one lucky winner. 
This does not sway my opinion nor change my voice. 

Have you ever attended Monster Jam?

We have!
And it is an awesome, entertaining, family/community bonding experience.
"Bonding experience? "

It is the most fun, bonding, community feel event we've ever been to.
You're squishing onto bleachers with strangers, there's cheering, booing, snacking...
It's just an all-around good time.

Not only are we attending this year but I've Partnered with Monster Jam to giveaway 4 tickets to one lucky winner!

Because we attended last year, I already had photos I could have posted in this blog post and carried on about my day.

BUT, because I am a procrastinating perfectionist and felt like I needed to show you all the monster truck toys Elliott accumulated after seeing Monster Jam last year... I snapped some fresh pics with both the kids.

See both new and old photos below and scroll to the end to enter the giveaway!

Noelle's face, lol.
She was perfectly happy but I think the sun was in her eyes.

Monster Jam 2017 ^

The 2017 show was in late May so it was a bit chilly and I was still expecting with Noelle. I swear she must have known what was going on from within the womb because let me tell you, this show is LOUD.

I thought my friend Heidi did an amazing job of rounding up what you need to know about MJ, in her blog post she goes into detail AND she is giving away 4 tickets as well!

So please go read her post here, click here! for some additional info but as far as what I know from last year, you WILL need ear protection (we were sooo naive last year and a kind couple behind us gave these ear plugs to Elliott before we went to buy him some because we naively did not bring any) and this may not be as big of an issue this year because the show is in July but a sweater comes in handy (bleachers = cold butt!).

My sweet little almost 3 year old! ^

The show is fun for all ages and this year is looking like a good one:

Monster Jam, the most action-packed live event on four wheels where world-class drivers compete in front of capacity crowds in racing, 2 wheel skills challenge and freestyle competitions, is coming to Scotia Speedworld for two HUGE shows from July 7 to July 8.

The 4 tickets I have to giveaway are for the show on Sunday, July 8th, 2018 at 1pm
The event is held at Scotia Speed World, 150 Sky Blvd Halifax NS B3B 1L3
(Tickets will be made available for pickup at Box Office on show day)

The contest closes Thursday, July 5th, 2018, 12 AM 
One winner will be contacted and if no reply is received within 24 hours, we will move onto another winner chosen at random

Thank you so much for entering, now good luck and see you at Monster Jam 2018!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Wednesday, 13 June 2018

For the dad who has it all, Father’s Day for under $20 - Plus a giveaway!

What do you get Dad/hubby?
I have no freaking clue!
I don't really like shopping for either because well, it's not that they're picky...
it's the opposite!

They're so un-fussy they arent really impressed with anything! lol

Not to mention my dads birthday falls RIGHT ON or next to Fathers Day every single year.
How do calendars work??
Shouldn't his birthday be rotating??
Why does it seem to line up every. freaking. year!
Well, that's what gift cards are for! 

A safe bet for Nick is clothing, even though he desperately wants the Super Nintendo revival... Yeah he really, really wants it and I feel bad but I cannot take the kids to the store at 5 am and push people out of the way for a Nintendo he will probably play once a year.

Look, if they make them more readily available (preferably online orders!) I will be ALL OVER it but until then... sorry Nicky Bear.

 Not a Super Nintendo but equally as cute, we did get him this Old Navy Super dad T.
Which sadly I cannot find in stock but I do see some super cute Daddy and me options -Linked here! clicking click! non spon just cute!

Then I stopped by Walmart and picked up these cards for Nick (above) and my Dad (below)

Then came the simplest but if I may say, CUTEST idea ever!
A little SuperDAD hand and footprint DIY.
I have so much scrapbooking supplies this cost me $0.
I just popped it into an old frame and voila!

So what do you normally do for Father's Day??
Nick does so much for all of the 'mom' holidays and I do feel a little guilty that I'm never able to return the gesture but seriously, what do you get for the guy who says he doesn't need anything?!?

If you let me know down below >>>>>>>>
You will be entered to win this super cool 'Man's Stuff' Man Can!
Supplied by Farley Co

All you have to do is enter as many ways as you please, below >

This contest is only open to my Canadian friends as per shipping restrictions.
Quick closing on June 17th, 2018 so you can surprise 'dad' with the good news!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thursday, 10 May 2018

So, you haven’t lost the baby weight...

Well, who ****ing cares?!

(I don't know how to get through this without cursing so bear with me)
so you haven't lost the baby weight

Oh, I will tell you who cares...

Denise from across the street who has birthed 12 kids and "Bounced right back every time! All it took was breastfeeding."

Mike from your work who is single and childless but feels knowledgeable in commenting "You've still got a while to go before you get that pre-baby body eh?"

Your Aunt Beatrix who knew you when "you were always such a thin child/teen, I guess those days are behind you!"

Some John Smith on the internet who literally lives half a world away, knows NOTHING about your life, pregnancy, birth experience, health issues, work, kids, etc. but knows "bouncing back is not that hard, stop being a lazy cow, put down the burger and hit up a gym every once and a while!"

so you haven't lost the baby weight

Then there's the subtle shame and expectations we as a culture put on moms even before they've given birth, experienced parenting or in some cases even been pregnant.

Like this Pregnancy journal that I got for my Pregnancy with Noelle...

so you haven't lost the baby weight

There are a few Pregnancy journal options out there, I had one with Elliott and it was awesome. I remember every little kick and doctors appointment because I kept it in the journal.

With Noelle, I wasn't as organized, second child, sorry Noelle.
So, I went back to fill in the blanks last week and this was the BS I came face to face with.

Honestly, what the actual F?!

This ain't my first rodeo so I knew all the ways my body was about to change and I'm not saying its something you should be ignorant to because trust me, your body WILL change.

But am I going to get fat?
Things I miss about my old body?

This is the loaded bullshit that gets women all messed up in the head.
Instead of embracing this time in their lives where they have a beautiful round bouncing belly full of kicks and flips, a nursery to decorate, a lot of sleep to squish in before baby arrives.

Women are already watching the scale, counting every pound that jumps up and stressing about how hard that's going to be to lose once the baby is here.

Then they're running out of the house at 6 weeks postpartum hitting the elliptical like a workhorse, avoiding bathing suits at every cost and trolling TMZ for before and afters of celeb mothers who were back down to their pre-pregnancy weight within 4.2 hours of birth.


The fact that anyone dares to look at a new mom probably not knowing anything about them, their medical history, their pregnancy history, their birth history, their home life, their work life, their hobbies, interests, hopes, fears, dreams, babies sleeping patterns...

And makes a snap judgement based on appearance and assumptions.

I'm sorry Denise, but breastfeeding only lasted 4 months for me and can actually cause the opposite effect in some women, where you gain weight because of the hormones/food intake etc.

OK Mike, well I am a little busy right now but believe it or not I do get to the gym as much as possible. In fact, why don't you volunteer you've got some free time, right? How about you babysit and I'll hit a Zumba class or 2.

Yeah Aunt B, seems I am not the same shape and size I was at 7 or 15... probably because that was 16+ years ago. When I was a CHILD, carefree and didn't have 2 mini versions of myself hanging on either arm asking for shiz, needing food, water, playtime and poop wipes every 30 seconds.
According to my high school reunion group, I am on par with the ageing though, thanks.

John Smith, you're not worth my time.

So, I haven't lost the baby weight but you know what I do have?

A brain, that tells me the media has been pushing this "bouncing back" term on the world to create sales, drama, stress, interest, pressure, comments, shares, etc. etc.

A term that puts the birth mom in yet another position of trying to be a great mother, balancing the hormone changes, perfect body, hair, makeup, President and CEO, hobbyist, a classical pianist, volunteer on every committee.

And then feeling like a failure when they can't do all those things perfectly concurrently, feeling like you have to choose between being a great mother or being pretty or smart.

News flash!
I am a great mother, I am gorgeous, I am wicked smart and sometimes I do get all those titles on the same day, some days I don't, but I am no less of any of them. 

My brain makes me hilarious, intelligent and beautiful beyond the measure of what you see on my outer shell.

I have a strong heartbeat, that allows me to hit the gym, dance at Zumba and run (walk ;)) my first marathon 10 days from now.

I have a sense of peace, I know I am so lucky to have had 2 wonderful birthing experiences where everyone came out healthy and happy, my pregnancies leave something to be desired (I had HG!) but still I made it through (counting down literally every. single day.) and my kids were perfect.


That's right!
My 190-pound body is strong and sexy, like really sexy.
Not just "sexy for a mom" or "sexy for her weight"

I guess the point of this is that there will always be people who comment on your body.
Big, small, short, tall, wavy, curly (wait now I am describing hair types... lol)

Every person has a 'type', every person has an opinion on what the 'perfect' body is but to me its such a moot point, why bother making those types of comments and don't let people who comment like that get you down.

And this extends beyond 'baby weight', I have dealt with weight comments my whole life.
Shamed for being 'too skinny' and too big and it doesn't stop at women, I feel for the men too.

It's a major problem, it's bigger than I can/would know how to fix but I am hoping we can start a ripple effect by doing the smallest thing: love yourself.

Stop comparing, look in the mirror and pick out good things, talk about them out loud, let your kids/friends/family hear you say it, carry it with confidence.

Love your body, show off your body, show off as many different bodies as we possibly can!

*I am not immune to the comments, I have bad days where I get down, hell, I have whole years where I get down on myself! I have blog posts talking about weight, I go to the gym (mind you, I really go to get energy and it helps with mental health). I just want to change the discussion to normalizing and loving all figures!

ex: there is nothing wrong with bouncing back from a baby in 4.2 hours, there is a problem when that's all we see and when it becomes a competition to pit women against each other: 2 hours, 1 hour, 15 minutes, 25 seconds and she was pre baby weight!

I want to see different stories, different examples from all across the board.