Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Fall" Photos with the Family

So we've been meaning to take a trip to the park for some photos for a few days now but something always seems to come up.  Although it was a bit windy today, we decided to go anyway so we wouldn't miss out on all the gorgeous fall colours.  Here are a few photos from our trip to the park.  I am so glad we finally have a new family photo with Aleena in it.


Okay, you took my fingers out of my mouth. Now what?!

Oh, you want me to smile?!  Okay!

You mean you're going to make me sit here all by myself?

Well, oookay.
A picture is worth a thousand words.

Miracle #1
...and Miracle #2!

And welcome to the "fall" part of the evening.  Notice the huge goose egg on Connor's forehead.


Connor has progressed from pushing strollers to pushing  large boulders.  Next up, cars?!

Connor enjoyed walking through all the leaves.


Aleena's all bundled up for the walk back to the car.

Ready to go home!

There were LOTS more photos.  I just quickly cropped a few of my favourites to share.  We had a lovely evening!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Aleena's Big Race - Video Evidence!

I would edit this video for length but it was shot in HD and it would take me a very long time to figure out the program required for such a fancy format.  It's a bit shaky...not sure what Jeremy was guess is laughing.  I wasn't abandoning my baby during the race in case you are wondering why I am often out of the picture. I was trying to keep Connor happy behind me.  Just multi-tasking like us mommies of two are required to do.  I think it's safe to say that the concept of baby crawl races is kind of silly but it was entertaining.

Here's our post race photo.  Mommy loves her little girl very much!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Some Like it Hot! (Curried Pineapple Chicken)

Now that I've got your attention, welcome to my first recipe blog post!

I made one of Jeremy's favourite meals for dinner. Ironically, he's not here to eat it so I'll let him drool from afar. When it comes to cooking, I am not really one for improvisation. I enjoy trying different recipes though. In particular, I am a big fan of Janet and Greta Podleski's low fat recipe books including Looneyspoons, Crazy Plates and Eat, Shrink and Be Merry. The recipe for the meal I made tonight is from the Looneyspoons cookbook. There are several Asian-inspired recipes in their books with ingredients like ginger, low fat coconut milk, and curry.

After living in Taiwan for four years, I have come to appreciate food with a bit more punch to it. The following recipe asks for curry powder and you can determine how hot you want your food by choosing either mild, medium or hot curry powder. There is also an option to add some red pepper flakes if you really want to add some kick.

"A Curried Affair"

3 cups of chopped cooked chicken breasts
1 tbsp margarine

1 cup each chopped onions and chopped celery

1-1/2 tsp of curry powder

2 cans of reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup

1-1/2 cups of pineapple tidbits and their juice

1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp black pepper (can also add 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes if preferred)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Melt margarine in a large non-stick saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add onions, celery and curry powder. Cook and stir for 2-3 minutes, until the onions begin to soften.
  • Stir in undiluted soup, cooked chicken, pineapple tidbits (with juice), bouillon powder, cumin, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Mix well. Transfer the mixture to a medium casserole dish. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Serve over hot rice.
  • Makes 4 servings.
  • Per Serving: 459 calories, 8.1 g fat, 61.3 g carbohydrate, 32.6 g protein, 718 mg sodium, 82 mg cholesterol
  • Calories from fat: 16.3%

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Aleena's Race Report

After a good night's sleep, Aleena was excited for her first race. She knew the odds were stacked against her since she had yet to actually crawl. However, she had done plenty of visualization and hoped it would carry her through the big race. Since she was one of the younger participants in the event, her heat started off the Baby Crawl event at 1 pm this afternoon. Prior to the race, Aleena decided to go watch her brother swim as a form of pre-race relaxation. It seemed to work as she had another little cat nap before the big race.

After the trip to the swimming pool, we went to the Northgate Mall and checked in at the race registration desk. Aleena received her lane assignment: Lane 5 out of 8. Naturally, we assumed this lane assignment meant she was one of the top seeds in the heat. She gave us a big smile to show her approval.

We had a few minutes before the race so we rushed off to get her older brother some lunch to keep him occupied during the big race. We were a bit rushed taking our place at the race position but it didn't seem to affect her mood. The announcers were local TV and radio personalities: Greg Morgan and Twyla West. They introduced the racers in each lane. We took our position in Lane 5 and waited for the official race start.

We were reminded of the rules:
- No touching the baby during the race.
- You may use lures to encourage the baby but nothing can be placed on the mats.
- Babies were allowed to cross into other lanes.
- Babies were not allowed to stand or walk as this would result in disqualification.

We reminded Aleena of these rules, particularly that she was absolutely not allowed to stand or walk. She looked at us with what seemed to be a deep level of understanding.

It wasn't long before the babies took their place on the starting line.

"On your mark...get set...go!"

Aleena pushed up on the mat and stared ahead with a look of determination......for 5 minutes. That's right. She managed to push up and look forward quite happily for the 5 minute duration of the race. She was in good company. Only one of the eight babies in the race actually crawled across the mat. The most action that happened in her lane was when the winning baby decided to crawl into it and rest for a moment before scooting to the end of the mat.

The first and second place babies were to continue onto the next heat. Since no other babies actually moved, Aleena was in good shape. Her long arm reach was almost enough to push her through to the next heat. One judge was giving it to her but they were over ruled by the announcer. Jeremy felt this was rather unfair and that Aleena should have advanced based on her ending position. The baby that was awarded second place had more forward progress but crawled backward before the race ended. Either way, we are very proud of our baby girl for her efforts. She stayed awake, didn't cry and seemed quite interested in what was going on. Furthermore, if there had been an award for most drool, she was clearly the winner!

Unfortunately, I don't have any race photos to post as of yet. The camera has taken a trip to Penzance for the evening where Jeremy is helping his family get started on an addition to their house. I promise to post some evidence of this monumental race very soon. Until then, here are some pre- and post-race photos of our blossoming athlete.

Pre-Race Photo - Excited and ready to go!

Post-Race Nap

Friday, September 24, 2010

Getting rested up for the big race!

Tomorrow is Aleena's first race. We're starting her early. She's participating in the Northgate Mall's Baby Crawl. Her first heat is in the 5-6 month category. If by some miracle she gets up and starts crawling, she might have a fighting chance of winning the race and advancing to the finals.

She has been taking an odd approach to her pre-race training that I am not familiar with. For example, she has been resting a lot! I suppose this strategy could work but I expect that some push ups, legs pushes or bums ups might have been more beneficial. It's hard to reason with her though. I have tried to teach her everything I know about races but she simply looks at me, grins and coos. I am choosing to believe it's her way of telling me that it's okay and she has it under control. At this very moment, she's staring at herself in the mirror. She seems to be doing some sort of race visualization, a very effective and advanced technique for such a young racer.

Her race attire will be a short-sleeved onesie in hopes that she'll be able to somehow maneuver her body at least partially across the mat. Regardless of what transpires, we are looking forward to watching her "perform" tomorrow and we will always be proud of our baby girl.

Here are some photos of our baby girl "training".

By the way, the registration fee for the "race" is a donation to KidSport so it's all for a good cause. Each baby gets a few free gifts for participating.

Here's a link to the event poster.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Daily "Deal" Websites (Updated January 9, 2011)

Okay, it's time to come clean. My name is Trudy and I love my daily deal websites!

For those of you unfamiliar, daily deal websites are websites that post a deal a day. Most products are largely discounted and there is limited stock available. Once something has sold out, you are out of luck. Some products seem to pop up again from time to time but there are no guarantees. It's really a very clever marketing technique!

A few months ago, I discovered daily deal websites that sell baby/kids products. I'm sure there are these types of websites for all sorts of things but my focus in life happens to be babies and toddlers right now.

My personal favourites are and I check them almost every morning to see if there's anything worth buying. Yes, I realize that life as we know it will continue whether or not I nab that daily deal. I try to reason with myself and ponder the options. Do I really need it? Admittedly, there are likely few things I truly need from these websites but I sure do WANT a lot of the stinkin' cute products they keep coming up with. I mean, really, what baby doesn't look amazingly cute in a pair of Babylegs?

...or a Katelyn & Co. headband?

...and what little boy doesn't look adorable in a Taylor Joelle tie?

If you are interested in super cute baby products at great prices, I highly recommend the ones I mentioned above. Here's a list of the various sites I visit and peruse. In actuality, I have only ordered from 3 but I like to look. ..kind of like virtual window shopping. I'll include a short review of each and list a few of the items I have bought. I should also mention that some of the websites have archives of products that are still available or have become available again for whatever reason.

1) "it's not just a deal, it's a steal" - This is my favourite of them all. They offer high quality baby products and all sorts of interesting things I've never even heard of before. I know they've got the good stuff because I took a trip to our high-end baby store in Regina (Hello Baby!) and saw many of the same products that they carry. Babysteals has a huge following due to great marketing and amazing customer service. They even have pajama parties for locals at their warehouse and transmit the events online via video chat websites. They interact with their fans on Facebook and get to know their customers through discussions, questions, providing hints and commenting on photos of fans with things they've bought from the company. You can get updates on daily deals through Facebook, Twitter, e-mails, etc. They are so customer service oriented that the two CEO's actually hand delivered "steals" to several Canadian customers in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary last week. The company is based out of Utah!

They have other fun events like secret steals at random moments as opposed to their usual time of 9 am. You have to follow their Facebook page pretty closely to catch those. They also have lots of giveaways you can try to win by entering contests.  Edited to add:  They recently began having two steals a day just in case your pocket book wasn't already suffering!  You can check out their deals at 9 am AND 9 pm (MST) now.  Happy Stealing!


Items I've bought: BabyLegs, Katelyn & Co. headbands, Born to Love hats, Tiny Soles Squeaker Shoes, Baby Banz Swimwear, RoSK UV cover for stroller, Clean Shopper (high chair/shopping cart cover), Ally Zabba baby blankets (still waiting for these to arrive!), UMI sandals, Dapper Snappers, and my most treasured "steal" to date is my Petunia Picklebottom Diaper Bag. I LOVE my diaper's so pretty and functional and holds a lot of stuff.

2) - A close second as my favourite. The same company that operates Babysteals also runs Kidsteals (The Steal Network). They also have a Scrapbooksteals for anyone interested in scrapbooking (not time or patience for gluing and cutting...although I might try digital scrapbooking).  KidSteals isn't quite as big as Babysteals although I'm sure it will grow with its faithful crew of current followers.  My guess is that the mommies of older kiddos aren't at home waiting for "steals" because they are at work while the kids are at school.  That, and most older kids like to pick out their own clothes or toys themselves so it's risky for Moms to buy something on a whim when it might be rejected by said child.


Items I've bought: DC Toddler shoes, Myself Belts, Chalk Mat, Ruby Love Headwraps, Taylor Joelle Tie, Spunky Stork T-Shirts

3) - This is a fun site too. I have only bought a couple things from here but it's always interesting to check. They aren't a daily deal website per say since they actually have deals throughout the day. They post items and wait until they sell out and then post another item. They also let customers know how much is left by having little mommies running alongside each item. Mamabargains also uses Facebook to connect with its fans. So far, I've bought a Buckley Boo (bear with buckles since Connor has a bit of a buckle obsession) and some headbands for Aleena.

As I said, there are lots of websites out there but these are the only three I've actually bought anything from as of yet. I have checked out lots of other's really interesting to see what's out there. Here's a list of some others I've come across:

4) - They post a deal a day as well. I believe it's posted at 8 am local time but I never remember to check their website and anything I would want is usually sold out. They seem to be a reputable website and have lots of followers as well.

5) - Another daily deal website.  They recently updated and re-launched their website and it looks great!  They have lots of information on their page which is a refreshing change to some daily deal websites.  I prefer having all the details laid out for me with plenty of contact information.  While they don't have an archive, they do have a directory with previous deals so you can get an idea of what types of products they normally feature.  Another interesting aspect is that they sometimes offer free shipping which is almost unheard of for baby deal websites.  I think they just earned themselves a huge fan over here!  At first, I thought that would only apply to American orders but I went through the process of adding today's deal into my shopping cart and it gave me the free shipping option for Canada.  It almost made me want to buy today's deal but I've got way too many backpacks and diaper bags in my life already.  As you can tell, I'm rather excited about this new discovery.  Time to add to my toolbar bookmarks!

6) (Burlington, Ontario) - The best way to keep up with their deals is to 'like' them on Facebook.  They have daily deals but also have additional deals throughout the day which they notify people of through their Facebook fan page.  They call these "SHHH" deals and you'll have to click through to the winking face on their website to find them.  This site doesn't sell out as quickly as some other daily deal websites so it's still worth checking out at any time.  They also keep deals up so they aren't "until they're gone" like most other deal sites.  You can still buy things and combine shipping which is a bonus .  Their archives are located here: Baby Heist Archives.  Baby Heist also offers coupon codes with an online store called  I am not sure exactly what their business partnership is /(or if it's actually the same store?) but they carry many of the same products.  Maybe someone can clarify this for me in the comments.  I just ordered my first items from them so I'll update with how fast it arrives.  They just shipped it via Canada Post today and I believe I ordered yesterday so that's a good start.

7) www, - They have eco-friendly baby products each day. I always forget to check their site too but it's a well-developed website with excellent quality products based on what I've seen so far.

8) Olivia Place - A new daily deal website with some adorable products!  In a way, it's almost better when the sites stay small so you have a better chance of nabbing the deal.  Their deals are 40-80% off retail and shipping seems to be very reasonable.  Thanks for adding this one in the comments!

9) According to the website, they "strive to bring you all the best Canadian coupons, freebies and deals."  They find deals on all sorts of products including baby/kids' items.  They were great at finding and reporting deals during Boxing Week for example.

10) and (New Westminster, BC) - and are baby deal websites owned by the same company. (Please note that these two websites are totally unrelated to the Mother of a Sale deals website) is a website that provides Moms with insight on freebies and great deals.  You can "like" on Facebook to find out about the deals, coupons and promotions they are sharing., on the other hand, has "cuddles" (aka deals) once a week as well as lots of other things going on like giveaways, featured products, mom entrepreneurs and product reviews.  Of course, you can find their social networking site on Facebook as well.

11) - They also find deals from all over the place. In fact, I just found a summary of daily deal websites including a few that I haven't heard of. Here they are! 
Daily Deal Sites (11/18):
12) - The Steal Network (see babysteals and kidsteals above) launched a new website called  I am still trying to grasp the whole concept but from what I understand, it is basically a search engine for baby and childrens' items with product reviews.   You can ask questions about something you're interested in buying online and answer others' questions if you have experience to share.  Their tagline is "crawling the web for the lowest prices".  Updated: They have added a great feature for Canadian consumers where you can indicate you are Canadian in your profile and this will then result in a little Canadian flag popping up next to companies that actually ship to Canada.  Despite this feature, there doesn't seem to be a lot of companies actually shipping to Canada!  What I'd love to see is more (any?) Canadian stores actually listed as well such as,, Dearbornbaby and so on.  I'd find that a lot more useful if I was in the market for something like a car seat or stroller.  I don't even bother looking at US stores because of everything involved (e.g. customs, duty, regulations). 

13) Funky Tricycle - Another Canadian deals website based out of BC.  Currently, they only have one deal a week on Mondays and I've only seen bibs and envirosacks posted so far.   Hopefully, they'll feature some other great Canadian products.  At the very least, they have a very nice website and set up.  You can also keep up with them through a variety of social networking tools including Facebook. One disadvantage is that they don't ship things out until they are sold out or until the end of the week.  If you live in Victoria, you can contact them and arrange local pickup though.  I'll update more about this site in a couple weeks once I see what else they've got for sale!

14) Mama's ReTreat (Nanaimo, BC) - This is another newer site and so far, I really like it!  I was looking for some Zoobies on daily deal sites before Christmas and couldn't find ones I liked.  Then, Mama's ReTreat came through and I got both kids a Zoobie for Christmas with Express Post shipping at a very reasonable rate.  It was a nice change to receive a package literally a couple days after I ordered it compared to the 3+ weeks I am used to with US baby deal sites.   Most items are offered with flat rate shipping which is great for buying multiple items or taking advantage of combined shipping offers when they are available.   Mama's ReTreat makes an effort to feature lots of Canadian products although not exclusively which is fine with me.  They also take requests and make an attempt to get those things for customers.  Finally, there is a reward program on purchases and referrals although I think you need a whole schwack of points before it's worth very much.  It's still a benefit so people might as well use it since it's there and earn a few dollars towards future purchases.  There isn't an archive but you can view previous "treats" on their blog.  Of course, you can also "like" them on Facebook to stay up to date with their deals and special promotions.

Whew! I think that's about it. If anyone knows of any sites that I've missed, please add them in the comments.

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Tickles, Buckles, and Old McDonald's Farm

So we have lots of very cute moments around here. Of course, it's impossible to capture everything on video but we managed to record Connor entertaining his sister yesterday. Actually, I think he was entertaining all of us. He's a pretty funny little guy!

In this video, Connor tickles Aleena's feet.

Connor plays with the toys on the infant chair and gets down with Old McDonald's Farm. (Ignore the part where Mommy almost says a bad word.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Run Momma Run!

On September 12th, I ran the Queen City Half Marathon here in Regina, SK. It was my second race since having Aleena. I didn't set a personal best time or even close to it but it was a personal best time for having a baby just 5 months ago. My official time was 1:59:04. I did the best I could on that day and am very pleased with my time and effort. It didn't feel easy. In fact, I think I was already sore before the race started because I had been busy cleaning and preparing for Connor's birthday party the previous day.

The race itself was amazing. I haven't participated in the Queen City Marathon event in a few years and it's come a very long way. There were a LOT of people and it was a great atmosphere for running. The weather also co-operated except for the gusty wind for the second half of the race. I found that difficult since I have done a lot of my training during baby nap times on a treadmill. There's isn't much wind in our basement. Despite not running a best time, I was excited to find out that I finished 22nd out of 158 for women in my age group. Pretty good for a mommy of two young children!

I don't have any decent pictures but there are some posted on the official race photographer's website. They even have finish line video available for purchase. I might have bought some photos but I was wearing my running hat and can barely see my face in the pictures. Note to self: lift hat up slightly for finish line photos in the future. Here's a link to my race photos and finish line video. If you're wondering, I put my hands up for Connor and Aleena...2 for my 2 year old and 5 for my 5 month old.

As I mentioned, this was not my first race since having Aleena. I also ran a 15 km race at the beginning of August when I was less than 3 months post partum. I found out my brother was doing that race and thought it would be fun to do it too. My brother doesn't really run races normally but he did really well. He could have a promising career in road racing if he put his mind to it and his knee is able to take the punishment. Curt, if you're reading this, I think that running could be your thing since it's a front/back motion and not side/side like hockey or lacrosse. Just an idea!

Jeremy, if you're reading this, I registered for another race on October 2nd. Don't worry, it's only 10 km this time. :-)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cracking Open the Books

PhotobucketI've put it off long enough. I can't procrastinate the way I used to with a baby and toddler around.

As many people already know, I've made the brave, crazy, unwise, ambitious...choose your descriptive adjective here...decision to work towards obtaining my Master's in Education. My specialization will be Curriculum and Instruction. It's kind of a long story of how I came to this decision at an already busy time in my life. My new grammar book would call it a "point in time".

Basically, the "point in time" for me was late March when I received an e-mail at work. It was an e-mail forwarded by a university professor that would be teaching the class this fall. That professor also happened to be my faculty advisor for my teaching internship and a fantastic lady all around. I had heard rumours that the University of Regina would be offering classes in their Master's program that would count torwards CERTESL. This is a certificate recognized for teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Most importantly, it's the certificate recognized by my employer and they'd like me to have it. I was very excited to learn these classes would be offered in Regina as Master's classes. Previously, they were only available at the University of Saskatchewan through Distance Education and they were undergraduate. Not sure if that all made sense. Basically, when I learned of this opportunity, I was very interested even though I knew it'd be busy with two young kids.

After some e-mails being sent in several directions, students interested in this new opportunity were given an extended deadline for the Master's program which normally doesn't accept applications after February. Of course, I was rather busy having a baby and looking after a newborn in April. I was determined though and managed to get my application including references, transcripts, an updated resume, and personal statement together by the new deadline of May 31st. Wait a minute. Let me correct that. I got everything together except for one transcript from an Australian university that I had attended on exchange in 1997. They received one measly transcript (out of 5) late and refused to accept my application. Now, if anyone knows me, I wasn't taking 'no' for an answer. After trying my best, I got a definitive 'no' from the admissions office and decided to recruit my university professor and former faculty advisor to help me out. She made a phone call to the Grad Admissions office and I was accepted to the program the very next day. Of course, all these previous e-mails had taken months. I finally got my acceptance letter in mid-August.

In order to get my certificate, I will need 6 classes which I plan on taking very slowly. I will likely take one night class per semester. I believe I need 10 classes to finish the Master's Degree. I honestly don't even know. That's how last minute all of this was. All I know is that my first class is called Teaching Grammar to Speakers Learning English as an Additional Language. It sounds a bit boring but the professor is fantastic and I'm sure she'll make it interesting or at least bearable.

My class is Tuesday evenings from 6:30-9:15 pm at the university. It's kind of like my own little girls' night out. I even convinced the other ladies in the class to take turns bringing treats. I was looking forward to exercising my brain a little since the biggest challenge in my life lately has been figuring out the last time I fed or changed a baby. My first class was last week and it was a pretty easy first day. Of course, I was one of the few that hadn't bought the text book yet so I kind of felt like a slacker. I have it now though and it's already hurting my brain. Who knew English grammar could be so complex? My head is filled with simple, progressive and perfect tenses in present, past and future. The scary part is that the book appears to get more difficult each week. There are grammar terms in it that I haven't even heard of and I've taught a lot of grammar over the years. Don't worry though. I won't be assessing grammar in blog comments.

I spent a couple hours doing homework this afternoon while the kiddies slept. Well, Connor slept and Aleena played on the playmat until I stuck her in the swing when she was fussing. I have a feeling that the baby swing is going to be an important tool in getting my homework done. Thank you Graco!

Here are a couple photos of my little angels after I did my homework. See?! They're still happy and don't feel neglected at all. I still have some reading to do before my next class tomorrow and then there's a little matter of a 10-20 page term paper...not to mention a presentation and 10 units of homework submitted to my professor.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Welcome to my new blog!

I am jumping back on the blog bandwagon. I used to blog quite a bit when it was a requirement for my education computer class. Then, I decided to blog while I was planning our wedding. Now, I have decided to blog because I would like to document some of the everyday occurrences that seem insignificant in the moment but, in retrospect, are actually memories I'd like to hold onto. That, and it's a home base for sharing all sorts of photos and stories while raising two very young children. When I first thought about starting a blog, I wasn't sure what I wanted to blog about. I have lots of interests! So, instead of picking one thing, this blog will feature a little bit of everything.

Some of the things I plan to blog about are:
  • Our family
  • Running and my races
  • Healthy recipes (and perhaps a few not-so-healthy recipes)
  • My progress towards obtaining my Masters Degree in Education
  • Favourite baby products
  • Websites that I love
  • Travels
  • Attempts at hobbies I'd like to try (i.e. sewing, knitting, photography)
  • Anything else I can think of that I think people might find interesting
I had no idea what to call this blog. I realize that Sophisticated Mommy may sound a bit snobbish but I am using the word sophisticated to refer to myself as being a modern mommy. I love my children. I also love my work. I love a challenge and I am always striving to achieve new goals. I believe that anything is possible if a person works hard and perseveres. I would call myself a motivated mommy but I became aware of a chore planning system called Motivated Moms. I may be motivated but certainly not towards cleaning although I envy and respect anyone that is.

I am looking forward to this new venture and hope I can find the time to keep it up on a semi-regular basis.

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