Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Trials and Tribulations of Potty Training

So last weekend, we decided we were going to make a concerted effort to potty train Connor.  We bought some Pull Ups and resolved to sit him on the potty every hour.  Here's how it's gone so far...

  • Two successful trips to the potty.  Lots of cheers and high fives!
  • Many wet Pull Up diapers...we went through about one per hour.  Basically, every time he sat on the potty, we had to put a new Pull Up on.
  • Some self-exploration while sitting on the potty.  Fun new names for things..."a bat", "bubblegum", and "a chicken".  
  • Frustration over having to sit on the potty yet again!
  • Not telling us that he has to go...ever.
  • Peed on the potty a couple more times.  More praise and high fives!  
  • Still peeing in the Pull Ups.  Going through Pull Ups like they're going out of style.
  • Created a new name for it's just referred to as "making yellow" around here.
  • Read The Potty Book for the umpteenth time.  Decided to try wearing underwear to see what would happen.  Didn't pee on the potty but peed in the underwear and on the kitchen floor about five minutes later.
  • Back to Pull Ups...more sitting on the potty and more Pull Ups.
This Week:
  • Sits on potty first thing in the morning and before bed.  Sometimes success and sometimes nada.  Cheers all around.
  • Trying Pull Ups at daycare and mostly back to using diapers.
  • Asked to "Make Yellow" a couple times after he went to bed so that was promising.  Had already peed in his diaper both times but it's a start, right?
We asked him if he wanted to sit on the potty's what he did.  I'm guessing...he's just not ready yet and I'm okay with that.  We'll give the every hour schedule another try this weekend and continue to be patient.  I will be upping the ante with some Cars stickers.

Oh, and I am very open to suggestions and tips.  Please comment with your best! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Love Them So Much, I Had to Steal Them Twice!

I had a dry spell from "stealing" until I saw Eleven Shoes pop up on the other day.  Connor desperately needed new shoes so I felt no (okay, little) guilt when it came to buying him a new pair of shoes, especially such great quality ones at half price.  I have heard a lot about Eleven shoes and they were on my list of shoes to buy if I happened to see them on a daily deal website.  Yes, I still check the websites from time to time although my purchases have gone down significantly. 

Back to the Eleven shoes.  They arrived in the mail today and they are just as expected.  They fit perfectly which is what I wanted.  Connor needs shoes that will fit right now.  They have the best velcro closures I've ever seen.  These shoes are going to stay on his feet because I'm not showing him how to take them off yet.  Each shoe has two velcro closures that go both directions.  I took a photo from above so you can see what I mean.  The shoes are solid and look like they'll handle a lot of wear.  They've got lot of grip on the bottom and I am just generally impressed with the overall quality.  They even feel nice.  Of course, they look great too which is always important.

The only bad news is that I am pretty sure that something is going on with the Eleven Shoes company.  I am not 100% sure they going out of business but I believe that was the jist of what I read on Twitter the other day.  Because of this, I just checked the website archives to see if I could stock up on another pair or two and I could and I did.  In fact, there are a couple styles available tonight that weren't there when I checked last so I got a different style for Connor and even got a pair for Aleena to wear when she's a bit older.  Here's a direct link if you're interested.  Eleven Shoes on the KidSteals Archives

Here's the shoes...and that's the dog's paw.  Our house is a zoo!
The top view.  You can see how the velcro closures go both ways.
Now that's some serious grip!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Peachy Peach Pie

If you love peaches and cool summer desserts, then this is a great recipe for you!  It also comes from the Looney Spoons cookbook which features relatively healthy recipes so it's a not-so-guilty pleasure.  One slice is a reasonable 278 calories with 6.9 g of fat. 

The recipe itself is quite simple.  My least favourite part is the peeling and slicing of the peaches but it wasn't too bad this time around.  I'll give a tip with the recipe that makes it easy and painless.  This time around, the hardest part was the sauce as you will see.

Peach Pie Recipe

1 9-inch deep-dish frozen pie crust shell
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup peach-flavoured Jell-o powder
8-9 medium peaches, peeled and sliced

1.  Bake pie crust according to package directions.  Cool completely before filling.
2.  To prepare the filling, combine sugar, corn syrup, cornstarch, and boiling water in a medium saucepan.
3.  Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and becomes clear (it will become quite thick).
4.  Remove from heat and stir in Jell-o powder.
5.  Let cool at room temperature. 
6.  Add peaches and stir until evenly coated.
7.  Pour into prepared pie shell.
8.  Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.

My Notes:
  • Peaches are way easier to peel if you first immerse them in boiling water for about 20-30 seconds.  I then pulled the skin off and actually just ran them under cool water to help quicken the process.  
  • You can easily make two pies with this recipe.  I used a lot fewer then 8-9 peaches and still made two pies.  I didn't end up with the best peaches so I threw out the bad parts and just used the good ones.  You can't mask the taste of the peaches in this recipe so go with fresh, ripe peaches only.  If you wouldn't eat it on its own, don't put it in the pie.
  • I had some trouble with making the sauce when combining all the ingredients as instructed.  I ended up with a big lumpy mess because the corn starch just wasn't dissolving.  I tried it again by adding the corn starch to just water first and ended up with the same result.  Rather than start a third batch of sauce, I just conceded and used a metal strainer instead.  I'll post the photos below so you can see what I mean.  It still worked out in the end but I don't remember having such a problem with this before.

    Finally, some photos of my Peach Pie making journey!

    Peaches peeled and sliced.
    Here's what happened when I followed the recipe.
    After using a metal strainer and adding the peach Jell-o, things didn't look so scary.
    I added the peaches to the cooled sauce and divided it up into two pie shells.
    Peach Pie after cooling in the fridge overnight.  Ready to eat!
    We have eaten this on its own and it's delicious that way.  You could also add some whipped cream or ice cream of course!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    I Used to Like Hot Weather

    A photo of my flower garden in front of our house.
    I am not one to complain about heat but it's actually been too hot to do anything outside the past few days.  It doesn't help that I have a massive sinus cold right now.  It's kind of been interesting really.  The weather has been over 40 degrees with the humidex.  I think it topped out at 44 yesterday and I've got brutal sinus congestion.  It's kind of like nature's humidifier.  I knew the kids would get sick a bit when they started a new daycare but did they really have to share their germs with me?  Apparently, they did.

    This is making training for the half marathon really tough.  I actually soldiered on yesterday and ran for 3 miles in the humidity WITH my head cold.  That was lovely <insert sarcasm>.  I was supposed to do my hills training today...I am not sure I will even run though.  It hasn't been much fun lately.  I wonder what it feels like to run in normal temperatures when I'm actually healthy. I bet it's going to feel great.

    At least the weather is better today as far as temperature goes but it's still really humid.  It kind of reminded me of Taiwan the past few days.  It was often that hot and the night lows were still in the high 20s and that was normal.  It's amazing to think that I was actually quite accustomed to those temperatures.  I remember finding it funny when new arrivals came to Taiwan and would shower 2-3 times a day just to cool off.

    I haven't posted any recipes in ages although I have actually tried a few new ones lately.  I am going to try making Peach Pie today and will post that tonight or tomorrow.  It's a relatively healthy recipe from the Looney Spoons cookbook.  That was one of the predecessors of Eat, Shrink, and Be Merry.   I always like to make it once during the summer when peaches are actually in-season.  I'm all for cool, light recipes in the  summer.  I made another yummy recipe with chicken kebabs and a cucumber/dill dip earlier this week that I will make again soon and share too.

    I hope everyone is enjoying their summers so far.  I have to admit it's been wonderful having some time to myself but I wish I could be healthy and I wish the weather would be hot but not super hot.  That's not too much to ask for, is it?

    It's amazing how time flies when you have free time.  I seem to find lots to do..gardening, running, cleaning, shopping, organizing, reading, and lots more.  My next big project is making some sort of movie for my grandparents 65th anniversary.  Yes, I said 65!  Speaking of that, I should get to it.  Oh, and if you could all click on the Top Mommy Blogs logo at the right of my page when you visit, I'd really appreciate it. 

    The other half of the flower garden.  Many of my annuals didn't survive the rain and cold from the Spring.

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    The Kidco PeaPod Giveaway Winner is...

    Congrats to...Celia Bond! 

    Thanks for all the entries!  Here's a list of Canadian retailers that carry the Kidco PeaPods. They really are an excellent way to keep your little one out of the sun and free of bugs during the summer.  I also look forward to using ours in hotel rooms instead of hauling around our heavy playpen.

    Hope everyone is enjoying the summer so far!  We've certainly got some hot weather around here.  Stay tuned for some more great giveaways coming up soon.

    Long Run at Garmin Connect - Details

    This was my second run using my new Garmin Forerunner. If you aren't familiar, it's basically a GPS watch that keeps track of distance, pace, time, etc using satellites. I've been running for years and have a pretty good idea of my running pace but was pleasantly surprised to find out that I run faster than I thought I did.

    Today, was kind of rough though. Both kids have been coughing and sneezing on my for days and it's finally hit me. I have caught their cold and don't feel great to start with. Then, the heat and humidity did me in by the end of the run. I was feeling really rough for the last couple miles and struggled to finish up the 9 miles I had set out to do today. I walked a bit and ran a bit until I was able to complete 9 miles and now I'm exhausted. I was quite happy with the first 6-7 miles though..I maintained a pace that is manageable for a long run and should be able to speed up with regular training.

    I'm a bit concerned..I am doing a half marathon August 14th..that's less than a month away. I REALLY hope I feel better during my next long run and am hoping that my difficulties had more to do with my cold and the heat and humidity rather than a lack of fitness.

    Here's the info the Garmin came up with for today to give you an idea of the information it provides.

    Long Run at Garmin Connect - Details

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Farewell Nike + and Hello Garmin Forerunner!

    I haven't posted much about running lately.  When I returned to work in May, it didn't leave much time for running during the week and I was mostly just trying to survive.  I did run on weekends and am a bit embarrassed to say that I was truly a weekend warrior there for a while.  I haven't been too hard on myself though...I was proud of doing anything at all and managed to keep up enough fitness to run an hour.  It has really helped me now as I train for a couple races this summer.  I don't have to start from scratch and can just build on what I did.  I had been planning all along on doing the Queen City Half Marathon which falls on September 11th this year.

    With that in mind, I knew I'd have lots of time to work up to 13 miles.  I had also planned on doing the 15km YMCA road race but there was a glitch in that plan as the race has been cancelled this year.  So, I looked into other races in August and have decided to do the River Run in Saskatoon on August 14th.  I will also be participating in the half marathon distance for the River Run and am a bit concerned about this.  I have decided that I will look at the River Run as a good practice race and motivation to train towards the Queen City Half Marathon.

    The River Run also features quite a few hills (for Saskatchewan) so it has prompted me to add some hill training to my weekly workout schedule.  Curt, if you're reading this, you should do hill training too.  I did the full marathon in Saskatoon way back in 2005 using a similar (the same?) route and was rather surprised by how hilly the race was.  It made the race more difficult than I had expected and it was a good thing I had trained really well for that race.

    So to the main topic of this post...I am tired of the Nike + for many reasons and don't plan on using it anymore despite the pretty charts.  Here's why:
    • Doesn't allow for manual entries - that's right..if you forget it at home or fail to charge the battery by mistake, you can forget about logging that run into your training log.  
    • Calibration is sketchy.  I tried calibrating on the treadmill where it should be accurate and could never get it right.  To make things worse, it changed on its own somehow.  My times got faster and yet my miles and progress were shown to be lower.  You don't have to be a math teacher (even though I am) to know that isn't right. :-P
    • The sensor that goes into the IPod is really, really small.  I lost one and never did find it.  
    I could put up with the calibration faults and be more careful (which I have been) with the sensor but I can't get over the fact that Nike won't allow manual entries.  Their argument is that they have "Challenges" and people could cheat.  Hate to break it to them but people can just as easily cheat by setting their calibration incorrectly in their favour so it appears they have accomplished a lot more than they actually have.

    The Garmin Forerunner 405

    I can't truly evaluate this beast yet because I am still trying to figure out how to use it.  What I do know is that it's accurate and I love knowing my exact pace and distance for once.  I can do some real training with that sort of information.  I have yet to figure out all the features but am excited to use it more and see how it can improve my running.  I'll post more about it after I've had more time to see how everything works.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Find Out What the True Cuddles $75 Prize Package Winner Got!

    Congrats again to Caitlin for winning the True Cuddles giveaway I did as part of the Great Canadian Blog Bash.  I thought it would be fun to share her blog post about what she received as part of her $75 prize package.  Caitlin has a blog called All About the Chaos Baby and wrote about her prizes.

    Thanks again to True Cuddles for the giveaway and for sending it out so quickly!

    Here's her blog post!

    I Actually Won! 

    In this post, I wrote about a giveaway that fellow mom blogger A Sophisticated Mommy was running. I ended up winning! It was a prize pack from True Cuddles one of many deal a day sites that is Canadian and offers unique baby products.

    The main prize was a litterless lunch box from Goodbyn filled with products. The Goodbyn itself is super cool. It's made from BPA and phthalte free plastic and is 100% recyclable when the time comes. It is sectioned off so that each food item has it's own little cubby hole so you don't need to use plastic bags to put crackers, sandwiches, chips, whatever in. It also comes with a bottle for water or juice. Very neat and it is now waiting for daycare to start.

    I got an amber teething necklace from The Teensy Teethers. I had always wanted one but never really bothered to buy one. Amber is a traditional remedy for teething children that has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce teething symptoms. My poor girlie is presently cutting three teeth with a fourth right behind so hopefully this will help her out as her gums are really hurting her.

    There was also a pair of BabyLegs, but these are tights and are cool. They are UV rated to 50 and are a bit more of a mesh material to allow the breeze to hit the legs. I have a pair of hand made knockoffs and they have been great for protecting her knees from the carpet that she now takes pleasure in crawling around on. But they have been too hot for her in the 30+ degree heat(Celsius) so these will be great.

    Finally, they included a pair of Bugalug hair clips. Bugalug is a Canadian company that makes all sorts of hair accessories. The ones I received are simple ribbon non slip clips. I haven't tried them in her hair yet but they look like they will even work on my kid's very fine, short hair.

    Overall I was really happy with what I received. It was well packaged and arrived very quickly. I was announced the winner on the 3rd and was contacted by True Cuddles the same day(quite late I might add!) for my mailing info and got the package(mailed from over 2000 km away) in my mailbox today. Very happy and I am now on their mailing list for their cuddle of the day. I expect to purchase from them in the future.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    First Day at Daycare!

    Up until now, the kids have been going to dayhomes.  We were on the waiting list at a daycare in the meantime as I always wanted to keep the option open.  I don't want to get into the debate on which is better because I think they both have their advantages and disadvantages and it's a personal decision depending on what works best for each family.

    I was very nervous and anxious about how Connor would do today.  He's not potty trained yet and he is joining the three plus years group since he's almost three and we don't want to change him after only a couple of months.  Fortunately, the staff was great about it and it wasn't an issue at all.  In fact, he didn't even notice that I left and threw a temper tantrum when I picked him up at the end of the day.  He was having too much fun playing and didn't want to leave.  I struggled to carry both kids to the truck and was relieved when a staff member carried Aleena for me.  Yeesh..I need to take some treats to bribe him to leave I guess.

    As for Aleena, she was just fine and even had a two hour nap for them!  I was so happy to hear this because she only naps well when she is comfortable somewhere.  The infant centre seems fantastic.  They have a very low caregiver/infant ratio and I know Aleena will be well looked after.  Everyone was very friendly and cheerful and they all clearly love children. 

    Honestly, my anxiety disappeared within moments of arriving at the daycare centre this morning and I enjoyed my day without worry.  The kids aren't new to daycare anyway so I knew they'd adjust especially once I saw how fantastic everyone was with the kids.  I had a good day today..went for a run, mowed the lawn, relaxed at home and then took a quick trip to Costco.  I have so many things on my list of things to do this summer but will pace myself!  It's so nice to have some time to myself and am glad I can trust that Connor and Aleena are well taken care of.  Whew!

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Kidco PeaPod Plus Review and Giveaway

    I have wanted to try out a Kidco PeaPod for a long time.  It just seems like a great idea when you have a baby or even toddler and would like to spend time outside but worry about the sun or bugs.  Basically, the Kidco Peapod is a small pop tent for babies or toddlers.  It's amazingly easy to set up and is the perfect size for little ones to nap or just hang out and play with some toys. It is also a convenient travel bed for whether you're going on an airplane trip or just to a friend's house and need an extra bed along.  It's way easier to carry the PeaPod carry case than a heavy playpen.

    Kidco sent me a PeaPod Plus to review and I had a fun time reviewing it with the help of my family.  It became more like a focus group as we chatted before breakfast!  Overall, the ratings were quite good and here's what we ended up with.

    The Set Up

    Rather than describe the process, I figured a short video would do a better job of demonstrating how easy it is to set up the Peapod.

    Rolling up the flaps and attaching them at the top.
    Set up and ready to go!
    There's really nothing to it.  The mattress only took a few moments to inflate with the manual pump that comes with it.  We inflated it and then placed it inside which worked okay but you might want to inflate it inside to make it even easier.  ETA:  I just read that you can actually insert the mattress in a zipper at the bottom of the PeaPod on their Facebook page.  I guess we should have read the instructions more carefully.  We'll have to try that next time!

    Mattress and Pump
    The PeaPod Carrying Case
    Testing it Out!

    First, we put Connor inside and he's almost 3 years old.  It seemed a bit small for him to actually play in it while sitting up although he did love it.  He enjoyed crawling around in it for a while until the novelty wore off.  I would use it as a place for him to nap though.  It should also be mentioned that it's a great alternative for an indoor bed as well.  It could possibly be used as an alternative to hauling around a playpen to a hotel for example.

    Next, we put Aleena inside and it was better for her size.  She's 15 months and was able to sit up inside without her head touching the top of the PeaPod.  She and Connor played around in it and we did our "durability test" because it didn't break despite the crawling and bashing around of a couple of little people.  It's very solidly made and can stand up to some hard use from what we saw.  Once Connor wanted to get out, we left Aleena inside and gave her some toys.  She played quite happily for a few minutes until she was hungry and wanted some breakfast.  I considered that a success.  I would use it again on our deck at home even.  She could sit and play inside and I can read my book or even do some gardening.  It has screens and zippers just like most tents and it has flaps that can be used to cover up the baby completely if they are napping.  Otherwise, you can keep them open and just have the screens zipped up so you can see baby and vise versa.

    We like it!
    Aleena checking things out.  Of course, she had to smoosh her face up against the screen.
    I didn't want to wreck the mattress by testing it out but Connor thought it was comfy!

    The Good!
    As I said, we were camping with family and they seemed interested in chipping in their opinions for this review.  Here were the positive comments:
    • Amazingly easy to set up.
    • Great features with the screens, zippers, windows, and mattress.
    • A perfect way to keep the sun, wind and bugs off babies and toddlers.  The material offer UV protection and the screens keep out bugs and dust.
    • Easy to take down and it comes with a convenient carrying case.
    • Lightweight and simple to transport.
    • A useful place to put young ones while outdoors.  A good holding zone!
    • Has anchor straps 
    Suggestions for improvement:
    • To provide some tent pegs to go with the anchor straps.  I am pretty sure we didn't get any with the product.  It's not a big deal as we can easily find some but it would be a nice thing to include with the PeaPod.
    • Make a slightly larger PeaPod.  It is an ideal size for 0-24 months but we thought it was a bit small for Connor and he's almost three years old.  Connor thought the tent was great fun but his head touched the top of the tent when he was inside.  It would be nice to have one size up for the older toddlers to play in outdoors too!  

    The Giveaway!
    Kidco is going to give away a PeaPod to one lucky blog reader.  The winner will even be able to choose the model they would like from the Kidco website.

    As always, I will number the entries and select a winner using   Each comment counts as one entry so be sure to make separate comments for each entry.

    How to Enter:
    1.  Tell us what your favourite camping destination is.  If you aren't into camping, just let us know where you like to go for a holiday!
    2.  "Like" Kidco, Inc. on Facebook.  It's not required but I'd appreciate it if you could let them know I sent you.
    3.  Follow A Sophisticated Mommy via Google Friend Connect in the right sidebar.
    4.  "Like" A Sophisticated Mommy on Facebook.
    5.  Share this giveway and let me know how.  (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Forum)

    This contest will be open until Sunday, July 17th at 8 pm Saskatchewan Time.  I will announce the winner that evening so we can get the PeaPod sent out right away!

    Open to Canada and the US.

    Gone Fishing!

    One of my favourite things is our annual fishing trip.  When I was younger, our family always went on a fishing trip each summer and we are lucky enough to be able to continue with this tradition.  Thanks to a willing babysitter, Jeremy and I go fishing each day and my Mom babysits the kids.  They love spending time with Grandma and we get some much needed quiet time.

    This year, the weather and fishing were great and we had a really nice time.  In fact, the weather was almost too nice as it was HOT in the boat and we required many applications of sun screen. Even then, Jeremy ended up with an interesting layer of red to contrast with his fair skin.  He looks rather patriotic in colour now.

    We caught a lot of fish and ate a lot of fish and brought a lot of fish home.  The kids had a great time playing with Grandma.  They went for wagon rides, played with Grandma's retro toys (which seem more entertaining than the newer ones) and spend lots of time in the wading pool.  They also had super long afternoon naps..must've been all the fresh air and excitement!

    We knew Connor and Aleena were too young to spend much time in the boat but we thought it'd be fun to take them for a boat ride one evening.  Poor Aleena looked a bit uncomfortable in her life jacket but it says 20-30 pounds and she's nowhere near 30 lbs yet so I am not sure why it was so tight!  They both seemed unsure about it at first but they both enjoyed the ride.  At the very least, the cool air felt nice after a couple of hot days.

    I took a few photos but not a lot.  With a baby and toddler, it doesn't feel like there's much time to grab a camera for photos.  Here's some photos from our trip..and yes, we weren't exactly roughing it.  We ate our meals at my parents' RV and we actually rented a two bedroom cabin which was fantastic and helped us maintain some sanity and sense of relaxation.

    Aleena eating pancakes for breakfast.
    Sitting with her Grandma.
    Breakfast in the great outdoors.
    Hubby wearing his layers to avoid the sun!
    Going for a boat ride!
    Camera shy?!
    Pelicans in the distance.
    While we were on the fishing trip, I had a chance to review something I've wanted to try out for a long time!  I will post the review and giveaway later today so be sure to check it out.  I've hinted about it before so many of you may already know!  Just think camping...and I will post it today for sure as I'd like to do the giveaway for a week and get the prize out to the winner ASAP so it can be used this summer.

    Sunday, July 3, 2011

    The Winner of The Great Canadian Blog Bash Giveaway is...

    Caitlin of  Caitlin, please send me an e-mail at and I'll pass on your information to True Cuddles.  Congratulations!!!

    Thanks for all the entries!  I really enjoyed checking out all the Canadian mommy blogs out there that participated in The Great Canadian Blog Bash.  I was even pleasantly surprised to "meet" a couple other local mommy bloggers that I didn't know about before.  I am still relatively new to the mommy blogging scene but I am quickly learning that it is made up of some pretty amazing Moms from all over Canada who have built a friendly and supportive community.  I am proud to be a part of it and look forward to collaborating more!

    Also, I'd like to thank True Cuddles for offering such a great prize for this event.  They've been very supportive of my blog and I really appreciate it!

    If you weren't the lucky winner, don't dismay!  True Cuddles currently has another great giveaway up for grabs and you have until July 13th to enter. 

    Here are the details:

    ‘Win Cuddles for a Year’ contest.  True Cuddles is going to give one lucky winner a free Cuddle (aka awesome baby product) per week for an entire year.  You can enter the contest on their website and there are a number of bonus entries available to increase your odds of winning.

    I hope everyone had a great Canada Day weekend!  I am off to enjoy the Roughrider game and am crossing my fingers that we don't get hit by a big's hot, muggy and there's already a thunderstorm watch out so we shall see!  Go Riders!!!
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