Thursday, May 29, 2014

My go-to summer lunch

Summer is all about ease right? How can I simplify my life and stay outside as much as possible (where the mess is always more underwhelming) and still feed my child a nutritious lunch. My new go to is one of my loaded pasta salads. Now please do no confuse this with the goop you buy at the grocery store,  I pack the nutrition into this thing. Now as usual I cook without a recipe book so this is  a pretty loose "recipe".

The easiest start is to plan ahead unfortunately. When I am "doing" breakfast I throw on a pot of noodles and maybe some eggs to boil. Drain them and throw them back into the fridge.

My best customer enjoying her third bowl!

Come lunch time it is time to get out your cutting board and put away the pots and pans. I generally just use cold foods and leftovers, to cut down on prep time. Even my less than patient little can wait in her chair the little time it takes me to chop. Basically you can go anywhere from here, but of course try to include each of the 4 food groups. My suggestions include


roast beef
whatever you had for dinner last night chopped up ;)


Peppers of any kind
Carrot slivers
Whatever you find in your veggie bin

For dairy you are pretty much stuck with cheese, but I rarely see kids who complain about that! You can also just skip it and serve it with a cup of milk. Some people might throw some fruit like apple slices in there, but I am weird and can't stand savoury and sweet mixed together.

So once you have everything chopped just throw it together with a little sauce. Mayonnaise is an obvious choice, but get creative! You can try salad dressings, balsamic vinegar and olive oil or even something tomato based.

I know this is a pretty loose recipe, but I just wanted to inspire you all to try some new combinations and show you how I pull of a quick nutritious lunch. Who wants to be stuck in the dark kitchen in this  weather!?
-By Erin Smith

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The cheap and easy way to keep your toddler in bed.

The best kind of parenting is the simple cheap solutions you get from other Moms in the trenches.

When we first moved Evie into her toddler bed, she regressed to several wakings a night. We eventually determined that she might be falling out, so we began to research bed rails. I was a little on the fence for two reasons:
1. She had been in the bed for a week-ish at that point and I was pretty certain she would be stubborn about us adding a piece onto the bed and reject it.
2. I didn't really want to lay down $30 on an ugly piece of furniture

Then my Mommy friends came to the rescue! They suggested that I try a plain old pool noodle under the sheet and since we were headed to the dollar store  anyway that night I picked one up. The first couple nights it rolled off the edge of the mattress so I had to rig up a system of ribbons, but since then it has been great!

When we put her down now she could care less about the bump in her bed, I often find her with her back pressed right up against it. She has returned to waking only rarely in the night and never falling out. For the $1 it cost me, I am extraordinarily pleased with my simple Mommy hack and thank goodness for cheap and easy advice!
-By Erin Smith

Monday, May 19, 2014

Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure review

Last night I jumped in and applied my impress nails from broadway nails. I really found the application process to be very simple. You just size them to your fingers and remove the film and press. I found the bigger the nail, the more difficult the film was to remove, and I actually had the tab rip off one thumb nail, but after playing with it for a minute, I got it on just fine.

The only problem I had with them was quickly solved. I like my nails very round, so I don't scratch Evie or myself, but these were very square. I scratched myself a couple times before I broke out the file. Luckily it turns out they are very easy to file down and in no time they were much softer.

Also it is fortunate I recently cut my nails, as these nails are not very long. But frankly, it is probably a good thing, as they might have looked a little vampy if they were any longer.

I am not sure if I would purchase this product for myself. I am more of a nail wrap person, and these are significantly thicker. I certainly don't dislike them, but I am also not sure they are for me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

AppleCheeks beach party!

* I have no knowledge of what the heck in these packages, your guess is as good as mine, I base my opinions only on a serious obsession with AppleCheeks and deep conversation with lbeazol

So I think everyone in the civilized world knows that the newest AppleCheeks limited edition release is happening tomorrow and par for the course the internet is abuzz with ideas about what the heck the new colour could be! I of course, just like you all, love to play this game every time. I have a pretty decent record of predicting the colours, but for sure not perfect (LH caught me way off guard). AppleCheeks has brought us so much wonderful variety over the years, that there is starting to be that there are only a few colours we really "need" now.

So the way I figure it there are really only two possibilities for this release (ok maybe there is a slim third), if it is going to be "beachy".

1.When coriander left the line-up and Forget-me-not was gradually phased to a try light blue it did leave a hole in the line-up. This makes for my first and surest prediction  is for light blueish green.   Besides the obvious lack in the rainbow, I see a couple other hints: there has been a lot of blue used in the imagery for the party, and blue would look fab with that awesome sun shaped "C" that I dare to hope will be on a special tag. I think we have all realized that AppleCheeks is rarely too far off the mark when they stylize the imagery for the event. The release for LE was black, and PAI was pink, we need to pay attention!

2. The second option could be some kind of pale orange or saturated peach colour. There is for sure a lack of warm colours in the line-up so I think it would be fabulously received for the most part. However I think they might be cautious about releasing another colour which some people might say leans towards girly after the fantabulous that was the valentines release.

3. There is a small possibility it could be something distinctly beachy like a sand coloured diaper with blue snaps. But I don't really see that happening. Maybe they will throw sand snaps on the blue diaper, but a sandy PUL'ed diaper leans a little to close to dingy storm for my taste.

Anyway, now that you have heard my schpeal, what do you think it is going to be? Do you have any other predictions? Are you going to be doing anything special for the release tomorrow?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Baby names are driving me crazy!

I have always been fascinated by names and name trends, I wait with baited breath every year for the new lists. The problem is I never really like any of the names. I mean they are certainly not terrible, and would be cute for someone else's kids, but they are not for me. We always joke that it took us more than 5 years to name Evie, but the sad fact is it is no joke at all. We have only agreed 100% on one name in our entire 12 years together, and good thing she was a girl because a boy would have been nameless! I was lucky enough to have her name just fall into my lap, but that doesn't seem likely with this baby.

This week the American census results were released and I hoped for a some new inspiration but of course received none. Though I will  admit I have always had a fondness for Noah, but any inkling that way was for sure knocked out of the water by it's new rank as number 1. I find it curious to compare the US and Canadian lists, there are strong correlations, but they are by no means parallel. We all admit that our culture is heavily influenced by US culture, but demographics are for sure different. The most obvious example to me is Evelyn. In the US it is currently at number 20, and set to rise, in Canada it is lingering down at 60. Locally at least I have never met another Evelyn under the age of 60.

An acquaintance introduced me to this tool (Time Baby Name Predictor) today and I admit I am fascinated! It allows you to graph the past and future popularity of a name and then overlay it with up to 6 others. I may waste several hours on this later!

Our top three boy names.

My basic problem with baby naming is that I am super picky. I have a list of rules which I have yet to find a pair of names which meet these qualifications.

1. May not be in the top 10, preferably the top 50 names (and yes this one eliminates my very favourite boy name!)
2. Must have a formal full name and shorter fun nickname (think Evelyn/Evie)
3. Most important of all, I have to like it! A lot of names just rub me the wrong way.

And so our up coming new arrival is completely nameless with just a couple weeks until we find out the gender, but at least then we will know which category to concentrate on! This is causing me some serious stress! I cannot find anything at all that I love! We have a short list of liked names for boys, but absolutely diddily for girl.

Do you have any suggestions for me? Please comment with them, I am so open to suggestions! Please drop the perfect name into my lap!

-By Erin Smith

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Toddler Mum-Mums Review

The people over at Hot Kid were nice enough to send me a few boxes of their toddler product to try out. I of course jumped at the chance as Evie has a tendency of eating us out of house and home!

When Evie was small we used to give her the original mmm-mm crackers as a little snack and she loved them. I don't know how much they actually filled her as they kind of melt into nothingness, but they kept her happy and busy!
My kid is weird and likes to eat them two at a time ;)

So of course we were game to try the toddler form. These seem a bit more substantial than the originals, and have more structure. They don't melt like the ones designed for babies, but instead have to be chewed. Where the baby ones come in vegetable flavours, toddlers get and upgrade to fruit! We have been trying the banana, strawberry and apple flavours. She hasn't shown a distinct preference for any of them, so they must all be good!

When I am shopping for her food (and ours on a good day) I really place an importance on the ingredients. Mum-Mums pass my test as there are no mystery or chemical ingredients in them. In fact the ingredients list is reassuringly short, no need to get over-complicated!

They are packaged two to a package. This makes them super convenient, but is sadly a lot of waste. They are handy to pop into your bag, but make sure to do so gently as they have a tendency to break and leave crumbles behind. If they do open carefully or you may have a bit of a mess on your hands.

Overall, I would for sure buy them again. Evie likes them which is the most important part. They are also an easy, simple snack that I can give her at a moments notice. They are especially handy for travel.