Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Mother Mondays

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I often think of my childhood and all the things my parents did and the memories that I will keep for the rest of my life. I want to create memories for my children so when they are older, they will look back and have fond memories of growing up too.
When I was young, my dad always took me fencing. Not the fencing with the sword and the white suits and face masks, the ‘build a fence’ fencing. It would always be on a summer weekend, hot and sticky from the humidity. I would have to wear jeans with closed toe shoes for protection from sticks, wire and logs. The entire time I would be helping him, he would quiz me on which pickets go where, what their names were and in what order they go in. I would sort logs based on size, lug full gas containers from the truck to the fence, and pass him the chainsaw, wire and axes whenever he needed them. I was working and being quizzed the entire time but I can say that it was one of my favourite things to do with my Dad. Last summer when I went home to visit for a few weeks, I eagerly volunteered to help him build fence. The Princess even helped. Dad said he’s never been asked so many questions in his life!
I may not build fence with the Princess and the Rainbow, but Hubby and I try to make special memories with them, things that they will remember forever. Last year the Princess discovered money. She hasn’t mastered the full concept of it but she knew enough that it was something you needed. So I made her a deal, any spare change she found around our home, she could have and put in her piggy bank. I was going to wait until Hubby got home to tell him but the Princess beat me to the punch.
“Daddy, Mama said I could keep the money I find on the floor,” she squealed.
“Didn’t you know that leprechauns come at midnight and leave that money around the house for you to find?” The Princess’ eyes lit up.
“Oh Daddy, we are waking up tonight to find them,” and she starting jumping with utter excitement.
“Yea we will do that,” he said.
Now I am all for telling children about Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth-fairy to add some whimsy to children’s lives but Hubby makes up fantastical stories and it makes me think ‘why did you say that?’ Once he told her we found her in a box and she told everyone!
Later on in the evening, the Princess would not stop reminding Hubby that come midnight, they were hunting for gold coins and leprechauns. He nodded but you could tell that he didn’t think she was serious.
“You know you are going to have to get up with her and find these coins right,” I said.
“What? She’ll be asleep and forget all about it,” he shrugged.
“You cannot tell her that little green men from a magical place come in the middle of the night and deposit money throughout our home and you will hunt for them with her and then not do it,” I argued.
“Ah crap. I don’t want to get up in the middle of the night.”
“Well perhaps you should have thought of that before you told her.”
After she went to bed, I went to local Bulk Barn and purchased chocolate coins for him to lay around the house for them to find. Sure enough at midnight, the Princess was up and ready to search for money. Hubby did this with her 2 nights in a row. Despite the late night, the Princess was so happy and excited that she had leprechauns that visited her home and left her coins.
Hubby is always doing something ‘magical’ for the Princess. If it isn’t buying ‘magical’ rocks from eBay or pulling Kinderegg’s from her ears, he’s always been able to add a little magic to her world and I am quite grateful for that.
It’s my turn for a little magic. Last week the Princess got an intestinal tract infection from a class trip to a farm and was the sickest I have ever seen her. As a result, she is still isn’t her usual self. So to lift her spirits, I have written a letter from Tinkerbell and I will be mailing it tomorrow. I know she will get a huge kick out of receiving mail for one and that it is from one of her favourite characters will be the cherry on top. I am hoping it will turn into a regular thing and I will keep all the letters as a keepsake so I can show her when she’s older.
My biggest wish for the Princess and eventually the Rainbow is that they will look back and now that Hubby and I really tried to make their worlds brighter and happier and how truly loved they really are. I know that even as my Dad worked and quizzed me, that those memories of working on the fences are memories I look back on with fondness. And while I may not be able to build a fence myself, I still know the names of the rails.

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Epically Failing, Pinterest Style

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In an attempt to save money on groceries, I have been baking snacks for my daughter’s school lunches.  And what better place to find delicious, healthy and equally cool looking snack ideas than Pinterest, the social media site where 12 million visitors spend on average 1 hour and 17 minutes of their life pinning, liking and creating boards of stuff1.  Oh Pinterest, you seductive mistress you.  By simply seeing the “pin it” button, you gave me the ill-fated notion that I, torontomama, could be a Domestic Goddess.  For shame!

I consider myself to be a capable cook.  That said I lack the necessary skill when it comes to baking.  Only the pull of Pinterest could have brought this idea of baking school snacks to fruition.  My first 3 recipes went off without a hitch.  With those recipes under my belt, it came time to make Strawberry Cupcakes with Fresh Strawberry Icing, courtesy of Spendwithpennies.com.  Doesn’t the name alone make you salivate?  Well if the name doesn’t, the picture will.  I wanted to surprise my daughter with these delicious gems after school and have a tea party in her room.  What fun.

First came the icing.  It needed to be chilled overnight and it turned out perfect.  I would make the cupcakes themselves the next day so they would be fresh for the party.  The original recipe called for boxed cake mix, but being the Domestic Goddess I thought myself to be, I made the cake from scratch.  I purchased cake flour instead of using all-purpose flour like the recipe called for and did no research on its differences.  According to Pinterest, this is what they were supposed to look like.

And this is how it turned out.  EPIC FAIL.

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I pulled my cupcakes out of the oven, dry and sunken in the middle.  Upon further research online, I came to find out that my cupcakes were both overcooked and over leavened and nasty as hell.  My daughter eats with her eyes and seeing that they were bright pink, in her mind they were just fine and the tea party would have to go on as planned.  I told her outright that I had made a mistake and I didn’t think they were that tasty.  She was having none of it.  We sat down at her Lego table, disguised as a banquet table at a ball and ate my Pinterest Fail cupcakes while sipping hot chocolate.  Despite her saying they were ‘ok’; she ate less than half of one.

Hubby came home after work and bluntly asked “What happened?” Pinterest happened.  With their pretty pictures and step by step instructions, I was lulled into the assumption that I could be magically transformed into a baking aficionado.  They lied.  Out of 15 cupcakes, 1 was eaten and I have approximately 8 cups of delicious strawberry icing sitting in my fridge with no cupcakes to ice with it.  Cue the spoon and kiss the diet goodbye.

Finding the Balance

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In the last 9 months since my son was born I have had difficulty finding the balance between being a Mom and all the other things I have to do. I will admit that writing frequently on this blog has taken somewhat of a backseat and so has my laundry, eating regularly, showering, my mental sanity, the list could go on forever. In my quest to be the ultimate Stepford Wife/Mommy/Maid/Chef Extraordinaire, life has served me a heaping slice of humble pie. I guess that’s a good thing since I haven’t eaten breakfast in 3 months.

The Princess gave me a false idea that I was some sort of parenting aficionado. She nursed on a schedule, slept through the night, had 3-2 hour naps a day, and was content doing her own thing. I could clean my house, do laundry, shower, eat, have dinner on the table by the time Hubby got home, I could do it all. Back then I thought myself as the parenting superhero, full cape and costume. Oh why I yes I will gladly accept that parent of the year award. Turns out, that had NOTHING, NADA, ZIP to do with me. It was her personality as a baby. Granted it has changed now, but back then, she was an EASY baby.

Now my son, whom my family doctor asserts has been ‘touched by fire’, is NOTHING like my daughter. Complete opposite in fact. At 9 months, he is still not sleeping through the night and must be carried at all times when he is not climbing onto, under and into whatever his surprisingly nimble little body will allow. He is also insanely attached to me. It’s not all bad. I mean who doesn’t love snuggles by their very own cuddle monster? But when I am attempting to make dinner and I have a fiery ginger screaming himself apoplectic to the point in which he begins to gag and vomit, it becomes stressful. Hubby will often hold him and stand in the kitchen just so he can see me and have his needs of being held fulfilled.

In the beginning of my maternity leave, Hubby would often come home and ask ‘What did you do today?’ Cue the hand waving, heading bobbing ‘oh no you did not just ask me what I did today!’ Sleepless nights, up-all-days, 2 children needing every ounce of attention I could muster had set me on the precarious edge of sensitivity and insanity. And poor Hubby was catching it in all directions. A few months later I sat him down and made a very frank confession. That Mom that had the spotless house and dinner on the table with baby #1 is gone and likely will not return for a few more years. Not until my baby boy is sleeping regularly, more independent and I have caught up on some sleep. I couldn’t be that Mom without something, such as my children being left behind. I love a spotless house, but never at the expense of my children’s happiness and well-being. He would just have to settle for a tidy house that gets cleaned thoroughly on the weekend, dinner an hour after he gets home and a slightly crazier wife.

Life isn’t so bad though. I am still searching for that elusive thing called balance, but I get done what I can in a day and stop trying to beat myself up for what didn’t. I may be a raggedy mess of a Mom, but I am doing my very best that I can and I am ok with that. As I lay here, typing this post on my phone, laying next to my baby boy who is getting some cursed molars, I know that this too shall pass.

5 New Things That Surprised Me After Giving Birth

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When I first started writing this blog, I had wrote a post on 5 things that surprised me after giving birth to my daughter.  They included what my stomach looked like, people asking if she was a boy or a girl and a few others.  So when I gave birth to my son, I thought “Hey, I know what it will be like.”  Wrong-O!  Like every pregnancy is different, every post-pregnancy is different too.  So here are my new 5 Things That Surprised Me After Giving Birth.

  1. My Skin.  All throughout my pregnancy with the Rainbow, my skin was perfect.  Nary a blemish to be had.  As soon as he graced us with his presence, my skin went haywire.  I started breaking out in full on teenage zits.  Every day there would be new ones and I would be saying “What the hell is going on.” Turns out, hormones are to blame and my doctor said once we stop breastfeeding it will all clear up.
  2. My Hair.  After my daughter was born, hair fell out.  I could run my fingers through it and cat sized hair clumps would be in my hands.  My stylist said that was normal so I this time I braced myself for the inevitable hair loss.  Nope.  This time my hair didn’t fall out.  It went greasy beyond belief.  Need oil for your car? Not to worry, come take some from my hair free of charge.  Again pesky hormones are to blame.
  3. Weight Loss.  I gained a whopping 40 lbs with my daughter and lets just say I still have that baby weight hanging on like a bad boyfriend.  However, with my son, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight within a week.  Granted I only gained approximately 10 lbs with him but I lost it fairly easily and quickly.
  4. My Appetite.  After my daughter was born, I found my appetite diminished.  Perhaps because I was adjusting to life as a new Mom that I barely remembered to eat.  The complete opposite with my son.  Good Lord, as soon as I gave birth I was begging for food.  I have never been so damned hungry before in my life.  All day I am hungry.  If I don’t eat, I get what I like to call “hangry.” A cranky mix of hungry and angry.  I chalk it up to breastfeeding a very hungry little boy.  Breastfeeding can burn up to 800 calories a day so I am blaming the increased appetite on that.
  5. The Recovery Time of a Second C-Section.  I’ve had 2 c-sections and I was luckily given advice from my aunt that post surgery, try to get up and stand straight up as soon as possible.  With my daughter, it took my a least a month to be feeling somewhat normal.  My scar took forever to heal, but I only had 1 baby to worry about so my days were fairly easy going. When I had my son though, I was feeling back to normal within 10 days.  The nurses gave me grief at the hospital because I had my surgery at midnight and by noon I was asking them to unhook me and let me get up and move around.  Generally for a c-section you have to stay 3 days in the hospital, I was released after 1 day.  I was still slow moving the first week, but I was healed up by that Friday.  It still sucked going from laying down to standing up for about a week, but with my second c-section, I was up and going pretty quick.  I think it was because I had 2 children to chase after.

Catching Up

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Sorry I’ve been MIA lately.  A few weeks ago my computer broke so I wasn’t able to post anything.  But that doesn’t mean lots of fun things haven’t happened in the meantime.

First of all, I will announce the winners of the Toronto Fall Home Show contest.  2 of my Twitter followers @JubleeW and @40somethngbride each won 2 tickets to go visit the Toronto Fall Home Show this passed weekend.  I hope they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

My children are growing up so fast it is scary.  The Princess is now in Senior Kindergarten and we’ve already been to birthday parties galore and they were switched into a bigger classroom due to an addition of 14 new students.  There was originally 3 JK/SK classes but they got amalgamated into 2, going from 15 kids in one class to a whopping 29.  The parent reps threw a “Healthy Breakfast Party” where all the parents and children got to come to school early and have breakfast together and see the new classroom.   She is loving school, and making new friends.  This morning however she had a bit of a breakdown.  I had just finished dropping her off, and was turning around to go for my morning walk with the Rainbow when I heard my little girl screeching and crying.

“Moommmmmyyyy,” she wailed, tears running down her face. “I want to stay home with you.”

“Oh Honey, I know you do but you have to go to school and learn.”

“But I want to come home with you! I love you so much.”

“I love you too Boo Boo.”

I walked her back to the door and her teacher complimented her outfit and that was all it took for her for her to go in the school.  Typical girl.

Our Rainbow is doing really well too.  He is now 3 months and weighing in at 17.1 lbs.  He had his first laugh a few weeks ago and has recently discovered his toes and ears.  He is also moving around.  I’ll put him down for a nap in one position and he has somehow turned himself into a completely different one.  This morning while he was playing on his play mat, I walked into the other room to get the Princess dressed for school and when I came back, he had twisted himself up into some acrobatic move with his legs in the air.  I feel like it won’t be too much longer before he is crawling if not running around my house keeping me on my toes.

Lastly, we attended a friend’s wedding in Quebec and both kids had a great time getting dressed up, riding a train and staying in a hotel.  Hubby and I however determined that for the next wedding, maybe it would be best to leave the kids with a sitter.  I never thought how difficult it would be to get 4 people dressed and convince the two youngest to stay clean.

YTV’s The Next Star

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groupThis Sunday, YTV’s The Next Star will be chosen!  Whittled down from the thousands of people who auditioned all across Canada, Kat (Belle River, ON), Dante (Amherstburg, ON), Alicia (St. Lazare, QC), Jaden (Toronto, ON), Paige (Winnipeg, MB) and Alex (St. Albert, AB) will be competing for the top prize of a 1 Song Recording Deal with Sony Music, $5000 shopping spree and an Epiphone Masterbilt Guitar.  A wonderful prize for all their hard work and talent.  Throughout the series, the finalists have been put through a series of experiences and assignments such as recording their own single, making a music video and all the stuff that it takes to make it as a superstar.   They had some help from Vocal Coach and Musical Director Jasmine Denham-Baird, Choreographer Michael Riccio, Stylist Peter Papapetrou, and Make-Up & Hair Dee Daly.  Judges Juno Award winning R & B artist Keshia Chante, Country Star Tara Oram and expert Mark Spicoluk will determine the cream of the crop this Sunday, September 22nd at 7 pm live at Canada’s Wonderland. Tune in and see who wins to top spot as YTV’s The Next Star!

This Is Scarlett & Isaiah

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For any of you who have children and watch Treehouse Television, you know who Daniel Cook and Emily Yeung are.  You have heard them shout “We Are Here” and wear the bright orange shirts while learning about something new.  In the latest installment, Treehouse Television, Sinking Ship Entertainment and Marble Media present “This is Scarlett & Isaiah.”  I was graciously invited for a sneak peek into this live-action pre-school show and to speak with its newest hosts.

daniel cookThe “This is” series started in 2004 with Daniel Cook, a 6-year-old who welcomed people to view the world through the eyes of a child.  He met with dog trainers, firefighters and musicians, learning and exploring in a way that only a child can.  Quickly “This Is Daniel Cook” became very popular and winning awards such as 3 Alliance for Children & Television Awards, Prix Jeunesse International Web Prize as well as many Gemini Award nominations.  During the Q & A in the atrium at the launch event, Cook said that out of all the episodes he had no favourite, however his least favourite was undoubtedly the ballet episode.  It was then that young Isaiah exclaimed “Boys do ballet too Daniel!” The producers said that when Cook auditioned it was his intelligence that caught their eye.  He spoke at length about dinosaurs and how he preferred the Decepticons to the Autobots.  this-is-emily-yeung

Next followed “This Is Emily Yeung“, a “fearless” little girl who gave a female perspective to the show.  In her audition, she told producers that she had dared her friend to cut a hole in his pants and it was that fearlessness that won her the spot on the show.  Now 14, the episode where she swam with the sharks and parrot fish pointed her in the direction of her future career as a marine biologist.  Fearless.

I have watched numerous episodes of “This Is Daniel Cook” and “This Is Emily Yeung” with my daughter and it was shocking to find out that they are now teenagers.  Almost as if “Hey, I watched you yesterday, and you were 6!”

Starting September 21st, we will now get the pleasure of watching Scarlett & Isaiah leave their distinct mark on the “This Is” series.  Scarlett is an Oakville native who has been in the business since she was 3.  This little girl is going to melt your hearts.  With her bright red hair and unique tutu, her girly girl attitude will have you breaking out the tiara making kits.  When I spoke to her, she was very involved in making t-shirt art.  I didn’t want to keep her too long as she was thoroughly enjoying herself, but here is a little insight into one of the latest hosts.

Me: Hi Scarlett, my name is Carley.  Can I talk to you for a little bit?

Scarlett: Yes.

Me: Do you like being on television?

Scarlett: Yea.

Me: What was your favourite part of the show?

Scarlett: When we made the tiaras.

Me: Why do you like tiaras?

Scarlett: I like Princess’ a lot and they wear them.

Me: Who is your favourite Princess?

Scarlett: All of them.

Me: Is there any one in particular? Jasmine? Belle?

Scarlett: Ariel.

Me: Why do you like Ariel? Is it because she has red hair like you?

Scarlett: No because she can transform into a mermaid.

Me: Is that your favourite Disney movie?

Scarlett: Yes.  And my second favourite movie is Rapunzel.

Me: I love Rapunzel. What grade are you going into?

Scarlett: Two.

Me: Do you like going to school?

Scarlett: Yes, especially going on field trips.

Me: What was your favourite field trip?

Scarlett: Going to the gardens.

Me: That sounds nice.  Well thank you very much for speaking with me. I cannot wait to see your show, I have a little girl who loves these shows.  Thank you very much.

Scarlett Spaghetti

I was then able to speak with Isaiah.  Isaiah is from Montreal and is a vivacious young man.  His future plan is to become an astronaut and he really enjoys dinosaurs.  His energy ignites the entire room and he is able to make everyone laugh.  He wasn’t shy when speaking with me, in fact he was very enthusiastic, I can only imagine what his episodes will be like.  He was finishing up with Jungle Jack when I was able to snag him for a few questions.

Me: Hi Isaiah.  My name is Carley and I’m going to ask you a few questions, is that ok?

Isaiah: Ok.

Me: What do you like about being on this television show?

Isaiah: I like everything about it.  Especially that I am going to be on TV.

Me: Why do you want to be on television?

Isaiah: Because I wanted to see myself there where all the other people are.  They are all on TV and what am I doing? Sitting at home watching them.  Now I’m going to be on TV.

Me: And then all the little kids can watch you.

Isaiah: Yup. All me! *Laughs*

Me: What is your favourite dinosaur?

Isaiah: Hmm, that will have to be the T-Rex.

Me: Why do you like the T-Rex?

Isaiah: Because it’s the best dinosaur in the world!

Me: Do you like going to school?

Isaiah: No.

Me: Why not?

Isaiah: It’s too hard.  I’m good at it, I just don’t like homework.

Me: Nobody likes homework.

Isaiah: My friend Emma loves school, she loves homework. I’m like how do you love that? Like all my friends, every single one of my friends, including, well Wyatt doesn’t say that but every other one of my friends say homework sucks. And then Emma is like “Yay I love homework!”

Me: Do you not have a favourite class like gym or science?

Isaiah: Gym is my favourite.

Me: Do you like science because you get to learn about being an astronaut?

Isaiah: Yea.

Me: Why do you want to be an astronaut?

Isaiah: Because I want to see what’s inside a black hole.

Me: Ooh that’s a good one.

Isaiah: But I don’t want to go in one, but look outside of it looking in.

Me: What is your favourite episode from the show?

Isaiah: That’s hard, there were so many.  The balloon making is definitely in the top 5.

Me: Is it because you got to wear the balloon dinosaur costume?

Isaiah: Yes.

Me: Thank you very much for talking to me Isaiah.  I can’t wait to see your show. *He gives me a high-five*  Thank you.

Isaiah: Don’t leave me hanging.

Me: I won’t.

Isiah Trex

I had a wonderful time at this event.  There was balloon making, a bubble show and lots of arts for children of all ages, all perfect for this type of show. After speaking with Scarlett & Isaiah, I understand why they were picked as the hosts.  Both bring their own distinct personality to their segments, providing an insiders look into a child’s world and all the wonder and excitement that comes with it.  Premiering Saturday, September 21st at 7 pm, ‘This Is Scarlett & Isaiah’ can be seen on Treehouse television.