Tuesday, January 31, 2012

valentine's giveaway!!

This giveaway is now closed!
I am super pumped today! Why might you ask? I'm excited to announce our first GIVEAWAY!

We have paired up TuTu Chic Boutique to giveaway an awesome custom-hand crafted tutu. These tutus are incredibly cute and we all know how much our little ones love to dress-up. Why not surprise your wee one with a tutu custom-made just for them?!

One of lucky winner will walk away with:
  • a custom tutu any size from newborn-5t
  • your choice up to three colours
  • satin wrapped waistband.
Here is how you can enter:

Mandatory Entry:
1. Join me on google friend connect and leave me a comment telling me your favourite Valentine's Day memory.

Additional Entries:
(Must leave a separate comment for each action taken)

1. Retweet: "TuTu Chic Boutique giveaway going on at inlovewiththesmallthings.com!"
2. Like TuTu Chic Boutique on facebook.
3. Follow @thesmallblog on twitter.

This giveaway will close on Sunday, February 5th at 11:59pm EST and winner will be announced here on Monday. Best of luck everyone!

Giveaway open to Canadian residents only; see Giveaway Policies Pin It

Monday, January 30, 2012

weekend catch-up

I can't believe I am saying this, but I am going to say it again - we are all still fighting a darn cold in this household. I think back over the years and I don't recall getting sick as often as I have this winter season. It was another low-key weekend for the kiddies who mostly cuddled up on the couch. Saturday was spent doing all the so-called fun stuff, you know what I am talking about - grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry... oh the list goes on. I had a few moments to slip outdoors when the children were napping and take a few photos of the winter wonderland in our backyard. I had snapped about five photos when some friends decided to come and join me... this is one of the many reasons why I love our home.

Sunday morning, we got our butts out of bed, and headed to our friends brand spankin' new home. Let's just say that it is super gorgeous and we are so happy for the both of you. They put on a yummy brunch and it was great to catch up with everyone. The weekly gatherings my girls and I use to have has now turned into gatherings months in between, but it never ceases to amaze me that we start off right where we left off. The rest of the afternoon was spent preparing for the coming week. We were hoping for an early night but the kiddies had something else in store for us... let the week begin.
I love the way the snow falls onto the trees.
It has been a white canvas in the last few days. All the tress have been covered in ice.
If you were wondering which friend decided to show up - well, here he is. Just as I was snapping away, he decided to come and join me. We sat looking at each other for a good ten minutes.
His friends decided to come and join the party too but they were a little shy and thought it would be better to look on from a far.
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Friday, January 27, 2012

family literacy day

Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27th to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. From the very beginning, I have always felt early literacy is really important in everyone's life. The hubby and I have made a great effort to focus on early literacy in our household. Both Little Miss L. and Baby D heard several stories inside the womb and as soon as they made their grand appearances into this wonderful world, they were surrounded by literature. There are many family literacy programs out there that focus on parents as the means to improve the reading and writing skills of all family members. By reading to children and engaging in fun literacy activities, parents are actively keeping their own skills sharp while at the same time strengthening the relationship between the family which, in turn, encourages lifelong learning.

Literacy is a whole lot more than reading, writing and arithmetic, it can be other fun things to do every day at home. There are so many benefits early literacy provides for our children, why not provide them with all the knowledge they need to prosper? Here are just a few advantages and why we should encourage early literacy:
  • The basic skills necessary for your child to become a good reader are acquired before your child even starts school.
  • Helps boost memory.
  • Sparks imagination.
  • Children become stronger readers if they start with a foundation of solid language and vocabulary skills.
  • Helps expand children's vocabulary.
  • Helps reading comprehension.
There are many ways to strengthen your family's literacy skills - all it takes is 15 minutes every day by practicing one or a few of the following things:
  • Reading - this can be reading a storybook before bed or during the day.
  • Write - bring out the pen and paper! Write out a grocery list, or hand-write a letter to an old friend.
  • Talk to your child a lot - talk aloud about what you are doing in your daily routines and life.
  • Tell stories and involve your children in the story telling process.
  • Sing songs together.
  • Help build a book collection for your children.
  • Point out familiar words everywhere you can.
  • Teach your child that letters are put together to form words.
  • If your child is not old enough to read, point out the pictures in a book and talk about them.
  • Hit up your local library.
  • Have a family game night.
  • Prepare a recipe together.
  • Call out road signs on your way to the store.
  • Have reading materials (books, magazines etc.) easily accessible to your children.
It truly is an easy task to make reading a part of your daily life. It is also important for us to remember not to push too hard. Learning how to read does not happen quickly - it takes years! As parents, we need to remind ourselves to be patient, reward positive beahviour, and make learning how to read fun and not work. If you are reading this post, then kudos to you - let's spread the word about early literacy today!
Yesterday, our local Live and Learn Resource Center hosted a morning full of fun for families to come and bring their little ones to listen to stories by members of the community.  The kids thought it was super cool that a police officer came to read some of their favourite books.
Little Miss L. was mesmerized by the fabulous books.

Local bank manager read Little Miss L.'s favourite book she brought to share with her friends. She was so proud of herself for bringing a book that everyone loved. 
The children loved listening to an instructor from OSSD
Happy literacy day everyone!

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

time to get the sheets out and build a fort

Let's start off by saying that my fort-making skills are to be desired! When was the last time you remember gathering a bunch of sheets and building your very own oasis somewhere in your home? If I had to lay money on it, I would say I was about 10 years old. I use to love love love constructing my fortress and allowing my imagination to run wild - I would spend hours under those sheets.

The kiddies are still fighting off that awful cold and both did not have the desire to use up much of their energy. Yesterday, was an indoor kinda day and I was trying to figure out something to keep them busy for more than five minutes. It finally dawned on me, it was time to build a fort. Our living room was transformed into a fortress where Little Miss L. had a tea party, then turned it into a zoo, and then our fort ended up as a barn. I love love loved watching her imagination run free, and Baby D thought it was pretty cool too. Plus, this momma didn't mind having a few extra moments to herself.
Welcome, to our fortress.
Little Miss L. was mere minutes from tears streaming down her face because I lifted the sheet up to take a picture.
Baby D was having a good time too.
Time for a tea party.
I love watching my two babies playing together
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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

my heart melts

Here are a few recent photos of our babies. They truly are growing way too fast. They melt my heart every day. I am one proud momma!
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

weekend catch-up

This past weekend snuck up on me leaving me with a million and one things I wanted to get accomplished. Boy, was I in for a surprise - our household was hit hard with the cold virus. Both kiddies were extremely congested - my heart broke when I heard that horrible cough come from deep down in their chest. All the activities were put on hold, as we cuddled on the couch for most of Saturday. Good thing we did because I could hardly function - there was no way you would have caught me doing anything else. We did gather enough energy as a family to hit up the kitchen to make some homemade pasta sauce. This momma made sure it was chock-full of veggies...we needed to nip this cold in the bud. I was hoping we would hit the sack early, but instead we were up all night long!

Sunday morning came, and the kiddies were feeling a bit better. My grandma had been in the hospital for the past week, and finally was able to get out and come home. Knowing the kids were feeling better, we definitely wanted to go visit my grandma for the afternoon. We packed ourselves in the car and headed to my parents' house where we spent a fun-filled day with my parents and grandmother. The kids love spending time with their great-grandma. Baby D had lots of smiles to give, and Little Miss L. loved telling her several stories, reading her lots of books, and showing off her colouring skills. We ended the day with a fabulous meal prepared by my parents. Even though we were all fighting a cold, I enjoyed all the family time and snuggles I received.
Our little man is getting so big. Wow, I can't believe you are 5 months.
The more colour, the better, I say.
The sauce turned out great - yes, I know I am tooting my own horn but... I did blend it before serving so I wouldn't have to deal with a picky eater. I love love love that she ate every last bite of it knowing she was getting a handful of fresh veggies and herbs.
The finished product. Let's not forget the fresh parmigiana cheese - yum, my fave.
Great-grandma listening very patiently to Little Miss L.'s stories. I am so happy to have my grandma back home!
Little Miss L. showing off her colouring skills to her great-grandma.
Mom, look how strong I am becoming. I can hold my head up for more than a minute now.
Someone is showing off how flexible he can be. I love love love those little rolls.
Little Miss L. went fishing. She was super excited to finally hook the fish.
Even when the weather is cold, my dad still loves to use the barbecue. Hey, I am not going to complain, it was a great meal!
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Friday, January 20, 2012

friday night = pizza night

I love love love pizza! There are just so many possibilities when it comes to pizza - thin crust, thick crust, veggies, meat.. oh the list goes on. It seems in our household we have started a weekly tradition. Friday nights, our family has taken up family pizza night. We love pizza night, especially Little Miss L. because she gets to help out in the kitchen. It provides the perfect opportunity for the little one to get creative and create her very own pizza masterpiece. The end of the week, the fridge usually has a few leftover items we need to use up, and what better way to use them then on a homemade pizza.

Last Friday we were debating what to top our pizza with, when I remembered our trip to Venice, Italy. I remember entering a cute little pizzaria and sitting down to look through the menu. They had a billion - okay, more like fifty - different kinds of pizza to choose from. As I was scanning the menu, my eyes seemed to stop on a certain pizza... I had to look a few times... did I read this right... french fry pizza? Oh, my mouth started to water, two of my favourite things put together - I knew I had to try this pizza. Did I like it? Well, let's just say that I ate every last bite of it. Our debate last Friday night over toppings came to a quick close and I made the final decision - french fry pizza it was (of course, this momma made sure we had a healthy alternative as well.) Little Miss L. thought it was the coolest thing ever and it brought back some wonderful memories of our time spent in an amazing place.
Our scrumptious french fry pizza in Venice, Italy.
I was one happy girl.
Our attempt at the french fry pizza.
Little Miss L.'s expression was priceless - Do I pick the fries off or leave them on the pizza to eat it momma?
Yum, I love this pizza!
Here is the proof folks - we made sure we had lots of veggies too!
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

infant cereal recall!

Loblaws is recalling eight varieties of infant cereals under the President's Choice Brand label because they may have an "unpleasant rancid odour." http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20120119/loblaws-recall-cereal-infants-odour-20120119/ Pin It

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

are you up for the twitter challenge?

In today's world, our lives are fast paced and can be very demanding at times - it is easy for us to dwell on the negative and complain about things like money, work, relationships, or our physical appearance. This year is all about challenges for me, and I have decided I want to have a more positive outlook on life. Like the theme of my blog, I will focus on love for the small things in life to overcome the tendency to be negative. To help me overcome this challenge, I think I have found the perfect tool... I recently joined the Twitter world - yes I am a late bloomer - and I am loving every minute of connecting with my community, friends, and other bloggers. I have challenged myself to tweet one positive thing about my day for the rest of the year and I invite you all to do the same in hopes of creating a viral, positive, trend. If you would like to track me in this challenge, follow @thesmallblog on Twitter. If you would like to join me, then tweet something, anything, positive about your day and include the hashtag #inlovewiththesmallthings I can't wait to hear all of your positive tweets!
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

weekend catch-up

Another busy weekend, and we loved every minute of it.... even though we were dealing with -30 degree weather! This girl can handle cold, but you won't catch me outside tobogganing down the hill in the kind of weather where my fingers and toes go numb in minutes - so we spent most of our time indoors this past weekend.

Saturday was spent cleaning and preparing food for our dinner party that evening. I would like to tell you all that I had a seven course meal prepared with filet mignon, steamed veggies, and a decadent dessert but I decided to be more realistic as a momma with two children who consume most of her day - it was all about the appetizers.  I love love love finger foods. We had a great night with a bunch of awesome people, who didn't mind spending their evening with two children who wanted lots of attention. Oh, how the times change when you become a parent. Both kiddies stayed up late to party with everyone which led to a nice Sunday morning sleep-in. Thanks again to all of you for the great laughs and spoiling our children as always.

Sunday morning, I woke up and again there was no way I was heading outside to roam around. Instead I thought it would be the perfect day to take the kids to our local museum of nature (@MuseumOfNature). Little Miss L. has recently taken a liking to dinosaurs, and I knew the museum would be the perfect place to introduce her to these creatures she talks so much about. Let me tell you she did not disappoint. We loved watching her expression as we walked through the door into a world full of Tyrannosaurus' and Triceratops. The museum was a great option, especially in the cold winter months. It is an excellent place for children to use their gross and fine motor skills, and work on their communication and problem solving skills. It is always a good idea to check with your local museums to see if they have a discounted day of the week or even a day with free admission. We may have spent the weekend indoors but it was one I enjoyed thoroughly.
I only have a handful of photos from our Saturday night gathering. I don't know how it got to this point, but two cameras with three memory cards were all full. I was able to grab a few shots on the ol' point and shoot.
Little Miss L. was beyond thrilled when her Auntie bought her nail polish and painted her fingers for the very first time.
She was extremely into the whole process and loved blowing her nails afterwards to make sure they were nice and dry.
Wow, I get to have my picture taken with the dinosaurs.
Momma and her girl. 
She could not believe how big their teeth and tongue were. She asked how they brushed their teeth before bed time.
Look, I am standing with a baby dinosaur.
I believe my daughter may become a marine biologist one day.
I am always amazed at what runs through a child's mind. If you were wondering what a two year old might say when they come upon the above, wonder no longer - as Little Miss L. pointed to this showcase, she informed us that we were looking at pasta and cupcakes.
Little Miss L. was disappointed in one respect - she was beyond annoyed that certain things were surround by glass she could not push open and let them out.
The museum had stations throughout that allowed children to be hands on. Little Miss L. was able to get a taste of driving a submarine. 
Little Miss L. spent countless minutes trying to get this wee little turtle to look at her.
Daddy and Little Miss L. checking out the sounds of the wetlands.
You may have wondered where Baby D was in all of this. He was there, but of course he was doing what he does best on family outings - sleeping.
Momma and Little Miss L. went fishing in their boat.
Look out, Little Miss L. has now become the controller of a massive ship.
I love love loved watching my daughter's reaction to all the creepy crawly bugs.
Mom - these bugs are gross, yuk! 
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