Sep 30, 2011

Happy Vegan Baking Day!

Now I have to say... there really is a holiday for everything!

My daughter has been demanding cookies lately. In addition, while surfing the web for a vegan cookie recipe, I found out that the last Friday of September is Vegan Baking Day.

How could I not participate? So instead of wasting more time looking for a cookie recipe, I whipped up a batch of Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes. I skipped the filling though (there's no avocado in the house) but I did fill some of them with homemade raspberry jam... yum!

This cool fall day is an awesome day to bake and the smell of chocolate cupcakes wafting through the house is simply decadent!

The best thing about vegan baking??? You can lick the bowl and spoon afterwards!

Happy Vegan Baking Day!

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{this moment: a toast}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Okay... I have to break the "rules" and tell you about this photo. My husband stayed home with the kids and I went out with some wonderful ladies to do volunteer work for a local children's charity. Afterwards, a few of us went out for drinks and snacks.

This picture was taken seconds before I had my first glass of wine... it had been over a year since my last taste of wine. I enjoyed it very, very, much.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Sep 29, 2011

What's That Word?


I'm certain we're all familiar with word verification codes (also known as CAPTCHA)... the random grouping of letters that come up when you fill out a form or leave a comment on someone's blog? I find them rather annoying yet somewhat entertaining. Today I was thinking that even though they're nonsense, it's so much fun to make up fictitious definitions for these odd bits of text.

Here's a few that I came up with:

Glinged   past tense of gling
1. To wear glamorous bling: She was glinged out for the party.
2. Stuck, wetly: The bug guts glinged to the windshield.

1. A Greek philosopher who lived from 626 - 532 bc. Not to be confused with Plato.
2. A patio with pleated detailing.

Sulted past tense of sult
1. Slang for insulted: She was sulted that he didn't leave her a tip.
2. Seasoned with sult: He likes sulted ice cream but sult is rare in Texas.

1. Alternative plural form for cataracts: He is going for surgery on both cateri.   
2. A small shop where cats are purchased. We got him as a kitten from a little cateri in Venice.

Have you ever played the word verification game? I wish I could use some of these words in my next Scrabble match with my mom. Have I got a word for you!

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Sep 27, 2011

I Can't Co-Sleep


I can't co-sleep. I tried with my first born child and I tried when my newborn was excessively colicky. I sincerely gave it my best effort and I grossly failed.

Does that make me a bad mom? I don't think so. But with all the hype, books and media surrounding attachment parenting I was beginning to feel like a bit of a failure.

Each time I brought my babies home from the hospital they went into a bassinet in my room. I would try to doze off while breastfeeding in bed but I would abruptly wake within seconds, terrified that I had harmed or crushed my baby. By six weeks of age my babies went into their own crib in their own room. I sincerely tried but I couldn't sleep with a baby in my room! I woke at every stir, at every movement and with every coo. Co-sleeping advocates would say that this is what builds a secure bond between baby and parent because it is making the parent more attentive and sensitive to the infant's needs. I say I was already sleep-deprived, so do I need even less sleep?

I feel I'm a better parent when I'm well rested. I don't have less of a bond with my children. Rather, I feel I have more energy to play and interact with them because I have had a decent night's sleep. These meaningful interactions are just as integral to building a trusting and loving relationship.

For those that do co-sleep, good for you. However, I must urge you to be cautious when advocating your sleep arrangements. Every family is unique and no parent should be shamed because they are doing something different. As long as we love our children and are attentive to them, that's all that should matter.

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Sep 25, 2011

The Best Preschool Picture Books

As I've shared before... we love reading. Bedtime in our house usually includes at least three books (and then there's all the books we read throughout the day)! I have decided to put together a list of my family's favourite preschool picture books. Since we LOVE books so much, it was very hard for me to limit this list... but here it is, our favourite preschool picture books for children 3 - 5 years of age.

*This posting contains some affiliate links to some pretty fantastic books. All opinions are my own. For a full overview of my disclosure policy please go HERE*

I'm sure everyone has heard of it. The preschool picture book that is a must for every household... Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Join Max as he travels to another land and discovers some unusual friends.

Where the Wild Things Are

Another classic preschool picture book is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. The rhyme and rhythm of this book is unmatchable and it's an essential "learning your alphabet" book.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom: Anniversary Edition

One day while browsing for a new book for my daughter, I stumbled across this gem... Birdsong by Ellie Sandall. I immediately fell in love with the cute illustrations and the catchy beat of this book. Where else can you get away with, "Urrah! Urrah! Rah rah ree! Kitcha kitcha kee kee kee!"

Do you need a book that captures the imagination? Harold and the Purple Crayon does just that! Join Harold as he draws the story as you read it. This classic preschool picture book is a must have in every children's picture book library.

Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition (Purple Crayon Books)

Speaking of capturing the imagination, there's nothing like Antoinette Portis' dynamic picture book duo, Not a Box and Not a Stick. We love how she takes a box and a stick and illustrates all the things that a box and stick can be.

Not a Stick          Not a Box

Another favourite in our house is The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. This is a clever story of a little mouse who holds his own against the Gruffalo who has, "terrible tusks and terrible claws and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws".

The Gruffalo [GRUFFALO]

Another Julia Donaldson favourite is A Squash and a Squeeze. This story is about a little lady who seeks help from a wise old man because her house is a "squash and a squeeze". Some great rhyming text and funny concepts.

A Squash and a Squeeze

No preschool picture book library is complete without Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type . This is a story of a farmer and his negotiations with the farm animals... "Cows that type, hens on strike... who ever heard of such a thing?" We love the rhyming text and there's many great words like "furious", "ultimatum" and "neutral".

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type   [CLICK CLACK MOO] [Hardcover]

Do you have a child who just has an ultimate favourite colour? Mabel Murple and Red is Best are great books about children who have a favourite colour! Mabel Murple has some fantastic tales about everything purple ("Mabel Murple's house is purple, so is Mabel's hair...."). Red is Best captures the relationship between a parent who just doesn't understand their child's need to wear things that aren't adequate (but little does mom know... "red is best").

Red is BestMabel Murple

Move Over, Rover! is a great tale about a stormy day. All the animal friends of Rover are finding shelter in Rover's doghouse but is there enough room? Great descriptive words and rhyming text.

Move Over, Rover!

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear is one of my daughter's absolute favourite books. A classic tale about a mouse and what he does to keep the red ripe strawberry away from the big hungry bear. In our house, we like to end this story with eating our own red ripe strawberry!

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear

Quick as a Cricket is probably one of the best books about feelings. This book goes beyond emotions of happy and sad, it also describes quick, slow, hungry and the feelings are used in conjunction with animals (i.e. "I'm as cold as a toad"). The illustrations are gorgeous! This is definitely a must-have book for every preschooler's library.

Quick as a Cricket

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is a touching story about a boy and his relationship with an elderly woman. When he overhears his parents saying she's losing her memory, he looks around his home to gather things to help her regain her memories. A brilliant, beautiful, and emotional story.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (Public Television Storytime Books)

That's just a few of our household favourites! Do you have any favourite preschool picture books? If so, please share them here!

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Sep 23, 2011

{this moment: jam}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Sep 22, 2011

The Real Me


I struggle with myself daily. I am always on a quest to better myself as I feel I am never good enough. Today I asked myself why and I think I found the answer.

When I was in grade eight, I had two friends, "Ella" and "Fiona". I loved my friends. They were near and dear to my heart. I knew Ella since grade three and I had met Fiona in grade seven. We studied, hung out at lunch hour and spent much of our spare time together.

I adored both of my friends but I started to idolize Fiona. She was smart and inspiring, as she had interests and ideas that were clearly her own. She loved football, motorcycles, sports cars and aspired to be a lawyer. I was in awe of her individualism, so was everyone else. She was popular. Not the "as you see it on television" sense of popular. She was grounded and real to herself, which made her likable and esteemed by most of the people in our school.

I however, was not popular. I had been bullied and teased since grade four. My torment seemed unending. The abuse I suffered was emotional. I was ugly, a "dog", a nerd, a geek, a dork, four-eyes, a spaz.... I was an outcast.

Ella wasn't popular either but she wasn't bullied. Moreover, she was able to be my friend and avoid being ostracized by the rest of our classmates.

There was one day in grade eight when Fiona passed a note to me before class. I was excited. She cared enough to write me a note! This had to mean that our friendship was growing... we were getter closer.

Then I read the note.

Her words tore through my spirit. Fiona emphasized that I was a "poser". I only liked the things she liked, my aspirations were her aspirations first and she hated me for being so immature. That's a summation, the letter was a full loose leaf page... front and back. It highlighted my shortcomings and critiqued my lack of individuality.

I left the classroom and called my mom at work. I told her I was sick and I went home.

I spent the day crying. I read that letter over and over again. I evaluated its contents and bawled over the details. After a day of self-reflection and torment, I came to the conclusion that Fiona was right. I didn't like football. I didn't want to own a motorcycle and I really didn't want to be a lawyer... I wanted to be an architect. Regardless of the truths in the letter, her words were hurtful and cruel.

This was a defining moment in my life. It was at this point that I truly felt that I was not something special. I felt I was less. I felt I had nothing unique to offer to the world. I was confused about my self-identity and was lost as to how to find the real me. In retrospect, does any teenager have a clear sense of self? I don't think so.

I eventually lost my two friends. I couldn't trust Fiona anymore and Ella had become one of her closest friends, which left me alone... fighting through the world of adolescence without an ally.

Years later, I've realized that I've struggled to open up to others for the fear that they could hurt and reject me. I've struggled with myself. Do I really know who I am? Am I sincerely me? I've spent years searching for my own identity. I may look like the person who can't get hurt, who is strong and who can overcome adversity. I may look like I'm confident and that I have life figured out. However, today I realized that there's still a part of me who is that little girl... crying at home, reading that note over and over again and tormented by the fact that she may be insignificant in the eyes of others. That is the reality of being the me. The sensitive me. The real me.
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Sep 21, 2011

Open House....

I haven't eaten or slept much in the past 24 hours and I have a nasty kink in my neck but it's done.

Welcome to the newly refreshed Deliberate Mom! 

I've added a lot of new features to the site and despite never wanting to look at another snippet of HTML code ever again, I had fun!

So please come in, take a look around, have a glass of wine and stay as long as you like.

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Sep 20, 2011

A New Look?

No comments:
Since I've been at this blogging thing for over a year, I decided it was time for The Deliberate Mom to get a new look. Don't get too attached though... as I'll be trying on new "outfits" for the next few days. Hopefully I find something that I (and you) like!

Any feedback on the new design(s) - please feel free to share.

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Sep 19, 2011

The Carrots In My Life

Fall is my favourite season. It's a time of energy and renewal... a time to make plans and to be productive. It's also the time of harvesting. This year, my garden taught me a life lesson that I feel I must share with you.

Last year I made my first attempt at gardening. I planted some strawberries, tomatoes, peas, carrots and herbs. I yielded a great garden, with the exception of the carrots. I planted my carrots too late, so they didn't have enough time to grow.

This year I decided to try planting carrots again. I sowed the seeds a little bit earlier and waited for them to sprout. I watered and weeded and waited. Soon those bushy tops came up and the dream of crunching a garden fresh carrot became so tangible, I could almost taste it! I waited some more and wondered, when do I enlist the help of my daughter and pull these carrots up? In anticipation of this great gardening event, I regularly read her the children's storybook, The Carrot Seed.

Then the day came. We put on our gardening gloves and started to pull up the carrots. It was the biggest disappointment ever! They were scrawny little things. They were teeny, tiny, little carrots.

After doing some research on the Internet, I realized my error. I didn't thin the carrots enough. Without sufficient space underground, they had little room to grow. They fought over what little space they did have and as a result, there weren't any large carrots... just a whole bunch of tiny ones.

I reflected on this and thought that the gardening of carrots can be compared to my life. I'm busy. Relationships, activities, projects, hobbies and commitments compete for what little time I have. I realized that if I don't thin out my life's "garden" I will yield insufficient crops. By thinning out my garden, I can invest my time and attention on fewer things but will have better results. I will work to build relationships, to minimize or finish projects, scale down my commitments and hopefully I will harvest a garden I can be proud of. A garden with a few big, beautiful, carrots is better than a garden loaded with tiny ones.

Have you thinned out your garden of carrots lately?

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Sep 17, 2011

It's Mommy's Turn To Ask Why


You know the phase... your child hits that magical preschool age when they child ask why questions 29 hours out of the 24 hour day. Well, today it's my turn to ask the why questions.

  • Why does my 3 1/2 year old daughter plug the toilet every time she poops?
  • Speaking of which, why is her poop so damn huge?
  • Why is it that my daughter can go for hours playing by herself but the minute I'm on the phone she suddenly has something soooooooo important to tell me?
  • Why is it that the laundry is never done?
  • And why is it that with four people in the house we have enough dirty dishes for fifty people?
  • Why is it that every time I put my baby down for a nap, the whole neighbourhood comes alive with activity? Lawns get mowed, children scream and play outside our fence, dogs bark and howl non-stop, cats get into epic fights, the neighbour decides to hammer, saw, etc?
  • Or why does every telemarketer call during nap time?
  • Or why is it that when my baby's napping my oldest daughter decides she wants to play the piano or dump out her Duplo... repeatedly?
  • Why does my daughter constantly ask me questions that she already has the answer to? For example she'll ask,"What are we having for supper?" after I've placed her dinner plate in front of her!
  • Why is it that when I talk to my daughter she only hears me half of the time but when I say something I don't want her to hear, she suddenly has super human hearing?
  • Why is it that I wake up instantly when my baby lets out the slightest whimper, yet my husband can sleep through anything?
  • Why is it that when I'm trying to sneak out of the room after putting my baby to sleep, I step on every squeaky spot on the floor?
  • Why does my baby poop seconds after I've changed her diaper?
  • Why is it that I'll wear my pyjamas all day but the minute I get dressed up in something nice my baby spits up on me or my 3 1/2 year old uses my clothes as a napkin?
That's it... for now. Do you have any answers to my questions? If so, please enlighten me. Do you have any why questions? Feel free to share them here or better yet, link up with your own list of why questions.

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Sep 16, 2011

{this moment: messy face}

1 comment:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Sep 15, 2011

My Homemade Light Table


One of the joys of being a blogger is the wonderful opportunity I have to discover so many creative people! I recently came across a posting at the Teach Preschool website which offered a great idea on how to make your own light table.

I've always wanted to get a light table for my 3 1/2 year old but light tables cost anywhere from $50 for a small light box to $500 for a full size, wood framed, table. I deviated from the plans highlighted on the Teach Preschool site; partially because I'm frugal and also because I don't like using spray paint. I ended up making my light table for $12.96. It would have cost $18 if I didn't already have the storage container.

Here's what I did:

  • I took a basic clear plastic bin and lined it with aluminum foil.
  • I added a small fluorescent light fixture ($12.96 from Walmart). The light points towards the base of the storage container. You could also use a long strand of white mini-lights.

  • I put the lid on and tipped the whole thing over (so the lid is at the bottom).
  • I added some great light table objects (I've provided coloured glass beads, shells and tissue paper so far).

What fun! I enjoy observing my daughter explore and discover the mystery of light, colour and shadow. I look forward to adding many more elements to our light table.

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Sep 13, 2011

The Best Days Ever

I have spent the past few mornings dancing in the livingroom with my girls. I hold my baby in one arm and use the other arm to spin and twirl and dance with my other daughter. Our favorite song is Three Little Birds from the Bob Marley's B is for Bob children's album.

We laugh.
We twirl.
We giggle.
We sing along.

This morning my eldest daughter looked at me and said, "Mommy, these are the best days ever." A lump formed in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes.

She didn't say this on the day that we took her to the community carnival or the spray park. She didn't say this after a pony ride at the zoo. She didn't say this after a fun outing at the art gallery. She said this after spending some time dancing with me... her mom.

I am thankful for moments like these. I don't know what I did to deserve this beautiful life... to have a wonderful husband, two amazing daughters and a life full of love.

So today I forgot about the bills, the chores and the woes of the world. Today I took Bob's words to heart. I won't worry about a thing... because every little thing is gonna be alright. My daughter was right, these indeed are the best days ever.

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Sep 12, 2011

A Year Later


Today is my anniversary. It's been one year since I started The Deliberate Mom. I must admit, I never imagined how much I would learn and gain from this blogging adventure.

  • I have met so many wonderful people.
  • I have seen so many creative projects.
  • I have salivated over many scrumptious recipes.
  • I have been challenged to dig deeper and to share some of my innermost feelings.
  • I have witnessed the joy of new life and have wept along with those suffering a loss.
  • I have enjoyed the journey of life with so many other moms.
  • Lastly, this blogging world has taught me that everyone has a story to write and words to share.
Some little tidbits about my blog:

  • I completed my degree in June of 2010. Since I love to write I decided to join millions of other writers in the blogging community. I immediately fell in love with the gratification that came with clicking the "publish" button. 
  • I actually started with a different blog in June 2010, but it involved too much wine and I was concerned I would end up being an alcohol dependent writer.
  • My first Deliberate Mom posting was published on September 12, 2010.
  • To date, I have published 215 posts.
  • I have 4 draft posts just waiting to be finished.
  • I have 103 wonderful followers on Google Friend Connect and numerous followers outside of GFC.
  • There's been 532 comments published to my blog.
  • My most popular posting to date is The Best Board Books (1393 page views).
What a fun year this has been! Thank you for reading and thank you for being on this journey with me. I look forward to many more years of reading, writing, and connecting with you!

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Sep 11, 2011

Playroom Transformation

1 comment:

My daughter's playroom is in a finished area of our basement. The room contains a few miscellaneous pieces of furniture, my husband's computer and Timbit (our bunny).

Often the toy shelf unit gets crammed with toys. It wasn't at the worst it's ever been but it was headed in that direction.

This disorganized chaos does not encourage meaningful play episodes. Children don't need loads of toys to embark in meaningful play but it does help to have inspiring play spaces. Since my daughter loves to build, I decided to take on the project and set up a block centre in her play room.

I sorted the blocks and arranged them attractively on the shelves.

I added containers with shells, rocks, gems, sticks, Playmobile people and Schleich animals as well.

I framed a couple pictures of classic architecture and placed them at the top of the shelving unit. I also made sure to add a tool belt, construction hat and gloves!

My daughter instantly went to this area and she has been playing there for extended periods of time on a daily basis.

"A cathedral with animals inside."
I love projects like this... a little effort and I see tangible results instantly!

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Sep 9, 2011

{this moment: little worker}

Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Sep 6, 2011

Crayons + Heat = Art


I saw this on Pinterest and couldn't resist making one of my own. For those of you that have not discovered Pinterest yet, it's a virtual bulletin board and a social network all in one. The unfortunate side... it's the biggest time sucker ever!

Anyway, back to the melted crayon project. I try to involve my daughter as much as possible in the activities and projects I embark upon but since she's only 3 1/2 there wasn't too much she could do in this particular activity. However, a school aged child could probably do this entire activity with some adult supervision.

First, I started with a canvas and a box of 96 wax crayons.

Then I had my daughter help me sort the crayons... red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo pink and violet.

I then hot glued the crayons onto the canvas. This task was a little tedious, but necessary to the project.

After the crayons were secured in place, we were ready for the fun part... melting the crayons.

I put my blow dryer on it's highest setting and had my daughter point it at the crayons. She was absolutely thrilled when the crayons started to melt and drip.

When the project was done, we hung the finished masterpiece above her art table in the playroom.

It looks adorable and it was so much fun to create!
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Sep 2, 2011

{this moment: horseback riding}

1 comment:
Inspired by SouleMama

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend!

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Sep 1, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

1 comment:

My daughter recently asked me for a milkshake. With her severe allergies to dairy, I knew I would have to come up with a clever alternative. Rather than turning to Google, we came up with our own concoction and I must admit, it's delicious!

Mashed frozen banana is an excellent replacement for ice cream, as it's smooth and has a similar consistency to ice cream. I knew this would have to be the base for my daughter's dairy-free milkshake. Very ripe bananas give more banana flavour than yellow bananas. Decide how much of a banana flavour appeals to you when selecting your bananas.

Vegan Chocolate Milkshake

The Ingredients
1 cup vanilla soy milk
2 frozen bananas
1 Tbsp cocoa
1/2 Tbsp ground flax seed (might as well make it a bit healthier)

The Process
Place the cup of vanilla soy milk in the freezer for 1/2 an hour. This makes your milkshake extra cold.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend for about a minute.

Pour into glasses and serve with a straw! Enjoy!

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