Shopping for a Travel Bed

Did you know that according to Health Canada it’s not safe to let your baby sleep in a playpen or play yard (whatever you want to call it)? I didn’t.

And, I’ve only recently founding this out while doing some vacation planning.

Once baby has reached the maximum weight limit for the bassinet insert, children are no longer considered safe in a playpen for unsupervised sleeping. So, I thought back to when my other two were baby/toddler age and we were going on holidays and I seem to recall that the playpen traveled with us everywhere, and in fact, most hotels even supplied playpens for sleeping.

Anyways. that led me to start shopping for something that is acceptable for baby to sleep in while we’re away.

Here was my criteria:

  • Must meet safety guidelines
  • Must not weigh a million pounds
  • Must be easy for me to put together
  • Must be useful as baby gets older

Bonus if it isn’t a fortune.

After much time on my computer, these were the contenders:

Phil & Teds Portable Travel Crib

Baby Bjorn Travel Crib Light

Lotus Everywhere Crib

After weighing all of the options, factoring in price, and considering shipping cost/times in Canada, we chose the Phil & Teds crib and have now had the chance to give it a test drive.

It was great!

It was small enough when packed up to fit in my suitcase. It only took a couple minutes to set up (after a couple of times, since the plastic can be a little stiff at first), and it has a firm, but inflatable mattress that baby slept very well on. I really liked that the sides were entirely mesh (right down to the floor), so there is no suffocating hazard, and he could see us even when lying down.

At $199 plus tax, it was a much better deal that the Bjorn option too, which retailed locally for over $300 (insane!).



Losing Letter Grades?

As a parent of school-aged children, I’m very interested in a recently circulated news story about elementary schools in Surrey, BC that are piloting a project to remove letter grading for students in grades four through seven.

Read about it here:

Surrey School District extends its ‘No Letter Grades’ program – British Columbia – CBC News.

It’s certainly created a lot of controversy, with people falling on both sides of the fence. And it seems like most of those people have a strong opinion one way or the other on this issue.

There’s the camp of people that like the idea of removing the labels, making the kids who are struggling feel less defeated, and keeping feedback in the positive realm. Not everyone fits into the good academic learner box, and kids don’t need to be told that they’re not good enough via a low letter grade. Further to this, eliminating letter grades are anticipated to force more constructive feedback, giving parents a clearer picture of where their children stand.

On the other side of the debate is the camp that thinks this change will lead to the deterioration of the educational system. That it’s the equivalent to giving everyone a medal just for showing up. This argument also suggests that it will be harder for students to transition to high school, and even more difficult to prepare for higher learning. It’s additionally argued that this move will further give children the message that there are no expectations, and children won’t be motivated to produce quality work or study hard for tests, since there will be no “A” to work for.

Now, this program is being watched carefully with the potential for it to be implemented in a more widespread manner, such as within the bounds of School District 23 (Kelowna).

I’m not sure where I fall yet, but according to a local poll done by, this wouldn’t be a welcome change by many

A Heartwarming Post Worth Sharing

Scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday, I stumbled on a post from the blog We Seek Joy. It’s titled “Babies ruin bodies” and it’s a beautiful way to look at what pregnancy does to women’s bodies.

It made me well up a little. Such lovely words.

Certainly worth a read and a share.

Image via on Flick’r.

Image via on Flick’r.

A Furby Takeover: Why Do They Have No “Off” Button?

This Christmas, we became a family of five people and three of the coveted Furby Booms.

“What a cool present!” I thought. “The kids will have so much fun with these!” I mused.

What didn’t I realize, you ask?

They have NO “off” button!

Sick. Really sick,

They also have NO volume control!


Last night I buried them in the corner of my son’s room, in case they woke up in the night, And I actually said,”Be careful! Don’t wake the Furbies!” tonight when I was tucking him in.

I do have to admit that the kids really do enjoy these toys, and they haven’t even lost their novelty yet. So, they’re not all bad, but they do have a few other “quirks” that I’m not necessarily in love with.

For example, the pooping.

The accompanying app gets you to take care of your Furby by feeding it, giving it a shower, and taking it to the bathroom. Yes, you put your Furby on a virtual toilet. And, it poops.

So gross.

Well, there’s my rant for the evening. Thanks for coming out.

Fingers crossed the Furbies don’t wake up tonight!

A Little Bit Each Day

2014 is full of things I want to do, and things I want to do better.

That’s why my reading list has included one of my favourite blogs. Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project blog is written in a helpful way that I find very easy to tie into my own life.

For example, this post on doing a little each day highlights interesting topics for me, and ones that I find really easy and actionable (which I LOVE).

When I write a little each day, a new blog post is easy to achieve. When I tackle a little part of a project each day, the big project gets completed. When I read a little to the kids each night, we have something important to look forward to at bedtime.

And of course, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that doing a little bit over time adds up to a big thing, but for me (and I’m guessing for a lot of people), it’s the reminder that’s needed.

So, today’s another day of doing a little and making sure that stuff is the important stuff (cue the 80/20 Rule)!

Gearing up to go Back

While the holidays have seemed to be long this year (which holidays really should, I suppose), it’s getting to be that time for moving back into routines and starting up with school.

It means getting everybody dressed and out the door again, which I admit I’ve enjoyed the break from.

It also means a good time to start some new strategies for not losing my marbles trying to get the crew ready. And, I know I can’t be the only one facing this challenge, so I started to look around…

This blog has a list of tips for making mornings go a little smoother. They’re all practical tips too, but not necessarily realistic in our house. For example, no screens is great in theory (unless I want to have a shower), and switching up breakfast is great if I’m feeling inspired (since I wouldn’t be feeding them a dose of sugar-filled Eggos).

I do, however, think that this post points out some great tips, like setting a “time to finish up breakfast” alarm.

And, of course, all the tips in the world won’t help me if I procrastinate. So, I’m going to get back on the wagon when it comes to making lunches and prepping backpacks the night before.

There are some areas where we’ve made great strides, like making sure that there are a variety of ready-made outfits in the closets, so there’s no “I have nothing to wear” whining going on.

Anyways, here’s to back to school! - Hunger Games?! Rebellion, defiance, threat of starvation, survival...I live that every morning trying to get the kids out the door for school.

Keeping the Kids Busy @ Home

Before I was on mat leave, the kids’ holiday breaks seemed so short. But now, they’re SO much longer and I’ve been grasping for things to keep them busy and not glued to a television/iPad/Nintendo 3DS/laptop screen. What a challenge!

We’ve done our fair share of crafts, like using Play-Doh to hold up uncooked spaghetti and seeing who can stack the most Cheerios on top.

Cheerios, spaghetti, and Play-Doh

We’ve also done plenty of colouring, science experiments, and playing for hours with the kids’ new Furbies (and I may break them if I have to play with them anymore). We’ve baked and cooked up some fun recipes.

Now, that we’re nearing the end of the break, I wanted to jot down some of our favourites.

  • Perler beads: These little plastic beads are great for snagging their attention for more than five minutes. My five-year-old stayed on this project for an hour! That’s basically an entire decade in little boy attention spans (at least in our house).
  • Spaghetti, Play-Doh, and Cheerios (mentioned above): This was super fun for the kids on New Year’s Eve, when I was desperately trying to keep them occupied and away from watching the clock.
  • Card games: I’m amazed at how great the kids are getting at playing card games like Go Fish and Crazy Eights. And, the upside is that it’s something that it’s something I really enjoy, rather than the things I do because I love them. Additional bonus – almost no cleanup!
  • Activity books: You know those school activity books that you can pick up just about anywhere these days? My kids love ’em — so long as I have a whack of stickers, ready and waiting to adorn the page once they’ve completed a word search, maze, or other task. Such as fun one, plus they’re keeping their brains in action.
  • Tin foil races: Ball up a little tin foil (or use a cotton ball) and give the kids a couple of straws. Then watch them race around the house. We used the kitchen island as their track. This is an easy one for days when you need something quickly to distract them.

And finally — I let them be bored. This was a horror to them at first, but I tried to explain it first. Boredom is good. It give you time to think about things, like things to do and more. We’re still working on this, but it’s an important one to me.