Thursday, 29 May 2014

Sample Source Box - Spring 2014 Review

Around the same time I received my free Elle Canada Beauty Box, I also got a box of sample products from Sample Source. Sample Source is a "try before you buy" site, so all you need to do is register on their website. Then when samples become available (every 4 months or so), they'll send you an email, and you pick the ones you want to try. The samples are sent to your home free of charge. In return, Sample Source asks you to complete a short online survey about your thoughts on the products. There are limited samples available, so once you get your email notification, try to pick your samples asap.

Here's the list of samples I received. I've put a * beside the products I liked the most and would buy in the future.
- Burt’s Bees Intense Hydration Night Cream*
- Aquafresh Extreme Clean Pure Breath Action toothpaste
- Tabasco Brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce
- Hershey’s Whole Almonds chocolate bar*
- Quaker Harvest Crunch Quinoa Chocolate Nut Medley granola bar*
- Sunlight OxyAction Dishwasher Detergent Packs*
- Snuggle Scent Booster
- Quaker Harvest Warm and Crunchy Granola*
- Twistos Baked Snack Bites, Asiago Flavour*
- John Frieda Smooth Start Shampoo and Conditioner
- John Frieda Frizz Ease Thermal Protection Serum
- John Frieda Straight Fixation Styling Cream
- John Frieda Sheer Blonde Shampoo*
- Jergens BB Body Perfecting Cream*
- Jergen’s Natural Glow 3 Days To Glow Moisturizer
- Armor All Ultra Shine Wash & Wax – for your car
- Tropicana Farmstand 100% Vegetable and Fruit Juice*

Coincidentally, along with the samples I was also offered a complementary 6-month subscription to Elle Canada magazine.

I hope you've enjoyed hearing about these 2 totally free boxes of goodies and sign up for your own boxes so you can get in on the action!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Spiderman Birthday Party

I wasn't planning on having a theme for Seb's second birthday, but as I walked the aisles of a party store "just to see what they had", I thought I could probably do a budget-friendly-yet-still-cute Spiderman theme.


The invites were wicked easy. Using some blue and red chalk, I wrote out the invitation information on our chalkboard wall at home. Then, one Spiderman t-shirt later, I had Sebastian stand in front of it so I could take a picture. Finally, using the app Over, I added the top part where it says To: Child's Name and emailed the personalized invites to the mamas of the toddlers invited. The hardest part of this was getting S to stay somewhat still in front of the chalkboard and look at the camera!

The food was pretty similar to what I did last year. To make things even easier, I just picked up cupcakes at the grocery store before the party. I made cupcake toppers with toothpicks and these free printable toppers from Jolly Mom.

I actually have a lot of Spiderman plates and cups left over if we ever do another Spiderman party, or even just to use for fun on a picnic or something.

We used red streamers to make a spider web on the ceiling (thankyoupinterest) and also hung a couple of swirl hanging decorations in the windows. Then we blew up all of the red, blue and silver balloons we had around. I also loaded up our digital frame with pictures from Seb's second year, but then I completely forgot to turn it on.


1 mini-size Spiderman shampoo from the travel aisle at Target
1 mini board book from a set like this one

Thank you cards
I picked up a packet of blank red cards at the dollar store to use and added Spiderman stickers (similar) to the front.VoilĂ ! Instant Spiderman thank you cards.

There you go! A budget-friendly Spiderman birthday party.

So, after everyone went home I realized I didn't take a single picture of the party while our friends were over. Not one. I put my phone down when the first guest arrived and didn't think to look at it again until everyone left. I guess that's a sign of a good party though right? We had fun!


For more modern take on a Spiderman birthday party, check out this post I just came across last week. I actually really like the spiders in the ice cubes idea. I would totally do that if we ever do Spiderman again.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Local Love Toronto: Riverdale Farm

Last week on Mother's Day we made our first trip of the year out to Riverdale Farm. Riverdale Farm has all of the things I love as a mom to a baby or toddler: it's stroller-friendly, it's free, and it's not far from our house, so I can drive there and easily be back by naptime. Plus, there's a splashpad just outside the entrance and an ice cream shop nearby.

In addition to the farm animals, there are paths, gardens, and beautiful ponds to see. I don't have much else to say about it other than that if you're in the city - check it out!


Thursday, 1 May 2014

30 Lessons from My Second Year of Motherhood

Today is Sebastian's second birthday. Happy Birthday little man! How the heck did this happen? It's a total cliché, but it's true that I can remember so clearly the day he was born like it was yesterday. If I think about it for any amount of time, my eyes well up with tears. I can still hear the sound of his heartbeat during our OB visits. I can picture Rob and I walking Sebastian out of the hospital in his little car seat. I remember the very first day I had to take care of him by myself after Rob went back to work and my mom had gone back home. I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I didn't know which way was up, but still feeling so much love for our son.

It's so amazing how much my life has changed in 2 years. And it's amazing how our whole family has also changed in just one year. The first birthday is still baby-esque. We now have a walking, talking, opinionated, iPad-obsessed toddler in our house.

I was trying to figure out how to explain my feelings about Sebastian's second birthday on the blog, and I came across this post from Cloudy with a Chance of Wine. So this is it. Here are the lessons I've learned in the second year of motherhood.

1. It gets easier.

2. I don't think our floor will ever be clean again.

3. Not all daycares are created equal, and fancy is not better. A shiny, new Montessori daycare right around the corner from your house will not necessarily be the best fit for your child.

4. Netflix might be the best $8 we spend each month.

5. I can't do everything, and I have to stop trying... so I hired a cleaning lady.

6. Toddlers usually sleep through the night, and now there is a part of me that misses the middle of the night quiet feeds.

7. Getting dinner on the table every night is a mini-miracle.

8.  There are some pre-pregnancy jeans I am just not going to fit into again.

9.  Holidays with a toddler really are way more fun.

10.  I don't know what I'd do without online shopping.

11.  Getting a toddler dressed in the winter is even worse than getting a baby dressed in winter.

12.  When I happen to have time to myself, going for a walk around Chapters with a latte is my most favourite thing to do.

13. During the second year, you really get to meet your little person. What does he like? Not like? What makes him laugh until he gasps for air?

14. Creating a monthly date night is essential. Couple dates are fun, but it is also important that some of these date nights are actually just the two of you spending time alone together.

15. There is always a frozen pizza in our freezer.

16.  Melissa and Doug make the best toys.

17. An unplanned stay in a hotel room during an ice storm is zero fun.

18. Fridays are not the beginning of 2 days off.

19. Tieks are the most perfect mom-friendly shoe.

20. Even if I only go for toothpaste, it's nearly impossible to leave Target without spending at least $100.

21. The terrible twos actually start before your toddler is technically 2.

22. When a toddler squeals with happiness, it's the best. thing. ever.

23.  I'll use the iPad to babysit my child while I make dinner more often than I would like to admit.

24. ...because no matter what toys we have for Sebastian, 9 times out of 10, the only thing he wants to play with is the iPad.

25. Going back to work isn't as scary as it seems.

26. Just because Sebastian ate applesauce for snack yesterday, doesn't mean he'll want to eat applesauce again, ever.

27. Staying inside all day is not an option.

28. It takes a long time for those little words to start coming out.

29. Being the mama of a little boy is sooooooo much fun. I can totally get into superheroes and dinosaurs.

30. If I stop and think about how fast he's growing up and how much I love his wet, open-mouthed kisses, it makes me cry.