Bentgo Kids Lunch Boxes

So with First Born going to kindergarten next year, it means I’ll be responsible for packing his lunches. Every.Freaking.Day. The preschool he went to last year required a packed snack (it was only a 2 hour class 2 days a week) so that was simple enough. Then my parents moved closer to me and we had to switch him to a new preschool which provided snacks, so I’ve been fortunate. But next year the pain will begin.

Earlier this year I started planning on what containers First Born will be using when he finally goes to school full time next year. Yes.. I planned that far ahead lol. The original containers I used was deemed too hard and complicated for a 3 year old to use on their own so I switched over to a regular sandwich sized plastic tupperware container that came with the sandwich cutter I bought. That worked well for First Born to open but clearly he never closed them. I wanted to order the Planetbox stainless steel lunchboxes but man are they expensive. Then I looked at Lunchbots but I preferred the lids to be attached to the box itself so there would be less chance of them getting lost.
So now you’re thinking “what’s wrong with regular Glad or Ziploc containers?” One word: spillage. If I pack First Born something dry and something wet, there’s a chance that the dry item getting soggy and therefore First Born will not eat it. And plus it’s spillage.. who likes having their food spilling into each other? Am I right? Lol.

I looked at the Bentgo Kids lunchboxes a bit and went back and forth a bit between that and Planetbox. I liked the idea of stainless steel. Less chance of it cracking, breaking etc. Plus a lot of mom’s I know swear by them.. but the cost. Yikes. Getting 2 of them would set me back over $100 and that’s the price from a co-op group buy! My local group buy site was offering them again so I decided to order 2 and see how it goes.

 

New world of pain

 

I ordered them in 2 different colours just for variety. I chose the Bentgo over Yumbox because Bentgo looked more durable and the inner tray looked like it could withstand more abuse than the Yumbox one. An added bonus is that the inner tray is dishwasher and microwave safe!
The suggested age for these is 3-8 years but I’m sure by the time Second Born starts kindergarten in 3 years I will be using a bigger box for First Born’s lunches.

What kind of lunch boxes do you use and how do you like them?

Until next time!

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52 Week Money Challenge

Ever say to yourself “I’m going to start saving some money for a rainy day”? I have. Many times. Have I ever? A few times. Did it work? Yes… it did… until I stopped. And used the money.

Having a mortgage (and a Vancouver, BC mortgage at that!), 2 kids and an unending list of bills to pay, we’re usually left with very little to put aside. Especially now that we’re also putting aside money every month for 2 college funds.

I’ve had some “money saving” tips pinned for awhile and thought I’d finally give them a try. It’s not a lot of money we’re talking about, just a few dollars here and there but it’s supposed to add up to $1378 by the end of the year.

saving

It looks easy enough and the amounts are small enough that it won’t leave me crying every month. I’m actually going to try 2 different ways to save a little money; the top one for 52 weeks is for our “rainy day” fund and the one beneath it is for Christmas presents for the kids.
I normally try and start shopping around August for xmas gifts, just so it’s not a huge expense all in one month. The original dates for the second list is from June till the end of November, so for me I’m going to start saving in April till September. I’ll likely continue putting money away instead of stopping… so I’ll see how much I actually end up with lol.

For the planners peeps out there, you will notice that I have made it so I can insert the charts into my planner and I also laminated it because I know it’s something I will continually use.

What are you ways of saving money?

Till next time!

New year, New Planner

The last time I used a planner was when I was in high school waaaaaaaay back when. Since the days of smartphones (ie. my blackberry) I have been using the calendar on them to record and remind myself of important days and events and it has served me well. But sometimes it’s just easier to have everything written down and able to see all at once vs opening the scheduled event on the phone.

Meet my new planner, The Happy Planner, from Me and My Big Ideas (MAMBI for short in the planner world).

planner

The Happy Planner

I’ve been eyeballing this planner for months but never saw a reason or justification in getting one when I have my trusty smartphone. I also may or may not have scoffed at the thought of people still using these paper forms of organization. Boy was I wrong!
Did you guys know that there is a whole different universe of “planner people”?! I mean, it’s really insane! There’s even a whole aisle now at Michaels dedicated to planners and accessories for them.
This particular planner was given to me as a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law. You should have seen my eyeballs when I opened it lol. I knew about the planner but I didn’t KNOW about the planner… you know? Lol. Anyways, I looked around on Pinterest and instagram to see how people were using these things and WOW. It really opened up a whole new world for me. I am a scrapbooker. Well, I guess I was a scrapbooker. That’s how I started out in paper crafting. Then I moved onto cards. And then I had babies. And then everything just sat there.. collecting dust. Until now.

This new planner phenomenon (it probably isn’t but I’m going to say it is because I’ve only noticed it now lol)combines everything into one. You can personalize your planner based on your personality and what you want to use it for. For me, and a lot of other people, a love of paper crafting and staying organized. And with hubs travelling for work more and the two terrors getting older and attending preschool and other activities, I need it more than ever!

This is what the next 2 weeks of my planner look like:

page-1

page-2

Don’t mind the crappy pictures and lighting. This is what happens when you try to quickly snap some picks of something before little hands tear it away from you and rip it to shreds.

I’m still new to this whole planning thing and trying to figure out my planning “style”.
Are you guys planners as well? If so, what planner are you using and let’s check out those layouts!

Till next time!

What A Year Makes

It’s been a year. Actually, it’s been a bit over a year lol. How much has happened during that time you ask? Well let me tell you. I had my baby. I guess that’s pretty obvious… unless I’m an elephant. Which I’m not but certainly feel like these days.

The little turdlet (yes I address my second child as a turd) is 10.5m old now. B has actually turned into a good baby. Him and his big brother have differences as all sibling do. B was born at 36 weeks. The goal was to make it past 34 weeks; which was when my oldest was born. Anything after 34 weeks was a bonus. His birth story was a bit traumatic so I won’t haunt your dreams with it. As with my first, B was born by forceps at 6lbs 2oz and had a 2 day stay in NICU. The transition for Riley was probably better than I thought it would be. There was no jealousy issues and he didn’t want to hurt the baby… at least not intentionally.

B_born

I wasn’t sure what I was thinking at the time but when I was in my third trimester and was ordered by my doctor to stop working, I thought it would be a good idea to try and potty train my then 2 year old. BIG MISTAKE. It didn’t work and both Riley and I were frustrated and upset with the whole experience. I pretty much made up my mind that Riley would just start kindergarten still wearing diapers lol.

B_3m

B @ 3m old

My sister and her husband also moved in with us temporarily at the end of June last year. They were living with my BIL’s family in a basement suite and his sister and BIL decided to sell the house and move into the ‘burbs. Which then prompted my sister and her husband to buy their own place.
They bought into a new townhouse development about 8mins away from my place but it wasn’t going to be ready until the middle of October, so they shacked up with us because my sister was also pregnant at the time and she didn’t want to move an hour away from work and 30mins away from the hospital where she would be delivering.
Let me tell you that having 4 adults (2 of which were pregnant), 3 dogs (they had to bring their dog with them) and a toddler living in a 2200sqft house was pretty tight. Oh and did I mention that this was the beginning of one of the hottest summers on record? Yeah… good times. Fortunately my husband and I were starting to work on our house a bit last year and he had promised me that he would have a heat pump installed so I wouldn’t melt into puddle of sweat while I was pregnant. Their townhouse ended up being completed a couple weeks ahead of schedule so they were able to move in at the beginning of October. And not a minute too soon! B was growing a lot fast than I had anticipated and he needed to be moved out of the bassinet and into his crib.

We also took a trip to Mexico at the end of January this year. Unfortunately we couldn’t bring Riley with us as it was Ryan’s work trip and we didn’t really feel like shelling out $2000 out of our own pocket for Riley lol. I know… bad parents. B was free to fly and was also free for the hotel stay, plus he was still nursing at the time and there is no way in hell that Ryan was going to go to Mexico for a week without me!

B_mexico

First flight and first time out of the country!

B actually did really well on the flight and during the whole trip as well. We didn’t follow much of a routine while we were there. He basically ate and napped whenever he was hungry and tired. It also helped that the time zone was 3 hours ahead so Ryan and I were able to stay out a bit later than normal while at the same time we were able to keep B’s internal clock the same for bedtime.

Riley also turned 3 in May. He ended up potty training himself when he was about 2.5 years old. One day I just asked him if he wanted to sit on the potty and he did… and the rest is history lol. The transition for him to go on a potty to going on the toilet was actually petty easy. All it took was getting the same toilet ring that my mom has. For whatever reason Riley would only go on the potty at home but at my parent’s place he refused and would only go on the toilet. I tried getting him to sit on the toilet at home but he refused so I went out and bought the same toilet ring my mom has and he had no problems after that. Weird I know! And now he can even go on the toilet with out a ring when we’re out.

bros

Riley @ 3yrs old, B @ 9.5m old

Until next time!

(and I promise a little less baby talk!)

Free Samples?!

Yes please! I mean really who doesn’t love getting things for free!

Last year I discovered this little gem of a website Sample Source from some mom’s in Riley’s birth group. You have to sign up in order to receive the sample packs and the packs come out and are offered about 2-3 times a year. You have to be quick on it though because it’s only available for limited times.
Mine arrived this week.

Free Samples from Sample Source

Free Samples from Sample Source

It was like Christmas all over again lol.
When you get notified of a sample roll out, they ask you a questionnaire each time to determine which samples suit you best and what to send you to test out. Some items require you to log back into the site and fill out a review of the product.
This is actually my second sample pack. The first one, I can’t really remember what I got now but it also included a free limited subscription to a magazine. I chose some hockey magazine for the hubs.

This is what I got in my new sample pack:

My goodies!

My goodies!

The Brookside Chocolates were really good. The first sample pack I got for Brookside was of the chocolate covered blueberries. This time I got the chocolate covered berry crunch which was just as good!

Go sign up and try some samples for yourself!

Get Ready for 2.0

Well… this happened

Baby 2.0 aka Terminator

Baby 2.0 aka Terminator

We’re having another baby! Baby 2.0 is due in mid-August. Right now Riley is 22 months old and really doesn’t quite understand why Mommy’s belly is so large and why Daddy is constantly rubbing it lol. The first time he saw me holding a baby was back in December when my SIL had her second daughter. Riley was not impressed to say the least. He immediately burst into tears. But since then he seems to have changed. We saw my in-laws again in March for hubby’s bday and Riley was fascinated with his now 3 month old cousin.

I’m currently in my 20th week of pregnancy and the above ultrasound was done last week when we also found out the gender. Riley is going to have a little brother!
Hubs and I were really hoping for a girl and I have to admit that I was extremely disappointed when we were told it would be another boy. Gender Disappoint is a very real thing. I’m not saying that I won’t love this child as much if it were a girl, just that we had hoped for a girl and really wanted one of each. It took me a little while to get used to the idea of having 2 boys but now I have accepted it.

3D imaging of 2.0 sucking his thumb

3D imaging of 2.0 sucking his thumb

2.0 already looks like his big brother and seems to be as stubborn (or quite possibly, even more stubborn!) than him as well! He also looks to have some of the same characteristics too… sleeping with his hands behind his head, hiding and sleeping face down during ultrasounds etc.

We’re all very exited for the arrival of our new addition and gearing up to move Riley out of the nursery and into his big boy room.

Say Hello To My Little Friend!

Meet Spike!

Meet Spike!

We have a new house mate! Every time we go to a plant nursery I always look for these little guys. They’re air plants and about as maintenance free as a cactus. They range in price from $2.99-$20 depending on the size, variety and where you buy it. This little guy was $5 and is about the size of my palm.

I’ve always wanted to get one but something always stopped me. Then one of my co-workers showed up to work with one and has it on her desk. So the next time we hit the nursery again, I finally got myself one. I try to spray it with water every 2-3 days and it’s recommended to be soaked in water once every 2 weeks.

I’m more of an outdoor flower planter type of gal but we do have a variety of house plants at home. Hubs insisted we place a plant in each room of our house to “clean” the air since our house was brand new when we moved in and still had the smell of paint and we had an infant. Currently, there’s a Peace Lily and Rubber Tree plant on the kitchen counter in front of a window and there’s my Coffee Tree plant on the floor next to the balcony door.
Upstairs we have a fern in the master bedroom and a Snake plant in Riley’s room. In the basement we have an Aloe Vera… that’s in need of some serious watering and a bigger pot (oops!).

We were in Ikea one day, a year and a half ago, hubs decided that we needed a plant in the living room. He was eye-balling two plants so I compromised and said he can get only ONE. He decided on an Elephant plant. A couple days later, hubs was at work and I had just fed the baby and he was down for his first nap. I was walking back into the kitchen to put my breakfast dishes away when I noticed something off the corner of my eye. This is what I saw:

What the hey?!

What the hey?!

I stood there immobilized for a couple minutes just STARING at it. I was trying to figure out if it was alive and where it had come from. It was mid-September at the time and we lived at the bottom of the woods so I thought the little thing might have found it’s way inside our house when we had the door open somewhere.

Is it trying to jump at my jugular??

Is it trying to jump at my jugular??

I backed away from the kitchen sink and ran into the living room to grab my phone. I sent a text to hubs saying “There’s a lizard in the house!!!” Needless to say his first thought was if I had smoked something. I sent him the two pics and he was as flabbergasted as I was. I called him telling him that there is indeed a LIVE lizard in the kitchen… he couldn’t believe it. We got off the phone and hubs sent me another text telling me to trap it lol. I didn’t know if the lizard would jump at me or get frighten and make a run for it when I got close so I grabbed a small water glass and trapped it.

Trapped!

Trapped!

I didn’t know if it would have enough air to breath in there and I didn’t have anything small enough to lift the cup to let it breathe without it escaping so I would periodically lift the cup up and let some air in. Hubs talked to some people at his work and they concluded that the lizard had hitched a ride on the Elephant plant from Ikea and had been roaming around our house for the last couple of days. One of hubbies co-worker’s sister actually works at Ikea and she said that it happens all the time. Every now and then the stores would have a gecko infestation and they would have to wait till the store closes and trap them.
I didn’t want to let the little thing loose and freeze to death outside and we didn’t want it destroyed (which would have happened if we had called the wildlife number) so hubs bought a small tank to house it in with some live crickets, until we could find a new home for it.
Luckily one of hub’s co-workers roommates wanted it so he took him home. Hubs named it Sven while it was living with us and apparently he’s thriving in his new home and has grown quite a bit!

Needless to say I check ALL our new indoor plants for stowaways now!

Santa Pics 2014

Yes I know I’m about 3 months late lol. Things got pretty busy for us before the xmas holidays last year and now I have a lot of catching up to do!

I’m trying to make it a yearly tradition (like every other parent out there) to take Riley out and take Santa pics. The year he was born was great. We had my immediate family and we took pics all together. This year we couldn’t make the schedule work so it was just the 3 of us.

Here we are waiting in the line up:

Trying to keep the kid occupied

Trying to keep the kid occupied

We made sure that Riley was well rested and had his lunch before heading to the mall. I think we were in line for about 30-45mins.

My fav pic of the two

My fav pic of the two

And cue the tears!

This is not the smile of a happy child

This is not the smile of a happy child

I knew there would be crying and tears, I just didn’t expect the immediate reaction! I thought I would try putting Riley on Santa’s lap and see if he would notice. Usually there’s a good 10-15 seconds before the kids realize they’re sitting on a stranger’s lap but Riley’s response was immediate. The second I took my hands off him the screeching started… and wouldn’t stop even when I held him and put him on my lap lol. Not even a candy cane stopped the tears. His face was as red as a tomato. The only time I had seen him that upset was… well, never.

The Santa was a good sport though. Didn’t seem fazed at all with the screaming and tears. His smile was in place the whole time and was very pleasant throughout. But I guess having a gig like that, one would have to have an ocean’s amount of patience and an intense love of young kids.

Maybe this year? Lol

New Closet: Part 1, Painting Stripes

*Sigh* Where do I begin. Before I started this ambitious project (and I say ambitious because this is really the FIRST home improvement project I have done. Period.) I looked around on Pinterest for inspiration on how to remake my closet. Because our house is a pre-sale and we didn’t want to pay for the all “extras”, all the closet racks were the plain and simple wire ones. Did I mention that ALL the walls in the house is white? This will be a never ending project. Good thing we plan on staying here awhile!
In my excitement of starting the reno, I forgot to take a pic of what my closet looked like with all my clothes, shoes… and other crap. Here’s what it looked like when Helpful Hubs started removing the yucky wire racks:

Helpful Hubs

Helpful Hubs

Yes my friends, that is indeed a chandelier you see. If you’re asking how I managed to get hubs to agree to let me put a girly chandelier in there, the answer is quite simple; this is MY own personal walk-in closet. Yes MINE. ALL MINE. And now you’re wondering how I managed to kick hubby out, well he also has his own. Our master bedroom has two, I repeat TWO, walk-in closets! It’s paradise. It would be Utopia if my closet were just a tiny bit bigger but I digress. I’m happy not having to share closet space as it is lol. On another note, hubs has made a few comments about me putting a chandelier in there not to mention the fact that he doesn’t understand why I need to paint it either.

I decided I wanted to paint black stripes in my closet and went about reading on how to go about doing it. All the sites I read say that it’s “easy” and “simple”… they’re not true. Well at least not in my case. There was a lot of trial and error not to mention a crap load of patience and an insurmountable amount of determination. But having gone through it all now, the next time I decide to paint a striped wall it will definitely go a lot faster and easier.

It all started when the calculator app I used on my iPad gave me the wrong calculation. The walls in my closet are 90.5″ in height and I wanted an uneven number of stripes because I wanted the very top and the very bottom ones to be black. So I divided 90.5 by 9. Now this is where it all started. The app on my iPad gave me a calculation of 13.64″ for each stripe. Helpful Hubs used a tape measure and went about the room marking 13.64”. Now hubs is quite notorious in our household for not making straight lines so I was a bit skeptical of his abilities. After he finished his markings we started to tape. This is when Helpful Hubs turned into Angry Hubs. I questioned his measuring because it didn’t look very straight to me. He started taping starting at the very top because I wouldn’t be able to reach that high and I started painting over the patched up holes with the base paint (more on that later). Before I could tell hubs where the tape was supposed to go he had already started on the third stripe. I decided to keep my mouth shut and just redo it all the next evening. We finally finished taping about 30mins-45mins later and that’s when I noticed that something was wrong. The last stripe on the bottom was about half the width of the others. I scratched my head about it for a bit and the next day I used my calculator app on my phone to recalculate the numbers. 90.5 divided by 9 = 10.05!!!!!!! A few specific words ran through my head. How could I have not noticed that it was miscalculated in the first place?! Fortunately I was going to redo the tapes anyways. I ran out to Home Depot on my lunch to grab a laser level. The one I bought was the Johnson HOT SHOT. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on one and since I was planning on remarking and taping the stripes myself and didn’t want to put nails in my wall, I decided not to get the chalk line. Review of the Johnson HOT SHOT will come in a later post.

When hubs came home I told him that there was a miscalculation and I would be redoing the measurements and the tapes. He came up to help me a few mins after I had started.
This proved to be the most frustrating part. I relied too heavily on the laser level and thought that all walls should be level with one another, because really… why wouldn’t they right?! *Sigh* I ended up only marking the new correct measurement in ONE spot and only ONCE. I realized my error when I started to apply the tape on the second wall. The marks didn’t match up. Turned out that the laser level was shifting on the wall. The sticky tack that keeps it on the wall was actually not so sticky. Back to the beginning we go. Fast forward an hour, while I was almost half way done retaping, I asked hubs if he could start priming the edge of the tapes for the stripes that were going to be painted black.
Because the walls were already white to begin with and I wanted black and white stripes, I only needed to buy black paint. Hubs had picked up a small can of touch-up paint for us to cover up the patched up holes. The paint was supposed to be same colour of the existing colour of paint on the walls but we couldn’t get in the smaller sized can because that specific colour of paint was only available in the gallon sized cans. The girl at the store said it was 99% the same colour. I’m pretty sure she’s colour blind. Either that or she played a pretty mean prank on us.

Ready for the first coat of black paint!

Ready for the first coat of black paint!

This was the result after two coats of the “same” colour of paint. Now, I would recommend you prime the tape even though it adds more time to finish your project. The reason for that is because this actually helps seal the tape and prevent any of the paint from bleeding. I did two coats of this because hubs used a foam brush (!@#$%^&*) to do the first coat of the first couple of stripes and it just didn’t look like it would do much of anything. I also marked the ones to be painted black with tape.I would also recommend the use of wide painters tape. As you can see in the picture below, I only used the thinner ones because that was what we had on hand and yes, I did paint over the tape a few times.

First coat of paint

First coat of paint

I should mention that I had to cancel all my plans that I had for the day to finish painting my closet. I didn’t really have to do it all that afternoon but by the time I had finished the first coat of paint it was already 2:30pm. Even with the taping done the night before, it took me until 5pm to fully finish that one little room *sigh*. I did make time for a shower, lunch and a quick clean of the house before starting on the second and final coat of paint.

Isn't it beautiful?!

Isn’t it beautiful?!

Voila! Part 1 of my new closet is complete!

Paint I used:
White touch-up paint: Cloverdale
Black: Behr, Carbon

Vancouver Snow!

Contrary to popular belief, yes Vancouver does get snow… on the rare occasion lol. We Don’t get much of it but when we finally do it’s a cause for celebration. Well, for some of us at least!

We finally got our first snowfall on the last weekend of November. Hubs had inventory at work so it was just me and the boy. Fortunately we didn’t have plans to go anywhere so we hunkered down at home. Good thing too because before the snow started it had rained thus creating a layer of ice underneath.

First Snow of 2014!

First Snow of 2014!

Riley is now 1 year and 7 months old so this isn’t his first Christmas or his first time seeing snow. We had taken him up to Cypress last December but he likely has no memories of it.

Cypress Mountain Dec. 2013

Cypress Mountain Dec. 2013

Needless to say Riley was pretty excited when we got all bundled up and headed outside. It was actually kinda funny because we would walk a little bit and then he would just sit down wherever he was and start playing with the snow lol.

Snow2

At one point he was laying on the snow and playing with it.

Snow1

We plan on taking him back up to Cypress after the New Year some time to go tubing. I’m sure the little guy is going to have a blast!

Riley’s Clothing Details:
From 2013
Hat: Baby Gap
Mitts: H&M
Puffy Jacket: H&M
Pants: The Children’s Place
Shoes: Puma

From 2014
Toque: H&M
Superman Mitts: H&M
Jacket, pants and boots: Hand-me-downs