Category: parenting

Mommy, Am I Pretty? #review & #giveaway

Young children are flooded with images of how they should look and behave every day. Society has placed a strong emphasis on our physical appearance that it is almost impossible to escape. I still remember looking in the mirror growing up and hating my nose – it was wide and big and I was teased relentlessly for it (this was even before media encouraged the perfect skinny body type!). I would come home every night and take a wooden clothespin and clip my nose in an effort to make my nose smaller (remember the saying don’t do that to your face it will freeze like that – yup that was my hope at the time). I have come a long way since then but I still have so many insecurities about my appearance that go back to my young days. I have an unhealthy relationship with food that stems from my high school years and not allowing myself to eat during school hours in the hope of looking pretty. As a Mother and an Aunt it is now important to me more than ever to encourage the children in my life that they have value that extends well beyond their physical appearance. That it is the good inside of us that makes us beautiful people.

About Mommy, Am I Pretty? 

Mommy, am I pretty? is the story of Molly a young girl in elementary school. One day while walking home from school with her Mother, Molly asks what it means to be pretty. Molly’s Mother helps her look at her day at school, at home and in her neighbourhood to discover moments of kindness and beauty. Molly learns that it is the small gestures of generosity and friendship that makes us loving and beautiful on the inside which shines through to our outer beauty. Molly realizes that being pretty on the inside is what matters most in life.

My Thoughts

The powerful message that Margot L Denommé writes is showcased in a wonderful way that will reach out to all young children. The story is written as if it is you having this conversation with your child. She examines every day experiences that children will go through and how our actions in these moments defines us and makes us a better and beautiful person. Children are bombarded with images in media leaving them with the feeling that beauty can only be seen on the outside. It is so important for children to know that our actions make us good people and it is a good heart that shines out and makes a person beautiful. 

Mommy, am I pretty? is a book that I hope ends up in every classroom – it teaches a lesson that not only starts at home but extends into a child’s school life where they can be exposed to negative comments about their appearance and bullying. 

About Margot L.Denommé

Margot practices law in Toronto where she lives with her husband and two young girls. Margot wrote this book to encourage dialogue between parents, grandparents, caregivers, teachers and young girls as a way to empower and teach them that true beauty lies within. Her message has resonated with many Canadian groups and organizers including, The Pediatric Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery division of the Hospital for Sick Children and the Dove Self-Esteem Fund Real Beauty Campaign. A portion of proceeds from book sales will go to Meagan’s Walk, a Toronto based charity that has since 2001 raised more than $2.7 million for cancer research. Margot has presented to several organizations as well as spoken to many students at various schools. To arrange for a public speaking opportunity at your own school you can contact her here.

A Special Mention

Margot’s two daughters, Madison and Brooke, are the illustrators of her book! Their lovely drawings complete the book and make it perfect! It was wonderful to see all of their drawings bringing the book to life.

Mommy, am I pretty? is avaiable in both hardcover and kindle format.

Enter to Win!

Margot has two books ready to give away to two of my Canadian readers to help encourage a daily dialogue between parents and their young girls! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Saving For Your Child’s Future #RESPwithRBC

A university and college education is essential for students. For me it meant studying in a field I love, Kinesiology, while also experiencing my first time living away from home. Up until that point I had led a sheltered life at home with my parents purchasing all of my material needs and taking care of all the bills without ever including us in these discussions. Heading to university away from home was the ideal dream for so many of us – we all had this vision of awesome parties, living in a posh environment with cool new friends and our own space.

The part that we as young adults never realized? The total cost for this education and experience. 

My parents had started an RESP when I was in my early teens but were not able to contribute as much as they had hoped to before I went off to school. I had enough to cover my first year of tuition (which was just under $5,000 CDN) but I never took in to consideration the cost of textbooks, supplementary fees, rent and utilities for the lovely apartment we had to have. In my first year alone I paid an extra $1,000 for textbooks and most of them were used. When I lived at home my parents were there to take care of all the money issues but for the first time in my life I was left to deal with my finances on my own and I was running out of money. Like many students I had to turn to student loans, OSAP and credit cards. Access to this credit was so easy and it didn’t feel like “real” money so it kept adding up. To be honest I felt like I had been lied to all those years about money – no one had taught me about savings, budgeting and credit. It was all to easy to rack up over $15,000 CDN in debt.

When I gave birth to my first son I was in my second year of undergraduate studies. After I gave birth, we knew the best gift we could ever give our son was an education and to achieve that we opened him up an RESP. I never wanted my son to feel the way I was feeling – hopeless and beginning to drown in debt. I wanted him to have some financial freedom when choosing post-secondary education. To me this was the most important decision as parents we would ever make. It is also the decision that I am the most proud of. The years keep speeding by and before I know it both of our boys will be ready to make the leap to post-secondary education.

With the wealth of information out there about the rising costs of post-secondary education as well as the importance of that education I am always surprised when parents say they don’t have an RESP or that they plan on financing with credit when the times comes. RBC has put together a fantastic resource of information on their website for families looking to save for post-secondary education.

Some of you may not have heard about RESP’s before and that’s okay too! Here is some information for you from RBC about these special savings accounts:

What Is An RESP?

  • A Registered Education Savings Plan is a tax sheltered account that helps families save for post secondary education.
  • You can combine flexible payment plans and direct government assistance (we received $700 in grants because I myself was a student when I first opened up my son’s RESP) to maximize savings.
  • The beneficiary only needs to be a Canadian citizen and have a social insurance card to set up an account (super easy!).
The Benefits of a RESP
  • Easy and affordable payments over a long period of time allows you to maximize savings ($50 a month over seventeen years adds up to a lot of money for your child!).
  • The Canada Education Savings Grant and Canada Learning Bond: the Government is giving you money to save for your child’s education! This is extra money above what you are contributing and only increases your savings over time.
As someone who has been in the position of graduating with a large amount of student debt I can not begin to stress enough the importance of saving for your child’s education.
Here are my own personal tips for families out there looking to save for their child’s post secondary education:
  • It is never too early nor too late to open an account. Head into RBC to meet with an advisor, learn more about your options and set goals.
  • Save based on your own financial situation. I know that I personally can not afford to save as much as I wish I could but every little bit counts.
  • Be open and honest with your children. Sit down with them and talk about money, tuition and savings. Let them view their own statements, open their own bank account and deposit money into their RESP. Let them take pride in saving for their education.
RBC has a fantastic giveaway live on their Facebook page right now where you have the chance to win one of four prizes of $500 to go towards an RESP. You have nothing to lose so head over and get yourself entered! This would make a fantastic start towards an RESP if you haven’t opened one yet or a great top up in an account you already have open!
On October 1st join RBC on Twitter as we chat all things RESP and more! You also have the opportunity to win one of six $100 gift cards! Just make sure to use the hashtag #RESPwithRBC – looking forward to chatting with you!
Disclosure: I am part of the RBC RESP blogger program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own. Images from RBC used with permission.
Continue Reading
Continue Reading

Easy Easter Gifts

Its that time of year again -Easter! I like to put together our own little goodie basket for our kids to ensure it’s tailored to each of my boys and different each year.

To make these easy gift baskets you will need:
– beach pail (I prefer these over Easter baskets as they can use them all year long)
– filling
– tissue paper
– Easter eggs (empty)
– package of gummies,chocolate eggs or other treat your child likes
– Easter baggies
– small gift ($5-10/each)
– plastic wrap
– ribbon
1. Line the pails with tissue paper and place the filling at the bottom. 
2. Put gummies in the Easter bags and begin to add in the pails.
3. Fill the Easter eggs with chocolate eggs and add to the pails.
4. Wrap in clear plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon!

Do you celebrate Easter with small gifts? What do you like to gift?

Continue Reading

Mother Hen Nutrition Month Taste Testing Play Date #IAmMotherHen

I had the pleasure of hosting a taste testing party this week with other parents to try out the Mother Hen product lines. I have and still use the Mother Hen products (you can find my review here) so I was very happy to be able to share my experiences with other parents and have fun at the same time.

If you are not familiar with Mother Hen baby food the products are certified organic fruits and vegetables (certified through Ecocert Canada), gluten and peanut free and no added salt or sugar. You can find them in their own freezers at many stores including Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart.

The Planning

To be very honest this was one of our first big play dates (more then just one other child and not a relative!). So we were nervous and excited at the same time. Our first plan of attack? Sending out e-vites! Our youngest son decided to chose the cutest little chick e-vites to send out to our guests to invite them over. We chose our date, time and boom they were off! The e-vites tied in well with the animal theme of our event.

Now what is a party without party decorations and supplies? We went shopping and started to put together our little taste testing presents (had to convince him it was not his birthday party!). We picked up two different boxes of Mother Hen products and went with Lamb and Chicken Cacciatore. We also had two boxes in the freezer already of pears and mangoes (our little one’s favourite fruits!).

Our Taste Testing Play Date

Finally our big day arrived! We took out a nice tablecloth and began to decorate (one of Mommy’s favourite parts!).  Out went the taste tasting presents we wrapped up the day before, along with food samples for the children (and for the parents to try too!).

Our crafts and activities also came out. I had such a hard time keeping them away from our little one! He was too excited and started running around an hour before ‘moo-ing’ and using his mask.  Mother Hen also included some fantastic game cards and headbands that we (the parents) used and the older ones would give us clues on who we were (although they were not too familiar with the game and would just shout out the character!). Each card was full of facts on that particular animal, fruit or vegetable. 

The little one’s favourite part of the day? The taste testing of course! I had purchased two boxes (and some of our own stash) which included pears, lamb and their chicken cacciatore. It was hard to keep the little ones still enough to try them all out but the parents were able to try them out. It was fun to also be able to share recipes, tips and tricks with other parents about ensuring proper nutrition for infants and toddlers (especially with all the new changes to infant nutrition!).

It was a fantastic, fun filled morning with great food, company and activities!

If you are not following them yet, make sure to follow Mother Hen on Facebook and Twitter for more nutrition information updates, recipes and so much more! You can also find more information on hosting your own taste testing event in your home!

What do you look for when purchasing infant food? 

Disclosure: I received the above taste testing kit for participating in this event. All opinions expressed are my own. I did not have permission to share photos of the other children attending the event so they are not featured in this post.

Continue Reading