Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bucket Fun List for Toddlers

I pretty much always have a mental note of what our next activity or playground adventure should be with Caiden. 

I feel like there are always going to be so many things to do or see.  What I am learning,  however, is to not get consumed with all the things available because some may be just way too much for him at this stage; and to reserve some fun for later ages too. I am starting to take it in is very easy to get caught up in the  "not missing anything" parent frame of mind.

So in keeping toddlers in mind, and seeing what was super successful and fun with my toddler, I came up with a bucket list of fun must-dos for aged 1 to 3 year olds.  Some include visits to parks or venues, but others are just simple, easy, things that they will love with no planning needed on your part.

Each item on the list here gets such an awesome response.  Seeing this enthusiasm and joy is...well it brings out the kid in you too.

Turning Mommy: Bucket list toddlers

I think you will have fun seeing them enjoy the following:

1. Visit the local Aquarium

2. Jumping Puddles (with rain boots of course)

3. The Pumpkin Patch (including sloshing in the mud puddles)

4.  Watching airplanes take flight

5.  Choo choo train ride (usually put on during Christmas, Halloween or Easter)

6.  Petting or any zoo of sort

7.  Water parks and swimming

8.  Sand castles and Beachcombing

9.  Cotton candy and Kiddie rides at a Fair

10. Public song or Storytimes

11. Running around in large open fields

12. Bubble Baths

13.  Finger painting with no boundaries

14.  Cake smashing

15.  Jumping in a ball pit

Have fun you guys!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Perfect Cup of Chai

Chai - photo credit
In seeing a lot of Indian inspo online...I thought I would post my chai recipe.  Chai is gaining a lot of popularity, though it has been around for centuries.  A staple in Indian culture, being served at all events and to guests of the home. 

It is an instant feel-good tea treat, perfect when you have a chance to relax. I think after a long day, it is fabulous to curl up with a nice cup.  I think, since you can make it with or without caffeine, it is great for moms.  We all deserve a nice cup of chai once in a while.

Most Indian people make it the same (black tea with milk and Indian spices), but we all vary it up a bit here and there.  Traditionally, it is made with full fat milk or cream, and sugar.  My variation uses skim, and I opt for no sugar. Also, as  breastfeeding mom, and because I limit caffeine in general, I use a decaffeinated tea, which still tastes amazing. 

Photo credit: www.tetley.caWhat you need:
-cinnamon sticks
-skim milk
-evaporated milk (optional)
-orange pekoe tea bags (I use Tetley decaffeinated)

What to do:
In a small pot, put about 2 cups of water.
To the water add 4 to 6 cloves.
Slightly crack about 6 to 10 cardamom seeds (you can opt to discard the leaves and just use the seeds, but I use it all).
Peel about 1 inch of ginger, mash it so the juices are exposed, and add to the water.
Add 2 small cinnamon sticks.
Add 2 tea bags

Let everything boil together. 
Once the tea has taken a blackish colour, add your milk.  Add enough so that the colour takes on a dark beige tone, but not white.  You can add half skim, half evaporated...or just stick with skim if you prefer.

Let the milk come to a full boil.  Stay very close as the tea will start coming up fast once boils.  Just as the tea is about to reach the top, quickly take it off the not to boil over. 

Now strain and pour into your cup.  Add sugar if you wish.

Makes about 4 cups.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

5 Rules For a Successful Bedtime

Turning Mommy - Bedtime RulesSometimes getting the kiddos down can be challenge.  Also, not every day is created alike. However, if you want to have somewhat of a scheduled bedtime or routine to the day,  it is possible. 

I have found that a bedtime was very important for them...and for me.  It really does help to ensure they get enough sleep, gives you some downtime at night if you need (that is if you don't pass out yourself), and in general it creates an expectation that they have some rules they must follow and stick to.

I read a lot about bedtimes, and talked to other moms, and found that the same advice kept popping up.

So here I have summarized my findings into 5 neat rules.  

Here are the 5 rules I followed to solidify a schedule for Caiden's sleeping, and it works.  These 5 things, learned along the way, some the hard way...need to be followed to have a bedtime really stick.

Basically, once you have set a time in mind, keep to that.  Of course, there are exceptions like events that come up, but the majority of time, and when at home, it is important to follow the same timeline every day.  This creates a little timer within them. 

Set a time to stop play
Before they retire to the bed, you want to know they likely won't go down right away.  Also things like playing and watching TV come with brain activity and getting excited, so you want to give them enough time for all their activities and have a time it will end.  Once you set a time for that to stop for the day, it will start the bedtime routine, so over time they know what's to follow.

Established routine  (i.e. bath, brush, read etc)
I did this from the baby stage, as do most moms.  But having a little bedtime routine I think is pivotal.  These items become ingrained and they know what is to follow so the fuss of going to bed basically disappears.  We do a bath, brushing the teeth, some warm milk, a book, and hugs and kisses.  Then it is lights out.

Quiet or chill time
I recall a mom telling me this, and I tried it and it helped immensely.  For about 30 minutes before I actually want him to sleep, I have to let him do something quiet and relaxed.  This kind of couples up with the "set time to stop play" and "established routine" rules.  Incorporate some time for them to relax and come down from the day's activities.  For us the bath and books is this quiet time, and we may sing a few songs while he is laying in bed.  Either way, it is very relaxed and soothing and it really sets the tone.  

Not depending  on your kid telling you they are tired or trying to overtire them
I think it is a huge misconception that kids will just fall asleep when they are tired.  I think it can't be further from the truth, and I found the exact opposite.  Kids, as they get older, will push boundaries and try to stay up as late as they can, they have fear of missing out.  So it's important to recognize they are pushing through a sleepy stage...I can tell with Caiden because he starts to get rowdy.  Then trying to work them up more, generally has the complete opposite effect.  The more tired they get, the more wild they may get and harder to put down.  Overtired kids, in general, sleep much worse.  So keep that in mind.

Well, I hope this helps.  I know it did with me.

Good luck (and good night).

Friday, April 15, 2016

Delicious Avocado and Fruit Smoothie

turning mommy avocado smoothie

I love a good smoothie...who doesn't.

However, my goal with smoothies nowadays is my own taste buds and my son's.  Usually whatever I make, he helps make it or enjoys also.

Avocados are all the rage these days, and though I can just drink blended avocado and two year old likes a little more taste than that.  Not only that, but as a mom (and nutrition nut) I am always trying to ensure he is getting enough fruits and veggies in his day.  Smoothies are great for that...blend away and you can get at least 2 or more servings right there!

Anyways, on to this awesome smoothie.  I love it...I am sure you will too.

Oh!  And if you are still trying to lose some prego weight, this is a great one! It provides good essential fatty acids from the avocado, which helps remove unwanted fats from the body.  There is also plenty of calcium, fibre, and the strawberries give us vitamin C in this drink. 

turning mommy avocado banana strawberry

Add the following ingredients in a blender and blend away!
-1 full avocado
-1 large banana
-3 to 4 large strawberries
-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
-a dash of vanilla (optional)

Tip:  you can change the consistency by adding more of less milk (thinner add more).  Also, if you don't like the taste of the avocado in the smoothie at first, try a little less and work your way up to a full avocado.  

I want to mention this is totally kid-tested, and my toddler loved it!  The strawberries gave it enough sweetness to seem too good to be true (that it had no added sugar).


She Says Momma...She Says Dadda Too

Rayna is growing at lightning speed, it seems.  

It only feels like a few short months since we brought her tiny little self home.  She was this patutie, sleep-loving, peanut.  Fast forward, 10 months later...she is a happy, loud, babbling, energetic, super cuddly, not so much sleep-loving, mobile monkey!

She crawls her own special crawl, never did the conventional way...and boy is she fast.  Now grabbing things and getting up and trying to stand is her new favourite skill (which, I catch her practicing all hours of the night).  She loves playing with Caiden, and trying to grab any of his trucks...or him.  She loves food, skipped a lot of the baby foods, self-feeds pretty much anything and will even try to grab anything you have in your hand...or mouth.  She is loud...gets excited, cheers, especially when Caiden is showing us something like kicking a soccer ball.  She is sheer joy and such a blast!

But probably one of my favourite things is hearing her say "Momma" or "Mom."

She said Momma as her first word at about 9.5 months, and also says Dadda.  I think the first time you hear it, you aren't sure if it's just baby babble.  However, her starting to say it at opportune times, when you are away from her, or she wants you to pick her up, solidifies she knows who you are!  You are "Momma"...and "Dadda."

Hearing your baby's first words is bittersweet.  It is a victory being you.  It is beyond endearing and ever so cute.  It creates little ripples of giddiness and results in cuddling.  It literally is the sweetest sound from such a tiny (yet often loud in my case), angelic, itty baby voice.  It is also a reminder that she is just hitting these milestones and growing...almost 1 year has gone by!

Now I know, more skills, more words will follow.  My baby girl is growing and will only be a baby for a limited time longer. 

That's the beauty of writing here though, I am able to capture this memory.  The memory of right now, she rolls and plays, and when tires and wants milk and to go back to sleep...she calls out "momma...mmmm mom mom...momma."

I got you baby...I love you.
(I am writing this as she is sleeping in my arms.)

It is moments like these that make all the sleepless nights worth it.

Oh I don't want to think what trouble will ensue as she gets older...for now she is still this sweet little baby that loves cuddles and her momma...yes and dadda.

Xoxo and goodnight.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Is it just me?

It isn't always easy; trying to be an awesome mom and wife...and trying to take care of yourself too.  We try right?  

I often look at perfectly beautiful women strolling Main and think, dang they look so put together. 
I ran out of the house today in what I wore yesterday, slathered on lip balm and (you guessed it) put my hair in a pony to run some errands. 

Is it just me?

turning mommy baby

I am in the midst of normally going crazy because, we are (but really I am) potty training Caiden,  plus Rayna is mobile and cannot stand to be alone in a room without me.  Meanwhile I have a million ideas in my head about what I have to do tomorrow, this week, and this month.
So far my today goals have rolled over to tomorrow, because it was one of those days I struggled to even get a shower in.  I didn't get that shower, my dishes are half done  (good enough), and I have piles of clean but unfolded laundry in each of our rooms. A little busy, yup. 

So here I am, 4am, under a sleeping baby (because it is one of those nights where she refuses to stay asleep and frankly I have given up), writing.  This is also the only time this week I have gotten a chance to really do so.  So it has me thinking,  "is it just me?" 

I answered the door in my pajamas 3pm.  Is it just me?

I have not had a decent pedicure in months, my skin sucks right now because I don't have the time or energy to follow my previous regime morning and night... Is it just me?

I am exhausted and feel I can never get nor keep our place clean.  I wipe something and it's still dirty, how is that even possible... Is it just me?

I love cooking and creating meals, but lately we have ordered in, one too many times, because I cannot figure out what I could make in 15 minutes and forgot to defrost anything.  Is it just me?

I have opened my sons desk box, but have not assembled it because it requires pliers...which, we have but I really can't fit it my day to look for them.  I will get to it the next day....but I don't.  Is it just me?

I vow I will start doing yoga daily at 5am while the kids are still asleep so I will make sure to get that in...but it still hasn't happened.  Is it just me?

Well at least I eat right.  Most of the time...when I can.  Well, when I'm not eating my kids leftovers because the price of everything has gone up and wasting food drives me nuts and I'm doing this at 9pm when I finally get to clean up the dinner mess....ohhh man!  Is it just me?

Chances are I am not alone here...and chances are it is not every day we feel like this. 

I often get so caught up in all the stuff I have to do and planning for the future of what I want to do, I sometimes forget to just pause and reflect on what I am actually doing. 

I don't have to get a bunch of things done daily, and if what I need is to slow down and ask for help...or go for a pedi...or just do nothing at all...well it is ok.  

Sometimes being a perfect mom means not being perfect at all.  Looking at others and wondering why they look more put together is unfair, you don't know if that mom has throw up on her shirt. 

The most important thing is having a blast with your kids and learning as they do. Which, I do and I am sure you guys can relate to that.

Have a great day you do-it-all, pajama wearing, non-showered, amazing moms!


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

5 Things I love about living in Vancouver, with kids

Photo credit:
I totally embrace city life, I think I was born to be a city girl.  I like the convenience of things needed, variety of food options as well as entertainment.  Though, admittedly, Vancity can be a plethora of trends and fads, it is not all that the city has to offer. 

Now that I have kids, one of the number one questions I am asked is "why don't you guys move to the suburbs?" 

I know, bigger homes, bigger yards, and you are paying a lot less for those perks.  But despite all that, I do love having the amenities Van has to offer.

Here are some of the things that are awesome to do with kids here in central, busy, jam-packed no particular order.

1. Granville Island
Everyone loves Granville Island.  Just walking around is entertaining, with entertainers and lots of boats to look at, and kids love boats and water, complete with mini ferry rides.  Visiting the busy public market is always buzzing and fun, great for lunch.  The kids market is great, lots and lots of games to keep the kiddies entertained, complete with a toy store and a candy store.  Last but not least, they have an awesome play area at False Creek, and in the summer an awesome water park.

2. Kits Beach
Vancouver has a large number of options for beaches, all great.  However, our family favourite is Kits.  We love beach-combing there, where our toddler walks along the water and looks for shells and rocks.  I cruise with the baby along the seawall, and then we take out the hibachi and cook dinner on the large green park area, or have a picnic.  Often, we opt for a nice meal at the Boathouse and overlook the beach also.  Not to mention, love the vendors that stop by.
Turning Mommy: Kits Beach

Turning Mommy: Vancouver Aquarium3. The Vancouver Aquarium
The Aquarium is within Stanley park, and I don't think I can say enough how much kids love it.  At 2 years old, my toddler was fascinated.  It was awesome to see him so intrigued, and he toured the whole aquarium.  Where else can you see a giant turtle and sharks up close and have your kid enjoy pressing their face up against the glass saying "whoa!"  I know for sure there will be many more visits there.  It's a great learning experience, but for's fun!

4. No shortage of parks and playgrounds
I know every city has this, however, I am so lucky to be surrounded by parks at every turn.  We have 3 large parks, complete with playgrounds, summer swimming, track and soccer fields surrounding our neighborhood. And then a little walk away, we have Queen Elizabeth...ample areas to run, picnic, watch ducks.  Every little area of this city has great little places for kids to play, so we venture out and checkout other playgrounds often. Some fun ones include: David Lam, Mount Pleasant Park,  Trout Lake, David Livingston, Wesbrook Village and more.

5. Main Street eats
I love eating, and if you take the stroller down Main Street, you have a tonne of options.  All unique and one-off cafes, sushi joints, tacos, Caribbean, Thai, comfort food or good ol'burger bars, and etc.  I love the variety and it is rare to get sick of the options...well I never have.  I love that I can expose my kids to so many types of eats and eclectic vibes, not to mention, it is always buzzing and happening.  I am always happy strolling with my kiddos down Main.

Friday, April 1, 2016

"What I Have Learned" Series - Featured Mommy: Valerie Singh

Valerie Singh is mommy to two amazingly gorgeous boys, Nashaan (4) and Aryaan (7 months).

Being the only girl in the house means being ok with having a man cave in the house, being the female Spiderman (when all the boys choose Spiderman costumes for Halloween), learning how to make a tent or fort vs. a tea table setting, and having fun playing with cars and trucks.

Valerie knows what it means to be a busy bee and a mom that is there for everyone, creating the perfect home and environment for her sons and husband is a core value.  Valerie has a career as an interior designer/architectural draftsmen, her and her husband are always finding new home projects and revamping their home, home decorating is a passion and hobby.  In addition to that, she has a cake business, Cake Therapy, where she makes delicious and gorgeous custom designed cakes and cupcakes for any occasion.

Valerie does all this, and more, amidst raising 2 boys. This lady surely has a lot on the go and says balance is the main ingredient to make it all work.

Did you always know you wanted to be a mom?
Yes.  I always loved playing with kids and could see myself playing with my own one day.  To tell you the truth, I always liked to play house, classroom and make-believe kids games.  As I got older, and my siblings stopped playing those games with me, I was excited to do that with my own kids.

What would you say is your biggest learning(s) since being a mom?
Patience.  Seriously, patience.  Sometimes I don't always have it, it can be hard, but I try.  I don't want to be yelling all the time.  So I decided to pay more attention when I am calmer...which helps.  Also, I learned that sometimes I just have to let them do what they got to are kids and need to learn things on their own too.

What, if anything, was the hardest thing about transitioning to mommyhood?
Time management.  Running a house, and doing it all...while also baking cakes and running a business.  Not any one thing can't get done, so you have to find a way to balance everything you have going on and make it work.  So I have to manage my time well and prioritize...I have a schedule on days I am busy, and make sure that my kids do too, and make a list of the most important things for the day.  This helps a lot, and some days are smoother than others, but being a mom and wanting to do things I love means just making it work.

What is your favourite thing to do with your children?
Play!!!!  I love playing kids games and this never gets old.  I love building tents at night with my 4 year old, and his imagination; I love we have that to share.  And my baby, I love making Ary laugh, he has the cutest laugh.

Is there any item or anything in general you would say is a must-have for parents?  and why?
Natural Teething Drops, I used Camilia, they are the best.  I never felt I was giving them too much medication, but it works like a charm.
Good Ol' Sophie.  That giraffe really is a hit with the kids, they love it.  It is a splurge, but they really really love it, and that is one toy you will not lose.

What advice would you give to new moms?
It's really simple - just enjoy every stage because they grow so fast!

Valerie isn't just playing house, she's living it daily and enjoying every moment.  She can be found cooking, baking or decorating year round.  To contact her about her amazing cakes please email

Valerie and her boys: Hubby: Neil, Sons: Nashaan and Aryaan