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Saturday, January 31, 2009

President Choice Organics

I love PC organics. (For those of you that live outside Canada, PC is a grocery store brand that has an organics line). When you are trying to buy only organic food for your household, the grocery bill can go up fast. Taking a quick walk to the No Frills located at Gerrard and Coxwell in our neighborhood to pick up some staples every week helps a lot. Below is a comparison list of the items bought at No Frills vs. buying them with Front Door Organics (this is where we get the most of the rest of our groceries).

No Frills
Bag of carrots - $2.29
Cheese (they have cheddar and mozzarella) - $3.99
Butter - $3.99
Apple Sauce - $2.33
Jam (they have raspberry and blueberry) - $2.69
Maple syrup - $11.99
Bag of apples - $3.49
Baby Carrots - $1.99
Celery - $2.99

Total - $35.75

Front Door Organics
Bag of carrots - $3.94
Cheese cheddar - $6.50
Butter - $4.75
Apple Sauce - $4.99
Jam - $3.50
Maple syrup - $12.00
Bag of apples - $6.99
Baby Carrots - $3.00
Celery - $3.94

Total - $49.61

That is a difference of $13.86. Yay for PC Organics.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Birthday preparation part deux

So the preparation for the big day continues.

I had enquired with our venue about what kind of tableware they use and was extra pleased to find out that they wash and reuse everything over and over. She also mentioned that they had "green" loot bags. However, at $15 a pop we decided to make our own. My mom is sewing the loot bags for me out of scrap fabrics she has and we purchased some wood blocks to place in the loot bags for the extra-little guys (under 2 of age). For the other kids I am planing on placing some crayons, stickers, a little sketch pad and maybe a treat like a cookie or something.

The other item we finalized is the cake, or cupcakes, I should say. I wanted chocolate and something not too sweet for the little ones, plus some of our friends are vegan. I found this amazing recipe in the book "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World" that could take on any traditional cupcake and win. The frosting is a chocolate mousse made with tofu.

I have to say, this is a great cookbook. I have made 4 or 5 of the recipes so far and I think I will never make another cupcake that is not vegan -- that is how good these recipes are.

Back to the cupcakes: I plan on making mini cupcakes and standard cupcakes.  I even scored a cupcake stand for $1.00 at our local thrift store.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIM

Today is one of my fellow blogger and friends birthday - Happy Birthday Kim....

What to buy a little one for his first birthday

I have been doing my research trying to figure out what to get Christophe for his birthday. We bought him his potty that we plan on unveiling on his birthday but we also want to get him a toy. The potty we selected is from Boon. Honestly we chose it because I though it was cute, I actually have no clue what to look for when one buys a potty.

For the toy half of his present these are the items that we are looking at:






Wednesday, January 28, 2009

poop poop and poop

I was just trying to think about what to blog about for today when Geoff said, "come help, he pooped." As I walked up the stairs I said "you did not learn your lesson yesterday?"

See, yesterday when Geoff was getting ready to give Christophe his bath, he did not think about checking the diaper to make sure there was no poop. He just took it off and, to his surprise, we had a naked poopy baby crawling around and Geoff with a poopy finger, so he called for help. I just assumed the same had happened again.

I was wrong. This time we had a baby and a papa taking their usual bath together when baby decided to poop in the tub. :-)

Thank you Christophe for giving me something to blog about.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tasty Tuesday - Cajun Seasoning Mix

Cajun seasoning mix is basically salt with a variety of spices. You can get tones of commercial versions however at the Wiseman Residence we like to keep it to the basics and make things from scratch.

Ingredients:
6.5 oz. table salt
1 1/4 tbsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tbsp black pepper
3/4 tbsp onion powder
3/4 tbsp garlic powder
3/4 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tbsp thyme
1/4 tbsp sweet basil
1/4 tbsp bay leaf

Directions:

Add all the seasoning, in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend to a fine consistency. Don't breath the dust it will make you sneeze.

Use as you would salt.

Tasty Tuesday Button

Sick day - 3

Christophe must have been feeling extra bad this morning because he fell asleep at 9am until noon. He typically goes down for his nap at 11:30am. Once he wok up he got a second wind because he played and destroyed my kitchen as usual until around 4:30; now he is sleeping again.

As for me I am tired of having a plugged up nose...

Co-sleeping?

As much as I would love to say Christophe is sleeping in his crib, we are still co-sleeping. Christophe sleeps better with us; however we are in the process of trying to convince him to sleep in his room. Wish us luck.

Are you co-sleeping; or are you thinking of co-sleeping with a child? Safe Bed Sharing is a great website that gives parents tips on how to co-sleep safely instead of the ever so common typical advice of don't do it.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

More About Toum

As Pierrette implied, I was making some toum this morning. This isn't the first time, and won't be the last. One of the shwarma places I go to regularly serves a garlic sauce with its shwarmas that is excellent, albeit incredibly strong, so I decided that I needed to learn how.

The first time I tried, I was able to find out that the sauce is called toum, and find a few contradictory recipes. Like many traditional recipes, there are lots of ways to make it, and very few precise instructions. Unfortunately, toum is also a bit of a pain; it's sort of like a garlic and oil emulsion, and so the oil has to be added a bit a time. Meanwhile, garlic is very difficult to macerate in mortar and pestle, although it is doable.

If you're going to try a food processor, make a big batch - a few cloves of garlic is just enough for the food processor to throw around, but not enough to really latch on to, so there's not enough to really kick-start the emulsion with a teaspoon of oil.

Some people add a little mustard powder to help emulsify, others add some egg white to increase the creamy whiteness. I've tried the mustard, but not the egg white. I think that next time I might start by using a garlic press on the garlic to get it smaller with limited effort.

We'll see; when I feel like I've mastered it, perhaps I'll post more tips.

Day 2 of being sick

I am beyond congested and poor little Christophe had such a hard time sleeping last night. I think he wok up at least 10 or 15 times because he was too congested to breath properly. We had the humidifier going but it did not seem to be enough. This morning I used saline spray and it seems to have loosen some of his goobers.

All in all I think Christophe has more energy then me. I have spent the day sitting at my laptop and drinking tea; while Christophe seemed to have found the energy to make toum with his papa.



If you want to try to make your own toum:

Ingredients:

* 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
* ¼ cup of vegetable or olive oil (or less depending on garlic used)
* 1 lemon, juiced
* ¼ teaspoon salt

Preparation:

For a truly authentic preparation of Toum, a mortar and pestle is used. If a mortar and pestle are unavailable, ingredients can be blended using a food processor.

Start by crushing the garlic cloves until a smooth consistency. Add salt and mix further. Once garlic and salt are of desired, smooth consistency, gradually add oil.

Add lemon juice and mix. The finished product should be smooth, paste-like, and creamy. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator.

Recipe taken from About.com




How many steps I lost count

This was taken about a week ago, our little monster has gone mobile ...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sick again

There is a nasty cold going around Toronto and almost all the kids on our block got it. I was starting to think that we would be spared but at-last the Wiseman's are sick. Both Christophe and I are under the weather today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Are you a safety freak?

First of all, after being a mom now for a little over 10 months, I declare that there is no such thing as being a safety freak when it comes to babies and toddlers.

A few days ago, while I was baking--I think it was baked beans--Christophe and his new-found walking skills made it to the stove, reached for the oven door and pulled it open by a few inches.  (Before anyone panics, he is fine.)  The oven immediately shut itself, because his little muscles were not strong enough to hold it open.  However, I thought i was going to die from panic and imagined my son with burns, all as I rushed the three steps to him that I swear felt like three miles to whisk him away from the danger of the stove.

What was I doing while this happened, you ask?  Dishes.  Do I think I am a bad mother?  No, it happens to all of us. One of my friend's eight-month old figured out how to climb the stairs while she ran out the room for 5 seconds.  I know a mom whose non-mobile baby decided to learn how to roll on the change table at three months. The list could go on forever, I think almost all mothers have a story like this.

Now, you might ask does this change the way I baby-proof?  No - however I did immediately ordered one of those oven latches from Safety Super Store to install on the stove.

This was a scary reminder of just how quick and curious the little ones can be.

Image from Safety Super Store

Valentine alternate to chocolate

I wanted to get a present for my sweetheart (my son) for valentines that was not made from plastic, candy or chocolate.

After doing a quick search on Etsy for Valentine and Toy I found "Valentine hearts play set with wooden bowls" by naturalkidsandtoys.

There are thousands of alternative gifts out there you just need to search a bit.

Image by naturalkidsandtoys

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tasty Tuesday - Jam Jam's

This weeks TT are Jam Jam's, I first made these when my dad was visiting at his request. I believe that all the cookies were eaten up within 48hours.

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup strawberry jam

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, vanilla and egg yolks. Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Use your finger or an instrument of similar size to make a well in the center of each cookie. Fill the hole with 1/2 teaspoon of preserves.
3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Tasty Tuesday Button

Monday, January 19, 2009

I can walk (kinda)

Here are our sons first steps (he took is actual first steps on January 11, this is the first time I have been able to catch it on camera). He is 10 1/2 months in this video I took today; before I started filming he had already made 2 steps and in the video he takes 6 solo steps then one last unassisted step while he reaches for the chair to start cruising instead.



I would like to add this is one of the first times he has walked not holding on to a toy, usually he is distracted and does not realize what he is doing this time he was fully aware that he was walking to mama.

Movie Mondays

We do not have many plastic toys for Christophe, but this one is a hand me down and it's way too cute how he dances to the music each time to take it away from him...

I find he is also getting a lot better about putting things in his mouth.

i need to vent

OK, so this post is going to be 100% me complaining.  I don't complain much.  Really, I am a very likable person, but I have had it with all this snow and people who just don't shovel. 

I went for a walk today and my stroller got jammed twice in the snow.  And why was this?  Both times, it was because people had not shoveled the sidewalk in front of their house.   I am not sure if you have to shovel your sidewalk in Toronto, but if it's not a law, it should be.  And anyways, people should just do it. 

It really does not take that long to shovel your section of the sidewalk in the neighbourhood I live.  Now, come on, in this area you are lucky if you have a property that is wider then 15 feet.  I think shoveling our sidewalk takes less time then shoveling our walkway and stairs. 

Oh yeah, there are all the people that have corner lots.  Well you should have thought about that before buying your luxurious corner lot.  Not having a clean sidewalk can be dangerous, not only to mothers with strollers, but pregnant women (yes i fell in the winter when i was pregnant), the elderly, and, well, just anyone actually, if it's slippery under all that snow.

That is that.  Sorry for the vent session and all the improper grammar but I needed to let some steam out and PLEASE SHOVEL YOUR SIDEWALK.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I can't believe my eyes

Now that I blogging this, I am sure he is going to stop.  Christophe just ate 3 pieces of banana and half a dozen grapes. Who is this, and what did you do with my son?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Birthday Preparation Part 1


So as Christophe's first birthday is approaching, I am trying to find ways to green his birthday. It will not be 100% green but I want to green as many items as I find feasible. During my journey in discovering the basics of green birthday parties I will share my ideas with you.

So we have booked a venue for his birthday, main reason he is born in March 1, we live in canada (i.e. it's cold), we have a very small house. The venue chosen is not green but I am still attempting to change a few things in order to make our party greener. When I first started looking for venues here in Toronto, I could not find anything that suited all my green criteria's and would be good for a one year old.

The first request I made to our venue is that she does not put up any balloons the day of. I also asked her what kind of tableware they use (as we are providing the food but they are providing the tableware) I am still awaiting an answer. The reason behind no balloons is that the little fragments that are left behind after your great party never biodegrade and are the culprits for many small animals dying. You know how they say you should not let a toddle or baby play with balloons due to choking hazards, well what do you think will happen when a little bunny finds a bright red balloon in the wild?

After booking the venue the next step was invitations; that one is easy in todays day end age just send them via email. There are a lot of great sites that will do e-cards for free we used myPunchbowl.

Other then the party at the venue we are also doing a get together at home for our close friends since some of them have no kids or there kids are all grown up. I wanted some decorations but I also wanted the decorations to be reusable for future parties the first thing I found was a cloth banner on Etsy created by thepolkadottotspot.

Instead of birthday hats we are doing a birthday shirt that Christophe can wear all year. We found this great one by blossiegirl on Etsy once again.


The last item in todays post is presents. This is a though one because many people enjoy bringing gifts; we decided to add the following wording to our invitations and hope for the best.
"Presents are appreciated but not required; your presences is enough. If you do chose to bring a gift we ask that you to respect our parenting decision regarding a no plastic components rule for all of Christophe's toys; Christophe also has very sensitive skin and can only where clothing made with natural fibers. Thank you for respecting our beliefs."

Image of banner by thepolkadottotspot.
Image of shirt by blossiegirl.

Take the time to watch

Thank you New Mommy Rant for sharing this with us. I might just be sensitive but this video made me shed some tears for our planet and our children; we really need to learn not to take the world as granted.

video

Video from: Momemtum Tides 2008

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Toy Thursday: Under the Nile Fruits & Veg

Christophe's got a pretty complete collection of Under the Nile fruits and vegetables:


When he first started to babble, we got quite a few laughs out of him by holding up the banana and saying "B-b-b-b-banane!".

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

looking back at summer

I just love the t-shirt Christophe is wearing in this shot, the best part is that it only cost at 1.99$ at Superstore. It's part of the Joe Fresh Line and it was purchased on sale.

Photo taken by Pierrette

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How do you manage your blogs?

I have been asked by a few moms now; "how do you keep track of everything you read online?"

Well it's not a deep dark secret I use Google Reader. As per Google Reader intro page it:
  • Stay up to date Google Reader constantly checks your favorite news sites and blogs for new content.
  • Share with your friends Use Google Reader's built-in public page to easily share interesting items with your friends and family.
  • Use it anywhere, for free Google Reader is totally free and works in most modern browsers, without any software to install.
What do you use to keep track of all your blogs?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Facebook should lead by example....


The above is a post I found on the Facebook group "Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!"

I felt it was worth sharing. As of today there is 169, 766 people that have joined the group.

Learning to Walk

Christophe's always been very focused on standing, cruising and walking, and started to stand and cruise at a pretty early age.  There was a period there where I was starting to wonder if he was going to crawl and roll at all, or move straight into walking, and do so earlier than most books implied was likely.  

As it turns out, going from the simplest cruising to real walking is a lot more of a transition than we initially imagined.  As time went on, Christophe got increasingly stable with his standing and cruising, learned to transition across all sorts of gaps and learned to squat and stand without support.  In the meantime, he also perfected rolling and crawling, to the extent that he'll often drop down to crawl longer distances that, once upon a time, he would have cruised.

Fairly early on, Christophe would occasionally take a step or two without support, to do something like cross a gap that was just a little too far for his reach, although even that was hesistant and rare.  In the last month or so, that kind of gap-crossing has become more common, although he's still shown very few signs of generalized walking.

I try and encourage him gently -- call him to me across a space he can't cruise, that sort of thing. So far, that mostly results in either him not crossing the gap, or choosing to crawl the distance. 

Yesterday afternoon, Christophe stood without support, not very near any potential cruise target, holding the (non-functional) remote control we'd given him to play with.  As had become habit, I backed up a little to give him some room and called him over, and he began to walk without support towards me.  

I wasn't prepared for how exciting and emotional that would be, particularly since he's come so far.  Between the rush of emotion in seeing him walk, and trying to praise him, encourage him, and call Pierrette to see all at once, I'm not entirely sure of the specifics, but I'd say he walked about six or seven steps before stopping and then probably either squatting or falling relatively gently to his bottom.

Later that evening, I was able to persuade him to take a few more steps, but he hasn't shown any signs (so far) of breaking into regular walking.  I'm sure that someday soon, Pierrette will be calling me to tell me that he has walked an even longer stretch, and I'll be jealous that I'm stuck at work.

Exciting times.  We'll try and catch his early steps on video soon.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Eco Friendly Fridays

It's been a while since I have done an Eco Friendly Friday.

Today, I am going to talk about "One Million Acts of Green", a project by the CBC, the Hour and Cisco. I think it's great when large corporations, media and famous people get involved in promoting green living.

Now for those of us that are already living an extra-green lifestyle, we don't learn much from this kind of press.  However, there are millions of people out there that still need to be convinced that our planet needs to be saved. Yes, there are actually people out there who do not recycle.

The idea behind the campaign is that one small act can make a big difference.

It’s not about overhauling your life; it’s about one act from each individual, amassing to a million. It can be as simple as switching to compact fluorescent lightbulbs, starting a recycling program, or walking to work. You can do one act – or you can do all one million! It’s up to you.

The way I look at this is if CBC and The Hour can convince even just half of Canada to commit to one act of Green we will be better off then we were yesterday.

Check out the acts of Green Completed by Me.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Toy Thursday

Sometimes the classics are the best. I think we all had a version of this toy, most of us probably had fisher price plastic version. Before the all famous Plastic Ring sorters by Fisher Price there were wooden ones that our parents would have played with. Thanks to companies like Melissa & Doug they still exist.

Thank you memere and pepere for this one.

This is probably one Christophe favorite Christmas Presents; he can put it together but he can take it apart and sure enough he tries to put it back together one day he will get it; after all he is only 10 months old.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I can stand

This is a few months old now...

Christophe was standing on his own so I ran to get the camera; we tried that day to get him to do it again but failed. Christophe can now stand alone from 5 mins to 30 mins depending on his mood.

Explanation by Facebook

Today I received this following email from Facebook explaining why my account had been canceled:

Hi Pierrette,

A photo that you uploaded was removed for violating Facebook's Terms of Use. Photos containing drug use, nudity, or other graphic or sexually suggestive content are not allowed, nor are photos that depict violence or that attack an individual or group. Unfortunately, for technical reasons, we are unable to provide further information about the removed photo.

In order to prevent this from happening in the future, please refrain from posting photos of this kind and remove any that still exist on the site. For more information on conduct prohibited by Facebook, please read our Terms of Use, which can be accessed by clicking on the "terms" link at the bottom of any Facebook page.

Thanks for your understanding,

Roy
User Operations
Facebook

So it does seem that the photo I me nursing my son was the reason why my account got canceled.

Since Facebook has given me my account back I have added a few additional nursing images lets see what happens.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

10000

Yes it is true we have reached 10000 views on our little blog. I never though when I first started writing that so many would enjoy reading.

This is a shout out and Thank you to all our readers out there.

Facebook 1 - me 1 (not really)

Today at 2:09pm Facebook reactivated my account; no reason was given, no sorry was said. I emailed back Roy from User Operations at Facebook and wrote the following:

Hello Roy,

Thank you for reactivating my account.

Could you please inform me as to why it was cancelled in the first place with no notice?

Thank you.

I checked to see if the image of my son nursing was still up and it has indeed been removed.

All I have to say is Facebook sucks.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Photo Page 6


TERA has this beautiful page full of nursing mothers called Photo Page 6; the only sad part is the write ups that accompany these images. They are all about images being removed from Facebook or even worst accounts being closed.

If you have been victim to having a breastfeeding image pulled from Facebook, contact them as I did, your voice can be heard.

Something so natural should not be censored.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Facebook 1 - me 0

Today my account with Facebook was canceled because of an obscene image of my son nursing.

Do you think this is obscene yes or no?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Facebook vs Breastfeeding

Many moms out-there already are aware of the fact that Facebook has taken a stand that breast-feeding pictures should not be aloud on there website. If you upload such a picture you risk the chance of having it deleted and even worst your account closed due to obscene content.

As the breastfeeding "activist" I am I have joined the group Hey, Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!(Official petition to Facebook) and uploaded a picture of Christophe nursing that Geoff took. As it stands my image is still up on facebook.

Yesterday I was contacted by the El Mercurio, as they wanted to us the image for an article they were writing on the subject. I actually remembered enough Spanish from school to read and understand the article.

As it stands today Facebook still considers breastfeeding pictures obscene and the petition group has over 125 000 members.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Holiday Vacation in Moncton Part 1

After the painful flight to New Brunswick we (Christophe and I) spent the first part of our trip at my sisters Cathy's house. I just love her place, she lives out of the city on a large property that was once most likely a farm.

Christophe spent his days chasing Coco the cat, learning how to climb stairs (supervised of course), playing with my sisters dishes, watching the blue jays and chickadees eat from the bird feeders and most importantly playing and getting to know uncle Quinn and tante Cathy.

My sister also waited for us to put up her tree, the video below is of Christophe playing or "helping" with the unpacking of the decorations.

While at my sisters we when to the local health food shop so I could pick up a few necessities to maintain a somewhat healthy diet while I was there. Organic snacks for Christophe, Organic beans, hemp seeds, salba seeds...

I am please to say that I introduced hemp and salba seeds to my sister, she kept the left overs for herself. I often sneak both of these seeds in Christophe's food; add to oatmeal; roll fruit in them. Hemp seeds are a source Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9 and vitamin E; it's also a complete protein. Salba is a source of calcium, antioxidants, potassium, iron, Omega-3, magnesium and brand.

Whenever we spend time at my sisters house it reminds me how much I love nature.

Toy Thursday

I love chunky puzzles they are fun and bright and make for great educational toys. They help with motor skills and if you describe all the pictures language skills. It hard to find puzzles that a suitable for little ones that still put everything in their mouth (you need to make sure they have no small pieces). Melissa and Doug has this great series of chunky touch and feel puzzles; each puzzle piece has a textured surface and is quite large enough for little hands.

Thank you memere and pepere for the great puzzle.