Archive for the ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ Category

In a Man’s World, Women Rock

It’s funny what goes through your mind sometimes, or rather my mind, especially when it comes to how men and woman are different. I think this thought has been brought to the forefront of my mind as I raise my kids, 2 girls and a boy. I hope that my influence and the influence of the men and women in my life is nothing but positive but I know that men and woman are treated and viewed differently in many ways. Things aren’t perfect, I’m not perfect, and although many say it’s a man’s world, there are many reasons why I love being a woman. Here are six:

  1. You can cry if you want to. It might be a stereotype that women are emotional, crying at the littlest things, but I’m thankful for this gift. Sometimes a good cry can get you through a long night of being up with sick kids or express your feelings of joy or love that no words could do justice to. As a woman, I’m lucky that I can have a good cry, that I’m not viewed as weak or inferior because of it.  I’m saddened that people (including woman) feel it’s not something that men and boys should be allowed to do.
  2. Get in the pink (or yellow or black). Woman can wear all sorts of colours and colour combinations unlike men who are still lumped into a stereotype of not being masculine if they wear pale colours. And although I can wear pink and yellows, I usually wear browns and greens. They may not be very girly but I can wear them and I love that.
  3. For the love of mom. I’m fortunate to have both my mom and my mother-in-law in my life. My mom worked hard raising my sister and myself, trying to keep a happy household full of love and understanding. She showed me that if you work hard you can achieve a lot, no matter what the obstacles. My mother-in-law raised my husband who is caring, understanding and supportive of both myself and the kids. Not all men are that fortunate and I’m lucky to have found mine.
  4. To dress, or not. Flowy sundresses. Taffeta ball gowns. Not something I wear often (or at all in the case of ball gowns) but if I wanted to I could. Or I can toss on jeans or track pants. Basically anything I want to wear (though it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s something I should wear). There aren’t too many men who have that dress code freedom and wearing a kilt at the Scottish festival one weekend a year doesn’t count.
  5. No yelling required. Have you ever noticed that some men resort to yelling or cursing to get their point across. Of coarse woman do this too but  it seems more expected with men, almost like a mutual understanding. The louder men get, the more control they have or think they have.
  6. Speak up. Many woman before me, before you, worked hard to demonstrate that woman are intelligent and a point of view worth listening too. Whether it’s sticking up for your child being labelled by school authorities, not standing for someone budding in front of you in line, running for office based on something you believe in, we have the voice that’s worth hearing.

I’m sure there are many other reasons women rock but these have been issues that have come in my personal life recently. I hope I can raise my kids, all of my kids, with the same attitude. I hope my girls will be strong and empowered to make decisions based on their gut versus being swayed by others. I hope the same for my son but that he also shines in his mutual respect and appreciate for the women in his life as he grows up. Why do you think being a woman rocks?


Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Best Christmas Books

I love the holidays, especially Christmas. Last week I talked about our Top 10 Christmas Albums we love to listen too. This week I’m thinking about books. We have a pretty big library of children’s books at home. There are so many great books out there but I have a real soft spot for seasonal books. We have 2 shelves on our children’s bookcase devoted to these types of books. This last month we’ve been enjoying a few classics and some new favourites. I thought with Christmas approaching I would share as part of Oh Amanada‘s Top Ten Tuesday blog, 10 of our Favourite Christmas stories, some which we’ve reviewed and others that are just part of our personal collection.

  1. Ten on the SledThis is a fun counting book, counting from 10 back to one, based on the rhyme Ten in the Bed. You can’t help but sing this story instead of reading it.
  2. The Great Reindeer Rebellion –  A fun tale about striking reindeer set to the rhyme of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.
  3. The Nativity Story – This large sturdy board book is great for even little hands, with simply, rhyming text and shiny, uncluttered images.
  4. Peter Claus and the Naughty List – This is a great story illustrating that behaviour isn’t black and white and that doing something that might be deemed bad doesn’t make you an awful person (or child in this case).
  5. Olive the Other Reindeer – I love the work of J.otto Seibold and Vivian Walsh and this tale about a dog named Olive who offers to help Santa pull his sleigh is a delight to read and look at.
  6. Dream Snow – Eric Carle is another staple in a child’s book library and Dream Snow is a fantastic Christmas treat. The story is sweet, the illustrations in Carle’s trademark mosaic style and the surprise at the end is delightful
  7. Little Tree – Based on e. e. cummings’ poem, this is a beautiful story about love and belonging with wonderful whimsical illustrations.
  8. Santa Claus and the Reindeer Chase – This is a great interactive book as kids move a small cut-out Santa through various slots and openings on each page, trying to catch-up with his reindeer in time for Christmas Eve.
  9. The Present – Technically it’s about a birthday present but the concept of anticipation and charity hold true for Christmas also. Plus I just love this story.
  10. Christmas with Rita and Whatsit – Follow the adventures of Rita and her dog Whatsit as they prepare for Christmas as only a child (and child-like dog) would. I love the simple line drawing illustrations with just a splash of orange and green throughout.

Of course this is just ten of our favourites. There are so many other great Christmas books for kids out there. What are some of your favourites?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Christmas Albums

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

I love Christmas. I love Christmas music. Some music makes me cry from feeling so happy. Some music makes me dance. Some music brings back memories of growing up. I love that about music. For Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday this week I thought I’d share my Ten Favourite Christmas Albums.

  1. Mahalia Jackson, Silent Night. Holy Night
  2. Perry Como, A Perry Como Christmas
  3. Vince Guaraldi, Charlie Brown Christmas
  4. Squirrel Nut Zippers, Christmas Caravan
  5. Loreena McKennitt, To Drive the Cold Winter Away
  6. Danny Elfman, Nightmare Before Christmas movie soundtrack
  7. Boney M, Christmas with Boney M
  8. Bing Crosby, Merry Christmas
  9. Waverly Consort, Renaissance Christmas
  10. Various, Ultra Lounge Christmas Cocktails, part 1 and part 2.

What’s playing during your Christmas holidays?

Top 10 Tuesday: Things I Hope to Accomplish at BlogHer

I can’t believe I leave for New York City this Thursday, off to attend the blogging and social media conference BlogHer for the first time. I am excited but completely stressed also. I’ve actually been pretty busy so I haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on the event (which also means I haven’t had a lot of time to prepare for it either). Some blog posts I’ve been reading have helped (like the ones I listed on my Top 10 post last week).

Now with the day so close I’m starting to focus on what I want to get from this event. So for Oh Amanda‘s Top 10 Tuesday blog post I’m putting together a list of the Top 10 Things I Hope I Accomplish at BlogHer.

  1. Eat Well. Yes it’s a conference but we’re talking about New York City. How can you go to New York City and not enjoy the amazing food it has to offer. My husband wants me to check out the restaurants but I’m really interested in trying some of the unique and delicious street food; stuff we can’t get here.
  2. Organize Myself. Thanks to Michele McGraw (@scrappinmichele) for putting the entire BlogHer schedule online so I could import it into my calendar. I now have everything right on my phone for easy access. Hopefully I won’t miss any of the sessions I really want to attend and the parties I’ve RSVP’d for.
  3. Crack out of My Shell. I’m really, really, REALY, going to make an effort to break out of my comfortable shell. It’s safe behind my computer and on twitter but the times I have met people face-to-face have been so rewarding. I don’t want my insecurities and introverted nature to limit me from some great encounters (I think I can, I think I can).
  4. See the Sights. This will be my first trip to New York City (hopefully not my last but who knows when I’ll be back). I know the days and nights will be busy but I want to get out and see some of the sights that New York City is known for. I’m attending Carol Cain‘s (@NYCityMama) New York City bus tour at night so that should be a lot of fun.
  5. Buy Souvenirs. My kids have a collection of iconic souvenirs based on places they have been or my husband has traveled (like the Space Needle from Seattle, the Liberty Bell from Philedelphia). Now’s my chance to add to their collection so I need to get out to get something that is very New York City.
  6. Take Care of Myself. Based on my calendar and the stories I’ve heard from past BlogHer attendees, I need to make a concerted effort to take care of myself during these few days I’m away. That means drinking (besides cocktails), grabbing more than an appitizer to eat and getting a few hours of sleep.
  7. Be Flexible. I know I have a plan about what conferences I want to attend but I need to ensure I don’t let my schedule dictate my entire trip. This may seem like a contradiction to point 2 but I need to ensure I have some flexibility in my day to take advantage of last minute events or meet-and-greats, even if it means a missed event or a late party attendance.
  8. Take Photos. I’m bringing my camera and my flip and my iPhone (which has a built-in camera) so hopefully I’ll remember to take a snap or too of what’s going on, if only to remind myself what I did over those crazy 3 days. More important than taking photos, I need relinquish control of my camera and let someone else take pictures for me, with ME in them.
  9. Skype Goodnight. I’ll admit it, I’m looking forward to getting away, taking a bit of a break from the kids and household responsibilities, of sleeping in a big bed by myself, of having an uninterrupted shower. But that said, I know I will miss my kids. I’m so excited to have discovered Skype earlier this year (yes, a little slow I know), now I’ll be able to say goodnight to my kids face-to-face so to speak.
  10. Take Advantage of Everything. BlogHer will offer so many opportunities to me: learning how to help my personal blog as well as the work I do at EverythingMom, reconnecting with some fabulous ladies I already know, meeting some others I’ve only known online, growing my own confidence and so much more. BlogHer is only a short period of time and I know it will be over before I know it so I hope I can take advantage of everything BlogHer can offer me.

Hopefully having this list will help me to focus when my mind overloads when I get there. If you’re going to BlogHer this year, what’s on your list?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Things My Kids Have Taught Me

As a parent we know it’s our responsibility to nurture and guide and educate our kids to be the best people they can be. Kids look to us to provide them with direction. But as a mom I’m starting to see that this guidance and learning isn’t a one-way street.

I have discovered since becoming a parent that I have learned a few things along the way and that’s to be expected when you venture into new territory. What I didn’t really expect was that one of my teachers, or rather three of them, would be my own kids.

So I thought for Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday post this week I would share with you 10 THings My Kids Have Taught Me.

  1. A double-stuff chocolate fudge cookie, eaten really slow, one layer at a time, is a worth while pursuit in patience
  2. Just because you don’t know anyone in the room doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from entering it. There’s bound to be someone else in the room who doesn’t know anyone either and they could be your next best friend.
  3. You can wear a pretty pink dress and have flowers braided in your hair and still play Space Commander Rescue Hero in the backyard. Heroes can be fancy dressed girls too.
  4. Smiling and saying ‘Hello’ to complete strangers, even if they look grumpy, usually results in the stranger feeling pretty good and you feeling even better.
  5. A hug can have more impact than the words you can’t quite say.
  6. Sometimes a situation calls for a really good, hard, sobbing to wash all that negative energy away and reboot your system.
  7. Although new gadgets are cool and fun to play with, sometimes the creativity derived from a simple object can be far more rewarding.
  8. Reading is an important skill but the material doesn’t always have to be a traditional story. Some of the best reading adventures can occur in fluffy, light reading (or comic books).
  9. It’s okay to sleep-in, eat breakfast in your PJs and not shower until after lunchtime. The world won’t come to an end and you’ll probably be in a better mood afterward.
  10. You may love someone very much and that someone I’m sure knows you do but it means so much more when they hear the actual words come from you.

Oh there are so many more lessons my kids have taught me beyond these ten. And I suspect I will still be learning. As an adult it’s hard to let go and allow your children to be your guide but sometimes we all need a reminder of what it’s like to be a child again and view the world with eagerness and want for new discoveries.

What have your children taught you lately?

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Things I said I Would Never Say as a Parent

When I was growing up I remember thinking how unfair my parents were. It always seemed to me that I wasn’t allowed to do things or was always the one getting blamed for things. ALWAYS! You too eh?

My parents use to have some pretty lame excuses or reasons for why I had to do certain things or why I couldn’t do other things. On more than one occassion I muttered under my breath that I would be a better mom, a more understanding mom, a mom who wouldn’t have all these silly rules.

Then I became a mom myself and my perspective changed. Now with three young kids of my own I find myself saying things that I swore would never come out of my mouth. So for Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday post I am sharing with you the Top 10 Things I Swore I Would Never Say as a Parent.

  1. Eating too much of one colour in food will cause your skin to turn a shade of that colour.
  2. I need to be on the computer longer becuase I’m working; you’re just playing a game. (and if anyone asks Twitter is a research tool).
  3. I can have a slice of cake twice as big as yours because I’m twice as big as you.
  4. It’s okay that your peas are mixed in with your potatoes. They’re all going to the same place anyway.
  5. The burnt part of the toast is the best part.
  6. I think I hear a bumble bee. Maybe we should walk home faster so we don’t get stung.
  7. Becuase I’m your mom and I said so.
  8. If you don’t like the rules in this house, you can make up your own when you’re bigger and have your own home.
  9. Older people need less sleep therefore we can stay up later.
  10. There’s not enough chocolate cake to share with everyone so I’ll finish it off.

Yes, not some of my proudest parenting moments I agree. But it’s amazing how much smarter and wiser my own parents appear now that I have kids. Have you said anything you swore you never would?

Top 10 Tuesday: Songs of Summer

There’s something about summer that time travels me back to my youth. Sweating in the hot sun. Eating popsicles on the front porch. Running through the sprinkler. Listening to summer songs on my dad’s car stereo as we drove around town. Just like certain smells can harken memories so can sound, especially those summer tunes that were so apart of growing up. Now that I’ve discovered I’ve been able to relive those moments, right here on my computer. So for Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday post today I give you, in no particular order, the Top 10 Songs that make me thing of Summer (and I take no responsibility it these tunes stick in your head):

  1. Hot in the City, Billy Idol
  2. Summertime. Summertime, The Jamies
  3. Summer in the City, The Loving Spoonful
  4. Here Comes the Sun, George Harrison
  5. Car Wash, Rose Royce
  6. Let’s Go Trippin’, Dike Dale & The Deltones
  7. Going Up the Country, Canned Heat
  8. Summertime Blues, Eddie Cochran
  9. Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay, Otis Redding
  10. In the Summertime, Mungo Jerry

What songs make you think of summer?

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Favourite Books I’ve Reviewed (so far)

I love books for kids. I love the imaginative characters, the whimsical illustrations, the unique story ideas. I love sharing these books with my kids, seeing them fret, cry, laugh, learn, discover along with the characters.

I’m fortunate that I get to indulge in my love of children’s literature each and every Wednesday by sharing with my blog readers some amazing new books being released by dedicated children’s book publishers. I can’t believe I’ve accumulated over 50 reviews on my blog so far. I’ve only reviewed books that I think are really good but sometimes there are some really great books that stand out in my mind. I thought this week for my Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten post I’d share with you my Top 10 Favourite Books I’ve Reviewed (so far, in no particular order).

  1. High Five with Julius and Friends, Touch and Feel (Boardbook, Raincoast books) – A touch and feel boardbook based on Paul Frank’s lovable characters.
  2. The Secret Lives of Princesses (Picture Book, 7+, Sterling Kids Publishing) – A beautifully illustrated and witty tale of those lesser known princesses.
  3. Wolf Wanted (Picture Book, 4-7, Groundwood Books) – A clever twist on combining fictitious wolf characters with the plight of real wolves around the world.
  4. Meeow and the Big Box (Picture Book, 2-5, Sterling Kids Publishing) – A simple yet wonderful view of a young child’s imagination as seen through the behaviour of Meeow and his friends.
  5. Ivy and Bean (Chapter Book, 6-10, Raincoast Books) – A series of chapter books (6 so far) that follow the adventures and friendship of two seven-year-old girls.
  6. Monsterologist (Poetry, 4+, Sterling Kids Publishing) – A fictitious journal recounting the various spookies and scaries recorded by a Monsterologist.
  7. Thing-Thing (Picture Book, 4-7, Tundra Books) – A heartfelt tale of a stuffy’s journey as he’s carelessly discarded out an apartment window.
  8. OK GO (Picture Book,  ,Greenwillow Books ) – A graphically engaging story about taking care of the environment around us.
  9. Chicken Pig Cow (2-5, Annick Press) – A tale of 3 plasticine friends and their friendship.
  10. Alison Dare (Graphic Novel, 8+ ,Tundra Books) – A fun and adventurous tale of a young girl explorer.

If you’re interested in other great books for kids, read through some of the past Write a Review Wednesday posts and come back each Wednesday for new books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Girls Would Love Alison Dare

Today I’m participating in a book blog tour with Tundra Books and their new Alison Dare stories. You can read my review and tour post and see the incredible journey Alison took to make it to my blog to answer my daughter’s questions.

So with the book blog tour happening today I thought I’d have to forgo another week of participating in Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday list (I missed out last week). But after talking to my 8-year-old daughter, who helped me put my review together since she read both Alison Dare books also, I thought I could incorporate today’s Top Ten list into my book blog tour.

So today I give you the Top Ten Reasons Girls Should Read the Alison Dare Books:

  1. The main character, Alison, is a 12-year-old girl and for girls it’s great to read books with a strong female lead character.
  2. Alison’s family tree consists of an archaeologist/adventurer for a mother, the masked hero known as the Blue Scarab for a father, even her uncle is an international super-spy. And they all show-up in her adventures.
  3. Alison has a wild imagination (how else would encountering 1 scorpion in the desert translate into an army of them when she retells her story to her friends).
  4. Alison shows that girls can be daring and take chances and do their own thing. It’s okay to be who you are: a girl, strong, independent, adventurous, human.
  5. Alison’s super-spy uncle shows up at various times unbeknown to Alison or her friends until the last minute. His disguises are darn impressive.
  6. The Alison Dare books are great adventure stories, like Indiana Jones or Laura Croft. They even include cheeky references to some of story lines in those other adventure series.
  7. The current two Alison Dare graphic novels are a quick, fun, easy reads that work the images and storyline together wonderfully.
  8. A secret society of Ninja Nuns. Do I need to say more than that?
  9. If you read them (or your daughter or niece or friend) and like them then more Alison Dare books will follow which will make my own 8-year-old adventurer daughter very happy.
  10. I dare you to read them. No, I double-dog dare you. (now how can you not give in to that).

Top Ten Tuesday: Kids’ Crazy Faces

Yesterday we celebrated Victoria Day, as did many people across Canada. The weather was beautiful and we spent most of the time outside, either at the park working on our cycling skills or in the backyard BBQ-ing. We switched to charcoal a long time ago over propane. It may take longer but the taste is far superior.

So as we cooked, the kids played and played and played. It’s amazing how long the 3 of them can play together without any major battle. Watching them goof around, I thought what a great post for Oh Amanda‘s Top Ten Tuesday blog meme: our Top Ten Crazy Kids Faces. Okay, this post might not have mass appeal but the kids had fun making faces and I can’t help but laugh when I look at them, even now, hours after I took them.