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summer unplugged

Summertime should be all about beaches, fairgrounds, playgrounds, ice cream and cotton candy, am I right? Wrong. It's more like givi...

8.26.2016

back to school wish list

Is it true?  Is summer really coming to an end?  Over the past couple weeks, I've been seeing a ton of back to school posts on social media, stores stocking up on school supplies and parents roaming the malls with their kids in hopes of beating the back to school crowd, and I feel like I'm still oblivious to the whole thing.  I had planned to go to the uniform store yesterday to pick out Jadon's new school threads and completely forgot - oops!  All I can think about are beaches, play dates and the sunshine! After all, summer isn't over yet!

Jadon is going into grade 2 (I keep saying grade 1 and he's going to kill me!) and can hardly contain his excitement at seeing his friends again.  Sasha is starting grade 11 and I thought she'd be dreading going back to school, but I just talked to her via Skype the other day (she's currently in Russia visiting her mom for the summer) and she told me she was really excited - mostly to see her friends as well.  ZoĆ« is hopefully going into preschool, but I haven't even gotten on that yet.  I swear, September came waaayyyy too fast.

So all this back to school craziness made me think of all the new gear that kids are wanting nowadays.  Let me just say, their options are a lot cooler than they were in the '90s when I went to school...



1. Backpack:  Herschel Supply Co. | 2. Coloured Pencil Set:  Design Life Kids | 3. Bento Box:  ECOlunchbox | 4. Cooler Bag:  So Young Mother | 5. Pencil Case:  Herschel Supply Co. | 6. Gel Pens:  Poppin | 7. Water Bottle:  S'well | 8. Runners:  Nike | 9. Tee:  Modern Fort | 10. Hat:  Whistle & Flute | 11. Ruler:  Poppin

xo,
kristina
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8.17.2016

summer unplugged

Summertime should be all about beaches, fairgrounds, playgrounds, ice cream and cotton candy, am I right?

Wrong.

It's more like giving your kids (who are usually at school, but because it's summer....ah, don't get me started!) whatever electronic device you have that will keep them occupied for the next five minutes, so you can start chipping away at your to-do list, emails, orders and whatever else you have up your sleeve.  For five whole minutes.

{All my work-at-home-moms, put your hands up!}

Of course this practice only encourages and enables my children's love for electronics.

Every day feels like I'm fighting an uphill battle of trying to balance our days with outdoor and indoor play, reading, errand running and the 20-odd meals that my children seem to consume, all while limiting their screen time to 30 minutes per day.  Zoe is usually fine when I tell her her time is up, but Jadon can be relentless.  He'll beg me all day long to 'play' on my phone until it gets so annoying, I take the privilege away indefinitely.  It's almost as if I have to wean them off electronics (I've done it before and I'll do it again!).

This obsession just couldn't go on any longer.  I knew I had to do something and I had to do it now.

A few weeks ago, I introduced Jadon and Zoe to IndigoKids' summer reading guide, themed Passport to Reading.  Indigo's experts have picked the top books for every age group and stage of reader, and rounded them up to create their summer reading guide to ensure kids get the most out of reading this summer.  Passport to Reading introduces kids and their families to take countless reading journeys to places they've only imagined, wished for or dreamt about.

Both Jadon and Zoe were given the opportunity to make a list of their favourite books from IndigoKids' summer reading guide, with the intent that they would continue to challenge themselves by reading a book a day.  I saw this as a definite advantage for Jadon, as he had some difficulties with his reading skills during the past school year.  His teacher was able to act on it as soon as she realized that Jadon would benefit from additional resource assistance, and was she ever right.  After only a month of being supported by his school's learning resource teacher, Jadon had already moved up two levels in reading!  Seeing this made me realize what I had known all along:  as soon as Jadon gained the confidence, there was no stopping him.  So why not continue encouraging that throughout the summer?



Instead of packing electronics to keep the kids distracted while we're out, the kids are now bringing one or two IndigoKids approved books and immersing themselves into an imaginative and interactive world of play, dress-up, ponies, Lego and fantasyland.  I see how proud Jadon is when he masters that difficult word, and how attentive and curious Zoe is when she listens to her big brother read to her (not to mention I have full possession of my phone - haha!).  It's a win-win situation here, guys!

Make sure to check out Passport to Reading for this summer's hottest books.  The summer reading list is conveniently categorized according to age and stage of the reader, as well as the genre of the book. Summer may be halfway over, but it's never to late to get started!

xo,
kristina


{win it!}

IndigoKids is giving one of our readers a chance to win a prize pack full of some of the titles from Jadon and Zoe's summer reading list!  To enter, please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only and ends on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 9pm PST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Indigo and/or their affiliates.  We received all of the books listed in this post from Indigo in order to complete this review.  Note that SwankMama does not accept responsibility for sponsors that do not fulfill their giveaway duties.  Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond, otherwise, a new winner will be chosen at random.

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8.12.2016

introducing our newest family member

Before you jump to any conclusions, let me clear up a few things.  First of all, we do not have a pet and, secondly, it's not a baby (haha!).  Confused yet?  Allow me to introduce you to Bob!


Hopefully you're not thinking I've gone mad.  Bob is simply our 'pet' vacuum, also known as bObsweep PetHair.  I know we technically don't have a pet, but we do have two little ones that are known to make just as much mess (if not more) as say, a family dog.  It seems like every time I sweep or vacuum, huge mounds of crumbs start accumulating within a blink of an eye.  Then they go about their merry way and guess who's stuck with cleaning the mess up?  Well, since we've welcomed Bob into the family, it's definitely not me anymore!

Bob comes fully loaded and you may even feel a little intimated by all of his accessories, but don't worry because he comes with detailed instructions and a help line should you feel the need to reach out to a real live person ;)

Before I could read the instructions, Jadon started unpacking the box and, upon inspection, told me where each piece went and how to install them.  Of course, I ended up reading all of the instructions front to back and came up with the same conclusion as Jaodn.  It's always nice to be schooled by your seven year old.


Once Bob was fully charged, both Jadon and Zoe were ready to put him to work!



So we now have a new morning ritual and a couple of eager kids fighting over who contributes to the 'housework', aka who gets to turn on Bob - haha!

My conclusion?  I found that it took time for Bob to be accustomed to his new home and we had to be patient while he got used to his surroundings.  Sometimes it helped him to move furniture out of his way when he got confused.  We also learned not to leave any cords lying around, as Bob may think it's 'food' and swallow it up.  I love that you can set a schedule for Bob to clean - this includes set days and time (cue cheers from parents all over the world).  With our busy work schedules, it really helps to not have to worry about yet another chore.

Thanks, Bob, for making our lives easier!

8.08.2016

too cool for school

Annnnddd just like that, summer is already halfway done!  Over here in Vancouver, we've felt like summer just began a few of weeks ago, as the first couple weeks were a little chilly than normal.  Don't worry though - we took full advantage of the amazing weather while we were living in New West (here and here).

So now that it's August, it's time to think about the most exciting time of the year... BACK TO SCHOOL!!  Okay, it may only be exciting for grade school-aged kids, but it's always the best time of the year for parents (am I not right?!).  No more constant bickering, no more trying to find daily activities to keep the kids occupied (and off those electronic devices), and no more late nights.

We're hoping to put Zoe in preschool in September and have been considering our options, given her muscle condition.  I know I haven't posted full details about it yet, but let's just say that her gross motor skills are slightly delayed and, while she may look perfectly healthy and normal from the outside, she struggles with a lot of normal everyday things that most people wouldn't think twice about.  However, since she loves to do anything that her big brother does, I decided to include her in our recent back-to-school shopping trip courtesy of Sport Chek!

The kids and I headed to their flagship Metrotown location for a fun afternoon of shopping.  While it can get kind of hectic shopping with two littles (Jadon is very meticulous and Zoe is a happy-go-lucky, go-with-the-flow kind of girl), we ended up having major success in finding everything that the kids needed for school come September.

And here are my little models with their new Sport Chek gear (insert heart emoji).  While I couldn't find all of the items online, I've linked them below.  The items that we got from Sport Chek are Jadon's runners and basketball hoodie, and Zoe's yellow backpack, tank and joggers.




ON JADON // Hoodie: Nike | Runners: Nike | Tee: Modern Fort | Hat: Whistle & Flute

ON ZOE // Tank: Under Armour | Joggers: Nike | Runners: Nike | Backpack: Fjallraven | Sunglasses: Gap Kids

xo,
kristina


{win it!}

To kick off your back to school shopping, Sport Chek is generously offering one of our Canadian readers a chance to win a $50 gift card!  To enter, please follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter form below.  This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only and ends on Monday, August 15, 2016 at 9pm PST.

Disclosure:  All opinions in this review remain my own and do not reflect the opinions or views of Sport Chek and/or their affiliates.  We received a form of compensation from Sport Chek in order to complete this review.  Note that SwankMama does not accept responsibility for sponsors that do not fulfill their giveaway duties.  Winner will be contacted via email and will have 24 hours to respond, otherwise, a new winner will be chosen at random.

8.03.2016

city walks

Our last day at our New West townhouse was filled with mixed emotions, but that didn’t stop us from exploring our beloved city one last time.  In between packing, appointments and cleaning, we made a last minute trek down to a couple of neighbourhood stores for extra packing supplies.  Of course, along the way, we couldn’t help but stop off at a few of the historical landmarks in our adopted city:


My little guy is such a daredevil and couldn’t resist making my heart stop a few times as he ran downhill beside a waterfall.  There are some moments where I’m this overprotective mother, and other times where I just let them live in the moment and hope they don’t fall or trip or do all those things that kids do.  This was one of the times where I just said “screw it” and let him live in the moment.  




It probably helped that we were both excited to show off our new matching Sk8-Hi’s from Union Jack Boots (Jadon was over-the-moon that we had matching kicks – something that I hope won’t wear off anytime soon, ha!).  I must have been living under a rock, because apparently these Vans styles are pretty popular (thanks bro for the heads up!), comfortable and stylish, not to mention perfect for those walks around the neighbourhood.


We sure will miss New West, but can’t wait for our next adventures with our Sk8-Hi’s in our newest city!