Pooches and Pussy Cozies

Mother Nature doesn't play fair but you can make the most of your postpartum hair loss.

Satan Sent Me Spam (or My DVD Player Just Hates Me

Satan's work or Dora the Explorer's?

You're Not In The Boom Boom Room Anymore

Has your bedroom lost its sexy since baby moved in? You're not alone.

I Nominate Myself For The Worst Mommy Blogger Ever

Not your typical mommy blogger.

My Doctor Made Me More Depressed

Talking about depression is difficult, especially when you're talking to idiots.

March 30, 2015

Book Review: Bully Bean

Bully Bean, written by father-son duo Thomas Weck and Peter Weck, is the heartwarming tale of a reformed bully. Once cruel and nasty, Bully Bean, the biggest bean in Beandom, changes his ways after he is trapped in a cave by rockfall and subsequently rescued by the "Beans" (bean-sized bears) he had oft tormented. Although Lima Bear had always been Bully Bean's favorite target, with Lima showing compassion and leading the rescue efforts, they eventually become friends. Not only is a friendship forged, but Bully Bean learns he can be recognized for being helpful and putting his size and strength to good use.

With positive messaging and beautiful illustrations, Bully Bean is suitable for initiating discussions around bullying with preschoolers and kindergartners. There are a few examples of shoving and pushing, but no extreme violence as to be frightening to young children. Most importantly, readers are taught to have compassion for those who are unkind; that even a bully may need help sometime and it is in our power to provide that help. 



While the story does not directly tell you how to deal with a bully, the "Extend the Learning" questions at the back of the book provide ample opportunity to discuss what should be done when someone is being bullied.  After my daughter's experience of being shoved and harassed in kindergarten for several months, I am always reiterating she use her words (tell the bully to stop bothering/shoving her) and go to a grown-up if someone is hurting her. We spoke about this again after reading Bully Bean. The story opened up a dialogue on what bullying is, why it is unacceptable, and what we can do when we are being bullied or we witness someone else being picked on.

It was interesting to hear my kids' take on Bully Bean. My oldest (5) instantly identified with Lima Bear and mentioned how she didn't like a certain classmate's words and behaviors. She felt that Bully Bean at the very least should have gotten time outs for being so nasty. My youngest (4) on the other hand, focused more on the images, but was quick to mention how mean Bully Bean was and that he shouldn't be doing those things to the other Beans. They would have liked to see justice, but seemed satisfied with the peaceful ending.

If you're looking for a way to broach the subject of bullying with little ones, Bully Bean is a good starting point. Instead of painting every bully with the same brush, it shows that a bully can change. It also teaches us to be kind to everyone as even bigger, tougher kids can't do everything on their own. While I would have liked more advice on how to deal with bullies, we were able to get to that in our post-reading discussion. In conclusion, I would recommend this book to parents, caregivers, and teachers with children and students from 4-6 years old to initiate conversations about bullying.

Where to Buy

Bully Bean is available on Amazon.comAmazon.ca, and Lima Bear Press as a hard cover book ($15.95) or e-book ($7.99).

March 19, 2015

Building From Bullying – A #1000Speak Post


When you're one of the only nonwhite kids in school, you stand out and often get harassed for how you look. It doesn't matter that you were born here, speak perfect English, and have half European ancestry, all the others see are your Asian eyes, darker skin, and ebony hair. I was teased, I got angry, I learned, and now I try to teach my children how to deal with differences in a kind way as well as how to deal with bullies.

I grew up hearing every chink joke in the book and my initial reaction was to insult them back. Always quick with words, I could make anyone cry if I tried, but I didn't want that. I just wanted to let my tormentors know how ridiculous they were. Once I learned racial slurs for white people, my retort to “Chinky chinky Chinaman” was something random like “Cracker!”, “Wop!”, or “Kraut!” The best was when I would shout “I am half Japanese, not Chinese. Can't you tell?! If you're gonna make fun of me, get it right!” This usually made them laugh hysterically and then we could return to playing. My classmates knew deep down that what they were doing was somewhat wrong, but they couldn't stop themselves. As I got a bit older, instead of joking back, I just ignored the jokes until one day, the teasing abated.

When we moved to a farm in Junior High School, I went through a phase where I was quite angry and felt the need to assert my identity as Canadian; not Japanese, English, Irish, Scottish, or Swiss. Being told “You speak really good English” used to infuriate me. I was equally irritated when asked how long I've lived in Canada. Really? And does it really matter? What I didn't know at first, was that my new schoolmates were curious, not trying to offend. I soon discovered that seething behind clenched teeth was counterproductive; I needed to try something different. The next time I was asked about my heritage, I swallowed my pride, answered politely, then returned the question to surprised faces. After having these “Where does your family come from?” discussions with new friends, we not only got to know each other better, but gained some insight into Canada's mosaic.

Much later, I started accepting (many of) the jokes in good humor. I excused my poor driving with, “Look out, Asian driver!” and laughed along with my non-Asian friends about how loud the Chinese people were in the library. On the flip side, I made fun of whites too – how they pack on the pounds after highschool, how hairy they are - using the excuse, “I can say it 'cause I'm half.” It wasn't right and it wasn't healthy, but I wanted to fit in and was struggling with my mixed identity.

Along the way, we grew up, and society changed too. It was no longer politically correct to make racist jokes outside a comedy club or private residence. Well, I thought we had all grown up, but racism reared its ugly head at a friend's house of all places. When my friend's husband saw a news clip on TV about gay marriage (it was not legal yet), he suddenly blurted out “They don't deserve the same rights as us!” I asked him what he meant and he cried, “They should be locked up like the Japanese were during the war!” He knew my background, so I know the remark was meant to hurt. I had never experienced such vehement hate and was horrified. All the years of school ground teasing combined was nothing compared to what I felt at my friend's house, a place I had once felt safe. I wish I could have been brave enough to debate him, but he was a big, ignorant guy that had been drinking. Sometimes you just have to walk away. I feel I showed compassion by not pointing out what a redneck he was! His wife and other guests, friends of mine for almost 20 years, also did nothing. As a result, they lost a friend that day.

In the case of racist bullies, I have learned you can ignore, avoid, or educate them. Educating is easier said than done and best done at a young age. For this reason, I try to teach my kids tolerance and respect. We won't always agree with everyone's religion, culture, or beliefs, but if we give each other a chance, we just might learn something to make us appreciate each other more.

Have you ever experience bullying or racism? How did you deal with it?

To read more #1000Speak posts, please click here.

March 17, 2015

REVIEW: Swim Spray is a Dream Product for Swimmers

My kids love swimming, but chlorine bothers their dry skin and dries out their hair, so we were happy to test Swim Spray Chlorine Removal Spray. The product inventor claims, "a swimmer never has to smell like chlorine again with SwimSpray." Fact or fiction? Let's find out.

What Is Swim Spray?

Designed by a professional swimmer with a Ph.D. in Chemistry, Swim Spray is an all natural Vitamin C spray that eliminates chlorine odor and irritation from hair and skin. Since the ingredients are gentle and pH balanced, SwimSpray is pediatrician and dermatologist recommended for adults and children (not recommended for babies under 6 months old).

"SwimSpray is 100% natural, fragrance-free, sulfate-free, and free from artificial colors.
" SwimSpray.com

How Does It Work?

Simply rinse yourself with water, spray your hair and skin with about 20-30 sprays* of Swim Spray, then shower normally. The spray works quickly and does not need to soak in for a long time; you can wash with soap or shampoo your hair immediately.

If you're wondering how the product actually works, my Chemist husband said that Vitamin C neutralizes chlorine. I did a quick internet search and he is exactly right. Vitamin C is a nontoxic neutralizer of chlorine that is safe to use topically (on skin).

*My kids, aged 4 and 5.5, used only 10-15 sprays each and had excellent results.


"SwimSpray has been independently verified to be 400x more effective than traditional anti-chlorine shampoos, soaps, and body washes."
 SwimSpray.com

 

What I Liked

I liked that the product was scent free and did as it promised. After being in the pool for 3.5 hours, the kids used the spray and did not smell like chlorine at all! Usually the kids reek of chlorine after their long play times in the pool and I have to ask if they actually used soap when they showered! The smell usually doesn't go away until the next day. After using Swim Spray, their hair, skin, and swimsuits smelled clean and their skin was not flaky or itchy. It was nice not having to put as much moisturizer on them after swimming too. We'll have to use it a few more times to see the benefits for hair, but just having the chlorine smell gone shows me it must be beneficial. 

What I Would Like to See

No complaints! I would just like to be able to buy it at my local supermarket.

The Verdict

I would buy Swim Spray again as it worked and was non-irritating to my childrens' sensitive skin. It completely removed the chlorine smell and most importantly, prevented my kids' skin from getting itchy and overly dry. The fact that the chlorine smell was lifted from their swimsuits and wetsuits was an added bonus.

The product is a fair value at $15 as there are over 600 sprays in a 4 oz bottle. Swim Spray recommends 1 bottle for 20-30 swims (using 20-30 sprays/swim). My kids only used 10-15 sprays each, so I estimate that a bottle would last a small child 40-60 swims.

Where to Buy

SwimSpray retails for $15.00 and is available exclusively at www.swimspray.com and select swim shop partners


Disclaimer

I received a free sample of Swim Spray to review, but the views and opinions expressed are my own.

March 9, 2015

Maybe I'll Be a Better Housewife Tomorrow

The laundry hamper is overflowing,
Mountains of dirty dishes are growing.
Toys are strewn all over the floor,
I really need to go to the store!

Sure, the floors need mopping,
But the kids aren't stopping
To pick up Lego, Barbies, ponies,
Cheerios, crusts, and macaroni.

The bathroom wouldn't reek like a sewer
If the kids' accidents were fewer
And it would help if they remembered how
To flush it down if it is brown.

I would have cleaned, but it was sunny today;
The playground beckoned us its way.
I would have shopped, but baby was ill.
Yes, I could have tried, but still...

It's hard to manage two little ones
That only want to mess and have fun
Between battles over peeing, eating,
Brushing, picking up, and sleeping.

When they sleep through the night,
When they get dressed without a fight,
When they listen and hang up their coats,
When they help me fold the clothes,

Maybe, just maybe, there will be time
To  keep the messes all in line,
To put gourmet meals on the table;
A perfect housewife won't be a fable.

Maybe I'll be a better housewife... tomorrow.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHECK OUT THE PODCAST HERE:

March 2, 2015

Secret Benefits of Breastfeeding

Before the birth of my first child, I knew without a doubt that I would breastfeed because it's natural, convenient and cheap. Forget about passive immunity and kangaroo care, they had me at cheap. With my delicate princess hands, not having to wash bottles was an added bonus. As I navigated the realm of latching on, pumping, and ninja nursing in public, I discovered the secret benefits of breastfeeding. Shh, don't tell a soul...

Secret Benefits of Breastfeeding

  1. Mile high metabolism. Eat whatever you want; baby needs it!
  2. Porn star boobs without surgery (or damaging your reputation). Flash them to get discounts, fill out dresses that never fit right... but use them only for good.
  3. Graceful escapes from slow talkers, chatty cathies and negative nancies. When you can't take it any more, ask for the time, then swoop out of the room with baby announcing, "It's feeding time! She needs privacy to nurse!"
  4. Access to the swanky Mother's Lounge at the mall. Hello, comfy leather chairs and my long lost friends, peace and quiet! Goodbye, putrid public washroom and noisy Food Court!
  5. Nipples just like the tribal centrefold girls in National Geographic. You know what I'm talking about.
  6. Private seating when dining at restaurants. Expect to be tucked away where others can't see you lest you offend other patrons with your mysterious bovine-like behaviors (fancy that, using your udders for their intended purpose).
  7. Unlimited change room time at H&M. You do need more time, right? Shout out, "Just need to feed the baby!" and be given several minutes to check out your cleavage in that little black dress over and over again, or actually feed the parasite. Either way, it's good.
  8. Front Row Seats to the Bosom Buddies Disappearing Act. Once your milking days are over, the rate of funbag deflation is exponentially proportional to the number of children you nursed. It's a miracle of nature!
  9. Shopping sprees. When you're expecting, you buy Valkyrian preggo brassieres and nursing bras. Once your babe is off the boob, you will discover that nothing fits anymore whether it was from before, during or after pregnancy. You'll need new bras. While you're at it, get some new shirts.. and shoes.. because shoes.
  10. Learn what pancakes, tube socks, and bananas have in common. They are all post-nursing boob shapes! Disclaimer: You may have to nurse more than one child to develop food or sock geometry of the breast.
What would you add to this list?

February 25, 2015

Get on the Bus, It's Time for the Bunker Punks Tour!

Who are the Original Bunker Punks? A bunch of rad bloggers that fearlessly write about anything and everything. I am so honored to have been inducted into the group! In an effort to spread our awesomeness, the Original Bunker Punks are going on tour and doing interviews. Please check out my fellow punks and show them some love.

What is your most prized possession?

My bike. Getting off the beaten path and bombing down dirt trails makes me feel wild. I get to reclaim that adventurous part of myself I thought I lost when I had kids. Incorporating cycling into my mommy life was tough at times, but worth it. 



How do you unwind after a long day?

My Kobo is my most loyal lovah. I spend so much time with my Kobo, Naked Daddy is jealous. Kobo and I curl up in bed with a story that suits my mood - I usually have a few books on the go - and tune everything and everyone out. For many moons now I've been obsessed with The People books by Kathleen O'Neal Gear and Michael Gear. 

What is one song that has followed you throughout your whole life?

Eternal Flame by the Bangles has stalked me since I was a little girl. It was an earworm before earworm was a thing, and one of the first songs I learned by heart. It's also one of the few songs from that era I can still tolerate and am not ashamed to have listened to (Paula Abdul is on the Shame List for sure). 



If you could give one piece of advice to new bloggers in your field, what would it be?

Be true to yourself, but never forget your words are public and forever. If your words will hurt someone, write them on paper instead and burn them

Now that you’re famous, we need a quote from you.

"Filters are for coffee. Be real, raw, and honest - on paper and in life." One of my most viewed and shared posts was about talking to my doctor about postpartum depression. By sharing experiences, I aim to let readers know they are not alone in their daily struggles. If I can make you laugh in the process, that's even better.


Love and giggles to the Nudist Colony and Original Bunker Punks!! I'm back, baby!

February 3, 2015

Sleep Safe With Halo Sleepsack - Review & Giveaway!

"She went in to check on him, and found him face down in his pillow, not breathing."

As my friend and colleague continued to tell me about the loss of her nephew to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), I selfishly thought of my own children. Is my three year old too young for a pillow? Are her blankets ok? Is my baby safe? Long after returning home, I was still in shock. I held my kids close, ordered a sympathy floral arrangement, researched SIDS, and took a good look at my kids' bedding. 

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm? A recent study published in the journal, Pediatrics, shows that loose, soft bedding, is a leading cause of SIDS.  If you have a baby or small children at home, please consider wearable blankets and read more on safe sleeping: www.halosleep.com/safe-sleep-for-baby/

More information on the SleepSack wearable blanket follows as well as a chance to win one!
Image Credit: SleepSack

SleepSack Review - What We Liked

While safety was the number one consideration in our SleepSack purchases, the next biggest selling features were comfort and convenience. After doing cotton blanket origami at prenatal classes, and doing miserably at it I might add, I was happy to discover the SleepSack Swaddle. They are very easy to use! Put the SleepSack on over PJs, zip down and swaddle baby's arms in or out (depending on what she likes and if she is rolling or not). The swaddle wrap closes securely with velcro. There are no buttons that can come loose or finicky snaps. The inverted zipper made diaper changes easy and prevented baby from getting poked by a zipper pull.

I am sure I saved several hours of time with the SleepSack Swaddle during the newborn phase when we were changing diapers 20 times a day. To top it off, my babies were comfy and warm. If baby is comfy and warm, she sleeps better, and you do too. 

When my babies got bigger, we put them in the SleepSack. They were used to wearable blankets and liked them. We loved that the SleepSacks stayed in place (didn't end up over their heads or on the floor). Since both of my babies were active sleepers, we could sleep easy knowing that baby was not going to kick her blanket off and be cold, or get tangled in it. 

Finally, did I mention the material is so soft? Whether you choose organic cotton, cotton, microfleece, sherpa, or chenille, the fabrics are soft to the touch and machine washable. Look at the thermal insulation rating (TOG) for each SleepSack so you buy the right one. Aside from size and TOG, you just need to choose a fabric and color/pattern for your wearable blanket. SleepSacks are not just for newborns! Sizes go all the way up to 50 pounds.

Most of the SleepSack products are $28.95-$34.95 U.S. ($29.99+ in Canada). They are well worth the money for peace of mind and quality. We were able to use the SleepSack Swaddle and SleepSack for two children and hand them down to friends in good condition. Halo SleepSack products are available at most major department stores, ToysRUs, and online at www.halosleep.com.

Giveaway 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer

I received a free sample to review and give away, but the views expressed are my own.

References



  • Moon, R.Y. (2014) 
  • Sleep Environment Risks for Younger and Older Infants, Pediatrics. 


    Please sleep safe, everybody!

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