Saturday, January 4, 2014

This Mother's Plan of Action to Tackle Her New Year Resolutions

So a New Year has begun!

Had the kids up late on New Years Eve watching the New Years festivities at Times Square. We had an absolute blast drinking bubbly grape juice until they dozed off as it was way past their bedtimes.

After tucking in the little ones for the first time in 2014, this mom spent the next hour and the last few days putting together goals for the new year or what other's would term as New Year's Resolutions.

(queue drama)

I know the samething everyone says each January. They say they will do this and that and all these great things but come December they excuse all their goals because they were just "too busy".

Well for all mother's in the world out there who think it is impossible to juggle their personal goals while raising a set of rugrats, I just wanted to let you know that IT IS POSSIBLE!

2013 taught me a lot of lessons and one of them was what to expect when you put together a plan of action. Trust me, as good as it sounds on paper, there will be a lot of tough times. They'll be moments when you wonder why you ever embarked on the journey and other moments when you just lose all hope.

But all is not lost.

How To Prepare For Your New Years Resolutions:

1. To all the mothers thinking about the great reasons why they should make that positive resolutions, write it down RIGHT NOW! All the reasons you started the journey will be the reasons that keep you going when it gets tough. Whatever it is WRITE IT DOWN! Regardless of whether it's negative people thinking you can't, positive things like what'll you'll end up with, or even personal things like a promise you made someone you love.

This energy will help propel you when everything looks bleak.

2. Now write down the toughest thing you expect and focus those reasons towards that obstacle.

3. Visualize what your goal is! Whether it is to workout and get buns of steel or a six pack or even to trim off that excess pregnancy weight, visualize the finish line.

Emotional Rollercoaster that You Should Expect While Tackling Your Resolutions:

It will be tough. There were times I really wanted to cry during 2013 accomplishing my goals. But I kept a written diary of the experiences. It helped me to document how I was feeling at any given moment so that when I did have a bad day that I flip back a few pages and be reminded of the good times.

Every source of energy counts during this roller coaster.

Going back through my diary I can tell you that journey now sounds like a really crazy roller coaster but once you finish it, there is absolutely no greater feeling in the world.

The emotions I felt in chronological order are:

1. Hope and Promise
You get all warm in the beginning knowing that you're about to accomplish something great.

2. Extraordinarily Happy
The moment in the journey when you accomplish you're first goal. You feel like superwomen or supermom and that you're invincible and nothing can stand in your way.

3. Cockiness
After you start getting results for the first few months into the resolution you start being a little too happy. This is never a good stage as you can start to get on people's nerves. Note to women: you're husband will use your attitude at this stage against you later on so don't act too cocky and remember to stay humble here.

4. Anxiety
The first obstacle. This is where things start getting a little harder and testing whether you've got what it takes. Remember to keep at it.

5. Denial
You try your best to push through saying you're the best and looking to justify that your efforts are enough and that you don't have to change anything but to just hang on.

6. Panic
The moment you start to think that you really can't do it. Remember those notes on all the reasons why you embarked on the journey. Here you start looking at those for energy. The most important thing at this stage is to keep with it and the realization that you will have to make some amendments to your plan to succeed. With every success there's a moment you realize that what you gave wasn't enough and that there needs to be a greater effort on a different area. This is where you formulate that plan.

7. Depression or Hope
This is the breaking point stage. You either give up on your resolution which leads to depression or you devise a new game plan and start executing and seeing new results which leads to hope.

The Finish Line

When I finally accomplished my goals near the end of 2013, I felt great! Not cocky not overconfident but just a new found meaning of self-worth and appreciation for life.

At the end you get two prizes:

1. Your Final Results from Your Resolution

When I embarked on my journey at the beginning of 2013, I thought the realization of my goals would be the best thing I would get and it was great but the absolute greatest gift it gave was...

2. Knowing that You Can Accomplish Anything You Put Your All Into 

I must say the best thing there is no better feeling or reward than knowing you can accomplish anything you set out to do. This is definitely a lesson I want to pass along to my kids. It'll be tough and it'll get hard. But if you stay honest with yourself and committed the fruits of your labor will be tremendous.

Good luck to all who have made and are making 2014 New Years Resolutions!

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Mother's Take On The Problem with Rob Ford

I'm an avid supporter of my favourite team, the Hamilton Tigercats. So when they faced off against the rival Argos in Toronto over a month ago, I had the pleasure to catch the game.

It was an enjoyable game where the Ti-Cats came out on top but during the game I did notice something that caught my attention and not in a good way.

Rob Ford The Person & The Problem

I’ve heard the headlines all year about the Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, engaging in activities and making statements that we would not want our children to see or hear and that would make my parents shudder in disappointment.

Rewind back to the days when I was in school. Back then, political positions were held by people of authority. People who had accomplished much in their life and wanted to give back to the community by putting together policies and programs to facilitate the growth of society.

Stories of the mayor publicly intoxicated, smoking crack cocaine, and being the subject of multi-million dollar police investigations would never ever have been imaginable.

It makes me quite angry that a person in such a position would think it would be acceptable to ever engage in the activities that Rob Ford has. It’s not just that it sets a bad example for my kids but it’s the fact that our society has been so eroded that there are people that actually believe and will continue to believe that this activity is not that big of an issue.

It is not a big issue, it is a gigantic issue!

The mayor of the city is the leader of your city. He is someone who is elected because he has demonstrated qualities of personal integrity, perseverance, vision and has made a commitment to lead society to a better tomorrow.

When you make a commitment to lead the city you are expected to have a standard of personal integrity. You do not skip out on city meetings for children’s football games, you do not engage in recreational use of drugs and you do not lie!

It’s not the first time a politician has been caught in foul behaviour but usually when they are they have the audacity to admit that they were wrong and pay the consequences for their actions.

This is the problem with Rob Ford. 

Not only does he lie, lie and lie some more. When he is caught lying about what would be considered inappropriate behaviour for not only any person, but especially for the city’s lead official, he plays the victim card and thinks it is good enough just to apologize.

In the real world, when we make mistakes we pay for them. Actions have consequences. If I choose not to change a child’s diaper it will stink and may lead to a health problem for the child. See problem and consequence. When I make a mistake at work, I either have to make amends or if it is large enough I get demoted or fired. When my husband makes a bad investment, we lose money.

All of the above illustrate a problem, a mistake and the consequences because of it.

When Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto, makes a mistake all he has to do is say sorry and apparently that is the end of the story. He doesn’t lose his job even though he clearly is unqualified for it. No, he can apologize, play the victim and say it’s not like any of you haven’t made mistakes and then proceeds to suffer no consequences. We do make mistake Mr. Ford and we pay for those mistakes. You on the other hand have not suffered the consequences.

No this is not how it works my life or anyone else’s life for that matter and this is why it is wrong.

The Politics

The main priority of a politician to help in the growth of society.

This is the current problem in Toronto when they voted Rob Ford in. His whole agenda is not to put forth plans to better the community for the next generation. His whole premise when he ran was not a plan at all.

Rob Ford ran on a selfish agenda. Rob Ford proclaimed that the city of Toronto had a spending problem called the “Gravy Train” and that it was his job to put an end to it.

Rob Ford ran on the premise that none of the money that was put forth actually did any good and it was all wasted. This is clearly not the case as Toronto had always been a world class city with a system of schools, community centres and programs that have been proactively helping to shape a better society.

Nevermind the ridiculous  picture is painted when you actually see an image of Rob Ford, a severely overweight man, at the helms of the “Gravy Train” halting force an obese man who clearly has self-control issues

Good leaders put forth a vision, bad leaders create a devil and unify and gain support through attacking the devil they have created.

Rob Ford comes from a very well off family regardless of how he likes to portray himself. I remember hearing him say one time “the elite rich people are the problem, they have more dirt than anybody.” Well you hit the nail on the spot there Rob!

Regardless of what you think of the job that he has done at city hall one thing is true, Rob Ford is the main subject of a large police investigation and associates with known drug dealers and criminals. Is this someone who should be in charge of the great city of Toronto?!?!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ontario Ice Storm of 2013

So we've just been hit by the largest Ice Storm I've ever experienced in my life.

We just recently got our power back after being knocked out for a few days but I hear places in Burlington, Hamilton are still without electricity.

Seems Ontario got hit really hard this year! From what I hear from my friends in Toronto there are many trees down sprawled across major roads and streets with much of the city without power.

God bless you all and I hope you stay safe!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Family Activities To Do in Hamilton During 2013 Winter Break

So the kids are off school in less than a couple of weeks and me and the hubby were busy this past weekend trying to schedule some fun winter activities to do as a family during the Christmas break.

Christmas is such a great time to spend with your family, so I thought I'd share some ideas of great Christmas family activities. This list is for both mothers living in Hamilton and in other cities.
If you don't live in Hamilton or close by I'm sure you can probably find something similar in your city.

What we came up with:

1. Winter Public Skating
2. Gore Park - Fun Rides for the Kids
3. Dundurn Castle
4. Winterfest at the Royal Botanical Gardens
5. Pioneer Christmas at Battlefield Castle
6. Backyard Winterwonderland

So I'll go into a bit of detail just in case you liked some of the ideas for your kids and family as well.

1. Winter Public Skating

Nothing better than public skating during the winter months. It's a fun way to exercise, teach/learn, and just an overall fun way to spend time with the kids. Cassie and Tee are excited as we just got them their first skates this past weekend.

Note to parents: 
If this the first time taking your child skating be sure to temper their expectations. Nik was really excited to go his first time but after a few falls he easily gave up. We finally got him back on the ice during his first time by giving him a pylon to assist him while he got the use of balancing on ice.

For a skating rink closest to your Hamilton town, as we have so many parts that make up our beautiful town, take a look through this site for free family public skate times during the 2013 winter break.

2. Gore Park - Fun Rides for the Kids

Right near Jackson Square, Gore Park should be a fun time for the kids with rides and amusements. For families looking for something fun especially for their young little ones, Gore Park has train and merry go rides, shows, pictures with Santa, game centres and shops. For families looking to save, many of the activities and rides are free, even photos with Santa and refreshments will be no cost.

Hours during the week I believe are:
Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Weekend hours are:
Saturdays and Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Winter festivities take place until December 24.

Here's more info if you're interested in attending the great Winter festivities at Gore Park.

3. Dundurn Castle

Dundurn Castle was something I insisted on because, well, it's a castle!
From what I've discovered it'll be decorated all nicely for Christmas serving traditional Christmas food (evenings only for $25.00 per person) and have some carollers as well.

It only takes place during the weekends but it's definitely something to check out for those looking for a nostalgic Christmas atmosphere.

They have two events going on, an evening tour with dinner called Christmas Evening Tours and one during the day with standard admission rates called Victorian Christmas.


Victorian Christmas days and hours open are:
9:00am to 4:00pm with normal admission fees.
I believe they have a family special for $28.00 for the entire family, which normally includes 2 adults and 2 children. We'll most likely have to pay for one of the kids but it's not too expensive at $5.75.
Open 7 days a week except for Mondays.

If you're interested in the Evening Tour with Food:
Price is $25.00 per person and open from 7:00pm to 9:00pm on Fridays to Sundays:
December 13 to December 15, 2013
December 20 to December 22, 2013

For more information about the Winter festivities at Dundurn Castle visit the city of Hamilton's page.

4. Winterfest at the Royal Botanical Gardens

Winterfest at the Gardens looks like a great outdoor Christmas activity for the family. It's supposed to have many outdoor games, crafts and a lot of nature.

Winterfest takes place for a limited time from December 27th to the 31st from 10:00AM - 3:00PM.
They have a family admission package for $30.50 which is a pretty good deal.

For more information and to book for Winterfest at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamlilton.

5. Pioneer Christmas at Battlefield Castle

I loved learning about how things were done back in the early 1900s. The Pioneer Christmas should be a great way to teach the children about how things used to be while enjoying some great Christmas cheer.

They're also running two Christmas events.

The Eat, Drink and Be 'Mary' Christmas event is a one day only event. It features carolling, traditionally baked treats and cider made the same way as the pioneers did, music and some fun activities for the kids.
It takes place on Saturday December 14th only from 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Price is $17.00 for the whole family which looks like a great deal.

The other event, Christmas in the Pioneer Spirit, goes on from now until January 5th. It's more of a tour and experience and looks to be a trimmed down version of the Eat, Drink and Be 'Mary' Christmas without the food.
Price is also $17.00 for the entire family and runs from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

More information visit: Battlefield Castle in Stoney Creek region of Hamilton.

6. Backyard Winterwonderland

This is a family tradition in our backyard and sometimes front depending on how much snow we get. 
Snowball fights, hot cocoa, snow forts, snowmen and just an entire day of snow with the family.
Highly recommended for all families to try!

Well I hope this list helps your family bond and grow closer together during the Winter holidays.

Til next time, spread some great holiday cheer!!!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Which is the Best Orange Juice Test? Tropicana vs Simply Orange vs Oasis

I hate mornings with a passion. Each day as the hated radio station tells me I must get up, I reluctantly leave the warm comforts of my bed to wake up the kids. It always seems like a mad rush in the mornings but I when it's all said and done I know these are the moments I will miss the most as the years go on.

In our family, one thing we all do in the morning is have a tall cold glass of Orange Juice to start the day off. I don't know how, but my husband's family and my family have both done this since we were kids and I guess we just passed it on to the kids.
Sidenote: why not apple juice, lemonade, pineapple juice etc. I really do wonder how orange juice just won the morning beverage sweepstakes but that's besides the point.

So back to the orange juice. We love our pulp! I mean orange juice without the pulp just tastes wrong.  Not only does it give you more fibre which is healthy for you, but the pulp just adds that extra burst of orangey goodness to the beverage and wake up dose of vitamin C you need in the morning.

Well when it comes to orange juice selection, before I got married I'd always been a Tropicana kind of girl. I mean they were just synonymous with great tasting Orange Juice. I know they make other juices now but none of their other varieties come close to their orange juice

In the past few years, a lot of new brands have entered the Orange juice scene and I must admit I am impressed.

But first the Sunny Delight Childhood Disappointment Story

This coming from a girl who was incredibly disappointed the first time she tasted Sunny-D. I had such amazingly high expectations too. Back in the day when they were first coming out, you couldn't even watch an after school TV program without seeing a Sunny-D ad. Then when they delivered the samples in the mail in packaging shaped like a refrigerator; well let me tell you was I excited to break it open and gulp it down. And right after I did and swished it around in my mouth I still remember to this day the huge "Yuck!!!" that I let out.

I still have no idea how they sell that beverage but to each his own I guess.

Today's Orange Juice Selection - Narrowed Down Of Course!

Well back to today's orange juice heavy weight contenders.

I've tried almost every orange juice on the market, including various supermarket chain brands as well (remember no bias so you give every juice it's chance).

One of the major things you must absolutely avoid when shopping for orange juice is to avoid "from concentrate" juices. They taste really off and I know of no human on earth that would prefer it to NOT FROM CONCENTRATE.

In the last few years, with all the OJ competitors in the market our family was always randomly picking between three brands: Tropicana which is the traditional OJ I had always preferred, Oasis OJ which didn't disappoint the first time I reluctantly tried a glass, and Simply Orange which we had to try because come on they have a name that says they've got something to offer, why not see if they can back it up.

So a few weeks ago during our weekend grocery store trip, we purchased all three in hopes of finally calling one of the brand's our family's orange juice. The number one reason, so that whenever my husband or I went grocery shopping we didn't have to debate on which brand of juice to get because it had a little bit more, it was on sale, or the good old "you liked it last time."

So spend a Sunday morning gathered around the kitchen table and each of us took turns being blindfolded and trying all three brand of OJ.

Surprisingly, we all came to the same unanimous decision on which was the best OJ without even knowing which one we were tasting!!!

So without further ado...

The top 3 Orange Juices on the today's market in order of not the best to the best:

3. Tropicana

2. Oasis

1. Simply Orange

What we learned that weekend?

1. That we finally all agreed on something YEAH!!!

2. Family time is amazing and no matter how corny something is (yes I am completely aware of how lame this OJ of choice contest we had is); when you do something that would be completely embarrassing to the outside world and borderline outcast you from society on account of lameness with your family, it brings you even closer together to one another and you share a bond that just can't be explained but only experienced.

3. We finally have a OJ of choice and saved ourselves billions of future debates on which is the best OJ.

So I hope this helps you and/or your family out when choosing your OJ of choice. Feel free to let me know why you think Simply Orange sucks or recommend another juice we may have missed. 

Til next time...Denah.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Supermarket in Hamilton - Nations Fresh Foods

Over the weekend I stumbled upon a new supermarket that I'd highly recommend.

It was my first time visiting the Nations Fresh Foods supermarket that I found out just opened this past July.

The supermarket is located at King St W and James St at the Jackson Square Mall.

It has a lot of Asian specialty foods but also a great Western assortment. It kind of resembles the model of the asian supermarket T & T with a little less focus on the Asian assortment.

It's motto is a East meets West supermarket.

The best thing about the supermarket is that the prices for everything are absolutely great. It provides better value on most grocery items than No Frills or Price Choppers and has a much better atmosphere and ambience.

The only caveat is that it does not accept credit cards but with the great prices I really don't mind.

Things I Liked About Nations Fresh Foods:
1. Great prices.
2. Convenient Location.
3. Beautiful layout and setting.
4. Great variety and selection of food.
5. Many ethnic brands for different tastes and dishes.

Things I Disliked:
1. Parking and the Validation with purchases of >$20.
2. Lacking in the organics but with so many local farmers this might complement the Hamilton community very well.
3. Gets really busy at times but that's expected with a Supermarket.

It also has a great section for pre-made foods with seating area just in case you need a quick meal for lunch or supper. Me and my daughter stopped by for lunch and had the biggest bowls of Vietnamese Pho that we've ever had for an amazing value of just around $5.00.

We purchased some steak and cooked it later that evening. And I will vouch for the freshness of their meats.

So definitely feel free to visit the new supermarket to the Hamilton community, Nations Supermarket.

Here's a link to the Nations Supermarket flyer just in case you're interested.

Nations Fresh Foods open 9am to 9pm seven days a week.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Welcome to My Blog Dedicated to Helping Fellow Mother's in the Hamilton Ontario Area

Thought I'd help share my knowledge raising three young children by creating a blog for all mom's out there.

After several decades living in Hamilton, Ontario I've learned a thing or two from friends, strangers and just some helpful do-gooders.

I thought I'd create a blog to help share these helpful tips.

These tips will be from a mother of three so most likely will be very helpful to other mom's in the area but if there's anything that helps you in your journey through life; feel free to use, comment and even suggest alternatives.

An avenue to exchange tips, ideas and tricks navigating our beautiful city!