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Showing posts from June, 2012

When Parents of Twins Have Favorites

I confess: I am a parent to twins - 2 girls - and I have a favorite child
I admit: It's very hard for me to confess this out loud
Wait! It gets worse.
I think: I've always had a favorite daughter almost from the day the girls were born
I notice: That I let my favorite twin get away with a lot more than her sister
I over-compensate: My non-favorite child with hugs and kisses and extra mommy time
I panic: When I have to give both girls milk and one cup is fuller by a couple of drops
I react: By closing my eyes and handing out the cups so each girl takes one and I don't feel the guilt of giving my favorite twin the fuller cup
I'm OK: Because I don't have a constant favorite. It changes from month to month depending on... I don't know, the moon's position or something
I do know: That I love my daughters equally and this is one of the many emotional hurdles of being a parent to more than one child

Any mommy out there with a confession to make? Please share, I'm all ea…

Calgary Farmers Market Favorites

I've visited a farmers' market every other weekend since we moved into our home. My favorite so far has been the Calgary's Farmers' Market. It's an indoor market that's open every Saturday and Sunday and has quite an assortment of fresh foods and homemade goodies. It's also my opportunity to feed my twins organic foods without breaking the bank.
I've always thought organic foods are expensive and they usually are. Even in the farmers' markets. I've however found that there are some deals in the Calgary Farmers' Market that are comparable to if not better than the grocery store foods especially when purchased in season. Notice how bell peppers are sometimes as expensive as 3 for $5 in the grocery store? Try the farmers market. You just may be in for a pleasant surprise. 

My favorite stalls in the Calgary Farmers' Markets have been:
Souto Farms for fresh produce - I love, love love them. The have the largest variety of produce AND the best pr…

4 Reasons to Use a Private Photographer For Family Photos

In the bottom section of my first post on choosing a family photographer, I mentioned my experiences with Picture People, Target, Sears and a private photographer. Here's a pictorial of 4 reasons to use a private photographer for family photos

Can you see the difference in photographer skill and quality of props in those 4 photos. It's unmistakable. My final advice in closing off this post series, go with a private photographer. If I had to do it all over again, I would look for a photographer whose style I like and just buy a good package because these babies really do grow fast and all you have are memories and pictures. Plus wouldn't it be great if those pictures actually look nice?! Just sayin'

PS: The Target photo sessions were quite good BUT the photographer had a lot of experience working we kids. I found out from talking to her that she's been in the kid photography business for over 5 years working with different photography chains. With the chain stores, yo…

Choosing the Best Photographer for Family Photos

So you've looked at your studio options, what next? Picking the best photographer to work with that will ensure satisfaction with the photos at the end of the day. I always recommend starting with a shortlist and working through that list until one option remains

Step 1: Decide what you want in a photo package
What is a photo package?
Almost all chain and private professional photographers offer photo packages. The package will specify the number of prints, sizes, digital copies and cost.
Lifestyle considerations
Do you like to print lots of photos and send to the kids' favorite aunts and godparents? Do you scrapbook and prefer to work with a particular size of photos? Do you prefer digital copies over print?
I fall in the third category. I'm working towards having a minimalist, clutter-free home (in spite of the fact that I have twins). One of my strategies is to digitize music, photos and books as much as possible so when choosing photo packages, I look for one that includes…

Taking Family Pictures - Studio Options

We just had our 18 month old photo session for the twins and so this week's posts will be focused on family photography.The first question is "Do I really need professional photographs taken?". My answer would be yes. I thought I didn't but I now regret the fact that I do not have nicer pictures from when the girls were younger. The next step from "Yes" would be to choose a photo studio. Here are the options available as well as the pros and cons of each


Photo Studio Options


Department Store Photo Studio: These are the portrait studios in department stores like  Sears, JC Penney, Walmart, Target etc
Pros:
Flexible hours: Most share opening days and hours with the associated department store so they're available on holidays and could stay open as late as 9PM 
Affordable Options:In the form of promos, coupon codes, club membership discounts etc
Easy appointment bookings with little to no wait time
Cons:
Huge variation in photographer skill. Some are good, some ar…

Toddler Teenagers at 19

Sometimes it's hard to tell if we have toddlers or teenagers around here. It's the same keeping odd hours, mood swings, strong opinions and clothes that fit weird. But enough about me, I'm here to talk about my twins :)


19 months old and mama's eyes have been opened to a lot of new things

Spice can put on her shoes (of course always on the wrong feet) and sometimes a tee shirt all by herself.Sugar has figured out how to open the closets (and my life shall never be the same againSpice has 4 canines coming out at the same time; bringing her teeth total to 16Sugar is growing her eighth tooth - an incisor. She seems to be growing one tooth per monthSpice likes to call her sister by nameSugar like to call herself by nameBoth girls love their "Cat in the Hat" DVD and know to point to the DVD player and say "go go go" if they want to watch it.Both girls have started imaginative play. They love cooking in their play kitchen and pushing their bumbo seats aroun…

Organizing Your Kids Clothes and Closet

This is a collection of tips and products I would recommend to anyone interested in organizing their kids' clothes, closet and rooms. Here's what my twin girls' closet looks like now and a little background information on the picture.


The Sterilite boxes contains size 18-24month clothes that I purchased off seasonIn the shoe organizer are empty shoe boxes for the shoes currently being worn as well as bigger shoes purchased in advance for the discounts offeredOn the first shelf is my stash of diaper genie refills. On the last shelf and at the top of the closet (not showing in the picture) is my diaper stash. Both were purchased from Amazon at discounted pricesOn the second shelf are 2 piggy banks, lovely personalized gifts from my sister (thanks Sis, I love 'em)On the third shelf are the girls baby books and a folder containing all their paperwork. Also the girls' first teddy bears; a gift from grandpaThe black bag in the before picture contained (some) of their old …

Dinner Menu Planning for Toddlers

Weekday dinners for the twins requires some serious menu planning from my end. I work downtown and with my commute, I have a 20 minute window in the evenings to get dinner ready for my toddlers before they organize a massive riot. What works for me is to prepare their dinners on Sunday nights and store in the fridge. I have 2 divided plastic bowls that I use for this. 


Each weeks menu plan consists of:

2 carbs: Could be barley, rice, pasta or beans. I'll be trying roasted potatoes next week.2 proteins: In the past we've had sausage, chicken, boiled eggs and grilled fish. This week, I'm offering the girls beef for the first time in a long timeVegetables: I either steam  the vegetables separately or mix into the carbsHow does it work? Everyday dinner for the girls consists of a carb, a protein and vegetables. They also get fruits at the end of the meal. With 2 of each food category, I'm able to "mix and match" the dishes so each dinner looks a little different fr…

Buying Used Toys for Toddlers

After having spent the last one month shopping for toys for my toddlers, I've learnt a thing or ten when it comes to buying used toys.


Where to buy: Garage sales, parents of multiples sales or from online classifieds like Craigslist and Kijiji


10 Tips for Buying Used Toys for Toddlers

Decide what you will and won't buy used. See my list hereSkip the battery-operated toys that the sellers didn't bother to put batteries in (usually a bad sign)Push all buttons and levers on the toy to make sure they're functional. The Bruin musical piano I bought at the garage sale has half the buttons not working. That confuses the kids when they're playing with it and annoys meBe willing to negotiate on price when buying from individuals but not too much. A seller might be willing to drop 5-10% on the price. Just depends on how badly they want to get rid of the toy. By the same token, don't contact a seller unless you're willing to pay the listed price if it's not negotiabl…

New vs Used Toys for Twins

I had my first real foray into the world of "garage sales" last month when I attended the very well-organized Twins, Triplets and Multiples sale here in Calgary (big ups to my friend Ms Ginger who's part of the organizing committee and I finally got to meet). I was surprised at the amount of toys available for resale and have to confess I argued back and forth with myself on the new versus used toys scenario. Here's how the argument played out in my head


New Toys:

Are more expensiveAre safer. If it's been recalled, it'll be pulled from the shelves of all reputable retailersAre healthier - I'm sure it's had no contact with any other bodily fluids but my child'sBring the thrill of opening something newMay end up being bait-and-switch. The toy itself is inexpensive but the accessories cost muchUsed Toys: Are cheaperAre usually sold complete with accessories so no looking for that special pieceMay not be in good working condition  Are not covered by warr…

Favorite Toys for 18 Month Old Twins

There's been some changes to the list of the twin's favorite toys from my last update when they were 9 months old. Today, the list of favorite toys at 18 months old looks something like this
Fisher Price Musical Activity Table- This is the only toy that was on the 9 month list and is still a perennial favorite. There's so much to do on this table, the girls never get bored. They even switch it to spanish language sometimes and repeat the colors in spanish. As toys go, this has proven to be a solid investmentBruin Musical Piano - I got this at a garage sale and the girls never tire of putting it on my lap and banging away their musical masterpiecesAll real and toy mobile phonesPlayskool Explore and Grow Busy Ball Popper: They love this popping toy and it's sister elephant. It's another deal I got at a garage sale. I only really really wish that Playskool had included a volume control button. Think 15 continuous minutes of obnoxiously loud circus musicRubber balls of …

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