Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mom Network

When I first became a Mom, I had quite a few good friends that were already Moms.  I thought we would spend tons of time together, but what I did not know what distance and age play a huge factor in the amount of time you can sometimes spend with other Moms.

The closest stay-at-home Mom friend was 25 minutes drive away, one friend was almost an hour (and we still lived in the same city).
So getting together for that critical infant play date (I say this with so much sarcasm, because we all know that the play ate is actually a coffee-I-want-to-talk-to-adults play date for Mom), was much harder than I imagined.
Little Girl at the time was a great napper, she would wake up in the morning, be awake for 1 ½ - 2 hours, then back down for a nap, this continued all day, until bed time.
This made it super hard to get out of the house and get a play date in there.

(Little Lady and I when she was about 1 month old) 

The other thing I did not realize was age.  Babies nap at such different times as they start to grow, and naps are the be-all-end-all of when you can and can’t have a play date.

I needed Mom’s that lived close and had a child the same age as mine.

My solution:
I found some great Mom friends through a class offered by the Alberta Health Services called Baby and Me.  There were 5 of us that stuck it out through the whole 6 or 8 week class, and after, we got together for walks, coffee and play dates.

We still get together (all those children are about to celebrate their 4th birthday).

Another great place I found a Mom network was on  There are some great Calgary Mom’s groups that are free to join and there are always lots of events planned.

What about you, did you have a built in Mom Network, or did you have to go out like me and actively seek out and get to know other Moms so you could keep yourself sane.

Where did you find your Mom Network?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Quick and Easy Spiced Coucsous

I have been making this recipe for years, it is super easy and we love it beside jsut about anything.

Quick and Easy Spiced Couscous

2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups couscous
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt (depending on how salty your chicken stock is)
1 TBSP butter
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
1 roma tomato, finely diced
12 TBSP fresh chopped basil (or parsley)

In a saucepan, bring chicken stock to a boil, stir in couscous, pepper, allspice, cinnamon and salt.
Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork, stir in butter, almonds, tomato and basil.


I did not have any fresh or dried basil, so I used fresh parsley, it worked great, just not quite the same flavour.

Source: Anne Lindsay's Light Kitchen

Blog Watch - Kids in Cowtown

I stumbed onto this blog just the other day and already I am LOVING it!

Why did I not know about this earlier?

Kids in Cowtown is a group of Calgary parents that have gotten together through a blog to share with other parents activities, attractions, events, tips and ideas related to having children in this great city called Calgary.

Pop on over and take a look around.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Father: The original founder of the 100 mile challenge

5 years ago, I ate what I wanted. 
I tried to make healthy choices, but it didn’t really matter if I had popcorn for dinner, or we went out for wings Friday after work.

Having children changes how you think about food.
It changes the decisions you make for yourself and what you bring into the house.

I know so many people that only buy organic for their children.

I have to admit, I am not a big organic purchaser.  But I certainly have a long history with eating organic food, long before it was 'cool'.

Have you heard of the 100 mile diet?

The Food Network in the States also did a show called “The 100 Mile Challenge”.

Pretty easy to figure out what it is about, but the concept is for a whole year, only eating food grown / produced within the 100 mile radius of your house.

I was thinking the other day about my childhood and what I ate growing up, the perception I had back then, and how it has changed today.

As a child, we had a rather large garden, where the entire family helped with the planting, weeding and harvesting (oh how I hated that garden).

I remember eating potatoes, zucchini, corn, tomatoes, peas, beans, carrots, cucumber, spinach, beets, lettuce, onions, rhubarb, strawberries and raspberries.
(All grown organically with NO pesticides, or chemicals.)

We did not live on a farm; we lived in town, so my father made connections to purchase live animals he could then kill and butcher himself.
I remember him killing chickens in the back yard; butchering a lamb and a pig.  Thank god he did not ever get his hands on a cow!

A childhood favourite was a soup my Mom made – Chicken Ball soup – where us 4 kids would fight over not the chicken balls, but the chicken heart instead.
Growing up we ate rabbit, pigeon, deer, kidneys, liver and even cows tongue, (all obtained locally).

The perception I had growing up was very different than what I have today.  Today I am thankful my parents were open to so many different kinds of foods.  Today the 100 mile challenge is a reality, organic food are in style.
Back in the 80’s, it was cooler to have a can of processed pasta in tomato sauce than to have an organic salad.

Back then, TV dinners were chic, not organic, fresh lamb.

So here’s to my Mother & Father, for all the extra work they did to feed our family healthy foods.

Here’s to myself and my siblings for grumbling through plantings, weeding and harvesting that damn garden!

So where does that leave me today?

I am not sure I want to do a garden.  Did i say how much I HATED that garden growing up.  But I do know that I want to teach my children to make healthy food choices, to learn how to like real, unprocessed, natural food.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Mom Interviews

A friend of mine Dee Ann has a wonderful blog, where for 3 years now, she has taken a picture every single day and blogged it.
One of my favourite sessions she did was one year (I think year 2??) she did a weekly interview with someone, and posted it along with some pictures from that interview.

I decided I want to do something similar (thanks for the idea Dee Ann!); so I am going to be conducting some Mom interviews. 

If you would like to be interviewed, please post a comment, I do not care how old or young you are, or how old or young your children are, once a Mom, always a Mom, right?
(Note: you do not have to live in Calgary for me to accomplish this, I am more than okay with an email or phone interview, but I will ask for you to email me a picture of you and / or your children.)

If you happen to be lucky enough to be a close friend of mine, watch out, I am sure I will try and snag an interview with you anyway.

Little Girl, Little Boy and myself at his second birthday party.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Can you tell I am new to this parenting thing?
How was I suppose to know that January means you have to get your kid registered for pre-school or all the good time spots are taken?

We don't even know if we are going to send her to pre-school yet.
Little Girl is almost 4, her birthday is in March.
So that means she misses the cut off for Kindergarten this year, not that I would have sent her anyway,
but that means she can go to pre-school instead next year.

We already did not send her this year, you see both my hubby and I work full time, our children are in a lovely day home with an AMAZING care provider.
There were some (and still are) logistics on getting her from day home, to pre-school and back again.
Day home provider is not able to do this since she is alone and does not want to cart little ones to and from school (in a Canadian winter I might add).

So we skipped the age 3 pre-school, but Little Girl is shy. 
We feel like pre-school would be a great introduction to the whole world of school before we throw her into Kindergarten.

So I start my calls, one day care tells me kids that are in day care do not need pre-school - it gives them too much stimulation.
Other people have told me that the Kindergarten teachers can totally tell what kids have or have not been to at least one year of pre-school.

So what is the right answer?

Should we bite the bullet, pull both (or one kid) out of our day home, put them into a day care that also has a pre-school attached?  Pay A LOT more money per month for this?

Will my child be forever behind the rest of the kids if I do not do pre-school?
Just how bored will she be next year if we do not do some kind of schooling for her?

Monday, January 24, 2011


Minivan Stiletto!

Who says you can't drive a minivan and still wear stilettos?

I am a minivan driving Mother of 2.
I went grumbling into the decision to buy a minivan, but it was what we needed for our family at the time.
I remember clearly a few weeks after owning the minivan, driving down the road alone, listening to a great song on the radio, windows open, music blasting, and quickly realized I did not look 'cool' anymore and there was no way to pretend I was still cool while driving a minivan.

But, if I am going to drive a minivan, I will still wear some kick-ass shoes while I do it.
Although not all the time, I have to admit I laugh at those Mom's I see in the park wearing their 3 inch healed boots.
I am a big believer of my high heels, stilettos in the right environment, out with the girls, at work, at a party, but the park?  Hmmm - no thanks, I want to be able to go down the slide with my kids, sit in the rocks / sand and make a castle or run and play hide and go seek, for that, I need some flats.

My name is Jenny.  I have 2 amazing children, one wonderful husband and a crazy miniature daschund.

Please join me as I start this blog all about raising a family and driving a minivan while wearing my stilettos!