May 2011

The Single Parent

Single Mom

Single Mom

Within my social circle there are no single parents. I don’t know much about the life of a single parent but I can imagine what it must be like. I had a small dose of parenting alone this past week, and my respect for moms or dads that go it alone increased by double!

MY HUSBAND THE SUPERHERO

My husband had to go away for three nights last week. He rarely travels for work so we’re used to having him around most of the time. If you remember a post I did last summer, My Husband the Superhero you’ll know that he’s a very hands-on dad.

So to say his presence was missed is an understatement. Little S and I missed him on so many levels. From the moment we dropped him off at the train station to the moment we picked him up, his absence was obvious.

I had to take extreme measures to manage my week. I was able to work from home two of the three days that he was away. It was absolutely necessary in order to get Little S to and from school, make her lunches and prepare for the evening ahead. On the third day I had to recruit my parents to pick her up from school so I could complete my eight hours at work.

ME TIME

There was no ‘me’ time. Anything I wanted to do that didn’t involve S had to be done after 9 p.m. and that was only if I had enough energy left after my gruelling day to do so.

Timing was a bit off too; Little S was only three days in to the extreme withdrawal symptoms of her pacifier addiction. Looking back, perhaps the decision to rid her of the habit before Daddy went away was not the best choice; they do say hindsight is 20/20.

So I struggled. We got through it relatively unscathed and yes, I did drop her off at school one morning with us both in tears. And yes, we did eat McDonald’s one night for dinner and I admit I used the Playland as a babysitter.

After reading this you might be thinking, ‘wow, this girl has it too easy,’ or something to that effect. And I agree. I didn’t realize how much I relied on having a partner to share the responsibility of parenting with and just how fortunate I am.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I already had an immense amount of respect for single parents, but after living the life, even just temporarily, I gained even more. I wondered how I’d manage doing it full-time.

I decided to ask someone who is a single parent. A very modest Nikki, from Evil Flu is a single mom and a heck of a good one! Here’s what she has to say about the life of a solitary parent.

“As a single parent I always get sympathy from others. I very commonly hear ‘I don’t know how you do it.’ This usually comes when the parent is struggling with their child in a social situation.

“I am not a superhero. I do not have super powers that can control children, although sometimes I wish I did.

“What is my secret? I just do it because I have to. It may be a little more difficult at times, but I get just as much in return as you do, whether it be a hug or kiss or an awesome macaroni bracelet he made at school. My job is simple; make the right choices, be good to my child and love him. Anyone can do it.”

As I said, Nikki is very humble; she makes it sounds easy. She definitely gets my respect and admiration as do all single parents.

Are you a single parent? Were you raised by one?

What are your thoughts on single parenting?

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

City Mom

Fabulous Female Friday: An-Su De Lellis & Kelly McGee

Fabulous Female Friday

Fabulous Female Friday

I’m always inspired by women in business, especially those who have created their own business. So this instalment of Fabulous Female Friday has a little twist; I’ll be featuring two fabulous females today.

Please meet An-Su Lellis and Kelly McGee, co-owners of My Armadillo Pillow.

An-Su De Lellis

 

Kelly McGee

These fab women are two London moms who have identified a need, created a solution, produced a product and turned it into a thriving business. How inspiring is that?

Here we learn about and from An-Su and Kelly.

Tell us a little about yourselves.

An-Su: I am originally from South Africa – moved to Canada 12 years ago. I

own a graphic design company “The Design Loft” and I am married to a very supportive husband.

We have one little boy (2½ years old). We love to travel as a family. I can speak three languages and English is my second language.

We live in a heritage home that we have been renovating for the last 4 years ( mental note: never buy an old house again!)

I love technology and enjoy time with friends and family.

Kelly: I’m an enthusiastic, shopaholic who enjoys gardening, home renos and hanging out with family. I have an amazing son who is 6 yrs old.

My Armadillo Pillow

Tell us about My Armadillo Pillow.

As parents we had to make peace with the reality of our kids wanting to use grown-up technology. We searched for a practical solution to make this more compatible with our lifestyles and wallets! Not finding anything we loved, we designed the “iDeal” solution ourselves… my armadillo pillow!

My armadillo pillow, is a mini pillow with a protective pocket and a Velcro closure that will keep your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad secure. The touch-through screen protector lets kids explore child friendly applications, watch their favourite movies or enjoy their toe-tapping tunes; an adventure for them,  peace of mind for you.

Our iPod/iPhone pillow comes with a wristband key chain for holding and attaching while not in use. We also included a pocket that closes with Velcro  that can be used  for earphone storage or credit cards if you don’t want to carry a whole purse with your phone.

The iPad pillow is an amazing companion for little ones exploring the iPad applications. We have discovered that kids suffering from Autism gain a lot from using an iPad, our pillow makes it easier for them to hold and use. With our fabric options we can address various textile (sensory) preferences. We understand the advantages of kids and technology, we just want to ensure the transition is a pleasant one for both parent and child.

How did you turn your idea into a business?

We knew what purpose we wanted our product for. We made quite a few prototypes and had our kids act as product testers. Then we gave some to friends and family for their feedback. After some minor product adjustments, we launched our product.

This whole journey has been one of learning, love and enjoyment. We believe in our product and when people see it they are blown away by the quality. We take this process one step at a time, and hope it will remain an adventure.

Business partners first, friends next or vice versa?

Kelly: Business acquaintances first through my daycare, then friends, then business partners.

What advice do you have for other women who want to take their idea and turn it into a profitable business?

An-Su: It’s easy and less challenging to say ” I should have” and you are always right. I prefer to say “I did and I can” and then continue with what I have learned from it.

Kelly: My advice is to start small, don’t invest your life savings right away. If you believe in something, just go for it! Don’t worry about what anyone else says but still be open to suggestions….and most importantly, keep your momentum. Don’t give up on your dream.

How do you balance running your own business and being moms?

An-Su: Being organized is very important. I avoid micro-managing. Not just in my business but overall in my life. I surround myself with people who make me want to be a better business woman and person. Kelly is an amazing friend and a dream business partner. We are able to motivate each other, keep focus and dream big.

Kelly: Luckily I’m used to balancing everything by myself so it comes naturally. There’s no secret really, just organization and proper time allocation.

What are your future plans for My Armadillo Pillow?

Kelly: Just keep doing what we’re doing until we feel the need to have larger quantities produced. Even though we send a lot[of our product] to the USA it has just been recognized internationally. There are plans to get our name over there in the near future.

What motivates and inspires you?

An-Su: My family inspires me. I get motivated when I hear people say that our idea is brilliant and that they need one!

Kelly: My family.

What is the last song you listened to on your iPod?

An-Su: I lost custody of my iPod to my toddler over the last couple of days  but when I do get a chance, I listen to Journey, Don’t Stop Believing.

Kelly: Hmm, not sure. I enjoy listening to my fav radio station as opposed to keeping a playlist.

What is the last book you read?

An-Su: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Kelly: Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach

You can find My Armadillo Pillow on the web www.myarmadillopillow.com, follow on Twitter @armadillopillow and on Facebook.

City Mom

Photo Art with posterjack.ca – 20% Discount

posterjack.ca

Not too long ago I wrote a post about our master bedroom remodel. In it I shared that we were only 95% complete, with the last few steps involving finding some art for the empty walls.

Shortly after that post I learned of a photo art company called posterjack.ca. I was able to turn one of my favourite photos into a masterpiece for our wall.

Before:

After:

THE PROCESS

Dealing with posterjack.ca was really easy. The processes of uploading my image, style selection and enchantments were straightforward and trouble-free. And delivery was really fast. Within days I had received my piece.

With posterjack.ca you can choose to turn your digital image into a canvas, poster, giant sticker (Peel n’ Stick) and framed or unframed mounted art. You can also choose a bunch of your favourite photos to create an eye-catching collage.  

I chose the framed photo option. This process was effortless as well and arrived ready-to-hang. Posterjack.ca keeps things simple. Custom framing can be expensive but when you want a classic style that will last through the years, you really just need a basic black frame that is durable.

Tip: I chose to add a border to my image, not taking into account that the frame’s matting would provide a border. If choosing the famed option I suggest not including a border.

CANADIAN MADE

All of posterjack’s framing components are made in Canada and come with an off-white acid free mat board and low glare framers acrylic. And the pricing is very reasonable. I was able to create my art, including an enlargement print of my photo for under $50. That price would be hard to beat.

CITY MOM DISCOUNT

Starting today, until the end of June, City Mom readers will receive 20% of their entire order through posterjack.ca. You just need to enter the code ‘citymom’ when prompted upon checkout.

posterjack.ca discount code

Visit posterjack.ca to make use of this awesome discount!

City Mom

A Healthy Spin on Summer Barbequing

Canadian Living BBQ Recipes

Wonder+ SimplyFree 

When we decided to make the move from the suburbs to the city there were some tradeoffs we had to make. For example, we gave up our yard but gained access to an 18 acre park that hosts many exciting summer festivals and winter skating. We lost the ability to plant a garden but we benefited by never having to lift a shovel this past winter. 

But one of the things I absolutely could not compromise on was the ability to have a barbeque. Many high-rise buildings in the city do not allow the use of BBQs, but our building had no such rules. 

May 24 weekend marks the start of summer in the eyes of most Canadians and the time to bring out the BBQ. And that is exactly what we did. 

WONDER+ SIMPLYFREE

I was really lucky to be accepted into the Mom Central Canada Wonder+ SimplyFree campaign which provided a perfect reason to get inspired this Victoria Day long weekend. 

As a mom it’s very important to me that I choose foods that are healthy and tasty for my daughter. Let’s face it; kids will only eat what they want to eat. There`s no compromising on this. So when I learned about the Wonder+SimplyFree products I was excited. 

It is the first Canadian National Brand of bakery products (including NEW white hotdog and hamburger buns) made with unbleached wheat flour and FREE of artificial preservatives, flavours and colours.  They are also free of high fructose corn syrup. The way I have been describing this line to friends is that you can pronounce everything on the ingredient list. 

Canadian Living BBQ Recipes 

PLANNING THE MENU

First I visited the Canadian Living website to find some exciting BBQ recipes and to get some inspiration. I found an article, How to Build a Better BBQ extremely helpful. It outlined some great tips for creating a healthier BBQ. 

After browsing through all the great information I finally decided on my menu. I chose the Smoky Barbeque Burgers and the Crispy Oven Fries recipes. Both healthier versions of the typical BBQ fare. 

Both recipes were easy to make and very tasty. There were no complicated ingredients or difficult preparation instructions. And then of course I complimented the healthy options with the Wonder+ SimplyFree hamburger buns. 

TRY IT OUT

Visit the Wonder+ SimplyFree Facebook page to reserve your progressive coupon. For every person who “Likes” the WONDER+ Facebook page, the value of the coupon for NEW WONDER+ SimplyFree Hotdog and Hamburger buns goes up. 

So how did you celebrate Victoria Day? What are your favourite BBQ recipes? What exciting BBQ plans do you have this summer for holidays like Canada Day? 

Disclosure – I am participating in the Wonder+ SimplyFree program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Weston Bakeries.  I received a gift card and free product coupons as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

City Mom

Things to Do in London on Victoria Day (May 24 Weekend) 2011

Local Events Listing London Ontario

Thank you for visiting City Mom. If you have arrived at this post looking for Victoria Day activities in London, ON for 2016, please visit this link for a listing of events for 2016.

City Mom

Shannon’s Custom Creations

bow_holder_2

Everyone loves decorating with personalized items when it comes to their children’s bedrooms. Or using common words to accessorize with (think the word E A T on a kitchen wall). Well Shannon from Shannon’s Custom Creations helps to make that possible with handmade, one-of-a-kind products that you’ll love.

I was lucky enough to receive an engraved bow holder for little S’ room. It truly does look like a work of art that was made with a talented pair of hands, not a machine.

Ordering with Shannon was really easy. First I visited her website to view her available products. Next I picked my item and colour options. I was able to make any special requests so that my decoration suited just what I needed.

And the coolest thing about Shannon’s work is that she can match your bedding or any other design. From your child’s name in wall letters to engraved signs to bow holders there are a variety of hand painted options that really make it personalized.

Stop by for a visit at shannonscustomcreations.net. The products are very reasonably priced, good quality and include free shipping. Shannon’s Custom Creations is a Canadian family owned and operated business so you get the confidence of shopping locally.

You can also find Shannon’s Custom Creations on Facebook and Twitter.

City Mom

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