October 24, 2012

Top 5 tips for going to a blog conference

This past weekend I attended BlissDom Canada and wow, there was so much to take in, see and learn.  I spent the day going to great micro sessions, snacking on treats from Kraft, having pictures taken of me with chef Michael Smith, and dancing the night away with Flash, Dora the Explorer and a contestant from the price is right at the costume party.  So from one newbie to another, here are my top 5 tips for having a blast at a blog conference.

1.)  Bring a friend.  I went with Mel from Melanie OTG and that made the whole experience less intimidating since we were both newbies.

2.) Wear sensible shoes.  For the fashionistas out there, resist the urge to wear your killer heels.  Instead opt for super cute ballet flats or boots, trust me your tootsies will thank you.

3.) Bring your electric devices and any cords you may need to charge them.  You’ll want to send tweets, follow other conference attendees you meet on twitter and update your Facebook status.  It’s more effective to do this in the moment than to wait till the end of the night when you’re exhausted and can’t remember what you originally wanted to share.

4.) Unique business cards are helpful.  I received many business cards and the creative, interesting and artistic ones were noticed and exclaimed over enthusiastically.  Unique cards will help you and your blog to make a lasting impression.

5.) Reusable bags.  At many conferences there is swag galore so don’t forget to pack a reusable bag that folds into pouch.  Pop it into your oversized purse because you will need an extra bag to carry all the gifts from the many sponsors at the conference.

Bonus tip:

6.)  Go with a positive attitude, smile and be open to having fun.  Blog conferences provide a great opportunity to connect in person with all the people you’ve met online, so be brave, smile bright and get to know the other attendees.

Shout out to my girl Mel and my new bloggy friend Lynn from Diary of a TurtleHead for joining me on the dance floor to party like it was BlissDom Canada 2012.

September 6, 2012

A letter to my daughter on her 1st day of school

Dear Brie,

It feels like just yesterday that I held you in my arms for the very first time. You were so small and delicate and I remember being overwhelmed with love for you and fear that I’d fall short of the matriarchal mark somehow. Yet, as you have grown, so have I. Somehow, through the daily tasks of changing your diaper, feeding you, hugging you, kissing you, reading to you and playing with you, my fear has been replaced by grace-filled understanding. I’ve learned that you appreciate words of affirmation, you need positive strokes and you truly cherish gifts from the heart regardless of how big or small they are. You are thoughtful and considerate, loyal and steadfast, nurturing and independent, strong and sensitive. You are beautifully and wonderfully made and my heart is full to overflowing with the thought of what a blessing you have been to me.

Lately, my eyes have been frequently drawn to you, soaking in the cadence of your voice, your mannerisms, your essence. It baffles me that three and a half years have whispered past us so quickly, while I was so completely engrossed in watching you become the awesome child you are at this moment. You were steadily growing up in the mundane moments while I taught you how to spell your name, encouraged you to pick yourself up and dust yourself off when you fell, kissed your boo-boos, sang to you on road trips and told you I love you time and time again. The individual days felt full and long but the years have definitely flown.

As I sit here writing this letter to you, the clothes I picked out for your first day of school are hanging in your closet, your new backpack is ready to go and your little alarm clock has been set. Tomorrow morning, we will hold your hands and walk with you towards this new adventure. You are not alone.

I hope school will be a place where you will thrive academically, experience healthy friendships and discover more about the world that we live in. I hope your experience in school will bring out the very best in you. Please remember, our home will always be a safe haven when you are faced with adversity. I’m never too busy to listen to you share what happened in your day, and finally, always remember that you are a strong, intelligent, resilient, beautiful child of God and I love you.

With lots of love from here to the moon and back,

Your Mommy

August 11, 2012

Top 5 tips for preparing your kid for Kindergarten

Today we have a very special treat. Cherrie from NuBaby is sharing 5 great tips for preparing your child for kindergarten. Cherrie is the Founder and CBO (Chief Baby Officer) of NuBaby.  She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who recently led the workshop that our little family attended about ‘preparing your child for junior kindergarten’.  As many of you know, my three year old starts kindergarten in September. She’s ecstatic about going to school, however we’ve been apprehensive about this big transition for our little girl.  At the workshop we attended, Cherrie laid all of our fears to rest and gave us some great tools to start working on with Brie.  She is very knowledgable and you will learn a lot from her top five tips for preparing your child for kindergarten.

With September just a few weeks away, the thought of your baby growing up and going to school may give you your first taste of empty nester syndrome. OK, so it is not as bad, but there are definitely a range of emotions from excitement to sadness, and everything in between.

While you can’t help but feel a little anxious, knowing that you have helped your little one prepare for the big day will help to minimize the fear, for both you and her. Whether it is your child’s first time away from you or she’s making the transition from childcare to school, here are some things you can do to help make the move easier.

1. Talk about it. Not knowing what to expect is very scary, so talk about what going to school will be like. Share stories of your experiences, or include older siblings and cousins in the discussion. Tell your child about all the exciting things and activities he will experience in kindergarten, and offer lots of opportunities for him to share his feelings. Provide comfort and reassurance to help him feel more confident, and remind him of all the things that will still be the same even though there will be a new routine.

2. Go for a visit. Children are most comfortable in a familiar environment. Try to visit the classroom with your child before school starts. Most schools have an orientation day, when you and your child can meet the teacher, ask questions, and find out what the daily schedule will be like. It is also a great time to meet other children who will be in the same class, as well as connect with other parents. If not, take your child to the school and walk around the school grounds together. Playing at the school playground will also help her become familiar with the environment.

3. Make some friends. Walking into a classroom with all brand new faces is very intimidating. Find other children in the neighborhood also attending the same school, preferably the same class and schedule some play dates in advance so there is at least one familiar face. If you will be walking your child to school, find others in the neighborhood that are walking as well and walk to school together to give your child a sense of community.

4. Get ready together. In the weeks before school starts, establish a school day routine and practice getting ready for school together. Have her help you prepare snacks and lunch and practice packing her backpack together.

5. Practice important skills. In school, your child will be expected to be able to communicate, to demonstrate basic knowledge, to socialize with others, and to show independence. Help her practice these skills during every day activities.

o Encourage communication by playing with spoken and written words, telling stories, singing songs and reciting rhymes.

o Encourage literacy and basic math skills through reading books together and asking open-ended questions. Build an understanding of math concepts like counting, sorting, patterning and measuring during play.

o Create opportunities for your child to socialize and interact with others. Engaging in dramatic play experiences with peers allows children to talk, assign roles, and create and follow rules. This helps to develop important social and thinking skills as they learn to cooperate, take turns, and get along with others.

o Encourage your child to be independent by building confidence and self-control. Help your child develop strategies for controlling his emotions and behaviors and provide opportunities for your child to develop self-help skills. Not only will she feel pride in her ability to do things for herself, but she will also develop the confidence to try when faced with new challenges in kindergarten.

July 24, 2012

Drama at Stratford Festival

This past weekend, my in-laws volunteered to take care of the kiddies while hubby and I went to see at play at the Stratford festival.  We saw Cymbeline and I can understand why it’s received such rave reviews.  It was a moving production and the actors were absolutely phenomenal.  If you find yourself in Ontario, I thoroughly suggest a trip to the beautiful city of Stratford, Ontario.  Take in a play, stroll along the river bed and admire the gardens.  It’s a piece of Canadian culture at it’s finest!  Here’s a little peek.

July 14, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

 As many of you know, I’ve been away at camp and I happened to come back to not one but two versatile blogger awards!!! I am SO feeling the love right now bloggy friends! Thanks and much love to Renee from Mother, Daughter book reviews and Julia from Mom on the run x 2! Pop on over and check them out because these ladies are truly awesome!

So, here are the rules associated with this honour:

The Rules for the Award:

1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the Award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 15 other Blogger for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other bloggers know that you nominated them.

Now to 7 random facts about myself:

  1. I’m a fashionista who loves camping in the beautiful provincial parks of Ontario
  2. I do early childhood homeschooling with my kids (my three year old can tell you the properties of microorganisms and my two year old is a whiz at recognizing words
  3. I LOVE jazz fusion artists like [amazon_link id=”B000HBK3MM” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Corrine Bailey Rae[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”B00009LW07″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Denzal Sinclaire[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”B002JFB792″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Anjulie[/amazon_link]
  4. I’m currently writing a book about mixed raced families
  5. I used to sing in an R&B quartet and a Gospel group
  6. I love traveling to new places, learning about other peoples cultures and listening to their stories
  7. And finally, I’m one of the most loyal friends you will ever meet!

My 16 Nominees (I just couldn’t narrow it down to 15), in no particular order are:

Katherine from Your Wedding Keepsakes

Melanie from Melanie OTG

Kelly from Our Everyday Harvest

Nicole from Local Sugar Hawaii

Neatha from Twinkle in Time

Dee from Aperture Angel

Gina from Chic Homeschool Mama

Amanda from Parenting by Dummies

Christella from Crawl the Line

Kathy from Kathy’s Health and Fitness

Angela from Journey of Life

Mackenzie from Cheerios and Lattes

Amber from Confessions of a Stressed out Mom

Jonnique from Hear the Bells

Andi from Coupon Blessings Now

Kim from PopCosmo

To all the recipients, don’t forget to grab the button above and thanks so much for the opportunity to share a bit more about myself!