Game: Which Meal Is Restaurant-Made?

I’ve started a co-op placement for school, hence the blog-silence for the past month while I’m learning how to “do it all”. I figured I would come out of “hibernation” with a mini game, which I’m calling “which one is from a restaurant?”.

A bit of background…we went to a restaurant for a friend’s 60th birthday a couple of weekends ago. 5 people. 5 meals were wrong. Mine was the easiest of all meals ordered: nachos. Which photo below do you think is made by the restaurant?

Nachos A:

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Nachos B:

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Nachos C:

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Leave your answer in the comments section below…

Great #CustomerService at @StarbucksCanada

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My man and I arrived at an appointment a bit early this morning, so we went to the Starbucks at the Target that was around the corner to kill some time. I was excited to see that they had nanaimo bar samples…but then after asking, found out that the white drizzle on top was white chocolate…sigh, that’s an immediate migraine for me. Ordered my chai (chai latte, lactose-free milk, no water) only to find out that they only had Oprah chai (not the regular chai). I’m not a big fan of the Oprah chai…it tastes more like the chai from Second Cup which, although good, is not Starbucks chai. So I wasn’t going to get a chai…or so I thought.

My man, in his usual “fix-it” way walked to the back of Target, bought the chai goo (as we call it), and asked the Starbucks if they could make my chai now. Surprisingly, they agreed! He’s tried that before in the States, and they wouldn’t do it; but this is Canada. She made my chai with the new goo (we brought the goo home as there’s a slight difference between the concentrate they actually use in Starbucks and the goo that is bought by the general public). She then told us that there was no charge. We objected, especially since she had made my chai with their milk and we didn’t want her to get in trouble. She then told us that she was the store manager and promised she wouldn’t get herself in trouble. 😉

As we were about to leave, she also asked if we come to Starbucks often. I laughed and said that we were both gold card members, and that my man doesn’t actually buy anything at Starbucks (he doesn’t drink hot drinks) but he still has a gold card because of my Starbucks chai “addiction”. She then gave each of us a coupon for complimentary drinks. Again, we objected but she insisted.

Well, if you insist… 😉

#Review: #Ontario #Science Centre – #ScienceOfRock

After our drive into Toronto, which was relatively painless I might add, the kids got really excited when we finally pulled into the parking lot at the Ontario Science Centre. My daughter is CRAZY about science so she was really looking forward to this excursion all week, telling everyone we were going.

Entering into the exhibit park of the Ontario Science Centre was a HUGE ruler that represented a ton of time, with fossils and rocks that were discovered to be about each time frame. My daughter literally mauled the dinosaur fossil along this ruler.

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We weaved through various areas until we found the Science of Rock exhibit.

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We checked out the different displays that went through recent decades of music, which included the popular and new instruments and bands for each era.

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Then we found the interactive areas and had LOTS of fun!

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The kids even let me “play” too…my daughter insisted on taking the photo (sorry it’s a bit fuzzy but my daughter is still learning how to take photos):

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Considering how much “video mixing” my son does on Youtube, it’s not surprising he gravitated towards the music mixing board.

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We also found an exhibit that was all about the human body. My daughter was so excited to see all the skeletons.

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There is an exhibit all about electricity too. My son gravitated towards the train (what is it about kids with Autism and trains?!).

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My daughter was chosen from the audience for the electricity demonstration…mainly because she has the PERFECT hair for the demonstration.

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They also found a static ball, which they were fascinated with…until they went to hold hands afterwards and my son got quite the shock (he was fine…just surprised).

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We had lunch there. I was impressed that there were different “stations”, which reduced the line ups. The food prices were comparable to movie theatre prices so it cost about $20 to feed the three of us. My daughter felt the macaroni was a bit dry, but my son and I enjoyed the pizza. It even took my daughter a while to eat the MONSTER-sized cookie! It was the size of her head!

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She even wanted a picture of our hands, with the entrance stamps:

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My daughter asked me to quote her about going to the Ontario Science Centre:

It was awesome! I really liked the skeleton. It was really cool and fun. I even got to rock climb. I loved playing the drums and singing, and I really liked the cookies and garlic bread.”

When I asked my (limited verbal) son if he had fun that day, he proudly said “yes!”. I asked if he wanted to go back and he said “yes!”.

We had such a great day that the kids can’t wait to go back again. Four hours went by in a flash, and I was able to keep my son on task or within easy reach, without being worried about him taking off. There was so much cuteness throughout the day, starting in the parking lot just to get inside. 😉

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Meghan and her children were given free admission in exchange for this review. All opinions are her own.

 

#GIVEAWAY: #DrDanSiegel #Brainstorm Book

A few weeks ago, Optimom and I attended an event in Toronto hosted by Hincks Dellcrest where Dr Dan Siegel was speaking of his newest book called “Brainstorm: the Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain“. We loved the event and were both nodding our heads constantly, agreeing with everything he was saying. Three of my favourite quotes from the evening:

  • “There is no such thing as perfect parenting but try mindful parenting. Don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to you.”
  • “Early intervention is not a luxury…it’s a necessity”
  • “Schools need to learn how to embrace an adolescents passion/essence.”

Some exciting news though, is that Hincks Dellcrest is giving away one of Dr Siegel’s “Brainstorm: the Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain” book to one of my Canadian followers.

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Click here to see the write up about the book. Personally, I loved it!

To enter this giveaway and in the spirit of Dr Siegel’s continuous theme of mindful parenting, please comment below with one activity you do with your family during the summer. The winner will be drawn Wednesday, May 21st and announced on my Facebook Page so be sure to Like me! PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is only available to people with Canadian addresses. Thanks!

 

A Night With #DrDanSiegel

OptiMom and I were invited to attend a Parent Night with Dr Dan Siegle speaking about his newest book Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. We decided against driving into downtown Toronto in the middle of rush hour so we took the train into town. At Union Station, we came across Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – how cool is that?! So I asked some lovely young men to take a photo of us:

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We walked to the hotel where the event was being held: One King St West Hotel. Beautiful hotel space for the event! If you check out my heels in the photo above, you’ll realize I did not make the wisest choice of heels for a 5 city block walk. Ouchy! But I was away from children, and spending a few hours with grownups so of course that meant heels. 😉

We arrived early so we stopped at the bar for a quick drink first…both choosing pop. How responsible of OptiMom and I!

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The event was organized by the Hincks Dellcrest, prior to a 3-day conference where Dr Dan Siegel was the keynote for the first day of the conference. My tweets during the Parent Night pretty much tell the story of Dr Siegel’s talk. For those of you not on Twitter, please remember that “Tweets” are only 140 characters, so the messages can’t be “proper” English.

  • 70% of adult with #MentalHealthIssues can track issues back to prior to turning 17 years old.
  • Mary Gordon from #RootsofEmpathy is introducing @DrDanSiegel at @HincksDellcrest…my daughter LOVES RofE in her class!
  • @drdanseigel is a call to arms…arms to hug’. Awesome quote!
  • ‘Parenting from the inside out’ book by Dr Dan Siegel…going on the To Read list.
  • Empathy, compassion, resilience are all products of the mind…which includes head, heart and gut.
  • Cool that @drdanseigel tasked his interns to prove one of his books was wrong. Lol!
  • Audience participation to demonstrate ‘integration’…sang 1 note together; sing songs separately while closing ears.

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  • Dr Dan Siegel Overseeing the integration demo

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  • ‘All psychiatric disorders are due to missed integration, such as #Autism and #Schizophrenia. Mindfulness!’
  • ‘Medications are not enough. Mind training practices can now help retrain the mind.’
  • There is no such thing as perfect parenting but try mindful parenting. Don’t beat yourself up. Be kind to you.
  • I already wrote my exam on Biology of the brain two months ago. Brain hurts! It’s not on tomorrow’s exam. Lol!
  • 11 and 12yo children aren’t just ‘older children’.
  • Adolescent concept of ‘raging hormones’ is unempowering and is just wrong.
  • ‘Early intervention is not a luxury…it’s a necessity.’ AGREED!! #Autism
  • Schools need to learn how to embrace an adolescents passion/essence.
  • ‘If adolescent doesn’t belong to social circle, nature tells them they r dead.’  How support our #Autism kids?
  • Create schools where groups of adolescents gather to tackle world problems. Tap into their essence.

OptiMom and I had a great time. I felt like a “bobble-head doll” throughout his talk, and it was a good reminder to be more mindful in my parenting.

Attendance fee and transportation were covered in exchange for our participation in this event.

 

 

#Review: #Legoland Discovery Centre (#Toronto, ON)

Last week, the kids, my man, his son and I had the opportunity to go to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre in Vaughan, ON (north of Toronto). To stay away from the really busy times, we took a “family field trip day” during a school day…gasp! The kids were really excited and, to be honest, my man was almost as (if not more) excited than the kids.

When we arrived, the kids “had” to play with the Lego people outside the centre, with my daughter gravitating towards the girl Lego person, and  my son dancing with his reflection in the window.

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Inside the outer doors was pretty amazing…very colourful and a very cool HUGE Lego cut out as the door to enter into the centre.

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There was a really interesting Lego display to walk through of various Canadian buildings. It was amazing to see these structures and some of them were taller than us!

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There were bins of Lego scattered throughout the centre, so kids can play with them whenever they wanted. One of the staff was constantly picking up Legos from off the floor. Needless to say, all grownups were wearing their shoes whenever we walked around. 😉

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There was a big indoor playground that the three kids loved, and a play Lego kitchen where my daughter was so proud that she completely organized the fridge…she’s definitely my girl!

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My son’s favourite part of LEGOLAND was a smaller space that lead to a mini slide. He spent lots of time in there…and hugged the giraffe made of Lego at the bottom of the slide each time he came down.

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As with any other tourist/attraction areas, I dressed my son in one of his Autism t-shirts. Just makes everything easier…especially when another parent tried claiming she saw my son push another child. I was right there and saw everything…it was actually her son who pushed my son then when he noticed I was right here, he fell over and called for his mom. She tried disciplining my son and he ignored her (shocking that!). I calmly let her know what had actually happened and that as far as my son was concerned, her son didn’t exist because he has Autism and just wants to play with Lego. She then saw his t-shirt and just left us alone.

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My son had a mini-meltdown when we tried to move him from the quiet space he loved to the larger indoor playground. We knew once he got to the playground, he would be in heaven. I was a bit surprised that there weren’t any offers from LEGOLAND staff to help but there also wasn’t really anything they could do to help either. The lack of staff within visible distance did make it easier for my man to carry my son over his shoulder to get him closer to the indoor playground. He was screaming his head off but then I held him for about 10 minutes to help him calm down enough to see the indoor playground. Eventually, he went in and that’s where he spent the rest of our time there.

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We had wanted to go when LEGOLAND first opened up a year ago but were deterred by the admittance price: $20 per child and $22 per adult is a bit too steep when factoring in two of my three kids, my man and his son. When I was contacted to review LEGOLAND in exchange for free admittance, we jumped at the chance.

An area for improvement for LEGOLAND from a guest-standpoint is that there is nothing for grownups to do, which is strange when it costs more for adults to be there. In comparison, we go to a local indoor playground often and there’s a charge for children (less than $10) but adults are free. A similar set up would be great for LEGOLAND. There’s also a really large interactive display that blocks sightlines from the café (similar price to going to the movies) through to the indoor playground, which means you can’t sit there enjoying a coffee or tea, while keeping an eye on your children. So, after the kids played for just over two hours, my man and I were done…especially since there is very little seating for grownups within sightlines. Then we had the just-over-an-hour drive home, plus to ensure we didn’t get stuck in traffic, we took the toll-highway.

I’m really glad we went, and it’s something we can check off our “Attractions we want to go to” list but the high cost for a family is a deterrent. Overall, the kids had a fantastic time…and they were exhausted on the way home. 😉

 

Meghan and her family received free admittance to LEGOLAND Discover Centre

in exchange for this review.

 

#StepMomMagazine #January Review

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In New Year’s Resolutions: Goals for the Not So Perfect Stepmom, it actually admits “a perfect stepmom doesn’t exist” so Gayla Grace offers some resolutions of how to keep going on days when you want to quit:

  1. let go of the stepmom guilt
  2. forgive yourself when you fall
  3. seek out support from other stepmoms on hard days (this was especially hard for me in the beginning as I was the first to become a stepmom in my friend circle…now, there’s the Facebook…)
  4. recognize the significance of loyalty conflict and how it affects your stepchildren
  5. listen to your heart on how to parent your stepchild instead of others’ opinions (I think this runs true as any type of parent)
  6. take time (for yourself) to regroup when the step-parenting strain takes over
  7. realize that time is on your side

The article Eyes Wide Open: How to Marry a Man With Kids asks important questions regarding telling exes or not about the wedding, considering a prenup, etc. As excited as you are about the wedding of your dreams, there are certain realities of marrying a man with children:

  1. keep your eyes wide open to the realities and potential complications of stepfamily life
  2. remember that a wedding is only one day but a marriage is the rest of your life
  3. take a weekend retreat with your partner before the wedding
  4. don’t take anything personally
  5. go on a honeymoon without the kids

High Conflict People: A Guide to Understanding & Managing Difficult Personalities spoke to me. One thing that I truly believe and agree with in this article is to always remember that the High Conflict Person believes “they are being reasonable and their actions, even if violent, are completely justified so it is fruitless to get angry…”. Been there. Lived that.

There was also an interview about an interesting film called SPLIT: A film for kids of divorce (and the parents). I have not seen the film but I’m very intrigued now. It’s a documentary about divorce, from a child’s perspective, interviewing 12 kids, ranging in ages from six to twelve.

I’m very blunt whenever I hear anyone is getting married…doesn’t matter who you are, how much either of you make, or how much you love the person, get a prenup! The prenup my father insisted my (then) fiancé and I sign before we got married, definitely came in handy when we divorced. Everything was laid out very clearly, so there was little fighting over assets and liabilities we both brought into the marriage. In Do we really need a prenup: How spelling things out create stronger stepcouples, the steps are laid out very clearly:

  • Determine whether it is wise for you to have a prenup
  • Realize you already have a prenup (ie: laws in your jurisdiction)
  • Discuss and determine what to include in your prenup (dos and don’ts)

In YOLO: You only live once – piercings, tattoos and a stepmother’s love are forever, the stepmom describes why she went ahead and got matching tattoos with her stepdaughter. I love this quote from the article: “In 2014, at the age of 42, it is likely that I will get my first tattoo and it will match a tattoo on my stepdaughter. Why? Because she asked me, and if I don’t do it, she may never ask again. I know it will be there forever and will never change, juts like my love for her.”

To top it all off, the editor Brenda Ockun is the featured Stepmom for the issue. I’ve never met her in person, but have corresponded with her for almost a year. A beautiful woman, inside and out!

The March Issue of StepMom Magazine will be out next week. To purchase a subscription, click here: http://www.stepmommag.com/shop/

Meghan was given a year subscription for her review of the StepMom Magazine.