Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Top Vancouver Mom Blogger - I'm a Nominee!

By nature, Bloggers are opinionated folks who spill the beans about their life, their experiences and pretty much everything in between. As a Blogger, I love when my posts illicit comments, discussion or a sense of community; I'm no expert at reader engagement, but I try and I'm certain my ability to reach people improves with each and every post.

All that being said, perhaps more exciting (though not more important) than building blog community, is being nominated as one of the 2013 Top Vancouver Mom Bloggers by

I am one of THIRTY local mom Bloggers that are being celebrated and featured by Vancouver Moms, and let me tell you, this years nominees are top notch. My Blog roll is about to be expanded in a huge way, and I suspect yourS is too!

If you're interested, head on over to the VANCOUVER TOP MOM BLOGGERS VOTING PAGE and cast your vote (I'd love it if you voted for me!!) Voting is open until Monday June 10th and you can vote for your favourite THREE bloggers once this week and once next week. You can vote two times total!

All the nominees will be celebrated at the 2013 GLAM event at a secret Gastown Location and YOU are all invited to join in the fun. Tickets can be purchased on eventbrite for $39 until June 1 or $49 after that date.

Just because you're my friend, and I'm a nominee, you can get $5 off your ticket with coupon code 2013friend. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Help Your Preschooler Manage His Emotions

Back in September I shared a particularly difficult post about my son's aggressive tendencies but I haven't said much more. I've consciously chosen not to write much about the topic, first and foremost because I have to keep my son safe, but also because its a lot of trial and error and I want to make sure I'm sharing the efforts that have been most successful for us.

I think its essential for parents who are walking a similar path, to know they are not alone and I think its equally, important for other parents to get a glimpse inside the struggles of a family whose child doesn't act quite like everyone else.

The Hubs and I have put considerable effort into finding techniques and resources that help us, help our boy. We have had a doctor identify that what we are seeing is likely tied to ADD and anxiety, both of which are prevalent in our families. We are taking this journey one step at a time and we have seen great strides in Bolt's ability to manage his emotions and frustrations over the past few months.

It's a long road and there is no quick fix but here are two simple changes that are helping us, help Bolt.
Help Your Toddler Manage His Emotions
Don't Acknowledge Negative Behaviour, Correct It - Instead of simply saying 'Stop Hitting Your Brother' and expecting my preschooler to express his needs in a non-physical way, I am learning to lead him by example and show him how to behave both physically and verbally.

I start with the physical: I take his hand and gently stroke his brothers arm while I state in a calm, even voice, 'THIS is how we touch other people, gentle hands'.

Then I give him the verbal language he needs to communicate his needs and feelings; 'Next time you can just tell Simba, I don't want a hug right now'.

End of lesson, I try and leave the positive behaviour I want him to emulate in the forefront of his mind and I'm always cautious not to overwhelm him.

Find Books that Speak to Your Child's Needs - Bolt has always loved books and they allow us to talk about feelings and behaviours in an indirect way that doesn't offend, aggravate or alarm him.

My absolute favourite, MUST-have book right now is The Way I Feel by Janan Cain. Each two page spread addresses a different feeling with an expressive illustration and a simple, concise poem to describe the emotion. If your child has trouble expressing emotions, this book is amazing.

I'm also a huge fan of The Kissing Hand and A Pocket Full of Kisses by Audrey Penn for separation anxiety and sibling jealousy respectively. These books are about Chester the Raccoon who is even one step further removed from my boy's reality, a fact I think Bolt really loves.

The classic Little Critter books have also really been resonating with our boy as of late; I Was So Mad was one of the very first books we found about anger that Bolt really seemed to relate to. I love that there are so many old and new Little Critter stories, so you can get one relevant to almost any situation.

As Bolt get's comfortable with the books he starts to ask why the characters feel a particular emotion and before I know it we are having brief conversations about feelings, which occasionally lead to more personal, incredibly candid discussions.

These books have worked wonders for us, if they don't fit your families needs, find ones that do. I promise you, its worth the effort.

We have made a number of other changes in order to help our family find its groove and I promise to share more of them later. But for now, I'm curious, how do you help your children manage their emotions?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Please Help Me Meet Michael Smith | Love Your Lentils

When I was maternity leave, I watched a lot of cooking shows on the Food Network; one of my favourites, was always The Chef at Home with Michael Smith. He always seemed so authentic and his food was so appealing yet simple.

I'll never forget watching him make a Beer Beef Stew; he said don't bother putting half a can of tomato paste back in your fridge, you're never going to use the rest of it, just throw whole thing in there. I don't even like stew and that simple segment inspired me to try his recipe, substituting gluten-free beer of course. It was awesome.

So when an opportunity to meet Michael Smith, thanks to, landed in front of me, I knew I had to participate.

If you want to help me meet Michael Smith, head over to and VOTE for my BBQ Chicken Pizza with Quick Lentil Crust by clicking on the voting circle at the top of the page. Voting is open until May 31st, at which point Chef Michael (and his team) will evaluate the top ten recipes as voted by the public and determine the winners.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Psst. if you click the picture it will take you to my recipe page, where you can vote.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bleach Baths for Preschoolers (with Eczema)

My boy Bolt is 4 years old and has had eczema, literally since the day he was born. We recently started giving him dilute bleach baths (approximately 0.005%) as a way to keep his skin clean and free of bacteria, specifically Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as staph. According to this article, from the London Eczema Society, less than 10% of healthy individuals have staph on their skin, but almost all eczema sufferers have staph somewhere on their skin. 

I'll admit, the idea of bathing my child in bleach did not appeal to me initially. In fact, people have been casually mentioning it to me for about two years, but I just couldn't get on board. However, a few months ago, I couldn't get Bolt's eczema under control; his hands were constantly raw and his legs, arms and torso were covered with small bleeding and/or raw sores.

We started by applying some prescription antibiotic cream followed by a 10 day course of oral antibiotics to get the infection under control. It's only the second time he's needed antibiotics for his skin, but its frequent enough that I wanted to find a way to prevent these occurences rather than treat them after the fact.

So this time, when a friend mentioned how successful bleach baths had been for managing her daughter's eczema, I listened. I asked questions, I read articles and talked to other friends who were using the treatment before I went to my doctor to discuss bleach baths as a possible method to control Bolt's eczema.

Coincidentally, my doctor had recently received an email regarding the use of bleach baths for eczema and after reviewing the material and providing me with a copy of the article, she encouraged me to try it. Although the studies indicated we should have a bleach bath twice a week, we started out by having them every fourth day. Bolt consistently scratched himself raw on the third evening.

Now, both my son and I are have a bleach bath every three days and there has been a noticeable decrease in the amount of scratching, bleeding and discomfort we are both experiencing. I personally have a patch of eczema that has been irritated since Simba was born two years ago, and its finally healing.

I'm no doctor, but I am a Mom and right now I am a believer in the power of bleach to ward off staph. I whole heartedly believe you should talk to your doctor before trying any new eczema treatments for your child. If you and your medical practitioner decide this might be an option for your family, I encourage you to give it a try. We've been having bleach baths for about a month now since I already had bleach in my house, it hasn't cost us a cent.

For those of you who are interested, here's a summary of what we're doing.

Bleach Baths for Eczema
(to be repeated every three days)

  • Fill bath half full with warm water
  • Add 1/4 cup of bleach to the bath and mix well (I usually add 2 capfuls)
  • Have your child bathe in the water for at least 10 minutes.
  • Rinse your child with warm, clean water.
  • Pat dry.
  • Follow your regular mouisturizing regime.