10 Things I Want to do Before Mat Leave is Over

It hit me this week that I go back to work in 2.5 months, and I am emotional about it – but that’s a topic for another blog. What I want to talk about today is the stuff I want to do with the boys before I go back to work. I have spent a lot of the summer being anxious and not doing as much as I wanted to with the boys, but it is turning into fall which means our little 4-year-old gets really busy! So, I have got to squeeze in some fun before I go back to work and here is a list of all the fun things I want to do with the boys before I go back in November.

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Vancouver Aquarium October 2018
  1. Science world – I think Science world would be so much more fun with Pearce now as he is older and would probably really like exploring it.
  2. H.R. MacMillan Space Center – When I was a kid it was called the Planetarium and it was actually one of my favorite field trips, I also think Pearce would really like this place as he is super into the moon and stars and learning about Earth. I think he would be mind blown to learn there are more planets.
  3. The World of Kidtropolis – I have been wanting to check this place out for awhile now it looks so cool and I think any kid would love this place.
  4. The Vancouver Aquarium – I usually take Pearce to the aquarium every year he absolutely loves it, we went last October while I was pregnant, But I think 1 more time before I go back is needed.
  5. Cultus Lake Adventure Park – I have never been to this adventure park not even when it was mini golf! So, I am excited to do this – I think we may try to do this on September Long.
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    White Rock,  Aug 2016
  6. White Rock Beach – Pearce absolutely loves playing at the beach and Brooks is really starting to like it too. One of my favorite things to do with Pearce was to take him to White Rock and play on the beach and get ice cream and fish and chips after. Think we definitely need to take Brooks.
  7. All our Favorite Farms – We are big farm visitors and we are blessed to live close to so many, here are the ones we plan to visit: Maan Farms, Taves Farms, Birchwood Dairy Farms, Chilliwack Corn Maze, Krause Farms, Laity Pumpkin Patch.
  8. The Drive in – I would love to take my hubs truck, throw a mattress in the back and sit and watch a movie under the stars with all 3 of my fav guys.
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    Mill Lake, September 2018
  9. Mill Lake in Abbotsford – Its so funny this spot is so close to me and I never go! I would love to take the boys and do a picnic and spend the day there, maybe bring Pearce’s bike so he can ride all around
  10. Stanley Park – When I was a kid one Sunday a month my family would drive into Vancouver and we would spend the day in Stanley Park, or Gas Town and these are honestly my favorite memories I would love to take my boys to Stanley Park for the day – I think they would love it!
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Laity Pumpkin Patch, October 2018

There is so much more I want to do, like walks around Hayward Lake, Trips to the Library, Visits to Great Papa and Great Grandma, but I want to know what is your favorite thing to do in the Fall in the Lower Mainland?

XoX Chelsea

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Birthday Gift Guide For Toddlers

If you are anything like me you probably are looking at the next 4 months and thinking wow so many birthdays coming up, I need to get on top of this!

We have so many friends birthdays coming up and  have only managed to shop for the next 4 birthdays my son is invited to, but we have tons of friends with Birthdays coming up and I decided to share some of the best gifts that I have seen,

 

Gifts for kids 1 & 2

At this stage in a child’s life they are very much at a sensorimotor development phase, so gifts that are great for this age I look to help in that phase! This simply means that a child is developing their sensory and motor skills with the environment.

Here are my top 5 Favorite gifts for kids during this age, starting from lowest cost to highest
duplo

  1. Duplo Lego – Any Set – These range in price from $18.00 – $99.00 depending on the size of the set
    I absolutely love Lego for this age, its really colorful and fun and children get to work to put it together and often really enjoy the taking it apart aspect as well
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  3. Bubble Lawn Mower – $19.99
    This is one of my favorite toys for this age because they may or may not be walking and they probably love pushing things around. At this age they are also fascinated with bubbles.
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  5. Fisher Price little people – any set range in price from $29.99 – $99.99 depending on the size of set 
    This one is great for learning what things are and see new worlds, some of them are farm sets, or safari, etc.
  6. slide
  7. Little Tykes first slide – $39.99 at Walmart
    Pearce got his first slide at age 1 and absolutely loved it, he loved climbing up it and going down, he played on it for hours, so excited to learn how to climb and the excitement of going down.
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  9. Water Tables/ Water & Sand Tables – Prices vary depending on size
    Water tables are so fun; kids absolutely love them, and they come with so many toys that help children learn and understand how water and sand move. They can build sandcastles and play in the water.

Gifts for ages 3 & 4

Kids at this age are learning their fine motor skills so they are learning a lot about how to play with smaller items. They are also learning a lot about pretend and how to pretend things are something they aren’t/

Here are my top 5 favorite gifts for ages 3 & 4 listed by price lowest to highest

kerplunk

  1. Kerplunk or other toddler games – $20.00
    This is a super fun game that toddlers can totally play, and have a lot of fun with, other fun games for toddlers are Gone Fishin’, Soggy Doggy, don’t break the ice.
  2. calendar
  3. Melissa and Doug – My magnetic Daily Calendar – $24.99
    I absolutely love this toy as it teaches children, days of the week, season, how they are feeling, and what day it will be tomorrow.
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  5. Picasso Tiles – Magnetic blocks – $49.99
    These blocks are awesome for building and some comes with letters and numbers on it and so while your child is building it can learn to recognize letters and numbers.
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  7. V-tech Digiart Creative Easel – $69.99 
    I love this easel because it can be used as an easel for kids to paint on and draw on and this one also turns on and teaches children how to draw letters, pictures and is a great interactive toy.
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  9. Train table and Trains – 89.99 +
    We absolutely love trains in our house, they are fun to build the track and set it up and take it apart and rebuild. Our little guys both loves playing with trains.

Other great gifts are books, coloring books, playdough, and letter tracing books. These are just some of the ideas we love, all kids are different, and you can always give clothing as well, these are just some of our favorite items to give as gifts. We hope this is helpful and that you all have an awesome time shopping for gifts for your upcoming birthdays.

– xOx Chelsea

How I chose my baby monitor

When I had Pearce, we were gifted a baby monitor from my husbands Uncles. It was the Levana Ovia monitor, they purchased this monitor for us as it could have additional cameras added.

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Installation of  Kodak Cherish C525 camera (installed with 3M Command hanging strips)

With that in mind when we became pregnant with our second child, (2.5 years later) we discovered that this model had been discontinued. It was so frustrating since we had loved our monitor, minus the down fall that it did not have a good range, we live on a corner lot and our house is very long, when I would go down to our family room the monitor wouldn’t work. It had worked great in our first home, but in this home, we found that it just wasn’t working as great as we needed. So, we decided that instead of hunting down an additional camera (which I did look for) that we would go about looking for a new baby monitor.

This time I was going to be picky, I wanted to make an investment into something that would give me piece of mind. I loved the Levana brand as many of my friends had it, but it didn’t have anything that worked for me at this point in time – being that Brooks was moving into his own room I needed to find something and couldn’t wait for the company to launch a new model.

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Kodak Cherish C120 Camera installed 

But what was I looking for in a new monitor, I sat down and made a list of what was truly important for me in the new monitor:

1. Ability to have more than 1 camera.

2. A family monitor that had good range, so I could be outside in the garden, or on the back deck watching Pearce in the pool and I could see Brooks (I can’t hear his bedroom from this spot)

3. Clear picture – too often I read about people complaining that their monitor had the worst picture and they couldn’t tell if their child was awake or asleep.

4. This one may seem funny, but I wanted one that could drown out the sound of the sound machine on the parent monitor, both my boys have sound machines and they are loud – I didn’t want to here this noise on my monitor.

5. I wanted something that was easy to install and easy to set up.
So, I set out looking for a monitor, something I always do when I buy anything is read the negative reviews. People who leave negative reviews are honest – brutally honest. So, I read them a lot. I also do read the good reviews for the same reason.
Some of the Cameras I investigated getting before purchasing were:

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Summer Infant Side by Side 2.0
I investigated this camera and it was my top contender until I found the one, I bought. Ultimately I had heard excellent reviews about its range, it can have multiple cameras, the picture was clear enough to see what was going on, I am not 100% if it drowns out white noise, but I had friends who told me it was incredibly easy to install. What actually ended up being the reason I went with the one I did was because this monitor only records sound from 1 room at a time, the monitor I went with records sound from both rooms and alternates the sound to the parent monitor for 1 minute, however if during that 1 minute the other child begins to cry it immediately switches the sound to the other room. For me therefore I did not pick this monitor.

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Motorola MBP50-G2 Portable 5-inch baby monitor with 2 cameras
I investigated this monitor for about 5 minutes, because that was all it took for me to decide it wasn’t for me. I read reviews of people complaining that their baby monitor stopped working after 3.5 months but the replacement warranty is only good for 3 months – this to me didn’t sit well if a company can’t give warranty for at least a year its not a great company to purchase from. Most standard warranties are 1 year. Other reasons were because I heard the range was very poor, and the truth is that I knew I wasn’t willing to risk having a monitor with poor range.

There were more monitors I investigated, but they didn’t really hold ground for me, I knew what I was looking for and wouldn’t settle. So, one night while checking prices on the Summer infant and different retailers I stumbled across the Kodak Cherish C525 Baby Monitor and decided to look at it. A lot of things I had learned about monitors connected to WIFI had made me a little skeptical, i.e. things on the news parents saying their baby monitor has been hacked.

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Kodak Cherish C525 and C120 Cameras (this is a night vision, split screen view) 

So before purchasing I called my internet provider to find out the likelihood of this happening to me. They said this has been proven to only happen to people who have no special WIFI password, so if you keep the same password that comes on your modem, you are more likely to be hacked. They also advised me to create a more difficult password something with a minimum of 3 or more words. I know it sounded like a lot but in truth it is easy. They also said that all monitors with a WIFI setting have the ability for you to view your monitor when you are connected to your cell phone setting or someone else’s WIFI, but that they all can turn this off. After talking to my provider, I felt much better about the idea of a WIFI monitor.

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Kodak Cherish C525 Video Monitor with Free Bonus Camera (C120)

Ultimately, I chose this monitor because the picture seemed great and the range sounded like it would really work for us. It came with two cameras one that could move remotely and one that was more of a stand still camera. The picture is so clear, I will not that the C525 Camera does need to be a lot closer than the C120 camera they give you for free to get a good picture but since moving it closer to my son the picture on both cameras is great. This camera can drown out the white noise and only play sound if baby cries which again was a huge win! I found this camera incredibly easy to install. It also comes with a 2-year replacement warranty. I had one issue where the family monitor kept turning off and they sent me a replacement monitor no questions asked. If you have more than one camera you have the option of having a split screen or a scan where it shows one camera for 1 minute and then flips to the other. It will record sound from both with the split screen but if the baby starts to cry on the other one it will quickly flip the sound to that monitor.

C525 daytime view

You can talk to your baby or child on the monitor, which my eldest son really likes. It also comes with an app so if you don’t want to purchase the parents monitor you don’t have to! I however like having the parents monitor. I do use the app when I forget the monitor in my room and want to quickly check on the kids. One of the things I really like about the monitor is that if the power goes out each camera and monitor has a battery in it so it will still work. You can take it camping or unplug it and move it if you need to as they each have batteries. This monitor can hold up to 4 cameras, I currently only have two but if you have three or four children this might be something you need.

C120 Daytime View

I am super happy with the monitor and happy with my choice, yes, I understand that every monitor has its good and bad, but this monitor works awesome for us. They were also super to install and we wall mounted them above each boys bed using 3M Command Wall hanging strips. Whatever Camera you decide my advice is that you write out a list of the most important things you want from a baby monitor to the least important so you can decide what works best for you!

XoX Chelsea