Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby Basics Program

Today was our first Baby Basics get together. momstown Winnipeg moms with infants 0 to 12 months of age got together to do a keepsake craft and sit around and chat while the babies played, or in my sons case, attempted to break away from the group to go explore.

We brought out the washable, tempera paint and made some hand and foot prints. Was not an easy task with the squirmy babies, but we paired up and made some masterpieces!

What is our Baby Basics Program? This program is designed for moms with babies aged 0-12 months looking to connect with other moms with infants. With a discussion theme led by an expert every other week, various topics related to parenting will be covered. Alternating weeks, momstown will lead you and your child in a short “Baby Picassos” art session and you and your baby will create a keepsake craft – it’s never too early to introduce creativity. Each session also includes loads of chat time to get to know your local moms in momstown.

So join us every week for some fun and interesting chats. Just one more fabulous program that is included with your momstown membership! Register today at momstown Winnipeg.

Junior Chefs: Parfaits

This April our Junior Chefs got together to make parfaits. It is a simple and nutritious snack that all toddlers can help out with at home.

All you need is yogurt, some fruit, cereal and / or granola.

The kids picked their topping of choice and made their very own parfaits. We moms polished off the leftovers!

What is our Junior Chef Program? It is just one more program included with your momstown membership! momstown kids get busy in the kitchen creating their own mini meals! Come and learn fun new ways to create your child's favourite snacks in this hands-­on program.  This event is aimed at children 18 months and up.

Register today at momstown Winnipeg to sign up for our next Junior Chefs!

Little Scientists: Baby Sensory Play

Last week I hosted a Baby Sensory Play event in my home for momstown moms and babies. Since Earth Day had just past I thought what better way to have a sensory play event then bring out earth inspired objects for the babies to explore through touch, smell, sight, sound, and in some cases... taste.

The kids always seem to enjoy the messiest, most unusual objects.

And never fails, after ever sensory play my son sleeps extra long! All that stimulation knocks him right out!

Interested in joining us next time? Our Little Scientists Program has Baby Sensory Play for the babies and also a Little Scientists Program for toddlers. Both programs are included with your momstown membership. Log on to momstown Winnipeg to register today for your free 4 week trial.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tales 4 Tots - I am Small

This month our theme is Baby Animals. We got together to read a wonderful and delightful story called I am Small by Emma Dodd.

I am Small has wonderful illustrations and uses different textures and materials to really bring the book alive.  Every month at our Tales 4 Tots program we give away our Scholastic Book of the month so be sure to join us next time for a chance to win!

We also made these adorable little penguins for a craft. Click here to see how to make one of your own Toilet Paper Roll Penguins with your toddler. It's fun and easy!

Interested in joining us next time?  Your 4 week FREE trial is waiting!  momstown is more than moms getting together.

Thanks again Chapters Polo Festival for having us!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Penguin Toilet Paper Roll Craft

Penguins are my favourite animal, with pigs being a close second. This month momstown's theme is  baby animals, and we read a book called I Am Small by Emma Dodd, which is about a penguin. So what better then a penguin craft.

I just moved to a new house and while going through boxes found a box of toilet paper rolls that I've been collecting for crafts. What better way then to use it for penguins. This is a great craft for toddlers to practise their hand coordination while pasting the pieces on.

You will need glue, scissors, a toilet paper roll, black paint, white and black paper, yellow and/or orange foam sheet, and googley eyes. Here's how you can make this adorable craft:

  1. Paint the toilet paper roll black and let sit to dry.
  2. Cut out an oval out of white paper and paste it on as shown above.
  3. Paste on the googley eyes.
  4. Cut out a small triangle for the beak and larger triangles for the feet. You can use yellow, orange or mix it up and use both. Paste on as shown above.
  5. Cut out black spear shaped arms and paste one on each side. You can fold it in the middle of each arm to have them sticking out or paste them as they are pointing straight down.
  6. Let sit to dry! 
  7. Play with your penguin....

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Reformed Couch Potato

I’m quite vocal about my lifestyle changes for a handful of different reasons because I feel very strongly about my changes.  The people who are rooting for me help to keep me on the right track and I’m also motivated by those who tell me that my goals will be hard to reach.  I’ll show them!  If I can also motivate and help people make changes in their lives too then that is something else that I can be proud of.  That is one of the reasons I have written this blog entry.   

The road to a healthy well-balanced lifestyle has been challenging at times and it will continue to have challenging moments.  There have been times that I have wanted to give up but I constantly remind myself that all of the changes that I want to make are not going to happen overnight.  The rewards along the way have made all of the difficult times worth it.

For many years I had said that I wanted to lose weight, although; most of my efforts were short lived and I can now chalk it up to not being ready and not fully understanding what it takes to lose weight.  It goes far beyond than food and exercise.  Your mind is your number one weight loss tool!

While I was pregnant with Calista, I attended water aerobics classes.  I had heard great things about water aerobics during pregnancy and what I had heard turned out to be true!  I felt fantastic and was full of energy during my pregnancy.  While I was pregnant, I took very good care of myself by eating a proper diet and exercising (two things that I had sporadically done in the past for short periods of time).  After Calista was born, I occasionally used my gym membership.

My wakeup call came during the summer of 2011.  Pictures of me that were taken at a handful of different 1st birthday parties started to surface.  As happy as I looked in the pictures, I couldn’t help but notice how big I was and I knew that I had let myself go.  Before my wakeup call (but not including the 9 months that I was pregnant), I indulged far too often on the not so good food and beverages including a lot of processed food and I lacked physical activity.  Also, as an emotional eater I ate when I was sad, frustrated, stressed and bored. 

At a year old, I felt a lot more comfortable leaving Calista with the babysitters at the gym.  I went back to water aerobics since I had really enjoyed the classes before.  I then tried some of the other classes like weight training, step aerobics and yoga.  The classes were a really good place for me to start.  The instructors are upbeat; everyone is there for a common purpose and before you know it, 45 minutes to an hour has zoomed by.  I still go to the classes if I make it to the gym on time but if not; I put my headphones on and do some heart pumping cardio by myself.

After I had consistently been going to the gym for about 3 months, I talked to Darcy about joining Weight Watchers.  He was hesitant because of the cost but I eventually convinced him that I would sign up and give it a try for 10 weeks.  Then we would revaluate the membership and I would at least have the materials to continue on my own.  I’ve renewed my membership a number of times since.  I’ve even fantasized about becoming a Weight Watchers Leader and having my own weekly class where I motivate and inspire!

I chose Weight Watchers because it is not a quick fix or a diet.  I needed extra help in learning how to change my negative food habits into positive ones.  I’ve gained so much knowledge and I really enjoy going to the weekly meetings and as you can imagine, I am not the quiet person sitting at the back of the room.   Weight Watchers has given me the tools and support that I need but the drive and dedication to succeed comes from me. 

My top 5 changes that I’ve made via baby steps in my life since my wake-up call last summer are:

  1. Turning cooking from a chore into a passion and in turn by doing this, we’ve eliminated a very large amount of processed food in our home. 
  2. I’ve started reading ingredient and nutritional labels on food.  I have also looked at the nutritional facts of different menu items at restaurants so that I can make a wise choice if I need to eat on the go.  Just a little FYI, one chicken SNACK wrap from McDonalds is almost the same amount of Weight Watcher points that I eat for DINNER. 
  3.  I now plan meals a week to two weeks ahead of time and by doing this, I’m much more prepared.  If for whatever reason, a particular day’s meal plan falls through and we need something quick and there is nothing at home, take-out and delivery has been replaced by rotisserie chickens and bagged salads from grocery stores. 
  4.  Activity!  I strive to go to the gym 3 times a week.  In between those days, I look for ways to continue being active like walking to do some of my errands instead of taking the car.  Not only is activity essential to losing weight but my overall energy level has increased and it helps my mental wellbeing as well.  
  5. My overall outlook on health and fitness is much more positive and realistic now.  I break up my goals into short term and long term.  I don’t expect my long term goals to happen next week but my short term goals will.

I made a list of the top 10 reasons why I wanted to lose weight and number 1 is the feeling that I get when I combine numbers 10-2.  It’s an emotion that I feel every time I make a positive decision related to food and activity.  Slow and steady wins the race and I am in the right mindset to continue this lifelong commitment.

Two of my favorite lines that have been said to be since starting this journey have been: “stop exercising your excuse muscle” and “if it is important to you, you will make the time.”

This article was written by our guest blogger, Christina. She is currently a SAHM to an adorable toddler.