Tag Archives: Children

Top 10 Things to Worry About When Travelling Without Your Children

I love to travel. I beg for work trips. I love meeting new people and seeing new things. Life is all about the experience! I love to see all my remote coworkers in person, engage with customers, and learn how create more success through work. This type of learning experience is often the best motivation.

Since becoming a single parent (50/50), I get a little anxious about traveling without my children and it’s not just about the kids.

Here are my Top 10 Things that parents worry about when they travel.

  1. Childcare: If your ex has a career that limits the days they can have the kids, you need to arrange additional backup for those times. Or maybe your ex just needs a night or two off if you are gone for any length of time. If you are completely single parenting, you need to find someone to act as a parent while you are away.
  2. Animal care: Can someone watch the pets? Is there a way to trade pet sitting? Money seems more important than ever. If you have someone being the parent for you while you are away, perhaps they’ll stay at your house and watch the pets too. You’ll owe them big time!
  3. Facetime

    Cell plan: If you are travelling out of the country, call your cellular company to discuss travel plans. It’s worth it. There is also wifi everywhere. Take advantage of Skype, Facetime, and FB Messenger.

  4. Drugs: Bring medication for the ailments you might encounter: allergy; headache and fever; sinus; anti nausea; immodium; and any prescription medications.
  5. Last minute chores: Usually before a trip, you will be inundated with dozens of mini-emergencies from family, friends, and work. You may want to shout obscenities, “Why didn’t you tell me about this last week!” Instead, if finances allow, drop off your laundry at an inexpensive laundry service or splurge on a cleaner the week before your trip.
  6. Pack Light: Most of the things you wear can be worn twice. Leave room in your luggage for gifts! You should bring trinkets from your hometown for people you meet or want to meet.
  7. Carry-on vs. checked: Checking your luggage usually adds about $70 to the cost of your trip. So, as long as you aren’t bringing liquids, you may want to cram everything into a carry-on bag. I typically travel this way. It’s exhausting if you have a bunch of connections, but worth it. The best part is there will be no lost luggage.
  8. Ride to the airport: As a single parent, there is often nobody to drive you to and from the airport. In order to save money, you may want to line up a drive ahead.
  9. Hotel arrival: Make sure you have wi-fi! Some hotels charge in your room, but have free areas. See if there are services that the hotel offers or are nearby that you can enjoy. Find a grocery store to save money and eat healthy. When you check into a hotel, be sure to use the corporate card or your money will be tied up the entire week!
  10.  Have fun: Travel is often filled with meetings and dinners. Take a few hours to have fun and enjoy the location!

These are the big things I worry about as a single mom who occasionally travels for business. I’m sure there will be more after my next business trip.

Are there any tips you can offer before I travel again?

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Do all moms hate shopping?

I hate shopping for clothes. I really do! I know what you are thinking. You think I am insane and ask, “What’s better than a couple of hours away from the kids, indulging in modeling fabulous outfits in sizes you never dreamed you’d reach before kids?” And truly, while I’ve come to grips with the size battle, I still can’t stand shopping. So what’s my problem?

The pain of it all

15966073_10155329258190016_1509826348254793375_nI can’t get away from the kids. Occasionally, I bring my girls shopping. It’s always a mistake. Whether they are fashioning the store mannequins as zombies, hiding in the racks, or complaining loudly, I rarely try anything on and have to leave. Once in a great while, when I actually try on a piece, it’s usually the last thing I try on that day. It’s just not worth it.

I rarely get to shop alone. Our city has limited stores and limited stock. As an average woman who wears an average size, if I don’t get out the week the clothing appears in stores, I don’t usually get a chance to buy any of the clothes I like. And then I look online and all the mediums are gone there too. If they aren’t and I order them, I often have to take them back because the cut isn’t quite right. Tragic I know.

Never accept defeat

This past weekend, I was away with the kids in the city known to be the shopping centre of the Maritimes. You may know it as Moncton, New Brunswick. My friend Jessica told me I needed an updated wardrobe and suggested I hit Ricki’s. “Oh yeah! I remember Ricki’s.” Inexpensive clothes that might be perfect for a cool mom like me (at least my kids say I’m cool). I decided I’d try again with a promise to visit Toys R Us if we all survived.

Immediately, the store gained Zombie mannequins. I tried to conceal my amusement as I chastised them. It was time to leave.

And then there was Rebecca

15823264_10155329255445016_4016708866481861603_nRebecca came over and suggested I take a quick photo before she fixed the mannequin arms. She was the salesperson that witnessed my rapid defeat. After I shot the photo she asked, “Girls, can you help me make up outfits for display?” Everything she said beyond that was a blur of relief for me. She kept the kids busy, while delivering me clothes that she knew I’d love.

The kids took their stylist role very seriously, examining every item one by one, before settling on which pieces to include in each outfit. I didn’t even notice until the end after I tried on nearly every item in the store and spent my Christmas money. I took photos of the girls with their ensembles, while I was rung in. I couldn’t believe it!

For the first time in years, I actually purchased more than one item of clothing outside of a grocery store.

And I was with the kids!

I’m not certain that Rebecca has wings, but she was an angel for me that day. After that experience, I’d go back to Ricki’s in Champlain Place in a heartbeat. Thank you Rebecca. And thank you to the other staff that also joined in.

You made my day! And when my friends read this, they may visit, so you can make their day too! I can’t wait to feel like a stylish woman at work this week.

Thank you all so much!


Rebecca provided the best service ever! Ricki’s Salesperson 50753 Transaction 15974.

Christmas can be really hard.

15665533_10155275574620016_3294414847635670228_nChristmas can be really hard. It can be especially hard preparing everything when you’re on your own, kids in tow. And kids are smart. They know when you’re finding things tough.

And so, today while we were running through my lengthy list of pressing errands, my eight year old ran around the car and pushed me hard in the gut.

“What are you doing? Stop! Stop!” I was agitated. When did she become so strong?

She looked up at me with glistening eyes and pointed to the blue ribbon she stuck on my belly. She had won the first place ribbon during a competition and, years later, still carried it with her everywhere she went.

“You’re my number one, Mommy.” She held her eight year old finger up and smiled.

I was shocked as I pulled the ribbon off my jacket to examine it. Her prize. It had worn from the touch of her dear little hand. Much of the gold writing was faded, but the number one and the Olympic torch remained legible.
That very morning we had been discussing priorities and how we needed to decide what was the most important, because there is never time for everything. Some things could wait, so we need to focus on what is most important.

15697941_10155275963930016_3419553298976549311_nThe enormity of her statement filled my heart as I brought her in close for a bear hug. ‘You’re my number one.’ Her little sister, not willing to miss a single moment, joined in.

“I couldn’t have wished for a better gift this Christmas.”

She beamed with pride. “Neither could I, Mom!” And the three of us held one another tightly.

We didn’t finish that errand, or any other errand today. Instead, we headed straight for home. And when we got home, we didn’t worry about tidying in case someone dropped by. We decided not to worry at all.

In fact, decided to take the time for ourselves. To take the time to sing, to play, and to laugh together, because everything else just really isn’t that important.

So the cards will be sent. The house will be tidy. And the laundry will be finished. One day. Just not today.

Merry Christmas everyone! And God bless us, one and all.

What girls want for Christmas

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Maybe your kids don’t show you their Christmas List for Santa.  Maybe your kids are too overwhelmed to tell Santa what they’d like. If your kids are like mine, you might have to hit half a dozen Santas. Well, I’ve done that for you! (The real one is at Market Square.)

Girls really want Shopkins, Dragons, Kendamas, and Bunchems. So what are all these fad toys? And what are this mom’s picks?

Christmas picks

Watch my children’s wish list video and then read more below.

Shopkins56013_spks2_12pk_front_fps

What are Shopkins? Shopkins are tiny bits of plastic about the size of the top joint
of your middle finger. They look like grocery store items with a happy face painted on them. Kids collect and trade these plastic pieces of garbage (some are actually little garbage cans, so that comment isn’t just a comparison). The sparkly ones are worth more, so if you happen across a package of sparkly ones, your kids will love you that much more. Elementary school-aged kids love them. Parents hate them. At least I hate them. If you don’t hate them, wait until you step on a few.

Cost: Buy more for a lower price and you’ll pay about a $1 per Shopkin.

dragonFurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon

I panicked a little but when my daughter asked Santa for a fire breathing dragon that cooks marshmallows. Another mother let me know that it was “just a toy that costs over one hundred dollars.”

I chuckled at the kids’ lists, until Santa looked at me and said, “Santa delivers!” Maybe Santa should deliver, because over a hundred bucks is insanity! That was on a Friday night. The next morning, the toy dropped to less than half price at all the local stores, so I guess Santa did deliver.

What is this fire-breathing dragon? The FurReal Friends Torch, My Blazin’ Dragon is a cute toy that you fill with water and he sprays an orangey mist to look like flames. He also burps, which kids adore. Kids can also pet his nose for a cute response. He comes with a marshmallow on a stick that changes color from the dragon’s “flames” to look like it is torched. It’s definitely a gimmick, but FurReal Friends are still better than Hatchimals. I certainly wouldn’t pay full price for one.

Cost: These are up to $120. Look for the half price sales, which likely will remain until the current batch is sold.

Kendama

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Kendama < $20

Kendamas are the toys every schoolboy and girl wants this year. They are built to last, require no batteries, and provide long-term appeal, so both you and your kids will be happy.

What is a Kendama? A Kendama is a Japanese wooden cup-and-ball toy. The ball is attached by a cord to the handle, which has three cups (sides and bottom) to catch the ball and a spike on top to store the ball. Kendama is a well-constructed toy and actually holds kids’ attention long term, unlike most of the battery driven toys. It helps to develop hand-eye coordination.

Cost: This classic costs less than $20.

bunchemsBunchems

These are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs that stick together to make whatever you can imagine.

What are burdock burrs? If you ever had a round spikey thing from a small bush stuck to your clothing, in your hair, or on your pet, you know what they are. The are so sticky and annoying that they inspired the invention of velcro.   Read more on wikipedia. So they serve their purpose, but can you imagine intentionally bringing these into your home?

Cost: Who cares what they cost. They are multi-colored plastic burdock burrs.

Mom’s picks

My standard Christmas shopping list is: Dress, PJs, Doll, Book, and Art supplies. The dresses arrive before the Christmas concerts. The PJs before all the Christmas parties. So that just leaves the Doll, Book, and Art supplies for Christmas morning.

I always start my shopping at L’il Shop of Science in Brunswick Square. Read more…

Gifts for Parents

And what about a gifts for parents? Everyone I talk to would love:

  • Furniture, especially shelves—Getting rid of furniture? Single, divorced, or new parents really need it! Offer it to them first, even if you are selling it. It’s hard to find affordable quality furniture. We’ll pay!
  • Free babysitting—This costs you nothing, but a few hours of your time.
  • Hats and mittens—This is actually for the kids, but really helps parents. Decent hats and mittens are pricey and kids always lose the last set long after they are out of stock in stores.
  • Anything else—Ask. It’s okay for Christmas gifts to not be a surprise.

Christmas Shopping Uptown at L’il Shop of Science

I love Christmas shopping. I really do! I know that running around looking for gifts can be a nightmare, so I choose the easiest way to shop. I shop in uptown Saint John, which makes life a lot easier for me as a parent. Because I work uptown, I can also shop during lunch or on the way home from work. What could be easier?

My favorite store in Uptown Saint John

I love to Christmas shop in uptown Saint John. And my favorite place to shop has to be L’il Shop of Science in Brunswick Square! Carla Salazar greets everyone with a smile and provides the latest interactive educational toys for kids of all ages. She makes sure the store is well stocked with the standard goodies: Rockets, Telescopes, Chemistry and Physics sets, Rock Tumblers, Anatomy sets, puzzles, and games. She also brings in heaps of specialty items: Turbospoke bicycle exhaust systems, SmartPhone Science, and  Puzzle Lights kits, to name a few.

I took my kids shopping at L’il Shop of Science during Uptown Sparkles and aside from Goo, they were most interested in the following : That’s Gross Science Lab, Spa Day, and Kendama.

MUST HAVE TOY!

Kendama
Kendamas in every stocking this year!

Kendamas are all the rage right now and my girls begged me to buy them that very night. I insisted we wait to see what Santa would bring. A Kendama is a Japanese wooden cup-and-ball toy. The ball is attached by a cord to the handle, which has three cups (sides and bottom) to catch the ball and a spike on top to store the ball.

Personally, I was excited to see the pogo sticks. Yes, that’s a hint. There are only so many years I’ll be able to hop on one! Hopefully, Santa will remember me this Christmas!

My shopping excursion at L’il Shop of Science

I asked Carla Salazar if I could vlog while Christmas shopping at L’il Shop of Science to help other parents decide what to buy. She was nice enough to agree! So enjoy, like, comment, and share! Support businesses in uptown Saint John. Brunswick Square has so many wonderful businesses. Let me know what your favorite stores are and what you’ve bought for your kids this year.