Holiday!!!

I start every new post saying I will definitely be blogging once every week and here I am again, weeks after my last post (by the way, this one started last week but I was in the middle of exams so I abandoned it). I hope you all enjoyed your Easter break. I enjoyed mine, I got out a lot and spent time with family and friends.

If you are moving to Canada or you are already in Canada and have children and you want to go to school, I will be straight up with you, it’s very busy! It’s very busy but also rewarding. I’m a very hands on mama and like to do a lot of stuff with my children so this makes it a bit tough to juggle things. I also like to make most of our meals and I cook mostly with fresh stuff, that’s not to say I don’t freeze them when I cook, I just don’t like commercially made food that much. I occasionally do the store bought food and I’ve had to cut myself some slack with the whole school thing.

I had exams throughout last week, like back to back Monday to Thursday. Thank God Mr A has been around which really helped. I was off cooking and morning school run duties. I finished on Thursday and I just sl-eeeeeeept! I was sleep deprived in a major way. LOL. Thank God not every week is like that.

I’ve had time to reflect on my first semester and how well I have done in the past 3 months. Yes, I am giving myself a pat on the back for holding down the home front, studying late into the night most days and still acing my courses. I whined on some days and some days I have questioned why I am really doing this πŸ™‚ but it’s definitely worth it.

I remember one of the tough weeks when I was writing my midterms and my daughter said, ‘mum I think you should just drop out’. I was like what? She said you’re stressed and maybe you should just stop. My 6 year old advising me to drop of out school? No way! I definitely saw this as a teaching moment and I told her “you don’t quit because it is too hard, you don’t stop going because there’s a bump in the road, you focus on what is ahead and you keep going”. Of course, I’m not a quitter, so I don’t intend to quit but I am also showing my children an example, how to persevere, how to endure even if you have circumstances against you. She listened to me and said ok, mummy, we are not quitters.

I think this society kind of teaches children it’s ok to stop if you find it too hard or if you just think it’s not easy. I hear lots of young people in college talking about how they dropped out of one thing or the other or how they might just stop if too stressful and I know we don’t want to raise our children with such a mindset. We have to teach them the lessons of perseverance, the lesson that hard work in the right direction pays and the lesson that you will reap the reward if you put in the effort. It is not OK to throw in the towel, just because you don’t like the amount of work you need to put in. On the flip side, I also appreciate the fact that the environment allows you to have many chances. You don’t have to get stuck in a rut. If you are not happy in a field anymore, you are free to move to another one. You can study multiple, unrelated things.

I’ve asked myself recently why I thought University was hard when I was in OAU years ago. Had I known! πŸ™‚ I was single, I had no other job than to be a student and I still thought there was so much to do. I just look at the teenagers who say schooling is so hard in my class right now and I laugh. When most of them find out all I do, they are like are you serious? How do you do it?

I’ve gotten several compliments from my professor about how hard working and consistent I am and it warms my heart. Yes, I aim for all As, I am a perfectionist and when one prof advised me to lower my expectations for myself, I rolled my invisible eyes. LOL. I aimed for A+ and if I couldn’t, an A. Out of 6 courses, I have 4 A+ and an A. I am waiting for one more result. I also like how the system rewards hard work. Back then in my uni days, I never had such high grades despite putting in so much work and being the best graduating student in my specialised area.

And now, I’m so glad to be on my 2 weeks break. I needed the breather and I am happy my husband is still here to spend it with. Yay. I could totally live like this every day. Having him around all through my exam period was a huge relief. He kept the house going…yay to the hubbies who do their bit!

I am looking forward to my second semester, it opens a new chapter. I will be working 2 days placement in a child care centre so I will be getting some Canadian experience and having a glimpse into how child care works around here. I’ve heard a lot, I will have a first hand experience. I want to enjoy my break though. Suggestions on what I can do? I am not completely free but taking some time off is necessary.

I don’t know why I keep volunteering for stuff in the children’s school but I think it keeps you in the know and you get to mingle. Tomorrow, I am attending a volunteer’s tea in the afternoon, what do they wear for such stuff? :-). I am volunteering for the school barbecue and will be attending the meeting, then I will be helping my son’s class make a banner on Friday. I definitely enjoy doing these things and I have made so many new friends or shall I say acquaintances in my children’s school.

What did you do for Easter? I bet some people are already counting down to the next holiday πŸ™‚

I hope to post soon again.

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What are your children up to?

I am a firm believer in rationing screen time; whether TV or Ipad or tab or mobile phones, well for children anyway, I must confess I spend way too much time on my phone and on the internet in general. I am hoping to get better, I promise but I’m an adult:-).

I do believe that for children to thrive properly and be successful, balance is very key. It is way easier to parent children by giving them an Ipad that has unlimited internet access and access to Netflix all the time, than to draw up a timetable that has activities for them to do. They will bother us less and will be extremely happy with us. Will we be doing them any good though? I do get that and honestly we need time off, the lazy part of me sometimes wants to do that ALL THE TIME. I could do with forever time off from parenting.

Consider this, when children are watching TV or having screen time, they are not really engaging their brains or imaginations, they are just like zombies. They are not creating anything, they are just looking.

When children engage in free play, they use their imagination and they are creative. Leave two children alone with an empty cardboard box and no TV or internet and watch their creativity come alive. They will make something out of the box you believe is useless. There is no limit to children’s imagination. Many masterpieces have been created by children inspiring their children to draw a piece, make a painting, do some art work or even by telling them to write some fun stuff. How can you know this if a child spends most of their time in front of a screen? I think to really discover the true abilities of our children, and for them to also discover their abilities, there must be a screen purging or rationing.

This post is not about how much damage screens can do to children or an argument for or against the motion of lots of screen time or not. It’s about alternative activities for children and what they can occupy their time with.Β  It is also about balance.

What alternative activities are available?

Buy indoor games, there are so many games that encourage the use of children’s minds and imaginations

Puzzles; puzzles are great and can hold children’s attention for a long time

Buy books, I am always buying books for my children, I’m like a junkie. Someone said if you want to hide something from a black man, hide it in a book. That’s an insult, we read books!

Free play: A lot happens during play. Play does not need to be regulated, just know that they are not in the line of harm and cannot be hurt.

Talk, talk and talk. Ask them questions. Let them do the same. This is how you get to know what they are thinking. And they are also interested in what you are thinking.

Get outdoors. There are lots of outdoor things to do. Find them and engage in them

Do you have other suggestions? What do you do with your children? Please share with us

After a week off to supposedly read, it’s back to school for me tomorrow. I am also working on an assignment that is due in the morning. I totally forgot about it. This juggling life πŸ™‚

Have an amazing week friends.

Happy Valentine’s day!

It’s Valentine’s day and it’s again a first in Canada. So many firsts 😁

I started feeling the love in college yesterday when I got a gift from a table that was set up by some students. I was told I could pick any wrapped book; a blind date with a book 😍…fun, I love books. I just need to find time to read the one I got. Then I got a bag of chocolates and, once the lady heard I have children, I got two more bags 😁😁😁. Now I can give rewards for weeks on end at no expense.

I then got to another table by the student union and they said I could make free gift boxes to be delivered and I could leave as many messsges as possible…i was like wow, cool. So i made three for the three most precious people in my life (of course my husband and children😁). I got those today, little tiny boxes with notes wrapped in red.

What I find interesting is the amount of handmade and free stuff that exist. It’s really not about how much you spend but about being creative and actually showing and telling the people you love that you do care.

There was another stand set up in college where one could make cards for loved ones. I made a card each for my children. I tried to get them as similar as possible, i don’t know why children always compare their gifts. Do yours do that?

The children came back home with lots of little gifts from school and it really made me feel bad that we didn’t get anything. I’m the mum who usually cares about stuff like that….well, I didn’t really know tje tradition. Back in Nigeria, the children would typically exchange gifts with one person. Next year, we will rectify that (if Jesus has not come, I always say that😁). The little gifts also reinforce that it’s the thought really that counts.

I was a bit grumpy about hubby being away but then, i was too busy to even dwell on that. And our love is everyday 😍…not just on Valentine’s day. I’m secure in that truth.

I ordered take outs for the evening as I didn’t feel like cooking and that ended Valentine’s day. Overall, it was a nice day. Now looking forward to the long weekend.

How did you spend yours? Share with me.

Extreme Cold, No way!

So the almighty Canadian winter is here and it’s really here with no chills (pun intended😁).

How did we get to this point so fast? The point where there’s now an extreme weather warning. Some parts of Ontario might see -50c 😱😱😱. Seriously? I’m just wondering if I should pack my bag and go to Lagos for a few weeks o πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Seriously though, that is super extreme! (Super because it’s more than extreme).

It snowed all day yesterday so today, schools were shut down. I was thankful for that one day off but then, real life continues tomorrow. I know schools are heated but I’m still apprehensive about sending myself and the children to school in a -30 feel. I wish I could teleport myself from my living room to wherever and not need to feel the cold biting wind on my face.

I’m ready though, so are the children. We have very warm jackets and I bought myself this neck warmer from Walmart that makes me look like a ninja. At this point, who cares what anyone looks like? I am thinking warmth, warmth and warmth? Did anyone say fashion sense? If you did, come back in summer. Right now, I just want to take a mobile personal heater everywhere with me.

Maybe I’m sounding ridiculous but it’s our first winter and when it didn’t get so cold in December, I just thought everything was going to continue like that. Yeah, it’s delusional πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Meanwhile it says here that Alberta is to blame for what we are experiencing. I knew it! It had to have something to do with you Calgary peopleπŸ™„. It’s meant to get better on Friday though (amen to that) 🀞🏾

I will be bundling the children and myself up like onions tomorrow for sure and I will only step out when it’s totally absolutely (I am going for the overkill tonight 😁) necessary.

Got any tips for staying safe and warm in the winter? Please share with us.

Stay safe and warm my friends. I don’t want you getting frost bitten. I had a taste of that last week and it wasn’t fun at all.

Goodnight!

Please leave me a comment.

Winter Time, Indoor Time

With the winter upon us and the weather getting more chilly, it’s increasingly appealing to stay indoors where one can feel warm. We definitely need to find ways to keep our little ones engaged while indoors.

Children get bored easily and if your children are anything like mine, they keep wondering why we can’t just take a walk or go to the park. I have to constantly remind them that it is cold outside. My 6 year old has perfected the art of saying ‘but I’m not cold’. She looks very cute when she says it. I don’t buy it though, she’s a sorry sight when she gets very cold.

We’ve recently started playing indoor games alongside our everyday reading and their playing with toys. I found Snakes and Ladders at Wal-Mart and we’ve taught them how to play. The novelty hasn’t worn out yet.

I am constantly looking for activities and ways to engage my two active humans, so when I got approached by http://education.com to check out some of their worksheets. I was very happy with what I found. They have loads of activity sheets to keep children busy.

They have mazes, wordsearch, multiplication, division, addition and a lot more which you can find here

Your child will love warming up with these winter themed activity sheets which I really love by the way website. Check them out for more. The website is a gem.

What activities are your children engaged in this winter?

Please don’t forget to give me feedback if you find the website and anything else I share helpful. I love to hear from you 😁

Enjoy the rest of your week people!

Mama Goes to School

”You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you”.

Barbara Sher

”Let go of yesterday. Let today be a new beginning and be the best that you can, and you’ll get to where God wants you to be”.

Joel Osteen

January 13th! And I’m just updating my blog for the first time this year. Sigh. Happy New year everyone! Hope your year has started on a good note. Mine has and I believe each month will get better and better as the year progresses.

Christmas and New year flew by! I won’t bore you with my Christmas activities as they seem like they were ages ago.

One major life change for me and all of us as a family this year, I started College. I have written about how I chose to defer my admission as it did not seem right at the time. We would all have been too stressed. I’m glad I did that but we are feeling more settled now and honestly, there was never going to be a ‘right time’. I think the children are more excited about me being in college than I am thoughπŸ˜‚. Bless them. The picture they have of school is fun learning with multiple recesses and a million snack times. I’m not saying my school isn’t fun but I’m an adult and school is work! πŸ˜‚

I tried to arrange my timetable in a way that I would have my mornings and afternoons free for school drop offs and pick ups but it didn’t work out for everyday. I have one 8 am class and another 3 to 6pm class. Thankfully we got spots on the day I have the 8am class from YMCA. We had a trial run of that last week. They loved it at the YMCA, I just hope something opens up in the afternoons for the day we need and we would be sorted. I’d like to chip in a tip here, if you are going to need childcare at any point, make enquiries and narrow down your options long before you actually need it. Don’t be like me, I was burying my head in the sand πŸ˜‚. We also have to learn to get out earlier than our usual time on my early class days. We can do this πŸ™πŸΎ

It’s been one week of mental shifts and planning and navigating new waters but I know we’ve got this with God on our side. Don’t ask me about what I’m going to do for my afternoon class, I totally have no clue yet. I might do something crazy like take them with me and sit them somewhere at the back. The professor and I already had a good chat around this. I’m also considering getting a baby sitter who stays with them around the sitting area while I’m in class if I find one. I am bad at trusting new people with my children. I’m more comfortable with a setting. God is helping me with this. I’m not ready to leave the children completely alone with a total stranger though.

I don’t make new year resolutions, I think they’re a waste of time and go down the drain after a few weeks. I write goals instead and I try to make them as realistic as possible. One main goal for us as a family this year is punctuality. We had some lateness to school and events last year and we are working so hard to correct that right now. The children have been served the memo about this goal and we are working on it together.

We also came up with some house rules to guide our daily living. I was getting tired of the constant reminders on things the children know to do. Of course, I still have to remind them but then, we came up with our rules together so I am constantly pointing them back to our list when they are not in line.

Another thing we are repeating this year is our weekly memory verses. It’s important to us to share our faith and its component with our children. We are doing it with a twist this time around. It’s a good way to also spend quality time together. Quality time is absolutely important

The winter is here! It’s not yet as cold as I thought it would be but we will see how cold it gets in the next few weeks. Forecast shows we will start getting steady days of double digit negative weather. We will stay bundled up and we will be fine.

I’m going to start prepping for the week on Sundays as much as possible. We will pick out clothes, underwear, pack snacks that we can and just try to be organised so the week days are easier.

We’ve been planning to start swimming lessons for the children and now that’s off the list. They started and they love it there. They’ve been in swimming classes before so they’re not novices but I like the checklists for beginners here. Both children have been in swimming for long and are comfortable in water but can’t swim conveniently on their backs which is a must for level 1 here. I love it! I’m looking to get back into swimming too. I just need to find the right classes. Our community centre has family swim times when they turn on the slides so that should be fun if we all do go swimming together.

I have to get going now as real life calls😁. I need to catch up with church and finish the crochet I started on my hair last night. Hopefully I won’t be gone for long this time.πŸ˜‰

Happy New year once again and have an amazing new week. hope to read from you all.

The Christmas Enthusiast..

I love Christmas and everything the season represents.

I love the colours of Christmas decorations and the fact that everything is just so bright and cheerful.

I love the reminder that Jesus was born, maybe not on December 25th but the fact that we can celebrate the most memorable birth ever (you may disagree with me but that’s where my faith lies).

I love Christmas movies and carols. I download loads and listen to them.

I love counting down to Christmas. It’s just fun.

I love setting up my Christmas tree especially with the children. I particularly like how excited it makes them.

I bought items from Dollarama to make a wreath and everything cost me less than 10 dollars. I just didn’t think it was worth spending about 39 dollars on one.

Obviously we didn’t bring a tree from Nigeria and my children started asking when we would buy a tree. I planned to buy one in November but everytime I went to the stores, I would look at them and go back out. I just could not make my mind up plus I wanted a very good bargain. I love bargains and had an amount fixed in my head. I didn’t want to spend more. Check out my joy level when I walked into Wal-Mart a couple of days ago and realised they had Christmas trees on clearance. My children’s excitement was all I needed to make a decision. We became proud owners of a Christmas tree. Now the tree is set up with no ornaments (I’m ashamed. I need one more store trip). There’s just so much to do.

So if you’re looking for a bargain, go to Walmart for your tree. Dollarama also has some good deals on ornaments. I went there a couple of days ago. If you need to buy Christmas hats, dollarama has them for 2 dollars I think.

We’ve been watching Christmas movies on Netflix but I am going to watch the Nativity story with my children to give them a proper Christian perspective on Christmas.

It’s easy to forget why there is Christmas in all the excitement and all but I try to stay focused and talk to my children about the reason for the season. I’m also happy that their school is talking about Christ in Christmas.

Let us remember that Christmas is not Santa coming from the chimney(that’s fun for the children, I admit) . Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our saviour. As we celebrate, let’s rememeber this…for to us a child is given, for unto us a son is born. Jesus is the reason for Christmas.

I plan to make a timetable of activities to make sure we have a memorable Christmas. There’s a Santa show with carriage downtown Oakville that I will take my children to. We’ve also been invited to our school board’s Christmas party. There are lights set up on the Burlington lake that I would love us to visit once the school goes on holiday. There’s so much one can do during the Christmas period around here. I plan to have a memorable one.

How are you preparing for Christmas in your family? Are you excited?

It’s our 12th wedding anniversary tomorrow. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for. I have no plans as hubby is away for the first time on our anniversary since we got married. I wish we were together BUT I’m happy, I have a great husband and our life together is amazing. I can’t sulk much 😁

Enjoy your new week friends