Tag Archives: family

Moo-over Milk – Why our family switched to Almond Milk


I have considered this transition away from cow’s milk for years. Well pretty much since R was a year old and started drinking cow’s milk in addition to breast milk. J is lactose intolerant so cannot drink milk at all. I however, was a milk-aholic. Seriously I loved milk. A tall glass of skim milk. Geez it still makes my mouth water. However, a few years ago when looking at what I was consuming, I gave up the delicious milk to save on calories each day.

Time passed. More wise than I parents, were realizing that cow’s milk just wasn’t what they were telling us it was. So why is it we believe that we must drink cow’s milk or we will not escape the wrath of osteoporosis, broken bones & gosh we will not look incredible like all those milk ads. My kids need milk … right? RIGHT?

Wrong, maybe.

If one googles err searches on Google (did you know Google does not wish to be a verb? Yet has been added to the dictionary as such anyway? Yeah me neither that is a random fact from J) “Is milk good for you?” one will get a whole range of experts claiming, gosh darn it, milk is good for you, drink it. Yet if one searches “Is milk bad for you?” one then gets a whole whack of experts claiming, holy smokes milk is so so not good for you, stay away from ALL dairy.


What is a parent to do?

We have three, calcium thirsty growing munchkins that we love so we must make the very best possible decision, ever.

I have been on the milk fence for a while as I previously mentioned. My ultra practical, budget minded husband has had his wallet firmly planted on the “milk is way cheaper than the alternative and they have yet to break any bones, besides too much soy isn’t good either” side of the fence. Then one fateful morning at our Mom’s group, I mentioned how yes I would like to switch but to give copious amount of soy to the kids wouldn’t work and egads it is expensive. That is when one gorgeous mom pointed out that Costco (insert harp sounds here) has Almond milk by the case and if one buts down the amount consumed it is quite a reasonable option.


Here it was the solution to my dilemma, now to convince the ever logical husband that we should do this. I was surprised that I was up against little resistance. It was time to switch and would not cost us more (whereas in fact because we reduced the amount given each day it is cheaper & perfect for camping). Besides if husband craves a bowl of cereal there is now an option for him. So the kids used to drink 3 glasses of cows milk a day (excessive) now instead they drink one glass of unsweetened Almond Milk at breakfast and water with every other meal (except on occasion they receive a juice).

Did you know almonds are not a nut? Yeah me neither. They are a fruit. Almond milk is said to have less fat and protein than cow’s milk so when substituting it for younger toddlers that is important to keep in mind. We have not swore off dairy (yet) completely and though were are very limited in the meat meals we are eating we are still carnivores so I worry not about the fats and proteins and have focused on the benefits instead.

In this modern world of an insane amount of information it is so difficult to always know what is best for our families. I have made peace with slowly making transitions, looking at not only one source and just doing the best we can. You will know what works for you and yours. I hope by me sharing our experience and choice you will be inspired to look at the choices you are making to ensure they are still working for your family.

I really liked the following video I stumbled across on Huffington Post, I hope you do too 🙂

Does your family drink cow’s milk? Have you made changes that go against convectional wisdom?


The girl’s 8th birthday


For the past few months the girl and I have been reading through the Harry Potter books. It seemed like the logical choice post Narnia. We very much enjoyed the magical aspects of Narina, besides Harry Potter is very very cool and current. We are currently on the sixth book, after each book we watch the movie together, comparing notes, snuggling and enjoying the time together. It is our special time.

When R & I started talking about birthday parties like forever ago, we both agreed that it totally had to be a Harry Potter birthday. So I have to say right now … the internet is evil. There is so much goodness out there, my mind spun with inspiration. I so did not reinvent the wheel for this party, but I took inspiration from many places.

The House Signs

In the beginning I decided that instead of loot bags, each guest would receive a Wizard/Witch robe that I would sew. I spoke to the girl, so that we could keep the guest list small in order to create these robes. However I totally underestimated the cost, even though I used inexpensive fabric, the metres totally added up fast. Still I really love that I made it happen though especially when the kids were all at the party , wearing the robes together it just made it that more magical.

The Wizards & Witches

The invitations were delivered by owl mail (of course!) R very much enjoyed running up to the mailbox, placing the invite in it ringing the doorbell and running off! The guests were very excited to receive owl mail (though one guest felt I *could* have trained owls in time to deliver the invites)

Owl Post

Owl Post close up


I was so not sure what to do, then I stumbled across the idea of having a similar cake to the cake Hagrid gave to Harry when they first met!

The Cake

I have a confession. The preparation for this party was so much fun. I enjoyed sewing all the robes, hand painting the Hogwarts Express & Honeydukes signs … all the little details. The icing on the cake … the kids noticed all the little details (except the floo powder). We did not have any organized games per say. We had a short potions class, then the house elves prepared hotdogs for dinner in the great hall (that looked a lot like the potions classroom). After dinner, the kids headed to the Gryffindor common room, to hang out, look at spell books and then test Every Flavor Beans, trying to guess the flavours. R opened her presents, we had cake then the kids headed outside to fly about on their brooms and used their imaginations to create story lines. It was magical to listen to them.

Hogwarts Express Sign

HoneyDukes Sign and variety of candy

MmmChocolate Frogs!

So remember how I said I did not reinvent the wheel here? The following are some of the amazing places I got inspiration for this Harry Potter birthday … I looked at so many places, I am so hoping I did not miss any links!









The Birthday Girl

Happy Eighth Birthday to my magical girl!

(be sure to check out our Flickr for more pictures)

I just Ran my First 5km Race!!!


Race day!!

It was amazing. It was very wet. It was so exciting. And so much fun.

The Start of the Race

I never thought I would be a runner. I never dreamed that I would participate in a race. I feel so empowered, strong and proud of myself for achieving this goal. I could not have done it without J’s love & support … letting me escape and go for runs, watching the kids while I stretched, hearing me whine about the pain. The kids were awesome and so excited that their Mommy was running in the race.

#RunForTheCure. Post race with the kids!

It was such a surreal feeling being lined up to run with so many people. Being the CIBC Run for the Cure charity race there were all sorts of people some runners, some walkers and everything in between. I am happy with my choice to do this type of race first. Not only an amazing cause, but it was a tad less intimidating for me.

Race day!!

The rain only poured for the first half of the race. I kept my pace though the start was slow with the mass of people starting. There were puddles to avoid, dogs, strollers, and people everywhere. So different than my treadmill runs, or my experience on the track.

Race day!!!!

It was so exhilarating to finish! I almost started to cry but there were so many people my vanity stopped me before I burst into tears. The kids and J were there and we celebrated as the rain started to come down stronger. My legs are tight and sore form not doing my yoga stretches right after (how do racers do that? I did not see anyone stretching post race! Mind you it was raining).

After just crossing the finish line

I think running in races is kind of like getting a tattoo. Once you have had the courage to take that step and do your first one, you can hardly wait to run another. So as winter approaches I am going to jump back on my treadmill, and start swimming laps at the pool on gym days. Perhaps in the spring I will have the courage to run in another race.

Race day!

Thank you again for all the support. The donations, the messages on here, facebook, twitter … It all makes a difference! You guys rock! I was able to reach my fundraising goal & over double it!! Amazing … Thank you!

Fitness Friday – Making it a family thing


This is how my life is, an entire week goes without me being fully aware that time is passing. As a family of five, we are enjoying the time together that it seems to disappear without a lot of recognition.

This week for Fitness Friday I want to focus on Family. A lot of people wonder how I run, workout with two small kids at home still. It takes a lot of work. Just being honest with you, it isn’t easy. However it is worth it.

As a family we have joined a fitness centre that recently opened in our area. It has a fantastic pool, an indoor track (YAY!) and three full size gyms, plus yoga, fitness classes and a weight/cardio area. The centre is simply awesome. Our children are a little young to use all the aspects, however they love the pool and last Saturday they enjoyed walking/running on the track while I ran (with their Dad and it was family time so they were permitted).

Since joining, I have started taking C, to the child centre while I run the track twice a week. I needed to get off the treadmill and be more prepared for the CIBC Run for the Cure next Sunday (ahh!!! Next Sunday!) At first C was so not keen to be left but she is getting used to the idea. The fact that I take her for a quick swim afterward definitely helps.

Fitness for me isn’t just about me. I want my entire family to participate, something that so was not on our radar in the past. Once I got motivated and started running, everyone else had their interest peaked too. Even my husband has gone to the gym a few nights each week to walk/run and workout.

When I work out at home, I use the television. In part because I worry that C will get hurt coming too close to the treadmill and then I know where they are. However the deal is, it has to be something educational, for the preschooler and toddler that means letter & word programs. These strategies have been developed over time and I am always prepared to be interrupted or stop altogether if the kids are off that day. When I do yoga or sit ups etc I am used to having a cat or a kid climbing on me, rubbing me or lying down with me proclaiming how “easy” push ups are (they always cheat!)

How do you make time to work out? What challenges have you overcome to reach your fitness goals?

By the way … THANK YOU so much for helping me reach my fundraising goal for the CIBC Run for Cure. There is still time to donate (did I mention you receive a tax recite?) and if you are in the area you are welcome to come out Sunday October 2nd to cheer me on!

365 Pictures


Since C was born I have progressively taken less photos, written less & have been consumed with Motherhood. I can think of worse fates and I am grateful to be present with my children.

So be sure to check out our flickr for the next 365 days I am going to try to post a picture a day. Mostly for my iPhone but it is a start!

The Lake Swimming Lessons


Living on the east coast has some mighty fine perks. We are a quick drive to the ocean and we have a ton of lakes to enjoy. There are even city lakes that have lifeguards in attendance all summer long. As a result through the city recreation program the kids are taking swimming lessons at a lake about a 10 minute drive from our house.

I seriously envisioned long, sweltering days, basking in the sunshine as the children frolicked in the water, built castles in the sand, tons of giggles and picnics.

Lake swimming days

What I forgot was that I live on the east coast of Canada. It has been a cool, rainy, dreary time at our swim lessons. Yet the kids are really enjoying it. The first day was gorgeous, sunny and warm. Since then not so much. The coolness factor does not even faze the oldest B … she just swims, runs and enjoys every single second. The little guy, E … not so much but he still gets in, tries his best and has fun. My kids are amazing. The youngest, C … she hangs out with me, digging in the sand, eating snacks or curled up in a towel to keep warm like her siblings.

Despite the weather, we have one more week of swimming lessons & we are loving it!

The Boy is 4 … well almost


Tomorrow the boy turns four! I am in awe that it was in fact four years ago that we were in California getting prepared for this little guy to arrive. When it came time to prepare for his fourth birthday, he proclaimed that his friends must come!

This was his first, celebrate with friends party. Since he is a lego fanatic, it made sense to have a lego party! This was the most organized I have been for party planning. I actually allowed myself enough time in advance not to get stressed out. I fretted a little but overall was calm, well except when the morning of the party the Boy was ill and there was the fear that all would be cancelled. Thankfully he seemed to pull through and the party was great.

Ethan's 4th B-Day

No lego party would be complete without the Lego brick cake. Betty Crocker has awesome instructions with a video. Cake decorator I am not, though I tried my best and the kids enjoyed it.

Ethan's 4th B-Day

Ethan's 4th B-Day

The decor was simple yet great with Lego sheets printed off, balloons and little Lego men that are part of our collection. Most of the time the kids were outside or playing else where and hardly noticed the decor.

The Boy was trying to blow out his candles before we were done singing!! He did great!

The Lego brick pinata was a “hit”. We did it last. I made it from a paper bag, flour, water and paint. They always end up tougher than I want, but the bigger kids that tagged along helped bust it open! Rather than a free for all, elbow to the nose, candy spillage, I created 11 bags of candy with Lego stickers on it for each kid. No feeling the injustice of the world at this party (Well at least not with the candy).

Ethan's 4th B-Day

All in all .. awesome little party. One kid proclaimed “I want a party just like this!”, and I knew I had got the spirit of the party down.

The Boy had fun, felt special and enjoyed having his friends over (with a few siblings tagging along of course!) There are more pictures on Flickr though a little limited as his guests are typically not posted.



Sweet Thing So B has a break from school for two weeks. Lucky us .. the entire family except the baby (how she made it unscathed I have no clue) has been suffering with a nasty stomach bug. B went down first then me, then E and finally J … it has been rough !!

We are entering in our second week of break and it looks like we might actually make it outside. I had so many ideas for activities, play dates and day trips … Now I would be happy to get caught up with laundry before school started again! I also had started the 30 Day Shred only to be foiled again!! I have lost 10 lbs since the new year, but not being able to work out is not helping at the moment 😦

Oh big favour!?!? Since we do not have cable, I have been taking series out on DVD from the library to enjoy. J & I are loving Dexter and are totally enjoying the second season. What are the cool shows to watch now? Anything you cannot live without seeing?

A Fresh Start


I started blogging in 2004. At the time I was excited to explore CSS, PHP, run my own site, design, code and have a personal creative outlet while I traveled with my husband. Now that we are a family of five, I find it a struggle to maintain that creative space. I was of the mentality if I cannot do it perfectly, I do not do it at all. However, I have been evolving over the past few months since I ceased to blog on my original site. That evolution I would like to share in writing. I want to continue to explore my creativity and share a part of our lives. I just cannot maintain an entire site.

Welcome to my fresh start at Creative Thoughts by Chelle.  I hope you enjoy the journey, the writing, the creativity as much as I do. I will still share pictures, stories and creativeness & of course geekery.

Here is the blurb from my last About Chelle … I think it encompasses my yesterdays well (though poor baby C isn’t mentioned!)

A journey through Motherhood and beyond. That was my very first tag line for my blog back in 2004. A lot has changed since I started blogging. We left the country, came back, got pregnant, lost a baby, had a sweet little boy and we have watched our sweet daughter grow. Life is never boring.

I am a Canadian. I married the man of my dreams, who has taken me to Ontario, California, New Mexico and presently to Atlantic Canada. The Maritimes is now our home and we love it. We have bought a house and are totally content to stay still for a little while :) I told him when we got married I would follow him to the ends of the Earth, little did I know he would take me seriously!

Our daughter is a smart, happy, quiet soul that loves good stories, looking at books for hours and hours, enjoys jumping, running and swimming. She has a passion that is unequivocal. She loves completely, hurts deeply. She rescues earth worms after a rain storm, appreciates nature and wants to understand magic. She amazes me everyday.

Our son is a ball of energy. He goes and goes, in fact sleep is of little concern to him (even at night! AHH!) He adores digging, rocks, can spot a stick under any conditions, loves water, mud, puppies and his sister. He is so completely is own little person and is growing up so much and so quickly it frightens me.

We have a cat with a really really long name. It is a literary reference to a series of books my daughter has memorized. He was an alley cat from Española and lives a happy quiet existence, always wary of our son’s constant attention.

We have been all about the adventure. Becca & I toured Southern California with a vengeance, soaking in the sun, sights and making lifelong, cherished friends. When Ethan came onto the scene we did not slow down and continued to enjoy the ride. Upon arriving in New Mexico, life got a little harder to enjoy. Have you ever lived on top of a mountain in the middle of no where? I am in awe of the wives that live up there, granted we had one car that my husband had to take to work, so I was stranded, but still. Now I am content to live a more peaceful existence. Enjoying preschool classes at the local rec centre, story time at the library and many play dates at the playground.

We have discovered and fallen in love with Nova Scotia. I have never been this far east in Canada. It is so beautiful. The people are amazing and the sense of community is unmatched. We found a cute home that matches us perfectly, a home that the kids can walk to school and we can be safe, surrounded by trees, peaceful.

I am a creative soul. When I am not creating something I am cranky. I started this blog as an outlet for my creativity. Taking breaks from swimming, playing with animals and imaginary play, I would stay connected to other moms, dads, individuals that rocked my world. I love to knit, dye yarn, stitch, sew, paint and doodle.

I hand coded this site after years of staring at PHP, CSS, studying WordPress tutorials and loads of late nights. I design my graphics, I code my sites, I change with the seasons or as I see fit. I have designed sites for others and really enjoy the process, however my children are first in my life right now, so I do not take on a lot of projects.

My Apple computer is one of my many muses. Who would have thought I would be a geek, spending countless hours on the computer. However, I find a balance with running, something I never thought I would be into. It calms my soul and gives me a confidence that I have never felt before. I really truly believe I can do anything I set my mind to now that I am a runner.

Who knew there was so much to say about me :D Thanks for stopping by the blog, if you have any questions, thoughts or want share something feel free to contact me through the contact form or leave a comment. It really is an amazing journey that I am on, Motherhood, womanhood, marriage and life … Thanks for coming on this path with me …