i'm three


On April 4th we turned 3!

I have been so crazy busy the last few months that I missed my blog-iversary completely! It feels like just yesterday that I posted about turning two.

This has been one of the most challenging, tiring, and transformative years of my life. It's been filled with a lot of self evaluation and self doubt, but on the flip side it's been my year of action. A year of making things happen and just going for it.

I struggled with my return to work, agonized over L'il E's first day of "school" (it's daycare, but we call it school) and had a third life crisis. I sold my wares at the Queen West Art Crawl, chopped off my long locks and reminisced about our pre-baby days. We celebrated L'il E's second birthday and announced the arrival of baby #2. The hubs and I faced our fears on the Edge Walk and I started blogging at UrbanMoms. BUT the one accomplishment I'm most proud of is the opening of my online fabric shop.

If nothing else it's been a weird year for me (what about you?), but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I could raise an alcoholic beverage to my fourth year, but until July 11 Perrier will have to do.

Thanks to all of you for continuing to read and I promise good things will continue to come.



May 09, 2013 — AlannaB
Tags: not sure

big brother


It's time to start adding to our library of baby books because L'il E is going to be a big brother this July!

I've been dying to spill the beans because the Hubs and I are very excited (stressed out) about all the cute baby giggles (sleepless nights), sweet baby cheeks (explosive diapers) and long baby snuggles (spit up stains) that are coming our way in 5 and a half months. What I'm looking forward to the most though, is sharing this journey with our L'il E and watching as he becomes an amazing big brother (he's such a good boy).

I am an only child so this is huge for me. It's going to be such an experience navigating the world of siblings and rivalry. I also secretly hope it's a girl because my dream always was to have a big brother.

Anyhow if you have any tips to share I'm all ears. They will be two and a half years apart, so I'm sure we're in for a wild ride.

Oh and I'll save my first trimester woes for another blog post. They're right when they say every pregnancy is different (barf!).



don't drink and drive


This is a compilation of advertisements made by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) of Victoria, Australia. The TAC clearly is not shy about graphically demonstrating the dangers of drinking and driving. The video is long, but insanely effective (I was in tears by the end).  I wish MADD would release ads like this in Canada.

During the holidays I always fear driving on the highways on weekend nights. Just this past Saturday L'il E and I drove back into the city from Brampton at around 8:00 p.m. and I was gripping the steering wheel all the way home. I'm not usually that paranoid, but there is something about this time of year that creeps me out on the road. I also know that a lot of people don't take drinking and driving seriously - there are fatalities every year.

Please be safe this holiday season. If you're going to be drinking either take a cab or just crash at your friends' house. It's not worth a DUI charge or worse - taking someones life!



December 10, 2012 — AlannaB
Tags: not sure

aeroport taxi and limousine service

We're home!

Now, I don't often use my blog as a platform to speak negatively of brands, but when a company leaves me with no choice but to put my kid's life at risk I think I have every right to produce a public complaint. So here goes.

Late yesterday afternoon (4:45 p.m. to be exact) we arrived at Pearson from a fun holiday in Bonita Springs, Florida. Before we left for the airport - yesterday morning - I called Aeroport Taxi and Limousine Services to book a van with a child seat to pick us up at Pearson. The spokesperson on the phone told me to call when I landed and that a car would be there to pick us up with a baby seat within five minutes. Great, I thought and hung up the phone.

Note: We booked them to drive us to the airport when we left a week prior and despite the poorly installed baby seat it had been a satisfactory alternative to park n' fly.

So fast forward about five hours and we've landed and retrieved our luggage.  It's about 5:30 p.m. and L'il E is getting cranky (understandably so after a long afternoon and no nap) I've come down with the cold that I'd been fighting off all week and the Hubs is getting testy. I call Aeroport Taxi and Limousine Services and they tell me to go to door 19 and that a car will be there in five minutes. We go to 19 and wait, and wait, and wait. I call back and another representative tells me a car is on it's way, but that there are no cars in cue with a baby seat. What? (Insert blood boiling here).

At this point I lose it.

I ask why the car I had ordered five hours ago is nowhere to be found and the woman calmly on the other end tells me that I need to wait until there is a car with a baby seat in cue, but she can't tell me how long that might take - it could be one or two hours (you're kidding right?). She then tells me that she can't request for a car to come pick us up because that's not how things work with arrivals (oh really?). Finally she tells me that her drivers will take me without a car seat (oh you mean put my kids life in danger? OK no problem). I hate this company.

She hangs up offering me no alternatives and doesn't even sympathize and I'm left utterly frustrated and irate. Did I mention helpless?

With no other option available the Hubs and I take the chance and hop in another airport taxi with L'il E strapped to us - literally holding him for dear life. Now I know there are haters out there who will judge us for this, but we honestly had no other choice.

Fortunately we made it home safely and E sat calmly looking at photos on my iPhone while I sat there having a full-on Britney Spears moment.

I will never be calling for Aeroport Taxi and Limousine Services again. They've been around since 1968 but clearly they haven't learned anything about customer service in the last 44 years.

Do you have any airport horror stories to share? I'm feeling catty.



enjoying the sun

Hi folks!

I'm MIA because I'm off on vacation in Florida. I didn't say anything because I thought I was going to have the time to keep posting, but clearly I've been having too much fun.

Please hold until I'm back on Wednesday.

Until then!

November 11, 2012 — AlannaB
Tags: not sure

remember when

Remember when we used to stay in our pajamas all day, when we used to sip our coffees and read the paper and didn't have our days planned around food and naps? Remember when we used to get excited about home projects and would spontaneously got out for dinner or drinks? Remember when we would just be?

Moments like these rarely happen with a busy toddler running round and when they do (first I pinch myself) I want to hold onto them and not let go.

Thanks to the rain, this weekend was a string of many of those moments. I was happy to be introverted and just stay close to home away from the busy-ness and influence of our crazy lives.

No one tells you you're going to feel this way when you're planning to have a family. There is so much attention placed on the pregnancy phase and then the baby's arrival followed by all of THEIR stages that somewhere along the way you just kind of get lost in the excitement and sadly so do some of your closest relationships.

No one talks about this part of having babies. It's just to-be-expected that everything is wonderful because - hey you have a baby! Well yes, it's wonderful, but there is more to life right....

So before I go any deeper I want to turn this around because whilst there are many hard times post baby it's important to remember what you had before the crying, diapers and sleepless nights and continue having those moments. I've compiled a short list of things to keep it real:

  1. Let the rushed morning kisses goodbye linger a little longer.
  2. Continue talking to each other. Take time early in the evening (before you're too exhausted) to talk about the day and ask questions.
  3. Encourage each other to do things like working out, taking a class or going out on the town with the girls/guys.
  4. Remember the things you used to do pre-baby days and do them together (date night, super cliche but so important).
  5. Continue to laugh. That is what will keep the spark alive.

The Hubs and I are 10 years strong this month, but these last few years have been the most challenging (but amazing). Having a child takes it's toll, but if you can weather the bumps I swear it brings you to a whole new level.

Here's to more rainy weekends, hibernation and remembering.

What are you secrets to keeping the relationship real post baby?





hair cut for the kids

Today I chopped off all of my hair. Eek!

I have been growing it for a couple of years, but I decided I would bite the bullet and have a change.

Since I had so much hair cut off I didn't want it to go to waste so I'm donating my precious locks to Angel Hair for Kids, a Child's Voice Foundation program that provides wigs and hair loss solutions to financially disadvantaged children in Canada who have lost their hair due to a medical condition or treatment.

I selected this program because it's Canadian and it's the only one of it's kind in Canada.

This is how it works: each child is given a personal appointment to discuss what kind of wig or hair loss solution will meet their needs, then a hair prosthesis is custom made for that child using donated hair. It takes about 10-12 ponytail donations to create one wig for a child.

It breaks my heart to say this, but every year many children in Canada lose their hair due to conditions such as cancer treatments, alopecia and even burns. These wigs and hair loss solutions created by Angel Hair for Kids increases a child’s self esteem and improves their self image, during a difficult and sometimes painful time in their lives. Since the program’s inception (three years ago) Angel Hair for Kids has helped over 150 children, and the demand is steadily increasing.

So, if you're thinking about chopping off your locks consider making a donation and bringing joy to a child's life! All you have to do is put the hair into a bag and mail it to the correct address.

By the way, I am loving my new cut thanks to the wonderful Leesa Berry. If you're wondering it's a "lob" (an a-line, long bob if you want to get technical).

Snip, snip!

overnight no-cook refrigerator oatmeal

I've been busy and neglectful. Sigh!

Anyhow, let's talk about mornings. Are they insanely insane in your house?  They are in mine!

We're only a small family of three but every morning is a mad rush.

Prior to L'il E the Hubs and I ate breakfast together at the kitchen table every morning. Over granola and yogurt we'd chat about the day ahead and sometimes we would even have time for a hot cup of tea. Fast forward a year and a half and now I'm lucky if I eat sitting down. The Hubs and I have fragmented conversations between diaper changes, tantrums and the occasional bit of flying food. It is definitely the most stressful 90 minutes of my day.

In an effort to make mornings a little smoother I've been scouring blogs for yummy breakfast ideas that could possibly bring us back to the serene mornings of the pre-baby days.

I found this great recipe over at Fat Mum Slim for Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal. I've modified it slightly because we're out of fruit and E is off bananas these days.


No-cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

Here's what you need:

  • 1/4 cup uncooked old fashion rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup milk (we use homo, but you could use almond milk)
  • 1/8 cup plain yogurt (if you want to use Greek yogurt increase to 1/4 cup)
  • 1.5 tsp dried chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp honey

Then you combine all ingredients in a mason jar, top with a lid and let it chill overnight in the fridge!


Here's to less chaotic mornings?



where have you been?

Hey gang! I've missed you. I'm sorry I've been away for so long.

Writers block can be the worst, especially when I love blogging so much. Life has gotten in the way and it has sucked all of the inspiration out of me. I've been busy - and not the fake "busy" - I've actually really had no time.

One of my strengths is that I can manage a lot of things at one time, but sadly it's also one of my greatest weaknesses. I have too many balls in the air and I am working desperately so that none of them drop. It's actually very exciting and inspiring and just what I want, but it's also requiring an exercise in some serious organizational skills. Lists. Check! Post-it notes all over my house. Check!

Even L'il E points to my post-its in the morning as I analyze what needs to get done today.

Despite having two full time jobs - PR by day and mum to L'il E 24/7 I've also got another full time job in hobbies and extra work alone. Oh ya did I mention I also have a husband?! Never mind friends!

I'm sure you're all thinking #firstworldproblems, but I'm venting and if you've read this far, clearly you care. Thank you.

So what have I been busy with? Well...

I am very excited to announce that I'm heading back to school next Tuesday. This time I'll be on the other side of the desk. I am going to be teaching an event management course to students in the Corporate Communications program at Centennial College; a course I received an A+ in almost 10 years ago. I think it's going to be a lot of fun and I will be sure to share my journey as Professor Banks as I move through the 15 week course.

I have also feverishly been creating inventory for my booth at the Queen West Art Crawl's Outdoor Art Show & Sale. As we get closer to the date I'll post my deets, but in the meantime mark your calendar for September 15-16, 2012. I would love to see your faces and I promise I don't expect you to buy anything.

I've also been trying to keep up with blogging elsewhere. My most recent post for TheKit received a lot of backlash from  readers in the comments section, but I think we're friends now. I also had my first Gastropost printed in the National Post (August 25) with a Gastrosketch and all!

I won't bore you with the rest, but just getting all of that off my chest is just what I needed.

How do you keep all of your balls in the air? I would appreciate the tips.


grill-worthy quinoa burgers

My backyard, a quinoa veggie burger, sweet potato fries and bevvies. Yum!

On Saturday night we had a little backyard BBQ action, but it was of the meatless variety. I love the challenge of a vegetarian dinner guest!

I wanted to keep things casual and I wanted something that everyone would enjoy - even the meat lovers - so I decided to give quinoa burgers a try. I scoured the web for a good recipe and I found one over at the The Vegan Project.

This recipe has lots of flavour, is filling and kept their form on the grill (no crumbling!). I also whipped them up in under 30 minutes. So, if you're having veggie company this summer, keep this recipe in your back pocket, they blow the pre-made veggie burgers out of the water and you're left looking like superstar.

[print_this]Quinoa Burgers

You'll need:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup oats (not instant)
  • 1.5 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp cajun spice
  • 1 tsp  paprika
  • 2 tbsp tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Brown rice flour for dusting
  • Olive oil

Then you:

  1. In a food processor mix garlic, onion and chickpeas until well mixed but not pureed, then add oat and mix some more.
  2. Remove the mixture into a large mixing bowl and mix in parsley, quinoa, spices, tamari and chickpea flour until well blended.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and put in fridge for 15 minutes.
  4. Form the mixture into six patties, spray with a little olive oil and dust with rice flour.
  5. Heat on grill for five minutes per side or until you see the grill marks.
  6. Serve with all the fixings. I highly recommend hot mango chutney!


Happy veggie grilling!