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Posted on August 1, 2017

How To Raise A Reader | TD Summer Reading Club Across Canada

Disclosure: I have partnered with YMC and TD Summer Reading Club and have received compensation for this post. All opinions in the post are my own.

Edmonton Reading Program Summer Toddler Activities - How To Raise A ReaderGrumpy Bear Loved by Hannah & Eli shirt Little Brick Cafe Edmonton, AB Edmonton Mom Encouraging Toddlers to read Teaching words and reading skills for toddlers Summer Reading picnic Edmonton, ABEdmonton Mom and toddlers Reading Benjamin Bunny By Beatrix Potter Young moms teaching their preschoolers to read Preschooler Grumpy Bear Tshirt Loved By Hannah & EliHow to improve your child's reading habits during the summer

Parenting is hard. Some days it’s easy, other days I feel like a failure.

I feel like I don’t do enough when it comes to my children’s development – it’s been a learning process and challenge for myself as a parent to develop my girls’ vocabulary and reading skills. 

Plus, the amount of information on children’s development is overwhelming – especially when the information to do certain things when Annaliese was born had changed by the time Abigail was born (2 years later). My conclusion is: there is not one right way to parent.

One of the only consistent developmental activities my husband and I have done with our daughters is: read to them. It’s never too early to start reading to your children! A few ways we’ve encouraged reading as they’ve grown are:

We developed a bedtime routine that included a book being read every night, and it’s something they both will fuss over if we forget to do. 

My husband (a book lover) reads his novels in front of them, demonstrating through actions how enjoyable reading is.

I keep books in the car for my daughters to read/look at on long or short trips. It always warms by heart when I can hear Annaliese reciting her book (she can’t read words yet) to the best of her memory to Abigail.

We make picnic dates where I let the girls fill a backpack with their choice of books, then we go somewhere in our community, treat ourselves to a snack, and read. It’s easy. It let’s my daughters feel involved in the planning, and gets us out of our home for some fresh air and books.

We visit our local library – we love exploring new books and topics. We signed up for the TD Summer Reading Club (the preschooler version) this year and set our goal to read new books every week.

Annaliese loves filling her notebook (which is bilingual, half in English and the other side est en Français), that she received at the library when we signed up, with stickers for every new book we read together. It’s humorous how stickers can be the ultimate reward.

How to raise a reader? Take part in the TD Summer Reading Club anywhere! It’s a free program available at 2000 public libraries across Canada and online, and is easy to fit into your summer plans. Better yet, it’s never too late to participate. 

This year, Canada’s 150th birthday, the TD Summer Reading Club is highlighting Canadian culture, authors, illustrators, and stories. The 2017 recommended reading list includes 75 English titles and 75 French titles showcasing the diverse talents of Canadian writers and illustrators.

There’s no better time to start good reading habits with your children than now! Stop by your local library to join the TD Summer Reading Club!

And the best part? You can enter to win the TD Summer Reading Club’s top reads list by entering below!

Subscribe to Honey & Betts’ newsletter

Follow Honey & Betts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, & Instagram (click the links to go to the pages to follow)

Comment below with your child’s favourite book!

The contest will close Thursday, August 17th. Winner will be verified on Friday. The contest is open to Canadian residents, excluding Quebec.

Edmonton Alberta Blogger

Posted on July 18, 2017

Don’t Let Taking An Instagram-Worthy Photo Wreck Your Family Time

Don’t cry over spilt milk? Don’t cry over dropped ice cream!

Edmonton blogger family travels to Sylvan Lake during Summer Edmonton blogger family travels to Sylvan Lake during Summer

Edmonton blogger family travels to Sylvan Lake during Summer Edmonton blogger family travels to Sylvan Lake during Summer

We took A&A for their first beach day this year and it was great. We packed everything up (but forgot our beach tent and beach mat…), left early in the morning on a Friday, abandoned naps, and headed 2 hours South to one of the nicer lakes in Alberta – Sylvan Lake.

It was a great day, but half way through it I nearly lost my ice cream.

Best Icecream in Alberta Don't Let Taking An Instagram-Worthy Photo Wreck Your Family Time

I don’t mean figuratively (not like I’m trying to invent a new way to say “I lost my marbles”), I literally nearly lost my precious Big Moo double scoop (cookie dough + dark chocolate caramel) ice cream cone.

Which is a big deal because that ice cream is like cold gold.

I found some cute flooring, black & white tiles like it shows in the photo, and decided I should take a picture of my delicious ice cream and the floor. 

Unfortunately, for me to get my bump, shorts, feet, and ice cream in the frame I needed to tilt my ice cream cone to 70° angle and attempt to rest my phone on my chest to stabilize my shaky-phone-holding hand. I should also mention it was a hot day.

It wasn’t until 3 still blurry photos in I decided it wasn’t worth it, and a big dollop of ice cream fell on the floor (you can see the bit of chocolate ice cream falling in the photo).

I looked up at Matt and he was shaking his head pointing at my ice cream cone. The 2 scoops were about to join that other smaller piece on the floor. My cone was completely lopsided.

I can guarantee if my ice cream had fallen on the floor I would have been chapped. And I would only have myself to blame for #1 dropping my ice cream and #2 not getting a good pic… my day would have soured exactly in that moment.

But I was given a second chance! I enjoyed my ice cream. In my opinion, I redeemed my day even further by staying present with my family and enjoying the rest of our beach day.

I realized that photos don’t prove anything, even though we now live in an extremely visual, social media driven world. I want my daughters to have memories that they don’t need a photo to remember them by (though at this age they probably will not remember much…).

I have feeling in 15 years my children will not give a what to see a perfect, Instagram-worthy photo of my feet and ice cream cone to recall the wonderful day at the beach… at least I would feel the same way if my mom pulled a similar photo out to help me remember a beach day from 20 years ago!

P.S. Maybe I’ll tell you another time about how I botched 2 Instax Mini photos of my bff (stupid reset light settings) on this same beach day… I clearly need to stay on the DSLR!

Edmonton Alberta Blogger

Posted on July 13, 2017

Valco Baby Tri Mode X Duo Stroller Review

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You know I’ve been on the hunt for a double stroller for the past 6 months – doing the research is easy for me, but finding a double stroller (in Canada) that would fit with our lifestyle was a bit more difficult.

As a growing family of to-be 5 we need a high quality stroller to wrangle our mischevious girls.

I stumbled upon the Valco Baby Tri Mode X Duo Stroller and knew it was the stroller for our family. It has the durability, versatility from city streets to country road adventures, modern edge aesthetics, space for more than 2 children (I can’t wait to show you the 3rd seat you can attach when our little baby arrives!), large storage space underneath, and nothing beats a smooth ride.

The first thing Matt said when it arrived was “will that fit through a door?”.

To both of our relief, it does! It is 74cm wide.

We live downtown and having a stroller to tote both our girls around with ease is very important to us. We take the Valco Baby Tri Mode X Duo to the downtown city market, cafes, mall, recreation centre, sporting events and anywhere life takes us.

My favourite feature (besides the easy to remove fabric, which makes it so much easier to clean) is the compact fold. Before we bought our van this stroller easily fit in the trunk of our Subaru Forester. Even with the belly bars on the stroller, it folds into 81L x 75W x 41H (cm).

Odd features I didn’t know I would love are:

  • flat reclining seats suitable for newborn and up
  • double extended canopies, with 2 canopy choices (mesh for increase ventilation or fabric for sun protection)
  • unique, easy to use swivel system for locking and unlocking the front wheels
  • doubled hinged bumper bars for quick access from both sides
  • like I previously mentioned, the 3rd attachable toddler seat
  • foot break system, that is easy to use with any type of footwear (I’ve had strollers with foot brakes I could not use while wearing sandals)
  • adjustable foot rests
  • full metal frame for complete durability
  • large storage basket underneath
  • adjustable handle bar (this is a must for the 6 inches that differ between Matt and myself)

There are available accessories for the Valco Baby Tri Mode X Duo but I have not tested any of them out and can’t speak to the functionality of them yet.

Now that I have 1 more month left until this baby makes her debut, I will be squeezing in nice long walks with my girls and our Valco Baby stroller to ready my body for the 3rd addition to our family. I’m excited and nervous, but I now I’ll be able to tote all my girls around and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Edmonton Alberta Blogger

I have received this product in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.
Posted on June 30, 2017

Happy Birthday Hannah & Canada! | DIY Naked Cake For Terrible Bakers | #Canada150

First thing you need to know is I am a terrible baker, the last cake I "made" was half baked. This easy to make DIY Naked Cake for terrible bakers! Betty Crocker Rainbow Bit Naked Cake DIY PINK flowers

Guess who’s birthday it is this weekend? Yours truly! Turning 24 has crept up on me, I feel like I just wrote my Turning 23 post.

I’m blessed to share a birthday with Canada, and fortunately I always get a long weekend and fireworks on birthday. It’s a wonderful day!

This year I decided to make myself a cake (because I usually just buy one…). First thing you need to know is I am a terrible baker, the last cake I “made” fell apart and was half baked. I stick to muffins, it’s hard to mess those up!

And I’ve had this SMAKSAM Ikea cake decorating kit in my pantry (unopened since New Year’s) and I’m pretty sure Matt gave up all hope I’d ever use it. What a better time to put it to use than MY birthday!

What you’ll need to make a DIY naked cake for terrible bakers:

Cake Mix (1 box for 2 layers, or 2 boxes for 3/4 layers)

Icing
8″ round cake pans
SMAKSAM Ikea Cake Decorating Set
Happy Birthday Candles

DIY Naked Cake
Make a 2 or 3 or 4 layer cake for any celebration.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 - 2 Cake Mix Boxes
  2. 3 - 6 Eggs
  3. 1/3 - 2/3 Cup Oil (they suggest vegetable, I used melted coconut oil)
  4. 1 Container of Icing
  5. 1 Cup Frozen Cherries
  6. 1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
  7. 8" Inch Round Cake Pan
Instructions
  1. Follow directions on cake mix to make either 2 cake layers (using 1 box) or 4 cake layers (using 2 box).
  2. Let cake cool for 10 min.
  3. Blend the frozen cherries and coconut milk and 1/2 cup of icing until well blended.
  4. Use the SMAKSAM Ikea cake cutter, cut the round side of the cakes to an even plain.
  5. Fill the SMAKSAM Ikea icing bag with white icing.
  6. Use the SMAKSAM Ikea icing bag, trace with white icing around the cakes edge. This prevemts the cherry icing from over flowing the sides.
  7. Fill the remaining area with the cherry icing mixture.
  8. Put the next cake layer evenly on the bottom, iced cake layer. Repeat if you have more than 2 layers.
  9. Refill the SMAKSAM Ikea icing bag with white icing.
  10. Apply all the icing on the sides and top of the 2 layer cake.
  11. Use the SMAKSAM Ikea icing edge, apply even pressure while turning the cake and smooth the icing on the sides and top of cake.
  12. Refridgerate for at least 1 hour.
  13. Decorate with candles and enjoy!
Honey & Betts http://www.honeyandbetts.com/

Edmonton Alberta Blogger

Posted on June 26, 2017

Third Trimester Worries | What I Do To Combat My Pregnancy Anxieties

2 Things I Do To Combat Pregnancy Anxieties

edmonton alberta blogger Combat Pregnancy Anxieties mom blogger

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dress: Poppy & Dot | jacket: Zara | purse: Winners | shoes: Old Navy | sunnies: Red Ribbon Boutique | necklace: Olive & Piper

As the weeks dwindle down (can you believe only 10 more weeks until this baby girl arrives?) I am taking advantage of date nights and girl’s night (P.S almost none of my clothes fit me anymore, it feels like I’m wearing the same outfits weekly at this point…).

It is isolating that first year as a mom to a newborn because there are plenty of invites to attend parties, dinners, or events but your baby needs you constantly (especially when you’re breastfeeding).

I’m also in uncharted territory – I’ve enjoyed giving birth to October babies because the following months that I needed to take to re-adjust back to the 24/7 needs of a newborn – it’s usually freezing outside (at least in Edmonton) and it did not feel like I was missing out on much.

I can feel my anxieties and worries start to build as the due date draws closer (having 3 kids under 4, labour, postpartum healing, the usual pregnancy worries), but when I feel that tightness in my chest or my jaw or my shoulders from carrying around those anxieties all day, I remember to pray and read my bible.

During my second pregnancy, I book marked my favourite verses for anxiety, and I continued to read them after giving birth. My anxiety mixed with the flood of postpartum hormones had me in tears the first week after having my babies but I also find crying as an excellent stress reliever.

So I would read these bible verses and pray (for strength, courage, direction, health for my baby and myself, and giving thanks for the beautiful baby He knit inside me for the past 40 weeks) and doing this helped remind me I needed to trust and lean on God:

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” – Psalm 18:17

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” – Psalm 29:11

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” – Psalm 61:2

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 2:21

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand… For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” – Isaiah 41:10,13

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:19

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 12:1

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 15:12

He know you by name, He knows the struggles you face, but He wants to hear it from you.

I often forget that I don’t need to face my problems alone. I figure I’m doing a fine job smoothing everything out, and then the weight of fighting my battles alone come crashing down on me and I have a good cry (typically during that cry I am reminded of what I forgot to do) – I forgot to tell God my problems and ask for help.

Learn from my experience and go straight to asking God for help. It’s much easier than burning out and then asking for help.

Edmonton Alberta Blogger

Posted on June 15, 2017

Father’s Day Gift Guide | Practical Dad Gifts by Bed Bath & Beyond

What To Buy The Practical Dad For Father’s Day?

This year I needed help with Father’s Day so I took Matt shopping and he showed me exactly what he wanted for his Father’s Day gifts.

If you watched our Bed Bath & Beyond shopping trip on Instastories, Matt already had a wish list ready to go. I don’t know about your husbands but mine is an effective shopper.

I hope you can find inspiration for the dads in your life from his wish list for Father’s Day:

Nutribullet Pro | Matt’s a milk shake guy, and our blender needed a serious upgrade to make thick milk shakes. Now, the Nutribullet Pro has the power and size to make delicious all the milk shakes his heart desires. And trust me, he’s going to use the Nurtibullet lots!

Cuisinart Verticle Waffle Maker | I look forward to weekend morning waffles for the rest of my life and the endless waffle combinations to be discovered. We chose the vertical waffle maker because #1 we live in an apartment and #2 we have limited counter space. I am so pleased with this waffle maker so far! There’s limited to no mess, it cooks the waffles perfectly, and the automatic timer makers it so I don’t have to babysit it while cooking.

Tervis Tumblers | Matt doesn’t like my excessive coffee mug collection, especially because the cups are so small (in his opinion). These tumblers are the perfect gift because they’re suitable for hot and cold drinks, are microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and freezer safe. You won’t have to worry about wrecking your cups again.

Therapedic TruCool Memory Foam Pillow | I wish I had thought about asking for a new pillow for Mother’s Day! Matt has had the same pillow for the past 5 years (at least) and he really wanted a new pillow – which makes sense since having a good supportive, comfy pillow means you’ll theoretically have a better sleep. Sounds like a great gift to me!

Nutribullet Pro | Waffle Maker | Therapedic TruCool Pillow | Tervis Tumbler Cups

Edmonton Alberta Blogger

This blog post is sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond. All opinions are 100% my own.

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