THE THING YOU NEED TO SUCCEED

This morning I was once again able to meet with an incredible group of women. This group truly supports with an open heart. Moms empowering moms. Women empowering women. While many of our avenues are different, the common ground is the same : be our best, and work damn hard to turn those lucrative goals (or promises) into realities.

Where I am today is not where I’m going, it’s just a pit stop on a long journey that will be filled with challenges to overcome, and mountains to move. Where I am today is not the end, it’s the beginning; however, my version of today almost didn’t happen because for too long I allowed myself to be not only stuck at the beginning of the race, but afraid to even register for it.

The fear was crippling. I am not an expert. This was not the box I checked off in high school. The crystal ball did not foretell this future. In this new world, I am a round peg to a square hole, so how could I possibly find success? Each day I would wake up, and within minutes I would flatten myself. I would put myself back into the preconceived box, and I would tell myself that I wasn’t good enough.

So what changed?

I actually found something where the excitement outweighed the fear. I found something that fuelled my flame instead of snuffing it. I found something that, for the first time in a long time, made me believe in myself.

Now, of course you need to work damn hard day in and day out to attain it, but at the end of the day, if you don’t believe in yourself, that you are the best person for the job, that you are capable of achieving those goals, and that come hell or high water you’ve got this, then success will never be in reach.

I can. I will. I am.

I statements command attention. They tell not only the world, but yourself that you ARE a force. That you DO have this. That you WILL attain your goals. I statements hold more accountability because in making them, you are actually telling yourself you CAN achieve them.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot that goes in to becoming a success. Work ethic, research, follow through, positive action, networking, etc. However, none of that would even exist without the belief that it should.

I didn’t believe in myself because it was honestly easier not to. It was a safe zone, and a form of self preservation. To overcome my fear I needed to change my perspective. So, I began to look at my fear in a different way, and I realized what was scarier than trying and failing was actually staying on the sidelines of my life. Sure, I might never be able to Bend It Like Beckham, but was I seriously okay with not even participating in the game?

Now, I believe. I found something that excites me more than the fear could ever cripple me, and I believe I’ve got this because I DO have this. I am bigger than a box. I am better than I was giving myself credit for, and I absolutely 100% know I will get where I’m going.

Maybe what I’m doing will have an impact, maybe it won’t (it will), but at least I’m having the courage to find out, and that my friends is something I can take to the bank!

You’ve got this, so stop waiting and GO GET IT!

FYI, WHAT YOU’RE SAYING ISN’T HELPFUL

The other day I witnessed a new mother reach out and bravely ask “How do you keep going when the noise is deafening, and when the light has been devoured in darkness?” This Momma is struggling. This Momma is in pain. This Momma is in need of support, but most importantly this Momma is doing something most don’t. This Momma is actually ASKING for help.

Her response was met with “You’ve got this,” and “It will get better”. Not super helpful, but enough to offer a superficial level of support. Kudos. Then I noticed the bullshit advice of “You just do”. I’m sorry, but WHAT?! Please tell me how this is really supporting a woman who is giving all she has just to breathe?

This got me thinking back to my own battle with postpartum depression. Yes, the uncomfortable mental illness that people don’t understand because “You just had a baby, you should be walking on cloud nine with love in your heart, and sunshine and rainbows in your soul.” First of all, you can have an all consuming love for a child without a unicorn farting around you, thank-you very much. Second, postpartum depression has NOTHING to do with loving your child.

It’s a disease that eats at every fibre of your being. As if struggling through the weight of sleep deprivation, hormones, second guesses and poop everywhere isn’t enough, an elephant comes and sits on your chest leaving your body, mind and spirit in ruins. Your smile can’t reach your eyes. Your body aches. You’re no longer Te Fiti the beautiful, luxurious Mother Island, but Ta Ka, a dark, volcanic eruption fighting to maintain life while combusting from within. (Hmmm maybe my toddler isn’t the only one obsessed with Moana…)

I cannot tell you how many times I was told to just “Get over it”. How many times I was told to just “Deal with it, and move on” as if I wasn’t trying with all my might to attain that idyllic picture of motherhood perfection everyone expected. No one chooses to be that hopeless, that lonely, THAT afraid. For the record, PPD is an illness, it is not a flu or a cold, and it sure as hell isn’t something you can wish away and just get over. Believe me, I tried the fake it till I made it, and you know what it got me? A one way ticket to barely being able to pull myself off the couch.

I didn’t want to deal, I actually very much wanted to HEAL, and such bullshit “advice” really doesn’t help. It’s actually annoying and makes someone feel even shittier and like more of a burden.

So how do you keep going when the noise is deafening, and when the light has been devoured in darkness? With a lot of work. A lot of reflection. A lot of self awareness. A lot of help, and a lot (A LOT) of strength.It’s a chemical imbalance. It doesn’t mean you are weak, or any lesser of a mom. There are resources available, and supports that will help guide you through. It takes a lot to fight against going through those motions, and the reality is, it’s a battle that has been lost by too many. It’s a battle that impacts not only the woman, but her family.

So the next time someone is brave enough to ask for help, please, please, please muster up a little better advice than a freaking poster of a cat telling you to “Hang in there”.

 

THE STARLIGHT PRINCESS

It had been a long battle from the time it had begun. Every day brought another challenge, another fight, another war. Every day demanded courage and strength for the promise of a tomorrow.

Today, however, the mission had changed. The promise of tomorrow was replaced by a light everlasting.

Dressed in white with a kerchief tied to her head, the little Warrior dotted each I and crossed each T before folding the parchment and leaving it on the dresser. With one final look to her mother who sat folded over the patch worked bed, the little Warrior blew a kiss through the open air, turned, and began her journey to the Ever Fairies.

The grass tickled at her feet as she made her way across the field towards the willow trees. The stars danced above her, and for the first time in a long time, she felt life through every breath. The air soothed her aching limbs, and lifted the kerchief’s long tail as though she was a star shooting through the skies.

For a moment, the canopy from the willow’s weep left her nerves in fear. The world she once knew was gone, the sky had disappeared, and for the first time in a long time there was silence.

Flint by flint the way was lit by tiny fireflies dancing through the mid summer night’s breeze. Though dirt and shrub, the path was soft beneath the Warrior’s toughened feet. Pushing past the sway of the eldest willow, she was met with a soothing mist from the water’s fall.

With eyes tired from a life fought yet hardly lived, the Warrior strained in vain to find the water’s beginning. A song chimed from beneath the cascading stream when all of a sudden an opening appeared as though someone had swept open a curtain. A lily pad crept to the water’s edge and waited patiently for the Warrior’s to embark.

Nervously, the Warrior looked back to the canopy of the swaying trees. A heart conflicted she knew walking through the falls would both free her from the dark and cast a cruel shadow over the world she once belonged.

With a tear, she continued her journey. The portal welcomed her to a world beyond dreams. She sat as the lily pad gently moved across the silky pond. Dragonflies danced under the light of the moon. Music swung softly through the air. The Warrior closed her eyes in delight as the cool breeze washed over her.

Gently, the lily pad began to slow. The Warrior opened her eyes and let out a soft sigh. Before her, perched so elegantly a top golden toadstools, sat the Ever Fairies. Three goddesses dressed in white with their hair softly draped behind them, their wings as delicate as a spider’s web, their skin emitting a silver glow.

One by one they spoke:

The world is full of little fighters

Who make our earth so much brighter

However, sometimes their light is just too strong

And on this earth they don’t belong

So after showing such strength in plight

We Fairies summon you to illuminate our night

It seems a trick of fate

One that has caused a great debate

For one so young and pure of heart

To be called to fill this sacred part

And so to most it seems quite cruel

To crown you with our sacred jewel

But we have seen in you, so pure and true

More than strength and outstanding virtue

A beacon of wonder, hope and love

We need your shine way up above

And so we humbly call to you, an immortal girl

To breathe eternal life back to a broken world

You are the sun, the earth, one of the best by far

Will you be our shinning star?

The Warrior sat in silence, contemplating the words that had just been spoken. She looked to her frail arms and thought of hardships lived beyond the willows. She remembered the fear, the heartache, the pain. She thought about the people in the trenches with her, their lives forever altered; and she spoke.

I want my light to be bright as can be

So the world I left will remember me

Though maybe sad enough to weep

They’ll know I’m with them in their sleep

Watching over them with grace and pride

As they learn to trust what’s deep inside

Hope, love and above all faith

To live a life that’s truly great

Though not beside them, watching close

No need for anything more verbose

While they may walk another plain

I want them to know my love remains

Always, forever, end to start

Entwined forever are our hearts

The Fairies looked to each other with a nod before softly beginning their chant. Between their hands light began to swirl as they drew energy from beyond. With a gust of wind and a flash of light, a tiara appeared between the middle Fairy’s hands.

The remaining Fairies flanked to the Warrior’s side and escorted her step by step into the soothing tide. Gently one stood to her front with their hands entwined while the other unraveled the kerchief allowing the moonlight to dance off the Warrior’s head.

The Eldest Fairy descended as the others cradled the Warrior in the eternity pool. Their song washed over her in time with the rolling waves.

Young Warrior, your battle’s nearly done

As you’ve been chosen as our one

You’ve shown more strength and bravery than anyone ever should

You are too pure for this plain, more than could ever be understood

And so you’ve agreed to be a guide to those who’ve lost their way

A beacon of hope, of light, of good for those who’ve gone astray

Your love forever present, your life has left a scar

A beacon of faith and love, living as an Ever Star

You’re an inspiration, that everyone can agree

But before you shine your light for all the world to see

We want to say we’re sorry, for the cards you had been dealt

Your life, your laugh, your dignity is a mark that countless felt

So thank-you for what you give the world

You precious little girl

Ever humbled by your strength and smile when faced with such distress

Crowned for today and all tomorrows as our Starlight Princess

The crown felt cool against the Warrior’s pale head. Her legs began to tingle as she was lifted through the air. Her soul began to spiral as the light from within which had been felt by so many began to radiate brighter and stronger than before. For the first time in a long time, she felt the strength that others saw. Her body no longer aching, no longer shrouded in fatigue, the Princess leapt into the air as elegant as a gazelle.

Up, up past the second star to the left, she sprang through the night as a shooting star. Her tail was her paintbrush leaving a streak of embers to further glisten the sky.

After a journey nowhere near as long as her fight, she found comfort in the stars, and settled in at peace. Though a part of her was sad for missing what might have been, she found solace in the fact that she was not up there alone. She was surrounded by other Warriors who were quick to make her feel at home. After living restlessly, she let out a great big yawn with the first sight of the rising dawn.

Before she could lay her head and finally get some rest, she looked down to her little house. Her heart tightened thinking of her mother waking soon. She blew a kiss that housed with it the tiniest of lights for every night she’d sing to it to make that light ignite.

With her silver voice she sang:

It’s okay to miss me, but don’t let that stop you from your life

I fought too hard for mine to watch you give up in this strife

No one chose this deck of cards, no one would have been so foolish

But here we are, the cards were dealt, so please listen to my wish

Your hopes, your dreams are ours to share so please don’t lose your way

You taught me how to be this strong, and that strength will build each day

It’s okay to miss me, but know I’m not really gone

I’m high above, forever eagerly cheering you on

Thank-you for your courage, your care and love for me

You are my light, my best friend, my wonderful mommy

Until the day we meet again though I hope that day is far

From high above I’ll watch you as your brightest shining star

 

ON THE PLUS SIDE

Dear Imperfect Stranger,

Fun fact, I did in fact lose all the baby weight. Yup, all SIXTY pounds of it. I know I don’t look the way I did before; my thighs are a little more giggly, my ankles are a little more canklely and my stomach is less toned than ever, but if I’m okay with it, why are you so uncomfortable?

For real, my husband never received comments about his post baby weight loss (because let’s face it, I wasn’t eating those chips on the couch by myself), so why the hell are you commenting on mine?

As with everything, there is that pesky standard; however, honestly the last I checked beauty came in all sizes.

Am I a walking, talking, breathing poster of body positivity? No. Depending on the day I might change my outfit three times, but honestly if you ask anyone regardless of their personal body description they will tell you the same. That’s normal, everyone has their own perceived flaws; however, that doesn’t mean I need to hide away or feel shamed for a little extra junk in the trunk.

I’m happy. I’ve accepted that my body is post baby because, well, I had a baby. I’m proud of the weight loss I did manage to accomplish in addition to learning how to tame and nurture a Mandrake, and I know that one day, I will be able to get back to a higher level of fitness.

So, take your bullshit pressure and shove it because at a time when everything is a guessing game, guilt trip, or open water swim, the last thing that anyone needs is to feel as though they are lesser for living the way they see fit.

As Ed Sheeran would say “there’s more to life than fitting in your jeans”, and as a new mom there is A LOT going on! Everyone is writing their own story, and you, my dear Stranger Danger, are not being consulted as a bata, editor or reviewer–so just butt out.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to finish this deliciously atrocious green juice…and then I’m gonna eat a damn donut because, you know, balance.

XoXo

REVIEW: #BabyLove- MY TODDLER LIFE

#BabyLove- MY TODDLER LIFE is a picture book for the modern day Mom. Written & illustrated by Corine Dehghanpisheh, MY TODDLER LIFE is the second book in the #BabyLove series. Written from the child’s point of view, we are taken through the daily life of a toddler. Whether it’s arts and crafts, reading, playing with toys, etc, these everyday intimate moments are being documented and shared via social media. This rhyming story is cute, fun, and relatable to all parents who are so excited to share their Baby Love with the world as well as those who are forever trying to freeze a moment and make time stand still.

At one point, the young boy finds his Momma’s phone. This made me laugh because who hasn’t left the room at one time or another only to return to a reel of nostril selfies, and ceiling shots?

This book is an easy read, and is filled with bright, beautiful photos. There is the obvious lesson for your toddler which is that Mommy’s phone is not a toy, but I actually feel the lesson was geared towards adults. The story is written from the child’s perspective, and while the words may say “Mommy and I” the reality of the photos show a different story. As a blogger, but really as a mom, it was a good reminder that while some things do need to be captured, childhoods are meant to be witnessed in real time, and not watched through a lens or a screen.

#MommyandMe #BabyLove

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

MOVIES UNDER THE STARS

Let’s face it, summer can be an expensive time for families as we all try to keep our kids occupied and entertained throughout the long summer days. That’s why an event that’s FREE and fun for the whole family is always a great find to add to your summer bucket list.

This Saturday kicks off Surrey’s annual outdoor event Movies Under the Stars hosted by the Downtown Surrey BIA. This year’s movie picks are the perfect way to relax and enjoy some outdoor memories with your kids. While you wait for the sun to go down, there will be entertainment, activities and live performances. Don’t miss out on this free opportunity to connect with family and friends before the grind of school and schedules picks up again!

When and Where

Holland Park – 13428 Old Yale Road, Surrey

5:00-11:00

Come early to claim the perfect spot for the show and enjoy all the night has to offer.

Movies begin at dusk.

Movie Schedule

August 5th, 2017 – LEGO BATMAN

Rated PG. LEGO BATMAN is the second movie in the Lego series. Set in Gotham as Batman (Will Arnett) fights to save the city from the evil Joker (Zach Galifanakis). Along the way, Batman needs to learn to work with others. If this is anything like the first LEGO Movie, it is sure to be a fun, humorous, and action filled movie both kids and adults will enjoy.

August 12th, 2017 – SING

Rated PG. This movie follows a cast of characters (humanoid animals) as they compete in a singing competition. With an all-star cast including Reese Witherspoon and Mathew McConaughey, this movie is full of musical covers from a variety of genres and decades. Tap your toes to and enjoy as your littles jump to their feet to dance under the stars!

August 19th, 2017 – MOANA

Rated PG. In an attempt to save her island, Moana (Auli’I Cravalho) sets out on a daring adventure. Her travels lead her to meet Maui (Dwayne Johnson), a demigod of the wind and sea (hero to men and women). This has quickly become one of my favourite Disney movies, and the music has filled our household and daily lives.

August 26th, 2017 – BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Rated PG. A tale as old as time! This live action remake of the original delves deeper into the lives of Belle (Emma Watson), and her captor the Beast (Dan Stevens). With magic, action, and a soundtrack near and dear to so many adults’ hearts, you will love sharing this classic love story with your child.

What to Bring

As this event is in a park, it is recommended to bring either lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on while you enjoy the films. While the days are warm, the night can bring cooler temps so consider layers, a light jacket, and other weather dependent gear.

What’s a movie without snacks? While I’m sure you will be bringing your favourites, Prospera Credit Union will be providing all attendees with free popcorn. Mmm mmm mmm I can already smell the butter in the air!

The North Surrey Lions Club will also be hosting a BBQ before the movie with all proceeds being distributed among local charities.

 

 

 

 

 

SMOGGY DAYS

Okay, we have been pretty lucky with the amount of outdoor play we have been having this summer; however, since the smog has rolled in from nearby forest fires and we have been placed on an air advisory notice, I am scrambling to find things to distract my toddler from the sand, toys and water fun we have been enjoying outside.

Here are a few ideas to fill a summer day inside when all you want to do is run and play in the gorgeous sunshine!

Get In the Kitchen

While turning on my oven is a big no no during the summer, my child loves to cook and bake. If you’re like me, your Pinterest account is home to several saved no bake recipes you have been waiting for the right moment to try. Well with my baking supplies dwindling over the past few months, I felt pretty limited in what I could create. Luckily I found an easy recipe I could make using what few ingredients I actually had left in my pantry which meant I did NOT have to venture into the smog to the store–yay!

Today we made puppy chow, and it was so, so fun! My kid loves to measure and mix things, so this was the perfect recipe with minimal clean up. As this is mostly made in a ziplock bag, my Little Love was more than excited to shake, shake, shake her way to a tasty treat! Afterwards, she enjoyed her snack (while pretending to be a puppy herself), and I was able to get the kitchen cleaned in less than 5 minutes!

 

Make a Fort

Reading is a big part of our day. We love books, and the best part of my day is going through the mountain of books my child pulls off her shelf each morning and afternoon as she waits for me to come grab her from her slumber.

Making a fort is just another way to nurture that love of reading. She thinks it’s so fun to pile our pillows, bring in our water and a snack, and just chill. Sometimes we read, sometimes we sing nursery rhymes, and sometimes we just lay on the pillows and laugh. In this household forts = WAY too much fun!

Get Creative

Crafts on a whim can be challenging, which is why I try to pick up kits and material for those “rainy days”. Of course, murphy’s law is that my kiddo didn’t want any of that today, so Momma needed to get a bit creative!

Being a blogger, I keep in touch with a lot of fellow moms for support, and yes even ideas. Just yesterday, I saw @raisingmyknight on Instagram had made a little Lightning McQueen with her son. My kiddo loves cars and painting, so we took a stab at hit. While it may not have turned out as cute for us, it was definitely a fun way to kill an hour!

Go on a Field Trip

While there are less drop in play gyms available over the summer, indoor playgrounds like Jungle Jacs, Crash Crawlies, or Kokos are always a fun way to fill an afternoon. Plus, it gets out some of that indoor energy before bedtime!

Tomorrow we are thinking of trying out Kidtropolis which we have heard is an awesome place to spend an indoor afternoon.

Swimming is also a fun way to spend an afternoon, and a sure fire way to tucker my kiddo out!

Picnic in Your Living Room

As a kid, my favourite memories were doing things that weren’t typically allowed. Well, eating in the living room is a definitely no no for my messy eater. That being said, picnic food and picnic rules are a little different. Together, we made our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, we picked our favourite fruits. G was torn between bananas, blueberries and oranges, so we decided to have a bit of a fruit feast instead of choose! We mixed our drinks (pureed watermelon with perrier in a sippy cup) and we set our puppy chow in the fridge for later. It was such a fun way to lunch and will definitely be keeping this in my back pocket. 🙂

 

Let’s face it, inside days on a sunny day can be tough. Which is why this Mommy is choosing to end her day with a glass of wine! In the end, we all do what we have to do for the sake of our sanity. Hopefully one of these ideas will be helpful, and may the odds be forever in your favour!

LENTIL TACO SALAD

Lately my hubby and I have been big into lentils! They are a filling and economic item that acts as a great substitute for ground meat. So here’s a meal perfect for any Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, or any other day of the week!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 cup lentils (uncooked)

1 red onion finely chopped

1 avocado

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 clove of garlic

1 tomato

1 tbsp Mrs Dash seasoning spice

1 tbsp lime juice

1 package of taco seasoning

1 head preferred lettuce (I used butter lettuce; however iceberg or romaine would work too)

1 tomato sliced

Optional: Shredded cheese and those delicious little salad topper tortilla chips!

Directions:

In a pot, bring lentils to a boil following the directions on the package. Once boiled, cover and reduce heat until lentils are fully cooked.

While the “meat” of the dish is cooking, use this time to prep your salad. Wash, tear and dry lettuce, dice tomatoes and onion. Set aside.

Now for the best part of the dish (because it’s ALWAYS the best part of the dish), it’s time to mix up that guacamole! In a food processor mix together the avocado, yogurt, garlic and Mrs Dash and lime juice. You might choose to add the onions, but I left mine as a garnish as my kiddo does not like to eat them.

Once the lentils are cooked, season them with the taco mix.

Assemble salad and enjoy!

I love tacos and salads for dinner because it’s an easy crowd pleaser as every assembles their own. My daughter devoured THREE helpings of lentils, guac, tomatoes and cheese! Needless to say I will be keeping this little gem in my meal rotations. 🙂

Bon Appetit!

-Anjie

MESSY HOUSE? OH WELL!

Dear Imperfect Stranger,

Welcome to my home! As you can probably tell, it is a little less organized than the last time you visited because I’ve finally realized something. I’ve finally figured out that I don’t need to have the perfect house to live my happy life.

Honestly, life can get pretty messy. While I love organization, and knowing that everything has its home, I’ve learned that things can have sleepovers too. That the train set that we spent the afternoon building will bring as much joy tomorrow as it did today. That the mountain of books will be read again and again, and that the puzzle on the play table will be finished in a day or two (or five).

You see, I’ve finally figured out that my house isn’t messy, it’s lived in. While I will admit, I do think it’s important for the sake of my own anxiety to manage the clutter, I realized that that is not what I was doing. I was driving myself crazy, and adding pressure to an already heavy load. Worse than that, I was erasing our day. The train track, the puzzles, all of it was gone in the time it took my husband to put our daughter to bed.

And why? So that I could impress you? So that I could be like Suzie Homemaker and I could fake an image of perfection? That image is too illusive and I really need to focus on my own realities instead of striving for others.

I need to stop feeling inadequate for my house being lived in.

I love our days, and I need to stop erasing them because as much as I like to have things in their place, my daughter likes to run from her crib and continue with her play. She likes to push the trains around the track while making choo choo noises, and despite a sometimes short attention span, she enjoys working and finishing a puzzle.

So I’m sorry if my house is less than photo ready, but I’m not about to run around like a chicken with my head cut off and pretend to be something I’m not. I do that enough, and I’m exhausted.

XoXo

 

CANVAS ART WITH A TODDLER

I know it is tough to know what interests a kid will carry with them through their adolescence and teen years, so for now I really try and nurture any and everything. It’s a lot sometimes, but I know it makes my kid happy so why not?

I have a little artist at home. We draw everywhere from the table, to the sidewalk, to the bathtub, and everywhere in between. She loves it, and I love seeing that joy of creativity. Something that I find difficult though is honouring that creative mind. My house has enough clutter going for it that I don’t want to add having half scribbled drawings on display. Seriously, her toys have overtaken my floor, she’s not getting ahold of my walls too! While I am not that mom who has the gorgeously tidy house all day every day, I do like knowing that when I need it, I can have an adult space.

So where’s the balance? For me it was finding a way to incorporate her art into my design. We spent an afternoon outside with a canvas and left over paint, and together we created a piece of art for our living room. Something she is proud to show off, something that values her talent, but also something that fits the space.

We started with a large blank canvas that I had found from a liquidation place. We took some left over spackle from our renovation and using a plastic putty knife from the Dollar Store, I had her smear it across the canvas to give it some texture. We had a yogurt pop and enjoyed the sunshine while we waited for this step to dry.

Next I poured some white paint into a painter’s tray and had her roll it over top the canvas. Slowly, I added a small amounts of grey to the mixture as she rolled to begin adding dimension.

We then switched from roller to a brush and I gave her a plate of different shades of grey. We also added a bit of the leftover navy paint we had to tie the colours together. I taught her a few techniques for brush strokes to get that abstract look I was hoping for.

Afterwards, we experimented with different materials to add a little more texture. She pulled the paint across the canvas with the putty knife, she used an old toothbrush-although this did not last long because this child is obsessed with brushing her teeth and we came a bit too close for comfort with having painted teeth. We used cardboard and tin foil, but my favourite item used to create texture was when she grabbed her shovel (she loves to garden) and started pulling it across the canvas.

 

With her advising me where to put it, I added the black because it’s a colour that can very quickly overpower a project.

Lastly, I painted a streak of glue over the dried paint and had my daughter add the sparkles.

While it may not be a project good enough for the Louvre, it’s the perfect addition to our living space. It’s a work of joy, and that joy radiates every time I look at it, and really, at the end of the day, isn’t art supposed to put a smile on your face?