Find Journeys of The Zoo on Google+ Journeys of The Zoo: January 2013

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

@BabyOrganicJoy is Giving Away $500*! CAN, 03/31

Baby Organic Joy Giveaway
Pretend that you just won $500 in baby products from Baby Organic Joy.

Yes, I just wrote "you and "$500" in the same sentence.

I lied.

How about if you and two other people each won $500!

Now, that's better

If the name Baby Organic Joy sounds familiar, then you've probably read our recent review of their online shop or are conscientious about the products that you give your baby.

Baby Organic Joy Gift Set I love the fact that Baby Organic Joy is a Canadian company and a proud member of Canada's Organic Trade and Green Business Associations.

That's not all. I also love they offer quality products at afforable prices.

Their gift set includes six items for under $60 and that also includes FREE returns and shipping!*

In my opinion, Baby Organic Joy is great value for your money!

Now that you're in love, connect with Baby Organic Joy via their Website, Facebook and Twitter.

Find out How to Win $500 Below!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Mexican Delicacy: Unless You’re the Fish (Video)

Minnows for Dinner?

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Personalize Your Back to School Items with Stuck on You [Review]

Stuck on You Logo Just because Christmas was last month, doesn't mean that you're off the hook for gift giving. Besides, graduations happen and so does Christmas. Besides, birthdays come around every.single.year. And, we wouldn't want to forget...

Back to School Items from Stuck on You.

It was established when owner, Carrie Felton created labels to identify her three boys belongings at day care. She knew she was on to something when all the other Moms wanted them too! After 17 years as an online store, they've got ordering down to the easiest science I know of and they ship throughout Canada.

The Zoo felt like a "kid in a candy shop" when we were given the opportunity to select from their vast array of affordable, quality and personalized products.

Stuck on You Products Amazingly, we were able to purchase eight personalized items for less than $100! With all the items to choose from, it was a tough choice but we decided on; a school pack that includes a Drink Bottle, Pencil Case and Lunchbox, two pairs of short pyjamas, address labels, and bag tags.

Don't feel sorry for Max, I got him his own school pack!

The quality of the materials and craftsmanship of all the items is evident. If you have kids, you know how important that is because they always seem to break the unbreakable and find that one loose stitch to pick apart. I especially liked that the drink bottles were stainless steel as I try to avoid plastics at all costs. While we have our fair share of broken cups and plates around here, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Stuck on You Address Labels

There were tons of ways to personalize the products. Each item has at least two colour options; blue, pink and in many cases something neutral such as red, yellow or green. As well, the graphic and font choices seemed endless. I took full advantage of their "Zoo" theme but also loved all the flowers, birds, robots and animal options. Definitely something for everyone.

Stuck on You Shorts I can't wait for the weather to warm up so that the kids can wear their personalized pyjama shorts. Such a cute touch to have their names are on the pocket tag. I'd also like to add some t-shirts and bathrobes to our clothing collection.

If you have a tough person to buy for, love personalized items or just want to receive the "best gift giver ever" award then...

Give a Personalized Gift from Stuck on You!

Connect with them via their website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

This post originally contained a giveaway. It has since ended and the confirmed winner was Trillina P.

Send your Kids to School in Style!

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Mystery of the "Orrphish" is Solved!

Two weeks ago, we got the phone call that no one wants to get. Our closest friend (whom Ed has known for over 40 years) walked into the hospital in the morning and by 1 pm was in open heart surgery to replace his Aorta. He had a 80% chance of surviving the surgery. After that, it was anyone's guess.

Within 45 minutes of the call, we were on the road to Nanna's House (a four hour drive).

Maximilian and Artemis with Abuela

Ed spent the weekend at the hospital and we spent it with Los Abuelos and Uncle Kevin who happened to be in the city visiting Uncle Andrew.

They had a wild and crazy party weekend planned. If The Zoo is anything, we're "wild and crazy".

Not exactly what they had planned.

I told them they could blame Fred.

Seeing as Nanna has four tv’s in the house (note that only three people live there), the kids got in their fair share of cartoons. That and it's kind of a treat as we don't have tv (the horror). We set it on Treehouse and went about getting things done with the expectation that they wouldn't leave the tv for a moment. We weren't disappointed.

Somewhere along the way, they saw an "Orrphish". I know because for the past two weeks, Max and Artemis have been drawing pictures of him, asking if he can sit at the table and updating me on the characteristics of said Beast.

I was fine with having their "imaginary" friend along for the ride but Nanna wanted to know more. With some fine sleuthery (rivaled only by Sherlock), we managed to deduce the following;

We lives in the water, is very long, pink, he's a boy and doesn't have tusks (later understood to mean "toothless").
Oar Fish as Illustrated by Sarah
Something like this perhaps...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Oh, you’re squishy and other tidbits: Part 3 of 3 on Child Seat {Safety}

The following is part three of a three part guest post on Car Seat Safety. Rene is a certified Car Seat Technician in the Province of Ontario. She is posting on her own merits, not as a representative of any one specific organization.

Securing the Child to the Seat

One of the most common errors I see is when people do not have their children secured properly to the seat. Carseat straps do not tighten upon impact as do seatbelts, so they need to be tight enough to restrain the child all the time. Children are squishy, especially new ones, so we need to take extra care to do this.

A few tips to ensure your child is secured tightly enough:

  • Ensure that when you are tightening the straps, that the child's bum is all the way at the back of the seat. No slouching allowed!
  • Do not dress your child in bulky clothing (this includes snowsuits and bulky winter jackets) in any seat, or use "cuddle-type" bags in your infant seat. Anything that gets between the child, strap and seat impedes your ability to get the straps tight and secure enough to restrain the child in a collision. This goes for you too, no bulky coats in the car! In winter, use a fleece outfit or other thin layers, and place a blanket over the child after the straps are done up. This also allows you to remove the blanket once the vehicle warms up, so that he/she is not sweating buckets in the back seat.
  • It is important that the straps (where they are positioned at the child's shoulders) are in the correct slot. For rear-facing children, the straps must come from the seat at or below the child's shoulders. For forward-facing children, the straps must come out at or above the child’s shoulders.
  • There are two tests to see if you have the straps tight enough: the pinch test and the finger test. The pinch test: attempt, at the collarbone, to pinch a horizontal section of strap between your thumb and forefinger. If you can pinch any strapping, it is too loose. The finger test: You should not be able to fit more than one finger under the strap at the child’s collarbone. When in doubt, tighten a little more.

After Market Products and Projectiles

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Make Some Extra Money in Mexico

Mexican Bazar Sign
Remember that little misunderstanding that we had with respect to our finances (or lack there of)?

Well, we came up with Plan "C" and thought we’d run it by you…

Bazar a.k.a. Garage Sale!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Market Stall in the Santo Domingo Church.

Market Stall Santo Domingo Mexico

Market Stall, Santo Domingo Church, Chiapas, Mexico

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Monday, January 21, 2013

You Asked, We Answered: A Taste of Life in Mexico.

Santo Domingo Market Question One: What does your day look like?
As for the kids and I, it's a blank slate. We never know what's going on until it happens. An impromptu parade in front of our house or a musical session in the park. Not to mention friends showing up with news of a birthday, wedding or other event (yes, we are notified THAT DAY of said events. Not because they don’t know that it will be happening --- weeks in advance but because otherwise their guests will forget. Note that said friends are Mexican). We try and get out every day, not a tough feat given the amazing weather. Even if it's just to go to our local fruit vendor to buy bananas (we eat 1 to 1.5 kilos a day!?).

Question Two: How do you stay connected?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Put your Back/Knee/Arm Into It: Part 2 of 3 Child Seat {Safety}

The following is part two of a three part guest post on Car Seat Safety. Rene is a certified Car Seat Technician in the Province of Ontario. She is posting on her own merits, not as a representative of any one specific organization.

Securing the Seat to the Vehicle

This is something that a lot of people struggle with. In the end, when properly installed, the seat should not move more than 1" side to side, when tested at the belt path (closest to the vehicle seat back). When the seat moves, ideally the whole car should move with it.

  • Proper installation often requires 2 people and lots of leverage. Pushing down and back (towards vehicle seat) while reefing on the tightening straps, wiggling from side to side, using your whole being, get that sucker as tight as possible.
  • Ensure to use the level indicator on the seat or even an iphone app to check the angle. The seat back (the portion the child's back rests against) for a child less than 6 months old should be at 45 degrees, and for an older child could be between 30 and 45 degrees. Correct angle is imperative for a child under 6 months as they do not have the neck support to keep their airways open.
  • The UAS (or LATCH) anchors have been installed in all vehicles after 2001, with the intent of making it easier for parents to install child seats. Most vehicles have a weight limit for UAS use (many at 40lbs) so ensure to check with your vehicle manufacturer to find out when you will need to switch to a seatbelt installation if currently using UAS.
  • Either the UAS or seatbelt method of install will work, as long as you are able to get it tight enough. One install method is not "safer" than another – but don’t use both at the same time. Each install method is meant to work independently and they could interfere with each other if used in conjunction.
  • Forward-facing seats must be tethered using the top tether and a designated anchor point in the vehicle. Check your manuals for details pertaining to your seat/vehicle.

Securing the Seat to the Base (for infant seats)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Imagine that Water was a Luxury and not a Right.

Water Accessibility in Mexico

Mexico has serious water accessibility and supply issues.

They are not alone in their plight. However, in Canada, we are fortunate and it doesn't seem to affect us as much.

As it does here in Mexico.

March 2007. I remember it like it was only yesterday. The beginning of 36 days without water...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Found: The Next Wayne Gretzky in Mexico?

Innocent Enough...

Monday, January 14, 2013

How Common is your First Name? Did you Make the List?

Hello My Name Is Nametag All through primary and high school there were three Sarah's in my class. The trio were known as "Sarah the Swimmer", "Sarah the Skater" and me, "Sarah the Skier".

Interestingly, we were all elite athletes in our respective sports.

I also went to school with 4 Jennifer's, 3 Amanda's and 2 Brenda/Laurie/Karen/Susie's. There weren't any out of the ordinary names. I would have remembered.

Nowadays, there are still a ton of common names in the class, however, there are definitely a ton of names that stand out on their own.

I thought it would be interesting to see what were the most common names in the USA in 1971 ( and compare them to those 40 years later ( Note that rankings are in "babies per million".

Friday, January 11, 2013

Have Kids, Will Travel...Safely: Part 1 of 3 on Child Seat {Safety}

The following is part one of a three part guest post on Car Seat Safety. Rene is a certified Car Seat Technician in the Province of Ontario. She is posting on her own merits, not as a representative of any one specific organization.

We all love our kids and we want them to be safe. With this in mind, I figure the only reason that people are not securing their kids correctly is that they think they are doing it properly, even when they are not.

When I see a parent with a child who is not travelling safely, I don't know what to say. We may think that we want what's best for our kids, but, you don't want some stranger telling you that you're doing something wrong. Especially when it could insinuate that you don't care about your child(ren).

What to do?

One answer is to guest post here, outlining some basics of car seat safety.

Some of The Basics

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Emergency Meeting with Sir Topham Hatt and Friends.

Sir Topham Hatt and Thomas

If the title of this post gives you no idea what I'm talking about, you probably don't have young kids. Either that or you're living in a van down by the river.

Remember our Christmas in September post where we surprized the kids with a Thomas the Train table and all the fixin's!?

Yes, it is still their favourite toy to play with.
No, that's not the point of this post.

As part of the package, we received 17 VCR tapes documenting the trials and tribulations of the life and people on Sodor Island. To some it may be imaginery but to my kids, Sir Topham Hatt, Thomas and all his friends exist.

And that's where the problem lies.

The kids are at an impressionable age. Since we don't have tv or frequent toy stores with them, I hadn't really had a chance to see it in action until now.

I was shocked.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The City of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas Mexico

Location: View from my Kitchen
Altitude: 2,200 metres or 7,217 feet

Journeys of The Zoo  Besos, The Zoo

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top Ten Reasons You Should Live in Mexico!

In case you weren't aware, we're currently in Mexico.

San Cristobal de las Casas in the state of Chiapas to be exact.

We've been here since December 19 (scheduled to arrive December 18) and if everything goes according to plan (tee, hee), we'll be here until the end of March.

You'll be reading a lot about our adventures and I thought that I'd give you an idea about some of the topics that I'll be touching on. Let me know if there's anything in particular that you want to know about.

Top Ten Reasons You Should Live in Mexico.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stuck in Mexico with only a Peso to my Name.

Mexican Pesos

Imagine being in a foreign country with $20 to your name.

Pretty scary stuff huh!?

After our arrival, following our little delay, we needed to convert some American currency travelers cheques into Mexican pesos.

No problem. We’ll do what we do every year. Go down to the Scotiabank, show some identification, sign the paperwork and voila… Pesos.

We got ready for our adventure. The kids loaded themselves into their double stroller, rations were packed and suntan lotion applied. We enjoyed our first leisurely stroll down the andador (no cars are permitted) right into the centre of the city. A lovely ten-minute walk in 24 degree weather with a slight breeze. Along the way, we recognized some familiar faces and bought some coffee and milk with our remaining money.

We got to the bank and wouldn’t you know it, there wasn’t a line up! This really was shaping up to be “The Day of The Zoo”.

That was until the clerk told me that they no longer accept travelers cheques.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Customs, Protests, and Camping. Another Day in Mexico {Travel}

Unpredictable Mexico Remember how I wrote a post about how this was the 13th time that we've completed our roadtrip to Chiapas Mexico and we could do it with our eyes closed...

That was yesterday.

This is today.

Did I mention how unpredictable Mexico can be?

Before I tell you about what happened four and a half hours from our destination, I need to make a few corrections to the four days before that.

One. For the first time ever, we got asked for the paperwork for the animals. Not only that but the customs agent wanted to know the exact ingredients or their food and he wanted the original packaging... We never travel with much food as we were under the impression that you weren't allowed to cross the border with any food at all, however, apparently the law is that the food can't contain any "restricted foods" such as poultry, meat or eggs. We told him it was Iams and hoped for the best. He allowed us to proceed.

Two. For the first time ever, we didn't get lost in Tampico. This allowed us to save 30 minutes off the trip.

This last point would have mattered had it not been for the "little incident" that occurred four and a half hours from our final destination...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Woodturning is a Passion at Treasures from the Ark {Canadian}

Treasures from the Ark Logo

Since beginning the "I Am Canadian" feature in September, I have met a lot of Great Canadians. Before I'm through, I hope to meet each and every one of you.

I have big plans.

One person that I met along the way was the talented Alejandro from "Treasures from the Ark". He has been kind enough to share a part of himself with us. I hope that you will take the time to read about his creative pursuits and show him your support in the comments.