children, Family, Life, Parenting

Confessions of a stay at home mom (SAHM)

I always imagined that being a stay at home mom would allow me to do some of the things that I didn’t get to do while I was in the workforce. I pictured myself visiting different neighbourhoods throughout Toronto, walking around, discovering new stores and enjoying the fresh air or a nice cup of coffee.  That was all fine and dandy, until reality sank in.  I had Kyle and hardly had time to get to know my own neighborhood let alone visit other ones in Toronto.  Well, here’s a couple of other things I didn’t really expect to experience either, but I’m laying it all out so there’s no confusion about the realities of a stay at home mom (mine anyways).SAHM3

  • I wear the same clothes two days in a row if I know I wont be seeing the same people both days (my husband and son are exempt from this rule)
  • I know the theme songs to 10 kid shows (and it’s not because I remember them from my childhood)
  • I spend more time in the washroom than I really need too
  • I let my 2-year-old get away with more than he should because I don’t want to have a bad day
  • Many of my child’s activities include shopping
  • I can’t DIY anything 😦
  • I look forward to my phone blinking as it’s my way to communicate with the outside world
  • I enter several online contests as a way to “contribute financially” to my family
  • The iPad is my son’s best friend
  • My favorite book to read is “magazines”
  • My cleaning schedule depends on when we’re expecting guests
  • I know kids love repetition but if I have to read the same book more than 10 nights straight I start to shake (and quickly hide that book)
  • I don’t always make my son’s food from scratch
  • I don’t buy organic
  • I never wear sweatpants because I don’t want to fall into the stereotype
  • I don’t always compost because the garbage is more accessible
  • After 2 years as a SAHM, my cooking hasn’t improved
  • Obtaining my MBA was a cinch compared to being a SAHMSAHM2
  • Even thought I can’t always describe in detail what I do all day long, I promise you I’m busy and exhausted by the time I put my son to bed
  • I still prefer being a stay at home mom over working outside the home


If you’re a stay at home mom, what are some of the things that surprised you the most that you weren’t expecting to feel or experience?

children, Family, Holidays, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

Imagine celebrating the holidays every month! Now you can, with the Baby Trunk {Review}

Opening Happiness Every Month is Baby Trunk’s tag line; and this perfectly describes their unique service.

Imagine receiving a package every month with 4 or 5 products from the best brands for your little one.  Each package is customized based on your child’s age (newborn to 3 years) and gender so they can be utilized immediately.  And who doesn’t love receiving packages in the mail.  I know I do, especially those that are surprises.  That’s how I felt when I received my first Baby Trunk package in late October.  I tore it open and found 5 items in the box that fell under the theme of “The Little Monster Box”.

The items include “Boo Bunny!” book, a race car (by Green Toys), a (organic) Giraffe Lovie Blanket, a Toy & Surface cleaner and packages of Organic Baby Food.  Total retail price of the five products is approximately $50.

Not only are these products organic and environmentally friendly, but they have all been selected and approved by mom’s, not endorsed by the companies that they are purchased from.  So you know you are receiving quality, useful products for your family.

With so many of our family and friends expecting their first (and some their second) baby, this makes for a unique and special gift idea.  I know I would love to receive it 😉 (hint, hint, wink, wink). I’ve already purchased one for a friend of mine.

Here’s how it works:

1. Go on Baby Trunk’s website ( and register

2. Choose a plan…. (added bonus, shipping is free!!!)

$35 / month

$105 / 3 months

$175 / 6 months (1 month is free)

$350 / 12 months (2 months are free)

3. Look forward to your Trunk delivery (or have a close family or friend anticipate the arrival of their amazing gift).

In order to receive the next Trunk in time for the holidays sign-up before December 12th, 2012.

Happy Holidays & Happy shopping 🙂

children, Family, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

Delicious and sustainable Mexican food for the whole family. Chipotle review & Giveaway

About five years ago when I was in New York city for work, a colleague of mine suggested that we go to an amazing Mexican restaurant near our office.  Not knowing the area we were in too well, I took him up on his offer.

I have never heard of Chipotle ( before, but I was excited to try it out the moment I set foot in the door.  All of the ingredients looked fresh and the aromas were amazing.  I loved that I could order a burrito in a bowl. I have to say, it was one of my favourite restaurants to eat at in New York.  Yes, I just said that, but it’s true.  It was love at first taste.  I was sooooo excited when they finally opened their doors in Toronto and I could take my family there.  To this day it’s one of our favourite restaurants when we want a special “treat”.

Here’s some awesome facts about Chipotle (as if you needed additional persuasion to go and eat there):

  • It’s committed to serving natural and (unprocessed) organic meat
  • Food is freshly prepared in front of the customers in an open kitchen
  • They serve dairy products that are rBGH (Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone) free.

There are four Chipotle restaurants in Toronto so make it a Chipotle night or lunch with your family.  And to help you achieve that, Babylish Advice and Mayahood Blog are giving away FOUR Burrito bucks.  Each Burrito Buck is equivalent to one free meal good for a Burrito, Burrito bowl, Salad or order of Tacos.

To enter this contest, you need to do one of the followings.  The more you do, the more entries you will receive in the draw.  Kindly leave me a message at the end of this post to let me know which of the following activities you have completed.

1. Like Mayahood on Facebook

2. Like Babylish Advice on Facebook

3. Follow Mayahood blog on WordPress.  Click on the “follow” button and enter your e-mail address to receive my latest blog posts directly to your mailbox as soon as I publish them.

4. Sign up for Babylish Advice’s newsletter found on

5. Share this giveaway on your Facebook page.  Copy and Paste the following sentences on your personal timeline: Great giveaway from Chipotle Mexican Restaurant.  Enter here for your chance to win 4 free meals for your family to enjoy:

6. Let me know (by leaving me a message at the bottom of this post) what you would get from Chipotle if you won this giveaway.

7. Follow Mayahood Blog on Twitter (@fitzpatrickmaya).

Contest deadline is Thursday, December 6th.  Open to all residents in the GTA.  Good-luck!

children, Family, Life, Parenting

Preparing our toddler to become an older brother

While Kyle isn’t great at socializing with kids his own age, he does love playing with older kids.  He also adores babies; and mostly, he’s very gentle with them.  This is a good thing, since we’re expecting our second child in two months.  From the moment we found out I was pregnant, we told our son Kyle about it.  At the time, he wasn’t talking much, so we weren’t worried about him spilling the beans.

More recently, we have stepped up our discussions of the impending birth of our second child and read to him daily one of our “I’m a big brother now” books.  Kyle will tell you that his baby brother is in “mommy’s tummy” and occasionally, he gives his future brother “gifts” under my shirt including his beloved pacifiers.  When I tell him that his brother is kicking he responds by kicking my tummy in retaliation. Clearly, he doesn’t yet understand what that means, but it’s completely hilarious to watch.

When we talk about being a big brother, Kyle gets excited about all of the things that he will get to teach him, including: hopping, touch-down, kicking, home-run, ABC’s, puzzles and hockey.  However, when we talk about helping mommy and dada push the stroller, Kyle immediately responds with a “no baby, Kyle’s stroller” and gets in his stroller even if we’re not going anywhere.  Same goes for his chairs and even though we haven’t gone there yet, I’m sure it will be the same reaction regarding his toys!

I know that issues with sharing is a phase, but I wonder if there’s anything we can do now, before the baby is here to help alleviate some of the stress that Kyle might have with sharing his things and his time with us with his new baby brother.

What advice can you give us to talk to Kyle about now or do now?  What was some of the best advice you received when preparing for the birth of your second (or third) child?

children, Family, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

Add some FUN to your kid’s bath with LUSH!

My best-friend first introduced me to LUSH cosmetics when I was pregnant with Kyle.  She bought me a soap (Therapy) to try and said that she liked it because of the natural, made with chemical free components and said it would be very soothing.  With its awesome smell and great feel against my skin, I was instantly hooked.

More recently, I got to try out their new and exciting product specifically made for kids (or anyone that’s young at heart really).  Their FUN product (,en_CA,sc.html) is a multi-purpose moldable soap that combines soap, shampoo, bubble bath, and malleable toy into a single roll.  While Kyle loves his bath time, an important component are the toys he plays with during that time. Every once in a while, to keep things ‘exciting’ for Kyle, we like to switch what he plays with.  I couldn’t wait for him to try out the new FUN soap from LUSH.

FUN ($6.95 each) comes in FIVE fantastic colours, all which have their own unique scent!

FUN is preservative-free and comes in a biodegradable cellophane wrapper. In fact, you don’t have to worry about your kids accidentally eating it as they are all made with a base of corn flour, talc and glycerine.

Not only is this product fun and “green”, but it also supports a good cause.  2.5% of sales from every bar of FUN is contributed to the FUNd, a LUSH initiative which supports charities in Fukushima, Japan that create safe places for children to play outside.

So what are you waiting for… get some now and add more FUN to your bath!

FUN makes a great stocking stuffer, birthday gift and is great for hostesses and families, too!

children, Family, Life, Parenting, Travel

Babymoon in Jamaica + Toddler

Going on a babymoon seems to be the latest trend these days.  During my first pregnancy, it never even crossed our minds.  We were doing a complete renovation on our house, and since Kyle was to be born in September, we spent most of the summer at the cottage.  That made it feel like enough of a vacation for us.

But this time around, I’m due at the end of January.  Which makes it seem like it will be a VERY long winter.  And since we don’t have as much on the go as we did two years ago, I mentioned the idea of a babymoon to my husband.

We found a great deal for a resort in Montego Bay Jamaica (via And since my husband and I couldn’t part ways with Kyle for a week, we decided that he should join us.  I guess it was a way for our family of 3 to enjoy some quality time together before we became a family of 4.  The resort, Sunset Beach, is family friendly and we upgraded to a beach cabana room with an exit directly to the beach.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Of course, a babymoon with a toddler isn’t as glamorous as a romantic vacation for two.  Here’s some pro’s and con’s based on our experience.


  • You can’t just go to any Caribbean island when you’re pregnant.  Locations are pretty important according to my Doctor.  Dominican shares its borders with Haiti which has a bad bug that apparently flows throughly between the two borders.  Mexico is worrisome because of the drinking water and Cuba was out of the question because of its relations with USA (i.e. we couldn’t get airlifted to the US in case of an emergency).  So we pretty much narrowed it down to Jamaica (Aruba, St. Marten, etc… were much more expensive).
  • You can’t really take advantage of the all-you-can-drink part of the all-inclusive when you’re pregnant.  That’s not to say that it’s the only reason I go on an all-inclusive, but it’s nice to have a cold beer while lying on the beach or a nice red wine with dinner at night.  Neither of which I was able to enjoy this time around.
  • Most excursions are out of the question because I was pregnant or because Kyle was too young.
  • Your only downtime is when your toddler naps; not when you’re tired.


  • You’re on vacation at a beautiful all-inclusive resort in Jamaica where the sun shines all day, even if the weather channel is calling for rain.
  • The food is amazing and you don’t have to worry about cooking for 7 days.  Same goes for cleaning.
  • You get to spend some quality time with your family with no interruptions from the every-day life events, including cell-phones and work related matters.
  • You’re getting some much-needed vitamin D to keep you going through the cold winter back home.
  • Did I mention you’re in Jamaica??

Other: ensure you have appropriate travel insurance that will cover you in case of premature labour or any other labour related emergency.  Also ensure it covers the cost of an air ambulance as they can cost up to $100,000 if you do require one.

What about you?  Would you or have you gone on a babymoon?  What was your experience?  Would you recommend it to others?  Did you travel solo (i.e. your partner only) or did you take the kids along as well?

children, Family, Life, Parenting

Our first ECHOage party.

This weekend, my family and I were invited to an ECHOage birthday party.  The birthday boy, my friend’s son, was turning two.  Typical of a two-year old birthday party, the event was held at an indoor playground.  But what was different, was the present.  In lieu of typical gifts, the parents decided to host an ECHOage party.

If you’re like me, and have never heard or attended an ECHOage party before, here’s the scoop.

1. Instead of using traditional invites or evite, you create your invitation on ECHOage’s website (

2. You then get to choose a gift.  Think BIG!  Maybe your child wants a play set for their yard, or an iPad, or even a puppy.  Whatever it is, you write down what big one item gift you want to buy your child for their birthday.

3.  Then, you select a charity.  Is there a specific charity your child loves and wants to support? Something that’s close and dear to your heart? Maybe “make a wish” or “WWF”. ECHOage will send half of the money contributed by your guests to the chosen charity.

4. The rest is straight forward.  You manage your party (event date, time and location) and you get to track how much money has been donated online. On your party date, half of the money will be sent to you directly (to be used for your child’s birthday gift) and the other will be donated to the charity that you selected.

My friend, who has a big heart and has always helped others in need stated that she picked this route for her son’s party because fortunately, he already has all the toys and clothes he could ever want due to the abundant of older cousins that he has.

John and I have always discussed a “no gift” birthday party for Kyle, but since he’s already at an age that understands that gifts are part of the party package, it would be hard to do away with it.  As well, our family and friends are so generous, they would probably bring gifts regardless.  This is why I love this idea.  It’s a perfect way to give back and teach your child about the community and helping out others in need.  I’m looking forward to hosting an ECHOage party for Kyle and our baby on-the-way 🙂

children, Family, Holidays, Parenting, Reviews & Giveaways

My favourite SPOT for personalized gifts; KidSpot. Review & Giveaway (open to all Canadians)

Growing-up, believe it or not, my name, MAYA, wasn’t very popular.  I always envied kids who were able to walk into any toy store and find their name all over various paraphernalia.  Whether it was a cup, lunch-bag, key-chains or pens, I wish I could get one with my name.

So when I had my son, KYLE, I was beyond excited to be able to purchase him various stuff with his name on it.  Perhaps I went over-board at times, but personalized gifts (to both give and receive) are some of my favourites.  Of course, I don’t buy it just for the sake of having my son’s name on everything ,but rather, I’m selective about what I buy.  Since selection, quality and customer service are important to me, I only purchase my personalized items from KidSpot – Unique Gifts For Babies & Kids (  A local store in the GTA that also sells merchandise online (ships anywhere in Canada).  The best part is that the personalization is free with your purchase!  You can select the font and colour yourself; they even offer Hebrew letters.  Here’s some of my favourite items; some of which we received as gifts and some we purchased:

Last month we celebrated Kyle’s birthday.  Instead of the traditional dollar-store loot-bag items (which end up costing a fortune when all is said and done), I’ve opted for a more personalized loot-bag.  I purchased pencil-cases and had each one personalized with the kids’ names on it.  I filled each pencil-case with crayons, stickers and a few candy items and tied it to a colouring book.  To say the least, these loot bags were hits with both the parents and the children.  One of the parents told me that their son even slept with his pencil-case!!

Not only are these great and unique baby shower and birthday gifts, but they’re also great for the holidays.  And believe it or not, the holidays are just around the corner, and KidSpot has some great items for you entire family including personalized x-mas stockings.  They currently have an online promotion where you can receive 10% off your purchase (use code kidspot during checkout).  Also, one lucky reader will receive a $30 gift-card to use towards their purchase of any item offered at KidSpot.

To enter this contest, you need to do one of the followings.  The more you do, the more entries you will receive in the draw.  Kindly leave me a message at the end of this post to let me know which of the following activities you have completed.

1. Like KidSpot on Facebook

2. Like Mayahood on Facebook

3. Follow my blog on WordPress.  Click on the “follow” button and enter your e-mail address to receive my latest blog posts directly to your mailbox as soon as I publish them.

4. Share this giveaway on your Facebook page.  Copy and Paste the following sentences on your personal timeline: Great giveaway from KidSpot.  Enter here for your chance to win $30 towards a personalized gift:

5. Let me know (by leaving me a message at the bottom of this post) what you would want to buy from KidSpot ( if you won the $30.

Contest deadline is Friday, November 23rd.  Open to all residents in Canada.  Good-luck!




children, Family, Life, Parenting

My 2 year old son only wears brand name clothes

Most people assume that if they have boys, they won’t run into the same issues that girls typically have.  Specifically, issues relating to clothes.  Well, not so and I have a two-year old boy to prove it.

Kyle has decided to show us his independence through his choice of clothes.  Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as the colour.  In fact, Kyle insists on wearing brand name clothes only.  Now, I’m not talking brand name like Hugo Boss, Louis Vitton or Lacoste.  I’m talking, Elmo, Thomas, Cars and smurfs.  Unless it’s one of those, he refuse to wear it.

The problem is, 80% of the clothes he owns, are not his brand of choice.  About a year ago, when I went to Joe Fresh, I found tons of great shirts for him size 2T (about a year out).  They were all on sale for approximately $3, so I couldn’t resist buying them, and smiling to myself about what a great super saver shopper I am.  Well, I couldn’t have been any more wrong!  I’m lucky if I’m able to persuade him to wear any of those shirts.

Some of the tactics that I’ve used include: “The Elmo shirt is itchy, mommy needs to wash it so you HAVE TO wear this one until the Elmo shirt is clean”.  Or, “look, there’s a backpack on this shirt, just like Dora.  Don’t you want to be like Dora?” and my all-time favourite “look at the _____ (fill in the blank with whatever animal is on the shirt).  Let’s go and try to find this ‘animal’ today”.  I’m usually lucky enough that these work, especially if he hasn’t spotted one of his favourite shirts.

I’ve even decided to go and purchase a few more of his brand name shirts, but then my husband keeps reminding me that we have a closet full of clothes that he’s never even wore.  He’s right, I can’t justify spending more money on 2-year-old clothes.  I just have to do laundry more often I guess!!  During a more recent shopping trip, I just let Kyle pick out the clothes. While they didn’t have any of his favourites, he did choose two. One had a cool dinosaur on it, and the other was of a bulldozer.  And since he picked it out, he hasn’t minded wearing them all that much.

Girl or boy, do your kids have any funny / frustrating phases like this one?  I’m sure that just like every other phase, this one is sure to pass.  But in the meantime, please share your secrets with me.  I’d love to hear 🙂

children, Family, Life, Parenting

Why this 8 month-old baby needs your support!

Strolling my son down the street on Sunday I bumped into my neighbour.  After a few chit-chats, she held back some tears and told me about the horrific ordeal that her family is facing.

Her daughter recently flew to Greece for vacation with her husband and two small children.  My neighbour’s youngest grandson, Alexander, at 8 months old, started to show cold-like symptoms.  After several treatments and visits with the Doctors in Greece, he was officially diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.  Unfortunately, he heart surgery that’s required to help Alexander is not available in Greece for children under the age of 5.

While it is (thankfully) available here in Toronto, the cost to fly baby Alexander here via air ambulance costs $100,000.  The family does not have travel insurance to cover this cost nor do they have the money to pay for this from their own pockets.  This is where you can help out.

Global Angel Charitable Organization is assisting in making all the arrangements for Baby Alexander’s return to Toronto.  Donations can be made online at: or by calling them at: 705-740-2645.  Tax receipts will be issued for your donation.  Even if all you can afford is a dollar or two, any amount will help if we get enough people to donate. 

You can watch the family’s plea for help on CityTv @:

and on Global news @:

You can also follow their story and receive updates on the following FB page:

Below is the information sheet put together by the family


8 month old Canadian baby critically ill in Greece requires immediate lifesaving treatment in Toronto

A Toronto family’s visit to Greece has taken a tragic turn when eight month old Baby Alexander developed cold-like symptoms and was taken to the hospital in Greece.

After repeated assessments Baby Alexander has been diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which his heart has become weakened and enlarged. As a result, his heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body and without medical treatment in Canada, this will be fatal.

Sick Kids Hospital have accepted Baby Alexander when he comes back to Toronto however there is no insurance coverage or sufficient monies to provide for the cost of bringing him back home to Toronto where he can receive life-saving treatment.

Global Angel Charitable Organization is assisting in making all the arrangements for Baby Alexander to return via air ambulance with a specialized medical team at a cost of $100,000.00

Donations can be made by or by calling the Global Angel Charitable Organization at 705-740-2645. Global Angel Charitable Organization is a Registered Charity that offers valuable support to persons and families who requires medical transportation.

A Scotia Bank account has also been open in baby Alexander’s name:

Alexander Karanikas

Account # 87916 01362 20

You can watch our plea for help on CityTv @: