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When the “Bully” Tables Turn

My daughter has seen her share of bullies and she’s only in Grade 2. From preschool on there’s always been that one child. She has been the child who runs to the teacher immediately so has been a “bully” target because of it. My initial reaction is Mama Bear but almost always secondary I wonder about the child. We know that kids who bully are sometimes modelling behavior they’ve seen or as the Have You Filled a Bucket book says, they have an empty bucket and don’t understand that hurting others won’t fill theirs.

Honestly, I’ve thrown my Judgy Jessie hat on more times than I care to admit when watching said children’s interaction with their parents. Saying to myself, “Ah, now it makes sense”.  Does it though? Do I know the back ground of what’s going on with that family? No, I don’t and I hate judgment. I feel guilty every time I think back to any time I decided to do that to another human being.

Let me tell you why this has suddenly become so clear to me that it’s the wrong thing to do. Because recently, it was MY daughter that was the bully.

And I am sort of ashamed it came to that. I’m not going to get in to great detail but she made some bad choices, along with some other kids that were making bad choices. The only reason I know is because her little bro ended up being involved.

When she finally opened up and let me know what was going on I was in shock. It was like the first time you realize your parents aren’t perfect. MY DAUGHTER? The “tattle tale”, help everyone who’s in trouble, compassionate, smart, funny little girl had made the CHOICE to treat others badly. Needless to say it was a very long conversation. Followed by further conversations with her AMAZING teacher, and at least one apology letter being written.

In the end, I feel like the whole situation was one of the best things that could have happened to our family. They say kids teach you more than you teach them. Truth. I had to hold in my reactions and think a lot about how to make this a teachable time. I also took this as an opportunity to remind her that I’m here to help her get through mistakes like these. She learned from this, showed remorse and even now, weeks later, we discuss it as a cautionary tale.

Cause kids make mistakes. Our kids make them, other kids make them and we make them too. Our job as adults is to help them through, learn as we go and withhold the judgment against other adults who are maybe just doing the best they can.

I know that’s what I am hoping for the next time either of my kids decide to dabble in bad choices. I’d love to say they’ll never do anything like this again, but if I thought that, then this situation would have taught me nothing.

Edmonton's Child

Beyond The Books – 5 Ways To Utilize Your Library

I LOVE the library.

Give me a room full of thrillers, adventures, self-betterment, romance – you can go anywhere in a library! A while back I found out there is a lot more to my little library card than paper books, magazines, movies and cds to take home. I just had to share.

ME Libraries

With my FREE EPL card I have access to 9 Libraries across Alberta via the ME Libraries website. Why would that come in handy? Well, for example, I reside in Edmonton BUT have joined the St. Albert library. They have Pre-Loaded Audiobooks – my EPL doesn’t. These come in handy on flights, long drives etc. You just plug in your headphones and voila! Great for kids too. This access can also come in handy if you’re on vacation somewhere in Alberta! You can visit the library, take out a few things and return them before you head home. I’m sure there is a plethora of other ways this comes in handy!

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The ‘Parenting Hack’ that Changed Everything

Before I share my greatest parenting hack –I need to share some experiences I’ve had, that I believe are experienced by many parents.

I have a bookshelf filled with texts from doctors and nurses, parenting experts, sleep consultants, nutrition gurus and everything in between. I have read through all of these books as well as countless blogs, websites, lists, brochures – you name it. For more than a year I read these at all hours of the day and night – and I continue to do so every time I feel a little lost (which happens quite a bit as a new parent). Read more

The Birthday Tradition I Accidentally Started

I used to go BIG for birthdays. That is actually one of the things Box Social Event Planning did when I started the business. We planned parties for parents that wanted that “Pinterest” party but didn’t have time. We would do such elaborate parties that one time we brought 8-foot trees into a play place to create a perfect Woodland Theme.

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The Best Father’s Day Gift I Ever Got

By Rob Burtt

I will never forget the birth of my first child. It’s not that the latter two births were less significant, it’s just that the first was such a surreal and sobering experience. I remember this  6 lb. 3 oz. little girl meeting the world for the first time. I recall having her bundled up little body placed into my arms and thinking “Wow, I’m a Dad.”

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A Must Have Recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies

By Mara Needham

I love cooking and baking. I love being in my kitchen. One of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten is the stand mixer my husband got me when we first started dating. My favorite channel is the Food Network. But I am not an overly adventurous chef, I’m a mom-chef. I feel like the one recipe every mom should have is a super yummy chocolate cookie recipe. My go to recipes are my family recipes. Nothing super fancy, or extravagant, just home cookin’.

I’ve made these cookies so many times, I can make them from memory. They are the only cookies my 6-year-old son will eat and one of my best friends who is a guy who says he “just doesn’t like sweets” will often say that as he’s grabbing 3 or 4 of these cookies.

Try them. You’ll love them. Guaranteed.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup softened butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2 cups milk (key word being milk) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In mixer bowl, cream sugars, butter and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Gradually add in flour mixture and beat until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 min (depending on your size of cookie) at 375.

From our family to yours. Enjoy!


Mara Needham- Peace River, AB, Stay at home mom to 6 year old boy and 3.5 year old girl. Wife of 8 years. Unhealthy love of food and country music. Find her on Facebook & Instagram

FREE Gifts that Mom REALLY Wants for Mother’s Day

Silhouette of four women against the sunset

Alright people. Mother’s Day is coming May 14, 2023. You are getting your fair warning.

On top of this warning, I’m going to help you out.

This is what your wife/partner/spouse REALLY wants for Mother’s Day. I asked my mama friends on Facebook, our contributors, and friends in person. (I happen to also be a mother!)

What Moms REALLY Want

And the theme I have concluded is: we want to feel appreciated and cared for.

The way we appreciate and care for others. I don’t need to tell you how hard Moms work. The mental workload, physical workload and social pressures can be seen on our faces most of the time, if not found in multiple blog posts and sappy commercials.

In all honesty, we just wanted it to stop. For one hour, one spa treatment, one day or weekend.

Many moms joked about just “wanting to be alone” or “doing whatever I want”. And it’s not because we don’t love motherhood. It’s the opposite in fact. We love it so much we give it our all. We worry, cry, hold strong, kiss boo boos, console, laugh and are squishy because we love it just so much.

All we ask, is that we feel someone is doing the same for us. For one hour, one spa treatment, one day or one weekend.

Free Gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day

Tag among cut flowers on a piece of rough sawed lumber reading "Happy Mother's Day!"

We are all for cute hand made mugs (actually I would really love another) and flowers (they DO brighten the days following our “one special day”), but we NEED time to fill our cups again. Recharge. THAT is what we are really asking for.

  • A clean house, that we didn’t clean, hear complaining about or have to clean up after tomorrow.
  • Time alone in the bath without hearing “Mommy, what are you doing?” through the door.
  • An outing, with or without mom, planned as something fun with the kids. That we had no hand in figuring out. We want the joy of our kids having fun – without us planning it.
    • Things to think about: timing, transportation, the weather, food (lunch, snacks, etc, and try to hit most of the four food groups!), water, appropriate clothing, sunscreen, hats, shoes, coats.
    • Ideas: a trip to the park, bake together (and clean up the mess!), go for a bike ride or a walk/hike, meeting up with other Dads and playing an organized sport together (moms can cheer from the sidelines with a Dad-and-kid packed picnic!).

Take the mental workload for a day. We want to step outside of our very big roles and feel safe to unload it onto you.

The mundane tasks, the grand tasks, and everything in between.

We don’t need fancy gifts as reminders we are good mothers. We want you to show us that you KNOW we are good mothers. Show us by walking in our shoes.

What Moms Say They Want

Andrea (Kids aged 12, 9, 7, 4) – “I would love to have my whole house purged and cleaned. And the support to do so.”

Allison (Kids aged 9, 7, 4) – “I’d love for my husband and kids to acknowledge the fact that they understand that I am the only reason the house is not falling apart.”

Patricia (Kids aged 28, 25, 23) – “Time. Time with my children.”

Holly – “I’d like a day where I could do whatever I want. Show up for a homemade meal with cake that I didn’t make.”

Erin (Kids aged 11, 10, 8, 5, 2) – “Hot Coffee and no obligations time to do what I want before family time.”

Poom (Kids aged 7, 5, 2) – “To pee in peace. Without interruption.”

Alli (Kids aged 2 and 1) – “I’d love a day to myself, no kids needing me for something. A day where I could go get pampered and then enjoy a quiet meal that I didn’t have to cook.”

Jenn (Kid aged 4) – “Time alone! An overnight stay in a hotel, spa day, just some me time!”

Fresh flowers in a white pot against a white wall

More Ideas for Mother’s Day Gifts

So you REALLY want to buy something for Mom? Among these requests a lot of Moms asked for

  • Family photos
  • Family rings
  • Family necklaces
  • Spa day
  • Massage (a great idea if money is tight and you have them covered by benefits – just book it and take care of the kids – maybe clean house while Mom is out!)
  • Facial
  • Cleaning service

So all these request to me say, “I want some time to myself, reminders of my family, because this is the best job in the world and it will all make me better at it.”

This Mom’s Dream Mother’s Day

In case anyone is wondering. My ideal day would go as follows:

Wake up whenever I want. (which is usually before anyone else). Have coffee. When the kids wake up they wake up my husband before even coming downstairs. 

Breakfast is made for me. Pancakes or french toast.

House is cleaned while I bathe. 

My husband takes the kids out for lunch and something fun all afternoon. While I literally do whatever I want.

Meet them at family’s house or a restaurant for dinner with all family to celebrate our mom and all moms in the family.

Family snuggle time on the couch.

Watch a sappy movie with wine after the kids are in bed. Sleep. The end.

We all just wanted to feel fulfilled, appreciated and respected. That’s it.

Save your money.

Give us time.

The Bitchin' Housewife
Jen is a yoga teacher, fitness enthusiast and health blogger over at

The Benefit of Health Benefits

Health Benefits

In today’s new economic world where there are more and more people working from home, doing contract work and basically overall entrepreneurs, work health benefits is the one thing I’ve noticed a lot of people talking about lately. So we teamed up with Alberta Blue Cross to chat about the benefits of benefits and shopping for them.

2.5 years ago my husband lost his long time stable job. A story many of us went through this past recession. Many people lost their jobs and in turn lost their benefits. Some maybe even noticed, but personally I used them a lot! I got massages and saw my chiropractor regularly. As well as saw a physiotherapist after injuring my shoulder! My kids went through a few month spurt there of sickness after sickness requiring antibiotics and other medicines as well.

Since then, my husband went back to work after 9 months of being off, for about 4 months. The business we had created in the time he was off from his job had started to take off and our family made the decision that entrepreneurship would be our full time life.

Between his business and my contract work, we no longer had any employer health benefits.

Sound familiar?


We saught out some advice from Blue Cross under their Individuals and Families plan.  We were able to pick out a plan that worked for our budgets and projected needs.

Getting benefits was really important to me, not only to get some help with dental cost, but as an assurance that I needed to take care of myself.

If you’ve read any of my other posts or know me, you will know that I am all about self care. Taking care of ourselves, helps us take care of others (family, friends and so on), but also keeps us healthy in more ways than one. When we take the time to make sure we are healthy we are:

  • More efficient
  • Boosting energy
  • Helping with sleep
  • Combating and preventing future disease
  • and my personal favourite, we are generally happier!


If you are shopping around for benefits for your entrepreneur/working from home/contract life, or maybe you need top up from a spouses plan you can Contact Blue Cross and they will get back to you pretty quickly!


The Bitchin' Housewife

Jen is a yoga teacher, fitness enthusiast and health blogger over at

The First “I Love You”

It was a normal Saturday morning, kids were just getting up and I went for the morning pee. I was on the toilet (door open of course, because with a 6 year old and a 3.5 year old I forfeited peeing privacy a long time ago) and two little arms snaked around my waist and the cutest little voice said “I love you mommy”. Tears sprang to my eyes. Three and a half years. It took my sweet little girl three and a half years to say those words to me and I often wondered if I would ever hear them.

My three-and-a-half-year-old daughter Madeleine has a severe speech and language delay. She has always found ways of communicating with me and telling me what she wants…lots of jibber jabber, half words only I could understand, pointing and physically showing me and her dad. I always spoke to her as if she could understand what I was saying, even though I wasn’t always sure she could. There was just always a wall between us. So, we had her assessed by a speech pathologist. She said it perfectly: ”Madeleine has lots to say, but only she knows what she’s saying”. She recommended we enroll Maddie in an early entrance program that specializes in children with delays, so we did. They began working with her 3 mornings a week.

It’s a long process…her learning words and forming sentences. Her understanding what you’re saying to her or asking her. One that some days can be very frustrating and simple processes turn into full on meltdowns- sometimes for her, sometimes for me. It’s hard seeing friends with kids her age or younger saying and doing things she’s nowhere near. It’s hard when strangers ask her questions and she looks at them blankly and then they look at me like “what’s wrong with her”. On good days I tell myself, “all kids develop differently” and “she will get there”. On bad days I have to fight the mom guilt. The “I did something wrong” and “this is somehow my fault” and “I should have done ____ differently”.

But on that Saturday morning, even though it wasn’t an ideal location, when she looked at me with her big blue eyes and said “I love you mommy” it all became worth it. “I love you too baby girl” I whispered back. And in that moment I knew that we got this and it’s all gonna be ok.

My name is Mara Needham. I am 32 year old stay at home mom to Grayson (6) and Madeleine (3.5) in Peace River, AB. I have been married to my husband Sean for almost 8 years. I have never written a blog of any kind before, but up until I became a mom I wrote commercials for the local radio station. Find me on FacebookTwitter , & Instagram