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MakerFaire Ottawa 2014 (Review)

Jenny and daughter

Today was Maker Faire day in Ottawa. Actually, the fair is on all weekend, but today is the day that we had a chance to go. I remember hearing about Maker Faire YEARS ago. In 2008, I was really involved in the “craft” scene. I was a busy knitting, embroidering, glue gunning machine. In my research looking for other people and blogs for people doing cool stuff, I came across the Craft: website. Maker Faire was associated with this magazine, so I got to know about Maker Faire at the same time. All I can remember is that at one of the big Maker Faire festivals, someone made a life size mousetrap*!

Here are some cool booths that caught my eye:

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These guys at 3D Ponics make some great tools to help grow plans indoors. It’s hard to explain everything in detail, but basically they’ve created a hydroponic system with tools that they’ve made from a 3D printer. If you go to their website (3D Ponics), they give a great explanation on their current project. Recently, they did a kickstarter and they achieved their goal and then some (way to go guys!).  This keychain/bottle opener came from this booth. Check out the 3Dprinter.com website for more information.

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Ian Langohr is from Montreal and he is extremely talented. This guy makes amazing over-sized foam mascot heads. I was lucky enough to try on the zombie cat head and I was totally blown away by the quality and detail of his masks. If you didn’t have a chance to visit @makerfaireott yet, you’ve got to go, just to see this. Out of all the business card images I could choose from, I chose this one because I thought the image looked like Jim Watson, the Mayor of Ottawa (sorry Jim).

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These guys are my heroes. I just want to hang out with these guys and play with Lego’s all day. The group ParLUGment was at the MakerFaire today and what they had on display was very impressive. They had little cities, very creative bookends and hill side mansions all on display made out of Lego. In our household, we’re just working on making cool stuff with Duplo, but I hope to get up to your speed in a few years.

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Saving the best for last? Yup, pretty much. I didn’t grab a business card or speak to anyone at this booth because IT WAS TOO BUSY. However, we did manage to get a quick photo op with our daughter with the R2-D2 that made it’s TV debut last week. It’s totally amazing how someone watches a movie and says “hey, that R2-D2 is so cool, I want to make one”. It just blows my mind. If you’re a big Star Wars fan and are interested in following an Ottawa-tonian build an R2 from scratch, join his Facebook page here. 

Other cool things I saw at the museum today: A bunch of giant cameras, computers, typewrites that are now an all-in-one device like the iPhone.

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Did you go to MakerFaire Ottawa today? What did you think? See anything cool?

Don’t forget to add us to Instagram to see more pictures from our trip to MakerFaire Ottawa.

* I just Googled this trying to find the article and just found out that at the 2014 Detroit Maker Fair, they had another life size mousetrap! The video is below is from 2007 at MakerFaire Austin.}

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How to unwind after a long day

How to unwind

 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I decided that I was going to try the new app Next Issue. So far, I’m loving it. With my 30-day free trial I have access to tons of great magazines. Today, on my commute to work, I flipped through the September issue of Rachel Ray.

Which reading this magazine, this Weight Watchers ad caught my eye. How to unwind after a long day. It got me thinking, how to I currently unwind? Now with new daily schedule, things have been pretty hectic lately, but once the baby is down, I feel like can relax again.

Here is a list of things that I do to unwind at the end of the day:

1. Eat a Real Fruit Coconut Popsicle. Have you tried one before, omg, so good!

2. Take a shower. Since I don’t have much time in the mornings to get ready, I take my shower at night. The good news is in the morning, my hair is dry enough to use my straighten. No blow dryers needed.

3. Check my emails, blog, Facebook, Instagram, etc… Catch up on all the social media that I missed during the day.

4. WINE! Enough said.

 

Welllll… I guess I do the opposite of what the ad says *sigh*. What do you do to unwind?


My favourite mom apps

Over the past year, I’ve gotten to know my baby and my iPhone extremely well. We’ve always been close, but we got even closer while I was on maternity leave. I also noticed that I’m a great multi-tasker. Not only was I breastfeeding my daughter, but I was also searching the Internet to find out “why is my baby crying”.

Here is a list of my favourite apps that I used while on maternity leave:

1. My Pregnancy Today and My Baby Today – Both apps helped me a lot during pregnancy and helped me learn about my baby milestones. Cute cartoons would show up once in a while, which I found great to be great comic relief and the to-do lists they provided helped keep me on track.

2. Relax Melodies – Since she was 8 months, we have been using this app. I’m actually listening to “slow waves” right now through the baby monitor while I’m typing this. When we sleep trained our daughter at 6 months, one of the tools it says to use is white noise. While I was in Florida, her crib was next to a bathroom that had a fan. It worked great for those two months. It offered a light glow and the fan as a noise machine. When I got home from our trip, I didn’t have any sound machines that would go all night. After doing some research on Amazon.com, I came across this app. We had an old iPhone 4 that we weren’t using and decided to put the app on the phone, plug the phone in all the time and let it run. It works so well. It never shuts off, but you can set a timer if you want.  The best part, I didn’t have to spend $50+ on a noise machine, this app is FREE!

3. Candy Crush – Who isn’t addicted to Candy Crush? I certainly am. I’m not addicted enough to search for Candy Crush cheats, but I have paid .99 cents to get a few more moves to pass a level. Don’t judge. You’ve done it too!

4. Fisher-Price Giggle Gang – So we used this app mostly when we didn’t want the baby to fall asleep in the car, so that she could have a good nap at home. Our daughter was about 6 months when we started using this app. It was one of the only apps that would keep her attention long enough to keep her awake until we got home. Now I find she gets a little bored with that app, but it worked like a charm when it did.

5. Google Chrome – As mentioned above, a search engine app was key in the first few months of parenthood for us. I didn’t know what I was doing, I needed help. I searched for things like “why does my baby have goop coming out of her eye?” “Why is my baby crying?” “Does my baby have gas?” “How to stop a baby from crying?” and so on. It was extremely helpful. I don’t know how people did this in the olden days. 😛

6. Next Issue – If you’re reading this and now at #6 on my list, you’re probably a) a new mom b) a recent back-to-work mom or c) have a friend that is a new mom and plan to send her my list of mom apps for her to read. Next Issue is an excellent concept for anyone really. I have to be honest, I haven’t downloaded this app*, BUT I plan to tonight because I started work again on Tuesday and I finally have a few minutes to myself at lunch time to indulge in a good magazine. Next Issue is basically an all-you-can-read app for magazines. You know how magazines are normally between $3-$8 per magazine, well with Next Issue you can a basic subscription for $9.99/month or premium subscription for $14.99/month. This is a steal since you would probably end up spending more than that a month on 2-3 magazines, now you can have them all! Muahahahah. The best part?!? If you use this link, you’ll get a 30-day trial for free. FREE!

7. Instagram – While I was on maternity leave, I used Instagram a lot. I used it because I didn’t want to flood my Facebook with our family pictures, but did want to post a ton of pictures of our daughter to our friends and family that did want to see it. I currently use Instagram a little less for personal purposes and more for the blog these days. I guess that’s what happens when your little one turns one.

8. Netflix – Speaking of breastfeeding, we can’t forget our about pumping days. I actually really enjoyed pumping. I only did it a few times (which is probably why I say I liked it) and enjoyed every minute of it. Why? Because at that point, it was the only time of day that I had to myself. Our daughter was a terrible sleeper, so for the first three months, I actually had to sleep with her on me (bad I know, but you do what you have to do) and then beside me. We were attached to the hip (which I also loved)… BUT when I did want that alone time and I only got it when I had to pump. So, when it came time, I loaded up Saving Hope on Netflix, got my double breast pump ready and pumped away.

9. iBooks – I really enjoyed using iBooks on my iPad mini when I was in Florida. It allowed me to buy books and not have to lug around clunky books with me. Here are a list of books I downloaded on mat leave: The Best Homemade Baby Food on the Planet, The Sleepeasy Solution, Divergent and  The Husband’s Secret (which I still haven’t read).



* Update: Since I have written this post, I have downloaded this app and love it. I use it to read magazines on the way to work, to relax after the baby is down for the night and to browse magazines during my lunch hour. I really wish I had thought to download this app while on Mat leave.

Top 3 (Free) Blogging Checklists

Speaking of to-do lists… I’ve also been looking at blogging checklists as well. I wanted to find something that realistic for me to complete on a daily basis and includes all the social media channels that I want participate in. Below are my Top 3 (free) Printable Blogging Checklists:

1. The SITS Girls – Daily Blog Checklist

 

I love this checklist.  It’s pretty simple, but a bit wordy (imo). Since I only participate in Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, the Facebook and Google + sections don’t do much for me. I do like the gentle reminders at the bottom of the page. I always find it helpful to write down a few more blog post ideas after writing a post.

2. Amuse your bouche – Daily blogging checklist

 

Same comment as above about not using Facebook, Google +. I have no idea what StumbleUpon is… is that something worth looking into? Is it new? I do like that it added a checklist for things to do on Pinterest. The wording is simple and to the point. I like it!

3. Smart School House – Make Money Blogging

This blogging checklist is so pretty! It’s very visually appealing. My only complaint is, there isn’t enough “to-do’s” in it. It’s very basic, but very very pretty (did I say that already?).

*sigh* I still haven’t found the one. I’ll try and work on something this weekend and show you what I come up with. It’s not going to be pretty, but I think it might be functional. If anyone knows how to jazz it up, please let me know! I would love some help.