Thursday, 15 February 2018

Pin-spired: Office Style

It's been SOOOO COLD here.  No, you think you know what I mean but it's probably worse than you can imagine (unless you live where it's really, really cold).  Needless to say getting outside to take pictures, go for walks, make snowman, snowboard, run, etc. is pretty much out of the question.  You can't be out in the wind/cold combo uncovered for very long before you would be suffering from frostbite.  The kids have pretty much had indoor recess now for three weeks, bless their teachers.  Anyway, as you can tell it's made me a little uninspired lately.    When I am in a style run, I along with everyone else, hit  Pinterest for some inspiration.  I was immediately drawn to this Pin because it would encourage me to pull out my tweed and fringe skirt, also see here.  I've had it in my closet for at least three years now but I only wear it a handful of times a year.  I love the little fringe detail and add some peals to the mix and it's perfect for the office or a dinner out on the town.  I am pretty happy with how my pinspired outfit turned out in the end. 


Next week I am excited to either wear a) jeans or b)comfy athletic wear as I am off with the kids for a whole week.  Mr. and I are heading out of town to the cabin ALONE for the weekend!!!!!  Eeek, I am so excited. 

What are your weekend plans?

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Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Hello Fresh Review: Convenient and Healthy Family Cooking

I will begin by saying that this is NOT a sponsored post, I am just writing it because I want to give my busy friends an honest review of this program. I received a free, one week trial through a friend.  I was feeling that we needed to diversify our meals a little bit and so when the offer came along, I was happy to check it out.  So glad I did.

The three meals arrived on my doorstep on a Tuesday, you can select your drop-off day, and I kind of felt like it was Christmas and my present was waiting to be opened.  The packaging was sooooooo nice you guys.  The box is heavy duty and completely insulated so the cold outdoors can't damage  the food.  Each meal was packaged in a large brown bag, with all the ingredients individually packaged inside.  All the produce was in mint condition!  The meat for each meal was placed at the bottom of the box on top of cold packs.  The recipe cards are beautiful and so easy to follow, so whoever gets home first can start the cooking.

We tried a 3-day family plan that was $129. Since we've had another box and they were equally as good.  Here is a quick review of the meals in our first box. 

Pork Schnitzel Fingers with Lemony Coleslaw and Sugar Snap PeasKids loved it!  They were huge fans of roasting the snap peas in the oven.  This is a keeper for sure.

Pesto Chicken with Roasted Zucchini and Red Pepper Panzanella SaladThis was really good, especially loved by the adults.  I added our own rice to this meal to make it go a little further, which resulted in us having enough for next nights supper.

Teriyaki Beef with Bok Choy, Carrots and Black Sesame RiceHands down our favorite meal!  How come I've never cooked with bok choy?!?  This has been on repeat since getting this meal.  I will say one flaw that we have found in Hello Fresh is that their beef is so-so.  The beef is a bit chewy to be honest but the recipe was amazing so since we've made it with our own beef.   This recipe  really pushed our pallets with the bok choy, ginger root, oyster sauce, etc.

How It Works:1.  You sign up for one of their meal plans (Pronto, Family or Veggie).
2.  You choose how many people and how many meals.
3.  You only order for the weeks that you want to receive the meals for.
(Remember to skip weeks so you don't get charged.  I skip several weeks at once if I know I won't be needing the service and then reevaluate each month based on our family calendar)
4.  Arrives on your doorstep and you are ready to have a meal in less then 30 minutes on your table.

Pros:- Quick and healthy
- Puts fun back into cooking
- Love the diversity of meals and ingredients
- Leftovers: either for 2 lunches or for all of us to eat another dinner (2 adults and 2 girls)
- Fresh for a week, so I don't have to cook every day
- Use the recipe cards over and over
- Super easy, any adult or teen could follow it

Cons:- Price point (totally reasonable for the service and the quality of ingredients, but yes I can cook for cheaper); $129 for a family of 4, for three full meals; other meal options are less
- Beef is so-so but people say that the veggie option is always a great alternative
- I haven't seen a seafood dish yet

If you want to try it out please use Hello Fresh $40 OFF  and receive $40 off of your first box and I will get $25, win-win.  Thanks!

Friday, 9 February 2018

Fashion Friday: Blush Lace & Red Bows

This is what I would wear if I did Valentines Day.  

Valentines day is just not something we really celebrate in our home.  Logan and I don't do anything at all on this particular day and never really did even prior to having kids.  I don't really get the hype honestly and the idea of having to think of something grand to do or to give seems daunting.  LOL!  I am sorry to be such a downer.  Anyway, if we were to be super dooper romantic and going out for a fancy dinner I would totally wear this.  I have a massive crush on this adorable skirt.  Lets all just agree that the bow is it's winning feature but the cut and color would keep it a permanent staple in my closet.  Normally I wouldn't pair blush and red together but they seem perfect for each other when it comes to Valentines Day. 

 If you are going out or doing something special for Valentines Day, I hope you have a lovely time.  As for me and Mr. I think we will just indulge in a good bottle of wine, some delicious chocolates, cuddle time on the couch and my warm, fuzzy p.js (at least they are cute).  That's as good as it gets.

Shop This Post:
Skirt (Chickwish)
Ruffled Shirt (H & M- sale for $9.99!)
Lace Top (H & M)
Blush Heels (Justfab)
Clutch (Rosegal)
Rose Gold Bracelet (H & B)
What are your Valentines Day plans?

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Kid Valentine's Day Craft: Clothespin Butterfly

As much as Mr. & I don't celebrate Valentine's Day in any grand way, I do always end up doing some sort of craft or class gift idea with the girls.  It's a fun way for us spend time and be creative together.  It's also a good time to revisit  what it means to be a good friend and different ways to show kindness.  I think it's the teacher in me that is always searching for new ideas and this one was adapted from  Crafty Morning blog.  In the past we've decorated special cookies, made our own valentines day cards, and last year we made You Make My Heart Bounce treat bags.  Halie, grade 5, is no longer interested but Anya is still happy to enjoy crafting with me.  This year she wrote cards and little packs of Smarties for everyone in her class but she also decided to make "special" gifts for her best friends.  

Materials You Will Need:
  • * Hugs & Kisses (250 gr.) - we used two bags to make 5 butterflies 
  • Self-adhesive googly eyes (tiny size) 
  • Wooden clothespins
  • Pipe Cleaners (we used red)
  • Snack size Ziplock bags
  • Red paint (tempera or acrylic)
  • Black Sharpie
*You can also use M & Ms, Skittles, Smarties, Red Hearts, Swedish Berries (we choose to use wrapped candy for hygiene reasons, but I don't think the kids would care either way)

I always encourage the kids to do as many of the steps on their own, regardless of how the final product turns out.  I really value the process much more so then the product.

1.  Paint the clothespins.  A. did two coats and let them dry overnight.  

2.  Add a smiley face and googly eyes on the top portion of the clothes pin.

3.  Fill the small bags with candy, we used 18 hugs & kisses in each bag.  We were able to make 5 butterflies from two bags.  

4.  Wrap a pipe cleaner around the bag,  I had to  help Anya with this step.  Fold the Ziploc seal to the back and then wrap the pipe cleaner dividing the bag into two halves.  Twist as the top, leaving equal lengths on both side to be curled into antennas.


5.  Slide the top of the clothes pin between the two halves of the butterfly.  The opening/closing portion of the clothespin is below so that it can hold a Valentine card.

Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Friday Fashion: No Shopping January Update (10 January Looks)

I made it!  No shopping January was a huge success for me and shopping my closet was so much fun you guys!  I actually discovered I have even more stuff, when I started mixing and matching outfits, then I thought.  I am pretty confident that I can make it through February without repeating an outfit.  January was REALLY cold here (-25 to -40 C) so I wore a lot of pants.  For February, I am hoping to utilize my pencil skirts and dresses a lot more, plus I'll have a week off so I'll probably be sporting jeans everyday.   I did pick out a few pieces that I am not attracted to anymore and there are a few sweaters that I will be saying goodbye at the end of the season.    

Another reason that I didn't miss shopping in January was because I  was so bogged down with work, planning and delivering professional development, that I wouldn't have had time to shop even if I had wanted to.  I also had a nasty spill on the ice mid-month that took me to the chiropractor multiple times, as well as got me put 'bed rest' and "no heels" regime.  Thankfully January is behind me and I am feeling much better and looking forward to enjoying the freshly fallen snow we finally got.  

Here are my 10 favorite looks, varied form weekend casual to office professional, and everything in between.  You can also check out my featured blog looks from January (cozy poncho, plaid shirt and pom toques, winter style cord skirt & a statement sweater).

My new blue suede booties add such a fun element to this casual outfit.

After my fall, there was a NO HEELS policy for about two weeks.

Still loving these tweed pants from Simons.

Pencil skirts make me feel like Rachel form Suits.

So glad that I din't get rid of my chambray top.

Spring, soon?

Due to January being so busy, I haven't really had time to even compile a list of wants for  future reference so what are your must have items for spring?

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Mommy Diaries: Highs and Lows of Mother-Daughter Relationships


     Hi everyone.  This is the first of twelve installments of the Mommy Diaries here on the blog.  This idea has been  simmering  in my head for about a year and a half, maybe two, and over the holidays I had an opportunity to really think deeply about it.  I wanted my friends from all different walks of life, different stages of motherhood, and from different family structures to share their stories with others.  All of the individuals I reached out to are women, and mothers, that I respect and have in some way guided me into becoming a better mother.  They will share various bits and pieces of their lives the last Wednesday of each month.  I am installment number one.

    The Highs and Lows of Mother-Daughter Relationships

     I struggled with what to write about today, I have so many themes and topics in mind, but topic just poured out of me as I sat to write.  It really stemmed from the post I wrote celebrating my daughters 11th birthday, see here.  I wrote that post with such pride, joy and ease.  It reminded me of how our relationship has ebbed and flowed over the years, the highs and the lows.  I remember moments of the past, especially around the toddler years and then again when we were struggling with reading, that it felt like our relationship was threatened, that I wasn’t being a good mom, like we were drifting apart.  What I know now is that those moments are just little fragments of time, and though at the time they felt like eternity.  I am writing this post as honestly as I possibly can, exposing my highs and lows of motherhood. Before you continue I want to tell you that this is a happy story, in which I learn that the investment we make as mothers really does pay off over time and that the cloudy days will turn into clear and sunny ones. Let's go down memory lane.

My Dreams Come True 

     We were over the moon excitement that our first baby would be arriving in January 2007!!!!  I was 24 years old and fresh out of university.  I had been dreaming of being a mom for years and had full-on romanticized the role.  My little girl and I were going to be best friends.  We were going to spend endless hours laughing, acting silly, crafting, playing dress-up and dolls.  I would never be annoyed with this perfect little person.  We were going to grow to be just like the Gilmore Gils, Lorelai and Rory.


     The Good and The Hard

     For the most part that was true until Halie turned 2 1/2 years old and she became more and more difficult.  We thought we had escaped the "terrible twos" but the “*uckin' threes” were like a hurricane through our house.  She would kick, scream, hit, throw, etc. Looking back  at this now I know this was 

     a) totally normal and
b) just her way of trying to figure out how to deal with her own emotions. 
My perfect little girl had become extremely difficult to deal with and our special times often ended with both of us feeling depleted.   Baby #2 came just before Halie turned three and our relationship got harder as I struggled to communicate with her, to provide her with the time and guidance she needed and deserved.  Logan and Halie grew closer during the first few months after baby and I felt both jealous and relieved by their growing bond.   

After a few months we found our groove again and Halie began growing out of her tantrums.  We were able to return to spending quality time together by doing little things such as music classes, swimming lessons, library programs, crafting, etc.  During the  second half of my maternity leave, I once again felt like I was doing “mother-hood” pretty well and our relationship normalized (whatever that means).

 School Work

     Halie entered school as kind, generous, friendly, outgoing girl that enjoyed school, but then she began to struggle.  We switched from French to English at the end of grade 1 and naturally it became my job  to teach her to read.  She had become withdrawn and self-conscious throughout grade one about school work so working on reading put a strain on our relationship once again.  Coming home after school, both of us drained from the day, and then working on more "school" stuff was though on both of us.  It was a tough half a year, filled with tears, hardships and insecurity, but THE BEST TIME INVESTMENT.  With support from her teachers, our work at home, she began to regain her confidence and her love for learning.

 Don’t Give Up

     That was the last really difficult time we've had in our relationship. Since Halie has become a tween, it seems our relationship just keeps getting better and better.  We share many of the same interests such as our love for animals, enjoyment for reading and discussing our books, dancing around and crafting.   We’ve had many opportunities to enjoy new adventures together such as snowboarding, going on roller coasters, swimming with the dolphins, going shopping, coffee dates, etc.  I am excited, and a little apprehensive, about what awaits me as a mother of teenage girls but I know that our relationship can withstand any storm.  As the end of the day I always want my girls to know that I love them, that they can rely on me.


 Tips for Growing Your Relationship

1.      Say sorry.  If you do or say something you regret, make the first move and lead by example. 

2.     Communicate.  This goes with the above, but take time to communicate your feelings to your child by saying, “this made me feel….”.  Also remember to communicate those feelings all the time, when something is going perfectly and when you are struggling.

3.     Learn about their interests.  It’s easy to talk to a child that has similar interests  but learn about the things that they love.  Halie loves horses so I go to the stable with her and allow her to teach me.  It’s the greatest experience to be taught something new by your child, you will see them in a whole knew light.

4.     Quality Time.  I try to spend some special quality time with each child on their own.  I know this is often difficult but I just have it built into my calendar. Last year Halie and I had a coffee date once a month after I picked her up from dance.  This year we have decided that we would read a book together and discuss it.

5.     Check-in every day.  We do a family check-in every night at supper.  Something great, something difficult and a goal for the next day.

6.     Tell them you love them.  I make a point of looking right into their eyes, pausing and telling them I love them, so that it’s not just words but they know they have weight and meaning.  

I will leave you with a slideshow of some of my favorite photos of Halie and me.  Join my friend Heather for the next installment of Mommy Diaries on Wednesday, Feb. 28th.  

Friday, 26 January 2018

Fashion Friday: Make a Statement with a Winter Sweater

This sweater had me at the big statement sleeves.  I set my sights on it way back in November and it immediately made it to the top of my Xmas wishlist.  Santa didn't let me down and it was nicely wrapped underneath the tree.  I want to pair it up with my suede skirt for the office but last weekend I went the  casual route as we took the girls to tour  the University.  The beauty of this sweater is that it has so much going on, with the bold, floral embroidery and the puffy sleeves that you don't need to add  accessories.  Eyes will just be naturally drawn to the sweater so you can keep everything else basic. I have three different pairs of Expression booties from the Bay and love them all.  These gray ones were a December purchase and I only paid $50!

This little tour that we did with the girls was the best.  Have you ever toured university grounds with your kiddos?  I value education but I didn't always give much thought to how incredibly important it was for them to have experiences going o a big place like the university.  Why is it important for kids as young as 7 to go there you ask?  Well I feel that they need to hear and see  us, their parents,  talking about post-secondary options in a way that opens their mind to many avenues in life.  I am not stuck on my children going to university, but I do want them to see their future full of opportunities, options and potential.  Currently Anya is exploring dinosaurs at school, excavation and geology, and we are so lucky to have numerous displays that are open to the public right in our city so we took a little tour.  As a result we also toured through the agricultural building and we saw the veterinary college which caught Halie's attention.  As we walked to the car, Halie confidently said, "I want to come here.  I want to go to university."  Music to my ears.  It might change but in her 11 year old mind she sees that as a valid option for her future and I couldn't be happier. 

What are you up to this weekend?  

Shop This Post:
Guess Embroidered Sweater (similar, mine is sold out)
Expression Booties (price drop at $ 29.99)