2018-resolutions-mother

I had every intention to share my thoughts on this new year in a video. The plan was to sit down and chat through my 2017 reflections and goals for the next 364 days, but as we know with plans, sometimes they change. I’m actually writing this in the wee hours of the morning (like 5am, friends) because I seemingly have come down with something. Normally, this would be cause for stress and disappointment, but not this year. I’m turning a corner. Instead of being frustrated that a video isn’t likely to happen, I’m going to seize this quiet, calm opportunity to share in written form.

So while it’s not the same as perhaps propping up your phone to watch me while you do dishes, let’s both grab a cup of something warm and relax for a little candid sharing.

2017

Admittedly, I’ve been struggling to summarize the last year. Normally, this isn’t the case. Usually for me, it’s quite easy to pinpoint at least a few key highlights and/or takeaways from the past year, but for 2018 it’s not so obvious. I think this is because 2017 was, simply put, a lot.

Upon reflection the one thing that really stands out the most from last year, is work. I got swooped up in the whirlwind of entrepreneurship, with my newly launched KonMari consulting business, and balanced as best I could my online content. I won’t say it was easy. The more I unpack this thought the more I realize just how challenging things often were and how tested I constantly felt – both with work and on the home-front. While this may read in a negative tone, I’m not looking back with the same. Instead, I feel (albeit, tired) accomplished. I learned firsthand how truly unbelievable it feels to create something and then have it stand on its own. Opportunities came my way that I never imagined being offered and through that I found tremendous validation.

I’m thankful for the last year, I was pushed in ways I’ve never been and feel stronger and more focused because of it. If it weren’t for the hard work 2017 required, I know I wouldn’t be ready or prepared for all that I hope to accomplish during the year ahead.

New Year – 2018

Oh, the excitement of a shiny new year! Tell me, you get excited when January 1st rolls around, too? As cliche as it may be, I love the feeling of starting anew and focusing rather not on what didn’t happen, but instead what can. Whether you call them resolutions, goals or aspirations, establishing some objectives for the new year feels good. It provides focus, a sense of motivation and direction.




To keep things simple, I have established goals for each of the three main areas of my life: family, personal growth and work (in order of importance).
Below is what I will be working hard to achieve over the next year.

Family

Presence. This is the one thing I want to focus on above all else. These treasured years are going by faster than I ever imagined. I don’t want to look back with regret that I was distracted from the most previous work I’ll ever do, mothering. I want the time I have with my children and as a family to count. For me, contending with “all I have to do” often compromises just being in the now.  It is increasingly becoming more obvious to me, how unfair to everyone this is. When I’m with my children and we’re doing something as a family, I want 2018 to be the year that I really learn to just savour this blessing. In an effort to make this a reality, I am going to set aside my phone, turn away from housework and say “yes” to more play, fun and spontaneous adventures. I’m going to consciously take note of the little moments more: bedtime, little chats, sing-songs and the like. I also plan on using my “real” camera more to take intentionally planned photos of each child and schedule a family photo session.

Personal Growth

Where to begin with this one! I’m no stranger to freely chatting about my personal growth journey in my content. For me, this is one of the most important aspects of my life and living. It’s also an area that I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself – some warranted, some not. Unfortunately, it has become routine for me to self-evaluate and be disheartened. I focus only on my struggles and never even consider my triumphs. This often leaves me feeling depleted. For 2018, I want to be kinder and more patient toward myself. I want to work at being more realistic in my aspirations and listen to my body and my heart when they tell me to rest. Equally, this year will be the one where I finally start to prioritize my health and wellness (for real).

Work

Step it up. It has become really clear to me over the last while, that I can and want to do more than I presently am with my online content. This labour of love area of my life, took a backseat to my consulting last year. It simply wasn’t feasible to give 100% to my YouTube channel and this blog while giving all that is required to starting a new business. While I know this to be true, I would be lying to say my absence bothered me. I love, love, love sharing with you all. Creating content really brings me joy and serves as a wonderful creative outlet. I have so much that I want to show, make and experience with you all and I can’t wait to get back into sharing things on a consistent basis. I have a lot planned for this coming year that includes home projects/care, travel, wellness, beauty and likely a whole lot in-between.

I’m looking forward to everything planned and unplanned that will make up 2018. I hope this time next year, I’m feeling fulfilled and productive. I hope the same for you! Let’s make this a good one…

 

 

stocking-stuffer-ideas-2017

Great Stocking Ideas for His & Her

 

Even more than presents, I love opening my stocking each Christmas. Equally, I love filling stockings with a good mix of fun, apparel, beauty and treats! Below you will find some of my favourite stocking stuffer ideas for men and women.

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konmari kids gifts

The struggle can be so real this time of year! Balancing Christmas fun with kid’s toys and gifts that will be enjoyed past January 1st. To help you with buying for the special little ones of your list, here are my top picks for gifts worth giving! These recommendations are inspired by the KonMari approach of buying with intention and mindfulness toward Sparking Joy!

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christmas gift guide 2017


I have been working on this list for a long time. As in, since really, last Christmas. I wanted to create a well balanced list of gift suggestions that met the criteria of: unique, serviceable and budget-friendly. With the final selections made, I couldn’t be more pleased with how this came together!

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I’m doing a bit of blog hopping with this post! Over on my KonMari consulting blog, I recently shared how I have adapted a simple rhyme to make buying Christmas gifts for my children really easy and meaningful. A lot of you really liked this concept and so I wanted to create a coordinating checklist to make things just that much easier.

For your reference, here is the rhyme. You can also read more on each of the categories with examples here.

konmari christmas

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CHECKLIST

I hope this helps to make this year the simplest yet; so you can spend more time with those that make the holiday season as special as it is!

 

*This post is sponsored by Johnson’s Baby. All opinions are my own.

My family’s evening routine is something I rely heavily on to maintain balance between what needs to happen and spending time together each night. It can be really hectic trying to juggle schoolwork, extracurricular, supper prep/cleanup, housework, bath and the wind-down for bedtime. Thankfully, with a well established evening routine everything manages to get done because we are all so accustom to the order of our evenings.

If you haven’t yet implemented an evening routine, I strongly encourage it!

 

Here are some considerations for creating your own routine:

  • After school fun! – Allowing children time to disengage from school and enjoy play proves so useful during the later part of the evening as they’re able to focus on schoolwork and chores.
  • Fit in family time throughout the evening – Visit while supper is being made, have a dance party after supper, read a family story after bedtime. Little moments together as a family keep everyone feeling connected even when time isn’t plentiful.
  • Keep suppers simple! – A quick search on Google and you will be able to find lots of nutritious, but also easy and fast to prepare meal options. Time saved on meal prep allows for more to get done in the evenings.
  • Delegating tasks – Establish jobs and give responsibility to each family member. For example, in our home my husband and I make supper together and he handles cleanup while I focus on the bath routine.

An important component of our evening is winding our children down for the day through their bath time routine. Since our first baby, we’ve always used the JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® line of bath products. I have found they work so well to create a calm environment, the scent is soothing and has such a relaxing affect. Equally as special, is the assurance of Johnson’s® gentle and tear free formula.

johnson's bedtime routine

  1. JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® baby bubble bath– A treat that I enjoy just as much as my children! Just 2-3 capfuls under running water and it’s bubble heaven!
  2. JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® baby bath– Such a wonderfully lathering wash with the signature calming scent of the Bedtime line.
  3. JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® baby lotion– The perfect way to complete a relaxing bath routine. This lotion works wonderfully for massaging babies and children; preparing them for a sound sleep.

You can learn more via Johnson’s Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

Check out my Morning Routine here

*Please note this is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
how to pick paint colour

I recently had the opportunity to work with Canadian Tire  in using their Premier Paint for updating my home office. Not only did this project provide a much needed refresh for the room, but I learned a great deal on how to make sure you choose the right colour. See the thing is, while a colour may look fabulous and like the perfect fit on a swatch, in actuality it may show entirely different on your wall. There are lots of factors that play into this, but some of the main ones are: age of the home, amount of natural light in the particular room and decor choice.

For this particular project, I knew I wanted a bright, neutral and fresh shade to offset the size of the room and it being in the basement. After receiving my Premier kit of products, including the entire catalogue of Premier paint colours, I picked my new colour. I held up the swatch against all walls of the room during different times of the day.

However, this all changed once I got to Canadian Tire. For the first time in my career of buying paint, the sales associate asked all kinds of questions to better help me. Through conversation, she told me that the colour I thought I wanted, was actually a “warm” shade. Going with this color would have created the yellow tone I was desperate to avoid. From there I had a mini lesson on how to avoid taking home the wrong paint colour.

The takeaway tips are:

  1. ,Predetermine: The amount of natural light the room has, the tone/decor of the space and whether you want the feel to be more cool or warm.
  2. If you are unsure of any of the above, discuss this with a knowledgable paint sales person.
  3. Ask for a colour breakdown of the shade you are interested in. This will ensure there are no undertones that will affect the appearance of the paint. For example, the initial colour I picked, which I thought was a cool tone, has browns and reds in it which are actually warm.

The most important lesson I learned, was to have a conversation with the sales associate. This way, you can be sure that what you think you are choosing for your paint colour is actually the correct shade for the project and/or room.

Once I had the colour right, the actual painting was a breeze. We are now self-proclaimed (major) fans of Premier paint. The formula is beautiful, application was the best we’ve ever experienced and the colour is rich. I’ve even put it to the ultimate test of having to wash the newly painted wall with no issues! Simply put, I can’t recommend the brand enough.

While we still have a fair bit to do in the way of finishing my home office, I have to share the before/after of the paint job. The shade I used is ‘Snowy Night’. Changing the colour alone has made such an amazing difference!

I am so in love with this gorgeous paint colour that I painted our ensuite bath with it, too! ‘Snowy Night’ is such a neutral shade that it transitions equally well no matter the light situation. It also provides a fresh backdrop to easily compliment any decor.

Big thank you to Canadian Tire for allowing me the pleasure of trying their Premier Paint. This has come as a much needed update!

Last week was a busy one with squeezing in the last bit of summer fun before both boys went back to school on Thursday. We enjoyed a lazy long weekend Monday, managed one last trip to Halifax with our best buds and spent time with the grandparents! Hudson started grade two and Loic begun his school school career in primary (aka. kindergarten). We were also treated to an awesome meal at our local Boston Pizza ahead of their grand opening on Monday.

Admittedly, as much as I would have liked or benefited from, I wasn’t able to fully switch over my brain from summer to school between Wednesday and Thursday. I forgot to pack the boy’s lunches the night before, no meal plan in place for supper, behind on laundry, half a days worth of filming deleted… you get the idea (#reallife)!

Now, moving into our first full week back into normal routine, I am getting myself sorted today so things run smoothly come Monday. Meal planning, prepping clothing and lunches, having all the food we need on hand and a tidy house all contribute to helping things run smoothly.

If you’re new to my Week at a Glance posts or forget what they’re about (since I totally dropped this over the summer), welcome/welcome back! I share photos from the week before and the meal plan and project goals for the week ahead.

Project Goals

  1. Finish what I can in our master bedroom. I’ve already painted, but have the wallhangings and curtains to go up.
  2. Paint my home office. I’m really looking forward to making some good headway in this area. Stay tuned!

Meal Plan

Monday – Spaghetti & Salad

Tuesday – Slow cooker Pork Tenderloin (credit: East Coast Mommy)

Wednesday – Sweet & Sour Citrus Chick Stir-fry

Thursday – BBQ chicken, grilled veggie packets

Friday – Baked fajitas

Saturday – Homemade grilled chicken pizza 

I’m working on incorporating new recipes into our weekly meal plan and am always looking for recommendations! If you have a favourite go-to meal, please let me know – I’d love some new meal options.

Wishing you all a wonderful, easy week ahead!

Hi friends,
After a whirlwind summer… I’m back on the blog! My plan is to resume regular posting moving into the fall, but I’ll share that plan in another post. For now, let’s talk about back to school. I’m feeling quite ahead of myself this year having everything bought and ready to go – and it’s still a week before school lets in (I’m not naive enough to think this will be the standard for the rest of the year). In the video below, I go into full detail with each of the items shown – check it out!

PRODUCTS

back-to-school

  1. EcoVessel – I love the practical size and durability of this BPA free Scout water bottle. The convenient handle and no-tilt design will serve the boys well as they use these in school.
  2. Skechers – We are huge fans of Skechers footwear; good quality sneakers are well worth the investment. The boys love that their styles light up and I love the convenience of velcro. Loic’s sneakers. Hudson’s sneakers.
  3. Wildkin – Both boys will be heading back to school with Wildkin backpacks. I opted for these based on their solid construction and practical design. The wide openings, padded straps, bottle holders and front porches are solid wins!
  4. Mabel’s Labels – Investing in well-made, durable labels is an absolute must for me. Losing and mixing-up belongs at school is almost inevitable, but with everything labeled it makes it so easy to identify what belongs to your child. I ordered the Ultimate Back to School Combo and the Little Kid School Combo for each of the boys.
  5. Re-play Snack Stacks – These aren’t just cute, they’re beyond convenient! Being able to use individually or connect multiple containers means I will be able to easily put together veggies/dip and yogurt/granola.
  6. Mi-fold – This is such a neat concept that really warrants a full review (coming soon). Suffice is to say for now, that being able to send the boys to school with a safe and portable booster is going to make a huge difference for us. After school change of plans where the grandparents are on pick-up duty will no longer mean a shuffle around of booster seats.




GIVEAWAY

Enter below to win a $35 store credit to Re-Play (perfect timing to take advantage of their free shipping over $35 too!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I recently discovered the online organizational company called, Tidy Living and I am in love with their website, products and prices! It makes it so convenient, especially living in an area with limited shopping options, to be able to order everything from one site.

To remedy several areas of organizational issue in our home, I ordered five different products and each worked perfectly in correcting the issue. For the full reveal, please see the above video.

 

TIDY LIVING ORGANIZATIONAL PRODUCTS

  1. Under the Bed Storage Bag  I used this storage bag to house off-season linen. Being able to tuck away our large duvet and winter coverlet under the bed frees up significant room in our master closet.
  2. Utility Tote The best pool/beach tote ever! This trendy printed, sturdy, 3-pouch tote is the perfect size for family outings. We can comfortably fit towels, swimming gear, supplies and our cooler all in this one easy to carry option.
  3. Round Basket The look of this basket is what got me first – it is so trendy and in keeping with the existing style of our home. Given it’s roomy size, it serves as the perfect solution for our kid’s blankets, stuffs and books in our family room.
  4. Small Woven Basket I’m not sure who loves these woven baskets more, me or Rob! They are trendy, sturdy, well made and roomy. We decided they were too attractive for our back closet storage. Better choice is to use them for house outdoor accessories in the front closet.
  5. Rolling Wire Under Bed Rack This rolling wire under the bed rack is the perfect storage solution for really anything, but to remedy the issue of clutter on my bedside table, I opted to create a mini office. I use this rack for storing my laptop, planners and accessories. This makes it so easy to work from the comfort of my bed and freed up so much space.
  6. Removable Liner Hamper Such a practical investment! This standard size hamper removed the need of two separate ones in the kid’s bedrooms. Creating one easy to use system for our children to put away their dirty clothes and for me to transport the laundry to the washer is a game changer. The removable liner means there will always be the main portion of the hamper in place. No more dirty clothes on the floors!

    MORE INFO.

Follow Tidy Living on YouTubeInstagram, Facebook, Pinterest

organizational supplies cheap

a young mum favourites

TOP PICKS FOR SUMMER 2017

 

1. Tiny Twirl Skirt: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTwirlShop 2. OshKosh Rashguard Swimsuits: http://www.oshkosh.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Carters-Site/default/Search-Show?q=rash+guard&prefn1=brand&prefv1=oshkosh 3. Kamik RainPlayLo Boots: https://www.kamik.com/b2c_ca_en/toddlers/toddlers-shoes/toddlers-rain-boots-s17/rainplaylo.html#color=blu 4. Crocs: http://www.crocs.com 5. Kamik Rainboots: https://www.kamik.com/b2c_ca_en/toddlers/toddlers-shoes/toddlers-rain-boots-s17/stomp-62866-3.html#color=bka 6. Skechers: -Twinkle Toes: https://www.skechers.com/en-ca/girls/all?brand=/twinkle-toes -S Lights: https://www.skechers.com/en-ca/style/90293/s-lights-flashpod-scoria/bklm   1. Hasbro Perfection Game: http://amzn.to/2rA6H2o 2. Summer Scrapbook (Idea): http://amzn.to/2sHG2jX 3. Beaver Books Exercise Books: http://amzn.to/2tbvyH0 4. Body Doodlers: http://amzn.to/2rF2aa6 5. Catch and Learn Game: http://amzn.to/2tb3hAj     1. TeaMoy Wetbag: http://amzn.to/2rAaMnl 2. Brita Filter Kids Waterbottle: http://amzn.to/2rAg7eq 3. Reusable Snack Bags: http://amzn.to/2rF2W70 4. TotLogic Natural Sunscreen: http://amzn.to/2roKEHY 5. Croc Bloc Insect Repellent Towelette: https://www.staples.ca/en/Croc-Bloc-6-Hourr-Insect-Repellent-Towelettes/product_1942089_1-CA_1_20001 6. Peapod Mat: http://www.peapodmats.com 7. Logan and Lenora Daytripper Bag: http://amzn.to/2tb7sfF 8. Mabels Labels: http://mabelslabels.com

GIVEAWAYS

Please note: Contests are open internationally. Please be over the age of 18 to enter or have parental consent. Contest runs for one week and winners will be emailed directly by me. a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This post has been done in partnership with Kent Building Supplies

buying-light-fixture

Our kitchen is my least favourite part of our house. There, I said it. I spent the first four years of living in our home trying to determine what exactly the issue(s) were. I finally established that the main problems were the wall colour (yellow/beige… need I say more), orange/yellow undertone in both the cupboards and countertop) and the basic finishes that were used. We tackled the first issue this past fall by changing out the  original paint colour for Benjamin Moore’s Moonshine and it made a significant difference. In addressing the countertop/cupboard issue, I really think a bright, fresh subway tile backsplash will help to neutral out the tone, but that’s a ways off from happening (or is it? *hint* Rob). To remedy the last struggle of the basic, builder’s grade finishes, I decided the solution would be a noteworthy chandelier above the kitchen table.  (more…)

konmari toys
In the video above, I share my experience with toys pre and post KonMari Method. Since completing the process, the only real change has been the toys that I now invest in. Prior to the method we brought home new toys on impulse. Now we look for toys that meet certain criteria, to read more specifics on that, please click here.

Below are my six top choices for toys that are worth your money! Toys that are made to last, will grow with your child, encourage creative and active play and offer a variety of fun to any playroom!

konmari-toys

1. Plasmacar – A new addition to our toy collection, the Plasmacar has become a quick favourite. As a parent, I love that it gets my kids moving, will grow with all three children and is built to last. For my kids, they love that their own body weight is what gets them moving and the ability to easily steer in a glided motion. Check them out: Website, Website 2, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter

2. Bilibo by Moluk – What’s not to love about this open-ended toy?! The Bilibo is a seat, a climbing structure, a water activity, a snow/sand shaper and more! The possibilities are endless and so is the age of play. This toy is being included in collaboration with QHouseKids. Check them out: Website, Instagram, YouTube channel, Twitter

3. Vertiplay Treetop Adventure by Oribel – A toy that virtually takes up no storage room, is well made, and definitely cute! The Treetop Adventure toy is wall-mounted yet can easily be repositioned. While it is is primarily played with by our two year old, our four and six year olds both enjoy this toy. There is something almost calming about watching the wooden caterpillar descend down the tree ramp (always a solid bonus). Check out Oribel here: Website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

4. GeoSmart – My boys simply cannot get enough of their Geosmart sets. With limitless possibilities for play, this toy is one that provides hours of entertainment. Geosmarts are small and portable enough to take just about anywhere. They are built with a patented double safety system so I never worry about them breaking or small hands getting ahold of one. Our oldest, Hudson has specifically enjoyed the Mars Explorer set and having the additional component of robotics.
Promo Code: 15% off Amazon store (good through May 7, 2017)
Check out Geosmart here: Website, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Purchase through Amazon

5. Lego – How could I not include this classic? Lego has not lost it’s hype since I played with it as a child. Seeing my children sit on the floor around their box of Lego makes my heart happy because I can see their creativity at work. Lego sets provide the opportunity to follow and build according to instructions, but also the ability to construct based on your imagination (win/win!). Lego is made to last; I know this because my kids play with pieces from the 80’s!
Check out Lego here: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Purchase through Amazon




6. Mio by Manhattan Toy Company – Aside from being downright adorable, these wooden sets have proven to be a go-to by all three of our children. The chunky construction is perfect for our two year old’s toddler hands and the solid construction has stood up to her not-so gentle play. The boys have enjoyed creating play scenarios and setting up the Food Truck at various locations around our house and backyard. Of all the wooden toys we’ve ever had, this line is by far our favourite.
Check out Mio here: Website, Purchase through Amazon

Enter to WIN a Plasmacar

a Rafflecopter giveaway
(Please note this Giveaway is open for residents of Canada & the USA only)

I’d love to hear what toys are your picks as worth the investment!