hello fresh promo
When the generous people at Hello Fresh Canada offered to send me a Family Box to enjoy, I jumped at the chance. I have been interested in meal services, such as this one, for awhile but because I live in a somewhat remote area, I didn’t think we would have the chance. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Hello Fresh ships out to the Maritime provinces. My first impression of the actual delivery was a good one; our box arrived promptly at noon and was extremely well package.  (more…)

easy meal plan

More snow made for another long start to this past week (we’re up to almost 70cm), but thankfully we more than made up for the amount of time spent at home by being, very busy, on the road for the last two days!

The beginning of the week had us storm stayed inside, which meant a whole lot more TV than I’d care to admit and too many games of hide-and-seek to count. It also meant very little got accomplished in the way of home projects. As much as I would have loved to finish up some of my to do list items, it just wasn’t meant to be. Thankfully, the weather appears to be turning around which hopefully will allow me to finally make some headway on everything that has been on hold.

With so much time spent in the house, when the weather finally cleared on Friday we jumped at the chance to head back to Truro. Carla and I packed every seat in her van with our little army of children and made our way over the mountain for a McDonald’s lunch date and an afternoon spent at the library (if you didn’t catch how it went, read here). I felt like we got a day pass from what was starting to feel like house arrest. Yesterday, Saturday, Rob and I decided we wanted to head to the city and do some shopping. We packed in a lot, including buying new clothes, a trip to Costco, an imperative stop at Skip Hop Jump and a fun supper at Montana’s. I actually don’t remember the last time we had such a great day spent just as a family (aren’t they the best?).

As per this week, I’m keeping things simple and just focusing on some side projects with my KonMari consulting (details coming soon) and finishing the last of what I can in Mairi’s room because some of the items from her bedroom update have not arrived yet. Confession, I haven’t even finished Mairi’s bedroom and already I’m brainstorming some updates to do in the boys room (I can’t be the only one who works/functions this way?!).

On the food side of things, I am really looking forward to this week’s meal plan. This is mostly because of my Hello Fresh delivery that is arriving on Wednesday and will be served up on Thursday (big thank you to Hello Fresh). I will be sharing all the details in both blog and video form, so stay tuned!


Weekly Meal Plan – February 19-25
Sunday – Chicken Parmesan (bought at Costco)
Monday – Stew (yes, again this week – Rob is on a roll and who am I to complain?!)
Tuesday – Leftover stew
Wednesday – Chinese stir-fry noodles (recipe found here)
Thursday – Hello Fresh Roasted chicken dinner
Friday – Homemade naan bread pizza
Saturday – Meatloaf, roasted vegetables and mashed garlic potatoes (recipe found here)


I likely won’t have a Sobeys grocery haul to share with you until later this week, because we bought so much at Costco – check it out!

mommy friends
Throughout today, in situations that can only be described as mortifying, my best friend proved once again why she really is the best and why I’m so thankful I’m journeying through motherhood with her by my side.

If you’ve raised little ones, you know the awkward moments that almost unavoidably come with potty training. To some degree, most of us have been there. I’m currently in the eye of the storm with our two year old, Mairi. I can deal with the accidents and mishaps in the privacy of my own home; where no-one misses a beat when Miss M comes bombing through the kitchen sans pants, but in public, not so much. Twice today Mairi proved while toddlerhood is not for the faint at heart. The first incident happened in McDonalds when she just decided to forgo her diaper right in the middle of a very busy lunch hour. There was a full audience of onlookers watching Mairi hands deep in her jeans trying to remedy whatever was bothering her, when Carla swiftly jumped into action and dealt with the situation (while I awkwardly avoided eye contact and started packing up). The second situation wasn’t quite so subtle. After hightailing it out of McDonald’s, we moved on to the library. The kids were happily playing and Carla and I were into a nice and relaxing conversation when I spotted it… Mairi, in the middle of the library, making her way up the stairs of the slide, with nothing but her shirt on. While parents gawked and all the kids pointed and yelled “Ewwww!”, I grabbed my mini nudist and ran to the bathroom. Carla, naturally, came to my rescue. She ran around the library found Mairi’s clothing and brought them to me. We had a good laugh and carried on with the rest of the day (which thankfully was uneventful). Now, with six children between us, most outings never go unscathed and today was really no better or worse than most. There is always at least one injury, meltdown, hitting/biting incident and usually it’s a combination of all those things. Today was embarrassing and equally hilarious. It will make for a good story to share when the kids are older and we’re reminiscing about all the antics that use to come up when their mothers ventured out together. I can confidently say that this conversation will happen because I undoubtedly know our friendship is a lifelong one.

I know this because there is no competition in our friendship, we simply want the very best for the other. Between us, laughing comes as easily as openly sharing our struggles. We nurture each other’s children to the point where people sometimes aren’t sure which child belongs to which mother; and while I’ve never taken our friendship for granted, today I realized how truly grateful I am for it.

Motherhood is hard on the best of days, and on the days when it is as trying as I’ve ever experienced, I’m thankful to know that I have someone like her who will always run around a crowded library for me, laugh off the awkwardness, take my chid’s hand as quickly as her own and be there for me through it all.

Here’s to the friends that have our backs and equally, our hearts.




This was such a fun way to make the most of all the snow that we have outside! The kids loved this activity and truthfully, the snow ice cream surprised me with how delicious it is.
As far as recipes go, this is the easiest thing I’ve ever made – it’s pretty foolproof (my kind of cooking)!


Recipe:
-8 cups fresh snow
-1 cup milk (any variety)
-1/3 sugar
-1 Tsp vanilla
-(Optional: toppings)

Directions:
(Differs from what was shown in video – this will reduce melting time)
-Combine milk, sugar & vanilla in a bowl and put in freezer
-Collect your snow in a separate bowl
-Add the ingredients from the freezer to the snow by mixing with a spoon or spatula
*Note – the ice cream does melt rather quickly, so be sure to enjoy right away!

Well friends, I officially dropped the ball with Valentine’s this year. Normally I’m completely prepared by at least the week before, but with everything going on lately, our house isn’t  sporting a single heart (gasp!) and I really only started giving thought to what the kids are going to hand out at school yesterday (#truth). If you’re finding yourself in the same position, fear not, I have the cutest DIY Valentines that take no time to whip up and your kids will be thrilled to share them with their friends. I actually made these for both of the boy’s classes last year. Normally I wouldn’t be able to get away with repeating the same thing two years in a row, but Loic’s preschool class doesn’t have any of the same children and so I’m going for it! Hudson seems quite pleased with his box of Star Wars Valentines and I’ve reconciled myself to accept that sometimes you just can’t be crafty with everything. So, enough preamble… here are details!

I absolutely don’t get the credit for this idea. I found this free printable through Pinterest and all props go to the very creative, Danyelle from Dandee Designs.

What I love so much about this Valentine is that you can add gummy worms for a sweet treat or go with something a little less sugary, and attach a toy bug or two.


Download the printable by clicking here.

To redeem myself from this festive fail, I’m going to promptly start planning for Easter!

meal plan
I can’t chat about the week to come without touching on the week that was… what. a. week! If you read last Sunday’s blog post, you know I had a lot on the go. While my planner was definitely packed, I thought I had it all choreographed perfectly, and I did, until we had two snow storms! Now that I’m on the other side of things, I can chuckle over the chaos, but while in the thick of it, it was rough going. The hardest challenge that I’m currently dealing with is juggling between my online content and KonMari business while still being a full-time stay at home mom. I’m in the process of trying to establish childcare for at least a couple of days a week, but until that gets sorted… coffee (and prayer)! Having two storm days really threw everything for a loop, but was also a good wake up call in terms of scheduling and really planning ahead.

Despite the nuttiness, we still managed to have some fun, too! There is something exciting and cozy about snow days and I swear I get as giddy as Hudson when we receive notice of no school. The kids spent lots of time in the new snow, watching movies and enjoying some crafting. Hudson had his first piano lesson and thoroughly enjoyed it!

This week, while busy, isn’t nearly as hectic as the last. Valentine’s Day is only a few days away and I haven’t done a single thing! I’m hoping to be able to square away the kid’s school goodies and decorate a little on Sunday (I’ll share, of course). On the project front, I’m looking forward to Mairi’s new bed arriving so we can finish updating her bedroom. My other task of organizing and decorating my office is taking much longer than I anticipated, but there’s really no deadline, so I’m simply working on it when I find I have the time. I’d like to look at doing something fun next weekend with the family, suggestions are welcome!

Meal plan is another simple one this week. With some messy weather heading our way, I’m hesitant to plan for anything too complicated.

Weekly Meal Plan – February 12-18
Sunday – Slow-cooker chicken and stuffing, potatoes and root veggies
Monday – Baked mac & cheese, spinach salad
Tuesday – Turkey Ranch wraps and veggie sticks
Wednesday – Breakfast for supper
Thursday – Baked salmon, wild rice, roasted veggies
Friday – Tacos
Saturday – Chilli

Wishing you all a wonderful and relaxing week ahead!

Well friends, it is official… while the baby of the family will always be just that, Miss Mairi is officially a toddler. I’m sure what defines the transition from baby to toddler varies by parent, but for me, it is packing away the crib. This was done without my input a few weeks ago while I had the boys out at a birthday party. Rob felt she was ready (I’ll refrain from sharing my thoughts – ha!) and so I came home to Mairi screeching and jumping on her “big girl bed”. Clearly, there was no going back. I have to say, despite my initial freak out, Mairi has handled her new level of freedom quite well and there have only been a couple of 2am visits from her. Now that the crib is out and potty training is underway, which means soon the changing pad and supplies will be gone too, I’ve started brainstorming for ideas on how to update her bedroom to reflect toddlerhood.




I love the existing colour palette (see below), the little tchotchkes, furniture and overall “vintage” styling of her room; these are definitely the anchors to the updates I am planning.

 

In truth, there isn’t really a huge amount I want or need to do. The major change is a more appropriate sized bed than the one she is currently in. My parents, thankfully, kept my 3/4 size bed that I had growing up. It has a pretty metal frame that’s sturdy and feminine, but presently it’s far too big for her and the room (which is pathetically small). So, the plan is to return the bed back to the utility room until she’s older and buy something smaller. I had a few criteria in mind while I Googled away “small, cute, sturdy beds” and kept finding my way to Ikea’s Minnen bed. The price point is reasonable, it’s dainty and expands! A solid win on all fronts.

Now that the bed has been determined, I’ve more or less been poking around the internet for accessories and some other smaller things to create a bit of a change. Target’s Pillowfort line is my current obsession. I fell in love with the whole line while in Florida last year. I managed to squeeze one pillow into our luggage, but have since regretted not sending my parents home with more. Since my parents are back in Florida this year and thankfully the same Pillowfort line is still stocked, I’m not holding back! I’ve been sending my Mum pictures and she’s on the hunt.

I promise to provide a proper before and after tour, but for now, here is an idea of what I’ve been looking at:
toddler girl bedroom
1. Ikea Minnen Bed – A classic look that I know will match well with the existing eclectic furniture. We will also be purchasing an Ikea mattress to fit perfectly.
2. Target Pillowfort Wall-mounted Unicorn – Wall-mounted stuffed unicorn… need I say more?!
3. Ikea Smila Blomma Wall Lamp – I have Ikea star wall lamps for each of the boys and I love them. Given their young ages, it’s nice knowing for safety reasons that I don’t have to worry about lamps being knocked over and they’re really convenient for the kids to be able to turn on/off while in bed. I’m leaning towards the flower one for Mairi as I think it will be a nice contrast to her wall colour, but I’m also debating if this new cloud one wouldn’t be cuter… decisions, decisions.
4. Charlton Home Glasgow Pink Rug Ideally, a yellow rug would be an option, but unfortunately with the colour tones in our floor it’ll clash too much. The next choice would be white… but kids, so no. I found this rug and really liked the shade and that it’s low pile, it’ll work well in front of her bed.
5. Pillowfort Fetching Florals (pictured as single bed) and Xhiliration Multi Floral (double) Major toss up! I like both of these floral prints because they’re equally cheerful, patterned and in the colour scheme I’m working with. I’m leaning more towards the Pillowfort set only because the shades are more muted.. but then again, maybe something more vibrant would be a better contrast? Thoughts?!
6. 3 pack Arrows I love the colours and think it would make a nice, dimensional piece on the main wall. However of all the ideas shown above, these are low on the list of things to buy.
7. Super Girl Pillow Is Etsy not the best?! I love this sweet pillow. It’s peppy and totally matches Mairi’s fun personality.

Stay tuned for the big reveal!



meal plan week at a glance

Lots on the docket this week, so I’ll jump right into sharing what the plans are!

On the home front, I am pushing through with the remaining organization projects. My main focus areas are the back entryway closet, my new office area, laundry/utility room and craft closet. The list is only a tad overwhelming when I think of how much work this will involve, but one. task. at. a. time! Knowing I won’t be able to check everything off this week, I’m going to focus first on the back entryway and office. Anything in addition to that will be a huge bonus. Hudson starts his first piano lesson on Monday and he’s thrilled. I’m so excited that he’s interested in music. I took lessons as a child and really enjoyed them (we won’t discuss my lack of talent – ha!). Unlike his poor Mum, Hudson has a natural musical ability and it’ll be a blessing to see this develop. I also have a friend’s baby shower to attend on Friday evening and am looking forward to being able to catchup with friends and do something social (it has been far too long)! Oh, and then at some point I’m going to need to decorate for Valentine’s Day and sort out something sweet for the kid’s to take to school.

Work wise, February’s Virtual Group Tidying program started today and I’m thrilled with being able to lead another group through the process! I’m also finishing up the last of the program material for my KonMari Kids Group Tidying program that will start at the end of February. There are a few more things I’m working on and I’ll share in the coming weeks!
On my channel I’m looking forward to showing some of my favourite inexpensive ways to organize toys, a Daily to Do video and I’d like to do a brainstorming video and/or post sharing my ideas for Mairi’s bedroom makeover. Gosh, just writing that all out has me exhausted 😛

Let’s talk meals! We did well last week with changing up our menu to accommodate some new recipes and the plan is to do the same again. The line up can be found below and as always, click the titles for the direct recipe links:

Weekly Meal Plan – February 5-11
(brought to you by my love for Ree Drummond and Mexican food)
Sunday – Baked Chicken, Roasted Vegetables
MondayBaked Spaghetti 
TuesdayVeggie Stir-fry
Wednesday – Grilled Ham & Cheese Panini Sandwiches & Veggie sticks
Thursday – Simple Perfect Enchiladas
Friday – Loaded Nachos (because, yum and it’s Friday)
Saturday – Oven stew

monthly favourites, shopping haul

PRODUCTS
(click on titles for Amazon links*)

1. Rimmel 9 in 1 Hydrating BB Cream (shade light)
2. Essence Eyeshadow Primer
3. Almay Smart Shade Lip Butter Pink Light/Medium
4. Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Body Butter
5. Upper Canada Soap Salon Dry Hair Towel *similar product
6. J.R Watkins Vapor Rub
7. Danskin Lifewear Cami
8. Calin’s Starry Starlite Hoops (use promo: GIMMETEN for 10% off)
9. Orb Factory Morph



 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Please note that I do receive a small commission based on purchases made through Amazon Affiliate links. This does not cost you anything and helps to support being able to publish my blog. I appreciate your support!

week at a glance

Look at me go… two weeks in a row posting my week at a glance and this week I’m adding a video! I won’t make any commitment that I’ll be doing a video every Sunday, but at the least I’ll be sharing our weekly meal plans.

I chatted a lot in the video I posted, so I’ll keep things short & sweet on the blog for this week. Check out the video below for details on what’s going on this week and a look at my two Happy Planners.

Weekly Meal Plan – Jan 29-Feb 4
Sunday – Fish, steamed veggies, potatoes
Monday – Marinara (Kirkland brand) sauce & pasta, salad, rolls
Tuesday – Tuna melts & veggie sticks
Wednesday – Frozen Pulled Chicken over rice
Thursday – Mexican Bake
Friday – Homemade pizza
Saturday – Oven stew
(Rob’s own recipe which he knows by memory, but will take notes of so I can share)

I wish you a wonderful start to February!

Let’s pretend it hasn’t been nearly a year since I last posted to my blog and just carry on, okay?…

My Week at a Glance videos have always been pretty popular on my channel, but like my blog, I dropped the ball (whoops!). For 2017 I’d like to pick it back up, but keep things simple by primary posting here. If I’m able to swing it on our busy Sundays, I’ll also do a video sharing my planner spread.

I’m really looking forward to this week. On the home front, it’s a relatively easy one and I’m always thankful for those! Today Rob installed a floating shelf above my office desk and now I feel more inspired than ever to focus on creating a space of my own to reserve for work. I’ll be sharing the decor and organization in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! I’m also finishing up organizing my jewelry and will be hopefully filming and posting that video in the coming days.

We’ve been in a real rut as of late with seemingly having the same meals over and over. So for this week’s meal plan, I went straight to Pinterest for recipe inspiration and found what I hope will be a couple winners to add to the mix.

 

Weekly Meal Plan – Jan 22-28
Sunday – Marinara (Kirkland brand) sauce & pasta, salad, rolls
Monday – Shepherd’s Pie (my own recipes, which I promise I will do a post on soon)
Tuesday – Veggie Stir-fry
Wednesday – Easy Alfredo Casserole
Thursday – Pan fried haddock, potato, steamed veggies
Friday – Chicken Burrito Bowls

I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

marie kondo spark joy tips
I haven’t exactly been quiet about my love for Marie Kondo’s latest book, “spark joy”. Quite the opposite. I’ve been bragging up “spark joy” every opportunity I get (you’d honestly think Ms. Kondo pays me… I assure you she does not -ha!).
I really wanted to spend time going through the book several times before sharing the key points that resonated the most with me. “spark joy” is very dense with information, so it took me a bit to really narrow it down (again why I recommend purchasing the book for yourself, because what speaks to me may not necessarily with you).

1. Purge by Category and Not by Room: Since sharing my KonMari journey, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people going through their own home purge/organization process. Most were following the KonMari method, but some were opting to do their own thing. For those that weren’t going with Ms Kondo’s method, they all seemed to prefer purging by room or area in their home, rather than by category as Marie suggests. In “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” it is made clear that the method involves purging by category, but no real reason for this is provided. “spark joy” confirms the reason, by making it clear that only when we really look at the volume of each particular category is it made obvious how much we should discard. A ha!

2. Purge First, Organize Later: If you’ve followed by journey, you know that this was a very vague area within “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and actually caused me a considerable amount of grief. Marie unfortunately didn’t make it clear whether purging should be done first, followed by organizing or if the two could be done simultaneously. In “spark joy” however Ms Kondo puts the debate to rest, confirming that purging is to be done first, and organizing second. Her reasoning is simply that if your home isn’t entirely purged first, you won’t know how things will be best stored and organized. Having only what you know you will being keeping with a lot more free space in your home, will make organizing a much easier task that you’ll only have to do once.




3. “For essential things that don’t bring joy, look at what they do for you”: The only hangup I’ve had when it comes to using the KonMari question of “does it spark joy?” as a measure of whether I should keep something, is when I was faced with tools and home cleaning supplies. Of course my broom doesn’t spark joy… but, what would I do without it? The reality that my broom aids in my housework and makes it easier to keep my floors clean, does spark joy.

4. Don’t Confuse Clutter for Rebound: Life is busy and sometimes we simply don’t have the time to keep our home clutter free; things build up and suddenly we find our house looks like a still shot from the show Hoarders. Fear not says Ms. Kondo if you’ve purged and gone through the home organization process then it’s simply a matter of putting back the things left out to their designated places and with a bit of effort everything is tidy again.

5. Grey Items: When it comes to purging, there are only two options: chuck it or keep it. However, sometimes it’s not that black and white and we’re undecided on what to do about  certain items. If you feel like you’re undecided, then don’t hide the item – display it and reflect on the ever important question of whether it “sparks joy” and then do what speaks to you. Hiding the idea away will delay the decision process.

6. Make Your Own Power Spot: Create an area in your home that is your mini sanctuary. If space allows, designate a room or a corner area for this purpose. If you find yourself unable to make a larger power spot, opt for something smaller like a corner on your kitchen counter. The purpose is to have an area for yourself that is strictly for enjoyment and will give you a “joyful” feeling every time you spend time in the space or look at the spot you’ve designed.

7. Keep Like Feeling and Similar Material Items Together: Materials create a feeling: metal for example feels industrial and sterile, while wood and fabric feel warm and inviting. Keeping this in mind, organize in likeness for the feeling you want to create in the space you’re organizing.

8. Marie Kondo’s 4 Storage Principals: 
1. Fold it
2. Stand it upright
3. Store it
4. Divide storage into square compartments




monthly goals february

Some months I really have to work to come up with my five goals, while months like this one, it’s very apparent to me what they should be. February’s five goals were made obvious through the month of January as I started the year off very focused on establishing my work and family life balance. I’m creating more content than every before and couldn’t be happier doing so; but with this comes more of a time commitment. The investment of both my time, resources, and the support of others deserves my full acknowledgement of being “work”. This is the focus on the first half of my goals. The second half, is concentrated on gratitude and acknowledging the beauty in those I’m blessed to have in my life. Oh, and water… always with the water.

Monthly Goals for February

1. Own What I Do: I naturally shy away completely avoid telling people what I do. I find it almost impossible to give myself the title of, “content creator” for a number of reasons. I worry people aren’t familiar with my line of work and it will require a lot of explanation. It causes me anxiety to think people will judge me and I always find myself justifying or convincing. It should be noted that no one has ever made me feel like what I do isn’t significant, it’s purely my own insecurities that hold me back from being able to confidently name my job. However, I recognize that I am far too committed and passionate about what I do to not fully embrace it. I will work this month on being much more vocal on naming my job.

2. Stop Making Excuses: Being a content creator takes far more time than I ever would have imagined. As I mentioned in my first goal, being able to produce content requires a large commitment of time that I will no longer apologize for. Again, this is my own hang up, but definitely one I need to get over (like yesterday).

3. Write Down a Simple Gratitude Everyday: A sunny day. My reliable vehicle. Healthy children. A strong community of supportive friends and family. A phone call from my Mum. My third goal this month is to give a moment of reflection at the end of each day in which I will pen down one thing I’m grateful for.

4. Recognize the Attributes in Others. My fourth goal involves letting others know the wonderful traits and qualities I see in them. It is so easy to think there is time, or worse, that others already know their strong suites, when neither is the case. Pointing out the attributes I admire in others will be made a priority.

5. Increase my Water Intake… I know, I know. Someday, friends.