Lifestyle Blog

Road Trips With Kids

We are a family that does a fair bit of tripping around. Our flying and vacation experience with kids is very minimal – we took one trip to Mexico. Hallie was not even two and Jackson was two months old. To say it was a disaster would be an understatement. We have however done A LOT of camping with them and many driving road trips. With every trip, you learn how to make things a little easier or smoother. This Friday I am taking a solo road trip with the kids as Henry needs to stay home and work. As I started packing the kid’s clothes this morning, I thought it may be a pretty handy post for others moms out there. These tips work well for me and my kids. They may not be the best solution for you, but if they can add to your idea list then my goal is achieved! If you have any tips you would like to share as well, please feel free to comment or message and we can build the list.

Packing. I used to feel quite guilt about being an over-packer. Especially when Henry and I were dating and I couldn’t go to Las Vegas without packing about 27 bathing suits. Now with two small tots, I like being prepared for MOST situations so unfortunately that can go hand in hand with overpacking. ‘Everything but the kitchen sink’ is a saying that often comes to mind when packing to go away. I usually start packing a few days before we are leaving. It may be a tad too early but really, these kids have enough clothes that I can actually get away with that. It also keeps me organized and my stress levels slightly lower in the days leading up to going away. I have a mild case of OCD (probably quite severe) and need things to go in a certain way. I also need to have time to clean my house top to bottom before going away which also adds to stress. I don’t know why I need to have it clean. I think I just LOVE coming home to a clean house. So this morning I decided to organize which clothes the kids would be taking. They share a small black suitcase and I get the large one. If Henry were joining us I would share with him but I don’t need to in this case and can pack as many pairs of shoes and shorts as I like.

Kids Clothing. Miss Hallie is potty trained for the most part. She is really great at using her potty and gets better every day at using the ‘big potty’. That being said she still tends to forget if she is having too much fun and might have the odd pee accident. For this reason, I will double the amount of bottoms needed for her. On this particular trip I can do laundry if I feel the need to, but sometimes that isn’t the case. Better to have too many pairs of pants and panties than not a single pair. Pour last camping trip I made that error and panties just weren’t an option on the last day. #momfail . I also like to stick to dresses with her. Easy knit sundresses that she can pull up easily when she needs to go in a hurry and ones that won’t get wet if she has a tiny accident. It still blows my mind though how many times a day I end up asking girlfriend ‘where are your panties?!’. Jackson is much easier to pack for now. As a baby you had to worry about blowouts and basically bring ALL the onesies. Jackson is quite ‘tidy’ in this area so enough shorts and shirts for the days we are there, plus a couple of emergency outfits, and we are good to go. I say he is easy but it has to be said – that kid has style. He will not leave the house without his fedora and sunglasses so one needs to make sure all accessories are in order. Dapper is his middle name. I used to go overboard on footwear but since it is summer we stick to 2 or 3 pairs: Flip flops, rainboots for each of them as they are obsessed with wearing them, even indoors and naked, and if we have a fancy occasion then I will throw in a nice pair.

Summer essentials. Right now that means sunscreen and bug spray. Oh and if you get eaten alive by the mosquitos like my kids, some form of anti-itch cream. We are now trying out the Bee Sting Relief Cream by The Humble Bee (Canadian brand made in Chilliwack, B.C.). It serves the same purpose for mosquito bites as it does for bees and is really effective. Plus it’s natural for the kid’s sensitive skin which I love. I don’t always get suckered into all natural with them. Obviously I try to keep the ingredients list as simple as possible but bottom line, I want results, and natural doesn’t ALWAYS do that. In this case though, it’s working. My favourite sunscreen for the kids is Baby Aveeno, plus the face stick in it for easy application. If I have to chase them down then a spray can of Coppertone will get the job done. Right up there with those serious items are the other essentials: bubbles, sidewalk chalk, balls and sand toys. Again, I try to keep it as minimal as possible and easy to pack. But it just makes travelling with kids a little more fun for them when these items are included on the packing list.

I am not even going to touch on food and road trip snacks as I still need to learn more here. Between keeping it healthy and finding snacks that do not explode all over the inside of my car, I am still at a loss. Apple sauce pouches for the win right now!

As babies my kids were never great sleepers but as toddlers they certainly LOVE being in a bed. That still doesn’t mean sleeping but they take after their mama when they like to snuggle and get comfy. I like to make sure we include some comforts from home. This means a couple of their blankets each – I sew and they each have a nice little collection of cozy printed flannel blankets. I also bring the pillow that each of them sleep on. Same for Henry and I. What can I say, we love our own pillows. Unless we are staying in a swanky hotel. Then it’s hotel bedding all the way! They also get a couple stuffies each, the one’s they can’t go anywhere without, and their glowworms which double as reading flashlights once they ‘go to bed’. Throw in a few good books and we are set for sleeping tight.

Some mom extras…. Recently on trips I have been taking a diffuser and a few select essential oils. For general joy and calmness throughout the day, I like to have a mix of Orange, Grapefruit, Bergamot and Geranium. Anyone who shops at Anthropologie, this is the same smell as the Capri Candle! For nighttime sleepiness where the kids will be sleeping I combine Thieves and Lavender. Normally some Northern Lights as well but I don’t have any of that at the moment. Thieves is great to bring along in any case as it’s great for immune system and keeping pesky bugs away that we ALWAYS pick up on the road. Damn you McDonalds Play Centre….. Wine. Bring it along or buy it when you get there. It’s gonna come in handy. Good toiletry bags. I recently bought some of these off of Ebay. I love that your toiletries actually stand up in them and have elastic to secure each one. Plus I love the colors. It’s all about the little things in life that bring you joy. Tupperware. I used to be a consultant for it so I happen to have a fairly decent amount of it. It comes in handy for EVERYTHING. I use sandwich keepers to hang on to crayons, face paints, even for empty juice boxes so that you don’t have them littered all over your car or floating about in your purse. I use the smidgets for taking medication along, carrying chewing cum, even concocting essential oil blends with coconut oil in them for the road. I made a pain killer one for my neck when it gets sore from driving and a peppermint one for the kids in case anyone gets car sick. Wipes. Wipes, wipes, wipes! I use them for almost everything and keep multiple packets on hand, stored in secret compartments in every nook and cranny of the car and suitcase. Might just be my kids but we can never have too many baby wipes. These also work great when your feet are ALWAYS dirty camping (mine are and I can’t stand it). Lastly, DVD players in front of each child. I did many road trips without and many with. With is better. Even if that means four hours of Peppa Pig and two kids who now have slight english accents. I will take it!

Now I must get back to filling these suitcases as the day is quickly leaving me. It’s a ton of work getting ready to go on any trip with kids but in most cases, it’s worth it.

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Babies Grow Up

When I started this blog it was mainly because I found out I was having a baby. I wanted to document the growth of my adorable bump. Which eventually lead me into the not so adorable 9th month of just being huge and desperately uncomfortable. My intentions then switched gears into survival mode and learning how to be a first time mom. Learning how to keep a human alive, how to work WITH my newlywed husband at keeping a tiny human alive while focusing on our marriage and helping it flourish in it’s infant stage. The blog was comical, raw and loving all in it’s own unique way. Slip in a massive move to a new city where we knew no one, as well as the news of a sibling on the way, the blog began to encompass many things.: Family, parenting, chaos,a new business, cooking, crafting. . . Really whatever I decided to write about. Fast forward to the present. The blog has taken the back burner big time. I have taken time off of writing but keep feeling the heartstrings pulling to find more time for it. Yet again, I feel the direction shifting. It’s no longer going to be about surviving babies, but more so the children they are growing into. My kids are still young. Nearing four and two. Yet they seem to be these growing forces of energy, personality, and increasingly strong abilities to outsmart their mother. They take me to the brink of losing my mind and patience, and reel me right back in with their snuggles and giggles. How do they have the power to do this? And how are they so bad at doing things sometimes? I try to hand them the open goldfish package in the gentlest way, yet as soon as it reaches their hands it seems to be on fire and explode into the air. I will be picking up goldfish until they go off to high school, I promise. Even as I sit here writing this, I am quietly hiding behind my coffee and laptop, as I know Paw Patrol will end in ten minutes, and so will the peaceful silence. Rider and his pups will happily rejoice about their latest savior and as that theme song blares, my darling children will automatically turn to me, zombie-like stagger their way over, climb ALL over me demanding snacks, strawberry milk, more paw patrol, ice cream, and anything else they can think of. (This actually DID happen too, as soon as the show was over. It’s like a weird magnetic mom-pull.) Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT a complainer nor do I ever want it to seem like I am ungrateful for my children. I love them to absolute bits and pieces. I am just in complete amazement about how they shifted from my tiny babies into these crazy little humans: Tiny toddler explosions that keep going off in weird ways that you don’t expect. And this ride is just beginning. Babies, I fear were the easy part. Children, for now you win! I have seen your special powers over the last few weeks! Unfortunately I can only blame your dad, and myself as you had to get it somewhere. So I am excited to see what direction this blog will take next. Excited and scared for what parenthood holds. Hopefully I can find time amidst the craziness to keep documenting a few of our stories here, and the lessons I am learning along the way. Thank you for joining me and reading along!

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Spring Break

This post is a little late but hope y’all had a great spring break!! My kids are little and not in school so it doesn’t really apply to us but for whatever the reason may be, it still felt like a break. It was like everyone else’s routine was flipped sideways so we could get away with it too. We had busy days to start. A ton of fun stuff planned too! However, don’t they say something like ‘make a plan and see what your toddler thinks of it’. It’s murphy’s law in my house I promise you that. Both kids got super sick. Hallie had a really gross cold that simply made her super emotional all the time and gave her the hall pass for cartoons and ice cream whenever she wanted. Jackson however took the ‘man cold’ to new levels. He is JUST coming round the corner to feeling well. Needless to say, all plans went out the window and we were somewhat housebound. We still managed to get out and play at the park and what not, but we definitely kept to ourselves. I really didn’t want to be that mom who spread the kid’s cold germs like confetti. It is such a relief now though that everyone seems to be feeling better. We had a pleasant shift in the weather today as well so we are hoping for a sunny Easter weekend away in Grand Forks and not such runny noses. Hey a mama can dream right!? One delightful morning I did want to share with you from our sicky spring break was what we called pancakes and pjs. Hallie was adamant we all wear our cozy housecoats one morning so we decided to really make a morning of it and test our new Pampered Chef pancake molds. Couple lessons learned. They are a ton of fun, especially when you get to the final step of actually eating them. Second lesson, there is an art. These are quite tricky to master (especially if you are a perfectionist) but I think after a few rounds of trying, I will get the hang of it. Come on now, we all want star shaped pancakes. No room for the boring ol’ circular style anymore right? Gotta step up my pancake skills stat.

(If you want to get your hands on these they are sold through Pampered Chef, and are quite awesome! The silicone molds are a great size, super durable, and I LOVE the pancake mix shaker. Can’t wait to take it camping and only have ONE dish to do after making breakfast!)

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(Who knows what happened to the housecoat!)

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Labor Day Weekend

The last long weekend of the summer has arrived. Labor Day weekend is one of my favourites. I am not entirely sure why but there is just something about it. A certain feel or vibe is in the air. Everyone is relaxed and easy going from enjoying recent summer holidays. We are tan with crispy and freckled noses from long sunny days at the lake. ‘Summer feet’ have developed from the lack of wearing shoes. Fall, school & responsibilities are just around the corner but on this weekend, that matters not. Everyone is having a good time and hanging on to the last of the summer sunshine. If you live in the Interior, you also may be hanging on to 35 degree weather. Aside from a wedding on Sunday, we do not have any major long weekend plans. We will be lighting up the bbq non-stop, sipping on some sweet summer drinks, and feeling all the feels that this time of year brings.

Many of you know I am a lover of all seasons. The colors in the leaves & trees changing, the holidays that present themselves all of a sudden and disappear just as quickly. I love it all. It’s a festive passion almost that I plan to encourage my children to embody as well. The summer lovin’, the fullness of Thanksgiving, the spookiness of Halloween and of course the magic of Christmas. The fresh feeling you get when starting the New Year, the excitement of Easter, the easy-going fun that comes with May Long Weekend camping and the patriotic party that comes along with Canada Day. So much fun packed into one year that I find it impossible not to be excited about each season as they approach. I have a number of people in my life who have their favourites too. Some are winter people. They love to ski, snow mobile, drink hot chocolate and hike off into the woods to cut down their own Christmas tree. My mom has a green thumb and loves to create beauty in the garden. The gardeners in my life tend to gravitate towards Spring. Sunday football, chilli & stew lovers always look forward to fall. Though I LOVE all of these moments in the year, I think I have turned into a bit of a summer girl. I love hanging in the sunshine with my kids, eating watermelon for dinner, juicy peaches and corn on the cob. Packing up for the day to head to the lake and bringing most of the sandy beach home with us, finding it in our hair or beds for days to follow. Exploring where we live. If it has cell service, we probably don’t want to go there. Taking that leap into the water only for it to quickly take your breathe away, then adjusting and not wanting to get out for it’s warmer in the water and the sand is going to be way too hot on your feet as you scramble back to your back towel. Summer is a secret escape from routine, bedtimes and stress. Sure those are all present somewhere in our heads and I am not one for living in total denial. But it seems to be a lot easier in summer to ‘leave that for tomorrow’ and enjoy the rest of today. So one question I have as we approach a new season. How can we bring that summer feeling with us all year long. At Christmas time, I FEEL Christmas and vow to carry that happiness, joy and care for others in my heart all year long. On January 1st, we make promises to ourselves that the year ahead will be different than the last. The year ahead will be better. WE will be better. Better people, better mothers, better eaters, better at exercise and spending money. So my vow is to keep summer in my heart this year. Try to be more relaxed. Enjoy more moments with my family and be grateful for our time together and the experiences we have. Keep a little more adventure in my spirit and leave a few of those chores ‘for tomorrow’. I won’t be able to keep my tan or my flip flops and I am guessing it might be hard to enjoy sticky popsicles in the snow. But I can keep summer excitement alive in my family by being brave, playful and present. Everything that summertime requires.

Have a happy and healthy labor day long weekend friends!

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Cutting Board Rejuvenation

I am a big fan of my wooden cutting boards in my kitchen. I have different types of wood and different shapes. Not only do I use them multiple times daily I also like to have them displayed on the counter. This means I need to keep them looking fresh. I always wash them after use but sometimes, just like many areas of the home, they need a deep clean. In an attempt to move more chemical-free at home, I did some research to come up with a cleaning recipe used by many. Effective and as natural as it gets.

What you will need:

Lemon cut in half, use one half of a lemon per cutting board

Coarse Sea Salt

White Vinegar (you can also use a vinegar cleaning agent)

Oil

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Start by covering the board in white vinegar.  Sprinkle a heavy dose of sea salt all over the cutting board. Use your half lemon to scrub it into the wood. While doing this, squeeze the lemon so that the juices pour out. I did this for about two minutes. Then pour a couple tablespoons of oil onto the board. Continue scrubbing with the lemon, mixing the oil into the salt and vinegar and covering the entire surface of the cutting board. Do this for about one minute. Let sit for fifteen minutes. Rinse clean. Voila! Fresh and clean, looking good and ready for use.

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Beaches & Baby Bums

Well it’s finally June & summertime fun seems to be in full swing for us. May & June were so busy that I completely neglected my laptop and instead have been soaking up every moment of the day with my babies. Well that and managing my orders for my business and current stock for the farmer’s market every week. Life is busy! What do you do when you get too busy? Why you take vacations of course! I started the month off with a quick Runaway Mom’s weekend to Kelowna. I learned a couple things on this getaway. First, I still cannot hold my liquor if shots are present. No matter how sweet and girly-named they may be, they are the devil and a very quick route to being completely hammered. The second thing I learned is that you let a group of mamas off the hook of parenting for the weekend, things get pretty wild pretty quickly. Lets just say a lot of fun was had, and a lot of Vitamin Water was consumed for the following five days trying to recover all nutrients in my body I had destroyed. I fear the brain cells are gone for good though. So after returning home to my babies whom I missed SO MUCH, it was time to flip the script and get ready for a little family vacation to Osooyoos. The kids decided I should PAY HARD for skipping town on them. They accomplished this by not sleeping at all really all week long. Also being overly needy so that I found it almost impossible to get anything ready for the trip. It basically took me all five days to prepare. We finally got away on Friday morning though. Hubby is crazy busy with work so he was not joining us. My mom and I rented a lakefront townhouse for a week. Probably the best set up you can get with small children. Tons of space in the actual house so everyone had comfy sleeping quarters, play areas, etc. We also have a patio overlooking the lake with a bbq and a bit of lawn area for the kids to play on. Lastly, there is a fantastic outdoor pool and hot tub! Throw in the fact that we are dead in the middle of wine country and it sounds like a pretty perfect time to me! We are halfway through the trip and I think I have put a good ten pounds on between the good eating and the great sipping. But summer is a bit like December in that sense. Who cares! So far here are everyone’s favourite aspects of the vacation:

Me: Pineapple Ceasars (yes they are a thing), sleeping in (should not jinx it by talking about it), having all my meals with a view of a beautiful lake, and lastly, day-long playtime and fun with my babies. They have miraculously turned into excellent vacationers. Again, should not speak about this or even think it. The ability to jinx great behaviour is not a good thing….

Hallie: Chasing & ‘feeding’ the ducks, lounging on ‘Sophia’ our jumbo swan floatie, gummy bears & juice boxes. Oh and definitely going on shopping adventures downtown. This girl really does have simple needs.

Jackson: Hmmmm talk about simple needs. Loves to sit on the grass and watch the ducks. Likes to climb the stairs. Loves mealtime and wrestling around in mama’s big bed.

Gramma: I haven’t asked her yet but I have a feeling the view of the lake and all of the wine are probably up there on the list.

Now if we could just get our booties to a winery! I doubt it will happen but maybe we can pop into a few on the way home simply to purchase a few bottles. Don’t think my kids will tolerate a tasting or tour hah! Come Friday we will hustle on home, only to get the trailer ready and take off again for a weekend of camping and baseball! All this vacationing will either leave me completely relaxed or totally exhausted. Stay tuned!

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Put Your Big Girl Pants On

I will be the first to admit, I am rather slow at certain things when it comes to parenting. Potty training – still ain’t happening. Not my fault now though, she has chosen to embrace the diaper. The battle shall be hers and hers alone. For now. . . Drinking milk from a bottle – the effort is there I promise you. I have tried every sip cup on the planet and girlfriend still wants her milk out of a bottle. It’s not like she is dependant on it to go to sleep or anything, she plain ol’ likes it. But yes I know, it’s gotta go. Lastly, the crib. Hallie was in her crib up until quite recently. She never attempted to climb out of it and slept quite well in it, so why on earth would I let the lion out of her cage. Or lioness I suppose. After a few road trips though where we had no choice but to set her up in a ‘big bed’, we decided to take the plunge and stick her in a toddler bed. Well that didn’t really last long at all. She LOVED it. I however did not love trying to be a contortionist when trying to comfort her in a nightmare. I would be lying half on the floor with my back twisted and my arms attempting to stroke her hair. Two nights of this and a new decision was reached. Toddler bed OUT, bigger bed IN. Since my kids share a room and there is really no room whatsoever, we went with a twin. After a month of just a mattress on the floor (yes I know, parental neglect) I ordered a lovely bed on Wayfair. I am so excited to share a few snippets of the big girl ‘side of the room’. There a moments every day that I see this baby girl turning into a big girl. It’s so hard as a mom to watch this happening but at the end of the day, that is what we are here to do. Raise these little people into bigger people and send them off into the world. Oh ya and hope that we did a thing or two right along the way. Perhaps that why mommas keep having babies. One gets growing up and the baby fever sets in again. I always tell myself Jackson is here because I wanted 2 (or 3?) kids and wanted to give Hallie a sibling close in age. But lets be real folks, it was baby fever! Lord help me when I see too many preggos in one day. For now though these two troublemakers are keeping me rather busy so lets keep the baby makin’ at bay.  In the meantime though, we can pick out super cute bedding and throw pillows for their big girl room.

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