mom 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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Easter Fun!

Well it’s almost time for the ol’ Easter Bunny to hop along our way and we couldn’t be more excited. Why you ask, because that means spring is officially here! Old man winter has finally thawed his cold ass out and we are getting sunny days and warmer temps. My kids have been CRAZY being cooped up in winter – yes I know a lot of you brave mommies just bundle everyone up and do the damn thing but we just aren’t cold weather people. Which is odd because we live in Kamloops but we like bare feet and bare bums (well the kids do at least). I am not one for the ice and snow. Winter unfortunately means a lot of indoor madness and endless movies in my house. I try not to worry about ‘screen time’ though as I know that once spring and summer hit, we are outside morning until supper time; Judge if you may. But back to that big white bunny. We will be heading out of town for the Easter holiday as we need to tend to a few family matters. That means our easter baskets are already organized (almost) and packed away ready for the road trip. I wanted to share a few of our favourite finds along with a few old loves that never die (wind up chickadees all day every day please).

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Back when I was a kid Easter was all about CHOCOLATE. The giant chocolate egg that you cracked open and low and behold it was filled with even more chocolate but at a bite-sized level that you could hide and munch on in secret without your parents knowing. I don’t know about your kids but my son, at the ripe age of 21 months can actually SAY chocolate. They get more than their fair share on a weekly basis. I am at fault here too. A tiny piece of chocolate goes a long way when your tiny terror is mid-tantrum and you have little to no resources other than the promise of a delicious piece of milk chocolate tastiness waiting at home for them. Or in the car. Or at the next destination. Whatever momma needs to say, am I right? So on holidays, it’s not really about the overload of sweets for us. I try my hardest to make it more about the holiday, the tradition and the experience. I am (pretty much) done completing the assembly of the kid’s easter goodies and there is no trace of anything edible yet. I will include a chocolate treat of course but for now, we are busting at the basket with anything but sugar. Oh crap… that’s a lie. I did order a local box of homemade cookies and treats. That is more of a family treat for the road trip though. So of course it doesn’t count! I mean most of that will go to mom and dad and necessary bribes. But they are homemade and gluten free so it’s all good right? So down to brass tacks…. the winding chickadee. This is a MUST. I don’t have a single childhood easter memory without one of these babies. My kids love them too. Perfect for races. We also have the token bunny ears. I am a huge fan of the glittery kind too but to keep things simple, we went or good ol’ dollar store fun and furry. Since we are hitting the road and staying in Grand Forks for the holiday, I have included a few colouring activities, including glitter chalk. I did not know this was a thing. My chalk world has now changed! With any messy activity too, aprons are required. The ones pictured above are actually my own design from my store Deer Baby. A little vintage floral for the ladies and nothing but the coolest for the gents: butcher style! Lastly, I am not a fan of the Paw Patroller crew but my kids fight ENDLESSLY over the few that we own. Therefore they will each be acquiring their own set. How I will keep them from mixing them up and continuing to fight, I have no idea. Lord give me the strength to be the Paw Patrolling mediator. Oh yes, don’t forget a couple books. Those are mandatory.

At then end of the day, it’s all just STUFF and not at all relative to what the holiday is actually about. But the little ones love it and I am here to make them smile in whatever way I can. That means Easter baskets for them and Easter wine for mama. Here’s to hoping all of your Easter hunts end with happy little munchkins.

Roll On Spring . . . Please!

I am sure I am not the only one who is totally over winter. As I sit here on my sofa (Hallie has passed on her germy cold to me so we are snuggling and watching Toy Story while Jackson blesses us with a nap) I can’t help but appreciate how beautiful winter can be. The snow, the white, the trees that are dusted from the last snowfall still…. I get it. We love it. For a little while! For a season even! But come on folks, March is literally right round the corner and we all need a little warmth and vitamin D in our lives. I believe that Old Man Winter is sticking around everywhere too. Not just Kamloops. So I don’t feel too burdened knowing that many others are dealing with the chilly temperatures as well. Nothing can stop me from dreaming about spring which basically means perusing spring clothing online and losing hours of my life on Pinterest while I research summer recipes, outdoor activities for the kids and backyard remodelling ideas. Normally I turn to my essential oils diffuser and diffuse something fresh and tropical to lift our winterized spirits. Today (and for the last two weeks) it has been Thieves in the diffuser all day, erry’day. I do believe we have avoided most of the bugs this season because of our oil use and Thieves in particular. I have also made my own countertop cleaner, incorporated it into our laundry, and made the kids roller balls and chest rubs for when they aren’t feeling top notch. It is amazing stuff for building those immune systems. Though they did catch a bit of a cold the last couple weeks, I hundred percent believe their symptoms were mild because of these efforts. So when the germs depart and I can get back to sweeter scents, my favourite to share with you today will leave your home smelling exactly like Anthropologie. Everyone who loves that store KNOWS that smell. You can thank me later! Combine Grapefruit, Geranium, Orange and Bergamot. You will be seeing sunny skies in your mind before you know it. I have also decided to share some fashion favourites that have me personally hoping spring get’s it booty here STAT! Also, for those not suffering from the sniffles, a dreamy sangria recipe to get you in the mood for warmer temps:

The Soho Sangria

I know I will be making this up in the near future for sure!

Now, it’s time for more snuggling with my homegirl and perhaps a little catch up from The Bachelor last night. Team Becca all the way!

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New Year, New Blog Post… finally!

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Well my big January 2018 comeback to writing was slightly delayed. Did anyone else find it extremely difficult to bounce back from the holiday season and get into a routine again? I sure did. Still am struggling a bit actually. But slowly, as we begin our activities again, put down the holiday celebratory cocktail and pick up that clean eating schedule again, things seem to be shifting into place. Our holidays were BUSY. The front door seemed to revolving with friends and family filtering in and out. It was of course very welcome and a lot of fun! Exactly how the holiday season should be. Certainly gluttonous as well. Salads we non-existent and meat and cheese platters seemed to dominate. We laughed, we loved, we ate and we drank.  The kids had a ball too. Christmas is absolutely going to be a hit with them every year. Now that January completely zoomed by, and February has made her debut, we are focused on being healthy, happy and trying to slow down the day-to-day. As I do every year, I looked back on last year’s resolutions. Well not even resolutions. More like lifestyle commitments. I smiled when I saw that we had managed to incorporate it all. I didn’t really do anything different this year. Just a few mini goals and when you add them all up, it just means try to BE better all around. Spend more time in the present with my kids and husband, less time looking at Facebook on my phone. Buy less on Facebook! Damn you to hell mom swap and all the dollars you sucked out of me this year on things I didn’t need, nor was I looking for until I scrolled passed. You know you have been a victim too! Less television, more reading. More crafting and creating! Clean smarter and not all the time. Less laundry! I realize these are all remedial tasks so far…. be kind to others and go out of our way to help people out. Volunteer. Donate. Be mindful of our neighbours and friends. Be thoughtful, intentional and surprising. If I learned anything in 2017, life is short and throw a curve ball.. It reminds us of that often and sometimes in painful ways. 2018 will be more about making all of our moments count, and less about stress, worry and grudges. And though we are already well on our way into the year, I am excited to dive in. Cheers to all of the days ahead, and hopefully more blog posts on my part!

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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