TBB Asks - Back-to-School Edition

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy September!!!

Welcome to the back-to-school edition of the Blended Blog Asks! 

This month the ladies at the Blended Blog have come up with some school related questions to make for another easy and fun post for us and you! Check out the questions and my answers below and feel free to grab the graphic, create a post and linkup with us below!



  1. Did you love school or hate it?
    For the most part I really liked school, I'm kind of a geek like that.
  2. Start school before or after Labor Day?
    After, always after.
  3. Wake up: eager beaver or slow poke?
    Slow...
  4. Favorite breakfast?
    Pancakes or french toast with real maple syrup but that usually wasn't a week-day breaky given how long it takes to make/eat.
  5. Favorite cereal?
    As a kid Lucky Charms but I was rarely allowed to eat it... apparently a bowl full or marshmallows is not an ideal way to start the day?
  6. School uniform or no?
    Mostly no but I went to a Catholic High school for one semester and did wear a uniform there.
  7. New outfit for the first day?
    ALWAYS and it had to be something I never wore prior to that day.
  8. Walk to school or ride the bus?
    I've done it all!
  9. Backpack, tote or messenger bag?
    Backpack all the way... totes or messenger bags weren't even a thing when I was in school lol
  10. Eat school lunch or pack a lunch?
    Packed a lunch for the most part. My elementary school didn't even have a cafeteria that served food and I didn't buy lunch that often in high school.
  11. Remember the little milk cartons? White or chocolate?
    Cartons? Um those are still a thing. Does anyone remember the BAGS of milk? Please tell me I'm not the only one. Also, chocolate was always preferred because, well, chocolate.
  12. Paper bag or lunch box?
    Paper or grocery bag... I don't remember having a lunch box. Weird.
  13. Favorite thing to do at recess?
    I remember lots of girl drama in elementary school... then boy drama. Lots of drama lol.
  14. Favorite back to school supply item?
    I loved picking out new binder colors and pens. Yup, geek.
  15. Chalkboard or Dry Erase board?
    Chalkboard. Dry erase wasn't big until later I think.
  16. Regular pencil or mechanical?
    Mechanical because they just seem fancy.
  17. Homework as soon as you got home or after dinner?
    Um how about the very last minute right before bed? I was a procrastinator to the nth degree (this carried through university and all 3 of my degrees... whoops).
  18. Favorite after school snack?
    Cheese and crackers.
  19. Favorite after school show?
    Saved by the bell.
  20. Favorite subject in school?
    English or social studies.
  21. Least favorite subject?
    Math. Me and numbers do not get along.
  22. Name your best friend in high school?
    I had a few (because I went to 3 high schools) but Nancy was and still is my bestest.
  23. High school mascot?
    I had 3 - falcon, phoenix and panther.
  24. SAT or ACT?
    I'll take none of the above. Canada eh.
  25. Favorite year in school?
    I honestly have no clue... too much pressure to pick and nothing stands out like "that was the best year EVER".
  26. Class ring or no?
    Negative.
  27. Attend high school reunion or not?
    Nope. With 3 high schools picking a reunion would be far too high maintenance lol

There you have it! 

Make sure you link up your Q&A posts below and stay tuned for next month's TBB Asks - fall edition (October 2nd).



Summer Book Reviews and fall reads

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Is it seriously September tomorrow?

Where did the summer go?

I've clearly NOT been a blogging machine this summer but I did manage to get in a few audio books.

I mixed up my picks using the list provided by the Blended Blog but also picked a few that were on my "to-read" list.

Here's what I "read" (aka listened to) this summer and my (brief) thoughts on each:




The Year of Pleasures - Elizabeth Berg
Recommended by the lovely Deena. I liked this book but I can't say I found it riveting. It was a nice story about a woman finding herself after the loss of her husband. The story-line isn't such that it has you dying to know what happens next but it was a very pleasant read. I liked the focus on self-discovery and friendships.


How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It - Steven Stosny and Patricia Love
No, my marriage is not in trouble lol but I wanted to start adding some self-help ish books to my reading list and this book came up and had good reviews so I figured I'd give it a go. This book did get me thinking and helped changed my perspective in a few areas. It helped me better grasp some differences between my husband and I and how we process things. I also liked that it doesn't focus on talking things to death (and actually says that's counter productive). Worth a read if you're wanting to personally take some steps to better your relationship/connection/communication.


Wonder - R. J. Palacio
Katie recommended this read and she was right on. I REALLY liked this book but it also made my heart ache and reminded me how cruel the world can be. I don't know what to say other than I feel this is a really "special" book about differences and seeing people for who they are on the inside. It's such a touching book and I wish it was required reading for late elementary school.


My Not So Perfect Life: A Novel - Sophie Kinsella
I love me some chic-lit and Sophie Kinsella is one of my faves. I loved this book and there were so many parts that had me laughing and embarrassed for the main character all at the same time. A quick and cute read for chic-lit lovers.


A Hundred Summers - Beatriz Williams
One of the recommendations from the Blended Blog book club and for some reason I didn't think it would interest me. I was hooked right from the beginning! I found myself trying to figure out how everyone tied together and to solve the little mystery that's presented early on. Definitely had my "side" picked early on and enjoyed the present-to-past and back perspectives to unravel the story. Great read.


The Husband's Secret - Liane Moriarty
I'm quickly becoming a big Liane Moriarty fan. When I first started this one I found myself constantly trying to figure out how everyone fit together and trying to guess what the big "secret" was. Needless to say, eventually all is revealed and I really liked the way it all came together in the end. A great look at the complexities and intricacies of relationships and how things definitely aren't always what they seem.


Winter Garden - Kristin Hannah
I LOVE the last Kristin Hannah book I read (the Nightingale) so I was looking forward to listening to this one. For me, it felt like it started a little slow... I was frustrated by some of the characters and because of that it took me a little while to get into it... but once I did... wow. I said before that I don't typically read or love historical novels but I love the way Hannah makes these historical pieces so personal. It's gut-wrenching and beautiful at the same time and I couldn't have been more surprised or pleased with the way she ended this lovely book.


How'd you do with your summer reading/listening?

We're linking up book review posts below and we'd love for you to join us in September with some great picks from Deena, Sheila and Alison!



the Blended Blog Asks - summer

Monday, August 7, 2017

Welcome to another edition of The Blended Blog Asks - my friends and I at the Blended Blog come up with a bunch of questions and it makes for an easy and fun post for us and you!




I am pretty sure I mentioned my indecisiveness in my last question and answer post... don't think I'll all of the sudden be providing succinct response lol
Here goes:

1. Pool, lake or ocean?
I like to lay by the pool, swim in the lake and look at the ocean :) So all of the above really

2. Camping, cottage or hotel?
I've done my fair share of camping but if we're being honest, I'd much rather sleep in a comfy bed where bears can't get me lol. I LOVE going to a cottage and just chilling but there's also something fun and exciting about staying in a hotel. Again, I'm not really answering the question am I? In short, for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors, cottage it is. If I want to explore a new city and enjoy luxury, hotel all the way.

3. Favorite ice cream flavor?
You're asking the pregnant lady? Give me ALL the ice cream!!! There's few flavors that I don't like but if I HAD to pick one, I'd probably opt for french vanilla.

4. PJs, nightgown, t-shirt/shorts or birthday suit?
Depends on the time of year. In summer I'm usually in underwear and a t-shirt, in winter it's pjs.

5. Fave summer beverage?
Wine... always wine :)

6. Would you rather be hot or cold?
Neither lol but if I HAD to pick, I guess cold, because then I could add blankets, turn on the fireplace and get all cozy.

7. Sandals with heels or flats?
If they didn't hurt my feet I'd do heels all the time. Having said that, I'm VERY pregnant this summer so it's been consistently flats for this momma.

8. Shorts or skirts?
Depends what I'm doing. Shorts are easier if I'm out and about with the kiddos because I don't have to worry about flashing anyone my undies.

9. Sit in the sun or the shade?
I love the sun!

10. Water, tea or soda?
How about coffee? I always have my water with ice with me.

11. Fave summer fruit/veggie?
Fresh picked strawberries and corn on the cob!! YUM!

12. Sunrise or sunset?
Sunrise. It's such a quiet and calm time of the day.

13. Bike ride or walk?
Walk. I haven't rode a bike in ages and given my 8+ pregnant-status, riding a bike isn't an option at this point.

14. Winery or brewery?
Have you met me? Winery ALL the way!!

15. Garden or no garden?
Does my planter hanging from the fence with 3 pepper and 2 tomato plants count?

16. Big summer concert or music in the park?
I love a more intimate venue - as long as there's good music and tasty drinks are always nice.

17. Fave cookout food?
Nothing like a BBQ steak, baked potato and corn on the cob! YUM

18. Dine indoors or patio?
If the weather is right, patio is where it's at!

19. Fave summer destination?
Does the back deck count? We don't have a regular go-to summer spot besides spending as much time as we can outside.

20. Big theme park or local carnival?
BOTH! We've got little people so either are a hit! I feel safer on rides at a big theme park but there's nothing like a local fair :) We've already been to a few this summer (one today actually!).

21. Drinks blended or on the rocks?
I don't usually do sugary drinks but I guess blended seems more summery to me.

22. Popsicle or freezie flavor or choice?
I used to LOVE banana popsicles... I don't even know if they still make them.

23. Hotdog or hamburger?
I can't pick (shocking) both hotdogs and hamburgers are summer staples around here and I love them both equally... and now I'm hungry (also shocking, I'm sure).


Make sure you check out how the other ladies answered and feel free to grab the photo above, answer the questions and linkup with us below!


Christy @ R Squared
Carrie @ A Stylish Fit
Shaunacey @ Simply Shaunacey
Lana @ My New Happy


Christmas in July

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Merry Christmas!!!! In July that is!

Who doesn't love a gift exchange? I know I do. Last year's Blended Blog Christmas in July gift exchange went so well, we decided to do it again this year. And, when I say "we" I obviously mean other people kindly organized it (thanks Whitney) and I just hopped on the bandwagon (as per usual). 


My Secret Santa was Katie!!! 

I have to give it to Katie, she nailed it!!! Clearly she knows I love me some pretty accessories because she sent me this really pretty layered necklace that she discovered a local boutique in her area.
When I opened the package and pulled out the necklace, my 4 year old daughter was immediately eyeing it up (I don't know where she gets it). 


As if that wasn't enough, Katie also got me a beautiful beach towel. I'll tell you why I'm excited about this (besides the fact it's super pretty): my kids keep getting these super fun towels for when we go swimming and I'm always stuck using plain old bath towels. It's like Katie knew I needed my own special towel for our family swimming outings. :)


And here's a pic of my tired mug with my pretty new necklace because, well, why not?
Never mind the drops of water on my shirt... I just gave Ollie a bath and he decided that the water was better on me than in the tub... naturally.


Wanna see what everyone else got? (which, if you're curious like me, you do) head on over to Katie (who was my Santa) and Lana (who I shopped for). 

Happy Thursday (yay almost Friday!!)

Favorite Summer Food

Monday, July 10, 2017

Is it overly predictable that the resident pregnant lady signed up for the post talking about food? I mean, it was kind of a given, no?

Either way, here we are and this week the ladies of the Blended Blog and I are sharing our favorite summer eats! YUM!

I've decided the easiest way to do this (because I truly love ALL food) is to sum up my faves in a few random categories :)

Here are some of my favorite summer foods:


Salads

They say "you don't make friends with salad" ("they" being the Simpsons, more specifically Homer) but I tell you, I've had some good ones and there are days, especially hot and humid days, where a salad just seems like the most appropriate meal. Most people associate salads with uber-healthy eating, but let's be serious, I totally count pasta and potato salads in this category which are essential summer staples.

Interested in a delicious, easy and fairly healthy salad this summer?? Check out this one I shared not too long ago on the Blended Blog: tasty tomato, cucumber and basil salad. YUM!

tomato, cucumber and basil salad


Easy, fun to make (for the kids) food

The majority of the time it's me making dinner while the kids rummage the cupboards for crackers or something else to eat prior to dinner. That or they're terrorizing each other and I'm simultaneously referring and cooking. The easiest way to avoid the raiding of the cupboards and the fighting is to have the kids actually involved in the food prep. Pita pizzas are a go-to in our house for so many reasons: the kids get a snack during prep (read: eating all the cheese and pepperoni), they cook really quickly but primarily the fact that the kids are preoccupied WHILE dinner is being made takes the cake.

kids making pita pizzas


Takeout

While we're being honest... there are some days in the summer where cooking just doesn't happen. This can be for any number of reasons: heat, fatigue, crazy schedule... or just because. Whatever the reason, takeout is a favorite summer treat. The kid's preference usually includes grilled cheese, apple slices and yogurt from Mc. D's but Mr. B and I love Chinese or Thai food every now and then. Who are we kidding? I'm happy with anything I don't have to cook after a long week (or, ya know, on Monday).



Corn on the cob

Yes, corn on the cob gets it's own category because it's a summer food through and through. Added bonus: the kids LOVE it!!!

toddler eating corn on the cob

toddler eating corn on the cob


Pick-your-own berries

Another food deserving of its own category. We love berries all year round from fresh to frozen but there truly isn't anything like berries you've picked yourself. Plus, the actual act of going out to pick the berries is the perfect family activity for the weekend. The kids have a blast (and get tuckered out) and we come home with some delicious eats! Win-win-win!

toddler tasty strawberry while berry picking

fresh picked strawberries


BBQ

We pretty much BBQ as much of the year as possible... until the snow piles up high enough on the BBQ that it's no longer possible. If you're a BBQ-lover than I don't need to explain myself but in case you're wondering I've already shared the reasons why BBQ-ing is the BEST! Even though that post is two years old, my feelings remain the same :)

bbq meal

food on bbq



ICE CREAM

This requires no explanation. Summer is synonymous with ice cream and this pregnant lady will use just about any excuse to over indulge is this tasty summery treat. I also include popsicles and freezies in the category because I don't discriminate among cold, tasty goodness.

kids enjoying ice cream



Next up is is Christy, so hop on over to her blog to see what she's eating this summer.



Link up your summer food posts with the Blended Blog






Blogger Q&A - random things about me

Monday, July 3, 2017


Look ma, I'm participating!!!

Yes, we're all aware of slacker status in blog-land so because of that I decided to spontaneously hop aboard the Blended Blog's "Summer Love" series by taking part in today's post - go me!

If we're being honest, which I am, cause that's how I roll, my motivation for participation may or may not have to do with the fact it's pre-done questions that will guide my post and hopefully not require too much brain power from this utterly spent momma. Also, I do like things like this where simple questions elicit interesting answers and explanations allowing you to see a little more into someone's personality... or maybe I just read too much into things.

Right, moving along...

heads-up, the questions are mostly yes/no or one-word answer but if you've been here before, you already know that's not my jam lol

Here goes:




  1. Favorite animal?
    This is one of those questions you would think that everyone has a quick and easy answer too, but I've never really had a definitive favorite. I wish my answer was more exotic but if I had to pick, I'd say dogs but not all dogs. I'll clarify that more in the dog vs. cat answer later. My reason for picking dogs? I guess we can attribute that to my furry friend, Lilo. That dog, though drives me crazy, is the sweetest thing and such a gentle, albeit sometimes crazy, soul.
  2. Wine or Beer?
    Have you met me? Red wine wins EVERY time! Speaking of red wine, I miss it so.
  3. Socks on or off while sleeping?
    OFF. Always off. Unless I'm camping or something.
  4. One piece or two piece bathing suit?
    I've always been a two-piece kinda gal but as I've dropped a few kids now I'm gravitating more towards tankinis (still technically two pieces) or a classy one piece. Truthfully, I don't adore wearing bathing suits to begin with but I'd rather not be playing in the pool with my kids in a scuba suit so there's that.
  5. Cooking at home or eating out?
    I'll take eating out for 1000 Alex. Yes, I like to cook, but as a busy mom, nothing beats a delicisious meal cooked by someone else and, better yet, CLEANED by someone else. Clearly I need to win the lottery so I can just have someone cook me all kinds of moderately healthy meals and then do all the dishes... unless I have any volunteers??? Bueller?
  6. Pepsi or Coke?
    Diet Coke. I know aspartame is the devil's spawn but there's nothing like a fountain Diet Coke. So. Good.
  7. Regular or electric toothbrush?
    Electric and I'd highly recommend switching if you haven't (cue toothbrush plug) - the amount of scaling I have done at the dentist was drastically reduced when I bought an electric toothbrush. I'm a true believer!
  8. Candy or chocolate?
    Totally unfair question to ask a nearly 7-months-pregnant woman. I love all the sugary things. If I must pick, I shall choose chocolate but don't think I wouldn't demo an entire bag of sour patch kids or cherry blasters if given the chance.
  9. Coffee or tea?
    Coffee... coffee and more coffee. Give me ALL the coffee. FYI: I think as the number of children in your life increases, so too does the number of coffees you require to function. No, that's not backed by scientific research but I feel I'm credible enough to make that statement.
  10. Music or talk radio?
    I used to LOVE driving in the car and blasting the tunes. Now, when I'm in the car sans-children, I like to listen to audio-books. Yup, yup I feel really old right now.
  11. Chick Flick. action movie, or documentary?
    Chick flicks for sure!
  12. Regular pencil or mechanical pencil?
    Mechanical because no sharpening... but you do have to insert those stupid sticks and they always seem to break. Then again, who uses pencils anymore?
  13. Swimming or laying out?
    Given my pregnant, beached-whale-status, I'd have to say laying out... at least I think that, until I lay for 5 minutes and get hot and sweating and can't stand feeling like I'm cooking. So maybe swimming? How about laying on a tube-y thing IN the pool. Ya. That sounds nice.
  14. Dog or cat?
    Dog, always dog. I'm allergic to cats anyways. I do have to say, in my mind not all dogs are created equal. I'm not too keen on little dogs. Give me a golden retriever, a mastiff, great dane or lab any day. There's just something so cuddly and almost human-like about them.
  15. What do you drive? Car, van, suv?
    I currently drive an SUV but since baby #3 decided she was joining our fam-jam, we'll be in the market for a mini-van. Oh ya, you read that right my friends, this little lady is going to officially graduate to mini-van driving, soccer-mom status.
  16. Early bird or night owl?
    These days I'm an early bird, mostly out of necessity. I get up at 5:40am 6 days a week to hit the gym. On my "sleep-in" days, I sleep until my kids wake me up (6:30/7). Early mornings usually earlier nights. Some nights I'm sure I could easily go to bed before my kids but apparently they need supervised and stuff.
  17. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    This is the hardest question of all. For real. I love all food and I'm pregnant. I can't possibly pick one thing. Steak dinner from the Keg maybe... with a three cheese twice-baked potato... obviously, low in calories and full of nutrition.
  18. While sleeping: phone in room by your side or phone in another room?
    Beside my bed but on silent.
  19. Singing in the shower, yes or no?
    No. Is that weird? If music was playing maybe.
  20. Oreo Cookies: Eat whole or take apart or dunk in milk?
    I literally cannot remember the last time I had an oreo cookie... definitely the whole thing though. Ugh, now I'm hungry.
Now hop on over to Sarah's blog to see her answers!

I hope you'll head over to the Blended Blog to see how the other ladies answered AND feel free to grab our pic and answer the questions yourselves and linkup with us (I love knowing random details about people). 

Happy Monday!!! 



book reviews - my June reads

Thursday, June 29, 2017


remember last month when I not so humbly bragged about having listened to 7 books? Ya well, that's not quite the case this month. Having said that, I haven't given up all together and still managed to listen to 4 books and, if I do say so myself, a book a week isn't too shabby.

Soooo here's what I've been reading:

As you may know, part of the reason I got into listening to books was so I could participate in the Blended Blog's book club. This has given me some great book recommendations and allowed me to connect with some fellow readers/listeners.

In June the Blended Blog switched things up a bit and Alison, of Puppies and Pretties, organized all of us who were interested in pairs. We each got a recommendation from the person we were paired up with and recommended something for them. The goal of this was getting us to read something out of our comfort zone.

I got paired up with Alison (the organizer extraordinaire) and I'll admit, I wasn't sure what to expect because I know Alison reads a lot of Fantasy novels and that's something completely out of the norm for me. Alison picked Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel. She told me prior to my starting that it was a kind of funny book with vampires and werewolves... not my typical read but I was open... So here's my review:



Soulless: An Alexia Tarabotti Novel - Alison didn't lie (obviously), this novel was filled with all things supernatural including vampires, werewolves and ghosts. She was also right in how surprisingly humorous it was. I found myself laughing, smiling and smirking at multiple points during my listen - this made more interesting, I'm sure, by the fact that I listen while at the gym and the random giggles and grins make me look a wee bit unbalanced or perhaps like I'm really enjoying my workout. Despite my initial doubt about this book, I very much enjoyed it. Actually, I enjoyed it so much that it's highly likely I'll be reading/listening to the next book in the series at some point! Thanks Alison for organizing AND making me branch out. My favorite part of this book? The unlikely and somewhat hilarious love story throughout - who knew?!

What else have I been listening to?



The Handmaid's Tale - Truthfully, my motivation for adding this to my playlist was primarily the fact that it seemed like everyone was talking about the tv series and I felt like it only made sense to read/listen to it before watching the series. I have a vague recollection of this being on a reading list in late high school but I'm confident I skipped that selection because the story seemed brand new to me. The whole plot is disturbing but oddly fascinating. It was also a really interesting listen not just because of the story line but some of the words and phrasing used (I won't lie, I busted out Google for a few words lol). Having started the tv series now (and dragged Mr. B along for the ride) I'd highly recommend reading or listening to the book first.



Anne of Green Gables - Alright, Canadian girl confession? I have NEVER read this book. Yes, I'm probably the only Canadian woman who didn't read this as a child and the truth of the matter is the real reason I decided to listen to it was because I came across it on Audible and it was only $0.49. Seriously, you can't buy a second hand book at a garage sale for that much anymore. It was a good, wholesome, fairly feel-good story but there's little point in my recommending it, particularly to my Canadian friends, as I highly suspect they've already read it lol



What Alice Forgot - My dear blogger friend, Deena, recommended this one as my next read. For some reason I was hooked within the first few minutes. Despite it being a fairly lengthy selection at almost 14 hours, I completed this book in record time (4 days). I found myself coming up with all kinds of things to do that allowed me to listen to this book (think walks, cleaning the bathroom, dishes, folding laundry - the list goes on). It's hard to pinpoint what I liked so much about this book but I think it boils down to the different way we perceive relationships and how sometimes we just need a little perspective, or perhaps to lose 10 years of memories. Either way, a great read/listen and I'd highly recommend. Thanks Deena.


You can sign up for our book club online - since we had some great recommendations in our pairings last month, we're using those titles as our selections for July and August - read (or listen to) one or read them all! Your call.




If you've posted a book review don't forget to linkup below!




a proud mom moment

Friday, June 9, 2017

Motherhood is a lot of things. It’s a big mix of constant contradictions like immense love and utter frustration. Motherhood often means perpetually doubting yourself and your abilities and praying that your children turn out alright in spite of you.

I am a mom, come October (ish), I will be a mom to three, yes three, little human beings.That means three times the self-doubt my friends. That's a heck of a lot of self-doubt.

Most moms I know have said this once or a million times, but becoming a mother has been both the greatest gift and the most challenging thing that has ever happened to me.

Some moments, heck, some days I struggle HARD.

I worry a lot and I make mistakes and I think, for me, the most difficult part is knowing that we, as parents, have such a profound impact on these little humans and truly not wanting to mess it all up.

Then… something happens and one of my incredible human beings does something so remarkable that it causes a shift. Something happens that causes tears to well up in my eyes as I beam with pride and not just in the little person who has astounded me so, but also in myself, and my parenting partner (shout out to Mr. B), because, gosh darn it, if one of our littles can do something so awesome, well, we MUST be doing at least something right. Right?

Now with that intro, you’re probably wondering what the heck I’m going on about and I’ll tell you. Before I do, I’ll warn that to most, this may not seem as remarkable as I am leading on, but to me, it’s confirmation that we’re all doing ‘okay’ and that is nothing short of awesome.



The morning I'm writing about started like most. I left early to go to the gym (that in and of itself is something) and got home just as Mr. B was getting the kids up and dressed. Not surprising, little miss was fighting the 'getting ready' process. To say it kindly, she's not a morning person (I feel ya hun). Anyways, I walked into a battle royale as Mr. B was trying to patiently negotiate what pants she was going to wear under her dress. In an attempt to be helpful, I took over trying to offer a plethora of options, surely providing one that would be viable. There were NO pants that would please little miss. We threw up our respective hands in frustration, me heading to the shower and Mr. B opting for the child to go pant-less while she ate and he'd pick up the battle prior to leaving the house.

Things continued as usual. The kids ate, I secluded myself to my bathroom to ready for the day. As things were wrapping up I crossed Mr. B's path coming up the stairs only I noticed a giant smile on his face. I love the man, but he doesn't usually walk around all smiley-like for no reason. Naturally, my curiosity was peaked and I asked "what's that smile for?". He obliged my inquiry and explained that, while successfully getting little miss to put on her pants (ones, I might add, that we had already picked and got denied) she cooperated and was quiet for a moment. She then asked him for a hug and a kiss and said "I'm sorry I was grumpy with you this morning, that was not very nice". Tears flooded my just-mascara'd eyes.

I looked down the stairs and saw her still sitting at the bottom, waiting for her dad to come usher her out the door and I said "Annabelle, I'm so proud of you for telling daddy you were sorry" and her response was "mommy, I need to talk to you too". I went downstairs and she gave me the biggest, most genuine hug and kiss and said "I'm sorry to you too, I was grumpy and wasn't talking very nice". I thanked her for her apology, said we all have grumpy mornings (because, let's be serious) and said the important part is she knows it was hurtful and she said she was sorry and hopefully will learn to try and be more kind next time.

But guys, I walked away from that embrace literally glowing with pride. My daughter, our just 4 year old daughter, had enough insight to know that she was grumpy, that she hadn't been treating us kindly and she had the awareness and the want to apologize and to try and remedy the hurt.

Yes, it's what she should have done, it's what you might expect from an adult but truthfully, I know some adults who aren't able to recognize when they've done wrong like this, let alone genuinely apologize for it.



Even writing this, a week later (because I started writing the morning of, but you know, life and all of that) I'm still so incredibly proud of that little girl but I'm also proud of her father and I. We are NOT perfect parents. We mess up, probably more often than either of us would care to admit. Life can be hard, adulting is challenging and parenting can try even the most patient of souls. These little people, as they reveal themselves to us, are helping us recognize that 1) we all make mistakes but the important part is that we do what we can to acknowledge those mistakes, apologize and try and do better next time and 2) we need to give ourselves more credit because gosh darn it, if our kids are learning these things from us, we're obviously doing something right!

This also serves as a reminder for those not-so-stellar moments that there are little people watching practically ALL.THE.TIME. Little people who learn from us how to be in the world and how to treat other people. This is a gift, an honor and a HUGE responsibility. Good thing situations like this lead me more and more to believe that we might just be up to the challenge and they may just turn out alright in spite of us - fingers crossed :)


Book review - May reads

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Happy Thursday and welcome to my book review post.

I need to tell you that I'm rather impressed with myself these days because I'm keeping up with all the recommended reads from the Blended Blog's bookclub - GO ME!!!

This is month #2 in the book club for me and I'm loving it. I reviewed all 4 April reads already (and there were some good ones so make sure you check them out) and I've been very busy in May. To be fair, I'm not technically "reading" the books but rather listening to them via the audible app on my iphone. In short, listening to books is a much more realistic way for this busy lady to actually enjoy some books. Plus, I find it keeps me productive with other things (i.e. working out or cleaning) as I can multi-task while listening - HELLO productivity!!

In May, I not only finished the 4 book club books but also added a couple more to my list (woohoo!).

First, the book club picks:



Thunderstruck - this was my least favorite listen to date. I finished it but if I had of been reading as opposed to listening, I wouldn't have given up early on. This book had great reviews online and was supposed to be a story about the interwoven lives of two men and emerging technology. I also read that people found it incredibly suspenseful. I did not. Sure, near the end things got more interested and captivating, but truthfully, there was far too much technological language and unnecessary detail that I was fairly bored. I don't like to be negative but this was definitely not the book for me.


The Magnolia Story - read by the subjects of the book, Chip and Joanna Gaines share a detailed look of their lives together. Chip and Jo take the reader/listener through their relationship and professional histories and documents all the trials and successes along the way. In all honesty, I've watched half an episode of Fixer Upper and it was late at night so I missed "the big reveal" because I fell asleep. I think that had I had some prior knowledge of the couple/show I would have definitely found the book more enjoyable. It was okay, but just okay to me. Having said that, I'm more inclined to watch the show if it's on (and not too late at night) as I know a little more about the couple. I also feel the need to add that some of it just seemed a little unrealistic to me, like no matter how tough things got, everything just seemed to work out for the better. I'm not sure everyone can relate to that kind of life experience. Kind of ambivalent about recommending it - I'd say, if you're a fan of the show, have a read/listen for sure, otherwise, I'd say skip it.


The Shack - a fiction novel that deals with faith and religion and devastating loss. I was unsure about this book prior to starting but have to admit it caught me off guard, in a good way. I was worried it would be a little too "magical" for me (if that makes sense) but I really enjoyed the listen and found it to be incredibly thought-provoking. Instead of it feeling far-fetched, I found this book inspiring and it served as a jumping point for me to consider what my own faith looks like and what that means in my day-to-day life. I would definitely recommended reading or listening to this one.


The Arrangement - this was my pick for the book club this month. I picked it because it was said to be both hilarious and emotional and it had glowing reviews. In short, it's about a couple who decides to try having an open marriage. It was an easy listen, had interesting characters and left me wondering how things would end up. I found this book to be a good representation of the changes and challenges that most relationships face and while most of us will never endeavor an open marriage (hell to the no for this lady), you can certainly see aspects of your relationship in that of the main characters. A great summer read and entertaining start to finish.

Books I picked for myself:


A Man Called Ove - a heartwarming story about a grumpy old man who you can't help but simultaneously dislike and love. I found this book humorous in an unsuspecting way and I couldn't help but giggle out loud at some of this miserable man's antics. I also found myself smirking as his walls got broken down by his new found friends. A beautiful read/listen and really makes you consider the impact we have on the lives on others.


I Liked My Life: A Novel - I happened upon this title while browsing for my next listen on Audible. I am so glad I picked it! This book instantly captivated my attention and I found myself doing anything I could to find time to listen (even putting away laundry!!!). I finished this one very quickly and it held my interest every second. A thoughtful story about family, love, loss and death. I know books are supposed to leave you wanting more but this was left me feeling perfectly satisfied. Although, I would absolutely read more from this author based solely on this book.



Leaving Time - my third Jodi Picoult book and I have yet to be disappointed. This book follows a young teenage girl and her unlikely companions in the search for her missing mother. The book takes place from a number of different character perspectives and while I sometimes find that challenging to listen to, I found this book was able to do it in a way that left me unsure who I wanted to hear from next but wanting to know more from each perspective. I liked all the interesting information about elephants and their nature (though, I'm sure to some it might seem like too much information) and how alike humans they seem to be. The ending was a complete shock to me and left me rethinking the entire book (in a good way). If you like Jodi Picoult, Leaving Time does not disappoint.

I JUST realized that I listened to 7 books this month!!!!!!! That's much better than the 1 a year I was averaging post-children. Yup, listening to books is definitely the way to go for me.


Have you read any of these books? I'd love to hear your thoughts?

Anything amazing reads I need to add to my "must read/listen" list?


Wanna join in on the book club fun? You're not too late to start reading one (or more) of ours May picks!! Just go to The Blended Blog book club signup and you're all set

Link up your book-related posts with my Blended Blog friends and I below:


Toronto Recap Part 3: the feelings

Wednesday, May 31, 2017


I have already shared the details of my Toronto trip with the Blended Blog ladies as well as little tidbits about each of the ladies, but what kind of social worker would I be if I didn't talk about feelings?

Seriously, you'd be surprised how a seemingly simple trip can evoke so much emotion in one person. Plus, I've previously mentioned that I'm milking this experience for all the blog posts I can, so that's also that.

props to Nicole (second from the right) for all the gorgeous pics!!


I present to you: Toronto: the feelings

excitement - YAY my friends are coming to Toronto! So much excitement looking forward to an adult weekend away with some amazing ladies.

anticipation - is it May yet?

anxious - but what will I WEAR?! This would be an issue for a normal trip but when you're meeting up with a bunch of fashion-forward ladies, the packing anxiety reaches a whole other level. Add a baby belly and limited selection of adorable maternity clothes and it's a recipe for a breakdown.

more anxiety - will we all get along? What if they don't like me? Do I have to share a bed? A lot of unknowns when you're travelling to hangout with people, a bunch of whom you've never even met in real life.

free - no parenting for three whole sleeps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

optimistic - this is going to be GREAT!!!

confused - where the heck do we park?

relieved - these ladies rock! No drama, everyone is sweet and hilarious. What are the odds? Who cares? this is great!



nauseous - we were on the 14th floor and let me tell you, the elevator was akin to a rollercoaster ride. My stomach did flips EVERY time we went up or down, which was A LOT. Yuck.

jealous - I'll admit it, watching the ladies enjoy delicious beverages had me feeling a little like a green-eyed monster. It wasn't those fancy gin-fizzy drinks that had me drooling but rather the large glasses filled with red wine goodness. Don't worry, I ate my extra calories and enjoyed a ton of soda waters with lemon... you're right, so NOT the same.

full/satiated - I haven't had this much yummy food in a long time. I at all.the.things. So good.

admiration - each of the ladies I traveled with had something to admire. From gorgeous hair to mad makeup skills to kindness that knows no bounds to knowledge about all the things. I just kept soaking in all the uniqueness these people had to offer.

bored - bus drives and waiting for buses is not fun. Thankfully, the stops in between made it worth it but I was vividly reminded that I do not like long bus rides.a

scared/nervous - let's jump on a boat headed into the rapids right up close and personal with Niagara Falls... yes, I was a nervous about this leg of our adventure. Clearly we all survived and lived to tell about it.



surprised - those lovely ladies surprised me at dinner Friday night by showering me with presents for our little girl. So sweet and I was genuinely shocked.

exhausted - up early (thanks children for permanently ruining my ability to sleep in) and in bed late (yes, midnight is late for me... like REALLY late) and days filled with TONS of walking = one tired momma. I don't remember the last time I was up until 11pm let alone at a restaurant until that time.

embarrassed - them: 'let's all go to the roof top hot tub'
me: I'm sorry, I really need to go to bed.
There are few times in my life where I've left the party early but my goodness there was no way my tired body could hold out a few more hours especially for  hot tub party I couldn't enjoy.

relaxed - truth be told, quiet time in bed watching a movie until I drifted off to sleep was sweet and utter bliss.

self-conscious - you would think as a quasi-blogger, that I'd be comfortable taking a selfie or posing for pictures in public... nope. Did I do it? Of course, but I felt so silly every.single.time.



guilty - of course my 4 year old gets the flu while I'm out having fun with my friends. Cue the mom-guilt. Yes, I was nearly in tears and yes, she survived without me....

thankful - while I felt guilty for not being with the puking child, that also meant I didn't have to deal with puke... so I consider that a win.

happy - it felt so good to have so much grown-up, kid-free time with such remarkable women. We laughed, we joked, we goofed around a lot. We talked some shop and we shopped a lot. We walked until our legs and hips were sore (or maybe that was just me that was sore) and ate all the yummy things. We soaked up our quickly passing time together and already started to plan our future adventure.

sadness - parting is such sweet sorrow. After a whirlwind weekend, I was happy to be heading home but also sad knowing that the majority of these women live so far from me and I likely won't see them again until next year's adventure.

grateful - when the Blended Blog started I knew we had a good group and although it's changed a little bit over time, I'm confident that the people who have been a part of it were for a reason and the ones who remain are as well. I not only consider these ladies fellow bloggers and collaborators but also good friends. I am so grateful to be part of this group and cannot wait until we get to see each other again.




Okay... that wraps up the Toronto posts from this lady. I'm hoping to try and be more present around here but there's still family and work and my virtually non-existent social life combined with my body's desire to sleep A LOT (I'm am creating life and all that). See you soon :)



A tasty summer salad

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

I'm over at the Blended Blog today sharing a tasty summer salad!!! Head on over, check it out and link up your food/recipe posts with us.




Toronto Recap Part 2: the ladies behind the blog

Friday, May 26, 2017

My last Toronto Recap was the "all the things we did" post which is great if you're wondering what we got up to but, if you're anything like me, you want to know what the ladies are really 
like...

Let me introduce you to the ladies behind the Blended Blog in Toronto.



You already "know" me and I'm slightly biased there so we'll skip myself but if you want more a glimpse of me, stay tuned for Toronto Recap Part 3: the feelings.

Meet my friends:




I've known Nicole for about 9 years. We met when I contacted her and her business partner to take some pictures of my then boyfriend and I. Since then she's photographed all the significant events in my life. She is funny and kind and sweet. She multi-tasks like no one I know (she works two jobs, has 4 kids, works out like a fiend and the list goes on) and she has made the biggest lifestyle/body transformations over the past year. Seriously, if you need some weight-loss/health motivation, this is your girl! I got to know Nicole a lot better during this trip and, as I've already informed her, she's stuck with me as a friend. I'm already harassing her via text (sorry Nicole). Did I mention she's a kick-butt photographer? She took some great shots over the weekend (including headshots for each of us - as pictured in this post. Check out her photography page for more brilliance).





I follow Lisa's blog and she has to be the most inspirational style-blogger. Ever. She pulls of some pieces I wouldn't dream of trying and does it with such ease. Don't even get me started on her Instagram. Look it up, you will NOT regret it. Lisa is super sweet in person and has the best hair (seriously, I have some mad hair-envy). Lisa is a calming presence and was the perfect balance in our big wild group. I found her quiet confidence admirable and it was a pleasure to get to know her better. If you're wondering how to translate high-fashion into affordable and wearable looks, her blog does not disappoint.





I've been talking to Andrea for a while and am proud to say it was I who suggested she be added to our Blended Blog group. She's the perfect addition to our group but I have to be honest when I say I did not think it was possible for her to be as sweet in person as she seems online. I was wrong. She's every bit as sweet in person as she seems online. She's stunning and so kind and complimentary. She has a special place in my heart and I can't wait for baby girl to wear the pink converse that Andrea gifted her! Andrea's blog shares all kinds of delicious food, drinks as well as fashion (no one can rock a pineapple sweater like this lady) and so much more.





This cute little midwesterner is another sweetheart. Whitney is adorable and funny and has the best stories. This lady has so many adventures to share and it's so fun to listen to her talk (though, part of that is due to the is the accent I think ;) Teacher by day and absolute sweetheart by night.Whitney was another later addition to the Blended Blog (thanks to Carrie) and it's another match that I think was fated to be. Check out her blog to follow her adventures and adorable fashion (yes, she is that cute in real-life).





Another teacher (they dominate our group) and Long Island native. Katie is so unexpectedly hilarious. She's a wine-lover like me and the only thing I'm sad about from our trip is that we weren't able to have a glass of wine together (given my current baby-carrying status). Don't worry Katie, I'll have a bottle of red (or 4) with our names on it next year!! Katie bid us farewell with a gift from home, a shot glass. Perfect gift from Katie even though I can't use it as intended right now. Shots of a OJ anyone? Follow her blog the mishaps and mayhem of solitary life... though, if I had to guess, this girl won't be solitary for long. And in case your wondering, girl can drink a giant beer like a champ :)






I can nearly see Alison squirming in her chair as she reads this lol. Alison is one of the quieter ones of our bunch and despite not loving physical affection, still let us all welcome her with hugs. She has the most understated and surprising sense of humor and some of her one-liners left me giggling far too long. She's a bookworm at heart and I promise one day I'm going to branch out and let her pick one of my reads (she reads more fantasy which is out of my wheelhouse). I find her personality and fashion sense unique and refreshing. She's one of the most original and interesting people I have had the pleasure of meeting. Check out her blog to see exactly what I'm talking about.





My roomy extraordinaire. I fell in love with this cutie last year in Vegas. We both have young kids and love to have fun. She's got a million dollar smile and it's always on her face. I don't even know if she gets mad. I roomed with her and Nicole and let me tell you, these girls have ALL the hair and makeup tips. For real, you need hair and makeup product recommendations? Ask Sarah (or Nicole). I wish this spunky lady lived closer to me because I know we'd have a ton of fun (and drive our respective husbands INSANE). Her blog is filled with her adorable fashion, hair and makeup tips and her little cuties.





I met Christy on the way to Vegas last year and was so surprised how chatty she was in real life. For some strange reason I thought she was quiet. She got a good laugh when I shared that tidbit with her. I was wrong, she has a personality and smile that lights up a room. I also admire how she manages to workout regularly, work full-time, find time for friends AND parent her two boys and run them from activity to activity. Oh I have to add that I think this lady can pull off just about any lip color imaginable.





I met Deena a year ago and am happy to report that I've gotten to spend time with her (and her family) a few times since then. I remember anxiously awaiting to meet Deena in the Calgary airport. I was so nervous about whether or not we'd get along but as soon as we hugged that was it, instant friends. She's the one who somehow keeps us all organized. She's always on task but, thankfully, forgiving when we're not (by 'we', I mean 'me' - sorry). We've bonded over our love of the Blue Jays and will be reunited in less than 2 weeks for a Blue Jays date on her way back home through Toronto. I am seriously so grateful to have this lady in my life. Her blog name alone "Shoes to Shiraz" shows just how fated we were to be friends.





Lana is the 'momma bear' of the group. She's always looking out for everyone else. She is kind and sweet and selfless but my gosh we have some good laughs. I think the most I have laughed in years was when Lana and I squished a macaroon in Banana Republic in Las Vegas during a late-night shopping excursion. In hindsight, I'm not sure why it was so funny to us, but we literally couldn't stop laughing. She's so easy going and has this innate ability to make everyone feel at ease. Another blissfully calming presence and she's always up for whatever shenanigans are going on. Her boys are growing up and leaving home and she shares all about discovering her 'new' happy on her blog.


I had great intentions for this post but after writing a little tidbit about each lady I feel my words are failing me. I'm inclined to chalk it up to the lack of writing in ages but I think it's safe to say that the real reason is that there is absolutely no way I can capture the true essence of each of these amazing women. There is no way I could write about these ladies that would do them the justice they deserve... and I'm going to end it there before I get all gushy and stuff BECAUSE I'm saving that for my next post... Toronto Recap Part 3: the feelings because yes, my feelings about the trip and these ladies needs a post ALL on it's own.

Stay tuned and go check out these kick-butt gals if you haven't already!

PS how freaking gorgeous are these friends of mine?!



- DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS -