Category Archives: Sponsored

On Waiting for the Perfect Photo Moment

By Jac

In my upstairs hallway, I have a lovely framed family picture. It was a winter photo shoot, so there is snow in the background, and the girls are wearing adorable boots and shawls, and I’m wearing a sweater and looking happy, and my hair was cute that day. There’s just one problem. There are only two little girls in this picture, and I have four children. It’s just that I’ve been waiting for a good time to organize another family photo. When there’s no baby, when I get a haircut, when someone’s bangs grow out, when Anton decides family photos are a good idea.

But I’m realizing that that time will never come.

There will never be a moment when everyone in a family of six is simultaneously looking their best. Continue reading

The Gift of LifeExperiences

Comment on this post for a chance to win! More information below…

Some people have a knack for buying gifts. They have an ability to understand your personal style, and the foresight to pay attention to what you need, and then they buy you the perfect item that even you didn’t know you needed. Sigh … If only everyone had that ability. But most people don’t. Instead we waste money on something that our loved one doesn’t need, all while we try to figure out what to do with all the stuff we’ve been given that we don’t need. What’s the acceptable amount of time you have to keep something before you can give it to a thrift store, anyway?

This is why we, Jac and Juli, were delighted when we heard of LifeExperiences.ca. This is a website that partners with local businesses so that people can give experiences as gifts, without having to do all the research themselves. There are so many great ideas here that the hardest part is picking between them. Luckily, if you can’t choose, you can buy a gift certificate to the whole darn site, and then the recipient of the gift gets to choose for themselves! These are actually eGift Certificates, so they get to the recipient quickly so there are no worries if you’ve procrastinated again. Continue reading

19 Reasons I’m Terrible at Working From Home (And My New Favourite Solution)

By Jac

As a writer, I know what it’s like to work from home. I don’t set time aside for writing as often as I’d like, and certainly not as often as other people do, who work from home for their full- or part-time career. However, I do attempt working from home enough to know that I am not good at it. Here’s why:

1. Too many humans live there: Even if my husband is home and we’ve decided that it’s time for me to work while he watches the kids, it is very difficult to focus when children keep barging in and asking for help with things, or to confirm with me that they do, in fact, need to listen to Daddy. (As you can probably guess, it’s also harder for Daddy to parent when I’m hiding downstairs in the rec room with a computer on my lap.) Continue reading

Do More Relaxing When You Win a Fancy New Video Monitor

By Jac

I’m a big fan of baby monitors. I’ve always had the standard listening-only ones, which I relied on when I needed to sleep with a fan in my room, or when I was far away from whichever of my children was a sleeping baby at the time. So when my trusty monitor stopped working recently, I was pretty annoyed. Was I really going to buy a new monitor when my youngest child was already one and a half? I should be almost done with monitors! But I couldn’t NOT buy one; our house is three stories, and we have sound-blocking fans running all the time. I simply need to be able to hear the kids who are too little, still, to get up and find me if they need me. Continue reading

A Mother’s Day Printable

By Jac

My friend Amanda is a calligraphy genius, and here is something she made for us to give away on our blog! You can have it for free, to print and turn into a card for your mother (or the mother of your children, of course, if her kids are too young to be competent mother’s day celebraters on their own, hint hint Anton), or to frame and hang on your wall, or even to forget about and leave lying on the floor to get scribbled on. If you click on the picture, or the link below, you will get to a pdf version of this that you can just print off for yourself. Continue reading

So, who won the earrings?

By Jac

A week ago, we ran a contest to give away a pair of Sweet Caroline Creative Earrings. Today was the day to do the draw, and here are the results! To determine who won the earrings, I used a very technologically advanced process. First, I checked to make sure that everyone who commented on the blog post also liked the Facebook page. THEN … wait for it … I wrote everyone’s name down on a little piece of paper and had my five-year-old pick one. Continue reading

Baby N Does Timberline Ranch

Yesterday afternoon, we went to Country Christmas at Timberline Ranch, a local camp and convention centre. It’s a particularly special place for me as I went to summer camp there when I was a kid, and worked as a counsellor there for a few weeks each summer in my high-school years. They have done a great job of this well-organized Christmas event, and we all had a great time! Baby N wanted to tell you all about it, and show you the pictures of her favourite parts. Please especially check out the background of the pictures for crowds: there aren’t any. This was definitely a huge bonus: we never once thought, “This would be great if there were fewer people.” Instead, it was just great. Anyway, Baby N wrote a post once, and it was so successful I decided that she should tell you about our day yesterday! And show you, too, with lots of pictures. Here she is!

Hi Mommy’s blog! It’s good to be back. We went to a thing yesterday, and I was SO HAPPY there! So much to poke and point to, lay on and lick! There were even amazing home-made cookies to decorate, with icing and candy, and Mommy and Daddy let me lick them! No pictures of that, though. Mommy was a bit too busy carrying all of our coats and boots and mittens and socks.

This is me in that big room where I crawled on the floor and tried to push those trees over while my sisters went into another room to listen to a Christmas story, and then they made a really nice craft! I didn’t get to go because of all the eye-ball poking I wanted to do. I guess that makes sisters get mad and noisy (funny!) and then they can’t listen.

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This is my whole family! We are wearing costumes! My Daddy’s costume shirt is almost exactly like his regular shirt and Mommy thought that was hilarious. I did NOT want to wear a hat, no no no.

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This room was really fun because you were supposed to throw those snowballs at those targets, but if you wanted to, you could try to crawl under the fence instead and make your Mom pull you out of there over and over. So funny!

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Noisy sister and Jumpy sister rode that big neigh!

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I got to watch them. I liked to yell and scream as they went by. Mommy had to pick me up and take me away for some reason, and I did not want her to!

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Noisy Sister really liked this game. I liked to lay down on the dirt while she played it.

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There were animals I was allowed to touch! They wanted me to poke them in the eye, I think. I almost got that fence open, too! Darn you, Daddy, for stopping me.

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Pushy Sister did NOT want to sit beside me on the comfy hay.

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There was also a wagon ride! Mommy wouldn’t let me climb out of the wagon, or hit her repeatedly in the chest with my head, so I decided to thrash on the floor and yell. Mom did not seem to think this was fun, but she should have let me climb out of the wagon then!

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I’m not sure what this is, but it was my favourite part.

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Thanks Timberline Ranch! I had lots of fun even though Daddy didn’t let me play in the boys’ bathroom for as long as I wanted to!
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See you next Christmas!

How to get to the gym when you have four children and a bad attitude

Step 1: Wake up in the morning and put on work-out clothes instead of regular clothes. This just means wearing a sports bra with your yoga pants and t-shirt this time. Also, running shoes instead of whatever flip-flops or rain boots you usually wear.

Step 2: Get ready for school as usual. Commence van-filling procedure, including seatbelts and shoes and backpacks and coats and the toddler-toy-of-the-day and CHILDREN. Double check to make sure the toddler and baby are both wearing pants and clean diapers, because we are not coming straight home as usual.

Step 3: Drive to school and say goodbye to older children, as well as their backpacks, coats, library books, and show-and-tell items. Don’t forget to send the children straight to the office for a late slip, if necessary (it’s necessary). Wave goodbye and take a deep breath of relief. Commence your drive to the gym.

Step 4: Suddenly remember you didn’t feed the littles any breakfast. Pull over to the side of the road and root around the floor of your van for a granola bar, a small package of goldfish crackers, and half a cookie. Divide the food between your children, and drive to the gym.

Step 5: Arrive at Fitwells for Women with plenty of time to get to the 9am step class. As you drag your children out of the van, do NOT think about where you are and what you are doing. If you think about it, you will put your kids back in the car and find a drive-through instead. Channel Dory and “just keep swimming.” Or in this case, just keep dragging your children through the parking lot.

Step 6: Go inside. Congratulations! At this point, you are basically done. Steps 1-5 were the most likely to trip you up, but now you are IN THE DOOR. If you’ve made it this far, you are not going to give yourself any more excuses. So THIS should be your goal next time. Don’t think about anything else. Just literally get to the gym and the rest will follow.

Step 7: Say goodbye to your children in the childcare room. This will take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, depending on the mood of your children and how soon they are willing to be distracted by a funny train toy and a kind stranger while you sneak out.

Step 8: Go to the change room. Slowly fill your water bottle. Fix your messy bun in the mirror. Go to the bathroom. Then, sit on the comfy leather bench and chat with a friend on your phone.

Step 9: Notice that it’s almost 9:00am. Heave a big sigh, and walk out the door. Go to the exercise class floor and set up your step. Place yourself strategically, so that someone else is directly between you and your reflection in the mirror.

Step 10: Do the step class. You will not want to, but everyone else is and you won’t want to be embarrassed. You will decide that you don’t have to do a good job; you will just do the minimum. But soon you will find yourself paying attention so you get the steps right. And then you are keeping up with the instructor. And then you start to think that this is pretty easy, actually, and maybe you should put a little extra bounce to your step. Then a super awesome song comes on (a Taylor Swift Dance remix, if you’re lucky) and you start to think you are probably in the wrong career because you should have been a dancer! Catch a glance of yourself in the mirror and reconsider. Finish the entire class, even the awesome, easy stretching part at the end.

Step 11: Because you feel so proud of yourself for being the sweaty, uncoordinated, exercising mess you are, decide that today is a great day for WEIGHTS as well as cardio! Start to do the circuit system, where the red and green lights tell you what to do. Like the step class, it requires very little internal motivation; you just have to follow along. This is your exercise niche.

Green: "Change! Change! Change!" Red: "Not yet, not yet..."

Green: “Change! Change!” Red: “Not yet, not yet…”

Step 12: Get interrupted halfway through by an apologetic daycare staff member because one of your children won’t stop crying (hungry?) and the other needs a diaper change. Abandon your workout knowing that some exercise is better than no exercise, and maybe you’ll be able to do the whole thing next time.

Step 13: Buy a coffee for yourself and a muffin for the kids from the shop next door on your way out. But skip the cream and sugar this time. You know, because you just exercised and you may as well eat better to go with it.

Step 14: Eat most of the muffin, too.

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Yep, that’s me at the gym. That selfie is PROOF that I was there. In the change room.

If you’re looking for a gym, Fitwells for Women (in Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, or Tsawwassen) is a really good option. They gave me a month’s membership in exchange for writing about them, and I very much enjoyed the great atmosphere and all the classes. Plus, all the cardio machines have televisions, and that means you can control the remote for once! No Bubble Guppies!

Now they want to give away a THREE MONTH MEMBERSHIP! FOR FREE! Fill out the rafflecopter below to be entered to win. To earn all 48 entries, leave a comment on their website, and click “I Commented!” and then all the other choices will open up. You’ll see; it’s pretty easy.

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