Browsing Category: Holidays & Special Events

Christmas Countdown!

It’s Christmas week! Can you believe it? Anyone else love the build up to Christmas more than Christmas itself? I am always sad Christmas afternoon when the excitement is passing and I know it will just be regular winter again soon. I truly love all the chaos and fun that comes with Christmas planning.

Both girls got pretty sick last week, which delayed a lot of our Christmas festivities. So now we are taking it ALL in and loving every minute of it! We took V for her first ice skate at the local outdoor rink; mailed our lovely Christmas cards; did some festive baking and made a gingerbread house (which is slowly, mysteriously losing all of it’s decor, as per the photo); took a few sleigh rides down the nature trail by our house; and are binge watching Christmas movies in our Christmas PJs all night, every night. On our list this week is cookie decorating, a Christmas light tour, eating too much and drinking all the Christmas coffees. 😉

Oh, and shopping. Because we still haven’t done that.

Although it’s really late (we’ve got 4 shopping days left?) I’m  hoping to wrap things up tomorrow and avoid all of my last minute errands– I literally run out every Christmas Eve to pick up something I forgot. This year Vienna asked Santa for a “Dress Up Room”. Yup, you read correctly, girlfriend wants an en-suite. Just wait ’til you see how we are trying to pull that off last minute.

If you’re local and last minute like me (ahem…. shipping deadlines have surely passed by now… sh$t), then check out this Local Last Minute Gift Guide I’ve put together with the help of some great small businesses offering promos to get those last items crossed off your list! I love supporting local, and these shops are a few of my fave!

For Her
None other than my go-to self-care place, Illuminate Skin Care and Aesthetics. If you have not treated yourself to a facial by Meredith than it’s a must-do! Treat yourself or anyone you want to spoil! The Eminence Organic Hungarian Facial is Ahhhhhmazing. And, because the owner, Meredith, is also amazing, she’s offering my readers 25% off an Eminence Organic Hungarian Facial gift certificate purchased through her online site from now until December 24th!!! These only go on sale ONE other time per year (and that time isn’t coming around again for a while). START THE CAR! 😉 Use the code GIFTOFGREATSKIN to score your deal today! You won’t regret it!

For Him
Anyone else never know what to buy their husband? I barely know anything about electronics, but recently impressed my husband with a decent pair of headphones as a gift! If you are local head over to Andres Electronic Experts and you can pick up a set of Bose SoundTrue headphones for $89 (That’s 10% better than any price online price). Or, tell them about your husband and I’m sure they will find something that fits! If he really doesn’t need anything what about a Parasail adventure with Eldorado Parasail for HALF price. Say what? Maybe buy this for anyone on your list!

For the Babes
We are in toy overload over here, and  the girls really need nothing. Of course they will still get some gifts, but Aria’s stocking will be filled with a few of my go-to baby products this year. If there is one thing we still always need, it’s baby products: diaper cream or baby lotion. And bunny crackers. Can I put those in a stocking? For amazing baby products shop online at Nu.Babee and save 15% off your purchase with code MAMAWRITES until December 24, 2016!

As for toys, my shopping go-to’s this year are local kids stores or Chapters, which has a great selection of toys too!

For Them
Ok- this is the only self-serving item on my list (in that I would indirectly profit from it) BUT I am honestly only including it because it’s a great idea for locals! If you have hard to buy for in-laws, or relatives that need nothing,  a gift certificate to Kelowna Cruises is a great local option (full disclosure, this is my husband’s company). Buy a gift card for a dinner cruise for two for the 2017 summer season before December 24, 2016 and we’ll give you $20 off (Mention code MAMAWRITESBLOG) ! We get lot’s of last minute requests for these GC’s every year and always have great feedback! (Or, if this isn’t their “thing”, I suggest local wine. Lot’s of local wine).

Merry Christmas, the countdown is officially on! Here’s some shots of our Christmas week so far! xo

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Share the Love

I am so excited to share details from my Girls’ Night In last night! Most years I try and have a fun gathering with a few girlfriends to catch up and drink wine around the holidays. I always add a fun activity, and this year I wanted to share something that I love and something that makes life easier…Chatbooks!

Does anyone else never print pictures anymore? I literally have a massive storage bin full of great scrap booking supplies that were passed on from my Mom, and I have not made a single scrap book in years and NONE since having kids, which turns out to be the time when I want photo books the MOST!

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Oh Christmas Tree

One of the first things to check off our Holiday Bucket List was decorating the tree, of course! And I am really loving reading Christmas books with Vienna by the tree! We (Mike) decided last year’s tree was a little small for our space, so we went to look at bigger trees and ended up with what in comparison seems like a ginormous one (it’s really only 1.5 feet taller). Mike and I were laughing thinking of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when they undo the ties and the branches go shooting through the living room window. Anyone else thinking “It’s not going in our yard, Russ?”

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‘Tis the Season

It’s no secret, Christmas is my favourite time of the year! I mean, I actually like the mall at Christmas time when most people are complaining (this is also the only time of year Mike likes the mall, too! A match made in chaotic Christmas heaven 😉 ) Vienna is showing strong signs of following my Christmas lead, and I love it! She’s been gasping and awing at any little light display we see. #agirlaftermyownheart

We are all about taking in Christmas festivities over here … I only hope that one day my children appreciate my crazy love for anything holiday-themed. I’m excited to be sharing our holiday bucket list today, since its definitely time to get in the Christmas spirit with only ONE MONTH until Christmas. How did that happen?

We love supporting local charities; one we support every year is Be a Santa to a Senior, where we purchase gifts for a senior who may not have any family at Christmas. We also love decorating cookies and gingerbread houses– it should come as no surprise that V took it upon herself to lick every gumdrop before it went on the house last year. And of course, anything that involves Christmas jammies, Christmas music, or Christmas coffee…. Ok, the whole list is our favourite.

We plan to kick things off tonight by attending an annual festival of lights, that we go to every year! What are your favourite holiday activities? Comment below to share!

Here’s to a fun, festive Christmas season! xo
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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

Following up on this weeks Double Birthday Bash post I wanted to share my go-to frosting recipe. I’ve used a couple different ones over the years, but this latest one has stuck with me. It has the right consistency for piping decorations, and it is easy enough to adjust the consistency by changing the icing sugar amount. I also like that this one doesn’t call for vegetable shortening, which I find throws the taste off a bit.

Enjoy! P.S. If you’ve got a soccer fan in the house, check out these cute soccer cupcakes!

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Double Birthday Bash

It’s a double birthday! Given the girls’ birthdays are just one day apart we took advantage of having one big family party for their first and third birthdays. Or so I thought… I say “took advantage of,” but I really didn’t think through baking and icing cakes and cupcakes for an entire evening and morning. But, it’s so nice for the girls to share their day together and to have one big gathering.

We had a great day! We ate snacks, had cake, and enjoyed visiting with so many family and friends. The kids are young enough that we didn’t do a kids party and there are enough kids in our close friends and family circle to make it pass as a kids party anyways. I did a fun activity table that was SO easy and all of the kids loved it. I’m going to recycle this idea for all future kid events! All it entailed was a roll of white craft paper, a few mason jars of markers and crayons, some stickers, a couple of easy Halloween “crafts” and a jar full of play dough containers. The kids had a blast! And it involved zero adult participation. That’s a win in my books! I didn’t do goody bags, we just sent each child home with the play dough of their choice and some stickers.

As for decor I went with pink and gold, of course, because that’s what we already have on hand. And for the record, my decorating mainly consists of baked goods– that’s my strength 😉 Each of the girls had a two-tier rose cake piped with different shades of pink frosting, and I made large and small pink frosted cupcakes too. I truly love making their birthday cakes, along with cakes for my sweet nieces and nephews. I’m no pro, and sometimes my perfectionism makes it a bit crazy in the kitchen, but I love seeing them so happy with their cakes. Vienna blew out her candles at the start of happy birthday, and quietly watched us all sing to her. And Aria had zero interest in “smashing” her cake.

Besides baking my other favourite decoration to include is a photo line, where I string up photos of the girls from the past year. I’ve done this for each of Vienna’s birthdays already, and it’s one of the few times (some) of my massive amounts of photos get printed. I take the photos and put them in a mini album and tuck them away in a box for her. One of my favourite things as I grew up was looking through old photos from my childhood. We never seem to print photos these days and I want the girls to have some to look back on down the road.

I’ve done blogs celebrating each of the girls ages here  (Vienna) and here (Aria), since catching them sitting still at their birthday party is next to impossible! Here’s a quick photo recap on the details of the day, enjoy! AND how cute is that family pic with the girls in their birthday outfits by the talented Jennifer Harwood @ Blink Photography!?

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Wild ONE!

ONE whole year with our sweet little Aria Kate. I always like to call her Aria Kate because I really love both of those names. We debated on using either one as her first name– and Mike gave me a solid no when I tried to make both her first name– “but then she could pick! And how cute is it to have TWO first names?” I really tried there. I may have even used it for a bit. Of course a run-of-the-mill “Mike” wouldn’t agree to something so crazy. A Raina though? We’re up for ALL THE NAMES. The indecisiveness in me really shows when it comes to naming children. It’s permanent after all.

Aria arrived a full week early and just one day after her sister’s birthday. It is so amazing to have two girls so close– and close in terms of both being born around the same date, therefore hitting many of the baby milestones at the same time of year. But, they are such different kids and have been since day one. Despite what everyone told me to expect, Aria’s arrival was much slower than Vienna’s. By “much” I mean an hour, but that’s a lot in labour time. (People who were in labour for days will probably kill me now). I was warned over and over again that V’s arrival was so quick and so crazy that Aria would just shoot out of me. I was terrified of having the baby in the truck en route to the hospital. This made me trust myself far less in knowing when I was “ready” to go.

We arrived at 7 a.m. and Aria joined this world at 10:20 am weighing exactly 8lbs. Her delivery was chaotic to say the least. A staff change-over just as things were happening paired with a bat-shit-crazy nurse who not only forced me to have blood drawn during the worst possible time of labour (fellow moms know exactly what this moment is) but also made Mike leave me and go riffle through my purse looking for my care card to… prove it was me (??) made for a chaotic scene. But, Aria arrived safely and before long was in our arms. Ahhh. That moment. This entire paragraph may be TMI, but us Moms, we share birth stories like battle scars. We checked out of the hospital at three that afternoon, just five short hours after she was born. Whirlwind.

This past year has been amazing watching Aria grow. At 3 months Aria was diagnosed with torticollis (essentially tight neck muscles and in Aria’s case caused due to her position in the womb) causing her to have some issues with strength and head shape/growth early on. Around months 4 we started visiting doctors and specialists every few days and she was a total trooper through it all. She did amazing in all of her treatments and won over everyone with her sweet disposition. I’m so proud that together we figured things out and she now has full strength and no other issues related to it. It’s truly amazing how far things have come for her.

Aria is my girl to a T. I call her my judgy baby, as she is always carefully watching everything and everyone, and makes people work fairly hard for a smile. And, she’s often frowning or scowling, I always say “that’s just her face!” since she really is the happiest baby. She’s a fierce little monkey– she growls on the regular and when she hugs or kisses you it’s a full-body squeeze and a head-bang-kinda moment. Her and V can either be found fighting over a toy, fighting over me, or fiercely hugging each other. She sleeps like a champ and still loves her little Mrs. Mouse stuffy. She is curious and gets into anything she can. The faster she gets the more of a handful she’s becoming!

Aria has stayed such a baby to me. She seems so teeny and clings to me with her legs wrapped tightly and high around my waist. She’s a total hip baby, always with Mama. She’s crawling (since 10.5 months) and pulls to stand up  holding on to things, but doesn’t show signs of walking. And that’s o.k. by me!  One of my favourite things right now is when she discovers something new. Her eyes light up as she figures things out. I’ll be holding her and she’ll reach to open and close a cupboard door, and she’ll do it a few times and then look at me and a huge smile slowly spreads across her face. The. cutest. Aria has three words: Mama, Dada and shoe. Yep, shoe. I thought maybe it was just a coincidence, but it’s happened too many times for it to be possible. Like I said, her mother’s daughter. Plus, she looks exactly like I did when I was a baby.

Happy one year birthday to my spunky, happy, crazy-haired little Aria. We are so lucky to have you in our lives. xo

Scroll down to see a one year snap shot of Baby A. The first two pictures below are some newborn favourites taken by the talented Jennifer Harwood from Blink Photography. Thanks Jen!

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One Year Snapshot

I Weigh: 22 lbs

I Stand: 28 inches

I have: 5 teeth

Favourite foods: Grapes, cheese, bananas

Favourite things: extension cords, necklaces, shoes and hair brushes (Not even kidding here!)

Favourite stuffy: Mrs. Mouse

Favourite activity: Dancing, getting into things, Mommy carrying me

Words: Mama, Dada, shoe

Moves: Waving, dancing, peek-a-boo, clapping, climbing

I love: My sister, baths!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Dreamin’

Mike and I decided to take the girls on a last minute trip to San Diego for Thanksgiving. It’s totally not my style to book something last minute, and we even discussed a trip like this back in the summer but opted to not book anything, and then, well, here we are having gone anyways! Maybe it won’t kill me to be a little more spontaneous. Especially if it involves sunny destinations.

LOVE San Diego. What a beautiful city! Definitely a place we will go again. We took in some sites–a trip to the Zoo being our big day– and then chilled out at the pool and beach. I know Zoos don’t have the greatest reputation, but wow does San Diego Zoo do an amazing job! Filled with big, well-kept and beautiful spaces for the animals, from an (all-be-it limited knowledge) outsiders perspective, it was impressive. We didn’t take in any other “theme” parks– our kids are little and it’s really just kind of exhausting to go, go, go all day long. By the end of our Zoo day Miss V was requesting the hotel. #diva.  Continue Reading

I’m Yours

This weekend we celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. 5 years! Where did the time go? Well, mostly to two babies and two cruise boats in our case, but really, it feels like not that long ago and yet so long ago at the same time. We took a night away at Sparkling Hill Resort to celebrate (thanks to the grandparents for keeping the kiddos)– our first time away from both girls!

We got married on 09-10-11. Our wedding day is still one of my favourite days…

After searching the Okanagan exhaustively trying to find a lakefront (and not spend a million) venue, we got married on the perfect dock at a tiny lakefront hotel (thanks to my savvy co-worker–no really, she has the answer to everything). Sadly the site was torn down and turned into a development last year. It was one of those hidden gems that seemed “too good to be true”. One site. All of our crazy family and friends in one small hotel. 33 degree September weather. The most stunning backdrop. The most amazing dress.  And the groom wasn’t too bad either 😉

Wedding Details Recap:

  • Colour Scheme: Black and White with a hit of hot pink
  • Wedding Party: 3 groomsmen, 3 bridesmaids, two flower girls and a ring bearer
  • Ceremony: On the dock
  • Reception: White event tents behind the hotel
  • Dinner: Catered buffet
  • Dessert: Candy Bar and homemade cookies dipped in dark and white chocolate
  • Songs: Walking down the aisle- I’m Yours, Jason Mraz (acoustic); First Dance- Everything, Michael Buble

I’m not sure what else to put on this list, as I’m so far out of the wedding planning world and so thick into the baby-toddler-mama world. Thankfully (?) Pinterest became popular pretty much right after our wedding, so I feel my inner event planner enthusiast was relatively limited reasonable at the time.

I looked through our wedding album again the other day and I love these photos so much. We are lucky to have so many stunning images thanks to Blink Photography, who also happens to have done all of our family and baby pictures! Here’s a few favourites.

(I still LOVE that dress and a small part of me hopes that one of my girls will wear it one day).

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