Tag Archives: family

Back to School

September is here and Fall routines have begun! I say that with an exclamation mark because although I love summer, something about the slightly cooler Fall weather and all the energy to be organized for Fall makes me so happy. Don’t worry, it wears off in about a month 😉 And in other good news, my husband is home a lot more as our seasonal business slows down, which is a welcomed change after a summer of me and the girls.

Vienna is so excited to head back to school this year! She has been asking for the past few weeks if it’s time yet. She loves learning and playing with her friends, and absolutely adores her Teacher. I can hardly believe that she will be in full day Kindergarten next year, that seems like a much bigger milestone that I might not be so prepared for.

The night before preschool she went to bed the happiest, most excited little girl. I asked her a few questions to capture V as she starts her year at preschool:

  • How old are you? Three
  • What is your favourite food? Avocados and Broccoli (no joke here guys)
  • What is your favourite toy? Rollie! (a small rabbit? Mouse? I don’t even know figurine? And I have no idea where its from. All the toys in the world and she chooses this).
  • What do you like to do for fun? Run around in the park.
  • What is your favourite colour? Red! (She always tells me because it’s the colour in her heart).
  • What do you love the most? Rollie (Again, toddler randomness at its finest)
  • Where is your favourite place to go? To soccer
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? “A doctor. And you will be the nurse, Mom”. Turns out I’ll always be working for this girl 😉

It’s so fun to look back on these questions from last year and see how much she has changed. V and I read last year’s responses together before bed, which she thought was so fun. And seriously… those pictures of her from last year? ALL. THE. TEARS. So crazy to see how much she’s grown in just a year.

This morning I took her to school and on the way she said “I’m going to miss Aria, Mom. When I’m back I’ll tell her all about my day at school.” I’ll just be over here scooping my heart off the sidewalk, guys. Seriously cute.

Happy back to school and happy Fall! xo

Wear Your Story: Meaningful Jewelry

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Sometimes I think about this online world of ours and how so much of our social lives are online. I’ve made some amazing connections and I truly have friends in this online community. I look forward to seeing the latest posts of their kiddos, reading a funny story from their day, or exchanging advice mama to mama. The best connections often arise when we really get to know someone, the person behind that pretty Instagram feed.

This month I am excited to feature a collaboration that encourages us to tell our stories. Because really, what’s more fun than reppin’ your own life?! I’ve been on a journey to be me this year, and this collaboration is a perfect fit.

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Mom Balance: 5 Tips to (Not) Doing It All

Hi, I’m Raina, and I’m addicted to taking on new projects. When I was a kid I always wanted to be everything when I grew up (in third grade alone I was spouting off my plans to be a lawyer, doctor, and a Mom… meh, one out of 3 ain’t bad, right?) 😉 I’ve always kept that drive to continuously learn and grow… or maybe more accurately it’s more of an addiction to doing everything. Case in point: you can catch me around the holidays crafting my toddler’s “shared snack” for preschool into theme-appropriate shapes late into the evening. Anyways…

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Our Christmas

Well, that in-between week of hanging on to anything Christmas has come to a close (remind me again, when do I have to stop putting Salted Caramel Baileys in my coffee??) and I’m reflecting on what an amazing thing it is to have little kids at Christmas. (Truth: I started this post during said week but never finished it and now it’s January).

We I set out our Holiday Bucket List in true Type-A, Pinterest-loving fashion and we had a great month of celebrations. Here’s a quick recap of the festivities!

We started off the month with meeting our new Elf on the Shelf, despite the recommendations of some friends deeply regretting starting this madness after a few years. V has been going through a stage of naming things random words, like “Chroccoli”, which was the word of the the month in November, so there was no way I was letting that fly and having an Elf around every Christmas from now forward named “Chroccoli.” I went ahead and named the Elf Jovie, of course from one of my favourite Christmas movies! V basically rolled her eyes and said “No Mom, that’s Red Riding Hood.” So, Red Riding Hood it is. Mike even tried to swap in Jovie a few times: “Hey Vienna, where’s Jovie?” to which she replied “Red Riding Hood is on the tree, Dad” very serious and matter-of-fact toned. The Elf was pretty uneventful for the most part, but she did really go out with a bang surprising Vienna with a mini Christmas Tree in her room when she left.

We took the girls skating and out on the sleigh, looked at lights, baked cookies galore, drank hot chocolate on the daily, visited Santa and attended holiday parties. We wrapped up the festivities with a tractor ride with friends out to a bonfire where we roasted s’mores and drank hot chocolate, and then on our way back visited all the horses in the pasture. Magical! All in all, our Holiday Bucket List was a success and we loved all of it! Next year I hope to make an advent calendar, but that requires some pre-planning (before the day before) and I might not have that in me yet.

For Christmas Vienna asked Santa for a “Dress-Up Room” (“You know Mom, like at Preschool?” i.e. the entire back half of the preschool). Santa brought a trunk full of dress up clothes and, the little closet under the stairs that is joint with V’s room was turned into a dress-up space! It is SO cute. V’s still a little unsure on the Santa part in that she actually expected to see him deliver said dress-up room, which we learned when she told some of our visiting relatives “well, my Mom and Dad just brought me that.”

We spend Christmas at home now that we have kids and we host all of our family for dinner on Christmas Eve for a traditional(ish) Ukrainian twelve dish dinner, including:  wheat, borscht, cabbage rolls and perogies, among other dishes. We’ve done this is on Christmas Eve my entire life and it comes from my Gramma’s family.

Truth be told, I personally love the build up to Christmas more than Christmas morning itself. The morning seems a bit chaotic and overwhelming, and disappears SO fast. But, seeing the magic of Christmas building for them and the excitement of Christmas morning is really so amazing.

One thing I struggle with is capturing “good” photos on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning; there is too much going on and I don’t want to miss the moments trying to get a beautiful picture. So, here’s a recap of Christmas and December from what I’ve got (i.e. mostly grainy Iphone photos).

Enjoy and Happy New Year! 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!

You guys, I can’t even make it to the store to pick up printed photos from the lab for our Christmas cards. It’s that bad. Add to that the fact that I have roughly 14,000 photos on my phone. I take a LOT of photos of those kiddos of mine!

Enter Chatbooks. Life saver! When V was a babe I did a 100 Happy Days Instagram challenge where I posted a photo every day for 100 days, and then had them printed in my very first Chatbook. I’ve since signed up for a series, and every time I post 60 photos on Instagram, it prints them into a little book and sends them to me. Genius, right? I’m starting to feel like I have to tell you about the second set of free books, free t-shirt, and unicorn I’m going to throw in when you buy them hahaha (totally kidding). Really, this is just MY opinion and I simply LOVE them that much!

5 Reasons why I love Chatbooks:

EASY. It’s done for me with zero participation on my part if I choose. There is a three day reminder where I can go in and make changes to the book, and even then I try to keep this to just updating the cover to my favorite picture from the book. Sometimes I don’t even do that. #momlife. This way the book is a true snap shot of our daily life, and I love it.

COST. SUPER affordable. $8 for a book and $2 for shipping! I don’t even care if the Canadian-Us exchange rate is total crap. My Starbucks (and/or kids’ matching pajama addiction) will tell you this is peanuts.

DESIGN. I love the simplicity of these books. Yes I could print a bigger, more elaborate photo book and there is a time and place for that, BUT I love that these are small and simple. And, if one of the kids tears a page I’m not going to lose my shit, I’ll just re-order it. P.S. Vienna LOVES flipping through these books. I’m starting her own series, too!

PROCESS. You can either have it sync with your Instagram or Facebook feed,  a specific #hashtag, or, if you aren’t a social media user, you can have it paired with your favorite roll on your phone. I actually love having it tied to my Instagram, because the pictures I post just so happen to be my favorite pics that I want to share, so it’s almost like a filter from my overflowing camera roll. Plus, it includes the caption. (I’ll regret the second half of this statement in 10 years when my kids can read and hashtags are sooo #2016).

PERSONAL. Chatbooks is an amazing company to work with. If I’ve ever had a question or needed support, they are there in an instant and super friendly. They stand behind their products and if anything goes wrong, they will work to make it right! They still have a small shop feel, even though they are definitely killing it as a big company now. I like supporting this company!

Want to join in on the fun? Download the app and use the code MAMAWRITES to get your first series book FREE or 10% off prints or custom books! How awesome is that? Thank you Chatbooks! Plus I have the pleasure of giving away some Chatbooks bucks to help some lucky peeps get started! I’ll do a draw for anyone who starts a new series before January 1st, 2017 🙂 (Please follow the link above if you want to be entered, that is how I will track entries). If you’ve got any questions about how Chatbooks works for our family, contact me @ mamawritesblog@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you!

If you are a local friend and follower, you should probably just come over already for a festive coffee. I’d LOVE to catch up over a seasonally-flavoured, Baileys-induced coffee. ‘Tis the season to find aannnnyyy reason to get together. Fa la la la la. xo

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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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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

Go the F to Sleep (Or: A Visit to the Lavender Farm)

The other day I took Vienna on a little day date with Mom. She hadn’t been acting like herself, and, well, Mom guilt. So I took her for a one-on-one morning. She may be playing me, but oh well. #momstruggles. We headed to the Farmer’s Market, one of our favourite regular stops, and the Okanagan Lavender Herb Farm. Truth be told, I had an ulterior motive (hence the title here– anyone else read that book?). Sure I wanted to visit the Lavender Farm and spend time with my girl, but more importantly, V “not acting like herself” included a bout of huge bedtime melt downs and I intended to purchase lavender oil and pump that shit discretely diffuse Lavender all over the house. Sweet, sweet bliss! (I’m starting to have an emoji addiction- I desperately want to put that cry/laughing face here).

We had a great time! They have already harvested the Lavender for the season, so it wasn’t the beautiful purple lavender fields that one would imagine, but when your audience is an almost three-year old, they don’t know the difference. It’s actually set up fairly well to accommodate kids: they provide a scavenger hunt in their garden trails (kids are rewarded with a freezie for completing!), there is a hedge maze to get lost in, a fish pond, a wishing tree to hang ‘wish ribbons’ on (although the aesthetics of the actual wishing tree are kind of, well, weird to me), and really just an all-around beautiful atmosphere.

V loved running through the garden trails and picking which path we would go on next. This may be in part due to the fact that she is obsessed with paths lately. There is a small museum on the property painted in bright colours, which Vienna was certain was an ice cream shop. So funny! “Mom, that has to be where they keep the ice cream!” She thinks every Okanagan tourist attraction sells Gelato (and she’s actually right).

At Christmas time they decorate the gardens with thousands of little lights for families to visit. Anyone who knows me well  knows that I am a sucker for Christmas anything…. so we’ll be back. Worth the visit, and yes, I purchased Lavender. 😉

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Banana Pancakes

Sundays around here are meant for pancakes. Banana pancakes. We make them almost every Sunday. I love whipping up a batch of these and V loves to help, too. Sometimes it seems she randomly knows it is Sunday and will ask for pancakes! They are so easy I even make them the odd weekday if we are planning on being home for the morning. They also freeze really great– I stack them with parchment paper between them and pop them in a ziploc freezer bag to take out for easy breakfasts during the week. Win. And, the entire family loves them, right down to baby A– pictured below enjoying one.

Ingredients

  • 1 large ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 cup almond milk (We generally have/use almond milk over dairy in our house, but I tested it out with skim milk this morning and it worked the same)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup flour (I use Anita’s Organic Mill Whole Grain Sprouted Spelt Flour)

Directions

Mix everything together and ladle onto warm grill. So easy! (I usually start with the banana for ease of mashing).
Does this post make anyone else hum Jack Johnson? Happy Sunday!
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