Don’t know about you, but March flew by over here! And we made it through a low-key March Break without too much insanity, so that was pretty fabulous. Here it is – the second post in our “Things We Loved…” series. Some of our most favourite things about March were:
1) Our Blue Mountain Village Getaway
Just over an hour north of us, Blue Mountain Village is one of our most favourite family destinations any time of year. We wanted to kick start March Break with some adventure and a change of scenery and routine, so headed up for a few days. And adventure it was! The drive up was frightening – white out conditions most of the way – and the weather was bitter cold, but it turned out to be a memorable time.
As a large family, we appreciate the condo-style accommodations with kitchen facilities, multiple bedrooms and bathrooms. This trip we stayed in the Seasons section. The Village already has tons of family activities, but this visit Family Channel was on site and the boys loved the added outdoor basketball set up.
Andrew and I switched off to each have a ride down Ridge Runner with the older kids, while the other was on toddler duty. We ended off with snow tubing before we headed back home. Our girl never seizes to amaze me. She attacked those hills like one fearless female!
These trips aren’t easy being outnumbered, but teamwork and LOADS of patience make it work for us. And having forgotten Allie’s hat and gloves in -20 temps and my DSLR camera’s memory card (amateur photographer problems), it reminded us how a lot of parenting is the skill of improvisation and forgiveness for being human (albeit a hard $50 mistake to swallow, but Allegra is smitten with her new purple puppy gloves! #Brightside) We look forward to heading back up to The Village in the Summer, where we also make time for a trip to family-riendly Wasaga Beach.
2) Our partnership with I See Me! Personalized Children’s Books
I have always adored this line of books at one of our favourite shops Pottery Barn Kids, so we were pretty excited to work with this company. Allegra was sent “My Very Own Fairy Tale” and it’s become her new favourite book at bedtime. Our full review of I See Me books can be found here. We love that these books celebrate the uniqueness of every child, and with so many themes to chose from, they make amazing gifts for Birthdays, Easter, Baptisms, Baby Showers, New Siblings and more. They’ve been included in our Spring Gift Guide for kids – a round up of our favourite gifts to give for all the special occasions your loved ones will have or attend this season.
3) Dermalogica’s Superfoliant from their Age Smart® line
I won this product through a giveaway from Polished Beauty Bar – the BEST beauty bar in the GTA, IMHO, and one I make the trek to once a month for a “Mom Time Out” mani + pedi even though it’s not super close to us. I have yet to visit another beauty bar that has comparable sanitation and service standards, or an owner as knowledgeable in skin care and esthetics as Caterina, who also stays educated on the latest beauty trends and treatments and offers in-demand services like IPL, Laster hair removal, and micro-blading (my next little beauty indulgence, I think!)
I’ve used Dermalogica’s cleanser, face mask, hydration cream and cleansing cloths before, and now love the smooth, purified feeling from their latest exfoliating product. In the last few years I’ve noticed visible changes to my skin (apparently 9 years of sleep deprivation isn’t so good for the epidermis 😉), and I value products that will help me recover a bit of damage and imperfections on my face. I’ve been a bit neglectful in my own beauty care this last few years, but I’m certainly starting to re-prioritize. This product may be a new staple in my face care regimen.
4) Numerous reminders to return to “Play”
I pay close attention to the signs put in my path, and this month it couldn’t have been more clear that I’m being reminded to return to play.
This article “The Importance of Play” , for instance, came up on my feed more than a few times. Parenthood comes with a ton of responsibility, and it’s easy to push aside so many of the things we once enjoyed doing and delighting in. But parenthood, I’ve learned, is not a time to abandon those things that are intrinsic to who we are. Since when did adulthood, parenthood mean no time for fun? Somewhere along the way Motherhood in particular became synonymous with unrelenting selflessness. Everyone else before ourselves. But denying ourselves the things that make us come alive is a path to hindering our well being. This piece reminds us to return to things that light us up. We know play is the basis of a child’s growth and ability to thrive, and while “play” may change form in adulthood, it’s absolutely essential, I feel, to carve out time for it on a regular basis. Play sparks imagination, sparks dreams, makes us feel alive. For me, it’s meant a return to doing more of the things I loved pre-parenthood. Journaling, spontaneous nights out with girlfriends, not taking myself so seriously and embracing any and all things “fun” are feeding my soul.
And to put my action where my mouth is, this month I got to enjoy a spontaneous night out with another mama for an early screen of our childhood Disney favourite Beauty & The Beast – so well done! We stole our daughters’ tiaras (who may have been a tad royally ticked about it!;) ) and enjoyed a Girls’ Night Out. Sure we may have looked ridiculous or immature to others, but who cares! Life is short. Make time to laugh. To be silly stupid. To have FUN! Stop caring what people think. Grab your mates, put on the tiara and have no shame in your Mom-night-out game! Children don’t think about how they look having fun. Neither should we, right?! I’m being more deliberate about reclaiming my childlike spirit. Being responsible for our joy is a life skill I want my kids to see. And Moms are the “heart of the family”, what’s good for Mom and making her happy is good for everyone.
5) Catelli Pasta’s 150th Anniversary Celebration
Working from home while also raising littles is static and isolating at times. I was feeling the need to connect and get out to meet others in this blogging world, and a wonderful fellow Mom blogger Maya of Mayahood Blog answered the call. She took me along on my first PR event (yay!) to Catelli’s 150th Anniversary celebration. Yup, they’ll be celebrating 150 years young alongside Canada this year! Having Italian roots, and making Catelli pasta a part of our family dining more than a few times, it was super exciting and meaningful to be a part of. We got to taste Catelli’s new 150th Anniversary Collection, discover secrets of big bash dining, watch live cooking demos by Chef Cory Vitiello and Ayngelina Brogan and devour a delicious meal as part of a true family dining experience. It was so fun meeting other bloggers I admire in real life, and the fabulous wine wasn’t too bad either 😉 With Andrew out at his own work event also, a HUGE thank you Nana for holding it down at home for us XO.
Catelli values bringing families together, and has an amazing giveaway going on to reunite Canadians with their loved ones this Summer, while enjoying a personalized dining experience by a celebrity chef! Check it out here.
I often use Catelli’s tri-coloured fusilli for the greek pasta salad I love to make for parties in the Summer months. Our other go-to is the macaroni from their Healthy Harvest line we use to make our homemade Mac n’ Cheese for our brood.
Our new fav was in the swag bag they provided at the event, with their new Ancient Grains line. Not only super healthy and packed with protein, but takes only 5 MINUTES to cook! Less time prepping and more time enjoying a meal is a MAJOR parenting win!
6) Chasing Slow by Erin Loechner
*Disclosure: the links in this section are affiliate links, meaning if you click on them, we may earn a small commission we use to keep this site running and the coffee well-stocked 😉 All opinions are my own. Just ask Andrew – I have tons of them ;)*
The timing of this recommendation on Instagram by Nicole Feliciano of Mom Trends (and author of another great book Mom Boss ) could not have been better. The author Erin Loechner is a design blog and HGTV star turned Mom, and takes us on a journey through her wildly successful career, the heartache, detours and wisdoms along the way. If there’s one thing I learned in life, when people who “know” something (ie. lived it, breathed it, experienced it) open their heart and share their wisdom, it’s not a time to get annoyed and think they’re being “know it alls”, or being discouraging in any way. Sometimes it’s a warning, a “heads up” to help us avoid the disappointment, difficulty or challenge that they experienced. It’s a time to listen up. And through Loechner’s eloquent, brilliant, yet non preachy words, I did.
She candidly touches on the projection of perfection on social media, and in raw form opens up about how those snaps don’t tell the whole story; behind the scenes we all have struggles and messiness that we don’t air for all to see. My biggest “aha” moment of the book is when she tells the story of a fisherman meeting an MBA grad and Investment Banking go-getter. I won’t spoil it, but she so powerfully reminds us it’s okay to have purpose and drive, but to never let the appetite and chase be so consuming we never find time to digest and delight in all that’s already in front of us.
I am really enjoying this blogging journey. Staying inspired and having a sense of accomplishment outside of parenthood were two main reasons I began. I’ve worked hard, squeezing every spare minute I can to pour something out, and it’s “paying off”- this little blog of ours is now business official (so weird saying that, gah!). My journey is still immature, I know, but my “Six Lessons Learned Six Months Into Blogging” in can be found here. There is a plethora of blogging “expertise” out there encouraging us to pin more, go faster, self promote harder, post x many times per day, amplify your engagement stats, beat the algorithms….aaahh! It’s kinda robbing me of the enjoyment of it. I so appreciate the shared knowledge. But if I followed every blogging tip I surely would have zero time for anything else, and the saying “never get so busy making a living you forget to make a life” keeps running in my head. The most fulfilled people I know understand there’s a time to hustle, and a time to rest. Chasing Slow is a reminder to not lose sight of your “why” and that chasing after that “thing”(most would call “status” or “success” or thousands of followers!) diverts us from realizing we’ve already arrived; we already have everything we need. Goals and aspirations are good. But not at the level they blind us from the blessings already before us. Slowing down is not a weakness, it’s the path to staying grateful, Loechner reveals to us.
So in my 8th month of blogging, I’ve realized that slowing down, focusing and producing from a place of inspiration is a better way for me and I’m making an intentional choice not to let all the noise muddle with my enjoyment. Self promotion is a key success factor, so regrettably, I can’t give it up entirely, but it will be at a comfortable level (until I can hire an assistant at least!).
But truly, forcing things to happen and operating in a state of frenzy is such a depleting state to work creatively from, I find. I’m also giving myself loads of grace knowing the writing, the photography, the business building and promotion is all on me – party of uno. I am an achiever by nature, but the more I relax and focus, the more good is showing up, so this may be my grove. Some would call this the art of allowing – it’s not what you’re doing, it’s the energy you carry while doing it. I’m looking forward to creating more from a less frantic and more inspired state. This whole journey was to have a little space to share my Mama story and stay inspired, while keeping the life I already love with my family at the centre of it, not to take away from it. I almost allowed the noise to mess with that. Thank you Erin, for your wise, wise words and sharing your experience that was a wake up call to slow the “ef” down to remain grateful for all that we already have. While her book may resonate most with individuals working in the social media realm, I highly recommend for any woman feeling a bit out of control on their current path. In case you haven’t already heard it enough, less is truly more.
Hope you and yours had an amazing month of March. We’re heading into my fav month of the year (because it may be my birth month, and also the month I became a Mom for the first time) and we have lots of fun stuff coming up we can’t wait to share!
Keep well. Stay blessed. Stay inspired XO