Life is fleeting and this “Things We Loved” monthly series highlights some of our favourite things over the previous month and is a place to reflect amongst the hustle and bustle of busy family life. This series includes products, family memories and even some sources of inspiration and lessons learned that swirl around this Mama’s over-thinking mind that need off-loading. A place to get a little more personal, and be grateful for what’s come our way. This edition features our favourites for the months of June and July. Thanks for stopping by. Your support means the world to us.
1) Family Fun
June was jam-packed, but so memorable. Aside from the excitement of end of school and some beautiful family celebrations, Allegra had her very first dance recital (insert tear-jerker, massive pride & joy!). Being a former dancer myself, this was a bit of a dream come true seeing our one and only little lady twirl her stuff (equivalent to Andrew seeing his boys on the ice for the first time). Not sure whether she’ll carry on her dance journey, and it really doesn’t matter. Our only hope is she does everything with the same joyful spirit and fearlessness as she did on-stage for her first performance.
The big boys started Multi-Sport camp the beginning of July and are having an incredible time. Having some routine in the Summer is kind of good for all of us. They get pretty tuckered out by day’s end, and after dinner, we usually jump in the pool (which totally substitutes for bath time many nights – bonus!). We opted to keep evenings and weekends schedule free this Summer for the first time in years. It’s been so enjoyable. The hockey season will be upon us before we know it, when hectic returns and the juggle gets real again, so some time to just go at our own pace has been so nice and necessary.
One perk of blogging has been the opportunity to attend events that are fun for the whole family. The beginning of June we were invited to the Springfree Celebrate Summer event, and the kids had a blast bouncing around, hanging with Superheroes and tasting some new treats – the cookie dough dessert bar from Sweet Flour was yum-azing!
I also got to take the boys to the Toronto pre-screen of Spider-Man Homecoming with Sony Pictures Canada. The vote was unanimous – it’s our favourite Spidey flick to date!
The VIP experience at Odysseo by Cavalia was another unforgettable time. I’ve been wanting to see this production for a few years now, and the opportunity to attend with Tyler during Social Media week as a true treat. Odysseo is unlike anything we’ve ever seen, or may see again. Breathtaking and phenomenal. You’re not going to want to miss this one when it comes to your city!
Being a patriotic bunch, the build up and celebration of Canada’s 150th Birthday offered some incredible memories. We had a very Canuck-style celebration at home with close loved ones – BBQ, pool party and Maple Leaf everything (including the burgers), capped off by a tribute to Tragically Hip concert and fireworks at our local park.
There’s still so much to do beyond July 1st to commemorate this milestone year for Canada, and you can find some good ole’ canuck family fun in my “20 Ways to Celebrate Canada 150” article on MomResource.ca. #8 on the list is attending one of Canada’s top amusement parks, which we did in July to our favourite Canada’s Wonderland. Andrew and I have enjoyed Wonderland since we were kids, had plenty of dates as high school sweethearts, and have loved bringing our young family to since 2009. The Canada 150 décor around the park is fabulous and makes for great photo ops.
2) Connecting with Fellow Digital Content Creators
One of the things that keeps me pulled into blogging is the continuous learning piece. Finding time to commit to furthering my skills in the digital content creator realm isn’t easy as a busy Mom, but I’ve fallen in love with this industry, see limitless potential, want to learn more, and have given myself permission to invest in myself and my desire to build my skillset in this realm.
The beginning of June I was invited to attend Strut – a 2 day conference in Niagara on the Lake for female digital influencers to come together, share knowledge, and give ourselves permission to strut our stuff. I met so many brilliant women in the industry I had previously only engaged with online, and left feeling so inspired to implement some of the learnings from the event. Letting loose in beautiful surroundings, sampling wines from Chateau des Charmes, and soaking in the energy of women who believe in genuine support over competition was such a treat. Brands are demonstrating they value the voice of women to stand behind their products, and increasingly see the power and potential of the female voice. It’s so empowering. Sneaking away for a few days isn’t easy, but having the unwavering support of a man who values my growth and desire to learn as much as I do, and extended family who provides back up when we need it, makes investing in myself possible and I’m beyond grateful for it.
I also got out to a super fun night to celebrate with The GG Sisters at a scavenger hunt media night at Buy Buy Baby in Vaughan. GG Sister Josie was expecting her now born baby Alessandro and it was a great night connecting with other female creatives in real life. The GG Sisters have gorgeous hearts, and radiate positive, loving vibes. I’m honoured to have gotten to know them better, appreciate their good vibes energy and desire to help other Mamapreneurs. Check out my feature on them in our Mama Thriver series. They are true gems and deserve all the love they get.
Mid-July I attended a blogger dinner at Lil Baci in uptown Toronto to meet up with a fabulous group of ladies I’ve loved connecting with virtually. It was a wonderful night connecting, laughing and toasting to this crazy journey we’ve all taken in blogging, and sharing our knowledge and learnings with one another. Community over competition at it’s finest. If you don’t already, you should totally check out these fantastic women on their platforms: Kate of Emmetts ABCs, Andrea of Harlow & Thistle, Renee of MSCMommyLife and Erica of AnnaGeorgiana.
3) Things That Help Us Simplify
Endless responsibility is inevitable with family life. While the to-do lists and domestic demands will always be there, finding ways to simplify those things, and adding time back to enjoy family time has been a major focus around here. The less time we have, the more I seek ways to preserve or expand it.
Returning to my day job means less time to run errands, etc., so finding ways to build efficiency into our everyday has been a welcome approach to managing family life. Some ways we’ve found efficiencies have been through some terrific services for organizing family information (Picniic), meal planning (HelloFresh) and stocking everyday family necessities (Amazon Subscribe & Save).
4) Summer Read – Unplug: A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers
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In a world that tells us to move fast, “hustle, hustle, hustle”, “werk, werk, werk, werk, werk”, this book challenges that way of life and highlights how unplugging, committing to small periods of time to meditate can actually help us produce more effectively. Unplugging helps us recharge, realign and refocus, producing from a focused state, instead of a place of frenzy and forced output. Unplug:A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers is an easy read, and perfect for skeptics (once me!) and beginners. I’m still very new to the practice of meditation, but I can tell you the small amount of time I’ve spent doing it has been transformative and incredibly beneficial to bringing more clarity and calm into my life – kind of essential to all the crazy that family life can bring, and a practice I want to make a part of my every day. They call it a practice for a reason – it takes a deliberate commitment to set aside a time every day to participate, and despite what your assumptions are about it, it really doesn’t take more than a few minutes to do and you can slowly build up to more as you go. No matter how crazy life is, getting centred, and bringing yourself into the present moment in regular spurts is life-changing – says the lady who never thought she was the meditation type 😉
Unplug offers a modernized approach to meditation will appeal to anyone, even if – especially if – you believe you have no time, you can’t sit still, or that -it’s just not you, and shares the life-changing benefits you will experience, the proven science of how meditation literally changes your brain, as well as easy techniques and tips to easily incorporate meditation into your daily life. I’ll be sharing my favourite resources for meditation in a future post. It’s a must-try, Mamas!
I hope the last few months have been filled with meaningful moments with your gang. While writing and blogging is a huge passion of mine, this summer has me craving connection, removing distractions, and savouring slow with my people. I even started designating days as “scroll-free”. My camera is never very far, and you can read why here, but a bit of a digital detox from social media was necessary. With only a month of summer left, finding ways to cherish family time, while completing blogging projects will require some creativity. Undistracted family time will always be the priority, so I need to block out time to stay accountable to the blog in whatever way is manageable.
August marks our 1-year Blogiversary, so watch out for some exciting stuff coming up the second week of August. We’re also heading on our very first long road trip as a family of six to Myrtle Beach. It’s a 16 hour drive, and not sure if we’re a bit nuts or massively optimistic thinking we can conquer it, but we’re excited and can’t wait to surprise the kids closer to the day. Thank you all who shared your tips for a successful car ride. They’ll come in handy and will be shared in an upcoming post…stay tuned!
Love & light,