Road trip to Pittsburgh

At the beginning of November, the Hubz, the girls and I travelled to Pittsburgh for my husband’s cousins’ wedding.  I was terrified to do a 6 hour car ride with the girls. (give or take an hour or so).  I mean, Miss S literally asks for a snack as soon as I buckle her into the car seat.  And she (like any other kid, including myself when I was her age) incessently ask “are we there yet” or “how many more minutes”. I was really afraid I would lose my $#!t.  (#BadMom alert!)

I am happy to report that it wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Considering we’ve done a few 2 hour trips with them, this was relativity easier.  Mainly because we broke up the trip and having Miss S ride half the time with us and the other half with her grandparents (who were also attending – just driving another car).

We made sure to have lots of snacks, a bag of entertainment (crayons, letter beads/pipe cleaners, hot wheels and lots of books via this children’s e-reader), a few CDs burnt with our favourite songs of the moment (like this, this and this) and of course an iPad with some downloaded kids shows as back up (thanks to Netflix Canada’s downloadable feature)…. I felt for the most part prepared.

Not sure if we could do that type of road trip on our own but I do feel a little more aware of what to expect and a dare I say a little more confident.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped while we were away!

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Kids asleep in the mobile bunk bed (aka a double stroller) so we get to ENJOY!

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Miss S always makes our family pictures so much fun :P

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I always love seeing the “4 pillar” representations at Hindu weddings.

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Gparents babysitting meant that us two got a break and went straight to the Hotel Lobby Bar ;)

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The happy couple!

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3 EASY Festive (Non) Baking Ideas + Our Christmas Decor

It’s that time of year where all I want to do is eat all of the sweet treats and go to all the potlucks.  One day I would love the idea of being one of those mom’s that adores baking and cooking up a storm…buuuttt I already know that I am DEFINITELY one of those women who eats EVERYTHING on the dessert table so I really have to keep my sweet treat making in check!  Aaaannnd I am always nervous I’ll mess up the recipe so I love the idea of #Bakinghacks :)

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Stockings | Evergreen Garland | Floral Clip Ornaments

I do have some lunch and dinners planned with friends and family before Christmas, so I figured it would be a great option for me to flex my creative (non) baking muscle without worrying that I’ll eat everything on my own.  I found some awesome options for faux-baking/pre-made cookie decorating LOL.

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Fairy Lights | Garland | Frame

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Pom Pom Garland

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Elf on the Shelf

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Floating Shelf | Mini Wicker Baskets (Similar) | Frames | Mason Jar

Ok so on to the no-bake-treats and cookie decorating ideas.  I saw these and thought I would love to add a Christmas touch to our beloved peanut butter cookies.  We literally make these cookies all year round.  They are more or less guilt free and have no white sugar or flour. Just dip them in some melted dark chocolate and sprinkle some red, white and green sprinkles and they are a perfect holiday treat.

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The Hubz loves turtles so these would be for him (I am not a fan of caramel) these are super easy and take literally 10 minutes.  I can’t believe I’ve never made them before.  I am just not sure if I should used salted or unsalted pretzels?

Lastly I have to at least attempt to make these DIY thin mints.  I love girl guide cookies and being able to make these at Christmas (or even all year round would be brilliant).

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Check out our christmas decorations from last year!

Stocking Stuffers for the Girls

This will be the first year we actually stuff some stockings.  The last few years we have just hung the stockings but didn’t fill them mainly because Miss S was completely unaware of them in our house.  My parents have always made a big deal of them when we head over to their house on Christmas day – but I don’t think she really understood what was going on.

So to give myself (and anyone else who may stumble upon this post) some ideas I’d thought I’d share what I found.   TLY_StockingStufferIdeas

Christmas Pencils | Stickers | Swaddle | Hair Clips | Mini Pencil Crayons | Little People | Bath Dropz

Miss El’s eigth month update

Slowly my attention is returning to the other part of my life that hasn’t needed my focus in so long.  I am thinking about going back to work as well as everything that comes with that: schedules, pick ups, drop offs, commuting, budgets, meal preps and dinner on weeknights.  My mind is exploding with to do lists and calendar dates.  But for the next few minutes I am going to focus on 8 months of Lou-Lou

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Peplum Top & Leggings (Similar) | Headband (Multiple colours available)

Yep – she’s got a new nick name.  It’s funny, Miss S and I read this book a million and one times while Ellie was in my belly.  I was sad that our world wouldn’t have President Barack Obama in it any more and Miss S would constantly ask about LoLo (I started pronouncing it Low-Low – and I guess she was amused). Anyways – Miss S now calls her it affectionately and the grandparents do it to.  I guess that works because she only answers to that or Elora so now it’s stuck!!

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Christmas Tree | Fairy Lights | Area Rug 

She is talking up a storm!  Calling Ma’am Maam, Da-Dat, Eeeee, Ooaa.  She thinks she’s a big shot and we couldn’t agree more.  She’s started pulling herself up and experimenting with cruising and getting accustomed to being on her hands and knees.  Lots of bouncing, pushing backwards, scooting in circles while sitting or on tummy time but no actual crawling yet.

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Jacket (Similar) | Cold Weather Onesie (Similar)

She’s been exposing herself to TOOOONNNS of food, now eating 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day.  Although we do give her a lot of store bought baby food (our go-to brands are: Baby Gourmet, Love Child Organics and Earth’s Best) she’s tried my mother in laws black channe and her Pop’s weekly oven baked fish and was totally into it.  Right now her favourites are banana, scrambled eggs, coconut yogurt, 3 ingredient pancakes.

She claps and hurrays with her arms.  We are teaching her the basic baby sign language and she’s tried doing “more” lol.  She’s still really into her sister (but not her sister’s “smuhugs” aka smush-hugs), has started to play wrestle with her sis, as well tries to hide a toy in her hand if she sees Miss S running towards her LOL!!!.  Still into PDA and has even started giving us wet kisses 💋💋!!  She loves playing a game with her dad and I where she wants to go from my arms to his arms and back and forth – she obviously thinks it’s hilarious!  And we do too!

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Head band | Hair Clip | Cardigan (Similar)

Sling Diarist – Entry Submission

A few days ago I sent in my entry submission to Sakura Bloom to become a diarist.

I think it would be such a cool thing to do.  I am finally feeling well enough to look at my computer without getting dizzy so figured I’d post it here too :)

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Perception

To my daughters

I wonder if I could go back in time and tell my younger self that the standards I believed to be true are not the only things to strive for in life.  To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.   In my twenties, my goals were to have a successful career, own a home and be happy.   Even though I have achieved these things, little did I realize that my perception of happiness would change.

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We are told that what we perceive is due to the way we comprehend the inputs accepted by our biological senses. What’s more important is that we can change our reality by altering our perception.  And my dears, here is the secret I’ve learned over the years…We all have the power to change our reality. Simply by altering how we perceive our surroundings, circumstances and each other.

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I’ll be honest, it takes practice (I am still working on it) but by truly appreciating the journey you are on, living intentionally and supporting one another you will find that success and happiness is achievable.

A few months before starting my MBA thesis I met your dad. If at that point, I had decided that school would be my only focus and sense everything else as a distraction – I wouldn’t have come to know the joy of being swept off my feet in love and ultimately realizing the life changing delights of being a mom – your mama.

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So please remember this my sweet loves, just when you think you are on the right path or when you feel your victories are within your grasp – something will knock the wind out of you. You may feel excited, confused or even hopeless. This is the exact moment you will need to realize that this direction is meant to impart some wisdom on you. So take a deep breath, count your blessings and keep going. Do your best not to let any negative perception of your circumstance deter you. The best thing is, you’ll realize that there is happiness along this new path and it was something you weren’t expecting.

With all my love,
Your mommy

Capsule Packing for Las Vegas

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I’ve always enjoyed packing a suitcase or overnight bag.  The planning, the organization, the list making – everything that goes into packing makes me feel like I’m getting ready for the first day of school.  I guess packing gives me a sense of control, which isn’t something I crave in my every day life (I’m not exactly a type A personality).

But packing as a family of 4 takes on a whole new level because now I am trying to be as minimalist as possible.

Okay, I’ll be honest, you can’t really pack minimally with kids.  I mean even if you are going away for 6 days you still have to pack 12 days worth of clothes.  Well 15 because you need back up clothes for your back up clothes 😂.  With more than one kid, diapers, wipes and all the other stuff kids are comfortable with, that could take up an entire checked luggage.

So when we starting planning for our 1st multi-generational vacation I knew that going with more than one checked suit case was more then we could handle.  I mean we have only so many hands and carry ons and backpacks work better with umbrella strollers and babies in carriers.

I had to get creative and decided to plan all outfits (included back ups of back ups), pare down the number of shoes I normally take and research as many ways as possible to be as lean as possible with our packing.

I was pretty happy with myself when all we had was one large checked luggage, one carry on luggage and one backpack for 6 days!

I figure I’d share my capsule wardrobe for Las Vegas.  Mind you I didn’t do any clubbing but considering the girls’ grand parents were with us I did plan in case we would be able to get out (we didn’t – the time difference didn’t make for easy for evenings).

Daytime outfits were needed for hanging out at the strip, shopping, checking out the free hotel attractions, going to the gym and taking a day trip to go hiking.  Evening outfits were normally just for dinners (restaurant or buffet).

I was able to make 13 outfits from the following pieces:
– 4 fancy tops
– 1 tank top
– 2 t-shirts
– 1 button up
– 1 black skirt
– 1 light weight jacket
– 2 pairs of shorts
– 2 pairs of leggings (1 was vegan leather)
– 1 pair of gym crops
– 2 gym tops
– 2 bathing suits
Accessories included: wide brim fedora, chocker, handkerchief
4 pairs of shoes (runners, converse, mid heal sandal and flip flops – should have left the converse at home).

What started out as way to save space in our luggage actually turned out to be an efficient and quick way to get dressed for different activities on our trip.

Have you tried capsule/minimalist packing on a trip?