Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Staying cozy this winter with Briers Blankets

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

briers blanket

This past weekend, the furnace came on, the winter coats, hats and mitts came out.  Summer is definitely over and winter is starting to rear it’s ugly head here.  The cotton sheets were replaced with flannels and the warm, cozy blankets came out of the linen closet.   The Farmer’s Almanac is predicting a cold, miserable winter this year and I want to be ready for it.

Even at 8 years old, my son tends to be a bit of Linus.  He always has a bunch of blankets cuddled up with him on the couch when he’s watching a movie or in bed with him at night.    He has this one polar fleece, knotted blanket that he’s had since he was just over a year old that we love but it is getting too small to actually cover him properly.  I knew I wanted something similar so I start looking for someone local that could possibly provide one for me.  That is when I happened upon Briers Blankets.

warm-blanket

Although Briers Blankets has only been selling online since April 2016, these blankets started being made back 10 years prior as gifts for her own children followed by nieces and nephews.   Ten years later, they still use their blankets and after encouragement from her sister, Briers Blankets was born.

The blankets are double layer polar fleece, knotted around the edges.  Each one, crafted with love, can be custom created.  The largest (approx 50″ x 70″) can even accommodate an adult. (I know, I use ours when my son isn’t home) and are so amazingly soft and cozy.  Almost makes me enjoy the cold weather upon us.  There is also a smaller version (approx 36″ x 50″) which is great for younger children.  And most recently she has introduced toy blankets that are perfect for dolls, stuffies or as a lovey at sleep time.  They would even work in a cat carrier.

big-blanket

With the holidays soon upon us, these would make a great gift for the children on your list or even the sports parents.  These would be great to keep warm and cozy in a cold arena or late season outdoor sport.  Briers Blankets currently have some blankets available in stock and ready to ship but if you are looking for a custom made blanket for arrival prior to the holidays, orders must be received no later than November 13th to ensure they are ready and shipped in time.   Working with Briers blankets was so easy and they are incredibly sweet and lovely.  It’s small businesses such as this that are always such a pleasure to support.

cozy-blanket

To learn more about Briers blankets or to place your order, check out their Etsy page, FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday (sort of) – Disappointed in myself

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I was doing so well, regardless of how tired I was or how busy I was, I was making sure that every single day I was getting my 10K steps in. I kept telling myself that even if life was getting in the way of me getting to the gym as much as I would like to, that if I got at least my 10K steps in, I was more active than I normally would have been in the past.

Regardless of what I was doing over the summer, I was determined and got my steps in.  Every single day since July 3 — 99 days consecutively, and then Monday, I totally blew it!  It was Thanksgiving day here in Canada.  I had already had my dinner with family, I had enjoyed a great day with my son going to a local hockey game, there were no excuses not to do as did every day to get in my steps in.  It was bedtime and I still had almost 4k steps to get in.  The sitting at the arena for over 2 hours didn’t help the situation but I was tired, bone dead tired. I had nothing in me.  I just wanted to crawl into bed.

I had to decide whether suffering thru a good half hour or more of stepping in place was more important than the guilt I knew I would feel the next day.  I gave in and crawled into bed.  And now, days later I am still feeling guilty and kicking myself in the proverbial ass for not sticking to it.  I was so close to getting over 100 days in a row, and I let pure laziness get the better of me.

I think the biggest regret is knowing that giving in to the laziness once, I set myself for failure again and again.  When I have only been on track for a couple of days, it’s easier to say “I will start again tomorrow.”  I  have been saying that for years and tomorrow never comes.  That is why I really was pushing myself this time to stay on track.

At the beginning of my journey I stasted using the #NeverMissAMonday mantra, but let’s be honest life sometimes gets in the way and missing a Monday happens and it set me up for disappointment yet again.  But don’t get me wrong, I try to start my week out on a good note and to never miss a Monday. I even made motivational hangings for my bathroom with my “You Can Do This” and “Never Give Up” to help me along the way.  never-give-up

you-can-do-this

But Sunday just got the better of me and I shouldn’t have.

And I know I can do this and I don’t want to give up.  So I have given myself a kick in the pants and will do this and won’t give up.  I take a look at my son and I remember that I am doing this so that I am healthy and around for him as long as I can be.  I don’t care if I am a size 2, I just want to be healthy and happy with myself.

I have decided that I need a new mantra….and it is #everydamnday !  Too bad if I am tired, too bad if I just don’t feel like it.  I need to and will take that extra 15, 20 or how many minutes it takes to get those steps in.   Yes, I can do this!

believe-in-myself

What I'm Wearing

Getting ready for fall in style with PinkBlush

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

Now that summer is over, it is time to put away the flip flops and the shorts and time to bring out the fall clothes.  The one thing about fall that can often make deciding what to wear a bit difficult is that in the morning you could need a coat/sweater and by the afternoon you almost want to go back to summer wear.  It’s all about transition pieces with me, like hat light sweater and light dress that can lead you from cool mornings to warm afternoons in comfort.

sitting

That is what I love about PinkBlush.  I have to admit when I first heard about PinkBlush, I thought they were just a trendy online boutique for maternity wear.  But not only do they carry super stylish maternity clothes, they also carry a great line of clothes for women.  A huge plus is that a lot of their line are amazing transition pieces.  They carry you from everyday into maternity and back again.  So that great dress or sweater that you love, can be worn anytime.  I know that a lot of women struggle with feeling stylish during there pregnancy and afterwards, luckily with there is no need to worry with the PinkBlush line.

standing

Their line does not just include dresses, there are tops, pants, sweaters and their dress line ranges from casual to formal.  There are so many beautiful pieces and they are easy to wear.  I love this tunic dress that I found at PinkBlush.  It is so incredibly comfortable and the lightweight fabric makes it a great piece to pair up with a jean jacket or sweater on a beautiful fall day.  Pair it up with a set of tights and a heavier sweater and it will easily work into my winter wardrobe as well.  I am looking forward to ordering more pieces from them.  This dress is so easy to wear, I want to add other easy to wear pieces to my wardrobe.  sitting-2

Interested in winning a $50 gift card to use to update your wardrobe with something from PinkBlush?  Head over to my Instagram page and enter to win.  Contest open to residents of Canada and the US and must not have won from PinkBlush in the past 3 months.  Contest ends Wednesday, October 12th at 12 noon EST.

Special thanks to Melissa Nash for photography help.

Recipes · Uncategorized

Making dinner healthier with Catelli

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

I don’t know about you but coming home from work and preparing dinner after a long day can sometime the LAST thing that I want to do. It’s on days like that, that I am often tempted to order in. But I know that I need to be making healthier choices not only for me but for my son, so I put the phone away and head to my kitchen.
Pasta dishes are often a go to in my home. There are so many different ways to prepare it from an easy spaghetti and meatballs to something a little more creative.  And now thanks to Catelli, they are helping make these meals even healthier with their Smart Veggie and SuperGreens line of pastas.

The Smart Veggie line of pastas offer a white pasta, which we can all agree on are easier to get our kids to eat, but each serving contains a 1/2 serving of vegetables and the benefits of fibre.  When I can sneak in veggies in a meal, I am always happy.  I want to see if the pasta tasted really any different than regular white pasta so I made a simple meal of spaghetti and meatballs.  Nothing to fancy that could possibly drown out the taste of the pasta. My son can seem to spot a hidden vegetable from a mile away so I was curious to see if he noticed anything different.  This pasta tasted great.  No hint of anything other than regular spaghetti and my son enjoyed it too.   If I can get extra veggies and fibre into my meals with the same great taste, I will definitely use this pasta going forward.

smart-pasta

pasta-and-meatballs

The SuperGreens pasta is an all natural pasta made with 100% Canadian wheat and five green vegetables.  As the name suggests, this pasta is green so there is no hiding the fact from kids that there are vegetables in this one.  Surprisingly enough my son did not give me much push back when I suggested we try it for dinner.   I wanted to try something a little more creative  and I made a quick chicken and broccoli alfredo with the pasta.  This dish is normally one of my son’s favorite and even with the green pasta he ate it right up.  He even commented that it didn’t taste a bit like vegetables.  I will definitely adding this pasta to our rotation of meals.

supergreens-pasta

alfredo-pasta

Finding new ways to make old meals healthier is always a plus in my home and they new Catelli pastas do the trick!

Uncategorized · What I'm Wearing

Enjoying the sun with Real Shades

Disclosure:  Although items in this post were provided to me, all opinions, comments and photos are strictly mine.

peekaboo

Sure summer is over, but that doesn’t mean that sun isn’t still going to shine and our eyes are going to need protection.  In fact, I sometime find that I need my sunglasses more into the fall and winter more than I do in the summer.   You only get one set of eyes, so you need to make sure that you protect them.  And if you can do it with a bit of style and flare, even better.

my-glasses-and-pack

Real Shades (previously known as Real Kids Shades) has been providing a line of affordable, quality sunglasses that provide 100% UVA/UVB protection for  children since 2002 and have recently expanded their line to include teenagers and adults.  They work with Prevent Blindness America to stress the importance of keeping our children’s eyes protected.

Even though our optometrist has told my son that wearing sunglasses to protect his eyes is as important as wearing sunscreen to protect his skin, getting him to wear a pair has always been a struggle.  When we received our sunglasses from Real Shades, my son couldn’t wait to try them on.  And ever since, he actually asks to wear them.  It’s a sigh of relief that he is now keeping his previous eyes protected.

side-view

The one thing I really liked about Real Shades is they recognize that one size sunglasses do not fit all.  Normally, I can only find kids sizes that fit kids my sons age or full adult size.  For me personally, I often find that full adult sizes don’t fit me properly and I my eyes are not getting protected properly.  I was able to try a pair of the Young Adult size sunglasses and they fit me perfectly and they look super stylish and not like I am wearing kids glasses.

me-with-sunglasses

Real Shades has a wide range of different style, colors and sizes to fit and please everyone and their affordable price makes protecting your eyes easy on your wallet.  You can learn more about Real Shades on their website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter page.

both-pairs

 

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

My apology to all the single Moms that came before me.

my-apology

I am a single Mom, and I have been for 8 years now.  It probably took me longer than it should have, but I need to apologize to all the single Moms that have come before me.

Growing up and to this day, I always had my parents together.  My circle of friends did not fit into that statistic of “50% of all marriages end in divorce”.   Single Moms were somewhat of a foreign concept to me until I become one myself.  And truth be told, what I did know or perceived to know about them was not in a kind light.

And when I became I single parent myself, I struggled and still do sometimes struggle with the stigma that is attached to single Moms.  But I have learned so much these past years about what it really takes to be a single Mom and I am in awe of the other Moms out there.  I only have 1 little one to look after and I am astounded sometimes how some Moms manage with 2 or 3 or more.

We don’t let our kids run around with dirty face and clothes, all kids do.  It’s the nature of their beast.  And those kids having complete meltdown in the middle of the grocery store…..they belong to ANY Mom.  Your marital status has NOTHING to do with it.  We love our kids just as much as any other mother and would do anything to protect them.

And truth be told, some of the single Moms that I know are the most organized, hardworking women…..and pardon my language but these ladies have their shit together.

So I need to profusely apologize to all those times I made the assumptions, I agreed with all those stereotypes and down and outright judged you.  Being a single Mom doesn’t make you any less worthy than those Moms that have the house with the white picket fence life.

We have just an amazing life; we just do it a little differently.

DIY · Uncategorized

DIY Motivational Wall Hangings

Taking a short break from my “Fitness Friday” posts until I have some worthwhile content.  I don’t want to bore everyone with the same old thing every week.  But in the lines of my fitness theme, I thought I would share a DIY project I completed recently.  A little motivation on the walls never hurt anyone.

I recently became the proud owner of the new Cricut Explore One!  It was something I always wanted but was never in the budget.  I attended BlogPodium 2016 and walked away with one as a door prize.  Big thanks to everyone involved!!!  Needless to say, I wanted to start using it right away.

cricut
Don’t cringe at the bubbles in vinyl, I am still learning. 🙂

I knew that I wanted to make some sort of motivational art to hang in my bathroom.  First stop, my local dollar store to pick up frames and this project was off and running!

frames

Krlyon had been kind enough to include some samples of their product in our loot bags that we brought home from the conference, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that into my project as well. One of my  paints was this amazing Sea Glass Cornflower color that worked perfectly with the colors in my bathroom.  I took the glass out of the frames and gave each one a coat of the paint.  Note to self:  next time put paper under what I am painting so it doesn’t stain my front porch.  Ooops!

spraying

krylon-pic

This paint dries in 10 minutes so there isn’t a huge wait to move forward on the project.  In that time, I got the Cricut working and cut out the letters for each of my frames and got them ready to place on the now dried glass.  One thing I didn’t have readily available for my project was the Transfer Paper that Cricut recommends to move the cut out letters to their spot nice and neat and straight, so I had to realign everything a few times to get it right.  I will definitely know for next time.  Once everything was aligned, I popped them back into the frames.

putting-it-together

As part of my fitness journey, there are 2 phrases that I often use; “You can do this” and “Never give up”.  I thought in my bathroom where I pretty much start and end each day was the perfect place to place these and remind myself of these things.

motivational-diy

For my first DIY project with my Cricut, I am really pleased with the outcome.  It was a lot easier than I had thought it would be and have given me the motivation to do a lot more creative projects.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Keeping the family clean with Dial

Kids are back to school and that means dirty children from playing at recess, crafts in art class and germs being shared.  That’s why it is important to make sure everyone is washing up, keeping clean and preventing sickness from spreading throughout the school.

You can find a full range of products from Dial that can help keep you and your family squeaky clean.  I make sure I have a bottle of hand soap available by every sink in my home so there is no excuse not to have clean hands and to keep germs at bay.

dial-products

The last thing I want is to spend the fall/winter months sick so I remind my son how important it is to keep his hands clean especially after he has been playing with friends or at a public place.  It really helps that the hand soaps have such nice yet not overpowering scents, you actually want to use them.  Our current favorite is the Coconut Water and Mango.

coconut-water

And with winter around the corner and having dry skin, I don’t want to use anything that will dry my skin out any more.  I really like the Coconut Oil infused body wash.  I come out of the shower feeling moisturized but not that greasy oily feeling.  I always use a moisturizer when I get out of the shower and after using this body wash, I didn’t feel quite the need.

oil-soap

So bring on the dirt and the grime and the germs that back to school and winter has to throw at us, with Dial soaps we can easily combat them.

Disclosure:  These products were provided to me to review, but all comments, opinions and photos are strictly mine.

Getting Fit · Uncategorized

Fitness Friday – Finally some progress!

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I don’t know about you, but I have been dreading the thought of summer being over.  We’ve had such a nice, mostly sunny summer and I just don’t want it to end.  In addition to the lovely, warm weather, in the summer you can wear those nice flowy dresses.  They keep you cool through those hot, steamy days.  But even better, they are so forgiving if you are up a few pounds from over indulging at the plethora of bbq’s and patio parties that go along with a great summer.  Come fall and winter, I tend to skip the dresses and revert to the warmth that pants and jeans can provide.  But they are not so forgiving.  One day, they can fit perfectly and a burger and fries later and I can feel like I am a stuffed sausage.  And that is just not a comfortable feeling.

So this week, when the temperatures were a bit cooler I knew it was time to dig out the pants.  I was dreading it, to say the least.  But man oh man, was I surprised.  The pair of pants that used to fit me on a good day, but definitely weren’t buffet eating pants, were actually big on me.  It felt amazing.

finally-progress

For weeks now I have been really struggling.  I haven’t seen much movement on the scale and I definitely had not been as committed to working out and eating right as I had been earlier this summer.  It was such a great feeling to know that I was making progress.  It has definitely given me motivation to keep going and work even harder.  I really pushed myself when I was able to get to the gym this week and I continue to ensure I get my 10K steps in every single day.

new outlook

Life over the past few weeks has been crazy busy and I haven’t been able to devote as much time to my posts as I would like.  Luckily, the madness is pretty much over and I can get back on track in all the different facets of my life.  Can’t wait to see all the progress that comes along with it!

 

Getting Fit

Fitness Friday – Who wants to join me?

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Another crazy busy work week but I really tried not to let it get the best of me.  Got the boy back to school so check 1 thing off on the list of getting back into our normal routine.  Now I just need to get work under control.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel and things should hopefully be a little more normal next week.  If there really is such a thing as normal in my life.  🙂

I have been really thinking about my fitness journey and thinking the one thing I am lacking is constant accountability.  Sure, I write these posts each week and a few Instagram pics but that is about it.  So it got me to thinking that perhaps I would start a Facebook group where people on similar fitness journeys could be accountable to each other and share our ups, downs, tips and tricks.  It wouldn’t matter what diet or exercise plan you are on, it would just be about like minded individuals getting together and counting on each other for support and a place to celebrate our achievements.  Anybody interested?    If you would like to be a part of this, message me and I will add you to the group once I get it set up.

sweaty-mess

Going to keep this week’s post short and sweet and promise for a much better update next week.  With the hopes of a calmer week, I will be able to devote more time to my post and to my journey so I have something to report on.  Thanks everyone for your continued support and kind words.