Raising Memories: 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Blogger Conference & Thoughts on Connection (BConnected 2017)

My history with blogging goes way back:

I started a semi-private online journal in 2003 (which I still contribute to, for my own records). My first public blog was created in 2007 (not long after helping another photographer to shoot my 1st wedding), to share my photography journey with friends and eventually clients. When Talia was a toddler and Katrina just 9 months old, I started Raising Memories in 2009 with the goal of motivating myself to do fun things with my kids.

7 years ago, it hadn't even occurred to me that I could monetize or grow this blog to what it is today! I can remember the first email I received from a company that wanted to partner with me. I thought it was some kind of scam at first! This blog has come a long way since then and I truly love what I do.

Some things I see as milestones in this blogging journey of mine were a couple of campaigns I worked on that involved getting together with other bloggers. In 2014 I worked on a campaign with Nikon and met several bloggers who I still keep in touch with now. Several months later I was a part of a campaign with KFC where I met more bloggers and heard them talking about blog conferences they had attended. At the time, I just wasn't willing to put money into my blog beyond what I absolutely had to (like paying yearly fees to own "raisingmemories.com"), but that little conversation was like a seed planted for something that finally bloomed this weekend. ;)

My First Blogger Conference

A year ago, a bunch of my "blog friends" attended a conference in Ottawa. I couldn't make it work, but I made myself a promise that when that conference came to Toronto, I was going to make it happen. This past weekend, the BConnected Conference came to Toronto and I was there with ticket in hand. :)

All photos shared in this post were taken by Mostafa Photography (unless otherwise noted)

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hanging Tooth Brush & Paste Holder

We have a small bathroom with limited counter space and somehow, all four of us ended up using different types of tooth paste. Talia, Ken, & I all have sensitive teeth, but mine are more sensitive, so I use a stronger sensitivity tooth paste. Katrina can't stand the taste of mint. Talia and Ken don't like the same flavour of paste. So, we ended up with a counter that was taken over by tooth pastes!

If you've got this problem, I think you're gonna like this D.I.Y. solution that I came up with!

Monday, April 10, 2017

A Gift Idea for Men - & a JORD Wood Watch Giveaway!

I know I'm not the only wife out there who has struggled to think of a gift idea for her husband. Men are difficult to buy for! Ken had his birthday a couple of weeks ago and I surprised him with a very unique watch as his birthday gift! He has always talked about how he'd love to get a really nice pocket watch that could be passed down in our family. He loves the idea of a watch that's all mechanical. This watch isn't for a pocket, but it's definitely unique because it's made of wood, for one thing, but it also has an amazing colourful face and a bunch of really special features.

Unique Watch

I want to show you some pictures of it because it's such a cool watch and also because at the end of this post, you're going to have the chance to win $100 USD to put toward your own wooden watch from JORD!  This watch is from the Sawyer series and it's named "Ebony & Ultramarine" because it's made from ebony wood and of course, it has that beautiful blue face! (I mean... handsome.. it's a men's watch ;)

Unique Watch

You can see in the photo above, that these watches come in a beautiful wooden box. It even has a little drawer in it where you can keep your wood polish. The boxes can even be personalized with an engraving.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Gold, White, Coral & Mint Shared Girls Bedroom Makeover

Our girls share a bedroom with a bunk-bed. When we first put them in the same room, we didn't take time to decorate and we found that the arrangement wasn't as functional as we would like. I recently took on the project to give their room a makeover and I'm very excited to give you the reveal today!

We started a few months ago with giving their bunk-bed a makeover. We bought the bed  second hand and it was a honey wood colour before. My mom and dad helped me paint it white one day and that made a huge difference! It looks so nice with the other furniture in the room, and with their bedding!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Tons of Free Easter Printables!

Over the years, I have shared a ton of free Easter printables on this blog!  They are for Easter decor, Easter activities, Easter gifts, and Easter recipes.  I thought it would be nice to keep them in one place so you can browse through and find what you want easily!

So here's a roundup of Easter Printables for you!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

April 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the April Link Party!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sharing My Love of Photography with Instax Mini 8 ~ & Giveaway!

I have been looking for ways to share my love of photography with Talia. Like most kids "these days", she is experienced with taking photos with a smart phone or a digital camera but we rarely print those photos, so there's not much of a project or feeling of completion that comes from that. Sure they can take a photo and look at the screen to see what they've created, but that's where it ends most of the time!

When we visited my sister in Utah, Talia's cousin had a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 camera that all of the girls were extremely excited to use! There was something special about being able to see their creation in print, and to see it so soon after snapping the photo!

When I was thinking about birthday gift ideas for Talia's 11th birthday, I kept thinking about an Instax Mini camera because it would give me an opportunity to share my hobby with her in a way that would get her excited! I was right, by the way...

She has her very own camera now and she couldn't be happier with it! There are seven different colour options, so we went with raspberry because her favourite colour is red. 

This is the photo that got me thinking about getting her this camera:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Rainbow Grilled Cheese Instructions

Last week for St. Patrick's Day we made rainbow grilled cheese and I thought it was such a fun idea that could be used any time you want to make lunch more fun!  I had a few people ask how to make it, so I wanted to share the instructions here.

All you need to create this colourful meal is bread, butter, white cheese, and food colouring.

Start by grating your cheese (we used havarti mixed with mozarella) and separate into four bowls.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Katrina's Baptism Photos

Katrina turned 8 years old a few months ago which meant that a very special milestone was approaching for her: she would be baptized! I've written in more detail about baptism in our church (why we wait until age 8, baptism by immersion, etc.) in a past post about Talia's baptism. If you aren't familiar with our beliefs, you might like to check it out. In today's post I want to share some photos of Katrina in her baptism dress.

Just like we did with Talia, we took photos earlier in the year (because our girls have cold weather birthdays) so she wouldn't be miserable getting some outdoor photos! I love this portrait of her, shown below, (it reminds me how important it is to get out and get some good quality portraits of my kids at LEAST once a year, so that I can look back on these years this way).

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the March Link Party!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Teaching Children Financial Literacy

Ken and I have often reflected on the possibility of required classes in school for children and young adults that would teach them about managing their finances; we all need to know about how these things work, regardless of what we want to do for work!. As it is, it’s particularly important for us as parents to teach our children financial literacy. I put together a list of some ways to do that with your kids. Some of these we have done, some we are about to do and others we are looking forward to doing as our kids get older.

I’ll break the ideas up into three groups based on age.

At an Early Age

From a very young age, children can learn about money and why saving is important. Talia received her first piggy bank at a baby shower just after she was born, and that was the start of her financial learning! As soon as she knew what money was and received a little bit of it, we taught her about keeping it in her piggy bank and saving it for future use.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Digital Sketch Charades

While we were on our Florida vacation, we had a couple of "down time" days in our rental home. We had been walking Disney for days, so lounging around and resting our feet was an important part of our time there! Ken had his tablet with him and we had already found one really fun way to use the stylus at Disney World, so we were excited to try Ken's next creative idea: his version of digital Pictionary!

We figured out how to get the sketches up onto the T.V. and it was so fun to watch them appear! Here's how we did it:

Monday, February 13, 2017

QuickZip Bed Sheets Review & Giveaway

My least favourite thing about bed sheets is changing them! I hate it!  I hate folding fitted sheets when they're clean and dry. I hate trying to get them around the mattress properly. I've always wished there were an easier way! With something as old as sheets, I think it's pretty impressive when someone comes up with a new, creative way to make them work better and that's what I'm blogging about today! I've been using QuickZip Sheets for a couple of months now and I'm excited to tell you about them!

They may look pretty typical at first glance, but these are not your typical bed sheets!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Martin's Newborn Photos

My newest nephew was born on November 25th and I went over to snuggle him and take some photos of him on his 5th day. My mom came along to assist me (both with the photography stuff and the snuggling stuff) and we made some fun memories with my sister, posing this little munchkin and rearranging his bedroom to get these shots. It's so sweet to see how they turned out!

 Marty's dad is a baseball fan, so we wanted to get a nice shot with a ball and glove.

He also happens to be a volunteer firefighter, so we took a photo with his coat & helmet.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

February 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the February Link Party!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

RESPs & Compound Interest: Why Starting Now is Better Than Later!

Finances are important, but they can get complicated, and it's easy to get frustrated with all the math and feel like giving up! Considering my recent posts about RESPs, today I want to explain some things about compound interest. If you're not familiar with compound interest or how it works then this post is for you! I'm going to tell you what it is, show you how it works, and demonstrate why it makes a big difference to your investment if you start saving as soon as possible!

What Is Compound Interest?

Simply stated, compound interest means that your interest earns interest. By investing early, you could get a lot more return for the money you invest when you start (your principal investment) than you would with non-compound interest (this is called simple interest).

A Visual Example

To help you see how this works, I've put together a chart for you that shows the difference between an investment with compound interest, compared to an investment with simple interest:

Monday, January 30, 2017

Orangetheory Fitness Update & Results

I've been tweeting about my workouts and the change in my perspective when it comes to working out and some of you have asked me what my secret is. It's been a couple of months since I told you about Orangetheory Fitness and it's about time I told you how it's working for me, and what has changed since I started!

If you read my previous post about Orangetheory Fitness, you'll know that fitness for me is about having the strength and the energy to do things I want to do (for myself, and with my kids). It has been a good decade since I worked out consistently for longer than a couple of weeks, and I am thrilled to say that this is the last time I'll be able to say that.  Things have changed, my friends!

I'm going to explain a few things to you about Orangetheory so that you can understand some of the changes that have happened with me.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Hot Chocolate with Homemade Candy Cane Marshmallows

Whether they've been working hard outside shoveling the driveway, building a snow fort, making snow angels or just hiking home from the school bus stop, my kids love to come inside and warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. We decided to make it more fun during their winter holidays last week and make our own marshmallows! I have always loved adding candy cane to hot chocolate (there's just something so good about that hint of mint mixed in!),  so we tried coating our freshly made marshmallows in a mix of icing sugar and crushed candy cane and the result was fabulous!

How to Make Your Own Marshmallows

I'm going to share the recipe with you because I made some alterations to the original marshmallow recipe I shared on the blog 4 years ago. That recipe was great but it made a TON of marshmallows. Today's recipe makes a smaller batch so it's just right if you're making them just for your own family.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

January 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the January Link Party!

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