December 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Mommy Daughter Spa Date at Glama Gals Tween Spa!

Katrina has been talking about wanting to go to a spa with me someday. She's mentioned it quite a few times over the last year, so when her birthday got closer, I started thinking about Glama Gals Tween Spa. I knew they had a special package that could be used for mothers and daughters (the VIP & Me package) and it seemed like the perfect place for her first spa experience!

Mommy Daughter Spa in Ontario Glama Gals Blog Review

I surprised her on her birthday with a card that told her we'd be going to Glama Gal Tween Spa together! This is a photo I took just after she finished reading her card. She's in the middle of saying thank you and I think you can see how happy she was! ;)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thoughts on Christmas, Love, and Stress

You know that magical feeling that seems to be in the air around Christmastime? We often talk about the excitement around Christmas with gift giving and Santa coming and the extra kindness and generosity that comes with the season. I think that magic that we're feeling this time of year all comes from love.

Blog Post on Handling Christmas Stress for Moms

We want to create and participate in that magical experience of Christmas (that tangible sense of being surrounded by love) and that's what motivates us to do all that we do this time of year: we shop for gifts, bake cookies, plan special meals, fill our calendars with parties and gatherings with the people we love, sing in choirs, attend performances, go to church, do service for others, and the list goes on and on! Some of you even coordinate the antics of an elf on the shelf in the midst of it all!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Raise the Fun by Adding Challenges to Classic Games

We've been having a lot of fun with games at our house lately! We've been playing with a couple of Hasbro's newer games (that I had in my Families Gift Guide here on the blog and that you may have seen us playing over in my Instagram stories), but we've also been putting new twists on some of the old classics! Hasbro is encouraging everyone to find new ways to enjoy their classic games by making them fun to play and to watch and we've been giving them a try. Keep reading to get some fun ideas to put a twist on some of your favourite games!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Secret 12 Days of Christmas Surprise

Near the end of last year, I was struggling with feelings of frustration with the uncertainty that came with Ken's PhD. He had been in school far longer than we planned or expected and there was no end date in sight. Those last few years of Ken's degree were difficult for both of us. As I was dealing with some of those feelings and trying to focus on the positive and on all of our blessings and all of the good in our lives, something pretty awesome happened to us!

Creative Secret 12 Days of Christmas

I wanted to share this experience with you because I've been thinking a lot about how we can serve others this month and I thought sharing this might inspire some of you with some ideas of how to show love and support to the people in your life. Whether you feel you can set aside the time, effort, and money to do something as involved as this, or there's a cute idea in the mix that sparks an idea for you, I hope it inspires you to do something kind for someone else.

On the first day of Christmas...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Family Photos & Giveaway!

I cannot tell you how much it means to this photography-loving Mom to have nice photos of our family! Several years we've managed to get a family photo by setting up a tripod and using a self timer, but I really treasure the times when we have the pleasure of being photographed by a professional! I already shared the photos of Ken & I in our anniversary post and today I'll share the family shots! 

We got together with Ariana Del Mundo who took these photos (and happens to be giving away gift certificates for her photography on her Instagram this month, so stick around to the end of this post for details!)

That first photo is my favourite of the "everyone looking at the camera" style. Next up is this shot of everyone loving on me! I felt kind of silly in the moment, having everyone "attack me with love" but I truly love the way this photo turned out with genuine smiles all around!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Soft Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

When I think of sour cream, I think of salt and vinegar chips.  Weird?  Maybe... but I love to use sour cream as a dip to cut the sour taste of them!  This time, however, I'm making something sweet with sour cream.  Did you know you can make super soft sugar cookies with sour cream?  And I'm about to share the recipe ;)  Aren't these snowflake cookies adorable?

I originally shared this post on the blog 3 years ago, but I thought it was time to bring it to the forefront again!

I'm using Gay Lea's Premium Sour Cream (which is their thickest, richest sour cream made with 3 simple ingredients.  It's amazing with chips (if you're like me ;) or to use to make a flavoured dip, and it's awesome in baking!  This sour cream is only available in Ontario and only in the 425ml size.

Now, let me share this recipe with you!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe Printable with Tags & Gingerbread House Box

I have another beautiful printable for you today as part of the #LightTheWorld Service Initiative (encouraging people to find 25 ways to serve in 25 days).  This free downloadable kit was created by Maria from The kit comes with everything you need for a fun Gingerbread-themed family activity at Christmas time!

You can use the Activity Outline (included in the kit) for a family-friendly discussion and service activity. It doesn't take a lot of time, just pick one evening in the month of December to spend time together serving.

This Kit Includes:

- Activity Outline
- Printable Recipe
- Holiday Tags
- Gingerbread House Box
- Gingerbread Man Garland (blank)
- Gingerbread Man Garland (decorated)

The outline encourages you to discuss how Jesus served his loved ones. Each family member can share ideas of how they can serve. As they share, they can choose a gingerbread person to represent them or create their own. You can make a cute gingerbread garland by attaching the gingerbread people's hands together.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

December 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the December Link Party!

Current Giveaways:

Win $450 in Paypal Cash in the #BlizzardBucks Giveaway, open until December 4th!

Friday, December 1, 2017

A Savior Is Born! 12 Days of Christmas Advent

Christmas time can get SO busy!  Some years it's hard to keep Christ as the center of the celebration, with parties and shopping and planning to fill your family's time!  Here is a fun 12-day advent that you can do with your family to help them to keep the Savior as their focus. These ideas were put together with busy families in mind, so this will be a good way to remember Jesus and focus on the reason for this season without having to spend too much time planning how to do it!

Each day includes:
- a scripture to read
- a topic to discuss
- a 15 minute activity to do together

You can download a pennant flag bunting (which you can print here) that has all of the scriptures on it, if you'd like a cute decoration/reminder. :)  Hang it all at once or add a flag each day!

You can start now or wait until the last 12 days before Christmas or pick and choose which activities you want to do.  Here's what you'll need & the links to download the free printables:

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