June 2016

A Surprise Birthday Party!

For months I have been planning a surprise party for my mom's birthday. With the help of my dad and siblings, we arranged to fly my sister, Hilary, home from Utah and gather some of my mom's close friends and family to surprise her almost a month before her actual birthday. It was so much fun to do this for her!

Recharging Mind, Body, and Spirit at Ste. Anne's Spa

I invite you to visit Ste. Anne's Spa with me through the photographs and descriptions in this post. My hope is that it will be an opportunity for recharging mind, body, and spirit- virtually!

As mothers, we all have times when we just become overwhelmed with the responsibilities in our lives and we need to give ourselves some time to relax, to nurture ourselves, to take a break and to recharge. Sometimes I am able to accomplish this by going out on a girls' night with a friend and taking a few hours to sit and sip hot chocolate while talking about life as a mother and the different challenges we are each facing and things we are learning along the way. Sometimes I can get the break I need by just taking some time to read a book by myself or paint my nails or take a bubble bath!

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I found a bigger way to escape together from the pressures of our daily lives and it was amazing! We took a long drive to a beautiful destination called Ste. Anne's Spa in Haldimand Hills, Ontario. It was a dream experience!

My mom has had a lot on her plate, both physically, mentally and emotionally. Both of my Grandmothers fell and broke their wrists within the last few months. My mom's mom had to have surgery to repair her broken wrist as well as a shattered elbow and then spent weeks recovering in the hospital. It has been a sad time, it has been a busy time, and I have watched my mom and dad juggle their responsibilities as they take care of their mothers and struggle with the emotions they feel as they are concerned for their mothers. I don't think there could have been a better time for my mom and I to be able to get away- this was the perfect Mother's Day getaway!

This is going to be an image-heavy post because everything was so beautiful there and I wanted to share it all with you and to illustrate the story of our time at Ste. Anne's Spa, so please follow along as I describe our experience.

Just a short drive from the highway, we came to this beautiful sign and a long, twisting private road that led to the spa.

Ontario Canada Travel Blog Review of Ste. Anne's Spa

After the first couple of twists in the road, I looked behind me and told my mom that I could not see any signs of the city in any direction. The only things that were man-made were the signs we saw along the road and we had to stop to grab a photo when we came across this one:

Super Sister Sandwiches! - Family First with Maple Lodge Farms

This post is part of the YummyMummyClub.ca and Maple Lodge Farms #FamilyFirst sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

One of my first jobs as a teenager and young adult was working as a salesperson at our family's furniture store. It was a really meaningful experience for me to work with my dad, uncles, and cousin. There was something truly special about working with family at something that was started by my grandfather when he immigrated to Canada from Holland when my dad was just 3 years old.

Maple Lodge Farms knows that every family has a story. They're into their third generation of family ownership and have stayed true to their family first vision for 60 years! Their motto has always been "Family First" which is how I (and I'm sure many of you) approach life as a mom. My husband and kids are the most important things to me!

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen some fun pictures a few weekends ago from the Maple Lodge Farms Family First event .  We learned about their new fresh from the farm products and had a fun sandwich-making competition between families!

Inspiration from Stuart Edge's book: "On The Edge"

I have been very interested lately in reading about other people's experiences. I find it so interesting to learn about how others have navigated their lives and their frustrations and obstacles to find joy, success, and hope.

I recently read a new book by Stuart Edge who is a very successful YouTuber. He put out some videos you may have seen such as reverse pick-pocketing or the "Spider-Man Kiss in real life" video where spider-man drops from above to offer a kiss to unsuspecting girls. In his book, On The Edge (published by Cedar Fort), Stuart shares his story (so far) from childhood through to his "overnight" viral video success on YouTube and some unexpected struggles that he had to go through to figure out what he would and would not present in his videos and what he wanted to stand for.

June 2016 Sharing Time & 2 Giveaways!

Welcome to the June Link Party!

See below for the Link Party and add your best posts, and check out the ones that are shared!


Will It Blend? Blendtec vs. Regular Blender

Our whole family loves homemade smoothies. The kids know that I sometimes add spinach or oats or seeds to the smoothies and they don't mind because they know it won't change the great taste! Something that had bothered me for a while though was that I just couldn't seem to get the spinach blended enough that it wouldn't change the texture of the smoothie.  I would also have chunks of fruit in my smoothies that wouldn't blend and had a very difficult time trying to blend ice. On top of all that, the process of taking apart and cleaning the blender after each use sometimes dissuaded me from using it!

Near the end of last year I started to research blenders. I have a sister-in-law who owns a Blendtec and loves it, so I wanted to look into them as well as a few others. I am careful about how much money I spend - I don't mind spending money on something I need or on a superior product that will last, but I don't want to spend more for a brand name if another product might do the same job!

Will It Blend? Blendtec vs. Regular Blender

After all of my research, I just kept coming back to the Blendtec. All of the reviews I had read and watched showed that its performance couldn't be surpassed! Before I heard of Blendtec, I didn't even know that you could have smoothies blended (at home) better than I had been experiencing! I also love that the blades aren't sharp so I don't have to worry that my kids (or I) could get cut by them. That being said, the Blendtec is so simple to clean that my hand hardly ever comes near the blades (keep reading to see why)!

By the time I finished all of my blender research, you can imagine how excited I was to actually put one of Blendtec's blenders to the test against my old blender! The blender used in the comparisons below is the Blendtec Designer 625 blender in Sea Foam (compared with a typical $40-50 blender).

Comparison #1 - Smoothie with Spinach & Frozen Berries

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