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! ;)

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!

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!

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.

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!

14th Anniversary, Our Story, & A Giveaway!

Tomorrow is our 14th wedding anniversary! We got together with Ariana Del Mundo and her husband Alex for family photos in October and she got so many nice shots of Ken and I that I wanted to share them in their own post and save the family shots for another day.

Stay with me 'til the end of this post because I have some exciting giveaway news for you!

Ken and I met when we were 14 years old. Our church youth group would hold monthly dances for the youth aged 14-18 years old who lived within several cities. We were both so shy back then that we hardly talked to each other unless while we were dancing!

Would You Rather Web

Here's how to play a fun Would You Rather Web Game. I've included everything you need, including a would you rather list of ideas!

I'm helping to run the "Activity Days" program for the girls (aged 8-11) in our congregation at church. We run activity nights twice a month. Our first activity was full of get-to-know you games. They would make fun ice-breakers or party games for tween girls at any event!

Today's game is a creative twist on "Would You Rather" that shows how we're all connected. I saw a game like this online (I wish I had a link to share with you, but I've lost it) and thought it would be a fun one to re-create.

Would You Rather Web

Here's how you play and what you need to create this game at  home:

Ken's PhD Convocation

Earlier this month, we took the girls out of school for something very special. We thought it was important for them to be able to be there at Ken's convocation where he would receive the PhD that he has worked so long and hard for!

I still find it difficult to put my thoughts and feelings about this accomplishment into words. This PhD was hard on us, particularly during the last few years of it. I'm so glad to be on this end of it and so proud of Ken for sticking to it and accomplishing this!

Behind-the-Scenes of a Family Photoshoot

Yesterday evening, we did a little photoshoot at our house. I wanted to get some photos of our family in our new matching Christmas pajamas from Lazy One for my Family Gift Guide. It ended up being such a fun night and I really liked some of the photos we came away with so I wanted to share them here.

I should've taken some photos of what was going on behind-the-scenes too! I may have to do that next time we do something like this because some of these photos almost look like something out of a catalogue, but what's behind the camera might be a little comical at times!

11 Creative Ways to Re-Purpose Mason Jars

I saw several great re-purposed jar ideas in the Sharing Time Link Party this month and I thought this would be a good time of year to do a roundup because many of these would make great gift ideas!

Here are 11 creative ways to re-purpose a mason jar!

November 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the November Link Party!

2017 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway for Families and Kids!

Surprise! It's another Gift Guide & Giveaway! I've gathered a collection of our favourite gift ideas for kids and families to create today's guide. Some of these ideas are simply focused on kids and others are all about spending time together as a family.

Note: I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Families & Kids

2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Kids and Families by

I have teamed up with many of these companies in order to be able to offer another Huge Giveaway worth over $1200! I can't wait to tell you about these gift ideas and some of the fabulous prizes you have the opportunity to win!

2017 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway for Moms!

I'm excited to share with you my very first holiday gift guide giveaway! I've put together a collection of some of my favourite things that I think would make great gift ideas. Every year my family asks me what's on my wishlist and I'm often caught off guard and can't think of anything that I'd be excited to unwrap on Christmas morning! I hope this list will help get the ideas flowing whether you're looking for ideas for yourself or for someone else! I had moms in mind when I put these together but they would really be great for any woman.

Note: I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

2017 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway for Women

2017 Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway for Moms

I have teamed up with many of these companies in order to be able to offer a Huge Giveaway worth over $1200! I can't wait to tell you about these gift ideas and some of the fabulous prizes you have the opportunity to win!

Canada 150 Travel Photography & Fuji X-A3 Camera Giveaway!

Our summer road trip across Eastern Canada was fabulous. If you haven't had a chance to read about it yet, click here to find those posts. I had so many photos I wanted to share with you that I couldn't fit them all into those posts!

The photos I'll share today are some of my favourite photographs without people in them and I think they really showcase the kind of photography the Fuji X-A3 is capable of. At the end of the post, you'll have a chance to win your own Fuji X-A3 camera in a giveaway!

Note: I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

PEI Red Rocks Nature Photography

Paper Plate Snake Puppet Craft

Here's a craft your kids can play with when they've finished making it! This cute little snake was made from a paper plate and a few simple household and craft supplies. Paper plate snakes are simple to make and easy to involve your kids with so I thought it'd be a good one to share here!

Paper Plate Snake Puppet Craft
Paper Plate Snake

Here's what you need for this project:

October 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the October Link Party!

Fun Fall Shoes for Kids & Tweens with Skechers

I have big feet. I've had big feet since I was pretty young, and I will never forget the time my mom took me shoe shopping at a department store and the sales lady reacted with total shock when she realized how much bigger my feet were than her own. I was embarrassed and I felt my big feet were something to be ashamed of. To be honest, I'm still not totally over it. I don't want my kids to feel this way, so I'm doing my best to help Talia to find awesome age-appropriate shoe styles despite the fact that we can already share shoes.

Parks Canada Xplorers Program for Kids

During our Eastern Canada Road Trip, we discovered that Parks Canada has a special Xplorers Program for kids and families. At some Parks Canada locations, they will give your children an Xplorers booklet filled with fun activities and tasks to accomplish. During your visit, your children complete some of them and at the end of the visit, they receive a certificate and a little "dog tag" style souvenir that shows where they went.

We discovered this while we were on Prince Edward Island. I wish we had known about it at the start of our trip because it would have been so nice to have stopped at Canada Parks in each province that we visited! We got pretty close on our way back home, though!

End of Summer & PhD Party!

To celebrate Ken's successful PhD defense, my fabulous sister-in-law and mother-in-law put together an "End of Summer/PhD Party" and got a bunch of our friends and family together to play games, enjoy food, and celebrate!

My sister-in-law was in charge of the games and she came up with some really fun ideas! With the help of my brother-in-law who brought this awesome rope, she planned for a game of tug-of-war.

She also created this giant Twister game with spray paint! We used an app to "spin" and then had fun watching everyone get twisted up!

A Mommy Daughter Photography Date

One of the best things I did with Talia this summer was to take her out for a "mommy daughter date" to take photos. I've written before about sharing my favourite hobby with her and I recently told you all about how I've been able to re-embrace my love of photography with a new, lighter camera. Well, now I'm combining both of those!

For our outing, I wanted to introduce Talia to digital photography with a DSLR, so she used one of my older DSLRs and I used my new mirrorless Fuji X-A3.

Photo Credit:Talia

It was fun to play with my new camera and I loved that I didn't have to deal with any hand pain throughout our time together. The best part about it all though, was seeing Talia get into it! The first photo in this post (above) is one of my favourites.  Talia had gotten low to the ground to photograph this dandelion (below) and I wanted to get a photo of her. She quickly tilted her camera up at me and I love the way that shot turned out!

An Announcement & A Project (Printable Iron-On Shirt Designs)

It is very exciting to announce that after many years of University, Ken is finally finished school! I don't think I'm able to put into words yet, what this journey has been like. Someday I hope to write more in depth about it, but for now I'll just let the T-shirt do the talking! To celebrate Ken's successful thesis defense, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law threw a party. Ken and I made some T-shirts for our family (and learned a few things along the way).

Re-Embracing My Love of Photography with the Fuji X-A3

This is the story of my love of photography, my biggest physical struggle to date, and a camera that allowed me to re-embrace my love of photography.

I started to love photography when I got my first point & shoot film camera at 12 years old. In high school and university I took photography classes, working in dark rooms to develop my own film. Ten years ago I bought my first DSLR camera. I dove into that hobby and learned everything I could soak up about photography and began doing photo sessions for families, babies, couples, and events like weddings, and other parties. I loved it!

His & Hers Wood Watches (& Giveaway)

This year for his birthday, I gave Ken a wood watch from JORD that he had his eye on. That watch has been a big conversation starter; everyone is interested when they notice it's made of wood! I can tell it was definitely a successful gift because he will often make a comment to me (even 6 months later) about how much he really likes it. As you can tell from the photo below, JORD makes men's watches AND women's watches and we now have "His & Hers" watches!

I was really excited to find the Cora Zebrawood & Turquoise watch because the face is one of my favourite colours! I think the grain of the zebrawood is really unique as well and I love the Swarovski crystal markers because they add an extra touch of femininity to it.

MOSAÏCANADA 150 and Cirque Du Soleil Volta (Gatineau & Toronto)

The final stop on our road trip across eastern Canada was in the Gatineau area of Québec. We drove around 10 hours from Saint Andrews, New Brunswick to Ken's cousin's house in Ottawa where we stayed overnight (Gatineau is the part of Québec that borders Ottawa).


While we were in Gatineau, we visited the MOSAÏCANADA 150/Gatineau 2017 exhibit in Jacques-Cartier park. It was absolutely beautiful!

There are 40 different arrangements and they are all pretty amazing! One of the first that we saw was this Anne of Green Gables one- perfect after a trip to Prince Edward Island! :)

The Printer Ink Solution!

We use our printer a lot in this house! We've gone through several printers, each with their own special features, but the one thing that has always been a big nuisance, no matter the printer, is ink! Buying replacement ink cartridges can be just as expensive as the printer itself!

Our Printer Ink Problem

This was a big issue with our last printer, which wouldn't let us print with black ink unless all of the colour cartridges were working. That printer was designed so that ink was being used up even when we weren't printing things, to keep the nozzle clear and wet. We went through so many colour cartridges each year, that we finally decided it would just be cheaper to get a new printer!

Cartridge-Free Printer

It was at this point that Ken's parents told him about their new printer with Epson's new "Eco Tank" technology. These Eco Tank printers are designed to work without cartridges! When Ken told me about it, we knew this was the ink solution we had been searching for- NO MORE CARTRIDGES! The printer has refillable tanks on the side of it that you simply top up any time they get low.

Enough Ink for 2 Years

The printer we got was the Epson ET-3600 and it has everything we need in a printer. It comes with two sets of ink bottles (one to fill your printer with, and one to refill it with later). The ink that comes in the box is enough for up to 2 years of printing (up to 8500 pages). To put this in perspective, that's equivalent to about 50 ink cartridge sets!!

The Algonquin Resort & Saint Andrews New Brunswick

Although heading toward home from Nova Scotia was a bit of a sad thought for us after such a wonderful trip eastward, we were excited to get to see more of New Brunswick. New Brunswick is a beautiful province, full of lush forests, fields, and breathtaking vistas. We loved all the little towns that we passed through, but one of our favorites was St. Andrews where we stayed the night at the incredible Algonquin Resort.

The building is breathtaking and the grounds, the interior and amenities are no less impressive.

The room we stayed in was charming and nicely decorated. It was a small room with two double beds, a desk, a closet, a dresser and T.V. as well as a very nice bathroom. Our youngest daughter described it as: "Amazing, awesome, super comfy bed, stunning," and..."kapow!" (I'm not too sure what to think about that last one - but she sure was excited talking about it!)

September 2017 Sharing Time

Welcome to the September Link Party!

Current Giveaway:

I shared a recipe and a $75 Giveaway this week- it's still open, so don't miss your chance to enter!

Peaceful Family Cottage Retreat (Oceanstone Resort, Nova Scotia)

Nova Scotia was the final province on our summer road trip list and the last stop before heading homeward. We were in for a real treat in Nova Scotia because we stayed at the Oceanstone Seaside Resort, just a few minutes from Peggy's Cove. We stayed in an adorable cottage named the "Periwinkle Cottage",  with the ocean just steps from our back deck. It was peaceful, relaxing and absolutely lovely!

If I were to visit anywhere near Halifax Nova Scotia (about 50 minutes away), I would definitely want to come back again! It's such a beautiful place for a family getaway, a couple's retreat, or a group event. In fact, the Oceanstone is recognized as one of the top 5 places to get married in Canada!

Turkey Lentil Ragu Recipe & $75 Visa Gift Card Giveaway!

Back-to-School time somehow manages to creep up on me and surprise me every year! I'm only a few days away from the first day of school and my mind is buzzing with thoughts of what to pack for school lunches, what to cook for easy family dinners, what to send in their new backpacks to put in their new desks, how to create the ideal routines, and the list goes on and on! It's easy to spend a lot of money preparing for our kids to go back to school so Canadian Turkey and want to give one of you $75 to put toward those costs!

They've also given me a great recipe to share with you, so while we may have long lists of things to get in order this time of year, at least we can get our lists of easy, inexpensive, healthy meals started!

The ideal dinners during the school year are the ones you can easily turn into leftovers for a quick lunch or another dinner later in the week!

Moncton New Brunswick Road Trip with Kids

I took the girls to the library a few weeks before our road trip and we borrowed books about each of the provinces we would be visiting. We learned about some of the unique landmarks and features of each of them and at the end of that educational afternoon, one of the things at the top of our lists of things we were excited to visit was Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick. We decided to stay in Moncton for two nights, between Quebec City and P.E.I. as it is central to many of the things we wanted to do.

Fun Family Friendly Hotel (Delta Beauséjour in Moncton)

If you're ever traveling in the area, looking for a fun, family friendly hotel in Moncton, you will want to check out the Delta Beauséjour!  Here are all the reasons why we loved it for our family trip!

The second stop on our Eastern Canada road trip was New Brunswick. We stayed in Moncton for two nights because it was near some of the activities we wanted to do. As soon as we decided on our destination, I started my search for a family-friendly hotel in the area and came upon Hotel Beauséjour. It's a Delta hotel by Marriott, so we were looking forward to it because we've had great experiences with Marriott hotels!

Family Friendly Hotels Moncton
Delta Beauséjour in Moncton

We arrived in Moncton after a 7.5 hour drive (plus stops) so we checked in quite late at night. We were all wide awake still, so the girls were thrilled when they were greeted with a bag of cotton candy! I have to admit I was thrilled too; I still get excited about cotton candy.

Québec City Road Trip with Kids

On Day 1 of our family road trip across Eastern Canada, we drove 9 hours (plus stops) from our home in Southern Ontario to Québec City.

This post covers a bit about the trip out there, things to do as a family in Québec City itself, and in Old Québec City.

Quebec City Road Trip with Kids

Family Road Trip Across Eastern Canada

I grew up in Southern Ontario and although we took several family road trips to the U.S.A. during my childhood, it wasn't until recently that I ventured outside of Ontario within my own Country. My curiosity about the other provinces was first peaked as a child, when I read Anne of Green Gables and read L.M. Montgomery's romantic descriptions of the beauty of Prince Edward Island. When I learned more about the geography of our whole country, I found myself with an unspoken bucket list item, to visit the coasts of Canada someday. This year is Canada's 150th and it seemed like an appropriate time to take that leap (or drive, in this case) and visit Eastern Canada with my family!

If you're following me on Instagram, you already know that we began our journey on the first of this month. Now that we have returned home, I have so much that I want to share with you about our experiences and what we learned about road-tripping across Canada with kids!

September 2017 Sharing Time

I look forward to seeing some patriotic ideas in this month's linky!

Welcome to the August Link Party!

Current Giveaway:

This month I posted our review of the Douglas Mattress- including a video unboxing, showing how a queen sized mattress could fit into this little box! There's also a mattress giveaway on that post, so don't miss your chance to enter it!

Donating Hair!

When Talia was 4 years old, she got her hands on some scissors and cut her hair. She only cut the front of her hair, and had enough left at the back to donate her hair. Nearly two years later, her hair had grown enough to donate again. It's been about 5 and a half years since then, and both of our girls' hair has grown quite long again, so they decided to donate together this time!

Here are some more photos of before & after:

Douglas Mattress Review & Giveaway

Ken and I have been trying out the Douglas Mattress for the last month. I waited to make sure we'd had some good time and experience with it before I shared our experience with you and I'm excited that it's finally time to tell you about it! (and to show you how a Queen sized mattress can fit inside of such a tiny box! Keep scrolling for a video... )

I have partnered with and was provided with a mattress and pillows in exchange for my thoughts. All opinions shared are my own. Affiliate links are provided should you decide to purchase products from my review. 

Our Mattress Backstory: 

We had been sleeping on our mattress for 8 years and I know, from my past as a furniture saleswoman, that we're right around the time when we might consider replacing it, depending on its performance. We LOVED our mattress when we bought it and for many years after, but recently we have both been waking up feeling stiff and sore. I've had a sore neck and shoulder and occasional back pain; he has had back problems, and we had suspicions that these could be, in part, improved by a new mattress.

Mattress In A Box

I had heard about foam mattresses that get delivered to your doorstep, squished and rolled up all tiny, inside a box. I had heard that you could try these mattresses for a decent period of time before deciding whether or not you wanted to keep them, and the company would refund you if you didn't like it!

I had already started to research this concept when I found out that was interested in partnering to share their new brand, "the most Canadian mattress in Canada", the Douglas mattress.

Douglas Mattress Blog and Video Review

Canada 150 Celebration at Canada's Wonderland

July marks Canada's 150th anniversary and Canada's Wonderland is celebrating all month long with Canadian-themed live entertainment, special events, and unique Canadian food! Our family wanted to get in on the fun so we headed back to the park last week. Here's a sneak peek at what the celebration is all about - we had such a fun time!

We didn't have to take more than a couple of steps into the park to see that Canada's Wonderland is celebrating Canada's 150th! There were signs, flags, and flower gardens in Canada's red and white. We even spotted a "Canadian Mountie" walking through the park, on stilts!

Turn One Curtain Panel into Two!

When I was working on the girls' shared bedroom makeover, I found a great deal on some long curtain panels for their window. When I got them home I was faced with a surprise challenge that led me to making one panel into two! Here's how it all went down:

I found some white curtain panels on clearance for $8 each and was excited to take them home and hem them to a shorter length that would fit the girls' bedroom!

July 2017 Sharing Time

Happy Canada Day today!!! What a special one this year, with Canad's 150th! 
I look forward to seeing some patriotic ideas in this month's linky!

Welcome to the July Link Party!

DIY Emoji Birthday Party

When Talia turned 11, she knew she wanted an Emoji themed birthday party, so we embraced it and came up with several DIY party activities and decorations to create a fabulous tween emoji party! Here's what we did:

Thankfully, Emojis are pretty simple to recreate, artistically! I made a round cake and covered it in homemade buttercream frosting, dyed yellow. I set aside some of the frosting to dye red and some to add cocoa to (to make chocolate flavoured accents).  We went with a kiss face emoji cake and I love the way it turned out!

It's always fun to party plan with the birthday girl involved. Here we are, right before the party started, happy with all of the things we came up with together!

Relaxation & Adventure at The Couples Resort in Muskoka, Ontario

Right now, you're probably indoors sitting at your computer, tablet, or smart phone; but prepare yourself to take a virtual journey to The Couples Resort in beautiful northern Ontario near Algonquin Park. Ken and I escaped for an amazing couple's getaway 2 weeks ago, and my hope is that through this post and these photos you can experience some of the beauty, relaxation, and rejuvenation that we discovered!

Muskoka Couples Resort Blog Review with Photos

It was a 4 hour drive from where we live in Southern Ontario, to get to The Couples Resort and it was such a scenic drive, going through Algonquin Park! We had some great conversations and listened to a book together. When we arrived at the resort, we checked into our room and I took a few photos and a video so that I could share them with you here!

Summer Lovin' Cash Giveaway!

I cannot tell you how excited we are for Summer! We're looking forward to slowing down and spending some much needed time having fun with family and friends. Summer is the perfect time to make special memories with your family. How about winning some PayPal Cash to help you to do just that?

I have teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to bring you the ultimate cash giveaway worth $425USD PayPal Cash! We wanted to celebrate all things summer and make it easier for you to get out and do the things you want to do to make great memories with your family! Take advantage of this wonderful giveaway and enter now for your chance at the Summer Lovin’ pot.

What would you do with the money if you won?

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