January 2018

Jo Totes Wyndham Street Weekender Bag & Giveaway

I made an unboxing & first impressions video of the new Jo Totes Wyndham Street Weekender Camera Bag. This one has a removable padded camera box inside, so you can use it to carry your gear or for an overnight bag- or a mix of both!

Jo Totes Wyndham Street Weekender Camera Bag Review and Giveaway

It's a beautiful bag with a lot of features I really love. Here's a quick look inside:

A Tween Birthday Party at Glama Gal Spa

To celebrate Talia's 12th birthday, we went to Glama Gal Tween Spa for a very special tween spa birthday party, complete with manicures, pedicures, and facials! As I mentioned in a previous post, it was wonderful to sit back and watch as the Glama Gals led the party. The fact that I didn't have to run the party meant that I had plenty of time to document it all with photos, so I can show and tell you all about it!

Tween Spa Birthday Party

Our "Be You Tween" Birthday Party at Glama Gal Spa

Our party started with spa sandals, robes (including a special pink robe for the birthday girl), and a "let's get this party started" cheer. As if the beautiful, fancy pink decor weren't enough to get them excited, this had them energized and ready for fun!

Mid January Journal

It's time for another journal post. This one touches on days from the last 2 weeks. I wish I had more photos, so I'll work on that for next time!

We're back into the school routine now, still working on implementing some improvements to our schedule. Ken is in full-on job & post-doctorate hunt right now. We're looking into a lot of different possible paths. This is exciting and nerve wracking. We want to make a good choice about where to take our family (literally and figuratively) in the next chapter of our lives! That's the general update, and here are some of the details:

A Week in the Life of Us January 2018

January 8th

First day back to school after Christmas holidays: 7:30 am, rise and shine. It snowed A LOT and we were amazed that buses were running. Off the girls went in a flurry of hurry (despite best efforts to be organized). We'll try again tomorrow!

Ken went to the University library for the day, to do some research, so the house was so quiet! I've gotten used to having him home, in the same room with me! Our desks face each other right now, so he's just on the other side of my monitor most days. I got some blog work done, got domestic and made some no-bake cookies for the girls when they got home.

Manners & Courtesy Tea Party/Hot Chocolate Bar

For one of our recent girls activity days, we had a hot chocolate tea party for the purpose of helping our girls to learn about manners and courtesy in a fun way. Some of the ideas we used could be used for any party, so I thought it would be a good one to share with you here!

Activity Days Manners and Courtesy Tea Party with Hot Chocolate Bar

We invited the girls to come dressed in princess costumes or fancy church dresses. We had a bunch of cute little sandwiches and treats and a fun hot chocolate bar, preceded by a hands-on table setting lesson. It was so much fun!

40 by 40 Bucket List

A year ago, we visited family in the U.S. and while we were staying with Ken's sister, their family had a goal-setting meeting. My brother-in-law led the discussion, handing out a few worksheets for each of us, to help us think about what we wanted to do, and decide where to put our focus. One of the worksheets encouraged us to make a list of 50 things we wanted to do in the next 5 years. We were encouraged to write quickly and not make judgments about whether we could actually accomplish the things we wrote. We kept our lists and reviewed them as a family last week and then we updated them with a few new goals, marking off the ones we had already accomplished.

5 Year Bucket List by www.RaisingMemories.com
Photo by Ariana Del Mundo

Shortly after reviewing my own list, I saw a post by one of the bloggers I follow, who published a "40 by 40" bucket list of things she wants to accomplish before her 40th birthday this year. I realized that just over 5 years from when we wrote our first lists of 50 things, I will turn 40 (just over 4 years to go!). I'm posting my own "40 by 40 Bucket List" here, to keep track of which things happen. I'm trying not to limit myself by writing things down whether I know how I would accomplish them or not.

Some of the things I put on my list a year ago have already been accomplished and help remind me that even when you feel like you're dreaming of something impossible, if you just allow yourself to believe that it's possible, you just might find a way to make it happen!

5 Ways to Fight the Winter Blahs

This post is sponsored by Bayer. To make sure these products are right for you, always read and follow the label.

I love so much of winter, but I sure wish it weren't so long! The snow is so beautiful at first, then the plows and the salt get going and soon the fresh blankets of white turn to slushy, refrozen brownishness everywhere! The cold gets really old, really fast for me; and since we're on the topic of winter blahs, I'll share my least favourite thing about winter: grey skies. How I miss sunny, blue skies!

How to Stay Happy during the Winter by www.RaisingMemories.com

Now that the holidays are over and once the excitement of the fresh new year begins to fade, it's easy to start feeling the blahs. The extremely cold temperatures we've been having have really made us want to hibernate which can start to leave us feeling really low on energy and enthusiasm. So, here are a few things we like to do around here to uplift ourselves and keep the blahs away:

Top 17 Posts of 2017

Every year, I do a round up of some of the most popular posts from the year. It's always fun to look back on the things we've experienced throughout the year and the memories we created. These 17 posts were the most popular this year. If you didn't get a chance to read them the first time around, and want to check them out, I'll link to each of them.

2017 was a year or adventure, particularly with our travels across eastern Canada this summer! I will always treasure the experiences we had during that road trip. We also had the chance to try out some cool new products (like a foam mattress that came all squished and rolled up in a box, and a couple of really cool cameras). I loved being able to share some of our favourite products in the two gift guide posts at the end of the year and to gather some awesome giveaways for you!

Most Popular 17 Blog Posts of 2017 on www.RaisingMemories.com

The Top 17 Posts of 2017

  1.  Holiday Gift Guide for Moms
  2. Canada 150 Travel Photography
  3. Family & Kids Gift Guide
  4. Sharing My Love of Photography with Instax Mini 8
  5. Relaxing Adventure at the Couples Resort
  6. Douglas Mattress Unboxing Video & Review
  7. Orangetheory Results
  8. Re-Embracing My Love of Photography with the Fujifilm X-A3
  9. JORD Men's Watch

The First Week of 2018

I used to journal consistently. Somewhere along the line, I got out of the habit. This week I took some notes about our week and gathered them here. Maybe I'll do this more often and try to get more of our daily life recorded in this place. Let me know if this interests you because I'm not sure if this is the best spot for it. For now though, for the first week of the year, here it is:

Our first week of 2018 blog

January 1st

All four of us slept as 2018 came into being. We counted down from ten at 8pm on December 31st. It was a "down day", with a Christmas CD playing while we packed away the ornaments and took apart the tree. After dinner we had a family meeting where we discussed family goals and schedules and each wrote a list of goals and dreams for our futures (not just this year, but anytime in the next five).

January 2018 Link Party

Welcome to the January Link Party!

Christmas Morning Disney Surprise!

This Christmas we had a tiny package under our tree that held a big surprise inside and I've been waiting to share it with our girls and with you! Now that the secret's out, I'm excited to tell you about how we came to put Disney World under the tree for our family for the second time, when we once wondered if we'd even make it to Disney once. I've got a video of the surprise at the end of the post, and a photo of how we broke the news this time.

Disney World Christmas Surprise Reveal &  Reaction

Simple 31 Day Decluttering Challenge

I know I'm not the only one who feels the need to declutter her home, particularly as we begin a fresh new year and make new resolutions! I have been thinking about doing a 31 day decluttering challenge for a long time and this month, I'm finally doing it! 

Here are my Step-by-Step Instructions for a 31 Day Decluttering Journey:

  1.  Make a declaration to the internet of your intentions, to keep you accountable (check)
  2.  Commit to share daily before & after photos on social media (I'm doing this on my Instagram stories every day of January & I'd LOVE for you to follow along!)
  3.  Invite friends to join in- Won't you join me?? I would be thrilled to know I'm not alone in this! If you want to participate, just share your before & after photos on Instagram (in your stories, or in a post) and tag me (@raisingmemories) so I can see them!  

If enough of you join in, it could be fun to share some of your before & afters in my stories, so we can all be inspired by each other!

One Month Decluttering Challenge by www.RaisingMemories.com

One Month Decluttering Challenge by www.RaisingMemories.com

I'm not going to lay out a list of areas to tackle.  This is for two reasons: First, I have no concrete plan for myself and if I waited until I had a list, it would probably take me months to start- so I'm just jumping in. Second, we all have different homes with different problem areas, so my goal is simply this:

Choose One Small Area of your home to tackle each day. 

Commit to 15 minutes of Decluttering each day.

You can certainly spend more than 15 minutes if you're really getting into it, but only commit to 15 minutes. This means your daily area must be manageable and you give yourself permission to stop after 15 minutes. (I'm hoping this will help to avoid feelings of overwhelm and/or the desire to give up!)

Well, that's it.  I'm jumping into this challenge and I hope some of you will follow along and let me know you're following along- keep me accountable! ;)  If you're joining in, I'd love to cheer you on too, so please tag me on instagram @raisingmemories. I'll see you over there!

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