Monday 25 December 2017


Hope you're all having the Merriest Christmas with your loved ones!

Sunday 24 December 2017


We're slowly checking things off our list this holiday!

We've decorated gingerbread houses each year since Ben was a little toddler. And each year it gets more and more fun.

Thursday 21 December 2017


Each year we do our annual family photos in the summer and use them for our Christmas cards we send out to family and friends.

Sunday 17 December 2017


Christmas is truly the season for so much Joy and I love celebrating with friends and family! We had a group of friends over for a pot luck dinner this past weekend and the girls and I decorated our dining area with a few simple holiday items.

Thursday 14 December 2017


Stockings are my absolute favorite to fill up for Christmas. I always loved opening my stocking on Christmas morning. It wasn't always filled with big gifts, but it had lots of little things I loved to receive!

When Josh and I first got married, we started filling up each other's stockings with some fun little items. They weren't exactly big items, but fun little goodies that showed we were thinking of each other. I've loved doing that with him ever since!
And now 3 children later, I love filling my children's stockings with little treats and activities for them. It's so much fun watching them open it up. I think often the stockings are even more fun than than the bigger gifts.

I always think stockings should have a few new little toys, but also treats and some practical things they are able to use as well. (I'm the girl who even loved receiving lotion, toothbrushes and toothpaste in my stocking!)

Here I've put together a little list of things I'll be putting into my own children's stockings and items I've used in past years also.

BOWS (Because, really, can you ever have enough?)
HAIR TIES (These are so perfect because you can use the as bracelets and hair ties when your kids need it.)
NECKLACES (becuase dress up and lookin fancy is so fun!)
BRACELETS (my girls looove bracelets and feel so fancy when they wear them!)
BEADS FOR MAKING NECKLACES (I get mine from the dollar store and then repackage them in a little dish or fun bag. They only cost a few dollars and keep the kids happy for SO long!)
STUFFIES (we have an endless amount already, but the girls love them so much and play with them all the time that I keep getting them! The TY brand are their favorites!
JAMMIES (Christmas jammies are always my favorite! I can never wait that long and always bring them out earlier. Gap is always a favorite. But Carters may have topped them because they make jammies up to size 12 which is perfect for matching for all the kids.)
SOCKS (Adorable animal and holiday socks...need I say more?)
ART SUPPLIES (Pencil crayons, pencils, erases, paints...they love em all!)
COLORING BOOKS (Princesses and animals are their favorites)
SMALL PLAY FIGURINES (We have a large collection of small princesses already, but they love to mix and match their outfits and offer hours and hours of play time when we are out. They're worth it! We also have My Little Pony and Minnie Mouse that they like too!)
DVD'S (This year we got them Lion King, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast. We use these for long drives in the car too which is great!)
BOOKS (Books are one of my favorite gifts to give! The girls love to read and look at the pictures.)
HATS/MITTS (We seem to need new hats and mitts each year and I love throwing them in)

I love filling my son's stocking each year and I get to put lots of fun little items in. Ben is so different from the girls and doesn't always need lots of little gifts. But I love spoiling him a bit!

Here's a few items that will be going into the stocking this year! (And some from the past that may give you some good inspiration also!)

LEGO KEYCHAIN ( love adding little keychains - although we are far away from giving him a key to our home, they are perfect for personalizing a school bag on the zipper!)
GIFT CARDS (It always seems like a fun little treat to get some gift cards. He loves to pay when we go out and gets so proud! Some places I know Ben would love to receive cards from are Starbucks, local coffee shops, and Mc Donald's)
HATS/MITTS (Each year we end up with single mitts and so this is the perfect time to grab a few extras. We also usually include snow mitts which they love!)
TRADING CARDS (We are ALL into Pokemon still, so I've rounded a few packs for Ben. But hockey and sports cards would also be great!)
BOOKS (One of my favorite gifts hands down. And Ben loves books so much and can easily read them anytime by himself now also. This year we got him a set of Hardy Boys, Captain Underpants, and Dog Man. For his past birthday we got him a set of Roald Dahl and he read them over and over again all summer long. Those books are amazing if you have a reader at home!)
BALLS (Small bouncy balls and balls that are easy to throw around are always a hit)
ACTIVITY BOOKS (More complex coloring books, crosswords, Word search, color by numbers, Sudoku are always a great idea. They are perfect even to leave in the car for when you need a distraction)
GAMES (This year we got him Sushi Go, as set of Jacks
PLAYING CARDS (Uno, crazy 8's, Go Fish, son loves ALL games and if there's someone who will play with him, he's more than happy to play all day long!)
MAGIC CARD PLAYING CARDS (I saw some for clearance at Michaels and thought that they would be so fun for a boy to learn some fun magic tricks! I hope I don't regret it! Haha)

Sunday 10 December 2017


Buying boy gifts is something that I've been having to learn along the way. Growing up with a sister, I was never exposed to any typical boy toys. So this has been a fun journey for me!

This year we are getting Ben a few gifts as there's no one really 'big' gift he wants.

But he's a boy who loves games, puzzles, challenges and also using his hands. (We also got him a Nintendo system for his birthday, so he really loves that too!)

Here's a list of some great boys gifts that I know my son would approve of!

MARBLE RUN (This looks like so much fun for a boy! I love that it promotes building and problem solving - and so much fun to watch the marble go through the track!)
BOOK BOX SET (Earlier this year we got ben the Roal Dahl box set and he absolutely loved it! This year we're getting him Captain Underpants and Dog Man)
STAR WARS FIGURES (I love these Playskool sets becuase they don't look too realistic, but they have the fun element of what the characters look like.)
MONOPOLY (One of my favorites games to play with Ben becuase it's pretty fun for kids and adults! I love that it helps with thinking stragegies and with math when thinking about the rent and giving change)
CATAN JUNIOR (Ben loves this game - it's really fun collecting resources to build ships and castles)
TRADING CARDS (Ben loves pokemon cards and loves trading with his little friends)
SUSHI GO (We love having sushi out for lunch and dinner and this card game seems like so much fun!)
LEGO (Lego is seriously so timeless - Ben can still play for hours on end)
KEVA (These building blocks are SO great. Ben has spent so many hours building structures and runs...his only complaint is that he needs more. Haha. We're adding a second set this Christmas for him)
STUFFIES (Although Ben doesn't really play with stuffies that much, he still likes to have one or two for sleeping. Bats have been a favorite animal for a while, so this seems perfect!)


I have to admit that I truly love ALL things girly. And having two little girls in our home makes it ever so fun! I'm really excited to share this gift guide of all things for little girls. I know I would loved to have received any of these things when I was younger.

This year we ended up getting the girls one big gift - a Frozen castle dollhouse. It's really really big and I cannot wait to give it to them. They love all things Elsa and Anna (along with all the other princesses) and I know they are going to be so excited. We ended up actually getting ours for a steal on Craigslist, but I've linked it below. (And I really love getting second hand toys that are in good condition. So much less waste and it gets loved for so much longer!)

They are each getting a few smaller gifts as well, but their main gift will be the frozen dollhouse.

FROZEN DOLLHOUSE (I am so excited to gift this to the girls!)
PRINCESSES (We play with these all the time and they have lots of little parts for them to change their outfits and accessories. They are great!)
FROZEN MICROPHONE (Ellie loooooves this microphone and sings with it constantly! It plays 2 songs - Let it go & Summer. If your daughter loves to sing, it's such a great investement!)
PLAYFOOD (The girls play with their toy kitchen ALL the time, and these little add ons are their favorites!)
CALICO CRITTERS (The girls loves these little adorable animals and play with them alot! They have a really sweet vintage look to them and are pretty cute)
PRETTY DOLLHOUSE (We got this dollhouse for Maddie last year and she loves it.)
WOODEN PETS (These pets have been the biggest hit! They love that the pets can live in the dollhouse with them)
LEGO (My daughters both love Lego and I love that it helps them with their small finger motions. And they love playing with their older brother too!)
BARN AND ANIMALS (Maddie is probably one of the biggest animal lovers I have ever met...and she's been asking for a little barn for SO long! I love that this one is made of wood and it looks very real!)
STUFFIES (We really don't need any more stuffies but they bring so much joy! This year we got them medium size ones and little ones so they can pretend to be a mama and baby animal family. And isnt this little french bulldog SO cute?)
BOOKS (I love getting books and one of Maddies favorites is Gaston. This year we're getting her Antoinette - the little follow up book to Gaston!)
LITTLE PEOPLE HOUSE (Ellie loves Little People and this dollhouse was on sale a few weeks back. I love that it folds up to tuck away and you can use it for travel also!)

If you have any other suggestions for little girls, I'd love to hear!


Thursday 7 December 2017


This past weekend I hosted my first cookie exchange! I invited 8 friends and their daughters over for a fun night of snacking on cookies. The little girls loved tasting all the cookies (my favorites were the ones who took one of each cookie to try...their plates were piled high with cookies!) and had such a fun time playing afterwards.

Monday 4 December 2017


Each year I love throwing some sort of Christmas holiday party. Last year we invited some friends from my kids school over and we asked them to bring a gift to donate to our local charity.

This year, I decided to do a cookie exchange party! While I've never hosted or been part of one, I was up for the challenge. We invited 8 ladies and their sweet daughters over to share some delicious treats and exchange some cookies! I thought it would be such a fun way to mingle and take home some delicious baked goodies as well.

Wednesday 29 November 2017


Christmas is really my absolute favorite time of the year.  There is so much joy to celebrate! This year we decided to put mini trees in our kids bedrooms. When my sister and I were younger, my mom got us each mini trees for our bedrooms and we loved it! My sister chose pink for her ornaments and I picked blue. I'm so excited to be able to continue this tradition with the kids!

Sunday 26 November 2017


The girls started sharing a room at the end of the summer, and I'm finally ready to share their space! We tried really hard to make the room feel like their own and put a few of their favorite little things in their space. They have been really happy to play together in the room and we hope that the room continues to grow with them.

Tuesday 14 November 2017


Our girls started sharing a room over the summer and they absolutely love it!

Monday 30 October 2017


This year we decided to go with a theme for the girls - little red riding hood and the big bad wolf. A friend of Maddie's from preschool offered up her furry wolf costume if we wanted. Maddie was really excited about being a wolf so she could scare people in her costume. We started off our idea with that, and I was trying to figure out if I wanted to do little pigs or riding hood to go along with it. Eventually we went with little miss riding hood and Ellie couldnt have been more excited. We read the girls the story and they were pretty happy about it.

Tuesday 24 October 2017



Halloween is only a week away! Just wanted to share last years costumes with you on the blog.

I loooooved the girls costumes last year....gnome and her little ladybug.

And Ben was juuuust getting into Star Wars and reading a few simple books on the stories and characters. He loved being one of the bad guys. Haha!


I can't believe that we are already halfway thorough October. I feel like once fall hit, the month just flew by so quickly!

We had Canadian Thanksgiving 2 weeks ago, and now the kids are all excited for Halloween. I mean, dressing up and running around to get candy is riiiiight up their alley. Hah!

This year we are still undecided on costumes. But I have a few fairly budget-friendly costume ideas to share. For little ones, buying costumes with wings and building a costume around that is probably one of the most inexpensive ways to make a costume. I was in our local dollar store the other day and found some adorable bumblee bee and ladybug wings. I thought that would be such an adorable idea for the girls. I grabbed them and searched our home for other items to complete the look. I love what we came up with!


For the bumble bee costume, I found a yellow tutu dress we have in our home. (We got this from old navy over the summer for less than $20) A black dress would work well too! I paired it with black knee socks (tights would be perfect too!)

Sunday 22 October 2017


This last weekend we got to visit our very first corn maze! I've always wanted to take the kids, but we just never seemed to find a day to make it out. One Sunday we picked up after church and headed over to a local corn maze.

Wednesday 18 October 2017


We've been on a baking break since summer, but now that some cooler weather is here, we're back to baking some of our favorite goodies. One afternoon last week Maddie and I made our favorite banana loaf. The recipe is really simple, and it makes the yummiest banana bread.

 I'll be posting the recipe we use at the end of this post, so feel free to use it if you're looking!

Oh you know, just mashing bananas and twirling her hair at the same time! Hah!

When I'm baking with the little people, I use a few tricks to make it a bit easier with little helping hands.

Saturday 7 October 2017


Since the first time I took the girls apple picking they have been asking to visit the little farm again.

We picked a school day to drive out to avoid the crowds and spend the days outside. (We live in a very wet fall/winter climate, so when I spot a good day, I"m more than happy to make the most of it!)

We were all ready to go but when we got there I realized I had forgotten my memory card for my camera. (Aaaaaah, seriously I'm so annoyed when I forget something silly like that!) So here's my small disclaimer, all the pictures from the trip were taken on my iphone.

Friday 29 September 2017


This week's post of Outfits and Authors features an adorable book we got as a birthday gift!

A Unicorn named Sparkle is suuuuch a cute book for little ones. My 4 year old daughter Maddie thinks its super funny, and loves all the silly things that Sparkles does. In the story, Lucy anxiously awaits the arrival of her unicorn she purchased from a newspaper ad. But when Sparkles arrives, it is NOT what she expects at all. In the end, she falls in love with her pet and can't bear the thought of giving her up! (Maddie ends up falling in love with her too!)

Monday 25 September 2017


Seriously, it's the most magical place ever!

We took our children for their first trip on a one day trip to Disneyland during a vacation we had about 2 years ago in Palm Springs. Ellie was still a little baby (she was about 5 months and slept for ALOT of it in our baby carrier). The second time we went back we only took our older children Ben and Maddie. We stayed at the Disneyland hotel and it was really an amazing trip. Click HERE to read about that trip. And this last time we were back we went with all the kids and my family (including my parents and sister's family)

I am definitely no expert when it comes to going to Disneyland with young children, but I would love to share what I've learned these past 3 trips. Hopefully you get something out of it!

This last time we went to Disneyland we travelled with my parents and my sister's family. It seemed like a whole new dynamic having to consider what we do with 2 other families. It was extra fun though, having our nephews with us, and being part of a bigger group.

There are definitely easy and more difficult parts of travelling with a bigger group. We loved that we could split up a bit more and cover more ground. We went off into lots of little groups, which was great if there was something you really wanted to do, but some of the group didn't necessarily want to do as much. I got to take the girls to see the princess, boys got to do more star wars, older kids were able to do bigger-kid rides, little ones got to ride their favorite rides, grandparents helped stay with napping babes, and some of the group were able to get more fast passes by sneaking off quickly. But it was also sometimes more work figuring out plans of where our group generally wanted to go. Sometimes a smaller group is easier to navigate through the different lands of Disney.


Check weather reports!

So I was envisioning us all wearing airy dresses and shorts on our May vacation. The weather in California during this time is generally very warm. But to our disappointment, weeks leading up to the day forecasted rain and cooler temperatures. Even the week before, people were saying hot how and warm it was. I could only wish for warm sunny skies. But after reading the weather reports, I decided that it would be the best to be prepared for rain. We literally packed our kids rain boots, rain jackets and our stroller rain guard in our luggage. I brought cooler and warmer (a gal can wish, right?) clothes so that I could be prepared for anything. And it was a good thing I did because we had rain 2 out of our of 3 days. (AGAIN!)


The first thing we got ready to go was our stroller and kickstand (it's like a little skateboard which attaches to the stroller for one child to stand on). My opinion is that any young child is going to want to sit in the stroller at times. It's a perfect spot for kids to take a rest, have a snack and just relax a bit amidst the busy crowds. It's also a great tool for hauling around ALL the things you need while you're there. And it's alot!

We also let the kids each pick out a special souvenier from the trip. Maddie and Ellie choose a baby Simba and lion stuffy. Ben decided to pick out candies!

I also brought my ergo baby carrier for Ellie too. She was almost 2 when we were there. We don't use it at all when we're at home, but she loves to be carried, and I knew that my arms would only be able to hold her for so long. We used it everyday there, and it was especially great for waiting in lines for rides. I could carry her and have my hands free. Eventually my back got really tired, but it was still totally bearable.

I packed my usual diaper bag along with an extra bag for things like snacks, a change of clothes, sweaters and extra blankets (My kids NEED their blankies!)

I also had a little bag I brought with me when we weren't with our stroller. I packed it with my good camera, snacks and our valuables. Everything else I left in the bottom of our stroller. We were lucky and had no problem with leaving thing in our stroller. I made sure that things that were left behind were items that I wouldn't be too sad about if they were lost.


My biggest advice is to get to the park as early as you possibly can. Make sure you allow yourslef lots of time as there can be alot of waiting before you even get into the parks. There is a checkpoint at Downtown Disney for security that you  have to go through. I would allow for an extra 20-30 min to go through that. We waited for about 20-40 min to get through the park gates as well. So if you want to arrive about 30-40 min before the park opens, you'll have to give yourself an additional hour to get through security and then the park lineup as well. I know it seems like it's early, but its really worth it. Being one of the first people through at the park really makes it feel more special. There's no crowds you need to deal with and it's great for snapping photos and getting right onto rides. We were able to get in a lot of rides before it got too busy and the kids loved that they didn't have to wait in lines. Plus, you can get someone to grab some fastpasses while it's nice and slow at the park.

We were at the very front of the line at California Adventures one morning. We got to walk along with the cast members into the Main streets, and got in a pretty short line up to meet the Frozen princesses. We didn't get a chance to meet them last time, and it was one of the things the girls requested for our visit this time.


Disneyland is such a great place for super sweet special and iconic pictures. It's every wanna-be photographers dream. (That's me! Hah!) That is when there's no crowds behind you. I found that there are lots of great places to take pictures if you get just the right angle.

One of my biggest tricks to getting some shots of the castles, building and parade characters is to take the picture at an upwards angle. I always try to get some of the blue sky in, and I always crop off the bottom part. This gives you an illusion of an empty park, and it really focuses the attention on the pretty details.

One of my favorite places to take a pics is in California Adventure right in front of the big Ferris Wheel. The boardwalk is almost always empty (because there's no rides in that area) and you can get a great picture with no crowds with Mickeys face in the background. These are some of my favorite pictures there!

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