Tuesday, January 31, 2017

NY Resolutions--- it being almost February and all.

Life lately has been filled with a lot of germs! After a bare recovery from the stomach bug to end all bugs, I came down with a lovely cold/flu comb. As it was so soon after the first special, super bug, this one hit me hard. No energy, lots of napping, soups and hygge.... 

Since we're almost in February (7 weeks 'til spring!!) and I totally dropped the January resolution ball, I figured that this was as good a time as any  to share my intentions for 2017.

So, I'm totally a tactical person and I like actionable resolutions--- like that time I chose a word of the year (intention) as my resolution... yeah that didn't work. But like the other time when I resolved to floss more... that stuck-- and I still floss daily. My dentist is a happy one.  

Let's rewind to my 2016 resolutions first!

Have a smooth and seamless move into our new home

Well we made it there in one piece and lots got done before we even got there! Our walls are painted and artwork is hung. Things have found a place though they may not stay there (I'm talking to you guest bedroom and messy study.) and there might be one or maybe two boxes left to unpack... so check but smooth and seamless were very ambitious words.

Continue with some Marie Kondo Decluttering and Tidying Up.

 Okay, so I totally purged before we moved last January and I'm constantly purging the girls' toys and clothes. I do also follow her method of rolling clothes and ask myself if something 'sparks joy'beofre I buy it or even keep it. But I didn't finish the book yet. I have high hopes to but something else always comes up!

+ Introduce some green into my life.

 I am SO proud of this one! I did it.... after years or wanting to.  I totally had help though. My friend Dani found a store that was selling plants 20% off  and no tax! Then she spent and afternoon and helped me choose plants (based on size, lighting and ease of care), pots and other necessities. And then she took another couple hours of another day to help me pot and place them. SO THANK YOU, DANI! And guess what?! They are still alive after a year. I'm even moving them now, seeing how they respond to different lights and how they look in different spots. Yeah, I'm shamelessly patting myself so hard on this one I might fall over. 

Now onto

Here are my very few resolutions for this year... Remember I aim small but realistic.

Play with my kids

I don't play with my girls enough. I feed them, teach them, read to them and chat with them but I rarely play with them. I'm always running around cleaning or folding laundry or something. So this year, we're going to play. We played Just Dance as a family the other day and laughed so hard, we very nearly cried. But then C and I were trying to knit together and I read the instructions and very nearly cried! Win some and lose some I guess.

Eye care

As I'm getting older, I'm so seeing it in my eyes so I need to be more vigilant about a depuffer and eye cream and incorporating it into my skin care routine. I always forget the eyes!!

Hydrating my kids

My kids way prefer milk or juice to water. They only really get juice when we go out, at a party or when they are sick but boy do they love it. They will rarely if ever choose water though and I'm the total opposite. Give me water everyday all day. I'm thirsty always! That 's changing though... mom mission.

Fix some lighting in our house

Totally random I know but there are a few pieces that are driving me a little crazy in our house... like the red, orange and blue fixtures we have giving us coloured lighting in the house... ugh!  This needs my attention in 2017 for sure!

What about you? Do you have one big resolution or many little ones like me?

 I'll be popping in and out these days. I  do some part time work and it really picks up until tax season is over.Have a great day!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday! Saves and Splurges

Another round of Show & Tell Tuesday with Andrea. One of my faves. This one is focused on saves and splurges so you can bet I'll be checking out some other posts.

Here's how our family saves money when we can:

+ I almost never buy clothing full priced for my kids, D or myself. Nordstrom, Loft, Gap, Old Navy, Zara and BR are a few of my faves. I rarely if ever buy things full priced from them. I mean when a store offers 40-50% off purchases from time to time-- I ain't buying at full price. I sign up for emails that notify me and go from there. 

+ Most of my shopping is done online so less time for browsing and impulse buying. Return policies are so easy nowadays.

+ I don't buy everything at my regular grocery store or market where I buy my organic produce. The packaged items or basic items that I can get for less in the discount grocery store(between) the kids' schools)-- I'll do it. I also sign up for the grocery loyalty programs. The PC plus program is huge here in Canada. In the past two years I've gotten $360 cash back from it!

+ I don't buy if I can help it from a pharmacy or convenience store. Their markup is WAY too high most days. 

+ Cheap kids' socks because my kids lose socks like it's their job!

+ I buy in bulk when I can at Costco-- oh and when stuff in Costco goes on sale-- like Bounty- watch out!! 

+ I stock up on kiddie gifts at Michael's/Amazon when they have a huge sale or even Anthro or Nordstrom for adult friend/teacher gifts. Birthdays are easier because of it! 

+ We don't eat huge amount of meats and we love beans so that saves some money for sure.

+ Dollar store for the win for gift wrap, ribbon, kid crafts, shower caps and hair ties! 

+ I rarely ever do laundry or run my dishwasher during peak hours. The savings are real and huge!!

But we splurge on things too ...

+We buy organic dairy, fruit and veggies with edible skin and meats when we can. If we eat out, we relax the rules but other than that, we try to do what we can at home. Oh and we eat out once or twice for the week.

+Even in my twenties, my feet would hurt and blister and then I get cranky-- so I pay a premium for well fitting, comfy footwear. Good boots and shoes around here! I'm doing the same for my kids as well especially my somewhat flat footed four year old! 

+We use furniture everyday so we tend to pay a bit more for our  bigger ticket items. We've had some pieces that have held up through ten years of marriage and two kids... some I'd like to replace now but they're still going strong!

In my thirties, with duller and breakout prone, I've been paying for skin care especially the stuff that stays on my face! Here's my routine for a couple years now.

Can't wait to hear about the other saves/splurges. Hopefully, it will help me find other items/tips and tricks to save and not more items to splurge on :-s

Monday, January 23, 2017

Birthday Weekending

So some stellar plans were in the works for this weekend. We were heading to Toronto to a fabulous dinner with friends, spending the night at their home and spending a lazy morning with them and their girls before slowly making our way back home.

But instead, on Saturday morning, I woke up with a very quesy and uneasy feeling in my stomach. And man did I get a stomach bug to end all bugs. Information overload I admit,  but I threw up until there was nothing else to throw up and then my body was still trying to throw up. So much weakness, aches and pains. I literally needed help to get off the bed sometimes. So not fun and so yeah... plans got cancelled.

But you know what, time to make some lemonade out of that BIG lemon. First off, thank the Lord D was here to help with the girls since I couldn't help myself much less two somewhat needy individuals... Secondly, it's always good to be close to your own bathroom (and not someone else's) when you're leaning on your TB.  Everyone in my family is safe and (somewhat) healthy. And I got to spend my birthday with my three favourite people on Sunday!

They made me breakfast in bed. Rye toast and tea as that was all I could handle lol.

My C made that painting of the flowers in the corner of the tray. I love it!!

I opened presents and cards and the grown ups watched Life in Pieces and The Mindy Project until we ventured out to lunch.

Some more sitcoms, naps and takeout wanton soup before cake and my four year old counted out how old I was!

So though not the birthday that was planned, it was certainly still a very special one thanks to my very special D (who isn't feeling 100% too)  and my sweet peas.

Linking up with beautiful Biana today.

Friday, January 20, 2017

currently... on my almost birthday

 Every year around my birthday, my favourite thing to do is a currently post. Since my day is this weekend, here's an early post

thinking | that I have got to get my clean eating back on track. I fell off the rails in TNT and boy am I getting trouble getting back on track. The good news is that we've started back with our soups and our smoothies. The snacking, not that good ;-s 
drinking | Smoothies... and water.... and tea. That's about it!
reading | I just finished the Nazi Officer's Wife for our book club and though it was off to a slow start, once you get into it, man it's a good one. Makes you appreciate this life we live! I'm also slowly enjoying Upstairs at the White House- My Life with the First Ladies from a past chief usher at the White House.
loving | These pics of A in Trinidad. She is my poser, that's for sure. 

wanting | to lose 10 lbs magically!

watching | This is Us, The Bachelor (ugh!) and sitcoms. Finished Downton Abbey last December and really want to start The Crown.
listening | To Podcasts. Here To Make Friends (a bachelor recap) cracks me up... but I switch it off the minute my girls get in the car. Not very family friendly programming. 
remembering | last year and the mayhem that was our life as we were moving into our new home. Times have changed!!
trying | to teach A how to read. Girlfriend is getting it! 
wishing | that this cool January weather does not suddenly dip into the minus temps any time soon.
planning | Life, trips and travel for this year. Easter with friends, a Lionel Richie/Mariah Carey concert, a family wedding in July! Fun times! 
enjoying | just chilling with my three peeps. A low key January is in order.
day dreaming | of when my baby was really a baby.
(the chubbiest she has ever been)
waiting |  for the weekend! The week after you come back from vacay is a loooong one.
liking | these new pandora earrings D gifted me for Christmas. 
wondering |  how to get my seven year old to improve her penmanship. Girl needs help! A reader she is but a writer.... not so much. 

needing | lightbulbs, matches, neosporin, blush and tortilla chips. It's nice out today. I'll venture into Walmart! 
wearing | lots of eye cream and moisturizer but my skin is so, so dry and flaky! And tunics and fleece leggings!
noticing |that the house is very bare (and clean)since I took my Christmas decorations down. Not going to lie, I'm kinda liking it. 
starting | to plan our trips for the year. Working out properly again-- not vacation mode working out. Beginning work for tax season. Blogging takes a backseat from now until April when I do some part time work. 
pinning | nothing!
smelling | I gifted D's mom a simple Body Shoppe Jasmine scent for Christmas and I love it! Might have to get one for myself.
thanking | God for a healthy, happy year.

This birthday, we are meeting some awesome foodie friends, the same one we spent Christmas with, in Toronto for a lovely dinner out. Then we spend some time with the kiddos and enjoy a relaxing Sunday! Oh and a Dufflet's chocolate truffle cake is on mind, big time! (see the'wanting' above and why it's not happening)

Linking up with 
AndreaErika and Narci for Favourites on Friday
  and Amanda for Friday Favourites

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Our Trip to Trinidad

We just came back last week from our trip from my homeland, Trinidad and Tobago. It was wonderful seeing family and friends, having lazy days, eating all our old favourites and enjoying the sometimes sweltering heat. Here are just a few too many pictures.

New Years Eve was spent at D's mom's house with his family. My grandma and favourite aunt also came . The kids and their cousins printed invitations, made confetti cupcakes and 'decorated'. The adults ate takeout in fancy china, drank champagne and took turns wearing the 5-6 party hats that we had.

I managed to meet up with a few high school friends at my friend Natika's house. It was wonderful seeing all these lovely ladies after so long.

The hostess with the mostess. We were friends for seven years in high school!
 My kids swam in her pool and kiddie pool like it was their job.

Another university friend and I met for lunch.

My kids had LOADS of cousin time. They also met a teeny tiny new cousin who they adored.
 Feasting on mangoes and playing with the husky next door ;-s
 These swings were a total favourite.

Lots of food. 
A is pictured by the 'doubles man'. Doubles is a curried chickpeas sandwich served for breakfast in Trinidad. It sounds weird but it is SO good. 

Fresh coconut water

They both sampled different Caribbean fruit. Here they are pictured with pomerac. A went a little crazy over it sliced and sprinkled with salt. C preferred portugals( a variety of clementine). They both were meh re:pommecythere and adored mangoes.

We managed to make it out one night to POS with friends for some Mediterranean  tapas and wine.
pictured in the forefront is an egg with portobello mushroom. Truly delicious.

Followed by a drink at Siam, a POS nightclub.
(Pretending that it wasn't way past my bedtime)

And of course there was lots of grandparent time.

My parents were there for a week of our visit as well.

And lots of time outside enjoying this weather. Lots of walks.

'Climbing trees'

Swinging on ropes!

Bare (usually dirty) feet at night!
Such beautiful memories!

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