2015 – A Busy Mother’s Year In Review

Don’t have too much time for this one today but I did want to do a short write up on a year that was one crazy ride.

I saw a video that really sparked the idea for this blog post – check it out below:

texas_trip_horse2015 was all about discovering new places with my favorite people. My partner and I had the opportunity to explore more our our beautiful home state, Texas! We took two road trips, one to visit family in Houston and the other to visit old college friends in Dallas. This was big for us because it was one of the first trips we’ve taken without the little ones – luckily for us, Grandma helped out. Normally an epic road trip like this would have involved lots of planning a head of time. We really have the keep the kids occupied with different activities along the way otherwise we tend to go a bit…. well… crazy.

The girls and I took a trip to California where we treated ourselves to wine and spas. The ladies at La Estetica in San Francisco (well, San Mateo) made us feel right at home and treated us like we were royalty. Then we popped up to the wine country and the rest starts to get a little bit hazy after that.

Finding that balance between letting yourself unwind and working hard has always been a difficult thing for me. I feel like this year I really was able to get more balance and this effected all different areas of my life in a positive way. From the people I was with to the things I was doing, being happier in general made every experience more memorable.

I’m looking forward to what 2016 brings. I’m hoping I can piggy-back off this positive energy that 2015 had and really hit the ground running in 2016. One of my goals, like always, is to blog more and to share my thoughts and experiences. These seems to always get left at the bottom of the lift but I am going to try make a conscience effort to apply myself more in this area.

Happy New Year Followers!


Disaster Strikes and Lessons Learned

If you remember my last post then you’ll know how optimistic I was for this coming year. Now to be clear, I am still very optimistic that this is going to be a great year, I mean, for one, I’m blogging consistently. However, disaster struck at home when our furnace decided to no longer work. Of course this would happen in the middle of a cold snap.

cold-days-aheadWe had to get the thing fixed we did end up costing an arm and a leg. Luckily we were able to dip into our savings fund a bit so we didn’t feel too much of an impact, especially after the Christmas season. Now, i’m trying to stay positive about the situation and I did find a silver lining in the whole thing. The furnace breakdown did cause me to take some time to look up exactly what I should be doing to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I figured I’d share my findings with the readers, and yes, I realize that this is not my typical healthy living style post.

So, we should all be having regular furnace maintenance – we got lucky that we only need to few a few electrical wires. I read about cases where people had to replace the whole unit which ends up costing way more than an arm and a leg. We ended up schedule a year check with our repair company so we’ll now be able to avoid this situation again.

Just to be clear, we did have it looked at a few years ago but we need to make sure it’s more often than that. So it may be worth checking your records to find out when your last service was.

Well, like I said, not my typical blog post but I thought this was worth sharing and still fits into my plan to blog more often and still talk about my life and lifestyle.

Let me know what you think about this kind of post. Was it a complete bore-fest? Reach out to me on Twitter if you like!

California Getaway – Spa Trip For Mothers Day

This year was an extra special Mother’s Day as I was able to visit my own Mother in San Francisco, well she lives in San Mateo, but San Francisco is where I tell people we’re going. Not only did my Mom get to see her kids she also got to see her grand kids for the first time in many months. Aka: I get to have some time to visit day spas!

Quick Note: I know my blog is normally about parenting tips and activities but I’m starting to realize just how important it is to make time to treat yourself as well, it’s all about finding balance.

You may have read my blog post on moving with kids, well, many of the same principles apply when you’re traveling with kids. Here are a few of the main points that are worth noting when traveling with kids.

First, always pack ahead of time. Doing stuff last minute never works because there is always something that comes up. In our case, it was the family car that decided to stop working the day before we had to leave. Good thing I was all packed and ready to go otherwise I leaving would have been a nightmare.

The second is all about making sure you have the right entertainment. Keeping the little ones preoccupied is the main goal when traveling. As soon as they’re bored that when the unpredictable things start happening. They decided to wonder off and go on their own adventure.

All in all the trip to San Francisco was smooth sailing. Luckily, I prepared ahead of time. Now it was time to hand off the kids with Grandma, meet up with some old friends and explore some of California best spas and wineries.

I love being able to completely relax after a couple of stressful months. A friend suggested that on my trip back home to California we should do a “Spa-Crawl”, derived from the classic Pub Crawl idea. The goal was to visit a different Local Spa each day I was staying in San Mateo. How could I pass up such a great opportunity to unwind. So, I started researching different the best spas in San Mateo. There were a lot to choose from I had to narrow down my options slightly.

Our criteria? As much as I would like to go crazy and visit some of california’s luxury spas, I just couldn’t afford to. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that mid-range day spas were exactly what we were looking for. All in all we tried five different day spa. From a wellness spa to a foot spa and even a hydro-therapy spa. However, at the end of the day, there can only be one winning in my make-believe contest. And the winner of my best spa in SM goes too…. This San Mateo spa


spa in san mateo CAWe had such an amazing time visiting this spa that I even had to blog about it. This was one of the best and most relaxing experiences I’ve had in a very long time. We started with a mud-mask facials and then had a peel and waxing done (I’m not afraid of getting into details!). The best part of the whole experience was just how knowledgeable the staff was, I really felt like I was being taken care of. If any one is interested in knowing more about the spa you can of course contact me by leaving a comment below. You can also visit La Estetica Wellness Spa San Mateo Facebook Page.

Below are a few honorable mentions:

We had a fantastic experience at Cathy’s Spa as well. She was so good and really made us feel like we had been their a hundred times before.

Stay tuned for my next blog on some of the wineries we visited in California.

The Perfect Protein Shakes For Women – Tips and Tricks

Since my last post I’ve received a number of question about protein powders, in particular, the protein recipes that I mentioned at the end of my article. If you missed that articles here are some of the main points. There are many different types of protein powders available on the market – some a geared towards those people looking to repair muscles as quickly as possible, other are designed for people looking to meet their daily protein requirements. Furthermore, there are milk based proteins such as whey and plant based protein powders such as pea protein.

There are a number of different Protein Shakes for women. Below I’ve included some of my favourite recipes. Before we get to that, it’s important to discuss exactly what goes into a good protein shake.

How To Make A Protein Shake

There are three important steps when it comes to making a good protein shake. The first step is to create a liquid base. The reason for this is that without a good liquid base your shake will become thick and difficult to consume. Be careful not to use things such as orange juice or apple juice, we don’t want to add unwanted sugars to our healthy shake. If you own a juicer than by all means juice away! A good base is water, water is good for you and its cheap. You can also add low-fat milk, or even Greek yogurt, which is very high in protein.

Next, you’ll need your protein powder. Any protein powder will do. Whether you fancy pea protein, whey protein or even hemp protein. There are plenty of options available to you. Visit http://bestproteinpowderforwomen.me  for more information about protein powders.

Finally, you can add the good stuff. This can be anything from almonds, to berries and even your favourite fruits. Remember, it’s important to keep this things as healthy as possible but I wouldn’t blame you if you started experiment with some sweet chocolatey stuff (I’m guilty of it from time to time).

Here is one of my favourite and easiest recipes I make.

protein shakes for womenVery Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup of frozen berries
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 scoop of my vanilla whey protein powder



Image “Berry Harvest from Parents’ Garden” by VancityAllie .com

Protein Powder’s For Moms.

Protein powders have gotten a bad reputation in recent years. With most people associating protein powders with body building and professional athletes. However, most people don’t realize that protein powders are a great supplement for the everyday person as well. This includes us moms! Chasing around the kids all day, doing drop-offs and pickups, is a sport in its own right. Finding the time to eat a high protein meal can be extremely difficult. That’s why I’ve turned to protein powders in the morning – add a scoop of protein in my morning smoothies was an easy fix for me.

Picking the best protein powder for you…

There are a lot of different protein powders that you could be using – many of which can be found by doing a simple google search. Whey protein for women is one of the terms I searched for. I’ve found that whey protein, is a milk based powder and it worked great for me as it actually had a high amount of protein in each scoop. There’s nothing worse than getting a protein powder that has no protein.

There are many options on the market for vegetarians and vegans. One of the best plant based protein powders is pea protein. Pea protein is extremely easy to digest and still contains a high amount of protein. Another protein powder that works great is hemp protein (no, i’m not trying to trick you). Check out the image below that I snagged from http://www.bestproteinpowderforwomen.me. It’s a detailed look at the different protein powders that are available to you.

whey protein for women


As you can see there are a number of really great options available to you. Now, when it comes to actually ingesting the stuff I love you mix up a nice smoothies in the morning. Here are two of my favourite recipes:

Banana and Peanut Butter Smoothie

  • 10 ounces  skim milk or plain soy milk
  • tablespoon  natural peanut butter
  • banana
  • 1 scoop of your protein powder

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1/2 cup  frozen unsweetened strawberries
  • 1 1/2 cups  skim milk or light soy milk
  • 1 scoop of your protein powder



High Protein Snacks For Kids

We all know those little rug-rats can be picky eaters. Getting them to eat healthy and balanced foods can be a challenge to say the least. However, for little ones who are always on the go, exercise is equally as important as a high protein diet.

Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. Your muscles, your organs, and your immune system are made up mostly of protein. This is extremely important for growing little ones.

Here are a few examples for high protein meal ideas. It’s important to remember that although you want high protein foods, you don’t want to high sugar foods.

High Protein Meals

Cheese SnackMeats such as Turkey breast have almost 30g of protein per 100g. A turkey sandwich can be a convenient and delicious lunch that kids can take on the go.

Keep fruit such as apples, oranges, berries and melons in the fridge. One way you can keep fruit interesting is by using cookie cutters to make different shapes, even creating letters out of the fruit. Playing with your food isn’t always a bad thing!

Another snack that will keep kids coming back is cheese. One way to make cheese fun and interesting is make little bite-sized cubes. If you’re kids are old enough, try making fun kabobs out of different kinds of cheese.

Breakfast is the most important meal for active, growing kids. One food that is not only versatile but extremely high in protein is eggs. Eggs are great because they can be use in so many different types of meals. From scrambled, to boiled and all the way to french toast, the possibilities are quite endless; this keeps kids interested and coming back for more eggs.

For Parents

Although you will need more protein per day, the type of food doesn’t change. This is great as you don’t need to make meals specifically for children. To get even more protein into your diet you can try using Best Protein Powder for weight loss. Protein powders aren’t recommended for children as their bodies are still developing. However, for adults, protein powders are a great way to top up for daily intake. One way to do this is to create protein smoothies in the morning. You can add all your favourite ingredients such as, milk, yogurt, fruit to get that taste you like.

For more ideas, check out this site: http://www.healthychild.net/NutritionAction.php?article_id=455 or http://bestProteinPowderforwomen.me

Image by Nate Steiner

Tips For Moving With Kids

When young children are told they are moving they often feel scared, frightened and likely feel that their world is collapsing. Because a young child’s home is their safety net that they associate with family, love and comfort the thought of it disappearing can be quite frightening.  Explain to them exactly what will happen, and take the time to read some age-appropriate books about moving together.  For older children, the thought of leaving their friends, school and teachers and a familiar routine can be just as difficult.

Moving Tips For Kids

Moving With KidsBe positive, realistic and honest. Tell your children the good things that will come from this move, and why it will be good for the entire family. But do not make promises you can’t keep and don’t exaggerate.

To ensure your kids feel like they’re involved in this big life-changing event, and to help make the transition a little easier, below are a few tips for a smooth transition:

Have a goodbye party. Give your kids an opportunity to say goodbye to the people who matter to them most. Kids love a celebration, and this can be a great way to turn your move into a positive and exciting experience.

Let the kids help you pack. If they’re old enough, let them help you pack some of their personal belongings. Even at a young age, kids can sort their toys and help you wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. If you’ll be putting some things into storage, ask them what they would like to keep and what they don’t mind parting with for a little while.

Leave one box of toys to pack for last. Don’t make the mistake of packing all the toys first as you will be left with bored kids.  Your kids are going to need some things right up until you move out of your house.

Once you begin packing, label boxes of kids’ things very clearly.  Don’t just label boxes with the word “toys.” To make life easier for later on, include  as much detail about what is in the box as you can because, trust me, you won’t remember.

Make moving an adventure. Moving creates upheaval in your life, and wreaks havoc on your child’s normal routine, so take advantage and let your kids do things you normally wouldn’t.  Perhaps let them stay up late or have treats you don’t normally allow. I’m pretty sure that all the extra trips to fast-food restaurants will be welcomed.

You may want to keep extra clothes handy during your move because you never know when you’ll need them.  I’ve also found it helpful to keep extra ziploc bags and stain-treating spray handy, since you might not have access to a washing machine straight away.

Invest in a cooler, at some point before you move, you will have to unplug your refrigerator.  This can make it difficult to feed your kids, so I’ve found a cooler to be a lifesaver. It’s a great place to store heathy snacks like apples, veggie slices, prepared smoothies, and low-fat cheeses.

If you have a potty trained toddler or a pre-schooler and are travelling a long distance remember to keep some pull-ups handy.  It will give you peace of mind in case you can’t find a bathroom along the way.

Moving BoxesBuy a small backpack that your child can keep with them for the entire move.  Pack the bag with favourite toys and activities like dolls, books or blankets as well as other toys that they can play with along the way.

Don’t be in a hurry to unpack. If you start emptying everything out of boxes, immediately you’ll have piles of stuff everywhere, this will create unnecessary stress for everyone.  Unpack what you need slowly but make it feel like home, make it a priority to hang or display some of your familiar personal items as soon as possible. Doing this will help to make a new house feel like home for both you and your children.

Keep some DVDs handy that will keep your little ones entertained while you unpack.

Maintain your familiar routines as much as you can.  Once you’re in your new home, some things will change. But try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your kids. Stick to familiar bedtime routines and continue your tradition of Saturday morning pancakes if you can.

Make sure you take the time to reassure your kids that you are a constant in their life. When young kids lose the security of a home they’ve always known, they can become insecure about losing other important things in their life, too. Remember to remind them that even when homes and friends have to change, you will always be there for them.

Make a big deal about all the exciting new things you can do. A new home means new friends and new opportunities. Get out and explore all the cool new attractions that you can visit if you’re in a new city, or take advantage of all the neat things your new home has to offer that your old home didn’t.

Buy some blank postcards they are a great way to stay connected to friends and family.  Kids will be proud to show off their new home, and even young children who can’t write can draw a picture to send to friends or a family member.

Lastly, once you’ve unpacked keep the moving boxes for your kids. They make fantastic tunnels and forts that will keep them entertained for hours!

Image Provided By Heather Weaver & Alan

Themed Birthday Party Ideas

So your child’s birthday is fast approaching and you’re racking your brain trying to come up with some savvy ideas. Of course you could do the usual and invite some children over to run around the backyard like every parent does, but you want something cool and unique to make your little one feel really special.

Below is just a sample of some fun chic birthday party ideas that will make your child’s birthday party a bash to remember.

Themed BirthdayBirthday Party Themes

Aquarium Party:

a party at the aquarium is a guaranteed fun time. There is nothing on Earth quite like getting so close to exotic creatures of the deep. Most importantly it won’t cost you an arm and leg. Many aquariums offer special party rooms and you can even request a special behind-the-scenes tour.

Museum Party:

Museums may be educational but they are still lots of fun for kids. If your child loves the museum, a party amongst the artifacts will be the perfect setting. Some facilities offer party ready rooms with special tours available. Or go on a tour of the museum and celebrate afterwards with a cake to look like your child’s favorite exhibit, such as a mummy, t-rex or an Egyptian pyramid.

Go-Kart Party:

Your child may not be old enough to drive yet so this is a perfect time to let your child and his friends get behind the wheel. Go-karts racing can offer an afternoon of fun since all party attendees will actually be racing its one of the most engaging and crowd pleasing birthday activities.

Cupcake Party:

Yes you may have a huge mess to clean up afterward but throwing a cupcake party will be easy. Purchase lots of different flavorings, toppings, icings and of course, eggs, butter and flour. If you really want to go all out buy personalized aprons as party favours. The birthday child and the baking crew will remember this party long after the sugar highs have disappeared.

Bowling Party:

Bowling parties are super fun, they are affordable and fun for parents too. Some bowling lanes offer birthday packages that include two hours of bowling, shoes and pizza for everyone. You may also be able to rent a private room to gather at afterwards to open presents.

Of course there are many themed parties, outdoor or indoor parties the key is to start planning as early as possible to ensure it’s a hit.

For more information and other ideas try this site


Image by Janet

Rainy Day Activities For Kids

Rainy DayWondering what to do with the kids when its pouring with rain outside, believe it or not a rainy day can actually be lots of fun for young kids. There are tons of indoor activities that you can take advantage of. You can have fun with Playdough, get musical, do arts and crafts activities, play games, have fun in the kitchen or sing and dance.

Rainy Day Activities For Kids

Here’s a easy Play-dough recipe that will keep for a long time in a airtight container, I make this for my kids and they love it especially as they can make whichever colour they choose.


  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g salt
  • 140ml water
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
  • Few drops of food colouring


  • Mix together the flour and sale in a large mixing bowl, add the water and oil.
  • Knead well until mixture is smooth about 10 minutes. Just add a bit more flour or water until the consistency is smooth.
  • Add food colouring and knead until the colour if completely blended.
  • Store in a plastic bag in an airtight container.

Want to make music? Get out your pots and pans and use wooden spoons – you have your own drum set. Use the lids as cymbals. Use plastic bottles as shaker bottles, fill them with small stones or pasta shells, think you get the picture, a little noisy but lots of fun.

Make potato stamps it’s a simple and fun art activity. All you need are a few potatoes, wash and dry them, slice them in half and use a marker to outline your shape, remember you will be cutting these shapes that will only need to be a quarter inch deep. Do not cut through your shape as the shape should protrude out from the rest of the potatoe.

Pour your paint into a shallow dish and dip the potato stamp into the paint and press against the paper if you are making posters or onto blank cards or t-shirts.

Image by Marc Becher

Summer Activities for Teens

Figuring out how to keep teens busy during the summer months can be quite challenging, going to the park or playing video games day after day isn’t really challenging.  Some ideas that you can discuss with your teen that may appeal to them are:

Summer Activities For Teens

Summer ActivitiesVolunteering: This requires a little leg work at the beginning in order to determine where your teen would like to volunteer, but the experience can certainly be rewarding.  There are numerous places that offer volunteering opportunities.  If your teen is interested in the medical field they can volunteer at a hospital or a medical centre.  Perhaps he/she may be interested in working with animals, an animal shelter or veterinary clinic would be a perfect place for them to help and learn.  If your child enjoys reading then a book shop or a library would be the perfect place for them to offer their time, especially as it would keep them interested in reading.  Perhaps Video and Television Production appeals to your child.  There are numerous companies in every community that has these companies and it’s a perfect place for your child to learn the ropes.  Volunteering will allow your teen to build their confidence and it will help them eliminate a field that they thought they might be interested in pursuing as a career but after volunteering may feel it is not what they want to do.  It’s anenormous learning experience.

Summer Camp:  How teenagers spend their summer break will create memories that they may savor for the rest of their lives.  For teens who have the opportunity to attend summer camp it will give them the chance to bond with other teens their age and in some cases may even build life-long friendships.  If your teen attended camp as a child he/she may be ready to work as a Junior Camp Leader.  Whether your teen attends as a participant or a Camp Leader, a summer camp opportunity will allow them to spend their summer in an extremely productive way.

Part-time work:  Some teens may be ready to join the work force, working will provide them with the opportunity to build their confidence and make some pocket money.  Teens will most likely find work in retail or fast food restaurants.  Some may even have the chance to work with family or friends who own a business.

Finding significant and challenging experiences for your teen during the summer can make them feel happy and most importantly productive, these experiences will likely teach them useful life lessons too. For more ideas try this link.

Image by Chesapeake Bay Program