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Feed the Hope - A hunger crisis in our own back yard

Last week I sat down with the two youngest to talk about the importance of giving back to our community. After our conversation, we took a road trip to our local Food Bank and donated 36 lbs of Catelli pasta and other healthy food! These two, they fill my heart!

Whenever we’re alone in the car together (which with four kids doesn’t happen often) my husband and I often talk about what we want to make sure we teach the kids as they grow older.

We talk about silly things, like making sure they know to walk on the right hand side when passing someone in a hallway, and the difference between there, their and they’re – but also more serious issues like the importance of giving back and supporting those who need a helping hand.

In between graduating university and becoming a “real adult” I spent some time in a grassroots orphanage in Kenya, where resources were minimal. It was such an eye-opening experience to see what life was like without enough of the basic necessities such food and clothing.

Since then, whenever I’ve heard terms like “hunger crisis", - I’ve thought of third world countries and orphanages similar to the one that I stayed at.

The vision of hungry children from this orphanage has been forever engrained in my head.

However, recently I learned that there is a hunger crisis in our own back yard.

Did you know that 1 in 5 Canadians have used the Food Bank at least once in their life?
And that one third of Food Bank users in Canada are children and youth?

Think about that! Think about the families in your social circle. Statistically 1 in 5!

1 in 5!!!

As a parent this breaks my heart, for both the children and youth with empty bellies and for the parents who aren’t able to fill up their kid’s lunch boxes or provide them with a nutritious dinner every night.



This blog and online platform means the world to me. Not only does it allow me to connect with and support families from all over the world, but I also get the opportunity to partner with brands and companies that I know, love and whole-heartedly stand behind.  

Earlier this year I announced my partnership with Catelli Pasta, when I talked about my strategies for beating the “meal time mom guilt” and shared our family’s favourite quick + easy pasta recipe (You can read the post here).

But I didn’t just partner with Catelli because I love me a good bowl of pasta.

I partnered with them because I am so aligned their mission, values and what they are trying to achieve!

Catelli recognizes the hunger crisis in Canada and has set out to support Canadian families who need a helping hand.

In 2009 they launched the Feed the Hope Campaign and have since donated millions of servings of pasta to those in need. This year, for the 10th anniversary of Feed the Hope, Catelli  has pledged to donate a serving of pasta for every box of Catelli pasta purchased to 15 food banks across Canada, with a goal of donating 1 million servings.

That’s 1 more million bellies that are going to be full!

Man, that lights me up!

This blog post isn’t like most of my posts. In this blog post I am flat out asking you to help Catelli in their mission and support Canadian parents to feed their families!

The next time you go to the grocery store, I’m asking you to purchase a box of Catelli Pasta or some other nutritious food and donate it to your local food bank. Every little bit counts!

You know what they say, when you’re raising kids, it takes a village… so let’s band together to Feed the Hope!

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#CatelliFamilies #feedthehope

DISCLOSURE: This post was sponsored and created in partnership with Catelli Pasta. As always, I only partner with brands that I truly love and endorse. All opinions are my own.
 

 

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Making Their House Our Home: How We Transformed Our Office In Just Over One Day

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Making Their House Our Home: How We Transformed Our Office In Just Over One Day

As many of you know, I’ve been in redecorating mode for about a year and a half now.

Almost five years ago, when my husband and I decided to move in together, I ended up moving into the house where he lived during his first marriage.

I’m not going to lie, this didn’t come without challenges. I often felt like I was living in another woman’s house, because I essentially was. As I’ve said in a previous post about our recent kitchen renovation, it’s been extremely important to me to make this space feel like “ours”, all while respecting the traditions and memories that are still very important to my husband and stepchildren.

When we wrapped up our kitchen renovation last fall, my husband would have told you that we were all done with the redecorating!

I had other ideas in mind! My next stop was the office!

Finding a compromise between our personal styles has been a bit of a challenge. In my perfect world, everything would be painted white. And I mean everything! I love the modern, sleek and clean look.

His style is more rustic and country. He loves the look of real wood.

In order to convince him that re-doing the office was a good idea, I had to darken things up and appeal to his masculine style. I also had to promise not to paint the shelves white.

But my motivation for changing up this space wasn’t only because I wanted it to flow with the style of the rest of the house. It was motivated by my desire to get us organized!

Since I moved in, the office has been our dumping ground. Unopened mail, sheets from school, work, notes, papers, anything that we needed to hide when guests come over was always shoved in the office. The clutter made me feel so overwhelmed that I just shut the door and pretended it didn’t exist.

Unfortunately, because of the clutter, the space was rarely used for what it’s actually for – to work!  

I’m a firm believer that your work environment has a huge impact on

a. how you feel and
b. your level of productivity

Plus when you truly love a space, you take pride in it and WANT to keep it clutter free!

So, with all of those persuasive arguments, I FINALLY convinced my husband that it was time to change things up. 

To be honest, I still can’t believe he agreed!

When I got the “go ahead” I had my good friend and decorator Abby Campbell pop over to brainstorm what we were going to do. Then we sent my husband to Home Depot to pick up the supplies! We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to partner with  BEHR® for this make-over project. 

Instead of telling you what we came up with, I’m going to just show you!

HERE'S THE BEFORE

Note, the office in the “BEFORE” picture is much cleaner than I described above. In the spirit of being transparent, I’ll disclose that I hid most of our junk underneath the desk.

 
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HERE'S THE AFTER

 
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There is no junk hidden in this picture. In order to effectively de-clutter the space, we had to do a MAJOR purge. Let me tell you, it felt SO good!

To paint the office, we used BEHR MARQUEE® Interior Paint. This paint is phenomenal. It’s so smooth and goes on in one coat which makes the whole process much quicker!

We used BEHR MARQUEE in Wheat Bread on all the walls with the exception of one, which we painted in Carbon.

(I told you I was trying to keep it masculine!)  

I’ll be honest, when I heard that this paint went on in one coat, I had my doubts. But guys, it actually does!

Yes, you read that right. We covered up those dark red walls in ONE COAT!  

I have to tell you. This room make-over was so quick and easy. By painting the walls, changing up the lighting and re-organizing items that we already had, we modernized this dated space in just over a day.

Now the office reflects the updated style of the rest of the house!

Before we painted the room, I used to keep the office doors closed, because truthfully, I was embarrassed by it's state. Now they are wide open, ready for everyone to see.

Plus, we love the vibe so much that now we’re actually using the space to work!

 


Now… which room should I tackle next?

Just kidding Honey! (well… kind of!)

 

DISCLOSURE: We partnered with BEHR® for this project.  However, as always, all project ideas, statements and opinions are my own!

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If Your Husband Is Driving You Crazy, You Need to Do This Right Now....

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If Your Husband Is Driving You Crazy, You Need to Do This Right Now....

My husband has been working his tail off over the last couple months. 

Even more than usual. 

In addition to his demanding job, he's been been doing some renovations on our cabin up north, with the sole purpose of making it more comfortable for our big blended family.  

(It currently has no indoor plumbing. As much as I love the great our doors, I do require a shower!)  

The cabin is 5 hours away, so he's been gone overnight A LOT! 

And as anyone who has done home renovations knows, the process can be pretty stressful! 



Things have become a lot busier for me as well. I've had more deadlines, have been away at a couple conferences, and have been working on some exciting (but time consuming) projects. 

He's busier than ever. I'm busier than ever.

The four kids continue to be just plain BUSY! 

We're like two ships passing in the night and when we DO see each other, it's bedtime and one of is us sawing logs before the other even gets into the bed.

In addition to be physically tired, we're both emotionally drained. Which means:

  • we're quicker to get irritated with each other

  • we're more irritable in general

  • we're distracted

  • we're not communicating

  • we're not practicing self-care as much as we should

On up on that, lately, the little things that don't usually bug me about him, have started to. The dishes in the sink when the dishwasher is empty. The socks on the floor. The full roll of toilet paper sitting on top of the empty toilet paper roll.. It's all starting to drive me INSANE! 

(Okay, the toilet paper thing has always drove me insane, but you get what I'm saying) 

Usually, I don't think twice about these minuscule annoyances, but since we've been so busy and not connecting, the little annoying things seem like BIG annoying things! I've started to sweat the small stuff. 

 I can say this to you without feeling like you're going to judge me, because we've all been there right?

Life happens! It gets busy. Many times, relationships take the brunt! 

So other day, the doorbell rang. It was a plumber. He asked if we had arranged for some work to be done. I said "no sorry, you must have the wrong house" and sent him on his way. 

He questioned me, but I said "no really, we did not call a plumber"

A few hours later I got a call from my husband, who was more than a little irrated at me. 

"Why did you send the plumber away? He had everything for the bathroom up north. I have to leave with that stuff at 5am tomorrow morning"

I explained to him that I had NO idea that anything was being dropped off, and Mr. Plumber didn't say anything about delivering parts. He had asked if we were getting work done. 

Knowing that I was right, my husband was more frustrated at the situation, than me. But, like I said above, I ended up getting the brunt of it.

He clearly has been getting annoyed at me too

When we hung up, I mumbled to myself "jeez I'm not a mind reader, how am I supposed to know" and continued to be straight up annoyed with him. 

Within seconds I received a text message. 

I thought to myself....  "oh goodness here we go!" 

But when I read it, he said.... 

"Get a sitter on Monday night, we need a date night" 

I laughed to myself and wrote back "I'm on it"

Do you want to know how we knew that we needed a date night? 

Because we are starting to drive each other crazy! 
We are quicker to snap. We aren't communicating. Details are getting missed. 

We need to get back on the same page, and make some time to just talk!!

Moral of the story, when your spouse starts to drive you crazy - You don't need less of him, you need more of him. 

It's a sign that you need to book yourself a date night (or three) 

When you and your man are at you best, you're better able to deal with extra stressors that come with blended family life... and just life in general. Oh, and you're less likely to sweat things like missed plumbers. 

 

For those of you who are wondering, all turned out okay with the plumber situation. The guy came back and we are well on our way to having full washroom capabilities at the cabin! (Thank-God) #firstworldproblems


 


 

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 Potty Training, Mom Guilt & 4 Valuable Parenting Lessons

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Potty Training, Mom Guilt & 4 Valuable Parenting Lessons

When Reese turned two I proudly announced that she was going to start Potty Training. We were going to tackle it head on.

I was confident that she was going to be one of the first in her daycare class to be diaper free!
I quickly transitioned her from diapers to Pull-Ups® naively thinking that the whole process would be smooth sailing!! 
Because well... it couldn't be that hard right?!
WRONG! 

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Let's Talk About Sex

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Let's Talk About Sex

Since this is NOT my area of expertise, I had my friend Kelly McDonnell-Arnold, a relationship and sex therapist, and certified sexologist from Bliss Counselling come over so I could pick her brain! 
We chatted about what to do if you're just TOO tired, how sex and working out seem to be that two things that fall of your to-do list when thinks get busy, why communication is the KEY (surprise surprise) and the difference between men and women's sex mojo! 

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5 Years Ago Today... My Life Changed Forever

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5 Years Ago Today... My Life Changed Forever

Tonight we're celebrating the 5 year anniversary of our first date by hitting up our favourite restaurant. Yes, that's right, with four kids in the house and a crazy schedule this week we've carved out some time to celebrate what many would view as a minuscule milestone.

But it's not minuscule to us. It marks the day that neither of us saw coming. As I've said, marrying a man with three kids and an ex-wife was certainly NOT in my five year plan, and he definitely didn't see another marriage and baby in his future

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