Saturday, 28 September 2013


My teenage years were rough. Not in a rebellious, picked on, or poverty stricken way, but in a hormonal roller coaster sort of way. Which doesn't sound so bad after the other scenarios, but trust me, it was bad. I didn't think I had any control over what the day would be like, giving up my power of choice without being aware or conscience of the decision. Slowly over time, I gained a moment of clarity - probably in a counseling session, but I don't remember the location, just the feeling - that I am in complete control of my day no matter what is going on around me or inside me. It was like a giant light bulb suddenly flooding my whole being with light; an ah ha! moment so huge that it felt like my entire being was energized and redirected. Well, quite frankly it was. From that day forward I chose to look for and focus on the good, to smile and warm my face with the sun, and to use my journal as a sounding board and a place to record all that I'm grateful for - big and small. At first, I struggled to find just five things I was grateful for. As I continued to flex my 'gratitude muscles' finding and focusing on the good and grateful moments in each day became second nature. I was doing what felt right, and following my decision to be happy everyday, which made being grateful second nature.

As it turns out, by following what felt right I may have stumbled upon a great truth ahead of  science. This video displays in a brilliantly simple way the power of gratitude. Watch. Learn. And spread the love.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

No Poo

I'm sure you've heard the term "No Poo" by now, and aren't thinking this is a post about constipation. BUT for those that need a bit of an explanation, "No Poo" refers to a hair care method that shuns modern shampoo and condition for ingredients you'll find in your kitchen. After doing some research on the apple cider vinegar and baking soda method, I found that while some swear by these two ingredients, most people were ending up with dry and brittle hair. SO, while I really want to avoid chemicals in my hair, dry and brittle hair just didn't sound worth the swap. Then I found information about using raw honey for hair care! Honey is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, completely natural and right up my alley! I gave this method a go and wanted to give my feedback to all of you.

The method: Mix 1tbsp honey with 3tbsp warm water [add essential oils if you wish] and massage into the scalp. Don't worry about washing the hair strands, just the scalp. After the honey has been distributed evenly and really worked into the hair, wash out with plenty of warm water.

What I found: The first few days of switching to honey were great! My hair was soft, I was able to style it easily, and it held it's shape without product. But then, as expected, my hairs natural oils began to take over. An adjustment period is expected with any new hair care regimen, but when the 'adjustment' means getting used to increasingly greasy locks, I was not willing to go any further. My soft hair turned into slightly sticky hair, and while it still held a style it was due to a build up of oils. All my reading says that three weeks is a good amount of time to give this method the time it needs to work its magic on your hair...but this magic turned out to be more of an illusion in my case. Seriously. Right after washing my hair, it would be a greasy, sticky mess...not the sexy Mama look I'd like to rock when i find a moment to shower hah!

In a nutshell, after three weeks of trial I recommend you save yourself the weeks of tortuously greasy locks, and find a natural shampoo that you love and can stand behind. For me, live clean* is a brand I can stand behind, and is natural enough that I use it on my kiddos as well. It is definitely one of my favorite things!

*this is not a paid or sponsored post, simply my own findings and opinions

Monday, 23 September 2013

Rancho Vignola

A quick FYI for those who would like to try something truly delicious! There is a company called rancho vignola here in Canada (based out of British Columbia) that sources out the freshest nuts, seeds, and dries fruits from the current seasons crops. They then make their delicious finds available to consumers at wholesale costs, which is beautiful music to my ears! Last year was my first time ordering from them, and the whole experience was wonderful - my favorite part being eating said deliciousness. My boys had never enjoyed raisins until trying Rancho's organic Thompson raisins. I purchased a 5lbs bag last year, thinking it would last a year since I would be the only one eating them. The bag lasted a month. The raisins were THAT good. So if you're looking for dried fruit, nuts, and seeds that are so fresh and delicious that you'll be looking forward to the next years crop to try out even more goodness, check out rancho vignola. But hurry, orders need to be in by September 27th*.

*order minimum is $500 so gather up your friends and put an order together! 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013


Back in mid August my sweet little boys planned a pink princess party for my 29th birthday. I knew they were planning something based on all the questions Darius was asking me ["Mom, do you like Star Wars or Princesses?"] but it was still a wonderful surprise! I was sent upstairs when my Handsome Husband arrived home from work, and was told to wait until I was called down. When I was finally invited to join in the fun, I found a table decorated with pink table cloth, plates, napkins, and cups, a crown, and princess party blowers. AND a princess castle pinata sitting on the counter waiting to be smashed after dinner. I felt special, loved, and spoiled by my lovelies. It's always a wonderful surprise to have so much thought and planning put into a celebration! 

Darius and Eli made me special birthday flowers

Not only did my boys shower me with all things pink, but they also gave me an iPad as a gift. Now, I'm not knocking iPad's, or my men's choice in gifts, but an iPad is wasted on me. I have a laptop, I have an iPhone, and an iPad just feels like the grey area between the two. So, after giving it a shot for a week [honestly it took me a few days to muster the courage to share my true feeling about the gift. The three of them were so excited to give the iPad to me, that telling them I wasn't digging it was a daunting task.] I decided to return it for something I would truly love and use. Any guesses what that would be?

A pair of bright yellow Merrel barefoot runners to round out my sneaker collection :) Some of you may think my swap out, a pair of shoes instead of an iPad, is crazy BUT these shoes get way more wear, and I LOVE the colour so much I wear them just for fun too! Who doesn't need a pair of yellow runners, or my "happy shoes" as I call them? 
When my knees are healed up I will put these new kicks through the ringer and give a review of them, but for now, I am completely in love with my happy shoes, and the wonderful men in my life that gave them to me. 

If you have a new pair of shoes that you're looking to break in with a race, check out this 5km run, and worthy cause, happening where you are!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Miss Melia's Run for Rett

I have this friend who is an incredible mom. Actually I have many friends who are incredible moms, but I want to tell you about one specific incredible mom. I have known Tanis since I was really young; in fact, I thought she was my cousin until I was about 10. No joke. Now that Tanis and I have both grown up sort of we've started families of our own and become Mama's to our little "mini-me's." Our stories, while much the same - in that we do school runs, grocery shops, clean house, and drive minivans - differ incredibly. Tanis' oldest, her daughter Melia, has Rett's Syndrome. Now if you're like me, you read that and had no clue what it meant. Cause I didn't when I heard the diagnosis a couple years ago. But I've been learning. And what I've been learning isn't great news. Here's a brief summary, courtesy of wikipedia:

       "Rett syndrome, originally termed as cerebroatrophic hyperammonemia,[1] is a neurodevelopmental disorder of the grey matter of the brain[2] that almost exclusively affects females but has also been found in male patients. The clinical features include small hands and feet and a deceleration of the rate of head growth (including microcephaly in some). Repetitivestereotyped hand movements, such as wringing and/or repeatedly putting hands into the mouth, are also noted.[3] People with Rett syndrome are prone to gastrointestinal disorders and up to 80% have seizures.[4] They typically have no verbal skills, and about 50% of individuals affected do not walk. Scoliosis, growth failure, and constipation are very common and can be problematic."

Melia and friends at one of the Rett Syndrome conferences this year
Melia is one of many girls facing this condition with no cure. Yet. This is where you come in ;) Being that Melia has an amazing Mama who doesn't take 'no cure' for an answer, Tanis does fundraising year round to help research take place. October is Rett Syndrome awareness month, and in honor of that Tanis has organized a virtual 5 km race called "Miss Melia's Run for Rett." How this works is you go HERE and register [at $25 this is a steal of a deal!] Then, Tanis sends you a race bib, you run/walk/crawl 5km[whatever you are able to do to cross off those km's!] sometime during October and take a picture of yourself in your race bib and gear. Send that awesomely sweaty photo to Tanis, and she'll send you a medal! All the proceeds from "Miss Melia's Run for Rett" will benefit Team Miss Melia - Girl Power 2 Cure [(, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.]

Tanis ran the "Disney Princess Half Marathon" this past February to raise funds and awareness

One of the best parts of this run is that it can be done ANYWHERE in the world on ANY day in October! You decide when you race - then do it:) So who wants to do something good for their bodies, while helping find a cure? If there is interest in running as a group, contact me and I'll set something up!

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Race Recap [sort of]

This past Sunday September 8th was the Canmore half marathon. While I'd love to report that I hit a PB, ran like the wind, and left it all on the course, I can't. In fact, I can't even report that I ran.
Two weeks ago I started noticing pain in both of my knees after I would run. I would stop and walk for a while, then get back at it. Eventually I wasn't able to run at all due to the pain. So I stopped running. Completely. On Friday I headed to my chiropractor to get an assessment and find out if I could run without causing damage. After checking the mobility of the joints, the muscles around them, and the location of the pain, he found that it was a "tracking" issue. In my case this means that my knee caps are pulling up and to the side as I move, instead of the straight up and down that they are suppose to do. This particular problem is being caused by severe tightness in the outside quadriceps muscles.
  And so, instead of running a half marathon, I've been stretching, icing, walking, and resting. No running, no weight lifting, no carrying anything other than Audrey for the next two weeks. As he laid the diagnosis and prescription on me, I knew I had two options: 1) I could take this as a major buzz kill, get super disappointed, and pout about not being able to run my goal race. Or 2) I could take this as a wake up call to put more of a priority on stretching and joint health, and be grateful for all that my body does let me do. I chose the second.
My knees have visible bruising all around the knee caps, I spend more time icing them than I have ever done with an injury before, and I've been doing targeted stretching, as well as yoga for full body flexibility.

 So yes, I missed my goal race this past weekend, but I am healing instead of hurting my body, which is a big win in my books.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Let Them Eat Cake!

I married into a pretty fabulous family. It's a fact. My husbands maternal grandma was a woman of many talents whom I grew to love quickly as we would sit and talk. She lived at my in-laws for a couple of years before she passed, and during that time she was grieving the loss of her husband, the love of her life. She would talk for hours about the past, recounting details of her time she spent living with her Nanny, her job at the telephone office, and the ins and outs of raising TEN children. Yes, that says ten. I learnt many valuable lessons from Grandma through her stories, and one of them came rushing back to me as I prepared to send my sweet first born off to school this week.
Grandma and Grandpa were not wealthy, and to make financial matters even more tight they added ten children to the mix. So while they may have been raising their brood during the dawning of 'convenience' food, Grandma made every meal from scratch. Between caring for the children still at home, cleaning the home, tending the garden, and making supper, Grandma took the time every weekday to prepare an after school snack. Her snack of choice for ten children [plus friends] was usually cake. Grandma had many reasons for the after school cake tradition, from the fact that she knew everyone enjoyed cake, to ensuring that all her children would be making a bee-line for her kitchen after school - and not someone else's. 
And so it was a given that today, being Darius' first full day of kindergarten, that I needed cake waiting on the counter for him when he returned home. The sweet aroma of vanilla and butter cream drifted through our home after school as Darius came bursting in the door. His excitement was evident as he recounted his first day of school, and his eyes sparkled as he enjoyed the cupcake in front of him. He sat only long enough to devour his cupcake, then he was off to the backyard, running, laughing and playing with his little brother. And it was in that moment that Grandma's wisdom sunk in. It is that moment of laughing, sharing, and filling me in on his wonderful day while he enjoyed something I had lovingly made him, that makes the cake magical. So while I won't always have cupcakes waiting for him [sorry Grandma, but cake is a special occasion treat in our house], Darius will always find something delicious to linger over and spend time with him Mama after school. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Enduring Love

As a young girl I dreamed of the prince that would sweep me off my feet. I dreamed about Sunday afternoon walks as a family, my prince and I walking hand in hand while the kids laughed and played around us. I dreamed about a real love story, in which my prince and I would have the starring roles. 
Now, firmly planted in adulthood, and living my childhood dream, I continue to appreciate the love stories of others. Take a moment and head over to vimeo to watch this video about Fred and his sweet Lorraine. Pure love is something to be celebrated, cherished, and sought after - and these two definitely had it. I hope this inspires you as much as it has inspired me.