Monday, January 23, 2017

Gold Polka Dots - My 2017 Planner

First of all, I would like to start this post by stating that I really need a new camera. I'm finding that my photo quality is horrible and I need some camera recommendations! Please message me on any social media and let me know what you're favourite camera is. 😊

Anyways...because it's January, I have to share my new 2017 planner.

I really struggled to find a planner that I liked this year. I really, really didn't want a spiral bound planner. Actually, I wanted one almost identical to my 2016 planner. I searched all through December and came up empty handed. I even considered printing new pages for last years binder, but I ran out of time.

I came across this planner at Michaels for 50% off ($20!). The gold polka dots caught my eye immediately, mostly because they match the Kate Spade coffee mug I bring to work everyday. I wasn't in love, but it was the last week in December and I decided to settle.

 Recollections had several options for planner types - vertical layout, horizontal layout, goal based, fitness based, etc. I can't stand vertical layouts, so I chose to go with the creative year in a horizontal layout.

I didn't love it at first, but it's really growing on me for these reasons:
  • The weekly layout is clean, uncrowded, and printed in pretty pastel colours
  • At the very back, there is a folder for loose papers as well as a sealed plastic pouch (perfect for pens)
  • Not only are there daily goals and notes, there are designated spots for weekly goals and notes
  • The tabs along the side are extremely strong and well designed
  • My favourite part? All the amazing stickers that come with it! There are more than enough for the year

Happy planning!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Finding Comfort as a Paranoid Parent (+ #AventMoms Giveaway!)

I have always been a paranoid parent. From the time Holly was born until she turned 6, I used a traditional baby monitor anytime she was sleeping. When she became old enough to wake us up if anything was wrong, my husband suggested that we finally ditch the monitor (aka not wake up at every little noise). I couldn't do it. What if she rolled out of bed and I didn't hear it? What if she started talking in her sleep and I missed it? What if she decided 3 a.m. was an appropriate time to play Barbies and I didn't notice? There were endless possibilities.

When we had our son CJ in 2014, the frugal mom inside me realized that it was time - instead of buying a new monitor, I could just move the old one. So that's what we did.

When CJ had just turned one, we went through a rough patch with his health. He woke up multiple times per night and coughed so hard that he would vomit in his crib. There were months of doctor visits, tests, and sleepless nights. I became extremely paranoid thinking that he would need me and I wouldn't hear him.

During this time, our baby monitor was a large sense of comfort for me. Although I couldn't see CJ, I knew that if I heard that particular cough coming through the speaker, I'd better run to check on him. If I woke up in the middle of the night worried, I could roll over and be reassured that the monitor lights were on. Over the last year, CJ has moved past these issues - something I'm extremely grateful for. But, to this day, I still wake up thinking I hear him cough.

When I recieved my first video baby monitor, I instantly thought back to last year and realized how much it could have helped our family. There were plenty of middle-of-the-night trips to check on CJ that could have been avoided if I could have seen him on a screen. Beyond that, waking up to a visual of my baby sleeping soundly in his bed would have greatly eased my paranoia.

When I turned on the Philips Avent SCD 630/37 Video Monitor for the first time, I quickly realized how far monitors have come in recent years. Not only can I clearly see CJ in his crib on a 3.5" digital screen in full colour, I can 2x zoom in on him, talk back to him, see the current temperature in his room, and even play him a lullaby.

This digital baby monitor has won the PTPA Seal of Approval and I can clearly see why. "Always close to your baby" takes on a new meaning when you can see you child's every move clear as day from up to 150 feet away.

To be honest, having a monitor like this one has not only eased my night-time paranoia, it will allow our family to move forward with a huge change.

My husband and I have spent the last 2 years dreaming of moving our bedroom to the lower level of our home to gain some space and allow our older girls to have their own rooms. I have been postponing the move since CJ was born for the sheer fact that being on a different floor than him scares me to death.

Knowing that I always have a monitor with a secure connection and a parent unit that can be powered or last up to 10 hours wirelessly makes me feel like I'm on the horizon of a bit more freedom and ready to make this transition. I'm beyond excited.

When CJ outgrows needing the monitor in his room (or should I say when I outgrow needing it in his room), we have big plans for it. The camera is sleek, modern, and sits perfectly on the bookcase in our main living area. When we're doing yard work, in our lower level, or sleeping, we'll have the convenience of viewing the entire main floor and checking in on what the kids are doing.

Baby monitors have come a long way since the days of hearing your neighbour on the phone through the receiver, and this one is so advanced that it truly blows me away. Ultimately, I feel less paranoid and much happier knowing that I can keep watch over my baby at any time.


Lucky for you, you don't only have to read about my love for the Philips Avent SCD 630/37 video monitor, you can enter for a chance to win your own! Philips is giving away 2 of these awesome monitors and you can enter to win one via the widget below. Best of luck!

Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Philips Avent and I received Compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own

Philips Avent #AventMoms Video Monitor Giveaway

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


My new sidebar photo!

2016 was a whirlwind year for our family - Chris got a new job, I entered into a new position, we bought a minivan, we had wedding events, and we finally got married!

The beginning of 2016 was hard for me. I was going through a bout of depression when I started back to work after maternity leave late 2015. In March of 2016, Chris left my current workplace (yes, we used to work together) for a better opportunity and it was rough. With a wedding on the horizon, life felt more hectic than ever.

 As Winter ended, things began to improve. The stress of our kids getting sick faded, significant changes in both Chris and I's careers occurred, and we began to plan our wedding events. We were faced with some challenges, but when I look back it was still one of the most fulfilling years of my life. We had a wonderful summer as a family, in July we had our Stag and Doe, in August we had our Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, and we ended the year on a high note when in October, we finally got married. 

2016 taught me 3 very clear life lessons. The first being that things aren't always fair or as they "should" be. Sometimes you just have to take the negative and make it into a positive, and I've been learning to do that. Second, I have learned that taking chances is necessary for progression. I'm really more of a "play it safe" type of person and Chris has helped me to realize that taking risks can help me to eliminate the "what if?" part of life, regardless of the outcome. Last but not least, I learned that as time goes on, it gets easier to spot those who really care about you. This year, with such a significant life event occurring for us, it became crystal clear to Chris and I who matters most in our lives.

This coming year will be all about enjoying the unplanned and going with the flow.

With that, here are some things I'm looking forward to in 2017:

1. Having no major events for the first time in years
2. Going on our honeymoon!
3. Making huge financial progress
4. More home improvements - we have a big bedroom switch planned!
5. Investing more time into my hobbies

And here are my official resolutions:

1. Continue saving money - We did an awesome job in 2016 and I have high hopes for 2017
2. Minimize the amount of "stuff" we own - This one is going to be tough for me
3. Learn calligraphy - A personal bucket list item


Wishing everyone a great 2017!

See last years post here
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