Saturday, January 30, 2016

What is Geocaching?

Geocaches are hidden treasures all over the world–seriously, almost 3,000,000 world-wide! We have been searching for these treasures, by geocaching, for about seven years and have had so much fun deciphering the description and utilizing a GPS for coordinates.  If you don't have a GPS to download the coordinates from you can download the app for a one time fee (under $15.)  I have it on my phone and because I have limited data, I upload the location of the caches onto my phone while I'm at home and then don't use to need data while we are at the park.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Five Activities for the Kids on a Rainy Day

Living on the west coast means we experience our fair share of rainy days!  What do we do to keep these kids busy with minimal involvement from us?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Brae Island's Tavistock Point Trail {Fort Langley, B.C.}

If you're looking for a scenic one hour walk in the Langley area, head on over to Brae Island.  This island is over the small (and picturesque) bridge on Glover Road in Fort Langley. The trail is a 4.2 km loop which includes scenic lookouts–this means it takes about one hour to walk. It is stroller-friendly and if your kids are looking for the perfect stick, they'll find plenty.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

An Adventure with Superfly Ziplines

Looking for an adventure paired with phenomenal views?   How does side-by-side zip-lining from one mountain to another in Whistler's backcountry sound?  Kai and I were able to experience Superfly Ziplines this past weekend and it was the perfect combination of adrenaline and awe; it even includes two of Canada's longest ziplines at about one kilometer long!  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Project 365 | Week 4

Project 365 shows a photo a day.  I've included the properties of the photo in case you are interested in those kind of things :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

FlyOver Canada: Flight of the Dragon {Giveaway}

Celebrate Chinese New Year and Year of the Monkey with FlyOver Canada's Flight of the Dragon!   This double feature runs from February 14th to March 6th and includes a simulated flight over China's Himalayas, the Great Wall, and Shanghai.  Then, lift off again for a majestic flight across Canada;  experience the sights, sounds, and smells while riding in specialized seats that fly 10 to 25 feet off the ground. I love the "wind" and pine-scented forests while my kids enjoyed the dips into the valleys.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Five Self-Care Ideas for a Frugal Introvert

Being a busy mom of four kids, I have realized that in order to be the best mom and wife that I can be, I need to take time for me. This is nothing new to most of you but how I do it might be different. I know some people would say "Go to the spa!" or "Go shopping!" or "Have a girls' night!", and these are all great options, but I don't enjoy spending money and I really get exhausted by the noise around me daily, so I enjoy a good escape. I used to be a quarterback on a women's flag football team and that was good for my soul, but that was when I "just" had one and then two kids. Now, my escapes need to be shorter so I try to do almost all of these daily.

Here are my five self-care ideas for a frugal introvert:

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mother Daughter Snowshoeing Date

This morning I took Nya up to Mt. Seymour–it was lovely and we got a fabulous parking spot!  I have written before about my tips for snowshoeing with kids but I would like to add to it: if possible, go on a weekday!

We only went about half way to the lake (500 m) but she was running the whole way.  Well, when she wasn't running she was throwing snowballs at me or trying to make a snow angel.  Here are some photos from our morning together.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Being a Motherless Mom

“Do you want to know what we’re having?" I asked my mom. "No, I’ll wait and see,” she said with a smile. There was no guarantee that she would get to meet this grandchild, my firstborn. Actually, it was highly unlikely. She had been given two weeks to two months left to live and I still had over three months left in my pregnancy. I guess she was being hopeful but I was feeling realistic and desperate to tell her. “Mom, in case anything happens, I really want to tell you.” She nodded her head in agreement while tears poured down her face, not wanting to accept this reality. I could barely get the words out: “It’s a boy.” We were both crying bittersweet tears. I am the oldest of five girls. The first and only grandchild so far was also a girl. This would be the first boy in our family and totally unknown territory for me.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Project 365 | Week 3

Here are this week's photos of the day. I've included more information; the lens, ISO, aperture, and shutter speed for those interested in such things. I feel like this project is making me catch more day-to-day things rather than try to work on my skills.  I only used my two "regular" lenses this week so hope to pull the 70-200 mm out again next week. I'm also going somewhere really fun on Saturday (yes, purposely vague!) so I'm hoping to capture some sweet images then.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Kid-friendly Rainforest Walk {Derby Reach, Langley}

One park that we return to often is Derby Reach Provincial Park.  There are many great trails but one of our favourites is the Edgewater Bar section as that means we get to spend time throwing rocks in the water once we're done our walk.  Our kids are happiest outside and running free so even though it was raining, that is what we did!  If you're looking for some sweet puddle jumping opportunities, you'll have your fair share on this trail–dress accordingly. I love B.C. and walking through a beautiful rainforest is so refreshing!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Why I Watch the Bachelor

My name is Louise and I watch the Bachelor.  Judge not, friends! I know, I know, it's not quality television, I get that, but let me tell you why I watch:

1.  Social time.  My friend Leah (sorry Leah, calling you out!) and I have watched a few seasons together.  It's a chance for us to get caught up on each other's lives and watch some light TV along with it.  If we miss some of the conversations it's no big deal because usually they're all along the same lines ("Why did I get a group date?" "I can see myself falling in love with him." "I need more one-on-one time" and "You look gorgeous.") I don't think I could watch it without a friend – I need to converse throughout, at the appropriate times, of course! Oh, and she has misophonia just like me so we snack accordingly.

{Leah, act natural!  Gary's taking a picture and I'm going to post it on my blog.}

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thankful Thursday

This week I am thankful for:

1. LeapPads.  We have two of them and use them every single day.  Usually it's the two Littles that use them.  We lost one and were able to purchase a secondhand one for $20.  So, so well used and educational too!

2.  A love for sports in our family.  Gary played basketball every day...for 15 years?   He attributes this to being such a great influence in his life and keeping him out of some of the trouble that I got into :) I love that our kids enjoy being active and I know for sure that the boys love to play sports.  Nya says she'll play basketball when she's a dad.

3. The boys having each other. I often wonder what they would be like without the other.  They can drive each other (and us!) crazy but I appreciate the high energy activities that they can share together.

4. Ice.  I have memories of "skating" in my boots as a kid.  The kids loved it...except our Little One.  Bailed a few too many times!

5. Having Kai Bear to help.  Nine-year-olds are AWESOME to have around the house.  I know it can be hard being the oldest as there are so many expectations placed on you BUT there's also the benefit of certain opportunities and being allowed to do things first!

6+7. Reading glasses and a good book.  Wow, they make a HUGE difference reading books or at the computer.  This book is sooooo good! I wish I had two extra hours a day set aside just to read. 

8. Playdough.  Our two littles use it often, maybe only 20 minutes at a time, but still, 20 minutes.

9. Mini date with Nya.  We had THREE appointments for our Little One yesterday and she was so great throughout them all.  We "shared" a donut.

10. Being heard.  A lot of parenting is repeating yourself and feeling like NO ONE IS LISTENING TO ME!!  On Tuesday morning Nya asked how my sleep was.  When I told her it was okay but I didn't feel very good, she said "What can I do to help you feel better?" So sweet, right? Kai has also been known to give me a back massage which is so shocking to me–he's not a physical touch kind of guy.  The massage itself isn't that great but the intention makes it amazing.

11.  One day of daycare per week.  This just started last week and it is Nya's first time in a daycare center.  Fortunately she LOVED it and so once a week, I have all kids in daycare or school.  I'm paying for it whether I substitute teach or not, so if I have the day off, I can catch up on life. 

I hope you are having a good week!  Thanks as always for reading :) Please feel free to share your Thankful Thursdays!


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Eight Tips For Photographing Your Child

I have worked as a photographer for about eight years and have captured everything from birth to weddings with the majority of my sessions involving young children. I can tell you as a parent of a few young kids, it can be stressful just getting to a photography session!   

Whether you want to take photos of your child on your own or hire a professional, here are eight ways to help guarantee a great photography session with your child:

1. Choose a great time of day for THEM. The best light is often an hour before sunset but if you have an overcast day, any time works! You don't want to push them beyond their limits and skipping a nap is not worth it.

Two year old birthday photo session
2.  Plan the outfit in advance and if  you are using props, make sure it's something that they will love! If they never keep a hat on their head, chances are the photos are going to be full of a disgruntled toddler. Try on the outfit in advance to make sure that it's comfortable and that they like it; who wants to wear something too tight or itchy? Not me!

Two year old birthday photo session

3. Use a background that is free of distraction–you want your little one to be the star of the show, not the garbage can or sign!

Two year old birthday photo session
4.  Be prepared to be in the photos! Sometimes having mom or dad in the photo might be just what they need for their full personality to emerge.

Two year old birthday photo session
5. Siblings might need to stay out. This sweetie has two older brothers (who are equally adorable) but it would definitely distract from her tea party with her teddy bear and mama. Family photos are a great time to involve everyone, but if you are looking for birthday photos of your child, you might want them to have their moment. If you do want a photo of all of the kids together, the best thing to do is give a few ground rules first (mine require the "no tackling" one.) 

Two year old birthday photo session

6. Be flexible. If your child decides that they are done with the location that you've chosen, be willing to move elsewhere.I usually find that toddlers and preschoolers can spend about ten minutes in one location and then need to do something new.

Two year old birthday photo session
7.  A little treat doesn't hurt. If it can be worked into the session, why not?  If you are hoping to take photos after the treat, be sure that it is not messy and that it won't stain clothing (gummy bears are good for that!) Bring wipes just in case.

Two year old birthday photo session
8.  Keep it short. You don't need more than 20-30 minutes for a session with one child.  You want to keep it fun and not turn into something that they have to endure.

Two year old birthday photo session

 Thank you to her parents for allowing me to share these. Please pin here for later:

Eight tips for photographing your child from time of day to location!

Here are some other photography tips I've shared:

Leading Lines
Rule of Thirds
Depth of Field
Photographing Kids Indoors


Recipe Winners From this Week

I'm all about easy and affordable recipes so I thought I would share some winners from the past week or so.

1.  Vanilla Cupcakes.  These were perfect! I topped them with Martha Stewart's Buttercream frosting.

2. Crustless Ham and Cheese Quiche.  I bought a ham on sale for $8 and have used it in three meals so far! 

3. Classic Pea Soup with Ham.  This was one of the other recipes with the ham–yum!  When you use yellow and green split peas, it does not photograph well (the colour is very unappealing!) but it tasted fabulous.

4. Best Ever Homemade Flour Tortillas.  Every Tuesday is "Taco Tuesday" and Gary and I usually have it as a salad and the boys have it with tortillas.   I had time this morning so we decided to make some. So easy and a great arm workout!  I like that I can make these ahead of time and then warm them up right before dinner.

Happy Taco Tuesday!


Monday, January 11, 2016

More Clothes For Less: FlipSize Canada {Giveaway}

It's no secret that the way we are able to clothe these four kids of ours is by buying about 75% of their clothes second-hand.  There are swap sites, used clothing stores, and then, there is also an online store, FlipSize Canada.  FlipSize allows you to buy, sell, or swap your kid's clothing – it's easy!  To sell your gently-used clothes, there are local drop off areas in Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, Maple Ridge and Coquitlam, or you can request a prepaid bag to mail it in.  Buying clothes from FlipSize couldn’t be more convenient. The Lower Mainland drop off areas are also FREE pick up locations. So if you’re local you can save on shipping, or if you are further away, shipping is free if you spend over $70.

FlipSize covers all sizes from newborn to 12+ and also includes shoes.  There is a 20% off sale on currently for their size 12/18 month pants and a coupon code, firsttime5, for $5 off one order (you need to be signed in to use it.)

I searched online and found a "few" things that would work well for our family.  I love buying a few sizes ahead for Kai as that means I'll have it all ready for him when the time comes.  For example, this reversible GAP jacket is just $8.00.

And, well, my Nya Bear likes her cardigans.  This one has a flower on it so I know it will be a winner with her!

Spring is coming, do you have the next size clothes ready to go?  I know that I'm on the look out for some shorts for Kai! FlipSize has recently rolled out a new program for hosting parties on Facebook with benefits to both the hosts and attendees. The information about that program is here.

Guess what?  I have a giveaway for a $50 gift certificate to FlipSize Canada.  Just enter in the Rafflecopter below and you can win! {For Canadians only}

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Project 365 | Week 2

Every Sunday I am sharing seven photos – one for every day of the previous week.  Below each photo is the lens that I used. If you are also participating, feel free to share your link!  If not, I'd love to hear your favourite one.

{24-70mm f/2.8: A quiet and peaceful walk in our neighbourhood.}

{50mm f/1.4: Anyone else have a kid that says "Check out my moves!" all day long?  Love this bridge at Tynehead Park.}

{100mm f/2.8: I love three-year-olds.  I wish I could have a child at this age forever...trying to savour the every day moments.}

{24-70mm f/2.8: Cousins-these two are just weeks apart in age!}

{100mm f/2.8: This ring was given to my mom by my dad after I was born.  When my mom passed away, we were all given a piece of jewelry and this is mine. I am terrible at manual focus on the 100mm so that is what I was practicing with.}

{50mm f/1.4: Bedtime show in a box}

{70-200mm f/2.8: Taking some photos of the kids for a Valentine's Day project}


  PS My friend Carolyn is doing this weekly as well, just click on the link to see hers!