Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Taking Care of Me

Apparently it takes me multiple experiences to learn the same lesson: I need to take care of myself first.  I've been inching my way in the right direction for a while now but it's time to get even more focused. We all know that self-care is important but sometimes we trick ourselves into what that looks like or that we'll get to it "soon".  Maybe I'm conceited and prideful thinking I can do it all–I need a good dose of humble pie, over and over.

Being part of various communities from fostering to special needs to faith to work, there is a lot of pressure to do all you can to help those you love. You feel like you are doing a lot and then see that someone else is fostering three kids and you just have one. Someone else has more difficult struggles in parenting.  Someone else is helping out at Sunday School every week AND organizes a meal train AND leads a Bible Study. Someone else is working full time and their kids are still in activities. What? How can I keep up? Where is the line between being there for others and being the best that YOU can be? I know that comparison is the thief of joy but I do truly wonder how others do what they do. I know I need to reevaluate what works for our family frequently as our needs are constantly changing. I need to stop comparing what I can or cannot do.



Monday, March 27, 2017

Fifteen Tips for First Time Cruisers

Gary and I never envisioned cruising as middle-aged adults as we anticipated trying it out once the kids moved out. However, various friends of ours went cruising with their kids and after looking into it we realized that there were family-friendly cruises that were affordable for our family of five.

Tips For Cruising with Kids
Grand Turk Beach

Using a travel agent we booked an 8-night Easter Caribbean cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines.  Our decision was made based on affordability, family-friendliness, the number of ports and their locations, and finally the dates–you can read about our trip here. Being that we had never travelled this way before we had a lot of questions. We asked friends and read online as much as we could and here are some pieces of advice I would offer you:

Fifteen Tips for First Time Cruisers

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Five Netflix Shows to Watch About Fostering

Being a foster parent, it's difficult to share about our journey. First off, we're not allowed to share details as it involves children in care. Secondly, we want others to consider becoming a foster family but want it to be clear that it's difficult yet so worth it. One of the ways I like to connect to pieces of our life is by watching documentaries, movies or series that can relate to what we are going through.

What are Netflix movies or series that relate to fostering?

1. The Fosters. I watched the entire series and thought it gave a great peek into fostering.  This show is also why I now call my kids "Love".


Monday, March 13, 2017

Friendship In Real Life: Food for the Soul

Friendship is an area of my life that has changed so much over the years. Understandably, my needs have changed; from needing a partner for skipping rope to someone to talk to about homework questions and boys to someone to go out dancing with to now really having the desire to be heard and challenged, the roles were all different. It does seem that these relationships were much easier ten years ago and whether I can attribute that to the rise of social media, my marriage, having three children, I'm not sure, but it takes a lot more effort now. My soul craves deep friendship. Yes, I have my husband and we work on a playful friendship as an important ingredient in our marriage but often life is heavy and we aren't feeling so...friendly. I crave female companionship with a larger dose of empathy and compassion. I have been blessed with wonderful friendships but I do need to be more intentional about fostering them.




Monday, March 06, 2017

How to Save Thousands of Dollars Each Year

How we spend our money indicates our priorities and for us the two main places that we choose to spend our money are the kids' education and family travel. We also set aside a specific amount to donate each month although I know this is an area we could improve on even more. I often hear people asking (politely) how we can afford vacations or private school and this is some advice I'd give on how to save thousands of dollars each year. We live almost solely on one teacher's salary so how do we stretch our dollar?

Tips for Saving Money

How to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year

Friday, March 03, 2017

An All-Inclusive Trip to St. Lucia for Gary and I...Maybe

Hi, friends! I recently entered a contest with Sunwing to win an all inclusive trip to St. Lucia for Gary and I. We made it through the first two rounds and now it is the third and final one with a 3/15 chance of winning (1/5 is pretty amazing). The vote is very simple, just click on this link and it will take you to our photo. Like the photo and verify with your Facebook account (this means it only works for those with Facebook but it is ensuring only one vote per person to keep things fair). Unfortunately this does not work with the Facebook app so you will have to use a computer or your browser on your phone.


I am so thankful for those that got us into this round; I was feeling the love! I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Love,
Louise

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Thankful Thursday


Gratitude. I write these posts for several reasons; it's not that my life is all sunshine and rainbows–in fact, there are many frustrating things that happen daily. Every Thursday I take some time to focus on the week and the items that I am thankful for and it is very good for my mental health.

This week I am thankful for:

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Encouraging Healthy Living with the Healthy Family Expo

A priority in our home is promoting healthy bodies and minds–both for the kids and ourselves as parents.  We try to cook homemade meals each day while taking into account the sugar content as well as Nya's dairy intolerance. Our boys flourish with a lot of activity as it helps to keep their attitudes positive; from jumping on the trampoline to playing hockey in the alley, it's easy to make exercise fun while spending time together as a family. I personally need my 10,000-15,000 steps a day and feel so much better mentally when I do. 

Are these priorities for your home as well? Are you looking for some family fun that involves kid's concerts, an Active Kid Zone, numerous vendors with samples and prizes all for a great admission price? The Healthy Family Expo is a fun-filled day for the whole family that introduces Metro Vancouver parents to small steps & simple solutions for healthy, active, eco-friendly living.