Lifestyle

My *recent* Favs.

by Vicki.

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I was scheduled to write about some of my Spring Favourites. But Spring is a myth and doesn’t actually exist…so I wouldn’t know what to write about. #wherehasspringgone

Seriously, though! What is with this weather?! Its unbelievable!

So here is a carefully curated list of just some of my recent favorites. Not exactly Spring-related, but just more in regards to what is going on in my life right now. So instead of Spring Favorites, we can call it Favorites for My Life Right Now – less catchy, buuuuut, like I said, Spring is a lie. #wherehasspringgone

1. Of course number one on my list has to be these three kiddos.

IMG_1186 (2)IMG_1184 (2)IMG_1222I mean, come on! They are adorable. They are sweet. They are crazy. They are my favorite! And, disclaimer, they are not just my recent favorites but have been top of the list since each one of them made their first appearance :). Also, don’t let this sunshine fool you – these pictures were from early March…before Spring disappeared. #wherehasspringgone

2. This beauty. houseMark and I purchased this house and get to move in in about a month. Its a definite fixer-upper in need of some a lot of TLC, but its got “potential”. I have to admit there are days where I’m like, “Potential?! What does that even mean?!”. But mostly we are really excited to get our hands dirty and create a home for our family to grow {up} in! On that note, I am planning a little Home Tour Post so that I can document the beautiful home that we’ve called ours for the past 4 years.

3. These shoes. Old Navy had 50% off footwear last month and I actually jumped at the chance to buy a couple of pairs of shoes for my family: rubber boots for Chase, little sandals for Dax, and a pair of shoes for myself!! #notafashionblogger so I’m not sure they are cute…but I like them! Driving Loafers for Women - Blushin' UpThese are really cute and actually comfortable! And (added bonus) I wore them for about 2 hours the other day and received 3 compliments! Win-win! Its nice to brighten up my wardrobe a bit right now since everything outside is so grey (#wherehasspringgone).

4. The Instant Pot. I know, I know…I am so.late. to the party. Mark bought me this for my birthday and, although I’ve only used it a handful of times, it truly is amazing. I am the Queen of forgetting to take meat out of the freezer in the morning…and now its not such a big deal! I cooked a whole pot roast (with turnips and carrots) in 45 minutes! And, here’s the important part, it was delicious and juicy! I can’t wait to figure what else I can do with this baby! (I also was able to make PERFECT hard boiled eggs…like shell-slipping-off-the-egg perfect, and golden-yellow-yoke perfect, and kids-ate-them-all perfect!)instand pot 15. Some of you might judge me for this one…but it was my life saver and I would do it again in a heart beat.

I…paid…someone…to clean my car. Like “detail it”. Honestly, it feels like a brand new car (and smells like one too!). Our van was getting to the point that I was worried the Health Board was going to confiscate and quarantine it. From crumbs, to garbage. to mud, to piles of rocks/twigs/grass/acorns, to toys, to books, to crumpled paper, to vomit and other bodily fluids, to just “ew”. Obviously, I have cleaned it multiple times (especially after aforementioned bodily fluid instances) but I could never truly get it clean to my satisfaction. I paid a local company to vacuum it, shampoo the seats, steam clean my kids car seats, and wipe (clean) every nook and cranny. I honestly feel like I can breath a bit easier…it was something that was always on my mind. Not only was I embarrassed of the mess if someone happened to see my van with the doors open, but I was concerned about the health and safety of my kiddos driving in the petri-dish of bacteria that is an enclosed vehicle (especially during Winter). So, now, one less thing to worry about. And one very clean van to enjoy! It wasn’t that expensive and hopefully from here on out its just a matter of maintaining the clean (the company does have a maintaining package for about $30 – worth it!). So, here’s a poor quality cell phone pic of my sparkling van.van.jpgIck. That’s a horrible picture. You are going to have tojust trust me…its looks amazing.

Well that’s all for me, for now! I guess I’m kind of fickle because ask me in a couple of weeks and I may have a whole new list of my favorites (other than the kids, barring any major tantrums (I joke!), they’ll still be on the list).

I love finding new products or hearing of new life hacks that could become new favorites – so please, if you have something that you are loving right now: SHARE! I’d love to check it out :).

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Lifestyle

Best. Movie. Ever.

by Vicki

I don’t normally watch movies. I don’t normally go to the theaters. I definitely don’t normally do a movie review. In all honesty, this will probably by my one and only.

But.

This movie begs to be watched, reviewed, and shared. I watched the entire movie having to remind myself to breath – because I was enjoying it just so much! Its been all the rage for a couple of weeks now so I know you probably won’t be surprised when I say:

Go watch The Greatest Showman.

Just do it. Watch it. Now. Stop reading this post and go watch the movie.

One of my good friends invited me to go and watch with her, and well, I guess I owe her ‘one’ for introducing me to my new favorite movie! Haha!

It was captivating, entertaining, heart breaking and interesting. You go on a journey with the characters and follow along as they develop and grow. The fact that this movie is loosely based on P.T. Barnum’s actual life is pretty cool. While it’s important to note that many details have been changed or dramatized, it is still an interesting snap shot of a different time in history. I love a good historical fiction and this one didn’t disappoint.

Now, it is a musical. But, wow. The music is fun, catchy and adds so much to the story-line. I came home and immediately downloaded the entire sound track to my phone. Its all we’ve been listening to for the past week (+) and my kids already know the words (they actually request certain songs).

I think the movie is good for the entire family. We will definitely be watching it with Peyton when it comes out on Rogers on Demand. She will love the dancing, music and circus acts! Its a clean movie and I believe there was minimal (any?) offending language. Gah! I can’t wait to watch it again! (Which is saying something for me because I normally don’t watch movies more than once).

Anyways, if you are still reading this, go and watch The Greatest Showman. Learn about the circus, P.T. Barnum’s life, and (of course) sit back and enjoy the show!

Go to this link to listen to one of the amazing songs from the soundtrack: A Million Dreams. 😉 My little {valentine’s} gift to you! Because I am a dork I’ve started singing this song to Dax as I rock him to sleep! (Haha, I am. I’m a total dork!).

Have a happy weekend!

Lifestyle

October Favourites!

By Katie


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I can’t believe its the end of October. Today, its windy and chilly and we have the fire place blazing.  I love this season!!

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October has been a whirl wind.  Here are some of my highlights:

  1. Vicki – She is such a blessing from God.  I can’t thank God (or her) enough for the help and support she gives me. She came down for a few days to help me get ready for the inevitable arrival of the twins.  She cooked up meals, feeding us while she was here and stocking up my freezer for when the twins come.  She took me shopping (a task I hate and dread) to make sure the twins have something to wear when they come.  She talked me through my fears, and my excitements.  And, maybe best of all, we got pedicures.
  2. Bunk Beds – Atticus and Vivien are sharing a room now.  We got them a beautiful20171023_193714 wooden bunk bed that they both love.  Vivien’s favourite part was that she now has a pillow, which leads me to believe that we were a little late on getting her one…..
  3. The things my kids say – Atticus has been telling me that I’m “a great mom!  Thank you for being a great mom, mom!”  to which Vivien replies, “nope, you a bad mom.  Bad mom!”   So, I know who my favourite kid is right now….
  4. The weather – We have had an exceptionally warm and beautiful fall.  The kids (and I) have had so much fun outside!
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Here he is, expounding on my virtues as a mother 😀
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My Cheeky Little Monkey

So that’s my quick fall recap.   I am not feeling especially wordy today.   Which is probably lucky for you.

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(I did post a recap of Mindset last week, but never linked to it – Check it out:  https://threeteasandacoffee.ca/2017/10/27/grow-your-mindset/)

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Lifestyle

My Camping Essentials.

by Vicki


This Summer my family and I went camping three different times. We visited Restoule Provincial Park, Point Farms Provincial Park, and Bon Echo Provincial Park. All three of these parks are absolutely beautiful and well worth the drives to visit.

IMG_0019Even though these parks are beautiful and our camping trips were fun/great/enjoyable…I have come to realize something: I am not a natural camper. If it wasn’t for the fact that I grew up camping and that I have amazing childhood memories of camping….I’m not sure I would be a camper now in adulthood. I honestly feel that camping, especially in this stage of life with three littles, is like my normal SAHM life but dirtier and all around more difficult (bed time is more difficult, showering and bathing kids is more difficult, cooking is more difficult, storing food is more difficult, going to the bathroom at night is more difficult (and colder and scarier!), staying dry in the rain is more difficult, etc. etc. etc. You get the picture. There are many reasons not to camp. Many.

That said, we, as a family, do camp. A lot.

For all of its faults, camping does have some positives. It is an affordable get away for our family. Its an excellent way to enjoy and experience nature. It created many fond memories for my husband and I as we were growing up, and its doing the same for our kids now. Its great family time away from the distractions of technology. It allows us to discover different parts of our beautiful province and country. It gives us a reason to melt marshmellows, smush them between two chocolate cookies, and call it dessert. IMG_0161Peyton remembered camping from last year and sporadically asked all Winter about going camping again. She loved it then and she loved it again this year. She learned to bike without training wheels, became more confident in the water, enjoyed showering at the comfort stations, and loved being with cousins (two of the three trips were with our extended families).

Chase did not remember camping and, I have to admit, was not too fond of it at first. Our first trip started with torrential downpours (not fun for setting up a tent and tarp!!). He took one look around, asked to go home, and, when denied, started sucking his thumb (something he had never done before). After the initial shock, he grew quite comfortable and now loves camping (although he’s still sucking his thumb). He became an expert at his balance bike, took to the water like a fish, and loved exploring the woods around the campsites.

So, because my husband and my kiddos do, I love camping. But, in order to help me love camping I do have some camping essentials that I can not do without (or at least that I don’t want to do without). If camping is something that you think you might like to try or if you already camp but wouldn’t mind it being just a bit better, perhaps some of these items are for you!

  1. A raised bed. We received our air mattress cot from my husband’s boss and it totally changed my view of camping. I love being able to easily get out of bed (multiple times a night) to nurse a baby or tuck in a waking child. It is totally my number one recommend! This one is similar to the one we have. Honestly, worth every penny. Best. Thing. Ever.
  2. A good lantern. Growing up my parents always had a propane lantern. It made that wooshing sound and it smelled like camping to me. My husband and I bought one when we were first married, but the silly thing kept needing a new net-bulb-thingy and it was more frustrating then useful. If you know how to properly use one of those – all the power to you! We now use a Broadstone lantern, similar to this one. Ours is battery powered instead of chargeable (but the chargeable one would be ah-mazing!). I love that its bright enough to play a game at night but also has a dim setting that can be used as a night light for a certain three year old boy who is slightly scared of the dark.
  3. A good mat (this one is cute!). This might seem a little ridiculous to you true campers – but there is something about having a clean mat outside my tent that makes me feel at home. It makes for a good catching ground for things that have to go in or out of the tent (without having to keep opening and closing the zipper). It helps keep the inside of the tent a bit cleaner and drier. It looks cute. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Coleman kids sleeping bags – these bags are super cute and my kids loved them! They also did a great job keeping the kids warm during the very cold nights we had on our last trip (one night it went down to zero degrees!). I only had one other blanket on them (their special blankets) and my kids didn’t wake up from the cold once! They also cut down on the amount of packing I had to do – I used to pack hampers full of random blankets for the kids’ beds.
  5. A good comfortable chair. I have a zero gravity chair which is super comfortable for afternoon naps (or so my husband tells me {*wink*wink*}), readIMG_0451ing a book, and nursing a baby. That said, two of my sisters took these monstrosities camping and (although lots of jokes were made about them being the size of small sofas) I love them! They are warm and cozy – perfect for a cold night around the campfire. They were from Costco but I can’t find them on the Costco website – they are similar to these, but better and cheaper!
  6. A LARGE tarp. My husband secretly loves putting up our tarp. Each trip he comes up with a new configuration, covers as much ground as possible, and creates a safe and dry(ish) space foIMG_9987r us in case of rain (which, lets be honest, every trip has some rain!). Our tarp is 20ft x 40ft. Its big. It gets us lots of “Wow! That’s a big tarp!” comments, and sometimes it even gets neighboring campers coming over and asking Mark to come and help them set up their tarp.

I asked Mark what his camping essentials were. His answer? A coffee percolator (ours is similar to this) and warm socks. It must be so nice to be a man.

We obviously also have our coleman stove, a Columbia tent (which is big and tall – I Love it!), and coolers. The typical essential camping things. But the list above are some of the items that helped me enjoy camping a bit more this past summer.

Do you camp? Do you do it because you grew up doing it or do you absolutely love it? What are some of your camping essentials? I would love to add to my list in preparation for next year! I’m always on the look-out for great products that change the way I do something!

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Lifestyle

August Favourites

By Katie


Its the end of August.

{ insert comment about where has August gone?}

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Was August good for you?  Bank would like to know.

But seriously, where has the summer gone?

Because I know you are dying to know, here are my favourites from August.

Because I am living the life of leisure and am camping right now, this will be a quick list of my favourites of August.

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1.  I have started to feel the twins moving on a daily basis. It is an incredible feeling!   I have 2 anterior placentas so I wasn’t feeling the twins as soon as I felt Atticus and Vivien, but they are making up for it now.    I am concerned about how I will be feeling in 10 weeks with the 2 of them in there, but for now its a gentle, blessed reminder of their presence.

 

2.  We spent time with a lot of family this month. We went to Safari Niagara with the Will’s family earlier in the month, visited Kara, and had visits from Danielle’s family, and Nana and Papa.  Now we are camping with the whole VanGrootheest clan.  September is going to be lonely!

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3. Our vegetable garden is giving us a lot of produce – more than we can handle! The kids love harvesting and eating the veggies on their way inside.  The chickens are getting their fair share as well – without permission.  I only have one pumpkin though.  I have not been a great pumpkin grower for some reason….

 

4.  Flowers.  ‘nough said.

I hope you had a wonderful August.  Get ready for September!