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DIY Skating Rink ft. The Home Depot Canada

*this post is sponsored however all the opinions are my own*

Ice Skating Rink ft. The Home Depot Canada

It doesn’t get much more Canadian than your own backyard skating rink! With the recent global pandemic sweeping over the world, there was a high likelihood that we would be spending much more time at home. With this in mind, I was so excited to partner up with The Home Depot Canada to build a DIY skating rink. They had all the products we needed to get the project done.

The kids aren’t huge hockey kids but they do love to play sports and go outdoors. We are the type of family to be going out and about all the time so staying home and doing nothing has been taxing. Now, at least the boys can stay home and get a little fresh air and exercise.

DIY is not our thing. Definitely not TJs (there is nothing wrong with not being huge DIY-ers :P). In any case, I wouldn’t say TJ’s the biggest “Mr Fix-It” or “Mr. Build-It”, but this was so easy to do! ANYONE could do it. TJ and my dad took on this project together and they built the kids a fantastic rink that they have had so much fun with thus far. We did have some hiccups in this project, but we also did it flying by the seat of our pants. So, to help those of you who don’t want to do it that way, continue reading :).

We have never taken on a project like this before. The Home Depot Canada helped us put together a list of supplies. They provided us with a guideline of what we thought we would need for our original plan of 16 ft by 40 ft rink, but we decided to try to make it a bit smaller (15ft x 25ft). We adjusted our supplies list along the way as our project took flight. We actually needed less items and were able to easily return them and/or exchange them for things we ended up using.  The Home Depot Canada helped us with a few visual aides that I will give credit to at the bottom. Instead of walking around the entire store looking for everything, we thought it would be easiest to order at the ProDesk. The ProDesk was super easy to work with. With our list in hand, we got the item numbers we needed and easily placed the order with delivery to our home. The process was fairly simple. (Disclaimer* this was done before more restrictive guidelines for the general public were put into place. This can also be done easily on The Home Depot Canada website which I would highly recommend. Skip to the online list here.) We were even able to have product pre-cut to our desired dimensions for our project. We planned our delivery for the following weekend to start our project.

The challenging part for us, was actually getting the product delivered that was ordered. Unfortunately, our in-store order didn’t come as scheduled and arrived a few days late. Communication with our local store wasn’t perfect and some products were no longer available and that’s why we were told they were delayed. They waited a few days to see if product would come in and since it didn’t it was shipped anyways. I ended up ordering everything else that we needed online, and that delivery was super easy, super quick, everything arrived in time for us to put our project together without delays.

But all is not lost, while I can say the delivery process wasn’t without it’s own hiccups, sourcing the materials, and creating and building the rink was a breeze!

When considering building a DIY skating rink we considered a few things: the size, the materials, and where would we set this up. We had enough room to build a 16 ft x 40 ft rink but elected to make one a bit smaller at 15 ft x 25 ft.

Here is a list of supplies we purchased from The Home Depot Canada to complete our rink. Alternatively, I’ve included some optional and additional supplies below:

Mandatory:

  • 1 pack – 8X3 PRO DECK BROWN SCREWS 700 PCS
  • 1 – 30X50 Heavy Duty White Tarp
  • 7 – 2X4X8 Select KD-HT (one cut into 4 pieces lengthwise – as they did not have any stakes in stock)
  • 8 – 2X10X10 MircroPro Sienna Treated Wood (two cut in half)
  • 8 – Angle 5in. 16GA

Optional:

  • 1 – White Aerosol Paint
  • Twine Polypropylene medium x 500′
  • HB 24 ft. 12-light LED String Light

Other supplies we needed personally:

  • Big Boss Xhose Pro Dac 5 100ft
  • 4lb Hammer

For the online link to the products we used, click here.

Step 1: Find level ground. You want the ground to be as level as possible. I didn’t realize our yard was all kinds of unlevel and it really affected the way the rink filled.

Step 2: Framing the Rink. We used 2x10x10 MicroPro Sienna Treated Wood. We had The Home Depot Canada cut it for us. They ended up cutting 2 of the boards in half so we could measure out our frame at 15 ft x 25 ft. What you may want to do is set up the frame and stake it out to support the frame. The white aerosol paint can be used for marking your stakes but not required. We asked that The Home Depot Canada to split a 2 by 4 into 4 so that we could make our own stakes.

TJ and my dad attached the frame together using 5 in. angles. We used 8 in total to attach the 2x10x10 together. Once the frame was built, they placed stakes around the frame and hammered them into the ground to support the walls of the rink. This was a bit challenging for us as the ground had already started to freeze. I may or may not have had to run to The Home Depot Canada for a bigger hammer (lol).

Depending on how high your rink walls are, you may want to get some brackets or to miter you walls for additional support. We did not need to do this for the size we were using. If you make higher rink walls than this, I would definitely recommend additional brackets for support or to mitre the walls. (Listen to me, talking about mitering like I know. Truth is, I had no idea what that meant until this project. lol)

We ended up cutting down the stakes we had already made.

Step 3: Place your tarp. We used a 30 x 50 Multipurpose White Tarp to line the bottom of our rink. My advice is to be careful with laying out your tarp, you don’t want any cuts in it. Our rink was obviously smaller than the tarp. You want to have enough slack when the water fills it that it won’t spill out. Once your rink is full and frozen, you’ll cut off the excess anyways, so don’t worry about the extra tarp.

Step 4: Fill your rink. Try to ensure that your hose is not laying on the bottom of the rink in order to avoid your hose from making any holes in your tarp. Fill it to at least 2 inches of water. For us this took about 4 hours to fill. Our ground was uneven, so some areas ended filled 2 inches and some were 6 inches 😆

Step 5: Let it freeze! We had some wooden blocks that we kept on the outside of the tarp because it was a little bit windy and we didn’t want the wind to pick up the tarp and freeze on top. We waited 3 days for the ice to freeze before we went on the ice.

Step 6: Cut off the excess tarp. We stapled it into the walls and cut the excess.

Optional step: We added in some lights and hung them to the extra 2×4’s we had – I picked up 4 sets to fit the size of our rink.

Step 7: Enjoy your new ice rink 😊

There you have it, folks! This rink was super easy to make thanks to The Home Depot Canada and the kids have loved using it!

While working with The Home Depot Canada, we really enjoyed the different ordering options that were available. They really gave us great guidelines to work with on our project and helped make this DIY a dream come true.

This DIY was a big deal for us. This is the first time we have ever taken on a project like this and thanks to TJ for putting up with my crazy and to my dad for stopping every few hours so I could document while they worked. This was super easy to build and we did it without anyone breaking anything or having to start over, so, I’m going take that as a huge win.

Current times have been hard on all of us, while we can’t go out as much as we would like to, we are finding fun and fulfillment in spending time at home. With our cool new ice rink, we are able to get out with the boys, get some fresh air, and make some new memories.

***This project was completed amid the COVID-19 global pandemic, affecting shipping delays due to increased delivery demands. Given the rise in cases and increased safety measures, The Home Depot Canada recommends staying home where possible, and opting for online delivery or curbside pick-up in lieu of in-store visits. Please be sure to adhere to all government and provincial protocols in your region.

Below are a few videos we used as reference when we were making our rink:

Ode to 2020

This is a few days late. I wanted to fully absorb and reflect on the past year before I wrote what I thought about it. As I write this, I have a baby across from me drinking some warmed almond milk with cinnamon and honey, demanding my attention, the boys are jumping around, eating, watching movies, and I am wondering how important it is for me to be writing this right now.

I’ve decided it’s important. It’s important for my own personal therapy. Writing is my therapy. When I am struggling, when I am wondering, when I am lost as well as found; I am inspired to write.

2020 was the year the world stood still but I feel like my growth over the past year was greater than any year before. I have experienced great highs in 2020 and insurmountable lows. I have gained friends, lost friends, renewed friendships, built relationships, and as well, destroyed some.

I started this year not knowing who I was because I didn’t know who I wanted to be. I ended this year knowing who I want to be and what goals I wanted to reach next. I am not looking for “new year, new me” although, I feel I am working towards that image. I am not working towards a “new me” but a “me” that I want to be. I want to be brave; I want to be happy; I want to be free.

Things I’m learning in my 30’s that I wish I knew in my 20’s:

  • establish boundaries and stick to them
  • be okay with saying goodbye
  • if it does not serve you– if it does not influence you to be the best version of yourself; walk away
  • be mindful of the people you surround yourself with

I never thought of myself as an empath. In fact, it was one of the weaker areas of my life. I lacked empathy. I held up a hard front, I did not let other people get to me, I was hardened by my work and my life. I find now, I absorb feelings, energies, and emotions of those around me. I have softened myself and succumbed to embracing humility. I will still revert to hardness and insensitivity sometimes as a coping mechanism and to protect myself. I am a work and wxmen in progress. I am imperfect and I accept that I will always continue to work on myself.

I am dedicating my 2021 to myself. I hope to continue growing, learning, loving, and living. I want to find peace where I am, peace with my career path, peace in my relationships. I want to bring more calm into my life. I want to be the most authentic version of myself. I hope you will all continue to come with me on this journey of me, loving me.

Yummy Ways to Eat Toast || featuring Silver Hills Bakery

*This is a sponsored post

Who said that bread had to be boring? If you haven’t tried Silver Hills Bakery bread, you should! Not only is it delicious but it is full of amazing nutrients. I started eating this bread when I started my first serious meal plan a few years ago. Bread and carbs are my kryptonite and my trainer told me if I was going to eat bread, I should eat a “better-for-you” kind-of-bread. Silver Hills Bakery makes plant-powered bread from organic sprouted whole grains. Their breads are nutrient dense and plant-based, non-GMO, and certified Glyphosate Residue Free (Google that, will you?)

Silver Hills Bakery launched two new organic sprouted bread loves in Costco locations this month: Oat So Lovely and Full Seed Ahead. Oat So Lovely is slightly sweetened with natural date syrup and Full Seed Ahead is full of seeds — sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, and flaxseed (it’s a mouthful! In seeds and in your mouth XD).

I made two delicious recipes using both of the varieties and couldn’t wait to share them all with you. It’s been a while since I’ve written (actually I’m lying, it’s been a while since I published anything), and I thought, what better way to say hello again than by sharing with you my second love to my kids — food 🙂

Whipped Ricotta Toast with Roasted Tomatoes and Picked Onions

This version uses the Oat So Lovely and paired with it perfectly. The subtle sweetness of the bread is echoed in the subtle sweetness of the roasted garlic in the ricotta and the sweetness of the roasted tomatoes.

Whipped Ricotta
  • 1 cup of ricotta cheese
  • 1 clove of roasted garlic (roasting the garlic gives it a sweeter, more subtle garlic flavour, adjust to your taste but I love a ton of garlic and it’s not overpowering at all)
  • salt/pepper to taste

Throw everything into a blender and blend until smooth, put aside or keep in the fridge until assembly.

Roasted tomatoes
  • 20-30 grape or cherry tomatoes (or 2 vine ripe tomatoes)
  • olive oil
  • season with salt

Coat the tomatoes with olive oil and season with salt (if using vine tomatoes, slice tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices). Roast at 400 degrees Celcius for approx 15-20 minutes or until the skin begins to blister.

Pickles Tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1.5 cups of white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbs of salt
  • 2-3 peppercorns

I call this a “Quickle”- my quick pickled, anything. I slice the onions super thin with a mandolin. While I’m doing that, I heat up my vinegar, salt, sugar, and peppercorns until the sugar/salt dissolve. Once everything is heated, I throw everything into a bowl and let it sit for about 8-10 minutes.

Assembly is simple, toast your Oat So Lovely Silver Hills Bakery bread to your liking, butter your toast if you choose, start with a thin layer of the garlicky ricotta mixture, top with the roasted tomatoes, and some pickled onions. Enjoy!

Mushroom Toast with Asiago Cheese

When I thought of this recipe, I thought that something rich, hearty, and savoury would be the perfect fit for the Full Seed Ahead. This is a rich, “meaty” toast full of nutritional goodness!

Sauteed Mushrooms
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cups of Mushrooms of choice (I used mini bellas that they had at Costco)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Asiago cheese
  • Chopped parsley

Heat olive oil/butter at medium high heat, sautee the mushrooms until browned, add salt and pepper and balsamic vinegar. Sautee for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Toast Full Seed Ahead to your liking, butter toast, top with mushrooms, sprinkle asiago cheese on top and chopped parsley for garnish.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and tag me if you try them out! I’d love to see! @mombossofboys

Our Living Room Makeover ft. Dufresne Furniture and Appliances

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Please note that these items were gifted to me but all the opinions are my own.*

It happened after many years of waiting and wanting, we did it. We bought our first home. 

In November 2019, we assumed possession of our first home. It’s a great little starter and we had some big plans for our little 1000 sq ft abode!

Now a few things to note, I was still on maternity leave when we moved, we did three weeks of renovations before moving in, and it was in the middle of minus a million degrees (obviously exaggerating but it was well below 25 degrees Celcius). 

We didn’t have any furniture of our own and my mom was generous enough and let us use her hand-me-down basement furniture until we were able to get something of our own for our space. We started off with a taupe coloured sectional in a microfibre fabric. We had some cushions and a little ottoman storage coffee table. We put up some really cute prints for an adorable gallery wall. Our space was great for any new home. We had a small rug that was a few years old from our last place and a small little 32” tv as our to had just conked out a couple months before our move. I wish I had a good look of what we had before but I didn’t love our space and didn’t take a lot of before pictures. 

While looking for for furniture I always knew I wanted something that was both stylish and durable. With boys like mine, I’ve seen brand new things become ruined or worn in only a few weeks. 

I don’t know if I had a name for our style but if I did I would say it’s a bit of “mid-modern boho”. It’s a little bit of me and a little bit of TJ. I really love natural tones and textures, and TJ appreciates things to be a bit more bold. We wanted something that was reflective of our style. 

We found Dufresne had the perfect solution for us. They had amazing quality furniture, that would be super functional and durable for us, and still reflective of the styles we loved. I am so happy with the end result.

The pieces we picked from there are amazing and I can’t get over how much I love our new living room!

I loved putting this space together, it was a blank slate that we got to make ‘ours’.

We got the Kisper coffee table and I feel like it is the most perfect mid-modern piece. 

We picked the Lane area rug. We had already picked so many dark pieces, I wanted something light with texture to brighten up the space and give the space dimension. 

We also picked out a 50″ Samsung Smart TV. Given a new space to enjoy and entertain our kids, I thought it would be perfect in our new space. I don’t know about you, but a Smart TV has now become an essential item in our household. Especially with COVID quarantines/social distancing, we have spent a lot more time binge watching all of the Netflix.

Our favourite piece by far is the Melbourne 2-piece sectional. It is amazing. We got the sectional in a couch and honestly we love it so much. It is a great size with the 3-seat style couch with right hand chaise. The cushion is pre-crushed and we picked out their performance fabric with the leather look in navy. The custom experience went by flawlessly. I worked closely with a representative and we were able to put together the perfect look for our space.

The highlight of our space is the sectional.  We wanted to find something that worked best for our lifestyle. We picked the sectional because it fit best in our living room, it is a bit of a smaller space and wanted enough seating for all 5 of us. The best feature of the piece we put together is the performance fabric. As a mom of 3 boys, let me tell you— boys are messy. Not just messy; they’re filthy. They go to eat and ignore the utensils and use their hands and then run to the couch and climb and jump and put their little greasy fingers all over the place.. and this fabric is a dream come true. Can you see the finger prints? Yes, you can. Daily, I can see the little prints of my filthy little boys. However, the clean up is so easy! I normally just take a wet cloth, sometimes a disinfecting wipe, wipe it down, and it is good as new! You don’t even see the old grease marks, the it’s amazing. I can’t speak highly enough. The kids jump on the sectional, eat on it, our littlest may or may not have had an accident on it.. and still, it’s like it’s brand new.

Why did I think stepping away for a second would be okay? ;P

In order to finish our space I knew I needed to find the perfect way to elevate the space. The idea I had was neutrals, texture, and my fav— PLANTS. 

I finished filling up the space with cushions (because you can never have too many), some textured throw blankets, and some gold/brass coloured accessories; et voila! 

Our living room revealed and completed!

We are in love with our space and every bit of it is everything we are and more.

Chronicles of a Quarantined Mom

“Mom, I’m Hungry”

“Mom, I’m bored”

“MOOOOOOOOOOOM”

If you have children, these are probably some of the “quarantine cries” you have heard as of late.

If anyone ever told me that I would live to see a global pandemic, I would tell them they were out of their minds. It would never happen. The “zombie apocalypse” would never be a part of my life.. and yet, here we are. Schools are closed, workplaces are closed, you’re limited on how many people you can be around and where you can go and when. The government is now controlling every aspect of our lives “for our own safety”.

Do not get me wrong, I believe in social distancing, I believe in the principles set out by the WHO, I believe in guidelines and the “new normal”. But guys, I’m crying here. I miss, life. I’m sure many of us do and many of us are getting antsy, anxiety, and depressed as a result of this “new norm”.

I have no advice, I only have my outlet to talk about days passed and forever FOMO over events passed. I miss seeing family, I miss seeing friends, I miss going to my favourite shopping outlets at random times, and packing all of my kids into the car to venture out into the world and experience the small things that life has to offer.

My Sunday Fundays at The Forks have long since passed, my weekend trips to “walk through IKEA and dream” are long gone (although they did open the local IKEA here recently), and my trips to spin/gym have come to a screeching halt. I wonder where all the “little things” in life I once loved to do are now. I always wanted to show my kids experiences. I thought experiences > objects so they could appreciate time together. Now we have all the time together in the world and what we would all really love to do, is spend a little time apart.

It’s funny though, in February I went back to work and I longed for the days that I was at home with Jasper and wishing that I could spend a little more time with him. My wish came true. I was able to spend a bit more time with him and now have a stage-5 clinger that won’t even let me leave a room. I want to say I hate it, but I do love it. I love being “Mom, the fixer of all things” for this little guy. Every cry can be consoled by me. I really wouldn’t have that any other way.

Kato cried the other day, not just cried, he bawled. He was unconsolable and broke down in some of the heaviest tears I’ve seen. He missed his friends. He missed the playground at school. My boy, who hates going to daycare and to school, was crying because he missed school that much. I see the mental and emotional toll this pandemic has on my children and my heart aches for them. I hate that they have to live through this because I just don’t think it’s fair. The world took something away from them that they will never get back, he will never get Grade 1 back. I know it’s only grade 1 but some of my fondest memories in life happened in grade 1. He repeatedly tells me “I hate the coronavirus”. Me too bud, me too.

Aiden is my beacon of hope. He is such a survivor during this time. He can’t wait to see a better future and be prepared for it. “Mom, can we go for a run” <– That is his line to me almost every day. He wants to stay active and healthy. “I don’t want to be chubby going back to school”. I love it. He’s going into his teens and he has so much poise. He accepts the things he cannot change today, and looks forward to tomorrow. He is what I want to be. It’s crazy, to be so inspired by a child. I love being so inspired by my own children.

This quarantine challenges my relationship, daily. TJ is still working, days and nights. He is doing everything he can to provide and I am a bit of a brat. LOL. I have my own internal struggle, I haven’t found a fix for all the stress and anxiety I have over being so cooped up. He’s my emotional punching bag. Kudos to him. He takes it in stride. I even have my own new nickname “Miss Grumpy Pants”. I’m not even mad about it. It’s still cute.

So here’s what I’m doing to try to manage through this “new norm”:

1.) Exercise – I’m going for daily runs with Aiden. When I get a bit more of my energy back, I’m going to start more at home work-outs. I need all the endorphins I can get at this point. On days that we don’t do runs, we do home workouts. It’s cute to workout with the boys.

2.) Plants – I don’t know what it is about all the plant I have, but they bring me so much joy. There is so much life in a home with plants. My plants are my other babies. They make my space cozier every day. Consider me the crazy plant lady.

3.) People – I have a small group of ladies I speak to daily. They are like a lifeline out of this house. If you don’t have “people”, I hope you have a person that does this for you. I have my small crowd and it’s like hearing about another’s person’s life helps to bring you out of your four walls.

4.) Find one thing that brings you joy and do it every day. One thing, just do one thing! I have kids and everyday we do one thing. I don’t even care if the kids get a little bit of screen time every day, it’s their one thing that they can just do and forget that the rest of this BS is going on in the world.

I would love to hear how you are managing through this difficult time. Comment below and let me know what helps you, or shoot me a DM on something you think might help me, I’d love to hear it!

Household Upgrades in the Simplest Form | Schlage Custom Eller Lever with Collins Trim Hall-Closet and Bed-Bath Lock

*Disclaimer: These products were gifted to me however all opinions are my own

When we bought our home I knew there were upgrades that needed to happen. We stripped the carpets and old vinyl flooring, we finished the basement and added a custom bathroom to boot. We added luxury vinyl plank throughout the main level, styled with new furniture and started to design a space that really reflected our style. These were things that I knew we needed to do to make our house a home. What I didn’t realize is the snowball effect it would have on the rest of the house. With these newly improved spaces, I realized that the hardware we had in our home, was no longer reflecting the type of vibe and feel that the rest of the house had. We wanted something classic and refined; something tasteful and elegant. We wanted to make a small improvement to create the home we have always wanted, and Schlage was right there to help us make that happen.

Our current home is a blank slate! It is 5 years old and holds most of the standard/manufacturer chosen hardware and fixtures. The previous owner picked everything in the home and it is a great “blank slate” for me to put my touch on. This is our first home and design was something I’ve always wanted to dive into. I’m not very handy, I can’t make a lot of things but I have big dreams and big ideas!

We chose the Schlage Custom Eller Lever with Collins Trim Hall-Closet and Bed-Bath Lock. I loved the look of these because there was something about the matte black against the white doors that I loved. I loved the contrast and I think it really makes a statement.

TJ spent the better portion of the morning installing the hardware and trust me, if TJ can do it, anyone can do it! We are not Mr/Mrs Fix-its and we are definitely not DIYers (considering we hired someone to do our floors and build our basement. I would never trust myself or TJ to do such a thing (;P). They were easy enough to install and came with matching black faceplates. We had eight levers to uninstall/install so you can imagine what that was like. One thing I wanted to mention was, you do have the option of having them with the lock or without. The lock is a push-pin style that is discreet and just below the lever itself. It is truly a customizable piece with a lovely aesthetic.

While I don’t think there was anything wrong with our fixtures to begin with, I do feel as if this simple upgrade has created a much more elegant space. It’s crazy how something so simple can create a more modern and elevated look with the simple change of colour and style. Can’t wait to share with you guys more of our design projects as we go!

I Hate My Spouse a Little Bit Everyday

I hate TJ on a good day, I hate TJ on a bad day. I basically hate him a little more or a little less on any given day.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a great dad. He would give anyone the shirt off his back. But I hate him. I hate him to the point it makes me want to rip out my eyes.

You may ask, why are you saying this? Why are you writing this? Why are you with this person?

The answer is, I don’t know. I feel a type of catharsis to writing it out and saying it out loud and screaming it to the world. It’s a lot easier than screaming it to his face. I’ve put my blog on hold for the past few months. I knew I needed to write this and get this off my chest. The heaviness of not writing this has had a sort of a block on all the other pieces I’ve needed to get out.

I hate him for small things. Like the way he opens the milk carton and leaves the plastic tab off the milk and leaves it on the counter, or how I’m looking for him and he’s always in the bathroom, or when I am looking for him and he doesn’t say he’s gone out. I hate how the kids or myself ask him to fix something and he completely ignores it. [One time, I told him I was stuck in the closet after fixing it and was calling him for help, he never came and doesn’t remember me asking him..]. I can’t for the life of me understand why I chose this person to be my partner.

I hate him for many more reasons; he has undoubtably ruined my life on more than one occasion. Cost me friends, family, work; my sanity. He has let me down time and time again. To the point where I have walked away.

I have blamed TJ for years of short-comings, years of emotional turmoil, years of confusion and “trying”. I have blamed him that my life is not where I want it to be. Reading this now, I sound like a huge tw*t. I sound like a terrible person. I sound like I’m the one with the problem. It’s true. I AM the one with the problem.

For years, I was blindly in love with TJ. To the point, I couldn’t see straight. I lost relationships, burned bridges, and lost who I was. All for him. I didn’t see myself do it until I spent some time, finding myself.

Okay, okay guys, this is my rant. You let me have it, now let me get to the point of this entry. It’s not to just bash on TJ. The poor guy. He has been so nice to me lately. Probably the “nicest” he has been in — years.

Now let me get to the nitty gritty of it all. TJ and I have some amazing years together, we have some mediocre years together, and we have some God damn awful years together. But over the years, I’ve just found a way to dislike him even more. I literally see all of his shortcomings. Things that are important to me are not important to him, he isn’t mindful of everything I want him to be mindful of. His forgetfulness has become contagious. I am not the person I felt like I once was. 

I am not the person I once was when I first met TJ. I was uptight, sheltered — naïve. I had this image in my mind of what “love” and “relationships” should be. I had this image of him in my head that didn’t exist. I wanted him to be something he isn’t. I learned that the problem with me hating TJ, wasn’t TJ, it was me.

My problem was, I wanted TJ to be someone he isn’t. I wanted him to be better, do better, and be more like me.. better :P. We have had many conversations about how we are so different. I’ve come to terms that while we are so different, there is so much of us that is the same. We have the same dreams, the same goals, we want the same life. We are so aligned that way. I think that’s why we both kept coming back.

When I went on my personal journey to finding myself, I learned about what I wanted for my life, and what was truly important to me. Beyond the milk cartons, and beyond the forgetfulness.. those are the small things in life. They are more like life’s annoyances like mosquitos in the summer. They will always be there, but it’s the big stuff that matters.

We have beautiful children, a lovely home, and our hearts are both full of love. That’s when I knew he was my person. Not only did he see things the same way as I did, but he has more love in his heart than I have in the world. His kindness to others goes far beyond mine. He has more love to give than I do.

I guess my point is, life isn’t perfect and neither is our relationship. I will probably spend the rest of my life questioning it for the little things when the big things are no longer in sight. At the end of the day, it’s the big things that matter. It’s the fact that we have the same dreams, same goals, and have the same core values that really allows us to be together and want to stay together even when things aren’t “working out”.

We Upgraded Our Outdoor Hardware | Schlage Encode Smart Wifi Deadbolt

*Disclaimer: These products were gifted to me however all opinions are my own

We recently bought our first home! After many years of living in my parents basement, we finally found ourselves ready to “leave the nest”. It’s been an amazing ride. Having your own space to personalize and decorate has been pretty awesome. And so it goes…

BRING ON THE HOME PROJECTS. While our home isn’t old by any means, to put my own personal touch on our space, I’ve been wanting to do a few upgrades. We finished the basement and one of my favourite features of our new space is our matte black hardware. My goal is to eventually update our entire home with matte black hardware.

My kids and I have been using a keypad lock for some time now at my parent’s, and I knew I wanted to have one in our new home. We were so fortunate to have been gifted one from Schlage. They have amazing knobs and hardware for the entire home. We were gifted the Schlage Encode Wifi Deadbolt. My full review is below. Spoiler alert: I love it.

Installation was a bit tricky. TJ is not the most handy of handymen and we did need some back up. It took him and his brother about an hour, along with some online videos and a couple of “Oh, well we gotta do this again’s” before we had everything changed over and installed. Once it was installed, it took me half an hour to program it with the Schlage Home app. It took a bit of time but trust me when I say it was totally worth it. This is by far one of my favourite parts of my home. Not only do I get notifications when the door is locked and unlocked, but I also get notified about how it was opened/locked (code or thumb turn). If you have multiple codes, it indicates which code was used to open the door. You can even lock or unlock your door from your app. If I have a family member needing to pass by my house without being home, I can just unlock the door from my phone. That is one feature I really love because I don’t need to share the code or create a code for someone to pass by, I can simply lock and unlock the door from my Schlage Home app.

Picture this: mom of 3 kids, infant in tow, groceries in either hand and two other kids helping load groceries into the house. The last thing I want to do is fumble with house keys or even have to awkwardly put my groceries a down with a baby on my hip and try to open my door. What I’ve loved is just unlocking the door from my Schlage Home app before we get to our front step and simply open the door even when my hands are full! The simple act of not worrying about locking or unlocking my door has been so convenient and a serious game changer for me!

I don’t know about you guys, but my kids lose everything. I mean it, everything. This season Kato has lost 3 pairs of mitts, 3 toques, and some days he loses his snow pants. The thought of giving my kids house keys terrifies me because even though I do my best to teach them to be responsible, at the end of the day they are still kids. I find it is much easier to trust my kiddies with a code than a key. When we had a key for the house, Aiden had a hard time opening the door and often needed help locking and unlocking it. Now with the code, he can easily lock and unlock the door.

Finally, aesthetically it looks gorgeous. This upgrade is not only super functional and convenient but sleek and modern as well. Home improvements have been some of the most fun aspects of owning our own home. This one makes for one of my favourite upgrades because look, it looks so damn good!

Peep this BEFORE and AFTER:

I basically brag about this entire system to anyone who will listen to me at this point. I love the look and style of the keypad and knob. It is so sleek and modern. I am in love. I highly recommend the Schlage Encode Smart Wifi Deadbolt if you’re looking for a smart lock or if you just want to give your home a nice new upgrade!

What I Learned About Falling in Love with Myself

2019 was a huge year for me. It was, in fact, the most epic year of my life. I had a baby, started a new career, bought a house, and grew in a way I would have never thought possible. I found one of my missing pieces and *spoiler alert* I fell in love this year!

No, I didn’t fall in love with my partner, I didn’t cheat, I didn’t go off and meet someone new. I fell in love, with myself.

I found a love within myself for myself.

Without all the details, I started the year off in a bad place. I was pregnant, in a whole lot of pain, I had a weak relationship with my partner and an even weaker relationship with myself. I can’t remember who told me this, but someone told me, I needed to find the strength within. So, I did just that. I went on the search for the strength within.

I spent the year on a personal journey to find myself and find my independence. I looked to heal past wounds and put myself “together” again. In the past few years, I had felt like I lost a piece of myself; the part that got me through the hardest time of my life over 11 years ago. I lost my independence. I was so used to being Allison with TJ and the boys, I forgot what it meant to be just me. Just, Allison.

I was laying alone at the beginning of the year,  in bed, and I was bawling my eyes out. I was feeling like I had just lost my entire world. My head throbbed from the crying, I would wake up in a panic out of anxiety, and there I was alone and lost. I did what any pregnant irrational person would do. Anything and everything to find my mental health for the sake of myself and for (at the time) my unborn baby. This was when I decided to take a spiritual journey and try a bunch of things that were never on my bucket list.

One of the most relevant takeaways from the year has to be about becoming the best version of myself. If the person, the event, the decision, does not make me the best version of myself, don’t keep this person in my life, don’t go, don’t do it.

Reiki

A coworker of mine started practicing Reiki and I thought that I would give it a try. It wasn’t going to hurt so, why not, right? Reiki is a form of alternative medicine for energy healing. It is thought that the practitioner transfers energy through their palms to the patient to encourage physical and emotional healing. I love Reiki. The experience is relaxing and I always love a reason to get a nap in during the day (ha!).

This is just something I never thought I would love. I can’t really explain how I feel after but I love when I ask my practitioner what they feel. They could feel cold and hot spots in certain places in my body, they move energy through themselves and into me to the point they are sweating and I think that it is so cool. My practitioner said they could feel my heart “qi” energy needed some extra attention. I loved that they were in tune with what I felt I needed even without me saying so. It was an amazing experience. Writing about this reminds me that I’m due for a session.

Hypnotherapy

I’m going to tell you that everything I did, was cool. Frankly, because it was and its all part of my journey and all contributed to where I am today. I don’t regret anything I did or tried. I would have done anything to “find myself” and I feel like self care is not selfish. In fact, I do believe that self care is one of the most generous things you can do for yourself. If you can’t fully come to terms with yourself, you can’t give those around you the best version of yourself, what’s the point? Living in the moment and the present is important, however, it’s also important to come to terms with the fact that our past shapes who we are.

Hypnotherapy brings you into a light state of hypnosis and helps you deal with some past issues that make things difficult in your present state. You can deal with stresses or triggers, or even change things like smoking habits in hypnotherapy. I dived into places of my past I didn’t think bothered me and yet, there they were, starting triggers over little things that shouldn’t bother me. It’s deep, it’s heavy and it hurts to go into all of these different things… but, it’s so worth it.

I explored areas of my childhood I never realized were significant events for myself and have formed and shaped the ways I’ve experienced things and managed things in my life now. It was a very interesting experience.

After this I felt lighter. I was lighter. There’s a lot about my personality that is overbearing and I’m a bit of a control freak and would constantly need approvals from others but I’ve changed a lot, by choice. I live my life the way that I want to and I don’t answer to anyone. I can accept things I cannot change and control. I still cry over spilled milk once in a while but lack of control no longer consumes me the way that it used to.

Mediums

Okay, here me out. I’ve never tried a medium before in my life. IN MY LIFE. Until this year. I was given the name of a local medium and I wanted to gain some perspective. I thought, “what is the worst that could happen?”. My mind was blown. I had never thought of someone being so specific about my life. So. Damn. Specific. Not only that but there was so many premonitions about what was going to happen this year, things I thought would never happen NEVER HAPPEN (ie. buying a house on maternity leave) and yet, here we are. Or speaking to someone from the other side (it made me bawl my eyes out), or the messages of losing a loved one. She said it would happen and it did. Some of it was a bit distorted and not perfect, but it gave me faith in the year. It gave me something to look forward to and to a certain extent, she was right.

BUT I WASN’T CONVINCED

So I saw another one because like, why not? What’s the worst that could happen?? And I saw someone completely new and different. And there was a completely different message. So here I was with two different stories and different messages from two different mediums and guess what? They turned me into a believer. I can honestly say I was the most skeptical person before and now, now I know there are things in this universe that are bigger that me. I find peace in that, and with that peace, I found a little bit of myself in the process. Knowing that I had a path and a direction gave me a bit of confidence in myself and some faith in the universe that I would, in fact, be okay. I don’t know why I thought otherwise but I knew I needed some type of affirmation to get me through the next few milestones of my life.

Crystal Therapy

TJ started this. He was using crystals and affirmations to get him through whatever he was going through and I didn’t hesitate to try it too. I wanted the long fixes and the quick fixes. I wanted to have something to believe in. I wanted to try everything to be able to find myself.

Do you know when you’re so desperate to find solace, to find a magical cure to heal the pain you’re experiencing, you do anything? I did that, try anything.

My pockets were filled with rose quartz, black tourmaline, Dalmatian Jasper, and citrine. I can’t tell you what each one was for, but I wanted all of the benefits given what I was feeling. I wanted love and I wanted protection. I wanted clarity and by all means I wanted them to work.

I was never a believer in healing crystals. In fact, you could call me the anti-believer of healing crystals. I would easily mock anyone or everyone that had crystals or charged them by the moonlight. It was a bunch of bs to me. I still don’t even know if I truly believe in all of it to be honest. What I do believe in however, is that I knew I wanted all of the benefits all of the crystals I surrounded myself with contained. Even if it’s the placebo effect at the end of the day, I still ended up finding what I was looking for. So really, does that make it any less real?

Trauma Release

This last one I did over the summer. My girlfriend started doing this trauma release therapy. I believe it is called The Completion Process but in any case the best way I can describe it is trauma release therapy.

I really took this experience to be more in tune with my body and how I was feeling. It’s amazing how much of our physically feelings get masked because of the way we learn to cope with uncomfortable feelings.

I think my learning to be more open to these types of experiences helped me because I think I went pretty deep down to discover my trauma. Previous traumas in my life that have helped shape and form me into the person I am today.

Prayer

The power of prayer is something that I never take for granted. Despite doing all of these different things, the most important thing I did was pray to God to help me through whatever it was I was going through. I’ve at one point in my life been a religious person. But pure religion and faith alone was not enough for me. Religion only fills a portion of my soul.


Ok, so I did a LOT of shit to get me to where I am today. I did a whole lot of self searching in many different shapes and forms. I wanted to do everything and anything I could to help me through this difficult time of my life. I did it almost all at once one thing after another and trust me, it was not relaxing nor was it cheap. But it was significant and important to me to be able to safely and wholeheartedly get to my next stage in life. I was driven to love myself and I found it in the most unsuspecting places. I’m not saying you have to do everything I did to find yourself, but if you want to try something new, here’s a few ideas ☺️

Holiday Gifting with Hamilton Beach

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*Disclaimer: These products were gifted to me however all opinions are my own

Holiday season is in full swing and our Christmas shopping is almost done. If you’re still looking what to get that special someone who loves their kitchen gadgets, consider Hamilton Beach products as a great option.

I was so fortunate to try out some of these Hamilton Beach hot items and trust me, I love each and every one of them. With newly owning our own home, these products came at the perfect time. I am so happy to share my experience with all of you.

 

Hamilton Beach Sure Crisp Digital Air Fryer Toaster Over with Rotisserie – MSRP $129.98

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Say that three times fast^ Ok guys, air fryers are totally on trend! I’ve been seeing them EVERYWHERE while shopping for new kitchen appliances, but think about it, a toaster, an air fryer, a convection oven, all on your counter top? Our kitchen is fairly small so space saving is important to me. This product will do it ALL in one shot, bake, air fry, toast, and broil. How cool is that? The counter space footprint is fairly compact considering all the things this product does.

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I tried making air fry fries for the first time, I’ll tell you this, I suck. I got the timing and temperature “off” even given the instructions. I did 18 mins at 375 degrees. The result was warm soft fries. This, for me, is not a problem because I kind of love soggy fries, but my kids like it a bit crispier. I haven’t figured the timing right just yet, but I’m pretty sure once I get it right it’ll be up to my kids’ standards. The digital aspect of this is pretty neat and pretty user friendly. Overall, it’s pretty neat. It does have a lot of attachments which can be a bit confusing especially with the rotisserie option. However, I’m looking forward to making an entire chicken one day. I’ll let you guys know how that goes!

PS. The fries were eaten by all so I consider this a win!

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Hamilton Beach Milk Frother – MSRP $69.99

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CALLING ALL LATTE LOVERS. THIS IS SO COOL. Period. I have wanted a milk frother for as long as I can remember. I love making lattes but I hated microwaving milk and the stove top heating takes too long. THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER. There are two options: milk warming and milk frothing. Each one takes a few minutes and it’s perfect every time! I am a huge “tea latte” fan and this is just a game changer for me. I highly recommend this for the latte lovers. Its even perfect for the kids for hot chocolate. The milk ends up warm and not too hot so it’s perfect to drink right away. Honestly, this is a must have. I can use this every day!

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Hamilton Beach Personal Creations Blender – MSRP $18.95

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If you’re anything like me; mom-on-the-go, this is perfect. I actually regularly put together a quick smoothie in the morning after morning gym/spin. It is super easy, and the best part is that it is only one piece to clean up! The blender piece doubles as a to-go cup and the lid doubles as a travel lid. It’s super convenient for a single-serve drink. I went with a classic black colour but it also comes in aqua, navy, and grey!

I was super impressed with how strong and how quick it was. I’ve been using a large standard blender for a few years now and this is definitely a stronger and quicker blend. Oh, best part, dishwasher safe!

 

Overall, I’ve been super happy and impressed with my Hamilton Beach haul. Their products look so sleek and put together and I love how there is so much multi-use with each one. Their products are such great quality as well. I would recommend any of these for the holiday season. They truly have a gift for every one!