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Two months off school in the summer sounds great to a kid – to a parent? Hmmm…..

I find myself looking forward to the free time spent with both my kids in the summer, but it can get exhausting. There’s only so many trips to the beach and to the park this mama can take, and after a super busy and fun day, my daughter still exclaims “I’m sooo bored.”

It’s nice to be able to have my daughter in some fun activities throughout the summer, but it can be difficult to find the right day camps for your kid. What will they absolutely love? Where will they have fun and make friends? What if they could make and edit videos at summer camp? Or become circus stars? Or learn to duel?

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This Sunday March 3rd the Kids Camp Expo is taking place in Vancouver, and I am looking forward to checking it out! The Expo was created in 2013 to bridge the gap between parents’ desire for information, and camp directors needing an opportunity to showcase their programs.  View Post

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With a batch of chili stewing in my slow cooker right now, I thought I would share with you my absolute favourite, go-to chili recipe. Even with children invading your kitchen, you will find this super easy to make, and on these cold winter nights, a warm bowl of chili soothes the grumpiest of people!

Delicious to eat Slow Cooker Chili - easy to make in a Crock Pot! Thanks to @west_coastmama

Confession: Growing up a daughter of Polish parents who had just immigrated to Canada, I only ate chili on a very rare occasion, and it came out of a can! In my twenties when I was learning to cook, Jay & I experimented with a ton of recipes before we struck gold. We’ve tried vegetarian, turkey, chicken, beef – all types of recipes, but when I found this one a few years ago, it just stuck.

It uses a chili seasoning mix that you make yourself by mixing basic spices that you most likely already have. I also find this recipe very versatile because I change the recipe a bit each time I make it, and it always comes out perfectly delicious.

The secret to this recipe is the can of red kidney beans that is completely blended/processed until smooth. It adds a richness and thickness to the stew that I love.

You can easily make substitutions by switching up the meat (or forgoing it completely), adding in vegetables like celery, carrots, mushrooms – whatever you wish! I also sometimes add in different beans – whatever I have lying around. You can also add more of the seasoning mix if you like it more spicy! View Post

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Every day, in approximately two hours, I get the equivalent of 10 hours of work done. That’s right, I cram about 10 hours of work into two hours of my day? Don’t believe me?

In those two small hours I can accomplish the following: laundry, dishes, and other random housecleaning, emails, blogging, designing, studying, vacuuming, food prep for lunch and for dinner(s), drinking copious amounts of coffee, working on our company site, work emails, and while I’m doing these things I’m usually on the phone on some “Very Important Phone Call” that cannot have a child squealing in the background, nor the music of Dora the Explorer playing.

These two small hours make up what is known as Naptime in my household. And I think it’s on its way out. View Post

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I have to admit that I hate the term: mommy guilt.

However, I know firsthand that no matter how hard you fight it, it will eventually creep into your life and you’re suddenly faced with regrets and should-haves on a daily basis. I should have played more with my kids today. I shouldn’t have fed them drive-thru McDonalds. Why didn’t I read her that extra story?

Your brain will eventually become overrun with these thoughts and you’ll lay awake in the middle of the night promising yourself that tomorrow you’ll be a better mother.

I stopped breastfeeding Holland when he was 18 months old. And I did it for purely selfish reasons.

He was turning into a big boy and I had committed myself to a slow weaning process. I stopped offering the breast when he was whiny, then I stopped day time feedings altogether, and finally we stopped nighttime feedings. The only feeding he received for a couple of weeks was his morning feeding – his sister would let him out of his crib and he would run into my room, jump into my bed, and lay there breastfeeding for upwards of 45 minutes.

I don’t think I need to explain that a 45-minute feeding first thing in the morning started to become a bit of a nuisance. The whole time I lay there waiting for him to finish I felt like I was wasting time, we all needed to get ready for the day, out the door, get Chanel to school – she was late to school 4 out of 5 days a week at the time.

So finally I stopped letting him feed in the morning. It was a bit tricky, making sure I was dressed and ready before he even woke up – and then distraction techniques all morning (look – toast! look – juice! look – thomas!). But sometimes I look back and feel super bad that I stopped nursing.

I feel like I took away his ‘comfort’.

It’s ridiculous. I know that.

But sometimes you can’t help the way you feel. View Post

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Have you ever felt like your whole life is one big juggling act? Trying to relentlessly keep all the balls in the air, keep the routines going, keep the world spinning round? That one more extra cup of coffee no longer seems to be doing the trick in keeping me going like the energizer bunny – at this point I almost want to let all the balls drop and sit in a big comfy chair somewhere and do nothing for 5 hours.
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Remember doing nothing? Remember when you were a teenager and bored out of your  mind? You spent 3 hours doing your hair and makeup, just to go to the mall with your friend. You would whine about how boring your life was – you should have embraced and treasured that time!!!

And now I’m stuck juggling balls forever.

The hubby and I are busy working our website, our branding, our emails – busy launching a new business. I’m also working on reinstating my real estate license. I’ve got a household to manage, dinners to make, lunches to wrap up, you know – food to feed the family! Which I also have to go shopping for while we desperately try to make our budget each month.

I have a to-do list that takes up my whole day, each and every day. I have four websites to manage, along with their associated social media pages – I have to create a whole new website for free because I volunteered my time! I also run a playgroup, which doesn’t take up too much of my time. I have business cards to design, I have to research our product lines and everything to do with wood, like carbonisation (wth!).

And then we’re building a house! The delays and financing and workmanship and problems on it are extensive and never-ending!!  What didn’t I mention yet?  View Post

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While choosing bathroom fixtures for our new home, we decided on a sleek wall-hung dual-flush toilet by Philippe Starck & Duravit to install in our bathrooms. It looks like it’s floating and lends an uber modern feel to the room. However, one concern was that all the elements to the toilet are in the wall – so if you have a major plumbing issue – what do you do? Rip open the wall?

Yes, you can stress to your family and all your house guests to NOT plug up the toilet – but I have children. I have a husband who can’t grasp the concept of a courtesy flush.

Along with the mindfulness to not use too much T.P., figuring out which product is the best for your toilet system is important as well. Majesta sent me an e.z flush Shake Test kit so I can do the test myself and share it with my readers. The simple test perfectly exhibits how the Majesta e.z. flush toilet paper breaks down perfectly, whereas their leading competitor actually clogs it up! View Post

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This year I’ve decided to join Project 365 – every year I see people participate in this project, which is literally to take one picture everyday for  a year. To make it easier on myself I chose to use Instagram to showcase my pictures – I already use it, I take more pictures on my phone than my camera, so it made sense to use something that I’m already comfortable with.

instragram-januaryThese are a few of my favourite pictures from January! If you look at my instagram feed, you will see these sorts of pictures over and over – scenery, mountains, kids, pretty views, kids, my house, kids!

1. View from my window
2. Holland holding the biggest jar of Nutella I have ever seen! (Costco!)
3. The Glass Wall in my house!
4. Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver
5. Chanel on her birthday!
6. View of Atwell Peak/Diamondhead in Squamish

I post a new picture every day, so if you’d like to follow along my instagram username is: west_coastmama! Follow me and I’ll follow you back!

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