Why I Love to Watch Kimmy Schmidt With My Tween

Watching TV with your kids isn’t always fun, trust me, I’ve been through numerous episodes of Paw Patrol and Larva and Dragons only to tune it out because… well, the kids love it, and I’m glad they enjoy it – but it’s totally not my jam, obviously. So, when we discover a show we can all watch together as a family, I relish it!

Our favourite show on Netflix is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the woman who survived 15 years in a bunker and now lives in New York City with her fabulous roommate and a slew of incredibly hilarious characters. The show is hilariously funny, full of double entendres and silly puns, but there’s more than just mindless fluff that makes this a great show to watch with tweens.

Kimmy is a great lead character, with amazing 90s references that I adore, and positive catchphrases that we can all relate to. The best part of Kimmy Schmidt is that they show the process of Kimmy’s realizations – like the idea that ‘Changing your outside isn’t going to fix what’s wrong inside!’ – a right and proper statement, and one that really shows the viewer the process of how she came to that conclusion.

 

The women characters in this show are strong, self-reliant and show a depth of character. The light-heartedness in the storylines always gives way to further conversation with our daughter, seriously. We’ve had talks about racism, gentrification, LGBT, privilege, and so many other ‘real world’ conversations that stemmed from a comedy on Netflix.

Okay, so now that you know I absolutely love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, you have to tell me what your favourite show on Netflix is!

What’s your favourite show to watch with your tween on Netflix?

Full disclosure: I’m on the Netflix #StreamTeam, however all opinions and views are my own. 

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The One Where I Blog About Nothing.

I started blogging a LOOONG time ago, when my daughter was first born, back in 2006. Only back then, I would write fictional short stories about shopping and dating in the city – think a short-form version of the Shopaholic series. It wasn’t too long before I grew tired of writing ‘fantasies’ and started playing around with ‘online journaling’.

Online journaling was quite different – it was private, written behind a pseudonym and an icon that was most definitely not yourself. My pseudonym? ‘Fab Brunette’. Which eventually turned into a “real blog” named Ramblings of a Fab Brunette. It wasn’t until 2009 that I bought my first domain and the rest became history – well, not quite.

Growing up is a funny thing – I have no regrets, and I enjoy looking back at the person I was and seeing how much I’ve grown and changed since then. I think it was about 2011 or 2012 when I became tired of the ‘Fab Brunette’ persona, partially because I had moved across the country to a small mountain town, started doing yoga and embracing ‘hippie’ ways – and I had no where to wear my Manolos.

So I embraced a new identity, West Coast Mama. That was 2013. And guess what? I still flounder about that sometimes. I still worry that it’s not always “me”. But I realized that nothing can fully be “me” all the time, since I change all the time – my mood changes, what I eat changes, it’s a constant ebb and flow of harmonious movement – that’s me.

Do you know what else is totally me? Being an over-thinker. I overthink everything. Even this blog post. Yes, seriously. Being an over-thinker stops me from doing SO MANY THINGS – like blogging on a regular basis. Like posting on my IG. Like taking pictures. Like cooking. Oh yeah – I overthink cooking on a daily. You too? High five!

I’ve recently been on an amazing trip to Israel, with a group of beautiful and inspiring women, all mothers and bloggers – and it was a little life-changing. I hate over-using that term, but I think it really has changed a part of my life, I will never be exactly the same as I was before this trip to Israel. (You’ll hear more about this trip soon, I promise!) One night, just hanging out with this amazing group of ladies, we started brainstorming, building each other up, and identifying our strengths together.

It was incredible to me that this group of women, who were strangers only 5 days prior, had now become friends and confidantes. And that blogging brought us all together. This is why I blog. This is what I love about blogging.

Do you blog? Leave your url in the comments! What do you love about blogging? Do you have a favourite blog? Leave that url too!

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Easy School Lunch Ideas #DempstersHoneyWheat

Making Lunch Fun with Dempster's Honey Wheat Bread

School lunches have always been a struggle with me and my kids. ALWAYS. There are times when I put a LOT of effort into school lunches, and I’ll make pasta and rice dishes and really good meals! And there are other times where I go for a “tapas” style lunch – meaning an assortment of finger foods that I found in my fridge and pantry (think crackers, hummus, veggies, fruits, cheese…).

Either way, my kids prefer variety – too many days of the same thing and they revolt and will. not. eat. lunch. I try to alternate between a warm dish, some sushi, a wrap, or a sandwich – but a plain sandwich will NOT do. For some reason, my children believe that a plain sandwich is no where near as yummy as a “cute” sandwich.

Making Lunch Fun with Dempster's Honey Wheat Bread

Making Lunch Fun with Dempster's Honey Wheat Bread

Easy School Lunches

Quick School Lunch Ideas:

  • Sandwiches made with Dempster’s Honey Wheat Bread (think peabutter and jelly, nutella, turkey, ham, cheese, cucumber…)
  • Sliced veggies and fruits (bonus points for dips like ranch, hummus, yogurt, etc)
  • Crackers and cheese
  • Pepperoni sticks
  • Yogurt (drinks, tubes, squeeze pouches)
  • Squeeze pouches of any sort!
  • Sushi “to-go”
  • Rice & Chicken (minute rice with shredded roast chicken & soy sauce)
  • Pasta (cook in morning and put in thermos container)
  • Salad (if they’ll let you!)
  • Wraps of any kind
  • Granola bars
  • Homemade Trail Mix (no nuts!)
  • Apple sauce
  • Fruit cups
  • …and water bottles!

We never use juice boxes here, it’s always a reusable water bottle so they can refill as they need to! The trick is to fill you kid’s lunchbox with variety, nutritious sources of protein and carbs, and things they actually like! My kid’s love Dempster’s Honey Wheat bread because it’s light tasting and I love it because it’s full of nutritious goodness!

Things to avoid: anything with added sugar, dessert disguised as healthy snacks, juice boxes, overly large portions, meals that have to be put together at lunch, food that falls apart or doesn’t keep well in a lunch box for a few hours, and food that smells bad. (Because honestly, no one wants to be the kid with the stinky lunch!)

Making Lunch Fun with Dempster's Honey Wheat Bread

Making Lunch Fun with Dempster's Honey Wheat Bread

Making Lunch Fun with Dempster's Honey Wheat Bread

Even half way through the school year, sticking to these tips helps me make easy school lunches that the kids will actually eat! Making your kids lunch cute, approachable, and nutritious can be easier than we think! Because there’s enough pressure on us moms, amiright?!

This post was sponsored by Dempster’s Honey Wheat Bread, a brand that I use and love to include in our family’s meals! Visit their website, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

How do you make your kid’s school lunch?

Easy School Lunch Ideas

This post was sponsored by Dempster’s. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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How This Mom Spends Her “Me” Time

me time

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gillette Venus. All opinions are 100% mine.

I was recently introduced to the novel concept of “me time” by a friend. This differs from “kid-free” time simply because “me time” is not time to do things you’re ‘supposed’ to do, it’s not a time for errands. It’s a time to be selfish – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

When I have “kid-free time” what do I usually do? I’ll vacuum. I’ll do the groceries without listening to incessant whining. I’ll send some emails in silence… but do I ever really do what I want to do – just for my own pleasure?

No. Not I don’t.

mom makes time for herself

When was the last time, as a mother, that you read a book for your own pleasure? A book about parenting doesn’t count! I spend a lot of time “catching up” on things, doing things because they’re overdue, or because I “have” to. Not because I want to. And never for myself.

So I started to do things, purely for my own pleasure. Me time. And guess what? I kinda like it.

I dropped the kids off at school, and since I didn’t have to work for a few hours, I turned my “kid-free” time into ME time. I went to the local cafe, ordered an almond latte and sat down to drink it. WOW. So THIS is what ME time feels like…

See this is what happens when you become a mom: you tend to forget yourself. It might sound odd, but it’s true. You forget to read books for fun. You forget how to go shopping for yourself. Spending time on yourself makes you feel GUILTY, at least for me, that became true.

It’s not a horrible thing to put your children first, it’s an amazing thing to focus on your children and want the best for them! But I realise that as I watch my daughter grow up, she in turn is looking to me for guidance. And she’s not necessarily asking me for advice, but she’s watching me – when I do my makeup, how I react in social situations, how I choose my clothes, what music I listen to…. and how I take care of myself.

Like it or not, I’m a role model for her, and I want to be a positive woman role model. Not someone who puts themselves last, but a woman who takes cares of herself, tending to her own needs, as well as her family’s needs.

Mom makes time for herself

mom makes time for herself

So I started doing things for myself – like enjoying a coffee, watching a tv show of my choosing, taking a looong shower and even shaving my legs! I recently read that a mom that shaves her legs is broadcasting the “let’s get it on” message, but honestly, my husband loves me either way! Who cares, right? Nope, not right.

I forgot how much I love to shave my legs. Seriously, the feeling of sliding underneath clean sheets with freshly shaved legs is heaven! It just feels so nice to take that extra couple of minutes to lather up and shave your legs for a smooth and flawless look – especially with my capris!

Of course, my growing daughter notices the shiny, purple razor in the bathroom – a Gilette Venus Swirl with FLEXIBALL™, a fancy silver ball that allows it to pivot and move four ways, to capture ALL the hairs. She sees this sexy little razor and then ALL the questions start!

Does it hurt to shave? Will I cut myself? Will my hair grow back faster and thicker if I shave? So we had “the talk” – okay, not the sex talk, but the shaving talk. The talk where I look at her and think, you are growing up too fast.

Mom Makes time for herself

Mom makes time for herself

Mom makes time for herself

So we talked, my daughter and I. We talked about using a razor with fresh blades, and keeping them clean, to ensure a flawless shave and minimize cuts. We discussed properly lathering up before shaving to moisture the skin and give a smooth shave. We carefully played with the Venus Swirl razor, noting how the FLEXIBALL™ has a totally unique four-way movement, for an easier shaving experience.

I guess tween girls gossip about this type of stuff, too, and the word is that once you start to shave, your hair will grow back thicker and faster. It was pretty easy to dispel this myth – I told her to take a look at my legs! HA! But seriously, I explained that once you shave, the hair is blunt so it seems thicker, but it’s not. And how quickly hair grows is down to genetics, shaving has no power over that! With so many shaving myths out there, it can be hard to know fact vs fiction. Check out more advice at www.gillettevenus.ca.

It’s funny to me that a pretty, purple Gilette Venus razor brought my daughter and I closer together. When I took the time to take better care of myself, my daughter noticed, and it actually brought us together for a discussion that was about something.

I’ll raise a glass of wine, and a pretty Venus Swirl razor, to that! Maybe at the same time? In the bath?…

As a mom, how do you make time for yourself?
How do you like to spend ME time?

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How I Became a Ski Mom (And What Your Kids Need to Go Skiing!)

Little Kids Skiing in Whistler

When I had kids, I knew that I would never become a “soccer mom” or a “hockey mom”. The early wake up times, shuffling sports gear to and fro, and the possibility of driving an actual “family vehicle” brought me fear and loathing…! I wasn’t very sporty either, so how did I end up being a “ski mom”?

What's it like for kids to go skiing every weekend!

Little Kids Skiing in Whistler

Every weekend, from December to April, I wake up at 6 am, I make breakfast and grab snacks, fill my car up with ski gear and throw some skis on the rack and make the 45 minute drive up to Whistler. I pray for nice weather for the drive up, but I also pray for snow so the kids can have a fun pow day!

My daughter started when she was about 4 and she’s now 11 with amazing ski skills, and my son started last year at 3 years old, and is now 4 and doing amazingly well. I’m not even bragging, I’m not sure I’ll even be able to ski with him soon because he’s THAT good! I’m the one that needs ski lessons now!

Whistler Blackcomb runs a Weekend Ski Club out of the Village (where we always go), as well as Blackcomb and Creekside. It’s an all day program that provides a lunch and a ton of fun – the ‘Mini’ club goes for one day per weekend (choice of either Saturday or Sunday), and my daughter has gone both Saturday and Sunday since she was 6 years old.

The instructors are AMAZING. Each year we meet more and more of these fun-loving instructors that are so awesome with kids – our kids literally fall in love with their instructors each year (and sometimes you get the opportunity to have an instructor for multiple years!). Our kids make friends in Ski Club – people from Whistler, from Vancouver, and even families that have travelled the world over and are spending a winter in Whistler!

Little Kids Skiing in Whistler

Kids Skiing in Whistler

The Whistler Ski Club is a ton of fun – there’s dress up days where the kids can dress up as animals or pirates, the little ones have Teddy Bear picnics, and there’s also fun racing days!

Watching a group of 3 and 4 year olds skiing is like magic! It’s unbelievable what these tiny kiddos can do – and yes, they make skis their size! If you’re looking for ski gear (and there’s a lot of it!) for small kids, Whistler Kids, located right in Whistler Village, has the best selection! And it’s convenient if you’re missing a pair of gloves or a balaclava!

What Kids Need for Skiing (aka The Ultimate Ski Gear List for Kids):

  • Skis
  • Ski boots
  • Poles (if they’re old enough)
  • Underlayer (Hot Chilly’s are a classic choice, or a Ninja Suit is fun!)
  • Ski socks
  • Mid-layer if necessary (my kids don’t use one – too hot!)
  • Balaclava to go under helmet and cover face
  • Ski Pants/Overalls
  • Ski Jacket
  • Gloves
  • Helmet
  • Goggles
  • Hand/Feet Warmers (if they’re cold!)

And I always hide a couple of snacks in their pockets, just in case they need a boost of energy!

Like anything in life, being a ski family isn’t fun 100% of the time – we have to deal with tired kids sometimes, attitudes about not wanting to go (rarely, but it happens!), long drives in bad weather, and as my daughter gets older she’s not too impressed about missing out on weekends. Sometimes she misses out on birthday parties and fun events that we could have gone to – the trick is to balance it out. Not be too strict about missing a day here or there, but on the other hand, reminding our kids of the commitment we made to skiing.

Ski Club in Whistler is about making memories for our kids, creating friendships and learning skills that they will have for life!… And in the summer time? I become a Bike Mom. Or an MTB Mom. The fun just never ends!

I want to know – are you a sports mom? What sport do your kids play?

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