Back to School – Gear Guide

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MadPax full-size backpack, Bell Paul Frank helment, Maxi Micro Scooter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles lunch box, Planet Box Rover lunch container, Zoli Dash insulated water bottle

With less than a week to go before school starts I’m really ramping up my back-to-school shopping for Johannes, and almost everything on my list is there by special request from my 4.5 year old.  As his school is a “litterless lunch” school I’ve been looking for the best containers and bottles that are easy to use but will also keep his food and drinks tidy and warm/hot.

I’d love to hear of any cool new gear you think we might need, so if you have any please share!

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48 Hours in Montreal + a Free Travel Guide


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While chatting with my husband a few weeks ago he said something profound, “we don’t really get a long anymore”.  My first reaction was to deny it, stand my ground and try to convince him that he was wrong and that our marriage was “perfect”, but reality was that we had been fighting quite frequently.  Nerves were at an all time high, and unless we were barking orders or instructions at one another we really were not communicating much.  It’s almost embarrassing to admit it but we’d become more room mates than romantic partners and it made me sad to realize that he was right.

I felt we needed a “reset button” on our relationship, which of course does not exist, but the next best thing did…we could leave the boys with my parents for a weekend and get away just us to.  At the very root of our disengagement from our marriage was sleep deprivation and parental responsibilities, which at the end of every day leave us drained and seeking silence rather than closeness.

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So we packed our bags and drove off to Montreal.  In retrospect perhaps we should have flown, as it would have been quicker, but chatting and listening to music and making pit-stops along the way was kind of fun as well.

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We arrived in Montreal late Friday night and quickly checked into the Ritz Carlton Montreal.  An incredible hotel, with an even more incredible team of people, it was the perfect stay for us and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.  Our room was quiet and peaceful, with a plush comfortable bed and a wonderfully relaxing rain shower.  We ate both breakfasts at the hotel restaurant, Maison Boulud, and Michael was most appreciative of a good breakfast buffet.

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We spent the rest of the weekend eating, drinking and strolling the streets of Montreal. Joe beef, Le Club Chasset et Peche, Olive+Gourmando, Au Kouign-Amann just to name a few of our favourite eateries. It was amazing to find out we had things in common again, and not just when it comes to the boys.  But food and drinks and laughter.  48 hours that felt like so much more.

Yes it was nice to get home to our babies, and after 48 hours we both felt more than ready to see our mini troop.  But having some time to recharge and spend alone time with the “original two” was so so nice as well, and so needed.

I’ve put together a little TRAVEL GUIDE full of our favourite things, places, etc… essentially what we did in 48 hours in Montreal.  Its a free printable so just click the link and print it as you wish.  I will look to put together little guides in the months to come of other places we’ve visited and places we know and love.

We Have SHOES and a WINNER!

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Back-to-School shopping is my FAVOURITE time of year, maybe its because its Fall or because the weather changes so drastically. I never feel much like Spring is the start of anything new.  Fall, back-to-school, boot weather, that is the real change for me.  I can smell it coming and it makes me giddy for what is around the corner.  Pumpkin pie and walking on crunchy leaves.  Snow and Santa.

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This year is even more special heading into Johannes’ first year of Kindergarten.  His uniform will be all ready for him and picked out, his shoes will be clean and new.  He’ll have his big-boy back pack and a lunch box.  Cue tears.

Last week we took him shoe shopping.  We made it fun, left Magnus with my parents and took him to The Shoe Company by their house to pick up a pair of indoor and a pair of outdoor shoes for his uniform.  No sooner had we entered the store when Johannes bee-lined it for a pair of Spiderman Lightup shoes.  I’m not sure why I was surprised, he is a kid after all.  What I was super happy to see was what an awesome selection of velcro shoes they had!  For every pair of lace-up shoes, there was an exact pair with velcro for the little guys who don’t quite get the loops and knots concept.

We had a lot of fun and our shopping trip was successful.  I feel like we’re constantly buying him new shoes throughout the year since he grows so quickly, so affordability was really important to us.  The Shoe Company is still having their BOGO event, when you purchase one pair you get the second for 25% off, so we were able to give in to ALL of his wants this time around.

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Two weeks to go! Next up….uniform pants, shirts, socks and sweaters!

Oh and of course, the winner!  Nicola Zacheja Congratulations!!!!

This post was created in partnership with The Shoe Company. As always thank you for supporting our sponsors who make this blog possible.

Green Matcha Breakfast Smoothie Recipe

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Weekday mornings are a filled with chaos and rushed breakfasts. Its been one year and I still cannot get a perfect hold on how to get myself and the boys fed and out the door for school, activities and work.  Its impossible.  Either we all eat a cold breakfast (cereal) or we don’t make it anywhere on time.  Chaos is actually a nice way to describe mornings around here.

So I had a thought, maybe I make a smoothie for myself…a healthy one, that way I can drink my breakfast while feeding the boys and cleaning up.  And it works!

I’m planning on experimenting with a few more recipes and I will share them as they come to me, but for now here is my go-to Green Matcha Breakfast Smoothie Recipe.

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Ingredients

1 cup almond milk

1/2 cup of ice

1/2 frozen banana

1 tsp hemp seeds

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tbsp natural almond butter

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 tsp green matcha powder

1 scoop of vegan protein powder (optional)

Blend.  Mix.  Pour. Drink.  Et voila! breakfast.

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Grow Your Instagram & Photography Online Workshop

A new spin on my Classic and Advanced Photography workshops focused on photography and how to grow your Instagram but SPACE IS LIMITED!   The workshop takes place in the BluebirdKisses forum on September 26, its online so anyone AROUND THE WORLD can attend, but it is accessible by password only.  To sign up visit this link.

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The workshop takes place in the BluebirdKisses forum on September 26, but it is accessible by password only. I will be posting that day’s material online in the mornings, let you read through it and at a designated time I will be online for one hour to answer questions. You also have the opportunity to meet other members on the forum, and networking is so important. By keeping the workshop in a forum format you all have a chance to get to know one another, and me, ask questions on your time.

You are not obligated to participate at the designated time, the lessons and your access is left up for a month, so if you are away on September 26 you can access the information at any time after and I will log in periodically to answer your questions.

This course is designed to improve your photography editing skills, to teach you how to use your DSLR camera on manual. A second part of the course has been added to help give you the tools to navigate one of the biggest social media apps, Instagram, and to answer any questions you may have on how I personally edit and take photos. There are no guarantees made on numbers etc, but I will teach you all that I know, and the rest is up to you!

Easy Zucchini Fritters

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We are on a zucchini binge, mainly on account of the four zucchini plants we have taking over our garden, but also because they’re just so darned tasty!

I hadn’t tried zucchini fritters yet, so I gave them a whirl this weekend.

They’re pretty easy to make, they taste divine and the kids LOVE them!

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

4 small zucchinis washed and grated – peel on – (or in my case one giant 3lb zucchini)

1 small onion peeled and grated

2 small garlic cloves – crushed

2 tbsp dill

2 eggs beaten

1 cup Italian bread crumbs (might need a little more so have it on hand)

salt and pepper to taste

a cheese cloth

olive oil (spray or about 2 tsp)

How

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees farenheight.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray or coat with olive oil.

Once you’ve grated the zucchini, toss it with salt and set aside for about 15minutes to let the water out.  Then take the water out of the zucchini bits.  The easiest way is to put all the zucchini into a cheese cloth and twist it out until its dry, but incase you don’t have one, you can use your hands to squeeze water out little bit by little bit and lay the zucchini “meat” on a paper towel.  Once its all dry toss it in a large bowl with the eggs, garlic, onion, dill, salt and pepper and bread crumbs.  The mixture should be well coated and kind of sticky, if its runny add more breadcrumbs.  

Then roll into even balls, line them up on the baking sheet, and press down with a fork to form a “pancake”.  Bake in the oven for 10minutes, then take the tray out, turn the fritters and bake again for another 10minutes.  They should be a nice golden brown on both sides.