It’s been a while but…. We have some big news!!

Yes it’s been a while since I have posted… I kinda of fell, off the map a bit mid vacation but I promise it was for a very exciting reason.

This summer after our first road trip as a family we learned that our family table would need an extra seat! We are so excited to grow out family and for the adventures that will come with this new life.

Fall Project

I know I know, I have been away for a while and I probably owe a little bit of an explanation. Things have been a little crazy around here for the last few weeks (or month) and taking a little time for me and writing was not in the cards. With the three of us adjusting to Michael’s new work schedule and a family vacation where really no one slept for 2 weeks it took a little time to get my footing back. But not it’s back and I’m ready to tackle my new Fall Project!

I know in a lot of the world people are still heading to the beach, and soaking up some rays and not ready to hear that dreaded four letter word F-A-L-L. But here in Canada, the leaves are starting to change, the light footie pyjamas are out and cups of morning tea are just a little bit yummier.

For me the best time of year is right now, late August to early October, when the days are still fairly warm and the mornings are cool enough to excuse and extra push of the snooze button. I love the colours and the smells of early fall, especially around the harvest. As a big believer of self sustainability and buying local fall is the best time of year to put my values to work by heading to the markets and food stands to buy my produce for the now and the winter months. And that my friends is where we will start my fall project.

In March I began my Spring Project where I planted far too many tomato plants and a few peppers in the hopes of canning salsa and tomatoes for the winter…. well we are still waiting for them to turn red but I think I did a pretty good job considering the closest thing to gardening i had ever done before was buy a tomato plan with fruit already on it and put it on my patio in university…. So in the coming weeks I will be canning tomatoes that will hopefully sustain us the winter.

But this week while perusing Facebook I found this add for a local food stand :

Moo at the Zoo: In The Land of the Lemurs

This is not a sponsored post, the thoughts and opinions written here are my own. See disclaimer.

Friday officially marked the beginning of my summer vacation for this year, and yes I am well aware that I have only been back in the office for about 3.5 months but I worked a ton of overtime during my pregnancy and before the wedding to make sure I had vacation when I came back. It’s tough adjusting from Lululemon and mommy and me yoga to blazers and meeting with clients daily, so this Mama needs a break. So on Friday at about 2:30pm I cleaned up my desk and headed home for 2 weeks of playtime with my Monkey.

To kick off our vacation we decided to head to Calgary for another fun day at the Zoo. We are definitely putting Taunte Elizabeth’s birthday gift to good use this summer!During our first visit to the Zoo in May we learned that the Calgary Zoo would soon be home to Canada’s largest lemur exhibit, opening summer 2017. Well It’s summer and the exhibit is now open and we were excited to stand in line to get a glimpse of these amazing creatures that are sadly so close to extinction.

The exhibit is in three parts with homes for the critically endangered black and while ruffed lemurs, the ring-tailed lemur (the Zoboomafu classic), and the red-fronted lemur.

You can see the lemurs from a platform giving you an unobstructed option which is great for photographers and lemur lovers alike, but the best part of the experience is taking the walk through and actually entering the enclosure and getting a up close experience with these beautiful creatures. It was well wroth the 15 minute wait to enter the walk through.

One of Monkey’s favourite features of the walk through was the rope bridge that allows for a little monkeying or more like “lemuring around”.

Because we travel during morning naptime we arrived at about 10:30am which was a great time to arrive. Even though the lemurs were sleeping when we arrived by the time we got through the line and into the enclosure they were starting to get active.

On our way out of the exhibit we were lucky enough to find the red-fronted lemurs awake and ready for lunch

After visiting the lemurs we had a chance to catch the giraffes (my favourites) enjoying a little lunch as well.

Aren’t they amazing creatures!

Our visit to the zoo was a perfect way to kick off two weeks of Monkey time, and I think Monkey would say the same 

He played himself out

What is your favourite exhibit at the zoo? Let me know in the comments below!

A Fresh Take on Meal Planning

This post contains affiliated links please see my disclaimer.

One of the things I have always taken pride in is what I manage to create in the kitchen.  Coming home at the end of a long day at the office one of the most relaxing things for me to do was scrole through Pinterest while digging in my crisper drawer and pantry to find the perfect combination of fresh local foods to make something incredibly delicious. 

But now that I am back to work and my time with Monkey is so precious I can’t possible spend that kind of time every evening unwinding at the stove when there are Beat Bugs to sing along with and bath time to enjoy. Even though I may not have the time (or enegery) to think up creative meals, it doesn’t mean that my family doesn’t deserve amazing dinners. This is where my friends at Hello Fresh come to save the day.

I was sent a Family Plan Box which included 3 perfectly proportioned meals for a family of 4 with kid friendly recipes to review with my little family. 

The food arrives packed in a thermal box to keep everything fresh on its travels. Inside the thermal box you will find recipe cards, and 3 boxes containing everything you need for each recipe making meal prep a breeze! No more rooting through the pantry or fridge only to find out you are out of one essential ingredient.

Even Monkey was excited to get in on the action!

Our first night we had Seared Italian Sausages with Veggoe Succotash and Tomato-et Orzo.

This was awesome meal, everyone loved it and it was very filling. I had alway seen orzo in the grocery store but thought it was more of a soup pasta it is was amazing in the sauce!

The next day we had Pulled Chicken Sliders with Tangy Cabbage Slaw for lunch after a long morning at the Market.

This made a great lunch that we ate over 2 days. 

The last meal we had was a Seared Steak and Crispy Potato Salad with Tomatoes, Green Beans and Shallot pan Sauce.

I was excited to take the left over to work the next day for lunch!

I love how all the ingredients are pre measured so there is zero food waste. All the recipes took about a half hour to prepare and were enjoyed by everyone. 

I can see myself ordering again when things get busy during the holidays or when I just need some new ideas for my repertoire. One of the things I loved about Hello Fresh is that you are not only provided with the ingredients pre measured but the recipes so you can repeat the meals you love again and again… You should see the huge bag of orzo we bought this week, we will be repeating one of these sometime soon!

Hello Fresh is not only for the culinary inclined, it is a great way for those who are a little intimidated by more complex recipes to try something a little out of their comfort zone with little chance of failure. 

If you are interested in trying Hello Fresh they have given me a promo code to pass along to all of you just use MCGILLS60 at the check out and you will receive $30 off your first and second box!! That’s a total of $60!

What ways do you try and save on meal prep time? If you have tried Hello Fresh, let me know about your experience! 

10 Things I love about you ❤️

2 years ago today I married an amazing man. I am so lucky to have him in my corner supporting me through all my crazy ideas and loving me through all my ups and downs.

I wanted to take this time to share all the wonderful things I love about him every day. 

  1. I love that every morning for the last 5 years you have brought me coffee (or tea) in bed because I am not a morning person.
  2. I love that no matter how many dishes I dirty during meal prep you always do the dishes.
  3. I love that I know you will be next to me every Sunday at mass, growing my faith and raising our Monkey to love the Lord.
  4. I love that you surprise me with flowers and not once have they been “I’ve messed up flowers”
  5. I love the way you push me to be braver than I ever thought I could be.
  6. I love that you let me be honest and never hold those honest thoughts against me.
  7. I love that you play guitar while I am making dinner and that you are instilling a love of music in Monkey.
  8. I love that you love parenting Monkey as much as I do.
  9. I love that we have had unbelievable adventures that will bind us when we are too old to adventure further than our rocking chairs
  10. I love that you chose me

Happy Anniversary Michael! 

The Mama who could have bounced…. but didn’t 

Motherhood almost instantly readjusts your priorities, at least it did for me. From the second Monkey was born Michael and I were making critical life or death decisions and focused solely on what was best for Monkey. This was a huge mind shift for me that affected my life in ways I didn’t expect. 

Growing up I was that girls that danced 4 hours a day 7 days a week and never felt thin or fit enough, I was but I always strived for more. Thankfully I found myself in a therapists office before I could do too much damage but I was always the type to push my body to its limits at least for period of time. 

Solveg – Academy of Classical Ballet 2000

When my dance life ended and I went off to University I took up running and the gym. This was a slow burn relationship with lots of ups and downs that I still struggle with but in the end I still managed to keep my weigh and dress size within MY acceptable range. It would be nothing for me to decided to chase the bikini body mid summer and decided that two classes a day was completely doable along with a “I only eat food that looks like it did coming out of the ground” diet… because if I am anything I am dedicated and goal driven. And I would achieve that goal… every… single… time….sometimes with a little time to spare.

So with all this type A personality engrained in my DNA and 14 years of ballet school discipline woven into my lifestyle “bouncing back” after pregnancy should have been a piece of cake right? And really it probably would have been if I had tried, but this post is not about how you can get your pre-pregnancy body back quickly if you just try hard enough. It’s about how that doesn’t actually matter.

When Monkey first came home I went to the gym a lot… to shower. Michael was workings away a lot, we were room sharing  and the sound of the shower would wake Monkey up. So I was there about 3 times a week to put Monkey in the day care, so I could take a quick walk on the treadmill to justify showering in the locker room. I am pretty sure I was in the shower longer than on any of the machines. I assumed that this would eventually become my routine and I would be there daily and rockin’ my ore wedding jeans before Christmas. That was not the case.

Once Monkey started to sleep in his own bedroom and showering at the gym was no longer required; that drive into town became less frequent, because I wanted to spend time with my son. Newborns are up basically 4 hours a day and I didn’t want to spend a significant portion of that time away from him while he was in the gym day care. It was so much more important that I spent my time at mommy and me and  practicing tummy time than pushing the calorie count on the step mill. 

At that moment my priorities had shifted from about how I look in that dress to how I looked in his eyes. I want to be the mom who will share some ice cream with her son and not worry about the consequences. I don’t want sit on the side of the pool because I am worried about the tummy rolls and cellulite that lets be serious no one sees but you. I want to have a relationship with myself that promotes memories with my son not one that makes him call the day care workers Mama. 

This however does not mean that thinking about my health is out the window, but that the focus has shifted. I will continue to love working out, but when it comes between the bench press and the park bench, you will find me at the park every time. I want to do what I can to make sure that I am around the share those memories for a long time to come and able to make more as we all grow older, but it won’t be at the expense of this precious and all too fleeting time.

How did your perspective change when you became Mama (or Dada)? Let me know in the comments below!


The 3 things I knew before I became Mama

Before becoming a Mama I knew a few rules my littles would definitely live by, like no screens before 2, no sweets until preschool, and no cosleeping. Lol I love how I thought this would a realistic, it shows how young and naive I really was about this whole parenting gig.

The first rule, no screens stems from the barrage of Facebook parenting experts posting articles stating the screens are the root of all evil. That if your child even glances at a screen before the age of 2 you will be battling the screen issue for all eternity. These articles were not all anecdotal some of these sources were pretty credible like the American Association of Paediatricians, so with experts like that making the recommendations they must be followed right? Righ?!?

I have to say that this was a rule we were really good at for about 10 months, but for this Mama who was fortunate enough to have a full year of maternity, but lives 20 minutes out of town and doesn’t function well when the isolation starts to make her feel like a recluse, she needed a little more than the sounds of talk radio during breakfast. So the breaking of this rule was completely selfish, I needed Monkey to give me just 10 more minutes to think straight in the morning, and get just a little more tea in me before facing the day. This is when Studio K, and more specifically Scout came into our lives.

Scout is a purely Canadian show that will make any banjo loving, biodynamic eating, Hunter wearing millennial’s heart swell. The program is about 7 minutes in length and focus on the subject of mindful living and critical thinking through solving a daily mystery with 3 clues. The first time I watch it I cried and wanted Monkey to be a Gumboot Kids too. This was then end of no screens for Monkey. 

Now his screen time is still extremely limited, but he can have a little screen time to catch up with Scout in the mornings with a sprinkling of Paw Patrol and Beat Bugs from time to time when Mama needs a little more time. 

My second thought on parenting was no sweets before preschool, because in all reality no one needs chocolate, or ice cream or cake or cookies right? They are just refined sugar and have no health benefit whatsoever so why would I feed that to my little…. Ummm because if you only did things in life that had a physical, intellectual, financial benefits we would never have fun, or learn from our mistakes. 

For close to a year Monkey thought plain full fat Greek yogurt was ice cream. He ate is every day for dessert. Then one day, about a week before is first birthday when he was eating his dinner and I was eating a Blizzard I had picked up on our way home from a play date. Because vanilla ice cream looks like plain Greek yogurt he wanted some. This was the end of rule number 2. And how could you deny a little something that is this cute

And lastly the rule that we broke the fastest. Absolutely no cosleeping. We were not even really open to room sharing before Monkey was born. We wanted him to go from hospital to nursery. We thought why have more transitions than necessary, plus wouldn’t everyone sleep better if they were in their own spaces? 

Although I believe this is very true and if we are blessed with another monkey we will most likely not cosleep, there are so many benefits to doing so as well which is how we fell down the rabbit hole. When Monkey was discharged from hospital part of his discharge plan was that he room share. So we went out, bought a pack n play for him to sleep in. 

In the beginning we kept Monkey awake and when he woke up both Michael and I were both awake leaving no one rested for the day time. But eventually we all got used to one another and everyone was sleeping better. Then when Michael left to work out of town the cosleeping began, because it was just me and Monkey, all day for weeks at a time; and it was so much easier to just cosleep. 

And even though I believe there are wonderful things that can come from cosleeping, this is not for us. It caused far too many bumps in the sleep training road, but I am glad I tried it. 

After just over a year of Mommying I have come the conclusion that I was definitely a much better parent before Monkey came along! There are so many ins and outs and ups and downs that arise once your little comes you can’t even imagine how your points of view change. So for all you Mama’s to be out there, write your rules in pencil so you can adjust accordingly. And for all those Mamas out there adjusting their plan every day you are not alone… we are all making this up as we go along.

What was your biggest parenting misconception pre baby? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Birthday Canada 🇨🇦 

There is nothing like growing up Canadian. Our country is a beautiful mosaic of cultures, landscapes and experiences. And because Canada is such a large country it took growing up in the maritimes and moving to Alberta to really know how amazing this country truly is.

One of the best sunset spots in New Brunswick

As an adventurous spirit exploring my beautiful country through its people and places has been a highlight of my last 5 years living in the west. 

One of our favourite mountain get aways

I have been fortunate enough to bask in the fresh salt sea air of the Atlantic Ocean.

Light houses for days

Enjoyed a glass of wine on the volcanic hills of the Okanagan.

World class vineyards

I grew up in the culture of the fishing villages of the maritimes.

Quaint fishing villages

And taken weekend adventures to the dream like villages of the Rockies:

Perfect Mountain Villages

Along with all the beauty this country has to behold, is the best sense of humour in the hemisphere.

Beaver and a Moose in a Canoe… must be in Canada Eh?

What do you love about Canada? How did you celebrate Canada 150? Let me know in the comments below!

The well rested baby

One of the best parts of navigating this parenting thing is having someone who is a little ahead to guide you, and someone who is a little behind you to impart your wisdom on. For me these were a great work colleague living just down the alley and the other is my sister in law, and after talking for hours with both of them we have all come to the same conclusion…

A well resrted baby sleeps best!

Now I know this goes against all the advice you were probably given when your baby first came home… At least it did for us. We had a ton of the “just keep them awake for as long as you can and then they will sleep through the night”, “don’t let them nurse to sleep you will never be able to transition them to day care”, “when my little first came home…..”. Thankfully Michael and I always responded to these comments with “Monkey was premature and has different needs than your child, but thank you for the thoughts”. 

And boy am I thankful we listen to our instincts on that one! At nearly 15 months old our little Monkey still sleeps about 4.5 hours during the day and 11 at night, and what I have discovered is when those naps in the day time don’t go so well, we find ourselves up a few times through the night and it can be a week or so to get us back on track. Leaving this Mama exhausted by the end of the turn around and usually a new tooth on its way to throw a wrench in the routine.

The key to our success was consulting with a sleep trainer in our area and choosing a plan that worked for us, because Monkey was not always a great sleeper. In the beginning he was a I will sleep well if we co sleep kind of sleeper, and this was not conducive to our family unit! In consultation with this amazing support we chose our method and stick to nap routine: 

  • Up at 6:30am
  • Nap 8:30am-11am (max)
  • Nap at 1pm until at least 2:30 but as late as he wants


  1. Never wake baby unless it’s past 11am 
  2. Never vary from the routine during the training time

And I’ll tell you after about a week of this we were napping amazingly and only getting up once for a feed at night. Now that night feeds are no longer necessary we have a little who sleeps all night, the majority of nights!

In the beginning all this time sleeping had me worried that something was not quite right but my doctor reassured me that he is fine and to be thankful I have such a wonderful sleeper. What really made me confident about the well rested baby is when we get all our naps and uninterrupted nighttime sleep in we have a little who is happy the majority of the day (no high chair or car seat tantrums), who eats his meals and seams to learn so much so quickly. 

I know every parent needs to do what’s best for their family, but I challenge you to give it a try. Good long naps in the day time, for a few days and hopefully your little will be sleeping through the night too. I know the rule around our house is “never mess with the nap schedule” for a reason… a well rested Monkey means a well rested Mama! 

What are your tricks for a well rested baby? How did you get your little to sleep through the night? Let me know in the comments below!

Monkey at the Market: Frites and Sweets

A tradition I’ve had for almost a decade is waking up Saturday morning and heading to the local farmers market. No matter the city or province, I would wake up, grab a coffee to go, my grocery list and head to the market to pick up a bag of mini done doughnuts and my favourite guac and whatever I could find that looked yummy and local. 

Once Monkey was born it was a struggle to get out of the house on Saturday mornings to keep this tradition alive so this Saturday was my first one back at the market since October 2015!

Not only was this my first time back and at the new location but it was Monkey’s first market adventure ever!

While we were wondering around the market not only did it seem like there are so many more amazing vendors but we also discovered a new (to us) food truck, The Queen Bees Frites and Sweets. Food trucks and the amazing guac options are really what get me out of the house on a Saturday morning so discovering this little beauty made my weekend for sure.

The Queen Bees are twins sisters who love to bake and turned their nightly strolls and conversations into a successful staple in the food truck culture of Red Deer. You can read more about these inspirational women here.

This little gem has a the cutest spin on food truck dining mixing gourmet french fries and fancy French desserts like créme brûlée and macarons. 

The truck itself had a lot of charm and made me feel the way I think Paris would. It’s that perfect Parisian cream colour with the always present stripes that my imagination believes covers the streets of Paris. There is beauty in the details from the sold out sign for the macarons to the cute little prep station. 

We ordered just plain fries, primarily because Monkey and I would be sharing and there is only so much mess I can clean out of the stroller. They come in the cutest cones in the trucks signature colour, over flowing just enough and perfectly salted. 

Monkey actually ate the majority of the fries which is crazy because he is a little judge when it comes to fries and this cone is huge! I really enjoyed them as well and wholeheartedly regret not getting a side of aoli. 

I know we will be back again this summer for more frites and to try some of the sweets! 

Do you attend your local farmers market? Do you have booths you have to stop at EVERY TIME? Let me know in the comments below!