1 Day in Seattle: With Kids

1 day in seattle, seattle with kids, Our family does a lot of ‘day tripping’. We’ll drive out to a destination that’s 2-3 hours away, spend the day, and head back after dinner. It might not be for everyone, but for us it’s a great way to fit in a little adventure without breaking the budget. Sometimes it’s also because of scheduling issues. One day adventures are better than no adventure, right?

Since we live in Surrey (just outside of Vancouver), the drive to Seattle is around 3 hours. We left around 9, which put us in Seattle just in time for lunch. This is the itinerary we followed, as a place to start your planning. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check out the local tourism sites, and bloggers from the area for recommendations too!

{I have a budget breakdown and a few other considerations at the bottom of the post if you are interested} Continue reading

Get to Know Me – Through Zara’s Eyes

This week I was really stuck on a topic for my video, and then Zara suggested a ‘Get to Know Me’ video. I had no idea what that meant, but the infinitely cooler than me 9 year old said it was a must for a new YouTube channel. 

Since she was so excited about the idea, I got her to interview me – and it was amazing! You know how every parent just assumes their kids are the smartest, and the cutest ever, pretty sure my kid just proved my assumption correct. Still don’t believe me, watch the video and let me know.

PS: This whole experience got me thinking about how smart and savvy this young generation is going to be. Maybe they don’t skip rope and play on the monkey bars as much as we do, but they make friends and connections all around the world every day. They are social, just in a different way than we were as kids. #eyeopener

Here’s the video:

Tips for Making Time to Read

how to read moreBooks are an integral part of my life. I use them to escape the everyday, learn new skills, and grow as a writer. I’m one of those people that could easily give up TV, but take away my books (and music as a close 2nd) and I won’t even recognize myself in a few days.

I post pictures and thoughts on my social media feeds about what I’m reading, and inevitably someone will ask – how do you make the time to read? It’s not really something I think too much about, I just do it. I read a little first thing in the morning while having a cup of tea. I carry a book with me whenever I have to wait somewhere or travel, and I often read while my family watches TV in the evenings.

If you want to read more (because everybody could read a little more), but are struggling to find the time, here are my top tips for fitting in more reading time. Continue reading

5 Things to Do Before You Begin a Renovation

pink chai home makeover

[Planning home decoration is so much more fun than planning a reno!]

Last spring, our family made some big changes and moved in with my father-in-law. He was living on his own in a mid-sized home and we were sort of squished into a 2-bedroom basement, so it made sense logistically. There were a few other reasons, including my FIL’s health that played a factor, but more space & separate rooms for the kids was a big motivator for us.

To make the house a better fit and a little more functional for everyone, we did a little renovating. The tiles in the entry room were updated, an old fireplace was removed from the living room and laminate floor was installed throughout the upper floor. The biggest change though was the addition of an extra TV/family room at the back of the house. 

I had never taken part in a renovation before and had no idea what to expect, or how many safety considerations there are. It was tough, messy and long. The experience taught me a few things about renos. So, if you’ve been thinking about doing ‘a little work’ around your house, I’m sharing some of my top tips for the renovation process today.
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Should I Buy a Microwave?

Here’s a strange thing you might not know about me – the last time I owned a microwave was in 2008. Yup it’s been 9 years since we had one in our house, and neither of our kids has ever known life with a microwave.pink-microwave[A pink microwave, this is too cute!]

To be honest, even before we got rid of the microwave I didn’t use it much. I’ve never been a fan of the way the texture of food changes when you heat it in a microwave, so I’ve generally avoided them.

We didn’t really make a conscious decision to live life sans microwaves, it just happened. During one of our many moves we decided to donate our rather large and clunky microwave and planned to get something smaller later, but we never felt the urge to buy a replacement. Since then we’ve heard a lot of different thoughts on how radiation effects food and I’ve become hesitant to bring a microwave back into our lives. However, I did think about it yesterday.

These days I do a lot more batch cooking, and we are often reheating meals for lunch. I’ve been thinking how having a microwave would make the process so much easier and quicker. A number of friends have told me that microwaves have come a long way, and the food quality is not affected so much in the newer models. I did a bit of research and also found that some of the more high-end models can also work on steam. 

So here I am considering the one kitchen appliance I was sure I didn’t need! What do you think, should I get a microwave? Does it make your life easier? Would love to hear your thoughts, leave me a comment and help me decide!

Dining Room: Progress Report

Back in December I shared my new decorating crush – partially painted walls. I’ve always been a fan of deep saturated paint colours and accent walls, but I’ve been struggling with the right way to integrate that into my current house which is pretty compact and a little dark. Well, a few weeks ago inspiration struck on a Friday night and I decided to paint the dining room. 

pink-chai-dining-room-1[The colour is by Behr and it’s called Very Navy]

Before I show you a full picture of the room as it looks now, here’s a reminder of how blah it was back in the spring when I started working on it: Continue reading

Hamilton Beach Spiralizer: First Reaction (Video)

Guys, (or more likely gals) I’m kind of excited today!! There are two firsts in this blog post – my first time using a spiralizer, and my first YouTube video of the year.

I’m going to tell you about the spiralizer in a sec, but I think I need to back up and tell you why this video business is so exciting. I’ve a had YouTube channel for a while, and have added random videos here and there, but this year I’ve committed to publishing one video a week. Every Monday. Whether I have an idea or not, whether I think the video is great or not. Historically I’m not very good at challenges like this, but I’m really excited to give this a try. I don’t have any particular subjects chosen, or any great plan, and that is why my first video is unboxing a spiralizer!

About that spiralizer….the awesome folks at Hamilton Beach sent me their 3 in 1 Spiralizer to try out, and I thought it would be fun to record my first attempt at using it. Sometimes kitchen gadgets can seem so simple to use and practical until I get them into my kitchen. I’ve had a number of fails with specialty gadgets in the last year so I wanted to be sure this is a good tool before I recommend it.

What was my first reaction, you can see in the video below:

The spiralizer is my first attempt at replacing foods my family already eats with healthier alternatives (you can read more about that here), and I’m sure you’ll be seeing more spiralizing on the blog soon!

Family Food Goals: 2017

About five years ago I started getting serious about annual goal setting, and one of the areas I took into consideration was the food my family eats. I know it sounds kind of silly to set goals and intentions around grocery shopping and meal plans, but it’s so important. aloo bhartha[Aloo bhartha – takes 20 minutes to prepare and the kids love it!]

What we eat and the fuel we put into our bodies is vital, yet so many of us treat our meals like an afterthought, or a nuisance even. (I used to). We take the time to educate ourselves on new apps and computer software but don’t really understand the ingredients in our foods – see any red flags?

I shared my family’s food goals in 2015 and 2016, and I’ve made some progress on both those lists, and there are some areas that still need work, but I’m not giving up. Maybe this is the year I hit all my goals! Continue reading

Victoria BC: Girls Weekend Guide

Just before Christmas Salma and I got a rare opportunity to slip away from life, responsibilities (aka husbands & kids), and work stress to take both of our first ever girl’s trip! It’s kind of sad that neither of us had ever done a girl’s trip, but kind of awesome that we got to do it together, and have such a great time!girls trip victoria[Girls trip fun coming up, but first, we take a selfie!]

Usually when people think about planning a girl’s trip, they think about places like Las Vegas or Palm Springs, we were presented with the opportunity to visit the capital city of our home province Victoria, BC, and we loved it. I’ve been to Victoria many times (I was also born there), but never really as a tourist, and Salma hadn’t been for nearly 20 years.

We did so much in two days – including hitting 20,000 steps on our Fitbits on day 1, but I’m going to try to recap some of favourite stops, and must-do items. 
helijet ride
[bye-bye real life, see you  in a few days]
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