25.7.17

on tight-knit sibling relationships

I love these words on sibling relationships by Jen Wilkin (see the whole article here). They help explain, in part, why our kids haven't seen a single friend from school all summer, and why they're closer than ever because of it.


"Rather than separate fighters, we pushed them closer, assigning them a shared consequence (like a chore) to do together. It was not our job to “break it up” but to “bring it together.” If conflict continued, we canceled outside activities. Until they could get along with their best friend at home, outside friends could wait."


"Because deep friendship takes root in shared experiences, we spent countless hours of time together as a family. While we recognized the gift of outside friends and activities, we didn’t let either monopolize our kids’ free time. Their best friend from soccer would be a distant memory in 30 years, but the best friends they shared a last name with would be in their lives forever."


yes yes yes! 

All images by Rachel Cheng, Montreal-based family photographer. 

21.7.17

Graphic Tees to Luv

I just bought Oli one of these sweet baseball tees from my fave Montreal kid's retailer, Luv Mother. They're ethically made in the USA, designed in Canada, and super cute! Get 15% off with this link!
Luv Tee
I've partnered with Luv Mother for years now, and love their brand, but this is not sponsored at all - just wanted to share the news! Also they have 40% off their fabulous merino wool collection right now. Enjoy!

19.7.17

Packing for 3 Weeks in Europe!

We leave tomorrow! I've slowly been packing for us five, and each time we go abroad, I feel like I know a little bit more about what's essential and what to leave in Canada. This is the first year that we don't need to pack diapers, which is HUGE. There was a time when we'd have one suitcase just for diapers and wipes! So that frees up a lot of space, but also we now have kids old/big/responsible enough to carry and pack their own carry-on luggage! Game changer. For all the info about how we fly for free, you can check out this detailed post. Read on to see what we've packed!



CLOTHING:

We're packing for hot and cool summer temperatures, since we'll be in high altitude (the Alps!) and we'd like to be outside into the evenings. The longest stretch that we'll be without laundry is six days, so as long as I have enough clothing for that stretch, I'm great for the whole trip. I wanted to pack neutral, easy to mix and match pieces that we can wear from the mountains to a restaurant in the same day.

KIDS:

Travel Outfit: 
Sweat pants, t-shirt, sweater, running shoes (tip: try to wear your largest items so you have more room in your suitcase for other things!)

Bottoms:
2 shorts, 1 pair jeans, 2  dresses/skirts for the girls

Tops:
2 long sleeve, 4 short sleeve/tank tops

Extras: 
1 swimsuit, 7 underwear, 2 socks, 1 pyjamas, 1 light jacket, 1 pair sandals


ME:

Travel Outfit:
Jeans, t-shirt, zip up, running shoes

Bottoms:
2 shorts, 1 skirt, 1 dress

Tops: 
2 tank tops, 2 short sleeve blouses, 2 long sleeve blouses, 2 t-shirts

Extras:
1 swimsuit, 7 underwear, 2 socks, 1 pyjamas, 1 light jacket, 1 workout outfit, 1 pair sandals

I love being forced to pack light and choose our outfits carefully. It really makes you reevaluate your belongings when you need to pack for several weeks elsewhere. It always seems to hard to narrow it all down, until you're away, and living contentedly with those few pieces and you think why do I have so much stuff!? Coming home to all of the other clothes and belongings that we didn't bring is often overwhelming, even though we are fairly minimalist. This past week I purged my wardrobe as I was preparing for our trip, and ended up with 55 items that I love and wear regularly. It feels so good, but I'm sure after our trip, it will feel like too much, still.

FOOD:

Food is something we always try to bring because it's a great way to save money and actually afford travel. I know for many, the idea of a vacation is not cooking and eating out daily, and I totally get that. For us, one way we budget enough for annual travel is to make sure when we're abroad, we are cooking almost all the time. Staying in Airbnbs over hotels makes this possible, and it's much easier that navigating restaurants with kids. We bring as many ingredients as we can in our luggage as well, because costs are higher abroad, and the cost of foreign currency is also high. It's also almost impossible to find peanut butter and cereal that we're used to, so it's nice to have the comfort foods from home with us - especially key when traveling with kids!

Here's an example of what we're bringing with us:

Olive oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, steak spice, white and brown sugar, yeast (pizza dough!), oats, dry pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, cheese strings (believe it or not, they keep refrigerated for a long time), breakfast cereal, almonds, cashews, cliff bars, protein shakes, mayonnaise, hot sauce, tea.

We also have learned to bring 1/4 c and 1/3 c measuring cups, for baking, since most Airbnbs don't have them, and a set of measuring spoons. European kitchens also almost never have Tupperwear, which makes it hard to pack our lunches, which we eat on the go every day. This year, we're learning from past mistakes and bringing several plastic containers and zip-lock bags in all sizes with us. We're also packing 18oz water bottles for every family member.

STUFF:

We are bringing 1 iPad, our iPhones, lots of light weight books, our Bibles (Brad reads the Bible on the iPad, but I can't part with my paper copy!). For the kids, we're bringing a few puzzles, a small bag of Lego, 1 stuffie each, 1 blanket each, adult colouring books and markers, and blank paper. This year for transportation, since they're all a bit too large for the stroller, we're bringing their scooters! They're very light weight and the kids are so quick on them, plus they're more fun than walking, and we'll be walking a lot!

17.7.17

55 Piece Wardrobe + Save $30 on Frank & Oak's Style Plan!

Credit: Rachel Cheng

After slimming down my wardrobe last week, I gave away 13 tops, a skirt, and a dress. Organizing and purging things I no longer need has become a favourite hobby, and it always leaves me feeling so good. I whittled my wardrobe down to 55 pieces. Here's what I'm down to after the great purge, and for the record, I know, it's still a lot. We do live in an abundant time and place in history, but everything I kept I do wear regularly and many of these items I've had for years and were ethically sourced. I haven't included formal wear, lounge wear, pj's, swimwear, etc.

tops:

3 graphic tees
6 solid colour tees 
3 striped tees
4 muscle tanks
2 nicer tees with details
2 long sleeve tees
9 blouses/tops (sleeveless, short sleeved, etc)
3 button up shirts (1 chambray, 2 plaid) 
5 sweaters
total: 37

bottoms:
3 jean skirts (blue, black, grey)
3 dresses (black, jean, striped)
6 jeans (2 black, 1 grey, 3 blue)
6 jean shorts (white, black, 2 blue, + black overalls)
total: 18

While I was trying on all of my shirts (thanks to my helpful audience who were watching my stories that night!) and deciding which ones to keep, I realized that now almost all of my basic tees and tanks are from Frank & Oak. They make a great tee. The sleeves are the perfect length, the V neck aren't too deep, the material, silky soft.

Credit: Rachel Cheng

I recently partnered with Frank & Oak to test drive their new Style Plan, which is a genius monthly or bi-monthly service that helps you shop and gives you great discounts on their best styles. If nothing speaks to you that month, you skip the month, no questions asked. If you decide to buy, you get a discount on everything. Cool, right? What's better, they've let me share the love with all of you  - use this code and get $30 off your first month of Frank & Oak's Style Plan!

Credit: Rachel Cheng

For this collaboration, I chose their 90's high waisted black shorts and the striped muscle tank. My tank is XS and my shorts are a 28. I'm normally a larger size for tanks and tops and my pants can range from 27-29, so I ordered a few sizes to be sure. Returns are always free and they are so lovely and helpful if you need to send something back. That is so important to me with online shopping!

Try out Frank & Oak's Style Plan and get $30 off with this link!


Photography by Rachel Cheng
This post was written in collaboration with Frank & Oak,
a company I have supported and loved for years.
To book a collab, contact me!