treating myself during a busy season + 50% off Cook It

Sometimes there are seasons where I just can't get ahead. Anyone else? Lately it seems that way. Before Japan we were racing to finish work and organize for three weeks abroad, so life was hectic, but we were on top of it. And then three weeks away happened, which was amazing, but adjusting home was very difficult. For a solid week after arriving home from Japan we were so jet lagged that we could barely function. For a few mornings the kids and I were awake from 1:30am onward, FOR THE WHOLE DAY. But life goes on, and there was absolutely zero time to rest after already taking three weeks off. If this sounds like a First World Problem, please know that I am cautious of that and deeply grateful for the opportunities we've had to travel. I'm just saying this has been a very busy season for us, especially adjusting back to North American culture and Montreal-time. We've all had those seasons - a new baby, a lost job, a crazy semester, an illness, an urgent family need, even times of blessing can bring chaos. The month of June has been full of blessing but also it's been very tight and my margin was waning. Even though the timing was terrible, I also went to TGCW18 (The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference) for four days last week (more on that later), meaning Brad was solo parenting during a week where his workload was already doubled. Laundry piles were climbing, the to-do list was never-ending, our kid's needs were mounting, and our spare hours were given to ministry and catching up on work. There are always those seasons, amiright?

Before leaving for TGCW, I did myself a huge favour and ordered Cook It for the first time, and set it to arrive the day after I arrived home. I received a $40 off coupon in a flyer that was handed out at my metro station and figured it was worth a try. Meal subscription boxes are all the rage right now and for good reason - people are so busy, but take-out loses it's appeal fast. Take-out is expensive and usually unhealthy and frankly, it gets old eating out of cartons. A home cooked meal is usually just what everyone desires most, but where to find the time for meal planning and ingredient hunting? In most seasons I find cooking a pleasure but in the month of June, it was a huge burden, so the timing was perfect to give Cook It a try. This is not sponsored in any way, but hear me: it was amazing. The food was incredible, the ingredients are all sourced locally from some of Quebec's best markets and suppliers, and the meals were filling and interesting.

Cook It has a refer a friend program, and it's a way better deal than I got as I tried it out. I'm so excited to share with you so maybe you can treat yourself in the next tight season. These subscription boxes aren't typically something I can justify financially (there's a price for convenience after all), though I strongly suggest them for families with larger budgets than ours, but with the coupon code I used (and especially with the one I'll be sharing with you!), it was a great deal!


With this discount code, you'll get 50% off your first TWO orders. Example: Brad and I ordered three meals for two adults. So six individual meals. With this discount, that would cost $32.50, or $5 per person, per meal. These are meals with steak and chicken and seafood though there are vegetarian options too (we just like to make sure we're getting the most bang for our buck, so we always order meat with ours!). 

So for $32.50, you'll get to choose three awesome recipes and everything you need to make it happen will be delivered to your door. Recipe, instructions, fresh ingredients. If you order a more expensive meal plan (say, for more people, or more meals), it's an even larger savings because it's 50% off the total cost of your first two orders.

This is Quebec-only for now, but they hope to expand to Ontario. For now, Quebec friends, check out Cook It. It's been a crazy season for us and I was so thankful to take advantage of this offer. Our kids are finishing school this week and then slower times lay ahead. We are ready for lazy summer days, a lighter schedule, and more normal. I'm excited to get creative in my kitchen on my own terms again, too. But for now, Cook It to the rescue!

**This post is not sponsored, though with the refer a friend 
program, I will receive a gifted discount on my next order. 


Thai Summer Salad Rolls!

It's finally summer in Montreal! Now that June is here along with the heat and humidity, I have almost no desire to turn on my oven. BBQ and fresh meals are at the top of my meal planning list in the summer. Since we've been home from Japan I actually haven't used my oven once yet! I've BBQed almost every protein we've eaten and we're going for pastas and salads instead of anything roasted which only heats up our little condo more.

I made these salad rolls on a whim the other day for lunch and they were so darn good! I made it up on the fly and would love to try different variations in the weeks to come. This version is a salad roll - so no meat. It's vegetarian and vegan and tastes so fresh! The rice paper wrappers are quite filling, along with the sweet potato vermicelli. Adding fried tofu, shrimp, or BBQ chicken inside would be awesome too!

Thai summer salad rolls:

First, make a salad. I used shaved carrot, lettuce, cilantro, and green onion. Toss it with lime juice, set aside.

Then, make your vermicelli. Rice noodles keep it gluten free, too! My vermicelli is sweet potato which made it purple, but tasted basically like regular rice noodles. The noodles make the rolls much more filling, so don't skip!

Roll up in rice paper rolls. This takes a lot of patience at first! I got progressively better as I soldiered on. My first few were falling apart while simultaneously sticking to my hands, but even then they taste great! Once you make your rolls, put them on a lined cookie sheet or silicone baking sheet so they won't stick.

Peanut dipping sauce:

This sauce is amazing on everything! Mix 4 table spoons peanut butter, a few shakes of fish sauce and soy sauce (low sodium if you can find it), garlic, and up to 1 cup boiling water. Blend together and serve.


Good Ol' P E Island (last year's trip to PEI)

After falling in love with Anne of Green Gables at the better-late-than-never age of 30, I knew I needed to make a pilgrimage to PEI and soon. My BFF happens to have deep family roots in PEI and she wanted to visit her grandmother out there but was afraid to do the long drive alone and her husband wasn't able to get the time off work. Well, one thing lead to another and before we knew it, Morgan and I and our combined 5 kids had rented a minivan and were heading East. What an adventure! Such an adventure that it took me 10 months to gather my thoughts and share them here apparently ;)

As with my obsession with all-things-Anne at a more mature age than the average reader, it's never too late, right? So here are the photos of a truly precious week in PEI. Morgan now has a third child and we likely won't make that trip again for many years (if ever), so I'm cherishing these pictures and the memories we made in a place known for red sand, rocky beaches, salty lobster, friendly neighbours, and of course, Anne.

We stayed with Morgan's grandmother and we mostly hung around with her amazing extended family, many of whom are lobster fishermen and potato farmers. Alberton, PEI is where her family calls home, and we didn't roam very far from the little town. We visited the beaches a few times which were amazing for exploring and playing - too cold to swim in though! The kids played in the tide and we looked for sea glass and loved being so off the grid (her grandma doesn't have internet and there was no wifi anywhere to be found! It was kind of amazing).

Since it was Canada's 150th anniversary, all of the parks were free to enter which was very cool. Going to Green Gables Heritage Place was the very highest highlight. Exploring the home that inspired L M Montgomery when she wrote about Matthew and Marilla and their orphan girl Anne, and then meeting and interacting with the actors that portray all of our favourite characters from the books... it was just the best day! The girl who was playing Anne that day was so incredibly accurate that I had goosebumps! She asked our kids their names and said to Lily, "oh Lily, what's it like to be named after a flower? I'm just boring old Anne, but at least my name has an 'e' at the end!". I literally cried, which is super lame I know, but I couldn't help it! And Morgan asked her for a selfie with us and hugged her, too! It was the best day and so hilarious!

Because of our connections with local farmers, our city kids got quite the education! We visited uncle Troy and Luke as they were cutting grain with the big tractors and the kids got to ride along. Chloe has a blast playing in the hay! Just looking at her made me itchy, lol!  They we stopped by at uncle Troy's (Luke's dad) to see the cows at their house. We also visited a dairy farm and we got to see a three day old cow!

And for those asking, the drive wasn't so bad! Being with your long distance BFF made it so fun. We had a lot of catching up to do and we tend to be long winded when we're together anyway (sorry kids!). Until next time, PEI.

Aside from Green Gables, we just lived life in PEI instead of in Montreal and Toronto respectively. That's my favourite way to travel - sinking into the local culture. We got ice cream and went thrift shopping and had naps and cooked dinner and baked birthday cakes and went to church. It was absolutely lovely and I recommend PEI to anyone who hasn't been! What really struck me was the Island feel of PEI. They really do feel separate from the rest of Canada in some way - which is saying something considering I live in Quebec! They have a unique and completely charming accent and they say "on PEI" instead of "in PEI" when asking how long you've been there. Literally everyone we met, be it at the grocery store, the cafes, church, you name it, was kind, welcoming, and unpretentious. At Sunday school Lily mentioned that it was her birthday to a classroom full of strangers, and wouldn't you know, someone ran out and bought her a birthday cake and candles to celebrate. People aren't just that way anywhere!  Canada may be the world's nicest country (or so I hear when we're traveling), but PEI is definitely the country's nicest province.


a day in HER life - Tabitha Osler

My name is Tabitha Osler and I am the designer and director behind Faire Child, a new sustainable children’s outerwear company. My husband’s name is Nic and together we have Charli who, at 2.5 years old is a very adventurous and curious little creature. We live close to the ocean in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Starting a new business has been a lot like having another child but I am very passionate about making positive change in the Fashion Industry and leaving Charli with a better world to live in. I really see it as a privilege to be able to work for myself and be doing something that I believe in. 

These days Charli is our alarm clock and we get up when she does, usually between 6-7. Charli’s outfits are a morning highlight. She chooses her own clothes and I would describe her style as Make Believe. She is always dressing as a prince or princess – pure royalty, every day. Today she put on a blue striped ‘nightie’ – that’s what she calls all dresses – with a sage Stella McCartney tutu accessorized with oversized blue sunglasses. Needless to say, she is a pretty independent dresser and only really needs help putting on her shoes.

We bike to work and school once the weather allows. Charli rides in her Yepp seat and has her only little bell to ring. We all bike together to drop Charli off at her daycare to see her sweet petits amies. Her school subscribes to the Emilio Reggio educational philosophy. I love how they provide a great environment for her to play and do her work. Everything is at her height, things like sinks and tables are low. This accessibility allows her to play care free and I think it is very empowering for her to feel in control of her space.

After we have dropped Charli off, Nic and I bike to the Halifax ferry terminal and take it across the Halifax Harbour over to Dartmouth. The morning bike ride and ferry commute is my time. Being a mom and a new business owner means I don’t have much down time and this time in my morning schedule is precious. Nic and I work in the same building which has been incredible because we actually get to see each other and eat lunch together. It’s like a little mini date and it’s transformed our relationship since having Charli.

When I get to my studio office I am greeted by Beth and Alissa who help me with the ever- increasing responsibilities with Faire Child. It’s so great that they are there when I arrive and we can jump right into the work.  Beth also has a toddler and it’s a relief to be in the same boat as someone else. It helps me feel understand and it’s great that we can relate to each other in that way.

My approach is to work as efficiently and as quickly as I can. There is always too much to do and my hours are numbered. This is such a huge contrast from before I had Charli when I could work for hours on end and not worry about not having enough time to do it all. I cherish my time with Charli and try to maximize it by keeping regular work hours.

My average day usually involves a trip to Climate Technical Gear to manage production, do quality control and pick up stock. It’s so great to have our product made locally - it’s a 10-minute drive away and I love that. There is a minutia of detail in production that can easily be lost in translation. Being able to have face to face conversations makes a world of difference. My production team at CTG shares Faire Child’s values of creating eco-friendly products and they are passionate about improving their own system to reduce waste.

Nic and I head home around 4pm to pick up Charli from school. When we get home Nic starts preparing dinner. He worked for 8 years as a chef and he makes the best food. During this time Charli and I have a snuggle and she has some milk. This is such an important time for us to reconnect after a day apart. We all eat dinner together and often read books together at the table. Charli likes to play with her food and most of her dinner ends up in her water glass and then she eats it with a spoon. Kids! 

After dinner is family time. We have dance parties, listen to Peter and the Wolf, do some yoga or just play with toys. Charli’s favourite thing to play with lately is this natural play dough made of corn starch that we picked up at the farmer’s market. Sometimes we transition from play time to bed time with a bath. Charli adores water and pretends she a mermaid swimming around. She could spend all day in the bath is we let her.

Then we get Charli in her nighttime nightie – because there are daytime nighties now! – and get through the struggle of teeth brushing. Finally, it’s some snuggles in bed together while we read a few books although lately Charli has preferred us to tell her stories from our imagination.

Once Charli is in bed Nic and I usually have some work to finish. Nic does design work on the side and I also teach Fashion at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I make this time feel more special by setting myself up with some sparkling water and playing classical music. We pack it in at 10 so we can have an hour to hang out together before we go to bed. 

Life is really full these days. There are so many things to be thankful for. Parenthood has reignited my childlike creative soul. What had become a dormant creative spirit after entering into the work force, has been welcomed back and has greatly impacted my work. Charli has reminded me that there is no right or wrong way to do something, my admiration of her willingness to try, her altered my once crippling view of perfection, and made me more accepting of failure, thus allowing me to be more creative. From the moment my daughter arrived, I felt as though I could reach any goal I desired and I started making choices that supported my true passion and goals, without inhibition and insecurity. Within a year of having my daughter, I was here, on my path to having the business I had always wanted.

Thank you Tabitha!
Instagram - @fairechild