Cast Your Vote

Last weekend 
I participated in a 
Mary Kay make over contest.
The consultant, Marilyn,
 worked with me choosing a look
and then teaching me how to apply the make up.

Marilyn entered me into the contest,
and the winner is chosen by votes.
This is where YOU come in! 
You can vote for me 5 times a day.
I figure since I now have over 400 followers on Instagram,
if each person who reads this blog and follows me on Instagram
votes once a day, I could have a decent shot! 

Help me cross an item off my bucket list! 
Grand prize includes a trip for 2 to New York City,
which I have always wanted to visit!
Including airfare, 2 nights accommodation, 
transfers to and from airport in New York, 
Broadway tickets and $500 spending money! 
Needless to say, I'd love to win!

The 2 runners up winners will receive 
a night out on the town in their area or nearest city.
Including a 3-course dinner for 2 and 
1 night accommodation. 

Would you be so kind and vote for me?
Would you be extra kind and vote for me 5 times a day?
I'll love you forever! 

Simply click on this link 
and search Michelle Smid.
Then click, View Makeover 
and vote! 
You can vote 5x in a row, right away.

Greatly appreciated!


Mommy Mondays: Taking Care of Us

As a mother,
rather, as a parent,
we give all day every single day.
We give our bodies, we give our time,
we give our last bite of donut
and our last bit of patience.
We are constantly giving.  

The sacrifice is great, 
but the gain is even greater.
Oh, how I love
when my baby gives me an open mouth kiss,
even if it includes dribbles of her runny nose!
Gross, I know, but it is also a little slice of Heaven.
There is nothing I love more than cooking with my daughter.
Yes, the kitchen is an absolute disaster
(which would have made me absolutely cringe pre-kid days),
but I am making memories with Claire, and I love that! 
There's nothing quite like making cookies in a party dress.

there are some days where it gets to me;
I would be lying if I said it didn't. 
There are days when I don't want to be touched anymore.
When the kitchen floor needs to be mopped AGAIN,
and I just don't want to.
When I fall asleep during bedtime routine
and Claire gently wakes me up to finish reading a story. 
There are days when Spencer walks in the door,
and I give him the look that screams,
"Thank God you are home, now help me!" 

Throughout my journey with post postpartum anxiety,
I have learned how grounded I can be
when I take some time for myself.
The way I do this is through spending time
reading my Bible, doing my devotions and writing in my journal;
time meditating, praying and being still;
to hear my own thoughts.

Sometimes Claire will ask if she can join me,
and I have to let her know that I need some quiet time on my own.
Afterwards, I will spend some time reading or talking with her.
The guilt of saying no bothers me;
I also know that I need to do this to set myself up for
a great day with my girls. 

Does this make me a bad parent?
No, it makes me human.
What makes us good parents 
is when we see it, acknowledge it and address it.
Taking time for ourselves is not a luxury,
its a necessity.

I know there is no way
I can keep giving all of myself
when there is nothing left to give.
Having a bath and a glass of wine,
or taking a few hours to meet a friend for coffee alone
gives me back my sanity.
It reminds me that I am Michelle first,
that my husband and my kids
have certainly shaped who I am today,
they are not who I am today. 

This also goes for our relationships
with our spouses.
Spencer will be with me long after my kids
are off and on their own.
That days seems so far away,
but if how quickly the last 4 years
have gone is any indicator,, 
I know they will also pass too quickly.
Keeping our relationship alive and healthy
takes work.
Throw in a couple of kids
and it becomes serious effort to 
make time for each other.

Date nights in or out;
a simple conversation uninterrupted.
An incredible amount of patience 
with each other when the demands of family
pull us in opposite directions.
We need to connect on a level
that is more than just our roles as parents.
We need to connect as husband and wife
and as friends.

Double dates, dates alone.
Out or in, 
making time together a priority.

Taking care of ourselves
is often met with raised eyebrows from others,
or an attitude of 'when our kids are gone
then we can make time for ourselves.'
Then what are we teaching our children then?
That self care isn't important?
That taking the time to better ourselves isn't a priority?
For me, I want me girls to see this
and know I am doing it because I love their daddy so much.
That being physically, mentally and emotionally fit
takes effort and it takes time.

Investing in myself,
is ultimately investing in my family.


7th Annual Garlic Festival: Chefs to the Field

This August
our family went to 
the Garlic Festival in Terra Nova, Richmond.
We weren't sure what to expect
and arrived sometime in the afternoon.
The garlic festival was held 
on the Sharing Farm Society's property.
Check out their site here for 
more information on what it is they do.
It is amazing work. 
The garlic festival is their big fundraiser of the year. 

A bean teepee! 

Spencer and I were quite surprised
how much there was to do!
There were many activities for kids,
including face painting, a petting zoo,
shows and demonstrations.
We didn't get a chance to see
all there was because we showed up 
towards the end of the day.
Next year we will be sure to go earlier
to participate in all the activities.

For the adults
there was a market,
other demonstrations 
and tours of the farm. 
The event I was most excited for,
and really why I wanted to go,
was the Chefs to the Field competition. 
There were 8 participating restaurants:

Each of the participants
made a mad dash to the field
to harvest their produce.
There was a table set out with pantry ingredients.
There were two secret ingredients,
a scrumptious Oceanwise crab that had been caught
that morning and...
you guessed it - garlic. 

It was exciting to see them 
gathering, preparing and thinking about their approach.
Each team had to prepare 2 dishes in the allotted time;
one of them being a vegetarian dish. 
Claire enjoyed walking around
watching them work hard and quickly,
to prepare their dishes. 

The emcee warned the observers
to give the chefs room to work, 
or they would bite.
At one point, I took a step forward
to snap a closer picture.
With wide eyes Claire pulled me back
exclaiming, "Mommy, he'll bite you!"
The event was a bit long to watch in entirety
with little kids,
so I don't know who won.

Make sure to put this event on your 
calendar as a must do for the family
next summer!


Mommy Mondays: Bed Time Routine

Bed time can be one 
of my favorite times of day,
or most dreaded.
It all depends on the day of course.
Most of the time I enjoy it.

If I am on my game and
paying attention to the clues 
the girls give me, I can help us
have a successful bed time routine. 
This means having dinner prepared in time
in order for the rest of the evening to go smoothly. 
This can really make or break whether or not
there are melt downs. 

For the most part, 
I never thought I'd get too caught up
in any kind of routine or schedule with my kids.
But if I've learned anything since being a parent,
it's everything I thought it wouldn't be.
Most kids largely depend and thrive on consistency and routine.

My girls thrive on consistency and not being rushed. 
My oldest needs time to transition.
She needs down time and she likes to know what is going to happen. 
She can adapt fairly well if she knows what the plan is going to be. 

The girls will eat their dinner together
 and we chat about the day.
What activities we did, 
what our favorite parts of the day were,
what we could change or do differently,
 and other fun things or highlights. 
Then we start talking about bed time. 
This is as simple as saying, 
"When we are finished dinner, 
we are going to clear our plates and head to my bed room to start the bath." 
There are a couple more reminders about what is to come. 

Then we hop into the tub. 
Often all three of us together. 
Claire's favorite part is to have 
everyone in the bathtub.
We will wash up and then play. 

After the bath there is 
typically a few tears from both girls. 
They both love bath time and are always sad, 
and a bit cold, when its over. 
I have them on my bed with towels
 and we dry off and lotion up. 
I usually sing a very silly song about this an attempt to cheer them up. 
It usually works. 

Next we move to their room downstairs
Where we begin getting ready for bed. 
This seems like it is early,
but each stage takes a while and is drawn out. 
Claire will dress herself while I dress Jane.
Then Jane plays while I
brush and braid Claire's unruly curls. 
Claire will brush her teeth, and then Spencer or I do it again. 

At this point Spencer is typically home 
from work and will read Claire her 3 stories. 
Jane and I say good night to Claire and leave the room. 
Claire gets 3 books before bed.
She is beginning to
Enjoy reading them to us now from memory. 
Sometimes we will
Have a little chat, then we pray.
We lay with her for about 5 minutes, 
often giving her "back scratchies." 

Jane and I will read a couple of books geared more toward her age. 
Her favourites right now are 
"Your Baby's first word will be Dad", by Jimmy Fallon 
and the Duck and Goose books.
We read these books in a dimly lit room,
with her white noise machine on.

Once we are done,
she will drink her warm bottle,
and then nurse.
While she is eating I sing her a song,
and end with her favourite song.
Its simply the "I love you" Barney song,
and I use her name. 

Once she is drowsy and sleepy, 
I lay her in her bed.
Along the way, as she is showing signs that she is tired
(yawning and pulling on her ear),
I say to her,
"It is almost time for bed Jane. Night night Jane."
We also point to her bed and say,
"This is your bed. Night night Jane."
Sometimes she will cry for a minute or two,
but then is able to fall asleep on her own. 

As a kid,
I have fond memories of bed time.
My mom always made it so special.
She had a knack for making
the most ordinary and mundane things
and making them sweet and memorable.
Some of my memories are being wrapped in a towel
and sitting on the heat vent in the floor to get warm. 
I can still remember the feeling of the warm air blowing up into my towel.
I also remember snacks like sliced bananas and milk.

What do you do for your kids' bed time routine?


A Letter for Jane at One Year Old

your name means God has been gracious.
And He has.
He has been gracious with us 
as we waited impatiently for you
to be knit together in my womb.
He was gracious with us,
because He gave us you in His perfect time despite
our anger, confusion and foolishness.
Your arrival was sweet.
When they placed you on my chest,
I whispered to you,
"I've waited so long to meet you."
I didn't just mean while you were growing inside me.
I also meant the countless nights
I lay awake dreaming, praying and crying for you to be.

And now,
here you are,
a year old already.
You are an incredible baby.
Your temperament has evolved from
quiet and observant;
to talkative and interactive.
You are still so easy going,
so incredibly happy
and rarely get upset without reason.

You are beginning to
see that you can stand up for yourself.
Giving a squawk or screech 
when you are being annoyed,
or want something that someone else has.
Straight up - you're a slapper.
It's your crazy way of showing affection.
Hitting someone in the face.
Not the most appreciated way,
but you do it anyway.

You aren't free with your kisses,
but when you're in a kissy mood everyone loves it.
You love to cuddle.
From day one you would lay your
head on a chest or shoulder
and love to just be there.

Some of your favourite things
to do are be outside and have a bath.
Baby dolls are usually your favourite toys.
You will put them on your shoulder and pat their backs and say "Ssshh."
You also love the toy cellphone,
or making anything into a toy phone,
and chat away.

Your favourite hobby is most likely eating. 
Homemade popcicles, noodles.
fruit, ground beef and chicken are in the top favourite.
Sharing food is also a favourite,
especially if its already been in your mouth.
Grabbing ice cubes out of water is fun too.

Jane, you are amazing.
You bring so much joy to our lives.
Daddy, Claire and I think you are 
such a beautiful person inside and out.
We are enamored with you! 
You are funny, smart, calm and kind.
We love you so much Jane.
We are so thankful that God knows best,
and His timing brought us you!

Love Mom and Dad

Some photos from the day.

Jane's dedication to the Lord at our church service last Sunday morning.

Following the service we had a garden party for Jane in our backyard.

Thanks to Sweet Ellie Belle Cookies for these beauties! 

Just about walking!

Time for cake!


Women In Business: Acorn & Leaf {Give Away!}

Today on the blog I am interviewing Linda
of Acorn and Leaf! 
I first heard about Acorn and Leaf when I 
was browsing the local children's boutique
and saw her bibs on display.
The first thing I noticed was the adorable fabrics,
and that they were smaller than the average gigantic bibs I've often seen.
When I picked one up, I felt the soft fabric on the underside 
and noticed the two snaps on the back.
I loved that it was 'one size fits all'
and that she used snaps instead of Velcro.
Babies just rip Velcro bibs off! 
(Photo belongs to Modern Nest. Do not copy.) 
My second experience with Acorn and Leaf
was with Ali of Bella Photo.
She used my then 6 month old daughter
for a photo shoot for some product;
One of the products being Acorn and Leaf! 
The bright, vibrant bib looked amazing.
I now have Acorn and Leaf bibs for my girls, 
and I don't hesitate to tell people about how awesome they are.
When Jane wears them, people notice.

(Photos belong to Bellaphoto. Do not copy.)

You can buy Acorn and Leaf bibs at a number of retailers.
Click here to find a list of their stockists.
You can also shop online

Just An Ordinary Family: Acorn and Leaf, love that name. How did you come up with the name for your company?
Acorn & Leaf: Acorn & Leaf came to me very organically. Living in Calgary, Alberta and always having a love for the outdoors and anything nature, I wanted that to be my inspiration. I loved how it sounded and went with it. 

JAOF: How did Acorn and Leaf come to be? 
A&L: When my first wee man began to drool I was in need of bibs. At the time there was nothing on the market that I liked. We were given so many gorgeous outfits and every bib that we had over powered it or took over. I wanted something simple, functional and trendy. So I began to sew my own. Soon I had so many mums asking me to make their wee babes bibs and it took off from there. 

JAOF: Do you make the product yourself? 
A&L: I started off making our bibs all by myself. I became so busy I was literally buying fabric, washing it, cutting, sewing, packaging and shipping at every spare moment I had. This began to impact my time with my family (with a toddler and a baby on the way) I knew something had to change. I didn't want to give up a business that I loved, and didn't want to sacrifice anymore family time. At this time we were also selling our bibs in retail stores across Canada, as well as online. This had me sewing the majority of my day. My mom would come down on occasion to help me out, but it wasn't enough. 
     My husband suggested that we get the sewing outsourced as I could no longer keep up with the demand. We found a company here in North America to do this for us and built a wonderful working relationship with the sewers directly. This was the answer as I could now focus on my family, run a business and maintain our quality, customer service, and of course shop for more amazing prints and design new products!

JAOF: Do you work from home, or have a studio/office space? How does this work for you?
A&L: I do all of my work from home. We built a home office where everything is run out of. It is great as I can work from our home office packaging, emailing and even ship directly from during nap time and at my kids bedtime.

JAOF: At what point did Acorn and Leaf become your full time job?
A&L:  Acorn & Leaf became a full time job pretty much from the get go. I never would have thought that our little bib business would do so well. We are so grateful for all of the support our customers and independent retailers have shown us. It is amazing! We are truly blessed by the support and I am always overcome with emotion when I think about it. It was always a dream of mine to be a stay at home mom and yet use my creative side to do so. Without my husbands support and push I would have given up when it became too much. However he was the one to think outside the box and navigate the change for us. 

JAOF: Tell me about Changing the Face of Beauty campaign and how you got involved. 
A&L: It is a unique story actually. One day I had a random Facebook message from a wonderful woman named Krista. She simply asked, "Is Acorn & Leaf ready to change the face of beauty and be one of 15 companies to do so?" I asked to her to call me so we could chat. During that phone conversation I met a beautiful mom who's daughter Adele has down syndrome. I was so excited when she told me about the campaign and their drive to support inclusion. 
    Previous to becoming a mom I worked with individuals with varying abilities as a Residential Coordinator here in Calgary. I worked in the field for almost 8 years in various positions. The best part of my role was to advocate for inclusion. When I left my position there to stay at home with our first born, I knew I wanted to stay involved. When I started Acorn & Leaf, I knew there would be an avenue here to pursue.So it was simply magical when Krista emailed me. I was so excited that the opportunity found me.

JAOF: Tell us about the creative process of making bibs, choosing the best fabrics for absorbency and fabric pattern choices. 
A&L: This is my favorite part! Picking prints, and choosing styles is all done in my dreams. I long for nothing more then finding great prints and touching fabrics. I know this must sound silly, but it is true. When new prints come out I am like a kid in the candy store. I pick prints that I love really. And prints that are trendy and would look delightful on wee babes.

JAOF: What are some pros and cons of owning your own business? 
A&L: I love having our own business. I am constantly meeting people, building relationships and getting to work with the most inspiring people I know. I have built lasting relationships with the best independent retailers across Canada and couldn't be happier. Honestly, they're the reason why we are here today. We have learned so much from these relationships and are amazed at their willingness to support and teach other. I really can't think of any cons. It is great getting to stay at home with the wee ones and run our little company from home as well. 

JAOF: What advice would you give to someone who has a product they would like to make and sell? Then ultimately hoping to make the leap of creating a business from it? 
A&L: My advice is to give it a 110%. It will be tough at times, and it will not be a smooth ride. However, focus and surround yourself with positive people who believe in you. I couldn't have done it without my husband,family and friends.

(The above two photos belong to Modern Nest. Do not copy.)
Thanks, Linda, for sharing all about your business.
It is so great to hear about women who are 
able to take their passions and turn them into a career.
I especially love how you are able to incorporate
your past career and mold it together with your new business
through Changing the Face of Beauty. 

Trust me,
you're going to want to keep in touch with
Acorn & Leaf and keep updated on all their 
newest styles and patterns! 
To do so,
check out their website
like their Facebook page
 and follow them on Instagram.

Linda would like to gift one lucky reader 
a pack of 3 bibs! 
All you have to do is comment on this 
blog post or the Instagram photo,
telling us which bib is your favourite!
One comment per person.
If you leave a comment on the blog post,
please be sure to include 
the email address you wish to be contacted through.

Contest closes on Friday, September 18th at 9:00 AM PST.

Contest is open to anyone who is 18 and older,
and open to all residents of Canada and the United States.
This is in no way sponsored or affiliated with
Blogger, Facebook or Instagram. 

please check out Changing the Face of Beauty 
and read what they're all about. 
Their are plenty of ways to be involved! 

Twitter: @5boysand1girl6


Mommy Mondays: Surviving Back to School

This Wednesday 
my oldest daughter has her first day of school.
This day somehow came too quickly. 
In so many ways I look at her 
and I see a tiny little girl
who needs me to help her.
Yet, I can't believe how 
mature she is, how much she has grown
and become such a big girl.

All year I have been thinking about this day
and now it is near.
Somehow, by the grace of God,
I feel ready.
I feel ready to wave good bye 
and let her have some independence.
It is so hard! 

In reality, 
I have had four years to prepare for this day.
I am blessed beyond belief that I am
able to stay home and be with her for all of those years.
The days to come are going to change for us.
But I firmly believe this is the best thing for her,
for myself, and for our relationship.

For me,
surviving back to school means
a pocket of tissues ready to be used.
Committing a portion of each morning
to praying for Claire,
her teachers and her friendships.
Being engaged and giving Jane
quality time with Mommy,
 that her older sister got.
Allowing myself to feel and process
the flood of emotions 
that are sure to come.
Writing to Claire in
 the journal I keep for her.
Allowing myself to express the complex emotions
I feel that she will one day relate to as a mother.

How do you survive back to school?