4.15.2015

batch.food. : Give Away


Today we at 
Just An Ordinary Family
are so proud to introduce you to
Batch Food!

Joanne is the founder and creator 
of Batch Foods and is a mommy from the same town I live in.
Naturally, that makes me feel extra excited to 
share with you a local business woman!

In honour of Mother's Day coming up
Batch Food is giving away not just one,
but two prizes!
"Mom's Night Off"
will include a lunch and dinner to be made for you!
You can nominate a friend and you will both win 
a Mom's Night Off! 


Our family has enjoyed 
Joanne's delicious creations.
Her assortment of meals is impressive.
Varying from classic comfort food like Chicken Pot Pie
to a more exotic dish like Butter Chicken and Ginger Beef.
Her dishes are not only taste good,
they are also easy to prepare and healthy too.

You can choose to pick them up
at their Richmond, BC location 
or have them delivered if you live in one of their 
15 delivery locations.
Is there anything better than waking up
and having that weeks meals already prepared and waiting
in a cooler by your door?
It was so convenient to have my fridge and freezer stocked
with ready made meals. 

Each dish we tried was pleasing to the palate.
We tried an assortment of dishes 
such as the winter squash soup,
the macaroni au gratin and the breakfast bowl.
My all time favourite dish was the Roasted Cauliflower Salad with a Curry dressing.
Mmm mmm!


Recently, my best friend's grandma had a fall
and was unable to prepare meals for herself.
Right away I went online and ordered a few meals that would
be simple to prepare and they were delivered to her door.
She said that they tasted delicious and were so helpful!

Read on below to see how Joanna got her start with Batch Food,
her previous culinary experience and of course 
how you can win a Mom's Night Off for yourself and a friend!

Just An Ordinary Family: The concept of Batch Food is genius! How did you come up with the idea?

Batch Food: When my kids were young and my husband and I both worked full time as chefs, I would batch cook meals and freeze so on busy nights or if I was to just to exhausted to make something fresh, I could pull out something homemade. We always talked about how great it was, and that we should start a business doing it. 

JAOF: What pushed you to take the leap to create Batch Food and have it as your full time job?

BF: We started out very small. First we just sold to our friends, then they told there friends and it grew from word of mouth. We set a weekly sales goal, when we reached that, I could focus on building batch full time. Everything kind of fell into place, we hit our goal we found a kitchen space to lease. 

JAOF: What did you do before you began Batch Food?

BF: I always worked in the culinary field as a chef. Then I focused on baking and became the Pastry Chef at the River Rock Resort. My last position was in the test kitchen at the Original Cakerie, working on new products and reformulating existing recipes. 

JAOF: Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently to make the transition from your former job to opening Batch Food?

BF: No, don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy to launch a new business, but I always felt like everything somehow kept falling into place for me. 

JAOF: What do you like best about running your own business? What do you like least?

BF: I like being able to create my own menus supporting local farmers and markets and working with other local businesses. 

My least favorite part is having to take care of things that aren't my area of expertise. If a delivery driver is sick, I have to make deliveries or if the printer doesn't work, I have to figure out how to fix it. There is no maintenance or IT department to call when there is a problem. 

JAOF: How do you manage your time as an entrepreneur, wife and mother?

BF: It can be pretty tough to balance everything, some days are full of family and some days are full of work. Batch is a family business so my husband and kids spend some time helping out doing what they can, but I am way more available for them then if I had a regular job. 

JAOF: What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who is wanting to leave their current employment situation and become their own boss?

BF: Stick to your passion, trust you instincts, set preliminary goals. 

JAOF: Where do you see Batch Food in 5 years?

BF: I would like Batch to be sold in the smaller gourmet groceries. 



Thanks for sharing with us Joanne.
It is so great to see that you were able to
use your skills to adapt to your family dynamics.
Even including them in your business.

Want to learn how to win a Mom's Night Off?
There are a few ways to do this!

1 - Leave a comment on this post with your name and email address.
Nominate a deserving friend and tell us why you think she deserves a day off from cooking.

2. You can also enter on Facebook and Instagram.
To do enter you must 'like' both Just An Ordinary Family and Batch Food.
Comment on the photo about the giveaway
and tag a deserving friend and tell us why she deserves a day off from cooking.

The winners must be able to pick up their meals from the Richmond location,
or live in one of the cities Batch Food delivers too.


Good luck!

4.14.2015

Jane : 6 Months


Jane at 6 months.
And now she is almost 7 months.
Whoops.
These photos have been sitting on my camera for almost a month!

Jane at 6 months grew in many ways.
She got her first tooth just a couple of days before she was 6 months
and her second one a week ago.
She learned to sit up and started eating solids.
She also is starting to babble saying "da-da" and "na-na".
Not in any association with the people
but more in that she is learning new sounds.


She moved into her own crib
in her own bedroom.
It took her a while to adjust to sleeping upstairs
and has still only spent two complete nights in her bed.
She still ends up in our bed on her first or second awakening,
but it doesn't bother us at all.

She is still very ticklish on her sides
and also will hide her face and play peek-a-boo,
its her favourite game.
She has started playing shy, even to those she knows well.
The last month she has become quite the Mama's girl
not wanting me to be out of her sight even for a moment.
This has made some things challenging,
especially simple tasks like clearing the table
which takes me into the kitchen for a moment and of course,
going to the bathroom alone.


Jane still completely admires and tolerates her older sister.
They play together so well and I don't have to worry (as much)
leaving them in a room alone together for a short period of time.
The novelty of Claire holding her baby sister has only slightly worn off.
Claire absolutely loves being a helper to me
and we often have conversations reminding her who is Jane's mommy.
In the morning Claire crawls into bed and we cuddle.
Then she takes of Jane's pajamas and changes her diaper
entirely on her own.
Yes, she does this at three years old, and does it well.



When I think of Claire as a baby,
she never really seemed like a baby.
She was also so active and talkative and 
although she was tiny she was so bright.
Jane is so content, loves to be cuddled and she 
seems to be in this baby phase much longer.
Only recently have I looked at her 
like she has grown out of being a little baby,
even though she weighs the same as Claire did at one years old! 

Jane loves bath time and hates getting out of the bath.
She is so cuddly and content. 
She is willing to just lay in my arms with her arms around my neck
and put her head on my chest or shoulder.
It is so sweet.
Jane also loves to nurse.
Although it has slowed down since she has started solids,
she will bounce up and down and say "ah ah ah!" when 
I start getting ready to nurse her.
Then she moans and "num num num" while nursing.
She is a noisy nurser.
She also has the one foot straight up holding on while she does.

It is so fun watching her little personality bud.
Although she is still our sweet content baby
she isn't necessarily quiet anymore.
She will squawk when she's bothered,
she cries hard when she is scared
and lets us know when she's hungry squawking for food
as we are feeding her.



4.13.2015

Women In Business: Designers Collective


Here at Just An Ordinary Family 
we love to highlight some extraordinary 
Women In Business.
Today's ladies are no exception.
Tina and Brooke
are the founders of Designers Collective.
With backgrounds in architecture and interior design
they have all skills needed to help you with
your designing needs.

I had the pleasure of chatting with 
Tina and Brooke about what
brought them to opening their own business
and combining forces into one dynamic duo.


Read on below to find out more about them individually,
as a team and what drives them to be the unstoppable force they are!


Just An Ordinary Family: Tina and Brooke, share with us how it is that you two came together to start your company. How did you meet?

Designers Collective
Brooke:  Tina and I met many years ago (17!) when our kids swam together. She and her husband  were the architects on our large renovation we did about 15 years ago.  About 18 months ago Tina reconnected with me and asked if I would like to share office space with her and 2 other women.  We had all been working independently from home and were ready to have an office outside of the home.  As  events evolved the other two women were not quite ready to take the plunge and yet Tina and I still were.  BUT again as events evolved, we decided to join forces and create Designers Collective. We have been actively working on our new business for about a year.
Tina: We were both in the right place and at the right time in our lives to try something new.

JAOF: What inspired you to take your passions and make them into a business?

DC Brooke: Tina and I have a very similar design aesthetic and as our conversations expanded we realized we wanted to work together.  Through discussion we found we were having a similar experience where people were asking for advice or consults but really wanted to do the projects on their own.  We found there are a lot of DIYers who want to do their own projects but get stuck while going through the process.  So we thought it would be a good idea to offer design and lifestyle classes to the general public to give them the tools to help them with their projects.  We also offer full design service but our main idea is to make design accessible to everyone so by offering design classes we feel it opens up design to the general public.  
Tina: Designers Collective's  Design and Lifestyle workshops were created to immerse one in the tools and language of design. We hope our workshops will give DIYers the ability to filter the design information out there and give them the confidence to transform their homes like a professional. The idea is that we want everyone to thrive in their own life. 



JAOF: What did you used to do for work? How did this lead into your new business?

DC Brooke: I was a pediatric nurse until we did our house renovation 15 years ago. I liked the process so much that I went back to school for Interior Design and started my own company in 2007. We both needed a change of pace and wanted to work out of our home offices. The original idea was just to share office space but it grew into so much more. 
Tina: I am a registered architect in British Columbia and I have a degree in Urban Planning. My dual degrees have allowed me to navigate from large urban design issues to detailed interior planning with ease.
In my previous job in Campus Planning I worked directly with academic divisions compromised of professors, researchers and administrators. That work involved taking complex, and sometimes even contradictory, program information and translating it into actual physical form via plans and consult coordination. This was done within a university environment that typically used re-purposed or left over spaces such that a high level of imaginative, inventive problem solving was needed to find the right spatial and aesthetic solutions. I find that the ability to work effectively with a highly intelligent yet demanding clientele has been a great help in my current business because I find myself facing complex programmatic, spatial problems requiring a nimble, creative thinking on the fly. 
Likewise, the need to need to overcome spatial limitations has been great training for my current job where I often need to improvise using imperfect resources to achieve the best outcomes. My strengths are in problem solving, making connections and working and helping people. These traits lend themselves nicely for the work Designers Collective offers. 

JAOF: Do you work from home or an office space? How does this work for you?

DC Brooke: We both work from home and an office. We joined a collaborative office space so sometimes we work at the office and sometimes we work from home. As our business grows we know exactly the kind of office we would want to have. We each have a strong image of this in our minds and so look forward to making that dream a reality!

JAOF: Being a mom, wife and working is a hard balance! How do you do it?

BC Brooke: Our kids are all older now. All of them are on the brink of or in the midst of university careers. Some are still at home and some are fully or partially launched. Having said that, a work day does not go by when one of our phones doesn't go off with one of our kids needing to discuss something or inquire about dinner or use of the car etc. (It never really ends you know!) Finding the balance with older kids can be tricky and stressful at times but so far it seems to be working. But, I will confess, we each belly ache about trying to fit in grocery shopping and cooking! 
Tina: Even though our kids are older we still play the balancing game - we juggle kids, significant others, dinner, parents, bills, all the while trying to push Designers Collective to the next level. We formulate our goals and agenda on Friday for the following week, and we try to meet everyday to ensure we are on track. We have found this has really worked for us. 

JAOF: Being your own boss how do you manage your time? How do you make time for yourself? 

DC Brooke: Tina goes to fitness most mornings and I go for a run with my dog. We meet up after we've each done our morning workout. We meet most afternoons and divide up the work to be done, then each of us does work behind the scenes for our next meeting together.  We do tend to text and email each other a lot, even from one day to the next.

JAOF: We believe that featuring women in business is important. What would you like to say about women being entrepreneurs and who is wanting to make the leap to work for themselves?

DC Brooke: My advice is "take the leap and the bridge will follow". I read this quote about two years ago and have been living by it ever since. The day I received the email came in from Tina inviting me to share office space was a true moment where I stopped and said to myself, "This is the leap!" It continues to stretch me daily as I meet new people and tackle new situations (ie: social media) but the bridge is there and holding me up along the way. 
Tina: As women we are really good at multi-tasking and keeping numerous balls in the air. We can do anything we set our minds to. Two years ago I wouldn't have had the confidence to take the leap, but now that I have I can't imagine it any other way. I have never felt so inspired, excited and happy as I do right now. Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed and I have to remind myself that I am living the dream and this is what I have always wanted. 

_______________________________________________________________________

"...but the bridge is there and holding me up along the way." - Brooke

"I have never felt so inspired, excited and happy as I do right now." - Tina
_______________________________________________________________________

JAOF: Describe your dreams for your business. Where do you see Designers Collective in 5 years?

DC Brooke: We both want to have an office and employees! We want to be an influence in the industry and we want to make enough money that we and our employees are comfortable. We have many ideas of how to get there!
Tina: Yes we want to be an influence and want to be known as the go-tos for all design and lifestyle information. We want our workshops to be known for offering an experience to our participants, where they can meet interesting people, have interesting conversations and get in touch with their creativity. 
What we also offer is the ability to meet and speak with a real architect and interior designer whom you can ask advice from and trust their answers. We want to build trust with our customers. Based on our own personal experiences and work with our suppliers. In effect, we are a filter for design information and will pass on relevant, useful and affordable. 

Thank you so much Brooke and Tina of Designers Collective.
Your interview was so inspiring to me and I hope that when other women
read your answers they will feel empowered and encouraged.

We at Just An Ordinary Family wish the two 
of you and your business all the best and many successes. 
We are excited to see and hear about what you are doing in the Vancouver area!

To keep up to date with what Designers Collective are doing
you can check out their website filled with amazing information, tips and videos.
You can also follow them on


Instagram  @designerscollective_

Twitter @designers411

Pinterest  @designers411


If you wish to inquire about your own design needs or have any questions,
you can contact Brooke or Tina at
info@designerscollective.ca 
604-771-4184




4.08.2015

Women In Business: Bella Photography



Here at Just An Ordinary Family we love telling you about some power house women that know what's what.Today's feature is no exception.Ali is the photographer, founder and owner of Bella Photography.She captured our Jane at 6 months old.
Ali and I first crossed paths when our daughters took a ballet class together when they were two through parks and recreation programs.We met again at an annual picnic last summer through the midwife clinic.Ali had her baby there and I was about to.She was taking photos of the event for them.It wasn't until we met again that our friendship "stuck".Now I have had the privilege of getting to know Ali and I just love her! We are practically neighbours, have kids the same age who will be going to school together and we have some friends in common too.
Ali is so funny and makes me laugh out loud.She has this totally awesome hot pink hair, her eyes actually sparkle and she is just as beautiful on the outside as she in on the inside.And her insides are great! She is so kind, seems to be friends with everyone and is always involved in the community and looking for ways to donate her time. Plus she is a wife, mom and owns not one but two businesses on top of that! Basically she makes me look like I do nothing all day.
Photo by maddiegray photography 
Ali was so kind and was willing to talk to me for the blog about her journey to be her own boss.We did a Q&A to learn more about her experience, advice and expertise about being a lady boss. 

 
Back to school portraits.We know this darling and yes, her eyes really are that blue! Amazing!

Just An Ordinary Family: When did you begin your photography business. 
 Bella Photography: I have been asked this questions many times, and it's hard to put an exact date, because I started just "dabbling" in children's photography about 5 years ago, then doing it a bit more after I had my youngest. It was Jan. 2014 that I was like "Giddy up, lets do this" and decided to set my focus on newborn and family photography. 
JAOF: What, or who, inspired you to start your own business? 
BP: I don't know if I was inspired by anything or anyone, it happened very organically. Once I had children I realized I wanted to stay at home with them myself, as opposed to having them in full time daycare, so I needed to use my skills to make that happen.
JAOF: What career did you have before? What experience did you have in owning your own business before? 
BP: I graduated from the Langara professional photo imaging program in 2005, and then quickly became an image editor for a travel photography company.The I had my first daughter. One day, my mom and I decided to purchase Buttercups Children's Boutique ... having NO business experience. We just thought it was a good idea. 
JAOF: What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to make the leap from employer to starting their own company and being their own boss? 
 BP: Being hesitant is good! Make sure you have looked at every angle before you leap in. I see so many people start their own business assuming clientelle and the money will just roll in. I think once you realize you need to run it as a business, figuring out your cost of goods etc, see if you can truly make it profitable for you. It is hard work, but you are working for YOU which makes it the most rewarding career you can have. 
JAOF: Do you make your own hours? If so, how do you set them up?  
BP: I wish I could say I have set hours, but as a mommy to two tiny people they make my schedule. My oldest is in full time school, but my little goes 3 days a week for 4 hours so those are "office hours", and then evenings and weekends when my husband is home. Quite often clients will find responses at 1am because that is what works for us. 
JAOF: Do you work from home or studio? How does your space work for you? 
BP: I have a home office, but all of my studio shooting is done in my gorgeous new studio in Tsawwassen! I love it, it's like a second.. much cleaner home  
JAOF: Being a mom, wife and entrepreneur is hard work! How do you manage your time?  
BP: I am slowly getting better at this but really what it comes down to.. is coffee My most productive times as 8pm-12am. Not ideal for everyone, but it allows to me to a hands on momma, drive a van full of kids to cheer leading practice, and play play dough with my little. 
JAOF: What 3 pieces of encouragement or tips would you give to someone who is starting out as their own boss? 
 BP: 1. Treat yourself like you would treat an employee. You wouldn't expect an employee to work for free 18 hours a day, make sure to take care of you!2. Slow and steady wins the race. I have been a photographer for 10 years, I didn't start out amazing. Oh my gosh, my earlier work is down right embarrassing. But slowly over time you learn and grow. I am SO happy with the direction my work is growing.3. DO IT RIGHT!!! Pay taxes, have insurance.. Ugh it scares me that the large majority of photographers don't have business liability insurance.... this is SO important. We don't want to think about things going wrong but if they do you can loose everything. Make sure you are acting as a real business. 
JAOF: How does your work connect you to the community? What kinds of ways do you involve yourself in community activities?  
BP: It's too funny because I am always showing other people's faces I guess not many people know what I look like. I will be out in public and mention my business name and people get SO excited and tell me about a friend who's photos I did. I have even had people tell me that they are my "fans" which is mind blowing to me.
I love to give back to the community! I do a ton of small charity events over the year but I think my favorite by far is the annual Ladner Business Association Breakfast with Santa. There is NOTHING better than seeing a child's face light up when they see Santa.The best is when I see a child I know coming up and I whisper their name to Santa, when he calls out their name... it's magical. 
JAOF: Tell me about marketing. Do you market yourself? In what ways? What are your favourite tools to use? 
BP: I have only recently started marketing, but honestly 99% is word of mouth, which is the most valuable marketing you can have! 
JAOF: Who inspires you in your work?  
BP: There are about 2000 newborn and children's photographers that inspire me, but I love to look outside of those and look at other forms of photography. Two of my all time favorites are Sue Bryce, she is the most amazing, strong woman. Her brand is all about empowering all women to feel beautiful. My second favourite right now is Hunter Leone from Three Nails photography. First of all he is dreamy, but also, his work is both ethereal and gritty. Ugh.. LOVE!' 
 
Bella Photography was at the annual picnic held by the midwifery clinic to capture photos of all the pregnant mamas, babies and families. That's our Claire in the middle. I can't believe how little she looks less than a year ago.And on the right is the wonderful staff that all played a part in our birth journey with Jane.

This family is dear to me! Their daughter has become one of Claire's close friends and they are starting to do everything together. Kelly is absolutely stunning, as you can see. We instantly clicked and I love her down to earth and humble attitude. She is so honest about the reality of being a mom and I find that so refreshing and always leave our visits feeling encouraged. Plus her and her husband make the cutest babies! 

 
You can follow Ali and Bella Photography on Facebook right here and also on her website and blog here.Thank you so much for sharing with us Ali! We love seeing your work come up on our Facebook news feed and around the community. You are so gifted and we hope that your success with Bella Photography continues to grow!


3.30.2015

Women In Business: Codi-Lynn

Today we are featuring another amazing Woman In Business. This time it is a personal friend of mine. Codi-Lynn is the little sister to one my best, and definitely one of my longest, friends. Codi-Lynn and I have known each other for about 15 years. It has been so amazing to watch her grow (along with me, she is only two years younger than I am) into a Godly woman, wife and mother. 

This girl absolutely amazes me! She is quite honestly one of my inspirations to transform this blog into a lifestyle  blog. Codi-Lynn should actually wear a super hero cape because I don't know how she does it all. She is a wife to a sweet, genuine and all around pretty awesome guy and mother to two adorable kids.You will read her story below, but I have to add for myself that Codi-Lynn went off her mat leave back to work AND back to school for graphic design. Not only is she managing those two roles, plus being a wife and mommy, but she also has her own blog and is now an intern for Boombaloo magazine! Ah-maz-ing.



I will let Codi-lynn tell you her story:

Hi! I am Codi Lynn, a wife and mother of twothough there is much more to me than that. Growing up I never really knew what I wanted to "be" and where I wanted to "go" with life. My constant has always been my faith in God and knowing that he has the pen that writes the story to my life. Don't get me wrong, there have been times in my past where my faith has been stronger and more vibrant than other times, but I could always be peaceful with the knowledge that He has a plan for me, even if I don't have a plan for myself. 

Becoming a wife and a mother to my son Ezra, aged three at the time, changed me for the better in more ways than one. I adore my family and every bit of joy that they bring to my life. My husband and I met at a birthday party of some mutual friends, and though we never actually had a conversation that night the sparks were flying. We connected shortly after this outing and our love from each other continues to grow. After six months of marriage we became pregnant with our daughter Sophie, my time on maternity leave with Ezra and Sophie made me grow in my independence and strive for a career path to explore my creative side. I had decided that I wanted to go back to school and pursue graphic design.

While away on a family vacation that summer I mentioned to my husband that I wanted to start a blog. My blog would be a way to get connected with like-minded individuals, and learn from other hard working small businesses owners all at the same time–Creative Wife + Joyful Worker was made. Though these were some of my original thoughts and reasons for starting my blog, it has ended up turning into something much bigger—much more valuable. I have built relationships with mothers that I otherwise would not have been able to, this community means so much to me now and has been a continuous blessings and outlet of resources to get reassurance and helpful tips while parenting.

Graphic Design school started just after my maternity leave ended, my son started kindergarten, my husband switched jobs, and I started work again part-time. It was a world-wind. My husband and faith have been my rocks through all these changes and a lot of the time I get asked how I do it, that is how in a nut shell. The support from family, friends, community and fellow students has been incredible, I know that I can not do everything on my own and I  continually learning to not carry every task on my own but to seek help from those who love me.

While in school I wanted to learn and grow my design skills even more by working for a small business. I wasn't sure where to start but had heard some friends mention different internship programs. One afternoon I was browsing Spruce Collective and picked up a Boombaloo Magazine, it was then that I knew I wanted to intern for a magazine, and not any magazine, this magazine. I was immediately drawn to the Boombaloo brand and how they presented themselves.

It took a bit of guts and an email to the founder Natalie and I landed a spot as her intern graphic designer. I have worked on a couple jobs for Natalie so far and loving the experience and kindness she has shown me. 
I have plans in the nearish future to open up a small shop of my own as well, though the planning and process of opening a shop has proven to be a longer process than expected. I believe though, that when it is meant to happen it will. For now I am enjoying my courses and seeing where I can go and what I can learn from the ladies at Boombaloo. 

Most nights are spent on schoolwork. It is very consuming and takes up a large portion of my time. At work I spend my hour lunch break at Starbucks mostly working on homework or a blogpost. I like to switch it up to create diversity and I find that the option of both create venues that I love keeps each day an exciting project. I absolutely love my schoolwork and my blog so the work does not seem like work. I get excited for my lunch hour to start or finish up a project or current post, loving what you do is at the utmost importance. This is also something that I hadn't realized so much until I actually started working on things that I love.

I am daily inspired by my friends and family. I have a love for photography and seeing the beauty in all things. I follow a number of bloggers, small business owners, photographers and stylists on Instagram and find it to be my favourite avenue for inspiration and well as communicating with these like-minded creative individuals. I find my head over flowing with ideas while in class working on projects and I am in the works of starting a company of my own. I am so excited for this new venture. If you are interested in learning more about me, following my story, and connecting with me through a social network... come say hi and don't be shy.

Facebook

Instagram 

Pinterest

Codi-Lynn won High Street's Ugly Sweater Contest this past Christmas! Aren't they too cute? 
Check out the rest of the photos on her post here.

Thank you so much for sharing about your experience in your many roles!
We pray that you are blessed with lots of energy, good nights sleep,
grades that reflect your hard work and talent and lots of hugs and kisses from your family!
Keep up the hard work!
We can't wait to see what else God has in store for you!


3.27.2015

A New Beginning

If you have been a reader of our blog
since the beginning,
you may be wondering what all the change around here is about.
Just An Ordinary Family is a new adventure I have embarked on.
I am so excited to tell you about it!

When I first began blogging back in 2008
the purpose was to share our photos and stories
from our vacation to Europe that we had just returned from.
Over time the blog became a platform
for both updates on what we had been up to
as well as my own random musings about different things.

A selfie before 'selfies' were an actual thing. 
Enjoying tea and beer at a pub in Oxford, England.

Man oh man! Have our families ever changed!
This is the Smid side 5 years ago almost exactly.
Each of the boys have added a girl to their lives, for Spencer two little girls.
On my side of the family Matt was engaged and about to marry Lauren.
They now have a son who will be one next month!
Growth is so good. I can't wait to take family photos in another 7 years.

Naturally, once we had kids 
the focus become more about our family 
and motherhood.
It also largely was about our time living in Portland
and Spencer' schooling.

This was right after leaving the USA customs building 
and had been issued our Visas.
and living in Portland for the next three years.

Before we moved to Portland
I had dreams of turning our blog into a lifestyle blog.
A Cup of Jo and Unruly Things are two of my favourites.
I made a pathetic attempt or two,
nothing ever serious. 
I was scared to spread my wings because
I desperately didn't want to fail.
My fear was that people would say.
"Whatever happened to that blog you were writing?" 

My blog has always been a little piece of cyber space
for shamelessly bragging about my beautiful family.
I got to share as many photos as I wanted 
and tell as many adorable stories as I wanted
without clogging up anyone's Facebook news feed.

After having Jane I struggled quite a bit
with post-postpartum anxiety.
It got quite serious and I have taken steps to get better.
One of the things that the counselor I see
encouraged me to do was to close my eyes and vision what I want.
What I saw was our family on our bed laughing and giggling.
It is one of my favourite things.
My bed is one of my favourite places to be
(besides the fact that I love sleeping!).
It has held some of the most treasured times for me.
When it was just Claire and I we would cuddle under the warm covers and watch movies.
Now, in the morning, Claire will climb up into our bed 
where the three of us are
and we cuddle.
I started scooping both girls into my arms and breathing them in
saying, "Mmm, my girls." Now Claire does it too. 
At lunch time we often all pile onto our bed and cuddle wrestle.
(A new concept to Spencer who grew up with only boys and only knew about regular wrestling!)
I love it, so naturally that was my vision.

Then the counselor had me think about what steps I needed to get there.
I have a mental list,
and one of them was to carve out time for the things I love to do.
Bubble baths, going for walks, doing my devotions, taking pictures and writing.
I love to write. 
That was it, I decided to finally just jump in with both feet and transform
our blog into what I wanted it to be.
Although visually I feel like it has a long way to go,
I have loved meeting people and writing reviews and pieces about 
some awesome companies and products. 
It has been so great to hear and see the response I have had so far.

Some of the goals I have are to continue learning about my camera
and getting better at taking photos.
Continue sharing pictures of my family and the things we get to do.
Spotlight some Women In Business,
women who have branched out and have become entrepreneurs.
Review and write pieces on products I love from kids clothes, toys, tea, apps 
and whatever else is thrown at me. 
I also love to cook and create.
Rarely I follow a recipe exactly 
or write down something I have made up,
so another area I would love to grow is recipes.

I sincerely hope you are enjoying the transformation.
It excites me to see where this will take me,
but for now I am having so much fun growing along with this.
There are some pretty exciting things in the works,
including another giveaway for an awesome prize
from Batch Food.

Thanks for sticking with me through all our crazy adventures!
If you're knew to the blog,
I hope you come back regularly!

xo
Michelle

3.25.2015

Wheat Canada: GIVEAWAY *WINNER ANNOUNCED**

Congratulations Jonnie!
Check your email for details on how to claim your prize.



Last year my dear friend introduced me 
to one of her favourite clothing brands, Wheat Canada.
After browsing their website I fell in love.

Their simple yet whimsical style is exactly what I love.
Their colours are soft and have a feminine touch.
The boys clothes are simple yet boyish in a very sweet way.
Their design is impeccable.

But would they hold up to being worn for play?
Sure they look cute, but will my preschooler who insists on wearing dress up clothes,
actually choose to wear these clothes too? 
Could we actually agree on the same clothes suitable to be in public?
It seemed too good to be true.

Jane wearing the Dots sun hat in mint.


After placing my first order I
waited patiently for my package to arrive.
I was so excited to pour over its contents.
I had chosen matching Powder Tulle skirts for the girls,
matching Aretha dresses,
some basic long sleeve tees for Claire,
among other things for both the girls.
The colours were beautiful.
Now for the test of my preschooler.

After 3 months I am so pleased 
that she wears her Wheat clothes all the time!
The skirts are always the first things she pulls out of her drawer
paired with one of the basic tees.
She is a girly girl that loves to play rough
and the clothes meet both of her needs.
She can be rough and tumble in a skirt or a dress
and we haven't needed to make any repairs.

Claire wearing basic long sleeve tee and trousers. 

Some of my personal favourites are the basic tees 
and cardigans for everyday wear. 
The skirts and dresses are sweet as well.
Their sun hats give good coverage and look absolutely darling.

They also do surprise bundles! 
That was a super fun shop.
All I did was send them my girls' sizes and their gender
and whether I wanted the $50 bundle or the $100 bundle
and they put together items for us out of their Spring/Summer collection.
Make sure you follow them on Facebook and Instagram for their next bundle.



At the beginning of March we had amazing weather.
It was around 13-17 degrees and we were outside constantly. 
One Saturday after Spencer was done work
we packed a picnic and went to explore a new adventure park near us.
Claire had chosen to wear her Wheat Clothing, so I put on Jane's Wheat Sun Hat and t shirt
and brought my camera along for some fun photos.


They turned out so great.
Claire played so hard and although she got dirty,
the clothes weren't damaged at all.
If you are a mom,
you know that this means business.
Cute, affordable and can handle the wear of a child!




Wheat Canada has so kindly offered 
one of our lucky readers a $30 gift card to put towards 
their clothing and accessories.
Claire wearing the Ice Lolly t-shirt and Tulle Skirt in neon yellow.

To enter to win
 leave a comment on the blog with your email address 
and tell us your favourite item on Wheat Canada! 

For extra entries like Just An Ordinary Family on Facebook
and follow @just.an.ordinary.family on Instagram,
leave a comment tagging friends on the post photo on our Instagram account. 

Good luck!


To follow Wheat Canada




Pinterest

{all photos belong to me and cannot be used without my permission}