1.10.2016

Until Next Time

A new year brings opportunity for reflection,
new goals are shifting of priorities.
Last year I was in the depths of my post-partum anxiety
and my blog served as a space for me to escape,
be creative and carve out some time for myself.
I had always wanted to attempt 
shifting our family blog to a lifestyle blog.

Through that shift I had the opportunity and pleasure
to meet some wonderful people!
I was inspired by some great woman
who were leaders and taking charge of their careers.
I met some amazing makers of all kinds of products,
held giveaways and met some new people along the way.
I am forever grateful for those opportunities
and feel proud of myself for just going for it
and seeing what came forth.

Now, a whole year later,
I am at a place where I am ready to release it.
Not permanently, 
but for now,
I am going to put my blog aside.
Instead of saying 'New Years Resolution'
I am going to call them my new ways of being.
For 2016 my new ways of being
have placed new priorities in my life
and my blog no longer fits into this.
Perhaps, if the mood strikes me,
I may come back and post some photos
or write out some thoughts.

This last year I had to make the incredibly
difficult decision to take care of myself.
Some of you may know what I mean
when I saw that it is difficult.
In January I had a 3 month old,
a 3 year old and a husband.
I was also floundering.
Through the incredible support of my husband and friends,
I decided that if I can't take care of myself,
I can't take care of my family.
We ( I say we because this required immense 
support in a few different ways from my husband)
sent me to see a counselor, to a naturopath 
and a low dose of medication for anxiety.
I took time for myself to write, 
to take baths,
to go for walks alone and 
join a gym.

There were times that I felt like the world
was against me.
When I was trying to get the girls out 
the door so I could go work out
and Claire would refuse. 
She didn't want to go
to the childcare at the gym.
Once we were there I would leave them
in the childcare and Jane would cry.
Oh she would cry!
It took everything in me to focus on my yoga practice,
or put in the headphones and get the endorphin's pumping through me.

There were times when I didn't want to take more
pills than I already have to.
I hated that I had to be on medication for my anxiety,
but I hated myself more for the thoughts I had when I wasn't on it.
To make a long story longer,
last year was a big year for me.
A year of change, of discovering who I am through
all of the mothering, anxiety, my role as a wife and a homemaker.

Now as we are in 2016
I am ready to release all of that 
and jump in with two feet to 
this beautiful life I have.
I want to be with my family,
really be with them!
To see what my girls see,
enjoy the time I have with them.
I want to DISCONNECT
so that I can truly CONNECT.

This is where my blog comes in.
While it served me well in 2015,
it no longer serves me in 2016.
Thank you to those who faithfully read my blog.
I will continue to write for a Good Mother Project,
and hope to write for some other sites as well,
to keep pursuing my love for writing.
I will post those links on Facebook.

Happy New Year to you all, friends and family.
Thank you for your love and support.

Michelle xx

Photo by Michelle Cervo


1.04.2016

Mommy Mondays: What A Year

On Saturday as I took down
the Christmas tree,
the pile of kids books
and the intricate and breakable decor,
my mind wandered to what 
would be next Christmas.

Next December,
(okay I admit it, November)
what will life hold for us?
What will have changed?
What will remain the same?

Will I look back on 2016
and feel proud of the changes we made?
The goals set be accomplished,
the ways of being I am promising to myself
hold true?

Next year,
as I unpack those boxes
I so carefully put away,
how will our family look?
Jane will be two
and Claire 5.
We will be in a new routine of 
all day Kindergarten
and how knows what else.

There are so many things
about 2015 I am ready to leave behind.
I am ready for the new year,
new change and 
a new way of being for our family.
The new year also brings a new year for me in another way.
It is my birthday today,
which causes me to pause and reflect even more.
A new calendar year, a new birth year
and another chance for a new beginning.


2016,
I am so ready for you! 

1.01.2016

Women In Business, Review and Giveaway: GLITTER & SPICE



Glitter & Spice is a local company
that makes teething jewelry for mama and baby. 
They make everything from necklaces,bracelets and
teething toys that look just like Oreos! 
They are made from silicone that is completely safe
for your little one.
Unlike most teething jewelry I see,
they are cute enough to wear as well.
Sometimes I have worn my piece
even when I go out without my teething baby! 

I first heard about Glitter and Spice when
I read a review on my friend Codi Lynn's blog, 
She held a giveaway and I won!
I received the Kate teething necklace 
and completely fell in love.
Jane loves to chew on the beads 
while I am wearing or holding her.
They are a great way to always have
something for her to chew on,
and I feel good knowing that they are safe 
for her to have in her mouth.

Jane has her own teething necklace as well.
Their are so many options for colour combinations
I found it hard to choose.
I ended up going with 50 Shades of Greyson
because I knew then it would match with everything.
If you have a hard time deciding too,
there is also the option to create a custom order.

What I like about both the adult and kid necklaces 
is the easy snap off in the back.
If Jane pulls on the necklace hard it will snap
apart and come off.
This is very important when kids where jewelry.
Its also loose enough for her to pull over her head. 
Babies and children should never wear jewelry 
when unsupervised by an adult.

Glitter & Spice is giving the readers of Just An Ordinary Family
20% your purchase until January 8th. 
Use the coupon code MS20 at checkout.

In addition to the coupon code,
Glitter & Spice would like to gift one lucky reader a necklace!

Please follow these instructions to be entered to win!
1) Follow Just An Ordinary Family 
and
Glitter & Spice on Instagram.

*AND*

2) Tag a friend that you think would like to enter as well, one tag per comment.

Don't forget to like Glitter & Spice on Facebook too!


So I had full intentions of having an adorable photo shoot
with Jane using her necklace and bracelet.
Some photos taken of her nursing and using my necklace
(it avoids her pinching me, thank you!)
Do you think my active 1 year old wanted to cooperate?
Nope.
So I went for some candid photos instead.
Not what I wanted at all,
but at least you will see her using the products.
Jane loves them and wants her pieces on all the time.
Even big sister wants to as well!



12.15.2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Your Best Girlfriend

Gift ideas for your best friend.
She's super easy to shop for,
because she likes what you like.
You share your closet,
shoes, you love all the same things-
that's why you're best friends!
In case you still need some ideas 
we have put together this gift guide! 
If you buy them for her, 
you know you'll get to use them too.
It's really a win-win.

1. the classic Elle Est Forte tee from SHE IS Clothing. Dress it up, work out in it, it is about as versatile as a tee shirt can get. Plus, you're stating a great message at the same time.

(Photo by Frances Eden Creative. Do not copy.)

2. A hands-on cooking class at the Dirty Apron cooking school in Vancouver. So much to learn, so much fun, so much delicious food! 


3. Earrings from Olive + Piper ,a Vancouver based company. Is she classy and elegant? Simple and understated? Trendy and fun? They have the perfect piece for every type of girl. 



4. Turn your Instagram selfies into magnets for her fridge. Then you'll always have a little #throwbackthursday! 


5. Everyone loves to get some fun, new make up! My bestie got me this Too Faced Melted lipstick. It goes on smoothly and really stays put.

6. Keep wawrm, keep cozy, represent our home and native land with these Canada mitts from Hudsons Bay Co. Check all of the items in their Canadian Olympic Team Collection



12.11.2015

Style Post:Holiday Glam!

Tis the season 
for holiday parties,
special date nights,
performances and 
family get togethers.

The time we spend
dressing up and going out
is at an all time high
the month of December.
For some,
there is delight in the wardrobe
changes and excuses to get all dolled up.
For others, it can be daunting
coming up with a new outfit
or look for every occasion.

Thankfully Kenna
is here to help us!
She was kind enough to 
guest post on Just An Ordinary Family
and give us a make up tutorial
to put together a beautiful, simple 
holiday look for whatever occasion you
are attending.


What I love about 
the look Kenna has put together
for us is that its not overly done up.
It is simple, yet classy and glamorous.
Perfect for date night and a family reunion.

Watch Kenna below to see how she does it! 


Below are a list of the products Kenna used,
with the link on where to find it.







Thank you Kenna for 
your excellent tutorial.
For more information on
Kenna's Younique products,
you can find her on Facebook
or at her Younique website.


I am a wife and mother to two sweet boys. I am a lover of all things beauty and have a true passion for enhancing women's natural beauty with the power of makeup.


12.08.2015

Holiday Gift Guide - For the Little Ones and Giveaway

We are now a week into December,
and I am sure that your Christmas shopping is well
on its way.
If not, there's a special gift guide 
coming up just for you in a couple weeks.

This weeks gift guide
is for all the little people in your life,
and my favourite to shop for! 
Whoever they are,
chances are they will love 
at least one or two items
on this list! 
Read on below,
and don't forget to enter the give away!

1. Bath toys are always a hit and a great gift. Because these toys sit in water all the time, the turn over rate is higher than other toys. To help solve that problem, I would recommend one of these for storage. We have one and we love it. I am a big fan of Boon, and these Boon pipes for the bath look like so much fun! They suction right onto the tile and will make for lots of fun. There's one under our tree this year! 

Amazon.ca also sells Boon, so if you're a Prime member, you can ship it right to the recipient complete with gift wrap and a note! 

(image via booninc.com) 


2. Next on the list is the book of names and faces, customized to your own family and friends. For bigger kids, they have fun memory games with familiar faces as well. 

(image from pinholepress.com)

3. I have featured them here before, so my love for them is no secret! How about a bib that grows along with them? Maybe a cute scarf to protect them from the cold? Acorn and Leaf has some adorable prints for both of those. Their products are lovely, quality and Canadian!


4. Always a hit - you can never go wrong with a book or two! My kids love reading books and will request their favourites over and over. Chapters made a list of their top sellers for 2015 divided into age categories, in case you're stumped on what to buy. I can also tell you that Jane, our 1 year old, loves the touch and feel books. Especially the That's Not My... series. Claire loves imaginative books and thinks Robert Munsch is hilarious. We got here some of these mini Munsch books for her stocking this year. 

Of course I always encourage my readers to shop local when they can, but again, for convenience sake Amazon does carry several (and by several I mean thousands) of kids books that can be gift wrapped and sent directly to your recipient. 


5. For the teething littles on your list, I highly recommend the 'chewelry' from Glitter & Spice! The founder and owner is a local mama who is absolutely sweet. She runs the business out of her home and was one of the first teething jewelry businesses on the block. Since then she has been featured in magazines (like Vogue and Glamour), was at the giving suite at the Emmy's and word is spreading widely about how awesome her product is. We have the teething necklaces for mama and baby, and also a teething bracelet for baby. I love that the pieces are safe for baby to chew on and play with, no yucky material used and it is also cute enough to wear without looking like you are wearing something baby-ish.


6. Another big hitter in the local business game is bébé de luxe! Based out of Coquitlam, BC, this mama decided she wanted something organic, natural and free of yuckies for her baby. This is how her company was created. Bébé de luxe, along with Glitter and Spice, were part of the celebrity gift bags at the Emmy's this past year. Bébé de luxe specializes in milk bath and baby bath bar. Perfect for gifting and come highly recommended by moi.  


As a gift to our readers,
Bébé de luxe would like 
to gift one of our lucky readers
a package of Coconut and Oat bath milk! 
To top it off, 
I'm going to add another one to 
one of your friends!

The contest is open 
on Blogger and Instagram,
but is in no way endorsed by either of them.
By entering you confirm you are
at least 18 years or older,
and live within Canada or the U.S.A. 
Contest rules below-

If you are entering on the blog,
all you have to do is leave a comment below
with your email address,
and the name of your friend that you would like to win too.
Please make sure you have your friends mailing address,
 so that we can send them their prize as well.

If you are entering on Instagram,
all you have to do is follow both
Just An Ordinary Family 
and 
Bébé de luxe,
tag your friends in the comments,
one tag per comment.

Good luck everyone!
Winner will be announced on Friday December 11th.

*The winner will have 73 hours to make contact,
after that a new winner will be chosen.*

12.04.2015

Two Tall Trees

(All photos belong to Two Tall Trees. Painting by Alicia's Infinity. Do not copy.)


Two Tall Trees is a company based out of Ontario
that specializes in scented soy candles and handmade cards.
Today we are going to feature Meghan and her wonderful candles.
It is hard to find a candle that truly smells amazing,
is good for the envirnmonent and looks good on display.
My life changed when Meghan began making these candles
and met all three of my requirements.
Meghan makes these candles out of her home
-and like every mompreneur-
she finds the time to work outside of her
job, taking care of her kids and demands of home.

Meghan, mom of two, is a personal friend of mine.
Bias aside,
I can confidentially say that her candles are the best 
from East coast to West coast.
One by one I am winning my friends over
with her candles.
Any time I have one burning,
which is pretty much anytime I am home, 
I am told that the house smells amazing.
Smiling, I point at my adorable mason jar
sitting on a counter, table or shelf and 
declare the amazing Two Tall Trees candles
are to thank. 


My favourite scents are always the warm and comforting scents 
of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, apple and pumpkin.
This leads me to purchase Meghan's candles
called Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie
and Grandma's Kitchen.
They never disappoint, any time of the year.
However, I went outside my comfort zone this year
and also added Spiced Orange to my fall collection of candles.
This one has the warm scents of this season with a citrus twist,
brightening up the aroma.

Ginger Fig is another favourite of mine.
Its scent is not overpowering,
its warm and perfect for any season.
The colour is perfect as well.

For spring and summer I absolutely love
Lemon Chiffon.
It smells like a pie!
It has made me consider a few times
how to turn it into something edible.
Coconut Lime is another great scent for summer,
taking you to a tropical destination.


No matter what scent you choose,
I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.
Check out all her choices,
as well as prices, 

Their small size, 125mL jar, are the perfect stocking stuffer!
I often keep a few candles on hand to give as hostess gifts, birthday gifts or
just because gifts.
Everyone loves a great candle!


Meghan of Two Tall Trees was kind enough to chat with Just An Ordinary Family
about her business, and what its like to be a working mom! 

JAOF: Hey Meghan! Can you tell me a bit about Two Tall Trees? Where did it start?  

TTT: Two Tall Trees is an artisan craft company, broadly speaking.  It began as a landscape photography greeting card company, I dabble a bit in portrait photography, but it's been my soy mason jar candles that have put Two Tall Trees on the map - everybody loves a good candle.

JAOF: I am a big fan of your candles. The scents are so lovely. How did you choose which scents to offer? 

TTT: I choose scents that work well with soy wax, a whole different "ball of wax" - pardon the pun - than paraffin.  I also aim to offer a quality selection of fragrances ranging from rich and cozy scents like Grandma's Kitchen and Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie, to sweet and fruity like Coconut Lime. Fresh and natural like Seaspray, warm and sensual like Cedarwood Amber to seasonal scents like Jack Frost and Christmas Tree.  Something for every type of taste and season!  I am purposeful in not offering an overabundance of scents, so as to ensure my stock is fresh and fabulous.

JAOF: Part of the reason why I love your candles so much are because they are made from soy. They smell great, last a long time and are good for the environment. Can you tell us why you chose to use a soy base for your candles?

TTT: Once you go 100% soy, you never go back.  Soy wax is made from a natural, renewable resource - supporting local farmers.  The primary ingredient in paraffin wax candles is petroleum.  Soy candles can last up to twice as long as paraffin candles - my 500mL size candle burns approximately 150 hours.  The burn on a soy candle is cleaner, producing 90% less soot than paraffin candles, and spills are easily cleaned up with hot soapy water.  Soy wax candles have a greater fragrance throw - meaning they burn at a cooler temperature than paraffin wax, which leads to burning outwards rather than tunneling down the middle of the candle.  This generates a larger liquid pool, in which scent disperses from.  Soy wax releases naturally, while paraffin wax must be blended with chemicals to release fragrances.  

JAOF: What is your vision for Two Tall Trees? Where do you want to see it go in the next few years?

TTT: On top of my small business, I am a wife, mom to 2, and work as an Autism Consultant part time.  I love the balance in my life and am content with where my business is at, but I would be lying if I said it didn't thrill me to hear of my candles traveling far and wide and people recognizing the brand more broadly.  My humble mission is to help homes smell pretty from coast to coast.  

JAOF: What would you tell someone who is wanting to launch into making their craft or hobby a business?

TTT: I would say go for it!  Making a buck while doing what you love is truly the life.  There is a shift back towards the artisan with people becoming disenfranchised with mass produced, made-in-China products.  

JAOF: Where can we purchase Two Tall Trees products?

TTT: Most orders come through my website and Facebook as I make my candles fresh to order.  However, my candles are also available at local shops in Southwestern Ontario.



Thanks for sharing 
that with our readers Meghan.
We hope that some of you who 
are considering turning your passion
or hobby into a job felt encouraged 
by what Meghan had to share about her
journey as an entrepreneur.

Meghan wants to give two lucky 
Instagram followers a candle!
To enter, 
please follow these instructions:

and
Two Tall Trees
on Instagram.

and browse their products.

3) Leave a comment on the contest photo with
your favourite product/scent. Tag your friend you'd like to win
along with you! 

Winner will receive a 500 mL Ginger Fig candle
and their friend will win a 250 mL Lemon Chiffon. 

Don't forget to LIKE Two Tall Trees on Facebook.


Just a reminder,
I will be working at the Two Tall Trees table
at the Shop Sweet Christmas Market
THIS Saturday!
I would love for you to stop by
so that I can meet you and
show you these candles in person!
There will be special pricing for the market as well!