Happy 3rd Birthday Skyler and Bryson

Happy Birthday my 3 year olds. The two little souls that are responsible for making me a mama. I can’t believe how the years are just flying. Yesterday I was getting so emotional looking back at your newborn photos but even though I keep not wanting each stage to end, truly every new stage is better than the one before.  It seems to get more and more fun as you get older and become two little people with unique personalities. You’re both such joyful little boys and make people smile wherever we go.

I love that you’re my little buddies now and we can have conversations about the world while we’re driving in the car. You’re both so observant and inquisitive. Both of you love sports like your daddy.  Golfing is your favourite. You currently ask to go mini-golfing about two times a day and apparently you both want to be pro-golfers as a profession? Ok, we’ll see about that.

The bond you share with each other is the best part of who you are. The gift of being twins is such a special thing and you are so close and loved by the other in such a unique and special way. It’s the coolest thing to watch.

Even though you both agree now that you’ll stay with me and snuggle me forever, I know that one day I’ll have to let you go. That you’ll spread your wings and fly and whether you’re near or far, I’ll be standing on the sidelines cheering you on.  But for right now, I will cherish these special moments the Lord has given me to be a vital part of your lives. To love you, to guide you and to enjoy each moment and stage of life with you.

As I tell you each night before “covering you in” as you both call it, I love you to the moooooon and back! So so excited to celebrate you both today Skyler and Bryson. Happy 3rd Birthday. xoxoxox

Outfits: Leggings – Os and Oaks,  shirts – Whistle and Flute,  Denim shirt – Carters

IMG_3657IMG_3661IMG_3658IMG_3659 IMG_3662IMG_3664IMG_3663IMG_3660

Continue Reading

Zuccini Ravioli

When I was at the market last Sat with my friend Stace, she mentioned this amazing zuccini ravioli she’s made a few times. We eat a lot of zuccini in our home so I grabbed a couple and attempted it first chance I had! It was amazing. The recipe is from Delish and I found it really helpful to follow the directions on the video when it came to slicing and wrapping the ravioli!

Here’s what it’s made of:

3 medium zucchini

2 c. riccotta

1/2 finely grated parmesan, plus more for garnish.

1 /2 c of shredded mozzerella

1 1/2 c marinara sauce

1 egg lightly beaten

1/4 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup of thinly sliced basil

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

IMG_3306 (1)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a large baking dish with olive oil.
  2. Make the Noodles: Slice two sides of each zucchini lengthwise to create two flat sides. Using a vegetable peeler, slice each zucchini into thin flat strips, peeling until you reach the center. These are your “noodles.”
  3. Make the Filling: Combine ricotta, parmesan, egg, and 2 tablespoons basil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Assemble the Ravioli: Lay two strips of zucchini noodles so that they overlap lengthwise. Lay two more noodles on top, perpendicular to the first strips. You should end up with a “T” shape. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of the zucchini. Bring the ends of the strips together to fold over the center, working one side at a time. Turn the ravioli over and place in the baking dish seam-side down. Pour marinara sauce around the zucchini. Top ravioli with mozzarella. Bake until the zucchini noodles are “al dente” and the cheese is melted and starting to brown on top; 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Top with more basil and parmesan and serve.

From Delish.

Continue Reading

A Season of Slowing.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. 

So good. There’s a season for everything.  For growing and learning, for hustling but also… for slowing. Right now, I’m slowing. And it’s a challenge for me you guys. A really big challenge. I am such a busy body. My mind literally never stops and my husband does not understand why I find it so so difficult to sit down and rest. Poor guy. He works a 40 hour work week and he wants to spend his down time having down time…relaxing with a cold brew watching football or hockey or just sitting in the backyard. I, on the other hand want to plan out what house project we’re going to tackle next, talk about what we’re going to do on our next free Saturday and brainstorm new business ideas together. Any entrepreneurial spirited friends out there relate?!?!

For those of you who are new to following, I’ll give you a little background on my story…I’m a teacher. Ron and I did our undergrads together at Western University before we got married and then I did teachers college the following year. While I was waiting to get on the supply list, I began to pursue photography, something I had been doing as a hobby for a while. After second shooting a season of weddings with a friend and begging my best friends to model for me, I began to book my first portrait sessions and then a wedding and it wasn’t long before I had a business up and running. I fell in love with working for myself. I loved the flexibility with my schedule and hours. I was the one who decided when I wanted to work and when I didn’t. We were talking about starting a family soon and I knew I wanted to be at home with my babes in their early years so this was perfect. My business was growing and I was setting myself up to do just that.  I was soon able to quit my part time job and focus solely on my business.

IMG_3287

Photography has been perfect for this season in my life. It’s allowed me to be at home with my boys during the day when my husband works. We shoot weddings on Saturdays together during the spring-fall but we currently limit our bookings so we still have plenty of weekends to do fun family things during the warmer seasons. It truly has turned into a dream job for me.

But going back to my non-stop busy body self. There’s a lot of downtime with photography. I don’t shoot for most of the winter and other then editing, there’s not a lot of extra work to do when I’m not shooting. So once my boys got to a stage when they weren’t as needy and were able to entertain each other for longer periods of time, I began to itch again for a new creative outlet. Over the past 2 years, I have done a handful of other side gigs along with photography. From writing a mom blog with my best friend, to online fitness coaching, to teaching courses at our church and beginning to work on a podcast project with my husband…I’ve been hustling constantly. Obsessively chasing after my goals and not stopping until they’re reached (the dangerous side of a driven entrepreneur).

But then wait, my goal in being a work-from-home mom in the first place was so that I could watch my kids grow up. So I could work less and spend more time being a part of every new milestone, every new chapter, every fun new season of their lives. I long for my number one goal to be raising a family and I do not want to lose sight of this without realizing it while I’m hustling too hard at other things. I’ve come to the realization that I’ve been filling too much of any “free time” I’ve had with new projects, new goals, new dreams for the future. I truly didn’t (and still don’t) know how to just be. 

I don’t regret any of the past projects I’ve worked on as each experience has shaped me and grown me. I have learned so so so much about myself, about working along side others, about being a leader,  about the importance of personal development and I could keep going on. My most recent endeavour of fitness coaching helped our family to really get on track with a healthy, active lifestyle, something that has improved our quality of life in so many ways. It kept me accountable for 9  months which has really helped to solidify those new habits. But the crazy thing is that when I was telling my husband that I was feeling this chapter of coaching may be coming to an end for the time being, he said “oh so what will you be filling that extra time with now?”  That’s what got me.  He expected me to dive right into something new because thats what I always do. That is what my family and friends think of me. They know full well that I don’t know how to slow down. That I always have to be working towards something new and I don’t stop until it’s done.

I mentioned in my last post about minimalizing, that it included our calendar. So while my mind is currently exploding with new ideas and dreams, (HA) I am committing to press the pause button and just “be” for the next 5 months. To not fill all my time with working when I don’t have to, but to have more time to say yes to spontaneous hangouts with friends and family, to have more un-planned Saturday’s where we can wake up and decide hour by hour what we’ll do next. To really pray and seek the Lord’s direction for our family and for any future business endeavours. To read and learn and grow and read some more.

They’re will be more seasons of hustling I know.  More seasons to go hard with goals and chase after dreams. But for right now, I’m putting those dreams on hold and committing to a season of slowing down and learning to “be”.  Hold me accountable will ya?

Thanks for reading.

xo Natalie

Continue Reading

Minimalist Challenge

My best friend Britt was telling me last week about how she had recently been going through her house and getting rid of A LOT! I told her I had been doing the same, trying to tidy and get rid of some things as fall approached. But she said that she was REALLY scaling back and wanting to live a real minimalist lifestyle, getting rid of so many of the kids toys and things that she had been hanging onto “in case”.

Well shoot. I have way too many “in case” bins in my basement so this sounded so intriguing. I HATE clutter, like despise it. But for some reason I can never seem to get away from it. It follows me everywhere, in every area of my life. My closet, my inbox, our SUV, the twins playroom, our kitchen (probably the worst!), our front closet, my computer desktop etc., etc., etc.,  Clutter. Everywhere. I’m one of those people who can’t think and my creativity is stunted when I’m surrounded by clutter so what do I do? I hide it. I shove it in drawers and folders and pack it away in closets to deal with later. Our house doesn’t look cluttered from the outside. In fact it almost always looks tidy and minimal. But don’t open any cupboards or drawers because I never actually get rid of most of it. :S :S :S

So earlier this week, I was sorting through the twins fall wardrobe, taking out what didn’t fit them anymore and ordering some new items online. I went down to the basement with a pile of clothing to add to the “2 year old bin” and I impulsively dumped about 80% of all the clothes I was hanging onto out of the bins and brought them to the local Good Will. I set aside one box for consignment and picked out my absolute fav items in case we have another baby boy some day but everything else GONE. I was nervous at first as I handed the bins over to the man in the unloading garage. This isn’t new for me. I often make trips to good will with “small” bags of things but nothing this drastic. :S And let me tell you, I drove out of the parking lot feeling SO good, so much lighter, like I had dropped a bunch of weight.

SO I decided I need to do more of this. A LOT more of it. I’m dedicating the month of September to de-cluttering my life. Literally every area of it….my closet,  the toy room, my kitchen cupboards, my computer, and yes even my calendar. I want less clutter in all areas of our lives and more doing life with intention. For some reason September has always felt more like the start of a new year to me than January anyway so I always love using this month to get organized and prepared for the seasons ahead. So who’s with me?  I’ve created a 20 day checklist that I’ll be starting today, yes on a Friday because there is no better time to start then now right?! Just one thing a day to keep me going with what I have started. Some days will take a minute, some maybe an hour. If you want to join me, download my 20 day minimalist challenge HERE! !

IMG_3169 (1)

Happy minimalizing! xo

Continue Reading

Vancouver

I hadn’t left the twins for more then one night before. But back in June, I was really missing my family. We were packing and getting ready to go on our own family vacation to Boston/Cape Cod and I mentioned to my husband that perhaps I should someday take a 3-4 day trip out to BC to see my brothers as it would have been crazy expensive to fly all of us out there right now. (flights from Ontario to BC are insane!!!) I was thinking sometime in the fall or winter but he responded with “sure book a flight and go this summer”.  This summer. I didn’t think I could mentally prepare to be away from the twins for that long but he was telling me to go and that everything would be fine so after checking dates with my brothers,  I literally jumped online and bought my tickets that night without thinking twice. Gah! I panicked a little the next few days. This was a big step for a mama. But I did it and I’m SO glad I did. It was everything I needed and I came back feeling more refreshed and ready to tackle motherhood then ever before.

The trip was short but sweet. We restaurant/coffee shop hopped and spent a lot of time being active outdoors together.

Sam and Jo

My brother Sam and his wife Joryli met me at the airport the morning I arrived and our first stop was Revolver for coffee. We caught up over our iced drinks and then we spent the afternoon biking the sea wall. It felt so good to be active after 5 hours on a plane.biking

The next day we went hiking and it was glorious. The climate in Vancouver during the summer (when it’s not raining) is just perfect. Cool mornings and evenings and mid-day is just comfortably warm.   unnamed (2)

unnamed (4)unnamed (1)coffee shopsshop

I spent my third day there with my younger brother Josh and his sweet girlfriend Rebecca. They took me to their favourite shopping spots in downtown Vancouver and I learned a lot from Bekah’s skillful thrifting ways when shopping at consignment stores!  She’s a fashion queen. unnamed (3)unnamed (5)We stopped in at the Treasures and Travels studio that afternoon and it was great to finally meet Lindsay after following her blog for so long. She’s just as sweet in real life as she is online! Love that.

unnamed

3 coffees

In all, it was such a great trip. We ate at Phenom Penh in China Town the night before we left and it was incredible! Good food, good company, so many memories tucked away until the next time I get to see them all again. Love this gang. Wish we weren’t separated by miles for most of the year. BUT it just makes the time spent together that much more special.

Continue Reading
1 2 3 6