Our Elf Welcome Breakfast !

So, Yes….

You’ve probably figured out, we are a family that “does” elf on the shelf. We started with one elf “Rupert” but, when Frankie got a little sister… so did he! So we welcomed “Ruby” to the family as well!

Honestly I love this tradition!

Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand why some parents hate it! I’ve had many nights where, I’ve shot up out of bed…. almost out cold because I forgot to move the damn elves!!!!

For the most part, it’s full of fun! The kids love waking up to see what their little friends are up to! While the number of elves may have changed, the one thing that hasn’t is our celebration for their arrival!

No matter when December starts, our elves always arrive the Sunday after. It’s the only day we’re usually all together, and traditionally eat breakfast together!

elf on the shelf welcome breakfast

So, The story goes…..

The elves are the ones who bring us delicious treats to kick off all the fun we’ll have together in the coming weeks! As far as the kids know at least…..

Truth be told, I’ve been scouring the dollar store for decor and reached out to Michelle at Cupcakes and Studmuffins to create some super fun treats and she did not let me down!

She dreamed up these amazing cookies, mini donuts and my personal favourite pop tarts!! They taste as good as they look, and are seriously even more adorable in person!

Of course with elves, come many sweet treats! So there was plenty of chocolates and candy!

I found these adorable Santa and reindeer paper cups by chance, and had to grab them too! Everything was served on the holiday serve ware from Kitchen Stuff Plus holiday collection !

All in all, It was a great morning….. despite the sugar high from the kids that followed! It’s our way of making the holiday season even more fun and it makes the wait until the big night a little more bearable!

Because, lets be honest!

The big guy in red, will be here before we know it!

xo,

Fran

 

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Emilia’s PURRR-Fect Kitty Cat party!

Time flys when you’re having fun…..

Also when you’re a crazy little girl, who never slows down, always keeps her mama on her toes, and will probably end up giving said mama a heart attack!

My Daughter is OBSESSED with cats!

Unfortunately for her, I’m severely allergic to them! So having cat themed parties is as close as we’ll be coming to ever having cats in our home!

I’m all about monochrome these days, so we combined the two and adorable party magic was made!

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Anytime I’m party planning, the first thing I do is head over to Joonie and Joe They always have exactly what I need! As soon as I saw these matching plates and cups I knew I had to have them! Also hello adorable cat plates! I obviously couldn’t leave those behind! Why have boring cutlery when you can have monochrome ones! All of these were essential in bringing the party to life!

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I found a local bakery that made all Emilia’s Kitty Cat dreams come true! Seriously! They were almost to cute to eat…..ALMOST! Also when we did eat them, they were AMAZING!

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I love connecting with local businesses and have met some amazing people! Francesca from Styled by Francesca is no exception! She made me the amazing kitty cat banner and adorable cake topper! Not to mention that adorable dessert cart…AKA the centerpiece of the whole party, is one of the many beautiful pieces she rents out! I can’t even tell you, how many people fell in love with it!

The day was all about Emilia.

Our last baby, who’s growing way too fast!

She had a blast at her party! The food, the decor, it all comes second to the amazing memories we made that day.

Although she’ll never have a kitty cat of her own… until she moves out one day that is..

I’m pretty sure this party helped to satisfy her obsession, and maybe put a stop for the begging for a kitten. For a little while at least…….

xo,

Fran

 

Emilia’s Farm Party

I can’t believe how quickly these two kids are growing up! I feel like I blinked and Emilia turned 2!

She has such a huge love for animals, I knew long before the big day that her theme would revolve around them!

I had such fun planning her farm themed party and even included some special surprise guests!

*Warning*

Photo over load ahead!!

 

Emilia’s Tutu was made by the local Mini pixies !

Her shirt and shoes were made by my hero and the lady that ALWAYS comes through for me, bringing my visions to life! Jade from Wiggly Feet !

The snack table was so fun to decorate. we used some burlap to give the table a more “farm like” look.  We also used a pallet from my husband’s work to give it a little extra height!

The banner was made of burlap and letters I cut out of a red bandanna. I found “metal” bowls at the local dollar store, along with some farm animal friends. The cutlery buckets were a steal from IKEA at only $1.99!

 

For snacks we had:

  • Wood chips (potato chips)
  • Chicken feed (popcorn)
  • Tractor parts (bits and bites / chex mix)
  • Hay bales (rice crispy treats)
  • Tractor tires (mini donuts)
  • Fruits and Veggies from “Emilia’s Garden”
  • Cow pies (brownies)

After guests arrived and enjoyed some snacks, it was time for our surprise visitors to arrive! We hired a local petting zoo company to pay us a visit and bring us some little critter friends to join in the fun!

(As much as I would have loved to have farm animals, I had to reign myself in since we were having the party at my in laws house and I didn’t want my father in law to think I was any crazier than he already thinks I am…. lol)

We had so much fun with the animals and I loved seeing Emilia’s eyes light up as soon as the first “friend” appeared!

Can I just take a minute to be completely honest?

Two of our little “friends’ cough…. the snake and the tarantula !!! This mama was not a fan of and was seriously freaking her freak ! (on the inside at least!)

Honestly, look at these two! Who’s fearless kids are these?? Because I’m telling you, both Mike and I were Squirming!

Everyone including the adults were completely focused on the animals! It was a blast for all ages!

After our fun visit it was time for cake and to blow out the candles!

All in all it was a great day! We are so blessed to have so many amazing family members and friends that love our children so much! I’m so happy they were there to share Emilia’s special day with us!

I’m also super thankful that you stuck through this post with an over load of farm fun photos!

xo, Fran

Capturing Special Moments with Bellatrix Photography

We make a point to get pictures taken every year.

Our family loves getting new photos of the kids and I’m always amazed, and if I’m being completely honest a little sad at how much these kids change in only one year!

When Cami from Bellatrix Photography contacted me through Instagram I absolutely fell in love with her work and jumped at the chance to have her photograph Frankie and Emilia!

If you are in Toronto or the GTA you need to get in contact with her! She was so great with the kids. It was a little chilly that day and Emilia had just woken up from a dreaded car nap, she didn’t want me out of her sight all day! Cami was so patient with her and soon enough had her smiling and chatting in no time!

Frankie on the other hand was a pro lol! 5 years of experience living with a blogger mom he knows the drill! The pictures are all breath taking and Cami’s work speaks for itself. You can learn more about our chilly morning together by checking out her Blog post !

See more of her work on her Instagram and Facebook pages!

Frankie has grown so much this past year. There is definitely no baby left in him. Everyday he seems older to me, not to mention the sassy attitude that comes along with being 5 going on 16! He has such a laid back style, he loves wearing clothes that make him look like a “cool guy”. He’s a ham and loves any and all attention, he definitely shines when the spotlight is on him!

Emilia is a girly girl to the core….. with a side of UFC fighter, if you make the mistake of getting on her bad side! I can’t believe how fast she’s growing. People told me time flys by faster with the second child and boy! They weren’t lying! She is still my little baby, wanting cuddles at nap time and never wanting to be too far away from me. I cant wait to see her personality grow as the years pass.

© BELLATRIX PHOTOGRAPHY | CAMILA MENDES

I know I’m so blessed to have both of these little maniacs in my life.They love each other so much. Their bond grows stronger every day and I absolutely love watching them together.

I think getting photos taken is such an important tradition. Professionally taken or not, its a chance to look back on a specific time in your life, having a million memories come flooding back to you!

I could never thank Cami enough for capturing these and so many more amazing moments for us! (seriously there were so many it was hard to narrow it down!)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be crying in my coffee while I look through these pictures wondering where the time has gone!

xo,

Fran

All about Mom!

  
I’m kind of ashamed to admit it but I’ve been butting heads with a certain little guy A LOT lately! 

No matter the situation, we can never seem to agree. I’ve come to realize (with the help of Mike’s comparisons) that we’re probably way too much alike than I realize.

I see so much of myself in him. 

The good:

  • Weird sense of humour 
  • Love of reading
  • His looks ( no really stick a black wig on him and he’s me as a child!)
  • His independence 
  • His appetite 

The bad

  • My temper
  • My dirty looks 
  • My being a neat freak
  • Not being able to share…..(seriously don’t touch my stuff!)

Even with everything said, he’s still very much his own person! 

(A person hell bent on fighting me every step of the way….)

Making me feel like the meanest mom ever!!

I thought it would be fun to sit down with him and for him to answer a few questions about me. Let’s see what this guy really thinks about me.

All answers are in his exact words, for better or for worse…

  1. What is something mom always says to you?   Please do stuff!
  2. What makes mom happy?  Me being nice.
  3. What makes mom sad?  Me being mean.
  4. How does mom make you laugh?  When you tell me a joke!
  5. What was mom like as a child? (Motions with hand 2inches) this big! A good girl!
  6. How old is mom?  40? No! No! 50 right? Ya, it’s 50!
  7. What is moms favourite thing to do? Make me a snack!
  8. What does mom do when you’re not around? Play with Emilia!
  9. If mom becomes famous, what would it be for? Cooking dinners!
  10. What is mom really good at?  Cooking dinners!
  11. What is mom not good at? Nothing! (Yaasss! That’s my boy lol)
  12. What does mom do for a job? A mom!
  13. What is mom’s favourite food? Tuna! You like tuna right…….
  14. What makes you proud of mom? That you know how to use the oven!
  15. What do you and mom do together? Make cookies!
  16. How are you and mom the same? We have to same face! (see I told you!)
  17. How are you and mom different? We have different hair!
  18. How do you know mom loves you? Because you always say I love you to me!
  19. Where is moms favourite place to go? To see me sing at school!
  20. How old was mom when you were born? 70? (I’m apparently Benjamin Button….)
  21. What is your favourite thing about mom? When you kiss me!
  22. What is your birthday wish for me? That both of us make cookies together and eat them all! With some milk, but you like tea. Sooo you can have that, or milk if you want milk like me too? 

I’m relieved to know that I’m not the bad guy in his eyes, that I often feel like! 

Also notice that most of his answers revolve around food, just like his daily life recently. (Can we say growth spurt!)

We had a lot of fun chatting, talking about his answers and food of course!

 Give it a try and ask your little one these questions. You might be surprised at the answers you get! 

xo, Fran 


Goodbye 2015!

With the start of 2016 I keep finding myself saying “Wow, that year really flew by!”

The truth is, it really did! 

We had so much going on and made so many new memories. Frankie started school, Emilia became so much more independent, now she’s on the move and things are so much busier around here! 

This year we celebrated some big milestones, Emilia’s baptism and first birthday along with the engagement of my younger sister. Mike and I also celebrated 7 years of marriage!! Not to mention all of the other holiday madness that comes during the year! 

  
I turned 30 and shared some things I never thought I would have the courage to talk about. I shared the story of my journey to motherhood. The losses we suffered were hard to relive, but the messages of love and support I received after sharing it were amazing! So many people going through the same thing knew they weren’t alone, if somehow that brought them some peace it makes my heart so full! 

Thank you to The Mother Effin Truth Blog for giving me the opportunity to share my story! You can find my guest post here: http://themothereffintruth.com/truth-tellers/meet-mama-fran/

The blog had a growth spurt, I worked with so many amazing companies and small businesses! I also made such great connections with fellow bloggers and readers.

 I think that’s the thing I’m most proud of. I started this as a place to connect with others, to find people to relate to. To share my life with others, to know I’m not alone on the bad days and share my happiness on the good days! I really feel like I’ve done that through all of my social media platforms and I can’t wait to share even more with you all!  Sometimes life isn’t so “picture perfect!” I love that I can share these times with you all without judgement.

  
Through blogging I even had the chance to appear on T.V! I was contacted by Jeunesse from Rogers Tv’s Daytime Dish! It was so much fun, even though I may or may not have been completely freaking out about it the night before! We discussed celebrity baby names and I honestly had a blast! You can catch the segment here, feel free to watch it a million times just like the members of my family have! Ha ha! (They’re my biggest fans, and all kidding aside I’m so thankful for their support!)

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orxw_FiuaDE

Along with the appearance I got to do a guest post on Jeunesse’s blog where I wrote a fun little letter to my “pre mommy” self! http://jeunesse.net/friends/2015/12/7/5-things-i-would-tell-pre-mom-me-you

This year my New Years resolution is to put myself out there more, to be more confident in myself and be brave! 

I realized that I do have something to offer and some people might just want to hear what I have to say! 

You can find more of the guest posts I’ve had the pleasure of doing and their links on my Facebook page! 

I feel a little sad saying goodbye to the past year. As a mom I think it’s hard to watch the time fly by so fast often not knowing where it all goes, but 2016 is going to be great, I can just feel it! 

I hope you’ll all come along for the ride, I can’t wait to share all the fun that’s in store! 

From my family to yours, we wish you a Happy new year, filled with happiness, love, fun and good health!

 

xo, Fran  

Our Elf on the shelf welcome breakfast and weekly recap!

This is the 3rd year that we’ve welcomed our elf Rupert from the North Pole! 

Frankie loves getting up every morning to discover what our little Friend has been up to while he’s been fast asleep. This year since Frankie has a little sister, (and Target had a great Boxing Day sale last year…) Rupert decided to bring along his sister Ruby! 

December 1st usually means the arrival of our little Elven friend. Since this year it fell on a Monday and it was a school day, we decided to push it back to the next weekend. 

You can’t welcome visitors without a fun breakfast full of Christmassy pancakes, candy, Christmas crackers and presents…. Right?? 

Ain’t nobody got time for that the morning of a school day! 

We always have a welcome breakfast and for these special mornings, the dollar store is my bff!

  

The Christmas crackers, candy, reindeer headgear and adorable chair covers all came from there!

Truth be told, I usually start gathering things starting in November. Our elves like to bring little treats on some mornings and we learned the hard way not to wait until the last minute! 

Our welcome breakfast was a little rushed this year, we had a Christmas party to go to so we had to get a move on. We did however enjoy our Christmas pancakes made by Mike and may or may not have eaten a little too much of the candy….

 

Now a recap of all of the Fun we’ve had with our elves this week! 

 

  1. Our friends arrived
  2. Our Christmas pancakes
  3. Two happy little reindeer ready for fun!
  4. Rupert and Ruby took a little drive to go see everyone Christmas lights! (That’s what Frankie said when he saw them!)
  5. Caught in the act, stealing our cookies!
  6. Do you wanna build a snowman? No snow no problem, they still found a way!
  7. Stealing our treats from the advent calendar.
  8. We had a busy day planned, these guys didn’t want to miss all the fun!
  9. Silly faces! Frankie wasn’t feeling very well but these funny disguises and fun activity book helped to cheer him up!

For more Elf on the shelf fun and ideas follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #RupertandRuby2015 for past year’s fun and games check out #Rupertelf2014 and #Rupertelf2013

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf in your home? 

I’d love to see and hear your Elf ideas!!

xo,Fran 

Our Vist To Santa’s Snowy Valley + $100 Oshawa Centre Gift Card Givaway!

This past weekend we were invited by the amazing people at the Oshawa Centre to be one of the first people to visit Santa and experience their brand new snowy valley!

Before leaving the house both kids were soooo excited!

Until Mike reminded them that there was a naughty list….

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Once we arrived we were amazed! To say the new set is beautiful, is an understatement!

The kids we’re treated to some free cookie decorating, which Frankie loved!

While he was decorating his cookie Frankie couldn’t keep his eyes off Santa’s elves. “Are those the real elves, mom?”  “I think they are because look at their shoes!!”

After he worked up the courage to ask, he was so happy to learn that they were the real deal! He was even lucky enough to get a picture with one of the kind elves!

The Toronto zoo was on hand to teach the little ones about Polar Bears and other animals that brave the cold weather. They are also helping to spread the word about climate change and how it affects our animal friends.

Emilia was having a ball waiting in line to see Santa.

That is until Jolly Old St. Nick actually arrived….

She promptly lost her mind and was quickly escorted by Mike away from poor Santa!

meeting santa

At least one of my children kept their cool….

Santa was so great!

As an extra sweet treat every child 3 and up that visits Santa gets a treat from Purdy’s and a free plush mini polar bear! (while supplies last!)

There is so much Fun going on at the Oshawa Centre!

You can visit Santa every day from 11 am – 7 pm (6 pm on Sunday)

While you’re there don’t forget to Enter for a chance to win a $1000 family getaway to Great Wolf Lodge and a $500 Oshawa Centre shopping spree!

I’m also so happy to say that Santa will be having 2 Silent Santa mornings where children with autism and other special needs can visit Santa in a calm and friendly atmosphere.

Find the details for this special event and all of the other Christmas fun going on here: https://www.oshawacentre.com/promotions-events/events/new-santas-snowy-valley/

After our visit with Santa we stopped by the new Holiday Nook! We enjoyed some hot chocolate and the kids we’re mesmerized by Home Alone playing on the t.v. It was definitely a struggle to get them to leave, can you blame them?

How gorgeous does it look? I didn’t want to leave either!

You can take a load off from all of that hectic holiday shopping, while having your presents gift wrapped, on a comfy couch with hot chocolate in hand! Talk about a dream come true!

To learn more about the Oshawa Centre and all of the exciting things happening there, Including their coming expansion!

Visit their website:https://www.oshawacentre.com/

I want to thank the great team at the Oshawa Centre for a fun morning and a great way to kick off our holiday season!

If you live in the area and are planning on taking your little ones to see the big guy in red, you’ll love all the fun taking place there!

Now the fun part!

The Oshawa Centre has teamed up with me for an amazing giveaway! One Lucky reader will have the chance to win a $100 mall gift card!

Head over to my Facebook page  to find out how to enter!

Good Luck!

xo Fran

 

 

Fall Family Photos!

We usually send out a photo Christmas card each year! Usually the card would only feature the kids.

The last time we had an actual family photo done Frankie was just over a year old.

  
Since we’re no longer a family of 3 it was definitely time to get some new photos taken! 

We’ve worked with Stacey who owns SLR photography for the last few years. She is absolutely amazing with the kids and always manages to capture amazing shots! 

If you are in Toronto or the GTA you need to check her out! http://www.slrphotography.ca

There were so many amazing pictures to choose from, I still haven’t made up my mind which one will be used for our card but I wanted to share them with you!  


I love how Frankie and Emilia are in their own little world in this one. Just chatting and holding hands like the bffs they are.

 

 In these ones you can definitely see that Emilia is all Mike and Frankie takes after his Momma!

 

So in love with these two crazy kids!

I wanted us to match but, not be too matchy….. I think the outfits turned out pretty good! 

( I really planned everything around Emilia’s dress. It was so cute and we had it for so long until it finally fit!)

Thanks again to Stacey for doing such an amazing job!

Hopefully it won’t be another 3 years before I decide to get in front of the camera!

xo, Fran 

  
 

Hello Fall!! (Family Update) 

Fall is definitely here! 

The days of warm dewy mornings, have now been replaced by chilly morning walks to school! 

With the fall also comes the return of our fun family traditions! We took our annual trip to the apple orchard and had a blast filling our bag up with apples. (While sampling some along the way of course!)

 

We also got to celebrate the Engagement of my little sister last month! It was a beautiful brunch to celebrate an amazing couple! The kids had a great time, Emilia especially loved the pancakes! I love how our family is growing and changing with all of these new celebrations. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for these two! 

 

 September also brought Mike’s birthday! We celebrated by going out for dinner with family and enjoying cake at his parents house. Of course he had a few “helpers” when the time came to blow out the candles! 
  
To top the month off, Mike and I also got to have a date night! I honestly don’t remember the last time we were out without the kids. It was a beautiful and fun night out at a friend’s wedding. Definitely long over due grown up time. (It’s always nice to enjoy a meal while it’s still warm, once and a while at least!) It’s also nice to get dressed up, I’d say we clean up pretty well lol! 

 

As October arrives I can’t wait for pumpkin patch trips, thanksgiving and of course Halloween! 

That’s a little of what we’ve been up to around here. There’s so much more fun to come! 

xo, Fran