Summer is right around the corner and let’s face it, what’s Summer without a trip to the beach, pool, or lake? I’m starting to think about what to do, where to go, and if we need to pick up anything along the way and with lots of water activities and camping on my ever- growing Sumer bucket list I can’t resist eyeing up all the cute pool floaties out there. A few years back I shared some favourites- see that post here– and it got a lot of love so I thought I’d share another round up since they seem to get more fun every year!
While most of these are for the grown-ups and big kids, there are a few for the littles in the family as well (that watermelon pool and rainbow ring!). Some of these are a bit of a splurge, but most of them are pretty budget- friendly and a perfect addition to your Summer bucket list. A few Summers ago we picked up a giant swan and it’s been a hit with the kids, but I definitely found a few more putting together this post that I’d love to have for the Summer (that monstera leaf and double hearts!). Here’s to a fun Summer, even if it’s still a few months away! 😉
Hello Spring! Who else is sooo happy for this season? For our family it means it’s time to start getting the garden ready, clean out all the Winter layers from the closets, and enjoy more time outside. It’s also the time of year where all the pretty flowers are starting to make an appearance (I’m watching my lilac tree like a hawk waiting for it to bloom) and whenever possible, bring them home to enjoy indoors in amazing-smelling bouquets. I love that this season brings a bright and refreshing vibe after all the coziness of Winter, so to celebrate this beautiful time of year I’ve created two free printables to welcome Spring.
Welcome the season with a pretty Spring Printable!
Pick from two colour options for this Spring printable to suit your mood and home: grey for a more new neutral look and watercolour blush for a pop of colour. All you have to do is click, print + enjoy! Scroll to the end of this post to download the PDF of the colour you want to print and choose a pretty frame to display it in. Does it get any easier than that?
Tip: To save on ink, instead of printing at home, order these as an 8″*10″ photo print from your favourite local store (Staples, London Drugs, etc). You can also scale these down to fit smaller frames, just adjust the size when you go to print/ order prints.
Like what you see in today’s post? Check out other fun DIY ideas + printables on OHP here! I also love this Sweet Dreams printable (another freebie!) over on Ava to Zoe, perfect for a kid’s room or nursery.
Heading into Spring, we’re stepping away from heavier foods and turning to lighter options. This lasagne soup is one of those recipes that is hearty and filling and is a great way to get in a healthy serving of veggies. I’m excited to be teaming up with reebee on this recipe to help you enjoy easy-to-make, healthy comfort food, and to help you whip up your favourite recipes at the best price.
Make it on the stove top or slow cooker, either way this lasagne soup is a yummy, simple recipe.
I based this recipe off of one of my favourites from Liv B’s cookbook, Vegan on a Budget, and adapted it a little for our family. Every time I’ve made this soup it’s been a hit, and I thought I would try making it in the slow cooker for this blog post for the added bonus of extra convenience and it doesn’t disappoint. Her recipe for Famous Lasagne Soup caught my eye when I was first going through the pages and knew it would be one my family would love. Her original recipe is a vegan one so I swapped in a few different ingredients and have made this soup with and without meat, both turning out equally delicious; I also made ours with gluten-free lasagna noodles, but of course this is a simple substitution you don’t have to make if you don’t need to.
I love that this is a healthy comfort food option that is simple to make, especially if you’re using a slowcooker, and thanks to reebee, I can help you find where to stock up on the ingredients you need at the lowest price. Our family has used reebee for a few years and it is our go-to resource for finding the best prices for our weekly grocery list. Whether it’s for regular items that we use all the time, or big-ticket purchases, reebee is a great resource right at your fingertips.
Find everything you need for this recipe for the best price thanks to Reebee!
For this recipe, I have teamed up with reebee to show you how to get the best prices on the ingredients you’ll need for this lasagne soup. All you have to do is download the app and enter your location to receive current and upcoming flyers from a variety of stores for your area. To show you how it works, simply click on the items in the ingredient list below and reebee will do the rest, showing you what ingredients are on sale and where to find the best prices this week. Savings at your fingertips!
1 carton or 3.5 cups of broth ( I used chicken, but vegetable or beef also work)
In your slow cooker, pour in broth and pasta sauce, followed by the onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and lentils. Stir to combine. Note: If including ground beef, brown in a frying pan and add with these ingredients.
Set your slow cooker on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
About 15 minutes before you’re ready to serve, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the lasagne noodles as per the package directions.
Add the noodles and spinach to the soup approx. 5 minutes before serving.
Reebee puts finding the best price for everything your family needs right at your fingertips. Simply download the app and enter your area to find the best prices on everything from groceries to appliances, seasonal items, and more. reebee features flyers from favourite stores including Costco, Superstore, Walmart, Canadian Tire, just to name a few.
Search option to help you quickly find exactly what you’re looking for and compare prices
Shopping list- stay organized and create lists within the app to keep track of what you need
Sync Reebee across devices for seamless use for everyone in the family
reebee is available for through the App Store and Google Play.
Like this recipe? Save it for later!
For more simple + healthy meal ideas, visit the blog’s Recipes page!
Disclosure: This recipe post is a paid partnership with reebee. I was compensated to share a recipe in partnership with reebee, an app my family loves and has used weekly for several years. All opinions are my own.
This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
The Healthy Family Expo is coming up this Sunday for the 6th year and I’m looking forward to checking out some new exhibitors plus some returning favourites (there’s going to be 200+!). Our family has gone every year since it started and each event gets bigger and better (and based on what organizers have planned, Healthy Family Expo 2019 looks like it’s going to be the best one yet!). See below for event details and highlights, what’s new to the 2019 event, plus some of my picks to check out this year, returning and new.
Click below to shop some of my favourites from #HFE2019 (I’m just a little excited to try out Nora’s dairy-free ice cream!). Love Child Organics and FreeYumm are two of our family’s favourite snack brands, featuring healthy and allergy-friendly options for your little ones (also, the LCO Cookbook by founder Leah Garrad Cole is a great addition to your cooking library. And if you’re looking for some music the whole family will love (aka the adults won’t cringe when the kids request it! 😉 ), Jessie Farrell is a local Vancouver singer-songwriter who has produced several albums for kids; you can check her out during the Gumboot Kids Live Shows.
Have you ever thought about working with a personal trainer? For the past few months, I’ve been working with Erin from Muscles and Mommies and have been enjoying getting my butt kicked trying out her Ultimate FitB!tch training package. I consider myself fairly disciplined when it comes to exercise, but this experience has taught me that an added layer of accountability can go a long way. Whether you are trying to add fitness into your routine, or want to switch things up and try working with a personal trainer, I hope you find this post helpful.
Self-care has become a buzz word over the past few years and whatever form it takes for you, it’s a positive reminder we’re seeing everywhere to find time to take care of ourselves. For me, self-care comes in a few forms, but exercise is one that satisfies me on many levels with the added benefit of getting my body in better shape. I heard about Erin and her personal training business, Muscles and Mommies, at my friend Janette’s third annual #AtoZSelfLove Yoga Retreat last October, and the rest, as they say, is history. After working with Erin for two months I want to share a progress report and why I’m continuing to work with her moving forward (initially Erin and I agreed on an exchange for a two-month period, so I could share about her services with readers. I have enjoyed our sessions so much that I’m excited to continue working with her as a paid client! If that doesn’t tell you something about Erin and her personal training services, I don’t know what to tell ya).
From our first conversation, I felt an instant connection with Erin and knew I’d love working with her.
This is the first time in several years that I have worked with a personal trainer. I came into this experience with Erin and Muscles and Mommies not really sure what to expect with my only hope being that I could work on strengthening my body and feeling better from the inside out. For me, this journey wasn’t going to be about a number on a scale (even though that lurked in the back of my mind), but about making my body stronger and healthier.
My fitness journey over the past couple of years has been largely focussed on cardio (running) and yoga. In general, that routine was working well, and my cardio was great, but my overall strength was lacking. I was only focusing on certain areas and neglecting others; then I just fell off the exercise wagon altogether, which brings me to last October…
When I first met Erin and talked to her about my fitness journey and goals, there was an instant connection and comfort. Here was someone I could talk to openly and comfortably about my body, my fitness experiences, and goals, and in return have a realistic expectation of where my body was capable of going since having two kids. What I loved about Erin right off the bat was that she advocates for women in a way that transcends physical goals related to training; she has a respect for and understanding of the female body and its capabilities, and has an amazing way of helping her clients feel encouraged and empowered but not limited by the physical changes that they have gone through (pregnancy, childbirth, aging). Her overall message: enjoy the journey.
After deciding that working together would be a fit, Erin checked out what workout equipment I had so she knew what I had to work with and conducted an initial assessment and spoke to me about my goals and expectations. What did I hope for? What areas did I want to focus on? She then made it her goal to help me get there, but with a gentle reminder that it may not happen as fast or possibly quite in the way I wanted it to. For example, I like a flat stomach and having toned abs, but since having two children achieving that goal has become a lot harder, if not impossible to obtain. No matter how hard I try, things are just a little softer and squishier where my babies spent 9 months each; something I’m proud of my body for doing, but nonetheless a change I have had to accept. But through our initial conversation, Erin was able to help me understand what realistic expectations of my body were, and that regardless of the results at the end of this two months, the process was going to be an amazing one, to embrace the journey.
In addition to the initial consultation and a personalized workout plan, Erin also offers access to the Muscles and Mommies closed Facebook group, The Fit B!tches, as part of her personal trainer programs, which you gain access to upon signing up for one her monthly fitness packages. Here she offers demonstrations of certain exercises, fitness tips, links to articles of interest, recipes, and group challenges. She also sends out monthly newsletters featuring a recipe and exercise of the month, and specials, among other info. If training with Erin wasn’t value enough already for the monthly fee, the additional resources she provides further extends their investments in her services.
Her mantra and outlook is something I absolutely love about Erin and her approach to physical training.
As a former Doula and as a mother herself, she understands how our bodies change as we age and the changes that pregnancy and childbirth bring. Two factors that are not always related but certainly can be. Erin’s outlook and understanding have been things that continue to motivate and inspire me as I continue my fitness journey with her. Thanks to my weekly Skype sessions with her (2 per week), I’ve come to a point with my body that falls somewhere between pride and acceptance. Pride of what my body has done and has been able to accomplish through these training sessions, and acceptance that how I feel means waaaaaay more than any number I see on a scale and that the strength I have built both inside and out surpasses any ideal I had to let go of in my head.
My body is not what is used to be; it’s better. In all it’s imperfect, post 2- babies glory.
It’s safe to say, I’m loving seeing the results and the hard work paying off. But just so you don’t think I’m dancing around every week like a unicorn bouncing on rainbows, let’s be real for a minute. Admittedly many nights I am tired and burnt out heading into our sessions, the idea of relaxing with a book much more appealing than ramping up for a workout. But I know I’ll feel so much better afterward and I look forward to my time with Erin, so I push through my lack of motivation and am always better for it. When we started working together, Erin was just launching her Skype sessions and they have proven to be a valuable option for me; I love working out in person, but training with her via Skype has made her services much more accessible and eliminated the challenge of coordinating childcare, etc.
Working out in the convenience of my own home with a personal trainer? Yes, please!
As I have mentioned, I am looking forward to working with Erin on an ongoing basis, and can’t recommend her enough. Even if you don’t live within her service boundaries, but are wanting to work with a personal trainer, her online personal training sessions via Skype are a great option to consider. If you would like to learn more about her range of services, make sure to visit the Muscles and Mommies website. You can also find Muscles and Mommies on social media: Instagram | Facebook.
Disclosure: I was provided with two months of personal training services in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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