Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reflections From Our First (Official) Vacation

I must admit I was a little nervous, abeit excited as anything, for our first family flying vacation. I got mixed reactions, some saying it would be difficult while others saying it will be fantastic.

Well...it was...fan-fricking-tastic!

We went to Riviera Nayarit, a little off of Puerto Vallarta, in Mexico. It was beautiful, not too long of a flight (so the kids mainly slept), and just what we needed/wanted.

Our resort, Dreams Villamagna, was perfect - family friendly, great food, awesome staff, VIP service to the max, 24 hour room service, great view/room...and drinks and pools were perfect.

We went with no expectations, and aimed to make it about the kids, so with them playing in the pools and water, us having our cocktails...things went rather smoothly. Of course, vacation with the kids is different, but I truly think Vick and I are ready for these vacations. We want to experience life through their eyes...seeing them frolic in delight, swim to their heart's content, seeing animals and dolphins and even geckos in amazement, all made us so happy.  Honestly, as bedtime came around and they passed out...we often found ourselves exhaused too.

The kids loved it. Caiden learned how to swim (with floaties) and literally would want to swim until evening. Rayna only walked...no crawling...and loved to point out every bird and iguana we saw. They grew up so much in one week...amazing.

Vick and I would wake up as they would, we would check out our ocean view and get ready for breakfast and then either swim, or plan to go see dolphins...or take a trip to Sayulita...all of which was just awesome to say the least. Our trip was full of tacos, drinks, animal encounters (iguanas at the resort included), braids, and sun...sun and some more sun. The best thing,  was being together,  as corny as that may sound,  and watching our kids really experience and showcase their excitement for things...I mean Caiden held a snake and a crocodile for Pete's sake!!

I know now that this life as a mom with young ones,  is what I revel for. I am in my element and love being with my family.  I love that we take advantage of these precious moments,  because it will pass and life will change once again.  But until then,  I can't wait until our next adventure.

What a blast!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Halloween is Approaching...Let's go Shopping

Now that I have toddlers, I look forward to making sure every holiday or event is well represented, fun, and enjoyed as a family. 

It starts out with decorating at home fo sure.

Halloween is one of those events. It is so fun for the kids. Why not go decorate with some fun, spooky, and festive ways? On top of that, dressing up truly gets you in the spirit...and it brings out the kid in you as well. I think my son gets even more excited when he sees us dress up too.

However, as you must be thinking, trying to do it all...decor, costumes, little touches here and there, it can get costly. This is true, well kind of.

I recently discovered that Halloween stuff can actually come at a good price, if you check out Value Village. We have gone there a couple of times now, specifically for Halloween. I think you would be amazed.

Here's why:

1. Rows and rows and rows of costumes, wigs, accessories and makeup. There's something for all ages, sizes and theme.

2. Ideas galore. If you are stuck, this is a great place for inspiration. There's an idea poster, and just by walking around, I bet you will start putting together something fun.

3. Contrary to what you may think, not everything is used. The Halloween section is primarily comprised of NEW items, fully packaged. 

4. Costumes yes...but also decor! You have your pick of skulls, bones, skeletons, dead roses, you name it! I guarantee you will find tonnes to decorate your place without breaking the bank!

We had a fun time gathering some key items to kick off Halloween preparation.  Check out my haul of a bag of bones, glow in the dark skeletons, cookie cutters, pumpkin carving kit, garlands, window stickers...and so much more.

Caiden had a blast helping put some stuff up.

I will share with you the final look, but wanted to just share how impressed I was with the selection and thrifty prices.  Check out my social media for updates as we finalize our costumes and finish decorating. 

Check out #thriftortreat  and seriously if you want to go all out, or even a little bit, this Halloween, go check out the Value Village spooky selections.

Have fun!


Sunday, October 9, 2016

What I Want to Teach My Kids About Diwali

Diwali, such a beautiful Indian festival. One filled with light, literally, love, prayer and family...and eating.

As generations go by, it may be that some traditions get changed,  some foods get updated, and things like decor and how we celebrate may evolve.  This is alright, so long as the basic premise and reason why we celebrate isn't lost. 

I want to teach my kids some important things about Diwali, as Hindus celebrate, and hope that a few of these traditions will carry on.

Lord RamThe Story of Ramayan
I grew up learning and loving the stories of Lord Rama. How he came to Earth, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, to one day battle evil that was taking place. His journey was one filled with trials and tribulations, but each feat teaches inner control, patience and respect for all things and people. It is a beautiful tale that is full of symbolism and teachings...of good conquers evil.
In one main part of the tale, Rama is sent to exile to live in the forest for 18years. The future King of Ayodhya obliges and is accompanied with his wife and brother as they set out on an epic adventure. It is said that there was a darkness that spread through Ayodhya during this exile. However, after the 18 years and a large battle between Ravan and Rama, where good defeats bad, Lord Ram returns and claims his throne. The entire kingdom is lit with lights and candles and there are celebrations beyond delight. In every corner they shone light to show the immense happiness that came. That marks the celebration of Diwali, the return of King Lord Rama and the end of darkness.
On Diwali diya and candles are lit everywhere to represent this celebration.

Lakshmi - Hindu goddessGoddess Lakshmi
Light is also representative of Goddess Lakshmi in the Hindu religion. Letting light in is inviting her in, she blesses the home with wealth and prosperity to those who welcome her and offer her prayer and love.
So on Diwali, we light our diyas and pray, pray for an auspicious year and to bless our families.
We also decorate our entrance with Rangoli. This is coloured rice in a pattern. They say those that adorn their entrance with colour and beauty and light are inviting Lakshmi into their lives. 

The lights, the diyas, the sweets galore, the rangoli, and just being with family on this day...is what I want my kids to carry on. The basic premise, that's all....how and why we decorate our home and being together in that day. 

Rangoli Diwali
Photo courtesy of Askideas.com

The next day, after Diwali, is the new year. This is really to embark on the new goals you have set and let anything negative go, a restart...to be taken with positivity and happiness. 

Diwali really, in the end, is about a happy feeling...spreading joy, believing that good things will come, and to feel love in and out.  That is truly what it symbolizes and has always meant to be the bottom takeaway. Even in all the stories...we celebrate because of goodness and love. 

I hope and pray for this beautiful holiday to live on. It may look a little different from year to year, but some things, shouldn't change too much. 

As we prepare this year, I will keep in mind to tell my children the stories and hope they love its meaning and symbolism as much as I do.
Diwali diya
Photo courtesy of Indialine.com

Friday, October 7, 2016

She is off...She's a walkin, She's a Screamin'

Oh this little girl of mine.  She is such a little one...so tiny and petite and cute...and LOUD.

Rayna's personality is emerging full-force and what is it projecting?  It's stammering loudly a "Do not mess with me people!"  My little precious angel is quite content playing with my pots and pans, trying to scale the TV stand, and trying to touch anything she isn't supposed to.  Our place is kid-friendly, but this kid will figure out a way to make us gasp.  She knows it's wrong but will ignore our tone and give us a smirk while doing it too.

Oh she's so cute you would never guess she is a menace in the making.

Oh and the biggest feat Rayna has conquered...she is walking.  This is beyond cute as she used to stumble and fall because of walking way too fast.  Now she has mastered taking her steps slower, so she is getting better and better at it.  To be honest,  though I love seeing her develop more and more, I was in no rush.

No rush because she is my baby.  But also, she is going to be trouble...I feel it in my bones.

You know what though,  she is a cute little girl, and maybe being a tough cookie isn't a bad thing.  A matter of fact,  it will serve her well...so I hope that part stays in tact.

Oh Ray...as she balances to stay on her feet, she is definitely keeping us on her toes!

I love you my little menace.