Thrift like a boss: how I spent $50 on an updated mamma-drobe

Being a one-income family, it wasn’t doable to have a transition wardrobe after having my first baby, a little over a year ago. Does that even exist?! During pregnancy, I had worn a lot of things that weren’t maternity. Once our darling girl showed up and the months passed by, I was aching for something “new to me”.

Thrifting is a term for finding second-hand deals. In the last year, I have found so many good deals for myself and Elizabeth (I find it harder to thrift for Troy!), from sweaters to jackets. There are some staples like shoes and jackets that I am willing and wanting to spend good money on, but smaller items like a plaid shirt, top or sweater, I love to thrift. It gets Elizabeth and I out of the house and gives me a shopping-fix for little cost! Over the years, I have had many people tell me I shop well, so I wanted to share with you some tips and show you what I spent just $50 on in the last year while thrifting.

My tips on how I thrift like a boss:

  • Know when the monthly sale happens (our local goodwill does a 50% off sale the first Thursday of the month on pretty much everything)
  • Shop often. Get the pick of the patch!
  • When you know the brands you like or that fit your family, and the price you’d normally spend for new, it’ll help you decide on yes or no on an item. Ex. An $8 H&M item at the thrift shop likely isn’t worth it, as many basics at H&M are that price new. BUT, if you can find a more elaborate H&M piece for $8 that is normally $40, then you’ve got a deal!
  • Check for holes, stains, or loose threads.
  • If you live in a big city, shop in thrift stores in the high-end regions to get “better” options
  • I find local thrift stores have better prices than stores like Value Village or Goodwill, though I like to thrift there too as they have more variety!
  • As a new mom, I was looking for things that could double as “going to get groceries” and “looking good while hanging out at home” OR “going on a date” or “going to church” kinds of things.

Here’s a breakdown of the photo above:

  1. Khaki trench coat – $8
  2. Grey sweater dress – $5
  3. Rose stretchy skinnies – $12
  4. Denim tank – $3
  5. Floral strapless top – $2
  6. Oversized cardigan sweater – $5
  7. Plaid shirt dress – $5
  8. Leapoard print cardigan x2 – $5each x 2 = $10

= $50 well spent!

Don’t worry, I did buy new things in the past year as well – they were also very much needed! But when you want a quick fix and the budget is tight, don’t overlook thrifting deals!

Happy thrifting!



Creative play in small spaces for a 1-year-old

I have wracked my brain thinking of how to make play fun for Elizabeth. First child-first mamma situation? I think so 😉  But through the long Alberta winter we had, I was desperate to add some variety to playtime on long days at home!

Our upstairs is two bedrooms, and hers is technically a den, though it has a closet. It’s the brightest room in the house with lovely built-in shelves that Troy installed before we got pregnant, when the room was our office. That being said, once you squeeze a crib, change table, and a rocking chair in there, there’s not much more room! Instead of getting frustrated (which I did for a bit, near tears, wanting to give our girl a lovely playroom and all!)… I decided to work with what we have, for as long as we live in this house. 

Funny enough, one day, about two months ago, Elizabeth scootched behind her rocking chair and started pulling her little Disney books off the nightstand. She stayed there for almost 20 minutes as I hid in the distance, listening to her talk and grow up before my very eyes! *cue heart tears* That made it clear to me – that spot was a perfect “quiet space” for her!

I grabbed this sheepskin rug we got from IKEA that was in another room and put it on the floor behind the chair. I put some other little books and dolls on the bottom shelf, and moved pillows around from the window seat. And ta-da…quiet area that she visits daily! She mostly pulls books off the shelf and talks to herself, but it’s made her room more “play friendly” and that makes me happy!

Then about a month ago (when she turned ONE!), I brought up an old shelf I had downstairs and put it in her closet with some books and baskets of toys. I put her laundry basket in another corner of the room and made another cozy spot of blankets and pillows in the corner of her closet. I guess I like to envision her sitting there, reading and playing make-believe like I did as a little girl! She goes back and forth between her closet to her corner (using her crib and chair as a grounding!), and suddenly has two new play spots in her room! Nothing more was spent to make her room cozier, I just used what we had.

It made me realize how when you have to be, you can be more resourceful than you think! It just takes some creativity 😉  Play areas that make both mamma and babe happy = win win!


Mother’s Day Giveaway – Beautiful and inspiring wall art

I turned to Etsy in planning some of Elizabeth’s nursery and came across an adorable shop out of the US called Heart of Life Design. Some of you may have seen this print below (Psalm 46:5) in Elizabeth’s nursery before, but she is the handiwork behind this print when I sent her the verse I wanted to be scripted. I also ordered a couple other ‘bird themed’ digital prints for the nursery which I loved!

So, we are partnering for Mother’s Day to give one special mama a code to use in the Heart of Life Design store to buy three of your own digital print downloads! Yes!

All you have to do is comment below and share who you are and where you’re from. If you are on Instagram or Facebook, please give Heart of Life Design a follow! You will have no trouble finding a place somewhere in your house for her work as it’s so gorgeous and inspiring.

For extra entries (after commenting below)…

*comment on my post on Instagram AND tag another mama friend
*comment on my post on my Facebook page with a favourite memory of time with your mamma

That’s a total of THREE chances to win the digital prints for free!

But because we wanted to give everyone a chance to get something, the download of the verse she scripted me for Elizabeth’s nursery is available for everyone to enjoy! Yay, FREE 8×10 scripture DOWNLOAD! This verse was on my heart before we even found out we were having a girl, and is every bit as much a verse for my girl as it is for me as a new mamma! God is in our midst, and He is the One Who helps us daily! Click here for your FREE 8×10 scripture DOWNLOAD !

Thanks Heart of Life Design for your generosity and your beautiful artwork! This contest closes by noon tomorrow (Tuesday), and the winner will be notified Wednesday.

Have an amazing week mamma-bears xo

When little is what you’ve got

Ten years ago I bought a 960sq ft townhouse, built in 1955 as military housing. I was drawn to the large windows and hardwood floor. It was my first home and required a lot of “lipstick” to make it look pretty again. It had the typical 90’s burgundy and forest green paint, complete with wallpaper trim and sponge paint (yes, SPONGE PAINT!). The weekend I moved in I had family and friends help with painting and clean up, and we celebrated with some pizza at the end of it.

 But that place was mine, and I was so proud to own it after years of renting. It was the boom of 2007 and everyone was buying. I had friends buying houses that were larger, but this was what my bank account could afford (barely!). Fast forward to newlywed life, and Troy and I lived for the first four months of our marriage in a 500sq ft upper garage suite while our house was being built. It seemed cramped at the time, but it was the most wonderful gift of simplicity we could’ve asked for as we learned each other as husband and wife.

Now, we have a 2,500sq ft home to love and tend to. It takes more time, more money, and more effort to keep it up than that townhouse ever did. But it’s ours, and we love it for the season that we are here.

As I sit here typing, the sun has been up for an hour and a half (oh for early spring mornings!), and my mind is alert. Counting the minutes to when my baby wakes and our day starts. Most mornings I am up by 6:30, but this past week I have been waking and wanting to be up earlier. Like 6am! 3-4 times a week I try to get in a workout and time with the Lord (shower time is sporadic!)  before Elizabeth wakes up between 7:15-7:30. These moments of time on my own are fewer than pre-motherhood, but I feel like in the years previous, God has been teaching me how to make space for Him in the time I have. Make Him a priority first thing in the morning. For me, that began mostly when I lived in England and has continued to this day. I crave Him, more and more not out of tradition or act, but out of wanting to know the One who made and saved me and is renewing me day by day.

So for right now, I am working with space I have been given, and letting (TRYING!) God make it beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). 

Last night I went to bed bemoaning to Troy about how I need more creative time. Of all the things I want to do and just don’t have time for as a full-time mom.  And I am challenged this morning, in the moments I have with my Father before the day begins, to work with what I have. To make space to meet with Him, to work with intention at what I have been given, and see what God does with it. Rather than compare to the creative square footage of someone else, I am convicted of giving God the landscape I have and do my best to make space for Him to lead, love and move in it.

If you have little time for anything else right now, make what space you have to meet with the Lord, and see how HE will make it beautiful. In its time. Pressure off. Stop comparing (preaching to the choir here!). Swing open the door and let God decorate the proverbial house you’ve been given, no matter how big or small it is.

Own it, sister, to own it.

Circa 2007 – me and my “new” kitchen!

Go on and flourish

So much can affect our hearts without us realizing it…

For me, it was like a pit in my stomach. I knew it was there, yet I kept going back to it. I needed to see, as though making myself feel horrible was justified. I’d see someone else’s way of doing things, and immediately feel like my way was wrong. Like I was somehow less than because they seemed to have it together. “Seemed”.

As a new mom, this feeling really sprang to “life”. I wanted to follow other new moms and watch them mother. “Be inspired”. Well, no, that wasn’t the case. Because as I watched, I felt that yucky comparison bug creep up and begin to itch.

For example. A wonderful lady I followed on IG and had heard speak at a conference was finally pregnant after 10 years of trying and waiting. Amazing! As she shared online about having a journal for her soon-to-be-born son, that she would give him when he was 18, I immediately felt like I should be doing the same, when I wasn’t. What kind of mother AM I?!! I immediately felt like my mothering was less than, rather than celebrating a great idea and that another boy in this world will have a mom who adores him. Rather than being inspired and taking a great idea, I felt like I was doing it all wrong.

You see. Sometimes I look at social media for inspiration. When in actual fact, then, I was looking to it to somehow confirm what I felt. And the issue would just keep growing until I addressed it. I’ve had to stop following people. I’ve had to sit myself down for time-outs and really ask myself why I felt so threatened by someone else’s success. I’ve had to take complete breaks from social media altogether.

Bearing my sin and soul here… I wanted to be the best. At everything. Good grief, what pressure!!! You know that saying, that comparison is the thief of joy? So true. And rather than celebrating your success – as a mother, as an entrepreneur, as a wife, or as anything – I felt like it somehow took away from my own success and progress.

How wrong I was.

Maybe you need to hear what I needed to hear… Stop waiting for someone else’s permission to flourish. And start dealing with what limits you.  Comparison. Fear. Doubt. Perfectionism. Whatever it is. It’s time we start stepping out, celebrating other’s success, and cheering each other on! And letting yourself grow strong. Because I do believe that God loves to shine His strength through us.

The tides are turning in my heart. You know how I know?

…Because now as I watch young moms at the same stage as me, my heart is now rejoicing. Yay YOU! 

…Because I have exercised since January, sticking to my goal for the first time EVER, after seeing a great mom-preneur do it. I thought, Well, if she can exercise with all her to-do’s then so can I! And I now have muscles in places I never have. One year after having a baby!

…Because instead of feeling like someone else’s success impedes on my own, my heart is starting to shift to celebrate theirs.

…Because my husband and I laugh more, at ourselves, and each other, even in a season of unknown.

My heart is starting to see that I can be who God wants ME to be, and that if you are doing well, that in no way means that I am not!! Oh comparison thief, be gone! Only the work of the Holy Spirit in conviction and healing can do this.

If social media feels yucky for you. Take a break. If mine doesn’t inspire or challenge you, then please, stop following, and take a break! But if you feel like you can celebrate alongside me with my successes and vulnerabilities, then I welcome you here for the journey.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts, ABOVE ALL ELSE. Our hearts are the soil of our life. Make sure it’s fertilized well so the good seeds can grow.

And go on and be free to flourish. For His glory.