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Showing posts from 2016

Looking for the Sunny Side of 2016

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So, if you have been on social media at all in the last few weeks you can see that there is a common theme: 2016 was the worst (apparently).

I will fully acknowledge that 2016 had some weird things happen.  I'm sure there has to be at least some good that came out of this year, right?

One of the recent trends I've seen in the last couple weeks are people sharing their positive experiences from 2016.  Even if 2016 was the worst year ever for you, this is a good exercise - think back, and was there a time this year that you had fun?  Laughed so hard it hurt?  Smiled?  Or even just had a really good hug?

In an effort to start 2017 on a good note, I challenge everyone to think of something, even if it is just one moment, but think of something that was positive for you in 2016.   You can either keep that to yourself, or share in the comment section (or on our Facebook Page ).

I will start - I put my feet in the Pacific Ocean for the first time in September.  I had never been to …

We Can't Do It All

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I learned an important lesson over the last month.  As many of you know, I work full time, I have a busy little girl involved in a lot of activities, we've been renovating our home, and I'm a part-time MBA student.



I had been managing all of my commitments until I got closer to Christmas.  My workload suddenly exploded and I was in a course that was extremely time consuming.  I convinced myself I was fine and that this was temporary and this would pass.  But then I wound up in the Emergency room.  Completely run down.

I think many of us can struggle with trying to be "all things to all people".  And I have even found myself preaching to others that you need to learn to say "no", and that you can't please everyone.  And yet, here I was, at the hospital, having been my own worst enemy.

Upon my return to work a co-worker said to me "You need to start taking care of yourself.  Your daughter needs her mom.".  Of course, I thought, that's common…

Cash for Christmas Giveaway!

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Are you getting geared up for the shopping season? Do you need extra cash for Christmas?? Don't we all!?

We are so excited to be giving away $330 (US) in prizes for you to use starting the US Thanksgiving weekend.

 Here are the prizes (all in US funds):  1 - $100 Amazon Gift Card 1 - $75 Target Gift Card 2 - $50 Walmart Gift Card 1 - $25 Kohls Gift Card 3- $10 Starbucks Gift Card
There will be 8 winners in this giveaway. Each winner will receive a gift card code to use on the online store or in the actual store. Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.
Starting at the top row we have: Terri - Christmas Tree Lane, Melissa - The Farm Girl Gabs, Christine - Your Strong Tower, Audrey - That Recipe & Munofore, Dana - Goods Giving Back, Tammy - Creative K Kids, Trish - Creative Simplicity by Trish Sutton, Kim - Shopping Kim and Enter Online Sweeps, Ali - Home Crafts by Ali and Ali's Book Nook, Kelly - Typically Simple, Kim - The Resourcefu…

A Vacation in Los Angeles and Las Vegas

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My husband and I will have been married 10 years at the end of this month.  We decided to take our first extended vacation as a couple, since before our daughter was born.

As anyone who reads my blog knows, I am totally addicted to travel, and I love searching for a good travel deal.  That's how this vacation came to be.

I found a fantastic deal on a flight to Los Angeles from Chicago ($49 Canadian - taxes included!!), so we decided to add that piece to our already booked Vegas vacation.  We found a fabulous property on Airbnb.


I've written many posts about my love for vacation rental properties.  This particular place had a pool, barbecue, hot tub, TV, and more.  We also had more space than a typical hotel room, and paid less than the price of a hotel in the area.  ( Check out my vacation rental post for more tips: http://www.overtiredmama.com/2016/08/tips-for-booking-rental-property.html )


I'm Going Sugar-Free!

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Many of you who read this blog know how passionate I am about the Canadian Cancer Society.  As I witness more family and friends have their own experience with cancer, it just heightens my resolve to do what I can for this cause.

This month, the Canadian Cancer Society launched its "Sugar-Free September" campaign.  I had a quick read about the campaign, and decided to sign up.  Now, let me begin by saying, I am a true sugar addict.  I would eat and drink copious amounts of sugar every day.  It was even bad enough that I would hide some of my sugary treats from my family.  I knew this wasn't good for me, but I did it anyway.

Sugar-Free September has some basic rules - no items with added sugar, fruits and veggies are permitted.

Me and my favourite sugar-free smoothie!

Now, don't get me wrong, I won't say I'm "completely" sugar free.  I'm still eating pasta and bread, but in reduced amounts.

The first week of any change in your habits is typicall…

Why Do You Love Disney?

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I get asked this question regularly.  I didn't take my first trip to Disney until I was 31 years old.  I used to think I wouldn't enjoy it - children's characters everywhere, so many people, etc.  I had visions of our local yearly carnival, but on a bigger scale.



Boy was I wrong.

We have traveled to Disney for each of the last 4 years.   I put a lot of work in to saving and bargain hunting.  Some people may think that sounds like a nightmare, but I actually love travel bargain shopping.

From the first time I stepped in to a Disney Park, I knew I loved it.  Cheesy, right?  But it's true.

Why do I love Disney?  I love the excitement leading up to the trip.  I love seeing all of my favourite childhood characters.  I love seeing the look on my daughter's face when she meets the princesses.  If I can be cheesy again for a moment, I would describe it as a truly magical experience.

A few of my favourite things:

1 - Breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and Friends at Crystal Pa…

Tips for Booking a Rental Property

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Anyone who has followed by Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/overtiredmama/) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/Overtired_Katie) know that I've spoken a lot about sites like VRBO or AirBnB.  Sometimes when I rent properties I have people people ask me how I do it.  People are nervous about renting an awful property, and I had all those same fears, but here are some tips on how to score a great property.

The first property we ever rented in Orlando, Florida

1. Check out average hotel prices for the area first.   Although I have rarely come across a place where rental properties are more expensive than hotels, there are some exceptions.  Always best to do your research so you don't end up paying more than you have to.

2. Make sure you check out the rules in the area around rental properties.   There are some areas that have regulatory authorities that don't allow short term rentals.  It could be specific to a building, or it could be specific to a geographic area.  A simple googl…

My Favourite Travel Tips

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Can you tell I love travel?  It is seriously one of my favourite things in life.  I love to travel, and I love to plan travel.



I've mentioned before that I frequently search travel deals, even when I'm not planning a trip.  It's kind of like people who like finding a good bargain at a store, I like seeing how good a deal I can find, even if I can't take advantage of it.

I decided to post some of my favourite "go to" travel tips.  These are tips anyone can take advantage of, regardless of the destination.

1. Shop early (but not too early) and frequently for deals.  I typically start looking at airfare prices about 6 months out.  Traditionally I have found the best deals to be 8 to 10 weeks before your intended travel.  There are a few exceptions - if you are travelling during a holiday period or March break, it's pretty challenging to find a good deal.  You also get a better deal if you are flexible with your dates.  If you are looking for specific dates,…

A Day at the Park

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We are very fortunate, we live close to a couple parks, but that often means frequent requests to go to the park.  I'm not always able to accommodate these requests, other responsibilities get in the way, but an experience I had recently changed my perspective on these trips to the park.

Author's Note:  This is not a picture from this particular trip to the park.  Yes, I live in Canada, but it is not cold enough here to wear a hat and have snow on the ground... at least not in July.  

With my husband working, it was just my daughter and I all weekend, so I promised her we could do some fun things, just her and I, but at the same time, my usual weekend routine, and some work responsibilities needed my time as well.  I accommodated most of her requests, but I had been putting off her request to go to the park, until she drew a picture of her favourite things in her life, she drew her family, a picture of herself dancing, and playing at the park.  How could I say no after such a h…

Being Happy With Me

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Seven years ago, I was heading to a wedding.  it was one of my first few big outings after having my daughter.  I bought a new dress, I mustered up the energy, after a sleepless night, to do my hair and makeup.  I was feeling pretty good.  Here is a picture of me at that time:


When we arrived at the wedding, my first interaction with another guest was the following:
Woman - Hi there!  I remember you from the wedding shower!  How are you?
Me - Great thanks.  Nice to see you.  How are you?
Woman -  Good!   So when is your baby due?
Me - *pause*  (feeling my face get red) - I just had her 3 months ago. 
Woman - Really?  I didn't think you had the baby yet.
Me - Yep, she's a good baby. 
At that point someone witnessing the conversation cut in to change the subject.
I felt awful.  I started to question whether I was working hard enough to get my baby weight off.  Then I remembered, I had a baby.... 3 months ago.... and a rough birth at that.  So I decided not to be so hard on mysel…

My Travel Addiction

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So, I literally can picture my husband reading the title of this post, rolling his eyes and saying "well this isn't exactly earth shattering news is it".  My close friends and family can all tell you that I have a problem.  I am always looking in to our next vacation.


Most people have some kind of hobby, for many it may be things like scrapbooking, knitting, painting, running, or a any number of things, for me, it's vacation hunting.   I liken this to when people say they love bargain shopping, it's the thrill of finding a good deal.

I've totally bought in to the idea that gifts of memories are better than "things".  Now, when I say that, I'm not saying that in a judgmental "people are too materialistic" kind of way.  It's all about preference.  Just as some people may like to receive jewelry or a good book, or a new pair of sneakers.... I like anything to do with travel.  We've made a shift from buying each other gifts at Chr…

Why Do You Have A Blog?

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I see blogs as a conversation.  There are some topics I love to talk about, like travel, and I love finding people who have similar interests.  So it goes without saying, that I don't write about things that I'm not interested in or passionate about.

I've heard lots of people say "I could never have a blog".  If you don't like to write, that's true, a blog is probably not for you.  But if you like to have conversations with people you know, as well as strangers, I totally recommend it.

While I am far from a blogging expert, there are some tips I have learned and would like to share:

1.  Write about what you love.  Do you like crafting?  Write about that.  Love your family?  Write about the kinds of things you guys like to do.

2.  Be real.  There's nothing more disappointing than reading a blog that you can totally tell is not someone's true voice.  For me, if someone asked me to write a post about scrapbooking, I couldn't.  It's not th…

Reconnecting as a Couple

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This is one of my favourite wedding pictures.  We look so young, we look so happy.  This is what I remember of my wedding day.  Life has changed so much for us since we took this picture - new jobs, new house, we have a child... and these events have helped shape us as the couple we are today.

All of our commitments sometimes mean that my husband and I don't get much alone time.  And while we do get family time, which is very important, it's also important to make time for your marriage.  Time to reconnect.   And I'm not saying that you have to schedule in time each day to have intense conversations analyzing your marriage, but I do think it's important that, at least every once in a while, you have time, just the two of you.  This time can be to chat, to do an activity together, or even just sit in the same room together, without distraction from cell phones, and just be there... together.

Now I'm sure some of this can come off as super cheesy.  And others may vi…

Travel Review: Grand Memories Varadero

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My family and I had the fortunate opportunity of traveling to Varadero, Cuba in April 2016.  I won a trip courtesy of FamilyTravelCA and Sunwing Vacations.  Although we received our trip free, the opinions in this post are all mine, and some my family wanted to share as well.
We flew with Sunwing direct from Fredericton, New Brunswick, to Varadero, Cuba.  The ability to take a direct flight from a local airport was so convenient.  No airport transfers to deal with, and no long distance to drive to board our flight.
When we boarded our flight, my daughter received a Sunwing bag with some crayons, colouring page and an inflatable beach ball.  Each child on the flight received one.  My daughter was so excited to get hers, she put her stuffed animal right inside.

Our Sunwing flight featured sparkling wine, a new movie (Creed was the selection on our trip down), a meal, and beverages.  A great way to start our vacation!
Upon landing in Cuba, once we got through security, we exited the air…