SWEET NOVEMBER

This year has gone by so fast and I can’t believe that we are already in NOVEMBER. You know.. every time I think about November my mind starts getting all those red/yellow leaf-vibes.

I have been in different countries around this time of the year and it is remarkable how beautiful each place is. So different but so similar at the same time.

We lived in Spain for two years and let me tell you, you ain’t gonna see any red leafs over there. Fall was like a chill summer night, you could enjoy the summer vibes to the fullest.

Once I served my mission in Canada, I experienced one of my favourite colourful and magical fall season of my whole life. I had never seen so many colours at once and if I did then I probably never noticed them. But the year I spent in Canada was magical. I loved wandering through the streets, greeting people, talking to them, doing some community service but most of all I loved taking pictures with different leafs. I even collected one and kept it in my diary ever since that day.

BADEN-BADEN, GERMANY

Oh sweet November, you are cold but you are also warm. Your colours put a smile on my face every time I go out. Your breeze brightens up my soul and the sound of your wind in between the trees refreshes my thoughts.

Now that I’m in Germany for this time of the year I have been trying to find different spots with different colours. And let me tell you: there were many places that made me feel like home. It makes me feel very comfortable to see trees in the woods, the peace I feel every time I go for a run is always going to be unique.

What more can I say? I guess y’all know that November is my favourite month of the year.

What is your favourite month of the year? (besides December and Christmas time of course)

xo, Carol

THE TRIOBIKE MONO CARGO BIKE EXPERIENCE

Thank you @allovelo for sponsoring this post.

I love living an active lifestyle. This is one of the most important attributes that I would like to pass down to my children. Living an active lifestyle is great for your health, physically but also mentally. One of the ways I like to teach my kids to be more active is by always choosing to walk or bike if possible. I try to do things in the vicinity to avoid having to drive. Before the kids, Brandon and I loved to bike around the city. I biked to get to work every day and during the winter, I would use public transportation. Since moving to Montreal I haven’t felt the need to own a car. I love that about living in my neighbourhood. Everything is so accessible!

Last Saturday it was a beautiful sunny day and we went to Old Montreal with the Triobike Mono. This beautiful and stylish family bike is made in Denmark and is for sale or to rent at Allo Velo. When I first saw it, I thought about how it was a great idea since it is so convenient! I could get places faster than with the stroller and there is so much storage space to bring whatever my heart desires. However, I was a little intimidated by the size and the added responsibility of having to ride with my children in it. A lot of questions came to my mind. The first one was, will I be able to balance it and is it hard to maneuver? I also thought about the kids. How safe is it for them? But I had to give it a try!

Very quickly all my worries went away and I fell in love when I sat and started to ride.

I should start with how safe I found it for my children. I was happy to see that the beautiful leather seats come with 5-point adjustable seat belts to keep them seated properly and safely. The wagon also has a retractile hood which will protect them from harsh weather conditions. Snow, rain or too much sun, this is perfect all year round! The design is tailored to fit the needs of families. All the materials used are easy to clean and the box even has a self drainage system! Eating snacks and drinking milk, no problem! Taking care of your wagon is so easy with very little maintenance.

Since I am a petite girl, I was a little concerned about the size and weight. I was wondering how easy it would be to keep stable and how easy it would be to maneuver. The Triobike Mono is actually one of the world’s lightest and safest cargo bikes! The biggest and best part of all is that the bike balances on its own. I was super surprised by how easy it was to use! With all the different gear settings, I had no problem going up steep hills. I really especially liked how easy it was to steer. The brakes are perfect. They are built using the same design and mechanism as a car. This feature is one of my favourites because it makes me feel much safer.

The Triobike is all about your freedom to choose and express who you are. It will take you where cars cannot go. Choosing more economical and sustainable modes of transportation is a great way to be an example in our children and to make a positive impact on the environment. Living this kind of lifestyle will teach our children that they can indeed make a difference. The Trio Bike Mono is such a great alternative.

 Triobike is used  by families all across Canada! What kind of footprint are you leaving on this world for our children?

STAY TUNED FOR MY NEXT POST ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF BIKING!!

CAMPING WITH DINOSAURS BIRTHDAY

Thank you @laylaimperatori @popandcinfetti @tipienfete @sweetbite.bakery for sponsoring this post.


As you know, I love hosting, organizing get-togethers and planning parties. I really enjoy being able to get creative and to search for the perfect items and have good that makes me feel content.


I can’t believe Vera is already 3 years old. I am so lucky to have been able to stay home with her for the past 3 years. I love watching her grow and change. In the past year, she has developed so much! She is so happy, always singing and running around. She is such a bright little girl and I am so thankful for her. This birthday was very exciting for Vera because she could really understand the concept. As her birthday approached, we talked many times about what theme she would like. She had so many ideas but the one that always came up was the dinosaurs. Vera loves dinosaurs so much. Every night we read dinosaur books and sing dinosaur songs. Finally, we decided this would be the perfect theme.


When I started to plan the party I found Claudia, the owner of @tipienfete. She organizes theme tipi parties. When I saw her safari theme, I had to incorporate it to my party. This summer we took the kids camping for the first time and they loved it so much. I decided to create camping with dinosaurs theme. She has the perfect military style tipis, wood-like cushions to sit on, a toy camping fire set, flowers and vines to decorate and a picnic table set up for all the kids to sit at. It was perfect to create a cute and girly camping atmosphere.

We also set up a table for the cake, food and tableware. The center of attention, of course, was the dinosaur cake Vera had been asking for. But the table would still be incomplete without the perfect decoration details to finish it off.

Angie the owner of @sweetbite.bakery was the creator of our cake. The cake was not only beautiful, but it was also so delicious. She made us a 3 tier cake, vanilla flavour with confetti inside. It was such a cute cake, she made the colours match the rest of the decorations perfectly. Luckily, we had enough to take home so we could eat after!

@popandconfeti is one of the first stores I started to follow when I moved to Montreal. They are owned by 2 mothers, Anna and Sophie. They have the nicest party supplies! It was always a dream of mine to be able to use their plates for my parties. They supplied us with our birthday supplies. Since we had the dinosaurs and army tipis, I wanted to add a touch of pink. We got all the decorations and tableware in pink. I love how they chose the confetti plates as a special touch to the pink. They can also do customized orders.

We had a party at the park and it rained on us 3 times. Everything was amazing. All the details came together to have the perfect camping with dinosaurs theme party. We were surrounded by our family and our best friends. We had so much love and happiness and Vera had a great time. This was such a special day for us to celebrate Vera. I wanted to make sure we could save it so when Vera is older she could see how much she means to us. Thank you @laylaimperatori for capturing this day and showing all of the beautiful feelings we shared at Vera’s party.


HOW TO CHOOSE A DAYCARE?

I can not believe this time has come! There are only a few more weeks before school starts. This September, Vera is starting daycare full time. Vera is turning 3 years old this August. We’re planning to send her to pre-kindergarten next year. So, it is time for her to start preparing.

As you know she has been attending the child stimulation and playgroup program. These classes were only part-time. This has been preparing her to take the next step to go to daycare. I want her to attend daycare for 1 year before she starts school. Going to daycare will help her to get used to her new schedule and being alone longer. At daycare, they will prepare her to start school. The program focuses on helping the children learn the motor and academic skills they need for kindergarten. Here she will also learn the social and emotional skills she needs.

Finding a daycare can be a little tricky and maybe emotional. Finding the perfect nursery might feel like a big task because there are so many things to explore and consider. This time can also be emotional because you have to trust someone else to take care of your child and you finally part ways. 

Choosing the appropriate daycare for my family was crucial. I had so many questions prepared for our interview. I also had things wanted to be observant of during our tour. Knowing all this information helped me to decide on the daycare we chose. Something that is really important to me is knowing other families who attend there. This helped me to know more about the environment and the teachers. It is important that it has a good reputation, qualified teachers and a secure environment.

These are the questions I asked:

1. What is the staff to child ratio? How many children are in a class? How many teachers are in a class? You want to make sure that they are in standard. It is even better if they have fewer children in the classrooms.

2. What type of curriculum system do you offer? You want to make sure that your kid is being taught what you believe in and what you think is important in the way you like.

3. What kind of qualifications do the teachers have? How long have the teachers been working there?

4. What does the schedule look like? You want to know what routine do they follow and the activities they do. How much outdoor and gym time do they get? Do they learn French? Do they have art and music time?

5. What kind of food do they serve? At what time do they have their meals? Do you need to pack snacks or lunch?

6. How does naptime work? Where do they sleep? At what time do they sleep? What do they need?

7. What do they need to bring or keep at daycare?

8. What are the policies regarding immunization? What are the rules for children and teachers who are sick?

9. How do I know my child’s progress? Are the parents involved? Is there a committee? I love being involved in my kid’s schools and to have a close relationship with the staff.

What about you, have you gone through this process yet? What were your main concerns? I would love to hear more about it and maybe add your questions to my list

LOVE

XXX

ELA

THREE REASONS OF WHY I LOVE NATURE SO MUCH

I love walking around for hours, wandering through the woods and smelling the fresh air that comes from the forest through the trees directly into my nose. It gives me such a great satisfaction.

I grew up in the Black Forest Area in Germany. There are thousands of trees but they are not enough for me. Each tree is so unique and each leaf is different to its own kind. There are three main reasons of why I’m so in love with nature.

BÜHL, GERMANY

Number one: Breathing fresh air gives me a kind of energy in my brain, so I’m able to reach even more of the things I planned to reach. Every time I go for a run through the woods I feel like I can go over my potential. I get more strength to run faster and if I start feeling tired I slow down start breathing more deeply and NO KIDDING, I gain all my strength back. Thats actually one of the things that I count them as a magical moment. I love reaching my destinations faster than planned.

ZOLLIKOFEN, SWITZERLAND

Number two: I will repeat it again, it releases my stress. There isn’t actually a lot to say about that. If I’m stressed I can’t concentrate on my daily goals. That’s why I need the nature, it helps me look more far than I can.

ON NETFLIX

Number three: I feel like being in OUTLANDER. Outlander is a drama television series based upon ONE of my favorite authors: Diana Gabaldon’s historical time travel book series. One of the main characters in the series is Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, she is a married woman and a World War ll nurse who gets transported through time from 1945 to 1743. There she meets the other main character Sam Heughan as James Fraser, an handsome Highland warrior. Anyways I could talk about it the whole day. In that series is just so much green, so many trees and wars in between but the romance of Claire and Jamie is UNIQUE! I can only recommend the series. YOU WILL LOVE IT. Even my husband loves the series. So to all that, I feel like being part of Outlander every time I walk into the forest or go for a run in the middle of nowhere.

What about you? Do you love nature as much as I do? And if yes, why?

xo, Carol

POOL SIDE LIFE

Today was our last day of school, and summer is finally full on in Montreal! I wanted to share some of my pool tips to stay safe and have more fun this summer.

One of my favorite things about living in a condo is having a pool. I love how convenient it is! We spend almost every sunny afternoon at our pool. We like to go after the kid’s nap. It is great because the time between nap and bed time is so difficult and tight. Usually the kids wake up in a bad mood which makes it hard to plan anything. Time wise, we have to do dinner, bath time and clean up so we don’t have a lot of time to get ready and go out. With a 1 year old and 2 years old, post nap time everything takes forever and it is a struggle to get out the door. It is so easy to be able to just wake up from our nap and take the elevator to be somewhere fun.

Staying safe in the pool is super important so we can have fun. When I had Hunter last year, I started to think. How will I manage at the pool on my own with two children? They both are so little and they don’t know how to swim. I was really afraid of one of them falling into he pool. My nightmare was that one of the would fall and the other one would follow. Okay, I know it sounds like a movie. But really, with my kids… you never know what they are planning!

My number one rule is that we can not leave the house unless they both have their floaties on. I like to make sure that they are on because this way if they want to jump right in the pool as soon as we arrive it is okay and it will be safe. This is something that has actually happen with Vera. She is so comfortable in the water and she is definitely not afraid. This also helps me not to have to fight by the pool because they don’t want to wear their floaties. Also, we have the rule that once floaties come off we will go home. This really helps us to keep them on since they never want to leave!

We started Vera in swimming classes so she could have more freedom and independence. This has helped me and her so much. She has so much fun and doesn’t need me to hold her. She does her own thing now and I can just watch and hold Hunter. I can not imagine having to hold both of them! Ha, I just don’t think I would go to the pool.

As you know change is usually very hard for everyone, specially for children. Not every kids is as simple as you tell them things once and they magically listen and do it. Obviously leaving the pool to go get ready for bed is less than ideal for any kid. Who wants to stop their fun to go to sleep?! To help to make this transitions easier for my kids I started to set up an alarm. When the alarm goes off it means it is time to go. This helps children to get emotionally ready to go and minimize … tantrums! We actually implement this method for a lot of our daily activities. It is something that has helped me to have an easier day.

I decided to establish these ground rules for the kids. They have really helped us this summer. We have less fights and more fun. Most importantly these are our pool safety rules! The best way to make sure it is easier for the kids to follow these rules is by staying consistent. This way, the rules becomes a habit! They will know what to be expected and it will just be part of our routine.

How do you stay safe by the pool? Make sure to tell me your tips in the comments bellow.

LOVE

XXX

ELA

A DAY IN A LIFE OF A CROUPIER

Not all of you know, but I am a croupier. I work at the casino in Baden-Baden, Germany. This casino isn’t comparable to all the other casinos. This one is very old, has a lot of history and is very fancy. Its based in downtown Baden-Baden and almost every rich person goes there to visit. I have met singers, the german soccer national-trainer, Joachim Löw, and even one of my childhood favorite actors, Jimi Blue Ochsenknecht. I know they are all german people but they are all high society people!

As a croupier you learn how to deal with people, nice people, annoying people.. all kind of characters. I started with american roulette. After six month I also started working in Black Jack. Two games. More fun now. Even though its the same casino, those two games are just so different. The atmosphere is different in each game. But that’s not all… after being one year at the casino I also started working in french roulette. Its my favorite out of all. You get to sit down, and work as a team. You laugh, talk, play and repeat. I get to use my gift of languages. German, Spanish, English and Italian. Yup… you get to speak all those languages in one week. It becomes a routine, it’s not even hard, in fact, I love speaking different languages, I feel so blessed and proud of my gift of tongues.

This job sounds all so much fun but if I’m being honest with you, it became one of my biggest challenges this year. The schedule is different than normal working hours. We work at night time. Our shift starts at 7:30 PM and ends at 2 AM. So, basically you get the whole day to relax and do whatever you want, which is not that bad but the one thing I do find bad, are the weekends. We don’t get the weekends off. Its hard sometimes. Sometimes I just want to be able to have a date night with my husband on a Saturday night and then go to church the very next day but unfortunately that won’t be possible anymore for this year. We have decided to keep working this year, so that way we can save up some money. My husband and I have almost the same schedule. We see each other every day at work, I am grateful for that, because I couldn’t be satisfied if we wouldn’t see each other every day!

We get 51 days of vacations for the whole year. No too bad, eh? We get to travel when ever we have our days off, since Europe isn’t that complicated to travel. We get to travel throughout the year thanks to all of our vacation days. We get paid every vacation and every sick day (which by the way its totally normal in Germany).

If I look at all the benefits we have of being a croupier then I shouldn’t be complaining about our lives. But here is the thing: I do. I miss my Sundays off. I miss my nights off. I miss my normal sleeping schedule.

But what can I do to stop complaining? If I ponder that question, I will stop complaining because we have a job that allows us to save up for our future house, it helps us to save up for our university and allows us to travel to every destination we desire. I always try to focus on the positive side. I am grateful for our job that allows me and my husband to have food on our table every day. Who knows what the future might bring, but for now I know that I AM A CROUPIER!

Alejandro and me working on New Year’s Eve