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Friday, May 30, 2014

Amazing Mom: Marnie Huard, Cheeky Chops

Every parent knows the feeling of being sleep deprived or the frustrations of trying to get your child to learn new skills and get into good habits (ie potty training & healthy eating habits). It can be challenging and exhausting. It's hard to get anything done when all you want to do is sleep, and hard to have patience when you're tired and/ or frustrated. Today's Amazing Mom helps families establish good  habits so everyone- including Mom & Dad- can feel well rested and ready to face the day and whatever adventures lie ahead. Meet Marnie Huard from Cheeky Chops...
Get to know Marnie in 3 Questions: 
What kind of services do you offer?
I’m a Sleep & Parenting Consultant; I offer telephone and in-home sleep consultations, talk times, nutrition services (soon to be launched with an amazing holistic nutritionist) and potty training.

What is the price point?
Telephone Sleep Package: $350

In-Home Sleep Package: $450
(both include consultation, personalized plan, unlimited 3 weeks follow up)

Talk Time- vary according to time needed: from $40-$100

Potty Training: In Home $350 / Phone $250

Nutrition: In Home $380 / Phone $280

How long have you been operating and how did you start?
Cheekychops started in 2006; I started in September 2013. I actually used Cheekychops with my son and was amazed by the level of professionalism and the success I had with my son.

... Get to know Marnie a little better...
How did you decide what to do?
After using Cheekychops and re-gaining my sanity, I decided that I wanted to help other moms and dads to feel like themselves again.  Sleep is also so important for babies that it’s a great feeling to hear my clients say that their whole family is much happier and rested since they have used my services.

What is your favourite part of what you do? What is the biggest challenge?
My favorite part is the excitement and pride I hear in my client’s voice when their child starts sleeping better!

The biggest challenge for me is to balance my time with my son, husband, and my business. My husband is self-employed so he works long hours and we sometimes have to be creative to spend time as a family.

Any advice to other ladies/ moms looking to start their own business?
Make sure you have a realistic idea of the time you are able to put into your business versus the time you will actually end up putting in it. Everything takes so much more time than we plan for!

About Marnie: Originally from Newport, Quebec, Marnie moved to BC five years ago. She now lives in Langley with her husband, their very active son, and their dog. She has taken several psychology courses including child and developmental psychology and having experienced the negative effects lack of sleep has on a family and a relationship, Marnie understands all the challenges that come with it. Choosing Cheekychops Consulting to help her son sleep better was one of the best decisions she ever made for herself and her family. She serves the Langley, Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Chilliwack, and Hope areas.

If you need help getting your little one to sleep better, eat healthier, or just need some advice from a Mom who's been there, done that get in touch with Marnie:

Email: marnie.huard@cheekychops.ca 
Make sure to check out the Cheeky Chops website & Facebook Page for more info!

Marnie has offered a 10% discount on her services to TPB readers! To redeem, contact Marnie & mention this post to receive your discount!

May posts sponsored by Noah's Ark Hypnotherapy

Image Sources: SContent, Overstock.com
Logo Courtesy of Marnie Huard, Cheeky Chops

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Frugal Traveler's Guide to Travel on a Budget

With everyone counting down the days to the Summer Holidays, it's time to start thinking about how to make the most of this time of year. For many families travelling is a favourite activity, but it can add up fast. So I spoke to one of my favourite (and most well- travelled!) gal pals about how she and her husband travel on a budget. A big thanks to Christina Neufeld for contributing this post!

A Frugal Traveller's Guide
By Christina Neufeld
If you’re anything like me you’re either on vacation or dreaming of your next getaway.  Many of us share the desire to travel more often but think we can’t afford it. This is exactly what I thought until I realized that the best way to travel more is to travel cheaper. Cheaper doesn’t have to mean that you sacrifice on the experience though! Here are my top tips to help you plan your next trip on a budget:

Book in Advance
It’s been said many times, but the earlier you book the more chance you have of saving money. Many companies offer early bird discounts and when there are different price points it’s usually the cheapest tickets that go first. It’s true that there can be great last minute discounts if you are flexible on your travel dates and destination, but if you have specific dates and a location in mind it’s best to book as early as you can.

Explore Alternative Types of Accommodation
One of our favourite Air BnBs in Untermammergau, Germany
In general, the more flexible you are, the more potential for saving money on your trip. This is especially true for accommodations as there are a variety of budget options available. Here are my suggestions for alternative accommodations.

Our favourite hostel in Feidkirch, Austria

   Air BnB - This is my personal favorite because you can find an apartment/house rental to fit any budget, even for one night. I have stayed in some beautiful apartments for a steal! This is also a great option for families because you can rent a unit with lots of space and a full kitchen. Always be sure to read the reviews before you book.

      Hostels  - In some countries these are mainly for young backpackers but in other places elderly travelers and families are quite common.

   Staying just outside of the normal Tourist/ Downtown Area – You can use public transit to get downtown and save a bundle.

   Guesthouse/ Inn  - In Europe these are common and include more basic accommodations at a discount.

Our beautiful hostel in Feldkirch, Austria

Hotwire/ Priceline  - Name your price and submit your bid.

Look for Inexpensive and Free Activities
Park Guell is a beautiful- and free!- place to visit in
Barcelona, Spain
The main draw for many destinations is the attractions it has to offer and these often come at a high price. Of course you don’t want to miss out on major attractions but you can factor in some savings as well with these options:

   Pay What You Want Tours - Most large cities offer these tours which are usually very well done and give you the flexibility to pay what you think it’s worth.

   Free Museum Days/ Discount Days - Sometimes these discounts apply only to residents of the area, so read carefully.

  Groupon/ Living Social/ Other Daily Deals - It can pay off to sign up a few weeks before and watch the deals, but be sure to read the fine print to make sure you will be able to use it on your trip.

  Parks and Natural Attractions - Often free or very affordable.

Eat Cheaper
Paella is delicious & common in Spain
Some destinations are more expensive than others, but no matter where you go eating out for 3 meals a day can add up quick! My husband and I are both foodies and love eating delicious meals when we travel. You too can enjoy fresh and tasty meals at a budget price using these tips:

           Street Markets – These are great for finding freshly prepared foods which you can then take away to a nearby park for a picnic. Picnics are my favorite way of saving money when travelling. Not only are they affordable but you can sprawl out on the grass to rest your tired feet and people watch. If you don’t have a market nearby try the grocery store for your picnic supplies.

Delicious Paella is common in Spain

Street Food/ Vendors - Most cities/ countries have their own type of cheap street food which is readily                      available and particular to that region and usually very delicious.

Specials – In some places such as Spain you can take advantage of multi- course meals for a low price. These specials are usually posted on a chalkboard or you can ask your server. If you can eat a large lunch in the mid-afternoon you may not need to spend as much on dinner.

Eat Where the Locals Do – Don’t be afraid to step away from restaurant chains and try some of the
local cuisine. It’s usually much more affordable and tastier than the tourist filled chains. Just be careful
that you choose clean and reputable establishments as standards vary by country.

Cook Your Own – Having a kitchen available to use can be a great way to save money.

Overall the best way to save money is to plan out your budget before you travel, make sure it’s reasonable, and then stick to it. Once you know how much you have to spend you can splurge on what matters to you and cut back in other areas that are less important. Plan in advance so that once you’re on vacation you can enjoy it without having to worry about the cost.


Christina Neufeld is a lover of all things travel. She was bitten by the travel bug at a young age and has made it her goal to see as much of the world as possible. So far she has visited 22 countries and lived in 3. She currently lives in BC with her husband Chad. You can follow along with her adventures at www.travelwhereyouare.com where she shares travel tips and advice. Christina also loves travel planning and can help you plan your next trip at www.merakiitineraries.com

Title Image Source: Here And There
Photos courtesy of Christina Neufeld

May posts sponsored by Noah's Ark Hypnotherapy

Monday, May 26, 2014

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Mexican Undone Omelettes

I LOVE breakfast! Working in the family restaurant in my teens & early 20s made me an addict of all things brekkie. Keeping busy with Ari means that my menu choices have changed- both for health reasons and to save time- but that doesn't mean they don't still taste great & satisfy.

I made this for brunch recently for some of my family and it was a hit! Easy, healthy, gluten free- and paleo friendly if you skip the cheese. You'll look at omelettes differently from now on.

Yummy Mummy Recipe: Mexican Undone Omelettes
Serves 4

3 Zucchini, washed & sliced lengthwise 1/8" thick
2 Tomatoes, diced
1 Red onion, sliced into thin rings
1 Green pepper, sliced into thin strips
8 eggs (2 per person)
2 Avocados, diced
Cilantro, chopped for garnish
Cheese, grated (pick your favourite & grate as much as desired)
Optional toppings:
Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

1. Heat some olive oil in a pan; when hot, place zucchini on hot surface & cook until it starts to turn golden; flip & repeat. Cook all the zucchini this way and place 4- 5 strips in a row on a plate for each person
2. Toss tomatoes, red onion, and green pepper in pan and cook until soft; remove and distribute evenly on top of the zucchini on the plates
3. Crack eggs in pan & cook in your favourite style (I went with sunny side up); pile eggs on top of veggies
4. If using, garnish with cheese and cilantro & serve with your choice of toppings- I love mine with salsa and Greek yogurt

What's your favourite healthy twist on a breakfast classic???

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pamper Yourself: Indulge in a Mobile Spa Day!

This year for Mother's Day I thought I'd treat my Mum to some well deserved TLC.  I had met Dana from Ultimate Mobile Spa at the Mommies N Munchkins Fair and was really excited to try out her mobile spa service. So we gathered a few of our friends and indulged in a day of pampering by two lovely ladies all in the comforts of my parents home. The spa ladies Dana and Antonella came organized & prepared and were set up in no time.

Among the ladies, we collectively enjoyed massages, facials, and pedicures (I enjoyed a 30 minute Relaxation Massage ($45)  and loved it), each of us coming away feeling a little more relaxed and indulged. Since it was my gift to her, my Mum went first (she also chose the 30 minute Relaxation Massage). While we waited our turns for the treatments we had selected we nibbled on edible goodies  and tea & coffee I had brought along.

Two of the ladies had the Mini Facial ($40), which consists of cleansing, toning, exfoliation, a face & shoulder massage, and a mask application. When I snuck in to take some photos, they both looked thoroughly relaxed. Wrapped in warm terry robes and enjoying their treatments, I was glad they had the chance to unwind and enjoy some time for themselves.

Another of my friends had the Ultimate Pedicure with French polish ($48 combined). This consisted of a massaging foot bath with Gehwol rosemary bath salt, followed by nail shaping & grooming of the skin on the soles of the feet and cuticles, a half leg and foot massage, and the polish application to finish.  Dana did a great job, taking her time and it was cute to watch my friend giggle when it came time for the foot massage, since her feet were ticklish. She wanted a neutral & classic polish to compliment a dress she had chosen for a special occasion, and the French polish expertly applied by Dana definitely did the trick.

There are a variety of services available ranging from massages, facials, and manicures & pedicures. To view the complete selection of services offered by Ultimate Mobile Spa, click here. They also offer packages for birthday parties (how cute is that?!) and other special events such as weddings and grads. If you love the spa but have been looking for services that come to you, make sure you look up Ultimate Mobile Spa. You can also find them on Facebook.

Click here to contact them directly. 

A big thank you to Dana and Ultimate Mobile Spa for spoiling a deserving group of ladies.

May posts sponsored by Noah's Ark Hypnotherapy