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The Offline Weekend Challenge


What is The Offline Weekend Challenge?

For one weekend per month, challenge yourself to go screen free. Get OFFLINE and connect with your kids without constant distractions.  

I'm doing it.  You can too.

Sign up to join me for the challenge, and once a month, I'll send challenge inspiration and family activity ideas to your inbox. 

Why I'm Getting Offline

I've spent a lot of time over the past few years working on slowing down, simplifying, and getting organized as a mom.  

All of these small steps have helped me move toward a better mindset to spend the little moments with my kids. 

It's working, but I am also a classic overachiever.  There have been a lot of changes in the past few years - being pregnant with my second child, taking a break from my career job to be home with him, returning to my career job and then juggling a job that I love, a family that I love and a small business that I love.  

I started saying "no" to things that didn't fit in with my goals for family time and personal time.  I use the perspective you always have time for the things you put first to guide the decisions that I'm making about my time. 

But. 

There are a lot of days when there still just never feels like ENOUGH time. 

I feel like my mind is constantly agitated by all of the digital information coming at me.  
Don't get me wrong, I love a lot of that information, and it's important to my work, but I also need a BREAK. 

These are the precious years, right?  The ones everyone tells you to hold on to.  They will slip away so fast, they say. 

and a lot of days I don't feel like I'm really truly PRESENT with my kids.  Even with all of that simplifying that I've already done.  I want to be.  I want to be, so badly.  

So, something has to change.

I need it.  I think you need it too. 

OFFLINE WEEKENDS. 



Don't Think You Can Do It?

I'm not saying it's going to be easy.  About a year ago, after reading watching Christina Crook's Ted Talk "Letting Go of Technology", I started an offline weekend experiment.  

It was hard. My husband would literally take my phone and tablet and hide them somewhere.  They would disappear on Friday and reappear on Monday. It worked for a while, but slowly, slowly I find myself slipping back into old patterns.

Hard, but so worth it. 
Calmer.
More Peaceful.
Happier.
Connected. 

So, I've created this challenge to keep myself (and all of us) on track.  Every month I'll send an e-mail with some inspiration to plan and prepare for your #offlineweekend.

What Is An #OfflineWeekend?

An #offlineweekend is basically a weekend without screens

  • No TV (exceptions can be made for a special family movie night)
  • No computer
  • No tablets 
  • No video games
  • No mobile phones*
*unless your phone is a requirement for being on-call at work, or you expect some kind of family emergency and do not own a landline. Most of the time, a mobile phone is NOT a necessity. If a phone IS absolutely required, tuck it away and check it periodically.  Turn off app notifications and sounds. Be present.   

An #OfflineWeekend is a chance to spend more time face-to-face.  To connect with your kids. To enjoy family activities.  To get outdoors. To learn together.  

I think we can all use a little more of this in our worlds. 

Join Me Here




Take The Offline Weekend Challenge
Are you up to the challenge?
For one weekend per month, go screen-free and make more time to connect with your kids. Once a month, receive e-mail reminders with inspiration, motivation tips + easy activity ideas for ways to spend quality time with your kids.


You ALWAYS Have Time For The Things You Put First


For a year (or more), the phrase "You Always Have Time For The Things You Put First" has been guiding me in my career work, in my work here at Petit Mail, as a mom of young kids, and basically in everything I do.

It helps me to simplify, remember to prioritize what's important to me, and stay away from that whole "busy" mentality that so easily takes over.

I decided I wanted a daily reminder over my desk, so I created this fun little print.

If you'd like this to be your personal mantra (or just like it as a daily reminder of what's important), I'm sharing the PDF version as a free download.




Your Free Poster Is Waiting To Inspire You
Receive a free printable PDF version of this poster + occasional updates on motherhood, simplifying, and connecting with your kids.


Organized Mom: How To Slow Down and Simplify

Most of us moms live daily in a role that I like to call "The New Supermom". We have kids, we are working, we are running small businesses, running home-based businesses, running.the.world(s) around us. 

I started my journey to be an organized mom and simplify EVERYTHING in my life over two years ago, and I feel strongly about the positive impact it has had on my family life and overall wellbeing so far.  My world was filled with too much go-go-go, and not enough presence. 

How to be an organized mom


How I'm Becoming An Organized Mom

What exactly am I simplifying in my day-to-day?

(+) Removing clutter from our home
(+) Making a conscious effort to not over-schedule our lives
(+) Finding more free time to spend QUALITY time with my kids
(+) Finding space in my own head to feel calm, organized and happy. 

Here are 5 of my tips to feel more organized and calm as a mom, plus, a list of all my favorite resources that have helped me along my journey so far. 

1. Decluttering Can Change Your Life


You don't need to look very far to see the widespread trend of decluttering. I believe that decluttering our lives (both physical objects and mental clutter) is an ongoing process (I'm still working on it every day) but in general, it has made our home easier to clean, maintain and feel more peaceful on a daily basis. 

2. Simplifying is a Journey: Start Small and Keep Going


I haven't quite been able to get on board with the extremely popular Marie Kondo method of simplifying - with two small kids, the idea of putting everything in the centre of the room just doesn't work for me.  My personal preference has been to tackle and declutter small areas, and be consistent with the process.  

While patience isn't my strongest suit, patience is the key to success here.  I started the decluttering process in our home over two years ago, and I'm still going.  I recommend starting small with areas like these:
(+) Closets (one per day, or week, or whatever free time you have, you will know your timeframe once you complete one or two)
(+) Bathroom vanity/drawers
(+) One kitchen drawer/cupboard at a time
(+) Bookshelves (books are hard for me to let go of!)

For me, the more I declutter, the easier it gets (it's less overwhelming).  I have decluttered some areas of our home several times now, and each time, I simplify more. This is completely achievable for you too, just start small and keep going. 

3. Figure out a Calendar System that Works for You - then use it DAILY


I am obsessed with my calendar.  Personally, I use Google calendar because all of my e-mail (work and personal) is Gmail based and it's the easiest for me.  Find a calendar that you like, and stick with it.  

EVERYTHING goes in my calendar, appointments, special days at school, birthdays, birthday parties, reminders, AND chores.  (YES, you want to know my Mom secret to being organized? I schedule my chores. Yes. In my calendar.  Now you know!) If you look at my personal calendar, you will see task reminders like "clean bathrooms" and "change bedsheets".  I schedule them in once, on a permanently rotating basis, then I just (try) to follow my schedule. I'm not perfect, but it does a good job of keeping me on track.  

I spend 5 minutes with my calendar each night, adding in new items and reviewing things that are upcoming for the next day, week and month.  I honestly have no idea how I would function without this system. 

4.  Keep Lot's of Blank Spaces In Your Family Calendar


Blank spaces, or open time in your calendar, allow for special family outings, free play time, relaxing and just being together.  It is especially important to me, as an introverted mom, to have "down time" - racing my kids (and myself) around from activity to activity is an absolute nightmare for me and leaves me feeling extremely stressed at the end of the day. 

As our family grows and our kids get older and become involved in different activities, keeping blank spaces in the calendar is continually changing.  We experiment with our schedules throughout the year, as time and opportunity allows, making adjustments as necessary.  Right now, some of the ways that I keep us from over-scheduling our family time are:

(+) Always being conscious of the calendar and how many things are planned for any given day (having a super-organized calendar really helps here!)
(+) Not being afraid to say no to new activities or invitations, or to suggest another time.
(+) Keeping weekends as open as possible - right now, our daughter has 1 weeknight activity and 1 weekend activity. 
(+) Doing household errands like grocery shopping on weeknights. 

5. Get Inspired: 

Throughout my journey to simplify, I have discovered many inspiring resources, so I decided to compile a list of my personal favourites, including recommended books, specific blog posts, podcasts, videos and more.  Sign-up to receive the list of 15 of my recommended inspiring resources for moms who want to be more organized, slow down and simplify, with clickable links directly to the source.  



15 Resources For Moms Who Want to Slow Down and Simplify
Sign-up here to receive the list of 15 recommended inspiring resources for moms who want to be more organized, slow down and simplify.


20 Advent Calendar Activity Ideas

Advent Calendar Activities


It's almost time to bring out our advent calendar.  Our calendar has been a happy tradition for us (I love traditions, especially around the holidays) but it includes mostly activities and experiences each day, instead of chocolates or gifts.  I keep a box with the ornaments, activity cards, books and other items that we use year after year, so that everything is organized and ready to go.

Here are 20 Advent Calendar Activity Ideas from my home to yours!


1. Random Act of Kindness - Each family member receives a small amount of money to go out and perform a random act of kindness for someone else.

2. Shop for a gift for children less fortunate - Place an amount of money inside so that your child knows his or her budget. Wrap it up together and take your gift to a local drop-off site for holiday giving.

3. Make an ornament or decoration - Include all of the materials, supplies and instructions for a small craft project.  You can find ideas on my holiday Pinterest board.

4. Watch a special Christmas movie with treats - There are so many great Christmas movies.  The DVD could be included in the advent calendar (if there's room) along with a package of un-popped popcorn and some candies or chocolates (or healthier treats, if you prefer!) If you don't have room in the actual advent calendar, leave a little clue to find the items. 

5. Hot chocolate made especially for you - include marshmallows, or wrap up the hot chocolate in special packaging. Find inspiration on my holiday Pinterest board. 

6. Today we decorate the Christmas tree - every year, part of our advent calendar includes special ornaments that we use year after year.  You could also include a new ornament - something that you've made yourself

7. Animals deserve a special treat too.  Today we'll feed the ducks - include a small bag of birdseed!

8. Christmas colouring book - You can buy an inexpensive book, or you can make your own out of free printable colouring pages.

9. Let's make a snowman - This is a great invitation to play if you have snow outside - otherwise, you can improvise and make an indoor snowman.  Find inspiration on my holiday Pinterest board.

10. Your special Christmas pillowcase - Our kids each have their own special holiday pillowcase that we take out each year.  It's a lovely tradition, so we include it with the advent calendar activities. 

11. Make Christmas cards -I love homemade cards, and try to get the kids involved.  You can include some blank cards, colouring objects and embellishments for an invitation to create.

12. Decorate the windows in your room. - Include window decals (can be used year after year) or paper and scissors for making paper snowflakes.

13. Listen to fun Christmas music - Include an age-appropriate Christmas CD (can be used year after year).  My absolute all-time favouite (from my childhood) is Dolly and Kenny's "Once Upon A Christmas"

14. Make a gingerbread house. - If you have room, you could include a small bought gingerbread house kit, or you could make a graham cracker house.  Find inspiration on my holiday Pinterest board.

15. Have a picnic dinner in front of the tree - they might find some of the picnic supplies under the tree that morning - a blanket, maybe a picnic basket and some fun Christmas dishes perhaps?

16. Read Christmas stories together - at our house, we have a whole container of holiday books. Early in the month, we include a card that announces the arrival of the holiday book box.  It's always exciting to have new stories to read.  If you don't own holiday books, you could include a trip to the library to pick some.

17. Go for a drive to see the holiday lights - this is a tradition that we look forward to every year. You could also do a neighbourhood lights walk together as a family.

18.  Bake Christmas cookies, or make cinnamon salt dough ornaments - the Oliver Bakes Cookies story card, included with Petit Mail holiday gift sets, would be the perfect thing to include with this activity.

19.  Make an ornament time capsule - this is something that I started last year, and I love it!  Using a clear plastic ornament, we write the year on the outside with a gold sharpie, then I ask the kids some favourite memories from the year.  We write them on small red pieces of paper and slip them into the ornament.

20. Make Your Own Wrapping Paper - use a roll of white paper, or kraft paper.  Include paints, or stamps - a great invitation to play, or activity to do together as a family.


Holiday Gift Sets: Monthly Subscription for Kids



Back by popular demand, Petit Mail story postcard subscription Holiday Gift Sets are now available in the shop.

If you've been thinking about gifting a Petit Mail subscription, now is the perfect time to order.

Holiday Gift Set + Subscription Includes:

(+) A pre-packaged, double-sided Petit Mail story postcard - "Oliver Bakes Cookies" and envelope, ready for gifting or mailing.

(+) A gift subscription card and pre-ordered gift subscription for 3, 6 or 12 months (January start, or let us know that you'd like a different start month)

(+) Gift set postage costs included with your order for Canada and US addresses.

Petit Mail is a double-sided story postcard, mailed in a bright colorful envelope and addressed to your child each month, featuring the adventures of Oliver + Olivia.



How Petit Mail Works

With so much of our days filled with technology, it is a wonderful treat to receive real paper mail.
Give your child the gift of a monthly snail mail surprise.

Petit Mail provides something to look forward to receiving together and encourages quality time together as a family.

3, 6 or 12 month Canadian and US subscriptions cost $6 per month and all prices INCLUDE postage. International subscriptions are also available.

Story Card Themes (by month) Are:

January: Oliver Explores Art
February: Olivia's Pen Pal
March: Oliver Loves Reading

April: Olivia The Superhero
May: Oliver Goes Camping
June: Olivia Plants A Garden

July: Oliver Learns About Fossils
August: Olivia's Science Project
September: Oliver Recycles

October: Olivia Builds A Boat
November: Oliver's Puppet Show
December: Olivia Plays Dress Up

It's fun, affordable, and gives you a unique way to spend quality time with your kids. Let your story card inspire new ideas and new ways to play!