Masthead header

In the Air

Spring has miraculously come early in the Okanagan. Whereas February usually involves us trapped under a thick blanket of valley cloud that leaves my spirits drooping and sad, the sun has been shining and everything is awesome. We have been getting out for more walks, the kids are playing outside, and each breath of crisp spring air I take leaves me feeling revitalized and ready for more.

photo 3-17photo 2-25photo 1-24

With the glorious spring weather, my thoughts reluctantly also turn to spring cleaning. As the sun streams through my windows I see new dust bunnies, my fridge has expired salad dressings from 2004, the winter clothing should be sorted, and the whole house needs a good tending to.

BUT. Life is busy. Work is demanding, kids are being driven every which way to activities and play dates, and the good intentions of spring cleaning often fall by the wayside and I am left feeling defeated and overwhelmed.

I have found that tackling one little job and giving myself a high five about that is a better approach than unrealistically thinking I can get everything accomplished in a single afternoon. Another thing I have tried is lighting a Lampe Berger which helps to purify the air and adds a nice, gentle scent to the home which destroys odors from our dogs and the three smelly kids who also live here. So, on days when I don’t have time to tidy and organize, lighting the Lampe Berger makes me still feel like the home is a little cleaner and nicer.



I had always seen ads for Lampe Berger and wondered what it was and how it worked, so was happy to try it out when they contacted me. They are also offering a lovely Lampe Berger starter kit for one lucky reader. Just leave a comment and I will randomly choose the winner on March 2, 2015.



Kristin - Me please! We need to smell better ;)

Arielle - This would be great for us😊

Sonia - Cool! Thanks for the opportunity to win this!

I always look forward to reading your new posts so it’s a nice added bonus! :)

Amber - Pick me! Ps love the pics. :-)

Becki Breece - Well if you’re willing to ship down south, my 900 Square feet of smelly hovel could sure use one of these

Tarra - Oh yes please, with my little mess makers I could definitely use something ;)

Karmyn - Hey Amanda,
Hope I’m not too late to “enter”! Love seeing your family growing!

Christine - We are smelly over here in Alberta too. But we are blizzarding and not enjoying the sunny beach. Hence the smelliness of being stuck indoors!

Chelsi - This would be lovely!

Ruth - I’d love it. I’ve been curious about the car models too.

Ani - I would love to try that. I’ve never heard of it!!

rachel joy - I wonder if I’m too late. Would love to try it out!

Heleen van der Vyver - Pick me! Pick me!💐

alexa - I’ve never heard of that before, but if it could relive the odors of the kids, dog and husband I’d love to try it out!

Carla - If I’m not too late….I’d love one!

Everything Old Is New Again

I don’t want to jinx it, but I have really just been enjoying my kids lately.

Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (68)

That sounds bad, and implies that I don’t usually enjoy them, which isn’t true. But for the last eight years, the moments of enjoyment have often been outweighed by sisterly fighting, tantrums, and general grumpiness. I often felt knocked down by the collective force of all three girls and their huge, swirling personalities that took on a life of their own and curb-stomped my face.

Anyhoo. It’s been better, these days. They are actually playing. TOGETHER. And not clawing each other’s eyes out. And they are laughing. TOGETHER. And not punching each other in the neck.

It’s the little things.

As we enter this (hopefully long-lived) new phase, I have also really been enjoying introducing the girls to things that I loved as a child. We spent the Christmas holiday watching all sorts of old-school shows that I used to adore and got to relive my love for with the kids.

Here is my list of “Old Awesome Stuff That My Kids Like As Much As I Did When I Was Little”

1. A Christmas Story


This was our go-to holiday classic when my brother and I were kids. I wasn’t sure if our girls would like it, since it’s set kind of in the olden days but they basically peed their pants laughing. I was so proud.

2. Family Matters


Remember TGIF? When all the greatest shows were on back-to-back every Friday night and you’d pop some popcorn and hunker down for an evening of amazing television viewing? SO GOOD. My kids cracked up so hard at every Steve Urkel did and it was so fun to re-watch these episodes.

3. Full House


This is on Netflix now (praise be) and the girls just eat it up. They love that it centers on three sisters and they see themselves in the characters. So fun!

In more recent development, we found this gem on Netflix and I was the one who peed laughing. It is hilarious! Really!


So, basically, we watched a lot of TV in December, OK? But we watched it TOGETHER.


Meet Me At the Manger

This fall the kids and I had the opportunity to be in a Christmas musical that our church was putting on. The kids were in the choir and practiced weekly for months on end, and I had one of the acting roles. This weekend we put it all together and performed. It was SO much fun and so cool to be on stage with my girls.

photo 1-22

photo 2-23

I love drama and theatre and music so much and to be able to share it with the kids and experience it together was pretty special.


Angella - You ROCKED it. I should email you the video of your JOY performance so that you can embed it. :)

I Thought I’d Be Better At This

Last week I got to meet my newest niece, a two week-old bundle of sweetness and perfection. I held her and marveled at the miracle of new life.

I felt no pangs for another child of my own, but a twinge of sadness trickled through my veins as I mourned the loss of those sacred new beginnings. Even more though, I mourned the past moments I was too tired to enjoy, too overwhelmed to savor, and too wearied to embrace when our own girls were babies.

I wish I hadn’t found new motherhood so HARD, is what it comes down to.

Everyone said it would go by so fast and I didn’t believe them since the babies just kept on coming and we lived in an endless repeat of sleepless nights, soggy diapers, tantruming toddlers, and frozen pizzas for dinner four nights a week.

I look back at photos and am like, “That’s weird, I’m in the photo but don’t even remember having been there.” I was in such a fog, my eyes too bleary to really take it all in and feel any true joy, despite being surrounded by blessings. I am so thankful I didn’t endure postpartum depression, but the six straight years of sleep deprivation, plus the relentless challenges of parenting strong-willed kids, did leave me somewhat lost and blundering.

I love our girls beyond measure; it is a love that lives deep in my bones and my heart and my soul. But I thought I’d be better at staying home with them when they were little, that we would have had more fun; instead I was in survival mode. We made it through, but just by the skin of our teeth. So when I see new mommas who are able to savor and relish those early days, I am envious. I wish I could have been them.

I suppose we all do the best we can, right? And I do have today, to savor with them. To marvel at who they are becoming: all so beautiful and strong and wild and complex.

Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (42)

Babies don’t keep, do they?

Grumble Girl - Dude, I hear you… and I reckon it’s pretty much the same for everyone. We can’t do it all, and be IN it, or OF it all… not all the time anyway. Not even half the time. (Maybe hardly any of the time.) But it’s pretty great once the fog clears, huh? (Most of the time…) xox

Angella - You’re an amazing Mom, Manda Paige. Also, my kids could NOT stop talking about how funny you were at the musical practice last night. :)

Quit It

Steve quit his job last week.

Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (13)

A job he loved, was amazing at, and had so many great things about it. But it was also a job that was stressful, time-consuming and hard to manage with his already full load of responsibilities as a farmer, father, property manager, husband.

Anyone who knows us in real life has watched the struggle the past 12 years have been: project after endless project, three kids in four years, renovations up the wazoo, my jumping head-first into an unexpected career opportunity, the list goes on. It has been beautiful and challenging and hard and wonderful but for the past couple years we have been feeling the pull for more. Or, rather, less. Less stress, less laps around the hamster wheel of life, less busyness, less distance between me and Steve as two ships passing in the night as we struggled to keep our separate spheres from spinning out of orbit.

This has not been a rash decision, by any means. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still a little scary.

It’s good though. We knew there was no option to keep doing what we were doing, so here we go, jumping together into this new stage.

Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (24)

Here we go!


Steve + Amanda Family 2014 (41)

Angella - Hooray, Browns! I can’t wait to see where this change leads you. Love you guys!

Susie - Change can be scary but good for you for leaping out in faith! Praying for the Lords abundant blessings as you search for balance. 😃

Jen - Excited for you guys!!

Danica - Good choice, exciting times, beautiful family. <3

jenny peters - You are a courageous and wonderful couple! So impressed with this decision and excited for your Family and your Future!! Love and Hugs!

Kristin - You are so brave to make this choice especially in our culture that says more and faster is better! Love to you!

Sarah - Stoked that your family is making a healthy-for-the-heart & soul decision. Will eventually follow in your footsteps. <3