I am no longer the Hot Mess Mom. Call me the Busy, Life Hack Mom—here’s why

This post was created in partnership with Loblaws.

Balance. Is it a tangible goal as a busy mom?
As I watch our four kids getting older, time is disappearing. For a long time I would be able to run errands on the fly, let daily routines slide and to-do lists did not dictate my life, without any real consequence.

But as our twins have moved out of the baby phase, my work is becoming busier and our older kids’ social and recreational lives are constantly peppering our calendar, I am having to find some real solutions to this feeling that I am falling into a black hole of time each day.

About a month ago, I was sitting in our backyard, coming up for air after a head-spinning busy and frustrating week. It was one of those weeks where I felt like my wheels kept spinning, messes kept piling, meals weren’t getting made, and to-do lists were left un-checked.

As I sat there, on a Friday afternoon, watching our kids run around, playing in the afternoon sun, letting out gleeful screams, while getting delightfully dirty, that thought that tends to consume a mom-of-four, crept into my head: we need groceries.

toddler in backyard

But wait—hadn’t I already grocery shopped three times that week? As I reflected on our previous week, I realized that I was quickly popping into the grocery store (without a list in hand), almost daily, between meetings and deadlines, while our kids were in childcare, grabbing a few random items each time.

Then it hit me: grocery shopping was my wormhole of time.

Despite my best, previous efforts, trying to be that ultra-organized, meal planning, weekend grocery shopping mama, with her kids happily in tow, I knew that I was not that mom. I have since made peace with myself, that I may not be that mom. But I had slid so far the other way that I was stepping into chaotic, hot-mess mom territory.

Was there such a thing as finding a sweet spot in between? Maybe a hot-organized mom?

Haha, okay maybe not that title. But possibly the busy, life hack mom? Yes! That sounds like me. I regularly use parenting life hacks for laundry, catch-all counter mess and craft cupboard organization. Why couldn’t I find a life hack for grocery shopping?

I had heard about pre-ordering and car-pick up grocery shopping from a few mommy friends of mine and decided it was time to give it a whirl.

So right there, in the comfort of our backyard, I grocery shopped. As my kids jumped in the sprinkler, and ate popsicles, I mastered the Loblaws Click & Collect online grocery service and got the job done.

As I worked through the online departments, and searched for specific grocery items that our family loves, I realized that I was able to recall every food and home item we would need for the next week.

As I grocery shopped from my phone, I realized that I was able to save my work as a list. I named it Big Grocery Shop, and to this day I use it again and again as a baseline. I also added notes like, how green I want my bananas, so that I could get exactly what I wanted.

As I was finishing up, my husband Mike arrived home from work. He gave me a knowing look, we needed groceries and he wanted to know who was going and which kids they were taking. When I told him I was grocery shopping, right there in our backyard, his jaw dropped and he quickly embraced our new life hack.

The next day, (which is when we chose to schedule our pickup, it can be as far out as two weeks, or four hours from when my order is placed), I packed up our car with all of our kids and headed to Loblaws for our online grocery pick up.


I simply called the number on the sign and poof, a Loblaws employee showed up at our car with our groceries.

I paid using their portable debit machine right next to my car as the Loblaws employee loaded my groceries into my trunk for me. The service was impeccable and so speedy. The convenience and speed of the Click and Collect service has helped be establish and grocery shopping routine our family has so desperately needed.

Before I knew it I was on my way home, stress-free and ready for the week ahead.

So, in my opinion, some form of balance is tangible as a busy mom. But I have learned that “balance” is different for every mom, and it is okay to use shortcuts and life hacks to get there.

Get $10 off of your first order of $50 or more between Aug. 10 to Sept. 20! Just enter this code: JOANNA10 at checkout. This can be used on top of other offers in market too.

Also, Click & Collect customers can share referral codes with family and friends. Advocates get $10 towards their next purchase while family and friends get $10 off their first order. There is no limit for how much money you can earn. Track your referrals on desktop or mobile site by clicking “My Account” and click on “Refer a Friend”. Please note at this time referrals are unavailable via the app.

For more, have a peek at Today’s Parent and other moms who are loving Click and Collect here.

Disclosure: This content was created in partnership with Loblaws and Today’s Parent. While compensation was provided, all opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily indicative of the opinions of Loblaws or Today’s Parent.

Grocery shopping for our family of six: fresh, tasty and budget friendly

This blog post was created in partnership with FreshCo.

It took me a long time to find my groove when it comes to grocery shopping and preparing meals for six people. It’s not an easy task. But when you add on trying to prepare fresh healthy meals for your family, and not breaking the bank, the entire process can feel overwhelming.

For a few years there, my husband and I were just in survival mode. We had four young kids and would reach for what was convenient over what was healthy and probably more cost effective. But as the dust settled, and we had a closer look at our bank accounts, we knew something had to change.

One of the biggest changes our family had made over the last few months is ordering in less and actually meal planning and getting what we need at the grocery store. I may not be so far out of the trenches that I am cooking gourmet meals for our family, but I have mastered a few healthy, family-friendly meals that I can make in bulk and then reuse the leftovers in other meals.

What is my number one go-to meal? A roast, including roasted vegetables, which I cannot get enough of, especially during the winter. Now with Christmas over, it is time to reel in the spending and be very strategic when it comes to feeding my family.

Here is how I typically approach my meal planning and grocery shopping for our family of six…

For us, I have found what works best is for me to only plan for three days at a time. This is less daunting, and then if something derails us, like illness, I won’t be wasting a week’s worth of food. I am starting to base more and more of our meals around what is on sale at the moment, using our local grocery store’s mobile flyer to help build my list. I find that FreshCo not only has great deals, but will even price match.

making grocery list

I don’t mind popping out to the grocery store a few times a week either, I think that’s because I can wrap my head around a small grocery shop rather than a massive shop, which can take up hours of my day to shop and then put away the groceries.

grocery shopping with four kids

These mini grocery shops can also make it more manageable when I have all four kids in tow.

Grocery shopping at FreshCo

I have my staples that I stick to, and always buy our produce first. I will typically plan out two fresh meals and grab an easier back-up meal like frozen lasagna, just in case, well… life happens.

Roasts are one of the easiest meals to prepare in my opinion. It is a meal in one, but the best part is, it’s easy to make a large quantity without extra hassle. This is a must when you have four kids. I always go to the recipe my mother passed down to me and I will share with you.

cooking a roast

Start by pre-heating your oven. You will have to check the weight of your roast and determine how long to cook it for. Often a quick Google search can answer this question for you. Take your roast, (either pork or beef), and lay it in a roasting pan, fat side up. Although I have a nice roasting pan, I have been using disposable tin pans for easier cleanup lately.

Cut up your vegetables and place them around your roast. I highly recommend carrots, potatoes, onions and my personal favourite… parsnips.

cooking a roast

Here’s where the magic comes in… you quickly season your roast and vegetables with pepper and salt, toss on a few dabs of butter and then squirt your favourite steak sauce all over it. Yes, you heard me right; the secret is the steak sauce. I love using HP sauce on my roasts. It has a great kick which really compliments the flavour of the vegetables. Yum!

uncooked roast

Then cover and cook for the recommended time.
Afterwards, you have a beautiful roast that will most likely last you a few meals…cooked roast

…and an abundance of roasted vegetables that I love to add to pastas and salads for days to come.

roasted vegetables in salad

I am excited, as my kids get older, and life becomes a little easier, I cannot wait to add more and more meal ideas to my arsenal. It is exciting finding ways to shop and meal plan that actually work and save us money.

Disclosure: This post has been generously sponsored by the makers of FreshCo but the opinions expressed are my own.

A Day In The Life 2: The Life Of A Blogger With Four Kids (On An Off Day)

Nesting Story

Have you ever wondered what it is like juggling four kids, keeping a tidy home and running your own business seamlessly? Me too! You won’t find that in my most recent “Day in the Life” You Tube video.

Instead you will be catching me on an off day, with a messy house and no-makeup for most of it. Also you will see how an over-sized pizza almost broke me. But I have some handy life hacks in here including how to fake it that you have been baking all day.

Here it is… a day in the life with my four kids, blogging and a lunch out with some inspirational momprenuers.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my You Tube channel here!