Posts By: Sandra Barbera

Long Distance Aunt

Throughout my life, my sisters and I have been very close. Only three years separate my older sister and me, I’m the youngest of three daughters (my poor father). We’ve never lived further than an hour away from each other so being able to meet up on weekends was always easy. That was up until 2 years ago when my sister and her now husband moved to his hometown, Vancouver. Since I live just outside Toronto, this posed a problem for me and my sisters.  I try to visit when I can, I’m not opposed to vacationing in Vancouver –( c’mon that place is gorgeous!) but it’s not like it’s around the corner.

Beautiful British Columbia

Last summer my sister got married and the whole family made the trek across Canada to take part in that very special day, to witness the first daughter get married. When my sister and her husband visited this past Fall, we got a great surprise – she was expecting a baby! Obviously my parents were ecstatic; their first grandchild was on the way.

My sister was due in late June, so of course I had to be there with her to meet this little one who was going to change our lives. I flew to Vancouver on July 1st, knowing that my sister could go into labour at any second hoping that I wouldn’t miss it. Luckily, I made it in time and the baby was still safe and warm in my sister’s belly. We spent the whole next day shopping, hanging out, and laughing, the best thing sisters can do together.  That night, around midnight, my big sister went into labour and 14 hours later, she had a very healthy and handsome bundle of joy, a baby boy. I liked to think I was the catalyst that sent her into labour.  ‘Baby E’. didn’t want to come out until his Zia Sandra (Zia is how us Italians say aunt!) was there – we’re going to be very close, I can already tell!

As I sit here on the plane home (next to a man picking his nose) reminiscing and looking through the hundreds of pictures I took, I’m realizing that being a long distance aunt is going to be very tough. At least as a modern family it is easier to stay in touch. I’ve already informed my sister that I expect regular photos and Skype dates with the both of them. It’s sad to think that I won’t get to be there for his big milestones and won’t get to see him grow, but I know he’ll be overly loved (read spoiled) every time I see him.

Baby E

Do you have family that lives far away? How do you deal with the long distance family relationships?


About the Author:

Sandra Barbera is the Social Media Coordinator at Mabel’s Labels. She is an avid traveler and lover of the internet. You can find her on Twitter @sandrabells


A Camp Counselor’s Perspective: get their gear home!

Summer is soon approaching and if you’re like me, you remember your days at summer camp. There’s something so nostalgic about seeing a canoe paddle and hearing campfire songs like “Great Big Moose.” However, for me, summer camp didn’t end when I was a kid; I loved it so much that I worked as a camp counselor for 4 years and even did a year-long stint as an outdoor experiential educator, otherwise known as a professional camp counselor. I’ve seen my fair share of kids come through the doors with great gear and, sadly, leave without it.


These days it’s pretty normal for kids to head to camp for weeks at a time. And that usually that means a lot of gear is needed for the trip up north – not an inexpensive thing. Living in such close quarters with each other proves to be a great lesson in keeping your things organized. Learning how to fold clothes properly is fun, but what happens when none of the kids can remember if that is their shirt or not? From my experience, the lost and found box is usually full after day 3. One thing I learned at camp was to LABEL EVERYTHING!

Packing is tough – you have to plan for all types of weather and make sure there’s enough clothing to last the entire time at camp. And parents tend to shop at the same stores for their kid’s camp gear, especially for towels and clothing. The best thing to do to ensure your kids are coming home with everything they went to camp with is to make sure the kids know which items are their own.

Kid’s clothing, water bottles, towels, toiletries, and shoes will be put to the test. They’ll get wet, they’ll get dirty, and some camps even offer laundry services. Simply writing their name on the tags, from my experience, isn’t enough. Many permanent markets don’t hold up to the abuse that the gear will go through.

Take it from me: kids bring a lot of stuff to camp, the costs add up. Instead of replacing items, use a label and they’ll come home!

Pick up everything you’ll need in the Limited Edition Camp Combo pack here. If you can get your hands on it before April 30, you’ll get the early bird pricing and save some money!

Happy camping!

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