About Me

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I work in the city but I love living in the 'burbs so much we moved there - despite my crazy commute. The closer I get to home, the more relaxed I feel.
 
This Mama can't wait to share all the fabulous finds and 'must have' things that come my way. After all, if something's great I've gotta tell everyone! 
 
Join me as I share the ups and downs of suburban living, my journey to be more creative and organized (even with 2 super active little boys) and a whole lot of this and that. While I live in Fraser Valley, B.C., it's easy to translate the suburban experience to pretty much anywhere - and even city folk love to leave the hustle and bustle sometimes!
  
And living in the most expensive corner of the country, it takes a little savvy to keep it all together.  I'll share what I've learned - and hopefully you will, too!
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Clutter Discussion and Blog Moving

With the advent of summer and five weeks off approaching, I think it's a great time to talk about clutter.  We all have it, we all hate it and we all struggle over it. Whether it be stuff, relationships, thoughts in our head - clutter distracts us.   I'll be discussing this on my new blog Savvy Suburban Mama this week.

If you are an email subscriber, I encourage you to hop on over to the new blog and sign up for the emails there so you don't miss a thing!  The new blog will have the same flavour as this one, but will be more active, so I think you'll enjoy it even more than you do this one!

I look forward to seeing you there!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Biannual Blogathon Bash Completed

It was a crazy weekend, but I made it through.  I blogged for over 34 hours!  Well, actually I worked on my blog for that long, only some of it was actual writing.  And now... drumroll please... I am so happy to announce that Savvy Suburban Mama is up and running!!   I am just over the moon about it.  It was hard work, as I was learning how to do a few things that I'd no clue about before - but I did it and I'm so proud.   I invite you to come on over there and follow me.  I'll be moving all my writing time to the new blog over the next little while, and I'd love to have you with me.


I'll write more later, but I wanted to put an update here since I'd started the weekend kickoff over on this site. 

Have a fabulous day!!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Biannual Blogathon Bash!

Today is the start of the Biannual Blogathon Bash and I've signed up to spend the next 72 hours (ok.  what I can wrangle out of the next 72 hours) to get a lot of work done on my blog.  In fact, I'm starting a new blog - Savvy Suburban Mama which I hope to have up an running by Monday! Nothing like being a wee bit ambitious, eh?

As you may know, today will be a very tough day in our house as we share our last moments with our beloved dog, Kobe.  We have a vet appointment at 2pm.  I'm not sure how much I'll get done today, but I decided to stick with it since, for me, the best way to work through things is to get busy.  Writing helps me gain perspective, so I expect I'll do a few blog posts along the way about all of this.  I do plan to write one all about Kobe - from the moment we found her to the end. 

On a lighter note, I have spent the last couple of weeks making lists of whatever I thought might be useful. So here are  my goals:

  • Blog schedule - what and when do I want to post on my blog
  • Layout - figure out what works best for me
  • Pre-write some posts
  • Learn more about google+ and circles
  • read some of the articles I've bookmarked about blogging
  • look for ways to connect with other bloggers (and lo and behold that's a mini-challenge!! how perfect!)
  • sponsor ideas
  • write up a sponsorship pitch for a review/giveaway idea I have in mind with a local company
  • set up a facebook account to accompany my blogging
  • clean up my email and create files/rules to keep it running more smoothly
  • Make a bit list of potential blogging topics for those days nothing comes to mind
  • Look into CRA policies.  I'm a writer -both blogging and fiction and I need to get into the mindset of writing as a business and learn what records to keep etc as I'm slowly getting some compensation this year and need to account for that as well as my expenses.
  • Pinterest - explore a little further.  I had meant to sign up this weekend but um.. I got excited and went ahead early.
  • Ensure I have a post for the Great Canadian Blog Bash on Tuesday

It's a big list, I know, but I have faith I can get A LOT done.  I've got help - my husband is handling the birthday party the boys are going to on Sunday so I've got a lovely stretch of alone time there. And my two little guys know I'm working this weekend and we've picked out a couple of movies for them to watch and they are excited about them.  A few more hours of quiet time!  And because of Kobe, my Mom and Dad are taking the boys overnight tomorrow to make it a happier day for them.  We do have dinner at my parents on Saturday - but that leaves me a day alone since my husband will go some alone time for himself, too. 

I plan to turn this sad weekend into a positive and to think about happy thoughts and great things.  My boys need that - to know it's just part of life to move on, and to know that everything will be ok.  There will also be much snuggling and cuddling while they are awake since I like to stay up late.  

I don't expect much to be done this morning - but you will find me at my desk all night!  The keys might get a little wet, but I'll work through it. :-)


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Saying Goodbye - Pet Loss, You and Your Children


Our Dog, Kobe, is dying.  She has cancer and it’s spread. Our plan was to keep her comfortable for the time she had left with us – and we’ve done that.  But now things are changing for her and we’ve made the choice to say goodbye.

Making this choice is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  There is definitely a lot of guilt.  Right now she’s happy and even though her body is failing she’s still got spring in her step.  But I also know that at any moment she could suffer a catastrophic event and then I’d feel guilty for not preventing that from happening.  I’ve reasoned this out a hundred times over, and then some.  But the fact remains she’s 15 years old, is not eating, the cancer is spreading and when she ended up with an ulcerated lesion on her leg, I knew that while we could manage that for a week or so, if anything else happened I’d have to do it sooner.  Last night her hair started to fall out.  Just a small spot, but it’s spreading.  We called the vet today and on Friday, we say goodbye. 

While I’m having a hard time preparing myself for this (they call it anticipatory grief, and that title explains a lot about how I’ve been feeling this last month or so)  I have two small boys aged 3 & 5 who love her dearly.  Preparing them is even harder.

Both our cats were put down last year due to old age related events. Both unplanned and I struggled to explain that to the boys.  I decided to go with the Rainbow Bridge story.  If you’ve never read the poem, I’ll include it at the end of this post.  (Grab a Kleenex before you read it)  We told them that over the rainbow is the place where our pets go when they die.  That our cats were old and very sick and couldn’t get better and that by crossing over the rainbow, they were happy and healthy and could play and enjoy themselves again. And that they would wait there for us one day far far away.

I’ve been sharing about that and how Kobe wants to go, too.  That she misses William and Boomer and that she’s sick and very very tired.  That she wants to go over there so she can be happy and play like a puppy.  They know that she’s going to die. That she’s not coming back.

We’ve made plans to do nice things for Kobe.  Tonight we took her for a short walk in the sunshine, fed her hot dogs, roast beef and cheese slices.  She’s sleeping next to me instead of in the back room where they usually sleep.  Tomorrow I’ll spend the day with her, and the boys and I will spoil her rotten. On Friday, we’ll take her to McDonalds for lunch before the boys say goodbye and go to their Nana’s so Mommy and Daddy can help Kobe on her way.

I’ve come across some good tips for kids dealing with pet loss that I thought I’d share.


  • Let them know what’s happening in age appropriate language.  They need a chance to say goodbye.  Pretty much the number one thing people talk about is how their family pet just disappeared only for them to find out it had died or was put down and the most common thread is they wished they’d had a chance to say goodbye rather than be protected from the experience.

  • Never say the dog is being put to sleep or associate death with sleeping. Younger children cannot understand the analogy.  It can cause tremendous fear that if they fall asleep, they will die, too.

  • Share your grief – but do not overwhelm them with it.  It’s ok to cry, to acknowledge your sadness.  This allows them to express their feelings as well and to feel empathy. 

  • Acknowledge their feeling and fears.  Discuss things in ways they can understand.  Keep your language simple and clarify what their fears are.  Address their points, while being careful not to give some much information they get confused.

  • It can be helpful to make a small album with them filled with pictures, drawings and memories of a beloved pet.  This can be a good way to work through those feelings and leave them with a cherished memento.

  • Pets are very much a part of a family and the process of grieving is pretty much the same as losing any other loved one.  Allow everyone time to come to terms with what has happened.

  • Don’t rush out a buy a new pet.  Allow some time to pass – you’ll be the best judge of how much is right – so that you can choose your next pet with great thought and care.  It is, after all, a lifelong commitment.



 
Rainbow Bridge


Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Walker Edison Bunk Bed Giveaway!! (US only)

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Do your kids long for a bunk bed?  Is their room so small a bunk bed would double their space?  Do you secretly long to sleep in the top bunk?  If you answered yes to any of these you can't miss this awesome giveaway!!!

Children Teaching Mama is hosting an incredible giveaway sponsored by BunkBedsAtoZ.  One incredibly lucky person is going to win a Walker Edison Bunk Bed .  This is a twin over twin bed in an expresso finish - just gorgeous! This contest runs from June 20 to July 10th.  

I know my boys would LOVE to be win this and if you have kids who share a room, I'll bet yours would too. 

For your chance to win, fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Say that Finding Me the journey sent you.  Good Luck!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Patio Retreat Giveaway

Summer is nearly here and I can't think of a better way to relax in the sun (or shade) than with this awesome prize! Imagine a pitcher of lemonade on the table, a good book in your hand... the kids at grandma's... ahhhh perfect! I'm so happy to be able to share this fabulous giveaway with my readers!

Put yourself into the picture when you win this one. And really... who deserves it more than you? (OK... You're right... I was thinking me - but seriously, I mean YOU!!  So be sure to fill out all the possible entries so that you have the best ever chance of being the winner!)

Get ready summer - someone's going to need you to serve up some perfect weather for them to enjoy their new retreat! 



Welcome to the Summer Patio Retreat Giveaway Event brought to you by Mom to Bed by 8 the ‘Iowa-Mom’, Powered By Mom and Mommy and Baby Reviews and Giveaways!
We would like to thank our special co-hosts Another Cent Saved , Giveaway Bandit, To Sew With Love and Opinions of a Moody Mama for joining us for this special event.



Gather friends, family, and refreshments and a enjoy a little patio retreat fully furnished with this four-piece set from Strathwood. The Brentwood collection includes two arm chairs, a coffee table, and a loveseat. Designed to withstand the elements, the furniture's frames are constructed of powder-coated steel in an attractive black with bronze flecks. Powder coating gives the furniture great protection against rust. Comfortable, durable seat cushions are upholstered in a polyester fabric designed for outdoors.
Cushion Care and Cleaning: Gently brush off dirt before it becomes embedded in the fabric and wipe up any spills as soon as they occur. Gently spot clean only with mild soap and cool water using a sponge or soft brush, then air dry cushions in a sunny location. Bring cushions indoors during inclement weather and store in a dry place when not in use.
Strathwood furniture has quality, ease of use, and casual elegance at its core. Each piece is rigorously tested for durability, and assembly instructions have been standardized for simplicity from start to finish. Strathwood furniture is sleekly designed, handsomely finished, and built to last. This classic style and reliable craftsmanship will weather ever-changing trends and regular use for years to come.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Minimize Monday June 11th, 2012

It's Monday again.  I know most people don't like Mondays, but for me it's my day off and I love them!  I also love that on Monday I purge stuff out of my house.  I look forward to Monday!   I went on a hunt for stuff in my office.  I honestly didn't think I'd find much, but there were a few things.   I also took a spin through the house to see if I could find more- and I did.

Today I'm letting go of a sweater and a pair of pants, a camera bag, a little blue bin that should be in the kids' room,  a big paper bag (hey, it might have come in handy!) a bag full of plastic bags, a couple of magazines, a promo calendar, a suction cup hook, lots of paper, a stack of flyers (not in the picture) the box from my phone, another paper towel roll that I had saved for crafts, and a bag of invoice slips you put on packages that I've been saving in case I sell anything on eBay (it's been over a year since I've even looked there).  




I have to say - the paper bag DID come in handy just like I knew it would.   It's holding all the stuff I'll share at the thrift store. The rest has been recycled.   I'm going to grab the other bags I've got waiting in my garage and I'll drop off my thrift store donations tomorrow, along with a bag of styrofoam that I can take to the plastics plant when I drive by.

And this week I'm finishing up my I SPY bags for a friend and hopefully my little lap quilt, so two projects that, once done, will clear a little space, add some love to my room and make some one's kids happy.  But that's for next week's installment.

You can share your Minimize Monday posts over at:

BitsnBiteswithTina

MommyMoment





Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Attention Bloggers - Free blogger event - bunkbed giveaway!!





Who doesn't love bunkbeds - I mean, seriously?  I know my boys would be gaga over a set of new bunkbeds...

And guess what?  Children Teaching Mama is putting together a fabulous giveaway of the Walker Edison Bunk Bed sponsored by Bunk Beds A to Z!!!!
 
Event Dates: June 20th to July 10th

Attention Bloggers:  This is a FREE blogger event, open to US and Canada Residents and they are now accepting sign-ups now!  You can head on over here at Children Teaching Mama to sign up and let them know Finding Me the journey sent you.

And for those of you who'd love to have these gorgeous bunk beds, this US/CAN giveaway goes live on June 20th so don't miss out on the opportunity to enter!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Minimize Monday - June 4th, 2012

It's Monday - and you know what that means. Yep, time to declutter.  I've taken to this idea since it's something I need to do all the time.  I tend to be a pack rat and this should help me to keep it in balance.   I went back into my office and started hunting.

First I took a big bin and tossed in all the loose stuff that I need to sort through, read or otherwise attend to.  It was spread all over.  As I was doing that, I put aside the things that caught my eye for leaving, as well as the stuff that belonged elsewhere.   I began to go through the hutch on my secretary desk so that I can eventually part with that piece of furniture.  I  even have a project for my night in a hotel on my work trip this week - I'll be sorting my clipping files and writing notes/notebooks so they are tidy and up to date and ready to go into a new box on my bookshelf.

And now for the minimizing - while putting stuff in the bin did visually reduce the clutter, some stuff actually did leave the house (or will in the morning)  I parted with a pair of boots (story to follow), an empty shoebox, 2 mats for picture framing, a cardboard paper towel tube, a magazine, 4 books, two seasons of Lost (the mystery is gone once you see the episodes and know the ending) and a few more papers not seen in the picture.  I'm happy with today's clean out - and the fact that I also parted with a whole Rubbermaid's worth of kid's clothes this weekend that I had listed on Craigslist. 

If I do this every week, I should be clutter free (well, for me) pretty quick!  I'm also reading like a fiend so I can let go of a bunch of books.  I've got about 40 in the 'to read' pile.





About those boots.   Today I put on my black boots, grabbed my coat and took my son to school.  Then I went to the local grocery and picked up a few things, then home.  I had my younger son take off his boots at the door, so I did the same.  Later, when I went to put my boots away I was horrified to see I'd been wearing two different boots -one shiny, one flat with totally different heels and different heights.  I sure must have been distracted not to notice I was lurching about!  Let's just say I was embarrassed and kind of glad I'd not noticed while at the store.  Since I rarely grab the older shiny ones, they got the short straw and are heading on out. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Mommy's Time Out Part 2 - coffee shop travels

I did it!   I escaped.  I ran away. I went to... Starbucks!   With my trusty gift card in hand I got myself that chai tea latte and a thumbprint scone.  I sat down in a comfy chair with a little table beside it.  I pulled out that netbook, set down my stuff and ... well... I.. um... got stuck.   Here I was, writing implements at hand, a great place to sit, no kids, no chores and I had a blank mind.

I had no idea where to begin.  So I did what anyone else in my position would do.  I signed into twitter.  I poked around there for a while, I read my email and then when I was feeling it, I opened my word processor.  And still nothing came out.  So I got busy and set up files for my writing, cleaned up my documents, put things in order and went back and read some articles I'd book marked.

While it wasn't what I'd planned - it was definitely fun to do this.  I got some awesome people watching in - including the loud guy who sat near me and talked about all the hot women, cars and stuff he'd seen, had or wanted.  While I did my best not to listen to the conversation - it was pretty near impossible to avoid.  ( I should mention it took a LOT not to laugh out loud sometimes - and the term mid-life crisis came to mind quite a bit)

I did learn that I should go with a plan, should leave right away (I puttered around the house after my husband and the boys I left) and should maybe scout out another location to find a better spot to sit so I can avoid the loud voice distractions.  All in all it's been a good day, though.  I'm happy.  I took time away - sat on a chair away from the chaos and enjoyed my time out.  Seriously, I can't figure out why my kids don't like these.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Time Out! - For Mommy...

Time out... wow - those two words apparently strike horror into the hearts of some kids (mine included).  Funny how being made to go sit in a chair away from all the action can result in pleas and tears with enough fussing that you'd think the end of the world was near.  Me?  Frankly I'd love a time-out.  Just think about it - a chance to go sit in a chair AWAY from all the action.  Peace, quiet, maybe a book?  I'm not really seeing the downside of this, are you?

OK, granted I'm not 3 years old and desperately in need of calming down. I haven't hit anyone over the head with a light sabre, thrown a car at anyone's eye, "accidentally" taken some one's stuff or told anyone they smell like farts. (yet) But I do think that I could benefit from some serious downtime.  Quality downtime would work, since I know quantity isn't really in the cards for me.  It's not often I get to remove myself from the hustle and bustle of being a Mom who works full time outside of the house, commutes forever (seems like it anyway), and spends all the rest her time doing her best to be with her kids, husband, and pets while trying to keep the home in some kind of order.

At work I help people in conflict (I'm a mediator and informal conflict management advisor by day) and I think I kind of do the same at home being a referee between 3 & 5 year old boys.  I'm a Mom, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend, caretaker of my home, etc. etc. etc.and a writer.   Notice that my passion is last - that's what sometimes happens when our lives get busy.  Our passions go by the wayside. 

So this weekend I'm taking a time out.  I'm grabbing my netbook and heading to the local Starbucks to spend a few hours sipping a chai tea latte (or 3) while dreaming, plotting, planning and, yes, writing.    I'm gonna think up some stuff for my blog and then, when I've got those ideas out of my head, get back into the novel I'd like to finish.  It might take a long time to get there, but I think with a few time outs here and there (and I'll be naughty to get them if I have to!) it'll happen.


p.s.   this post was written while said 3 & 5 year old yelled and screamed at each over a pair of fireman's pants they both wanted - swords were involved, ninja headbands were worn and a brief break was taken by me at the end to comfort the one who got smacked in the nose by his brother with the aforementioned sword.   Seriously... I need this time out.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Minimize Monday - claiming my space

I've been staring at my office wondering how on earth I can make everything fit into this small space.  I store all the kids clothes in the closet (clothes to grow into - Nanna is generous, there are 7 bins - and I'm not complaining since I never shop for kids clothes!)  art supplies, books, office supplies, wrapping paper, my wedding dress, boxes of projects, more boxes of projects.  more 'stuff'...  Did I mention it was a very small space?

When I put my boys into the same room, I took over the little bedroom.  Then I went to IKEA. It was kind of putting the cart before the horse, so to speak, as I bought furniture and had a vision but needed to thin out first.  Have you ever assemble a sofa bed futon thing that you have to pull out to assemble in a space that barely fits anything in it?  Yeah.. let's just say it's tricky and I should have taken care of some stuff first. 

My goal is to remove the secretary desk with hutch that I have.  I love it, but it doesn't fit.  In order to do this some stuff has gotta go and I need to streamline here.  I will still have to use the closet for storage, but the room itself I want to be a space for creativity.  A place to relax and read, to write, to scrapbook and to sew.   Right now none of that is happening.  Well, I'm blogging, but that's all the writing that's taken place here in the past few months.

After reading a post over at Bits and Bites with Tina, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and now I'm going to commit to decluttering one thing at a time (more is good, but one is a must) each Monday.   Today I took out the bin of summer clothes.  Put them all into my boys dressers and then packed up a lot of old clothes of theirs.  Winter clothes are ready to be packed away, the too small stuff/ no longer needed stuff will go in a bin in the shed for the October kid's stuff swap meet that we'll attend.  ( a great declutter incentive!) So today I'm packing up one winter hat (too small) one winter coat (will be too small next winter), a bunch of t-shirts (also too small), a pair of winter boots (will be too small) and just to add in something I have some papers I'm recycling because they are no longer needed.

A good first Minimize Monday, I think. If I think of it tomorrow, I'll take a picture to add here.  But I think you can get a visual with the above description.   Feels good to say goodbye to a few things and now I can pack up the 'to keep' winter stuff nicely in the closet without adding a bin because I'll use the same one the summer stuff was in.

What are you going to part with?

ps.. I just saw that Mommy Moment is also doing this!!  Go there, too, for more inspiration.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Till Tales - Have you been overcharged??

Let's face it - shopping can be an exhausting experience.  And if you add in a couple of kids who, by the time you hit the cash register, are tired and fighing, you are just too distracted to pay attention to everything going through the scanner.
But you should.  And here's why.

True Till Tale #1

I got a call from my Dad today.  You won't believe what happened at the grocery store today, he tells me.  So I bite and ask for details.  It seems he paid his bill for the stuff my parents usually buy, and it seemed a bit high to him. Before he left the store he stopped and went through his receipt.  Sure enough, he noticed that the chocolate covered raisins - of which he bought about 500g - rang up at over a kilogram.  So off he went to stand in line at customer service.  After they went back to a checkout to weigh it, they found he was right - it was over 900grams overcharged.  So they gave him back his money.  As he started to walk away, he took another look at his bill - and he was charged a rather large amount for lollipops (for my boys).  So he turned back and said that he thought he'd been overcharged on all the items that went through the scale. 

He was right.  Every single item was wrong.  He got back over $36.   When he suggested this might be happening still and maybe others had been overcharged, he got a vague reply that maybe it had happened. Seriously - that makes me steam.  Just think - a couple hundred people have been through that lineup - and if the average amount overcharged is $25 - that's $2500 of overcharging that could have occured.  Likely more.  Since everything was charging close to a kilogram over, that's a lot of error.

After speaking with friends and coworkers, I was surprised at how many people don't watch as items go through the scanner.  And how many of them had no idea that things regularly ring up wrong. 

True Till Tale #2

For a long time now I've been most retail stores biggest pain in the butt.  I know who participates in the Scanning Code of Practice  and I watch them like a hawk.  I was first introduced to this when I bought a moisturizer and it scanned at $2 over the shelf price.  The woman at the customer service desk refunded the difference then gave me back the rest of my money.  I was surprised and she explained to me that when something scans wrong you will get it free up to a maximum amount of $10 and only on the first of an item that scanned wrong.  

I was hooked!   Some stores do it automatically, but if they have this posted on their door or at the till, and something scans wrong, I recommend that you call them on the wrong price and then remind them of the scanning code of practice. (nicely of course!) At the Real Canadian Superstore one manager actually told me that they only do it when the customer asks for it.  They've been better lately but I was floored when I heard that.  So now I watch and pretty much every time I shop there I invoke the code for them.  It's amazing how much doesn't ring up right. And it's not just there, it happens everywhere.  This is especially true on items that are on sale or clearance so watch those really closely. 

So the moral of my Till Tales?  Learn about the Scanning Code of Practice or if you live elsewhere, investigate what might be there to protect you.  And watch that register.  LIKE. A. HAWK.  If you can't watch it all go through - don't leave the store until you've gone over the whole receipt. Once you leave it's pretty hard to show you only bought a pound of something instead of 3lbs. Or that you only bought one unit of an item and not 10.  I'm willing to bet that by doing this you could save yourself around $10 a week on overcharges. 

Go forth and spread the word!  As consumers we need to be vigilant. It's more than a matter of principle, it's a matter of money in our pocket.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sweet Sleep

Getting Healthy - it's a goal I think most of us share, no matter what our level of fitness and knowledge is.  After all, the benefits are indisputable.  Who doesn't want to feel better, look better, live longer?   I'm struggling with it this year, though, and I think I might have hit upon why.  I'm tired.

Yes, I know, it's a parent's lot in life to be tired. But this goes beyond worn out from running around with the kids.  It comes more from deep seated need to get everything done - perfectly I might add - in an effort to keep up with what I think should be accomplished in a day. 

Have you ever looked at your 'to-do' list?  Is it longer than Al Capone's rap sheet?  Does it look more like Santa's list that goes on and on and on and... well, you get the picture.   It's never ending, too.  Laundry, for example, is one of those things that no sooner do you finish the last load than the baskets are filling up again.  Dishes are like that - and toys. 

You know what?  I think enough is enough on the overcommitment list.  I don't even have kids in sports so I can hardly imagine what some of you face on a daily basis.  Add to that a full work week crammed into four days and top it off with close to four hours commuting - each day.  Yep... I'm tired.  I stay up until close to midnight every night, wake up at 5am and often I'm interrupted by little feet coming to see me in the night.  It's not a wonder I can't get anything done.  It's not a wonder I sometimes find myself staring out into nothing.  My brain is tired, my body is tired, and it's hard to focus.

I've also read that lack of sleep is a contributing factor to being overweight.  I can see it.  You're tired, so you reach for the caffeine, the midday sugar fix (OK and the mid morning one and the mid evening one) and you make poor choices because you don't think clearly.  I also know that exercise is a great way to increase your energy.  But when you subsist on 5 hours or less of sleep a night, seriously - who wants to?

Perhaps it's time to turn off the light a little earlier.  Take the books out of the bedroom (and the tv if you have one - thankfully I kiboshed that when we moved to our house) and make the room conducive to nodding off.  There are so many benefits to getting sleep - your body has time to repair itself, your mind has time to quieten down, you begin to find a rhythm in your daily life,  your intimate moments with your partner (remember those?) make a come back, you eat less crap because you're not reaching for it to stay awake, your happier without the crankiness factor... Seriously, I could go on for hours. 

I am going to commit to heading to bed earlier.  Maybe not every night - but most.  I'm going to turn off the computer, put down the book, walk away from the chores I'm more staring at than doing, and let my head hit the pillow.  In fact, I think I might just take a page out of my kid's book and set up a routine that makes me prepare for sleep. Change into my jammies, brush my teeth, take a bath when I can (works for them, right?), have a quiet 5 or 10 minutes with a cup of tea and a journal and turn out the lights. 

I'll let you know how it goes.  AND I invite you to try it out.  Let's all head to bed at least 15 minutes earlier and work ourselves up to a good night's sleep.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

THE GREAT MYSTERY BOX GIVEAWAYS!


It’s not often that a Mom’s life has a whole lot of mystery in it – after all, we work hard to get our routines down pat, make sure everyone knows where everything is, and get everyone everywhere all the time.  It’s hard to find time for ourselves, let alone a little mystery (and secretly I think we yearn for it).  But once in a while something REALLY fun comes along…
I give you… the Great Mystery Box Giveaway!!!     I’m excited to be able to help promote this fabulous giveaway hosted by four of my favourite Canadian bloggers: The Knit Wit By Shair, Maple Leaf Mommy, Did You Know Canada and Talking Momcents.

I remember choosing grab packs as a kid. There was nothing so cool as getting that brown paper bag filled with… well… I didn’t know but I couldn’t wait to find out! And now – you have a chance to win a whole box! (way cooler than the paper bag)

The Great Mystery Boxes Giveaway!

Welcome to The Great Mystery Box Giveaway! Brought to you by your hosts: Did You Know Canada, The Knit Wit by Shair, Maple Leaf Mommy, and Talking Momcents.

Now's your chance to win one of four themed boxes, chock full of awesome goodies and mysterious prizes! Our four hosts have pooled together to collect over ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS in prizes!! The loot has been divvied up into four themed mystery boxes,with a little something for everyone....

The four themed Mystery Boxes are:
Baby - think new born up to year. (estimated value $200)
Kids - toys, clothes and other assorted treasures. (estimated value $220)
Health & Beauty - lotions, potions and other related goodies. (estimated value $330)
Box of Intrigue - Mystery, Suspense, Intrigue! (estimated value $310)



WIN IT


Four lucky Canadians are going to win some totally fabulous products. 
Four winners will be drawn, each will receive one of the mystery boxes.
All of the prizes included in the mystery boxes are brand new.
The total estimated prize value is just over $1060.
This giveaway is open to Canada only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mommy's Gone CRAZY or Too Many Toys!

It finally happened.... yep... I lost my mind.  Somewhere in the sea of toys and 'stuff' it disappeared.  And with that loss came a revelation.  I can't take it anymore.  And I think I'm not the only one.  After going all crazy ranting raving fishwife on my kids this past weekend (as in CLEAN UP YOUR TOYS!!!  Just put them AWAY!!! - I think the neighbours down the street heard my wail) I realized something.

They are as overwhelmed by it all as I am.  My boys are very very lucky. They are the only grandchildren on one side and the only ones living nearby on the other.  My mother, particularly, loves to spoil them with toys and tidbits.  I admit to a passion for shopping, and, well, it adds up to a lot of stuff. 

On the weekends, they still get up early and the rule is they play in their room until we get up.  Because Mommy and Daddy get to sleep in until the amazing hour of 7 (and sometimes even 8!) this gives them time to get into stuff.  This weekend the result was the disappearance of their bedroom floor.  And since they'd asked so nicely to go to the playroom, well, you can imagine what happened there before we got up. 

After Daddy was amazing and spent two days organizing and cleaning, they'd managed to make it look like we'd been bombed in just over an hour.  And the resultant cleanup - it never happened.  That's when I lost my marbles.  I'd taken six bins of toys to sell at the local kid's stuff swapmeet, so you'd think that would have thinned out the rooms.  Apparently I was wrong.

Yesterday I dropped one off at school and the other at Nanna's and got busy.  Big rubbermaids, ziploc bags for sorting, my beloved lined post it notes and sharpie at the ready - and I started to pack up the toys.  Into the box went the big trucks, the zhu zhu hamster track, the Rescue Heroes, the doctor's bags, the veterinarian kit...   I filled up four big tubs of stuff, plus removed a few large items and rounded it out with a bin of stuff for the garage sale. 

I left the boys with their Lego/Kinects (I told myself it was because it was educational, but really, it was too big a job to pack it up), cars/trucks, colouring books, their batman set, puzzles, the Leapster and their wooden firehouse.   We've got a few games out and we've blocked in a Friday Night Games night on our calendar to make sure we use them.   I wanted to pack up more, but it took me all day just to sort out and bag all that up.  

And so far, it's working.

They've been playing with their Lego/Kinects stuff for the past two nights and putting it away.  Their room looks fabulous, they want to read before bed - and already I can see they aren't as distracted as they were before.   I'd planned to leave them with a few cars, colouring books and Lego, but Daddy said that was me going overboard.  I'm happy to leave it as is, as long as they keep it up.  If not, I'm not worried - the new rule is anything left out at night is gone by morning.  They can earn back things (they have to request the item) through good behaviour and respecting their toys that are out, and they have to put something into storage to take something out.  

I'm almost done with the sorting/putting away and I'll share pics when I'm done.  The befores are scary, that's all I say.

So Mommy went CRAZY - and finally change happened.  Next is my office - after all, if I can't model it, then I can't expect it, right?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Copy-Kids eat fruits and vegetables DVD Review and Giveaway


My kids are picky eaters.  I can’t think of any better way to describe them.  They don’t like to try new things and sometimes it’s a chore to get them to eat at all.   Some of this is because of their allergies (when you can’t have certain foods, it does shrink the potentials list somewhat) and some of it is because they have decided they don’t like anything new.

Enter Copy Kids – a DVD that is designed to help kids get interested in healthy foods.   I have to admit, when I heard about this DVD, I was intrigued.  After all, I’m not making a heck of a lot of headway here on my own.  I figured anything was worth a try.   

We put the DVD into the machine at snack time and after observing the main menu – I set up a little plate of snacks with some crackers, cheese and veggies.  Veggies are something I have a hard time getting my youngest to eat so I decided to pick cucumber for this first experiment. 

The menu is set up with different foods so that you can choose the one you want to introduce.  There are twelve different 6-8 minute chapters with a different fruit or vegetable.  There are: 

  • Bell Pepper
  • Carrots
  • Raspberries
  • Broccoli
  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • Oranges
  • avocado
  • apples
  • blueberries
I clicked on cucumber and we got to watch a cute kid eating cucumber.  At a quick glance there were some giggles & some eating. It looked pretty simple and I wondered if it would catch my son’s attention. 

I left the room to move the laundry and when I came back, there was my three year old fixated on kids eating cucumber.  With its very simplistic style, this DVD caught his attention and then some.  I won’t say he ate all of his own cucumbers, but he did eat a little, which is a first for us around here.   When the section was done I went to change to something else and he was adamant I left it alone.  So we watched it again, then we watched bananas.  He already eats those, but he was fascinated by the kids again so I added some banana to his plate.  After all, I’m not one to miss an opportunity to add something nutritious to his day and the timing here was golden! 

We’ve had the DVD for a few weeks now and my three year old is still fascinated with it.  He’s tried a few more things and definitely knows what the rest of them are called.  My five year old wasn’t as interested in the DVD, but I’m hoping that he will catch on by copying his slightly more adventurous brother – who is copying the kids on the DVD.  So in a round about way, it might work for him, too.  

I think this would be a great DVD to have around when you are introducing foods to your babies and toddlers.   It’s bright and colourful, simple and yet attention grabbing.  And because kids like to copy each other, it should give you a bit of an edge in getting them to try new things.   I would have loved to have had this when my older son was younger as we had to restart food with him a couple of times due to some severe allergy reactions.  Because we had to take away so much to start over, it was a huge challenge to get him to move to a new food.  I really think this would have made it fun for him and might have helped move him forward in a much more positive way.   

Copy-Kids DVD runs for 115 minutes and retails for $19.95.  It’s available at www.Copy-Kids.com.  Copy-Kids has also generously offered a copy for one of my readers!!  Fill out the rafflecopter form below for your chance to win this awesome DVD!  Thank You Copy-Kids!





**Disclosure** The products in this review were provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and are not influenced by monetary compensation

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

While I'm a little late jumping in, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to be a part of this fabulous event!   Blogs from all over the world - thousands of them - all gathering together so we can meet new people and find some new blogging sites to become addicted to.  How Fun!

I'm a mom of two little boys who loves to write. While Romance writing is my best love (and someday there will be a novel, it's just slow going with the boys and all)writing my blog has given me a chance to find my own voice.  I've been working on getting healthier this past year and while there have bit slips and slides, there's also been great progress.   I am also working on clearing the clutter from my live.  I crave the peace I feel in the homes of friends who've gotten it somewhat figured out (none of us is perfect, but some are way ahead of me on that front!). 

I love the feel of a busy, living, thriving family but can't deal with the amount of 'stuff' we've accumulated.  And like so many writers have said, I truly feel there is a link between all that 'stuff' and all the extra weight I've packed on since my boys arrived.  So order, organization, healthier living and finding new and interesting things to help me reach my goal is what I like to discuss.  I used to write a green blog (which I might resurrect soon) and I'm trying to continue that path as well so I can leave a lighter footprint.

So come join me - browse the old posts, sign up on Google Friend Connect to check out the new ones!  Follow me on twitter @rjdoghouse and most of all - relax and enjoy the Ultimate Blog Party while you meet new friends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Have Kids will travel... in ambulances?

If I've said it once around our house, I've likely said it two or three times.  Keep a bag packed for emergencies.    Today we made another visit to the ER.  Our sixth in the last two years.  Yep.. 6... all with our second son.  He's had allergic reactions (first ambulance ride) fallen in a hole and gotten hurt, caught the RSV virus which triggered bronchiolitis, and asthma attacks.  All of which were scary.  The first time it happened, I had a diaper bag packed.  I'd gotten into the habit of reloading it whenever we got home and thank goodness!   All I had to do was grab my purse and we were good to go.

I kept that up, but now my son is potty trained and today I realized that we aren't all that prepared.  At least not like before. I need to get a big Ziploc bag ready just in case.   Luckily he was at my parents today.  By the time I got there (rushed back from work) his asthma was getting the best of him and we called for an ambulance.  My Mom was a quick thinker and had packed snacks, juice, colouring book, little cars, wipes and more.  On my way home I'd run into a store to grab a drink and a snack knowing I might be away from home for a while, even if we only had to go to a clinic. 

I've been saying to myself that I need to keep his medical info with me.  Not just his carecard, but the type of meds he takes, our hospital/doctor visit history etc.  I can't remember it all, but writing it down would be a good plan.  So that will be on my to do list as it sure makes an ER visit go smoothly when you have it all at your fingertips. 

We got lucky today and a pediatric paramedic unit was driving through the area, so they were equipped with all the little people stuff.  This is something else you need to consider.  Get to know your hospitals.  Some are not well equipped for children. Trust me, being in one that has nothing child sized is an issue.  The staff aren't as good with them, the equipment doesn't work right and it's a tough time ahead.  They try their best, but they aren't set up for kids.  I now know where I will and will not go if given the choice.  If you have more than one local hospital find out which has a pediatric unit and, better yet, pediatric emergency beds. You'll be so glad you did.

All is well here now, but I'll be putting a little grab and go bag together.   In it we'll have:

  • each child's medical history including vaccines, illnesses, allergies, medications etc.
  • a small snack/juice box/ water (while they shouldn't eat/drink when you make the decision to go - it's nice to have it with you when you get the all clear from the doctor
  • colouring book/crayons/small toy/book ( a distraction is sometimes critical)
  • phone numbers - when you have another child elsewhere such a daycare, ensure you have those numbers so you can call the place and call for help from a family member or friend if possible.
  • change of clothes - or at least a clean shirt and maybe undies. Thin cotton outfits will fit in a little bag and are better than nothing.  Accidents happen when they are sick - they vomit, spill, etc.
  • a mini pack of wipes (see above)
  • If you are like us and have a grab/go medicine pack consider keeping both in the same place so you only have to get to one cupboard.
  • money - nothing like being caught away from home with nothing.  If you go by ambulance - how will you get home?  Can you pay a cab?.  You never know how long you'll be there and you might want a coffee, need to use a payphone or buy a snack if you run out.
That's all I can think of at the moment.  Do you have anything you'd add to the list?   What have you done to be prepared for an unexpected ER visit?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lovable Labels Camp Pack Review and Giveaway

When Lovable Labels asked if I’d like to do a review on their camp pack – I jumped at the chance!  What could be better than having all of my son’s stuff labelled so all the things that I know will go missing could come back to us. 

While my boys aren’t of the age for camps yet (we’re close though!), I have to say that the Lovable Labels camp pack really fit the bill.  With enough labels for everything you’ll be sending to camp (or Grandma’s in our case) you know that you’ve got things covered.

Available in 12 designs/Colours and 45 Icons, the Camp Pack comes with a great assortment of labels.  It consists of:

15 Sticker Labels
40 Slimline Labels
12 Shoe Labels
72 Press n' Stick Clothing DOTS™
2 Mini-Metal Tags (two 4” silver ball chains included)
12 Square Labels

The labels are Dishwasher and Microwave Safe, Waterproof, UV Resistant and are so easy to apply as they just peel and stick.

I have been using Lovable Labels for my other son’s school stuff since September and I have to say that after months of dishwasher and washing machine use – the labels are sticking just like new.  I’m more than impressed with their durability.    This time I used the labels for my younger son and his labels have withstood a multitude of washings and his containers still have all the labels on, too.   I especially love the shoe labels – in our home they are so practical since my kids wear some shoes that look the same and instead of arguing, they just read the label.  The shoe labels also came in handy when they went to a birthday party at a play place that required them to take their shoes off.  It was easy to see which ones belonged to my boys!


The Slimline labels are skinny enough to fit onto the smallest of containers and the Clothing Dots attach right onto the tags.  For camp you can label everything from suitcases to bed sheets and swimsuits to toothbrushes.   If you aren’t heading to camp, remember that your kids will be all over the place during the summer – friend’s homes, visits to grandparents, day trips and more.  Having everything labelled before they head out means that their stuff is more likely to come back home with them.  And if you’ve got more than one child it can help you keep track of what belongs to each of them even when you’re not going anywhere.

Lovable Labels are just what Mom’s need – and that’s how they began.  It all started with a Mom that found herself in the middle of a problem!  When she took her son to childcare she was asked to label all of his belongings.  This meant labelling everything from his outdoor clothing, to his indoor shoes, lunches, sippy cups and backpack. She recognized that there was a need in the market for personalized labels that were tough and durable and could stand the test of time and the everyday use that children put them through.

I think they meet the mark.  After putting them through the ringer around here, they’ve more than stood up to the test of both time and rambunctious boys. 

You can purchase your Camp Pack at www.LovableLabels.ca or call 1-866-327-LOVE (5683) for $44.95 Or…

You could win your very own Lovable Labels is Camp Pack!!  One of my readers will win this awesome pack of labels.  Fill out the rafflecopter form below to be eligible to win!










Friday, March 30, 2012

Bye Bye Penny

I've heard it said many times that we don't need pennies. That pennies just sit in dusty jars, get left behind, take up too much space in a purse and we'd be better off without them.  While that sounded like a good idea, I didn't actually expect anyone to stop using pennies! 

Guess what folks?  If you live in Canada, pennies will no longer be minted past this year.  I know!  Pennies gone forever! Well, not really - at least not for quite some time.  They will still be legal tender and if the rest of the country is anything like me, we've all got scads of them hoarded in our penny jars.  Now I know why we've saved them for so long - we needed to keep them alive!

It feels odd to know that by the time my kids are grown, their kids will not collect pennies.  While I get technology will change - pennies just seemed so, well, solid.  And how about penny-pinching?  How are we supposed to do that without pennies?  Nickel pinching doesn't quite have the same ring to it, you know?  And if one should 'watch their pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves", what happens to the dollars when we don't have pennies to watch?  Does it work the same way with dimes?   Will things keep coming back like a bad loonie?   oh.. so many questions.

I guess one good thing came of this budget announcement.  I am finally going to go count and cash in that giant coffee jar of pennies we have.  I'd kind of forgotten about them until now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Be Prepared - filing an insurance claim

Well, it's finally happened - after nearly 25 years, I have to file a claim on my home insurance.   Both our vehicles were broken into last weekend and we (being complacent as we live in a quiet neighbourhood) got caught with a lot of stuff in the car (all of which is no longer in the car)  Lesson learned - never leave anything in your car - take out the goods when you get home.  

Never having filed a claim, I called our insurance company (BCAA in this case) and shared with the adjuster what had happened.  We knew what was missing and we'd filed a police report, so we thought we were all good to go.  While nothing in our claim is of exceptionally high value, enough went missing to justify the claim. Our adjuster was fine with the items, and explained the process.

Here's where I want to share about being prepared.   We have some records of the stuff we lost - prescription glasses, a couple of newer electronic items, but not the older stuff.  Insurance companies want to know what you lost and prefer that you can show them you had it in the first place.  (so you don't, say, claim the $1400 electronic item or the $500 leather jacket you never owned).  

This is where it occurred to me that if I had to make a claim in the event of a fire or other catastrophic event, I am not prepared.  I have no clue of the make/model of most things I own. I use them daily, but really never paid attention.  And I also, after a lot of thought, think I'm probably woefully under insured.  Think about it - if you had to replace EVERYTHING you own, how much would that cost?   We still have cd's and dvd's - at an average, lets say, of $15 each that would add up to a substantial amount!   Every 10 is $150.   oh, plus tax! 

Add up your pens, pencils, cutlery, books, toiletries, knick knacks, coats, socks and underwear, to mention a few, and I think you'll be surprised at your investment.    While the best option would be to have a detailed spreadsheet with cost values for everything along with a thick file of receipts for every item in your home, it's not likely or practical that you can do this. 

I have a suggestion, though.   Scan all your receipts for items of any value.  Receipts fade to unreadable as I've just discovered.  A blank piece of paper with barely there printing at the top won't be useful.   If you have it all on a usb - you can leave it at a family member or friends place for safekeeping as well as have one for yourself.   Either take pictures - or better yet, video of your home.  Go room by room opening cupboards and drawers and taking the time to layout the expensive stuff so it can be seen.  This way the insurance adjuster has something that shows you had the item in your home.  You can likely save the video to a usb, as well. That tiny piece of equipment could be the most important thing if you have to make a big claim.  Keep your home copy where you keep your important papers to grab and go.  And scan all of those onto the usb, too.   If you lose everything, you lose the originals if they are in your home - that secondary usb could save you a substantial amount of time recovering everything.

Look at your insurance papers, ask questions about your plan - go over the what if scenarios with your adviser and make sure you are covered for everything possible.  Know your exceptions as well. 

It's never a good thing to make a claim as it means something has happend. When it does, think carefully about it as each claim makes you less desirable as a client - which translates into higher rates. I'm lucky I had a one claim forgiveness clause and a low deductible.  I wouldn't have made the claim otherwise.  We lost a substantial amount of stuff, but other than the prescription glasses, we'd have survived without it. Not comfortably and definitely not happily since we'd worked hard to pay for it all, but you have to look at the big picture and if it will cost you more in the long run with higher rates and a big deductible to pay.

So if you've learned anything today - get those pictures/video/scans done to protect yourself.  And call your insurance advisor to ask what you're insured for.  I would think there would be nothing worse than not being insured for something you assumed you would be, and being stuck with a huge bill to recover from it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go

I've got the oddest feeling I've said that before.  Over the past month or so I've been busy culling the excess around here.  While it still looks a bit like a toy factory (thank you Lego, you are everywhere!) I've actually gotten rid of about 10 Rubbermaid bins of kid's stuff.  I've removed the toys they didn't play with and even with the stuff I planned to rotate for them, the kids have only missed a couple of things.   We still need some lessons in tidying up after ourselves, but they are young and they are learning.  I've even gotten in on the act by going through my buckets of stuff I had to 'get to' eventually.  I've sorted all but a little basket out and either put it away or have gotten rid of it.  

The impetus now is a kid's swapmeet on April 14th.  I'll be going through clothes and making sure anything that doesn't fit gets taken there, too. 

I have to say it feels good knowing I'm letting go of this stuff.  While it's still technically here, the fact it's removed from inside my home (it's in the garage and the crawlspace) means I don't have to trip over it. 

Next up - getting organized with some better routines!   Menu planning and keeping up with the basics are my next target.  The Goal?  Lower the grocery bill (which is much too big - coupons also need to be used where they can and not forgotten at home!) and take back my weekends.  No more catching up all weekend long while missing out on the fun that families should have.  It's not easy with our long hours, but it can be done.  It just takes a little motivation.

I have to brag, too.  I cleaned out my pantry a week or so ago.  It's officially the nicest spot in the house.  I like it so much I wanted to put a chair in that cupboard so I could sit in there and just feel the awesomeness of it's organization! 

Just a note,  - in April I'll be hosting a fabulous giveaway for a product I know will come in more than handy for those of you with kids!  stay tuned!  (how's that for teasing?)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A change is a-coming!

I can feel it in the wind... in my bones... maybe even in my bank account.   A change is coming.  And it's one for good this time around.  I'm looking at our home and figuring out why I feel so frazzled and so lethargic when I'm here.  I've come to the conclusion that my house looks pretty far out from those lovely calming scenes you see in magazines.  I'm OK with the fact that people actually live here. I'm OK with the signs of everyday life.  I'm not okay with chaos and clutter and the fact that life seems to be a never-ending declutter/cleanup/catchup session. 

Earlier this year I put both my boys into the same room - giving me the small bedroom as an office.  (amazing!!). They are thrilled to bits, by the way.  But in the move I came to the realization that they truly have an overwhelming amount of stuff.  One of my friends said it's like Toys R Us.  hmmm. 

I had read a testimonial on Flylady about a woman whose son was unhappy, unmanageable and unfocused. he was young like my kids and I got to thinking about her solution.  She took nearly all of his toys away, leaving him with 3 cars, some colouring stuff and maybe some Lego (I forget the exact items)  After a week, he was calmer and nicer to be around. When she asked if he'd like one of his toys back he replied "no, I'd rather go for a bike ride with you". 

I didn't go so drastic, but since we were home all weekend (#1 home came home sick)I decided to go for it and just move out a huge amount of stuff.  I didn't end up doing as much as I'd thought I would - but I did move out four large Rubbermaid bins of stuff (along with the 3 I did when I moved the rooms together) and now everything has a place.  And you know what?  They barely noticed what left the room. 

It left one complete set of shelves with coloured bins (the kind for all the little bits) empty - so I turned it into a Lego centre with all the different things having their own bins, plus separate ones for each boy for their special things. One awesome re-purpose!  I also left some space to grow, since I know they'll be allowed to have some things back once they keep up with care of the stuff they have out now.  (and I just know more Lego is coming)

I feel better about it all and later this week when I have my energy back, I plan on tackling my office.  I haven't put things away properly so it's the perfect time to use it or lose it, file it or toss it. 
I still feel a little guilty about the toys - I have to admit.  I keep thinking I should do it for me first - you know,walk the talk.  But I'll get there.  I wonder - has anyone else done this?  And what was the result?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye Cheesies.. hello.. um.. now what?

OK.. so I went back to Weight Watchers and I've been eating better BUT this darn bag of Cheesies keeps yelling at me when I open the pantry.  It's not my bag of Cheesies.  It belongs to my youngest  son (although why I felt the need to buy him a Costco size bag of cheesies I don't know).  I admit - I love 'em.  Not super duper love'em  but there's some feelings there.  Well, you know where this is going, right?

I've decided that since I couldn't handle the chocolate (turns out PMS and chocolate in the house is NOT conducive to actively eating well) I can't handle the Cheesies and one of us has to go.  It's cold out there so I'm not leaving the house.  Bye Bye Cheesies - I 'll tell my son you had to take a trip.  I might even fill a little snack bag for him to have this weekend but  the rest of you are hitting the big compost can.  (I've got to at least recycle them somehow to assuage the guilt of tossing perfectly good cheesies.  Thank goodness for the city compost pickup that takes everything)

That leaves me with the 'now?'  what portion of this post.  I have no idea what to replace those crunchy morsels of cheesie goodness with.  I'm thinking of a cut up apple so I get lots of bites and lots of crunch.  But I have to have a back up plan. I'm going to Costco this weekend and don't wish to have this discussion with myself in the Cheesie aisle.

The upside of this?   I feel motivated finally.  It's taken me a couple of weeks of small changes but today I've decided I feel ready to get back into the swing of losing.  AND I'm going to clear out the pantry.  All the 'bad' stuff that I like is leaving.  I'm not telling anyone - it's just disappearing.  The cold freeze is over here so I'll get on that treadmill in the garage this weekend, too!

Just think - a little healthy change, a little organizing and a little motivation all at the same time.  Definitely a good thing!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A New Beginning

It's time.  Definitely time to get back on track.  Actually - I have stayed on track fairly well and can say that I ended the  year with a 23lb weight loss.  I have figured out maintenance - I just have to get back into the losing game again.  After getting sick in November things went a bit down the tubes as far as Weight Watchers but I'm back there and back on track.

I figure life is a journey and that little speed bump was just part of it all.   I have kept off my weight and I'm ready to move onto meeting the next goal!   (looking to lose 40lbs this year and then to choose a goal weight)

I think that the upheaval in our home of having our oldest attend kindergarten. different daycares, new schedule and new things that have to be done to accommodate everything is what took me off track from blogging. I had NO IDEA that things would change this much and that I'd be so busy!   But now we are in a routine and I'm getting some of my time back.  In our home October to December is fast paced with birthdays, Holidays and more..  I've already set up plans on our calendar for next year to avoid the chaos.  (who knew I could think so far ahead!)

Getting organized is the key to success, I think.  I'm tired of running in circles, getting nowhere, feeling frustrated and accomplishing little.   If I'm going to be successful at getting healthy, be a great parent, and keep up with a busy workload - then I have no choice but to plan ahead and to organize all parts of my life.  (in baby steps of course!)

So this year it's all about getting healthy (just like last year) but with the added plan to get organized too!   My incentive?  Being able to keep up with the boys, feeling and looking great and feeling a sense of  peace because I know where things are and what's on the agenda.  I love the sound of that, don't you?

( I wanted to add that after I wrote this I was reading two posts on Multi-testing Mommy's Blog and she totally hit the nail on the head in her posts.  Check out her Heart and Stroke foundation posts and she also posted about organization.  I think maybe she's living a parallel life to me.)