Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tip of the Day #332: Cleaning Window Blinds

Many of us swear when we got a home that we would never put up blinds because we all remember growing up having to help our mom clean them all the time--and it wasn't the easiest of jobs! Nonetheless, somehow they ended up everywhere in our house. Well, over the years, I have found some easy & unique ways to dust and clean blinds to keep me from going crazy.







1. Wrap a sock or cloth around a ruler to clean thin, narrow blinds easily. This is especially good for metal blinds that are fragile and easy to bend.


 2. To keep dust at a minimum, rub a fabric dryer sheet onto both sides of the blinds. This will not prevent dust but it will cut down on the amount of dust that clings to your blinds as well!


3. Slip socks onto both hands and rub between each blind - - this cleans both sides of the blinds quickly at the same time. You can also add cleaner to the mix to remove any debris--spray vinegar or a mild soap mix (can even be laundry detergent & water) onto the sock, then clean accordingly.


4. If blinds have been neglected and are very dirty, lay an old sheet or cloth under the blinds before cleaning. You do not want to transfer the dust and dirt from the blinds onto the floor - - then you have to clean the same dirt twice.


5. When you are vacuuming your floors, use the brush attachment to clean blinds. This is great for removing dust from hard to reach blinds in tall windows.


6. If your blinds are really dirty, use a paintbrush to clean them. You can dip the paintbrush into soapy water, oil soap or plain water for extra cleaning power. Make sure to use a dry cloth to remove excess cleaner and clean the brush often to prevent transferring dirt.

Hope that helps all of you as much as these tips have helped me! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tired of scraping your car windows in the winter???


Fill a spray bottle with three parts vinegar to one part water and spray on your car windows at night. In the morning, they should be clear of any icy mess! Hooray for clean windows and getting to work on time :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tip of the Day #331: Help Your Bows Keep Their Shape

VERY HELPFUL DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON!

Untying a bow or ironing out creases can damage some ribbon (especially those that have stuck around for quite some time). Avoid both by storing bows intact: to make sure the loops don't crimp while in storage, cut cardboard tubes and wrap them with paper towels so that they fit snugly inside each bow loop. Store flat in a shallow box.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tip of the Day #330: Long-lasting fresh scent!

Here is a great tip for keeping your home smelling nice and fresh all winter long! Just sprinkle a few drops of VANILLA EXTRACT onto your furnace filter. Now everytime your furnace kicks on, you will get a blast of beautiful scent ;)

Friday, November 22, 2013

DIY BANNER *WITH FREE PRINTABLES*

Since many of you know, I love tackling DIY projects over the holiday season to save money! I recently came across the blog Shanty 2 Chic and I am in LOVE! As I searched her wonderful site, I came across a blog post about creating your own banners. Now being a photographer, I knew this would come in handy when making my own props! Yesterday I went out to the local fabric store and purchased 3 yards of burlap to get started on some christmas banners this weekend (note: burlap is VERY inexpensive if you choose to use it...I paid $1.59 a yard!) Below is a photo taken from Shanty 2 Chic's blog of a christmass tree banner she created:


Here is the link to print out your own letters: http://www.shanty-2-chic.com/2013/11/printable-letters.html

And.......here is my creation for a Maternity Session this past weekend!



Let me know how you all made out and be sure to share your own photos on my page! :)


Monday, June 24, 2013

Tip of the Day #329

Create memories for your children or grandchildren by keeping the lights off at bathtime (just obviously be careful) and throwing glow sticks in the bath water! They light up the tub and room :)

My kiddos LOVED it tonight! <3

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tip of the Day #328: Cleaning up Nail Polish Spills

Did you know if you spill nail polish, immediately sprinkle sugar on top and you can sweep the clumps right up!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tip of the Day #327: Removing Candle Wax

The best way to remove stuck-on (melted) wax from any surface is to place a towel over the wax, then iron over the towel--the wax should peel right off onto the towel and once cooled, you can remove!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Benefits of Fitness During & After Cancer

 

Whether it is a family member, friend, neighbour or even a colleague, we have all unfortunately been affected by cancer in some way. I am a true believer in the power of exercise and the following post, written by Melanie Bowen, is a perfect example of how physical treatments can help one deal with and possibly overcome the burden of such a horrible diagnosis.
 
Regaining Fitness During Cancer Recovery


Cancer recovery is a long road that can be exhausting for many patients.  Even when treatment is behind you, you may feel as if you will never feel normal again.  Regaining your overall fitness after cancer treatment is not an easy task, but it can be done with some determination and knowledge.  Exercising can even boost your mood and help you feel better while recovering.  It is important to discuss exercise with your doctor and take it slow until you know your level of fitness ability.

Exercising During Aggressive Cancer Treatment

While it is important to engage in some form of physical activity while undergoing cancer treatment, the intensity of aggressive forms of treatment makes it necessary to stick with light exercises.  Light exercises generally do not cause a change in breathing pattern and do not result in sweat.

Breathing exercises are a great way to increase circulation, reduce fatigue and improve lung function during cancer treatment.  Breathing exercises are especially effective for those with pleural mesothelioma or any other lung-related cancer.  Breathing exercises have even been linked to a reduced risk of depression in recovering cancer patients.

Fitness During Cancer Recovery

Patients who are done with the treatment process may be able to handle moderately intense exercises that require a bit more effort.  People who are ready to regain their strength after going through the intense cancer treatment process can engage in moderate exercises in order to get this energy back.  Moderate exercises do cause deeper breathing, but a person who is engaging in moderate exercises does not feel out of breath.  A light sweat may form after about ten minutes of physical activity

According to LIVESTRONG.com, swimming as little as 20 minutes a day three times per week can provide health benefits to cancer survivors.  Water aerobic exercises provide a cushion for the body that makes these exercises easier to complete than activities done on land.  In addition, this is considered as a low-impact exercise because exercising in water makes you feel about 90 percent lighter. As a result, water aerobics are a great exercise for cancer patients who may have joint complications. Also, water aerobics offer resistance that enables a patient to build up strength during recovery.

Taking Fitness One Step Further

Patients who have successfully established a moderate fitness routine can talk to their doctors about increasing the intensity and participating in advanced exercises.  Advanced exercises are used to build upon strength and stamina established while engaging in moderate exercises.  People who engage in advanced exercises breathe deeply and sweat after only a few minutes.

Running is a popular exercise that cancer survivors can engage in when they have built up stamina and strength.  Patients are encouraged to wait until the later stages of recovery before trying running as an exercise.  Running can fight fatigue and build endurance.  One of the biggest benefits of running is that it requires no special equipment, and runners are able to gauge their own abilities and create a workout based on these abilities.  Patients can easily vary the length and intensity of a running session.


Starting a fitness routine during cancer recovery seems like a daunting task, but gradually building up endurance and strength while recovering from cancer treatment provides valuable benefits.  Patients can regain energy and improve their overall health by engaging in physical activity that is catered to their fitness ability.  It is important to consult a physician before starting a fitness regimen during cancer treatment and recovery.

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     Melanie is currently a Master's student with a passion that stems from her grandmother's cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness.  To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Tip of the Day #326: Dealing with Cockroaches

If you ever run into problems with cockroaches, try cucumber peelings to exterminate them. It is said the cucumber acts as poison to the roaches!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

HOMEMADE BANANA FRUIT LEATHER (NO DEHYDRATOR NEEDED)


  Fruit leather has to be one of the easiest recipes out there and now is the season to do so! Summer is filled with bright and tasty fruits to experiment with and get your kids involved--it's so cheap and ALL NATURAL!
I only had bananas at home, so that is what I tried this time, and I am glad I did because the flavour was AMAZING!

You will need:
4 ripe bananas
1 tbsp of honey (optional)

Directions:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 175 degrees F and either grease or place a piece of parchment paper down on a baking sheet.

2. Chop bananas into larger chunks (see photo).

3. Place bananas and honey in blender/food processor and mix very well.

4. Pour mixture right onto baking sheet and spread evenly with a spatula to  cover entire surface. Make sure it is a thin layer and not too thick!

5. Bake for approximately 3 1/2 - 4 hours, depending on how powerful your oven may be. Trust me, the long wait is worth it ;)

6. Remove from oven--once cooled,the leather should be easy to peel from sheet, if not, pp back in for a little longer.
7. Cut into strips (or shapes)--I found scissors or even a pizza cutter to be the most effective!
You and your kids will LOVE this healthy, all natural snack!!

The Effects of Losing our Trees

Please help in keeping our trees where they belong!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tip of the Day #324: Cleaning your Rings @ Home!

I have been getting the question "what is the best way to clean my rings, especially diamond ones?" a lot lately, and the answer is TOOTHPASTE--but it must be the paste and not the gel. Use a clean, SOFT toothbrush (this will NOT scratch your ring) to lightly scrub. I just bought kids brushes from the Dollar Store. Once the piece is completely covered, take a soft cloth or towel to polish.

Monday, June 3, 2013

General Mills *Fibre 1 Almond & Cluster Delight* Cereal Review

 MY RATING: A  BIG THUMBS UP!

    As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and with my recent lifestyle change of exercising and eating healthier, I decided to sign up for my chance to take the Fibre 1 Almond & Cluster Delight Cereal Challenge. Not to mention, I have major stomach problems, and my surgeon had told me it is essential that my fibre intake be drastically increased. However, it has proven difficult for me to find many foods I truly enjoy that are high in fibre.
   
    When my box of cereal arrived in the afternoon, I did not want to wait until the next morning to try it, so both my little guy (2.5 years old) and I chowed down on a bowl--VERY quickly! I can honestly say it was really tasty and I don't know who enjoyed it more, me or my son, which is surprising for a toddler to enjoy a 'healthier' cereal :) Needless to say, this just proves that the flavour is superb, without needing added sugar! 
The cereal consists of whole grain flakes and almond-filled clusters. I've always been a sucker for almonds, and these clusters are like a little treat! I even enjoyed another bowl that evening (yes, I AM one of those people who sometimes enjoys a bowl of cereal for dinner!)
   





Here are some facts about the Almond & Clusters cereal:
  • 1 cup amounts to 40% of your daily fibre intake (10g)
  • 1 serving (1 cup) consists of your daily-recommended iron intake (great for us anemic individuals)
  • 25% of your calcium value with milk 
  • packed full of other essential vitamins and minerals
According to diabetes.ca, the benefits of eating fibre are through the roof:

"Combats constipation
  • The most undisputed advantage of insoluble fibre is its ability to soften and expand stool volume, speeding up fecal transit and elimination.
  • Commercial preparations such as agar (Agarol) and psyllium (Metamucil) are effective stool bulkers.
Improves control
  • Soluble fibre from legumes, barley, oats, some fruit and vegetables can help regulate blood sugar swings and by lowering serum cholesterol, protect against heart disease.
  • Excess blood fats are possibly reduced by soluble fibres such as pectin, bean and oat gums, and the types in legumes (lentils, chickpeas, navy, pinto or kidney beans).
Heart health
  • May improve by diets rich in fibre, through its cholesterol lowering effects.
Possible protection against cancer
  • In the bowel, bacteria converts fibre into short chain fatty acids, which provide energy for the body and may help protect against cancer."

    Really, what is there NOT to like about this cereal? I have tried the Fibre 1 bars in the past, but I prefer this cereal over those any day. Furthermore, I have eaten other "clean" cereals in the past, but have found without added sugar to my bowl, they do not have the great flavour. Well, that defeats the purpose of 'healthy' now, doesn't it?
  Again, within this "challenge," I was to eat the cereal for a total of one week every morning for breakfast. I was anxious to experience the results and see if it did in fact help with my intestinal issues. Well, I can tell you by the second afternoon, I was already noticing a difference, and by the end of the week...wait, the box didn't even last the entire week because I ate it all by Day Four! I can honestly say it had done wonders for my digestive tract though!

    Overall, I do recommend anyone and everyone to try a bowl of this tasty goodness! As parents, we know how difficult it is to remember that WE  need to are get our nutrients on a daily basis. Between feeding our little ones, driving them to sports or other activities, completing the normal household chores and getting the kids ready for bed, I admit I have even skipped meals simply because I was "too busy with other things." So, with the Fibre 1 cereal, I take those few minutes every morning to sit with my kids before school and enjoy a bowl, knowing at least I am getting a well-balanced breakfast. If your kiddos enjoy it like mine do, that's an even greater bonus!

Any negatives? Although this cereal is not yet available in your local grocery store, I can only guess that it may have a higher price point than your average cereal. However, that is only a small 'price' to pay for better health.

So, now is the really exciting part for all of you! Get your calendars out because from June 3rd through 25th (while supplies last), fans will have the chance to snag one of two coupons redeemable on either July 16th or July 23rd, 2013.  To keep yourself informed of these upcoming events, head over and become a fan of the Life Made Delicious Facebook page here. This is also a great page to find out more about eating healthier and is a great resource for quick and family-friendly meals!





* Disclosure – I am participating in the Fibre 1 Almond & Cluster Delight Cereal blogger campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Kraft Celebration Tour -- Childhood Memories

                                         CHILDHOOD MOMENTS TO LAST A LIFETIME
   
Childhood memories are some of the most precious moments that are etched in our minds. Whether parents, grandparents or close friends, they have all played a vital role in creating these events.
  
   Thankfully for me, when I look back to when I was a child, I can do nothing but smile. 'Today's Special,' 'Under the Umbrella Tree' and 'Polkadot Door' were my television favourites. I was brought up by two loving parents and I had one older sister; over time, a small Jack Russell Terrier was brought into the mix as well. We lived in a newly built house in Dundas, Ontario (outside Hamilton) and that is where I lived until moving out at 20. Dundas was a smaller, quiet town of about 15,000 people at the time. You knew a lot of people, but it wasn't small enough that everyone knew each others business.
   What I loved most about that new survey I lived in was that many young families with children resided there too; especially one close family across the street. That is where I met my best friend, Stacey, when I was only 2 years old. To this day, we are still friends--which is very rare these days! Vivid memories of our friendship that really stand out are: taking dancing lessons for the majority of our youth, making friendship bracelets and trying to sell them to other kids in the neighbourhood (I must have been a business woman from a young age!), 'Skip-Its' (how many of you remember those dangerous toys?!) and finally, walking our 'babies' in strollers up and down our street. We often still laugh at that last memory because we were about 12 years old and still walking our dolls, trying to keep it a secret because we thought we were "too old to still be doing so."
   There was also so much room to roam and explore around our neighbourhood. This was before any and all open fields were turned into rows of new houses like any area today. We could climb trees to see who got the highest, hunt frogs and run for miles in the wilderness of the Dundas Valley Conservation area 5 minutes from our homes. In the winter, the Conservation Area became the hot spot for tobogganing--the hill there was MASSIVE, however, was always such a pain to climb back up after sledding to the bottom! Lol.
   In Dundas, sports were popular in the evenings for many families. I was very active and on average I engaged in about 4 different sports a year (baseball, basketball, and both dancing and swimming lessons). For a few summers, soccer was also added in there as well. I was so lucky because my Dad coached my teams for the majority of my athletic years, until I became a teenager and found everything "boring" (aka. boys became my interest.) Typical teen I guess you could say! Hehe.
    
    A childhood represents pure innocence, where the world is one large playground to explore. Now that I have grown up and become a parent myself, my goal is to help in creating everlasting memories for my children too.
   Our family has recently moved to Port Dover, Ontario (beach town) and I hope for my little ones that they may be surrounded by happiness, great friends, and good health that will shape the adults they will become.




   So what motivated me to reminisce on my past memories as a child? Well, I am introducing this year's Kraft Celebration Tour!  If you are unfamiliar with this contest, both Kraft Canada and TSN have partnered to recognize the passion and community spirit that brings people together and promotes healthy, active lifestyles from all of Canada.  Since 2009, the Kraft Celebration Tour has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians in 40 deserving communities with a total of $1 million toward projects such as skateboard parks, youth centres, renovating sports field or boxing facilities to name a few.
Does your town or city need a much needed upgrade? Well here's your chance to nominate your area by submitting a short essay, along with 5 photos to explain why YOUR community should be a part of the Kraft Celebration Tour and deserve $25,000 to put towards these upgrades. Hurry though, because you only have until JUNE 7TH, 2013 to submit your entry through kraftcelebrationtour.ca or tourneedecelebrationkraft.ca. Become involved and up to date via social media on the Kraft Celebration Tour Fan Page or on Twitter by using #KCT or #tourneedecelebrationkraft. Judges will select 20 finalists by June 30th, and then it's in Canada's hands from then on!

Good Luck & HAVE FUN! xx


 

Disclosure – I am participating in the Kraft Celebration Tour Blogger Campaign. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, May 27, 2013

GUEST POST: Couponing Basics from Coupon Christine



Couponing in Canada: Is the savings and time commitment to learn to coupon worth it?

ABSOLUTELY!

I am sure if you asked any avid couponer in Canada if the savings is worth the investment in time to learn, collect, clip and organize their coupons, they would astoundingly say they wish they had started earlier!  It is true; there is a time commitment with learning to coupon, just like with any other hobby.   You need to learn how to coupon, learn what stores allow you to use coupons, learn how to read and understand the lingo, price matching, scanning code of practice, overage, the list goes on.  This is no different than other skill you are learning – you need to learn the basics before advancing.
When I first started couponing, it took me months to catch on.  Simply, there was an overload of information on Facebook and the internet.  I wished they had workshops in my area; that would have saved me a ton of work hunting around looking for information.  If you are from London and area, Coupon Christine offers extensive 2 hour workshops on learning to coupon regularly.  You can email her at Christine@CouponChristine.com to be included on her email list.

If you are just starting to learn the basics in Canada on couponing, I suggest these 4 tips:
1) Start slowly and read as much as you can! I found myself overwhelmed by the end of the day with the number of bloggers I was following.  Sometimes they would be posting all the same things, other times it was province specific, and often times I was sifting through bloggers who posted 90% external contests to actually find coupon offers.  Find a maximum of 3 coupon bloggers you have found useful and get on their daily email list. At the end of the day you can simply scroll through the posts shared by your favourite blogger sites all the information is streamlined into one email.

2) Get a few coupons from sites such as Save.ca, Websaver.ca, Brandsaver.ca and GoCoupons.ca on products you will be using.  That is the key, do not get into the habit of buying products you do not use in your home ~ that isn’t savings!  Then visit your favourite grocery store and use coupons.  Expect to save anywhere between $5 and $10 on your first shopping trip just by using a few coupons.  Don’t forget you can also price match on top of using coupons to add further savings.   To find out which stores accept coupons and allow price matching, you can check out this easy to read guide provided to us by CouponChristine.com (http://couponchristine.com/store-policies/)

3) Ask Questions!  If you need help, just ask!  The best place to get a response is on Coupon Christine’s Fan Page at www.facebook.com/savingyoucash.  You are guaranteed a response on her page as her and Lily are there to help you!

4) Learning to coupon successfully is something that takes time and patience. Do not feel overwhelmed, do not take 80 coupons on your first shopping trip and try to remain calm at checkout.  Best to go shopping during non-peak hours if you want a better experience and start to learn to coupon with a friend, this way you can share deals and shop together for added enjoyment and encouragement.

Quick FAQ section

1) Can you use coupons when products are on sale?  Absolutely!  That is when you will obtain the best savings.  Coupons will say “not to be combined with any other offer”, this pertains to stacking rules out in the west coast of Canada.  This does NOT mean that you cannot buy products using coupons when they are on sale.  That is not correct.  Ask to speak to a manager if a cashier is not clear about the wording of coupons.

2)  How much can I expect to get FREE using coupons?  This depends from month to month.  But trust me when I say you will be shocked at what you can get for FREE using coupons.  Once you start to follow sites such as CouponChristine.com you will find a lot of great companies want customers to try their new product lines and will over FPCS (free product coupons).  Check out this list of what couponers have received absolutely FREE using coupons - http://couponchristine.com/?p=4988

3) Will stores actually pay me to shop? What is overage?  Overage is when a coupon value is worth more than the product is listed on sale in the store (ex. toothpaste is on sale for .88cents, but your coupon is for $1, where does the .12cents go?).  Walmart and Giant Tiger will pay you the overage towards your other basket purchases in situations like this.  Does it happen a lot? No.  But when it does, it is a couponers dream!  Read this for more information - http://couponchristine.com/?p=8873

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Fitness Success Story


     So I wanted to share my workout success story with all of you for one reason--to motivate others!
At the beginning of my journey, I was comfortable with my weight and for the most part, had accepted my body after giving birth to my two beautiful children; if anything, I would just 'tone' what I already had. With that being said, I hated browsing through my social media hearing about everyone's hard workout that day, friends posting pictures of themselves at the gym or the constant fitness photo quotes spamming my Facebook news feed. This dislike did not come from being jealous of their lifestyle, but it quite frankly became obnoxious and overwhelming. At that time, I just simply wasn't into that type of active life, mainly because my kids and housework left me exhausted on a daily basis!
Ironically, it was during that time that I came across a post on my Facebook news feed that a friend had shared and it truly caught my eye. It was different than most and actually seemed ACHIEVABLE. I researched it a little more and was presented with REAL result photos" that fans had posted. It came from "The Fit Community" and was titled "30 Day Squat Challenge."
It would only take a few minutes out of my day and I was both curious and anxious to see what type of results my body could achieve. So there I went starting my first day of the challenge--from that point on, I promised myself that no matter the burning or pain I felt, I would not stop until the challenge was complete. I then snapped that dreaded "before" picture which I hid very well deep in my phone..haha!
Day One was over and I felt quite a bit of pain in the front of my thighs--strange considering a squat is meant to mainly tone and lift your backside! Anyways, I continued the next day and by day three, I literally could not walk, which was accompanied by so many tears! What was I doing so wrong?! Surely I wasn't in THAT bad of shape. I began asking friends and researching squats on Youtube only to find out I was doing them completely WRONG! So moral of that story is: never jump into something without doing your proper homework!
I began Day Four the following day and considered that previous painful day my 'rest day.' Miraculously (and thankfully) that fourth morning I had woken up in minimal pain! From that point on, I continued the squat challenge, at the same time every morning after eating a big breakfast, right to the end with very little discomfort! A little side note: if mornings do not work with your schedule, try incorporating your little ones (if you have any) into an evening routine. Mornings were hectic for me at times, but I had my two kids doing squats alongside me at 7:30am everyday! If someone saw us, it would be pretty funny to see a six year old and 2 year old attempting their version of a 'squat!' :)
I can honestly say that doing that 30 days opened a door to a NEW me! As mothers, we have a lot resting on our shoulders everyday and can easily become both stressed and depressed. I will admit that I was in a very difficult depression as a result of many factors in my life. I always heard the cliche told to me time and time again, "you need to get out and exercise--you will feel so much better" but as many of us do, I brushed it off with a roll of my eyes. Well, generally cliches are created for one single reason, they are TRUE; how about that!
As I previously said, my workout routine has truly turned my life around! After beginning to do squats, my mindset also began to change. I would wake up in the morning searching through my cupboards for 'healthier alternatives' for breakfast, I started taking vitamins AND I began drinking green tea (my family and friends will attest to my utter disgust for green tea prior to this!)
The feeling you get after exercising becomes an addiction--but a positive one! You want more, so you are continuously searching for ways to better yourself and creating new challenges to conquer.
I did this challenge (and still do) by myself. Some people like a workout 'buddy' or partner to come along as motivation, however, I disagree. I have my own mindset, my own goals and I feel like another person would simply lead me to question myself and compare results. Everyone has their own limits, so stick to what YOU are comfortable with! Also know that it is OKAY to cheat every once in awhile and eat that fatty meal--you are only human. It becomes bad when you don't have the willpower to stop after that!

HERE ARE MY PERSONAL RESULTS AFTER 30 DAYS:


My Fitness Start-up Tips:
1. Start on a day when its beautiful out--open the windows, go outside for a minute, etc. Beginning on a 'dreary' day wont lift your spirits or get you moving.

2. For the first few days, stand sideways in front of the mirror so you can watch yourself doing squats to ensure you are doing the proper form. (see "The Perfect Squat" below for instructions)

3. Be patient! This is one that I had to tell myself almost everyday. Initially I wasn't seeing the results I had hoped (or wished) for, which was very upsetting.

4. Eat a good breakfast.  Without one, you will not have the energy to complete your workout each day, and you are also essentially wasting your time. Drink plenty of WATER as well! I personally do not like the taste of pure water, so I always add a wedge of lemon to my glass.

5. Create a Motivational Board--you can post anything that will keep you focused-- ie. quotes, magazine clippings, photos, charts, countdowns, etc.




The Perfect Squat
Go Low: Drive butt back (as though sitting on a chair), keeping thighs parallel to floor and knees over toes. This may take awhile to achieve, but as the days pass by, it will become easier on your legs. DO NOT OVER-DO IT  AT FIRST!

Get Grounded: Position feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out with your weight on heels. You should be able to wiggle toes.

Open Up: Place hands behind head. Lift chest, and draw shoulders back and down.

Stay in Line: Keep a neutral spine without arching your back; engage your stomach.

So WHAT'S NEXT??? Once you complete the 30 Day Squat Challenge, I can almost guarantee you will want to continue with some other type of routine. For me, I continued with 40 squats a day--4 sets that consisted of 15-10-8-7 and 45 minutes of cardio (which was generally going for a walk while pulling my kids in their wagon--its tough work!) I also researched other challenges online and am about to begin the  "30 Day AB Challenge!"

Feel free to share your success stories! I would love to hear from you! xx




Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tips for Traveling with Children


     As a parent, you know how tough and stressful a long trip with children can be. It can feel more like a chore than a real holiday or vacation! I have spent many road trips in the car with two screaming or bored children, so I have learned a few ways to cope with these situations and help in keeping the kiddos entertained. Hopefully some of these tips can assist you on your next vacay as well!

1. Bring MANY packages of wipes--they are great for any age! From spills to stains, they can quickly clean any area or face. Remember to keep them close up with you in the car, instead of packing in the trunk where you will need to stop to retrieve them (this has happened more than once with us!) ;)

2. Kids always seem to be hungrier during long trips (probably more out of boredom than anything), so packing snacks ahead of time is ideal and prevents you from having to stop for food and saves some cash! Try using a tackle box to store a variety of snacks by placing different ones in each slot.

3. Along with snacks, comes drinks! Freeze juice or water the night before in water bottles or sippy cups. This will allow for a single drink to stay cold and within your child's reach when they need it.

4. If you do not have a problem with your children watching television, I highly suggest investing in a portable dvd player (possibly even two if you have more than one child.) Watching movies or shows will allow you to have some peace and quiet...at least for a little while :)



5. Make your own DIY games for the road. Create a table on paper and draw or write in objects, letters or numbers for the kids to find along the way. You can even make an 'i-SPY' game like the one in the photo! It will keep your little ones entertained for hours. For full instructions, click here.







6. To prepare yourself and keep all items organized, pack emergency 'theme' packs/bags for the family. Some packages may include other activities, first aid necessities, craft supplies or clean up items.








7. Purchase a plastic cereal container to use as a garbage disposal in the car. There is nothing worse than stinky or messy garbage laying all over the interior of your nice vehicle. Place a sand bag or bean bag in the bottom to keep it from getting tossed around in the car while you drive.







 8. Pack your child's clothing in large Ziploc bags for each day of the week to save room. Bring along a few hangers to hang articles of clothing for the next morning if they get wrinkled.

9.  Remember to be patient! You are traveling with kids. They are going to act like kids. They will probably fight, yell, get tired and whine and have to pee often. So try to remain as calm as you can and BREATHE.  Factor in that you will probably need to make a few unscheduled pit stops to allow the kids to stretch their legs and 'reset.' 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tip of the Day #323: Planning a New Garden Design

Defining the best contour for a new or expanded planting bed doesn't have to be a frustrating process of trial and error that leaves spade scars in the lawn. A rubber garden hose is an ideal tool for laying out the lazy curves of a flower garden. Shape and reshape the hose along the ground until you're satisfied with the design!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Robyn's Scentsy Review - Independent Consultant

    I am fairly new to the whole "Scentsy World" and this was my first time trying their products! I always loved the idea of a safe, wick-less alternative to scented candles for adding a nice aroma to my home--mainly because of the house fire in our last home! I swore I would never have another candle present since that was the reason our place went up in flames. Plus, candles are just unsafe around small children, plain and simple.
    Recently, I had been thinking how expensive plug-in fresheners cost and how they not only last a short time, but do very little in freshening up a large space. This is when I turned to Scentsy and spoke to consultant, Robyn Gibson, to discuss my options. She was so helpful and caring to say the least. With such a personal approach, she was able to select a warmer and scents that appealed to me perfectly. Her excellent customer service skills really did shine when I received consistent emails informing me of the status of my order--not something you see too often these days with businesses! A job well done, Robyn! I highly recommend her to everyone reading!

    After making my decision, my goodies arrived a few days later and I couldn't have been more excited! Included in my order was: one warmer, 3 scented bars (Perfectly Pomegranate, Camu Camu, Lime & Kiwi Cantaloupe ) and Robyn even threw in a full-sized tube of Layers hand cream for me! Within 10 minutes, I had set up my warmer with 2 cubes of 'Camu Camu' melting in my living room (this is probably my favourite scent out of the 3 I received, it has a really fresh, summer fruity smell.) I even had a neighbour stop by the other nite who said, "Wow, your place smells amazing! What is that?!"

    Many people may wonder how long the wax cubes last while in the warmer. Well, I would say 2 cubes last about 21-24 hours total. I left my Scentsy warmer on for about 7 hours a day, but you can leave it on for as little or long as you want; think of it like a lamp! Plus, it will NEVER get too hot that it becomes worrisome.

    Overall, my experience with Scentsy was wonderful. From the positive customer service, to a timely delivery, to the actual scented experience, I am more than satisfied.
    Again, I highly recommend speaking to Robyn Gibson about how you can begin enjoying Scentsy--I absolutely guarantee you will not be disappointed!

To get in contact with Robyn, visit:
https://robyngibson.scentsy.ca or you may like her facebook page here to view offers, specials and other products!