Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday (sort of) - New Fridge Got Damaged on Delivery

The guys delivering the fridge didn't properly measure our front door and scraped the fridge on the way in the house.

Our new fridge.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Me, Kids and Money

I am going to be honest here.....

I am not that good with money.

There I said it. It is not that I am terrible with it exactly but more that I don't really know what to do with it and how to make my money really work for me and make me more money. I work, I make money and I even work freelance to make a little extra money but I don't think that my money is really working for me. To be honest, the freelance work is not really where I would like it to be. In my dreams, the freelance work is enough from me to retire from my full time - punch a clock - work. I would love to be writing from my great third floor office (right now the great third floor office is a toy play room for the kids - a work in progress ). I work hard but would love to work better, not harder. I think part of the key to that is making the money that I do have do more things for me.

I love this blog post from Chatelaine....I would love my kids to know about money too!

I think sometimes we forget to talk to our kids about money, to teach them the importance of money, of saving it and how to spend it wisely.  We live in such a got-to-have it culture now a days, our children have everything they need and nearly everything they want. We have become such consumers, we are making our children super consumers. My kids are always wanting something, needing something, desperate to have the next-latest-greatest thing. I hope that through my experiences and our family money experiences that I am able to teach my children to be better savers and smarter spenders than I am.

What techniques or tools to you use to budget or spend wisely? How are you teaching your children to be smarter spenders and savers?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Walking Does the Body Good

I have been trying to get more exercise lately, which to be honest is easier said than done. It can be hard to stay motivated, I am sure you can all relate to that.  Well, since the weather is getting a bit better I finally decided to lace up those old dusty walking shoes and hit the pavement. We have a great area to walk. The waterfront trail is just a few steps from my front door so I hit the trail.

It was a great day for a walk. The sun was shining and the breeze was cool but not too cold. I started out slow because to be honest it had been a while since I actually got out walking. It didn't take long before I was hitting a great stride and moving a good pace. I was trying to remember to do all the things that I should, breathe, stand up straight, good posture, moving my arms and walking at a good pace/stride.

I felt great at the end of the walk. I wasn't out too long, in all about an hour. What I found the most amazing thing was even late at night, the end of my work day, I was still feeling good. Normally I am pretty tired by the time midnight rolls around. I think when it has been a while, you can forget about how great exercise can make you feel, both physically and mentally.

What are your exercise tips? Are you a walker or a runner?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Great View - Inspiration

Great view of Lake Ontario on my morning walk. A great reason to get out there and enjoy the scenery.

A Look Back at March Break

 March break is over and it is time to get back to routine. We struggled with getting ready for school this morning...and yesterday too.  It was hard for all of us, kids and parents. It is amazing how one week of March break can change the routine. We all got used to getting off to a slow start in the morning. I think it might take us all week to get back into a rhythm... or as much of one that we can in our house.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this year's March break. We stayed home and it was great. I loved having time to spend with my girls, even though some days they drove me crazy with the fighting and bickering. Ah sisterly love. I don't usually get a chance to spend much time with my girls during the week because I work evenings. We got a chance to really hang out, we went to the ROM and Disney on Ice Toy Story 3...just Mom and daughter time. So great and so needed.

I had planned on blogging about health and fitness this month specifically and in a round about way I think that is exactly what the focus of the month has been, and so much more. I feel better this month ..better than I have in a long time. There have been some changes at work that have taken a lot of stress off my shoulders and in turn that has allowed me to lighten up, in mind, spirit and body. I enjoy going to work, I am sleeping better ( if there is such a thing when you get home at 1:15 a.m and get up with kids to get them off to school in the morning ) and I think I am a much happier person. I am in a better mood all around and that makes me a better Mom, wife and friend I believe. I have been able to reconnect a bit more with my kids which helps my mind and more importantly my spirit. We have had more days this month to just hang out and watch movies, more days for me to unplug from technology ( like facebook, twitter, email ). It is really important to do that. I want my girls to know they are more important to me than spending time on the computer. I think we all forget sometimes, when we are rushing around, trying to make connections and network online, we need to nourish the real life relationships we have with family and friends. I hope my husband and I can take some time out of our busy schedules to reconnect a bit. We both work crazy schedules, he is days and I am nights. We both work freelance ( him more than me) and that means we are often working from home on the weekends. It can be a struggle to make time for ourselves, we find time to spend with the kids and as a family but that sometimes leaves little time for the couple. Oh well, I will consider that a work in thing at a time.

So while I didn't blog about going to the gym or going for hour long hikes or watching what I ate, I think ultimately I did more for my health this month by nourishing my mind and spirit. It is what is going to help me to get to the gym and get out and walk.

What do you do to nourish our mind and spirit? What kind of things do you do to reconnect with the people you love?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Wind Tunnel

Me Time


Thanks to Crystal Light for sponsoring this post. To learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors, visit

Just saying "Me Time" can get a chuckle out of a lot of Moms. It is something that is hard to do and yet Moms everywhere long for it. Being a Mom is a 24/7 gig. We are the go to person when someone can't find their mittens, or their shoes, or their book, when someone needs breakfast, lunch or dinner and especially when someone has a nightmare or is sick in the middle of the night. There are not too many moments in the day where we Moms get to have some time just for ourselves.

The funny thing is there are days when things are so crazy the only time I get to myself is when I go to the bathroom. I go in and shut the door hoping that no one notices that I am missing. That doesn't last long. Eventually the kids notice that Mom is missing and the search begins. I can hear them screaming my name from every floor in the house. ( We have all had those days right ladies?)

When the kids are at school, sometimes I have a lazy day on the couch. I grab myself a coffee and breakfast after I have dropped the kids off at school and pop a movie in the DVD player. It is truly luxurious. I get to watch a movie, uninterrupted. It is a great way to take time just for me.

When the kids are home, sometimes I make myself what I like to call a fancy coffee. I take the extra time to make myself a cappuccino or a latte. It is something I don't do everyday because it takes a little more time but it is truly enjoyable no matter what is going on around me. In the summer I love to grab a fancy coffee and a book, or my e-reader and sit on the porch while the kids play outside.

Here is the thing, "Me Time" doesn't have to be a long time. Some days "Me Time" can be a few stolen minutes in the bathroom to put on your make-up in peace and quiet  or a long, enjoyable hour in a hot bathtub, reading a book, or watching a movie. The important thing is that you take some time for yourself....period. Some days it is the only thing that saves me from the insanity! Seriously, it is the one thing that helps me remember that I am more than someones mother, that I am a woman, an independent person who needs to remember to nourish mind, body and spirit.

Remember, visit to learn more about how Crystal Light can flavor your day with 30 refreshing flavors. I was selected and paid for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Feeling Sleepy

I don't know about you but I am feeling a little bit sleepy. OK, a lot sleepy. Most days that is the norm for me since I work evenings but today I am finding a lot of other people joining my band wagon. That could have something to do with daylight saving time. We moved the clocks ahead one hour Sunday morning and research finds the first Monday after the time change we are just a lot more tired. We apparently start Monday about with about 40 minutes less sleep than normal. Recent studies have found there's a higher risk of heart attacks, traffic accidents and workplace injuries on the first Monday of Daylight Saving.

And here it is Tuesday and I don't feel anymore refreshed than I did yesterday. Actually, I feel more tired today. I think it is all just adding up.

Here is a bit of unfortunate news when it comes be being sleepy. The brain of a person who does not get enough sleep--in quality and in quantity--is unable to operate efficiently. Health, emotions, memory and more are affected. It's enough to make you want to go to bed early, isn't it?

If you're getting fewer than 8 hours of sleep at night, there's a good chance that stress is involved. For some people, stress keeps them from sleeping as well or as long as they'd like. For others, the busy schedules that don't allow enough time for sleep are the same busy schedules that bring excess stress.

There are things that you can do

*Over the next few days, start going to sleep 10 to 15 minutes earlier, and getting up 10 to 15 minutes earlier as well
*sleep experts say a bedtime routine is also important to help you get a good night sleep.
* unplugg the technology. Try to turn off the phone, blackberry, television at bedtime so that you can settle your mind and get a proper sleep.
*create a cave. Make sure your room is dark and cool because this will help your mind get into that proper state needed for sleep

 I would love to hear about any of your sleep solutions. What do you do to get a good night sleep.

Friday, March 11, 2011

My Frugal Confession

I have debated in my mind about whether or not to write this post... I have an image to uphold after all ( NOT)

So here is the thing. I have been trying to cut back on my spending and stick to somewhat of a budget. I am trying to cut down on the non-essential things that I buy and spend money on and that includes all those beauty things, like hair cuts, nails etc. I know I can almost hear some of you cringe just at the thought of it. Yes cutting back meant cutting back on the visits to the salon and that expensive cut and colour. I have gotten into the habit of going to the salon about every 8 weeks for the works, colour, hi-lites, low-lites and a cut. Anyone out there that goes to a salon knows how pricey that can get. We are talking about $170 per visit. Ouch.

Being on a budget means spending that kind of money on hair is not an option...sooooooooooooooo I had to come up with plan B since my hair had gotten longer than I like, the style had grown out and I was showing some seriously scary roots. Here is where my confession comes in. A few weeks back I decided to throw caution to the wind and go to one of those no appointment necessary hair cutting places. My choice was First Choice.  I was a little worried. It had been years since I had gone to one of those places. I had had some bad experiences in past, a couple of good experiences but the bad out weighed the good to be honest. I was nervous so I took my 5 year old along for moral support.

I didn't go for too fancy a cut. I took a picture from a magazine to show what I was going for. In the end it turned out OK (no pictures please...OK maybe later) It was looked OK. Not exactly what I wanted but all in all it wasn't bad. I could still go out in public at least but I wasn't done yet. There was still the little problem of those roots so I hit the near by Shoppers Drug Mart. I grabbed a box of colour, a nice brown. My 5 year old daughter helped to pick the colour and we headed home to fix my colour.

So here is how it all came out ... the hair cut cost me a little more the $15 ... let's say a little more than $20 with tip and the box of colour cost me $8 dollars. So for about $30 I got a little refresher on my hair. I still plan on going to the salon but just not as often. So that was $30 rather than $170 .This was a great solution to keep me on budget but still have a decent hair style BUT I am not ready to give up the salon completely.  I just won't be going as often.

What are you willing to give up or put on hold for the sake of a budget?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Article I Enjoyed


I think I am going to get this book for my kids. I love what Weird Al says in this article. It is so interesting to read how a teacher told him he was good in math and drafting, he was artistic and he should take those skills to become an architect. On face value that would be a great profession but not his passion. Weird Al  wanted to a writer and illustrator for MAD Magazine. How many times has a child been discouraged to follow their passions.

I hope I am strong enough as a parent to help my children follow their passions and to grow up to be anything they want.  I want them to be happy... that's all... just like Weird Al's dad wanted for him.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Motivation Monday - Feeling Inspired

So it is Monday and ya know what? I am actually feeling inspired.

I was driving in to work tonight thinking about all the things I need to do, the projects on my plate right now, and you know I am feeling pretty good about everything. Strange really because lately I have been feeling  less than inspired. Call it the winter blues, the February Blahs, or just plain old laziness, February was just  not the most productive month for me. I had lots of plans but most just didn't pan out for me. And for some reason today things got a little more clear, I got a little more focused. Maybe it was the sunshine today? I hear sun and a little Vitamin D can do that.

I have some exciting writing opportunities ahead of me this month. Some great articles too! Writing is fun when you really like what you are writing about. Simple really.

It feels good to be starting the month on a positive note. I have lots of things that I want to get done this month. I am continuing to get organized in my life, in my home, so I am still working on a number of projects that I started and blogged about in January, I am still working on building on the relationships in my life (February) and now this month I am hoping to talk health, fitness and over all better living. I might be too ambitious this month but that is OK. I am going to do what I can and continue to move forward.  I am going to continue to work smarter, not harder.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Weekend Fun

I had a great day with my girls today. We decided to go catch a movie. After much debate we decided on Rango, a great movie, funny and lots of fun. The best part of the movie was that I actually didn't have to pay for any of it. My youngest won 2 child movie combo gift certificates and then the kids treated me with movie gift cards they got for Christmas. Nice.

After the movie the had a blast in something called The Hurricane Simulator.

It was a great day. It is so important to have a girls only day!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lost Focus

I have lost focus - Does this ever happen to you?

I had high hopes for blogging in February but it all got derailed somewhere along the way. It was a tough month for me, what about you?

I think I had finally come off the rest and relaxation  and high of my Christmas vacation with the family. We were in Florida as usual and it was a great time to rest and spend time with my entire family. I think the February Winter Blues had finally set in. You know what I mean - that overall blah feeling from too much cold, too much snow and lack of sunshine.

I had big plans for writing about relationships in February but sickness, work stress and overall blah feelings got in the way. I still plan on working on improving the quality of my relationship.

I am hoping this month to continue to improve my blogging, continue to write more freelance and work on this months theme. I am thinking fitness and overall health .