Sunday, July 6, 2014

Summer Reading For Your Soul



Summer is here and that means summer reading!  I don’t always have a lot of time to read these days but when summer comes along we do spend a little bit of time up at the cottage and I always have a book for the dock. This summer I am focusing on a few books from my online circle of friends and books that make my life lighter, brighter and more abundant. 
One thing to note here is that when I say read sometimes I mean listen. I have a relatively long commute to work every day. Sometimes it can take me an hour and a half to two hours to get from my house to my office.  I decided a while ago that I needed to use that time to improve my life rather than just get angry while being stuck in traffic so I use the time to LISTEN to audio books.  It is a great way to spend my commute time because it helps me stay sane while driving in bumper to bumper traffic. 
Here are a few books on my summer reading/listening list.



Money Love by Kate Northrup
This book is still in my NEED-TO-GET-TO pile. I follow Kate on Twitter and Facebook and enjoy her philosophy about money and finance. I am looking forward to reading her book. It is all about charting your own map to financial freedom! 

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor and Before Happiness by Shawn Achor
I loved both of these books. Both deal with happiness, how to get happy and how being happy benefits your personal and work life. It had me rethinking a lot of things in my life.

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown 
Brene Brown is a leading expert on shame, authenticity, and belonging. Be sure to check out her TED Talks, she is amazing. In this book she shares ten guideposts on the power of Wholehearted living. It is a way of engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

I listened to this book for hours on my commute to work. It really got me thinking about how I talk to myself and how I interact with others.  It is worth a read or a listen to for sure. 
This one is on my must-read or rather must-listen-to. I have tried meditation. It is still a work in process. I always feel better, more focused and thankful after meditating but I feel like I am still learning to be still and focused. I am hoping this book will help me learn to find success in meditation. There are real mind, body, spirit benefits to meditation so I am looking forward to this book. 
This was a quick listen for me. It is a fun book about helping readers (listeners like me) build habits that lead to a happier and more productive life.

I would love to hear what you are reading right now or have on your must-read list. I enjoy anything that is about improving my life, helping me become happier, healthier and more productive!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Three Tips to Help You Life a Happy, Positive Life






Positivity is positively positive. 


Life is busy these days. I am the first one to admit that I struggle some days to get everything done. I often long for more hours in the day only to realize adding more time to my day probably won’t help. It really is all about working more efficiently and effectively with the time I have. It is about my state of mind. Thinking and acting positively makes life a lot more livable than thinking negatively. Being positive makes me feel better, happier really, and it makes me more effective, efficient and productive.  You know what else it does? It helps me spread the wealth and send out a positive vibe to others. You see I truly believe positivity is contagious, just like laughing or yawning.

I am the first one to also admit that it can be hard to stay positive. It is something I have been working on. It isn’t work really but it is all about improving my mind and spirit. I am always reading and listening for ways to grow and gain knowledge about living a better, happier, more abundant life.  So I am always looking for ways to be more positive.  Here are a few things I find help me stay positive and spread positivity. These are easy, simple things everyone can do, especially your children!



    1.Smile

“Peace begins with a smile.” — Mother Teresa



Smiling is so simple. It is one of those small but mighty things you can do. When you smile it just makes you feel happier (I think).  Research shows there are many benefits to smiling, including  helping to reduce the level of stress-enhancing hormones like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine and helping to increase the level of mood-enhancing hormones like endorphin (among other things). Let’s face it smiling just feels good and when you smile at others it makes them feel good too! I make it a point to smile at as many people as I can, making sure to smile at everyone I see when I am at work. 

  
Action Step: I challenge you to smile. Let’s pick a number, say five. I challenge you to smile at five people every day and then every week add another five people a day and see how many you can actually smile at.  Keep increasing the number, often! 

  2. Say Hello!
 
This really goes along with smiling. I try to smile and then say hello to anyone I walk past in my neighbourhood or when I am walking through the parking garage tunnel at my work. It is a simple thing but means so much.  I always think it is nice because it is an acknowledgement of the other person; it is all about being friendly and throwing out my positivity to the Universe. 

Action step: I challenge you to say hello when you are smiling at people.  Pick a number of people to say hello to every day and see if you can meet that challenge.  It is all about spreading your wealth of positivity. 


     3. Get Grateful


"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."-- Oprah Winfrey



Being grateful is so important to happiness and a positive attitude. I truly believe you need to be grateful for all the goodness in your life right now in order to welcome new goodness into your life.  There is a lot of research out there on the benefits of being grateful. It helps to activate the positive emotion centers in the brain for starters. Regular practice of gratitude can change the way your brain neurons fire into more positive automatic patterns.



Action Step: Keep a gratitude journal. Every day write down at least one thing that you are grateful for in your life. Keep it up for 21 days. Twenty one days is the length of time it takes most people to make something a routine/habit.  If you want to take it a step further share your gratitude with others. I like to post about what I am grateful on Facebook and Twitter because it helps me stay accountable and it also helps me truly see the blessings in my life.





Tell me about how you get positive? Share your tips and tricks to being positive and sharing your positivity with the world.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Funny Summer Read

How Not to Calm a Child on a Plane by Johanna SteinIf you are looking for something funny to read this summer I have the book for you!

My very funny friend, Johanna Stein,  penned a new book How Not To Calm A Child On A Plane (and other lessons in parenting from a highly questionable source)



I have to say this is a really funny book about being a mother but parenting in general.  Johanna gets real on a number of topics, including pregnancy, birth and relationships. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. I also found myself agreeing with her or recognizing elements of my life and parenting in her book! We seem to share a lot ideas and experinces in common ( of course I am not going to say what which ones!).

So do yourself a favour and pick up Johanna Stein's book. You will get a good laugh!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Proud Mama ... and Proud Kid






This was a proud moment for me... and my youngest daughter. All the kids at her school had the opportunity to try out for ball throw and long jump. My daughter discovered that long jump was not really for her but when it came to ball throw she did really well. In fact, she ended up making the final cut. She was one of two girls in all of grade three to move on to the area wide track and field meet. 

Awesome... right?

Well, she was more than a little excited to be going to the meet. The grade three girls were first up on the day of the track and field meet. She tossed the ball toward the target, hoping to do her best. She did her best and in the end she finished 1st of all the grade three girls at the track and field meet. 

We couldn't be more proud! She was thrilled with her effort and loved her first place ribbon.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Family Time... Is Quality Time

 This weekend the kids and I  got a chance to travel with my husband. To be honest it wasn't really that far for us. We traveled to Niagara Falls to spend the weekend with my husband who was working/appearing at the Niagara Falls Comic Con. Normally my husband travels to the comic conventions by himself but since we were only about an hour away we thought it would be fun to go and hang out as a family.




On Saturday, while my husband was working at the show, the girls and I took a walk to see the Falls and spend some time together.  Of course, the kids wanted to stop for one of their latest favourite at Starbucks, the double chocolatey chip frappuccino! We sat for a while and chatted. The sun was shinning and weather was just beautiful.  



 After my husband finished up for the day, we went for dinner together and then we got in the car for a night drive by the Falls and along the Strip! The kids love to watch the people, see all the lights and look at the Falls all a glow with coloured lights.


 We are like many other families these days and often find ourselves so busy. We are busy working. We are busy with family activities and kid activities, like dance and soccer. We often struggle to find time to just spend time together, as a family. 

It was a great few days. We laughed a lot. We ate together and talked. We shared some great time together.

What do you do to reconnect with your family? How do you find time for family in your busy life? Share in the comments


Thursday, June 5, 2014

What I Am Grateful For

There is so much of our every day lives that we take for granted. It is often these things that make our lives better, easier and more live-able. 

Two weeks ago I hurt my left foot and ankle. 



It was incredibly painful. I ended up at the hospital and they took X-Rays. It turned out not to be broken and they figured it was sprained. They sent me off with crutches and my foot in a tensor. It was still painful. I ended up home from work for two days sitting with my feet up. All good! It was all good except when I had to get up the fifteen steps to the second floor of our house, where the bathroom and bedroom are. How the heck was I going to get up there? Well, I ended up crawling up the stairs and sliding down on my bum. So fun! 


Like so many things in our lives, we don't truly appreciate our health and a healthy working body until  that is not the case. We get up every day, slide on our shoes and head off, walking, into the world (or running, biking, scootering or skipping) often never really giving it a thought. Well, that is what I was like until the simple act of walking was extremely painful. Every single step I took hurt. Today, my foot and ankle are almost completely healed largely in part to my Chiropractor. You see I have seen a Chiropractor for years and last week when I went for a regular adjustment I told him about my foot situation. He took a look ( a painful look for me) and discovered it was not a sprain but there were several bones in my foot that were jammed. The only way to fix it was to complete several adjustments. The adjustments were very painful... are painful... but worth it in the end.

So today I am grateful for my feet. I am grateful for a healthy, moving body. Today I will honour my body.

What are you grateful for today?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Where Is The Party?



Here is another photo I discovered today! Love this one

A Whole Lot of Style


Wow, I found this photo while dumping photographs to my dropbox. I love the look in this picture. She is sporting her Dads hat!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Four Gifts

This will get you thinking.

I think as parents we over think things. We stress about things that in the end don't really matter and what really matters often slips through our fingers while we are worrying about life.






 Four gifts.... to give your children and yourself:
1. Time - give it liberally.
2. Education
3. Spiritual
4. Love - the other three pale in comparison 


"Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand" 
Mother  Teresa

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What I Am Grateful For


I had the opportunity to spend the weekend up north. I took my girls to the cottage this weekend. It is our family cottage. There are always lots of people and this past weekend was no exception. My parents, both my sisters and my brother-in-law also joined us in cottage country. 

I am grateful for the time to slow down, disconnect and just spending time in real life with the people in my life. 

And then there is this view.....No word needed.

What are you grateful for?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What I Am Reading Right Now



Here is what I am reading right now. I can't wait to share my thoughts on it when I am done. I am a few pages in and so far it is a juicy read.

Living Local

There is nothing better than discovering great local gems in your community. And what is even better is re-discovering the beauty of a local spot. This week I had the opportunity to join my daughter's great three class field trip. We spent the day at the Royal Botanical Gardens. The rain held off and we had a great day learning about and exploring nature.


 The kids were great. They just soaked up the knowledge. Along the way we got to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature, including lots and lots of birds. They were doing a lot of talking. We are smack dab in the middle of bird migration in Southern Ontario.

The kids got to see a number of little creatures. There were squirrels, chipmunks, birds and even a water snake.  The kids held out handfuls of sunflower seeds to feed the birds, some were even eating out of their hands.


The RBG is a wonderful place to visit with the whole family. You can take in a program or just explore the grounds and gardens. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Loving Local

Cappuccino crafted by Jimmy @ Tamp


I just love, love, love this.  

The talented owner and barista Jimmy Zereneh crafted this delish cup of coffee. A cappuccino to be exact. Jimmy owns and operates TAMP . It is a gem. Almost a hidden gem. It is a little coffee shop in a little out of the way location in downtown Burlington. It is small but mighty. I can honestly say I have never had a bad cup of coffee there. Today I had coffee with a friend and it was great! The company was great, the location was great and the coffee was fantastic.

There is nothing better than supporting local businesses. Could we have gone to Starbucks? Sure. I always feel it is important to support small, local businesses and entrepreneurs. They are the life blood and back bone of any great community. If you don't  support local businesses they will just disappear. 

So, here is my challenge to you....go out, find a great local business and buy something from that business just once this week!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Fury...and Furry .... Dictator




She really knows how to use those puppy dog eyes. She is sweet, there is not doubt about that BUT she has a problem. Or maybe I should say I have a problem? 

I think she thinks she is the boss of me!

Yup, she pushes me around. She whines at me to go outside. She whines at me to come in. She whines at me to curl up with me on the couch. She even paws at me to get my attention if I have my laptop on my lap because she wants me to make room for her on my lap.  That is not all. 

She whines at me for food. 

She would take any food I am eating but she has a special affinity for dog treats, mostly Milk Bones. She actually knows what the box looks like and when she sees it sitting on the kitchen counter she really gets serious. In all fairness she has an addiction. She is addicted to Milk Bones. 

She needs doggy rehab!

She doesn't know it yet but I am taking back the control. I am working on an intervention for her. It is going to be tough. Tough for her? NO! Nope! NO WAY! 

It is going to be TOUGH for me!   

I am not sure I can stay strong enough to help her kick the habit. Right now there are not Milk Bones in the house and it isn't pretty BUT we are sticking to the plan. 

  
 And she isn't happy about.....

To be continued......




Friday, March 21, 2014

Getting Creative



Image courtesy of Evgeni Dinev/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net


"Creativity is not in competition with anyone else or anything else - it is happy just to be what it is"


I recently took my girls to the book store. They both had gift cards they wanted to use. Whenever I go into Chapters or Indigo I LOVE to head over to the clearance/bargain books section. To be honest, it is where I like to go to browse for hidden gems and I am often successful. It is where I found Mike Dooley's book Choose Them Wisely. I picked it up for $4.99. Great price! If you have never read this book you need to pick it up. It is a collection of messages from the Universe or inspirational quotes, passages and mantras. I LOVED it and often pick it up as a fresher. I even have many, many pages in the book dog eared or marked so that I can go right to them when I need inspiration. If you are not familiar with Mike Dooley and his website TUT.com  you should check him out and sign up for his messages from the Universe. They are emails that come daily to your inbox and they are truly inspirational.


So this time while I was cruising the bargain book shelves I noticed this book..



It is almost like the Universe sent this book to me. You see I am working on launching something pretty cool, I think. It all has to do with getting creative. It is all about creating amazing content and creating an amazing life.

 STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS VERY SOON!

So naturally I snapped up this book. It is small and mighty! There some amazing statements, quotes, tips and tricks to find your way to creativity. A real gem for sure.

It was the right book at the right time for me. A message from the Universe for sure. 


Have you ever had a message from the Universe speak right to you? Have you ever had something happen to you when the time was just perfect... exactly what you needed at the time you needed it? 


Sunday, March 16, 2014

I. AM. BEAUTIFUL.

Take a minute to watch this great video put together by the fantastic Laura Berg of My Smart Hands. 


Some really fantastic women took part in this project.





Saturday, March 15, 2014

This just makes me DANCE!!

This is the song from the 2014 Joe Fresh commercials. 

It is so catchy!


Anna Ihlis "Dance" official video




Friday, March 14, 2014

Wise Words





“No one can make you feel inferior without 

 your consent.”

 
Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Are You Happy?

Are you happy?



I LOVE this song. It just makes me feel happy. Does it make you feel happy too? 

But does feeling happy really mean you are happy? 

I think being happy is a complex thing.... it is simple and yet not all at the same time.  I think that we sometimes fall into the trap of what should make us happy. I mean that many people think the big PERFECT house, the perfect yard, a car, vacations, the perfect child/children and well, perfection, are all the things that represent a happy life. Let's face it, go on to Facebook or Pinterest and you will see status updates and photos showing people living what appears to be a perfect life. Is it real? That is a good question. Does it mean these people are happy? I don't know. Maybe.

I really think being happy means finding what makes YOU happy. It isn't about what other people are doing. It isn't about what other people have but what really makes you happy. You can't compare yourself to anyone else. It has to be about you. As the title of James Alchuter's books says "Choose Yourself", you have to choose yourself and be happy with what you are and have in order to be truly happy in my opinion. 

And that is the key to happiness I believe. It is learning to be grateful for everything you have RIGHT NOW! The only way to move toward better and brighter things is to see how your life is truly filled with great things now and by doing that more great things will be drawn into your life.

Action For Happiness recently posted a piece on the 10 Keys to Happier Living. Among the ten keys is taking a positive approach to life. Positive emotions - like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride -  do more than just make you feel great at the time. Recent research shows that regularly experiencing them creates an 'upward spiral', helping to build our resources.

Am I happy? I am happy but there are still things I am not happy with. It isn't that I am unhappy. I love my family, my husband and my children. I love that I get to create content and write every single day. I am learning to be happy about the things that I want to change. It is a journey. The path to complete happiness is never ending in my opinion. You take steps every single day along the path. It isn't about perfection and I often have to remind myself of that. Happiness is being grateful for everything life hands you every single day. 

 
What makes you Happy? 



What are you grateful for today?


Monday, March 10, 2014

March Break... there is excitement in the air





Today is the first official day of March Break for my kids. 

"WOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHHHHooooooooooooo",  screamed the children.

OK, that is from me too! 

This is my week to sleep in. And I am loving it already. As I have mentioned more than a few times, I work late. I don't get home from work until about 1:15 a.m. When the kids are in school it means getting up early in the morning to get the kids up and out the door for school. I usually only get about four to five hours of sleep most nights, except during March Break and summer vacation. Those days I get to sleep in and it is glorious. Yes, glorious. My children are old enough now to be self sufficient in the morning. They have been taught well. They have been taught not to wake up Mom early. They get up in the morning and are allowed to go downstairs to watch a movie and have breakfast. They usually get at least one movie in before the need to get me up. That need usually comes in the form of a fight (or more like bickering).


Today was a lazy first day. The kids (and Mom) stayed in their PJ's until late in the afternoon. There has already been a long list of movies watched and many more still to come. 

Tomorrow, the kids are going to go to a local shop for a gardening workshop. They are very excited. There will also no doubt be a lot of hanging out with friends this week. 

Here are a few of my March Break survival tips....

1. Be Flexible
I try not to plan too much for the week. This is for two reasons; my sanity and the kid's sanity. I am still working this week so I don't want to have too much on my plate during the day. I also think that if we do too much then the kids burn out or melt down and then no one has fun. I like the kids to have a chance to unwind during March break.

2. Have Fun
This is so important. The whole point of planning activities for the kids is so that everyone has fun. It is a chance for the kids (and Mom) to let loose.

3. Get Active
OK, I know this is not exactly what we did today. Today was all about tips number one and two; having fun and being flexible! There is always so much to do this week that gets everyone outside. Today the weather where we live was beautiful. After spending much of the day on the couch, the kids did get outside to scooter, hang with friends and enjoy the sunshine. There is nothing like fresh air to keep everyone happy and healthy.


What are you and your kids doing this March Break? 

What are your March Break survival tips? I would love to hear them, please leave me a comment and share! 




Monday, February 10, 2014

Spain... Part 2

Here are a few other shots from our trip to Madrid, Spain in December. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
















Sunday, February 9, 2014

Be My Valentine

Do your kids send Valentines to friends?

My kids love to write out a bunch of Valentine's Day cards  and hand them out to their friends BUT this year I discovered something a bit more fun.

PercyVites.com offers an online version of the Valentine. Actually, the site offers more than just a Valentine card, you can create online video invitations and greeting cards.



BUT... right now Percyvites.com is offering you an opportunity to try it out for free. You can create a Caillou Valentine's Day online card for FREE!'




 Here is a look at my first attempt. It was actually very easy.




Here is the cool thing... right now you can actually create this Caillou video Valentines Day card for FREE! Yup, you read that right. It is FREE!  And you know what that means....I am going to create a few more of these. To be more clear, I am going to get the kids to create a few. It is that EASY!



I was asked by PercyVites to review the site. I was not paid for my post. The opinions in this post are my own.