Simple Tips – Overwhelm and Practicing Gratitude!

We all have those days and weeks where we cannot seem to get ahead! We are literally running from one thing to the next. One step forward and two steps back as the saying goes. The walls are closing in and you barely have time to pee! Well, you get the point!
We can let it consume us or we can accept it and embrace it. We can grab this feeling by the ‘nads and take control. This particular night instead of stressing about what I had not got accomplished I decided to be happy with the many tasks that I did get done. I looked back on my day at all of the things that I had to be grateful for like my jobs, family and friends. I talk more about it here in this vid.!

What do you do when you are feeling overwhelmed with life?

Simple Tips: Overwhelm and Practicing Gratitude

Seasonal Confusion

We often get asked about how to deal with clothing. You see where we live we have 4 distinct seasons; some of which seem to be much longer than others. Ah-hem WINTER! So… just when we think that our cold, winter season is over we will have a huge snowstorm. We don’t even bother putting away the winter clothes until the end of May! If we try to sneak our sandals out of hibernation it usually bites us in the @$$! The joke in Alberta is, if you don’t like the weather just wait five minutes.

So… we basically have our winter coats/parkas, spring and fall jackets plus hoodies and sweaters for chilly days/evenings. Gloves, toques, scarves, gloves, mittens, boots (winter and rain), shoes (indoor and outdoor) clutter INVADE our entryways and closets! The solution is not as easy as just picking up and moving to some tropical island where all you have to worry about is which bikini to dawn today. I wish! So what do we do?

Think of your closets as prime real estate. There is no reason that when it is 30 degrees Celsius you should be digging through your heavy sweaters to find your favourite capris! First of all I like to take an inventory of what I have about every 6 months. Chances are you will find items that you no longer wear, that are ripped/stained, that you have replaced with something better, or doesn’t fit you any longer. Put these things in either a donate, consign or trash pile. Now there are several ways to organize what you have. If your closet is big enough. Place your out of season clothing to the back of the closet and your clothing appropriate for the season in an easily accessible place.

Another thing you can do is place all out of season items in clear flat bins either under the bed or in a storage area. Clear bins allow for an easy visual of what is inside without any searching. These do not need to be huge bins. Extra large bins are: a) difficult to carry as they are extremely heavy and b) difficult to easily identify what is in them.

I actually have specific areas in my closet and dresser drawers for items. I do not like to pack up and unpack seasonal clothing at all. I have a very small closet as well as two dressers. When the drawers begin to get too full and the closet is packed then I reassess what I have and what I need. Remember you only really use 20% of what you have 80% of the time! A great way to determine what you should keep is to place the items to the front of the closet after you wear it. You will soon identify the clothing that you don’t wear at all as it will all be at the back of the closet! Another thing you can do is turn the hanger the opposite direction as the rest once you have worn it. Reevaluate a few months later to see what hasn’t been touched.

Here’s how I separate my clothing:
a drawers for pajamas
a drawer for nursing scrubs
a drawer for workout clothing and summer shorts (they don’t take up much room)
a drawer for t-shirts and long sleeve cotton shirts
In my tall dresser I have:
sock/nylons drawer
undergarment drawer
heavy sweater drawer
In my closet:
I hang all of my capris on a hanger like this.

Jeans and pants hang in my ‘prime’ location as I use them the most
My nicer shirts hang next to the jeans/pants
Sweaters, jackets, cardigans I don’t use as often so they are further back in the closet
Skirts are last because I wear them the least and they all fit on another hanger like the one above

I also have a teeny tiny closet at my front entry way. Here is where I keep ONLY in season coats and either splash pants or snow pants.

In the Winter time I have, winter coats, snow pants, boots, and an easily accessible bin full of mittens/gloves, toques and scarves at my front entry. This way everyone can grab what they need.
In summer/spring time I have lighter jackets, splash pants, rubber boots and shoes at the front entry way. So what do I do with the out of season stuff? I do not have a big mud room or another closet at my back door so the coats go in my storage room (I have a hanging bar across one whole side for this purpose!) Also I have a basket for each person in the house that houses their winter accessories (toques, gloves/mittens, and scarves). See picture below.

New and amazing storage for baskets, boots, shoes that hubby MADE for me!!!

Another reason why I do not like putting my clothes ‘in storage’ is simply because it is a lot of work. I may not get to keep as many clothes as some, but I have them all easily accessible; not in bulky bins where they get all wrinkly and need re hung and re washed.

What it comes down to is doing what is right for you and your family. I strongly suggest you reevaluate your wardrobe at least twice per year and keep only what you really love and need. Just remember what is really important!

‘Do not trouble yourself much to get new things, whether clothes or friends…. Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.’ ~Henry David Thoreau

If you are needing any assistance organizing your seasonal items or wanting a system in place please contact us!

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Empower Them

I am learning that nagging the kids to clean up really doesn’t work. When I ask them to “clean up your room”, I am ignored or forced to listen to the whining. Let’s face it, if someone gave you a vague task like “Get a new client” or “Write a new program” and we had no experience in doing so, we would not know where to start. A mentor or supervisor or instructor has given us the specific steps we need to take to accomplish this task. At the very least, we’ve had life experiences which help us to figure out a way to get started.

It’s the same way with the kids. We need to empower them with the tools they need to accomplish the task.

For example, this weekend, instead of saying “clean up your room”; I gave them specifics. For my son:

  • clean up the lego on the floor
  • put the magnets away
  • put the toy guns, soldier items away
  • tidy the top of the foot locker

He knew where these things go and what my expectations were. So, he set about doing these specific items. He did it at his own pace; even spent time playing with some of these as he was putting them away. It didn’t matter, there was no “agenda” and I’d rather he do it at his own speed rather than mine. I did not hover and he completed the tasks as I asked.

For my daughter:

  • hang up her clean laundry
  • tidy the top of her dresser
  • put away her magazines & books
  • pick stuff up off the floor

Again, she had a specific list. The lists weren’t long and I believe that they felt like these wouldn’t take all that long so there was no whining. I simply asked them to do these items before they continued with the rest of their day. My daughter is suddenly becoming much more mature and capable as a young woman (she’s 13 in a couple weeks!). She went above and beyond in her room!

When you empower the kids to do things on their own and in their own way, they feel the reward of a job well done. As she tidied the areas in her room, she cleaned and reorganized as well. I did not ask her to do this. She has just seen the value of being able to find things now in our home (most days! 🙂 ), so she wanted the same in her space. Her grandma is a big influence on her and has shown her how to clean as well as I like to explain what we’re doing for organizing jobs as well. This was the incredible result of all her hard work:

There are still going to be days when they whine and I yell. We’re getting there. There are days when it’s really difficult to let them do it their way rather than mine. It keeps getting better and better though. The more I empower them to do things on their own; the more they are up to the challenge.

Do you give your kids specific tasks for their jobs around the house? Do you have tricks to share? Let us know in the comments!

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Hotel Sex

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Yep, I said it…the “S” word…oh my….it’s a controversial topic it seems. Personally, I think, if people talked about “IT” more, there would be less cheating, less “hang-ups” and waaaay more healthy relationships! If we made “IT” a priority and not an obligation in our marriages, it would change our family life. I know this because I’ve done it and “IT”…often….

So many of us only have “good” sex when we go away to a hotel. Which is only a few times a year! (eek! maybe even only ONCE a year…I don’t even want to think about that!) We barely touch each other at home; we’re just too “busy”. Intimacy? That was for when we didn’t have kids! How many of you each “do your own thing” in your marriage? Or, worse, don’t do anything at all? Your lives revolve around the kids and work and the house and that’s about it. YOU are not a priority and frankly, neither is your marriage. I know this. Been there, done that. Still there sometimes. I’ve heard (and SAID) all the excuses why this happens:

  • “The kids are so much work”
  • “I’m too tired at the end of the day”
  • “I just want to veg and watch tv”
  • “I don’t feel like it”
  • “I am not sexy enough” or “good enough”
  • “When I lose weight, we’ll do it more”

Friends…they are EXCUSES. I just couldn’t take it anymore – the excuses caused US and ME nothing but heart-ache. Yes, it still happens sometimes, but not as often because I really did not want to wake up and say, “Who the heck am I? Who is this person in my bed?” (If he’s still IN the bed!)

So, we started talking. Yes, talking. Actual quality time talking about what we dream about, what we need, what we love, what we don’t love. Not about kids and bills and work and CRAP! About US! About ME! About HIM! We spent REAL time together with the 7 Days of Sex Challenge that was more than the sex. It was about real intimacy. It was a challenge to spend focused, open time together! This challenge opened the doors to our beginning to understand what WE are as a couple. We’ve come a long way baby! ;P

Oh yes, I hear the excuses again: “We don’t have time!”  “The kids are always around” “He doesn’t understand me” “I’m exhausted”. Yeah, well, keep making excuses and you’ll wake up one day when the kids don’t need you anymore and you’ll wonder what the heck happened….

STOP IT! Please! Take IT away from the HOTEL! Make IT a priority! IT is more than sex. IT is:

  • Kissing him passionately in the hallway while the kids are watching TV and continuing on to the laundry – that’s going to make him think!
  • Talking about your dreams and listening to his while you’re driving and the kids are plugged into their DS games or a movie
  • Sneaking up behind him and throwing your arms around him while he’s making coffee
  • Sending him a sexy text message in the middle of the day (or email or even a note in his lunch or in the truck)
  • NOT doing HOUSEWORK when the kids are away at sleepovers! What are you thinking!!?? This confuses me when you post that on FB?? Get off FB and away from the vacuum and get BUSY!! Take every opportunity that comes your way. You don’t know when it will come around again! Walk out to the garage in nothing but a housecoat – you’ll get his attention!

  • Taking a holiday day or sick day and STAY in BED with each other! You are allowed you know!
  • Snuggling up on the couch and watching TV if you must – rub or scratch his back while he sits beside you
  • Exercise together and play footsies while you’re supposed to be trying to do sit-ups! LOL!
  • Make it a priority to have a conversation for even just 15 minutes every day. You can find 15 minutes. Even if it has to be on the phone. And it can’t be about the kids, bills or the van broke down or anything like that. REAL conversation
  • Find a way to have a date night (click for ideas) – even if it’s just a candlelight dinner in the kitchen after the kids are in bed. Try something!
  • Do SOMETHING together. Anything. Even just once a week or even once a month. Be a TEAM
  • Lock the door and be very quiet if you have to! 😉 5 minutes if you have to! Get IT where you can, whenever you can!!

And the other thing – YOU have to start. Don’t wait for him. Take the lead. Tell him what you want. Tell him what you need. Don’t whine about it, just have a conversation. If he doesn’t hear you the first time, try again. Try something other than talking if that’s not working. Surprise him! Start something, even if it’s just a back rub on the couch. Pay attention to him. Pretty soon, he’ll pay attention to you too.

We’re still learning. It is not easy and it does require work. And yes, you will have bad times and heartaches – you are both human beings and nothing is ever perfect.

Most of all, it requires you making “US” THE priority; over the kids and over work and over everything else. The US is that important. If IT meant enough for you to say I DO, then it means enough to work at IT….Way, waaaaaay beyond the Hotel Room…

Need some ideas for reconnecting with your spouse? Check out our Simply Sexy Date Night Package – it’s FULL of ideas are resources!

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[By the way…I highly recommend everyone to watch the movie “Fireproof” as a couple – it will change your relationship]

Simple Tips – Bread Tag Cord Organizers

Do you ever get frustrated will all of of your cords plugged into your power strips? You sit there tugging on the cords, hoping that you have the correct one to unlug. Then you unplug the one that you think is your speaker and it ends up being your router! Suddenly your family is shouting at you because they have lost internet and were in the middle of, “a VERY important level” of their game!

I have been collecting bread tags for this very purpose of using them to organize my several cords that are in a tight space under neath of my computer desk. I really like that I can quickly see exactly which cord belongs to which electronic!

Great re purposing idea for labeling cords!

Here are a whole bunch more tips on what you can do with those bread tags from Whole Living Daily!

Gramma’s Wisdom

I originally wrote the post below on my personal blog on October 22, 2009. It’s interesting going back and reading my writing from that time in my life. I had just begun my journey to finding Happiness. Writing was a part of it. A better appreciation for all that I had was a huge part of it. It still is.

Today, I still forget to appreciate the little things. My daughter now towers over me and my youngest son is almost there. My oldest son has set off into the world and I miss him. Some days, I think about all those days/times I wasted yelling or worrying or just wishing that they would grow up. Days that I wish I could have gone to my Gramma’s for coffee instead of driving by. Suppers we could have chatted around the table instead of rushing off to the next thing. I think about those days and my heart fills with remorse and even guilt…then I realize how much of the NOW I’m wasting RIGHT NOW by living in the past that I cannot change.

Gramma would not want me to mourn the days that I did not spend with her. She would want me to remember that afternoon that she made pizza just for the two of us because she rarely got to because it was either just her or 12 people or more. She’d want me to remember the stories she’d told me over the times we did have coffee. The times she came to my kids’ birthdays and events and was a part of their every day lives.

Gramma would remind me that no matter how big they are, they are still my babies. That I still can take the time and hug them and listen to what they have to say, even when I’m “busy”. She always had time for whoever came to her door. She never apologized for what the house looked like or that she hadn’t been to the grocery store. The house always looked wonderful and she always managed to make something delicious. She never counted calories or worried about weight gain. She just enjoyed the company and whatever food went along with it.

She would remind me to be grateful to wake up in the morning and have another chance. That each day is a chance to change. That we all make mistakes and the only thing we need to do is learn from them and start again today.

Thank you Gramma, for your wisdom. I heard you speak to me while I ran today. You’re always there in the quiet when I just take the time to listen. Thank you.

My post from 2009:

I just drove by the car wash today and saw something that made me think.

There was a little boy, about 4 years old, trying to wash his Gramma’s car. He could barely hang on to the pressure washer wand as he sprayed. His Gramma stood behind him and gently guided him along the side of her car.

What made me think was this: How many times have our littlest ones asked or offered to help us do something? How many times have they excitedly asked: “Can I help you make supper Mommy?” or “Dad, can I help you fix the car?”

How many times have we said, “no, honey, you’re too small” or “no, sweetie, I’m in a hurry, I have to get this done!” or even, sadly, “no, get out the way!”

Often, in our rush to get that task done, we do not see those sad, disappointed eyes. We do not see what “you’re too small” does to their self-confidence. They are so eager to be a part of the things we do, and so many times, we just don’t let them!

The Gramma’s Wisdom: Well, that Gramma I saw, I’m sure was perfectly capable of washing the car herself or she wouldn’t have gone to a wand wash. I’m sure she could have got the car washed faster (and saved money!) if she’d done it herself. I’m sure that a 4 year old isn’t likely going to do a “perfect” job on that car and the Gramma would do it better.

But, that Gramma knows all too well how quickly those little hands become big hands. She knows that only a few minutes of patience spent with that little 4 year old boy will mean so very much to his self confidence. That she will be closer to him because “Gramma lets me do stuff”. She will see the smile on his face rather than a tear because she showed him that he wasn’t ”too little”.

Her generation knows that children need to contribute to the family and do chores just as much as the adults in the family do. Children need to know how to do chores, clean the house, cook, do dishes, etc. etc. before they leave home! She knows that he will learn that having a car requires work and maintenance, even if his dad buys it for him. She warns us as we complain about the “lazy” teenager when it was us that didn’t let that child help us when he wanted to! Of course they don’t want to help us now!

They grow up so fast. Soon, that little boy won’t even want to be seen with his Gramma, let alone wash her car for her. That Gramma knows that she has got to take advantage of the time that she gets with her little man before it’s too late.

I’m going to go home tonight and when my little people ask to help, I will let them. It might take longer or might make a mess, but what is more important?

Thanks Gramma for your wisdom.

Help Me Clean Up! Is Anybody There?……

Sometimes getting the kids to help pick up after themselves is like pulling teeth. (Except that may be less painful!)
How do we get children to help out without ALL of the complaining? I have some ideas that I have shared in this PDF (yay a printable gift for you!)
Hopefully you are all back into routines and are able to try some new tactics to simplify cleanup; it can be so much easier with a little help from everyone.

Here is the PDF PACKED full of fun ideas for your children to help out!
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Chores. How to Get the Children to Pitch In?!

You walk into your home with your work bag, a grocery bag, and a pile of your kids’ coats and bags teetering precariously between your arms. You stumble up the stairs as the dog runs excitedly between your feet. You trip over the shoes that your family has kicked off in the door way. You glance to the left to see that their sweaters and jackets have been thrown on the back of the couch…again. When will they ever listen? You tell them every single day that they need to hang up their coats and put their shoes out of the way on the shoe rack. You stop to hang them up because it’s easier than having the same old arguments. You just walked through the door and you don’t want to battle.
You ask them to put their backpacks away and empty them but this falls on deaf ears. You can feel your blood start to boil as you try to get supper ready and on the table before you have to head out the door for them again. You wonder, who is going to set the table without groaning? Why is this so difficult? As you put something in the already full garbage you notice that the dog is out of food AND water. Now you are stopping what you were doing to do this as well. Where was I? You think to yourself, “Now who was the last one to set the table?” And it goes on and on.

Well this was a typical day at our house. I was at my wits end. I wanted this to stop; to get easier for all of us. I decided that I needed to make myself clear. I decided that intentions needed to be set; something definitive that would make sense to the kids for their ages. I wanted something that they could reference that was user friendly for kids.

Here is what I made for my daughter who is in grade four. The top list is compiled of daily chores that she gets allowance for (if she completes all without constant cuing and instruction). The bottom list is what is expected of her when she first arrives home from school.

And seeing as my little guy in grade one hasn’t quite learned to read yet, he gets a picture chart!

Both charts are posted in their bedrooms in clear view so that they can easily refer to them. I no longer have to ask them if they have completed task, a,b,c,d and so on. I just have to ask them if they have completed everything on their list. Although it is not perfect, things are sooo much easier and less stressful for everyone! I would say that this was successful and I am even considering one more chart for my little guy to remember every task that he has to complete while getting ready for school in the mornings!

Do you have ideas on how to get your kids to pitch in? Do you use a chart method or something else? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!

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Yes, YOU are!

But I Don’t Want to Exercise

“But I don’t want to exercise”….

This is something I hear regularly in the store and out and about. “I don’t want to exercise” is one of the first things people say when they want to “lose weight”. My heart breaks when I hear that. It means that once again, the message has been lost/confused/twisted about this whole “weight issue”. It is almost always a woman and I can pretty much always feel the sadness and self-loathing emanate from her body. I can feel it because that was me just a few short years ago.

One of my goals in this business is to help women realize how beautiful, how powerful, how FREAKING AMAZING they truly are. I don’t want any woman to feel like exercise is a torture that one must do to “keep the weight off” or to please some man with how her body looks. I want to help them understand that moving our bodies is something completely natural and freeing and FEELS GOOD!!!

I wish I could make the whole thought of “lose weight” disappear. Make the diet industry completely vanish overnight! Have the thousands of dollars spent on things like appetite suppression and HCG and special diet “foods” go towards ridding people of their debts or towards charities they care about or being able to do what you love. Oh, the glorious day that would be!! It may not be possible to do it overnight, but I believe it’s possible to make it happen one person at a time. And that’s what I intend to do.

Right here, right now I’m want to tell you to STOP thinking of exercise as something you have to endure to lose weight. That is not a good enough reason. STOP thinking that you have to lose weight. YOU DON’T!! STOP thinking about WEIGHT period!! If you keep focusing on the negative, that’s what you’ll always get. Continuously. I guarantee it. I have been there. Many, many times – just like you. You’ll continue on the roller coaster ride of the up and down NUMBER on a freaking scale. Lose the scale. Right now! Stash it somewhere where you can’t find it.

Please, please look in the mirror and see your beauty. You REALLY are beautiful. Look in those eyes. Think about all they’ve seen. Those lips – the songs they have sung and the other lips they’ve kissed. Your breasts – how they nurtured your children. Your belly that carried them and helped them grow. Even if you don’t have children – worship your body; for it has been with you from the beginning. It has been strong enough to bring you through that time, back then – you know, THAT time. Speak gentle words to that woman in the mirror. She has been through some really tough stuff and here she still is. She deserves your love. She deserves your attention. In fact – that woman in the mirror craves attention. Give it to her. You are the only one who truly can.

Find the movement your body loves. The movement that makes your body feel good.

It should not be something you hate. If you hate the gym, don’t go! Dance in your living room instead.

What did you play when you were a kid? Get out there and do it again!

Start simple. Start small.

Do it not for the “exercise”, do it for the love of that gorgeous body.

Experiment. Try something new.

Find a cause. Find a friend. Find your playlist that makes you feel alive and excited to move.

Get out there. Just move. Have fun! That’s all you need to do.

Let your body tell you what it wants to do.

And then keep doing it.

Stop thinking that this is something you do UNTIL you “lose the weight”. This is not something you do temporarily. This is a different way of LIVING. This is life: moving and being IN IT instead of letting it pass you by as you sit there in front of the TV. I guarantee you that as you move the way YOU want to move your body will thank you. It will help you. It will crave nourishing foods and turn away from the rest. It will feel better. It will stop aching and hurting. It will rejoice! It will change.

And so will you.

Yes, YOU are!

Simple Tips – Plastic Bag Storage

Hey all! Apologies for the barn door effect with the funky writing in this video. I am not sure what happened there! There are times when I forget to take my reusable grocery bags to the store with me; I hate it when that happens. So I end up with several plastic store bags. They can look messy and clutter up a cupboard. So what can we do with them all? In my video I share a simple and FREE idea on how to neatly store these bags.

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What can we use plastic shopping bags for? I have ideas! 😉

1. Take them with you when you go shopping and use them at the checkout.
2. Recycle them at the grocery store.
3. Offer them to consignment stores and eco friendly stores as they often are looking for bags for customers.
4. Donate them to a food bank.
5. Use them for painting to catch the drips or for covering your brush when you are in between coats.
6. Use them to wrap fragile items when gift giving or packing breakables.
7. Use them to line small trash cans.
8. Protect wounds and casts when showering.
9. If you have dry or cracked skin, lotion up and put your hands/feet in the bag to retain moisture.
10. Use them in the bottom of planters and pots to fill up space between the bottom and the dirt.
11. Tie them around your knees when gardening to keep your pants dry and clean.
12. Keep critters out of your plants by lightly draping them with a plastic bag overnight.
13. Wear bags as gloves when touching raw meat.
14. Use them on the counter to catch peels when peeling veggies.
15. Cut them to make aprons or bibs for the little ones to keep them clean.
16. Use for on the go lunches.
17. Defrost meat in a bag to prevent the juices from getting on everything.
18. Use them to crush crackers in.
19. Use under a high chair to catch messy spills.
20. Use for foods that don’t need tight containers.
21. Use as table coverings when kids are painting.
22. Use for dirty diapers when away from home.
23. Use them to contain small pieces for toys or crafts.
24. Use them for shampoo and wet bathroom products when travelling in case of leakage.
25. I also use them for kids wet swimming suits and towels.
26. They are great for dirty clothes when travelling.
27. Keep one in your gym bag for stinky gym shoes.
28. Put some in your car for trash bags.
29. Wrap your cold water bottle in one to catch the condensation and keep your bag dry.
30. Use the pretty colored bags for wrapping of gifts.

Hope you are enjoying these videos! We would love to hear from you!
Leave us a comment and let us know what you use plastic bags for? How do you store them?

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