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Pretty Dresser

3 Tips for Keeping your Bedroom Organized



The bedroom is a space that can VERY easily get messy. It is also an area that is often the last to get organized.
Any of this sound familiar?…
Do you have clean and dirty clothes laying around?… Piles of laundry that haven’t quite made it to their drawers. How about those Christmas presents that you don’t want the kiddos to see or the stuff you shoved in your room because company is coming? Then there are those dresser tops that are a catch all for clutter. Oh dear, there is always something isn’t there?

It happens to all of us! What we want is a lovely, quiet, calming place to lay our head at the end of the day not a space where we quickly clear off the bed to make room to sleep and close our eyes before the mess gets to us.

Here are three quick tips for clutter control:

1) Laundry! This one is a biggie. Put dirty clothes in your clothes hamper as soon as you take them off. Anything that you want to wear again before washing hang up and place on a hook behind your door or have a pretty basket in your room to fold it neatly until you wear it again.
Personally I have this issue with putting away clean laundry. I am not sure why as the task is almost done. Try and put away laundry after you fold it. This also prevents others from asking where their clothes are!
1 Load a Day. To try and keep the mountain-o-laundry from catching up with you. Throw in one load a day. There is always something that can be put in the machine to be cleaned.
2) Storage. If you have a tiny room, a small closet or just not a lot of storage in your home then this can cause clutter because everything does not have it’s place. The first thought I have is not to buy a bigger house but to purge. Take an inventory of what you need and don’t need. Donate clothes or anything that no longer serves a purpose with you.
Also remove anything that does not belong in your bedroom. Designate a certain spot in your home for storage items.
Rotate your seasonal clothing. Use clear bins and label winter clothing/summer clothing and pack up what you won’t be using for that particular season. This will free up some room in your closet/dresser.
3) Dresser and night stand tops. These easily become a catch-all. Take two minutes before bed to clear these off. Keep a small basket where you can put these things and when it is full empty it by putting things back in their spot.
A good Feng Shui bedroom is a calm and peaceful room that invites you in. It promotes a flow of nourishing and sensual flow. Sounds good to me! We all deserve to have a beautiful, comfortable space at the end of the day to retreat to.

I wish you sweet dreams, a restful sleep and whatever else may arise from your beautiful space. Xxxx

Pretty Dresser

“Day is over, night has come. Today is gone, what’s done is done. Embrace your dream, through the night, Tomorrow comes with a whole new light.”


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How Do You Decide Which Activities to Put Your Kids In?


Gretchen Rubin explores many things in her home life in the book, “Happier at Home“. In the January section, she has goals surrounding Time. One of these is to Guard My Children’s Free Time. She discusses the very common dilemma we parents face when deciding what activities our children should be involved in.


This is the time or year for registering our kids in a myriad of opportunities. We want to give them access to all kinds of things to “make them a better adult”. We worry about what other kids are involved in and if our child will be left behind if they are not. We want them to get out and get involved in something so that they meet new people. We want to make sure that they are physically active and learning new things. We worry that if they aren’t in this activity or that sport that they will feel left out.

This is something that we have struggled with many times in our house. I worried about my daughter being involved in dance so much that she was missing out on other opportunities, yet if she didn’t do all the dances her friends were in, she would feel left out. I have forced my boys to do activities that they really didn’t like because everyone should know how to skate or to swim. I felt like I was a neglectful parent if my children were not involved in some sort of music or art class – after all, they would be left behind academically if they were not fluent in some sort of artistic endeavor. And oh my, what if they don’t have any friends!? Or what if their friends were able to go to this camp, but not my child and then what would they talk about? It would be horrible to be the one who was left behind!

And so we ran. We ran this way and that. I barely saw my husband except in passing or to make a demand that he pick so-and-so up so that I could get another one to that activity. I spent countless hours being the perfect volunteer parent. The one who always helped out. The one who always watched every activity. The one who organized this and picked up that for the team.


I threatened and physically dragged my children. I ignored pleas and tantrums because “you have to go”. Guilt trips and negative talk were the order of the day, especially during competition season. After all, this was what all the work was for, right!? How could you let your team down if you don’t go?


We were eating on the run, in cars and corners of a gymnasium or arena. Saturday mornings were rushing to this thing and money we didn’t have was spent on hotels and stuff we barely used before the season was over and the kid had outgrown it.




It put a strain on everyone. I was yelling all of the time, finding myself saying horrible, mean things to my children, to get them to go, to get them to do better, to push them harder. It stressed us financially and our marriage suffered because we barely saw each other. So much resentment because I felt he didn’t help enough and he felt I helped too much. It strained our health from eating too much fast food and not eating together. The stress of the constant running around took a toll on my body. I began to forget things, or do something poorly just to get it over with and not doing it perfectly strained my nerves even more. I begged my friends each spring to remind me to not get so involved in stuff the next fall; but each fall I would repeat the pattern again. Each fall, the crazy life would start all over again.


And then there came a time when it was too much. My daughter hated the dancing that she once loved. She barely got enough sleep and spent almost as many hours at dance or travelling to it as she spent at school. She cried at night because her legs ached so much. I had to drag my boys along or to their stuff or ended up missing them completely because we were so busy. I’d forced them to do things from my own guilt because, well, they should have to do things like their sister did. It was only fair that they had opportunities too!


I broke down one morning, about 4:30 in the morning. I’d realized in the middle of the night that I had forgotten to do something very important for my son’s Cadets. I had forgotten a few important things recently and felt like a complete failure. I sat in the dark and cried and cried over my keyboard. I wrote a letter to a friend and fellow Cadet mom who had had to pick up the pieces where I’d made a mess. I couldn’t go on like this anymore.


That next fall, we didn’t do dance. Instead, we let our daughter try other things; things that didn’t take as much time and that she was curious about like fencing. I stopped forcing my oldest son to take swimming lessons or learn to skate. He hated swimming and was never going to pass that first level. I stepped down from many of my volunteer responsibilities and let someone else step up. I stopped forcing my youngest into groups like cubs where being around all those other kids completely overwhelmed him. I started to say no to activities and yes to guarding my children’s time (and my sanity).


Now, she’s dancing again, but in a less competitive way more fun studio. She is able to try out high school sports she is interested in and work part time to support her own makeup artist interests. My oldest is away from home now and plays ball again, a game he’d begged me to let him stop playing as a kid. Now he plays again on his own terms, because he wants to have fun. My youngest isn’t involved in very many things except more solo things he’s actually interested in, like guitar lessons. He feels listened to and I understand that he thrives when he’s allowed to do what he loves instead of what I think he “should” be doing.


Yes, I am criticized sometimes and I’m my worst critic. Sometimes I worry that I shouldn’t let her do all the different things she does because she does way more than the boys and “it’s not a fair distribution of resources”. Many things, she pays for herself (like one of her dance classes this year). I think this does more to teach her responsibility than denying her. I am criticized that my youngest spends so much time online and doesn’t get out as much as other kids. It is what he loves to do and he does it with friends and his sister and his cousins. He plays guitar in his own time and reads books too. He enjoys the quiet and solitude of being with himself. It is who he is and I will no longer force him to be someone he’s not. I will encourage him to stretch out (and he has, joining a tech camp over the summer for example). He is willing to try things when we allow him to try them on his terms in line with his personality and recognizing his strengths.




We are learning together how to better manage our time so that each of us is able to pursue things that light us up instead of stress us out. My girl is so like me in wanting to try everything, but she is learning how to manage her own time as I have her consider that if she says yes to something, she will have to say no to something else. She realizes that she cannot do it all at a way younger age than I was. And that’s a very good thing!


We are busy, but we also have time when we are able to eat dinner together and do other things… or even do nothing! We can sit and watch movies all Saturday or go on a date or just read a book. There is life outside of our activities and we are allowing each other to have that life. The activities are that much better because we have the time to actually enjoy them.


I know what it feels like at this time of year. How you desperately want to give your kids everything. How you are afraid of missing out. I am not condemning anyone who chooses to keep a very full schedule with your kids. That is your choice.


I am just advising that you consider the cost of these things before you say yes. Consider what you are saying no to when you say yes to one more thing. Remember what it felt like last fall and is that how you want to feel this year? Talk together as a family and really listen to what your kids have to say. Listen to what your heart tells you. How do you want to feel? How does your daughter want to feel? Your son? Your spouse? Then decide together what you will do to feel that way.

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pocket icon

Get Pocket!

I love to read blog posts. It’s a big chunk of my day. They inspire me, teach me and/or make me laugh. Sometimes I share them with you. Most of them come to me in my email which is cool. However, I also don’t like to have a crazy full inbox – I’m a professional organizer! LOL! I’ve been a mostly-zero inbox person for a very long time. Discovering this tool has made this even easier!

pocket website

The tool is called Pocket (it used to be called Read it Later or something like that). Basically, it allows me to skim through my email for the posts that I simply MUST read. I click to open the post. If I have time to read it then, I will. Most of the time, I don’t have time to read then(FOCUS!), but I want to be sure to really read it later. I go to the post and then click the little “Pocket” icon to stash the post for reading when I have time.

pocket icon


The reason this works is that it allows me to stay out of my email until the few times a day when I go through and do my focused email maintenance time (batching, peeps, STOP going into your email every 10 minutes! and definitely don’t have it running while you’re trying to WORK! Focus people!)


During this focused time, I’m creating a focused READING time because all of the MUST reads are together (and are visually appealing!) I don’t have these cluttering up my inbox. Then when I’m waiting for kids or just sitting down to read for a few minutes, I flip over to my Pocket app and do some quiet reading! Again, focused on only reading, not being disturbed by emails coming in because I’m not in my email!

Let’s face it: we really can’t do multiple things at once. It’s EXTREMELY inefficient to be constantly jumping around between things. I know. I’ve tried it. It simply doesn’t work. You have to STOP pretending it does.

This doesn’t mean that I now have another app full of junk that I’ll just get overwhelmed with. I’m keeping it to around 5-10 things each day that I read (or use the link in a post or something; whatever I was going to do with the post) and then purge from Pocket (yep, DELETE). I’m RUTHLESS and fricking honest with what I’m actually going to read. If it doesn’t light me up at first glance (like, OMG I HAVE to read this!) then it doesn’t get “pocketed”.  If I’m glancing through email and kinda go, “well, this would be cool, don’t know when I’ll get to it” then it gets deleted. I just don’t have time for wishy washy shit. It has to light me up or make me go, “Wow”!
I’ve got about 10 “other” things sitting in there that are project based that I’ll be moving elsewhere in the next week or two. There will always be some that need a bit more “work” to deal with before they are purged too. This number will not get higher than 10, because again, I need to keep a realistic expectation on what I’m actually going to do.
pocket snapshot

Keeping up on the reading in this is easy to do because there’s an app on my phone (and I’m putting it on my Kobo – just haven’t done it yet) and it will even work offline. It’s visually easy to read (no distractions from other website stuff that you normally see when you’re in the post reading on the site) and feeling like I’m reading a magazine.

Get Pocket and move one step closer to getting more reading done (that you want to do!) and less distracted! Get Pocket

I’m a techie and have worked in IT (and been a full time working mom) for over 20 years, so I’ve got lots of tricks on how to make your email work for you. This tool is just one of them! (I’ll share more tools with you in the coming weeks. I’m creating an in depth course that will include deeper insight and how to use these kinds of things. Sign up to be the first to know about it: Goals Goddess Registration)

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9 Hours

What would you do with 9 hours in a week? Don’t think you have 9 hours? Let’s take a little look at some time wasting facts, Jack…


1. Facebook…

We all do it. You know for a fact that you could be doing something else besides checking Facebook 10 times in the last hour.

“It’s only for a minute!” You say?

  • 1 X 10 = 10 min. per hour
  • 10 min/hour X 8 hr = 80 min in 1 work day…
  • 80 min X 5 days is 400 min (6 hours) in 1 work week!! Yep, SIX

For the sake of argument, let’s cut that in half…So…that’s 3 extra hours so far in a week. (and you know it’s actually more than that…)

2. TV Time…

And what about TV time? How much time do you REALLY spend in front of the TV? Let’s figure it out a little here:

The average person spends about 2.8 hours per day watching TV. What about you? Let’s again say that you only watch 1 hour in 3 days of stuff you really don’t “need” to watch. That’s giving you 3 more hours (of the about 20 hours per week you actually watch.)

3. Looking for Things…

How many times do you have to search for something in a day?

  • A form you need to fill out – 5 minutes?
  • Your keys – 2 minutes?
  • Her other shoe that isn’t where it’s supposed to be – 6 minutes?
  • The lunch kit from yesterday that needs filling for today – 3 minutes?
  • What you’re going to wear – 5 minutes? (at least)
  • More toothpaste – 15 minutes? (more if the store is farther away)

5 + 2 + 6 + 3 + 5 + 15 = 36 minutes per day looking for something. 252 minutes per week is 4.2 hours. Far fetched? Time yourself the next time you have to search for your keys…Again, let’s cut that in half for argument sake: 2 more hours you could use in a week! Get organized!

4. Email You Don’t Really Read…

How long does it take you to read your email? To delete them? Time yourself. Let’s say you spend about 5 minutes every hour during the work day dealing with email that are junk or unimportant:

  • 5 minutes per hour X 8 hr day = 40 min in 1 work day…
  • 40 min X 5 days is 200 min (3 hours) in 1 work week. 

That’s 3 more hours in your week that you could use if you setup some systems to deal with your email. You know that you likely spend much more time than that.

So, with just those four time wasters: Facebook (3 Hours) + TV TIme (3 Hours) + Looking for Things (2 Hours) + Junk Email (3 Hours) = 11 Hours total in a week! I only mentioned finding 9 hours, so let’s even take 2 hours off of my already generous actual hours you spend wasting time to make it 9!

What if you spent 9 hours of your wasted time in a week doing some of those tasks on your list? What do you think you could get done in a week? In a month? A year? It really adds up, right!? At 9 hours a week, you could do a lot of those things that you always wanted to do!!

I’m not saying that these things aren’t fun. But how much do you really want to do something else? What are you really missing out on? How much better would your life be if you stopped doing some of these things even for just ½ the time you normally spend on them? Where would you be then?

It’s time for you to stop settling for less than what you deserve. You are better than that and you know it! Stop wasting YOUR time.

I’m creating a course for setting goals and making shizzle happen. It’s about frickin’ TIME that you live the life you deserve. Be the first to join the course by registering here: Goals Goddess eCourse and let’s conquer those time wasters together.

Goals Goddess eCourse – starting in April – Register NOW to be the first to know.

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valentines card

A Love Note to Myself

This was a love note that I created for myself on Valentine’s Day. “I love you Shawna. You are everything to me. I will cherish the beautiful soul you are.” was the inscription

It’s Sunday, a great day to make a habit of self-care. Self-care is NOT selfish! You are a better Mom, Lover, Sister, Friend when your cup is full. Do whatever it takes to fill it up!

For me, tonight, I have plans to connect with fellow Goddesses for the latest Goddess Gathering (connecting is one of my Core Desired Feelings for 2014). I will also be curling up and starting a new book (I have several to choose from!)

Leave a comment and let us know!

If you need ideas, I created a simple little download for the Divine Goddess Circle ( if you’re a member, grab it out of the Free Downloads section. if you’re not a member yet (why not!?) you can still grab a copy here: Self-Care Ideas



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“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 
― Dr. Seuss

Where Did the Joy of Christmas Go?

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”  ― Dr. Seuss
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss

Remember when you were a child and you couldn’t wait for Christmas day to come? You were literally counting down the sleeps until that special day? Looking back I remember the get-togethers, playing with my cousins, driving around to look at the Christmas lights, the music and mostly the excitement of the big day building up.

So what happens as we grow up? We stop believing in the magic of Christmas perhaps? We forget about the reason behind the season and the true meaning? We end up emptying our bank accounts and then some? It could be a number of reasons. I recently polled some of our Facebook followers to see what it is about the holiday season that really irks them. The answers were: commercialization, financial strain, expense, excessive gift buying, pressure to buy gifts, the drama, and the excessive packaging. One person also resented the fact that stores started decorating and playing music way before December.

I think that all of these are valid reasons for feeling a little Scroogey.

Problem: Let’s first address the holiday in terms of the expense of it all. Who do we buy present for and where do we draw the line? We make our list. We have our immediate family, our parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, friends…Oh! Don’t forget about teachers, bus drivers, the paperboy…let’s not forget about our Dr’s…I mean PULLEASE. Where does it end? No wonder we are broke and have negative feelings towards Christmas!

Solution: Narrow your list to suit your budget. There are other ways to show appreciation. And how many mugs and smelly things can one teacher have?! Do they want a gazillion #1 Teacher ornaments? I am guessing for the most part no. At least not the ones that I have spoken with . How about writing a letter to let them know how much they are appreciated? Believe it or not, not everyone wants to receive gifts. Seriously. Unless you find truly meaningful gifts who is to say that your bus driver wants 25 boxes of chocolates. Don’t buy just for the sake of buying.

Here are some other ways that you can show appreciation:

Three Alternatives To An Expensive Gift

  • Quality Time (My favorite!) In my opinion this is the best way to show someone that you care. It is the chance to spend time together and make memories. I am more likely to remember the day we had together laughing and talking but chances but chances are I won’t remember or think too much about that sweater you got me.
  • Make a Gift. My favorite gifts are the ones that people have spent time making for me. My husband has built things with his tools, my bff made a beautiful quilt for me, my mom has made me afghans. Over the years my hubby has written me poems. These are some of my most treasured things ever! Yes some of these things still cost money but if you already have the materials to make them then you can also save money. Another benefit of making your own gift is that there isn’t all of the excessive packaging that goes with store bought items. It’s a win-win.
  • Offer your services. Offer to take your friend’s children for the day or for a sleep over so that they can have some time to themselves. That can be a real lifesaver when you need a break and don’t have family that is close by. Have your friends over for a nice meal or plan a day trip together. All of these things make for fun experiences.

More great ideas! Here are more alternatives to buying gifts from Leo at Zen Habits.

Problem: Consumerism. Consumerism is slapping Christmas in the face and turning it into a retail free for all. Companies are using Christmas as a prime time to market their products. They all claim to have the ‘perfect’ gift amongst all of the plastic and boxes. There are tons of toy commercials on TV this time of year; much to parents chagrin. There needs to be that balance between Christmas and consumerism.

Solution: Don’t buy into it. (Pun intended). Do what you feel comfortable doing. Spend what you are able to spend. There are some things that are out of our control like the commercials, the store’s music, decorations, and advertising. People feel pressured into buying from the ‘get a head start on Christmas’ slogans. You know that though? I cannot stress this enough…people need to start doing what is right for them. If you feel like the true meaning of Christmas is lost then how can you find it again? In a previous post I suggested sitting down with your loved ones and discussing exactly what your goals were for the holiday season. Make your Christmas mission statement. You may be surprised to know that gift buying and giving etc. isn’t what everyone cares about anyways.

Problem: Family Drama. This can be tricky. I feel like this one should be left to the experts. I get that all families have drama. Why does this exasperate at Christmas time? I know that some families have to drive all over God’s green (or white) earth at Christmas time. Some love hangin’ with the fam. while others just want to stay home. I haven’t had these issues because my husband’s family is all overseas, my parents live in the same town as me and my brother isn’t far away.

Also all families have different dynamics and get along or don’t get along for various reasons. Dealing with that when you are all together at Christmas can be tough.

Solution: Let the little things slide and deal with the big issues. In other words there comes a point when you realize that you cannot change people so you either accept them for who they are or move on. Well, with family this is a little more difficult especially at family functions. So the little things that annoy you should just be ignored while the things that are going to make you insane if you have to deal with them one more time should perhaps be dealt with in the form of a reasonable conversation. We hope that our families will act perfectly at all times but we know that this is not realistic so set your expectations a teeny bit lower.

My Christmas wish for you is to have a positively wonderful holiday season. Make the most out of what you have wherever you are. You can do it!!!



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Love this man.

Why I Won’t Sacrifice Date Day For Anything

I dedicate this post to the man that not only does dishes but wraps his arms around me when I am doing them.

Photo from One Extraordinary Marriage Facebook
Photo from One Extraordinary Marriage Facebook

I have been married to my husband for almost 16 years. We were 19 when we met. I was from a teeny tiny town that I had lived in throughout all of my school years. He was a British soldier that was an army brat and he had lived in cities all over the world. We were literally from two different worlds. I had no idea about what the army life involved. I am chicken of many things. He drove a tank, jumped out of planes and had done many things that I could not fathom. We had many obstacles during our first year; to be expected I guess with the logistics of it all. Not to mention that from the day we met to the day we got married it was 6 months. Yes you read that right SIX months. That’s it. But we just knew. We were engaged three months after we met. He was training out on the prairies for weeks at a time but we were together every chance that we got. He was only in Canada for the year and as luck would have it, I met him in the last 3 months of his station here. I just knew that he was different; he was special. My heart would leap every time the phone would ring. We could talk for hours. After a days work we would make the hour and a half drive to see each other. There was no keeping away except when we had to. My heart ached whenever we had to say goodbye. 

Let me back up. The first time we met, he walked though my doors and I thought he was absolutely gorgeous. His eyes are a stunning steel blue and next to his golden sun-kissed skin and thick dark hair I couldn’t help but stare. On top of that he was pretty darn buff. He worked out a lot. And his eyes…did I mention his eyes? OK, where was I? That evening there were a group of us that hung out, laughed, probably drank too much. Him and I started talking. He made a few cracks and told jokes that I didn’t appreciate. Something like…”Why do women have small feet?” “So that they are closer to the sink when they do dishes.” Seriously. Did he really just say that? I should have known then that this guy would always wind me up. Anyways at that time I decided that I didn’t really like him. Except…. the weekend continued and I found him dancing with my little guy. It was pretty adorable and my son adored him. Wait a minute maybe he wasn’t too bad. After that weekend I didn’t think that I would see him again. Never say never… A couple weeks later I had a bad day. A REALLY crappy day. I drove down to the army base to talk to a friend. He was there. He was concerned about me (weird right) and asked if I wanted to go into the city and hang out. I didn’t really feel like it but I went.The universe decided that I needed to go. Something pulled me in his direction. We sat talking and dancing and goofing around. We planned to meet again and that time we ended up talking all night until the sun came up. We were so different but had a lot of the same ideas; we hit it off. That was it. And they say, “The rest is history.” 

“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.”
-Mignon McLaughlin

Like I said, we have had many challenges. When it comes down to it though, I trust this man one hundred and ten percent. He has never given me reason not to. He is faithful, loyal, strong, and thoughtful. (I mostly get to see that side of him). He makes me laugh and is playful – I love this, it keeps us young. He helps out much more than I give him credit for and is a very handy guy. I love that he will attempt anything. He is a good father and has even coached the kids sports off and on over the years. I give him a hard time about gaming because time often gets away and he gets lost in the fun. These days though he games and then wants to hang out with me. The thing is that we have always made dating a priority. Why would you date someone that you are married to? Well let’s just say that it is great to get comfortable in your lives but it is imperative that you remember who you were when you met and remember all of those reasons why you fell in love in the first place. Some say that it is too difficult now that they have children or they don’t have time. That’s bull. It just is. We lived across the world from each other and we still managed to keep the flame burning so to speak. There have been times where he was away for weeks. We didn’t have endless family members around to watch the kiddos (though my parents have been awesome!). We just found a way to make time almost every week to spend time together as a couple because it is important. Very important.  Many of our dates when we didn’t have a sitter were at home after the kiddos were in bed. It didn’t matter what we did as long as it was just me and him time. Nowadays we get a few hours every second Tuesday to be together just him and I. It is a non negotiable thing. Some may say it’s selfish but we do not book anything else on these days that would mean not hanging out together. It is fantabulous. I encourage you. NO I challenge you to talk to your loved one about regular date nights. 

How can I plan date nights? What will we do?

1. Sit down with your hunny and talk about date nights. What do you both enjoy? Are there any compromises that you can make so that you can both enjoy your time?

2. Schedule regular date nights in. It can be weekly, bi-weekly, monthly; whatever works for you as long as you do it!

3. Sign up for an event. This is a great way to do something fun together while staying active. 

Color Me Rad 2013
Color Me Rad 2013

4. Make a list of 10 things that you would enjoy doing for a date night and 10 things that your spouse would enjoy. Draw from the date idea jar. Every time you choose one put it aside so that you have a new date each time. This way it is also fair.

5. Budget. Make sure you set aside some money for your dates or plan dates that don’t cost anything if you just don’t have room in your budget for it.

6. To spice things up do something new that neither one of you has done before. 

7. Listen and laugh. Here is your chance to listen to your loved one without the everyday interruptions. Laugh like you don’t have a care in the world. Let loose and forget about the day to day worries and stresses. 

If you are needing creative ideas for implementing date nights, Shawna and I have created this amazing resource that may be up your alley. It is called Simply Sexy Date Night Package and the ideas have been tried and tested by us!


Here are more fun date night ideas from The Nest.

 The best thing about me is you

Fast Leftover Steak Fajitas

It was CRAZY hot here on Tuesday night. The usual 20+ weather became a muggy 35+! It was waaay too hot to cook, but Bruce and I figured out a great way to quickly use up some leftovers! This is another simple, budget-savvy and very fast weeknight meal. No need to turn on the oven or even the BBQ again! Just a quick warm up on the stove! Grab your team and get this done FAST!




  • 2 tbsp olive or camelina oil
  • juice of one whole lime
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • sea salt & pepper
  • leftover steak – about two – sliced in strips, about 1 1/2 inches long
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion – we used white
  • 1 sliced and diced bell pepper – we used the last bit of orange & yellow & that we had in the fridge!
  • 4 tortillas
  • grated cheese

How To:

  • Mix the oil, lime juice & spices together in a bowl.
  • Heat this mixture on medium temp in a pan
  • Add steak and peppers and stir until heated through and peppers/onion are cooked to your tastes – we did about 5-7 minutes
  • Serve warm on tortillas with salsa, cheese and/or fresh guacamole (I basically mash an avocado, add some lime juice & salsa & voila, that’s the quickest fresh and good for you!)

Serves 4

This is really easy and doesn’t use those salty, chemically-laden spice “mixes” from the store. Use whatever “Mexican” spices you have to jazz up the sauce. I would have added fresh cilantro if I had any. It’s also a great way to use that leftover steak. You do not want to waste those expensive cuts that you always BBQ too much of!

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Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Pancakes!



My first experiment with this pancake recipe was just sugar and white flour free. It has now evolved to include dairy free (yep, even the chocolate chips are dairy free!!) and gluten free. These are a hit in our house; topped with real AMAZING maple syrup straight from a farm in Quebec (we have it at Health Street!). These are so simple & easy that you CAN whip them up on a weekday morning! Really! I’m a Simple Life Celebrations Gal – it has to be simple and few dishes!


  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk – the kids can’t tell, believe me. Unsweetened vanilla almond milk would be fun to try
  • 2 tbsp liquid coconut oil (we don’t use canola oil at our house anymore)
  • 1 tbsp agave syrup
  • 1 tbsp gluten free baking powder
  • sprinkle Himalayan or sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buckwheat flour (yes, buckwheat flour is not wheat and is gluten free)
  • Enjoy Life Mini-Chips – dairy, nut & soy free
  • solid coconut oil for the pan


  • Beat eggs in a bowl big enough for all the pancake mix
  • Add milk & coconut oil & agave and whisk together
  • Add the baking powder & salt and whisk to blend well
  • Add the flour and whisk. You can add more almond milk at this point if the batter is too thick. It depends on the size of your eggs
  • Melt a little of the solid coconut in the pan
  • Pour by the spoonful into pan to make individual pancakes
  • Sprinkle a few chocolate chips into the wet side of the pancake
  • Use the solid coconut oil between batches to keep the pancakes from sticking. I only use about 1 tsp per batch.

I use just one bowl to mix everything in. I know that the “rule” is to mix the dry ingredients together first, THEN add them to the wet. It’s just quicker to do it this way and mixes well; so there is no need for two bowls in my opinion. I prefer coconut oil in the pan simply because it is WAAAYY better for you (yes, it’s a fat – it’s a good fat and actually helps reduce cholesterol among other health benefits). This adds to the “staying power” of the pancake as well. These are filling and actually good for you and the kids! As I mentioned, these are simple enough to make on a weekday morning – feed the kids as you pull off each batch. The Enjoy Life Mini Chips are sweetened with a little bit of brown sugar and only have 3 ingredients. It is still “sugar” – but less refined and being “Mini Chips” the kids only have a few of them to get that “chocolate chip” treat! Skip them if you want completely sugar-free.

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Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

I love, LOVE hot spinach artichoke dip. To the point where I would eat the entire thing if my hubby would let me get a cracker in edgewise! The only trouble is that the original recipe has a TON of cheese in it: an entire block of Philly cream cheese + 1/4 cup parmesan + 1/4 cup romano + 1/4 cup mozzarella melting and gooey on the top! The health benefits of spinach and artichoke is completely lost in all of that dairy! Not to mention what all that dairy does to the pipes…just sayin’…plus it has mayo which just isn’t something I want to eat anymore (are there any “real” ingredients left in today’s mayo??)

So…I was determined to figure out a way to make it healthier yet still delicious. No cheese and no mayo (so vegan) yet still devour-this-now-it-is-awesome good. Well….I did it!!

spinach dip


The primary ingredient is a separate recipe (at the bottom of this post) of a cashew “soft cheese”. This is a little expensive to make, but Philly cream cheese isn’t cheap either. I also always like extra garlic in anything I can put extra garlic in, so I add chopped garlic pieces to the dip just before putting it in the oven. My recipe uses nutritional yeast which is an excellent source of vitamin B12 (and makes everything cheesy good without the cheese!) It also uses avocado which is a good-for-you-fat instead of all that cheese (the cashews are good fats too).

Here’s a quick Simple Life Gal trick too: I mix the entire thing up in a Pyrex bowl so that I can just put it in the oven after it’s mixed. This way, only one dish! Simplify, Simplify!!

If you’re in the mood for more recipes, Krystal created a great eBook “Spicing Up School Lunches” – add your email address to our list (up there in the top right corner of this page) and get access to it for free! And don’t forget that our other ebooks (Click the Products page) are full of Simple Life Gal tricks and tips! Get all three for just $9.99 (regular price $14.97). And if you like this Simple Life Gal recipe, you will LOVE the amazing (yet simple) Filet Mignon dinner we share for your “Date Night In” in our Simply Sexy Date Night Package ($19.99 for the entire package that includes recipes, ideas and workbooks to bring that spark back to your marriage!)

steak dinner

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip

  • 1 cup cashew “soft cheese” (see below for my recipe for that)
  • 1/2 avocado, mashed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (I would rather use coconut oil because of the high temperature, but it is a short cooking time so olive oil is OK here)
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast (if you don’t know what this is or where you can get it, visit me at Health Street)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or fresh if you have it)
  • sea salt & pepper to taste
  • 1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained & chopped
  • 3/4 cup chopped spinach (if using frozen, thaw & drain first)

Mix all ingredients together. Transfer to oven-ready baking dish. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes until bubbly & slightly brown.

Cashew Soft Cheese

This is a vegan “cheese” replacement. It isn’t cheese, but I don’t know what else to call it. There are a ton of recipes out there using nuts to make “cheese”. This is how I made mine this week:

  • 2 cups raw (or at least unroasted) cashews
  • 1/2 cup alkaline water (we have a special Santevia water system that alkalizes our water. You can use regular water too)
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (yes, REAL lemon juice! not the stuff in a green bottle!)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar – this is so good for you! (if you don’t know what this is or where you can get it, visit me at Health Street for this too!)
  • 1 tsp chopped onion (or onion flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients in food processor and blend (you’ll have to stop and scrape down the sides as you go) until creamy. You won’t need all of this for the artichoke dip, but you can use this on pizza, as a “cheese” dip or wherever you’d like! Use within 2 days.

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