Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You Deserve A Break Today :)

Well, it has been a crazy day and I am frantically trying to get everything done including blog #28 before I have to run and pick up my son. At this point I am feeling stressed to the max and while I don't have time to meditate or exercise I have found a new way to relieve the stress in my life,namely a fun game of scrabble with a random player over my ipod. I love this app so much as it gives me a little break throughout the day to forget all my troubles. Everyone should have some way to alleviate stress on a daily basis, because, as I have mentioned in other can really wreak havoc on your health!!!

So here is a short article I wrote awhile back, with a few tips on what you can do to help yourself

Stress is a natural part of our day-to-day lifestyle. It is our body’s defense system. When we sense a danger –such as a vicious dog ready to attack our bodies will release adrenaline and other chemicals that make us alert, increase our strength and stamina, raise our blood pressure and speed up our reaction time. This is its positive affect and it can be utilized for short-term goals. For instance people that usually procrastinate seem to be able to get projects completed much easier when time is of the essence and they are under the gun.
On the negative side if stress is prolonged it can result in feelings of frustration and anger, which may lead to depression. There are also a myriad of health problems that can develop such as ulcers, high blood pressure, insomnia, and on the much more serious side, heart disease and stroke.
The plan is not to totally eliminate stress but learn how to manage it and use it to motivate, without overwhelming our lives.
Here are some possible solutions that you can use as a parent to help manage your stress. So even if the average day for you starts at the crack of dawn and doesn’t end until the 11 PM, you can still incorporate these tips into your daily life to help you cope with stress better, so it doesn’t get the better of you ;
· Exercise- it may seem like the idea of a 30-minute jog or walk is just added stress but in truth it is one of the best stress relievers around. Set your alarm a half hour earlier and make it a daily routine just for you.
· Learn to say no- If you are feeling like you are juggling too many things at the moment and someone asks something of you that you really don’t have the time or inclination to do, say no. If you have trouble doing that without feeling guilty, remember practice makes perfect.
· Delegate-Have your older teenager get supper started such as making a salad or get the little ones to set the table. It is really OK to ask for help you don’t have to be Super Mom or Dad.
· Make sure you get some “ME” time on a regular basis. Do something you enjoy such as a weekly massage or lunch with your best friend.

Give yourself a break today and everyday, even if it is for only a few minutes. Take this time for yourself and everyone in your family will benefit.

Happy Stress-free days,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Protect your hearing!

Did you know that even everyday sounds like the lawn mower, blender, vacuum cleaner etc., could be damaging your hearing? Sound pressure is measured in decibels and anything over 85 decibels damages the little hairs in your inner ear that relay sound. A good way to tell if a sound could be damaging is if you have trouble carrying on a normal conversation without having to raise your voice.

Here is a chart showing the decibels

Decibels (db)
Very faint, rustling leaves
Typical speech
Washing machine
Busy city traffic
Hair dryer
Leaf blower, rock concert, chainsaw
Ambulance, jack hammer
Jet plane from 100 feet
Fireworks, gunshot
12-gauge shotgun

This chart really got me thinking about the everyday sounds our kids are hearing and the damage that could be occurring. From now on I am going to make sure my son wears ear protection when he mows the lawn. The chart also gives me sound evidence (no pun intended) to show him when I ask him to turn down his music or video game.

Kind of makes you want to keep a set of ear plugs handy when you make your smoothies doesn't it? I seriously cringe when I think of the amount of decibels a smoke detector going off has, must be off the chart :0

Happy Hearing,


Monday, October 17, 2011

Just a quickie

I missed blogging yesterday due to a health issue and today I still feel like I am a bit under the weather. I am just finding that one of the symptoms of whatever my body is trying to fight off, is a major case of brain fog so I am really struggling with my writing today and figured I would post a quick hi and bye and call it a day. I am hoping I will be back on track tomorrow and I can write a proper blog again.

Not even close to thirty minutes but I will give myself marks for at least attempting. I felt quite guilty about not writing yesterday, but what is the point. I have still been a lot more consistent with the posts than I ever have and will give myself credit for that.

Sometimes we have to give ourselves a bit of wiggle room when it comes to goals - hey nobody is perfect!

Happy Monday,


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Blog for the sake of a blog :))

I am really late today and need to get this over with so I am going to talk about absolutely nothing just to do my half hour for the day. I have my niece visiting and we are having a blast catching up and getting to know each other. What would we do without family? The beauty of family is that they love us warts and all it is part of relative contract they have no choice!! It is not necessarily that way for others except maybe really good friends. Speaking of good friends - never take them for granted! I lost my best friend suddenly in December of 2010 and I am still trying to come to grips with it.

Anyway my sister just showed up for a visit so the house is full of company and I am going to make this very short and end this blog.

Hopefully I can get back to a proper blog tomorrow and will be able to come up with a topic that is worth reading . Too many distraction and must go.

Happy Saturday night,


Friday, October 14, 2011

The Greatest Gift :))

I am really running behind today, so I am going to cheat a bit with the blog and have cut and paste an old article that has yet to be published. I have company coming so needed to do a quick clean up of the house and run 0ut and get a few supplies before they arrive.
So I will just make this short and hope you enjoy the article about the greatest gift you can give your children. Speaking of kids I have to run and pick up my little guy shortly so with that I will close and wish everyone a lovely weekend. Stay safe and I will see you in tomorrows post.
Of course we all want the best for our children, to make them happy and to give them all the material things that we never had. These are all good intentions; but when you really get down to it the greatest gifts that you can give your children do not have to cost you a dime.
Give them your time. Next time you are busy doing something and your child comes to you and asks a question, stop everything, look him straight in the eye and give him your undivided attention. No more “Just give me a minute,” or “After my program is over,” or all the other excuses that come so easy to us. Make your child your priority at that moment when he truly needs you.
Hug your children more. According to family therapist Virginia Satir, we need four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs for maintenance and a minimum of twelve hugs a day to thrive. Scientists have even proven that hugging generates "oxytocin", the feel-good hormone that is involved in social recognition and bonding, and might even be responsible for trust between people.
Play with your children. Show your children that you actually enjoy their company and do things that they like to do whether it be playing a video game, working on a puzzle, or even building a snowman in the backyard.
Read to your children. Even if your kids already know how to read, they still love to snuggle up with you and be read to no matter how old they are. It is also great way for you and them to wind down after a hectic day.
Tell your children you love them. You may think they know you love them; but it is important that you tell them every chance you get. Children never tire of hearing it and that goes for boys as well as girls.
The gift of self-esteem is the greatest gift of all that you can give to your children. Parents must realize that they more than anyone else can promote their children’s self- confidence. By your words and actions you are having a HUGE impact on how your children feel about themselves. As the famous writer Toni Morrison once asked, “Do your children see your eyes light up when they walk into the room?” Maybe THAT is the question we should all be asking ourselves.
Happy Parenting,

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress

In yesterday's blog I talked about how detrimental stress can be to your health and today I am going to give you a few healthy ways to alleviate the stress in your life...

OK today is officially blog twenty-two and apparently twenty-one days is all the time needed to establish a habit, so as of yesterday my blogging habit is now firmly established. :) Good news for me! I still do feel a bit of stress each morning when I think about the blog, but it is a good kind of stress and once I sit down and get serious about my writing it usually passes pretty quickly. That unfortunately is not the same for chronic stress and that is why it is so detrimental that we all find "healthy" ways to alleviate it before it wreaks havoc on our health. Kids also experience stress in their day to day life and it is important that you check in with your children from time to time to see how they are dealing with it. Teens are especially prone to stress and too much stress can lead to depression which is something that needs to be tackled professionally before it gets out of hand.

I find nothing squelches my stress like physical activity. It has to be more than a gentle walk and has to be at least thirty minutes before I start to feel the benefits. I find a very brisk walk on the treadmill, interspersed with lots of inclines, really gets my heart pumping. I sometimes run, but I find that a little jarring on my knees. Choose an activity that gets your heart rate up, but you are still able to carry on a conversation if you had to, but would not be able to sing. That is the gauge I use to see if I am working out hard enough. As you get fitter you will find you need to up the ante a bit in order to get the same benefit. In order to get the best results from exercise you have to be consistent, so try for every second day or 3-4 times a week minimum for no less than thirty minutes.

Meditation is also a tool I use when things get to be a bit too much! There are lots of good guided meditations you can use to get you started. Check out the reviews on Amazon to get a good idea which ones are recommended. Yoga is also supposed to be a good stress buster- my youngest sister swears by her daily hot yoga class - I have yet to give it a go

Other things to try:

They say that problems shared are halved. so find a close friend or family member and talk about how your are feeling. Sometimes just getting it off your chest can help immensely.

Choose nutritionally sound meal and snacks. Stay awake from fatty food and sweets. This is a no-brainer as a healthy body helps you deal with stress more efficiently. Eliminate coffee and other highly caffeinated beverages, or if you can't do that at least cut back a bit or choose tea which has less caffeine.

Get proper rest at least 8 hours a night if possible.Try to turn off all electronics things like computers, television, at least an hour before you plan to retire for the night. Make sure your room is completely dark and free from distraction.

Just remember stress will always be a part of our life but it doesn't have to get the best of us.

Happy Stress-free day :)


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stress 101

My day started off a bit stressful as I did not have the greatest sleep last night. I woke up feeling groggy and found it really hard to get out of bed. I was extremely klutzy and seemed to be dropping everything and even managed to knock the glass coffee carafe off the counter and it broke into hundreds of pieces :( Now I have to find a new one that will fit my coffee maker - I CANNOT go a day without my cup of joe! So far I am not having the best of days, but I am intending that it will improve from here on in.

As promised the topic for today's blog will be Healthy Stress Management for you and the kiddies. Before I get to the management part of it I thought it would be a good idea to talk about how detrimental stress can be to you and your children's health.

While a little bit of stress is OK, prolonged stress or chronic stress can be detrimental to our health, physically and mentally. When we are in peril, stress triggers the body's fight or flight response which leads to the release of the hormones adrenalin and cortisol. These hormones cause your heart beat to speed up, slows the digestion process and brings the blood flow to all your major muscles. This comes in handy when you are dealing with danger, but once the threat passes the body should return back to normal and no harm is done. With chronic stress the body does not return back to normal enough, which over time, has a negative impact on our health.

Chronic stress can cause headaches and body aches, make you more susceptible to colds, insomnia, obesity,, and extremely serious conditions like depression, heart disease, diabetes, ulcers, hyperthyroidism and even god forbid, the dreaded "C" word!!

This is why it is so crucial to find healthy ways to alleviate chronic stress. We also need to remember that our children may also be dealing with stress on a daily basis and it may be impacting their lives negatively. In tomorrows blog I will discuss "healthy" ways to help alleviate the stress in our lives as well as the lives of our children.

Happy stress-free day,


Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Official Turkey Day!

Yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner was a success and everyone enjoyed the turkey and trimmings, which is a good thing because tonight's menu will be a repeat performance :) I found enough to eat and stayed true to my vegetarian lifestyle - the mainstay of my meal consisted mostly of yams, mashed potatoes and various veggies. I skipped the protein part of it and had two pieces of pumpkin pie with whipped cream in its place. I have been avoiding sweets, but on this special occasion decided to indulge a bit. I am back on track today and even added a half hour workout for good measure.

Speaking of workouts, I really need to start being more consistent with mine. A bout with a rather stubborn and nasty UTI that eventually went into my kidneys, has me convinced that regular workouts are a priority if I want to safeguard my health. Having an illness makes you realize how valuable good health really is, and while nothing is a given, proper nutrition and regular physical activity can give you a bit of an edge in staying that way. Now there is more and more evidence backing this up. According to a recent "New Science" article, healthy living consisting of proper nutrition, regular exercise and stress management can actually turn off the cancer gene. This is good news and something we should all take heed of not just for ourselves but also for our children.

Children learn by example so do what you can to teach your kids the importance of healthy eating, regular exercise and positive ways to deal with stress. After all, we want the best for our children and good health will help to ensure them of a brighter future. In Tuesday's blog I will discuss the importance of stress management for parents as well as well as children.

Happy Monday,


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Happy Turkey Day!!

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Monday here in Canada, but the majority of Canadians tend to have their dinners on a Sunday, maybe because it is still the weekend and a lot of people have the day off. Luckily, most of the shops stay open for people like myself who have to run out and pick up whipped cream for the pumpkin pies or some last minute item they may have forgotten on their last trip to the grocery store. Anyway... I have the bird in the oven and have just started on my vegetarian stuffing. I am thinking there will be slim pickins for me to eat being the only vegetarian as I do not have the time nor the inclination to make up a batch of seiten or what others call 'wheat meat"

I am starting to feel a bit like a hypocrite because of my choice to not eat anything with a face and just recently anything with a Mother, but I am still condoning it by being the one to cook the things I have forbidden for myself. Oh well, I still have a way to go as I am debating on if that includes unfertilized eggs and I am struggling with dairy - coffee is NOT coffee without the cream. I know there are a myriad of non dairy alternatives out there, but having tried a lot of them and I have to say nothing comes close to the real thing. However, I have sworn off of any kind of meat, poultry or fish and I am at the point where even the idea of eating it sickens me. Once in awhile the smell of bacon cooking or a nice roast chicken will make me salivate, but I am strong enough to say NO!!!

In other news, my son did pretty well last night as mascot for our local hockey team. He said he realized that he needs to drink more water before he even gets into the suit because it gets so hot and he is sweating so much he is losing fluids. He found that by the second period he was feeling like he had very little energy and his legs were feeling like rubber. After a bit of a break and lots of water he was feeling much better. Next week will be a real challenge,
as he has a game Wednesday, and then back to back games Saturday and Sunday. Luckily this doesn't happen too often.

I know this is supposed to be more of a parenting blog, but I am at a loss for a topic so will keep it short today. I guess the bottom line is support your kids in their endeavors. You have no idea how much this matters to them. They constantly need to hear how proud you are of them and you can never say it too much. Oh yeah, hugs and I love you's are also important - they can never get enough of those : )

Happy Thanksgiving,


Saturday, October 08, 2011

This that and the other

I read somewhere that it takes twenty-one days for a habit to be formed. Today is day eighteen of my blogging challenge, so I am only a few days from developing a "blogging habit" which is good to know. On most days I struggle to come up with something interesting enough to say, so if someone stumbles on my blog they may find it worth reading. Isn't that the intention of all bloggers? While it would be nice to know someone is reading my posts, it is not the reason I have decided to blog on a daily basis. It is more like a challenge to myself to see how long I can continue to write daily for a minimum of thirty minutes. I also read that in order to become a better writer, one should make it a habit to write every day. It doesn't have to be anything profound, but it should be daily.

Speaking of writing, I have to start thinking about the next article for the October Kidsgoals newsletter, as we are getting close to the middle of the month and I really want to try and get it out around the fifteenth of the month if possible. I was thinking of some kind of Halloween theme for the recipe and crafts section, but I am stymied about a topic for the issue. Even though it is frustrating at times the newsletter is a labour of love and I especially enjoy putting it all together once I have all of the sections completed. It gives me great personal satisfaction to send it off and I know Cassie would be so proud of me. It is still so hard to believe she is gone and not a day goes by when she is not in my thoughts - I so miss her : ( sigh....

Anyway, in a few hours my son will be off to the arena so I should make sure he gets his things together, so he is not running around at the last minute trying to find this or that. I can tell he is a little nervous, but nothing like the first day - maybe he is starting to relax a bit now that he knows what it all entails? I think it is the unknown part of something that scares us the most when we make an attempt to do something we have never tried before. We tend to make up these scenarios in our mind and they are usually negative. Most of the time it turns out that none of things we imagined happening ever come to pass. I find that really interesting and I think it is some kind of built in protection device from our caveman ancestors to protect us from doing something that may have turned out to be detrimental to our health. It is not like we have to worry about sabertooth tigers jumping out of the bushes when we go for a walk, so not sure why most of us have not evolved enough to be able to look at a situation for what it is and not build it up into something it is not. Anyway more of my meanderings and so will close this blog for now before I get too far out there : )

Happy Saturday,


Friday, October 07, 2011

Post Seventeen

I am running a bit behind on writing the blog, as I was out and about picking up things for Thanksgiving dinner which in Canada is this weekend. Although I am a vegetarian I will be the one in charge of the turkey and all the trimmings, even though I cannot partake in most of it. I have yet to find a good vegetarian meat alternative in the stores, although homemade seiten (wheat meat) comes close. I am hoping with the proper seasonings I can make a reasonable facsimile of a turkey, well in texture anyway. I am making the stuffing vegetarian though - love my stuffing!!!

This is also the weekend that my son dons his gorilla costume and entertains the masses. I am watching him carefully for signs of nerves, but so far so good. I am hoping that in time it will just become a routine and he will start looking forward to going. He was quite hot last time and said he had never sweated so much in his life! Doesn't sound like much fun, but he is willing to persevere because of the cash incentive. He wants to buy a new gaming computer as his laptop is hanging on by a thread. That is the beauty of setting a goal such as saving up for a computer, a car, a vacation, or anything else you truly want. You can look at the object of your desire in your minds eye and then then see what steps are needed to bring it to fruition.

One more thing to bear in mind is that when something is given to us with no effort on our part, we tend to take it for granted, but if you have to really work for something it becomes very valuable to you and you are more likely to take care of it.

Well, must get dinner on so will close this blog for now and hopefully will come up with a much more interesting topic tomorrow. I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself after all the point of the whole experiment was to write consistently for thirty minutes minimum and I have done that.

Happy Weekend,


Thursday, October 06, 2011

If at first...

I just realized today, that when I complete today's post I will have blogged for sixteen days straight! Not too shabby! It proves that when you set your mind to do something you really want to do, anything is possible! I know this is just a small goal, but the beauty of accomplishing the smaller goals is that you gain the willpower to try something even more ambitious. Your confidence is boosted and you start to believe in yourself again and in your capabilities.

That is why goal setting is so important for children. I always stress the younger the better and there is a good reason for this, as how a child perceives himself starts very early in life. Each new mile stone, such as learning to roll over or crawl teaches a child about their own capabilities. They may fall over but they try again and again and then one day they actually succeed, but without acknowledgement from others for their persistence it really doesn't mean a lot. Research has shown that even if a child is pleased with his achievement, if he doesn't feel loved and appreciated for his efforts, he may still end up with low self esteem.

As adults we like to be acknowledged by the boss for our hard work or by our spouse if we stick to our diet and lose a few pounds, so why wouldn't a child need the same kind of adulation - something to think about!

Happy Parenting,


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

More Meanderings : )

After another abysmal sleep I am once again having an energy deficit, that even my morning cup of joe could not remedy. No matter, I decided that enough is enough and finally saw my Doc about my insomnia. I am sleep deprived and I am feeling it big time!!! I have lived with this far too long and thought eventually it would just work itself out...NOT!! I have written so many articles on the importance of sleep for our children, but if we as parents and caregivers are not getting enough precious zzzzzzs than that is going to affect how we parent our children big time! We will not have the patience to deal with them and may say things without thinking or even worse - not good. Being a parent is stressful at the best of times, but trying to parent without adequate rest is a disaster waiting to happen.

So anyway my Doctor has prescribed a limited amount of sleeping tablets to help me get a few nights of adequate sleep, so I can have enough energy to start a regular exercise routine which may be just the ticket to get me back on track. As it is now I barely have the energy to get through the day let alone go for a walk or jump on the treadmill. Everything is such a flipping effort!!!! So with that said I am going to call it a day with the blog as I have once again fulfilled my writing quota and blogged for thirty minutes as planned.

I believe once I get my sleep back on track I will be able to come up with some better topics and hopefully my writing will also improve. For now it is what it is!

I am off to pick up my son from school and grin and bear it through the rest of the day, until I can pop a pill and hopefully experience a full nights sleep - so looking forward to feeling human again.

Happy sleep ahhhhhhh,


Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

I picked up my mac book from the shop today and it is once again alive and well and ready to kick some blogging butt :)

Since I love reading I am always looking for the next "must have" book to add to my reading repertoire and came upon a book by Susan Jeffers called "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. The gist of this self help book is how Jeffers faced her own crippling fears and became empowered and how you too can put fear in the backseat and take the wheel once and for all. The book has been out for awhile so decided to give it a miss, but it got me thinking about my own fears and how amazing it would be to be able to overcome a few of them. One that comes to mind is my fear of public speaking and a quick Google search quickly confirmed that a lot of people suffer from this phobia - glad to know I am not alone :)

So I have decided since I have a good handle on my daily writing and my willpower is getting stronger with every blog, maybe it is time to throw something else in the mix. Now, I am not going to write this in stone but maybe, just maybe I will look into "Toastmasters" and see what it all entails.I mean it can't hurt to ask a few questions right? So while I am not quite ready to join up, I am going to take the first step and do a bit of research to see what this "Toastmasters" is all about. I know - not exactly stepping out of my comfort zone, but who knows where it will lead!
I will keep you posted.

I am tired and it is late and I haven't had my dinner yet, so will leave it at that. The aim is to write daily and it doesn't have to be brilliant - just consistent. This is a very good topic, so you can bet I will be blogging about it again soon. After all, overcoming any fear whether real or imagined is a huge confidence booster and who couldn't use more confidence. It might be a good idea to talk to your kids about what they fear.

Happy overcoming your fears,


Monday, October 03, 2011

Everything in Moderation

I am really late with my blog today. My computer crashed and I had to take it in to get the hard drive replaced and now when I go to boot it up it isn't recognizing the new hard drive so back to the shop it goes tomorrow. Sometimes computers can be so frustrating!!!! Anyway back to the blog...

I happened to catch the latest episode of the Doctors on the TV this morning and two of the hosts were arguing about whether kids should be allowed to eat fast food. One of the hosts was adamantly against kids EVER having fast food and the other one said it was OK once in awhile. The one who said kids should never have fast food talked about how young kids are being prescribed statins to control their cholesterol and this was from having too many fast food hamburgers and french fries, so they should be avoided at all cost! The other host said that sometimes parents are so busy rushing home after work so they can get their kids to soccer and dance lessons and other activities, that there just wasn't time to cook a healthy meal - on the odd occasion a cheeseburger and fries would have to suffice.

I happen to think that it is OK for kids to have fast food and junk food once in awhile. I believe in the 80/20 principle. If you can eat healthy 80% of the time it won't be the end of the world if you have the odd candy bar, fast food burger or french fries. Having raised four children I know that if you tell your kids NOT to do something, you can pretty much bet that the first chance they get they will do exactly that thing you prohibited them from doing. When they see their peers joyously partaking in bag of natcho chips or a greasy cheeseburger - they will want it even more.

I find with kids there has got to be some kind of compromise or else you will have to be watching them 24/7 to make sure they don't succumb to temptation - that is just not an option. Instead, teach your kids about nutrition and show them how to read labels. My youngest daughter is a serious label reader because of her Asperger's she needs to stay on a casein and gluten free diet to avoid gastrointestinal problems - she just feels better when she adheres to this type of a diet. She still has the odd slip up but it is of her choosing. The point I am trying to make is by explaining how important it is to eat a healthy diet to your children you are helping them to make better choices.

Fast food restaurants are not all bad. Show your kids how they can still have a cheese burger, but maybe instead of having french fries with it, they could have a salad. If they just have to have the french fries maybe a grilled chicken or turkey burger would be a healthier option.

You can also get your kids on the nutritional bandwagon by letting them help you decide on the menu for the week, have them accompany you while you grocery shop and even help with the meal preparations.

Happy Nutrition,


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Reading for the joy of it!

I have always been a voracious reader. As a kid I would hide under the covers reading with a flashlight late into the night, unbeknownst to my Mother, who thought I was fast asleep. My youngest son seems to share my passion and likes to read before bed. He has just discovered the author Terry Pratchett and is eagerly awaiting his next book delivery from Amazon.

I believe one of the best ways to get your child to enjoy reading is to read to them when they are small - the younger the better. It helps them to relax and will make the idea of bedtime hassle-free and they won't argue when you tell them to brush their teeth and put on their pajamas. Less stress at bedtime is always a good thing for us harried Moms and Dads.

Once your child is able to read on their own they can help with the nightly story time or they can read to you, which is also very enjoyable. You can also take weekly trips to the library together to see what new reading treasures are waiting on the shelves.

So take the time to read to your children. It is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child and studies have shown that children who are read to at a young age tend to score higher academically.

Happy Reading,