Guest Post: Create a Weekly Cleaning Schedule to Lower the Stress

Please welcome Shannon who works for Tidy Cleaning and is giving us some tips on how to keep our house clean daily without all the stress!

Guest Post - Cleaning Schedule - A guest post from Shannon on how to lower your stress and make a practical weekly cleaning schedule to make your life easier.

Create a Weekly Cleaning Schedule to Lower the Stress


Having too much to do in a day is quite stressful. You should create a weekly cleaning schedule where all the chores will be divided into small doable chunks. Down below, you will find an example of a cleaning routine. We hope it will help you to stay on top of your household duties. Check it out now.




To put your best foot forward, start the week by cleaning the high-traffic areas in your home so that you don’t feel overwhelmed with the dirt throughout the week. The room you need to focus on the most is your kitchen. Do a 30-minute speed clean of all areas. Spray the sink with an all-purpose cleaner and wipe it off. Spray the countertops and clean. Wipe down the fronts of cabinets. Start at one end of the room. When you tackle all the tasks, mop the floors on your way out.


If you usually do some cooking during the weekend, Monday is also the best day to clean your oven. That will add another 15-20 minutes to the cleaning, depending on the condition of the unit.




On Tuesdays you should focus on getting the bathroom spic-and-span as advised from Tidy Cleaning Wimbledon. Pour some toilet bowl cleaner into the toilet and let it sit. Grab a sponge and an all-purpose/bathroom spray and clean your cabin shower. Then, move on to the bath tub. When you are done, wipe down the walls and mop the floor. Go back to the toilet. Give it some good brushing and flush. Finally, clean the sink and wipe down the mirror.




The third area in your home that could use some cleaning is your bedroom. Be sure to put the stuff in order. Dust the shelving and wipe down the night table/dressing table, any cabinets and the front of the wardrobe. Sweep and mop the floor.


Another cleaning job worth doing on that day is vacuuming. Be sure to vacuum most of the areas. This will keep your home looking at its best until the next week.




On Thursdays, focus your attention on the living areas. Dust everywhere, clean the baseboards, wipe down any lamp shades, coffee tables, electronics and shelving.


Also, consider doing some laundry on that day. Choose among kids’ clothes, whites, colors and/or sheets. Load the washing machine and let it get the job done.




Fold clothes and put them back in the closet. Throw in another load of clothes and run the washing machine. Clean all downstairs areas. Tidy the place.




Take the time to empty the fridge and clean it well. This is also a great moment to check your long-term food. Check the expiry dates and dispose of the items that are out of date. Take out the trash.




Don’t overexert yourself. You need a break too. If you followed the schedule, you must have accomplished a great deal of cleaning jobs already. You deserve some rest. Send the children out to play, take a good book and enjoy the silence. Tomorrow everything is going to start all over again — all the hassle, all the cleaning and laundry — and you need to be well-rested.


Tip: straightening the cushions and putting things in their righteous places is something you could do on the daily to keep your home looking tidy and neat.


Feel free to rotate the chores if you get tired of doing the same thing every week. You may want to try a couple of cleaning routines to see which one works better for you. Enjoy your time cleaning and remember to dedicate a day to relaxation.

Guest Post - Cleaning Schedule - A guest post from Shannon on how to lower your stress and make a practical weekly cleaning schedule to make your life easier.

Here are some great tips to make cleaning your house much more manageable. Click To Tweet

Guest Post - Cleaning Schedule - A guest post from Shannon on how to lower your stress and make a practical weekly cleaning schedule to make your life easier.

Teaching a Toddler How to Help Others


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Helping others was a very important part of growing up in my household.  My parents volunteered a lot (and still do) and did a great job instilling that in my sister and I.   Here is a guest post by her on teaching young children about the importance of helping others and how to do it.

Teaching a Toddler How to Help Others - IG

With the help of my family when I was 16 (2003) I started a charity and took my first trip to Malawi. Icontiner 235.1n 2009 Hilary and I went to Malawi together to live with the MIC sisters and work in their kindergarten for needy orphans and children.  We had an amazing time.  We had not shared a room since we were kids so it was a great bonding experience.  Hilary has always planned to introduce Malawi to Bee but we thought she was still a bit young, she isn’t even 3 yet.  But next week we are packing up our 6th container to be shipped over.  I have done over 150 presentations on the charity and my trips to different schools and churches so I planned a special one for Bee.

I was honored to be included in a Canadian mini series called Make June 19th (14)Some Noise when I was about 18, they profiled young Canadians who were trying to impact the world in a positive way.  So we started our chat watching the 14 minute video.  I thought she might watch/enjoy it because her Grandpa and I were in it.  She loved seeing the clip of Grandpa trying to paddle a dug out canoe.  If I had not had this to show her I would have found something in YouTube.

IMG_7816Next we pulled out a globe.  Bee loves outer space so we talked about earth and showed her where we live.  We showed her Malawi and talked about how long it took to fly there in a plane.  We pointed out a few more places like the North Pole and where some animals come from.  I hate storing that globe because I hardly ever use it, but man nothing else does the job as well as a globe.

Start them young! You are never too young to start learning about how to help others. Click To Tweet


Debora (35)My goal for the chat with Bee was that she could see pictures of a beautiful country so far away.  We are also working on helping her understand how other people aren’t as lucky as us.  I prepared a power point file with about 20-30 pictures.  Hil with Po and myself with Bee sat in front of the computer and looked at pictures of the beautiful country, their smaller homes, some of the kids home made toys, and pictures of us working at the kindergarten.  We talked about how different her classroom looked from theirs and about all the toys and items missing from the Malawian classroom.  I brought her some Malawian fabric called a chitenje, which is very versatile, often used to tied babies on the moms backs for baby wearing.  We helped her tie Elsa on her back which she loved.


IMG_7846IMG_7857Then we jumped in the car and headed to Walmart.  At this point Bee was having a blast and requesting we go to Malawi so she can bring the presents to the little kids there.  We asked her to help us pick out soccer balls and girls underwear (items which are favorites of our to donate). IMG_7847


She was still asking to go to Malawi a week later to bring the pink soccer ball and underwear to the girls.  I would say that was a successful lesson by my sister for sure.   Please consider sharing the post below.

Teaching a Toddler How to Help Others - PT


What are your ways to get your kids involved and introduce them to helping others?

Learning to help others is such an important part in a child's upbringing. Click To Tweet

Teaching a Toddler How to Help Others TW

What’s in my dress up closet? Guest Post by Steph

Here is a great post from my sister as part of her weekly guest posts on Tuesdays.  She loves to dress up in costumes and get into themes, if I ever have to go somewhere I call her up and she will take care of the kids outfits for me!  Check out these tips below and make sure to leave a comment if you have any ideas on things we should add to our dress up closets too.

What's in My Dress-Up Closet - Dressing up is such a fun way to bring some extra life to an event. For kids and adults, here are some easy things you can have in your dress up closet.

Hil_Matt-534 (2)I love any excuse to dress up in costumes or for a theme. Luckily I have an awesome group of friends who also love to dress up so most of our parties tend to be themed. Some of my favorite themed parties were: Hunger Games the Capitol, Neon/Black Light, 90s, 80s, Circus, and of course Super Heroes.

My sister, Hil, had a medieval/fantasy themed wedding! As the matron of honor, I had an AWESOME outfit; a long black skirt, flowing red top (which matched the bridesmaids) and a long vest. We were also barefoot as it was outside. She had given me the choice of the same dress the bridesmaids had in black or go with my vest outfit, which was quite a bit more expensive. Oh how I debated! But I knew I would get more chances to use the skirt and vest again, and I did! I have gotten so much use out of my outfit for Halloween, Medieval fairs, and festivals.

What's in My Dress-Up Closet - Dressing up is such a fun way to bring some extra life to an event. For kids and adults, here are some easy things you can have in your dress up closet.

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One of my favorite hats!


My mom and dad in the photo booth at my wedding

Hats! Hats and more hats! In CEGEP one of my friends had a funny hat party every year, which inspired me to start my collection (thanks Els!).   Some I got in costume sets, some I bought individually, and some were free or re-gifted to me. I have a giant plastic bin filled with: cowboy, cop, sailor, pirate, and random fun hats.

When I got married in 2011, we opted for a photo booth. They offered to bring some dress up items, but they would have been dollar store type things and I thought they looked cheap. I also hate feather boas. I ended up bringing my box of hats as a last minute thing. But I am so glad I did! I think they gave a bit of inspiration and silliness while still showing off people’s nice wedding clothes.


Fawn inspired look

Whenever possible I pick costumes that come in pieces, like instead of a dress it would be a separate top and bottom. It will make it easier to re-use for a different theme party. Then I sort things based on use and quality. I have a bin for hats, a bin with accessories, a bin with adult costumes that fold flat, a bin that the kids can use and abuse, and then I hang up the good quality pieces in my guest room closet. Some of my favorite mini top hats and head pieces I display on a shelf in my closet.

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My costume was bought, but I decorated the house, car and onesie my niece is wearing. It also had matching capes.

I started making a bunch of my own stuff and items to use as gifts for the kids in my life. I find that you can easily find the really cheap poorly made stuff locally and then really expensive custom stuff on Etsy. I was looking for the middle ground; items that are soft and comfortable but don’t have to be expertly made, and have a lower price tag.

I have gotten really into making capes! Adult, kids, full, half capes you name it. I use nice soft fleece and it comes in so many different colors and patterns. 10407708_10153683181739478_5682969644183033127_nI love the free cape pattern from FleeceFun  (link to FleeceFun). They have a child and adult version and you have choices for the length. My niece insisted that her teddy bear needed a matching cape too so I simplified the pattern to make him one.

Hil wears the purple one I made her while she works on the computer. My capes get the most use camping and at festivals. The fleece also washes really nicely. I have tried different clasps but my favorite is ribbon.  It is the cheapest and doesn’t come undone as easily as the others I have tried.

Keep your eyes open for accessories at Halloween.  Sometimes the cheap stuff is exactly what you need and the dollar store items work perfect. I have lots of foam swords and plastic tiaras for the kids’ box. I also included some old ties and scarves. Belly dancing skirts that jingle are a huge favorite. I don’t put anything expensive in the kids’ box because I fully expect stuff to get damaged. But as my good stuff gets more and more used and worn, it gets added to their box.

What's in my Dress Up Closet?

My hats on display in my closet

This summer while I was off work I tried my hand at making my own mini top hats. They turned out great but were hard to get the hang of. I also made a bunch of Robin Hood/Peter Pan hats. I’ve made tutus in the past but I prefer the dress up skirts from Dollarama and cheap ones online.



Add to my dress up arsenal my face painting kit and on very limited  notice I can be ready for anything!


Last minute Comic Con costume, Anime eyes


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A quick Super Hero Mask completes Bee’s last minute costume


What's in your dress up closet? Here are some great tips for quick costumes. Click To Tweet

Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Mommy Support on Pinterest.

What are your favourite items to make into costumes?   Please consider sharing this post on Pinterest and tweeting the above message to give other people some ideas too.


What's in My Dress-Up Closet - Dressing up is such a fun way to bring some extra life to an event. For kids and adults, here are some easy things you can have in your dress up closet.



Meet my December Solidarity Sister

Meet my December Solidarity Sister - This month I participated in the Solidarity Sister Challenge and got to know Danielle from My Little Pea Sprout, come meet her!

For the month of December I decided to try something new, to sign up for the Solidarity Sister challenge.  I had seen it for the past few months and found it intriguing, but really had no idea what it was about.  You are paired with a blogger in your niche and given a set of challenges to do together to get to know each other and also help each other improve your blogs.

I was really excited to be paired up with the lovely Danielle from My Little Pea Sprout.  I was thrilled to learn that we both had toddlers, I have a baby, she has one on the way, and are both vegetarians (well Danielle is a vegan).  We each did a Q&A to help our readers get to know each other better and hers is below.  Please check out her blog as well to see some of the awesome vegan recipes she posts and fun updates on pregnancy (including a funny post on hormonal meltdowns), not to mention my interview!



Blogger Name: Danielle

Blogger Bio: I’m 27 and live south of Boston with with my boyfriend, Ashton, and our 20 month old daughter, Liana. We’re expecting a new addition to our family to arrive around February 29th. We’re a vegan family enjoying the ups and downs of toddler adventures and New England weather. Outside of blogging and parenting, I enjoy dipping my toes in the realm of photography, studying for my CPCU insurance designation, and the occasional yoga session or baking spree.

Blog Name: My Little Pea Sprout (

Blog Niche: Parenting and Lifestyle

Blog Description: I love blogging about the joys and challenges of being a Mum, all of our family moments and adventures, documenting Liana’s growth and “firsts”, and an occasional recipe, tutorial, or product review thrown in the mix.

Length of Time Blogging: Just over two years; I began blogging in September of 2013.

Why I Started Blogging: I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant and felt very alone in my experience. I used blogging as a way to reach out to other first time mums my age. I eventually made my blog public and used it as a way to keep my family up to date on our new little bundle of joy. One thing led to another and I began experimenting with other types of blog posts and becoming involved with other members of my blogging niche.

What Keeps Me Motivated: Remembering where I started. I started my blog because of my daughter as a way to communicate to family. I like to keep it up to date to continue the documentation of her growth and mishaps so that I can one day show her who she was, and who I was, while she was growing up.

Favorite Aspect of Running a Blog: I like meeting bloggers who have similar interests as me, networking with bloggers who can help me improve my blog, documenting memories, and connecting with readers who enjoy my blog.

Favorite Blog Post I’ve Written: My Diary of Liana’s Birth ( I think it is the most personal and honest post I’ve written, as well as one of the most important and happiest days of my life.

Goals For Your Blog in the Next Year:
1. Write posts more often and consistently.
2. Add an ‘About Me’ page and update my other pages.
3. Delve deeper into the realm of Pinterest to promote my blog posts.

Greatest Achievement Outside of Blogging:
Giving birth naturally without medication to a beautiful healthy baby girl.

Favorite Blog(s) to Follow / Motivational Blog(s) and Why:
Hannah Maggs ( | Hannah’s blog is the first blog I found while pregnant with my daughter. She was the same age as me, also pregnant with her first, and blogging about the experience. She 100% motivated me to start blogging for my little one as well. She is more of a youtuber now and maintains her blog on the side.

Advice to New Bloggers:
Start small and build your way up. Don’t expect too much, too soon. Don’t give up if you don’t get the results you expect right away. Join a blogging group with others in your niche to keep you motivated and answer any questions you have a long the way.

Connect with me on social media!
Facebook (
Instagram  (
Twitter (
Pinterest  (
Bloglovin (

I had a great time getting to know Danielle and her blog more and hope you have a chance to check it out and leave some comment love for her too.

If you have not done the Solidarity Sister’s challenge yet I urge you to sign up!  It is quite beneficial and does not take a lot of time so I really recommend you try it out.  I have already signed up for the month of January again so maybe we would get paired together!  Click the link below to learn more and go to the sign up form.

Have you ever participated in the Solidarity Sisters Challenge?  Do you have others you recommend?
Meet my December Solidarity Sister - This month I participated in the Solidarity Sister Challenge and got to know Danielle from My Little Pea Sprout, come meet her!

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers!

Just in time for New Years Eve, here is a post from my sister (who usually posts each Tuesday) known for her jello shots.   Super easy and fun, you should make these for your New Years Eve Party.


Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers! IG

In my early 20s I became the designated Jello Shot maker for parties with my friends. It drove me crazy when you would find little mostly empty, sticky little cups all around the house. I also thought it was a pain in the butt to eat the Jello out of those little cups. So I quickly jello 014jumped on the Jello Jiggler band wagon. By using less liquid in the recipe the Jello is firmer and I can cut it into shapes or squares and it will hold its shape. If you check out the Jelly shot test kitchen you will see some beautiful inspiration for ways to display and style your Jello Jigglers.

Typically you use HALF the liquid when making jigglers. So I often just put in two boxes of the powder with the water for one box. For example, for normal Jello it is usually one cup of boiling water per box, with an additional one cup of cold water. So use one cup of boiling water, two packs of jello, and after it is dissolved add one cup of booze for Jello Shots or water for Jello Jigglers. I will then poor it into silicon molds or a brownie shaped pan, then pop it in the fridge. So easy!

I have gotten fancy and tried the Agar Agar powder to make them shower 023vegan friendly, but honestly they came out terrible. Jello has gelatin, which most vegetarians and vegans won’t eat, so Agar Agar powder can be used as a non-animal product replacement. For my vegetarian sister Hil’s bachelorette I went all out and tried a few different recipes. I found they were either too watery or too firm. We ended up eating some with a spoon!

I have also tried some of the more elaborate recipes I found online, but they require you to use many different kinds of booze and it just gets too expensive. I used to use better quality booze but over the years I’ve seen how fast they get sucked down, people don’t notice or appreciate the higher quality booze. Save it for drinks and get the cheap stuff for Jello.

A few tips

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Biggest batch I’ve ever made! There were a lot of people at the party I swear! lol

-Layering colors is fun and easy! Make one color, let it set in the fridge, and then make another color and poor it on top. If you want keep going and add even more layers following the same process. Don’t poor the second layer of Jello until it has cooled or it will melt the already set first layer and you won’t get the nice color distinction. But also don’t pour it on when it is totally cooled, because when you cut it the two layers won’t stick together.

-You can use hot water from the kettle, but for me I find I can be impatient with the dissolving process and get the ‘skin’ on the bottom, by boiling the water in a pot on the stove I never get the ‘skin’.

-You can use a shelled out orange peel for ‘orange slice’ shaped Jello, but I found it tasted a bit bitter due to the peel, so I’m not a big fan of that style.

-Name your favors! People love fancy names even for simple recipes; for example Strawberry Daiquiri (Strawberry Jello and rum). Simple. Classic. Delicious.

IMG_7015 (2)-Have fun with silicon molds; spray them with a thin layer of non stick cooking spray to help you scoop them out of the molds after they have firmed. Make sure they are really cold when taking them out of the mold to help hold the shape.

-Ice cube trays are another tool you can use as a mold. Again spray them with a non stick cooking spray. But when you are making lots they take up a lot of room in the fridge and can take a long time to scoop out of the molds. Plus I tend to cut mine a bit smaller. I like them to be ‘one bite’ sized.

-If you are layering colors I find it looks best to put the darker color as the top layer.

-Have fun with cookies cutters! Then you also have scraps to snack on. I will keep the ugly little scraps in a Tupperware and once the pretty ones are gone the guys will happily eat the mis-shaped ones.


A jello rainbow for my gay friend’s wedding

-If I am making them for a group where we want them to look particularly good I will actually use a small ruler to guide me as I’m cutting them, it helps me make sure they are all the same size and looks better on a tray.

-Don’t cut them too far in advance or you will get a little ‘skin’ forming on the exposed sides of the jigglers, I’ll often start the night before with my first layers, finish my additional layers the next morning and cut them a few hours before I need them.

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Displayed on wax paper

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Using my pampered chef tray; hearts, fish and squares

-I have 3 inch high plastic containers from the dollarstore which I use for my Jello. I poor the mix in them and because they have lids I can stack them in the fridge. Then I use the same containers to display the cut jello shots, when working in bulk this works best for me, much easier to store and transport. Plastic wrap and tin foil sticks to jello so you don’t want to cover them with those. Wax paper works ok. For fancier parties where I am making less in quantity I will use serving plates but they are harder to transport. I love my Pampered Chef carry tray with the built in ice packs it’s perfect for Jello shots and keeps them cool.

-I like my Jello strong!  So I tend to use 1 cup of water to 1 cup of booze. But it does taste strong. Pour a bit less booze in your measuring cup and top it up with water for a shot less strong.

-Buy whatever colors and flavors of Jello (or no name Jello it really capital 002doesn’t matter) match the theme of the event or your tastes. I’ve found every Jello flavor goes well with Rum and Vodka, but I have also enjoyed Tequila, Amaretto, Champagne, and Peach flavored booze in my recipes.

-When possible opt for clear colored booze, more than once I have used dark rum and not been pleased with the color I ended up with.

-Lately I have been making a small batch of sugar-free jello shots for my mother in law, who is diabetic, she doesn’t have very many but it’s nice she feels included.

-JELLO SHOTS HIT YOU HARD! You may not feel it right away but its coming, go slow, and enjoy responsibly.11058397_10153713110814478_8480602770468283264_n

-Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers are also a nice addition. We have had fun making them lately for the kids and their parties. I used cookie cutters to make stars for Bee’s Dora themed 2nd birthday, she loves Jello Jigglers! But we all have friends who don’t drink so again it’s a nice way to make them feel included when we ‘Cheers’ Jello shots.

-I have had an occasion or two where we had young kids and drinkers at the same event. I didn’t want a little kid to grab a booze filled piece of Jello so I made the adult ones square and the kids non-alcoholic ones were fun shapes from silicon molds. VERY WELL LABELED! The trick is to make the non-alcoholic ones prettier and keep the adult ones out of reach!

Jello shots are a great way to bring some fun to a party! Click To Tweet

Some crowd favorite specialty flavors:

Rum and Cherry Coke- Instead of boiling water, boil a cup of Coke and use cherry Jello and of course rum

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Green circles are Amaretto Sour, Strawberry Daiquiri had a tiny piece of strawberry on top, and the purple squares had a chunky sugar topping

White Jello with colored squares- this one is a bit labor intensive but super easy. For the full recipe click this link This is not my personal favorite taste-wise, but it looks so pretty and my friends love it. It worked especially well with Christmas colors and a bit of mint flavor for a Candy Cane inspired treat.

Amaretto Sour- Boil water and use lime Jello powder. Add Amaretto and a splash of lime juice. This one always disappears first!

[bctt tweet=”A easy way to bring some fun to a themed-party is to make Jello jiggler shots! So easy and they look really pretty. ”

Please comment below, what is your favourite treat to bring to a party?  Are you a fan of the Jello shots?

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Jello Jigglers! PT - Copy


Follow Raising Fairies and Knights’s board Parties on Pinterest.

Why We Exchange Home-Made Gifts at Yule & Ideas of what to Give

Winter Solstice is a great time to gather around with family and celebrate the longest day of the year.

My house has had a tradition for the past few years where we exchange home-made gifts at Yule, then the store-bought ones on Christmas.  It’s a really fun way to be creative and show your loved one you care.  By putting effort into their gift and making it yourself (although we have loose guidelines for that) you can demonstrate how well you know your partner/family/friends and how you feel like they are worth the effort to make something for them.

Nothing says #ILoveYou more than a #homemade #present! Click To Tweet

Our guidelines are loose, you have to put effort into making it, but there is no budget and you can be creative on how you choose to interpret “making” it.


My husband made me this pic a few years ago with our doggy, Salsa, kayaking because he knows how much I love to paddle.

I have got some really creative gifts over the past few years from my husband and I love how he tries to do something in his skill base.  For example, one year he used his computer (he is a Software Engineer) to make a picture of our dog, Salsa, going down a waterfall in a kayak.  I thought it was super cute and a really creative gift.

Why We Exchange Gifts at Yule - IG

Other easy ideas to do for your partner spouse:

  • Coupons (seriously home-made coupons are the best, include things that you are good  at: make a favourite recipe, help with a computer issue, give them free time, etc.).
  • Thor's Bowel Go to a ceramic painting place (with friends, make it a girls night too!) paint them a bowl, mug, Hulk candy jar, etc.
  • Don’t overlook photo gifts!  A photo calendar, photo mug, Christmas ornament, photo book, tons of great things to make them with your favourite pictures so they can have a great keepsake.
  • Bake them something!  I made my hubby Nutella Vodka last year and it was awesome!  Fudge, their favourite meal, baked good, etc.
  • Or you can always make a gift basket or put together a date night.

This is supposed to be fun, not stressful, come up with whatever you can.  It is more about the effort and thought that you put into it rather than the actual gift itself.

Exchanging #homemadegifts is such a great #holidaytradition and a perfect way to show someone… Click To Tweet

For the presents for the little ones I keep it more homemade and basic. Some of the things I make for them:

Yule Kid Presents

  • I made sensory bags and bottles when Bee was a baby.
  • I compiled a photo collage in a frame of all the babies in the family for Bee to look at when she was a baby, you know how babies love looking at other babies.  She still likes to look at it.
  • I made her a board book with pictures of everyone in her family, she loved looking at Grandma and Nanny.
  • Chewlery, necklaces or tethers.
  • Clothes, such as a skirt, cloak or pj’s if you are a sewer.
  • Quiet book or bags.

For Bee this year I made her a photobook from Shutterfly of the Pagan Alphabet, each letter I put pictures of pagan-related things that correspond.  She is super into the alphabet and learning the letters so I think she will like it.

For Po he is moving into his own room soon and my husband wanted an Avengers Superhero theme, so I had Po help me make a handprint canvas for his room and then painted it into Avengers (check out my updates on Po’s Superhero room and DIY decorations in the new year).

The kids can help make Daddy:

  • A card.
  • A painting.
  • Baked goods.
  • Sing a song

Again, it’s the thought and effort that count, the objective is to show someone you care by using your creativity and time to make them something to show them they are worth the effort.

What kinds of things do you like to make and/or receive as a home-made gift?  Please tell me in the comments below.  I am always looking for new ideas.

Why We Exchange Gifts at Yule - A great family tradition to start and the perfect way to celebrate the Winter solstice.

DIY Shopping Cart/Stroller Handle

IMG_7001This DIY was inspired by the daycare ladies in my neighborhood.  They use cool little handles attached to strollers and wagons when walking older daycare kids.  Typically one handle per child and it encourages them to stay close to the adult and not run away.  It also gives clear boundaries and rules for the kids to follow; you MUST have one hand on a handle at all times.

Is your toddler a runner? Do they have issues staying next to you in stores? Try making this… Click To Tweet

DIY Shopping Cart Stroller Handle - Try making this easy DIY handle to give toddlers a clear boundary and help keep them close and safe at a store.


-Ribbon (mine was 7/8 inch)

-1 inch webbing (that’s the black stuff)

-Whatever clip type you prefer, I’m using a carabineer and key ring circle

-Scissors, lighter and sewing machine



-Cut ribbon and seal edges with your lighter

-Sew ribbon onto webbing

-Sew clip onto one end

-Fold other end over and sew



My Finished Product!


While I have my stuff out I decided to sew a quick little present for my Nightmare Before Christmas loving friend.  A little strap she can attach to keys, a wallet etc.

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What methods do you use to keep toddler close to you while shopping and they want to walk?


DIY Shopping Cart Stroller Handle - Try making this easy DIY handle to give toddlers a clear boundary and help keep them close and safe at a store.

DIY Mitten Clips (and a BONUS pacifier clip)

DIY Mitten Clips - Buying these made is so expensive, for the same price you can buy the materials to make multiple clips easily and with the ribbon you like the most.  With the cold weather coming I thought it would be a good time to make some mitten clips. These are a very quick and easy project made even faster with a sewing machine.


-4 pacifier clips/mitten clips, I bought mine online but checkout your local craft or fabric store

-1 inch Ribbon (or 1 inch elastic would work too)



-Sewing machine or needle and thread

Step by step

-Cut two strips equal lengths of ribbon (approx 6 inches)IMG_6774

-Use your lighter to singe the edges or your ribbon, this will keep it from unraveling; don’t be nervous it is more like a melting effect then catching fire

-Sew a clip to each side of your ribbon

-DONE! How fast was that?!?!?!?

So fast I’m going to make a quick pacifier clip for a future 49ers fan!

-I’m using the same clips but this time I only need 1.

-Cut the desired length of ribbon and seal the edges with your lighter.IMG_6777

-I’m using a scrap piece of thin elastic to make a loop to thread around the actual pacifier (if you don’t have elastic a piece of thin ribbon or cord would work too).

-On one end I’m sewing the pacifier clip and on the other end I’m IMG_6778sewing my loop.

These are a great unique gift. So customizable for different interests and themes!

Tell me in the comments below how would you design your mitten and pacifier clips?

DIY Mitten Clips - Buying these made is so expensive, for the same price you can buy the materials to make multiple clips easily and with the ribbon you like the most.

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How to Prepare Yourself for a Food Shortage (aka Prepping Part #3)

Welcome back to part three of Thor’s three part prepping prelection!

How to Prepare for a Food Shortage - IG

Last post was about how we can prepare for interruptions to our lives that will absolutely happen within our life time. We discussed what we can do to prepare to stay hydrated during power outages, snow and ice storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and unemployment.

Are you prepared for an emergency? What about water for hydration? Do you know what to do in the case of a water shortage? Prepping saves lives!How to Prepare Your Family for an Emergency (AKA Prepping) title - pt

This post will continue prep discussions with the greatest topic of all – food!

Many of us, even without thinking of preparing for any event, have at least a week’s worth of food on hand. This should be good enough for any likely event, right? We keep our freezers stocked with pizzas and our spare freezers stocked with steaks, chicken, and all yummy things. Unfortunately, that won’t do much for us if the power is out and we can’t turn on our stoves. Why stockpile food when we can just go to the store? Transportation routes can be affected by disasters, power outages can result in closures, and quite possibly in a few months from now you may simply not be able to afford to purchase much due to lost employment. Stocking some essential items now instead of that second tablet could save you stress and your hair line (sorry dads).

Non-perishables are a good choice because they are cheap, they last years (lets you amortize your prep investment), and these days there are some pretty delicious options in those cans. Before we get in to the details of what to stock, let’s talk heat sources.

If the power is out, a good old-fashioned fire place is your best bet. Stock up on wood, some paper, matches or BICs and you are ready to eat. However, many do not have the luxury. The next best bet for eating without power is a camping stove.


They are relatively cheap and so are their propane canisters. My wife and I have whipped up some stellar meals while camping on these bad boys.A more expensive option is to have a solar charger and a hot plate or microwave.

I’ll tailor the food section to preparing for a month’s worth of food – more than enough for most recent events that would affect your ability to mosey on over to the local supermarket. You are going to want to stock up on items that your family typically eats and will eat. The last thing you need is for everyone to have troubled tummies during the tumultuous time. Rice, dehydrated peas, and beans will serve you well. They are super cheap and yummy with the right seasoning.

If you are looking to eat cheaply for up to a month, grab 20 lbs of both rice and beans/peas/legumes. Keep in mind these need to be hydrated so eating these items will cut in to your water supply. Get some spices to make them yummy like salt, garlic salt, curry, ketchup, garlic sauce, bacon bits, onion/garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

Eating rice and beans can get tiresome so get some yummy treats. Canned soups, pears, peaches, beets, sauces, stewed tomatoes, corn, maple beans, and chili are some of my favorites. For a family of 4, get a couple of cans for each day that you want to prep for to go along with the beans and rice.

Get yourself a couple of huge jars of peanut butter, too. Each are high in protein, deliciousness, and contain up to 6000 calories. They will help keep you full and happy, as long as you don’t have a nut allergy. As much as I love nuts, canned and packaged nuts are expensive and do not last long enough to stock and forget. They are more of a buy-and-eat item than a prep item.

The ultimate canned food is honey. Honey has been found to last thousands of years if covered and kept free of moisture. Seriously, it was found in Pharaoh’s tombs as fresh as the day the honey comb was ransacked! Honey has been shown to hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella and it can help keep wounds clean as well as make whatever you are eating taste yummy! Get yourself as big of a container as you can justify buying. Get the real stuff, not the imitation. It will last longer and taste better. Sure it’s not cheap, but you will thank yourself.

A big ‘ol container of olive oil will help flavor your dishes as well. A big bag of sugar, flour, corn meal, and salt will help round out your dishes as well. All cheap and all vital to reduce dreading meal time.

There are many other household items that you may want to stock up on. For example, medical supplies set aside for emergency use only. If you prep items that you pull out of your stores for every day use, please make sure you take note and replenish.

1L of hydrogen peroxide, a big container of adult multi-vitamins, a big age-appropriate bottle of child multi-vitamins, a box of sterile gauze and pads. Get as expensive of a med-kit as you can justify to yourself or afford. These can get very pricey but if you need it one day you are going to wish you had splurged. Assorted adult and kids bandages, As big of a bottle of crazy glue as you can justify for closing wounds or fixing broken items, duct tape, 15g+ of Polysporin, a bottle of age-appropriate children’s Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, and big bottles of both adult Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen , and big ‘ol bottles of antacids and loperamide. The last one especially if you prep foods your family does not typically consume. Nobody wants the runs to add to their misery!

Now that you have all of this, you should take the time to document everything and note each and every expiration date. Entering everything on a spread sheet will allow you to sort by date so that you can plan for cycling out items as they are about to expire. No need for anything to go to waste. Keep in mind that most expiration dates are a complete farce. For example, my honey container says it expires in 2017 when it will last in that bottle until the plastic breaks down. On the other hand, it is better to be safe than sorry especially when it comes to items children will be eating.

82% of US homes have been found to have traces of mice so please keep your food inside of plastic bins. Yeah I know, gross, but the little buggers can get in to everything so please keep your food safe and unspoiled. A 20 lb bag of rice could keep a family of mice fat for a decade! Rubbermaid roughnecks have served me well in the past, but any durable container with a lid will do.

There are a great deal of other topics of preparation but we will end it here. I hope this post will be helpful to you and if not, I hope it gave you some food for thought.

Please comment back any questions, critiques, or improvements!

How to Prepare for a Food Shortage - tw

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Giving Back: The Importance of Volunteering

xmas 1991 (4)

My big sister Hil and I

Growing up my parents taught Hil and I the importance of volunteer work and helping others. We were very heavily active in Girl Guides, my mom was a leader, and Girl Guides showed us how much fun volunteering can be. Through Girl Guides we had the opportunity to volunteer at bottle drives, blood donor clinics, food drives as well as many other one off events.


We grew up learning the importance of volunteering and giving back to our community.… Click To Tweet



Painting at a “Pet Fair” featuring rescue animals

After I moved to Ottawa I was going to be a Spark leader, but then the concussion happened and I couldn’t handle that kind of commitment. But I feel really strongly that I should have a volunteer activity. It’s even better when you can tie community service with one of your interests or passions. For just over a year I have been using face painting as my activity. It’s perfect for me. I have a lot of control and flexibility on what events I sign up for. My favorites have been Children’s Cancer fundraisers, Pet Rescue events and the Osgoode Medieval fair. I was very worried that I wouldn’t be good enough or experienced enough but it has been great practice. Most people know I’m a volunteer and are so kind! The kids, well…..they think I’m an artist! Even if all I can see are flaws in the design, the kids are thrilled.

IMG_6622 (2)I like to try and donate toys at Christmas for the local needy. With me being off work for 2 years money is a bit tight. But I do have lots of time. So that is why this year I’m making hair bows for the Kanata Stocking Project. The cost is very low, it’s more time consuming, time I have!

One of the coolest things someone has done for my family was 14 years ago.  It was after my 16 year old cousin died suddenly, we had been very close growing up. For the 12 days leading up to Christmas we started finding little things on our doorstep that would go with the 12 days of Christmas song. It’s been so long I don’t remember the specific items, but they were small and creative. We only found out later who had been doing it but it was so much fun trying to guess where stuff was coming from. It was a family we were friends with through Girl Guides. They said they pick a family each year to do it with and picked us because they knew we were having a hard time. Her daughters would crawl around our front porch so we couldn’t see them! It meant SO much and really made our Christmas.

Giving Back The Importance of Volunteering - Growing up my parents taught us all about the importance of volunteer work and helping others. We were very involved in the community and it taught us a lot

A few weeks ago my dad’s long time receptionist was retiring and they were having a special dinner for her. Some Air Canada executives were dinning in the main room and noticed the celebration. One of them ended up coming over to congratulate the retiree and gave her 2 tickets to England and $500! Just out of the blue.

bnp-generic-2015Have you checked out the ‘Buy nothing’ or ‘Free cycle’ Facebook groups in your area? These groups will often have rules to insure everything posted in the group is free. It’s a great way to de-clutter your house and find new and second hand things you may need. Every summer we go to Raven’s Knoll camp ground in Eganville, Ontario. It’s a wonderful place to find friends and acceptance. I wanted to try and find some used outdoor kids items we could bring up for all the kids to enjoy. I posted my request in a few facebook groups and it worked out fabulously. Next summer the kids (and parents) will have an awesome surprise when they see two water tables and five ride on toys up there (and that’s just so far!).

Do you ever 'Pay It Forward'? Do something today to make someone else's day a little brighter. Click To Tweet

Have you ever done a fun ‘pay it forward’? Has anyone ever done one for you? Do you have a way to include the kids? What are your favorite groups to support?

Giving Back: The Importance of Volunteering - Growing up my parents taught us all about the importance of volunteer work and helping others. We were very involved in the community and it taught us a lot

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