July 31, 2013

Fitness Ideas for Busy Moms

Fitness Ideas for Busy Moms

Being a mom means we are busy all day long taking care of our little ones, but it is important to also take care of ourselves.

Here are some fitness ideas for busy moms.

1.  Do something you like.  If you enjoy exercising you'll be more likely to do it regularly.

2.  Take a walk or bike ride with your children.  Enjoy the fresh air as a family.

3.  Make an appointment with yourself.  Plan your workouts (so you have a good balance throughout the week) and write them on your calendar.  Your health is as important as taking your children to their dental appointments. When you are physically and mentally healthy, you are able to give the best of yourself to your family.

4.  Use a fitness DVD.  Choose something you enjoy doing (yoga, for example) and use it during nap time, or do it with your older children.

5.  Play with your children.  Have a dance party, jump rope, play tag, jump on a trampoline or play together at the playground.

6.  Multi-task.  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Walk around the pitch while watching your child's soccer match.  Do squats while cooking dinner.  Flex your abs while waiting in line.  Do calf raises while brushing your teeth.

7.  Exercise while watching t.v.  Use a resistance band or do squats, push-ups and sit-ups while the commercials are on.  Walk on the treadmill while watching your favourite show.

8.   Do the housework.  Put on some fast tempo music and see how quickly you can clean the house.

9.  Use weights.  Resistance training will improve muscle tone and strength, increase bone density, reduce body fat, boost metabolism and improve your sleep.

10.  Prioritize your sleep.  Try your best to get the required amount of sleep that you need.

I hope these ideas help you.

Do you have any other fitness tips?  What works for you?

July 30, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Homeschooling, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

This week’s bundle is packed full of resources for homeschoolers, including five ebooks plus two special bonus offers. With your purchase, you’ll get tips for developing curriculum and teaching specific subjects, printables for you and your students, and encouragement for the school year at a discount of more than 80%!
Homeschooling 101 by Kris Bales
Whether you’re just getting started or a veteran homeschooler, Homeschooling 101 offers inspiration and encouragement for your journey. Kris includes practical tips on important topics such as knowing your state’s laws, discovering your homeschool style, recognizing your child’s learning style, planning your calendar, dealing with nay-sayers and homeschooling on a shoestring to help you get off to a smooth start this fall!

Notebooking Success by Jimmie Lanley
Notebooking is a popular learning technique that can be used for every subject and every grade level, but as powerful as notebooking is, it can easily become busy work that wastes time instead of reinforcing the learning if not implemented correctly. In Notebooking Success, Jimmie teaches you the ins and outs, including how to use notebooking to its fullest potential, how to know that children are really learning and what to expect at various grade levels. Plus discover all of her favorite resources for notebooking printables!

The Printable Homeschool Planner makes it easy for you to organize what you need to organize, how you want to organize it. With planning sheets and recordkeeping forms plus access to future homeschool printables that are released in the customer forum, this basic set is a great way to start your homeschool planner today.

Angie walks you step-by-step through the basics of home economics — including money management, hospitality, simple sewing skills, meal preparation, laundry skills, table manners and more — in Training Your Children in Home Economics. In addition, you’ll find printable progress forms for the various skill sets covered. This ebook will help you inexpensively introduce practical life skills as part of your homeschool curriculum, even if you’re not sure where to start!

In Designing Your Language Arts Curriculum, Jimmie covers the basics of language arts with specific advice, teaching tips, links to printables, and encouragement for grammar, spelling, vocabulary, poetry, reading, literature, building a library, writing, Shakespeare, and public speaking. She’ll help you decide what is essential, what is optional and how to best teach your students! In this exclusive bundle offer, you’ll also get Essay Tune Up, including 7 simple formulas for teaching essay writing plus 13 printables to help students organize their thoughts and write better essays.

Plus the Life Your Way Homeschooling Printables by Mandi Ehman
As a special bonus, you’ll also receive a set of homeschooling printables from Life Your Way, including notebooking pages, language arts cheat sheets, Black History Month activities, chore charts and more!

The Homeschooling Resources bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 8/5. Get yours today.

July 29, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - July 29, 2013

The weather...
Cloudy with showers today.  Sunny and warm the rest of the week (high of 25C).

Right now I am...

Watching Monsters Inc. with the girls (and working on this post).


That today is going to be productive as I had nine hours of sleep!

On my reading pile...

The Monarchy: An Oral Biography of Elizabeth II by Deborah and Gerald Strober

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Ham steak with homemade chips, peas and salad
Tuesday: Lasagna and salad
Wednesday: Meatloaf with mashed potatoes, savoy cabbage and green beans 
Thursday: Chicken fajitas
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Dinner out
Sunday: Baked salmon with green beans and rice pilaf

On my to do

Lots of laundry!
Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Clean my kitchen

On my to do list...this week
Work on Etsy orders
Playdate with a friend and her little girl
Return books to library
Sorting through the girls' clothes to see what I need to buy for school
Buying dresses for the girls for their grandparents' anniversary party
Book haircuts for the girls

What I am creating this week...
Working on a guest book for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary.

Looking forward to this week...

Shopping with the girls.

Looking around the house...
Breakfast dishes to clean, floors to wash and straightening up to do.    

From the camera...

Veggies fresh from my garden.

If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

July 26, 2013

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins



2/3 cup sugar
grated zest of 2 lemons
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
juice of 1 lemon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tbsp poppy seeds


1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 to 3 tbsp lemon juice


1.  Preheat oven to 400F.  Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin.

2.  Whisk the sugar, grated lemon zest, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together.  

4.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir gently together with a rubber spatula.  

5.  Stir in the poppy seeds.

6.  Fill each muffin cup approximately 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffins comes out clean.  

7.  Cool for 5 minutes in tin before removing muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

8.  To make the icing, mix together the icing sugar and enough of the lemon juice to make an icing that is thin enough to drizzle over the muffins.  

July 24, 2013

How to Clean Your Shower Head

When my shower head needs cleaning, here's what I do.

Take a plastic baggie and pour in 1/3 cup of baking soda.  Slowly add 1 cup of white vinegar.  Be careful as it bubbles up quickly.  Place this over your shower head and use a twist tie or binder clip to secure the bag.  

Leave the bag on for a few hours or overnight if possible.  Rinse with water before use.  




July 23, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Homemaking, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

A little organization and pre-planning goes a long way when you’re managing a home, and this week’s bundle will help you get organized, tame the paper clutter and simplify your home. Plus, discover the secrets for throwing a party without the stress and get all of the printables you need to set up your home management notebook today!
This week only, get all 4 ebooks plus more than 300 printables for just $7.40, a savings of more than 75%!
Planner Perfect by Jenny Penton
Planner Perfect: A Fresh Idea on Organizing Your Life is designed to help you become a master at managing your home. Intended for moms during every season of life, you’ll find tips for creating a space of your own, effectively using a calendar, organizing in a way that maximizes your strengths and talents, vacation planning, prioritizing your health, keeping your home clean, meal planning and more!

From baby showers to birthday parties, we all know that hosting a party usually ends up being more stressful than we hope it will! In Plan a Fabulous Party {Without Losing Your Mind}, Mary walks you through the steps involved in planning any type of party and leaves you prepared to handle unexpected complications or challenges. With questions and prompts, reminders about possible stumbling blocks, planning checklists, survival stories and last-minute cleaning tips, this guide is a must have before your next party, big or small.

10 Steps to Organized Paper by Lisa Woodruff
Can you imagine being able to find any piece of paper in your house anytime you needed it? 10 Steps to Organized Paper will motivate, encourage and lead you step-by-step through turning your mountains of paper into organized systems. Not only will Lisa walk you through the paper purging process, but she’ll also help you create a system that’s easy to maintain so that you can find the papers you need when you need them!

Homestead Simplicity by Lisa Barthuly
Sometimes it can be difficult to strike a balance between simple living and wanting the best for our family. In Homestead Simplicity: A Primer, Lisa shares her simple hints, tips and recipes to inspire and encourage you. Discover Lisa’s secrets to cooking from scratch (easily!), keeping your pantry stocked, making and using homemade cleaners and toiletries and more, including some of her favorite recipes.

With more than 300 printable pages to help you get organized, The Life Your Way Printables Complete Download Pack includes both full-size and half-size home management printables, cheat sheats, holiday planners and more, plus free monthly updates with new printables!

The Homemaking bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 7/29. Get yours today.

July 22, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - July 22, 2013

The weather...
Sunny with thundershowers.

Right now I am...

Typing this post while Miss C naps.  Then the girls and I will be out in the garden playing and checking on the veggies.  


that I need to run to the store for milk!  

On my reading pile...

Inferno by Dan Brown

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Baked chicken with pasta and broccoli
Tuesday: Dinner out
Wednesday: Spaghetti bolognaise with salad
Thursday: Pizza and salad
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Bacon wrapped tenderloins with baked potatoes and corn
Sunday: Sweet and sour chicken with rice

On my to do list...

Clean my fridge
Write grocery list
Clean the fish
Clean my kitchen
Wash the floors

What I am creating this week...

Nothing planned at the moment.

Looking forward to this week...
Taking the girls to the movies tomorrow and the arrival of the royal baby.  

Looking around the house...
Have to clean my kitchen and wash the floors.  

From the camera...
The flowers currently on display in my hallway (kindly given to us by a neighbour who accidentally cut them off while gardening).

If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

July 19, 2013

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars


1 3/4 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Strawberry jam


1.  Preheat the oven to 350F.

2.  Grease a 9" x 13" pan.

3.  In a bowl, use a pastry cutter to mix together the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. 

4.  Press 1/2 of the crust mixture into the pan.  

5.  Add a layer of strawberry jam to this mixture.

6.  Sprinkle the remaining crust mixture over the top and pat lightly.  

7.  Bake until lightly browned, approximately 30 - 40 minutes.  Let cool completely, then cut into squares.  

Happy eating!

July 17, 2013

10 Great Uses for Vinegar Around the Home

I love white vinegar.  It is a wonderful, inexpensive product with a myriad of uses.  

Here are 10 great uses for vinegar around the home.

1.  Clean your coffeemaker.  Fill the reservoir with equal parts white vinegar and water and run the machine through a cycle. Rinse thoroughly two to three times with water before using again.  

2.  Descale your kettle.  Click here to see my post for instructions.   

3.  Prolong the life of flowers.  Add a splash of vinegar (approximately two tablespoons) and one teaspoon of sugar in a vase of water to keep your flowers fresh.

4.  Deodorize a room.  Place a small bowl about three quarters full of vinegar in the room and it will remove any smells.  

5.  Use as fabric softener.  Add it to the rinse cycle when the water is filling up or the fabric softener compartment of a front loading machine.  

6.  Refresh your refrigerator.  Make a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water and wipe down the shelves and walls.  

7.  Clean your drains.  Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain. Follow with 1 cup of white vinegar. Let it sit and fizz for 10 minutes, then pour down a kettleful of boiling water.   

8.  Steam clean your microwave.  Pour equal parts white vinegar and water into a microwave safe bowl (approximately 1/2 cup each). Heat to a boil (approximately 3 - 4 minutes) and let it sit for a few minutes. Remove the bowl (using oven gloves) and wipe the microwave clean.  

9.  Make glassware sparkle.  Soak paper towels with white vinegar and wrap around the glass for a minute and then wipe away any water spots.

10.  Clean your windows.  Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and use. If you have streaks from the wax residue from commerical cleaners, use a mixture of 2 cups water, 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon liquid dish detergent.  

July 16, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of the Week - Cooking Basics, 5 eBooks for $7.40!
This week’s bundle takes you back to the basics with 5 cooking resources to help you meal plan, create your own recipes, make homemade condiments and reduce waste. With a little planning, you can save time and money in your kitchen, and this week only get all 5 ebooks for just $7.40, or 85% off their list price!
How To Cook For Yourself by Rachael Roehmholdt
How To Cook For Yourself: A Complete Beginner’s Guide is your guide to meal planning, grocery store strategizing, and learning the ins and outs of cooking basics and techniques. Rachel takes you through the entire process of selecting meals, grocery shopping, and getting a great meal on the table in no time. Learn how to cook for yourself in a way that is simple and can easily integrate with your life, right now!

Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil by Mary Platis and Laura Bashar
Cooking Techniques with Olive Oil is a fabulous resource for cooks of all experience, from the novice to the professional. With detailed descriptions, a variety of recipes for vegetarians and meat eaters alike, and plenty of beautiful and vivid photographs, Mary and Laura show you how to poach, braise, marinate, infuse, and even bake with olive oil!

Restocking the Pantry by Kresha Faber
Making your own condiments isn’t difficult! Restocking the Pantry is packed with nearly 75 pages of recipes and tips, and Kresha shows you exactly how easy it is – not to mention frugal and healthy – to make your own favorites at home, including ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, jellied cranberry sauce, hot sauce and more, for a total of 55 recipes!

Design a Dish by Millie Copper
In Design a Dish, Millie shows you how to use formulas rather than recipes to design dishes with the ingredients that are available so that you can reduce food waste and save money! Once you start using formulas for your meals you will discover just how easy it is to nourish your family for less!

From Garbage to Gourmet by Carrie Isaac
From Garbage to Gourmet features more than 80 recipes and creative ideas for using things like broccoli stalks, potato peels, carrot ends, herb stems, corn cobs, and more, plus hundreds of strategies to help you prevent food waste and create delicious food out of things you normally throw away. Carrie has taken the strategies she’s learned in her quest to reduce waste and stretch her budget and packaged them in a beautiful ebook that will make you forget you’re reading about food waste!

The Cooking Basics bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 7/22. Get yours today.

July 15, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - July 15, 2013

The weather...
Cold, wet and windy this morning.  The sun will hopefully make an appearance this afternoon.  Highs of 27C later in the week.    

Right now I am...

Eating my snack and browsing blogs.    


That I'm tired this morning.  It may not be as productive a day as I had hoped.  

On my reading pile...

Still reading the last book in the Bourne series.    

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Chicken nuggets with mashed potatoes and peas
Tuesday: Lasagna with salad
Wednesday: Pizza and salad
Thursday: Barbecue pork chops with new potatoes and green beans
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Steaks with baked potatoes and corn
Sunday: Roast chicken with trimmings

On my to do list...

Clean my fridge
Inventory pantry / Write grocery list
Change bed linens
Book hair appointment

What I am creating this week...

Continuing to make a baby girl gift.  

Looking forward to this week...
Starting to plan Miss C's fourth birthday party.     

Looking around the house...
Lots of laundry to do and I have to supervise the girls cleaning their rooms.      

From the camera...

If you would like to join in, please link up to Sandra from Diary of a Stay at Home Mom here.

July 12, 2013

Double Chocolate Brownie

Double Chocolate Brownie


8 oz (250g) dark chocolate
2 sticks (1 cup/250ml) butter
1 cup (250ml) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (125ml) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking powder
pinch of salt
4 eggs
2 cups (500ml) brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) pure vanilla extract


Preheat your oven to 350F (180C).  Melt the chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a small pot of simmering water, stirring constantly.  When the chocolate and butter have melted, whisk until smooth.

While the chocolate mixture cools slightly, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Add the eggs, sugar and vanilla to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.  Stir in the flour mixture until incorporated.

Pour batter into a lightly oiled and floured 9" x 13" pan.  Bake for 25 - 30 minutes.


July 10, 2013

100 Summer Fun Ideas

100 Summer Fun Ideas

The girls and I have been busy putting together a list of fun summer activities that they would like to do.  Their ideas include "have a pillow fight", "see a deer" (Miss C) and "go berry picking", "take a bike trip" (Miss S).  

Here are 100 summer fun ideas for your family.

1.  Play at the playground
2.  Play in a paddling pool
3.  Go to a movie
4.  Swimming
5.  Visit a petting zoo
6.  Visit a beach and build a sandcastle
7.  Fly a kite
8.  Do a jigsaw puzzle
9.  Make homemade playdough
10. Visit a children's museum
11.  Attend story time at the library
12.  Build a Lego castle
13.  Go to the zoo
14.  Visit an amusement park
15.  Go to a farmer's market
16.  Play mini golf
17.  Visit a water park
18.  Camp in the backyard
19.  Go to a science centre
20.  Family bike ride
21.  Play a board game
22.  Make s'mores
23.  Put on a puppet show with homemade sock puppets
24.  Have a treasure hunt
25.  Put on a family talent show
26.  Go to a parade
27.  Have a picnic at the park
28.  Host a barbecue
29.  Visit a pick-your-own-fruit farm
30.  Plant a vegetable garden
31.  Go to a country fair
32.  Make your own sidewalk chalk
33.  Take a family nature hike
34.  Blow bubbles
35.  Go to a drive-in
36.  Join a summer reading club or make a summer reading list
37.  Make ice cream
38.  Learn a new skill or take a class as a family (juggling, a language, cooking)
39.  Go bird watching
40.  Play music and sing with traditional or homemade instruments
41.  Go horseback riding
42.  Create messy art in your backyard (finger / foot painting)
43.  Volunteer for a good cause
44.  Read with your children
45.  Have a dance party
46.  Go to an outdoor concert
47.  Have a family pillow fight
48.  Play bean bag toss
49.  Watch the sunset (or sunrise)
50.  Have a water balloon fight
51.  Play hopscotch
52.  Make paper airplanes
53.  Play balloon tennis
54.  Create an obstacle course and have races
55.  Play Simon Says
56.  Make a home movie
57.  Build a bird feeder
58.  Have a pajama day
59.  Write and illustrate a book (either as a family or individually)
60.  Bake cupcakes and let the children decorate them
61.  Do a fun science experiment
62.  Build a fort
63.  Go Geocaching
64.  Learn a magic trick
65.  See a play
66.  Go on a nature scavenger hunt
67.  Visit your local fire department
68.  Use old magazines to make collages
69.  Tour a factory
70.  Walk around your neighbourhood and play I Spy
71.  Have a family movie day with popcorn (great for a rainy day)
72.  Make a wind chime
73.  Play school with fun learning activities
74.  Draw pictures
75.  Visit the pet store
76.  Take a trip to a river or lake and teach your children how to skip rocks
77.  Play hide and seek
78.  Start a nature collection (rocks, shells)
79.  Make a time capsule
80.  Make homemade jam
81.  Spend an afternoon gazing at clouds
82.  Plan a theme week
83.  Go fishing
84.  Chase butterflies
85.  Visit a local attraction (corn maze, historical park, botanical garden)
86.  Make tin can stilts
87.  Visit a local recreation centre
88.  Jump rope
89.  Have a play date
90.  Visit grandparents
91.  Make an "All About Me" book
92.  Visit a honeybee apiary and learn how honey is made
93.  Make a sun catcher
94.  Paint your own pottery at a studio
95.  Ride a train
96.  Play Frisbee
97.  Watch fireworks (or light sparklers)
98.  Bake something for a neighbour
99.  Make your own "Flat Stanley" and take him / her on your adventures
100.  Take a nap!

Have a happy summer.   

(edited: I had "build a fort" twice, so I changed one to "play bean bag toss".)

July 09, 2013

Introducing the eBook Bundle of Week - Writing, 5 eBooks for $7.40!
Are you a writer? Do you want to be a writer? If so, this bundle is for you! With five incredible resources from well known and successful authors, this collection is packed full of inspiration, practical tips and strategies to help you take your writing to the next level and earn an income from your craft.
Get this bundle for 70% off this week only!
You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins
You Are a Writer {So Start Acting Like One} is an ebook about the process of becoming who you already are. It’s a guide for those called to a life of words, a book about passion and calling, striving and sacrifice. Mostly, it’s about writing: the glorious and grisly process of putting your butt in the chair and creating something worth remembering. This ebook will challenge you, call you out, and launch you into the life you should be living — a life of writing.

Self-Publish: Moving from Idea to Product by Erin Ulrich and Teri Lynne Underwood
Self-Publish is an ebook for writers intrigued and/or intimidated by the world of self-publishing, writers who value quality and are prepared to devote time to creating an excellent product. With detailed information about each component of a great self-published work, Erin and Teri Lynne guide you from idea to product to help you ask yourself the right questions about four key elements of a successful book — content, design, audience, and marketing — with 20 worksheets to help you plan and prepare to write and release your book.

31 Days to Become a Better Writer by Kristina J. Tanner
Written for every writer who longs to hone their craft but is pressed for time, 31 Days to Become a Better Writer covers 31 different aspects of your craft with a daily exercise to reinforce that day’s topic. This book is beneficial for individual writers by themselves, but can be used effectively in a group setting as well!

Why should print books have all the fun? You can earn a full-time income with e-publishing, and you don’t have to be a superstar to do it. Based on her own experience (she’s sold over 40,000 in eBooks) and by studying the experiences of other’s, Sarah Mae shares the lessons she’s learned about communicating your passion to others in a new way and then getting those ideas to the world, one practical and thrilling step at a time in How to Market and Sell Your eBook.

On Becoming a Writer by Denise J. Hughes
The world of blogging has revitalized people’s interest in the craft of writing. They want to improve their craft too. In On Becoming a Writer: What Every Blogger Needs to Know, Denise answers thirty-four of the most important questions about writing that bloggers need to ask. What’s the difference between writing advice and editing advice? What if I hated English class? How do I tell my story? With the answers to these questions and more, this e-book will help you become a writer who has something to say and says it well.

The Writing bundle is only available through 8am EST on Monday, 7/15. Get yours today.

July 08, 2013

Happy Homemaker Monday - July 8, 2013

The weather...
Sun and rain today and throughout the week.  

Right now I am...

Planning out my week.  Miss S and I were ill over the weekend (yucky tummy and migraine), so I have some catching up on chores to do.  


That I'm ready for summer to begin!  I am done with all the rain (although it's great for my veggies).  

On my reading pile...

Robert Ludlam's Bourne series.    

On the menu for this week...

Monday: Chicken with mushroom sauce over rice
Tuesday: Tacos
Wednesday: Cheese tortellini with caesar salad
Thursday: Pizza and salad
Friday: Leftovers / buffet night
Saturday: Hamburgers with salad
Sunday: Roast ham with trimmings

On my to do list...

Etsy shop orders / mail packages at post office
Clean my fridge
Inventory pantry / Write grocery list
Change bed linens
Clean Marlin (the fish)

What I am creating this week...

Continuing to update my home management binder, make a baby girl gift and congratulations card.

Looking forward to this week...
A playdate with a close friend, making a gift for my lovely friend in England who just had her second baby girl and finishing organizing my craft room.   

Looking around the house...
Cleaning and tidying to do today.     

From the camera...
Miss S set up an art store this weekend which made me smile.