Category: parenting

Check In One: The Good and The Bad on My Healthy Start

Week Six: Healthy Living

My first week is officially done in my healthy lifestyle challenge and I had quite a few ups and downs. While I am not 100% happy with how well I committed to it, I can’t look back but only forward as tomorrow is always a new day. I need to focus on my overall health and well being and each positive and healthy step forward is a win for me.

Check In One

So here is the breakdown:

Last week’s goals: 

  • 2 pound weight loss.  Completed!! Woohoo!!
  • Follow my vegetarian diet with a meal plan. I stuck to this like glue and while I wish I had some additional emotional support for this change I am happy with how I feel and I am sure my loved ones will too over time.
  • Yoga four times a week. I managed to complete my yoga practice twice this week and it made me feel so good! I love how my body feels so relaxed afterwards and this will be something I will do more of.
  • Daily evening meditation. While I did complete this in the bath (the only time I am given absolute and complete silence) it still felt good to just quiet my mind and focus on nothing.
  • Daily squat, lunge, push up and crunch challenge. I actually kind of forgot about this one so this week I am going to make a fitness calendar to keep myself on track!
  • Run daily for five minutes (I am starting out here!!). Does chasing after kids at soccer count??
  • Stay hydrated with eight glasses of water a day. This is the part I loved the most and left me feeling less bloated.
  • 10,000 step minimum a day. Oops, not even close! I was very bad last week while on vacation!

This week’s goal:

  • 1-2 pound weight loss
  • Continue to maintain my vegetarian diet with a meal plan.
  • Yoga fours times this week.
  • Daily evening meditation.
  • Daily squat, lunge, push up and crunch challenge with a fitness calendar.
  • Two litres of water a day.
  • 10,000 steps minimum a day.
  • Daily morning detox tea.

Make sure you check out my initial post on my healthy start and enter to win a giveaway to focus on your healthy start!

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A Healthy Start to a New Me {Plus Giveaway!}

A New Month and A New You

Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before you realize that a change needs to happen. For me that happened last month with my overall health and well-being. I just was not and still am not happy with how I have let my health and fitness go. I stopped focusing on myself and put too much energy into things that were draining me. I realized that I needed to make a change and gave myself a start date of August 1st, 2015.

Because of my personality, I had to have clear goals set in mind and wanted to share them with you to help encourage and hold myself accountable to keeping up with goals.

A New Month and A New You

So here it goes!

Long term goals:

  • Lose fifty pounds, with an average of 2-3 pounds a week. This will put my weight back into a healthy category for my height.
  • Follow a strict vegetarian diet with a gradual transition to vegan.
  • Complete a 3 mile run.
  • Organize and complete a weekly workout plan.
  • Spend time every day meditating for at least five minutes.
  • Practice yoga three to five times a week.
  • Let go of the areas in my life that are draining me.

Every week I will come back and share my current weekly goals and how I did on last week’s goals. My hopes are that this will motivate not only myself but you to focus on your own physical and emotional well-being (something most of us don’t spend enough time on with our busy lives).

This weeks goals: 

  • 2 pound weight loss.
  • Follow my vegetarian diet with a meal plan.
  • Yoga four times a week.
  • Daily evening meditation.
  • Daily squat, lunge, push up and crunch challenge.
  • Run daily for five minutes (I am starting out here!!).
  • Stay hydrated with eight glasses of water a day.
  • 10,000 step minimum a day.

I will be sharing with you on Monday how I did with these goals listed above and my new set of goals for the week.

To kick off this healthy month, I want one of you my readers to win a $50 Shoppers Drug Mart gift card so that you can splurge on yourself.

Canadian residents, eighteen years of age and older can enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Go For Gold in Rio 2016 #WannaPlayChat #RoadtoRio

Countdown to Rio 2016

We are huge sports fans in our home. Most of our weeknights are spent at soccer games or swimming and when we are not there we are taking advantage of our local parks to play basketball, football or frisbee. Being active and outdoors is a way of life for our family, we like to joke that we are raising a young ‘Messi’ and ‘Rinaldo’.

The Countdown to Rio 2016 is on! #WannaPlayChat

When sporting events are broadcasted, it is quite the event in our household. The events are broadcasted non stop and we make friendly bets on who will in. Soccer is definitely number one in our home, followed closely by swimming (my kids love watching the swimming with me as I used to compete and teach swimming in my younger years and miss it so much!).

In 2016, the Olypmics are heading to Rio! Already our Canadian atheletes are hard at work training and preparing for this moment (can you even begin to imagine being in their shoes??). The summer Olympics have always held a special place in our heart because we participate in so many similar events at home.

You can encourage your children to prepare for the Olympics through:

  • pick a new Olympic sport to you and your family and play it!
  • create a goal and go for it, track your progress over the year.
  • work on a specific goal or move over the next year.
  • create a mini Olympics for your children in the backyard or at the park.

The Countdown for Rio 2016 is on!

We are very excited to watch the BMX cycling next year. Our eldest just purchased his own BMX bike and it is always fun to copy the awesome moves we see on television. I found the above fact on their website pretty amazing -> from the age of five, BMX riders can compete in this sport! Pretty cool, right?

August 5th is the official one year countdown to Rio 2016. To help kick off this special date, Canadian Tire wants to celebrate with you at a Twitter Party!

Countdown to Rio 2016

The Details:

Date: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Time: 8:00-9:00pm Eastern

Host: @CanadianTire

Co-Hosts: @RosieMacLennan @bthieseneaton @markadejonge

No RSVP needed – just show up and chat with the #WannaPlayChat #RoadtoRio. There is $1,000 prizes up for grabs!! Looking forward to chatting with you.

If you are on Periscope, make sure to tune in for a chat with @RoseMacLennan at 6:45.

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Up Your Grill Game This Summer With Vegetables and Fruits #CelebrateCanada

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Weber Grills Canada for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Canada Day marked not only our 148th birthday but also the start of the Canadian outdoor summer season (which let’s be honest, isn’t near long enough!). Summer is the perfect time to get outside, get active and spend quality time together as a family. Our weekends are usually spent by the pool in the backyard, relaxing and just enjoying each others company. Our weekend time together is very important to us and we use this time to remind us what is most important in life, family.

Up Your Grill Game with Fruits and Vegetables #CelebrateCanada

And what better way to top off this quality time with, then with delicious food straight off the grill (spoken like a true Italian Canadian girl, eh!).

The days of traditional grilling are long gone and there is pretty much nothing you can not cook on your Weber grill. While hamburgers and hot dogs are still fun, why not try to spice up your grill a bit by giving your recipes flavour and variety.

While my husband tends to lean towards steak, chicken and pork (he could live off this combination of food everyday), I like to balance out our meals with veggies and fruits (yes, you can grill fruits and they even taste great!). Some of the best fruits to grill include: watermelon, pineapple and pears. Just make sure your grill is clean and on a low temperature before grilling your fruits.

Up Your Grill Game with Fruits and Vegetables #CelebrateCanada

Creating mouth-watering vegetables that are not overdone or dry, is easy when you grill them in tin foil. Follow these easy steps for delicious vegetables that are perfect on the side or added on top of a steak or chicken sandwich:

Up Your Grill Game with Fruits and Vegetables #CelebrateCanada

For this recipe you need:

  • large rectangular shaped piece of tin foil
  • vegetables of your choice (I used mushrooms, onions, red peppers and zucchini) cut up in small slices
  • one tbsp of olive oil
  • garlic powder and Montreal steak spice to taste

Make a tray with your tin foil and line the inside of the tray with olive oil. Place your vegetables and mix the vegetables together to coat them with the olive oil. Add your spices to taste.

Up Your Grill Game with Fruits and Vegetables #CelebrateCanada

Use the remainder of the tin foil to create a lid for your vegetables. Place the tin foil directly onto the grill at medium to low heat and cook until done.

If you really want to shake things up a bit, why not try naan vegetable pizza on the grill? Using some of the leftover zucchini from above and tomatoes, you can create a nutritious appetizer that will please any picky eater.

Up Your Grill Game with Fruits and Vegetables #CelebrateCanada

Just lightly coat one side of the naan bread with olive oil, add the zucchini, diced tomatoes and some ricotta cheese. When you place this on the grill make sure you are doing so at a low temperature so you do not burn the bottom of the bread. Remove the pizza when the bottom is golden.

Up Your Grill Game with Fruits and Vegetables #CelebrateCanada

Grilling up nutritious fare is an important part of outdoor fun and can be made that much more exciting when you experiment outside of the box.

What is your favourite recipe for the grill?

If you are looking for more grilling fun, check out Weber Grills You Tube Channel, full of helpful tips, recipes (Sangria – yes please!) and more.

WeberGrillsCA YouTube

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Building A Family Budget with Your Children

Heritage Eduation Funds

How many of you have developed a family budget? This should be a budget that is reflective of your current accounts, debts, payments, as well as your future needs (RRSPs, RESPs and emergency funds). Now here’s the tough question: how many of you have shared this with your children?

The reason I ask this question stems from a conversation I had with my tween this weekend. A conversation that made me feel as though I had failed in including him enough in our income and budget preparation, as well as what kind of income is needed to survive in our current economy. A group of kids in his grade could not wait until they graduated high school so they could live on their own (to be young again!). When I asked about the amount of income they thought they would be bringing in, I was shocked by their response: $800 a month! I asked them if they felt they could survive on $800 a month. The reply: but of course we can! I know some people have no options and do work with similar budgets to this number but I feel as though we are failing them, as this is not an income that allows an individual to move forward and support themselves comfortably (and yes, I’ve been there too!).

While we have always been open with our children about our family budget, we clearly weren’t doing a good enough job at teaching them about our income, where the money was going to and how we were putting it away for the future. We were not exposing them enough to payments such as rent, mortgages, taxes and how quickly money tends to fly out of our accounts.

I kept asking myself: how can we get our son more involved? How can I make it easy for him to understand that living on a budget is necessary, but at the same time needs to be realistic and most importantly, how can I make this into something he can understand?

Step One: Lay It All Out There: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I took out all our current bills, city taxes, mortgage payments, our bill book, spreadsheets and laid them all out on the table for him. I also included my debt repayment schedule because I want him to know how easy it can be to rely on credit while at school and how this affects you as an adult once you graduate. We work through each bill and each payment, explaining the total amounts owing, basic interest principles and where our money is going to each month.

Step Two: Create a Brand New Budget

Using this new information, we drew up a brand new budget (not because we needed one but because I wanted him to learn about budgets and where our money was going to). Together, we listed all the required monthly payments we had to make (credit card, car loans, mortgage, day care, RRSPs, RESPs, etc.) as well as things such as entertainment and pizza fund money. These items are important too! Plug in those numbers and total them up. I bet your child will be quite surprised with that final number (I know I always am and maybe a tad nauseated too!).

Creating a Family Budget With Your Kids

Step Three: Incoming Money

Talking about your income with your child might be hard (I know it is for me), but it’s also important. They need to know that our funds are not endless, as much as they may wish it was so. We never had this conversation with our parents; I still would not be comfortable asking them how much money they make, as it just feels far too personal and invasive. Now you can total up all of your incoming income and payments.

Step Four: The Bottom Line Number

This part is simple: just subtract! Subtract your outgoing from your incoming to get your total remaining amount. I like to leave some in our accounts just in case something happens (the roof leaking, extra soccer payments and fundraising have been some of our last-minute emergencies). You can also chose something to do each month with your child with this amount, maybe a date night?

Your child may have plenty of questions after you finish creating this budget and this is healthy and normal. You want them to question finances with an open mind. This will be an important skill for them later on in life. You also want them to realistic; there’s nothing worse than the shock of financial reality once you move out on your own, especially when combining this with post-secondary education. Yes, they may be able to live on $800 a month, but how hard will it be? Letting our children become a part of the process of the family finances gives them confidence and allows them to understand their opinions matter. You may be surprised as to where they would like to see some of the money allocated to – more play time at our local gym was one that surprised me.

How do you let your child play a role in the family budget?

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