The Ultimate Christmas Checklist

With Thanksgiving, Halloween and Remembrance Day done it is time to start thinking about everything Christmas. As the Christmas season draws near, it’s incredibly important to start planning for all the tasks that need to be executed to have a holly jolly Christmas. Yes, I get the pun! It is time for the ultimate Christmas checklist.

Early preparation is the key to Christmas success, making sure all the important aspects of the holiday season are taken care of well in advance.

One of the best ways to get yourself organized and on the Christmas ball so to speak is to prepare a Christmas checklist.

The Ultimate Christmas Checklist
Christmas Tree and Christmas gift boxes in the interior with a fireplace

In the Fall Months (October & November – so now)

  • Make a Plan – Now is the perfect time to solidify your Christmas plans. Will you be hosting or travelling elsewhere? Once that has been decided you can make plans from there.
  • Create a Christmas Budget – Creating a budget for the holidays will help to ensure you don’t overspend over Christmas months. No one likes to be paying for Christmas after the holidays.
  • Add Activities to Calendar – As you find out about school performances, parties and more, add them to a master calendar. Keep the calendar in a central location so you know your schedule and plans quickly.
  • Start Baking and Freeze – Anything that can be frozen like bars, bread and cookies are fantastic to make ahead. This will help to ensure that you have desserts on hand for when guests arrive throughout the season.
  • Organize Christmas Cards – Now is the best time to determine how many cards you need, and ensure you have updated all your recipient’s addresses.
  • Shop for Tags and Wrapping Paper – Starting to purchase your gift wrap and tags early will give you the best selection, preparing you for when it’s time to wrap those gifts.
  • Take Your Christmas Card Photo – Get your Christmas card photo taken and ready for creating your personalized Christmas cards.
  • Order Christmas Cards – Ordering your Christmas cards ahead of time will ensure that you have plenty of time for them to arrive and lots of time to send them out.
  • Plan for Overnight Guests – Consider what you will need for overnight guests and make sure to get your house ready for visitors. Replace old towels and sheets and prepare the sleeping arrangements.
  • Make a Master Gift List – Create a list of everyone that you will be purchasing gifts for and general ideas of what to get them. This will help you to save money and time when doing your shopping.
  • Start Christmas Shopping – The more presents you buy ahead, the better.
  • Wrap Gifts as you Buy – Not only will this save you from the chances of your kiddos finding the gifts before Christmas, but it will totally save you time on Christmas Eve.
  • Take Stock of Décor – Go through all the Christmas decorations and take inventory to see if anything needs to be replaced.
  • Take Stock of Place Settings – Make sure you have everything you need for special events and meals and make sure to replace anything that may have broken.
  • Address and Send Christmas Cards.

Over the Holiday Season – (December)

  • Buy a Live Tree – Now is the best time to buy a fresh tree. Just make sure it has enough water so it doesn’t dry out before Christmas. Not into real trees, check the flyers for deals on fake ones.
  • Start Traditions – If your family does elf on the shelf or any other exciting Christmas traditions, now is the time to start them! Perhaps you can decide to donate time together as a family helping someone in need.
  • Finalize Menus – If you will be hosting a Christmas dinner or party, make sure you have all menus finalized and start a master grocery list.
  • Order Turkey – Now is the time to order your turkey, ham or whatever it is you wish to serve for your Christmas meal.
  • Mail all Gifts – Any gifts that must be mailed out of town should be done now.
  • Get non-perishables – Any canned goods, pantry staples and beverages you will need can be purchased now.
  • Deep Clean – Now is the perfect time to make sure your home is clean and organized. In fact, tackling the refrigerator right now will make sure that you have space for the dishes and ingredients you will need to pull off Christmas dinner.
  • Stock up on Batteries – There is nothing worse than realizing you don’t have batteries for the kids toys on Christmas morning.
  • Shop for fresh Ingredients – A few days before the holidays is the best time to purchase all fresh ingredients you will require for your big dinners, parties and Christmas morning breakfast.
  • Set the Table – Setting the table days before the big dinner or party is a fantastic way to save time when the big day comes.
  • Start Cooking and Baking
  • Charge the Batteries on your Camera or Video Camera
  • Finish Last Second Wrapping
  • Finish Cooking
  • Put out Cookies for Santa
  • Relax, listen to Christmas Music and Enjoy the Holiday Season!

 

Early preparation is the key to Christmas success just make sure to use the ultimate Christmas checklist to ensure you are ready to enjoy the holidays this year. Now, do you want an easy printed list? It is my early Christmas gift to you. Simply grab this pdf and it will keep you on track all season long.

Christmas Checklist

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CHRISTMAS CHECKLIST HERE:

Ultimate Christmas Checklist- Printable

 

Skechers for Every Season and a Giveaway

If you know me you know I love my Skechers shoes. I have Skechers shoes or boots for every season. For this plus size woman I find they bring comfort, something I desired most of all. 

This past summer I was often in Rumbler-Sci Fi sandals. I loved these sandals with a bit of a heel. They were and are perfect for date nights, dinner out with friends and those days I wore my favourite maxi dress. The fact is I have a wide foot and ankle so finding shoes that fit me can be difficult so I am thankful this style was available in a wide. I hadn’t worn a heel in years and it was so nice to find a pair that worked well for me all summer long.

I also have a pair of Sketchers Gowalk Joy’s in navy, They come with innovative and highly responsive 5GEN® midsole cushioning that makes me feel like I am walking on air some days. They are a perfect pair for my long walks. If you love to walk like me then you want the comfort that comes from wearing these.

I also have a few pairs that are from a couple of years ago and they are still in use as well. 

Then a couple of weeks ago I found some great Sketchers boots at Pennigtons. I fell in love with the Wide Width Lace-Up Bootie with faux fur. I grabbed the pair in tan. I so couldn’t wait to wear them I even wore them at Blissdom Canada. Facts are the three days I was at the conference last week, a different pair of Sketchers were on my feet each day.

Now, Skechers Canada sent me a new pair to add to my collection. They sent me the new Skechers D’Lites. Since I have headed back to the gym these will be my go-to pair. They have a cute design and a comfortable memory foam insole. I am also enjoying the absorbing supportive midsole.

If you are looking for an amazingly comfortable shoe or boot for this fall or winter, visit www.skechers.com

Enter to Win

One of my lucky readers will win a pair of Skechers shoes for themselves. Your choice, dependent on availability. Winner must be over the age of 18 and live in Canada.

To enter the giveaway leave a comment and let me know which pair you are most interested in.  For an extra chance share this post on social and let me know in a separate comment where you shared it

  • Giveaway ends Nov 9th at 5pm EST. 

Fall Goodies for Halloween and Thanksgiving from Hallmark Canada

It is hard to believe that the fall is flying by. In my neighbourhood, everything is a shade of orange or amber and the Thanksgiving items have made way for Halloween decor. Just after Thanksgiving, a box of fall goodies from Hallmark Canada arrived. There were a select few fall items and some adorable Halloween ones alongside. 

At our house we decorate the house for fall ( Thanksgiving) every year the second week of September and those stay in place for a month we then decorate for Halloween with some special pieces we have collected over the year, those stay in place for a few weeks and are taken down to make room for our Christmas decor which goes up early in this house. Christmas decor is on the mantle in our home right after Remembrance Day. 

For Fall and Christmas, I love rustic decor so was delighted with the box that Hallmark Canada sent me. From an adorable placemat to measuring spoons, to a bowl full of thanks to an adorable wooden sign there is something for everyone. 

For Halloween, we often forget those that can’t have candy. In my house we have 2 little ones that won’t be trick or treating so I loved the Paw Patrol stickers that they sent. For someone who has that Halloween birthday, a special idea, a bracelet made just for the day. 

Now I love to extend the spirit of Thanksgiving so I a love that I get to give one reader a Count the Really Good Blessings Twice Wooden Sign. We loved this wooden sign and have a space for it in my country kitchen.  What an important sentiment to remember year round. 

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY: 

In the comments let me know what you are thankful for? or your Halloween costume for this year. 

Want an extra entry share this post on your social media and tell me where you shared it in a separate comment. 

*Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only over the age of 18

** I have received a box of goodies from Hallmark Canada in exchange for this post and they will also fulfil the prize. All opinions are my own as always.

CONTEST ends Friday, Nov 2nd, 2018 at 5 pm. 

How to Save Money on Everything Halloween

The turkey leftovers are in the fridgeHalloween annual fall hike is done so now on minds in this house turn to Halloween. We loved decorating, making treats, shopping for candy and deciding on the perfect costume. With all of the planning and shopping though it is easy to put a strain on your wallet, it is just as easy to save money on everything Halloween.

So how can we save money on everything Halloween? Over the years I have written several posts all designed to help you save on Halloween. You can learn about keeping the money gremlins at bay and how to have a frightfully frugal Halloween.  Now many of the things we do help us save money every year.

Saving money on Everything Halloween does not have to be scary.

So how can you save every year on  everything Halloween?

  1. Year after year, I emphasis budgeting. Is Halloween a line item in your budget? It should be. 
  2. Shop your shed and closets. Get creative, think reuse, reuse, reuse as your Halloween anthem. So many things make for great DIY projects for decor and costumes.  
  3. Check for Freebies. You can often find freebies on sites like Kijiji or Craigslist. I have even seen freebies in the Facebook Marketplace and even on groups like Bunz ( Do you have the bartering app Bunz yet?) 
  4. Host a costume swap with your friends. How many costumes does your child have? I know by the age of 5 my daughter had a few. So the best thing to do was gather some friends who have kids and host a swap. 
  5. Check for coupons. Yes, I used the “c” word! If you are a crafter who loves to get creative, take advantage of Michael’s 40% off coupon that happens often.
  6. Look for deals and price match when and where you can. Remember Flipp, the app shows you all your local flyers and did you know you can price match straight from the app at several Canadian retailers. 
  7. Shopping Online? Use Ebates, it is a portal site that gives you cash back and often savings when you shop at the retailers listed. One of the retailers is Amazon! 
  8. Become Pinterest inspired. Since we love to make Halloween treats and our own costumes I have two boards you can check out here and here. 
  9. Get your pumpkin at a discount. I was at Walmart Canada this week and saw that they had a great sale and a good selection. I would grab one while you can. 
  10. Shop the day after Halloween. You can get ready for Halloween 2019 shopping ahead. Great deals can often be found on November 1st. These can be stashed away for next year.  

Great Ways to Host a Frugal Thanksgiving Dinner

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many are looking forward to spending time with their friends and family, all while enjoying their favourite foods, drinks and desserts. The truth of the matter is, amidst all that wonderful gratitude, bonding and eating, hosting thanksgiving can put a real dent in your finances. Between the cost of decorations, dessert, the main and the sides and even the beverages, hosting Thanksgiving can leave your wallet feeling less than grateful.

Luckily, there are ways to host a frugal Thanksgiving dinner, all while keeping it memorable and delicious.

Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

Make Your Own Decorations

Rather than going out and spending an inordinate amount of money on thanksgiving decorations, make your own. Thanksgiving decorations can consist of inexpensive items or things you can find around your house already. Things like fallen leaves, small gourds and even pie pumpkins work well as table décor. In fact, you can even hollow out the pie pumpkin to make dessert and place the empty pumpkin on the table with a lit candle inside.

Table setting made with everything found around the house
Its easy to set a Thanksgiving centerpiece on a budget

Shop Creatively

Rather than going out and spending an inordinate amount of money on thanksgiving decorations, make your own. Thanksgiving decorations can consist of inexpensive items, or things you can find around your house already. Things like fallen leaves, small gourds and even pie pumpkins work well as table décor. In fact, you can even hollow out the pie pumpkin to make dessert and place the empty pumpkin on the table with a lit candle inside.  

Make It a Potluck

A potluck dinner gives lots of options and makes for less work.

Thanksgiving is traditionally a potluck like holiday to begin with, so it’s not uncommon to have your guests bring at least one dish to contribute. Rather than taking on all the work and expense yourself, a potluck thanksgiving saves you money, makes sure that every guest has a dish they love and lessens your work load. Just make sure to keep a running tally of what everyone is bringing and ensure there is a variety in the dishes. Otherwise, you could end up with an abundance of different variations of pumpkin pie and absolutely no side dishes. 

Get Creative with Leftovers

A big Thanksgiving dinner can create enough leftovers for many meals to come, but you may find yourself getting sick of turkey sandwiches. Using the turkey carcass to create a delicious turkey stew or soup is a great way to repurpose some of your leftovers and they freeze well too for future meals. Stretching the meal out to serve future meals helps to save a lot of money.

Hosting a frugal Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, as long as you make your own decorations, shop creatively, make it a potluck and get creative with your leftovers, Thanksgiving will not only be delicious, but it will also be inexpensive. Get ready to gobble up your delicious and frugal Thanksgiving dinner and make even your wallet feel grateful

Keeping My Business Covered with State Farm

One of the least talked about things when it comes to running a small business are your insurance needs. There are several things that should be thought about and talked about with a professional. 

State Farm Canada business insurnace

Being a small business owner means that I have to think ahead and make sure my family and business are covered. Luckily my local State Farm Canada agent has lots of options that can help me make sure I’ve got the right insurance mix for my unique business needs. The conversation is an important one to have. State Farm Canada provided the below article: 

Business insurance is there to protect you, your family and your business from unforeseen events that could impact the rest of your life.

As a business owner, you face tough challenges every day. Make sure your business has the right insurance protection to keep your business running. Talk to a professional agent to determine your specific needs.

Business Property Insurance

Business Property Insurance, protects your assets; buildings, equipment, stock, contents, from all risks of direct physical loss or damage, such as fire, theft and vandalism. A good policy will also cover you for those things you didn’t know about, like building by-laws impacting the cost of construction or repair of damaged buildings.

Your Business Property Insurance will also provide several Business Interruption options that covers the loss of business income and rental income that occurs as a result of direct physical loss or damage to your property.

Business Liability Insurance

Stuff happens. No matter how tight a ship you run. Random events are bound to occur.

Injuries can occur both inside and outside your business. What’s more, customer and visitor injuries on your property may result in lawsuits. Slips and falls are the most common hazard, resulting from inadequate lighting, missing handrails, uneven surfaces or debris on surfaces.

Liability Insurance protects your business in the event of a claim or action from a third party who has sustained bodily injury, property damage or personal or advertising injury as a result of your negligence from your premises, operations, or products and operations.

Business Auto Insurance

Many folks who use their own vehicles in their line of work, whether for deliveries, transporting gear, or sales calls, assume their personal policies will cover them. Unfortunately, this leaves them vulnerable to risks that could seriously impact their future financial wellbeing. When talking to your agent about your coverage, ensure you disclose that your vehicle is being used for business purposes. This will ensure that you have the coverage you need to get the job done.

Business Life and Continuation Insurance

As business owner you owe it to your business partners and family to ensure that you have considered a business continuity plan, so your business will continue without any undue burden.

It is important to consider the impact a fatality (whether yours or a business partner’s) will have on your business. What happens to your business afterward? Will your family be on the hook for taxes? Capital gains? Probate fees and a bunch of other miscellanea? As a business owner, you may be able to use life insurance to help with an orderly and economical transition. This is one type of insurance many business owners often put off thinking about until later.

Surety Bonds

A surety bond is kind of like a money-back-guarantee for your customers. It’s a guarantee that your company, or you as an individual will deliver on a specific obligation. It gives your customers peace of mind that you will deliver on your commitments. In some cases, it may even be compulsory when working with certain levels of government or private companies.

There are other types of business insurance, some specific to your business. You should consider ensuring your business has the right and adequate coverage. A reputable, and established agent can customize a policy to properly suit your individual needs.

Full disclosure, this article was sponsored by State Farm® Canada. They have agents across Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. Like you, their agents are independent business owners who support their local community.

Your State Farm agent will help you find the right coverage for your business. No obligation. Visit the State Farm Canada website to find yours.

State Farm Canada is becoming Desjardins Insurance — the same great agents, now backed by Desjardins.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance or Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, underwriter of life insurance products. Desjardins Insurance and related trademarks are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.

State Farm branded policies are underwritten by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company. Life insurance products are manufactured and issued by Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company. ®State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company and certain of its affiliates.

The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only. Neither State Farm nor Desjardins Insurance shall be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information.

Disconnecting to Connect at the Fireside Conference

Sometimes you simply need to get away. Back in July, an invitation crossed my inbox that I knew I needed to respond too.  The email was from Daniel Levine, the co-founder of the Fireside Conference inviting me to be a guest at the Fireside Conference. I had heard of the Fireside Conference at technology and small business events over the last couple of years here in Toronto.

 I spoke with Daniel and by the end of the end of the day, I was at a barbeque at  Steven Pulver’s home ( he is the other co-founder). At the barbeque, I was surrounded by past attendees and learned more about how the conference came to be and what to expect.

Daniel and Steven had first met many years ago when attending Camp Walden and when they reconnected several years later and wanted to design a retreat/conference for the tech crowd, influencers, investors and some other very interesting folk they knew Camp Walden would be the perfect setting.  They were tired of what they had seen at tech events where they saw a lack of real connection. Everyone was busy looking at screens and not really talking to each other except for maybe a brief conversation or the handing over of a business card.

In comes the Fireside Conference, at Camp Walden, a chance for attendees to disconnect and connect in ways I have not seen at any other event. At Camp Walden, there is no cell service and one spotty wifi location so attendees of the Fireside Conference actually connect one with another in this kids camp setting.

This conference is unlike any I have attended, speakers may be your sharing your cabin or those you walk with or sit around a campfire staring at the stars with. It is a conference when connection is palpable and meaningful. It is a place to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, have real conversations that can change you. It is a place of retreat, a place to take a risk and a place to grow. 

What did I love about the Fireside conference and why do I hope I get invited back? The beauty of the place, the campfires, the food are all givens but I was challenged and took a few risks. I also had some great conversations and cried real tears. There was even a military plane fly by!

On Thursday, I travelled the back highways to Camp Walden with a stranger from Las Vegas. Did I mention Camp Walden is about 3 hours from Toronto on a private lake? As we drove the backroads to the camp, we had a great conversation. Once we got there we were greeted by a campfire and quickly got to know those who we would be hanging out with all weekend. I shared a cabin with some women with some neat stories from one who works with teens, to a woman who created a new way for pets to be cared for by vets to a woman who worked in crypto for those in the adult entertainment industry. We were quite the bunch! 

One of the things that impressed me most was the diversity of the crowd. From start up CEOs and founders, to artists, to investors, to influencers to those that work in tech from around the globe, you never knew who your next conversation might be with. I met people from Europe, Australia, many from the US and from all across Canada. 

On Friday, I decided to challenge myself and took part in the pitch workshop. There were about 15 of us who were coached by angel investors as we attempted to perfect our pitches. I am not a founder but believe very much in uCarenet (the homecare app I have been working with since January) and decided I wanted to share the story of this app. In tech language, it is in preseed and we have some great partnerships so I am excited to see where things lead. At lunch, we all pitched in front of the crowd and 5 of the founders were chosen to compete the next day to win time with some amazing angel investors who were there.

My Friday night had me enjoying board games, snacks and a roaring campfire. I spent part of my evening with four podcasters from the US playing Boggle. Little did I know, they are some of the best podcasters around. Since Fireside, I have become a regular listener of both The Jordan Harbinger Show and Grumpy Old Geeks

The other highlights for me were axe throwing, a risk-taking workshop that literally had me looking into the eyes of fellow attendees while remaining silent, a few live podcasts and a session on working from anywhere. Currently, in all of my roles, I work from home. Working from anywhere is the dream. 

Saturday evening I cried more than once. Peter Katz and Blake Fly combined music, storytelling and gratitude to get this girl a hot mess. Literally, as I listened to Peter share his newest song, I thought the lyrics of “Paper Thin” were written for me. It had me in tears and then Blake shared about the importance of thank yous and how we often forget to acknowledge people in our lives. I know I have done this. It was a sweet reminder on this journey to remember and show gratitude for the little things. 

After Peter and Blake, we headed over to another building where we would hear from Michael Landsberg who shared about mental health and his charity #sicknotweak. The stories he shared touch everyone who was there and we were able to raise thousands for his charity.  I even donated a Twitter party to help raise funds and am looking forward to working with Michael on this endeavour

My time at Camp Walden ended with me starting up at the stars for about an hour and playing connect the dots with the stars and contemplating all that I had learned, the conversations I had and what I can do going forward.  

I will always be thankful for the invite, for those I met, for those I got acquainted with and for the lessons learned. 

Quber app savings that matter

Quber: A New Way for Canadians to Save Money #SavewithQuber

Did your grandparents, or perhaps your parents have a savings jar? Did or do you have a piggy bank? Quber is a new savings app for Canadians that draws on the idea of the old fashion savings jars with a modern twist. It gets Canadians mindful of their spending and saving habits. It is the newest personal finance app that actually helps you find ways to save.  Have fun, learn and save money sounds good to me! In the end,  you are saving for what matters for you.

Quber app savings that matter

How does Quber Work?

First, once you have opened your Quber account and linked your bank account( no worries, linking is safe and secure, saving in your savings jars on the app can begin. What would you have jars for? In the past, Rachel and I have had savings jars at home for everything from saving for a rainy day, our annual CNE trip (you need extra money to have fun in the shopping area), to saving for a trip to see family on the east coast. Now we have a bigger goal and it is our first jar. We both want to see Europe. It is on our bucket list. With Quber we can help make this dream a reality.

One of the things that makes Quber different is the app will give you recommendations on how you can change your spending habits so you can save more in your jars. No more graphs and charts, real information when you need it. Early users of the apps are also loving the challenges the app will give you as it helps them complete savings goals faster. It is all about being mindful of your spending.

One of the things you can use a savings jar for for example is Christmas. Have you ever overspent on this holiday? Ever put gifts and Christmas fun on a credit card to only have to pay it all back in the months after Christmas? With Quber you can save for Christmas and spend what you have.

One of the other great features of the Quber app is the vault. Have you ever bought on impulse?  Your money gets locked away. Don’t worry though if you need it, it can be accessed within 2 business days.  It helps you curb impulse purchasing.

Learn More, Party and Win

Quber Twitter Party

Want to learn more about Quber join us for the #SavewithQuber Twitter Party this Sunday, September 9th at 9 pm EST! There is $300 in prizing and you can win either a deposit into your Quber savings jar or a MasterCard.

Looking for more ways to win, Quber has lots of them starting on September the 10th for Quber users. With $5,000 in prizing many users will be filling their savings jars! You can check out the #SavetoWin contest here 

Want to learn more about the Quber app. Check out all the info on the Quber site. 

You can download the app from the App store here.

You can download the app from the Google play store here

You can follow Quber on Twitter here. 

*this post is sponsored by Quber. My opinions are always my own and I love to bring my readers’ apps that will help them in their daily lives. I was paid for this post and to host the upcoming Twitter Party.

Want to know how to participate in a Twitter party read my post here. 


 

 

Back to School Tips from Canadian Bloggers

It is that time of the year again. You know the day before the school year begins. Parents and kids are excited because it is time for back to school. This year I wanted to bring you some common sense tips, some great back to school tips so I turned to my peer’s fellow Canadian bloggers. 

Whether, this September means someone in your house is starting school, how I miss those early years, to starting college or even going back to school as an adult these tips will have you covered. You will also want to check out year blogger for their great content.

From Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

I adore Casey and agree with his advice-

Label everything. EVERYTHING. If you ever want to see it again, in the name of everything that’s holy, LABEL IT!!!

caseypalmer.com

From Kimberly McLeod, The Best Ideas for Kids

Take a picture on the first day of school. ( Who actually remembers too, some years I was on day three before this got done!) 

There are some great printables for the first day on her site here: https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/first-day-school-chalkboard-printable/

From Victoria Donovan, Cool Beans 4

Victoria, has a great tip for all those headed to college and university, use a calendar/agenda.  I know this one first hand and find the more you track the more successful you can be as a student.

For more of Victoria’s tips check out the rest of this post: https://coolbeans4.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/20-tips-to-survive-your-first-year-of-university/

From Sarah Wall, Raising Royalty

Have multiples or duplicates of everything. Mittens, pencils, that specially chosen lunch box … Having more than one means easy replacement when one inevitably gets lost or damaged. And that means less last-minute scrambling for essential items.

You can read more great stuff from her blog here: https://raisingroyalty.ca

From Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Maple and Marigold

Get into a healthy destressing and unwinding routine for after school. Kids will need it as will parents. Listening to music, reading, dance, yoga stretches even just colouring have helped us in the past.

You can find more stress busting tips from Puneeta here: https://www.mapleandmarigold.com/15-stress-busting-activities-for-kids/

From Anna Anderson, Abrazo and Coze

Get into a good morning routine, starting well before the first day of school. That way everyone is accustomed to getting up at the right time, eating breakfast earlier than they might have been in the summer, and it won’t be as much of a struggle to adjust once school starts. For my family, our routine includes getting backpacks ready the night before (emptying garbage, ensuring homework is in the bag, any permission slips are signed and in the bag, and the bag put by the front door. In the morning as part of heading out the door lunch boxes are added to the backpacks. That way nothing important is forgotten.

You can read more about Anna’s early morning routine here: https://abrazoandcoze.com/easy-morning-routine/

From Casey Leanna, Casey Wolfgang

Don’t rush to buy back to school clothes. Your kids wanna see what their friends are wearing or what’s on trend before filling their closets. 

You can read more from Casey here: http://caseywolfgang.com/http://caseywolfgang.com/

From Hannah Spray, The Big To Do List

Starting Kindy? Make sure your little one knows important health and safety information, like how to properly wipe and wash their hands, not to share personal items like lip chap, body awareness and appropriate touch, and ensure your child knows to come to you and your other safe adults (teacher, dad, etc) if they aren’t feeling good about something. 

You can read more from Hannah here: https://thebigtodolist.com/

From Erin Rolfson, Quillable

 If you find your child is anxious about school starting, try finding some good back-to-school books to read together before their first day. There are loads of awesome stories that can help them start to process their emotions before they get overwhelmed.

If you love book reviews and great stuff you can read more from Erin here: http://quillable.ca

Laura Baptie Myles, Chaos and Quiet

If you have a little one starting kindergarten, focus on the life skills – how to get dressed and undressed for outside, how to go to the washroom independently, how to manage their own lunch, responsibility for their own belongings, etc. 

You can check out her post on kindergarten here:  https://chaosandquiet.com/starting-kindergarten/

From Paige McEachern, Piece of Pie

Routine is key: Having well established routines when children start school will help get them ready in the morning, do homework and get settled at night. Summer is for having fun and sometimes that means routines get pushed aside. The weeks leading up to the start of school review your routines and start implementing them.

You can read more back to school tips from her here: http://www.pieceofpie.ca/5-tips-to-make-back-to-school-easier-for-your-child-with-a-learning-disability/

Amanda Blain, Amanda Blain

If you don’t have kids, take this “new start” as a time to have a look at your own life and do some fall cleaning. Clean out the closet, sign up for a new course, even just read a new book. Life is happening around you.

You can read more from Amanda here: http://www.amandablain.com

If you want to read more tips from some of Canada’s leading mom bloggers check out this post here. Hope your back to school experience is easy and fun for you and your family. 

Are Moms Doing Too Much?

Ever sit down at the end of the day and wonder how the day got away? Ever wonder if you will have the time to curl up with that book that is sitting on your end table? I was on Twitter recently and a I saw a scary stat while scrolling my feed. It said the average mom was basically putting in the hours of 2 full time jobs getting everything done. Are you one of those moms? For me as a blogger (small business owner), social media manager and as a fulltime employee to boot things do add up.

So what do we do? 

We are the dream chasers. We are the ones who get up at the crack of dawn to have a few moments to breathe. We are the ones who crawl into bed about midnight after trying to squeeze every moment into the day. I know for me as a mom with a full-time job and 2 side gigs things get lost in the shuffle. I get everything done for my 9-5 job (it’s not 9-5 but you know what I mean, its the one I work at for 40 hrs every week). I also manage the social media accounts of a start-up and offer freelance support to two agencies as well as try and write here. We dream big! We work hard. 

So what should we always remember?

There are some things we as moms, as women, as those who are working hard to provide need to remember:

  1. It is okay to stop and take time for you. This year I was off work for a bit and it was during this downtime that I took time to breathe and even had some fun.  Even if you have to calendar it downtime is a must. 
  2. Find the shortcuts. We can’t do everything. I tried. It simply doesn’t work but when I found the shortcuts I get more done. For some, it might mean getting a box of preplanned meals dropped at your door, for others it might be hiring a cleaning lady and if you are a blogger you may open your blog to guest writers or you may want to hire our a few chores.  There are ways to steal back time. 
  3.  Be Present. Sometimes when you have several different roles it is easy to try and multi-task your day away. Ever done that? I know I have especially on those busy days. I have learned by blocking time for tasks and focusing on that one item, more gets done faster. Here is an example: I started today with a list a mile long from running errands to creating content to cleaning the house to time with family. By creating a plan and focusing I was able to get things done and be present for each part of my day. The best part is yet to come. Movie time with my girl.
  4. Ask for help. Sometimes when we are in the act of doing we think we have to do it all ourselves. We don’t. It is okay to ask for and get a helping hand. 

As I sit at my desk this afternoon I thought of all the moms I know who wear multiple hats, those who run business, those who have side hustles and those who are caregivers and we all manage to get it done. Are we tired at the end of the day? Yes. But the more important question is it worth it at the end of the day?  Yes.