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Spring Break Messes … #Teamwork Lessens!

TGIF! –  Boy, has it been a long week!  What began as ‘Easter Break’ morphed into a week long ‘Spring Break’ off school.  Three kids (plus friends) home full time leaves a lot of time for mess making, but alas… the mess needs to get cleaned up and I’m not about to do it all myself! There is no “I” in team!

These days, family’s are busy and it is more important than ever to get your team working for you!  Remember, your job as a parent is to teach your children independence. “Chores” are little life skills that teach your children how to care for themselves and for their environment. Kids of every age can be helping out, no age is too little. Start by teaching your children how to properly do the chores and then let go of your guilt– I’ll repeat it again — You do not need to do everything yourself!

Chore Collage

You must allow your children to help around the house. After all, they live there too!  If you do not ask them or encourage them to help out, chances are they won’t. They might not do the chores perfectly at first, but eventually in time they will.  Be sure to praise your kids when the chores get completed without asking — nag free chores are the BEST!

Here are a few suggestions to help get the chores done smoothly–

1. Keep it age appropriate. Eg; counting out the plates for dinner, filling up water glasses, doing their laundry.

2. Reward them! I love the Melissa & Doug Reward Chart — it makes it easy to change up the chores weekly (so there is never a dull chore moment) and each token earned garners them a quarter.  You don’t need a fancy chart by any means, in fact, any old piece of paper will do!

3. Be clear. The chores need to be defined. Empty the dishwasher, set the table, wash the dishes, dry the dishes, empty the garbage and take to bin.  Discuss with your children what each chore entails.

4. Let your children have some say in what chores they would like to do. If you are giving them 4 chores, allow them to pick 2 and you choose 2. This way, you are able to encourage them to do the chores that YOU want done, and they are allowed to do some of the chores they prefer.

5. Chores don’t have to be work… they can be fun too!  “Whistle while you work”, turn on some tunes and have fun!

 

Feeling like a part of a family team is important for everyone in your whole family! Chores can be a great way to teach the old adage, “Many hands make light work!”  If everyone in the family team helps out, the work gets done quicker and there is more time for fun!

 

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4 Tips for Making ‘Meal Time’ Fun for You & Your Kids

Kids… and feeding them. ~Sigh~ Some days, this task is easier said than done.  Between fussy kids and allergies, meal time can become one of those stressful times of day in a pinch.

Food Tips

These 4 simple rules make feeding time a little easier!  Remember, it isn’t important to finish all your food, but it is important to try new things.

Institute the One Bite Rule-
The idea is that your children must try everything at least once, before they are allowed to tell you they don’t like it. This will help with their open mindedness when it comes to food. One bite means chew and swallow…  if they don’t like it, they can chase it with water.

Do Not cook different things for each family member-
Unless someone has an allergy. Stop picky eaters from developing by sticking to this rule. The old “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” motto is an ideal for developing good eating habits.

Making a game of anything makes it more fun-
Don’t leave that one sad broccoli on the plate! The goal is to make eating healthy things a positive experience, so have some fun at the dinner table. Use anthropomorphism to help explain why that sad little broccoli wants to be in with his family in your tummy! Be positive and let them tell stories as well!

The smaller things are, the more kids seem to love them-
Better yet, have a MINI FOOD PARTY! Involve your kids in making mini sandwiches, pancakes, fruit, you name it- using tiny cookie cutters and mini plates. Healthy food can be fun food!

 

Ditch the food struggles in your house today!

 

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#Underwear can make your #Monday

Well, it’s Monday. The sun is shining brightly in YYC today, the geese are honking, and everyone is feeling lighter wearing their spring jackets. Finally!

All of this delicious sun is melting the snow quickly, and the treasures that have been covered up all winter are being revealed. For the O’Connor girls this morning, the “treasure” we got to see made us all bust a gut in the school parking lot.

Underwear!It was the Underwear. The same pair that made us giggle every morning in the fall was still sitting right where they were left! I’m all about cleaning up the world, but you won’t find me picking up those bad boys. Clearly, everyone else at school feels the same!

What a fabulous way to start the day…laughing our butts off at the hilarious pair of undies.

What made your Monday special?

 

 

Yours in laughter,

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The Road to Success Lies in Overcoming Your Excuses!

Most of us have dreams, and many of us have big ones, but only a few of us actually see them through.

WHY??

 

Ideas, brilliance and genius – they all mean nothing without the guts, passion and tenacity necessary to make your dream a reality. You need to want to ‘Be That Girl’ ! But often, people fall back on excuses and give up on trying to reach their goals.

Ditch the excuses and start thinking more positively!

 

 

Excuse Train

 

  Avoid blaming others.
Small-minded people are cranky and eager to point out others’ mistakes, in hopes of making others feel inadequate.  Don’t blame anyone, for any reason, ever. 

  Stop working on things that just don’t matter.
Not everything needs to be done in place of sleep. If you work for a boss, then you owe them solid time. You can’t cut that out. You can, however, cut out television time, meetings and anything else that gets in the way of achieving your goals. Replace entertainment with activity toward your goal.

•  Refuse to let yourself wallow in self-doubt. You’re alive to succeed!
Stop comparing your current problems to your last 9 failures. They are not the same and YOU are not the same. Your entire life has been practice for you to capture your destiny right now. Why would you doubt that? Go conquer.

•  Ask yourself, “What can I do better next time?” And then, do it next time.
If you spend a decade or two trying to be better, that’s exactly what will happen! Don’t spend your days worrying about the occasional mistake, as mistakes are a great way to learn about what not to do next time. Grab these stepping stones, move on and continue pushing forward to a better YOU!

•  Proactively take the time to do things that fuel your passion!
Living in the moment requires you to live at peak performance, and a huge part of mental fitness is physical fitness. A sparring or running partner is a great way to refresh physical competition. (Physical activity accelerates mental motivation!)

•  Make A Plan! Write It Down!  Make Yourself Accountable!
Writing things down makes us accountable! Take five minutes, write down what is important to you and where you’d like to be in one year – two years or five years!  Post your goals somewhere you will see them often and then, start believing!

 

 

Good Luck!  Our minds are tricky creatures and self doubt can creep in quickly– push those excuses out of your mind and tell yourself, YOU CAN!

 

 

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Fashion Should Be Fun! #FashionWeek #YVR

Fashion Week returned to Vancouver March 18th-25th, and I was lucky enough to attend for a few days with my niece Brooke and my daughter Trinity. Many observers looked on in awe and perhaps felt a bit overwhelmed… but on-lookers needn’t feel discouraged by the looks walking the catwalk. In fact, Fashion Week is the perfect time for people to get inspired!

I would like to inspire women to develop and nurture their own sense of style, even on a budget.  Styling workshops are hot commodities and after the cross-country ‘Release Your Inner Girl’ tour, I look  forward to seeing what the new trends are and helping women everywhere achieve their own ‘Top Model’ looks.

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Me and Nina Tan (Designs)

 

“There’s a tendency for some women to write off fashion events and dismiss what they’re seeing as a possibility for themselves, saying ‘oh, I could never pull that off’, or ‘I could never afford that, why even try?'” But, women shouldn’t be scared off by the runway. ” You don’t have to copy an entire look—just pull out parts that you like and integrate them into your own wardrobe.”

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Walking the Red Carpet at Fashion Week 2014, Vancouver BC

 

I really want women to feel excited by fashion trends, not intimidated. Remember, your shape is never a liability, but rather an asset waiting to be discovered!. It’s about learning how to accentuate the parts of your body that you love! “Don’t get bogged down worrying about those parts you don’t—and everyone has them, even models.”

 

What an exciting weekend!

 

PS- Go enter our giveaway for a set of Heys Packing Cubes!  All the details HERE

 

 

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Put on Your O’Connor Cap & Bring the Luck of the Irish To Your House this St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is a widely celebrated day by all, Irish or not.  We put on our brightest Kelly greens, adorn ourselves with lucky charms and shamrocks, and perhaps we will even drink green beer!  St.Patrick’s Days of the past might have been spent at the pub, but life with children means you can up the ante and have a different kind of fun celebrating.

Shamrock

You will have plenty of Leprechaun Traps coming home from school (x3!), but someone will have to pretend that there has been Leprechaun activity on the days leading up to the event! (I’m talking about you!)  To bring about the magic, I’ve amassed a list of tips for turning the illusion into reality.

  •  Serve up a meal with mysterious ‘miniature’ green footprints on the plate.  An action figure shoe dipped in some green food colour mixed with icing works perfectly!  (To create the illusion elsewhere, use *washable* ink!)

  • The Leprechaun Traps will need tending to… so, overnight attach a bit of green velvet poking out from it, to give the illusion of an ill-fated escape attempt.  You and your kids can also have fun planning a special treat to bait the Leprechaun.

  • The Pot O’ Gold at the end of the rainbow just begs for a scavenger hunt.  On the days leading up to St. Patrick’s Day (using foil-wrapped coin treasures), hide a chocolate coin attached to a clue where another coin may be found the next day… all leading up to a final jackpot on the big day!

  • A toque winding up in the fridge, stuffed animals suddenly dressed up and ready to go out, opened books– these are all harmless, mischievous pranks that make it seem like an impish visitor has been wreaking havoc on your house.

Spend a few minutes on Pinterest searching out goodies,  foods and crafts to help get the family into the swing of things.  A little bit of green food colouring qualifies food as ‘Irish’ on this occasion, but you’ll find that a few Irish staples are really super easy to make.  Irish soda bread, is not only one of the simplest, but it is also one of the tastiest!

Have fun with it!  It’s fun to be tricky!  😉

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Pack It In Like A Pro! #TravelOrganized

In the past I’ve told you about my favourite travelling bags of all time– the EVOC line (available from WeArePassion.com).  We have a serious love affair and I would never trade them for anything, but my packing organization doesn’t end with just the EVOC bag.  Inside, I have my goods sorted into ‘packing cubes’ made by Heys Canada (undies and socks in one, pants and skirts, jammies, accessories etc.), rolled for easy identification.  When I reach my destination, I simply unpack the cubes into drawers … and voila, organized genius!

Keeping organized on the road means that I can easily identify the laundry (use a pillow case!) and I’ll know which stuff belongs to which kid.

Look how easy it is to pack my bags:

 

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My favourite EVOC bag, the World Traveller, with my favourite packing cubes by Ecotex.

 

The kids cubes are fantastic! You will need two sets to pack exclusively with the kids set, as they aren’t huge.  If your children are ages 7/8 and up, they should just use a 5 piece set.

 

 

 

Maybe you’re like me and need to travel for business, for days at a time.  You’ll need ways to spruce up your limited attire, so I always use one of these jewellery organizers, to keep smaller items safe and stowed.

 

 

 

 

And the cherry-on-top is that these packing cubes are environmentally friendly, made from 18 recycled water bottles.  The 5 pack set is available in a wide variety of colours.

 

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One piece becomes two– for easy carry on!

Pro Packing Tip:

When travelling with kids, you’ll need to have something for them to do in the car or on the flight. To ‘Be That Mom’, be sure to have some granola bars and other light snacks on hand (beware of liquids!), a journal for your child to doodle or write in, a video game system or tablet, and a few new toys for a fun surprise along the way.  Travelling with children doesn’t need to be hard, but you do need to plan!  Store your carry-on items in one of the smaller packing cubes and keep in an accessible place.

 Watch the Pro Pack on CTV, March 13/14

GIVEAWAY:

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Heys Canada has graciously offered up a 5 Pack Set of ‘Packing Cubes’ to one lucky ‘Be That Books’ follower!  This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, over the age of 18 only.  Ends Friday, April 11th, 2014 at 12:01 am MST. Winner has 48 hours to respond by email or another winner will be chosen.

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Good Luck!

 

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Asking the right questions.

“Where is the retainer?”

 

A week and a half ago, my oldest daughter Trinity lost her retainer. ~Sigh~ Despite our every attempt to locate the retainer,  it was still nowhere to be found.  Those of you who know me,  know that I keep a neat and sweet little house, with a place for everything. If it hasn’t been found in a week and a half, it’s not here… I’ve looked. Trinity only needs to wear her retainer at night, but she needs it nonetheless. So, I booked an appointment with our Orthodontist to get a replacement one, for a small fee of $300. The receptionist told me to call back if we happened to find the retainer before the appointment. Perhaps I took that as a challenge, but it meant I still had 5 days to find it!

That Sunday, my kids were watching cartoons, so I took some time to work. My latest project is the release of a book by an author named Eddie LeMoine. This book is in the serious editing phase and I am pulling it apart like a banshee!!  LeMoine’s book intrigued me right from start, “Bring About What You Think About” — Yep, it’s literally that simple. At least that’s what Eddie wants to convince you of  in his upcoming book.

I spent a good hour or two doing revisions. The content was focused on your thinking, having the reader ask themselves different questions to create better results in their lives.

Publishing Process: Eddie LeMoine's Book in Editing

Publishing Process: Eddie LeMoine’s Book in Editing

 

Interesting, but does it work? I decided to put it to the test. I needed to find the retainer. I had a deadline. If I thought that we could find it, we could. Right?

So, I asked the question. I pulled Ryan and my girls together for a ‘pow wow’, and I said “The question of the day is- Where is the Retainer? We need to find the retainer!“.  All 5 of us thought about the question, sending it out to the Universe, with the hope of a most benevolent reply!

Two hours later, Trinity screamed  “MOM!”, in a shrill voice that made me think she had hurt herself. She had found her retainer, in a closet… on the floor.

Coincidence? I don’t know. But I’ll probably try that method again. Ask the right question to get the right result.

 

Have a fun and inspiring day!

 

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D.I.Y Homemade Family Flag Project

Family Day fun that is sure to become a lifelong memory!

 

Supplies Needed:

(Be creative, and use whatever you can find at home. The kids can help you do a treasure hunt!)

  • 2 Pillowcases (or 1 Pillowcase and Fabric Scraps or old sheets from around the house)
  • Sewing Kit: Needle, Thread, Scissors, Straight Pins
  • Ruler
  • Fabric pencil, or pencil crayon that will show up on your fabric
  • Paper for stencils
  • Paints and Paintbrushes
  • Other decorative elements (You can add your family crest, use pre-cut letters, etc)
  • Spray glue or Fabric Glue
  • Something to hang the flag with (flagpole, wood stick, yarn, twine, etc)

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Directions:

  1. Use one pillowcase as your flag, and the other pillowcase /fabric scraps / material will be used to decorate your flag. Contrasting colors will work best. I used a black pillowcase and an old red sheet. (The red sheet is bad Feng Shui for sleeping and besides, I never could learn how to fold a fitted sheet!)
  2. Using scrap paper,  trace and cut out templates for the shapes you would like to have on your flag (ie: Name letters, hearts, stars, etc).
  3. Pin the paper templates to your fabric scraps, and cut out your shapes.
    *Tip: if you cut your fabric piece to the same size as your pillowcase and then affix your templates to it, you will guarantee that all of your stuff will fit on the pillowcase flag.*
  4. Lay the shapes out on your “pillowcase flag”. Make sure everything fits and that it looks the way you like.
    *Tip: take a picture of your layout so you can recreate it after decorating.
  5. To create a space to thread a flag pole or rope through your flag, follow these next 3 steps:
    -Using a ruler, draw a line 1 inch down from the top of your pillow case all the way across using a fabric pencil, (or any pencil that will show up on your fabric).
    -Using a needle and thread, sew along the line you drew.
    -Cut open a slit on the side of the pillowcase that is not open.PicMonkey Collage2
  6. Decorate your fabric shapes. This is the fun part. Each member of the family can do one piece. We used paint and stencils to decorate ours. I also added a piece of ribbon for the bow on the heart.
  7. Once your shapes are dry, they are ready to to be glued onto your flag. (You may have to wait for a few hours, or overnight, if you are painting).
  8. Insert your flag onto a flag pole, wood piece or thread some twine through the top of your flag so you have some way of hanging it. I found a nice twig outside to use with mine, and I used twine to keep with that country feel.
  9. Proudly display your flag on a wall at home, or fly your family flag outdoors (perhaps at the cabin?)!

Hope you have a fun, family-filled day!

 

 

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Ten Habits To Check Off To A Better You!

I am a list maker.  I am not sure if it is the ‘act’ of the list making that I like, or whether it is the checking off of each item that gets me all worked up;  but, you will find me sorting my to-do’s by list daily.  This year I have decided to make myself a list that is more about me, and the ten habits I think I (and you) should take up more often this year.

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1 – Continue to Learn! Take a new course and keep the brain active! Ie; Photography, Italian

2 – Wake Up Early. That saying, “The early bird catches the worm” is actually true.

3 – Do something that is out of your comfort zone.  Consistently challenge yourself by taking it one step further.
Ie; Take up Public Speaking with Toastmasters or Meet a new friend!

4 – Learn from people who inspire you.

5 – Start a journal.  Get to know yourself better.

6 – Show kindness to those around you… but, this goes without saying, right?

7 – Avoid negative people.  Nuff said.

8 – Acknowledge your flaws.  Acceptance is the first step in loving yourself.

9 – Let go of the past.  Live and love for today and tomorrow!

10 – Ask for feedback/help. Often.  We don’t always need to do it all.

Some of these things I am already doing,
but it is always good to have a reminder.

 

What 10 habits would you write down for yourself?

 

 

 

 

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