My Secrets of Adulthood

I recently read Gretchen Rubin’s wonderful book, Better Than Before.

One thing that resonated with me throughout this book was the fact that more routine does not mean less life. In fact, by implementing certain habits or routines, we have fewer decisions to make, leaving more room in our life for other things.

I’m a creature of habit and have always looked upon this trait negatively. That somehow it makes me boring. In reading this book, however, I realized that, if harnessed correctly, I can actually use it to my advantage. It was a bit of an Oprah “aha” moment for me.

One thing I love about Gretchen Rubin is her “Secrets of Adulthood“; the principles or teachings Gretchen has learned over time. Secrets of Adulthood are personal in nature and are based on individual truths. They are the things in life you know for sure.

I was thinking about what my Secrets of Adulthood would be. Here is what I think I’ve learned so far:

Three Pics

  1. Always read the full recipe before you start cooking.
  2. Don’t go it alone.
  3. The only workout you’ll regret is the one that didn’t happen.
  4. A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.
  5. It’s not about having time. It’s about making time.
  6. Family time is the best time.
  7. Always bring snacks.
  8. The best way to get something done is to begin.
  9. Travel is money well spent.
  10. Most of the bad things I imagine will happen will never actually happen. This quote says it best: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” ― Mark Twain
  11. Some services are worth paying for.
  12. “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” ― Gautama Buddha
  13. The secret to success is found in your daily routine.
  14. Stay true to your temperament. It’s okay to be an introvert.
  15. “…Let the quiet put things where they are supposed to be.” – Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower
  16. There is magic in making your bed everyday.
  17. Make-ahead meals make for easier entertaining.
  18. “Life is not just about the good things or not just about the bad things. It is both. It all depends where you focus your attention.” ― Ann Marie Aguilar
  19. “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”- John Lennon
  20. If it takes less than two minutes, do it now.

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I love Gretchen’s list and a few in particular:

  1. The days are long, but the years are short.
  2. You know as much as most people.
  3. What’s fun for other people may not be fun for you–and vice versa.
  4. You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you LIKE to do.
  5. What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.

Do you have any Secrets of Adulthood? Leave one in the comments!

Gift Ideas for Your Science Loving Kid

Christmas becomes a month long negotiation in my household.

See, my husband and I grew up with different holiday experiences.

Mine was, shall we say, more modest. We had a stocking, which contained a few things- some socks, some candy and maybe a book. My husband grew up with a stocking too. But the stocking was just used for show because Santa delivered way too much stuff to fit in one little stocking.

My husband wasn’t spoiled growing up, but Christmas was always a big deal with lots and lots of gifts.

I don’t want, or have room for, all the stuff. My kids have so much already and, let’s be honest, between daycare and weekend outings, they aren’t home all that much to even play with it all.

Because of our different holiday experiences, we struggle to decide on what to get the kids for Christmas and how much is too much.

I prefer to get my five-year old activities instead of toys. My son is particularly interested in science and experiments so I thought for this Christmas, some science related gifts may be in order. My husband? Well, he has some other ideas… Regardless, here are four gift ideas for your science loving kid:

PicMonkey Collage

Intro to Engineering Kit – “Intro to Engineering welcomes young children to the field of engineering with 25 experiments and building project”

The Curious Kid’s Science Book: 100+ Creative Hands-On Activities for Ages 4-8 – “In The Curious Kid’s Science Book, your child will learn to design his or her own science investigations to determine the answers!”

LEGO Chain Reactions: Make Amazing Moving Machines – “To turn bricks from kids’ own LEGO collection into ball-moving machines, all they need isLEGO Chain Reactions”

SmartLab That’s Gross Science Lab – “Not only are the experiments amusing, but kids can learn more about the related scientific principals in the provided experiment journal”

How do you approach Christmas in your household? Do you have different gift-giving expectations?

What are your favourite children’s books?

You guys, there are so many bad children’s books out there. Like, really bad. And, unfortunately, the ones my son gravitates to are the worst of the worst. But, since we frequent the library quite often to pick up new books, I recently asked a few of my friends: What books do you love to read with your children? Here are some of their answers:

Book Post

Franklin books by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark. “They go over like a nice warm blanket to my kids and they always, always come away drowsy.”

Andrew’s Loose Tooth by Robert Munsch. “I like how the tooth fairy shows up on a motorcycle, is not your typical fairy, and it’s the perfect length for bedtime.”

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. “It’s a simple story that evokes positive feelings about winter and excitement for snow. It gives enough detail to keep the story interesting but not too much that you can’t use your own imagination too.”

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman. “The artwork is beautiful and sometimes breathtaking, and the way she composes her books is soothing and always lovely.”

The Bear books by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman. “They are lovely to read out loud with such an enjoyable rhythm and just nice heartwarming little stories about being kind and helpful.”

My personal favorite is This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers. It is such a creative book, both in its dialogue and artwork. I never tire of it.

I am also curious to check out The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep. I’ve heard it actually works!

Do you have a favourite book to read with your children? Please let me know in the comments! Happy reading.

(Header Image via Flickr)

 

A clip show already?

(Header image via Flickr)

It’s been one of those weeks. The kind where you feel like you’re losing at life. My Type A personality has trouble when I feel like I’m not “on top of everything”, a feeling I experience often lately, and *gasp* I only went 6,200 steps today. Ugh.

In the spirit of not being “on top of everythng”, I don’t have much to share today, just a few videos that may make you laugh / cry / groan. You may have seen some of these since they all have, like 49 million views, but I love ’em every time.

… And one I posted recently to Facebook:

How do you talk to your kids about the news?

On Friday night, my husband turned on the coverage of the Paris attacks while we waited for supper to cook.

Later, at supper, I said, “That’s just so sad about Paris. Those poor people.”

My son looked at me and said, “Those people who died?”

My husband and I looked at each other, unsure how much my son had absorbed from the news coverage playing in the next room.

“Yes, ” I said.

My son looked thoughtful for a moment. “They needed a super hero,” he finally said.

I almost started to cry.

I’m wondering as a parent: How much of the news do you share with your kids? Do you watch the news with your kids around?

I struggle with this. My son is five now and, while he doesn’t understand everything, he understands a lot. I don’t want to shield him from the world but, at the same time, I’m not ready to explain everything. And I know he’s not ready to hear and see everything.

So, when I saw a Mr. Rogers quote floating around Facebook this morning, I thought, “What a simple and smart way it is to talk to your kids about news.”

8654501379_6a3dc90f9f_o“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Fred Rogers

I think this is the best advice I’ve seen. While it’s inevitable my kids will see news images, I like the idea of focusing on the helpers. To ask questions like, “What do you think we could do to help?”. I’m sure I’ll be amazed by some of the answers I’ll be given. Because after all, in the words of  Nelson Mandela, “Love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

What do you think? What’s your approach when talking to your kids about the news?

Header image via Flickr

My Favourite Healthy(ish) Desserts

Reid eating ice cream

I love dessert. I always have a dark chocolate bar stashed away in my freezer and I need at least a square or three after supper to feel satisfied. But every once in a while, I’ll indulge and spend some time making a real dessert. Even when I’m indulging, however, I try to keep things as healthy as possible. I mean, if there’s a healthier alternative, why not?

These are a few of my favourite (healthyish) desserts:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Squares with Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust – This recipe is way easier than making traditional pumpkin pie, with all the taste and more. I made these for Thanksgiving instead of a traditional pumpkin pie and they were a big hit.

Healthy Holiday Gingerbread Cookies – These are a bit finicky to make, I’ll admit. But I prefer them to traditional gingerbread. Even if you don’t make these, you should still check out Sarah Britton’s website because it’s beautiful.

Peanut Butter Pudding with Berrylicious Swirl – I love nut butters and eat spoonfuls out of the jar. This recipe is super peanut buttery so if you love nut butters, you will love this. My kids also LOVE this recipe.

Apple Tart with Cashew Maple Cream – The recipe looks long and complicated, but it is actually a cinch to make. Trust me.

Dark Chocolate Pudding – Avocados make the perfect creamy pudding. And my five year old has no idea that the dreaded avocado is a prime ingredient [maniacal laugh].

3-Layer Nut-Free Dream Cups – Angela Liddon of Oh She Glows has a true gift. If you try any recipe on her website, I can guarantee you will love it. But these are just so so good.

Do you have a favourite dessert? Share the link in the comments!