Fun ways to get Parents and Kids off their digital devices.

It’s early in the morning as you make your way to the kitchen- ouch you step on those tiny lego pieces. You wonder how many times you have to remind your kids to clean their toys. You notice this thought and stop yourself; you’re grateful that they’re still playing with lego’s and not glued to their digital devices.

You rub your sleepy eyes and start your morning routine.

You glance over at your phone sitting on the counter and aimlessly start scrolling through your social media feed. An hour passes and you realize you have to get the kids ready for school, and get yourself ready for work. OH Shit- you’ll be late again— as you catch yourself scrolling through your phone again. Why can’t you stop?

Studies show that most people check their phone every 15 minutes or less, even if they have no alerts or notifications," Larry Rosen, psychology professor and author of The Distracted Mind, says. "We've built up this layer of anxiety surrounding our use of technology, that if we don't check in as often as we think we should, we're missing out."

Rosen's research has shown that besides increasing anxiousness, the compulsion to check notifications and feeds interferes with people's ability to focus.

Besides the wasted time, there's also the psychological grind that comes from spending too much time on your phone. Several studies have shown social media can be bad for your mental health, and Facebook admitted last year that passive use of its social network can leave people in negative moods. Researchers are still trying to figure out what long-term effects channeling so much time and energy into our devices will cause.

Specific Actions you can start taking to limit tech usage.

1. Set a timer-start with 15 minutes without checking your phone, then go to 30 minutes, or every hour. Once the time is up, give yourself time to check your notifications, messages etc. Then go and reset the timer.

2. Turn off as many notifications as possible- this will keep you less distracted.

3. Take off distracting apps.

4. Don’t take your phone to bed or don’t use your phone as your alarm clock.

5. Try turning on your phone's grayscale-sounds weird but it works. This is all about making your smartphones screen much less desirable to look at.

As you read through these 5 tips you feel better-you are ready to switch things up. How about trying something completely out of the box? Try setting up a lego themed tablecape tonight. It’s simple, just take the lego’s and arrange them on the table. For the cute centerpieces, my eight year old son and I filled each vase with smaller mason jars, then added the colored lego pieces in between. We decided to use yellow, red and blue. The giant green lego board acts as a canvas for the table, and is a great tool to play and arrange the lego houses, and buildings. The possibilities are endless, allowing creativity and critical thinking skills to open up.

It’s the perfect way to give your kids your undivided attention, to play, talk and engage. It reminds you of what’s really important—spending heart to heart time with those who matter most instead of head down scrolling through your phone.

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3 ways Moms are closing the doors on their gifts

Happy New Year! Before you put away all the holiday decor I personally wanted to declare 2019 the year that Moms consciously open their own gifts-aka-their Passion Projects. You’re excited, you’re pumped, but then you realize you can’t move forward.

Moms, what’s holding you back from pursuing your passion project? I know you desperately want to chase that dream of yours, but you close the doors on your ideas before you even get started.

Moms, do you see yourself in one of these categories?

The ‘Yeah But’ Mom.
Moms in particular have a lot of guilt which holds them back from going after the things that pull on their heart strings. Many times we talk ourselves out of new opportunities because we feel we shouldn’t or can’t. For example, you are offered a new project that checks off all your passion boxes, but then you second guess your abilities; or maybe you start putting parameters around your time. You tell yourself that your kids need you after school, therefore you can’t possibly start this new project. Before you know it, you have a list of excuses as to why you can’t pursue this amazing opportunity that has just landed in your lap.

ACTION: STOP for a second and really look long and hard at your ‘excuses’ and notice how you are using them to hold you back. Sit down with your spouse and determine what excuses are legitimate and strategize ways to divide some of the responsibilities.

The Moms with no Passion idea
You’re the Mom who doesn’t know what’s pulling on your heart strings. All you know is that you are feeling frustrated, antsy, or bored. These are uneasy feeling— why? Because we live in a culture that praises productivity. Idle time is seen as wasted. Instead of slowing down, sitting back and reflecting on what you really want, you fill your time with ‘busy work’. Busyness is a BITCH, because it keeps you distracted.

ACTION: write down all the activities in your day that are not activating your pleasure points and start noticing what you can begin scratching off your list. Then notice things -people-situations throughout your day that grab your attention, and interest. Begin to add more of these good experiences to your life.

The Green with ENVY Mom
Envy, annoyed, bitter, are all negative emotions that are blocking you from your own joy. They wear you out, causing you to lose focus on your own goals. Moms, stop the comparison trap, it’s damaging you and your health.

ACTION: First, don’t avoid your emotions, don’t push them down or ignore them. Instead use these negative emotions as information, your GPS to guide you towards prioritizing yourself and your needs. Self-compassion is a wonderful tool. Recognize how you talk to yourself, what is your inner dialogue, what are you telling yourself? Start to become more aware. Then use this information to navigate and improve yourself, instead of focusing on what your neighbor is achieving.

Now that you know some of the pitfalls stopping you from following your passion project, have the confidence to begin moving in a direction that helps you be a happier Mom. Pursuing your passion project is important, don’t close the door on yourself.

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5 ways to Savor the Summer

Do you feel relieved that carefree summers days are here? or are you dreading the summer because you know your kids will be on their devices, plugged into their cell phones, and texting friends?   What if I told you that you have only 18 summers at best with your kids before they are off to college.    

I’m sure most of you are thinking, what only 18 summers. When a friend with older children first mentioned this, I was brought to tears.  The next thought was, I better start making every summer matter.  

With this in mind,  I am more determined to create more digital free moments with my family. 

Make it a point this summer to unplug from digital devices a little more often, and find new ways that you and your family can experience together time.  By doing so, you create lasting memories, and most importantly you will all have fun.   Here are just a few ways you can savor together time this summer.

1.    Punctuate your week with pleasure-You are more likely to look forward to the week ahead if you sprinkle it with some fun.  I say, plan a picnic-on a weeknight.  Pack all your family favorites in a basket and head outside in your backyard.  Enlist your kids to help plan and pack, they will love being included this way.

2.    TRY something new- attend your first ‘Lantern Fest’ -or how about a hot air balloon ride, or if you never tried camping, start in your backyard. 

3.    Entertain a block/street party-this is a great way to meet all your neighbors.  Set up some tables and ask each household to bring their favorite dish and dessert.  It’s a great way to get all the neighbors together and catch up.

4.    Pick berries-every month choose a berry that is in season, then plan a family outing to the berry fields.  Once home, challenge each family member to create a dish with the berries. 

5.    Get outside-how about setting up an outdoor movie night. Set up a projector in your backyard and enjoying a movie under the stars. 

You only get a few summers with sticky ice cream kisses, sandy beach experiences, and lemonade by the lake. This is your moment to savor the summer with your family. 

 

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Unplug, for your own sake

Parents don’t want guilt.  We know that we spend a lot of time on our phones, especially in front of our kids.  

Let’s face it, when most of our lives are legitimately embedded in our phones, its hard to put it away.   If you are anything like me, you are scrolling through your social media updates or e-mail, and maybe even playing a round of candy crush. The smartphone has become the greatest distraction in history and with it has brought health issues such as urgency addiction.  

So what Can be done about it?  Start small…become aware…start by turning your phone on silent during breakfast, or leave it in your purse, or better yet leave it in your car.   

Your kids will appreciate the attention you are giving them. You’ll be a better role model for getting them off their consoles and devices.  Who knows you may start feeling better yourself without the constant temptation of your phone. 

 

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Easter brunch beverage

What is your favorite beverage for a causal relaxing weekend brunch?  I enjoy a mimosa, but it would seem that I’m not the only one who occasionally indulgences in the day time beverage.  Data from Google trends shows that search interest in brunch has been rising since 2004.  Those spikes in interest correspond to Easter and Mother’s Day-two days that are evidently synonymous with brunch, with mimosa leading the way as the favorite.

I personally like having brunch at home as I find it overpriced at restaurants, plus I love the causal vibe it creates.  AND its so easy to set up. 

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What you will need
-Your finest Orange Juice
-Your favorite Prosecco


1.     Find a place where your guests can easily help themselves.  The last thing you need or want are your guests coming in the kitchen interrupting you while you are busy preparing.
2.    Set the Prosecco in a wine bucket filled with ice
3.    Place Orange juice on a tray along with plenty of glasses.

For guests who prefer a mocktail, how about an Orange juice, mineral water spritzer with elderflower syrup—2 parts Orange Juice—1 part fizzy water—a splash of elderflower syrup.

What better way to welcome your guests and wish them a Happy Easter- than with a bubbly glass of happiness.

Unplugged Family Time

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Put your phones away, turn off your IPADS and tune into your spouse, kids, and family.  A simple pancake breakfast can make all the difference.  Why gather?  Why turn around the damaging trend of constant connectivity, screen time, and instant gratification?

·       Because research examining 5,000 teenagers has shown that when children eat with their parents regularly, they are more likely to be emotionally strong and have better mental health.

·       Teens who ate regular family meals were also more likely to be adjusted, have good manners, and communication skills.

·       Eating together has also been shown to help Mom’s out as well. Mothers who ate with their families often were also found to be happier and less stressed as compared to mothers who did not.

Believe it or not, if you have a demanding job, finding time to eat with your family may actually leave you feeling less stressed. In 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM workers and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office. 

Need help getting your kids off their digital devices?  If so then join the Beta coaching program, where I will help you – “Make Meal Time Unplugged Family Time”. 

Enroll here by clicking on this link.

Launch is scheduled for March 2018.

This is your call to action. Join the movement. Unplug your digital devices and re-engage with what’s important in life – your family, and friends!

Half Time Entertainment-Family Style

Super Bowl Inspiration-

Half time is here, get your family up and over to your tablescapes and have some fun. 

I am not a beer drinker, but guess what?  Beer (well not in the traditional sense) was my inspiration for this easy and fun interactive family friendly tablescape.  Create your own Root Beer Float Station. Yum Yum.

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The Set Up
I bought this green floor runner from party city  for $8.99, along with these tiny soft footballs.  

I found 2 burlap table runners and placed them on either end of the green runner.  I then placed these yellow goal posts on either end. Now the field is set for the game!  

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The Food-Make it yourself-Root Beer Float Station-

Playing on the theme of the beer tent, I thought I would set up Haagen Dazs ice cream, A & W root beer, and frosted mugs, or frosted mason jars for the best results.

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Finally-the best for last-My Giant Beergarita.
So it’s my birthday, and I thought why not make myself the ultimate beer drink and share with my love.
The main ingredient Corona beer
 

Limeade concentrate, and tequila, and crushed ice. I’d recommend a good tequila like an anejo or reposada. Your can go with a Patron or more recently I have been using Casamigos.

Take two cups of limeade, 3 ounces of tequila and 1 bottle of Corona. Be sure to apply a healthy coating of ungranulated raw sugar to the rim after running a lime wedge along it. Garnish with lime wedges and add a couple straws. Or if it has been one of those days just endulge yourself. After all my husband is a liver transplant surgeon.

That’s all folks.  An easy and most of all fun half time entertainment table that will have your family talking several days after.  Gather, Connect and Make Memories.
 

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My Why

Recently I’ve been reflecting on ‘WHY’ I set tablescapes. 

Thinking back to the very first tablescape that I set for my family I realized that my goal was a simple one.  It had come to my attention that we had all gotten drawn in to our busy lives and screens and lost sight of what is truly important.  Spending time with one another, deep in conversation, sharing laughter, our thoughts, and emotions.  And so that very first tablescape was about being together, slowing down, getting off the proverbial electronic grid, and sharing a meal, an activity, and a theme.  We laughed, we cried, we re-connected. 

Today, the reason why I continue to set tables remarkably remains one and the same.  But, I think that taking the time to reflect on the “WHY”, and the with “WHOM” has helped to confirm my resolve .  It made me realize just how important it is to bring families, friends, and people together to keep us grounded in meaningful interaction.

For more family gathering ideas subscribe to my Digital Dinner Party Guide.

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Chili Saturdays’

Saturday’s are my day to chill out with my favorite people and my bowl of chili. Each time I make this wonderful bowl of delishisness I  get excited at the possibilities that await.  For starters, I love enhancing my chili with avocados, shredded cheese, fresh jalapeño peppers and a generous dollop of dill sour cream—Yum Yum.  Plus, it’s a great way to gather the family together, talk without our devices in our hands, and enjoy each other’s company.

 Try my chili recipe and let me know what favorite topping you decide to garnish your dish.

Ingredients for Chili

2 pounds ground turkey

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 onion chopped

1 chopped jalapeño

2 teaspoons of salt

1/4 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 bottle of ragu tomato sauce

1 can 28oz crushed tomatoes

1 can kidney beans

Directions:  In a large Dutch oven add extra virgin olive oil and sauté onions and jalapeños over medium heat, about 5 minutes.  Until onions are translucent.  Add ground turkey, and cook for about 8 minutes.  Add salt, chili powder, dried oregano, tomoto sauce and crushed tomatoes.  Bring all ingredients up to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer on low for 1 1/2 hours.  Add kidney beans, stir, serve and garnish with you favorite items.  Mine are listed below.

 

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Olive Me

Day 12 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style.

For the final day I decided to pick this delicious food—Olive Oil-This product is so versatile, and of course delicious.   With a passion for food and eye for detail I made this beautiful spread.  

I purchased this olive oil, and with so many different flavors of olive oil, and balsamic vinegar  I created this fun food board.  Artisanal breads, with various fruits made this spread come together.  Try it yourself.  Pick 3-5 different breads, and pour your olive oil on different plates and allow your guests to taste test. 

Enjoy this festive feast-cheers and happy holidays. 

 

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Day 11

Day 11-of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Invite your friends over for a special evening of cheer. Entertaining is such a personal and thoughtful gift you can give those you mean a lot to you.  People always love the detains you add to make them feel special.  With that in mind, try making this ice ring.  Then add to your punch bowl and serve your favorite beverage.  Here I am pouring pomegranate soda.

 

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For Him

Day 8-of my 12 Days of Christmas in Style

When you see the brand Hermes, you think French luxury, rich heritage, exquisite craftsmanship, eye for detail and high quality.  That’s exactly what this men’s cologne exudes.  The fragrance is subtle yet lingering, soft yet captivating.  I absolutely love this cologne, and for the retail price of $112 Canadian dollars at the Bay.

Perfect gift for your man this holiday season.

 

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Bringing it home

Day 7- of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Brining it home today, with Gail Simmon’s brand new cookbook.   I had the rare opportunity to meet this Top Chef judge a few weeks ago in Toronto and it was incredible.  I tasted some her yummy recipes as well as a couple of her delicious cocktail, straight from her new cook book-“Brining it Home”, order it right here.

This gift is perfect for anyone who loves and appreciates cooking.  Gail is a culinary force, and is able to translate her expertise to even the novice cooks.  I made her grilled pineapple here, and my family loved it.

The second photo is me with Gail in Toronto. Many people were excited that I got a chance to meet her;  but many also asked where I purchased my purple blouse.  It was a great find, and one of my favorites this season, I bought it at the Bay.

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Bare Neccesities

It’s  all about the soft, and stylish Bare necessities.  Did you know that nightwear is the most important thing about a good night’s sleep.  Why? because if ‘you’ are not comfortable, while trying to ‘get’ comfortable chances are your sleep will not ‘be’ comfortable.  

There are a lot of options available for women when looking for nightwear.  Plenty of options to make them feel sexy and comfortable.  Like these from Victoria Secret. Great news, free shipping over $100.   

Gift guide:
If your spouse is having a hard time finding the perfect gift for you, direct them to VS.  

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Grow great things for 2018

Day 5 0f my 12 days of Christmas in Style

What great things to do want to grow in your life for 2018?  If you’re anything like me, running from one thing to the next, you probably could use some down time to reflect on the real things that matter.  More than a daily calendar to cross of the things you accomplished, the cultivate what matters ‘workbook’ helps to uncover purpose filled goals and plan action steps to make what matters happen.  Sounds pretty great to me.  Grab yours today at https://shop.cultivatewhatmatters.com/pages/2018-powersheets


And start growing great things for yourself in 2018.

Perfect gift for all the busy Moms in your life.

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Cool and cozy

Day 4: of my 12 days of Christmas

It’s not only my tablescapes that have seen a lot of sequence, but many of my gifts this year are adorned with shine and faux fur.  

If you are having a hard time finding something cool and glamorous for your tween or teenage daughter, than you landed on the right spot.  How about this sequence beret from Forever 21
 or this faux fur infinity scarf

If you are all ‘Mais Non’ on the beret and faux fur scarf how about these cool and cozy earmuffs with head phones 

Listen, look good and keep warm this holiday season.

xox

Mom in Sytle

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Lite up my world

Day 3 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

Candles are always a safe and easy gift idea.  They make the perfect client gift, corporate gift or hostess gift, or stocking stuffer.  Named after some of the neighborhoods of Toronto and Vancouver these Vancouver Candle Co www.vancouvercandleco.com are all handmade using traditional artisan craftsmanship.  Each candle and diffuser is poured by hand in small batches.   These are just some of the my favorite Toronto neighborhoods that I love to visit.

  So get your candle now, shipping is free on North American orders over $59. 

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12 days of Christmas in Style

Mom Truth- we like to feel good.

Welcome to Day 2 of my 12 days of Christmas in Style

I’m obsessed with watching real Mom’s tell it like it is.  So when I discovered Cat and Nat on instagram #CatandNat, I was naturally hooked.  Real life Mama’s caring for their families while still making time for themselves.  Most recently this Mama duo came out with a holiday makeup kit that’s perfect for the Mom on the Go.  Check it out. This gift is perfect for any Mom on your gift list

Haley Bogaert Cosmetics

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