Category - how-to

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Holiday Gift Hiding Hack
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Host An Easy Puppy Party
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The Simple Plan That Helps Me Deal With Donation Requests
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Halloween Treats For Baking Cheats
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When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It
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Have You Seen This Video?
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Is Blogging Dead?
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10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer
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Three Generations of My Family Fell For Financial Fraud
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Giving Old Skin The Boot — Tana Loves Shoes

Holiday Gift Hiding Hack

I figured out the trick to hiding Christmas gifts so my kids won’t find them AND I won’t forget where I hid them—a holiday hack made necessary due to my chronic history of misplacing things.  I tend to Christmas shop early, frugally snapping up stocking stuffers and gifts when I see them on sale. I sneak them into the house and hide them—usually hurriedly flung to the back of a closet.  But, when Christmas nears and I need to take stock, I can’t always remember where I hid everything or even recall what I bought in the first place. One Christmas Eve a few years ago I found myself alone in the basement shouting, “Holy Christ!!” but not in a Christmassy way. No, it was decidedly more, “I bought our son a laptop in November and now I can’t remember where I hid the thing!!” Here’s the ridiculous story about that loser move This year I finally came up with a gift hiding hack to: a) Stop misplacing gifts b) Alleviate the stress of misplacing gifts c) Save time and energy by not misplacing or forgetting about gifts  The Holiday Gift Hiding Hack To Save Our Seasonal Sanity: Empty a storage bin (more if needed)[…]

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Host An Easy Puppy Party

We hosted a puppy birthday party today and it was off the chain. Literally. There were dogs running free all over the yard and in my kitchen. When I was a regular contributer for a popular website called The Yummy Mummy Club (now, “YMC”) I went by the handle “Party Mummy.” My beat was all things entertainment. I wrote about pet parties (why yes, we did throw a full-on dog wedding), kids’ parties, adult parties—some reeeeeally adult ones like a passion party, an unforgettable (for my husband at least) vasectomy dinner, various mom pub crawls—plus a vast array of “let your hair down for some serious fun” parties.  At one point I was attending or hosting some kind of festivity at least once a week. Lately however, I’ve been about as social as an incarcerated nun librarian mime in solitary confinement. It’s a temporary lull. Life just got busy and a little too serious. However, when your daughter’s dog turns one year old you simply MUST throw a puppy party no matter what else you have going on. Even if the date falls on Thanksgiving weekend.  So today we somewhat hurriedly but happily hosted Ruby’s “ONE Year Birthday Party.” Puppy pants, optional.[…]

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The Simple Plan That Helps Me Deal With Donation Requests

Do you donate? If not, why not? This was a recent topic of conversation on CBC radio’s Ontario Today. Nobody wants to admit that they aren’t givers. However, research shows that charities are relying on a shrinking pool of donators. Seventy-five per cent of donations come from people 50 years+.  Younger generations aren’t as likely as their predecessors to part with their charitable cash. Radio host Rita Celli posed the question, “Why are younger generations less likely to donate than older generations?” If you don’t sit around sipping tea, listening to talk radio like I do all day, here’s the gist: We’ve been duped and scammed and lied to by so many deceitful charlatans that we don’t know who to trust anymore. We’re jaded. So when asked to part with our hard-earned dollars to support whatever fundraising campaign, most of us respond with a suspicious, “not this time.”  Most of the callers who weighed-in on the topic said they don’t feel comfortable not knowing for certain where their money is going.  I totally get that. I participated in a charity walk a few years ago and raised thousands of dollars. We later found out that only a small percentage of the money[…]

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Halloween Treats For Baking Cheats

It’s not that I can’t bake. It’s just with all the precise measuring and following of directions I’d rather not. I’m more of a culinary free spirit.  But, when my daughter decided to throw a ‘Haunted Halloween Hip Hop Dance Party,” I knew we’d need wicked good (possibly baked) treats. I let my little party animal choose a few treats from Pinterest. Then I adapted them to make them as easy and baking-free as possible. I’m a witch like that. Here’s what I whipped up in my cauldron (aka double boiler which I haven’t used in a bat’s age):    Chocolate Bar Mummies: Unwrap mini chocolate bars (I used Coffee Crisps) and eat at least four.  Melt white chocolate or white candy melts (also called moulding wafers) in a double boiler. Do not look at the ingredients in candy melts. The horror…  Drag the melted candy over each chocolate with a fork (the tines make nice mummy wrapping lines) or drizzle.  Add two chocolate chip eyes.  Rice Crispy Monsters: Buy a box of rice crispy squares from Costco.  Eat as many free samples as you can before you check out.  Unwrap a dozen or so rice crispy squares and set aside. You[…]

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When We Worry Too Much And What To Do About It

I understand the parameters of reality, so why do I worry so much? It’s pointless and I know that worrying is harmful, so why do I keep doing it? I think I have an answer. The first time I recall being really worried was when I was seven years old. My dad traveled a lot and one night his plane was late. I was convinced he had crashed and I worried myself sick. Of course he was fine. I had worried myself sick for nothing.   Over the years I continued to worry about a variety of things from A to Z — some realistic, some ridiculous.  They say only eight per cent of our worries are realistic. And of those, we can actually only do something about half. This means ninety-six per cent of the things we worry about are a useless waste of time. Why do some people worry more than others?   I have a theory that we worriers have three things in common:   1. WE NEED TO BE IN CONTROL We dictate and delegate, but then end up doing everything ourselves because everyone else does it wrong. We like to organize and compartmentalize and strategize and basically orchestrate the outcome[…]

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Have You Seen This Video?

  “What video?!” you ask. I said there would be a charming video here today, but there’s nothing but this empty video player.  Yes I announced with great confidence yesterday that I would be posting all sorts of video content going forward. So much video. I even went on Facebook just now and blabbed about the first of said videos and teased you with a link.  The link took you here. Sorry, just words. No video. But before you scold me for unfulfilled video promises (the video I started today wasn’t going to be very good anyway, so it’s actually a blessing) I want to explain why making videos is paralyzingly difficult for me. And maybe for you too? It’s not like I don’t have anything to talk about. Ask my friends and family—I rarely shut up. But when it comes to turning thoughts into actual watchable video content, there are some very real obstacles like: I can’t find the camera cord that connects my camera to my computer. I saw it somewhere but all the cords look alike!  I could use my iPhone to shoot the video but I need to charge it. I swear my phone is eternally at[…]

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Is Blogging Dead?

I used to have blogging in my back pocket but now I think blogging might be dead or at the very least, in a deep coma. I’ve been blogging (and vlogging on occasion) for years—ten to be exact. I love writing and sharing (*Edited by my husband to “over-sharing”) so when I discovered web-logging when I was home on mat leave with our second child I was like, “This was totally made for ME!” I had no clue about SEO or web design, but I had a story I wanted to share with other parents going through what we were.  In the early days when our daughter wasn’t acting the way “normal” babies do and doctors didn’t have any answers for us, I turned to the internet where I found some amazing blogs and support online. And once I got over the shock of you know, everything, I started a blog about our new reality as parents of a child with medical and developmental challenges. I shared all of it—the ugly moments, the scary thoughts, the fear, the anxiety and PTSD, the mistakes, and the grief. But I made sure to include the sweet stuff and the lessons learned too[…]

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10 Offline Family Activities To Enjoy This Summer

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Social media, cell phones, texting — we have instant access to each other 24 hours a day. We tend to log in and tune out. Canadians spend more time online than any other country. This can mean that every member of a family is online on their own device, even in the same room. I just emailed this shocking fact to my husband sitting across from me on the couch. Many parents have expressed concern about technology’s intrusion into their family time. I feel it. Do you? I grew up pre-internet, so I learned how to maintain a conversation and can easily make human contact without being digitally connected. But can I say the same about my children?  Even if we limit our kids’ screen time, their learning and social skills are still impacted by OUR screen time. Have you ever shushed your child so you could finish composing an email? Have you looked away during your child’s soccer game to post an Instagram photo? Have you texted from the dinner table in the middle of your son telling you about his French test? Not proud of it, but I’ve done all of these[…]

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Three Generations of My Family Fell For Financial Fraud

These days it’s unlikely you’ll be pickpocketed in the city square by singing and dancing orphans (think “Oliver Twist”). It’s more likely you’ll be mugged without even leaving your home. Financial fraud can happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone…and you aren’t even compensated for your loss with a jaunty dance number.  I have a few infuriating experiences of financial fraud to share that have been committed against three generations of my family this past year. Kids, seniors, and people with disabilities especially, are ripe for the picking. These shameless thieves don’t discriminate. Hopefully by sharing what happened to us, (along with some helpful tips from TD!) you’ll avoid the sting of scams like these…. and the new ones cropping up every day. Gen Z—Tweens and Teens My teen is uber tech savvy. Without him I wouldn’t know which remote to use to turn on the TV. But, this doesn’t mean he’s immune to fraud. In fact, he was duped into forking over money (ahem, MY money) for an app. He thought he was paying a one-time-only fee. It turns out the payment was charged to my credit card automatically every month. When I finally noticed and figured out what the charge[…]

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Giving Old Skin The Boot — Tana Loves Shoes

  My poor neglected boots… You thought I was talking about my 40-something skin? That’s okay. My skin is starting to resemble a potato, but it has to do with hormones and over-tanning in the 80s. My leather boots have also seen better days—but due to harsh Canadian winters and dehydration. Like our skin, leather boots (and shoes, purses and belts for that matter) need cleaning and moisturizing. My husband shakes his head at how much money I’m willing to spend on a pair of boots. Take the classic Frye boots I’m saving for—my family might have to eat baked beans for awhile, but these boots will be an integral part of my wardrobe for many years to come. So I need to protect them or my family will give me the boot. So to speak. My current foot faves are these browny-grey Fossil boots. I’ve had them for three years and they’re starting to show their age. Why yes, I AM aware these descriptors also describe the boot wearer. Ha, ha, sob. A little TLC up front would have helped to preserve them, but thankfully there are ways to bring them back to life. Following in his father’s footsteps[…]

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