Category - Tips

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How To Keep Pets Safe During The Holidays
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Why This Simple Diet Plan Works
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You Don’t Want To Miss The Fall Fit Women’s Weekend
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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques
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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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Planning For Your Special Needs Child’s Future
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What You Should Know Before Your First Mammogram

How To Keep Pets Safe During The Holidays

I have a lingering childhood memory of my friend’s cat—specifically of the sparkly tinsel hanging from his butt one Christmas. When I tried to pull it out my friend’s older brother shrieked, “Stop! You’ll pull his intestines out!!” I was horrified.  Later that winter when I was tugging on a ribbon in search of a coin in the money cake my mom made for my birthday, all I could think of was yanking out a string of cake covered cat intestines.  Nobody cherishes memories based on separating Fluffy from his innards, so here are some tips for keeping your furry family members safe and alive over the holidays. FOOD Candy can cause gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhea, while chocolate and xylitol (found in sugar-free candy and gum) are potentially deadly. Rich holiday foods can cause stomach upset or even pancreatitis. A little bit of lean meat is fine, but offer sparingly (and not directly from the table. Ya, I’m looking at you Grandpa!). Foods with raw eggs and undercooked poultry may contain salmonella bacteria. Onions and garlic can be toxic to pets. Plus, my dog’s breath is already bad enough. Bones from your holiday meal can cause obstructions and perforate the[…]

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Why This Simple Diet Plan Works

When I was in my early twenties a boyfriend suggested I could “drop a few.” Charming. So, to make him happy I restricted myself to one small meal a day for weeks. Apparently I needed to slim down my bulky 115 pound frame. That “health kick” ended when I fainted during my shift at Bootlegger (a jean store, I didn’t run booze across the county line).  In my thirties, as the parent of young children, I walked everywhere—pushing a stroller to the grocery story, the community centre, the park. I got a lot of accidental exercise. Plus as a teacher I was on my feet all day. More accidental exercise. And now here I am in my forties. I drive everywhere because the ‘burbs are spread out. Speaking of which, I work from home now, which results in a lot of ass time. As in, sitting on. The days of accidental exercise have vanished into thin air like that Costco-size bag of Chicago Mix I bought to share with the family, but ate all by myself. But recently when I looked down at my unbuttoned pants (I had to undo them for safety reasons) I took note of the alarming numbers on[…]

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You Don’t Want To Miss The Fall Fit Women’s Weekend

Last year when a friend invited me to a fitness retreat I was all, “Um, it’s not one of those meditation retreats where you can’t talk, is it? I wouldn’t last thirty minutes. And what level of fitness are we talkin’?”  My comfort zone has solid borders and tall walls. It’s also comfortably furnished, so I find it hard to leave.  Sometimes the only thing that can force me out is a swift kick in the butt.  This post is me kicking you. But only if you want me to. (Don’t worry, I’ve removed my shoes.) Have you heard about She Getaways’ Fall Fit Women’s Weekend? If not, I’d love to tell you about it. Not because I’m trying to sell it to you. It sells out very quickly on its own. They don’t need my help.  But, I found the experience to be life changing. I know, cliché, but I’m serious. During the doldrums of winter I find myself fantasizing about it—me on a paddle board pondering life, breathing deeply, laughing by the campfire, noticing the soft earth under my flip-flops as I head to the mess hall to enjoy a meal with friends.   So I’m sharing my thoughts[…]

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Two Simple Mindful Breathing Techniques

Jewel, right? She’s an actual gem. I loved her in the nineties. And I love her now with her simple approach to mindfulness. Clearly we’re soul sisters because we both use these easy breezy breathing techniques. ‘Counting Breath’ and ‘Box Breathing’ are my go-to techniques throughout the day—to calm my mind and squelch panicky feelings… hey, thanks PSTD. Sometimes I use them to simply relax and take a break from the multi-tasking mayhem that is my life.  I’ll just let Jewel explain. She’s perfection.  Try these tomorrow. It’s life changing.      Side note: My husband’s name is Adrian. We started dating around the time Jewel’s song “Adrian” was popular. It creeped me out and left with me an irrational fear of canoeing. But nothing a little box breathing can’t fix. 😉 

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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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Planning For Your Special Needs Child’s Future

I’m a compulsive planner which means I need like to know what’s going to happen next; and if I can control what that is, even better. FYI — I know what we’re having for dinner every night for the next two months. When it comes to my children, I have to remind myself to stop obsessively looking forward. However, there are some things that really must be arranged in advance when you have a child with a disability.  Though I hope to be around for a long time to care for my family, even I, the master of control, can’t control that. So as unpleasant as it seems, we recently updated our wills and named our children’s guardians and Powers of Attorney.   We also created a document listing all accounts, assets, debts, passwords, and any other crucial information family members would need in the case of, you know, our demise.   We set up an RESP for our son. He’ll need it to help with law and medical school. After that, he’s on his own. I’m sure his astronaut salary and Pulitzer prize money will be enough to get by on. (What? I tend to dream big.)  So with those details in place, I can relax and just enjoy my kids,[…]

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What You Should Know Before Your First Mammogram

I walked in Toronto’s “Weekend To End Women’s Cancers” and met so many people touched by breast cancer. Too many. Concerned for my own health, I asked my doctor if I should have a mammogram. She explained that Canadian women are advised to be screened at the age of fifty, unless there is a history of breast cancer in the family, in which case the recommended age in forty. I asked if I should wait until fifty? She told me it was up to me. Then I asked the question I ask all doctors… “What would you tell your daughter?”  She said, “I would tell her to do it. Now.” She explained that breast cancer affects women (and men) of all ages, but it’s aggressive and develops quickly in younger women. By the time it’s detected, it may be too late. I made my appointment.   Mammograms can be scary. Especially your first. I tried to make the idea less daunting by pronouncing “mammogram” like you would if you were announcing a candygram (like in the old SNL shark candygram skit). It helped. But only a little. Sporting a tie-in-the-back gown, a friendly female technician showed me into a dimly lit exam room. She[…]

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