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Jan
31
2015
Jan 31, 2015
Posted in: Thoughts

thingsthatwedo.com pic - rainbowCopyright© 2015 ThingsThatWeDo.com. All Rights Reserved.

Yes, already.

Wow, time flies quickly when the snow and cold weather is falling! Thank goodness tomorrow is February 1st! Before you know it, it’ll be Valentine’s Day with overly pricey flowers that fade much too quickly and then it’ll be Spring!

Yay!

Oh wait, did I also mention that it’s Saturday?

I mean, this is really good news.

After a long week of work, Saturdays really are beautiful. Time for a quick check in though. How many of you have watched the video I posted a few days ago on stress? You know the one by Kelly McGonigal which gives us a whole new interpretation of those symptoms who often associate with stress?

Why bring it up now? Well, it’s simple. Since watching it, I’ve been working on appreciating those moments in life where my heart starts to race and my breath starts to quicken not as scary stress moments but merely my body priming me into optimal action mode. My brain is getting more oxygen so that I can think clearly and come up with viable solutions to the spontaneous problems that arise.

So…if you haven’t watched the video yet, take 15 minutes and watch it. Then think about what you’ve learned. You may just learn something new.

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

Reminder: this post was written by and for thingsthatwedo.com only. If you see this post anywhere else except on my site at thingsthatwedo.com, know that I have not consented to having any part of this post (or this website for that matter), to be re-produced, copied, or re-printed anywhere else. Practice ethical posting!

Jan
30
2015
Jan 30, 2015

thingsthatwedo.com - scholastic childrens thesaurusCopyright© 2015 ThingsThatWeDo.com. All Rights Reserved.

A thesaurus. You know what it is, right? You know, that book that contains a bunch of words. No no, not the dictionary. That has a lot of words too but that book usually tells you what the words mean. A thesaurus groups words that have similar meaning together in one place. Instead of saying ‘mad’, the thesaurus will give you other words like ‘angry’ that you could use.

Sounds simple enough, right?

No, it’s not. You see, as a child you learn about words. You learn words have meanings. You learn to spell words and string them together to make a coherent sentence which then becomes a coherent paragraph and finally a coherent story of some sort.

Every child needs a good thesaurus because it helps to build their vocabulary and extend their ability to write creatively. Imagine your favourite story rewritten to only use the word ‘sad’ whenever a ‘sad’ emotion was needed. Now, imagine that same favourite story embellished with words like ‘distraught’ ‘agony’ ‘upset’ ‘unhappy’ ‘gloomy’ and so on. As an adult, this might seem simple enough for you but for a child, that’s not an easy feat.

That’s the power of a good thesaurus. It gives children access to new words and new ideas. It also empowers children to write and be free with their writing.

Recently, my big kid received a thesaurus as a gift. The Scholastic Children’s Thesaurus is a beautiful hardcover book, carefully organized and illustrated to make synonyms appear approachable and fun. - Continue Reading

Jan
29
2015
Jan 29, 2015

thingsthatwedo.com pic - kid superheroCopyright© 2015 ThingsThatWeDo.com. All Rights Reserved.

The hubby and I have a strong belief: knowledge is power. Give children knowledge, give them the space to think for themselves, and let them make cerebral connections independently whenever possible.

Why?

Because being able to think independently is a key part of life.

Recently, I went to a workshop on mental health and learned a great deal. I’m no expert so let me paraphrase a few things I learned about mental health. I learned mental health is a state of being, that we all need to focus on our mental health much like we do our physical health. I mean, we all try to eat a little better, exercise a little more, so why wouldn’t we do the same for our own mental well being?

That’s a gross oversimplification of the workshop but I was eager to talk to my big kid about it and get her take on the topic. Her insight and openness surprised me and inspired me.

What do you think “mental health” means?

I came home and did the usual family stuff and when there was a moment to chat I told her about the workshop. I then asked her, “What do you think ‘mental health’ means?”

Without skipping a beat, she replied, “That’s like having a healthy brain.”

I was floored, such a simple statement yet so true and so well summarized. It then lead us to a much longer conversation about this great video I watched during the workshop. It’s a fantastic video featuring Kelly McGonigal, a Psychologist who talks about stress. I learned that stress really isn’t the bad guy per se but HOW we think about stress that can ultimately lead to the demise of our health.

thingsthatwedo.com pic - kid picI talked to my child about stress and how it’s neither bad nor good. My child then pipes in, “Yeah…it’s an emotion like being sad. There’s nothing good or bad about it.” When we get ‘stressed’, our heart beats faster, our breathing quickens but there’s no reason for us to think of them as having a negative impact on our health. As I learned from that video, thinking that stress damages our health is actually what DAMAGES our health! It makes the blood vessels in our heart constrict and does so much more but only when we THINK it’s damaging. I told her about the power of our thinking, how it impacts the physiology of our heart, and the importance of oxytocin as a stress hormone that compels us to seek others in times of ‘stress’.

I was amazed at how quickly my child was able to grasp the message beneath all that talk. She chimed in throughout the conversation and really seemed to embrace this new mindset. If I can equip her with the skills to see those sudden faster heart beats and quickness of breath in a positive light, as the body’s way of energizing it for movement, imagine how different life will be for her in the future.

Gosh, I could ramble on and on but to really do this topic justice, I just really want you to watch the video.

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend

Things to do: watch the video and make a positive change in your life. PLEASE!

Jan
28
2015
Jan 28, 2015
Posted in: Recipes

thingsthatwedo.com - coleslawCopyright© 2015 ThingsThatWeDo.com. All Rights Reserved.

“Why did you buy that?”

That’s the question my friend would ask me whenever I picked up packaged coleslaw from the grocery store.

My reply? “Because I don’t know how to make my own coleslaw!”

Her attempt to help didn’t really work. She’d tell me about ‘a little bit of this’ and ‘a little bit of that’ didn’t really work for me. I needed some guidance and I needed a little motivation.

Months later and our family is at a restaurant. The hubby’s meal comes with, what else, coleslaw. I’m envious of how good it tastes.

I want to make my own coleslaw and finally I did.

Guess what? It tastes AMAZING. - Continue Reading

Jan
27
2015
Jan 27, 2015

thingsthatwedo.com pic - product recallCopyright© 2015 ThingsThatWeDo.com. All Rights Reserved.

Recalls, recalls, and a few more recalls. Let’s see, there’s a lot of potential danger to yourself with faulty chin straps on a bike helmet, exercise equipment that could leave you in a lot of pain, some salmonella, and car seats for children that don’t meet standards.

1. In Canada – SKLZ recalls Recoil 360TM All-Position Resistance Trainer

Reason for recall: how do I put this gently? I don’t go to the gym but I get how this product works. Essentially, it’s like a giant cord that tugs on you, gives that extra resistance during your exercise routine. The only thing is, a part of it can break and next thing you know, the cord is coming back at you full steam ahead. Translation: OUCH. Click here for more details.

2. In Canada and the United States- Freeland Foods Voluntarily Recalls Spicy Seed

Reason for recall: Salmonella. Note, this post was released by the FDA but the product was released in Canada too. Click here for more details.

3. In Canada: Expanded Recall – Learning Curve recalls VIA I470C model child restraints with various brand names

Reason for Recall: this is an expanded recall because the identified products don’t meet current head and chest injury limits. Click for more details.

4. In the U.S.: Oma’s Pride Recalls Purr Complete Feline Poultry Meal

Reason for recall: Salmonella. Click here for more details.

5. In Canada: UVEX Sports GmbH & Co recalls multiple UVEX Bike Helmets

Reason for recall: the chinstrap on the helmet may not work properly. Next thing you know, the helmet falls off. Not good especially given the whole purpose for wearing a helmet! h Click here for more details.

DO YOU HAVE A COMPLAINT ABOUT A PRODUCT?

Health Canada – how you can report a consumer product. If you experience an incident with a consumer product, you need to know how to report it. Click here to read more.

In the United States, if you have a complaint about a particular medicine, medical device, or food product, contact the FDA. Click here to read more.

Stay tuned to ThingsThatWeDo.com. We’ll continue to keep you all posted of product recalls and safety tips!

Let others know about these recalls: it!

Jan
25
2015
Jan 25, 2015
Posted in: Recipes, Thoughts

thingsthatwedo.com - glazed lemon cookies with peanut butterCopyright© 2015 ThingsThatWeDo.com. All Rights Reserved.

Some days are made extra special because you’ve got a special treat waiting for you. Recently I made another batch of my glazed lemon cookies but on this special day I wanted peanut butter. So, I put the two together and for me, that was magic.

The glazed lemon cookies were still cold from the fridge so the icing was tart and crunchy. I had crunchy peanut butter on hand which was perfect and added that extra layer of decadent texture. Pair the two together and my day was off to a very good start.

You see, it doesn’t take much to put a smile on my face and that’s the way life should be. Why wait for a grand gesture to be happy because truthfully, life is so much more than those big ‘aha’ moments.

The other day, I was at a store picking up a cupcake for a friend as a birthday treat. I was chatting with the staff and after some deliberation decided on a decadent chocolate cupcake. I mentioned to the staff that it was a birthday treat for a friend. By the time I had said this, she had already taken the cupcake out of the display case. Next thing you know, she disappears to the back and brings out another batch of cupcakes and says, “I’ve got you a fresh one…because it’s a birthday treat!”

Note: she didn’t have to do that. The original cupcake was fresh as far as I’m concerned but she took the time and went out of her way to bring me an extra fresh cupcake. She only works there. She doesn’t own the store. She had absolutely no reason to take that extra step and yet, she did. That one moment made my day and I thanked her profusely for doing what she did.

Her reaction? She smiled, kind of shrugged, and said something along the lines of “You’re welcome! It’s a birthday treat….”

thingsthatwedo.com - glazed lemon cookies with peanut butterSo you see sometimes, happiness comes in the form of a glazed lemon cookie with a dollop of crunchy peanut butter and sometimes, it comes from a random act of kindness.

Things to do: look for those little moments and cherish them when they arrive. Be the one to do that random act of kindness and be that one to put a smile on someone else’s face.

 

p.s. If you’d like to make these glazed lemon cookies, you can see the original recipe that I posted back in November 2014. Here’s the link:

It’s been a while: time to bake again. Glazed Lemon Cookies

Reminder: this post was written by and for thingsthatwedo.com only. If you see this post anywhere else except on my site at thingsthatwedo.com, know that I have not consented to having any part of this post (or this website for that matter), to be re-produced, copied, or re-printed anywhere else. Practice ethical posting!

Jan
24
2015
Jan 24, 2015
Posted in: All reviews, Thoughts

thingsthatwedo.com pic - bear relaxingCopyright© 2015 ThingsThatWeDo.com. All Rights Reserved.

Happy Saturday! Time to do a check in…how did we all do? Based on the email correspondence I’ve had with some of our readers it sounds like this week was a little smoother and possibly a little less hectic. That deserves a big giant collective ‘YAY!’

I have to be honest though. I tried to make this the most engaging and entertaining post of the century and I fell far from it. In fact, I re-wrote this post about a million times (a slight exaggeration but only slightly) and no matter which angle I took, I wasn’t happy with it. Finally, I decided to delete the entire thing just so I could write this statement: I have no idea what to talk about.

I’ve got nothing. There comes a time when we all have to be honest and admit that we’re running on empty and need a moment to rejuvenate and refuel. One thing I did do this week was reflect.

Reflection. Self-reflection. Looking inward at who you are and who you’ve become. Taking a moment to do a self-evaluation. Call it what you want but thinking about yourself isn’t an easy thing to do. So, why did I do it?

On a not-so-usual work day this week, I noticed a woman moving at lightning speed. She was incredibly efficient and adept. She was like a self-spinning flurry of activity and somehow managed to take care of about 20 different customers all by herself. She seemed pleasant and well-meaning but I noticed one thing: she barely interacted with anyone.

Then I had this thought: quality vs. quantity. She may have helped a lot of people in a short period of time but would they thank her for exceptional service and care? Probably not. By the same token, I could be that whirlwind at home but how would my interactions be with my family? Would I have quality interactions with my big kid when I’m trying to bake, do laundry, clean the floor, and cook at the same time? Or would she rather I pace all those life chores a little bit better so I could spend better quality time with her?

Yep, you get the idea.

So, this weekend, I’m going to make the commitment to be mindful, to be thoughtful, and not tackle too many tasks at one time. I’m going to smile a bit more, laugh a bit more, and relax a bit more.

Yes, that sounds like a decent plan don’t you think?

 

Reminder: this post was written by and for thingsthatwedo.com only. If you see this post anywhere else except on my site at thingsthatwedo.com, know that I have not consented to having any part of this post (or this website for that matter), to be re-produced, copied, or re-printed anywhere else. Practice ethical posting!

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