3 Ways to Get Your Kids to Help Clean…and not moan about it

Every night (well most nights) I do what I call a “power blitz” clean up in my house. I motor through the house picking up items and putting them where the belong.

I shut closet doors, push dining room chairs in, put shoes back in shoe baskets, hang up jackets…that kind of thing. It’s so damn satisfying to see how much better (cleaner) everything appears after just 10 minutes.

Often I ask the children to help with the tidy up process. They groan (and moan and complain) and I ignore it.  Rushing by them with a ‘whoosh’ I give them simple requests such as:

“Just tidy up the bathroom and put stuff back where it belongs.” {like putting the toothbrush back in the basket instead of leaving it on the counter…}

“Make sure all your dirty clothes are in your hamper and not stuffed under a couch.” {true story. the sock is purple. I refuse to pick it up…}

“Empty your backpacks completely so I can get all the Tupperware back that currently lives in the bottom of them.” {thank god for Menchies spoons or my kids would be eating pudding with their fingers.}

Simple stuff. But the moans and groans always come…

Now I  get that they are kids. I get that they don’t wanna clean up. I get that they will cut corners to be able to go back to playing whatever they were doing before I so rudely interrupted.

But seriously…how hard is it to hang up your damn jacket when the hook is LITERALLY right above the place you chose to drop it? Apparently pretty hard.

So here’s what I’ve started to do to get them to do their part and feel good about it:

Be an Example

If I don’t make my bed everyday why do they have to make theirs? If I leave my shoes sitting out why would they put theirs away? If I leave my dirty dishes on the counter.. You know where I’m going with this. Be the change you want to see in your home.

Set realistic goals

Remember that kids have varying capabilities based on their age. My girls are 3 years apart and yet I often find myself expecting the same of my youngest as I do her older sister. Setting realistic goals for each individual child will help everyone feel accomplished.


Follow Through

This is one I really need to work on. Like most parents I’m really good with saying “if you don’t do this then you wont get that…” and then not following through. Often it’s because taking away a luxury like TV time will make my life harder and so it’s easy to give in. And my kids were on to me. Now I’m taking a harder line and following through on punishments and – surprise, surprise – things are getting done.

By sticking to these three rule I’m finding it much easier to get my kids to help around the house with a smile on their face.  I hope they work for you too!

Good luck!




Today my baby girl turned 8. I can’t believe how fast time has flown.

Raising kids is scary. It’s so easy to mess them up. So easy to let them down.

So far everything about her tells me that I must be doing something right because she is without a doubt the sweetest, kindest, gentlest soul in my world.

Her joy and laughter is infectious and her love of life is inspiring. She is fierce and strong and I can’t wait to see where she goes in life. And what she will teach the world.

I will always be here to stand behind and walk beside you. And I promise to never, ever hold you back.

Kid Speak: Sweet Tooth

My girl had to get one of her baby teeth pulled today.  The stubborn thing just wouldn’t fall out on it’s own and was impeding the adult tooth coming in and making it painful to brush and eat.

She was a rock star at the dentist – handling the freezing and extraction like a champ.

The next day at dinner she pushed away a piece of chocolate cake and – to our shock – explained that it was “way to sweet”!

Me: Wow…never thought you’d say that! I guess you’ve lost your sweet tooth.

T (without missing a beat): Well…that must have been the one the dentist pulled out.

Can I get the dentist to remove mine too?


My First 10K Race Report & 5 Tips on Running Disney

On January 14th, 2017 I accomplished something that I never thought I would do.  I crossed the finish line of a 10K running event.

And I did so in the upright position, not in last place and without throwing up.


Who just ran 10K? this girl did…

It felt amazing.

It wasn’t my fastest run. It wasn’t my easiest run. It wasn’t my hardest run.

It was the longest though…and the most fun.

Running Disney is a wonderful experience from the moment you pick up your bib to the last stride across the finish line. Not only is the event incredibly well organized (what else would you expect from Disney?) but there is something magical about running through the parks before the sun has even risen.


Running through Radiator Springs before sun up…


California Adventure park selfie!


When you hit 7km and your feet hurt like hell and then you look up and realize you are about to run through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. So good!

The photo opps along the way are awesome.


Oh hey Kylo Ren. Sorry…gotta run…


I was so tempted to wait in this line…I mean I was R2D2 after all. But just couldn’t stand for 40 mins when I still had 7km left to run. 


The final mile marker right before the home stretch…


And the medals are heavy.


That said, I do have a few tips for anyone considering a runDisney race.

1. Don’t get to your corral too early.

Unless you are running in a highly competitive corral at the front you won’t actually start your race until at least 20 minutes after the posted start time of the event.  I was in Corral F for this 10k and we didn’t start until 6:05am. That meant I stood shoulder to shoulder in a packed corral for 34 minutes before getting to run. I couldn’t stretch and I got cold (remember this is before sunrise!) which led to a tough first few kms.



Corral F – couldn’t stretch without putting my face in someones butt or vice versa. 


Finally our turn to get running!

2. Don’t plan on running a personal best

RunDisney races are PACKED and it can be very difficult to find space to get moving at a good pace. For this 10k I had hoped to finish in 1 hour 20 mins but took nearly 1h45. I hit my first bottleneck at 1km where we all went down to a walk whether we liked it or not.


I do love me some Stormtroopers.

3. If you do the walk/run method move to the side to Walk

I run intervals and always made sure that there was no one right behind me when I transitioned from run to walk. That said, there were several times when runners weren’t as courteous and stopped right in front of me. It’s really just a common courtesy people.


4. Watch for Disney touches all over.

Yes there are character photo opps that are clearly posted – and you can chose to wait in line for 40 minutes (see what I mean about your best time) or just take a passing by selfie like I did.  But there are also little touches like illuminated shapes up on building walls or Disney staffers lined up with Mickey gloves ready to high five runners as they pass by.  I nearly missed Captain Phasma up on a bridge at the exit of Disneyland.


Thank YOU Disneyland Third Shift Custodial…you rock!

5. Have fun!

If you aren’t in it for your finish time then be in it for a good time. There is lots of laughter and joy around every runDisney event. That Disney spirit is infectious…so get caught up it and enjoy every minute.  How many times do you get to run a route like this anyway:



If you need a little motivation to get you to the finish line – get your friends and family to position themselves right near the end. My family was waiting for me at the 8km mark and seeing their smiling faces was all I needed to push me to the end.


hello family! (my girls were still in their PJs – so cute)

So that’s it! My first 10k in the books and my first 10K medal ready to go up in a place of honour right above my Neverland 5k medal.

Maybe…just maybe…I may add that Half Marathon medal one day. And if I do…you know it will be a runDisney medal.


Teaching My Kids about Giving Back at Christmas

This year my girls won’t be getting any gifts under the Christmas tree from us.  And they are actually pretty excited about it.

Why you ask?  Well, let me back up just a little and tell you about my frame of mind about Christmas this year.

I love Christmas.  I love the pretty lights and the decorations and the singing and the family time.  I love the feeling of Christmas.  And I love, love LOVE giving presents to the people I love.

I love to watch them open gifts that I have thoughtfully picked out and carefully wrapped. I love that feeling when you see a person smile in such a way you know you hit a gift giving home run.

So I was pretty much on cloud 9 when I had kids and suddenly had more people to buy for and a bigger audience of smilers around me.  And for a few  years it was great.  Until on my oldest daughters 3rd Christmas she stopped opening gifts halfway through her enormous pile of gifts, declared she was done and proceeded to play with a dollar store stocking stuffer for the next hour.

It was an eye opener.  I learned a lot in that moment and I vowed to never overdo it again. It had never been my intention to make Christmas all about the presents but somehow that’s what I had done.

For the next few years I scaled back, finally introducing the awesome Four Gift Giving Rule in our home three Christmases ago.


The girls adjusted well to less gifts and I tried to put a lot more thought into what I gave them.  But try as I might I still couldn’t get my girls to see past the “I want” part of Christmas.

So this year I was feeling pretty over it all by November.  When every second phrase from my kids was “Can I have it?” Or “Can we buy it?” and anytime I gave in and said yes the once coveted item was used once and promptly forgotten.

It bothered me that I had somehow raised my girls to be selfish and focused on “stuff”. I wanted them to have more respect for the things they already had. I asked them – out of desperation almost – to tell me one thing they got for Christmas the previous year.  I needed them to be able to answer me.  I needed them to remember.

Shocker – they didn’t. Not one present. Not even the things they had begged for. The things they NEEDED!

And it was then that I decided this year was going to be different. I had been thinking about finding something charitable to do on Christmas for year but had never found the right outlet.

I needed the connection to giving to be strong.  I needed them to really understand what I was trying to teach them. And finally – and this was the big one – I needed them to be happy about it.

I found exactly what I was looking for with the YWCA prom called Presents of Peace.  It ticked all the boxes and I signed up right away to sponsor a family of three.  A single mother and two children.

The thing I was most excited about with this program was the fact that we get to deliver the gifts directly to the family.  We get to meet them and get to know them and the girls would get to see how our decision to sponsor this family had really made a difference.

Once I had committed I told the girls about the program and broke the news gently that sponsoring this family meant the loss of their own Christmas presents.  And to my great surprise (and relief) they didn’t complain. In fact they were excited.

They wanted to know how old the kids were, what was on their wish list, when could they go shopping and could they help wrap?  They offered to make Christmas cookies and craft projects for the family.

And so this year instead of buying for my girls, we have gone out together as a family to shop for gifts for 4 year old twins that love Spiderman and Frozen and have things like bed sheets and winter jackets on their Christmas wish lists – and their mother who’s asked for sensible work shoes and clothes.

I have loved every step of this process and can’t wait to get the chance to meet the family in person next week.  And I really do think that slowly but surely the message of giving back is starting to sink in.

I can only hope that feeling lasts all the way through Christmas Day.

The Presents of Peace program isn’t accepting new sponsors for 2016 but please consider it for next Christmas.

And if you are looking for a way to help this year the YWCA has another great program set up called Simplify the Season where you can go online to donate and help families have a much more happy holiday season.







Star Wars 10K or Bust…

A few years ago I ran my first ever running race – the Neverland 5k at Disneyland.  It was a moment of great accomplishment for me.  It signalled the start of a new me.  I thought within a few years I would have several more medals to my credit.

There have been more races since then – an 8K, a very hot and sweaty 5K & a few other runs – but nothing longer than the 8k even though my goal had always been to keep running further and further.

I like running (really I swear I do!) but there were times that I questioned if it was really for me. I wondered if I was trying to push my body to do something it wasn’t really equipped to do. It was hard and I never seemed to be able to run farther than 5K. And I never seemed to manage to run any faster.

But I persevered because I loved the feeling when I finished a tough run. Maybe all I needed was a new goal.

Like another awesome RunDisney race maybe. But this time I’d do the 10k where I would get an actual metal medal instead of the plastic one you get for the 5k.

When I found out the run weekend in January had been re-branded to a Star Wars theme I knew it was settled. This would be all I needed to get back into running…to get back to what I started.

Plans were made. Tickets were booked. Hubby signed up for the half marathon and I for the 10k. And I decided to follow the RunDisney Training program this time and see if that helped.

And guess what – spoiler alert! – following a training program and actually committing to running on a regular basis actually HELPS! Crazy right?

I started out slow but then I got into a rhythm. And with that came running successes that I hadn’t achieved in years.



And oh boy did those achievements feel good.  So good that when I realized my training program was calling for me to run 7km I was confident I could do it.  And I did.


As we made have made our way into December my world has gotten a lot busier and my ability to commit to the training program has waned.  And while that’s not the way I had hoped it would go I now have the confidence to believe I can get right back up to speed when I need to.

Just over a month to go now.  Just keep running…just keep running…