“Spring Cleaning” for Fall


I’m not sure if it’s the change of season, a little book I read this past summer called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  (check it out here), or simply my inner “to-do list”-loving self, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about cleaning out and re-organizing my home.  Like many people, I feel like the list of things to do to properly maintain our house is never-ending. There are countless jobs that have  been waiting to be done for weeks or months but we just never seem to have the time to get to them.  My husband assures me that these jobs aren’t going anywhere and I shouldn’t stress about them (and I really am trying hard not to) but sometimes a good overhaul and a little reorganization can feel incredibly satisfying.  So over the next few weeks (or months), as the days get colder outside, here’s what I plan on doing inside, to make my home a little more tidy, clutter-free, and organized.  Check out more organization inspiration below!


  1. Empty water from hose and store for the winter.
  2. Gather yard décor items, and store in garage/shed for the winter.
  3. Rake leaves and fill Pumpkin bags 🙂
  4. Check Christmas lights and replace as needed.
  5. Store small recycling box from patio in garage for winter (don’t worry, we still recycle in the winter, we just have a bigger, more efficient can to use that doesn’t get buried in snow!)
  6. Store outdoor furniture in garage for winter
  7. Toss dead plants


  1. Sort through clothes in closest and drawers – discard worn-out items, prepare bag for women’s shelter, re-fold or hang other items
  2. Sort through, re-organize, dust, and tidy shelves in closet
  3. Sort through book shelf and move books onto proper shelves (I totally need more bookshelves in my house!)
  4. Sort through accessories – discard or giveaway items I don’t wear and re-organize remaining items – develop system for displaying frequently worn accessories.
  5. Nail polish collection – develop a better system for storing nail polishes (they’re over-taking the top of my dresser currently!)


  1. Under sink – discard old or unused items, wash cupboards, and reorganize remaining items
  2. Medicine cabinet – discard old and unused items, safely discard expired medications, reorganize remaining items, wash down shelves


  1. Spice cupboard – discard old and unused spices, reorganize and wash down shelves
  2. Baking cupboard – discard expired or unused items, reorganize and wash cupboard
  3. Dishes – prepare box of unused items to give away, reorganize remaining dishes and kitchen gadgets, wipe down and clean shelves
  4. Cutlery drawers – sort out, giveaway or discard unused items, wipe out drawers
  5. Create better system for storing waxed papers, tin foil, etc.
  6. Display cookbooks on counter for more regular use
  7. Remove gadgets that we don’t use often from counters and store away
  8. Clean out and re-organize the “junk” drawer
  9. Food cupboards – toss expired or old items, prepare box of items for food back, reorganize and straighten remaining items, wipe down shelves
  10. Sort through items under sink – toss old items, reorganize and clean shelves
  11. Develop a system to store cleaning products under kitchen sink
  12. Develop an efficient, organized system for mail and other documents
  13. Clean off magnetic board and store items in proper locations

Dining Room

  1. Re-organize bookshelf and move books to proper location in house -discard old papers, books we no longer need.


  1. Re-organize items in front hallway closet for better storage
  2. Develop system to make hats, mittens, scarves, etc. easily accessible.
  3. Develop a better system for shoe storage (we have very limited space!) at the front door.


  1. Create space for working out (Treadmill, weights, yoga mat, television, water jug)
  2. Re-organize storage bins in storage space under stairs
  3. Move summer items to garage or shed for storage
  4. Bring Halloween, Christmas, and winter supplies in from garage and shed and store in basement.
  5. Re-organize DVD and bookshelf – discard or giveaway old, unused items

Laundry Room

  1. Wash inside of washing machine
  2. Discard or giveaway old, unused items on storage shelves – reorganize remaining items and wipe down shelves
  3. Develop system for random items found in laundry (sole socks, coins, toys, etc.)


  1. Complete the wedding photo book that I’ve been working on online for since our wedding two years ago!
  2. Print pictures and fill frames (that we received as wedding gifts!)
  3. Change seasonal decorations

And finally…. sit back, relax, and enjoy a highly organized, tidy house!


A pretty way to store accessories and jewellery.

A pretty way to store accessories and jewellery.

A pretty bathroom storage solution.

A pretty bathroom storage solution.

I might have to try this for extra shoe storage!

I might have to try this for extra shoe storage!

Drawer organization for any room in the house.

Drawer organization for any room in the house.

How to organize household documents and papers.

How to organize household documents and papers.

I like this idea of using a magazine holder to hold kitchen supplies.

I like this idea of using a magazine holder to hold kitchen supplies.

A unique way to store girly essentials.

A unique way to store girly essentials.

A lovely way to store throw blankets in the living room.

A lovely way to store throw blankets in the living room.

Because every house needs more books, including the kiddos!

Because every house needs more books, including the kiddos!

With an unlimited budget, I would go crazy in a store like this!

With an unlimited budget, I would go crazy in a store like this!


A simple dose of happiness


Sometimes when I get a big boost of motivation, I worry that the feeling won’t last.  I try desperately to hold on to it, to bottle it up, and preserve it for those days when I just don’t want to do anything.  I’m only two days in, but I am happy to say that I am feeling just as inspired today as I was a couple of days ago when another burst of motivation suddenly came over me.   In fact, I’m once again amazed at the difference of the power of positive thinking (why do I always forget how simple it is?)

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been feeling pretty great.  I’ve felt energetic (despite a lack of sleep), focused, and truly happy to be alive.  In fact, yesterday as I was driving I was thinking of all the things I love about my life – and not just the everyday, obvious things like my husband, kids, family, friends, and career, but rather, the less obvious things.

One of those things is the idea that I still have so much time to figure out this thing called life.  Lately, I have felt inspired to find ways to improve myself mentally, emotionally, physically – even spiritually.  I am learning a lot about myself – building on and feeling proud of my strengths, and working hard to improve myself in the areas where I struggle.  I am discovering more about the things I value in life, and opening mind to things I never contemplated before.  I am slowly learning that how I perceive a situation has a direct impact on how much stress I feel, and that I have complete control over my inner peace. And on days when I am feeling happy and inspired, the fact that I still have so much time to think about these kinds of things, is simply, exciting.

I know I’ve said it before, but I will say it again.  Take it from me, a person who’s spent more of my life being a couch potato, then I have working out: It’s truly amazing and outstanding what physical activity can do for one’s mental state.   Much like before, it’s only been a couple of days since I’ve been back on the “active” bandwagon (I recorded 16,000 steps on my Fitbit yesterday and have already put in an hour walk this morning!) but already the feel-good vibes are unbelievable and empowering.

Like I mentioned above, I pray that this motivation will last and that I can continue to remember how easy it is to put myself in a good place.  I know I have to stay focused, determined, and dedicated and if I do, my entire life is only going to get better 🙂



Stronger Body, Stronger Mind

Like most of my attempts to lose weight in the past, my most recent attempt has had its ups and downs.  Actually, I think it’s safe to say that this one has had more “downs” than “ups”.  That being said, I am feeling another big boost of motivation today and am ready, once again, to climb back onto the bandwagon.

One difference between my past adventures in getting healthy, and this one, are some of my reasons for doing so.  Of course, wanting to look better is always near the top of the list, but more than ever, wanting to feel better is as much a motivation as anything.

I know I’m not exactly old (as much as my husband likes to tease me that I am!) but I definitely can feel changes in my body that come with being in my mid-30s.  Having been substantially inactive for the last year or so definitely hasn’t helped.  In fact, it’s led to a lot of minor aches, pains, and stiffness that I’ve never felt before.  Getting up after sitting on the floor sure isn’t pretty anymore, and I’m so out of shape, that I can barely go for a fast-paced walk without getting out of breath.strength

In addition to that, I’ve really noticed this time around, the mental and emotional challenges of not being active.  The longer I sit around, being lazy, the more I want to sit around and be lazy.  Then I feel crummy and guilty.  But even the guilt is not enough motivation to get myself up off the couch.  So I try self-loathing instead.  That doesn’t work either and before I know it, I’m caught in a vicious cycle of terrible self-esteem and just wanting to give up altogether.

But all that is going to change.  It’s going to change because I am not a lazy, self-loathing, unenergetic type of person.  I am determined, I have drive, I have a self love that is dying to come out.

Today, I am feeling a rejuvenated sense of motivation.  I am inspired to make my body (and my mind) strong again.  I want to challenge and push myself to places that will surprise even me.  Last time I took this journey, I ended up running 10k marathons. Running was something I had tried in the past, but had always failed miserably at. I was convinced I’d never be a runner.  And then I learned to run.  I began with one measly minute and continued to surprise myself as I was able to tack on more and more time.  When I competed in my first 10k race in 2011 I felt like I’d climbed to the top of an insurmountable mountain.

That feeling of victory, of confidence, of self-pride, of genuine happiness when you reach goals you never thought you’d accomplish, is exhilarating.  I miss that feeling.  I want that feeling again.

fitness quote

So this time around, while I can still admit that I want to wear cute clothes and bikinis and tight dresses again, I’ve found a new inspiration that I think will stick.

My motivation comes from wanting my body and mind to be healthier and stronger.  I want to be an inspiration to others again.  I want to feel proud of myself again.  I want to meet goals and reap the rewards.

I want to feel victorious.

Strangely, this new source of motivation came to me today while watching the Blue Jays game.  It was Marcus Stroman Bobblehead Day so they were featuring the young, rookie pitcher who was supposed to have been the Jays’ big star this year.  Unfortunately, Stroman drastically injured his knee in spring training, had to undergo surgery and may be out of the game for the entire 2015 season.

But what inspired me about Stroman is his determination, dedication, and never-ending positivity.  While others may have let devastation and disappointment consume them, Stroman is using his time off to work harder than ever to make himself an all-around better player and person.  He is attending Duke University, is just months away from obtaining his sociology degree, and is working his butt off in rehab with hopes of returning to the Jays this fall.

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

Follow Stroman on instagram at @mstrooo6

I’ve been following Stroman on Instagram for some time now, and his outlook is incredibly inspiring.  Although he’s had major setbacks, his smile is as big as ever and his focus is sharper than ever.  More than ever, he’s determined to make his dreams come true, and he’s not letting anything get in his way.

So I’m taking a lesson from Stroman, and I’m making the choice (again!) to put in the hard work, determination, and dedication it will take to meet my fitness goals. I know it will take time (as it did before), and I know there will be ups and downs, but  I’m excited to get back in the game.  I’m eager to be strong, to set and reach goals, and ultimately, to be victorious.






Why I Write

pretty flowersTonight I am not sure what I want to write about or even how to start.  I have a thousand words in my mind, but at the same time I am lost for words. Tonight I am rambling. Thinking. Writing.

Some of you may be wondering what’s the point of writing a post if there’s nothing really to write about ?  And believe me, I asked myself the same question. I considered a myriad of topics and urged each one of them to take the shape of words in my mind.  I considered writing my response to the school dress code issue that was all over the news tonight – I considered writing about my dreams of one day owning a cottage (inspired by my current favourite Pinterest board, aptly named “Cottage Love”) – I considered telling you about an interesting poll a colleague of mine did today that showed half of her primary students show up to school hungry and tired – and while I will still likely write future posts on any or all of these topics, instead I choose to ramble.

So why?

Because I need to. As ironic as it may seem for a writer to be lost for words, I am not exactly sure how to explain the feeling that overcomes me – the urgent need and desire to write.  To be creative.  To express myself.  My laptop beckons me from it’s place in our living room and taunts me.  Write, write, write it calls.  And I want to. But what can I write about?  Who am I writing to?  For which purpose am I writing?  To simply do something I enjoy? Or to attract a variety of readers and entice more people to follow my blog? And what if it’s not good enough?  Not poetic enough?  What if my word choice is not strong enough?

So many times I have written and erased, written and erased.  I read over my own work – sometimes as I go, sometimes at the end.  Erase. Tweak. Edit. Revise.  That could be said better.  This is not what I meant.  This is a stronger word.  Copy and paste.  Cut. Delete.  Chop, chop, chop and arrange. Are all writers this judgemental of their own work?calm

When I was a child, I loved to write stories.  Make-believe, fictional stories that I spent hours writing.  While the words poured out of me and my pencil furiously scribbled them on paper, I delighted in my story.  I was proud of my words.  Excited.  Eager to share the ideas forming in my mind. After, my teachers and parents would praise me and tell me how good my writing was but by then I always doubted it. I’d always question it. I was my own worst critic. I’d re-read it and find phrases I didn’t like, doubt my plot, question if my vocabulary was right.

Even now when I write blog posts, the words come pouring out of me like blood gushing out of a deep wound. My husband says I type so fast that my keyboard is going to catch fire. But I am trying to keep up.  In my mind, the next sentence is forming in my mind, as I am writing the former.  Sometimes my fingers can’t find the keys fast enough.

I remember when I was a kid our teacher would always make us write a “plan” before we were allowed to write a story.  I hated the “plan”.  The ideas were already taking shape in my mind, the characters were speaking to me, and the setting was painting a picture.  I wanted to write it down as fast as I could.  I wanted to get my ideas on paper before they were gone.  But my teacher insisted that I had to do the “plan”.  I will never make my students write a “plan” if they don’t need one.writing

Even this very blog was born out of my need/desire to write.  I had this urge to be creative (as I often do).  I’m not a painter, I don’t do crafts or play a musical instrument, and although I tried scrapbooking, it was never my thing.  What’s my art?  I am a writer.  To be a writer, is simply to write.  I am not professional.  I am not published (not recently anyway).  I don’t write books.  But I can write.  I can take my inspirations and experiences and put them into words that form a piece of writing.

More importantly, by writing I can quiet my mind.  I can take all the thoughts that swirl in my mind all day – that exhaust me, overwhelm me, and consume me, and release them.  I let go of the words and  I find quiet, calmness, and peace. I find honesty, curiosity, creativity, self-doubt.  I find joy, pride, courage, and uncertainty.

But most of all, when I write, I find myself.