3 Random Tips for Happier Days

tips & tricks


Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference to how an ordinary day turns out.  Recently I’ve tried a few new tricks to make things run more smoothly around my home, and I’m so happy with the results of these 3 new twists that I figured I’d share them…



Having Trouble Fitting In Time for
Family Games on Busy Weeknights?

Does your family love board games that take a long time to play?  These games go unplayed month after month waiting for a week off of school or a weekend getaway where there is ample opportunity to slow down together. Well bust out the Rumoli or Monopoly!! Here’s an oh-so-logical solution that enables me to fit in some family game time free of technology, phone interruptions, and other distractions even if we have only 20 minutes to spare before dinner or heading out to our evening activities…

Set up the game on a little used table, and here’s the trick… DON’T PACK IT UP!!  Whenever a bit of time comes available, just head to the game table and play a few rounds, then leave it set up to continue where you left off the next day.  No fuss, no muss!  Thanks to this awesome and obvious tip from a friend, we have started a Rumoli game that will wind up at the end of Easter weekend.   Board games are my favourite kinds of quality time together, and without the set up and clean up, we can fit it in almost daily.

Do Your Kids Refuse a Much Needed Nap
the Day After A Late Night of Fun?

This little trick worked like a charm when my son was 4 – 8 years old, and just this weekend it proved too much for my 6 year old to withstand!! We had overnight guests visit us on Saturday night, and each and every one of us were up WAY too late.  The next morning was a fairly early rise because everyone wanted to maximize the remaining hours of the visit before their departure later that afternoon.  I knew that an afternoon nap was a must for me, and my 6 year old was willing to “try” to nap despite her doubt that she could fall asleep in the middle of the day.  When I went upstairs after about 20 minutes I noticed her eyes were open and she was moving about in her bed… no way to fall asleep!  So I took out my secret, irrestible weapon… [Read more...]

A Birthday Idea for Mom or Dad

About a month ago, I had a birthday.  My husband and kids came up with a thoughtful, creative, and very sweet way to treat me extra special for the day.  I am excited to share this simple little idea with you… along with a FREE PRINTABLE that will make it even quicker and easier for you to pull off in your own home.

Birthday Do's & Don'ts

When I woke up that morning and went about my usual morning routine, I kept bumping into notes that had been left for me.  At each new location (bathroom, hallway, kitchen counter, near my boots, etc) I found 2 pieces of paper.

One said “On this special day, you are definitely allowed to …”
The other paper beside it said “On this special day, you are definitely NOT allowed to …”

They came up with all kinds of great ideas that let me know that THEY knew just what my favourite things to do are, AND just what things I would really appreciate a one-day break from.   You can get your kids in on the fun by printing my FREE TEMPLATE using the link below and then having the whole family brainstorm and write out ideas uniquely suited to your family’s birthday boy or girl. [Read more...]

Bedroom Makeover… Small Cost, BIG Improvement!!

School house room renoWhat’s to do when the whole month is filled day after day with record breaking temperature lows?  This is for sure the coldest winter that I can remember in a LONG time, and my new year’s urge to reorganize and redecorate has been ramped up by my desire to remain toasty warm indoors.

The result:  My 6 year old daughter’s bedroom got a major reorg … and at virtually no cost !!

It seems like I never know it until it’s upon me… that day when I will suddenly become aware that my baby has really outgrown the baby room that we so lovingly created years ago.  Eventually the crib is dismantled for a new, big kid bed, but in our home all the toys that were once paramount parts of a day’s play are mighty hard to let go of.  In fact, we often don’t even realize how much space all that old stuff is taking up… sitting around just in case the urge to play with it on a cold or rainy day comes up again.

One day this past week as I climbed the stairs to our 2nd story, I was struck by what a crazy and overflowing collection of stuff had accumulated in my youngest daughter’s bedroom.  The urge to purge hit me by force, and I gave myself 3 hours to clear the room down to the bare bones. [Read more...]

So… What’s Going On Here?

Well, that was an unexpectedly lengthy break from Simply Fun Families!!
Read below to get the whole scoop…

Confession #1

As December 2014 approached, I promised myself that this year would be different from last.  I was committed to putting down my endless blog & biz “to-do’s” and push pause on my business aspirations in favour of really taking the time to focus on family and reconnect with friends through the month approaching Christmas.  The previous holiday season I had been so caught up in my launch of Simply Fun Families and my online sales of Countdown to Christmas, that December 2013 had been a pure frenzy of exhaustion as I tried to keep up with our family traditions and still navigate through launching an online business in which every new step was foreign territory to me. As fun and exhilerating as each step had been, it took a tole  on my availability for all the rest of life… motherhood, family time, and even sheer wakefulness!!  I was actually still shopping for Christmas gifts on December 23rd, and I vowed that I would not allow myself to fall into that trap in the future.

After writing a few festive blog posts this past November in anticipation of all the holiday fun to be had, I allowed myself the luxury of taking a holiday… a complete pause on even thinking about Simply Fun Families so that I could focus on enjoying the season with my husband, children, extended family & friends.  It was bliss.  I found myself relishing a slower pace, hosting more spontaneous small group gatherings, and enjoying many unrushed visits with family and friends.  My Christmas shopping was thoughtful, and I was so excited to watch people open gifts that I had created or ordered or found that suited them perfectly.  Believe it or not, I actually noticed myself enjoying routine grocery shopping in which I was no longer literally running through the store.  It had apparently become my habit to run through errands and groceries in a race against time because I had an overriding feeling that I was wasting valuable blogging and website update minutes while I conducted these routine errands and chores.

That’s when it started to strike me that perhaps things had swung a bit more out of balance than I had realized… [Read more...]

Gift Ideas for Grandparents

gift image V3Grandparents play such a special role in many families, and this is certainly the case in my experience.  I grew up living in the same home with my grandparents…. 3 generations sharing time day in and day out.  Now that I have children of my own, I can see that my parents have become my children’s greatest fans, and that their greatest delight is to spend time with my 3 kids.

As I sat down today to give some thought to my Christmas list for the coming season, I actually felt a bit stumped for gift ideas that I could give to my children’s 4 grandparents this year.  Some grandparents have everything that they need, others are not much interested in “things”.  Some of my happiest personal gift giving experiences have been watching my children’s grandparents open gifts that I knew would fill their hearts with joy and help them know how grateful we are to have them in our lives.

So today I wanted to ask YOU this question:  ”What is the most memorable gift you have ever given to your children’s grandparents?”

Here is a list of my best gift ideas for grandparents…

  1. A set of personalized Christmas ornaments.  Each ornament featured a photo of one of the grandchildren… my children as well as each of their cousins.
  2. A framed collage of each grandchild containing photos of that child through the years from baby through toddler and all the way up to present day photos. [Read more...]

An Easy Potato Soup Recipe

Before last week, I had never made or even thought about making homemade potato soup, but am I ever glad I gave it a try!

potato soupSince the end of October, the weather has turned quite cold around here, and it seems to be staying that way.  Through the early fall I had been thinking about trying some easy soups to use for the kids lunches and as a little warm up to go alongside weeknight dinners. Then, as I waited in line to order lunch with a friend at a little coffee shop in town, it happened…. for some reason I overheard the ladies standing behind me talking about an Irish Potato soup.  And since that moment I could not seem to stop thinking about giving it a try.

My family is a bunch of soup lovers, especially my son, my youngest daughter, and me. The funniest thing happened when I made my first potato, leek, and ham soup. My husband of 17 years told me with great enthusiasm after his first bowl of soup, “I LOVE potato soup!”  Imaging being married to someone for 17 years AND having dated him for 7 years before that yet having absolutely no clue that this was one of his favourite things to eat!  It’s positively nutty!! My husband is very easy going when it comes to food, eating whatever I decide to cook (or making himself a BPJ quietly afterward if it is not something he cares for!!) but I was so startled to hear his pronouncement!

Needless to say, the potato soup only lasted 2 days before it was all gone.  My husband and son loved it and raved about it so much that one week later I am making another pot of it.  I made a few updates to the original recipe, so here’s the one I made today…. [Read more...]