Follow-up: Six Turning Sixteen

After I shared my post Six Turning Sixteen, my friend Alicia shared how she was able to turn the gift into a vanity area for her daughter. The following is in her story:

Continue reading

Advertisements

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye

 

Yesterday, we put my friend’s father to rest after a very short struggle with cancer. It has brought so many thoughts and feelings to the forefront.

My friend is a little older than me and her father was a little older than my father. We are also both only children and this has been the first parent lost in my grouping of friends. Not only is it difficult dealing with the loss of a great man, but also it is a reminder that we are all getting a little older.

Saying Goodbye is not easy and certainly a journey that does not happen quickly. Yesterday, the memorial provided an opportunity for all of us to start the emotional process. The service was in a small building but we probably broke a few fire codes to get everyone in there. Family, friends and old colleagues filled the room to support the immediate family … and each other.

We took our four-year-old daughter as I feel that it is important for children to understand the process of life. Life is worth living and enjoying. Birth should be celebrated and cooed at, and death should be acknowledged and celebrated for the life that was filled. I know that many people will disagree with her presence there but these friends are like family. It is good for her to learn that adults do cry and feel strong emotions. It is also good for her to learn to be a supportive friend and hold a hand for comfort.

I was proud of my friend for letting her children be there and be an active part of the service for their grandfather. I know it was tough for her to pack her protective shield away, but I honestly feel that her children will never regret going. They felt sadness and loss but also learned how many people were special to their Papa.

I am grateful to have parents that are open to the discussion of death and dying. I recognize that grateful might be seen as a strange word to use. They have taught me not to fear the sight of death or the tears of mourning. They have also been wise to complete Wills and Power of Attorneys to make the difficult years of aging a little easier on their only child. I know how we will say goodbye when the time comes. I won’t be ready. We never are. No one likes Saying Goodbye.

In the comments, please share your thoughts on this difficult topic. To my dear friends and family, please keep the privacy of the family in this post and not use any names in the comments.

If you are new to Sprouting Balance, please follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance – and on Facebook!

SPROUTING [P]INSPIRATION:
Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

Gawk! Late.

Gawk! Late.jpg

Most people are struggling to stay happy and are constantly seeking the elusive balanced life. Often, we think that doing more and having more is the answer to happiness. We don’t want to deprive ourselves of experiences so we add another appointment. An extra t-shirt will make the wardrobe more diversified although the closet fuller.

What if this need for more is what feeds our anxiety and throws us off balance? How many needs have caused us to rush more and place us at a point of chronic lateness? Continue reading

PROPS!

PROPS on Sprouting Balance

SPROUTING COMMUNITY:
Toronto Library to Roll Out Book Lending Machines at Union Station | The Toronto Star
I like the idea of a book dispenser to pick up a new read. It will encourage people who don’t normally use the library system to participate. But the best part in my opinion? Having a convenient spot to drop off library books. Our closest branches have limited parking and even dropping off a library book in the return box can sometimes be challenging. This way, parents can take a bag with them to work and drop off returns on their way to work. The downside to the whole adventure is the cost of $200,000 per machine. Yowza.

ORGANIZING OUR ROOTS:
5 Things you Should do Every Single Day even when Life is Stressful | Money Saving Mom
Read it … and watch the video too. Trust me. Then follow through on the 5 steps. I’m practicing too.

EXAMPLE OF SPROUTING BALANCE:
Coloring in this Picture Helped Me Erase $26,000 in Debt | Quartz
Bad debt isn’t good. Good debt like your house or student loans is still debt. Ignoring debt is a disaster waiting to happen. If you are a visual person, this article is for you. This is a beautiful way to show progress in debt repayment.

SPROUTING [P]INSPIRATION:
Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

In the comments, please share articles that you read this week that helped you SPROUT some BALANCE! And remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance

Storing Children’s Artwork

Storing Artwork by Sprouting Balance

The school year is coming to an end and students will be cleaning out their desks and coming home with piles of artwork and a diorama that was (thankfully) on display. Now what to do with it all?

My daughter is four so we haven’t started with the big school projects but we have plenty of ‘important’ artwork. This is what has worked for us:

1) A magnetic board in the playroom that showcases ‘key’ pieces;
2) A small desk that holds those ‘important’ pieces;
3) And then taking pictures and saving in a Google Drive.

This works for us for two reasons: we have limited space and we can share these masterpieces with our family abroad.

I am going to divide the solutions I have found into two categories: keeping paper versus electronically storing images. Since every family is different, our storage needs are different too. Also, our willingness to store and maintain paper is very different. Paper overwhelms me; I have even nicknamed it “Paper Mountain” so it is important for me to keep it at a minimum.

PHYSICALLY ORGANIZING OUR ROOTS:
When I was a child, I had a keepsake book that stored my certificates, report cards and extra special work. If it couldn’t fit in the book, then it couldn’t be kept! I think I will do something similar for my daughter so the certificates and ribbons have a place to go. If you have more than one child, you will have multiples of each option! There are other options for those that crave more:

  • A filing box with a folder for each year – use the same size box you store your tax documents and bank statements so they stack nicely
  • An art folio – thin enough to hide behind the couch!
  • Magazine holders
  • Binders for each year or school segment (i.e. K-3, 4-6, 7-9, & 10-12)
  • Show & Let Go – this is for the hardcore folk who can toss without regret. Display it nicely for everyone to enjoy and when the next piece is going up then the old one gets tossed.

Check out my ‘Organize … Lil Sprout‘ board on Pinterest to see some of these ideas being used by other creative families.

ELECTRONICALLY ORGANIZING OUR ROOTS:
The most important part of organizing electronically is to have a decent camera (iPhone counts) and trying to keep a consistent background. We take all of our photos on the kitchen floor. You might find that you like to attach it to an easel, have the child hold it, or even a bit of washi tape and the wall.

Once you have taken the pictures, now decide where to keep it whether your computer, a website, or an app. Here are a few examples:

We have been using Google Drive but in May 2015, Google launched Google Photos, which is a dedicated space to store photos and videos. I need to look into this more, but it looks like it will be a nicer interface. Flickr is a Yahoo! product similar to Google photos.

For those of you that still love to have something to hold, I suggest taking those snapshots of the artwork and projects and make a photo album through Shutterfly or Photobucket. Or, if you already like making photo albums, intersperse the artwork between other photos. It is another way to show how they have grown other than height!

Shutterfly and Photobucket have free and unlimited photo storage and the option to then turn the photos into an album, mug, or bag! We use Shutterfly for making albums, mugs (etc.) and I have been very happy with the products however, I do not use them for storage.

I worry that since they are selling a product, there is a great chance that their business could close and my photos would disappear with them. This is a slim chance, but I personally feel more comfortable with Google or Yahoo!. But of course there is always a risk when you choose online storage.

LEARNING TO SPROUT BALANCE:
Ultimately, you need to decide what works best for your family now and in the future. If you choose to keep a file box for each year of school, then you will be giving your child 14 boxes when they complete high school. Do you think they will want to store and keep that much from their childhood? So choose the best, be respectful, gain enjoyment from it, and learn what can be thrown out.

SPROUTING [P]INSPIRATION:
Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

In the comments, please share articles that you read this week that helped you SPROUT some BALANCE! And remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance

Blog Love Friday! 2015 June 12

Blog Love Friday

It is garage sale season where someone else’s junk can become your treasure! Just a reminder to the LOCAL SPROUTS that the Danforth East Community Association is hosting their third annual garage sale this Saturday. It looks like over a 100 homes will be involved with multiple street sales in the works. Happy shopping and happy cleaning out!

GIGGLING TO BALANCE:
The 10 Emotional Stages You Go Through Shopping At Bulk Barn | Narcity
“Because every trail mix should contain 36 ingredients and cost approximately $82.” What a great article tagline! I think every person I know has gone into Bulk Barn with a short list and walked out with a handful of items that they ‘had’ to have. I am guilty of adding British chocolate, new to me gluten-free products and dried fruit.

ORGANIZING OUR ROOTS:
14 Ingenious Ways to Keep Your Home Clean & Organized | SparkPeople
A great list of ideas that people use to help keep their homes clean & organized. I use several of these tricks myself … and I know that there are several that I should be using more often! One of my favourites: “Keep Pictures not Stuff”.

SPROUTING CREATIVITY:
10 Tips to Add Personality of a Rental | A Beautiful Mess
Have you ever wondered what makes a house a home? I believe you need to add your personality to a space whether you are in your ‘forever home’ or only living there a short period of time. When you come home at the end of the day, you want to relax in your space. A Beautiful Mess reviews some wonderful ways to add personality while still appeasing a landlord.

SPROUTING [P]INSPIRATION:
Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

In the comments, please share articles that you read this week that helped you SPROUT some BALANCE! And remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance

Blog Love Friday! 2015 May 29

Blog Love Friday

I may have mentioned that we have a toddler. A toddler that likes to play in the dirt, play with other children and generally be a kid. That means that a fair portion of our year is spent being sick in some manner. This has been one of those weeks; a general feeling of being ‘off’, needing more sleep and drinking bucket loads. The doctor told my husband that it was most likely a version of flu but since we had our flu shots, we have been saved from the nasty parts.

FEELING OFF-BALANCE:
Lessons From Getting Sick | Amanda Rose Wellness
Our recent little bout of illness got me looking for other people’s thoughts about being sick. This post was written by a woman whose business is wellness. I think that being ill while running your own business (especially one wellness based) is hard. Those who work for large corporations often have paid sick days and therefore can afford to look after their health. Not true for those who are self employed or on contract.

LEARNING TO SPROUT:
How to Thrive Now That Work Life Balance is Dead | Forbes
I don’t believe that balance is possible; we sway like a plant. We can be pushed one day by the wind in one direction. Pushed the other way the next; and sometimes support is needed to keep us upright. Learning to stay calm during times of change can help you thrive.

ORGANIZING OUR ROOTS:
30 Minutes Till Guests Arrive … What do you Clean? | Design Mom
Housework is often pushed to the side when life gets hectic and then panic occurs when guests announce when they are arriving shortly. What to do? Read this article to find out.

SPROUTING [P]INSPIRATION:
Looking for some ideas on recipes, organization or things to do with your Lil Sprout? Come check out my Pinterest page and the things that inspire me to become more balanced.

In the comments, please share articles that you read this week that helped you SPROUT some BALANCE! And remember to follow us and SPROUT a conversation on Twitter – @sproutbalance