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If you’re happy and you know it – Special Chair

by Nancy Schneider, PHEc, M.Sc., C.I.M.

It’s wonderful to watch the joy and excitement of a young child who discovers or accomplishes something new. As we grow, we hide our enthusiasm and joy over our accomplishments. However, no matter what our age, we all enjoy being recognized and appreciated. As a family, it is important to recognize all members’ contributions and accomplishments. Here is a simple way you can incorporate recognition into your daily lives.

The Special Chair. Find a way to designate a chair as “the special” chair. This might be a special bow that gets placed on the chair, or perhaps some balloons tied onto the chair. Or maybe you can sew a slip cover for the chair. Not a sewer? No problem, just use a pillow case.

You might be fortunate enough to find a pillow case that will actually fit over the chair but if not there is a simple solution. Cut some holes on each side of the pillow case about 1.5 inches from the edge. Then, cut the sides of the pillow case almost to the top.   Now you can slip the pillow case over and then “tie” it onto the chair. You can use ribbon, string, or yarn to lace through the holes. Make sure the pillow case is on the chair then, tighten each side and tie a bow at the end to hold the case in place.

The ties will add some decoration to the pillowcase, but you can certainly do more to make it the “special chair”. You may have been luck and found a pillow case that had a print that makes the chair look special. But if not here is our chance to get the kids involved. Simply use whatever you have handy to decorate the case. You may want to do one or both sides, just keep in mind that someone will be sitting with their back against one side.

You can use fabric paint, stickers, glue, stencils, markers and whatever else you have on hand. Perhaps you want to have multiple cases (especially if you have multiple children). So each child can decorate a pillow case. When their case is used on the chair they will know they are the special person!

Sometimes families want to recognize someone as special, but won’t be sitting down together. A quick and easy way to let someone know you appreciate them and recognize what they have done is to use cards. You can use actual blank cards, or buy blank business card sheets. Then let everyone create their own notes. The small size will allow you to slip these into lunch bags, briefcases, purses or even pockets! A great surprise to find throughout the day.

Whatever method you choose will help to bring your family closer together and more aware of each person’s accomplishments.

Gratitude

Nancy is a Professional Home Economist and has been employed by the University of Manitoba for over 27 years.  She has held management, administrative, and instructional appointments.  Her educational background includes child development, communication, human resources, and management.  She has experience working with pre-schoolers and their families, university students, as well as adult learners.

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If you are happy and you know it – Gratitude Container

by Nancy Schneider, PHEc, M.Sc., C.I.M.

With the beginning of New Year, people often look to make positive changes in their lives; eating healthier, exercising more, learning and growing. Most of us start off with the best of intentions but take on to much at the start. We become overwhelmed and just stop everything. Today, we will focus on growth. Growth will mean many different things to people. It may mean taking courses, meditation, learning about another culture, or just trying to live more authentically.  A simple way to be more authentic and grateful, is to create a blessings, gratitude, or memory container.

Take a jar, container or even a gift box and decorate it to represent you and your family. Plastic containers work well with little ones as there is no fear of breakage. Gift boxes are pre-decorated, so you can start without having to create something. Again, when decorating use what you already have. Paint, markers, stickers, wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons can all be used to make the jar an expression of you and your family.

This container can be filled by you as an individual (everyone has their own) or one container for all family members. So what will you put in the container? Anything that you consider a blessing or are grateful for. So everyday take a moment to write out what happened that you are grateful for. When you first start this, you may find it a bit difficult, so think of the simple things we take for granted. Perhaps you found a close parking spot, or an item that you needed was on sale, maybe it’s just as simple as having clean air to breath or water to drink. Write out your one item and place it into the container.

As the year progresses you will find it easier to think of your blessings e.g. birth of a child, quick recovery from an illness, new job. You may find you will want to add actual items to the container. A photo, card, rock, it is your container so add what you want. If you do this every day throughout the year, you will start to look at your days differently. You will also start conversations with your family you might never had had otherwise. At the end of the year open the container and you will have review of all the wonderful things that have happened that year. You can use this information to guide you and set goals for the next year.

Recognizing what you are grateful for will bring more gratitude and positive into your life which you and your family can only benefit from.

Nancy is a Professional Home Economist and has been employed by the University of Manitoba for over 27 years.  She has held management, administrative, and instructional appointments.  Her educational background includes child development, communication, human resources, and management.  She has experience working with pre-schoolers and their families, university students, as well as adult learners.

 

 

 

 

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DIY Spa Products at Home – minty lip balm and fizzy bath bombs

By Jennifer Dyck, PHEc

Making your own home spa products is all the rage. With a few simple ingredients you can create scrubs and masks. Use them yourself, package them for gifts, host a party or get the kids involved. Your options are endless. See a previous post from Jennifer on scrubs and masks, too.

Minty Manitoba Lip Balm

A smooth, soothing lip balm that will keep your lips kissable all year long!

  • 1 Tbsp grated unbleached beeswax or beads
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp liquid honey
  • 5 – 6 drops peppermint essential oil 5-6 drops

Place all ingredients a small jar, tin or heat proof container. Fill a small saucepan with 1 inch of water. Place tin in water. Bring to a simmer. Stir with a wooden stick until completely melted. Remove pan from heat. Pour into pot or tubes. Let sit until completely set (30 minutes).

To use: Rub finger over pot surface a few times, then rub on lips or twist bottom of tube to push balm up about 1/8 inch to rub over lips. Repeat as necessary to keep lips feeling smooth and protected.

Yield: 45 ml (3 Tbsp) or 3 15 ml pots or 6 to 7 ml lip balm tubes.

Recipe credit: www.canolaeatwell.com

Fizzy Bath Bombs

A soothing, fizzy treat that can be added to your bath.

  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp essential or fragrance oil
  • 4-6 drops food colouring 4-6 drops
  • water in spray bottle
  • 1/4 cup citric acid
  • mould for shaping bombs

Mix the baking soda and cornstarch together. Add the canola oil, the drops of food colouring and the essential/fragrance oil. Using a spray bottle, mist the mixture lightly one time. Mix well until there are no lumps

and the color is well blended. Add the citric acid. Heap as much of the mixture as possible into a mould. Press down very firmly packing the mixture well. Do not add more mixture to the mould after firmly packing it as it will not create a cohesive bath bomb. Let the bath bomb air dry for 1-2 days on a baking rack.

Note: use Lavender essential oil as well as 1/2 tsp (2mL) of dried lavender blossoms. Add the lavender blossoms when mixing the baking soda and cornstarch together.

All recipes credit: www.canolaeatwell.com

Jennifer Dyck is a Winnipeg-based Professional Home Economist, mom of 2, avid baker and passionate about yoga.  She works with the Manitoba Canola Growers in education and promotion and blogs for Canola Eat Well, a blog dedicated to recipes and articles from experts to keep your mind, body and soul working at its best.

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