Welcome!

 

Welcome to marianamcdougall.com, where parents of young children can find out how to break free of ordinary lives to live extraordinary ones.  The place to turn your dreams into goals, and achieve them – because a dream is only “just a dream” until you make it into a goal.  After that, it’s only a matter of time and planning before it becomes a reality.

Join me and my young family as we reach the best health of our lives, embrace our dreams, break free from a life of conformity, and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

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Questions? Don’t be a stranger; give me a shout at mcdougallmariana@gmail.com.

Homeschooling Resources – What We’ve Used This Year

I’m often asked whether I use a curriculum or  other resources in my homeschooling. I thought it was high time I wrote a post about how we homeschool.

Firstly, it’s important to know that I don’t identify strongly with any one particular type of homeschooling. I consider myself a flexible homeschooler. I do follow a curriculum for certain things, but if there is a life experience available, we set the books aside for a while and go live life. I think it’s extremely important for children to live in and interact with the world around them, instead of being restricted by four walls and senseless testing or rigid mandates.

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Polishing Your Writer's Resume

Polishing Your Writer’s Resume

I’m part of a great writing group on Facebook. I love helping out with questions and sharing some of my experiences there. Recently, someone asked if there were any tips on polishing a writer’s resume. I offered to share my resume via e-mail, and a few people chimed in that they’d be interested in seeing it also. Well, if that’s not inspiration for a new blog post, I don’t know what is 🙂

Firstly, let’s talk about whether you need a writing resume at all. If you’re a freelance writer pitching publications or clients, chances are you’ll rarely, if ever, need a resume. Usually a pitch or query, accompanied by links to your published articles (or clips of articles for print publications) is more than enough. However, there are occasions when you’ll need a writer’s resume – for example, if you are applying for a remote position with a company, or if a private client specifically requests it. This latter example is rare, but it does happen from time to time.

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Homeschooling Resource List – Early Childhood

 

In my attempt to get my house purged and cleaned out, I’ve been running across some old stuff that I had written down a long time ago, that I didn’t have time to do anything with, and that is actually pretty useful.

When I was first researching homeschooling (a long, long time ago), I wrote down a list of resources I wanted to check out for Early Childhood Education. Then I forgot all about that list, and used different resources instead. I still haven’t tried most of these, because I found other resources that are serving my needs. I think I’ll still check some of them out, though, considered I still have a kindergartener and a preschooler.

Have you tried any of these resources? If so, could you leave a comment letting me know what you think? Thanks!

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My Mess Threshold: When Chaos Makes You Anxious

Chaos can make you anxious – even if you’re someone who’s used to chaos.

Creative people tend to have a reputation for being messy and disorganized. Until very recently, I didn’t fit the mold for that stereotype. I used to be a hyper-organized person. I even spent 7 years as a military clerk. You can’t get much more organized than a military administrative professional. But having children changed everything. It’s much harder to be organized when there’s several people in a household and where there are a million things that all have to get done at once. I went from hyper-organized to hyper-messy. And, because I’m brave (or stupid), I’ve decided to let you in on my dirty little secret: I’m a messy person. And I’m even going to let you in on how messy I’ve really become. Despite my attempts to have my most organized year ever, my house currently looks like this:

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I stopped saying “I can’t afford it.” It’s liberating.

 

Way back when, I was a poor, broke, indebted university student. I was barely making ends meet while working two jobs and pursuing a dual degree. More often than not, when I was asked to do something or go somewhere, my answer was “I can’t afford it.” It didn’t quite feel embarrassing (I was used to being broke), but it did feel like a downer – and like I didn’t have a lot of control over my situation. Truth be told, at the time, I really couldn’t afford much more than tuition, books, and rent (I got some help with the food situation – but that’s a story for another day).

Fast forward to a few years later—all my debt was paid off, and I was in a good financial situation. But I often still said “I can’t afford it” when I was asked to do something. Then I stopped to think, and I figured out that in reality, I could indeed afford it, if I moved some money around. The truth was, though, I didn’t want to do that – I had different financial priorities.

Now, when I’m asked if I want to go somewhere or do something, I never say “I can’t afford it.” Instead, I proudly say, “it’s not in my budget.” These simple words don’t mean that I’m broke. They mean that I have full control of where my money is going, and I have the confidence to stand by my priorities. You should try this – stop saying that you’re broke, and start saying that it’s not in the budget.

What’s that now?

You don’t have a budget?

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Couchsurfing & Warm Showers are awesome

This past weekend, we hosted another set of couchsurfers. We love Couchsurfing, although people unfamiliar with this mode of travelling probably think we’re nuts. In its simplest terms, couchsurfing means staying with locals when you travel to different places. But it’s so much more than that. Couchsurfing has allowed us to travel the world while staying put, to forge friendships with people who we’d never have met otherwise, to open our minds to the great wide world and to continue to live out our “what goes around comes around” philosophy.

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