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 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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Asthma-friendly household and personal products

For asthma sufferers, discovering triggers can not only be a way to ensure more comfort, but can also be a life-saving measure. Many asthma sufferers are sensitive to substances that can trigger an attack. For me, that substance is perfume. Although I do not react to every scent, I do react to many. In addition to a potential asthma attack, perfume also triggers pretty severe post-nasal drip for me as well. Although this isn’t life threatening, it’s extremely uncomfortable.

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4 Essential Items for Anyone Starting a Writing Career

For writers wanting to turn their passion into profit, the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming. “Paralysis by Analysis” is common, and we end up reading a lot about how to get our writing off the ground, without taking any action to actually make it happen. Since a lot of information on how to make a living as a writer is often conflicting, many writing hopefuls give up out of frustration. Don’t be that person. Instead of getting frustrated and giving up, concentrate on the things that matter and that will actually help you.

Here’s how to use the great information at your disposal to your advantage, rather than letting it become a hindrance: choose items that will help you take action. Writing blogs are great, but unless they’re giving you clear steps to follow, and unless you have a plan to actually follow those steps, reading those blogs is a waste of time.

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Swing Out in Wedding Garb

Swing Dancing and Old Friends

Roughly 16 years ago, I met my husband at the University of Western Ontario’s swing dance club, Swing Kids. Roughly two years before that, way back in 1999, my brother had dragged me to a swing dancing event at Chicago’s Willowbrook Ballroom (well, sort of Chicago. Close enough). I reluctantly went, sure that 1930’s dancing would be extremely boring. In my defense, I was 17 at the time, and knew absolutely nothing about swing dancing. Well, to my surprise, it was great fun, and I was hooked right away. How could you not be, when you got to take a lesson to learn how to dance and then got to dance with pretty much everyone – and to a live band, no less!

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