What is the True Cost of Stalled Productivity?

Posted on: April 17th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments


Get Productive...

Do you have action items which get stalled? Leslie Shreve of Productive Day provides some useful tips in her article Where Your Productivity Stalls, What it Costs You and What to Do About It.”

What will you change to become more productive in 2014?

Tolstoy…and Spring Cleaning?

Posted on: April 15th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.”

 - Leo Tolstoy, Russian Novelist (1828-1910)

Spring Has (FINALLY!) Sprung!

Posted on: April 9th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments


Cathy MendlerIt’s April!

Spring has finally sprung! What a winter it’s been! As I’m writing this post, the street sweeping truck is going around our crescent. Unfortunately, there’s still an ice mountain on the circle, and we had a dusting of snow last night!

The calendar, however, ushered in spring a couple of weeks ago.

One sure sign of spring is our annual Maple SyrupFestival. Elmira celebrated its 50th event this past weekend! The crowds were smaller this year because of the cold weather, but people still came out to enjoy the pancakes and maple syrup!


Spring cleaning is generally thought of as cleaning your home from top to bottom.

I always thought spring cleaning dated back to Europe when homes were heated with coal, oil and wood. Walls and home furnishings were cleaned to remove soot and ashes. In doing some research, I discovered there are a number of origins for spring cleaning.

wiseGEEK states that homes are completely cleaned prior to Passover. “[P]eople also get rid of any leavened bread, called ‘chametz’, which are forbidden foods … Even crumbs of chametz or a few leftover specks of leftover grains from forbidden flours need to be removed from the home, and typically, Jewish families hunt for any possible chametz crumbs the night before Passover begins.”

Wikipedia tells us that “Iranians continue the practice of ‘khooneh tekouni’ which literally means ‘shaking the house’ just before Norouz [numerous spellings], the Persian new year.” Scotland’s ” ‘New Year’s cleaning’ on Hogmanay (December 31)” is “also widespread in Ireland, New Zealand, and … North America.” “In Greece, and other Orthodox nations, it is traditional to clean the house thoroughly either right before or during the first week of Great Lent, which is referred to as Clean Week. This also often corresponds with the Julian New Year, or April 1.”

Our centrally heated airtight homes need a breath of fresh spring air. So it’s time to throw open the windows–unless you’re allergic to the budding trees!
The bright spring sunshine will likely expose a few cobwebs.

So let’s get started and turn over another leaf!

You may complain that you don’t have time to spring clean your home from top to bottom. If you’ve read any of our previous newsletters, I always recommend that you start with a plan.

Create a Master List

Go through your house thinking about one room at a time. Your master list should contain all of the projects that you want to complete. Estimate how long you think each project will take. Be realistic.

The next step is to prioritize your list, and determine which room you will work on first.


When you schedule cleaning sessions in your planner or calendar, you’re making a commitment to do the required work.

You may not be able to complete a room all at once. If necessary, divide it into sections, and work on one section at a time. If you only have one hour, pick a project from your list that you can complete in that time period.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do all the work yourself. If you want to clean a number of areas, schedule a family meeting. Involving the whole family in the process can teach them valuable life-long skills.

Before starting any cleaning session with children, remember to keep their attention span in mind. You might be able to clean for 3 or 4 hours at one session, but most children can’t stay focused for that length of time. Try to make it fun!

It’s also a good idea to schedule a snack break; prepare snacks ahead of time. Plan ahead–when cooking, double a recipe and freeze one batch. At the end of the day when you’re tired, you’ll have an easy meal!


Stock up–cleaning supplies, garbage bags, recycle bin, empty boxes, rubber gloves, etc.

Getting Started

Start with the first room on your list. Focus on one room at a time. Don’t start the next room until you’ve finished.

Take a break–set a timer–to keep up your energy level. This is especially important if your children are helping.


Maintaining your freshly cleaned space will require some effort from everyone.  Schedule a daily or weekly clean-up time, so things don’t get out of control.


When you’re done, don’t forget to reward your children and yourself for all your hard work!

Remember, you don’t have to complete your entire list in one weekend!

Check out our “Get the Associate Scoop” section below. Martina of Naturally Clean provides some great natural cleaning solutions.

Healthy Soup For A LONG Winter!

Posted on: March 27th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

A friend shared this recipe from Cleaning for a Reason‘s Facebook post.

I hope to try it soon!


Yield: 6 to 8 servings

1 large head cauliflower (at least 7″ in diameter)
olive oil for drizzling
3 medium/large peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1″ pieces
1 sweet onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
7 cups filtered water
few dashes garam masala (optional)
diced green onions for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 400°F, and cut cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle cauliflower lightly with garam masala. Place cauliflower onto ungreased cookie sheet, and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Place in oven. Roast until golden brown on the tops and tender, but not mushy–about 20-30 minutes. There’s no need to flip them. Just remove from oven, and let cool while you cook the rest of the soup.

In large stockpot, bring sweet potato, onion, garlic and water to a boil. Salt (3/4 tsp) and stir. Reduce heat and allow to remain at a constant simmer until sweet potatoes are tender. Add in cooked cauliflower, and divide soup into 2 parts.

Let soup cool and then blend one part soup in blender until very smooth. Combine with second part soup and stir. Salt to taste, and warm up over stovetop if needed. Garnish with diced green onions before serving.

It’s never too late to make healthier choices!

Check out what’s new!

Posted on: March 25th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

What’s Happening? Click Here


Events and News

Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit

Posted on: March 20th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments


Are you an Ontario senior or do you know someone who is?

Check out this Ontario government website to see if you/they qualify for a Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit.

Warm Embrace Elder Care

Posted on: March 18th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments


Reflection and gratefulness are skills that we regularly see demonstrated by our wonderful clients at Warm Embrace Elder Care. We are often reminded to be thankful for all that we have, and to be appreciative for all of the small blessings that we unknowingly take for granted.

Our elderly clients, many of whom lived through very difficult times, know all too well how lean years feel. Many lived through the depression era when even basic necessities were in scarce supply. They lived in Europe during wartime and experienced shortages, rations and were in constant danger. When they immigrated to Canada, they had to start over building new lives. They learned how to savour every blessing, to be grateful for each miracle, and to never take anything for granted. Compared to the hardship that our elderly clients once faced, our current challenges seem very mild!

When our clients tell us stories from their youth–stories of courage, determination and gratitude–there is always a common thread. The stories are never focused around possessions or money or things. The stories are centred around the people who mattered most–family, friends and loved ones. The blessings that are most memorable, even decades later, are the blessings of the most beloved people in their lives. Honouring a friendship, caring for family, falling in love, raising a family, helping a sibling, being loyal above all else–these are the elements that truly matter. These are the blessings to focus upon; these are the blessings for which we should be most grateful.

Our clients teach us many important lessons, but gratitude and the importance of relationships would be at the top of the list. Take the time to reflect upon the relationships that are important in your life, and express gratitude to those people.

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Warm Embrace Elder Care is owned and operated by Brenda Hamilton and her daughters, Chloe and Avery. They assist seniors to remain independent for as long as possible through offering various services such as homecare, memory therapy, and one-on-one home exercise for seniors. Inspired by personal experience with family caregiving for Brenda’s mother, this mother-daughter team understands firsthand the benefits of enlisting help while caring for a loved one. Warm Embrace believes that independence does not mean that you can do everything by yourself, but rather that you get to choose how everything is done. We grant our seniors the respect and dignity they deserve by helping them to live as they desire.

Here’s how you can reach Warm Embrace Elder Care:

Phone: (519) 954-2480

E-mail: info@WarmEmbrace.ca

Website: www.WarmEmbrace.ca

Twitter: @WarmEmbraceEC


Fundamental Feng Shui

Posted on: March 13th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Get Productive...I recently read an article by Jen Nicomedes, a certified Feng Shui and Destiny consultant.

“In feng shui, elementally speaking, the Water Element symbolizes spirituality and wisdom. It helps us foster a deeper sense of self. It is a vehicle that helps us navigate and seek our inner truth and purpose. And it also teaches us to go with the flow of life. While nature has its many gifts, the ocean, in particular, has taught [Jen] a few new things worth sharing. [T]hey are:

  1. Life is not always how you plan it, no matter how much you force or try to control it.”

Click on the link to read Jen’s 10 Truths that will help you through any challenge.

What will you change to become more productive in 2014?

A Life Lesson from Shannon Kaiser

Posted on: March 11th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

“Everything in life is a lesson; if you keep repeating the same pattern, you haven’t passed the lesson. We move forward in life by getting the lessons.”                                                                              - Shannon Kaiser, American Author

A Difficult Transition: Emptying Your Childhood Home

Posted on: March 5th, 2014 by Cathy Mendler No Comments

Cathy MendlerIt’s March! 

Even though it’s the beginning of March, it’s still not looking like spring is just around the corner with all of the snow that’s still on the ground. But don’t let that stop you from forging ahead with your plans for this year.

Let’s get started and turn over another leaf! 


Emptying your childhood home is one of life’s more difficult transitions. Whether your parents are moving to an apartment, a retirement residence or a nursing home–or they have passed away–here are some tips to assist you.

If possible, let your parents be in control. Put yourself in their shoes, and remember that it is their home. The process will run more smoothly if you respect their wishes.


Have a plan, and start as early as possible. Don’t expect your parents to clear out their entire house in a couple of weeks. The process takes time, as well as a great deal of energy and patience. Keep your parents’ energy level in mind.

Respect Feelings

Be empathetic. Did they grow up during the depression when possessions were scarce? Realizing that possessions are not worth very much now from a monetary point of view is an unfortunate reality. Often they have far more sentimental value.

Disposal of Possessions

Are there items that children and grandchildren find particularly meaningful to them? Schedule a family meeting. If someone doesn’t want or need items, don’t make them feel guilty. Nowadays, most people don’t want the maintenance that comes along with grandmother’s silver tea service.

Sorting through items will likely evoke many memories, and it’s common for seniors to share those stories. It’s a necessary part of the process and will help them let go. The more meaningful an item, the harder it may be. It’s often easier to let an item go if they know someone else will make good use of it. No one likes the idea of their possessions being discarded. Items that are worth money can be sold or donated.

Avoid packing items in a box and storing them in a basement. It’s not a good way to honour the memory of a loved one. In addition, it will prevent someone from dealing with the items again at a later date.

Remember–letting go of someone’s possessions does not mean you are letting go of that person. The memory of a loved one lives in your head and in your heart.