Can homeschooling save your child?

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“I am not pro or con homeschooling. I am only pro or con MY kids being home schooled. It is not a route we will take.” Tamara Bowman from TamaraCamera.com

Good morning Loves.  This is the very first post in our new series Say What?!  This is where we get two lovely bloggers opinions on a current hot topic.  Although I am sure you love reading my sassy opinions on absolutely everything and anything, I have to learn that my opinion is NOT the only one that matters.

With the terrible subject of school kid bullying always present in the news I am so sad to see that bullying still exists in school yards all across the country.  I wasn’t greatly bullied as a young child, but I wasn’t a cool kid either – I fit somewhere in the middle.  I was not the most attractive little girl on the block, I wore glasses and I was overweight – so to say that I didn’t have a lot of friends would be an understatement.  I did have friends, but I never actually felt like I fit in.

I can’t believe that bullying still exists

I am so sad to see that children around the world have not evolved over the last 20 years since I graduated from elementary school.  I honestly can’t believe that kids are mean to each other based on how they look or how they dress, but I guess that just makes me naive.  Kids can’t control their lives, they don’t make money to buy their clothes so to be bullied based on something they can’t control just seems so ridiculous.

I wish that kids could grow up in a happy environment both at home and at school

I never actually considered the option of home schooling, but now that I am older and I think about the immediate and long term impacts that bullying can have on a child’s emotional and mental well being I am starting to think that the world may just be a better place if more kids were home schooled.  But there lies the question – who should be home schooled, the bully or the other kid?

I don’t actually have kids so I reached out to two very awesome moms to get their opinion on the subject.  Tamara Bowman from Tamara Camera and Lisa and Ashley from The Dose Girls were happy to give us their opinions on the subject of homeschooling.

Homeschooling vs. Public school – How to save your kid

The social aspect. There is so much more than just text book learning that comes with a public school education says The Dose Girls “We both feel like our children benefit greatly from the social aspect of school even when they are struggling with it. It is definitely an important part of attending school.”

Homeschooling children ensures they won’t be bullied, but they may be missing out on more important life lessons.  Learning how to interact socially and work in groups helps kids develop their personality and grow into the person they want to be.

The health issue.  Obese children are a reality that we face today and that is just NOT OK.  Cooking our kids’ meals at home ensures they eat three well balanced meals every day.  Subscribing to monthly healthy boxes like KLUTCHclub gets a box of healthy snacks delivered right to your door each and every month – then all you have to do is drop them into your kid’s lunch box and send them off to school.

Safety issues.  It has to be terrifying as a parent to always wonder if your kid is going to make it home from school safely.  Security is a major concern of public schooling says The Dose Girls “Schools and parents need to be working together from a very early age to teach our children about bullying. The effects of (bullying) can be lifelong; we talk to our children every single day about kindness and consideration for others.”

Tamara Bowman agrees but admits that homeschooled or not the safety of her kids is always a major concern” These days, I am concerned about bullying and safety in any public places.”

Would you home school your kids?

Love Always,

Photo by me on Flickr

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I can’t let it go and neither should you. Pro-rape is NOT OK in Canadian Universities.

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Good morning Loves. Last week I wrote about a news story that is making headlines all across the country.  The videos of students on university campuses at UBC in British Columbia and St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia singing pro-rape chants hit the media with a storm.

As a blogger, as a Canadian, as a female University graduate and as a journalism graduate I have to say that I am extremely disgusted at how the Canadian media has handled this whole situation.

It’s not OK with me that students are singing about raping their fellow students on university campuses from coast to coast, it’s not OK that universities are not stepping in to stop the songs, videos and publicity of this public display of ignorance, and it’s certainly NOT OK that the Canadian media just says “OH WELL students are stupid and that’s that.”

Why I can’t just let it go

As Canadians we are usually very quiet people – except where there’s beer involved.  We don’t like to cause a ruckus.  When our government is caught in a political scandal we don’t publicize it in a media frenzy like our neighbours to the south, we just state the facts in a newspaper article, then recycle the paper under our daily ads and move on with our lives, never to speak of the subject again.  Well I guess I am not a true Canadian because I can’t do that, not this time!

This topic is near and dear to my heart because I am Canadian, I am female and I graduated from a Canadian University.  Moving away from my family to a new province, in a new city, where I had to make a whole new group of friends was hard enough at 18 years old.  I could never even imagine meeting a cute young boy, trusting him with my new life in a new city and then having my trust broken when he violated me against my own will.  Nope, I couldn’t even imagine that scenario.

I also couldn’t imagine not feeling safe inside a classroom or on a university campus.  I worked full time during my four years of university and I often walked home in the dark after evening and night classes.  I couldn’t imagine having to stress about my homework, upcoming assignments, getting good grades, paying rent and then worry about being attacked and raped by a fellow student on my way home every night.  Nope, I couldn’t even imagine it.

What should their punishment be – You choose!

Of course we can continue to examine this situation and ask ourselves “What kind of homes were these kids raised in that they were taught to think that rape is ok?”  We can ask ourselves “Why did university administrators, older students and members of the board of directors let these videos hit the internet?” and we can definitely ask ourselves “What the hell is going on in Canada that we, as the public with a voice, are not speaking out against these students?”

We can ask ourselves all these questions, but that is not going to change the fact that it happened and now the whole country knows about it.  What we have to do now is look into the future.

Let’s look at the facts…

We know these ignorant students publically declared they feel rape is OK.

We know that students are willing to force themselves onto  young girls

What does this mean?

This means that Canadian universities can expect a slew of violent crimes in the upcoming semester.  So now what are we (as the public), you (as  university administrators) and the police (as the law enforcement) going to do to current pro-rape students to send the message to future students that rape is NOT OK, EVER!

This is what I think should happen to students who declare a pro-rape attitude:

1. Kicked out of university – without a tuition refund

2. Not allowed acceptance to another university for at least 4 years – until they grow up and see that their words are hurtful, they are creating fear and their opinion is harmful to other students

3. Mandatory counselling to understand why their words and beliefs are not ok

4. Maybe they should spend some time in jail to hear stories of first degree rape or maybe they should be forced to watch a video of someone being raped so that they fully understand how serious a violent crime is

What do you think – How should we punish students with violent mentalities who could be future criminals?

Love Always,

 Photo by poeloq

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Just say NO because Pro-rape is NOT OK

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Good morning Loves.  Today we are talking about a serious topic that has been featured in every newspaper since the beginning of the fall school semester.  My Diary Entry is all about girls and women trying to love life and learning to love ourselves – but how can we do that when other people (by other people I mean young boys and grown men) take advantage of us just because they are stronger, bigger or more powerful?  I really can’t believe that our society has come to this, but it has and it’s NOT OK. We as Canadians, as women and as educated members of society need to take a stand and address the subject…so let’s talk about it.

We need to keep our girls safe

Canadian universities have been under the hot spotlight recently when videos of students chanting PRO-Rape songs were leaked on to the internet. OH YES you read that right.  These young students were not protesting against rape on university campuses, they were not trying to protect their fellow female students and make it safer for girls on university campuses across the country.  These stupid students were actually singing all about the reasons why rape is OK.

I thankfully never had to live through that scenario during my four years at Concordia University in Montreal, but if I had lived through such an awful experience I am sure that my life would be a lot different right now.

I saw a commercial on TV that says 1 in 3 young women will be sexually abused or assaulted in her life.  I am thankful to be a part of the 66% of girls who were fortunate enough to have grown up in a safe environment, but my heart goes out to the other 33% who were not as fortunate.

What ever happened to – treat others as you want to be treated.  If these young men don’t want to have their bodies violated by someone who is stronger than them, why on earth are they admitting that they are willing to violate young girls?  It just doesn’t make any sense.

There are no excuses

I am not even sure that 18 year olds fully understand what they are saying, I am not sure that these boys actually understand that they are saying it’s ok to force a girl to have sex, violate her body and commit a crime.  But that’s not an excuse because rape – in any scenario, way, shape or form – is NOT OK.

Newspapers such as the National Post and the Globe and Mail  (which I am both a huge fan of) stated that maybe young freshman are joining in the Pro-Rape chants and cheers because they are trying to fit in on their new campus.  But that is also not an excuse because trying to fit in with a group of new friends should never be at the expense and safety of other students.  As I was reading the stories in both newspapers all I could think was “Jesus Christ, this is NOT OK!”

Just in case my point isn’t clear – violence is NEVER OK.  If you wouldn’t punch someone in the face for no reason, if you wouldn’t point a gun to someone’s head and pull the trigger than you also shouldn’t rape innocent students.  Rape is violent and violence is NEVER OK.

Come on Canadians – we can do better than this!

The question to ask is not “Why are these students so stupid?” the real question to ask is “What are universities going to do about it?”

Love Always,

Photo by Photo by DOE

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Friday Faves: Shark Week…I heart Shark Week

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Good morning Loves.  This week I spent my nights glued to the TV watching Shark Week on Discovery Channel.  You know that my favourite movie is Jaws, so watching Shark Week for seven days is definitely my favourite time of the year.

The Jaws ride in California is also my favourite attraction at Universal Studios, what can I say I am totally obsessed with sharks.   I know it may sound gruesome but I love watching documentaries about sharks, learning about their thought process and hearing the stories of survivors.

I don’t ever want to be in a cage in shark infested water – I’m not that curious, but I do always make a point to visit the shark habitat whenever I am at an aquarium.  The aquarium at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is by far my favourite shark spot, it’s right out of the Sea World underground kingdom in the movie Jaws 3.  Terrifying and intriguing at the same time. Remember this scene from the movie   ————>

I learned some interesting facts about Shark Week and surprisingly some facts that I didn’t already know:

1. More people are attacked by Bull Sharks every year than Great White Sharks.

2. In Iceland scientists found a horse corpse inside a shark’s belly – I’m not sure how that happens.

3. The majority of people who are attached by sharks do not die.

4. Shark mating rituals are weird, and extremely violent – but hey, I guess that’s just the nature of the beast.

5. Sharks are a lot like people (or a lot like me anyways) they are calm and beautiful creatures until they feel threatened and then they go on the defensive and attack.  That’s right, contrary to popular belief sharks do not seek out people to eat.

6. For every 1 person that is killed by a shark, people kill 6 million sharks.

7. Sharks don’t have any bones – just teeth.

8. Sharks can smell blood in the water from 3 miles away.

Did you watch Shark Week? What was your favourite show?

Love Always,

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My Letter to Anderson Cooper

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Anderson Cooper visited Wolfson Children's Hos...

I personally love Anderson Cooper and I noticed on his website that he is looking for guests on his day time talk show to share their frugal tips; as a personal finance blogger and a girl who went from almost being bankrupt to building wealth I feel as if I am the perfect guest. It’s also the perfect opportunity to promote my new book “A Better You”.  I want people to know that they can make changes in their personal financial situation, no one has to be unhappy if they don’t want to be.

This is my letter to Anderson Cooper, if you were him would you have me on the show?

Dear Anderson Cooper, (as if he personally reads the letters)

I am a personal finance blogger and a certified financial planner who went from almost being bankrupt to building wealth within 3 years.  As a young professional I used to earn a six figure income and I lived a carefree life where I spent money recklessly.  It was actually kind of ironic because as a certified financial planner every day I would advise people how to save and invest their money but I couldn’t take my own advice.

I was in my 20s and I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt.  I was only making the minimum payments on my debts because the debt didn’t bother me.  I complained about having debt but I enjoyed spending money so I used my six figure income to make the minimum payments on my debts and I spent the rest of my paycheck on vacations, eating out in restaurants and materialistic good like a new car, a new television and lots and lots of clothes. Then the market crashed.

I lost my job in personal finance and I had no way to pay my bills, needless to say my extravagant lifestyle drastically changed overnight.  I felt defeated, like I had failed at life. I spend 4 years in university and 2 years earning my financial planning degree only to have my entire world shattered in less than 24 hours.  My entire professional life was about personal finance and I had no backup plan.

I eventually picked myself up off my bathroom floor and I started to look at my new situation as an opportunity to start over as oppose to a personal crisis. I had a second chance at life and trust me I did it differently the second time around.  I got another job and then I got a second job to help pay off my debts.  I contacted my credit card companies to negotiate my interest rates and I made a debt repayment plan with a target get out of debt date.  I believe that we all make choices in life and my choice was to get my life in order.  I didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend each week on myself but that was the choice I made – I chose to pay off my debts instead of go on vacation.  As I evaluated my new life I realized that I could do (or not do) anything, I had a fresh start.  I realized that I didn’t want to go back into personal finance so I went back to school to study journalism; now I have a career that I love.

I hit rock bottom after the market crash, my personal life and my financial life were out of control and I made a promise to myself that I would never let that happen again. I now live on a budget and before I make a purchase I always weigh the cost vs. the benefit.  I realized that I don’t need “stuff” to make me happy, now I live only on the necessities.  My personal motto is that if it doesn’t keep me warm, get me clean or keep my belly full then I don’t need it.  I definitely live without a lot of materialistic goods but ironically I never feel like I am missing anything.

I recently wrote a book called A Better You: We don’t have to be the best but we can always be better. It discusses my personal story of how I made changes in my life, my money, my career and my relationship to become a happier person.  I used to complain about being in debt until I finally realized that the only way to stop complaining about being in debt was to get out of debt. So that’s what I am doing.

As I look back over the past few years I don’t regret anything that has happened to me; if I wasn’t financially irresponsible and if I didn’t lose my job I wouldn’t be able to write about it now and I wouldn’t be able to share my story to inspire others to make positive changes in their lives.

I would love to share my experience on your show and I hope to hear from you soon.

Love Always.

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Friday Faves: My fave pics and being on the radio

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Happy Friday Everyone. I am feeling great today because I had a great week. Lots of good things happened to me this week and I definitely feel the need to share.

I just got back from an awesome trip to Boston (it was my first time), I had a second job interview with a really great company and I was on the radio! Oh yes that’s right. This week I was featured on the Daybreak Radio Show; I was also featured on the CBC News  in Montreal (my segment starts at 8 mins 37 seconds) as I talked about overcoming debt and shopping tips to stay of debt this holiday season.

Here are some pics from my day in the media:

  

   

Love Always,

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Experts say that egg whites are no good

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For the majority of my life I have been told that egg yolks are bad for us and that egg whites are the only good part of an egg; however recent reports say this is not necessarily true.

A recent article from Shape Magazine says that both egg yolks and egg whites are a healthy option because they both offer nutritional value.  Egg yolks are full of dietary cholesterol which is your good cholesterol and egg whites are full of protein which is very beneficial for lean body mass.  Eggs as a whole (both yolk and whites) are also full of healthy Omega 3 which is good for the brain and good for the heart. I didn’t know this but eggs have an antioxidant level that is equal to eating an entire apple. That doesn’t sound like a bad thing.

Who should I believe?

Nutrition 103

As I embark on my weight loss journey I have read a lot of articles and blog posts about healthy eating, nutritional value and portion control.  I have to be honest and say that reading about health and nutrition has done nothing but confuse me.  It seems that for every article I read about the benefits of eating eggs, eating green vegetables and eating healthy portions of fruits on a daily basis there is another article stating the exact opposite.

Some nutrition experts feel that eating a lot of fruit is not a healthy snack because fruits are full of sugar. However some other nutrition experts feel that eating fruit throughout the day is a healthy option to other types of sweet snacks.  Some medical professionals feel that snacking throughout the day leads to overeating and obesity while some other medical professionals feel that eating several small meals throughout the day is the only way to maintain a healthy weight. So who should I believe?

How about I just eat whatever I want to

Nutrition

I am not a nutritional expert or a medical professional and I am not really a person who likes to be told what to do; therefore I think the best way for me to lose weight and still be happy is to just eat what I want to…but within moderation.

It is a widely accepted theory by many nutritional experts and medical professionals that the only guaranteed way to lose weight is to burn off more calories in a day than you take in.  This means that I have to either eat foods that don’t have a lot of calories or I have to exercise on a regular basis in order to burn off excess calories.

I am eating foods with fewer grams of sugar and fewer grams of carbohydrates because sugar and carbs turn into fat if they are not burned off with exercise.  I have also started to drink more water throughout the day in an effort to flush out any toxins.  I started my “Save Yourself. Skip the Gym.” Weight loss plan 5 weeks ago and since then I have lost 3 lbs, I am happy and I have not yet been hungry.

Love Always,

  Photo by JustyCinMD

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Dear America, please vote for President Obama today.

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Good Morning Everyone and Happy Voting Day in the U.S.A.  If you are an avid reader of My Diary Entry then you know exactly how much I love President Obama and his family.

I am not going to bore you with all of the reasons why you should vote for President Obama to be elected into a second term because if you are intelligent then you already know all of the reasons.  But just in case you aren’t intelligent enough to know how amazing President Obama is and how good he is for America, please allow me to school you with a little Top 5 List a la David Letterman style. As a Canadian I don’t get a vote, but if I did it would definitely be for President Obama.

Top 5 Reasons to Vote for President Barack Obama:

- He is smart, intelligent and Harvard Law educated.

- President Obama is a true gentleman and he has the image of a true leader.

- He needs another 4 years to clean up the mess that the Republicans left him back in 2008.

- President Obama honestly wants to make America better, he believes in the future of America.

- He is a man of his word. If he wants to make America better he will, he just needs a chance.

Top 5 Reasons NOT to Vote for the Republicans:

- Mitt Romney is not smart, not educated and not well spoken.

- Republicans don’t care about you and me, they only care about their rich friends.

- The Republicans goal is to cut taxes for themselves and for their rich friends.

- Mitt Romney is not a gentleman, he is not well behaved on television and he has no manners; do you really want him in charge of your country?

- Think about the last time you saw Mitt Romney on television or you heard him speak, does he really represent you as an American?

When you go out and vote today you should vote for the man that best represents you.  Vote for the man who represents your definition of America.  Vote for the man that you would like to have as your professor, neighbour and co-worker.

VOTE FOR PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA!

Love Always,

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Buy Pink…October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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In honour of October being breast cancer awareness month I am dedicating this post to everyone whose life has been touched by breast cancer in one way or another.  I have been fortunate enough to be cancer free for the first 32 years of my life, but I know that some other people have not had this same fortune.

Breast cancer and other types of women’s cancers are causes dear to my heart because as a woman I could be affected by them at any time. This is why I chose to volunteer my timefor the Shoppers Drug Mart Weekend to End Women’s Cancers and during the month of October I try to buy as many Pink products as I can in support of breast cancer awareness month.

Glamour Magazine recently published an article titled “7 Things No One Ever Tells You About Breast Cancer” and after reading this month’s Glamour Magazine I felt the need to share.

Did you know?

We’re not trying hard enough to end breast cancer.  A lot of money raised for breast cancer research is allocated towards developing treatments instead of finding a potential cure.

You should be able to pick your breasts out of a lineup. Do you know what your breasts look like? Well you should because then you will know if something looks wrong.

Your paycheck could determine whether you live or die. Women and families who have access to good health care have their tumors diagnosed at a much earlier stage (and size) than women who may not have access to good health care.

Your lifestyle can help prevent breast cancer. Women who exercise on a regular basis, women who maintain a healthy weight, women who limit their alcohol intake and women who give birth before their mid-30s have a lower risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Breast cancer might be caused by a virus. It is said that 5 different viruses (one of which is HPV) can potentially cause breast cancer, but this is still being studied in research labs.

Beating it makes you badass. Not everyone who is diagnosed with breast cancer dies from the disease.  Being diagnosed at an early stage, seeing your doctor on a regular basis, keeping a positive attitude and finding treatment can all help you beat breast cancer.

If you get breast cancer you might hear these lies. Not very breast cancer diagnostic is the same and not every breast cancer patient is the same; therefore not all treatments will be the same. Not all patients have to have an operation as soon as possible and not all patients have to have a mastectomy.  Check with your doctor and get a second opinion to make sure that you find the best breast cancer treatment for you.

Many companies and corporations such as the NFL, Revlon, Essie and Nestle all have products that support breast cancer research.  Before you buy something in October check to see if a portion of the proceeds will be donated to breast cancer research.

Did you buy anything Pink this month?

Love Always,

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Why I bought a Blackberry Bold & not an iPhone

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Less than two weeks ago I ordered a Blackberry Bold 9790 and although I have yet to figure out all of its features and benefits I am very pleased with my new cell phone purchase.  I have been posting regularly about my new Blackberry on boh Twitter and Facebook and the comments from my followers and friends have been very mixed with both positive and negative feedback.  I think it’s great that so many people are so passionate about my new cell phone purchase and I absolutely love the fact that everyone (even people I don’t know) has an opinion on the matter.

Blackberry vs. iPhone

Just like the world of young adult fiction is divided between Team Jacob and Team Edward, the world of cell phone technology is divided between Team Apple and Team RIM.  My friends who have a Blackberry welcomed me into the RIM world with requests for my BBM Pin, whereas people (both my friends and random people) who are loyal Apple consumers openly disagree with my decision not to buy an iPhone.

My decision to purchase a Blackberry does not mean that I don’t like Apple products and it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the iPhone’s advanced technology, it also doesn’t mean that  I am a loyal Blackberry supporter who owns stocks of RIM.  My decision to purchase a Blackberry Bold 9790 was strictly based on my current needs and intended purpose, Blackberry offers features that the iPhone does not. I purchased a Blackberry 9790 for two main reasons, the first reason is because it has a keyboard and the second reason is because it’s small and very light.  I know that RIM has actually been getting some bad press lately with the release delay of their new Blackberry model as well as with service disruptions, but I would like everyone to know that my decision to purchase a Blackberry over an iPhone was not personal, it’s just business.

I love my Blackberry Bold

I only need my Blackberry to make phone calls, answer emails, check my Twitter account and send text messages throughout the day; this is why I love the keyboard feature.  To be totally honest the iPhone touch screen feature, although appealing to many people, completely drives me crazy.  I can’t see the touch screen in the sunlight and I love the always reliable, but maybe outdated, keyboard feature of my Blackberry Bold 9790.

The Apple iPhone technology may be more advanced that the RIM Blackberry, but I honestly don’t care.  My Blackberry serves its purpose and I absolutely love it.  I didn’t buy the Blackberry Bold 9790 for its advanced technology because I am not a tech-chick.  I don’t need to have the latest technology the day that it comes out and I am not the girl who pre-orders anything (except the new Twilight movies).  I actually never upgrade my technology because the market tells me to, I still have a non-touch screen 80G Apple iPod from 2008 and I have no intentions of changing it anytime soon.

Love Always,

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