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To Love, Honor and Vacuum

For all you moms who feel more like maids than wives and mothers, To Love, Honor and Vacuum helps us build up our marriages, raise great kids, and laugh along the way! Sheila is the author of The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex, too!

Sheila is a winner of Top 25 Canadian Moms - 2013

What's the best part of raising a family in Canada?

The change in seasons and the wide open spaces! I'm not a particularly athletic person, but we've always made the outdoors a big part of our family life. We go camping in the summer, head to a cabin in the winter, take hikes constantly, and visit conservation areas all the time. Plus we have friends who are farmers!

We've traveled a lot with our kids on missions trips, but I truly believe the most beautiful part of the world is right here at home.

What's the biggest misconception people have about raising a family in Canada?

People think we're all like Toronto, but we're not. Our country is so different, and I live in a small town where everyone has a minivan and every kid plays hockey. I grew up in the city, and life is so different in small towns. Kids walk to each other's houses, and hang out outdoors so much more. It's a much slower pace. So I guess I'd say: don't judge our country by our big cities!

What do your kids love most about living in Canada?

We're just grateful for our standard of living and our gorgeous country! After spending a lot of time in Africa, our kids know what real poverty is. And we always come home feeling so blessed.

What's your favorite activity to do in the winter with your family?

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Board games! We try to keep Tuesday nights as Family Games Night, and we'll play all kinds of the new board games, which are really fun: Blokus, Settlers of Catan, Carcassone, Bohnanza. It's time away from the TV and texting when we can laugh together. And when you play games, you talk about other stuff, too. We started games nights when the kids were about 5, and ten years later, we still play!
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What's an affordable and fun family activity?

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Bowling! It sounds awfully geeky, but we have yet to go bowling without everyone collapsing into laughter. And it's so much cheaper than a dinner out, a night at the movies, or a trip to a theme park. Bringing an extra kid or two doesn't cost much, either. Our family also loves board games. We started with Candyland with the kids were little, but quickly (and thankfully) graduated to better ones as they got older. And the games today are so much better than Battleship or Sorry or Life like when we were young. We play Ticket to Ride, or Carcassone, or Settlers of Catan. And when we have people over for dinner, no matter the age, they love being part of our family game ritual!
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How do you keep your kids involved with chores?

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Kids react well to routine! 5 minutes before every mealtime is a good opportunity to do a clean up. If you keep at it everyday, at the same time, then it becomes natural. When things were especially out of hand, I'd also set the timer for 15 minutes, put on some really upbeat music, and yell "Who can pick up the most things and put them away before the timer goes off?" The music helps make things fun! Finally, cut down on the number of toys and the number of clothes, shoes, and coats your kids have. The more stuff you have, the more you have to clean, and the more places you have to find to store things. Keep high quality stuff that you love, and toss the rest!
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