"The skills children develop when engaging in craft activities are integral when looking at those necessary for life and success in the work world," says child psychologist Dr. Steven Feldgaier, Director of Parenting Initiatives at Healthy Child Manitoba and Assistant Professor at the Department of Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Manitoba. In addition to the aforementioned abilities,kids who craft can also improve their language and perseverance skills, benefit from a sense of self-competence and enhanced creativity, and increase their knack for problem solving. What's more, says Dr. Feldgaier, parents who get involved in their child's artsy endeavours can even help strengthen the parent-child relationship.
Want to get started? Here’s how.
Be prepared. Despite best efforts, it’s very possible that your child’s first few crafting attempts may not go as smoothly as planned. Know this ahead of time, stock your craft supply container with as many materials as reasonable to stimulate their imagination, and remember that like every other activity, kids need time and patience to warm up to it. Also important to keep in mind: There will be a mess. Kids channeling their inner crafters need room and opportunity to get creative, so clear some space, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for a bit of chaos.
Get involved. Sure, setting your child up with a bucket of craft supplies while you adjourn to the couch is an option, but to foster all the traits and skills listed above, making the time to get involved is the better bet. "These activities are about more than creativity. When parents choose to participate, they provide kids with a sense of self-worth, share in their child's exploration of the materials and world around them, and ultimately strengthen the bond with their child," say Dr. Feldgaier.
Dole out encouragement. We get it: Not every child loves to craft. If yours is decidedly against all things glue-, scissor- or construction paper-related, don't give up. Even in small doses, kids can greatly benefit from craft exposure, so encourage them from a young age to take time for art, and allow them to do their own thing. "Kids who are generously praised during these types of scenarios are motivated to continue on and will take more pride in their work," says Dr. Feldgaier. "This increases their willingness to participate in future activities and means they're more likely to do so with energy and a sense of excitement."
Minimize criticism. "Parents often make the mistake of being overly prescriptive or structured in these types of activities," says Dr. Feldgaier. His advice: Offer suggestions on how you would make or do something, but don’t expect kids to fall exactly in line with your approach. "Take the stance that there’s no right or wrong way to be creative. Nothing destroys a child's sense of pride and accomplishment more than someone – especially a parent – insisting that their project is somehow wrong or needs to be changed," he adds.
With the growing trend of love blending with technology, there are a variety of online dating sites with mobile apps that are helping connect more people. Whether you're looking for a casual encounter or something more serious, there’s a dating app to suit almost every need. Here are seven top dating apps for you to consider.
1. OkCupid (free for both iPhone and Android devices) This popular online dating site also has a location-based mobile app that allows you to take your experience on the go. Users can sign in via Facebook or directly through the app to find local singles. The app allows you to watch the activity stream for potential matches, "favourite" a profile and rate your potential matches through the Quick Match feature. With over five million registered users since 2010, you never know whom you might find.
2. Match (available on iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices) Match.com, a pioneer dating website that launched in 1995, has users based in 24 countries around the world. People can sign up through Match.com and then download the app on their mobile devices. The app allows members to view profiles, upload up to 24 images, add users to their "Favourites" and rate their "Daily Matches." Subscriptions range anywhere from a month to a year. Pick one that suits you best.
3. eHarmony (available for iPhone and Android devices) This popular online dating site launched in 2000. Its claim to fame? Over one million people who used eHarmony went on to find lifelong partnerships. Users can sign up via the app, complete a relationship questionnaire, upload photos from their mobile phones or from Facebook, and receive daily matches—all free of charge. Paid subscribers get access to email and can also see who has viewed their profiles. It's the perfect app for those of all ages who are looking for long-term commitments. 4. Badoo (free for both iPhone and Android devices) With a community of more than 208 million users, Badoo is perfect for those looking to socialize and meet new people. The free basic service allows users to chat with and message other members, and upload photos and videos. Members can sign in with a Badoo or Facebook account via the mobile app or website to connect with locals who share common interests. The app also features a fun game called Encounters, which allows users to view potential matches and then tap "yes" or "no" to indicate whether or not they would like to meet. If you're not looking to date, Badoo is also a great app for social networking and friendship.
5. Plenty of Fish (free for both iPhone and Android devices) Plenty of Fish (POF) allows users to find potential dates and perhaps even their soul mates for free! It does have paid services as well, but users don't really need to upgrade; most of the best features such as Meet Me, which allows members to flirt with locals in their areas, are free of charge. This app allows users to search for singles using filters such as education, height, religious affiliations and body type. Another cool feature is Date Night, which tells other singles in your area that you're available for a date.
6. Zoosk (free for both iPhone and Android devices) Zoosk is one of the top mobile dating apps for iPhone users and is one of the Top 10 grossing social networking apps in the iTunes store. This app is available for free and also has a paid subscription option that allows you to access more features. If you’d rather not pay, you can still browse millions of singles, create a profile, upload photos, see who has viewed your profile, and scan and show interest in another member by using the Carousel feature.
7. Tinder (free for both iPhone and Android devices) Tinder has quickly become the go-to dating app for young adults. And the best part? The app is completely free and works on the premise of anonymity. Users, who need a Facebook account to create a profile, can upload up to six profile photos and scroll through recommended matches from your area. If you don't like what you see, you can anonymously "like" or "pass" on the person. But it isn't just for the younger demographic: Tinder reports that 31 percent of its users are aged between 25 and 34, making it a great app for anyone looking to casually date or form potentially long-term relationships.
Fortunately for those following a gluten-free diet the availability of whole-grain gluten-free flours has increased over the last decade. This means
better gluten-free baked goods. And that's a reason to celebrate...with a
Here's a list of the
gluten-free whole-grain flours we use most often in the Test Kitchen when we develop gluten-free baking recipes and the best ways to use them:
Rice Flour - Rice flour (brown or white) is great to use as the major flour combined with small amounts of other flours, but not on by itself. The fine, almost sandy texture can be unpleasant unless combined with other flours. The relatively bland flavour lets the others shine through. Use white rice flour as a base when a traditional white colour is expected, such as white cakes or cupcakes.
Brown Rice Flour - Milled from the whole grain, this flour has a grainy texture and a pale creamy colour just a shade darker than white rice flour. It's got a deeper, nutty flavour than it's white counterpart and is great in muffins, pancakes, breads, biscuit, cookies and other baked goods where you want a rich, nutty flavour to come through.
Quinoa Flour - Because of its strong flavour quinoa flour is best used in small quantities combined with other flours, such as rice flour. It gives baked goods a tender, moist crumb and is great for pancakes and muffins.
Buckwheat Flour - Although it's name might suggest otherwise, buckwheat is entirely gluten-free. Available either light (hulled) or dark (unhulled) the fine, strong flavoured flour is traditionally used in blinis, pancakes, crepes, soba noodles and in waffles. It's also great used in part for baking breads and quick breads.
Chickpea Flour - Because of the high protein in chickpea (and other bean flours) the end results tend to be more tender and to rise more. However, they have strong flavours and so are best used in part with another mild-flavoured flour, such as rice, for best results. Use some chickpea and other bean flours in any baked goods, especially those with strong flavours such as molasses and brown sugar and chocolate that will 'mask' some of the bean-y flavour.
Nut Flour/Meal - Made from finely ground nuts, these are what to go to when you desire a rich, nutty taste from your baked goods. Almond flour is readily available, but you can grind up many nuts and use the 'flour' as part of a baking mix. Ground hazelnuts and chocolate sound like a delicious combination for a cake! Try toasting the nuts first to further develop the nutty flavour and to dry the flour a bit prevent clumping.
Gluten-free all-purpose flour blends - Many brands are available of already blended gluten-free flours. And these are great to have on hand for when the baking mood strikes and you just need to whip up a batch of
these cookies. In the Test Kitchen we most often use
Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour. It's readily available and has just the right blend of flours for many baking endeavours from crisp, chewy cookies to light, fluffy biscuits.
Breaking up is hard to do. It's even harder if you still love and respect the person who you've grown apart from.
In these long-term relationships, you likely don't want to leave your partner high and dry (especially if you're living together), but you want to be able to have a clear break so you can both move forward on good terms.
1. Bite the bullet: "Usually when a person has gotten to the point of wanting to end a relationship, the other person can sense that the relationship is in trouble. If your partner is extremely surprised, it means that you havent done a good job explaining your feelings all along," says Dr. Seth. Be communicative with your partner. Let them know that you are having doubts, express your concerns and don't let things linger. In a long-term relationship, you have had time to clearly assess whether your relationship has room to grow. If you feel it doesn't, let your partner know sooner rather than later.
2. Choose your timing wisely: Many people are reluctant to break up with their partner in person, and choose to do so in writing, whether that be via a letter, email or (sadly) text message. This could be to give their partner time to let the break up sink in before having to see them in person or to be able to explain themselves without being interrupted or guilted into staying. Dr. Seth recommends giving your partner the respect to have a discussion in person, but being mindful of the timing. "Get into the discussion when your partner isnt already stressed and has time to process the issue. If he has a meeting in an hour or has to go to work, wait until he has plenty of time to deal with the breakup when you finally broach the issue," says Dr. Seth.
3. Be assertive: "Acknowledge that the relationship hasn't been working out for you for a while, and say clearly that you want to end the relationship," says Dr. Seth, adding "Dont make any promises about staying friends or wanting to see each other, because time will tell what kind of relationship you want."
4. Discuss logistics as a team: If you're still living together, it's both of your responsibility to figure out the next steps. "You may be the one who makes the decision to end the relationship, but you need to make all the logistical decisions together," says Dr. Seth. "If one member of the couple wants to end it but the other does not, the initiator of the breakup should offer to make certain sacrifices: moving out and letting the other person keep the place they shared; giving the other person plane tickets that were purchased a while ago for a future vacation," says Dr. Seth in regards to the trickier logistics that have to be figured out. "It is the kindest practice for you to make certain sacrifices if you are the one ending the relationship, so offer to move out or pay any early lease termination fees," says Dr. Seth. It's a small price to pay to have piece of mind and peace between the two of you, despite coming to an end.
5. Online 'decoupling': Couples should have a discussion about how to handle social media awkwardness when they break up. They can send a mass email to friends announcing the breakup but most couples feel more comfortable to let people know as the situation presents itself. I find that remaining friends on social media post-breakup makes the adjustment to singledom more difficult, so couples should consider unfriending each other at least for the first few months when emotions tend to run high.
6. Handling friends and families post breakup questions: If the two of you were together for a while, its not just the two of you who will experience a breakup. "Family members and friends also became attached to you and your partner, so a loss is felt on many levels. When you break up, ask the other person whether its okay to stay in touch with any of his or friends or family you grew to care about," says Dr. Seth. By doing so you're both making the other aware of your boundaries, and can work within them to ensure no one is upset.
We asked some of Canada's top celebrity designers to spill the beans on their best-kept design secrets—and did they ever! Read on for expert advice on everything from space planning and choosing paint colours to styling shelves and how to create a foolproof gallery wall.
The inside scoop on space planning
How much space do you need around your dining room table? Can you really make a room feel larger? Our experts weigh in.
Tip 1: Sofas should be two-thirds the length of the longest wall, and seating is placed close enough around so no person is more than eight feet from another to allow for easy conversation. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 2: One easy rule to figure out what size dining table you need: allow for a minimum of 30 inches walking clearance on all sides. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Space planning is critical. For a kitchen island, for example, leave three feet of space between the island and surrounding counters. Ensure that appliances (like the fridge or dishwasher) can open without blocking traffic flow or hitting neighbouring walls or cabinets. Not leaving enough room is a mistake people make all the time, before they call a designer in a panic to help fix it! — Lisa Canning
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 4: Use mirrors strategically to expand space and increase the amount of natural light reflected in the room. Framing a wall with floor-to-ceiling mirrors adds a dramatic effect to the feeling and scale of the room. — Brian Gluckstein
Photography by Arnal Photography
Tip 5: Allow for 18 inches between the sofa and the coffee table so people have enough room to pass by and to make it easy to reach for drinks or food. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 6: Want to make sure furniture fits before it arrives at your door? There are a host of free sites (like planyourroom.com) that allow you to put furniture onto a scaled floor plan. Another option? Many furniture and decor stores offer free design services, and they'll do the calculating for you. — Janette Ewen
Light it up
Follow these five rules and your lights will shine in all the right ways.
Tip 2: Install dimmer switches; they're a practical way to control light and energy consumption. — Amanda Forrest
Tip 3: The bottom of the shade of your bedside reading lamp should be at shoulder height when sitting in bed. Do the math! — Karl Lohnes
Tip 4: Choose a pendant or chandelier that's one-third the size of the table or kitchen island. Hang it approximately 30 to 36 inches above the table or island; if there are more than one, place them 12 to 18 inches apart. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Incandescent bulbs are great for atmosphere lighting, but LED bulbs are more suited to task lighting, when you really need to see what you're working on. — Janette Ewen
The inside scoop on paint and palette
Did you know that paint selection should be one of the last decisions you make when decorating a room?
Tip 1: I'm a firm believer in mood boards. They're not just for designers! Gather together fabrics, paint samples and inspiration images for a room before starting. It will create a picture and a trajectory that you may not have thought of. — Steven Sabados
Tip 2: When you design a room, pull your palette from one inspiration fabric. Whether you use a whimsical print or a more traditional pattern, take all the colours present in that material and allow those to guide fabric selection for pillows, throws, drapery and upholstery in the room. Take that same fabric to the paint store and have a custom colour mixed that matches one of the hues exactly. — Lisa Canning
Tip 4: Fine finish Choose a fresh trim colour in a semigloss, such as Benjamin Moore's Chantilly Lace OC-65. It creates a subtle separation from a matte wall, and it's a much more durable finish, which comes in handy since trims are usually the most touched, bumped and scuffed parts of our homes. — Mia Parres
Tip 5: Colour pop If you buy that cool orange statement chair, give it a buddy. When you're adding a colourful piece to a space, always have at least one other subtle hit of that colour elsewhere in the room to create a cohesive feel. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 6: Want to make a room feel taller? Paint baseboards and crown moulding the same colour as the walls. Want it to feel huge? mix one-third of the wall colour into the ceiling paint. — Karl Lohnes
The inside scoop on styling
You've bought the sofa and painted the walls. Now what? Our experts show you how to style a room like a pro.
Tip 1: Shop at stores that have liberal return policies and buy three times as much as you think you need. This gives you plenty of merchandise to play with to see what works and what does not. Mix in unique family heirlooms and vintage finds with the new pieces you purchase to create a naturally curated look. — Janette Ewen
Photography by Magdalena M
Tip 2: For a no-fail pillow combination, you need only three: one 20- by 20-inch, one 16- by 16-inch and one 12- by 16-inch. Those sizes look good together no matter how you arrange them! — Jo Alcorn
Tip 3: Beauty is in the details When styling a console, include framed art on easels or leaning against the wall; it's a great way to display smaller pieces. Create a dynamic vignette by mixing in boxes, vases and vintage pieces in differing heights and dimensions. — Brian Gluckenstein
Tip 4: Mix and match Use these common elements when styling shelves: stacks of books, gorgeous flowers and at least one accessory that has a lot of shimmer and shine. Varying heights and textures is also really important for visual interest. — Lisa Canning
The inside scoop on art
Take the mystery out of hanging art.
Tip 1: Make your own art! Buy a canvas in a size you're looking for, then grab some paint in the colours you're decorating with, and see what happens. Great masterpieces are born of happy accidents or beautiful mistakes. — Tiffany Pratt
Tip 2: When hanging art on an empty wall, the middle of the art should to be hung 66 to 72 inches off the floor. — Karl Lohnes
Tip 3: Art relates to furniture, not the ceiling: Keep art about six to eight inches above the sofa, or any piece of furniture, when hanging it. — Glen Peloso and Jamie Alexander
Tip 4: For a gallery wall, use different-size frames in one single finish and select artwork with a consistent theme in colour or subject matter to keep the display cohesive. — Brian Gluckenstein
Each year, top designers and brands showcase the best in innovative and inspiring design from around the world at The Interior Design Show in Toronto. We’ve picked our top Canadian designers that you may not have heard of yet, but should.