I am not a fan of messes. But having a toddler in the house has really curbed my compulsion to clean obsessively – there's no way to keep on top of the chaos, so I've had to settle for things to be "somewhat tidy." Letting kids experiment with arts and crafts is good for encouraging creativity, and I find it relaxing to take a few minutes to create something, however small. Archie and I have had a few lovely colouring sessions (and one failed handprint-making craft that resulted in a rainbow-coloured boy and crumpled paper). Since he is still sampling everything he gets his hands on (I'd be curious to know what purple tastes like too), we use nontoxic art supplies. I recently found a simple
homemade paint recipe: Make a batch of vanilla instant pudding (or if you're pressed for time, buy some individual pudding cups) and just add food colouring. You can do the same with plain yogurt – though I imagine the artwork wouldn't keep as long. [caption id="attachment_8503" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Colours appear darker when the pudding dries"]
[/caption] To promote creativity, P&G brands have created
It All Starts With Yes, a campaign to encourage adults to join kids in exploring, discovering and sharing life's experiences. And to help manage all the the mess that entails, the company has created the "Yes Kit," a cute tote bag filled with aprons (one for you and two pint-sized versions) and products (Tide, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Puffs facial tissue, Charmin Freshmates and Bounty paper towels), so you can clean up when you're done. [caption id="attachment_8502" align="aligncenter" width="346" caption="He thought it tasted pretty good, too!"]
[/caption] So, we're having a giveaway! (Yay!) I've got Yes Kits for two lucky winners.
Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment on this post to say hello, and tell us what messy crafts you enjoy doing (with kids – or yourself, of course!).
Make sure you leave your name and email address, so that I can contact you if you win. (Unfortunately, we can only ship prizes within Canada, but we'd still love to hear from you if you're an international reader!)
Do it before 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15, 2012.
I'll randomly choose and announce the winners on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. Good luck!
In this excerpt from Knitting From the North, Scottish knitwear designer Hilary Grant shares instructions for making fingerless mittens that will keep your hands warm and comfy while leaving your fingers free for texting.
These mittens are long on both the fingers and the wrists, so they are particularly warm. They are worked in the round, with the thumbs worked in on waste yarn.
Finished size Circumference: 7 7/8 in Length: 10 1/4 in
Yarn Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift 2 balls Aqua (MC) 1 ball Natural White (CC) Waste yarn
Needles and notions US 2 (2.75mm) dpns US 3 (3mm) dpns Stitch marker
Gauge 29 sts × 38 rows = 4 × 4 in over colorwork using larger needles
Notes For each round, read chart from right to left, knit every round.
Right mitten Using MC and smaller needles, cast on 56 sts. Place marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist.
Work 30 rounds of K2, P2 rib. Change to larger needles.
Next round: [K27, kfb] twice. (58 sts) Next round: K.
You will have a plain vertical column of stitches separating the start and the end of the chart in every circular row.
*K1 in MC before starting chart. Join in CC. Following chart, work 27-st repeat.* Repeat * to * until end of Round 37.
Round 38: Work 3 sts following chart. Using waste yarn, K8. Slip these 8 sts back onto lefthand needle, then continue following chart.
Complete the chart to end Round 56. Break CC.
Next round: [K27, K2tog] twice. (56 sts) Next round: K.
Change to smaller needles. Work ten rounds of K2, P2 rib. Bind off.
Left mitten Work as for right to end of Round 37.
Round 38: Work 18 sts following chart. Using waste yarn, K8. Slip these 8 sts back onto left-hand needle, then continue following chart.
Complete as for right.
Thumbs Using smaller needles, pick up the 8 sts both below and above the row of waste yarn—you will have 16 sts over 2 needles.
Very carefully pull the waste yarn out, then divide the sts equally among 4 dpns.
Work for 1 1/8 in or to desired length. Bind off.
Finishing Weave in ends, closing any small gaps left at base of thumb. Block.
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.
Things you're doing throughout the day could impact how you're sleeping at night. Here are four bad habits to kick for a better bedtime.
Nighttime exercise While daily physical activity is great, you'll sleep much better if you finish your workout at least three hours before your bedtime to allow the stimulating effects of exercise to dissipate. Late-night meals Nix late-night meals, which may interfere with your ability to sleep soundly, and give your body a rest from digestion. Try to finish supper at least three hours before you turn in for the night, and keep any bedtime snacks on the light side.
Alcohol consumption "Alcohol first induces sleep because it's a sedating compound," says Dr. Charles Samuels of Calgary's Centre for Sleep and Human Performance, "but then it disrupts sleep because the alcohol leaves the system very quickly." He adds that the depressant also suppresses REM, or dream, sleep, which the body needs to repair itself. If you have a drink with dinner, however, it will likely clear your system by bedtime, so it shouldn't affect your sleep cycle.
Screen time Staring at your computer, tablet or smartphone until lights-out can curtail your ability to doze off (interestingly, watching TV is fine, as long as it's not done in bed). The light from these devices suppresses the release of sleep-inducing melatonin from our brains, and the stimulation from games, emails and social media keeps our brains active. For best sleep, turn off devices three hours before bedtime and keep all screens out of the bedroom.