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Over the years my family has amassed a collection of Christmas-themed books. My daughter has outgrown some of them, but I can’t bear to part with favourites like Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas, Olivia Helps With Christmas and If You Take a Mouse to the Movies (Special Christmas Edition).
So last year we started a Christmas Book Advent Calendar. Now we don’t have 24 holiday-themed books, but we do have quite a few, so last night I wrapped the books in leftover Christmas wrap and numbered each one. Starting tonight she will unwrap number 12 and keep reading one each night until Christmas Eve. That night the wrapped package is actually two books, The Night Before Christmas (Jan Brett edition) and The Nativity Story.
My daughter looks forward to being surprised by the book she unwraps and I love that the books that she enjoyed when she was younger are still part of our holiday tradition.
Does your family have a favourite Christmas-themed book that I should be adding to our list?
Attention moms-to-be, there’s a new baby shower in town and it’s all about your partner. Yep, you read that right, dads are now getting their own baby showers. They’re called diaper parties.
I first heard about diaper parties a couple months ago while discussing my cousin’s up-coming baby shower. I had no clue what they were, but after hearing all about them, I’m was kind of sad I’d never gotten invited to one.
A diaper party is a low-key party just for men. The setting is usually someone’s house, maybe the brother or cousin of the dad-to-be. Guests are asked to bring two things—a box of beer and a box of diapers. A diaper party is all about helping the new parents deal with the cost of buying so many diapers—a very practical concern.
So what do you do at a diaper party? From what I gather, since I’ve never been to one, you basically drink beer, barbecue food and discuss the latest sports game. It’s all very simple. There’s no decorations in pastel colours. There’s no shower games, like guess the baby food. And there’s definitely no tiny sandwiches and tea.
Now most baby showers have a registry, so you know what the mom-to-be needs. And if you’re having a diaper party, you should have a registry of sorts too. You need to let your guests know what brand of diapers you want and what sizes. I’m loving these cute designs, pictured above, from The Honest Company—who can resist a baby with anchors on their bum? Honest diapers aren’t just adorable, they’re also free of chlorine and additives, so you don’t have to worry about any chemicals touching your baby’s sensitive skin.
I’ve got to say I’m loving the idea of a diaper party. While you are off eating a baby-shaped cake and getting adorable gifts from your registry, your partner can be enjoying his own party full of beer and diapers. It’s the perfect way to get ready for your new baby.
Would you have a diaper party?
Photo courtesy of the Honest Company
Do any of your kids love trucks and books about trucks? My kiddo does, and maybe your kids do too. If that’s the case, here are some of our family favourites to buy or borrow from the library.
1. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site. This is the perfect pre-bedtime book to read to little construction enthusiasts. It’s sweet, not too long but not too short.
2. Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go. Remember Richard Scarry’s amazing books as a kid? You can enjoy them all over again with this hugely detailed, fun and whimsical book. (Apologies for the fuzzy image, folks. I’m working on getting a crisper one.)
3. My Big Truck Book. Lots of trucks, every kind you can imagine, in this board book for the youngest of truck lovers.
4. Got a hard-core truck loving kid who wants to know about the workings of specific trucks and vehicles? Then try anything in the series of Mighty Machines books, like this one: Trucks. The series includes a book about loaders, fire trucks, tractors and diggers.
Do your kids have any faves that I haven’t mentioned?
If your child is getting skis or a snowboard for Christmas this year and is in Grade 4 or 5, this is great deal.
The Canadian Ski Council’s SnowPass allows kids in those grades (ages 9 and 10) to ski and ride three times at EACH participating ski area (150 of them!) for only $29.95.
A day pass at most ski areas costs $30 to $45 per day, so over the course of a season, the savings really add up. And you can use it at ski resorts across the country which is handy if you are skiing somewhere over the holidays or during March Break.
Sign up is easy—apply online at snowpass.ca.
Photo courtesy Canadian Ski Council
Researchers have found that how adolescents perceive their parents’ attitudes to work is key to the development of their own work attitudes. (The Atlantic)
Although it’s a bit more complicated than that if you’re the mom. From the piece:
People who perceive their father to have a strong career-orientation are more likely to be career-oriented themselves—but career-determined mothers have no effect on their kids’ work orientation…. Mothers do have a notable effect on whether children have a job-orientation mentality. Adolescents who are close to their mothers are less likely to view work as just a job when they grow up, probably because they’ve been raised to value social, rather than instrumental, life experiences.
I think this is a mostly good-news story for us, although of course it raises the question of whether our family has the right balance in place. My husband and I are pretty privileged to have great work that is meaningful to us, and that is exactly what I would want for my kids.
I have sometimes struggled with how to present work to my kids. When my eldest was first in daycare, I used to tell him I was glad he would get to go play with his friends, but that I would miss him and be sad we were apart. One day he asked me “are you crying all day long?” Being the slightly anxious mum I am, I worried that he was getting the impression that work was some kind of horrible meaningless place.
After that I started saying “I love to go work at my job, but I hate being apart from you.”
This year he started saying that to his little brother: “I’m sorry we’re apart, but I like my class.”
I guess our anecdotal evidence backs the study up.
How does your work-life balance affect your kids’ attitudes?
Imagine your spouse takes you out for your birthday and then brings out a laptop full of footage of your home. “I’d really like to give you a present, but my moving web cams all over the house caught you pretending you weren’t home when your in-laws were calling. Oh, and you yelled at the dog unnecessarily. And called in sick when really you just wanted to finish a season of Downton Abbey. Sorry!”
If you think that’s fair enough, then I guess Elf on the Shelf is for you.
Personally I think this strange tradition of moving an elf statue around the house to prove it’s reporting our kids’ moves to Santa is bizarre. In an age where privacy is a hot topic, why are we essentially inviting Santa’s Secret Service into our homes? In 1984 wasn’t it a bad thing that Big Brother was watching all the time? Now we buy Big Brother and put him on Pinterest every morning.
Look, I get that it’s supposed to be lighthearted. I have nothing against elves in particular, especially when they are kindness elves. (What a fantastic idea at that link from The Imagination Tree!) And I know there is a contingent of people who agree with the lyrics to “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” and are all for a Santa Claus who is a kind of police officer.
But for me and for my family, there just is no way we are creating a tradition that a creepy Elf on the Shelf comes to watch behaviour and report back to Santa. This doesn’t mesh with our parenting in several ways:
- My husband and I try not to establish consequences we won’t follow through on. Since we’re not going to give our kids lumps of coal even if an Elf on the Shelf were to catch them doing something wrong (always a possibility over a whole month), it’s just an empty concept.
- Santa for us is about generosity and giving, not about good behaviour. And vice versa:
- Gifts are something you get because the giver is ready to give them, not because you were behaving well. Behaving well should be a given.
- Privacy is something we value in our home. Not always above safety (if I were worrying about my kids’ safety, I would snoop). But if Santa cannot divine by magical means, then tough – we’re not inviting his agents into our house.
I think this is one of those traditions that should be shelved. What do you think? Do you do Elf on the Shelf? Convince me!
For the second time in her royal life, the Duchess of Cambridge wore a tiara. On December 4, Kate attended the Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace with Prince William, which was a white-tie ball. This meant Kate had to wear a tiara, marking the first time she has worn a glittering headpiece since her wedding.
At her wedding, she donned the Cartier Scroll tiara, but this time she wore the Papyrus tiara, which was lent to her by the Queen. The headpiece has a romantic history because it was made from diamonds and pearls given to Queen Elizabeth’s mother by her father on their wedding day.
Kate, of course, looked beautiful in her tiara and pale blue Alexander McQueen gown. But we here at Canadian Living Moms can’t help but think that tiaras aren’t typical head wear for normal moms—unless it’s of the dress-up variety. Instead these five headpieces are usually what you find moms wearing.
We know Kate loves a hatinator and we do love wearing a glamourous hat for special occassions. But on most days, us moms wear a baseball hat. It’s the perfect way to cover unwashed hair and those pesky greys.
2. Bodily fluid
Let’s be real, your kid’s snot, spit and vomit all end up in your hair. Kids just seem to think your hair is the best trash can around. Maybe Kate can help make baby spit-up the must-have hair ornament for 2014?
When I say headbands, I don’t mean the pretty kind with rhinestones and bows. I mean the kind that are made for the sole purpose of keeping your hair out of your face. Practicality over fashion is key for a busy mom.
4. Your purse
This is a typical scenario for a mom. You’re out with your child and it starts raining. And of course you only have one umbrella and your child is going through an independent stage, insisting they carry the umbrella on their own. This leaves you without any coverage from the rain, so you attempt to cover your head with your purse. A newspaper or paper bag also works for these rainy situations.
Kids love to “share” their stickers with mommy. And like a good parent, you put the sticker on your shirt and then promptly forget it’s there. Inevitably you find that sticker stuck in your hair. I like to tell people I’m wearing “Designs by Disney” when someone points out the sticker lost in my hair.
What “headpieces” have you worn as a mom?
Photo courtesy of ASHISH1987 from Flickr Creative Commons
You might have noticed how much we love Duchess Catherine over here at Canadian Living Moms. We really do! But the reason we love Kate Middleton so much is that you love reading (and commenting) about her too. Here’s a list of the blog posts you’ve loved best over the past few months, in order of popularity:
1. Kate Middleton’s wardrobe malfunction: moms see worse This is our most-read Kate Middleton blog post, ever. And read the comments from other moms detailing their own wardrobe mishaps. Guess we’ve all been there.
2. 5 things Kate Middleton can’t do that other moms can. I wrote this one, which was a surprise hit. I took some heat in the comments (including being called an “idiot”). Check it out.
3. What Kate Middleton is trying to show us with her grey hair. We think it’s lovely that Duchess Catherine shows the world it’s ok to show grey hair. What do you think?
Enjoy! And tell us which post you liked best.
(Photo credit, all photos: Keystone Press)
Today, December 3rd, marks the one year anniversary since Prince William and Duchess Catherine announced that they were expecting a baby. At the time, Kate had been admitted to the King Edward VII Hospital with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which forced the couple to announce they were expecting before Kate hit the crucial 12-week mark. There was lots of concern for Kate and worry that she would have a rough pregnancy. And of course there was lots of old wives tales saying that having acute morning sickness was a sign you were having a girl or twins. But alas, all of these rumours and worries turned out to be for nothing because Kate welcomed a cute and chubby little boy named George on July 22.
To celebrate the day we found out the royal baby was coming, we thought we’d recap 10 things we’ve learned since Kate announced her pregnancy. And in case you’re wondering, the picture above is from Kate’s most recent appearance at the SportsAid awards, where she wore a beautiful Alice Temperley dress with a bold red clutch from Alexander McQueen. She also debuted a darker hair colour, that is apparently the result of a six hour visit to the hair salon.
1. Even royals get sick
Kate seems so perfect, with her glossy hair and well-coordinated outfits. Of course we would never wish acute morning sickness on anyone, but it was slightly comforting to know that even unflappable Kate wasn’t immune to morning sickness.
2. Maternity wear can be stylish
Every time Kate stepped out during her pregnancy, we were anxiously waiting to see what she wore. And she never disappointed, showcasing her bump in wrap dresses and bold prints. I love how Kate took coats from her pre-pregnancy wardrobe and made them into maternity wear. She wore her coats open over empire waist dresses, showing moms all over that maternity wear can be sophisticated and comfortable.
3. A “mummy tummy” is normal
When Kate emerged from the Lindo wing with little George in her arms, she didn’t try to hide her post-baby belly. Of course many people questioned if that was normal—some even rudely asked if she had actually had the baby. The answer is yes, it is totally normal and to be expected that you still have a bump after having a baby. All moms are forever grateful to you Kate for showing the world what a normal woman looks like after delivering a baby.
4. Even future Queens need their mom
William and Kate spent their first night at home with Prince George in Kensington Palace. But the next day it was off to Bucklebury to stay with the Middletons. Most first time moms want the comfort and expertise of their own mom as they adjust to sleepless nights and trying to figure out how to keep this tiny human happy. Kate may be the future Queen, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t need her mom when she’s going through a major life change.
5. Non-royals can be godparents to the King
We were betting that Prince Harry and Pippa would be godparents to Prince George. But Kate and Wills surprised all royal-lovers when they chose close friends as godparents. Who knew that you didn’t have to have a royal bloodline to be a mentor to the King?
6. What a hatinator is
Kate introduced the world to the “hatinator” when she wore one to Prince George’s christening. Her cream-coloured hatinator, aptly named “Georgie,” became the must-have item for moms. And her beautiful coat dress wasn’t half bad either.
7. Kate can play volleyball in wedges
At one of Kate’s first appearances after her maternity leave, she showed off how her post-baby body. But we here at Canadian Living Moms were most impressed with her ability to play volleyball in wedges. I think all the juggling that comes with motherhood has taught Kate that moms can do anything—even spike a ball in three-inch heels.
8. All moms have bad hair days
Even with her hairdresser on speed dial, Kate couldn’t escape the hair loss and grey hairs that come with the stress of motherhood. Who knew Kate was just like us?
9. Future Kings can be cranky
Prince Harry revealed that sweet baby George has a habit of screaming. It’s nice to know that even the future King of the U.K. is just a normal baby who screams his little heart out when he wants something or just because he can.
10. Wardrobe malfunctions happen to even the most put together mom
Poor Kate was sweetly talking to some children when a gust of wind blew her skirt up. Luckily her modesty was maintained, but it showed us that all moms have wardrobe malfunctions. Even moms who have a team of people helping them look perfectly put together.
What have you learned since Kate announced her pregnancy?
Photo courtesy of Keystone Press
Every year many parents scramble to buy the hot toy of the Christmas season (heads up, this year the top picks are LeapFrog’s LeapPad Ultra, Big Hugs Elmo, Flutterbye Flying Fairies and any giant Lego kit) for their kids. Somehow we get it into our heads that nothing but the toy in the top spot in their letter to Santa will do.
I am no different, I do try to get the toy my daughter really wants each year—if it is in the budget.
Some years I haven’t been so lucky. Did my daughter really want FurReal Friends GoGo My Walkin’ Pup more than anything in 2010. Yes. Did I search everywhere for one? Yes. Did I get my hands on one? No. Was I going to pay someone on Craigslist twice the retail price to get it. Umm…no. Was my daughter disappointed on Christmas morning? Maybe a little.
When my daughter realized the toy dog was not under the tree, I told her that Santa left a note saying he was very sorry he didn’t deliver it on time. I told her he had given me the go-ahead to get her one of the pups in the New Year—if she still wanted it then.
Fortunately, there were enough gifts from family members that she soon forgot all about it. It also helped that one of her best friends did get the pup in question so she could use it when she was playing over there. And by the second week of January she said she really didn’t need one anymore. Lesson learned.
This year my daughter didn’t ask for anything on the “hot toy” list. Just lots of craft kits. I am sure that pretty soon all she will be asking for is clothes. Here’s hoping the “cool” styles are easier to find than the toys.
How do you deal with finding the toy on the top of your child’s list? Will you go to any length to get it?
Image via FlickrCC/kellyv