Tag Archives: parenting
Buying Christmas presents for the people in your life who have everything can be challenging, so imagine being one of the inner circle of wee Prince George and his parents. What do you give a child that can be royally spoiled?
Fortunately, most of us won’t have to worry about that, but if we did, we would definitely make it a gift that is uniquely Canadian like these five options that are also perfect for the little prince and princess in your own family.
This Winter-themed mini block set (made from salvaged maple offcuts from a flooring company) are hand-printed and when they are flipped over to their other side, form a puzzle.
Winter Blocks, $30, fidoodle.com
These handmade bear and moose cubes are huggable and luggable. Made of wool, no two will be alike as each toy is made with a unique colour combination.
Zoo Cubes, $25 each, cateandlevi.com
Nothing says Canada like the iconic Hudson’s Bay blanket. This cotton/nylon/wool throw version is scaled down for little ones, it’s even machine washable.
HBC Collection Cubby Baby Throw, $60, thebay.com
This canoe built for two is made from sustainably harvested woods and non-toxic oils and stains (your choice of colours) and is perfect for play on land or in water.
Atelier Cheval de Bois Canoe, $24, the100milechild.ca
Little feet will look sweet in these leather moccasins.
Manitobah Mukluks Infant Scout Moccasin, $50, manitobah.ca
Did your mom scratch some other mom’s eyes out at the toy store to get you the last Cabbage Patch Doll on display? No? Then I suppose you didn’t grow up in the 80s. Or perhaps you had a sensible mom. These three fine Cabbage Patch Doll specimens come from my co-editor Jenn Gruden’s collection. She says their names are “Adam, Victoria Anne and Veronica Elspeth.” The redhead is Victoria Anne, should these things matter to you. Anyhow, I was born in the 70s but my kid-years were in the 1980s, and here’s why I think that was the best decade ever:
1. Cabbage Patch Dolls. Duh.
2. Jelly bracelets. Always confiscated by the teacher, but still so much fun. Then came Madonna writhing all over Venice like a virgin, and we scrapped the colourful ones and got into the thick black ones.
3. Handwritten folded-up notes: “Will you be my boyfriend? Circle Yes No Maybe”
4. Duran Duran.
5. Stirrup stretch pants.
6. Hi-top sneakers: British Knights and LA Gear.
7. Crimped hair.
8. Those little square buttons you wore on your jean jacket with heartthrobs on them, like Micheal Jackson or Tommy Howell.
9. Wondering who the hell the band Menudo was, and why they were on the cover of Tiger Beat magazine.
10. Jumpsies, played with a hand-knotted rope of like 10,000 rubber bands you stole from the kitchen rummage drawer. You had to do a cartwheel to nail the top height.
11. Nerds candy.
12. Runts candy.
13. Track suits that were sewn inside-out.
14. The Cosby Show.
16. The Commodore 64 and the Apple II.
17. Strawberry Shortcake. The doll, not the food.
18. Speak & Spell.
19. Head of the Class. A TV show about a class full of smart kids. Huh. Imagine that on TV today?
20. Big Wheels tricycles, borrowed from a neighbourhood friend.
21. My Little Pony. The original.
22. The Goonies.
24. Your mom’s shoulder pads.
25. Dirty Dancing. ‘Nuff said.
So? What did I miss? Tell me, tell me!
(Photo credit: Jennifer Gruden.)
Lots of exercise and avoiding junk food. Many a celebrity mom would have you believe that these were the keys to snapping back to her pre-baby figure in months, and sometimes even weeks, after having a baby. Not true. I remember interviewing a prominent Canadian ob/gyn for another publication, about 7 years ago, on the subject of post-baby weight loss and body changes. She told me, “You don’t really believe these Hollywood moms aren’t getting plastic surgery right after they have the baby, do you?”
The only thing that’s changed since then is that some celebrity moms are more willing to talk about the extreme lengths they’ve gone to. I suppose this is good for us to be realistic about what it really takes to drop the pounds; on the other hand I worry that it gives new moms ugly ideas about how to lose weight, when really they would be better off trying to lose weight in a slow, healthy way…the old “It look 9 months to put on, it will take at least that to get back,” adage. Here are some “tricks” I’ve heard of:
1. Tori Spelling: The “Just Keep Your F*****g Mouth Shut And Eat Air Diet”
This is a quote from Tori Spelling. In her latest book, she admits she lied about exercise, and lost the weight by “eating air.”
2. Jessica Alba: Double corsets
So I’m going to guess you don’t have a corset in your closet for regular wear. They’re not just for Victorian-era costume dramas, apparently this restrictive garment that went out of favour in the 1920′s has made a comeback. In Jessica Alba’s post-baby wardrobe. She wore two day in and out after having babies to put everything back where it once was:
3. I can’t name names, but who’s going to admit this?: C-section plus abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
I thought this was an urban myth, underlined by the fact that when I Googled “C-section plus tummy tuck,” I found lots of physicians’ websites saying that they wouldn’t recommend the procedure ie. getting a tummy tuck at the same time as a C-section. But then I remembered that this was the procedure the ob/gyn I mentioned above had hinted at, so I dug a little further. Then I found this article in the International Journal of Women’s Health named “Feasibility of abdominoplasty with Ceserean section.” It says, “Recently, abdominoplasty has frequently been requested to be done at the same time as a Cesarean delivery.” There were 50 participants in the study, so, yes, this is a surgery that gets done. I’m willing to bet that includes celebs.
Did you go to any extreme lengths to lose weight? I did not, and I wouldn’t recommend any of these either!
Listen, whatever you do, if your childless and reading this, think twice before you say any of the following. Because here’s what you say, and what I would like to say back. Except I’m usually too tired to come up with a snappy retort.
1. “I’m soo tired.”
No you’re not.
2. “My place is a mess.”
Dustballs and clothes lying on the floor? That’s a clean day. Let’s have this convo again when you have kids and you’re cleaning some disgusting brown mess off the kitchen floor, and you’re not entirely sure what the brown is.
3. “My boobs just aren’t the same as they were in my twenties.”
Don’t make me get graphic on you.
4. “The laundry just piles up.”
Again. Nope. I own three laundry baskets and they’re always full.
5. “I’m just so busy!”
Ha. Ha. You’re kidding, right?
6. “You look tired.”
Oh thanks, I didn’t know that. I thought I looked like the picture of youthful vitality with these giant puffy bags under my eyes.
7. “It takes me so long to get out of the house in the morning.”
Girl, please. If you’re just dressing yourself, you have no excuse. Try getting a crying kid fed, dressed and out the door for, oh, any occasion at all. Like going to the grocery store.
8. “Aren’t you having any more kids?”
Ugh. I hate this one. How much do you want to know? Because it’s not a one-sentence answer if you want me to be truthful, but I think you’re expecting a one-sentence answer. So here it is: It’s none of your business. (Actually this one goes to fellow moms out there too.)
So those are the things I don’t like hearing…what do you say to silly questions and statements?
Photo credit: Walter J. Pilsak via Wikimedia Commons
There’s a lot of talk about “teachable moments”, taking potentially difficult, embarrassing or awkward situations, and turning them round so we can learn from them and move forward.
As a parent, I’ve done that many, many times in the school yard, at the park, in movies, music, bookstores and the font of wealth, family holiday gatherings. Somehow the lessons always wrap up neat and tidy like an After School Special. Or Pillsbury cookies.
Now, I live and raise my kids in a little city called Toronto.
Have you heard of it? Apparently all the international media have. Even the Americans -we made Conan!
We have a…well, let’s call him “mayor”, with a…let’s call it “problem”. And in case you think your children don’t notice newspapers or pay attention to the news breaks on the radio in between the latest Katy Perry single on the way to hockey, here’s what my kids have taught me about the Rob Ford Scandal:
1) “You don’t have to know proper grammar to be mayor.”
2) “Red faced, sweaty people don’t look good on TV, and I wouldn’t trust him.”
3) “If you’re mayor, you shouldn’t be a liar.”
4) “The mayor is supposed to set a good example, like our school principal and our teachers, and he’s not. He’s letting the whole city down.”
5) “Bobbleheads are stupid.”
6) “Anyone who smokes and does drugs is a loser and a very, very bad man.”
7) “John Tory should have run.”
You’re meant to buy more. (FYI, last year alone, $14 million was raised from selling 18 million poppies.)
if you want to keep it, here’s some suggestions:
- It’s apparently disrespectful to use a pin, but earring backings are quite appropriate.
- A pencil eraser is also ideal.
- Tape can work, but you need weigh it right: wrap it tight enough to last, but not so much that it bulges and slides off.
- Duct tape, however, is not advisable as it can leave adhesive residue.
- Stitch it. 2 whips will usually do it.
- Blu-tack simply doesn’t work.
Oh, and poppies of any other colour? Just plain tacky.
Now go out and wear them (and lose them) with pride and remembrance.
One of the things lighting up my Facebook feed right now is how a school in Aldergrove, B.C. has banned “hands-on” play for kindergarten students. (The other is Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s admission that he smoked crack.) So that would mean tag. Pushing each other on swings. Not allowed.
At other schools, I have also heard about bans on running tag (walking tag is allowed), and just plain old running.
This is all just so ridiculous that I honestly want to scream. One online story that we’re working on bringing you is how we adults contribute to our kids lack of exercise. Kindergarten kids love physical play, and it should be encouraged. There are respectful ways to play “hands-on” with each other. Instead of a ban, why not impart some life skills they can use?
Oh, and did you think this is an isolated school? Banning cartwheels, tag and other schoolyard fun is a trend. It’s happening in American schools. Watch this:
I don’t know about you, but having a school-age son, I want him to be running when it’s playtime outside! As much as he can! And if he’s playing games with other kids, isn’t that what childhood and school is all about? The fun parts of it, anyway? Sheesh.
How long do you think the school’s ban will last until it’s overturned?
Photo credit: Photomorphic/Istock.
“It could be a monsoon and we’d still be going out,” says fellow mom and Senior Features Editor Robin Stevenson. I agree, Halloween is the one day of the year you can’t let wet, blustery weather stop you from being outside. So what should you do on a rainy Halloween?
1. Get over yourself. Your kids don’t care that it’s raining, or even hailing snowballs, so don’t be a drag. You’re going out. Alternative: Pay off a younger and more energetic family member to take the kids around using beer and pizza and Halloween candy as a bribe. This works especially well with the just-out-of-university crowd. They are young enough that they yearn for the trick-or-treating days, they’re broke and thus they’re always down for pizza, drinks and junk food.
2. Buy a few clear umbrellas clear ponchos. You’re a parent. You always need extra umbrellas. Next year, you can use that clear umbrella as part of the Glowing Jelly Monster costume, above, and the instructions are here. And ponchos come in handy too.
3. Wear your rain boots. Why don’t you have a pair of rain boots? This is an excuse to go and buy a pair. And once you own proper rain boots you’ll wonder why you never bought them earlier.
4. Go to fewer houses. Every kid has a different sogginess saturation point, so maybe you’ll be lucky and your kids will call it quits after ten houses.
How have you dealt with rainy weather on Halloween?
What I learned from Toronto Fashion Week, Spring/Summer 2014:
- Backstage, people are still smiling on Thursday, but by Friday the energy starts to lag and Saturday is just frenetic.
- Yes, the some of the Target models had bullseye red lips and nails.
- Groomed eyebrows and big eyebrows are back
- Clean make up, fresh looking skin is what’ll be hot for Spring/Summer 2014.
- Nude is coming in a big way.
- Nude lips are “a great look for everyone, and goes well with a smokey eye and natural make-up. It’s fun” says Grace Lee
- “You can absolutely find great make-up that’s affordable” (yes, this was sponsored by Maybelline)
- Nude nails, fresh and clean, are the next hot thing. “Like you’re nail but better. Bare or complexion enhancing,” are the buzzwords.
- Hair is pretty much anything goes: flowy, beachy, short cuts are coming back and a lot of loose updos.
- Clothes are flowy, yet showy, and emaciated models are still par for the course.
So what are the biggest makeup mistakes? Says Grace Lee:
- “Too much bronzer –they tend to overdo it and look orange.”
- “Also, women don’t pay enough attention when applying mascara to the root of their lash line. A lot of them are in a hurry and only get their ends, but when I do their mascara, I start right at the lash line and wiggle my way up and it makes a huge difference.”
And the biggest hair mistakes? Says Jorge Joao:
- “Over working the hair. Keep it simple.”
- “Using too much product. Sometimes we think we need more, when really, we just need less.
- If you’re looking for how-tos, Redken Ready has tutorials that are super user friendly.
Biggest Nail Mistakes? Says Essie:
- “Over trimming their cuticles, that’s massive, and can lead to inflammation and bacteria.”
- “Using dark polishes and getting it on the cuticles –they just look bruised.