Style video: 7 must-have summer wardrobe items
It's the most wonderful time of the year — not to mention the cutest. Here are my top picks for the back-to-school season.
I love the back-to-school season, not only because it means a return to routine and some semblance of order (if you can call it that), but I always get a kick out of shopping for the latest and greatest kids' items. (Because it's not just the most wonderful time of the year for parents, it's also the cutest.)
Here are my top kids' must-haves for the season, as presented on Global TV Vancouver:
1. A Great Backpack
Look for something durable with a heavy-weight, washable fabric that will last for the whole year, if not longer. If your kids are like mine, they'll drag, pull and throw their backpack, so look for one made with quality materials that won't rip or tear easily.
Also, aim for something that has just enough pockets for water bottles and homework, but not too many: the more pockets you have, the more chance of having something (like homework or permission slips) get lost.
Shark Backpack, $49.95. Available at www.gapcanada.ca.
Parkland Bayside Backpack in Little Critter, $39.95. Available at www.Indigo.ca.
2. Fun Pencil Cases
Every parent who has ever had a marker explode in a backpack knows the importance of a good pencil case. Look for something solid and washable, so if something does get messy, it can contain the mess and be easy to clean.
Jelly Pencil Cases, $4. Available at Walmart.
3. Bento Box It
You don't have to make bento-perfect creations for your kids' lunches; this mini Bento Box is just as fun even if it's packed with regular old sandwiches and fruit! I love this particular kit because it's freezable, dishwasher safe and BPA-free. Plus, it comes with a little customizable window, so you can switch up your kids' lunch with a special message or one of the cute character discs it comes with.
MonBentor Tresor in Blueberry, $29.95. Available at www.Indigo.ca.
4. An Alarm Clock
Part of making your life easier in the mornings is teaching your kids to take care of themselves. Not only does this alarm clock help them get out of bed in the morning, but it also teaches them about time and punctuality, and empowers them to be on time.
Onaroo Teach Me Time Clock and Nightlight, $65. Available at www.amazon.ca.
5. A Great Organizer... for Grown Ups
My husband and I have been using the Picniic App, which enables us to share one calendar and all our kids' information (from health details to contacts to birthdays) in one place. It features a meal planner for getting ahead of weeknight dinners, and syncs to your work calendar to boot.
Picniic App, Free. Available at iTunes.
6. A Great Calendar... for Kids
Kids like to know what's going on in their lives, too. Rather than just telling them, let them feel engaged with their schedule with an activity calendar. They can fill in their activities, birthdays and play dates and see just when they're happening. This also helps them plan in advance—if they know they have swimming class the next day, they'll know to get their swimsuit ready—which helps with keeping everyone organized, and getting them out the door faster.
The Kids Awesome Activity Calendar, $18. Available at www.mastermindtoys.com.
What are your favourite back-to-school must-haves? Let me know on Twitter @jeswatson or at @CanadianLiving, or the Canadian Living Facebook page!
©iStockphoto.com/annedala Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/annedala
Rice Salad with Pickled Carrot Credits: Jeff Coulson
Are you looking for a little inspiration for your lunch box? Try out some of these yummy lunch salad recipes. We promise you'll never call your lunch boring again.
This salad is reminiscent of a Waldorf salad, but the addition of lentils makes it more substantial. Once the apple is sliced, add it directly to the dressing - the lemon juice will prevent it from turning brown.
Freekeh, a supergrain that's relatively new to supermarkets, takes about the same time to cook as brown rice.
This crisp savoury salad gets tossed with dressing and topped with crunchy croutons just before serving, so nothing gets soggy. For easy assembly, grill the chicken the night before, or use rotisserie chicken
Roasting all but one of the garlic cloves pumps up flavour to the max without having the overpowering taste of raw cloves. Roast a few extra heads and spread the soft cloves onto toasted baguette slices or crackers for a tasty snack.
This vibrant, fresh, herb-packed salad makes a great light dinner. The skinny shredded egg "pancakes" add just the right amount of protein to make it a satisfying meal. If you prefer a little more heat, use a whole bird's-eye pepper instead of half.
Wheat berries are whole, unprocessed wheat kernels that have a pleasant bite when cooked and make a hearty side dish or light lunch. To save prep time, cook the wheat berries in advance and refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Boosted with Japanese flavours, this fresh salad pairs nicely with grilled salmon or trout. To trim the snap peas, use a paring knife to snip and pull off the tough strings that run along the length of the pod.
This Korean-inspired rice salad features quick-pickled daikon, a sweet and crisp Asian radish. Hot red peppers vary in heat level, so make sure to taste a little piece so you can decide how spicy you want your salad.
Humble cooked quinoa gets a boost from vibrant, sweet oranges and peppery arugula. You'll want to make this salad over and over again.
These cold Japanese buckwheat noodles (soba noodles) are incredibly refreshing. Once cooked, toss them with a little oil to prevent them from sticking. Add the dressing just before serving so that the noodles don't absorb it all.
Getty Images Credits: Getty Images
What to ask your doctor about Angelina's cancer surgery.
When Angelina Jolie writes about her personal health struggles in the New York Times, it makes a splash. In 2013, Jolie set off a media storm by writing about her double mastectomy and genetic predisposition for cancer, then wrote about a second surgery, this time to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, in 2015.
High drama, yes, but it’s hard not to admire her candour. Jolie writes that she is now in full menopause and using bio-identical estrogen patches and an IUD to replace the hormones she’s lost. That’s no small reveal for anyone, let alone an actress known for her vitality and sex appeal.
Jolie also added a note of caution, knowing that the "Jolie effect" is now a recognized factor in doctor-patient conversations and that her preventative surgeries are an extreme course of action.
"I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery," she writes.
On this point, Canadian doctors and cancer experts agree. High drama may be a good way to start a conversation but calm heads makes the soundest decisions.
A cancer doctor weighs in
Dr. Marcus Bernardini a surgical oncologist at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network told us there are a few things Canadian women should know in the wake of Jolie’s announcement:
1. There is actually no effective general screening for high-grade serious ovarian cancer and screening is not recommended.
2. Preventative surgery is recommended for high-risk women (those who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation).
3. Jolie mentions a scenario in which only the fallopian tubes are removed (called a salpingectomy) for women who still hope to get pregnant. Dr. Bernardini calls this "an intriguing strategy," but for now the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (a salpingo-oophorectomy) is the recommended course of action.
4. There are four questions Dr. Bernardini suggests discussing with your doctor if you have concerns raised by Angelina Jolie’s story:
- Am I at risk for ovarian cancer?
- Is there a history of ovarian cancer in my family?
- How does one find out if they are eligible for testing?
- I know there are different types of ovarian cancer, are all preventable in this way?
Family history is the starting point
Responding to the Jolie news this week, Gillian Bromfield, the director of Cancer Control Policy at the Canadian Cancer Society also pointed out that it’s important that people try to learn their family health history.
The group also has information for women with a known strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, including information on genetic testing, and preventive strategies that may be available to them, she says.
"The decision to have a preventive surgery is a very personal one that a woman would make in consultation with her healthcare provider based on her medical history and her personal preferences," she says.
Here’s hoping Jolie’s candour leads to more information being shared – not more panic.
Read on for more information on menopause and genetic testing.