Great and limitless

16 Sep

Each day in my Inbox, I receive inspirational quotes, poems and sayings.

Today, I received this one: Continue reading

Slowing down, slowed down, stopped

13 Aug

So, I haven’t been around in a while. I kind of gave up. I got tired. I was overworked (in every area of my life) and now I think I might be a little bit ready again. I miss this space. But this space is going to be a slow space now.

I learned a lesson recently. I won’t go into details. Life presents so many lessons. But I’d like to share this post that I read this morning from UnTangled that kind of frames the lesson I learned…http://drkellyflanagan.com/2014/08/13/why-you-should-unsubscribe-from-my-mailing-list/.

Bacon wrapped onion rings

30 Jul Featured Image -- 5569

Nancy:

Absolutely had to share this from my friend dusterbed…this is what I’m doing for dinner this weekend!

Originally posted on What have you done NOW?:

Whilst browsing the internet for several hours one day, I came across what I thought looked like an AMAZING idea. It was posted on Facebook by someone or other, and when I saw the description, I knew I had to try it! Bacon wrapped onion rings??? YES PLEASE.

I did some Goozling and found the recipe. Then something happened and I got distracted… and I forgot about it for about three weeks. The delightful photo and recipe appeared again in my news feed (thank goodness for the repetitiveness of sharing on Facebook) and reminded me that I was due for a food adventure!

Being the lazy lout I am, I was happy that I did not have to go to the grocery store for ingredients. In my fridge were two fresh packs of bacon (yes, I used both), lots of onions for ring-making, brown sugar,and Sriracha sauce! I had…

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Reflecting

15 May

I haven’t written in this space for a while. Life has taken over again.

But this I must put down in writing somewhere and I do not have my notebook with me today.

On the way to daycare drop-off this morning, my sweet little girl was in one of those moods. She grumbled and whined all the way to her babysitter’s house. She wouldn’t let go of whatever it was that was turning her beautiful smile upside down.

Normally, this would irk me. I would let it get to me and it would force my smile upside down. Which in turn would make my daughter worse and my little boy a grumpy or sad mess.

I’ve read tons of parenting magazines, books, articles, blogs, etc. Many of them give fantastic advice. Some of them are ridiculous (they’re good for a laugh, though). But one piece of advice that I have read over and over in my lifetime (and not just from parenting “experts”) is that how other people treat you is not a reflection of you, it is a reflection of them and their circumstances.

Until this morning, I never really applied that to my children. I often think of it in terms of the adults in my life. But I have always taken more of a I-control-how-my-kids-feel attitude toward the little people in my life.

But today, my little girl was grumpy and whiny and I looked up at the grey sky and thanked God for her, grump and whine and all. And my gratitude reflected back to me and I felt good. All the way to daycare.

And when I dropped them off, she gave me a wonderful kiss and a hug. And she walked happily over to her friends. Perhaps my gratitude for her shone some light into her and cheered her up.

Whatever it was, for the first time, I did not feel like her mood was my problem. People get grumpy sometimes. All we can do is stand by and be there when the sun comes out for them again.

Crazy Stories, Sane God…

20 Apr

Why did I pick up this book tonight, rather than the parenting book or any other number of books that I’m reviewing right now?

There’s a message in all this. I think it’s a calling to deeper faith.

Book cover of Crazy Stories Sane God by John Alan TurnerI’ve only read a few stories in Crazy Stories Sane God by John Alan Turner, and I’ve skipped forward and around a bit, too, but I have to say…the book speaks directly to me.

Each story chosen from the Bible is laid out in its briefest form; described, not told. Then there is the commentary; the how-it-relates-to-us part…clear, concise and right to the point. This part of each section is invaluable in its offering of this-is-how-this-story-applies-to-us and these-are-the-lessons-we-can-take-from-this-story.

Each time I have picked up this book to read more, I have encountered something that is completely applicable to what I’m going through at that moment in time. Either the Bible story itself, or the author’s commentary have had a direct impact on my thinking at that moment or on that day. It’s uncanny.

I have a little under half left to read, but the book has already been etched into my mind. It covers the Bible stories that are hard to believe; the ones that we, as parents, have a hard time explaining to our kids, so we just skip over them and trip over ourselves when our children bring the stories up and ask questions that we can’t answer. (Happens to me all the time; especially at Easter. How do you explain someone coming back from the dead to a child raised in a world where everything has a logical explanation?)

If you are on a spiritual journey, if you’re looking for explanations of the crazy stories in the Bible, if you need someone to put the pieces together and relate them to you, or help you make sense of the stories so you can better explain them to your children, you need to read this book.

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Title: Crazy Stories Sane God

Publisher: B&H Publishing Group

ISBN: 978-1-4336-8128-8

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I received a copy of this book for review. The opinions stated in this piece are entirely my own. I received no other compensation for my review.

Keeping it in Line: Tips for Parade Day

15 Mar

I’m welcoming to the blog today Arianna from ariannaknowsbest.blogspot.com.

As we head into St. Patrick’s Day festivities, she’s sharing her tips on taking the family to a parade.

And without further ado, find out how she makes the most of parade day fun!

In my neighborhood, St. Patrick’s Day is a huge celebration! Our parade is a blast, and unlike some, the party is family friendly. Last year, we traveled as a family to Philadelphia to enjoy the parade with a few friends and their family. It was our first time attending with the whole family, so I’ve come up with some tips that will make your parade day easy and stress free! Get the tips that’ll make your parade day a blast!

Writing for Print in a Wired World

25 Feb

I’ve been doing a lot of writing off-screen lately; which is weird in this wired world. If you write something, you share it. Why would you have a thought that isn’t shared with all of your followers and fellow Tweeters? Well, that’s the way it seems anyway. Every thought, every little scribble that used to be reserved for ourselves is now shared with everyone.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t share our thoughts and make connections via social media. But lately, I’ve taken my writing off-screen and into an old fashion journal…and it’s liberating. Back when I started blogging, I had business cards printed (similar to the ones from YouPrint and Moo), which made the sometimes isolating process of blogging more real. Handing those cards out at social media conferences and to new acquaintances established the blog in real life and has had an effect on how long this blog has existed.

Recently, I’ve also been working on several print projects. There’s something about the printed word, whether it’s a card, a brochure or a document. Seeing your words in print lends credence to the idea. Ideas are easily shared via social media, but printed words come alive and express a certain permanence to me. It takes effort to share it, so its worth is in the time someone has taken to pass it on.

One of the projects to which I’ve been dedicating my time has been a monthly newsletter. Crafting the words, laying them out on the page and entrusting them to a printer is like sending your child to the first day of kindergarten. Terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.

When the newsletter is published and distributed, it invites conversation among the group members, individual articles are photocopied and shared, and the printed pages are kept in an archive for future group members. These words that I write for print establish themselves in the real world. And that is really quite something.

Summertime Fun in French!

17 Feb

OK, OK, I know. It’s only February. But if you’re a parent—and particularly a working parent—you know that you have to start early to get your kids into the good camps for the summer.

There are a lot of points to consider when booking a summer camp.

  • Do you need full-time care for your child while you work?
  • Does the camp provide meals or will you be packing lunches everyday?
  • Is the camp in a convenient location for your drop-offs and pick-ups?
  • Will the camp be entertaining and challenging enough for your child?
  • Will the camp be too exhausting for your child?
  • Is the price reasonable?

That’s a lot to think about. And there are a lot of camps to choose from in a city the size of Toronto.

Last year, I received a flyer toward the end of the school year from my daughter’s school advertising Camp Tournesol. Knowing I’d have to find full-time care for her for the summer, I looked into it. She had gone to Parks and Rec camps in previous summers. No major complaints there. Nice counselors, close by, low price. Those camps were good for introducing her to the camp experience. But the last time she went to a city-run camp, she complained of being bored. I want to her to love her camp experiences and to look back on her summers with fondness. Like most parents, I also want her to learn and experience new things. And since she’s in French Immersion, a French camp seemed like a good idea.

Not only was it a great experience overall for her, it was also great for me. (I believe that it’s as important that a child enjoy the camp as it is that parents have a positive experience with the camp.)

The only thing that made me kind of sad was that Little Brother was going to have to wait two years before he could to Camp Tournesol with his big sister because he wasn’t in French Immersion yet. But then, this really amazing camp did something even more amazing. They added a camp program for pre-JK kids! Big Sister had so much fun and was truly challenged at camp last summer and I was truly impressed with the administration and the counselors, the only thing that could make that experience better was to be able to put Little Brother in the same camp! And now we can!

So, long story short, both my kidlets are all signed up and ready to have fun in French this summer at Camp Tournesol!

If you have kids in French Immersion and are looking for a great summer camp full of lots of fun and lots of learning, or if you know of anyone who is looking for a great camp for their kids, check out www.camptournesol.ca. You’ll be glad you did!

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Disclaimer: This post was written entirely of my own accord. The opinions above are entirely my own.

Family Day in Ontario

16 Feb

Tomorrow is Family Day in Ontario; a day for families to slow down, disconnect from our devices and connect with each other. That’s a hard thing to do in this rushed and wired world.

But here are some ideas from Childventures Early Learning Academy on how to incorporate technology into reconnecting with our families this Family Day:

Family Day Ideas

Family Day gives parents a great opportunity to spend valuable quality time with their children.

 Work and Family Balance

Use this opportunity to take a break from work and spend quality time with the family. Take a vacation (with or without pay) and if feasible, go out of town for the weekend. If going away is out of the question, camp in your own backyard. Parents get a chance to step away from their everyday life while it increases a child’s awareness of his/her surroundings and allow them to discover nature. Try to experience outdoor camping activities by making a list together.

 Dressing up

Let children pick out their clothing (with guidance) for the weekend. To make things more exciting, allow children to redesign some old articles of clothing by embellishing them with gems, beads and paint. It’s fun and it encourages creativity and planning. Let your child take the lead with this activity.

 Outdoors

Act as tourists in your own city. Find out about local events, and visit some exhibitions and/or historical landmarks. Grow the excitement by allowing children to plan the week. Do online research together and find activities that interest them. Be more active, if weather permits, go rollerblading or hiking. Fitness Fact: Almost 60% of today’s children don’t meet average fitness standards; 40% of five- to eight-year-olds are classified as obese.

Limit Technology Use

Leaving technology behind does not require leaving your home. For a night or two, arrange your own blackout. Make sure you prepare yourself in advance with flashlights and candles, snacks, water bottles, and board games. This will allow families to spend quality time together without electronics.

 In the City

Take children to a clay oven pottery shop where you can make and paint coffee mugs and cereal bowls together. Encourage children to paint something special on their pottery and customize it by writing their name on it. The store will put them in an oven (kiln) and you can pick them up a few days later. This becomes a great keepsake.

 Dinner

Ask children to choose a country and plan the special dinner together. Cooking together can result in many benefits, more than just spending quality time and having fun. When it comes to cooking, the activity can result in developing a child’s social and language skills, teaching them how to work in a team. The physical aspects of cooking can develop both gross and fine motor skills in children. It is also a great opportunity for children to develop their math skills and learn scientific concepts, like the changing states of matter. After cooking the meal, download some music to play during dinner and learn some interesting facts about the country to share at the table.

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About CHILDVENTURES EARLY LEARNING ACADEMY—Childventures was founded when Dr. Heidary was unable to find the high level of care he was seeking for his own young child. As a doctor he had read the research showing the importance of the formative early years and he was looking for something better than he found. As busy professionals with full—time careers, he and his wife were seeking a loving place with caring people, qualified educators and caregivers, great programs and curriculums designed to influence neurological development at specific ages, a sequential program of learning at each stage with measurement systems to track progress, a secure, safe, modern environment, beautiful classes and play areas, a fun, child—focused atmosphere that embodies play techniques, a strong nutritional component, teacher—to—child ratios congruent with learning and caring, parental involvement for continued success of the child, modern learning, monitoring and security technology. These are the elements found at Childventures in Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Burlington and Ancaster.

Winter fun, but come on spring!

16 Feb

With Family Day coming up in Ontario, there are lots of things to do. Usually, we just hang out, play outside (weather permitting). This year, we might take in one of Toronto’s many attractions.

There’s the new Ripley’s Aquarium or we could go to the Zoo, or even to a our local zoo at High Park.

And now that the kids have skates, we’ll probably do some skating, too, if the weather’s nice.

We’ll likely go out for dinner and take advantage of a local, family-friendly eatery. Got any suggestions?

February’s a short month, and with three big events for us, it’s a busy month. It should fly by fast.

And then onto warmer weather! Come on Spring!

But wait, there are birthdays and St. Paddy’s Day to celebrate first!

We can’t forget the Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade! We love parades! And maybe, just maybe, the temperature will go up enough to really enjoy the St. Paddy’s Day parade in beautiful sunshine and crisp soon-to-be-spring air! Maybe we’ll see ya there!

St. Patrick's Day Parade Route 2014

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