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I can’t believe it. The holidays are almost here, and for many, the hustle and bustle have already begun. If you’re anything like me, you’ve needed to plan the dinners, look at the calendar to decide on dates for the holiday gatherings, write an endless to-do list. I always make a massive one at some point in November to outline all of the shopping I need to get done and how much I’m budgeting to make it happen, and this year was no different. Then there are the dinner to-do lists. After all, everyone will hate me if I forget the stuffing or don’t have an assortment of gourmet teas. Right? Oh, and how can I ignore the random list of house chores I need to do before hosting. Gah. I’m exhausted just thinking about the multiple tasks at hand. Do I over complicate and go above and beyond what…

Ok, so in my last post – 9 Fantastic Gift Ideas for kids that AREN’T toys and that parents will LOVE, I gave you an extensive list of non-toy Christmas gift ideas, but I know some of you won’t heed my advice and will still buy toys for your munchkins. If you’re going to just ignore me, then at least buy toys they’ll actually play with longer than 15 minutes before they get bored! 1. HAPE QUADRILLA “Derived from the combination of two German words, “Quader” and “Rille”, meaning “bricks” and “slots” respectively – which are also the main components of the game – Quadrilla’s unique marble run system is “a lot like coding” (assessment from Wall Street Journal) and a perfect platform for STEAM education.” Quadrilla is a beautifully designed series of marble run sets, made from quality wood components. There are some different sets available in many different…

If you have kids in your life, either your own, or nieces, nephews, grandkids etc., the odds are good that you’re beginning to think about holidays gifts. As a parent of 2 young children, let me tell you where to spend your shekels for gifts that will not only go over well with kids but will be appreciated by parents. 1. A Trip to the Movies. Costco sells these packages for kids; it’s a move pass and child size popcorn, drink and treat combo for like $11.99 plus tax. Buy these! Buy loads of these! It’s such a great gift. You can buy them in-store, and they’ll give you a voucher, or you can buy them online, and they’ll send you an e-voucher you can print off. Costco also sells adult combos, for $29.99 plus tax, you get two adult passes, a regular popcorn, and two regular drinks. 2.…

I know it feels too early even to be thinking about holiday cards, but trust me, the next month and a half is going to sneak right by us. Before we know it, it’ll be December 8, and we’ll decide to skip the holiday card this year because we don’t have time to put something together to arrive before the holidays are over. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to get your holiday cards ready. Networking It’s an excellent opportunity to subtly remind your friends, family, colleagues and customers of your existence. There is no easier way to remain top of mind than sending them warm wishes this season with a card tailored with your branding. This is especially true for those contacts you don’t get a chance to see very often. It’s also a great way for families to keep in touch with loved ones far away. You can say…

Sigh I shouldn’t even HAVE to write about this. Honestly. It’s disgusting. Please people, for the love of holy things, tell me that you flush your toilet after dropping a deuce when you are at home. Yes? Then why the hell can’t you do the same when you crap in a public washroom? I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve flung open the door to a bathroom stall to be greeted by a bowl full of shite. Your shite. The toilet works too. I know, I flushed it with my foot from the doorway while holding my breath so I wouldn’t have to breathe in your fecal particles as the contents swirled themselves away into our wonderful, magical sewer system. If I can flush the toilet, YOU CAN FLUSH THE TOILET. There is no excuse for not doing so. If for some magical reason you find out after dropping your…

The fact that it’s already September is mind-boggling. I had so many personal goals and plans that had to be put aside this summer. It was more important that my kids summer was fun and the only time I could complete anything was if they were immersed in a show or game and I couldn’t handle the guilt of them being tech zombies. I completely underestimated just how much them being home full-time would affect my ability to complete tasks. The distraction alone thwarted progress. My kids must have set a world record for how many times a person’s name can be spoken in one day. The more I tried to work on something the more they insisted they needed me. It was a clear sign that things weren’t jiving like I’d anticipated they would. There were fun moments paired with frustrating moments as we tried to figure out how…

I love the Internet. Give me a cell phone with the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter apps, and I’ll get lost for four hours (#jokingnotjoking). Do you need to know the full (and rather brief) discography of Sugar Jones? Look it up. Do you need to find out what a burst ear drum looks like (I had no idea and I’m 35)? Look it up. Do you need to understand how Keyboard Cat came to be? You do. Look it up. In fact, the first time I spoke to my boyfriend-now-husband was on ICQ (I hyperlinked that for you sweet, young things). We were in high school in the early 2000s, okay? So, basically, without the Internet, my children’s lives would never have been realized. I know, slightly dramatic. And, as much as I love the instantaneous pleasure of finding an answer several seconds after asking a question, the Internet, of…

On March 15, 2018, I said goodbye to Canada and moved to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The UAE is nestled between Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia on the Arabian Gulf which sounds super scary, but is paradoxically, incredibly safe.  Abu Dhabi is also extravagantly wealthy, a glittering jewel in the heat of the desert. Even with oil prices down, there is still no income tax which means you can save loads of cash (assuming you don’t get sucked into the spending vortex that so many do). For those of us with the travel itch, Africa, Europe, India, and South East Asia are all a few hours away, so it’s also an ideal home base. As for the weather, while the summers are oppressively hot and muggy (high 40s with high humidity), the rest of the year is warm and sunny.  By warm and sunny, I…

The Sunday afternoons of my childhood were spent puking into plastic bags in backseat of a station wagon. Picture something quite similar to a scene right out one of the Family Vacation movies. But with puking. Lots and lots of puke. So. Much. … Okay, I think you get the picture. Did I mention how much fun it was? Sing-a-longs, bags of cheese curds, pulling over every 30 kilometres to take in the sights, sounds and smells. Hiking up Whiteface Mountain, crossing the border to watch large ocean liners trudge through the nearby locks at sunset or searching for frogs and snakes at good old Loch Garry. No adventure was ever too big or small for my parents. For they knew (or it just struck me that perhaps they absolutely never even considered it) they were igniting this insatiable desire for adventure in all of their three children. The same…

Chances are good, your kid goes to school with a child with some type of disability or special need. If you’re not specifically familiar with their disability, the thought of planning a playdate or inviting them to a birthday party may seem a bit overwhelming or even frightening. You may think, it’s not worth the effort, and don’t bother. As a special needs parent, let me reassure you in the strongest way possible, we want the invitation. We want nothing more for our children to not just be “integrated” into regular classrooms, but to be included and accepted by their peers. We want them to experience typical childhood joys like other children so very badly. Invite us, we will go out of our way to move mountains to make it work. Here are some things you can do. 1. Send an email or DM with the invitation, or a note…