Canada Day Fun for Little Ones

With Canada Day just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to find ways to celebrate this special day with the little ones in our life who might not be able to stay awake late enough for fireworks (or who might be afraid of them).

Here are a few of my favourite ideas, along with links so that you can make them too!

  1. Canada Day Moose snack! (from CBC) If you have a peanut allergy in your house, you could easily substitute nut-free butter instead. I don’t have a maple-leaf-shaped cookie cutter, but I don’t see any reason why I can’t turn apple slices into “grass” for the moose to walk on. Especially if you use granny smith apples. (Or the grass can be red, haha. Your toddlers/preschoolers probably won’t care.)

    moosesnack_lead_jdubien

    Photo source: CBC’s moose snack

  2. Fingerpaint Flag (Today’s Parent) This is too cute! Bean loves it when I let her make handprint or fingerprint crafts, and I know that she will have so much fun making this flag!

  3. Read a book together. Here are some of our favourite Canada-themed books: Canada books
  4. Play a Canada-themed memory-card game together. Here’s a link to one that is related to First Nations and Inuit from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.
  5. Colour some Canada-themed pictures together. Here’s a link to some great free printables from Activity Village: Canada Day Colouring Pages
  6. Have a Canada-Day themed Scavenger hunt. Here’s the original idea from Canadian Living, but I would adapt this for toddlers & preschoolers. Unless you’re hiding red-and-white rocks in your garden, I would make a list of what you hid or at the very least how many items there are. That way, you’ll be able to track down any missing ones. Here are some ideas of things to hide: red-and-white rocks (which requires collecting and painting them first), strawberries (although you might want to put them in something before hiding them… or offer a washing station for the kids once they’ve found a berry!), Canada-Day stickers or temporary tattoos.
  7. Make a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Canada. (We will definitely be doing this at our house!) White icing and red sprinkles (or whipped cream and fresh strawberries!) will make it festive without too much work.

Happy 150th Birthday Canada! Wishing you all a wonderful celebration.

Cheers to men who help to share the mental load!

Interested in a good laugh? If you haven’t already seen it (it’s making the rounds), check out this amusing comic from Emma about why us mommas seem to be so tired all the time :

 

you should have asked

You should’ve asked” comic by Emma (click title to read full comic)

 

At first read, I thought that this comic was an amusing insight into the brain of several mommas I know (myself included). The part about how it takes 2 hours to clean off the table makes me laugh….  that is SO me!!! (My husband likes to remind me on occasion that I am not good at multi-tasking… we both know that I’m much more efficient if I just do one thing at a time. Unfortunately, life with 2 small kids doesn’t always permit that.)

However, when I started reading the comments below the comic, I was somewhat horrified at the amount of people who seemed to think that this was a personal attack on them. I don’t recommend reading the comments at the end of Emma’s comic… it’ll get your back up and turn a light-hearted laughable comic into a jumping point for major arguments and negative energy. Just skip the comments. But read the comic. 🙂

One thing I will say is that this comic definitely hits the nail on the head (so to speak) about the mental strain of being a mum. However, at the same time, I know that my husband has a lot of stuff on his mind too. True, he still doesn’t know where to find clean pajamas in the nursery (they’ve been in the same drawer for over 3 years now), or which sheets go on our bed (queen-sized) and which are for the guest bed (a double), but I don’t mind. He’s man enough to ask me where things are, or which are the sheets for our bed, or where we keep the sugar. And yes, sometimes it frustrates me that he still doesn’t know where the baby’s washcloths are kept, but on the flip side, at least he recognises that she needs a bath and is willing to clean her. I might be the one with the mental load of almost everything related to the kids (doctor’s check ups, school events, homework, nap schedule, etc.), the laundry, the contents of our cupboards, and the “where things belong” category, but he’s got his own mental load to bear. He keeps on top of the lawn maintenance, most of the grocery shopping, and at least half of the dinners each week. Not to mention whatever mental load he’s got for work (which is huge!).

I know that I’m lucky to have such a great husband. I think that a lot of you do too. So the next time your husband asks “Honey, where do we keep the …” for the umpteenth-time, help the man out and answer his question. After all, he is trying to help.

 

 

“I love my Daddy.”

This past weekend was full of celebratory Fathers’ Day stuff, and so I didn’t actually have time to write anything until today (haha, story of my life!) I thought that in honour of my wonderful husband, I would summarize why he’s so great through the eyes of our 3-year old (Bean). Without further ado, here are 7 reasons why Bean loves her Daddy.

  1. “Daddy’s a good cooker.” (Direct quote! It’s true, he’s a whiz in the kitchen and prepares some pretty tasty meals!)
  2. “Daddy is better at giving sh-baths.” (Yes, that’s a made-up word. I don’t even really know what it means, which is probably why “Daddy” is better at them. From what I understand, it’s a cross between a bath and a shower and somehow also involves washing the wall. On purpose. Quite frankly, as long as she gets clean, I don’t really mind.)
  3. “Daddy goes running with me.” Bean needs to run. Probably almost as much as a puppy… (I’m picturing a cute little boxer puppy who can run off-leash, whole-hog for an hour on a farm, only to get back home and need to go for another walk ten minutes later.) (Shout out to Pipps!) And she is fast. I’m not just saying that in a proud-momma-kind-of-way. My uncle took her out for a run a few weeks ago and came back drenched in sweat. That is NOT what I was expecting. You need to sign her up for track and field. Hubby laces up and gets a work-out in while running sprints with her on the local school’s track. Most people think we must be out-of-shape when we talk about getting a cardio work-out in while running with our 3-year-old. I know better and love that Hubby is willing to run with her.
  4. Daddy jungle gym. This is a game where Hubby lets Bean crawl all over him, as if he were a living jungle gym; sometimes she even swings off of his arms. He rearranges his limbs to make it challenging for her. She loves it.
  5. “Daddy and Bean like silly songs…” It’s the first line in a silly song Hubby made up to sing with Bean. It involves making all sorts of silly sounds, so of course, she loves it!
  6. The story about Mr. Potato. Hubby makes up stories for Bean while she sits on the toilet. There’s one about Mr. Potato and where sweet potatoes came from (entirely fictional), one about Mr. Fox (which ends with the singing of What does the fox say? by Ylvis), and one about Mr. Fry (and how he discovered that he was French, haha).
  7. “Daddy makes me apples AND pears at breakfast.” Ok, so it’s not always apples and pears, but when he’s around for breakfast, there’s always 2 kinds of fruit on her plate (sometimes more). When I make breakfast and only serve up apple slices along with her oatmeal, you can be sure I’ll hear about how Daddy gives her both. I love that he finds the time to make it happen.

Sending lots of love to Hubby today (and every day!).

 

Fathers Day gift 2017

This is the gift that Bean made for Fathers’ Day. I take no credit for it; she made it at preschool. All the same, I love it. What a great idea!

 

Book Banter: The 5 Love Languages of Children

Welcome to a new section I’m incorporating into my blog: Book Banter. In this semi-regular (translation: when I have something to write about) series, I’m going to discuss books related to parenting. No formal reviews, nothing stuffy… just me, chatting about a book I recently read that relates to parenting (and, inadvertently, my life). Hope you like it!

5 love languages children

Photo source here (Indigo)

This “week” (month?) we’re talking about the book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. I casually mentioned the book over coffee with one of my girlfriends and her first response was “What’s a love language?” (Glad you weren’t the only one thinking that? 😛 ) Basically, the authors explain the different ways we understand love, stating that “Every child has a primary language of love, a way in which he or she understands a parent’s love best.” (Chapman, 9) By loving your child through their primary love language, we ensure that they know they are loved, which, in turn, helps them to “grow into a giving, loving, responsible adult.” (9) Of course, the authors also recommend loving your child through all 5 love languages (even as you focus on their primary one), which will subsequently help them to speak all 5 love languages themselves later in life (109-10).

So what are the 5 languages? Physical touch (ex. hugs & kisses); Words of Affirmation (words expressing your love for them, either spoken or written); Quality Time (spending time with them); Gifts (can be “made, found, or purchased” (86), includes gifts that are both needs and wants); and Acts of Service (doing something for them (ex. making them a special breakfast (105)), or helping them to do something (ex. study for a test (106)).

The authors advise that “With an infant, you must express love in all five languages” (111) and that even “Young children are just beginning to learn how to receive and express love in the various languages. This means that they will experiment with actions and responses that are satisfying to them” and may change their dominant love language from one month to the next (111). They also warn that as they grow, a child’s love language may change; particularly as a teenager. (112)

I can confirm the changing love language of young ‘uns…. A month ago I would have proclaimed that Bean was definitely NOT a physical touch love language kid. (Her version of “snuggling” was to lie down close together without touching.) However, this past week she’s started experimenting with that love language. Over the weekend, she offered to brush my hair (heavenly!) and then just this morning, mid-breakfast she announced “Snuggle time!” and curled up into me for a little snuggle (a real one!) in between bites of toast. I’m only too happy to oblige, but considering the only time in the past few years that she’s been snuggly is when she’s either sick or has had a bad dream, you can understand my surprise.

Back to the book: I like that the authors offer suggestions on how to express your love for your children in each of the 5 languages (conveniently organized in a section at the back of each love-language-specific chapter). They also offer advice on how to discipline with the 5 love languages, which might just have some surprising insight for you. There’s even a chapter at the end of the book dealing with the challenges posed by single-parent families. There are other books in the collection if you’re interested (one is specifically about teenagers, if you happen to have one, … and no, I don’t think threenagers count, haha.).

The bottom line for me? Since the book is geared towards parents of children 5 and older, I think that I will get a LOT more out of the book if I re-read it again in a few years. Until then, it’s given me a great overview of the 5 love languages, along with some food for thought.

 

References from:

Chapman, Gary, and Ross Campbell. The 5 Love Languages of Children. 1997. Northfield Publishing, Chicago, 2016.