Today is the day! It’s Launch Day for the Nintendo Switch. My son and I had the chance to test out the Switch here in Toronto. And I have to say, we were both smitten. I am not a gamer by any stretch as was evident earlier today when I stood in line to nab a console for our family. It was def a case of one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other. But I’m quite certain this is the next great family console. And here’s why.
A day where we celebrate love? I do have a soft spot for Vanlentine’s Day. Growing up my dad ALWAYS bought my sister and I at least one red rose and a box of Turtles. It wasn’t big or fancy or anything, but that Valentine’s Day tradition still warms by heart around this time of year.
We don’t really give big gifts here for Valentine’s Day. We’re not anti-v-day or anything. But our anniversary is just around the corner, and my b-day just passed. But I still love to check out what I might like, you, know, if we WERE going to get gifts. This year I got my husband a coffee mug and a few other little sweeties. He’ll probably bring me some flowers. But if I was going to make a wish list, here are five things that caught my eye this year.
Ok, here’s the list.
So that’s my 5 Faves list for Valentine’s Day 2017. What’s on your list this year? Have you picked out a gift for yourself? I’d love to hear about it.
This post is solely my opinion and the topic, items and links have, in no way, been sponsored, endorsed or affiliated.
I think this is the most challenging aspect of my life, and I know I’m not alone. For me, it’s the push and pull of work and kids and keeping the household up and running. And then there is volunteering, the added complications of Alma’s syndrome. My own health, personal growth, our marriage and fun are buried under all the must-do’s. Sadly, I’ve learned you can’t sacrifice yourself for long, without consequence.
I’m definitely working on it. Part of finding balance is trying to get out and do things just for me. It’s true that I don’t always succeed, but I try to do one thing each week. Lucky for me, I had the good fortune of receiving an invitation to an event called TEA talks put on by Tetley.
I’m 100% a tea person. In fact, one of my finding balance simple pleasures is drinking a cup of tea (while it is still hot). The sad part of this statement is that I probably only accomplish this goal about 1 in every 5 days. Another thing on my list of tools to help find balance is going to yoga. I say this like it’s a common thing. I aspire to go to yoga, but I have managed one class in 3 weeks.
So with the promise of hot tea and aspirations of going to yoga swirling in my head, TEA talks seemed like the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.
We enjoyed a series of talks from a number of presenters including Yogi Cameron, a supermodel turned yogi who felt called to lead a more spiritual life. We also heard from a holistic chef, a doctor of eastern medicine, a Toronto wellness practitioner and more. All of these enlightening speakers had one thing in common. They were all Ayurvedic experts.
If you’re new to the idea of Ayurveda, here’s what you need to know. Developed more than 5,000 years ago, Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest holistic healing systems. With rich origins in the Vedic culture of India, the word Ayurveda in Sanskrit means “science of life”. This practice teaches that holistic well-being is achieved through the balance of the mind, body and spirit.
Ayurvedic practitioners believe everything in the universe — living or not — is connected. And that to achieve good health, your mind, body, and spirit need to be in harmony with the universe. The aim of Ayurveda is to understand mind, body and spirit in relation to the universe with the aim of fulfilling human potential.
As someone searching for well-being, looking to achieve harmony in my life and live up to my potential, this was one of the most fulfilling mornings I have spent in ages. It was very interesting to me to hear from someone who felt they had a calling to do something different. That’s a phrase I have seldom heard outside of those who have joined the clergy, but in the past few years have wondered if I am being called to a different path (more on that in the future). I loved exploring the notion of Doshas, and learning how to understand my dosha Pitta. You can find your own Dosha here.
I left with a renewed sense of why I am committed to finding balance, and some new tools to help me along that path – including the new line of Tetley Balance teas. The teas were created using the ancient wisdom of Ayruveda. All three are quite delicious. The Pitta tea with Peppermint, Hibiscus, Spearmint, Lemon Balm, Coriander, Lavender is my favourite. A close second is the Kapha tea with Ginger Root, Tulsi, Peppermint, Spearmint, Cloves, Turmeric, and Cumin.
I’m not sure I’ll ever truly achieve balance with so many things on my plate, but I believe attempting to have greater balance in my life every day is a worthwhile pursuit. With that in mind I’m off to yoga tomorrow AM. Today, I’m spending a little time writing and organizing. Then I look forward to a HOT cup of tea in the later afternoon.
My friends at Tetley wanted me to be able to bring one of my readers on the same journey, so they have generously offered some tea and other goodies to one lucky winner. Maybe we can have a cup and chat about finding balance together.
The giveaway is open to Canadian residents (outside of QC) over 18 years of age. The contest closes on Sunday February 12, 2017. Please read the contest entry details below, and read the full giveaway terms and conditions here. One winner will be drawn at random from eligible entries. Winner’s name and address will be provided to a third party to facilitate mailing of the prize.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Tetley Canada. But but all opinions in this piece are all my own and are in no way influenced by sponsorship.
What does your dream kitchen look like? I thought I was living with mine. But as time goes on, I’m finding the dark wood in the middle of our open concept house to be a bit of a black hole. More and more, I seem to be lusting over light grey and white kitchens – with just enough slate and black to add a heap of style without making the area feel too dark.
I threw together a quick mood board which included the new GE Slate gas stove. Not only do I love the colour, but the versatile grills on the top make it a serious cooking machine. I don’t have room for a real ‘6 burner chefs’ range but I’m pretty sure this would make all the imaginary cooking shows I imagine I’m starring in while I’m cooking, shoot to the top of the imaginary cooking show ratings in no time.
I’m also loving yellow these days. I think maybe a little extra sunshine is doing a world of good.
I’m fairly certain it’s going to be years until we can afford to do a full dream kitchen overhaul, but if I had money in the bank and time to contemplate a reno, it would certainly look very much like this.
This is definitely a high-low effort with a premium range, faucet, lighting and designer chairs. I also chose big box store cabinets, flooring and countertops, easy to order framed prints and even a DIY. But I think a dream kitchen should be at least within the realm of reality so it’s perfect for me.
Most can be ordered online too, to make project management a breeze. Enjoy!
Winter has finally landed in Toronto so it’s time to grab your favourite winter garb and enjoy the season.
That’s it for another 5 Faves Friday. See you next week.
So I know Valentines Day is just a couple of days away, but I thought I’d list off a few things that have been making my heart beat a little faster.
I’ve been seeing a post that praises the customer service at US online retailer Zulily on my Facebook page. Their customer service sounds amazing. But I hate for people to think that it’s out of this world. I’ve encountered 5 brands with stand-out customer service over the past 6 months or so, and I’d love to spread some love to all of them.
Except, when one of the kids on your list has a developmental disability or other special needs, what do you get?
It’s our 3rd Christmas with Allie, and each one has been a bit of a struggle. I don’t really know what she’d like. Certainly no one else knows what she’d like. Shopping for kids with exceptionalities isn’t easy. Every child comes with a unique set of likes and watch outs – many of which the parents have never articulated. The age guides on the box are no help. And tired special needs parents often don’t really know what to tell you.
This year, I set out to make sure that I found Alma something great. I also set out to help guide friends and family shopping for Alma or for other kids that aren’t typical, to gifts the kids will love and the parents will appreciate.
Here are my 5 tips, in no particular order:
1: While no one wants therapy for Christmas, ask if there’s something the child is working on and see if you can find a toy that makes learning or using that skill fun. Alma has just started taking some independent steps, so toys that get her up and moving would be a great motivator. This Skip Hop Explore More Push Owl looks like a fab choice. It seems sturdy, she’d love the owl and it looks like a smooth push so she won’t get discouraged as she’s building this skill.
2: Ask about “Watch Outs”. As an example, Allie is very “mouthie” so everything goes in. This means she’s really only safe with toys that are listed for children under 3 or have no small parts.
Giving us toys that she’ll grow into just means more to store – and stare at with disappointment that she’s not there yet. The perfect toy is one that she can use now, but can also grow with her – even if toys with small parts are never safe for her.
Alma loves animals. She makes the little sounds…she waves them around. So this toy, the Melissa and Doug Animal Rescue would be a great choice.
She can play with the little animals and make vroom-vroom sounds with the car now, and eventually use it as a shape sorter.
She would also enjoy this Janod wood hedgehog. Though the numbers are still a little beyond her grasp, she would love the bright colours and having pieces to bang together.
Other toys in this category would include blocks, a baby doll with no small accessories but outfits to change or other toys that will eventually lead to imaginative play.
3. Find out what the child likes, then figure out how to deliver in a way he or she can enjoy it. Alma’s absolute favourites are pulling things in and out of other things, listening to music and helping with chores. I had to sit down and think pretty hard about that. Not because these things aren’t abundantly clear, but because I always find myself saying “Well she likes X but…” so I inadvertently steer them away from things she’d love instead of towards them. Let the parents know you’ve heard what the child enjoys and you’ll find a way to give them something they’ll love (now) and will safely enjoy. When I allowed myself the same leeway, I found lots of things to add to Allie’s list.
Like this awesome Melissa and Doug Pretty Purse Fill and Spill. She would get hours of entertainment from it. We could take it to appointments to give her something to do and it’s cute to boot.
Then there’s the Melissa and Doug Let’s Play House kit. Not only does it have things that she can take in and out, but it will also give her realistic tools for when she’s mimicking chores.
She already has a number of musical toys so I couldn’t find one to add to her list, but she sure would appreciate someone else doing the legwork and finding something new.
4. Try and come up with something that would engage a sibling too. Allie and her brother are 3 years apart, but the gap keeps widening. I love it when she has a toy or an activity that works well for her, but her brother can enjoy too. Once they get going, they have a lot of fun together, but it’s hard to find toys that keep them both busy safely. And let’s face it, speech, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and social skills all develop faster when you’re modelling someone else. And lucky for kids with siblings, they have the best role model right in their own home.
I came across these Tegu Magnetic Wooden Block Sets and was instantly intrigued. These blocks appear to be safe size-wise and would definitely capture both their attentions. Plus, it’s another toy we can take on the go. Bonus!
This KidKraft Mega Ramp Racing Set would also score high marks with both of them. It looks stable, which is idea for little miss – her balance isn’t great so toys with a larger base give her more confidence to explore. And there’s a racing ramp, which can help satisfy her brother’s competitive nature. Is this a toy I would choose for him? No, he’s likely mostly outgrown it. But if it’s there, and she’s playing with it, I also know he wouldn’t be able to resist joining in the fun.
5. Ask what else they need. This seems like a no-brainer, but I never seem to take stock of all the little things that would make a big difference for me, and benefit Allie in the process.
Like hair clips… because she throws them out of the stroller when we’re walking along. Something like this would be amazing.
She also needs leggings. Since she’s still mostly knee walking, her tights, leggings and pants sometimes only survive 3 wears before she’s snagged holes in the knees. Love the geometric pattern on these Babylegs.
Then there’s the lunch bag that I’ve been meaning to get for a month. And if you think this is a ho-hum gift to give, you haven’t seen this soon-to-be-released Skip Hop Zoo Lunchies unicorn.
She also could use some new cream, and this Matter Company Substance Baby creme is my favourite baby cream but it’s kind of fancy so I rarely splurge.
When I sat down to really think about what Alma could use for her own good, but still be safe, that she’d really love and that maybe her brother would love too, I realized there are lots of great gifts out there if I ask the right questions and have a good think. This means there are lots of great gift ideas for any child on your list who’s needs aren’t necessarily met by reading the ages on the box.
And, when you give one, don’t watch the child, watch the parent. Because you, taking the time to ask questions, to understand their exceptional child better and find a gift the kid will love, is the greatest gift you can give them.
All the gifts featured here are available at well.ca and, with the handy Wishlist feature, I was able to compile an easy way for friends and family to find exactly what I think she’ll like or give them the inspiration they need to find something new.
We’re heading into holiday season! Which means a LOT of time in the kitchen. I truly love all the baking and cooking, but it’s so much more enjoyable with the right tools.
Four of five of these are my go-to fav’s at home – so much so that a few are starting to show some wear.
If you’re looking for the right gadgets to get set for the holidays, these might be just what the head chef ordered.
Fresh off the Blissdom craft beer tour bus, I give you 5 faves friday with the golden nectar of the gods. Three of these are local to Collingwood and delicious. The other two are close to home and are regulars both when we head out for a taste and in our fridge.