November 2010

Are Those Real?

Christmas Tree 002

Have you ever found yourself in one of those uncomfortable situations where you were presented with a perfectly shaped, full-bodied but natural-looking display of beauty and you wanted to ask if what you were seeing was real or fake?

Get your mind out of the gutter…I’m talking about Christmas trees!

Now that we live in our downtown condo, we are no longer able to have a real Christmas tree. It’s too bad because we are huge fans of the real deal. But a fire code is a fire code and I will be the first to admit that those darn needles are so frustrating to clean up. So to comply with the rules my husband and I headed to Canadian Tire in search of the perfect artificial tree.

Oh Christmas Tree

Are you aware that there’s no such thing as a simple fake Christmas tree? We sure weren’t. We spent a good hour searching through the different varieties of trees that exist. There are self-shaping trees, pre-lit trees, fibre optic trees and don’t even get me started on tip count. There are trees with imitation snow, colour-changing lights and even some with remote controls. How can one take a decision like this lightly?

Overwhelmed yet? We sure were. We were completely unprepared. We should have studied before a purchase like this and had a clear plan in place before entering the store.

And the Winner Is

So finally, after comparing all of the possible options we made our decision. We then changed our minds and chose a different tree, then we went back to our original decision. In the end, we chose a 6.5’, Pre-Lit, Self Shaping Pine tree. And oh how beautiful it is…

 How about you…do you have fake or real?

City Mom

Girls Night In

GNI_Logo

Have you ever thought about the amount of money you spend on an average Saturday night out?  If you factor in the new outfit, pre-drinks, beverages at the bar, cover, taxis to and from and of course the after-bar-grub, you’re easily looking at over one hundred dollars. Now multiply that by all your best girlfriends and see what you’ve got.

Have you ever thought about what else you could do with that money?

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Why not host a Girls Night In to support the Canadian Cancer Society. The idea is that you invite all your favourite women to spend a Saturday night in. The details of the evening can be customized to suit you and your friends but the whole idea is to donate the money you would have spent on a night out.  Your donation will help to fund women’s Cancers* research. You can find more information here or you can attend the Girls Night In free open house at Posh Pedicure Lounge.

Girls Night In Open House

Enjoy an evening with the girls while learning how to host your very own Girls Night In event. Highlights of the evening include $10 hand massages, $15 mini-manicures, giveaways like belly dancing and Booty Camp classes and of course the company of other fantastic women.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 25, 2010
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Posh Pedicure Lounge 57 York Street, London, Ontario

To learn more or to donate visit Girls Night In Open House.

Hope to see you there!

*breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers.

Being a Champion for Your Child

Photo from nbc.com

Have you ever done something completely out of your comfort zone; something so unlike your usual behaviour, without a second thought or hesitation, all in the name of your child?

If you can answer yes to this question then you’re like me, thousands of other parents and the character Kristina from the hit TV show Parenthood.

I’ve been a fan of this show since it first aired. I quickly became caught up in the lives of the characters as they made their way through child rearing, relationships and career challenges. When Kristina spoke the line “…haven’t you ever wanted to be a champion for your kid?”, I began writing.

Kristina was advocating for her son Max who has Asperger’s Syndrome. A large part of the show focuses on Kristina’s family and their challenges. One doesn’t need to have a child with autism to identify with them. Aspects of their story are easily relatable and you’re able to put yourself in their position. You will find yourself cheering them on and asking the question ‘what would I have done?’

Kristina’s words struck a chord with me because the other day I did something that surprised me a little. I picked up little S from school and began a quick chat with one of her teachers to get an update on her day. S has been going through a ’testing’ phase both at school and at home so we’re used to getting some not-so-great feedback at the end of the day. It’s usually no big deal. My husband and I will chat about it at home and decide on our action plan if any. On this day, though, the feedback was delivered in a way that seemed unprofessional and unfair to little S. This caused me to feel that on this particular day, from this particular teacher, S wasn’t getting the best treatment possible.

This made me furious! I know things can’t be perfect at any school or daycare and my child is not perfect either, but I still expect the best care possible for my little girl. For that reason I voiced my concern. I wasn’t rude or unprofessional. I just expressed how I felt. This is something that I find difficult. I hate conflict and will often try to avoid it.

I started with a comparison of S’s current teacher with her teacher from last year who “was so great at dealing with S.” I then went on to state that it was rather obvious that she (her current teacher) was getting frustrated with little S and that she was the professional who should know what to do. I also made some reference to government regulations (based on a statement the teacher had made about being alone).

When I got home, I reflected on the event and wondered from where the courage came and from where the words had emerged. Now I know. I was being a champion for my child, and when you’re playing the role of champion, not much can stop you.

I’d love to fill you on the rest of this story, but the end has not yet happened. My husband and I will have a meeting with her teachers later this week where we will discuss the issues that upset us. At this point it seems that her teacher was getting frustrated at being a teacher, which while understandable; the fact remains that neither student nor parent should ever pick up on that.

There are some battles we will have to let our children fight for themselves and there are some where we, as parents, will have to gear up, armor and all, and be the champions.

City Mom

Twitter – Not Just a Social Networking Service

Monday was the day that I realized Twitter was not just a tool I use for networking, idol chat and promoting City Mom.  Because on this day,  I used Twitter to ask for support, and support I received.

My husband underwent shoulder surgery on Monday and being the worrier that I am, I started to feel anxious as soon as they wheeled him away.  I got my iPhone out to pass some time and found myself reaching out on Twitter.

My first outgoing update was very simple and to the point:  Trying to pass time while my husband is in surgery…talk to me.  I followed up with:  Maybe I should mention I’m feeling a bit nervous and would like some distractions.   (Messages can be no more than 140 characters)

Within seconds I was receiving my first response.  In total, I began comforting ‘conversations’ with eight of my ‘tweeple’ (a blend of Twitter and people).  I read reassuring comments such as “Don’t be too nervous. He’s in the best hands possible!”, “I’m sure your husband will be fine – but I don’t blame you for worrying – I would do the same!” and one friend even sent me a link to a humorous video to help me pass the time.

There was something these short messages offered that day that nothing else could have.  I wasn’t in the mood to talk on the phone and I certainly wasn’t feeling social enough to strike up a conversation with any of the strangers sitting nearby. 

These interactions provided a light diversion to help me through my nervousness but didn’t require too much of my energy, leaving me feeling drained, which is easy to have happen when you’re stressed.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  No pun intended!

Although I’ve never met most of my Twitter friends face-to-face and some of them live in an entirely different country, it doesn’t seem to matter.  A few characters on-screen and some kind people made me realize that Twitter is not just a social networking tool.  It is a friend-maker, a relationship-builder and a support network.

A special thanks to my tweeps who were there for me the other day.  If you’re not following them already, please do so:  @kimforgeta, @Tinytoot, @slypigjeff, @j0_mAmA@gracekellycakes, @saucygurl915, @SweetSheil and  @CaseKidsLikeIke.    And if you don’t have a Twitter account, start one up today!

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net. Photograph by jscreationzs.

City Mom

White Chocolate Gingersnaps

Cookie dough balls tossed in sugar coating.

This post is dedicated to my American friends. These tasty, tender cookies are a perfect addition to any Thanksgiving table.  And Christmas? Forget about it…baking list complete!

The combination of ginger, cloves and cinnamon with white chocolate make these soft cookies a spicy-sweet treat that will quickly become a holiday family favourite.

This is an easy recipe to allow even the smallest hands to help with.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 /2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar

Adding molasses to the brown sugar mixture.

DIRECTIONS

  • In a medium bowl, beat brown sugar and butter until blended
  • Beat in the egg, then the molasses
  • Mix the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves
  • Gradually add to the wet mixture and mix well (the dough will be stiff)
  • Stir in white chocolate chips until well mixed
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 1.5 hours
  • Combine both sugars in a deep bowl
  • Shape dough into 1 inch balls
  • Toss in sugar mixture
  •  Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray
  • Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set
  • Cool for a few minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. 

White Chocolate Gingersnaps

Yield: 3 dozen

Happy baking & Happy Thanksgiving!

Blemished & Blushing

Consider this post to be out of pure vanity and utter shock!  Sorry, I won’t be trying to solve the world’s problems today.  Nor will I be teaching you how to get your child to sleep through the night.  Today I will be focusing on me…and you, if you’re in the same boat.

I consider myself to be relatively young.  After all today’s 50 is the new 40 and today’s 40 is the new 30…and so on.  So at the  age of 33, I am experiencing a problem that I didn’t expect;  a problem that I thought I had successfully sidestepped during my teenage years; a problem that is impossible to hide. 

Right now I’ve got a face that only a mother could love.  A new red spot pops up each day.  One goes away and another stops in for a visit.  And let me assure you, I didn’t invite them over. 

Why is this happening?  Is this common?  And if I must have a teenage face, may I have my teenage body?     

I’m calling out for some woman-to-woman support.  Am I alone?  Are there tips, tricks and remedies you can share?

Signed,
Blemished & Blushing

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net. Photographed by Ahmet Guler.

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