It has been a long, harsh winter in these parts. Although, there are a few signs that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s how I know that spring is near or almost here:
1) Spring Fling
We welcome spring with our annual Irish Dancing performances. My kids don’t do competitive dancing and have no dreams of making it to the World Championships in Dublin. They don’t wear wigs or tan their legs. I put their hair in rags to get curls and off they go to tour countless Seniors Homes to help our elderly community celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The best part? After they dance, the children chat with the residents. Even the shy children are encouraged to give it a try. They learn so much from speaking with the elderly, who are so delighted to have a close look at the beautiful costumes and happy young faces.
2) Spring Sap
The tapping of the trees. We are lucky enough to have a ravine full of trees in our backyard. Daddy-o and the children go off and tap the trees, collect the sap, boil it down, leaving us with the most delicious maple syrup. I now have a houseful of syrup snobs who now turn their noses up at the store bought stuff.
3) Spring has sprung – literally.
This year we are adding something special to our yard. Over the years, we have gone through, destroyed and bounced to death SEVERAL trampolines. I have been on a hunt for one that is big enough, strong enough and bouncy enough to deal with my six children, and the countless friends and neighbourhood kids who put it to the test. My search ended with the Jumbo Square Springfree trampoline. The more research I did, the more I realized that if I had bought this one originally, I would have saved myself from buying, setting up and destroying the four other trampolines we’ve ripped through.
Has spring arrived where you are? What cheery spring happenings are going on in your family?
About the Author:
Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.
Last month marked five years since I became a Mom. My oldest daughter had her fifth birthday.
It’s been five years of non-stop kissing of soft skin, developmental milestones, gummy smiles, little hands grabbing my hair. Five years of worry, coffee, crying and love.
And in five years, we became a party of five. My husband and I now have three gorgeous little beings that we call our own.
We took our three daughters out for dinner last week. They were uncharacteristically calm and agreeable for a 5-year old, 3-year old and 9-month old at the dinner hour. So it was a good night. It was a proud night.
People smiled at our table. The wait staff complimented us. We took it all in while we could. Because our lives are very rarely calm now. Our house is vastly different than it was just five years ago.
Things are noisy. There’s almost always a boo-boo or someone crying or squealing or singing. The number of times I’ve said “Please be quiet, the baby is sleeping” can’t even be counted. It’s like living with three little hurricanes. Our rooms are messy. Lived in. There are endless pieces of artwork proudly taped to the bedroom walls. Pencil crayons on the floor. Princess dresses in a heap in the closet. Footprints on the hardwood and handprints on the mirrors.
In five years, my life has changed dramatically. I’ve gained weight. Lost free time. And met three very different little girls who have changed everything for me. I’ve collected five years’ worth of pictures. Of little sleepers that no longer fit. Of toys and artwork and kids’ books.
Now my life, my thoughts, my time is consumed by these little beings that amaze me every day.
This anniversary was a big deal to me. So much has changed. I’ve been given so much.
And it’s only been five years.
About the Author:
Heather Dixon is a copywriter at Mabel’s Labels, a smoothie aficionado, a runner and a Mom to three highly advanced little girls (according to her husband and her).
Contextual learning is the new buzz word for education. Children learn concepts best when taught in context. So what better time than hosting a birthday party to teach some financial literacy skills to your children.
When my daughter described how she envisioned her 8th birthday party, she told me she wanted to invite all of her friends, have a big birthday cake with a princess on it, matching plates and streamers and to go to a movie. Rather than just flatly saying “no we can’t afford it”, and creating upset, I explained to her that we had to work within a birthday budget.
So I gave her an amount to work with and we priced out everything together. I had her see the numbers and choose for herself. Instead of me saying “you can only have 6 friends” – I said it doesn’t matter to me so long as you come in with a plan for a birthday party on a budget.
She compared the cost of bowling to movie tickets to games at home and how that price was impacted by the number of people invited.
She could buy the matching plates / cups / table clothes with the Disney characters, or get plain coloured ones from the dollar store to make the place look festive at half the price.
We compared a slab cake from the grocery store with a Disney princess to the cost of making one from a box and icing it ourselves. That would free up more money to invite more people bowling. Turns out – the grocery story bakery cake was very important to her and worth the sacrifice. Her party, her choices, her values – my budget. We were both happy. Had I made the decisions unilaterally, I would have been seen as the ‘meany’. Instead, I was a hero – she learned a lot and really took ownership of her party.
You might be surprised at just how creative and amazingly co-operative kids can be when they have a budget to work within!
About the Author:
Alyson Schafer is a psychotherapist and one of Canada’s most notable parenting experts. She is the resident expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV News Channel and CBC’s The World This Weekend. Alyson is an “Ask an Expert” Columnist for Today’s Parent Magazine, and sits on the Health Advisory Board for Chatelaine Magazine. Alyson is the best selling author of “Breaking The Good Mom Myth” and “Honey, I Wrecked The Kids” and her latest, “Ain’t Misbehavin”. She is an international speaker including the inaugural TEDxKids in Brussels and offers free parenting tips at www.alysonschafer.com