Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Importance of Napping

Set of Three SCRABBLE LETTER decorative pillow cushion covers -- NAP Ready to ship
(photo of NAP pillow covers: counterculturedesign etsy shop)

Napping.  What an incredibly subjective topic.  Yet so important!  I personally can't stand napping.  I'm one of those people who gets really groggy and actually feels worse following a nap than they did before.  If I'm going to snooze for any length of time, give me at least 6 hours!  On the flip side, my own father can actually lay on a couch (a couch!?!), fall asleep for 10 minutes (10 minutes?!!  WTF?!?!) and then wake up feeling like he just bathed in a cool spring full of daisies and lilacs (he's actually never described it as such, but I've seen the pep in his step following his mini siestas, which has led me to believe that my description is accurate.)

My husband, as well, is a fan of the nap.  He is actually having a 5 o'clock vacation nap as I type.  He gets it from his mother who could nap on a deck chair through a hurricane.  Ok, slight exaggeration...she could nap through a tropical storm.  

But really, to me, naps are most important for children and babies.  My eldest was always a great napper, but she is getting to the age where she wants to phase out the naps.  The problem is, she needs to nap.  When rested, she is the world's MOST PLEASANT child.  When she is in need of rest, her stubborn, sullen side comes out.  On our recent trip to the Florida Keys, we didn't keep up with naps, and there were plenty of tears and tantrums by bed time.  Today, I made sure to get back into the napping schedule.  For her sanity, and for my sanity.  For our mutual sanity.

As for the baby, she's napping about 2-3 times a day.  She'll wake up around 8 AM, then nap about 11 AM, for roughly an hour.  She'll then take a mid afternoon nap around 3:00  PM, about the same time that her sister goes down.  Another short nap around 5:30 or 6 PM will keep her in good spirits through bath and bedtime at 8:00 PM.  

Definitely my favourite nap of the day is the afternoon nap, when there's some overlapping quiet time.

When it comes to myself, not only do I feel groggy following a nap, I also feel guilty.  There's something grotesquely decadent about daytime napping to me.  But really, many studies show it is incredibly important for our health and for combating stress.  Maybe I can train myself to nap.  Or maybe I'll nap when I'm older.  

Ah, naps.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hipster Dessert: Macarons!

Today, the sweet, delicious cupcake has met it's match.  I had my  first macaron today.  Blackberry Chocolate.  So good.  It wasn't planned.  We picked some macarons up for dessert at the Rosedale location of Nadege Patisserie.

Hazey loved her chocolate macaron, and her dad loved her salted caramel.  Apparently the chai and pistachio macarons were delicious as well.  I wish we bought more, but at the same time, I'm glad I was limited to only one.

I found out after the fact that BlogTO has declared Nadege's to be the best in Toronto.  So it's official.  We've had the best macarons available here.  Paris, here we come.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Playground Love

There seem to be two times in your life when you really, truly appreciate a good playground.  Once as a kid, and then once again as a parent of small kids.  Maybe again as a grandparent? I suppose it depends how hands on you are.

Why do I love playgrounds so much?  Time for a list!

1.) They're equal opportunists!  Anyone can use a playground, you don't have to pay to get in, you can be rich OR poor.  Playgrounds love us all equally.

2.) Playgrounds are outdoors (you know, normally).  The outdoors is full of fresh air and sunshine.  Two things that are wonderful for kids, fresh air and Vitamin D.  And at the playground, they're free.

(Phoenix "Playground Love" cover)

3.) Playgrounds of today are amazing.  I found a playground in Davisville in Toronto that has many items to entertain and educate children of ALL abilities, which is awesome.  It's also awesome to see kids of all abilities playing together instead of being made aware of their differences.

4.)  Playgrounds allow for independence, for both parents and kids.  Parents can lay around and listen to podcasts about knitting while their kids happily shovel sand with other little kids (That might juuuust be me).

I could go on and on and on, ad nauseum, but instead I'll share a romantic looking photo from our playground foray this aft, thanks to Instagram.

(photos by me, thanks to instagram)

If anyone else wants to join my playground appreciation society, feel free.  I'm sure I'm not alone in my love of the public playground.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

On My Nightstand: (actually on my e-reader)

We head out on vacation tomorrow, so in preparation I have been downloading the latest Sesame Street podcasts for Hazey,  as well as downloading a few books to my e-reader.

Normally I'm into fairly literary reads, and lately I've been stuck in the world of academic articles, but for some reason, vacation seems like an appropriate time for my brain to go on hiatus and read some interesting, funny, easy words on paper.

Also, I have major flying anxiety that I am definitely trying to work through, so I thought positive uplifting reads were the way to go for tomorrow's 3 hour flight and 4.5 hour car ride.  Ugh, just writing that is making me feel queasy.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Mindy Kaling is funny.  She's funny like I like people to be funny.  She doesn't do the stereotype thing, and I like that.  I'm looking forward to this one.  I hope to laugh my way through the air.  (Have I mentioned I hate flying?)

The Happiness Project

Happiness is close to positiveness, and I am a glass half full and then some kind of person.  But not in an overbearing way.  So I'm down to learn about the happiness project.  Plus, I'm intrigued by anyone who can stick with something for an entire year.

Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
Ok.  There is a short window of interest for anyone who will read this book.  You will likely not read this book if your children are 12.  Mine are 3 and 6 months.  If there is anything to be gleaned from this book, I am there to extract it.  Caveat: I also totally read the Tiger Mother book and thought, "yeah, so?  Look how well her daughters turned out?!"  So, I know that people get really up in arms about these books, but I find them interesting and I don't really form much of an opinion one way or another.  So yeah, I'm looking forward to reading this one too.  

All in all, lighthearted reading for a light, relaxed vacation with more flying than I would like, but whatever, I can't really control that, can I?  I'm dealing with my anxiety naturally, trust me.

Any book suggestions out there?  Anyone??  Bueller?!?

Kiddie Styles: Preschool cool

We're in prep mode for vacay here, which means I'll be able to get to do some shopping, in real, old-timey, bricks and mortar stores!  (Living in a remote area means I do most of my shopping online).

And because I'm a thrifty Scot (ie: cheap), I like to shop where the clothes are cute and the prices are low.  

One brand I'm kind of crazy for is Joe Fresh, and here's why:
A) You can pick up a cute dress and some feta cheese all at once (most Joe Fresh is sold at grocery stores in Canada).
2) Their kids clothing is cute, fits well and is 'quality-constructed' (that has GOT to be a marketer's dream term, but alas its true, my kids can't wear out their Joe Clothes.  Same for Old Navy denim.)
D) There is no D, I just needed to finish my Home Alone reference.

Also, they have straight up awesome boys clothes, and even though I don't have boys, I still like to shop there. In pre-shopping mode, I found some cute items on their website that I'm hoping to pick up for Hazey when we're down, to give her that tomboy style.

striped bucket hat & pirates sweater from Joe Fresh Toddler Boys
Red skinnies and gold high tops from Joe Fresh Toddler Girls
(we are into pirates right now!  Or should I say Arrrrrrgh!)

Among my other thrifty shopping haunts are Zara, H&M, and Old Navy.  I'm a little nervous about getting to Miami because I think Target might blow my mind, plus I hear Carter's is pretty great (we don't get a lot of Carter's in Canada).  I'm most at ease when we can get all of our clothes in the same store, except for more pricey mama items like jeans, shoes and cashmere.  I do love to stalk the crewcuts sale site for deals as well).

Monday, May 7, 2012

A New Sunday Tradition

Library of Congress via Flickr

Our Cinco de Mayo party was a blast, with roughly 40 people, including 12 kids.  The pinata was a real hit (required pun) and what made it even more exciting was that Hazel was the one to break it open.
Of course, prepping for the party all night Friday, and then again all day Saturday, and then partying until 11:30 PM (that's late for kids!  And for parents of kids!!), followed by a quick blitz clean up, left our whole house crawling into bed early Sunday morning, only to have to get up again (due to my internal alarm clock) at 7:30 AM.

So, after we finished the last dregs of cleaning, and made up some delicious pancakes, we decided to all go back to bed in the Big Bed, to watch Winnie the Pooh and The (Oscar Winning) Muppets Movie, while the adults read books or napped, and Daphne nursed and slept.   

And, man!  Was it awesome!  We were all still in our PJ's, drinking tea and apple juice, and chomping on raisins in bed.  I'm sure Daphne thinks we'd all lost the plot as we free-formed renditions of 'Man or Muppet' the rest of the afternoon ("I'm a manly, manly muppet!")

The rest of the day was spent reading books (SJ: Game of Thrones book 4, H and I: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory), colouring, painting wood magnets from the pinata, and playing chutes and ladders. We didn't even have to make supper since we had so many leftovers.

I decided that the best thing to from now on would be to get all household duties done on Saturday, so that we could dedicate Sundays to rest days, as a family.

I know this concept is older than the bible, but we've always sort of kept busy and started the weeks prep for Sunday, and now I've seen another way, I can't look back.  

Our family is young, so family traditions are only just beginning, but I'd love to hear a few more ideas from you.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cinco de Mayo!

The 5th of May must fall on a Saturday, what like, once every 7 years? 

 The last time it fell on a Saturday, I was a Uni student in New Zealand, and probably studying hard trying to get every penny's worth out of my tuition since I was paying exorbitant international student fees.

Now, of course, I'm living the weekend life.  But really, my husband likes to socialize and I like Mexican food, so I can see no better way to enjoy this weekend than with a Cinco de Mayo party for our friends and their kids.

And so begins my scouring of the interwebs for wonderful ideas for the party.  So far, here's what I've found:

diy cinco de mayo pinata from studiodiy

diy geometric cinco de mayo fiesta garland from ohhappyday!

These dulce de leche cupcakes from Joy the Baker

Any of the 36+ recipes provided by Serious Eats

Agave Margarita
Agave Margaritas from Bon Appetit

Tequila (Gummy) worms (my husband's idea & for the grown ups)

So, even though I'm fairly sure it is a holiday enforced by the companies in charge of the Jose Cuervo and Corona brands, I raise a glass to Cinco de Mayo, giving the world an excuse to party every 5th day of May!

Any other awesome ideas?