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Toronto: The Savvy Guide to January

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Deep breath. With the hectic holiday season past, it’s time to relax, regroup and look to the year ahead.

DO
Create a family vision board
Why? You’ll find it much more fun and satisfying to set family goals for the year ahead than to make the usual New Year’s resolutions to clean all your closets and go to the gym five times a week. Instead, get everyone together to talk about priorities for 2016, from big dreams like a family vacation to smaller goals like going on more hikes. Gather up some magazines, glue sticks, scissors and poster board and go to town.

GO
To Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons, on until January 31 at the Toronto Reference Library
Why? In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the publication of Where the Wild Things Are, the library will be showing off sketches and drawings by the book’s author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, and hosting a film screening and craft-making workshops. Take a guided tour of the work (January 11 or 25 at 2 pm) and be sure to go to ‘Sendak Preschool Time’ for Wild Things-inspired stories, songs and rhymes.

GET
Holiday décor on sale
Why? It was tempting to pay a small fortune for a giant inflatable Santa to keep up with the Joneses but you had the good sense to delay. Snap up all the festive décor from outdoor lights to holiday-themed tableware now when it’s deeply discounted. While you’re shopping, get some cards and wrap, too.

PLAY
Reflector Hunt
Why? This popular Scandinavian game gets everyone outside and keeps cabin fever at bay. Players hunt for reflective objects after dark—which is well before anybody’s bedtime these days! The great thing is you can modify the difficulty of the hunt for all ages of kids. Just give everyone a flashlight and let the hunt begin in your backyard or at the local playground.

READ
The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey 
Why? This thought-provoking read by educator and New York Times columnist Jessica Lahey puts forth compelling reasons why we should give our kids more autonomy. Lahey offers relatable, tangible advice on how we can do so from her unique point of view as both a teacher and mom of two.

APP
Asana
Why? The New Year is a great time to give a new productivity app a whirl. Why not embrace the same tools that start-ups use to manage everything from small tasks to big projects? Wrangling a busy family is kind of like running a small business anyway, right? Group tasks as Asana projects, like ‘home repair’ or ‘kids activities’, and create virtual to-do lists you can share with your partner to eliminate a lot of back-and-forth by email or text. In fact, teams of up to 15 people can use this app for free, so you may just find yourself adding everyone from your contractor to your caregiver. Available on both Android and iOS.

LISTEN
To The Birth Hour Podcast
Why? When you’re expecting a baby, whether it’s the first time around or not, it’s both empowering and entertaining to hear the birth stories of other moms. This new podcast delivers great birth stories of all kinds told through interviews with host Bryn Huntpalmer, who started the show to create a safe space for women to share their experiences.

MAKE
Crockpot dinners
Why? Because you ate all of the sweets this holiday season and it’s time to get the whole family back on track with some hearty but healthy dinners that are easy to prepare. Try some new slow cooker fare this month. You may even want to freeze a few leftovers for those hectic evenings when there are only a few minutes to feed the kids before basketball or piano.

HELP 
The Clothing Drive
Why? The holiday season may be behind us but there’s still a lot charitable giving needed to help settle Syrian refugees arriving in Canada all winter long. Work as a family to sort, label and distrubte clothes—the store is still looking for volunteers.

 

 

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