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It’s always an exciting time of year around the SavvyMom offices, preparing for the ‘Christmas of the mom industry, The BabyTime Show and this year’s no different. There are lists to make and boxes to pack and anticipation abounds for the big event. Denise has been immersed in booth design to best showcase a great contest we’ll be featuring at the show and the rest of the team is gearing up to spend the weekend at the show. We always look forward to meeting our current subscribers and prospective new readers, and to seeing all the latest and greatest products that will be on display at the show.
Personally I’ll be experiencing something new at the show this year, as I have been invited to join a panel discussion called Coffee, Tea and IUDs – A Smart Mom’s Guide to Birth Control After Baby. I’ll be joined by some other mom experts—new mom Billie Holiday, host of Virgin Radio’s The Breakfast Show with Mad Dog and Billie, and Dr. Sandy Andrighetti, OB/GYN at Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital. The discussion starts at 11 am on both Saturday, October 31 and Sunday, November 1 on the Seminar Stage at the Baby Time Show. There will be lots to learn—apparently 4 in 10 new moms change their birth control method after having kids! Based on my experience, everything definitely changes after baby comes—schedules, sleep, priorities and more—and family planning is on that list too. I’m looking forward to the conversation.
This weekend we have the pleasure of participating in Toronto’s annual fall BabyTime Show at the Convention Centre. Our whole team is coming out to play in this three day event where moms and babies come from all over the city to learn, shop, be entertained and check out all the cool new products and offerings to be had during this exciting phase of their life. There is tons of stuff to do and see—check out the website here.
Another attraction to the show is that Sarah will be a guest speaker there on (of all topics) birth control. It’s a bit up front and personal but Sarah can handle it—especially as she will be joined by Virgin Radio’s new mom Billie Holiday (who is not shy).
But I’m leaving the best part to the end…it’s our Duet in the Laundry Room Contest. We have teamed up with Whirlpool and are giving away a Duet Steam Washer and Dryer Pair and we’ll have the grand prize on display at the show. I can tell you, they look gorgeous! I never thought I would be so attracted to an appliance (other than my coffee maker).
Come down to the show and check it out—there is lots to see and do while you are trying to distract everyone from the candy overhaul!
Denise and I went down to the media preview of the One of A Kind Show this morning where we were greeted with fresh coffee, fruit, muffins and all sorts of treats. But the biggest treat of all was the opportunity to walk around, view the beautiful items and meet the vendors while they were opening up their booths. Each artist we spoke to was as beautiful as the work they produce and you understood how they have poured their heart and soul into every piece of art they are selling. One such example is Christina Larson, the owner of Textile Platypus, maker of miniature felt animals. She makes the felt herself and then stitches the lovely little figures together. When we told her how much we liked her work, she replied: “Thank you, I love them very much”. You could tell she really did—and she should. The woodworker who makes the most beautiful chopping boards gave us a 20 minute lesson on how to care for wooden bowls and kitchen blocks. He insisted we wax them after each use. It was difficult to tell him that was not going to happen (when you know how much effort he put into making each piece), so we smiled and nodded but walked away promising ourselves we would care for it as best we could.
What did I buy? Nothing that sentimental, actually. I came home with a picture frame I plan to hang in the front hall with a family photo in it that says: “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we are a perfectly normal family”.
I want to tell you about all of my favourite finds but you’ll have to keep reading your SavvyMom Today newsletters to find out more. Or go to the show yourself. They have daycare and baby changing rooms. There is even a VIP section and, if you’re a SavvyMom reader, you will have access to the Club Membership Lounge next Wednesday, December 2 and also get $2 off your admission. Get your coupon here.
It’s definitely one of a kind, the One of a Kind Show.
I was invited to attend the opening performance of The Big League at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People here in Toronto last week and when I found out it was a hockey-themed play targeted at children aged 7 to 12 about ‘trying your best and having fun doing it’, I jumped at the chance to take my hockey-loving son for a night out together.
The play opens with long-time friends Tommy and Deke trying out for a AAA hockey team and goes on to deftly tackle the themes of sportsmanship, the pressure to win, and being true to yourself. It’s presented in a humourous way, making it very appealing to kids while providing a perfect platform for learning opportunities. And the fact that the actors perform the entire play on rollerblades and in full hockey equipment—and that one of the main characters, the goalie, is a girl—make it just plain cool.
If you know me, you know I am a conflicted hockey mom—I love my son’s love of the game, but I don’t love much of what goes along with competitive hockey. Observing Tommy’s journey through his hockey career from when ‘hockey was all fun’ to ‘when his dad got way more serious about the game’ (his words, not mine) provides important lessons to all of us hockey parents about being passionate, but not letting our passions carry us away. After all, it’s their game, not ours.
If you get a chance to see it, I would love to know what you thought.
Photo courtesy of Iden Ford Photography
This week I thought I would mention a few things I love and a few others I don’t.
1. Top of the list is my love for summer. I love the summer and from time to time, I like to reflect on just what I love about it—just to make sure I don’t miss anything along the way. One of my all-time favourite things about this season is the food. I am obsessed with the local produce—the tomatoes, fresh peas, herbs from the garden, corn, etc. Watermelon is one of every moms’ essential summer ingredients. Which kids don’t love it? I found some amazing ways to work watermelon into your day from one of our bloggers, Sweet Potato Chronicles. Try the watermelon lemonade, strawberry watermelon salad and—my fave—the watermelon gazpacho.
2. But I’m not always that healthy. Sometimes I like to add a kick to all that fresh goodness with ingredients like bacon. I have mentioned bacon a few times in my blog lately because everywhere I go these days it turns up. Just last week I was at a friend’s farm—a foodie with her own vegetable garden—who served her local corn wrapped in bacon! Delish. This week Sarah and I both served up the chicken with blueberry bacon jam from this month’s EatSavvy to our families and it was a BIG hit. Just saying bacon jam sounds weird, so I referred to it as a blueberry reduction with a touch of bacon (the kids preferred jam). To be clear, there’s a lot of bacon in this recipe (not just a touch)! Try it—it’s addictive.
3. This summer I am also loving the Olympics. I am a total sucker for the games. I cry every time an athlete steps onto the podium. But I don’t cry when athletes are on the podium crying because they didn’t win (gymnastics, I’m talking to you). We have seen our fair share of bad sportsmanship at these games (hello, badminton players) but when it comes to receiving medals, there is no crying at the Olympics. We know some of our Canadian athletes have been disappointed or did not meet their medal expectations but we and they can be proud of how they conducted themselves. Handling disappointment can be as tough as training for four years to get there.
4. Speaking of crying and bad behaviour, nothing tops my latest TV dislike. Back for its second season is likely the worst of all reality TV, hit series, Dance Moms. It’s a show about pushy parents and a despotic dance teacher. Any parent with children in sports has witnessed the moms and dads who live vicariously through their children’s sports accomplishments. This show takes the hockey dad or Toddlers and Tiaras to a whole new world of hurt. The children are the ones getting hurt, and the cameras keep rolling. Sorry folks, but this is not entertainment.
5. Another thing I don’t like is the rush into back-to-school season while we’re still smack in the middle of the summer. I like to stretch August out as long as I can. But if you are looking for somewhere new to get ahead of some BTS shopping (while on the dock, of course) you might like One Jackson. It’s the latest online retail destination for stylish moms. It caught my attention because I love when moms start businesses to meet their own needs. This group of mom entrepreneurs (and high-powered Silicon Valley types) couldn’t find a place online for high-quality, indie-designed kids clothing, so they decided to build it themselves. They have pooled all the indie talent in the community to offer stylish clothes for kids. What’s really cool about it though is that they offer regular design challenges where shoppers can vote for their favourite designs—and the winning design gets manufactured and sold on the site. Note: they are a US site but they do ship to Canada.
Keep enjoying the rest of your summer!
Hockey Parents, judging parents, Downton Abbey withdrawal, energy shots and Margaret Thatcher all caught my attention this week.
1. This is a classic take on role reversal for all hockey parents to enjoy and digest—or any sports parent for that matter. I found it on Sportsnet. The kid is coaching his dad through his work week and imparting his heavy pearls of wisdom. I think you’ll recognize the scenario and I think you’ll love this post. It’s perfect.
2. Parents just can’t get a break these days. No matter what we do, people are watching and judging—then writing about it. Like Frank Bruni at the New York Times who is a single male with no kids. I suppose it’s partly our fault that we’ve turned parenting into a verb, a skill and an activity that is graded and judged by society at large, rather than a natural path (or, dare I say, responsibility) we choose and accept. And speaking of judging, Frank’s NYT article has some very solid points about the state of modern day parenting—it’s just a bit tough to hear them from him. He’s basically telling parents to ‘chill’ because despite the torment we put ourselves through while raising kids, they grow up despite our valiant efforts. Rebecca Keenan of Playground Confidential is one of our Savvy Storytellers and she wrote an interesting perspective on the article here, but her main point is this: ‘There are as many different approaches to raising children as there ever were. The only difference is that now there are opinion columns in The Times talking about it.’
3. If you need a break from the parenting drama and you’re experiencing Downton Abbey withdrawal, have no fear. There is a new British period series to fill the gap. It’s called Mr Selfridge, but you’ll want to start watching soon because you have already missed the first two of eight! Look for the same big hats and concern about social mobility, with a touch of the old-school Mad Men retail sales element thrown in for good measure. (It’s about the British department store, Selfridges). Find it on PBS Masterpiece Theatre every Sunday night.
4. Too tired to stay up watching TV? Maybe you need AeroShot Energy. It’s an air-based, powdered shot of smart energy which seemed like an interesting and whacked-out-enough product worthy of sharing with you this week. With 100 mg of caffeine and B vitamins, it apparently can provide the same energy boost as a large coffee. But why drink (and enjoy) your coffee when you can carry this little shot in your pocket and knock it back while riding the bus or your bike? It has no calories or ‘mystery ingredients.’ But here’s my favourite part—the ad accompanying the product has this to say: ‘Energy Drinks Are So Five Hours Ago.’ That’s the ad. Five hours ago is old? What does that make me?
5. Finally, a word on the late Margaret Thatcher. I read a great deal about her life this past week, and am fascinated by the discussion surrounding her as a woman in power, particularly in light of the ‘trending’ discussions surrounding Sheryl and Marissa lately. Sure, she never spoke out about her status as a woman to support the feminist movement, but that would have ruined her. She was tough and she acted like a man. But I still can’t put my finger on why she has not been celebrated widely by the women’s movement. An article in The Guardian by Russell Brand (of course that caught my attention) provided an interesting perspective. He was born the year she was first voted into politics and age 4 when she became Prime Minister. Although he refers to himself as ‘one of her children’ growing up under her leadership in England, he doesn’t see her in a maternal light at all. Here’s what Russell (we’re on a first name basis) had to say about that:
It always struck me as peculiar, too, when the Spice Girls briefly championed Thatcher as an early example of girl power. I don’t see that. She is an anomaly; a product of the freak-onomy of her time. Barack Obama, interestingly, said in his statement that she had ‘broken the glass ceiling for other women.’ Only in the sense that all the women beneath her were blinded by falling shards. She is an icon of individualism, not of feminism.
What would Sheryl say? Don’t lean in. Run, or you’ll get hit by shards.
Have a great week.