Who remembers that Staples back-to-school ad from the late ’90s? You know the one where the dad is dancing down the aisles while his kids glumly drag their feet behind him and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of Year” plays in the background?
It’s hard to feel the true spirit of that commercial this year. It’s back-to-school for the kids, but that fresh-start energy and excitement is tinged with anxiety and our usual seasonal motivation just isn’t there. But it’s important to soldier on while honouring our mixed emotions. So let’s make the most of our (usually) glorious September weather and enjoy a mix of work and play…
Head Out and Explore
Sure, school is starting, but families can continue taking advantage of the warm summer days and all the family fun to be had in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver in September before the fall weather officially joins us.
Go through last year’s winter gear to see what still fits and then buy replacements for this year
Why? Yes, I’m well aware the air conditioner is still running non-stop. But the first snowfall will be here before you know it (sob), and, honestly, it just feels SO GOOD to know that you have everything you need to get through winter. You’re likely packing away the beach umbrella and camping gear anyway, so you might as well pull out the boots and snowsuits while you’re at it. Plus, kids can often get two or sometimes even three years out of a winter coat. Being organized could save you from needlessly buying new gear when you see them on display later on in the fall and panic.
Fun, cute, and colourful school supplies and back to school gear.
Why? Some schools send out school supply lists during the summer and others wait until school starts in September. Either way, you’re sure to find yourself picking some last-minute tools, at the very least. It’s nice to treat your kids to a couple extra-special items to help get them excited about the new school year — especially this school year. These woodland creature pencils are totes adorbs, and so is this doggie version of the multi-colour pen of our childhood dreams. These ice cream-shaped scented erasers look and smell yummy, and nothing beats the promise of a fresh box of pencil crayons. Don’t forget a decent sharpener!
Why? If close only counts in horseshoes, find out exactly what that means by introducing the classic backyard game to your family. The game can be played outdoors with the classic ground stakes and indoors with the special suction cup pegs. The rubber horseshoes are much lighter so younger hands can pick them up and toss them much more easily, and they won’t cause damage if a thrown horseshoe goes awry. Up your game now to kill it at the cottage next summer.
The Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher’s Guide To Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient by William B. Irvine
Why? I’ve been plowing my way through a gazillion self-helps books throughout the pandemic and this is one I came across by accident — I was headed away for a week and there wasn’t much available to download from the library. This is a book that was, and from reading it I now know that this was a Stoic opportunity to challenge myself. For someone who feels my feelings deeply, this is an interesting approach to dealing with difficult situations and maintaining a semblance of control in situations where you have none. Which basically sums up the past 18 months and foreseeable future.
Why? Looks like we’re not done with masks yet and admiring cute and functional masks is the new, “Thanks, it has pockets!” If you’ve found a comfortable, reusable mask, please let us know and we will add it to our list. We want our kids to make the best of this unpleasant situation and if a good solution is choose fun and cut masks that they don’t mind wearing, well, hopefully they’ll wear them!
Why? Mabels Labels has been our tried and true friend for making sure those expensive water bottles and lunch gear makes its way home. And every year they come out with new, cute colours and symbols so we have an excuse to order more! Don’t forget that Mabels Labels has a great fundraising program, which is a great way to raise money for your school or kids’ teams.
Why? Over the years we’ve covered quite a few topics related to birthday party etiquette: Who should get invited? Do we open gifts at the party? What about those loot bags? And now we have to consider that Covid-19 has limited our guest lists and the kinds of parties we can throw. Here’s a look at what we had to say about surviving these complicated yearly rites of passage. If you have any insight as to how you would handle any of these dilemmas please free to share your thoughts with us!