So how’d the camping go?

selfie bomb

Funny you should ask.

We rolled into a campsite outside St. Thomas, Ontario just after 4pm. I’d picked this particular campground solely for it’s proximity to Port Stanley, Ontario where we had a full slate of family fun scheduled for the next day. (Stay tune for a full recap of that adventure in a day or two.)

So we pull up to the campsite I booked online a mere six hours later than we’d planned. Though, if I’m going to be completely honest, I knew that the 6am getaway time was pure fantasy from the moment I dreamed it up and declared it “the plan.” This meant we had just enough time to set up our campsite, make a fire and eat dinner before sunset and no time whatsoever for family nature hikes, swimming or other camping activities. (Uh? Capture the flag? Help me out here.)

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Planning a family holiday? I hear camping is cheap.

Planning a family holiday? I hear camping is cheap

Image adapted from flickr.

It’s summer. Let’s go on a family holiday!

First, set your budget. I hear camping is cheap.

1. Buy a tent.
Get a tent that’s big enough to fit your entire family plus your gear and that’s reasonably easy to put up. (Vintage is great for dining chairs and statement hats, not so great for tents.) Cost: at least $200

2. Buy sleeping bags.
Now you CAN probably borrow the 25-year-old sleeping bags that live in your in-laws basement as long as it doesn’t get too cold at night. I mean, who needs zippers anyway? All the better for your children to crawl in with you just as soon as you finally get to drift off. But you decide that it’s probably a good investment for you to own your own sleeping bags at this point. So you buy the cheapest, crappiest sleeping bags you can find. Cost: $100 – $200. [Read more...]

Hack of the week*: Lip gloss painting

lip gloss painting

We went out for dinner last week and because I’m a seasoned and experienced mom of three, I brought exactly nothing to keep my kids occupied while we waited for our food. The number one tip I give to people going out for dinner with young children is to bring an activity for the kids; books, crayons and paper, small toys or games, that kind of thing. In actual practice, I’m never organized enough to grab that stuff.

But I also don’t like handing over my phone because of my high parenting ideals. Hahahaha. No, it’ s because my phone is an expensive piece of very nice technology and it’s pretty much the only thing I have that’s off limits. Besides, they’ve already smashed two of them. And they’d fight over it.  [Read more...]

Stuff I’m Digging: Seventh Generation (Giveaway)

Stuff I'm digging Seventh Generation

 Image source: SeventhGeneration.com

I’m not an eco-nut by any stretch. I live in a world constrained by budgets and time and the fragile limits of my sanity. So I do use paper plates for kiddie birthday parties and disposable plastic freezer bags, and I don’t make my own soap.

The good news is that I don’t have to make my own soap to do the right thing by mother nature. Seventh Generation makes plant-based, environmentally responsible cleaning products that are free from toxins and safe for your family. They’re the real deal, guys. You can trust these products.

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The McDonald’s mom story isn’t about free-range parenting at all. It’s about everything else.

playground

The case of Debra Harrell, the South Carolina mom who was arrested for letting her nine-year-old play at the park while she worked at McDonald’s, has been widely discussed as a free-range-children issue. Shouldn’t a nine-year-old be allowed to play in the park, free-range advocates ask. Has our bubble-wrapped society gone too far?

But, guess what? It’s not a free-range issue. This is a class issue. This story is all about class and social welfare and feminism. It’s an example of how society fails to provide basic protections for women and children and then turns around and paints mothers as criminals. [Read more...]

Is it still called being a picky eater if she only eats gourmet foods?

“I don’t like macaroni and cheese anymore,” she said out of the blue one morning, putting down her spoon after three bites of cereal because it was getting soggy.

Right then. So let’s break this down. Things my five-year-old daughter won’t eat:

Kraft Dinner Kraft Dinner

Image source: Getty Images

Any pizza that isn’t cheese pizza. Actually, no, she won’t eat that either. Pepperoni pizza

Image source: Getty Images

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So I tried something I read on the internet and nearly set my house on fire last night

for making toast

Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Wait! I’m not even talking about diagnosing terminal illnesses, magical weight-loss tips, conspiracy theories or anything that aims to debunk established scientific truths. We already know that stuff is crazy.

I’m talking about those lists of helpful tips you see everywhere: 18 Ways To Save Time In the Kitchen; 23 Easy Hacks to Change Your Life; or, my favourite, 48 Tricks Every Parent Should Know. And I should know better! I mean, I already wrote 13 Parenting Tips That Can Bite Me  and the so-called useful advice that has come out since then has been crying out for a sequel. Have you seen the baby sleeper with the built-in mop?! Yes, let’s clothe our infants in mops to maximize the amount of dust and dirt that will cling to them when they crawl across the floor. That’s brilliant.

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