the thirties grind

get up, go to work, raise kids, pay bills, sleep. repeat.

Archive for the month “April, 2014”

A death in the family

rip cuddlesOver the weekend, we had to bury a family member. Read more…

Is my kid racist?

What to do when not so sweet things come out of this sweet mouth...

What to do when not so sweet things come out of this sweet mouth…

Kids say the darndest things…okay, sometimes they are blatantly offensive. Read more…

Best Vancouver events this weekend (April 26 & 27)

Best EventsWelcome to our new contributor, BestEventsInVancouver.com, who will be brining the best Vancouver events for you and your family to The Thirties Grind!

There are some great Vancouver events this weekend that are worth checking out. Here is a listing with links to more info: Read more…

TV to go with Shaw Go Kids Apps! (& Giveaway)

I don’t allow my kids a ton of screen time.  So, when I do let them indulge, it’s usually  for my own benefit.  If they are quietly enjoying a show, I can work or clean the house…or have a quiet coffee and some time to myself!  I’ll admit there are times when we are away from home that it would be really handy to be able to put a little show on for them…like that long wait at the doctor’s office, the hour long drive to my Nana’s house, or the changing room at the mall!

Shaw Communications Inc. recently released three additional Shaw Go Kids apps exclusively available to Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct subscribers. Designed with kids in mind, these new apps will provide kids and parents alike with access to popular children’s shows including, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Austin & Ally and Mighty Med. Shaw Go Family, Shaw Go Disney XD and Shaw Go Disney Junior are available for download today on iOS and Android devices.

Designed for the young user

Shaw Go Disney Junior utilizes a character-driven carousel and easy-to-navigate display perfect for children ages 2-7. For the teen and tween age categories, the Family and Disney XD apps feature intelligent streaming to provide the best video quality possible regardless of connection speed.

I love the video bookmarking capabilities to stop and play-back shows at anytime…we’ve all been there when our kid loses their spot in a show and we have to start the whole thing over again!!   Another great feature is parental controls that require PIN access.

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Easy to access

Shaw Cable and Shaw Direct customers can download the apps by visiting shaw.ca/shawgo or shawdirect.ca/shawgo.

As a significant value-add, Shaw Internet customers are able to complement their use of these apps by accessing the Shaw Go WiFi network. A full list of locations is available at http://www.shaw.ca/wifi or through the Shaw Go WiFi Finder App.

Kids won’t necessarily be getting more screen time, but with the Shaw Go Apps, parents definitely can have more options for when and where they want to dole it out!  Let’s be honest…kids are noisy and sometimes silence is just what you need to regain some sanity as a parent.

Enter to win!

photo 3-2I’ve teamed up with Shaw Communications to bring you the information about the Shaw Go Apps.  I’d love you to help me spread the word, by entering to win a Disney Diaper Gift Bag!  To enter, leave a comment on this post telling me when you would find screen time on the go useful.  For extra entries, follow the directions in the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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End the week right: Feel Good Fridays at Brentwood

Thank goodness for Fridays! Shoppers are flocking to Brentwood for Feel Good Fridays in hopes of getting lunch on the house – literally. Every Friday between 12PM and 2PM, up to 10 lucky guests will learn there is such a thing as a free lunch when Brentwood’s guest services team swoops in and surprises them by picking up the tab, no strings attached.

“Nothing feels better than putting smiles on people’s faces, and Feel Good Fridays are the perfect way to do so,” said Samia Massoud, marketing director for Brentwood. “Surprising guests with a free meal or coffee never fails to brighten their day.”

Not satisfied with gratis grub? Feel Good Fridays take the positive vibes to new heights with complimentary shoulder and neck massages for guests on the upper level by the food court. Those in need of a dance break can get their groove on at centre court, thanks to old-school R&B, hip-hop and pop favourites courtesy of DJ Juice.

“Feel Good Fridays are all about our guests and showing them our appreciation in a fun, unique way,” added Massoud. “It’s a great feeling to give back to our community.”

About Brentwood: With stores ranging from American Eagle Outfitters to DAVIDsTEA, to Sears and London Drugs, Brentwood is the Lower Mainland’s answer to convenient shopping and excellent guest services. Located at the intersection of Lougheed and Willingdon with a dedicated SkyTrain stop and bus station, Brentwood is accessible and welcoming to all. Stay up to date on news and special promotions offered to valued guests at www.brentwoodtowncentre.com.

 

The school uniform debate

school uniformsGrowing up, I wore a uniform to school.  The parochial school I attended didn’t actually have a uniform the first year I was there, however, the parent board decided this was something they wanted and it was voted in.  However, it was not met without opposition.  My mom told me that there were many parents who were vehemently against school uniforms.  Their reasoning was that they didn’t want their kids being shoved into a mold and to have their personal freedoms and expression restricted.  I find this an ironic in a religious school.  Nevertheless, the uniforms were voted in.  I continued to wear a uniform all through elementary and high school and, in all honesty, I never felt restricted.  I guess I never knew any different, so it didn’t matter.

I know in many regions (The UK,  Australia, South America, South Africa, China, India) the majority of schools (public or private) adhere to some kind of dress code or uniform.  In America, more students than ever are wearing uniforms or are adhering to a dress code.  The school uniform debate has become a hot topic over the last 15 years.  One rationale is that a dress code or uniform is a means of decreasing the social pressures felt by children.  President Bill Clinton was famously in support of uniforms.  As he stated, “School uniforms are one step that may help break the cycle of violence, truancy and disorder by helping young students understand what really counts is what kind of people they are.”  Not what they wear.

There are definite pros and cons to school uniforms.  The Educhatter blog lists them out as follows:

Advantages of school uniforms or dress codes

  • Increase students’ self-esteem because they do not have to participate in the “school fashion show.” Dressing alike helps students learn that what really counts is on the inside.
  • Decrease the influence of gangs and gang violence. Uniforms make it more difficult to sneak in weapons, and easier to ban gang colors or symbols.
  • Improve learning by reducing distraction, sharpening focus on schoolwork and making the classroom a more serious environment.
  • Promote a sense of teamwork and increase school spirit.
  • Mask the income difference between families. All children dress the same, whether rich or poor.
  • Improve behavior and increase school attendance. Some students actually skip school to avoid embarrassment about their clothing.
  • Save families time and money. Many parents report that three uniforms cost about the same as one pair of designer jeans. Even some students admit that wearing the same colors everyday makes it easier to shop for new clothes.
  • Help administrators quickly identify outsiders who could be a danger to students.

Disadvantages of school uniforms or dress codes

  • Violate the right to freedom of speech and expression.
  • Cost too much for families who already struggle to make ends meet.
  • Merely put a band-aid on the problem of school violence and fail to address the real issues behind it.
  • Emphasize conformity, not individuality, and do not allow students to develop their identity.
  • Hide warning signs that point to problems. Often the way a child dresses can indicate the way he is feeling. Uniforms eliminate these red flags.
  • Offer ways for administrators to exert power and an unnecessary amount of authority.
  • Have not been statistically proven to decrease violence or promote discipline.
  • Fail to allow students to learn to make good choices based on their own values.

Personally, I liked wearing a uniform.  I never had to think about what I was wearing to school or what it meant.  Even with a uniform at our school,  we still found ways to express ourselves as individuals (whether it be through our hair, shoes, backpack etc.).  We had kids in my school from all socio-economic backgrounds, but clothing was never something that set anyone apart.

My grade 10 class photo.  I'm the clown in the front row third in from the left.

My grade 10 class photo. I’m the clown in the front row third in from the left.

As a parent, I think one of the greatest benefits of a uniform is convenience.  I’m lucky in that my daughter doesn’t have very strong opinions (for now) about what she wears to school.  I’m able to lay out her clothes for the next day and she’s usually pretty cool about what I’ve selected.  My son, on the other hand, is very opinionated about his clothing (at 5!) and will often make a few changes before coming downstairs for breakfast.  A uniform would make mornings much easier…and I think it might reduce the ridiculous amount of laundry we do in our home!

I’m not worried about my kids expressing themselves through their clothing…they have after school and weekends for this.

What are your thoughts?  Do you think uniforms make kids uniform thinkers?  Or would the ease of a school uniform appeal to you and your family?

Note:  I reached out to both Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education for British Columbia and Patti Bacchus, President Vancouver School board for their stance on this debate…by publication time, neither had replied.

Dunks for Dreams: Vancouver family event to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation

dunksfordreams_logoCFL Player and BC Lion Ryan Phillips is proud to bring Dunks forDreams, a charity basketball game at Vancouver College on Saturday, April 26th from 2‐6PM to Vancouver.

Hosted by DJ Alibaba, Dunks for Dreams will see CFL Players take the court against some of the most recognizable faces in the hospitality industry in a charity basketball game, with proceeds benefiting the Make‐A‐Wish Foundation.

The CFL team will include such familiar names as Ryan Phillips, the dynamic Adam Bighill and Travis Lulay, and the legendary Geroy Simon to name but a few.

For the kids there will be arts & crafts, face painting, and a bouncy castle, while the adults can enjoy a beer garden, BBQ, and so much more. With plenty ofgirl-with-basketball1-200x300
prizes and giveaways, a halftime show with a shooting contest, autograph signings and pictures with the athletes, and an after‐party at The Cellar Nightclub hosted by the players, it’s sure to be a fantastic event.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to give back to the community that supports us year round. We’re hoping to give a big cheque to the Make‐A‐Wish Foundation at the end of all this.” says Phillips.

For more information or to get involved visit the website

www.dunksfordreams.com

Ultimate girly house for sale in Vancouver

I often peruse realtor.ca to find homes to include in my Absurd Vancouver Property features.  However, once in a while I come across a home that (despite the expensive price tag) I absolutely love.  I’m all about character and great bones.  I adore when people see the potential in a century old house and embrace the charm.  I found a fabulous example of this in my very own neighbourhood.  If I was in the market for a new house…this would be a contender.  I’m not sure how thrilled my husband and son would be, however, as it’s pretty darn girly.

615 East 23rd Avenue

Neighbourhood: Main Street
Land Size: 33 x 110
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2
Price: $1.2 million
(Images from realtor.ca)

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Eat your heart out, Carrie Bradshaw!!

The “world’s toughest job” is a first world problem…

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own physical or mental attributes, that derive from arrogant pride. – Wikipedia

When did being a mom become such a hardship?  All over my Facebook news feed yesterday were re-posts of this viral video, where a (fake) executive is interviewing (fake) applicants for the (fake) Director of Operations Officer position at a (fake) company.  The catch?  There is no job…it’s just a cheesy reminder to call your mom, care of the American Greetings card company.


Look…I’m a mom and, to be fair, it’s not an easy gig.  I didn’t know this going in, however, because my mom never really complained.  Not on the scale of a viral video, anyway.  I’m sure she commiserated with her friends about lack of sleep, or time to herself.  She may have had a few arguments with my dad about sharing the workload.  She may even have gone so far as to (gasp!) tell another parent at the playground about being up all night with a sick child.

So, what’s changed?  Why do today’s mothers feel like everyone needs to be reminded that our lives are so hard?  We make it so easy for companies like one who paid for this video to pander to those feelings and manipulate us into thinking we (and others) should keep believing that our lives pretty much suck because we decided to procreate.

Yes, I’m tired.  Yes, my kids can be challenging.  Yes, I have less time for myself…but, here’s the thing:

If you have time to watch a YouTube video and Facebook about it all damn day, motherhood hasn’t completely swallowed you up – you had enough time in your busy day for this, let’s be honest, frivolity.  Maybe, after all, it isn’t the toughest job in the world.

Try working in a Chinese factory all day in deplorable conditions just so that you can earn pennies which may or may not be enough to feed your family that evening.

Try crouching down in an African cave for days with no food or water, struggling to keep your children quiet so that they will not be taken by rebels and used as child soldiers.

Try selling your body to different men night after night so that your little girl has warm clothes for the winter.

Are we as mothers becoming so self-obsessed and feeling so under appreciated that we are losing sight of the fact that we are, in fact, so very lucky?  Furthermore, why are we allowing companies to pander to this?  How about we see some commercials where motherhood is seen as triumphant, fun, and exhilarating?  Maybe we could quit feigning gratitude for a minute and realize that messages like this perpetuate the idea that in order to be a mom, you need to give up everything including sleep, your sanity, your career and even (according to this latest video) your lunch.

I just don’t think I have it that hard.  Do you?

The family that cooks together….could win $1000!

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Sometimes being a blogger is pretty cool.

On Sunday, I got to participate in a very special activity with my daughter.  We attended the media launch of Better Together’s #handsoncookoff at Vancouver’s amazing cooking school, The Dirty Apron.

We were joined by other media parents such as Michael Eckford from CKNW’s The Shift, Annemarie Tempelman-Kluit from YoYoMama.ca, Sarah Bancroft from Vitamin Daily and Rebecca Coleman of Cooking by Laptop. Our menu: chicken pot pie and chocolate souffle.  We could NOT wait to get started!

The Dirty Apron is an amazing facility.  The classes are completely hands on…first you watch watch one of their chef’s demonstrate how to create your dish, then you get to go back to your own station where all the ingredients and utensils are all pre-mesured and laid out in front of you.  The best part…no dishes!!  The mess magically disappears as you work.  I could get used to that!

The event was the official launch of Better Together’s #handsoncookoff contest, a video competition that’s all about bringing together food and fun in the kitchen by having two generations or two youth demonstrate how to prepare a recipe.  I know from experience that the more I include my kids in the preparation of their meals (from grocery shopping, to cleaning vegetables, to chopping to actual cooking) the more likely they are to try different ingredients and enjoy their meals.  There are even studies that support this.

A great example of how cooking is better together happened during our class.  My daughter typically detests mushrooms…however, she was involved in preparing, chopping and peeling them for our pot pie.  Low and behold, guess what?  She was actually excited to taste them in her finished product.  I’d say that’s a win!

Enter the #handsoncookoff and win $1000!

You can participate in the Hands-on Cook-off Contest

How: Make a 3-minute video that shows how to cook your favourite recipe

Who: Two generations or more participating and cooking together.

What: You could win cash prizes worth up to $1,000.

Where: View contest rules and submit your video at bettertogetherbc.ca/contest

When: Enter between April 15 – May 15, 2014.

Disclosure: I did not receive compensation for this post, but did get to participate in a cooking class at The Dirty Apron courtesy of Better Together.  Opinions expressed are my own.

 

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