The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
Actually this depends on which side of the Grass Wars you're on. Yes, I'm talking lawns. You thought the Mommy Wars were ridiculous? Lawn brawls are equally ludicrous.
It's been an unseasonably hot and dry spring here in Ontario. Only a few days into summer now and our gardens are struggling to survive. As I walked my dog through our neighbourhood last night I noticed that half the lawns in our hood are green and lush. The other half are yellow and crispy. I scoffed and passed judgement on one of these groups. I won't say which—I don't relish being mowed down by angry sods who disagree with me. (I have NO idea why I have developed a reputation for punning. But muchas grassy-ass to those who keep sending me "pun meme" emails to enjoy. )
This early in the season the city has yet to issue watering restrictions. So those who have the time and gumption to yank out their hoses and water, may. Like not shaving under your arms or bottle feeding, it's a personal choice. Personal. This means there shouldn't be any judgement. But you know there always is. Lawn care is not exempt from harsh criticism. No, seriously. This is a thing.
Here are the two warring sides:
Greenies —folks who water and weed and take pride in their moist and well manicured yard carpets.
Crispies — these home owners believe that watering is wasteful. (*This excludes those who are on vacation, people who could give two shits about curb appeal, or those whose hose is so hopelessly tangled they can't even... ) They let nature take its course and believe that a green lawn is not necessarily a healthy lawn.
My husband and I are on opposing sides of this debate. One of us wants the lawn to be soft for the kids to play on. While the other watches a lot of documentaries on Netflix including the one about the global water crisis. (Don't even get me started on the epic "to weed or not to weed the dandelions debate of May 2016.")
So what do you do when home dwellers disagree on this topic? If you're a Greenie, you water while the Crispy is at work. Or you force your children to run through the sprinkler two times a day (thus watering under the guise of good clean kid fun). If you're a Crispy, you tightened the tap knob so tight that the Greenie in your house can't possibly turn it without using a wrench which the Greenie has hidden somewhere in the garage.
Outside of that, all you can do is agree to disagree and pray for rain.
Mulch it over and let me know which side of the fence you're on.
*FYI—this does not apply to plants, vegetable gardens or hanging baskets. They need water! We're not monsters.*
For Your Information — Other non lawn or parenting related wars quiet raging in Canadian communities include:
~ the family decal car sticker wars
~ plastic vs reusable cloth grocery shopping bag wars
~ the put together moms wars
~idling in the drive-thru wars
~the pick-up after your pet wars
~the learn how to drive you friggin' idiot wars
Feel free to add to this list in the comments.
My daughter was born with special needs that make her uniquely unique. She has more self-confidence in her little finger than most of us have from head to toe. She isn’t afraid to be herself. Partly because of her chromosome deletion disorder, and partly because she has the heart of a lion. My daughter doesn't worry or judge or hate. She only loves—herself and the people in her life. How wonderful to live like that.
I suspect we’re all born like Avery—clean slates with full hearts and open minds. I wonder when that changes? Because sadly, it does. We become tainted by societal expectations. At some point, we begin to doubt ourselves. Do I measure up? Am I good enough?
There are six-year-olds who think they're fat. Eight-year-olds who worry they aren’t pretty enough. Nine-year-olds who think they’re stupid. Ten-year-olds who strive to look like the women they see in magazines. Girls who believe they are less than.
Self-doubt is taught but it can be unlearned.
As the grown-ups in their lives, it’s up to us to teach our daughters that they are enough. In fact, they are MORE THAN ENOUGH. They are unique. And unique is amazing.
We can inspire confidence by leading by example—which can be tough because I admit that some days I feel fat and ugly, and stupid, and less than. This is alarming because I consider myself to be a strong and confident woman. Clearly, none of us are immune to the “you’re not good enough” messages we’re bombarded with every day.
So how can we help build our girls’ confidence?
A great place to start is by hosting a Dove Self-Esteem Party. Of course, there are snacks and drinks and decorations and silly moments. Hello, it's a party! But a Mother-Daughter Mindful Me Party, is a party with a purpose—with activities built into the fun to promote and build self-esteem. Of course, one little workshop like this won’t fix everything, but it’s certainly a wonderful place to begin.
My daughter has an abundance of girlfriends who love and appreciate her just the way she is. Our self-esteem party was not only a celebration of that, but also a great opportunity for all the girls (and moms!) to participate in some "Mindful Me Activities."
1. Visit selfesteem.dove.ca and choose 3-5 self-esteem and body confidence related topics you would like to discuss at your #InspireConfidence party.
2. Print and/or download your Dove Self Esteem resources and invite your daughter and her friends to attend the party. Two hours is a good length of time to allow for activities and snacking. (I found this free online invitation.)
3. What to wear/bring: Comfy clothes. Ask guests to bring a yoga mat if they have one. Also ask moms to email a photo of their child if you’d like to glue a picture to any of the files you downloaded ahead of time.
4. Setting: Move furniture out of the way to create a “yoga-like” space or if it’s a nice day go outside on the deck or spread out on the lawn. Light candles, play soothing music, plug in a trickling fountain...anything goes when it comes to creating your mindful space.
5. Snacks: Prepare food and drinks ahead of time so you can enjoy your guests and facilitate the workshop. Serve whatever you like, but as an example, our Mindful Menu included:
Mindful Melon Mojitos (for moms) or these Blueberry Mojitos, Watermelon Punch (for the kids), veggies and dip, cranberry feta pinwheels, fruit and Greek yogurt dip, sushi, Creamy Artichoke & Leek Dip served with tortilla chips and gluten-free toasted pita triangles, Oven Baked Zucchini Sticks, Honey & Sriracha Popcorn.
6. Activities: There are a lot of great activities to choose from, so to help narrow it down, choose a few activities based on the age and interests of the girls. They’re all really helpful exercises so you can’t go wrong, but as an example, this is what we did at our Mindful Me Party. Find all the instructions and printables you'll need at Mindful Me, Uniquely Me, and Confident Me.
1. Greet guests and explain a bit about the concept of being mindful (how, why it’s beneficial) and then start with an easy ice-breaker game like this one from the Free-Being-Me 7-10 year old activity pack (Page 8).
2. Moms work with their daughters to complete the “This Is Me” activity (Page 11). Tell the girls that this is something they can refer back to for a boost of confidence whenever they’re feeling down.
3. Try this "Mini Meditation" Activity (Find the instructions here on Page 25). Learning how to relax and be "mindful" is such a valuable lesson for our daughters (and for stressed out moms, too!)
4. End the instructional portion of the workshop with Power Poses! (See Page 29) Research shows that our posture and the way we hold our bodies can affect how confident we feel and how anxious we can become. Standing strong and looking powerful – even when we don’t feel like it on the inside - can release confidence-producing hormones that lower anxiety levels. It shows the world that you’re feeling open and self-assured.
End the party by snacking and chatting and enjoying each other’s company. You can also choose to share your “This Is Me" sheets at this time.
5. After the party, email guests a "thank-you for coming message" with a few photos from the party and links to the Parent Resource PDFs. Encourage moms to try some of the other activities with their daughters and maybe host a self-esteem workshop of their own.
Be sure to take photos of YOUR #InspireConfidence party and share on social media with the hashtag and you will automatically be entered for a chance to win 1 of 5 $50 PC gift cards courtesy of Loblaws!
Dove believes no girl should be held back from reaching her full and amazing potential. However, anxieties over appearance can stop girls being their best selves, affecting their health, friendships and performance at school. So for over 10 years, Dove has been helping young people with self-esteem education, globally reaching 17 million of them so far. Join the Dove Self-Esteem Movement and help reach even more!
As the school year comes to a close, I want to mingle and party but...I'm tired. So my neighbours and I take turns hosting easy "Wine-d Down Parties." It's simple and casual and the perfect way to head into summer.
When school officially ends, my school-mom-sistahs and I go our separate ways—road trips, family vacations, and camping. Summer is... "in-tents." Pun intended. So this party is pretty much our only opportunity for quality time together before we all scatter into the summer winds.
Our party manifesto is simple: eat, drink, and be merry—kidless and fancy free.
Because we're all bascially "done like dinner" with tedious tasks like making school lunches and serving ANYONE, this party has one rule. Simplicity.
The host must swear on a stack of bibles and sign a blood oath that she will keep the party prep to a bare minimum. You're allowed to clean your house—but only half assed. And on that note, you're permitted to clean your bathroom...but only the one guests will be using.
And what about fancy appies and killer cocktails garnished with fruit and sprigs of things? Nope. I love a creative cocktail, but remember the rule? Keep it SIMPLE. This means no fancy pants efforts of any kind.
Each mom brings a bottle of wine, an easy appetizer, and any required serving plates/utensils (which they will bring home with them to wash). See? Simple!
The hostess is in charge of the minimalist décor. As long as there are wine glasses, a large bucket filled with ice to chill the wine, and a comfy place for guests to also chill, the hostess has met her obligations.
Why wine? Because this:
Woodbridge Wines are fruit-forward, smooth, and balanced which makes them perfect for sipping with friends on the patio. Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, and White Zinfandel are consistently great-tasting with light fruit aromas.
If you love wine cocktails, there are some great wine cocktail recipes here!
Chips - Yes, straight out of the bag is perfectly acceptable.
BBQ Nachos - Love 'em! I shared my favourite nacho recipe here. So easy and so tasty. Line aluminum pie plates with nacho chips and shredded jack cheese. Guests heat them up on the BBQ and then garnish with the toppings provided. Done! Plus, oh-my-goodness-good.
Nuts n' Such - (How much do I enjoy saying nuts n' such? So, so much.) I grab a 4-6 items...maybe 4 salty/2 sweet...from the Bulk Barn and arrange them on a plate or sectioned dish and this snack is ready to go.
Veggies and Dip - Have you tried avocado hummus? Amazing.
Salad Kebobs - Oh how I love a kebob. Food on a stick is the best. I made this in minutes and served with a bottled avocado ranch dressing.
Buffalo Cauliflower "Wings" - These may bend the "simple only" rule a bit, but this recipe isn't too difficult and these "wings" are so worth it!! Get the recipe here.
Cheese Ball - Buy it already made and serve with a box of crackers. Bam!
Something sweet - Cake or cookies are perfect.
And of course, wine. Have you tried any of the white wines from Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi? You'll find them in the California section of your local liquor store.
I made these Wine Slushies inspired by the fruity flavours of Woodbridge wines for another party (still pretty simple, but these wine cocktails require a *bit* more prep). Serve these once and your friends will be back for more! Click here for the recipe and fruit combination suggestions.
What do YOU do to make simple moments worth sharing? Who do you share them with? How? When? Where? I'd love to know! Visit Woodbridgewines.com for more recipes, serving tips and check out the wine pairing app that provides recommendations of what wine to serve with your food.
Go on and wine'd down mamas! You deserve it. Cheers!