Dec
20
2011

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

The Best Part Of Christmas

Stocking Stuffer Ideas

The stockings are not hung by the chimney with care at our house yet, nor is the tree up. There is no holiday baking stashed in my fridge, no presents are wrapped. For that matter, I have only half of my gifts purchased, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Christmas is less than a week away.

The one thing I do have done is stocking stuffers. You know why? Because stockings are the best part of Christmas!! They hold the coolest items and are the most fun for Santa’s helper (me) to take care of.

If you are stuck on stocking stuffers the way I am stumped for the rest of my gifts, I have a few ideas for you.

I don’t just stuff stockings for my kids, I make one for my husband, and my sister and I make them for our parents. This is my favourite item that will be going in their stockings:

Yes, that is a 4ft pack of Jaffa Cakes... a little large for a stocking you say? poppycock! It’s a “stocking over-filler”.

For Tom, I found a few choice articles that will brighten his Christmas morning, like this “life-transforming breath spray”.

It promises to make you “look and feel Canadian instantly”. Considering Tom is from Denmark, I thought it might help him to fit in.

I also got him this cup to make him look badass at work:

(both purchased at FoodStuffs in Georgetown, ON)

For Eleanor, our tween, I found these great kid-friendly face masks and a lollipop shaped pumice stone at Chapters.

Also at Chapters, these awesome cookie cutters for Rebecca, she’s 6, and she loves to bake. Hello, Ninja Bread Men!! So cool.

All of the kids are getting these Crazy Erasers too. They have all different types, this one is for Rebecca, but I got skateboard ones for Ethan. I found them at Toys R Us.

I scored big for Ethan at Toys R Us too. That’s where I got this Mini Cosmos he can hang from his ceiling, finger bowling, and of course... a fart noise maker. To hear what it sounds like cup hand under arm and squeeze... yeah, I could never do that either. Maybe just stick tongue out and blow.

And finally, no stocking is complete without a Terry’s Chocolate Orange... it goes in the toe of the stocking... always... or it’s very upsetting.

Dec
14
2011

'Twas The Weekend Before Christmas

A Christmas Poem

'Twas The Weekend Before Christmas

I was browsing the Browns Shoes website, and it reminded me of this poem that I wrote a few years ago. Seemed timely, so I thought I would share.

 

T'was the weekend before Christmas and all through the mall
all the crazies were shopping and starting a brawl.
The sale signs were hung in the window with care.
You can get a good deal, go in, if you dare.

The sales girls were perched and lying in wait,
with visions of making a good commission rate.
My baby in her sketchers and I in my heels,
had just settled in to eat happy meals.

When out in the corridor there arose quite a riot,
I guess this will help me to stick to my diet!
Away to Holt Renfrew, I flew like a nut.
God knows, I needed to see what was up.

The glitz and the glitter of new-fallen prices,
gave the lustre of boxing day to all of my vices.
When what to my wondering eyes should I view,
but a sale table filled with half-priced Jimmy Choo.

At the next table over people were stealthy and quick,
and I knew in a moment it must be Manolo Blahnik.
More rapid than eagles, hungry like beasts
women tussled and pushed to get one pair at least.

Now Visa! Now Amex! Now Debit and Cash!
On MasterCard! On layaway! on to the money I keep in my secret stash!
I'll take the black and the red, 4 inches tall.
Charge Away, Charge Away, Charge Away all!!

Like Arkansas trailers in the wild hurricane fly,
women spun round on a cheap leather high.
So up to the cash register, the ladies, they flew
with credit cards in hand and clutching their shoes.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard a woman say.
"look, there, what's coming our way."
With hand on hip, I turned around,
and there in front of me, Prada, I found.

They were dressed all in red from tip to toe,
and they were looking at me, calling out Moe!
A small amount of sparkle made them so sweet,
and they looked like they wanted to be on my feet.

The leather, so supple. The perfect shaped heel.
You can't even imagine how good they feel.
The sweet little toe drawn up like a bow, and the designer shoe feeling made my cheeks all a glow.
with a wink of my eye and a snap of my finger, I let the sales lady know I wouldn't linger.

She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work
bringing my purchase up to the cash clerk.
Laying my credit card down in her hand,
she tallied the price for such a name brand.

To my stroller I sprang giving my daughter a hug
and away we flew like a bank robbing thug.
and they heard me sing as I ran out of sight
"HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOODNIGHT!"

Dec
08
2011

TV Shows We Watch With Our Kids

Programs We Don't Hate

TV Shows We Watch With Our Kids

Recently, while driving to work and listening to The Dean Blundell Show, the discussion turned to Bronies—grown men who enjoy watching My Little Pony. 

At first I thought this was a little creepy, but then I did a little research. It turns out the developer of My Little Pony, Lauren Faust, is known for writing kids' shows that have adult appeal and intentionally set out to create an animated show that could be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

This isn’t an easy task, most of the new kids shows are full of obnoxious characters with voices that grate on your nerves well before you get into their lack-lustre plot. So, I decided to come up with a list of kids' shows that are equally enjoyable for kids and adults.

Dean Blundell, although not a My Little Pony fan, said the only kids’ show that he liked to watch was Spongebob Squarepants, and it was a popular answer when I asked online what shows people watched with their kids. While I can see the humour in Spongebob, he also fits snugly in that obnoxious/irritating voice category for me.

So what shows would I watch with my kids? I think I will do this by age. I have 4 kids, so I will tell you what shows I would watch with each of them.

Siobhan is 19 months old, and we often have some TV time VERY early in the morning. The top 3 shows for this age group, I would say, are:

  The Cat in the Hat Knows A Lot About That - This show has some catchy tunes, and it’s informative too. Sally and Nick go on many crazy, "Suessified" adventures, and when they get in a jam, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are quick to help them out. 

  Toopy & Binoo - I may get some haters for this one, but I am a Toopy & Binoo fan, and they got several votes in my on-line poll as well. I think Toopy & Binoo are a fabulous concoction of childhood whimsy and hallucinogenic drugs.

  The Backyardigans - Everyone loves the Backyardigans. They are true genius, the writing, the characters, the simplicity. I would happily sit and watch this show with my little one, and I may continue watching it even after she has toddled off into the other room.

Rebecca is 6 and no longer interested in Treehouse (although she might watch it if no-one else sees her), so here are the shows I would watch with her:

  Totally Spies - This is basically an animated version of Charlie’s Angels with some serious techno gadgets thrown in. Who knew that your lipstick could double as a laser? Although the characters are a little flakey and the story lines sit at the base of mediocrity, it’s good for a half hour snuggle on the couch.

  Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. - While I would take a retro Scooby Doo any day over this show, it has the bones of its predecessor, and still follows the general plot lines too. I am disappointed that they felt the need to make Shaggy and Velma into a love story, but happy to see that “those darn kids” are still solving mysteries.

  Phineas and Ferb! - This may be my all-time favourite kids show, and it seems many agree. This show received the most votes in my on-line poll. The writers for this show are brilliant and have provided just enough adult undertones to keep kids and parents alike tuning in. “Mom, Phineas and Ferb are in a blog!”

Ethan is 9, and I have to be honest, we have very little in common as far as entertainment goes, so I will tell you what he and my husband might enjoy watching together.

  G.I. Joe Renegades - Guns (check), fighting (check), guys with weird nicknames (check), spies (check). It has all the makings for a show that the guys in my life would watch. I know, I don’t get it either.

  Hole In The Wall - This is a funny game show where there is literally a hole in the wall that people have to try and fit through by making the same shapes out of their bodies. I’ve only seen it a few times and it looks impossible, but both the boys and my daughters really like it.

  Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Now this one I understand, and while I am not a fan of most shows with the word “Star” in it, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Ewoks. What? They’re cute!

And, finally, our tween. Eleanor is 11, so bring on the high school dramas and kids with attitudes. I am aware that there are a lot of Family Channel haters out there, and I get it, the kids on these shows are rude, but they still have a few shows I really enjoy.

  Good Luck Charlie - A lot of parents told me this was a show they could watch with their kids, and I agree. Well written, interesting characters, and a totally cute baby without being too cutesy. 

  Wizards of Waverly Place - I have been known to watch this without the kids, so I guess I would watch it with them too. I’m a Selena Gomez fan, I admit it!

  America’s Next Top Model - What? That’s the best part about them growing up, you can stop watching kids’ shows! This is a show we like to watch together weekly and pick our favourites to win. I once questioned if this show was going to have a poor effect on young girls’ self image, but was happy to find they included plus size models and one season, they even kicked someone off for being too skinny. Way to go Top Model!

So, there you go. Maybe it’s not so weird when adults enjoy kids programming. Bad news for all you Bronies out there, though: Faust has left the My Little Pony production. Don’t worry, she will be starting a new series called Super Best Friends Forever starring Batgirl, Supergirl and Wondergirl. I wonder if it will garner the same kind of following?

What shows do you watch with your kids?