The Dinner Table: Getting Kids To Talk

Best and Worst

The Dinner Table: Getting Kids To Talk

The dinner table is such an intimate setting for conversation. I love sitting down with my family and learning about their day. As you know, kids don’t often offer up a great deal about their day. The question “What did you do today?” is often met with the reply “Nothing.”

So, my husband and I have adopted a tradition from my brother-in-law. Once dinner is on the table, and we are all settled in our seats, we go around the table and each person tells us their best and their worst thing that happened during the day.

We have found that this practice opens up a much bigger conversation, and choosing one detail of their day often leads to remembering more things that happened. We have learned about new boyfriends, fights at school, birthday invitations, bad grades. All is revealed at the dinner table. 

I used to be the one who initiated these conversations, but now it’s the kids who want to tell us about their day. I didn’t realize how much they enjoyed this practice until we went away for a weekend to Muskoka Woods. We were camping with several other moms and kids, and our three older kids were at a table with other kids while I sat with a few moms.

Halfway through dinner, Rebecca came over and said “You should introduce your friends to best and worst, we just did at our table.”

So, I did. I explained to the other moms that we had this conversation starter and that my kids would like me to share it with them, and then we went around the table and each shared what we enjoyed most about our trip and what we didn’t enjoy at all. Most of us answered sleeping in bunk beds as our worst, I wonder how many kids said that as their best?

I wonder how many moms from camp have adopted this ritual now too. It really does make the dinner table a place to come together and to learn about one another. Do you have any conversation starters that get your kids talking?


The Terrible Twos

What Happened To My Angel Baby?

The Terrible Twos

I have said all along, I would have ten more babies if I could guarantee they were as well behaved as our youngest. To which my husband has always responded “Are you F**king crazy?” There may also have been mention of a one-way ticket to Mexico.

It’s true though. She is very independent. She loves to play on her own, and makes no qualms about letting people know when she doesn’t want to be picked up or fussed over. Eleanor has received many straight arms to the face when trying to hug her at unwanted intervals.

She gravitates toward people who don’t make a big deal of her or are sitting quietly not paying attention to her at all, and she will tell you if she wants you to pay attention to something in particular.

She has always slept well and gone to bed (and down for naps) very well. We simply give her a kiss, put her in her bed and walk away. She either goes straight to sleep or entertains herself until she gets tired.

She is a dream baby…or was. She turned two in April, and while I never really believed there was a big difference between two and any other age, I was sadly mistaken. Have I blocked this stage from previous babies?

Now she whines, and she’s clingy, and she has temper tantrums. Tom likes to wait till she is in the throws of one of these tantrums and sweetly ask “So, still want another baby?” I, of course, say yes out of spite. The worst part is, she doesn’t want to go to sleep anymore, she cries at bedtime. I still walk away though, and she is out within a few minutes.


My baby used to be an angel, and now? Well, now she’s more like…well, like this: 


Date Night

When The Planets Align

Date Night

I recently went to the #YMCTea tweet up held by Gav Martell at the Fairmont Royal York, where I had the pleasure of meeting some awesome Yummy Mummies and learning about tea. I happen to be a tea toting granny-type, so this was right up my alley.

I have always wanted to attend high tea at the Royal York, mostly because I love scones and cream, but also because IT’S THE ROYAL YORK!


I was shocked to learn that proper tea etiquette dictates that our pinkies should in fact be down, not up. Who knew? And my husband was shocked to discover that I am, in fact, hilarious.

You see, they had a funniest tweet competition, and I won! Now ask what I won… okay, I’ll tell you. I won a night’s stay at the Fairmont Royal York!!

Then, last weekend, the planets aligned. Three of our four kids were away, so we only needed to find a sitter for the wee one, we had a free night at the Royal York, and a $50 gift card for the Rosewater Room, and we managed to get last minute reservations for both! It was a date night trifecta, and we took full advantage of it.

Since our reservations at the Royal York were on the Gold floor, we simply arrived and went to our personal concierge on the Gold Floor where we were checked in and given a tour of the floor.

We showered and got ready for our dinner reservations, but before leaving, we dropped into the Gold Lounge for the complimentary hors d’oeuvres.

When we arrived at the Rosewater Room, I was immediately impressed with the building it’s housed in, with its beautiful ornate doorway and  “Old Toronto” feel. The inside was just as impressive, although more modern.

Most impressive though—the food! I had my first taste of fois gras, and I can tell you it won’t be the last. Tom had the seared scallops to start and began wishing he had ordered them as his entre as well.

He ordered the veal t-bone for his entree though, and was not disappointed with that… until he tried my duck breast, which was to die for. I would never have thought to caramelize grapes, nor would I have thought to have them for dinner, for that matter, but the duck and the grapes together made my mouth sing with flavours

I had never had duck before, as I would normally order a steak, but as I said to Tom, duck seems like the steak of the poultry world. I would definitely order that again.

Since I was stepping out of my comfort zone, I asked the waitress to recommend a dessert other than my old faithful, crème brulee. She chose the red wine poached pears with white chocolate Chantilly cream which was very nice, but Tom had the grapefruit crème brulee, and I kept stealing bites of his because it was a clear winner.

After dinner, we decided to walk back to the hotel and burn off some of the millions of calories we had just consumed. We stopped at the Beer Bistro for a quick drink along the way, and then returned to the Gold Lounge for their late night dessert buffet. So much for that walk.

It was so nice to climb into the crisp white linens of the king size bed, both a luxury I don’t have at home…white linens because I know they wouldn’t be white for long with 4 kids who love to play on our bed, and the king size bed because Tom hasn’t agreed to one yet. I think this date night my have changed his mind though.

The best part of date night was sleeping in the next morning. Wow, we’re old.