It never fails. The first warm weekend of spring and my children chomp at the bit to have their bikes brought out from the garage. What also never fails is that I can never get the bikes down off their hooks and we all have to wait for my husband to get home to lift them down to the ground.
We are a family of bikers. Spring, summer, and fall we go on family rides—our boys choose the routes. There are no boundaries as we bike along sidewalks, streets, and trails. An hour passes by in the blink of an eye. Biking is the first step towards independence–it gives your children a sense of freedom. They can go further than they've ever gone on foot but still be home in time for dinner.
I remember that feeling as a child. The wind in my hair and sun on my face, biking around the neighbourhood with my friends, our parents instructing us to come in when the streetlights came on.
My youngest, he’s the fearless one. As soon as his training wheels were off he insisted on a ramp so he could practice jumps. His motto is the faster, the better.
My older son is more cautious and likes to lead the way.
They can bike to the convenience store for Slushies or to the park to play. Their newfound sense of independence at being able to go off on their own ripples through other areas of their life.
I watch them laugh and smile all the while thinking how lucky they are that the bikes they have are simply used for fun.
Across the world that same bike can change a life.
I was asked to write about this program because I’m quite passionate about being active as a family and biking is a part of that. Biking is one of those few outings you can do no matter what age or stage your child is at.
The research I did for this program changed me, I can’t un-see the difference a bike can make to a child in rural Ghana, Africa.
One bicycle can cut travel time to school by up to four hours a day. That’s how much time these young children spend walking to and from school. When they arrive on foot, they are often exhausted, sometimes too tired to learn.
Four hours a day, every school day, works out to up to 25 extra days in school—25 extra days where they are learning.
This is especially important for young women because education means empowerment which, in turn, leads to healthier, richer lives for both them and their children.
A bike that we use for a fun outing here can completely change a child's life in rural Ghana—and you can help. By building one virtually.
To build a bike, simply visit www.facebook.com/BicycleFactory, click on "Start Building Now" and register as an individual or a team. Choose your favourite virtual product (I’m a Dairy Milk girl myself), and turn it into a bike part by dragging it through a portal and “releasing” it into Africa. Every 100 bike parts create an actual bicycle that will go to a student in the cocoa growing regions of Ghana.
And if you want to be even more inspired, spend some time on The Cadbury Bicycle Factory Facebook page where you can see pictures of some of the children who have received bikes.
Like the beautiful, smiling Hannah who has saved 50 days of time traveling to and from school and is using that extra time to study to become a nurse.
Or Bliss who wants to be a policeman when he grows up.
These are the lives you change when you build a bike.
Now it’s time to stop reading, and start building so a boy or girl on the other side of the world can save travel time going to and from school every day.
Then when you're done go for a bike ride with your kids and enjoy the wind in your hair and sun on your face.
I am a bit of a product junkie as proven by my addiction to brushes, white t-shirts, and the number of “As Seen On TV” products strewn about my home. This addiction also applies to my nails. There isn’t a nail polish I can resist. So when I saw the Sally Hansen Gel Starter Kits, let’s just say I did a happy dance in the middle of Walmart and bought it.
The Salon Gel Polish Kit cost $70 and has enough product (including the LED lamp to cure your nails) in it for up to ten salon gel manicures at home. Each manicure can last up to two weeks.
The starter kits come in one of three colours: Wine Not (deep burgundy), Red My Lips (bright red), and Shell We Dance (light pink)–I bought the latter.
I’ve now done three gel manicures (and have bought two other colours) since my original purchase and can say I truly love this kit. The application process is simple.
Step 1: Base coat
Step 2: Colour
Step 3: Top coat.
After applying each coat you cure your nails using the LED lamp which automatically shuts off after 30 seconds. Once all the steps are done wipe your nails with a nail cleanser pad and voila! Salon quality nails at home.
A few useful tips:
Make sure your nails are clean before you start (use the nail cleanser pads)
If you get the base coat, colour, or top coat on your skin, gently wipe away before you cure under the LED lamp.
Does it stand up to the two weeks as stated on the box? These are my nails after 11 days.
You can see that it's growing out a bit but the shine is still there and they haven't chipped.
All in all, if you want pretty polished nails for the summer I'd say it's a definite buy.
p.s. This isn't sponsored. I paid for the kit with my own money. Also, my nail polish collection is worse than my brush collection. My husband is a very, very patient man.
Make a trip to your local garden centre so you can create a cascade of rainbows in your yard by planting colourful flowers.
Throw some burgers on the barbie, haul out the paper plates, and enjoy the company of good friends and good food because food always tastes better when you eat it outdoors.
Get your kids into their pajamas, grab a blanket, and take them out to see a spectacular display as the night sky lights up. Plus your kids will think you’re extra cool for letting them stay up so late.
Your kids are up late anyway so why not lay on the lawn and do a bit of stargazing. First one to spot a shooting star gets dibs on the lemonade. Which brings me to…
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Even if the weather is cool, encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in your little ones by having them host a lemonade stand.
What better way to enjoy the warm weather than by getting back to nature and hitting the trails.
Public pools may not be open but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a wonderful watery time. Go old school and bring out the sprinkler for a few hours of play and spray.
Start the summer off in a spectacular way by going to a local ice cream parlour for a cone or creating the ultimate sundae at home.
Or at least your egg salad sandwiches. If the weather is nice, slap on your sunglasses and sunscreen, pack a picnic basket, and go to the park for a lounge-around under a tree lunch.
The weather in May is unpredictable so if Mother Nature decides your day should be filled with a downpour instead of sunshine, head on out to a movie theatre or bowling alley for some indoor fun with the family.
Happy Long Weekend!