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Parenting

Multi-Use Glitter Clips:Kids Project

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Glitter without the mess. Every parent’s dream and every child’s victory. If you’re looking for a sweet alternative to candy this season, craft a handful of these with your kids to give to their friends this Valentine’s Day!

 

What you’ll need:

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Glitter foam sheets
Plain metal hair clips
1 marker
Scissors
Hair spray
Hot glue gun

How to:

On the back of your glitter sheet, draw the shape you’d like to create for your clips. Hearts work for Valentine’s Day, but other simple shape like circles, oval and squares will do the trick, too.

  • Tip: Make sure your shapes are slightly larger than your hair clips.
  1. Cut out your shape. Trace and cut out a duplicate of your original shape to create a set of two.

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  1. On a protected surface, spray each shape with hairspray to prevent the glitter from coming off.
  2. With an adult’s help, use your glue gun to affix the clips to the back of your shapes.

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Clip them onto your shoes, belt, jacket collar, or in your hair. The ideas are endless!

 

 

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The 4 Most Important Supplements for Pregnancy

Josh Gitalis, Clinical Nutritionist

Josh is a recognized expert in the fields of clinical detoxification and therapeutic supplementation. He runs a private practice based in Downtown Toronto and teaches Clinical Nutrition at the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine and the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. As a leader in his field, Josh consults with clients worldwide and is a noted expert for various media outlets including CTV News and CityTV.

www.joshgitalis.com

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POP Culture Story Header

 

I’ve been watching Game of Thrones – and not just because of the omnipresent sex and violence. Okay, they might have something to do with it. However, people like me really watch because of the gripping interpersonal dynamics. The various lead characters must figure out the right way to live in a world of chaos – this struggle is often informed by the expectations their fathers have of them. Everyone in this series has daddy issues.

Game of Thrones takes place during a war of succession involving a large cast of diverse protagonists. It shows a heartless disregard for its characters, killing them off with relish and regularity. The kings in question are generally deeply flawed and their children are the warped results. These offspring are quickly left to their own devices to sort out how to behave. This is generally a good thing, as their dads are a bunch of murderous conniving psychos. The one exceptional King Dad is Ned Stark and he is killed basically for being honourable.

But Ned Stark is a good dad because he models honour, self-reliance and responsibility. It might stem from his family motto which essentially means, “It’s going to get hard; everything is going to die; so prepare accordingly.” It doesn’t always protect his children from harm. It does, however, aid the Starks in times of crisis to have a family code of honour guiding them on who they are. Other characters, like the dwarf Tyrion, reject their despicable father’s way of life and must forge a new identity on their own. Some believe fathers are unnecessary, but I’d argue having a good one sure helps, like a hidden dagger in your boot.

I hope to arm my kids with a strong family identity, one that helps them navigate the world when I can’t protect them. That means I must strive to be a better person myself. Sigh. I’m not very successful at that but it gives me something to aim for. Is it too much to ask to be called Sire in return?

chrissweeneypopbadge

Christopher Sweeney is a chauffeur, short order cook, quartermaster, frontline medic, and laundryman – i.e. a stay-at-home dad. He is also a graphic novelist, screenwriter, lawyer and university lecturer. Check out more Pop Culture pieces on his blog: popculture-superdad.blogspot.com

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POP CULTURE – Tactical Strikes

We recently went through a  kinda sorta teachers’ strike last Friday. The teachers weren’t allowed to strike so they called it a one day protest and everyone across the province scrambled to figure out what to do with their kids for that day. As a home-based dad, I had it covered though it meant I would get nothing done that day and planned accordingly. I have found that one of my most effective parenting strategies is low expectations. I assume I won’t get anything done when my kids are around and as a result I don’t try to – thus avoiding the frustration of trying and failing. I also try and raise my kids in having low expectations of me as a parent which, though socially disapproved of, means I rarely disappoint and even occasionally impress.

Then after all the brouhaha, the Labour Relations Board told the teachers that they could call what they were doing Chicken Noodle Soup if they wanted but it was clearly an illegal strike and they had to get their butts back to work. I mean, come on, this is a group of people who daily get “the dog ate my homework” stories – did they think anyone else would be fooled by their lame relabelling exercise? As well, in two weeks they had a PA day scheduled – they couldn’t protest on this day? Please.

Anyway. We of course only found this out on Friday morning as my kids and I settled down for a morning of cartoons. They were devastated to find out that they’d have to go to school. Yet again I have to question the unions’ strategy through this process – they are alienating their core support group (parents) and by removing their support of after school and club activities they lessen their role and importance in kids and parents’ lives. I would also guess it makes their jobs less fun. It would be too much to expect kids to be happy to go to school, I suppose, but when you threaten to remove your services and most of your “clientele” is ecstatic you maybe have an image problem you need to manage.

After I thought about it for a minute, I realized that getting them all to their various schools at that point would be very difficult. I also could exploit my low-expectations strategy and cash in for some easy “Good Dad” points. Time for a Tactical Strike of my own. I told them they could stay home but at the first hint of trouble I would take them all to school. Joy. Christmas in July. Found money. Etc. My oldest even hugged me and said, “Thank you, Dad.” That felt really good even though it was not clearly a good parenting moment – in fact it was arguably the rough parenting equivalent to eating an entire bag of potato chips and drinking a gallon of root beer for dinner or (in my single days) cheap and meaningless sex with a stranger. Bad for you but, not only did it feel good at the time, it left you strangely elated and feeling pleased with yourself at random moments for days after. I am, sadly, basing that more on my experiences with potato chips than with willing and wanton women. Sigh.

I know from experience that a completely unstructured day with the three of them in the house was a recipe for infanticide, fratricide or at least me standing on a window ledge being “talked down” by a crisis negotiator. So we watched cartoons together and then played a engrossing game of the Settlers of Catan (so much so that I burned the pot of Kraft Dinner – spawning “Chris’ Smokey Campfire Style KD”. I have to confess to that being a parenting ‘fail’ – ruining Kraft Dinner (who thought it possible?) – but it did help re-establish those low standards I mentioned earlier.) After lunch, we walked to the library. Moan. Groan. Outside time for boys, however, is non-negotiable. Without it, life is just not worth it.

Sadly, winter also elected to go on an unexpected strike that day, so the piles of snow I could have counted on to entertain the kids were rapidly melting into the gutters in the light rain and warm weather. We were able to however have a mother of a snowball fight on the way to the library and which we continued on the way home. A friend of mine driving by actually witnessed me being attacked by all three at once in a barrage of snowballs. He expressed concern later that it seemed unfair – though I note he simply locked the cars doors and sped off rather than offer assistance. No worries though, I schooled my boys in a variety of lessons. Ones that they certainly won’t learn in school these days, which forbids such dangerous objects as snowballs. Such lessons as using street furniture as shields, always having at least one snowball in hand and of course, the importance of tactical strikes.

We came home very wet, well exercised and in extremely good moods. You hear a lot about the important work teachers do, and how it is difficult and how most people wouldn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of kids all day long. This is all true and I deeply respect good teachers but something is left out of the discussion about spending the day with kids – it can be a hell of a lot of fun.

chrissweeneypopbadgeChristopher Sweeney is a chauffeur, short order cook, quartermaster, frontline medic, and laundryman – i.e. a stay-at-home dad. He is also a graphic novelist, screenwriter, lawyer and university lecturer. Check out more Pop Culture pieces on his blog: popculture-superdad.blogspot.com
 
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POP CULTURE -The People vs. Father Christmas, AKA Santa Claus

By: Chris Sweeney

Whatever festival of light you celebrate (or don’t), no one can ignore Santa Claus or, as he is known in England, Father Christmas. My question: does everyone hate Santa Claus these days?

Santa is an amalgam of pagan and Christian traditions – what the hip amongst us know as a Mash-Up – and there is apparently something for everyone to dislike.

In the Netherlands he is accompanied by Black Peter who punishes bad kids by putting them in a sack. Christians find him too secular and secularists (and people of other faiths) find him too religious. And what’s with those elves’ working conditions? PETA has probably launched a complaint about the reindeer. He is too fat, nutritionists argue. Too commercial, a puppet of Coca-Cola, others cry. Has anyone noticed that Santa is an anagram of SATAN?!?

Cut the dude some slack. He works his butt off in the far north under difficult conditions with only some elves for companionship. All that so for one 24-hour period he can deliver presents to children. While I hear that some men’s magazines suggest lonely women wait for Santa wearing only their Christmas stockings to give him a little Christmas spirit, he really doesn’t get much for his troubles. Why does he go through with it?

I dislike all the greed, commercialism and expectations that come with Christmas. But lying around in my PJs watching my kids open their presents on Christmas morning makes the rest of the crap worth it.

I have a good relationship with my wife and kids, but there are lots of dads out there who don’t see their kids as much as they’d like or have the kind of relationship they want. For some of them it’s easier to just give up as they don’t seem to get much for their efforts. Our society promotes self-interest and juvenile reactions to adversity and lack of gratitude.

Maybe the paternal selflessness of Santa can show another way. Here’s to all fathers who work hard to provide for their children with the only reward being the happiness on their little faces.

 

chrissweeneypopbadge

Christopher Sweeney is a chauffeur, short order cook, quartermaster, frontline medic, and laundryman – i.e. a stay-at-home dad. He is also a graphic novelist, screenwriter, lawyer and university lecturer. Check out more Pop Culture pieces on his blog: popculture-superdad.blogspot.com

 

Creepy Crafting

Crafting with your children is a fantastic way to spend quality time together. Moreover, creating scary Halloween decorations is always fun, regardless of your age!

These two craft projects can be a bit messy, but are definitely fabulous for keeping children happily entertained, in addition to promoting their fine motor skills, creativity and self-expression. Both craft projects use paper mache, making them extremely inexpensive. They also use recycled products, creating an ideal opportunity for talking to kids about reducing, reusing and recycling!

Paper Mache:

Simply mix one part flour with two parts water. Although the paper mache should have the consistency of thick glue, it should be runny, as opposed to pasty. You can add more flour or water as necessary. Combine the mixture until no lumps remain. You can also add in a splash of white glue, which will help to make the paper mache stronger. Next, take some newspaper and rip it into strips. Dip the strips into the glue mixture, running your index and middle fingers along each one to remove any excess glue. Finally, stick one strip at a time onto your the surface of your project.

Bat Project:

These bats are fantastic for hanging from the ceiling or front porch. Use a fishing string to hang them, and they’ll look like they’re flying around!

Materials:

Paper Mache

Newspaper ripped into shreds

Cardboard (for wings and ears – size is up to you!)

Exacto knife

Masking tape

Marker

Newspaper, scrunched into a ball

Method:

1)   Secure your newspaper ball by wrapping it with masking tape.

2)   Draw bat wings onto the cardboard and cut them out with the Exacto knife.

3)   Using the Exacto knife, cut slits for the wings into the newspaper ball.

4)   Cut out two small triangles from the cardboard for ears. Use masking tape to secure them to the top of the bat.

5)   Cover the bat in paper mache, letting dry for 24 hours.

6)   Decorate!

 

 Tombstone Project:

These are great for decorating the inside of your home, especially if you’re hosting a Haunted House or Halloween party.

Materials:

Paper Mache

Newspaper, ripped into shreds

Cardboard (enough to draw two tombstones that are equal in size)

Exacto knife

Masking tape

Marker

Method:

1)   Use the marker to draw the shape of your tombstone on the cardboard, and cut it out with the Exacto knife. Draw a second tombstone shape by tracing your original cutout on the remaining cardboard. Cut this out with the Exacto knife as well.

2)   Use large, scrunched up pieces of newspaper for sandwiching between the two tombstone faces. Next, use the masking tape to work like hinges over the two boards.

3)   Before covering your tombstone with paper mache, make sure it can stand up on its own.

4)   Allow to dry for 24 hours before painting.

5)   Paint and decorate as you please!

Nikki Goldman-Stroh is a Registered Canadian Art Therapist and the Director/Owner of Seasons Family Centre. www.seasonsfamilycentre.com