Dance Walkin’ (to the tune of Jive Talkin’)

I’ve organized an outing to go dance walking here in Calgary, and thought I’d put it up here on my blog so that maybe the general public could find it. We’ll be dance walking down Stephen Avenue at 1 pm on Friday, June 1 – you should join us! You can find the event on Facebook (whether you’re on Facebook or not) by clicking here.


Friday: Enjoy the Journey

This post is the seventh in a series of eight concerning Deepak Chopra’s Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents. For the original post and summary, click here.

Friday is a day of Detachment. The message for today is, “Enjoy the journey.”

The idea for today is to stop worrying about controlling the outcome of everything. Ideally we will teach our kids to throw themselves into things with enthusiasm despite the fact that we never know what the outcome will be. While I feel like this will take a long time for Neko to understand, I also think this is extremely important for children to learn. Right away, I can see the situations where this would be a valuable lesson – board games, for instance.

We had a nice day on Friday, and I felt like it was fitting for the “Detachment” idea. Mairead and Finn were supposed to come over in the afternoon, but the whole family was sick, so they stayed home. Justan had to work nearby, which meant Neko and I were left alone, but with the car. This hasn’t happened in a long time! Mairead and Finn don’t fit in our car (well… they do. But there is not enough room for three carseats.), and usually when Justan is working, he has the car. I thought it was funny that we had an unexpected turn of events today!

I turned to my Pinterest boards for fun ideas, and Neko and I chose a few. We then made a list of the supplies we needed, and visited the thrift shop, the dollar store and the craft store.

We chose….

I can’t find the original poster of this one, but it’s made the social network rounds and has been anecdotally proven to be a hit!

This charming idea from the Color Me Katie blog really captured our attention. We both love rocks! How simple and cute!

I will do a separate post with the results of these. We had a lot of fun. I have quite a few ideas for things to do on future Fridays. I think this will be one of the days we have the most fun! Here are my ideas:

a) do unpredictable experiments – I don’t have any specific ideas yet. This is a little tricky, because usually experiments suggested for kids have a set outcome. But maybe something weather dependent, or maybe testing out different styles of paper airplanes? Lots of wiggle room here, though, as many experiments are unpredictable to kids. I’ll be keeping this in mind and I’ll see what I come up with. As always, I would love suggestions!

b) talk about our own lives, and what might happen – I personally find comfort in thinking of all the most likely outcomes and being okay with any of them. I’d love to pass this on to Neko.

c) play a board game – win or lose, it’s about having fun. Hey… kind of like life!

d) enter a contest – Neko is always seeing contests (usually drawing contests) on kids’ morning TV. I’m sure there are better contests for learning this lesson – like entering for a door prize at an event we attend – as it has more of an impact if you can see the contest results.

e) burn or release the intentions from yesterday – if you wrote intentions on paper yesterday, how about cooking over the fire (or lighting a fire in the fireplace) tonight and burning those intentions to release them. Don’t be attached to the outcome!

f) play with a tone matrix – yes, it’s true, you could figure out what each combination will sound like. But the fun is on choosing random spots and checking out the result. Try this tone matrix  or this one that “pulsates” and looks and sounds a bit like raindrops.

Neko really enjoyed trying both. They kept her amused for quite some time!

Embarrassingly, I have not been able to come with any story ideas yet. Not for lack of trying! I’m sure Helen Lester must have one about not being a sore loser.

Movie ideas: Homeward Bound, Up!

Bringing Colour to a Winter Day

Although true winter was still three days off, as we know now thanks to the magic of hindsight, Thursday was a bit wintery and greyish feeling. Though it was warm and sunny, something about it felt very…. January. Maybe we could feel the cold snap that was about to roll in from the west.

The night before, I had flipped through science experiment cards from Usborne Books that my mom had given Neko for Christmas, and picked out a couple of projects for the day.

50 Science Things to Make and Do – science experiment cards from Usborne Books

I realized, as I was getting the supplies ready, that these were both going to be really nice, bright, colourful activities! This made me happy.

The first was musical bottles. We all did this as kids, and I was excited to revisit it. Neko helped me dig through our recycling for glass bottles, and we filled them to varying levels with water. I apologize for what will appear to be a bright, shiny Coca Cola ad. My husband has a habit. We added food colouring to the water so that we had a full spectrum of bottles.

As it turned out, only Mairead was really interested in this. Neko and Finn were each off doing their own things. But that’s okay. Mairead, Andie (our Australian visitor) and I spent quite a while experimenting with blowing across the mouths of the bottles, tapping them in different spots with different materials (metal, wood) and arranging the bottles by colour, size and water level.

Our rainbow of musical bottles

Mairead took to the musical aspect and decided that she would like to perform a concert for Nicole (her mom) when she came to pick her up later that day. Mairead spent a lot of time practicing so it would be just right.

Mairead practices her concert in preparation for performing for her mom later.

Still practicing.

Our next activity was planting seeds. Neko and I picked out seeds from our dry food storage the night before – we chose dry kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, barley and peanuts. Each child got two small Mason jars, into which we stuffed colour tissue paper. The card called for napkins, but we don’t have paper napkins. I love the colours the kids chose – each of them ended up with two jars with layers of brightly coloured paper. After watering the paper down, we stuffed various seeds around the edges, between the paper and the jar.

The kids’ seed jars

The jars will live in a warm, dark cupboard until the seeds sprout, at which point we will move them to a sunny spot so the sprouts can grow. Hopefully I will post a photo once the sprouts are growing!

Edited to add photos:

Our big plants! Check it out!

Dressember Day #13 and a Michael Bernard Fitzgerald Living Room Concert

Earlier this year, I saw local indie sweetheart Michael Bernard Fitzgerald live for the first time (after a close call at Folk Fest a few years ago when I missed him – boo.). I was pretty excited, not just because his music is super peppy and happy and fun, but also because he seems to always be surrounded by just downright adorable people. I love adorable people! I saw him at the Starlite Room in Edmonton in the spring, and it was a ton of fun.

Then, in September, two of my good friends, Megan and Matt got married, and as a special surprise for Megan’s stagette party, her friends hired Michael to play a private show at a theatre in Edmonton – even better! I bruised my hand at this one while clapping to Brand New Spaces. There was also much wine involved. This night was so much fun and so awesome. I felt lucky to be there!

But a third time in the same year? Nah, too much to ask. But no! Michael decided to do a series of living room concerts to benefit the Calgary Food Bank this Christmas, and my friends Janine and Nikki volunteered their living room for one of these.

Michael Bernard Fitzgerald performing old and new favourites in Janine and Nikki’s living room.

Janine’s kids, Micah and Vienna, were in attendance, so when Michael did his usual quirky mash-up of Low, The Thong Song and Baby Got Back, he changed the lyrics of the Thong Song to “Let me see that suggestive underwear.” Micah thought this was so hysterically funny that for the remainder of the performance, Michael inserted the word underpants into each song. He then wrote a new Christmas song on the spot – the lyrics being simply, “Santa don’t forget my underpants, peee-ew.” Micah was in stitches.

And, my Dressember ensemble for the occasion…

This dress has no label. I bought it at a music festival.