Whenever we go to Walt Disney World, we try as many hotels as we can. Visiting Coronado Springs Resort was super exciting, as the Invictus Games were being held at ESPN World of Sports while we visited and many of the athletes were on the property. I find that this is one of the beautiful things about Disney – you meet so many interesting people from all walks of life and can learn so much. My kids chatted with a British wheelchair volleyball athlete and watched him remove his prosthetic leg as they stood in awe!
There is a chance I may never scuba dive again. Because then I will be able to say “the last time I dove was in Bora Bora.” And really, with a drift snorkel jammed with vibrant coral and exotic fish directly next to Le Taha’a Resort, I have one less reason to don a scuba tank. (And one more excuse to visit this property again). For the record, we didn’t sleep at Le Tahaa, but I was given an extensive tour of the rooms, the pool and spa while also experiencing a spectacular lunch. I’d heard many mutterings about the Relais & Chateau – operated property on Taha’a, but had no idea how blown away I would be at the vistas and service until I approached the small French Polynesian island in the resort’s private shuttle.
Swamps, alligators, snakes, big cats and lemurs never get old, and if you find yourself in south Florida, tear yourself away from the shopping at Sawgrass Mills for a few hours to do a tour. Not only can you hold a baby alligator and pet some epic snakes, but there are many other rare animals to encounter. As a National Geographic Kids Insider, I have learned a bunch about big cats, but this is certainly the place to see them in person. I was pretty sad seeing them in cages, but hoped they get to roam and run freely as much as possible in order to keep the species healthy.
I have a lot of friends who have opted to be pet parents instead of kid parents. While they know enough not to lambaste me on decisions about breastfeeding or screen time, they always seem to have criticism and advice about how I raise my beloved cat and purebred English Lab. Our dog Piper, in particular, has always been a going concern for the judgy-friend posse. Does she have fleas? She seems overweight. Does she look puffy to me? Am I exercising her properly? Are you reading the latest pet magazines to stay up to date? It is so ironic that I started UrbanMommies to combat the judgement and lack of solid information about pregnancy and parenting, and ten years later I’m in the same situation, but with my pets.
If you have kids, chances are you are aware of the epic game that is Minecraft. It took me a while to figure it out, and chances are if you are new to the scene you need to have the intricacies of Minecraft explained as well. Available in gaming console or computer version or on tablets, this spatially-rich building game allows your character to build a three-dimensional world while avoiding zombies, creepers, spiders, skeletons and endermen. Our whole family plays and the experiences we’ve had have given us bonding time and amazing memories.
My son desperately wants to be a marine biologist. He’s 10. And recently he was awarded his PADI open water diver certificate. The other cool bit about our son is that he loves to do things with the whole family. The Deep on Netflix has been a godsend – both for him and me as a parent.
Today I decorated my 5th holiday tree. The neighbourhood kids and I made a gingerbread house decked out with bushels of candy, and I polished off the remainder of the online gift buying while they sipped rich hot chocolate and watched holiday films. I am one of the VERY lucky ones. As are my kids. Many, many others are not so lucky. Did you know that 1 in 7 (or 4.9 million) people in Canada live in poverty? Imagine sending a letter to Santa and being the only kid in your class whose wish goes unanswered. Imagine looking at a huge turkey dinner commercial on TV while you eat plain noodles for your entire holiday.
Most of us as parents have become pretty smart in terms of Christmas morning organization and Hanukkah gift openings. With screwdriver and batteries on hand, we watch them delightedly tear open the presents and promptly fall in love with the loudest one. After an hour, the batteries die. Wha? It’s at this point we realize that it was on ‘tester’ mode, and the company also put in crappy batteries. Duracell and mini screwdriver to the rescue!
As the amount of information on the internet multiplied by infinity every day, much of that vastness is an uninspiring wasteland made mostly of cat videos and epic fails at it’s best and venomous hate and degrading pornography at it’s worst. Some days it’s hard to find the one gem that’s worth learning from. But there is a lot of great content out there, and I’ve found YouTube to be a particularly great resource, especially to enhance my children’s understanding of the world. Will education on YouTube work in your home? My guess is yes.
Sometimes I have thought that if I could have any superpower, I would want the power to eat everything I want to and have it all be a) good for me and b) not able to make me fat. This, out of all the available superpowers. Why would I want to fly? Or walk through walls? No, I want my superpower to be eating.
It is really kind of sad, if you think about it. And also possibly a tiny bit unhealthy. But, there you have it. I HAVE AN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP WITH FOOD.
Looking for gifts to make your kid smarter?
When I was 7 I’m pretty sure I was playing dolls and dress up and games of pretend Star Wars. I’m not sure how many times I whined “I don’t want to be Leia again. Girls can be Luke too.”
These days, toys can do WAY more than they could in my day. And, with a seven year old who is primed and ready for learning new skills through play, I was beyond thrilled to take a closer look at 3 STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) toys that will absolutely make your kid smarter than you…or a least mine smarter than me. I also enlisted my husband, who has a PhD in Astrophysics to help me get the down low on these three not-your-typical-toy gift ideas.
I came across the idea for making crayon drawings into iron-on crayon transfer designs several years ago. But it wasn’t until I was looking for some way (other than the promise of cupcakes) to get my young children excited about attending their older cousin’s baby shower that I realized how beautifully this quick craft might transform into a handmade gift.