The arrival of spring means that a lot of beautiful things are about to bloom. It also means that some not-so-beautiful things are about to arrive as well… I’m talking about every lawn’s enemy: weeds. We have have a cringe-worthy abundance of these, but I’ve figured out how to make the best of the situation and how you can to. What I’m suggesting is a weed bouquet. Sound hideous? Maybe! But as far as decorative experiments go, this is quite cost-effective. In fact…completely free.
The large oval Springfree trampoline arrived and one by one, the neighbours came around with a mixture of curiosity and excitement in their smiles. A few friendly dogs wandered by as eagles peeked out of their high nests. I could have been living in the Cinderella movie.
As a child I never had a trampoline. My dad was a physical education teacher and he shared scary statistics about accidents and injuries. When we moved into our current neighbourhood and had children, the local trampoline was both wonderous and daunting. I firmly believe in kids exercising through play, but the huge rectangular mat held by metal springs and rods felt very unsafe. Wanting them to take advantage of all of the cardio benefits of trampoling, I tried rules… ‘only in the middle’. ‘One at a time’. ‘Only when an adult is watching’. But none of these solutions made me feel safe, and it was increasingly hard to clean the house or make dinner when I was standing stressfully watching the kids jump and wondering what I would possibly do if they broke something – or worse. When my son got with a cut due to jamming his bare foot in one of the springs, I’d had enough.
Fast forward to the sunny day when our Springfree arrived. The kids were out at a friend’s and as I watched the crew set it up, my mind raced. I could jump on it every day and eliminate the need for a cardio machine that would hurt my back! The kids could be zipped in one at a time and I could spend time making a healthy dinner without supervising them. OOOH – the neighbour’s toddler could come and use it like a giant playpen! Maybe I could fill it with beachballs…. On and on the ideas streamed. The boys returned home and I didn’t hear whining for three hours. I had to keep going to check on them and the giggles were endless. They wanted their dinner served inside their new ‘fort’.
The Kids’ Perspective on the Springfree Trampoline (in their words):
– You Bounce high – higher than the other trampoline that has rusty springs that cut our feet last time.
– There’s a basketball net and you can do slam dunks without breaking it.
– The nets around the outside help you to play soccer because the ball bounces right back to you and there are no metal rods holding them up to hurt ourselves on.
– The kitten loves to play on it and we chase him around and around while we giggle. He thinks the nets are fun to claw, and they don’t break.
– The mat on the bottom is really cushy and feels good to jump on.
– The staff from Springfree brought over all of the cartons, set up the whole trampoline, tested it by jumping (too cute), and left two hours later with all of the garbage.
– I feel safe and comfortable leaving the kids to jump without my constant supervision.
– Because there are no springs – just flexible rods located underneath and there is netting around the perimeter, my typical concerns about trampolines have been put to rest.
“This post was sponsored by Springfree Trampoline. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.”
As we dream of spring flowers and fresh fashions, the UrbanMommies team became slightly obsessed with Parisian designer, Xuan-Thu Nguyen (X-TN for short). Well – pretty much everything Parisian, but still. Nguyen is sensitive and layered in her personality and her designs reflect this in every way. She has spent the long winter months dreaming up new couture and pret-a-porter collections to celebrate the rebirth of the natural world. Master of details, even those invisibly small to the casual observer, X-TN’s spring line is bursting with imagination, creating a palpably interesting dynamic between simplicity and sophistication.
There’s luxury and fun in each piece. A daring stitch here, distinct embroidering there. All of her work reflects her personality. Nguyen is equal parts dreamer, designer, and craftsman and the spring line contains the elements of all three traits in its DNA. Alive with playful prints, and grounded with chic design it’s made to work seamlessly with clothing from all corners of the spring/summer wardrobe.
Xuan-Thu Nguyen opened her own boutique in Paris in 2005 inserting herself firmly into the epicenter of the fashion world. In July 2008, she tried her hand at couture fashion on the world stage: Paris Fashion Week. Over the past five years X-TN has expanded from a single boutique to worldwide distribution. All luxury garments are born in either Paris or her native Holland, and have retained her unique touch and attention to detail as they now find themselves in haute boutiques around the globe and online.
Last week during a Cityline filming I had the pleasure of re-acquainting with Trish Magwood, Food Network host, creator of Dish Cooking Studio and all-around supermom. She shared this amazing salad recipe on the show and it is absolutely delicious. If you time it right you may be able to find flowering pea shoots. They make a beautiful addition to this perfect springtime salad. Serves 6
1/3 cup (75 mL) baby peas
1 bunch thin asparagus (about 12 stalks), ends snapped off
1 head red leaf lettuce
1 small head frisée or chicory
1/4 cup (60 mL) shaved pecorino cheese
3 tbsp (50 mL) sour cream
2 tbsp (30 mL) red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup (60 mL) olive oil
Blanch peas in a pot of boiling salted water for 30 to 60 seconds. Transfer with a slotted spoon (don’t drain the water) to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well.
In the same pot, blanch asparagus until tender-crisp. Drain and plunge into a bowl of ice and cold water, then drain and pat dry. Cut on the diagonal into 1/2-inch (1 cm) pieces.
Wash, spin dry and tear the lettuces. Set aside.
To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk together sour cream, vinegar and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified. Drizzle some of the dressing into a salad bowl. Add the lettuces and toss to lightly coat, adding more dressing if needed. Season with salt and pepper. (Reserve remaining dressing for a different salad the next night.) Top with asparagus, peas and pecorino.
Trish Magwood has years of experience as a successful food entrepreneur, business owner, teacher, chef and media personality. A Toronto-based mother of 3, she hosts ‘Party Dish’ on Food Network Canada. Trish has written her second cookbook ‘In My Mother’s Kitchen‘ (Harper Collins spring 2011) with 3 generations of delicious simple family food sharing recipes and tips for busy modern cooks. Available at bookstores across Canada, it became Heather’s Pick at Indigo in it’s first week and was on The Globe & Mail best seller list in it’s first month. In My Mother’s Kitchen is now available as an app in iTunes.