Unsupervised Play – The Genius of Play Play Talk

Unsupervised Play – The Genius of Play Play Talk

Should Kids Be Allowed Unsupervised Play?

Genius of Play - Play Talk

I let my kids play unsupervised.

There.  I said it.

Some of you are praising Hallelujah! I have the good sense God gave me to raise strong, independent, creative kids.  Some of you just clutched your pearls and prayed on my feral children.  Most of you likely fall somewhere in between.

Perfect parenting doesn’t exist and we all do the best we can with the tools at our disposal.

The Genius of Play – Play Talk

Since we’re all sitting in this kumbaya circle of acceptance, lets talk play as we sip our (cold) coffee and (sorta) watch the wee ones run around the park like banshees.

The Genius of Play has generously offered to compensate me for oversharing but trust all mom-fails and opinions are strictly my own.

Responsible or Negligent

There’s a big difference between age-appropriate unsupervised play time and being negligent of your children.  I’m certainly not advocating for the latter and trust you keep your kids’ safety in mind.

I, for one, certainly pass no judgement on your parenting style.  You won’t find me casting stones if your kids play outside alone or – heaven forbid – have learned to responsibly take city transit for short distances.

What’s the worst that can happen

We all ask ourselves this, and while I have no suitable answer I can tell you what * has * happened.  Shining moments of glory these were not, and certainly no Mother Of The Year awards were handed out.  

#Parenting What happened when I allowed unsupervised play #geniusofplay @TheToyAssoc by @XD_Impact Click To Tweet

Dancing in Windows

Jasmine & I were a fierce duo nearly from birth.  Around the time she was about 18 months old we shared a bedroom in a ground floor apartment.

I’ve always enforced nap times and on this particular day I could hear Jasmine messing around in the bedroom.  I was determined to let her fall asleep – were were both exhausted – and knew if I just gave her enough time she’d tire out and hunker down.

Except it suddenly got quiet TOO quiet.

I peeked into her bedroom and almost pissed myself laughing.  Knowing no one would believe me without hard evidence, I quietly made my way outside – phone in hand – ready to record this nonsense.

< Waves Furiously >

My dear, sweet, child was standing in the windowsill wearing naught by a nappy and a t-shirt, waving furiously at all the cars that went by and the people walking out front.  She was dancing, playing peekaboo, and having a blast.

Oh.  Um.  Small detail. …We lived on the main drag.

A minute went by before she noticed me, and she was so proud it was hard to get mad.

The Holiday Haircut

Annabelle has always been more independent than her sisters. Her art desk is her ‘Office’ and she can be found there doing ‘Homework’ she’s invented or drawing endless pictures of who and what she misses.

On a few occasions I have found myself coming out of the washroom to find her in a pile of bread or engrossed in ‘The Elements of Style’ – upside down, of course.  She ‘read’ that book for 1/2 hour before letting it down!

Usually a fairly tame child, she did surprise us with an impromptu haircut a week before Christmas one year.

The Evidence

That Time I took a Shower

One afternoon I decided to have a shower while Chloe napped.  I needed sleep, but that day I needed a shower even more.

I waited until she was snoring and ninja-rolled out of the bedroom.  I came back to find her with headphones ones, 1/2 dressed, writing on her foot with  pen (I’d been working in the bed previously).  I sat there and watched until she realized I was back.

Chloe’s Cat Soup

When Chloe was a baby I couldn’t turn around for a minute without finding her attached to one of the cats.  It seems they gravitated towards her, and she to them.

These guys were great – and after 3 babies were extremely tolerant.  Plus, she was kind of their favorite because she shared food with them.

Once she started crawling we’d find her making ‘cat soup’ – dumping all the cat food in the water bowl, then trying to shove it in her mouth – if we accidentally left the gate open or even escaped for a minute to go pee.

That Time UPS Rang the Doorbell

Being the youngest of three there was a year when Chloe was still at home and both her sisters were at school.

That child did not waste a single moment of those hours, as can be evidenced here.

I came back from signing for a package and found her sharing a sucker with Olaf.  Gramma gave her the sucker.  Olaf gave her the puppy eyes.  “I’m SHARING Maman!”.

Olaf’s Piano Lessons

In case you haven’t figured it out, Chloe is our Animal Whisperer.  On this day I had to take a work call and she went to the other living room to play quietly for a few minutes.

This is what I came back to.

Olaf The Baby

I’m not ashamed to say that I let me kids play in a room alone – be it the living room, their bedroom, or somewhere in the stairs.

Once again, I found Olaf in a compromising situation.  His lips were sealed though.  Never once did he tattle tale on her!

Helicopter Parenting?

Clearly, “Helicopter Parent” I am not.

My kids regularly participate in age-appropriate unsupervised play such as spending 15-20 at the park after school (1 block away), playing out front on their bikes (I‘ll add I would never have allowed this in our old neighborhood), and for the oldest allowing her to go for a short walk on her own before dinner.

All three benefit greatly from being able to spend time by themselves.  I have seen their creativity flourish, their problem solving skills improve, and  their self confidence take a boost when they accomplish something they’ve been working on for a while, supposedly in secret.

They’re so damn loud though, what they’re up to is rarely secretive.

What’s the worst that could happen?  Probably a lot, likely no different than the risk of driving to the supermarket.   What has happened isn’t all that bad, all things considered.  They are safe, they are well, and that’s what matters to me.

How do you navigate keeping * your * kids safe while giving them the independence they crave? 

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Netflix Brings Offline Viewing to the Table

Netflix Brings Offline Viewing to the Table

Netflix Brings Offline Viewing to the Table

#StreamTeam

When do I get on a plane next, because I need to try this feature.

Netflix now allows you to DOWNLOAD designated programming to your tablet or phone for offline viewing. No more paying through the nose for Boingo Hotspots just so I can keep busy on a layover.  No more paying for on-board WiFi only to find out it doesn’t support streaming.

And being able to watch anywhere, without having to worry about my data?  Priceless.

Now on @Netflix_CA - Downloadable content for #OfflineViewing Click To Tweet

So – What’s the first thing you’ll be downloading?

While you’re here – Check out my gift guide & shop the Finding Funny store to help support this blog

As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam I receive special perks and incentives in exchanging for sharing the awesome, however all data overages and binge-watching exhaustion are all mine.  Oh, and my opinions, too :).

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Dating 101 and Uncommon Goods

Dating 101 and Uncommon Goods

Ya’ll know I have a gift guide, right? One that strives to deliver unique gift ideas at all price points, for everyone on your list?

Yeah.  That one.

So it was no surprise when an email came in asking if I’d review their wares and share my thoughts with you.

What was surprising, however, is the love affair that ensued.

Whhoooooohyyy it’s a hot one

It all started with a simple glance.  A peek, a look-see… could this be a match?

uncommon goods

OMG Glitters & Sparkles.

Because anyone who knows me will tell you – If it glitters and sparkles… it’s all me.  Following the glittery gold my eyes went straight for the ampersand cheese board.

Sold.  Done.  I’m in.

As I spent hours (!!!) going through the site I just couldn’t get enough.  If products could be soulmates, these were my soulmates.  The anywhere travel guide? It gets me.

When I got to the F-Bomb paperweight… I whispered “You complete me“.

Dating 101

As in online dating, I went CSI Google to find out as much as I can before I agreed to a date.

I found out integrity & sustainability is important to Uncommon Goods.  From providing fair wages and health insurance to their staff to being committed to selling products that do no harm to animals or people.

Find someone you can bring anywhere

Ends up you can dress this one up and take it out.

Need a birthday date (gift)? Uncommon Goods.  

Going to a wedding?  Uncommon Goods is all dressed up and ready to go, complete with personalizing.

Fiance camping with the boys pre-wedding? Send him packing with Uncommon GoodsI hear it’s great for groomsmen gifts.

A lady should never get sloshed on the first date

Better to let them see you naked before you puke on their shoes.  

It’s easy to get carried away.  You’re clicking through pages, you’re full of endorphin, and you’ve just found the. perfect. thing. for everyone you know * and * their cat.

Calm down, relax, step away from the shopping cart.  3 date rule, right?

Kidding!  (But the look on your face…)

I’m not saying don’t buy anything… I’m just saying you can come back for seconds, thirds, or however much you want!  Your credit card will thank you for showing mild restraint.

Swiped Right?

If I could have swiped right or left instead of bookmarking all the things, the following is what I would have picked.  Check them out, and peruse the site.

I’m guessing you’ll have a few new must-haves that will leave you pining till you clear up some available credit on your credit card.

Have any dating tips?  Looking to compare notes on the (uncommon) goods?  That comment box ain’t going anywhere 😉

Halloween Fun with Beat Bugs & Word Party

Halloween Fun with Beat Bugs & Word Party

Halloween Fun with Beat Bugs & Word Party

#StreamTeam

My kids love Halloween and they were stoked when we got a pumpkin carving kit from Netflix. We had several designs to choose from, and they picked Beat Bugs and Word Party.

It’s easy to make fun and interesting pumpkin designs – here’s how we did it.

Start by printing your desired designs.  Thicker stock paper works better, as does ‘chunkier’ designs.

You’ll also need to gather a few useful tools.  You can kits at places like Walmart or the grocery store.

Cut out the insides of your image – the parts that will be removed – and tape it onto the pumpkin.

These two designs worked really well because they didn’t have many intricate details.

Trace out and / or fill in the design on your pumpkin, as if you were using a stencil.

Filling in is a little messier than tracing but it really helps the kids see what needs to come off versus what stays.

Now, destroy your masterpiece.

I mean… Use your tools to carve your design.  Yes, there’s a How to Train your Dragon in there… It was disastrous, the boy fell off at the last cut.

And Voila! Beautiful-ish pumpkins that didn’t stress you out at all while the kids insisted on doing everything themselves ;).

Now the fun begins, your kitchen will be a disaster.  Enjoy the fruits of your labour (pun intended).

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McDreamy is McGone

McDreamy is McGone

My McDreamy is McGone

and so I Netflix

I pay for cable.  I pay a lot of money for cable.  

The one cable box we have?  It’s in my parents’ living room.  If I’m in the mood to watch junkyard wars, every kind of bush / naked / alaska people argue it out on screen, or deadliest catch ad nauseam… I could watch all the TV I want, 24 hours a day.

Sadly (or thankfully, depending on where you stand) none of these interest me and I get twinges of cable withdrawal syndrom from time to time.  Mostly in the summer when all the shows are on break.

So I Netflix.  A lot.

When my television alerted me new episodes of Grey’s Anatomy were now available, I had the brilliant idea to binge-watch from the very beginning.

Do you remember those first few seasons?  Addison, living in the trailer with Derek.  Derek & Meredith, sharing a dog.  Becoming friends.

The way Shepherd looks at Grey the crinkling of his eyes as he laughs from the heart. His gentleness and compassion as he helps her through rough moments.  The sadness in his eyes when she’s not looking.

McDreamy

I had my McDreamy.

An old boyfriend, married (as I was), a friend.  Perhaps the only friend who knew all of me.

The way Derek looks at Meredith?  He used to look at me that way.  Our friendship evolved over the years, going from the ‘happy b-day / merry xmas’ type, to the once a month chat kind, to the weekly and eventually almost daily chats.

We laughed – a lot.

We were there for each other as a sounding board.  Comforting, supporting, and helping each other out through our respective marital issues.

The tension was always there.  I spent years making sure our conversations didn’t cross the line, reigning it in when it got too close to too much.  We were both so miserable… He was my cheerleader, never failing to believe in me. We were the escape we both needed.

I don’t need to tell you what happened next – I’m sure you can figure it out.

I tried leaving my husband a few times, but he always begged for me to keep fighting for us.

He found out about a year ago and by then we were truly having an affair, having seen each other a few times over the previous months.

Needless to say, my McDreamy is McGone.

I still think of him.  I still reach for the phone when I need a joke, or when I come across an article I think he would like.  And then I stop myself, because he’s no longer there.  I am dead to him, and he to me.  Or he should be.  But I still think of him.

I miss him, our friendship, the easiness between us.

So as I navigate this world of dating I fill the empty moments with Mer/Der screen time.

What are you binge-watching these days?  What fills up your moments?

As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam I get perks, but all stories, laughs, and heartbreaks are my own 😉

 

 

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The Beatles… euh…. Beat Bugs on Netflix

The Beatles… euh…. Beat Bugs on Netflix

The Beatles... euh.... Beat Bugs on Netflix

#StreamTeam

“Lucy in the sky-yyy- above!”

What the ever loving…

The three year old has been humming and signing Beatles songs all morning.  After the King Julien fiasco, I * know * this isn’t a time warp… but it sure does feel a lot like Mr Soulard’s 7th grade music class.

And it feels good

I had wondered, who would instill a love of the Beatles in my kids the way our middle school teacher did.  I may have spent more time reminiscing today.

The kids are hooked.  I haven’t watched the show yet, but they sure as heck look cute!

beat bugs

I’m all for TV giving my kids missing pieces of culture, if they’re sitting there watching the boob tube anyways.

Sight unseen – but not unheardI’m a fan.  You should watch it, and so should your kids!

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Slapstick Comedy for Kids on Netflix

Slapstick Comedy for Kids on Netflix

Slapstick Comedy for Kids on Netflix

Bernard & Larva

I love watching stupid funny.  The slapstick stuff you don’t need to think about to enjoy.

And maybe it’s a little ‘pipi-caca-fesse‘ but let’s be honest – sometimes that’s exactly what you need.

Ends up the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  The girls’ current favorites for non-stop laughs is Bernard and Lava.

Bernard is a bear who gets into situation.  He’s been a staple on our Netflix roster for a while now.

Netflix Bernard

Larva

The other day I let the girls watch a bit of TV in my room and they begged for Larva.

WTF is Larva was my first thought.  I’d never heard of this show before but the kids seemed to know what they were talking about.

Thankfully I didn’t have to go looking far for it, it was a suggested option on the kids’ profile.  And instead of working (which is what I was planning on doing) I sat there and laughed my ass off for two hours right along with them.

larva netflix

Seriously funny stuff over there, you should check it out.

This post is brought to you by my participation in the Netflix #StreamTeam.  I have not been paid for this post but I do get some nice perks :).

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I Like to Move It | #StreamTeam

I Like to Move It | #StreamTeam

'90's hits & King Julian

#StreamTeam

I Like to Move-it-Move-it

The kids are * supposed * to be sleeping.

Except I can hear the 3 year old, singing at the top of her lungs in her bed.  “I like to move-it-move-it” – Over, and over, and over again.  Ad Nauseam.

That can only mean one thing: “Hot Tub Time Machine” is actually a thing and I’ve fallen back to the ’90’s.  With all the plaid I’m seeing these days I wouldn’t be surprised…

Guess Again, Watson

Nope.  No time warp.

King Julien.  He’s back.  Like… back! back.  Season three.

I never told them.  They found it on their own.  Damn thing started yesterday and they’re already halfway through the season.

It appears King Julien and his come-hither eyes are here to stay, for the next little while at least.  The kids love his eccentric tendencies, and I love ’90’s dance music.  Win-Win, right?

Right?!?

 

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Outaouais Tourism invites you to sleep with wolves

Outaouais Tourism invites you to sleep with wolves


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