This month, like most years in Canada, we have what we call Snow days when the schools are closed due to extreme winter weather conditions.
Snow days can be fun if you live near a hill that has the right conditions for sliding (tobogganing). So, what else can you do on a snow day? Well, I asked alot of children recently and they said they like to play with their friends since their friends also have a snow day to fill.
For parents, snow days can be tricky unless of course you also get a snow day at work due to unfavorable weather in which case you can all go sliding together and have fun outdoors. But, if its a freezing rain sort of snow day then staying indoors and playing with your pets eating storm chips (as done in Nova Scotia), baking cookies with your parents and friends may sound like a better idea.
So enjoy your Snow Day if you get one this year and go make some snow angels if you have some fluffy snow.
Happy Chinese New Year. It’s the Year of the Pig. It is a fact that over a billion people are currently celebrating this Lunar New Year and the start of the Year of the Pig. The twelfth sign of the Chinese zodiac.
It all begins on Feb. 5 and they say if you were born in 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 or 2019, its said to be somewhat of a lucky year ahead. The Chinese New Year celebrations are also known as the Spring Festival and has no fixed date as it is based on the lunar calendar. Firework celebrations are omnipresent and its a very family oriented holiday. Red is the colour of luck and lucky red envelopes of money are often given to children.
In Canada, there is a very famous pig called Esther the Wonder Pig who I absolutely adore. She and her owners show a very human side to the world of pigs and makes us all want eat a plant based diet and send her cuddles everyday. Optimism is one of the traits of the Year of the Pig and she sure embodies that.
In January, new hopes and dreams for the New Year can bring smiles to our faces. There are so many lovely ways to enjoy what January and the New Year brings.
With children we can explore the outdoors providing you are dressed for the weather as the cold temperatures are with us in January. In Canada there is a huge range of winter sports to try on any given day and often winter festivals are coming in the month of February so that is something to look forward to. One of the largest winter carnivals is the Carnival de Quebec where from February 7th to the 18th there are many activities to enjoy and participate it with children.
As January comes to an end we can always look forward to Spring which is on its way and now, that’s something to smile about.
There is a place in Canada that is busy creating and improving the average balsam fir tree and this place is the Christmas Tree Research Centre in Nova Scotia. It is where Dalhousie University’s Raj Lada is the director of the Christmas Tree Research Centre. At the Centre they have been busy creating the SMART balsam tree that can actually hold its needles for up to three months!
It turns out that needle retention is very important for Christmas tree producers and fortunately the Christmas tree capital of the world for balsam fir trees can be found in Nova Scotia which also has a perfect climate for growing them.
At the Christmas Tree Research Centre they believe that the SMART balsam tree will revolutionize the Christmas tree production and exporting possibilities. According to Lada’s team in 2019 they will begin planting them. It really is then a Christmas dream come true for many who dislike sweeping up tree needles during the festive season.
The smell of freshly lit candles often fills the air in the month of December. But did you know that scented candles that are made of paraffin are actually doing more harm than good?
In fact according to the Daily Telegraph in the UK-“A study carried out by Professor Alastair Lewis of the National Centre for Atmospheric Science at the University of York found that an ingredient commonly used to give candles their scent mutates into formaldehyde upon contact with the air.” Which is an alarming fact considering that most candles do have some sort of scent included in their ingredients.
According to Treehugger.com “A study at South Carolina State University compared non-scented, non-pigmented, dye-free candles that were made from either a petroleum-based wax or a vegetable-based wax. They concluded that “the vegetable-based candles didn’t produce any potentially harmful pollutants [but] the paraffin candles released unwanted chemicals into the air.” Chemistry professor Ruhullah Massoudi stated,”
“For a person who lights a candle every day for years or just uses them frequently, inhalation of these dangerous pollutants drifting in the air could contribute to the development of health risks like cancer, common allergies and even asthma.”
Fortunately, there are much safer alternatives this December, choose a candle with a cotton, hemp or a paper wick and choose a candle made of soy, beeswax or coconut oil. They do offer a warm glow. Last but not least only choose candles that are unscented like the beeswax candles or are scented with natural essential oils and not chemicals.
Lighting candles in December should not come with a high price for our health and now that you have the knowledge to empower your candle purchases you can choose wisely for the air we breathe is really important to our health even more so in the winter months when we are indoors a larger portion of our time than during other seasons.
Have you ever wanted to wear your kids art because its so lovely? Well now you can with companies like Art to Charm andFormiaits all possible. Sometimes, I know as a parent that those lovely art papers can get curled up at the edges in a draw or tote box and end up not being seen in their full loveliness. Also over the years a complete lack of space to put all the art work is also a common parents issue. So, the very idea of turning their art into a piece that can be worn that is so very special and unique to every family sounds like a charmed idea to me as a parent.
This one above is from Formia and its really such an original gift idea for the grandparents this could be a really unique gift to give.
What is it about the season of Autumns first frost that has us all getting out our winter wooly sweaters and socks again. The trees all look like icy wands frozen in the sunlight and the glittery paths and grass are dusted with specs of frozen glittery ice crystals. According to the UK Met office “Frost is normally formed on still, clear and cold nights. The cool air causes water vapour in the air to condense and form droplets on the ground. When the temperature of the ground or surface is below 0 °C the moisture freezes into ice crystals – known as the frost point.”
There are in fact many types of frost that can happen and there are some amazing plants that can tolerate and even tend to benefit from frosts they include the well known brussel sprout, cabbages,turnips and some onions and some grapes for the production of ice wine enjoy a good frost.
So now you have the definition there is still something quite magical, lovely and special about the first frost of the year.
Autumn leaves are in prime colourful season at the moment in Canada. Every year hues of gold, carpets of red maple leaves and brilliantly orange leaves fill the garden. We diligently rake the leaves into paper bags and the next morning the garden is full of leaves again its a losing battle in October.
I love the autumn walks where you see one side of a street with red maple leaves and the other side all in yellow, from another variety of tree, it’s like a great leaf colour palette of the natural world.