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As a parent, there is always something new to learn with every age and stage. That's why we started The WhereParentsTalk Company to create exceptional how-to DVDs, gifts and other products that parents can use as learning and reference tools during those tough times. Our award-winning DVDs combine expert advice, demonstrations and lots of mom-tested tips from company founders Lianne and Andrea, both moms as well as broadcasters. Here is where we'll post company updates, sneak peaks, and more exciting tid-bits!

Posted May 19, 2010

By Lianne Castelino   www.whereparentstalk.com

My 12-year-old son floored me last night. "Mom, I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be a chef." Boy those kids say the darndest things, don't they!!

I stepped back and said, "Wow, that's wonderful son," as I secretly began plotting out my plan on how to get him more involved in daily family food preparations!

Truth be told, since I've started working outside of the home for the past few months, I've had to rely on him to help with a few preparations to get dinner started. Since he's the first one home, he gets that honour! So he's been doing things like peeling vegetables, or preparing the pots to steam vegetables, or boiling water for pasta or making a salad dressing - which he did last night!

Cooking with<br />

The road to healthy eating, we've learned over the years, has many lanes. 

For years, I've dragged my kids out grocery shopping. Yes, it is more difficult when they're younger. However, the grocery story is a fabulous, rich learning campus for kids (and adults) when it comes to food. The colours, signs, shapes, varieties - it's like a science and nutrition class around the corner.

Now that the kids are older (12, 10 and 6), they have an even greater vested interest in coming grocery shopping with us.

We make a list, which they assist with. They suggest school sandwiches/lunch ideas for the week plus snacks.
They create the list. One of them is responsible for writing it, the other responsible for reading the list in the store,
and the third crosses off the items as they are bought.

While shopping, they are increasingly more interested in reading nutrition labels, etc., (which they learn at school as well) and asking questions about food types and trying new things. Trying news things - hmmm - a wonderful concept unto itself, isn't it!! But I digress!

Getting kids to help with grocery shopping or getting them to make their own sandwiches/lunches the night before or the morning is incredibly important in helping them learn about food and also taking responsibility for their own diet.

The key for parents (we've learned over the years) is to have the patience to show and expose them to whole act of food preparation, menu planning and the fact that what we eat requires thought, organization, fresh ingredients and interest.  Once you make that decision, then you have to decide that you will accept that perhaps the sandwich little Johnny makes is not going to look picture-perfect. But he made it, and he'll likely be proud to eat it. And all that is progress and will go a long way in helping them learn about food, eating healthy and ultimately being able to produce a meal by themselves sooner rather than later.

(If we do have a budding chef in the house, then yippee - we look forward to someone else preparing the home-cooked meals here, sooner rather than later!!)

Watch n' Learn Video Recipes:  
Salmon Salad
Oven Crunch Fish n' Chips
Simple Chicken Noodle Soup

Posted May 18, 2010

By Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com 

There are some stories that irk the soul so deeply that they demand an outcry.  This is one of them, if ever there was.

While there are plenty of creative people out there who try and succeed in manipulating the unemployment insurance system (for fun, sport, whatever), there is the story of young mother Natalya Rougas who really needs government-paid sickness benefits as she faces a life and death struggle.

Natalya Rougas -  The Toronto Star

Rougas, a 37-year-old married mother of a one-year-old boy is grappling with stage 3 breast cancer, the reality of scheduled a double   mastectomy, and the daily challenges of being a mom.  She must now add to that daunting list - fighting the government.

To read the complete article in The Toronto Star by Health reporter Theresa Boyle: http://whereparentstalk.com/articles/just-for-moms/new-mom-breast-cancer...

We (parents and non-parents) can all be so politically-correct when we say "parenting is the most difficult job in the world" or "parenting is the only job that doesn't get paid" or whatever the popular phrase may be...but do we mean it when it really counts.

Will the federal government take the high road and give this poor woman the $6,000 she is seeking in sickness benefits as a result of being diagnosed with cancer just prior to her planned return to work after giving birth? OR will this poor woman have to battle beauraucracy as she fights for her life?

There must be some mistake here. It defies all logic.

The injustice is obvious. Hopefully sanity will prevail and the situation corrected for Natalya Rougas and her young family.

The larger issue is even more disturbing. How many thousands of women suffer from serious post-partum issues (physical, mental and other) that require them to apply for employment insurance sickness benefits, stemming from their maternity-parental leave.

The article notes that: "..sickness benefits don’t appear to be going to mothers who fall ill in the year following their deliveries, they say. Only expectant mothers who become ill about 15 weeks prior to their due dates seem to get the benefit."

Let's call it what it is.

Giving birth is a physical trauma (whether you have no contractions or a 35 hour labour). Giving birth is an emotional trauma (radical changes to the body, the family home, the couple relationship, sibling relationships, etc).

How in the world can anyone predict what will occur after a woman gives birth - how she's going to feel, how her will body heal, how she will react emotionally, hormonally, etc?

Studies have shown, for example that post-partum depression can occur up to and beyond ONE FULL YEAR after delivery. All of a sudden, one day the signs begin to show and a new mother who may have been happy to bits about her new addition is suddenly depressed or frustrated. Is this condition or situation not worthy of employment insurance sickness benefits? Who decides what post-partum condition truly is a sickness worthy of benefits and what isn't?

As a society, we need to focus in on what pushing a human being out of a body truly entails. Pregnancy, labour and delivery are all wonderful miracles occurring in a female body. That expectant woman, the mother-to-be, needs to be treated like a human being, not a machine. So too does that person's spouse, partner and other children.

Yes, there will be those who will abuse the system and get away with it.  But there are many with legitimate reasons - like those of Natalya Rougas - where greater understanding and compassion are called for.   We need to show it.


Posted May 16, 2010

By Andrea Howick                                     www.whereparentstalk.com

Every year, a friend and I would do a massive clean-up of each of our houses. It occurred to us we could actually make a few dollars if we held a garage sale. And it seemed so much less daunting to do it with a friend. So for a few years, one of us hauled all of our junk over to the other’s house, got up the following Saturday at the crack of dawn and braced ourselves for the masses.


Now, back then, we both had somewhat corporate jobs. So much of the contents of the sale was clothing that no longer fit/or was out of style. I have to admit there was a fair amount of designer items to be had – more hers than mine I confess – but it was enough so that when our ad appeared in the local paper, there was a small contingent of shoppers that would turn up ready to buy our discarded designer wares.

Then over the years, something changed. We had babies. We stayed home. We didn’t buy designer duds. The bulk of our garage sales was now mainly tattered toys and outgrown baby clothes. I even remember one year, one of the bargain hunters used to the previous sales demanding “Where are all the good women’s clothes?” Gone, I’m afraid. Traded in for nursing bras and comfortable sweats.

I have to say, it’s a bit of a relief not to have the annual garage sale anymore. Of course the house still needs to be cleaned out regularly. Now the bags go to various charities. I hope someone can make use of their contents!

Share your garage sale stories with us. Do you have tips for making the most out of garage sales? Have you found great bargains? Become a member and let us know www.whereparentstalk.com