Friday, September 18

Home/School Communication Tips - My CHEX Daily Segment

Last night on CHEX Daily I chatted with hosts Teresa Kazuba and Mike Judson (who always does a great job keeping the mood light!) about ways to establish strong home/school communication - and why it's so important!

Something I didn't mention: don't forget to keep the school/teacher informed about changes in your child's life (medications, new glasses, custody arrangements) as that information can be important to know as well.

I hope Mike has his homework done for next time!

Friday, September 11

How Much Should You Help With Homework?

For the "Touchy Subject" in the latest Parents Canada magazine, I answer this question with: "not very much".

See my reasons why (as well as a counterargument) here:

P.S. As a primary teacher, I don't believe in assigning very much homework at all, nor have either of my daughters ever brought home an unreasonable amount throughout the primary grades. We'll see what happens as they get older!

Saturday, September 5

My Appearance on The Social

Yesterday a dream came true.

I was invited to be a guest on CTV's The Social (kicking off Season 3 this past week), to chat about ways parents can help their kids succeed in school.

It was an amazing experience, from start to finish. While I won't give away the inner workings of the show, they are very thoroughly planned, and I was highly impressed by the segment producer (Meghan) and the guest coordinator (Jen) who helped me through the entire process (which started months ago).

The video is below, and you can also find it here: (The Social - How to help your child succeed in school), along with a blog post which captures all of the tips (including the ones we didn't get to).

If you're wondering what the hosts are *really* like, I can tell you that they were all extremely kind and encouraging of me during my visit. Though my segment was just with Mel and Traci, as soon as I got backstage Cynthia and Jess were sweet and complimentary, and Cynthia went out of her way to send out a supportive tweet. (Lainey was away on assignment, in case you're wondering why I'm not mentioning her!)

I thought it would be fun to follow The Social's "What We Wore" idea, and share a little "What I Wore" info with you (since of course a LOT of thought went into it):

Credit for my great hairstyle goes to my sister-in-law Rose. You know someone cares about you when they spend hours practising on your hair - and wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it! Thanks for the awesome look, Rose!

Makeup was done for me at the show by Natalie, the very accommodating makeup artist. I appreciated how she asked me if I had any requests (dark eyeliner - and lots of it) while adding her own creativity to the look. She even took the time to show me how to properly apply my false lashes!

The dress is from Cleo ($30) and the shoes from Stepss ($20) - and yes, I am a bargain hunter!

After the show I had the chance to get a photo with the day's hosts, and then brought in my "fan club" - six friends who generously arranged their end-of-summer schedules so they could be in the audience to see me. The hosts warmly welcomed them too - and they do meet and greets and photos with all audience members after each show.

I was absolutely overwhelmed by the support I received from family, friends (including a gorgeous floral arrangement - Heather!), colleagues and strangers on social media. I truly appreciated every email, text, tweet and gesture of social media love. As I tweeted out last night, "People who say women don't support other women clearly don't know my women." Thanks so much everyone! (Now off to say a little prayer that they'll want me back again!)

Update: I have been asked to return!

For more on The Social:

My Behind-the-Scenes Visit to The Social
My Interview with Cynthia Loyst (1)
My Interview with Melissa Grelo
My Interview with Lainey Lui
My Interview with Traci Melchor
My Interview with Cynthia Loyst (2)

Thursday, September 3

My Interview With Scott McGillivray For Parents Canada

A few weeks ago, I had a great chat with TV host, contractor and real estate investor Scott McGillivray, and it's live now on the Parents Canada website. In the interview, Scott chats about his new YouTube series (Good To Grow), what he thinks is the biggest mistake families make when purchasing or renovating a new home, what inspired him to create a hilarious Father's Day Fail video, (pointing out the sexism that hands-on dads face), and what his wife Sabrina thinks of his "Sexiest Man" titles!

You can find the entire interview with Scott McGillivray here, and a condensed version will be in the November/December print issue of Parents Canada magazine.

Tuesday, September 1

Kate's Favourite Things - September 2015

This month's edition of Kate's Favourite Things is significantly shorter than last month - I spent July focusing on rest and relaxation, but I never get too far into August before I'm thinking about school again!

Here are my top picks for the month (please note: I'd love to hear your thoughts if you follow any of my recommendations - I'm always thrilled to know that people are reading them!)


Come Away With Me by Karma Brown

About the book (from the publisher):

An unexpected journey leads one woman to discover that life after loss is possible, if only you can find the courage to let go… 

One minute, Tegan Lawson has everything she could hope for: an adoring husband, Gabe, and a baby on the way. The next, a patch of black ice causes a devastating accident that will change her life in ways she never could have imagined. 

Tegan is consumed by grief—not to mention her anger toward Gabe, who was driving on the night of the crash. But just when she thinks she's hit rock bottom, Gabe reminds her of their Jar of Spontaneity, a collection of their dream destinations and experiences, and so begins an adventure of a lifetime. 

From the bustling markets of Thailand to the flavors of Italy to the ocean waves in Hawaii, Tegan and Gabe embark on a journey to escape the tragedy and search for forgiveness. But they soon learn that grief follows you no matter how far away you run, and that acceptance comes when you least expect it. Heartbreaking, hopeful and utterly transporting, Come Away with Me is an unforgettable debut and a luminous celebration of the strength of the human spirit.

I'm excited to say that this is a debut novel from one of my Twitter friends (follow her @writerkarma) and I loved it! (Book # 2 is coming next summer.)

Ana of California  by Andi Teran

This one is a reimagining of Anne of Green Gables - orphan moves to the farm and lives with a sister and brother - but with many differences, not only because of the geographical setting but to bring it into 2015.

Royal Wedding: A Princess Diaries Novel by Meg Cabot

My mom signed this out of the library for me, and it sat for a while, as I figured it would be a bit too juvenile for my liking...but I really enjoyed it. I have discovered that I am now old enough that a character can be 10 years younger than me, yet still be a grown woman to whom I can relate. Well, as much as one can relate to a princess of a fictional country! It's fun, funny and sexy, with a few surprises.

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

Written by the books editor at Glamour magazine, this one is a fresh twist on the busy-employed-sandwich-generation-mom theme - though I'm still waiting for the book where a dad questions his workaholism and impact on the children.

The story really drew me in, especially since it's a book that talks a lot about books!


Speaking of Glamour magazine, here are a couple of quotes I loved from Mindy Kaling's interview in the September issue:

"Working parents have eclipsed Russian operatives as our most popular movie villains."

"People get scared when you try to do something, especially when it looks like you're succeeding. People do not get scared when you're failing. It calms them...But when you're winning, it makes them feel like they're losing or that maybe they should've tried to do something too, but now it's too late. And since they didn't, they want to stop you. You can't let them."


Southpaw - I love Rachel McAdams, and this movie gave me lots of feelings. I will be shocked if Jake Gyllenhaal is not nominated for an Oscar.

The Man From U.N.C.L.E. - I knew nothing about the series, but the movie was a nice, witty action flick. I'll definitely go see the sequel...which was set up perfectly at the end of this one.

Ricki and the Flash - My mom and I had a date to see this (we were celebrating the fact that she did not leave our family to pursue a rock star career) and we both enjoyed it and had lots of tears, though I could have done with fewer musical performances. I'm more a move-the-plot-along kind of gal.


I'd been admiring some of the "front and back" style earrings I'd seen on the ladies of The Social, and was keeping my eye out for some budget-friendly options. I found these ones at Claire's for $8.50, and for only $5 I got a different silver pair as well. I love a good bargain!


In my younger years, I made 13 blood donations, but since moving to our new home, much farther from a regular clinic, I hadn't gone once! I made an appointment and was in and out in about an hour and a half, and I'm already booked to return after the minimum number of wait days. You know what they say - it's in you to give!

Have a wonderful September, everyone!