September 23, 2018

Waskesiu 2018: At the Beach

Being at the beach (any beach) is really a dream vacation for me. I could sit there all day listening to the water, paddle boarding, looking for little fish to put in my son's bucket, dipping my toes in the water to cool off. There really is nothing that I love more than water and other natural elements working together to make something so peaceful and inviting.

This was the year that my son peace-d out and decided he wanted to make friends with other children at the lake. It was a bit hard for me as I wasn't prepared for it, but I did enjoy my time to myself out on the water on the paddle board that I rented (I took my son out for the first little trip across the swimming area). I liked sitting on the board and dragging my feet beside it to keep me cool. It was a time for reflection, and the feeling of the board floating on the water reminded me a lot of when I tried surfing.

Even though there were moments of independence this summer, I know that my son enjoys his time at the lake (as do I) and I can't wait for more adventures next summer!

September 17, 2018

Behind the Art: Stud Muffin

I created this delightful little card after being inspired by a t-shirt that I saw at Sask Expo in 2016 (that was a really good year for the expo). A lot of my inspiration for cards and artwork comes from t-shirts that I see, especially the ones I see on the children at work. They have such amazing puns.

This is one of my favourite cards to have at a market to be able to watch the different reactions of the people that see it. Sometimes people don't notice the little muffin at the end (or realise that's what it is) and just stop at the word "STUD", which works too!

September 10, 2018

DIY: Responsibility Chart

Our son is entering the age where it's time to step-up the responsibilities. To help him to remember what he needs to do, I decided to make a Responsibility Chart to give him (and us) a visual of what needs to be done, and what tasks have already been completed. It also helps that we have it hanging in our kitchen area so that we can see how his progress is going.

It seems to be the best approach for his personality (he's going to be a list maker), and has really helped us out so that we don't have to remember everything that we have asked him to do, and then struggle to get him to finish it all.

Instead he gets a little hit of dopamine as he moves a magnet over to the "DONE" side of the magnet board (kind of like when you finally get to cross off one of those things on your to-do list), and gets incentive to complete the rest of the tasks for that day. 

Not all of them need to be done in a single day (and we'll add more as we think of them, or he gets older and takes on more responsibilities), but when almost all of them are on the "TO DO" side, he will do everything in his power to add on the ones that don't even need to be done.

What you will need:
Black Fine-Tip Sharpie
White Paint Pen (or white acrylic paint and thin paint brush)
A Ruler
Small Round Magnets
1" Round Wooden Disks
Hot Glue Gun
Glue Sticks
Metal Sign

Measure the middle of your sign and draw a line down the middle of the sign with your paint pen, using a ruler to keep it straight. On one side of the line, paint the words "TO DO" and on the other side, paint the word "DONE". Your sign is done!

To create the tasks and expectations, write on the wooden disks with a black fine-tip sharpie. If you mess up on one side, flip it over to the other side and try again. Use hot glue from a glue gun to attach the magnets to the wooden disks and...voila! You've got yourself a responsibility chart!

September 01, 2018

World Alzheimer's Month 2018

It is September 1st, and that marks the beginning of World Alzheimer's Month, and the fifth time that you will be supporting the Alzheimer's Society of Canada when you make a purchase in the shop. It is unbelievable that it has been that long since we started donating to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada, and, to date, you have helped to raise over $120.

The Forget-Me-Not flower (which I have drawn this year) is a powerful symbol for people with Alzheimer's and their families. It is often used to symbolise the loss of memory, but is also a reminder to remember the people that we have lost to Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. 

As you may know, the disease has touched my family as my Grandma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's when I was a teenager, and, over the years I have shared pieces of our story with you. It means so much to me that you continue to help support the cause and give a voice to those affected by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. 

August 30, 2018

Behind the Art: Happy Day Penguins

This delightful little card was designed for my brother-in-law and his wife when they got married four years ago (see the DIY I did for the wedding, plus my camera drama on the big day). 

If you've been a fan of the shop for a while, you know that I am a sucker for penguins and enjoy making cards and art prints with penguins on them, so it was only natural that I make a wedding card with penguins on it (LGBTQ+ penguin wedding cards are available). 

They have since become a popular little couple, taking trips all over the world; just recently leaving on a trip to London (England).

August 27, 2018

Read It: Glow Kids

I learned about Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D. during a conference about childhood anxiety from the Institute of Child Psychology. It provided a lot of invaluable information for my day job, but also made me realise that there were some things going on at home that needed to be attended to. One of the things that was mentioned a bit was screen time, and Glow Kids was a book that was recommended on the subject. I went to the bookstore as soon as the conference was done.

The book starts off with some interesting information about addiction and the way that our brains work (some of which I had also learned at the childhood anxiety conference), and a little bit of Kardaras' own history with video games and tech addiction. Then it moves into some serious information about video games and aggression (I had always been one of those people that doesn't like to put the blame on television or other forms of media for a child's behaviour), to how having tech in classrooms isn't really as educational as we thought, and, by the end of the book, into what we can do about it all.

Keeping in mind that Kardaras is sharing the worst of the worst when it comes to screen addiction, I was able to quickly see that a screen/tech detox was something my husband and I needed to do for our son. His behaviours were nowhere near the children that were being described in the book, but there was potential in the future and it scared me.

I was never one to want my child to need a screen in his face all the time. I have never given him my phone in the car, or on shopping trips, etc., but that doesn't mean that other people didn't do that for him when I wasn't around, or that I didn't let him have the tablet to watch a movie or play game while on a longer road trip (at the age of 3), or at the end of the day while my husband and I were making supper. I admit that my child had more screen time than I ever wanted to let him have.

We went through a detox like the book talked about during a particularly difficult time for him in school and at home, and, as hard as it was to go screen free, we found that it really helped him to take that break. But it's something that you can't relax on or you'll get back into it, and it takes some looking at what you do as well as an example for your child. I am far from perfect myself, and will say that I am addicted to my phone.

We have entered our second detox as we prepare to go back to school, and this time we are really stressing that he find things to exercise his imagination. It's okay to be bored. It's through the boredom that you are able to figure out something to do to pass the time, and next time you won't be as bored because you'll know what to do. 

I myself am trying to put my phone down a lot more and read, paint, or watch a show or movie without being distracted by Twitter or Instagram. It's hard and takes a lot of focus. So, as an adult, if I find it difficult to focus on not focusing on a screen, I can only begin to imagine what it's like for my son. This book brought about a pivotal moment of parental learning that I wish I had had sooner, but I'm glad I didn't have it too late. It was the push I needed to move beyond the screen.

*Believe me, I get the irony of you reading this on your phone or computer right now.

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