Wordless Wednesday


El Gotic – Barcelona

 

People in Wheelchairs and people who need the lift, go to the right.
Men and women without legs, please go downstairs.
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Happy New Year! How Did 2017 Go? You Tell Me…


Happy New Year!  We, at The Urban Daddy sincerely hope that this year is the best year ever and that it is filled with fun, family, health, happiness, wealth, prosperity and PEACE!

While in the process of clearing off an old computer, I came across my family plan for 2017.  I’m going to post it below and after reading it, you tell me if you think that the year was a success, OR, if I need to rename it “Happy New Year 2018” and try again.

Did you set family goals for the year?  Or does that get done in September before school?

Do you then use January 1st as a re-boot?

 

Here is what I presented to my 3 children on January 1st, 2017.

Welcome to 2017!

Kids, you have left us no choice but to institute this new policy in our household. Your mother and I are tired of picking up after all of you, and asking you to do the same things over and over again.  We don’t like buying you new things because you treat everything you have very poorly.  You all have the ability to change this, but you have never had the reason to… Until now!

Each of you have complained that we don’t like doing things that you want to do, and that is also going to change this year because as a family, we will be doing more together inside and outside the house.

You have 2 options. Read them below and let’s see which one we like and want to start following.

Option 1.

Starting at 12:01.01 am on January 1st, 2017, your parents will no longer be making your lunches, driving you to programs, buying you toys, or taking you to and from school.  We will not be allowing you to watch TV, use electronics or listen to your music devices until these following conditions are all met each and every day.

Conditions;

  • Make your beds in the morning
  • Brush your teeth in the morning and at night
  • Clean up after yourselves after each and every meal – not just putting things on the counter or in the sink, but in the dishwasher, or washed, dried and away.
  • Not leave any food out
  • Put away all of your clean clothes
  • Placed dirty clothes in your hamper the right side out
  • Only be allowed to eat at the kitchen table
  • Leave the kitchen table and your eating area spotless once you have finished
  • Hang your towels on the back of the door in your bathroom once you have used it
  • Hang your jackets in the closet when you get home, not on the railing, not on the floor in the closet, but hung properly
  • Complete ALL of your homework assigned to you which is due the next day
  • Be responsible from taking your lunch box from your school bag, empty it – put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, or wash, dry and put them away. Any uneaten food must be put in the appropriate place
  • Not hit one another
  • Not yell at one another
  • Not swear at all. Ever
  • Be respectful to your parents.

 

If you fail to do any 3 of these in a week, you will forfeit anything that you consider “fun” and will be given extra school work to compensate for your lack of interest in being a contributing member of this family.

 

Option 2.

Help out more around the house. It’s your house too, not just ours.  Don’t fight as much with each other and respect each other’s belongings.  Be kind to others, be kind to yourselves, and make sure if you don’t know / are not sure / confused / uneasy or uncomfortable with anything that is said, done to you, near you or around you, or to others, to ask us or tell us.

Lie to us and it’s over. Tell us the truth and we can deal with consequences.

We want others to see how wonderful each of you are.

Hugs are a must

We’re not perfect either but we are your parents. We have the key / password / ability to allow you to have fun, or be miserable.  We think you might want fair and fun over option 1 and feeling like a prisoner.

Happy New Year!

 

 

How was our year?  Better than 2016.  🙂

Holidays, Money and a few last minute ideas…


I hate to break it to you but the holidays are here, and for many of us this means spending far too much money on gifts our kids and families really don’t need. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-gifting, I just don’t like having to buy gifts as a result of socially constructed consumer norms (to be addressed in a future post). That said, I’m a mom of 5-year-old twins and explaining what a social construct is will result in the consumption of far, far too many bottles of wine so I’m opting for conforming – at least to a certain extent.

Everyone knows the holidays are about family, friends, spending time together and sharing the love and,  if you’ve done your job well, your kids know this well. Ya know what else kids know? Holidays = presents! So, since I’m buying into the holiday crap, I’m at least going to do it in a way that doesn’t put my family into peril. Peril? yes, peril.

The holidays are expensive. If you’re not careful, the parental guilt that inevitably comes with the knowledge you can’t get your kids everything they want could put your family into a negative financial situation that’s difficult to recoup from.

“No, you can’t have the Nintendo, doll house, race car and Barbie… many kids don’t even receive gifts during the holidays…we’ve very fortunate to have everything that we do… when I was your age I got a matchstick for Christmas/ Hanukkah/ Kwanza…” Sound familiar? As parents, we want to give our kids the world and everything in it. We also don’t want to raise assholes. And this principle is what often alleviates that guilt I was talking about earlier. Now, we’re not just trying to save money, we’re teaching our kids a valuable lesson, right?

I dunno about you, but I still feel like total shit when I can’t get my kids what they want or, more to the point, what I want to get them. That said, DON’T GO INTO DEBT FOR THE HOLIDAYS. IT’S NOT WORTH IT. Yes, like a crack addict, you’ll get that initial high of being the ‘best parent ever’, but come January you’re going to crash and it’s gonna be ugly. (Please trust me on this, I watch people do it every day, let alone every year, it’s the line of work I’m in.) So, how do you avoid this scenario? Here are my 5 top tips I use to financially survive the holidays:

Tip 1 – Everyone loves photo gifts. Sign up for all of the online photo-gift sites and throughout the year they send great freebies, ranging from mugs to calendars to bags and prints.  You pay the shipping (which isn’t cheap but it’s far cheaper than paying for a gift and shipping) and that’s it!

Tip 2 – Shops the sales before the ‘sales’.  If you’re like my husband and don’t plan all that far in advance for gift giving then wait until September to take advantage of the back to school sales for toys, home stuff, clothing, make up etc. they often end up being cheaper than all of the sales that are currently out right now.

Tip 3 – THE DOLLAR STORE IS YOUR FRIEND. There is absolutely no good reason to spend five times the amount of money on a brand name toy or game when you can get the exact same one at the dollar store? They’re all made in China so why spend $20 instead of $4 for a logo? For the record, half of my son’s gifts are from Dollarama (no, they didn’t pay me to endorse them, I’m just a big fan)

Tip 4 – New does not mean better. I just bought half of my daughter’s gifts from kijiji, craigs list and Facebook market (again, no endorsement). If the toys are in good condition then who gives a crap about the plastic package? This way, you’re saving yourself some $ and giving Mother Nature a hand!

Tip 5 – It doesn’t have to be fancy. My kids are getting books, markers and fun earmuffs as gifts. They’ll love it because it’s all about the delivery. I’m in my 30’s and I still love getting this stuff as gifts, but maybe that’s just me.

I hope these tips help ease your guilt and keep enough money in the bank to pay the bills at the end of the month.

Now for some examples of the aforementioned tips. (Disclaimer, I received all of these products as free samples, but you can bet your ass you’ll know if I didn’t like something about them.)

Books:

But I don’t Eat Ants is a super cute story for picky eaters and their parents. Not to spoil it, the lesson for parents goes back to tip #5: it’s all about the delivery! The final line of the book confused my kids a bit but  it was a fun story for all and every time I make tortellini they laugh hysterically yelling “TORTELLINITOTALLINI!”

Finding Gobi is one of the best feel good books for young kids that I’ve come across in a long while. The first time I heard the story Gobiwas on CBC and the publisher blindly reached out a couple of weeks later. I wanted to see if the story I heard on the news was accurately depicted in the book and how they were going to adapt it for young kids.  Much to my surprise it was really well written, succinct and colourful, which is key for young kids. They also sent over the novel version which I didn’t have a chance to read but my friend’s son, who’s 8, said it was a great book – why would he lie, right?

Home:

I was never a coffee drinker and figured it was dumb to get one of the single cup machines for tea since they always tasted so diluted, so I never bought any of the ones on the market. I have seen the light thanks to the Keurig that was sent to us. It has a new ‘strong’ brew option which actually allows tea to taste likcoffeee tea!  I also like that it doesn’t take up all that much counter space. The machine is also pretty tough, which I realized as I used pliers to pry the wrong K-Cup that I jammed in, out of the machine (don’t judge, I was running on 2hrs sleep!)

Random fun things:

Cozyphones are a super cute alternative to headphones, with the bonus of keeping your munchkins’ ears toasty. I’m hoping they come outcozyphones with a version that can be worn in summer since these are fleece. Regardless, the kids look freaking adorable in them and love wearing them around the apartment.

Sigma Beauty reached out and sent over a bunch of items from their new Creme De Couture line. I was pretty hesitant to include makeup in a gift guide since I reallymakeup don’t wear much unless I’m out for an event and because isn’t all makeup basically the same? Evidently not! According to my makeup-wearing friends quality varies drastically. So I figured I’d try a bit myself and share some with my mom (avid makeup wearer). I have to say I was shocked at how much I liked it! The colours are super vibrant and the Liquid Lipstick stays on the whole night (hubby can attest to that!). My next thought was that it must be super expensive since it’s pretty good quality but again I was pleasantly surprised! All in all, I really liked the products and I wear a bit more makeup these days. I hope these help in your last-minute shopping frenzy and I wish you good luck!!!

The Urban Daddy and Urban Twin Mommy would like to wish you all a very happy holiday season, filled with love and light. May the year ahead be filled with happiness, health and success (in whatever form that means to you!).

XOXO

 

 

Apple Slowing Down Old iPhones! Learn Why…


Have you wondered why your older iPhone seems to be slower than the newer models?  Does it seem that your phone has a harder time downloading apps, connecting to the Internet or performing simple tasks?

I’ve always suspected it was a gentle nudge, or reminder from Apple to upgrade to the newer phone.  I never liked it, but thought it was a possibility.

Well, Apple have now admitted that they slow down some models as they age, but they do so only because the phones’ battery performance diminishes over time and they want to preserve the battery for you, the customer.

Well, isn’t that nice to know.

Apple is trying to prolong the life of iPhones.  Shouldn’t they have told this to us?  At any point in time?

Turns out this practice was confirmed after a customer shared performance tests on the social media site, Reddit.  They tests were performed after noticing that their iPhone 6S had slowed down considerably as it had aged but when a new battery was installed, the phone sped back up again.

Apple has now confirmed that it made changes to iOS to manage ageing lithium-ion batteries in some devices, as these batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, when they have a low battery charge or as they age over time.

As a result, Apple released a feature for the iPhone 6, 6S and SE to “smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions.”

They have recently extended that feature to the iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2.

 

What’s the deal with the Lithium batteries?

Well, they degrade over time because of what happens to the battery during the charging and discharging cycle.  They very slowly erode, meaning they are able to hold less of a charge.  High voltages and high temperatures expedite this erosion.

 

Here is where the message was really poorly managed, however.  By taking away performance that somebody has paid for, you might have communicated that much, much better at any point in time.  Otherwise, you get a combination of urban myth and conspiracy theory – the idea that Apple builds planned obsolescence into their iPhones –  slowing down older models to make you run out to purchase the next model or version.

But why wait until the rumour has been proven to be true before coming out with the facts.

As customers, we deserve better!

 

Winter has come to Toronto! Do you know what the snow rules are and what can cause the City to fine you?


Do you know what the snow rules in the city are? You should pay attention since the City of Toronto needs extra revenue and many of these infractions are clear as freshly fallen snow.

Do NOT shovel snow on to the street!

Instead, keep it on your property because it is illegal to push it on the road, and if you do, you could be handed a $360 fine, which goes up to $1,000 for repeat offenders.

What happens if you don’t shovel?

You could face a $125 fine.

Shovel the sidewalk in front of your house!

The city will clear snow from sidewalks after 8cm of snow has fallen – 5cm in January and February – but only if you live in the suburbs.  If you live in downtown or central Toronto you have 12 hours after the snowfall ends to have that sidewalk cleaned off. Failing to do so could result in a fine of $125.00 as per Municipal Code Chapter 719.

What do you do if your neighbours never shovel the sidewalk?

Call 311 and complain.

Most fines are doled out after people complain to the city about their neighbour. Any subsequent complaints or follow-up investigations may result in fines being imposed for non-compliance.

Caught driving with snow on your car?

Section 74 of the Highway Traffic Act says you have to be able to see clearly out of your front, front side and rear windows and while there is an exception for rear windows if you can see with your mirrors, if it is determined that you cannot see clearly, the fine $110.