Cheerios and Bees: What to beelieve?

A hot topic in the news recently has been Honey Nut Cheerios and their new box, the one with the missing bee. The purpose: to bring awareness to the decline in bee colonies worldwide.  How are they bringing awareness? Well besides the missing bee on their box, you can sign up to have a packet of bee-friendly wild flowers mailed to your door step from a local company here on Prince Edward Island (PEI), Vessey’s Seeds, to do your part in helping out the bee population.

What’s the big deal, that seems innocent enough right? Well…not so fast. Here is what the world responded with:

  • Vessey’s seeds was funded by Monsanto which is basically seen as the agricultural equivalent to Shredder from TMNT. Read: hella evil.
  • The wild flowers are not considered native to all parts of the world like they are here in PEI and may even be invasive, or in some cases, banned species.
  • General Mills uses glyphosate, a pesticide responsible for contributing to the declining bee population.
  • The bee population is not actually declining so this campaign is pointless.

So what are the facts:

  • Vessey’s has reassured us they are in no way the Shredder of the seed world, they are a local, family run PEI company and Monsanto has no hands in their pockets.
  • Although the wild flowers are not considered native to all parts, they are also not considered invasive. As Vessey’s recently told CBC in a news article “in most locations the seed mixture species will be non-native but not considered invasive. To be invasive, a species has to be non-native and have the tendency to spread and threaten the environmental, economic or social health of an area.” Additionally, there were issues with specific types of seeds that were even banned in some states in the US. Vessey’s response “The forget-me-not that is invasive is the perennial type…The Forget-Me-Not that is included in our mix is the annual.”
  • Glyphosate is a herbicide not a pesticide. Which as indicated by their type, one kills herbs (i.e. weeds) and the other kills pests.
  • As for the bee population. The jury is still out. Reports from various sources give various reviews. Canada appears to generally be maintaining their populations with the exception of the east coast, the US seems to be experiencing a decline.

 

As a general commentary from someone who has taken both graduate and masters courses in food security and sustainability (that’s me!), our demands on the food supply continue to increase. We (Canada) rely heavily on imports from other countries and need their supplies to remain stable as well, globally we are being faced with challenges such as colder springs, droughts, and fires, which all have significant impact on crops and therefore, food supply. Bees are affected by all of the environmental changes as well and since they are pollinators and we rely heavily on their involvement in almost all fruit, veggie, and oil crops. That is a lot of food and a lot of ingredients in other foods.

I don’t think Cheerios has poor intentions with their campaign, they are trying to bring awareness to our food system. While  there is typically a plot somewhere for financial gain with any large corporate campaign, I am not so sure they are trying to be the buzz kill to our food supply and ecosystem (see what I did there!) If you are interested in helping out in your own way, you can actually just go to a local greenhouse and ask for some flowers and plant them at home. You can also check out to see if there are initiatives going on in your community that can enable you to help out with your local food supply like community/rooftop gardens, veggie boxes, or farmers markets.

I have an amazing bestie doing her part to help out the bees, and more importantly, creating a symbol in our community that we all have to do our part. To bee honey-st, we could all pitch in and do a little extra. Okay I’m done.

H

 

 

 

Technology in Classrooms

Now this is a hot ticket conversation starter.

I have found that people have strong opinions when it comes to using technology in classrooms. Classrooms in 2017 have evolved from when us 80s babies were in school. Gone are the days of leisurely attendance taking (it’s all online now) and milk getting delivered to classrooms for 35 cents.

 Being a grade 1 and 2 teacher, I am biased, but I think classrooms these days are amazing. Kids are exploring, inquiring and discovering incredible things about themselves and their 2017 world.

Kids talk about Facebook, apps and Snapchat like we used to talk about pogs and whether Corey and Tapanga were going to make it as a couple. #drama  Our students know that any question they have (for the most part) can be answered by Siri. To sum up, it’s a different world, for better or for worse.

 

Personally, I think technology can be used in a classroom as a tool, not a toy. Learning to navigate computers is a critical skill that our students need to have for the work force. Formatting appropriate emails, typing quickly and accurately as well as a list of other skills are assumed acquired skills by the end of grade 12. 

So what does technology look like in a grade 1 and 2 classroom?

We aren’t formatting emails. In fact, we don’t get much screen time, but we do have a computer and a few ipads. The computer is mainly for my use (attendance, report cards, email, etc) but we watch videos when I flip the screen to face the kiddos. For example, we enjoyed this video that we watched to compliment our empathy unit. The thing about screens is kids love ’em. They watched Mark Ruffalo explain empathy and maybe that will stick in some brains better than my explanation or the books we read.

Don’t be naive. Kids as young as 5 have cell phones. They play games, take selfies and text. I think the school’s responsibility is to help kids develop critical thinking skills and be knowledgeable with online safety to navigating the online world.

 We use our ipads to listen to stories. FYI- there is something special about Robert Munsch reading his own books that makes stories more interesting for some reluctant readers. Our ipads can be motivators, a much needed break or a chance to practice their ABC’s in a different way. (My favs include abcya and starfall)

Technology isn’t going away, or becoming less complicated. Let’s embrace it by learning how to be online safely, with purpose and for technology to enhance our students learning.

 

Learning to Embrace the #WinterLove

Abby Goodwin is our guest writer today. Not only is she incredibly ambitious, brilliant and a great friend of mine; she is my baby sister! Enjoy her post about learning to embrace winter!  – Janna 
 Abby and our wonderful mom, Nancy !
I’ll be the first to admit it, I never really liked winter!
I moved to Victoria, BC when I was 18, and thought I would never come back, partially due to the climate. It is a funny thing they never tell you, when speaking of a Canadian winter, some places don’t get snow! Victoria doesn’t get snow!
Through the jigs and the reels, five years later, I ended back up on the east coast, and that meant around 6-8 months of cold weather, 2-3 months of harsh winter.
I started with a company called Think Forward Solutions in Charlottetown, PEI. My colleague had an idea a few years back to change the negative winter narrative. We wanted to make winter on PEI a desirable place because of its vibrancy and excitement! Our goal was to change the way people talked, I mean complained, about winter.
 
“ PEI is great in the summer!” How classic is that?
Well, we set out to change that!
So began #WinterLovePEI were we became the hub for all things winter. We had a collaborative online calendar for all winter related events; we had our #WinterLove events shared content and hosted multiple photo contests. It was friendly to all who were willing and able to bundle up and head outside!
Let me tell you; it was a hit! PEI totally embraced the entire idea.
We had an overwhelming turnout at our events. We had a Disco Skate Party, Fire n’ Ice party, and a Dark in the Park event, plus we promoted over 30 other outdoor for winter events. They included skating, snowshoeing, curling, cross-country skiing, dancing, bonfires, some drinking, a lot of eating and enjoying being outside and embracing winter.
We have started to change the narrative, but there is a long way to go. I can proudly say I have notched up, from winter hater to a liker or winter. The next step would be winter lover, but I am not exactly there just yet.
I would encourage you to look for events happening in your city during winter. Yes it’s cold, yes sometimes it’s nice to curl up by the fire, but it’s also fun to be bundled with friends and family, getting excited to try something new!
Until next winter!

5 Tips to Guarantee a Stress Free Wedding Day

The other day I had my wedding rings buffed and polished for the first time since I got married 8 months ago. Not to throw out a complaint brag here, but going to the gym makes my rings look like crud. I hope to keep them shiny for at least another week. Getting a fresh set of rings got me thinking about my wedding day which got me thinking about how awesome everything went. That led me to writing this post because things didn’t happen to go awesome by accident. I implemented a few important strategies for the day to make sure it was pure bliss.

Delegate Everything

I got this amazing piece of advice from a friend who told me not to leave myself one, single, tiny, minuscule little task for the day of the wedding. She was right. The day of the wedding I woke up at 8:45am (see tip #4), had a shower, went and had my hair and make up done with all of my bridesmaids, went for lunch, and headed to the resort to get dressed for photos. It was seamless and involved zero errands or tasks. No pick ups or drop offs or DIYs. Notta.

Disconnect

This is a big one. You are going to have a ton of people congratulating you, wishing you well, and asking 100 questions about wedding details. Give the decorators, coordinators, chefs, whoever may be involved the phone number of a bridesmaid. All questions should be directed to her/him and they can pass on anything that they feel is crucial. If you are going to remember all of the small details of your wedding day 50 years from now then it is important to actually be present for them.

Eat

Wedding days can be tightly scheduled and the one thing everyone forgets to include is food! Have a plan in place for breakfast and lunch ahead of time so that if your schedule does not allow for cooking or dining out, that it does allow for delivery at the very least. Feeling fed will keep you happy and feeling good. If you can fit in a fun little luncheon with you and your besties it only adds to the memories. On that note, you may want to try hydrating as well.

Sleep

Although these are listed in no particular order, this one should be number one. Do whatever you have to do to get a great night sleep before your wedding day. I am not doctor and I am almost sure this is not recommended, but a gravol and a glass of champagne was the perfect cocktail to have an amazing pre-wedding sleep. And, if you can arrange so that you are sleeping in your own bed that night too, even better. I woke up feeling fresh as a daisy!

Remember that not everything has to be perfect for it to be perfect

I know that somehow we are all lead to believe that everything on your wedding day should be absolutely perfect. They key to that is not actually expecting perfection. So what if it is a little grey out, if things aren’t running on time I guarantee people will wait, and photoshop will take care of any stress zits. The day will only be as fun as the bride and groom make it, after all you set the tone for the day. Not every wedding has to be Pinterest-worthy for it to be memorable and wonderful and most importantly, stress free!

H

 

Flashback Friday

We wanted to remind all our wonderful followers of some posts from the archives. Thank you to everyone who loves and supports Ladies that Life. We appreciate it so much.

 

  • A reflection of the first year without my father, read the post here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are always looking for article suggestions and feedback on our blog. Feel free to get in touch with us with any ideas or opinions at ladiesthatlife@gmail.com

 

Again, thank you for all your support! We love you.

J & H

 

My Wedding Dress

“Don’t be surprised if you get the first dress you try on!”

Truer words have never been spoken, at least to me, in the wedding dress shopping game.

Let’s back it up.

November, 2016. I headed to Calgary armed with some Pinterest saves, a handful of amazing friends and a vague idea of my dream wedding dress. My friend Jen magically got us some bridal appointments in Calgary on Friday morning. From there, we hit the ground running. Let’s be honest I was nervous! I don’t love dress shopping in front of a crew, I don’t love looking at myself in a million mirrors and I was anxious at the thought of not finding the perfect one, which meant, missing out on that moment that Say Yes to the Dress convinced me I’d have.

The first place we went to was The Bridal Boutique. It was elegant, modern and fun. They had great background music, the staff were on point, and I loved the intimate feel of being in smaller store. Sydney was assigned the task of getting me into my dream gown. I showed her some photos, and after a quick chat she disappeared into the sea of gowns. She reappears with one that I did not get too excited about, but, trusting the wedding gods (and Sydney) I tried it on.

I fell in love.

It was the most perfect dress. It was a million times better than what I could have even imagined. However, it was the first dress I tried on!  So, I tried on a few more at The Bridal Boutique. Then we left and headed to bridal destination #2.

The Bridal Centre is where we headed. It was big- mountains and mountains of gowns. No shortage of choices at this place! Staff were awesome, dresses were beautiful and I found one I really liked. But I couldn’t stop thinking about Dress #1. So, I made an appointment for the following day to re-try on my favourite dress at both places.

By six o’clock the next evening, I was back at The Bridal Boutique saying yes to the dress (without the chalkboard and other props.. not my style!). There were other shops- but none worth mentioning. I did learn a few things in my experience and allow me to share…

  1. Dresses that cost thousands will make you look good. This makes the decision so much more difficult. When a garment costs so much, it’s designed and built to look wonderful on a female body. Just be prepared- you will feel incredible  and it will be hard to stop. I was mentally prepared to be horrified by some dresses on me, but it didn’t really happen.
  2.  Communication is the key. At one point, the lady at The Bridal Centre was leading me down a puffy path of crinoline to which I couldn’t say no! I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, slash I liked trying them, even though it wasn’t getting me closer to my goal. Eventually, my friend Heather told me I had to tell her to stop bringing the wrong type of dress. I did, and the staff appreciated knowing where my boundaries were.
  3. Be prepared! They will ask what your budget for your dress is. It helped that Jeff and I had discussed this prior to, because otherwise, I think this question could catch a person off guard. Have some photos to show staff and have at least a blurry vision of what you are looking for.
  4. Have fun! My wonderful co-blogger at Ladies that Life, Heather, told me to have the wedding dress experience when I was making noises about ordering a dress online. I am thrilled I listened to her advice. Even if I hadn’t of found the dress on that trip, it was an amazing experience.

Last weekend I was able to try on my dress again, this time with my Mom, and I loved it even more. Louanna, the gal helping me this time, was equally as wonderful as Sydney. I was able to bounce ideas about hair, veils and accessories off of her and she was super helpful!

Overall, I loved trying on wedding dresses and I had such a positive and fun experience. Thank you to all who made it such a great time. To all those brides to be out there – I hope you love your time dress shopping as much as I did! Happy Shopping!  J

 

 

 

Breastfeeding: mind your own tits

In the past few weeks breastfeeding, more specifically breastfeeding bullies, have gained a lot of media attention. I read an article last week about a woman who went to a breastfeeding room to bottle feed her son as it was a quiet space with a chair and was told by another Mom she had to leave because the room was JUST for breastfeeding Moms. As if she was such a low life that she was not even worthy of a chair in their presence. And she literally sat on the floor outside the breastfeeding room to feed her son.

Picture this: You are a carnivore (aka you eat meat) and you walk into a vegetarian restaurant. Suddenly, someone screams at you to leave because they know you are not a vegetarian. Now that you have been publicly shamed you carefully consider their screams you decide that kind stranger is  correct, you should be a vegetarian. And then you become one and you live happily ever after.

NO.

When in the history of every has bullying  and publicly shaming someone into doing something actually worked? Being a parent is hard, especially a brand new parent so please give us a break. Here are 5 very worthy considerations for everyone to keep their judgements to themselves about how parents choose to feed their children:

  1. Grandparents, step parents, foster parents, adoptive parents, caregivers, guardians, single fathers, etc. They generally do not have breast milk but they can be great parents still and have a really healthy child.
  2. Mechanical difficulties: Poor latch, tongue tie, inverted nipples, breast reduction surgery, poor positioning, it all matters. These difficulties require all of the right support people to be able to overcome those difficulties and they are not always available. I had my son at 10:30 on a Friday night and had my first consult with a lactation nurse bright and early at 8 am on Monday morning. That is a lot of hours without help when it feels more like you’re feeding a shark and there are blood and tears everywhere.
  3. Medication: Ever read the label of prescription medications or over the counter medications and notice that almost all of them are not appropriate for breastfeeding? There are a lot of reasons why new Mom’s need to start a new medication or resume a medication they stopped just so they could become pregnant. Research shows approximately 13% of new moms have clinically diagnosed postpartum depression and some of those Mom’s may need medication and have to discontinue breastfeeding. Picture yourself judging a Mom who formula feeds her child only because she had overwhelming levels of anxiety and depression postpartum. I bet you feel like a real asshole.
  4. Working Moms: Surprisingly not everyone has a year off from work and not all jobs allow you to break every couple of hours to get your pump on.
  5. Poor milk supply: This one is debated hard on the inter web and Dr. Jack Newman would absolutely tell me that poor milk supply is an urban myth. I call bull shit. If Dr. Jack Newman wants to hang out with new Mom’s at 3 am who are faced with a hungry and screaming baby, all the power to him to prove me wrong. But I am a firm believer that not all Mom’s produce enough milk and that leaves you with one unhappy baby which in turn leaves one unhappy Momma.

If you feel extremely passionate about breastfeeding, here are 3 causes to fight for instead of trying to take on Mom’s one at a time:

  1. Lobby government to improving access to lactation nurses (read: more money and more hiring)
  2. Ask some of your local shopping and community centres to create breastfeeding friendly
    rooms
  3. Try contributing to empowering women instead of tearing them down.

#fedisbest #mindyourowntits

H

 

 

 

 

I’m in shape because round is a shape

We have a guest writer today- Jeff Linnen. He is my hard working, hilarious and wonderful finance. Here is a look into his ongoing fitness journey. I could not be more proud! – Janna 

I can honestly say I have been overweight since the age of 12. I’m not going to sugar coat it because I am liable to eat that- along with the other junk food I have been ingesting for the last 24 years. By the age of 34, I was well into the obese category and on my way to an early grave and I take full responsibility for that.

It wasn’t until I met the love of my life and asked her to marry me saying “I want to spend the rest of my life with you” that I realized something; “the rest of my life” was a loose term that was directly related to the way I was choosing to live my life. I knew I needed to make a change but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how. I mean I tried Atkins, Weightwatchers and that diet where you eat as much chocolate cake as possible (that is a thing right?) and nothing seemed to help.

One day I woke up and said,” what if I stop eating junk food and start doing a little exercise?”  Within about 4 months I was down almost 20 lbs. I felt like I was hit with something that can only be described as the sledge hammer of truth. Who would have thought that by simply being conscious of what you eat and doing some walking would make such a difference. I was feeling pretty good about myself but I then hit the dreaded plateau.

I had heard this would happen but honestly never believed that I would even see it, let alone hit it. Well I did, and along with the plateau came the discouraging feeling that I would live there forever. I decided to do something about it and joined a program at my local gym (Just Fitness Yellowknife) called Life Change. I was a little sceptical at first. I mean, in 6 weeks could I change my life going to the gym 4 times a week?

It turns out that with the support from my loving fiancée, the guidance of a great group of trainers and some hard food choices , I actually could. Now, that’s not to say there were not speed bumps and hiccups along the way. By speed bumps I mean pizza and by hiccups I mean actual hiccups because that’s what happens when you do too many burpees.  I was able to make some real progress and change some of the fundamental issues I had with food and my own body.

Here are just a few of the many things I learned from the program Life Change (all credit for the below mentioned lessons are credited to Just Fitness in Yellowknife).

1. It’s not about the scale-It is easy to say that but it’s true. I can say from experience when you lose minimal weight but drop 2 pant sizes and a shirt size in 6 weeks the smile on your face is pretty darn big.
2. Your only competition is your former self-If I could do more reps in week 3 than I did in week 1 well that is huge. Improvement is the most important thing.
3. Falling off the rails for a meal or even a day is not the end of the world-One thing I had the hardest time with was if I ate something I shouldn’t have (i.e.: afore mentioned pizza) I would feel bad for myself and follow it up with some cookies (or the lava cake that comes with the pizza). Turns out that does not help and makes you feel worse. Take each day as an individual and focus on making it the best day possible.
4. Don’t quit!-This may seem obvious but the reality is, it is so easy to give up when you are met with pain, or a struggle. Just remember, even if you are doing a modified exercise that is still better than doing nothing and will be building up your ability to do the full exercise moving forward.


The moral of the story is just find something that works for you. Make small changes that you can live with and build on until they become big changes. Get out there and do something physical that challenges you and makes you a little uncomfortable. My journey to a healthier lifestyle is just beginning but I am looking forward to all this adventure holds. My last point of advice is if you do order pizza make sure you get extra ranch for dipping.