Monthly Archives: January 2013

Drink of the Week: Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir 2009

It is indeed a departure for me to blog about wine, but here’s a confession: I really, really love red wine. I love sipping it with my husband or friends over nibblies and great conversation. I am typically an Aussie big-red kind of gal — I have even gone so far as to mock serious Pinot-lovers in a Swerve story — but I recently tried a Pinot Noir from New Zealand that I loved.

This Pinot Noir from New Zealand is yummy.

This Pinot Noir from New Zealand is yummy.

I could now try and BS about the wine’s nose, palate and finish, but I would just be making stuff up. The tasting notes mention things like strawberry aromas and fresh mushrooms. Seriously. To me, the Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir has a Pinot’s trademark  “spicy kick,” and what I really like is how it feels and tastes more robust rather than “thin.” In fact, we liked it so much we drank the entire bottle in one sitting. Classy, I know.

The 2009 Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir has just been released into the Alberta market, so get thee to a liquor store.

Family travel trends for 2013

Forget planning that trip to Disneyland — according to those in the know, family travel in 2013 promises to get Mom, Dad and the kids to farms, museums and even immersed in foreign cultures, all with grandma in tow. Other trends spotted by AOL and Turner PR include super-sized Ferris wheels, leveraging social networking for family-friendly recommendations, more cruising options and volunteer vacations.

Family travel is predicted to increase in 2013.

Family travel is predicted to increase in 2013.

The good news is that no matter where you plan to travel with the rugrats in 2013, you won’t be alone. A recent survey of industry experts taken by Travel Weekly and Family Travel Network found that family travel is on the rise, and it’s expected to increase this year.

Not ones to let on-trend travel opportunities pass us by, Blake and I have the following trips planned:

1. A multigenerational escape to Arizona. “Togethering” — the practice of inviting grandparents along to babysit, er, bond — has been going strong for years. We believe in the importance of a grammy to share experiences from wine tasting to horseback riding, and she will get to experience them vicariously just as soon as we return from our Sedona and Saguaro National Park adventures.

2. Since visits to far-flung destinations are growing in popularity, we will be going to Arkansas this spring. We want to expose our children to diverse cultures and alternative lifestyles, where the laundry room appliances are located on the porch.

3. DIY trips and “friendsourcing” will be popular with families this year. That’s why we plan on showing up in Colorado this summer and staying with friends. (Please stock your fridges with Fat Tire.)

4. Finally, who are we kidding? It’s not really a vacation when the kids are in tow. Perhaps this fall we can live it up child-free somewhere decidedly non-family-friendly, like in Tuscany or Argentina’s wine country. Dare to dream!

Parenting trends 2013: the good, the bad and the ugly

Every January parenting gurus pick what they think will be the year’s top trends. Last year I weighed in on the trend forecast, and while I’ll be forever thankful that “dadchelor” parties didn’t take off, I am a bit disappointed there isn’t more French parenting happening in my kitchen.

Moving on to 2013, I think the burning questions are: Will breastfeeding your child until he’s four be the new transitioning-to-a-sippy-cup? (Let’s hope not.) Will whatever Wills and Kate name the royal heir become the year’s hot baby name? (Very likely.) And will all that steamy reading about Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele lead to a baby boom? (That depends on how many foil wrappers were opened.) Like your daily horoscope, it’s all very hard to predict. But predict the media does and after perusing the prognostications from iVillage and Chicago Parent I’m here to pass judgement on the trends.

The Good

I know! Chris Hemsworth makes "Thor" seem like a no-brainer baby name.

I know! Chris Hemsworth makes “Thor” seem like a no-brainer baby name.

Scandinavian baby names: We’ve seen Hunger Games baby names and Twilight baby names; how about giving the region that brought us Norse mythology a chance to showcase its monikers? You don’t have to name your kid Thor or Odin, but at least consider Magnus or Axel, okay?


Buh-bye art from forever ago!

Buh-bye art from forever ago!

Apps to make your life easier (in theory): If your kids are like mine, they bring home every painting, drawing or craft they’ve ever made and then expect you to keep it forever and ever. Some are awful and some are cute and now, thanks to Artkive, you can recycle the lot. Just snap a photo of the artwork, then toss it. At the end of the year use Artkive to make a coffee table book of your child’s works straight from the app.

The Bad

Dressing your child to look like you is never a good look.

Dressing your child like you is never a good look.

Dressing your kid to be a “Mini Me”: It was a bad look for Austin Powers and his sidekick-kid and it doesn’t work for mothers and daughters, no matter what the forecasters say. Either way someone loses, whether it’s Mom, who looks ridiculous rocking a bedazzled shirt; or Daughter, who looks a bit too Toddlers & Tiaras wearing a beret and heels while carrying a purse.



On the plus side it will motivate your child to walk everywhere.

On the plus side it will motivate your child to walk everywhere.

Neon baby gear: I know everything comes back into style, but are you really ready to start putting those garish neon colours on everything again? They were bad enough the first time around on ski outfits and T-shirts and jewelry, but now you want to make sure your neon stroller stops traffic? Those hideous shades of yellow, pink, blue and orange are just as ugly on bouncy chairs and nursery bedding and diaper bags. They will make your baby cry. Promise.

The Ugly

Extreme Parenting: Bomb Shelter Edition

Extreme Parenting: Bomb Shelter Edition. (Look for a blog post about this topic in the future…)

Apocalyptic parents: All the natural disasters and bad, random things that keep happening are spurring some parents to prepare for the worst. It’s like Y2K all over again as paranoid parents stock up on bottled water, batteries and generators. Just in case. Really? You have nothing better to do with your time?If that doomsday preacher taught me anything, it’s that you just can’t count on the end of the world.