You may have noticed a little badge down and to the right on my blog. See it there? The one with #WEFamilies on it. Or maybe you never noticed at all. Perhaps you only ever use your iThing and you don’t see anything that resides in the sidebar. You can turn your phone sideways and it should magically appear! (Don’t you love learning new things? I’m a giver! Tee hee hee.)
I’m so excited to announce that I am a WE Families Ambassador!
I decided that today was as good a day as any to announce that, here. I have been sharing all things WE for years now, but I was asked to be a WE Families Ambassador late in November 2016, just before WE Day Atlantic.
Obviously, I said yes.
Then life went a bit sideways. As life is known to do. Sometimes that happens, right? I know you know exactly what I mean.
That being said, I have been working behind the scenes here, (there, and everywhere) and decided that I am going to make WEdnesday* (wordless and/or wordy) a semi-regular thing. Out in the open. See? Right out loud!
I won’t always have a WEdnesday post, but sometimes I will and when I do I will share some of the cool things WE are up to with a #WEFamilies twist.
Now, before this so-called (and lets be honest “wordless” is a pretty glaringly obvious misnomer now) Wordless WEdnesday post gets any longer I am going to hit publish!
I hope this Wordless (Hah!) WEdnesday made you smile and I also hope you will follow along as WE do our best to make the world a better place one action at a time.
I have always loved this Hemingway quote.
Never mistake motion for action.
Honestly, these days I find it is especially fitting. After all, that is what #WEFamilies are all about.
Well think of it as the Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) of charity.
Giving Tuesday is like “opening day of the giving season.”
It is a day to think about others and to take advantage of a doubling of your dollars because many charitable organizations have a “matching” sponsor. This means that you literally double your donation in some cases.
Give $20 and your organization receives $40.
Donate $50 and voila $100 goes to your favourite fund.
How cool is that?
You can learn more about Giving Tuesday here (please do!) but I want to quickly share with you a handful of my favourite organizations, in case you want to make a donation before midnight!
Free The Children – Free The Children is the brainchild of Craig and Marc Keilburger and you can read all about how they founded this amazing organization and the subsequent We, Me To We, and We Day awesomeness here.
David Suzuki Foundation – I have been a fan of David Suzuki for as long as I can remember. A few years back, he actually stepped down as the head of his own foundation to take attention away from his own struggles with a government that seemed determined to paint him as a radical. Oh! He’s radical alright! Radically awesome!
World Wildlife Foundation (Canada) – I hope you know about WWF Canada, for the love of our planet. This organization is famous for its symbolic wildlife adoptions (which make fabulous gifts for Things of all ages), Earth Hour, and many other initiatives. I wear my feelings for WWF Canada on my sleeve and I make no apologies for it. I wrote a guest blog way back when. I have written about it here on my blog and also here. We have one home. It’s the planet we live on. It’s time to show it the respect it deserves, isn’t it?
Because I Am A Girl – I am! You might be. Thing 2 is. My sister is. My mother, too. You either are one, have one or were made by one. Girls matter! Educating girls improves the lives of everyone. BIAAG Canada is taking this knowledge and sharing it around the world. You may have heard about their Pink Lemonade Stands and their using small actions to drive big change initiatives. How wonderful! We are big fans and my face goes all gigantic grin every time Thing 2 emerges from her room in the morning sporting her pink BIAAG T-shirt. “Girls’ rights are human rights.” Your darn right they are!
Malala Fund – Oh Malala! What a wonderful human being! If ever there was a person with a higher purpose than she ever could have known, it is Malala Yousafzai. Malala is an education activist and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. She was in school when the call came that she had won. She told her teacher she would finish her studies for the day. Malala is walking the talk. I am a fan. Her book is beautiful, the children’s adaptation is great, and now there is even a movie!
So, whether you donate, share, learn or do some small act of kindness today you have taken part in Giving Tuesday and you have made a difference.
It was a very rainy and windy weekend, but for a little while today the rain stopped and I went out to run a few errands.
First stop was at the local farmer’s market which is undergoing major renovations, so it looks at once dilapidated and delightful. It’s confusing, really. I can no longer even imagine what it will look like in the end.
There was a point last year around this time when it stared to feel cozy and nice, but yesterday the makeshift roof was leaking and dripping rainwater on all the things.
I looked around for a minute at the nice, simple homemade, natural wreaths, with their red ribbons and berries, then at the winter holiday planter boxes filled with evergreen boughs, glittery twigs, ribbons and bright red ornaments (which I was coveting, if I’m being honest) and pickles (yes, that’s right) and it just felt odd, but I digress …
Where was I?
Outside, where I parked the car on the new makeshift (?) parking lot there was a table filled with plain evergreen wreaths. They were so festively fragrant I wanted to just stand there the whole time. I took a photo to try and capture it. Can’t you just about smell Christmas?
Then just before entering the building there was another table covered in these gorgeous, bright red, bunches of berries. I don’t know what these berries are, but I know I want all of them. They look so festive, don’t they? These were used in some of the wreaths and planter boxes inside the market.
I have always found the idea of a simple Christmas very appealing.
Every year we say we will keep it low key and simple and we typically do a good job of not going over the top, but when I see things like naked Christmas wreaths and – what I am going to call – winter berries, I am convinced that I would love nothing more than a house in the middle of the woods, filled with the people I love, a real Christmas tree decorated with our treasures and memories and a few homemade additions from nature, and an honest-to-goodness old fashioned Christmas.
That’s the problem with simple. It never really is, is it?
Every year we visit Moncton, New Brunswick for Thanksgiving weekend.
Every year – at some point during the weekend – we make a point of going for our Thanksgiving Nature Walk.
This year was no exception and we had a great little trek. We were not in a hurry, the leaves were really beautiful in their new autumn colours, and there were all kinds of little creatures to appreciate.
We stopped to take a few pictures and I noticed there were a few Dragonflies on a nearby picnic table.
I was intrigued by them and hoped to get a decent photo after we snapped a few silly selfies of our little thankful family.
I have been using the same brand of toothpaste for my whole life. I love it. It makes my teeth feel clean and my breath fresh. It is just the right kind of mint and provides the perfect level of teeth cleaning frothiness while I brush.
I have stuck with the same brand and upgraded to different “new and improved” variations within the same brand when one would appeal to me (and as I got older and was the one paying for it). I went through all the developments; paste, gel, cool mint, baking soda, tartar control, and finally my favourite extra whitening. Oh the joy when that little innovation entered my life!
I like taking care of my teeth. I smile a LOT. I want to be an old woman with a great and happy, healthy, smile. So, I prided myself on getting the best for myself and for my family.
I am not big into make-up and all that goes along with it, but I fell for whitening toothpaste – brush, paste and flosser.
So, imagine my chagrin upon learning that my toothpaste is among the worst offenders from an environmental and health perspective. The very product I was so enamoured with is loaded with microbeads!
Do you know what microbeads are?
Microbeads are invasive little specs of plastic that are showing up in places they should not be. They are in so many cosmetics that it is easier to list the products they are NOT in than to name the ones they have invaded. It is pervasive. It is terrible.
Would you voluntarily give your kids plastic to swallow?
Would you choose to eat a healthy meal of baked, plastic microbead infused fish?
Of course not!
Do you think that rubbing your body with plastic makes it cleaner or worse do you think you need microbeads to have a good complexion?
I, for one, am horrified at the lengths we humans seem to be willing to go for the sake of some arbitrarily conjured beauty standard.
I feel betrayed.
I miss my favourite toothpaste.
We immediately threw out the offending brand and vowed never to use it again.
Then we had our teeth cleaned at our Dentist’s Office.
I bet you know where this is going …
You know those little tubes of toothpaste the Dental Hygienist hands you – along with a new toothbrush and a teeny travel sized floss – as she tells you you have no cavities, but you should floss more (even though you floss all the time. Seriously. Is there some kind of Dental Hygienist pact wherein it is written that they have to bring up the flossing at every, single appointment? I really want to know, but I digress .. where was I? Right! Dentist gifts!)? Yes the teeny tube of National Brand name toothpaste.. you know the one, right? Well it was the very same offending brand we had sworn off.
We had to ask.
Why is this brand being handed out? Are you concerned about the microbeads? How can we avoid them?
Now, you need to know that we happen to have a lovely Dentist and a fantastic Dental Hygienist. We asked our questions out of true curiosity and not at all with righteous indignation*. We intended to strike up a conversation about our concern not because our concerns are more important than anyone else’s, but because our concerns were (and are) very real and though in this case they are very much our concerns, they really ought to be your concerns too.
We had a good chat about it and the conclusion was they are in “everything” and you “can’t avoid them”. How scary is that?
I’ll tell you how scary. PFOA scary. That’s how scary.
You don’t know me well enough to know all my stories yet, but we here at Chez Peady are pretty savvy when it comes to the environment and we try our best to not make the planet – you know, the ONE place we have to call home – worse off by living our lives with nary a concern for our fellow humans, the water, the wind and the woods. Sometimes that means we need to take a stand.
And stand we did.
We went on the hunt for a toothpaste that had fluoride, but did not contain microbeads.
This was not as simple as walking into our corner drug store and simply selecting the competing National Brand. Oh, no, no. I won’t try to convince you, but suffice it to say that most of the alternatives also have microbeads.
We settled on a natural (and there’s a branded word that gets tossed around like a hot potato!) brand that doesn’t have microbeads. We purchased two – one for the kids, one for us – and went on our merry way.
And we brushed.
And it tasted weird.
And it didn’t froth.
And it wasn’t minty fresh.
And my teeth didn’t feel clean.
And all I wanted to do was grab my old whitening brand and use it so I could have the fresh from the Dentist feeling I had come to expect from my toothpaste.
It was terrible.
There was no going back though. My health and health of my children is too important.
We continued to use the natural brand of toothpaste and we survived. I have since found one that suits me better, though it will never be the same as what I was using, and we keep our eyes peeled for changes in the toothpaste aisle at the pharmacy.
There is good news on the horizon though. We have a new Prime Minister who is making a point of getting Canada’s good reputation as a world leader – in matters of the environment and otherwise – back to the standard we, as a country, would expect.
We have a Minister of the Environment & Climate Change. Her name is Minister Catherine McKenna and she is one of 30 smart, capable, forward thinking Cabinet Ministers (50% of whom are women – “Because it’s 2015.” – Oh that just never gets old!), who are charged with the task of getting Canada back on track. This is so logical and amazing to me that even a full day (almost 2, now) after all the oaths were taken I am still emotional about it all.
I am so hopeful that we will see the real change we have been hearing so much about and that we will begin to see an action plan take shape. One that is designed to keep our environment healthy and our children safe.
No, not from big scary monsters and men with pointy teeth, but from itty-bitty, minuscule, invasive, pervasive and utterly unnecessary pieces of plastic.
Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Yes. Yes it would.
You can read more information on microbeads here, or here, or here.
I really hope you do.
*A crucial life skill, by the way. There’s a whole post in those two words, actually. Another day!
I can’t wait to cast my ballot and then wait and see the results from riding after riding after riding come pouring in.
We always take our kids and talk about it a LOT leading up to the election. As you can imagine, my Things are pretty well versed at this point because it has been 77 days since the election was called. Tomorrow will be day 78 and every single day has involved a conversation about what Canada means to us. We can’t wait!
It matters to me and it should matter to you.
I love this country and I have great hope for its future.
I know you have heard it a bazillion times over the past few months, but please, oh, please, oh, please go and exercise your right to vote tomorrow. The polls are open for 12 hours. That is a long time. Make sure you take the time to go and cast your ballot.
There are people in this world who would die for this right that we so often take for granted.
Once you vote and pat yourself on the back for taking part in the direction your own country takes, you will want to find out about the race and who is winning it. Who is doing well in your riding? Did your candidate win? Is your chosen party getting new seats in Ottawa? It’s all so exciting! You just want to know!
How will you know?
There are so many ways!
You will absolutely be hearing election coverage on radio and television both locally and Nationally. It will pretty much be unavoidable! Yay!
Here is another helpful tool from Elections Canada!
Since I am an avid Twitter user, I will definitely be following along on Twitter. You can follow Elections Canada here.
Essentially, the only way to not hear about the election on Monday October 19, 2015 would be to bury your head in the sand. And you don’t want to do that, now, do you? I mean, you’ll be in the dark and you will have sand in your ears. And that just sounds awful! * shudders *
Since we are all on Social Media why not go ahead and pledge to vote and show it? You can change your profile pictures! Check this out! Fun!
Okay! So we are ALL voting right?
I knew I liked you guys!
Let’s do this!
So tell me, did you already vote? Will you vote tomorrow? Are you as excited as I am? Are you taking your kids with you? Will you be following along on social media and waiting to hear the exciting news at the end of the night?
It has been a rainy 24 hours or so, but fortunately the sun really seems like it is trying to shine. No actual sunshine, as of yet, of course, but the grey skies overhead are nice and bright.
I am sitting here silently cheering it on.
Inside my head? Oh, inside I am full on “Rah! Rah! Siss boom bah!”ing, but Thing 2 has a friend over and I don’t want to appear any quirkier (which, if I’m being honest, is *pretty* quirky) than usual, so I am giving them some space right now.
Kids need time to just be. They are making their own plans as they go along and there were murmurings of “fort” not too long ago, so frankly, I am curious to see what they come up with.
I’m risky like that.
In a little while I’ll offer snacks and drinks and they’ll happily chat while they eat together. It’s really sweet to hear their breathless giggles (So much giggling!) and to see the way they enjoy each others company. It’s a rare treat to have a playdate all afternoon on a Wednesday. What luck to have a PD Day smack-dab in the middle of the week!
These are the days I cherish. I am so thankful I get to be here today.
You know what else I am thankful for?
In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. Margaret Atwood
So, after the kiddos have a snack, we are going to plant some seeds. Yay!
Now, I just have to find the old fashioned flower mix seeds I have had hanging around this place forever.
Where did I put them to keep them safe?
(Well isn’t that the best phrase to hear when you need something immediately? “Somewhere safe” loosely translates into, “You will never see <insert item here> again. Muah ha ha ha!”)
Maybe my items are a tad more sinister than yours, but yeah, that’s pretty accurate, I’d say.
I’ll be back. *pfft* As if you’d know I ever left! *winks*