Parenting & Travel Blog with tips, guides, reviews and honesty about family travel and parenting.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

My Top Ten Reads of the Decade

Sorry, getting back to the blog has been a much slower process than I had planned for 2020.  But I am here now! Yay me! I big part of what I love to do is to read, but 2019 was a much slower reading year than usual. In fact I didn't get anywhere close to hitting my reading goal on GoodReads. I'd like to think that this year I'll be better and read more, but I'm not making any promises. I am excited to pick up some of the books that I've got lining my bookshelves and making more time for me to do what I love to do - read!

But I wanted to reflect back on some of my absolutely favourite books from the last decade.  Now, not all of these were published in the last decade, some are older, but they are all books that I read in the last 10 years.  I record my book list on Goodreads, and usually add in notes and the dates read so I have a reference point.

Here's my best of the 2010's list:

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: At first, this book reminded me of The Rosie Project (a good read, but not a favourite stand out.)  Set in contemporary Scotland, this book tells the journey of Eleanor as she navigates the world with her limited social skills and how she even works on a romantic relationship, the story is endearing and entertaining.
  • Dreams from My Father: A story of race and inheritance by Barack Obama: As a fan of this former president, this book was not from the last decade admittedly, but it is one that I read in this last decade, so it's going on my list.  It perhaps is one of my most favourite non-fiction books (a genre I don't read that often actually).  Obama is an eloquent writer and story teller and this book did not disappoint. Interestingly enough when I read Becoming by Michelle Obama this past year , she talks about how her husband went to Indonesia for 6 weeks to write this book!
  • The Casual Vacancy By J.K. Rowling - I'll be honest, the only reason I started reading this book was because it was by J.K Rowling and I'm a huge fan of the Harry Potter Series. The book starts off slow, but Rowling introduces and develops multiple diverse characters and describes the setting in the UK with such mastery. She discusses social issues that aren't normally discussed and does them in such a compelling way. This would be on my list of one of my all time favourite books.
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: This book discusses so many issues and will often have you divided about where you stand, it makes for a great book club choice for the discussions that can come out of it.  I loved how Celeste Ng uses a small town in Ohio as the backdrop of this story and explores different perspectives in motherhood. I'm super excited for the screen adaptation that is coming out this spring too!
  • Bear Town by Fredrick Backman: This isn't Backman's most popular or well known book, but it definitely left an impression on me.  The books takes your on a journey that examines the issues and incidents that happen in a small town that worships at the alter of hockey and how the many different characters respond to what happens. I read it in one sitting (on a plane!).
  • Can You hear the Night Bird call by Anita Rau Badami: Once again, this book was not published in this past decade, but that is when I read it. So it counts (my blog, my rules!). This book makes my list as one of my all time favourites because of the story that is told.  It is a story that tells of the Sikh, female experience and perspective during 1984 both in India and in Canada. The events that unfolded leading up to the Air India bombing are a part of my history as a Sikh Canadian, and this was the first (if not only) fiction literature that I read that I felt was impartial, balanced and beautifully executed. 
Other notables:

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Ru by Kim Thuy
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

My favourite authors:

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri: Perhaps my very favourite author, I have loved each one of her books.

Harry Potter Series: I'm not going to pretend to remember when I actually read all of these but it was in the last decade that my eldest fell in love with the series too. 

The Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith: Yes, technically Robert Galbraith is J.K Rowling and they are the same person, but still if an author makes me savour a mystery series like this, it's a win! 

What are some of your very favourite reads? Share in the comments, I'm always looking for recommendations!


Friday, January 10, 2020

A Hockey Mom Survival Pack

January 10th is National Hockey Mom Day. If it really isn't a thing, it is time to make it a thing. Because being a hockey mom does require a unique sense of dedication, organization and commitment. And frankly I could use a little acknowledgement for this role that my husband signed me up with.

As a mom to three hockey players who are girls, I never, ever, ever thought that my life would revolve around a sport that I knew nothing about. As a child of immigrants, growing up in Canada, it was not the sport we grew up watching. In fact the only thing I knew about icing was that it belongs on a cake (or cupcakes!).

Yet fast forward, and here I am with 8 years of being a hockey mom under my belt. With all of that experience, comes a lot of insight as well. I'm basically a semi-professional hockey mom guys. I know how to organize car pools, how to make healthy meals that will be consumed all through the evening as kids come and go, how to pack healthy snacks for post practice, and how to get out of tying their laces so I don't develop blisters. It's a fine balancing act, but I do it for the kids. It's always for the kids.

So if you are a fellow hockey mom or know a hockey mom or even thinking of putting your kids in hockey (talk to me first!), then I believe that you deserve to be prepared. There are a few basics that all hockey moms need in order to survive the many months spent in a hockey rink.

Here are my picks :

1. Warm Boots: your toes are often the first thing to go. You need to invest in a pair of stylish, warm boots. Make sure they are comfy! I'm a big fan of Blundstones, but these here also would do the trick.

2. Blanket: yes, you need one. Get the coziest one you can find and keep it in the car just for this purpose. I love this Eddie Bauer one, because we could all use a little sherpa luxury too.

3. Seat Cushion: Next to triple ply toilet paper, your tush will thank you for a warm, comfy seat most. This one is easy to carry around.

4. Another blanket: Oh you have one already? Get another one because sometimes a fellow mom needs one too. This one is great because it folds up into a handy little lumbar pillow as well, because carrying those hockey bags and sitting on all those uncomfortable arena benches can do a number on your lower back.

5. Insulated Cup: A hot cup of coffee or tea is basically what we survive on during the season, and this cute cup will also let everyone know to stand out of your way (and not to say a word about how your kid is playing!)

6. Essential Oils: Moms needs to stay healthy during the season, and this little kit from Saje is basically a pocket pharmacy to help whatever may ail you. The stress release one comes in handy in those overtime nail bitters.

7. A good book: Sometimes you've got a lot of time to kill and can only watch your kid do so many crossovers during a practice. Keep a good read with you, this one by Fredrik Backman is a favourite because it tells a complex story of a small hockey town.

8. A long, warm coat: You need a long, warm, coat that isn't too heavy as a basic staple. I love this one from Lululemon because it is literally like wearing a duvet.

9. Wool Socks: Back to those toes - they need some extra loving you know.  My personal favourite in the winter is these Roots wool socks. 

10. Cow Bells: Yes, you need to show up as that supportive, if not annoying, hockey mom to all the games. People will love you or maybe not, but these cow bells from Amazon  can certainly help save your voice from all that cheering (so that you can use it to yell at home for the kids to pick up their hockey equipment and put it in the garage instead of the front hallway.)

Blogger Template Created by pipdig