Wear a funny hat

mother and daughter in animal hatsDo you ever wonder if your house has a black hole? I swear ours does. The latest thing sucked into the dark vortex of our home is an entire bag of hats that went missing during the annual switch over from summer to winter clothes. All of my best hats went missing, which means we’ve had to rely on our collection of “funny hats” this winter.

I like wearing funny hats, but I usually just wear them when I take the dogs for a walk or out on the lake. They’re warm, and they usually bring a smile to people’s faces. (Well, I’m not sure if it’s a smile or a grimace on Dave’s face, but we’ll go with the smile.)

Here is a picture of me in my favourite funny hat, my Elmo hat my girlfriend Elaine gave me for my birthday last year and a few more pics from a funny hat fashion show Clare and I put on yesterday. Hope it makes you smile.

This week’s #HappyAct is to wear a funny hat and keep warm.

Woman in Elmo hat

girl in rabbit hat

woman in funny hat

Christmas sweaters, me stuff and Father Time

Clock with time for me
Important stuff

Hi there. I should probably introduce myself, I’m Craig from Todays Chapter. Don’t worry, Laurie will be back next Sunday, but she has kindly offered to hand over the reins for a guest post. I’m a huge fan of Happy Act and Laurie’s thoughtful weekly advice to achieve happiness, so I’m fully aware just how big these shoes are to fill. Here goes nothing…

There is phrase often used when talking about personal finances, “Pay yourself first”. The basic concept is before you try to pay down debts or buy new things, you should carve out a little something for the ‘you’ of the future. It’s generally agreed that for this to be effective it should be done automatically, not something you consciously have to decide to do each payday. Money is finite but the list of things to buy with it is seemingly endless, so you should carve out a chunk to put aside before you blow it on that hand-knitted Christmas sweater that suddenly seems like an essential purchase.

Xmas sweater
Not important stuff

While I am terrible at paying myself first financially, I am a strong believer in applying this concept to my time. Just like money, time is a finite resource that needs to be carefully managed to achieve your goals. Unlike money you can’t earn more of it. This means we all try to cram more and more into a day.

As a new parent I particularly felt this strain. Overnight my time became someone else’s. In my initial panic to keep our darling daughter alive and happy, I stopped going to the gym; there simply wasn’t time. Then I stopped reading, then writing, then sleeping and showering. I did all of this for good reason, but the net result was a happy baby and a tired, stinky and grumpy Daddy. I’d forgotten to pay myself first. When I finally figured this out it seemed so obvious, but at the time it didn’t seem that way at all.

The solution was simple. I carve out 30 minutes a day just for me. Each day I figure out what to ‘spend’ it on, sometimes it’s a nap, others a blog post. I even manage to occasionally sneak in some video games. The other 23.5 hours a day are to spend on ‘stuff’, but that 0.5 is all mine. The difference that simple change makes is staggering, I feel like a new person. I have transformed into a tired, stinky but happy Daddy!

My advice to achieve happiness is simple, pay yourself first. Carve out a tiny slice of your day and make it all yours, then fill it with whatever makes you happy. Make this a habit, not something you do every now and again, because if you don’t you will always find other ‘stuff’ to spend that time on.

Ok, that’s it, I’m handing the controls back to our resident happiness guru. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to buy a new Christmas sweater…

Eight acts to make you feel like a kid again

Child making a snow angel
Clare making a snow angel

When you become a parent, you expect to experience newfound joys in your life and you do.  But there are many things they don’t tell you about parenting. The statement parenting is hard work is probably one of THE biggest understatements of all time. One unexpected but wonderful and surprising benefit of being a parent is it gives you an excuse to do things that make you feel like a kid again.

This week’s Happy Act is a bonus 8-Happy-Acts-in-one. It’s my personal list of top eight acts that will make you feel like a kid again that will transport you back to a time when you lived life in the moment and didn’t have a care in the world.

Eight acts to make you feel like a kid again

  1. Play a game of laser tag
  2. Have a cannonball contest (might want to wait for summer for this one)
  3. Fly a kite
  4. Go toboganning
  5. Make a snow angel
  6. Eat ju jubes
  7. Catch a snowflake on your tongue
  8. Spend the afternoon in a water park

For those of you who don’t have kids, here’s a secret: you don’t need to have kids to do things to make you feel like a kid again. Go toboganning anyway, or better yet, offer to take a niece or nephew or friend’s kids for the day—it will give you an excuse to be a kid again and give the parents some much needed adult time.

Have fun being a kid again! What’s your favourite thing to do that takes you back to your childhood? Leave a comment.

Some tips for this week: if you live in the Kingston area, there’s nothing better to beat the mid-winter blahs than to spend the afternoon at the Ambassador water park. For just $8 a person, you can wash away the winter blues screaming down the water slide, doing laps in the pool or luxuriating in the hot tub as you watch the snow fall outside. Our absolute favourite family winter getaway is Great Wolf Lodge. While it’s a bit pricier, it’s definitely worth it. We find one night’s lodging and two days in the water park leaves us with a water-logged grin on our faces and I never get tired of seeing the 70-year old grandparents giggle like 7-year olds as they squirt their grandkids with the huge water guns.  Back in Kingston, an afternoon of action-packed laser tag at Putt ‘n Blast in Frontenac Mall is SO much fun.