Tag Archives: summer

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New ideas for summer wine drinkers

For those of you looking to branch out beyond whites, roses, and heavy reds (for BBQ), here’s a good list: Chilled Red Wines to Drink All Summer – Bon Appétit.

Beaujolais is the obvious choice for Gamay, but lots of new world producers make wine with that grape. For Carignan, you may have to look around: if you can find a place that stocks a good selection of French wine, look in the Midi section. Also check out the Spanish wine section. The challenge there is it can sometimes (often times?) be blended with heavier reds. Ask the staff for help if you want something lighter. As for Zweigelt, the challenge there is finding it at all. If you can, get some.

If you want to know more about carignan, check out this from Winefolly.com:

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Summerlicious 2018: the deals

I am a fan of Summerlicious (and Winterlicious) in Toronto: it’s a festival of sorts for people who like fine dining . It’s debatable if you are getting a deal on the meals, though I would argue that you are. If you lean the other way, then read this: 10 best deals for Summerlicious 2018 – NOW Magazine. By going to one or more of these 10 places, you’ll dine in a good restaurant and get a good deal as well.

On August Blues 

If you feel yourself out of sorts or not your best in the month of August, you are not alone.  August can trigger bad emotional responses in us for a number of reasons, whether we love the summer or hate it. To see what I mean, see this: August Blues Are Like Sunday Blues, But for a Full Month — Science of Us.

I would add for some, August can be the most extreme month in terms of weather (just like February) and that can make it difficult to deal with too. If you find yourself struggling at this time of the year, cut yourself some slack and prepare yourself for the true start of the new year: September. (A much nicer month than August for many reasons).

You like food! I like food! Here’s some food links to chew on. :)

The web and food are made for each other. There are countless links to recipes, essays, reviews and photos of food. Out of all that, here is a small handful I found interesting over the last few months of surfing around. I hope you find one or two or even all of them interesting. Enjoy!

BBQ 101: three good tips from Bon Appétit

I find it easy to forget to how to barbeque, since months go by without doing any of it. I am trying to get back into it and get better. If you are in the same position, Bon Appétit has some good advice for both of us, including

 

Notes for Parents on Summer Day Camps in Toronto

My kids spent many years going to summer camps in Toronto. If you have to or want to send your kids to summer camps, you might find these notes useful.

The first two things you need to do: 1) get out a calendar and 2) determine your budget. Do this in February. Really! When you get out a calendar, you will likely see that the kids have 9 weeks off in the summer (for some reason I used to think there were only 8 weeks off for the kids). Next, get a budget, because you will need to account for camp costs as well as transportation costs and extra costs like if you have to pick your kids up late. When you have a calendar and a budget, your camp options will come into clearer focus. Also, you can start thinking about other things happening in the summer, like vacations, visits from family, work assignments, and other things that will affect you.

As far as organizations offering camps, the cheapest camps by far – by far! – are the ones run out of community centers from the City of Toronto. They also fill up really fast. By March, if I recall. Book those first.

North Toronto Soccer had relatively lower costs than most camps. Great if your kid loves soccer. Note: ask how much time the kids spend outside. That can be a very tough camp in the middle of summer. (Not just NT but any outdoor camp.)

My kids liked the film camp at NFB, and it was indoors and so good during some weather, but one year was enough. Also, doing it with kids under 10 was better.

If your kid loves to do art, the AGO camps are great. If you are thinking of becoming a member and signing up, do both: members used to get a break on camp costs.

Harbourfront had some of the most interesting camps. DD loved them, but DS did not. Also, Harbourfront has buses that take your kids to and from camp from various locations around the city. Saves time, costs money. Can be a lifesaver.

Hockey camps are the most expensive, some going for $600 a week. UCC had relatively cheaper ones, but they fill up really fast too. UCC has lots of good camps, and they are in line with camps at places like AGO and NFB, but the hockey ones always filled up right away. Sign up for those first! Also there were hockey camps at Larry Grossman arena that were good and not as expensive.

Another benefit of hockey camps: the kids spend alot of time in not hot facility. Great experience during the hot days of summer.

To save some money, put your kids in camps with long weekends. That one day can save 20-50 bucks

To save more money, take time off and spend time with your kids. Note: this may not be cheap, either. If you plan to take a week off and plan to take your kid to a different venue every day, you will see it will add up. If you want to do this to save money, your goal should be to find activities you both like that aren’t too expensive, be it going to the Islands, having picnics, bike rides, kite building and flying, etc.

Don’t be too dazzled by camp promises. You might think: wow, my kid will learn SO much at this camp. They will learn things. And they will likely have fun. But think of camp as really good babysitting/daycare. Camps are mostly run by teens, and alot of camp time is getting kids to and from locations, feeding them, tracking them, etc. My son hated that. Also some councillors are really great, others are just there to do the minimum. One week my son went to a hockey camp and loved it because the councillors were great. He went to the same camp a few weeks later and didn’t because the councilllors had changed.

See if you and your kid’s friends can go to the same camp. Talk to other parents and try to make this happen, especially if your kid is not extroverted. Camp can be stressful for introverted kids: having old friends can help. Some kids thrive on camps and love them. Others can’t wait to be old enough not to go.

Try to pick up your kids on time. Once camps are done, usually around 4, the councillors will likely round the kids up in one place and more or less have them sit around until you get there. It is super boring, and it will likely make it harder for you to send your kid to such camps in the future.

My kids were done with camp by about 11. I know there were camps that go well into the late teens, but that wasn’t for mine. Likewise, overnight camp was not really an option for mine. Yours may be different.

Keep receipts for all camps. Keep them in one spot. You should be able to get a significant tax break from them, assuming you are paying taxes.

17 great, short novels for people like me who struggle to finish larger volumes

If like me you want to read better but find yourself struggling to get through massive books that you tend not to finish, this post is for you. Rachel Grate has put together a list of 17 great books that cover a range of old and new, very well known and some less well know. What’s on the list?

  1. ‘The Awakening’ by Kate Chopin
  2. ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel
  4. ‘Passing’ by Nella Larson
  5. ‘Candide’ by Voltaire
  6. ‘The Member of the Wedding’ by Carson McCullers
  7. ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell
  8. ‘Autobiography of Red’ by Anne Carson
  9. ‘Invisible Cities’ by Italo Calvino
  10. ‘The Buddha in the Attic’ by Julie Otsuka
  11. ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ by Ernest Hemingway
  12. ‘The House on Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros
  13. ‘The King’ by Donald Barthelme
  14. ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka
  15. ‘Notes from Underground’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  16. ‘Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?’ by Lorrie Moore
  17. ‘The Sense of an Ending’ by Julian Barnes

 As you can see, a great range. I highly recommend you go to the post and read why they are recommended. Then head to your local bookstore and grab a handful. 

One of my favourite books is ‘Invisible Cities’: I highly recommend it.