May 2019

  “Here's the story of a lovely lady……” Ok, this is where the comparison ends between the Brady Bunch and Rebecca Eckler’s blended family. In her new book, Blissfully Blended Bullshit: The Uncomfortable Truth Of Blending Families, Eckler gets candid about the realities of blending families and the hard truth behind what it means to meld a new life with exes, in-laws, new children, bonus children, bio children, households and even a dog. We sat down with Eckler to talk about her new book, falling in and out of love and what she wants you to know about being blended. By Rachel Naud Why was it important to you to write this book? There are two reasons I thought it was an important topic to write about candidly. I didn’t realize how hard being in a blended family was, and it was only AFTER I would vent to girlfriends, who were in, or had been, in blended worlds themselves, that they would admit that they had the same issues. I had no idea what they had/have been going through, again, until after I was the one to start the conversation. Also, I realized there was nothing out there about what to do AFTER you blend families. There is a lot out there about the stepmother/stepchild relationship, but there was nothing about what to do when blended stops being so splendid, and all the BS that pops up in blended families. When you blend families, it’s not just about ‘How To Be A Step-Parent.’ Blending affects everyone, from our in-laws, ex-in-laws, our exes. When I read the stats on blending families, I was shocked. By the year 2020, there will be more blended families in North America than any other kind of family makeup, so, really, there is an epidemic of people blending, who have no idea what to do after they blend. I wanted to help, or at least share, what people are going to have to deal with, and hopefully they can learn from my mistakes. When you reach a certain age, and get divorced, and start dating again, there is a huge probability that you will be dating someone who already has children. And no one has really shared what it’s really like to blend, and all the variations of people who need to get along for blended to be splendid. I also wanted people like my parents, my (now) ex’s parents, and

10 Last-Minute Mother's Day Gifts She'll Love Buying for the mothers in your life can be hard. That’s why we’ve chosen 10 gift ideas for the women that do so much everyday. By Rhiannon Ness 1: Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, $499, dysoncanada.ca Spoil your mom with the best in luxury hair care. This hairdryer saves time and leaves a sleek finish compared to a regular dryer, so mom can get right back to her busy schedule! It relies on its power to dry hair fast instead of just using extreme heat, making this a healthier and quicker alternative to a regular hair dryer. 2: Breville Smart Tea Infuser Compact, $199, breville.com The Breville smart tea infuser does all the hard work for you. It knows the proper temperature and steep time your mother’s favourite tea needs, so she can just set the timer and go! 3: Casper Hybrid Mattress, $925+, casper.com Maximize your mom’s sleep by getting her one of these mattresses. They’re comfortable and limit the body pain that is usually caused by other mattresses. The mattress features temperature-regulating technology to prevent overheating, as well as upgraded support technology to address aches and pains for the most comfortable sleep. 4: Cute mom mugs, $14, chapters.indigo.ca For the caffeinated mother, these mugs show your appreciation for everything that Mom does (and she’s reminded every morning!). 5: Bite Beauty lip set, $39, sephora.com For the makeup lover, this Bite Beauty lip set contains three lipsticks, a lip balm and a lip mask in a travel pouch. Bonus: they’re cruelty-free and made in Canada! 6: Tropical iced tea set, $39, davidstea.com Kickstart summer with this iced tea kit from David’s Tea. The kit includes three teas, a spoon and a steeper so your mom can indulge in these tropical iced teas on a hot day. 7: Conversations with my Momby Lark Crafts $14, chapters.indigo.ca This collaborative journal is something you and your mom work on together. It features guided questions to get you talking about things you might never have mentioned before. This book is a conversation between each other and is something you’re both bound to cherish. 8: Pandora charm bracelet, $75, Pandora.net A Pandora charm bracelet is something you can add to every year. There are Disney charms, mom charms, grandmother charms, mother-son charms, mother-daughter charms—charms for every occasion and every mother! 9: Drunk Elephant Littles Kit, $110, sephora.com This Drunk Elephant skincare set is great for all skin types. Whether your mom’s skin concerns are hyperpigmentation, aging skin or dullness, she will be sure to love the products

We first fell in love with Sean Astin, watching him play Mikey in The Goonies. We then cheered him on in the critically acclaimed movie, Rudy, and we laughed through the Lord of the Rings trilogy watching him play the trusty sidekick to Frodo Baggins as Samwise Gamgee. Today, Astin is playing a character closer to home – and his heart – on the new Netflix show, No Good Nick. Portraying the loveable dad, Ed, Astin says is the closest character he’s ever played to himself. We sat down with the actor and father of three daughters to talk about being Dad, on and off screen.   Congrats on the new show, No Good Nick! It’s very unique compared to other family shows on Netflix. How would you say this show stands out? No Good Nick takes a more dramatic, intriguing turn. It’s more of a thriller. The lead character is a 14-year-old criminal, breaking the law. It’s entertaining but a little disturbing. It’s made for binge-watching and it’s very plot-driven.   What drew you to the character, Ed? I’d like to believe I AM Ed. I like that in this strangely unique show of intrigue, Ed gets to be typical. He’s dependable. Reliable. Upbeat. Happy.   According to the synopsis of the show, “The series will be highly serialized and show how each character is flawed in their own way. People make mistakes and can sometimes do the wrong thing for the right reasons.” How would you say this pertains to your character? For all the reasons I describe Ed as being reliable and typical, as the show goes on, there are other aspects of his character that are revealed that are less than appealing or morally certain. It’s unsettling when these moments come about. I hate it when I see what Ed does and he’s not the perfect family dad — Ed and the “Edness” that I know. But, of course, the writers are correct in wanting to make it more specific. At one point in the show, all the stuff in our garage goes missing and Ed calls the police and insurance and his attitude is cavalier. You think he would be a rule follower.   You have three kids, as a parent how do you relate to sometimes making mistakes and/or being flawed? Frequently. You know, I’m so disappointed in myself a lot for not being better. My life philosophy and sense of myself is that I am

How I Helped my Daughter Transition from Dorm Life to Living on Her Own By Sara Dimerman After my younger daughter’s first year away in residence at university, I thought that we were pretty much done with questions such as, “How long after the best before date can I keep yogurt?” and “When should I choose ‘permanent press’ on the washing machine?” However, after she moved into a house with four other girls for her second year away from home, I learned that there were many more questions to come – such as how to make hot chocolate on the stove like the way I make it for her at home. And I continued to encourage them because being able to ask for direction when you’re not sure what to do  is an indication that you’re not ashamed to show that you don’t know everything there is to know, especially when living alone. I think it’s great that students living in residence during their first year away at university buy meal plans. This way, at least parents know that their teens won’t be starving or having to worry about what to buy and make for meals. Especially in addition to adjusting to living independently and managing time and responsibilities like never before – laundry and getting themselves up in the morning, for example. By the time second year rolls around, most students are tired of cafeteria food and showing a great deal more appreciation for home-cooked meals when they come back to their nest for visits. However, many are not quite prepared for the effort it takes to think about what they need to put into their fridge and cupboard (often  only on one or two of the assigned shelves), making time to shop for those ingredients and then cutting and cooking them up, after a long day of classes.  Even though my daughter has an interest in cooking (and often sends pictures so that she and her dad – the cook in our family – can compare their creations), she often lacks the energy or space required to cook a meal for herself. So, we agreed to pay for weekly meals in a box ( three  at a time which allows for six dinners over the course of a week) which still means that she has to prepare the food, but this saves her the time of shopping for as many ingredients, teaches her to