This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always what you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.

Be sure to also check out our Travel Blog where you can share and read stories about travelling with the family.

We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.

  • Tuesday, May 02, 2017 6:52 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    Experts are telling us that both that postpartum mood disorders are on the rise and that the causes for this are unknown; however it’s becoming clear that while a single cause is unknown, there are many factors that can contribute to postpartum mood disorders. It is our hope that by raising awareness of the factors that contribute to postpartum mood disorders (ranging from the baby blues to postpartum depression to postpartum psychosis), and opening the dialogue on the subject, more women will feel that they can ask for help and tragedies like Florence Leung’s suicide can be prevented.

    What are postpartum mood disorders?

    Scientifically speaking, the term postpartum mood disorder refers to any mood disorder that comes on in the year after a woman gives birth. Current estimates show that up to 85% of new mothers experience the mildest form, known as the ‘baby blues, which typically appears in the first week after birth and lasts a few weeks. However, for between 10 and 15% of new mothers, it either does not disappear at all, or does but then returns and intensifies between two and six months after delivery - this is called postpartum depression. An additional 0.2% of new mothers will experience the most intense form of postpartum mood disorders – postpartum psychosis.

    What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

    Maternal postpartum depression is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual for medical professionals as displaying one or more of the following symptoms lasting for at least two weeks.

    • Feeling restless or slowed down

    • Feeling sad most of the day

    • Loss of interest or pleasure in all or most things, including the baby

    • Extreme irritability, frustration, or anger

    • Feelings of hopelessness

    • Trouble sleeping even when the baby is sleeping

    • Loss of appetite or eating too much

    • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions

    • Crying for no reason

    • Overwhelming feelings of guilt, worthlessness or inadequacy

    • Scary thoughts about harming your baby

    • Anxiety or panic attacks

    • No desire to be with friends or family

    • Excessive worrying about your baby’s health

    • Suicidal thoughts or frequent thoughts of death

    What are the risk factors for postpartum depression?

    There are a lot of different risk factors for postpartum depression. Like all mental health conditions, there is no single cause for postpartum depression, there isn’t any one thing a mother can do to prevent it from occurring, and having postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness or being a bad parent. Postpartum depression is a complication of childbirth not a moral failing. Risk factors for postpartum depression include:

    • A traumatic pregnancy or birth

    • Experience with emotionally painful or stressful experiences around pregnancy, childbirth and/or early parenting

    • A history of domestic violence, sexual or other abuse

    • A traumatic childhood

    • Stress

    • Lack of social support

    • Personality traits – such as competitiveness and perfectionism.

    In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easier than ever before to access information. While this access to information is great for finding out things like where to go to get support if you’re feeling depressed, it is a double edged sword because we are bombarded with stressful and negative images from around the world on a daily basis. Social media is great for connecting us with friends and relatives from around the world, but it can put pressure on new moms to keep up appearances and make them feel like a failure when their experience doesn’t match what their friends are living. The perfect image of a blissfully sleeping baby in a tidy house while mom cooks a nutritious dinner from scratch for a happy toddler? That is the exception rather than the rule and five minutes after the picture was taken the toddler probably threw a tantrum, refused to eat dinner, and woke up the baby – but we don’t see that and in a sleep deprived new mother those pictures can be yet another sign that she’s doing something wrong.

    What should you do if you think you have postpartum depression?

    First, take a deep breath. Recognizing that something isn’t right is an important first step. Other things you can do include:

    • Talk to your doctor, midwife, or other medical professional. Be honest about your feelings, and explain how they are affecting you.

    • Seek support. Find other new mothers either through in-person meetings or online groups or both. Having a support network of people who empathize and understand can be a huge help.

    • Ask for help. Maybe you need someone to watch the baby for an hour so you can do a yoga class and have a shower. Maybe you need someone to help you cook meals or walk the dog. Maybe you just want someone to hold the baby for a few minutes. Whatever it is you need, ask for help – and when people offer to help, let them.

    • Try to get some exercise and enough sleep. This is easier said than done with a newborn, but if you can, get your partner to take a shift between feedings while you nap. If you can’t get away to an exercise class, take a walk with the baby around the house or around the block if you can manage it.

    • Remember that it IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You are doing the best you can and that alone makes you a good mother.

    Postpartum depression is not some mystical disease – it is a complication of childbirth and the more we talk about it and normalize it, the better we can support mothers who are suffering.

  • Friday, April 28, 2017 12:22 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    May 1st to 7th is Mental Health Week in Canada. Will you walk, run, or ride with us to support maternal mental health?

    Did you know that according to the Canadian Mental Health Association 76,000 moms in Canada are at risk of Postpartum Mood Disorder this year? That means that this hour 8 women will get postpartum mood disorder.

    Sadly, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of mortality in postpartum women. We need to do something. When Moms Thrive Babies Thrive.

    You can help us help more moms and their little ones.

    This year we are running a campaign on Canada Helps during Mental Health Week in Canada we want to raise funds and awareness for Maternal Mental Health and prevention and support for Postpartum Depression.

    You can join a team, participate as an individual, or donate.

    To create a team. You pick the date and time that works for you anytime during mental health week. You can walk with your baby, with friends, with family or you can engage others to meet with you at the same time and do an informal walk.

    You would then post about your walk and why you walked with the #MpowerWalk2017 hashtag

    To participate, please go to

    Why should you support the life-saving work LWAB is doing?

    According to The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP), Maternal depression is a significant risk factor affecting the well-being of young children. It threatens two core parental functions: fostering healthy relationships and carrying out the management functions of parenting. The result, long tracked in child development research, has been linked to demonstrable reductions in young children’s behavioral, cognitive, and social and emotional functioning.

    The impact of depression varies by its timing (maternal depression during infancy has a bigger impact on a child’s development than maternal depression later in childhood), its severity, and the length of time it persists.

    We DO need your help financially to help more moms. As a registered charitable organization any financial contribution over $20, will receive a charitable donation receipt.

    Whatever you give – Please Give Something. This will ensure that this program is available for the next birth club and then next and eventually our children when they become parents.

    Together we CAN make a difference in the lives of mothers.

    Register or donate a

    We have partnered with Canada Helps so that you will receive a donation receipt automatically after donating.

    Huge thank you to Team Pink Piglets, the team that raise the most funds so far

    Read the amazing testimonial from a mom entitled Help Other Moms Like Me

    Below are some of the local walks happening your community

    Thornhill :

    Vaughan :

    Waterloo Region :

    Niagara Region :

    Barrie :

    Do you want to host a walk in your area? Send us an email to

    Thank you,

    Claire & the entire LWAB team.

  • Friday, April 21, 2017 2:28 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    If I had to choose just one place to recommend all Canadians visit it would be Newfoundland. Newfoundland's beauty cannot be summed up in a few words. You will feel the strength of the Long Range Mountains, and the depth of the fjords. You will breathe in the rugged beauty of the water crashing against the rocky shores. You will soak in the bustle of St. John's and sigh as you walk along Jelly Bean Row. But most importantly you will feel at once at home wherever you are in Newfoundland and with whomever you speak. Because at the core of what makes Newfoundland such an amazing place is it's people. If what you are looking for is relaxation go somewhere else but if you want adventure, to explore something new and exciting, to see mountains on one side and the ocean on the other, to stand in the spot where Canada begins & ends all at once. Go to Newfoundland.

    This was our crazy Itinerary, we only 7 days and wanted to see as much as possible. I'd recommend 10 days if you were doing this trip, or if you are adventurous and your kids are good travelers you can do what we did. 

    With this itinerary, you're hitting several of the top tourist destinations without having to spend too much time driving each day. It also helps to be staying in the one area for more than one night so you don't always have to pack up and leave again!


    Day 1 - Exploring St. John's

    We stayed at the beautiful Sheraton St. Johns, which had some great restaurants, walking distance to one of the largest kids playground and splash pad I've ever seen, and a great pool.  This was the view from our room.   Stunning, yes?

    Begin the day with brunch at one of the many local restaurants with kid friendly menus like Bagel Café, Blue on Water, or Smitty's. 

    Visit some of the main tourist attractions the oldest City in North America has to offer like; Signal Hill, The Rooms Museum, The Basilica Cathedral, Commissariat Provincial Historic Site, Johnson Geo Centre and the Railway Coastal Museum, or the MUN Botanical Gardens.  We chose Signal Hill. My recommendation is to go in the later part of the day so you can view stunning sunsets.  

    In the evenings the Ghost of the Hill Series run, where you can join the dashing Lieutenant Ranslaer Schuyler by lamplight inside the historic Queen’s Battery Barracks on Signal Hill. Step inside, take your seat, and prepare for the thrills and chills as local lore and legends unfold.  At the end of the stories the cannons go off. We walked around the area, the other lieutenant that was outside told us some history of the area. I recommend the full activity for families without little ones, but the modified version worked really well for us. 

    About 10 minutes away from Signal Hill is Petty Harbour, where you can visit the Petty Harbour Mini Aquarium which has several touch tanks so the kids can actually hold many different sea creatures.  This is a small aquarium but it is worth the visit. The best part is that all the fish are caught in the spring and then released back to the ocean in the fall.   Have you ever seen a blue or gold lobster?  We did! 

    After Petty Harbour, continue driving until you reach Cape Spear which is the most Easterly Point in North America.  Standing in the spot was such an amazing feeling. I think the best part was that we did it as a family.  The weather changes quickly here so you'll want to have your winter stuff in the car just in case :).  When we left St. John's we were in shorts. 


    Day 2 - The Irish Loop


    The boat tours in Bay Bulls or Witless Bay is said to be one of the best whale watching and puffin viewing areas in the Province.  We did a tour with O'Brien's Whale and Bird Tours. Matthew was our guide and he did a fantastic job of keeping us entertained throughout the tour.  We didn't see any whales but learning about the puffins and seeing them up close was awesome! They were much smaller than I anticipated. 

    In the afternoon we visited the Cape Race Lighthouse which has one of the most powerful lights in the world.


    Day 3 - Trinity Bay

    We drove approximately 3 hours (270kms) Northwest to Trinity
    where we visited some of the local historic attractions like the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Cooperage, the Green Family Forge, The Hiscock House Provincial Historic Site, The Mercantile Building Provincial Historic Site. It's a very small village but was worth the visit, as we wanted to explore as much of Newfoundland as possible.

    On our way we saw a sign for Dungeon Provincial Park, how could we not do a detour.  We spent much of the time exploring the area which is fascinating. If you are lucky the horses will stop by and visit you.  

    After exploring around the park we went drove around the air and visited the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse - Provincial Historic Site. 

    We rented through Airbnb for our accommodations as there are only a few Bed & Breakfasts in this area and they were all sold out. 

    Day 4 - Twillingate


    We really wanted to see icebergs so we drove  about 4 hours (310kms) to Twillingate (The Iceberg Capital of the World) just in case there were any sightings, but alas they were all melted.  

    Even though we didn't see any icebergs it was absolutely worth the drive though because this area is stunning! Very rugged and beautiful.  The food was amazing! Some of the freshest fish and chips and other fish dishes I ever had was from here. 

    In the evening we took a blanket and dinner down by the beach (mostly rocks) and listened to the water crashing against the shore.   We rented through Airbnb again and I cannot tell you how accommodating and lovely our hosts where.  They set up a bonfire for us on the beach. My daughter collects seaglass and when the host found out she gave my daughter her collection.  

    There is lots to do in this small town such as the Beothuk Interpretation Centre Provincial Historic Site, the Long Point Lighthouse, the Moreton's Harbour Museum, the Twillingate Museum, or any of the local walking trails

    If you are able to, consider taking a day trip to Fogo Island and Change Islands (this is where you will see the Newfoundland Pony Refuge), it's only an hour drive east to Farewell where you can catch the ferry.  


    Day 6 - Gros Morne National Park

    Our last leg of the trip! We drove about 4.5 hours (426kms) to Rocky Harbour which is at the beginning of  Gros Morne National Park.

    We spent the afternoon taking the spectacular Western Brook Pond Boat Tour through the glacial fjords in the Park. This is a must!  

    Some other options in the area are: the Bonne Bay Marine Station, the Cow Head Lighthouse, the Jacob A. Crocker House, the Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse, the Mattie Mitchell National Historic Site, etc. OR visit some of the local sandy beaches along the coast (some options include Shallow Bay near Cow Head or the beach located in Trout River - which happens to be located next to an excellent seafood restaurant)


    Day 7 - Gros Morne National Park / Corner Brook


    We spent the morning exploring the  Tablelands Trail (this trail is very easy for beginner hikers and children as it's only 2 hours to complete and isn't extremely elevated), it's one of the most unique trails in the Park

    We spent the rest of the day relaxing and preparing to head to Port Aux Basque where we would board the ferry and make out back to to Nova Scotia.

    Newfoundland, we cannot wait to see you again. 

  • Wednesday, April 19, 2017 3:54 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    The Leafs are doing great! The Leafs are doing great!!!  If you live in Toronto you can't help but get caught up in the excitement. If you know me, you already know I'm a Sens fan first, Leafs fan second and because of that, I'm glad that it's not the usual battle of Ontario where two of my favourite teams are battling it out, and most of the country is disappointed either way. This year BOTH the Sens & the Leafs are doing well, and it's exciting!

    Toronto, what better way for the biggest and littlest Leafs fan to share their excitement than with these ADORABLE bodysuits. For a limited time, Carter’s | OshKosh and the Toronto Maple Leafs are offering a FREE Limited Edition Lil’ Leafs Bodysuit to celebrate the Leafs and Canada's 150th year. This fun collector's item is available exclusively to Torontonians and families in the GTA until April 30, 2017.

    How do you get one? It's super easy!

    1. Register online at to redeem a FREE bodysuit at supporting GTA Carter's | OshKosh stores.

    2. Take the coupon to the nearest Carter’s | OshKosh  participating store and pick up your item. Easy.

    The bodysuit is a fun gifting idea to celebrate newborns and hockey fans alike (because of course, if you are a fan…they will be too, right?) It also aligns with both the Leafs and Canada’s 150th year, so what better way to say Happy Birthday than with Canada’s favorite sport.

    Don't have a little one in your family THIS year? Well, there is always next year, and as collector's item, it's definitely a great gift idea. It's unisex, so it makes a great baby shower or new baby gift.

    Get yours before they are gone. They are only here until April 30th.

  • Wednesday, April 19, 2017 11:34 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    Guest Post from Ann Douglas

    My kids inherited a whole bunch of different things from me: blue eyes, brown hair, an edgy sense of humor, and an increased likelihood that they will experience an episode of mental illness at some point in their lives.

    While I was immediately okay with the first three pieces of the genetic puzzle (blue eyes, brown hair, and a typically underappreciated sense of humor aren’t the worst things you could pass along to a kid), it took me a long time to come to terms with that final piece of the puzzle—the mental health piece.

    Perhaps you’ve been grappling with some of these issues yourself, as a result of your own mental health struggles. After all, it isn’t easy to accept the fact that your child faces an elevated risk of struggling with anxiety and depression simply by virtue of being part of your family. Whether it’s an issue of nature (genetics) or nurture (family environment) or, more likely, a little of both (what scientists refer to as epigenetics—that multigenerational cocktail of genetic and environmental factors), growing up with a parent who has struggled with anxiety or depression or both does increase the likelihood that a child will experience a similar struggle.

    I have seen this play out in my own family tree, repeatedly.

    Not only am I the daughter of a mother who struggled with bipolar disorder and who experienced a devastating episode of postpartum depression following the birth of her youngest child. I also happen to be someone who lives with bipolar disorder. And I am the mother of four children who have been diagnosed with a variety of mental health, neurodevelopmental, and behavioral challenges (experiences I write about in my most recent book, Parenting Through the Storm).

    No one wants to see their child experience these types of difficulties, let alone someone like you or me who has experienced it firsthand. We know how difficult and painful it can be to struggle with mental illness because we’ve been there and lived through that. It’s only natural for us to want to protect our children from those very same struggles—and so we yearn for some sort of epigenetic magic wand that would make our kids’ increased vulnerability to mental illness magically disappear….

    Of course, medical science has yet to produce that kind of magic wand, so we’ll have to settle for the next best thing in the meantime: making peace with our families’ genetic legacy. Accepting that reality while also committing to doing everything in my power to help my kids have the happiest, healthiest lives possible is what ultimately allowed me to flip my mindset from feeling sad and guilty to feeling hopeful and optimistic instead. Here’s my best advice to other parents who are trying to work through these very issues, too.

    Treat yourself with self-compassion. You didn’t choose to develop a mood disorder, so stop beating yourself up for developing an illness that was beyond your control. Think about the kind and supportive things you would say to a friend who was feeling badly about the fact that diabetes or heart disease runs in her family—what this might mean for her kids. Then say those very same kind words to yourself.

    Spot the silver lining. Think about how much you would have to offer your child, if she were to end up struggling with a mental illness—and recognize that this would be because of your earlier struggles. You’d be kind and empathetic. You’d be able to suggest practical strategies for living well with a mental illness. You’d be a built-in mentor, guide, and cheerleader, in other words.

    Be prepared. Know how to recognize the early warning signs of mental health difficulties in children and adolescents. Then figure out ahead of time where you could turn for diagnosis and treatment services in your community, if the situation warranted it. You’ll feel less hopeless and less scared if you have a game plan in place. And, of course, you can continue to hope that you never actually need that game plan.

    Tap into support from other parents. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to support that parent. So don’t be afraid to turn to your parenting village for support. Reach out to friends and family members who are dealing with with these very same issues or join a parent support group (either in your community or online). You don’t have to face this on your own.


    Ann Douglas is the author of numerous books about parenting including, most recently, Parenting Through the Storm. She is also the mother of four children who struggled with a variety of mental health, neurodevelopmental, and behavioral challenges during their growing up years and who are currently thriving as young adults. In this guest post, she talks about how she came to terms with the fact that mental illness runs in her family—and what that means for her children.

  • Tuesday, April 18, 2017 11:29 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    When we first decided to visit BC, I was looking at a brochure about the town of Golden, and I saw an image of a hiker standing over in front of a glacier with the heading "Not all those who wander are lost." I knew then I had to make a stop that was a bit off the beaten path.

    When I think of our visit to Golden, BC the phrase Nothing Ordinary comes to mind. Located in a sweet spot where it's close to 6 National Parks you have a lot of options if you are making Golden, BC your base for a few days.

    There are lots of accommodation options from the large Kicking Horse resort to cozy family cottages. We stayed at the Hillside Lodge & Chalets located 13 kilometres west of Golden in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Hillside is known for friendly hospitality and spectacular views with 20 acres of quiet, pristine wilderness to enjoy. Be sure to take the trail directly off the property and explore along the river.

    Whether you are strolling around downtown, mountain biking at Kicking Horse Resort, or paddling the Columbia Wetlands the options in this area really do feel limitless. Some of our favourite things to do with the kids are listed below.

    Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge

    Get your favourite treat and stroll around downtown Golden. The town square is very picturesque. We walked along the trail that led to the Kicking Horse River Pedestrian Bridge, the longest freestanding timber frame bridge in Canada. In the summer there is often a free concert in the square on alternate Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Go to the movie theatre and get the most delicious ice cream! Yum.

    The World's Largest Paddle & Columbia Wetlands

    With many paddle options to choose from, you can explore the beauty of the Columbia River with the Columbia Wetlands Adventures. From self-guided canoe or kayak trips to a guided float tours, you can explore the heart of the wetlands. The fave here was the dock with interpretative boardwalk, suspension bridge, and pirate ship. We all spent over an hour just exploring this little area.

    Kicking Horse Resort

    You really have to allocate at least 6 hours to exploring at Kicking Horse Resort. If you we had more time in the area we would have spent the whole day.

    We started the day off with an early morning guided visit to see Boo, the resident Grizzly bear who lives in the Grizzly Habitat the resort. The habitat is the largest in the world with over 20 acres and was created to prevent the orphaned bear named Boo from getting euthanized, as that was the custom for orphaned bears at the time. The interpretive tour was a one of a kind opportunity to see Boo up close in his habitat and learn more about grizzlies.

    After our tour, we took the Golden Eagle Express Gondola to the top of the mountain. At 7,700 feet above sea level, we stepped off the Gondola to another world. One that is definitely off the beaten path. Here you will see gorgeous panoramic views of the Canadian Rockies looking over five National Parks. We explored at our own pace soaking in the majesty of the place and explored along the CPR Ridge Trail. There are many hiking options, and if we had more time, we would have done the Via Ferrata. Lots of very safe and easy walks for families with little ones.

    After giving our camera a workout and exploring as much as we could with the kids, we stopped in at the Eagle's Eye Restaurant for lunch. The food was delicious to the point of our five-year-old licking his bowl. On the menu, you'll find Salmon, Buffalo, Elk and other native specialties. We had the Chef's special for the day which was a Buffalo sandwich and Bison vegetable soup. The views from the restaurant are spectacular, and you'll find yourself lingering.  

    Eventually, and very reluctantly we took the Gondola back down as we were looking forward to hiking the afternoon away.  There are many options for hiking close to Golden; we decided to Yoho National Park as it's often described as a hiker's paradise. With over 400km of trails, it was hard to choose, but we decided to Explore Wapta Falls. With a 5 and 9-year-old traveling with us, we felt it was the best fit. The highlight is the at 98 feet high and 490 feet wide it's quite impressive and well worth the 2-hour hike.

    Golden, British Columbia exceeded all our expectations.  While summer is a gorgeous time to visit, the kicking horse mountain is known as a gem for snow lovers as well. 

  • Friday, April 14, 2017 1:48 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    This is guest post written by Iryna Zlobin, retired Grandma of 2 little ones. 

    Traveling the world is a passion of ours as it gets us to experience other cultures and new things. It's been a dream of ours to go to Malaysia, Philippines, Bali, Hong Kong, and Australia for quite some time. Every time we attempted to put the trip together there was always something. Too much time, too many flights, too expensive and then we thought - why not a cruise. Cruising was new to us, and we did not know what to expect. Would we be bored? Would the rooms feel claustrophobic, would the food be good? There were four of us traveling, on vegan, one vegetarian, and one with a variety of food sensitivities. In the past, we traveled for a week or so at a time, and in total this trip was 24 days. Naturally, what to eat was a big concern.

    Luckily we had booked with Royal Caribbean "Legend of the Seas." From the moment we entered our worries went away. The ship is enormous and gorgeous. We purchased the outside cabin with ocean view, and it was perfect. Lots of natural light, beautiful room that was maintained 3-4 times a day.

    The food options were very varied. There was more than enough of anything that we wanted. Everything was delicious, fresh tasting, and presented in a pleasing manner. The staff were always very friendly and accommodated our dietary restrictions as if they had already anticipated our needs. It didn't matter what we asked for; they provided it with a smile.

    The entertainment on the ship was excellent. On the days that you were at see, you didn't even notice because of the amount of things that were available to try: golf, climbing wall, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, to name a few.

    In addition to the on board entertainment, the wonderful welcome that we received at each port was a joy. There was always some entertainment from the country we were visiting upon arrival and departure.

    We loved cruising with Royal Caribbean "Legend of the Seas, " and it gave us the opportunity to see many beautiful places without the constant going from airport to airport. All four in our party would highly recommend cruising as an option if you want to explore many countries on one trip.

  • Friday, April 07, 2017 10:27 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    We spent three days and two nights at Viamede Resort in earlier this year. The resort is right on beautiful Stoney Lake.  If you love being outdoors with 165 acres of unspoiled wilderness, you won't be disappointed. There is 6 km of private forest trails, indoor and outdoor pools, a working on-site farm, and a play structure.

    For your accommodations, you can choose from an inn type room or the lovely cottages that give you gorgeous views of Stoney Lake. You have direct access to the small beach where kayaks, canoes, and in the summer months, the water trampoline is easily accessible.

    The jewel of the resort is Mount Julian Restaurant. Let all foodies rejoice - this is your spot! Mount Julian is a fine dining restaurant housed in the original Inn where the chef creates incredible gourmet tasting menus or a-la-carte dinner options. We went for the 7-course tasting menu and were not disappointed. We would have chosen the 9-course menu, but since we went with the kids, we were conscious of the time.

    We had debated going to the Boat House restaurant again instead of Mount Julian because children under age 12 are not allowed at this restaurant, but luckily they had a kid's Pizza and Movie night on Friday and, we were able to leave the kids for 2 hours. If you go to this resort, you must try Mount Julian.

    Let's talk relaxation. The new addition of the indoor/outdoor pool is gorgeous. It offers stunning views of the lake and includes both a wet and dry sauna, as well as a gym. There isn't a spa on the property, but you can pre-book massage treatments that can be done in your room.

    Overall we enjoyed our stay at Viamede Resort. The only downside was the housekeeping could have been better, but it wouldn't deter us from going back since everything else more than made up for it.

  • Monday, April 03, 2017 11:50 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    I recently visited the Intergrated Kindergarten Program at Bloorview School Authority. The program was created by Dr. Eric Jackman Laboratory School (University of Toronto) and Bloorview School Authority more than 20 years ago.

    The IKP program is unique in that it's made up of a class of typically developing JK/SK students enrolled in the Jackman Institute of Child Study and a class of JK/SK students with disabilities from the Bloorview Integrated Education and Therapy Program.

    The goals of this program are to promote confidence, self-esteem, and self-advocacy, to address inclusion, stereotyping and discriminatory behaviour, and to prepare students with physical disabilities for successful integration.

    This program is focused on helping children to advocate for themselves, to be inclusive, and an early immersion in understanding people who are different from them.

    Even though, I only spent 2 hours in the classroom, I could see that this program is fulfilling their goals. I love that the school offers a real play based learning but was still equipped with some of the latest technologies like smart boards and iPads. The day I visited the kids were performing a play. They had been fully immersed in what goes on with a play, from putting together the set, learning lines, helping with the costumes. The week before was the Dino Fair where the classroom was turned into an excavation site, and the children could be scientists exploring all things dinosaurs.

    I absolutely LOVED how this program lives and breathes inclusivity. The program is teaching children how to see the difference and embrace it. From an early age the program teaches children that regardless of our abilities and our differences we can all take part in a project, or a game, or society. While the focus of the program is on how to be inclusive of children with different abilities, in the long run these children will be ones who are inclusive of different race, ethnicity, culture, and gender. These kids will grow up into adults with the traits that we want out future generations to hold.

    "The IKP classroom has been a transforming experience for my son Gabriel, who has cerebral palsy. All learning is hands on, and through play, he is building self-confidence. The uniqueness of the program is the integration of typically developing children, who learn from a very young age to respect the differences and experience true inclusion. This program has been creating human beings who are compassionate and able to truly make a difference in our communities" Said Fabiana Bacchini, parent

    My kids are too old for this program, but I wished I had known about it earlier. While it's not free to participate in, it is a lower fee that most private schools. You can find out more about this incredible program here. And check out the feature on Global News Making A Difference show

  • Monday, April 03, 2017 9:28 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    You may have seen the news!!! Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is keeping his campaign promise of extending parenting leave to 18 months! That means if you qualify and can afford to stay home with your little one for 18 months your job will be secured and your benefits will be allocated over 18 months instead of 12. This will not be effective right away; there still needs to be some changes to the Employment Insurance Act. Unless something drastically changes, you should see the changes in about a year.

    Here are the key points.

    Parental leave (yes, it applies to dads) is now 18 months instead of 12. Maternity leave benefits can start 12 weeks before the baby is born instead of 8 weeks.

    What to expect when it comes to payment?  With the 12-month plan you would be eligible for 55% of your income (up to a maximum of $543 per week). The payments under the new plan, because it is stretched out over a longer time, will be lower. The first 15 weeks, you will still receive the 55%, but after that, it will be reduced to 33%.

    Which begs the question, will parents be able to choose to do 12 months and have the regular top up? Or will the be forced to do the longer plan?

    Qualification requirements still stay the same. To qualify, you need to have worked at least 600 hours in the last year.

    What does this mean for you? Could you afford to stay home for 18 months? Will you want to?

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