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.

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  • Thursday, April 14, 2016 6:16 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    My family and I spent 3 days and 2 nights at The Fern Resort in Orillia in the summer of 2015. We won the getaway through a draw LWAB had, which is why we decided to go despite the fact that it just 2 adults and a 7-month-old baby. We had an absolute blast and even my daughter enjoyed the new scenery and experiences, which led to 3 successful naps and a great night’s sleep for everyone.

    Picture an all-inclusive resort aimed especially for families with children that's exactly who Fern Resort is. Tucked way back down along a scenic road, the resort is full of activities to keep kids entertained all day long, as well as keep parents engaged and the whole family discovering new exciting activities.

    What to Do

    Although our baby was only 7 months old, we decided to make the most out of our mini vacation (like most people with a new baby, we haven’t been out in a while). There are paths leading all around the resort, making it very easy to navigate around and get to different activities. There is a schedule of events and times at the front desk that changes daily.

    From tennis and rock climbing to archery and zorbing, there is something for everyone. We climbed a big wooden playground (with the baby in our arms) and watched the older kids go down the long zip line. We also saw on the schedule that there was a time allotted for arts and crafts. My husband held our daughter and watched me jump on 1 of the 2 rectangular trampolines outside in a netted house. We also played some mini golf and had the baby help us hold the club.

    The most fun was when we did the ropes course. We took turns getting harnessed up (one of us stayed on the ground and watched with the baby) and climbed a long wooden pole up to the logs. The challenge was to make your way across on logs that spin while holding your body weight up by hanging ropes. It tested strength, endurance, and especially my fear of heights. It was amazing!

    There is a big area for outdoor swimming pools equipped with cute mini loungers, as well as a beach area. Unfortunately, the day we were ready to go to the pool it was chilly and raining, so we opted for the indoor pool instead. There was also a sauna and a hot tub nearby as well. There is plenty of space to use the stroller anywhere you go; some people even made sure to bring a stroller so their baby could take their naps in it while the older kids continued their activities so they didn’t have to go back to the room. If you don’t feel like walking through the resort, you can always rent one of the many vehicles on wheels they have available: bicycles, tricycle, 4 wheel jeeps, etc.

    Where to Stay

    There are many options on the resort when it comes to accommodations. We stayed in a regular room in a 2 story building. Although a little outdate, the room was a good size and we were provided a small metal crib that is low to the grounds. I made sure to bring her crib sheet with us to help with sleeping in an unfamiliar place so she would have a familiar scent (the mattress is smaller than a crib mattress, but a good size and would fit any baby under at least 2 comfortably). The accommodations, bedding, and amenities are far from spectacular, but they did the job and everyone got a good sleep.

    There are also cottages, villas, and private areas to stay in, which obviously differ in price depending on the level of luxury you are looking for.

    The People

    It surprised us that most of the people working at the resort were high school seniors, graduates, and young university/college students. They made up most of the wait staff in the dining area, as well as the babysitting services and play village. Refreshingly, the fact that they are younger actually made a huge difference in our experience; they were extremely respectful, helpful, friendly, and great with little ones. They were knowledgeable about the resort, their jobs, and went above and beyond to make sure our stay was fun and comfortable.

    Dining and Things to Make your Visit Easier

    There is one main house where the front desk and registration is, as well as the dining area. For the duration of our stay, we were assigned to the same table every time so it was never a question of where to sit or if there is space, we just came in, found our table which the clean and comfortable high chair (with a big tray and bib provided) and started getting ready for our meal.

    There were lots of choices of food, and we were pleased to find many healthy options: lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as plain steamed veggies that our baby enjoyed IMMENSELY. Although we tried our best to clean up after her, as you can imagine, the floor was a mess. Not once were we made to feel like cleaning up after her was a hassle and our waitress smiled, talked, and laughed with her a lot.

    Not too far from the main building is a HUGE play village where you can drop your kids off (young or old) and RECEs will look after them as they play, climb, ride tricycles, etc., if you want some time along to explore with your partner or just focus on one child at a time. They also offer babysitting services after hours in a common area, as well as in your room for $8/hour. We didn’t take advantage of any of the babysittings since she was so young and still breastfeeding and very much attached to mommy, not to mention that we have never left her with anyone by that point yet.

    When to Go

    After talking to the staff and a few ‘regular’s at the resort, we were told that it’s a lot more fun and there are much more activities in the summer than winter. Although there are some fun winter activities, almost everyone recommended coming in the summer.

    The best part of it all is that ALL of the activities I mentioned and some I didn’t (aside from the private in-room babysitting and maybe some spa packages that we didn’t look into) are fully included in your stay! No worrying about how much money you should spend, carrying around money, or kids nagging you to buy them things. You can just relax and enjoy your time away with your family.

    Reviewed by Mary Hutcheon who lives in Georgina, Canada.

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  • Friday, April 08, 2016 11:04 PM | Sandy
    Easter Sunday, our almost 8 months old woke up at 7am, much later than her usual 5am morning call. I picked her up from her crib and right away I could feel that she was very warm. I took out our super fancy ear thermometer that my dad gave me and took her temperature. Side note: I rolled my eyes when he gave it to me a year ago, but now I’m ever so thankful he gave us one because there’s nothing more uncomfortable than to have to take your child’s temperature via their bum…think about it, if you don’t like it, they probably don’t like it either.

                                                                                                                                                                                 Within 3 seconds, I’m given a temperature result of 38.5, yup, she’s got a fever. I also noticed her diaper was pretty foul in smell, the same smell that I’d recognized just less than 2 months ago. I knew right away her UTI was back, and this time probably with a vengeance.


    So here we were, Easter Sunday, probably not the greatest of times to want and need medical attention that wasn’t overly life threatening. If it was for me personally, I’d suck it up and wait the following day when everything was back to business. But for an infant, it was 1) uncomfortable as heck, because she cried every time she peed and 2) it’s the second time within 2 months, I didn’t want to take any chances on her. I wanted medical attention for my baby.

    My choices were pretty much limited to ER or walk-in clinics. I don’t know much about every walk-in clinics, but I know they don’t have much resources in terms of certain on-site tests, I highly doubt they’d have the capacity to do a preliminary urine test for positive UTI. So I guess I was to brave the ER.


    I don’t like ER for a few reasons: there’s always a lot of people there, and the wait itself in my opinion is way more painful than the dislocated shoulder or stomach ache you’re there for. ER is for true emergencies with life threatening conditions, so really, my daughter’s UTI is not really a true emergency. Part of me feel like an ER abuser for even thinking of walking into that place, but it is what it is on an Easter Sunday…


    Our closest ER is Mackenzie Health, we got there for 9:30am, and I regret my decision already. Thankfully it’s a holiday, so parking across the street at the high school was free and unmonitored. I take my ticket and wait to be called by the triage nurse, my number was much further than what they were currently on, so I let my eyes wander around to scope things out.


    I noticed a poster on a couple of the walls that advertised “Vaughan’s Urgent Care Centre” located at Jane and Major Mackenzie. Above the map of the clinic it says “We treat the less serious very seriously. Staffed by Emergency Department doctors and nurses”. The hours of operations are Monday to Friday from 4pm-10pm and Weekends/Holidays from 10am-4pm. I immediately give up my place in line and left the ER. We head to the UCC instead.


    We got to the UCC at around 9:45am. The clinic itself was already open and there were patients waiting there, not many, but a few. The process is simple, you take a number and wait to be called to get registered with the reception staff, and be placed in cue.   


    By about 10:15am, we were set up in an examination room and the nurses were there to take the initial vitals. By 10:30am we were seen by the doctor on duty. We had to stay longer because we needed to collect urine sample from my daughter, and unfortunately, the UCC was not equipped to collect urine via catheter, so we had to do the bag method. At about 11:30am we finally got some urine. Within 15 mins, the doctor came back to the examination room to confirm it was very positive for UTI. He highly recommended that we go to Mackenzie Health and have proper clean samples collected the same day, as well as have their on-duty pediatrician look at her and start treatment on the spot if necessary. Since the UCC is an extension of Mackenzie Health Hospital, the on-duty UCC doctor can fast track any of the patients that were being referred to emergency from the UCC, this can help in shredding off some wait time at the ER.


    We got there for about 12:30pm. We still had to go through the standard triage and registration process. Being Easter Sunday, the wait was extremely long. Can I reiterate that I don’t like the ER? This day, I found it to be overcrowded for unnecessary reasons. I took note that more than half of the people waiting, were there for “moral support” to the patients in waiting. Here’s the thing, and you can smack me if you want, but what is the point of you being there for so-called support at the ER? What good do you bring to the hospital team by being there for the person you’re there to “support”. I understand if you are there because your relative cannot speak the language, or you’re the parent of a child, that’s fine, and expected, totally understand, but what I saw was more than half the people in the waiting room sitting there, taking up space, creating more chaos than necessary. During our wait time, I even saw an entourage of 7 people walk in with 1 person. Point is, if you have nothing else (i.e. you’re not a cardiac surgeon, a nurse, etc…) to offer other than moral support, then it’s probably best you stay home and let the health professionals take care of your loved ones as they are in good hands.


    Any who, I digress, and let me get down from the soapbox…


    We finally get called by the triage nurse, she greets me, after I tell her we’d been sent here via UCC, she acknowledges, prints up necessary papers and direct us to the registration desk. We get registered, then we’re asked to sit and wait. At this time, I’m hearing the conversation of another triage nurse telling the parents of a toddler that if they choose to wait, it was an eight hour wait at the moment. As I’m dreading what I’m hearing, I get called by the nurse. Hey, UCC does fast track you!


    We were there for a total of 5 hours. During this time, the nurse took blood and urine samples, and the ER doctor prescribed a dose of antibiotics via IV. We’d have been done around the 3 hour mark, but we had to wait for the on-duty pediatrician to assess and clear us. Even though we were there for a total of 5 hours, we were still faster than the normal waiting period.


    Had this been a regular day, I don’t think we would have been sent to the ER, and I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to go. The Vaughan Urgent Care Centre is designed to allow you to go to a ER-like clinic with all the necessary resources without having to actually go to the ER. I liked the UCC, and I’d certainly highly recommend anyone with a “non-emergency” emergency go there first. Leave the ER alone unless it’s life threatening.

  • Wednesday, April 06, 2016 11:09 AM | Bhavishree (Administrator)

    Do you have two minutes in the day for your hubby?

    Can you find two minutes in the day if it means you can keep your marriage on track?

    That is not a lot of time right! You can find that time and it is so easy and especially if it is split in two it is even more doable. One minute dedicated in the morning and one minute in the evening.

    Something hubby and I do on a daily bases is – we HUG each other for one whole minute in the morning and one whole minute after work.  We literally stop everything and hug each other a Big Bear Hug kind of hug.  Sometimes, words are exchanged and sometimes it is a quite hug (no talking). Just depends on the day. We hug and stay connected no matter what for a whole minute even with three kids running around, making noise or asking us questions.  That minute is for us to connect with each other at the start of the day and at the end of our work day. In the morning, it gets us started for a good day ahead and look forward to the hug in the evening.  During the evening hug, it helps us to let go of the days events and focus on us and the kids.

    The funny thing is that sometimes when we hug the kids get in on the action too. They hug our legs while we are hugging each other which than becomes a big family group hug.  We have three kids so they form a circle around us. 

    One thing important, that I would like to mention is that we hug on good days or bad days. So even if we are fighting or one person is upset with the other we still hug.  Almost always as soon as we hug whatever the reason we were fighting about becomes totally irrelevant.

    This one thing that only takes two minutes of our time each day helps us stay connected and helps us remember how much we really love each other and want to be with each other.

    Not only will this help you save your marriage, stay connected and be in love but take a look at the list of 11 benefits of hugging below.

    1. Increases Bonding

    Hugging can cause a release of oxytocin from the brain, causing us to bond with our partner. The release of this hormone causes a rise in feelings of commitment and intimacy as we share feelings for each other through hugging (1) Try hugging with your partner to feel your bond strengthen!

    2. Relaxes The Body

    Hugging causes our muscles to relax, releasing tension in the body. (2) Hug someone to wash away the cares of the day!

    3. Relieves Pain

    Hugging releases endorphins, which relieve pain by blocking pain pathways and soothe aches by increasing circulation to soft tissues. This removes pain-stimulating peptides like bradykinins. (1,2) When you are in pain, reach out for a hug!

    4. Increases Empathy & Understanding

    A passionate hug allows for the exchange of feelings across the bioenergetics field generated by the heart, causing us to empathize with the other person. This builds trust between people in a way that words simply cannot. (1) Hug someone when you want to open your heart to them!

    5. Relieves Depression & Neurodegenerative Disorders 

    Hugging can increase the production of dopamine in your brain, and this can be seen in PET scans of the brain. Dopamine levels are low in people with conditions like Parkinsonism and mood disorders like Depression. (2,3) So if you see someone depressed, give him a hug, and bring a little joy to their life.

    6. Elevates Mood

    Hugging can increase the production of serotonin from your brain, which improves your mood and can boost your self-esteem. A person experiences depression and loneliness when their serotonin levels are low. Hugging causes the brain to release serotonin and endorphin to blood vessels to create pleasure and negate sadness. Hugging also results in improved performance at work and at school. (1,3) Hug your partner if they are feeling blue!

    7. Balances Nervous System

    Hugging balances the nervous system. The skin contains a network of tiny-egg shaped pressure sensors called the pacnician corpuscles which are in contact with the brain through the Vagus nerve. They can sense touch. The galvanic response measured from someone who receives a hug shows a marked change in skin conductance. The effect of moisture and electricity over the skin during hugging shows a balanced state of nervous system parasympathetic which is achieved by psychophysiological coherence created by passionate hugging. (2,3) Keep hugging and balance your nervous system!

    8. Alleviates Stress

    Hugging alleviates stress by reducing the levels of circulating cortisol (the stress hormones) in the blood. This causes the mind to calm down. This helps in decreasing cortisol-induced hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus. Studies show that well-hugged babies are less stressed than less-hugged adults. The research at Emory University discovered an amazing link between touch and relieving stress. (1,2) When your partner comes home after work, just give them a warm hug!

    9. Improves Heart Health, Decreases Heart Rate

    Hugging can decrease heart rate. In a study conducted by the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, participants who did not have any contact with their partners developed a quickened heart rate of 10 beats per minute compared to 5 beats per minute among those who got to hug their partners during the experiment. Decreasing heart rates will help in decreasing blood pressure and cardiac illness. (2)

    10. Boosts Immune System

    Dr. Shelden Cohen conducted a study of over 400 healthy adults who were interviewed about their perceived social support. They participated in night phone interviews for two weeks. They were asked about the frequency that they engaged in personal conflict and received hugs that day. The researchers exposed the participants to the common cold virus and monitored to assess symptoms and signs of infection. They found that the people who perceived themselves as having good social support and received frequent hugs had less or no number of symptoms and signs of infection. The people who went through interpersonal conflict and the people who received less or no hugs, however, exhibited different symptoms and signs of infection. Hugging can decrease the stress hormone which inhibits the immune system and increase the hormones and peptides that regulate the functioning of immune cells. (1,2) Give your children hugs and keep them healthy and immune!

    11. Reduce Worry of Mortality

    A study published in the journal Psychological Science revealed that hugging and touching reduce worry of mortality. The study also discovered that even hugging an inanimate object like a teddy bear was enough to soothe individual’s existential fears. Moreover, simply imagining hugging a person you love the most can cause your brain to release serotonin, dopamine, and endorphin, triggering feelings of happiness and joy. This will also negate the worries of mortality by decreasing the levels of stress hormone, by altering the perception of the brain, and by evoking positive emotions. (2) Don’t worry, hug and live long!

    So keep hugging it feels so good.


  • Wednesday, March 30, 2016 2:33 PM | Bhavishree (Administrator)

    I love family holidays especially long weekends, when we are all off from work and school. This gives us all time to spend together. We don’t have to wake up at the sound of the alarm. I usually get woken up with all three of my kids in bed with me. Kids love to talk to you about stuff in the morning (lol). So all three of them will try to say something all at once or try to talk over each other. Hubby is usually not impressed.

    On these days I know I don’t have to work being a working-stay-at-home-mom. I don’t feel guilty for playing with the kids, doing activities or crafts. This is the one thing that I struggle with every day. Since I work from home I could work all day and night.

    This past weekend we did at least two or three activities each day and the kids loved it. They loved it because it kept them busy and they had my full attention. I loved it because it kept them busy, I got to spend time with them and it got them off the screen. They are so much nicer, happier little people when they are doing things and are keeping busy. Doing activities such as a craft is something I need to do more, for myself. I need to practice, as I am one of those moms who is a perfectionist and I get stressed when a craft is not done right. I go back and fix it or say “no, not like that” “not that colour”. So this helps me to learn; to keep my hands off, go with the flow, that it is ok if my kids don’t do it perfect, if they don’t do it the way the craft asks or if they don’t use the right colours. Helps me let them be creative and use their imagination. I love when at the end I look at the finished product and ask them to explain it and it makes me smile to see their vision.

    So the kids picked specific Easter crafts and below are the end result of what they did. I just let them do what and how they wanted. The best part is they had FUN. Lots of fun doing it and were proud of their final products. This mom did an awesome job of staying out of the way and keeping her mouth shut.

    Here are the Easter cookies they wanted to do:

    Here are the Easter bunny ears cupcakes they picked:

    This is what wanted for breakfast Easter Sunday:

    Now here are the end products. Maybe this post should have been a Pinterest “nailed it” post (hehe)

    We had a great Easter long weekend. They did not drive me crazy and make me wish they were at school. It was fun and relaxed with just the right balance of everything. We had some good food, watched movies and played games without watching the clock.

    Until the next holiday, looking forward to it!

  • Thursday, March 24, 2016 8:00 AM | Sandy

    Our neighbourhood garbage day this week was a rather windy one. Every so often when this happens, I end up with pieces of recycling on my porch. Usually I just pick it up and put it in my own recycling bin for the following week’s pick up.

    This week, while I picked up the pieces, I noticed a white piece of paper with blue ink on it. Clearly it was a hand written letter. I’m a normal human being, it piqued my curiosity, so I read the letter.

    It was a letter from a mom around my neighbourhood regarding her child in another kindergarten class of the same school my daughter goes to, addressed to the teacher.

    Without revealing too many details, this letter stated that her child was being “violated” and “abused” by another child, and that she demanded this said child be removed immediately, because this said child was a violator and abuser.

    My first thought was: This is not a very nice letter.

    My second thought was: Which kindergartener wakes up in the morning and think to themselves “I need to meet my quota of violating and abusing someone today!”?

    Then a handful of other thoughts came flowing through my head. Was this a draft letter of the good copy, and that the good copy had already been delivered to the teacher via the child’s communication bag? Or was this the actual letter and was already sent to school and sent back with a response from the teacher via another letter? Or was this letter merely just a venting letter and was never meant to be seen by anyone at all?

    First of all, my advice to this mom for future: don’t put letters like these in the recycling bin without shredding it. If you don’t have a shredder, rip it up and put it in the garbage bag so the likelihood of it being blown around is almost nil. If it had landed on another person’s porch, perhaps even, by chance, on the said child’s family porch, imagine the type of drama would happen.

    Secondly to this mom, what’s going on through your head that you think another child at this age can have such an agenda, and that their life goal is to violate and abuse others? Some children are naturally aggressive, yes, I agree with that, but when they are this young, it’s up to us as parents to steer them the right way. I highly doubt they think the way we think at that age!

    As a mother myself, I’m wary of the possibilities that my 2 girls might have difficulties handling potential future bullies. I understand where you are coming from, that you are trying to protect your child, but surely there must be a more diplomatic way to deal with the situation, no?

    While reading this letter, my imagination gets the better of me. I picture this mom waiting for the other child’s mom on the school field, and confronting her. Then I envision a hair-pulling drama mamma fight. I know some of us are giggling at this, but it happens, more often than not. I have yet to witness one, but I know it happens, because I've heard about it, always after the fact, and thankfully, not at my school as of yet. I seem to be one of those oblivious and aloof people that always miss the boat on gossip, drama, and such. I used to frown and make a face and say “Awww, I miss the good stuff.” Nowadays, I realize it’s actually a great blessing in disguise.

    Here’s the thing, should such drama ensue, how do you think our children would take it? Our children learn from us by mimicking our actions. Many a times I hear my daughter say something and I think “Where in the world did she learn that?” then minutes later, I catch myself doing the same thing. Our children are constantly watching.

    This drama mamma fighting probably didn’t happen the way I had imagined it. But now, because I’ve seen the nasty letter, I can’t help but to look at this mom with a certain point-of-view. Considering my child and her child may very well be in the same grade (50/50 chance from the JK/SK class amalgamation), part of me can’t help but to be wary that one of these days my child would be in the same class with this child and they might become friends. What if they do, and for some reason my child has a disagreement with this child and somehow they end up smacking one another? Will I then be accused as the mother of a violator-abuser? Children get into fights, it’s normal, and they get over it pretty quickly if we steer them that way. As adults, we don’t necessarily need to get into fights right away. Before going into nuclear mode, let’s start with something more diplomatic and work together in finding a solution to the challenge. Communication is so important, even if you are not a fan of the child that's being aggressive towards yours. Just think for a moment, perhaps the other mom feels horrible and wants to work with you to overcome the challenge, but having you call them nasty names automatically puts them in defensive mode, reflex tells them to fight back, and they will.

    But really, the point of this whole thing is, shred your stuff! :)

  • Thursday, March 17, 2016 9:22 PM | Sandy

    A couple of weeks ago, I saw a Point-of-Sale display by Walmart promoting their new online grocery ordering service. The tagline said “Shop Online. Pick Up At Your Store.”

    I thought to myself “Hey, so, kinda like Grocery Gateways, except it’ll probably be cheaper, and you just got to go and pick it up at the assigned spot and then off you go, sounds like a good idea!”

    I went home, and made a point in going on Walmart’s website and read over what this service entails. I quickly find my way to the questions/answers page, and the first question is “Why use PickUp for groceries?”

    The answer “Put some time back in your day” along with 4 other bullet points had me pretty excited within 45 seconds.

    As a mom, it’s safe to say that one of the biggest challenges we face is “time”. Somehow, we manage to never have enough time, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not a lack of time management skills, it’s just the way it is.

    So I read on. Some of the basics are pretty reasonable, i.e. minimum order of $50 to qualify for pickup, no problem, I’m sure we would not have a problem making that minimum.

    Then we get to some of the more intricate part:

    • -          There’s a $3 added fee for the service
    • -          No coupons accepted
    • -          Cut-off time is 1:30am for pickup the following day
    • -          Yes, Walmart online will do Ad Match

    Ad Match? That’s amazing! Ok, let’s do this!

    Sunday night, I put the girls to bed, and I open up my internet browser. I log in to my account with Walmart and I click on the “Now Available In The Toronto Area” and start “shopping” for groceries.

    I add the basics that I need: Milk, bread, eggs.

    Then I move on to the flyer items.

    I see grapes on sale on the flyer, that would be great as we haven’t had grapes in a while. I search for grapes to add to cart…grape juice, grape Gatorade, grape jam, grape tomatoes, no actual grapes…

    I don’t have “time” to search forever for this, we won’t have grapes then, move on…

    I see Kraft cheese blocks on sale, perfect, I need cheese. I search for cheese to add to cart, I even type in exactly how the flyer advertise it…I see all sorts of cheese products, except no Kraft cheese block…

    Maybe third time is a charm…I see mushrooms on the flyer for sale, I need those too. I search for mushrooms, and yes, finally, it’s there for me to pick! I add to cart.

    Well, since I have mushrooms, let’s make some spaghetti this week, I need ground beef. I see medium ground beef, it’s $6.00, but it doesn’t say what the weight is, which I don’t like, because I like to know what I’m paying for per pound…but it doesn’t matter this time, as I’m testing this out, so it is what it is.

    At this point, I’m at $21.66, and I need a minimum of $50 in order to qualify…surprisingly, I’m kind of running out of things to add, mainly because I get most of my meats, veggies, and fruits at an Asian supermarket, and I feel that Walmart’s selection is rather limited…I’m thinking “I haven’t had steak for a while, sure, why not, let’s grab a couple of steaks.”

    I see my available steak options…to be blunt, I’m not overly excited by my choices, but for the sake of the experiment, I pick one. It’s a “Your Fresh Market Angus Beef Striploin Steak” for $29.45 and it promises 2-3 pieces per tray.

    I’m at $51.11, perfect, that qualifies me.

    I click on check out and it asks me to pick my closest location based on my postal code. Then it takes me to the page asking me to select a date and time to pick up. I select the following day between 2:00-4:00pm

    After selecting my date and time, it takes me to the confirmation page, shows me the cart contents and asks me for each item if I would accept a substitution for the item. I leave the check mark in to accept substitutions.

    I press submit, but I have an ad match item. According to the site, I need to make a separate ad match request at

    It takes me to a form page to fill out the requested information. It says it takes up to 2 days to process, so I submit.

    The following day, I arrive at 3:00pm of my 2:00-4:00pm window. I park at the designated area and call the number listed on the sign. I let it ring 6 rings, no answer…I hang up, call back again, 6 rings, again no answer…I call back the third time and this time I let it ring continuously. It rings for 9 times before someone picks up the phone. I tell the associate my name and my parking spot number, and I’m told someone will be out in a minute.

    From my rear view mirror I see an associate pulling a trolley with 4 massive plastic containers, I’m thinking “What did I order again?” I open the trunk for her, she opens the first plastic container, pulls out one bag, moves on to the next container, then pulls out another bag, so on…oh, and note to self, if I’m running low on plastic bags for our garbage bins, order online, because it seems they put no more than 2 items per plastic bag. She finishes loading for me, and I sign my name on the order form confirming I’ve received my items. She asked how my experience was, I said “Interesting!” she asked “Interesting good or interesting bad?” I said it wasn’t good, and it wasn’t bad, it was something I had never done before, and I thought I’d give it a go. She promises “You’ll find that if you order online, the groceries are gonna be exceptional quality!” I don’t doubt the quality of Walmart groceries, in fact, they are quite decent, considering their grocery distribution comes from Sobeys.

    I go home, I unpack everything. I would say everything looked decent, there were no substitutions on any of the items.  I look at my package of ground beef and I remembered it was $6, but it didn’t say for what weight at the time online, on the package it’s 450g. $6 for a pound of medium ground beef, not what I’m used to in terms of when I go to my usual grocery stores, I’m more used to paying $3.99 a pound, without the fancy Styrofoam packaging.

    The steaks were also in my opinion, overpriced based on what I’m used to paying. The weight of the steaks came a little low, so the bill was a little bit lower.

    I submitted my Ad Match right after I’d placed my order, two days after as of the time of this post, and I hadn’t heard back. I’m not sure if I’ll get the match accepted or rejected.

    Overall, I give this experience a very solid “Meh”. I think Walmart made a decent attempt in trying to save shoppers time, but at the end of the day, time is money, and the time I actually spent searching online and putting together this list took 3 scattered evenings when I can really just schlep my 2 kids along, despite how painful that may be on some days, it still would take less time to do it. Also, doing Ad Match the way they want me to do it, is a bit more work than I want. I like my Flipp app where I just show the cashier everything on the spot, so I don't need to do "copy and paste" on every item I'm looking to price match. I also like to see and touch what I’m buying, so the unknown of what I’ll be getting in my bags is slightly uncomfortable, but nevertheless acceptable. The biggest factor is, I can’t get all my groceries from Walmart, and also I shop for price, not always everything, but definitely so when it comes to groceries, and Walmart isn’t the best value in my opinion.

    Would I do this again? Probably not to replace my weekly mega shop, but I’d consider doing it if it was for a giant box of diapers, bag of milk and a loaf of bread and I’m in no mood to go inside and lug the big box of diaper around, may be worth the $3. But really though, if I’m ordering a box of diapers, why not just order 2 boxes and it’s free delivery right to your door...just saying…

  • Wednesday, March 16, 2016 7:59 PM | Bhavishree (Administrator)

    Some of you may or may not have heard about the recent stabbing in Pickering, Ontario.

    This post was triggered from a conversation I had with my 9 year old son the night of the incident.

    It is very important to speak to our kids about such topics. I know this is a tough topic but a very important one. We talk about topics like this openly to our kids they may or may not understand completely but they are aware of it and we end the conversation by letting them know what they should do in such a situation. We try our best to not scare them but answer their Why’s. We now live in a world that is so different from when we grew up.

    Talking to them could make a difference. A couple of years ago a boy (let’s call him Jim) came up to my son (A) and asked him if he could be friends with my son and my son replied “NO!” The reason A said no was because Jim was bullying my son since my son was the new kid at school. After a few days my son noticed Jim was playing alone, went up to him and asked “no luck finding friends”?. Jim said no, so my son replied “okay I will be your friend”. Today they are best buds.

    Later, we found out that this little boy at a very young age has been through some tough times. When he was just a little baby his mom left him. He does not know anything about his dad. His grandparents were his caregivers. A few years ago, he lost his grandfather. Now his grandmother has cancer. I cried when my son told me all this about Jim. My heart broke for him - so much to deal with at such a young age. I could not stop thinking about Jim and all he has been through and still going through. Now I understand why he was acting this way. I never knew about his home situation and his family. As I was thinking about him I thought to myself I am glad he found a friend in my son.

    I also felt proud of my son. He reached out to Jim even though he was bullying my son he still wanted to be friends with him. I felt good about the fact that although my son my not be a straight A student, he has compassion. I don’t know when my little boy became such a young man. It feels good to know we are raising a good person. Maybe this friendship could mean a difference in this boy’s life. Please don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting that my son has changed this little boy’s life but that he has helped a little by becoming friends with Jim and changed him from being a bully and acting out at school. I was wondering what kind of kid he would be? Would he still be bullying my son or someone else? Would he still be acting out at school? What kind of kid would he grow into? Would he get angry at life at some point because of all he has gone through? Would he be the kid we hear about on the news? I really hope not. This could be the first step for some to feel anger, resentment and hate. Now that we know more about Jim we will make more of an effort to have my son in his life.

    So getting back to why I think it is important to speak to your kids about this topic. They can make a difference in someone’s life by being there, by being their friend. It could be just that simple. I remember when my son used to come home and cry because Jim used to bully him at school. I told him I am sorry he is being mean to you but we don’t know why. I told him not to be mean to him. I told him to be nice to him and maybe because of that he will also be nice to him.

    Maybe, this girl in Pickering who went to school and hurt others would not have got to this point if others made the effort to know her and be friends with her instead of not caring. Care enough to see she was reaching out and she was in trouble. We as parents need to raise good little people so that they can pass it on to others and at the end we can all live in a better place.

    We all just need to be nice to each other.

    ‪Like Ellen DeGeneres says #‎BeKindToOneAnother‬

  • Tuesday, March 15, 2016 5:14 PM | Patricia

    First time mom Jane Walker took proactive steps while pregnant to ensure she wouldn't be isolated once her baby was born.

    "When I started maternity leave, I knew that I needed to get myself out of the house and be social or I risked postpartum depression," says Jane.

    Jane suffered from depression in university so she knew she'd be at risk for one of the most common health complications affecting 15-20 per cent of women. And according to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 30 per cent of women with a prior history of depression will experience PPD.

    "I isolated myself when that happened, so I didn't want to repeat that with a new baby," says Jane. "I also believed that a social network of other moms would help me have some laughs and share stressors and that would help."

    Postpartum depression (PPD) is an umbrella term for the myriad of mental health issues that can affect a woman during the postpartum period. Though still not sure of the exact cause, experts agree that a combination of physiological, biochemical, psychological as well as social factors play a role.

    "Postpartum women should be encouraged to resist the temptation to isolate themselves, push past their comfort zone and take the risk of making some connections with others who may be in a position to provide valuable support," says Karen Kleiman, founder of The Postpartum Stress Centre and author of This Isn't What I Expected; Overcoming Postpartum Depression.

    Though connecting with other moms can initially be daunting says Karen, "most women soon discover that spending time with other moms who may be struggling with similar emotions is enormously validating and comforting." 

    At six-months pregnant, Jane saw a notice about the Life With a Baby (LWAB) program in her local Richmond Hill, Ontario newspaper and signed up right away.

    "I joined before I gave birth to be able to see the types of activities they offered," says Jane. "I saw stroller walks, movies with mommies, and an online bulletin board where questions were answered about relevant baby topics."

    Unfortunately, an emergency c-section and breastfeeding issues kept Jane at home longer than she would have liked to.

    "There were days spent crying at home in pain from feeding," says Jane. "The loneliest parts of the day were in the afternoon when my husband wasn't home and the baby was unsettled."

    Finally, at 12 weeks postpartum, Jane was able to join Stroller Fit, one of the programs offered by her local LWAB chapter.

    "At the time I was still really struggling," says Jane. "But our group leader was so enthusiastic, positive, and reassuring and I felt very comfortable."

    And she met many new moms whom she's still friends with today.

    "I did it for at least 4 months until my little one started getting more in a routine and needing naps at home," says Jane. "Getting out and getting fresh air and having the company of new moms was awesome."

    Christine Silva of Keswick, Ontario agrees. She found LWAB through Facebook while on maternity leave with her third child.

    "Having a baby after an 11 year gap made it difficult to meet other moms," says Christine. "And being at home alone with a baby is not as easy as it sounds. It can seem like a lonely day."

    Christine decided to give LWAB a try and loved it. Similar to Jane, she joined Stroller Fit and attended special events such as Beach Day and The Halloween Pumpkin Patch organized by her local LWAB Georgina Chapter.

    "I'm a strong advocate for this group," says Christine. "New moms have struggles and by getting together with other new moms we are able to share our experiences and empower each other."

    Yasmine Steitieh, also from Keswick, is currently on maternity leave with her eight-month-old baby.

    "I think LWAB is important for moms to be able to get out and create relationships with others who are in the same situation," says Yasmine. "I recommend it to friends, telling them that there are always new programs available and that it is run really well. The fact that it is free or low cost is great because there are very little programs that offer the same quality for the same price."

    LWAB was started by Claire Kerr-Zlobin who believes social isolation was the major factor in her development of postpartum depression.

    "I had moved from downtown Toronto to York Region and just found myself really isolated and not having the parental support that I used to have," says Claire. "So I got together with a few other moms and began the program."

    The not-for-profit organization with chapters across Canada has grown from 200 to 20,000 members and shows no signs of slowing down. Programs are now offered in Russian, Chinese and Korean and new workshops and seminars focus on baby nutrition, life-saving techniques, financial literacy and time and stress management.

    Jane loved her experience with LWAB and, like many moms who benefited from the program, wanted a way to give back. She did by taking over Stroller Fit and hosting workshops during her second maternity leave.

    "I truly believe LWAB helped me from feeling isolated and risking depression," says Jane. "I think LWAB is great for moms for companionship, learning, socializing and being real about motherhood."

    By: Patricia Tomasi R.H.N., PPD Coach, Advocate & Writer 

  • Friday, March 11, 2016 4:55 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    Parenting littles can be tough. Little ones need a lot of our attention and it can feel like a 24/7 job. Every so often it's good to get off the routine train and take a little break. One of the ways hubby & I ensures we fill our cup and get a break is by changing the scene, and getting away for a mini vacation. Taking a break can either be with or without the kids, I love to do both. Travelling with the kids I see a different side of them, and it's often a great bonding experience. Especially in our case where it's the only time we get to all sleep in the same bed together.

    I also love to just go away with my hubby without the kids for a few days to recharge. Luckily we have the support of grandparents who make it possible for us to get away for a few days a few times year.

    I often hear other moms say going away with the kids is not a vacation, or it's not taking a break. With planning, I think taking breaks with the kids can be just as relaxing as if you left them at home. Earlier this year we went to Blue Mountain Resort for a few days with the kids. It was one of the most relaxing vacations I’ve ever had! We travel with our kids a lot. Sometimes it’s intense like our 22-day road trip across Canada’s east coast and other times it’s a few days to explore somewhere new.  I often hear from parents that travelling with kids is often times a trip, and rarely a vacation.   So I'm sharing my strategy for ensuring a relaxing time when travelling with kids. Here are my top 3 tips for turning every trip into a vacation.

    Plan to relax

    There are trips, and there are vacations, it all comes down to planning. If you are planning a vacation think about what you love; What will make the trip feel like a break? How will you rest and recharge while you are there? How do we make this fun for everyone?

    For me, a relaxing vacation usually includes a visit to the spa. Whether it’s the full out spa package or single treatment, the ritual of taking an hour to yourself to go to the spa will help you recharge and get more about of the time away. Make sure you plan your treatments before you arrive because often times the spa services are sold out. Before our trip to Blue Mountain Village, I researched Iwa Spa and the treatments I wanted to do. Some ways to reduce the overall cost of the visit is by using your extended health coverage if you have this option. This is a great way to use those massage dollars with the added benefit of being away from the usual routine and knowing you don’t have to go back home and do the dishes if you don’t want to. I don’t know about you but going to the spa while on a trip always feels much more decadent than when I go for a massage at home.

    Plan something for everyone

    This is a family getaway – it’s a break from routine for everyone. This means the location matters. You want somewhere that really caters to families, and you can have fun even if it’s a rainy day. I loved Blue Mountain Village for this reason. We were also there last fall and the rainy day was no problem. Everything in the village is so well organized, you can get to your activity, or the spa, or the restaurants in no time at all. There are lots of indoor and outdoor activities for the whole family at Blue Mountain Resort. Whether you stay inside and do activities like pottery and swimming, or take advantage of a number of activities through their activity central there is something for everyone. When it's time to eat I was pleasantly surprised by the number of family-friendly restaurants to choose from. The best part though is the fact that there are no cars in the village, this made it the perfect place for our little ones to run around to their heart's content.

    Plan something for the couple.

    Taking an hour or two for the couple makes a huge difference in feeling like you are on a vacation and not just a trip. At Blue Mountain Resort there are many options available to you. If you don't want to leave your kids alone with a babysitter in the room, you can put the kids in lessons and then go for breakfasts together. In our case, the kids had private skateboarding lessons and we could ski at our leisure. They also have kids programs during the day so that the kids can learn a sport while you go to the spa or a yoga class, or ski together, or take a nap if you really wanted.

    My recommendation is to go out for dinner. How often do you really get to sit down and enjoy a nice meal (that you didn't make) together? Babysitting is available at a very reasonable rate of $15/hr. I researched the babysitting offering before we went and found out that most of the babysitters are either current staff, past employees, or spouses of the employees. They all go through a police check, a vulnerable sector check, and are CPR certified. This really helped me to feel more comfortable about leaving the kids. I absolutely recommend leaving the little ones for a few hours and going to one of the restaurants for a nice meal. If you have to choose one specific place for a romantic dinner the food at Oliver and Bonacini is out of this world. For dessert get the smores, in fact, get two! So good.

    I'm going to tell you a little bit about why I love Blue Mountain Resort so much. In January of this year, I had a health related concern, I went for some tests and my health was at the very top of my mind. I just couldn't stop worrying. During this time, we were invited to Blue Mountain resort for a mid-week getaway and I almost said no because I thought I would be too worried to really have fun. I thought there is no way I can get what is going on out of my mind enough to have fun.   Eventually we decided to go because we figured we needed the break.  We decided to bring some wine with us to be able to relax in the evenings when the kids are in bed.

    And then I had a day that I didn't think was even possible. We woke up and went to Sunset Grill for breakfast, then we went to skiing, followed by the spa for me, and a hike for hubby. Everyone took an afternoon nap because we were wiped out from all the activity.  We were in the middle of getting ready for dinner when I got a text message from my friend "what did the doctor say?" I was having so much fun, I had completely forgotten to call the doctor!  I couldn't believe it. 

    This is exactly what is supposed to happen when you go away to get off the routine train. You are supposed to be focused solely on the present and be in the moment without worrying about the future.  You are supposed to be so relaxed and feeling so good that you are completely present in the activities that you are doing.   On our way home we drove by the same LCBO that we had stopped at on the way up, we both looked at each other and laughed.  It was then that we realized we had completely forgotten about the drinks we brought. Not only did we not even think about them during the trip, we were so relaxed we had left them in the fridge.   

    Because of the great skiing conditions, the luxurious Westin Trillium House, the delicious food, the relaxing spa, the calm of kids having fun, and the wonderful staff Blue Mountain Resort had done the impossible in one of the most stressful moments in my life.

    And that is why I highly recommend this place for a family getaway. 

  • Tuesday, March 08, 2016 8:00 AM | Sandy

    This past weekend I was solo parenting as my husband was away in Niagara for the weekend. Saturday I had it a bit rough, our older one was just moody all day and our younger one was teething, she woke up many times during the night in pain, so I'd barely had any sleep.

    Added on top of that, I had a friend come by on Saturday night to keep me company and being the awesome host that I was, I busted open a beautiful bottle of Riesling by Megalomaniac...ok, I admit, I really wanted a couple of glasses of wine, I merely used my friend's company as an excuse...I mean, the hubby was at Niagara having fun, why couldn't I create a little enjoyment for myself too, am I right?

    Sunday morning rolls around, I'd forgotten how much of a lightweight I've become since I haven't had a proper glass of wine in over a year and a half...damn, 2 glasses the night before and I got a nasty hangover, that's pretty embarrassing...

    At 9:30am Sunday morning, I'm rushing out the door trying to make my elder one's 10:00am swimming class. As usual, I hustle the older one out the door, and I schlep our second one in the car seat behind. Younger one goes in the car first, then the older one, and off we go.

    About 10:35am, I get a phone call from my neighbour across the street, I'm thinking he's calling to tell me he'll be over later that afternoon for a get together with his daughter. Instead, he calls to ask if I'm ok.

    "Hey, is everything ok?"

    "Yah, I'm just finishing up with K's swimming class, got to grab a couple of things before heading back."

    "Oh, good, ok, because I thought...anyways, uhm...just wanted to let you know that your front door is wide open, and I don’t see you around…is it ok if we close it?”

    Turns out, in a haste of wrangling my kids, I'd totally forgotten to close and lock the door behind me!

    My neighbour kindly closed the door for me.

    When I got home, I went to see my neighbour across the street to say thank you for calling me. Turns out, 2 other neighbours were involved in this "incident" as well. My neighbour right next door was the first to notice. My neighbour 3 doors down the other way was playing with his son, and came by to scope things out as well, he also sent an email to my husband because he didn't have our number. 3 neighbours stood on my front porch and driveway for a good 15 minutes, calling into my house to see if I was around, and then trying to figure out if it was just an act of aloofness or if something had happened to us.

    This action from my neighbours proved that each of them showed genuine concerned for me and my family's well being, and it’s proof that neighbourhood community watch is extremely important.

    If you haven’t already, get to know your neighbours, and keep a list of your neighbours contact information, this helps create awareness for each other, also create that sense of togetherness. You want your neighbours to know you. I’m not saying they need to know all of your business, but at least a little bit so that you’re looking out for each other. My neighbour took off for a month, and we made sure their driveway was shoveled, and every other day, we’d park one of our cars on their driveway to show a little bit of “movement”. You want your neighbours to do the same for you when you need it. I know confidently we can count on our neighbours if something happens. Thank goodness it was just me and my aloofness this time around, but if it had been something else, I know they would have took action.

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