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.

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  • Wednesday, November 14, 2018 1:25 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    As far as I’m concerned, a trip to California without visiting San Francisco is a missed opportunity. Accordingly, I'm going to share how to have the most epic California road trip with a 10-day-itinerary. You can take out some of the activities as needed to align with the length of time you have for your trip but starting or ending in San Francisco is a must.

    For this trip we decided to fly into San Francisco and fly out of Los Angeles but you can also switch this around and do the trip the other way.

    Day 1:

    Try to arrive mid-morning so that you can enjoy the afternoon and evening and not completely waste the day just travelling.  For the San Francisco part of the trip don't even bother with a rental car because it is effortless to get around on public transportation, called Muni, and you'll want to have an authentic cable car experience. San Francisco is a foodie paradise, many travellers go there for the food! Drop your luggage at your hotel, an excellent base in San Francisco is the Union Square Hilton.


    After checking into your hotel, get over to a Pier - any pier - there is something to do, see, or eat at all of them.  I'd suggest Pier 39 for your first evening as you can have dinner at Pier Market Restaurant after exploring all the activities, taking a ride on the carousel, or watching the seals who have taken over some areas of the wharf and made it their home.


    Day 2:

    Hop on Muni Transportation and make your way over to Pier 33 where you can buy your tickets for the Alcatraz tour. I recommend going in the morning before it gets too busy or too hot.  The first tour is at 9:30AM, and you'll take the ferry to get there. With kids, the tour will take 2-3 hours.  You'll be surprised by the beauty of the gardens, and be sure to check out the water birds. There is a lot to see here, and we would have missed a lot of things if not for the scavenger hunt activity that the kids participating in. If you have kids be sure to grab an activity book and they can get sworn in as Junior ranger at the end.

    Tip: Purchase your tickets online to confirm your spot and avoid the long lines


    After a busy morning, a good option is lunch at Fisherman's Wharf which is a very touristy place but has amazing street food! Grab some delicious sandwiches and snacks for lunch, walk around the area and take in the energy. 

    With kids, it is great to pair a busy morning with a calm afternoon and the Aquarium of the Bay is a perfect calm afternoon activity that's great for the whole family.   You can walk or hop on the Muni Transportation which is included for three days with your CityPass .



    The one mistake a lot of parents make on family trips is only doing things that are kid-oriented. Throw that idea out the window, especially when it comes to food.  A great stop for dinner is Palm House. This restaurant has a fun, casual feel and the food is divine! There are so many things to try here but the Chicken Roulade jumps to the top of the list.





    Day 3:

    San Francisco is a large city and quite diverse in offerings from one area of the city to the next.  A great base for a few days that gives an entirely different and a bit luxurious feel is the Presidio of San Francisco. The Presidio is where San Francisco began. Today it is a National Park site and a National Historic Landmark district located at the the centre of the Golden Gate National Recreation area. A fantastic choice for accommodation is the Inn at the Presidio.  A little bit of luxury in a National Park. They go all out to make your stay a unique experience, from 5-7PM daily they offer wine, cheese, and crackers.  This is a great way to either spend some time alone with your partner while the kids watch TV in the room or for the whole family to relax on the patio by the fire-pit while meeting other travellers.

    There is a lot to do in the Presidio from the Walt Disney Museum, to visiting the home of George Lucas (Creator of Star Wars). The kids will love geocaching or exploring with the explorer backpack. There is a convenient shuttle to take you around he Presidio if you didn't drive.



    You will want to visit the California Academy of Sciences, and you can just commit to spending the whole day in this area because There are quite a few things within walking distance including the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. Most of the activities at the California Academy of Sciences can be explored at your leisure, but some like the movies in the planetarium will need separate tickets.



    An easy and delicious option for lunch that is in walking distance from the Science centre is Pacific Catch. There is something for everyone in the family. The poke is delicious and they offer lots of healthy options for their kids meals. After lunch, you can make your way back to the Science Centre if you didn't finish exploring. Note that there is an amazing playground outside and a carousel where the rides are just $1.  Once you are done there, make your way to  San Francisco Botanical Gardens for a nice leisurely and stroll. You have to get in before closing but once in your can explore on your own and exit whenever you want.


    Here is a tip to make family vacations really fun and create some moments that will stay with you even after the trip is over. Pack at least one dress up outfit and spend one night at a fancy restaurant.  A  good option in San Francisco is The Dorian. They have two areas, ask for The Drawing Room at the back with the gorgeous chandelier. This is your family vacation so take some downtime to relax and enjoy a nice dinner and be fancy for a little.  The great thing about the Dorian is while it looks fancy and luxurious the prices are still reasonable.

    Day 4:

    When you think San Francisco you think Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio offers some fantastic views.  A great hike right off the property will take you to the Inspiration Point lookout. Next, make your way over to Chrissy Field for some amazing views of the bridge. Finally, head over to the Golden Gate Welcome Center for the perfect Instagram photo and also the entrance to to walk across the bridge.


    A great stop for lunch is Gott’s Roadside a casual style restaurant where you can order a variety of things from their menu and then grab a seat and enjoy your lunch. If you like beer, they have some pretty good IPAs on tap.


    There are so many other things to explore in San Francisco, and you can really spend a whole week here exploring the various communities.  If you are up for it, a fun thing to do is quickly go through the rest of the things on your City Pass like the Exploratorium, hop on a cruise with Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise, or head over to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art · SFMOMA

    Day 5:

    If you didn't do it already, now, it's time to pick up a rental car and settle in for one of the most beautiful drives and some stunning lookouts along the way.  Taking Highway 1, the next stop on your adventure is Monterey, an absolutely gorgeous picturesque town that you will fall in love with immediately upon arriving.  Walk the path along the water, relax at the beach, or grab lunch at one of the local restaurants.






    Once you've had your fill, drive towards Carmel by the Sea and spend the rest of the day and make sure to stop over for the night. The only way to describe Carmel is that someone in love painted their most romantic and beautiful images and then magic brought it to life.  I felt like someone picked me up and put me into a romantic fairy tale that had come alive.  Everywhere you look it's beauty all around, from the flowers along the street to the design of the homes and stores to the smell of the bakeries and restaurants.  Carmel by the Sea is pure relaxation and bliss.  The kids will love all the little alleyways to explore. This would be an ideal stop for a couples getaway.






    Day 6:

    You can do the full scenic drive all the way to Los Angeles, but if you want to speed things up, you can take the fastest route from Carmel and head directly to LA.

    A great base in Los Angeles in the Langham Pasadena. I loved loved loved Pasadena which is a stark contrast from downtown Los Angeles. If this is your first trip to LA let me warn you ahead of time that downtown LA might be different from what you are expecting and the Walk Of Fame is not what you are imagining in your head. The area is a bit dirty, and if you have kids, you definitely want to go during the daytime preferably mid-morning and not in the evening or night.  You will also want to hold onto their hands and keep a close eye on where they are walking.

    Could you skip a visit to the Walk of Fame? Yes, but you'll probably wish you didn't because it's such an iconic part of Hollywood.

    After you've done the Walk of Fame, another cool place to go is the Hollywood Bowl where you can see and get some good shots of the Hollywood Sign and see the city from a great vantage point.


    Day 7 - Universal Studios Hollywood

    You'll think you are doing this for the kids but let's be honest you love it just as much as they do. Universal Studios Hollywood did not disappoint from the Harry Potter rides to the photos with your favourite characters; this will be a day that's great for everyone in your family. I highly, highly recommend the Universal Express. Last time we went Universal Studios Orlando, we didn't get the express pass and regretted it because you are spending a lot of time in line. With little ones, this makes a big difference, and we were able to do all the rides we wanted and then explored the shops.  The highlight, of course, is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter for any Potter heads in your house.  If you have costumes of your favourite characters at home, bring one with you and have the kids wear it. It will elevate the experience for them.  It's also a great way to make use of those expensive Halloween costumes.


    Day 8

    Make use of the many free things to do with the kids in LA as well including exploring a local park and playground or relaxing at the famous Venice Beach.




    After a day of relaxation, a great spot for dinner is Lemonade.  The mashed potatoes, grilled cheese sandwich, and the macaroni & cheese were a huge hit with the kids. I loved the jerk chicken.

     

    Day 9

    Chances are your kids are LEGO obsessed. If like me you are from Toronto and have only been to the LEGOLAND Discovery Centre, just tell your kids you are going to LEGOLAND without describing what it is and then watch their faces light up when you get there.

    It was about a 2-hour drive from Pasedena to LEGOLAND California, though it took less time on the way back and it was worth the drive. Get the multi-park pass because it offers better value and gives your kids access to the main waterpark (which they'll see and want to go to anyway).  The waterpark is huge and the themed splash pads were a big hit with the kids.  The SEA LIFE Aquarium is included in the multi-park pass and it's a great way to wind down after a busy day in the sun and before heading back in the car for the long drive.  Of course you can avoid the drive back by staying overnight in one of their hotels including the newly opened Castle Hotel







    Day 10:

    For your last day you’ll want to relax a bit before heading home. This is a busy itinerary and you’ll have lots of fun doing it but you want to make sure that you come home feeling rested especially if it’s back to routine the next day. I suggest relaxing at the pool, spend some downtime cuddling and watching TV in between packing. If you can manage it have arrange babysitting and go on an adult only lunch or dinner or spend some time alone at the spa as a treat for yourself.



  • Wednesday, October 24, 2018 11:26 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    From October 25-28, 2018 The International Centre in Mississauga will again play host for an expected 28,000 winter lovers to get informed about the latest-and-greatest products, consider travel opportunities, find great deals with the many retail exhibitors, or participate in Canada’s biggest ski and snowboard swap. This is a great show to gear up for winter, book your winter holiday or simply be surrounded by people who love the cooler months.

    The Toronto Ski + Snowboard show is, simply put, the official start of winter,” said Paul Pinchbeck, President and CEO of the Canadian Ski Council. “This is the one-stop shop for everything related to skiing and snowboarding, from getting the newest gear to booking the best deals on travel, this is where skiers and snowboarders come to be together and enjoy all things related to their passions.”

    There will be a number of Athletes available at the show who are excited to share their love of winter a well!

    Friday, October 25 – Noon on the Main Stage - Nancy Greene, 1968 Gold Medalist and Kelsey Serwa, 2018 Gold Medalist

    Friday, October 25 – 7pm on the Main Stage – Mike Douglas, A former Freestyle skier turned ‘Freeskier’

    Saturday, October 26 –Athletes at POW booth from 2pm – 4pm, booth 402, – Mike Douglas, A former Freestyle skier turned ‘Freeskier’, Marie-France Roy, Pro Snowboarder and Greg Hill, Pro Skier

    In addition to the equipment, travel and retail exhibitors, the Toronto Ski + Snowboard Show has a number of interactive elements that the entire family can enjoy, including:

    The Ski Simulator: This simulator allows you to sample what skiing is like before hitting the slopes. For the ‘rippers’, you can tune yourself up for the season ahead. The ski simulator offers an endless ski slope on a revolving surface for experiencing skiing indoors. This unique indoor facility provides a controlled and safe environment for first timers and seasoned pros alike. Ski equipment (skis, boots and poles) will be available on site for those interested in trying it out.

     

    Roller Ski Demos: Cross country skiing is an exhilarating winter activity but the experience is possible in any season on cross country roller skis! This great activity prepares people for the cross country ski season ahead while developing balance and endurance. Demo roller skis will be available on site for those who want to give it a try.

     

    Axis Freestyle: New to the Toronto Ski + Snowboard Show is the Axis Freestyle Demo Area.  What stands out the most is the demonstrations using Snowboard Addiction Training Snowboards/Skis, balance bars and balance boards. These are pieces of training equipment that are used in their facility which make practice and repetition so much easier to attain. Which in turn reduces the chances of injuries and increasing the success rate when trying the skills on the slopes.

     

    VR 360 Cylinder: New this year at the Toronto Ski + Snowboard Show and building on the popularity of last year's VR experience, we will be bringing in an all new VR 360 projection cylinder, putting you at the centre of the action!  Featuring content from the Olympic channel, you will enter the world of Olympic athletes and experience their stories from their point of view, placing you on their field of play.

    Snow Valley Tube Rides: A mobile tubing experience where families can try out the remote tube station that replicates tubing down a mountain.

    Canada's Largest Ski & Board Swap 2018: The Canadian Ski Patrol will once again hold their largest ski and snowboard swap at the 2018 show. Over 2,000 brand new non-current & pre-owned skis, boards, boots & accessories will be available for purchase.

    ONTARIO Zone: The Ontario Zone will be jam packed with travel information, resort deals, lift passes and more! Be sure to pick up the highly sought-after coupon for your Buy-One-Get-One-Free ticket deal brought to you by the Ontario Snow Resorts Association

    RAM Ride & Drive: Back again at the Toronto Ski & Snowboard Show is the popular Ride & Drive operated by RAM.  Make sure you test drive one of their great trucks and just for trying it out, RAM will give you a $10.00 Esso Gift Card!

    The Burton Riglet Park: A unique learning environment with animation and tools to engage kids to learn snowboarding in a fun way while utilizing gear designed and developed for making snowboarding easier for kids. 

     

    Where

    The International Centre, Hall 2, 6900 Airport Road, Mississauga

    Parking

    Free

    Admission

    Adults (Age 18-64) - $18.00

    Juniors(Age 11-17) - $10.00

    Seniors (Age 65+) - $10.00

    Children (10 and under) - Free with an Adult 

    Re-admission – Adult/Jr/Sr - $5.00 (please got to the box office before you leave)

    Re-admission – Family - $15.00 (please go to the box office before you leave)

    Family Pass - (2 Adults +2 Juniors) - $45.00

    Taxes or surcharges included


  • Wednesday, October 10, 2018 10:23 PM | Krista (Administrator)

    My mom friends and I are always looking for something fun to do on Mom's Night Out so when Janet from Plant Nite invited me to try this new event I was excited to try it!

    Most people have heard of Paint Nite, but have you heard of Plant Nite? I’ve tried one before and made a fun box of suculents, fun and easy to maintain. But tonight I tried their latest event, Flower Power! It was a great evening of flower arranging in a relaxed environment!


    The host for this event was Janet De Gazon, a local artist who is launching this exciting new event. The event lasted just over an hour and we got to go home with a beautiful arrangement I now have sitting on my kitchen table.


    Janet led us step by step through the process of putting our arrangement together, and even though we all followed the same steps everyone’s creation was original.


    The flowers come in fresh the same day to the artist’s house so that they will have full potential to last 7-10 days in your own home with minimal care. With an assortment of roses, hydrangea, monkey grass and other fun greenery Janet showed us how to make our arrangements something we would be proud to show off.

    You can find other event dates listed at www.paintnite.com you just have to browse amongst the paintings and spot the "Flower Power" events.

    Some upcoming Flower Power dates in Waterloo Region are:

    • October 14th Descendants Brewery 5:00pm
    • October 30th The Boardroom Guelph 7:00pm
    • November 14th Argyle Arms 7:00pm
  • Thursday, October 04, 2018 2:52 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    My weight loss journey started after I had kids, and most of us tend to say the same. I didn’t have an issue with my weight pre-kids, but kids aren’t the only thing that changed. Sometimes we forget that we are also getting older and that affects our ability to maintain a healthy weight as well. I remember when I was younger I could eat almost anything and not gain weight. Now I feel like I gain weight very quickly and it’s hard to get it off. Once it’s off, it’s hard to keep it off. I decided to look into what had changed for me and why it’s so difficult to maintain my goal size. Truthfully I don’t pay as much attention to the scale but do use my clothes and how they fit as a guide.


    I was pregnant with my first at 26. What did I do before? I was active. I had time to run, I lived downtown Toronto, and I walked almost everywhere. I was out with my friends a lot and had an active social life. I was on the go.


    After my first daughter, I was able to lose the weight very quickly, because I was very very active. I was out with her in the stroller often. I hosted walking groups in lots of different area across the GTA because I was feeling isolated and wanted to be out of the house as much as possible. Within a few weeks, I was back into my regular jeans.  In this pic, Katelyn is just over a month. 



    After my son was born, is when my issues started. I was not out a lot. I had a baby who slept at home which meant that I was home more often. I wasn’t doing walking groups, and when I did go for walks, it was an easy walk in my neighbourhood. I was having difficulty with breastfeeding and decided to use a combination of herbs and medication to help because I wanted to breastfeed. When my son was one month old, I started gaining weight. I had a huge appetite and was hungry ALL THE TIME. It was a side effect of the medications I was using, but I figured I would be able to lose the weight as easy as I did with my first once I came off the medication. WRONG. It was challenging. My kids are four years apart so the combination of age, I was now 31, lower metabolism, and not being as active as any other time in my life. It was difficult, and I had to work hard at it. By the time my son was two months I had gained 20lbs more than when I had him and was 185lbs. You that mom you see at the beach who doesn't get in the water with the kids and is fully clothed? That was me.  I hardly recognized myself.




    Eventually, with a lot of work, I went from 185 lbs to 160lbs, but the last 15lbs just wouldn’t come off. I went to a styling event and learned how to dress for my size so even though I wasn't at the 145lbs I wanted to be, I was happy with where I was.  Unfortunately, while I was smaller, I wasn’t strong. Physical exercise was difficult for me. I was having constant back and shoulder pain and was at the chiropractor and massage therapist weekly. 


    A few people had told me about Orangetheory Fitness and that it made a huge difference for them and I was skeptical mainly because of the cost, but I gave it a try. After almost a year at Orangetheory Fitness, I am happy with my results. I am strong. I can run a 5K in 25 mins. It used to take me 45 mins before. I am not in pain all the time. I have not been to the chiropractor all year and have been to get a massage only for fun now, not as a necessity. I feel great, and my clothes fit better, but that wasn’t my goal. My goal was to get healthy. What made the difference? I was able to stick with it. I tried different gyms before, and I would be there for over an hour and left feeling like I hadn't worked out. Now in an hour class at Orangetheory Fitness I know I’ve worked hard and with the 12 minutes in the orange system, I keep burning calories the next day. It’s manageable. I only go eight times a month about two times a week, and it’s easy for me to maintain it. The coaches are amazing! I feel like I'm getting personal training without the cost of a personal trainer. Also? It’s addictive. I feel soooo good after the workout that I keep going back for more.


    I finally found something that I can maintain and that gives me the results I was looking for.  I am strong, healthy, and I feel fabulous! 


    Disclaimer : I received a discount off membership at OTF but as always the opinions are my own.

  • Saturday, September 15, 2018 2:50 PM | Julie (Administrator)

    This summer our goal was to keep things as simple as possible. Our kids learned to fill their school free hours with creative play and sometimes complaining of boredom. "It's ok!" I told my husband, "in their boredom they will find something new to do" (dear god I'd silently pray, I hope the internet was right!)  And you know? they actually did. Minus some squabbles, flopping around on the floor, picking at their toes kind of moments - they eventually did find new things to create, play, explore and do!


    As the summer wore on we wanted to take advantage of having time together as a whole family and explore. Short on time and funds we elected to see what was around us we hadn't yet tried. In my "research" (read insta-stalking) I found a great Instagram poster called @littleadventuresgta  A local mom posting about cool parks, play spaces and outdoor areas around the Greater Toronto Area that she enjoyed with her family. Perfect! I can just do what she is doing, I mean look at her cute pics I thought to myself. I shared the idea with hubby and off we went. Of course, as most moms know a simple trip to a park is not just as simple as grab the keys to the car and go. With three kids under 7 I usually still require a bag or two of essentials.  Here is my park date packing list


    • blanket for lounging, snacking or toddler tantrums

    • balls, frisbee, bubbles or chalk for additional fun

    • sunscreen and lots of it

    • hats

    • water

    • snacks (enough to feed 3 times your actual amount of children)

    • a couple of books or coloring items

    • first aid bag (band-aids, polysporin, bug bite cream, and epi pen)

    • optional - bikes or scooters with helmet


    **I bring additional activities because I fully intend to park it with my book and coffee on said blanket for at least 3 hours!


    Here is the list of parks and our favorite parts.


    The first park we explored was the area of Newmarket, Ontario known as Fairy Lake. It's basically a small lake system along the downtown Newmarket district. It has walking trails, bike paths, playgrounds, splash pad, lots of ducks to watch, a dam, beautiful flowers everywhere and the cutest take a book/leave a book library you have ever seen. The location of this park/path system is perfectly nestled in their main street area with ample parking, restaurants, and cute little shops to grab an ice cream or coffee. While this was more of a walking adventure the kids (7,5 and 1.5) all enjoyed it.  Their favorite spot was the branch of Muskoka chairs spelling out "KINDNESS" because as my oldest put it "that is so important"


    IMG_0260 (2) IMG_0259                                                                IMG_0257

    Next, we moved on to what the kids call "Ninja park" but is actually called Rouge Crest Park in Richmond Hill. The affectionate title from my little ones is a perfect description of our morning. They were ninjas for hours. Climbing up, down, in, out, around, over and jumping off of all things climbable in a 40ft cage type structure. It also had hammocks, splash pad, toddler climber, work out equipment, basketball courts, bike paths and a large field for us to throw the frisbee. The grounds are gorgeously maintained and again ample parking. While my kids vote the climbing cage as their fav I know hubby and I never really left the hammock swings.

    Because we had been exploring outside of our town we decided to check out a new park in Stouffville. Most of our parks are the basic red and blue stairs and slide structure. I am not complaining, as I am happy that Stouffville has so many park spaces for families. But my kids need to climb, crawl, stretch and explore in creative ways to burn energy. The basic climbers encourage up and down play. But the new park on Boadway Crescent is the exact opposite. Its tucked in a new development area just as you enter the town. Its quiet and has a large green space for running and playing soccer etc. The kids call this "Spider park" because of the large spider web-like rope climber. We brought along a few friends (another essential on my packing list whenever possible) and enjoyed a few timbits since the Tim Hortons is just next door.



    I had heard great things about the new Aanin Community Centre and park in Markham and so, of course, added it to the list. To say this was our favorite park ever would be an understatement. My kids still ask to go almost a month later. Whoever designed this park, I applaud you! The park has everything you would want in a play structure. Astroturf ground cover, picnic tables (that also double as checkerboards) basketball courts, soccer field, beautiful climbing structures for toddlers and of course an active circuit to cause even the most agile of big kids some mental and physical exertion. Because it is beside a community center you also have the benefit of washrooms, library with a cute kids zone, indoor playground and nursing area.  We were so happy to stay and play that my friend and I joked we should order pizza to the park and really stretch out our time. I later called and found out that several major pizza chains offer this delivery service! MOM WIN!

    While summer has come to an end and we are all back to school and fall routines there is still plenty of time to get out and explore new communities and areas. It doesn't have to cost a lot financially but the experience of trying something new, getting outdoors and appreciating all that our communities have to offer is rich in memories.

    Cheers,

    Julie


  • Friday, September 14, 2018 9:08 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    I was recently introduced to Zapped Outfitters which focuses on lighting kids up so they can be seen.

    I love the story of how this brand came to be. As a Canadian Mom Scarlet was inspired to create clothing that would help her then 10-year-old son be more visible. Most of us at some point have had the thought "I wish there was clothing I can put them in that would make them more visible." The difference is that Scarlet acted on her inspiration and Zapped was born.


    There is reflective wear of adults and youth so why not school aged children? Zapped recognized the gap in the market for kids aged 6-12 and set out to fill that gap. For most of the year, it gets dark early and this means kids are not as visible when they are leaving after-school programs or just out enjoying the outdoors. Let's face it. Kids are completely oblivious to their own safety which makes us parents even more anxious about their safety. Reflective clothing makes sense and that why I was thrilled to partner with this brand to bring awareness to their products.


    Often times functional items are not very stylish and I am thrilled that the clothing is both functional and looks great. Kids will want to wear these items.



    When I was given the choice of what to get, I went with the jacket because I liked that it can be worn in three seasons. Zapped offers a range of clothing and accessories for school-aged children including hats, backpacks, shoes, and jackets. And new this year toques.



    I'm a philanthropist and I created Life With A Baby to give back and support the cause that I champion so that part of me LOVES that Zapped is giving back and helping light up other children around the globe. Zapped encourages others to “share their light” by helping other kids PLAY HARD. To celebrate their launch, they have partnered with backpackbuddies.ca, which helps fill children’s backpacks with food items for the weekend, when other food programs are unavailable. The second is rubensshoes.com, which donates shoes to kids in developing countries who might otherwise miss school due to a lack of footwear. ZAPPED has an ongoing relationship with both organizations to donate proceeds from shoe and backpack sales. How amazing is that?


    The best part? We have a link with a 20% discount just use DROPOFGOLDENSUN20 at checkout. Not only will you be lighting up your kids so they can be seen, you'll be a light for others across the globe through Zapped's commitment to giving back. http://vlt.me/.2sxi7

    Kudos to Scarlet for helping all our kids be more visible.

    While I was provided and item and compensated for partnering with this brand, all views are my own. 


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 6:22 PM | Claire (Administrator)

    A few years ago I met with The Home Depot at a blogging conference and they had a campaign for a faucet. I jumped on it because I wanted to a change to the kitchen and sometimes even the smallest change gives our space a new feel. Shortly after I was looking at all workshops they offer for kids and the variety of workshops for adults.  I love the DO IT HERSELF workshops because I personally have felt intimidated in DIY classes where it was primarily men and I also like that they recognize that there are women doing DIY projects. It's a great way to be encourage women to try DIY projects.



    Naturally when we scammed and decided to do the interlocking in our driveway ourselves  and it was back to home depot for rental equipment and majority of what we needed for the project.


    Most people who’ve met me in real life knows I’m a minimalist, nothing comes into our come that we don’t need. Denys thinks this should include my shoes but I maintain that I need all those pairs.


    In the spring I was travelling a lot for work and one day I walked into our home and saw a giant mess at the front of the house. The kids stuff was all over the ground and everything was beginning to pile up in the hallway. I was frustrated. I asked the kids why they didn’t put their things away and they said because they would need it again soon and they didn’t want to bring their things to the laundry room and back everyday. I realized the the system we had was unrealistic for busy times and was setting them up for failure.


    That same week, I saw another opportunity with The Home Depot and I reached out about building something that would make it easier for the kids to manage and would be useful for the whole year.


    We built a bench with four storage units.  Each of us have our own box which is big enough to fit the school bag and other things they might need on a regular basis.



    I love that it adds perfectly to our space and we were able to stain it to match the floors.  It’s easy for the kids to put their things away and I love that when I walk into the house it’s neat and tidy.  


    Below is a summary of the steps and the materials you'll need. 


    Material list


    • Measuring tape and a pencil


    Steps to do it yourself

    • Cut the board and wood to your measurment





    • Use Jig kit to drill holes





    • Connect the boards to form a frame




    • Attached Top and Bottom shelves





      Finish edges





    • Sand

    • Apply wood conditioner to make staining even




    • Apply wood stain 2-3 coats

    • Apply wood lacquer to finish 2-3 coats,





      Here is a  looks again at our before :( 


      And After! 




    And we've already started o the next project! I’ve decided to create a simple storage unit for kids hats and mittens and their stuff.  But first, hubby refused to paint until our youngest was 6. He is now 7 and that means the next order of business is painting our walls. I cannot wait to get a fresh look on our space. 



  • Wednesday, August 29, 2018 1:38 PM | Debbi (Administrator)


    Our family got back from our annual trip to the fern resort this year was a little bit different in the past because now we are a blended family so we had some extra children in tow but the experience was the usual awesomeness!

    One of my favourite things for the kids that I love about Fern Resort is the activities!!  We have three active boys and the programming for children allows them to have an awesome time while as parents can also enjoy some downtime.  I always take a picture of the daily activities and keep it handy with me and the kids come and go as they please.  Our sons enjoyed zip lining for the first time and were able to take their time learning without having to be rushed.  As a family we enjoyed morning shuffle board.  It seems that around every corner there is something fun to be done!! 

    Food at Fern resort has greatly improved; although it has always been awesome in my opinion. The service staff was on point and even those in training made every best effort to attend to our needs.  We really enjoyed going to the children’s buffet and focussing on getting the kids fed and then we send them off to kids club so we can enjoy our adult dinner. Any special requests that were made were able to be accommodated.  I enjoyed being able to purchase a bottle of wine and have it safe for me to enjoy slowly at every dinner.  The poolside buffet is a great option for those wanting to remain casual mid day and enjoy poolside food.  

    As a blended family now with four children, we also thoroughly enjoyed the connecting rooms in the main inn. We were able to put the children and one side leave the door open and be connected to them on the opposite side giving us space and privacy and two bathrooms!! 

    My kids are already asking about our next trip to Fern - this is a family tradition that we hope to keep forever!! 


    --Connie Butera

  • Monday, August 27, 2018 9:59 PM | Julie (Administrator)

    Finding relaxation while traveling with 3 kids can be impossible. Usually, travel involves the same daily routines as home life just in a new location. When I book a vacation, additions like meals included and housekeeping service are not high on my list because these luxuries can also mark up the price. I gravitate to locations that provide as much entertainment for the kids with easy access to our room/home for the best price. Finding a spot with all that and more seems rare, especially close to home. We were grateful to experience Fern Resort, Ontario’s All Inclusive Resort, once again with the Life With A Baby Annual Conference. This year our kids were all that much older than Mommy had more free time available. This year I was able to take in all the little additions that truly make this resort a full family service resort. You likely have read all about the kids club, swimming pool and water sports. The great care and quality the resort staff put into making these activities inclusive, enjoyable and engaging for all ages are above top notch. No, this year I spent time enjoying services that made my life on vacation more enjoyable. Fresh, clean towels by the pool, daily afternoon refreshments at the main lobby, waterside Muskoka chairs each morning with hot coffee, courteous and kind staff who remembered me each morning and brought my coffee just right without asking. Tiny things that made me feel like I too was getting a vacation.




    As a busy mom, I often spend my vacation time making sure my family has a memorable experience. Photo ops, belly-busting laughs and all the little things they express joy in (like an unlimited cereal bar at breakfast!). Providing these things means I can come last. Still drinking cold coffee, eating last or schlepping towels to the pool and back each day. At Fern, every member of the family can have the vacation they desire. My children enjoyed all the kids' activities and they certainly had more than enough to keep them happy. My son enjoyed horseback riding, my oldest had his face painted to his heart's content and my daughter swam all day so that her favorite new word was “pool”. My husband enjoyed the kid-free time at the gym, beachside with a coffee and his book or in the pool socializing with other dads.


    As for me, I loved our evening dinners without the kids, quiet early morning walks and waterside yoga (ok I went once but still it felt great!). I started and finished a terrific book with hot coffee and cold water poolside while my kids swam safely under the close supervision of lifeguards and Daddy. I kayaked with my kids and they built a huge trench on the beach splashing in the water while I listened to a podcast series I had stockpiled. While all this sounds more about me finding time versus Fern providing a service I should clarify that it only happens with the support of others. Fern provided the means to experience these great moments and with it, right at my fingertips, I had to take it all in.


    My very last tip/brag/plug is the poolside bbq. There is nothing better then when your kids get “hangry” after a morning of kids club or swimming, then throwing on a coverup and grabbing a few plates of hot and ready summer grub right next to your beach loungers. The kids loaded up on burgers, dogs, salad, fries, tacos, ice cream, freezies - you name it! A little rest in the shade and back in the pool. Easy for Mama, fun for kids - a true win-win.

    So if you need an idea on where to rest your head, relax and recharge while still enjoying your family - add Fern Resort to the list. 


    Cheer,

    Julie 


    (Julie is the Community Manager for the Stouffville and Durham Chapters of Life With A Baby. She has three children Jack (7) Ben (5) and Kate (2). You can read more of my writing at www.wordpress.com/BuiltWithJoy)


  • Thursday, August 23, 2018 11:48 AM | Debbi (Administrator)

    Check out Ramara Community Manager Mary's slideshow video blog!

    Thank you Fern Resort for an amazing weekend! It really is the ultimate all-inclusive family getaway close to home ❤️ Hopefully this video blog does it justice ☀️🌊🌮🏄🏼‍♂️👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 🏊‍♀️ #SummerAtFern 

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