April 27, 2010

Quick Tips – Slides that aren’t “slippery”!

We have a great play structure with an angled slide. When it was new (and after the winter months), the kids were getting stuck half-way, defeating the whole purpose of having a slide!

What can you do to make a slide more slippery?

Use a furniture wax (like Pledge), and spray the slide. Wait a minute or so and then wipe it with a paper towel. This is sure to make the slide a lot more fun!

(Just make sure the kids are careful on the first slide, especially if they were getting used to a "slower slide"!)

November 16, 2009

Winter must haves for kids, toddlers and babies

Unlike some of my friends, I am NOT a fan of the Canadian winters. Too cold, too much snow and don't get me started on freezing rain!

When I became a mom (YAWN! Most boring expression EVER!), I told myself that I was going to make an effort to make peace with winter... which meant that the kids and I needed to be ready to brave the cold and snow.

Here are
some of the "must haves" for winter. Some of these items are part of my everyday life, and some I simply find ingenious!

STONZ http://www.stonzwear.com/
Have you ever had a hard time putting your child's boots on? As a baby, my son had "meat feet" and it took me weeks to find him winter boots that were warm enough and had an opening wide enough for his feet: STONZ!

Made for the Canadian winter, these "boots" are water and wind resistant and they slip easily over socks, slippers, bare feet, shoes, etc. If you have troubles putting boots on your baby/toddler, these are for you and will save you time and a lot of frustration.

Snuggly/Baby Björn Carrieer Cover

For walks, outdoor shopping or simply for spending a little time outside, this is perfect for you and your baby. Just put your child in your usual baby carrier and cover your bundle with this soft, fleece cover. It also has a hood that you can use or keep hidden.

It is much like a blanket, but the elastic bottom wraps under your child's feet to keep them warm - just like a cocoon! The "pocket wholes" for mom are perfect to keep your hands warm too! This neat little accessory can also be used on your stroller or car seat. For sale at
Toys R Us.

Extra mittens and Hats

By the end of winter, we have usually lost all but a few mismatched mittens, a hat and, if we are lucky, a scarf! This year, I needed to be better prepared.

I often discard the dollar store, but not this time. They carry inexpensive mittens and hats that can help you when you can't find your kids' accessories. I stock up on a few pairs for each kids, and even a few pairs of gloves for us.

Mitten clips

These might save you from using your dollar store mittens... Outdoor Kids sell them online, but you can find them in a few kid's stores!!

(Another way to keep your kids' mittens from disappearing is to label them!)

Creative mittens

Some will argue that keeping the mittens on your kids is the biggest task of all. At my son school, they would tape his mittens on because he would always take them off! Maybe if he had "cool bear hands mittens", he would not have taken them off!

These come in two styles. Regular ones for babies and toddlers, and some with an opening for older kids. As you can see in the picture, kids can "flip" them open when they need to use their fingers, instead of taking the mittens off.


Car protector

Anyone who has a new car or takes good care of their car understands how frustrating it is to see how kids get your car dirty. Salt, sand, rocks, snow and slush...

When I was a kid, the only thing to protect your car were those plastic mats you put on the floor. Now with the new car seats, dirty boots are right against the back of the front seats.

Now there is a great way to protect your car and keep it clean. The first is a seat cover you put under the car seat. It is great for any food that might escape your kid's hands and any potty accidents that might happen in the car. Be sure to get one that is waterproof!

The second protects the back of you front seats. Some are simple, and some have different compartments for toys, books and snacks.


I'll admit, I can't pronounce this word without having it written in from of me... or else it sounds like a Greek dessert!!! BUT, these are awesome for kids, toddlers and babies! They keep you kid's head, ears and neck warm with one piece of fleece that won't move while your kid is playing. These are comfortable and perfect for playing, skiing, skating or any other outdoor sport you and your kids enjoy.


SPF cream and lip protection

It's not because it's winter that we need to put the sun screens away. When your kids are going outside, don't forget to put it on every patch of skin that is exposed.

Now it's your turn to let us know what are YOUR "winter must haves"!

November 14, 2009

Shop online - shipping deals for Canada

One trick to keep your sanity over the holidays is to avoid going to malls. You save time, traffic, parking and many, many headaches!

However, the main problem with online shopping is that you are often stuck with a large shipping fee that can make your purchase seem less worth it.

Here is a list of a few online store where you can get free shipping to Canada:

Toys R Us - http://www.toysrus.ca - Free shipping for orders over $75 (some items ship for free)

Robeez - http://www.robeez.com - free shipping when you buy 2 pairs or more

Chapters / Indigo - http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/ - Free shipping for orders over $39

Amazon - http://www.amazon.ca - Free shipping for orders over $39

Buy.com Canada - http://ca.buy.com/ - most orders ship free (computer stuff, electronics, software)

The Source by Circuit City - http://www.thesource.ca - Standard shipping is free

Gourmet Gift Baskets Canada - http://www.giftwithabasket.com/ - Free shipping

Roots Canada - http://canada.roots.com - free shipping on orders over $100

Of course, it's hard to list all stores that have shipping deals this season. A few websites are dedicated to finding great shipping deals out there (however some need updating).

If you find another deal worth sharing, be sure to write a comment below!

October 28, 2009

Easy pumpkin carving ideas and free patterns

This post is easy... it's just pictures (some mine, some not!) of different ways to carve a pumpkin. Most of them are really easy to do too!

A carved pumpkin can last anywhere from 1 day to a week, so don't carve too early!


October 5, 2009

Indoor fall activities you can do with your children

My last post was about activities you can do outside with your kids. As much as I like going outside with my kiddies, there are some days where the fall weather just doesn't cooperate!

Here is a list of activities you and your kids can do inside the house.

Halloween and fall coloring pictures

If you have a printer and crayons or markers, you're all set for an inexpensive activity.

The following websites (along with about 100 other ones on the web!) have a number of free Halloween coloring pages to print. Under the "Holidays" section, you'll find some Thanksgiving and Halloween pages. You'll find pumpkins, turkeys, pilgrims, autumn leafs... pretty much any fall-themed coloring page you could want!

If you don't find what you are looking for, just "Image Google" the words "Halloween coloring pages" and you'll probably find it!

If you are planning a thanksgiving dinner with a number of kids, you can pre-print 2-3 designs per kid and have the kids' table all ready with markers and crayons.

Halloween Crafts - using their hands

There are about a thousand different fall or Halloween crafts you can do with your kids. Depending on the age of your kids, you can find something that will be interesting and challenging to them.

One thing that is always fun for my toddler is tracing his hands and making something out of it. Here are a few examples that are really easy to do - depending on the age, you might have to help a little or a lot!

Decorate for Halloween and Fall

Where younger kids love to help, older ones like to create.

If you have a toddler, get him/her to help you stick things on the windows, put spiders in the webs, draw on paper pumpkins, etc.

For older kids, give them a budget and let them go loose at the dollar store, Michael's (don't forget your 40%-50% coupons!), or any other decorating store. Then step back and let them create - you might be surprised!

Making a center-piece for Thanksgiving dinner

Are you planning on having some guests over for Thanksgiving? If yes, then spend one of those rainy days making a center-piece for the table.

You can go online and choose an elaborate design or simply use candles (or your uncarved pumpkin) and decorate it with leafs, arranged on a platter. Kids can help by making (out of black cardboard) a smiley face for one side and a scary face for the other.

Leaf rubbings

Here's something to do with those leafs the kids picked out when the weather was nicer...

Peel the label off a few crayons (go for fall colors - brown, orange, red, yellow). Place a white sheet of paper on top of a few leafs. Get your kids to rub the crayon horizontally on the paper over the leafs.

Cook / Bake

There are a few recipes out there where kids can help by pouring ingredients or stirring. Give my son a wooden spoon to stir a soup and he's in heaven!

Kids as young as 2 can actively help you when cooking or baking. Just keep them a safe distance from the stove or electric appliances.

Making Leafs Placemats

Take those leafs you picked up a few days/weeks before. Arrange them in different patterns on a sheet of wax paper (leafs on the waxed side). Place another sheet (wax-on-wax) and iron with your clothes iron, on a low setting.

Build a fort

Channel your inner kid and build a fort for your kid(s). Use blankets, boxes, cushions, tents, etc. Get them to help you make it and, why not, have lunch in it with your kids (provided it's big enough!!!).

Whether inside or outside, there is plenty of thing to do with the kids. We just have to stop being an adult for a few hours and take the time to have fun with them!