Saturday, September 21, 2013

A kid's lucky star

At the right place at the right time!

Yesterday, I took this shot in the little park between Parliament and The Esplanade, on my way out of The Distillery.

It's only when I was cleaning up my photo files that I saw that I got more than I was looking for: the little kid's lucky star. Awww.

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Fall colours at Cheltenham Badlands

Out of this world experience...
Be an early bird!

Cheltenham Badlands is a very special place and thanks to the fact that it is a short drive from Belfountain Conservation Area, it is very popular on Thanksgiving long weekend. Check the links for directions and description of our visits.

The unique red landscape is surrounded by leafy trees, which means cool Fall colours. 

To better enjoy the Badlands, I recommend you plan your visit BEFORE Thanksgiving or that you commit to show up early (before 10 a.m.) to beat the crowd. Here's a gallery of photos I took on two different visits, before, and during Thanksgiving. A stop in Belfountain Hamlet after the Badlands is a lovely way to end the visit. 

With big kids, I've combined this family outing with a visit of the lovely Belfountain Conservation Area. Note that they have the Salamander Festival going on September 28 (your chance to see real salamanders).


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Friday, September 20, 2013

40 new FREE family activities next Friday and Saturday in Toronto Public Library branches

September 27 and 28 will be busy days!  
Toronto Public Library has partnered with Culture Days and the Neighbourhood Arts Network to offer 40 FREE programs at branches across Toronto on Friday September 27 and Saturday September 28. 
Culture Days free activities in Toronto Public Library branches.
See this link Culture Days for the full list of places, addresses and times.

I've noticed lots of quality family activities there! Such as a Ballet Jorgen Canada performance in the auditorium of North York Library on Friday Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. (call 416-395-5639 to register), and Shannon Thunderbird's interactive sing and dance event at Annette Street Branch, Saturday Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. (come early, limited to 80 participants). Both are artists represented by Prologue to the Performing Arts, providers of great shows in the schools throughout Ontario.  

Culture Days activities include storytelling, ambitious craft making, hip hop, Tamil folk drama, Indian martial arts, belly dancing workshops... Check it out!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Planning plane travelling with young kids?

Earplugs, anyone?

I was planning plane travel around Thanksgiving and remembered how stressful it was when the kids were younger. 

Then I came across this fabulous idea some clever parents with baby twins came up with to generate support on the plane. I'm sure it was a success!

Here are more good ideas from on what to pack when travelling with your family on a plane!

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Monday, September 9, 2013

The power of origami... and storytelling

This ad will probably make you cry.
One of the good things about social media is that companies have an extra motivation to do good storytelling. Little gems go viral.

Now that we're getting better at saying what we want in 140 characters, we're also better at telling a good story in 60 seconds. Check this ad for Extra gum, viewed over 560,000 times in the last two weeks on YouTube.

I doubt they will sell more Extra gum with this ad but it definitely made me want to buy gum wrapped in aluminum paper. 

Here's a little clip explaining how to do the crane in origami as seen in the ad. (Extra should have posted such a clip on their website!) 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back-to-school blues

Last week, many parents of school-age kids felt the sting of back-to-school stress. This week, it was my turn...

I remember where the stress came from when my kids were in elementary school: my own procrastination and denial as I wanted  to hold on to the summer until the end. Reality would kick in on Labour Day evening, when I'd have to face the fact that my kids had outgrown their shoes, that they had nothing clean to wear and that our school supply was scattered all over the house.

By the way, I think put together a useful line-up of articles to ease back-to-school.

You'd think it gets better, right?
This week, I couldn't believe how close the apple fell from the tree when it was time to drive our 3rd-year university student to his residence. 

We thought he was quite ready. But Friday, when his 10 a.m. doctor's appointment turned out to have a 3 hour delay, and we learned that he only had until 3:30 p.m. to get the keys to his room, we ended up having only one hour to pack... everything! Clothes, sheets, mattress, fridge, kitchenware, personal care items, books, speakers, amplifiers, computer, phone, chargers, extensions, school supplies. Name it. 

As he got in the car, his dad double-checked with him if he had everything. Turned out he had forgotten to pack his guitars... You'd think that the fact he's in the Music program at York, majoring in guitar would have helped him remember that, wouldn't you?

The day before, I helped a friend move her (3rd-year university in Maths) son to his apartment in Waterloo. Before we left Toronto, I heard her ask him to grab "clean stuff to put on the bed". In Waterloo, when she asked him to put the sheets on his bed, he had no sheets, had thought she meant a bed cover, and had forgotten his pillow. 

See? Our job is never done.

This is a photo of what awaited us when we drove our son to his residence on his first year at York
(during the Frosh Week).