Monthly Archives: May 2010

Question of the month

Kids in the Capital is all about parents in Ottawa helping each other out by sharing tips and advice. Not everyone wants to write a post, so we thought we’d introduce a new monthly feature – question of the month!

Each month we’ll ask a parenting question and we want to hear all the gems of advice you have to deal with this problem. Just leave your answers in the comments! And if you have a question you’d like to see in a future question, leave it in the comments too!

Question of the month 1:

What tips and tricks do you use to get you and your kids out the door with the least amount of hassle (and tears)?

While it is easier now that it is warm out, it can still sometimes take me twenty minutes to just get the kids to put on their sandals and grab their hats.

How do you do it?


Filed under Parenting tips, Question of the month

Colour me happy, and clean!

by Vicky

Bath time is always a lot of fun at our house. Joel requests a bath every single night, and plays in the tub until his fingers are pruney. Last year for his birthday, a friend gave him a big tub of Crayola Color Dotz. I had never seen them before, but they were a huge hit! The container of 30 red, blue or yellow dotz did not last long once Joel realized he could change the colour of his bath water by mixing in different colours! His request for a bath each night quickly turned into a request for a ‘colour bath!’

If you have a child who does not like taking baths, I’m sure these would help turn bath time into a fun experience!

You can find Crayola Color Dotz at Mrs. Tiggy Winkles for about $5.99 for a container of 30. I recently found Alex Toys ‘Rub a Dub color your tub’ dots at Winners for $3.99 for 50 tablets.

Product Description:

Crayola® Color Dotz™ are fizzing water colour tablets that turn ordinary bath water into colourful, fizzy water. The red, yellow and blue tablets of Crayola® Color Dotz™ are great for colour mixing, allowing children to create their own unique colours. Crayola® Color Dotz™ provide children of all ages with a world of colourful fun in the tub. Non-toxic.

Color Your Tub Fizzy Tints – Turn ordinary bathwater into a tub of colorful fun! The primary colored tablets (50 each in red, blue and yellow) can be mixed and matched to create all the colors of the rainbow. There are enough tablets for over 50 colorful baths! Suitable for age: 3 year(s)


Filed under Parenting tips

Kids and parents in the Capital

It’s that time again. Time to come out from behind the computer screen and meet in real life. The last meetup was such great fun that we knew we would have to do it again soon. This time we want to meet the kids!

If you are free, please join us for a morning of fun at Brewer Park on Saturday, June 5th from 9:30am – 11:30am. Bring some snacks to share, bring a ball if you want and bring your kids. 

You can RSVP to let us know if we will see you there. We hope we will.

– Brie and Lara


Filed under Meetups

Cat Hill

by Zach

Parliament Hill makes a good place to visit with kids when the weather is nice. There’s the eternal flame, the huge lawns, the gazebo behind the Library of Parliament, and one of the strangest, coolest things about Ottawa: Cat Hill.
I find it hard to imagine a colony of feral cats maintained and visited right next to the White House, or 10 Downing Street (not quite the same thing as the parliament buildings, I know, but still…) But here, in Canada, right next to the seat of the federal government, that’s what we have (and the raccoons that share their food).
Cat Hill is a small set of covered hutches that are home to several stray cats. The hutches are behind a wrought-iron fence, with wide enough spacing for the cats to slip in and out of, but tall enough to keep anyone (especially kids) from casually wandering into their home.
More formally, Cat Hill is known as the Canadian Parliamentary Cats. The cats are all spayed or neutered, regularly fed, and receive veterinary care. You’ll notice a small a donation box to help with the costs. Cat Hill was started back in the 1970s, and is home to about 11 cats (thank you Wikipedia!).
I find Cat Hill itself can eat up a good half or hour so, not counting travel time and other features nearby. In good weather, there’s a few cats out on the “people” side of the fence, and they can be quite friendly. You’ll note most of them look really well fed, and they’ve had their ears and tails “trimmed” from frostbite.
Needless to say, be careful when kids approach the cats – while many of the cats seem entirely comfortable with humans, but there’s no guarantees. Watch out for potential bites or scratches.
Usually when we’ve visited, we’ve had bad luck with the weather, and the cats have kept in their homes. Still, the pigeons, squirrels, and raccoons kept the kids occupied, and we’ve explored the general area. Plus, it can be a good place to take visitors to Ottawa – not only do you get to do the obligatory parliament building look-see, but you might get a cat on your lap as part of the bargain.

Zach is the dad of a 3.5 year daughter “the girl” and twenty month old son “the boy”. Zach doesn’t have his own blog but he is blogged about at Capital Mom.


Filed under Activities for kids, Free

Apples ‘n’ Oranges winner!

Thank you to Apples ‘n’ Oranges for hosting such a great giveaway! We love to support local mom businesses so this was a great partnership for us.

Jenny is the lucky winner of a Peekaboo Beans outfit of her choice! Please email Lara and Vicky at to let them know what you loved the best.

Don’t forget the Spring Apples’n’Oranges open house this Sunday, May 30th. You can check out the latest Spring items, or pick up a bargain or two at up to 80% off from their clearance section!

Leave a comment

Filed under giveaways

All About Kids

by Vicky

When I was a child, the only toy store around was a small Toy World at the local mall. I remember saving my birthday money to buy myself a Pogo Ball. Remember those? It was my favourite toy until it got a slow leak and never quite bounced the same way.

Another favourite toy was my Cabbage Patch doll. She had gold coloured hair and blue eyes, and wore a teal dress with lace around the edges. I remember the day she became mine, like it was yesterday. We were on a family vacation in the states, and stopped in at Toysrus. I stood in front of a towering stack of Cabbage Patch dolls and my mother said ‘pick one.’

Fast forward 25 years, and I still get that rush of excitement when visiting toy stores – especially when it’s All About Kids!

All About Kids is the mother of all toy stores. You will love it. It is my first stop for birthday presents. The selection is remarkable, and the toys are good quality. It’s an educational supply company, so they carry a very large selection of art & craft supplies, games, puzzles, and equipment for daycares and preschool. You’ll find all the big names there, like Little Tikes, Melissa & Doug, Plan Toys, and Playmobile. But they have THOUSANDS of items to choose from.

The front has a good selection of outdoor toys and structures, and a play area for kids – but who are we kidding here, you try telling your kid they have to stay put in a huge warehouse! The back of the store has teaching resources galore – lots of posters, borders, and anything you could possibly need for your classroom.

What I love about buying toys here is that you can find such a variety of things that you don’t see at the other big box stores. You won’t be bombarded with all the latest Pixar characters on every toy. You won’t see aisle after aisle of battery operated toys that break before the batteries wear out. You’ll find quality toys like this marble run game for example; it was a huge hit for both my “boys”

Or this set of wooden playfood that Joel gave Kiernan for his last birthday.

Or this set of Gears! Gears! Gears! that we gave one of Joel’s preschool friends for his 3rd birthday.

I’m thinking Mieka might just NEED to have one of these dolls for her 1st birthday.

All About Kids is tucked away on Canotek Drive, in an East End industrial park, so it’s not obvious to find. But it’s definitely worth a stop in!

All About Kids
5369 Canotek Dr – Map
(613) 742-0308

9:30 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Mon. to Fri.
11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Sat.
Closed Sundays.

Vicky is the mom to 3.5 year old son named Joel and 9 month old daughter named Mieka. You can read her blog at blog Some Kind of Wondermom.


Filed under Parenting tips, Services

ABC Challenge: week 7

I think our challenge needs a bit of a kickstart… it’s hot, it’s been 7 weeks, and people are losing their steam.

I admit that in the beginning I just took lots of pictures and tried to fit them into a category. That isn’t going to continue working so now I’m trying to set shots up… with limited success, but it’s a work in progress.  Be creative and try new things! 🙂

To help get people’s creative juices flowing I am going to offer a prize (from my own pocket unless someone feels like sponsoring us 😉 for a $20 gift card to Henry’s or Vistek or another photography related business. You get one entry for each photo you submit this week, up to a maximum of two entries. I’ll announce the winner in my post next week.

Photography tip

Several times since the twins were born I’ve been asked if I make a point of taking photos of the kids separately so they will feel like individuals instead of always a set. Ha! I’m lucky if I have 10 nice pictures of the two of them together. They don’t smile at the same time, they don’t look at the camera at the same time – it’s chaos.

So I gave up trying to pose them. And that’s the tip. Just try to take photos of kids doing the things that they love. They’ll be happy and you can get some great candid shots. And you might even get them to happily pose for you if they don’t feel they’re being forced into anything or are feeling bored.

It works for the kids that over pose too. I zoomed in and grabbed a photo of a smile that has been eluding me for months from this kid when we were playing at the park yesterday 😉 I’m not sure what my nephew was looking at here, but I know it wasn’t me.

Thanks to Danielle who helped me figure out my tip this morning when I saw her at the grocery store 🙂

My two picks this week

G is for green
G is for green

R is for riding
R is for riding

Participants’ photos

A selection of participants’ photos that jumped out at me this week.

happy victoria day!!

A is for art by jhscrapmom

464:1000 Wheeee, bubbles!

P is for playing by danigirl

T is for Trees

T is for trees by Stella

As always, it’s never to late too join the challenge. We hope you’ll play along!

Lara is the mom to 3.5 year old Kiernan and 1 year old twins Quinn and Juliette. You can find her at her blog Gliding Through Motherhood.


Filed under Photography

An old museum is new again

by Chantal

As residents of our nation’s capital we are all so lucky to have access to many wonderful national institutions.  The Canadian Museum of Nature is one of the finest in our region.  My family and I have always enjoyed this museum and, like many others, were very excited to see what kind of exhibits it would house once all the renovations (which seemed to take forever, but it was only 6 years) were completed.  My sister and I braved the museum on its grand opening weekend (although not on Saturday, we aren’t that crazy).

The first place we headed was the RBC Blue Water Gallery.  We just had to see Tallulah the Blue Whale and we were not disappointed. 

Our two younger boys (both 5) loved the imaginative play coast guard ship and spent quite a bit of time with their lab coats on driving through the arctic.

Next we headed the Special exhibits section to see the “Frogs: Chorus of Colour” exhibit.  In order to get to the frogs exhibit you have to walk through the “Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year” exhibit.  My sister and I were surprised at how much the kids enjoyed looking at the photos, many of which were taken by young Canadians.

The frogs exhibit was so cool!  All the different colours and sizes, they were mesmerizing.  Surprisingly my 5 year old was taken by a computer program that simulates dissecting a frog (I say he will be a doctor when he grows up, let me live my dream). These two special exhibits (along with Aqua which we didn’t go to this visit) are open until September 6th 2010.  Be sure to get there before they close, September seems like a long way away, but it will pass by in a flash!

There is a new Cafe, the Nature Cafe on the first floor where you can get food.  It is a nice addition in case you don’t bring your lunch.  On opening weekend the Nature Cafe was overrun with people so we headed outside to a special opening weekend BBQ. The terrace outside the Cafe is beautiful and next time we may just pack our own lunch to enjoy out there.

In the basement where the cafeteria used to be, there is an exhibit called Animalium. I was busy nursing D2 while we visited the Animalium so I will let Joanne tell you about it:

If you are looking for the old creepy crawly exhibit head to the Animalium and you will see all your old favourites – beetles, cockroaches and meal worms.  They are all there where the kids can get a good look at them – there is also a great seating area where you can take a break and look at interesting books on bugs.

With the entire museum open after 6 years of partial closure it was nice to enjoy all the space. Even with all the people who were inside the museum I found most exhibits easy to navigate. The busiest exhibit by far was the Fossil Gallery, but that could be a function of the fact that it is on the main floor and is the first exhibit most kids want to see. I had my stroller with me but I parked it in the coat check room and carried D2 in the sling. No need to wait for elevators and navigate a stroller through the crowded halls.

It is a very impressive renovation and the atrium is beautiful The only thing our kids missed from the “old” museum was the dinosaur has been removed from the main entrance. Other than that, the new museum was a hit from start to end!

The museum is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays: 9 to 6 and  Thursdays, Fridays: 9 to 8

Visit the Plan Your Visit page on their website for admission prices.

For some frugal fun the Museum has free admission every Thursday night from 5-8pm.

Chantal is a mom of 3 boys ages 8, 5 and 5 months. She usually blogs at TwoHandsFull but is currently taking a blogging break to enjoy time with her baby boy!

Joanne the proud mom of Amélie (8 years old) and Mathieu (5 years).  She is new at blogging and you can find her at Our Money Pit.


Filed under Attractions

Crafts: making bubbles

by Shannon

Do your children go bananas over bubbles like mine do? Blowing and chasing bubbles is an easy and fast outdoor activity that will keep my three Things busy for an eternity (or at least what feels like one!). There’s only one drawback. We can go through one of those measly bottles of bubbles from the dollar store in about thirty minutes (we are no bubble amateurs here).

I finally got fed up and figured, if I can make my own play-doh, I can make my own bubbles! I googled a bunch of different recipes and tried a bunch until I came up with something I liked.

It’s easy!

You’ll need:

Dawn or Joy dish detergent
Glycerin (easily found at your drug store, in the first aid section)
A large bucket or dish

Add 1/2 cup of dish detergent to about 4 quarts of water in your bucket. Add 3-4 tablespoons of glycerin (you may have to play with this amount to get what makes perfect bubbles).

Now Stir!

It is widely recommended that you leave the solution to sit overnight, as this is most definitely a case of something that gets better the longer you wait! The bubbles are bigger the longer the solution has time to “set”.

You can use your new bubble solution straight from your big bucket, or you can pour into old bubble containers if you have them lying around. My children each like to hold their own bottle, thus, I refill the bottles with my own mixture!

Last step: grab your kids and begin blowing bubbles to your heart’s content!

Shannon is mom to three Things, aged 6, 4, and 2.  Follow their adventures at Crafty Mom.


Filed under Crafting

Apples’n’Oranges: a Peekaboo Beans giveaway


We love to feature local businesses that cater to parents in the capital. It’s always even more fun when they want to give our readers something! Apples’n’Oranges, started by local moms Lara and Vicky in 2007, has an amazing selection of unique and fabulous clothing for children. You’ll definitely want to check them out!

Apples’n’Oranges is an online store that proudly carries exclusively Canadian brands, showcasing an original selection of clothing, shoes and accessories for children aged 0-5 years, as well as a few accessories for mom. They carry over 20 different brands from across Canada, and are the biggest online retailer of what is their most popular brand, Peekaboo Beans.

Peekaboo Beans

Getting your kids up, fed, dressed and out the door on time in the morning is no easy feat! As parents, we welcome things that make the process a little less easier. That’s why Peekaboo Beans clothing for kids is so fabulous! No buttons, snaps or zippers to slow us down!

This great Canadian line of clothing (designed in Vancouver) is fashionable AND functional. The bottoms have wide elastic waists with drawstrings (think toilet training!) and the tops are cut a bit longer to cover little bellies. Many pieces are versatile; a reversible pants, a dress that becomes a tunic, a jacket that turns into a vest. The quality is outstanding and can handle the playground well enough to be passed on to siblings or friends.

Win it!

Apples’n’Oranges has given us a Peekaboo Beans outfit to give to one our our readers! The prize is for one shirt and pants, or one dress, in the size of your choice (based on a availability.)

To enter, leave a comment on what you feel is an important feature in clothing for your kids.

For a second entry, join Apples’n’Oranges facebook group and leave a comment.

For a third entry, follow @apples_noranges on twitter and leave a comment.

For a fourth entry, sign up to Apples’n’Oranges’ newsletter and leave a comment.

Contest closes Wednesday, May 26 at 9pm.

Open House

Join the gals of Apples’n’Oranges and see the latest Spring items, or pick up a bargain or two at up to 80% off from their clearance section! Save 20% off Peekaboo Beans – one day only! They accept VISA, Mastercard or cash.

Loopy4ewe will also be joining them! Loopy4ewe creates beautiful hand knit and crocheted hats and items for children. They will have a clearance bin, or you can make a special request before the Open House so you can pick it up then and save on shipping! Plus, of course those cute sock monkeys!

Good luck!


Filed under giveaways