Monthly Archives: July 2010

Question of the month #3

Kids in the Capital is all about parents in Ottawa helping each other out by sharing tips and advice. Each month we ask a parenting question and we want to hear all the gems of advice you have to share. 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 #3:

At the last Kids in the Capital night-time meet up their was a great discussion about soothers and how to help your kids let go of them as they get older. Neither of my kids were ever very interested in soothers so I was fascinated by some of the creative ways that parents transitioned kids out of using a soother.

Did your kids use a soother? How did you transition them out of using one? What tips and strategies do you wish you had know at the time? What advice would you give to other parents?

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Filed under Parenting tips, Question of the month

Surviving the cottage with kids

by Vicky

On a bit of a whim, I booked a week’s holiday at a cottage with a friend and her family. I found it on www.cottagelink.com, and it looked beautiful. One of the features that sold me instantly was that it was owned by a family with young children, so everything we needed was already provided: highchair, crib, change table, toys, toys and more toys, picnic table, wagon, playstructure etc. Also the water was only a foot deep off the dock, so despite not having a beach, it was shallow enough to enjoy with my 1 year old.

This was my first experience renting a cottage with kids. I’ve been lucky to have friends with cottages and have enjoyed many summer holidays by the lake since I was a teenager. But this time was different. It was great to see the kids enjoying the water and playing outside, but it wasn’t what I would call a relaxation vacation. Someone still has to cook, clean and get the kids in bed so it’s not exactly a break for the parents.

That being said, I definitely think I’ll try it again next summer, and I’ll be better prepared for it with this list of tips on how to survive a week at the cottage with kids.

  1. Portable DVD player – your best friend. If you don’t have a built in DVD player in your car, this is the next best thing. Throw a movie on, with headphones, and you’re guaranteed a quiet trip. Also this is great for a bit of quiet time in the afternoon if the cottage has no TV or cable.
  2. Plan your meals ahead of time. Make a quick menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and pack food items you already have at home. Make a grocery list and pick up what you need before you go or in the closest town if that’s possible (or if space in your car is limited). You don’t need to stick to the menu per say, but when kids are hungry you won’t be running around trying to figure out what to cook for lunch.
  3. Do not over pack clothes. I brought WAY too much for the kids – a different outfit for every day, plus extras. What happened was that my son stayed in his bathing suit all day long with a pair of crocs. Shirts can be rung out and hung to dry, and most cottage towns have a Laundromat for emergencies (like being thrown up on, twice!)
  4. Bring long-legged PJs for evenings. Cottages can be sweltering during the day, but get cool at night.
  5. Swimming tires kids out! If you are trying to get a nap out of your kids, get them into the lake just before nap or bed time. If you can also give them a bath in the lake, you’ll speed up the bedtime process (speaking of which can anyone recommend a good biodegradable baby shampoo or soap?)
  6. Bring a box of activities to keep them busy. I brought colouring books, activity books and paints which were all used. Why not try making a nature scavenger hunt that you can work on during the week?
  7. If you are cottaging with friends, it helps to have similar aged kids so they can play together. My 3 year old got bored quickly with the 3 babies he had as playmates.
  8. Explore the nature! There are so many learning opportunities around that will keep kids busy – go for nature walks, look for frogs, or feed the fish bread off the dock.
  9. Expect that normal routines may not be easy to follow when you’re away. Bed times may be later in a new environment, middle of the night wake ups will happen, and all this can make for cranky kids during the day. I would say try to go with the flow, and once the kids are in bed crack open a beer or a cooler and relax.
  10. One more thing, if you are going to a cottage this summer with your kids, or thinking about it, please be water wise!

What are your tips for an enjoyable cottage vacation?

Vicky is the mom to 3.5 year old son named Joel and 1 year old daughter named Mieka. You can read her blog at blog Some Kind of Wondermom.

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Filed under Camping, Parenting tips

Nayla Natural Care

We are very, very excited to welcome Nayla Natural Care as a new sponsor of Kids in the Capital! Welcome! 

Nayla Natural Care is an Ottawa-based online store that carries high quality all natural, organic and non-toxic products for you and your family. Nayla Natural Care was born when two parents went looking for products for their own family to use. Now they sell everything you could need for your family, from natural sun protection and insect protection to  food storage containers.

Gwen is the owner of Nayla Natural Care and also a mom. In addition to balancing the demands of her business with her family life, she also finds time to hang out on Twitter. Like some other Twitter addicts  moms we know. If you are looking to connect with another mom or independent business woman, make sure you add Gwen to the people you follow.

We are excited to share that Nayla Natural Care will be hosting a review and giveaway in the coming weeks. We think you will be as excited as we are!

Gwen, we are thrilled to have you and Nayla Natural Care on board!

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Suburban garden

When we bought our new house this winter I was worried about what state we might find the garden in when the snow melted.  Based on the evidence in the backyard and the owner’s comments, it looked like we would be sharing our yard with a very large family of rabbits.

But lo and behold not a hint of rabbit presence when we moved in.  After we finished building the sandbox, we decided to add a small vegetable garden next to it.  My 4-year-old is an outdoorsy sort who loves to garden and eat vegetables.  Last summer the first thing he did upon arrival at my parents was rush out into the backyard to pick and eat cherry tomatoes.

Our first step was clearing a small, flat area in the backyard.  We chose a spot near the back corner where it would be out-of-the-way of flying balls and scorching sun.

Levelling the spot was half the fun and necessitated many shovels and even work gloves.

We chose to use 2×10 untreated wood to build a frame for our garden.  The wood cost less than $15 at Home Depot and we had them cut it there into 2 three-foot and 2 six-foot lengths.  We decided to use a frame so that, if we need to, we can add a wire fence around the perimeter if local critters decide to use the kids garden as a salad bar.

The assembly was a simple process: all I needed was a drill and 12 deck screws.  It took approximately 10 bags of soil to fill the box: we thought we’d only need 6 but it packs down quite a bit after you water it.

Because we started in mid-June, we used plants instead of seeds to start our garden.  The boys chose strawberries, cucumbers, tomatoes, and broccoli to start us off this year.

We now have little green tomatoes growing in the garden and my 4-year old checks on them every day.  His favourite part is filling up his watering can at the rain barrel and watering all the plants.  A quick tip: rain barrels sell for at least 50% retail cost if you buy them on www.usedottawa.com or www.kijiji.ca.

And so far, not a single rabbit has nibbled on any of our greenery!

Sara is mom to a 4-year-old firefighter and 2-year-old monkey.  You can find her at her blog, My Points of View

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Summer Camp Idea: Dovercourt Day Camps!

by Joanne

Now that school is out – many parents look for fun places where the kids can go for some summer fun!

This year we wanted to try something new and decided to try the Dovercourt Day Camps and are we ever happy we did!

My kids have enjoyed their two weeks and came home exhausted but excited for the next day.

I have two kids – Amélie, 8 years old– who took a one week pottery camp and a week of culinary camp of Italian cooking. She is so pleased with herself. During the pottery camp, she got to do some hand building, got to try wheel throwing, met many new friends and got to swim a lot! The culinary camp was her favourite – every night she would tell us about the great food and techniques she had learnt during her time at camp. The week ends with a taste testing at Café Mio – the name of their restaurant. The kids prepared the food, decorated the restaurant and welcomed us with open arms to try their yummy creations and they also did the dishes!

Mathieu, my 4 year old went to kindercamp for two weeks – the first week theme was Surf’ari where they learnt about the different oceans, made many ocean themed crafts and got to swim a lot! And the second week was lights and sirens – complete with the visit of a policeman and a fire truck and of course some time in a bouncy castle… oh I cannot forget to mention his favourite part… he swam a lot!

The Dovercourt is a great place and their day camp program is exceptional. The staff were wonderful and the activities are very well placed and age appropriate.There is a outside wading pool and an indoor pool which provided welcome breaks from the heat wave.

There website states that there are still spots in many of the camps for later in July and August.

We only needed 2 weeks of day camp this summer….which means that their time at the Dovercourt is done for this year…. But, my kids have already decided which camps they want to sign up for next year!

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.

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Day tripping : Storyland

by Lara

A few years ago there was a big radio campaign on the radio advertising the last summer of Storyland before they closed down. I immediately knew I wanted to bring Kiernan and put it on our to do list. But it was a crazy summer and we didn’t make it – I was sad.

But here’s the thing – someone bought it, and it never actually closed! (although I’m pretty sure many people think it did)

Last summer, while we were staying at my in-law’s cottage in the Renfrew area, we actually made it over and the kids had a BLAST! (even though I was there with 8 week old twins – that part was more than a little crazy 🙂

Storyland has been around for a long time, and so have some of their displays.  But the new owners have been working hard to update the place.

The park is located in a mainly wooded area just past Renfrew (tip: a regular stroller would have troubles here so either bring baby carriers or a jogging stroller. I did see some strollers that you could borrow, but a small baby couldn’t be put into them) and you walk through the trails and see a variety of different story displays, petting farm animals, rides, and there is also a theatre area where they put on shows.

There is also a splash pad, a pond, paddle boats, mini golf and inflatable slides and bouncers.  There is enough to keep you busy for a full day!

The cost is $13.50 for everyone over 3 (free for under 3) so it is a lot more affordable than a lot of other amusement parks. It may not have a lot of bells and whistles, but I find most kids don’t need those.  I recommend checking it out and plan to make a day of it some time in August!  Maybe I’ll see you there?

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.

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Filed under Activities for kids, Attractions, Out of town ideas, Outings

Creating Tranquility in Children’s Lives

by Amanda

Integration of yoga into a child’s life allows for a sense of calmness and relaxation, coupled with environmental awareness and tools for personal stress management.  Children’s yoga classes foster a sharing and caring environment and bring honour and thankfulness for their self, family and surroundings.  Yoga classes encourage kids to move their bodies, create calmness in their little minds and allows their spirits to soar.

Here are some fun yoga postures you can do with your kids at home or at the local park!

 Downward Dog (Mommy Dog)

(Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Begin on all fours (table position) distributing equal weight in your hands while spreading the fingers. Gently lift your hips towards the sky, as your press your heels deep down into the earth.  Keep the fingers spread and hands pressed evenly into the ground as you create a V shape with your body.

Preschoolers enjoy shaking their “tail” in this position as they bark like a Mommy Dog.

Bound Angle (Butterfly)

(Baddha Konasana)

Begin in a comfortable seated position and bring your knees in close to your chest. Allow your knees to slowly drop to the side, towards the earth. Your hips should stay on the floor, with a tall spine.  Press the souls of your feet together.

Move your legs and/or arms in a fluttering motion so your butterfly can fly high in the sky!

Upward Dog (Baby Dog)

(Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Begin on your stomach with your chin resting on the floor, bringing your hands in close to your chest. Spread your fingers and press your palms into the floor.  Pressing the feet into the floor and begin to lift your chest and shoulders off the floor.  Lengthen your arms and press the crown of your head towards the sky. Open up your chest, pressing your shoulder blades together. Toddlers and Preschoolers may want to bark and make noise like a little puppy!

Child’s Pose (Sleeping Bunny)

(Balasana) 

Begin in a kneeling position, with your buttocks on the heels of your feet.  Allow your upper body to fold forward reaching towards the earth.  Your forehead drops towards the floor, and your hips reach back towards your heels.  Lengthen the spine as your breath dances throughout your body.  Place your hands on the floor next to your body.  Another option that the children enjoy is a variation (as shown in picture) with the arms extended in front. This is a great relaxation pose. 

 Amanda is mom to Dominic, 2 months, and can be found blogging about life, product reviews & giveaways at Namaste Mommy, PTPA Panel of Moms & Tools for Schools.  When not feeding and changing diapers Amanda is busy with her company DeGrace Energetics & Little Lotus.

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Filed under Activities for kids, Events, Services