Monthly Archives: August 2010

August : what you might have missed

Activities for kids

So many more great places to go with your kids were covered this month.¬† A ride on the Rideau Canal, a visit to the Governor General’s, we visited the fair, went to Brewer park, discovered a great community playgroup, hunted bugs at the Billings Estate and even a trip to a fabulous Asian food store.

We also found out about fun things to do with your kids : use skype to keep in touch, throw a fairy party, make paper boats, and listen to audio books.

Bloghop

We had a bloghop and so many great Ottawa blogs linked up. Go and have a look and say hello while you’re there!

Classes for kids

Have you thought about having your child learn a language? Brie tells us how her daughter learned Japanese this summer and about great language programs in the City.

Joanne tells us about the martial arts classes her son takes and the Ottawa Lions Sports program her daughter takes part in.

Let’s get together

We’ve got a meetup up scheduled for the long weekend to go apple picking at Cannamore Orchards. We’d love to see you there!

Our Kids in the Capital Tuesday morning playdates are continuing! We’d love to see you there too! ūüôā

Splish Splash

Calypso is great fun, but possibly not the best fit for your non-daredevil young ones. Mont Cascades was also a great bet for summer fun.

There are great splash pads all around the city – do you take your kids to any?

Sponsorship

We were thrilled to add Spoiled Sugar to our sponsors this month. She has some amazingly cute stuff in her shop – definitely worth checking out!

Nayla Natural Care did a giveaway for some Kinderville products. The contest is over, but the review is great and worth a read!

Summer of Awesome

Lynn has continued to have an amazing summer hitting the Carp Farmer’s Market, Saunders Farm, the Changing of the guard, the Centennial branch of the Ottawa Public Library, and then also did some backyard camping!¬† Lynn, will you be following up this amazing summer with the Fall of Fabulous? ūüėČ

Yummy deliciousness

We made muffins with Sara and Vicky told us about a great place to get fabulous cakes.

We can’t wait to see what the next month brings.

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Question of the month #4 : Back to school

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 #4:

It’s hard to believe the summer is almost done and that it’s time for back to school!

Many kids have a hard time with transition and back to school is a BIG transition.  Do you have any tips on how to ease kids back into school?

And there are many Kids in the Capital readers who have kids starting school for the first time this year. Do any of you veteran parents have tips on how both kids AND parents can get through this emotional and big milestone?

Lastly – do you have any favourite backpacks, lunchbags, school supplies, shopping tips, etc?¬† We’ love to hear them!

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Kids in the Capital meetup at Cannamore Orchard

It’s apple season! The trees are heavy with apples ripe¬†for the picking so we¬†thought we would combine a Kids in the Capital meetup with a trip to a local¬†apple orchard. We will pick apples, hang out and watch the kids play. A perfect Fall morning!

We hope you can join us at Cannamore Orchard¬†on Sunday, September 5th at 10am. We will meet¬†at the ticket booth before heading out to explore the orchard and all the other activities on offer.¬†If you are late or can’t find us, tweet us at @kidsincapital!

If you think you will be joining us, leave us a comment so we know who to expect. We hope to see you there!

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Staying in touch through Skype

by Brie

We live in Ottawa, but our family doesn’t. Our extended family is scattered across three provinces. While that means lots of people to go and visit, I am not eager to undertake long car rides or plane rides with two kids four¬†years old and under very often. At the same time, we want our kids to know their aunt and grandparents. Our solution is not only a great way for the kids to keep in touch with family but also a great distraction/ time waster/ thing to do when you want to load the dishwasher without kids underfoot.

Skype is a free program that you can download from the Internet that allows you to make free video and audio calls from your computer. The first few times I used it I felt a bit like Jane Jetson, but without the cool hair. Now I am used to it and so are my kids. Whenever we make an actual phone call to a family member my four-year old girl always asks Can we Skype? right away.

Skyping¬†will keep your kids amused for much longer than a phone call will, but I would still recommend some props. To keep my young kids interested for a good period of time, my family relies of books. A big pile of books. Grandma reads a lot of Maisy. My dad pulls out a book about cats. My sister once tried to read an art history book, but that didn’t go over well so she quickly stocked up on some kids books from the library. And if you don’t have books on hand, an impromptu puppet show with socks always works.

The only hard park about Skype is that it seems like the people on the other end are really just in the other room. When we recently Skyped¬†with friends who moved to London this past month, I had to explain why the girl couldn’t go over to visit her little friend at his new house. Thankfully his dad then turned the computer around so she could watch the television with them and all was forgotten!

Do you Skype? Do your kids love it as much as mine do?

Brie is the mom of a¬†4-year-old daughter ‚Äúthe girl‚ÄĚ and¬†2 old son ‚Äúthe boy‚ÄĚ. You can read her blog at Capital Mom.

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Kids in the Capital Fall playdate schedule

Every Tuesday for the last eight weeks we have been having Kids in the Capital playdates around the city and they have been a GREAT success and we’re thrilled to continue them into the Fall.

They will continue to be on Tuesday mornings at 9:30. (To accommodate those who are only available on Wednesdays and Thursdays there will also be one additional date per month if people are interested.)

Here is the schedule for the Fall – if you have any suggestions or requests for changes in location, let us know and we’ll do our best.¬† We will try to continue being outside until mid-October and then start being inside until it warms up, unless we want to check out Winterlude this winter!

Tuesday August 31 – Lansdowne Park

Tuesday – September 7 –St Luke’s Park (Elgin and Frank) RAINDATE!!¬† We’re going to Kid Kaf!

Tuesday September 14 – Walter Baker Park, Kanata RAINDATE! We’re going to Cosmic! 9:30am

Tuesday September 21 9:30 am – Millenium Park, Orleans CANCELLED – next week will be moved indoors. stay tuned.

Tuesday September 28 9:30 am – Tot lot, Glebe

Tuesday October 5 9:30 am- Museum of Nature

Tuesday October 12 9:30 am – Mini Port, Place d’Orleans

Tuesday October 19 9:30 am – Kid Kaf, Bells Corners

Tuesday October 26 9:30 am, Cosmic Adventures

No need to RSVP – just show up. We’d love to see you there. The more the merrier!!

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Summer of Awesome – Backyard Camping

by Lynn

It’s no secret that I despise camping. I’ve blogged about it many, many times. I hate being outside, I hate cooking over two tiny burners with a pint-size pot, I HATE the bugs. I really hate getting up in the middle of the night and having to make my way with a flashlight through a cloud of mosquitoes to the “comfort station.” Assuming there even IS one.

My kids have been camping twice with their much hardier father, and as a result, they’ve had a taste of the joys of sleeping outside. And of course, they love it (maybe I brought home the wrong spawn from the hospital?). This summer, they bugged us and bugged us to go camping.

I believe I’ve come up with a genius solution: backyard camping!

Here’s what you’ll need to do.

1. Check the weather forecast and pick out a nice, sunny, warm day for camping. No need to book your site months in advance and take a gamble that it won’t rain – your private site is ready and waiting for you whenever you want. Just say the word and it’s yours. This must be what Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie feel like.

2. Get up early and pitch your tent in your backyard. Then kick back with your first tall lemonade of the day while the kids spend an hour running in and out of the tent like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

The Tent

3. Reflect on your brilliance.

4. My kids like camping for two reasons only, and the first one is the ability to gather a huge amount of sticks from the surrounding woods. So now’s the time to take them for a walk in the woods, in a nearby park or in the green belt. We are lucky to live within walking distance of a few green belt trails – you can see a full map of them here and get driving/parking information here. We like to bring chunks of fruit and baggies of birdseed to scatter around, and sometimes we’re lucky enough to catch sight of birds, ducks, or chipmunks. If you’re really ambitious you can take them out to Gatineau Park, but if you’re willing to go hiking in Gatineau Park, why don’t you just go camping for real, FREAKS.

The Woods

5. Head home for lunch. Make lunch in your own kitchen. Use your own bathroom. Reflect on your genius.

6. The afternoon is time for the second thing my kids love about camping: the beach! We live closest to Britannia Beach, and we like it – the beach is really nice and they have a big play structure set back from the water a ways, so you can alternate between fun in the sand and snacks in the shade. You can get information about all the city’s beaches here. Be sure to check the Swim Advisory Site before heading out to make sure that the beaches are open – the city site is updated every morning around 10 a.m. or so with details on the bacteria levels.

The Beach
The Beach

7. Head home for a BBQ dinner. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob will serve you well. Be sure to eat outside, at your patio table or even a picnic on the grass in front of your tent. Afterwards, finish up with smores – not having a fire isn’t a problem, you can make them in your microwave. Here’s my recipe: put a graham cracker on a plate and top with 8-10 chocolate chips. Microwave on high for around 15 seconds. Add a big marshmallow on top – it’s best to place it on its side – and then microwave for 12-13 seconds on high (your kids will get a kick out of watching the marshmallow swell up like a balloon). Remove from the microwave, top with another graham cracker and enjoy with many, many wet cloths nearby.

Indoor Smores

Mmmm. Gal Smiley prefers her smores made with two chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers and chocolate chips, and you really can’t argue with that, either.

8. As it gets dark, light some candles and break out some board games or books. Let the kids run around with flashlights, they LOVE that.

9. Time to sleep. Now, those that are truly wimpy can use a real bed, but even a dedicated non-camper like myself can handle a night in the tent. Either way, if you need to get up in the night for a pee, I can recommend a close, clean, private “comfort station.”

10. Get up in the morning to a fun breakfast made in your own kitchen. Reflect on your smartitude.

I almost forgot a critical component of backyard camping – unplugging. No computers, no phones, no video games, no movies. It will be hard to resist – the family room couch is RIGHT THERE – but it’s camping. There has to be SOME hardship.

My kids do still pine for the real thing, but backyard camping is just about as close to nature as I am willing to get. So for that reason, it’s a Summer of Awesome Must Do, and my kids can love it or lump it.

Lynn is mom to three tombliboos aged 7, 5, and 3, and blogs over at Turtlehead.

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Shopping at T&T Supermarket

I had been wanting to visit the T & T Supermarket ever since I had heard it opened.  I had read a few other blog articles from moms in the area who thought it was a cool adventure to take their kids on.  I had to go to that end of town to pick up the cheque for my Taurus stationwagon that was written off, so it seemed like an opportune time.
According to their website: T & T Supermarket’s goal is to enrich the lifestyle of Asian families in Canada by offering them choice food and household items in a comfortable shopping environment. We also hope to introduce the colourful Asian food culture to the Canadian multicultural society. I figured that since they are hoping to introduce families who are unfamiliar with their products that they would not mind me pointing out all sorts of interesting things to my kids and taking pictures to show you, too!
Upon entering the supermarket the below picture is what we saw.¬† Not so different from your ordinary grocery store, except that most of the packages are written on¬†in Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese…), sometimes with NO English translation.¬† It must be very frustrating for them to shop here when they arrive, as we don’t have Asian translations on any of our products.¬† The kids and I roamed around the aisles, each kid with a little red basket on wheels. (You had to pay a loonie to get a real cart and of course, I had no change).
Next, you will see many pictures of foods that we found interesting.¬† We talked about what kind of words to use to describe things we saw or tasted, because saying it was weird, gross or yechy, wasn’t very polite.¬† We tried to say, “that is different” or “I’ve never seen anything like that before, cool!”, etc.¬† They had many different types of chicken feet: marinated and ready to cook, raw, frozen and they had duck feet as well.¬† I just can’t get over in the picture below that they have little toenails – that does make me shutter a bit.¬† We also saw for the first time, Gooey ducks.¬† Deanna, is this what is underneath those green circular things at the beach?¬† Jasmine seemed to think she had seen these, at least the very tops of them.¬† They were quite the site to see.¬† They also had Silkie chickens that had blue flesh.¬†Then there were pigs feet, again something you saw¬†in a few spots, marinated, raw or frozen.¬†Then there was the cow tongue and we couldn’t get over just how big it was – huge, really!¬† Unfortunately, I could not bring myself to buy any of these¬†items.¬† After looking some of them up online (check out the link to the gooey ducks, very interesting video), I might be tempted to try a chicken foot at an Asian restaurant, just to try it, but I couldn’t see preparing them at home quite yet.
Although we didn’t buy any of the above items, we did manage to spend $78.00 on: pork and lamb for a hot pot¬†(we’ll use them in fondue, they are sliced really thin and rolled up), vegetable dumplings, steamed pork dumplings, chocolate steamed buns, passion fruit, mango roll with bean curd, mung bean bread with custard, Jasmine honey tea (like iced tea), mini-sponge cake,¬†Asian popsicles, mini jellies and more.¬† Tonight we taste tested all the drinks and dessert items.¬† Jasmine loved the sponge cake, Pam and I loved the Mung bean bread (I thought Devin picked the coconut bread, but this was still good).¬† Most of the desserts were cool to try, but necessarily to eat again… if you know what I mean.
Below you will see us on our way out of the store, we stopped for some bubble juice.¬† If you haven’t heard of this before, it is a Taiwanese drink that is becoming more popular in America.¬† The bubbles are actually tapioca balls and taste sort of like gummy candies.¬† I think all of these drinks have a bit of a tea base, so they sort of had an after taste we did not love, but the cherry slush one was very good and the mint chocolate one was not too bad, we did not really drink the pudding one though.¬† It was a fun way to end the shopping trip and ensure we were hydrated and full before the 30 minute drive back home.
All in all this was a fun way to spend the afternoon.  The kids said they would like to go again and I would go a few times a year to buy items for a sushi meal or a night when you wanted to experiment with something new.
Check out the Tapioca ball in the straw.  You drink and chew at the same time.
Quirkymom is mom to Jasmine 7 and Devin 4 1/2 and this is the first blog post she has ever had published anywhere other than her own little family blog.  You can read her blog at http://quirkyfamily.blogspot.com/ .


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