Monthly Archives: September 2010

Question of the month #5: Favorite books

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 be a future question, leave it in the comments too!

Question of the month #5: Favorite books

Now that kids are back in school it is all about reading, writing and arithmetic! As a family that loves to read, our house is filled with books. Some we’ve bought, some are gifts, some I need to return to the library before I get a fine. Despite all the books we have I am always on the look out for a great new book.

Do you have a favorite kids book? Do your kids have a favorite book that they want you to read over and over? We want to hear your recommendations for great books for kids of all ages!

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Filed under Parenting tips, Question of the month

Adventures at Mud Lake

by Krista

I am a city girl that was raised with a cottage, so I appreciate the beauty of leaving the city and heading to the lake/woods. I have not been able to go to my family cottage that much this year, and have been really missing the peace and quiet that comes with being away from it all. It was only when I found myself at loose ends with my almost two-year-old this weekend that I remembered that there is a wonderful spot close by that brings me to the lake, without having to leave the city – MUD LAKE. Located in the Britannia Conservation Area, it is a small wooded lake surrounded by a hiking trail.


We parked on Cassels Street, where the opening to the path is pretty obvious when you are looking for it. Goose was pretty excited by the nature show that she was given, stepping out of the car to see some neat looking caterpillars, fuzzy and multicoloured, nothing like the boring brown and green ones we have at home. We headed down the path and checked out the first little lookout on the water’s edge. We had been there all of three seconds when a duck swam up and walked right up to where we were crouched.


Goose was beyond excited. After many squeals (which somehow did not scare the duck away) I managed to get her back on the path, where we wandered to the next little lookout and saw a couple more ducks and a chipmunk, also a hit. As we continued deeper into the woods, the path wound away from the water. I feared that this might be our undoing, as the lake was the big attraction, but nature won out. There were plenty of bugs, plants, neat looking trees, and birds to keep us both in awe.

After about ten more minutes of walking, we hit a fork in the path. After a little bit of indecision


we headed left and found ourselves on one of several wooden viewing platforms. We were lucky, as there was a Great Blue Heron in the water in front of us. We watched for about ten minutes. We got to see him catch a fish, which delighted Goose, who squealed and startled him.


After he flew away, we turned around and headed home, happy with all we had seen.

Throughout our walk we bumped into a fair number of people, mostly runners, birders or photographers, but it was not at all crowded, even though it was a weekend. A few of the more serious nature lovers were dislodged by the noisy toddler, but they were all good-natured about it. Before we set out I couldn’t recall if the trail was safe for toddlers or suitable for strollers. I decided to chance it and leave the stroller at home and am glad we walked. The trail is certainly suitable for strollers. It is crushed gravel, fairly well packed, and about three feet wide in most sections.


We were there for about one hour, but did not walk the entire trail. It is over 3KM long, too long for the little legs. A cautionary note – there are no fences on the trail, nor at any of the lookouts. I did not feel that it was dangerous, but you do have to keep a close eye on your little ones if they tend to be “adventurous” like mine.


Krista is married to Willy and mom to a 3 year old son, Woo, and 1.5 year old daughter Goose. You can find her at Life in the Hutch or on Twitter @kgraydonald

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Filed under Activities for kids, Free, Outings, Parks

Pampered like a princess

by Deanna

My daughter’s birthday was around the corner and each year, I look for something out of the norm.  We were having a pretend sleep-over, (the girls came dressed in their PJ’s, but sleep at home), and I was looking for something to entertain the eight girls we had invited the month before and one that could keep the attention span of 6 year olds for hours.  That’s when I stumbled upon Official Princesses.   After all, I thought, “What little girl wouldn’t like to be pampered like a princess on her birthday?”

I couldn’t have asked for a better team to entertain a group of girls, who weren’t quite ready to go it alone, but still wanted all the fun of a real sleepover.  The Official Princesses were in character from the moment their toe stepped into my doorway and they didn’t miss a beat all night.  I was first greeted by Sleeping Beauty, who – in her angelic voice said, “Hi there, I’m Aurora, Cinderella is just finishing tidying-up at the castle – but will be on her way shortly. Do you mind if I come in?”  A few minutes later, Cinderella arrived.  Needless to say, the girls were shrieking with excitement.

While Sleeping Beauty read a story, Cinderella whipped up a spa in a matter of minutes, converting my dining room table into a fabulous mini-getaway.  The princesses split the girls in groups of two.  One half made a sparkly wand craft with Sleeping Beauty while the other half were whisked away by Cinderella to this enchanted corner I wouldn’t have recognized as my own dining room if I hadn’t seen it transform myself. They thought of everything.  From scented candles and princess music playing softly in the background, to polka-dot plastic wine glasses spilling over with jelly beans and gum drops.  The girls were doted on for over an hour.  While their sparkly make-up was being applied and their toes and finger nails were drying, I heard Cinderella ask, “Would you like something to read?” as she fanned out an assortment of magazines for their viewing pleasure.

After the crafts and the makeup were done, my living room was turned into a ball room, each of them grabbing a friend and dancing as if they were in a dream.  They played pass the poison apple, pretending to take a bite when they were caught holding it after the music stopped – and then falling into a sweet slumber trance before taking their turn out.  They played princess trivia – guessing the answers to princess questions and after getting it right, the princesses were kind enough to weave in magical stories about the answers.

Before the onslaught of pictures, they had time to answer the slew of questions of inquisitive little minds like… “Where is your prince?” “Is your castle near Ariel’s?” Are you all friends?”, “Does Cinderella really work all the time?”, “What did you wear to the ball?”  When it came time to leave- I went to shake Sleeping Beauty’s hand, but instinctively gave her a huge hug instead. The team at Official Princesses made my little girls dreams come true and my party organization a breeze.

I was planning to take my little one to Disney next year, but after this – I’m not sure that I have to.   If you want to get a glimpse of the princesses in action, they are having a “CHEO Royal Ball” on Nov 28, from 11am-2pm – looks like a magical afternoon with proceeds going to a good cause.   Phone: (613) 435-0802

Deanna is Chief Storyteller for StorylinePR and inspired by the creativity of her 6 year old, Madeline.  She blogs about PR tips and media trends at http://storylinepr.wordpress.com/

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Inspired Photograph – A GIVEAWAY! (CLOSED)

by Julie

As a Kids in the Capital sponsor, I am thrilled to be able to offer a free Halloween-themed photo session to one lucky reader!  The prize includes a 1 hour photo session of your little one(s) in costume, at Proulx Farm (Thank You Proulx Farm for covering the admission fees for the winning family!) and a custom designed photo collage.  If you haven’t been to Proulx Farm yet, this’ll be the perfect time to check it out!  Visit their website for a complete list of activities.

The photo session will take place Saturday October 16th at 10am, with a rain date scheduled for Saturday October 23rd at 10am.

If you are interested in winning, simply leave us a comment telling us about your favourite thing about Halloween.

For extra entries:
– Join the Inspired Photograph Facebook Group
– Join the Kids in the Capital Facebook Group

Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Giveaway closes on Sunday October 3 at 11 pm. Good luck!

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Social Media Monday – An introduction

by Lara

We don’t all find our way to social media in the same way or for the same reasons.  I like to think social media was invented for people like me, or maybe it was BY people like me.

I’ve been online since… before the internet.  I used to dial in to BBSes (Bulletin Board Systems) via modem to chat with other equally geeky people. I was online dating in 1993. I’ve still got my icq number memorized (anyone else remember the good ol’ “uh oh” days?) and I started my first blog in 2006.  I logged in to twitter for the first time in 2007 (I think) but it took me until 2009 to REALLY get involved there and I think I could only find 3-4 people I knew on Facebook when I first created my account.  Living my life online has always come quite naturally to me – I love it here.

Brie came to the game a bit later. Stumbling upon a giveaway blog one day in early 2009, she entered to win an Ergo baby carrier. (She lost) Realizing that she could get extra entries in giveaways if she had a blog of her own, she surprised herself and started Capital Mom. Even more surprising was how much she loved blogging. It was cheap therapy as she muddled through her days at home with a baby and two year old.  It also provided her with a community of other mothers who were muddling through their days just like she was. A reluctant blogger writing anonymously eventually became a blogging advocate who tries to convince every mother she knows to start her own blog as a sanity savor and record of her life.

True to her skeptical nature, Brie tried resisting Twitter. Afraid that she wouldn’t understand it, but worrying about all the fun she was missing, she finally joined in August 2009. Many tweets about potty training, children not listening to her entirely reasonable requests and her trips to the park followed. For some reason people found them interesting and started to follow her back. Brie may be a late adopter, but once she joins, she’s in.

Social media has a million and one uses. For business, for promotional purposes and for building friendships, to name but a few. For new parents it can be an amazing way to find support and community in what can be a lonely, discouraging and isolating time. For parents with kids of any age it can be a great way of feeling less alone when your kids does (insert thing you don’t want them to do here).

Brie and I found each other through social media. We read each other’s blogs and followed each other on Twitter until we met at a tweetup (twitter speak for a meetup). Within months, we were launching Kids in the Capital.

We believe social media has made an enormous difference in our parenting experience and we know there are many others out there who might be interested in taking part but would never know where to start.  As a result, we’ve decided to start a new series on Kids in the Capital called Social Media Mondays. We plan to walk you through Twitter, blogs, vlogs, etc – including the what, the how and the WHY.

We hope you’ll follow along and if you haven’t already, try out some of what we suggest. Let us know what you most want to hear about, because this is all about helping you to join the world of social media.  And if you are already a part of the social media world, we’d love to hear what a difference it’s made for you, the experiences you’ve had because of it, and what you think we should make sure to include!

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Salon Mom: Cutting your own kids hair

by Brie

It was time. I really couldn’t put it off any longer. I needed to face facts. My son needed a haircut.

My two-year boy’s long white blond hair was cute. He looks like a little surfer one of the moms’ at the park told me. It was true. He did. But he also was starting to have trouble seeing with his bangs covering his eyes. This was great for playing hide-and-seek but not so great for walking.

Why yes that discolouration on his neck is a large dolphin tatto. What else could it be?

I tried to put off the haircut. I brushed his hair to the side. I grabbed the hair at the front of his head and pulled it up into a top ponytail. Now he looked like a rocker dude. A cute rocker dude, but still, I wondered how long it was going to be before people asked me if he was a girl.

He really does rock this look!

Still I resisted. The first and only time I took him and his sister to the hairdressers was not a success. We drove all the way out to Melonhead in Orleans and I had to watch while he sobbed the entire haircut. He even sobbed while clutching a lollipop.

One day a friend suggested I cut his hair myself. I agreed, while still trying hard to think of a place I could take him for a hair cut that wouldn’t result in tears. Then one day when we were over visiting she told me she had bought me a nice pair of scissors for $2 at the grocery. Sized by what I can only describe as some force beyond my control, I decided then and there to cut the boy’s hair.

I sat him in his friend’s booster seat and started to cut. I will admit to being a little nervous. I was worried that he would end up looking stupid, but I figured if it turned out badly I could always take him to a real hairdresser to have it fixed. Plus, once I started I just couldn’t stop. I was having too much fun! It was like playing with the Barbie hair salon set I had as a kid. But with real hair!

So I cut and cut and it turned out great. I gave him a “boy cut”, which involved holding up pieces of hair and cutting it diagonally. Halfway through I was tempted to just leave him with the mullet I had unintentionally created, but then decided against it. In the end the haircut turned about great, I saved $20 and, best of all, no tears.

Proof that I should be allowed to cut hair again

The girl noticed her brother’s haircut as soon as she got home from school and asked me to cut her hair too. Salon Mom is open for business!

What about you? Have you ever cut your kid’s hair? Do you run a Salon Mom? Any tips and tricks to share for giving a great haircut?

Brie is the mom of a 4-year-old daughter “the girl” and 2 old son “the boy”. You can read her blog at Capital Mom.

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Filed under Free, Parenting tips

A visit to the Byward Market

by Vicky

I love the Byward Market this time of year. The pumpkins, squash and sunflowers are out, and the fall colours are just stunning. On Sunday, we were looking for something to do outside with the kids, and decided to take a drive downtown. There is so much to see, do and eat in the Market, and we definitely covered all three of these categories!

Street parking is free on Sundays, if you can find a spot. We cruised for a while before heading right to the parking garage on Clarence. We walked through the courtyard and threw some pennies in a fountain. Then we walked right up to Sussex to check out the giant spider in front of the National Gallery. This was very amusing for Joel, he spun around and around the spider’s legs and giggled when I pointed up to the net of spider eggs hanging from the middle. This led to some interesting questions about how the spider had babies in her tummy and if it was  just like the way he was once in my tummy.

Next we walked down Sussex and stopped to look at models of downtown Ottawa. We talked about the buildings and the different streets, pointing out the peace tower and Major’s Hill Park. We collected acorns and maple leaves and then took the elevator next to 700 Sussex back down to the market.We walked back down George and checked out the totem pole, and looked at some beautiful bunches of flowers. (I wish I had bought some).

 

There were buskers and musicians to watch, but little people were hungry! I suggested we get a Beavertail, you can’t really visit the market without eating one. But guess what? Little people didn’t like Beavertails! Shocking I know! (Daddy ate it).  So we wandered through the streets window shopping, and made our way to the Moulin de Provence bakery, (where you can buy the famous Obama cookies) for another snack – a pumpkin cookie fit the bill.

All in all, the Byward Market provided nearly 2 hours of entertainment on a beautiful sunny almost-autumn day.  Add in a couple of history lessons (and an Entomology lesson on spiders!) and our afternoon was also educational.

I encourage you to take in what our city has to offer! I know I often take for granted all the beautiful and historical landmarks we have right in our own backyard. Why not play tourist for a day with your kids, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as we did.

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 Activities for kids, Attractions, Free