Monthly Archives: October 2010

We’ve moved!

Kids in the Capital has a new home! We are officially hosted at www.kidsinthecapital.com now!

Come over and see us and admire our new shiny look!  And make sure to change your RSS readers, your bookmarks, and your blog buttons to reflect the change to www.kidsinthecapital.com!

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McLaurin Bay

by Annie

Last summer, the kids and I stopped briefly at the the playground at Parc Martin Larouche in Gatineau (rue Notre Dame at rue Joseph Roy). Julian was 5 and Emma was 2. We didn’t stay for very long because it really was a “big kids” park and Emma wasn’t able to climb up to go down the slides. We noticed that there was a nature trail starting at the playground, but there were too many mosquitoes to venture into the marshy woods at that time of year.

With all of the rain we’ve been getting lately, we were anxious to get out and enjoy the outdoors this weekend. Since Emma is a year older and the mosquito season is over, we thought it would be fun to check out this park and trail again. So we packed a picnic lunch and headed out.

When we arrived, the kids checked out the playground. There are large rock climbing walls that you have to scale to get to the top to access the big windy slides. There are also lots of things to hang from (like monkey bars) and balance on, making it a great park for kids to test their abilities. There are a few swings too (two baby swings, two regular swings), but the highlight really is the play structure.

Once the kids had played for a while, we decided to check out the trail. The trail is 1.6km one-way or 3.2km round trip. It starts from the playground and goes through the woods and across wetlands of McLaurin Bay (Baie McLaurin) before coming out at the Ottawa River. At the start of the trail, there is a sign indicating the number of different species of flora and fauna that can be found along the trail. There are hundreds of different species of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects and plants. As I read off the statistics to the kids, they became a little bit anxious that we might run into lots of scary animals along the trail.

The first part of the trail winds through the woods and the colours were brilliant. The next segment is a bridge across the marsh at the edge of McLaurin Bay. The bridge is a series of floating docks with railings held together by a cable, so the bridge moves up and down in the water as you step from one piece of the bridge onto the next. The next part of the trail goes by several lookouts. One of them is a deck overlooking an area populated by beavers (no lodges/dams to be seen today) and the other is a tower with a view of the whole bay. The final segment goes through the woods again and comes out between a few homes in a residential area by the Ottawa River.

I had briefly considered taking our picnic lunch with us on the trail and eating it when we got to the Ottawa River. I’m glad we didn’t though, because the end of the trail at the Ottawa River is all private property except for the very narrow exit of the trail onto the river-side road (Boul. Hurtubise), so there isn’t really anywhere to sit and have a picnic.

All along the trail there is signage indicating the types of birds, fish, trees, and other things that you can find in the nature reserve. The kids enjoyed looking at the pictures and also pointing out the things they spotted along the trail, including different types of squirrels, a dead mouse, a fuzzy caterpillar, interesting mushrooms growing in a tree and plenty of red “Canada” leaves.

Once we got back to the playground, we took out our picnic lunch and ate at one of the picnic tables right next to the play structure. The kids came and went from the table, taking a few bites and then heading off to go down the slide again, and then coming back for more.

The one downside, and perhaps the reason we didn’t stay any longer, is that there are no washrooms at the park. So when nature called, we went on our way…

Annie is an Ottawa-area mom of 2 kids. She blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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Filed under Activities for kids, Free, Out of town ideas, Outings, Parks

Costume Swapping for Halloween

by Laura

October 9th is National Costume Swap Day in the United States.  This green event is promoted by Kiwi Magazine, Green Halloween, and Swap.com.  It is a simple idea to save money and the environment too.  Children are encouraged to swap costumes and keep old ones out of the landfill. 

Some children lose interest in dressing like Luke Skywalker or Cinderella.   My kids are happy to reuse costumes but this year they have both outgrown their outfits.  I am not handy with a sewing machine or a glue gun and have purchased costumes in the past.  Instead of spending money or trying to create something in the wee hours of October 30th, simply trade/borrow costumes with fellow trick-or-treaters.  
 
According to the National Costume Swap website, “swapping half the costumes kids wear on Halloween would reduce the annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons, equal to the weight of 2500 mid-sized cars”.   In addition, swapping reduces packaging, transportation, and manufacturing impacts too.  
 
A costume swap can be as simple as sending an email to friends/classmates, or organizing something larger at a brownie/cubs meeting, local library or recreation facility.  I imagine that even folks with little interest in eco-friendly ideas might be keen to save a few dollars.  It is a win/win idea. 
 
Why limit it to children’s costumes?  Adults attend Halloween parties and dress up to hand out treats at the door.  I wonder if my pal Kelly is growing tired of her pink pig costume and would like to dress this year as a defeated Leafs fan?  Perhaps our neighbour Steve wants to swap his vampire cape with my husband and dress as scary mask guy.   Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Although it is not a national event in Canada, a costume swap puts a fresh spin on an old tradition.   It is an opportunity to make a difference, save money and enjoy some holiday fun.   Happy Halloween!

Laura is a wife and Mother to beautiful 8 and 10 year old girls.  She describes herself as an eco-advocate and moderate neat freak with a recessive frugal gene.  Laura provides light-hearted commentary for every day, practical green living on her blog the Mindful Merchant.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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Filed under Activities for kids, Events, Free, Parenting tips

October Moms Meetup

We have had some great family meetups lately, but it has been much too long since we have had a moms only meetup! We figured it was definitely time to change that.

Given the busyness of Fall we wanted to plan a meetup that would help us all relax. And nothing says relaxation like a trip to Le Nordik!

So write this in your calendars: A Kids in the Capital meetup at Le Nordik on October 14th. We will plan to meet in the lobby around 7:30 pm. Don’t worry if you are late. Just wander around and look for some very relaxed looking moms. That will be us.

Nervous about coming because you won’t know anyone? Don’t be! We are all very friendly. We promise a great time with Kids in the Capital bloggers and readers.

Will we see you there? Leave us a comment  if we can expect you.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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The Butterfly Show at Carleton University

by Tiana

Last Sunday my mom and I brought my 2 year old son to the Butterfly Show in the Nesbitt Building of Carleton University. He really likes butterflies and we thought he would have a blast. We were correct!

Bobby becomes a Butterfly

For those not in the know, the show runs from Oct 2-11th inclusively and is absolutely free (although donations are recommended). You can find free parking on campus on weekends and the O-Train stop is a 2 minute walk from the show. Did I mention this is FREE? I love free activities for kids!

The show takes place inside the greenhouse. It is very warm and humid so wear layers that you can remove because it doesn’t take long to get too hot in there. The butterflies are loose in the greenhouse and are fluttering about, mating (!) and sometimes will even land on you. Visitors can bring slices of oranges to encourage butterflies to come have a sip of OJ. When we walked into the smaller greenhouse, a little boy with a butterfly on his sweater handed Bobby a slice of orange already hosting a butterfly. It happily sat there sipping away as it got passed from child to child.

Butterfly on Orange

We stayed for about 45 minutes total. In that time we went through 2 greenhouses, had butterflies crawl on our hands and even got to see two emerge from their chrysalises.

This is a must attend event for anyone who isn’t absolutely terrified of butterflies.

Tiana is mother to Bobby Hurricane. You can catch her being generally awesome over at Sassy Red Head.

My Kids Funky Closet
Sunday October 17th 10am- 3pm
The Glebe Community Center
175 Third Ave @ Lyon St in The Glebe

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Filed under Activities for kids, Attractions, Events, Free

Noodle Box

by Sara

On February 14, 2008 I bought a Rubbermaid container and 4 bags of alphabet pasta.  It was our Valentine’s day present for the, then almost-two-year-old, firefighter.  We filled the container with the noodles and several of his favourite construction vehicles and voila, our very own construction site!  Two years ago the total cost for everything was less than $20.

The firefighter, on Valentine’s day, loving the  noodle box.

Two years later we still have the same box and the same noodles.  Although many have been sacrificed to the dog and vacuum. 

The noodle box is a toy that is kept behind closed doors.  I bring it out for the firefighter when I am working.  He will put the lid beside him and take out all the toys he doesn’t want to use.  He will play happily for 30-45 minutes.

The monkey also loves the noodle box but he needs be supervised as noodles usually end up spread far and wide.  I find the fewer toys I leave in the box, the more creative (and less disastrously messy) the play is.

It makes for a great rainy day or “I need 15 minutes to get dinner ready” activity).  We also have a rubbermaid container filled with Moon sand and assorted scooping and digging toys.

Do you have any sensory box activities at your house?

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

Trick or Treat to a Wicked Beat

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Kids in Cowtown

As the song says, Go West!

We are very excited/ thrilled/ giddy to be launching Kids in Cowtown with a fabulous Calgary mom! Danielle loved the great ideas and parenting community she saw here at Kids in the Capital and wanted to see the same resource in her own city. So working together, Kids in Cowtown was born!

Danielle has already started sharing some of the great ideas she has for kids and parents at Kids in Cowtown.  Just like at Kids in the Capital, Kids in Cowtown will be drawing on the great parent blogging community in Calgary.

We hope you will let any friends and family living in Calgary know about this awesome new blog. And don’t forget to visit yourself or follow Kids in Cowtown on Facebook and Twitter!

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Stuffed Paper Bag Turkey Craft

by Alyssa

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we are starting to get ready by decorating our house with fun (and easy) crafts found across the internet. My daughter has made hand-turkeys, a horn-of-plenty, and painted pictures this year we are going to try something a little different.

I came across this cute idea for a Thanksgiving themed craft, you can make them before the actual event or use them as a Thanksgiving craft to keep little ones busy after dinner! What’s fun about crafts like these is you don’t have to use exactly what’s needed for supplies. We substituted a few ideas of our own to the original idea from Kaboose. They have crafts for just about every occasion!

Stuffed Paper Bag Turkey:
Supplies –

  • Brown paper lunch bags
  • Paint, Markers or crayons (for decorating)
  • Felt pieces (orange, brown, green, and red) or coloured paper (we used paper for this one)
  • 2 medium wiggle eyes (we didn’t have access to eyes so we just drew them on!)
  • White or stick glue
  • Scissors (parents, this is where we come in!)
  • 1 Spoon and brown cardboard

How to make one:

  1. Lay out brown paper bag on a flat surface. Using the paint, markers or crayons to add colour at the opening of the bag. About 5 to 6″ long (this will be the turkey’s tail feathers)
  2. Open up the bag; make sure to make stripes all the way around including the sides!
  3. Carefully cut the stripes with scissors. You can colour the other sides of the strips but this is optional. We left ours brown and gave it a little colour 🙂
  4. Fill the bag up half way with crumpled up newspaper.
  5. Gather the bag together just under the strips and fasten with elastic band. Make sure to fix the strips the way you like them, pinching just under the elastic you can bring them forward and arrange them, these are the turkeys feathers.
  6. If you decide to use paper instead of draw the features on you’ll need to cut the following from felt or paper – orange triangle (beak), red heart (gobbler),brown triangles (feet) and green bowtie.
  7. For the head: Place the spoon face down on the cardboard, trace it and cut it out. Make sure to make the neck long enough to insert into the body. This will be your turkeys head. Glue or draw on eyes, beak and gobbler.
  8. Placing the stuffed bag on its side ruffles up, cut a small hole at the end of the bag where the neck and head should be.
  9. Push the neck of the cardboard head into the hole and add some glue to seal it.
  10. Cut some toes out from the two brown triangles, dab some glue and set the turkey on them so the feet will stick to the bottom. (our turkey stood on his own so we just drew the feet on)
  11. (Optional) Cut out your bowtie and glue it on the front as well.

For extra fun you can try adding a “happy thanksgiving” sign and gluing it on the front of the turkey under the bowtie. You can really use your imagination when it comes to craft and this one is great for it too, we substituted some of the original supplies with what we had around the house and you can do the same too!

These are fairly simple and make a cute center-piece your child can be proud he or she made this thanksgiving! Happy crafting!

Alyssa is an almost-30, stay-at-home mom of two wonderful kids aged 2 (boy) and 6 (girl), together with her husband Patrick. She spends her days taking care of her family, home and everything in between while posting on her blog A Motherhood Experience by night.

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Eko Bear

We have the pleasure of welcoming a new sponsor to Kids in the Capital, Eko Bear! A local online store selling eco-friendly toys , Eko Bear was started by Linda Peters out of desire to find environmentally friendly toys for her son.  

Every product offered by Eko Bear is eco-friendly. This includes biodegradable toys, toys made from recycled materials and toys made with sustainability in mind. Eko Bear provides a summary of what makes each product eco-friendly in the shop by brand page.

You’ll recognize a lot of the great brands offered by Eko Bear, like Plan ToysSprig and Clementine Art. If you are looking for something in particular and didn’t find it on Eko Bear, you can contact  Linda and she will try to find it for you.

We are excited by the upcoming giveaway being hosted by Eko Bear! We are very excited that Eko Bear is offering Kids in the Capital readers 15% off all purchases with the coupon code Capital15 until December 31st, 2010.

Make sure you take a look at Eko Bear website, check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.

Welcome Linda!

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Social Media Monday: Why blog?

by Brie

If you told me two years ago I would one day come to define myself as blogger I would have laughed in your face. Politely of course. At the time  I was technologically challenged and nervous about having any digital footprint out in the wide world of the internet. Plus, why would I write about my life online? It would be totally self-indulgent. And besides, no one would read it.

How wrong I was. I fell into blogging and bit by bit I have been “coming out” as a blogger. Part of the reason is that my online world and the real world have come to intersect so much as friends in one world become friends in another.

Why blog? There are as many different reasons for blogging as there are types of bloggers. In Ottawa alone you will see bloggers that run the spectrum. People blog about what they love, whether it be food, photographycrafting, weight lose or geekdom.  Many of us blog about our lives.  

For a mom with young kids reading about the struggles and joys of other moms with young kids changed my life. During those first few winter months after I discovered blogging  it made me feel less alone even as I spent day in and day out with a baby and toddler. It was a blog  post that convinced me to have my kids share a room. It was blog posts that  comforted me that other moms lived lives as busy and crazy as mine.

No matter why you chose to start blogging, one of the main reasons we all continue is for the connections. The connections we build with our readers and the authors of blogs we read. For parents these connections are so valuable. We can learn from people who have already lived through our stage of life and we can share with each other the struggles and successes of our kids.

Do you blog? What do you love about it? Do you want to blog? Tell us what scares you most about starting and we will try to address that it a future post!

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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