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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 Photography

We have another fabulous sponsor to introduce to you!

Inspired photography logo

Inspired Photography is another great mom-run business.  Julie, mom of two,  is “inspired by my children, by photographs of my own childhood, by rosy cheeks, dimples, baby toes, and long eyelashes; by new beginnings, belly laughs, and hand holding; by bumblebees, sunsets, the wind, and wild flowers; and by lots more”.

I think Julie’s work speaks for itself in her ability to capture those fleeting moments and provide timeless memories.


I have been lucky enough to have been having Julie taking photos of my kids since they were first born and I can tell you from first hand experience that Julie does an excellent job. She puts you at ease and brings out the best in you and your family.

Kiernan and I - Christmas 2007

Quinn - 8 days old. (May 2009)

Julie specializes in maternity, newborn, children and family portraits and does sessions either in her home or on location in the Ottawa area.  She is very affordable and offers that extra personal touch that makes a photo shoot a pleasurable experience.

She is offering Kids in the Capital a special discount!  Mention that you heard about her from the site and get 25% off her sitting fee.  Head on over and check out her site now!

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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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Nayla Natural Care giveaway winner!

Thank you to Nayla Natural Care for hosting such a great giveaway! We SO love to support local mom businesses!!

Joanne is the lucky winner of of Kinderville Little Bites Bowls! Please email Gwen at info@naylanaturalcare.com

Congratulations Joanne – we’re sure you’ll love them!  And everyone else, please take the time to visit our fabulous sponsor Nayla Natural Care.

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Frugal Family Water Park Fun

by Caroline
Water parks are part of summer in my family. Ever since my husband and I were dating, we would hike off to one water park or another, and ride through (and on) tubes and around loops getting soaking wet and having a blast. Call it what you will, but we fell in love over swimsuit wedgies and sunburns.

One place we visited was Mont Cascades, in Cantley, Quebec.

Recently, my husband was hankering (read: Pleasepleaseplease can we go to a water park Hun? Please???) to spend some time in a water park, and agreed our son, now two, would be old enough to enjoy it as well. So, we looked at all the water parks in the Ottawa area, and decided on Mont Cascades for his introduction to the water park experience. We figured this park would not have parking fees, traffic jams, long lineups and maybe have a more relaxed atmosphere, one where we wouldn’t worry quite as much about crowds, or how many people would see me in a bathing suit. Seriously.

Mont Cascades delivered. We discovered a great, inexpensive and enjoyable outing for our family with our choice. We have been twice this season, and are very happy with the experience both times.

The best part is the price. For the park’s 20th anniversary, all entry fees have been dropped to $10 (plus tax). Kids two and under, as usual, are free. This meant, for us, that our entry for the day was $23.20! This was a much welcome alternative to $88 plus parking at other places we looked at. Parking is free at Mont Cascades, and you can bring in all your own food.

Subway is available if you don’t want to bring your own food, so at least you can have a healthy choice other than fries and burgers. I believe there is also bar that serves regular fare. We didn’t check out either, since we had all our own food with us.

The first time we arrived, we came for the afternoon, and the second time, we came in the morning and spent a good part of our day. Both times, the parking lot was quite full, and a bit helter-skelter to find a spot. Not surprisingly, most were family vehicles that had gaggles of kids and teenagers piling out, like clown cars at the circus. Who knew minivans could hold so much? No matter where you park, the walk is never that far to get to the gates.

I suggest arriving right at ten a.m., when the park opens, if you are planning a full day. Not only will you get a better parking spot, but there are several tents and areas with shade, and they fill up really quickly. If you come anytime after opening, you’ll have to do paper-rock-scissors with the family of ten taking up the last table, or sit out in the sun. Both times we were in the sun (which is just fine), but we did manage to snag a half-picnic table to stash our cooler and bags. The park suggests not bringing in valuables, of course, but we felt very safe leaving our stuff “out” in the groups of people.

The park is kept clean, and we appreciated the ability to recycle our waste from our picnic lunch. Picnic tables and structures are in good shape too. There are change rooms in the main building, and pay lockers (bring loonies) if you want, but again, if you arrive later in the day, you likely won’t get one. A suggestion is to bring a bicycle cable lock to keep your stuff attached to a picnic table leg, if you feel necessary.

I didn’t bring my wallet, and stashed my camera and phone in the car, so I have no pictures. Next time I’ll buy a waterproof instant camera and get some snaps.

Neither time was the lineup long for entry, when we arrived. Even with lots of people waiting, park staff had all their ticket windows open, and everyone was moved through quickly. You can pay by debit or credit card, but we always had cash to make it quick, and negate the need to carry our wallets.

Once you have your tickets, you go through a gate where they make sure you don’t have any glass or sharp knives (tip: pre cut veggies and cheese so you don’t need a paring knife). The gate is also where you get your massive, indelible-paint-like stamp on your hand. My son was ecstatic to get a “sticker” for his hand, and giggled like mad when the park staffer stamped him. Mine has yet to wear off, but my son’s came off right away. I suppose this means I need to moisturize more. I have lizard skin.

For us, we didn’t venture to any of the big slides in the park, as our son is just a toddler, and was relegated to the 48” and under area, called Mini-Splash. This was no sacrifice, since there are five slides in the kid’s area to play on.

Three white coloured slides are right off the main wading pool. One is a wide slide that several kids, or kids + parents can go down at once, and another is a straight, narrow slide that one child can easily slide down. There is also a twisty-turny one, but very tame. Two orange and green slides are above the main area, and exit out to a separate deck. Both quite fun, twisty-turny slides for kids. My son liked these best. I’ll admit they were right up my alley too, I’ve slowed down in my old age *creak*.

One thing we really liked was that all the slides are capable of taking a parent with a child seated firmly in your lap. You can stay with them the whole time. For smaller children, this is so important, as they learn water safety. Always within reach, is the adage, and I firmly adhere to that. The wide slide in the main area could handle my husband and me with our son between us, and he got a real kick out of all three of us sliding together, holding our hands and grinning ear to ear each time we went. Every time we would go down together, people would laugh. I suppose we made quite the sight, two adults holding a tiny boy’s hands and all screaming “WHEEEE!” at the top of our lungs.

Another plus is that you can bring in your own flotation devices for the kids, instead of having to rent the ones the park provides. We have a wee swimsuit for our son that has foam on the back and front, and fits him properly. He looks like a robin-egg blue turtle with a tiny rear-end, but he floats on his back automatically, if he gets in trouble. I believe you can also rent lifejackets, but it’s not a requirement for small kids.

There are two other pools for swimming and wading, and both are quite nice. Once is right by the main buildings, and another is up a wee hill, and has water jets spouting at various points, like a massive town centre water fountain you can actually play in. We tended to stay at the slides, as both times we went, the pools were packed with older kids splashing. But we did get some swim time in, since our son is learning to dunk his head, blow bubbles, and float.

For over 48”, but not ready for the big slides, is a place they call Splash Forest. This has one of those massive tilting water buckets, and some tube slides that come off a big play structure. There are water squirt guns, and various other attractions. We went up to see if our son might like to play in it, but he was more content to watch. The big bucket spilling over everyone was quite a fun game for him to watch, and he would jump and point in anticipation as the young boys all gathered right under the apex of where the water dropped. He thought it was hilarious as they all screamed. We didn’t take him under it in case it scared him, though. Next year, when he’s older, my guess will be we won’t be able to keep him away.

Overall, I think the value for what you pay is very high at Mont Cascades, and would recommend it to families with small kids, or even older ones who want to ride some really cool water slides like Black Magic or Mammoth River and not blow the bank. It’s close to Ottawa, very friendly, and family-oriented. But don’t take my word for it, you should go!

http://www.montcascades.ca/aqua/en_home.asp

Directions from Ottawa: Take the MacDonald Cartier Bridge North and take the 2nd exit, Highway 50, direction East to Montreal/Gatineau. Take 1st exit, Saint-Louis, #138 and turn right (North) onto Highway 307. Drive 15 Km, turn left onto Mont Cascades Road and proceed 7 Km to Mont Cascades.

Caroline bought a Mustang, and began dating the man who sold it to her. Two years later, after a wedding and the birth of her son, she found herself with a family. The car seat fits just fine in the Mustang and her two-year old son takes great pleasure in calling it “Daddy’s car”. Caroline has stopped correcting him. He did earn a commission when he sold it, after all… You can find her blogging at http://www.mustangsabby.wordpress.com and http://nomorepicklesandicecream.blogspot.com

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We happen to think that Kids in the Capital is the best kept secret in Ottawa. Of course, we could be biased. We also think that should change!

If you love Kids in the Capital please help spread the word!

For the bloggers out there, feel free to grab one of our buttons to add to your blog.

I Blog at kidsinthecapital.com

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I Blog at kidsinthecapital.com

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For all our readers that want to let their neighbours know about Kids in the Capital, feel free to print off our poster and put it up in your park, on your street, in your kid’s school. Wherever!

And in the spirit of sharing the love, if you have some great blog posts you want to write for Kids in the Capital make sure you email us at kidsinthecapital@gmail.com. We can’t wait to hear from you!

Thank you to the wonderful Lynn (of Turtlehead) for the buttons and poster!

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