April 26, 2013
When you first got your license, nothing sounded more fun than taking a road trip. Of course, by the time you become a parent, the thrill has probably dissipated a little. This can be especially true if you find yourself in the unenviable position of having to make a long drive with an infant. Being stuck in a car with an unhappy and uncomfortable baby for hours on end is enough make even the most level-headed parent a little shaky. So before you strap little Susie into her car seat, take a moment and read these five tips on how to survive a road trip with baby.
1. Pack everything you need
A single individual taking a road trip can just sort of hop in the car and let things unfold as they may. Not so with a parent of a small child. Meticulous planning, while perhaps not very enjoyable, can save you from a downright hellish experience. So make sure that you get everything together that you might need. Packing light is a privilege that parents just don’t have. There are various sources available to help you out if you’re not sure what to bring. Don’t be afraid to over-pack; you’re better off having something and not needing it, than needing it and not having it.
2. Plan around your baby’s sleep schedule
A sleeping baby is generally preferable to an awake and grouchy one. So, if you can plan your trip to coincide with one of baby’s long naps, you’ll probably have an easier time of it. If you’re driving only a few hundred miles, you might even get lucky and have a child who will just sleep the whole way. Additionally, you could try driving through the night. Be warned however, only the baby should be asleep; if you’re also going to get drowsy by driving at night, you’ll both be better off awake and unhappy. If you’re baby doesn’t sleep well in car seats, try starting the trip directly after she has awoken from a good nap. This will put her in a better mood, and you’ll be able to have a bit more peace.
3. Be entertaining
Being stuck in a hot car, strapped down to the point that she can’t even move, must be really boring for your baby. She can’t even really enjoy the scenery because she’s too short and facing backwards. So be sure to include enough toys and other distractions. Bring a CD of music that your child can enjoy and sing along with it. Buy a “baby-in-sight” mirror and position it so that you can easily check up on your baby and reassure her. If you’re lucky enough to have another adult passenger, have one of you sit in the back seat to help entertain your infant. Things like finger puppets and snacks are easy to pack, and might just be the difference between a pleasant trip and a maddening one.
4. Take breaks often
You may want to simply drive straight through and arrive quickly, but if you’re bringing a baby along with you, that’s probably not going to happen. Aside from needing regular feeding and changing, babies also enjoy a change of scenery and the chance to get out of the car seat for a little while. This is especially true if your child has started to crawl or even walk. So make sure to plan for enough extra time so you don’t neglect your regular rest-stops.
5. Don’t take chance
Remember, the most important thing isn’t arriving quickly or having a good time; it’s making sure that your baby is safe. When the car is in motion, your child needs to be securely fastened into his car seat. No exceptions! Don’t ever unbuckle your child to change her diaper or to feed her. Don’t allow your child to sit on your lap or the lap of another adult. Also, be sure to obey all traffic laws, including the posted speed limit. Even when they are safely strapped into a certified baby seat, a child’s delicate body can easily become injured in an automobile accident. Don’t take the risk. Also, be extra careful not to give your baby anything that she might be able to choke on. And never, ever, leave your child unattended in the car.
John Carver is a freelance writer for an online course on defensive driving in Texas. He is passionate about road saftey.
April 19, 2013
Image by: chatirygirl
Despite the weather resembling a hard cold winter, that doesn’t mean to say that we shouldn’t wait around to have some summer fun! There’s no need to rely on waiting for a sunny day; bring the outdoors inside and throw an indoor picnic party for your kids.
How To Prepare
You’re going to need a bit of room to avoid feeling cramped; and making sure your young guests are comfortable! Try and pick a room where you have the biggest open space, and move any furniture which might get in the way. To make you feel like you really are outdoors; pick a room with lots of light and windows.
Make sure you have everything you need within reach. If you have one, use a picnic hamper to fill with plates, cutlery and napkins to avoid going back and forth from the kitchen.
Make It Look Like A Party!
You want it to feel like the summer is here! Bunting is always a great decorative accessory and you can purchase it from almost any gift shop. If you don’t want to spend a fortune on this, then you can get plastic bunting from your local pound shops.
A picnic wouldn’t be a picnic without a blanket! If you don’t have one big enough then mix and match to create a carpet of picnic blankets with cushions to sit on. Balloons are also an easy and quick way of transforming a room- without going to too much effort!
Set The Mood
You don’t want a drab and boring atmosphere to reflect the weather. Find some upbeat background music that will get your kids in the party picnic mood! You can also link some popular party games with your music; a musical statues is always a favourite and always provides great entertainment!
Provide Some Nibbles!
If you are inviting other children to your picnic party, depending on how much time you have you could ask their parents to get in on the game and bring something of their own. If you are going to do this then try to establish who makes what, so you don’t get too much of the same thing!
Crisps and sandwiches are a perfect picnic food and are easy to make – just keep your sandwich fillers simple and your nibbles varied! You can also the kids involved with your lunch preparations- this can be as simple as letting them butter the bread or bake some cupcakes if you’re feeling creative!
Keep Them Entertained
Try to come up with a few games to play before and after the picnic. Picnic parties can provide the perfect opportunity for some imaginative play. Get the dressing up box out and let their imagination run wild with princesses and knights in their very own make-believe world.
Your Secret Weapon
You’d think the most essential item would be your picnic blanket, but no. It’s your mess-minimisers you’ll be thankful for! Wipe easy tablecloths are perfect for any activities involving little ones; they catch crumbs and spillages, and are easy to wipe down after. The last thing you want is drink spilt on your favourite cushion and crumbs in your carpet! After a long day of indoor fun the less clearing up you have to do, the better.
Do you have any more suggestions for holding the perfect sunny day picnic indoors? Post your ideas in the comments below!
- License: Creative Commons image source
Rosa Sherwood is imaginative and enjoys being creative with ideas. She likes to make the most of her days at home.
April 19, 2013
Remembered as a staple of childhood snacking everywhere, this party mix, created by the Almond Board of California offers a nutritious spin just in time for Mother’s Day. Packed with tasty ingredients like almond butter, dried cranberries and dark chocolate, this mix will give you (and your loved ones) the perfect boost of energy.
Antioxidant Almond Snack Mix
3 cups (750 mL) multi-grain cereal squares, such as Chex brand
3 cups (750 mL) fibre cereal twigs, such as Fibre One brand
1 cup (250 mL) sweetened dried cranberries
3/4 cup (175 mL) dark chocolate morsels
3/4 cup (175 mL) almond butter
1/2 cup (125 mL) enriched margarine or butter
3/4 cup (175 mL) almond flour
1/4 cup (50 mL) sliced almonds
3/4 cup (175 mL) confectioners’ sugar
DirectionsLine a large sheet pan with waxed paper. Place cereal and dried cranberries in a large resealable plastic bag. In a microwavable bowl, add chocolate chips, almond butter and margarine. Microwave on High heat, uncovered, for 1 minute. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds; remove and stir until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture into plastic bag, seal and shake to coat evenly. Add almond flour, sliced almonds and confectioners’ sugar. Reseal and shake to coat. Spread mixture on waxed paper and cool completely. Refrigerate in an airtight container; mix can be stored for up to 1 week.
Nutritional Analysis: per 43 g serving/
* total alpha-tocopherol equivalents
DV = Daily Value
More recipes can be found online at AlmondBoard.com.
February 8, 2013
14 DIY Valentine’s Day Cards for Kids
January 1, 2013
Keeping a tidy and organized living space can be an ongoing challenge for most busy households. Tackling the mess may seem overwhelming, but with a little help from the whole family and the right storage solutions, getting organized can become less of a chore and a great time saver.
Sit down with your family to identify their storage issues. Then create a plan and source out the right solutions and tools to address the problems. Whether it’s de-cluttering the front hallway or storing hockey equipment, Canadian Tire offers hundreds easy to implement and attractive storage solutions to meet any family’s home organization challenges. Here are a few tips to transform your house from chaos to order:
• Make it fun. Cleaning up doesn’t have to be a chore. Your kids are more likely to pick up after themselves if you make it a fun activity. Make it a game by grabbing a stopwatch and seeing which family member can pick up the most items in one minute.
• Choose the right storage tools. From hooks, bins, shelves, hangers and racks there is a storage solution for every item and space – it’s just a matter of choosing the right one. Pick options that are easy to use for kids. For example, attach hooks to the wall of an entranceway so that they can easily hang up their jackets. Or provide colourful boxes for them to store their toys.
• Use labels. Labels are a great way to remind everyone where everything belongs. Try labelling toy bins according to what goes in them such as books, games and sports equipment. In shared spaces such as a front closet consider assigning a bin for each family member where they can put their hats, mittens and shoes.
• Be creative. As families grow and change it is a great idea to use multi-purpose storage products. A hanging shoe compartment is the perfect place to hold dolls or action figures for a child but can be converted back to shoe storage later on. Shelving units are also good to have as they can be used to hold everything from toys to clothing.
Have fun: Your kids are more likely to participate in storage and organization if you enjoy the process as well.
November 27, 2012
Kids are quickly occupied, often for hours, if you supply them with the tools for arts and crafts. Take a look at some tried-and-true ideas:
Holiday garland: These colourful paper chains are fun for kids to make and they look great around the house. All you need is good quality construction paper, tape, scissors, holiday stickers, glitter, and markers. The instructions here are courtesy of Scotch Magic Tape: First, cut multiple strips of construction paper (2 cm wide by 11 cm long), then decorate and tape the ends of one strip together to create a circle. Feed another strip through the circle and tape it closed to create interlocking circles. Continue making and taping interlocking strips until your garland is the desired length. The Scotch precision scissors are also recommended.
Be a master of disguise: Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. Place a piece of clear tape on the table, draw a funny moustache on it, stick it on your face, and wait for the giggling to start. Your kids will quickly want to take their turn drawing Santa beards, reindeer noses, bushy elf eyebrows, or whatever else they can dream up.
Make gift wrapping fun: Let gift-wrapping be a fun activity not a holiday chore. If your child is learning a musical instrument, use sheet music to wrap the gifts. For kids with a sweet tooth, try wrapping presents with candy. All you need is plain red paper, large size bubble wrap, round peppermint candies, scissors and tape.
Get your child’s motor running: Turn any wall, floor or table top into the autobahn with a bit of coloured tape and a marker. Your kids will love racing their toys cars and trucks around this homemade race track… vroom..vroom..
Hop to it: Use tape to create a hopscotch playing field and watch as your little ones test their balance, jumping ability and endurance. Your kids will have a great time while burning off the extra holiday cookie energy.
Do you have your own crafting solutions to share? Pass them along and see others on the 3M Scotch Tape Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/scotch/app_139167632894105/. For every solution shared, $1 is donated to the Children’s Aid Foundation.
November 1, 2012
Being a professional athlete in one of the most physically demanding sports takes dedication and focus to stay on top of your game. But being a devoted husband, father to three kids, and a professional athlete takes determination to a whole other level.
“My family is my number one priority,” says eight-time CFL all-star, Scott Flory, offensive lineman for the Montreal Alouettes. “Everything we do, we do as a family and with the CFL schedule taking me on the road throughout the season, it’s important to my wife Natasha and I, to spend as much quality time as we can together.”
But let’s be honest, being a parent to three kids takes a lot of agility and effort too. Every day is game day – regardless if you’re a professional athlete or not – and a busy dinner time can feel like the 4th quarter when you are down a few points. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup, the CFL is teaming up with Nestlé to share how their players deal with family life and its everyday meal challenges. Here, Scott and Natasha share their tips on winning at dinner time:
Everyone to the table “Dinner time is our time to reconnect,” says Scott. “We talk about our day and the kids tell us what they learned in school.” Get your kids talking by not only asking about their day, but how they felt about it: Was it a good day? Sharing emotions is a healthy habit to get into at any age and the dinner table is the perfect place to open up.
Kid-friendly meals quickly It’s safe to say that most kids like pizza, and the Flory kids are no different. “They could eat Delissio pizzas all the time,” laughs Scott. “And it’s all about balance — getting the kids to eat something that doesn’t take long to prepare so we can get off to our next activity,” says Natasha. Pizza is great paired with a green salad or raw veggies and meals are a great time to encourage kids to drink milk. The family favourite, Nesquik, for example, allows you to make milk fun and delicious with the chocolate flavour kids love, while you control the amount.
Dessert days While the Florys don’t eat dessert with every meal, when they do, the kids’ love ice cream. “Our kids love Mini Drumstick cones and as parents we love them because they’re a small treat that always brings big smiles,” says Natasha.
These tips and other solutions to feed real life can be found online at www.nestle.ca.
November 1, 2012
Two-time Grey Cup champion Geroy Simon, receiver for the B.C. Lions, knows a thing or two about being busy. When he’s not breaking records for the CFL, Geroy and his wife Tracy are taking care of their two kids – doing the school shuttle run, keeping track of extra-curricular activities and homework, and making nutritious meals.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Grey Cup, the CFL is teaming up with Nestlé to share ways to deal with life’s everyday meal challenges. Here, Tracy Simon shares her tips on how to handle the busy morning rush.
Start the day off right
“The morning meal is especially important for our family,” says Tracy. “Breakfast is usually pretty quick because we’re rushing to get to school, but both Geroy and I make sure our kids have something nourishing to eat because we know they need the energy to get through their day, just like we do.” The Simons say they are fans of drinking Carnation Breakfast Essentials, because it’s convenient and the kids enjoy choosing their favourite flavours.
“Sometimes it’s nice to give the kids a treat,” says Tracy. “I like to surprise them on occasion with a smaller portion treat that they enjoy and I feel good about.”
A moment to relax
Once the kids and Geroy are out the door, Tracy says she takes a quick minute for herself. “I enjoy a cup of Nescafe coffee and go over the details for the day. Our lives are busy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
These tips and other solutions to feed real life can be found online at www.nestle.ca.
November 1, 2012
As we start to sense the winter freeze, some homeowners are heating up plans for backyard skating rinks. These rinks are neighbourhood fixtures for kids to team up for a game of hockey or to step on the ice for the first time.
Despite the magical moments that an ice rink may bring, skating on a backyard ice rink involves risk—both of injury and of property damage.
“Ice skating is a traditional Canadian winter pastime and backyard rinks are a wonderful way to bring those special moments closer to home,” said Wayne Ross, insurance expert at Aviva Canada. “To keep the season safe for both your loved ones and your property, it’s important that safety precautions are a key focus of your winter weather ice rink.”
Ross suggests that backyard rink enthusiasts keep these tips in mind when building their frozen winter retreat:
• Never skate alone: Always have at least two people present. Adults should supervise kids on the ice.
• Protection: Make sure all skaters wear helmets and extra padding for the younger skaters.
• Lots of lighting: Put adequate lighting in place. Ensure extension cords are placed far away from skates and shovels.
• Think property: After flooding the rink, turn off water flow to outside taps to prevent frozen pipes. Build the rink in an area that will drain away from the house when it thaws in the spring.
• Constant inspection: Check the surface regularly for ridges and holes and frequently clear and flood the rink to keep it secure for all skaters.
By building these tips into ice rink preparations, skaters can glide through the winter chill and leave the season with warm memories. More information is available from your insurance broker or online at avivacanada.com.
November 1, 2012
As the holiday season approaches, children all over the world are carefully crafting their Christmas lists with hopes that Santa and his helpers (a.k.a mom and dad) will hear their wishes. And each and every year parents are challenged with the daunting task of picking those perfect toys. To help make this holiday shopping season a little less stressful, here are some easy toy buying tips.
Think high-tech. This year’s wish lists are expected to be dominated by techy must-haves. Kids nowadays are leaving traditional toys behind and are looking for more interactive gadgetry. Whether it’s a kid-friendly tablet, app-enabled fun, or the new Furby – a cute, talkative little creature – look for gifts that can kids can communicate and interact with.
Avoid last minute shopping. According to a recent Duracell survey more than half of parents admit to last minute shopping, and some haven’t been able to get the gifts their kids want as a result. To cut down on stress and avoid the risk of the top toys being sold out, try and get your shopping done as early as possible.
Gender neutral giving. While twenty years ago the playground was clearly split between the dolls and the action figures, now you’re far more likely to be pestered to buy the same present for a child regardless of whether they’re a boy or a girl. Toys that can also be shared between siblings are a thumbs up in the wish-list department.
Can we play together? Children may appear to want expensive toys, but they also want more play time with their family and friends. Interactive games such as the new TWISTER Dance Game are the perfect way to have some family fun. Kids and adults alike will enjoy playing and dancing together to their favourite tunes.
Powering your holiday fun. With so much focus on finding the perfect gift, some of the smaller details can easily get overlooked. Make sure you have fresh Duracell with DuraLock batteries on hand so kids (and mom or dad) can play with their new toys and gadgets right away. Giving the perfect gift can put a smile on anyone’s face – but nobody wants to witness a child’s disappointment when they open a powerless toy.
By following these simple holiday shopping tips, becoming a toy pro (and the coolest parent) is easy . Who knows maybe next year Santa will be calling you for advice.