Archive of ‘Life’ category

It just takes YOU to make a difference…

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This past Wednesday was Pink Shirt Day; a day when we proudly wear pink shirts in honour and support of anti-bullying. Bullying is a major issue and sadly it’s not getting any better which is why we need to create awareness and ban together to put an end to it.

Did you know that…

  • Canada has the 9th highest rate of bullying in the 13-years-olds category on a scale of 35 countries
  • At least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada have reported being bullied recently
  • Among adult Canadians, 38% of males and 30% of females reported having experienced occasional or frequent bullying during their school years
  • 47% of Canadian parents report having a child victim of bullying
  • Any participation in bullying increases risk of suicidal ideas in youth
  • The rate of discrimination experienced among students who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans-identified, Two-Spirited, Queer or Questioning (LGBTQ) is three times higher than heterosexual youth
  • Girls are more likely to be bullied on the internet than boys
  • 7% of adult internet users in Canada, age 18 years and older, self-reported having been a victim of cyber-bullying at some point in their life
  • The most common form of cyber-bullying involves receiving threatening or aggressive e-mails or instant messages and has been reported by 73% of victims
  • 40% of Canadian workers experience bullying on a weekly basis
    (source: http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/45838.html)

Those are just a few of the many scary stats that are out there. Bullying is real and doesn’t discriminate against age, sex, religion, sexual preference, or race. I hear cases of it at Samantha’s school with kids as young as 4 years old, with my nieces and nephews who are tweens and teens and hell, just a few years back I was a target amongst a group of online moms through social media. It’s name calling, it’s shoving and pushing, teasing, spreading rumours and lies, attacking and making fun of people in person and on social media. It’s sending threatening texts and emails and sadly the list doesn’t end there.

Something needs to be done to put an end to this all and the answer starts with YOU!

16911044_10155792280264838_2123915209_oWednesday evening I had the honour of being invited to attend the very first Pink Shirt Day concert at Vaughan Mills Mall from our friends at GIRL TALK Empowerment. It was simply fantastic! The vibe and energy was amazing and positive! They had a “Kindness Never Goes Out Of Style” pop up shop set up where people were able to go in and purchase a pink tee, take some fun pics and leave an inspiring message on their pink wall. The concert was the main event and rightfully so! Hosted by GIRL TALK Empowerment founder Katie Zepperi and featuring a Q&A session with YouTube star Meg DeAngelis and music from Ryland James and Tyler Shaw. Each of the young stars shared stories, experiences and positive messages with the crowd. Their message to be kind, to treat others as you would want to be treated and to stand up against bullying whether you are the victim or a witness, was something that hit close to home for many of the people who were there. It was exactly what these young people as well as the adults there needed to hear.

16990054_10155792280204838_943930698_oBullying needs to end here and now! No more of this crap and no more of standing by and watching it happen! WE need to do something about it and WE need to start now! We as parents need to teach our kids right from wrong and lead by example because they are watching and learning from us. Our kids are listening to the words we are speaking and more importantly are watching our actions so we can’t just talk the talk, we actually need to walk the walk. If we say one thing but do the other what message our we sending our children?

So I decided to share a few tips with you Mammas and Papas because let’s face it, everything starts at home so if we can get it right, then it will help lead our kids in the right direction.

  • Show respect to one another in and outside of the home
  • Be kind because kindness is contagious
  • Be aware of your words and actions especially in front of your children
  • When you see someone being bullied DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT and lend a helping hand

In a world where people feel entitled and it’s easy to hide behind cell phones, computer screens and social media accounts, it’s important to spread the message of kindness and love rather than one of hurt and hate. Remember it just takes YOU to make a difference and if each one of us commits to that, than think of what we can accomplish together in this fight against bullying.

Special thanks to Katie Zepperi of GIRL TALK Empowerment and Vaughan Mills for putting on this stellar event and inviting me to tag along! Much love to everyone and wishing you all a fab and oh so CHIC day xoxo.

Just 1 Day….PLEASEEEEEEEE!

Let me start by saying that I love my kids more than life itself. They are my life, my world, my everything! Now what I’m about to say may come as a shock to maybe 1 or 2 of you but to the majority, I’m probably preaching to the choir. People may judge…well fuck who am I kidding, of course they will because it’s the norm these days but it’s a good thing that I don’t give a shit because I’m gonna say it anyways.

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I need a day, just 1 day, a fuckin day to myself, for ME, with no one around! No kids, no husband, NO ONE! As Mammas we carry these kids around for 40 weeks which is 10 months not 9 (who ever came up with the 9 month shit was probably a man), deliver them either vaginally or via c-section and let’s be honest here…neither tickle or are a walk in the park, then the minute they are born, we are with them pretty much 24/7. Our lives change gears, it’s now all about them not us, it’s about making sacrifices and doing what we need to do to make sure they are happy and most of all healthy. We go through breastfeeding or trying to and again painful as fuck in the beginning and draining like no man could ever imagine.  We worry about them every waking hour and even when we sleep.  At night, the slightest change in their breath (which we an hear from down the hall and 3 rooms away) has us jumping out of bed and running to their side to make sure they are ok. We pick them up when they fall, kiss their boo boo’s and do our best to raise them with a good head on their shoulders. When they are sick we want them to feel better and it kills us inside knowing that sometimes shit is beyond our control and there isn’t much we can do besides hold their hands and give them tons of hugs, kisses and let them know that Mamma is right there with them. It’s a pretty hard job being a Mamma, it’s a selfless job! It’s a job that doesn’t come with pay, vacation days or sick days! Sick days? What the fuck are sick days?! Sick days don’t exist for us. We do however get rewarded in many other ways…through hugs and kisses and the I love you’s that are said in their little voices and of course seeing their faces light up and smiles that appear when we are the first thing that they see in the morning.

13937933_1374543322574275_7371059919110213550_oNow with all of that said I’m tried, I’m exhausted and I’m not saying I don’t wanna be a Mamma anymore. I’m just saying I need a day off. A day where I can go pee by myself without my entourage, a day where I can make and eat the meals I make (warm) without little people pulling at my legs or fighting in the background. A day where I can go without getting pee’d on, shit on, barfed on or have their snot and dirty mouths rubbed all over me. A day where I can sleep in, take a shower without rushing, pick up that book I bought months ago that I haven’t been able to crack open yet…a day where I don’t have to run and hide in the bathroom just so I can have 3 minutes of peace and quiet (which by the way doesn’t work cuz the little shits always find you).

The pressures and day to day shit that we Mammas feel is pretty insane and men (well with the exception of the few who are home raising their kids) have NO FUCKIN’ CLUE what it’s like. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home Mamma, work from home Mamma (like me), or career Mamma, everything falls on us. The kids get sick at daycare or school we’re the first ones there. Doctor appointments…it’s us, extra curricular activities…yup, us too. We’re usually the ones preparing meals too and although it may not be anything fancy it’s food and it’s warm and they’re fed. My house is a mess. I don’t know whether I’m coming or going and worst of all, us Mammas are made to feel guilty (gotta love the Mamma guilt) for wanting some solo time.

Tomorrow is December 1st

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Tomorrow is December 1st and while all the Mammas are getting ready for the holiday season I’m here prepping for my class tomorrow, grading assignments and of course getting distracted with facebook. To be honest I didn’t even realize that tomorrow is the 1st of the month, UNTILLLL I scrolled through my facebook newsfeed.

15293413_10155458045779838_1382603924_oOk seriously, am I the only Mamma out there that doesn’t buy her kids advent calendars or have the elves already in position and with a “HEY, I’M BACK!” note for the kids? I’m looking around my house and I don’t even have one single Christmas item out, let alone the Christmas Tree set up. I do have the Christmas lights outside but let’s get real that was THE HUSBAND’s doing not mine.

15271665_10155458045854838_1974377264_oDoes this make me a bad Mamma? Should I stop typing to go find the elves, write a note and call THE HUSBAND to stop at Shoppers on the way home from hockey to grab whatever advent calendars he can find? Is this what the kick off to the holiday season has become? Advent calendars…chocolates, toys or books? Elves…boy or girl or both? What about Elf clothes? Do we dress them up? Which outfit? And OMG how should we position them? Is all this shit really going to make a difference? Sure it’s fun, we have Elves too but do I go all ape shit crazy over them and follow a pinterest calendar to have them in cool and different positions each day? No, not really. There are days where I even forget to move the stupid things. Yes, OMG I admitted it…write me a ticket haha.

So, tell me am I a bad Mamma for being so chill about this stuff and just taking it easy and or is it perfectly fine? Please tell me I’m not alone 😉 lol.

Do NOT Make These 5 Weight Loss Mistakes

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

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The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. The reason for this is because people are being misguided. Most people who are overweight agree with the following statement. “When I am sad or stressed, I eat a lot. When I am happy, I eat well.” Why then are people so focused on FOOD when it comes to weight loss? It has been my experience and reality that addressing the underlying emotions that influence food choices is most essential.

Let’s discuss some of the reasons why you are not losing weight and keeping it off.

1. You don’t do a good job at nourishing your emotions. It’s not completely your fault. You may have been raised in a family where your emotional needs were not met. From a young age, you might have realized that when you were sad or anxious, no one was there to comfort you or listen to you and so you turned to food. This pattern of emotional eating to help you cope with your emotions stays with you and the habit strengthens as you get older. Unless you make the connection and tend to your emotional needs in other ways, you may always struggle with excess weight.

2. You are too stressed out. Most people I see in my office are overwhelmed with life. They work full time jobs, try to juggle family, friends, relationships, everyday stresses etc. People today fill their days with a “to-do” list that only superwoman can accomplish. What are you accomplishing if you are stressed, unhappy and overweight? When you set out to lose weight and change your habits, you need to make yourself a priority. It involves you freeing up time for yourself and saying “NO” to the things that get in your way.

3. You lack self-love. “How can I love myself when I have a lot of fat on my hips and belly?” says my patient. “Why not? You are more than your flesh”, I say. Once you learn to love yourself unconditionally (that means no matter your size), you can begin the healing process. Here is the reality, only good can come from self-love. It is a process that takes time and some hand holding, but when you have love for yourself, all your decisions reflect that love. For example; a woman who loves herself will not stuff her face with chocolate and ice cream. A woman who loves herself will want to move her body, address her emotions and eat healthier food. Alternatively, a person who hates themselves is more likely to have negative thoughts and negative emotions which lead to poor eating habits. Make sense? Why wouldn’t you choose love?

4. You think FOOD is the problem. Food is part of the problem. More importantly, it is your relationship with food that is the problem. Food is quick, easy and accessible, especially under stressful times. It seems way easier to eat pizza and chips than to express your emotions to a friend. It might be easier in the short run, but very damaging in the long run. You don’t need another fancy diet plan that tells you to avoid gluten and wheat and dairy (unless of course you have an allergy to them). You need to assess the relationship you have with food first and fix it.

5. You keep looking outside yourself for help. So many people are looking for quick fixes, drugs, diet pills, diet plans, personal trainers, nutritionist, doctors, to “fix” them. Asking for help is great, but a lot of people don’t fully understand that they hold all the answers to their problems. I want you to feel empowered in your weight loss journey. I want you to understand that healing starts when you look within yourself to address your feelings, wants and needs. One size does not fit all when it comes to losing weight. You hold the key to your weight loss success. I just help you unlock your potential.

Why am I so passionate about this topic? For many years, I struggled with my weight and was desperately searching for ways to lose it. I tried all sorts of diets and seeked out all kinds of help with no success. When I began to look within, I realized what I needed. It wasn’t pills or strict diets. It was self-love, respect and emotional balance. I started an exploration within myself which involved addressing my emotions, negative thoughts, limiting beliefs, and poor self-image. Through a process, I ultimately created a healthier environment within myself. My outer reality began to reflect my inner loving self. Weight loss happened almost immediately and effortlessly without much concern about food. It truly was a remarkable experience and I can’t begin to tell you how freeing it is. I wish the same for you.

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
“LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram!

No Baby Unhugged

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You’re pregnant and counting down till that 40 week mark but for some their little ones decide to come along much sooner. Today is World Prematurity Day, a day dedicated to raise awareness for all the babies who are born prematurely worldwide.

product1_alt2The arrival of your baby is an exciting and joyous time but for parents of premature babies it’s also a worrisome and scary time. These babies are vulnerable, sensitive and need care around the clock. The hospitals and staff have the medicine and machines which are an important part of their treatment but they are discovering just how important and critical the human touch element is when it comes to newborn care and development. Many times the Mammas aren’t able to be there around the clock to provide skin-to-skin hugs and that is why our good friends at Huggies created No Baby Unhugged. This program is an initiative designed to help hospitals ensure that all babies get the hugs they need, even when Mamma can’t be there.

No Baby Unhugged directly supports NICUs in providing premature babies with the hugs they need to thrive. We’ve all heard about the amazing benefits of skin-to-skin which include improved oxygen levels and pain tolerance, stabilized body temperatures, improved sleep, brain development and more. For premature babies, skin-to-skin also positively influences their short-term and long-term development.

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(click on image above to view the full document from the
Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres)

Through this amazing program, Huggies has provided $50,000 in funding to two Canadian hospital, with more planned. So far Huggies has partnered with Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, Nova Scotia and Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario, offering funding to cover hugging chairs and stations, along with dozens of Hugger Volunteers in the neonatal intensive care units to help ensure all babies get the hugs they need. Over 600 babies are admitted to the hospitals each year, where hundreds of hours of care are offered by trained volunteers. Click on the videos below and see for yourself on how these No Babies Unhugged hospitals are making a difference.


Want to learn more about the No Baby Unhugged program and become a No Baby Unhugged Mamma? Click here to sign up and show your support for hugs.

The Best 6 Ways to Balance Hormones

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

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Our hormones dictate how we feel, think, eat, sleep, respond, urinate, defecate, menstruate, lose or gain weight….might I go on….They are essential to life! Hormones are the messengers within us that make things happen to ensure we stay alive! Now I might add, most people today are walking around hormonally imbalanced. How can you tell? Here are a few clues that signal hormonal imbalance:

  • Weight Gain
  • Hair Loss/Thinning
  • Facial Hair Growth in Women
  • Development of Gut/Breasts in Men
  • Acne
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Brain Fog
  • Anxiety
  • Sugar Cravings
  • Lack of Energy
  • PMS
  • Irregular Menses
  • Short tempered/Irritable
  • Low sex drive   etc……..

So what can you do about it?

Here are 6 lifestyle modifications that you can start tomorrow! If you follow these steps, you will feel happier, healthier and more energetic for sure!

  • Get moving. Exercise has been shown to help with weight loss and also getting hormones balanced. It does not matter which are out of balance, as exercise is a fantastic way to help balance many. Choose an activity you enjoy and stick to it. It must be consistent exercise at least 4-5 times a week for 30 minutes.
  • Get sound sleep. When we sleep, this is when our body comes back to homeostasis, if we allow it. Disconnect from your TV, phone, email and anything that can affect melatonin production at least 45 minutes before bed. Limit caffeine after 2pm as this can affect sleep. Create a zen space for sleep and make it a priority and protect your sleep hours. They are necessary for hormonal balance. Aim for 7-9 hours. When you dream, this is a good sign of deep sleep. If you can remember them, even better!
  • Enjoy a High Fibre Diet: This includes mostly fruit, vegetables, nuts/seeds and legumes.  This type of diet is very high in fibre, which gets the bowels moving and helps flush out excess estrogen levels.
  • This is a must, especially if cortisol (your stress hormone) is elevated. Choose any form of meditation and stick to it. This has to be a consistent practice. Aim for 20 minutes a day to find inner peace and hormone balancing.
  • Do a Liver Detox twice a year. Our liver recycles hormones and when it becomes “sluggish”, hormonal imbalances results. If you are unsure which one to do, reach out as I have the perfect cleanse aimed to target liver, kidneys and colon.

Remove sugar, dairy and high fat foods/meat from your diet. This is a MUST! If you need help with sugar cravings reach out. Keeping a food journal is a great way to become conscious of what you are eating, when and why.

(Get the scoop on your hormones by clicking here to fill out Dr. Jen’s “Hormonal Questionnaire”)

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
“LIKE” her on Facebook and “FOLLOW” her on Instagram!

Sick Kids VS Everything!

I am a proud Torontonian! I love the city in which I live and work. It’s filled with amazing people from different cultures who embrace their roots, there are tons of great places to visit, awesome places to eat, fantastic music, artists, andddddd I could go on but I’d be here forever. Today, I really just want to focus on one of my all time fave things about Toronto…Sick Kids Hospital.

We are so amazingly fortunate to have one of the best hospitals right here in our backyard. One that many travel to from not only across our great country but all over the world. It all started back in 1875 by a group of women who rented out a house in downtown Toronto, set up some beds…6 to be exact and Sick Kids was born! This hospital has done sooooo much, the history on this place is just amazing. They are known world wide for their groundbreaking work and have a reputation like no other.

Sick Kids treats kids of all ages who are battling all different types of illnesses including the rarest of the rare and most serious. For some kids they are in and out, others have a short stay and some live there for months on end. These kids, their parents and the Sick Kids staff are truly amazing. Their reality isn’t an easy one and takes a lot of courage and strength.

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Recently the hospital started to put up images of kids standing brave and tall with a big “VS” behind them and today they launched the video for their newest campaign and BEST campaign I’ve ever seen. It’s called ‘Sick isn’t weak’ and well I could tell you about it but I think the best thing to do is press play and watch and see for yourself!

To all these superheroes (the kids) and their parents I applaud you…keep on fighting the fight because you can do it! And to the staff…from the admin people, social workers, nurses, doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologist and everyone in between THANK YOU! Thank you for all that you do, day in and day out.

For more information on Sick Kids be sure to visit http://www.fundthefight.ca

I AM MINE!

Getting ready this morning and as I rummaged through my jewelry box I came across one of my favourite necklaces that I haven’t worn in ages. My personalized “PINA” necklace and so I picked it up and thought perfect I’m going to put this one. I then remembered that today…October 11th is International Day Of The Girl…perfect day and reason to wear it. You may think well what does this piece of jewelry have to do with the fact that today is International Day Of The Girl but it does you see because although it may just be a personalized necklace to many, to me it’s a symbol of who I am and it tells a story….my story…the story of a GIRL!

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It goes a little like this…

I am a daughter
a little sister
a wife
a lover
a mother
a granddaughter
a niece
a cousin
a sister in-law
a zia
a Godmother
a friend
a good friend
a best friend
an entrepreneur
a business owner
a music lover
a teacher
a shoulder to cry on
a person to lean on
a hard worker
a strong independent woman
A GIRL…I AM PINA…I AM MINE!

So today celebrate YOU and celebrate the GIRLS around you because GIRLS are leaders, GIRLS make a difference and GIRLS’ rights matter. Let’s make it count ❤️.

 

The Benefits Of Cold Pressed Juice

Guest Blog Written By: Michael Appugliese “mike fresh” from Freshouse Juicebar

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The Benefits Of Cold Pressed Juice

If you haven’t already heard, drinking cold pressed juice can be the most natural and raw way to increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables.

What is Cold Pressed Juice?

Cold pressed juice is a method of extracting juice from produce. It involves two steps.

  • Pulverizing
    • The produce is first pulverized by a blade and turned into pulp. This process breaks open fibers and frees up nutrients and enzymes to be released.
  • Pressing
    • The newly made pulp is placed inside a cloth type bag and squeezed at high amounts of pressure using a hydraulic press. The strong action of the press squeezes out the most juice that can be squeezed out of the produce, better and more efficient than any other form of juicer on the planet.

What is the difference between cold pressed juice and regular juice?

download-1The juice that you find at the supermarket can take up to 12 months before it hits the shelf. Regular juice is: 1.Juiced 2. Pasteurized 3. Stored 4. Shipped

Pasteurization is the act of heating up the juice to extremely high temperatures to kill off the bad bacteria. The problem is that vitamins, enzymes and good bacteria are also heat sensitive, so you also destroy the good bacteria. Chemicals are also added to the juice during this process before it is bottled.

Cold press juice is simply the pure juice from the produce, with no type of processing done to it at all. The juice is extracted and bottled. Because of its natural nature, cold press juice must be consumed within 3-5 days (depending on the juice) from the day it was pressed. Just the way nature intended it to be!

Why Drink Cold-Pressed Juice?

Maximum Nutrition
– Regular centrifugal juicers use a blade that creates heat, which causes the juice to oxidize and lose nutrient value. The hydraulic press removes the juice from the pulp without adding any heat and yields a highly concentrated juice full of nutrients.

Fastest Absorption – once the pulp has been removed, the digestive system is able to absorb all of the nutrients immediately. The digestive system does not have to work on breaking down anything. As soon as the juice enters the small intestine, the nutrients are absorbed immediately and enter the bloodstream.

Freshest juice – Real cold press juice is never pasteurized or processed in any way. The shelf life is only 3-5 days, guaranteeing a fresh product. Always watch out for cold press juice that has been HPP’d (High pressure processing). This juice claims to be cold press, but has been processed to extend the shelf life from 3 days to 30 days! Makes you wonder if this can still be considered natural??

downloadWe are all supposed to eat fruits and vegetables everyday, the problem is that in today’s fast paced society people find it difficult to stop and take a bite of the apple, or eat that piece of broccoli. A high majority of Canadians do not take in anywhere near the recommended 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables. Cold press juice is a convenient way to stay healthy and guarantee your absorbing high quality nutrients, while getting in all your servings of fruits and vegetables.

“The juices extracted from fresh-raw vegetables and fruits are the means by which we can furnish all the cells and tissues of the body with the elements and nutritional enzymes they need in the manner they can be most readily digested and assimilated.”
Dr. Norman Walker

For more information on Freshouse Juicebar be sure to check them out online
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagramtwitter and YouTube!

Top 11 things to do with kids in Italy

Guest Blog Written By: Clara Power of Clara Power TPI

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So you are going to Italy with the kids….what a wonderful decision! There is so much to see and do in Italia – the country is so so full of culture, great food, history and AMORE. After multiple visits with my kids, there are a few things that we always try to squeeze in.

Here is my top 11 list of what to do with kids in Italy:

1. Go to the Beach – smack right in the middle of the Mediterranean, the majority of Italy offers stunning shore line and breathtaking vistas. Whether its just for a few days or a few hours, visiting the beaches is a familiar pastime for the locales and is definitely something you will not want to miss. The kids will love frolicking in the waves, making sand castles and catching some rays.

2. Visit an Archaeological site
 – from the Colosseum to Pompeii to Agrigento – the country is filled with archaeological sites that are fascinating. The history, the culture and the technology that the Romans had over 2000 years ago is something to marvel at. Even if the kids aren’t history buffs, they will enjoy just being in the center of it all and maybe be inspired to become an archaeologist one day.

3. Take a Cooking Class – Italy is known for its phenomenal food. Whether you are a pasta lover or if pizza is your thing, nothing beats rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty. Learning food appreciation and getting some hands on experience is not only fun, but a life long skill. It’s a great time for the family to bond and once done cooking, enjoy the fruits of their labour

4. Visit a Farm – agriculture is still a very large part of the Italian culture. Whether it’s growing grapes for wine, tomatoes for sauce or foraging for truffles in the mountains, visiting a farm is not only fun but educational. I am a strong believer that all children should learn where our food comes and what it takes to make its way to our bellies – and what better place to learn this!

5. Rent a Boat – nothing beats getting out into the ocean, feeling the wind in your hair and smelling the ocean air. Sailing is a popular pastime in Italy and there are so many wonderful places to stop and enjoy the panoramic seaside. Kids especially like to get in the water and perhaps do some snorkeling. If lucky enough, you might get to see a fish or 2. If a rental isn’t possible, maybe a ferry in the Cinque Terre area or along the Amalfi Coast?

6. Take a High Speed Train – there is no better way to see the Italian countryside than by traveling by train. Kids love to hop from city to city while enjoying their time using this a very popular form of transportation. For some north American children, this may be the first time on a train and traveling at a speed of almost 400 km/hour is beyond exhilarating.

7. Climb a Mountain (or a Volcano) – much of the Italian landscape is full of mountains and volcanoes. Whether you are skiing in the Italian Alps or climbing Mount Vesuvius, they are marvelous sites that should not be missed. The majestic beauty is something that needs to be experienced to be appreciated it. Not to mention, going back to school and telling your classmates you climbed a Volcano definitely gives you some street cred.

8. Visit a Botanical Garden – I’m not sure about your kids, but my kids love flowers and botanical gardens. No matter how large the city or how crazy the hustle and bustle is, there is something so peaceful and calming about visiting a garden.  It’s such a great experience to slow down and learn about some of the flowers that you may not find at home.  “Stop to smell the flowers” is a lesson that I try to teach my kids especially while on vacation.

9. See a Museum – museums are everywhere! Whether it’s the most popular choices of the Vatican Museum in Rome or seeing David in the Academia in Florence to that obscure one found in the smallest of towns, museums are a great place to learn about the country you are visiting. Many museums these days offer maps and recorded tours just for kids that point out the highlights that they find most interesting.

10. Sample Gelato
 – Italian gelato can be found in every town, on every corner of every street, and if you don’t stop to sample you are just missing out. The various flavours from Nutella to Pistachios to Tiramisu will have you salivating. Do not forget to try Lemon Granite in a Brioche (Italian bun) for a delightful treat. The kids will love comparing flavours and deciding at the end of the trip which one was their favorite.

11. Visit Sicily
 – call me biased as my family originated in Sicily, but I think Sicily is one of the most beautiful provinces in all of Italy. So many travellers visit Italy and often forget about this small island right at the tip of the Italian boot but doing that is definitely a mistake. Sicily is full of small medieval towns, majestic churches, Greek and African Influences, mountains, agriculture, and some of the kindest and welcoming people you will ever encounter. I always say that if you want to truly experience Italy, you must visit Sicily! The province feels a little like going back in time as everything moves slowly there and the people enjoy every day with such a zest for life.

Thinking about going to Italy? ChicMamma.ca Vendor Clara Power TPI can help. Planning Family vacations is what I do best. I work hard to ensure that your travel itinerary works best for you and your family. With my connections with some of the top tour operators in the world, including luxury consortium Virtuoso we can work together to make sure that you have the time of your life. Do not hesitate to connect with me and we can start planning. Arrivederci!

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