Archive of ‘Family’ category

It’s time to shop…ERIN MILLS TOWN CENTRE style!

Another morning of rummaging through my drawers, frantically whipping through my closet just to realize that it’s time for this Mamma to go shopping! YES! FOR MYSELF! Not for the kids, not for the husband, JUST FOR ME!

How many of you are like me and although you may have gone shopping recently it was probably for everyone else in your household but not for yourself? Right? After having kids everything has been about them and it’s just recently that I’ve been finding my old self again. The one that actually used to do things for herself which included shopping and having an updated wardrobe…not one that consists of out dated clothing that were purchased pre-kids (yes that’s 6 years ago) and just don’t seem to fit right anymore.

I’m a plain and simple kinda Mamma; give me jeans or leggings, a tee or tank and add some Converse Chucks and I’m rockin’! I love that look and maybe it’s because it’s easy but I’m also looking to build off of that and start incorporating new pieces for some new looks. Shopping for me and putting together outfits is not something I’m good at. I either come home disappointed and with nothing to show for my countless hours of wandering the mall or I come home with stuff that is totally wrong for me and that I should have never bought in the first place.

I have finally come to the conclusion that I need shopping help. I need a pro by my side to talk some sense into me when I pick up the wrong thing or when I pass by something that I should be picking up.  So I called up my friend Suzanne from Your Shop Girl and asked her to come along with me and help me out. It’s all about taking the first step right? LOL! I’m half way there…admitting you have a problem is half the battle they say 😉 .

Leading up to our shopping trip I had some homework to do; find a mall to hit up that has stores that I like as well as filling out a shopping questionnaire from Your Shop Girl. Done and done…that part was pretty easy. I picked Erin Mills Town Centre as I hadn’t been in a while and was wanting to go check it out again especially after all the great changes and updates that they’ve been working on.

Once arriving we got to work. Suzanne sat down with me and before starting on our shopping adventure we got comfy on a sofa at Hudson’s Bay (these furniture departments are awesome for impromptu meeting spots haha!) and based on my answers in my questionnaire and my body type she was able to guide me on what to look for and what I should be avoiding when shopping for clothes. It was now time to hit up the stores on my list like Husdon’s Bay, GAP, H&M, Roots and a few more. By the way, H&M just renovated their Erin Mills Town Center store, and it’s fab! Also in the midst of shopping I made sure to check out the new food court which by the way is beautiful. It’s a great big open space with a wall of windows and tons of variety which is key for Mammas like us. I won’t lie, I kinda felt guilty for not bringing the kids with me…but just for a second though, haha! Also being the breastfeeding Mamma that I am, I was totally impressed with the area they have designated for nursing mothers; it’s warm and welcoming.

IMG_5133Now back to the shopping…yes I get easily distracted by beautiful shiny objects like their brand new food court but also by the other kinds of beautiful and shiny like the stuff you’ll find in the Pandora store (also located in Erin Mills Town Center) and I’ll explain in a bit. I picked up a few great pieces; an awesome off the shoulder gray sweater from Hudson’s Bay, a fab long black vest as a great layering piece from Sears, and a super cute drapey eyelet tank from GAP, along with a few other pieces. It was now time to accessorize and I’m sure you can see how Pandora fits in to this part of my shopping trip. A Mamma needs to accessorize right 😉 ! There I was able to find a great necklace and bracelet to go with my new looks. I was able to take the tips and advice that Suzanne gave me and actually put them to use. Yeahhhhh! Finally some new great pieces to add to my closet and I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to be going home with bags filled with stuff I actually liked, looked great in and felt comfortable wearing!

IMG_5143The shopping didn’t end there though because although I finally got to do some shopping for myself, I also picked up a few things for the kids and the husband. For the kids; some summer basics at The Children’s Place and Old Navy and for the husband I got some of his fave essentials from The Body Shop. C’mon what Mamma can hit up a mall without shopping for the rest of the family! It’s ok though because I was in my happy place shopping away, with my tea in hand (yup they also have a David’s tea)! Oh and did I mention that Erin Mills Town Centre also has a Walmart which meant that I was also able to cross off some items on my grocery list. You don’t know how happy I was because now I wouldn’t have to stop at the grocery store on the way home…yeah to one stop shopping!

Now my question to you is, do you need your own Mamma shopping day at Erin Mills Town Centre? Probably….right? Well lucky for you I’m giving away a $100 Erin Mills Town Centre gift card and if you want a chance to WIN, well this is your chance!

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Leave a comment on this blog post with how you would spend your $100 Erin Mills Town Centre gift card and be sure to include your Instagram name.

2. CLICK HERE to follow @Chic_Mamma on instagram.

3. CLICK HERE to follow @ErinMillsTownCentre on instagram.

IMG_5148*contest closes on tuesday, june 20th at 11:59pm*

And don’t forget to check out check out the Erin Mills Town Centre site for a list of their great free family friendly events they have going on periodically.

Good Luck everyone and who know’s I may just bump into you on my next shopping trip there 😉 .

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Erin Mills Town Centre but the opinions expressed are my own.

For more information on Erin Mills Town Centre be sure to visit them online,
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagram and twitter!

Wet Nights, Dry Nights…GoodNites®!

That moment when you potty train your child and the angels come down from heaven singing “ALLELUIA” but wait what do you mean that doesn’t always mean dry nights?

If you have older children you know exactly what I’m talking about and ifyou’re a parent who’s not at that stage yet you’re going to want to stick with me here.

Many parents when they start potty training their children automatically assume that it also means dry and accident free nights but I’m hear to tell that, that’s not always the case.
Recently on my radio show (The Parenting Show on Talk Radio AM640) we had child/family therapist and author Michele Kambolis join us as a guest for Better Sleep Month (May) and we talked about potty training, nighttime wetting and dry nights aka GoodNites®. I had no idea that being potty trained didn’t automatically mean dry nights. You see, I was pretty lucky with my oldest (Samantha) because it was never an issue with her. The minute she was potty trained also meant dry nights for her, I never had to worry about nighttime wetting.

goodnitesYou see, while all children and parents experience and eventually overcome potty training, some children also experience nighttime wetting at some point in their childhood. For some, nighttime wetting occurs later on in their childhood, while others may experience this earlier on and in some cases right after they’ve completed potty training, which makes it difficult for a parent to identify. If you want to get technical the proper medical condition is called Nocturnal Enuresis and it impacts more than 15% of 4 to 12 year old’s. It’s the involuntary loss of urine while sleeping after the age at which bladder control usually occurs. What causes this you ask? Well it’s primarily driven by development delays in bladder function so eventually it is outgrown.

With that said, my daughter Liliana (now 4 years old) was potty trained at 3 years old, however unlike her big sister her nights are not so dry and so we depend on products like Pull-Ups® to help us manage nighttime wetting at these early stages. During our show, Michele Kambolis stressed how important it is to identify nighttime wetting early on and ensure kids are using products designed to support nighttime wetting. By putting them in a bedwetting product like GoodNites® Bedtime Pants, we’re sending the message that nighttime wetting is a completely different stage from potty training (which they have already achieved), and it’s not their fault. The Bedtime Pants also offer increased nighttime capacity intake to ensure they are comfortable and dry all night long. Waking up dry may have positive effects on our little one’s self-esteem while easing the stress.

One of the early signs of nighttime wetting is when young children are dry during the day, but wake up most nights with wet bed sheets and PJ’s. It’s a common misconception that bedwetting for younger children is simply a continuation of potty training, leading kids and parents to wonder if they missed a step in their potty training process. While we as parents celebrate the milestone of successfully potty training our little ones, nighttime dryness is a completely different process and something that cannot be trained, it must be outgrown. Don’t stress thought because it’s very normal and a common part of growing up.

FACTS:

  • 1 out of 6 children are affected by nighttime wetting
  • Nighttime wetting is more common in boys
  • Nighttime wetting is hereditary…there is a 77% chance that a child will wet the bed if both parents did as a child
  • Nighttime wetting goes away in time. Just as children develop fine motor skills and language skills at different rates, they develop bladder control on their one schedules, as well

 

After chatting with Michele I am now equipped with the knowledge, tips and advice I need to tackle nighttime wetting. We’ll be approaching things a little differently with having a “non-reaction” reaction which you can hear all about in the podcast and I’ll also be looking into taking the next step with using products like the new extra-small GoodNites® Bedtime Pant which are specifically designed for younger children transitioning from potty training to increase comfort.


Click here to listen to the full podcast with Michele Kambolis where we discuss all this and more in detail and get yourself ready for drier GoodNites® so everyone can start to sleep better!

Also don’t forget to tune into The Parenting Show on Talk Radio AM640 or listen live at 640Toronto.com every Sunday at 7pm EST for more on topics like this one.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by GoodNites® but the opinions expressed are my own.

For more information on GoodNites® be sure to visit them online,
“LIKE” them on facebook and “FOLLOW” them on instagram and twitter!

The Parenting Show is HERE!

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From a young age I always knew that I wanted to work in radio and when I was 16, I made it happened! Over the years I worked at a number of radio stations (on-air and behind the scenes in promotions and marketing) and for a while I was out of the industry. 3 months ago, that all changed. I was given an opportunity that I just couldn’t say no to and so I returned to my old stomping ground at Corus Radio Toronto as the host of the NEW and much needed show on Talk Radio AM640…The Parenting Show (thanks to executive producer Sandra Carusi).

We all know that being a parent isn’t easy…it’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s crazy but it’s definitely not easy! As the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” and The Parenting Show is exactly that village that they speak about. It’s your hub for all things parenting covering topics and issues for parents and parents-to-be, from getting geared up for parenthood, dealing with newborns, toddlers, tweens, teens to getting them ready for adulthood. Whatever stage you find yourself at, we’ve got you covered. It’s our way to give you the inside look on what parenting is all about with real life experiences, stories and guests. It for parents like US and I’m sure you’ll love it!

So give it a listen and be sure to join us every Sunday at 7pm EST (right before Inside Jokes with Sandra Carusi) on Talk Radio AM640 for a parenting show like no other you’ve heard before! We’ll laugh, we’ll cry and we’ll get real!

For more info on The Parenting Show visit us online,
“LIKE” us on facebook and listen to past shows on ourTor podcast.

Frequently Asked Questions about Walt Disney World

Guest Blog Written By: Clara Power of Clara Power TPI

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Travelling to Walt Disney World is such a wonderful and exciting experience!  There is so much to see and do there and such a wonderful way to create long lasting memories with your family.  As a travel agent that focuses on All Things Disney, I have many clients who come to me completely confused and overwhelmed with the whole planning process – and I don’t blame them – IT’S COMPLICATED. Here are a few FAQ that can help make the whole planning process a whole lot easier!

1. When is the best time of year to go in terms of: A) getting the best deal B) not having the worst crowds?

This is such a big question that every client asks and I always answer the same way – the least busy times to go is outside of any school or national holiday. Christmas, New Years, March Break, Easter, July & August etc. are peak times, so if you are looking for times that are not as busy, plan to visit outside of those times. The best rates are usually outside of the peak times as well.

2. How many days should I plan to spend at the park?

What many people don’t know is the Disney World in Orlando Florida consists of 4 separate theme parks: Magic KingdomHollywood StudiosEpcot and Animal Kingdom. I believe all first time visitors should visit all 4 parks at least once, as they all have so much to offer. If time permits, I also encourage clients to visit Magic Kingdom twice, since it is such a large park and there is so much to see and do there. If time is limited and only 1 park is possible, definitely Magic Kingdom. 

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3. What time of day should I get there? Is morning better before the crowds or will I be missing out if I am not there for the evening parade/fireworks?

The earlier the better! If you can get to the theme park as soon as it opens, you will have the opportunity to go on many of the busiest attractions before the lines become too long. It’s also one of my favourite times to be there, as you can see the park without the throngs of people. I recommend you get to the park right at rope drop time and get some of the most phenomenal pictures as there will be no one blocking your view. When traveling with young children, I encourage my clients to head back to their resort after lunch for a rest or some pool time and then return to one of the parks in the evening that is having fireworks or parades. This way you get refreshed and ready to take it all in again. As the children get older, spending the full day at the park ensures that you don’t miss any of the action.

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4. Can I use these passes at other theme parks or do I have to purchase each park separately?

Disney offers a ‘More you stay, the less you pay’  Disney has a number of different theme park tickets ranging from 1 day to 10+ days, and with each additional day purchased, the per-day price does decrease. You can either purchase a base ticket which allows you to visit 1 park per day or a park hopper ticket that allows you to visit as many parks per day as you wish. The Waterpark add on also allows visits to the 2 Disney waterparks – Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

5. How do Fast Passes work? Is there a charge?

Fast Passes are FREE and they are so worth using. When staying onsite these can be booked 60 days in advance and those staying off property they can booked 30 days in advance. All guests are entitled to 3 Fast Pass selections per day and they allow you to by-pass the queue for the ride or attraction you have selected. Once you have used your 3 Fast Passes, you can retrieve additional Fast Passes while in the Disney Park using the Disney App. Definitely a great time saver.

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6. Is it worth it to stay on site? What are the benefits?  

Without question! Staying on site offers so many benefits including extra magic hours, complimentary transportation throughout WDW, magic bands, early Fast Pass reservations etc. Staying onsite ensures that you get the full Disney experience and you never have to leave the magic! For more details on this, ready my post about the all the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort Hotel.

7. Are there any secrets that I should know about to book ahead (like the Bippity Bobbity Boutique or meals with the characters for example). 

Best piece of advice is to book early! For the best prices and the best options, booking early is always the way to go. Dining Reservations open 180 days prior, and some of the hottest and most popular restaurants book up very early. Does your daughter want to have breakfast in Cinderella’s Castle with some of her favourite princesses? This is one of the most difficult reservations to secure if not booked at the 180-day mark. Other popular restaurants include Be Our Guest and Chef Mickey which are also some of my personal favourites. When booking a resort stay, Disney only requires a $200USD deposit with final payment due 30 days before arrival. If the price drops from the day you booked until final payment day, the booking can be adjusted making booking early a win-win situation.

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8. Can I bring my own food and drinks to the park? 

Guests are permitted to bring food items such as snacks or foods that do not require heating into Disney theme parks. Inform a Security Cast Member of any food items when you enter the park. Foldable, soft sider coolers are also permitted, but be sure that any items package are in plastic not glass containers, as those will be confiscated. If bringing food, it’s beneficial to have a stroller to carry it in, but remember wagons are not permitted either.

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9. A family of 4: 2 kids 2 adults, with airfare and a healthy amount of park time, what’s the average budget you recommend (CAD or USD).

When staying at a Disney property, the prices can vary significantly depending on the time of year and the type of Disney accommodations selected. I have sent clients to a Value Resort for 7 days including the meal plan and a 5 days base ticket for as low at $2800 USD. When staying at a Deluxe property, prices will increase depending on the resort, type of room, view (theme park views are most expensive) and there are special room categories including club level or overwater bungalows. Flights to Orlando can also vary and from Toronto – anywhere under $500 per person round-trip is good. With extra planning and good advice, Disney can be affordable for everyone.

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10. Are there any big ‘don’ts’ for going to Disney? What should you avoid, what are expectations that are most often disappointing?

What I always like to remind my clients is that going to Walt Disney World is a vacation – you are supposed to enjoy it! Planning is key, but over-scheduling is not going to benefit anyone. Plan based on your children and what they can or can’t handle. If they are easily stimulated, plan lots of down time as a meltdown isn’t going to make a memorable experience.

Include your children in the planning process. Get them excited about what’s to come so they can be mentally prepared and if possible try to enjoy a resort day with no parks to rest your feet. Use the services of a professional who can help navigate and make sure you get the most value for your dollar by planning special VIP tours, specialty dining and unique experiences.

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For those who are interested in visiting, right now Disney is having a great promotion –  get a FREE dining plan. Click below for more info.

For more from Clara Power TPI be sure to check her out online
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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.

Be Our Guest!

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There’s something about Disney and every little thing that they do that is MAGICAL! The characters, the stories, the emotions and the feelings that come from a Disney experience is like no other than I have ever come across. It doesn’t matter if you’re 3 years old or 93 years old. It brings you back to a time of innocents, it brings you back to a childhood where magic was real and anything was possible.

To this day one of my favourite things to do is sit with my kids and put on a Disney movie to watch together. Many of the stories and movies are ones that I got to experience for the first time with my kids, which makes it extra special for me. The first movie I ever took Samantha and Liliana to see at the theatre was Cinderella (2015) and I will never forget it. They were 4 and 2 years old at the time and were in awe from beginning to end. They didn’t move an inch, say a word and many times I had a to lean over to make sure they were still breathing haha. To see their eyes light up and the smiles emerge on their faces was just magically and is something I will ever get sick of seeing.

This past May I came across the news of a new Disney theatre release…Beauty and The Beast! The girls and I have been patiently awaiting for this movie to hit the theatres and we still have to wait a bit as it won’t be out till March 17, 2017 but today they released the official movie trailer! I have goosebumps and can’t wait to sit down with my little ladies later on to watch it together.

Here it is…

So mark your calendars because it’s coming in a little over 4 months and you don’t want to miss it!

5 Steps to Decrease Allergies: A Naturopathic Approach

Guest Blog Written By: Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor

Allergies are on the rise in North America.  According to stats, 30% of adults and 40% of children are allergy sufferers.  According to The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, an “allergy” is an overreaction of the immune system to substances that usually cause no reaction in most individuals. So why are people reacting to substances like dander, creams, pollen, foods and mold?

SYSTEM OVERLOAD!

Our immune system is tasked with the role of reacting to things that are life threatening-like a virus or bacteria. When the body is overloaded with poor food choices, stress, chemicals in the environment, products used on the skin, medications etc, the immune system can no longer keep in check what it had kept in check for so long. This is when I see patients in my office complaining that their allergies have worsened or a new rash has formed.

What to do if you have allergies-known or unknown.

1. Remove the Allergen. If you know what you are reacting to, then do your best to avoid exposure as best as you can. Allopathic allergy shots are created to help you become “desensitized” to the allergen. There are many side effects with this and it can be very time consuming. I offer an all natural Allergy Shot to help your immune system find balance.

If you do not know your allergens, then 1. See a Naturopath and get a Food Sensitivity Test to see if something you are eating is triggering a reaction and 2. See your Allergist to get tested for environmental allergies/medicines/chemicals.

2. Detoxify your Liver/Kidneys/Colon. All three of these organs help to eliminate waste from your body. If any organ is not performing it’s duty, then the build up of allergens and toxins can start to show symptoms like hives, rashes, runny nose, sore throat, puffy eyes, headaches, brain fog etc.

3. Clean up Your Diet: Eating fresh whole foods and eliminating sugar and processed foods is sure to help with your allergies. Ensure you get tested to see which foods are best for your immune system. Ensure you are drinking lots of water to clean out your system.

4. Supplementation with Fish oils, Vitamin C and Zinc can help modulate your immune system.

5. Manage Stress: This is super important! Most people do not know how much they are stressing their mind and body until hives appear or allergies worsen. Try to implement deep breathing, yoga, meditation, Reiki, Acupuncture or counselling for your stress.

For more from Dr. Jen Cisternino Naturopathic Doctor
and to book a free 15 min consult be sure to check her out online,
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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

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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Time passes but one thing will ALWAYS remain…

PapaCard

It’s a year, a fuckin year already and almost to the exact time that you took your last breath. We sat beside you holding onto you for dear life and feeling so helpless because there was NOTHING we could do to stop the inevitable from happening! It was a year ago today that I lost my Daddy, my Papa, and my Hero. No one told me it was going to be this hard, they sugar coat it and tell you shit like he’s not gone, he’s still with you or just give it some time, it will get better…you know the crap people say to make you feel better…things they think will make you feel better. The truth is that for me it didn’t but instead made things worst, especially when it came from the mouths of people who’s parents are alive and well. Sometimes you just don’t care to hear from people who know nothing about how I feel or what I’m going through. Am I still angry and upset over my father’s passing? Yes, of course…he was a HUGE part of my life and living without him hasn’t been easy.

Over the past year I’ve wanted to write about him more, not so much for those of you who come here to read my blog but for myself. I said I would blog for his birthday (June 10th) and then again on Father’s Day but I just couldn’t bring myself to it. I wanted to cherish those days and spend them reflecting back on my time with him and the memories I’m left with instead of typing away on my computer. I also debated about writing this today but here I am.

It’s been a shitty and hard year, one that I could have NEVER prepared myself for. There were days when I didn’t wanted to wake up and get out of bed, days when I was determined to laugh and smile even though I was dying inside, days when I would say up at night going through old pics balling my eyes out when the rest of the house was sounds asleep and even days when I needed a hug from him so bad that I would go to the cemetery and hug the stupid marble wall where his body lays as my tears streamed down the plaque that has his picture and name on it.

Papa I miss you so much! I wish you were here for our annual CNE visit, for Mamma’s birthday, to bring Samantha to school, to meet Marcus and watch him grown, to spend the holidays together, to share one last plate of pasta and ceci with you for San Giuseppe, to get one last Happy Birthday phone call from you, to come see you for your birthday, for you to be here for the kids birthdays, to be able to spend Father’s Day with you and for all the in betweens! I don’t want to go to mass tonight, I want you to be here so that we don’t have to plan stupid memorial masses for you. I want July 25th to be like any other boring and non eventful day, I don’t want to remember it as the day I lost YOU!

Time passes we all know that but one thing will ALWAYS remain and that is my love for you and yours for me! You are my Papa and always will be, doesn’t matter if you are here beside me holding my hand or up in heaven looking down on me. It’s all these things that will remain no matter how much time passes. Even as I sit here crying and writing I can hear you saying “ah Pina mia don’t cry, c’mon” and so I’m going to wipe these tears away for you Papa and do my best to be strong and smile because I was blessed with the most amazing dad in the world!

I love you sooooooo very much and that will never change!

xoxo

 

 

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