December 2011

Family New Years Eve Events in London {#LdnOnt}

It’s time to say goodbye to 2011 and welcome 2012!

If you’re like me, you’ve traded in your party dress and champagne glass for mock (early) countdowns and child-friendly activities. Spending NYE with your kids can still be a lot of fun. Check out these fun family activities taking place in town.


  • WHERE: London Children’s Museum
  • WHEN: December 31 – 10am to 2pm
  • WHAT: Raise your glass and toast to the New Year 12 hours early with a Balloon Drop. Enjoy live entertainment, a light snack, and don’t forget to wear your fancy clothes. Get ready for the countdown to noon by dancing, face painting, making noise makers, party hats and much more.
  • COST: Regular Children’s Museum admission

Rockin’ New Years Eve

  • WHERE: Victoria Park
  • WHEN: December 31 – 5pm to Midnight
    • My Perfect Princess Party (featuring Cinderella & Belle) – 7:15 to 7:45
    • Children’s Fireworks display – 9:00
    • Midnight Fireworks display – Midnight
  • WHAT: Skating, balloons, party favours, hot chocolate, live entertainment, two fireworks displays and a Princess Party.
  • COST: Free!

Storybook Gardens New Year’s Eve Family Hoopla

  • WHERE: Storybook Gardens
  • WHEN: December 31 – 6pm to 9pm
  • WHAT: A variety of outdoor activities are offered such as a campfire, skating on the skate trail, plus great food! The New Year’s countdown commences at 8:30 pm.
  • COST: 2 years and up Fee: $12 (Residents) $15 (Non-Residents) Pass holders discount applies $11(R) $14(N)
  • NOTE: This is a family program that requires registration and payment for each family member attending (adult and children). To register call 519-661-5575 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              519-661-5575      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. Registration code: 230754

Public Skate at the Sports Centre

  • WHERE: Western Fair District – Sport Centre
  • WHEN: December 31 – 2pm to 8pm
  • WHAT: Public ice skating, face painting, children’s entertainment, themed rinks and activities with a New Years Eve countdown at 8pm.
  • COST: Free with Food Bank donation.

However you choose to celebrate here’s to a safe and happy New Years Eve and all the best in 2012!


Image: David Castillo Dominici /

Happy Holidays from City Mom


Happy Holidays from City Mom

Image: suphakit73 /

A Fun Family Activity: Cascades Boutique Cardboard Christmas Tree

Have you heard of Cascades ecological Boutique before? If you haven’t you’ll want to read on to learn more about this forward-thinking, eco-friendly company and their fun products.

Cascades is the largest recoverer of wastepaper in Canada. From 100% recycled fiber wrapping paper to cardboard children’s tables to cardboard bird houses, you’ll find something for everyone on your Christmas shopping list. With products made from recycled goods you gain the confidence in knowing you contributing to the environment. And the products are high quality, not flimsy box-type cardboard.

We received a Moderno cardboard Christmas tree from Cascades Boutique. I was impressed with how sturdy the cardboard seemed. I opened up the package to start assembling the tree and felt overwhelmed at first. There were sheets of card board with cutouts and I wondered how, without instructions (expect for the diagram on the box) I was going to put the tree together. Thankfully I learned it was a breeze to assemble and it took me less than 20 minutes to do so.

The rest was pure fun as Little S and I set up our ‘paint shop’ to decorate the cardboard ornaments that come with the package. The options of decorating are endless. We chose a white tree, but it also comes in green. And we painted the stars and circles with reds, greens browns etc. We finished our tree off with a sparkly red garland.

Given more time (and there’s always next year) I would love to let Little S draw and colour the background of the tree and add her own personal touch. The images below demonstrate some ideas from the Cascades Boutique website.


The Classico Cardboard Christmas Tree is made of 100% recycled cardboard and retails for $33.00 CAD. The Moderno sells for $37.oo. Right now Cascades Boutique is offering free shipping when you spend $120. The tree comes in white and green and shipping is super fast!

Check out the other fun products from Cascades Boutique like the Cardboard Playhouses.


More Holiday Events in London {#LdnOnt}

 Citi Plaza Story Time With Santa

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year and I’ve said it before, London loves to celebrate in style.

Here are a few fun and family friendly events taking place this weekend that you’ll not want to miss out on. Enjoy!


  • When: Sunday December 11, 2011
  • Time:  11 am – 1 pm
  • Where: John Labatt Centre. Note: Skaters are asked to enter the building through Gate 4 at Ridout and Dundas.
  • What:  Global Spectrum Facility Management will be opening the John Labatt Centre doors to the public for the 4th annual Open House Skate. All members of the community are encouraged to stop by our downtown venue and participate.
  • Cost: Admission is FREE! A toy or cash donation for the Children’s Aid Society of London and Middlesex would be appreciated


  • When: Saturday December 10, 2011 & Saturday December 17, 2011
  • Time: Stories begin at 9:30 am, movie to follow
  • Where: Citi Plaza (formerly Galleria)
  • What: Stories from Santa & a movie.
  • Saturday, Dec. 10 – The Polar Express
  • Saturday, Dec. 17 – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Cost: Free! (Story time & movie)


  • When: Saturday December 10, 2011
  • Time: 10 am – 4 pm
  • Where: Mastermind Toys, 685 Fanshawe Park Road
  • What: A festively decorated London Transit Bus will be parked in the Mastermind Toys parking lot ready to accept new and gently used unwrapped toys with a particular need for children ages 10+.
  • In addition to collecting toys to Stuff the Bus, Mastermind will also generously donate a skid loaded with toys.  At the end of the day, the bus will deliver the toy donations directly to the Salvation Army for distribution.
  • Drop-in to donate a toy and take a photo!


  • When: December 1 – December 31, 2011
  • Time: Normal paid parking hours
  • Where: Designated areas. See map below.
  • What: 2 hours of free parking in designated downtown shopping areas.
  • Cost: Free! (Parking cannot exceed the time limit posted in each zone)


City Mom’s Clean Tacos


I love Mexican food. Enough said. While on my path of clean eating I’ve gained more confidence in trying new things. I am now at a place where I am seeking to ‘clean’ up some of my past favourite recipes.

A Friday night favourite in our house is Taco Night! We love setting all the ingredients out on the table and personalizing our own tacos.

Usually I buy a taco kit and mix it all together, but sadly, that’s not clean, so I did some research and made a few adjustments and created a clean taco recipe.


Note: this is a gluten-free and cow dairy-free recipe


  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix all the ingredients together and set aside.


  • 1 can of organic diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Mix all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Mix until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pot and simmer over medium heat for 15 – 20 minutes.


Select your protein. I used organic ground beef.

Brown the meat and add taco powder with 1/2 cup of filtered water. Mix until thickened, about 5 minutes. (Note: you may need to add more water.)


Select your favourite taco fixings and clean thoroughly with fruit & veggie spray. I used romaine lettuce, tomatoes, jalapeno and gluten-free brown rice wraps for the taco shell. I also used plain Greek-style goat’s milk yogurt as a sour cream substitute.

Place all the ingredients in separate bowls and place on your table. Create your tacos at the table over fun and family time.

Cinderella at The Grand Theatre: A Hit for families

The prince is giving a ball and you’re invited!

This weekend Little S and I attended Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella at The Grand Theatre and we had a great time! I wasn’t sure what to expect as this was the first time Little S had attended a live performance. She has been to the movie theatre a couple of times and she’s able to sit through the entire movie. We used this as an indication that she’d be able to make it through the performance at The Grand.

Cinderella is an excellent production and boasts colourful sets, interesting costumes and catchy music. For the first 20 minutes Little S was on the edge of her seat, enthralled with all that was going on. I could tell that she loved all that she was seeing.

 After the first 20 minutes she started to ask questions such as ‘Why is Cinderella’s hair brown?’ and ‘Where is the prince?’ You see the production is what I call a modernized version of the classic Disney tale. While the basis of the story remains the same, there are many contemporary changes.

You won’t find the classic songs like “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo” or “Once Upon A Dream”; instead the show is filled with light-hearted, uppity originals like “The Prince Is Giving A Ball” and “Impossible”. While some things are different, others are the same. You’ll see the step mother and the step sisters who are actually funnier than mean.  And you’ll see the prince (or at least his parents) in search of the perfect wife.

After intermission, Little S was a little more reluctant to stay in her seat, but this is not because she wasn’t interested in the show. First, she just turned four so her attention span isn’t quite that of say a seven-year old. Second, she’s a singer and dancer at heart and wanted to join in. Thankfully we had an aisle seat so she was able to stand next to me and dance around. It seemed suitable as she didn’t disturb anyone.


Cinderella is playing at The Grand Theatre until December 31, 2011. My recommendation is that this production is a must-see for adults, children and families alike. If your toddler (age 3+) has a good attention span and loves classic tales like Cinderella, this show is right for you.

If you’re a little unsure, I highly suggest getting an aisle seat so you have a little more flexibility and room to move. Anyone aged four and up is sure to love the show. And if you don’t have children, don’t shy away. The theatre was filled equally with adults and children and the play has quite a few adult-type anecdotes.


Be sure to visit the boutique on the second level of The Grand Theatre. You’ll find very reasonably priced princess tiaras, a Cinderella Barbie doll and Christmas ornaments filled with actual fabric from the production’s costumes.


Visit to book tickets. And don’t forget you can enter to win Royal Box Seats for a family of four. Contest is open until December 11, 2011 11:59 pm. Visit for details.

Enjoy the show!

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