October 2013

How to Cook With Your Kids & Keep Your Cool!

How to Cook With Kids

One of the most difficult things I have ever done is to make cupcakes with my four year-old on TV (shown in the clip below). Cooking and baking in the kitchen with your kids can get really hectic on a normal day. Now throw in the need to keep your cool as a show host and well, let’s just say it was kind of stressful, but the result was quite comedic and this ended up as one of my favourite segments of the show, City Mom on Rogers TV.

KEEPING YOUR COOL

In order to be prepared for baking and taping I had to have everything ready ahead of time. I measured all the ingredients ahead of time and placed them in order to be ready to dump into the bowl.

This segment is less than five minutes long, but we all know it takes longer than that to make cupcakes. Not only were we limited on time, we had no room for error.  Another thing we all know, that when cooking with kids, it’s not likely that you’ll make it out error-free.

All was not lost, as I said, it provided a humourous episode and some good blooper shots, but it also gave me insight on how to make things work in the kitchen more efficiently when working with Little S.

MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU

If your children are like my daughter, they love to help you in the kitchen. Giving children real tasks and allowing them to be part of the adult world builds confidence and independence, but it can get stressful!

Once in a while I make a “test” recipe so that the finished product is not reliant on perfection. But when I’m making something that I want to turn out properly or when I have limited time, little hands can sometimes get in the way. I never have the heart to turn Little S down when she asks to be included.

This is where my experience on the show comes in handy and here is how you can make it work for you and your family.

TEN STEPS TO A STRESS-FREE KITCHEN

Before you call the kids into the kitchen to help you, do a little prep work:

  1. Read through your recipe so that you know exactly what you need and how the timing will work.
  2. Measure out all of the ingredients two times and place each into a separate bowl or container.
  3. Arrange the bowls of ingredients into two workstations, side-by-side.
  4. Organize all the measuring cups, spoons, spatulas etc. that you will need for creating your recipe so that everything is within reach.
  5. Now it’s time to invite your kids into the kitchen to work with you.
  6. Ask your kids to follow along with you. Perform the actions according to the recipe and have your kids do the same.
  7. Allow older children to work small appliance like the mixer.
  8. Trust even the younger kids with delicate tasks like cracking eggs. They’ve got their own batch after all so you can bypass the shells in your own batch.
  9. Have the kids set the oven temp and timer. This is a hit especially if your oven makes sounds.
  10. Have fun!

What tips do you have to make working in the kitchen with your kids easier and stress-free? What are your favourite recipes to make together?

 City Mom

How To Throw a Pinterest Worthy Witches’ Ball

Witches Ball

With Halloween just a few days away, you’ve probably already thrown a Halloween-themed party, so for next year, get your Pin-It-Trigger-Finger ready because you’re going to want to throw a Witches’ Ball!

PERFECT TIMING

Little S’ birthday is close enough to Halloween, that we can throw Halloween themed birthday parties for her if she chooses. Once in a while she opts to have her party after Halloween, like last year’s Bubblegum Birthday Party to avoid the whole Halloween association.

This year she chose the Witches’ Ball theme and we went all out! Since I love throwing parties and inspiring others to do the same, I put together this post as a ‘how-to’ so you can do the same. When the parents of Little S’ guests dropped their kids off, they commented on the set up. I kind of felt guilty in taking credit for it all and gave kudos to my fellow Pinterest users.

HOW TO THROW A WITCHES’ BALL

Inspiration: no matter the theme you choose for your child’s party you first and foremost need a Pinterest account to gather inspiration. Search for your theme in your fav search engine and start pinning images that speak to you. You can check out my Witches’ Ball board where I collected fun ideas to fit in with our theme.

Decorations: when I searched for “Witches’ Ball”, I came to find a couple of different printable packages for a Witches’ Ball but since Little S’ favourite colour is purple, choosing this one from Glitter Ink Designs was a no-brainer.

Prepping: next it was time to print. Tip when purchasing a printable package, go through the PDF file first and take note of what pages you want to print, and which you don’t. I ended up printing almost the whole package and it was more than I needed and more expensive too.

Creating: I spent the most part of a week, cutting, scoring, folding, pasting and putting together the items from the kit.

Accessories: now that you have your theme and your decorations, it’s time to tie them all in together. Answer a few questions like where you are hosting the party and what fixtures are available to you. Lucky for us, our condo has a giant party room so we always throw our gatherings there.

For this party I decided to make use of the fireplace and mantle for your decoration and display purposes. I happened to have some leftover damask wallpaper from our bedroom reno so I draped the fireplace mantel with it. I placed two tables side-by-side and covered with a black tablecloth and placed them in front of the fire-place, using the wallpaper as a back drop.

Witches Ball Party

Next I arranged the printables on the table with the food and candy containers to create a sweets table of sorts.  With items from the dollar store that fit our theme, I decorated the mantel to compliment the theme. This was perhaps the easiest part as the dollar store is full of affordable Halloween decorations in all varieties.

Food: again, I turned to Pinterest for some fun, theme-related food ideas. I wanted to include some healthy options for the kids too so I was all over the banana ghosts and Clementine pumpkins idea. Put together other food and treat ideas that coincide with your theme. I must admit I had a lot of fun at the Bulk Barn using a scoop to choose only the green and purple gum balls from a bin full of rainbow coloured assortments.

Halloween Party Food

The Cake: most cake decorators can replicate any cake design you choose. I found one online that I had my heart set on and shared it with a local cake designer and asked her to put her own spin on it and that’s exactly what she did. It really became the centrepiece of our theme.

Witch Cake

Costumes: when we mailed out invitation to our Witches’ Ball, we asked our guests to come dressed as a fancy or scary witch. This really added to the fun for the kids and helped to enhance the theme.

Games: we chose to incorporate some classic party games like Freeze Dance but also added a spin on them like changing the title of ‘What Time is it Mr. Wolf?’ to ‘What Time is it Mrs. Witch?’. We also did some colouring of Witch colouring pages and played ‘Hot Witch’s Hat’ (Hot Potato). Pretty much any game can be adjusted to fit your theme so get creative!

Supplies: of course you’ll need plates, napkins, cutlery, drinks etc. I love using Mason Jars to dress up beverages and of course our Witch’s Brew looked fancy with themed labels, colour coordinated paper straws and special lids to hold the straws in place.

Witches' Brew

Though this party required a lot of planning and execution, it was well worth it to see the look on Little S’ face when she saw it all come together; now time to start planning next year’s!

Witches Ball Party

What is your favourite party theme? Have you blogged about it or created a Pinterest board or online gallery? If so, share it below. I’d love to check them out!

City Mom

 

Mommy/Daughter Date at Posh Pedicure Lounge

Posh Pedicure Lounge

Little S will be six in just a few weeks and though it seems to be going by way too fast (and that worries me) I must say that I love this age. I feel like I have a little mini me, a sidekick, a partner in crime and we’re both enjoying taking part in more grown-up activities.

One of those activities took place this past weekend at Posh Pedicure Lounge in downtown London. This was Little S’ first official manicure and pedicure and it was my first with my daughter. It was one of the most special moments we have shared together to date.

Posh Pedicure Lounge is owned and operated by Penny Rumming who started her business based on a lunchroom conversation. Penny, already a fan of manicures and pedicures, desired a fun and upbeat place for women to gather and indulge. She found there were really only two choices in the city; a high-end spa with a serene and mellow atmosphere or a lower end express service. Neither of which are bad things, just not what Penny had envisioned. She wanted to create a “Diva Den” to host pedicure parties and the rest is history!

After Penny hosted a leopard and hot pink party of her own, the idea was born and Posh Pedicure Lounge came to be. Penny is now celebrating six years of business and the recent opening of her second store, Posh in the Port in you guessed it, Port Stanley.

PoshPedicureLounge

GETTING PAMPERED AT POSH

As soon as you walk inside Posh, you know you’re somewhere unique; hot pink walls, black frilly accents and leopard print seating all come together to create this fun-loving atmosphere. Believe it or not, there is even a hot pink fridge! Of course, Little S was on Cloud 9 the moment she took it all in.

PrincessPedi

After we chose our polish colours, we were escorted to the spa area where we were seated side-by-side and treated like queens. A mommy/daughter date is the perfect combination of bonding, fun and pampering.

While I received a full pedicure, Little S received the Princess Package that included a pedi and a mani. The timing was perfect and we finished up at the same time so there was no waiting around which is hard for young children.

PrincessMani

I must say that I have never seen Little S so engaged and entertained at the same time. She was truly in her element and let’s face it, so was I! The highlights for my little princess were the Bubblegum scented, sparkle-infused massage oil, the designs she got to choose from for her nail art and her own cocktail of fruit punch!

PoshPedicureLounge

MORE THAN NAILS

Posh offers many services in addition to manicures and pedicures. You can check out their brochure online to view the full list, but waxing, tinting, facials makeup application are some of the extras. And that’s not all.

I am also impressed with the event packages you can purchase to make any gathering a success; think palm reading and pedicures with your best girlfriends or a Posh Princess birthday party for you little girl or a Diva party for your teen. The options at Posh Pedicure Lounge are endless!

If you’re looking for fun activities to do with your daughter and you want to indulge or try something new, I highly recommend a visit to Posh Pedicure Lounge!

CONNECT WITH POSH

Web: poshpedicurelounge.com

Tel: 519-433-POSH

Facebook: facebook.com/poshpedicurelounge

City Mom

 

Bump, Baby & Toddler Expo London this November!

Bump. Baby & Toddler Expo London
If you’re a London (or surrounding area) parent-to-be, parent of an infant or parent of a toddler you’ll be happy to know that the London Bump, Baby & Toddler Expo is taking place in London this November.

EVENT DETAILS

Date: November 2 – 3, 2013
Time: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
Place: The Western Fair Progress Building
Cost: $7.00 at the door for ages 12 & up (save $2 by printing the coupon below)
What: The Bump, Baby & Toddler Expo features the finest local businesses and services for everything from planning a baby to sending them off to preschool! Check out the latest products; enter to win fantastic prizes, and shop, shop, shop! This year there will also be over 70 mom-to-mom sales tables.

THE VENDORS

Part of what makes The Bump, Baby & Toddler Expo so great, is the number of local vendors under one roof. Any parent is sure to find all the resources they need when it comes to child-rearing. Check out some of the vendors that will be in attendance:

    • Bellies2Babies
    • Magic Princess Parties
    • Dressed To Deliver
    • The Little Gym
    • Children’s Museum
    • Rebirth Wellness Centre
    • UC Baby
    • And many, many more!

PRINT & SAVE

Print this coupon to receive $2 off of each adult admission:

Bump, Baby & Toddler Expo CouponENTER TO WIN

Today on City Mom you can enter to win two free tickets to The Bump, Baby & Toddler Expo.

Enter Here: facebook.com/citymomca

Note: One winner will be selected from the entries on this form. Winning entries will be verified before approval. Winner will have 48 hours to provide their mailing address, at which time two complimentary tickets will be emailed to the winner granting them access to The Bump, Baby & Toddler Expo London on Nov. 2 or 2, 2013. Failure to respond within 48 hrs will result in a new winner selection.

City Mom

Take a Step Back For the Good of Your Health!

Running Backwards

Image source www.tynebridgeharriers.com

Moving forward, looking to the future, not looking back and so on and so on…it seems that we are always focusing on moving frontward but a recent trend shows that taking a few steps back might be the direction to go.

I came upon an article in the Chatelaine October issue called Back up! And it intrigued me; I’m always looking for ways to spice up the calorie burning process and I’m not a gym person or an exercise video kind of girl. I much more prefer to throw on a pair of running shoes (or soccer cleats) and run my butt off, or try to at least.

RETRO MOVEMENT

No, I’m not suggesting that you start listening to 80`s tunes while exercising; retro movement is the reverse action of any normal movement. In this case the normal movement is running forwards and the retro movement is running backwards.

Athletes like football players, soccer players and other sportspeople have been running backward, sideways and crisscrossed for decades but average calories burners usually focus on moving forward.

WHY YOU SHOULD BACK THAT THANG UP

You might be wondering why you should try this. I mean if you’re going to sacrifice your reputation by looking “silly” running backwards (when everyone else is moving forward) you’re going to want to make it worth it right?

The benefits of running (or walking) in reverse are aplenty. Any runner can tell you that the long-time popular cardio exercise is hard on the body, mainly the knees. Running backwards helps this problem because it changes the impact spots on the body. In backward motion, you land on a different part of your foot than when in the forward motion and this places pressure on different parts of your body.

Other benefits of retro running include:

  • Strengthens core muscles
  • Improves posture
  • Burns roughly 30% more calories than running forward. It is estimated that taking 100 steps backward is equal to taking 1,000 steps forward!
  • Allows injured runners to continue to run without worrying of further injury
  • Strengthens new muscles since we are using different groups than in the forward motion

TRIED & TESTED

Of course, after learning of this new idea, I had to try it myself. When the weather is nice, I pick up Little S from school and we hit the park across the street from her school. With time management in mind, I try to fit in a few minutes of cardio-burning activity while she plays, and at our park, there are perfectly sized hills that allow for the biggest bang for my buck cardio-wise.

On this day, I walked up the hill backwards and ran down forwards and repeated this about ten times. It is suggested that when starting this new exercise that you begin with a walk instead of a run and that you do this on level ground until you get the feel for it.

I noticed the difference on the very first try. Walking up the hill in reverse really activated “new” muscles and when I got to the top of the hill, I found I was more out of breath than when running up frontwards. Overall it was obvious that I participated in a more vigorous workout and in the same amount of time that I usually spend.

So, the next time you lace up your running shoes, consider taking a few steps backwards. You can gradually workup to a 40/60 percentage in your workouts (40 backward and 60 forwards). This will really rev up your workout routine and if you’re doing it anyway, why not get more out of it!

What is your favourite workout routine? How do you beat fitness boredom and incorporate new techniques?

City Mom

Urban Exposure: Get the MVP Treatment with Sport Clips Haircuts

 Sport Clips Hair cutting station

Hey London, there’s a new team in town but it’s not your average baseball, basketball or hockey team. It’s the Sport Clips team and they’ll change the way you view your hair cutting experience!

This sports-themed hair cutting franchise opened its first London location at the London North Smart Centre (1985 Hyde Park Road) on September 28, 2013 and City Mom got a front row seat.  Sport Clips specializes in haircuts for men and boys so when we were invited to come in for a visit, I knew there was no one better to try the experience than my two sports-loving nephews. Note that they also provide women and girl cuts too.

Sport Clips Before & After

THE MVP EXPERIENCE

The Sport Clips experience starts the moment you open the door; a large screen TV playing the main event, stadium-style seating and complimentary refreshments make you feel like you’re at the big game.

After your precision haircut is done by your guy-smart stylist, the true MVP treatment begins and it’s time to hit the showers. The “showers” are in a separate room with special lighting and heated massaging chairs that together, help to enhance relaxation. This is where you receive your massaging shampoo and hot steamed towel treatment.  My nephews, having just come from playing hockey all day, looked absolutely relaxed!

Hot Steamed Towel Treatment

Next it’s back to the hair cutting station for a blow dry, neck and shoulder massage and then the game is over and you come out a true MVP!

Sport Clips Massage

MORE THAN JUST HAIRCUTS

Sport Clips Haircuts is about more than just the hair cutting experience. Peter Kowal, President and COO of Sport Clips Canada shares that Sport Clips will work closely with the London community organizations, teams and schools to help support local events and sports.

We want to contribute to the community we do business in and support the people who support us. Whether it’s prizes for sports team members, a contribution to a fundraiser or just bringing our tent and mascot to local events, we want to be a part of the action and fun in London. – Peter Kowal

You have to love a franchise company that is genuinely interested in enhancing the community in which it does business and that owners of the London location, Jean and Drew Coles are excited to be here too. And don’t worry if you’re not in the Richmond Hill area, because Jean and Drew plan to open more locations throughout London.

MORE ABOUT SPORT CLIPS

There are other great perks with the Sport Clips experience like haircuts without an appointment, stylists who specialize in male hair care and who stay up-to-date on industry trends, sports programming at each haircut station, option to visit in-between haircuts for a complimentary neck trim, and beard trim and detailing. As an added bonus, first time clients get upgraded to the MVP Experience free!

Sport Clips Services & Prices

POST-GAME WRAP UP

Though it was obvious during our visit that my nephews loved every minute of their MVP Experience, I asked them what they thought and they both said “it was good” which translated from kid-speak means ‘amazing’.

When I asked them if they’d like to come back they said “for sure” and when I asked if they’d recommend Sport Clips to their friends they shared that they definitely would. Their mom also shared that they would now be ongoing Sport Clips clients. I take this feedback to indicate that the Sport Clips MVP Experience is a grand slam for the whole family!

Disclaimer: we were compensated for sharing this post, however the opinions expressed are completely our own.

City Mom

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