2014

Holiday Events 2014 in London {#LdnOnt}

Local Events Listing

Whoa the holidays came fast. So fast in fact that I have missed sharing some of the fun festivities taking place in the city. But you know the old saying; it’s better late than never!

 WINTER WONDERLAND AT VICTORIA PARK

  • When: Friday November 28, 2014 – January 1, 2015
  • Where: Victoria Park
  • Time:  5:30 pm to 11 pm (lights) 10 am – 10 pm (skating rink)
  • What: More than 75,000 lights decorating trees in the park, there are a variety of festive displays, and don’t forget Santa’s Mailbox for all those good little boys and girls who need to get their wish list to the North Pole. Victoria Park’s festive decorations and outdoor skating rink are a longstanding tradition in London’s celebration of the holiday season.
  • Cost: Free! Donations will be welcomed to help support 40 London agencies that offer support for vulnerable Londoners.
  • For More Information: Call 519-661-4500

BIRD’S EYE VIEW FROM CITY HALL

  • When: Starting December 17, 2014 to December 30, 2014 – various times:
    • December 17 to December 22 – 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
    • December 23 – Closed
    • December 24 – 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
    • December 25 & 26 – Closed
    • December 27 to 30 – 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
    • December 31 & Jan 1 – Closed
  • Where: City Hall – 12th Floor Promenade Deck
  • What: Catch a bird’s eye view of the lights at Victoria Park.
  • For More Information: Call 519-661-4500

SHREK  THE MUSICAL

  • When: November 19, 2014  to January 3, 2015
  • Where: The Grand Theatre
  • Time:  Various performance times
  • What: Based on the 2001 DreamWorks film, Shrek The Musical is the heartwarmingly-upended fairy tale featuring a crusty but lovable ogre who goes on a life-changing adventure to reclaim the deed to his swamp. Together with a wise-cracking donkey, a defiant princess, a vertically challenged bad guy and a gang of storybook misfits, this unlikely hero discovers that real friendship and true love are not only found in fairy tales. Recommended for children 8+.
  • Cost: Various ticket prices
  • For More Information: www.grandtheatre.com

 BUDWEISER GARDENS ANNUAL OPEN HOUSE SKATE

  • When: Sunday, December 21, 2014
  • Where: Budweiser Gardens – Enter via Gate 4
  • Time:  1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • What: Free skate where The Knights play! Children under 12 require a helmet.
  • Cost: Free! Toys and cash donations will be accepted at the door to help support the Children’s Aid Society.
  • For More Informationbudweisergardens.com

SNOWYBOOK VILLAGE

  • When: December 20 & 21, 2014
  • Were: Storybook Gardens
  • Time: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus between 10 am  – 12 pm)
  • What: Make Snow Goo in the Elves Workshop, warm up at the outdoor campfire, and enjoy a skate on the beautiful outdoor skating trail.
  • Cost: Regular Storybook Gardens admission
  • For More Information: Visit storybook.london.ca

THE NUTCRACKER

  • When: December 21, 2014
  • Were: Centennial Hall
  • Time: 2:00 pm
  • What: Highstreet Asset Management Presents: Canada’s Ballet Jӧrgen
  • Cost: Various tickets prices from $39 – $89
  • For More Information: Visit centennialhall.london.ca

Rockin New Years Eve

ROCKIN’ NEW YEARS EVE

  • When: December 31, 2012
  • Where: Victoria Park
  • Time: 5:00 pm to 12:00 am
    • 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm  – Family Skating
    • 6:00 pm  to 9:00 pm – hats, party favours, balloon creations
      5:00 pm to 12:00 am – Hot Chocolate and Coffee
      7:15 pm  to 7:45 pm  – My Perfect Princess Party (featuring Cinderella and Belle)
      8:00 pm – Cassandra Hodgins (TV coverage begins at 8:30 pm)
      9:00 pm – Children’s Fireworks
      9:15 pm – U-Turn
      10: 40 pm  – Spirit of the West
      MIDNIGHT – Fireworks
  • What: Ring in 2013 with skating, entertainment and fireworks!
  • Cost: Free!
  • For More Information: london.ca

NEW YEARS EVE HOOPLA

  • When: December 31, 2014
  • Where: Storybook Gardens
  • Time: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
  • What: An outdoor New Year’s celebration event for families, that includes a campfire, outdoor skating, crafts, snack food, and a countdown to an early new year’s beginning at 8:30 pm.
  • Cost: Pre-Registration is required. $11 to $15. Children under 2 are free.
  • For More Information: Call 519-661-5575 to register or visit rec.london.ca (Use course code 261771)

Here’s to a happy a safe New Year’s Eve and all the best in 2015! From my family to your, happy holidays!

If you are aware of any other holiday themed events taking place in the city, please leave it in a comment below. Thanks!

 

City Mom

Marriage Monday: The Five Love Languages and How it Affected My Marriage

Marriage Monday

The way I view my marriage is the same way I view anything that matters to me; hard work pays off. A marriage is not something that you can neglect or expect to run itself. It takes dedication, constant care and attention.

With life being as busy as it is with children, careers, finances, extended family, friends…the list goes on, it is far too easy to take for granted the relationship that exists between the two individuals in a marriage.

Quite simply put, if you want something special and amazing, you have to work at it.

One of the ways my husband and I keep our marriage running smoothly is by attending communication counseling. At first we went regularly. Now, we go occasionally to keep things “tuned up” much like one keeps care of his/her car engine.

Through our training we have learned so much about our marriage, our unique traits and how they compliment and contrast each other’s. We have learned many strategies to keep the lines of communication open and perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned that most marital issues arise when there is a breakdown in communication.

THE FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES

The Five Love Languages

One of the tools that was recommended to us was a book by Gary Chapman called The Five Love Languages. If there is one thing that you could do today to improve and/or strengthen your relationship it would be to read this book.

My husband and I bought the Audiobook version and listened to it while doing other tasks. We found this really helpful because it is hard to make time to sit down and read an entire book but listening while doing laundry or dishes etc. was really easy to do.

WHY I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK

My husband is one of the most hands-on Dads I know; he does so much around the house for both me and Little S. He keeps our household running smoothly, does the grocery shopping, laundry, housework; the list goes on and on.

I have always been so thankful for this fact and it even caused me to feel selfish and spoiled to ask for more. You see for me, while I was so appreciative of all he does, it did not translate to me as love. It was something that troubled me for quite some time as I was left feeling like I was missing something.

After reading The Five Love Languages, it all became clear; my primary love language is Words of Affirmation while my husband’s is Acts of Service. What does this mean? To best understand it you need to read the book in its entirety but I will summarize it for you today to give you a snapshot of why I think every couple should read this book.

Imagine if you spoke English and your partner spoke French and neither understood the other’s language. Can you picture how the communication could become misunderstood and even perhaps start to breakdown? Well, our love languages work in the same way. Without identifying your individual love language (and your partner doing the same) you can’t communicate to your full potential and your relationship could suffer.

Back to my example above: because my husband’s love language is Acts of Service, he believed that he was expressing his love for me through all the things he does to care for us. Each act was done with love and affection.

And while I appreciated each act he did, it just didn’t come across as “I love you”! For me, as a Words of Affirmation speaker, I would understand phrases such as “I love you because….” or “you make me feel…” etc. as signs of love and appreciation.

On the other hand, I can best show my love for my husband by surprising him and doing the grocery shopping on a Sunday afternoon and letting him stay home and relax or do all the laundry before he gets home.

IDENTIFYING YOUR LOVE LANGUAGE

The Five Languages of Love is a really easy and enjoyable read as Dr. Chapman uses real-life examples of couples he has counselled. He shares stories of marriages that were on the brink of destruction that were reconciled because of love language identification and he shares stories of other couples who are just plain happier and more fulfilled in their relationship because their “love tank” is constantly full.

You will be able to easily identify your own love language and probably that of your spouse’s after reading this book. You are then given the tools needed to start speaking your partner’s language on a daily basis. It is not an overwhelming dump of information as each language is thoroughly explained in individual chapters with a list of 10 tips to make it easier to start speaking your spouse’s language.

You will discover that you and your spouse each have a primary love language in one of the following categories:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Acts of Service
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Physical Touch
  • Quality Time

Whether your marriage is doing really well or in a state of struggle, I highly recommend this book for every couple. My husband and I have had great success with the skills we learned from reading it.

I would also recommend this book to those who are single as going into a new relationship with the knowledge of your love language identified is invaluable. Dr. Chapman obviously agrees because he has created a version of this book for singles called The Five Love Languages Singles Edition.

I hope that you find this recommendation useful for your relationship and that you enjoy a greater bond because of it.

City Mom

Six Black Friday Deals at Indigo You Don’t Want to Miss!


Our Best Black Friday Sale Ever! 1000s of Items at Amazing Prices!

I buy at least 50% of my Christmas gifts at Indigo/Chapters. Why do I love it so much? Probably for the same reasons that you do; they have a fantastic selection of gift-type items for everyone on your list, shipping is easy and often free with a certain dollar amount and they are a Canadian-based company. What’s not to love?

Like our neighbours to the South, Canada widely recognizes Black Friday and Cyber Monday and Indigo has some great deals that will not only make your gift search easier, but cheaper too.

Below I have selected some of my favourite items from Indigo that are on sale for Black Friday and you can check back here on Monday where I will share the Cyber Monday deals.

SHOP THE DEALS

Indigo Black Friday Sale

  1. Monogram Mugs – Reg: $8 – $12 Sale: $6
  2. 50% Off Super Soft Scarves
  3. 10% Off Beats Mixr & Solo HD Drenched Headphones
    • On Sale: Nov. 28 – Dec. 1, 2014
    • Save: 10% off regular price
    • The world’s most famous headphone has been completely redesigned and reimagined. The new Beats Studio® is lighter, sexier, stronger, and more comfortable, with precision sound, Adaptive Noise Canceling, a 20-hour rechargeable battery, and RemoteTalk™.
    • The Solo 2 has arrived. Beats’ most popular headphone has been redesigned from the inside out. With updated and improved acoustics, the Solo 2 lets you feel your music with a wider range of sound and enhanced clarity.
    • David Guetta challenged Beats by Dr. Dre to create the perfect set of world-class ear cups.
    • Shop Beats Mixr & Solo HD Drenched Headphones
  4. 25% Off Regular Priced Toys
    • On Sale: Nov 28, 2014 Only
    • Save: 25% off regular price (excludes Lego & American Girl)
    • In-store and online
    • Shop Indigo Toys
  5. $20 Off Fitbit Flex – Reg: $99.95 Sale: $79.95
    • On Sale: Nov. 28, 2014
    • Save: $20
    • See how you’re stacking up against your daily goals 24 hours a day. It track steps, distance, calories burned, and monitors your sleep and wakes you with a silent alarm. Access your stats wirelessly with computers and select mobile devices.
    • Shop Fitbits
  6. iHome iW3 AirPlay Wireless Speaker – Reg: $199 Sale: $79
    • On Sale: Nov. 27 – Nov. 30, 2014
    • Save: $120
    • The iW3 is an AirPlay wireless speaker system that uses your Wi-Fi network to connect and control your iTunes library (Mac + PC) for wireless audio anywhere in the home with rechargeable Lithium-ion battery for portable placement.
    • Shop iHome iW3 AirPlay Wireless Speakers

Happy Shopping!

Note: Affiliate links are used in this post.

City Mom

Top 5 Stocking Stuffers For Your Pet From PetSafe {#Giveaway}

PetSafe Canada

Did you know that according to a recent PetSafe survey that 98% of Canadians consider their pet to be part of the family?

If you’re a pet owner, this statistic probably doesn’t surprise you. As a pet owner myself, I know that our hamster, Hammy, will surely be receiving some treats under the tree this year.

Lucky for us pet-lovers, PetSafe has put together their list of top 5 stocking stuffers for our pet(s). This takes the guess-work out for us and makes shopping for our additional family members a breeze. Check them out below and read on to enter to win all five items for your pet ($80 CAD value).

TOP 5 STOCKING STUFFERS FOR YOUR PET

PetSafe Stocking Stuffers

      1. INDIGO TRIPLE CHEWS: delicious, long-lasting chewable treats that are made with a recipe fortified with healthy ingredients. Available in small, medium and large sizes to suit a variety of dogs. $24.99
        • Premium ingredients including potato, chicken and blueberries
        • Grain free
        • Natural blue colour from fruit juices
        • No artificial preservatives
        • Hexametaphosphate to safely remove plaque and prevent tartar build-up
      2. LIKETY STIK: give your dogs and cats all the excitement and flavor of a moist treat without the sticky mess. A tidy roller ball dispenses all-natural liquid goodness — pets just lap it up! With LicketyStik, pets get all of the flavor and none of the bulk of other biscuits and treats that can fill them up.$3.49-5.99 (.84 – 1.69 Oz.)
        • Natural flavors with added vitamins
        • Over 500 licks per bottle
        • Only 1 calorie in every 10 licks and 50 calories per bottle
        • No-mess roller-ball
        • Great for training
        • Conveniently fits in your pocket
        • Available in 6 delicious flavors: Savory Chicken, Braised Liver, Smoky Bacon, Sharp Cheese, Peanut Butter,
          and Big Beef
      3. BUSY BUDDY JACK: a durable nylon and rubber treat-dispensing toy challenges your dog to figure out how to get the delicious natural rawhide treat. Perfect to preoccupy your dog for hours! $7.99-12.99
        • Durable nylon and rubber construction
        • Additional rawhide treat ring refills available separately
        • Hard chew strength, treat-dispensing toy
        • Dishwasher safe, top rack only
      4. EGG-CERCIZER CAT TOY: make playtime more fun or help your cat stay in shape. Adjust the dispensing holes to slow down cats that eat too fast and encourage exercise. Reward your pet, while providing exercise! $4.49
        • Treat or food-dispensing toy
        • Fun wobbly movement as cat plays with toy
        • Encourages playtime
        • Helps with your cat’s weight loss
        • Adjustable openings to increase or decrease the challenge for your cat
      5. FROLICAT BOLT: an interactive laser toy that projects a laser pattern allowing your pet to pounce, chase across the floor, up the walls, and over furniture. $19.99
        • Random laser patterns engage your cat in fun, interactive play
        • Automatic Mode moves the laser in random patterns for hands-free play session
        • Manual Mode lets you point the laser in unique laser patterns
        • Timer automatically turns off toy after 15 minutes
        • Adjustable mirror to aim laser across different surfaces

SHOP PETSAFE

PetSafe items can be found at your local pet supplies retailers. Visit petsafe.net to locate stores in your area.

ENTER TO WIN STOCKING STUFFERS FOR YOUR PET

One City Mom reader will win the five stocking stuffer items as listed above. Prize pack has a retail value of $80 CAD. Contest is open to Canadian residents (excl. Quebec) only and will run from Nov. 27 – Dec. 9, 2014 11:59 PM.

Please use the Rafflecopter widget below! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

City Mom

Magazine-Worthy Holiday Table for Under $50

Holiday Table on a Budget

When I received the most recent edition of Canada’s Style at Home magazine, I was really taken with the holiday dining table image on the cover. In fact, the entire issue had some gorgeous holiday design ideas. Sadly for me, I do not have the budget to recreate the image exactly, not even close in fact. I imagine the table accessorizing cost hundreds of dollars.

We are just not a hundreds-of-dollars-holiday-table kind of family so what is a girl to do who wants to have one but can’t? I decided that I was going to go out in search of items that could create the same sort of feel as the magazine design for a fraction of the cost.

I think I was pretty successful in my hunt and I was able to create a pleasing holiday table that not only fit our budget, but also our small dining table.

STICKING TO A BUDGET

I should note that I already owned the wine glasses, dinner plates and cutlery so they are not included in the fifty dollar budget.

I bought everything at Dollarama except for the red tea light lanterns; those I found at Loblaws for just five dollars each.

Holiday Table on a Budget

List of items I used are as follows:

  • Two sparkle pillar candles
  • Silver paper napkins and one set of red tree ornaments
  • Silver tablecloth
  • Pinecone greenery
  • Two snow-covered candle wreaths
  • Four silver serving platters
  • Four antique-looking china bowls
  • Two tea light lanterns
  • One LED Pillar candle
  • Dinner plates
  • Silverware
  • Wine glasses

Holiday Table on a Budget

I am pretty pleased with the outcome of my little project and now we’ll be ready for any drop-ins over the holidays as my table will always be set.

Holiday Table on a Budget

What do you think? What project would you love to try on a budget?

City Mom

Marriage Monday: Couples Resort Review

Marriage Monday

A few weeks ago my husband and I were fortunate enough to visit the Couples Resort in Algonquin Park, Ontario for one fun-filled, relaxing and romantic weekend. Our adventure was so good for the mind, body and soul as well as a priceless bonding experience for our marriage.

That is why I have selected our review of the Couples Resort to include in City Mom’s first-ever Marriage Monday feature.

MARRIAGE MONDAY

On the first Monday of each month, City Mom will focus on a topic, product, service etc. that will help to contribute to the quality and health of marriages. In today’s fast-paced society it is often too easy to put all of our focus on our careers, children and social lives; we often forget to put importance on our relationship with our significant other and that can wreak havoc on the well-being of the entire family.

Marriage Monday is meant to act as a great way to start your week with an enjoyable read that can help to bring some focus to your marriage/relationship with tips, reviews and personal success stories.

Without further ado, I am thrilled to share our experience at Couples Resort.

ABOUT COUPLES RESORT

Couples Resort Algonquin Park

As the name says, this resort if focused on couples meaning that there are NO KIDS ALLOWED! How refreshing right? This resort is set just outside of the Algonquin Park gates in Whitney, Ontario. This setting provides its breathtaking views that will keep you awestruck for your entire stay.

We visited in mid-October so we had just missed the true colours of fall which apparently are beautiful. We were however able to witness our first snowfall of the season and experience some chilly temperatures which made using the in-room, wood burning fireplace all the more enticing.

There are various types of rooms to choose from at Couples Resort. We stayed in a junior suite that included one extremely comfortable king size bed, large balcony with a lake view, in room Jacuzzi tub and wood burning fireplace (all the wood you can use included).

From the moment we pulled up to the entrance, to the moment we left (sadly) we were constantly impressed. Couples Resort is rated 5 stars and it’s very obvious why.

THE ROOMS

Couples Resort Room Review

The best words I can use to describe our room are cozy and rustic which combined, create an extremely quaint and romantic setting. We loved the romance that the fireplace and Jacuzzi added as well.

Other rooms that are available include a private outdoor hot tub, Chateaus, Master Suites, Chalets, Villas with Saunas and Exotics.

No matter the type of room that you should choose, they all include the following awesome upgrades:

  • Free – Internet high speed – WIFI & Hard Wired
  • Free – Netflix Video Streaming
  • Walkout Spacious Lakeside Balcony
  • Real Wood Fireplace (with FREE firewood and firestarter, 2 candles)
  • 2 bath robes, a cosmetic mirror
  • Hair Dryer
  • Irons/Ironing Boards
  • Keurig Coffee Maker (extra charge for coffee)
  • Phones – Free long Distance
  • 2 padded Chaise Lounge Chairs – Spring, Summer and Fall
  • Large Double Relaxing Soaker Jacuzzi Tub
  • Safes
  • Alarm Clock

ACTIVITIES

Couples Resort Activities

The natural beauties of Algonquin Park provide perhaps the best “activity” possible but Couples Resort offers a wide range of activities to enjoy during your stay.  A park pass is even included in your stay.

Depending on the time of year, the activities offered vary; dog sledding in the winter and horseback riding (extra cost) during the other seasons. Guests can enjoy the free use of mountain bikes, canoes and kayaks. In the summer you can make use of the salt water pool and lakeside patio with patio chairs and in the winter you can enjoy ice skating and snowmobiling (extra cost).

There are a lot of extras included that you don’t see at regular resorts. Check out the activities list to see all the inclusions.

My husband and I had a fabulous time making use of the mountain bikes and we rode the nearby trails. We also enjoyed a fun horseback riding experience.

THE FOOD

Couples Resort Food Review

I could not stop taking pictures and raving about the food at Couples Resort. If you follow City Mom on Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram, you were probably very aware that I was having the time of my life at Couples Resort and the food was a huge contributor to that!

First, all meals (with the exception of lunch) are included in your stay. Dinner is a first class, five course meal. The culinary team is led by Executive Chef, Ronnie Coppens and the menu is full of fresh, seasonally available Ontario produced foods. It perhaps is the number one reason why you should visit Couples Resort.

We especially enjoyed having our meals delivered to our room (free of charge). It was pure luxury dining in our room for both breakfast and dinner with the warm ambiance of our wood burning fireplace. We got to eat in our plush robes and stay in the comfort of our cozy room.

THE SERVICE

From the moment we began our stay to our time of check-out, every single interaction with the staff was exemplary. Each was helpful, friendly and kind which contributed greatly to our feeling or relaxation and enjoyment. Something to note, that tipping is included in your stay, so while you will likely feel the desire to tip, it is not promoted.

OTHER AMENTIES

With only two short days, there were many things we didn’t have time to do such as the Spa which has been awarded one of North America’s top 100 Spas. This is definitely something I want to check out on our next visit.

There is also a games room/lounge area that includes pool tables, ping-pong, shuffleboard and darts.

BOOK WITH COUPLES RESORT

Regardless of the time of year that you should choose to visit, you will absolutely love your experience at Couples Resort. There are a number of seasonal packages available so be sure to check them out.

WHY YOU SHOULD GO

Taking time out from your busy lives and spending some “adult time” is a much needed activity to do with your partner. It allows for a deeper connection and stronger bond. While it can be difficult to find sitters for the kids and finances for the trip, it is something that you will not regret and something I highly recommend making a priority for your relationship.

My husband and I came back feeling refreshed, happy and connected. This is priceless and will last a lot longer than a single weekend.

Thank you so much to John and the rest of Couples Resort staff for helping to make our weekend so amazing!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary accommodations in exchange for my review but the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

City Mom

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