Guest Posts

DIY Rustic Wooden Ornaments

DIY Rustic Christmas Ornaments

I have recently shared that I am looking to create a rustic, beachy Christmas this year in our new home as our old decorations aren’t going to fit in with our brand new colour scheme. That is why when I saw my friend Jennifer’s post on Facebook about these rustic tree ornaments she was making, I fell in love. The images she shared were beautiful and I know from following her on FB, that she is quite talented in the DIY and “upcycling” department.

Not only did I want some for myself (I’m buying four) I wanted to know how she did it. I figured that if I was curious, there were probably a lot more people who would be curious too. Jennifer has graciously agreed to share a ‘how-to’ for us so that we can make our own or perhaps just gain some inspiration to get out and discover ways to “upcycle” what is right in our own backyards.

There has never been a better time to do so as rustic, shabby-chic and natural elements design is right on trend.

Please “meet” Jennifer and learn how to make these beautiful, rustic wood ornaments.


Hello! My name is Jennifer and I’m a habitual recycler and upcycler of just about anything I can get my hands on! I love to create and repurpose items that I often find curbside or in my backyard.

These simple DIY Rustic Wooden Ornaments are no exception; they’re made from branches from my yard that came down in a windstorm a few weeks ago. The steps are simple and the tools required are minimal:


  • Branches (mine were 2 – 2.5” in diameter)
  • Wood-burning tool (I use one from Lee Valley)
  • Circulating chop saw or table saw (I use The Mister’s)
  • Hand drill
  • Pencil
  • Decorative ribbon


DIY Rustic Wooden Ornaments How To

  1. Cut branches 1/4” thick, sand away any rough pieces
  2. Drill a small hole in the pieces (for ribbon)
  3. Draw your pattern onto the wood pieces (I did rustic trees)
  4. Using your wood-burning tool, trace pattern on each piece
  5. Repeat for each ornament
  6. String with ribbon and hang!


These ornaments make great personalized gifts! Be creative…get outside and see what you can find to re-purpose. How inspiring!

DIY Rustic Christmas Ornaments


If you like Jennifer’s rustic ornaments and would like to save it for later, here is a fun image that you can use to Pin!


Thank you Jennifer for sharing your how-to and for this wonderful inspiration as we head into the holiday season.

City Mom

Family Day: There’s Lots of Fun Happening in Windsor, Ontario!

It’s not just the third Monday of February but, it is a day focused on FAMILY togetherness!

There are so many things to do on Family Day. If you are planning to stay in from the cold, you can bake cookies and drink hot cocoa while playing board games or making crafts. Or you can bundle up and hit your city streets!

We love getting out to explore our city and what is has to offer, whether it’s art galleries to active fun! With a family of four, there is plenty to do if you look and you won’t be disappointed!

What’s Going On in Windsor, Ontario?

The WFCU Centre is holding a great family event that is indoors and gets kids active! KidSport Windsor Family Day Event is a free afternoon of gymnastics, basketball, volleyball and fun for youth from 5-12. The KidSport Windsor Family Day presented by Biz X Magazine is free. It will be held from 3 pm – 5 pm and it is the perfect way for the kiddies to burn some energy and have a blast!

There’s something about ice skating and family that goes together like peanut butter and jelly. I think it is one of the most fun winter activities for a family as a whole because everyone can participate at their own pace. This Monday, South Windsor Arena is offering recreational skating for the whole family, come on down at 12:00PM-12:45PM for only $2.00!

If you have a budding little hockey player, you can bring them down to South Windsor Arena for a little stick and puck action on the ice. Helmets are mandatory and your hockey star must be with a parent in attendance. The admission fee is $2.00 and the fun begins at 1PM to 1:45PM.

As always, you can go skating for FREE at Charles Park City Square in downtown Windsor. If the weather permits there will be skating from 3PM to 10PM and there is a seasonal concession stand on site. If you are in need of skates, All Saints Church in downtown Windsor lends skates free of charge. Please contact All Saint’s Church by phone at (519) 253-8001 to check for availability.

In the mood for some magic?

Bill Nuvo will perform some brand new effects (along with some fan favourites) like the triple chair balance and Static Kid. A great mixture of magic, juggling, circus stunts, puppetry, illusion, comedy and more! Geared for everyone from 5-10. A true family show for the whole family and on a day especially geared towards family! The admission is $10.00 each, $2.00 from each ticket will be donated to the Humane Society. Buy three tickets and get one FREE and children 3 and under free!

It will be held at Nancy John’s Gallery and Framing, you can find the event, here.

Happy Family Day!

This Family Day, we’ll be headed out to Charles Park Square for free skating and hot cocoa. Afterwards, we will probably stop by a restaurant for a treat. I know there are a few chain restaurants around the city offering discounted prices and specials for Family Day. We will then unwind and relax with some SingStar or Scrabble for the rest of the night. This is our perfect Family Day and it makes for great ways to connect with our girls.

Like I said, there are so many things happening right in your city.

Whether you live in a BIG city or a small one–you just have to look!

What will you be doing on Family Day?


Condo Chic – Guest Post

Image via Alto Condos

I’m really excited to feature a guest post today by my friend Shelly from The Daisy Diaries

Shelly’s personality is like no other; it’s contagious! Her blog is amazing, just like her. Make sure to stop by and check it out.

I fell in love with The Daisy Diaries from my very first visit. Shelly’s blog focuses on home design, eclectic, one-of-a-kind shops that she stumbles upon and unique storage ideas. 

Shelly has fabulous taste! You can be sure that if she’s chosen to feature something on her blog, then it’s worth learning about.

It seemed only fitting to ask Shelly to do a ‘Condo Chic’ post for City Mom. I would just die to have a large budget; give it to Shelly; give her keys to my condo and let her go wild. 

Perhaps it would look something like this… 

First off, I have to tell you how stinking excited I am to have been invited by Kelly to guest post at City Mom; especially since I simply adore Kelly and her fabulous blog! 

So, thank you Kelly! xo 

I’m Shelly and I blog over at The Daisy Diaries! And let me just say that I am super honoured to be here to share some fabulous Chic Condos with all you amazing City Mom readers! 

I hope you enjoy this bit of eye candy I am dying to share with y’all! 

I lurve all these amazing Condo spaces! The use of neutral colors really allows the architecture to be predominating in all of these spaces. 

I also, just lurve the clean lines and simplicity they all have to offer.  


Image via Alto Condos
Image via Woodsonrow Condos
Image via abuzz
Image via Kochi Architects Studio


Image via Interior Design Company
Image via DeSoto Condos

See what I mean? Yikes! Now, I need to move!

Kelly is there any room in your building? Just teasing! But, I would love to be your neighbour!

Again thanks for having me miss Kelly and to all the City Mom readers, you guys ROCK!!

Love, Shelly xo

Thank you Shelly and the pleasure was all mine!

City Mom

Guest Post: The Safest Cities in Canada – Low on Crime & High on Family Values

Downtown London

When you’re raising a family, it’s important to be sure that you’re living in a safe, kid-friendly location. Fortunately, there are many places in Canada that fit that description, so it’s not difficult to find the right city for your family. According to a study profiled in Today’s Parent, the top five family friendly cities in Canada are Quebec City, Ottawa-Hull, Halifax, Winnipeg, and Calgary, with Quebec City achieving the best rating. However, the city of London in Ontario is also gaining recognition as a safe, family friendly city due to its low crime rate and excellent health care, among other factors.

The following are some more detailed descriptions of Canada’s safest cities for families.

Quebec City

This location scored well with the evaluators because of its excellent health care, progressive child care system, and active Ministry of Family and Children. Quebec City spends the most per capita on parks, recreation areas, museums, activities, and festivals – all of which are family friendly and safe. This city also boasts the second-lowest child poverty rate for kids under the age of five and the lowest housing costs by income.


This city has plenty of civic attractions and parks, boasting low crime numbers that attract families to the area for excellent safety.  Ottawa-Hull and Calgary tied for the fourth-lowest child poverty rate in Canada.


Out of all the crimes that could plague a city, Halifax is most concerned with graffiti – and that means there’s no focus on homicide or other violent crimes because they rarely affect Halifax. Its crime rate is the second-lowest in Canada, with St. John’s taking first place. Halifax also has a wealth of maritime value with a variety of beaches, fishing and sailing opportunities, and a program to address harbor pollution. Its parks, cycling paths, hiking trails, and clean air make it a great place to raise a family. The only downside to Halifax is its low high school completion rate: the second-lowest in Canada. In general, this city is a solid destination for a safety-conscious family.


This city scored well in environment and community involvement, which are two important initiatives for a family friendly location. Volunteering is a popular activity in this area, so kids learn the importance of helping others early in life. Winnipeg is the third-best city in per capita charitable donations and is well above the midpoint in education and child care. The only caveats for families considering this city are relatively high poverty and violent youth crime rates.


The United Way raises more money per person in Calgary than in any other location included in the study. This city also enjoys a healthy economy, low child poverty rates, and very little business for its food banks. Assaults, property crimes, and drug offenses don’t affect Calgary as much as other cities in Canada. However, Alberta’s health care, education, and low spending on civic attractions leave it at the bottom of the list of the top five safe, family friendly Canadian cities.


Located in the impressively safe province of Ontario, London is a great addition to this list of top family friendly cities in Canada. In 2006, the province of Ontario reported the lowest crime rate in Canada for the third year in a row: 5,689 per 100,000 or roughly 5.7%. This province also outperforms all others on health care with short waiting lists for treatment and very few childhood injuries. Its per-child spending on child care is the second-best out of all Canadian provinces.

London’s wide variety of safety programs includes a Children’s Safety Village which enables children to put what they learn about safety into action when they “practice” being safe in this kid-size model village. Additional programs such as Neighborhood Watch and Pool Safety help to keep families and children safe in this pleasant city.

If you live in any of these cities while you raise your family, you’re in good hands, so enjoy spending time with your children as you watch them grow up in a safe place.

Maria Rainier

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online degrees and what it takes to succeed as a student taking a bachelors degree program from home. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

City Mom

An Unusual Persepctive on London

When I asked my friend Kimberly from All Work and No Play to guest post on City Mom, I knew one of two things was going to happen.

1.  She would grace us with a moving and raw story about her struggles and triumphs with Postpartum Depression or…

2.  We’d get a hilarious post that splits your sides and makes you smile for the rest of the day.

Guess which one we got?  I bet you never thought you’d read about Solid Gold on City Mom…Enjoy and thank you to Kimberly!

BWS tips button

The summer sun blazed through the sun roof as our 4 door yellow Focus barreled down the 401 towards London. The wind whipped my hair wildly in every direction but I didn’t care. The highway air felt refreshing…

…until someone in the backseat decided to bake a brown air biscuit.

Shawn (my husband): “Whew! Whatever that farmer is using to fertilize his crop is sure rancid!”

*laughter erupts from the backseat

Shawn: “Oh man Kenny. That was a good one!”

Kenny. How do I describe this?

Shawn and Kenny have been the best of friends since Bon Jovi donned his first pair of tight leather pants.


I digress.

Even though Shawn and Kenny came from separate wombs, they are somehow tethered together by an umbilical cord that no woman can ever sever. They are inseparable.

They form a relationship that can be referred to as a “bromance”.
And yes, it is nauseating.

Where was I? Oh yes, on our way to London. We were meeting 3 other couples at London’s Armories Hotel for a mini vacation. When we got settled there we headed to Labatt’s Blue Brewery to see how beer was made and to watch the men drown in their own drool. Then us women subjected the men to hours of shopping.

And maybe we made them sit through our pedicures. It was only fair right?

Then some stuff happened. Most likely there was alcohol involved and perhaps there was a dare. Either way, at some point in between being completely obliterated and being just annoyingly drunk and adventurous, we found ourselves standing in the middle of Solid Gold. A strip club.

I remember that I focused heavily on my watered down overly priced drink that I sucked back anxiously in a mere 2.5 seconds because I didn’t know what I needed to do. Like was I supposed to just sit and smile at the dancers? Should I have tried to carry on in conversation about politics while “Diamond” shakes her naked junk in front of our faces?

It was awkward.

But the most awkward part was when I was approached by a peeler bar patron.

Old Dude: When do you dance?

Me: Oh. No, I am not a dancer.
*I begin fiddling with my straw.

Old Dude: You should dance up there.

Me: No, I’m not dancing. (*elbowing Shawn)

Old Dude: Come on get up there. I have money.

Me: Shawn. Shawn! Shawn.
*Shawn turns to me

Shawn: Shhhhhhhhh…..I’m talking to Kenny!
*Shawn turns his full attention back to Kenny.

See what I mean. I’m not important when Kenny’s around. Not even a creepy old dude with a strong graying moustache hitting on me can penetrate its force of love.

Bromance. Le sigh.

Anyhoodles, the rest of the trip was a smash and we’ve all been itching to go back…

…and not because we all caught something when we were at the strip club.

Because London is fabulously fun.

Or in our case…Solid Gold.

Guest Post: Lossie and Lara

Last week I authored my first guest post on a blog called Lossie and Lara.  This blog is written by two sisters who write about being Gen-Y in the workforce.   They have a very unique format to their blog which is what attracted me to their site in the first place.  I wanted to return the opportunity so I invited them to be guest contributors.  This is another first for City Mom.

We are an unusual pairing.  At first look our two blogs couldn’t be any different.  But at the root we do have some things that link us together; we are women in the workforce and we each have a sister (in my case, I have two) whom we adore today.

Lossie and Lara give us a humorous and interesting insight on growing up together and learning to appreciate each other, against all odds. 

Sibling Rivalry

Lara:  We’ve alluded to this story on our own site, but until now, we’ve never shared it with the Internet.

Lossie:  It was a dark, dark day… I get chills just thinking about it.

Lara:  I don’t know how old we were, but I couldn’t have been older than nine or ten. You must have been six or seven.

Lossie:  I was at least old enough to acknowledge the lack of logic in this argument, but young enough to still lose the fight in the end.

Lara:  I’m not sure what prompted it – maybe I was learning about civics in school?  But I decided that what you had done was very serious, and you needed to be judged by a jury of your peers.

Lossie:  Chances are it all started when I breathed on you, or I was singing along to songs in the car.  Both were common arguments that we would share back in the day.  But looking back on it, creating a jury was ingenious.  How could I argue with that at the time?

Lara:  A jury made up of my stuffed animals.

Lossie:  I just remember saying over and over, “It’s not fair! They’re YOUR stuffed animals! Of course they’ll agree with you!” Again, the logic was somewhat there, but not 100 percent in my case.

Lara:  We really disliked each other from the beginning.  I would even passively smack Mom as I walked by her for months after you were born.  We knew early on how to push each other’s buttons.

Lossie:  That continued for a few years, well not the smacking part, rather, the deep sense of anger with each other. It really wasn’t until you went to college that we really got along.  We just needed space I guess, ha-ha.

Lara:  We had some good collaborative moments growing up.  Remember when we’d tape over cassettes with imaginary news reports and made-up musicals?

Lossie:  Those are still my favourite memories.  We would figure out what skits to create and what we would talk about.  It was truly us being equally creative together.

Lara:  But even though we had our moments of being well-behaved and moderately loving, it took us a while to grow out of really disliking each other.

Lossie:  I think it was partly because we had to accept that we are very different people; we have different ways of just being.  In the end, we had to focus on how those traits complimented each other rather than how they were different.

Once we were really able to accept the fact that our differences were strengths it became clear that we were a very powerful pair of women.

We have different experiences and similar ways of dealing with people.  And after a few years of realizing these strengths, it became clear that a new business venture could actually be very effective.

We talked on the phone one night about how we could collaborate. We were eager to find something for us to be creative together on.  It spawned a blog and maybe in the future an even bigger business venture.

Our parents can now rest assured that they reared two well-behaved young women who really do get along. Though we spent the first part of our lives vehemently disliking each other (and probably driving our parents crazy) we just needed to grow into adults to learn to like each other. 

So don’t worry even if it seems like your children will never get along, we promise it will all work out.

And In case you’re wondering, Raggedy Ann (the judge) sentenced Lossie to probation. They’ve had a tenuous relationship ever since. Rest assured, Lara got what was coming to her:  Lossie’s jury of Barbie dolls evened the score by leaving their decapitated heads under her pillow.

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