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Category Archives: Useful Info

  1. Organic: To buy or not to buy?

    As I walk down the aisles at the supermarket, the organic section makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t know if to buy organic.  In life, I gravitate towards an  “all or none” approach…so if I buy organic fruits, do I also switch to organic meats?  If I don’t buy organic, does it mean that I don’t care enough about the health of my family?  If my kids eat organic fruits, will the benefits get canceled out by the radiating antenna in my neighbourhood?  All these questions run through my mind and I don’t really know what to do because toxins come at us from so many places and we can not protect our children from everything.

    I did receive a helpful list last week from EWG*.  It is a shopper’s guide to pesticides in produce and it outlines which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic.  I know that I can reduce my family’s exposure to pesticides by using this list if I don’t want to go “all the way”.

    *EWG is the Environmental Working Group and somehow, I got on their mailing list and they send me all kinds of scary information about toxins.  It’s a good thing they are trying to do.  They are not out to make me crazy.  The non-profit organization has two important  goals:

    1. To protect the most vulnerable segments of the human population children, babies, and infants in the womb from health problems attributed to a wide array of toxic contaminants.

    2. To replace federal policies, including government subsidies that damage the environment and natural resources, with policies that invest in conservation and sustainable development.

    It’s all good (what they are doing) and bad (the world).

    Posted in Useful Info.

  2. My First App!


    I am always on the lookout for great apps for kids.  The Toddler spends a lot of time confiscating my phone or iPad for his own use.  Sometimes, I even give him my phone voluntarily to keep him occupied (can you believe it???).  Then I experience iGuilt when I catch him playing Zombies or watching Dora in Russian on You Tube.

    Let me declare that I think I have found the best apps for kids.  Highly educational and fun.  My First App are classified according to age (starting at 18 months) and each helps your child develop an important skill.  The user interface is great and the graphics are bright and crisp.  My toddler is busy building and matching and my 6 yr. old is using a matrix!  They love it and I feel so good about them using these apps.

    Check out the website for more info.

    Posted in Cool Products, Useful Info.

  3. What’s open?


    Here’s a list of what’s open and closed on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and Easter Monday:

    Grocery stores:

    • Most will be closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday


    • Closed all weekend

    Schools and government offices:

    • Closed for the entire weekend
    • No mail collection or delivery from Good Friday through to Easter Monday.
    • Toronto Public Library – all branches will be closed Easter Sunday and Easter Monday

    LCBO – closed Good Friday and Easter Sunday (some open Easter Monday with modified hours).

    Beer Store– closed Good Friday and Easter Sunday, open Easter Monday


    • Toronto Eaton Centre – Open Good Friday, closed Easter Saturday
    • Pacific Mall – Open all weekend
    • Square One – Closed Good Friday and Easter Sunday
    • Art Gallery of Ontario – Open Good Friday and Saturday, closed Easter Sunday and Easter Monday


    • TTC will run on a holiday schedule on Good Friday
    • GO Transit will run on a Sunday schedule on Good Friday


    • Royal Ontario Museum – Open all weekend
    • Ontario Science Centre – Open all weekend
    • Toronto Zoo – Open all weekend
    • CN Tower – Open all weekend


    Thanks for this comprehensive list.

    Posted in Useful Info.

  4. Inside a Toddler’s Brain…

    This infographic explains how your toddler is just as nuts as anyone else’s toddler.

    Posted in Useful Info.

  5. Is your child’s behaviour normal?

    I don’t know.  But you are here, so scroll down and read about a sale or a rubber giraffe.

    Posted in Useful Info.

  6. Toddler Adventure Group – Big Like!

    Any of you who have a toddler at home know how difficult it is to keep them busy.   My  2 yr. old Liam and I were feeling a little lonely and uninspired at home.   I knew he needed more structure and exposure to new activities and children and I was looking to add more programs to his schedule.

    As if she read my mind, Sharyn, of Toddler Adventure Group (TAG), sent me an email and invited us to experience one of her playgroups .    Sharyn is a toddler expert who runs structured playgroups for 18-36 month olds in the Thornhill Woods area.   A playgroup is 90 minutes long and includes skill development through play, songs, crafts, and much more.

    As soon as Liam and I sat on a carpet covered in colourful little pompoms, I knew that this wasn’t just another playgroup.  Every minute at TAG is planned to help toddlers grow and hone skills that most of us take for granted.   Sharyn brings warmth, energy and new materials every week to engage and stimulate the little ones and she reminds us to do things at toddler speed, toddler height, toddler fun.  While Liam was enjoying every minute of his participation, I too was learning.  Being in the company of other adults while focusing on my child felt great.  Learning to teach my toddler important skills through play was inspiring and being reminded that toddlerhood is a magical time was simple here.

    To learn more about Toddler Adventure Group visit the website or follow their Facebook Page.  If you are looking for a backyard camp, TAG’s Summer Sparks may be the perfect camp for your toddler.

    Posted in Activities & Events, Useful Info.

  7. Home Depot Workshops for Kids

    Mamapicks used to have a ” what to do this weekend” column and she sort of gave up because there is not enough high-quality stuff to do in the Winter with kids.  But now and then , she will let you know about great activities that she finds.  She will also let you know about places that are not great in the new “It sucks” column.

    Home Depot has monthly workshops for kids which are FREE and amazing.  We went to our first one this past Saturday morning with my 5 yr.-old son and he was the happiest kid on earth.  The two-hour workshop involves a different building project every time which is suitable for ages 4-12.  It is held at most Home Dept locations one Saturday morning a month, 10am-12pm.  This past weekend, my son used a hammer and nails to carefully construct a savings shed.  He received a kit to complete with an accompanying adult and a really cute  Home Depot kid-sized apron.  He also received a tattoo sticker which was a really big deal for some reason.  You must pre-register as many locations fill up fast.  The next workshop takes place on Feb.11th. Register online.

    Posted in Activities & Events, Ideas, Useful Info.

  8. Free Valet Parking @ Yorkdale

    Located at Holt Renfrew’s lower parking deck on P1, valet parking is available for $8 and is complimentary with a visible Accessible Parking Permit and for MasterCard World and World Elite cardholders from December 1 – 31.  From December 1st – January 8th, receive free valet parking for the first & last two hours of Yorkdale’s operating hours with a $50 purchase. Space is limited.


    Posted in Free, Useful Info.

  9. Great article (and short enough for moms to read).

    Posted in Useful Info.

  10. Morning & Bedtime Checklists



    I hate this time of year.  Perhaps if the start of the school year did not coincide with the end of the summer season, it would be more tolerable.  For those of you who are past denial and getting ready,  Children Inspire Design has two super useful checklists to help you ease (or crash?) back into routine.

    Posted in Free, Useful Info.

  11. Things to do with your toddler…

    I love this list of great ideas from Counting On Me.  The Baby is almost a toddler and some mornings, I feel like I need fresh ideas in order to keep him busy.  Come to think of it, I can keep the other two non-toddlers busy with some of these tips too.  Rain doesn’t scare me any more.

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  12. Heartsy for Etsy

    Worlds collided in a really good way yesterday when I heard that my all time favourite Etsy (a website for all things hand-made) and my recent infatuation with Grouponish sites came together into something called Heartsy.  Heartsy is a Groupon-like site for Etsy.  So, if you like Etsy, you might want to subscribe to Heartsy.  Gotsy?

    P.s. above is this beautiful mom’s nest which makes for a personal and symbolic gift for Mother’s Day.  Great for your mom or mother-in-law if you order all of the grandkids’ names.

    Posted in Gifts, Personalized, Useful Info.

  13. Old Navy Coupon

    So…Old Navy says they just got better!  A Play Spot for kids, now that is a good idea 🙂  Let’s just hope they maintain and keep it clean unlike some Children’s Place location I am thinking about.  Print your coupon for 30% off one item and go check it out.  Valid until Feb. 27th.

    Posted in Coupons, Useful Info.

  14. The Inverse Power of Praise

    I am sure you have all read some excerpt of an article about the effects of praise on kids.  I think my kids are praise junkies (My fault) and it’s something my husband and I are working hard to remedy.  This article from New York Magazine was quite long and I praised my own effort for reading it through.  It is a really good one though, and has a wealth of useful information and real-life examples.  Take the time to read it, I assure you that you will learn a lot about how not to talk to your kids.

    Posted in Useful Info.

  15. You Name It Baby: New Location

    You Name It Baby is an amazing place for personalized gifts for kids.  They are opening a new location and you can use the above voucher if you go for a visit.  They have great products and customer service!  The new address is 3383 Bathurst St.  New store opens Feb. 22nd.

    Posted in Coupons, Useful Info.

  16. Please Mum Green Backs

    Please Mum is offering you store bucks for gently used clothing.  For more info and restrictions, please check out this link.

    Posted in Useful Info.

  17. Best of 2010: Cruise with the kids? (Fixed!)

    One of our best vacations ever was a cruise vacation…but that was before we had kids.  I sometimes wonder if and when it would be appropriate to take the kids on a cruise vacation.   The travel company who we booked our cruise with was incredible and I often recommend them to friends.  VacationsToGo has great prices and the service is immaculate.  They have compiled information on all of the programs and services available for kids (ages 2-17) by each cruise line.  What a great resource!

    Holland America
    MSC Cruises
    Royal Caribbean

    Posted in Travel, Useful Info.

  18. Best of 2010: If you were a piece of IKEA furniture.

    …what would your name be?  A little silliness to perk up your Thursday.  Try it!

    Posted in Useful Info.

  19. Loot Bag Idea!

    Mabel’s Labels has a new Loot Bag Combo for $5 which includes a personalized bag tag and 5 sticky labels.  Fun & useful!

    Posted in Ideas, Useful Info.

  20. All in one place!

    Remember I told you how enamoured I have become with group coupon sites?  Well, my inbox is getting pretty heavy with those and if I see another coupon for microderm abrasion…  Anyhow, I found a new website called OneSpout which is an aggrogator of all of the other sites.  You can go to one place and see all of the offerings for cities of your choice.  As well, if you sign up for their daily mail, you can filter out the kinds of products and services that you are not interested in.  It’s pretty great.  No more clutter.

    I love how someone has a good idea (Groupon) and then dozens copy it,  and then come the aggregators, and then come the aggregators of the aggregators.

    Posted in Useful Info.

  21. Rating Movies with Kids in Mind

    My kids have gone to a couple of movies for toddlers (where have those gone?)…but they have never seen a real movie in full at the theatre.  I was thinking about Yogi Bear and Tangled for next weekend but need to be very careful.  My kids are easily frightened.  Disney on Ice was very scary for them.  The Boy still shakes when he sees Swiper on Dora and he is almost 5 yrs. old.

    I found this great website ( that gives parents ample relevant info about current movies so that we all can determine if a movie is appropriate for OUR kids, not someone else’s.  The website does not  assign an inscrutable rating based on age but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY,VIOLENCE/GORE &PROFANITY, on a scale of 0 to 10, and they explain why a film rates high or low in a specific category. Also, instances of substance abuse are included in the review as well as a list of discussion topics that may elicit questions from children.


    Posted in Useful Info.

  22. Three Kids :)


    “There is always a little person in need of something. Food. A drink of water. A boob. A bath. A hug. A mouth, nose, or bottom wiped. A timeout. Electroshock therapy. Oh no, sorry, that’s me.”

    I knew I was in for a good read after reading that.  I also knew that I could read this article to my husband and he would actually pay attention.  It’s called On Having Three Kids and it’s all about…that.  In case you are considering it…or are already in this wonderful predicament.   It is written by Jennifer Eyre Wright and can be found on her website – (yes there is such a  website!).

    Posted in Useful Info.

  23. Nasal Mist

    My house is a snot factory.  I recently tried saline mist rather than drops on the little noses and…amazing.  My baby didn’t squirm when I applied the mist and so I had to try it on myself to see what it felt like.  Well, rather than liquid shooting up and nearly touching your brain, you feel a soft mist coating the inside of your nostrils ever so gently.  I highly recommend it!  The Life brand sold at Shoppers Drug Mart is the cheapest and best in my opinion.  Pure sea-water mist costs twice as much and was not as effective.

    Posted in Useful Info.

  24. Daily Deals

    The Groupon phenomenon is sweeping the world and new websites are popping up, offering you incredible savings daily.  I love waking up to an inbox full of deals, it’s so exciting.  I have actually bought and used quite a few vouchers for restaurants and others.  Today, I got 3 free Gymboree classes from PeachyBuy before getting dressed…now that’s what I call a productive morning!

    For all of you looking for great gifts – these deals make for impressive ones that would normally be beyond your budget.  For example, Dealfind is offering a 1hr. massage + manicure & pedicure at a local salon spa for $39.  Who wouldn’t love that?

    Here are my favourites.  It’s simple, just sign up.

    Peachybuy (for moms!)







    Posted in Coupons, Deals, Useful Info.

  25. Rogers Thanks You

    Rogers thanks you for all the time you spent on hold.  There are a few big prizes, but I think everyone gets a small prize (free video rental, temp. magazine subscription or phone cover).  The kids got a kick out of choosing the virtual gift box and giving it a virtual shake.

    Posted in Useful Info.