Minimalist Travelling With Kids

 

Mommy Connections Alumni, Bronwyn Hannelas, shares how she packed for a One-week trip, with 1 Baby, 1 pre-schooler and NO checked luggage.

 

 

For March Break our family of four flew to Vancouver for a week.  We spent time chasing waves on Tofino’s sandy Pacific beaches, atop snowy mountains, cycling in Stanley park and touring the city centre. Even with baby in tow we managed to avoid checking any baggage here’s how.

Maximize your Carry-on Limit

Since baby flew for free, we were left with a carry-on allowance of 3 pieces plus 3 small bags. I forwent a purse and opted for a diaper bag instead, the camera bag also did double duty holding some snacks and small toys.

Okay let’s get real with a 3.5-year-old and 15-month-old snacks and toys were inevitably stuffed everywhere but in clear ziplocks to maintain some sanity.  Wearing my daughter in her carrier also avoided the need to find space for that essential but bulky item.

Bring that Stroller

We gate checked our umbrella stroller for free. I travelled alone with the two kids on the flight over and the stroller doubled as a luggage dolly- a real life saver.

Any modest sized stroller that folds seems to be fine and I even saw a couple doubler strollers being stowed at gate.  Just beware as if its too bulky you could be looking at additional fees to check it.

Limit Shopping

We ended up being that family at airport rearranging suitcase contents and shovelling snacks into our kids mouths after our suitcases had mysteriously expanded past acceptable dimensions on the way home.

We planned to buy nothing, but I was the first to crack when I feel in love with Pinterest-worthy dessert bowls at a farmer’s market. We also did a Value Village run to replace some soaked sneakers and succumbed to ‘mom please’ requests for new dollies..

Forgo the Hotel

With Air BnB over a traditional hotel you can scout out a family friendly home that offers more options for meal prep, enclosed backyards and can seriously limit what you need to bring. We made sure to ask questions about high chairs, cribs and kid-friendly dinnerware ahead of time.

While visiting Vancouver Island the home we stayed in had an enviable toy collection that included ride-on toys- a definite hit with our littles. Our lovely hosts also passed along this outgrown rain suit for our daughter which was perfect for the ocean spray on the island’s sandy beaches.

 

Plan Activities Ahead

Limited luggage for us meant a trade-off in spontaneity. We brought hiking attire for some planned modest treks but opted not to bring swim suits. This meant having to forego the local pool on a rainy day and instead discovering free train rides and a cherry blossom festival at the local mall. Both kept the kids active indoors for a couple hours.

 

Minimalist travelling requires some additional planning and trade-offs much as it does in our daily family life in our small Toronto home. Ultimately though, keeping things simpler meant having the space and money to focus on taking in more new experiences.

 

Bronwyn Hannelas lives in Toronto’s west end with her husband and their two young children. She writes about trying to live a simpler life with less stuff at www.smallhousebigcity.com

 

Written by: By Ben Hodson

It seems that, like Christmas, the ‘Back to School’ frenzy starts earlier and earlier each year. If you have school-age children you might have barely made it home from the last day of term in July, with a ripe-smelling PE bag in tow, before being assailed by adverts telling you to stock up on items for the new school year in September. Not the most relaxing way to start the school holidays!

But when September finally rolls around, most families do experience a feeling of ‘getting back to a routine’ after the laid-back long summer days and lighter evenings. Even if your little ones aren’t at school yet, you might be trying to re-establish routines that have been cast aside during the carefree summer holidays, when mealtimes, bathtimes and bedtimes were all a little more flexible.

So as the days get shorter, the nights get longer and the weather gets colder, we have some great products that can help you and your little ones get back into good sleep routines.

Temperature

Switching on the central heating once again really does feel like summer is over, but knowing the right time to do so isn’t always obvious. If you do it too soon, you may risk overheating the room your little one sleeps in, if you leave it too late, they may get cold in the night and sleep badly. The gentle glow of the Gro-egg can tell you at a glance whether the temperature of the room is too high (red glow), too low (blue glow), or just right (yellow glow). You can then alter the room temperature or adapt your little one’s clothing or bedding.

Bedding

If you suffered from poor sleep during the sultry summer nights, then snuggling up in bed with a heavier duvet when the temperature drops, can feel like a treat. If your little one has a Grobag Baby Sleep Bag, you may find that they also need to switch to a higher tog (European warmth rating) as the nights get colder. Grobags are designed to be used instead of blankets and top sheets, so choose a 2.5 tog Grobag for standard room temperatures of 16-20°C, or a 3.5 tog Grobag for cold room temperatures of 12-15°C. All babies are different, so be sure to check your little one to make sure he or she is not too hot or cold.

The Gro Company’s range of sleep solutions are designed make parents’ lives a little bit easier, so even if you dread the approach of the dark days of winter, you can still look on the bright side of enjoying safe, restful sleep for you and your family.

We have a big announcement regarding Mommy Connections – and we wanted to make sure you – our valued community members  – were among the first ones to hear the exciting news!

Upon making the decision to relocate to Texas, Carol McBee – the founder of Mommy Connections – has decided to step down as President and CEO.  As such, and effective immediately, Karen Davey, the long-time Director of the West Toronto chapter, will assume this role as the new owner of Mommy Connections Inc..

Carol has shown remarkable dedication, leadership, and vision over the past 8.5 years. What she’s built is extraordinary, and Karen is determined to make her proud as she takes the baton and leads the organization into the future.  

Karen first joined the Mommy Connections team back in 2010 when she was a new mom herself.  She is extremely passionate about this company and the important role it plays in new mothers’ lives, and excited to build upon the wonderful success Carol has created.

More than 50,000 moms have attended Mommy Connections classes in their communities – which wouldn’t have been possible without our team of incredibly passionate and talented program directors.  

Although today’s announcement is a significant milestone in the story of this organization, your experience within your local chapter will not change. We look forward to many more years of building community, and connecting you with fantastic brands, resources, and people in your neighbourhood.

The official press release can be found here for those interested in reading a little bit more. If you have any questions at all about this change, please don’t hesitate to connect with Karen at karen@mommyconnections.ca

Thank you – as always – for being part of our journey!

Sincerely,

Karen Davey & Carol McBee

Carol McBee (left) and Karen Davey (right)

Media Release – April 25, 2018

Long Time Director, Karen Davey, Becomes President & CEO

EDMONTON, AB… Mommy Connections Inc. is now under the ownership of long-time Mommy Connections West Toronto Director, Karen Davey. The company was created by Carol McBee in Edmonton, AB in 2009 with the first programs officially running in January of 2010. In 8.5 years, the company grew to include more than 30 Canadian locations, coast to coast, connecting tens of thousands of moms in their communities.

The transition has been an easy one as the new owner has been a vital part of the company since July 2010, participating in all aspects of the business at both corporate and local levels. Carol McBee has been very positive about the entire transfer experience stating: “Karen will continue to grow the company and lead the Mommy Connections team into the future. I am very confident in her abilities to strengthen the business overall. She is passionate about connecting moms and has a keen business sense.”

Prior to becoming a Licensee with Mommy Connections in 2010, Karen spent 10 years in marketing and business development mainly with Campbell’s Soup. Her experience running Mommy Connections West Toronto has given her exceptional insight into the client demographic. She sees huge opportunity and is very excited to take on this new role. As Karen prepares to transition to President & CEO, she will be working closely with Carol McBee as well the company’s Corporate Manager, Kori Farrell.

Outgoing President & CEO, Carol McBee will be relocating with her family to Dallas, Texas following the sale and will continue to act in an advisory capacity for the business and consulting role with regards to Brand Partnerships on an as-needed basis.

Please join us on congratulating Karen on her new role within Mommy Connections.

Mommy Connections is now available in 26 communities across Canada, and new locations are in the works. For more information on Mommy Connections, visit www.mommyconnections.ca.

Media contact:

Karen Davey; Mommy Connections Inc.

karen@mommyconnections.ca

 

 

Baby showers are a fun and special way of celebrating the arrival of a little bundle of joy with close friends and family. This is an exciting time, with everyone eagerly waiting for the big day. Parents-to-be veer between states of delirious happiness and pensive nervousness, Grandparents wait impatiently for the moment they finally get to cuddle their grandchild, while close friends are simply happy to share in the joy. Baby showers are one of those special occasions that most people fondly remember alongside their wedding day and the actual birth of their child.

Planning a baby shower to perfection

Planning the perfect baby shower doesn’t need to be a manic, stressful and laborious task. To keep the planning process as simple and hassle-free as possible, be sure to follow our baby shower-planning guide, filled with handy tips and cute ideas.

Keep The Mom-To-Be In Mind

What better reason to plan party than a celebrating a new baby? Planning a baby shower can be a lot of fun, there’s the fun games, adorable themes, whimsical decorations, cute bits and bobs, and did we mention lots and lots of yummy cakes and scrumptious nibbles? It’s easy to get carried away in a tide of cutesy kitsch but it’s worth remembering whom you are planning the celebration for.   Keep the mom-to-be’s personality in mind when hashing out the details. What would she love? Is she boisterous and outgoing or a little bit shy and reserved?

Confirm Guest List And Invitations

Work closely with the guest of honour to finalise the date of the baby shower and guest list. Factor in budget and venue size. Most baby showers happen before the birth of the baby, so be sure to decide on a realistic date that is most comfortable for the mom-to-be. Send out invitations four to six weeks before the baby shower and include a RSVP date. Invitations can be sent via email, social media, text message or post.

Find A Location

Your budget, guest list and theme plays a role in what location would be ideal for the baby shower. Factor in what the guest of honour would prefer. She could fancy a brunch at her favourite café or she might be a homebody and prefer the privacy and comfort of her own home. Below are a few great options to consider when deciding on a location:

Choose A Theme

There are loads of fun and adorable themes and decoration ideas out there. Do your best to choose a theme that reflects the personality of the guest of honour. It can be as simple as choosing a colour scheme or as elaborate as your imagination and budget will allow. The theme will influence the type of decorations, party favours, games and invitations you choose.

Arrange Baby Shower Games

Not every mom-to-be likes to actively participate in games in front of a crowd, so be sensitive if baby shower games are not her cup of tea. You could always opt for something totally unique like hiring a mobile casino or a magician, as this will provide endless entertainment to all. Whatever you choose, you’ll need to prepare well in advance and make sure you have the necessary supplies. Try and keep games or entertainment simple, fun and exciting, as they are often the most memorable part of the event!

Organise Refreshments

If there’s one thing a pregnant lady can appreciate, it’s a delicious spread of delicious finger foods, cakes and snacks. If the baby shower is being held at a restaurant or café, you will need to select a menu items or arrange a special menu beforehand. Always confirm your guests’ dietary requirements. You can also hire a caterer or ask each of guests to bring along something to share, and a themed cake always goes down well.

These tips should help you throw a memorable shower, and make the mom-to-be feel very special too!

Seasonal allergies and the common cold are a fact of life for many people. However, a sinus infection is much more severe and makes everything worse. But what causes a sinus infection? Some believe that allergies may put people at a higher risk of these infections but is this really the truth? Just because you experience hay fever on occasion, could it mean that an infection is unavoidable?

 

Inflammation of Nasal Passages

 

The sinus cavity is a very sensitive area. It can be irritated by something as simple as dust or pet dander. A walk in the park at the beginning of spring could mean a trip to the doctor for those with severe allergies. After all, it is not uncommon to hear about a person suffering from a sinus infection shortly after the seasons change. In fact, there seems to be a rise in this condition when irritants such as plant life begins to bloom.

When sinuses are healthy, they are filled with air and regulate themselves naturally but once they become inflamed or swollen, the risks increase. Because bacteria, fungi and viruses may linger, the germs can spread and cause an infection. Conditions that can make symptoms worse include allergic rhinitis, a cold or even something severe as nasal polyps. If any of these conditions are present, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about steps that can be taken during allergy season to prevent it from becoming something more serious.

 

Types of Infections

 

There are a few different infections one can develop in their sinuses. Some can be resolved quickly but others may last a lot longer. The most common classifications of sinus infections are: acute sinusitis, sub-acute sinusitis, recurrent sinusitis and chronic sinusitis. Getting the proper diagnosis from a specialist will help you understand the correct steps to recovery.

 

Acute sinusitis is an infection that can easily be mistaken for a cold. The symptoms appear suddenly and usually include a stuffy nose, headaches, tight facial pain or a runny nose. Unlike a cold, these symptoms don’t go away after a few days. They can linger for two weeks and have trouble healing on their own.

 

Similar to the acute infection, sub-acute sinusitis is when the infection lasts for four to eight weeks. This can cause incredible headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite and even pus in the nasal cavity. Recurrent sinusitis is usually acute sinusitis that recurs a few times each year and chronic sinusitis is an infection that lasts longer than eight weeks.

It is clear that allergies can cause infections though not every person suffering from them will develop a sinus infection. If seasonal allergies are affecting your breathing and you are noticing cold-like symptoms, it is important to get help before an infection develops. Consult a specialist so that you may find ways to prevent seasonal allergies from becoming a sinus infection.

 

Dr. Samuel S. Becker is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a board-certified specialist in otolaryngology. He practices as an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor in New Jersey and Philadelphia.

 

We had a fabulous time at the Edmonton Far To Car Event, hosted by Ford Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta.  In usual Ford Fashion, every detail was tended too!

We learned a lot about what sustainability initiatives Ford is focusing on.  A few that stuck out in my mind from the event where using Agave and US money to make items for vehicles.  Ford and Jose Cuervo are working together to explore the use of the tequila producer’s agave plant byproduct in Ford vehicles. You can read more on this initiative here.  The money that the US Treasury removes from circulation can be shredded and made into the change dishes in Ford Vehicles.  So many amazing ideas and environmental breakthroughs.  I enjoyed seeing a Ford plant in a video during the event that featured roof top gardens.

The menu had an Alberta theme that started off with Agave Martini’s in honor of the Jose Cuervo-Ford partnership.

far-to-car-2016

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The table was beautifully set when we arrived.

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I even brought Mr. McBee to dinner!

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Cory Christopher did an amazing job on all of the floral decor.

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Just one of the many slides in the sustainability presentation.

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Many forks for many courses!

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Here is the coin dish made from the shredded US currency as mentioned above.

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First Course

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Second Course

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Fun with some local Edmonton bloggers in between courses!

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Cows Tongue….!

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Lamb Chops

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5th Course!

 

Ford is really making a difference and I am looking forward to the next event!

 

 

Snow’s falling. Hot chocolate’s calling. Better yet, the whole world is feeling the magic! This is the season that little Beans can enjoy in a big way. From leggings to layers, all mixing and matching, the colours are cozy and the prints are catchy! There are beautiful bows and even some sparkly details (snowflakes aren’t the only ones that glisten!) Oh, and the pockets – they’re perfect for warming up little fingers or hiding a candy or two! With the Winter 2017 collection, the fun never has to end!

My favourite piece from the girls collection is definitely the “Show Stopping Leggings” – they have a fun metallic print at the bottom and they are just $36.  The colour blocking leggings are also a hit in my house.  If you have a little girl who doesn’t like to wear jeans – these are the only leggings to buy.  The cheap leggings that can be found at most kids clothing stores are thin, get holes in the knees easily and just aren’t warm enough for winter.  Some of them are so skimpy they can even be a bit see-through, which makes sommersaults and hanging upside down a problem, which is a BIG PROBLEM! These leggings are really cute without being ‘baby-ish’ – they are perfect for that older little girl who might be feeling like she is outgrowing Peekaboo Beans.  They look great with ballet flats or boots and are perfect for the holiday season.  I have said it before, but if you are new to Peekaboo Beans, just buy one small piece – like a pair of leggings.  You will instantly see the incredible quality and value.show-stopping-leggins-in-a-fun-metallic-print-just-36
For those of you going on a warm winter holiday (lucky ducky!) and are in need of some adorable new tee’s, the boy tee shirts are funky and cool.  They are also a nice thick fabric, so for little boys that get hot and sweaty during their playtime, they work perfectly for layering on a cold day.  Thick material for comfort and warmth and perfect under a hoody or long sleeved sweater.  They are only $38 and if you have 2 boys, even better.  With Peekaboo Beans, you can ALWAYS hand these pieces down because they maintain their colour, shape, size and quality.
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Number one on my list for Winter 2016 PB purchases is definitely the new Mudslide pant.  They are trendy looking without your little guy being stuck in a skinny jean!  I love the colour blocked knees.  This pant is $56 and is rumoured to already be selling out due to huge popularity! The design at Peekaboo Beans nailed it when it when creating these great pants for the little man in your life.

mudslide-pants-56

For those of you with baby beans, they have some adorable little pants and tops.  My favourite still, by far, is the Bean Playsuite.  Perfect for those late night holiday parties where you need to get the baby out of those adorable ‘fancy clothes’ that are SO uncomfortable (I know – they are for the photos!) and into some jammies.  The Playsuit is both comfortable and adorable.  The perfect combination when you are out and about celebrating the season! Get your own for $38!

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To start filling up your own cart, visit their website at www.peekaboobeans.com.  If you are in love with the entire brand and company, think about selling it and not only spreading the bean love to all of your friends and family, but also making an additional income for your family!

 

 

 

This is an awesome summer purchase or gift.  With kids under foot and sometimes needing a quiet activity to work on, this is a great choice!  My kids love reading through the directions, page by page and slowly creating their masterpiece.  We pulled it out one rainy morning when the baby was still sleeping.  It was only 9am and the kids were already getting a little wild in the house.

Playmobil

This treehouse was the perfect project for them.

There is a rope bridge  – be careful you don’t fall through! A rope pulley brings up supplies the treehouse and there are even bunk beds to sleep in.  My kids loved the little kitchen pieces; eggs in a frying pan (that came from the birds nest – also included) and little utensils and plates.  You can go fishing for salmon, but watch out for the bears who also want to catch the fish before heading back to their cave where they are guarding golden treasure.

There is something for everyone in this adventurous set.  Both my kids (boy and girl) really liked it.  They are 3 & 7 and needed help putting it together, but this may not be the case for everyone.

Treehouse Treehouse Packaging

The set retails for $79.99.  Order directly from Playmobil and get free shipping! 

Disclosure: I am aP&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I have been compensated to share Pampers deals and test diaper subscription services. The opinions on this blog are my own.

You guys – did you know that Pampers offers diapers and wipes subscriptions through select online retailers?! And yes – this is for Canadian moms!  I so often hear about these super convenient subscription services, but they are usually very expensive to ship to Canada, or not available at all.   How often are you at the grocery store and running out of room in your cart (because you might be carrying more than groceries – like maybe kids too?!), and realize that you need to buy a giant box of diapers?  I do a big shop at my local grocery store the first Tuesday of the month when they offer an extra 15% off.  This is usually when I buy my diapers for my 16 month old and my overnight diapers for my big boy.  If you want to track down which retailers are offering a diaper subscription service, simply go to your favourite search engine and type in any of the following key phrases:
• Swaddlers diaper subscription
• Pampers diaper subscription
• Overnight diaper subscription
• Pampers + Subscription

I did a quick search with several of these phrases and came up with multiple online retails who ship to Canadian homes quickly, and many free of charge.  Some also offer discounts that you wouldn’t find in store and a few had the option for promo codes.  Speaking of promo codes – make sure that every time you buy a Pampers product, you visit their coupon page.  There are always coupons for every diaper size and style and wipes as well. Don’t want to print off coupons? They have an app too!

When you have a new baby, there are so many small tasks that need to be done every day. You may not realize you’re out of diapers until it’s too late. Products you love and that are essential for your baby, like Pampers, can be delivered right to your doorstep, saving you time and stress.  Having these items delivered right to a new moms doorstep makes a quick and easy (and welcomed!) baby shower gift as well.  Picking up the necessities for a new mom can be overwhelming, so this is a great stress reliever for mom and an easy purchase for the giver.
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Tell us in the comments who your favourite Canadian online retailer is for all of the baby essentials, like diapers and wipes!

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