Friday
Nov212014

Help Santa Toy Parade

November 22rd, 2014
Time: 11:00 a.m. 

 Parade Route Below

Help Ottawa firefighters collect toys for those in need.  The Help Santa Toy Parade of lights is a tradition in Ottawa.  Local firefighters walk the route collecting toys from spectators. 

Starts at National Archives on Wellington Street, heading east on Wellington until Bank. The parade turns right, continuing south on Bank Street then turns left on Laurier Avenue. It heads east on Laurier until Elgin Street, where it ends near City Hall.

http://www.toyparade.org/ 

Here are some great tips for enjoying the parade 

  • Don't underestimate the crowds.
  • Arrive early if you want a good spot.
  • Be prepared for long waits.
  • Check the weather forecast before you head out.
  • Have a plan with your kids in case you get split up.

 

Here is a link to a list of other Santa Claus Parades in Eastern Ontari

Tuesday
Nov042014

Get Out and Be Active

November is in full swing and the holidays are fast approaching. The days are much shorter, the weather is getting colder and it’s officially the season for hibernating, eating more and exercising less.  When curling up on the couch seems far more appealing than heading outside, it takes a little motivation and preparation to keep the family active throughout the winter months.

Here are some ways to keep your family active as the weather cools down. 

Take your kids climbing. There are lots of indoor places to climb, a perfect activity for days when the weather is not so agreeable. A quick lesson on the basics of climbing and you’ll be set. Kids use their whole bodies while climbing and it is a great activity to teach problem-solving and help build confidence. And if the kids love it, you can move the adventure outdoors in the spring or summer.  Try Vertical Reality or Coyote Rock Gym.  There is also a small rock climbing wall at Fun Haven

Make a splash. Kids love to make a splash in the winter time.  There is nothing more exciting than swimming at an indoor pool while it is cold outside.  Family swim times are available throughout the week  at city pools.  City of Ottawa Website.   It can also be an adventure to visit the indoor water park at Travelodge or the Wave Pool in Kanata.  

 

Bring it inside:  There are so many wonderful indoor playgrounds in the Ottawa area and each one is unique.  From trampolines to bumper cars, bowling and everything in between, there are many great offerings to keep a family active.  Keep your eye on their websites to find specials and coupons that come up from time to time.  

Funhaven 

Star Gymnastics 

Tubes & Jujubes 

Brinkeetos 

Funatorium Explorium 

Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park 


Walk around the block.  Bundle up and get out for a walk with your family.  Take a look at all of the beautiful decorations going up around your neighbourhood.  Gaze at the stars or just have a great talk while you walk. 

 

Celebrate the first snow.   Make tracks. Make snow angels. Make a snowman. Often the first snow does not last, so embrace it. Kids will be excited to get out there and catch snowflakes on their tongue and dance around. Find your inner child and remember just how fun those first snowfalls can be. 



Try skating as a family. Ottawa has many indoor and outdoor ice surfaces that offer family and  recreational skating. The website has searchable schedules by community. Family skating is a great way to meet people from your neighborhood and keep active. Always remember to wear your helmets when ice skating.  Ottawa Public Skating Schedule.  

 

Visit the Community Centre  The city of Ottawa operates over 50 Community centres that focus on recreational, social, and cultural activities for everyone.  Check the schedules for each location to learn more about ways you can stay in shape and learn new skills.  Many centres offerer special programs during school breaks and holidays.  Ottawa Community Centres.  

Getting outside and being active with your kids is important. It sets them up for a lifetime of active living. If you make it a habit for them now, it will continue as they get older. Weather can make this challenging, but if you get out as the weather gets colder, it will be even easier when it warms up again. Being active as a family also creates so many great memories they will cherish and keeps the conversation going as the kids get older. 

Monday
Oct272014

Host a Howling Good Halloween Party 

MITK is dressed up as Octo-Mom to share some spooky recipes and spine-tingling games.

 

Ideas for decorations, crafts, games, recipes and more 
 

Take a look at MITK on CTV Ottawa Morning where she demonstrates these great ideas

 

 Get your kids involved in the decorating for the party with a few of these easy tips and crafts 

  1. Use a  big roll of caution tape  to criss- cross across doors that are off limits. 
  2. Make signs that warn  Beware or Haunted
  3. Cut monster footprints from cardboard and have them lead from party room to party room.  You can even make a path to the bathroom.
  4. Make ghoulish centerpieces and ornaments from salt dough
  5.   Salt Dough: Easy to roll out dough and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Salt dough crafts will   air dry in a day or two. If you need immediate results, bake them in the oven at 200    degrees Fahrenheit until they harden. Easy recipe : 2 cups all purpose flour/ 2 cups of salt/   1 cup of water. Mix with your hands until moist and smooth.
  6. Go through your recycling bin and pull out different shaped bottles.  Fill them with water and food colouring to create apothecaries of poison mixtures.
  7. Wrap recycled containers with Halloween themed paper or use felt to create some monster faces. Use them as a treat buckets for your popcorn and pretzel-type snacks. 
  8. Make haunting luminaries.  Wrap clear glasses or vases in orange tissue paper.  Cut out shapes or find other décor items to make a jack-o-lantern faces.  These can be used indoors or out.  Another great idea for luminaries is to drarw or colour shapes and faces on brown  paper bags .  Older kids can cut designs into the bags. Fill the bags a third full with sand. Add a tea light and line your walkway or porch. 
  9. Use leaves.  Take old clothes and stuff them with leaves. Scatter them on the lawn with heads or leave them headless.
  10. Eyes are on you.  Use plastic foam balls.  Cut them in half and paint black pupils.
  11. Make a craft box available to your little party goers.  You never know what spooky creativity will arise. Your box could include:  plastic spiders, stickers, stamps, googly eyes, pom poms, ribbon, pipe cleaners, cookie cutters to trace, different coloured felt and construction paper, scissors, markers, glitter glue or feathers.  Be sure to keep a glue gun near by.  

Play Goulish Games 

If you are giving prizes for the winners of the games, there are a lot of theme related treats out there.  A flashlight or reflective wear make good prizes for trick or treaters.   

Find the eyeballs in the brains

Add marbles to  cooked spaghetti to create this ghoulish game.  Whoever collects the most eyeballs in two minutes wins.  Hint: Add one tablespoon of cooking oil per box to keep noodles from sticking.  Cook at least 3 boxes. 

Broom ball 

They are easy to pick up at the grocery store, but if you have too many guests, you can add to the invite. Bring a broom for some bewitching games.

Scavenger hunt 

Have a scavenger hunt to find treats or for ingredients for a witches brew. Some creative ingredients I came across are:
  • Eye of a newt – dried bean
  • Bat hair – dryer lint
  • Snake teeth – grains of white rice
  • Mouse kidney –kidney bean
  • Owl feather- colourful craft feather
  • Dusty corpse – baking soda in a small plastic bag

 

 

Grab the Ghost 

Supplies 

Paper towels 

Small balls

Yarn 

Markers 

Pennies

Large paper cirlce 

Funnel 

Die 

 

Instructions 

  • Before the party, make ghosts by draping a piece of paper towel around a small ball, such as a Superball (or in a pinch, a wadded-up paper towel). Cinch the towel around the ball and secure with one end of a 2-foot length of yarn.
  • Have guests draw a face on their ghosts with markers. 
  • At the start of the game, each player is given ten pennies. Choose one person to be the goblin. The other players lay their ghosts on the large paper circle and hold on to the yarn leash. The goblin holds the funnel, upside down, at least 2 feet above the circle.
  • The goblin chooses two numbers on a die, announces them to the group, then rolls. If either of the chosen numbers appears, the players try to pull their ghosts out of the circle before the goblin can slam the funnel down over them. If a player is caught, he must give the goblin a penny. If the chosen numbers do not appear, but the players panic and yank their ghosts out of the circle anyway, it's another penny to the goblin. The goblin, for his part, is allowed to fake a funnel slam, but if he touches any ghost, he must shell out a penny to each player. After three rolls of the die, the next player takes over as goblin. Play is over when one player runs out of pennies. The player with the most coins wins.

 

 

Witches Brew 

To make a witches brew add 2 cups of vinegar to a large pot.  Add all of the children’s ingredients from the scavenger hunt, especially the dusty corpse. Have extra dusty corpse to add to the cauldron. It will bubble and froth before their eyes.

Build a Skeleton 

Be sure to wash your hands before this game, because all of the skeletons will be thrown into the pot to make a gruesome gruel. 
With an illustration as a guide use assorted dried pasta to create a scary skeleton. Make sure to have alphabet letters to label and name the skeleton.

Guess the Ghost

Supplies:
Large sheet
Works best with a large group 10 and up. Have one child leave the room. Then take a large sheet and have a different child stand and hide under the sheet. 
Mix up the remaining children in the room and then allow the child who left the room the “GhostBuster” to come back inside. That child then, by process of elimination, guesses who the ghost is under the sheet. 
Then that "Ghost" goes out of the room and a different child becomes the new ghost, mix up the remaining children and repeat until all of the children have had a turn being the ghost.

Poor Joe 

Supplies:
Cold stuffed rubber glove, (latex glove filled with Jello) 
10 small pieces of carrot
Wig, (dolls wig works well)
cold cooked spaghetti 
Dried apricot
2 peeled green grapes
Piece of liver
Flashlight
Preparation: 
Guests sit in a circle on floor; lights out except for flashlight narrator reads by. Have each item to be passed in separate bowl. Guests will pick up the item, put it back in bowl, pass it to the next person. While guests pass an item, narrator holds the flashlight underneath his chin to give his face a scary look. 
Action Narrator reads from script

Here are some other hauntingly fun games

  • Monster freeze dance
  • Guess how many worms or candies are in the jar. 
  • Pumpkin pass along (use little gourds)
  • Pin the witch on the broom  (pin up broom,  cut out witch, tape or thumb tacks)
  • Cotton ball relay- (cotton balls - use orange or black, large spoons and two plastic pumpkins)
  • Doughnuts on a string or bobbing for apples  (apples or doughnuts with sprinkles tied to the end of a string and hung from the ceiling)  
  • The Dead Man’s Brains  (instructions and supplies here) 
  • ‘Boo am I’  (spooky characters for charades writing on small slips of paper,  blown up balloons to put the pieces of paper in)
  • How many words can you get out of   F R A N K E N S T E I N  or H A L L O W E E N  
  • Musical Pumpkins

Make some Treat Bags

Use a recyclable grocery bag or pillow cases
Let kids come up with their  own Halloween pattern or picture of a pumpkin, bats, globlins, monsters or ghosts.  You could also use cookies cutters to trace the shapes.  Use paint to colour in the shapes.  Older kids may want to paint free hand.
 

Serve up Some Spooky Stuff

Serve up some fun using  different sized clear containers.  Fill them freaky fun candies such as gummy worms and chocolate eyeballs. You can also add googly eyes to some of the containers so they keep on ‘eye’ on the kids.  Pumpkins make great serving bowls too (especially with a wiggin’ worm salad). 

No-bones-about-it vegetable skeleton

Veggies come in so many shapes and sizes, they make perfect building blocks.  

Jack-'o-lantern dip

Carve out a small pumpkin (or a few) to use as dip containers (healthier dip choices include salsa, hummus, and yogurt-based recipes). Paint a face on the pumpkin instead of cutting holes, or cut only partway through. Or if you're feeling extra-spooky, carve a large mouth and make the dip spill out through it for a "puking pumpkin" effect. 

Black-and-orange dip

Buy or prepare black-bean dip, and serve with sweet potato chips and orange bell pepper strips.

Get seedy

Don't forget to save your seeds when you carve pumpkins. Roast them in a hot oven with a little salt and olive oil.

Braaaaiiiins! 

Score major cool points with party guests by serving a watermelon carved to look like a brain.
Choose a small, seedless melon and peel off the green skin. Score the white pith with a knife
to resemble the brain's squiggly folds. Then carve to expose the watermelon's red flesh.

Boo-nanas

Dip peeled bananas in orange juice, then roll in shredded coconut to make white ghosts. Add
small raisins or chocolate chips for eyes, then insert wooden craft stick for a handle (so the
ghosts can flit about hauntingly). Serve as-is or frozen.

Witches' teeth

Core and quarter an apple. Remove wedge from skin side of each quarter to form a mouth.
Insert variously shaped and sized slivered almonds for teeth.

Orange-'o-lantern

Use a toothpick to carve features into the skin of a whole orange. Insert a piece of pretzel for
a stem. Or remove the fruit's pulp and use to serve yogurt, low-fat pudding, apricot
applesauce, etc.

Black Bean Cat Crudite 

Looking for a Halloween snack that’s both healthy and festive?  This skeletal array fit’s the bill.  No bones about it.  Just assorted fresh vegetables and a bowl of dip arranged in the shape of a spooky cat. 
Assorted veggies of your choice  (celery, cherry tomatoes, broccoli)  
 

Mummies 

Disguises  aren’t just of Halloween. Surprise your family with these dressed-up, spooky-looking snacks any time of year.  Kids can help my spooning the pizza sauce on the English muffin and making the mummy face with the cheese and vegetables.  
 

Spooky Punch 

For the punch, you need a glass punch bowl with a hollowed-out raised base. Take the base of the punch bowl and put underneath either a small flashing electric light or just a regular one. They are small, about tea-light size, and you get them at dollar stores. Putting the punch bowl on top with liquid is a great effect, especially when you lower the lights. Kids and adults will love it! Get the recipe. 
Some other great recipes: 
With thanks to Taste of Home for these wonderful recipies and ideas.  
  1. Use a  big roll of caution tape  to criss- cross across doors that are off limits. 
  2. Make signs that warn  Beware or Haunted
  3. Cut monster footprints from cardboard and have them lead from party room to party room.  You can even make a path to the bathroom.
  4. Make ghoulish centerpieces and ornaments from salt dough
  5.   Salt Dough: Easy to roll out dough and cut shapes with cookie cutters. Salt dough crafts will   air dry in a day or two. If you need immediate results, bake them in the oven at 200    degrees Fahrenheit until they harden. Easy recipe : 2 cups all purpose flour/ 2 cups of salt/   1 cup of water. Mix with your hands until moist and smooth.
  6. Go through your recycling bin and pull out different shaped bottles.  Fill them with water and food colouring to create apothecaries of poison mixtures.
  7. Wrap recycled containers with Halloween themed paper or use felt to create some monster faces. Use them as a treat buckets for your popcorn and pretzel-type snacks. 
  8. Make haunting luminaries.  Wrap clear glasses or vases in orange tissue paper.  Cut out shapes or find other décor items to make a jack-o-lantern faces.  These can be used indoors or out.  Another great idea for luminaries is to drarw or colour shapes and faces on brown  paper bags .  Older kids can cut designs into the bags. Fill the bags a third full with sand. Add a tea light and line your walkway or porch. 
  9. Use leaves.  Take old clothes and stuff them with leaves. Scatter them on the lawn with heads or leave them headless.
  10. Eyes are on you.  Use plastic foam balls.  Cut them in half and paint black pupils.
  11. Make a craft box available to your little party goers.  You never know what spooky creativity will arise. Your box could include:  plastic spiders, stickers, stamps, googly eyes, pom poms, ribbon, pipe cleaners, cookie cutters to trace, different coloured felt and construction paper, scissors, markers, glitter glue or feathers.  Be sure to keep a glue gun near by.  

If you are giving prizes for the winners of the games, there are a lot of theme related treats out there.  A flashlight or reflective wear make good prizes for trick or treaters.   Add marbles to  cooked spaghetti to create this ghoulish game.  Whoever collects the most eyeballs in two minutes wins.  Hint: Add one tablespoon of cooking oil per box to keep noodles from sticking.  Cook at least 3 boxes. They are easy to pick up at the grocery store, but if you have too many guests, you can add to the invite. Bring a broom for some bewitching games.Have a scavenger hunt to find treats or for ingredients for a witches brew. Some creative ingredients I came across are:

  • Eye of a newt – dried bean
  • Bat hair – dryer lint
  • Snake teeth – grains of white rice
  • Mouse kidney –kidney bean
  • Owl feather- colourful craft feather
  • Dusty corpse – baking soda in a small plastic bag

To make a witches brew add 2 cups of vinegar to a large pot.  Add all of the children’s ingredients from the scavenger hunt, especially the dusty corpse. Have extra dusty corpse to add to the cauldron. It will bubble and froth before their eyes.Be sure to wash your hands before this game, because all of the skeletons will be thrown into the pot to make a gruesome gruel. With an illustration as a guide use assorted dried pasta to create a scary skeleton. Make sure to have alphabet letters to label and name the skeleton.
Use a recyclable grocery bag or pillow casesLet kids come up with their  own Halloween pattern or picture of a pumpkin, bats, globlins, monsters or ghosts.  You could also use cookies cutters to trace the shapes.  Use paint to colour in the shapes.  Older kids may want to paint free hand.Serve up some fun using  different sized clear containers.  Fill them freaky fun candies such as gummy worms and chocolate eyeballs. You can also add googly eyes to some of the containers so they keep on ‘eye’ on the kids.  Pumpkins make great serving bowls too (especially with a wiggin’ worm salad). Some other great recipes: Trick or treat nachos  Gummy worm punch  Oozy green eyeballs  Jack o lantern sloppy Joe Pie Monster cheese ballWith thanks to Taste of Home for these wonderful recipies and ideas.  

Friday
Oct102014

 

Fall Rhapsody- Gatineau Park

 

A must see for the whole family. 

 

Saunders Farm

Haunting Season is now underway at Saunders Farm in Munster.  The Farm launched its most eek-citing and delicious Haunting Season ever. 

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

It’s not to early to get pick out the perfect pumpkin for this year’s spectacular Jack-0-Lantern.  There are many pumpkin pataches and stands around the region.  Nothing could be more perfect on a crisp Thanksgiving weekend. 

 

Carleton University Butterfly Exhibit

 

The Ottawa Butterfly Show is an annual event that runs daily from Saturday,October 5, 2013, to Monday, October 14, 2013, in the greenhouses of Carleton University’s biology department.

Some butterflies love to land on colourful clothing or you could just put your hand underneath and they would climb on. So bring your kids or your camera or both and enjoy this exhibit! But hurry, it’s only on as long as the butterflies’ lifespan!


 

Experimental Farm

At this time of year, many Canadian farms are harvesting the food crops that will sustain us throughout the year. To celebrate the harvest, join us at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, where you will see farm machinery, such as a baler and a model of a grain elevator, in action! Test your knowledge on Canadian food crops, such as apples, corn and pumpkins, by taking part in various challenges and talking to local producers (local produce will be available to purchase on site).

 

Pumpkinferno

Come and stroll through a hauntingly beautiful and spellbinding outdoor exhibit of now close to 6,000 hand-carved pumpkins, set against a stirring night-time backdrop just inside the gates of historic Upper Canada Village. Marvel at this eclectic display of scenes from exotic places and historic ages, meet up with forest animals and sea-born creatures, see story book heroes, mythical characters, cultural icons and more .... all carved from pumpkins!

 

Visit a Farmers' Market

Server and prepare on the freshest and best ingredients for your family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend.  Our local Farmers’ Markets are ripe with farm-fresh, in season products for you to enjoy. 

 

Follies of the Fall Forest - Guided tours of Gatineau Park

 

A dynamic, educational program for the whole family.  This two-hour program includes a short introduction at the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre, followed by a guided hike along the Sugarbush Trail.  No reservation is necessary. Space is limited and is allotted on a first come, first served basis.

 

Saunders Farm

Haunting Season is now underway at Saunders Farm in Munster.  The Farm launched its most eek-citing and delicious Haunting Season ever. 

Visit a Pumpkin Patch

It’s not to early to get pick out the perfect pumpkin for this year’s spectacular Jack-0-Lantern.  There are many pumpkin pataches and stands around the region.  Nothing could be more perfect on a crisp Thanksgiving weekend. 

 

Carleton University Butterfly Exhibit

 

The Ottawa Butterfly Show is an annual event that runs daily from Saturday,October 5, 2013, to Monday, October 14, 2013, in the greenhouses of Carleton University’s biology department.

Some butterflies love to land on colourful clothing or you could just put your hand underneath and they would climb on. So bring your kids or your camera or both and enjoy this exhibit! But hurry, it’s only on as long as the butterflies’ lifespan!


 

Experimental Farm

At this time of year, many Canadian farms are harvesting the food crops that will sustain us throughout the year. To celebrate the harvest, join us at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, where you will see farm machinery, such as a baler and a model of a grain elevator, in action! Test your knowledge on Canadian food crops, such as apples, corn and pumpkins, by taking part in various challenges and talking to local producers (local produce will be available to purchase on site).

 

Pumpkinferno

Come and stroll through a hauntingly beautiful and spellbinding outdoor exhibit of now close to 6,000 hand-carved pumpkins, set against a stirring night-time backdrop just inside the gates of historic Upper Canada Village. Marvel at this eclectic display of scenes from exotic places and historic ages, meet up with forest animals and sea-born creatures, see story book heroes, mythical characters, cultural icons and more .... all carved from pumpkins!

 

Visit a Farmers' Market

Server and prepare on the freshest and best ingredients for your family and friends this Thanksgiving weekend.  Our local Farmers’ Markets are ripe with farm-fresh, in season products for you to enjoy. 

Friday
Oct102014

Kids Thanksgiving 

Get the Kids Involved

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful family holiday and I love to get the kids involved in as much of the preparation as I can.  We are going to make  an autumn hand print maple tree, a table runner and a pinecone turkey decoration.   

 

This week, we will shop for some Thanksgiving themed paper napkins and small gourdes to decorate the house.

I will also have the kids help me write out the grocery list and then shop for all of the items we will need for the meal. 


The Kid’s Menu

Kids get so excited during family holidays.  There is so much energy and excitement in the house when decorations are put out, special foods are prepared and guests begin to arrive.  It is no wonder that kids have little appetite and find it hard to sit still for an elaborate meal.  I always make sure that there are a few fun options on the table that appeal to our littlest dinner guests. 

Fresh vegetables and dip

Cheese and crackers

Small buns / bread

Meats cut into bite-sized pieces

Bite – sized muffins or sweet breads

 

The Kid’s Table

Make you little guests feel welcome by sitting them at their own table.  I always start by covering the table with brown craft paper and leaving a dish of crayons in the centre.  I also printed out some Thanksgiving themed colouring pages and puzzles to keep them busy. 

This year I am starting a new tradition.  I bought an inexpensive table cloth and will ask my guest to write what they are thankful for on the cloth in permanent marker.  This will make an heirloom to treasure from year to year.