Saturday
Mar292014

EARTH HOUR 2014

Earth Hour has become a celebrated holiday for families across Canada and around the World. For many families it is a chance to spend some fun and educational time together and to find a renewed commitment to the planet. 

Visit Mom in the Know Facebook Page, and you can watch as millions of people in more than 150 countries & 7000 cities across all 7 continents come together and use thier power to PROTECT THE PLANET.

 I love Earth Hour and you can make a day of it spending time reading, crafting and preparing for lights out at 8:30.  Early in the afternoon, I like to take a walk with the kids and have them find the following:

 

·        Two pieces of bark
·        Two round rocks
·        Three pieces of trash
·        Two signs of spring
·        Something red
·        A twig that looks like a tree

 

Returning home, we begin to decorate for our evening celebration.  Last year, we made this banner from old paper bags and materials from our recycle bin. 

 

 

You will need:

·        Paper bags
·        Your recycle bin (full)
·        White glue
·        Jute rope or yarn
·        Stapler
·        Scissors
·        Paint or markers

Pick a message and lay out your bags “Earth Hour, Save our Planet, We Love Earth.”   Sketch out full block letters as a template.  Have kids use safety scissors to cut, crumple and tear recycled items to fill in the letters.

Staple banner points to jute or yarn. 

Hang and admire. 

 

This year, I am planning to create a picture of the world using our thumb prints.  It is going to make a beautiful keepsake.

 

 One ink pad for each family member participating

·        Canvas
·        Frame and poster paper
·        Light pencil
·        Sharpie

Sketch a circle to represent the earth and lightly draw in the continents leaving room for signatures at the bottom.

Taking turns, have each person make a print to fill in the areas with appropriate colour. 

Have each family member make one last print on the bottom and sign their name under it.

 

After a little down time for reading our favourite earth and recycling books, it is time to decorate our dinner table.

 

Last year, I found a world map beach ball and hung it from the ceiling.  We used a big world map for our table cloth and filled jars with some twigs and branches we had picked up on our nature walk.

 

Don’t forget the candles.  In the past I have purchased big pillar candles and had the kids paint and decorate them.   We have also used simple tea lights and votives to make the evening special. 

 

 

 

 

Thursday
Mar202014

Time to 'Spring' Into Action

Pump up the music! Nothing makes the time pass more quickly and puts people in a cheerier mood than some upbeat tunes. Your kids will dance and sing their way to a tidier place. With younger children, you can play “wax museum,” where kids must freeze in place like a wax statue every time the music stops. This simple test of balance, coordination and reflexes can turn any task, whether it's picking up toys or tidying up the dinner table, into a giggle-filled game.

 

Go “skating” for dust bunnies: Let your kids slip and slide their way to cleaner hardwood floors. Have your children wear old pairs of socks and “skate” around the house collecting dust bunnies with their feet. See who can accumulate the largest dust bunny. Just make sure there are no sharp edges or breakable items close by with which kids can hurt themselves if they take a tumble. And be sure to collect all of your dust bunnies in a trash bag as you go along so they don't hop back onto the floor! Kids love this silly and energizing game that gets their hearts pumping and promotes agility and muscle fitness. 

 

 “Wax on, wax off.” Show your young grasshopper how to clean windows, mirrors, and even the family car by employing Mr. Miyagi’s (from "The Karate Kid" movies) simple technique of moving the right hand in a circular, clockwise motion and the left hand in a circular, counterclockwise motion. It will test your child’s ability to follow directions, as well as improve coordination, stamina and upper body strength. It's important to use non-toxic and preferably “green” cleansers, especially when kids are helping out.

 

Play expiration-date detective. Have your older child sleuth out old, unwanted items in your refrigerator and cupboard by showing him how to read expiration dates. Have him make a pile of all of the discarded items, then show him how to properly dispose of them by sorting them into three categories: Recycling, composting or trash. If you don’t already have separate containers for each of these, let your child create labels and laminate them for long-lasting use. 

 

Shake, shake, shake! Unplug the toaster and lay paper grocery bags or an old cloth over the kitchen counter. Then let your child turn that toaster upside down and do a shake and shimmy dance to get all the crumbs out. Disposable wooden chopsticks are great for loosening stuck pieces, but be sure your child doesn’t use any metal utensils. It’s a safe practice to follow even when the toaster is not plugged in.

 

Alphabetize the spice drawer. Your younger child will get a little reading and sorting practice while your spices get organized, making it quicker and easier to find what you need in a pinch. Encourage your child to familiarize herself with the spices by reading labels, smelling the spices and even tasting them. Explain how you commonly use them for cooking or baking.

 

Play “Follow the Leader.” Give each child an apron and tuck an old rag or towel and a squirt bottle filled with a non-toxic cleaning fluid into the pockets. The designated leader must walk through the house and make multiple stops to clean or put away an object and the rest of the group must follow suit. Switch leaders every five minutes.

 

Have a sock-matching race. Put an end to “sock widows” and lost socks once and for all. Toss all of the family’s clean socks onto your bed in a big pile and then race to see who can match the most pairs the fastest. Once you have all of the mates together, show your child how to roll them up into neat little balls. First, laying the socks flat in profile, one on top of the other, roll both toe ends up towards the open ends about 2/3 of the length of the entire sock. Take the open end of one of the socks and fold it down around the rolled portion. Voila! Now you've got pairs of socks that won’t get separated in your child’s drawers. Any socks left over without mates you can either donate or keep in a bin to use for arts and crafts projects or even as rag to do for some Spring cleaning!

 

Put on a family fashion show. This silly activity is good for a few laughs and doubles as a way for everyone to purge outdated or ill-fitting clothes from the depths of their closet. No matter how you look, make sure to flaunt each outfit with modelesque attitude befitting of the catwalk. Ahead of time, agree that the majority vote determines whether the outfit (or certain parts of it) stays or goes. When you're all done, bring the discarded clothing to a consignment store or donate it to charity.

 

Play a sorting game. Organize toys, books and electronic games. When kids’ belongings have clearly designated storage spaces, children are more likely to put them away when they're done playing. Transparent, covered storage bins are great because they keep the dust out, they're stackable (and save space), they're portable – some even come with wheels! – and they allow your kids to see what’s inside without having to read labels. Ask your child to sort like toys with like toys – cars and trucks in one, dolls or action figures in another, etc.  Books can be organized any number of ways, including by size, author, or subject matter. Ask your child to go through her personal library and select five books that she is willing to get rid of. But first, let your child play the role of a storyteller and have her read one or two of her favorite books to you. Set one or two more aside for bedtime reading that night. Once she is reminded of how many great stories she has, she should be amenable to letting go of some ones she may have outgrown or become tired of. DVDs, CDs, and computer games can be tackled next. Unwanted items can be donated to charity or sold to second-hand retailers.

 

Turn trash into art. The possibilities are endless! Transform all of those wire hangers you’ve collected from the dry cleaner into forms for decorative wreaths, turn old t-shirts into throw pillows, bottle caps into magnets, greeting cards into ornaments, and maps into wrapping paper. Let your family’s collective creative juices flow and see what sorts of new-fangled inventions and recycled gems you can conjure up.

 

Collect loose change. Send your child on a hunt to collect the loose change lying around the house! Have her search everywhere: on dressers, in pockets, between the sofa cushions, even underneath the seats in your car. Ask her to practice counting all of the different denominations of money and adding up the total. Take the money to a free coin counting machine (we use the one at St. Laurent Shopping Centre) and let your child buy a small treat with her new-found funds, or simply put the money in a jar and save it for a future family outing.  If there's a big enough amount, consider opening a savings account for your child if she doesn’t already have one, and encourage her to make deposits on a regular basis. One way for your child to build up her savings is to save at least half of all monetary gifts she receives. Incidentally, the bank will probably ask you to put the change into coin roll wrappers before you deposit them — this is an added bonus for developing your child’s fine motor and counting skills!

Friday
Mar142014

Enjoy the Luck of the Irish with some 'Green' in your Day

 

Mint-Lime Spring Green Fruit Salad

  • 1 green apple, sliced thin, dime-sized slices
  • I avocado, diced
  • 1 lime, squeezed (add a touch of zest too if you’d like)
  • 2 kiwis, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 Tbsp raw or roasted/salted pistachios
  • 2 fresh mint sprigs, remove and chop leaves
  • 1 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • *mint for garnish

(This can be made with or without nuts to accommodate allergies.)

 

To prepare:  Chop, squeeze and peel all ingredients.Add to a large bowl.

Toss well with spoon.

Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Green Eggs and Ham

To tint eggs green, add several drops of green food coloring to the water used to poach the egg.  Bring an inch or two of water to a gentle boil in a skillet big enough to accommodate the number of eggs you’re cooking. (It’s best to do no more than 3 at a time – too many eggs will crowd the pan and cool down the water.) Gently break your eggs into the water and as they start to set, spoon the water over the tops of the yolks to help them cook. If they stick to the bottom of the pan, loosen them with a thin spatula. Poach your eggs for 3-4 minutes, until the whites are firm and the yolks have filmed over. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer them to buttered toast or onto a paper towel to drain.  Serve with ham. 

 

Edamame Hummus

 

  • 1 1/2 cup edamame, shelled, cooked and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tahnini or sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt to taste

 

In a food processor, pulse the first six ingredients together until very well blended.  Keep pulsing the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil, until the consistency of the dip is soft but not drippy.  Salt to taste. Serve & enjoy!

 

Leprechaun Hats

A Simple Healthy Snack for St. Patrick’s Day! These healthy snacks are made out of cucumber, yellow bell pepper and cheese. They are so simple to make and kids can help make them too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Skewers

Slice the apples, pears, & kiwi to your desired size and shape. Cut the melon into a large rectangular shape - they will be the base of the skewer and hold it upright.

Slide the fruit onto the skewer and fill about 1/2 way anymore will make it top heavy.

Place the skewers on a flat plate and use green ribbon or washi tape to adorn the top.

 

Rainbow Fruit Plate

 

Thursday
Mar062014

 Ready for a fun-filled Winter Staycation?

IKEA March Break Winter Carnival in support of Ottawa School Breakfast Program!

March 5, 2014 / School Breakfast Program

 Make this a March Break your kids will remember!  From March 10th to 14th, IKEA has a variety of activities planned for kids from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.  From face painting to busker entertainment, join us as we celebrate Ikea's partnership with the Ottawa School Breakfast Program. Events are free but volunteers will be on-hand to accept donations for the Ottawa School Breakfast Program or you can make a donation at any of the IKEA restaurant cash registers all year long.

Visit IKEA Ottawa's Events and Community web page on March 1st to learn more.

IKEA Ottawa is a long standing partner of the School Breakfast Program and has provided thousands of breakfasts to students in need! 

To learn more about the Ottawa School Breakfast Program, click here.

Altitude Gym

Climbing Day Camp - Clip and climb your way to an awesome March Break!

Bytown Museum

Drop In Activities - Scavenger hunts, a Victorian parlour game and more are offered with admission to the museum.

Camp Fortune

Spring Break Ski Lessons - Learn how to ski from professionals during spring break with their 3, 4, or 5 day lesson options.

Canada Agriculture and Food Museum

Barnyard Break - From March 1 – 16, take in a wide variety of demonstrations, make some fascinating food discoveries, and visit the animals in the Museum barns.

Canada Aviation and Space Museum

March Break is all about Helicopters! Explore the whirling world of helicopters through daily demonstrations and workshops about these amazing hovering machines.

23rd Annual LEGO Contest - Bring in your aviation-inspired LEGO creation for a chance to win great prizes!

Zoom to the Moon! - Listen to a cool story, put on your spacesuit, climb aboard your "space box" and blast off to see the stars before docking at the "space station." All sorts of fun is to be had at the museum this March Break!

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Fascinating March Break Activities - Put your building skills to the test and keep things moving along. Make and test a catapult or take a challenge to construct a structure that can withstand the power of wind. Hear a quirky story, marvel at an incredible magic show, and much more. Join in the excitement and discover your inner-engineer.

Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Canadian Museum of Civilization), Children’s Museum

Snownovation - Celebrate the end of the winter and the beginning of spring with an ode to snow and the many ways we enjoy it. Make and taste some delicious maple syrup taffy, build an indoor igloo, watch a film on how traditional igloos are constructed, and more!

Canadian Museum of Nature

FrogsPenguins and Monsters, Oh My! - Get eyeball-to-eyeball with colorful frogs and toads and try out the hands-on activities, including frog calls, origami, frog drawing and crafts. Be sure to stick around for 3D movies featuring penguins or flying monsters!

Canadian War Museum

Strategy board games - Luck and skill play a role as you try to defeat your opponent and claim victory. With a variety of classic games available, there is something for everyone, from beginners to seasoned players!

Diefenbunker

The Art of Espionage and Spy Camp - Take part in a massive, spy-themed training program with other kids.

Fulton’s Pancake House and Sugar Bush

Maple activities - Make taffy in the snow, go on a horse drawn carriage ride and get take part in Fulton’s Ultimate Challenge.

Haunted Walks

Jail Tours - Families can take a spooky guided tour though Ottawa, which is a unique way to see the city. Tour the Old Carleton County Jail and learn about why Ottawa was once considered 'the most dangerous town in North America'. Learn about early prison life, as you see the jail cells, death row and the last working gallows in Canada.

National Gallery of Canada

Artissimo - This series of hands-on workshops has kids making their own creative artworks in the museum.

Stanley’s Olde Maple Lane Farm

Spring season events - Bring the family to an all-you-can-eat homemade pancake brunch and enjoy the petting zoo and sugar shacking while you’re there.

Ottawa Public Swim Schedule

http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/parks-and-recreation/drop-activities/public-swimming-schedules

 

(Canada’s Capital Museums Passport is the best way to explore Canadian culture, science, art, history, nature — and much more — in the Capital.

For $45 per individual or $99 per family, visit 8 uniquely Canadian museums in Ottawa–Gatineau at your own pace, and get a 20% discount on a performance at Canada’s National Arts Centre.

Find out how the Museums Passport works and where to buy your Museums Passport.)

 

Special thanks to Ottawa Tourism.

 

Wednesday
Feb262014

Ice Treasure Hunt

Brave the frigid frost and head out on an Icy Treasure Hunt! Outdoor activities like this are a great way to get kids up and moving during the winter months.  Here's how.  
The hunt is made up of individual clues which are a letter scramble of the words that will be their next destination. In the picture, you can see that the clue is for the word "swing." The treasure hunt is conducted like a traditional treasure hunt, but the twist is that the clues are frozen in ice.  Once the kids free the clues, they  can spell the word and make way to their next destination. 
  • Plan the destinations for your treasure hunt. 
  • Gather plastic alphabet tiles to spell out the clues or I have drawn a destination (like a flower pot) and then, the children have to find this drawn clue (flower pot.) You do not have to write out words - pictograms work well, too! If you do use a pictogram, just place this clue in a smaller zip-able bag and freeze this zipped pictogram that is sealed up in the larger Ziplock!
  • Find the letters for and spell our each of your locations. 
  •   (In the photos, you can see that this clue is for " swing;" which could be followed by: table,     chair, sled, for example -- things that are outside in  which you can hide the next clue
  • Seal these letter groups in individual plastic "Ziplocks."
  • Fill the plastic Ziplocks 1/2-2/3 way with water. 
  • Zip closed. 
  • Freeze all of the clues.  By enclosing the letters in the bags, the letters re-assemble themselves into beautiful scrambles
  • When you are ready to do your treasure hunt, take the frozen clues out of the freezer; I run them under warm water to loosen the ice from the plastic;  and then, go out to quickly mark the hunt. 
  • Let the hunt begin.

(*NOTE. GUIDELINE: "The smaller the children, the less water needed" -- meaning: barely cover the clues with water so that these will easily snap apart with only bare hands -- no equipment necessary. These will easily break apart and your children can re-assemble the clues -- the fun is just having such an unusual find and having to work just that much harder to get to these clues.)