Posts Tagged ‘stuff we do for our kids’

Summer reading club finale

You know summer is coming to a close when the libraries Summer Reading Club program comes to an end. All three of my kids have been participating in this year’s Secret Agent 009 reading program. We’ve participated in the past, but this is the first year we’ve actually completed it. So to celebrate we attended the finale party.

Only my two oldest finished their books but all three kids received participation awards. Anyone who read at least one book as part of the program was given an award, which was great for my youngest.

An award for all

An award for all

After the awards the real fun began. And no party is complete without a magician. The great thing about this magic show was that it was based around the secret agenct theme. He also had lots of participation from the kids. Some kids were called upon to be secret agents to help the magician detective. Others were called into bad guy roles to try and capture the magician detective. The show was enjoyed by adults and kids alike.

We're watching the detective (magician)

We're watching the detective (magician)

Enjoying the show

Enjoying the show

My oldest daughter trying to figure out the tricks

My oldest daughter trying to figure out the tricks

Near the end of the show, the magician had magnifying glasses to give to all the kids for their own secret missions. My oldest daughter was selected to help hand these out, but first she needed a secret agent name. Secret Agent White Meatball (colour + food) enjoyed her important role.

Secret Agency White Meatball at work

Secret Agency White Meatball at work

Then came the ice-cream and random name draw for prizes. My son was thrilled to have his name picked and walked away with a secret agency pen (it has a light that flashes at the end). And all three of my kids were on the winning trivia team so they all received a free book.

When my daughter found out the person who read the most books received a bag of books as a prize, she vowed to read the most next summer (ah, a girl after my own free book giveaway heart). It was a great way to end the summer reading program.

Review: Lovable Labels for Back to School

It feels like summer has just started but for some reason when August comes around I can’t help but start thinking about school and back-to-school shopping.

Water bottles. Check.
Lunch bags. Check.
Indoor shoes. Check.
Lunch containers. Check.

I think I’ve bought everything my kids will need for school, at least for the first week. I was just about to go out and buy my back-up supplies, you know, for when the kids misplace or lend out or lose theirs, when I was offered the chance to review Lovable Labels.

bearLovable Labels, a Canadian company started by Laura Porreca, produce colourful, personalized labels made in Canada and designed to stick to the supplies of even the most active child. Well anything that helps me to keep track of my kids stuff (and ultimately saves me from buying replacement supplies) has my attention.

From the Lovable Labels website I was able to personalize my labels by choosing a colour and an icon along with entering a name of up to twenty characters.  Since I have two kids going back to school, a girl and a boy, I decided to choose something generic, a nice red maple leaf and I personalized it with our last name (it’s not a common one). Two weeks later my Back-to-School Mega Pack arrived and included a large variety of labels for all my kids back to school needs: 15 regular sticker labels, 60 slimline sticker, 16 shoe labels, 12 large clothing dots, 12 medium clothing dots, 24 medium clothing dots, 2 mini metal tags, and 5 binder stickers. I loved that each type of lable was enclosed in it’s own package with very clear and easy to follow instructions.

The Back-to-School Mega Pack has everything you will need

The Back-to-School Mega Pack has everything you will need

Labels designed to stick on almost any surface

The labels are made with a special ‘perma-grip’ backing that enables them to stick to almost any surface (pencils, markers, water bottles, shoes, you name it). The labels arrived just as my two oldes were getting ready for camp, a perfect way to test them before school started. I used the metal tags on the lunch bags. They were easy to attach, but sadly the chains somehow became disconnected on both lunch bags during the first day. That was the only item that gave me a problem. I used the slimeline stickers on water bottles, lunch containers, sunscreen bottles, a notepad and pen, even the fork I packed in their lunch. They were so easy to apply. Plus they are UV resistanct and dishwasher and microwave safe, a real plus for lunch containers. We washed the lunch containers, forks and water bottles every day and the labels never budged and retained their bright colouring.

Keep track of your kids expensive footwear this school year

The shoe labels are great for gym shoes, rubber boots, snow boots, indoor shoes, all that expensive footwear your kids require and take off and put on many times during the school day. I put the shoe labels on my kids sneakers as well as their crocs. The labels went on like a second skin. The kids didn’t feel anything, even on the crocs with barefeet. And they stayed on. My son is rough on all his shoes and I didn’t have any peeling or even slipage of the labels.

No iron required

My favourite item in the Back-to-School Mega Pack is by far the clothing dots. They come in three different sizes allowing for the different sized labels that appear on jackets, extra shirts, sweaters, swimsuits and so on. The best part is you don’t have to iron them on like most clothing labels, which is good because I don’t know if I remember how to use my iron. You just peel them off and press them on to the size or washing instructions label. You can’t attach them to the actual fabric but most clothing items have a washing label that is sewn on the shirt. I just stuck it here. You can however stick them directly to the lining on windbreakers and snowsuits. We used these in hats too. I washed and dried my kids camp shirts every night with these labels and they came out looking new each time.

Label all your kids stuff for school

Label all your kids stuff for school

They have a label for that too

Having given these labels a real workout, I’m feeling pretty confident in sending my kids to school with just one set of school supplies this year. They are easy to use, offer great customizable options and still retain their newness after using and washing countless times. I tried out their Back-to-School Mega Pack, which is only available until September 30, but Lovable Labels has countless other label options for your home, allergy allert wristbands, bag tags and even personalized stationary. Visit lovablelabels.ca to see the extent of their products.

Special savings just for you

School is about to start, but there still is time to order labels for your kids. And Lovable Labels has kindly offered my readers a 10% discount on any purchase made between August 17 to August 31, 2009. All you need to do to get your savings is include the discount code ‘anotherday’ on your order form. They will ship anywhere and everywhere.

Enjoy the new school year ahead!

 

They scream for Ice-Cream

Every day this week, right at 4pm, like clockwork, the ice-cream truck pulls up outside the community centre where my two oldest kids are attending summer camp. Every day at 4pm I have to come up with some excuse why we’re not stopping at the ice-cream truck. So Thursday night I agreed that on Friday, the last day of the kids first week of camp, we would make an ice-cream truck stop after camp.

Friday morning arrives. I wake my son up, all excited because he was going swimming with his camp today. And the first thing out of his mouth: We’re going to the ice-cream truck today.

My son’s camp finishes thirty minutes before my daughter’s so we have to wait. There’s no way I’m taking only 1 of my kids for ice-cream. I’d never hear the end of it. Thirty minutes passes and no big kid camp. Forty-five minutes, still no kids. Finally almost sixty minutes later my daughter’s camp arrives. We rush out and to great dismay the ice-cream truck has left.

My kids are devistated. And of course this is my fault. My son whines that I should have bought him ice-cream when his camp ended and the truck was here. My daughter whines that I should have bought her ice-cream earlier and saved it for her (yeah, ice-cream, in the sun, for sixty minutes!). Walking home with three very unhappy kids, we see a welcoming sign: 7-Eleven!

So I offer my kids a choice of ice-cream from the freezer in the convenience store (now I know why they’re called convenience stores).

Now that's the way to end the week

Now that's the way to end the week

It may not be soft serve swirly ice-cream with sprinkles on top, but my kids seemed just as content with the store bought variety. And next time I won’t promise the ice-cream truck unless I’m standing in front of it, money in hand, ready to buy.

Happy Weekend!

Foto Friday: Cousins

Happy Foto Friday

And here I am once again participating in Candid Carrie’s Friday Foto Finish Fiesta (you can see others on her blog). We just came back from visiting my sister and her kids for Simcoe Day which brings me to today’s photo:

There's something special about cousins

There's something special about cousins

Cousins: Kids will always have family, you can’t escape them and they love you no matter what, though sometimes you may not be too happy with them. Kids will always have friends; someone to share a common interest in like Webkinz or Star Wars or grade one. But sometimes friends change interests or develop new friendships or move away. I always think cousins are like a hybrid of the two: they are friends who are family. You can hang out with them and enjoy playing with them because they’re not your brother or sister and you don’t see they every day. But because they are still family, they will always be there for you. Cousins have a special bond.

My sister and I were the first grand kids on both sides of the family and the kids to follow after that, our cousins, were much younger. We still see them occasionally on special family events, but we’re in different stages of our lives.

My sister’s kids are pretty close in age to my own, by some happy coincidence. And they enjoy hanging out together. It would be nice if we lived closer, so the cousins could hang out more, but in the meantime we make an effort to get together so the kids can get together. I hope our kids continue to develop their unique bond with their cousins for years to come.

Pin Party

pin tradngIn less than two weeks we leave for Disney. We’ve been before and I’m the kids are really excited about going again. This trip the kids wanted to try a little pin trading. But if you’ve every been to Disney, you’ll know the pins there are expensive, anywhere from $7.oo to $14.00 US. So my husband jumped onto ebay and bought a box of one hundred random pins, working out to be a fraction of the cost.

It may seem crazy, buying something without knowing what it is (we didn’t know what pins we were getting). But that’s the whole idea. If the kids ended up selecting pins they want to keep they’ll have nothing for trading.

A friend of mine is also going down to Disney with her daughter so we thought we could include them in the pin trading fun. So here it is two weeks before our trip. The pins have arrived. What better way to amp up everyone’s excitement then by hosting a Pin Party.

My oldest got right into it. She made a sign for the door. She also found a recipe for a fruit drink in her Girls Book of Flower Fairies. This same girl, the one I have to drag out of bed, was also up at six in the morning to go party shopping with her dad.

The kids drank their fairy drinks and they played in the backyard. We had a great BBQ outside. Even the rain held off (a few showers don’t scare my kids easily).

Catching up in the hammock...

Catching up in the hammock...

...and hanging out with zombie comic books.

...and hanging out with zombie comic books.

Over cupcakes and fruit the Pin part of the Party started. We gave each child their own lanyard to wear around their next and display their trading pins. Then we went from youngest to oldest child and they reached into the pin bag to choose a pin. Each child ended up with 25 pins. Some the kids were excited about and others they didn’t recognize.

Yummy cupcakes

Yummy cupcakes

Crazy friend faces

Crazy friend faces

Pin Parties are for boys too

Pin Parties are for boys too

Reaching into the pin bag

Reaching into the pin bag

Once all the pins were distributed the real fun began. The kids were allowed to trade with each other. My son has decided he wants to collect and trade for pirate pins. And since some of the girls had pirate pins he was eager to trade with them. You should have heard the negotiating going on! At least at Disney there’s no negotiating. You ask a Cast Member (what employees at the Disney parks are referred to as) and they just give you the pin you want for the pin you want to give up. No worries on value or size, just a nice friendly trade.

Some pins the kids decided to keep and not trade

Some pins the kids decided to keep and not trade

Shhh...pin negotiating in progress

Shhh...pin negotiating in progress

The party was a big success. That night my kids went to bed with visions of Disney pins in their head. They’re all excited about some real trading. You’ll have to check back in two weeks when the real trading happens in Disney to see how it all went.

Pin parties are messy business

Pin parties are messy business

Did the weatherman call for rain?

The morning started well with a walk over to Brad’s for a late breakfast full of chocolate chip teddy bear pancakes, warm apple crepes, fruit and salad. But when we started our walk home the sky grew dark except for flashes of light. Thunder rumbled in the background. Since we didn’t bring umbrella we picked up our pace walking home. But even dodging under the large tree canopies couldn’t save us.

No need for a bath tonight!

No need for a bath tonight!

A Muggle of a Challenge

I’ll admit it, I’ve seen all the Harry Potter movies and enjoyed them immensely (some more than others). My kids have seen them too. We actually own them on DVD and re-watched them recently in preparation for the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

I remember when the books first came out and all the press around how kids were devouring them. I even knew adults who were into them. But me, no I just couldn’t bring myself to read them. I don’t know why actually. But I held strong.

Then the first movie came out. Since I hadn’t read the book before the movie, it was unlikely I was going to read it now. I have a problem reading books after I’ve seen the movie (though watching a movie after reading the book doesn’t seem to be an issue, even if I’m usually disappointed with film). When the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was planned for a film release, I made sure to finish reading all the books before seeing the movies. I think I get distracted and find difficulty maintaining my interest in the book because I know what the outcome is (oh, I’m also not one to reread books either).

But then something happened. After watching Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (which I really enjoyed), my kids started asking a bunch of questions; questions not addressed in the movie. Like all movie versions of books, they cut and condense. I thought all would probably be revealed in the printed pages so it was then that I decided to start reading the books. We could read a few pages everyday, out loud. The kids might maintain their interest since they know the characters.

Then I saw a tweet from Belle at MsBookish (@msbookish) about a Harry Potter Reading Challenge over at Galley Smith (@galleysmith). What were the odds! So of course I jumped over and signed up that night. Now my problem is getting a copy of the first book. When I checked the bookstores near, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone was no where to be found  (others must be jumping on the Harry Potter book bandwagon too). I’m on the waiting list at my library for one of their 174 copies and I’ve asked my local bookstore to order the first book from Raincoast Books (@RaincoastBooks) too. Hey, maybe I’ll be lucky enough to win one of the two box sets of books Galley Smith is giving away as part of the reading challenge launch.

What are you waiting for? Why don’t you jump over and sign-up too.

Foto Friday: Tow Truck Drivers and Licorice

Happy Foto Friday

I’m participating again with Candid Carrie and her Friday Foto Finish Fiesta (you can see who else is participating by jumping over to her blog). This summer my kids have been doing some extra reading as part of the city library’s Summer Reading Club and that is the focus of this weeks photo:

Nothing like a pulling apart licorice

Nothing like a pulling apart licorice

Tow Truck Drivers and Licorice: My son is a big fan of Matthew and the Midnight series by Allen Morgan and Michael Martchenko. This week we borrowed Matthew and the Midnight Tow Truck. My son’s favourite part was the tow truck driver’s snack, red licorice. After reading the story my son asked if we could buy licorice. This morning at breakfast my son asked if we could buy licorice. As we entered the grocery store my son asked if we could buy licorice. Standing in the candy isle, licorice in hand, my son asked if we could buy licorice. So we bought licorice. I don’t feel so bad, it’s literature licorice.

Nothing a little bribe can’t fix

Walking home from dropping my oldest daughter off at camp we ran into another mom. She had suggested a playdate with her kids, a riding playdate. After a conversation through her car window we were all in agreement, I’d take my two youngest to meet up with her and her two kids in the local school yard for some bike riding together.

I’ve been pretty neglectful at getting my kids out to the playground to practice on their bikes. I thought this would be a great excuse to get out. Of course I had forgotten my husband had taken the training wheels off my son’s bike. This meant he couldn’t ride it to the playground, instead he had to walk it. Well you’d think I was asking him to pull the van down the street with a rope gripped between his teeth while he walked over broken glass barefoot. We were just past the neighbour’s yard when he moaned about needing a break (insert rolling eyes and heavy sighs, his not mine).

And then you have my youngest who insists on walking her own bike. I didn’t want to discourage her, but after ten minutes and three steps forward I politely suggested that I’d carry her bike to the playground and she could walk or ride it around there. Thankfully she agreed.

Well the biking playdate didn’t last long. The playdate part did, the biking part didn’t. My son doesn’t have much patience so the fact that he couldn’t get on his bike and race through an obstacle course of trees in the playground on his first ride discouraged him immensely. Let’s just say the bike was told off a few times.

After an hour and a half of fooling around in the playground I convinced my two kids it was time to go (I still had to pick my oldest daughter up). Right on cue my son delivered his frustration on having to walk his bike home. I was tired. I wanted to get home. So I did what any mom in my position would have done…I bribed him with food. If he walked his bike home without an complaints he could have a freezie. And you know what happened? He discovered that walking his bike home wasn’t as bad as climbing up a hill of army ants. Food is an amazing motivator. Maybe next time I’ll dangle a freezie on a stick in front of my son’s bike.

When My Daughter Does Lunch

Ice-cream for lunch

Ice-cream for lunch

Yesterday I had planned on revising some stories I have been working on (trying to stay on top of this weeks Next Steps). My son was at SportPlay camp this week so I only had the two girls and they both seemed to be content in their play.

As I was working through revisions on one of my stories, my seven year old started asking me for lunch. I put her off saying it was too early (it was only eleven o’clock) and said she had atleast sixty minutes before I would even go in to get lunch ready.

Ten minutes later she was asking again, asking what we were having for lunch. Of course she didn’t like what I was offering and stated that she was going to make her own lunch. I was so frustrated with the constant interruption that the words out of my mouth, before I had a chance to think about them, were ‘You think you can do better? Go ahead. Make your own lunch.’

Well my daughter jumped at the chance. And when my brain realized what my mouth had said I almost corrected my mistake. But I hesitated. This isn’t the first time my kids have bugged me about what I’ve made for them: ‘Not pasta again’, ‘You know I hate chicken’, ‘Why can’t dad make dinner tonight?’ I thought maybe this would be a lesson for my daughter. Maybe if she made her own lunch she wouldn’t be so picky next time I made something (I know, who was I kidding).

To my surprise, my daughter started with salad, tortilla chips and an apple. Wow! Maybe some of my parenting has rubbed off, in a positive way. As I started to compile my acceptance speech for my Mom of the Year award, my daughter asked if she could have some ice-cream. Okay, so she wants a treat. If I was her age and in control of my lunch I’d probably try to push the envelop and ask for something I wasn’t allowed to have. Ice-cream done, she had a croissant with cream cheese…..and icing sugar! Then it was a popsicle. When she asked for another popsicle I almost said no, but I hestiated. (I know what you’re thinking, hesitating the first time got me into this mess).

Okay, change of plans. My daughter didn’t seem to be learning the lesson of appreciating her mother’s food, but maybe she would if I let her eat a whole bunch of crap. Sometimes kids need to learn things by experiencing it themselves. An upset tummy from eating too much bad food = a revelation that mom is right.

Well as you can probably guess, my daughter enjoyed her experimental lunch so much that she asked to do it for dinner and breakfast and lunch….My senses finally kicked in and I said no.

So I guess there will be no award in my future.