Monday, June 27, 2011

A Messy yet Fun Picasso's in the Park Event

momstown Winnipeg had our first playdate event this past weekend at Kildonan Park. How could our first event not be Picasso's in the Park. After all, it is a momstown standard! It was great to see so many families come on out. And we couldn't have lucked out more with the beautiful weather.

The kids had a blast getting messy. This month's theme is construction, so we had trucks or as my daughter calls them "mighty machines" there too for the kids to use as painting props.

It was great to see dad's come on out too.

I always love to see baby's getting messy too. What a cutie pie she is!

The kid's helped paint murals, and then made their own masterpieces to take home. We had a drying station for their masterpieces to dry off while they ate their picnics or played in the park.

We also made sure we had goodies for the kids, as well as juice and water to help cool off in the heat. And let's not forget the coffee for the parents courtesy of Tim Hortons. After all, momstown isn't just for the kiddies!

A special thanks to Lindsay Wollard from Creative Photojournalism for taking these amazing photos of the event. If you're looking for a photographer to take photos of your kids, check out her website to see her wonderful work.

We had a blast and we hope those of you who made it out did too. We have another Picasso in the Park scheduled in August for momstown members, so if you haven't signed up for your 4 week trial, please do so here and join us this summer at many more events just like this!

Daddy’s Corner: I Never

I thank my lovely wife for the warm introduction in the previous blog  “Introducing your momstown Papa”; any chance to boost my ego is always a good thing (did I just say that out loud?)!

One thing I have observed over the years as a parent and husband is the dreaded “I never”.  I never get to go out.  I never have me time. I never,  I never…. Does this sound familiar? It is true that the little people do demand a lot of attention and time (especially for mama), and it is also true that this does bring out an inherent difference between the sexes.

Although I do feel guilt from time to time, it does not always prevent me from taking time for my self.  I am sure you have all experienced this, a “quick” grocery run often results in a text message “where are u?”.   Or how about a guys weekend shortly after returning from a business trip that was made up of adult interaction, hotel beds, and company paid dinners.  I am sure you all remember these situations, you ladies never seem to forget and you make sure we don’t forget either!

I will admit it I do take my liberties from time to time, and I absolutely feel guilty sometimes but I don’t necessarily regret it.  I am all always amazed by the “I never” comment and how powerful and limiting this mommy guilt is.  Its not a silent killer like carbon monoxide, it is in plain sight yet it is still controlling.  

The way I see it, if we are hungry we eat.  If we are thirsty we drink.  If I am tired I have a coffee.  You get the point. So in my mind it would logically make sense that if we need “me” time, we take it.

So it is a challenge to my wife that when she feels an “I never” coming on, use it as an opportunity to tell yourself you need to take action.  I can change a diaper, hold a bottle and make food. It may be painful at times, but I will survive!  As the guys always joke, a happy wife is a happy life, so as a man selfishly putting his needs first please be happy and take all the  “me” time you need!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Introducing your momstown Papa

I want to introduce you to the man behind momstown Winnipeg. Yes, I'm the owner of momstown Winnipeg, but my husband Mike has been the man behind the scenes.

First off, I could not have opened momstown Winnipeg without him. He helps watch the kids while I work countless hours at night, he is the Marketing Manager for momstown Winnipeg and he has been a huge resource to go to when I need feedback, need to vent or need new ideas. Not to mention he'll be the muscle helping me set up countless tables and chairs at our larger events, such as the momstown Boo Bash or the momstown Christmas Party.

As if he isn't doing enough already (note: he does have a full-time day job too) I've asked him to write some blog posts for me. I know many women love to hear a guys perspective. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus right? We all do it. Our friend is having problems with her husband or boyfriend and we go running to our husband "what does this mean?" We don't quite understand what our husbands are thinking. At least I sure don't quite get him all the time, and we've been together for almost 14 years! And the biggest thing for me: "why don't men feel the guilt that we mama's struggle with?"

So you'll be hearing from our momstown Papa once in a while. If you have a topic that you want a man's perspective on, let us know. Leave your comments here and he'll try his best to help you understand why your husband did what he did the other night that left you angry, crying, or left you scratching your head.

Don't forget, momstown isn't just for you. It's for the whole family! Feel free to bring dad's along to events. And if he's feeling shy, Mike will be at most of the weekend events. After all, he is my muscle!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Free Event for Winnipeg Families with momstown Winnipeg

momstown Winnipeg is so excited to officially be open! We have our registration now open, our message board is getting some fun chatter happening, and our events calendar is filling up with all sorts of activities for moms and tots/babies, like playgroups, park playdates, car wash playdates, crafty mamas, stroller walks, and much more!

Our big launch party will be in August (so sign up to stay in the loop of this awesome party), but we couldn't wait to celebrate! To celebrate we're having a soft launch event this Saturday open for all! It's a free event for all Winnipeg families.

Picasso in the Park! 

It's painting in the park and it's messy so bring a smock and play clothes!! We set up on the picnic tables & bring out the beautiful coloured tempra paint & a million types of brushes, sponges and fun applicators. Let your child go wild!

The best part about Kildonan Park is there is the playground for pre-painting and it's a perfect picnic spot. Bring a picnic blanket and picnic to hang around for lunch or a snack together. We'll have a covered shelter too, so rain or shine we can paint away.

**this event is a perfect ALL AGES event!! Bring the entire family! And bring your camera for baby's first finger painting! ***

Click here for more details and to sign up so we know how much supplies to bring.

Register for a 4 week trial with momstown at

Know any other moms that may be interested in Invite them to join us at the event. Hope to see you there!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Winnipeg Library Summer Reading Program

Need something to do this summer? Want to get your kids reading? momstown Winnipeg has lots of events planned this summer, included Tales for Tots, where we'll read some books courtesy of Scholastic Canada, followed by crafts! I also encourage you to join summer reading clubs at your local library!

Sponsored by TD Bank, the reading program is launching Canada-wide at the end of June/early July in many communities*. The goal is to encourage children to engage with books throughout the summer.

Upon signing up, children usually receive a poster, stickers, colouring book, and a way to track their summer reading. When milestones are hit (say, 10 books read) kids receive a reward - such as a free ice cream from a local restaurant, or a pass to a local entertainment complex.

The theme this year is Splash! Celebrate Summer and the website has lots of links to recommended book lists (ranging from pictures books up to teenage years).

An interactive kids website has been designed to engage kids in reading with online games and activities. Whatever momstown community you're part of, there should be a local library ready to engage your kids in reading this summer!

During July and August, check out these programs at all Winnipeg Library branches:
  • pre-school story times for 3-5 year olds
  • programs for school-age kids
  • teen programs 
  • special workshops & performances
  • Family Literacy Fun Days!
momstown has a strong literacy program as part of its educational curriculum for children aged 0-5. Our kids and baby book clubs, book reviews, and parent resources help families make reading a part of their every day.

So check it out. It's a great way to keep the kids busy, while having fun and learning!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kidsfest - A Festival for Kids of All Ages

This past weekend I took my kids to Kidsfest, which took place at The Forks, in Winnipeg. I had some extra tickets so we invited my sister and my niece (my daughter's BFF). We couldn't have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect and the crowd was manageable. The organizers did a great job of spreading out the tents all around The Forks.

The very first thing I saw when I got there, which I think is genius, is a bike and stroller valet. Stroller Valet!!! Genius! So simple yet so helpful! And the staff at the ticket booth were so nice. In fact, the staff at all the tents were exceptional! What I learned while I was there was that Kidsfest relies heavily on volunteers, donations and sponsorship. Ticket sales on covers a fraction of the cost to run Kidsfest. You couldn't have asked for better volunteers. The enthusiasm and energy was seen all around!

First up, face painting. You can't attend Kidsfest without getting your face painted.

We watched a performance from Order & Choas! Comedy, Music & Bubble Majic! The girls loved it!

Then we did crafts, which was the highlight of my day.... I mean the girls day (okay for those that don't know me, I kind of have a thing for all things crafty).

My sister was helping the girls with the crafts while I took care of my baby boy (and I played photographer too).

Another hit was Kindermusik! I had to drag my daughter out of that tent! This was her favourite part of the festival.

My niece loved playing with all the instruments too!

What's a festival without dressing up?

My daughter wouldn't stop talking about Kidsfest all weekend, which means it was a hit! There is so much to do there. It really is a festival that kids of all ages would enjoy. Looking forward to next year. You may just see a momstown tent there?!?!

Father's Day Present Ideas on a Budget

Father's Day is just around the corner. Time to think of a present from the 'kids'. The days of buying dad a tie are long gone (I hope)! But what to get your husband can be quite challenging. I can think of a lot of things, but my budget is small. Very small. Pretty well, non existent small. I'm just starting up momstown Winnipeg, so this Work at Home Mom isn't exactly bringing in the steady income yet. And I can't exactly ask hubby for some money for his own present.

What I would really like to buy him is a getaway for two (us without the kids). But that is certainly not in my budget. He's been wanting to start working out again, but a gym membership isn't in my budget either. So this Father's Day I am going to teach my daughter that the meaning of giving isn't about fancy, shiny objects, or expensive trips. It's about giving from the heart.

So I went to momstown's arts and crafts blog to get some inspiration. And today we got crafty! My favourite craft also brought tears to me eyes. A beautiful poem that shows the innocence of a child and the importance of teaching your children the right path in life. I choose this because in my eyes my husband is doing a bang up job of this. He couldn't be a better role model.

momstown Oakville made this Father's Day Art: 'Walk a Little Slower' at their Craft Kids Playgroup. It's my favourite. We had a blast making this today. Bella and Benji got their feet all full of paint!

We also printed some alphabet letter templates to spell out DAD, courtesy of Kiboomu! We painted one set, and the other set we took an idea from momstown's D is for Dad post and made it our own. We didn't have photo's so we just took a bunch of coloured paper, had fun ripping it into pieces and pasted the pieces onto the letters. I'm running out tonight to buy some frames and we'll have some beautiful art for daddy's office!

There are lots of different arts and crafts ideas that you and the kids can do this Father's Day. Check out more ideas on the momstown blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kidsfest Review & Giveaway - CLOSED

Looking for something fun to do this month? Take the whole family to Kidsfest! This year's Kidsfest is June 9-12 at The Forks in Winnipeg. 

Kidsfest is put on by the Winnipeg International Children’s Festival, who has been entertaining children and their families for over 25 years with positive educational entertainment - in a festival environment created just for them.

I went to check out to see what types of activities they have planned. First off, you should check out their website. Not only is it fun and colourful but it’s so well laid out and easy to find what you’re looking for. The site is loaded with details of the upcoming event.

Dress up & make a wacky hat!
So what will you expect to see at Kidsfest this year? They have everything from zany circus acts, high strung acrobatics, kidstock for the music lovers and loads of arts and crafts (a momstown Winnipeg favourite)! 

Arts & Crafts is a momstown Winnipeg favourite!
Fred Penner and The Cats Meow Band will be there, along with Dallas Arcand, a high energy Aboriginal entertainer.  And of course there is good old traditional face painting! The list is too long to mention everyone. Check out their website for the full line up of performers and the fun activities they have planned. Last but not least, they will have fireworks for the whole family to enjoy!

Fred Penner is a childhood favourite for me!
Who wouldn't want their face painted?

Tickets are now on sale. Hurry before June 12 to take advantage of their advance ticket prices. Available May 9 – June 12 at all Winnipeg Safeway and Assiniboine Credit Union locations. Cost is $12 each or a Family Pack of 4 for $40.

Or you can purchase tickets at the gate: Available June 9 – June 12 at the Box Office onsite. Cost is $14 each or a Family Pack of 4 for $48.

Free admission for children under 2 years of age. Children under 12 pay once and then can visit the Festival again and again (they just need to report to the Box Office with their attached wristband and trade it in daily).

Want to win tickets? We’re giving away a family pack of 4!  
Simply make a comment here as to which performer or activity your kids would want to see/do the most. Go to to see the full line up and list of activities they have planned. We’ll randomly select one lucky reader! Hurry this contest ends soon! Winner will be announced June 5!