Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Variety Heritage Adventure Park is now open and it's spectacular!

The Variety Heritage Adventure Park is a world class, one-of-a-kind adventure park whose play elements are based on the natural and human history of The Forks (and, by extension, Manitoba and Canada). Children and their families can see, touch and experience 6,000 years of Manitoba’s history through hands-on play, and on top of that, the adventure park and its play elements were designed to be accessible to children of all abilities. Access to the Variety Heritage Adventure Park is free, making this an affordable activity for all families! 

The adventure park features seven distinct play zones: The First Peoples, the Fur Trade, the M├ętis, the Settlers, the French Quarter, the "Iron Horse" and the Metropolis, each encompassing a distinct period in the region's history. Kids can climb on fort walls, take a slide out the back of a Red River cart, blow a train whistle and "row" a York boat. There a large musical instruments, an historic French streetscape, a tipi and a trading post. 

There is also a special river area featuring water spray pop-ups which operates from mid-June to September 3, which will be flooded and frozen in the winter to form a skating rink.  

What is great about this park is that it's a new and innovative way of getting kids interested in our history by combining learning and active play. momstown members be sure to check out the calendar. We've set up a few playdates at the park on August 12 and 26.

You can find out more information at http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/mb/forks/activ/papv-vhap.aspx.

All images are copyright to Parks Canada. Use of these photos without Parks Canada's permission is forbidden.

Member Meet & Greet Mom's Night Out

momstown has been around for just over a year now here in Winnipeg. Mom's have a chance to connect online through the message board but also face-to-face at events. But sometimes schedules don't jive, or mom's head back to work and never get a chance to meet all the members, or go months and months before they see one another.

So we switched up our member meet and greet this month. Normally it's geared to the new members and we go over momstown, the website, answer questions and get to know one another. Long time members are welcome to come and join in the fun but for some reason they don't!! Not sure why? But I'm seeing a trend here this year. All mom's love to get out at night without the kids!! We all need a break. So we had our first Member Meet and Greet Mom's Night Out event. And man oh man, was it a fun night!

It was great for mom's to finally connect who may have only met through the message board.

I decided to place them into three groups. To avoid the 'I'll talk to you because I know you' syndrome. I wanted them to mingle with everyone. So I randomly numbered them 1, 2 and 3. Each group gathered in a separate room of the house. I gave them ice breaker questions and they went around and answered questions about themselves. A great way to get to know things about one another that they may not normally share!

Group 1

Group 2

Group 3

Can you tell which group was the rowdy group? :)

It was so popular that we are planning to do this once a quarter! So stay tuned on the calendar for more fun filled mom's night outs like this!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Baby Basics: Fitness & Nutrition

Our last Baby Basics for our Spring / Summer session was on a great topic. We had Lisa Back, RD from Nest Family Centre come speak with our group about pre and postnatal nutrition and fitness. 

We talked about various questions that many new mom's often wonder with regards to fitness before and after baby comes. ‘Should I be exercising? How often? How hard? Until when?’ ‘How soon can I return to exercise after I deliver?’ 

Lisa showed us some great stretches and exercise moves that we can easily do at home. It sure felt great to stretch those tight muscles. 

We also discussed nutrition. Lisa went over the Canada Food Guide for both us moms and the whole family! We also got a brief 101 on introducing solid foods. 

It was a great information session. You can check out more of the great workshops and series that Lisa, Hillary and the whole Nest Family team offers at http://nestfamilycentre.com.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Enter to win a $20 Gift Card to Tim Hortons - CLOSED

Did you hear? We are celebrating our Birthday and want to thank the Winnipeg community for the overwhelming support we have had this year, so we've invited everyone we know!! We made our goal of '100 families Going' to the event through our Facebook event page and are giving away a $20 Gift Card to Tim Hortons.  Because we know how much we mama's and papa's love our coffee!! We'll be sure to have another contest once we reach 150 Going, so keep on sharing the event and invite your family and friends with wee little ones at home!

So it's simple. In order to win it, we just want to know your favourite themed birthday party that you've ever planned. Could be for your kids, yourself, your husband, friend, brother, sister, parent, ect. You get the picture! So comment below and remember to leave me your email address or momstown user name so I can contact the winner.  And just for fun, if you have a photo of your Birthday Party be sure to share it with all of us on our momstown Winnipeg Facebook page.

Contest ends midnight this Sunday, July 29, 2012.  Contest open to all guests living in the Winnipeg area who have signed up to attend our Birthday Bash this August 19.

For details of our Birthday Party click here. Good luck!

And Random.org picked entry #1. And the winner is............


Congrats mommyJ. And thank you everyone who participated!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Baby Basics: Child Development

Last week at our Baby Basics program we had a great informational seminar on sensory, visual, gross motor and auditory learning. Melinda Ives from Discovery Toys came out and broke down in age groups the best types of toys that help kids with their development from birth to school age. 

We talked about the importance of play, literacy, socializing and sensory experiences. 

Melinda brought with her some great samples of Discovery Toys for the babies to play with. It was great to see what the kids enjoyed so we could see first hand which toys caught their attention! 

Melinda talked about what to look for in toys, what to avoid, and the stages of toys for various age groups. Even simple things, like colour, have so much influence on our children's learning.

You can check out more information about Melinda and Discovery Toys at http://www.discoverytoyslink.com/melindaives

Sunday, July 22, 2012

How to make a volcano with toddlers

Here's a great activity you can do with toddlers to keep them busy this summer! Make a volcano. It's cheap, simple, fun and educational! We made these volcano's at our Little Scientists Program the other month and the kids loved it. It's a great activity if you have a Hawaiian themed Luau party too!

To make your own Volcano you need:

  • Tray
  • Small empty baby food jar, small plastic pop bottle or a plastic cup
  • Brown play dough (homemade)
  • Baking soda
  • Vinegar
  • Red food colouring
  • Spoon/scoop
  • Measuring cup

  1. Place jar/cup on tray
  2. Surround the jar with play dough.
  3. Form dough to look like a mountain (keep the top open). If you prepare ahead of time you can paint the dough to make it look like a mountain.
  4. Put 4 drops of red food coloring in the jar.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the jar.
  6. Finally, add some vinegar to it to make it erupt!

And be sure to have some Huggies Simply Clean Wipes on hand as it will get messy! 

Did You Know…..
  • The cool red lava is the result of a chemical reaction between the baking soda and vinegar.
  • In this reaction, carbon dioxide gas is produced, which is also present in real volcanoes.
  • In simple terms a volcano is a mountain that opens downward to a pool of molten rock (magma) below the surface of the earth. It is a hole in the Earth from which molten rock and gas erupt.
  • When magma erupts through the earth's surface it is called lava
    • Magma is liquid rock inside a volcano.
    • Lava is liquid rock (magma) that flows out of a volcano. Fresh lava ranges from 1,300° to 2,200° F (700° to 1,200° C) in temperature and glows red hot to white hot as it flows.
    • There are around 1510 'active' volcanoes in the world. We currently know of 80 or more that are under the oceans.
    • Over half of the world’s volcanoes arise in a belt around the Pacific Ocean called the Ring of Fire.
A special shout out to Huggies for sending us these adorable Hawaiian Special Edition diapers for the kids. Our little scientists had a blast!

How to make Oobleck!

Believe it or not, there are some science activites that can be found using Dr. Seuss Books. The book "Bartholomew and the Oobleck" is a good example of learning about comparing solids. The Oobleck acts like both a solid and a liquid. For our momstown's Little Scientist's program we got messy and made oobleck!

For this experiment, you'll need to make some Oobleck.
2 cups cornstarch
3 drops food coloring
1 cup water

Mix ingredients together in a medium sized bowl. (Add water slowly as it may not need entire cup!).

Mix the ingredients and allow children to play with the mixture. When"pushed" together, the mixture will appear dry and solid; as children let go of the mixture, it flows like a smooth liquid.

It's a really fun recipe to use as a science experiment. Is it a solid? Is it a liquid? It's a liquid until pressure is applied. Hit it hard and it feels like you are hitting a wall! Touch it gently and the material will flow around your fingers like water! Have fun using different utensils to play- see what form it takes while using different cups, spoons, bowls, etc.

Using what they have learned, your kids can decide if it is a solid or a liquid.

Some other fun things to observe about OOBLECK

~ Oobleck is a solid and a liquid at the same time.
~ If you make a ball and throw it up in the air, it loses shape and becomes flat in the air.
~ Oobleck can be molded in a container and when taken out does not keep shape.
~ If you fill a balloon with Oobleck, the air presses or forces the Oobleck back out.
~ When you leave Oobleck in the sun, the color evaporates, it turns hard like cement on the top and like jelly on the bottom. When heated this also happens and it is sticky.
~ Oobleck does not bounce.

Tales for Tots: Clifford at the Circus

This month’s theme is at the circus so we have had a chance to talk and learn about some of the things that we might see at a circus.  At our tales for tots we read a story from Scholastic Canada that was called  Clifford at the Circus  by Norman Bridwell which was a great story about Clifford and Emily helping out at the circus. 

At first the owner didn’t think they could do much, but Clifford and Emily surprised him by really saving the day.  Check out the rest of the book review here.    

Afterward we talked about going to the circus and some things we might see there.   We also got a chance to sing about going to the circus and we did a rhyme:

Funny Clown Tune
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, Turn Around
Funny clown, funny clown, spin around
Funny clown, funny clown, jump up and down
Funny clown, funny clown touch your toes.
Funny clown, funny clown, honk your nose.

Then we had a draw for the book that we read and our lucky winner was Jaxson!  Congrats Jaxson!

We also did a craft afterward and it was a clown’s hat.  Click here to find out how to make this craft.

The tots busy crafting.

The end result! Adorable!

Playing with a nice present from the staff at Chapters Polo Festival!

Babies hanging out while the big kids made their craft.

Thank you Chapters Polo Park for having us and providing some snacks and freebies! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Get creative with a Dr. Seuss themed party!

My daughter loves to read! And she is a little silly, as most 3 year olds are. So I wanted to throw a fun, wacky birthday party for her.  So with the help of pinterest I got some fabulous ideas on a Dr. Seuss themed birthday party.

1) First off, location. I knew right away the place to have it. The Children's Museum is a fun, wacky and colourful place. Perfect for a Dr. Seuss themed party!

2) Invitations. Well I sort of delayed myself on this, so I sent out e-invites to avoid postal delays. Otherwise I would have gone with a mailed invitation. Something about receiving an invitation in the mail that still excited me! Here's a great example of a Dr. Seuss invitation, that looks like a book.

Click here to see more of this invitation.
3) Guest list. This really depends on how big or small you want to go. I really am a big believer of to each their own. Some people like big parties, some like small gatherings. Last year we skipped my daughter's birthday because we just moved back home to Winnipeg. So mama guilt got the best of me and I went BIG!

These were just some of the guests!
4) The food. This part was fun to get my creative juices flowing. It's easier and a lot simpler then it appears. All the ideas are all ready out there. Creative names and presentation make simple food look like hours of work. Here's a great blog that inspired me.

The spread! It's all in the presentation. So simple. I worded the food on Dr. Seuss labels based on characters or objects from Dr. Seuss books. Like a Cheese Tree, Sam I Am Hamwiches, Yertles Blueberries and Green Eggs.

I bought the water bottle labels off etsy.

I made my own cupcakes. You can't tell but the blue icing is standing up like the hair of Thing 1 and Thing 2.
Who Pudding and Blue Goo! Pudding and Jello. Simple and easy to make.
5) The activities. The kids got to make and wear Dr. Seuss hats. They also made goo, an activity that the museum provides. But if you host this at home I would get the kids to make Oobleck!  Then benefit of having a party outside the home in places such as the Children's Museum is that the kids got to run around and play in the museum. So less activities for mom to plan! 

Other activities you could do is pin the egg on the ham, read a Dr. Seuss book, make a wacky Dr. Seuss inspired craft or set up the inflatable pool and place cut outs of fish and have the kids fish with a fishing rod. We did a lot of these activities at our momstown Dr. Seuss Birthday Party!

6) The decorations. I actually had a hard time finding Dr. Seuss decorations at the store so I had to be creative. I bought cheap wooden A, B, C letters at Walmart and painted them. I found some cute stuff of etsy too. I printed some Dr. Seuss quotes that I bought off etsy and placed them in cheap black frames I got from Dollerama. And I placed all our Dr. Seuss books around the room as part of the decorations.  I used colourful bowls for the food and that was pretty much it.  

7) The loot bags. I wanted to give something useful, so they each got a Dr. Seuss book with some stickers. A few older kids got book markers instead as I figured Dr. Seuss would be a tad too easy for their reading level.

So that's our Dr. Seuss Party. The only regret was I didn't take more photos. It was a fun party to plan and my daughter talked about it for weeks!

Friday, July 6, 2012

momstown Celebrating 5 Years Across Canada

Have friends across Canada near a local momstown Chapter. Invite them to attend their local momstown Birthday Bash!

If you live in the Winnipeg area join us:

When: Sunday, August 19th

Where: Earl Grey Community Centre

Address: 360 Cockburn Street North

Winnipeg, MB  

Time: 10:00am - 1:00pm 

For more details on Winnipeg's Birthday Bash click here

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How to make sidewalk chalk paint

Checking off one more thing on my bucket list for this summer. I found a great sidewalk chalk paint recipe on pinterest that looked easy, affordable and a whole lot of fun!

What you'll need:

  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Bowls
  • Tablespoon
  • Paintbrushes
  • Wipes for clean up

Mix together equal parts of cornstarch and water. Start off with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water. Mix together until you have a smooth consistency.  You shouldn't feel any drag from the cornstarch, but it also shouldn't be too liquify either. It should pour off your spoon and not leave a layer of cornstarch goo in the bowl or on your spoon. 

Now add the food colouring! You will want to make a few batches so you can have a few colours of chalk paint.

I stripped my son down as he is still quite young and will get messy! Since it has food colouring be sure to wear play clothes. 

What I like best about making homemade sidewalk chalk paint is that it is safe for the wee little ones that still like to eat everything in sight! 

I took some Huggies Simply Clean wipes to wipe down my son. It came off quite easy. It also washes off the sidewalk nicely too. 

So there you have it. A fun activity to involve the kids with making and keep them busy this summer!

Here's another great blog on how to make sidewalk chalk from our friends at momstown Edmonton South.

Wordless Wednesday: First Time Fishing

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Vacation Bucket List

School's out and the kids are home. How to keep them busy so you don't lose your mind? Make a bucket list. There are a ton of great ideas that we found off pinterest, momstown.ca and of course many are part of our signature momstown events! And be sure to check your local community for upcoming festivals, local farms, parks, and splashpads.

So here it is. My bucket list of 25 things to do this summer:

  1. Go swimming in the lake
  2. Make a sandcastle at the lake
  3. Have a car wash playdate
  4. Attend our momstown Picasso's in the Park
  5. Visit the new Variety Heritage Adventure Park
  6. Have a Pudding Party Playdate and let the kids get messy
  7. Invite the neighbourhood kids for Bubblefest - bubbles, bubbles, and more bubbles
  8. Make homemade chalk paint with my kids and paint our driveway
  9. Go to Birds Hill Park for a picnic and a hike
  10. Have a lemonade stand
  11. Go strawberry picking
  12. Go fishing with my oldest daughter
  13. Visit Fort Whyte Alive
  14. Go to Assiniboine Park's Nature's Playground
  15. Take the kids to the St. Norbert Farmers Market
  16. Go to the zoo
  17. Make this non-toxic home-made paint & let the kids go wild in the yard
  18. Bring the kids to Tinkertown
  19. Make a craft on those rainy days
  20. Visit a local farm
  21. Fly the kite my daughter got for her birthday
  22. Visit at least 2 different splashpads
  23. Go camping
  24. Drop the kids off at Grandma's so mom can get a pedicure (I think we all deserve this!!)
  25. Attend the momstown Winnipeg Birthday Bash this August (check your local city for the date)
So here it is! My bucket list. So go on and make one too! There are so many fun things to do around the home and through-out our great city.  momstown.ca also has a great list of activities to do this summer. Check it out here.

And check us out on Breakfast Television talking about our Bucket List: http://video.citytv.com/video/detail/1722339460001.000000/your-kids/

Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome our new momstown Winnipeg team!

momstown is growing! We have added some great members to our team. As much as I love being out there at events meeting all the parents and kids, I can't get it all done on my own. So I have brought on some very talented, friendly, creative and outgoing team members.

Be sure to say hi to them when you're out and about in the community, or at one of our amazing events. Their energy, passion and excitement for life and for momstown are totally contagious and I know you'll love them as much as I do! 

Event Coordinator & Ad Rep - Jennifer Hanslip
Jennifer is a mom of two beautiful little girls and pretty much one of the nicest people you will ever meet! She has been a member of momstown Winnipeg since day one and has been to countless events! She has 4 years experience running a mom's group and pre children Jennifer worked in Human Resources. She will be out and about running events and also will be working as our Advertising Representative. 

Event Coordinator - Camille Dyck
Camille has been a member of momstown for a few months and one day she helped me out in a pinch and ran an event for me. Let's just say she ran the event far better then I ever would and I knew right then that she was perfect for the Event Coordinator role. Her creativity and love for literacy go hand and hand with momstown.

With 20+ events on the calendar we will still need more help from time to time. So we have some great members that you will see helping us out.

Welcome Jenn McLarty and Colleen Peluso who will be helping out from time to time with events. Colleen is the queen of backyard playdates and Jenn has a teaching degree. Education and fun are kind of perfect for momstown!!

Meals4Mama Coordinator - Christina Hiebert 
Christina is taking time out of her busy schedule to volunteered to be our new Meals for Mama Coordinator. Christina is not only a fabulous guest blogger for momstown but also an active member who loves to help out where help is needed. And a food lover! So this role is right up her ally!

Welcome again ladies! I am looking forward to working with each and every one of you and together as a team I know we will make momstown even bigger and better!