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December 07, 2007

Winter Weekend Getaways

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We all welcome a vacation in the middle of winter. Especially, this year when we will all enjoy the new Family Day (extra holiday) in February. Parent Club has put together a selection of welcomed winter vacation destinations - all within driving distance from Toronto.

Family Fun at the Delta Chelsea (Toronto - Gerrard Street). Includes Camp Chelsea (free to guests who book the family package) with activities, a corkscrew waterslide, kids 6 and under eat free while kids 7-12 get their meals half-price. Children recieve their own check in cards upon arrival and a kid essentials kit for children under 7.

The Delta Meadowvale (Mississauga) boasts Toronto's longest hotel waterslide. Kids can enjoy Camp Meadowvale with lots of activities and family fun. Indoor and outdoor pools.

Great Wolf Lodge (Niagara). Tons of fun. Creative rooms. Waterslides, splash pads, pools and more. Activities galore!

Fallsview Indoor Waterpark (Niagara). Smaller than Great Wolf - if you have a younger family - this may be a better choice. Wave pool, heated outdoor pool, splash park and more. Three hotels link underground directly to this attraction so you have a choice of where to stay.

Chatham Wheels Inn (Chatham). Waterslide, bowling, laser tag, go-karts, roller coaster & games.

Nottawasaga Resort (Cookstown). Kids event calendar outlines fun activities every weekend on their website. Children under 3 eat free and a Children's menu available for the older ones. Pool, waterslide, indoor tennis, mini-golf and indoor skating rink.

If you know a great family get-away spot - e-mail Parent Club to share the information.


December 06, 2007

Sick Kids

Since I have sick kids in the house today...I thought I would pass along some valuable information - that is easily found on the net and also in my book. I suggest you to copy & paste it into a Word document and post it near a phone. The phone numbers have come in handy more than once for this parent...

Telehealth Ontario
Free Access to a registered nurse - 24 hours a day/7 days a week

All services covered by OHIP. In it's 19th year of service, they will have a qualified medical doctor visit your home. A good thing if you don't want to take a sick child (or parent) out of the house. 416-631-3000

Public Health Nurses
Speak to a public health nurse (8:30am-3:30pm) for newborn care and breastfeeding support.
A U.S.A. based website that presents easy-to-read information for the whole family.


December 04, 2007

Christmas Trees and good feelings.

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Parent Club is looking for combination shopping for Christmas trees. What's the combination you ask? Well, a good charity donation, a good deal or a good family outing to go along with your tree. If you find a good Christmas tree combination in your area - please e-mail us and we will share the information with the Club.


Friday Dec. 7 - CityTV will be selling Christmas trees for a good cause. With a donation (min. $10) you can go home with a tree and all proceeds go towards The Daily Food Bank.

IKEA - is selling Christmas Trees for $20/each. With each purchase you will get a $20 gift certificate towards a purchase of $75 or more.


Horton's Tree Farms have 4 locations around Toronto; Horton's Home Farm (East of Aurora), Horton's Magic Hill Tree Farm (North of Stouffville), Horton's Primrose Farm (North of Orangeville) &
Horton's Kennedy Farm (East of Aurora). Offers tree wrapping for easier transport.

Ludbrook Tree Farm (Stouffville) offers snack & refreshment stand and lots of trees. Cash only.

Middleton Tree Farm (Stouffville) notes they have lots of parking close to the trees making it ideal for small children. Free baling.

Taylor Christmas Tree Farm (Stouffville). In addition to trees, they offer horse & wagon rides, tractor rides. Free baling, shaking and tree disposal bags.

Remember if you are going to a tree farm please dress warmly. Take your own saw if you can. Pack extra blankets in the car to cozy up the kids on the drive home. Call your chosen farm before you hit the road to confirm hours and location.

Breakfast & Baking Tips

Reheating Refrigerated Bread
To warm biscuits, pancakes, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in a microwave - then place beside the bread item; a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.

When you are baking breakfast muffins or coffee cake, double the batch and freeze half. Especially with the holidays approaching, extra baked goods are great gifts to take along to brunches.

Measuring Cups
Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill it with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don't dry the cup.

Next, add your ingredient, such as peanut butter, and watch how easily it comes right out.

Make your own vanilla sugar. Place a cup of white sugar in an air tight container with two whole vanilla beans. In about a week you will have wonderful vanilla sugar to pour over fresh fruit, or to put in baking items.

Make your own vanilla extract. Slit a couple of vanilla pods in half, cut them into pieces and place in a clean (air tight) jar. Add in 1/3 teaspoon of white sugar and 3 ounces of vodka. Make sure the vanilla beans are completely covered. Shake the mixture and be sure to keep in a dark, dry place. Give it a shake about once a week for several weeks (or keep it a few months for a more concentrated flavour).

These homemade items would also be valuable inclusions in a gift basket for a teacher or family member.

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December 03, 2007

Review of Peter Pan

We'll as promised, in my last post, I present to you; the low-down on Peter Pan - playing in Toronto until January 2008 at the Elgin Theatre.

Though some published reviews have panned (excuse the pun) this children's was silly, musical and fun. It's hard to please everyone and certainly newspaper reviewers are probably looking for great theatre. However, as you know in Parent Club, as parents we are not looking for "Othello" we are looking for an engaging couple of hours. Peter Pan certainly entertained us.

Now you should, of course, know that there is a concession booth as you walk to your seats...selling pirate caps and hooks, fairy dolls and t-shirts.

The story warps from the original, for example; Wendy had bleach blond hair and carried an ipod -- which confused my littlest child. Captain Hook wants to be a movie star in Hollywood. However, we easily recognized Tiger Lily, the mermaids and those evil pirates. (I was surprised to see the disgust on my kids' faces when they saw the children around them booing at Captain Hook. Of course, they thought everyone should be quiet in the theatre. I told them it was OK to boo at Captain Hook - just as it's OK to clap for Peter.)

The kids loved the music, Peter Pans flying and the rapping crocodile. The music was great (who knew Kurt Browning could sing?).

The only thing, as a parent, I didn't like was that Captain Hook called Peter stupid and also told the kids in the audience to shut-up. As a grown-up I can see that it was language a bad guy would use...but as a parent - I don't like to hear mean name calling and never for anyone to be told to shut-up.

Otherwise, it was a great show. We had a good theatre experience and the kids are still talking about it.