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November 05, 2009

Symptoms of H1N1

  • sudden onset of cough and fever

  • Fatigue|muscle aches|sore throat + headache|decreased appetite + runny nose

  • Nausea|vomiting|diarrhea

    Severe indicators
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • bluish or grey skin color
  • bloody or coloured mucus/spit
  • high fever last more than 3 days
  • sudden dizziness or confusion

    wash hands often|cough & sneeze into your arm|avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth|warm liquids

    (Source: Government of Ontario - Public Health Agency of Canada)

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  • November 04, 2009

    Indigo Kids Round Table

    Parent Club was invited to the Indigo Kids Round Table session where there was much discussion about kids and learning.

    We just had to share it with the Club!


    Did you know kids learn approximately 800 words per year?

    The perfect bedtime story should be 5 minutes or less. Popular stories include: Dr. Zeuss, The Velveteen Rabbit, The Giving Tree, Where the Wild Things Are.

    Board books with pleasing rhymes are perfect for infants and toddlers.

    Robert Munsch is silly and fun.

    Reluctant readers enjoy the Diary of a Wimpy Kids and Bones series.

    Reading improves vocabulary which impacts elementary school results.


    Learning through play teaches reinforces to kids that they can handle the world. Playing peek-a-book teaches object permanence (is Mom still there behind her hands or gone forever?)

    Open-ended toys (particularly for ages 0-6yrs) are important teaching tools for kids to learn/find things for themselves. Open-ended toys include: building blocks, balls, animal figurines, finger painting, etc. Kids need to learn how to create/build not just memorize facts. Parents often look for an "end result" (i.e. create the craft on the box) however a "whatever you get" result is also very valuable in learning and playing.

    When gift-giving, keep in mind classic toys like board games which stimulate thinking skills yet are tons of fun. Monopoly for example teaches math (and is oodles of fun).


    Kathy Buckworth - Moderator: award winning writer and all-around cool mom.

    Dr. Kang Lee - Early Childhood Expert: Director and professor of the Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto, OISE.

    Kate Baldwin - Toy Expert: President of Brands in Balance with over 25 years of experience in the Canadian toy industry.

    Minnow Hamilton - an on-line mom expert.

    Trevor Dayton - Indigo Kids Expert: Vice President, Kids and Entertainment at Indigo Books & Music, Inc.

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    November 03, 2009

    Toronto Symphony Orchestra - Young People's Concerts

    THE WHAT: TSO Family Day

    THE HOW: “The Listener” – Toronto Symphony Kids, TSO Harpist demo in lobby, Backstage “Meet and Greet” and refreshments with members of the TSO.

    THE REVIEW: Walking through the doors of the Roy Thomson hall there was a craziness in the air. The kind of craziness that mixes a foyer full of excited children, anxious parents, loud voices, children crying, children laughing and harp music all together. It was quite overwhelming, but with an element of serenity that kept one from succumbing to the crazy.

    Julie Spring of the TSO was playing a large some-hundred year old harp in the foyer of the auditorium prior to the show. She talked about different parts on the harp, its history and the different sounds and melodies that can be played. From there the focus moved to finding one’s seat in the auditorium and hoping that the kids behave. From the beginning of the show to the end, my kids (girls ages 5 and almost 3) were captivated. The 2 mimes throughout the show who were part of the ‘Magic Circle Mime Company’ helped keep most of their attention. They interacted comically with the symphony orchestra members and especially the conductor, Mei-Ann Chen.

    The music play list kept the rest. Some of the songs played such as Bizet’s “Toreador Song” and “Dance of the Swan” from Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky were recognizable from shows like the Little Einstein's and the Wonder Pets. Other songs lent themselves to stimulating imagination, giving the feeling of flying through the sky or chasing after animals across the desert plain (yes my kids and myself have vivid imaginations…and the music certainly helped).

    Although my kids are too young to truly appreciate the whole The Star Wars saga, the theme music for these movies by John Williams that was performed worked on it’s own merits to take my 5 year old from happily pretending we were floating in outer space to covering her ears and cowering in fear because the sounds made her think of ‘scary things about to happen”. That’s the essence of music. It evokes emotion.

    I found this concert to be entertaining and educational for both myself as a parent and for my kids. The grandness of the spectacle, being in the auditorium, the whole orchestra on the stage, the larger than life sound was quite an experience to behold. Having the added bonus of going ‘backstage’ for the kids to see some of the instruments up close; play percussion instruments, work the bow on a huge upright bass, and even try their hand at expressing an emotion (such as anger and excitement) with the help of the mimes was loads of fun (especially for those watching).

    This is definitely an experience I would love to make a tradition. It brings many elements of classical music and it’s appreciation together which is something that gets missed in everyday educational life. I sincerely appreciate this opportunity and assure you I would definitely do it again.
    (Parent Club Test Panelist and children aged 3 and 5)

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    November 02, 2009

    Read: Caroline Fernandez

    Smoke Print:
    The Environmental Impact of Tobacco Use
    By Caroline Fernandez

    The "it's my body and I can smoke if I like" case was extinguised by the recognition of the dangers of second-hand smoke. Now smokers are faced with another reason to quit smoking: a smoke print that has a massive worldwide environmental impact.

    Read this feature article in the November issue of Alive Magazine

    Double-Duty Packing
    by Caroline Fernandez

    Packing less stuff means schlepping less stuff. However, when you travel en famille, your suitcase serves as your kitchen, bedroom, rec. room and sometimes pharmacy. How do you not take every-friggin’-thing?!? By packing double-duty items…

    Click here to continue reading this article...