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Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

Nintendo Splatoon Review

entertain, Featured, kids, LIVE, Parenting, play, tech, toys By August 13, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

I’m one of those hardcore moms who never allowed the boys to play with squirt guns. They would find driftwood with some resemblance to weapons, and use imagination and creativity to make up games.

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Back to School Shopping Made Simple

Contests, Featured, GEAR, kids, Parenting, play, style, tech, toys By August 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 88 Comments

Those who know me realize that I search ebay almost as often as I scan Instagram. My searches generally involve antique china, rockabilly dresses and steamer trunks, but as autumn approaches I must be responsible and get the kids ready to go back to school.

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Big Hero 6 Colouring Pages

FAM, kids By July 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Big-Hero-6-Coloring-BookNeed to take a shower? Make dinner? We love using printables and colouring pages to snag a few minutes to ourself! Here are Disney’s Big Hero 6 Colouring pages. Horray!


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Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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The Pixelmon Minecraft Mod

LIVE, play By July 12, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Minecraft Pixelmon ModMy son has been heartbroken, as the servers that we’ve been trying for the Pixelmon Minecraft mod haven’t been working at all. I offered to tweet the Minecraft guys. I tried to add different servers. No go.

But then I watched a few Youtube videos about how to do this stuff, and made my son the happiest man in the house. I added a mod to Minecraft so that he could play as his beloved Pokemon characters.

It really wasn’t that difficult. First, you go to Pixelmonmod – it’s a great resource. Unfortunately the servers just wouldn’t work with the version of Minecraft that we have – 1.7.10. What I learned was that we had to instal a mod instead. We downloaded Forge in order to quickly install a mod. Once you open it click the top option to install the files. It will end up saying that 11 files have been installed. I found a free Pixelmon mod on Minecraft Six. Mods are saved as ‘jar’ files. Once downloaded to your computer, search your computer files for the Minecraft folder. In this folder will be a subfolder for ‘mods’. Pop the jar file into this folder, and you’re good to go.

When you open Minecraft, you must select the bottom (Forge) version from the dropdown menu.

Happy kids, happy Pokemon, and endless fun. And mommy looks like a computer genius rockstar!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Get the Kids Outside

FAM, kids By July 10, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Nature Bucket ListUsually I’m not preachy, but watching this video of three generations talking about summer ‘fun’ filmed by Nature Valley jarred me to my roots. Our relationship to nature is changing and with technology at our fingertips, it’s easy to forget about what’s important, like being outside and enjoying nature. With each passing generation, children seem to be playing outside less and less.

Rediscover NatureWhat if our connection to nature is lost for good? I want my grandchildren to develop skills and knowledge that can be acquired only in nature. Learning to fish, to camp, swim, built forts and plant seeds are part of childhood – play is necessary for development. Not only are motor skills developed, but creativity, reasoning, logic and life skills are honed. Can you imagine having no access to food other than fish, but the only time you’ve held a rod was during a fishing video game? So let’s make a pact to get the kids outside this summer, K?

The time is now to rediscover the joy of nature.

Get the Kids OutsideThe kids and I have completed our ‘Summer Bucket List’ and pasted it to the fridge, where we can check off the items as we complete them. I’m giddy. Too often the summer slips away from us and I regret not having slept in a tent or taking the kayak out. This will be the best summer ever.

I challenge you to complete your own Bucket List (click to get your own printable)! I’d also love to hear your ideas in the comments below. Happy summer!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Watermark Beach Resort

Canada, ROAM By July 8, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Osoyoos Watermark Beach ResortThe first thing my kids do when checking into a new hotel (after saying hello to everyone in the lobby, fighting over who presses the inside button in the elevator and insisting on opening the door themselves) is jump on the beds. We not only do we have lift-off, but we have 150% approval for Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos, British Columbia.
Amenities range from fully equipped gourmet kitchens (the grocery and liquor stores are right next door) and washer and dryer in the suites, to poolside grilling stations for easy dinners (if you can pass up the restaurant.)
This Okanagan lakefront resort offers huge tapas plates in the Watermark Restaurant, wine tastings in the lobby, a waterslide in the outdoor pool, two hot tubs, yoga and pilates classes and the Illumination Spa and Salon.

Lake View at Watermark ResortIf the kids tire of the waterslide (funny joke), the lake is adjacent to the property and features a three-sided dock to keep little ones safe yet allows the older ones to practice their cannonball form in deeper water. The Osoyoos Yacht Club is a short walk down the beach and we were able to hitch a catamaran ride and then test our salmon fishing skills, which were excellent incidentally. (Even though it was a banner year for salmon and the government actually increased the limits…).

When the boys and I were by the pool, we ordered to-die-for grilled cheese and homemade mac and cheese for lunch. I actually managed to tear them away from the waterslide for 6 minutes in order to eat!

Watermark Resort Patio Dinner For dinner, the family went to Watermark’s tapas-style restaurant run by terroir-inspired Chef Adair Scott. It also boasts it’s own wine label and to-die-for views.
They have made the small kitchen into an advantage by creating grilled dishes such as arctic char, chicken confit, local steaks and tapas-style fare (spicy prawns, tenderloin carpaccio or quinoa cauliflower salad, anyone?) presented artfully and cooked skillfully.

Watermark FoodIt really shouldn’t be called tapas. The dishes are huge – and you will want to finish it all. Much of the organic produce comes from Covert Farms, and the herbs are all grown a few feet away in the resort’s garden.

Watermark Resort WeddingMy son was transfixed one day watching a wedding underneath our balcony and it was all I could do not to ‘shhh’ loudly when he asked questions about the ceremony. There are learning opportunities even while on a beach vacation!

Rattlesnake CanyonHome Hardware OsoyoosWhile in Osoyoos we made many a kid-friendly excursion, including the Miniature Train Museum and Rattlesnake Canyon Amusement Park – you can see our Osoyoos Top 10 list HERE). But one of the best ‘excursions’? Home Hardware. Just up the street from Watermark is an amusement park in itself. You will want to set aside about an hour. We picked up swim goggles, a cooler for the 75 pounds of salmon we were bringing home and garden décor.

 

From now on, Osoyoos will be on my summer hitlist – not only for the fresh salmon and organic fruit, but as an excuse to make memories with my family at Watermark Beach Resort.

Disclosure: Watermark Beach Resort has been awarded the Tripadvisor Hall of Fame for the past five years. We were hosted for a weekend and loved it so much we stayed an extra night. All opinions are my own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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5 Tips for Saving on Summer Activities

FAM, kids By July 7, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

5 Tips for Saving on Summer ActivitiesSummer is just beginning, and while parents likely have a line-up of activities ready to go to keep kids busy, many find themselves scrambling to pay for additional expenses that come up while school is out. What scares me is that with the high cost of activities and childcare, many parents allow their kids to play on screens and watch TV far more over the summer months than during the school year. While we love tech.. free play and connecting with nature is crucial for our children.

According to a recent TD survey, 55% of Canadian parents with children under the age of 18 take on additional costs during the summer; in fact, 71% of them spend up to $999 per child. EEK! Summer camps, day trips, dance, sports and summer vacations add up FAST. And then the stress follows. At UrbanMommies we believe in reducing stress on parents as much as humanly possible, so we’ve partnered with TD Canada Trust to share a few tips on how to help parents avoid the financial heat wave summer can bring.

Summer Activities - RV

TD’s Tips for Saving on Summer Activities

1.  Check your rewards balance – redeem some of your loyalty rewards, such as points from your First Class Travel Credit Card, to help fund activities and travel. For example, you can use your loyalty rewards to redeem certain theme park passes or tours and excursions

2. The early bird gets the worm – some organizations may provide a discount on early registration; check the sign up dates and sign up in advance to save a few dollars.

3. Budget and start saving early – save a little money each month and put into your TFSA; online budgeting tools (visit tdcanadatrust.com) can also help you determine how much to save each month.

4. Shop around – municipally run activities through community centres or the parks and recreation department often offer lower cost programming. We have an amazing list for Vancouver here. You can search our site for other cities internationally and in the US, but here are a few roundups: VictoriaHalifax, Calgary, Fredricton, Toronto, Winnipeg, St. John’s, Kelowna, Edmonton, and Montreal.

5. File your receipts – some summer costs could be tax deductible as a child care expense or under the child fitness tax credit on your tax return.

Do you have other ideas to add? We’d love to hear how you and the family are spending your summer and saving money while reducing stress!

Disclosure: This article is sponsored by TD Canada Trust. All opinions are our own.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vastateparksstaff/ and https://www.flickr.com/photos/redcube75/

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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10 Affordable Vancouver Family Activities

Canada, ROAM By July 7, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Vancouver Family ActivitesIt’s easy to entertain children on a dime in Vancouver, so save your money for a rainy day (not that Vancouver has any of those) and check out these 10 things to do in Vancouver for those on a budget. Here are our top 10 affordable Vancouver family activities – feel free to add to the list in the comments!

Granville Island

There’s something for everyone at this popular Vancouver tourist attraction, from the food and flower market to feeding the pigeons on the wharf. Kids play for free at the indoor playground in the Kids Market, and the outdoor water park if the sun is shining. On weekends, buskers entertain crowds of people and the atmosphere is more carnival than quiet.

Beach It

Beaches and kids go together like pie and ice cream, so take yours to one of Vancouver’s several sandy beaches. Go to Spanish Banks for incredible city views, Kitsilano Beach to catch some basketball or volleyball pick-up games, Third Beach in Stanley Park for a calmer setting and sunsets, or Ambleside Beach to catch some waves if they’re breaking. Beached logs double as chair backs, just bring a blanket and a shovel and a desire to get your feet wet.

Stanley Park

It’s not Vancouver’s most popular tourist attraction for nothing. In Stanley Park, the largest urban park in North America, you can bike around the seawall, play in the water park or playground, smell the roses in the rose garden, check out the Totem poles, ride the miniature train (for minimal cost), and watch the float planes take off and land in the harbour. If you want to get up close and personal with Douglas Firs, there are also well-marked hiking trails to explore.

Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge

Similar to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, only without the price tag, the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge located in Lynn Canyon Park is the most thrilling adventure you can have for free in North Vancouver. Suspended fifty meters above water, the bridge will bounce and sway as you walk across it, thus earning its nickname, the shaky bridge. Bring a picnic or purchase snacks at the cafe in the nearby Ecology Centre, which is also worth a visit and free of charge. 

Chinatown & Richmond Night Markets

Head east of downtown Vancouver and you will hit the third largest Chinatown in North America. From the ornate gated entrance to the narrowest building in the world, Vancouver’s Chinatown is a vibrant, historical part of the city, loved by young and old. If they like Chinatown they’ll love the Richmond Night Markets for cheap thrills and sampling Asian cuisine, on May 15-Oct 12.

Aquabus

For minimal cost, get a tour of Vancouver’s False Creek in one of these cruisers. Choose one of their eight docks to start from and enjoy a twenty-five minute boat ride around the bay, children ride for $4. The Aquabus is stroller-friendly and the best-kept commuter secret in Vancouver, with boats leaving every fifteen minutes.

The Roundhouse Community Centre

May 2015 marked the 138th anniversary of the first train arriving in Vancouver, and you can check it out for free at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in Vancouver’s Yaletown. CPR Engine 374 is on display, and volunteers will give you a tour—their knowledge of rail history will impress Thomas the Tank Engine aficionados.

Take a Hike

We mean this in a good way. Vancouver is home to the finest hiking east of the Rockies, many of which are possible for little legs. Pack water and snacks and head to Deep Cove, the Quarry Rock hike is part of the popular Baden Powell trail, and takes about an hour and a half round trip. The reward is a stunning vista of Indian Arm and mountains surrounding Belcarra. For flatter terrain and less view try Rice Lake, a three kilometre loop in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.

Vancouver Public Library

Libraries aren’t just for bookworms. Head to your local library for story times, author talks, LEGO parties, movie showings, pajama parties, board games, puppet shows and singing, all for free. The summer reading club will be starting soon, sign your children up and inspire them to read more, and game less this year.

Vancouver Art Gallery

While the Vancouver Aquarium and Science World are popular destinations, they aren’t inexpensive, especially for families. Alternatives are the Vancouver Art Gallery, $6 for children and by donation Tuesday evenings, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre with an $8 evening rate for children, and The Vancouver Maritime Museum with entrance by donation Thursday evenings. Culture doesn’t have to be costly.

Face it, there’s nothing to keep you inside in Vancouver – not even the rain.

Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/footloosiety/

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Trendsetter Dad

GEAR, tech By July 3, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , 99 Comments

Trendsetter DadThere are so many types of dads out there, and as I watch my partner grill on his shiny Weber BBQ in a fedora, I smile. He’s our trendsetter Dad. He has more hats than I have shoes, and oozes style. Now that he’s traded his Blackberry for an android, his tech is beginning to match his dressing prowess. He’s officially hooked on instagram, and his new love of tech has him scouring the gadget sections of every store. We just acquired the Logitech Multi-device mini keyboard, which is totally thrilling him for his phone and tablets. Even snazzier is the new Harmony Ultimate Home. His tablet and phone can control all connected devices in the house – thermostat, lights, Xbox, TV… you name it!

Weber BBQWe’re giving away awesome goodies for the trendsetter dad in your life! Ends July 30, US and Canada, excl. Quebec. Good luck!!! Value $500.

Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480
Logitech Harmony Ultimate Home
Work bag
Sunglasses
Money clip
Handkerchiefs

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by Logitech. All opinions are our own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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