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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Book Review

books, GEAR By August 18, 2016 No Comments

On July 21, 2007 hundreds of thousands of addicts around the world raced to the bookstore to pick up the last book in the Harry Potter series, I among them. With the treasure safely in my clutches, I practically flew home like a seeker in a Quidditch match and did not leave again until I’d read every last word.

Harry Potter books were themselves magic. There were 7 books in the series and each one launched us deep into a world where vibrant notions of darkness and light came vividly to life. And each time, you turned the last page and wanted more. We’d all resigned to the end, however. We were promised seven and we took mournful leave of the Harry’s story and waited for the films to come out.

And then, nine years later, there were rumblings. Harry was back.

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Get Outdoors with these Awesome Kids Books

Get Outdoors, Baby: 7 Books to Introduce Kids to Nature

baby, books, FAM, GEAR, grow, health, kids, LIVE, play, Uncategorized By May 12, 2016 No Comments

Spring is here, and with it the almost audible hum of energy that comes from children who have been cooped up inside too long. We all know the importance of limiting screen time, but did you know that letting a child experience nature can help alleviate anxiety, depression and attention disorders? The lure of laptops and tablets can make it hard to sell today’s children on the great outdoors. Sometimes they need a little help stimulating their imaginations. Here are seven books to do just that.

Renee Robbins

Renee Robbins

Writer. Kamikaze Mom. Participation Trophywife. Trying to achieve a balance of principal and practice without shouting obscenities at too many people.

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Aislinn Hunter shares: What's In My Bag

Author Aislinn Hunter Answers: What’s in My Bag?

beauty, books, GEAR, style By January 6, 2016 Tags: , No Comments

The bag: a Roots satchel that I bought to take abroad because it has a special padded pocket for an iPad and looked like something I could imagine Kate Moss wearing with skinny jeans. Technically I think it’s a ‘murse’ (I found it on the mens’ side of the local Roots store) but I love the Italian-dyed leather and that it’s made in Canada. It’s super comfortable to carry too, even after hours of walking – and it does look wicked with skinny jeans.

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 JUNGLE BOOK- Trailer

books, entertain, FAM, kids, play, self, tech By September 20, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

The Jungle Book was directed by Jon Favreau, (“Iron Man”). Although, this film was based on Rudyard Kipling’s ageless tales, it was inspired by Disney’s classic animated film, “The Jungle Book” is the newest live-action classic quest about Mowgli also known as (newcomer Neel Sethi), a man-cub who was brought-up by a family of the wolves.

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My Yellow Baloon

books, GEAR By May 20, 2015 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

My Yellow BaloonThere has been a lot of crappy sadness in the news this week, month and year. It’s no secret that our children are directly or indirectly exposed to and aware of life’s most difficult occurrences, and in their true curious nature, they may have questions.

Whether your child has observed a loss or dealt with one of their own (death, divorce, moving away, deployment, etc.), helping them understand it all can be challenging. Tiffany Papageorge, sought-after speaker and author, addresses this difficult topic with her inspirational new picture book, My Yellow Balloon.

Breathtakingly illustrated by a Dreamworks artist, My Yellow Balloon tells the simple, powerful, and heartfelt story of a young boy who gets a yellow balloon while visiting a fair with his parents. He loves the balloon dearly until it accidentally slips from his hands. Without his yellow balloon, all of the color drains from the boy’s world, until one day when the boy sees the yellow balloon reflected in the sun and knows it will always be with him, even if it’s not in his hands anymore.

Providing comfort and clarity, My Yellow Balloon can help parents begin a difficult conversation with their children. Loss is very real, but doesn’t have to be so scary.

We also have a few pieces on helping kids deal with grief. Hug them tight.

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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Year of No Sugar by Eve Schaub

books, EAT, FAM, GEAR, health, snacks By May 2, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

Year of No SugarHave you ever thought about how much sugar you consume and it’s affects on not only you, but your family?

Have you noticed that eating sugar with every meal has become the norm and that we live in a time where there is an abundance of food and yet our children are more undernourished than ever before?

Have you considered that there could be a link between high sugar foods and heart disease, obesity, stroke, diabetes, cancer and increased behaviour and emotional issues that could be associated with the enormous rise of children being diagnosed with ADHD?

Eve Schaub noticed and woke up to the fact that sugar is everywhere and it’s making us fat and sick. She has started a conversation that we all need to hear and will help us to redefine the word ‘treat.’

Eve is the friend down the road sharing her sugarless journey; the pitfalls, challenges and revelations and she implores us to start taking some responsibility for our own nourishment so we can set up our children to make better choices that will support their long term health, and ours. Written in a way that every mom will understand and relate to and all backed up with science.

Reading this book will not only inspire you to look at how much sugar you are eating on a daily basis but will provide you with the tools you need to navigate all it’s pseudonyms while learning to reconnect with the food that you eat and it’s importance in nourishing and caring for our bodies.

In short, Eve has done a brilliant job in doing all the hard work so we don’t have to!

 

– Tisha Bryant is currently working towards a certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. 

Using nutrition to heal a persistent health issue was the catalyst that spurred Tisha on to become a certified Whole Food Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach. She is a raw food chef and also gained a certificate in counselling in 2005 while living in the UK. She is currently working towards a certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Tisha runs A Pinch of Lovely.

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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Adopt a School to Give the Gift of Reading

books, charity, FAM, GEAR By September 20, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

indigo adopt a schoolFor the fifth year, the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation has launched its Adopt a School program. Reading is a gift that not all children are given.  Did you know that in Canada more than 42% of the population is functionally illiterate?  Many kids don’t own a single book.  From Sept. 15 to Oct. 5 Indigo, Chapters and Coles locations across Canada will invite Canadians to raise funds to supply more than 64,000 books for high-needs elementary schools across Canada.  Being able to adopt a school to give the gift of reading is a pretty cool way to give back to your community.

Here’s how you can get involved:

1. Make a donation – Donations will be accepted in-store at Indigo, Chapters and Coles locations across Canada or online at AdoptaSchool.indigo.ca. Every $12 donation equals one new book.

2. Adopt a school – Canadians can also “adopt” a local school at AdoptaSchool.indigo.ca and, through their online networks, encourage friends and family to raise funds for books at their selected school. For every school who receives 50 “adoptions” Indigo Love of Reading Foundation will donate one book to the school.

 

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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15 Back to School Essentials

books, GEAR, style, tech, toys By August 6, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Back to School EssentialsI’m one of those parents that can’t stand the end of summer.  The thought of school lunches and early wake-ups makes me want to cry.  Even the notion of some alone time while the kids are in school doesn’t make me want to celebrate.  But back to school shopping?  Now you’re talking.  I love the new beginnings – a change to streamline routines and try to finally nail the healthy littler-less lunch.  We can always dream.  Here are our 15 back to school essentials for this year.

PlanetBox1.  Reminiscent of old-school TV dinner trays or modern Bento boxes, the PlanetBox ensures food doesn’t get all mixed up and helps you include healthier options for the pickiest eater.  The magnets add a personal flair.  Also available at Pottery Barn Kids with personalized carry bags.

mabels labels2.  Microwave, dishwasher safe and waterproof.  Music to a parents’ ears!  Not having to raid the lost and found box at school every week?  Even better.  I just ordered Mabels Labels‘ Ultimate Back to School Pack. The kids got to choose their own personal designs and even prompted them to clean out their closet.

Sigg Hello Kitty3.  Sanrio.  It’s all about Sanrio.  I just got 2 new Sigg Hello Kitty water bottles.  Always BPA-free, these designs also allow you to write a note to your kids in the thought bubble.  My preference is to have the kids write a note to me, as I won’t give these bottles up.  Sorry, boys.

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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25 Series to Read If You Love The Hunger Games

books, GEAR By April 24, 2013 No Comments

I have a confession: I would rather curl up with a Young Adult novel than read more age appropriate books (i.e. books targeted for adults.)  It’s true!  Reading about others’ mortgage woes, loss of jobs or infidelity just gets me down.  I would much rather read about adventure, possible unrequited love or a first kiss.  And having spoken to quite a few of my fellow “mommies” I know that I am not alone.  There is a reason why The Hunger Games series remains on the NY Times Bestselling books list week after week; despite our ages, we are all still connected to our adolescent angst.

Luckily, while searching Pinterest for back-to-school ideas, I came across a list of 25 fantastic series to read if you loved The Hunger Games.

25 Series To Read If You LOVE The Hunger Games

 

Actually, I already have read a few of these titles prior to seeing this list and have loved them.  What do you think?  Are you as addicted to YA SciFi & Fantasy as I am?  Have you read any of the books on this list?  If so, please let us know what you thought of them.

Happy Reading!

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Explaining Breast Cancer To Your Children

books, FAM, GEAR, health By January 2, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

Breast Cancer. The unthinkable has happened.  You want to scream, cry and prey that the doctor was wrong.  But before the shock, sadness and anger has even a chance to register, your mind has already gone somewhere else: what are you going to tell your children?

Let’s face it, we don’t want to hurt or upset our loved ones.  Breaking the news about a breast cancer diagnosis may be more difficult than actually hearing the news from your doctor. You may feel concerned about upsetting your family and friends and worried about how they will react. Even worse, you may be afraid that you won’t be able to answer their questions.

Before approaching the topic with your family, it’s important to remember that you are in control of the conversation.  This means that you can decide how much information you may wish to share. The content and the tone of the conversation are entirely up to you and may be shaped depending on whether you are talking to a younger or older child or both at the same time.

Talking to A Young Child

As the parent (or grandparent) of a young child (ages 3 to 9) you might feel that the best thing is to shield the child from the facts. Truthfully?  You may be causing more harm than protecting your little person.  Even very young children can sense when family members seem stressed or anxious, or when usual routines are disrupted. They will notice changes in your appearance and your energy level, and they will know that you are spending time at the hospital. In two words: THEY KNOW that something is wrong.  If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want to know what’s going on?  Wouldn’t you want the person (or persons) you trust the most to explain the changes that may occur in your life?

Although young children do not need detailed information, they do need honesty and reassurance from you as well as from their other caregivers. Without any direct explanation from you, children may imagine a situation that is actually much worse than what will really occur. Being honest with your child builds a sense of trust that will be helpful in facing not only this situation, but also other challenges that life inevitably brings.

  • Plan out the conversation in advance. Decide what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. This will give you a framework for the conversation. Involve your partner or another adult the children trust if you think their presence will be helpful.
  • Use direct, simple language to define what cancer is, where it is in your body, and how it will be treated. Experts agree that naming the illness is important — “cancer” should not be a forbidden word. Even very young children can grasp simple explanations of what cells are and how they sometimes don’t “follow the rules” and grow as they should. You might also explain that the doctor has to remove all or part of your breast where the cancer is, and then use special strong medicines make sure the cancer is all gone from your body. A doll or stuffed animal could be a useful visual aid.
  • Make sure children know that the cancer isn’t their fault and they cannot “catch” it. Young children may worry that the situation is their fault or that they did something to cause the cancer. Also, children tend to associate sickness with catching colds or sharing germs. Be sure to explain that no one can catch cancer from someone else.
  • Tell children how treatment for cancer will affect you. Prepare them for the physical side effects of treatment, such as losing a breast, hair loss due to chemotherapy, or feeling sick or tired at times. You might explain that the medicines for cancer are powerful, and that side effects show that the medicines are hard at work inside your body. Tell children that you might feel sad, angry, or tired, but that these feelings are not their fault and are normal. Always alert them when you will need to be away from home: in the hospital or at the doctor’s office.
  • Reassure children that their needs will be met. Experts agree that young children need reassurance and consistent routines in times of crisis. Let your children know that you may not always be available to take them to school and special activities, play with them, or prepare their meals. Hugging, lifting, and bathing them may be off-limits for a while, too. Tell them about the trusted friends, relatives, or other care providers who will be helping out until you feel strong again.
  • Keep usual limits in place. When there is an air of uncertainty around the house, it can be tempting to let children have more treats, watch more TV, play more computer games, or buy more toys. However, maintaining the same sense of structure you always have is likely to reassure your children more than giving them special privileges or treats. Keep their usual routines as consistent as possible.
  • Invite children to ask questions and learn more. Let children know that you will answer any questions they may have. If your children are old enough, you might consider bringing them to one of your doctor’s appointments or allowing a visit during treatment. This can help to take away some of the mystery surrounding cancer and its treatment.
  • Let children know you will still make time for them. Carve out a special time in the day just for them. Simple activities like reading a book or watching a movie can help them know that you are still there for them, even when you’re tired or not feeling well.
  • Set a positive, optimistic tone without making promises.  Even if you are sad or frightened, try to project a positive tone during your conversations with young children. Children may feel overwhelmed if you seem overly anxious or emotional. Make sure they know that your doctors and nurses are doing all they can for you and that most people with breast cancer do get better. Reassure them without making definite promises about the future.
  • Let teachers, school counselors, coaches, and other caregivers know what is going on. Other trusted adults who spend time with your child need to know about the diagnosis. Changes at home often cause changes in children’s behavior in other settings. These adults can help you know how your child is doing, and they can become a source of additional care and support.

Talking To An Older Child

Older children can be just as vulnerable and scared as smaller children but they may not show it.  In fact, their reaction may be more intense because older children are likely to be more aware of the seriousness of the disease than younger children.  While much of the advice for talking to young children also applies to children in middle school and high school (ages 10 to 18), older children actually have additional needs. Most importantly, be sure to talk with your older child and not at her.  She needs to feel that she is part of the conversation.

  • Be truthful about your diagnosis and course of treatment.  Shielding children from the hard facts can harm their sense of trust in you. Even though you do not want to worry them, you need to let them know what is happening to you.
  • Schedule regular family meetings or other discussion times. Older children can be involved in talks about how family activities and responsibilities might change while you are undergoing treatment. You may need to ask them to handle more household tasks than they normally do. A family meeting gives everyone a chance to have a voice in the changes that are taking place.
  • Anticipate children’s questions about the future. Older children are likely to have heard that people can die of cancer. It is natural for them to be afraid that you could die and to wonder what will happen to them. Make sure your children know that most people with breast cancer do get better and live long, healthy lives. Reassure them that, no matter what happens, their needs will be met by the adults in their lives.
  • Anticipate children’s questions about their own health. Your children may fear that, since you have cancer, they may get it too. This is an especially common fear among teenaged daughters of mothers with breast cancer. Even if breast cancer does not seem to run in your family, breast cancer still happens to 1 in 8 women in the United States during the course of their lifetimes. Therefore, it’s a good idea to bring up the issue at your daughter’s next doctor’s appointment. Talk to the doctor together about some steps your daughter can take now — such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking or using alcohol — to help lower the risk of developing breast cancer later in life.
  • Give children permission to keep up with school and social activities. Even though older children and teens can take on more responsibility at home, they are still children. Let them know that they should continue focusing on their schoolwork, other activities, and time with friends. Children need to maintain that sense of normalcy, but they might only do so if you let them know it’s what you want.
  • Realize that older children may express feelings that seem inappropriate, such as embarrassment or anger. Preteens and teens may express emotions that seem unkind or even completely out of line. They may be embarrassed by changes in your appearance, such as hair loss or weight loss and avoid going out with you or bringing friends home. They may be angry about the ways that your illness limits them and their activities. Although their reactions may upset you, remember that teens are at a time in their lives when they value appearances and their growing sense of independence. If you’re able to show acceptance of your own appearance, you can set a healthy example for your child.
  • Connect them with books and other resources. Talking about cancer can be hard, even in families where communication is strong. You may want to look for books or other publications written especially for young people who have parents with cancer. Your child also may find it helpful to confide in an adult outside the immediate family, such as another relative, close friend, or even a professional counselor. Reach out to relatives and friends and ask them if they can be available.

Great books about how to discuss cancer with your children

  1. What Is Cancer Anyway?: Explaining Cancer to Children of All Ages
  2. The Hope Tree: Kids Talk About Breast Cancer 
  3. Because . . . Someone I Love Has Cancer Kids’ Activity Book
  4. Our Mom Has Cancer
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Top 12 Summer Reads for Kids Under 6

books, GEAR By May 25, 2012 Tags: , , No Comments

Top 12 Summer Reads for Kids Under 6

On those lazy days at the beach, what better way do you have to connect with your children than through learning fun.  When you’re not writing letters in the sand and counting incoming waves, lay down under an umbrella and jump into one of these stories.  Here are our picks for the under-six set.  (Just don’t get so involved you forget to reapply the sunscreen).

1.  Here Comes Hortense, by Heather Hartt-Sussman

2.  Boo: The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog, by J.H. Lee

3.  E- Mergency! by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields-Meyer

4.  Rokko by Paola Opal

5. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems

6.  The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

7.  Mother Goose, ed. Iona Opie

8.  Alice in Wonderland, (Disney Edition)

9.  Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

10.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

11.  We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

12. Corduroy, by Don Freeman

Available at Chapters/Indigo.

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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Cook, by Deborah Anzinger

books, GEAR By October 19, 2011 Tags: , , No Comments

I used to make muffins every couple of days.  Somehow, I just stopped.  When I was sent this new cookbook, I was inspired – was is the great 1950’s graphics on the cover or the yummy recipes?  Not sure.  2 pans of muffins and 3 dozen ‘Wartime’ cookies later, I was hooked.  There are awesome food recipes too – not just baking.  Anzinger has also provided tips and tricks for keeping a busy family organized and stuffing as much health into quick meals as possible.  She even teaches how to enlist other family members to help with the prep.  I’ve always wanted a sous chef.  And a pool boy.  But I digress.
www.chapters.indigo.ca

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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