There was a time when Ella sang, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy,” and I believed her. Growing up in the 80’s summer was always about watching movies at the outdoor movie theatre, playing outside late into the night, and of course popsicles, lots and lots of them. And then I became a mom and my priorities shifted. To be honest summer didn’t change for me in the first few years of motherhood. I was working full-time, and if there was vacation, Yay! Otherwise there was always day care! And then I had my second little pumpkin, we moved to Toronto and I decided to work from home. That’s when reality hit me like a ton of bricks: moms hate summer.
Anyone else’s roses in bloom? It’s spring, and as days get longer we experience the perfect time for al fresco meals—and that idea needn’t just extend to grand family dinners where your kids must exhibit perfect manners. Family dinners have actually always been slightly intimidating to me, and I’ve always slinked away from the judgmental moms who ask with disdain why we are at the park eating takeout and NOT HAVING A FAMILY DINNER at the table. So, if dinners are difficult, you can imagine how breakfast suffers.
I remember many shopping excursions to the United States with my mom—outlet stores filled with clothing and jewelry were thrilling, and buying unique back to school supplies made me feel like I was in a candy store. As I have aged, shopping is still a delight and yet my store preferences have evolved. As a new homeowner I would get excited about tools, and then after my kids were born I visited garden centres and kids’ gear shops more and more frequently. As a super busy Mom and business-owner, I now demand a ton from my shopping experiences. The stores must provide great value, include many items that I need, and allow me to research my purchases digitally. I have honed my passion for shopping and no longer trek south of the border to get my heart palpitating.
We were so excited to get the FIRST taste of the summer trends by celebrity stylist Lara Backmender whose clients include—wait for it—Demi Lovato, Hayden Panetiere, Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry, Kylie Minogue, Lucy Hale, Miley Cyrus, Naomi Watts, Nina Debrev, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlet Johannson, Taylor Swift, Whitney Port and Zoey Deschanel. Seriously, I had to list them all.
What we want from summer style is easy, fresh, and versatile (mix-and-match is a must). Lara styled five outfits for attendees of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and used key, comfy pieces from Hanes to complete the outfits. And they meet all of our criteria.
This beach-ready buttermilk fried chicken was fun to make and completely delicious.
What better summer activity than a night outside watching a film? Friends, snacks, pillows and blankets with your very own private big screen.
Make the most of the summer with the new Clear Collection of MAM Pacifiers! The collection showcases aquatic themes with translucent shields that are both stylish and practical for the summer months. An orthodontically correct nipple design allows little ones to safely satisfy their sucking reflex while maintaining proper jaw and tooth alignment. The design also features an easy-to-grasp front knob, a curved shield for a comfortable fit and generous air holes. This clever design combined with lightweight, BPA-free, PVC-free, lead-free and CPSIA-Compliant materials make the pacifiers safe and easy to use. An assortment of colours and designs are available, as well as two nipple options: patented anti-slip Silk Teat™ Silicone or Natural Latex. The Pacifiers retail at $7.49 for a pack of two.
To find out more and view MAM’s baby care range visit: www.mambaby.com
Usually 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.
What 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.
The 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!
Summer 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.
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: Victoria, Halifax, 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.
Going to camp is an exciting summer activity for kids. Meeting new people, learning new games and going on adventures are some camp memories that are never forgotten. We have compiled a list of camp must-haves that will make your kids experience at camp even better…
1. Pop Clocky. As most of us know, being at camp doesn’t mean sleeping in. Early wake up calls are inevitable. With Pop Clocky you can wake up the whole cabin with a fun start to the day. Pop Clocky resembles a Jack-in-a-box and makes early mornings fun. Sunny, Rosy, Gilbert and Charlie will make sure everyone up with the birds.
2. Allergy alerts from Mabel’s Labels will ensure that the peanut butter doesn’t pass the lips when the kids come back from canoeing a wee bit dazed and sunburned.
3. A few healthy snacks. Hippie Foods coconut snacks arrived at our office and I’m now hoarding them in my desk…. .
4. A Flashlight. For those long walks back to the cabin, in the woods, a flashlight is useful for avoiding injuries. We found one that’s also a portable music player – the Hipstreet bluetooth speaker/radio with flashlight will keep them dancing around the campfire!
5. A Journal. You can’t experience your child’s week at camp with them, so, by getting them to keep a journal they can keep up their writing skills and share every bit of their experience with you when they get home. We love this robot illustrated Mudpuppy journal/sketchbook from Raspberry Kids.
6. A water bottle. Though you won’t be there to tell them to drink water and stay hydrated every minute, getting them to bring a water bottle will encourage them to drink more water and I’m sure they will be thanking you later. Having one of these adorable SIGG animals will make them want to keep it close.
7. An Eco Lunchbox. For those days when they’ll be going on an adventure and will be needing to carry around some snacks with them.
8. A backpack. A a similar idea to the eco lunchbox, when your kid is going on an adventure they will have a lot to carry. Whether it be sunscreen, a water bottle or a flashlight, your kid will be glad to have a backpack to put it all in. Companies like Land’s End allow for easy personalization.
9. Their own pillow case. She won’t have a chance to miss home when dozing off on this festive Mum pillowcase from Pottery Barn Kids. Better yet – you’ll avoid having a child return home with lice. It will be a reminder of home and be a lice blocker at the same time!