6 Ways Get Your Kids in the Giving Groove on "Giving Tuesday”

By Wendy

Did you notice it, too? Some toy catalogues now come with tear-out wish lists with spaces to write down page numbers so you can easily find the object of your child’s desire.  … or should I say the 10-12 objects of your child’s desire, given the number of spaces on the list? 

Frankly, making it easier for my kids to draw up their “buy for me” lists makes it harder to drive home the message that “it’s better to give than to receive”. 

Thankfully – even though we’re inundated with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales flyers at this time of year – there’s another type of catalogue that finds its way into our mailbox; one that includes lists of gifts to give, not to get. 

Giving Tuesday

Last year my KITC “Giving Tuesday” blog post shared a fun way to use charity gift guides to kick off the giving season with your kids by getting their help to choose fun, meaningful gifts to give that also help meet the basic needs of people around the world for food, water and education.

Here are 6 more ways to get your kids’ attention off their wish lists and get into the giving groove this Giving Tuesday, December 1:

1. Give Where You Live

Remember the Sesame Street song, “The people in your neighbourhood”? The one where Bob introduced the baker, the barber, and the firefighter? 

Now you can introduce your children to the charities in your neighbourhood by exploring the interactive Giving Tuesday Partner Map.  Zoom in on your area to find out who your neighbours in charitable giving are. 

Giving Tuesday2

Discover the local food cupboards and the causes your neighbours hold close to their heart. You might find a charity in need of your donation or volunteers – just around the corner! 

Start Giving Tuesday with a lesson in local geography and get to know “the people that you meet each day!” 

2. Have a Pyjama Day

Everyone loves the feel of snuggly PJs on a cold night. But many children in the Ottawa area don’t have that simple luxury. 

Sponsored by Family Radio CHRI and JD Swallow Heating and Cooling Contractors, Ottawa’s 2nd Annual Pyjama Drive collects donations of new kids’ jammies for distribution to local and rural food cupboards and shelters; helping families struggling with poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse and mental health issues.  

Take your little ones on a shopping spree for a complete set of flannels or fleecies – with or without footies! Have them choose a pair a child their age might enjoy, and drop them off at one of the locations listed on the Pyjama Drive web site. Then, watch your donation double as JD Swallow matches your donation pair-for-pair! 

Last year the Pyjama Drive distributed over 2,700 pairs of PJs – let’s see if we can help even more kids “cozy up” in warm pyjamas this Christmas!     

3. Make Giving a Snap! (Crackle! and Pop!)

Break out the butter, the ‘krispies and the marshmallows – and get your bake on!  Recreate your favourite toy as a Rice Krispies© treat, then “snap” a photo and upload it to www.TreatsForToys.ca or post it on your public Face book page with the hash tag #TreatsforToys! 

Treats for Toys

For every original photo of a krispie creation you post, Rice Krispies © and the Salvation Army will donate a new toy to a child in need.  Visit the web site for recipes, how-to videos and a photo gallery of treats that have made children’s Christmas dreams come true.  

4. Go on a Rampage … with Random Acts of Kindness 

Ever wanted to be deviously … kind?

Start your own “kindness crusade” by brainstorming with your children how you can shower kindness on friends, neighbours – even strangers – on Giving Tuesday.

Take the kids to Timmies and buy coffee for the next person in line in the store or at the drive-through. Is Tuesday garbage day in your neighbourhood? Run out and surprise the garbage or recycling crew with a “thanks for what you do card” and some cookies. Smile at EVERYONE! 

For more great ideas – many that won’t cost you a dime or much time– visit The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation web site.    

5. Shop Fair – Give Here AND Give There!

Want to keep the warm glow going after Giving Tuesday is over? Visit Fair Trade Giving Équitable 2015 on Wednesday, December 2. 

From 5:00-9:00pm, drop in to Ten Thousand Villages, 371 Richmond Road in Westboro for this kid-friendly event.  Enjoy live music and free food samples while you browse fair trade handicrafts, home décor, books and toys.  

Fiar is the new Black

With a portion of sales going to Fair Trade Ottawa Équitable (FTOÉ), shopping at this event is a triple scoop of giving goodness!  Let me explain:  

When you buy a handmade, original gift to give to someone on your Christmas list (give #1); you know the craftsperson who made it is getting a fair wage so they can earn a living and provide for their family (give #2); and FTOÉ uses the donated portion of the sale to support the promotion of Fair Trade and ethical consumerism in Ottawa (give #3).

Giving doesn’t get much better that that!  

6. Get Started on Next Year’s Giving

If your piggy bank is empty come Tuesday, it’s never too early to plan next year’s giving. 
Remember those charity catalogues? Flip through them with your kids on Giving Tuesday and clip pictures of the gifts they’d like to save up for. Post them on your fridge, bulletin board, or by the loose change jar to keep goals in sight and in mind.  

Then help your children make a plan to save throughout the year: by setting aside one third of their weekly allowance; asking for donations instead of birthday gifts; or having a lemonade stand or garage sale with proceeds going towards their gift goal. Little by little they’ll be able to watch their giving nest egg grow!   

Didn’t get the catalogues in the mail?  You can check out the 2015 gift guides on-line at Food for the Hungry Canada and Plan Canada.

How do you plan to get your kids into the giving groove this Giving Tuesday?  Let me know in the comments.

Wendy Ripmeester is a freelance copywriter who writes for green and socially conscious businesses and non-profits.  Wendy has a background in forestry and communications, 20 years experience in natural resources, and two awesome kids. To keep in touch or see her work, check out www.wendyripmeester.com. or follow Wendy on Twitter.

How to get your parenting mojo back

Mojo: a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful – Miriam-Webster Dictionnary

In high school, I passed Calculus with an A+. I was no math whiz – I went on to scrape by in algebra and geometry, and my mathematical hopes were dashed when I crossed paths with statistics in university.

But that A+ was an incredible high. I would sit down with my calculus homework every night, excited to solve those little puzzles. The x’s and y’s would zip across my brain’s neural pathways with sparks flying. I would scribble down the answers and hoot with joy at my genius.

Something magical was afoot.

When we excel at a task, we often say we have mojo. Oh sure, we’re also working really hard, and we can’t attribute all of our success to magic. But talk to any Olympian or successful business owner, and they will describe a magical moment when they won the race, won the bid, or conquered a challenge.


People often describe parenting as the “hardest job you’ll ever do.” In some ways, this is true. We aren’t resuscitating patients in the ER, or saving people from burning buildings – we’re doing something a lot more monotonous, with very little positive feedback. And so finding your “mojo” in parenting can be tricky.

I think I lose my parenting mojo on a regular basis. My whole life has been about hard work; I train myself to do something, I repeat that skill over and over until I have mastered it, and then I am done. It’s a clear, linear path to success.

In contrast, parenting is like entering a corn maze. You are often lost, sweaty, and cursing your way through it. Occasionally you will find a bright and open spot in the middle of the maze – a sense of calm amid the confusion. You will sit in that place to rest for a while, until it’s time to find your way back out. Sometimes you can get lost in that maze for days or weeks.

How do we stop ourselves from going in circles around the parenting maze? How do we all find those magical moments in parenting that will keep us fueled through the hard work?  It’s not simple, but here are a few tricks I’ve learned along the way.

1)  Get together with friends who have kids – nothing makes us feel better than to commiserate with other parents. None of us knows what we’re doing, and it’s so comforting to flounder in that failure together.

2) Get together with friends who do NOT have kids – it’s an amazing opportunity to focus on life outside of parenting. The conversation won’t revolve around sleep schedules or your child’s behavior at school – you may find yourself chatting politics or social issues! Imagine that!

3) Do something creative: if you can't find your parenting mojo, then go find some magic in another area of your life. We live in a world full of opportunities! The other day I decided I wanted to try ballet, despite the fact that the last ballet class I took was 30 years ago. And guess what? There IS such a thing as a beginner adult ballet class! Think about a skill you’ve always wanted to learn, and then go find a class.

4) Get out in nature: if you want to experience mojo, there is no better place than the outdoors. Our kids need nature too. Try hiking, camping, or paddling – wherever you can, seek peace and quiet, without the distraction of our fast-paced world.

5) And speaking of a fast-paced world, try turning off your technology for a day or two. I'm all for gadgets and social media, but in moderation. There is no better way to stimulate your creative mind than to shut the computer down and turn to a different task - drawing, painting, whatever!

I hate to tell you this, but your parenting mojo will not always be accessible. It’s impossible to parent children and feel that magical connection at all times of the day. In fact, you may only experience fleeting mojo – the moments when your child does really well at school or in an activity, or when you witness their kindness towards a friend, or when you are snuggling with them in bed after a long day. Make those moments what you seek – your mojo will find you in the end.

Ottawa: Come Play with Peekaboo Beans

*The following is a sponsored post from Peekaboo Beans, a wonderful Canadian company making ethical children's clothing for children who love to play!

For some moms, heading back to work after maternity leave is an easy decision. But for others, more time at home with the little one (or ones!) is the best choice for the whole family. Money is often an issue, which is why many mothers (or in the case of some families, fathers) look for income opportunities that allow flexibility to stay at home with the kids.

Peekaboo Beans, a Canadian children's clothing company, wants you to learn more about work opportunities for stay-at-home parents (dads, this includes you too!) Peekaboo Beans sells adorable clothing that:

  • kids love to wear
  • holds their value
  • is made in an ethical fashion
  • is great for children with sensitive skin 
  • is free from harmful toxins
  • is super comfy and FUN to wear!

Here are two amazing opportunities this weekend to have FUN and LEARN MORE:

Meet Peekaboo Beans Breakfast

Join Peekaboo Beans Founder & CEO, Traci Costa this Saturday from 9-10am at La Charette (460 West Hunt Club at Merivale) for an informal breakfast and coffee chat to learn about the Peekaboo Beans Independent Play Stylist opportunity. Traci will talk about what it looks like to own your own rolling retail boutique and it’s earning potential. If you LOVE it as much as we do, you can stay for a day of training! (optional)

As an Independent Play Stylist, you can have a home-based business and be the parent who can juggle family and career with confidence. Better still, you can:

- Sell a children's clothing brand that you can feel good about

- Be part of a mission that believes in PLAY and nurtures children near and far

- Be part of a community of parents, friends, coaches and other support people

-Achieve your ideal work and life balance with Peekaboo Beans! 

Register by clicking here

We can't wait to meet you!

Ottawa! Come Play With Us!

Bring your kids and join Peekaboo Beans stylists, customers and our Founder & Director of Play, Traci Costa, for a Pop-Up Play Date this Sunday. 

When: Sunday November 29th, 9:30am - 11:30am
Location: Monkey Around Play and Learning Centre, 1650 Queensdale Avenue, Ottawa

Hope to see you all there!

Connect with vicky@peekaboobeans.com for more information.

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce


Prepare to be Dazzled: Christmas Lights Across Canada

Christmas lights are going on all around the city. My toddler loves pointing out all the brightly lit houses as we drive by. We tend to get our lights up and on by December 1st, although our backyard tree has been twinkling away for a couple of weeks now. The shorter days can make us all a little grumpy (ok, fine, it might just be me,) but I smile every time I look outside and see our little tree lit up. It's tough when the sun goes down at 4:30 p.m.

Despite the warm and rainy weather we've been having, preparations are underway for Christmas in downtown Ottawa. Crews are busy getting lights ready for the Official  Illumination Ceremony on Parliament Hill on December 2nd at 7 p.m. This is a launch that marks the 31st edition of The Christmas Lights Across Canada (CLAC) program*, which will run from December 2, 2015 to January 7, 2016.

Parliament Projection show

The program was launched in 1985 to highlight landmarks along Confederation Boulevard, including Parliament Hill, National Capital Commission (NCC) sites, national museums, institutions, monuments, embassies and other prominent institutions. These beautiful light displays add vibrancy to the Capital during the LONG winter months and kick off the holiday season in Canada’s Capital Region.

Ottawa Lights

In December, most provincial and territorial capital cities hold an illumination ceremony, and I love to think of all the lights going on together across our beautiful country.

Not only will you see the town sprinkled with 100,000 extra lights this year, but there will be a new winter lightscape projection show that will be presented on Parliament buildings every night from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. through until January 7th. Just like the amazing show that gets put on every summer, you will see a projection onto Parliament, including holiday images, lights and enhanced pyrotechnics. The kids will be blown away!

Winterscape Ottawa

Come join Kids in the Capital on December 2nd as we watch the illumination ceremony together. There will be a large screen which will air holiday wishes from all 13 Premiers and
a performance by Measha Bruggergosman. PLUS, free hot chocolate and Beaver Tails - yum!

Fireworks Ottawa

So to help get out of your November funk, let's brighten things up a bit and celebrate the beauty of Canada!

Will you join us on December 2nd? 

*This is a sponsored post from the Christmas Lights Across Canada Program brought to you by the Government of Canada. All opinions are our own.

An Epic Holiday Outing in Ottawa

*This post is sponsored by Shenkman Arts Centre, who we LOVE for their amazing children's programming. It's true that Kids in the Capital may be a little biased about Orleans...perhaps because the whole team lives here!

What do the Shenkman Arts Centre, pizza and Santa's Parade of Lights all have in common? On November 28th, these three things will come together for the ultimate family holiday experience in Orleans!

Shenkman proudly presents the Mermaid Theatre production Goodnight Moon & Runaway Bunny. Halifax's Mermaid Theatre has earned international acclaim for its unique interpretations of the works of Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Leo Lionni (Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch) and Sam McBratney (Guess How Much I Love You). They bring books to life on stage, using puppets and original music. A huge hit for children ages 3 - 8.

The Runaway Bunny

Our copy of Goodnight Moon is so well-loved. The binding has come loose and the little board book has been chewed many times by a drooly toddler. But at 3 and 6 years old, my girls still get a kick out of this bedtime story. And although we haven't read it, I hear that Runaway Bunny is equally charming - a story about a little bunny's pretend tale about leaving home.

Goodnight moon

The show starts at 4 p.m., but you may want to get to Shenkman a bit early to check out their annual Baz’Art Holiday Sale. This art event is FREE and starts at 11 a.m. (you may find some great Christmas gift ideas!)

And if THAT weren't enough, Orleans has its annual Santa's Parade of Lights running that evening! To make the Goodnight Moon & Runaway Bunny show extra special, Shenkman is putting on a pizza dinner for concert goers before you head over to see the parade.

So whether you live in Olreans or out in the West end, you definitely want to plan to spend the whole day in this part of town.

Buy Your Tickets

Head over to the website and you'll get all the info. Tickets are $26 for premium seats and $21 for regular. The pizza dinner is $5 per person. And of course, our beloved Parade of Lights is free for all!

Will you be there? Comment and let me know, as I'll be there too!