Tag Archives: Ottawa

Earth Day in the Capital

Every day should be Earth Day, no? I really enjoyed this recent opinion piece in The Ottawa Citizen, which argued that we are marketing climate change all wrong. We’re relying on people to change their behaviour by giving them doomsday scenarios, as opposed to finding ways to truly motivate and empower individuals.

Although I strongly feel that governments need to take a much greater role in dealing with climate change, I also realize that change can be small. We can start with our own children and families, and work our way out from there. I heard a quote recently, and it really resonated:

“If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way”
- Napoleon Hill

So I compiled a little list of ideas for you and your family this coming Earth Day:

1) Tim Hortons’ Cleaning the Capital - choose a local park and register with the City of Ottawa for all the cleaning supplies you’ll need!

2) Adopt an animal - every time my husband turns on a nature show, I have to leave the room. Inevitably, there will be a shot of a polar bear swimming and swimming (and drowning) because he can not find any ice. Why not consider donating money to “adopt” an animal and support conservation work?

3) 24 hour Earth Hour – I’m not an Earth Hour participant. I totally understand the event and its significance. I just try to conserve energy every day, by turning off lights when I don’t need them, shutting down my computer, and unplugging unused appliances. But why not try a day-long electronics cleanse? Shut off your TV, Iphones/pads, and computer for one whole day and see what happens (no, the world will not collapse in on itself ;) )

4) Foraging – ok, let’s pray that the snow has melted by Earth Day. If it has, you may see lots of edible plants popping up from the muddy ground. You may have to wait a few more weeks before you can actually collect and eat them, but educate yourself on how to spot yummy spring edibles such as watercress, ramps, dandelion, clover and wild strawberries. This YouTube video is a great start!

5) How about a visit to the museum? We’re so lucky here in Ottawa to have the Agriculture Museum! What better way to teach our children about animals and habitats? And of course, spring baby lambs have got to be the cutest things in the world!!

baby lamb

 

How will you be celebrating Earth Day?

 

 

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If I had a million dollars…

If you had a million dollars, what charity would you donate to?

Thinking about this question had me floored for a while. How do you choose just one?? How do you decide which cause trumps another?

The answer is simple – every cause out there merits attention. Children with special needs, cancer research, hospitals, homeless shelters, environmental groups…the list goes on! What’s important is that a charity means something personal to us – somehow, we have been touched by something and believe passionately that we must make a difference in the world.

So, in light of a recent conversation, I believe that my money (if there was ONE MILLION DOLLARS in my bank account…hehe, I can’t help but do that in an Austin Powers voice) would go to Hopewell, Ottawa’s Eating Disorder Support Centre.

Now, I think that I might be slightly biased towards this wonderful local charity. I worked there for two years as their Program Coordinator – organizing support groups, applying for funding and developing new programs. But there is no better way to get to know more about a charity than to work with one :)

According to experts, we currently have an “epidemic” of overweight and obese children in our society. When we think about weight, we normally don’t think about eating disorders – that’s because we picture the stereotypical case of anorexia, when an individual restricts food intake. But eating disorders run on a wide spectrum, and there are such a variety of issues. Many eating disorders begin in childhood, and children are not taught about what it means to have a healthy relationship with our bodies and our food.

That’s where Hopewell comes in – although they also provide front-line services for those individuals who are very ill, they are also focused on prevention. Getting to the root cause of our challenges with food and weight are essential in solving the current epidemic. And we won’t be able to do it without a fundamental shift in our thinking – shaming, extreme diets, and weight loss surgery are NOT the way to go.

If you’ve never heard of Hopewell, please check them out! Consider donating to this amazing organization, whether you have $5 or $1,000,000

 

Birthday Parties at Cineplex Odeon Theatres

A couple of weeks ago, my son celebrated his 6th birthday. We had decided weeks before to seek out a relatively simple option for celebrating his birthday. When we saw The Lego Movie trailer, the idea light bulb clicked on. My son was thrilled when I suggested we watch it for his birthday. We called up Cineplex Odeon and booked the party that week.

The standard party package includes admission to the movie (birthday child is free), a kid’s tray combo per child, a party host, reserved theatre seating, and one hour in the party room. The premium party package includes all of the above plus additional food from the concession stand.

Overall, it was an awesome party! A good option if you’re looking for a simple birthday party with only a few details that require your attention.

Positives:

  • Ready-made invitations that can be picked up at the theatre.
  • Since no outside food was aloud, the only thing I needed to bring was birthday cake. They provided all cutlery, napkins, plates, etc. 
  • I could have brought in some of my own decorations if I wanted to but they assured me it wasn’t really necessary as the party room was already pretty festive. I opted not to and, in the end, was content with that decision.
  • The staff noticed us as soon as we came in, took the cake into their fridge, and gave us a bin for our coats and another for the gifts. They were exceptionally friendly with us and the kids.
  • When everyone had arrived, our party host led us to our reserved seats and once everyone was settled, handed out the popcorn and juice to each child (and even asked us adults if we’d like some complimentary coffee). 
  • The party leader checked on us several times throughout the movie, asking us if there was anything we needed.
  • After the movie, she was there to lead the group to the party room. There was an activity booklet and crayons waiting on the table for the kids. The food arrived soon after and they brought the cake when we requested. The gift and coat bins were also there waiting for us. We really had very little to do!

Negatives:

  • The only real negative I can think of is that no outside food is permitted except birthday cake and their food options aren’t too healthy (fries, chicken nuggets, pizza, hot dogs).

Some other considerations:

  • A good movie is key: I think this worked out so well in part because The Lego Movie was a hit with all the kids; they were all really into it. No one stirred throughout the entire movie.
  • Number of kids – we had 7 kids at the party (including our own 3) and I’m glad we didn’t invite more. It was a bit stressful making sure we didn’t lose any on our way to the party room (even with the party leader’s assistance). Also, the party room is big enough, but not huge. We had just enough room to move around comfortably. I would say the ideal number would be 5 kids.
  • I didn’t think an hour in the party room was very long but it turned out that we had some spare time after eating, birthday cake, and gift opening. I wished I had planned a simple party game or 2 to keep them entertained and active at the end.

My son really enjoyed himself. It was nice that he got to share the experience of watching The Lego Movie with a few of his friends. They enjoyed reliving some of the movie’s funnier moments in the party room afterwards. Now if I could only get that song out of my head!

Delta Jones is owner of Just Play Toy Rental, a local online toy rental service that delivers toys within the greater Ottawa area. Check out the website, and you can find Delta on Facebook and Twitter.