Artkiving your kids artwork

by Lara I don't know about you but the amount of artwork that goes through my house from all three of my kids - from school, from daycare, from home, from playdates....  it's overwhelming.

As much as I'd like to be the mom who carefully kept the most precious ones and then put them into a nice album, I'm not.  So I did what I usually do to solve my problems - I looked up a solution online!

What I found was a great app - Artkive.

It lets me take photos of my kids'  art, categorize it by kid, and add comments.

3.5 year old artwork

Then, I can share it with circles of people.  I have my husband and grandparents linked in to the app and they get an email of the artwork I think they'd like to see.

The best part is one I haven't tried yet but that I'm really excited about - you can have them print the artwork into a book for you!

Check it out!

How do you guys archive your kids art?


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Playgroup drop-ins for Ottawa South/Gloucester

by Kamerine I have a three year old boy and a one year old daughter.  When I was on maternity leave with my daughter I pulled my son out of daycare.  I planned to take an unpaid leave from my job to stay home with my kids.

And that's just what I'm doing.  Staying home has been pretty great.  Sure there are bad days but they are far outnumbered by the good.  Staying home isn't the best option for a lot of parents, but it works for me and my family.

There are so many things I love about staying home but there are things I miss about working.  I miss being challenged, having tasks to complete and deadlines to meet, but most of all I miss the adult interaction.  I used to spend a lot of my time corresponding with people by email and over the phone, consulting coworkers and management, and chatting with coworkers who became friends.

Being at home can be very isolating, especially in the cold winter months, so I do my best to get out of the house.  Seeing people saves my sanity and I'm sure my kids love getting out too.

Lucky for us, Global Childcare Services has an outreach program that provides playgroup drop-ins at various locations near me.  The drop-ins are free and they provide a great opportunity for my kids to run around and play with new and exciting toys.  The staff are warm and welcoming and obviously truly care about kids.   There are snacks available for the kids and coffee for the adults.  There are lots of toys to play with, books to read, puzzles to do, and at least one craft set out.  The drop-ins always end with circle time led by one of the staff.

These drop-ins are perfect for meeting other parents.  Over time conversations have moved from the typical "She's so cute!" and "How old is he?" to the friendly exchanges I so crave.  Every week I look forward to going to the drop-ins and seeing the people I've come to know.

I hope if you're home with your kids and in the area - Ottawa South and Gloucester - that you'll check it out.  We're lucky to have this service available.

Kamerine is mom to 3 year old Little J and 1 year old Baby K.  She documents her life with two toddlers, a husband and a cat at

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Kids and Technology

I read an article the other day talking about how kids today have too much too soon and are too plugged in. The article advocated simplifying your kids’ lives, ridding them of stuff and eliminating their screen time. I admit I’m a little biased. I work in social media. I will also admit that I’m a helicopter mom who feels more comfortable knowing where my kids are and knowing that they can get in touch with me if they need to.  But I also really believe that if parents limit the access their child has to the technology out there, they will be at a real disadvantage as they grow.

I know we all hear about the downside of kids using the Internet. The concerns range from less imaginative play and less outdoor time to the potential dangers that are inherent from going online. As a mom, I do want my children to be well rounded. However, I worry when I hear other parents say that they don’t let their kids watch TV, use the Internet and that they will not be allowed to get cell phone.

Let’s face it. We live in a digital age. I enjoyed playing computer games with my girls when they were little to help them learn their numbers and letters; I love that the Internet makes a wealth of information available at their fingertips and I sleep better at night knowing my older daughter has a cell phone. Here are some reasons why I love my digital kids:

Keeping in Touch

My girls use email to keep in touch with far away friends and family. They can email, chat, text and share pictures with their friends. They are improving their communication skills by writing to their friends in their emails and they use their imagination to create videos to share with each other. I do keep a close eye on their communication with their friends but I like the fact that my girls are finding new ways to stay in touch with their friends.

Knowledge is Power

Look it up is a familiar refrain at our house. When my girls ask a question that I can’t answer (which is a lot, unfortunately), I will tell them to look it up. By using the Internet to find out about their world and the people in it, I really think they are expanding their world view. My girls love look at pictures and videos of other cultures, they like finding out about new places and they love looking up recipes to try in our kitchen.  I also think that needing to look things up helps my girls to develop the ability to think critically as they learn how to navigate the search engines.

Safety Issues

As I said before, I’m a helicopter parent. I’m not proud of it and I am doing my best to overcome this affliction but the fact that my 12 year old has a cell phone certainly helps.  Because of her cell phone, I let her go to the mall, movies and walk to her friend’s house on her own. All I ask is that she texts when she gets there.  Her having a cell phone lets me breathe (a very slight) bit easier. But still.

We are living in a world where computers and technology are part of almost every job out there. It makes sense that kids today need to have the skills that will help them later on in life. I do limit my girls’ screen time and in our house there is a big difference between using the Internet for school research or for fun. But I do admit that I think it’s really important that they are learning how to access information they need and that they are learning how to communicate properly in this digital age. I also like the fact that I’m around to monitor their activities so they learn proper Internet safety. I won’t always be there so, in my opinion, the earlier they learn how to stay safe, they better.

What do you think about kids and technology?

Ali is a psychotherapist, blogger, social media enthusiast and chocoholic. She is also a Dance Mom to two awesome girls. She is the owner of Second Act Consignment Dancewear and creator  of Therapy Stew. She blogs at AliGoldfield.

Image Source: Morguefile

Celebrate Canada Day with a Flag Cake

by Alison One of our favourite Canada Day traditions is our Canadian Flag Cake. It’s really quite simple, but a big hit. All you’ll need is a 9X13 rectangular cake pan, your favourite cake recipe (even one from a mix), white icing to cover the full cake, red sprinkles and a maple leaf template.

Once you’ve baked and cooled the cake, cover it completely in white icing. The proper dimensions of the Canadian Flag can be found here but for the simplicity of the cake, I roughly divide into 4 parts. The middle two parts stay white (for now) and then my daughter covers the end quarters with red sprinkles. To make sure the sprinkles spread somewhat evenly, I cover the sprinkle jar with aluminum foil and poke holes in the foil.

Place your maple leaf stencil over the middle half of the cake, and cover with sprinkles. We make a stencil by printing a picture of a maple leaf, covering the paper in packing tape and cutting out the leaf with an exacto knife. This prevents the paper from picking up all the icing, and we can usually reuse a stencil for two or three years (after it’s been wiped down).

Happy Canada Day! We'll be enjoying our cake in Seattle this year.

Alison is the mom of two wonderful kids, 6 and 2. She’s recently relocated to the Pacific Northwest but considers Ottawa home. She blogs at Ali’s Adventures.

Sponsor Giveaway: O.R.E. Hamper Tote {CLOSED}

I can't tell you how happy I get to see my little guy learn new things. From the time he smiled for the first time to recently when we gifted him with his first bike, he's kept up a steady stream of learning that's keeping us on our toes. When Heather at Smart Space Organizing first showed me this hamper tote by O.R.E., I thought it was brilliant! What a fantastic visual way to start teaching your young child how to separate their clothes into the proper place.

And children love helping mom and dad do chores around the house.

Smart Space is one of our generous sponsors here on Kids in the Capital. Heather and Karen often contribute excellent posts with tips and ideas for parents to try when organizing their family lives. Today, we're happy to be able to give away one of these hamper totes so you can start teaching your child how to separate their clothes.


  • Just leave us a comment on this post telling us the one room or place in your house you'd love to get organized. (Mine is my office - it's like the bottomless pit!)
  • You have until 6:00pm Monday, May 21st to enter.
  • We'll  announce the winner in next Tuesday's post.

Be sure to follow @smart_spaces on Twitter and like their Facebook page  to get tons of great tips for organizing and simplifying your life!