Family Day Roundup

Not sure what to do on Family Day Weekend? If you're like us, you haven't planned anything yet and are looking for ideas! Check out some of these great activities in and around Ottawa

1) Children's Wish FUNGANZA - Monday the 17th

2) NAC English Theatre Family Day - Monday the 17th

3) Vanier Winter Carnival - Saturday the 15th

4) Last weekend of Winterlude!

5) Valentine's Party at the Humane Society - Saturday the 15th

6) Free Pancake Breakfast (Monday the 17th) with Phil McNeely: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. at 1825 St. Joseph Blvd, Community Pentecostal Church. A magician will be in attendance!

7) Portobello South Winter Family Fun Day (Monday the 17th) from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Portobello Park in Orleans. Free horse-drawn sleigh rides, snow games and hot chocolate! Bring your skates!

Did I miss anything?

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Bal de neige

I grew up in Ottawa, I have the requisite pictures of little kid me being pushed around the canal on a sled, I've eaten a fair number of Beavertails in my life and I have fond memories of being privileged enough to grow up walking distance from the canal. But the fact is that I haven't been to Winterlude in years, except for a very short journey with the stroller a few years ago – while putting on my new skates I realized that I had not in fact skated in over a decade. When the kid had a day off school and the weather was forecasted to be just about perfect, the kid and I made the trek to Jacques Cartier Park to see what Winterlude looks like these days.

How was it? In the words of the kid: "Awesome."

We walked through the gate and she saw the ice covered slides and immediately was ready to go. We had barely come to a stop in our inner-tube at the bottom of a hill when she asked to go again.

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(The guy they had at the top pulling those tubes down was awesome, truly, and really seemed to be enjoying himself).

A combination of fresh air, exercise, fun and tasty treats made it a great day.

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Surviving Winter: February Fun

January felt like a looong month. It always does, but in particular, this winter has been brutally cold. Our dog is depressed, our girls have cabin fever, and we're drooling over vacation catalogues. Alas, no warm vacation for us this year, as we blew that budget in 2013. So 2014 will be a stay-cation kind of year, with a week of family camping thrown in for fun.

Camping in August is a long way off, though, so I'm trying to come up with ways to make February a Fantabulous Month! Here are some ideas we have for making it through until March:

1. Create an indoor "park" - we'll set up cushions to make slides, and our rocking chair will serve as a swing. We might get really brave and create an indoor sand box!

2. Make homemade pina coladas (virgin for the wee ones, but a splash of rum for the adults!), and decorate them with fun drink umbrellas. Play Bob Marley while drinking the coladas.

3. Build a quinzee! Find the courage to sleep in there overnight? (highly unlikely)

4. Take part in all things Winterlude, and eat a copious amount of Beaver Tails.

5. Indulge in a warm, comforting meal with my partner to celebrate Valentine's Day - we're thinking tacos at El Camino!

6. Pull out the seed catalogues, and make 2014 garden plans. Can't wait to try new vegetables we've never grown before, including potatoes, onions and strawberries.

7. Welcome family guests to come check out the Capital in full winter swing! Which means extra play partners for the girls, and a chance for hubby and I to  escape for #5.

8. Declare Family Day to be annual Stay-cation day. Acting like tourists in our own town, we will head out to see Parliament, take in one of our kid-friendly museums and catch a bite to eat.

9. Put some of my New Year's resolutions into effect, and participate in a Wellness Program. I'm excited to cut back on processed foods, and meet some of my fitness goals....which leads me to:

10. The Olympics! Not only will we take in some of the Olympics as couch potatoes, but I also plan to involve my girls in fitness goals, and create our own Family Olympics.

What are you going to do to make February a Fantabulous Month?

 

How to prepare for crowded events with your child

by Karen

It's just been a couple of days since Canadians across the country were gathered together to celebrate the 145th birthday of the nation. That means big crowds - and when you're in Ottawa, it means really, really big crowds!

I happened to be speaking with a friend today and she mentioned that she volunteers every Canada Day (and Winterlude) for the NCC/Girl Guides Lost Children Service. The Lost Children Service is volunteer-based and RCMP is on hand for cases where children are missing for more than an hour. The service does require paperwork to be filled out on each incident.

As she was telling us about the service and how it works, I grabbed my notebook and pen to take notes. She had a lots of excellent advice for parents who are in crowded places with their children, whether there is a lost children service or not. And, since festival season is still long from being over, here are some tips!

  1. Label your child. Even if you've taught your son/daughter your names, numbers, address, what you're wearing, etc., the stress and fright of realizing they are separated from you may render that information temporarily lost - sometimes regardless of age. Some parents mark on their children's back with permanent marker. Others may put a sticker on the inside of the back of their shirt. If you choose a sticker - go with something tough and sticky. (These wristbands are a great idea too!) You don't want that info getting lost.
  2. Take a picture. Do you have a camera in your phone? Take a picture of your child(ren) in the clothes they're wearing (then you don't have to remember for a description) and in a spot with some frame of reference for height. That can be sent to someone in authority if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to track down a lost child.
  3. Take another picture! This one should be one of you. If your child has a device they carry with them, make sure your picture is on it. It's not unusual for the search to go both ways.
  4. Make a plan. It's easy to get separated in a crowded place with lots of distractions. Before getting too far in, check out the lay of the land and decide on a place to meet. Is there an information table? A ticket stand? A security desk? Figure out what makes sense for the situation you're in and communicate the plan to everyone in your party.
  5. Ask permission first. This probably goes without saying, but it never hurts to repeat to your children the importance of asking permission before they wander away.
  6. Share the load. In your group, buddy up. Pairs or trios are easier to manage. Get the kids involved with helping to look out for each other.
  7. Pack the necessities. And nothing more. If you're weighed down with tons of stuff that doesn't leave you a free hand to hold on to a little one, assess what's really needed and leave some things behind.

Above all, once you've done all these things and still get separated, don't panic. Remember the plan and act on it before assuming the worst.

These are just a few tips I put together from the discussion with my friend and ideas I had from my own past experiences. Let me know if you have more ideas to add in the comments!

*****

Karen Wilson is a wife to Matt and mom to Brandon (4), who blogs about her life at Karen’s Chronicles. She can be found at Wellman Wilson, helping businesses use social media more effectively. Lately, she’s also busy planning a little conference and doing her part to keep the coffee industry alive.

What you might have missed: February recap

Activities for kids This month we went tumbling, we played video games WITH the kids and we checked out Disney on Ice.

Crafts

This month's Kids Create post was about Love and Kindness.  It's never too late to add your submission to the link up.  Join us every month for a great craft carnival run by Alicia!

We also made treats for the birds.

Events

We were thrilled to announce the introduction of a new section to Kids in the Capital - an events calendar! We invite you to check it out and to please contribute events to add to it!

Food

We made maple syrup on snow and we talked about some great tips to make grocery shopping easier.

Giving Back

Kindness week happens in February every year.  This month's Kids in the Capital Giving Back post was about the Youville Centre - an amazing place we should all know more about and endeavour to help!

We also got to hear about the Ottawa Children's Gala.

Parenting tips

We had another installment from our friend Krista who is spending a year abroad in India and we heard about the wonderful value of pregnancy massage.

Pinteresting

Pinterest is all the rage and a great way to find great ideas for things to do with or for the kids.  This month we had a post about Eco-friendly pinterest finds.

Sponsors

We welcomed a number of new sponsors this month (more to be introduced in March!)  We couldn't run Kids in the Capital without the support of our sponsors so we would really appreciate it if you took the time to read a bit about them and to say hi!

This month we met the Jewish Community Centre and Funnovation Imaginarium.

Valentine's Day

Do you do anything special for Valentine's Day? Carly wrote some fabulous posts on fun things to do for Valentine's day including a special kid-friendly dinner and decorating the windows.

Winterlude

February and Winterlude go hand in hand in the capital.  This month our library post was about books to read in the winter and we checked out Confederation Park.

We're always looking for new posts - if you'd like to contribute drop us a line at kidsinthecapital(at)gmail(dot)com

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