Travel Tips For Families

I have travelled to over seven countries, including Canada, the United States and Europe, with my kids on family trips. I have become an expert in making family travel easier, from how to entertain kids on long car rides to travelling with a baby on a plane. This is the post where I share my Travel Tips For Families…

Travel Tips for Families

FAMILY TRAVEL TIP: A Packing List is a huge sanity saver and will help keep your family organized. Research weather for your destination to ensure you pack correctly for the weather. 

Travel Tips for Families

Travel Tips For Families

An up-to-date passport is the most important thing to have when travelling. Be sure to check expiry dates on passports (during one trip I realized my daughter’s passport was set to expire the day before we came back…eek!). Passport Canada has many in-person locations or your can simply mail it in. (I always choose to mail – it makes life easier).

Snacks are a must for travelling with kids. It keeps them energized and becomes a boredom buster. I pack dry cereal in resealable bags because it’s easy to eat on the go, whether you are en route, in a line up or at your destination, and it’s somewhat healthy.

I always take cash in Canadian or U.S. dollars when we travel. Not a huge sum but enough to pay for border crossings, buy a bottle of water, or pay for taxis. Years ago we didn’t have exact change to cross the border at Windsor/Detroit and I had to walk across six lanes of traffic to go to the duty free shop to get change. I learned my lesson and now carry a small amount of cash, be it a weekend trip to the States or a few weeks in the Caribbean.

When you travel as a family, your smartphone becomes an essential item. From GPS to phone book, to camera to social media connector, to an entertainment device for the kids. I always pack a smartphone when we travel.

Obviously, you want to take a suitcase filled with enough clothes for your trip. However, consider what you don’t have to pack. Going to Europe I never pack diapers, shampoos, or soaps because they are bulky and take up a lot of room. Instead, I pack enough for the travel day plus an extra day (just in case) and then go to a store and buy my essentials there. Saves suitcase room and is usually about the same price I pay for those items at home.

Whether you’re planning a car ride, train trip or plane ride, an activity bag is a must-have for family travel! From Kids Activity Bags (for bigger kids, which would include music devices and paper and pen) to my suggestions for Activity Bag For Toddler Boys, an activity bag is essential.

We share a huge border with the United States and, now you can plan your family’s vacation without worry and on-the-go with real Unlimited Data, Talk & Text across the USA from WIND Mobile. Just another way WIND delivers true mobile freedom.

WIND Mobile logo[1]

Disclosure: This post was brought to you by WIND Mobile via Glam Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of WIND Mobile.


[Read more...]

Juice Box Wallet

I had been wanting to try to make this Juice Box Wallet boredom buster for a while now. It just looked like a great way to upcycle something meant for the recycling box. So do you want to know how to make a  Juice Box Wallet…

how to make a juice box wallet

Juice Box Wallet

You will need:

Make it in: 30-45 minutes

Full disclosure: I did not create this activity (and I honestly don’t know who invented it – the internet is full of Juice Box Wallet how tos and DIY). However, I found the template from Spoonful – and I direct you to that site (link above) for the full step-by-step instructions). However, I will share my own tips on how to make a Juice Box Wallet below…

Juice Box Wallet

  1. This is definitely an activity for kids 10 yrs plus (if you want an activity more appropriate for younger kids – I suggest my Toilet Paper Craft For Kids: Mouse activity)
  2. I thought this would make a great birthday party activity but it is actually pretty challenging – I’d recommend it as a play date (or afternoon at Grandmas) sort of boredom buster.
  3. The accordion fold is a bit tricky.
  4. Cut the circle a bit bigger than what is on the Juice Box Wallet Template.

Juice box wallet

All in all it did turn out – and my big kids requested making more. See how you put the change inside, flip the lid over, and use the plastic top to “lock” the Juice Box Wallet?!

Actually, I think it would be pretty great to make a bunch of these for a fundraiser. Think: girl guide/scout activity, class project, craft sale table. They are inexpensive to make, encourage recycling and upcycling, and are a hands-on (screen free) activity for kids. You could even make a case that it develops hand/eye coordination because of the cutting, tracing, and folding.

Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Cereal #Giveaway

Some products just “click” with your family. This this the true story of how much my kids like Nature’s Path Envirokidz Gorilla Munch cereal…and why I as a Mom choose to buy it…and oh…a little Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Cereal #Giveaway to make your breakfast and snack time a little easier…

Nature's Path Envirokidz giveaway

Why I buy EnviorKidz…

My kids aren’t big cereal eaters for breakfast…but they are HUGE cereal eaters for snacks (they eat it dry – like popcorn – probably a habit I built during our many car rides as I always found dry cereal an easy snack to pack).

I discovered  Nature’s Path EnviroKidz cereal  while I was searching for a new cereal to try several years ago (I was specifically looking for cereal which did not have “refined sugar” in the ingredient list). Nature’s Path EnviroKidz cereal is Certified Gluten-Free, Certified Canada Organic, Verified Non-GMO (Non Genetically Modified Organism)…all of which impacts our health and food systems.  No additives. No preservatives. Just organic, real food, ingredients. Oh, and it’s has granulated sugar cane juice NOT refined sugar. #WIN.

The Nature’s Path Envirokiz box was then…and is still now…a huge hit in our house. The back of the box has a fun quiz and facts about animals. I don’t buy products based on packaging…but I think taking advantage of box space to share added-value learning is smart. Nature’s Path EnviroKidz cereal boxes offer intelligent and engaging activities on their packaging as well as presenting a great “teachable moment” opportunity for kids to learn about the habitats, animals, and the world around them.

Nature's Path Envirokidz

My kids like to eat it by the handful. They count it. They sort it. Truly, a favourite in our house.

Nature's Path Envirokidz

Nature’s Path EnviroKidz makes delicious organic options that the whole family can feel good about. Kids love the yum factor and fun animals on the boxes, and moms love it because they’re certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, whole grain, and made without toxic pesticides and artificial flavours or colours.

Because EnviroKidz is a 1% For the Planet member, every time you buy one of our EnviroKidz products, 1% of the sales are donated to support endangered species, habitat conservation and environmental education for kids worldwide. As a 1% for the Planet member, to date Nature’s Path Envirokidz has raised over $1.6 million to help our partnering organizations with their educational and protection efforts.

Specifically, EnviroKidz Choco Chimps Cereal supports The Jane Goodall Institute, global leaders in chimpanzee protection, andEnviroKidz Jungle Munch Cereal supports Fauna & Flora International, acclaimed heroes in Sumatra elephant conservation.


Just in time for Earth Day, Nature’s Path EnviroKidz has introduced two new whole grain cereals, including chocolate Choco Chimps Cereal, and cinnamon Jungle Munch Cereal. Your family could be one of the first to try them by winning this EnviroKidz prize pack full of organic cereal and bars, valued at $100! This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec. 

[Read more...]

#WW w linky

This week’s #WW w linky: visiting my old school…McMaster University…

Parent Club w linky

Caroline trivia: my degree is in English Literature (which means…at one point in my life I knew a whole lot about Shakespeare and Chaucer. Now, I just know a whole lot about How To Dye Easter Eggs and Boredom Busters).

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

For more family features follow Parent Club on
Bloglovin  Twitter  Facebook  Pinterest  Instagram

Homemade Garlic Croutons

This week I decided to be a bit daring and create my own Homemade Garlic Croutons. See, my kids LOVE the garlic goodness but I wanted to see if I could make a healthy version. The result: an easy, inexpensive, delicious Homemade Garlic Croutons recipe. You gotta try this…

Homemade Garlic Croutons

What made my Homemade Garlic Croutons healthy? I used Demptser’s Garden Vegetable Bread (vegetables in bread?! yes, there are carrots and pumpkin in it…but I assure you it doesn’t have an overbearing “veggie” taste).

Homemade Garlic Croutons Recipe

Homemade Garlic Croutons
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Making Homemade Garlic Croutons is easy, inexpensive, and yummy! Great for salads, snacks, and cheese plates.
Serves: 8
  • 6 slices of Dempster’s Garden Vegetable Bread
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • garlic powder (to taste)
  1. Heat over to 375C
  2. Place 6 slices of Dempster’s Garden Vegetable Bread on a cookie sheet
  3. Brush melted butter over each of the bread slices
  4. Sprinkle garlic powder on each bread slice (to taste)
  5. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 12 minutes.
  6. After baking (turn off oven), place toasted garlic bread slices on a cutting board and cut into cubes.
  7. Then, return garlic bread cubes to cookie sheet.
  8. Next, return cookie sheet to hot oven (which is turned off) for 3-5 minutes.
  9. Serve warm immediately or store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.

Homemade Garlic Croutons Ideas

These Homemade Garlic Croutons are great for after-school snack (and in the lunch box too). They are also crunchy additions to any green salad. Oh I realized a grown-up switch up when I stumbled upon my husband munching on my Homemade Garlic Croutons…

Garlic Toast with Brie and Salami

Homemade Garlic Croutons

I know what I’m putting out for the guests the next time we do a wine & cheese!

Disclosure: #spon and these Homemade Garlic Croutons were truly a hit with the Brie. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. Visit Dempster’s on Facebook and follow @Dempsters on twitter 

Mother’s Day Gift Idea – Hatchery #Giveaway

I love gifts that keep on giving…which is why you should have a look at Hatchery for your Mother’s Day gifting this year. An exclusive, monthly, tasting box for Mom to discover. TEASER: there is a #giveaway below…

Mother's Day Gift Idea - Hatchery #Giveaway

Mother’s Day Gift Idea – Hatchery

Give Mom the gift of discovery. Hatchery is a monthly food subscription service (great for foodie Moms – and even foodie Dads – if you want to think to Father’s Day).  This gift is like no other…unique artisan cooking ingredients like condiments, spreads, cooking sauces, jams, honeys, syrups, oils, vinegars, salts, spices, seasonings and specialty baking ingredients. It is a great solution for buying for the tough-to-buy-for person in your life.  Personally, I love getting new honey…it’s kinda like a hug…in food form ;-)


For $20 per month, sign up and receive a delivery of curated, sample-size artisan ingredients and condiments to your doorstep every month. We’re here to help you discover flavors you would have never discovered on your own.

  • Only $25 monthly (free shipping)
  •  5-6 hand selected artisan ingredients
  • Exclusive member promotions and discounts
  • Culinary concierge support team

Sometimes I don’t have the time (or energy) to browse the grocery store shelves for something new. And though I’d like to shop at the farmer’s market – it’s a seasonal venue. Hatchery offers the chance for foodies to discover new tastes and products – delivered right to your door. Break the routine and try a new taste or smell right in your own kitchen.

I’m inspired by the Hatchery recipe for New Potato Salad with Argula and Mustard Vinaigrette (using  Mustard & Co. Mustard Sauce - by the way – Hatchery includes a write-up on each of their producers. It’s a great way to learn – and support – emerging small business). And if you love something which you stumbled upon in your Hatchery box – you can easily order another on their site.


Enter for your chance to win a three month subscription to Hatchery. This is a fantastic Mother’s Day Gift Idea! Open to residents of U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec. 18 yrs and older.

[Read more...]

Easter Bunny Gift Ideas

The Easter Bunny is much anticipated in my house. Not for the Easter candy (we are a no-candy household). Not really for the Easter chocolate (admittedly there is a bit). It’s for the Easter Bunny Gift. Yes, our Easter Bunny has always brought a small gift – he did it throughout my childhood and now does it for my children). Here are some of my Easter Bunny Gift Ideas…

Easter Bunny Gift IdeasEaster Bunny Gift Ideas

  • Marvel Avengers Mighty Battlers Assortment
  • PLAY-DOH TREAT WITHOUT THE SWEET Bunny and Chick Stampers
  • My Little Pony Styling Strands Fashion Pony Fluttershy Figure
  • Classic JENGA Game
All of the above toys are by Hasbro

Easter Scavenger Hunt #BoredomBuster

In our house, the kids actually have to “hunt down” the gift brought by the Easter Bunny.  A scavenger hunt – complete with map – is found Easter Sunday morning whereby the kids have to find eggs, solve puzzles (hey – of course I throw some added-value learning in there), and follow directions on a map to hunt down their Easter gifts. The kids LOVE it.

Do you give Easter gifts or do you stick to Easter candy and chocolate?

Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review

My experience and knowledge of baby carriers grew with every one of my babies. With my first baby I thought fashion was most important for a baby carrier (you want to look good right?). Then, with baby #2 I thought comfort was most important (you want it to fit). Then, with baby #3 I thought function was most important (can we wear this carrier in more than one way?). I now realize you want fashion, comfort, and function! Read my Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review for information to make choosing your next baby carrier easier…

Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review

Stokke MyCarrier Cool. The breathable 3 in 1 baby carrier

The Stokke® MyCarrier Cool has the same unique design as the Stokke® MyCarrier, but is made with breathable mesh textiles. This reduces heat and moisture to keep both you and baby cool and dry for outdoor, active or warm weather use.

Stokke is a family owned Norwegian company (established in 1932) – very well known as a solid brand for children’s products. You might know the Stokke strollers, highchairs, nursery line, as well as the popular baby carriers. Stokke’s reputation (and brand) is well known throughout the baby gear world.

When choosing a baby carrier – I think it is important to research the brand.  The reviews. The product specifications. You don’t just choose the baby carrier with the “right price” but the baby carrier which is right for YOU (personally I take into account fashion, comfort, and function as my top 3 guidelines).

What I like about the Stokke My Carrier Cool is the fact that it is a 3 in 1 carrier. This means the baby carrier can adapt to your growing baby. When my son got to be a bigger baby…I really wished we had a back carrying baby carrier (I hadn’t thought of it when he was a newborn and we were baby gear shopping). Though he still loved being front facing…it didn’t work for me (ouch-my-back!).

How you can wear the Stokke MyCarrier Cool

Facing inwards

From newborn (minimum 3.5 kg/ 7.7 lbs and 53 cm/ 21 inch) until your child can hold his/ her head unaided.

Facing outwards

Only to be used once your child can hold his/her head unaided. Every child is unique, but a rough guide is around 4 months +.

Back carrying

When your child can sit unaided and is longer than 72 cm/ 28 inch with a maximum load of 15kg/33lbs.

Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review

The breathable mesh is a great feature of the Stokke MyCarrier Cool baby carrier.  It allows for better airflow for cooling (great for warmer weather or hot kids/parents). And the look is simply clean and classic.

The Ergonomic design is super important (especially when you have to ensure it is a good fit for different sized parents). This Stokke carrier has a fantastic unisex fit. It’s adjustable for all sizes and body types.  It’s easily adjustable (something I realized is something very important when I had a not-easily-adjustable baby carrier with baby #2 – it was cumbersome, took forever, and ended up causing a lot of back pain for me).

And they thought of parents…it’s machine washable, has a pocket for your keys, and integrated sun shade for baby.

A baby carrier is one of the baby gear items which you might use every day (I did for a while). You really want to invest in research…determine what factors are most important to you…and you might even want to try one on at a Stokke retailer to get the real life feel.

#WW w linky

This week’s #WW w linky inspiration: theToronto Blue Jays home opener (Go Jays Go!) against the New York Yankees.

Trivia: I was once a Mets fan

Parent Club w linky

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

For more family features follow Parent Club on
Bloglovin  Twitter  Facebook  Pinterest  Instagram

Disclosure: Thanks to Honda Canada for hosting us!

Tips For Living with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s not a secret (but it used to be – more on that below). My IBS is chronic, unreliable, embarrassing, and at times a detriment to my health. I’ve had IBS for most of my life…and I thought it time to share my Tips For Living with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome).

Tips For Living With IBS

What is irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a fairly common gastrointestinal disorder. It is a chronic condition that can reoccur and interfere with your lifestyle. Typical symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, and changes in bowel habits from sudden onset diarrhea to constipation.

Source: Eat Right Ontario

Tips For Living with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

  1. Eat small meals. I wrote about it a bit in 2010 in Mom’s weight, eating and body image. When I was a child…and then a teen…I would starve myself for fear that next bite would be the one to bring on the excruciating pain. I have learned, over time, smaller meals are easier for me to digest.
  2. Pack safe snacks. Goes along with Tip #1. Always have a snack you know is safe and will not trigger your IBS. For me, it’s a cereal bar or plain soda crackers.
  3. Know your food triggers. For many foods high in fat, fried foods, artificial sweetners, caffeine, alcohol, rich foods can be triggers (and should be avoided).
  4. Make smart fast food choices. We all have to eat-on-the-go sometimes – makealign smart fast food choices for happier living with IBS. Opt for a salad over fries. A toasted bagel over a burger.
  5. Take probiotics daily. I have been taking Align everyday for months and I can honestly say it has made a HUGE impact on my IBS. Before, my tummy used to bloat up after dinner (to the point my kids would point to my “Food Baby” because I looked 6 months pregnant). Not one food baby since taking Align. I have also found I’ve had less IBS attacks.
  6. Drink water. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. It’s good for your digestive health.
  7. Manage stress. A big trigger of my IBS is anxiety (I’m a big worry-er). Say I’m going to a media event with a brand (I don’t get stressed about the actual event – my worry is “What if my IBS strikes?” - it’s an anxiety I’ve had since childhood – and fear I will never truly get over). However, I have figured out how to manage my stress. I’ll print out the event rsvp. I’ll pin the map directions. I’ll research the location (where are the washrooms to be specific). I’ll connect with the brand over social media so they learn I’m a nice gal. And I’ll have had small meals throughout the day and have taken my probiotic…
  8. Stay active. A work in progress on my IBS journey. I’m not a “work-out” type but I do stay active. I stroller push rather than drive. I encourage dance parties in the living room. I’m always moving - Caroline Fernandez and Pinkunless I’m sitting here writing a post for you fine readers ;-)
  9. Don’t hide it. I did hide it…for years…and it made me a bit of a hermit (fear of an IBS attack won over going out with my friends.).  Now,I’m open about my digestive disorder. I’m not letting it keep me home. Heck, I met P!nk (and I will say I was completely stressed about meeting a rock star and I totally worried that my IBS would strike…but my wanting to meet her won out over staying home).
  10. Know your environment. How do I know my husband loves me? He whispers in my ear “…the washroom is over there”. Sounds dumb but knowing washroom locations helps to manage my stress.  And sometimes IBS strikes fast and without warning…and knowing washroom location…is…a must.
  11. Get help. I took control of my IBS in 2008, when I lost so much weight due to my IBS…the 99 lbs (ninety-nine pounds!) reading on my scale scared me. I went to my doctor. I saw a gastroenterologis. I was counseled by a registered dietitian. I learned these really important Tips For Living with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and they have changed my life.
  12. Give yourself a break. IBS isn’t the worst health issue you can have…but it is a health issue. Not in your mind (as some people might think). It’s a true digestive disorder. Don’t punish yourself, deny yourself, put down yourself. IBS happens. There is no cure but you can lead a productive, active, life through managing it.
Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.

How To Dye Easter Eggs

Knowing how to dye Easter eggs comes in handy every Spring as it’s a great hands-on kid activity. Measuring ingredients (1/2 tsp vinegar, 1/2 cup boiled water), dropping food colouring, and dunking hard-boiled eggs – its total hands on fun (plus, it makes for a fabu table decoration!). My big kids LOVED this activity and I bet yours will too…here’s how to dye Easter eggs…

Note: this post was originally posted in 2013 but I’m re-posting because it’s super timely…

Easter Eggs How To

Parent Club Kid ActivitiesYou will need:

  • Hard boiled eggs (check out my post on How To Boil Eggs)
  • Containers (re-purpose glass and plastic containers – here I used a jam jar, yogurt container and baking powder container)
  • Egg carton (for drying eggs)
  • Food colouring
  • Vinegar (1/2 tsp)
  • Boiled water (1/2 cup)
  • Art mat (or newspaper)

REMEMBER: Food colouring stains so protect your surface with an art mat and wear an apron

Boil water. Add 1/2 tsp of vinegar to each container. Add 1/2 cup of boiled water to each container. Drop in food colouring (the more drops you put in the bolder the colour).

Dunk hard-boiled eggs in food colouring mixture. Colour of eggs depends on how many drops of food colouring you put in and how long you leave it in the food colouring mixture.

Easter Eggs Kids Activity

How To Dye Easter Eggs

Re-use an egg container to dry Easter eggs.

How To Dye Easter Eggs

Switch it up:

  • Colour eggs with wax crayons before dipping the eggs in dye.
  • Ombre eggs (inspired by Ombre hair – which my tween is dying (excuse the pun) to do – dip bottom half of egg in one colour and then dip other half in another colour)
  • Double dip eggs and see what patterns you create.
  • Use kool aid, natural dyes (blueberries, boiled red cabbage leaves, boiled spinach leaves, beets, strong coffee)

This post was originally published on Mar 16, 2013

P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water Challenge #Giveaway

When I heard about the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water challenge I knew I had to share it with you. Why? Because I know my own kids often take for granted important things…like clean drinking water. They don’t realize that their are kids who don’t have clean drinking water. It’s about building awareness, and empathy, and global citizen responsibility. So I’m sharing some Tips On How To Teach Kids To Give Back – at home, in the community, and on a global scale. Oh, and there is a #Giveaway below which ties it all in.P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water Challenge #Giveaway

Approximately one billion people do not have clean drinking water, many of which are children in the developing world. As a result, thousands of children die every day. The P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) Program helps provide clean drinking water to these people through a water purifying technology developed by P&G. One small P&G purification packet quickly turns 10 litres of dirty, potentially deadly water into clean, drinkable water.

This April, for every P&G product purchased at Walmart in store or Walmart.caP&G will donate one day of clean water to CSDW to help a child in need. 

The challenge:  Involve your family to do one or more good deeds in the month of April to showing how small gestures can make a big difference in the lives of someone else. 

Here are my Tips to Teach Kids…How to Give Back

Tips to Teach Kids How to Give Back


Enter for a chance to win a prize pack from P&G (but don’t forget you can also buy these products at Walmart during the month of April and give back on a global scale! Follow the hashtag #cleanwater to see how others are giving back. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. 

  • Tide Pods
  • Pantene Pro-V Repair & Protect Shampoo
  • Always Radiant Infinity
  • Dawn Ultra Original Scent with Active Suds Dishwashing Liquid
  • Gillette Fusion ProGlide Power Razor
  • Mr. Clean Antibacterial Multi-Surfaces Liquid Cleaner

[Read more...]