Easter Basket Craft

A tisket. A tasket. Want to make an Easter basket? Even though it doesn’t quite feel like Spring yet – we’ve started to do some kids Spring activities to decorate the house. This Easter Basket Craft was a hit with my three year old…

Easter Basket Craft

TIP: Empty your paper punch to make instant confetti – the perfect size to paste on to your Easter Basket Craft

Preschooler Easter Basket Craft
Things you will need:

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • White school glue
  • Washable markers
  1. Take coloured construction paper and scissors and cut out egg shapes.
  2. Have preschooler colour on egg shapes to decorate their “Easter eggs”.
  3. Cut out a rectangle.
  4. Then, cut out a semi-circle (the handle).
  5. Have preschooler squeeze out glue onto rectangle and semi-circle and direct them to place the rectangle under and the handle over. This is the Easter Basket.
  6. Have preschooler colour the Easter basket with markers.
  7. Next, have preschooler dot out glue all over the top of the Easter basket and along the handle.
  8. Then, have preschooler place and paste their coloured Easter eggs and confetti (remember my tip above about the hole punch!).
  9. Done!

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

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #Giveaway

Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael…the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back (were they ever gone…really?!). Consider this a public service announcment for an awesome free family event in Toronto…oh, and there is a little Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #Giveaway to help you get your mutant-ninja on…


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Toronto – FREE FAMILY EVENT

Nickelodeon Canada and Walmart Canada partner to celebrate the global phenomenon of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with an inspired Street Art Challenge event. If you are in the G.T.A. on Saturday April 5 – then you won’t want to miss this event.

First introduced in a comic book series, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have  become a household name and a top selling toy action brand around the  world. Nickelodeon and Walmart are celebrating all things Ninja Turtles with the launch of a national voting contest and Street Art Battle at Yonge-Dundas  Square.

Four talented graffiti artists will be put to the challenge in a live  competition to channel their “inner Ninja Turtle” and pay a fitting homage  to each of the Turtles – Raphael, Leonardo, Donatello and Michelangelo – named after renaissance artists.

Fans of the series that airs on Nickelodeon and YTV can watch their favourite Turtles come to life on 7X7 ft. canvases, and then vote online to determine the winning design that will be made available for purchase as an exclusive t-shirt at Walmart Canada this fall (you can vote up ’til May 2 at www.innerninjaturtle.com).

PLUS there is more! Face painting, instant prizes, and photo ops with the Turtles – family field trip in Toronto.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle prize pack (approx. value $50). One lucky Parent Club reader will be getting their TMNT on with a T-shirt, book, Toy set and TMNT masks!

This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. [Read more...]

How Much Do I Pay A Babysitter?

How much do I pay a babysitter? An age old question (and a good one). Experience, age, location – all contribute to finding the magic number. Here are my tips to deciding how much do I pay a babysitter…

How Much Do I Pay a Babysitter

How much do I pay a babysitter?

First, consider the minimum wage in your province or territory (or state). Remember adult minimum wages in Canada differ from students rates of pay. Minimum wage will at least give you a a starting point for deciding how much to pay a babysitter.

Next, consider scope of work. Is the babysitter caring for one child or multiple children? Caring for a newborn (who requires diapering, feeding, cuddling) or older kids (who require less hands-on child care)? Caring for a child with special needs? Long term care (i.e. a steady babysitting job) or a date night out? Will he or she be required to drive? Cook? Clean? These are all factors which go into deciding babysitter wage.

Consider experience. When looking for a once-in-a-while babysitter for my baby son I knew I was more comfortable with an adult or university student babysitter. I interviewed nannies, E.C.E. (early childhood educators) and university students – whose wage expectations ranged between $10-$18/hr.

My thirteen year old did a babysitting course where she was advised to charge between $5-10 an hour (the lower figure being as a mother’s helper – where Mom was at home while she was babysitting).

Consider location. Is the babysitting been doing at your home, the babysitters home, on location (like a hotel room if you were going to a wedding)? Are you picking up the babysitter and dropping them off (general etiquette). Or is the babysitter coming to you (and do you pay for a taxi/bus fare?).

Consider time. In my experience, daytime babysitting costs more than evening (because it is more difficult to find a daytime babysitter so you pay a premium). Special occasion babysitting (like on a holiday, during a vacation, for a special event like birthday party or wedding) can increase wage expectations as well.

How Much Do “I” pay a babysitter?

I pay $10/hr for evening babysitting for my three children at my home (I like round numbers and there is no need to count pennies at the end of a date night out). I will have ordered a pizza (so no cooking). The kids will be watching a movie in pjs (so no bathing of kids). And we drive the sitter home.

 Share  with Parent Club: How much do you pay a babysitter?…

Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines

Madeleines are a favourite in my house. It’s a great little cake to eat with coffee or tea (think breakfast or afternoon snack). Also pretty perfect as a homemade school lunch treat. You have to try my Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines…

Madeleines Recipe - Recette Madeleines

Yes, I have fancy silicone molds from France for baking Madeleines – but you could use a muffin liners and a muffin pan and create the same yumminess.

Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines is easy enough to make with kids and yummy enough to serve to guests!
Serves: 12-14 Madeleines
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ oil
  • 1 cup of milk
  • Drops of lemon or orange juice (and zest makes it better)
  1. Measure, pour, and stir together dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Measure, pour, and stir together wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well (until there are no lumps).
  4. Spray Madeleine silicone mold or muffin pan and spoon mixture in.


This Madeleines Recipe – Recette Madeleines is easy enough to make with kids and yummy enough to serve to guests. You have to try these…

And I would totally serve these on the table next to my Red Fruit Salad :-)

Ok, Almost Margaret Atwood

Today’s #WW w linky is inspired by a reader…and Margaret Atwood. Remember when I wrote 5 Must Read Books By Canadian Authors and I shared my story about The time I almost looked Margaret Atwood in the eyes…well, a kind reader *waving Hi to you kind reader!* printed out that post and mailed it to Margaret’s publisher (McClelland & Stewart Ltd).

And THIS was sent to me…

Margaret Atwood Autograph

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

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Tips To Get Your Kids To Help Clean

Cleaning can be such a “chore” n’est pas?! I try to make housework a family activity because A) it gets it done faster (mostly) and B) it teaches the kids the life skill of keeping things clean. Here are my 8 Tips To Get Your Kids To Help Clean…

Tips to get your kids to help clean

8 Tips To Get Your Kids To Help Clean…

Making it fun really is the key (otherwise you are in for a whole lot of complaining). When I do laundry, I lift my son to stand on the dryer – and let him pour in the Tide into the washing machine. He LOVES watching the washing machine swish around as the water fills up with soapy bubbles.

For my tween and teen, there needs to be added-value in housework…like the treat of listening to music. They are free to tune into their ipods or tune into “their” radio station while they tidy. It makes the chores go by smoother.

Normally, it’s “hands-off” Mom’s stuff, but when it comes time for clean up I let the kids use “tools”. You should see the fights over who gets to use the Swiffer (crazy, I know…but proves tools can be fun).

When it comes to housework, time it. Make it a race to see who can put their socks away faster. How fast they can run to their room to put away their t-shirts and then run back. And also, just time the amount of time it takes to do the chores…don’t spend all day on it…a 10 minute tidy can be enough to keep your living room in a proper state.

To reduce sibling squabbles, give them a “job”. In my house, one child sets the table and the other one clears. It gives them set responsibilities and jobs yet keeps the amount of work equal.

I truly believe one of the best tips to get your kids to help clean is to make it a family activity. Saturday mornings, we all tidy our respective rooms. No one is sitting on the couch or at a screen. We are all doing the same thing.

With younger kids, I recommend to create cleaning games. Like putting two Bounty sheets underneath the feet of your toddler and letting him “skate” through the living room while holding your hand. It cleans the floor and busts some boredom!

Finally, positive reinforcement is the only way to go when it comes to getting your kids to help clean. Smiles. Saying “Good Job”. Commenting on how good your house looks. Maybe even a cookie treat after the housework is done. All go towards making chores a better experience.

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.



Want the Aveeno Experience?

Sharing a very cool find….Want the Aveeno Experience?? Canadians you can! Aveeno has launched a new campaign  in 120 nail bars across Canada where clients can experience Aveeno products, coupons, and even take home a free trial. Awesome n’est pas?!

Shea Coco, Toronto, ON

We often forgot that a little bit of pampering is good for the soul.  I had the chance to visit SheaCoco in Yorkville (and I brought my tween/teen; making it a fantastic girls day out) and experience the Aveeno experience. As my hands were gently massaged with Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion I thought to myself “this feels soooo good”.

This nourishing moisturizing lotion was formulated to help prevent and protect dry skin. It uses ACTIVE NATURALS® Colloidal Oatmeal to moisturize for 24 hours, leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth. And it’s clinically proven to reveal healthier-looking skin in 1 day, with significant improvement in 2 weeks for everyday beauty that lasts.

After a long, dry, cold winter…my hands really appreciated the moisturizing. And my soul appreciated the field trip with my girls. Why don’t we do that more often?! Here is your chance to do it more often…

Click here for an exclusive pdf list of the  Aveeno Cross Canada Nail Bar Locations

Aveeno Cros Canada Nail Bar Locations

  • Toronto: 60 venues participating
  • Montreal: 35 venues Participating
  • Vancouver: 25 Venues Participating

Oh and be sure to be on the look out for free samples at front cash as well as a $3.00 value coupon to purchase the product at local retailers…I would totally use this…

Want the Aveeno Experience?

Act now because this campaign ends March 23rd. I can tell you…I have adopted the Aveeno experience into my daily routine…change diapers/wash hands/apply moisturizer. Wash dishes/dry hands/apply moisturizer. Have a shower/dry off/apply moisturizer. My skin feels softer. My soul feels happier.

Sometimes you need an experience…to realize the experiences you need in daily life.

Disclosure: I am an Aveeno Ambassador. And my hands feel all the better for it. :-) As always, the opinions in this post are my own. 

#BoredomBusters Trended #1 in Canada

This is the kinda thing that makes your week (well, mine anyway)…

Boredom Busters Trending #1 in Canada

I couldn’t believe that my #BoredomBusters #1 in Canada…beat out Pancake Tuesday and Agents of Shield (is it petty that I kinda love that?!). I had to confirm it on Trendsmap…

Boredom Busters Trending #1 in Canada

And then going to get milk at Shoppers and finding my book on promotion at the end of the aisle in the magazine and book section…

Boredom Busters

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

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School Break Activities

Wondering what to do with the kids during March Break or Spring Break (yeah…me too!). Never fear! I’ve come up with 7 School Break Activities for around the house. And obviously, my book Boredom Busters can surely keep the kids busy too ;-) School Break Activities

    • Music. Be it listening to an ipod on the couch or having a dance party in the living room. And dancing in the living room can totally turn into a twitter conversation with super star Enrique Iglesias which will pretty much MAKE school break for your kids…

Caroline Fernandez and Enrique

    • Baking or cooking. Measuring, pouring, stirring, and scooping are great ways to bust boredom. And hey, you have to eat right?!
    • Sports. A bit of physical activity can change a day (for your kids and for yourself!). Kick a ball in the backyard, volleyball without a net, video games with physical movement (we do Xbox kinnect Sports), biking, skateboard, hopscotch…
    • Dress Up & Role Play. In my experience, girls love the “princess” and “fashion show” experience whereas boys are into “superheros” and “bad guys”.
    • Arts & Crafts. You could DIY Recycle Greeting Cards Into BookmarksDIY Place Mat For KidsDIY: Transform Scarf Into Vest…so many possibilities…
    •  Get outside. Local school yard, play ground, library.
    • Invite friends. Sometimes the best school break activities are just hanging out with friends. Any of the above boredom busters are great as an individual activity but they are de bomb when done with friends.

You might also want to try my Boredom Busters Idea Jar - which is a great way to “plan” school breaks while still keeping a bit of spontaneous action…AND…it comes with a FREE printable of boredom buster idea coupons to pick out of a jar.Boredom Busters Ideas

Canada Flag Hand Print Craft

The Olympics may be done but pre-school made sure we had a Canada pride memory to bring home…check out this awesome Canada Flag Hand Print Craft…

Canada Flag hand print craft

And guys…before we move on to the #WW linky…let me remind you that TONIGHT is my#BoredomBusters Book Launch Twitter Party…I’d love to see you there!

#BoredomBusters Book Launch Twitter Part

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

For more family features follow Parent Club on
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Life’s Little Messes

Some of Life’s Little Messes become the best childhood memories. Like art activities. Baking together. Birthday parties.  We made a whole LOT of messes when creating the kid activities for my book Boredom Busters but you know what? It was time well spent. Life’s Little Messes are learning moments for kids (and parents alike)…

Hand tracing

Today’s activity du jour: hand tracing and foot tracing. All you need is paper, washable markers, and a few willing participants. Big sister traced while little brother giggled and stayed still (and both were building their developmental skills while they played). They had a great time together (cooperation). Big sister traced (hand/eye coordination). My son loved seeing his hand prints and foot prints (curiosity and discovery). He had fun comparing his prints to his bigger sister’s prints (big and small). He, of course, chose the colours (decision making).  And I learned never take your eyes off a toddler while he has a marker in his hand (third picture above – gah – he coloured on his feet!).  A washable mess and easily cleaned.

Funny how life’s little messes just follow kids around…

Huggies wipes

I blame it on the “I do it by myself” phase my son is going through. From finding the computer keyboard icky and sticky (“Mom he’s licking his fingers and then touching the keys!”) to a yogurt covered mouth (I served it in an ice cream cone) to gooey fingers at breakfast (“Please I do it! I do it!”), life’s little messes are everywhere. However, they are part of growing up. Learning how to use technology (without licking), learning how to self-feed, and learning how to spread things…simple, messy, parts of life which are actually life skills kids learn every day through experience.

Life's Little Messes

Like yesterday, when dear son was at karate class and wanted a snack. He was the one who noticed the smooshed chocolate chips on his hand. Without saying anything, I just opened my wipe case (I wanted to see if he was going to play the baby – he didn’t). He grabbed a wipe, put his granola bar down, and cleaned his hands. All. By. Himself. *proud*

I wrote my book because I LOVE doing crafts, activities, recipes, and experiments with my kids. It’s a great way to spend time together (screen free), it’s fun, and it teaches us about the world around us. Yes, there is mess but there are also great memories being created. Every time. Life’s Little Messes are important parts of childhood.

Only Huggies ® wipes have Triple Clean* layers – gentle on baby’s skin, thick enough to clean the mess. For more information, click here <http://www.huggies.com/en-CA/products/wipes/tripleclean>

Huggies Logo

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


Family Destinations In Toronto

Visiting Toronto or just exploring your own city…these are my favourite 8 Family Destinations In Toronto.

Family Destinations In Toronto

Family Destinations in Toronto

  1. Ontario Science Centre – hands on family fun (from babies to teens). Plan for a whole day visit. My #1 family destination recommendation in Toronto. Healthy food options in cafeteria. English and French. Good parking.
  2. Royal Ontario Museum – hands on family fun and look-through-glass stuff too. Plan a half day visit. Better for older kids. Half day visit. Subway station just across the street.
  3. Toronto Zoo – hands on family fun and watching animals from afar. Plan a whole day visit.Take a stroller and wear good walking shoes. Fast food restaurants on site. Lots of picnic areas. Good parking.
  4. Ontario Place – hands on family fun. Plan a whole day visit. Summer water park. Good parking.
  5. Casa Loma – hands on family fun and walking indoors. Plan a half day visit. Better for older kids. Parking.
  6. Art Gallery of Ontario – kid area and walking indoors. Plan a half day visit. TTC accessible.
  7. CN Tower – best elevator ride in Toronto. Plan a half day visit. Making a reservation at their restaurant ahead of time can cut costs of outing.
  8. Hockey Hall of Fame – kid friendly! Plan a half day visit. TTC accessible with lots of great surrounding restaurants.

You also might want to check out my post on Toronto Fun Family Things To Do and my suggestions for Family Friendly Restaurants In Toronto.

Going downtown (to the CN Tower, Art Gallery, Hockey Hall of Fame, and more) checking TTC Prices (that’s the Toronto subway and Toronto bus system) can be helpful as you can get a family day pass at a good price.