Top Kids’ Movies

Rainy day, sick day, an evening of family entertainment…kids’ movies can be a treat to watch. I’m sharing some of our favourite kids’ movies. These are the kind you can watch over and over through the years and they just keep entertaining the whole family.

  1. Secret of the Wings (Tink is a classic)
  2. The Incredibles (Dash: “That was the best vacation ever! I love our family.”)
  3. The Princess Bride (“...and And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva”)
  4. Toy Story (You gotta love a toy’s dedication to his boy).

Funny Mummy | Kathy Buckworth

Show me the money, Mommy.

Two of my kids have Post It notes stuck to the fridge which read “Money Mom Owes Me.” The irony of this is not lost when I’ve know that the average cost of raising a child in Canada is approximately $300,000. That’s for one child. As the volume of children go up, the cost per child drops, presumably because of some shared expenses and hand me downs.

With four kids, money rarely physically stays on my person for more than a minute.  It comes directly from the ATM, barely touching down into my wallet, before it goes out to the waiting hands of a retail merchant, school secretary, orthodontal receptionist, bored hockey rink attendant, or the outstretched arm poking from a fast food window. (Please note that none of these expenses can be shared between children. I’ve tried to negotiate used braces, trust me.)

My children are very aware of what “It’s too expensive” means (they have heard me say it approximately 2.7 million times, sometimes in reference to the mere existence of a younger sibling), whether it’s the twoonie for the vending machine which spews out a five cent plastic ring, all the way up to some coveted $200 running shoes.  Not that this stops them from asking me for these and other things, over and over again. Part of me gives them credit (not literally) for continuing to ask for more and more.  Their eternal optimism is impressive, if not hopelessly misguided and futile.

I feel like parents today seem to have more expenses than previous generations did.  I think this is partly because of safety concerns, but also it’s also somewhat due to our own gullibility in believing what they really “need”.  Some of the things I spend money on for my children that I’d  like to cut back on include: the “indoor runners”, a different helmet for each of the head-cracking activities my kids are involved in, the endless supply of Slushies which every hockey arena offers, $10 mandatory school agendas, postage-stamp-sized-games for handheld electronic units which are only “unlost” for the first two hours, the “book orders” which come home from school but have more computer games and plush toys than books on order, and every piece of overpriced merchandise that features a talking sponge or a transforming truck.  Throw in all of the organized sports’ fees (including the amount which goes to cover the “trophies for all” strategy), and it’s not hard to do the math on why I find myself eyeing up their piggy banks and occasionally borrowing from them.

The only comfort I have is knowing that by the time they become parents themselves, there will likely be 16 more types of helmets they’ll have to buy for their own kids. And I’m not extending or expecting any credit for that.


Kathy’s latest book “I Am So The Boss Of You: An 8 Step Guide To Giving Your Family The “Business” will be published by Random House in Spring, 2013.  It is available for pre-order now at Chapters and Amazon.com. Follow Kathy on Twitter @KathyBuckworth

 

Halloween Decorations and Costume Ideas

Looking for an easy Halloween decoration DIY to do with your kids? Need inspiration on creative, unique and inexpensive Halloween costumes? I’ve been writing Halloween articles all over the internet and thought to share them here with you. From a Milk Jug Ghost to Halloween costume swap there are lots of things to make Halloween a little easier.

Milk Jug Ghost DIY

I wrote a step-by-step DIY on how to make a Milk Jug Ghost over on my yummymummyclub.ca column.  It is a great way to re-purpose a milk jug and also a flameless alternative to a candle (plus, if you are like me and no good with weapons – this takes the pumpkin carving knife out of your hands completely!).

Trivia: Did you know I’m a regular special contributor to CityLine.ca? *proud*

Check out my latest CityLine article for tips for Creative, unique and inexpensive Halloween costumes for kids

Halloween Costume Ideas

 

From a costume swap - to a thrift shop visit - to creating a costume from stuff you already have in the house…the emphasis in this article is on low-budget (and by that I mean cheap) costumes. Kids never wear the same costume two years in a row (heaven forbid) and often outgrow them anyway – so, this year, take these tips and keep the Halloween budget ghoulishly good-n’-low.

My kids already have their Halloween costumes at the ready – Oldest will be an “Old Lady” (thanks to a visit to Grandma’s closet and grey wig), 2nd child will be a “Baby” (thanks to an adult-sized Snugabye sleeper I have plus a borrow of the soother her baby brother never used) and baby will be a “Pumpkin” (thanks to a hand-me-down costume from a neighbour). Halloween costumes cost this year = $0.00

What are your costume ideas this year?

 

 

Huggies Little Movers Slip-On Diapers

image

No doubt about it: Changing a squirmy, wiggly, active baby can be a challenge. Unfortunately, not all disposable diapers meet this challenge. While parents want something absorbent, babies need something fuss-free. Huggies Little Movers Slip-On Diapers claim to tackle both, all while making diaper changes easier for both parents and kids.

But, do they really work? In our case…ABSOLUTELY. My 19 month-old son can go a full night in his size three Huggies Slip-On Diapers without a leak outside the diaper. There has not been a single diaper failure since using them. Not one. So absorbent, it is now the only diaper I will put on him at night (’cause I have no interest in changing wet diapers in the middle of the night — who does?!).

image

Huggies Slip-On Diapers have stretchy sides to let you quickly slip on the diaper for a close, comfy fit and trusted leakage protection. Plus, they have easy open tabs so they make taking them off your squirmy baby a breeze. Visit Huggies.com/easy and take the Easy-On, Easy-Off Challenge to see just how easy Huggies Slip-On Diapers are to slip on and off your squirmer.

I have changed my son in motion, flat on a change table and even standing up (you would think all restaurants would have a change table in their restrooms…they don’t) and these diapers have come through for an easy change. Every time.I liked these diapers so much I bought a back-up pack just to be sure I wouldn’t run out. Not all diapers are created equal…and we’ve found a winner with Huggies Slip-Ons!

Huggies® Slip-On® Diapers have stretchy sides to let you quickly slip on the diaper for a close, comfy fit and trusted leakage protection.  Plus, they have easy open tabs so they are easy to take off – making changing easy for you and your squirmy baby.

Got a Squirmy Baby? Take the Easy-On, Easy-Off Challenge at HUGGIES.COM/CHALLENGE


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

Slow Cooker Recipes

I call it “arsenic hour” – the hour before dinner when I am supposed to be chopping, cutting and cooking however instead I am supervising, coaching and baby-holding. The end of day rush (after-school yet before dinner) is my most frustrating time of the day. The kids need my attention, the baby is fussy and I am simply tired. I find the days I use my slow cooker – end of day is so much better.

My mother-in-law gave me our slow cooker years ago (she had one and thought it was great). Over the years, I have used the cooker for stews, soups and tomato sauces. It seriously saves my sanity. I can do the chopping, cutting and cooking in the afternoon when the big kids are at school and the baby is down for his nap. Then it cooks away without me.

The end of day rush becomes less rush-y as dinner is already on the go…giving me time to supervise homework, hear the stories of the day and give our hugs with reckless abandon.

I’m already menu planning…

Slow Cooker Grandmas Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe to make now for when those fall coughs and colds start visiting.

Slow Cooker Three-Bean Chili Recipe for my husband and dear daughter #2 who both enjoy chili on a chilly day.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup Recipe because we just started eating barley and this recipe sounds delish!


Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Vintage Toys

My Mom still has my Fisher-Price Hospital…and I found it’s twin at the Fisher-Price Museum.

Fisher-Price Hospital vintage 1976

Family Friendly Restaurants In Toronto

There are lots of dining choices in Toronto – but which ones are friendly to families? I’ve taken the kids to eat at fancy restaurants and not-so-fancy pubs – some dining experiences were better than others (and price doesn’t always mean it’s not kid-friendly).  I put together a quick list of fav family friendly restaurants in Toronto – whether you are a tourist visiting or a Toronto resident looking for a new place to eat out.

  • The Danforth (Greek town) – I know not exactly a particular restaurant – but this whole strip of eateries is very family friendly. Souvlaki, potatoes, rice and french fries await kids and parents alike.
  • Sunset Grill – Canadian brunch at its best. Lots of locations across the city. Pancakes, toast, eggs, and bacon. Bring toys for the kids to play with while you wait.
  • Jack Astors - grill meets family. Lots of locations across the city. Wide menu (and kids menu). Stand out features: they have slings for infant car seats to keep baby off the ground! Lots of tvs to occupy kids. They even offer portable dvd players with cartoons for kids who just can’t sit still.
  • Mandarin – Chinese/North American all you can eat buffet. Lots of locations across the city. From noodles to pizza to roast beef there is something for everyone (and lots of it). Note: kids under 2 have to pay $2.
  • Mr. Greenjeans – located in The Toronto Eaton Centre it offers great views of the city with family friendly foods.
  • Tim Horton’s – located…well…everywhere. A go-to for a quick lunch.

Summer Play

image

Parks, play dates, water play. . .there are lots of ways to have fun during the summer.  On the very hottest of days we stay cool by staying indoors and pulling out favourite toys – turning on the radio -  and playing the afternoon away.

Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price panel and recieve perks from this programme. The opinions in this post are my own.

Fisher-Price FastFinder Diaper Bag Review

The Fisher-Price FastFinder Diaper Bag comes with 4 four external pockets helping you to find baby’s pacifier, diaper, bottle and wipes faster. Fisher-Price is a leader is toys and baby gear thus they are a go-to for diaper bags. This easy wipe bag comes with a reinforced footed bottom, change pad and wipe case. Need to know more about the Fisher-Price FastFinder Diaper bag?…We reviewed it!

image
THE WHAT: Fisher-Price FastFinder Diaper Bag (Deluxe Sporty Diaper Backpack to be exact).  A backpack style diaper bag which comes with a sturdy handle on top, padded shoulder straps and back all making it an easy carry-all.

imageTHE HOW: Neutral for parents or grandparents to carry.  Comes with two universal stroller straps to attach it to whatever you are pushing.

imageTHE FISHER-PRICE SMART BRANDING: The pacifier pocket’s zipper fob is the classic Fisher-Price stacker toy. The stackers are repeated on the bottom of the bag as the feet of the diaper bag. Smart way to connect the toys branding with the bag branding (also practical fob and feet!).

imageTHE FOUR FASTFINDER POCKETS: an insulated bottle pocket (I can put an 8oz bottle in it), a pacifier pocket, a diaper pocket and an external wipe pocket (the latter oh so smart – so that you don’t have to dive into your diaper bag for a wipe during a diaper change). I like that each of the pockets has a little image tag – so that if someone else is using your bag (Hi Grandma!) they can easily find what they need fast.

imageTHE INSIDE SCOOP: Contrasting colour helps you find what you need (read: you are not looking into a black hole). Elasticized pockets help organize your stuff. Comes with padded change mat and which is held within its own pocket inside the diaper bag. The bag is extra-large allowing you to hold baby blanket, toys, snacks, and other gear easily.

I would like to see the next generation of Fisher-Price bag come with a FastFinder phone pocket for Mom (so that I can get to that call quick!).

As a Mom of three, who depends on a diaper bag, I really like the Fisher-Price FastFinder Backpack diaper bag. It keeps me hands-free so my hands can carry, cuddle, and care to my kids. I love this bag.


Disclosure: I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Olympic Snacks

Count down to the Olympics has begun and my kids are at an age where they know what it is and are hyped about watching the games.  I’m pretty sure that we might do some of our own mini-Olympics in the backyard to get in the spirit of the games (hula hoop anyone?).

To cool us down after such sport…I’m bookmarking this recipe for an Olympic summer treat:

Fresh Fruit Ice Cream Pie

Ingredients:

1 pkg (510 g) Pillsbury* Refrigerated Chocolate Chip or Chocolate Explosion Cookies 2 cups (500 mL) strawberry, vanilla ice cream OR frozen yogurt fresh fruit (sliced strawberries, blueberries, bananas …)

Method:

  • Heat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Press cookie dough over bottom and sides of greased 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Cool.
  • Spread with ice cream.  Freeze until serving time.
  • Top with fruit.  Cut into wedges to serve (if necessary, let stand at room temperature a few minutes for ease in cutting).

This should be the perfect treat after our backyard mini-Olympics…perhaps we’ll watch Olympic swimming or gymnastics (our favs) while we munch.

Are you planning any Olympic activities with your family?


Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Cornstarch Goo

Non-toxic and neat – this goo is a cool hands-on activity for kids.

NOTE: DO NOT POUR DOWN DRAIN.  It will clog the drain pipes (and make your parents mad).  When you’re done playing with goo, pour the mixture into a plastic bag and throw it in the garbage.

You will need…

  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • food colouring
  • medium sized bowl
  • wooden spoon
  • Newspaper (to cover the table)

Directions:

Lay out the newspaper so you don’t make a mess.

In a mixing bowl, add ¼ cup of the cornstarch with ½ cup of water (use wooden spoon or hands to mix).

Continue adding cornstarch and water in small amounts. Add in a few drops of food colouring. Continue mixing until you have the consistency of goo you desire.

Fisher-Price Moms – the tour

A sneak peak of Fisher-Price headquarters…

My visit to Fisher-Price headquarters was full of learning, laughing and a bit of playing…here are my take-aways to share…

  • I learnt about their history (yes, there was a Mr. Fisher and Mr. Price!)
  • I saw the play lab (where real kids play with prototypes and give feedback in a pre-school like setting).
  • I toured visited the photo studio (all the kids on the boxes actually come from the surrounding area of Fisher-Price headquarters)
  • You would be amazed at the science and research that goes into the music in the toys!
  • I learnt about design of toys from drawings to store shelf (they not only think “outside the box” they also think “what’s going in the box”)
  • My biggest take away was the safety seminar (where I can’t share all because of confidentiality) but seriously…Fisher-Price goes above and beyond in product safety.  This session alone made me feel more connected, loyal and proud to be partnered with a brand who, like me, cares about the safety of my child beyond all else.

This guy is iconic

Good deals at the toy store

 

American and Canadian FP blog teams (partial)

Sign says it all

I was honoured to share this experience with my fellow #FisherPriceMoms: Tammi (myorganizedchaos.net), Lena (listentolena.com), Lisa (growingyourbaby.com).  Missing but often thought of were Jen (abusymommy.com), Danielle (http://danigirl.ca/blog) and Ilissa (everythingupclose.com)