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May 17, 2012

Book review: Goodnight Toronto

This is so cute! A book that takes you around to the sights of Toronto! Love it! It doesn't rhyme but it's a simple story about the places in Toronto. Very simple. Very cute. I loved telling my little guy "look...it's riverdale farm" or "remember when we went to see the dinosaurs?" so fun!

There is also a "goodnight canada" book and I am thinking that it might just be the perfect gift for a friend who lives overseas who desperately misses Canada. :)

May 1, 2012

Book review: French kids eat everything and yours can too

Title: French kids eat everything and yours can too
Author: Karen le billon

This is a parenting book that has the advice woven into a nice memoir of a Canadian's year living in France with her French husband and two delightful daughters. Her focus is food---more importantly the differences between the eating habits of north American and French kids.

I love this book because it has a real honest feel. The author struggles with the culture and her kids don't immediately embrace the food either. She also struggles with her mother in law...which we can all relate to, right?
I envy the author for having a job where she can take time off and go live in France for a year and ultimately write a book about it!

She provides "rules" that she observes while in France and then applies them to her family. The rules provide the parenting part of the book but because she weaves it into the memoir it's not preachy. I worried that it would get preachy once she made her way back to Canada but although things don't always go her way with ther daughter's eating habits, she seems to be quite realistic with her expectations.

France transformed how she shopped for food, how she enjoyed food and her overall attitude to food. Not having the food power struggles with her daughters was particularly transformative. Imagine being able to relax at the table and enjoy the meal without engaging in a battle with your kids...and spending more than 10 minutes eating!

Her light humor and her naïveté (which translates to an almost childlike excitement and energy) to the French culture makes this book a real delight to read and the recipes are delicious!

Here's her website, but be sure to pick up her book, a baguette and enjoy!

April 28, 2012

Museum + Art Pass from the Library

With young ones, it's sometimes hard to imagine paying full price to go to some of the museums or attractions and then only be able to spend a couple of hours there. As moms we know the value in taking our kids to the museum, gallery, zoos and other educational venues but it's so hard to fork over the admission fees when you know that you can only spend a couple of hours there due to naps/meltdowns.

That's why I think it's so great that some cities are now offering passes to various places for free through the libraries. It makes access so much easier for families and for people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it. It also gives you a chance to check out some of the places and maybe even buying a pass if you really like it! (like the zoo, science centre, ROM...)

Sunlife sponsors the Toronto program and it's pretty fabulous. You can pick up a pass at your local library for the following venues:

AGO - Art Gallery of Ontario
Bata Shoe Museum
Black Creek Pioneer Village
Casa Loma
City of Toronto Historic Museums:
Colborne Lodge in High Park
Fort York National Historic Site
Gibson House Museum
Mackenzie House
Montgomery's Inn
Scarborough Museum
Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens
Todmorden Mills Heritage Site
Gardiner Ceramics Museum
Museum of Inuit Art
Ontario Science Centre
ROM - Royal Ontario Museum
Textile Museum of Canada
Toronto Zoo

But you might have to line up for the ROM, AGO, ZOO or Science Centre passes as they are pretty popular and you might have to go to a different library than your own if yours is really busy or to get the venue of your choice.

The passes come in at a set time/day at your library and some of the popular venues do get picked up fast! This morning I lined up for the ROM pass, 15 mins before the library opened--but I got it! The key is that you shouldn't have your heart set for one particular venue--know that you might get your second or third choice. But it's a great opportunity to explore Toronto!

Also, keep in mind that during the summer a lot of families will want the passes so it might be harder for you to get them! The pass is valid for a period of time--so you can get a pass now and use it at a later date. The expiry period currently is 3 months!!! So take them out now for the summer!!! You can't get more than one pass a day, but you can get passes over and over again and for different venues.

More Info:

Similarly, other cities that you might visit with your family have the program too (every city runs it a bit differently though) so if you are visiting family/friends they could help you get some passes or tag along with you on an adventure without paying the fees.


Their program is neat! Lots of venues( since they are the capital and house many national treasures and you can even get a Gatineau park ski pass) and you loan it just like a library book and then return it by a set date.


Similar to Ottawa, you loan it like a book, and you can use it for the Royal BC museum--which is a great museum!

Wherever you travel, if you are visiting someone locally, be sure to ask if they have a similar program!