Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!Hands up if you’re head-over-heels with excitement for Cars 3? I know we are! My boys are Cars fanatics and have patiently awaited this summer’s release. When the third installment of the franchise was first announced back in 2014, it seemed like this day would never come… and now June 16th is around the corner. However, for FIVE (5) lucky readers, you won’t even have to wait that long – I’m giving away a family pack of passes (four tickets) to special advance screenings in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton! The movie will be screened at 7:00pm on Wednesday, June 14th, so the lucky winners will be among the first to see this highly anticipated new movie. …
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, you are not alone. In fact, there are 233,000 Canadians living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and 10,200 new cases are diagnosed every year. That is 1 in every 150 Canadians!
I don’t want to publish the next statistic, because I have a parent with IBD, and two children who are at risk due to the genetic component to the disease. Nevertheless, the fact is that people are more frequently diagnosed with IBD between the ages of 15 and 30.
And, having a child with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can be an emotional roller coaster.
Chances are, you know a child with IBD. Sadly, I know three. The most recognized symptoms – fatigue, frequent or urgent diarrhea (possibly bloody), abdominal pain and cramping – are hard enough for adults to cope with. But with children, it’s next to impossible to explain to someone so young why they do not feel well. And, it can be equally hard as a parent to cope with seeing your child ill and dealing with the complications that go along with these diseases. …
My niece is over, and she’s running around with her two older cousins – my sons.
“Look at her!” a family member cries. “She’s wants to be one of the boys! Running and jumping and playing tag and basketball too!”
I feel that I should point out that running, jumping, playing tag and basketball are not gender-specific pastimes, but I consider my audience and bite my tongue. After all, I was raised in a generation that praised girls for sitting quietly and playing with dolls – surely, the generation before mine would be even more out of date with their gender bias and perception of social norms.
But as I watch my niece run on her long, strong legs and shout for a chance at the basketball, sweat misting over her sweet little brow, I’m secretly quite pleased. She hasn’t been told “her place” as a little girl is to sit and look pretty. She isn’t scared of getting dirty, screaming too loud or trying too hard. She goes after everything with gusto, not realizing she is part of a new generation where girls’ potential is limitless.
She doesn’t play like a girl. She plays.
This past weekend, more than 350 future female hockey stars hit the ice with Olympic Gold Medalist and Canadian Women’s Hockey League star Natalie Spooner for the 6th annual Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest in Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to mentor young girls and help them pursue their dreams,” said Natalie Spooner. “The support I received from the hockey community growing up in Ontario helped me get to where I am today. Being able to give back through Scotiabank Girls HockeyFest is an honour, and it’s a privilege to celebrate Canada’s game with these girls who share my love for hockey.” …
A brick isn’t just a brick…it’s a gateway beyond. I’ve seen this. I’ve lived this. And I believe with all my heart, creativity inspires creation.
I love watching my boys play with Mega Construx building sets. For me, the satisfaction is two-fold. First, it’s gratifying to see them quietly following instructions and work towards assembling a complete toy. They are improving their concentration, comprehension, and most of all, honing their ability to see a task through to completion. These are skills that are necessary for all school-aged children, and if they can fine tune them while having fun, I’m all for it.
However, it’s after they’ve completely assembled a toy and broken it apart that the magic begins. It’s when their imagination takes over and allows them to think outside the instructions – it allows them to Build Beyond. …
I often joke that if you search through my browser history… you will be mortified.
Look, it’s not that I have extraordinarily strange or off-the-cuff search terms; it’s just that I search health-related subjects – you know, those pertaining to symptoms and/or side effects – here and there. Okay, frequently. Fine, ALL THE TIME.
You too? Fellow hypochondriacs, I may have found the answer.
It’s no secret that more and more Canadians rely on “Dr. Google” for health advice. We want information – fast – and we don’t always have the time to wait in a doctor’s office for, ahem, professional advice.
Notice that I italicized professional advice? That’s because there’s a clear difference between seeing a qualified doctor vs. an internet search; Dr. Google does not diagnose – he simply leads you down a dark path where 80% of the time, your symptoms point to cancer. I know, I’ve been there, too.
But *why* do we put so much faith in random information online? It’s quite simple – we are short on time, short on patience, and when we want our questions answered (especially those related to our health), we want the information at our fingertips. But did you know that 50-70% of diagnoses do not require a hands-on physical examination? Using telemedicine, doctors are already safely and effectively treating millions of patients around the world for common medical conditions, including: eye and ear infections, cold and flu, urinary tract infections, allergic reactions, skin issues and rashes, vomiting and diarrhea, sexual health issues, mental health concerns, and many more, as well as providing sick notes and prescribing medications online as necessary.
That’s why I want to introduce you to Maple. …
Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.
We all know one of them. You know, the mom who is almost impossibly hard to shop for because she’s so… damned… PRACTICAL.
“I don’t need anything!”
“Honestly, don’t spend your money on me. Save it for yourself. That’s what makes me happy.”
“I have everything I want!”
I know this woman well – heck, I AM this woman – which is why, if you’re stressed about what to buy mom this upcoming Mother’s Day, I’m here to solve your shopping dilemma. You’re welcome.
And so, I present to you: 5 Mother’s Day Gifts for the Purposeful, Practical Mom.
1. Upgrade her mobile phone. Practical moms are conservative when it comes to their cell phone needs, and we all know an upgrade is a luxury that most moms won’t prioritize. But who wouldn’t LOVE a newer model? Chances are, based on how long mom has had her current phone, she may already be eligible for a sizable chunk of savings if she chooses to extend her plan along with her mobile upgrade. Do a little digging and surprise mom with a gift she’ll love (to text you with!).
2. Purchase a monthly subscription box. Why give her one gift when you can give her twelve? There is simply no shortage of monthly subscription boxes that are based in Canada (or ship to Canada). Choose from beauty, food, crafts, wellness and more! You can select the subscription which most closely matches your practical mom’s interests, and watch her delight in goodies that she’d normally never spoil herself with. I found a neat blog based out of Vancouver – Canadian Subscription Box Addict – where you can easily find a list of all available boxes to Canadians. …
What I see for Canada’s future is…
Well, who better to answer that question than today’s youth?
With Canada celebrating its 150th birthday this year, Google Canada wants Canadian students to imagine what the next 150 years will look like. (This question, posed to my 6-year old, involves hovercrafts and robotic superheroes. I like it!)
Keeping this in mind, Google Canada is encouraging students across Canada, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, to redesign the logo for the Google.ca homepage for a day.
Looking for a little inspiration? If you’re in the GTA, join me at the Mississauga Google shop for a very special, family-friendly doodle session! On Saturday, April 29, 2017, visit the Google shop at Best Buy Heartland (6075 Mavis Rd, Mississauga) from 1:00 – 2:30pm or 3:00 – 4:30pm. We’ll have everything on hand to help your little artist create an entry for the Doodle 4 Google contest, plus a few fun surprises! Children can submit their doodle on location or finish their masterpiece at home – just remember that all submissions must be in by May 2, 2017 at 11:59pm EST. …
Growing up in a suburb of Toronto with a predominantly European community, we didn’t hear much about “going off to camp”. Most of our moms stayed at home to raise us; the only consideration over the summer holidays was how late we’d be able to play outside before our parents started hollering about our bedtimes.
However, as times changed and cultural norms shifted, one by one, our mothers returned (or entered) the workforce. By then, many of us were old enough to care for ourselves during the day, but a handful were whisked away to camp for the summer.
It sounded magical.
A chance to meet new people and form lasting friendships. An opportunity to develop a sense of responsibility and pride in oneself. A fun way to learn new skills and build confidence. I promised myself then and there that when I had children, I would do everything in my power to provide them with a summer camp experience.
Of course, I have two boys who are now the perfect age for summer camp. But, being a mom, I also realize that not all kids are ready for an away-from-home experience. My oldest, who still has a touch of social anxiety, and my youngest, who has not yet learned to control his impulses, would not necessarily make the best candidates for full-fledged overnight camp. But what if there was an alternative – a summer camp that allowed kids to absorb the benefits of camp during the day, while allowing them to sleep in their own bed at night?
Friends, I’ve found the answer: Day camp! …
It’s official: Leafs Nation is LOUD and PROUD.
Come on, fans – we’ve been waiting for a team like this for a long, long time – and with a solid performance thus far in the playoffs, there are plenty of reasons to cheer for the boys in blue!
Of course, they couldn’t have picked a better time; with Canada’s centennial year celebrations in full swing, we’re all rooting to see a Canadian team make it all the way. This season, Carter’s | OshKosh and the Toronto Maple leafs have partnered to launch a FREE Limited Edition Lil’ Leafs Bodysuit to celebrate the Leafs 100th Anniversary and Canada’s 150th. This fun collectors item is available exclusively to Torontonians and families in the GTA until April 30, 2017.
To grab your absolutely free bodysuit, simply register online at Mapleleafs.com/hockeydreams. You’ll instantly receive a Lil’ Leafs Bodysuit certificate; just print it out and bring it to a participating store before the end of the month.
The bodysuit is a fun gifting idea, especially if you know someone who’s recently had a baby or has one on the way (the bodysuit is size 6 months). I just picked one up for my niece – I can’t wait to drop it off for our brand new, lil’est Leafs fan!
Tell me, do you have hockey dreams for your little one? Or, did you grow up watching the Toronto Maple Leafs? While I’d never bet against my favourite team, I’m not sure that this is *the year* they go all the way… however, with the new, hungry talent on the ice and the improved management behind the scenes, they have nowhere to go but UP!
Hurry! You only have until April 30, 2017 to collect your FREE Limited Edition Lil’ Leafs Bodysuit.
Before I had children, I romanticized what it would feel like to be a mother.
I envisioned having these perfect little humans – the spitting image of me, of course – who would be the center of my world. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them; my children would define and justify my existence.
I have children now – two perfect little boys, only one is the spitting image of me – and they are the center of my world. My pre-offspring predictions about how much I’d love my children were pretty spot on. But for all the feelings of love, anticipation, nurturing and excitement I’d felt, there was one I hadn’t counted on – guilt.
Mothers feel guilty, all the time.
I feel guilty about my choices and the choices I don’t make. I feel guilty when I take on too much and when I don’t take on enough. I feel guilty when I say no… and sometimes, I even feel guilty when I say yes. …
My husband is in software and technology sales.
My brother manages a team of advisors at an insurance company.
My sister-in-law oversees clinical trials in biotechnology and health sciences.
I’m a former corporate trainer – and now, a blogger.
What do we all have in common? Our love for the good old hockey game.
Growing up in Canada, hockey wasn’t just a pastime – it was a religion. I can vividly recall my brother pouring over his Upper Deck and O Pee Chee hockey cards, memorizing the stats and organizing the players by team. Sometimes, I’d flip through the cards too, familiarizing myself with my favourite players from the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Wendel Clark. Doug Gilmour. Mats Sundin.
These are the hockey greats that made an impression on me as a youth. Scoring a pair of tickets (pun intended) to a home game was akin to winning the lottery – we painted our faces, donned our jerseys and were ready to root for the boys in blue. And when we couldn’t see them live, we huddled in front of our televisions, humming along to the Hockey Night in Canada theme song.
Today, we’re continuing the tradition with our children. The boys attended their very first hockey game this past December, and for Christmas, they both received ice skates. Little by little, they are becoming absorbed in the sport that is synonymous with Canadian winter. And one day, the hockey greats that they are watching today – Austin Matthews, hooray! – will one day become legends. …
It always amuses me when friends and followers praise me on social media.
“You’re killing it, girl!”
“You’re such a good mom, your boys are so lucky!”
“Wow, everything looks perfect! You’re my inspiration.”
To which, I only have one response:
Photo Caption: HA HA HA HA HA HA.
The truth is, I don’t always discuss my #parentingfails, but trust me, there are many. Like the time I sent my boys to a birthday party – a week too late. Or my inability to remember any of the “special coloured shirt days” at school. Or how about the time I slept through, not one, but TWO alarms and had to usher them off to class a half hour late?…
“You’re too young to have arthritis.”
“It’s just growing pains.”
“The arthritis is temporary and can be cured by diet.”
You know the old saying, “Kids say the darndest things?” Well, kids hear the darndest things, too – especially when it comes to their juvenile arthritis (JA) diagnosis. The fact is, most people think of arthritis as an “old persons” disease, but that’s not the case. And, for more than 24,000 Canadian children who live with arthritis, active play can be a challenge.
March is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, and I’m on a mission to help bring awareness and build understanding about the disease.
Juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disease. To put it simply, the immune system goes a little bit haywire and sends out white blood cells to attack the body’s own healthy cells. The result is inflammation in joints, as well as other health issues such as fatigue, rash, vision problems, slow growth or swollen lymph nodes, to name a few. …
Winter tires – they change you.
They change your attitude about the weather. While you’ll still check the forecast, every single day, you’ll no longer stress if the words “5-10cm” flash across the screen.
They change your comfort zone. Suddenly, a 4-hour road trip through winding roads is no longer off-limits; you’ll navigate the terrain, slowly, safely, knowing each tire’s traction with the road is improved.
They change your work habits. You can make it into the office in all types of inclement winter weather. You can get the kids to school, too. When you’re not worried about how you’ll get there, your productivity improves.
However, one thing never changes. It’s the reason you purchased winter tires in the first place. It’s the people they protect; the ones that matter to you most.
I’ve never thought so much about winter tires. I mean, I’ve always had them; for as long as I can remember, we’ve considered them necessary to safely navigate winter road conditions. However, partnering with Michelin Canada over the past few months has allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding for exactly why they’re so important.
For every Canadian. For every car. …
Last week, I shared details about the Erin Mills Town Centre “Spring into Action” Sports & Camps Show. If you’ll recall, the single most motivating factor for my own attendance was the convenience of signing up the boys for spring and summer activities – all at one time, all in one place.
We were not disappointed.
With a record exhibitor turnout (the show was packed with 40 vendors!), enthusiastic Mississauga residents had a chance to meet the organizers, ask questions, take advantage of special offers (more on that later!) and most importantly, introduce their children to sports and activities that may not have been on their radar… like fencing! Yes, FENCING!
Here’s why the Erin Mills Town Centre “Spring Into Action” Sports & Camps Show was a success:
1. Easy Access to Information. Every parent craves information, especially when signing up their children for extra-curricular activities. However, it’s safe to say that if you’ve ever tried to navigate a local sports organization’s website… well, it’s not necessarily the most user-friendly experience. So, rather than searching through a list of FAQs, I was able to bring my questions directly to the representatives. It saved time and frustration, and of course, allowed me to get the answers I needed! …
Friends, I’ve got a plan.
The last time we chatted, I expressed fear over being able to adequately balance my short-term financial obligations with my long-term savings goals. Of course, never one to simply lament and move on, I created an action plan with one clear objective in mind: meet with a financial advisor.
(Of course! Leave it up to the experts!)
Recently, I had the opportunity to chat with Simpreet Sivia, Senior Financial Advisor at Scotiabank. And I’ll be honest – discussing my financial triumphs (few) and shortcomings (many) with a stranger is not easy. However, I attended the meeting with an open mind, and by the time we were through:
– I had a better understanding of my current financial situation
– I had a path to help attain my long-term savings goals
– I was better prepared for unexpected life events
– I learned how to work toward the things I’ve always dreamed of …
“Have you signed up the boys for soccer yet?” my husband asks.
“Not yet… I have to find the website,” I reply.
“What about swimming? Skating? Karate? Summer camp?” he continues.
“It’s on my to-do list…” I hedge in response.
The truth is, it’s the bane of my existence. Trying to coordinate multiple activities for multiple kids… while visiting multiple websites (with varying degrees of user-friendliness) over multiple days of the week for multiple months…
Let’s just say it’s not my favourite thing to do.
I think the most frustrating thing about scheduling activities for my boys is the sheer amount of time I spend in the planning stages. I have to decide if they’ll be interested in an activity or sport, research the organization that offers the services I’m looking for, compare dates and schedules, check if the fees fit within my budget… and so on. But the worst part is the very real FOMO I feel when booking a sport or activity – what else is out there? How do I know I’m choosing the right league? What is the newest class or activity they’ll be dying to try out?
Thank goodness for Erin Mills Town Centre ‘Spring into Action’ Sports and Camps Show.
This fun, family-oriented event takes place on Saturday, February 25th from 10am to 5pm at Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga. Visitors will have the opportunity to ask questions from knowledgeable experts and sign up for sports programs, while enjoying exciting displays, demonstrations, fun interactive activities, a free photo booth and the chance to win great prizes. …
I know, I know. The subject makes you want to turn and run, right? You’re not alone – I can think of very few people who actually enjoy the process of dissecting their spending and saving habits. But you know what? It’s truly not as painful as it seems, and today I’m here to show you (nay, convince you) why it’s the perfect time to sit down with a financial advisor. At Scotiabank, they offer this service for free with no minimum balance – so what do you have to lose?
First, let’s look at the calendar. March is creeping up on us! And in advance of the March 1st RRSP contribution deadline, it’s important to uncover where you are with your retirement savings, and where you want to be. Last week, I wasn’t all that certain.
You’ll remember from a previous post, Your Road to Retirement: What are Your Savings Goals for 2017? – I was once a smug saver. Today, I’m not as comfortable – with a brand new home (and brand new mortgage) on the horizon, I’ve been under mild stress (read: panic attacks) trying to figure out if I can afford to save. Rather than trying to crunch the numbers myself, last week, I visited my local Scotiabank branch and sat down with Simpreet Sivia, Senior Financial Advisor.
Here’s what I learned from my visit.
1. Overcome your fear of financial judgement. I get it. It’s hard to be so transparent with a stranger – even one who’s trying to help you sort through your finances. No one likes to have their spending habits judged; we’re all just trying to do what’s right for ourselves and our families. But the logical first step in the financial planning process is admitting that there’s room for improvement, and then, being open to advice. …
“Are you sure we need winter tires this year?” my mom asked. “We’re retired. We don’t have to venture out when it snows. We can just stay indoors.”
“My all-season tires are brand new!” my friend lamented. “The tread is fine, trust me.”
“There’s no way I can afford winter tires,” another friend confided. “With the cost of gas, insurance and car payments, I can hardly afford to drive!”
Sound familiar? You may even see your own situation in the answers above. And so rather than lecture you (I’d never do that!) on the importance of winter tires, I’m just here to answer your questions.
“Are you sure we need winter tires, even if we don’t venture out?”
You probably don’t need winter tires if you *never* have to leave your house when it snows, like, ever. (Frankly, even that is a misconception – winter tires actually begin to work their magic the minute the temperature falls below 7° Celsius.) But what about when you’re already out and it begins to snow? Freshly fallen snow on the roads – before the salt trucks can do their thing – can present dangerous driving hazards. So unless you’re a meteorologist (or are obsessive about checking your local weather channel), chances are you may be faced with inclement driving conditions.
And, do you ever have to leave to pick up a child or grandchild? Go to the doctor or the hospital? Run out for a bag of sugar? You know, those things you don’t plan for, but necessitate leaving the house? Yeah, that happens to me too, which is why I’d rather have the added safety of winter tires. …
“Are your kids in any competitive sports?”
It’s a simple question, but one that instantly puts me on the defensive. Because let’s be honest; in the past few years, kids’ sports have become increasingly competitive, to the point where competition – and winning – are the main undercurrents of the program. In fact, while both Ryder and Reid participated in house league soccer for years, we recently pulled Reid from the program.
It’s not a big deal. The team was fine, the coach was fine, but there was definitely an emphasis on winning – a slightly uncomfortable emphasis, if I’m being honest. One day, as I watched Reid, running head down and visibly frustrated, I realized one thing: it wasn’t fun for him anymore.
And kids’ sports are supposed to be FUN.
This past Christmas, both Ryder and Reid received their first pairs of ice skates. I know what you’re thinking – if there’s one sport that has a reputation for competitiveness, it’s hockey. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
McDonald’s Canada believes kids’ hockey should be fun. That’s why they sponsor more than 53,000 Atom and Bantam hockey players across Canada each year. The atoMc Hockey Program provides teams a full set of primary game jerseys and socks, featuring the Hockey Canada logo – the same worn by Canada’s National teams. …