What’s On: 2015 Canada Day in Durham

Whether you’re a family that likes to enjoy the day out celebrating with the community, or a more quiet celebration at home, I’ve got you covered with these patriotic activities for 2015 Canada Day in Durham:

A child dressed in a shirt with a Canadian flag holds on to his fathers hands

Have a Canada Day picnic with the family and serve maple leaf shaped watermelon pieces.

Host a play date and dress your little ones in their cutest red and white themed outfits. If you’re looking for inspiration, Carters has a cute Canada Day Collection for girls and boys.

Check out any one of the community events in hosted by the City of Ajax, City of PickeringCity of Oshawa, Township of Scugog, Township of Uxbridge or Town of Whitby.

Make a special Canada Day handprint keepsake.

 

 

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What’s on this Mother’s Day in Durham

I’ve left the planning of my own Mother’s Day to the very last minute. I know I can’t be the only one – Mother’s Day can be a struggle because we’re so busy putting our families first, even before ourselves. Here’s my challenge for you this weekend. Make this Mother’s Day about recognizing all that you do for your family and enjoy yourself. If you’re struggling for ideas for things to do, I’ve got you covered:A mother and child hold a paper heart together

Things to do to treat yourself:
– Enjoy a gentle yoga class and free cupcake at Rejuvenation Point studio.
– Forget the diet and enjoy a meal at Baldwin Street Burger.
– Window shop at your own pace at the Oshawa Centre and the Pickering Town Centre.
– Splurge on a bottle of wine at the LCBO and enjoy a glass on your deck.

Things to do with your family:
– Pack the stroller and walk along the waterfront at the Kiwanis Heydenshore Park.
– Visit the Bowmanville Zoo and watch the animals.
– Create a mom and baby handprint keepsake at home.
– Enjoy the sun and new flavours at the Gourmet Food Truck Frenzy.

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Join the Food ‘4’ Thought drop-in program.

If you meet the criteria to join, the Food ‘4’ Thought program is an opportunity to ease your transition into motherhood fully-equipped with a network of moms and local resources on standby. What makes this program unique is that it is available to moms in the period of most change – both before and after birth, all the way up until baby is 6 months of age. Many programs for new moms in Durham typically run for much less than that – Babyville, for example, is only 4 weeks.

A pregnant woman chops vegetables for a salad

The Food ‘4’ Thought program is a publicly funded initiative available to anyone who is pregnant and aged 26 or younger. Weekly sessions are moderated by a Program Support Worker who is responsible for creating an inclusive, safe and friendly environment for moms to support each other, learn about community resources, obtain advice from healthcare providers and receive fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and prenatal vitamins. There are seven drop-in sites in the Durham Region, including Ajax, Oshawa, Uxbridge, Cannington and Beaverton. At each weekly session an Early Childhood Educator is available to assist, so any moms interested in attending with their older children are welcome to join.

To register for the Food ‘4’ Thought program, you must be pregnant at the time of registration. More information about the program is available on the Girls Incorporated of Durham website.

Cost: Free!

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First Impressions: Day Care Tours in Durham

First Impressions: Day Care Tours in Durham

Finding information on a prospective day care can be time consuming and exhausting for first time parents. Not only are there numerous factors to consider, but many providers are difficult to contact, aren’t upfront about fees and tours can be tough to schedule with more than one adult attending.

Starting next Tuesday, I’ll be posting a weekly series called First Impressions: Day Cares in Durham. In this series, I’ll be sharing my experiences touring day cares throughout the Durham region. These posts will include any information you can’t already find yourself online – fees, registration fees, opening hours, food menus, staff members and my take on the overall feel of the environment.

I’ll be looking for your input too – If you would like to request a post about a day care or even if you have information about a day care that you can share with other readers, I’d like to hear from you. As always, feel free to leave me a comment or send me an email at themotherhoodscene@gmail.com. All tips, links and reviews are appreciated!

Schedule a haircut at Styles & Smiles 4 Kids

For those of you that like the idea of trying Melonheads for a first haircut, the Styles & Smiles 4 Kids salon in Pickering has similar features without the high price. This salon location was previously the Little Tots Hair Shop which had been in the area for over 20 years, specializing in kids cuts. Since Little Tots chose not to renew their lease for this location, some of the stylists that previously worked with them have taken over the lease and are re-opening as a new business – Styles & Smiles 4 Kids.

I visited the salon while it was undergoing renovation and their look is more modern than what you may have seen before if you visited this location in the past. From my experience trying different salons in the area, what stands out about this one is how clean and fresh it feels. The salon is colourful, yet modern. And similar to Melonheads, little ones can sit in themed chairs while they get their haircuts. There’s also lots of toys available in the waiting area for kids waiting their turn – there’s a foam mat play area stocked with toys and a new ball room (ball pit) to be installed. This setup is perfect if you have to bring along an older child for your baby’s first haircut.

A poster advertising the grand opening of the Styles and Smiles salon in Pickering

Operating in the location that was previously the Little Tots Hair Shop – Styles & Smiles 4 Kids is owned by a group of stylists who previously worked at Little Tots.

Despite not knowing the long history of this salon, the expertise of the staff shows from watching them work with the other children that come in. When I visited I met Sofi, one of the new owners of Styles & Smiles, while she was talking to a six year old about having his haircut. He was scared and didn’t feel like trying a haircut today. I watched as Sofi talked with him to explain what would happen and made sure that was what he wanted. The little boy left and Sofi let him know she would be there when he was ready. No pressure at all! I was impressed. Which brings me to my next point – It’s best to walk in for an appointment. I only waited less than five minutes because the child that came in at the same time as me decided not to go ahead with their cut. It’s really depends on the day, so come at a time when you know your little one is fed and rested.

This Wednesday, April 1st, Styles and Smiles 4 Kids (1725 Kingston Rd, Pickering) will be hosting their grand opening. Their salon is open 10am-6pm weekdays, 9am-5pm Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday.

Cost: Kids cuts start at $16 (+ tax and tip).

Meet local moms of multiples

If you’re a mom to twins or triplets (or more!) keep your schedule open during naptime today and join this local group. When you have multiple little ones to look after all at once, joining a support group might seem low on your list of priorities. There’s always plenty of laundry to do and that coffee isn’t going to drink itself, right? Well, don’t just trust my advice on this – there are numerous benefits to joining a group for parents of multiples.

The Durham Parents of Multiples logo

Durham Parents of Multiples (DPM) is a local not-for-profit organization that exists to support parents of multiple birth children with support, advice and resources. Members can connect with their community both in-person and online, to benefit from access to continuous support. If you check out the DPM Facebook group you’ll see they’re growing quickly at 135 members, which goes to show that there are lots of local families in a similar situation.

Cost: Membership is $35 per year for a single parent and $40 per year for a family. This fee includes a basic membership to Multiple Births Canada.

 

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Find some relief with Drop-in Childcare

I’ve spent the better half of this week sick, and as moms we all know how hard it can be to take care of a baby while we’re not at our best. Thankfully, there are childcare options available locally for these type of situations that you can arrange on short notice.Two infants play together with a soft book

Building Blocks Academy, is a childcare centre in Whitby (Dundas and Thickson) that offers a drop-in childcare service for infants. To use this service, you are required to pre-register with the centre ahead of time. Pre-registration includes providing emergency phone numbers, proof of vaccination and any other important information about your child that staff should know. Once registration is complete, you can call to arrange drop-in care anytime within 24 hours notice.  This is a sanity-saving option for times when your normal caregiver is unavailable, in emergency situations, when you’re home sick or those times that you need a little break. The centre is open from 6am-6pm and has a ratio of 1 care provider for every 3 infants.

Cost: Registration is $40 and this is a one-off fee. After paying for registration, full day care is $56 per day for an infant under 18 months. Any time under 4 hours is considered a half day, in which case you would pay $28. This fee includes lunch and snacks.

 

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Free pizza for you and a morning out with baby

You might not even notice March break if you’re on mat leave without school aged kids, but if you have them, you’ll know it will be some work to keep them entertained alongside your baby for the week.

A side shot of pizza

Yet, I have managed to find one great event for mom, baby and older kids for the Friday at Ajax Public Library! As part of their ‘Read Like a Ninja’ program for this March break, library staff will be hosting ninja-themed activities all week. Best of all, the All Ages events mean you can bring along baby with any older kids you have too.

One event that you cannot miss is the Friday Movie Morning session at 10.30am. Boston Pizza Ajax will be providing free pizza for all who attend! You can grab a bite for yourself and get the little ones out of the house too.

The Friday Movie Morning screening of Teenage Mutant NinjaTurtles will be held on Friday, March 20th at 10.30am in the Rotary Room at the Main branch (55 Harwood Avenue South, Ajax).

Cost: Both the movie and pizza are free!

 

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Have your baby’s ears pierced

There’s plenty of debate on the hows of getting your babies ears pierced, so it’s worth doing your research before you decide if you choose to have your little one’s ears pierced with a needle or a piercing gun. There is a lot of information out there, but a good place to start is by reading the Association of Professional Piercers position on the needle vs gun debate. There are many clean, reputable and reasonably priced options in the Durham area for whichever option you choose. It’s worthwhile visiting these locations in advance to get a feel for their staff, learn about how staff are trained, check out the cleanliness of the equipment and ask any important questions that you may have.

An infant has her ears pierced

The procedure is fast and most babies will only cry for a few minutes – similar to what you could expect at a vaccination appointment. A staff member will first sterilize your baby’s ears, and then a mark will be placed on the ear where the piercing will be made. You’ll be consulted at this point to ensure that you’re happy with the placement and symmetry of the piercings. Once you’re satisfied, it’ll be time to secure your little one to keep them safe. You’ll be asked to hold your little one’s head securely and their arms down for the procedure. The piercing itself is over very quickly. Some locations will even use two staff members to piece both ears at the same time. Make sure you ask at the beginning of your appointment so you know what to expect.

Recommended locations that use a piercing gun in Durham:

Caryl Baker Visage
Locations: Oshawa Centre, Pickering Town Centre
Cost: The service is free with the purchase of a set of earrings which range from $45-79. You can expect to pay between $59-102 all up, including earrings, tip and tax.

Claires
Locations: Oshawa Centre, Pickering Town Centre
Cost: Ear piercing is free with purchase of Claire’s Starter Kit, which includes a set of earrings and an aftercare solution. Starter Kits range from $48-73, depending on the style of earring that you choose. You can expect to pay between $62-95 for the starter kit, tip and tax.

Recommended location that uses a piercing needle in Durham:

Motor City Tattoo
Location: 640 King Street E, Oshawa
Cost: $40 for both lobes. This fee includes the cost of the initial jewelry, which is made from surgical stainless steel. Expect to pay around $52 in total for the service, including tax and tip.

A few tips for a smooth appointment:

  • Many moms apply a numbing ointment known as Emla cream before the appointment to reduce any pain. You can buy this online or at any local pharmacy for around $18 plus tax. This is best applied 40 minutes to an hour before your appointment.
  • Make an appointment when the location of your choice is likely to be least busy. Typically, weekday mornings are the best time to go when it’s quiet and staff aren’t busy.
  • Locations using the piercing gun will recommended starting with a 14 karat white or yellow gold earring, as this metal is the least likely to cause an infection using their method.
  • Some locations will require proof of your baby’s 2 month vaccination for the procedure. Either call ahead and ask or bring along your vaccination card as a precaution.
  • Infections can happen, so it’s important that you choose a location that has trained staff to perform the procedure. Your piercer should be able to answer any question you have about skin needles and cross contamination.

If you know of any other reputable locations that offer this service or have any tips of your own, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Take advantage of the First Choice First Haircut Free promotion

I’m not sure when the ‘First Choice Haircutters First Haircut Free’ promotion began but it’s something that I learned about from a few local moms. I couldn’t find anything official on the First Choice website, so I knew I had to investigate to find out more. The official word from the company Facebook page says that this promotion varies by location, but after speaking with upwards of 10 salons in the Durham region they all had the same response: All First Choice locations offer this promotion. Wohoo!

A little boy having his haircut

If I’d known about this a few months ago I would have booked my little one in for a visit here. What’s on offer is similar to what you would get at Melonhead – A lock of your little one’s hair and a certificate, minus a printed photo of the occasion. This is a small consolation considering that you can save yourself upwards of $20 just by visiting any one of these First Choice Haircutters locations locally:

Ajax
65 Kingston Rd East (Harwood and Kingston)
15 Westney Rd North (Westney and Kingston)
105 Bayly St West (Bayly and Harwood)

Bowmanville
87 King St East (Liberty and King)

Pickering
1340 Kingston Rd (Liverpool and Kingston)
705 Kingston Rd (Kingston and Whites)

Oshawa
1051 Simcoe St North (Beatrice and Simcoe)
300 Taunton Rd (Riston and Taunton)
595 King St East (Wilson and King)
1445 Harmony Rd North (Taunton and Harmony)

Uxbridge
282 Toronto St (Cemetery and Toronto)

Whitby
3975 Garden St North (Taunton and Garden)
4091 Thickson Rd North (Taunton and Thickson)
617 Victoria St West (Gordon and Victoria)

Cost: While baby’s first haircut is free at First Choice Haircutters salons, I recommend tipping your hairdresser as if you were paying the full cost of a kid’s cut ($9.50 a visit).

 

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