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!

 

photo

Advertisements

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!

photo

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).

 

photo

2015 Family Day in Durham: Baby-friendly community events

A mom and baby play together in a pool

Ah, long weekends! While it’s never really time off for mom, the change in pace that a long weekend can bring is always a refreshing change of routine. This Family Day in Durham there are lots of inexpensive activities on offer for you to enjoy with your family:

Ajax
Watch a live children’s show at Winterfest in Ajax.
Pick up a cup of free hot chocolate while you’re at the Winterfest family event. The children’s live show starts at 2pm, so if baby has just finished their nap, bring them along to watch.
Cost: Free


Bowmanville
Take a tour of the Bowmanville Museum.
This building is a restored period home full of information about local history. Perhaps all the walking around you’ll do on your tour will rock baby to sleep?
Cost: Free

Learn about the universe in a planetarium show.
The Ontario Planetarium will be visiting the Bowmanville library branch with their mobile planetarium. Bring along baby for a show of the stars, planets, comets, meteor showers and even, the Northern Lights!
Cost: Free.


Oshawa
To celebrate Family Day, the YMCA in Oshawa will be open.
This location has a heated pool for you to take your little one for a swim. Ask any parent – Babies will always have the deepest naps after playtime in the pool! Well worth the planning to make it there.
Cost: Free. Sign up for the free five visit pass online before you go to save time when you arrive.

Check out the playful, Family Day, science experiments at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery.
The gallery spaces will be converted into a science lab for Family Day so, that means lots of colorful and interesting objects for baby to see.
Cost: Pay by donation. The gallery suggests $5 per family.


Pickering
Watch the ice skating at the RBC Family Free Skate. 
Better yet, take turns ice skating with a family member. Your baby can watch you skate from the sidelines while in a family member’s arms!
Cost: Free.


Whitby
Take the family for a free swim at the Anne Ottenbrite Pool. 
A swim in the pool doesn’t just have to be relaxing for baby, it can be for you too. The pool will be open for two hours so you’ll have plenty of time to arrive and get ready.
Cost: Free.

Contribute to a cooperative art project at the Station Gallery. 
After you’ve contributed to the art project, there is lots left in this gallery for baby to look around and see. I like to think that the calm atmosphere at the gallery will also soothe baby!
Cost: Free.

 

photo

Schedule your first day care tour

Two day care workers interact with small children

For many moms on mat leave, finding daycare can be a confronting time. It can be hard to imagine spending your day without your little one and the process of finding a daycare can bring up mixed feelings. Once you feel like you’ve been going in circles researching online for the kind of care that you’re after, it’s time to take the plunge and book your first tour. Visiting a daycare for a tour is the first step in learning about what suits you and your family. Here’s a list of what you can expect when touring daycare options in the Durham region:

  • Tours are usually scheduled first thing in the morning. Mornings work well because all of the kids will be rested, and the facilities are tidier in the morning than the afternoon. That said, many daycares understand that not everyone has the flexibility to meet in the morning and afternoon appointments can be arranged.
  • On average, tours last 40 minutes to an hour. Expect to spend longer if you have specific questions or if you are visiting at a certain time to watch a program on offer (e.g. music or baby sign language).
  • Centre supervisors usually host the tours if you are visiting a centre however, you will have the opportunity to talk to the childcare staff that would work directly with your child during your visit.
  • Tours are arranged for one family at a time. That is, you will not be part of a bigger group of moms touring the facility at the same time. You can bring along your partner, friend or family member if you want. For any groups larger than two adults, contact the daycare to let them know.
  • Most daycares will provide you with a hard copy of rates and/or policies. If not, request this information from the daycare over email.

 

photo credit

Find support and meet other local moms with large families

Two parents sit with their four children in a park

There is a group for almost everything and everyone online these days, the key is knowing where to look. The Durham Region Big Happy Families Facebook group is one of those hidden gems. This group was created for moms raising large families in Durham to provide support both online and in-person with meetups. This is a great resource for local information to answer any burning questions that apply to large size families – things like what vehicle to buy to fit the family, how to manage family schedules and more. There are no requirements set by the group for what’s considered a ‘large’ family, so if you feel you fit into this description, I encourage you to join and start meeting some other moms in the area just like you!

 

photo credit

Save on pre-loved baby items at the Brooklin Mom Sale

There is something for everyone at this weekend’s Brooklin Mom Sale. If you’re a mom that knows how to shop well, you’ll know that these type of Mom to Mom Sale events can be a great opportunity to save money on clothes and especially toys. For the mom who is looking for an inexpensive way to get out of the house with your little one, this event also has a play area provided by Discovery Toys Brooklin, and fresh coffee made on site. Honestly, what more could a mom need?

The flyer for the 2015 Brooklin Mom Sale

In my experience of attending Mom to Mom sales – the prices can be very, very good and many vendors at the Mom Tables are open to negotiating if that’s your kind of thing. Clothing and toys for babies under the age of four months are typically in the best condition and this is where you can really save. For anything past this age group, I’ve found it harder to find clothing that I like that is in great condition and a great price. It’s not impossible – but, it will require some organization to arrive early to get first pick at the good stuff. Regardless of age group, the toys sold at these sales can save you a ton of money. For babies under the age of 12 months, the toys aren’t likely to be damaged so the most you would have to do is clean whatever you buy (rather than repair). Plastic toys and equipment such as activity tables, Exersaucers, walkers and plastic blocks are the best items to look for because they can be cleaned easily.

The Brooklin Mom Sale begins this Saturday, January 24th, at 10am. The event will be held at Sinclair Secondary School (380 Taunton Road East, Whitby).

Cost: Admission is free.

 

photo credit