Pack your picnic blanket for the Port Perry Farmers market

A couple strolls past a series of stalls at the Farmers Market; a sign for the market listing operating hours; a photo of vegetables and herbs on display

At the Port Perry Farmers Market you can purchase a variety of goods from local farms and vendors. Stalls sell everything from potatoes to strawberries, rhubarb, carrots, kale, fresh herbs, honey, wine and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I couldn’t resist buying a basket of strawberries after learning they had been freshly picked that morning.

The market overlooks the waterfront location of Palmer Park. If this is your first time visiting this park, know that you’re in for something special. It’s a small park right on the water with a large playground and mature trees. The warmest days this summer are best to join the many families that come here for picnics, enjoy the view and cool off in the breeze.

The Port Perry Farmers Market is held in the Palmer Park carpark (121 Water St, Port Perry) every Saturday from 8am-1pm.

Cost: Free.

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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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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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Burn off some energy at Boomers Play Place

Boomers could easily pass for a well-equipped, basement playroom. You can find all the things here that you’d expect to see in someone’s home – jigsaw puzzle foam flooring, recliners, sofas and an assortment of toys you can find at any Toys R Us. The staff are warm and made me feel like I was being greeted by a friend. I received no introductory speech about indoor play space rules or rates. I was welcomed as if I was visiting a home.

Two photos of the area inside Boomers Play Place. One view of the couches and infant toys, one view of the small indoor trampoline

This location is perfect for a mom looking to entertain multiple preschool age kids because of the wide variety of toys on offer from costume dress-ups, a play structure for more mobile kids, two slides, a small see-saw, a rocking horse, Exersaucers and playmats for baby. Unfortunately, these toys don’t seem to have a ‘place’ and are left to lay haphazardly on the floor. This makes it tough to navigate with an infant that’s learning to walk. There isn’t a sectioned off area for infants like you can expect at an Early Years Centre, so you will have to clear an area for your baby and hope that the kids that can run around give you some space.

Now on to the best and worst thing about Boomers: They have one of the softest foam floors I’ve ever come across! It stretches throughout the whole play space. This is great for keeping infants safe from any tumbles, but it’s not so well maintained. My only disclaimer is this: I wouldn’t recommend this location for any moms who have germaphobic tendencies. I count myself among them, so no judgement here! Many of the toys and foam flooring looked like they needed a good scrub so this place wasn’t for me.

Boomers Play Place (Unit 2 / 111 Industrial Drive, Whitby) is open every day from 9:30am to 3pm, with the exception of Mondays and Saturdays.

Cost: The rates are among the cheapest for an indoor play space in Durham. Infants aged 0-9 months visit free and children aged 9-24 months are $5. Additional siblings are 20% off and adults are free.

 

Tour the Montessori Learning Centre in Pickering

If you find yourself curious about what a Montessori-based daycare could offer your child when you go back to work, make some time in your calendar this Saturday to attend the Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering‘s Open House event. This centre is open to children as young as 6 months old – a great option if you are interested in care that is Montessori-based.

A baby plays with a toy on the floor

The Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering Open House event will be held Saturday, February 28th, from 10.30am-12pm at 401 Kingston Road, Pickering. If you’re unable to make this event for the open house, you can check out this video for a quick preview of the facility.

Cost: Entry to the open house event is free.

Edit: I’m updating this post after hearing from one of my readers who reminded me to mention that not all Montessori schools are equal in terms of accreditation and training. A Montessori education can be expensive, so it’s important to understand what you are paying for. At the time of writing, no information was found to indicate that this location was AMI Certified.

Nicola from the Montessori Learning Centre of Pickering was kind enough to provide me with more information to best understand how accreditation works: “Montessori schools can choose to be accredited through CCMA – Canadian Council of Montessori Administrators – receiving acknowledgement for meeting the required  Montessori standards in all areas of the programme.  AMI is one of the Montessori teacher training institutes recognized by CCMA. So, while there may be a couple of schools under the AMI acknowledgement,  the accredited schools in Ontario can be recognized by CCMA certification”.

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