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”.


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.

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!


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:

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

87 King St East (Liberty and King)

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

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)

282 Toronto St (Cemetery and Toronto)

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).



Save on brand name baby shoes at the Whitby SoftMoc Outlet

A view of the kids and baby section at the Soft Moc Outlet in Whitby

A view of the kids and baby section at the SoftMoc Outlet in Whitby

One of the perks of living is Durham is that we have access to the SoftMoc Outlet in Whitby. At this outlet, you can find brand name baby shoes for a fraction of their full price. If you make the trip to this location, you’ll find that the baby shoe selection is comparable in size to what you might find at other retailers like Joe Fresh, Carters and Old Navy. Like any outlet, the range here can be very hit and miss with styles so, it’s a good idea to check back often you’re after brands like Robeez, Stride Rite, Crocs and Bogs.

The location of the store is ideal as it’s tucked away from a busy shopping complex and has lots of parking. If you plan on taking your little one with you, I would avoid taking a stroller. There are some pretty narrow spots inside and with the wrong swing of a stroller, you’d be knocking shoe boxes over. Bring the carrier instead. Here are the details if you’re up for a visit:

SoftMoc Outlet Whitby
1400 Hopkins Street South, Whitby, Ontario, L1N 2C3
Phone: (905) 665-8119 ext. 236
Open: Mon. to Fri. 8 am – 6 pm; Sat. 9 am – 5 pm; Sun. 11 am – 4 pm
Payment Method: Visa, Mastercard, Direct Payment, Cash.

Cost: Baby shoes sold here range from $15-35.

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

Watch and learn about the animals at a pet store

I’ve found that this activity is perfect for those days when restlessness hits and even baby can sense that you’re going stir crazy at home. Visiting a local pet store with small animals, reptiles or fish is a great way to visually engage baby if you’ve ever noticed them take an interest in animals. Best of all, it’s a free outing, and there are numerous places to do this in Durham!

A boy watches birds at a pet store

There are pet stores all throughout Durham, so finding one close to home should be easy. Petsmart is a pet store chain that has stores throughout the Durham region. At various stores they have sections with fish, reptiles, cats and small animals for your little one to see.

Cost: While the opportunity to watch the animals at the pet store is free, consider donating to a pet charity while you’re in store to support animals in need. You can do this by donating cash at donation boxes at select stores or asking a store associate to add any amount to your purchase at the register.

Mark your calendar for these Durham library programs this winter

A mother reads with her baby at the libraryLibrary programs are very popular for moms with infants in Durham, so it’s important to arrive early for drop-in sessions or pre-register as soon as possible once you find a program you like. I’ve heard stories where moms will line up at some branches for at least an hour ahead of registration time just to secure a spot! With that in mind, here is a comprehensive list of all the infant library programs happening in Durham, this winter:

 Ajax Public Library, Main Branch
Program/s available: Books for Babies (0-2 years), Tuesdays at 10.30am.
Family Storytime (All ages), Tuesdays at 1.30pm.
Bouncing Babies (0-1 year), Wednesdays at 2pm and 3.30pm.
Mother Goose (0-1 year), Fridays at 10.15am.
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration, with the exception of Bouncing Babies and Mother Goose programs, where pre-registration with the Ajax Ontario Early Years Centre (OEYC) is required. The Ajax OEYC can be contacted for registration on 905-619-4565. Programs begin and end at various times. The earliest program begins January 6th and continues until March.

Clarington Public Library, Courtice Branch
Program/s available: Family Storytime (All ages), Tuesdays at 10.30am.
Family Storytime (All ages), Wednesdays at 10.30am.
Baby on Board (0-2 years), Thursdays at 10.30am.
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration. Programs begin January 6th and continue until March 26th.

Clarington Public Library, Bowmanville Branch
Program/s available: Mother Goose Stories and Songs (0-1 year), Mondays at 1.30pm.
Baby on Board (0-2 years), Tuesdays at 10.30am.
Family Storytime (All ages), Wednesdays at 10.30am.
Family Storytime (All ages), Thursdays at 10.30am.
Shake, Rattle and Roll (All ages), Fridays at 10.30am
Shake, Rattle and Roll (All ages), Saturdays at 10.30am
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration, with the exception of the Mother Goose Stories and Songs program, where pre-registration with the Ontario Early Years Centre is required. Please call the Bowmanville branch on 905-623-7322 to register. Programs begin and end at various times. Call the Bowmanville branch for details.

Oshawa Public Library, Legends Centre Branch
Program/s available: Books and Bounces (0-11 months), Monday, January 12th at 9.30am
Books and Bounces (0-11 months), Friday, January 16th at 9.30am.
Books and Bounces require pre-registration, which can be completed online with a valid library card for the Oshawa library. Only two sessions have been announced for January, so far.

Oshawa Public Library, McLaughlin Branch
Program/s available: Rise and Shine Family Story Time (0-5 years), Tuesdays at 10am.
Books and Bounces (0-11 months), Thursdays at 11am.
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration. Programs begin week of January 12th and continue until February 26th.

Oshawa Public Library, Northview Branch
Program/s available: Books and Bounces (0-11 months), Wednesdays at 10.30am.
This program is drop-in and does not require registration. Books and Bounces begins January 14th and continues until February 25th.

Oshawa Public Library, Jess Hann Branch
Program/s available: Baby Sense (0-11 months), Wednesdays at 10.30am.
Rise and Shine Family Story Time (0-5 years), Fridays at 10am.
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration. Programs begin January 14th and continue until February 27th.

Pickering Public Library, Central Branch
Program/s available: Baby Storytime (0-18 months), Mondays at 11am and Thursdays at 11am.
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration. Baby Storytime begins January 12th and continues until March 12th.

Pickering Public Library, Petticoat Creek Branch
Program/s available: Baby and Tot Storytime (0-36 months), Mondays at 10am.
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration. Baby and Tot Storytime begins January 12th and continues until March 9th.

Whitby Public Library, Brooklin Branch
Program/s available: Babytime (0-18 months), Tuesdays 10:30-11:00 am and Wednesdays 10:30-11:00 am.
Registration for winter programs will be held on January 7th, beginning at 10:00 a.m. in-person only. Telephone registration will be accepted after 12:00 noon for any available spaces by calling 905-655-3191.

Whitby Public Library, Central Branch
Program/s available: Mix, Mingle and Make New Friends (0-3 years), Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m.
Babytime (0-18 months), Thursdays at 9:30 a.m.
Family Storytime (All ages), Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Fridays at 10:30 a.m
All Programs are drop-in and do not require registration. Programs run for six weeks, beginning the week of January 12th.


photo credit