• Category: HRM Parent

Weekend Wrap-up: April 6-7, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up: April 6-7, 2013

1. Spring is in the air and it's a great time to clean the car out and make sure your car seats are installed safely! Halifax Shopping Centre and St. John Ambulance will once again be offering car seat inspection clinics, as part of St. John Ambulance’s Car Seat Safety Program. The clinic this weekend is on Saturday, in the North parkade, located outside of SportChek. Trained technicians from St. John Ambulance will be onsite between 10am & 2pm to assist with proper installation of car seats. 2. It's the 15th Annual Hobby Show at the Aviation Museum in Shearwater!  Featuring Lego Displays; Model Trains, Aircraft, Vehicles, Ships & Automobiles; Dolls & Dollhouse Miniatures; R/C Aircraft & Ships; Historical Enactors; Sales Tables and much more! 3. It's Seedy Sunday at the Seaport Market on Sunday! Get a start on your family garden and learn about seeds, transplants, composting, garden tools and learn more at workshops and while watching demos! 4. On Sunday head to the Wee Sale kids consignment sale. Spring kids clothing and accessories, the hall will be OVERFLOWING with lots of great stuff! 5. Calling all runners – the 2nd Annual MEC Citadel Highlander Race is back on Sunday! Mountain Equipment Co-op and Parks Canada bring you the chance to run through the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site and experience 19th century history in a whole new way! Three races are offered (Kids 1K, 5K and 10K) providing a unique opportunity for runners and spectators alike to see firsthand what makes the Halifax Citadel fort so impressive! The Youth Run participants (12 and under) will start at 8:40am.  Kids are invited to don a kilt and become a Highlander as they run through the Citadel’s star shaped defensive ditch – the Citadel’s own 78th Highland Regiment will put them through some Highlander drills before the run begins. 6. From today until Saturday, head to Cole Harbour Place and support local moms showcasing their talents at the HFX Mompreneur Spring Artisan Fair. Over 50+ vendors will be there including Oodie Bums cloth diapers (wipes featured above)....

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  • Category: HRM Parent

Are We There Yet?: Spring Maintaince Tips

 

Are We There Yet?: Spring Maintaince TIps

Don't underestimate what spring weather can throw at you and your vehicle.  First sign of spring: robin or pothole? Either way, while you're probably glad to leave the thrills of winter driving behind, it's important not to overlook the fact that spring brings serious driving challenges of its own. Check out the tips below to get you and your vehicle in top spring-driving form.

Watch Out on Wet Roads: Spring's rain creates slippery conditions - just as bad as winter's ice and snow - where hydroplaning and skidding are hazards. Slow down on wet roads.

Check Your Tire Treads: The risk of hydroplaning or skidding on wet roads can be greater if your tire treads are worn. If you're changing your winter tires back to all season tires, make sure you check your tire treads for wear with a tread depth gauge. Many new tires also have a tread wear indicator - a rubber bar across the tread of the tire - that lets you see the level of wear on your treads. The minimum standard for Nova Scotia is 2mm. For safe driving, replace worn tires.

Are We There Yet?: Spring Maintaince TIps

Rotate Your Tires: It's important to rotate your tires at regular intervals in order to maintain even tread wear and prolong the life of your tires (which will also save you money!). Talk to your service consultant about inspecting for tread wear and scheduling tire rotations.

Fill Your Tires: Keep your tires properly inflated to protect your tire and wheel from damage when you hit potholes. Check for the proper psi on the label on the inside of the driver side doorframe. Check out this video for more details.

 

Get New Wiper Blades: Rain cuts down on visibility. You'll have a clearer view if you replace your wiper blades this spring -blades worn from clearing winter snow and ice can leave a filmy smear on your windshield that is hard to see through and that reflects glare from oncoming headlights at night.

Are We There Yet?: Spring Maintaince TIps

Balance your Wheels: Potholes and aggressive off-road driving can lead to suspension misalignment and to wheels that are out of balance. They're not the same thing, but both affect your vehicle’s ride and handling. If your suspension is out of alignment, you may notice steering problems, such as a pull to one side. Misalignment also causes uneven or increased tire wear. If you're feeling steering wheel jiggle or vibration at highway speeds, your wheels may be out of balance. Wheel balance improves traction, while both alignment and balance maximize your tire life and improve steering control.

Wash Away Winter Salt: Winter's gone, but the salt build-up on your vehicle isn't. Get rid of it! Wash and spray underneath, using a high-powered hose if you've got one, with special attention to the build-up that's on your axles, wheels, and exhaust pipe - anywhere corrosion can cause damage.

Clear the Air:  Cleaning out a winter's worth of take-out coffee cups and junk gets rid of the obvious "gunk" inside your vehicle. What you can't see are allergens, bacteria, mould and other microscopic elements that can make you sick. Vacuum thoroughly and clean hard surfaces with a rag and disinfectant. If there's a replaceable cabin air filter in your vehicle, change it.

Are We There Yet?: Spring Maintaince TIps

Pull Over When the Sky Falls: Severe spring rain – and even hail – storms can come out of nowhere. Water quickly accumulates on the road surface and, even with your blades on top speed, visibility can be nil. So pull over and put on your 4-way flashers. It's safer to wait it out.

Help is a click away: Last but, not least, when it comes to getting your vehicle ready for spring, you're not alone. Your dealer’s Technicians are specifically trained to service your vehicle using only factory-approved parts and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment. It’s always a good idea to see your dealer for a pre-summer springtime check-up. Your dealer can help you with spring-related maintenance by:

  • Inspecting your engine air cleaner filter or change indicator (if equipped)
  • Rotating tires and checking inflation pressures and wear (and providing all major name brands of tire if replacements are necessary)
  • Inspecting suspension and steering components
  • Inspecting wiper blades (and offer a wide variety of replacement blades)
  • Checking engine coolant and windshield washer fluid levels and add fluid as needed
  • Inspecting your brakes
  • Performing an oil and filter change
  • Inspecting your air conditioning system...and more!

Click here for our current spring maintenance offers.

 

O’Regan’s on Robie is your Halifax GM headquarters supplying service and support for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. Visit us at www.oregansonrobie.com, or drop in to visit the showroom. ...

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  • Category: HRM Parent

Get Active: Your Shoes were Made for Walking

Get Active: Your Shoes were Made for Walking
 
You've seen the scary numbers: Childhood obesity is on the rise and diseases once mostly associated with adults, like type 2 diabetes, are growing among kids by equally epidemic proportions. You already know that getting kids physically active is a big part of the solution. So, what's the easiest way to pry your kid from the tube and get him or her outside for some activity, especially now that the weather is starting to warm up? Get walking!
 
-Walking is a great physical activity -- it's natural, doesn't require any special clothing, equipment, or facilities and is one of the most effective ways that a person can exercise. Just strap on your sneakers and get moving!
 
Get Active: Your Shoes were Made for Walking
 
 
-Using walking as a physical activity during childhood teaches children a lifetime exercise that can help build healthy bones and control weight. It also helps ward off future health evils such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
 
 
-Most people take between 4000 and 6000 steps during an average workday, however a healthy adult should be aiming for 10,000 steps. Kids should be taking 16,500 steps in a day, while healthy, older adults should be aiming for 6000 to 8500 steps. An excellent way to find out how many steps you and your family are taking is to wear a pedometer – they are inexpensive, light-weight, and are a sure-fire way to accurately gauge just how much you’re moving.
 
Get Active: Your Shoes were Made for Walking
 
 
-Walks don't have to be long or fast -- just get out there regularly. Kids need an hour of physical activity each day, but many schools have cut back on recess and high school phys-ed. An evening stroll can fill the gap in a sedentary day. For short trips, leave your car at home and walk instead, or park further away from the office, grocery store or dry cleaners.
 
Get Active: Your Shoes were Made for Walking
 
 
-Walking to school is one way to help children walk more. They could try getting off the bus one stop early or you could park your car a few blocks away from school and then walking the rest of the way, giving their legs a bit more exercise each morning and afternoon.
Get Active: Your Shoes were Made for Walking
 
-Set reasonable goals for adding distance to your walks, such as using landmarks to mark an end or turning point that you intend to reach. Keep the kids interested by asking them to pick the landmark. Or have everyone take turns picking an arbitrary number for your walks and, using your pedometer to count for you, use that as the benchmark for the number of steps you need to take before you turn around and head home.
 
 
-Other ways to keep kids interested and enjoying their walks: have them count the number of steps they take. Or make it a game and alternate between walking forwards and backwards every 50 steps. Play ‘I spy’ along the route or a version of Simon Says (ie: Simon Says walk like a penguin, like a bunny rabbit, like a gorilla, etc).
 
Get Active: Your Shoes were Made for Walking
 
-Getting outside for a quick 20 or 30 minute walk is also a great way for mom or dad to get a bit of a break and some much needed alone time. If you are walking on your own though, be sure to stick to familiar paths and well-lit populated areas. Let someone know where you will be and when you intend to return. Wear reflective clothing at night, and don't forget to stay well-hydrated.
 
 

Dalplex, Dalhousie University's main fitness and recreation facility, has been proudly serving the community for over 30 years, offering a wide variety of fitness, wellness and recreation programs and classes for adults, children, youth and seniors.  Visit their website or follow them on facebook

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  • Category: HRM Parent

Weekend Wrap-up: March 30-31, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up: March 30-31, 2013

Happy Easter weekend everyone! Since most of the fun weekend activities are centred around hunting and finding it seemed fitting to post one image! Check the event calendar for a full list of events or choose from these fun egg hunts! 1. At Mic Mac Mall tomorrow each child will complete the Easter egg hunt and take home a Easter Candy Treat bag (5 'egg hunt stations’ will be set up throughout the mall, kids to collect coloured eggs and return to registration to get treat bag! 2. On Saturday stop by the Community Garden in Eastern Passage from 10am-12pm, and enjoy the fun of Easter with an old fashion Egg Hunt.... rumour has it that the Bunny himself might even hop on by! 3. Head to the Captain William Spry Public Library on Satruday for a Easter puppet show - "Easter Rabbits Basket" . 4. Hop to it! Join the Easter Bunny in Centre Court, Sunnyside Mall, for stories, FREE photos and spring adventures! 5. Looking for a fun activity on Easter Sunday? Caroline's Patisserie on Alderney Drive will be hosting a Yellow Penny Hunt. There will be 1000 golden pennies hidden in the ferry park and you can exchange your pennies for a free decorated Easter egg cookie! (max 3 per hunter) Find the golden Mexican dollar and win the BIG Easter Egg. The fun gets underway at 12:00 on Easter Sunday. Get your map at Caroline's or call 466-5944 for clues....

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  • Category: HRM Parent

Bringing Balance: Fun Healthy Easter Ideas

Bringing Balance: Fun Healthy Easter Ideas

These days, any major holiday can easily turn into a sugary overload and result in cranky kids and depleted immune systems.  As you know, I’m not against the occasional treat, but the problem is, it’s not just Easter, it’s weekly birthday parties, Valentine’s,
Christmas, end-of-year parties, start-of-summer parties, won-the-medal parties, made-the-BullySmart program parties, hockey’s over parties, and the list goes on. When treats becomes a too-regular occurrence they become a food group, which is exactly what has happened in Canada: Stats Canada reports that kids are getting more than 25% of their daily calories from sugar!  This is in large part why almost a third of our kids are overweight or obese and our type II diabetes rate is climbing steadily, in adults and young children.

If your children are like mine, they have reliable sugar “dealers” outside the home: coaches, teachers, friends’ parents, and grandparents, not to mention the Bunny. You might feel like it’s out of your control, but there are loads of creative ways you can cut down on the amount of candy and chocolate your kids consume. Here are just a few ideas I’ve collected over the years, a couple of which we have done in our home:

Bringing Balance: Fun Healthy Easter Ideas

• The Bunny can leave a basket for each child with a love note or card, a couple of small chocolates, and a small non-food gift.  A little stuffed animal, book, movie gift certificate, easter craft kit or CD will immediately distract from the fact that the basket isn’t overflowing with junk.

 

Bringing Balance: Fun Healthy Easter Ideas

• The Bunny can hide plastic eggs filled with blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. He might even scatter a few chocolate eggs amongst the berry-filled eggs.  At the end of the trail, the Bunny leaves one small chocolate bunny in the easter basket, maybe with other gifts if that’s the Bunny’s tradition in your house. Then your family can make pancakes or waffles with all the found berries... a fun & healthy idea for easter morning!

 

Bringing Balance: Fun Healthy Easter Ideas


• Sometimes the Bunny leaves secret clues in eggs to the “big stash”, instead of chocolate, so the search becomes a bit of a scavenger or treasure hunt.  Kids absolutely love solving the puzzle, and a small wrapped gift for each is the prize at the
end of the trail.

 

Bringing Balance: Fun Healthy Easter Ideas

• If your kids are money-lovers like my son, the Bunny might hide eggs with dimes or quarters in them, and a note in the morning advising that the money collected in the egg hunt can be used to purchase items at the Easter Store once all the loot has been
found.  The Store can sell small dollar store items or even a couple of larger gifts like a much-desired book, action figure or CD.

Happy Healthy Easter!

 

Wendy McCallum, LLB, RHN, is passionate about providing busy parents with the tools & support they need to feed their families wholesome food, so everyone can play, learn, and feel better!  She is a mother of two terrific HRM kids, aged 8 & 9. For information and recipe ideas, visit her website....

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  • Category: HRM Parent

Bookworm: Reading wth Reptiles

Bookworm: Reading wth Reptiles

From skating and sledding to art camps and puppet shows, there was plenty to do in Halifax this March break. But if our visit to the Discovery Centre was any indication, thousands of kids spent their break exploring our city’s museums. Right now, one of Halifax’s most popular exhibits seems to be the Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo presentation at the Museum of Natural History, Living Under Fire: Life in the Desert.

So, for all those kids who spent time learning about reptiles this month, here are some silly stories about everyone’s favourite pre-historic lizards: Dinosaurs.

 

Dinosaur’s Binket by Sandra Boynton

Ages 0-2

 Bookworm: Reading wth Reptiles

While some children have stuffed elephants or bears, Dinosaur has his binket—a soft, fuzzy yellow blanket. One night, when Dinosaur realizes that his binket is missing, bedtime turns to chaos. No matter what his mother says, there’s no way Dinosaur is going to bed binketless. But when the binket is finally found, Dinosaur quickly snuggles in and goes to sleep. With its touch and feel pages, babies and toddlers will love this sweet, colourful board book.

 

Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by David Roberts

Ages: 3-6

Bookworm: Reading wth Reptiles

This rollicking, rhyming story begins when a Compsognathus steals a small egg from a duckbill dinosaur’s nest. That egg would have been lunch, if the tiny thieving reptile had not been startled by “a mean Tyrannosaurus and his grim and grisly bride.” He drops the egg and it rolls to a stop alongside two eggs in the T. Rex’s nest. When the eggs hatch, it quickly become obvious that one of the dinosaurs is different. As he gets bigger, he’s teased by the meat-eating dinosaurs and given the nickname “Tyrannosaurus Drip”. Fed up, he runs away and joins a herd of duckbill dinosaurs. He quickly discovers that even though he can’t hunt, he can swim!  Young readers will be thrilled when the T. Rex’s discover that hunting doesn’t solve everything…

 

Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp by Carol Diggory Shields, illustrated by Scott Nash

Ages 2-4

 Bookworm: Reading wth Reptiles

Dinosaurs are quick to spread the word when there’s a chance to dance. After spending the day getting ready, all kinds of dinosaurs quickly make “dinosaur tracks for the Dinosaur Stomp.”  And whether they arrive by air, land, or sea, there’s no shortage of guests at this party.  Soon enough, the band begins with a “Boomalacka boomalacka! Whack! Whack! Whack!” and the dancing is quick to follow. This lively book with its sing-song text will have kids bouncing along with the antics of these musical dinos.

 

No T. Rex in the Library by Toni Buzzeo, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

Ages 3-5

 Bookworm: Reading wth Reptiles

Tess is visiting the library with her mother when she gets out of control and starts making a ruckus. When she won’t follow the rules, her mother put her in time out. But for Tess, that time-out is anything but a break.  It’s up to her to restore the peace when a T. Rex comes roaring out of the book she’s reading and begins tearing around the library, leaving a trail of destruction behind him. Luckily, Tess knows how to get him back under control.

 

Sarah Sawler lives in St Margarets Bay, N.S., with her partner and her two boys. A love of reading has inspired her career in magazine and web writing, as well as her new website and blog www.booksbetweenthelines.ca...

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But Mommm: Daredevil

Our loving, sweet, funny, adorable son is a daredevil. When this trait first started to appear about six months ago, I’d laugh it off with a stereotypical comment about boys. “Wow, little boys really are different,” or, “Now I understand what everyone says about little boys being so active.”

As time has worn on, though, I’ve come to realize that maybe his risky behavior is more personality than gender. He’s the kid who will jump off the table toward you (even if you’re not looking) with full confidence that you’ll catch him. He’s the one who is addicted to plugs and seems to feel it’s his mission to scour the house holding some kind of appliance until he finds somewhere to plug it in. He’s the one who likes to jump down the stairs…not just one or two…but from four or five stairs up.

Adding to the issue is that he’s an incredibly agile kid. He lands those jumps and then looks up with a smile and says, “Fun!” We look away for a second and he’s sitting on the back of the couch or has climbed up onto the counter. He hangs off things, he can jump quite a distance and tests it out from one piece of furniture to another and he can go up the stairs on the wrong side of the railing.

But Mommm: Daredevil

We’re not complacent. There are safety measures in place and he is disciplined for things that are really dangerous. With that being said, I’m realizing that it’s actually hard to educate and prepare him because we really don’t ever know what he’s going to try next (and let’s face it, he just turned two, it’s not like he’s going to warn us).

As parents, we all keep a close eye on our kids – I’m learning that having a ‘risk taker’ takes that to a whole new level. I feel like I’ve mastered the art of knowing where he is at all times and knowing that when it’s quiet, he’s up to something. I can also hold a conversation and somehow keep a decent train of thought while following him with my eagle eyes around a room.

Priority number one is to keep him safe. Finding the balance between keeping him safe and letting him explore his physical capabilities is the question. I must admit that this is a different kind of parenting than we’ve experienced in the past. I somehow had the illusion when we had our third that we were old pros but really, it’s not true at all. Sure you learn some tips and tricks along the way but the number of kids you have really doesn’t mean a thing. I’ve come to realize that every child, every personality and every interaction (even if they give you minor heart attacks) is wonderfully different.

 

Deanna is a Mom of three, wife, marketer and blogger - lover of travel, morning coffee, family time, belly laughs, good friends and uninterrupted showers! Follow her on twitter @DeannaCMiller
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Time Well Spent: An Hour for the Earth

It's Earth Hour tonight...and it's always a winner in our books. Not only does it force your family to spend serious quality time together, but it helps the planet as well.  Doesn’t get much better than that!

 

Earth Hour is tonight (March 23rd, 2013) at 8:30pm and we’re putting the challenge out to all our HRM Parents and families to join the hundreds of millions of people across the globe who will switch off the lights in their homes and businesses for one whole hour. It’s the world’s largest public action for the environment and we’re proud to be a part of it.

To make it even easier for you to participate, here are some ideas for how to spend the time. Who knows, you may end up having so much fun you’ll keep it going well beyond 60 minutes!
 

Where on Earth? Grab a globe or atlas and have fun looking up all the places you’ve travelled to or want to visit. Then look up the places where your friends and family live or have visited. Who knows, you may end up planning a fun family vacation before the night is over?

Time Well Spent: An Hour for the Earth

Story Time: Have everyone come to Earth Hour prepared with some funny stories to share. Pick some quirky themes and have them make up some stories or poems to fit. Some ideas might include: my most embarrassing moment, why I don’t like mustard or if I could be a superhero I would…

Memory Lane: Calling all sentimental parents!!  Earth Hour is the perfect time to pull out the old photo albums and fancy scrapbooks and take the family on a stroll down memory lane. Do your kids know the story about the day they were born? Or when you first found out you were going to be a parent? Have they seen any family wedding photos, or pics of Uncle Bill before he went bald?  Who knows where it will take you.

Time Well Spent: An Hour for the Earth

Board Games:  Love ‘em or hate ‘em - there’s really nothing like a little family friendly competition!  Pictionary, Monopoly, Candy Land, Risk, Clue, Trivial Pursuit, Cranium, Boggle…and more. Go grab a few from the basement and let the games begin!

Yuck!  This may get a little messy but it’ll sure help them remember Earth Hour.  Even though Halloween is still months away, enjoy the darkness by pulling out all the gooey stuff from the kitchen for some “Guess what you’re Feeling” fun.  You know – peeled grapes as eyeballs, cooked macaroni as brains…eek!  For a not so slimy version – pick unusual objects from around the house and place them in bags for people to feel and guess what they are.

 

Just remember to ensure all the candles you may light during the hour are away from flammable items, well out of reach of little hands and are extinguished afterwards.

We hope you have a fun evening and make HRM’s Earth Hour a successful one!...

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Weekend Wrap-up: March 23-24, 2013

Weekend Wrap-up: March 23-24, 2013

1. It's the annual Slush Cup at Martock on Sat. Come cheer on participants or join in the fun! Or strap on some skiis or a snowboard and enjoy the limited time left on the hills! 2. Have fun with drawing! Learn or improve your techniques, such as contouring and shading, with the talented Janet from EngleArt Studio at this great event! At the Bedford Public Library on Saturday, Ages 5+ 3. It's Earth Hour on Saturday! During this hour, millions of people in over 7,000 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories will switch their lights off to raise awareness about environmental challenges. It is the largest symbolic mass participation event in the world! So shut everything down, grab some boardgames or stories and light some candles. 4. Call all cheer fans... head to the Halifax Forum this weekend for the Cheerleading and Dance National Championships.  Loads of seating for spectators for this 2 day cheerleading competition that's not to be missed! 5. Create your own Easter basket based on traditional Mi’kmaq patterns and techniques. Parents are welcome to join in. Presented by the Nova Scotia Basketry Guild. Space is limited and registration is required at the Alderney Gate Public Library on Sunday at 2pm! 6. Hop to it! Join the Easter Bunny in Centre Court, Sunnyside Mall, for stories, FREE photos and spring adventures! BUNNY TALES 1:00 - 1:30 Join the Bunny and Indigo Spirit as they share in Bunny Adventures and storytime. BUNNY PHOTOS 1:30 - 3:30 FREE photos with the Easter Bunny! BUNNY TREATS 1:30 – 3:30 Hop over to Laura Secord to collect a special treat for the kids. *while quantities last. ...

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I'm Hungry: Alphabet Food

We know getting kids to eat can often be a challenge - so why not kick off Spring with this fun approach to meal planning and eat your letters!  Start with A and make your way through the alphabet each evening including a food that starts with the letter of the day. The kids will have fun helping come up with food ideas and eating their alphabet. Here are some ideas to get you started:

A: Avocado, Apples, Alfalfa Sprouts

B: Banana, Butternut Squash, Beans

C: Cabbage, Calzones, Carrots

I'm Hungry: Alphabet Food

D: Dill pickles, Dates

E: Eggs, Edamame, Eggplant

F: Fajitas, Feta cheese, Flax seeds

G: Greek yogurt, green beans, Guacamole

I'm Hungry: Alphabet Food

H: Haddock, Hamburgers

I: Iceberg Lettuce, Italian Sausage

J: Jalapeno Peppers, Jam

K: Kale, Kamut, Kidney Beans

I'm Hungry: Alphabet Food

L: Lasagna, Lemon, Lobster

M: Mac-n-Cheese, Melon, Milk

N: Noodles, Nectarines, Naan Bread

O: Oranges, Omelette, Olives

P: Peppers, Pineapple, Pork

I'm Hungry: Alphabet Food

Q: Quiche, Quesadillas

R: Ravioli, Rice, Roast Beef

S: Sushi, Strawberries, Salad

T: Tomato, Tofu, Turkey

I'm Hungry: Alphabet Food

U: Udon noodles

V: V8 Juice, Vermicelli noodles

W: Watermelon, Whole grain bread, Wild rice

I'm Hungry: Alphabet Food

X: x marks the spot on take-out tonight!

Y: Yams, Yellow Beans, Yogurt

Z: Ziti, Zucchini...

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Time Well Spent: A Spring Snow Day!

A snow day on the first day of Spring? Yikes. The kids may love it but for working parents, snow days aren't always met with as much excitement. Having to re-juggle the day, move meetings and keep the kids occupied. Here's a few fun snow day activites to help you out.

A backyard canvas: Snowmen are always fun but why not brighten up the backyard a little more?  Mix a few drops of food coloring to containers of water then give your little Picasso a big paintbrush and let him go.   There’s no better canvas than a yard full of bright white snow to let the imagination run wild. 

Time Well Spent: A Spring Snow Day!

Snow Castles: Since you’re probably dreaming about the beach…try pretending you are for a moment, and create a snow castle. If  the beach toys aren’t handy, a quick search around the kitchen for plastic containers, an empty milk carton (with the tops cut off) and metal bowls will all do the trick to help build a castle fit for any little prince or princess.  For even more beach time fun, pull out the lawn chairs and kick back to enjoy your hot chocolate or blow up the beach balls for a game of catch in the snow! 

Ready Set, Snow: Stir up a little friendly family competition and create a backyard obstacle course for everyone to race through.  Pile mounds of snow around the yard to jump, crawl or slide over.  Making them different sizes and shapes, only adds to the fun.

Time Well Spent: A Spring Snow Day!

The Classics: Don’t let the snow stop you from enjoying some of the good ‘ol fashioned outdoor games like tug-o-war, three legged race, potato sack, tag or a balloon toss…they will be harder in the snow but that’s what will make it all the more fun!  

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Lessons Learned: 5 Habits of Happy Learners

Lessons Learned: 5 Habits of Happy Learners
 
A child who is learning, succeeding and expanding his or her mind is a happy child. You can't always control what happens at school, or assist in your child's learning while he or she is in the classroom. Yes, education begins at home from birth, but as soon as children are ready for primary parents are forced to relinquish attachment to each piece of information children absorb and how well they activate this new knowledge.
 
However, this being the case, it should be your goal as a parent to equip your children to get the most out of their complete learning experiences -- both at school and home. Wonder what you can do to ensure your child has the basic tools that prove to bring success at school? We have searched out the five simple daily habits of every happy and flourishing young learner. Don't wait – implement these life-changing habits today.
 
 
Sleep.
Children who get adequate rest do better in school. Why is this? Sleep has a great positive effect on memory, which is the cornerstone of learning. Alternately, a lack of sleep significantly impairs the learning process. While the amount of rest the night before school has a direct effect on that day's learning, proper sleep for the following three or more nights can assure the knowledge is engrained and processed. Sleep deprivation can also damage areas of the brain, cause stress, illness and more obviously, an inability to concentrate. Children up to age 12 should get between 10 and 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, while 12-18 year olds should aim for 9 hours.
 
Eat (Well!)
A filling breakfast consisting of low sugar choices like fibrous whole grains (bread and cereal should always be whole grain), eggs, fruit, vegetables and nuts will improve memory, alertness and information processing. Negatively, junk food or foods high on the glycemic index such as processed white carbs and sugar will lower cognitive functioning. A mid-morning snack is almost as important, and should be something like a boiled egg (rich in brain-enhancing choline) or yogurt with blueberries, rather than a processed, packaged snack. Looking for great ways to incorporate nutrition for your family? Join Real Food For Real Families' Wendy McCallum at Oxford Learning in Bedford on Thursday, March 21st for a valuable and fun information session.
 
Lessons Learned: 5 Habits of Happy Learners
 
Move.
Exercise enhances learning by consolidating and storing memories. It also stimulates many areas of the brain, including those which help store new skills. Worried your child isn't active enough because he or she doesn't play sports or get away from the iPad enough? A minimum of 15 minutes a day of out-of-breath active play (running, dancing, or vigorous playground time) is ultimately one of the keys to your child's success in school. If the Wii is the only way, so be it, but aim to get them outside to run around – fresh air is another essential tool toward a clear mind and cognitive ability.
 
Lessons Learned: 5 Habits of Happy Learners
 
Get Organized.
An organized mind is an engaged mind, and a cluttered life makes for a cluttered mind. To feel confident, your child must feel in control and prepared. Preparation and organization are tools which can either tap into a child's awareness and learning, or when lacking, can severely exacerbate existing issues. Wonder if your child feels organized? Check out his or her binder, backpack, desk and bedroom. Chances are if his or her belongings are full of clutter, your child doesn't have a grip on the assignments and material being covered in class. Worried about your child's organization skills? At Oxford, we have specific homework planning and calendar practice methods to engage and educate your child on these skills. Organization equals confidence and ability, period. Get them on track now, or the mess will only consume them further.
 
Lessons Learned: 5 Habits of Happy Learners
 
5. Be Busy.
But not too busy! Students who have three to five extra curricular or social activities such as a musical instrument, sport, club, group or other community activity are proven to be more successful in school. This doesn't always point directly to structure or sports, and can simply mean an active and healthy social life. Confidence can also be gained in a setting like Oxford Learning, where students work in small groups and can find fun after school while still adapting to a group setting. While lessons, practices and recurring sessions are one part of why extra-curriculars are so educational, it is the social aspect that may have the greatest positive influence on your child's overall development and capacity to make school another area they excel.
 
 
 
Written by Suzanne Hartman, Teacher at Oxford Learning, which offers programs for children from 3 years old through university. Our goal is to give students the skills they need to be successful in school and in life. Oxford Learning has locations in Halifax, Hammonds Plains and Bedford. For more information about our programs and services, including our camps, visit us at www.oxfordlearning.com...

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