Tag Archives: Ontario

Girls Night In

Have you ever thought about the amount of money you spend on an average Saturday night out?  If you factor in the new outfit, pre-drinks, beverages at the bar, cover, taxis to and from and of course the after-bar-grub, you’re easily looking at over one hundred dollars. Now multiply that by all your best girlfriends and see what you’ve got.

Have you ever thought about what else you could do with that money?

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Why not host a Girls Night In to support the Canadian Cancer Society. The idea is that you invite all your favourite women to spend a Saturday night in. The details of the evening can be customized to suit you and your friends but the whole idea is to donate the money you would have spent on a night out.  Your donation will help to fund women’s Cancers* research. You can find more information here or you can attend the Girls Night In free open house at Posh Pedicure Lounge.

Girls Night In Open House

Enjoy an evening with the girls while learning how to host your very own Girls Night In event. Highlights of the evening include $10 hand massages, $15 mini-manicures, giveaways like belly dancing and Booty Camp classes and of course the company of other fantastic women.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 25, 2010
Time: 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Location: Posh Pedicure Lounge 57 York Street, London, Ontario

To learn more or to donate visit Girls Night In Open House.

Hope to see you there!

*breast, cervical, ovarian and uterine cancers.

I Love Bugs! Bobs & LoLo Ticket Giveaway

 CONGRATULATIONS TO ROBERT.  HE IS THE W INNER OF THE BOBS & LOLO TICKET GIVEAWAY.  ENJOY THE SHOW ROBERT!

Listen up London (literally) because on Saturday November 6th Treehouse TV’s Bobs & LoLo are coming to London and you’ll have a chance to win 2 tickets to their morning performance.  Contest information will be displayed at the bottom of this post. 

If you have a young child then you likely know Bobs & LoLo.  With catchy, toe-tapping songs like “I Love Bugs”, this singing duo quickly becomes a family favourite. 

In our home we all stop what we’re doing when one of Bobs & LoLo’s videos come on TV.  Little S loves to sing and dance along.  When I heard the news of their planned performances I was excited and I wanted to know more about them so I decided to ask. Bobs and Lolo shared the story of how they met, their inspirations and some of their future plans.

City Mom: Tell me a bit about yourselves.
Bobs & Lolo: We first connected at a Girl Guide camp on Vancouver Island when we were kids. After a fun-filled weekend of campfire sing-along’s, silliness and laughter, our friendship was sealed!  We went to different elementary schools but ended up filtering into the same high school (Dover Bay Secondary). Our friendship continued to grow from there and we began singing together in the school choir.  We also studied piano with the same music teacher and hit the courts together as power forward (Bobs) and shooting guard (Lolo) on the Dover Bay girls’ basketball team. Go Dolphins Go!

CM: How did Bobs & LoLo come to be?
B&L: We didn’t start our B&L adventures with a real plan; it really just evolved from our friendship and a mutual interest in working with children. “Bobs & LoLo” were actually our nicknames in high school, so we were B&L long before songwriting and children’s entertainment was introduced to our lives.  

Before we started our musical adventures, Robyn (Bobs) was teaching elementary school prior to which she had completed a degree in linguistics at the University of Victoria and a Bachelor of Education at UBC. Lorraine (Lolo) previously worked in the fields of environmental education and non-profit fund development.  Her academic background includes a Bachelor of Human Kinetics (Exercise Science) from UBC.

Songwriting and performing really started out as a side project for us. It was a fun way to create some content for our jobs working with children.  We never dreamed it would lead to running our own small business much less national television!

Our very first show was in the spring of 2003 at an event hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium for patients from the BC Children’s Hospital. We had only written 5 songs at that point and we volunteered to basically sing them over and over throughout the event. That first performance opportunity led to us doing lots of local birthday parties which eventually led to our first CD.  That led to bigger shows and so on. 

Our biggest “break” to date has definitely been the broadcast of our music videos on Treehouse TV. We feel so fortunate to have been able to get our On Your Feet DVD in front of the right folks in Toronto.  The opportunity to connect with families across the country through Canada’s national preschool network has been amazing.

While the partnership with Treehouse is still relatively new, the TV exposure has already opened up new performance opportunities for us, and we’ve been able to build our CD and DVD distribution beyond Western Canada. We’re hoping this is just the start, and we’ll be able to keep things go, go, growing in the upcoming years.

CM: What is it about your songs and performances that you think children like so much?
B&L: We put a lot of energy into making our music educational, family focused and listener friendly for all ages. We want our music to engage and inspire children to learn more about the topic at hand, to care about the world around them and above all to get up and dance!

We think the kids really respond to the music first and the storyline of the songs  second. We also think the kids really enjoy connecting with us as ‘real’ people given that they often live in a world filled with animated or make-believe characters.

CM: What message are you hoping to share with children?
B&L: Our main goal is to really just inspire kids to care about the world around them. We try to use the tools of music, movement and make-believe to connect children with positive messaging about the natural world.  At the same time we want to show them that their actions can make a difference for themselves, the people around them and the planet. It’s conservation messaging at a level that’s appropriate for preschoolers.

CM: What do you like most about being Bobs & LoLo?
B&L: Performing for young audiences is by far the best part!  The things kids say, the way they move and the endless energy our audiences bring to our shows is rewarding, inspiring and motivating. We can both honestly say that we would not be performing or putting in the long hours behind-the-scenes without the kids cheering us on (parents too)!

CM: What is your favourite Bobs & LoLo song?
B&L: It’s hard for us to pick a favourite. The choice for us really comes down to the children`s top picks. Our current favourite songs to perform are Raindrop Pop (they really seem to love this one!), I Love Bugs (interpretive bug dancing by preschoolers is awesome!) and Cindy Seahorse (the best cuddle song ever!).

CM: Do you write your own songs?   Where do you get your inspiration for writing them?
B&L: We do write all of our own songs. We write about things we love like nature, friendship and family.  We usually just try to tell a story with the songs and the lyrics and music come together naturally.  It’s a really organic process for us. We don’t follow a formula or have a real system for songwriting. Writing the lyrics is a fun, creative process that we like to do together. Sometimes the final version of a song is completely different from what we started with and other times we come up with something that works right away. Songwriting is a nice break from the regular office work and occasionally it’s a good excuse to enjoy a bottle of red wine.

CM: What does the future hold for Bobs and Lolo?
B&L: We’re putting together some ideas for a fourth album that we hope to release in the early New Year. We also have many upcoming performances including our shows in London and Brampton this week.  We have a heap of holiday events on the west coast. We are also looking to continue building our relationship with Treehouse TV, and we hope to produce some new content with them down the road. On a personal note, we’re both keen to start families.

Bobs & LoLo Ticket Giveaway
Enter to win a set of Bobs & LoLo tickets.  Tickets are for the 11am performance on Saturday, November 6th at Aeolian Hall in London.  Note:  Performances do not have assigned seating.

How to Enter
Leave a comment and include your name and you or your child’s favourite Bobs & LoLo song. Check out song titles and sample tracks at bobsandlolo.com.

Contest Details
The contest will be open until Thursday November 4th at 6pm ET.  A winner will be selected at random using random.org.  The winner will be notified at the email address used when entering the contest.  The winner will have until 9am on Friday November 5th to accept the prize by responding to the notification email.  If the winner is unable to accept the prize another random winner will be selected.

Good luck!

Find Bobs & LoLo:
Web:  www.bobsandlolo.com
Twitter:  @BobsAndLoLo
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/BobsandLoLo

Ticket Information: Tickets are only $15

Waste Reduction Week / Giveaway

Hey London, let’s step up to the plate and hit one out of the park; funny, I’m not even a baseball fan but this timely analogy seems fitting as we’ve got quite the challenge ahead of us. Starting today and running until Sunday, October 24th Waste Reduction Week (WRW) is taking place and London is at the forefront of this initiative.

HISTORY
WRW dates as far back as the mid 1980’s when a number of environmental organizations rallied together to hold waste reduction events. In 2001 these organizations came together to create the national event now known as Waste Reduction Week in Canada. The Recycling Council of Ontario was the leader of the efforts put in place in our province and London has been a determined member of the RCO for many years.

GOAL
The WRW action is a call to all Canadians to reduce their waste; plain and simple. Many of us are already doing our part in our homes and at work to reduce our waste. This dedicated week is designed to remind and motivate individuals and families to share their experience and find new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.

STATISTICS
In 2008 London accumulated an overall total of 159,380 tonnes of waste. Of that total:

  • 59 percent or 93, 650 tonnes were delivered directly to a landfill
  • 41 percent or 65,730 tonnes of total waste was diverted
    • 9,400 tonnes were reduced on-site (at home) through composting and/or grasscycling
    • 18,270 tonnes were reduced through centralized composting
    • 27,660 tonnes were recycled through the curb side program, multi-residential program, materials delivered to the Community EnviroDepots, public space bins and electronics
    • 10,400 tonnes were reduced through other programs such as wood and scrap metal waste and white goods

HOW TO GET INVOLVED
There is a multitude of ways in which you can contribute and you’re probably already doing many of them but here are some helpful tips to assist you this week:

  1. Visit the websites linked above to find new ways to follow the three R’s and to learn of the programs London offers.
  2. Visit City Mom each day this week to learn of new ideas to carry out waste reduction in your home.
  3. Participate in the City Mom challenge and giveaway.

THE CHALLENGE

  1. After reading this post, go out into the world and practice the three R’s in as many new and unique ways you can.
  2. Come back to City Mom, click on the ‘Leave a Comment’ link at the top of this post and share your experience with us.
  3. You can enter as many times as you would like with a new idea that you have implemented each time.
  4. Entries must include something you did to support Waste Reduction Week.
  5. Challenge is open to Canadian residents only.

THE GIVEAWAY

  1. The submission that has received the most ‘Thumbs Up’ votes (City Mom will not be voting) by 5:00PM ET on Sunday October 24th will receive a package of two Filtrate High Performance  furnace filters by 3M (to fit your furnace). These filters are designed to help your furnace perform more efficiently; this will save you money and reduce energy consumption. Filtrate High Performance filters also contribute to improving the air quality in your home for the health and safety of your family.
  2. The winner will be contacted at the email address provided during entry.
  3. Good luck, have fun and happy reducing!

MONDAY’S WASTE REDUCTION TIP
Send your child to school with a waste-free lunch:

  • Use reusable containers for sandwiches instead of sandwich bags
  • Buy lunch items in bulk or family size to reduce packaging
  • Use a thermos for beverages instead of juice boxes or bottled water
  • Use a reusable lunch bag instead of plastic or paper lunch sacks
  • Send an absorbent cloth for wiping up after lunch instead of wipes or napkins

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net Photographed by Nuttakit.

Amy-of-All-Trades

Today I want to ask you a question; what is your passion? What do you love to do?

Are you sitting in front of your screen smiling because I just caused you to think of something you love, or are you scratching your head wondering how to answer this query?  If you’re identifying with the latter, you are not alone.  Most people are not in tune with their passion; just getting by in life, not ahead.   Discovering your passion is one of the best things you can do for yourself because what happens next will delight you and will unfold before your very eyes.

I have come to learn that my passion has always been my passion but I never gave it the time it deserved.  You will likely find that your passion has presented itself to you on a number of occasions before you actually discovered it and with some thought and consideration its recurring theme will flash at you like hotel signage on Las Vegas Boulevard.   

In discovering my passion my world has opened up.  I am more confident, more knowledgeable, more content and more motivated about my future.  I am a better person, a better mother and a better wife.  I have done things that are out of my comfort zone, made new friends and begun to surround myself with people who share similar interests.  I now have a better appreciation for the things I value and the goals I want to achieve. 

One of the remuneration for all this hard work has come in the form of a new friend.  Her name is Amy-of-All-Trades.  Actually she is just called Amy but Amy-of-All-Trades is her business name.  I have taken a fast liking to her and have felt a strong connection with her.  This doesn’t happen to me very often but I attribute it to the fact that her whole philosophy behind her business is based on pursuing her life’s passion.  She has created a blog and business based on two common goals:

1.  To live a jubilant  life and 
2.  To provoke thought in others about how one lives

Amy has created a challenge for herself:

Goal:  Amy is eager to fulfill her need for soulful work. She wants to raise $500 to source the cost of a training course required to pursue her life’s passion.  Of all funds raised, 25% will be donated to a good cause. She provides experienced services while wearing many hats:

  • Dog caretaker (walks, visits etc.)
  • Fashion Designer/Sewer
  • Visual Artist
  • Child caretaker (she is a former nanny)
  • Provider of Purpose Sessions (establishing your Life Purpose Statement)

Progress:  Amy has earned $260 so far.  She is more than halfway to her goal of $500.

I really respect Amy’s attitude and spirited outlook on life.  I want to spread the love as my contribution and as a means to pay it forward.  Visit her blog to find out more about her and to catch this contagious bug.  Consider booking one of her services to be a part of this unique concept and tell her City Mom sent you and you’ll get an extra smile! 🙂

Amy`s contact information:
Web: www.amylynn.intuitwebsites.com
Blog:  http://amyoat.wordpress.com
Email:  amy-of-all-trades@live.ca
Twitter:  @amyoat
Phone:  (519)868-6721

London Votes 2010 Part IIII – Eric Southern

Eric Southern

Eric Southern

 

One of my favourite sayings goes like this: “Time is a healer, a friend, a maker of dreams.” I always liked this saying because it shed a favourable light on time opposed to the usual tendency towards it. No one ever has enough of it; it moves too quickly or moves too slowly. In today’s case I don’t have such a positive attitude. It’s because I do not have enough time as a full-time Mom with a full-time career, whom is also a full-time daughter, sister and friend with a giant part-time passion. It is because of this lack of time that I decided to narrow my inquiry into the 2010 Mayoral Campaign down to the two ‘front runners’. I did not see how it would be possible to interview (in person) 14 candidates, dictate the conversations and create the subsequent blog entries, so I only bit off as much as I could chew. 

Thankfully, a persistent Mayoral candidate, Eric Southern, helped me see the error of my ways. Could it be true that we perceive the two front-runners based on the exposure we have received from the various media sources? There are 12 other candidates that I did not interview and that we really haven’t heard much about. 

In the interest of time, I interviewed Eric Southern via email and am happy to share the results with you today. 

City Mom: Can you share a summary of what your 2010 campaign platform will include?  

Eric Southern: My campaign platform includes innovative ways to help correct some of the issues of our city. To address the issue of unemployment and make London a strong leader in technology I am proposing the city build a fiber network infrastructure. To increase the quality, delivery and efficiency of city services I plan on implementing a philosophical change to a Kaizen style of management and procedures at city hall and all city services. A Kaizen philosophy empowers the workers to increase their quality of life as well as their own productivity, which results in a more effective delivery of service as well as a happier and more engaged workforce. To increase the accountability of the city government to the people of London I plan on adopting the principles of open government

CM: I often enjoy walks throughout the downtown core with my husband and young daughter, but we always stay away from Dundas Street, between Ridout and Wellington. I have seen plans for revitalization of that area such as the LTC pilot project to reroute bus service, and the attempts to fill retail space with national chains and large independent businesses. What else are you planning to carry out to bring that section of downtown back to life and make it a family friendly place?  

ES: I plan on incentivizing the development of unoccupied or dilapidated buildings in the downtown area by increasing the tax rates for those buildings. I am also considering increasing taxes on parking lots that do not meet a vehicle occupancy rate which would incentivize creating multi-level parking facilities as opposed to more flat (unattractive) lots. I also plan on restructuring the bus routes throughout London to be based on arterial routes and support changes to the LTC restructuring of routes throughout the area. 

CM: There are many wonderful parks in the downtown core. A new recreational swimming pool was opened in Gibbons Park this summer and the revitalization of Piccadilly Park took place. What other Parks & Recreation enhancements are scheduled for the downtown core for 2011 and on? 

ES: I currently do not know all of the enhancements scheduled for 2011 but would like to have the city highlight and showcase the parks in the downtown area to better attract young families and professionals. I would work with Parks & Recreation as well as non-profits such as Reforest London to help increase the quality of green space in London. 

CM: Will the Parks & Recreation budget receive the same funding as we saw in 2009 & 2010? 

ES: I think that the Parks & Recreation budget is reasonable and hope to help expand the parks in London during my tenure. Considering all of the work accomplished by the Parks and Recreation Program, I will do my best to maintain their $11 million budget. 

CM: City Plaza (formerly Galleria) has seemed to struggle for years now. Do you have any long-term plans for City Plaza? 

ES: I currently do not see very many issues with City Plaza, if you have any please let me know. 

CM: Is there a possibility that we would see a big chain grocery store moving in to make it more convenient for families and individuals living in the downtown core? 

ES: I think there is a definite lack of service for groceries in the downtown area. I am not certain that City Plaza is the most appropriate place for locating a grocery store. I would do my best to have a developer in the area build a ground level grocery store in a new or existing development by using possible tax incentives. There are many factors that will make this feasible such as the fiber network being deployed downtime first, the attraction to downtown for new businesses due to the fiber, and the incentivized tax rates for dilapidated or abandoned buildings. 

CM: I recently created a post on City Mom called a Tale of Two Cities where I made a comparison between London and Toronto. I received feedback from my London readers that there was a lack of Mom & Tot programs available in the city. Do you have plans to increase city funding for such programs or offer incentives to private businesses wishing to open such programs in the downtown core?  

ES: I plan on supporting the libraries and community centers in their execution of services to the people of London. As I have a vested interest in expanding Mom & Tot programs in the near future I will do my best to see that those services are adequately covered by the libraries and community centers throughout London. I will also support non-profit groups in providing these services to families in London. 

****** 

Eric’s Campaign Site:  www.ericsouthern.ca
Twitter: @EricForMayor

Autumn Inspirations

Fall is my favourite time of year. I adore the crisp cool weather, the changing colours on the trees and the smells of burning leaves, freshly baked pumpkin pie and roasted turkey dinners; all things that autumn brings. This time of year always inspires me, and when I feel inspired I love to cook and bake. This past Saturday I woke up with a plan, and that plan involved making magic happen in the kitchen so I set off to the market to collect my ingredients. 

The Covent Garden Market has not received enough attention on City Mom. We are  really lucky to have such an eclectic, quaint and convenient market so close to home. There are so many fabulous things to see and do at the market and some amazing food vendors. I started out by purchasing a Halloween costume for little S at a 100% Canadian children’s clothing vendor called Happy Wear. All the clothes are made here in London. It feels so great to buy and support locally.  

Next I explored the food vendors. I scoured store after store and became inspired to make my two menu choices completely organic. This is not something I normally do. I buy some organic items here and there at my local grocery store but (due mainly to the cost and availability of organic ingredients) I usually go for the more cost-friendly option of non organic so I was rather surprised when I fell in love with a store called Homeopathy London in the northeast corner of the market. I found everything you could ever need to care for your family in the organic, enviro-friendly format from chlorine-free diapers to complete skin care lines for women. There was an entire section devoted to babies & children with names like Seventh Generation, Erba Organics, Weleda & Green Beaver Company.  It was confirmed for me that cost truly is a big factor when buying organic. For example a 32 pack of Broody Chick 100% natural, fully compostable diapers is $27.95 in comparison to $17.97 for a 140 pack of Pampers Baby Dry at a store like Walmart. Obviously you get what you pay for and the more expensive choice is clearly the better one for your child and for the environment but you need to have the budget available to shop in this manner. I long for the means to shop like this on a regular basis. 

But I digress…back to my dinner. I found all of my dry ingredients in this store, my fresh organic vegetables at Havaris Produce and my meat at Field Gate Organics. After a quick validation of my parking voucher (parking is offered free for two hours on weekends and thirty minutes on weekdays) I was heading back home to create my masterpieces. I’m sharing the recipes because they were both so delicious and perfect on a cool Fall evening.  

Autumn Beef Barely Soup
2 lbs ground beef (I used extra lean)
1 large onion chopped
½ cup chopped celery
3.5 cups water
29 oz beef broth*
1 cup barley
29 oz canned diced tomatoes
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp garlic powder
*I used 1 tsp of Better Than Bouillon organic beef base to 8 oz of boiling water as an alternative to the beef broth.  

Directions:
1. In a Dutch oven, cook the ground beef, onions and celery over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the water and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Add barley and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
2. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat to low; simmer for 1 to 2 hours.
This recipe yields 3 quarts and is perfect for freezing. Thaw in fridge. Place in a saucepan and heat through. There, two meals already sorted out for your busy week ahead.  

Autumn Beef Barley Soup

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/3 cups whole wheat flour
3 cups sugar
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
4 eggs
15 oz canned pumpkin*
2/3 cup water
2/3 cup canola oil
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
*I used a 15 oz can of Farmer’s Market Organic pumpkin pie mix as an alternative to the pumpkin pie spice and canned pumpkin.  

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin, water and oil; mix into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
2. Pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 70 – 75 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 – 15 minutes before removing from pans.  

This recipe yields two loaves. Wrap one in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature.  

Chocolate Pumpkin Bread

Note: Soup is best enjoyed with a glass of red wine and pumpkin bread with a hot cup of coffee. Mmmmm! Happy eating and Happy Fall!