Friday 29 September 2017

Tips for a pet-friendly family yard!

1. Consider your pet’s needs.
Dogs love being in your family yard. Most pets need a place to romp and exercise, relax in the shade for an afternoon nap and take bathroom breaks. Your yard should have a fence to keep your dog safely secured.

2. Look for “dog-proof” ground coverings.
Grass is one of the best options for your yard because it can handle the wear and tear that comes with pets and children. Bermuda and buffalo grass are especially hardy. Check your climate zone to select the best option for your area.

3. Avoid plastic grass.
Plastic grass, also known as artificial turf, gets too hot for humans and pets, especially in summer months. A Brigham Young University study revealed that synthetic-turf surface temperatures were 37° higher than asphalt and 86° hotter than natural turf. That’s too hot for pet’s paws and our bare feet to enjoy the outdoors!

4. Select plants for your climate zone and your pet.
Be sure to check the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic garden plants before choosing flora and fauna. For areas near garden paths, select plants that have soft foliage, but are still sturdy enough to withstand a little canine “ruff-housing.” Save delicate flowering plants for patio containers when dogs are in the picture.  

5. Plant for pollinators for other wildlife.
Fido isn’t the only one who uses your family yard. Keep pollinators (bees, butterflies and hummingbirds) and other wildlife in mind when selecting climate-appropriate plants, trees and shrubs. Remember, nature starts in your backyard!
To learn more about how the family yard benefits people and pets and for more tips on taking care of your living landscapes, visit

Fall Books For Teens

Autumn is around the corner, and then Halloween! Who doesn't love a good book about ghosts, monsters, and cemeteries? Sky Pony Press is excited to share with you its favorite spooky stories of 2017.
By A.B. Saddlewick
When Maud's pet rat escapes in the middle of class, it's the last straw. She is transferred from prim and proper Primrose Towers to dark and mysterious Rotwood Middle School. But there's something strange about her new school: all the students and teachers are monsters and second, yet, she feels like she belongs. The catch–Rotwood doesn't allow human students.
By Jonathan Rosen
Devin Dexter's cousin thinks Devin's new neighbor is a warlock, but nobody believes them. Soon, strange things start happening, like the Cuddle Bunny Christmas toy coming to life. These aren't the kind of bunnies you can cuddle with, these bunnies are dangerous. Now, Devin and his cousin must prove his neighbor is a warlock and stop the mob of bunnies before their town is overrun by the cutest little monsters ever.
By Patrick Moody
Ian Fosser is the last in a long line of Gravediggers. Their job is to bury the dead and when Called by the departed, to help settle the worries so spirits can find peace in the Beyond. But Ian doesn't want to help the dead–he wants to be a Healer and help the living. Just before he tells his father, him and his friend are captured by a coven of Weavers, dark magic witches, who want to raise the dead. And only Ian can stop them.

Introducing Your Baby To Peanut Butter!

YES it's true! Delaying the introduction of peanut is no longer recommended.  In fact, all common food allergens, (including: peanut, tree nuts (i.e. walnuts, almonds, cashews), egg, milk products (i.e. yogurt and cheese), wheat, sesame, soy and seafood) can be introduced starting at about six months of age when your baby is ready for solid foods.  

There is no benefit to delaying the introduction of these foods and delaying may actually increase the risk of food allergies.  This is especially true for peanut and egg.  Your baby can enjoy most of the same foods as the rest of the family and that makes family mealtimes easier and fun.   

Consider the following when introducing common food allergens:
  1. Your baby's first solid foods should continue to be high iron foods such as meat, meat alternatives and iron fortified infant cereal.  Many common food allergens are also good sources of iron such as eggs, fish, and tofu.
  2. Modify food textures when needed to reduce risk of choking.
  3. When choosing which food allergens to offer first, choose foods your family regularly enjoys.  For example, if peanut butter is a food that your family eats often this would be a great choice to begin with.  See below for how you can offer peanut butter safely. 
  4. Introduce common food allergens one-at-a time.
How can I make peanut butter safe to offer to my baby?
  • Add 15 mL (1 Tbsp) warm water to 15 mL (1 Tbsp) smooth peanut butter. Mix until smooth and no lumps. Stir into 30 mL (2 Tbsp) prepared infant cereal, oatmeal, applesauce or other pureed or mashed fruit.
Attention: Parents of babies with severe eczema or egg allergy
Talk to your doctor early on about the best time to offer peanut to your baby.  A referral to a pediatric allergist may be recommended before offering peanut to your baby.
For information on reducing risk of food allergy in babies see this health file
If you have questions or concerns about offering peanut and other food allergens to your baby, call Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC by dialing 8-1-1 and asking to speak with the allergy dietitian.

South Park: First 11 Seasons Coming to Blu-ray


Seasons 1-5 Arrive November 21st
Seasons 6-11 Arrive December 19th

Remember when children were abducted by aliens, killed by falling space stations and befriended by talking feces? Ah, the good old days. Now you can relive every supernatural, extraordinary and downright insane adventure of Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny when “South Park” Seasons 1-11 arrive for the first time ever on Blu-ray. 

Each of the first 11 seasons will be released individually in two-disc sets so you can revel in Chef’s Salty Chocolate Balls, Cartman’s Silly Hate Crime and every one of Kenny’s deaths in sparkling high definition. As an added bonus, the Season 1 Blu-ray set will include uncensored episode commentary by series creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, which was not available on the previously released DVD. For your holiday gift-giving pleasure, the first five seasons will be released individually on November 21, 2017 and Seasons 6-11 will debut on December 19.

Celebrating its 20th year on air in 2017, “South Park” debuted on Comedy Central in August of 1997 and has won numerous awards, including five Emmy® Awards and a Peabody® Award. Returning for its 21stseason beginning on September 13th, “South Park” continues to challenge viewers as it holds a mirror up to society with its irreverent brand of social satire. Plus, it’s just really, really funny. 

10 Tips to Prepare Your Immune System for the Fall

Fall is here, which means it’s time to bundle up and prepare your body for the cool weather to come. The immune system is a large collection of different cells that have a primary goal to protect your body and attack foreign organisms or matter. Keeping these natural defenses strong is very important for transitioning into the new season and involves a variety of strategies

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O., a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine is sharing his top 10 ways to keep you strong for the transitioning season.

1.     Exercise on a daily basis: The minimum should be a half hour of walking continuously so as to increase oxygenation to tissues as well as deliver vitamins minerals and hormones to these cells. 

2.     Be sure to get good deep restorative sleep: This should be at least six hours every night. Sleep deprivation not only makes us tired, but decreases function in almost all organs.

3.     Keep chemicals and preservatives out of the diet: We should eat as organically as possible, with the diet comprised of a variety of vegetables, fruits and good protein sources.

4.     Test your blood for vitamins, minerals, and hormones: Thousands of studies over many years have described that vitamin deficiency is correlated with degenerate disease we can give me in response among many others. This test will guide you as to exactly what nutrients you're deficient in, and what you should take. “There is no better test than this,” says Dr. Calapai. 

5.     Do not smoke cigarettes: This is a no brainer for most, as they contain thousands of dangerous chemicals, which can lead to a low immune system.

6.     Be careful with exposure to alcohol: This can have the variety of effects that are hurtful to the body if done in excess

7.     Maintain a clean home environment: In areas where you spend the most time, make sure that surfaces are cleaned with products that can kill germs or viruses. Use HEPA filtration systems to capture particulate matter including dust, allergens or organisms that can make you ill.

8.     Wash your hands thoroughly and a few times during the day and avoid other people that have chronic infection, flu or a virus.

9.     Try to minimize stress, anxiety and irritability: Taking a break for a few minutes during a stressful day can make the stress response much less progressive.

10.  Lastly, be sure to visit your doctor for routine testing and physical exam inform: This ensures you are constantly aware of what is going on with your body.

About the doctor:
Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's. He has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham's, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at

Get $5 when you sign up for Swagbucks

All throughout the month of October you can earn big bonuses at Swagbucks, the rewards site where you earn points (called SB) for things you're probably doing online already, like searching, watching videos, discovering deals, and taking surveys. Then you take those points and exchange them for gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash. 

When you sign up through me this month, you can earn a $5 bonus! Here's how: 

1. Sign up using this link 

2. Earn 300 SB total before 11/1/17. You'll get a $3 (300 SB) bonus for it! 

3. If you spend at least $25 through Swagbucks Shop* you'll get another $2 (200 SB) bonus on top of the cash back you'll get from shopping. If you have some shopping to do online, just go to Swagbucks first and visit the store through them. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but you'll get SB points for every dollar you spend (on top of the bonus)! 

That's it. It's super easy, and Swagbucks is for real. I use it myself, and I've earned hundreds of dollars towards my Christmas shopping and grocery budget! 

*You must receive your shopping SB before December 1st

Thursday 28 September 2017

5 Steps to Teaching Your Child How To Ride A Bike

Many people fear that it is not safe for children, and toddlers specifically to start cycling at such a tender age. On the contrary, cycling at a younger age is very good for your child. It not only improves their fitness but also boosts their mental attitude. Therefore, if you haven’t already maybe because you do not know how to go about it, here are 5 sure steps that will help you teach your child how to ride a bike.
1. Get him to balance right
Cycling is both a sport and an art. You really cannot get it right if you do not have the appropriate gear. For starters, get a balance bike. This will help your child learn to maintain their balance and it will even be easier for him when he upgrades to pedaling later. Balance bikes are most appropriate as they are designed to meet your child’s needs.
They come without pedals and normally without brakes. Hence your child will entirely concentrate on striking a balance on their bike. Make it your priority to see to it that your child can balance on a flat surface as well as a sloppy ground. The next move would be to teach him how to balance and turn to the right, the left, clockwise and anticlockwise. At this stage patience  is a virtue. Parents are encouraged to let their kids do as many repetitions as possible until they get it right.
2. Take it a notch higher
Once your child has mastered balancing then you can advance to a pedal bike. Again, getting the right gear for your child is paramount. The lighter the bike the better since lighter bikes consume far much less leg power. You may need to spend a pretty penny for this though. It is also advisable to go for a set of wheels that range between 14-16 inches. To ascertain the bicycle is ideal for your child, let him sit on the bicycle seat with his legs straight. Do not forget the helmet, elbow and knee pads. Ensure that his feet touch the ground.
The next thing would be to start easy- on an open space which is preferably flat.  While holding the bike seat, let him sit and then support their neck before you start pedaling. Train him to look ahead as opposed to looking at the ground. Practice pedaling while pushing him steadily and repeat this for some time. Once you feel that he his balance and confidence is improved then you can let go. If at all he topples over, then assure him that it is okay and cheer them to go back up again until they get it right.
3. Try out different surfaces
Now that your child can peddle with confidence and perfect balance, move away from the open space. Take him to a sloppy ground. He will find pedaling much easier here. The trick here is to train him to always rest onto the pedal at the top of its revolution such that every time he lifts his foot, the pedal will be in the appropriate position. As he rides down the slope, let him do so without necessarily pedaling. This builds on balance and confidence. Do this over and over again until he gets it right. You will find that he will find it very easy to get the other foot on the other pedal and even pedal automatically down the slope. However if he takes a little longer to get it then encourage him to do it at his own pace. Once you are done with the slope, you can advance to a flat surface. Let his pushing foot rest on the pedal and encourage him to push hard and fast while maintaining their balance. Don’t stay too far away though; you don’t want him to fall and hurt himself.
4. Do it again and again and again!
He has now understood that when it comes to cycling all you need is balance, keenness and confidence. Try out all tricks that you taught him. Get your bicycle, and together, go back to the sloppy ground and later to the flat surface and just cycle.  Getting your child to see you do the very basic things that you taught him sets a good example and also boosts his confidence. When all of you are relatively at par then change the scenery.
Go to the sidewalks and even narrower pavements to let him practice the same tricks in a different setting. At this stage, you need to really work hard on slowing down and stopping the bicycle when the need arises. After a number of trials you can switch up with a pro and let them practice together. He could teach your child some of the things that you may have forgotten.
5. Pedal like a pro
This final step is as important as the first one. Your child should master cycling discipline. He should never ride his bike without wearing his protective gear. Also let him learn all of the road safety and traffic rules. Train him to check his wheels and brakes before cycling; just to ensure that they are in perfect condition. If your child practices these and all the other tips then you will both realize that riding a bicycle is as easy as ABC.
As a parent you will really appreciate teaching your child how to cycle. By the end of the entire process your bond will be much stronger. Remember you’ll need to exercise patience. Don’t scold him if he repeats his mistakes. Encourage him to try the same trick over and over until he gets it. Learning to cycle may take 2 weeks, a month or longer depending on your child. Just take him as he is and watch him grow to be one of the best riders you will ever know.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

To Spend Or Not To Spend: Teaching Your Kids The Answer

Parenting can be a very challenging thing. With school, home life, and all of the other little things which come with kids, it can often feel like you don’t have any time to talk to them about the important things in life. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, if you can pinpoint the important areas to teach. To help you out with this, this post will be going through finance, and some of the critical lessons you should give them when they’re learning the ropes.

  • Budgeting

One of the first lessons your child should be learning is good budgeting. Without this sort of skill, your kids won’t be able to get very far into the financial future. There are loads of tools online to help with this, and you can always start early with your little ones, giving them the chance to learn while they’re still little. An essential part of this is knowing when to spend. Below are some areas which can be taught to help your kids to learn about this.

  • Is It Important Enough?

When making large purchases, it’s critical to consider whether or not the item is actually needed or not. For example, most people will want to invest in a car or house at some point in their life. These are very big commitments, and will often require some borrowing to be accomplished the first time around. Of course, though, with the right support and knowledge, it should be easy for your kids to decide when they can afford these important parts of life.

  • Do They Have The Method?

Next, you have to make sure your kids are aware of the value of money, and the fact that it has to come from somewhere to be spent. A lot of young adults fall into the trap of payday loans and credit card spending when they first start out. This can be very bad, though, as it will give them a bad start going into their financial future. Instead, it’s best to make sure that your children know when to get something like a loan, and not to take it lightly.

  • Their Position

It can be very easy to jump into a loan or large purchase without thinking about the impact it could have on you in the future. The only way to get around something like this is with some clever planning. A good plan will cover at least a year, enabling you and your kids to spread your money without overspending.

  • Their Support

Through the good and bad, the difficult and easy, your child never has to be alone with their finances. Their bank will be able to help them with the basics, and some may even be willing to offer advice in areas like investment. Companies like can help your children if they ever find themselves in a tricky situation. It’s important to make sure that your kids know where they can get support like this, as it can be one of the best ways to improve money.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start teaching your kids about the way that they should spend their money. Your children will have to make a lot of decisions in this area as they grow up. So, it’s a good idea to make sure that they’re aware of what they’re doing.

4 Common Questions People Have About Purchasing Life Insurance

Many people want to know a number of things about life insurance before they can commit to buying a life insurance cover. For starters, a life insurance cover is a kind of insurance contract that will pay a lump sum to the dependents of the policyholder. However, the cost of this life insurance policy will be determined by factors like the health, age and lifestyle of the life insurance policyholder.

There are many questions that people may have about life insurance. Here, I will discuss four of these questions so that you can make an informed decision before you buy life insurance. Here are the four of the many questions that people ask.

1. Life Insurance. How does it work?

Life insurance coverage provides payment to your family in the event that you die. This is the reason this policy is known as life insurance. In most cases, the policyholder could be the breadwinner. This means that the absence of the policyholder would greatly affect the family's financial stability. When one purchases life insurance, they are in essence buying a contract with the insurance company that issues the policy.

The insurance company guarantees to pay a certain preset amount to the beneficiaries mentioned in the contract.  However, this guarantee is subject to the insurance company's ability to settle the claims. Typically, the proceeds that the insurance company pays to your beneficiaries are free of tax. Your beneficiaries will receive the funds directly without the expenses and the delays that are commonly associated with a will.

2. What type of Life Insurance Is Available?

This is another common question. Life insurance can be categorized into two; term life insurance and permanent life insurance. A term life insurance policy will cover you for a specific period of time, say 10 or 20 years. At the end of the specified term of your coverage, you will stop paying premiums. If you die before the term of the policy, your beneficiaries will be paid the specified benefits.

On the other hand, a permanent life insurance policy will cover you till your death. As long as you keep paying the premiums, you can be assured that your beneficiaries will be paid upon your demise. Permanent life insurance, in most cases, will include some form of investment component and premiums paid for this policy will be higher than those paid for term insurance.

3. When is the right time to buy life insurance?

One of the factors that determines the cost of life insurance is age and health. Some employers may purchase life insurance coverage for you. However, you may need to consider purchasing life insurance coverage independently since the life insurance coverage through your employer is not portable.

The best time to buy life insurance is when you are young and healthy; in our twenties and thirties. As we grow older, and the aging process takes its toll, we are likely to become ill and this will have an impact on the cost of premiums. Life insurance premiums are more affordable when one is young and this is definitely the right time to buy a life insurance cover.

4. How much is life insurance necessary for you?

When calculating the amount of life insurance that you need, there are a number of factors that you may want to consider. Aspects of your financial status such as the liabilities you have accrued and the capital you have accumulated are considered. The amounts and specific costs that you would like your family to be covered against in the future may also be a factor to consider.

Another simple rule of the thumb is to buy life insurance coverage that is five to ten times your annual salary, your bonuses and so on. You can also consider the life insurance quotes online to offer you a better guide to the amount of life insurance that you may need for your family coverage.

Simple DIY Ghost Decorations

Aren't these little guys adorable? I make these every year now with the kids and it is one of their favorites because they get to make them, play with them, then take them home as well. Here is how to make these sweet little spookies:

Medical gauze
Plastic grocery bags
A black marker
To create your spooky ghosts simply ball up a plastic grocery bag.
 Cover the grocery bag with gauze, and cut to desired length.
 Tie off the gauze directly underneath the plastic bag to create a perfect ball for the body of the ghost.
 Apply eyes with a black marker. Or you can use googly craft eyes. 
 Attach a piece of thread through the top of your ghost so he can be hung up to look spooky!
There you have it! Adorable little ghosts to add more Halloween decor to your home and it probably cost you nothing because the materials are most likely in your cupboards, that and it only takes 5 minutes. Happy Crafting!

Monday 25 September 2017

Family Events At Legoland This Fall & Winter

 Fan Favourites LEGO Ninjago, LEGO® Star Wars™ Days, Brick-or-Treat and Holiday Bricktacular Return to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto this Fall and Winter

Scavenger Hunts, Costume Characters & Contests, Build Challenges and much more

Mark your calendars LEGO lovers, as LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto officially announces their fall/winter event schedule featuring fan favorites— LEGO® Ninjago Days to celebrate the new The LEGO® Ninjago Movie, LEGO® Star Wars™ Days, Brick-or-Treat and Holiday Bricktacular.

“From ninjas-in-the-making to LEGO® Star Wars™ fans, this fall and winter there will be something to satisfy every budding brick builder through to 2018,” says Noel Straatsma, Master Model Builder at LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto.  “These are some of our most popular events of the year so we wanted to give families enough notice to mark their calendars and include these fun activities in their family outings.”  

Here is a list of the various events families can look forward to:

LEGO® NINJAGO DAYS- SEPT. 23-24 & SEPT. 30-Oct. 1
In Celebration of The LEGO® NINJAGO® MOVIE™

Feeling excited about the release of The LEGO NINJAGO Movie? LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto is the place for families to celebrate the film and become true LEGO® ninjas.

Parents and children alike can complete their ninja training with four supercharged LEGO® Ninjago Movie Days from September 23-24 & September 30-October 1. Dress up and join the team that saves LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre from Garmadon’s Shark Army Invasion and enjoy NINJAGO themed builds and activities. Guests will also have the opportunity to win prizes and attend a meet and greet with Kai— the Red Ninja of Fire.

Modeled after the Temple of Airjitzu, the attraction’s new LEGO® Ninjago City Adventure play structure puts guests’ physical skills to the test with more than 20 interactive features including a vortex spinning barrel, a spiral slide of lights, lightning buzzer bars, crisscross maze, vertical rope climb and more, as they fight to save Ninjago City.


To get every LEGO® fan into the Halloween spirit, the Centre will once again host their annual Halloween celebration— Brick-or-Treat— where spooky spirits and friendly monsters all come alive with your imagination and LEGO® bricks.

Held for four weekends in October and on Halloween day, these will feature a costume contest, Monster Mash Scavenger Hunt through MINILAND®, a Spooky Creations building challenge and more. Guests are encouraged to show their Halloween spirit for a chance to win LEGO® prizes.


One of the Centre’s most popular events of the year, LEGO® Star Wars™ celebrates this iconic movie franchise and all your favorite characters with the help of LEGO® bricks.

This weekend will feature fun-filled LEGO Star Wars™ build activities for parents and kids alike to channel their inner Jedi. These will include LEGO® Star Wars™ build competitions, a LEGO® Star Wars™ themed build in the Master Builder Academy and a large-scale LEGO® Darth Vader™ group build.  

All Star Wars™ fans are encouraged to dress as their favorite character while exploring the ultimate LEGO® Star Wars™ galaxy of fun. Costumed fan groups will also be making an appearance on both days to meet and greet fans of all ages.


Celebrate the holidays at LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto for four weekends in December with their annual Bricktacular Holiday event. Visitors can participate in a Winter Wonderland Creative Challenge and design their own LEGO® creation to add to the winter landscape, participate in a Holiday Village Scavenger Hunt in MINILAND® and ask the attraction’s Master Model Builder, Noel Straatsma, any holiday-themed question via the LEGO mailbox. Noel will also be creating a large-scale holiday themed build that guests can interact and take photos with.

For more information on LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto and events, visit and follow on Facebook and Twitter.

About LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto
LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto is a heavily LEGO® themed indoor attraction that appeals to a child’s fascination with the timeless LEGO® product, taking them into a world of endless possibilities!
Our attraction gives children and their families the opportunity to play together in a LEGO® world.  Imagination comes to life with zones dedicated to the most popular LEGO® product ranges, LEGO® themed rides, 4D movie experiences, a unique MINILAND installation of the City of Toronto and surrounding areas and a chance to meet our LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Master Model Builder – Noel. Adults must be accompanied by children to enter. LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Toronto is open daily and advance tickets are recommended for guaranteed admission.