Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Warbler Woods ESA

Spring is in the air!  Time to get outside and get rid of that cabin fever.  A few weeks ago, we needed to get our little guy outside.  We packed the dog and him up in the van and drove out to Warbler Woods Environmentally Significant Area for a little hike.  We parked at the main entrance near Commissioners Road and Oxford St W and hiked south into the wooded area on the map below.  Warbler Woods is owned and maintained by the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.  You can view the Warbler Woods hiking trail map here.

View larger map.

This is a somewhat challenging little hike!  There are several areas of steep terrain that are definitely not suitable for a stroller.  We always use a soft-structured carrier such as a Tula or the OnyaBaby (which Tom is wearing in the photos below) to carry the little guy on a hike.  Although that day he was not happy about being strapped to dad's back and decided to let us know about it.  Needless to say it was not much of a hike.  We walked around for a bit and then turned around and made a snowman near the parking lot.  Molly had more fun than anyone.  And with the perfect packing snow she became a bit of a snow ball machine.


 There are so many awesome areas to explore in London.  Get outside this spring!

Other great hiking trails in the city:
Westminster Ponds ESA
Komoka Provincial Park

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Parenting Resources in London Ontario

Whether you are a new or experienced parent, there are so many great resources for you and your kids in London and Area.  I have only been a mom for 15 months but I wish I had this list of resources before my little one was born!  Here is my comprehensive list of resources, programs, classes, and information for anyone raising a little human in London.  I am positive I am missing some great things on this list, so let me know and I might have to do a follow-up post!
(Note: Many of these descriptions I have copied directly from the company websites and are not my own words.)

View larger map for colour points

Pregnancy and Postnatal Support (Yellow Points)

Babies Naturally and Braveheart Parenting- Childbirth education, labour support, breastfeeding support and parenting classes.  Babies Naturally offers a $10 drop-in breastfeeding support clinic on Friday mornings from 9:30-11:30am at their location 1124 Gainsborough Rd, Unit 10.
Vesta Shop in St. Thomas - A fantastic natural parenting store and Parenting Centre that provides breastfeeding education and support, mom-to-mom support, prenatal education, and exercise classes for the community of St. Thomas and London.  See all of their programs.
Rebirth Wellness - Provides classes, wellness services and education for pre and postnatal women and families. A place where new moms and moms-to-be can come together in community to connect with others, share experiences of motherhood.
Babeeze in Arms - A Doula centre that provides health professionals and expectant parents with relevant information and a social forum to explore childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting information.

La Leche League (locations vary -not on map) - LLL Canada encourages, promotes and provides mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and educational opportunities as an important contribution to the health of children, families and society.
Mommy Connections (locations vary -not on map) - provides educational and social connections for the modern family before baby and beyond. A great resource to meet other mothers in the mom-to-be and mom and baby groups.
Momstown London (locations vary -not on map) - early education programming and mama support delivered both online and in-person.  A great way to connect with other moms in the community.
Middlesex-London Public Health (locations vary -not on map) - Public health resources for families and children, parenting classes and well-baby clinics.  The Just-Beginning class is a free 4-week program for first time moms with a baby 0-6 months of age. It is an excellent way to meet new mothers in London.

Parenting and Family Literacy Centres (Red Points)

A free drop-in program for children aged 0-6, located inside a public school classroom.  Activities include story-time, gym, free play, music and more, plus free snacks!  There are three locations in London, and one in St. Thomas (see blue points on map).
Knollwood Park Public School, London: Website or Facebook 
CC Carrothers Public School, London: Website or Facebook
Ealing Public School, LondonWebsite or Facebook
Locke's Public School, St. Thomas
Find all PFLC locations in Ontario. 

Ontario Early Years Centres (Green Points)

Ontario Early Years Centres are places where parents and caregivers can: take part with their children in a range of programs and activities; get answers to questions; get information about programs and services that are available for young children and their families; talk to early years professionals, as well as other parents and caregivers in the community.  There are three locations in London (green points on map).
Childreach, OEYC - London North: Website or Facebook
Westmount Family Centre, OEYC - London West: Website or Facebook
Merrymount, OEYC - London Fanshawe: Website
Family Info Website covers all the information about OEYC centres, child care, etc in London and Area.
Find all OEYC locations in Ontario here.

Places to Play (Purple Points)

The Little Gym -  experiential learning and physical development center for kids ages four months through 12 years.
Kidscape - A 10,000 square foot indoor learning and activity centre, with a three storey play structure and separate area just for kids 3 years and younger. They offer year round PD Day and holiday camps, workshops and a 1500 square foot ceremic studio.
Adventures on Wonderland - Indoor playground and family entertainment facility. The Wee Ones play area is free for children under 1. Ages 1-3 is $4.95.

London Children's Museum - A hands-on museum that focuses on the educational and social development of children from infancy through age twelve. Explore three floors full of interactive exhibits, activities and programs that encourage children and their grown-ups to play together and learn together.

4Cats Art Studio - offers art classes, art history, art parties, art supplies and party planning for children and adults.

C.L.A.P. with Claire (not on map) - a music program that encourages children to create, learn and play.  The parent/child interactive format allows children to develop a love of music while spending quality time with their parents.

City of London Recreation (locations vary -not on map) - many recreation opportunities are available through the City of London such as aquatics, skating, sports fields, day camps, and much more!  Check out the Spectrum catalogue for recreation programs and activities for all ages! 

London Public Library (Not on map)

Your local public library is a fantastic place to take children.  Most branches have a kids zone with a train table and toys.  Each location offers programs such as family storytimes and books for babies.
Find your local library branch here
View the program calendar and narrow the search field by location and type (children). 

Online Connections

There are also many ways to connect with other parents through London Facebook Communities.  Here are some of my favourite:

London Babywearers and FSOT  - A closed Facebook group with great online discussion on babywearing and carriers For Sale or Trade.  The monthly meetings are a great way to connect with like-minded parents.

Forest City Cloth Diapering Mamas - A place for London Ontario and surrounding area mama's or papa's to buy/sell/trade cloth diapers, or environmentally friendly products.  A great resource to ask any cloth diapering questions.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Perhaps only my family will understand that post title, but bonus points for those that get it!

We are getting into the home stretch of this pregnancy and things are getting uncomfortable. Weekly visits to the chiropractor are definitely helping but I also have to remind myself to just slow down and rest sometimes. I have been very lucky that everything is going smoothly so far and baby's head is DOWN! Can't believe we will be 36 weeks on Friday!

We are almost done the nursery with great help from my mom! She painted the dresser and helped me hang the bee-themed gallery wall (catch a sneak peek on my instagram feed). Yesterday we hung shelves on the opposite wall and had fun finding knick-knacks to put on them. It was also really special to have her come to my midwife appointment. She loved hearing the baby's heartbeat and meeting my wonderful midwife. A great birthday gift for her!

I've been a little behind in providing belly shot updates, so here you go!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Preparing for Baby on a Budget

Now that I'm 30 weeks pregnant, I feel like I'm almost ready for the little one to arrive, but not quite. Today I thought I would share a few things I've done to prepare for baby without breaking the bank.

Maternity Clothes

Although I did buy some new maternity clothes from Old Navy (during the 30% off maternity sale), I had some success with my local thrift and consignment stores. I was able to get a few pairs of pants and shorts for significantly less. These stores had a specific maternity section, so be sure to ask if you can't find it.

I also made a few Wikston Tanks (seen here and here) that are still fitting nicely, but I may end up sewing some DIY shirts using these great tutorials from diymaternity.com.

Prenatal Yoga

I really wanted to do some prenatal yoga during this pregnancy but found the classes to be quite expensive (usually about $100 for 6-8weeks). My cousin told me about a great website called www.yogaglo.com, that provides unlimited online yoga "classes" for only $18/month. They have an amazing selection of pre- and post-natal yoga practice for all levels. It has been really great to do this in the comfort of my own home, especially now that the moves are getting harder!

Baby Gear

Try looking on Kijiji for used baby items. Tom and I scored a $600 stroller for only $350 (which included the car seat too). Before buying a stroller, I visited a local store to try out a few different brands. I settled on the Britax B-Ready, which has so many different configurations and allows easy removal of the infant car seat. But the price of $529 for just the stroller (add another $250 for the car seat) was just so much!

I was able to find a used 2010 model on Kijiji and negotiated a price of $350 for both the stroller and car seat. That's a savings of over $400! I know some people will not be comfortable buying a used car seat. But I did a lot of research to figure out if it had any product recalls and I trusted the Kijiji seller to be honest about it having never been in a car accident. Perhaps I'm naive but I like to think another mother wouldn't lie about that sort of thing!

A great source for brand new baby/kid items at discounted prices is babyhalfoff.com.  A friend told me about this website and we scored a great diaper sprayer for 50% off! There are different deals every day from clothing to cloth diapers.

Baby Freebies and Samples

Sign up for great baby product samples and coupons! Read this list of baby freebies put together by Coupon Christine.

Nursery Decor

Setting up the nursery can get expensive. Try painting or refinishing an old wooden dresser to use as a change table, like here and here. Mine is currently sitting in the garage with the drawers all primed, but still need to paint up the rest!

Make our own crib sheets! This is a relatively easy sewing project and I used this Tutorial by HoneyBear Lane. I bought a double top sheet from Value Village, gave it a good hot wash and sewed it up into an awesome crib sheet! I think there is still fabric leftover for another one too.

Family Photos

I was a bit disappointed with how our wedding photos turned out, so I've been looking forward to having an excuse for updated family photos! A local photographer was offering a mini-marathon photo session in October this year, so I decided to book a 20-min session and save some cash! This October marathon just happens to coincide with my last month of pregnancy, so we will get some nice maternity photos too. A 20-min marathon session cost us about half of what a full maternity/family photo session would cost. Obviously this is not a priority for everyone, so it may seem like just an "extra" cost.

Those are some of my thoughts and tricks for saving money! I'd love to hear about any ideas you have!

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Puppy and Belly Update!

Time for a quick belly and puppy update today!

Molly is growing so quickly! She is now 5 months old and behaving a bit like an a-hole teenager. We finished basic puppy class last week but now we really need to do more training at home. Walking her on a leash is incredibly difficult and frustrating, so we have to teach her that in small doses. Meeting people is so unbelievably exciting to her! She jumps and barks up on people, which is really not good. So if you come over and meet Molly, please do us a favour and ignore her until she is sitting nicely on the floor. It's so hard to be out in public and try and get strangers to do this. All they want to do is pet the cute little puppy jumping up their leg.

August was a bit of a whirlwind for us! We were away from home almost every weekend and Molly's routine was totally out of whack. As a result, Molly refused to sleep in her crate at night anymore. We had a few sleepless nights of her screaming away for hours. We have since retrained her to sleep on the floor in our bedroom and she is doing much better. We still use her crate to transport her in the car and she does so well! The car vibrations seem to put her right to sleep. I need to remember this come December when we have a newborn and a crazy puppy....put them both in the car and drive somewhere!

My belly is also growing fast and furious! This baby is incredibly active and I get lots of bumps and kicks throughout the day. This week marks the end of Second Trimester. Time to finish off the nursery and get ready for this little one to arrive! Still need to finish painting a dresser, get some baskets for the closet and hang lots of art.

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