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Reviews, promotions and giveaways

Have you heard about Kidsfest Ottawa?

What’s Kidsfest?

At Kidsfest Ottawa families will enjoy quality, family-fun entertainment including stage shows, interactive animal exhibits and opportunities to meet popular children’s characters, explore over 70 exhibitor booths providing a unique platform for parents to purchase products and services for their families, and have access to fun and valuable information and resources.

Some of the events and activities to expect:

 the Kratt Brothers will be performing a 1/2 hour live show Amazon Adventure Event on Saturday followed by an autograph signing session

 Mike the Knight will delight crowds with two performances on Sunday with his motto “Be a Knight, Do it Right”

 “Inspiration Stage” will expand your imagination with songs and music

 Junkyard Symphony will perform on the Main Stage both days and later teach children how to play instruments using recycled materials on the Inspiration Stage

 Ray’s Reptiles will showcase its new performance of ‘Under the Canopy – Animals of the Rainforest’

 Funatorium Emporium will be a new partner with its Gyro Gym, Magnetic Wall, Lego Build & Plasma Cars

Kratt brothers!! *swoon* I have such a mom-crush on them! And there’s a special place in my heart for Ray’s Reptiles, too. We do love our critters around here! The boys are super-excited about attending this one – doesn’t it sound like kid heaven? Kidsfest runs Saturday and Sunday April 5-6 at the EY Centre. For details on tickets and the schedule of events, visit the Kidsfest website.

But you, my bloggy peeps, can win one of two family passes that I have to give away! I have TWO family passes, each comprising two adult and two child admissions to Kidsfest Ottawa on either April 5 or April 6, 2014. If you would like to enter the giveaway to win one of the two family passes, simply leave a comment on this blog post telling me about a family-friendly activity you enjoy in Ottawa.

Here’s the fine print:

  1. This is a giveaway for one of two sets of family passes to Kidsfest Ottawa on April 5 or 6, 2014.
  2. A family pass comprises two adult and two child admissions to Kidsfest.
  3. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post telling me about a family-friendly Ottawa activity that you enjoy.
  4. Two winners will be chosen at random from all comments posted. Each winner will win one family pass [2 adult and 2 child admissions] to Kidsfest, good for either April 5 or April 6.
  5. Everyone who “likes” Postcards from the Mothership on Facebook will get a bonus entry. (This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.) If you already like Postcards from the Mothership on FB, just say so in your comment.
  6. This giveaway is open only to residents of Canada, excluding residents of Quebec. (sorry!)
  7. This giveaway will run until 11:59 pm EDT on Friday March 21, 2014.
  8. If you win, you must be willing to provide your full name and contact information to me to share with Kidsfest Ottawa. Your pass will be available at the EY Centre’s “Will Call” desk during Kidsfest.
  9. Please note that the family passes do not include fees for parking at the EY Centre.

Sounds like fun, right? Good luck!

Disclosure: In addition to offering two family passes for this giveaway, Kidsfest also offered us a family pass in exchange for this promotion. Now to figure out which kid has to sit in the parking lot since the pass only covers four admissions, and I don’t think I will be able to convince Beloved to sit this one out, either! ;)

Edited to add: Thank you all for entering. Two winners have been selected and contacted via e-mail and I will share the details once they confirm their availability. However, here’s a good deal for everyone else from Capital Parent: Use promo code ‘CPSOCIAL2014′ and get $3 OFF adult admission when you buy your tickets online!


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I like it when pitches for sponsored posts align with the ideas rattling around in my head. This is another one of those instances.

Canadian Olympian and mom Silken Laumann worked with Multi-Grain Cheerios on the World Without Dieting campaign. This is the basis of the campaign:

We believe that nutrition is healthier than deprivation and that dieting is harmful to us and to our children. So let’s embrace a healthy, balanced lifestyle, and empower the next generation to do the same by removing the word dieting from our lives and replacing it with words like nourished, strong, and fulfilled.

In this video, Silken tells her young daughter why she thinks “dieting” is a hurtful word.

I like this message. To me, “diet” implies something to which you subject yourself, something you endure, something short term and unpleasant. Although I never framed it in those terms, I do see how dieting can be a hurtful word.

You might remember back a few years ago I lost nearly 30 lbs, and I felt terrific. Since then, my weight has crept back up – doesn’t it always? It’s not as high as it was after I had Lucas, but it is about 10 lbs heavier than I want to be. I’ve been hesitant to go back on the “diet” I was on because it was restrictive and involved a lot of planning and hard work and denying myself things I really like to eat. Instead, I’m trying to bump up my activity level and be much more moderate with things that are yummy but perhaps not quite the best nutritional choice. (Hello, cheddar jalapeno cheesies, I am talking to you!)

Even more of a challenge is watching the eating habits of one of the boys. His metabolism seems to be a little slower and he is disinclined to physical activity, so his weight is starting to creep up. It may well be one of those growth phase things, where he is filling out and about to shoot up in height, but I am still trying to take this opportunity to teach all three of the boys about good nutritional choices without actually restricting what they are eating. All that to say, I’ve been making the same choices that Silken outlines in her video without being consciously aware of it. I’m trying to teach them the best possible every-day eating habits so dieting will never even cross their minds.

What do you think about the whole idea of doing away with the word “diet”? Do we empower ourselves when we take away the power of the word? Does taking away the word take away the problem?

Edited to add: Hmm, I’m having trouble with the embedded video player, are you? You can see the video and take the “never say diet” oath here.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Multi-Grain Cheerios. However, as always, the opinions in this blog are my own.


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Sigh. After a lovely three-year run, this will be my last post on as a Fisher-Price Ambassador. It’s been fun, eh?

Speaking of fun, for my last post I’d like to tell you about four iconic toys that Fisher-Price has re-invented this holiday season. Everything old is new again!

Take the Chatter Phone Talking Game, for instance. I don’t know anyone who didn’t have the iconic 1970s version of the Chatter Phone with the extra-long cord – can anyone say choking hazzard? Now they’ve updated it as an interactive game with fun sounds, phrases and prompts that plays four different games and helps your child learn about animals and animal sounds, numbers and counting. (In all truth, I kind of prefer the original Chatter Phone, but props to FP for keeping up with the times. I’m kind of an old-school forget-to-put-the-batteries-in-the-noisy-toys kind of girl, but I’m sure kids will love this!)

And speaking of my childhood, while we did have a Chatter Phone, I always coveted a See ‘n Say. Funny what you remember, isn’t it? We received samples of these toys (that have now been donated to Toy Mountain, thank you Fisher-Price!) and even in the box Lucas loved playing with this one.

I was thinking about Simon as a toddler when I saw the Lil Snoopy Tippin’ Treats game. I think he would have loved this toy much more than the Mr Bucket he begged for and then was terrified of many years ago. Same idea, but less terrifying to a toddler, I think: collect the bones and chase the motorized Lil Snoopy around the room to get them into his bowl before he tips over. This has three games in one, and helps develop hand-eye coordination while getting kids up and moving.

And last but not least, I wish we had this toy a few years ago. Lucas loves loves LOVES jigsaw puzzles, but he’s such a little savant with them and has been doing them so long that I think this one might be a little too easy for him. So much more than a jigsaw puzzle, the I-Jig Interactive Electronic Puzzle System has several modes of play. First you put the puzzle together, but then in mode 2 you play an electronic game of seek and find. Mode 3 is more advanced with games to play that are unique to each puzzle. And don’t worry about kids getting bored with this one – you can get two additional puzzle refills to keep them challenged. See what I mean about 21st century spins on old favourites?

And since this is my last post as a Fisher-Price Ambassador, I’d like to steal a few pixels here at the end to say a few thanks yous. Thanks, of course, to the amazing team at Fisher-Price. I am as proud to work with you today as I was the day I signed on to the program. It’s been a wild ride with you and I could never say thank you enough for all your generousity through the years. Thanks, as well, to Mom Central Canada, and especially to Kathryn, Pam, Cora and Sarah. You guys are terrific. And finally, thanks to you, dear readers. I know that it’s your visits and your views that make sponsorships like the Fisher-Price one possible.

Disclosure: I receive special perks as a part of my affiliation with the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada. The opinions in this blog are my own.


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It’s the first week of December, do you have your Christmas shopping done yet?

When did I become the kind of person who is done the bulk of her shopping by the first of December? I am all about the last minute! I’ve noticed in the last few years, though, that if I don’t have at least a clear idea of what I am getting, if not actually having the stuff hidden in my (shhhhh!) garage, I am downright panicky. I hate the feeling of not knowing what I’m going to get someone!

As the boys are getting older, I’m finding that their Christmas wish lists comprise more and more electronics. I will be sad when the day comes that all they want are gift cards for downloads and cartridges to stick in their devices. I’m enjoying the toy-buying while it lasts.

If you have kids to buy for this year and are stumped for ideas, Fisher-Price has put together a great little site with recommendations for the hot holiday toys of 2013. Here are some of the toys I liked or would recommend for each age group:

Ages 9 to 36 months: the Laugh & Learn Crawl Around Car (sigh, I miss this age!). See my blog post about it here.

Ages 1 to 5 years: the Wheelies Stand and Play Rampway. Gravity rocks – such a fun toy for little fingers! See my review of the very similar Wheelies Loops and Swoops Amusement Park on the Fisher-Price site.

Ages 3 to 8 years: while I love all the Imaginext toys, our favourite is still the Eagle Talon Castle. I wrote about it here. Honourable mention to the entire DC Super Friends Little People line, the Imaginext BatCave and the Apatosaurus. Because dinosaurs! So much play value in all of those for my curious five year old!

Imaginext dinos in Manotick!

While I may be partial to Fisher-Price, I still gotta admit I am charmed by this ad for Imaginext at Christmas:

Cute, eh? :)

On the Fisher-Price Hot Holiday Toys site, you’ll find a couple more videos and a link to some coupons for some Fisher-Price favourites.

Do you have any toy recommendations, Fisher-Price or otherwise, to share?

Disclosure: I receive special perks as a part of my affiliation with the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada. The opinions in this blog are my own.


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This month, Lucas received a wonderful treat from our friends at Fisher-Price: the Imaginext Rescue City Centre play set. What little boy doesn’t love playing firefighter and police officer? Come to think of it, I know a few little girls who would love that adventure, too!

Like its cousin the Eagle Talon Castle (one of our most favourite FP toys ever!), the Rescue City Centre is programmed to recognize different accessories and respond to them. This never fails to delight Lucas! (I personally still to this day chuckle every time the drawbridge is lowered on the Eagle Talon Castle and a sing-song voice calls out “who eeees it?”) There’s lots to keep little fingers busy: the action figures drive the fire truck, you can zip up and down in the elevator or open and close various doors, and you can do fun stuff like shoot water projectiles at the fire. There’s a full line of extra accessories to the Imaginext line, too, so parents and grandparents can continue to build the collection for subsequent birthdays and Christmases.

Beloved and Lucas have been having fun exploring some of the Imaginext apps available to accompany the toy line. Just yesterday, Beloved was rather delighted to find out that through the Imaginext DC Super Friends Batcave app he was able to watch a brand new DC Super Friends episode he had never seen before. (Remind me again which one is the kid?) And Lucas was showing me how he can use the iPad, the Batcave app and his actual Batcave for an interactive game. Pretty cool stuff! There’s an Imaginext Dinosaur app we’re going to try out next. And by we I actually do mean we – talk about a game the whole family can play. ;)

Speaking of apps, the ones that accompany the toy sets are free but there’s another fun one for $3.99 in the iTunes store – it’s a comic-book style storybook app based on the Ed Venture Imaginext webisodes I mentioned in my last post. Lucas loves these! There are two modes, either “read to me” or “read it myself” and you interact with each pane of the comic. There’s also a choose-your-own adventure element at three places, so you can read through the story several times with different outcomes. These are perfect for my learning-to-read, technology-obsessed five year old!

If you’re looking for gift ideas this holiday season, I genuinely recommend any toys from the Imaginext line. You know that our friends at Fisher-Price have been kind enough to send us a few sets this year for testing and review, but we’ll be going shopping for several of the other sets for Lucas on our own dime. They’re great toys with a lot of play value, and I only wish we could have started investing in them a couple of boys ago!

What’s at the top of your “hot holiday wish list” this year?


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I may have raved a few (ahem) times about Fisher-Price’s Imaginext toy line. From the Batcave to the Eagle Talon Castle to the Imaginext Dinosaurs, we love them all.

Photo of children pretending to run from a toy dinosaur

(Did you know that the dino on the left is called an apatosaurus? When I was a kid they were called brontosauruses, but apparently that was wrong. The things you learn from a five-year old, I tell ya!)

I love watching or listening to imaginary play. I find myself sitting with fingers paused over the keyboard, staring sightlessly at the monitor in front of me, while I listen to Lucas enacting elaborate and epic scenarios nearby. Heros, villians, chases and captures – it all plays out across the dining room floor, until Bella takes an interest and tries to make off with one of the action figures. Then the REAL drama begins! ;)

I appreciate the Imaginext toy line because they encourage thoughtful open-ended play. Rules are swapped out for roles, and the inner world of Lucas’s imagination (currently populated by seas of Puffles, Sonic the Hedgehog, Batman and Creepers) tumble together in a fantastic society of magic and mystery. The play experts at Fisher-Price explain that imaginative play like this builds more than just creativity, but self-confidence and problem-solving skills, too, and they help kids explore their own sense of identity.

Imaginext has taken an exciting leap into the multimedia world. They’re turning on the Adventure by introducing the new Ed Venture webisodes, featuring Ed and his friends as they discover worlds of adventure. They’re firefighters in Hot Time in the City: Check it out!

And they’re knights in Through the Crystal Eye:

Fun, eh? My only gripe is that most 9 yr olds I know are probably not carrying a cell phone, but if that’s the only challenge to my suspension of disbelief I think the kids will enjoy it. You can see more about Ed Venture and his adventures on the Imaginext microsite.

There’s a contest, too! Visit www.imaginextadventure.com to play an online game and unlock the next phase of the game by solving clues. By registering to play the game, you’ll be entered to win 1 of 5 $300 Imaginext prize packs. Each prize pack will include:

•Imaginext Rescue City Centre
•Imaginext Mega Apatasaurus
•Imaginext Eagle Talon Castle
•Imaginext Batcave
•Imaginext Monsters U Scare Floor

Pssst! This is an awesome prize pack comprising most of Lucas’s favourite toys!!!!

Disclosure: I receive special perks as a part of my affiliation with the Fisher-Price Play Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada. The opinions in this blog are my own.


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Now YOU get to give away the hottest Fisher-Price infant toy of 2014!

28 October 2013 Fisher-Price Play Ambassador

One of the hottest new toys from Fisher-Price is the adorable Laugh and Learn Crawl Around Car. I heard it was so popular that they had wanted to share one with each of the Fisher Price Ambassadors but they kept running out before they could even send one to us! Have you seen it? This [...]

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A Fisher-Price Little People contest, and two Little People favourites

23 October 2013 Fisher-Price Play Ambassador

Okay, I apologize in advance for this. It’s not even Halloween and I’m going to blog about holiday gift giving. I’m sorry. Well, not really. I love Christmas, and I love even more having great gift ideas so I’m not panicking at the last minute. When I think of essential toys for toddlers, the Little [...]

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In which she runs off to Toronto with Mike the Knight and ends up with the cops

25 September 2013 Fisher-Price Play Ambassador

So this story has been a while in the telling. Oy September, you vex me so! You might remember I mentioned that earlier this month, I had the opportunity to run off for a quick trip to Toronto to visit with the lovely peeps from Mom Central Canada and Fisher-Price. If you remember, the first [...]

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On RESPs and a few rambly thoughts about investing in education

24 September 2013 Mothering without a licence

I‘m in one of those transitional stages in parenting right now. For the first time ever, I have all three boys in school full time, and this is also the last year I’ll have them all in the same school. Next year Tristan is off to middle school, and by the time Simon hits middle [...]

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