Hats have always been part of my joie de vivre. Growing up I had a collection hung on the wall over the bed, and when my Great Aunt passed away, all I really wanted were her hats.
Teaching my kids about charity and philanthropy have always been as important as math and reading. We divide allowance into thirds, giving one to a favourite organization, and run countless lemonade stands for water well development.
What’s better than having 2 pairs of shoes? Having 8. Tanya Heath Paris has come up with an ingenious design after years in France, where you can pop off the heel on a shoe and swap it out for another.
The luxury travel company andBeyond is expanding it’s operations to South America. The company would like to positively impact the region through their commitment to sustainable travel, conservation and community empowerment . Following success in South Asia, the company has decided to explore the vast landscapes, pristine wildlife areas and magnificent views of South America. Their first South American office will be rooted in Santiago, Chile and will open on July 15, 2015. The office will provide luxury tour operating and destination management company (DMC) services to guests travelling in Chile. Home to some of the continent’s top sites, including Iguazu Falls, Easter Island, the wine regions of Santiago, Atacama, Buenos Aires, and Patagonia, Chile is a must-see on a trip through the continent. By the middle of August, similar services will be available to those travelling to Argentina and by mid-2016, the company will expand to Peru and Ecuador. Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon can easily be explored with the help of andBeyond’s new worldly expansions. The Managing Director Pedro Barraza has 25 years experience in the travel industry, plenty of which spent in top management roles. Your trip planning and management is in good hands! If you’ve always wanted to go to South America, this is your chance to travel the continent with a company committed to the development and sustainability of the land on which it works.
For more information, visit www.andBeyond.com
Photo credits: www.andBeyond.com
“Passported” – Seamless Vacation Planning
Feather+Flip, a family travel resource, has acquired itinerary planning company Bon Voyaging to create “Passported”. The new resource combines the itinerary planning technology of Bon Voyage with the family content of Feather+Flip. According to CEO Henley Vazquez, “Passported celebrates kid-friendly travel for grown-ups. We highlight the places your junior entourage will love in destinations you’re excited to visit. Family travel can be sophisticated, cool, and fun for the whole family.”
“Passported” allows families to view parent-reccomended restaurants, hotels, activities and sites, for vacation spots around the world, while creating a seamless vacation itinerary. Mapping capabilities are also available in unison with the technology. In addition to streamlined booking services, travellers booking with the new technology have access to special perks such as free breakfast, spa credits and late check out.
The philosophy of the company is that family travel can be sophisticated, cool, and fun for the whole family.
For more information visit: www.passported.com
Photo Credits to: www.passported.com
I wish the luck of the Irish could get me to one of the countries of the world where I haven’t been! Here just may be my chance. Smart travellers to Ireland know that spring is the best season to visit the Emerald Isle. The bluebells and daffodils are out, the summer crowds have yet to arrive and transatlantic airfares are low. This year, there are even bigger spring savings, thanks to Vagabond Adventure Tours of Ireland. The company is offering a 10% discount for travelers who book a tour for travel during March and April 2015, including two festive St Patrick’s Day itineraries.
Not only does Vagabond Tours bring travellers well off the beaten path in Ireland, but they utilize custom-designed Land Rovers (oh yes!) that take no more than 13 passengers on adventures that can include hill walking, horseback riding along an Atlantic beach or mountain biking in a forest.
For anyone who has always wanted to experience an authentic St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, Vagabond’s 10% discount and the strong US dollar mean that this is the year. While Dublin often gets all the attention, small cities and towns around the country celebrate the saint’s day with festivities and music in their own local style.
How important is water? Very. A lemonade stand to raise funds for water wells is fabulous, but there are still 1800 kids who die EVERY DAY due to the lack of clean water in their communities. A billion people around the world don’t have access to safe water. Even with access to medications, people often take their pills with toxic water – it’s the only option.
A lack of education means that some wells are dug only feet away from the spots where latrines are situated, causing even more harmful bacteria.
UrbanMommies had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Jason Priestley – actor, director and activist who travelled to the Dominican Republic and is working to promote the Children’s Safe Drinking Water program (CSDW). Since the program launched, it has succeeded in donating over 20 million days of clean drinking water to those in need, and we hope to reach our goal of 25 million days of clean drinking water by March 31, 2015.
It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference. Just 10 cents provides one P&G water purification packet that creates 10 liters of clean water. The packets are stirred into 10 litres of water and after ten minutes, the water can be strained through cloth (even a t-shirt works) and is safe to drink.
Just $1 gives a child clean water for 50 days.
$7.50 gives a child clean water for a year.
$30 gives a family clean water for a year.
Procter & Gamble and Walmart have partnered in a simple program to provide water to people in need. Every P&G product sold at Walmart Canada will provide 1 day of clean drinking water for a family. And these are the products you are buying anyway like Tide, Gillette, Bounce, Pantene and Tampax.
Here’s our exclusive interview with talented and kind Dad, Jason Priestley.
JP: I am a dad. 1600 children die every day. Its shocking to us who live in Canada where there in such an abundance of drinking water. This is a simple program that makes huge difference in people’s lives.
UM: I read your piece on your trip to the Dominican. When I travelled to Liberia with Right to Play I saw the need for clean water and also health education. How does Children’s Safe Drinking Water choose where to help? What about education?
JP: Kids can’t go to school half the time because they’re sick. There’s not enough education. We need to do something to break that cycle – water is one of the basic building blocks of society. Clean water makes people healthy and strong so they can get to school.
UM: You have 2 children – how to you teach them to be socially conscious?
JP: That’s one of the big challenges we all face. It’s difficult but I try to look at everything as a potential teachable moment. Scarcity and the importance of water is all around us – in California too. Water is a precious commodity. We talk a lot about the importance of helping others, not just giving people money but the tools they need to improve their lives. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Water is a tool. It restores people’s health and also their dignity, improving their lives and the strength of the community.
UM: How can Canadians help?
JP: This is such a simple program. Go to a Walmart store or walmart.ca and buy the household products you use every day. P & G takes care of donating. It’s a 1 for 1 swap. 1 product = 1 day of drinking water for a family.
So far they’ve given 21 Million days of safe drinking water to families in developing countries.
UM: How do they determine where to distribute the water purification packets?
JP: They work with not for profit agencies across the globe to determine need. Unsafe drinking water kills more kids every year than HIV, aids and malaria combined.
UM: I know I went through many life changes after visiting Liberia. What was your big take-away, as a dad, after travelling to the Dominican?
JP: I loved the children. Children are the same everywhere you go: happy, joyous, playful and beautiful. There kids playing in the dirt with a ball and stick are no different than my children. I felt the need to help them. They are innocent, joyous and pure and they deserve better. We can see what the future hold for these kids even when they can’t.
A billion people don’t have access to safe water. 1600 kids die every day.
You can learn more at Walmart.ca/cleanwater
Disclosure: I am a P&G Mom and was give then chance to interview Jason Priestley. I was not compensated for this article and all opinions are my own.
The weather becomes crisp and you’ve finally finished filling out mounds of paperwork for kids’ activities and school. Photos are done, pumpkins composted and you sit down for a steaming cup of orange pekoe when it hits – you need a holiday. But with the bustle of December looming, a holiday will have to wait. Panic rises from somewhere in your belly that you haven’t exercised in a while and deep breaths don’t seem to impact a racing mind that is compiling to-do lists faster than a room full of monkeys can type.
Calm yourself. This year it will be different. You’ve got a secret weapon that constantly reminds you of travel to come. This holiday season my family is using our five tips for maximizing your AIR MILES so that we can get away together in 2015.
This year I plan to do my usual over-the-top holiday décor – three themed spruce trees, a minimum of 5 holiday squares and cookies at the ready and way too many vegetables at Christmas dinner. The light at the end of the tunnel for me is always travel, and the collection of AIR MILES for my family helps facilitate our trips – either by using our reward miles for flights, or helping the budget by getting cash redemptions at AIR MILES Cash Sponsors.
My mantra? More travel = more educational opportunities. More savings = less stress!
1. Check the fliers at your local grocery store that issues AIR MILES on purchases. Better yet? Get on their email list so that you always know when you can earn bonus miles on the items you have to buy.
2. Ensure your spouse and any other family member who wants to help the cause have a duplicate AIR MILES card in their wallet. Sponsors always ask if you are a Collector, so you won’t miss any chance to accumulate miles! Our whole family uses the same account for flexibility and ease.
3. Use an American Express AIR MILES Credit Card alongside your AIR MILES Collector Card at Sponsors to earn double the miles. Earning twice is always much more nice.
4. Use that same credit card to earn rewards miles on all of your everyday purchases. I use the American Express AIR MILES Reserve Card to earn one mile for every $10 I spend at AIR MILES Sponsors but I also earn one mile for every $10 spent at other eligible stand-alone grocery stores, gas stations, and drugstores in Canada and one mile for every $15 spent everywhere else.
5. The AIR MILES website is full of special offers and promotions. When you need to rent a car, do the things that keep every family afloat on a weekly basis, be sure to check the bonus offers, as you can accumulate hundreds of bonus AIR MILES by being a savvy shopper.
American Express is currently hosting their #MoreAIRMILES contest to let AIR MILES members answer the question, “What would you do with more AIR MILES?”. Once answered, you’re entered into a draw for a weekly prize. Invite a friend and each one who participates in the contest lands you an additional entry.
Remember: AIR MILES + Amex = MoreAirMiles and You + Daily Entries + Your Friends = More chances to win! Check out the contest here.
Are you ready to dream? To save? To eliminate holiday stress? I’d love to hear about the holiday that your family is working toward throughout this holiday season! Bon voyage!
This post was sponsored by Amex Bank of Canada. The views and opinions expressed in this blog, however, are purely my own.
James Bond, Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones… What do they all have in common (besides being character’s in fabulous action movies)? They all got to travel to incredible, exotic locals. Want to travel like your favorite movie characters? (I know I do!) Check out Holidays for Humanity. With trips like James Bond’s Jamaica, Luke Skywalker’s Tunisia and Indiana Jones’ Jordan they will appeal to the movie buff inside of you all while exposing you to some of the most amazing locations around the world.
Holiday’s for Humanities is also good for your soul. By working with partners that promote sustainable and eco-friendly practices they offer a range of travel options including eco resorts and hotels, health and wellness, volunteering abroad, cultural and culinary and expeditions and tours.
What movie would you like to climb into?
When I was a child, our summer vacations were usually a three hour journey from our front door to the door of where we were staying. Most of the time we journeyed to our vacation destination via car and ferry. My sister and I loved that our parents were sharing with us all of the fabulous sites that our province had to offer whether we were camping by a lake, staying in a cottage by the ocean, or exploring the coast in an RV.
Now that I’m a mother myself, I am taking a page out of my parents’ book. My husband and I alternate our family vacations between destinations that you travel to by plane with places closer to home that travel to by taking a road trip.
Our last road trip was an epic two day journey from Vancouver to Calgary in 30 degree heat with a 1 year old, a 5 year old, a 12 year old yorkie and two very cranky parents. I think the kids survived the road trip better than the parents and the dog did. Despite all of the “bumps in the road” we managed to have a great time, see sites both awe inspiring (Lake Louise) and entertaining (The Enchanted Forest in Revelstoke) and spend time bonding as a family.
After our trip, I put together 5 tips to make future road trips smoother. Pin them for easy reference for your next road trip.
5 Tips for a Fabulous Family Road Trip:
1. Make Your Road Trip About the Journey, Not The Destination- It’s so easy to get caught up in “We have to be to X destination by X day.” When planning your next road trip try to throw your timeline to the wind and enjoy your journey. Not getting caught up in how long it’s taking you to get from here to there will allow you to enjoy your stops more and not get so frustrated when the kids need an extra pee stop or chance to stretch their legs.
2. Be Flexible- Children can be unpredictable. Sometimes naps happen and it’s better to let sleeping children lie than wake them for a pre-scheduled activity and risk the crankies. Save the stop for your trip back home and continue on or take a road trip break, find a shady parking spot, roll down the windows and enjoy a good book. Be willing to be flexible depending on your children’s moods. Making a trip to the history museum may not be the best plan if your kids are feeling cooped up and extra rambunctious. Being prepared to make unexpected changes depending on the moods of your passengers will lead to a much happier family road trip.
3. Plan Ahead- Research pit stops along the way, a list of pet friendly parks and hotels if you are traveling with a furry companion, family friendly restaurants, gas stations and site seeing opportunities. Even if you don’t end up needing all the resources you collect you’ll be happy to have them when you need them, especially when you get stuck in the mountains with no data coverage. (Does it sound like I’m speaking from experience???)
4. Bring Food… Lots of it- Nothing causes the crankies like an empty tummy. Bring a range of snacking options, in pre-portioned containers or snack bags and make sure that you put them someplace that is easy to access. Fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds are all great great snack options but make sure to include some treats as well to avoid expensive gas station cravings.
5. Plan Entertainment- Before I was a mom, I swore up and down that I would NEVER have a DVD player in my car. Now that I am a mom I often rethink that decision. Let’s face it, even the most amazing kids can get bored when cooped up in a car for too long. Hearing “Are we there yet?” for the 100th time will try any parent’s patience. Create a playlist of family friendly songs on your phone, learn the words to a few good road trip tunes, research car road trip games, find a few car travel games and activities and when all else fails… have your kid’s favorite movie loaded on the iPad.
Shell wants to help you create amazing summer driving experiences with your family whether your taking a road trip across Canada or cruising your local watering holes. That’s why Shell just launched the Shell V-Power Formula for Driving Excitement Contest–to honour and discover the best drives in Canada.
One of our readers could win: $100 in Shell Gift Cards to spend on your next road trip. Simply fill out this Rafflecopter entry form! Ends 9/3 , CAN only.
Disclosure: This post was made possible by Shell. All opinions and anecdotes are our own.
Summer travel means quality time with family. New places, new experiences, and spending time with each other. Clek, the award-winning car seat company, offers the following tips for a fun and safe vacation:
1. Ensure your destination is child friendly.
Find out if your destination will accommodate infants and toddlers to ensure you have a relaxing vacation. Check online reviews to find out if it is family-friendly.
2. Travel safely.
“Whether you’re traveling by air or ground, ensure you have access to a car seat for each child. Best practice is to bring your own child seat because you know it’s history and you’re familiar with how to use and install it,” says Trudy Slaght, Clek’s Child Passenger Safety Technician. “Beyond safety, bringing your own car seat gives your child a familiar place to sit, making for an easier trip.”
Transport Canada highly recommends the use of an approved child restraint for all phases of flight. It will provide the greatest degree of protection for the infant or child and its use during flight will help in case of turbulence. By using the child restraint on the aircraft, it will also ensure that you will have it available for use in the car at your destination.
Don’t worry about going over the carry-on limit for air travel, you’re allowed the extra item when it is a car seat. Plus, Clek’s weelee is a universal travel bag that makes bringing your own car seat a breeze!
3. Give yourself extra time.
Everything takes longer with kids so arrive early. For air or bus travel this means you can have your seats pre-assigned to save you from any last minute hassle. For road trips, be sure to get a good night’s sleep, it’s imperative to be alert for the long drive. Don’t over pack your vehicle so as to impede visibility. Plan pit stops along the way: playgrounds, parks, landmark attractions, etc. Buckle up and have fun!
4. Plan what to bring.
You won’t have access to all your preferred comforts on the road. Beyond your packed items, bring these essentials with you that should be easily accessible:
For baby: Diapers, wipes, change pads, bottles, extra clothes, formula, etc.
First Aid Kit: Band aids, hand sanitizer, antiseptic cream, gauze pads, plastic bag (for car sickness), medicine, etc.
Snacks: water, drink boxes, easy-to-eat snacks (i.e. sandwiches, cheese, apple slices, granola bars, cookies, cereal raisins, crackers, etc.)
Favourite toy: A familiar object will make your child more comfortable on the road (i.e. teddy bear, blanky, pillow, book, etc.). Keep in mind it could get lost. Something special and new for the trip can make it extra fun too.
Other: sunblock, bug spray, flashlight, phone charger, gps/road side assistance plan, maps, disposable toilet seat covers, etc.
Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a safe, fun, family adventure!
Going to camp is an exciting summer activity for kids. Meeting new people, learning new games and going on adventures are some camp memories that are never forgotten. We have compiled a list of camp must-haves that will make your kids experience at camp even better…
1. Pop Clocky. As most of us know, being at camp doesn’t mean sleeping in. Early wake up calls are inevitable. With Pop Clocky you can wake up the whole cabin with a fun start to the day. Pop Clocky resembles a Jack-in-a-box and makes early mornings fun. Sunny, Rosy, Gilbert and Charlie will make sure everyone up with the birds.
2. Allergy alerts from Mabel’s Labels will ensure that the peanut butter doesn’t pass the lips when the kids come back from canoeing a wee bit dazed and sunburned.
3. A few healthy snacks. Hippie Foods coconut snacks arrived at our office and I’m now hoarding them in my desk…. .
4. A Flashlight. For those long walks back to the cabin, in the woods, a flashlight is useful for avoiding injuries. We found one that’s also a portable music player – the Hipstreet bluetooth speaker/radio with flashlight will keep them dancing around the campfire!
5. A Journal. You can’t experience your child’s week at camp with them, so, by getting them to keep a journal they can keep up their writing skills and share every bit of their experience with you when they get home. We love this robot illustrated Mudpuppy journal/sketchbook from Raspberry Kids.
6. A water bottle. Though you won’t be there to tell them to drink water and stay hydrated every minute, getting them to bring a water bottle will encourage them to drink more water and I’m sure they will be thanking you later. Having one of these adorable SIGG animals will make them want to keep it close.
7. An Eco Lunchbox. For those days when they’ll be going on an adventure and will be needing to carry around some snacks with them.
8. A backpack. A a similar idea to the eco lunchbox, when your kid is going on an adventure they will have a lot to carry. Whether it be sunscreen, a water bottle or a flashlight, your kid will be glad to have a backpack to put it all in. Companies like Land’s End allow for easy personalization.
9. Their own pillow case. She won’t have a chance to miss home when dozing off on this festive Mum pillowcase from Pottery Barn Kids. Better yet – you’ll avoid having a child return home with lice. It will be a reminder of home and be a lice blocker at the same time!