Give the Gift of Maternal Health with Cuso International #CusoCAN

At this time of year, our family is grateful for all we have especially each other. As a mom, I am especially grateful for my daughter. She has been such a huge blessing and I was blessed to give birth to her with the best of care from a wonderful team in New Mexico. My niece recently gave birth and my family has been enjoying spoiling the newest little one who has blessed our family. Some mothers are no so lucky. Those of us who live in North America are blessed to have the best care possible. In places like Ethopia that is not the case always. Cuso International is a charity making a difference in this area.

In Pawe, a small community in rural Ethiopia, mothers like Abeba have their babies in health centres that aren’t equipped for unexpected circumstances. Simple challenges that seem like a small hiccup in the labour process here can lead to tragedy. The health professionals don’t always have specialized training, and infection and life threating complications are common. Thankfully something is being done!

 

A Canadian midwife is making a difference

 

Jennica, a midwife from BC, volunteered to live in Pawe to help share her skills and knowledge with the doctors and midwives at Pawe Health Centre. She worked with the doctors and midwives to use monitors to help identify babies in distress. Digital monitoring is so common place here, you’d probably have a hard time finding someone who wasn’t monitored for at least part of her labour at the hospital. So, it’s easy to forget that this simple process can mean the difference between a life saved and a life lost.

Trained volunteers like Jennica save lives

 

Cuso International is a charity that has been sending volunteers around the world to help communities thrive and grow. The Maternal Health program, like the one in Pawe, is helping to save the lives of moms like Abeba and countless other women and little ones that are home with their families this holiday. With more training and better hospital practices, health workers in Pawe can recognize danger signs earlier, treat them faster, and help more moms deliver their babies safely.

 

You can help too

While you’re sharing this time with your family, you can help ensure that mothers around the world can do the same. The Cuso CAN Fund was established to give you the chance to support Cuso International’s high priority maternal and child health projects in Ethiopia, Benin, Tanzania, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In all these places, pregnant and labouring moms need the kind of trained, compassionate care you had when you delivered your children. Help send Canadian medical volunteers into communities to save the lives of moms and babies this holiday season and through out the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Eclipse of My Heart

Today was a special day here in Toronto. There was a partial solar eclipse. What made this day, even more, assume then the scientific and earthly beauty was they way it brought the community together.

All over the city and on the path of the eclipse, for a few brief hours, politics, the news was put aside to join together and view a beautiful event.

My teen and I headed down to Sunnyside Beach here in Toronto. She had brought a cereal box viewer she had created this morning and we waited for this celestial event. The best part, thanks to Fido’s new data byte deal we also got to watch Bill Nye the Science Guy explain the facts from a location that was getting the total eclipse in the USA. As the sun and moon traveled across the US and Canada, today, people of all stripes, colors, creeds, and affiliations gathered together to share an event. After what has happened over the past few weeks, we needed a moment like this, a moment that would draw people together without thought of politics for a moment in time.

The beautiful part of the day here for me was the sharing of the many ways to watch an eclipse. From a cereal viewer to certified watching glasses, to welders masks, everyone shared what they had brought with them so all could get a view. This is the way it was down on the beach today, on street corners across the US and Canada, in parks and at official viewing events. It brought joy to my heart as something as scientific and as beautiful as an eclipse would draw people together.

 

My daughter had a great time talking to an astronomy student who was down on the beach next to us, then we had some welders pop by, and a little group gathered sharing all the tools we had so all could participate in a magical moment.  Here locally it was kind of expected. In the US, where there has been much hostility I was unsure but it was a blessing to see genuine community sharing a great moment as the NASA cameras went from coast to coast.

We need more of those ordinary moments on camera. More of the simple acts of kindness.

Because this song has been going through my head and since it was 1979 when I saw a total eclipse thought I would share this song.

 

Celebrate Canada all of July at Canada’s Wonderland #CWBestDay

 

We love heading to Canada’s Wonderland. My teen loves the thrill rides so much so that we are season pass holders. We will get there at least 5 times this year. We have already been twice to the theme park, once to celebrate Mother’s Day and the second visit had us studying the velocity of rollercoasters. The second being a fun school field trip. This long weekend we will be headed back to the park because we can celebrate Canada all of July at Canada’s Wonderland. Who wouldn’t want to celebrate all things Canadian all month long as we celebrate 150 years of Canada?

So what is going on at Canada’s Wonderland?

Besides a great Fireworks display on July 1st there is:

o West Coast Lumberjack Show, Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 15: Internationally recognized for their daredevil skills, these lumberjacks will entertain guests of all ages while competing in Log Rolling, Tree Climbing, Axe Throwing, Chainsaw Carving, and more!
o Freestyle Ski Aerials, Arthur’s Baye – July 16 – 31: Skiers and Kayakers will fly off a massive ski jump overlooking Arthur’s Baye during Celebration Canada. Will they stick the landing? You be the judge!

o Flying Frontenacs Stunt & Dive Show, Arthur’s Baye – Daily June 24 to Labour Day: Don’t miss the Flying Frontenacs as they stunt dive off a 70ft (21m) platform and display their athleticism on trampolines with incredible flips, turns and dives.

o Cirque Canadien, Wonderland Theatre – June 30 to Labour Day: Prepare to be mesmerized by a magical display of acrobatics, mystique and athleticism as the performers of Cirque Canadien bring you on a journey through the seasons of Canada.

o Starlight: Northern Reflections, Royal Fountain Nightly June 24 to September 2: A breathtaking nighttime spectacle that celebrates the natural beauty of Canada through a stunning display of lighting, music, lasers and water effects, set to the backdrop of 3D projection on Wonder Mountain.

o Fireworks Canada Day – Saturday, July 1: Come enjoy Canada Day with some of the best fireworks in the Toronto area, featuring a unique design set to an original soundtrack and over 6,000 colourful explosions you won’t want to miss it!

o The Great Canadian Fiddle Show, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: Join in the fun in this energetic show celebrating Canadian fiddle music and step dance.

o White Pine Dancers, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: Experience the magic of First Nations History through song and dance. Each performance will captivate you with their gift of song, vibrant colours, flowing movement and thundering drums!

o Celtic Dancers, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: The sights and sounds of traditional Irish dancing and music will take over Celebration Plaza with several performances daily.

o Street Performers, Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 31: Enjoy the antics of stilt walkers, jugglers, and more in Celebration Plaza throughout the day!

o Earth Rangers, Arthur’s Baye – Select dates in July: The Earth Rangers are returning to the Park during the month of July to educate children and families about biodiversity, sustainable behaviours, and protecting animals and their habitats!

o Live Music & More! Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 31: Great live bands playing some of Canada’s best tunes from the east coast to the west coast.

o Traditional Canadian Food, Arthur’s Baye – July 1 – 31: Poutine, Nanaimo bars, bacon, maple syrup and so much more!

Remember as well there are 2 new rides to enjoy. My teen enjoyed the Soaring Timbers. We are looking forward to trying the Muskoka Plunge on our next visit. We here this 60 ft tall waterslide complex that features four slides is pretty fun.  These four slides twist and turn for over 300 ft and each slide takes a different path to the bottom. My daughter can’t wait to try it out.

With so many things Canadian a trip to Canada’s Wonderland is a great way to celebrate Canada 150. To get your tickets or to download the Canada’s Wonderland app please visit the Canada’s Wonderland site. 

* We have been season pass holders for years and we pay for our passes. With that said we have been blessed this season by the park in partnering with us to offer some sponsored posts in return for compensation. We really do love being Season pass holders and love all the fun that happens at the park all season long. 

 

The Best Alternate Places to Watch the Fireworks in Toronto

Can you believe our great country is turning 150 this year? With this huge of a celebration, there are lots of places to watch the fireworks on Saturday and the weather forecast is great!

With this list of great fireworks displays, it is hard to decide where to watch the fireworks.  You may not want to get caught in the crowds so I have some alternate spots close to the action that you may want to watch from, so where are the best places to watch the fireworks in Toronto?

 

CN Tower

To celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, the CN tower, a structure that has been around since 1976 will have a spectacular display.  The fireworks are slated to kick off at 10:30 p.m.Want to take in these and skip the crowds? Head for a walk along the waterfront, yes it will be busier than normal but there are lots of small parks where you can spread a blanket and have a great spot away from the crowd.

Nathan Phillips Square

Make your way to City Hall during the long weekend for four consecutive days of Canada Day celebrations. The fireworks will be going off each night! They start at 10:55. My choice for seeing these away from the crowd has to be the top level of the Kensington Market parkade. It has a great view of downtown.

Canada Day conveniently falls on the same day at Ribfest in Etobicoke, so if you want dinner and a show, this is ideal. The fireworks will start at approximately 10 p.m.

Canada’s Wonderland

We are season pass holders so these fireworks that happen at 10 pm are a must for many who are on the north side of the city. If you have been in the park all day and want to avoid the crowd about an hour before they go off grab your blanket and head to the parking lot hill. I promise it is a great view and you are not in the crowd.

Downsview Park

I did these fireworks one year and found the best place to see them was not right in the heart of the park but on the edge. We were away from the crowd and still had a great view.

 

With fireworks from the CN Tower, Ashbridges Bay and Humber Park West. The waterfront will be the best place to be, but where on the water. We are thinking the new Trillium Park based on the old Ontario Place lands may be the best place to get the best place to take in all the shows.

Another good spot that we enjoy is Cherry Beach because it rarely gets a crowd.

Ashbridges Bay

Q107 puts on a great show during the day and with over 2000 blasts, it is a great show to see. When we lived on the east side of the city we always hit this one. The best place to avoid the crowds is the beach by RC Water Treatment Center

Humber Bay Park West

As part of the city’s great line-up of acts for the day, these ones will go off at 10:55 as well. I would say take a walk along the board walk just east of the park and you may have one of the best views  of the city.

Prepping for Summer Fun with Netflix #StreamTeam

 

Do you remember those long road trips to the cottage with nothing to do but play car games? Do you remember camping and it starting to pour? When I was younger summers were full of books, drive in movies and family movie time. These days you can prep for a summer of Netflix hits and watch where and when you want too.

I love that we can now watch what we want when we want. There is no more waiting till Sunday night for popcorn and movies at 6 pm. Who remember those days? That is when we would settle in to watch the best of Disney. Now there are many Disney flicks on Netflix. You can watch them when you want.

To prep for a summer of Netflix, there are three tools that Netflix offers that help you prep for a summer of fun.

My daughter and I both use individual profiles. This works for us as we have different tastes.  On my account, we have 3 profiles set up.

Here is what my list looks like:

Here is what her list looks like

By each of us having our own must watch list we are ready for watching opportunities. There are some shows I can’t wait to binge watch while I am on vacation next week. We also have a profile for the ones we want to watch together. There is nothing like family bonding over a favorite show. Often our favorite movies get placed in this account.

To best prep for watching opportunities especially if you are going to be offline, you can download that favorite show you want to watch just look for the download icon, Many of the shows and movies can be downloaded. Right now on my commute, I am enjoying the new episodes of Orange is the New Black.

Now haven’t indulged in Netflix yet? You can win 3 months of FREE Netflix over on my Instagram account. Please go and enter, just nominate a friend who needs Netflix as much as you.

Let me know what are you looking forward to watching this summer.

 

 

 

 

How to Handle Hard Conversations with Your Teen

I am blessed. I have a teen daughter who is doing well. For us, life has not always been easy, we have had to tackle some hard things. Life has thrown a few curve balls. In all my years I never thought it would be my child who would suffer at the hands of other children, who would say out loud she wanted to die, who would need mental health assistance.  We have had to have hard conversations along the way. So how do you have hard conversations with your teens?

My teen and I have developed great communication skills over the years with a few bumps along the way. So how do you have those hard conversations with your teen? For us, those conversations often begin while we are watching some of our favourite tv shows. These are the ones we watch together. For us, that time on the couch together seems to bring on the perfect time to talk. Over popcorn, candy and soda come conversations that are hard to have. Because my teen and I are both so busy those times when we do slow down and have a Netflix chill night allow us to have real conversations.

For us, I normally let my teen take the lead. Often there will be a part of the show that she wants to talk about.  Currently, we have been watching two favourite teen dramas: Breaking Bad and the new Netflix teen drama 13 Reasons Why. Having a teen who has had mental health issues, as a mom, it was important for me to watch these with her so I could see if there were any triggers for her. For us watching shows like these have given us reference points for real conversations.

Recently Netflix brought parents and teens together to ask them what they would watch. The conversations can and will happen when we purposely put ourselves in our teen’s shoes. Shows like these allow us to connect deeply and powerfully.

If you are of my generation, you may remember the ABC after school specials or the episodes of Degrassi that tackled hard topics. Everything was dealt with from drinking, drugs, sex, rape, death and even suicide. For me, it was when watching a movie I first learned the word rape, the words childhood sexual abuse. It was while watching a made for tv movie I learned I was not alone. I learned it had happened to others and it was okay to talk about it. I was my daughter’s age when that happened and in my first year of university before I had my first hard conversation. It was not with my mom; it was a professor. I wanted my teen to know she was not alone. That she could always talk to me and we could have these hard conversations. Yes, having a community you can talk to is a need, but I wanted my teen to know they were loved and supported by me.Netflix recently released an infographic that talks about this.

Now Netflix has been criticized for 13 Reasons Why because it could trigger a young person. That is to be expected when you are bringing up topics like mental illness, bullying, rape and suicide. So as a parent I was glad that Netflix went a step further and not only produced conversation- starting content but met with mental health experts and created the 13 Reasons Why Talking points and the after show 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons and if you are concerned about your teen they also have the 13 Reasons Why Global Resource.

How do you have hard conversations with your teen? Yes, this mom wants to know.

*I am a member of the Canadian #StreamTeam which means I do receive free Netflix, some swag and often a sneak peek at what is ahead. As always though my opinions are my own. I have loved Netflix long before I was a team member and will watch long after I am no longer on the team. 

 

 

Roma Boots are #GivingPovertytheBoot

Here in Toronto, April rains have been happening with a frequency that made me want to don my rain jacket and new Roma rain boots and head outdoors to do some puddle jumping.  It’s so much fun to be a kid again and jump in those puddles. It makes it seem that all is right with the word because we know those April showers will bring May flowers.  The other great thing is knowing your purchase of a pair of Roma rain boots ensures a child in need has a pair of rain boots as well. Both my teen and I just received Roma boots.

Both my teen and I just received Roma boots. My teen loves the tall lace up boots while I am loving the shorter black boots.

Supporting Roma boots simply makes sense right now. Roma or Amor spelled backward, was started back in 2010 by Romanian Samuel Bistrain. The first to receive the boots were Roma Gypsies who are a poor marginalized group. These days over 50,000 pairs of boots have reach over 25 countries across the world.

Roma boots also donate 10% of its sales back to the ROMA Foundation who uses the funds to build learning centers. They want to help and educate. Besides the learning centers, they want to give one million pairs of rain boots away by the year 2020.

Just recently, Roma Boots launched in Canada and have partnered with World Vision to let us know how we can help #givePovertytheboot

Join the #givePovertytheboot Twitter Party

CELEBRATE SPRING. WE ARE #GIVINGPOVERTYTHEBOOT TWITTER PARTY.

Date: Thursday, April 27, 2017
Time: 8:00pm ET
Hosts: @ShesConnected (asking questions) @RomaBootsCanada
Guests: @SamuelBistrian, @WorldVisionCan
Hashtag: #GivingPovertyTheBoot
Moderators: @SimplyLindaBlog, @InfluentialMama, @ShesInfluential@BloggerWomen, @SherrieMae23, @HomewithAneta, @OlderMommyStill
Prizes: 5 pairs of Roma Boots
No RSVP
Canada Only excluding the Province of Quebec

Anyone can participate in the Twitter Party but only Canadians excluding those in the province of Quebec can win prizes.

Twitter Party Newbies

New to twitter parties? Don’t worry – we’ve got your back. Just log in to http://twubs.com/givingpovertytheboot with your twitter account and it will make it easier for you!

You can always check out Roma boots on social:

 

DISCLAIMER: I was compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

 

Join the #BeFraudSmart Twitter Party

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March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada.

March is Fraud Prevention Month in Canada. Tangerine Bank will be hosting a Twitter Party to help Canadians better understand how to deal with fraud with a focus on “phishing”. Join the “Be Fraud Smart” Twitter Party to find out how to protect yourself from fraud.

Twitter Party Details

#BeFraudSmart Twitter Party

Date: Thursday, March 23, 2017
Time: 7:00pm ET
Host: @TangerineBank
Guest: @KelleyKeehn If you have any fraud related questions, please direct them to @KelleyHeehn and include the hashtag #BeFraudSmart.
Moderators: @ShesConnected @SimplyLindaBlog @CommonCentsMom
Prizes: $500 in Mastercard Gift Cards (Prizing:  for Canadians only  except those in the province of Quebec)
Twitter Party Newbies: If you are new to Twitter parties, then use TWUBS, the Twitter party platform. Click here to join: http://twubs.com/BeFraudSmart

No RSVP Required

 

About Kelly Keehn

Kelley Keehn is a financial literacy advocate who has been on a mission to “Make Canadians Feel Good About Money”.The author of 8 published books Kelley served on the National Steering Committee on Financial Literacy and is a consumer advocate for the Financial Planning Standards Council. You can learn more about Kelley at her website: KelleyKeeehn.com.

SPONSORED POST

This a sponsored post by Tangerine Bank. As always opinions are my own.

A Netflix Oscar Winner to Watch: The White Helmets

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On Sunday, Netflix won an Oscar. The White Helmets shows the true world heroes working every day in Syria. This movie brings to life the real lives of Syrians today.

What was shocking about Sunday though? The US denied the director of the movie, a Syrian, Khaled Khatib  entry into the USA. We could have a whole conversation on that alone. He sent others to accept the award on his behalf. They spoke for him. His words in his acceptance speech from the Quran though rang loud, ” To save one life is to save all humanity.”

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The world has debated the refugee crisis out of Syria for a couple of years now and watching this documentary helped me to understand what people were fleeing and those that stayed and the heroes that exist among them.

One of the things I love about this Netflix win is that it will encourage Netflix in bringing these important stories to the world. They bring context to the conversations we need to be having. I have been a Netflix subscriber for years.I love that they entertain me, but they also help me learn. The documentaries have helped me have a new perspective on many topics from learning about the White Helmets,  to looking at food choices around the globe in Food Choices, to questioning the guilt of a man in Making a Murderer, to learning about the science of happiness in Happy.

If you have not already watched Netflix’s first Oscar winner, The White Helmets is worth the watch. Let me know if you have seen it or what you have watched and the lessons you are learning from it.

 

Do You Know How Much Steel is Your Vehicle? #SteelMatters

Ever had your perspective changed? This year I attended the Canadian International Auto Show with the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI). It was fabulous to walk the floor of the show with the team and learn the steel stories of each car. I also learned more about the economical use of high-strength steel in making the vehicles we drive safer.

 

As we walked the floors, I started asking more questions about safety, steel intensity, and cost. Did you know that steel leads the way in performance because of its superior strength, weight, durability and repairability? Think of your wallet, the steel content of your car could save you dollars.

 

Here is an interesting fact. The cost of ownership (that includes the purchase price of your vehicle, the insurance and repair costs) are lower for steel-intensive vehicles. Owning a steel-intensive vehicle is simply a smart choice. Steel is two to three times less expensive than aluminum. Want to know more interesting facts visit DriveUsingSteel.

 

Care about greenhouse gasses? Steel has the lowest production phase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to alternative materials. Living with a daughter who is always reminding me about being eco-friendly steel wins again.

 

Think of safety. Would you rather drive something that was made of the same material used in bridges or the same material used in pop cans? Just something to think about. There is a time and place for everything and when it comes to vehicle production, steel definitely has its place. It also has its place in helping save money and as the mom with common sense, it’s sensible.

 

Let’s get to some of the interesting steel stories I learned while at the Canadian International Auto Show.

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Let’s start with the car that won the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada Canadian Car of the Year, the Volkswagen Golf (Alltrack). The stamped steel body and chassis boats a large percentage of high-strength, hot formed steel.  The winner of the Canadian Utility Vehicle of the year, the Subaru Forester is also steel intensive.

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Now let’s talk about another vehicle in the Volkswagen line the VW Tiguan. It has a rigid laser-seam-welded body shell, crash-optimized, energy-absorbing front end, and heat-formed steel center pillars.

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Want to know which car is 100 percent steel? The Chevrolet Traverse is! How is that for steel intensity! It positions high strength steel in the correct locations of the vehicle and optimizes the door weights through higher-strength steel reinforcements and lighter steels for skins and cosmetic areas.

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The Kia Stinger had a cool reveal and with 55 percent high strength steel, it is definitely steel intensive.  I love the reveal of this car. It was fun to watch.

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The sweet Chrysler Pacifica has a body structure that is made of 72 percent high-strength steel. I rather loved some of the features on this 7 seater.

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The All-Electric Bolt EV, winner of the Motortrend Car of the Year and the North American Car of the Year, is also very steel intensive. Do not let its small size fool you. I loved the lines on this car!

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Even my beloved Ford Mustang which is all new this year is very steel intensive.  There is extensive use of advanced technologies and materials including high-strength steels.

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Some of the other things I enjoyed at this year’s Auto show included the array of concept cars. From the Aston Martin AM-RB001 Hypercar to the Lincoln Navigator Concept to the Cadillac Escala Concept there was lots to see. Another thing I cannot wait to explore when I go back is the number of VR activities and contests to enter. Make sure you check them all out.

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SMDI is even hosting their own giveaway. While at the Canadian International Auto Show, follow @DriveUsingSteel and share with them your favourite car from the show using the hashtag #SteelMatters and you will be entered to win a drone.

CIAS Twitter Contest Photo

You can also win right here on my blog. I am giving away 4 Guest Passes to the Canadian International Auto Show. Simply leave a comment on this post and on Tuesday February 24th I will give them away! Let me know what you are most interested in seeing at the show when you comment.

 

*This post has been sponsored by the Steel Market Development Institute. If you want to know more about the fabulous advancements in steel do check out DriveUsingSteel.com.