Great Ways to Host a Frugal Thanksgiving Dinner

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, many are looking forward to spending time with their friends and family, all while enjoying their favourite foods, drinks and desserts. The truth of the matter is, amidst all that wonderful gratitude, bonding and eating, hosting thanksgiving can put a real dent in your finances. Between the cost of decorations, dessert, the main and the sides and even the beverages, hosting Thanksgiving can leave your wallet feeling less than grateful.

Luckily, there are ways to host a frugal Thanksgiving dinner, all while keeping it memorable and delicious.

Thanksgiving Dinner on a Budget

Make Your Own Decorations

Rather than going out and spending an inordinate amount of money on thanksgiving decorations, make your own. Thanksgiving decorations can consist of inexpensive items or things you can find around your house already. Things like fallen leaves, small gourds and even pie pumpkins work well as table décor. In fact, you can even hollow out the pie pumpkin to make dessert and place the empty pumpkin on the table with a lit candle inside.

Table setting made with everything found around the house
Its easy to set a Thanksgiving centerpiece on a budget

Shop Creatively

Rather than going out and spending an inordinate amount of money on thanksgiving decorations, make your own. Thanksgiving decorations can consist of inexpensive items, or things you can find around your house already. Things like fallen leaves, small gourds and even pie pumpkins work well as table décor. In fact, you can even hollow out the pie pumpkin to make dessert and place the empty pumpkin on the table with a lit candle inside.  

Make It a Potluck

A potluck dinner gives lots of options and makes for less work.

Thanksgiving is traditionally a potluck like holiday to begin with, so it’s not uncommon to have your guests bring at least one dish to contribute. Rather than taking on all the work and expense yourself, a potluck thanksgiving saves you money, makes sure that every guest has a dish they love and lessens your work load. Just make sure to keep a running tally of what everyone is bringing and ensure there is a variety in the dishes. Otherwise, you could end up with an abundance of different variations of pumpkin pie and absolutely no side dishes. 

Get Creative with Leftovers

A big Thanksgiving dinner can create enough leftovers for many meals to come, but you may find yourself getting sick of turkey sandwiches. Using the turkey carcass to create a delicious turkey stew or soup is a great way to repurpose some of your leftovers and they freeze well too for future meals. Stretching the meal out to serve future meals helps to save a lot of money.

Hosting a frugal Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, as long as you make your own decorations, shop creatively, make it a potluck and get creative with your leftovers, Thanksgiving will not only be delicious, but it will also be inexpensive. Get ready to gobble up your delicious and frugal Thanksgiving dinner and make even your wallet feel grateful

Keeping My Business Covered with State Farm

One of the least talked about things when it comes to running a small business are your insurance needs. There are several things that should be thought about and talked about with a professional. 

State Farm Canada business insurnace

Being a small business owner means that I have to think ahead and make sure my family and business are covered. Luckily my local State Farm Canada agent has lots of options that can help me make sure I’ve got the right insurance mix for my unique business needs. The conversation is an important one to have. State Farm Canada provided the below article: 

Business insurance is there to protect you, your family and your business from unforeseen events that could impact the rest of your life.

As a business owner, you face tough challenges every day. Make sure your business has the right insurance protection to keep your business running. Talk to a professional agent to determine your specific needs.

Business Property Insurance

Business Property Insurance, protects your assets; buildings, equipment, stock, contents, from all risks of direct physical loss or damage, such as fire, theft and vandalism. A good policy will also cover you for those things you didn’t know about, like building by-laws impacting the cost of construction or repair of damaged buildings.

Your Business Property Insurance will also provide several Business Interruption options that covers the loss of business income and rental income that occurs as a result of direct physical loss or damage to your property.

Business Liability Insurance

Stuff happens. No matter how tight a ship you run. Random events are bound to occur.

Injuries can occur both inside and outside your business. What’s more, customer and visitor injuries on your property may result in lawsuits. Slips and falls are the most common hazard, resulting from inadequate lighting, missing handrails, uneven surfaces or debris on surfaces.

Liability Insurance protects your business in the event of a claim or action from a third party who has sustained bodily injury, property damage or personal or advertising injury as a result of your negligence from your premises, operations, or products and operations.

Business Auto Insurance

Many folks who use their own vehicles in their line of work, whether for deliveries, transporting gear, or sales calls, assume their personal policies will cover them. Unfortunately, this leaves them vulnerable to risks that could seriously impact their future financial wellbeing. When talking to your agent about your coverage, ensure you disclose that your vehicle is being used for business purposes. This will ensure that you have the coverage you need to get the job done.

Business Life and Continuation Insurance

As business owner you owe it to your business partners and family to ensure that you have considered a business continuity plan, so your business will continue without any undue burden.

It is important to consider the impact a fatality (whether yours or a business partner’s) will have on your business. What happens to your business afterward? Will your family be on the hook for taxes? Capital gains? Probate fees and a bunch of other miscellanea? As a business owner, you may be able to use life insurance to help with an orderly and economical transition. This is one type of insurance many business owners often put off thinking about until later.

Surety Bonds

A surety bond is kind of like a money-back-guarantee for your customers. It’s a guarantee that your company, or you as an individual will deliver on a specific obligation. It gives your customers peace of mind that you will deliver on your commitments. In some cases, it may even be compulsory when working with certain levels of government or private companies.

There are other types of business insurance, some specific to your business. You should consider ensuring your business has the right and adequate coverage. A reputable, and established agent can customize a policy to properly suit your individual needs.

Full disclosure, this article was sponsored by State Farm® Canada. They have agents across Alberta, Ontario and New Brunswick. Like you, their agents are independent business owners who support their local community.

Your State Farm agent will help you find the right coverage for your business. No obligation. Visit the State Farm Canada website to find yours.

State Farm Canada is becoming Desjardins Insurance — the same great agents, now backed by Desjardins.

Desjardins Insurance refers to Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company, underwriter of automobile and property insurance or Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company, underwriter of life insurance products. Desjardins Insurance and related trademarks are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.

State Farm branded policies are underwritten by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company. Life insurance products are manufactured and issued by Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company. ®State Farm and related trademarks and logos are registered trademarks owned by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, used under licence by Certas Home and Auto Insurance Company and certain of its affiliates.

The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only. Neither State Farm nor Desjardins Insurance shall be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information.

Disconnecting to Connect at the Fireside Conference

Sometimes you simply need to get away. Back in July, an invitation crossed my inbox that I knew I needed to respond too.  The email was from Daniel Levine, the co-founder of the Fireside Conference inviting me to be a guest at the Fireside Conference. I had heard of the Fireside Conference at technology and small business events over the last couple of years here in Toronto.

 I spoke with Daniel and by the end of the end of the day, I was at a barbeque at  Steven Pulver’s home ( he is the other co-founder). At the barbeque, I was surrounded by past attendees and learned more about how the conference came to be and what to expect.

Daniel and Steven had first met many years ago when attending Camp Walden and when they reconnected several years later and wanted to design a retreat/conference for the tech crowd, influencers, investors and some other very interesting folk they knew Camp Walden would be the perfect setting.  They were tired of what they had seen at tech events where they saw a lack of real connection. Everyone was busy looking at screens and not really talking to each other except for maybe a brief conversation or the handing over of a business card.

In comes the Fireside Conference, at Camp Walden, a chance for attendees to disconnect and connect in ways I have not seen at any other event. At Camp Walden, there is no cell service and one spotty wifi location so attendees of the Fireside Conference actually connect one with another in this kids camp setting.

This conference is unlike any I have attended, speakers may be your sharing your cabin or those you walk with or sit around a campfire staring at the stars with. It is a conference when connection is palpable and meaningful. It is a place to make new friends, reconnect with old ones, have real conversations that can change you. It is a place of retreat, a place to take a risk and a place to grow. 

What did I love about the Fireside conference and why do I hope I get invited back? The beauty of the place, the campfires, the food are all givens but I was challenged and took a few risks. I also had some great conversations and cried real tears. There was even a military plane fly by!

On Thursday, I travelled the back highways to Camp Walden with a stranger from Las Vegas. Did I mention Camp Walden is about 3 hours from Toronto on a private lake? As we drove the backroads to the camp, we had a great conversation. Once we got there we were greeted by a campfire and quickly got to know those who we would be hanging out with all weekend. I shared a cabin with some women with some neat stories from one who works with teens, to a woman who created a new way for pets to be cared for by vets to a woman who worked in crypto for those in the adult entertainment industry. We were quite the bunch! 

One of the things that impressed me most was the diversity of the crowd. From start up CEOs and founders, to artists, to investors, to influencers to those that work in tech from around the globe, you never knew who your next conversation might be with. I met people from Europe, Australia, many from the US and from all across Canada. 

On Friday, I decided to challenge myself and took part in the pitch workshop. There were about 15 of us who were coached by angel investors as we attempted to perfect our pitches. I am not a founder but believe very much in uCarenet (the homecare app I have been working with since January) and decided I wanted to share the story of this app. In tech language, it is in preseed and we have some great partnerships so I am excited to see where things lead. At lunch, we all pitched in front of the crowd and 5 of the founders were chosen to compete the next day to win time with some amazing angel investors who were there.

My Friday night had me enjoying board games, snacks and a roaring campfire. I spent part of my evening with four podcasters from the US playing Boggle. Little did I know, they are some of the best podcasters around. Since Fireside, I have become a regular listener of both The Jordan Harbinger Show and Grumpy Old Geeks

The other highlights for me were axe throwing, a risk-taking workshop that literally had me looking into the eyes of fellow attendees while remaining silent, a few live podcasts and a session on working from anywhere. Currently, in all of my roles, I work from home. Working from anywhere is the dream. 

Saturday evening I cried more than once. Peter Katz and Blake Fly combined music, storytelling and gratitude to get this girl a hot mess. Literally, as I listened to Peter share his newest song, I thought the lyrics of “Paper Thin” were written for me. It had me in tears and then Blake shared about the importance of thank yous and how we often forget to acknowledge people in our lives. I know I have done this. It was a sweet reminder on this journey to remember and show gratitude for the little things. 

After Peter and Blake, we headed over to another building where we would hear from Michael Landsberg who shared about mental health and his charity #sicknotweak. The stories he shared touch everyone who was there and we were able to raise thousands for his charity.  I even donated a Twitter party to help raise funds and am looking forward to working with Michael on this endeavour

My time at Camp Walden ended with me starting up at the stars for about an hour and playing connect the dots with the stars and contemplating all that I had learned, the conversations I had and what I can do going forward.  

I will always be thankful for the invite, for those I met, for those I got acquainted with and for the lessons learned. 

Quber app savings that matter

Quber: A New Way for Canadians to Save Money #SavewithQuber

Did your grandparents, or perhaps your parents have a savings jar? Did or do you have a piggy bank? Quber is a new savings app for Canadians that draws on the idea of the old fashion savings jars with a modern twist. It gets Canadians mindful of their spending and saving habits. It is the newest personal finance app that actually helps you find ways to save.  Have fun, learn and save money sounds good to me! In the end,  you are saving for what matters for you.

Quber app savings that matter

How does Quber Work?

First, once you have opened your Quber account and linked your bank account( no worries, linking is safe and secure, saving in your savings jars on the app can begin. What would you have jars for? In the past, Rachel and I have had savings jars at home for everything from saving for a rainy day, our annual CNE trip (you need extra money to have fun in the shopping area), to saving for a trip to see family on the east coast. Now we have a bigger goal and it is our first jar. We both want to see Europe. It is on our bucket list. With Quber we can help make this dream a reality.

One of the things that makes Quber different is the app will give you recommendations on how you can change your spending habits so you can save more in your jars. No more graphs and charts, real information when you need it. Early users of the apps are also loving the challenges the app will give you as it helps them complete savings goals faster. It is all about being mindful of your spending.

One of the things you can use a savings jar for for example is Christmas. Have you ever overspent on this holiday? Ever put gifts and Christmas fun on a credit card to only have to pay it all back in the months after Christmas? With Quber you can save for Christmas and spend what you have.

One of the other great features of the Quber app is the vault. Have you ever bought on impulse?  Your money gets locked away. Don’t worry though if you need it, it can be accessed within 2 business days.  It helps you curb impulse purchasing.

Learn More, Party and Win

Quber Twitter Party

Want to learn more about Quber join us for the #SavewithQuber Twitter Party this Sunday, September 9th at 9 pm EST! There is $300 in prizing and you can win either a deposit into your Quber savings jar or a MasterCard.

Looking for more ways to win, Quber has lots of them starting on September the 10th for Quber users. With $5,000 in prizing many users will be filling their savings jars! You can check out the #SavetoWin contest here 

Want to learn more about the Quber app. Check out all the info on the Quber site. 

You can download the app from the App store here.

You can download the app from the Google play store here

You can follow Quber on Twitter here. 

*this post is sponsored by Quber. My opinions are always my own and I love to bring my readers’ apps that will help them in their daily lives. I was paid for this post and to host the upcoming Twitter Party.

Want to know how to participate in a Twitter party read my post here. 


 

 

Back to School Tips from Canadian Bloggers

It is that time of the year again. You know the day before the school year begins. Parents and kids are excited because it is time for back to school. This year I wanted to bring you some common sense tips, some great back to school tips so I turned to my peer’s fellow Canadian bloggers. 

Whether, this September means someone in your house is starting school, how I miss those early years, to starting college or even going back to school as an adult these tips will have you covered. You will also want to check out year blogger for their great content.

From Casey Palmer, Canadian Dad

I adore Casey and agree with his advice-

Label everything. EVERYTHING. If you ever want to see it again, in the name of everything that’s holy, LABEL IT!!!

caseypalmer.com

From Kimberly McLeod, The Best Ideas for Kids

Take a picture on the first day of school. ( Who actually remembers too, some years I was on day three before this got done!) 

There are some great printables for the first day on her site here: https://www.thebestideasforkids.com/first-day-school-chalkboard-printable/

From Victoria Donovan, Cool Beans 4

Victoria, has a great tip for all those headed to college and university, use a calendar/agenda.  I know this one first hand and find the more you track the more successful you can be as a student.

For more of Victoria’s tips check out the rest of this post: https://coolbeans4.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/20-tips-to-survive-your-first-year-of-university/

From Sarah Wall, Raising Royalty

Have multiples or duplicates of everything. Mittens, pencils, that specially chosen lunch box … Having more than one means easy replacement when one inevitably gets lost or damaged. And that means less last-minute scrambling for essential items.

You can read more great stuff from her blog here: https://raisingroyalty.ca

From Puneeta Chhitwal-Varma, Maple and Marigold

Get into a healthy destressing and unwinding routine for after school. Kids will need it as will parents. Listening to music, reading, dance, yoga stretches even just colouring have helped us in the past.

You can find more stress busting tips from Puneeta here: https://www.mapleandmarigold.com/15-stress-busting-activities-for-kids/

From Anna Anderson, Abrazo and Coze

Get into a good morning routine, starting well before the first day of school. That way everyone is accustomed to getting up at the right time, eating breakfast earlier than they might have been in the summer, and it won’t be as much of a struggle to adjust once school starts. For my family, our routine includes getting backpacks ready the night before (emptying garbage, ensuring homework is in the bag, any permission slips are signed and in the bag, and the bag put by the front door. In the morning as part of heading out the door lunch boxes are added to the backpacks. That way nothing important is forgotten.

You can read more about Anna’s early morning routine here: https://abrazoandcoze.com/easy-morning-routine/

From Casey Leanna, Casey Wolfgang

Don’t rush to buy back to school clothes. Your kids wanna see what their friends are wearing or what’s on trend before filling their closets. 

You can read more from Casey here: http://caseywolfgang.com/http://caseywolfgang.com/

From Hannah Spray, The Big To Do List

Starting Kindy? Make sure your little one knows important health and safety information, like how to properly wipe and wash their hands, not to share personal items like lip chap, body awareness and appropriate touch, and ensure your child knows to come to you and your other safe adults (teacher, dad, etc) if they aren’t feeling good about something. 

You can read more from Hannah here: https://thebigtodolist.com/

From Erin Rolfson, Quillable

 If you find your child is anxious about school starting, try finding some good back-to-school books to read together before their first day. There are loads of awesome stories that can help them start to process their emotions before they get overwhelmed.

If you love book reviews and great stuff you can read more from Erin here: http://quillable.ca

Laura Baptie Myles, Chaos and Quiet

If you have a little one starting kindergarten, focus on the life skills – how to get dressed and undressed for outside, how to go to the washroom independently, how to manage their own lunch, responsibility for their own belongings, etc. 

You can check out her post on kindergarten here:  https://chaosandquiet.com/starting-kindergarten/

From Paige McEachern, Piece of Pie

Routine is key: Having well established routines when children start school will help get them ready in the morning, do homework and get settled at night. Summer is for having fun and sometimes that means routines get pushed aside. The weeks leading up to the start of school review your routines and start implementing them.

You can read more back to school tips from her here: http://www.pieceofpie.ca/5-tips-to-make-back-to-school-easier-for-your-child-with-a-learning-disability/

Amanda Blain, Amanda Blain

If you don’t have kids, take this “new start” as a time to have a look at your own life and do some fall cleaning. Clean out the closet, sign up for a new course, even just read a new book. Life is happening around you.

You can read more from Amanda here: http://www.amandablain.com

If you want to read more tips from some of Canada’s leading mom bloggers check out this post here. Hope your back to school experience is easy and fun for you and your family. 

Are Moms Doing Too Much?

Ever sit down at the end of the day and wonder how the day got away? Ever wonder if you will have the time to curl up with that book that is sitting on your end table? I was on Twitter recently and a I saw a scary stat while scrolling my feed. It said the average mom was basically putting in the hours of 2 full time jobs getting everything done. Are you one of those moms? For me as a blogger (small business owner), social media manager and as a fulltime employee to boot things do add up.

So what do we do? 

We are the dream chasers. We are the ones who get up at the crack of dawn to have a few moments to breathe. We are the ones who crawl into bed about midnight after trying to squeeze every moment into the day. I know for me as a mom with a full-time job and 2 side gigs things get lost in the shuffle. I get everything done for my 9-5 job (it’s not 9-5 but you know what I mean, its the one I work at for 40 hrs every week). I also manage the social media accounts of a start-up and offer freelance support to two agencies as well as try and write here. We dream big! We work hard. 

So what should we always remember?

There are some things we as moms, as women, as those who are working hard to provide need to remember:

  1. It is okay to stop and take time for you. This year I was off work for a bit and it was during this downtime that I took time to breathe and even had some fun.  Even if you have to calendar it downtime is a must. 
  2. Find the shortcuts. We can’t do everything. I tried. It simply doesn’t work but when I found the shortcuts I get more done. For some, it might mean getting a box of preplanned meals dropped at your door, for others it might be hiring a cleaning lady and if you are a blogger you may open your blog to guest writers or you may want to hire our a few chores.  There are ways to steal back time. 
  3.  Be Present. Sometimes when you have several different roles it is easy to try and multi-task your day away. Ever done that? I know I have especially on those busy days. I have learned by blocking time for tasks and focusing on that one item, more gets done faster. Here is an example: I started today with a list a mile long from running errands to creating content to cleaning the house to time with family. By creating a plan and focusing I was able to get things done and be present for each part of my day. The best part is yet to come. Movie time with my girl.
  4. Ask for help. Sometimes when we are in the act of doing we think we have to do it all ourselves. We don’t. It is okay to ask for and get a helping hand. 

As I sit at my desk this afternoon I thought of all the moms I know who wear multiple hats, those who run business, those who have side hustles and those who are caregivers and we all manage to get it done. Are we tired at the end of the day? Yes. But the more important question is it worth it at the end of the day?  Yes. 

How to Plan a Staycation

Sunnyside Beach

Wouldn’t it be great to escape the chaos and day-to-day responsibilities of our everyday lives for a week of fun and relaxation somewhere far away?  But what if it’s not in the budget?  Airfare, hotel rooms, rental car, dining out, and other travel expenses can make getting away very expensive.  And even if money isn’t a factor, sometimes health issues or work obligations prevent us from going away anytime we feel like it. Downtime is great to take.

But that doesn’t mean when the kids are home from school for summer vacation or March Break that you can’t still have a great time! Why not plan to take a vacation right in your own backyard?  A true Staycation is more than just time off at home, it’s an intentional time of fun and relaxation for your family.  It may take a little effort to do it right, but ultimately, it can be just as fun as going out of town.

  1. Set ground rules. The point of a Staycation is to make it feel as much like a real vacation as possible, without leaving home. To make sure the whole family is on the same page, it’s good to set some ground rules that everyone can agree on.  These could include some or all of the following:
  • No email
  • No computer or video games
  • No work
  • No fighting
  • Family time only—no independent activities
  • No cooking, cleaning or doing laundry
  1. Spruce up your bedroom. Make sure you have cosy soft sheets and that they are freshly washed. Add some scented fabric softener to the laundry so they smell great.  Unplug the alarm clock and hide it in the closet.  Put fresh flowers on your nightstand along with a book you’ve been looking forward to reading.  Fill a basket with your favourite snacks and some bottled water to keep in your room.  Place scented candles around to encourage relaxation.
  2. Be a tourist. Do you live in or near a city like we do where there are lots of tourist attractions?  If you do, you’ve likely never been a tourist in your own hometown.  This is the time to explore where you live.  Visit local museums or monuments, try out a couple of the “hot spots” for dinner, go to the zoo, attend a sporting event or get theatre or concert tickets. Here in Toronto, there are lots to do, and lots of them are free.
  3. Spend time in the great outdoors. Go on a nature walk at a nearby national park. With Rouge Park being a National Park it makes a great spot to get into the outdoors. The TTC even takes you close to the park entrance.  Do you live within a couple hours’ drive from a beach?  Take a day trip. If you’re not close to a beach or hiking area, go to a local park for a game of Frisbee, a long walk or some fishing.  Go camping or watch movies in the backyard. Here in Toronto, you might want to head over to the Toronto Islands which are just a short ride away.
  4. Enjoy a family night in. Play a board game together.  Have a movie night complete with popcorn and hot fudge sundaes.  Work on a puzzle or invent a new game.  Build a fire to roast marshmallows and tell scary stories.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or even travel out of town to enjoy a fun and relaxing family vacation.  I hope these ideas have inspired a few ideas of your own! We are looking forward to our next staycation right here at home.

How to Solve the Home Care Needs of Canadian Seniors: uCarenet and the Caremap app

The numbers are staggering and growing. The home care needs of our Canadian seniors are not being met.  My mom is one of these seniors. For the last ten years, she has needed both nursing care and personal home care. So how do we solve some of the issues for Canadian families and especially seniors who are grappling with this issue? Back in December, I came across uCarenet, a cool new matching platform that is matching Canadian seniors with caregivers,  in the Greater Toronto and Ottawa areas currently. If you have followed me for years, you know I love working with small Canadian companies doing cool things like Flipp and Caddle.

In December, I pitched the company and became their social media manager starting in January. So this post is not sponsored but I do work for the company. One of the reasons I wanted to be apart of this was I saw my mom struggle with your homecare aides. One of the things I loved about a matching platform, it gave families and caregivers alike more control. Now, this week to add to the platform, there is the new Caremap app, think of it is as Uber for Canadian seniors trying to find home care help. When I first learned about it, I was excited. We have been working on this for months. So why am I excited?

The Back Story of uCarenet

Look at the stats. A 2012 Statistics Canada study found that 5.4 million Canadians provided care to a senior family member or friend, and nine out of 10 who received care in the home relied on a family member. More than three million Ontarians are family caregivers, and 48% are caring for a parent or in-law. Some 850,000 provide more than 10 hours of care per week, including transportation, domestic tasks, scheduling appointments, managing finances and providing personal care. Publicly funded services are not enough to fill the needs of Canada’s ageing population, families are tasked with navigating the limited services available. uCarenet and the new Caremap app help fill a void in home care.

The Numbers Matter

Right now uCarenet has partnered with William Osler Health System and Baycrest. A  study is underway. We are looking at the efficacy of a technology-enhanced service to access affordable home care, and for the continuation of care from hospital to home. This should lead to less emergency room visits and a better quality of care.  Once the results are in, we will be publishing these numbers.

How does it work?

uCarenet is affordable home care made simple. You know I like tools that help Canadians save money. uCarenet sets out to do just that. This online platform bridges the gap between health providers and in-home caregiving families easier access to reliable, affordable, home care while supporting independence and quality of life for seniors.  Sounds great right? So we help Canadian families find top quality care.

On the other side of the coin, uCarenet was designed with the help of Canadian healthcare professionals to improve the home care experience for seniors and families. Healthcare professionals and caregivers can operate their own small business, they no longer need to go through a typical agency. They can earn more or supplement what they are already earning. It’s great for those who are looking for work as senior caregivers.

Now alongside the matching platform, the app will be able to be used to monitor a senior’s basic health and acts as a communication tool for caregivers and families. Things like mood, hydration and mobility all can be reported upon in the app. This information allows for clear communication between family members and caregiver.

Know a senior looking for care, have them download the new Caremap,  Know are caregiver looking for work have them download the app as well.

You can join this important conversation as well the first Tuesday of every month at 7 pm EST on Twitter, as we talk about different senior issues, our next chat on July 3rd we will discuss senior nutrition.  Follow uCarenet and Commoncentsmom and the #ucarenet hashtag to be part of the conversation.

 

Why Send Your Kids to Summer Camp at the Y

*This post is in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Toronto. All thoughts and memories shared are 100% ours. 

It is that time of year, parents are busy planning their summer calendars. I can remember when my daughter was younger this time of the year meant booking vacation time, registering my daughter for whatever events she would be attending and shopping for summer camps she would enjoy.  Summers for her were times for adventure, time to learn new skills and to have lots of fun. Have you thought of sending your child to a summer camp? My daughter who is now twenty speaks fondly still of every camp experience that she had.  From circus camp to a media camp, to learning how to swim and canoe at camp she loved them all.  So why send your child to camp?

As we look back, summer camp taught my daughter so much while allowing her to be in an environment that would help her grow.  My daughter was blessed not only did she go to camps right here in the city and in more rural environments but even attended one on the Toronto Islands.  With such variety, she was able to grow and learn. She attended one summer camp that included swimming lessons, giving her a skill most children should have. She attended another where she learned how to canoe, she attended sports camps where she worked on skills and learned teamwork, she attended art camps that allowed her creative side to bloom.

One of her favourite experiences was at a local YMCA camp. They have many of them in the city. She went and learned new skills, had fun making new friends and values that are important to us were encouraged. We loved that each camper could earn beads throughout the week by demonstrating values that are important like inclusiveness, respect, honesty, caring and health.  We often had great conversations about how she earned her beads.

Y Summer Camps

Have you considered the Y Summer camps? They have camps for everyone. Really, everyone! They have over 60 programs where kids can get excited about everything from creative arts, learning to swim, cooking,  exploring science to even having a rural camp experience. Did you know they even have a camp on the Toronto Island?

Kids that attend the Y Summer Day Camp have a great time building new skills, getting a sense of community and building lasting friendships ( my daughter is still friends with a girl she met at summer camp when she was 8 all while coming home each night full of stories of that day’s adventures.

What You Should Know About Y Day Camps:

  • There are 45 locations and over 60 different programs that run all summer long ensuring that the needs of families across the GTA can be met.
  • There is also busing and extended hours available as they know families are busy. There are over 200 bus stops across the GTA. Yes, that means there is one close to home.
  • There are financial aid programs available. The YMCA has always had financial aid available for families based on a sliding scale. It is based on your income and family size applying is easy
  • Use the YMCA Day Camp Guide to register your children. It’s easy to use and narrows your choices based on the needs of your family. Once you have chosen the camp, simply download  and complete the Camp & Club registration form and email it along with any documentation they may need to camps@ymcagta.org.
  • If you receive a government subsidy for daycare, you can apply your subsidy to summer camp. Simply fill out the registration form including the payment information and send via email to camps@ymcagta.org
  • Ready to register your child for a great camp experience? Use the code YSUMMERCAMP when booking to receive 10% off your day camp fees. This offer is valid until August 17th, 2018 and can not be used in conjunction with any other discount or promotional offer. This offer is not available for Government Fee Assistance, YMCA Financial Assistance and staff registrations. The discount cannot be applied to any previous registrations.

Want to follow the YMCA Summer Day Camp fun, follow their social media channels. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

 

 

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Mothers Day from Hallmark Canada

Yes, this year is flying by and we are almost at Mother’s Day. For those of you who leave things to the last minute like me, breathe in and know you can still get a great gift for mom. I actually stopped by the Hallmark store last week while in Eaton Centre. There were so many great finds for mom and then Hallmark Canada sent me a box of goodies so I have to share some of what I found and some of what they sent me. So what can you find at Hallmark Canada for all those last minute Mothers Day gifts?

Have a mom like who loves books and journals?

Fierce Love, It’s a Mama Bear thing is perfect for moms like me. This was sent to us this year. A great little book that describes the love of a mom pretty perfectly.

We also love the selection of journals at the store and if you have a mom who loves to write it makes a great last minute gift.

Have a Mom who loves to garden?

We are loving the Marjolein Bastin Garden Bag. It is so big and roomy perfect for all her garden tools. This bag with it’s pretty print and roominess could also be a great go-to bag for all those summer outings. I love the two pockets on the end that are perfect for water bottles.

Have a mom who loves to be in the Kitchen?

We are loving the Marjolein Bastin Bird Tea Towels alongside the Marjolein Bastin bird napkin rings that were sent to us. They also have some beautiful mugs and teacup for the mom who loves her tea and coffee.

Have an active mom?

We loved the Glamour has no age limit Waterbottle that was sent to us. It is perfect for my trips to the gym and a metal bottle is great if you use essential oils in your water.

Have a mom that loves fashion?

Hallmark Canada sent me a beautiful colour block tote and a floral scarf. They have a great collection of bags and scarfs that you can check out.

Have a mom that needs a spa day?

We love the cute slippers and the Crafters and Co Comfort Wrap in a Gift Box.  The slippers are warm and soft and the comfort wrap smells of lavender which simply helps you relax!

Now, these are just some of the last minute gifts you can find at Hallmark stores today in Canada. Now, let’s talk about the one thing you don’t want to forget, the perfect card. We love the Signature Cards and they are my go-to cards for almost every occasion because they seem to get the sentiment just right. Want to do something a bit different for your Mother’s Day card this year, try the Wonderfold cards.

Let me know what you got you, mom, I love hearing how everyone celebrates their moms.