Skip to main content

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. 

 

 

Are You Using Essential Oils in Your Self-Care Routines?

One of the things I have been doing lately is taking care of myself better. For years, I really didn’t focus on me ever at all. Everyone else came first. Self-care was low on my priority list? Ever been there? Slowly over the last couple of years, I have started using essential oils more and more. I feel in love with aromatherapy quickly but did you know essential oils can help you in so many ways. As I am learning to take care of myself better, in this month of love I wanted to share some great self-care recipes. Essential oils are now an important part of my self-care routines.

What kind of stress do you live with?

I know I placed the needs of family first and it seemed we always had something to juggle. What household is not busy these days?

With it being the week we celebrate love there are many ways to start taking care of you.

It’s time to take care of you. It’s time to show yourself some love.

Aromatherapy

One of the simplest ways to trigger relaxation is with scent. Aromatherapy triggers relaxation. It’s a great way to stop stress in a moment.

There are many ways you can use aromatherapy.

  1. With a diffuser. Simply add a few drops of your favourite oil to water to help you relax. My favourite oil to use is Lavender.
  2.  In your bath. Add a couple of drops of essential oil to a tablespoon of a carrier oil, then add this to your bath water. (Never add just oil to the water- water and oil do not mix.)
  3.  Massage.  Use it in a carrier oil to give a massage.

Scrubs

Some of my other favourite ways to use my essential oils is by making scrubs. Here are just a few great scrub recipes you may want to try:

 

There are so many ways to use essential oils to help better your self-care routines. Check out my Pinterest board to see more recipes and tips that may help you.

If you are intersted in learning more about essential oils and selfcare, I have a free e-book for you.  Just fill out the this form and I will send it to you.

Join the #RRSPandTSFAReady Twitter Party

It’s hard to believe the RRSP deadline is quickly approaching. Are you ready for March 1st, 2018?

Over the years I often wondered was an RRSP really necessary for every Canadian? The RRSP has been around since before I was born yet the TFSA is still a fairly new savings plan. Which is best? I have learned it all depends on your individual situation.

An RRSP or registered retirement savings plan is meant for long-term savings. You can read more about the plan on the government website here. A retirement savings plan is registered with the federal government and you contribute to it.  Any income earned in the RRSP normally exempt from taxes as long as the funds are in the plan. You pay taxes when you take money out.

A TFSA is a tax-free savings account. It allows those over 18 ( and have a social insurance number) to set money aside tax free throughout their lives. Contributions to a TFSA are not taxed deductible. Amounts earned inside the account is generally tax-free even when it is withdrawn.  Read more about them here.

On Thursday, Feb 1st, 2018 you can join my friends from @TangerineBank for the #RRSPandTFSAReady Twitter Party to learn more.

Details for the Twitter Party:

Twitter Party Date: Thursday. February 1. 2018

Time: 7:00pm ET to 8:00pm ET

Twitter Party Hashtag: #RRSPandTFSAReady

Host@TangerineBank

Guest: Joe Synder @JoePSnyder 

RSVP: not required

Prizing: $300 in Gift Cards

 

In the meantime, let me share four things you should know about TFSA’s:

Want to know more about the special guest for the Twitter party?

Joe Snyder

Joe Snyder will be on hand to answer your questions. Joe Snyder is part of the Investments Product Management team at Tangerine. Joe is passionate about investor education and holds the Chartered Investment Manager (CIM®) designation. You can read Joe’s blog posts on the Tangerine website. Click here to view his posts.

*this post is sponsored by the Tangerine Bank. All opinions are my own.

The Year of Non-Sponsorship Begins

It’s 2018 and I am doing something radically different. Most bloggers are looking for ways to increase their audience to share more, to put out better content so they can earn more. There is so much noise in the blogosphere right now that it is difficult to get your message out there. I have decided to do an experiment with 2018. For the first two years of Common Cents Mom, I simply shared my life and what worked for me. I am getting back to that as the year of non-sponsorship begins.

What does that mean?

There will be not a single sponsored post for 2018 on this blog. Not one.

Bold move? Maybe, maybe I am nuts but I simply want to get back to storytelling and helping others without brand sponsorship always on my mind. Some of my most shared and still looked at posts have no brand attachments, they simply helped you, my readers.

When I want to share something, maybe a fun event I am attending I will, my money saving posts will be about what works for me today and what you may want to try, my posts will be about the causes I care dearly about. If you know me you know homelessness and hunger are two issues I care deeply about.

I am also on a health journey, so you will read more of that as well. If I am sharing about essential oils I will share a link to my storefront as I am a doTERRA Wellness advocate.

When I find an item that is really working for me and I want to review it or share it, I will. If it happens to be sold on Amazon I will share a link ( If you buy from one of my links I will earn money)

Two of my favourite apps Caddle and Ebates I also earn a very small amount when you sign up. These links have been on my blog forever.

Otherwise, as the emails come this year I will be saying NO so I can say Yes.

What will I be saying YES to?

I will be saying yes to helping in ways that matter to me.

I will be saying to time with my daughter.

I will be saying yes to fun opportunities that help us to have fun, grow and develop.

I will be saying yes to building relationships that matter.

I will be saying yes to supporting the causes that matter to me.

I will be saying yes to growing.

Do I expect some challenges along the way? Yes. Will it be a challenge to turn down money when asked? Yes.

Let me know in the comments what do you think about my challenge for the year?

 

 

 

 

My Favourite Reads and Shows of 2017

It seems every December every one does a best of the year list. This year as I commuted I did lots of reading and watching thanks to being able to download lots of Netflix shows.  Which one did you do more of? Did you read more or watch shows? Here are the shows and books I really enjoyed in 2017. Some of these were published years ago but read by me for the first time this year. Some books were for personal growth and some were there just to enjoy. These are my favourite reads and shows of 2017.

My Top 10 Reads of 2017

  1. Wonder- I had to read the book before watching the movie. It was so good! I would suggest this book as a great teen read as well. My daughter loved the book as well.
  2. The Hand Maid’s Tale- This book as well the show had me mesmerised. I feel in love with Margot Atwood as an author this year. My teen is getting this book under the tree as she loves dystopian novels.
  3. The Success Principles- I was challenged to read this one as part of a program I was part of. With Jack Canfield, you can never go wrong.
  4. Option B- Sheryl Sandberg’s second book was so different from her first but her ability to move on inspired and encouraged me this year. 
  5. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness- With so many characters in this book and a search for happiness and love, it was one I binge read this year.
  6. Unshakeable- Tony Robbins (who I have long adored) came to Toronto this year and so reading Unshakable made perfect sense for this personal finance writer. If you want to know more read it now.
  7. Braving the Wilderness- I love reading Brene Brown. We all long to belong. I know I have and well she articulated some of my thoughts so well.
  8. The Book of Business Awesome/ The Book of Business UnAwesome- When a friend writes a book, it is on your list. I love Scott’s take on business.
  9. The Sun and Her Flowers- I must admit I cried during reading this book. Just read it.
  10. How to Be a Bawse- Fellow Torontian and YouTuber was a must read for me. This girl rocks.

Besides reading I did lots of watching this year as well. My favourite tv shows were all ones that my teen and I watch together. There are 5 of them.

My Top Watches of 2017

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale- It had us on the edge of our seats waiting for the next episode.
  2. Young Sheldon. – My teen loves this show and it can’t be missed by her.
  3. The Good Place- This show with its constant surprises is simply fun and my teen and I both love it.
  4. The Good Doctor- This show is one we do not miss and we are in love with it.
  5. This is Us- I got addicted to this show during its first season and am loving season 2. My teen joined me in watching this show after getting caught up watching it on Netflix.

We both watched lots of Netflix as well. Our favourite Netflix shows were series. These were all watched this year.

  1. Atypical-Both my teen and I loved this show.
  2. 13 Reasons Why- my daughter and I thought this show was intense but it allowed for some great conversations.
  3. The Crown- I have had a love affair with everything Royal since I was young so I love this series.
  4. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt- we love to laugh and this show makes us laugh out loud!
  5. Orange is the New Black- We have loved the show since the first season.

So let me know what were your favourite reads and watches this year. I really want to know.

 

Flipping for the Family Cookie Exchange

Every year our family has a tradition. It is part of our Christmas festivities. We do a cookie exchange the week before Christmas. On Saturday, family and friends gathered to share thier baking. When it comes to Christmas, I think most families love cookies.  Let me know about your family cookie exchange.  In our family we each bring 6 dozen and take home 6 dozen. There is always a great selection, from my mom fruit cookies, to my sister’s loafs, to peanut butter cookies to christmas peppermint patties there is something for everyone.

On Friday, I shared this video of my teen making the cookies on Instagram.

If you are looking for some great cookie recipe ideas, do check out my Christmas Pinterest board. On Friday, my teen and I made our favourite no bake cookies, Mudpies and then yesterday she made the classic chocolate chip for Santa.

Here is the Mudpie Recipe that we use.

In getting ready for all that baking we did have to hit the grocery store so as always we had this shopper’s best friend on hand, the Flipp app. We were able to get deals on flour, chocolate chips and butter. This week as you are doing all your holiday prep don’t forget that your Flipp app can help you in so many ways.Coupons and Rebates

  1. You can check the flyers and browse if you are looking for ideas. Have you checked out the Flipp Gift Guide?
  2. Run a search for an item and find the best deals on that item. This is great for price comparisons on all those last minute gifts you are shopping for.
  3. Use the Flipp app to price match at many retailers. I love to price match especially at Walmart here in Canada. My US friends there are a number of retailers
  4. Check out the coupons and rebate section for more deals. Did you know you can often use these for items that are on sale? I love the rebates section now. Let me know if you have used it.
  5.  Utilize the Deal Finder to find this weeks best deals. Look for it at the bottom of each flyer page.

If you are a Flipp fan, do you have a favorite tip to share? If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, you will find you are able to save on all your shopping needs. I know for our family it has cut our shopping costs by about 25% this year. Can you imagine what you could do with 25% more cash in your walllet in 2018?

Downloaded the Flipp app and don’t miss out on savings and cash back. Download Flipp from Google Play or the App Store and start saving.

If you haven’t started using the coupons and rebates with the app, you can find some helpful information with Flipp’s Guide to Rebates. Print off your coupons to match them with deals.

Don’t forget to add all your loyalty cards to Flipp so you always have them with you.

*this is a sponsored post and I have partnered with the Flipp app for the past 3 years. I love this app and my opinion has never waived when it comes to this app!

 

 

It’s a Hallmark Christmas and a #Giveaway

It is that time of the year that we are all busy getting ready for Christmas. The decor gets pulled out, the house gets decorated, hot chocolate is sipped, and our favourite Hallmark movies get watched. We are definitely a Hallmark house. From our decor (thanks to the team at Hallmark Canada) to what’s on tv you would think you have entered a Hallmark home at our place.

As a teen I started collecting Hallmark Christmas ornaments. We have always been a Hallmark family, even my grandparent’s tree had Hallmark ornaments. I am so glad to keep this tradition alive.  I have been blessed to work with Hallmark Canada over the past few years and they have sent a box this year that was filled with beautiful decor items, cards, gift bags, gift items and of course a few ornaments.

I went through the box while watching a Hallmark Christmas movie and  the W Network. Did you know they have been showing many a Hallmark movie this month.  Since I have been in recovery mode after a fall late last month I have had the time to snuggle on the sofa and watch some of my favourites. Have you been watching?

The box itself was filled to the brim with a great selection of items and I wanted to share a few of my favourites.

There is the 2017 Dated Frame, which I thought would be a perfect gift for grandparents. I love giving the gift of photos.

There was lots in the box for the wine lover. When I saw the Mover and Shaker Martini glass, I thought of a girl friend who is a definite mover and shaker every day. It’s available for $19.95. There are also great bottle tags and wine charms that would be a divine add on.

They also sent this beautiful copper coloured retangular metal tray, a 3×4 Pillar candle, mixed rosehips, and adorable poinsetta lights. I have combined these for a beautiful centerpiece for my coffee table.

To add to my snowman collection for this year there is the “Stockings Hung with Care” Snowman and pup. It is only $17.95 when you purchase 3 cards. It is the 14th in the snowman series. So far I have 5 from the series. Candy canes light the way in sync to the tune of Jolly Old St. Nicholas.

Two of my favourtie things in the box this year were the Mixed Media Santa and the Mixed Media Santa in a Sleigh. Both are great decor pieces that would look perfect on the mantle.

Here on my blog, one reader can win the Mixed Media Santa this holiday season.

*Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only.

**Giveaway ends December 15th at 12:00 am.

 

<a class=”rcptr” href=”http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/7fdcca0f103/” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”7fdcca0f103″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_9i150e5q”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>
<script src=”https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js”></script>

 

Let’s Talk Practical Stocking Stuffers for the Family #ChurchandDwight

It’s almost crunch time when it comes to Christmas shopping! Yesterday, I was out shopping for the stocking stuffers for our family. I know traditions are different in every family some go expensive, some go for chocolate and candies and some go practical. We tend to go practical in our family with a few food items along the way. I grew up this way practical stocking stuffers have always been part of the package along with at least one clementine and some chocolate.

Typically in ours you will find clementines, chocolate, always a new tootbrush, toothpaste, personal care items, socks and if for a kid there is always a small toy. So we are a family that thinks practically but we like many others have a sweet tooth and a craving for a bit of fun.

What about your family?

My friends at Church & Dwight have some suggestions for you. They are all very practical for those of you who are like my family and love to have a few practical items amongst what you give.

It happens every year! Just when you think you’ve wrapped up your holiday gift list without going over-budget, you realize that there are still stockings to stuff. Not to worry, we have you covered. Here’s a list of some of the best stocking stuffer ideas out there that are both practical and affordable.

Gifts for Her

Batiste™ Dry Shampoo Lotus: With hints of Apple, Wildberry, Grape and Citrus, Batiste™ Dry Shampoo Lotus instantly refreshes your hair between washes by absorbing excess oil from the roots, leaving hair smelling fresh and clean for every and any occasion.

Nair Nourish Crème for Legs & Body with Grape Seed Oil & Nair Nourish Crème for Face with Grape Seed Oil: Nair™ Nourish™ Crème with grape seed oil and antioxidant rich Resveratrol provides a luxurious at-home hair removal experience that nourishes the skin. It’s like a spa treatment in the comfort of your own home.

Gifts for Kids

 

Orajel Spider-Man and My Little Pony Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste and Manual Toothbrush: The perfect stocking stuffer for your children, and their smile! Thanks to these beloved classic characters brushing has never been more enjoyable for kids, and healthy holiday presents have never been easier!

 

Gifts for Adults

Vitafusion Men’s and Women’s Complete Multivitamins: Be at your best through an exhausting month. Vitafusion™ Multivitamins will help ensure your body has the vitamins and nutrients it needs for a happy holiday season and a successful year ahead.

Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant Bright & Strong Toothpaste and Battery-Powered Brush: This is the only toothpaste with Baking Soda, Fluoride and Liquid Calcium. The brush does more than just whiten – it removes 2X more plaque than a manual toothbrush. Use them together and everyone will want to know the secret behind your gorgeous smile.

Diovol Tablets: Enjoy and indulge this season. And stop heartburn and indigestion in its tracks! Diovol™ Tablets provide effective and quick relief of occasional digestive problems.

Ovol Regular Strength Chewables: Too much bubbly this season? Keep these chewables close by to help avoid unwanted hiccups at a holiday party.

RUB A535 Anti-Inflammatory Cream: Shovelling, sledding, and skating can be harsh on your muscles and joints. RUB A535™ Extra Strength Heat Cream is effective at soothing stiff, sore muscles, and sprains.

Trojan Chain Reaction Lubricant: Ignite your intense passion and watch sparks fly with delightfully unpredictable changing sensations. Trojan™ Chain Reaction™ Lubricant allows you to reach new heights of pleasure with a special blend of intensifiers that keep releasing a variety of sensations during use, providing a unique experience every time. Get ready to work up a sweat unlike any other because with this long-lasting lubricant, you won’t want it to end!

Gifts for the Whole Family – Aged 6 and Up

Gravol Ginger Lozenges: Don’t let a bumpy flight or long car ride ruin your holiday travel this season. Pack Gravol™ Ginger Lozenges to prevent nausea and vomiting.

OxiClean Stain Fighters & Arm & Hammer Baking Soda NOTE:

The holidays can be a messy time of year, so share your secret of keeping things fresh, clean and stain-free with OxiClean™ Versatile Stain Remover and Arm & Hammer™ Baking Soda

A Practical Stocking Stuffer Giveaway

And, today may be your lucky day. From vanity cabinet must-haves to at-home beauty treatments, jump on the chance to win a holiday stocking filled with tried-and-true products valued at $150 to help cut down your holiday shopping list.

In the comments let me know and don’t forget to enter using the Rafflecopter entry.

What are your favourite stocking stuffer products listed here?

*this post is sponsored by Church and Dwight and I do receive product and cash for my posts as part of an ambassadorship.

**giveaway is open to Canadian residents only.

***giveaway ends December 20th, 2017

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft Online

Common sense tells us we are all at risk for identity theft? So how can you best protect yourself? Especially from online attacks?

There are some simple things you can to ensure your personal safety online.  Personally, I have had my wallet go missing and I hate to admit it has happened more than once. I know for me I got the sinking feeling and worried most about my identification. Since many of our lives and daily transactions are now done online, it is just as important to protect our online identities.

No one is exempt from online identity theft. We have seen thousands of people impacted each time a company gets compromised. Even the credit bureau, Equifax was recently compromised. Fraud is a real issue and it impacts many Canadians on a yearly basis. A couple of years ago Interac invited me to an evening out where I learned lots about the dark web and the real dangers that lurk at every turn. So how can we can we best protect ourselves from identity theft online? This is important to know as many of us right now are doing our Christmas shopping online.

How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft Online

  1. Create a seperate shopping ID account. When you shop, do you use the same email address as all your social accounts? Don’t! Create a seperate account with very limited permissions. Use this for banking and shopping.
  2. Watch what you share online. In the age where many of our lives are online, don’t overshare personal info. You never know who is watching. Share what you would share if you were giving a speech with a megaphone.
  3. Sign up for a credit monitoring service and get alerts. Did you know you can get alerts every time  your card is used? Credit Karma offers a free service. This means if new credit is opened in your name you are alerted as well as any major changes even a creditor reporting late payment.
  4. Don’t carry non essential ID. Do you carry your SIN card? Stop! Carry what you need.
  5. Be careful where you store your credit card information. In the age of the internet of things it is easy to have your card info stored in many places. Be mindful where your information is being stored. It may not be that secure over time.

Remember an once of prevention helps especially when it comes to your credit.

Recovering From a Slip and Fall

Last weekend, I went to Kitchener Waterloo for a party at a friends house and spent the night. The next day I was out and about and met up with another friend for a hot chocolate and some Christmas shopping. It was a perfect weekend.  It was perfect until I was on the way home and tripped and fell as I was running to catch my bus home that had just arrived at the stop. Immediately I was in immense pain and couldn’t get up for a few minutes. Literally, I couldn’t move.  I had pulled my muscle and scrapped up my knee and bruised my leg as well. It was a pretty brutal fall. The fact I did far from home was a real issue as well. How I managed my way home that night I am still not sure. Let me say this the pain level was real. I think I broke down and cried several times throughout the trip.  It truely was a slip and fall, so how does one recover from a slip and fall?

 

Here is what I have been doing.

Know what is going on with your body?

At first I think it was a scrapped knee and a few bruises. It was not till I went and got seen that I truely knew the extent of the damage. I had pulled a muscle as well as all the visible stuff.  I have learned from my sister who is a bus driver that since this happened on city property at a bus stop I should have reported immediately. Since I have found out what is happening to my body I have been following my doctors advice.

Rest and Elevation

This week I have spent plenty of time on the sofa with my leg elevated resting. I have also been taking pain medication which is why the blog has been quiet. I will be back to posting as of Monday and you will want to be back as there will be 2 giveaways posted this week.

Follow Doctors Orders

I am doing as my doctor says and my recovery will take a few weeks but I will mend. I should be back to normal just in time for Christmas and my birthday later this month. I have been using hot and cold treatments, essential oils and pain meds all week long. I feel like I am on the mend finally that is why you finally see me posting today.

So have you ever slipped and fell and done major damage to yourself? If you have let me know your story.