Getting Ready for School

tvcc

Do you have a child who is a client of TVCC and who is about to enter kindergarten for the first time this fall?

Thames Valley Children’s Centre is hosting an evening session for parents and caregivers of children with special needs who will be starting school in September 2015 (children do not attend). Topics of discussion will include:

  • full day kindergarten
  • preparing for transitions
  • school processes and meetings
  • parent/school relationships
  • curriculum
  • concerns or questions that you have

DATE: Monday, June 1, 2015

TIME: 6:00 to 9:00pm

LOCATION: Thames Valley Children’s Centre, 779 Baseline Road East

COST: Free

PARKING: LHSC Parking rate in Lot V7 is $4/hour

REGISTER: Online

 

 

Fairy Houses

fairy

Today, I’m passing the website over to my darling oldest daughter who is a professional Fairy House Builder. If you have any children that love fairies, magical creatures, and getting creative, then building a fairy house might just be up their alley.

 

Hello! First I’ll start with how I got creative and into making fairy houses. It all started when my seventh birthday rolled around and my Nana and Grandpa gave me a clay fairy house, a tiny (fairy-sized) fence, metal fairy-sized watering can, bench, and tiny bird (or bug) house. When the temperature warmed up (since my birthday is in late winter), my sister, my Nana and I went to the pond to get some stones, sticks and cement chunks. Bit by bit, I worked on my fairy house when I wanted and could. I even got some fairy plants!

MATERIALS

Fairy houses can be built out of almost anything found in nature. Here are some of my favourite things to use:

  • sticks/twigs
  • stones
  • popsicle sticks
  • dandelion stems
  • leaves
  • grass
  • mulch
  • dirt
  • flowers
  • sand
  • pebbles
  • store-bought houses or fairy furniture
  • pine cones

HOW TO BUILD

  1. Find a good spot in your backyard, not near a lawnmower, hidden from animals that will destroy it [mom says: give your kids a spot in your flower or vegetable garden that you don't mind being dug up over and over. Mark out their space vs. your space and don't cross the magic line. Other spaces could be found in large flower bins or pots, like the ones from Costco, or old sandboxes/water tables that they've outgrown]
  2. Start with a floor made of pine needles or twigs or pebbles or something that you found. You can build around it, make sure you leave space for the door. Use twigs and mud or make a leafy tent. Make it as big as you can.
  3. You can make a straw or grass roof.
  4. Make it fun for the fairies with special features. Some ideas are: a garden, a hammock, a swing set, fire pit [mom says: not a real fire pit! Fairies don't like fire and neither do moms], a pool, a bridge, and any other thing you can think of. Fairies LOVE a little bling don’t they? Shiny stones, shells, or even feathers might really do the trick to getting a curious fairies attention!!

 

 

 

Golfing with the City

golf

Do you like to golf? Does your partner? Golfing is a great way to get active during the warmer months. It’s a great sport to play when you want to hang out and catch up with friends, but also feel like you got a little exercise in when it’s all said and done. With all of the walking, the swinging and the laughing, you’ll be relaxed and ready for a nap when you’re all done ;)

The City of London has three great, affordable golf courses spread out in the west, east and southeast. They have membership options, unlimited (one-time fee and unlimited golf through the season) and regular (membership fee, plus reduced rates for each round all season), as well as non-member options.

WHERE

FANSHAWE GOLF COURSE is located in northeast London, 2835 Sunningdale Road East. This is the first golf course in Canada to be fully accessible and is great for families. They have two 18-hole courses.

RIVER ROAD GOLF COURSE is located in southeast London, 2115 River Road. River Road is known for it’s scenic views and more challenging 18-hole course.

THAMES VALLEY GOLF COURSE is located in west London off of Riverside Drive, 850 Sunninghill Ave. Featuring both an 18-hole and a 9-hole course, the latter is ideal for families and kids just learning how to play.

TEE TIME

First tee time is at 7:00am from Monday through Friday, 6:30am on weekends, beginning this Saturday, May 23.

They are open seven days a week.

Power carts are available and must be reserved in advance. See HERE for more information.

GREEN FEES AND MEMBERSHIPS

Green fees vary based on time of day, course, age, and membership, from $20-42 for guests and $10-21 for members.

For full fee information see HERE.

If you (or your partner or your kid!) play more than 15 rounds of golf per season, getting a membership is an economical choice. For rates and information, see HERE.

Victoria Day

victoria

It’s Victoria Day! In honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday and Canada’s unofficial start of summer, most of us have today off to sit back and enjoy ourselves. If you are in need of something to do, here is what is open and closed today:

CLOSED

There will be no garbage/recycling/yard waste pick up today and no Canada Post delivery

Grocery stores and drug stores (excluding a select few)

All malls

City of London indoor pools

Banks

LCBO and Beer Stores

All public libraries

Government offices

OPEN

Restaurants

Movie Theatres

Many Garden Centres (e.g. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Heeman’s)

Fanshawe Pioneer Village/Fanshawe Conservation Area

Storybook Gardens

London Children’s Museum

Palasad North and South

Boler Mountain Treetop Adventure and Mountain Bike Trails

 

 

Plant a Row, Grow a Row

plantarowgrowarow

Gardeners, green-thumbs, and wannabes, as you are planning and/or planting your summer garden this weekend, consider London’s Plant a Row, Grow a Row Campaign. Founded in 2012 this program encourages you to plant a little bit extra in your garden and to donate that extra produce to the London Food Bank.

DID YOU KNOW?

The London Food Bank is able to easily collect and distribute non-perishables, but low income individuals/families also need the most important part of our diet: fresh fruit and vegetables. While you can imagine the obvious trouble with collecting such items in a drop off bin at a grocery store, they are able to collect and distribute fresh produce when it is brought directly to them.

PLANT A ROW, GROW A ROW

This time of year is the absolute easiest way to contribute to your London Food Bank by making space in your kitchen garden for a bit more produce. Did you grow more zucchini than you can handle? Decide kale is just not your thing? Have more tomatoes than you can can? Rhubarb running wild? Had enough beets for one season? Bring your excess to the London Food Bank! Either make the conscious decision to over-plant or just bring them whatever you don’t want. Pick it at it’s prime and get it to the Food Bank ASAP.

SEEDS

If altruism isn’t motivation enough to get on board with this, Plant a Row, Grow a Row has received a whole lot of seeds to give to you at no cost! Bush beans, pole beans, leaf lettuce, spinach, summer squash, cucumber, kale and beets are available for your garden. Just plant, grow, keep what you want and donate the rest back. See Facebook for more information.

 

 

 

Victoria Day Fireworks

fireworks

This Monday is Victoria Day and one of the two days each year where we are allowed to set off fireworks in the city. If you are interested in staying up to see them, there is only one public show happening. You are allowed to set off your own fireworks if you follow the rules and precautions set out by the London Fire Department.

FANSHAWE OPTIMIST FIREWORKS DISPLAY

WHERE: Fanshawe Conservation Area

WHEN: Monday, May 18 at dusk

WHAT: Approximately 40 minute firework display, weather permitting

ADMISSION: $15 per car

FIREWORKS AT HOME

If you decide to have your own fireworks show at home, the City of London Fire Department recommends the following:

  • Only responsible adults who are aware of the hazards and appropriate care required should handle or discharge fireworks. Never use illegal fireworks. Firecrackers are illegal.
  • Carefully read and follow the label directions on fireworks packaging.
  • Always keep a water hose or pail of water close by when discharging fireworks.
  • Keep sparklers away from children.  They can cause severe burns.
  • Light only one firework at a time and only when they are on the ground. Never try to light a firework in your hand or re-light dud fireworks.
  • Discharge fireworks well away from combustible materials such as buildings, trees and dry grass.
  • Discharge fireworks only if wind conditions do not create a fire or safety hazard.
  • Keep onlookers a safe distance away, upwind from the area where fireworks are discharged.

WHY THE CELEBRATION?

If you or your children are wondering why we are even celebrating this long weekend, read up on Queen Victoria HERE or HERE!

The Three Sisters

3sisters

We are fortunate in London to live in a place so rich in history and to be able to learn about the history first hand! If you have a child around grade three or above, there is a good chance they will know what The Three Sisters are already through their social studies unit on Native Canadians. If they’re lucky, they may have even gone to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology and learnt about the crops and legends of the First Nations people who lived and farmed right here in London and area before the European Settlers came over.

THE LEGEND

The legend of the Three Sisters was passed down from generation to generation to teach about farming. In the story (a version can be found HERE) there are three sisters who are very different, but inseparable. They each have different characteristics that compliment each other. One day, they see a young Native boy and become curious. One by one the sisters disappear in the night as summer turns into fall. At the end of the tale, they are reunited joyfully in the young boys lodge where they help to feed his family.

WHO ARE THE SISTERS?

The Three Sisters are three plants: corn, beans, and squash (traditionally pumpkins). According to legend, the three sisters are inseparable and cannot grow without each other. When planted together the corn acts as a pole for the beans, who in turn strengthen and help support the corn stalks. The squash provides ground cover and acts as mulch to prevent weeds and keep the soil moist.

PLANTING THE THREE SISTERS

If you have space in your yard somewhere, consider planting the three sisters this spring and see what happens! Talk about the history with your children and do a little research into how the three crops would be used by the original residents of London. Start this weekend!

  1. Plant the corn about 4 in a square foot and water frequently.
  2. When the corn is about 6 inches tall, plant the beans between the corn (about 6-7 per square foot)
  3. Plant a squash or two, depending on how much space you have. Squash grows and takes up a lot of space, so give it room!
  4. Water your plants frequently and fertilize as needed.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Try some of these links:

http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html

http://blogs.cornell.edu/garden/get-activities/signature-projects/the-three-sisters-exploring-an-iroquois-garden/

https://farmtoforkguelph.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/fall-in-ontario-is-time-for-the-three-sisters/

http://www.evergreen.ca/downloads/pdfs/BeanKeepers-ThreeSisters.pdf

http://www.wabano.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/CLANconnections-AUGUST-2014-final-2.pdf

http://www.foodshare.net/files/www/Field_to_Table_Schools/Eat_in_Ontario/Gr3-ThreeSisters.pdf

 

This Weekend in London

may

It’s the long weekend! Once upon a time, May 2-4 meant something entirely different than it does once you have kids. ;) So, your plans now may involve a lot more gardening than tanning on a beach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun! Here is what is happening around town:

LONDON MAJORS

The London Majors are back in action at Labatt Memorial Park. Take your kids out to the ballpark and have some fun this Friday, May 15 for the Home Opener. The game begins at 7:35pm against the Hamilton Cardinals. Tickets are only $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students.

STORYBOOK GARDENS

Storybook is open for the spring/summer season as of this Saturday, May 16! All amusement park rides are open and the park will be open daily for play. For hours and admission, see here.

FANSHAWE PIONEER VILLAGE

Fanshawe Pioneer Village opens for the season this weekend for it’s 56th season. It will be open Saturday from 10:00am to 4:30pm, admission is $7. Have a little historical fun this weekend!

PLAY ON! 4 ON 4 HOCKEY

Victoria Park and it’s surrounding streets will be host to the Play On! 4 on 4 hockey tournament this Saturday and Sunday. Registration is closed for the event, but spectators are welcome! Come cheer on your friends or see if you can spot the next hometown hero in action.

TOONIE SWIM

The May schedule for City of London Aquatics Toonie Swims is out and one is this weekend! Friday, May 15 from 7:15 until 9:00pm at the South London Community Pool. Admission is only $2.00 per person.

Pre-Teen Much Music Video Dance Party

Centennial Hall is hosting a Much Music Video Dance Party for all kids in grades 6 to 8 this Friday, May 15 from 7:00 to 11:00pm. Admission is $12 per student, photo ID is required (photo copy of health card or passport).

BOLER MOUNTAIN

Did you know that Boler is more than just a ski hill? Their Tree Top Adventure Park and Mountain Bike Trails are now open for the spring season. Reservations are recommended for the Tree Top Adventures and can be done online: http://www.bolermountain.com/treetop/

SPRAY PADS

The City of London Spray Pads (excluding Storybook Gardens) will be functional as of this Saturday morning at 9am!

Spray Pads

spray-pads-london

The weather has definitely taken a turn for the better! It’s hard to believe that we had snow only a few short weeks ago when the sun is this warm and gorgeous. And while backyard pools may be opening, most outdoor aquatic activities are still on hold for a little bit longer – except for one! In one week today, on Saturday, May 16 the City of London spray pads open for the season!

Spray pads are fun places for kids to get wet, play, splash, and be silly without standing water and all of the risks that come with it. They are elaborate sprinkler systems! With the touch of a button, water will spray, drip, dump, shoot, pour, and jet out of various areas in rotation. The spray pads are suitable for all ages (with supervision!) and can be accessed by all. Spray pads are slowly beginning to replace a lot of the wading pools within the city because they use less water to operate (used on demand vs filled daily) and do not require a lifeguard.

Spray pads are FREE and will operate from 9:00am to 9:00pm daily until Labour Day weekend.

There are 12 city operated spray pads which can be seen on a map HERE.

Gibbons Park

Rowntree Park

Lambeth (Centennial Park)

Forks of the Thames

Kiwanis Park

West Lions Park

Bonaventure Meadows

Jesse Davidson Park

Southeast Optimist Park

Oakridge Optimist Park

Ed Blake Park

Medway Park

 

 

Mother’s Day

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and whether you’re looking to treat your own mom to something special or you’re planning on conveniently texting this link to someone in your life for a little reminder, we are sure there will be something on this list for everyone.

WHAT TO DO

There are a number of places hosting specials for moms on Mother’s Day. Here are a few:

YOGA SHACK

Yoga Shack on Ann St is having family yoga at 2pm on Sunday. Kids 5+ welcome, $5 each with all proceeds going to Africa Yoga Project. They’re also having a sale on passes for Mother’s Day, on now until Sunday. Treat yourself or your mom!

MOKSHA YOGA

All current pass members are invited to bring their mom, step-mom, mother-in-law, or mom-figure with them to class on Sunday for free! One guest per Mokshie.

STORYBOOK GARDENS

Moms and Grandma’s get into the park free on Mother’s Day! There will also be special Train Par-Tea with free lemonade served to passengers. Train tickets are $2/person (babies free).

EAST PARK GOLF GARDENS

East Park is open for Mother’s Day! They are offering mom’s a free round of mini-golf with a paid partner at the adult rate. Golf activities are open from 9:00am to dusk on Sunday.

LONDON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

Mom’s get into the museum for free on Sunday! The Children’s Museum is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm on Sunday.

WHERE TO EAT

PALASAD

Mom’s eat free ALL WEEKEND (yes! starting today!) at Palasad. Kids must be there with you and someone has to order something more expensive than your meal. While you’re there, enter to win a Spa Day.

MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH

A number of places will be hosting special brunches for Mother’s Day. Make reservations as soon as possible because it is a popular event no matter where you’re going! These are only a few of the places doing something special; call up your favourite restaurant (or your mom’s!) and see if they have something special going on.

Ramada Inn

Idlewyld Inn and Spa

Fanshawe Pioneer Village

Eldon House

Elm Hurst Inn & Spa

Western Fair District, Top of the Fair

Best Western Lamplighter Inn, Shelly’s Tap and Grill

Delta London Armouries Hotel

Hilton London, blakes

STAY AT HOME

Make Mother’s Day a stay-at-home, family day. Have a staycation in your own backyard or living room. Stay in your PJ’s, watch movies, snuggle, have a Wii marathon, take a long bath, have someone give you a manicure, and do whatever else you want to do with your kids – MOM gets to make all of the decisions, including making none of the decisions if that’s what suits you. Make sure everyone is aware of it the day before – no gifts needed, just their presence to make the day special. Or kick them out of the house and have the staycation all to yourself. It’s your day.