Thursday, February 23, 2017

Canada Blooms is Back! March 10-19 at Toronto's Enercare Centre {giveaway}

I am itching to get out in my garden. I saw robins last week, and then the next day - snowdrops in a neighbour's flower bed. Yes! We are almost there. The sparrows seem to be nesting as well, and I think our mom and dad pair may be moving back into their nest from last year. It's all very exciting for me :)

A major sign of spring for me is the annual Canada Blooms show each March. Even if there's still snow on the ground and I'm wearing my parka, the sights and smells of the gardens at this event just lift my spirits. Plus, it's a great place to take in gardening workshops, do some shopping, and learn about the hot new plants for the new year.

This year is the 21st annual, and Canada Blooms has grown to be the largest flower and garden festival in Canada. The 2017 program includes over 25 gardens, lots of landscape design, and over 100 hours of seminars and demonstrations by gardening experts. I always look forward to whatever Mark Cullen has to say, and this year I'm hoping to catch garden writer Tara Nolan and her session on raised bed gardening. Another highlight for me is the pickOntario Flower Market, with over 1500 sq. ft. of flowers and plants from Ontario’s top growers, all located in one area. We have amazing growers here, and I fully support buying local wherever possible.

Gorgeous hellebores from the show last year.

Have you been to Canada Blooms before? What were you favourite parts? I can't wait!!!

A Giveaway

A big thank you to Canada Blooms, who have provided me with 4 tickets for the show to give to my readers. These tickets ae good for one day access to Canada Blooms and the National Home Show, on any day from March 10-19, 2017. I will choose two winners, each of whom will receive two passes. Bring a friend, or go twice on your own. It's your choice :) But I love enjoying the show with a buddy.

Entries are via the widget below and will be accepted until 11:59pm ET, March 4. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Please only enter if you will be able to attend the event in Toronto during the March 10-19 it is open. Best of luck!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Belly Laugh Riddles and Puns for Kids (book review)

Boo loves to read. And Boo loves a good joke. He's still super proud of this one he made up years ago:

Q: Why do fish swim in salt water? 
A: Because pepper makes them sneeze!


So, naturally, when I was asked to review Belly Laugh Riddles and Puns for Kids, I said send it on over! I knew Boo would be happy to give it a thorough study and review.

This volume has been compiled by Sky Pony Press editors, and illustrated by Bethany Straker. It includes 350 side-splittingly funny, silly, and/or awful riddles and puns (depending on your age, temperament, and how long your child has been reading them to you.) It also has a handy "Duh!" button on the front cover, so you can express your reaction to some of the real groaners in here.

Boo really, really, enjoys the Duh! button. Sends him into endless giggles. As do the riddles and puns, for that matter. He and a friend spent ages, taking turns reading from this to each other and falling down in laughter. They give the volume two thumbs up.

And Mom enjoyed it too. Great, clean jokes for kids to keep them entertained and entertaining. Laughter is a wonderful thing, and this book provides it, whether laughing at a truly hilarious joke, or a truly silly one that makes you roll your eyes.

A couple of examples, to whet your appetite.

Q: Can a frog jump higher than the Empire State Building?
A: Of course, the Empire State Building can't jump.

Q: What animal asks too many questions?
A: An owl.

Belly Laugh Riddles and Puns for Kids is available on in hardcover for $14.78, or in a Kindle edition for $9.99. It is suggested for ages 5-12. Tween boys love it.

Sky Pony Press has two more titles in this series as well: Belly Laugh Jokes for Kids and Belly Laugh Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids. Both also available on Amazon. I believe Boo has added them to his wishlist.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own, or those of my family. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive a small commission from with any purchase made via these links.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Family Day Weekend in Toronto

Family Day 2017 is here, and there are tons of events planned around the province. The first Family Day holiday in 2008 had a smattering of activities on offer, but that quickly grew, and there are now many options for families to enjoy, according to their interests. Here are a few that have caught my eye, happening in and around Toronto.

Art Gallery of Ontario

On Monday, from 10:30am-4:00pm, the AGO transforms into the Kids’ Gallery of Ontario (KGO), with a great line up of artful activities inspired by the ongoing exhibition Francis Alÿs: A Story of Negotiation. Programming highlights include kite-making and bubble wrap-bursting, Gallery tours, family yoga, exciting interactive performances by the SOAR children’s skipping team, and a screening of Small Cave, Big Cave, a new short film written by two Toronto seven-year-olds.
Visit for the full schedule. Plus, on the site, you can get a special Family Pass for just $39 (a $10 savings) when you purchase in advance.

Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo is open all weekend, from 9:30am-4:30pm daily. They invite you to bring your family to meet their families, including Canada's only Giant Panda cubs, who can be seen with their mom, Er Shun. From 10:00am-2:00pm, can experience "Connecting with Wildlife Conservation - Big and Small Wild Families" through interactive Interpretive Stations at Polar Bears, African Rainforest and Indo-Malaya Pavilions. And be sure to check out the schedule of Keeper Talks and feedings.

The Drake Hotel

On Sunday and Monday, The Drake is hosting children's entertainers, The Monkey Bunch, at the Drake Underground. The Monkey Bunch gives a show the whole family will love, with music, humour, and a message of caring for the planet.  The show starts at 3:00pm, and tickets are $10 each, or $30 for a pack of four. Why not consider grabbing brunch in the Lounge before you head to the show?

TIFF DigiPlaySpace

The digiPlaySpace opens this weekend at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. This curated, interactive exhibit is designed for kids ages 3-13, and provides a broad array of playful 21st century innovations. This year's offerings include 23 installations from 8 countries, including multi-player installations and learning-centric videogames, robotics, mobile apps, green screen escapades and hands-on activities from acclaimed Canadian and international new media artists. . Kids can learn to code, operate robots via an iPad to craft original creations, explore electrical circuits, experience virtual reality stories, and so much more. Boo and I have really enjoyed this event over the years. Weekend admission is $13.

Casa Loma

Fans of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" will want to check this one out. Walt Disney Studios Canada invites you to visit this special exhibit at Casa Loma, running from Feb. 17-20. The exhibit includes the display of nine costumes from the film, as well as a variety of themed activities and special performances over the course of the weekend. All of these costumes were designed by Academy Award-winning costume designer, Jacqueline Durran. Guests will also see a replica of the iconic rose and bell jar. Among the activities being offered are arts and crafts, face painting and story time, plus performances by ballroom dancers and an aerialist. The exhibit is included in admission; use the promo code “Be Our Guest” at the box office to receive a 20% discount on your ticket purchase. Casa Loma will be open extended hours this weekend, from 9:30am-9:00pm.

Harbourfront Centre

On Monday, from 11:00am-5:00pm, come experience Family Day with HarbourKIDS: North! Harbourfront Centre will be celebrating the northern winter landscape with free family activities, where you can discover, examine and explore the mighty expanse of the North and its ever-changing terrain while considering conservation and respect for the environment. Interactive fun includes skating, theatre, LEGO, arts & crafts, science, musical entertainment, and a special installation "Discover the Night," where four artists have transformed the Brigantine Room into a one time only interactive play space emulating the Northern night sky through art, light and sound. Best of all? It's all free!

These are all larger events, but check in your local community as well. For instance, the Holy Trinity Guildwood Anglican Church in Scarborough is holding a Family Day Winter Fair on Monday, from 1:00-4:00pm. The event includes games - ring toss, tic tac toe, mini golf; crafts; snacks; and a special magic show. Admission is free.


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