Diamond Jubilee Park ~ Splash Pad Review

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We are keen on soaking up some sun this Summer, while staying cool at the same time – and what better way to do this then hitting up the local splash pad?!

We always seem to end up at the same few splash pads, not necessarily because they are the BEST ones, but honestly because they are familiar {I know how to get there, where to park, etc…}. So to keep things fresh, we are on a mission to explore and discover the splash pads of West Ottawa this Summer. We will be checking-out at least one new one every week and reporting back here with our most and least favourite things they had to offer. Come along for the ride, as we travel the world of Splash Pad excitement!

      This week we made a pit stop at a newer splash pad and park in Findlay Creek. It would have been a trek if we weren’t already out that way, but I’m so glad we checked it out. It’s a new favourite for sure!

Location: Located off of Bank Street at 2810 Findlay Creek Drive. There is a parking lot, an adjacent skate park, gazebo, picnic tables and lots to do!

Featuring: An awesome splash pad with lots of neat features – showers, animal squirting cannons, sprayers, fountains, misting archway, water dome and jets. The ground is also more spongy than a typical splash pad surface, which was really great for running and jumping on (especially for barefooted Mr Man and newly toddling Baby Girl!).

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The two play structures also offered many opportunities for climbing, sliding, swinging and playing!

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How to turn the water on: By holding your palm over the silver sensor on the red flower post.

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Most Favourite: While the kids really enjoyed the splash pad, the biggest smiles of the day were found on the swings! There are two baby swings and 2 accessible swings.

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This Momma absolutely loved this ASL alphabet board over on the play structure, too!

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Least Favourite: Little Momma enjoyed the squirting animals, as long as they were not aimed at her…Mr Man felt the same 😉

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Verdict: { 5 out of 5 stars} ∗∗∗∗∗

See our other Splash Pad Reviews:

Huntley Centennial (Carp)

Citiplace

Bandmaster Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Bluegrass Park

Centrepointe Park

Riverside Park

Brookshire Park

Richcraft Park

Walden Park

Water Dragon Park

Family Fire Drill

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 One of Little Momma’s favourite things to do is practice our home fire drill plan. This kid is not only cautious, but also quite insistent on being prepared for all scenarios (much like her Momma 😉 ).

So when one of our good friends had his awesome firefighter-themed birthday party (complete with a tour of a fire station!), you can bet her little mind was spinning with how our own emergency plan added up against the pros.

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Following the party the kids thoughts and play were only of fire and rescue! And as soon as the little kids were up from nap, Little Momma ushered us to the table to get to work on creating a map of our fire and emergency plan, using the awesome templates we got from the fire station!

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We have 2 separate exit plans and have discussed a number of scenarios with the kids on when each one would be used. However, instead of having one central meeting place, we have one in the front yard and one in the back yard, seeing as our kids are still quite young and wouldn’t be able to leave our fenced backyard without help. We do plan to merge to one central meeting spot once they are a bit older.

We practiced our primary escape route first, which is out to our front yard, where we convene by the largest and furthest tree.

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Then, we tried a backyard emergency exit, where we meet at the furthest point by the back fence, until an adult is there, the kids know to wait.

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Every time we do a drill we are sure to discuss the importance of feeling doors for heat before opening them, crawling beneath smoke, staying visible (NEVER hiding) and calling for help if you’re trapped, as well as how to Stop, Drop and Roll should your clothing catch fire.

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         STOP                                                   DROP                                              ROLL!    

 

Although this can be a difficult topic to discuss, let alone role play with your family, as you never want to actually live this experience. The confidence it gives your children is invaluable, people who are prepared act faster and smarter under pressure in emergencies. You WANT your kids to be in the know!

Practice your family fire drill today and then again every couple of months to keep it fresh in everyone’s mind. Let your children’s questions help fuel your own preparedness in keeping your home as safe as it can be.

And if you aren’t lucky enough to have a friend with such a sweet birthday party, contact your local fire department for a tour and some of their awesome resources!

Spread the ♥ LOVE ♥ Saturday!

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Spreading love, one amazing blogger at a time!

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There are so many amazing and wonderful blogs and bloggers around on the internet, people who inspire me on the regular and teach me new things everyday.

The connectedness that exists through social media allows such an amazing platform for idea sharing and discussion, and has been a gold mine for me in regards to early learning and the birth of Mommy School.

To show my appreciation and gratitude, I plan to highlight an awesome blog each Saturday, in hopes that others will read and draw from these amazing people some inspiration of their own!


This week I’m sending some love Jean Van’t Hul’s way. She blogs over at The Artful Parent where she shares glimpses into her incredibly creative and beautiful life! Jean is another blogger I first came to know via Instagram and I was immediately taken by the sheer beauty of her feed. Her pure love and passion for the arts and her openness to sharing it fully with her children and others is simply amazing. I commend you Jean, thank you for making creativity cool!


Previous Love:

Motherhood and Other Adventures

Fantastic Fun and Learning

Happy Hooligans

The Measured Mom

Coffee Cups and Crayons

Toddler Approved 

Postcards from the Mothership

No Time for Flash Cards

Back to School Countdown Craft

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Here’s a fun and simple craft to get little ones ready to head back to school! Earlier this week I shared my confliction with public vs home education, and after doing so Little Momma told us she would like to “try school for one day and see how it makes (her) heart feel”. And so we are in the thick of helping her adjust to the arrival of Junior Kindergarten. Preparing children for upcoming events can help to reduce any stress and anxiety they may have, and also gives them a sense of control over its approach.

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This is craft integrates many learning mediums and all you need to get started is: glue, scissors, tape, a black marker (to draw your template) and construction paper (we used orange for the strips, black for the details, yellow for the bus and red for the school house).

Step 1: Draw a template. Little Momma chose a school bus for her Junior Kindergarten countdown. For Mr Man I made a simple school house for him to countdown to the return of Mommy School.

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Step 2: Have your child cut around the shape and glue on the details. Every Kinder teacher will tell you how integral cutting skills are and what kid doesn’t love to glue!

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Step 3: Make your paper chain. For our countdown I wrote the numbers on each strip and had the kids order, link and tape them into place. You could also have your child write the numbers, although just making and attaching the links required lots of fine motor dexterity.

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The taping can be tricky and may call for an extra set of hands!

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Step 4: Attach your paper chain to your chosen template. And voilà, you have a back to school countdown!

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Allow your child to remove one link per day, and watch as the start of school gets nearer and nearer!

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Water Dragon Park ~ Splash Pad Review

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We are keen on soaking up some sun this Summer, while staying cool at the same time – and what better way to do this then hitting up the local splash pad?!

We always seem to end up at the same few splash pads, not necessarily because they are the BEST ones, but honestly because they are familiar {I know how to get there, where to park, etc…}. So to keep things fresh, we are on a mission to explore and discover the splash pads of West Ottawa this Summer. We will be checking-out at least one new one every week and reporting back here with our most and least favourite things they had to offer. Come along for the ride, as we travel the world of Splash Pad excitement!


This week we took a little trip as a fam to Water Dragon Park in Barrhaven.

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Location: Located in the heart of Barrhaven at 424 Chapman Mills Drive. This park is also known as Chapman Mills Main Street Park, not to be confused with Chapman Mills Park (which is not on Chapman Mills ;P). There is plenty of parking right beside the park, as well as a shaded gazebo with a picnic table and benches too!

Featuring: A wonderful and diverse play area, that was great for kids of all ages! A giant, climbable dragon, as well as two play structures, with a variety of slides, climbers and swinging bars.

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There were also interactive play ares and bouncy animals for the younger crowd; a cool rock climbing wall and swings, too!

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The splash pad also carries on the dragon theme, with a huge, green dragon that pours water from its snout and tail! There are also a number of ground fountains and four big, red buckets dumping water on the heads of those brave enough to stand under! The run-off water does create a slippery mud pit just beyond the dragon’s tail so beware!

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How to turn the water on: By stepping on the copper-coloured metal circle sensor, located along the edge of the splash pad near the dragon’s head. We haven’t seen this type of sensor before, but the kids thought it was great (and so did I!).

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Most Favourite: Mr Man enjoyed filling buckets with water from the dragon tail, which sprays out in a few spots with lower pressure. He then liked to use said buckets to splash Daddy – better him then me!

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Little Momma was much more into climbing than splashing today. She has become very dedicated and focused on mastering every climber we come across this summer!!

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Least Favourite: While still not brave enough ourselves, we have graduated to watching the dumping buckets soak others, and this time Mr Man tried hard to have Daddy go under 😉

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Verdict: { 4 out of 5 stars} ∗∗∗∗

 

See our other Splash Pad Reviews:

Huntley Centennial (Carp)

Citiplace

Bandmaster Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Bluegrass Park

Centrepointe Park

Riverside Park

Brookshire Park

Richcraft Park

Walden Park

The Conflict of Kindergarten

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I have been in the throes of deciding whether to send my Little Momma to public school this September, or to unschool at home. A decision, I might add, I never thought I’d be considering!

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My Little Momma is a beautiful, intricate and often complicated soul. She feels so deeply, expresses emotion with such great fervor and masks uncertainty and discomfort in a way I wish she wouldn’t. She’s 4…it should be okay for her to feel and express, but she is cautious and oh, so aware of watchful eyes, pretending all is well and fine until she feels safe to admit otherwise. In the last few weeks, this has resulted in multiple episodes of a sobbing, distraught preschooler in my lap, nervous and afraid of what’s to come. I can’t help but feel that this shouldn’t be a normal part of starting school, and thus I’ve been thrown into the thick of this inner turmoil.

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 I’m so conflicted. As a former elementary school teacher, I never doubted public school was the route my kids would go. I even turned my nose up at the thought of homeschooling (apologies to my Mother-in-Law, as I now stick my foot in my mouth!). But being a Momma does funny things to your heart and changes the way we see even the most mundane things.

{And now I hyper-analyze my own childhood} I have always been shy and struggle with anxiety in social situations. And now looking back, I really don’t think that public school was the best place for me. I always felt awkward and never had a real sense of belonging. Don’t get me wrong I did fine and was quite successful academically, but don’t we all just want a little better than fine for our own children??

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I don’t have an answer – just a heavy Momma heart.

I feel that homeschooling and unschooling are so very in-line with my parenting ideals, and yet I also hold the social experiences & real-world preparation of public education in high regard. But is my 4-year-old emotionally ready for this? I just can’t shake this feeling that I’m shoving my baby bird from the nest before her time. I feel like we should give Junior Kindergarten (JK) a shot and see how it goes, but I also feel so strongly that it just isn’t the right fit. I also have two younger children to consider in all of this. One thing is clear for sure….I’m conflicted!

So I guess I’m banking on an epiphany or some Divine intervention to guide me in this. I just want to do what is best for MY family. Motherhood has so many variations of best, that finding the optimal route for us is so very blurry.

I don’t want to rush this. I just want her to soak up every moment of being little and allow her beautiful self to fully emerge in all the ways it’s meant to. In her own time. That can’t be too much to ask, right?!?

Please send clarity & decision-making mojo my way…clearly I need it! 😉

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Spread the ♥ LOVE ♥ Saturday!

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Spreading love, one amazing blogger at a time!

 valentines

There are so many amazing and wonderful blogs and bloggers around on the internet, people who inspire me on the regular and teach me new things everyday.

The connectedness that exists through social media allows such an amazing platform for idea sharing and discussion, and has been a gold mine for me in regards to early learning and the birth of Mommy School.

To show my appreciation and gratitude, I plan to highlight an awesome blog each Saturday, in hopes that others will read and draw from these amazing people some inspiration of their own!


This week I would love to highlight Jordan of Motherhood and Other Adventures. I first ‘met’ her over on Instagram and am so impressed by her creativity, and all of the wonderfully rich learning experiences she creates for her kids! Go on and check her out, her craftiness will amaze you and her love for her kiddos can be seen through a computer screen! Thanks for being such an inspiring Momma!


Previous Love:

Fantastic Fun and Learning

Happy Hooligans

The Measured Mom

Coffee Cups and Crayons

Toddler Approved 

Postcards from the Mothership

No Time for Flash Cards

Summer Book Club: The Giving Tree

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If there is one thing I would REALLY love to pass on to my children, it is my love of reading and books! There is so much fun and adventure awaiting in every book and this summer we will focus on one book a week (some of my personal faves!) to share, along with some activities and/or crafts you can do with your own littles at home!

Week 6: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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This story is one of my favourite all-time Children’s book. It’s beautiful, simple and preaches a timeless message of kindness and giving. It’s a must-read!

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Story Extensions:

Apple Tree Playdough Mats

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I cut out, glued and laminated a simple tree pattern ahead of time. During our lesson, I had the kids tear off small pieces of red modelling clay to make apples for the tree. I used modelling clay in lieu of playdough this time for some added fine motor strengthening.

Once the kids had added their apples we solved a few math problems using the apples as manipulatives. For Mr Man (3), I would ask him to ‘pick’ a certain number of apples, this allowed him to count and verify his number sense. Little Momma (4.5) did a few subtraction questions, by first counting the total number of apples in the tree (we started with 5) and then solving how many were left after were eaten. (i.e. How many apples would be left in the tree if Daddy came and ate 3? Answer: 5 – 3 = 2)

Apple Tree Fingerpaint Craft

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This fun and simple craft incorporated a number of art mediums, giving way to many sensory experiences through the process!

First, the kids glued a pre-cut foam tree top onto a pre-cut sandpaper trunk, using white glue. Then they got to trace a heart on the sandpaper trunk, which was an interesting sensation! Last, they used red paint and their fingertips to add apples to their trees. The end result was cute and our conversation about the various textures throughout was an added bonus – I love when an art activity is about more than the finished product!

Collecting Leaves & Counting Tree Rings

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A few of our crafts required leaves and so we headed out for some collecting and exploring.

We also had a few smaller tree logs in the garage, that we used to count tree rings and find their age. This was fascinating to my littles, who then looked for rings on all things 😛

Mini-Giving Trees

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Using the leaves we found and some mini cardboard planters the kids arranged some little trees by poking the stems through the cardboard.

With each leaf they added we discussed a way we could be giving like the tree was in the story. Some of our ides were: share snacks, draw pictures for a sick neighbour and giving hugs!

Leaf Prints

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The kiddos really enjoyed making leaf-prints by stamping the various leaves we collected onto some rolled out playdough. It was fun to compare all the markings they left, too!

What are you reading this week? 

Check out our past Summer Book Club reads:

The Troll

Amazing Grace

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Is There Really a Human Race?

A Bad Case of the Stripes

Cooking with Kids: Pigs in a Blanket

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This Summer, I have been working extra hard at saying ‘yes’, whenever I can. And I’ve found that when I do say ‘yes’ to the little things (i.e. not matters of safety or respect), my ‘no’s’ are accepted far more readily. So when Little Momma asked to make dinner for us last week – YES!!

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My bossy mini-me requested ‘pigs in a blanket’, which, if you’ve never eaten the delicacy, is hot dogs wrapped in a crescent roll. She also made it VERY clear that she was doing this ALL BY HERSELF, but seeing as she can’t read yet, I was allowed to read the instructions, oh and open the stove (for safety, of course!).

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She preheated the oven and set the timer and then got to work rolling the hot dogs into the pastry.

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As they baked she helped cut up some veggies, took everyone’s drink orders and even set the table!

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And just like that dinner was served – not exactly gourmet, but the fact that Little Momma made it herself made it all the better, and bought great street-cred (or would that be table-cred?!) with the other littles!

Her pride was written all over her face, which is such a beautiful thing to see 🙂

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Walden Park ~ Splash Pad Review

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We are keen on soaking up some sun this Summer, while staying cool at the same time – and what better way to do this then hitting up the local splash pad?!

We always seem to end up at the same few splash pads, not necessarily because they are the BEST ones, but honestly because they are familiar {I know how to get there, where to park, etc…}. So to keep things fresh, we are on a mission to explore and discover the splash pads of West Ottawa this Summer. We will be checking-out at least one new one every week and reporting back here with our most and least favourite things they had to offer. Come along for the ride, as we travel the world of Splash Pad excitement!


We have now also visited the splash pad at Walden Park in Kanata Lakes.

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Photo Cred: Wayne Hylarides

 Location: Close to the Kanata Centrum at 243 Walden Drive in Kanata. There’s a parking lot adjacent to the park, a walking trail and lots of shade and sitting areas.

Featuring: The park had lots to offer, there are two great play structures that appeal to kids of all ages.

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A great big sandy area which encloses the smaller of the play structures, two bouncy ride-ons and lots of space for sand-play and castle building.

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The splash pad is very simple and ideal for the younger, more hesitant crowd! It has two circular misters, a few fountains, sprayers and instead of dumping buckets the tall post has three dripping shower heads.

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How to turn the water on: By pressing the black sensor on the blue post – it beeps for some added entertainment too 😉

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Most Favourite: Both kids love running through the ‘tunnel’ fountains and would hover and wait excitedly for them to come back on during each cycle.

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Least Favourite: Both kids faced some frustrations this week as they attempted to overcome their hesitancy, Mr Man with the pouring shower posts and Little Momma with the climbing web! Although the result was a dose of whining and pouting, it always makes me proud to see them pushing their limits on their own time 🙂

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Verdict: { 4 out of 5 stars} ∗∗∗∗

See our other Splash Pad Reviews:

Huntley Centennial (Carp)

Citiplace

Bandmaster Park

Andrew Haydon Park

Bluegrass Park

Centrepointe Park

Riverside Park

Brookshire Park

Richcraft Park