Oct 20 to 22 – 400+ cask-conditioned ales, epic eats, raw beats + art, all at this year’s Cask Days.
Oct 25 – The Food for Action dinner is a charity meal featuring 20 chefs from some of Toronto’s top restaurants who will each be preparing a special three-course meal.
Oct 27 – TedxToronto ‘Legacy, what will yours be’ in this year’s theme.
Oct 28 to 29 – From breads to cakes and everything in between, Canada’s Baking and Sweets Show takes you on a gourmet tour of the hottest trends in the world of baking. Get ready to eat, shop and learn!
In anticipation of our jam packed traveling schedule next year, I started dabbling into homeschooling. Once or twice a week, CJ would skip school and we would take the classroom outside. It’s been so easy with this fabulous extended summer but now that fall has rolled around, I’m in panic mode on how I’m going to spark curiosity while keep this super active boy entertained indoors.
It’s been a lot of trial and error and I’ve had to hack a few of these to make it age appropriate for a preschooler but here are some cool STEM toys and activities that gets CJ excited about learning…
Have you seen the Operation Smile commercial on TV? It happened to be airing in the background when CJ (at 1.5 years old) pointed and made a bunch of inquisitive sounds. He watched with fascination as I explained that ‘doctors heal people including sick kids’, and since then he’s been saying he wants to be a doctor when he grows up. (Mom can definitely get on board with that haha!) So even though this Human Body Kit is rated for ages 8+, I bought it anyway and he loves it! One time he even sat for 25 mins as I read him the lab guide!
It includes 12 bones that fit together like a puzzle in a clear skeleton shell and 9 squishy organs that feel like gummies. It’s actually a really cool toy that I enjoy playing with as well. Of course, I’m trying to get him to clean up after each ‘operation’ he performs as the pieces are quite small and it’ll really suck to lose an organ! $30
A math teacher introduced me to Blokus. There is just one rule to this game — each piece you play must touch at least one other piece of the same colour, but only at the corners! . CJ is still too young to understand the concept so we created our own rules. He’s big into mazes so we try to make one on the board. Another way to hack it is to see if you can place all 84 piece on the board. The pieces are small so it’s great for fine tuning those fine motor skills and getting little hands to turn the shapes until they fit. $25
Malabar – go early to avoid lineups! This place is the grand daddy one stop shop for all your favourite costumes and accessories in downtown TO. They have very knowledgeable staff and carry an extensive array of pre-packaged costumes, rentals, professional makeup, wigs, hats, masks and everything else your little devil’s heart desires.
Spirit Halloween – city slicker ghosts and goblins can now conveniently shop at this popup on Queen Street West. Costumes for the whole family, props and decorations can all be found here. Get 20% off online orders $60+ and free shipping over $75 here.
Creepers – located in Oakville, they call themselves Canada’s creepiest and sexiest Halloween superstore and rightfully so because they’ve got everything! The staff even dress up as their favourite characters. Their “Pop Culture” section is pretty cool with costumes from Harley Quinn, The Walking Dead, Transformers and popular video game heroes.
Exile Vintage – remember Mr. Dressup’s trunk? Well this place in Kensington Market reminds me of it. There are racks and racks of second-hand clothing and vintage pieces that make excellent costumes if you’ve got the creativity.
One of my pet peeves is Facebook updates that go something like this… ‘omg can’t believe this is happening, send me good vibes pleeeease’! WTF right?!
Well I wasn’t planning on being one of ‘those people’ that create unnecessary suspense with no followup but I’ve probably annoyed enough of you over the last few months — dropping hints then disappearing to the cottage and Spain for half the summer.
So I owe you guys an apology and update.
Before the guessing game continues that I got a job (no!), that I’m pregnant (nooo!), moving (yes), here’s what’s up with the fortune cookie photo I posted on Instagram…
At the beginning of the year, we applied for a US Business Visa. Which explains why I was extra busy and cranky. Government paperwork is a beast!
Spring rolled around and we still hadn’t heard back. That’s when I started to lose my mind! Planners have to plan right?! Boxes were half packed. The deadline for CJ’s school tuition was coming up and we had no backup if he loses his spot. Travel plans grind to a halt. Our life was (almost) put on pause.
TranQool is a health and wellness service that aims to offer affordability and convenience to see a virtual therapist. Chakameh Shafii is the #GirlBoss who started TranQool as a result of her own struggles with anxiety. We spoke to her about startup life and how her team hopes to reduce the stigma associated with mental health.
1) What’s a day in the life of Chakameh Shafii like?
The first hour includes either a 10 mins meditation on Headspace or writing in my 5 mins journal, commuting to work, listening to podcasts and drinking coffee, of course. The rest of the day is filled with meetings, emails and work. I try to exercise almost every day (not weekends) at lunch or in the evening.
TranQool was started from a conversation between friends. I did CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) for my anxiety while working full-time at a Fortune 500 company. It was very effective so I definitely recommend therapy to almost anyone seeking a better quality of live.
The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) or The Ex opens August 18 to September 4 – a bittersweet reminder that summer is officially coming to an end.
My parents brought me in a bassinet when I was a wee little baby (2 months old!) and it’s been my favourite family tradition that I’m now carrying on with CJ. I’m particularly excited this year because he is three and over 3ft tall which means he can start going on some of the midway rides!
I’m also hoping to get a glimpse of the solar eclipse. There will be a viewing party on the CNE grounds Aug 21. Which also happens to be Kids Twoonie Monday so there will be ride specials.
And of course there is all the wacky carnival food!
The menu has just been revealed! So we can expect Canadian classics like the cake poutine chased down with Tim Horton’s Fireworks Chill. Bacon will obviously be slathered on everything, from pancake tacos to saltybreakfast bowls. Snack cravers will enjoy the Peanut Butter Sriracha Bites and Spaghetti Donut Balls while the more daring foodie can indulge in Bug Bistro’s vanilla softserve topped with crispy roasted crickets!
Eative even created a Dragon’s Breathe Crepe that claims to produces a fog-like gas that you can blow through your nose and mouth! And yikes, there are rumours of deep fried chicken feet!
We are a family that dines out. A lot. At a week old, we took CJ out to his first restaurant. He’s now three and one would imagine he’s had plenty of practice honing his dining etiquette but let me tell you, the struggle is STILL real!
Sidenote: if you live or are visiting Toronto, check out my restaurant guide for families.
In our most recent vacation to Spain, we didn’t bother cooking in the tiny European kitchens so for 17 days, we ate at restaurants. That is 34 meals with a super rambunctious toddler. Yikes!
So how did we pull it off with just a few stained shirts?!?!
Well it definitely took more than a dozen trinkets to keep him entertained. And we obviously couldn’t keep offering his favourite foods — corn on the cob and chocolate cake!
Early in the trip CJ kept asking us why the waiter didn’t bring his ‘sert’ (that’s what he calls dessert). After several attempts of explaining that the ‘sert’ is the last course, and a round of endless ‘whys’ (yes, we are in that phase)… we took the opportunity to gamify the situation.
Each time the waiter walked by, we would say something like ‘oh he’s coming this way to see if your plate is cleared’… this prompted him to quickly eat his salad but then the veggie burger came and he got distracted with playing with the bun.