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This blog is about life with a baby. It's not always what you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time.

Be sure to also check out our Travel Blog where you can share and read stories about travelling with the family.


We encourage you to share your experiences - by sharing your experiences and commenting on other posts, you may be helping other moms.


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  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 1:42 PM | Allison (Administrator)

    This is a recipe for a lactation cookie that helped to fill me up when I was so hungry in those first few days after birth!  They have lots of ingredients that some people say can help milk supply, like oats, brewers yeast and flax. I would purchase these items from a bulk store.

    I modified a recipe from Dr Momma. The original recipe has sugar and brown sugar, and I worked to replace that with maple syrup.  http://www.drmomma.org/2010/08/lactation-cookies-recipe-increasing.html

     As with most of my baking, I mix in my food processor. I mix in liquid ingredients. Over the top of these, I place some of the flour, and the baking soda, and mix those together using a spoon (without disturbing the liquid ingredients). The food processor then does the rest of the work!

     As in the original post, these are great for the whole family. My toddler loved them and as I knew exactly what was in the recipe, I was comfortable sharing with him. I modified the original recipe to have maple syrup instead of sugar. I also change the order the items are posted to make it easier to recreate during the exhausting early days of having a new born! You could also make them before the baby arrives. I would freeze them as balls, and heat in my toaster oven for a warm cookie during the day!

    I hope you enjoy them as well!

    Allison- Community Manager, Life with a Baby Niagara

    Lactation Cookies

     3/4 c. nut butter (almond or peanut)
    1/2 c. butter, softened
    1/2 c. maple syrup (or more as needed)
    2 tsp vanilla
    1/3 c. water
    1 c. flax (ground)
    3 T brewer's yeast
    2 large eggs

     1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
    1 tsp baking soda

    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp salt
    1 3/4 c. oats
    2 c. (12oz) dark chocolate chips
    1 c. chopped nuts of your choice (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

    Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl.
    In a large bowl, beat almond butter, butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and water until creamy. Add flax and brewers yeast and beat well.
    Mix in eggs.
    Gradually beat in flour mixture.
    Add oats slowly, mixing along the way.

    Mix in chocolate chips and nuts.

    Place balls of dough onto greased baking sheets

    Press down each ball lightly with a fork.
    Bake 12 minutes.

  • Monday, August 05, 2019 8:00 AM | Chelsea (Administrator)

    Let me start by stating that my family of 5 has never been on a family trip together. My husband and I have 3 sons aged 4, 2.5 and 1 (and my youngest JUST turned one the day that we arrived). When we were presented with the idea of visiting Sudbury, I thought this would be perfect. Only a 2 hour and 45-minute drive from our home in Severn Ontario, so if we needed to abort mission due to inconsolable children, it wouldn’t be too far of a trek. Well I have to say, I underestimated us. This trip was one of the best experiences I have had with my family thus far. Experiencing all these great attractions for the first time together as a family was truly a special experience. 

    Attractions

    When I told my friends and family that we were visiting Sudbury, almost everyone told me that we must go see Science North and Dynamic Earth. So first on the list was Science North, which had a ton of great features for our little ones. First, we walked into the Body Works exhibit that was all about the human body.

    The boys loved the simulator that made their skeleton dance however they moved on the screen. They also loved learning about all of the different bones, and one of the staff there let them play a game where they guess where each organ goes in the body.

    Next, it was on to the Toddler’s Treehouse area for some play time. This spot was especially great for my youngest, as he was able to stretch his legs and crawl around after being in the stroller for a while. There was a mini pirate ship, complete with windows to pretend to fish out of.

    After this was the butterfly exhibit. This was a highlight for me especially. The butterflies were so beautiful, and I loved seeing the look on my kids faces when the butterflies almost landed on them.

    The boys also got to meet Maple the porcupine and Kash and beaver in their habitats upstairs. My oldest learned the lifecycle of a butterfly, and the height predictor guessed that my guys are going to be giants!

          


    Dynamic Earth was also mesmerizing for my guys. The big nickel was such a highlight for them, and they were so excited to compare it to a regular sized nickel, and get their stamps on their hand for admission.

    We didn’t get to do the underground mining tour because someone (the baby) wouldn’t keep a hard hat on, but we had a blast seeing the educational exhibits inside. The boys favourite part by far was the outdoor play area that they had, complete with a kid sized big nickel and giant iron dinosaur.

    My favourite attraction that we saw when we were in Sudbury was actually not on our itinerary at all. We had arrived early to Science North before it opened (that never happens with 3 kids), and so we went across the way to the Honourable James Jerome Sports Complex. The kids got to get some energy out at the park, and then we took a beautiful nature walk along the boardwalk.

    Another highlight for all of us was Northern Exotics, which seems like a normal pet shop when you walk in, but they’ve got an awesome exotic animal exhibit in the back! We weren’t aware of this until we arrived, but most of their exhibits are animal drop-offs, rescues, and animals otherwise in need of a home. Their goal is to educate and create change so that animals such as these aren’t in need of rescue in the future. My kids were amazed by all the amazing reptiles and mammals there! We each held a huge snake (against my better judgement), and my boys learned what the difference between an alligator and a crocodile is. My middle guy was obsessed with the Chinese chicken that they had there, and he was able to pet it and hold it as well!

    Now, we are frequent visitors of local play places in Barrie and Orillia, but I must say that Kids Ultimate Play Centre (or KUPP) in Sudbury was a whole other level. Not only did they have all the best play place attractions including a baby area, climbing structure, small trampoline and rock wall; the size of their slide was mesmerizing to my 4-year-old. We didn’t get a chance to do their laser tag, but next time when the boys are a bit older we will definitely be checking it out!

    We were also able to visit Bell Park and Boardwalk for a twilight stroll before bedtime. The scenery was beautiful with a perfect backdrop for family photos and a photo of our Life With a Baby crew. My kids were very impressed with the size of the park, and my husband and I even shared a few romantic moments while the sun was setting (well…as romantic as you can get with three boys tagging along).

    The Food

    I have to say, I was more than impressed with the food options in Sudbury. Our favourite place to eat while we were in Sudbury was M.I.C. Canadian Eatery & Whisky Pub. We didn’t have the dine-in experience because we have three rambunctious children, so takeout is much easier. The Mac & Cheese balls were a huge hit with the kids. I ordered the Chicken Asiago Marsala (which is making my mouth water just typing it), and my husband got the biggest burger I’ve ever seen called the Moose Jaw Burger. There was so much great tasting food for such a great price that we actually ate the leftovers for dinner the following day!

         

    Another highlight was when we visited Flurples which features non-dairy ice cream and other treats. The kids were so excited to be able to get their very own chocolate ice cream cone made with coconut milk and dark chocolate, and my husband and I got these beautiful milkshakes that tasted even greater than they looked!

    The Hotel

    My children’s favourite part of the entire trip had to be the hotel. The beautiful Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Sudbury was nestled in this eccentric plaza featuring a toy shop, sports store, and modern looking coffee shop. When we walked in the sliding doors we were greeted by the message “Welcome to Sudbury”. The staff were extremely courteous and polite, and our kids were super impressed with the orange infused water in the lobby. So much that we spent a lot of time there throughout our stay sipping water and chatting about what our favourite experiences were. The breakfast was fantastic as well, and included in our stay. Fresh fruit, bakery items, and even hot breakfast items (including unlimited bacon!). Even now, about a month after returning from our trip, the boys ask me almost every day if we can go back to “the hotel”.


    Final Thoughts

    Overall, our trip to Sudbury was a fantastic time had for all. I have been to Sudbury before, but never with an itinerary quite like this. I would definitely suggest a family choose this spot as their next vacation, and we will most certainly be returning next summer.

  • Monday, July 22, 2019 12:00 PM | Denise (Administrator)

    When I was told that we would be going to Sudbury, I was not so excited about it.  I checked the website and it looks like I could easily find similar activities in Toronto.  Anyway, We’ve picked some activities and mapped out our schedule, mostly age appropriate for our 13 years old.  Since my sister's family would be in town, I invited them to go together.

    We arrived the Hampton Inn in the afternoon after a 4 hours drive. Staff were very friendly and helpful.  They provided us some brief information about the complimentary breakfast as well as the free coffee/tea/chocolate station.  As soon as we entered the room, we found that there is a complimentary welcome package: 2 bottles of water and 2 snacks.  Also, a welcome card with my name on it.  What a good gesture to show hospitality.  The only thing is that my daughter has peanut allergy and both snack contain nuts……  I also love the little note in the washroom reminding us that they would provide some toiletry if we forget to bring ours.  This looks like something minor but it put me at ease as I forgot to bring shower cap.


    We went to Imax for the SuperPower Dog show.  I thought it’s something for kids but it actually is a 3D documentary about rescue dogs and their training.  It is very informative and yet entertaining.  What a good choice!!!


    By the time we finished watching the show, it’s dinner time.  We decided to try the local Italian restaurant Di Gusto.  From the outside, the restaurant looks a bit dated.  As soon as we walked in, it’s totally different.  We were greeted by friendly faces.  Interior is causal yet cozy. And it looks very clean and comfortable.  From the menu, we learned that all the pasta and pizza are made in-house. Hmmm, lt looked very promising.  We ordered a Caesar Salad and a calamari to share.  My husband ordered the Spicy sausage linguini, my daughter ordered their signature lasagne and I had the Yellow fin tuna.  I have to say the calamari is excellent!  So was the other dishes!  The texture of the linguini is chewy and oh, my goodness!  Every dish tastes so good!!!  Price is very reasonable.  This is the restaurant that I will go back again and again if there’s one near home!!!


    The next morning, we had a very delicious breakfast at the hotel, then headed to Kivi Park for biking and hiking.  It was a cloudy day so it’s perfect for outdoor activities.  I was amazed that there is such a big park around with different biking/hiking trails.  The level of difficulties is determined by the color.  Whether you do biking or hiking, it's the same trail. My hubby and brother-in-law took the girls to do biking while my sister and I picked a hiking trail.  The trail is wide and easy to walk.  There are 2 parks for younger children.  But to me, I like it that the park is huge and quiet.  It feels so relaxing to stroll around. 


    After a quick lunch (we picked up pizza from Di Gusto.  That’s how much we love the food there), we headed out to Dynamic Earth, the big nickel.  While the underground tour is the main attraction, there are so many interactive educational games we could explore.  The ground floor has exhibits of different stones/gems with many information. The lower level has a lot of interactive games for younger children.  The playground at the back of the building is a pleasant surprise.  My daughter paired up with her cousin to participate in the quiz and they both won some gem stones.  I learned that Canada is actually onf of the top 5 diamond-producing countries. Wow!!! 

    The underground guided tour is slightly over an hour long.  It took us back to 1800 up to the modern and post modern mining in the region.  It is very informative.  Everyone has to wear hamlet and they have size for all ages, including babies.  We have already known that the underground temperature is around 13C, therefore, we brought a light jacket.   


    We stopped by the Bell Park at the evening where it hosted the Northern Light Festival during our visit. We went there to just meet our other families from our group and didn’t spend too much time there as my daughter and niece wanted to go back to the Imax for the Marvel movie.  My accountant sister requested us to drive to Revenue Canada office to take a picture while the girls were at the movie. 


    Before we headed back home, we spent our morning at Science North.   Science North offers a lot of hands on experience.  There are 4 levels.  There are many educational 3D shows on the ground level which unfortunately we have to skip due to our limited time.  We didn't stop at the 2nd floor as it's for toddlers.  We stopped at the 3rd floor to check out the different types of insects.  The staff were very knowledgeable and patience.  They showed us different types of live insects and not just offered but encouraged us to hold them, touch them.  We spent quite a while at the butterfly gallery trying to take a picture of the blue butterflies even it is very warm inside.  We failed as the butterflies were flying very fast. Then the girls ran up to 4th floor and vanished, not really, but they were busy in trying different things: racetrack, fitness lab, human gyroscope...... It is our best experience at a science centre.


    How can we conclude our trip without a sweet treat?  We ventured to Tuscos Tacos for a vegan lunch, then hopped across to pick up some vegan cookies at Beards Coffee Bar and Bakery, lined up for vegan ice cream next door at Fluples.

    The weekend at Sudbury is amazingly eventful!  Sudbury offers more than what I expected.  There are activities for all ages.  It is also a very relaxing place.  We also love the location of the Hampton Inn.  Everywhere we go is just about 10 to 15 minutes drive.   Surely it will be one of our memorable trip!

  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:36 PM | Cassandra (Administrator)

    When I excitedly told family and friends that we were going away to Sudbury for the weekend I got several questions of “why Sudbury?” and “what’s there to do in Sudbury?”. To be honest, I only really knew about Science North and Dynamic Earth but I was excited nonetheless as it was a mini-vacation and time to spend with family which is always needed! Little did I know that Sudbury Tourism had a whole itinerary full of family-friendly activities to keep us busy all weekend long!

    We planned to leave home fairly early so, after a stop at our local library to tire the kids out before the drive, we headed out. After only one quick stop for a bathroom break and to stretch our legs, we arrived at our hotel – the Microtel in Sudbury. We lucked out with early check-in at 2pm and quickly got changed into swimsuits to cheer the kids up after a long drive. We were impressed with the cleanliness and comfort of the rooms and the kids loved running back and forth from the hot tub to the pool and back again.

     

    Once they’d had a good swim we went to grab dinner at the Taphouse Northern Grill + Pub. The kid’s meals at the Taphouse were the perfect size – 2/3 kids ate their entire dish (and I didn’t want to bring leftovers back to the hotel so that made me happy!) and there were veggie options for me which is always a bonus too! The boys had energy to spare and the first stop on our itinerary was KUPP Centre – an indoor playground with laser tag! Insider tip – wear some slippery shorts/pants here because those slides are FAST and even more fun with slippery bottoms! Avery flew down and of course us adults had to climb up and slide down more than a few times too. Indoor playgrounds can often be really noisy and overstimulating but I have to say, this place was awesome! I’m sure it helped that we were there in the evening so it wasn’t crazy busy but there was quite a lot to do there – including a rock wall – so the kids were spread out and everyone had so much fun. We even got 2 rounds of laser tag in - that was Avery and Jackson’s favourite part, Lucas couldn’t get enough of the slides! Awesome way to tire everyone out before heading back to the hotel for a comfy sleep!

       


    On the itinerary for Saturday morning was the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre. I’ll admit – I wasn’t overly excited for this excursion. It was in Capreol, about 45 minutes away from our hotel, and I wasn’t sure how the kids would do at a “museum”. I was worried they’d get bored and be a pain the whole time. We got there as soon as it opened and were taken on a tour to show us the trains that are on the property. The kids actually listened pretty well to the information and history and they LOVED getting to climb aboard the trains and see what everything looked like inside (especially the school car). What was amazing was that my hubby had mentioned he had family who worked for CN and that there might be some kind of mention of them at the museum. As it turned out there were several framed photos/documents of his Great Grandfather so we got to take photos of him with them and send them home to the rest of his family. Although our boys are too young to really understand and appreciate this little bit of history, it was really amazing for Gerald to be able to see this and I loved sharing that with him. After the Railroad Museum we were taken on the second part of the tour which took us to the old Fire Hall. The kids were able to climb on a fire truck and the best part was that they got to touch all the buttons and turn all the lights on! It was hard convincing them to get off the firetruck after that! We toured through the rest of the building which included the old jail in the basement and then mine and Avery’s favourite part – the miniature railway set up. I wish I had thought to take photos of the setup because it was incredible! The detail that went into constructing this is truly amazing; the kids would have stayed a lot longer I think! Definitely don’t miss out on the Railway Museum if you’re headed to Sudbury, it’s absolutely worth the extra little drive!

     

     

      

    The town of Capreol is teeny tiny so we considered heading back to Sudbury for lunch but we were all hungry so we stopped in at the M&R Grill instead. We were surprised to find it was packed inside but we got a table and the kids loved that there were toys to play with while they waited for food. The staff were SO friendly and even gave each of the boys a train hat to take home. The “small town feel” was awesome and it was the perfect choice for lunch. The boys got in the car happy, full from lunch and sleepy so they had a great little nap on the way to our second stop on our itinerary – Dynamic Earth!

     

    When we were in Sudbury briefly last year we had stopped at the Big Nickel and the kids had wanted to go down into the mine but we didn’t have time so they were thrilled to be back and actually able to go inside this time. We arrived just in time to join a group heading into the mine for a tour! After waking everyone up from their nap in the car, an hour long tour underground sounded…..fun?.....but after the really cool movie on the elevator on the way down, they were a little more awake. We put on our hardhats and ventured into the wet underground. The tour was really informative and interactive too which kept it interesting for children. When the hour was up I was surprised it had gone so quickly actually! And then we had lots more to discover outside of the mine. The kids played with an interactive sand table, climbed into the play area, went outside to the slide and sandboxes, and explored all the different rocks to see. I would absolutely add Dynamic Earth as something to see on your family trip, it was a lot of fun and didn’t take up too much of the day. I think we spent about 3 hours max there and that was enough to see most everything in enough detail for young kids.

      

    We decided to head for dinner at Tucos Taco Lounge which we’d read great reviews about on social media. I was excited because the whole restaurant is vegan and vegan tacos are very exciting! It was REALLY hard to choose what to eat when we arrived; we wanted a bit of everything. So we ordered a big plate of nachos, small mac & cheese dishes for 2 of the kids and then 3 different taco options to try out. Our eyes were obviously bigger than our stomachs but the food was DELICIOUS. The kids didn’t even balk at the mac & cheese (vegan cheese can sometimes be different tasting), they loved their dinner too. We left very full and wishing we had room for a few more of those yummy tacos! Vegan or not, add this to your list of restaurants to try, my hubby is not at all vegan and even he’s still raving about this restaurant!


    Saturday evening we headed to Bell Park beach to meet up with the rest of the Life With A Baby crew to check in and get some family and group photos. As community managers with Life With A Baby we are always chatting away online to the other managers but we are from all over the place so we rarely get to see each other in person. It was wonderful being able to catch up if only for a moment and the kids had a great time playing at the park and running up and down through the flower gardens! On the way back to the van we took our time walking the boardwalk and stopping on the rocks to watch the boats. Needless to say, we had a great sleep Saturday night after a full day of activities!

     


    Both mornings we had breakfast at our hotel – the continental breakfast was more than I expected. We had loads of options – cereal, oatmeal, bagels, muffins, fruit, yogurt, waffles – there was something for all of us and we may have snagged a few muffins for the inevitable mid-morning snack that is expected by our boys! Nice to have this included in our hotel stay – it definitely makes a difference when travelling with family.

    I was most excited to go to Science North so I was really happy to see that on our itinerary for Sunday. We had brought the kids last summer on our way through so I knew there was enough to do there that we’d be spending most of the day and I definitely wasn’t wrong. We arrived shortly after it opened and the kids raced in to start exploring! What I love most about Science North is that EVERYTHING is geared towards the kids – they get to see and touch and learn about every exhibit and not once was anyone bored. We went into the butterfly area and waited for butterflies to land on us, we watched a movie about climate change, we built and raced cars around a track, we got to see and touch a whole bunch of different animals, the activities were endless. We made sure to get to 2 of the live shows that were offered and Jackson was even chosen as a volunteer to demonstrate how a vacuum seal works! He was smiling from ear to ear. Lucas LOVED the flying squirrel demo and they are so soft to touch! While Daddo and Avery were exploring a few exhibits that the younger boys weren’t interested in, I took Jackson and Lucas down to play in the toddler area which kept them busy for at least a half hour until I told them we should go back and check in with the other two. We stopped briefly for lunch at the Elements restaurant right in Science North – it was pretty reasonable for a pizza and a few drinks and the kids gobbled it all down so that they could get back to exploring! We stayed until about 3pm and only left because we knew we had a long drive home, we definitely could have stayed and seen even more. Maybe next year!

      


    Before we left Sudbury we had to stop at Flurples for vegan ice cream! It’s this cute little walk-up ice cream place that had a whole bunch of options and it was busy! Between us we tried quite a few different treats (go for an oreo milkshake or a chocolate cone – my 2 faves!) and I wish I could go back right now because it was so GOOD! The kids didn’t even notice that their ice cream was vegan and my hubby said if I hadn’t told him he wouldn’t have known his strawberry milkshake was vegan either. Absolutely worth the stop - put it on your list!

     

    As you can tell, we had an absolutely amazing time in Sudbury! I was so impressed with all the different activities – especially because most of the families that were there from Life With A Baby were off on different adventures from us – there really was something for everyone and all ages too! So to answer all the “What is there to do in Sudbury?” questions – EVERYTHING and more! I can’t wait to go back and check out even more attractions (and restaurants!) next year! 


    **Check out more photos and fun by searching #LWABSudbury


  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019 5:15 PM | Krista (Administrator)

    My husband and our two kids, aged 4 and 5, have started our summer vacation out with an amazing trip up north to visit Sudbury! Leaving Cambridge around noon on a Friday, the drive to Sudbury took us about 5 hours, with a short stop for a bite to eat. I came prepared with several ‘activities’ for the kids to keep them busy on the drive, dry erase activity cards, drawing boards, story stones and new library books were a great investment to help keep them occupied.


    Our reservation was for the Hampton Inn Sudbury, which is one of the first hotels you pass as you come into town. It is located approximately 10 minutes from both Science North and Dynamic Earth so the location was great! When we walked inside we were greeted immediately by the friendly front desk staff who checked us in and let us know about all the hotel amenities. We’ve stayed at other Hampton Inn locations, and like all other locations the interiors are bright and welcoming, have a large dining area for their daily hot breakfast, and offer 24 hour coffee, tea and fresh fruit.  One thing I love about staying in a Hampton Inn is being able to count on a good breakfast to start the day.  With everything from cereal, toast, yogurt, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs, fruit, waffle station (with whipped cream of course) and chafing dishes of scrambled eggs/omelettes, and sausages/bacon there is something for everyone.  The hotel also had an indoor pool which we were able to make use of on our last morning.  Checkout at the hotel wasn’t until noon so we decided to take advantage of this later checkout time and use the swimming pool before we left on Sunday.  The pool faced to a patio on one side and the end wall faced the fitness centre which had the standard treadmill, elliptical machine and weights. After swimming and packing up our stuff we were a few minutes past checkout time, the front desk staff was super nice about it though, it was apparent we were the last people to check out as she knew which room we were in J

    After arriving at the hotel on Friday night we quickly dropped our bags in our room and were headed out for our next adventure of the weekend – the IMAX  at Science North.  With our later arrival time in Sudbury there was one movie option remaining, Superpower Dogs at 6pm.  We got out tickets and settled in for the 45 minute film.  For me it’s probably been over 15 years since I’ve seen an IMAX movie and for the kids this was the first time, this was a perfect movie for them, a mix of my daughter’s love of Paw Patrol and my son’s love of Avengers! It was fun to watch the kids experience this type of movie - one kept looking over their glasses to compare the 3D to the regular view (I admit I’ve done this too, trying to figure out how it works) and the other on the edge of the seat the whole time, even forgetting the bag of popcorn sitting beside him!  The theatre is located in the lobby of Science North, so if you had the time, this could easily be added onto your visit the science centre.

    After the movie we headed to Di Gusto Wood Fired Pizza, Pasta and Wine Bar for a late dinner. We arrived around 7:30pm and were seated right away, the dining room was fairly busy with groups ranging from couples on date night out to large groups and families enjoying some time together. There wasn’t a printed children’s menu but the waitress let us know they offered child portions of pizza (cheese or pepperoni) and pasta (spaghetti or penne with tomato sauce and meatballs or butter).  Both kids wanted spaghetti with meatballs which in the end cost $26 ($8 for the each plate of pasta and $5 for the meatballs). In hindsight I should have ordered a regular portion of pasta for them to share for $18 as neither finished their plates as the portions were HUGE (but not worth paying $13 for a kid’s meal).  My husband and I opted to order a few different things and share so we went with the Calamari, Caprese Salad and a prosciutto and arugula pizza, all were delicious, and we ate every last bite! Everything is made in house so the texture of the pasta is not what you’d get in most places but was quite good. And the kids thought it was neat to be able to watch the pizzas cooking in the oven.

    After breakfast on Saturday morning we made the 40 minute drive north to Capreol to see the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum & Heritage Centre. As we approached the museum we saw several train cars behind the main building (which a one point was the home of the railroad superintendent), the kids were already excited! I wasn’t sure what to expect and didn’t think we would be there very long, however we easily spent 2 hours seeing everything and playing at the park. We opted for the guided tour, but I believe you can also look around on your own if you prefer that. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the railroad and the area (her grandfather used to work for the railway), she even kept the kids entertained with fun facts about different pieces of equipment used on the railroad in the past. The house is set up with each room highlighting a different aspect of history in the area – logging, railroad, mining and telegraphy - so much history and info in such a small place. After looking through the rooms we headed outside to what is known as Prescott Park to see the train engines and cars up close. We were able to go inside 3 train cars, the original engine the museum acquired, a school house train car and the engineer’s sleeping car. 


    After learning the history of many of these train cars we headed down the street to the Heritage Centre.

    We got to see a 1928 Godfredson Bickle fire truck, sit in the front of a newer fire truck where the kids were allowed to touch the buttons and turn the flashing lights on.


    The last room in the basement was by far the kids favourite, the model train room. A huge room full of scaled down buildings to go along with all the tracks and 2 model trains. This room was a huge bonus to the tour and we all loved watching the trains and looking at the detail of the setup, including a replica of the Railroad Museum.Throughout the museum and heritage centre the walls are full of old photos with facts about the region’s history. This was truly an unexpected jem!


    After our tour and playtime at the train shaped play structure we walked down the street to M & R Café for some lunch.



    This was a small establishment with a great atmosphere. The staff were very friendly, service was quick and food was good. Both the kids and the main menus consisted of basic diner food, sandwiches, burgers, soup etc. The kids chose chicken fingers and a Pogo dog, both served with fresh cut fries, and chocolate milk served in fun glass jar with lids.My husband and I opted for a sandwich as we weren’t too hungry yet after breakfast. The food was fresh and tasted great. And the bonus, they have a couple shelves of toys for the kids to play with while they wait for their food, what a great idea!


    We kept ourselves quite busy on this trip and headed straight to Science North from Capreol. We arrived around 2:30pm and stayed until closing (or even a few minutes later…oops) at 6pm and still felt like we hadn’t done everything. This is definitely an all-day adventure! Before we entered the main areas of the science centre we explored the Limited Engagement exhibit, Body Worlds Rx. While this exhibit had a lot of interesting things to see the kids thought it was too scary so we didn’t spend long looking at it.  For the main part of the centre, we decided to start at the top and work our way down.  We followed the path up to level 4 and saw a huge whale skeleton hanging from the centre, a neat sight to see how big these mammals can be!

    The top floor was full of hands on experiments teaching us about physics, chemistry, physiology, space, technology and so much more. Some of our favourite things to play with were the Gravity Well in the Space Place section where we were able to spin marbles to see how they behave differently based on their size and how we rolled them, The Speed Park Racetrack where you could build your own race car and compete against your friends, Body Zone where the kids raced each other on the sprint track, and where we were part of the Ready, SET, MOVE interactive video.


    We also tried to jump marbles through hoops, laid on a bed of nails,  created circuits, build light board cityscapes, made musical instruments from wood pieces and elastics, created marble runs and learned about sounds waves.  And this was only one 1 floor! There was so much more to do but we wanted to make sure we were able to go through most of the centre before we left.


    The Discovery Theatre is located between floors 3 and 4 and offered shows available every 30 minutes with different topics and themes, you could easily stay all day and still not see everything. We were able to catch a show with chemical reaction explosions, this was a quick 15 minute presentation but very educational and entertaining.

    The third floor was all about animals and nature. There are several animals who live at Science North and you can watch them in their enclosures, or every 30 minutes meet a different one up close. We were able to see several of these as we explored this level. We met a beaver, porcupine, snake and flying squirrel. There was so many other animals and reptiles to see as well, bees in their hive, turtles swimming in the water, a nocturnal room with bats, a skunk and other small creatures. For the kids the highlight of this level was the huge water/sand “Erosion Table” where the kids were able to experiment with trying to create streams and learning how water causes erosion and changes the land.Again we raced through this level so we would have some time on the 2nd floor.

    When we got there we were the only guests around and the “Bluecoat” who was working in that area let us touch several bugs. We took turns holding katydids, millipedes, stick bugs and hissing cockroaches. 

    This level is also full of fossils, rocks and other ‘treasures’ as my son calls them.  There is a Fossil table where you can search for small fossils and take one home if you’re lucky enough to find one.  They also have a neat program called the “Nature Exchange Program”, a fun point system, where you bring in your finds – rocks, shells, shark teeth and so on - and you are given a point value for each item. You can then store your points or trade them in for something in the bins. Points range from 5pts for a basic rock up to 100 or more for larger and rare items. This program has been around for years as my husband remembers participating when he was a kid! Next time we go we’ll bring along some of our many treasures to try and get something “bigger and better”! With only minutes to spare before closing time we looked around the corner and found the Butterfly Gallery, a tropical room filled with all kinds of butterflies, which if you’re lucky will land on you! Be sure to wear bright clothing if you want to try and attract a butterfly!

    The only thing we saw on the first floor was a cute little play area for the littlest guests, with no time left we weren’t able to explore this area but it looked great for kids under age 4.  The other thing the centre offers that we missed seeing was the Planetarium show, but I guess we’ll save that for our next visit!

    We were going to meet the rest of our travel group at Bell Park that evening and since there was a music festival going on there as well we thought we’d try to avoid any possible parking congestion and stay parked at Science North and walk over. It took us about 25 minutes to walk along the river to the main beach area, partly over a wooden boardwalk and the rest a paved pathway, it was a beautiful walk, but a little far for the kids. 

    We met up with our friends, played at the playground for a bit, took some pictures in the beautiful flower gardens and then headed back to the car as we hadn’t had dinner and it was nearly 8pm.

    Even though it wasn’t on our way back to the hotel we decided to try M.I.C Canadian Eatery http://www.micrestaurant.ca/ for dinner on a recommendation of one of the other families in our group. Their menu fits their name and is full of Canadian food and Canadian inspired items. I tried the Lobster and Shrimp Home Loaf which was a fresh home loaf bun full of lobster and shrimp, with a side of kettle chips. And I tried a “Niagara on the Lake” - the restaurant’s spin on Sangria - it was served in a measuring cup with the kids thought was quite funny. My husband tried the ribs with mashed potatoes (also a hit) with a local craft beer. The kids were happy with their kids pizza (nothing special but my daughter enjoyed it) and homemade mac and cheese (so yummy!!)

    Sunday morning we headed to Dynamic Earth, home of the Big Nickel. We arrived just before 1pm and got our tickets for the 1pm ‘In the Footsteps of Sudbury's Miners’ Underground Tour so we headed right downstairs. There our tour guide took the group into a huge glassed in elevator to watch a short film and go 7 stories underground to the mine opening.  Everyone has to wear a hardhat on the tour and there are sizes for all ages/head sizes, even bike helmets for the littlest kids. (Some of our travel companions had taken the tour the day before and warned us the mine is cool and damp so it’s recommended to wear closed toed shoes and bring a sweater.)  The underground portion of the tour takes you back through time to show you how mining has changed over the past 100+ years and the advances made to keep miners safe.  Starting with using wax candles for light and doing all the work by hand, up to today where there is full electrical and lighting throughout the mine and all the machinery used to do the brunt of the work. There are a couple parts of the tour that the guide lets the kids ‘help’ with – opening and closing the airlock, doing a dynamite “demo” and using some heavy equipment to break apart rock. The tour took about 1 hour and kept the attention of my kids for almost the entire time, my daughter was getting a little impatient about 10-15 minutes to the end, but that was more that she didn’t really like that it was fairly dark in the tunnels. When the tour was over  we were free to explore the rest of the centre.  There were several rooms available on two levels with tons of hands on activities. We started upstairs in the Earth Gallery and learned all about different types of rocks and minerals. Did some hands on activities while learning about earthquakes. The next room had some toys trucks for kids to play with, learn about communication and some other fun things like a VR headset where you can look in and around a mining site. Dynamic Earth also offers a trade program similar to that at Science North. After we were done here we headed back downstairs and found the last area to explore - This area was by far the kids (and my husband’s) favourite part! Explora Mine is a multi-level play area with foam ore that the kids could transport up a skip to unload into wheelbarrows, move across the mine and to send down a chute again. There are stairs to get up and a slide for the kids to come down. Once they’ve had their fill of the play structure they can pan for gold and actually find real gold to take home!  In my husband’s words, he had “Gold Fever” and was determined to find something to take home. The pieces are small, with the largest being the size of a sesame seed, but once you get the process down seemed to be easy enough to spot, and I found one after a couple tries!

    There are also video type games for kids a little older than mine that let them try their hand at operating the mining equipment.

    Back on the upper level, just outside the Earth Gallery is the Outdoor Science Park, a huge outdoor playground where they have incorporated mining equipment (full size and scaled down) into the stations.  The last thing to do before we left was take a picture with the Big Nickle. It was about 5pm when we left and the sun was directly behind the nickle so we ended up with darker photos, but still a great reminder of the fun we had.


    Overall we had a great trip to Sudbury and plan to return so we can explore a little more of the area, and spend more time at both Science North and Dynamic Earth as I know there is a lot more for us to see and learn.

    For more photos and perspectives on activities to do in Sudbury check on #LWABSudbury on social media!


  • Monday, July 15, 2019 11:17 AM | Jill (Administrator)

    Our annual Life With a Baby Community Manager retreat took us to Sudbury, Ontario. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit uncertain about the variety of activities that would be available to my family - my husband and our two girls aged 2 and 4. Not only were my uncertainties erroneous, I was amazed by the amount of activities we were able to fit into our weekend away.

    Day 1

    Sudbury was only a 3.5 hr drive from our home in Vaughan, Ontario. We timed our departure to correspond with nap time so both girls slept for the majority of the drive and my husband and I were faced with time to ourselves to chat – something that does not happen very frequently these days!

    We made a couple of pit stops along the way. Our first was to Bokkies Biltong, a South African store in Barrie, Ontario. My husband is originally from SA so the thought of going on a road trip without some biltong was inconceivable (for those who don’t know what biltong is, think beef jerky, but better). Our second pit stop was just to a small trading post on the side of the road with a grassy area and picnic tables, a fountain and plenty of room to stretch our legs.


    We arrived at our hotel – The Microtel around 4 pm and were very impressed with the friendly staff, the cleanliness of the lobby and our room, the indoor pool and of course the fitness centre!

    After a short rest and shopping trip to stock up on some snacks in our room, which had a kitchenette, we headed out to P&M Kouzzina for dinner. The kids’ menu was full of pictures to colour and activities to keep the kids entertained. Our waitress also brought out some cucumber slices for the girls to snack on while we waited for our food to arrive which is now a MUST anytime we go to a restaurant as a family. The food was fresh, super tasty and I would absolutely add it to your itinerary when you are in the area and craving some authentic Italian eats.

    After dinner we headed to the KUPP Centre, a local indoor playground and let the girls burn off some energy before bed. They both had an absolute blast. I have been to a few indoor playgrounds in my time, and this one truly had something for kids of all ages. They had lots of climbing structures, a super fast slide (my two year old couldn’t get enough of it), and even a separate area for laser tag.

    After a busy day we were off to bed to get some rest for another fun-filled day.

    Day 2

    We started our day off with the complimentary breakfast at The Microtel. Then, we were off to Science North for the morning. We have season passes to the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto and go there at least once a month since both of my girls, myself and my husband love it. I was not too sure how Science North would compare. As we entered we walked through a tunnel made to look like we were beginning to walk underground. It was very realistic – so much so that my 2 yr old was a little nervous and I had to hold her as we walked. We started at the bottom and made our way up the four levels. Each level had a different theme filled with all sorts of activities. The lower level catered to toddlers as they had a treehouse and pirate ship made into an interactive play area.

    As we made our way to the second floor we walked through the butterfly gallery which hosted ~400 free-flying butterflies, walked quickly by the tarantulas in their enclosures as neither myself nor my husband had any interest in holding one, found fossils in the fossil table and stopped at the millipede station. There was another family next to us who were holding the large millipede and I thought they were absolutely nuts. But, after my husband and 2 yr old took a turn holding it I thought I better put on my brave girl pants and show my 4 yr old that there was nothing to be afraid of. It took a LOT of courage but even I held the millipede – only for a few seconds, but I did it!


    One the third and fourth levels we met a lot of live animals such as a beaver, skunk, porcupine, turtles, snakes and bees! Music started to play from the theater, so we made our way to the center to get ready for the science show. This was possibly my favourite part and which separated it from the Ontario Science Centre. It was very interactive and entertaining for the whole family. After the show we made our way to the final level that was full of so many activities, but it was getting close to lunch and nap time so we didn’t spend too much time although we still managed to fit in car racing, the human gyroscope and bed of nails.


    Next, we headed to Tucos Taco Lounge for lunch. We sat outside on their super chill and colourful patio and the kids hopped from colour tile to colour tile as we were ordering our food. As we were looking at the menu we saw a lot of vegetarian options, but we weren’t aware that it was a vegan restaurant until later in the day when we were talking to others about it. We ordered the phish tacos, nachos, mac and cheese and fruit. It was excellent!! My husband is not one to typically choose to eat at a vegan restaurant, but he couldn’t even tell it was vegan – everything was delicious!!

    After lunch we headed back to the hotel for family nap time. When we awoke it was time to continue the festivities.

    Our next adventure led us to the Northern Exotics Animal Exhibit. My youngest is obsessed with animals so I knew this would be a highlight for her – and was it ever! We saw everything from lizards to parrots to monkeys, alligators, chinchillas, foxes and lemurs!

    We then came back to the hotel for a quick swim (had to fit that in) and then it was time for dinner at M.I.C. Canadian Eatery & Whisky Pub and a visit to Bell Park. I was still pretty full from our amazing lunch so I just had a small pasta dish and my husband ordered a burger. Everything was very fresh and tasty. Again, we got the cucumber slices for the girls’ appetizer – I am telling you, this is a sanity saver!!

    Bell Park was wonderful! There was a great grassy area and beautiful flower garden which made a perfect setting for our family photo, a nice sandy beach and a playground in which my girls could not get enough of the swing and slides. We visited the park after dinner, but it would be the perfect spot for a family picnic and beach day!!


    Day 3

    Our final day in Sudbury started again with a fresh continental breakfast at the Microtel and then it was off to the Dynamic Earth to learn all about nickel mining. We were greeted by the Big Nickel in which I thought it would be cute to show the girls a real nickel and have them compare it to the BIG Nickel. Inside there was a great area for kids to play and had all sorts of interactive stations. My 4 yr old panned for gold while the two year old got pretty good at manoeuvring the wheel barrow full of ‘rocks’. We decided not to opt in for the underground tour of the mine given the 2 yr old’s reaction to the walk through the ‘tunnel’ at Science North. There was also an amazing outdoor playground, but by the time the kids were finished playing indoors it was time for us to leave as we were continuing our family vacation in the nearby Manitoulin Island.


    Our final meal in Sudbury was at Di Gusto Wine Bar and without knowing it, we saved the best for last. We started with an amazing garden salad while the girls had their cucumber slices and olives followed by a wood oven pizza (It was gone before I could get a picture). It was one of the best pizzas I have had!! This restaurant is an absolute must when visiting Sudbury!!

    All in all I was amazed by everything Sudbury had to offer. From the incredible food options to the endless family-friendly activities. One weekend was not enough to fit it all in, so I can’t wait for our next visit!!

    For more pictures #LWABSudbury


  • Monday, July 15, 2019 9:40 AM | Claire (Administrator)

    Research Study – Patient Decision Aid for Antidepressant Use in Pregnancy

    Deciding to start or continue an antidepressant medication during pregnancy can be a difficult and complex decision.

    You may be eligible to participate in a clinical trial to evaluate an online decision tool if you:

    • Are planning a pregnancy or currently pregnant

    • Are currently using an antidepressant to treat your depression or are thinking of starting one

    • Are having problems deciding what to do This study, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health

    Research, is open to all women across Canada.

    For more information and to access the pre-screen questionnaire, please visit:

    www.womensresearch.ca/PDAstudy


  • Monday, July 15, 2019 8:00 AM | Allison (Administrator)
    Sudbury is for “explorers”. My kids, 6-years and 4-years, loved being explorers!! Along the drive, we stopped at a rest station, that had great large rocks for the kids to climb, and burn off some energy while we waited!

    Explorers get hungry

    The restaurants we chose did not disappoint.

    We explored Deluxe burgers. They had a delicious poutine, made with curds and their barbeque sauce! I would have liked more vegetarian options on the menu. The kids loved the chicken strips, and my husband enjoyed his hamburger. The restaurant filled our water bottles which was a nice bonus while trying to save bottles.

    We explored the Laughing Buddha. The location was great – we sat on the front patio, and my children enjoyed watching the trains at the junction station across the road! We had the Feisty Feta dip and fresh veggies, and it was so good. I had the Bon-Ami Banh-Mi sandwich which was also delicious.


    We explored Tucos Tacos – I was so excited to go to a full vegan restaurant. For my children, we ordered a “Baby Plate” – it was the perfect combination for them of mac & cheese, strawberries, and homemade chips – so perfect we had to order a second plate! My husband and I split the Phish tacos, and the Buffalo taco – they were delicious!! 


    We explored the continental breakfast at Travelway! They had a good variety of items (3 hot foods, plus toast, muffins, fruit, cereal, etc.), coffee, tea, juice. Travelway always had a refreshment station set up for people to indulge in. They had coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and orange infused water! They had oranges available, and mints. My children enjoyed that they could have the mints.


    Explorers get tired.

    We explored the Pauza Den at the Travelway Inn. We picked up a pizza and ate there one night. My children enjoyed watching television in there on the couch, while my husband and I finished dinner. My daughter fell asleep, and I had to carry her back to our room!

    Our room was great. They had a cot set up for my children, and they said they were going to sleep on it (they didn’t stay on it for long though and wanted to cuddle, but that’s not unusual).

    Explorers explore!

    We explored attractions! We went to see Super Power Dogs at the Imax theatre! It was a great movie – I was worried that my children wouldn’t like the movie, but they only didn’t like the 3D glasses! They loved watching the adventures of the dogs and all the ways they help people. My children played with other kids outside of the theatre on the “Top of the Earth” for a long time. Simple little details like that, even though my children didn’t understand how it was a scale model of  the Earth, provided a lot of entertainment.

    We went kayaking at Laurentian University. I was worried as Lake Ramsey was very rough as we were getting there. It is a long walk down to the water that we kayaked on, but it was so worth it! It was a secluded little beach – some other people were there using SUP’s, another person was doing slacklining at the volleyball nets, and a few other people. Thankfully, our lake was beautiful and calm! My children tried walking into the sandy water and fishing. They did not have any luck fishing, but had a great time. After I kayaked for a few minutes by myself, I picked up my kids. The rental agency at Laurentian did not have children’s lifejackets. The ones they had were a bit big, so I stayed in water shallow enough that we could stand up. My kids enjoyed acting as a motor to my boat! Overall, it was a very pleasant way to spend the morning. We saw campus security come and check the area while we were there which was nice to see.


    We were very lucky that the Northern Lights Festival Boreal was happening while we were there. We got to see Al Simmons play as part of a workshop. We arrived just as he played “The Cat Came Back” – a popular song among the preschool groupies there! The festival was well set up – the volunteers were helpful in directing us to the stage we needed, and there were free bouncy castles, so my kids were very happy! We didn’t even get to see other stages in the afternoon – we stayed near the activities at the kids tent. We treated the kids to cotton candy, and a snow cone, and found a spot in the shade. There was actually a band practicing in the shade, so it was like we got a private show while we had our break! We left, then came back to the festival after dinner. We went to the main stage and watched from a lovely grassy knoll for a while. My children were tired, but we fueled them with ice cream, and the dancing started! We love music festivals, so I am so glad my daughter and son did too!




    We explored Nepahwin park for a swim. The water was lovely! There were two areas marked off, with a shallow end, and a deeper end. There was a lifeguard on duty. There was a change room and washrooms near the beach.

    We explored as we walked from our hotel, to Bell park playground to meet with other Life with a Baby community managers. The boardwalk was beautiful and there were lots of things to see as we walked. There were lots of friendly dogs out walking and the trail was nice. We got to see people fishing, and if we had more time, would have grabbed the kids rods. The playground was great – it was set up on different levels, which my kids love climbing so they had a blast. We had a group photo near the flower beds. We all had children who had lots of energy, so I challenged some of them to race to the top of the flowers and back. They loved doing it and it was so cute to see! The flower bed was gorgeous, and my son loved the turtles made out of flowers.




    The biggest thing in Sudbury for explorers was Science North! It has been on my to do list for many years! It did not disappoint. Based on advice from friends, we started at the top floor – my kids loved taking up the clear elevator, then watching from the outside how the gears worked. Every floor had many hands on activities to explore for kids of all ages. I tried the bed of nails, while my kids played with the black hole exhibit. The location was not busy, there were many staff members (blue coats) available who checked in with us if we had any questions. There were so many exhibits that we didn’t have any wait time to play. We watched the show about climate change, voiced by Rick Mercer, and my children love that they got “rained” on!  There was a live show with experiments by one of the blue coats, based on space travel! We got to try freeze dried fruit. On the insect floor, my husband tasted crickets! When that wasn’t enough to fill us, we had lunch at the restaurant there, they had a great veggie burger, the children had chicken nuggets and my husband had a burger and salad. The butterfly area was amazing. They have vests to ensure butterflies land on you. We did not put on the vests, but butterflies explored us, by landing on us! In addition to the blue coats helping to make our experience great, things like water stations that had step stools, and step stools in the washrooms made it easier to allow kids to have autonomy. We briefly explored the toddler play area, and even my older kids found things to play with. We loved seeing the porcupine and beaver enjoying their lunch – happily snacking on leaves! It was amazing to see the beaver swimming – I got to see how big his webbed feet were, so know why they can swim so well! We had seen lots of beaver dens along the drive up north, so it was great to learn more about them. We had intended to only explore there for a few hours, but ended up spending most of the day there. There were little areas like the kitchen and store, that my children loved! It was great for explorers of all ages!



    We briefly explored Dynamic Earth, my children enjoyed the outdoor playground, and the children’s mine in the basement. They partnered with some other children – one who became the manager, who I overheard say “Staff meeting in my office!” and all the kids ran upstairs! While they played I enjoyed controlling the rock breaker 70 feet below me! We chose not to do the mine tour as we were out of time. There were blue coats there also making our experience great – explaining the different exhibits and telling my son the type of rock he purchased at Science North!



    Most of our activities were based around Paris street. It made it easy to navigate around the city. Our drive home, my daughter fell asleep instantly. My son took longer, but he enjoyed counting inuksuk, and made a point to build one in our garden with rocks he has collected over the years.


    Our explorations around Sudbury were amazing. It was a great mix of indoor activities and nature activities. My children enjoyed being an explorer, and was sad to hear that some other families were doing different activities, and that we wouldn’t have time to do them all! We intend to come back to try some of the other things we didn’t get a chance to explore!

    You can see more pictures by searching  #LWABSudbury on Facebook.

  • Thursday, June 27, 2019 3:19 PM | Claire (Administrator)



    Hey Parents! 


    You probably already know this, but Life With A Baby Support Groups and Life With A Preterm Baby were started by Healthy Start, Healthy Future to provide a way for parents to connect face-to-face through events and chat online with others about the things no one talks about out loud. Things like the unpredictable rollercoaster of new parenthood, isolation, managing the health of a preterm baby, or navigating Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders like postpartum depression. 


    That was 11 years ago, and we have no intention of stopping. We have a renewed vigour to create more programs in more locations, so moms and dads everywhere have access to a community that has their back. 


    Here’s where you come in. We’re all about multitasking, so having fun while you do good is an easy decision! We’d like to invite you to come out to the 6th Annual Celebrity Charity Golf Tournament on July 8 at The Thornhill Club for a fun-packed day, all while raising funds to develop and deploy support programs across the country. It doesn’t matter whether you play like Tiger Woods or Happy Gilmore, you’ll have a great time! If golf isn’t your thing, you can still  join us for the evening portion for a delectable dinner and exciting entertainment! Click here to register or donate today


    Can’t make it that day? You can still make a big difference by sharing this opportunity with your personal and business network, or providing product or services for silent auction and giveaways. Healthy Start, Healthy Future is a registered Canadian charity, so cash donations above $20 are tax-receipt eligible. 


    Last thing - thanks for changing lives. You have many choices to exercise your philanthropy muscles, and we’re grateful you choose us. 



  • Monday, May 13, 2019 6:55 AM | Connie (Administrator)

    Finding Viable Work From Home Opportunities As New Parent - Landmark Transportation School Bus Driving Option

    Being a new parent is not always what you expect and there is definitely no job description. Every baby is different and unique which is why motherhood can be so scary, fun, terrifying, exciting, and rewarding all at the same time!! What is especially challenging as a new parent is making the difficult decision to quit a full-time job to be home with your children and finding ways to supplement income.

    As a stay at home parent myself an entrepreneur, I am always approached by fellow mommy friends wondering how I made it work.  My response is always to weight out the options and costs of going back to work full time vs. staying home to raise your children and perhaps supplementing your income with some viable work from home options on a part time basis. And when I say to "weight out the costs", I mean the REAL COSTS in all areas (not just money).  Things like quality of life, health, exercise, eating out, commute times, etc. should ALL be considered as “costs” when making this decision.

    For me, the decision was an easy one as going back to work full-time in agencies as an event planner meant a +3 hour commute each day from Newmarket to Toronto and back, long days, evenings, weekends, travelling, putting 2 kids in daycare full time (both of whom are special needs), likely having to hire a housekeeper, eating out more, quality of life differences that I wasn't going to sacrifice and all for only MAYBE $300 a week extra after factoring that all that all in!  I’m hearing about more and more moms in a similar situation as mine.

    The trick, however, is finding those tried and true income potentials that *actually* earn money (a-hem MLM's :) and provide flexibility for parents.  Well my friends, I think I FOUND IT!    School bus driving part time with a local transportation company like Landmark is your local income supplementation option.   I'm happy to share with you the inside scoop on how it all works so that you can feel comfortable in the decision-making process on if this opportunity could work for your family. 


    Training & Requirements

    If you carry a driver’s license, enjoy children and have a decent driving record; getting your license to be able to drive a school bus is no problem at all.  Landmark does the required training for you, right at their offices!  The training consists of 5-10 business days of onsite training.  You will also need :

    • Your Driver Abstract ( 3 years un-certified).  Can be ordered online for only $12
    • Ministry of Transportation Medical for professional driver license - not covered by OHIP.  Most doctors charge from $50 to $125 for this document
    • Vulnerable Sector Screening (Police check) as you will be working with kids.  Cost is about $65 and the company will reimburse you once hired.    Some moms may have one of these already if they volunteer at school, etc. already!

    Once complete, you are all set.  Note that the initial training does require that you find childcare as children are not permitted at the training sessions themselves.

    Hours

    If you are a stay at home mom with an infant/ toddler / preschooler OR even a parent with kids in school full time, this is the opportunity for you!  Hours for school bus drivers are extremely family friendly!  Depending on the route that you are assigned, typical start times range from 6:30-9am.  You then get the day to yourself to tend to your home, get dinner sorted, run personal errands etc.  You are required back for your after school run at around 2:00-4pm.  You get to be home for your family obligations and dinner with a breeze by 4:30 usually! 

    Flexibility 

    Working as a School Bus Driver for Landmark is as family-friendly as you can get!  Here's why!

    ·         you only work 3-5 hours per day

    ·         you get to bring your kids to work with you

    ·         you get assigned routes as close as possible to your home

    ·         the route pick up / drop off times work perfectly around kids' sleep schedules and family routines

    ·         a back up system is in place in case of unforeseen emergencies, sickness, vacation time, etc. 

    ·         you can keep the bus at home with your or at another designated, local, parking location.  For our York North Chapter members, Landmark is conveniently located right here in Newmarket area!

    ·         You will have all the school holidays, summer, winter holidays off


    Pay

    Of course it all boils down to the moola :)   I am happy to report that School Bus Drivers with Landmark are paid a very fair $18.50/hour.  A typical shift earns you about $80 a day, which is approx. $400 per week or $1600 per month!  That is a mortgage & car payment for many of us!  Where else are you going to earn that kind of money with your kids in toe and while still tending to your families needs??? 

    How To Get Involved?

    Want more info?   You can feel free to contact Landmark directly at:

    Cassie

    Recruitment Office

    C: 289-221-0822

    O: 905-888-7290 ext. 147

    24 Cardico Drive (Woodbine Ave & Stouffville Rd)

    L4A 2G5

    www.landmarkbuslines.com

    Landmark is also showcasing these opportunities at some upcoming local events as follows:


    Paws in the SARC Aurora Event on Wellington St.  

    Saturday May 11,  10am-6pm  


    Sunday May 12 10am-4pm   

    Come by and say hello~   Free event

    Sunday June 2nd. Aurora Chamber Street Festival 

    Free event  11am-5pm

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