Wee Welcome: Back to School with a Smile

Parents across Canada and around the world are stressing over the idea of sending their kids back to school – from new safety measures to distances learning, the options are nerve-racking. Parenting expert and mom of 4 Maureen Dennis has a plan to make the rest of the summer filled with fun ways to spend the last month and stress-free leading into the new school year.
1. New Normal – Keeping as much of your life as “normal” as possible right now can help in this challenging time.We have used a Good to Go list for years, but this year it has a few new items on it. The list keeps the morning nagging to a minimum and keeps kids on track. The Good to Go list can be placed in a picture frame in their room as a reminder of what their new normal essentials are.

2. Get Ready – Going back or staying home, we can still make the process of getting ready for back to school fun. Bedtimes are going to be rough in many households this fall. It’s time to make sleep a priority and also exciting my doing a bed refresh. From a quality pillow, to a weighted blanket, getting ready for bed has never been more fun.

3. Keep It Fun – It is a very stressful time so how do we stay positive and excited for our kids? It won’t be easy but it is very import to keep a smile on our faces and to keep up the family quality time and fun we have enjoyed over the last few months. From regular movie nights to family bikes rides, make sure the fun stays in the family as we head back to school.


Raising Good Humans

We all know parenting is a hard job, 24/7 35 days a year. We want to see our children grow, thrive and prosper. EVERY parent wants that for their child but we aren’t all on the same path and we will face different challenges. Right now parenting during a pandemic, while socially isolated, homeschooling, trying to make ends meet and overwhelmed with the state of the world is a lot. As it has been said we may all be in the same storm but we are not all in the same boat.

I don’t have the answers, I wish I did. I wish I could tell you how this chapter of our lives turns out but we have to ride it out. I hope that this is the part of our story where the plot changes, that we have all had enough of the “old normal” and our “new normal” focuses on what truly matters, being good humans.

It is really easy right now to be angry and to feel helpless. There are no shortage of things to feel angry and frustrated about and honestly watching the news can leave you with little hope for change. COVID-19, politics, the economy, protests, riots, public shaming and that’s just in this last week. It is hard for any adult to digest and understand, so how can we begin to explain what is going on to our kids?

As parents we want to protect our kids. We want to keep them safe. The only issue with that is that we need them to see, listen and discuss what is going on in the world, how can they grow up to be good humans if they never leave their own bubble? In order to have those conversations as parents we need to do the work first. We need to see what is going on and check our facts and sources. We need to acknowledge that we don’t know what we don’t know. We need to dive deeper, ask questions and understand that we may never truly understand someone else’s journey but we can listen, advocate and stand up and be heard. It is not enough to be indifferent, we need to teach our kids that being a good human means our family supports other families. The only way to do that is by example.

Start a conversation – Depending on the age of your kids the conversation will be a little different but the important thing is to have an ongoing conversation. Talk about race, socioeconomic disparity, politics, populations and cultures around the world, neighbourhoods in your city, Police, COVID-19, money, personal safety. Don’t be shy, rock their little boat a bit, it should feel uncomfortable to discuss these topics, they aren’t easy, they aren’t simple and they aren’t something they should be sheltered from.

Seeing is believing – It’s natural for your kids to question you and your prospective, especially our teens. They have their own experiences that they use as reference points. It is very difficult for anyone to feel empathy towards someone they don’t know, they can’t see and that they don’t understand or relate to. If possible give them the opportunity to understand the world around them first hand. When we see with our own eyes someone else’s pain, someone else’s fight, someone else’s challenge it will stay with us, it will start a conversation and it will add a new perspective to our view of the world. Show your kids your actions, vote, amplify voices, donate, volunteer, write lawmakers, use your voice.

Be Kind – This should be the easiest thing for every parent to teach their child but it is much harder in reality, because it requires YOU to show kindness and this seems be very difficult these days. Stress, anger, frustration, fear, uncertainty are very common everyday feelings right now and it can be easy to forget our kids are watching. They see how we react to a driver cutting us off, a homeless person, a person not wearing a mask / people wearing masks, a black man, a white woman, elderly, servers, neighbours and even family and friends. They see it all, and we all know we can do better. We can show kindness in so many ways everyday the most simple ways are to listen to understand, consider people’s intentions, acknowledge privilege, advocate, respect and be empathetic.

When we don’t know what to do ourselves it is easier to just let it go, change the channel, keep scrolling. We’ve ALL done it. We MUST stop, acknowledge and respond, it is the ONLY way change will be made. Not to add to your parenting stress, we all have enough of that right now, think of it as an investment. An investment in our kids, our family and our community of good humans.

Image credit: IG: @ohhappydani

Wee Welcome: Dino Egg Hunt

Dino Egg Hunt

Keep your kids busy with this three part fun activity!

Part 1: Make the Dino Eggs

Part 2: Hunt for the Dino Eggs

Part 3: Hatch the Dino Eggs

Great fun for the whole family!

You will need:
o Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
o Water
o Food colouring
o Syringes
o White vinegar
o Casserole dish or container
o Dish soap
o Dinosaur toys
o Parchment paper
o Optional:
▪ Rubber gloves
▪ Safety glasses
• One box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda will make about 3 eggs (depending on the size of your
dinosaur toys)
• Add drops of food colouring to Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and carefully mix
o We recommend using gloves so that the dye doesn’t stain your hands
• Once the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda is coloured, carefully add ¼ cups of water
o Add slowly and mix thoroughly until it becomes a paste-like texture
o TIP: Add sparkles or glitter!
• Take a palmful of the paste and squish into a ball, then press in one of the dinosaurs
• Add more paste to the top and sides until the entire dinosaur is encased. Place your dinosaur
egg on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set in the freezer
• Leave them in the freezer for about an hour or until frozen
• When you are ready for the big hatching, set the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda dinosaur eggs in a
large dish
o TIP: Use a casserole dish so you can see the egg hatching from all sides
• Dribble some dish soap on the bottom of the bowl
• Pour some vinegar in a cup or bowl and give the kids each a syringe
• Squirt your baking soda dinosaur egg to start them hatching!

This post is sponsored by Arm and Hammer, but as always the fun and opinions are all ours!

Wee Welcome: Magic Sidewalk Paint

Magic Fizzing Sidewalk Paint

This is a messy but SUPER fun activity to take outside to the driveway or sidewalk. You probably have everything you need in your cupboard. Paint a masterpiece and then spray it with the white vinegar and watch it come to life, FIZZING!

• You will need:
o 1 box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
o 1⁄2 cup of cornstarch
o Warm (almost hot) water
o Food colouring
o Paintbrushes
o White vinegar
o Spray bottle
• Mix a full box of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda and 1⁄2 cup of cornstarch
• Add in warm water (about a cup) and stir until it becomes a paint-like consistency
• Separate mixture into different bowls depending on how many colours you would like to make
• Add 3-4 drops of food colouring to each bowl and stir into the mixture
• Use paintbrushes to paint the mixture on pavement
o TIP: Dip your paintbrush in water to make the mixture more spreadable
• Once you are done your creation, spray white vinegar from a spray bottle to watch your painting

Find more fun with us on Tiktok @maureen_dennis!

On TV: Mother’s Day the Isolation Way

Mother’s Day as we don’t know exactly what May will bring we know that this Mother’s Day won’t involve family brunch, big hugs or spa days. For many it will be a hard day, that they will not be able to spend it with their mother. Other mothers will have spent weeks 24/7 with their kids and be very tired. Maureen shares a few ways to have a special Mother’s Day at home, how to share your love with the moms you can see or hug and why staying connected is the most important gift you can give.

CTV Morning Live Ottawa

CTV Saskatoon

Global Kingston

Global Regina

On TV: Celebrating Earth Day at Home

Parenting expert Maureen Dennis introduces a new found appreciation for our planet with teachable moments the kids will surely learn from.

1. New Respect – With trips out of the house, few and far between, especially for kids many families are getting creative on how to use the things they have more responsibility. Maureen shows how to make the most of what you have and make it actually fun too!

2.  New Routines – Life at home may feel like we all have a new normal, and in many cases those changes are for the better. Maureen’s family has made a few changes while in quarantine that might just be their new normal. 

3. New World – The world we “left” weeks ago has already changed, with nature reviving in some places, with us missing travel and with so little contact with others. Distance learning has been a BIG adjustment for families around the world. From connecting to each other in our homes, through technology and even with nature. Maureen shares ways to admire the new world with your kids.

Global Saskatoon

Global Kingston

CP24 Toronto

CTV Morning Live Calgary

Global Regina

On TV: Easter in Isolation

Celebrating Easter this season maybe a little different this year. Parenting expert Maureen Dennis will share how to make some new family traditions and teachable moments with the kids that will mark this Easter season a celebration like no other!   

1. Kindness Countdown to the Easter Bunny! – Fun way to get your kids excited about Easter and teach them a few things along the way. Maureen will share a fun way to countdown to Easter but more importantly have kids think and act with kindness, generosity, friendship and more.

 2. Share the Love – Messages of positivity are helping keep the spirits of many communities alive. It’s also a great way to remind our kids that we are all in this together. Maureen will share creative ways to share those messages while still maintaining social distancing.

3. Seeds of Happiness – This time together has made many of us appreciate the simplest things. It also has us counting the minutes in a day, and some days are very long. Maureen has a tip to share that her kids are really enjoying and it is giving them something to look forward to as well.

Global Saskatoon

Global Kingston

Global Regina

CTV Morning Live Calgary

On TV: Community Kindness During COVID-19

It’s officially Spring but the feeling of the season isn’t quit there yet, especially for the kids.  Parenting expert Maureen Dennis shares how to bring life back to your community with acts of kindness, exploration and donation that will in turn create memories and life lessons for your whole family.

1. Go on a Bear Hunt – Based on the book and song “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt”, our neighbourhood is putting teddy bears in their windows so that families walking around responsibly can have fun looking at the windows of the neighbourhood house for bears! 

2. Chalk the Walk – Many have taken to show their love and support for their community and medical professionals through inspirational messages written in chalk on their sidewalks and driveways. Maureen shares what this is not only important for families but also the community spirit.

3. Kindness Dare – Building Character with simple activities that you and your child can do as a family each day for a few minutes. Maureen shares example of Kindness Dares.

3. Spring Clean & Donate – There’s never been a better time to go through your closets and donate clothes, shoes and toys. Maureen shows you how to get your kids on board! Please do not drop off any donations until you check that they are being picked up, many are not due to COVID-19. Hang on to your donations until donation centers are allowed to accept your donations.

Global Regina

Global Kingston

On TV: Working From Home + kids

Parenting expert Maureen Dennis shares her tips to make the most of the additional time off with the kids. From working from home to creative ways to keep the kids learning… Maureen has all the tricks that will help this time of social distancing be enjoyable and productive as possible for everyone!

1. Implementing a schedule and homeschooling, is it realistic? Facebook is full of suggestions, Maureen shares her tips on balancing fun and learning while still staying sane.

2. Working from home reality – Maureen has worked from home for 16 years with four kids and shares her top tips on how to make it work.

3. Lemons into Lemonade – Making due with what you have, keep it simple, fun and as stress free as possible. Balancing work and play is hard but not impossible, Maureen shows how to get it all done in a day.

CP24 Toronto

Global Kingston

Global Regina

CTV Ottawa

Global Saskatoon

CTV Morning Live Calgary