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  • Wed, April 18, 2018 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Julie LeJeune, Founder of Wish and Give


    We start out so well, don’t we? What parent hasn’t enjoyed the loving generosity of a baby sharing a drool-soaked treat? Yet, as we grow, we seem to have a tendency to forget the joy that we get from sharing. Babies inevitably hit the “mine” stage—grabbing toys from other toddlers and demanding that mom and dad do everything for them. After a rough day of “he took my toy” or “she’s touching me!” it can feel like they only think about themselves. But then there are glimpses of hope. They have moments of mutual kindness. And then there are those positive stories of older kids doing amazing things to change their community or world around them.

    How do we direct the conversation from selfishness to altruism in just a few short years of parenting? 

    One solution revolves around refocusing birthday celebrations. Naturally, you would think this is the time to be selfish; it's their day! They typically receive praise, gifts and a party. And as parents it's a natural time to spoil them. 

    So how do you spoil them without… spoiling… them? Their birthday is the perfect time to tame some of the focus off the self and opening their eyes to the power of generosity and compassion.  In the fall of 2017, I created a way for kids to use their birthday to give back to their local community: Wish and Give. By organizing your party with Wish and Give, your guests can contribute to a charity or non-profit of your choosing—something your child cares about—and participate in a group gift for your child. It’s a great opportunity to eliminate the deluge of “stuff” and turn the focus on giving back. You and your child can choose a charity together by searching by postal code directly on the site to find the cause you’re passionate about. It’s a great way to learn about the amazing grass roots organizations right in your back yard. 

    The joy you’ll experience from seeing your kids share their birthday with a cause they care about is amazing! In the fall of 2017, when the hurricanes were destroying community after community, my son choose to give back to a charity focusing on hurricane relief: he was only 5 turning 6! Can you tell how proud I am? Another little girl turning 8 used Wish and Give to support Ovarian Cancer Canada because her Grandma is going through cancer treatments. Amazing! Kids really can give back and create a better world around them!

    It's amazing to see what kids can do in their own way. I’m confident that by creating opportunities for kids to exercise their generosity muscles, we are on the road to raising a generation of caring, thoughtful young leaders for the future. The best part of my job? I get to see what these kids are achieving first hand through Wish and Give! 

  • Mon, January 29, 2018 9:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    At MumNet, we're fortunate to have the support of some incredible volunteers. We're starting a new blogging initiative where we ask them the same five questions about their MumNet experience. To kick things off, one of our Group Leaders, Heather, shares her responses.


    Name: Heather
    Group:
    Swansea MumNet II

    Why did you originally join MumNet? 

    My neighbour Kathy convinced me it would be a good thing!

    What do you love most about MumNet? 

    The great relationships I’ve developed.

    Why was being a MumNet Board Member important to you? 

    I love to lead so it gives me a chance to use those skills.

    What is one thing that MumNet has taught you?

    There is something magical about the structure of MumNet…it really fosters true connections.

    What would you say to other moms considering joining MumNet?

    Do something for yourself and give it a try!

    --

    Interested in trying it out? We offer a free trial session for those who aren't sure if MumNet is for them. Contact us to book a trial at one of our 15 groups throughout the city or, if you know you want to join, register today!

  • Tue, December 19, 2017 7:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Rosanna Breitman, Mediator/ Conflict Resolution Specialist


    By mid-December, as the exhausting fall routine grinds to a close, our minds start to shift to the upcoming reward for all of our hard work – the holidays! We imagine festive gatherings, luxurious sleep-ins, cozy days spent at home in PJs curled up in front of a blazing fire, and overall, a genuine feeling of peace and well-being. What could be better? But for busy moms with young families, the reality can often be quite different from the fantasy. As holiday time approaches, the stress of trying to create magical moments for one’s family can often feel overwhelming, especially when relationship conflict is a contributing factor. 

    Unfortunately, when we start to feel that we bear too much responsibility for making everyone else happy over the holidays, it’s all too common for holiday joy to morph quickly into resentment. This is especially true if we also feel that our partner isn’t lifting a finger to make things any easier – or worse, if they're actively making things harder.

    There’s no doubt about it: We get shortchanged, and so do our relationships, when we, and/or others, seem to decide by default that 100% of the responsibility for creating holiday magic falls on us. Deep down, as much as we may enjoy making others happy, we need to feel that others care about our happiness too. And it’s hard to feel that way when our time “off” is spent working to accommodate others’ needs, non-stop – especially when those around us seem to expect it, or take it for granted.

    So, how can we manage ourselves and our relationships to ensure that we stay on the “joy” side of the imaginary holiday line, rather than crossing over into resentment territory? Herewith, a few suggestions:

    1. Be kind to yourself. 
      Before you even begin to think about what you need from your partner and/or family, give some serious thought to the health of your most important relationship – the one you have with yourself. Be clear on your own needs and prioritize them – otherwise, it’s too easy to spend every minute on what you think you “should” be doing for others. Remember, if you don’t advocate for yourself, it’s unlikely that anyone else will.

    2. Deconstruct the stress. 
      If you’re feeling “too much” pressure, try to get a handle on where it’s coming from.  To what degree is it self-imposed?  To what extent are you internalizing the expectations of others?   Understanding the source of the stress is the key to managing it. 

    3. Have others share the load. 
      Don’t “hint” or wait for your spouse and kids to offer to help plan and execute the festivities – be direct! Clearly communicate your vision of fairness. If you could use some help decorating, shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, cleaning, packing, shovelling, entertaining, etc…ask!  Even little kids can help out, and once they get into the spirit, they’ll often enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes with helping.

    4. Be active, not passive, in setting the schedule. 
      You and your partner may have different ideas of how you want to spend the holiday. Maybe you’re a social butterfly who wants to book up every evening, and they’re more of a homebody. Or perhaps they want to spend a weekend with college friends…the ones you can’t stand. The key here is compromise. You can each accommodate the other to some degree and/or agree that you don’t have to do everything together as a family – whatever works for you. The  important thing here is that it should not just be
      you doing all of the accommodating. Speak up tactfully for what you want, or you may end up drinking from a keg and listening to reminiscences about the good old days in the frat or sorority house.

    5. Negotiate difficult situations in advance. 
      Holiday gatherings with extended family can be stressful. If you can’t get out of spending time with difficult relatives, discuss specific problematic people with your partner or a trusted family member in advance, decide on a stress-management strategy, a time limit for your appearance at the gathering, and an exit plan in advance. And stick to it!

    6. Plan a reward. 
      To help get you through a situation that you anticipate will be tough – for example, if you must spend a weekend with in-laws you can’t stand schedule a stress-releasing night out with friends or a relaxing massage (or both!) the next day.

    7. If all else fails…avoid!
      If ditching the occasional office holiday party or festive family dinner reduces stress and allows you to carve out an extra few hours of holiday peace and/or avoid someone you truly can’t deal with, who are you really harming, as long as you’ve given polite notice of the fact that you’re “feeling under the weather”? 

    8. Lose the guilt. 
      If, in the end, the holidays aren’t perfect, so what? As long as you’ve put forth a reasonable effort, good enough is good enough. Accept that simple fact, and you’ll be much better off.

    Bottom line: Making others happy and being kind to yourself are not mutually exclusive. Remember, managing your relationships over the holidays starts and ends with the most important relationship of all – the one you have with yourself.  Take care of that, and the rest will follow.  Happy holidays!

    --


    Rosanna Breitman is a well-known Toronto mediator with over 20 years’ experience helping clients resolve their disputes in a fair, respectful, and child-oriented manner. In addition to her divorce mediation practice, she has also had extensive experience mediating workplace, school-based, and other interpersonal disputes, coaching individuals and groups on negotiation and conflict management skills, and speaking and presenting at teachers’ professional development workshops, moms’ groups, and community social service organizations.

    Rosanna will be the Bits + Bites speaker at MumNet's Annual General Meeting on the topic of “How to advocate for your child.” Join us for this event on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at Louis Cifer Brew Works, 471 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, ON M4K 1P1, at 7:00 pm. Members are FREE to attend. Non-members are $20. Get your ticket today!


  • Sun, December 17, 2017 8:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Guest blogger: Triona Coakelin of Tucked in Tight Sleep Coaching


    It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be challenging as the excitement and change of routine lead many babies, toddlers, and older kids to become sleep deprived and grouchy enough to out-grinch the Grinch.

    There's no reason to let the holidays rob you of that sweet, deep slumber OR your holiday fun. Triona Coakelin from Tucked in Tight Sleep Coaching is here to share her top 5 holiday sleep tips to help you sleep soundly through the holiday chaos.

    1. Keep bedtime routines constistent
      This is important, little ones thrive on routine, so keep that bedtime routine consistent during the holidays no matter where they sleep. My favourite routine? Bath, PJs, snuggles with book and song, and in to bed wide awake.

    2. Keep things familiar.
      If you are travelling over the holidays bring your sleep sack and little lovey that your little ones loves, the familiarity will give them comfort. White noise (to drown out those fun parties downstairs!) and blackout blinds will be your friend in creating a consistent sleep environment.

    3. No need to skip naps!
      Show up at that party a little bit late if you need to, or bring a pack n' play for naps on the go, but don’t be tempted to skip the nap or you will have an over-tired, cranky little one on your hands!

    4. Prepare for recovery
      When the festivities are over, plan for a couple of quiet days at home to get sleep on track and go back to early bedtimes. After all the excitement is done, early bedtimes will help everyone get back on track for better sleep in the new year as well.

    5. Most importantly………have fun!
      It’s okay to be more relaxed with sleep schedules to make time for holiday fun. Give yourself permission to say, "yes" to special holiday shows, events, and parties. Just keep your child’s sleep schedule in mind when picking a show time or a start time for the holiday party you’re hosting.

    Above all, enjoy spending time celebrating the holidays this season!

    Follow Triona and Tucked in Tight on Facebook and Instagram for more family sleep tips.

  • Thu, November 30, 2017 8:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at our Holiday Social next Tuesday, December 5 at Little White Sneakers111 Roncesvalles Avenue, starting at 7:30 p.m. Come celebrate the year with your friends! The (free) wine will be flowing and there will be lots of yummy appetizers from the Cheese Boutique! We’ve invited some local brands that we love (many owned by former Netters!) and they’ll be selling unique holiday gifts and offering all attendees special promotions! A portion of all shopping proceeds will be donated back to MumNet! Feel free to bring a friend, the more the merrier!

    Here's a little more about our vendors:

    Little White Sneakers: a kids clothing store which sells high-quality kids clothes, both new and like-new. Unique brands from all over the world for up to 85% off.  Their collection also include several local and organic fabric brands which make perfect gifts. 

    Happiness Is Inc.: a brand of casual and athletic clothing made in Canada, with a mission to inspire everyone to celebrate their moments of happiness. Lots of great hubby gifts!

    Frannie and Lilo (or @wethemamas): eco-concious, ethical and empowering clothing designed by mamas for mamas. These shirts are made in Canada with bamboo/organic cotton. A perfect gift for yourself (or any other mamas on your list!).  

    Citrus Silver: made-in-Canada, personalized sterling silver jewellery for women, men, teens kids. 

    Wallumniation: revolutionizing your favourite home photos through light, fabric, and simple design. 

    Hello, Art!: small original paintings and art prints for children’s rooms that is charming and nostalgic and sometimes completely and delightfully odd!


  • Sat, November 25, 2017 2:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tuesday, November 28, 2017 is Giving Tuesday, a national day for giving and giving back. As a non-profit, MumNet relies on the support of our members, alumnae, and friends to help us to ensure moms get the support they need. There are several ways you can give or give back, take a look!


  • Thu, November 23, 2017 12:10 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Earlier this week, we hosted another Bits + Bites event, an evening speaker and social series that provides additional opportunities for our members and friends to connect with other like minded woman, learn about topics that are relevant to them, and enjoy a night out! The topic of this Bits + Bites event was "Body confidence after having kids." We had some incredible guest speakers to discuss this subject from all angles, including emotional and mental wellness, physical wellness, and sexuality. Our panelists had some powerful messages for our members and friends. Take a look:




    Thank you again to our panelists, Rhonda Roberts Smid, Fitness specialist; Nadine Woods, Founder & Executive Director, Maternal Goddess, and Founder of Mayana Geneviere; and Gwen Schauerte, Registered Psychotherapist. 

    MumNet wants to ensure moms in our community get the support they need through our programs. We are thrilled to offer Bits + Bites events on topics that resonate with our members and friends. Have a topic in mind? Send it our way at info@mumnet.ca

    Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for information on future MumNet events.

    Facebook: @MumNetToronto
    Twitter: @MumNetToronto
    Instagram: @MumNetToronto

  • Wed, November 22, 2017 9:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Lesley Stoyan of Daily Apple


    The phenomenon of the ageless female form (think Madonna, Julianne Moore, Michelle Obama) is dominating tabloid and celebrity health media these days, with supermodels and Hollywood icons of “a certain age” looking better over 40 than they did in their twenties. The secret? It’s something that, as a double-decade health educator in a similar season of my own life, I have been devoted to finding out.

    The trick to attaining this youthful physique appears to be simple...well for those with a strong resolve: a combination of daily “inside out” training (a.k.a. Pilates-style, “teeny-tiny dancer muscle” workouts incorporating high reps and low weights); a clean diet - mostly plant-based and calorie-restricted, incorporating as many whole foods as possible; using your feet as your main form of transportation – logging 10,000+ steps per day; and, sadly for many people, avoiding or limiting alcohol as much as possible (drinking on non-consecutive days, no more than 2 drinks per day, and avoiding sugary, mixed-based cocktails). Interested in jumping on board the timeless train? Here are a few tricks to throw into your daily mix:

    • Start your day with a “shot” (no it’s too early for tequila!) Combine one teaspoon of turmeric, the juice of half a lemon, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a cup of tepid water. Bottoms up!
    • Raw Raw Raw! Fuel your workday with as much fresh produce as you can, topped with a bit of protein. Try these two super easy take-away salads with under five ingredients each!
    • Order (affiliate links to Amazon) some of the equipment we use at MumNet for your home gym, such as 10lb Kettle Bell, 10lb Dumbbells, Fitness Loops (versatile and portable resistance training tool, great for upper and lower body workouts), Wooden Balance Board, Skipping Rope, Yoga Mat.
    - Chopped Apple and Blueberry Breakfast Salad with Toasted Walnuts   and Maple Syrup Drizzle
    - Red Cabbage and Lupini Bean Mason Jar Slaw with Rice Vinegar
    • Drink all day. Choose water with slices of fresh fruit, green juices, herbal or lightly caffeinated teas to keep you going
    • Never. Stop. Moving. Embrace your inner 5 year old...and hopefully you won’t get in trouble by your teacher...and MOVE! All day long! Book “Walkings” instead of “Meetings”. Meet your friends for fitness instead of coffee. Walk to deliver an in-person message to your office mate versus sending an email (you’ll likely get an answer faster too!) And NEVER take the elevator for floors 10 and under. Yup. Just like that.
    • YTrain. Wait, Y what? YTrain (yoga/pilates inspired exercise) is my signature method of working out – using the principals of inside out training, and finding those “teeny-tiny dancer muscles” (yup, we all have them, even without a tutu). Try a new Pilates class, or venture out to a trendy Barre studio. Or join me at one of my YTrain programs, featured regularly at MumNet Runnymede and Swansea, and at my midtown studio. You can do it! Crank up the “Lucky Star," strike a boat pose, and then wash it all down with a side of kale juice!

    __

    Lesley Stoyan, the owner of Daily Apple, is a certified lifestyle coach, personal trainer and yoga instructor, who has worked in both the commercial and corporate wellness sector for over 20 years, specializing in high performance athletics and family health programming. She is also a dedicated plant-based chef and social entrepreneur, co-founding the community-building non-profit company, The AppleTree Group. She developed her YTrain Method after giving birth to her son, Luke, in 2010, and has been featured in many publications and health journals on the specialized practice of post-natal fitness.

  • Wed, November 08, 2017 9:48 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Erin Welsh


    My day typically goes like this, coffee, herbal tea, wine, herbal tea. Sound familiar? Sometimes the order changes, but there is always tea in the day.

    On my quest to eat healthier and clean up the “toxic” products in my house I started reading all the labels and doing the research on what I was consuming. EXCEPT FOR TEA. Somehow this one fell through the cracks. One day someone posted an article on Facebook about how a popular tea company had terrible ingredients, is full of sugar and artificial flavours and colours and I was crushed! My cupboard was full of them. After more research, in steps Steeped Tea!

    Steeped Tea was started by a woman in Hamilton who went on Dragons Den and got funded (check her out here). It was her quest to create premium loose-leaf tea, with NO added sugar, artificial flavours/colours, Non GMO, and is sourced ethically and sustainably.

    My personal favourites are Peppy Peppermint, Berry Mania and Earl Grey de la Crème! Peppermint for the herbal tea, Earl Grey for that caffeine kick, and Berry Mania fruit tea for the kids cold in the fridge. The perfect stocking stuffer for the family, teachers, neighbours, friends and anyone else! 40% of sales go back to MumNet, a great way to support this amazing organization.

    Happy sipping!



  • Sun, November 05, 2017 10:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest Blogger: Marni Thompson


    My fondest childhood memories revolve around chocolate. From candy conventions to being in the kitchen with my father making caramels in the copper kettle...for as long as I can remember, chocolate has always been a part of my life. Today, nothing delights me more than sharing my love of chocolate with others by hosting children’s chocolate parties, bachelorette parties, or corporate team building chocolate experiences in our studio.

    At M Thompson Chocolates, we are known for our quality not quantity. Established in 2010, my husband Alvin and I started our business with the hopes of proving to people that you really can have it all. Every chocolate is handmade with love, using the freshest, finest, natural ingredients possible. We believe chocolate is meant to be enjoyed every day not only on special occasions. 

    If you want to taste the difference quality makes, we invite you to support MumNet by purchasing our chocolates through their fall fundraiser, and/or by visiting us at the Oneofakind Show: November 23 - December 3, 2017



    Chocolate Cheers,

    Marni

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