It’s never too early…

As far as kids are concerned, the earlier the Christmas celebrations are allowed to start the better. If my kids had their way the tree would have been up weeks ago, but my rule is 2 weeks before the big day… and no matter how much pleading and badgering I’m subjected to I’m sticking to it. But of course, at school they are busy rehearsing for Christmas plays and carol concerts and the Christmas fair is done and dusted, so I can understand that in their little minds the festive season is well and truly upon us.

If your little ones think celebrating Christmas for a twelfth of the year is mandatory then they’ll be overjoyed to hear that the holiday excitement has started already on Disney Junior!

8325

Holiday Programming on Disney Junior

  • Every week night at 6pm ET from Dec 2nd to 24th tune in for special holiday episodes of your favourite shows.
  • On Saturday, December 7th at 10.30am ET don’t miss a special episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse with extra-special guest appearances by favourite Disney characters including Snow White, Aladdin, Winnie the Pooh and many more!
  • And although you might be a little busy on Christmas Day, be sure to set the PVR for a marathon of holiday movies and specials from 6am until 11pm ET.

For full details of all the holiday programming check out the Disney Junior holiday schedule.

As well, parents and little ones can enjoy holiday-themed games, activities and more on the Disney Junior website. You can even design your own holiday e-Card to send to a loved one.

viewer-page-left-promo

Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

You can’t beat a good bedtime story

DSC00992I cherish our fabulous collection of kids’ books. We started reading bedtime stories to our babies when they were six months old and it is very rarely left out of our bedtime routine. Reading stories at bedtime is Daddy’s job pleasure. As he is at work all day and sees little of the kids it’s nice for him to spend this last 20 minutes of the day snuggled up on the sofa reading with them.

Pickle is now nine and we are trying to persuade her that it’s time to start being weaned off bedtime stories and that she should read to herself in bed instead. But when the books come out for five-year-old Bowser she’s still to be found on the other side of Dad on the sofa listening to the same old stories she’s been hearing for the last nine years.

Kids love repetition. If you’re going to read the same book over and over and over… you might as well pick something that is fun to read. Some toddler books are dire lovey dovey drivel. I prefer one with a pinch of humour aimed at the parents to lighten it up.

This week’s post is dedicated to my top five kids’ bedtime stories from our collection.

Knuffle Bunny1. Pickle’s favourite stuffed toy has always been Bedtime Bunny. She was more or less bald and was not much of a talker until she was 2 1/2. Consequently we warmed to the main character Trixie in Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and felt Mo Willems could have written it about our family. I think most people would find the Knuffle Bunny books highly entertaining.

2. Julia Donaldson could easily take up all my top spots with all her rhyming gems. Which one of Julia’s books is my favourite? It’s just so hard to pick just one. Everyone knows the Gruffalo, but I don’t think that is my #1 pick. I’ll go with Room on the Broom, but it could just as easily be Tabby McTatt, Stick Man, Monkey Puzzle, Tiddler or The Snail and the Whale. All feature Julia’s masterful rhyming stories and Axel Scheffler’s ingenious detailed drawings.

511HXP01EHL._SY300_3. In Marjorie Newman’s Captain Pike Looks After the Baby new dad Captain Pike finds out that looking after the baby isn’t as easy as he thought which will make a lot of SAHMs smile. There’s a lovely moral of down with fighting, up with friendship and beautiful illustrations.

4. Julia Donaldson is on my list again but this time paired with illustrator Lydia Monks with a rhyming tale of friendship and cooperation in Sharing a Shell.

5. Adrian Reynolds bright, bold illustrations really steal the thunder in Someone Bigger. It’s a lovely, simple rhyming tale by Jonathan Emmet which appeals to the little ones who are always being told they are too small to do this or that.

All our picks are aimed at the 2-5ish age group, but as Pickle will attest there is no true upper age limit.

peter-pan-disney-poster-cartel-6This month on Disney Junior you can join Wendy and her brothers John and Michael as they are whisked away to the magical world of Neverland with the hero of their own bedtime stories, Peter Pan. Don’t miss the commercial free screening of this classic Disney feature film on Saturday November 23rd at 6pm ET.

And if you have a favourite bedtime tale in your house, please let us know – we’d love to try it!

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program andI receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinionson this blog are my own.

What happened to my little mermaid?

My little Pickle headed off to grade 4 this week! Grade 4? Where did the time go? What happened to my little Pickle with no hair; who took forever to learn how to talk and could only be understood by me until she was 4; who used to spend all her waking (and some sleeping) hours in a variety of princess dresses? To be honest I’m glad she’s got hair now and that everyone can understand her when she speaks. I am however a bit sad that she now ‘hates’ princesses (a strong word I know and one we are working on removing from our family vocab, but that’s a another story for another day). From having a room completely bedecked in princess trimmings she has banished the pretty ladies and moved on to Hello Kitty…shortly before moving on to 1D no doubt, but I really don’t want to think about that.

Ariel at DisneylandAnyway, back to the good old bald, gibberish talking days… her favourite costume was the Little Mermaid dress. She wore it from when she was tiny and the tail dragged along behind her to when she could barely fit into it and the tail swung inches from the ground. She wore it to see Bobs & Lolo performing from their Under the Sea album at the Aquarium; she wore it to meet Ariel at Disneyland; she wore it at Halloween; she wore it to her ‘Under the Sea’ themed 4th birthday party. Ahhh, happy memories.

Well I still love the Little Mermaid even if Pickle doesn’t and if your little one is still a fan you’ll be pleased to know that the series is coming back exclusively to Disney Junior, weekdays at 8pm ET starting Monday, September 16th! Also on October 1st The Little Mermaid movie will be re-released on Blu-ray and HD Digital. And in celebration Disney Junior have unveiled a fantastic new Little Mermaid contest.

Disney Junior’s Little Mermaid Contest 

Disney Junior is giving you and your family the chance to win a trip to Toronto to experience Canada’s private red carpet screening of The Little Mermaid, complete with an Under the Sea Adventure experience before the show!

The-Little-Mermaid-Diamond-Edition-Blu-Ray-Cover-the-little-mermaid-34285754-425-500The grand prize includes:

  • Round-trip flights to Toronto for a family of up to 4
  • Two night hotel stay for a family of up to 4
  • Under the Sea Adventure experience at the TIFF Bell Lightbox cultural centre
  • Disney gift bag for each child guest
  • $1000 Spending money
  • Transportation to and from the event

Don’t delay, enter right now and increase your chances of winning by entering once per day until the contest closes on September 11th!

Oooh, I’d love to go…wonder if I could persuade Pickle to squeeze into that Little Mermaid dress just one more time 😉

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Ways to Beat the Heat (and Avoid the Naughty Step)

As I walk away from our front hallway (which also serves as our ‘time out spot’) after giving my two year old a well deserved talking to, I realise that my children aren’t purposely trying to drive me insane by being pains-in-the-butt, in fact, they are trying their best to combat the heat. While summertime is filled with tons of fun with picnics, outings to the beach or waterpark, and as much outdoor activity as possible, we also experience hot, sticky nights when the kids often find it harder to sleep and as a result there can be a little extra crankiness all round.

So what can we do to help keep the little ones cool (and visits to the naughty step down to a minimum) during these dog days of summer?

Drink, drink, drink!
Make sure that they drink plenty to replace the moisture that is lost as they perspire. As you lose water to dehydration, your body temperature rises, so replacing fluids is essential to keeping cool. Opt for hydrating foods such as fruits and salads. Make some healthy freeze pops from fruit juice. Freeze some strawberries to use as ice cubes in drinks.

Spritz!
BLD066962Water play is good old fashioned, inexpensive fun. Water slides, paddling pools, running through the sprinkler, ahhh!  As the water evaporates from your skin it cools you down. Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator, and when the going gets hot, give the kids a good squirt – begin with their wrists to quickly cool down the blood flowing through their veins.

Airy fairy!
The best way to dress for the heat is in thin, light coloured, loose fitting clothes. Natural fibres such as cotton and bamboo are breathable, so more comfortable on hot days than synthetic fibres. Loose, billowy clothes allow air movement next to the skin and help with sweat evaporation.

Lose the shoes
As the sweat on your feet evaporates, it cools the skin and the blood in your feet. Blood vessels then whisk that blood to other parts of the body, giving you  a greater sensation of coolness.

A cool bed buddy
Fill a cotton sock with rice, tie the neck of the sock with string or elastic bands and freeze it for two hours before popping it between the sheets at bedtime. Rice retains cold for a long period because it’s dense and starchy so makes a great ‘cold water bottle’ for your child’s bed. For small children who may ‘fiddle’ with the fastening of your cold bed buddy, it might be better to sew the sock neck closed.

Homemade air-conditioning
In desert areas where the air outside is dry and cooler than the air inside those in the know hang a damp sheet in an open window. Incoming breezes are cooled by the evaporating water. A shallow bowl of ice in front of a fan will give you a similar cool breeze.

Night coolers
A fan placed by an open window at night can help take the stuffiness out of a room. The trick is to face the blades outside. This sucks warm air out of the house and pulls cooler air in – it’s much more effective than a fan that’s blowing in to the room.

Cool moves
Setting off on a journey in a scorching car can be a bad start to an outing. Try this neat trick from Japan of opening one window then opening and closing the opposite door several times. It will cool down your overheated car by around 10 degrees before everyone gets in.

‘Chill’ with a movie
winnie-the-pooh-2011-movie-2If everyone’s had enough sun for one day why not move it indoors, draw the blinds and settle down for a quiet, low-key activity like a movie. This summer Disney Junior are treating us to a commercial free movie every Saturday night! So tune in at 6pm ET, or set your PVR so you can enjoy the movie whenever the sun, sun, sun stops being fun, fun, fun.

On July 13th it’s A Bug’s Life, on July 20th tune in for Tinkerbell and on July 27th don’t miss the brand new Winnie the Pooh movie. And for a little more ‘fun out of the sun’, to accompany this station premier DisneyJunior.ca have a whole host of Winnie the Pooh activities lined up for your little ones to enjoy.

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

More Popcorn With Butter Please!

popcornThat’s what I hear when my kids nestle down to watch some TV.  I think I will be hearing that a lot this month as Disney Junior has a whole slew of fun shows that I know my kids will not want to miss.

First off how can you resist the Disney Junior FREE PREVIEW for the entire month of March!  Great timing for Spring Break!!!!  It’s available with most* TV services and you can use this channel finder to see what channel to tune into:

http://www.disneyjunior.ca/en/schedule/channel-finder

channel

*Disney Junior English is free this March with the following providers: Bell, Rogers, Shaw Cable, Shaw Direct, Cogeco, TELUS, SaskTel, Westman, Mitchell Seaforth Cable, Source Cable, Cable Cable, Videotron, MTS, TbayTel, Citywest Cable.

march-watch-and-winAs if free preview TV wasn’t enough, Disney Junior even offers a “Watch and Win Contest” If you received a $500 gift card to the retailer of your choice, where would you choose? This month, you could win just that with Disney Junior!

You and your family could WIN a $500 gift card of your choice, every day in March, starting on March 4th ! Entering is easy; simply tune into the Disney Junior channel daily this March between 6-7pm ET and look out for the secret code! Then, visit DisneyJunior.ca to enter the contest on the same day with the daily Secret Code. There will be a new secret code and a new chance to win every day!

And check out some of the great programming airing during the watch and win times:

“Toy Story” Premieres on Disney Junior!  I know my kids never grow old of this movie!  They actually think that their toys come alive when they leave the room….hummm, how do we know that they don’t 🙂 Network Premiere – Saturday, March 16, at 6pm ET. Join Andy and his favourite toys for the (commercial-free!) adventure of a lifetime in Toy Story!

Leading into the Saturday network premiere of “Toy Story”, make sure you check out We Love Our Toys Week! From 6-7pm March 11th – 15th, fans can catch back-to-back episodes of Doc McStuffins, plus Toy Story shorts between them!

I think I will have to head to the grocery store to stock up on that popcorn….oh, and can’t forget the butter…..

Have Fun!

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

February Fun!

OK Moms, it’s STILL cold out there. Not just cold, but wet, rainy and just plain miserable. HOWEVER, instead of wallowing in sorrow as to when your body will actually get to see the light of day again and not be covered up in layers of hot, stifling cotton…..you can focus on this wonderful indoor time with your little ones!

February

For the month of February DisneyJunior.ca is providing a ton of fun activities for you and your child to work on. For instance, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day early with Disney Junior on Sunday February 10th beginning at 9am. It’s a be a morning filled with Valentine – and friendship themed episodes from popular series including Brand New Episodes of our family favorite Doc McStuffins, Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Handy Manny. DisneyJunior.ca also offers a chance to sit down together to design your own Disney Junior Valentine’s Day Cards…..perfect gift for the Grandparents, Aunties and Uncles!!!

valentines

Starting on February 18th to February 22nd at 7pm Disney Junior is throwing a pajama party to welcome twin bananas B1 and B2 of its newest series Bananas in Pajamas. It might be a fun idea to have the kids and YOU put on your favorite comfy pajama’s and grab your favorite teddy bear (hubbies count as a teddy bear too) and nestle in for the PJ-wearing duo’s zany adventures. A big bowl of popcorn and your favorite sweet treat are a welcome addition to the party!

Disney on Ice
My favorite part of Disney Junior’s February extravaganza is having a chance to win four front row seats for the March 15th, 2013 Disney on Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After show in Toronto. Nope, it doesn’t matter if you live in Toronto or not because the contest includes round-trip flights, two nights at a hotel in Toronto, a character meet and greet experience, and a prize pack of Rockin’ Ever After merchandise.  To enter the contest visit http://www.disneyjunior.ca/en/contests/disney-on-ice-rockin-ever-after

Whew, with all that activity the month of February will fly by and we’ll be into March and into the spring weather before we now it. But, for now, bundle up and hunker in for some fun with Disney Junior!

Disclosure: I’m part of the disney Junior Mom program and I recieve special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

New Year, New Adventures from Disney Junior!

Sophie the FirstWith a new Year comes new adventures and new possibilities.  Disney Junior has a great line up of Premiere’s out this month that will spark interest and excitement with your little ones.

A favorite in our household is the new series of Sofia The First.  Your princes and princesses can roll out the red carpet for the series premiere of Sofia The First on Saturday, January 19th at 7pm ET! Sofia has much to be thankful for this year – becoming a princess, her loving family, new friends (and let’s not forget that amazing room and wardrobe!). Your little ones will be excited about this event as well as the fact that they get to enjoy another all-new episode on Sunday January 27th at 11:30am ET. Sundays at 11:30am ET will become the regular timeslot for the new Sofia the First series!

What girl didn’t want to be Cinderella when they were young? The fairy godmother, her mouse friends, the gowns, Prince Charming? Now share the magic of Cinderella with your LOs!

Cinderella, one of Disney’s timeless classics, premieres on Disney Junior on Saturday January 19th at 5:45pm ET….right before the series premiere of Sofia the First!

But wait, there’s more! Cinderella II: Dreams Come True will premiere on Sunday January 27th at 10:15am ET. If you loved sharing your special memories of Cinderella with your child on the 19th, you won’t want to miss Cinderella II: Dreams Come True!

Mickey Mouse ClubhouseDisney’s Mickey Mouse Clubhouse “Mickey & Donald Have a Farm” will premiere Thursday, January 3rd at 1:00pm ET… E-I-E-I-O! Hunker down with us and don’t forget to set your PVR if you can’t make it in time!

Don’t let that cold weather out there stop your little ones from going on great adventures and dreaming big dreams.  They can do so in the comfort of your living room while checking out these exciting new shows on Disney Junior!

Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

It’s a Holly, Jolly Christmas!

It’s the holiday season and there are so many fun activities to do with the kids, baking, crafts, trimming the Christmas tree, you name it.  I almost wish that the kids got out of school a little bit earlier so that we could fit everything in (well, maybe just a day or two earlier…let’s not get crazy here :-).

VPB-Homepage-banner_brightnights-2012

As a family we definitely have our favorite activities that cannot be missed.  One tradition that we started many years ago is to visit the Bright Nights Stanley Park Christmas Train (for all of you Vancouverites reading this).  During the holiday season, Stanley Park sparkles with two million twinkling lights, decorating the darkness that comes early this time of year.  It’s so much fun for all ages.  The park decorates a large portion of Stanley Park with lights and Christmas displays then you and your family can hop on a train to tour through the winter wonderland.  Partial proceeds from the sale of Bright Nights tickets go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. $1.4 million has been raised over the past 14 years.  For more information visit http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

gingerbread houseAnother tradition in our family is to have the kids build a giant gingerbread house with the grandparents.  It’s hours of fun deciding where all the candy should be placed and how to make the sides stick together with the icing that my 5 year old keeps sneaking spoon fulls of.  It’s a great tradition that will live on throughout the years and the kids proudly display the finished product on our dining room table for all of our holiday guests to see!

On Christmas Eve grandma and the kids put together a food concoction of oatmeal and sparkles for Santa’s reindeer and spread it out on the lawn so that the reindeer don’t get lost.  Then they proceed to bake some very special cookies for Santa to have with his eggnog as a little treat after he’s delivered the presents .

The great thing about creating holiday traditions is that traditions are cherished by the young and the old.  They are something to look forward to as the holidays near.  They generate a sense of closeness within the family that can sometimes be missed through all of the holiday hustle and bustle.

disney junior ecardsThis year Disney Junior has some fun activities for you during the holiday season.  My favorite is the Disney Junior Holiday eCard.  It’s a great way to share the holiday magic with your little one by choosing from new holiday designs and special characters to put in your eCard.  For a guaranteed moment of fun and creativity, check it out here: http://www.disneyjunior.ca/en/holiday-e-card

There is also the premiere of Disney’s The Santa Buddies on Saturday December 15th at 11am ET.  Who doesn’t love puppies at Christmas time?  As B-Dawg would say, “That’s tight”!  Check here for the full listing of Holiday Shows that your little one will love  http://www.disneyjunior.ca/en/holiday-schedule/

As each year goes by and another Christmas passes I look for new and exciting traditions to start with the family (have to keep things exciting).  I would LOVE to know what your Christmas traditions are with your family.

Leave a comment below and share your Holiday tradition with us!

Disclosure: I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

You think it’s easy being a princess?

You think it’s easy being a princess? Think it’s all sparkles and frills and flouncing? Maybe not. Sofia is about to find out as she goes from a regular village girl to being ‘Sofia the First’. Her mom used to run the village shoe shop, but life changed when one day the King of Enchancia came in to buy a pair of slippers! When Sofia moves in to the castle she soon discovers that looking like a princess isn’t all that difficult, but displaying honesty, loyalty, courage, compassion, independence and grace is what makes one truly royal…

Typically when we think about playing princesses it’s all about the glamour, makeup, jewels, fine clothes and don’t forget the sparkly shoes! Although we would never deny our little ones the chance to play dress up I like the fact that a ‘beauty is more than skin deep’ message is being presented in this new Disney Junior series, Sofia the First, coming in 2013.

But you don’t have to wait until next year – the beginning of Sofia’s royal adventure Sofia the First: Once Upon A Princess will be premiering exclusively on Disney Junior on Saturday, November 24 at 7pm ET. Join Sofia as she prepares to move into the castle with her mom, starting a new family with her step-father, King Roland II, and step-siblings, Amber and James.

Pay close attention to the premiere and you’ll be able to answer the secret contest question for a chance to win one of 150 Sofia The First Book Prize Packs.

Each prize pack includes 5 Sofia the First books:

  • Sofia the First
  • Sofia the First: Masquerade Ball – Storybook with stickers
  • Sofia the First: Sofia Makes a Friend – Pre-level Reader
  • Sofia the First: The Big Sleepover – Storybook
  • Sofia the First: Welcome to the Royal Prep – Level 1 Reader

Visit Disney Junior for printable activities to celebrate the premiere: print your own Princess Book, learn how to waltz, find out how to converse politely at a tea party, and download some delicious party treat ideas!

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

If they can’t wait for Halloween…

Even though the supermarkets start to stock the shelves with Christmas goodies the minute the back to school paraphernalia is cleared, there’s a firm rule in our house: no planning for Christmas until Halloween is done and no talking about Halloween before the end of the Summer Holidays. So we’re now officially in the Halloween zone. The loot bags have been dug out, costumes are being chosen and not a moment too soon as far as my kids are concerned. Lucky for them Disney Junior are also getting into the Halloween groove early.

Starting today, Disney Junior has a line-up of brand new special Halloween-themed episodes of your little ones’ favourite shows such as Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Doc McStuffins and Handy Manny. Tune in weekend mornings throughout October from 9-11 am ET to see the spooky episodes. It all kicks off this morning with Jake and the Never Land Pirates in ‘Night of the Golden Pumpkin’ and Stella and Sam in ‘Scarecrow and Pumpkins’.

And if you’re really quick (closes 10am ET tomorrow October 7th) you still have time to submit a photo of your little one in their Halloween costume to the Disney Junior Costume Parade. If you’re lucky you could see their pictures shown on-air between the Halloween specials, on the weekends of October 13/14, 20/21, and 27/28 from 9-11am ET.

As a bonus, if you need to find a little entertainment for your kids while you dress the Thanksgiving turkey and make the pumpkin pie, tune in to Disney Junior’s Storybook Monday, October 8th at 11am ET. Disney Junior celebrates Thanksgiving with a day of magical adventures, unexplored lands and mythical creatures with seven magical, fairytale-themed episodes from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, beginning with the episode premiere of “Pluto’s Tale” where Pluto must save Princess Bella from the clutches of the sneaky Wizard Pete.

Disclosure:  I’m part of the Disney Junior Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.