Tag: travel

Mini Pop Kids: Bright Lights National Tour!

Get ready to dance, sing and have loads of fun with the whole family at the Mini Pop Kids National Bright Lights tour.

Many of you may already be familiar with the Mini Pop Kids from your own younger days, as they have been covering the top hits since the 1980s! The Mini Pop Kids returned in 2004 and have seen many great successes. They have quickly become Canada’s number one children’s pop group, with millions of albums sold and topping the charts.

It is very easy to see why – these kids have so much talent! They can sing, dance and are full of positive energy. They are a positive influence on kids, which is so important. You want your kids to enjoy music and dance, but in a fun, age appropriate manner. Not familiar with the MPK? You can learn more about each MPK kid on their website here.

We were super excited to attend their Bright Lights tour in Brantford over the past weekend and the atmosphere is almost too hard to put in to words. Before the show even started, kids were dancing and singing in anticipation outside of the auditorium. This did not even come close to the excitement once the group took the stage! Both adults and kids alike were dancing in their seats (one even took to the aisle – it was so sweet!), singing at the top of their lungs while a fantastic light show that helped bring the show to life. I love how they also included local dancers as part of their show, as well as bringing back a former MPK kid whose act was incredible.

I cannot even begin to express the talent of these young children – their voices held so much power and strength. I was blown away by their talent, not to mention ability to maintain such high energy and dance moves while singing! During the concert, they even had a competition for the Dads and a competition for the Moms – hats off to the amazing Mom and Dad talent (and courage to stand up in front of the large audience). I loved how the MPK even took the time to shake hands during the concert with their fans (I even heard one say she was never washing her hand again!). It really adds that personal connection to them, which I strongly feel is why they have such a huge fan base.

We were able to attend the meet and great after the show and our youngest could not get over how young they were in person. They have such a strong presence on stage that you expect to meet someone older. They were such a lovely young group of individuals who truly made their young fans day that day.

Here is a sampling of their Who You Are original song, from their newly released album:

Looking to attend their live tour? Make sure you purchase tickets here now. Several shows are already sold out! Their Bright Lights Tour stops include:

January 18 – Sault Community Theatre, Sault Ste. Marie ON
February 2 – L’Olympia, Montreal QC
February 8 – Grand Theatre, Kingston ON
February 15 – Fraser Auditorium, Sudbury ON
February 17 – E.S.C. Theriault Auditorium, Timmins ON
February 22 – Living Arts Centre, Mississauga ON
February 29 – Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax NS
March 1 – Casino New Brunswick, Moncton NB
March 3 – Fredericton Playhouse, Fredericton NB
March 7 – Georgian Theatre, Barrie ON
March 8 – Capitol Centre, North Bay ON
March 14 – Kamloops, BC
March 15 – Kelowna Community Theatre, Kelowna BC
March 17 – The Port Theatre, Nanaimo BC
March 19 – The Royal Theatre, Victoria BC
March 21 – Abbottsford Entertainment Centre, Abbotsford BC
March 22 – Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver BC
March 23 – Northern Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton AB
March 27 – Keyano Theatre, Ft. McMurray AB
March 28 – Southern Jubilee Auditorium, Calgary AB
April 11 – CentrePointe Theatre, Ottawa ON
April 16 – E.A. Rawlinson Centre, Prince Albert SK
April 18 – Vic Juba Theatre, Lloydminster AB
April 19 – Conexus Arts Centre, Regina SK
May 9 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Toronto ON
May 16 – Mile One Arena, St. John’s NL
May 17 – Gander Arts & Cultural Centre, Gander NL
May 24 – Centennial Concert Hall, MB
July 4 – Scotiabank Centre (Fallsview Theatre), Niagara Falls ON

Make sure to follow the Mini Pop Kids on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to keep up to date with the latest tour info, happenings and more.

Were you a Mini Pop Kids fan as a kid?

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Cherish Family Moments with Medieval Times #MTCelebrate

The holidays are a hectic time of the year. This busy schedule starts in November and goes right up until the last present is opened. There are tears, frustration, success, happiness, lots of food and more. The only downfall? Not enough time to just spend together and focus on your family. There is always something else to bake, wrap and another party to attend and sometimes the true reason for the holidays is lost.

The kids were about a week into their school holiday, the Christmas get togethers were done and we strongly felt that we needed a day to focus on our family. We wanted no cooking, no cleaning and no technology to disturb us – just laughs, quality time and fun.

What better way to achieve all of this then to travel to the Middle Ages with Medieval Times?

Not only was it a break for Mom and Dad from cooking and cleaning, the entertainment and education value for the kids is superb (honestly as a Mom, this is a huge win for me if I can get my kids learning without even realizing it). A complete win-win for every family member!

We did a bit of research on jousting and a medieval feast, starting with the Medieval Times website and then doing our own searches online. Our youngest was really curious about how the jousting happened, if they would really injure each other and how a winner was chosen.

I strongly suggest arriving at the Medieval Times castle prior to the doors opening (roughly seventy five minutes before the start of the show). We were greeted by Lord Cedric and the Queen and welcomed into her Castle in true royal style at that seventy five minute mark and it was worth waiting for. I was a bit nervous on how they would assign seats, but they have a truly efficient system set up that moved the flow of traffic from the front doors into the great hall quickly while still enjoying the atmosphere, allowing you to take photos and take in the design of the castle and pictures with the Queen.

We really wanted our younger kids to fully immerse themselves in the experience and purchased the knighting ceremony add on for them. Both of the kids were made a Princess and a Knight of the Realm in a special ceremony in the Great Hall prior to the start of the show. The looks on their faces was just priceless. The Queen knighted them and presented them to all of the people in attendance for their great acts of courage battling a dragon.

We were then allowed to wander the hall until the show started. We found swords, a falcon, and so much more. Once we were allowed to sit, the excitement level went through the roof! Between the lights, sitting in the benches, cheering for our knights with the serving wenches and the realization that they get to only eat with their hands, the anticipation and excitement was incredible.

The show itself has something for everyone – an incredible falcon show (the falcon flew so close to us, our youngest was convinced it hit one of the crowns), the horse display and then the knights. It is hard to pinpoint one part that we loved the most – it was all executed so well with such great attention to detail. You truly feel as though you have stepped back in time.

The knights were fantastic to watch as they completed challenges and then jousting. Our yellow and red knight started off very strong but was ultimately defeated. They were animated, full of strength and bravery – they were truly a pleasure to watch as they performed.

Ready to plan your visit?

Head over to Medieval Times now to book your trip – right now you can save 40% on adult tickets and 20% on children tickets using the code USF4020. The code is valid until September 30, 2020 so you have a lot of time to take advantage of this fantastic deal. Make sure to check on the extra add ons for your trip (they are well worth it).

Feeling lucky? Enter to win tickets now here (good luck!).

What would you celebrate at Medieval Times?

Make sure to follow Medieval Times on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with promotions, giveaways and more.

Disclosure: I received tickets in order to facilitate this post, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Bringing Communities Together: Pokémon GO #SafariZone

How many of you grew up as a fan of Pokémon?

In my childhood home, my siblings and I were huge fans of Pokémon. We loved watching the shows, purchasing our favourite keepsakes (still have our giant Pikachu pillow from twenty years ago!). Pokemon was a huge part of our childhood but as we grew older, the craze died down a bit and it became more of a fond childhood memory.

That was until the Pokémon GO app was released and we were able to rediscover the world of Pokémon all over again. But this time it was an enhanced experience where we could connect with others in real life.

Not familiar with the game? In the app (can be downloaded on either the Apple Store or Google Play), users create an avatar and explore the world of Pokémon by moving through their everyday routines. The app shows your world on the screen and intertwines the Pokémon world within it (gyms, PokeStops, Pokémon, etc). You can capture new Pokémon, make friends, battle in raids and complete challenges for rewards.

What makes this game even more special for us?

That we can participate as a family – my kids LOVE the world of Pokémon! It has brought us closer as a family, as we spend several hours a week going for walks, going to parks, hiking and playing the game together. We have discovered new locations in our community and even at my work on campus (I found new sculptures on campus that I never knew even existed). It not only gets us active but learning about our community and each other. As a parent, there is no greater feeling then seeing the smile on your child’s face as they speak about something they love.

The second best part? The amazing trainer community. The trainers in our area are a special group of people that support, laugh and encourage us. At the last community day, we headed out to the Bay Front and my kids were giving high fives and receiving congratulations on their captures. The feeling was so special and so difficult to put into words. There is such a strong sense of community and inclusiveness in this global community. The game brings together people of all ages, genders and backgrounds.

Pokémon GO Safari Zone at Montreal

This past weekend my family and I had the privilege of attending Pokémon GO Safari Zone in Montreal. To say my son was excited was an understatement – he had a countdown and could barely sleep! We packed up our car at 1:30 in the morning and made the long trek to Montreal.

The event was held in the beautiful Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The location was stunning with beautiful views of the water, gorgeous beach and stunning pathways through greenery. There were so many spots to relax – we ended up walking close to 25 km on the Saturday!

Our youngest was in Pokémon glory. He was bouncing around, dancing to the theme music playing and talking to other trainers. He loved catching his shiny characters and showing off his finds to those around him. We caught so many new characters and my husband (new to the game) leveled up quite quickly.

The group was huge (we later found out over 39,000 people attended the three day event) and spanned all ages and genders. I loved watching the young toddlers dressed up as their favourite Pokémon characters and helping their parents capture those shinys (talk about complete heart melting moments).

My favourite photo of the day is this one:

It is everything that this game means to us – that no matter how many years separate us and how busy are days are, this brings us together. We laugh, joke, support and play together. When we play, it is our time to come together as a family.

This event was an incredible experience from start to finish – hats off to all of those individuals who came together to make it a magical experience for all. Fingers and toes crossed for another event in Canada soon!

Make sure to connect with them on Twitter and Facebook. You can also find some great groups on Facebook that will connect you locally with other trainers to complete challenges and raids together.

Disclosure: I received Early Passes to the Pokemon GO Safari Zone. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Family Dining at Paramount Fine Foods

We are an extremely busy family with two kids in competitive soccer, both working full time and owning my small business. It can be very hard to find the time to sit down and spend quality time with each other. But this is very important to us and also what makes those moments so special.

We recently visited Paramount Fine Foods in Mississauga – a treasure of a find tucked away on Crestlawn Drive. If you are not familiar with the restaurant, Paramount Fine Foods is the fastest growing Middle Eastern food chain in Canada with over 60 restaurants across the country. You can find all of their locations here.

This elegant restaurant (with exquisite attention to detail) offers something for everyone. You can enjoy incredible, mouth watering recipes in a warm and inviting environment. And the kids – they can enjoy the Kids playground once they are done eating or while you are waiting on your food order.

For our visit, we ordered Manakeesh and the mixed combo platter. This was my kids and my first time trying Middle Eastern cuisine, while my husband has had it several times. We were not disappointed at all. We loved the Manakeesh, we ordered it with just cheese and it hit the spot.

We could not get over how much food was on the mixed combo platter., everything looked and tasted divine. We loved how the platter offered enough of each of our favourites – chicken, beef, rice and fries! They also have a fantastic kids menu, which had chicken fingers for the picky eater in our family. He managed to eat a little bit of everything.

I loved that we could all dive right in and share the same dishes, it made the experience feel like we were at home. Our youngest even said Mom – this tastes like home cooking but better! Which at first, I gave him the stink eye thinking he was making fun of my cooking but he was trying to say the food tasted real and healthy. Which, as any parent of a picky eater knows, is a win- win.

Our kids get full fast (I wish I had this problem!) so it was incredibly helpful that Paramount Fine Foods had a closed in Kids Playground that he could use while he waited for Mom and Dad to finish up. He felt comfortable coming and going from the table to the playground, and never felt that he was disrupting others.

For all my parents looking for an amazing evening out at a restaurant that not only has great food but is also welcoming to children, Paramount Fine Foods is a great option for you on your next family night out!

Make sure to check out their website and follow them on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with events and new menu items.

Disclosure: We were hosted at Paramount Fine Foods to experience their location. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Blast off into Space with Ontario Science Centre Summer of Space and DK Canada

DK Canada

There is something magical and exhiliarting when we talk about space. It is beautiful, untouched with so much left to learn. We can’t see it, the way we see the Earth around us. We can’t feel it, the way we can touch the grass, trees and our surroundings. But it pulls us in with its beauty and the unknown. It has this power to leave us wanting and needing to learn more.

This summer is all about space at the Ontario Science Centre with their Summer of Space theme. You can find exhibitions, hands on activities, films and so much more when you visit the Ontario Science Centre this summer.

The exhibitions in the Special Exhibition Hall include: Astronaut (learn all about the challenges and life for astronaut on a real space mission) and Women in Space (learn all about some of the leading women in the field of aerospace).

We loved walking through this area! There were many hands on activities, fantastic displays and interactive shows running. We sat through a rocket launch – yes all four of us squeezed into the spaceship and it roared to life (I was not expecting the jolts – it was amazing!), we tested our strength in hand grips (sadly I was the weakest although I think they were cheating on me), we tested out thermal imaging and tested our knowledge out on several interactive games throughout the exhibit (I won these ones!).

We learned all about life aboard a spaceship in space and gained a new appreciation for all the things that we take for granted here on Earth. I don’t think we could have ever fully appreciated how hard it was to wash your hair in space until we watched one of the female astronauts try to put water through her hair and watched the droplets escape on her. We walked through exhibits showing toilets and showers in space, food in space (always so important for the boys) and even plants.

We also took a tour through the Space exhibit on level four and learned about black holes, meteorites and rays. We tried our hand at a gravity game and even a rocket chair (which is a lot harder than it looks).

While the exhibits, displays and activities were so much fun – it was the spark of interest in space, planets and our own home, Earth, that developed in our kids that we loved the most. They left wanting to learn more which makes this trip so important. We want our children to be inspired to learn new things, to explore the world around them and to dream big.

DK Canada has a fantastic line of books in their Reach for the Stars collection that will encourage and satisfy your child’s curiousity about space, especially after an inspiring day at the Ontario Science Centre. The books include many great titles for young children such as:

  • The Space Race: How did we land on the Moon? What will the space jobs of the future look like? And why did we send a car to space? The Space Race answers all of the big questions that kids have about space travel. Sarah Cruddas brings to life the hidden stories behind the most famous space missions, before taking the reader on a journey through our space future. The Space Race is an essential children’s handbook to understanding every aspect of the history, and future, of human space travel.
  • Super Space Encyclopedia: Stunning photographs and digestible blocks of text combine with DK’s classic tradition of depicting information in a systematic way, immersing the readers in an unparalleled journey through the universe. Unravel the mysteries of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, investigate the explosion that created the Crab Nebula, and dig deeper into radio signals from spinning stars! Find out many more interesting super facts about space with Super Space Encyclopedia.
  • Moon Landings: Follow Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Apollo 11’s third crew member, Michael Collins, as they set off on one of history’s most important missions. Learn about the people and spacecraft that came before and have followed since, and discover what it takes to become an astronaut.
  • Did You Know? Space: Did You Know? Space answers all the questions about space that kids ask. What are shooting stars? Why is Jupiter striped? Is anyone else out there? Covering the solar system, stars, galaxies, planets, and beyond, each spread is structured around a question that inquiring young minds ask, with text broken up in manageable chunks designed for providing young readers with a reassuring and fantastic route into space.
  • DKfindout! Space Travel: Learn about the sun, our solar system, the International Space Station, how to be an astronaut, the Space Race, and whole new worlds discovered by space-exploring probes. Read my review of this book here.
  • First Space Encyclopedia: Explore the planets and discover amazing facts about nearby galaxies. A delightful first reference book about space for young astronomers, First Space Encyclopedia takes readers on a journey through the universe, from the beginning of space itself to current space technology.

The Summer of Space is running the entire month of August, with special features throughout the month (so make sure to check out their website before you visit so that you can plan your visit in advance). If you want to prepare for your visit by learning (or be prepared for lots of questions afterwards!), check out DK Canada’s Reach for the Stars line of books that will inspire, encourage and engage young minds to dream big.

Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to visit the Summer of Space exhibit. All opinions expressed are my own.

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