Tag: travel

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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#TakeFlight and Soar with the Mini Pop Kids!

Get ready for an incredible live singing and dancing performance from an outstanding group of young children, the Mini Pop Kids!

We were first introduced to the Mini Pop Kids when my eldest was quite a bit younger. They did an amazing job of covering popular songs and making them age appropriate yet still being enjoyable for adults and kids. They originally launched in the 1980s (yes you heard that right) and went on to sell millions of albums worldwide. They relaunched in 2004 and their popularity has continued to soar.

The Mini Pop Kids landed in Hamilton on February 23rd at FirstOntario Concert Hall and they set the place on fire with their energy, fantastic vocals and dance moves. The atmosphere was electric the moment you walked into the hall. Children were dressed up to match their favourite Mini Pop Kids and I have to admit some of those children were quite the little fashionistas! We took several photos in front of the signs marking our very first concert and made sure to pick up a light up microphone. Once we entered the hall roughly thirty minutes before the concert started, we were treated to recordings of the group that had us dancing and singing long before the show started.

Once the group made their entrance on stage, the audience went wild with excitement. Kids were singing, dancing and screaming. I was embarrassing my youngest with my off tune vocals! The group covered many of the current top hits as well as two of their own original songs, Take Flight and Get Loud. Their Get Loud song is a song that you may have heard before and is associated with the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto (a place close to my own heart) and a portion of the proceeds from this song goes right back to the Hospital.

The show was engaging, the vocals were amazing – this group of kids are beyond talented. While the songs were from the top hits, parents will love how well they covered the songs that had a few words that may not have been age appropriate. They also had the words to each song running live on the main screen behind them to help encourage you to sing along, I have to admit I had been singing quite a few of these songs wrong for quite a while! It was so special and heart warming to watch the children dance in their seats, run up to the stage and how warm and responsive the Mini Pop Kids were in coming down to give the kids high fives.

Not only is the group vocally incredible but they are also very talented in dancing. Our son loved the way Kalan danced (he made me record several of his dance moves) and follow him on Instagram so that he could practice his moves. For an extra bit of local love, the group was joined on stage by a local dance group, which I found out later is something they do in each stop. What an special moment for those children and parents – watching them dance along side the group.

Make sure to check to see if the Mini Pop Kids are stopping at a location near you (they have stops until the end of April) here.

Don’t forget to give the Mini Pop Kids some love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Disclosure: We received tickets to see the Mini Pop Kids live. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Chobe River Cruise

Last week I shared our adventure through Chobe National Park in Botswana (if you missed our adventure – check it out here). While staying at the Chobe Marina Lodge, our family surprised us with a river boat cruise.

This was a truly breathtaking way to explore the area around us. It gave us such an appreciation of the environment, the animals and the people that work hard to protect them. While I was nervous at times, as our boat cruise brought us pretty close up to some unpredictable animals, we were definitely in great hands. We also experienced a wide range of weather while on the river – it was sunny at parts, then rain would come down but after the rain came the most beautiful rainbows, shown below, that made getting wet worth every moment.

Enjoy some of our favourite shots from the Chobe River Cruise, run through Chobe Marina Lodge in Botswana.

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Chobe National Park

We were blessed to have visited Chobe National Park located in the Northern region of Botswana. The country of Botswana is an incredible place to visit with it’s laid back lifestyle, focus on the environment and the protection of animals. We spent two weeks enjoying time with family, the culture and the natural beauty of this country.

During our visit, our family took us to stay at Chobe Marina Lodge and surprised us with a safari tour of Chobe National Park. This was an incredible, hard to put into words experience for us. Chobe National Park, which takes its name from the Chobe River, is Botswana’s first national park. Our youngest was so excited – he loves animals and this was a dream come true for him (I can see him returning home to live with family in Botswana!).

Each of us wanted to spot a specific animal on our safari ride – the top ones were elephants, a giraffe and a hippo. We spotted some of these and so much more. While the park is home and famous for its elephant population, we did not see one on our safari ride (although we did see many when we were leaving the Lodge to drive home on the highway!). The giraffe surprised us when we stopped for a bathroom break during the middle of the ride, it was so close! It was completely breathtaking and majestic to see this beautiful animal, can you tell it is my favourite animal?

Enjoy my collection of photos during our safari drive through Chobe National Park. Next week I will share our Chobe river boat ride!

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