Category: Family

Five Tips to Survive the Allergy Drip

Five Tips for Surviving the Allergy Drip

This post was sponsored by the makers of REACTINE®. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Allergies. Just the word itself makes me want to cringe! Allergy season for me brings what I like to refer to as the dreaded ‘allergy drip’. Starting in the spring right through to the fall it is not unusual to see me with tissue stuck up one nostril trying to prevent the ‘drip’ from escaping, red-eyed and just overall in a miserable mood. This is also the busiest time of the year for us as a family with our son’s competitive soccer, swimming outside and travelling, so there is no way I can just hide away in my bedroom (which honestly most days I want to when allergy season hits!).

Five Tips to Survive the Allergy Drip

After several years of dealing with allergies I have learned some tricks to cope with allergy season. Here are my top tips to get you through this difficult season.

Make an Appointment with Your Family Doctor

Before you start on any type of medication routine, seek the opinion of your family doctor if you have any questions or concerns about medication. Your family doctor may refer you to an allergist and this is important for so many reasons. Your allergist will likely complete a skin prick test to determine what exactly you are allergic to (indoor vs outdoor allergens or pet/food allergies) and help determine what kind of medications you should be on, especially if you have any coexisting conditions such as asthma. Knowing what allergens you are allergic to is essential to minimizing symptoms during the peak of allergy season. You can’t prevent allergic symptoms if you don’t know what you are protecting yourself from!

Find a Product That Works For You

Find an over the counter medication that works for you, in my case this is REACTINE®. REACTINE® provides me with 24 hour non-drowsy relief during the day and prevents what I like to refer to as the ‘Allergy Fog’ (the lovely sedating effect some allergy medications can have on your mind and body). When I take REACTINE® morning after morning, my body constantly maintains the level of antihistamine so it doesn’t need to build the level up again (talk to your doctor for daily use beyond 6 months).Make an appointment with your family doctor to see if you require a nasal spray.

Five Tips for Surviving the Allergy Drip

Use a Nasal Rinse

While this may not be everyone’s favourite thing to do, it offers a lot of sinus relief. Allergic sinus pain can be quite painful, with the pressure in your cheekbones, forehead or extending into your teeth. Using an over the counter nasal rinse (I use mine twice daily during the worst part of the season) will help to remove any excess mucous build up while moisturizing dry nostrils. The bonus (but a bit of a gross bonus) is that you can literally see this technique working, plus the relief is instant. This can be used in addition to allergy medication, like REACTINE®. If it still feels like you have some water in your nose after you complete the rinse, try to gently blow your nose to remove any additional saline.

Keep the Windows Closed and Air Conditioner On

While it is always nice to leave the windows open during the summer months (not to mention better for the environment and electricity bills), this is actually introducing pollen into your home. This only makes it that much harder for allergic individuals. I still remember how last year, my husband tried to cool down the house with the windows open but when it came to go to bed I could not sleep because my eyes were itching and my nose was running.

Monitor the Air Quality and Pollen Reports

Your local news station and the Weather Network are perfect for keeping you up to date with the air quality and pollen reports. You can also follow @ReactineCA on Twitter for local pollen forecasts. If the air quality is poor and the pollen count high, it is a much better idea to stay indoors as much as possible. Why worsen your symptoms if you can avoid them? If you do have to be outside, ensure you medicate as indicated and if you require inhalers bring them with you. Try to be in locations where if it is needed you can find somewhere to cool down inside at intervals.

While you can’t erase all of your allergy symptoms no matter how hard you may wish that they would just go away, you can significantly reduce your symptoms with a combination of REACTINE®, nasal sprays, rinses, being aware of pollen reports and planning wisely. Always remember to keep a large stock of tissue wherever you go because there is nothing more embarrassing than being caught with your nose dripping and no tissue around!

How do you treat your allergies during allergy season?

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Walk and Dream: The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk #WalkForSickKids

Great Camp Adventure Walk

Medicine has always been an important part of my life. When I was younger, I wanted to be a surgeon more than anything else in the world. My life was centred around helping people and trying to make them better. It was what motivated to become a lifeguard, to volunteer in retirement homes as well as at York Central Hospital and later to participate in a research study at Sick Kids Hospital as part of the Aventis Biotech Challenge. The days that I spent not only in the lab but with patients taught me so much. Medicine is all about healing and creating miracles and why my life has always centred around caring for others.

The Great Camp Adventure Walk

While I may not have become the surgeon I had always wanted to, I did graduate from a Kinesiology program and I am currently working in a teaching Family Medicine unit. Every day I am able to witness little miracles in our patients and share in these moments with them. It is a role that has humbled me and taught me to appreciate every moment in life because nothing in life is ever guaranteed. My work has brought home to me how important it is to give back to others and to support research and providing care for patients. This is a concept that I am continually trying to share with others.

Sick Kids is a world leader in both patient care and research in order to make sure that every child has the chance to be healthy, happy and dream. It is because of courageous individuals, volunteers and generous donors that these children are given the chance to achieve all they deserve.

Great Camp Adventure Walk

The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk will be held this year on September 26th, 2015 in downtown Toronto. The Great Camp Adventure Walk is a challenge by choice event – you get to choose whether you want to complete a 5km, 10km, 15km or even 20km. Campsites are found along the route every 2.5km, each having its own unique theme and activities. The Main Camp at Fort York will be full of family friendly activities including: entertainment, arts and crafts, Fun Zone, games, Tuck Shop and quiet areas for rest.

The Great Camp Adventure Walk gives families the opportunity to not only support those in their lives that may have been affected by childhood illnesses and cancer but to also teach their children about the importance of fundraising and the miracle of medicine. It gives children a chance to support children.

If you want to be a part of this important day to benefit Sick Kids, head over to the Great Camp Adventure Walk page and sign up to take part in the walk (they are dog friendly too!) or donate to a group or individual participating (if you want to donate to my team, you can do so here). If you are signing up for the Great Camp Adventure Walk, you can use the code: social, to receive a $10 discount off the registration fee.

The 2015 goal is to raise $2 million for Sick Kids and every little bit helps! So head over to the Great Camp Adventure Walk to learn more, donate, volunteer and participate. Every action counts and makes a difference in a child’s life.

Please take a moment to enter to win the following giveaway. Not only do you walk away with $100 but you also win $100 donation to a team of your choosing – a win-win!

The Great Camp Adventure Walk for SickKids Promotion Contest

Disclosure: I am part of the Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk for SickKids campaign with Influence Central and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

Family time is special time in our house. We always make sure we do one small activity a week together (usually hiking, biking or swimming) and once a month a larger bonding activity (which usually involves some travel). Finding the right venue is extremely important for family bonding – you can’t enjoy each others company if you are miserable waiting in lines or can barely hear each other over the crowds.

This past weekend, we spent the day at Centreville on Toronto Island. This was our first time experiencing the ferry and Centre Island (even for me who grew up just north of Toronto!) and we were all excited. We weren’t quite to sure what to expect but we were ready for our special adventure and our mission to get on as many rides as possible and capture a selfie doing it.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

When you are looking for a family friendly venue or attraction to take the whole family to like Centreville Amusement Park, here are some helpful areas to look at before deciding where to go:

A family oriented environment like Centreville is important to encourage bonding, learning and fun. Not only are there opportunities for fun but with lots of benches, breaks and nature everywhere you go, you can really focus on family and enjoying each other’s company. There is no pressure and you can just take your time at each area and even step away from the amusement park to take in some pretty spectacular views of Toronto.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

A relaxed pace. One of the very first comments I made to my husband was that I felt like we had stepped off the ferry into another time. People were riding bikes, roller blading, ducks were walking across the grass and above all there were no angry guests, no shouting and no loud noises. This is so different from what I am used to at any amusement park and I LOVED it. It truly made the difference to us as a family.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

It is so important that there is something for every one of all ages. My kids are seven years apart so planning activities for them can be hard. We have been to several places where they can’t go on rides together (one is too small, one is too big or maybe they just aren’t interested). This never happened at Centreville. Our eldest took his little brother on the brand new Toronto Island Mine Coaster, they played mini putt, we went on The Centreville Train ride together and even went down the log flume ride (and I still deny that I screamed the whole way down). It was an incredible experience for us a family, we have not laughed like that in a long time. And with over thirty rides to choose from, we were never once bored and actually stayed four hours longer than we had originally planned to.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

A variety of food choices located conveniently near the attractions. We like to pack light and always have since our eldest was a baby. I prefer to only bring refillable water bottles and some small snacks so that I can enjoy my day just as much as my kids. Centreville had a conveniently located centre space (which resembled a small town square) that sold a variety of refreshments, drinks and meals. Located just outside the attractions (and under a five-minute walk) was a delicious restaurant, Carousel Cafe, that accommodated my boys love of meat and my need for a vegetarian meal (their spicy black bean veggie burger is incredible!!). We were able to sit outside on the patio right by the water, watching canoes go by and ducks swimming while we ate and planned our afternoon.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

Quiet spaces to rest, for when the little ones get tired after all the walking and rides. I’m lying a bit here because this was a must for my husband and I, especially after lunch! It was extremely hot on the day that we visited Centreville so it was nice to just sit down in the shade by the water edge or even by the splash pad area.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

The cool factor is always a must. My son and I were on a mission to get a selfie on each and every ride we went on. We hit up each ride (except for the windmill as my stomach can’t quiet handle the circular motion) in the park and managed to snap a selfie on over half the rides. The log fume ride and the Toronto Island Mine Coaster were by far some of the wilder rides but the Centreville train was exciting as it passed by Far Enough Farm. Far Enough Farm definitely added a great late afternoon treat as we walked through and met the animals. It was awesome to see how much the animals loved their farm handlers, at one point we were calling to Darby (the Centreville horse) who ignored us but when Darby’s farm handler called, the horse came trotting over excited to see him.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

Tips for Your Next Trip to Centreville:

  • Arrive early to take advantage of the small line ups for rides. While the boys never waited more than five minutes for a ride, when we first arrived they were able to go on the same ride over and over because not too many people had arrived yet.
  • Make a mission for the day! For my eldest son and I, this was to snap as many selfies as we could mid-ride. We had so much fun snapping these photos.
  • Pack light and enjoy the amenities. When you pack light you have less to worry about and can just relax and enjoy yourself.
  • Buy the all day ride pass – it is worth it. The rides are so much fun and I can still picture my kid’s faces as we went on the rides together. Since there is no admission fee to get into the area you are already saving a lot so take advantage of this.
  • Use the Far Enough Farm experience to educate your child about animals and the need to love and protect them.
  • We noticed some pretty awesome historical signs up in the park, like the one near the Carousel ride. Check them out with your older child and when you get home do some research about Centre Island and the ferry. You may learn some new and cool facts.

Putting Family Fun First at Centreville

Have you been to Centreville and if so what is your favourite memory of Centreville?

This post is generously sponsored by Centreville, but the images and opinions are my own. For more information please visit

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Summer Time Family Fun in the Sun #KinderMom

We are halfway through the summer (hard to believe right?!) and our family has been taking full advantage of this warm weather from swimming, to movies, to the Pan Am Games – Ontario has so much to offer for family fun and Kinder treats have been with us each time.

Summer Time Fun Activities!

But sometimes, we just need to unwind and have some downtime to help us focus as a family. There are so many fun (and free) things you can do in your own community. Here are my top places and activities to do in the summer for free:

  • Splash Pads: these provide hours of endless fun for children and help to cool them down on hot days.
  • Family Movie Nights: we like to set up blankets and pillows in front of the television (our ‘campout’) and put on an oldie but goodie movie to enjoy at night. Throw some popcorn and Kinder eggs and it is a win win!
  • Hiking: while the weather has been far too hot to actively be hiking the trails, find a hiking trail in your community and get out there. Supply your children with a mission to complete (finding a certain amount of birds,etc..) and have fun. You can combine exercise and education in this one.
  • Picnics at the park: I am a huge fan of picnics. You don’t even have to go far just pack up a small bag of food and get outdoors. You can even eat in the front yard and the kids will have so much fun with the change-up of routine.
  • The library: there are so many activities provided at the library over the summer from movie days, to bingo and animal days. Take advantage of these free activities as your children will learn, have fun and meet new friends.
  • Fishing: while I am not a huge fan of removing the fish or attaching a worm (seriously gross), my kids can spend hours at the lake fishing!

Summer Time Fun Activities

Where ever you go this summer, make sure to pack lots of water (a must) and a special little Kinder egg treat for your kids!

What are your favourite summer time activities to do with your kids?

Disclosure: I am a KinderMom and receive perks associated with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Imaginative Play Outdoors with Dragons and Netflix

Imaginative Outdoor Play

Summer is meant to be spent outside and since we have such a short summer it is even more important to get outside while we can. Especially for our kids! Playing outside and using their imaginations is important for their growth.

Putting together an outdoor play box will help encourage your children to get outside, get active and have fun!

Imaginative Outdoor Play with Netflix

Here are some tips to get outside and get started on creative play:

Create costumes and masks to encourage creative play. We were given these fantastic Dragons masks from Netflix to celebrate the release of the new Dragons,Race to the Edge series (which by the way is a Netflix original series!). We had so much chasing each other around the park pretending to be dragons and of course both kids had to be Toothless! But in all honesty how can you not love Toothless, he is a sweetheart!

Imaginative Play Outside

Chalk! Sidewalk chalk never goes out of style! You can spend hours creating pictures and designs up and down the street. You can create hopscotch patterns, draw animals, create epic battles and write words (the best was when my kids made me a Welcome Home sign for after surgery!).

Imaginative Outdoor Play

Picnic time! When the weather permits, pack up your lunch and head outside. There is nothing more adventurous and fun then eating outside with your children. Pack a nice big blanket, all your lunch time favourites and find a shady spot outside to get comfortable. Even if you are only sitting in your front yard, it still beats sitting inside and following your regular routine.

Imaginative Outdoor Play

Visit a splash pad. Refresh yourself after an active day outdoors at your local splash pad. Some of our best afternoons have been spent at a splash pad, myself included – forget the bathing suit! Sometimes running through in your yoga pants and shirt is just way too much fun and a fantastic way to cool down.

Make sure you check out Netflix this month to catch up with Toothless in Dragons, Race to the Edge, you will not be disappointed.

How do you like to get outside and encourage creative play with your kids? Do you pretend to be characters from your favourite shows?

Disclosure: I am a Netflix StreamTeam member and receive perks associated with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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