Monday, December 20, 2010

Diane Thomson's "Nutcrackering"

As a former dancer, I swore I would not put my kids in dance... I spent most of my childhood in a dance studio and all of my teenage years living away from home training professionally. I loved every minute of it, but I never wanted to be the dancer that grew up and forced her dreams on her kids. Well, it seems I had no choice. Both my girls were doing arabesques at the coffee table before they were able to walk. They have always loved to dance around the house and put on shows for us. So, I decided to enroll them in ballet classes through the City Of Toronto. The classes were fun for the kids, but they were learning nothing. I kept them in the classes, only because they were dirt cheap and the girls were having fun, but it always bothered me that my oldest had not even learned what first position was by the time she was 4 years old... yet, my 2 year old was standing in first doing plies and tendus with her class... there is definitely a lack of consistency between the various teachers at each recreation centre. Then, I was told about the classes taught by Diane Thomson. She has a professional background and offers classes through the City programs. The big difference is that Ms. Diane feels that there is no reason you can not pay the City prices, but still get great training. What she is doing for the community is wonderful. I enrolled both my girls this past year and I am so happy that I did.

Ms. Diane may expect a lot from the parents and demands that the program is taken seriously, and it shows with the results she gets. We have just experienced our first show with Ms. Diane. It was a little crazy at times, but the show was a huge success and my girls had a blast! I volunteered as a dancers assistant, so I did not get to see the entire show as I was behind the scenes most of the time, but what I did see was great! I had 16 friends and family come out to support the show and they were all amazed at the production. Diane puts her all into the show and all she expects in return is that the parents are willing to help out as much as possible. This is the only way the program can be as successful as it is. The "school" depends on volunteers, donations and fund-raising to survive.

The past few weeks have been filled with rehearsals, photo shoots, more rehearsals, and the show... but, we all survived it and I am already looking forward to what she has planned for the June show! Maybe it is the dancer in me, but all the stress and craziness is worth it.

The other thing that surprised me was what it brought out in my oldest. She is normally a little shy and very anxious little girl. Even in the classes and rehearsals, she always held back and would let the others take charge... even if she knew they were doing the wrong steps and she knew the dance. But, on stage, she had a new found confidence. She got on stage and paid no attention to the audience... she just danced her little heart out and helped her friends as they stumbled and did the wrong steps. She knew what she was doing and was not afraid to lead her friends through the dance. I was in tears, I was so proud of her and happy to see such a confident little girl emerge from a normally anxious little girl. She was glowing.

My youngest decided that she did not want to go on stage. She stayed in the wings with me, dancing for her friends on stage so they did not forget their steps. I was not bothered by her not going on. She is not even 3 years old yet, it was all a little over-whelming for her. She loved being in costume and getting her make-up done... but, that was enough for her. She has already decided she will watch the June show with Daddy. Maybe next year she will be ready to try again... I will not force it though. The funniest part is, she is the out-going, show-off of my 2 girls... but, being on stage was just too much, even for her.

If you are interested in checking out a fun "Nutcracker" based show in your local community, I recommend Diane Thomson's "Nutrackering". But, you will have to wait until next year now. As my brother-in-law said, "I have now had my fill of cute for the year". It is a cute show with some "preschooler" moments and some emerging talent, all rolled into one great performance by a lady that truly is giving back to the community. Thank you Ms. Diane, we all appreciate what you do for the arts in Toronto!

Friday, December 17, 2010

One More Week!

Well, it is the last day of school and the count down has begun! One week from today, my house will be filled with family. Once we had children, my husband and I decided that we would rather have Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. This allows us to relax and enjoy every minute with our children on Christmas Day. No fighting to get the kids away from their new toys and getting them all dressed up to go for dinner... or, if we are hosting, no rushing around to clean the house after the rampage of gifts before family arrives, all well prepping and cooking a turkey dinner for 15-20 people!

My girls are getting more excited by the day... and so am I! We have got them tickets to see Disney on Ice on Boxing Day... I can not wait to see their faces wh
en they open that gift! Every time the commercial comes on, they both freak out! I torture them a little more by rewinding the PVR so they can see the commercial again and again... a little mean, but it will all be worth it when they open the tickets!

This year we are going with friends (and all the kids, of course) to see Mickey & Minnie's Magical Adventure. I am sure it is going to be a great show! There are some great deals for tickets, but if you are interested there is also a discount for moms..
. use the code BLOG and you can get $5 off each ticket. I hav
e attached the flyer for you as well with more information.

What are you getting your kids for Christmas? My kids have far too many toys (since they are the youngest of all the cousins, we get all the hand-me-dow
ns), so I always like to get ideas for gifts that are not toys. I would love to hear your ideas.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Disney on Ice with the Family

Last year, I was offered the opportunity to take my girls to see Disney on Ice for a price that I could not refuse. I had a lot of hesitation taking my youngest - she had just turned 2 and I was not sure she would sit through a whole performance... I was REALLY wrong! As soon as the show started, she clasped her hands, her eyes bugged out and she was hooked! Both of the girls had a great time and they are still talking about it... it has been almost a year now!

They loved it so much that we have decided to take them again this year on Boxing Day! I can not wait to see their faces when they open the envelope on Christmas morning! Of course, I will have print a picture of the show so they know what the tickets are for... but they are going to freak out! Every time a commercial comes on, they both start begging... I think I have hidden my excitement pretty well so far.

This year we will be seeing Mickey & Minnie's Magical Journey. It is running from December 25th - January 2nd at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. We thought about going on Christmas Day (how exciting would that be for the girls... open the gift and then get ready and go), but have decided to wait until Boxing Day just to let that excitement build for "1 sleep" and also allow for the Grandparents to visit on Christmas Day.

"Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey takes audiences on a fun-filled tour to four exciting destinations filled with favorite Disney friends. With Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as tour guides, guests will visit the enchanting worlds of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Lilo & Stitch and Peter Pan.

The arena will be filled with music and magic in every scene including an enchanting undersea kingdom with Ariel and Sebastian, a jungle adventure in the African Pride Lands with Simba and Nala, a Hawaiian luau with Lilo and Stitch and a trip to jolly old London with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell.

“It’s an extraordinary show and a family vacation all rolled into one incredible night,” says Producer Kenneth Feld. “You really get a sense you are traveling right alongside Mickey, Minnie and their friends.”

Disney On Ice presents Mickey & Minnie’s Magical Journey features an international team of award-winning skaters, exciting choreography and a musical score filled with familiar Disney hits and rock-and-roll classics the whole family will enjoy."

To learn more about Disney On Ice, log onto or visit them on Facebook and YouTube.

I will be back again to tell you more about the show after we have had a chance to see it. If it is anything like the 'Princesses on Ice' that we saw last year though, I am sure it is going to be amazing and leave my girls talking about it for another year!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Toy Drive Party!

Every year my family has hosted a Christmas Toy Drive. When we lived in Peel, we use to take the toys into the Peel Regional Police station for the Toys for Tots program. We started this tradition for our daughters first Christmas. We are hoping to teach our kids the value of helping others, while at the same time teaching them to appreciate everything that they have. Since moving to Toronto we have donated the toys to the Toronto Fire Fighters, but we may be changing that up again this year. This year we are thinking about keeping it within the community and donating all the toys to Community Centre 55 and their Share a Christmas Program.

Another change I have made this year is that I will be hosting a Kids Christmas Toy Drive Party. It will be held at Bizzy Bee Playcentre in the Beaches on Wednesday, December 15th from 10am - 2pm. Kids of all ages are welcome! Bring a new, unwrapped toy and celebrate with us while we support a great cause! Brenda, the wonderful owner of Bizzy Bee, will be offering a 50% discount to anyone who donates a toy, so it is just $5 to stay and play all day! A light lunch will be provided and some door prizes are in the works... one family may even be sent on a "Magical Journey"... hmmm... stay tuned for more information!

Benefits of Exercise For All Women

The changes that a womens body experiences throughout pregnancy and the first year postpartum are dramatic and have an affect emotionally, physically and mentally.


Exercising on a regular basis will help improve your immune system. You will sleep better at night and notice increased energy during the day. Depression and anxiety can easily be controlled by a regular workout routine. Cravings for sweets and junk food will quickly be replaced by an increased appetite for natural, wholesome and nourishing foods, helping you improve your overall health. Increased flexibility and muscular strength will improve skeletal balance and reduce the strain on your body which can lead to injury and pain from day to day life.


One of the most important ways to prepare for pregnancy and childbirth is proper exercise. A regular workout will help with circulation (reducing the middle of the night leg cramps that we all love!), digestion (reducing the heartburn that a lot of pregnant women experience), and constipation (if this was not uncomfortable enough to experience during pregnancy, constipation can also lead to hemorrhoids). Hormones released throughout pregnancy cause muscles and ligaments to loosen, requiring greater muscle tone and proper posture in order to avoid further discomforts. Exercise can help an expectant mother deal with her changing body (and body image) that very often affects her self-esteem. Pregnancy is a time to be proud of your body and show it off to the world... you are carrying a new life in your belly, be proud and let the world know it!


The demands of labour and delivery differ for every women, but one thing remains the same – you must be prepared mentally and physically. The abdominal muscles must be strong and you must be able to focus on how you are using them. Learning how to “feel” the correct muscles in your core is an integral part of the prenatal fitness training. Strengthening exercises for the pelvic floor, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility training are key components to an effective prenatal fitness routine. All of these components will aid you through the delivery process as well as the postpartum recovery and leading into the years of taking care of your new baby. Returning to your pre-pregnancy fitness level is much easier to achieve if you remain active throughout the 9 months.


So, now you have had your baby and you feel like you are stuck at home. This is the most important time to get out of the house, stay healthy and interact with other mothers. Emotionally, this time can be a roller-coaster ride for most women. Most women are exhausted due to lack of sleep, are sore from the recovery process and carrying a new baby around all day, worried about regaining their pre-baby body and feel isolated from being home alone with a baby all day. Exercise can help with all the above concerns. Emotionally new mothers need the support of other mothers that understand what they are experiencing. They also need to take some time to take care of themselves in order to be better prepared and able to take care of their babies, who are completely dependent on them for nourishment, comfort and most importantly – love.