Monday, December 31, 2012

Countdown to Family Fun at momstown Victoria Noon Year's Eve Festive Tour!

We celebrated New Year's Eve momstown-style by touring the festive displays at three hotels around the Inner Harbour and counting down to 12 o'clock noon! A "Noon" Year's Eve party is a fantastic way to celebrate New Year's Eve with children and still get them to bed on time. Here is a look at the awesome time we had with moms, dads, grandparents and kids at our first annual momstown Victoria Countdown to Noon Year's Eve Festive Tour!

This amazing treehouse was one of the enchanting gingerbread creations on display at Canada's National Gingerbread Showcase at the Inn at Laurel Point. Our momstown Victoria kids got to vote for their favourite display and make a donation to Habitat for Humanity Victoria.

The kids also loved voting for their favourite well-dressed teddy bear at Bear Wear in the Hotel Grand Pacific, where a vote is both a donation to the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island and a chance at winning their favourite cuddly bear in a raffle. 
 We then made our way to the atrium of the Victoria Conference Centre to enjoy refreshments before our countdown to 12 o'clock noon! Thank you to Silk Road Tea for the generous donation of Candy Cane Herbal Tea, a delightful infusion of peppermint, hibiscus, and pink peppercorns, "a tea for rosy cheeks and winter cheer!"

Thank you to Dominique Jones for the wonderful idea of a Festive Tour on New Year's Eve and for helping to coordinate this free and festive momstown event for kids and families in Victoria!

We counted down to 12 o'clock noon, made lots of noise and sang Auld Lang Syne together! Thank you to all the beautiful families who attended and made our first annual Countdown to Noon Year's Eve Festive Tour so memorable. We'll see you again soon!

Happy New Year and all the best to you in 2013 from momstown Victoria! Our membership is only $45/year per family and includes early childhood programs, moms' only nights and family events to connect and support moms, kids and families! Make it your New Year's resolution to get connected and register for your FREE 4-WEEK TRIAL today!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 10 New Year's Eve Activities for Kids

Every year we take on the challenge of keeping our kids (this year ranging from 18 months to six years of age) awake and entertained until the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Some years the kids make it, and other years they haven't, but one thing is always certain - we all have a lot of fun trying. And a late nap helps. This year we're sharing our New Year's Eve itinerary with you in our Top 10 list of New Year's Eve Activities for Kids!

1. Countdown to Noon Year's Eve. Our day will kick off with our very own momstown Victoria Countdown to Noon Year's Eve Festive Tour! If you don't happen to be in Victoria or near another momstown on New Year's Eve, why not throw your own Noon Year's Eve party and countdown to 12 o'clock noon instead of midnight? This way you can celebrate New Year's Eve with the whole family and still get the kids to bed on time.

2. Make a "Year in Review" poster. Print pictures of the best moments of the previous year and glue them onto a posterboard with a description or along a timeline. Whether it's a first birthday or a last run through the sprinkler, it's a great way of remembering all the large and small things that mattered to each family member.

3. Eat appies for dinner. Most party food is perfect for little kids because it's bite-sized and appropriate to eat with your fingers! Kids can help prepare the food too, from skewering fruit pieces onto popsicle sticks to arranging veggies, crackers, cheese, pickles and pepperoni onto serving platters. It could be as simple as making a snack mix of nuts or seeds, dried fruit and pretzels in a bowl. For hot kid-friendly appetizers, make chicken fingers, nachos or mini pizzas, or try our own kids' party favourite: cocktail meatballs.

4. Break out the punch bowl. Forget plain ol' juice! Let the kids help you mix your favourite punch recipe in a punch bowl and add orange slices, frozen berries or an ice ring to make it look fancy. Serve it up in fancy plastic cups from the dollar store, and then toast to one another's good health!

5. Dance Party. Give the kids glowsticks and mini flashlights, turn all the lights out and then get the party music pumping! Our kids' favourites include "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black-Eyed Peas and "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz.

6. Blanket Fort. Sure, we do blanket forts throughout the year, but on New Year's Eve we make a whole blanket castle! Drag out all the pillows, blankets and sleeping bags from every room and make the floor extra comfy, because chances are this is where everyone crashes!

7. Watch a movie. After the excitement of food, dancing and fort building, it's time for a wind down. Our favourite movies to please all the family members are usually by Disney or Pixar, and anything directed by Hayao Miyazaki, such as "Spirited Away." 

8. Late night walk. When the kids are starting to fade (if they haven't already,) it's time to perk everyone up with a late night walk. Bundle them up warm and supply them with flashlights and glow sticks, then venture out with them into the dark night.

9. Do Do Fondue. We usually have hot chocolate or apple cider after the walk, but this year we're doing a chocolate fondue party! Let the kids dip marshmallows, cookies, cake and fruit into melted chocolate for an unforgettable New Year's Eve treat!

10. Make party hats and noisemakers. Buy party hats at the dollar store and let the kids decorate them with shiny stickers, pom poms, tinsel and more. Fill empty, clean yogurt containers with dried beans to make noise makers. Get ready to countdown together to midnight, and don't forget to teach them the words to Auld Lang Syne:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o’ lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne!


Best New Year's Eve Kids' Appetizer: Cocktail Meatballs

My sister found this recipe on and makes it all year round for her three kids. I love it as a New Year's Eve recipe because it has cranberry sauce, a holiday ingredient, and if you're nibbling at party food all night, this one will stay hot in the slow cooker.

Cocktail Meatballs

1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons minced onion

1 8-oz can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup chili sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, egg, water, breadcrumbs and minced onions together and roll into small meatballs. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.

In a large saucepan or slow cooker, combine the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Add meatballs and simmer one hour before serving.

Friday, December 28, 2012

momstown Victoria makes Reindeer Antlers and Reads "Finding Christmas" at Scholastic sponsored Tales for Tots

This month at momstown Victoria's Scholastic sponsored Tales for Tots, we shared "Finding Christmas" by beloved Canadian children's author Robert Munsch and illustrator Michael Martchenko. In this story, a little girl is determined to find where her parents have hidden her Christmas presents. She soon discovers that the best surprise of all was in giving the gift of herself!
For our craft we made these easy and adorable reindeer antler headbands! This is a great craft for 3 years and up and a great keepsake with the handprint cutouts!

How to make a Reindeer Antler Headband
brown craft foam cut into 2 - 3" x 12" strips
1 - 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of brown construction paper
2 large googly eyes
1 red pom pom
white glue
staples and stapler
1. Glue the googly eyes and red pom pom nose onto one of the foam craft strips to make the face.
2. Trace hands on the construction paper and then cut them out to make the antlers.
3. Staple the strips of foam together to form the headband.
4. Staple on the antlers. Hello, Rudolph!

Congratulations to this month's winner of our Scholastic book prize draw! Join us on the 3rd Wednesday of every month from 10-11 am at Chapters Victoria for a storytime, craft and book prize draw with momstown! Looking forward to next month's theme,"That's silly!"

Thursday, December 20, 2012

momstown Victoria Noon Year's Eve Countdown Festive Tour

momstown Victoria

Monday, December 31st
10:30-12:30 pm

Join momstown Victoria as we walk through the festive displays from the Inn at Laurel Point to The Hotel Grand Pacific to The Empress, then ring in 2013 with the whole family as we count down to 12 noon!

10:30 am
11:15 am
Walk through Bear Wear at the Hotel Grand Pacific
11:45 am
Countdown to 12 noon together at the Victoria Conference Centre and enjoy some delicious Candy Cane tea with us, generously donated by SILK ROAD TEA! Table will be located through the entrance of 720 Douglas Street in the Totem Pole atrium area.
12:15 pm
Wander through the Festival of Trees at The Empress at your leisure!
This event is free, but we invite you to donate to the wonderful charities that put on the displays!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

momstown Victoria & Mrs. Santa make Fruit 'n' NUTELLA Yogurt Parfaits at Junior Chef

This month our momstown Jr. Chef program was sponsored by Nutella! We had a wonderful time learning to make Fruit 'n' Nutella Yogurt Parfaits with a very special guest from the North Pole! Mrs. Santa happens to be a retired registered dietitian who keeps Santa on a very healthy diet, and she showed us how to make one of her favourite low-fat breakfast recipes using Nutella!

Fruit 'n' NUTELLA Yogurt Parfait
Prep time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

1/2 cup granola
1/4 cup NUTELLA
1 cup low fat Greek yogurt (2% or less M.F.)
1 cup assorted berries

1. In each of four parfait glasses, layer 1 tablespoon of granola.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of delicious Nutella.

3. Don't forget to lick the spoon!

4. Add 2 tablespoons of yogurt.

5. Add 1/4 cup berries.

6. Top berries with an additional two tablespoons of yogurt and sprinkle with remaining granola.

8. Serve with a glass of milk or 100% fruit juice - and a smile!

And there you have it, Mrs. Santa's favourite breakfast on the go with Nutella! We couldn't get enough of this delicious treat, and we also enjoyed making Banalicious NUTELLA Pancakes together! For more awesome breakfast ideas with Nutella, visit The Nutella Breakfast Table or check out!

Thank you to Mrs. Santa (a.k.a. Lolita Dumbrique) for helping us with our special Jr. Chef, brought to you by Nutella! Also thank you to our friends at High Point Community Church for the generous use of their kitchen each month! Jr. Chef is a great way to introduce young children to cooking and nutrition, and also a fun weekend family event included in your $45/year momstown Victoria membership! Sign up now for your FREE 4-week trial!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Imagination & Play at momstown Victoria Music & Movement

Once again, Laura Shepherd brought her passion and energy for dance instruction to our momstown Victoria Music & Movement class! Our program started with a warm up and stretch, followed by a series of creative rehearsals that we practiced and then performed together with music! We pretended to be seeds growing into flowers, then wind tossing brightly coloured leaves, creatures diving under the sea, and much more. We also practiced music tempo and volume with an assortment of rattles and tambourines. 

It has been amazing to see our momstown Victoria kids so fully enjoy our Music & Movement class together! Thank you, Laura, for providing such a high quality program for our momstown mamas and kids to get to know one another! Also thank you to Medicine Moves Dance Studio for the wonderful and inviting space where our "tribe" can meet and express themselves freely!

Our membership is only $45+HST per family per year, and yes, dads, grandparents and other family members are welcome too! Register now for your FREE 4-week trial and start joining us at any of our 20+ events to connect and support families each month!

Monday, December 10, 2012

What to do with Leftover Wrapping Paper: Make a Rolled Wrapping Paper Christmas Tree

I had fun making this 'Rolled Wrapping Paper Christmas Tree' at a friend's craft party on the weekend! The inspiration was traced back to My Dream Sample Blox blog, but we created our own version of the craft:

Rolled Wrapping Paper Christmas Tree

Assorted wrapping paper, 6 to 8 patterns cut into 20 5" x 8" rectangles
Canvas or stiff construction paper 
Pen or Pencil
Picture stand


  1. Let's roll! Take a rectangle and turn the nice side down, so the back of the paper is facing up. Make the orientation a landscape (top and bottom are longer than the sides.) Lightly glue the top half of the back of the wrapping paper, and then carefully roll up the wrapping paper into a 1/2" tube. For a tighter and more uniform look, wrap the paper around a pen or pencil, sliding it out as the paper becomes held by the glue.
  2. When you're done rolling all the rectangles into rolls, lay them side by side on the construction paper in your preferred pattern. Then take the scissors and start to trim the rolls, making each one slightly shorter than the last, to form the shape of the tree. 
  3. Glue the rolls in place, then add buttons or other decorations. For a star, you can cut a shape from wrapping paper and place a button in the centre, or get creative with a bottle cap, etc. Take one of the ends that were trimmed, flatten and glue it to the bottom to make the trunk.

Ta da! What a great way to use up leftover wrapping paper! You could make this into a Christmas card or frame it as a gift. The results are lovely, and each tree is so unique! Now, what to do with all those old Christmas cards?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

momstown Victoria Holiday Cookie Exchange: Big Soft Ginger Cookies!

I've been pondering on the perfect cookie, bar or square to bring to our Mama Holiday Cookie Exchange this year. I haven't decided on what to bring yet, but I thought I'd share my cookie recipe from the last cookie exchange I was in. I had in mind the giant, delicious ginger cookies at Sally Bun on Fort Street, and found a recipe on that made big, soft cookies with just the right amount of ginger, a bit of crispness on the outside, but still very soft and chewy. The recipe is also a cinch to double or triple, which I strongly suggest, even if you're not exchanging cookies!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies
Yields 2 dozen

3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  1. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, egg, water and molasses.
  3. Add the sifted ingredients to the molasses mixture and mix well.
  4. Shape the dough into walnut sized balls (one and a half inches), and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet and flatten slightly.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.
Enjoy! I'm still looking for the perfect cookie to share this year. Let me know if you have any suggestions!