Tuesday, January 29, 2013

momstown Victoria Reads "I Love You" at Scholastic Sponsored Baby Book Club

This month we introduced our first Baby Basics literacy support program sponsored by Scholastic Canadamomstown Victoria's Baby Book Club! Our moms, babies and toddlers had a full session of tickling rhymes, songs, finger plays, knee bounces, and other fun circle time activities. The beautiful sound of moms singing and our babies and toddlers giggling filled the welcoming space at Medicine Moves Dance Studio this morning!

We ended our program by reading "I Love You," by Caroline Jayne Church, which we gave away to a lucky mom in a random draw. This cloth book with mirror is by the illustrator of "I Love You Through and Through" and encourages children to love themselves, inside and out and from top to bottom.

The mom was thrilled to win this book for her baby girl, who happens to be exactly 5 months old today! What a sweet gift for a special milestone!

Our Baby Basics program is hosted at Medicine Moves Dance Studio and includes guest speakers, mini art sessions, and our new Scholastic sponsored Baby Book Club! momstown Baby Basics infant and toddler playgroups are a great way to bond with your baby, learn new things and connect with other moms, and a special Baby Basics event sponsored by Fisher-Price will be announced soon! Register for your FREE 4-week trial with momstown and start joining in the fun with your baby today!

momstown Victoria Jr. Chef Recipe: No-Fail Banana Bread

Here is the recipe for the delicious, "No-Fail Banana Bread" from the Joy of Cooking that we made at this month's momstown Victoria Jr. Chef program! . Each family made a banana bread loaf in a tin to bake at home. The results were fantastic, as always!

No-Fail Banana Bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread loaf pan.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
3/5 teaspoon lemon zest
1/3 cup margarine (or butter, softened)
1 to 2 large eggs, beaten
1 to 1/4 cup mashed bananas (2 to 3)

1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
2. In a large bowl, beat the sugar, margarine and lemon zest until creamy. Add the eggs and mashed bananas.
3. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, beating until smooth after each addition.
4. Scrape into the bread loaf pan and bake for about an hour or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool slightly and turn out of the pan. Cool completely before slicing.

  • Use really ripe bananas!
  • Add 1/2 cup of walnuts or chocolate chips after beating in the dry ingredients.
  • Substitute 1 tablespoon ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons water for each egg and use Earth Balance margarine to make them vegan!
Our Jr. Chef program meets once a month on a Saturday afternoon at High Point Community Church, in the basement preschool kitchen! Kids learn basic kitchen skills and families enjoy a yummy treat and some playtime at the nearby park.

We're making the best playgroup granola bars at our Jr. Chef in March! Not a member yet? Register for your FREE 4-week trial and start connecting with other moms at our great family events today!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

momstown Victoria Little Scientists: Water Experiments with Kids

Victoria moms and kids had fun doing experiments with water at our momstown Victoria Little Scientists with Glenn Kachmar! Little Scientists is a monthly drop-in by donation at Saanich Neighbourhood Place for moms with kids ages 0 to 6.

Our first experiment was to guess which objects would sink or float and then test our hypotheses! We found that objects that were denser than water would sink, and objects that contained air would float. Some floating objects could be made to sink by increasing their density or by squeezing the air out. 

Will a plastic spoon sink or float?

How about a pumice stone?

Or a paper clip? The kids had fun guessing and testing.

Then the children were given cups of water sprinkled with black pepper flakes. The pepper floated on the surface of the water, and when Glenn added a few drops of dish detergent, what do you think happened? The pepper dispersed as the detergent molecules bonded with the water molecules and broke the surface tension. This is called the "Runaway Pepper" experiment.

Pepper flakes float on the surface of the water.

A few drops of dish detergent are added to the water.

The pepper "runs away" like magic!

After this experiment, the kids played at the water table and with Glenn's homemade "wave machines." You can make a wave machine at home, too!

Wave Machine

You'll need

A clean and empty 2-litre plastic bottle
Food colouring
Mineral or Vegetable oil
Duct Tape

1. Fill half the bottle with water and a few drops of food colouring. Make sure that the water is still transparent.
2. Fill the remaining half with oil. Overfill the bottle so that there is no air at all in the bottle.
3. Put on the cap and seal the cap with duct tape. 

Rock the bottle back and forth to simulate waves.

The moms also found them to be therapeutic!

Next, we observed the surface tension of water by carefully adding pennies to a cup of water. As more pennies were added, the water appeared to form a dome (convex meniscus) before running down the sides of the cup. This is because the surface water molecules have a strong cohesion, acting like a skin. 

Glenn adds the pennies to a cup of water.

A dome of water starts to form because of surface tension.

The kids stay back because the slightest bump would disrupt the experiment!

Finally, Glenn showed us one more cool science trick - using dish detergent to propel a boat! Cut a boat shape (similar to a house shape) from a cardboard cereal box, and cut a small square at one end. Put a little dish soap at the cut-out square so that just the soap will touch the water, and then lay the boat on the water surface. It will zoom away! As the detergent molecules spread out to bond with the water molecules, it breaks the surface tension and gives the boat a little push!

Cut a boat shape from cardboard.

Add a drop of detergent.
Place it on the water and watch it zoom! 

Look for this experiment and more fun things to try at home on Glenn's website: www.somethingincredible.ca.

Thank you, Glenn, for another exciting momstown Victoria Little Scientists program, and also thank you to Saanich Neighbourhood Place for the wonderful space for our program! Next month we experiment with dry ice!

momstown Victoria coordinates over 20 events and programs every month to connect and support moms in Greater Victoria, and our membership is only $45 per family per year! Register for your FREE 4-week trial and see what else momstown moms and kids are up to! Contact info.victoria@momstown.ca for more info!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meet Glenn Kachmar, Science Show Performer at momstown Victoria's Little Scientists

Glenn Kachmar has been performing science shows and teaching science workshops for the past 23 years. He started doing science shows in the summer at the East Bay Science and Nature Company while he was studying to be a teacher. Glenn is a teacher in the Saanich School District (currently on a leave of absence for the 2012-2013 year.)

Some of Glenn’s less orthodox experiences include stints working as the Head of the Science Department of New Ramses College, in Cairo, Egypt. He also worked at Science World in Vancouver for a year where he polished his science performing skills, not to mention gave the dreaded IMAX speech a few hundred times. He worked as the head cook of two tall ships and sail training vessels, Pacific Swift and Pacific Grace, which took him to Spain and back as well as visited islands all over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Glenn has taught English in Prague, Czech republic and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico.

Currently Glenn is writing a how-to eBook entitled "Science With Young Children,"* as well as shooting the photos and videos intended to illustrate how best to do science with children without creating work for local emergency rooms. Assuming the process of writing the first book doesn’t result in a new home under a bridge, Glenn hopes to write other books and science books for children.

*Please note that the title is not meant to encourage use of children as guinea pigs.


Join Glenn for an amazing exploration into science with your toddler or preschooler at momstown Victoria Little Scientists! Every fourth Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Saanich Neighbourhood Place (Pearkes Rec Centre, 3100 Tillicum Road.) Please bring a $2 donation for Saanich Neighbourhood Place.

Jan. 24th: Water
Feb. 28th: Dry Ice
Mar. 28th: Flight 
Apr. 25th: Locomotion

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

momstown Victoria Baby Picassos: Silly Monster Handprints

Our momstown Victoria moms, babies and toddlers made silly monster handprints this month at our Baby Picassos playgroup for infants and toddlers! You can make silly monster handprints with your baby too! Handprint and footprint crafts are a wonderful way to create keepsake art with your child, and it's a great sensory activity for babies too!

Silly Monster Handprints

You'll need:
Washable paint
Construction paper
Googly eyes or magic marker

1. Paint the palm of your child's hand (or sole of the foot) using a soft paintbrush and non-toxic and washable paint. You can leave a few fingers unpainted to give the monster horns. This mama used her baby's footprint!
2. Next, stamp the hand or foot onto a blank sheet of paper.

3. Allow the prints to dry, and then add googly eyes, smiles, teeth, etc. Glue your baby's artwork to a sheet of a coloured construction paper to frame it.

Baby Picassos is located at the wonderful Medicine Moves Studio and a part of our momstown Baby Basics program designed for moms with babies and toddlers! Our Baby Basics program includes guest speakers, our "Baby Picassos" art sessions, and a "Baby Book Club" sponsored by Scholastic Canada! Not a member yet? Our membership is only $45 per year and comes with a BONUS 1-year Today's Parent Subscription when you register in 2013! Best of all, you can try us out on a FREE 4-week trial! What are you waiting for??? :) Email info.victoria@momstown.ca for more info! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

momstown Victoria Reads "My Friend Henry" at Scholastic sponsored Tales for Tots

"Have you seen my best friend Henry?" This month Scholastic Canada sent us a delightful book to share with our momstown Victoria moms, babies and kids called "My Friend Henry," by Phillipe Béha. This story takes us on a little boy's search for his best friend, and in the end we learn that Henry is missing for a very good reason!

The book takes us to familiar places in the neighbourhood with a counting element built into the story. The bright artwork is a wonderful backdrop to the child's emotional journey as he searches for his best friend. In the end the young reader delights in the joyful reunion of the two best friends and the surprise of why Henry was missing. It is a great book to read aloud to children, and all of the listeners at our momstown Victoria Tales for Tots program were charmed by it!

Thank you to all the moms, babies and kids who came to our storytime drop-in at Chapters Victoria to share this book with us! For our craft, we made simple paper doll chains out of construction paper, which the children could then colour and name after their own friends.

Congratulations to our lucky winners of this month's book from Scholastic Canada! Our Scholastic sponsored Tales for Tots program at Chapters Victoria is a free monthly drop-in on the third Wednesday of every month from 10-11 am! Join us downstairs in the children's department for a free storytime, craft and book draw! 

momstown Victoria coordinates over 20 events each month to connect and support local moms, and our annual membership fee is only $45 per year! Not a member yet? Try us FREE by registering for your 4-week trial and start signing up for events today! Or contact info.victoria@momstown.ca for more info!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

momstown Victoria Members Get a Bonus Today's Parent Subscription!

If you haven't noticed it yet, momstown is more. We're more than a website, and we're more than a mom entrepreneur business. We're a movement that is connecting local moms through frequent, high quality, fun and supportive networking events. We offer this at a low membership fee of only $45 a year, and our members enjoy exclusive discounts and deals at both the local and national level to make this incredible value even more incredible.

There's never been a better time to join momstown Victoria! When you purchase or renew a full year momstown membership in 2013, you receive a BONUS subscription to Today's Parent!

Included in your membership to momstown is a one year (12 issues) subscription to Today's Parent! This includes all new memberships as well as existing membership renewals, and applies only to full year momstown memberships ($45). This special offer is available from January 1st to December 31st, 2013.

Already receive Today's Parent? Then your subscription will be extended for one additional year!

Click here for details and mark your calendars to renew or sign up soon! Sign up for your FREE 4-week trial with momstown today!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wacky Waffles Recipe from momstown Victoria

This morning I made one of our kids' favourite Sunday morning breakfasts: Wacky Waffles! The recipe is adapted from the Joy of Cooking, and they come out looking "wacky" because I only use 1/4 cup of batter per waffle instead of the usual 1/2 cup. I started doing it this way to avoid a messy waffle iron, but it's also a more kid-sized portion, and we love that they come out looking silly! 

Wacky Waffles
Makes 12 waffles

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups milk

1. Preheat a waffle iron. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

2. In another bowl, thoroughly blend the eggs, melted butter and milk. 

3. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Combine with a few swift strokes. (You can add other ingredients to make your waffle even wackier at this point.*) Follow the manufacturer's instructions for your waffle iron, only using 1/2 to 2/3 the usual amount of batter per waffle to get a non-smooth edge. 

Enjoy them plain, or top with maple syrup, honey, chopped fresh fruit, or dessert sauce. 

*Wacky waffle additions from the Joy of Cooking:

1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar
3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries or raspberries
3/4 cup finely diced ripe bananas
1/2 cup raisins or any finely diced soft dried fruit
1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon
1/4 cup shredded dried coconut

Check out momstown meals for more fun recipes inspired by our theme this month, "That's Silly!"

Friday, January 11, 2013

momstown Victoria Family Fun Day

momstown Victoria

10 AM to 12 PM

Join momstown Victoria and our amazing local sponsors for a FAMILY WALK across the Selkirk Trestle followed by FREE ACTIVITIES for ages 0 to 6 at the Victoria West Community Association.

VALENTINE'S DAY CRAFT sponsored by Christina Gilbert & Martin Newham, Investors Group

GIANT MURAL PAINTING with materials donated by 4Cats Arts Studio - Oak Bay

SPORTBALL KIDS' AREA provided by Sportball Victoria

KINDERGYM AREA provided by Victoria West Community Association 

...and PARACHUTE PLAY with momstown Victoria!


1 of 3 Family Passes for Saanich Parks & Rec Facilities from Investors Group

Artist of the Month Gift Certificate from 4Cats Arts Studio - Oak Bay

Sportball Jersey from Sportball Victoria

The Family Walk departs at 10 a.m. sharp from 2960 Jutland Road and is 1.2 km or 16 minutes along the Galloping Goose Trail. Please arrive 10 minutes early. There is free 2-hour parking along the Selkirk waterfront.

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