Lytton Sports Camp in Toronto Review & Giveaway {$250 value, open to GTA}

Living in Toronto there is no shortage of programs targeted at kids and families. However, not all are created equal.  Also, there aren’t as many summer camp options for younger children like my oldest son who is four.  When looking for camp, initially the only reasonable and affordable option that I could find, that I knew my son would be somewhat interested in, was a drop off, 2-hour, day camp offered through the city.  Within a few days of attending this program, it became apparent that it wasn’t in fact a good fit for my son after all.

Lytton Sports CampNeedless to say, I was excited to receive the opportunity to try out Lytton sports camp which offered a Tennis (and soccer) camp program right in our neighborhood.  Not only that, but my son, who has a hard time with change and adjusting to new things, was excited to go! I enrolled him in the half day program which starts from 1 PM and goes to 4 PM.  Half of the time was spent learning Tennis skills and the other half of the time was spent playing soccer.  In between they played games and had snack breaks.
Kyle at Lytton Sports camp

Overall, I was very impressed with the program.  Here’s some of the highlights from what I observed over the week.


The staff was very caring and attentive.  They constantly ensured that the kids wore their hats and were hydrated. They ensured every kid felt included and provided additional support or one-on-one time to those kids that required it.

Warm-up exercises

Warm-up exercises

Gaining Skills

At the end of the first day, my son was excited to show me his forehand.  By the third day, my son was able to hit with his forehand, backhand and volley consistently.  He was so proud of his achievements, and I couldn’t believe just how quickly he gained the skills having never played before.

practicing his new tennis skills

practicing his new tennis skills

There are four summer camp locations throughout Toronto.  The camps offer experience in a variety of sports including, soccer, tennis and multisport camps.  The camps are open to kids ages 4 – 16 (the classes are split between kids 4 – 6, 7 – 10 and 11 – 16).  Full day camps run from 9 AM – 4 PM.  To find out more information about a camp near you, check out the Lytton Sports Camp website.


Together with our friends at Lytton camp, one lucky Mayahood reader will be able to send their child to experience a week of Tennis / Sports camp via Lytton ($250 value). Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below (please give it a few seconds to load).  Contest is open to all residents of the GTA. Contest ends Sunday July 27, 2014. Good-luck!

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The Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk to benefit SickKids, September 27, 2014

I clearly remember the first day we became involved with SickKids.  It was the same day we brought home our oldest son from the hospital after his birth.  A SickKids representative showed up at our doorsteps telling us all about the great initiatives that SickKids Hospital is involved in.  Without any hesitation, my husband and I knew that we needed to a part of this organization and we have been monthly donors ever since. While we can’t control what the future holds for our sons’ health, we can try to help out other children in need.

Since that moment when we decided to be involved with SickKids Hospital, we’ve unfortunately heard of so many stories of our friend’s children who have either required the assistance of SickKids or the services that they offer. Illnesses including cancer and brain tumors, the type of things that would be difficult for an adult to deal with, let alone a child. Personally, we have also had to use the services of SickKids, but for a less concerning issue.  When our son was still an infant, we were worried about his weight. He was fairly small and ranked below the 10th percentile for both weight and height.  Being our first son, we were obviously concerned; especially since everyone else seemed to have a child in the 99th percentile.  We were fortunate to be able to get an appointment with a pediatrician from SickKids who met with us on several occasions, and assured us that we have a very healthy boy (who just happened to be a small baby). I’m forever grateful for the time and information that the Doctor provided my husband and I to put our mind at ease and to help us learn and grow as first time parents.New parents

The Great Camp Adventure Walk to benefit SickKids

Whether or not you live in Toronto or currently support SickKids hospital on a regular on-going basis, there’s a great event coming up that you can be a part of to help improve the lives of many kids who rely on SickKids for support and assistance on a daily basis. On September 27, 2014, join the Canaccord Genuity Great Camp Adventure Walk to benefit SickKids. Over the course of one day, more than a thousand walkers — young and young at heart — will take to the streets of downtown Toronto, united in a common goal of supporting SickKids and helping to improve children’s health. As a family, walk either 5 or 10 KM or challenge yourselves on a 15 or 20 KM walk.  Along the way, you’ll find fun-filled campsite stops with unique games and activities that will challenge and entertain all participants.canaccord sick kids walk

Fundraising Ideas

You can support other walkers through donations or sign up your family to participate in the walk. Fundraising is easy and it’s a great opportunity to teach your children about the importance of philanthropy and giving back.

  • Charity in lieu of giftsIf your child has a birthday coming up, consider asking attendees to donate money to this great cause in lieu of a gift.  I did this for my youngest son’s first birthday party and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. The last thing we needed was another toy in our already Toys-R-Us look-alike house and both our guests and my husband and I felt good about being able to give back in honor of our son.
  • Send family and friends a quick e-mail about the initiative and ask them to donate.
  • Set up a lemonade stand / bake sale / yard sale with your kids with all of the proceeds going to the event.

To find out more information about the event, go to You can request more information about the event and/or register your family as event participants.

Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by The SickKids Foundation, however the opinions and images are my own. 

Fun for the whole family at Canada’s Wonderland

I’ve been going to Canada’s Wonderland for as long as I remember.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are from there and I’ve been taking my kids there for the past three summers (yes, my oldest is only four). A fellow blogger, Jenn Perry, from That Jenn Perry, and her family recently went to a blogger event at Wonderland on my behalf. Here’s her thoughts on their experience


As a kid, I was totally a thrill seeker.  I grew up spending every summer with my family going to water parks and theme parks, convincing my dad at each one to go on the most frightening rollercoasters and rides. I knew when I had kids of my own, I would totally be THAT mom who stood in line with my kids, secretly excited to go on each ride.

One of my favourite parks has always been Canada’s Wonderland. Growing up in the Toronto/GTA area, CW was a staple activity of summer. Our parents would drop us off at the gate in the AM and off we would run to our favourite rides. I remember in my teens when Drop Zone opened, my friends and I stood in line for 3 hours to be one of the first to ride opening weekend! After our amazing drop from what seemed like the clouds, we said the wait was “Totally worth it” (in a 90’s teenager voice).

Wonderland has grown tremendously since then, however my favourite ride still is and probably will always be The Bat. Something about doing that track both frontwards and backwards has always been a huge thrill to me. I still scream just as loud now as I ever did as a kid.

Last week, I was thrilled when Mayahood Blog invited me and my family to attend a Canada’s Wonderland event on her behalf. My husband couldn’t make it so I had my 9 year old son invite one of his best friend’s to join us for the day so he could have a ride-buddy. My son isn’t quite 54 inches yet so he couldn’t go on every ride but they were thrilled to see the long list of rides they were tall enough for. My daughter is 5 and I knew would be more excited for Planet Snoopy and Kidzville.Wonderland Jump

When we arrived, we were given exclusive access to their newest ride, Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. I honestly had no idea what to expect but my son had read all about it online and was very excited. This ride is amazing! It incorporated not only the fun of a traditional rollercoaster but 3D graphics, an interactive game, rotating coaster cars and a thrilling surprise that I won’t spoil for you (let’s just say you won’t be expecting it at all your first time through but it will be “totally worth it”). My son and his buddy couldn’t get enough of this new ride and I definitely had a blast on it! My daughter even braved it – and while she did find it to be quite terrifying, she somehow managed to get the highest score out of 8 people on the interactive portion!Wonder Mountain's Guardian sign

Next we headed to Kidzville where we were surprised to find something for every member of our group. My daughter had a blast riding Blast Off and the Jumpin Jet while my son and his friend headed over to the Silver Streak which we felt was definitely a moderately thrilling hidden gem of a coaster. They went on several times and really enjoyed it. Kidzville also had The Candy Factory park area which turned out to be a fantastic place to take the kids when mom needed a little break. Lots of benches to sit on while the kids ran around on the play equipment. Kidzville at Canada's Wonderland

After a quick snack break, it was time for the park to open. The boys went off on their own to check out the thrilling coasters while my daughter and I headed to Planet Snoopy. There I learned that my daughter definitely inherited a little of the thrill-seeker gene as she fell in love with the Ghoster Coaster and bumper cars.Bumper Cars

At lunch time, we were a little worried about what my son would eat. He has a gluten intolerance and this can become a bit complicated at times. I was so relieved to find out that Canada’s Wonderland has a huge selection of Gluten-Free items available throughout the park. He was one happy kid!nate gluten free food

The afternoon was quite hot so the kids were itching to check out SplashWorks.  One of my favourite parts about Canada’s Wonderland is that it is truly like two parks in one. SplashWorks is HUGE. Water slides, kiddie-pool and of course The Pump House which was a blast for the kids. The favourite area for our entire group though was definitely the giant wave pool. I loved that they have life jackets so those swimmers who aren’t strong enough on their own yet can still go in and have fun.

We spent a total of 12 hours at Canada’s Wonderland.  Yep, 12 hours! Everyone was having so much fun that we just couldn’t get enough. The boys did look longingly at Leviathan and Behemoth towering over the park and I assured my son that the moment he grows that last inch, we will return. He kept a map and has marked our route, challenging me to go on every single roller coaster with him in one day. That’s quite the goal but I’m definitely willing to have a blast trying!


Detox Your Home Naturally with Seventh Generation {Giveaway – open to Canada}

I have a confession to make.  While I live in a “granola” part of the city where the majority of people are very environmentally conscience, eat all natural, organic food, use only home made cleaning products, provide their kids zero to no sugar products or processed food, and generally refrain from buying from large corporations….I am not one of those people.  Sure, I admire them and I aspire to be THAT good, but I’m not.

While I may not be considered granola, I also wouldn’t consider myself the extreme. I do buy organic at times, but not always.  I do make some of my kid’s food from scratch, but not always.  I do buy locally, but I also shop at Walmart.  I do my part to help the environment by recycling and composting, but I also consume and purchase a lot of goods.  I’m neither here or there, but hey, no one is perfect.Seventh_Generation_Logo

The one thing that I have made a conscience decision on improving though is my cleaning supplies.  Prior to kids, I would just purchase whatever was on sale.  However, once my son grew up and started crawling all over our wooden floors, eating off our floors, and touching EVERY. SINGLE. THING, I decided it was time to take action.  I made the decision to only purchase and use natural cleaning products.  One of those products is Seventh Generation.  Seventh Generation productsTheir products use only plant-derived ingredients  which aren’t only great for the environment and for your family, but they actually work at getting the job done. While I use Seventh Generation products at home including the dishwasher powder, laundry detergent and Granite & Stone Cleaner, I swear by Seventh Generation products at the cottage.  I know that at the cottage, everything that I use goes right back out into the surrounding forest and lake.  I want to ensure that I do my part to keep cottage country natural as best as I can.seventh generation Collage

I recently attended a Seventh Generation event where I learned about 7-steps-for-a-do-it-yourself home detox.  They’re really easy and simple and I think that even if you do a few of them, it will make a big difference.  Here they are:

1. OPEN THE WINDOWS - Air inside is often more polluted than outdoor air. Open your windows daily to ventilate.

2. LEAVE SHOES AT THE DOOR - Roughly 70 percent of household dust, pests, pollutants and dirt (which often contains lead and chemicals) are tracked indoors on the bottom of shoes.

3. PLANT MORE INDOOR PLANTS - Plants don’t just brighten your home; they can also help absorb impurities in the air.

4. CLEAN WITH PLANT BASED OR DIY CLEANERS - Choose plant-based household cleaning products that are free of harsh solvents, dyes and synthetic fragrances.

5. SLEEP ON ORGANIC AND OR NATURAL FIBRES – Not only are they more comfortable, but they don’t contain any toxic chemicals making for a better night sleep.

6. DETOX YOUR HOME FROM THE OUTSIDE IN - Tackle weeds and pests without chemicals. Spray your lawn with white vinegar or spread a natural mulch over affected areas

7. CHOOSE TOYS MADE FROM NATURAL MATERIALS - Purchase toys, cribs, and bedding made from natural materials, like solid woods with non-toxic finishes and natural textiles like organic cotton or wool.


One lucky Mayahood reader will win a Seventh Generation home detox kit valued at $50. Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below (please give it a few seconds to load).  Contest is open to all residents of Canada. Contest ends Wednesday July 30, 2014. Good-luck!

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Memories from our family’s summer vacation at the cottage #NikonMOMents

If the American dream is fame and fortune, the Canadian dream, for many, is cottage life. My husband and I are fortunate enough to be able to experience cottage life.  Except, it’s really more of a bunky than a cottage but it’s on the lake, and we love it!  Truly, it’s our little piece of paradise, our way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and our second home, especially in the summer months.cottage

We’ve been vacationing up here every summer since 2004.  Of course, vacations have changed from our “wild” party days after we had kids.  There are still some wild and crazy times, but more chasing after two high-energy boys, ensuring they’re entertained and supervised (i.e. being on constant high-alert because danger lurks everywhere) and less of the partying and late nights. sand water table on dock

I love making memories with my family up at the cottage.  I know they’re the kind of memories we’ll look back on fondly and reminisce about when we’re older.  Of course, as a mother, I know I can’t rely on memory alone.  That’s why I believe in capturing our memories through pictures.  cottage photo collageWhile I rely on my phone camera for day-to-day pictures, I always carry my Nikon DSLR with me around the cottage. There’s so many vivid colours, views and activities going on (read: jumping, running and playing), that I can’t rely on my smartphone to capture those details. In fact, one of the traditions I started when we first got our cottage is creating a photo collage of all of our favourite cottage moments. We proudly have the collages hanging throughout our cottage and it’s one of our guest’s (and ours) favourite pastime to look at them.

I also have to mention that I haven’t used the AUTO setting ONCE this whole summer on my camera.  This is a first of me as I’m always worried about capturing the moment (seriously, who has kids that can stand still for more than a few seconds) and ensuring that the picture quality is maintained. With some practice and a lot of playing around with the settings, I was able to capture some priceless pictures of my family enjoying everything that cottage life has to offer! Here are some of our favourite MOMents captured on my Nikon3300  DSLR Camera using Aperture priority, unless otherwise noted.bouncy castle


bouncy castle run in

Canada Day Bancroft

water trampoline Fun with bubbles boys will be boys my boys at the cottage

s'mores and campfire cottage sunset

Disclosure: I am part of the Mom Central Canada Nikon MOMents team
and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The
opinions on this blog are my own.

Sassy Inspire the Senses Discovery Tub Review & Giveaway (Canada)

When it comes to baby gear, it’s hard to find stuff that grows with your child.  Besides the big ticket items like strollers, car seats and baby carriers, most clothes, toys and other kid gear are very age specific. That equates to lots of dollars spent on lots of items.  Basically, kids are expensive.  That’s why I love finding toys or baby gear that grows with my child. Something that has multipurpose or that can be used over a year (or more) is a great investment in my books.

sassy inspire the senses discovery tubThat’s why I was instantly attracted to the Sassy Inspire the Senses Discovery Tub.  It’s made for both infants and toddlers.  I couldn’t wait to try it out and see if my bath-loving 17 month old would even be interested in going in it.  I figured the best place to try it out is in our cottage since we only have a shower there.

The verdict? My 17 month-old son LOVED it.  In fact, he would start to cry and throw a fit whenever we tried to take him out. Not only that, but my oldest son who is almost four years old, wanted to get in himself. The tub was a great fit for both of them and it made me feel better that my boys would be clean after a full day of outdoor play.sassy inspire the senses discovery tub

I also loved all of the toys that it came with as it entertained my son while he was in the tub and it meant he was less likely to climb out of it.  I can’t wait to use this tub at home once the new baby arrives at the end of August and know that I’ll be able to keep using it for years to come at the cottage with all three kids. The tub is currently exclusively available for purchase at Toys R Us.sassy inspire the senses discovery tub


One lucky Mayahood reader will win a Sassy Inspire the Senses Discovery tub (~ retail value $60). Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below (please give it a few seconds to load).  Contest is open to all residents of Canada. Contest ends Wednesday July 23, 2014. Good-luck!

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The best new thing since sliced bread? Stonemill Breads Now Contain Vitamin D

As a parent, it’s my duty to provide my kids with the best nutrition possible.  At least while they’re still young and I’m able to make those decisions for them.  I buy omega 3 eggs, lots of fruits, give them the vegetables they like (peas, sweet potatoes, avocado and cucumbers) and feed them fish once a week. But truthfully, I’m not an all-or-nothing kinda person though. So while we offer plenty of healthy options, we also offer “treats”. I figure that it’s only fair since both my husband and I enjoy a sweet or savory snack every once in a while (or daily).

Stonemill Breads

The one thing that we all LOVE to eat in excess amount though is carbohydrates.  I’m a bread lover and my husband is a pasta lover.  Our kids are both!  So when it comes to purchasing our carbs, I try to make some healthier choices including buying whole wheat (or anything that’s not white).  One of my favourite brands is Stonemill bread.  My mom, who suffered from a stroke three years ago swears by Stonemill bread as part of her recovery.  She’s been buying this brand religiously from Costco ever since and has turned me onto them as well.  Not only are they healthy and tasty, they come in a variety for flavours and grains.Stonemill bread sandwich

Recently, Stonemill has released some exciting news about their line of breads.  They are the first company in English Canada to include Vitamin D in their bread.  Specifically, twelve of their breads now contain 25% of the daily value of vitamin D per serving (2 slices): Chia (6 Supergrains), Sprouted 3 Grains (3 Grains & Oatmeal), 11 Whole Grains (Grains & Honey), 12 Whole Grains (Sprouted Rye), Omega 3 (Sprouted Flax and Sunflower & Walnut), Fibre & Fruit (Cranberry Pumpkin Seed), Flax & Chia (Supergrains), and Sourdough (Multigrain, Classic French, Hearty Bavarian Rye and Belgian Whole Wheat).  stonemill products with vitamin D

The Why is Vitamin D important?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium and vitamin D work together to help you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D also helps your muscles, nerves and immune system work properly. Recent research has shown that vitamin D may be linked to lowering the risk of diseases such as multiple sclerosis and some cancers.


Unfortunately, Vitamin D is not found in many foods, so people rely on supplements to get the recommended amount.  Luckily, now we can enjoy it while we eat a delicious Stonemill bread sandwich. There’s so much to love about Stonemill besides the delicious and nutritious breads that they make.  Not only are they a Canadian company, but they are also passionate about social responsibility as their company’s philosophy is based around people, planet and prosperity.

Stonemill bread is primarily available in Ontario. They have limited distribution in Quebec and Atlantic Canada. If you have trouble finding the bread in your area, please reach out to Stonemill via their Facebook page and they’ll let you know if there’s a store in your area that carries their product. Also, if you “LIKE” Stonemill Bakehouse on Facebook, you’ll receive a $2.00 off coupon.stonemill vitamin d

Disclosure: I received compensation for this review but as always, opinions are my own.


The #eskaquest Toronto Scavenger Hunt Challenge is On Now! Details & Giveaway

Looking for something fun and unique to do with you family in Toronto this month? How about a scavenger hunt for a chance to win an iPad? The #eskaquest scavenger hunt is a great way to get out and explore our great city or perhaps get reacquainted with areas that you haven’t visited in a while.  Best of all. it’s perfect for all ages and FREE! So grab your kids, grandparents, smartphone, sunscreen and some water and head out for what is sure to be a fun-filled day!#eskaquest

As of yesterday, July 1, you can search Toronto for 10 hidden #eskaquest tiles. Download the #eskaquest mobile app and complete a fun challenge for each tile you locate. You will then be entered for your chance to win 1 of 10 iPad minis. The #eskaquest challenge runs through July 31.

You can play by checking for clues in several ways.  The interactive map at pinpoints locations where the tiles are hidden.  Also, ESKA Water’s social media feeds including FacebookTwitter (@ESKA_Water) and Instagram (@ESKAWater) provide daily clues to find tiles as location hints are revealed. I know I have tons of activities planned with my boys throughout the summer in Toronto so I will be playing along as well.eska iPad minis challenge

Don’t forget to keep your entire family hydrated this summer while exploring our beautiful city by grabbing a few bottles of ESKA Natural Spring Water.  Have fun & Good-luck!


To get Mayahood readers started on their #eskaquest adventure, ESKA is providing one lucky winner with a gift pack stocked with everything your family needs for  #eskaquest. Including a handy cooler backpack to keep your ESKA water cool to snacks,sunscreen and more (valued at $125)!eskaquestgiftpack(2)

Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below (please give it a few seconds to load).  Contest is open to all residents of GTA. Contest ends Monday July 7, 2014. Good-luck!

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Celebrate Canada Day with Air Wick Canadian Parks Series – Giveaway ($250 value)

It’s well known that scents can be a powerful memory trigger. A particular scent can often bring forth a rush of vivid memories. That’s how I felt when I first tried out Air Wick’s new Canadian Parks series. I remembered some of my favourite moments from my childhood which were spent exploring the great outdoors with my family.  Almost every weekend was spent exploring a new area, trail or national park.  Once we were older, we started going on annual family camping trips to Algonquin park. We’d paddle, hike, portage, fish, have camp fires, and tell stories.  Camping

My older brother moved to Edmonton once he finished medical school so we were excited for the new adventures that awaited us in some of Canada’s most beautiful national parks like Banff and Jasper. We spent many trips enjoying the all the great things nature had to offer. My husband and I have been back there on several occasions including some of our favourite and most memorable ski trips.  Skiing in Banff

My husband also grew up with a fondness for the outdoors.  Summers were spent at the family cottage swimming in the lake, catching frogs in the stream, canoeing, water skiing, jumping off rocks and cruising the lake on the boat. It’s no wonder it was an easy decision for us to buy a cottage 11 years ago on the same lake.  While we love the city and everything that it offers young families, we also love to come here for a quiet, relaxing weekend to escape the business and weariness of city life.  We also hope to instill in our sons a love for nature and hope that one day, their most treasured memories will include spending quality time together outdoors.

What says Canada more than the fresh scents of our beautiful national parks? Celebrate this Canada Day with Air Wick and bring the fresh fragrances of Jasper, Banff, and Cape Breton Highlands into your home. My personal favourite is the Banff scent, inspired by the untouched beauty of the Banff waterfalls, which includes a hint of wild strawberries infused with soothing mists of mountain rain for a wonderfully sweet and unique scent. The Canadian Park Series is available in either Air Wick Freshmatic or Scented Oils.Air Wick Canadian Parks Series

Together with Air Wick, one lucky Mayahood reader will win Air Wick Canadian Parks Series products & a family pass (4 people) to Canada’s Wonderland (total value of $250). Enter the giveaway via Rafflecopter below (please give it a few seconds to load).  Contest is open to all residents of Ontario. Contest ends Sunday July 13, 2014. Good-luck!

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MH Collections changing pad that doubles as an outdoor blanket {review}

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never used a change table with any of my kids.  Instead, I just had multiple change pads in our house.  It didn’t matter where we were in the house, I could change my sons anywhere, on the couch, the bed or the floor.  Personally I just found this easier as I couldn’t be bothered running up and down all day every time a diaper needed to be changed, especially once I had two (to change and look after).

With my first son, all of the change pads that I had were fairly small in size. Perfect for my needs but alas, I have found something even better.  MH Collections has some very beautiful change pads that come in a variety of fabrics.  Perhaps the best part is the XL one can also double as a outdoor floor mat.  This is a great option for when you’re at the park with your little one or even need something for your backyard.  This allows you to get use out of your change pad even after your child is potty trained.  Not many products out there have the longevity to outlast their intended use.changing pad MH Collections

While I didn’t have a multi-purpose change pad with my first two boys, I know this one will be a permanent feature in my diaper bag when my third son arrives.  While it does fold up and fits into a diaper bag, it’s not very small and does take up more room than the smaller cotton flannel or terry change pads.

Here are some of my favourite features:

  • The Extra Large multi-use Change pad is designed to fit a regular playpen
  • Includes a waterproof barrier
  • Can be machine washed and tumbled dry
  • Also ideal for mattress protection on a child’s bed

MH Changing pads can be purchased in a variety of sizes and styles via