no batteries required

Our children may be brilliant, but we’ll be the first to admit that they can have the attention spans of gnats – brilliant, adorable gnats. Like most preschoolers, our boys don’t sit still for very long unless they’re being entertained or guided through an activity. When something holds their interest for 30 uninterrupted minutes, we are big fans of that something – especially if it’s educational. Enter the new invention by Vancouver’s Tobo ToysTM: Tobo Track, a set of 12 identical wood tiles that link together to build roads for all sorts of toy vehicles (including some you already own). MORE

winter fresh

It’s the time of year when resolutions are still new(ish), and healthy, clean eating often tops the list. And despite the chill and flurries that are here to stay for a while, it’s still possible to get a lot of garden-fresh into our diets. While Farmers’ markets are typically frequented in the summer and fall, T.O. offers plenty of farm fresh food year round! So if produce like beets, squash, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, sprouts, kale, and apples fit into some of those “must try” recipes you’ve bookmarked, why not take a family trip to one of Toronto’s winter markets? Here’s a handy list to get you started:

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pass the dessert, hold the sugar

In a couple of days, the sugar content in our house will shoot from ‘reasonable’ to ‘code red,’ thanks to the spookiest night of the year and a serious dedication to the art of trick-or-treating. So we’re on the hunt for ways to still enjoy desserts and treats as a family without going into sugar shock. Which is why we were happy to give Shockingly Healthy!™ Brownies and Blondies a try.

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good to go

It’s not until you start packing school lunches again that you realize you don’t have enough reusable bags, or the perfect container, or something just the right size for all that stuff that seems so unpackable at seven in the morning. Never fear: we’ve got the must-haves you’re missing, right here.
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breath of fresh air

We find we get a bit nest-y at the beginning of the school year – there’s something about the air getting crisper (and the schedule getting busier) that makes us want to get the house in order, and brighten up our rooms before winter comes. Maybe it’s the grown-up version of that fresh school supplies feeling? So to save your piggy bank for the real back-to-school spending, we’re recommending one-step pieces you can use to refresh a room, without changing everything. Plus, all of these items meet our criteria for clean and green! MORE

berry good

One of our favourite things about summer in Vancouver (besides the beautiful weather) is the incredible assortment of local produce available at local farmers’ stands; the kidlets get especially excited about the fabulous local berries! Now that blueberry season is in full swing in BC, we’re taking full advantage — picking blueberries as our fruit of choice, using local berries in recipes, and freezing fresh berries to last us throughout the winter.

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for the love of (litterless) lunch

We are days away from back to school, and if you’re anything like us, you’re still trying to figure out what happened to August (seriously, wasn’t it just July?). So we were happy to discover Fenigo.com, which, with 30 minutes and our laptop, helped us cross off a major back-to-school “must-do” … lunch-on-the-go prep!

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rock the lunch box

If you’re making your little one’s lunch litterless you have to think of everything from soup to nuts … or containers to cutlery, as it were. As part of winnowing down the array of lunch box possibilities, our little testers took these products from daycamp to camping trips, and here are our fave items making the cut for the first day of school. Bon appetit! MORE

there’s no taste like home

While it can be messy (we always have a stack of aprons at the ready) and take twice as long (a hot cup of coffee helps with patience, we find), one thing we love doing is cooking with our kids. Especially when we can create meals together that are healthy, tasty, and use ingredients found close to home. So we asked Claire Tansey, Chatelaine magazine’s Food Director, for tips to make cooking local with our kiddos a fun, learning experience for all:

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buzz off

Ah, getting back to nature in the great outdoors — it’s what summer’s all about. Blue skies, gorgeous lakes and oceans, green forests, and the sound of birds singing and bees buzzing … or is that a mosquito buzzing? Few things put a damper on enjoying nature as much as being attacked by mosquitoes and other pesky critters. So we’ve rounded up a few of our must have bug busters that are light on creepy chemicals and heavy on performance. MORE

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