Calypso Theme Waterpark: The Perfect Family Outing

My Family's First Visit To Canada's Largest Waterpark (located just outside of Ottawa!)

Calypso Theme Waterpark: The Perfect Family Outing

Calypso Theme Waterpark: The Perfect Family Outing

When school ends each year, my kids put together their wish list of all the things they want to do and see during their summer holidays. The list has a few different things on it each year, but there are the regulars such as riding their bikes, visiting the library, visiting museums, going to the splash pad, watching movies and having popcorn on a rainy day to getting a pet (that last one is not happening this year, dear children).

For the past two years, they have wanted to visit Calypso Theme Waterpark. Last year, we did not make it out but as luck would have it, this year would be the year we would visit.

As you can imagine, the kids were ecstatic.

Here in Ottawa, we have so many amazing things to do year-round and as of summer 2010, visiting Canada’s biggest theme park became one of those things. Calypso is located just a short drive east of Ottawa, and sits on 100 acres. So, from that last fact, you already know that there are tons of things to see and do for everyone in the family including 35 heated waterslides, 100 water games, two theme rivers, eight restaurants, and a whole lot more.

  Tip: Before you visit a waterpark, visit the website and take a look at the map. Decide what attractions will be best for your family and make a plan. It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the fun things the park has to offer, so go in with a plan and no one will be disappointed at the end of the day.

After getting a locker to store our things, the first attraction we visited was Canada's largest wave pool, “Calypso Palace.” The kids loved this one. The water is heated so when the waves hit you, it is pleasant and not icy cold. If you have little ones, life jackets are available free of charge and life guards are always on duty. One cool thing about Calypso Palace is that the they have set up beach chairs right along the “beach” area so you can lounge and relax by the waves.

After a little coaxing to get the kids out of the wave pool, we headed over to “Pirate’s Aquaplay,” which is a super fun water play structure that includes slides, water canons, and the big pirate bucket that empties down on all who are below.

Even though it looks like a kiddie attraction, I think the adults were having as much fun on this one as the kids! I even partook in the fun for a little while. I snapped this pic right after getting soaked myself and didn't realize that I had caught my kids getting wet in the background...again.

Next up was "Canyon Rafting." Now, my two kids are opposites when it comes to trying larger attractions like this one. One will do pretty much anything, the other one is always a little hesitant and unsure. After watching a few families make their way down, the hesitant one decided she wanted to try. The raft you sit in can fit up to six people and you zoom down the fast slide getting splashed all the way down. After we landed at the bottom, guess what her immediate reaction was? “Can we go on that again??” I wasn't surprised because it was a ton of fun!

Next, we grabbed lunch at one of the eight restaurants on site. You can also choose to bring in your own lunch and enjoy it at one of the many designated, shaded eating areas throughout the park.  

  Tip: As with all themeparks, there are a lot of yummy temptations such as ice cream, pastries, milk shakes and fries, but there are also a lot of lighter options such as sandwiches and salads. Enjoy yourself, but eat light if you plan on taking in some of the higher and fast water slides!

The last attraction we took in for the day was the Kongo Expedition. This was actually the biggest hit with my family and I was not surprised to learn that it has won awards for being so great. If the kids could have, they would have went on this one over, and over, and over again.

The Kongo Expedition is a “lazy river” with twists and turns, caves, waterfalls and lots of places where you will get very wet! It is a really nice attraction to wind down your day at the park.

  Tip: Spending extended periods of time in the sun can be draining, especially on kids. Take shade breaks, and be mindful of their cues. A tired, cranky kid at a waterpark is not fun, so know when to wrap up your day of fun so it remains a pleasant memory for everyone.

After the Kongo Expedition, we walked through the park to take a quick look at some of the bigger and more thrilling rides we didn't go on, like the "Summit Tower:"

And the "Acid Test" (note that the lineups look really long in this picture, but we found that they moved pretty quickly for all attractions):

What is great about Calypso is that there is something for everyone, no matter how old they are. For the tiniest visitors, the "Zoo Lagoon" is a child-themed lagoon with age-appropriate slides and a small wading pool. The "Jungle Challenge," is a fun obstacle course for adults and kids and then there is the"Aqualoops" (which promises to bring you from 0 to 2.5Gs in less than 2 seconds!) and everything in between!

  Tip: No matter if the lineups are short or long, you will be spending a lot of time in the sun while at a waterpark. Be sure to bring your sunscreen and wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes. Note that you may be asked to remove your sunglasses on some attractions.

After one last visit to catch a few more waves at Calypso Palace we decided to call it a day. On the walk to the car, the kids asked if we could come back tomorrow. Easy children—maybe not tomorrow, but we will definitely be back again.

And the kids got to check off their visit to Calypso on their wish list. Now to work with them on the proper spelling of Calypso!


Organic and Natural Products To Help With Morning Sickness

When all else fails, try these things that may help you feel better

Organic and Natural Products To Help With Morning Sickness

Organic and Natural Products To Help With Morning Sickness

It's called "morning" sickness, but for some of us it may last well beyond the morning. We're told it should ease up around the 3-month mark, but for some of us it may last the entire pregnancy—in my case it lasted well into the 7th month—for both of my pregnancies. Trust me when I say, I know how draining and miserable it can be. There is currently no answer to what causes morning sickness, but there are a few theories, none of which have been proven to be 100% true.

There are tons of tips and tricks to help you get through—eating dry crackers first thing in the morning (nope, didn't work for me), avoiding certain foods (nothing here either), fresh ginger root tea (I had high hopes for this one, but there were no happy results). After I tried all of those things, my doctor prescribed medication, and guess what? It also did absolutely nothing for me.

So what was the answer? Was there even an answer?

In my experience, after trying all the suggestions I could find—the tips, the tricks, and the medication—nothing could made the nausea go away entirely, BUT there were a few products that really helped to take the edge off for me. None of them would ever fully get rid of the morning sickness, but they certainly helped to make me feel a bit better. The best part is that they are all natural and/or organic if that is something important to you.

Of course, all pregnancies are different, so check in with your doctor if you are suffering from pregnancy nausea and to get the green light to try these products. Hopefully they can help in making your days a bit more bearable—and I hope that your nausea does not last for 7-months like it did for me!

1. Earth Mama Angel Baby Organic Morning Wellness Tea

Earth Mama Angel Baby Morning Wellness Tea is one of the most popular natural helpers for pregnancy nausea. It's a blend of known stomach soothers like ginger root, spearmint, peppermint, and chamomile. It also contains lemon balm and orange peel for flavour. It is a ginger/mint flavoured tea that can be enjoyed either hot or cold. It has a pleassant taste and can be sipped on any time of day.

2. Happy Mama Spray

Happy Mama Spray, also from Earth Mama Angel Baby, is an aromatherapy spray that can be used anytime you feel queasy.

I remember when I was pregnant the second time, I had to stop shopping at our regular grocery store because the smell coming from the to-go meals section was horrible to me. A quick spray of Happy Mama Spray helped to make me feel better any time that feeling would hit. It is made with a blend that includes pure lime and ginger essential oils. It is to be used on the inside of your wrist, on bed linens, and in the air.

3. Organic Preggie Pop Drops

Preggie Pop Drops were formulated just for pregnant women by a group of health care professionals. They are sour, so they alleviate dry mouth and come in a variety of great tasting flavours: sour lemon, sour raspberry, and green apple.

Did you suffer or are you suffering from morning sickness/pregnancy nausea? If so, did/do you have any tried and true remedies?

Check out the tips Dr. Kim Foster has to offer for morning sickness sufferers, then check out YMC's week-by-week pregnancy guide to keep up to date on everything happening to you and your baby during your pregancy.


10 Easy Ways To Throw An Eco-Friendly Birthday Party

Simple Things To Green Your Next Celebration

10 Easy Ways To Throw An Eco-Friendly Birthday Party

10 Easy Ways To Throw An Eco-Friendly Birthday Party

When it comes to planning your child's next birthday party and you feel like you want it to be "greener" than past celebrations, you may think it will be difficult and/or expensive, but that is definitely not the case. With a little creative thinking and some extra time, you can put together an eco-friendly bash that will have you throwing out less trash at the end of the day and even save yourself some money in the process. Having your child involved in the planning will also help to open them up to some of the ideas involved. Being involved in the party plans is also a great opportunity to teach them about being less wasteful.

Bonus: This list is not only for birthday parties, most of it can also be applied to any celebration or gathering!

Here are ten ideas to get you started:

1. Send e-invitations

Rather than spending money on paper invitations (which will eventually be thrown in the trash once the info has been recorded) and having to go through the hassle of writing each one individually, opt to send e-invitations through a free online service like evite.com or punchbowl.com.

2. Request eco-friendly gifts or no gifts at all

For most kids, gifts will be a tough thing to give up, but with some explanation, many will understand and even come to appreciate the reasoning behind the no-gift decision. This idea may not work well for younger kids, so a good compromise is to only request gifts from family and no gifts from friends or the other way around.

Another option is to ask invitees for a donation to a charity or cause near-and-dear to your family’s heart such as your local food bank. Ask guests to bring a non-perishable food donation that you and your child will pass along to the food bank.

Echoage.com is an earth-friendly, charity-based party planning service worth checking out. Plan Canada also offers a birthday registry program that may work for your family.

3. Make or buy reusable decorations

Reusable party decor can be used over and over again and will save you money. For decor, Google “diy eco party decor,” and you will be presented with some great project ideas. If you are not the DIY type, a great source for eco-party decorations is greenplanetparties.com.

4. Buy reusable or compostable party tableware

There are so many great options when it comes to durable, reusable and/or compostable plates, cups, napkins, and utensils. Here are some eco-friendly tableware options to consider.

5. Make Homemade Drinks

Juice boxes are so convenient to serve to kids, especially at parties but they also produce a lot of trash. Opt for homemade pitcher drinks such as lemonade or fruit punch, or your own fun recipe.

6. Make Homemade Party Foods

I know...who makes all of their own party food? For convenience and time, most of us go for store bought party food and cakes. But with a little extra work, you can prepare a healthier spread for your guests by pre-planning the menu with "homemade" in mind. Depending on the time of year, locally grown foods are an excellent idea when it comes to planning your menu. Depending on what is available, plan your party fare around what you can find. One idea is to prepare a fruit plate or fruit kabobs as an appetizer using seasonal berries and fruits.

7. Plan Green Party Activities

The activities you plan do not have to be elaborate, kids love crafts, so plan activities where the end result will be something they can take home. Activities such as painting rocks or decorative pencils will be a hit! Pinterest is a great spot to find lots of eco craft ideas.

8. Give out eco-friendly game prizes

Rather than stocking up on prizes from the dollar store, award kids for their game wins with eco-friendly prizes such as crayons, drawing pads, small bags of specialty popcorn, or sidewalk chalk (these ideas also double as great goodie bag items!).

9. Hand out eco-friendly goodie bags (or don’t have goodie bags at all)

Opt for no goodie bags at your next party (the kids won’t miss them!) or if goodie bags are important to you and your child, give out earth-friendly items such as healthy homemade treats, a small plant pot with seeds they can plant at home, or an eco-craft that was the result of a party activity. Opt for reusable or paper bags instead of plastic. Click here for more loot bag alternatives.

10. Compost, recycle, reuse

When cleaning up after the party is over, compost everything that is compostable (uneaten food, compostable tableware etc), recycle everything that is recyclable (certain types of gift wrap etc.), and hang on the gift bags, bows, boxes and anything else that can be reused or upcycled in the future.

Check out these tips for hosting a stress-free birthday party and if you are looking for a theme for your child's next party, consider this fun idea.