Friday, April 10

Barbie - "Be Super!"

I adored Barbie as a child, and my daughters certainly take after me. Maggie's Barbies are by far her favourite toys at the moment, and she and her sister love to play a game called "Barbie Ever After", where the Barbies join Frannie's beloved Ever After High dolls.

I was intrigued when I learned that a new superhero Barbie was on the market (along with a DVD, books, and website), and pleased that the Easter Bunny brought it for Maggie last weekend. The Barbie "Be Super" campaign is designed to celebrate girl empowerment, and I think it's great that there's an action figure with a cape and a mask marketed to girls.

As you can see, Maggie was thrilled with her surprise:

The Barbie Be Super website is also pretty neat, as they're calling on girls to use their "powers" (creativity, kindness, etc.) to do super acts and recognize the hero in everyone. They can check out a gallery highlighting how other girls around the world are being super, and also create their own comic with the first-ever Barbie Comic Maker game. Fans can download their official Super Squad Member certificate and handbook, filled with activities and tips on how to "Be Super" and participate in fun monthly Super Missions. Kids love a challenge!

I know that superheros and comics don't (or shouldn't) need to be "pink" to appeal to females, but from my experience as a teacher and mom of two girls, it sometimes can be an extra enticing factor.

I'm also impressed that there are Super Squad Leaders, real girls from across Canada (one is even from Peterborough!) who have made a difference in their communities and beyond (e.g., fundraising for charity, encouraging healthy eating, and working to help the environment). These are definitely the kind of role models I want my daughters to have.

Disclosure: A disclosure statement would go here, but the Easter Bunny brought the Barbie superhero doll to my house, so, you know.

Wednesday, April 8

When You Have a Concern About School (Video)

Of course I think teachers are pretty wonderful, but the time may come when you have a concern about something that has happened at your child's school, or in the classroom. What do you do?

In my latest CHEX Daily segment, I tackle this touchy subject with hosts Teresa Kaszuba and Mike Judson. Catch it here, at the 29:56 mark (or at this link:

This is one of my most personal segments yet, as I share some examples of parental concerns that I've been presented with - while maintaining confidentiality, of course!

Monday, April 6

My Canada AM Debut

It's 10 a.m. on Easter Monday, and I'm working away at my treadmill desk.

Oh yeah, and I've already been to Toronto, appeared on national television, and driven home again.

What a morning!

I was thrilled to be asked to join a parenting panel on Canada AM this morning to chat about babysitters, along with Maureen Dennis and Chris Boddy. (I do know a lot about this topic - we left our older daughter for the first time when she was three months old, and have been using sitters regularly for nine years now.)

After quickly saying yes, my next stop was a trip to the mall with my sister-in-law for a new dress and shoes, of course! (Quite a frugal shopping spree - the dress was on sale for $30 at Suzy Shier, the shoes for $35 at Payless.)

I set my alarm for 4:20 (of course I tossed and turned last night in anticipation, so I did not get nearly the eight hours that I usually insist on) and spent an hour getting ready at home. I left extra early, just in case, and arrived at the Scarborough studio (it's the CTV building you can see beside the 401) before 7 a.m.

The super-friendly guest coordinator Vicky (whom I met a few years ago when I went behind-the-scenes at the show) led me to the green room (where I grabbed a quick selfie) and then I was lucky enough to get a few minutes in a makeup chair. I must have done a decent job on my own, because the makeup artist only added a bit of eye shadow, some gloss over my fave Rimmel lip crayon and some powder, which took my skin a shade darker. (I'm guessing "Irish-girl-inside-for-six-months" complexion doesn't translate well on screen.)

At 7:40, we got to chat with the wonderful host (and my broadcasting mentor) Marci Ien for the segment, which went by very quickly (as they always do).

Here's a link, in case you missed it:

We've been so lucky with babysitters, since first my husband and then I have taught at the school, and have had excellent experiences with all of the students we've chosen to care for our girls (plus I now have very responsible nieces old enough to take over).

While I am pretty easygoing about some things when we have a sitter (I really don't care how many desserts the girls have, if they remembered to brush their teeth, or even if they're wearing pajamas in bed) but I did have to be honest on air about my neat-freak tendencies (after all, at least one of my sitters was watching!)

Our babysitter usage has actually dwindled lately, since the girls are so independent and can go places with us easily, or keep themselves busy at home when necessary (we hired a sitter many times when we were actually at home, in order to do yard work, write report cards, etc.) My younger daughter actually reminded me the other day, in a very accusatory tone, "You SAID we could have a babysitter on the March Break and we NEVER DID!"

When it comes to paying sitters, I'm really hoping that someone else who lives in a rural area of Canada like me will chime in and tell me that the parents in my community are not the cheapest babysitter-payers in the whole country (see video for details)!

Every time I try something new like this, I am overwhelmed by support from family, friends and colleagues. A parent of one of my students even sent me a message that her daughter assessed my performance as a level 4+, which is high praise indeed - though I did remind her that I would need some descriptive feedback! Thank you to everyone who helps encourage my dreams - every tweet, text and email means a lot to me.

I had such a fantastic experience at Canada AM this morning (even if you couldn't see my shoes on-air) and I hope to be back again! (Though perhaps not until I've caught up on my sleep.)

Wednesday, April 1

Is It Wrong To Ask About Women About Work/Family Balance?

When I did my very first blog interview with Canada AM's Marci Ien five years ago, I asked the "work/life balance" question, to which she gave this brilliant reply:

"My family, my friends and my job make me happy, and I want all of it. I'm not going to be as hard on myself as I have been in the past; I don't believe in balance. Everyone always asks me about this, and I really don't. I'm not perfect, maybe I'll get two out of five things right one day, because we can't do it all. It's not fair. I'm allergic to balance!"

I don't think I asked it again, in the same way, after that. However, that doesn't mean I think it's a bad question.

A few months ago, Jennifer Garner gave a speech at the ELLE Women of the Year event where she shared that she and husband Ben Affleck had recently both spent a day doing press junkets. While she was asked about balancing work and family by every single reporter, all day long, Ben was not asked once. Instead, he was asked about the breasts of one of his costars.


The thing is, when I (and I believe the majority of female interviewers) ask this question, it is not a judgment, and not meant to be negative. For me, it's "You're like me, with kids and employment - do you have the same struggles? Can we bond over this? Do you have any tips that might help me? Can your perspective help me do better in some way?" I always ask about their work, but while my readers may not identify with the specific project we're discussing, they will almost always be able to connect to the "mom" side of the woman. Whether we're humble bloggers or A-list journalists, we want to please our readers and ask the questions they want answered. Which perhaps says something about those who posed the breasts question to Ben Affleck.- and what they think of their readers.

It's kind of like the go-to "Who are you wearing?" question asked of women ad nauseam throughout the awards season. Reporters assume viewers want to know. (Quite frankly, while I love checking out the fashion, I truly do not care "who" they are wearing, but I get that it's an art form and an industry, and the question must be asked.) 

Photo Getty Images

When I ask women how they juggle work and family...

What I don't mean: You shouldn't be trying to have both.

What I do mean: I'm trying to have both, and so are many of my readers.

What I don't mean: You're getting it wrong.

What I do mean: Are we getting it wrong?

What I don't mean: You should be worrying about this more than your partner.

What I do mean: We may be worrying about this more than our partners.

What I don't mean: You should feel guilty.

What I do mean: Do you feel guilty? Sometimes we do. Or we don't...but then think we're supposed to.

However, I know that the question can sometimes hurt. Cityline host Tracy Moore posted on social media a few months ago that an older woman (not a journalist) approached her at an after-hours event and lamented something to the effect of "It seems like you're always working - when do you ever see your children?" Ouch.

While Jennifer Garner asserted that she thinks it's time to change the conversation, she didn't say that we can't ask women about their families. Perhaps what would be the most refreshing change is if we also asked men about theirs.

P.S. I'm hoping to interview Jennifer in the future, and I promise not to ask that question. Or anything about any of her costars' breasts.

Saturday, March 28

Lauren Holly: The Momterview

With a huge range of film (Any Given Sunday, Dumb and Dumber) and television (Picket Fences, NCIS) roles to her credit, actress Lauren Holly has enjoyed an extremely successful and varied career to date.

A busy single mom who has made Toronto home with her three boys Azer (13, short for Alexander), Henry (12) and George (11), she currently stars on CTV's Motive, and has recently partnered with Le Chateau for a fashion collection appropriately named Lauren's Closet.

Lauren recently took the time to chat with me for This Mom Loves and, opening up about not only her work, but parenting in the age of social media and video games as well as aging in Hollywood.

While researching for our interview, the first website I came across labelled you as an American Canadian. Is that how you would identify yourself now?

Yeah, I think that's pretty good! I'm not a Canadian citizen but I'm a permanent resident and I've definitely made Canada my home. But I'm red, white and blue USA too!

{Note: when spelling Azer's name for me, Lauren pronounced the letter "zee", which I told her means she's definitely still more American than Canadian. Though many of my Canadian students do the same thing!}

Why did you choose Toronto for you and your sons?

To be honest, I was living in Los Angeles and I was on NCIS, and I did not want to raise the boys in L.A. I don't know that it's the best place for me to raise kids. I wanted them to have a different upbringing, but I wanted to keep working. I picked Toronto kind of by a fluke, because I grew up in upstate New York about two hours away, I have family there, and I thought okay, it's close to my family, and it's a city where lots happens. I didn't want it to be Manhattan because of things that had happened with 9/11, so I thought I'm just going to try it and see, and I ended up loving it.

Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau

You've joined with Le Chateau for a gorgeous clothing collection called Lauren's Closet. Could you explain how that partnership came about?

Such a fluke and it was so great! I was cast in a movie called After the Ball, and Le Chateau was designing the wardrobe. Having not lived here for very long, I wasn't completely aware of Le Chateau, and when I went to my first fitting, I loved the way the clothes were fitting me. I became aware of the brand, and I got close to the owners of the company through the making of the movie, and I used to tease them and say "You should rename yourselves Lauren's Closet because I'm spending all my money!" It just sort of happened. I think it was because they loved the way I discovered them as an adult woman, and I think there were things about me that they felt were representative of their brand and what they wanted to get out there. It's been great. I'm really excited about my spring collection that's out now.

Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau

I love when you join the ladies on THE SOCIAL {Lauren will be back co-hosting in April} because you're able to dish about the celebrity lifestyle without actually throwing anyone under the bus.

I'd never want to do that, it's bad karma!

For sure! What do you think our readers might be interested or surprised to learn about Hollywood and celebrity life? 

I think the truth is that Hollywood tends to be like high school. There are the cool kids and all those different classes and even the bullies. The Hollywood star system is a little like a high school!

Lauren surprises Traci, Cynthia, Lainey and Melissa with handbags from Lauren's Closet.

You're on the CTV show Motive {a crime drama where the victim and killer are revealed moments into each episode; she plays Medical Examiner Dr. Betty Rogers} which films in Vancouver. Do you have a certain schedule for flying in and out to be on set? 

From September to February my life is a little bit ridiculous! An episode takes either seven or eight business days to film. Of those eight business days, I typically am busy four of them. I have a travel day, two shooting days, and a travel day. Usually two nights I'm gone, sometimes three nights, and then I'm home for four. I wanted to disrupt my boys as little as possible, so I go back and forth. The deal with my boys is that during the season each of them comes with me once alone, and we do one trip where all three come with me at once. It works out pretty well, actually. I have a tremendous manny - yes, I have a male nanny for the boys, and he's awesome, and he stays at the house when I travel, and the boys seem to think it's kind of fun because I'm here, but then they get a couple of nights when it's "guy night". The only frustrating thing is that trying to schedule things is a joke because I never know which days I'm going, every episode it changes, so that's hard to do, but their teachers have been super understanding and get that if I happen to be away on a parent/teacher night they'll make alternate arrangements.

Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau

You've done so much on the big screen and the small screen. At this point in your career, do you have a preference? 

People ask me that, and I really don't. There are so many pros and cons to the two of them. With the small screen, if you're on a show that's successful and it stays on, it really becomes like a second family. You work together so much and get so close to your cast and crew, it's almost like home. It becomes very easy. But then again to do a movie is really fun because you get to go and play a character for a short period of time, and maybe you don't love playing that character, but it's great for that small amount of time. They really both have positives and negatives. 

A fan on Twitter, Franzi, wants to know what character you've played that has influenced your life the most.

I have two of them, for two different reasons. One is that in Picket Fences I played a character named Max. That influenced my professional life the most because I realized fully the relationship between the writer and the actor. That was an amazing experience because David E. Kelley wrote for me. He saw things that I could do, and then he would write those things for me, what I did well. It was really an incredible experience for me as an actor, and really fun. 

Personally, I'd say probably when I did Dragon and played Linda Lee. That affected me spiritually. It was an emotional experience for me. My younger brother died suddenly right before we began filming, and so they postponed and waited for me to get it together, and when I was in Asia it was very healing. My co-star, Jason Scott Lee, was really a healing person. It's hard to explain, but he opened my eyes to all of that, and it was really something to be in Asia going through my grieving process. That affected me a lot, and getting close to the Lee family, and having the horrible tragedy with Brandon Lee. It was just a very emotional and enlightening experience, that movie.

Lauren and her boys; photo by Babak

I know this next question gets asked a lot, but I really am curious about your perspective on women and aging in Hollywood.

Listen, it's difficult. But it's differently difficult for me living in Canada because the Canadian mentality is different than the L.A. mentality. It's so competitive, your physical body, in Los Angeles, and I don't really feel the same pressures living here which I very much appreciate. It's funny because I'm working so much right now, more than I did five years ago, which is kind of interesting to me. I feel like there's this little space you go through where you're a little too young to play the full-on mother of adult children, or whatever, and you go through these phases. My biggest problem about aging is matching what's going on in my head with what's going on on the outside! That's really my struggle. Inside, I feel like I'm 20, and I see my reflection and think "What the hell? Who is that?" or I don't understand why I would be cast a certain way or opposite a certain person and then I see myself and I realize "Oh yeah, I guess that does work", so I don't know when that gets married. That's what the bigger struggle is.

Your boys are 13, 12 and 11. Do you think being a teen or tween is harder now than it used to be?

One hundred percent. The struggles I have! First of all you have things like social media. I'm thankful I have boys, I think it might be easier for boys than it is for girls as it's not as important to them, but even so my oldest one goes through phases where there are different bands he likes, or symbols, and he wants to post pictures on Instagram. I'm thinking it looks really harsh, and you can't do that because these things that you put out there aren't just for right now, when you're in eighth grade and think it's really fun for a month, but when you're 48 and you're up for a big promotion...

That's what's frightening. I was able to go through and make my own mistakes totally in private, in my small town with my 10 friends knowing, and it's completely different now. That's kind of hard for them to understand, that there's a bigger picture. Also, all of the things that being online opens up. I hate the fact that they're so much more knowledgeable about sex, about violence, all that stuff than I was at their age. They've all seen images and I think it's such a shame. I've tried to be as protective as possible, but at some point it's just too easy for them to have access, or to have a friend with access, and I hate that. When it comes to sex, I think it's the unknown that made it more special, so I worry about that a little bit. I feel like parents now, we're the first parents to go through this, and it's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. It's going to be hard.

Then the next thing is the video games! It's the biggest fight in my house. It's an absolute constant thing. Number one, they all want to play games that are rated M, they all have violence, guns, whatever, I can't stand them. In my house, my boys claim that I'm the only mother in the world who doesn't allow these games. They get so addicted to them, and I see complete behaviour changes. I've tried to do the thing where during the school week, there's none, and on the weekends, you have this limited amount of time. Also, living in Canada, we go through a lot of days when it's not nice to play outside. Who wants to go play in grey, cold slush? There's nothing to do, so they want the games. Even their schoolwork now is done on various "clouds" electronically, and I think they're doing their homework but then they click over and they're on a game, and you can't tell unless you're sitting right next to them. I just know that a lot of moms are like me, and this is what we talk about. Unless you're sheltered and live on some island where all the kids have the exact same rules, nothing matters when they leave the house. It's very difficult.

{I shared with Lauren that I already worry about this with my girls, who are nine and seven, and she warned me that "It's just going to get worse and worse. Wait until they're 12 and 10!"  Gee, thanks! I guess that's what I get for going off script!}

Photo Max Abadian/Le Chateau

What do you think is your biggest strength as a mom?

I think that I'm good at talking to them. Conversation is big in my house, and I learn a lot about them and I feel like from the fact that I talk so much to them, they feel they can come to me about stuff. I'm hoping that continues. Even with my oldest, his friends are starting to call me, which has been very gratifying. They have my cell phone number, and they call me to check in, and say "What are you guys doing this weekend? Can I see Azer?" and I like that it's open and not unusual.

How would you finish the sentence "This Mom Loves"...?

I love cuddling with my boys. I love cozy blankets, big couch, watching a movie. Sometimes it gets me through the week!

Thanks for the chat, Lauren! You can catch Lauren on CTV's Motive, follow her on Twitter, or check out her website to learn more.

Thursday, March 26

Motivate Your Child In School (a.k.a Since I Don't Have Enough Jobs...)

I'm excited to share that I was recently asked to become a blogger for Oxford Learning, where I'll be writing monthly education-related posts for parents.

My first article discusses ways that you can help, at home, to motivate your child academically. Some of them might surprise you!

You can find the full post here:

As always, I love to hear (read) your feedback!

Wednesday, March 25

Spring Cleaning - Teach Kids To Declutter! My CHEX Daily Segment

Last night on CHEX Daily, I chatted with hosts Teresa Kaszuba and Mike Judson about what kids can learn from spring cleaning (responsibility, organization, social justice/generosity, etc.) I share what chores my girls do, and how I am teaching them to declutter their own belongings. I even managed to work in a reference to The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, one of my favourite books ever - no matter what my book club says!

I'm at the 30:28 mark, and if you can't see the embedded video you can find it here:

A few things we didn't have time for:

-Kids can be motivated by the thought of making money. While donating is wonderful, some items can be set aside for a yard sale, and larger items can be sold on Kijiji under your supervision. (Also a great lesson about Internet safety!)

-The one-in-one-out rule can work from toddlers to teens. No new toy/game/pair of jeans until you can find (at least) one to donate.

-Once items are purged, bins and labels are an organizer's best friends. I like the idea of putting photos (e.g., of Lego, Barbies, cars) on the bins so pre-readers know where everything goes too!

Feel free to leave other suggestions or links to kids' spring cleaning posts below. I'm always on the hunt for new ideas!

Friday, March 20

Family Fun In Kingston: Delta Waterfront, Megalos, Crockadoodle and More!

My husband and I are proud graduates of the Queen's University Faculty of Education (the Trent/Queen's Concurrent program), so what better place to take the girls for a mini-break than the beautiful city of Kingston, Ontario?

We started our visit with some creative fun at Crockadoodle. The girls each chose an item of pottery from the huge selection shown below (a cupcake box for Maggie and a dog for Frannie) and very carefully painted it with their selected colours. Items are marked on the bottom with prices (for example, the cupcake was $22), which include the paint, glaze and kiln process.

Owner Lisa Ustel filled us in on how busy her Crockadoodle location has been since opening before Christmas, and this March Break day was certainly no exception. Not just for kids (though a great birthday party destination), the pottery painting process is very popular with adults too, and her weekly ladies' nights are sold out far in advance.

A few careful coats of paint later (with lots of support from Theresa and other helpful employees), the girls had their creations ready to go:

We left the items behind to be glazed and then placed in the large kiln to be heated  - to over 1800 degrees F - overnight. Since there is a turnaround of a couple of days (the only downside of the whole experience), Lisa kindly agreed to ship our items to us, but tourists should make sure to visit Crockadoodle at the beginning of their trip to have creations ready by the end!

When the final products arrive, I'll be sure to update this post with an "after" photo!

Next, we were off to our hotel, the gorgeous Delta Kingston Waterfront. The downtown location is very convenient (and if spring didn't feel like winter we really could have walked everywhere). Covered parking was steps from the lobby door, and as soon as we walked inside we were impressed with the clean, modern look.

The girls are posing dutifully for this photo, pretending that they weren't just fighting over who got to push the elevator button. They roll their own suitcases, which of course they pack and unpack themselves, too. Though that did mean Maggie came without pajamas...

The room was also modern and sleek, with just enough space for our family of four.

The view from our window (Kingston is located where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario)

Even the hotel toiletries made me happy, with their inspirational names and messages.

You may be wondering why I am showing this small closet. Well, dear reader, it's to share with you that somehow my daughters managed to turn the space into a private change room. You gotta love kids.

Once we had unpacked, the agenda called for some fun (kids) and relaxation (me) at the top-floor pool and hot tub. (Loyal readers know which one I actually spent time in.) We arrived at a quiet time, prompting Frannie to announce "They must want a really good review from you, Mom! We have our own private pool and hot tub!"

The incredible view from the pool window:

This is my idea of a relaxing March Break - lounging by the pool with all the latest magazines on Next Issue. (Delta offers free wifi - a much-appreciated perk!)

For dinner, we headed up Princess Street to Megalos, a favourite for my husband and me, but a first-time visit for the girls. It's warm, inviting and private (lots of cozy booths), and while it's welcoming to families, it has a classy feel, perfect for grownup meals as well.

The kids' menu offers the standard fare you would expect, but also healthier options like a stir-fry and a chicken breast meal. All four of us were thrilled with our food (pasta for the girls, pizza for my husband and fish and chips for me) and the portions were large enough that we left with some take-out containers to stash in our hotel room fridge. Other "adult" selections on the menu include pastas like Shrimp Florentine, Lobster Ravioli and Vegetarian Gnocchi, chicken dishes, stir-fry, salmon, steak, burgers and sandwiches. They also do lunch, weekend breakfast and special occasions/large parties.

It took a while to discuss the merits of linguine over penne, but eventually Maggie made her choice!

While we did have leftovers, we managed to find some room to share this delicious chocolate concoction, the perfect way to end any meal!

The service at Megalos was excellent, and combined with the delicious food and warm atmosphere (they call it "upscale casual, yet family-friendly"), it gets a very high recommendation from not only me but the (picky) girls and (even more discerning*?) Daddy. (*Update: I originally used the word "pickier", but it's not to say that he is unduly selective about what he eats - like his wife is - but that he appreciates good food and ambiance and would never give a good review if he didn't mean it!)

Walking on Princess Street after dinner, I snapped this shot of the girls outside Gap. The reason? When we first found out we were expecting Frannie, and hadn't yet told anyone, we took a trip to Kingston and at Gap I bought my baby-to-be her first gift: a little unisex white onesie with a cow and the word "Moo" on it. (Appropriate for country folk like us.) The onesie is now in her box of mementos, and every time I go by this Gap the memory rushes back.

Another downtown Kingston purchase that has been saved for the sake of sentimentality is a pair of "I got a job!" jeans, flares with detailed bottoms, picked up at a boutique on the February day I found out I had been hired with our school board for the following year. As a student, I had never spent so much (around $80) on one item of clothing!

I had hoped to take a picture of another landmark, the downtown Indigo store, but I learned that it closed a couple of years ago. It was there, on a trip almost seven years ago, that I decided I really was going to give the freelance writing thing a go, and I bought all of the parenting magazines I could find in order to immerse myself in that world. The rest is history.

Speaking of history, we took a few minutes to drive by the Faculty of Education, and answered the girls' many questions about our university days!

After dinner we headed back to the pool at the Delta Waterfront, where I ended up meeting someone I haven't seen since high school! (Small world, right?) Her two girls are around the same ages as mine, and they all had a good play together in the pool while my former schoolmate and I caught up. (For those who want to be a little more active during your hotel stay, Delta also offers a fitness room with elliptical machines, treadmills, bikes and free weights.)

At bedtime, we all took advantage of the luxury of watching TV in bed (something none of us can do at home) and as tired as the girls must have been, they insisted on watching the entire 10 p.m. episode of Love It Or List It. (Spoiler: They listed it.)

No matter what time my beautiful daughters go to bed, their little biological clocks wake them up by 7 a.m. every day, so we were off to an early start. After a smooth and speedy checkout from Delta and great breakfast at Peter's Place (a diner-style restaurant right at the bottom of Princess Street) we visited the Museum of Health Care, where the girls learned a lot in a short period of time. I'm pretty sure Frannie will never forget that in the 1800's, doctors might drink a patient's urine in order to come up with a diagnosis. Ew!

An iron lung

The girls were invited to sit in on a free educational March Break program, where they were talking about the very important topic of being active. Admission to the museum is by donation, and there are tons of great activities and events for kids, so Kingston locals and visitors should be sure to check it out!

Kingston is an amazing city to visit, for couples or families, and we didn't even come at the best time of year. When the weather warms up, there is so much to see and do downtown Kingston and beyond. Next time, we'd like to check out Canada's Penitentiary Museum - lots of learning to be done there - and take in all of the fantastic shopping opportunities.

If you live in or are familiar with Kingston, I'd love to hear your ideas for other family activities we may have missed in this beautiful city. For others, I'm always happy to answer any questions you might have about our travel adventures.

Disclosure: We were provided with free accommodations at Delta, pottery painting at Crockadoodle, and meal at Megalos for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.