Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Preventing Brain Drain with #LevelUpKids

This post is part of the and #LevelUpKids sponsored program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This post reflects my personal opinion about the information provided by the sponsors.

Your kids have worked hard all year learning and the last thing you want is for your kids to lose all the learning over the summer.  Sure we want them to get outside and enjoy the warm weather but enrolling them in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) based camp this summer not only prevents the dreaded brain drain but also teaches them new and exciting technology based skills.   Level Up Kids is that perfect camp.

Level Up Kids offers summer camps for kids ages 7-14 with locations across Canada that give kids a jump start in learning coding technology that will be needed a vast array of jobs in the future and not just programming a computer.  With camps such as Minecraft Adventure,  Game Design and Development with Scratch and Adventures in Programming, there is a wide variety of camps to suit your child’s interest.  Do you have a daughter that loves all things computers but not sure if she wants to be in a camp with a bunch of boys? Coding Girls is all about entrepreneurship, leadership and empowerment while learning to code with only girls.

 Kids at the summer camps will also learn:

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. Students learn to understand the problem, find a way to attack it, and work until it is done and they can pass to the next level.

  2.   Reason abstractly and  quantitatively. Students learn that it helps to break down complex problems into simpler ones. Designing algorithms requires using logic and abstract thinking.

  3.   Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Students will work together, exchange ideas, and discuss various strategies to solve the problems.

  4.  Model with Mathematics While working through different programs, students will use X and Y coordinates, spatial directions, find shortest paths, measure distances, calculate areas, work with random numbers and more.

  5. Use appropriate tools strategically. Most programming tasks can be solved in several different ways. Students learn that selecting the appropriate tool can save them time and effort.

  6. Attend to precision. For a computer program to work, the logic of the underlying algorithm must be precise, and moreover the program needs to be written and formatted very carefully.

  7. Look for and make use of structure. Looking for patterns and making use of structure is a fundamental component of computer programming. Students learn that finding a pattern simplifies the logic, and makes the solution of the problem easier.

  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning. Computer programming teaches students to generalize their thinking. They learn to use solutions to previously solved problems to attack more complicated ones.

If your child is anything like mine, they are obsessed with their tablets and computers,  why not have them learning the technology behind them and how they can use that knowledge to create things?  In a camp setting where kids are making new friends and in an exciting environment, learning is fun.  Not only are they learning about technology but they are learning about problem solving, creativity, team work and more.  And kids learn more when they actually enjoy it.

The camps are set up with a school like environment with personalized instruction but also includes frequent breaks for exciting outdoor activities to help the kids burn off some energy.

My son is fairly tech savvy even at his young age so and has used several of the programs taught at the camps, so I was a little concerned about how much he would actually learn at the camps and didn’t want him to be bored.  We were recently invited to an event by Level Up Kids to learn more about what they had to offer.

I was so glad that we attended this event.  From the moment we got there. my son was right in on the action and excited to see all the different types of technology they would learn at camp.  He was thrilled with the thought of attending the camp prior to event and now he is counting down until he gets to attend camp this summer.

Not only will my son be learning and enjoying a Level Up Kids camp this summer, but your child could too.  Level Up Kids is giving away 1 Week of Camp at any of their locations across Canada this summer, a value of $399.  (**Subject to availability**)  This offer is only available for the Summer 2017 programs and expires September 1, 2017.

Here’s how you can enter to win your child a week of Level Up Kids camp.  Contest open to residents of Canada, 18 years of age or older.  (Void in Quebec).  Contest ends June 3, 2017 12:00am.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

How to Save Money as a Single Parent

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post, however, all opinions are strictly mine.

Raising a child alone is not an easy thing. Often, even as a couple, parents can feel overwhelmed by the day-to-day. Adding financial stress will only make this feeling worse, and make you short tempered, and stressed. Not the example we ever want to set for our kids! Here are a few tips that I’ve developed to help me save money over the years.

  1. Pay cash!

Debit and credit cards can make life easier, but they also make it a lot harder to keep track of what you’ve spent. When you use cash, you are sure to never sure to go over your budget. If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it! Right? It also helps your kids to understand the concept of money, and that a bank account doesn’t have an infinite supply.

  1. Make an appointment with your bank

No one likes going to the bank, however you can get a lot accomplished in one visit. By opening a savings account (TFSA, RRSP or RESP), you are sure that your money isn’t going to unnecessary items (more on how to avoid impulse shopping).

Even a small amount every month will make a difference in the long run. The earlier you start, the more your money will grow.

  1. Renegotiate your contracts

Both cable and cellphone companies understand the value of a customer. Calling and simply expressing an interest in changing suppliers can lead to discounts. While you’re at it, look at cancelling a few of those extra TV channels. Your time is better spent doing anything other than flipping through looking for something to watch. And if you’re really brave, cut the cord! For around $30 you can get a good quality antenna that will give you access to over a dozen HD channels.

  1. Make a budget, and stick to it and save.

First things first, make a plan. There are plenty of tools available to help organize your finances. The Government of Canada has a handy tool that helps you track your spending and identify opportunities to save.

Next is the sticking to it. That’s the hard part, in my humble opinion. These tips help me stay on track:

  • Daily monitoring: review your spending every day. It takes 2-3 minutes to review and can help keep you on track for the week.
  • Make a meal plan and only buy the groceries that you need for the week.  (And don’t go hungry to the store.)
  • Keep your bills. At the end of the week, review your purchases, and see if anything falls on the “did I really need this”
  • Pay cash: as I mentioned before, it’s a great way to make sure you don’t go over budget.

With these practical tips, you can learn to run your finances, and not let them run you. If only I could make that happen with my kid too!

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket

Egg in basket

Recently, I was at a blogging event and felt like something was wrong with one of my social media accounts.  I made a comment about it to a fellow blogger and her comment back to me was “this is why you don’t but all your eggs in one basket”.   Of course, I stewed about the account for a while but what she said really resonated with me.  We’ve all heard the “eggs in one basket” metaphor before, but now more than ever in my life, they are truly words to live by.

For the social media/blogging portion of my life, relying on one platform to support me is ridiculous.  For times like this, when you feel like something is wrong with an account, all your hard work could come to a grinding halt.  I know there are a lot of people out there that think that blogging is just getting free stuff and going to fun events.  I wish that was the case.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining about the work it takes to blog, I am actually quite proud of the work I do, but I wish people outside the blogging realm understood the time it takes to actually maintain a blog.

In life, you can never put all your eggs in that one basket, for many reasons.

  1. Doing the same things over and over again gets boring.  Try something never, you never know where it will take you.  Maybe you will discover that you are really good at something that you never imagined yourself doing.
  2. Life will not always go as planned.  There will be curves and bumps in the road.  Remember that detailed birth plan you worked so hard on, only to end up with an emergency c-section and all those plans going right out the window?
  3. Always counting on something will never allow you to see what else is out there.  Sure, the grass is not always greener on the other side, but you won’t know until you try.
  4. You always want to be growing as a person, not one of those eggs just sitting in that basket.

So no matter how pretty that basket is that you have, never settle….always be wanting for more.  You never know what could be out there.

Parenting/Life · Uncategorized

Ten Years Ago……….

Ten years ago today I put on the dress, I took my Daddy’s arm to walk down that aisle, I said “I do”.  My head swirled with a future of white picket fences and happy endings.

Ten Years Later from above

Now ten years later, I didn’t get the happy ending that I envisioned that day, I have a different happy ending.  Sure, divorce is probably the farthest thing from the white picket fence life that I had wanted, but it doesn’t mean I still can’t have a life full of amazing memories and smiles.

Divorce doesn’t mean that I look back on my wedding day with bitterness and regret.  I still look back on my wedding day with fond memories and happiness.  Even pulling out my wedding album to get a few photos for this post did not bring any bad feelings.  Looking at those photos, I remember a day surrounded by friends and family, and nothing but pure joy.  At the moment, I could not have foretold the future that was ahead of me.

I look at those photos and I think…..Damn, I looked good.  And even through the worst of times, I never looked back on that day with an ounce of regret.

Ten Years Later Wedding Day

Because of that day, just over a  year later, I was able to see my greatest accomplishment.  The love of my life, my baby boy was born.  I didn’t know that kind of love existed until I held him in my arms.  And at that point I thought I had the perfect life…..until it all fell apart.

I am not going to dwell on how it all  came to and end, nor do I care to share it.  But the life that I thought that was all I ever wanted came to an end.  I was now a single Mom and didn’t know how I would ever get through it.

But I surprised myself, in fact, I think I have surprise a few people in my persistence to move forward and move onward with my life.  Sure, for the first few years, I let life get the best of me.  I allowed my sorrow and pain define me.  But one day I decided to stand up, and be the person I needed to be.  Not only for me, but for my son.

He needed a mother that was a role model, that made the best of what life was handed to her and not to dwell on the past.  Hardships make you stronger, not weaker. And moving forward was the best thing that could ever happen to me.  I was able to realize that was handed to me in life, was there for a reason.

And now ten years later, I have a family that supports me and loves me through thick of thin.  I have friends, some old and now some new that love me unconditionally and although I know I sometimes sound like a broken record, they still listen and tell me everything I am doing is okay.  Some of these friends, I would never had known had my life had taken that curve in the road.

My relationship with my son is more than I could have ever hoped for.  I look forward to every minute I am able to spend with him instead of looking for “me time”.  I get enough of that when he is not with me.  We make the best of the time we spend together instead of just allow each day to pass by without it having a reason. There are things we have done, places we have gone, that I don’t think we would have ever done if life hadn’t taken the path that it did.

Divorce does not have to be the end of the perfect life you pictured on the day you said your I do’s.  It just paints a different picture.  A picture that can mean bigger and better things.  A life that means a greater appreciation and stronger relationship with your children, your family, your friends.

Ten Years Later Flowers

Wedding Day Photos credit:  Danielle Wilson Photography – the most amazing wedding photographer a girl could ever ask for.  Thank you for capturing that day.