Sunday, December 14, 2008

Check out this funny Mom Song

This is a pretty funny song that uses pretty much every mom line you've ever heard. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mom to Mom Sale Vendor FAQ's

Q. How much does it cost to rent a table?

A. Tables are $30 each, $32 if you pay via Pay Pal. There are no other costs to you.

Q. How much can I expect to make at a Mom to Mom Sale as a vendor?

A. This varies according to what you have to sell and what the buyers happen to be looking for. Every sale is different, sometimes you sell everything and sometimes you have things that nobody wants. It is a good idea to sort clothing into sizes, seasons and gender and use racks if you have them. You might have great stuff, but if shoppers have to dig for it they might be inclined to shop at your neighbour's table if it easier for them to access. We provide the shoppers, you have to do the selling! With hundreds of potential buyers walking by your table you could easily find yourself making $100 at the low end, $350 on average and upwards of $1000 at the high end. Again, it will all depend on what you have to sell. If you've got lots of large items expect to make more, if you are only selling clothing don't expect to make $1000 (although it has been done).

Q. How should I price my items?

A. In general I always recommend selling for no more than half of what you would have paid for it new, and on sale, particularly with clothing. Buyers don't want to buy you used clothing for the same price that they can get it on sale new. New clothing still needs to be cheaper than retail. Remember, your items are USED, you got your use out of them now getting something back for them should be a bonus. If you want to sell high you risk not selling at all! Consider the hassle of putting something up on Ebay and shipping it, or taking the time to meet up with potential buyers and then remember that you've got someone willing to buy it right infront of you. Sell things that you aren't emotionally attached to.

Q. Can I bring a helper?

A. Yes, I highly recommend that you bring a helper to give you a break when you need one and to help keep a watchful eye on your goods.

Q. What can I expect on Sale Day?

A. You can expect it to be EXTREMELY busy for the first hour and a half, all of the die hard bargain hunters will be lined up waiting for the doors to open. The crowd slows down to a steady pace after that and it is usually slow during the last hour or so which allows vendors to relax a bit, slash prices, do some shopping of their own and gradually pack up.

Q. What are my responsibilities?

A. You are responsible for the set up and take down of your table and area. You may have to move your table into place and you will definitely have to move your table to a designated space at the end of the sale. You must not leave any garbage behind, take everything you have left back home. By doing this you help keep the cost of table rentals down, as the cost of a cleaning crew would result in additional costs to vendors.

You are also responsible for the items you sell, please ensure that the items you sell meet current safety standards (especially for things like car seats, cribs, play yards, bassinets, cradles, baby gates, swings etc. ) as outlined on the following link

You are also responsible for the safety of your area, make sure that nothing can fall over and that there is nothing sticking out into the aisle that could pose a safety or tripping hazzard.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Review on "The Chop House in Unionville"

Okay, so I'm guessing that all of you are kind of like me and don't get out to restaurants all that often now that you've got little ones in toe. Wouldn't it be nice that for the few times that you do go out you are guaranteed to have a good meal?

Well, "The Chop House" on Main Street Unionville certainly isn't the place to go. This restaurant looks very inviting because of it's large patio area, but be warned, no matter what you order, whether it be a soup, salad, entree or even coffee, you will wait, and wait, and wait for it to arrive.

The first time I went to the Chop House for lunch the food was fantastic, so I took my husband back there for dinner thinking that it would be even better. I couldn't have been more wrong. The waiter kept trying to pawn off some Porter House steak (we overheard the manager telling the waiter that they needed to unload it). Needless to say, we did not order that. My husband got a steak of some sort, it was fine. I wanted chicken because red meat wasn't sitting well with me in my pregnant state. Twenty minutes later the waiter came back to tell me that there wasn't any chicken left. Everything else on the menu was seafood or red meat. Tell me how you can run out of chicken when it is your only chicken dish? Of course, we waited patiently, then not so patiently to be served. In the end we filled out our comment card with anything but rave reviews and decided that we wouldn't return.

The next time that we decided to give the place another chance we ended up leaving because we got so fed up of waiting so long to be served by a waiter that we knew it wasn't a good sign of things to come.

Why we tried again, I'm not sure, but we did and this time just for coffee and tea. 20 minutes later they came back without the coffee and told me that they didn't have decaf tea. Great.

Today we gave The Chop House another chance hearing that it was under new management and had a new menu (but this was only after realizing that the restaurants that we wanted to go to were packed). We should have known better. A good 10 minutes passed before we ever saw our waiter and at least 25 minutes until we got some water. Meals arrived after we had been there 50 minutes. My squash soup was salty, so salty that I could barely taste the squash. My salad had only 1/5 of the ingredients advertised in the menu. Disgusted I sent it back and didn't have them prepare another. My husband got butter chicken that tasted good enough, but sadly I saw that it was food prepared elsewhere and simply heated up on site. The rice and peas were dried up and our cold sweet potatoe fries were anything but plentiful for the $6/7 we paid for them. We talked to the manager who couldn't really offer any excuses or apologies and I told him that the restaurant already had a bad reputation amongst the locals. It looks like "The Chop House" is living up to it's bad reputation with flying colours. I did tip the waiter, afterall, she was only one of the two servers taking care of the entire restaurant.

For all it's worth, go eat just about anywhere else on Main Street Unionville and you'll have a much better experience service and food wise.

If you've got some suggestions for great places to eat, or places to avoid in Markham please feel free to post!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mom-to-Mom Sale Markham FAQ's

Q. What is a Mom-to-Mom Sale?

A. A Mom-to-Mom Sale is basically a giant indoor garage sale that is only for baby and kids' items. You buy items directly from sellers just like you would at a garage sale, there is no middle man. Items that you would typically find at a sale include gently used: clothing, baby gear (mobiles, carriers, boucy chairs, exersaucers, playmats etc.), nursery decor, toys, books, games, play houses, sports equipment and furniture. Basically anything that is related to kids or babies is allowed.

Q. Is the sale indoors?

A. Yes, the sale is always indoors!

Q. How do I pay for items I buy at a Mom-to-Mom Sale?

A. Cash only! You wouldn't try to write a cheque at a garage sale would you?

Q. How do I register for a table and become a vendor?

A. Simply visit and click on the "Registering for a Table" link on the left hand side of the page and follow the directions.

Q. Do I need to buy a ticket to get in ahead of time? Do I have to buy tickets for children?

A. No, just show up and pay at the door! Children are admitted for free.

Q. Is there anything special I need to know about buying or selling at the sale?

A. Remember, it is just like a garage sale and sellers should follow guidlines set out by the Ontario Government regarding the sale of used items and that buyers should do the same. It is recommended that sellers ensure that their items for sale are not recalled and "meet current safety standards". Buyers should always check the items they are buying carefully for any defects before purchasing them. Check for recalls as well when you get home. Please visit this government link to find out more info on selling second hand goods. Check this government link for recalls of all sorts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Here We Grow Again at Markham Mom-to-Mom!

I'm so excited to be holding the next Markham Mom-to-Mom Sale at the Markham Fairgrounds on October 25th from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. in Building #1! It is truly amazing how things have changed over the course of one short year.

This next sale should be the best one yet, both buyers and sellers were relentless in e-mailing me about the Fall Sale. With some considerable difficulty in securing a suitable location, the Markham Fairgrounds stepped in to save the day. I am very grateful to them for helping us out to start what may very well be the best and biggest Mom-to-Mom Sale and Event in the GTA!

With more space in between the aisles parents are free to bring their strollers and not worry about congestion in the aisles. We will also be able to let people in more quickly, which mean less lining up to get in. There will be tons of parking and of course the entire sale is indoors.

In addition to all of the great second hand deals we are hoping to add some new features, including ARTISANS with unique gifts to sell, and my favourite, a GREEN GOODS MARKET. Going green isn't always easy in the burbs, so we're trying to get some earth friendly merchants to come to us!

Don't miss this one, it's going to be great!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tips for a Day at the Metro Toronto Zoo

Are you heading out to the Metro Toronto Zoo this summer? Here are a few handy tips that you might want to keep in mind if you are not a frequent visitor.

1. Try to get there early, especially if you are going on the weekend or from Tuesday to Thursday. The weekends are just plain hairy and during the week you've got a lot of day camps visiting. The Zoo itself is huge, but some of the pavillions are small and get jammed up easily, making it difficult to bring your stroller in. You can also rent strollers with canopies- single and doubles, which if you don't have your own, I would recommend. The Zoo itself is very spread out and can be very tiring for kids and parents alike, not to mention carting all of your gear around.

2. Pack a lunch and snacks. The food concessions are outrageously expensive, Disney was cheaper! Not only that the fare isn't very nutritious or appealing, just your typical hot dogs, junk food and pizza. The best deal on food if you have to buy it is to get a whole pizza. The healthiest food I found was at the main gate, you could get a bagel and cream cheese and veggie sticks. You'll need a loan to get ice-cream for your family at about $4 each... There are lots of nice areas where you can sit on a bench or at a picnic table to eat, so enjoy!

3. If you are not planning to do the whole Zoo, here is where the best stuff is. Once you enter through the main gate, go right and head towards the Kids Discovery Zone. This is a great little play area where the kids can see some animals up close, play in gopher tunnels, climb a tree house and slide down, dig for dinosaur fossils in a giant sandpit, play in large turtle eggs and shells, and climb on a spider web.

If it's a hot day, the Splash Pad is great! It has tons of water cooling action, although be warned, the water is quite chilly! It is toddler friendly in that the flooring is rubberized. There are also 4 waterslides that range in size to accomodate smaller and larger kids. Parents, be prepared to get wet as watching your kids often requires that you enter a wet zone.

The Waterside Theatre is at the entrance of the Discovery Zone and you can catch a show there, but be warned, there is no shade, so on a hot day you'll roast!

Currently, you can visit StingrayBay, which is a special attraction for this summer, just enter to the left of the entrance to the Discovery Zone. You have to pay $3 for this, but it is well worth it. There are tons of stingrays and they seem to like being petted. To get more stingray action stand closer to the exit doors, for some reason they like that side better.

Next, visit the newly renovated Australasia Pavillion. When you leave the Discovery Zone go right to get there. This display is pretty good, there is a large "Great Barrier Reef" tank with a small shark in it and some neat creatures to see, including the Seahorse tank and some cool looking jellyfish. After this, go back towards the main gate and go left, you'll see way more animals and pavillions out this way. If you continue to go right you will be in for a rather long walk with animals in very spread out pens.

4. If you are planning to do the whole Zoo in a day get a Zoomobile ticket. It's a bit pricey for one day, but if you're going to see everything this is the best way to do it, especially if it's hot and you're not in the best shape. The Zoo is huge and very spread out and there are some fairly large hills to walk up. Getting to Canadiana is a bit of a trek. You can take collapsable strollers (probably an umbrella stroller would be best) on the mobile, but larger ones won't fit. With a Zoomobile ticket you can get on and off at different stops and you get a little tour too.

5. Don't forget your hats, sunscreen and water! Enjoy!

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

Last week one of my kids came down with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. My jaw dropped to the floor when I got the diagnosis. It sounds so serious, well, as it turns out, it's just a virus, and very common in children, especially during the summer months. Aparently it's going around, I have no idea where my daughter got it, but it sure knocked her out!

Here are some of the symptoms that my daughter had. She started out just kind of tired, thought she'd had too much excitement and was worn out. Then she got a tiny little blister on her hand, just one to start. A few days later she had a fever and said that her "body was tired" and she was achy. She also lost her appetite and ate very little. She had white spots on the back of her throat- which I thought was Strep Throat (that's when we carted her off to the doctor's). After the low grade fever she got a few more spots on her hands and wrists. She didn't really have any on her feet and didn't seem to have any blisters in her mouth, but she did complain about her mouth hurting some days earlier but we thought that she just bit her tongue in her sleep.

Since the disease is caused by a virus, it is not treated with anti-biotics, you simply have to wait it out and treat the symptoms (Tylenol for fever and pain). It's been about 10 days now and I can still see that my little firecracker is still under the weather, this virus is a nasty one!

After combing the web I found that the incubation period is 2-7 days and that kids are contagious before the symptoms show and for 14 days after the fever. Some sites said that kids could go back to daycare after 3 days, others said after the blisters had dried up. Another site said that the disease is contagious during the first week of illness and less contagious later on but that the virus could live in feces for longer (14 days). There isn't much that you can do to prevent getting it except for good hygeine. The virus can be tranferred from direct contact with saliva or things that kids have touched or mouthed.

Hopefully, your kids won't be unlucky enough to catch this summer bug!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Since when is Second Hand more than New?

Okay, so for my first official blog entry, I am going to rant a little.

So today, I went to the local kids' second hand store to look for a pair of inexpensive sandals for my one year old after having no luck at the mall. I had no luck at the second hand store either, but was shocked to see that the EXACT SAME pair of Walmart aquasocks that I had contimplated buying for my daughter at $6.97 brand new, were $6.99 at the second hand store!

Now, I understand that the store owner has to make a living, but seriously, the shoes were used! You really do have to be a savvy shopper to make sure you are not getting duped these days. Why would I pay the same for used clothing when I can get it new (albeit on sale) for virtually the same price! I'll admit that for higher end clothing like Gap or Gymboree second hand is a good choice, but even Gymboree is reasonable when it is on sale.

The same store has been charging way too much for baby gear and toys as well, I say skip the middle man and check out Craig's List, Kijiji or a Mom-to-Mom Sale.

Welcome to Markham Mama's Blog!

This is for all the Markham Mama's out there and anyone else who is interested in the musings of a fellow mom.