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Keeping your kids’ closet, toys + bathrooms organized

Janice Meredith | posted Thursday, Apr 20th, 2017

Organizing your kids and having them keep it that way!

First off you need to edit out and see what you have left to organize before you begin any system.

Kids are actually quite used to everything having a place and having to be a part of putting it back. They thrive on the success of getting things in the right place.  At school everything is labeled or has a place, so let’s keep that same action going at home.

  1. Closet:

Keeps things simple, clean and organized. But most importantly, at your child’s eye level and within arms reach. Try to keep out-of-season inventory out of the way.

Expandable Bar, Life At Home, Real Canadian Super Store, $19.99

More things are not helpful.  All their clothes should be able to fit in their room. If there is overflow, you have too much stuff.

Two baskets keep small things (that get passed on once it’s full) or bigger incoming items making rotating the items an ongoing practice.

Each child has its own type/colour of hanger and own laundry bin which makes it easier for distributing from the laundry room as kids should be putting away their own laundry.

Felt slim profile hangers, Homesense, $6.99

The third upper closet bin is for keepsakes. So they can dump/place/toss into the bin through out the school year and then at the end of the school year, this closet bin gets edited and emptied into the real keepsake bin. They make their own choices about what to keep.

There are also digital websites to host your child’s art projects that you can share with family once you have taken a picture of it. Artsomia or ArtKive

Morning and bedtime routines help solidify the actions so we keep to the organization. They can see everything they own. They are a part of putting it away If something is missing, we know quickly ie hat or mitts as it is not in it’s place.

Just like with adults, when we can see everything we have we are more inclined to use everything we have.  Also means we won’t ask for what we don’t need. Kids understand things have to be removed to get something new.

2. Toys:

I provide the storage container for toys and it’s their choice and in their control about which toys to keep in that limited space. It’s also good to reference back on when birthday’s or gift-receiving to know what they have and what they are using.

Divide toys based on the use – common – keep low and easily accessible, less frequent – move higher.

Easy access baskets, Homesense, $12.99 –small, $16.99 – large

With everything in a bin, you can rotate out and in toys to keep them fresh. 2-3 bins accessible at a time, the others in a cupboard.

Underbed storage is a great place for toys, games and books. Especially for those sharing bedrooms. It’s their sacred place.

Skubb soft side small storage bins, Ikea, $9.99

Stuffies have one spot to go. Anymore and some need to be edited out and donated.

Woven basket, Real Canadian Super Store, $23.37

Back of door shoe organizers are the best for sorting game figures, keep sakes, hair accessories and so much more.

Life At Home over the door organizer Real Canadian Super Store, $24.99

Papers get collected and organized in one spot.

Grundtal magnetic knife strip, Ikea, $14.99

Magnetic bulldog clips, Staples, $5.43

Wood wall storage with wire bins, Homesense, $59.99

3. Bathroom:

They each have a hook and a drawer  for their own product. My boys are all so different that it’s an easier time for them to simply use their own toothpaste in their own way. Meaning one is messy, one is so proper, etc. Instead of buying three tubes of toothpaste through the year, I buy three for them each that all last that same time but without fighting.

Towels and robes get hung on their own hooks which means they aren’t laying on the floor in a wet puddle.

Kitchy fish hooks Homesense $1.99

Blecka hooks Ikea, $6.99

My kids know with me if it isn’t done correctly, they can’t move on to what they want – snack, play until things are put back in their spot. Obviously you have to be a gate keeper but soon it does become more effortless on their part. We have fewer missing items when things are organized. Fewer chaotic starts or finishes to our day. It’s taught on the premise that it’s to be respectful way for us all to live and get along.

9 places to donate old clothing and furniture

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 18th, 2017

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Furniture drop-off:

Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore

Allows people to drop off their unwanted furniture at locations across Canada

Furniture bank

Accepts gently used furniture, housewares, electronics and artwork that go directly to families in need

Shelter and Charity:

Donating to shelters: 

Red Door Family Shelter 

Accepts gently used seasonal clothes and shoes, household items and new baby items

Charity pick-up: 

Clothesline

Will pick up bags of gently used items like clothing, bedding and linens right from your doorstep.

Thrift stores and eyeglasses

Donating to thrift stores: 

Salvation Army Thrift Store

Clothing, furniture, electronics and antiques are among the list of accepted

Prescription eyeglasses:

The Lions Club

collects, cleans, and sorts eye glasses (as well as hearing aids), and provides them to needy people in many countries around the world.

Stores and mom-to-mom

Selling back to stores: 

Once Upon A Child

Allows you to sell everything kid related back to the store for a percentage of the original price.

Play it again sports 

Offers the same service with on-the-spot evaluation of items brought in, but with used sports and fitness equipment.

Mom to Mom Sales    

Toronto Mom to Mom, indoor garage sale of baby/child items

Tips from BT viewers:

 

4 easy ways to reduce your data usage

Prajakta Dhopade | posted Thursday, Apr 6th, 2017

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Smartphones are ultra-capable devices that have proven to be extremely useful when you’re out and need to send an email or download a presentation without access to a computer. Being connected on the go is a must and while some may rely on free Wifi hotspots, most phone users have data plans that offer 3G or LTE service ranging from 100 megabytes a month to a more robust (and pricier) 10 gigabyte bandwidth. There are plenty of data plan deals out there but no matter what you choose, it’s important to stay within your bandwidth limit—otherwise your next monthly phone bill may be several dollars more than you expected. Here are four ways to keep your data usage in check.

1. Be aware of how much you actually use.

Keep track of how much cellular data you really need by downloading an app like My Data Manager (available for Android and iOS) to log your usage. Some smartphones let you keep track of data hogs internally. On iPhones, go to General > Cellular and scroll down to see all your apps and how much data they’ve used since you last refreshed the counter. Try refreshing every month to keep track. You might even have the option of turning off data usage for certain apps, which could come in handy. Finding the root of your overage problem will make combatting the extra few dollars on your monthly bill that much easier.

2. Try the opt-in approach.

If you have a smaller data plan you may want to try the opt-in approach and turn off your data completely.“You’ll still be able to text, you’ll still be able to place calls and receive calls but by default your phone won’t use any of your mobile data and then on those occasional times when you need to look something up on the web or need to use Google maps, go in, turn it on and do what you need to do,” suggests tech expert Simon Cohen. This way you only use your cellular data when you really need it and prevent any background processes from sucking up precious bandwidth when you’re not using your phone.

3. Streaming videos uses more cellular data than you might realize.

“There’s simply no way of consuming video without consuming quite a bit of bandwidth,” says Cohen. “An hour and a half of HD video can easily use up 800 mb to 1 GB of data before you know it.” While browsing your timeline, you may have noticed that social media services like Facebook and Twitter automatically play videos as you scroll past them. Access the settings for the apps and disable this function or enable it for when you’re connected to wifi only to ensure that you don’t waste data without even realizing.

4. Turn off location services.

While your phone’s GPS doesn’t necessarily use data itself, keeping it on means that other apps are constantly using your location (and mobile data) to churn out more information about what’s nearby. Otherwise, you can disable certain apps from using your location to minimize this data-hogging effect.


6 unique summer camps for kids

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Apr 5th, 2017

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  1. Rooks to Cooks

Where: Midtown Toronto

Age: 5 to 11

Description: Get kids packing their own lunch and even preparing dinner. Depending on the class, kids can focus on kitchen skills (chopping, cooking techniques) or baking. They bring home some of the food they cook, and you get to be a guest at their pop-up restaurant during the week.

Price: $320-400

2. Girls Rock Camp Toronto

Girls 8-16 can learn their choice of instrument over a week-long period at the Sony Centre. Mentoring female rockers will help the girls play in a band, write songs and perform live on stage. The camp aims to help boost self-esteem and self-empowerment. The camps are four-days long and $300.

3. Opera Camp

Located at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, kids will write and compose their own operas, which includes choosing a role, rehearsing and creating costumes, props and a set for their production that they will perform for their loved ones on the last day. There are separate camps for grades 1-3, 4-8 and 9-12. Prices range from $310-$360.

4. News Academy

The News Academy at Ryerson teaches kids ages 14-17 how to shoot and edit their own video news stories. Kids will work in supervised groups and tackle news stories in downtown Toronto. They also will gain access to the television studio where they will record a professional newscast. Prices range from $355-$375.

5. Toronto Brigantine

A sailing program for kids 13-18. A more advanced program, teens can learn to sail large brigantine ships across Lake Ontario while being a part of a seamen crew.  Prices range from $120- $225 a week, and the camp is for ages 5-12.

6. SPFX Makeup Summer Camp

The College of Makeup Art and Design offers a special effects makeup summer camp for ages 13-18. Kids can learn how to create ugly bruises, scars, burns and zombie makeup. The week-long workshop costs $500 and includes a makeup kit.

Top 4 overlooked tax deductions & credits to score you a big return

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Apr 4th, 2017

Filing your taxes can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. The hardest part is knowing what you’re eligible to deduct and claim for credits on your return. There are many tax-saving opportunities that people easily forget about and this list is a good reminder on what kind of tax relief is available to you as a taxpayer.

What’s the difference between a deduction and credit?

A tax deduction reduces the amount of income you have subject to the tax whereas the tax credit reduces the tax owing.

Here are the top 4 overlooked tax deductions & credits you may not have known could score you a big return.

1. Medical Expenses- (Lines 330 and 331)

Services:

  • Dental
  •  Tutoring for someone with a learning disability

Products:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Equipment to relieve or treat an illness.
  • Gluten-Free products

2. Charitable contributions (Line 349)

  • Keep track of your receipts
  • Consider pooling them with your spouse, credit goes up the more you donate after $200.
  • Union / Professional Dues (LINE 212)
  • Moving expenses deduction if you are moving at least 40km to be closer to work. (Line 248)
  • Real estate commissions
  • Transportation and storage
  • Utilities and disconnections
  • Travel expenses- hotels and meals

3. The Disability Tax Credit (Lines 316-318)

Tax credit for people with a disability or those helping a person with a disability.

  • Child with Type 1 Diabetes
  •  Parkinson’s
  • Depression

4. Eligible Dependent Credit (Line 305)

You may be able to claim this amount for one other person if at any time in the year you met all of the following conditions at once:

  • You did not have a spouse or common-law partner or, if you did, you were not living with, supporting, or being supported by that person.
  • You supported a dependant in 2016.
  • You lived with the dependant (in most cases in Canada) in a home you maintained. You cannot claim this amount for a person who was only visiting you.

Top 10 Toronto real estate questions answered

BT Toronto | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

for sale

Erica Smith and Lorena Magallanes from Condo Chicks Inc. share their tips for getting into the condo market–what should you be looking out for before making a purchase?

What are Condo reserve numbers?: The number determines the health of the building which is important for buyers to know. The financials will be detailed in the status certificate which should be reviewed by a lawyer to understand the financial health of the building.

Should you buy now? Choosing a time to buy is solely a personal decision.  At this point in time, demand is stronger than supply which is driving up pricing. Buyers have to understand that they will be paying a premium for any property right now and have to be okay with it.

When to buy? There is no specific time to buy. It’s up to the buyers. When the ideal property comes up, buyers need to jump and pay a premium for it in this market.

Condo fees – what are they and how to budget for them?:  Condo fees are typically a concern for buyers. The common question is if they will go up. All fees do go up, however there are some tips and tricks to predict how much they will go up.

Q: Market value vs what people are paying? 

A: There is no market value. The new market value is how much  a buyer is willing to pay for a property.

Q: Mortgage rules? 

A: Talk to your bank first to know what you can afford as the rules are always changing.

Q: Maintenance fees and taxes? 

A: Factor in your monthly carrying costs

Q: Utilities? 

A: Most of the time utilities are not part of your maintenance fees.

Q: Closing costs, which include land transfer taxes? 

A: Understand all your closing costs on top of your land transfer tax.

Q: Financials of the building (status certificate)? 

A:  Great document to give you an idea of the financial health of the building.

Q:  Upcoming developments in the area? 

A: Understand what is happening in the area. A new condo might affect your current view!

Q: Tax implications? 

A: They are different if you’re an end user or an investor

Q: Inclusions and Exclusions in the unit? 

A: Make sure you understand what is included. Is that chandelier you love staying or going?

Q: Condo rules including pet restrictions, outdoor space. 

A: Make sure you can bring your beloved pet and know your limitations on your balcony. BBQ’s are not always allowed.

Border Runners: The quiet NY street that leads a steady stream of asylum seekers to Canada

Avery Haines | posted Wednesday, Mar 29th, 2017

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A cab on Roxham Road only means one thing.

Car after car, unloading group after group, each surreptitiously approaching a sign that clearly reads, “Road Closed.”

“This is an international border,” hollers a man standing guard.  “You can’t cross. If you cross, you’ll be arrested.”

But it happens day after day at this juncture in Plattsburgh, New York, where the land changes from America’s to Canada’s in a patch not much larger than the average sidewalk.

On this Tuesday in March, two men get out of their cab and take their first few steps into Canada with their arms stretched up. One man drops to his knees.

“You can stand up,” an RCMP guard is heard telling him.

Ruby Lavalley, who lives in the last house along Roxham Road, sees these scenes play out ten or twenty times a day.

“People coming in, running over the border. They tell them to stop,” she says.  If they cross they’re going to get arrested. But they just proceed over.”

Lavalley’s sense is that the surge of asylum seekers can be credited to her new President, who has promised to crack down on illegal refugees.  They are escaping to Canada to claim refugee status. Illegally crossing is a fast track to getting processed.

Lavalley is astonished that her quiet street has turned into the final steps on the American side of what is now known as the Underground Refugee Railroad.

“[They’re] literally falling just to get on the other side,” she says.

What happens on the other side of this invisible line is also repeated every day. The two men who crossed this morning will be frisked, taken to the legal border crossing just down the way, and then they’ll make their claim for asylum in Canada.

According to the RCMP, in the first two months of 2017, 1,134 asylum seekers crossed the Canadian border illegally. Toronto immigration lawyer Guidy Mamann predicts the numbers will only spike in the coming months.

“We are going to see a steep increase in those numbers,” he says.  “What you are seeing right now, [is] only those people who want to be seen. There are other people who are going further down the fence who do not want to be detected and they’re coming across with the intention of avoiding the system.”

Back in Plattsburgh, yet another group of refugees has made it to the edge of Roxham Road, which ironically is accessed by a road with the title of “North Star.”

A young man and a distraught older couple repeat the words: “Canada, Canada.”

The Canadian police tell them they’re safe.

Internship opportunity at Breakfast Television – Summer 2017

BT Toronto | posted Thursday, Mar 23rd, 2017

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Passionate about breaking news, lifestyle content, social media, and producing creative and engaging stories for television and online?

Breakfast Television is a three-and-a-half hour LIVE television news and lifestyle production and is looking for a full-time digital intern for its Summer 2017 term (May through August). The successful applicant must be studying a relevant program, and the internship must be part of their school curriculum.

We’re looking for an individual who’s bright, creative, and energetic, with a passion for news- and lifestyle-themed content, plus the ability to hunt down the latest trends before they go viral! Knowledge of video production and editing would be considered a strong asset.

The position is a full-time, five-day-a-week program, running from 6 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday in our downtown Toronto studios.

Should you fulfill the requirements and wish to apply for the position, please forward your resume and cover letter, along with your placement officer’s name and contact info, to:

comments@bttoronto.ca
Please include ‘Internship‘ in the subject line.

Alternately, send a hard copy to:

City – Rogers Broadcasting Ltd.
Breakfast Television Internship Program
33 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1B8

If we are interested in following up with you, we will be in touch to set up an interview.

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