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Indoor science experiments your kids will love

Cityline | posted Thursday, Mar 19th, 2015

DIY edible snow (aka vanilla ice cream)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup half and half milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 to 3 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 large one gallon Ziploc bag
  • 1 medium Ziploc bag
  • 4 cups of ice
  • 1 cup of salt
  • a kitchen glass

Method:

Place the opened medium Ziploc bag inside the kitchen glass to make it easy to pour the ingredients inside.

Pour in the cup of half and half and add the vanilla extract and sugar.

Seal the medium Ziploc bag, and remove as much air as possible.

Scoop 4 cups of ice into the large Ziploc bag and then add the salt. The salt will help to lower the temperature of the ice faster.

Place the medium Ziploc full of ingredients inside the large bag with ice, remove any excess air and seal tightly.

Shake the large bag for 5 to 10 minutes until the ice cream thickens. Wear gloves as this can get cold on your hands.

Remove the medium bag with the ice cream and rinse with cold water to remove any of the salt from the outside.

Scoop into a bowl and enjoy!

DIY lava lamp

Materials:

  • a medium glass vase or cylinder
  • vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • food colouring
  • Alka Seltzer tablets

Method:

Fill the glass vase with vegetable oil, leaving approximately 3-4 inches at the top.

Pour in the half cup of water.

Add 15-20 drops of food colouring.

Break the Alka Seltzer tablets into quarters and drop them in one at a time.

Voila! You have your very own lava lamp!

DIY volcano

Materials:

  • A deep kitchen casserole dish
  • 2 glass cups
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of baking soda
  • Food colouring (optional)

Method for volcano:

Place one glass cup inside the casserole dish to catch the mess.

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda inside the glass.

In the second cup,  add 1/2 a cup of vinegar, and add a few drops of red food colouring to create the colour of lava.

Pour the vinegar into the glass with baking soda.

Watch it erupt!

Magical inflating balloon

Materials:

  • An empty plastic water bottle
  • A 12″ latex balloon
  • A funnel
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Method:

Using the funnel, add the vinegar into the plastic water bottle.

Rinse the funnel with water and pat dry, then place the funnel into the end of the balloon.

Pour the baking soda into the uninflated balloon and remove the funnel.

Carefully place the opening of the balloon over the opening of the water bottle without letting any of the baking soda fall out of the balloon.

When ready, hold the balloon upright allowing all the baking soda to fall into the water bottle and watch the magic begin.

The reaction will cause the balloon to inflate, but not break!

Rainbow flower bouquet

Materials:

  • A bunch of white flowers (6 carnations work well)
  • Red, blue and yellow food colouring
  • 6 glass cups

Method:

Fill each glass cup with water.

Add a few drops of each food colouring bottle into 3 of the cups. Mix the primary colours to make secondary colours for the remaining cups.

Trim the carnation stems on an angle making them short enough to sit well in each cup.

Place a flower in each coloured water cup, and within 24 hours, the food colouring will have transferred into the petals making for a colourful bouquet!

How to avoid the Halloween sugar rush

Suzanne Ellis | posted Thursday, Oct 23rd, 2014

halloweentrickortreat-featured

Let’s face it. As fun as the jack-o’-lanterns, crazy costumes, and scary movies are, if you’re a kid, Halloween is really all about the trick-or-treat candy haul.

For parents, the idea of their children hopped up on sugar for days on end is positively shudder-inducing, not to mention the fact that the treats are bad news, nutrition-wise. On the other hand, you want your kids to enjoy the occasion, and not letting them have any of their hard-earned Halloween loot seems downright mean.

So where’s the balance? We asked Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh of Sweet Potato Chronicles for their help in ensuring a happy, not-entirely-unhealthy, Halloween for all.

Says Keogh: “I think the hunt is always more fun than the stomach ache of over-indulging. As parents, it’s our jobs to teach moderation. Kids should be allowed to pick a few items they can feast upon on the night of Halloween. It’s when they’re most excited about the loot and one night of sugar-coma won’t kill them. However, after that, there have to be limitations.”

Marsh devised a pretty ingenious strategy to limit the amount of candy consumed post-Halloween – she and her husband sit down with their kids and put a modest price tag on the candy, and then the kids ‘sell’ it to them in exchange for a few dollars that can be put toward a new toy. If they choose to, they can hold onto some of their favourite treats.

“They went for it!” Marsh enthuses. “Of course then the real trick is tossing the excess away rather than my husband and I snacking away at it after the kids go to bed over the course of two months.”

Regardless of whether you decide to try this with your kids, make sure that as the adult, you’re the keeper of the trick-or-treat bag, Keogh advises.

“I don’t think there is any circumstance when the trick-or-treat bag should be kept in a child’s room,” she says. “I know once they’re teenagers there is a lot more negotiation that may happen, but candy should never be stashed away in a kid’s room. You don’t let them stock groceries in there, so why let them keep the candy under the bed?”

Of course before any candy gets eaten, you’ll want to do the standard safety check and remove anything that’s homemade, along with candies that are unwrapped or look as though they may have been tampered with. If your child is allergic to something, be sure to remove any items with that ingredient.

Another way to limit the number of candies your little ones come home with is to make Halloween a two-part affair, says Marsh.

“Have one half of the night be about heading out all dressed up and collecting candy and the other half of the night helping to answer the door and hand out candy to other trick-or-treaters,” she suggests. “That way they’re still having fun but it’s not all about collecting that giant bag of sugar!”

While homemade treats are off-limits in the trick-or-treat bag, they’re great for sending along with your child for their Halloween party at school. Try these amazing pumpkin-gingerbread cupcakes with maple cream cheese icing, courtesy our Sweet Potato Chronicles friends!

For more delicious recipes and family meal ideas, visit www.sweetpotatochronicles.com.

For more Halloween content, check out Cityline.ca’s feature section here.

Help your kids be street-smart this Halloween

Donna Sevilla | posted Tuesday, Oct 21st, 2014

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“Trick or treat, smell my feet! Give me something good to eat!”

I remember what it was like to be able to go trick-or-treating. Every year at my school, police would come to help remind us about the importance of safety on the streets. It’s the one time of the year where kids filled the streets and rang doorbells for sweet or sour treats, with the occasional trick.

Safety is just important today, and if you’re a parent sending your little ones out trick-or-treating, there are a number of issues you should keep in mind.

Dressing safely

Make sure your child’s costume is visible to motorists. One of the many ways is by adhering reflective tape to the costume, or ensuring they’re wearing bright colours (not head-to-toe black). The Rogers Pumpkin Patrol (now in its 30th year) recommends using face make-up — preferably bright make-up — or cutting larger holes for the eyes on a mask so your child can see clearly in all directions. If your child does wear a mask, make sure to tell them to push it up on their head while walking and especially when crossing the street.

Front-door safety

It’s all about the treats and it’s understandable that the kids want what that person at the door has to offer. But make sure your youngster knows to only visit well-lit homes that are clearly open for trick-or-treating business, and to never go inside. Also: it’s essential that kids travel in groups. Ensure your kids plan a route that keeps them close to home, with a designated time for them to return home. Parents should always accompany younger children.

Hitting the streets

The Rogers Pumpkin Patrol will be out in force once again to help keep all trick-or-treaters safe on October 31st. Employee volunteers will be riding around in red Rogers vans and will be available in case your children need assistance.

A special reminder to all motorists to be on the lookout this Halloween. The children might have their noses in their bags in excitement and might not be paying attention to the roads. Keep your eyes out for pint-sized ghouls and goblins, stick to the speed limit, and slow down at intersections to make sure that children crossing can do so safely.

Have a safe and spook-tastic Halloween!

For more Halloween content, check out Cityline.ca’s feature section here.

25 hopefuls vie for Tim’s love on City’s The Bachelor Canada

Cityline | posted Thursday, Sep 18th, 2014

timwarmelsprofile-featured

Tim Warmels looks for love on the second season of The Bachelor Canada, premiering Thursday night on City.

Warmels has 25 bachelorettes competing for his attention, among them a lingerie model, an ER doctor and a personal trainer.

Born and raised in Campbellville, ON, Warmels attended business school at the University of Western Ontario before moving to Toronto and becoming an investment banker on Bay Street. He’s now exploring a number of tech ventures, and enjoys travelling and modelling in his spare time.

The best way to follow along with the show this season is on the brand new responsive site, as well as the Bachelor Canada appDownload it on your iPad to access video and photos from the show, bios of Tim and the contestants, the always-popular live chat, the Virtual Rose game (select your favourite ladies each week and see if they align with Tim’s picks), and the Fantasy Pool! Make your selections before the show airs weekly for your chance to win prizes from The Shopping Channel!

The Bachelor Canada, Season 2 premieres Thursday, September 18 at 8pmET (9MT/7CT) on City.

www.bachelorcanada.ca
@bachelorCA (Twitter)
@BachCanTim (Twitter) / @timbo0505 (Instagram)
#BachCan

5 ways to put money in your pocket right now

Cityline | posted Thursday, Sep 18th, 2014

money-featured

Sounds too good to be true, right? Wrong! If you’re willing to make some temporary minor changes, you have the ability to save as much as you please. Whether you are saving for a trip or just want a little extra cash in your pocket, Bruce Sellery has brought us five genius ways to make that happen.

1. Advertise your motivation prominently
Who wants to cut spending? No one. It requires sacrifice and a change of habit, and that means we have to stay motivated. First you must figure out your “why.”

I want money in my pocket for:

  • Retirement
  • RESPs
  • Emergency fund
  • Vacation

To maintain your “why,” it’s crucial to take precautions so you don’t encounter any slips. Here’s what to do:

  • Write down one word or a get a picture of something you want that requires more money than you can spend. Put it on your fridge, on your phone, or anywhere that it will be in sight. For example, if you are dying to travel to Australia, print out a picture and post it up for the world to see. This picture will be your motivation to keep saving until you can reach your goal.
  • Talk to your friends and family about your plans to save. If you advertise that you are cutting back, you will be held accountable for your actions

2. Go “Cash Only”
Take your credit card and debit card out of your wallet immediately so you can reintroduce the pain of actually spending your money. Let’s face it, we are lazy. When spending is hard, we do less of it. By only using cash, you will have to plan ahead and make the effort to go to the bank and take out money—and who has time for that?! This will limit those impulse buys.

3. Renegotiate your phone and Internet packages
We get lazy about this too. Sometimes we don’t even know where our money is going—especially with our technologies. Even more, sometimes you will sign up for an expensive internet package that you aren’t using to its potential, and therefore wasting your hard-earned money. A major revamp is in order.

Here is the process:

  • Analyze your usage of your cell phone, landline, cable, and internet.
  • Research competitive pricing.
  • Call your provider and ask for “retention.”
  • Negotiate for a better deal.

4. Shop from your own cupboards
Buy only a little bit of bread, eggs, and milk, but mostly eat from your cupboards for as long as you can. Use up what’s in there (this means all those canned beans and rice packets that you always overlook). From here, you will be able to see what you actually use and  what you don’t.

5. Cut out one spending category for 3 months
We have a limited amount of willpower, so there is no use going overboard right away. You can’t control yourself in every area all the time. So choose one category (like smoking, drinking, or clothes shopping) where you spending a lot of money (relatively speaking) and be ruthless about it for 3 months.

Good luck!

Courtesy of Bruce Sellery

www.moneysense.ca
www.moolala.ca
@brucesellery

Big buzz films at TIFF 2014

Suzanne Ellis | posted Thursday, Sep 4th, 2014

theimitationgame-featured

It’s Day One of TIFF 2014, and the stars and filmmakers will soon be descending on Toronto for 10 days of films, red carpets, junkets, and parties.

The Toronto festival has become an early indicator of what films and performances will be in the running for awards show glory the following year. We’re already hearing great things about Olympic wrestling pic Foxcatcher and the performances of Steve Carell and Channing Tatum; Wild, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Reese Witherspoon, who could be headed for her second lead actress Oscar; and St. Vincent, which reportedly features a dynamic leading turn from Bill Murray.

We’ll have to see what unfolds over the next 10 days, but here are the films garnering the biggest buzz so far at TIFF 2014:

Foxcatcher – Arguably the buzziest film at this year’s festival, Foxcatcher is the disturbing and tragic true story of Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (portrayed by Channing Tatum), who decides to go for gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics with the financial assistance of eccentric multimillionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell). The film triumphed at Cannes, with many calling Carell a lock for an Oscar nom.

Cake — Speaking of career-changing performances, Jennifer Aniston is earning raves for her dramatic turn as an unlikable member of a chronic pain support group in this indie. Aniston’s character, Claire, decides to investigate the suicide of a fellow member (Anna Kendrick), which in turn leads to her developing a relationship with the woman’s husband, played by Sam Worthington.

Wild — Quebec’s Jean-Marc Vallée directed both Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto to Oscars last year withDallas Buyers Club, and now some are saying he may do the same for Reese Witherspoon with Wild, based on the bestselling Cheryl Strayed memoir. Strayed made the bold decision to hike 1,000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to help rid herself of personal demons including drug addiction and a destroyed marriage.

St. Vincent — Bill Murray is guaranteed to win over audiences as the cantankerous Vincent, who begins taking care of a local boy after school when his bank account hits rock bottom. Murray is surrounded by a solid cast including Melissa McCarthy as the boy’s mom, Naomi Watts as a Russian prostitute, as well as Terrence Howard and Chris O’Dowd.

Rosewater — Jon Stewart’s feature directorial debut focuses on Iranian journalist Maziar Bahari, who was imprisoned in his home country for five months after appearing on Stewart’s The Daily Show. Gael Garcia Bernal stars as Bahari, who was covering Iran’s elections for Newsweek prior to his appearance on Stewart’s program.

The Drop – Tom Hardy and the late James Gandolfini star in this film about a good-natured bartender who gets mixed up with Chechen mobsters following a robbery. Hardy plays bartender Bob Saginowski, who works at a neighbourhood establishment in Brooklyn, Cousin Marv’s. The bar happens to be a ‘drop bar’ for criminals to hide and launder their money, and when the place is robbed one night, Bob and Marv (James Gandolfini) find themselves facing the ire of the men whose money was lifted.

The Imitation Game — Benedict Cumberbatch stars as British mathmetician Alan Turing, who worked to crack the German Enigma codes during World War II. Turing was subsequently persecuted by the British government on account of his homosexuality. Rounding out the film’s terrific cast: Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, and Charles Dance.

The Riot Club — Festival audiences loved Danish director Lone Scherfig’s An Education, the film that rocketed Carey Mulligan to stardom. Scherfig returns in 2014 with The Riot Club, about an exclusive and debaucherous club of young men at Oxford University.

Nightcrawler — First time director Dan Gilroy teams with Jake Gyllenhaal for this gritty look at the dark side of L.A. Gyllenhaal plays a thief-turned-crime scene photographer who tries to out-do his competition in order to sell footage to local TV stations.

While We’re Young — Director Noah Baumbach reteams with Ben Stiller (they worked together in 2010 on Greenberg) for this film about an aging couple seeking to reclaim a bit of their youth. Naomi Watts plays Stiller’s wife, while Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfriend play the vivacious young couple that inspires them to live life a bit more spontaneously.

What movie are you most excited about at TIFF14? Comment below, and send your reviews/photos tosubmissions@cityline.ca. We may end up using them on Cityline.ca!

Top photo: Still from The Imitation Game

The star-spotting guide to TIFF 2014

Alexandra Davies | posted Thursday, Sep 4th, 2014

Benedict Cumberbatch on the red carpet for 'The Fifth Estate' on Sept. 5, 2013. CITY/Winston Sih.

As one of the most important and well-respected film festivals in the world begins, stars from all over are making their way to Canada’s biggest city for the Toronto International Film Festival. Showcasing 366 films over ten event-packed days, odds are one of your favourite actors/actresses will be gracing T.O. to support their films, dine, party, and enjoy everything the city has to offer.

Heavy-hitters such as Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Denzel Washington, Anna Kendrick, Jon Stewart, Benedict Cumberbatch, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, John Travolta, Kristen Wiig, Adam Sandler, Ryan Reynolds, Bill Murray, Keira Knightley, and Morgan Freeman will be strutting down the red carpet this year— but they will also be out and about on the town. For those who want to skip the films and get right down to the business of celeb-spotting, we have curated the top places you will likely see your favourite A-lister.

The airport:
Well, the stars need to get here somehow, and it’s usually by plane. If the hustle and bustle of peeking through the paparazzi and screaming fans only to see half of Channing Tatum’s glorious jawline sounds like a waste of time, try the airport! Stake out the terminals that have arriving planes from Air Canada or U.S carriers.

Hotels:
Basically, if you can think of a posh hotel in Toronto’s downtown core, there’s a good chance a star will be staying there. The Ritz-CarltonShangri-LaSoHo MetropolitanInterContinental YorkvilleHotel Le GermainTrumpFour Seasons,Windsor ArmsPark HyattThe Drake, and the Hazelton Hotel are some key players in the hotel game that will attract A-listers. Either you can try to score a room in one of these hotels, or just “casually” walk by each multiple times a day— alternately, check out the hotel’s restaurant and lobby bar for an inside look.

Theatres:
This year TIFF is screening films in 11 different theatres around Toronto. Do your homework to find out when and where your favourite stars are scheduled to be walking the red carpet and make sure to arrive extra early to see them hop out of their ride. If you’re in the market to see the high-profile celebs, head to the galas. Some major venues to consider areRoy Thomson Hall, the Visa Screening Room (Elgin/Winter Garden), and the Princess of Wales. There’s also the venue at the heart of the festival, the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Shopping:
Oh, they will be shopping. It’s a safe bet to assume stars will be hitting up luxury stores, but it’s really what they are in the market for. Yorkville is home to high-end brands and will most likely be the stomping grounds for celebs these next few days. Try out Holt Renfrew, peek into high-end label stores on Bloor, and sift through trendy boutiques along Queen West.

Restaurants and bars:
Celebs will be flooding restaurants across the city, so be sure to keep a look-out when turning corners. Some notable restaurants and bars to swing by during the festival are Hudson KitchenLa SocietéThe DrakeThe Drake One Fifty,Bar BucaBrassaiiColetteThe HoxtonCafé Boulud and BarSoho House (this one is members-only, but you might see stars if you hang out nearby!), One at the Hazelton Hotel, the rooftop bar at the Thompson Hotel, and of course the Starbucks in Yorkville will surely be swarming with caffeine-hungry stars.

We want to hear about your TIFF14 star-spotting stories! Tell us about it in the comments, tweet at us@CitylineCA, or email your story and/or photos to submissions@cityline.ca!

How to avoid the ‘Freshman 15′

Alexandra Davies | posted Tuesday, Sep 2nd, 2014

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The rumours are true—the dreaded “Freshman 15” really does exist. For those unaware, the Freshman 15 is a nickname for the extra weight students typically gain in their first year — and we won’t lie, it is difficult to avoid. Myself? Well, I managed to gain my Freshman 15 thanks to copious amounts of Mini Eggs and the freshly baked chocolate chip cookies served all day every day. Who would pass that up!?

As you take your first steps into residence, your home-cooked hearty meals turn into mere memories. Your new life is composed of ready-made crispy homefries, a make-your-own sandwich bar conveniently open ’til the wee hours of the morning, and all the bulk candy your stomach can hold. Why would anyone choose a boring ol’ salad when Thursday is Pizza Day? To make things worse, students are typically set up with a meal plan that is pre-paid — so it really looks like you are getting all this glorious food for no money at all. Why hello, heaven!

I clearly fell into this trap and I know how hard it is to work off. To help out all the soon-to-be university students looking to dodge their own Freshman 15, I have composed a list of a few helpful hints to keep you on track, focused, and ready to enjoy a happy and healthy year.

Take Advantage of the Campus Gym
Odds are your campus will have a recreation centre of some kind. If you have the option for a membership, seriously consider getting one. Not only will you have full access to their fitness equipment, the price of the membership will motivate you to get your money’s worth. If your tuition covers a full membership, that is even better. Don’t let your money go to waste — take advantage of all the cardio classes and weight machines that you can get your hands on! Busy schedule? Excuses, excuses! In between your classes swing by the gym for a 30-minute cardio boost. You’ll be in and out well before Psychology starts.

Buddy Up
Committing to hit the gym yourself is hard, especially if you’re like me and “promise” to break a sweat after a couple episodes of Orange Is the New Black. But let’s get real — that never ends up happening. If you make plans with a friend to tackle a group fitness class, you’ll feel obligated to go. Bonus points: Take this same friend to the cafeteria where you can influence each other to choose healthier meals. You will be surprised at what can come from making your health a team effort.

Plan Your Meals Ahead
I know this sounds like a bore and very time consuming, but it will be worth it. Studies show that if you record what you eat in a journal, your odds of losing weight will increase. Planning out your meals ahead of time forces you to think about your calorie intake and can influence healthier choices while you scope out your dinner. Big lunch? Instead of selecting the chicken parmesan for dinner, opt for a salad with chickpeas, a little feta cheese, and your favourite veggies! There is always a healthy alternative that tastes good and is good for you.

Educate Yourself
What is the proper amount of calories for my age and height? I had no idea when I first stepped into my residence cafeteria. Without help from my parents, who usually took care of my nutrition, all I saw were the juicy hamburgers and omelettes bigger than my head. Educating yourself on healthy options and how much protein, carbohydrates, etc, you should be having per day is crucial for keeping control of your meals. Becoming aware of your body and what is good for it can significantly help to keep off the pounds. Most cafeterias will post Canada’s Food Guide on their walls, but if they don’t, you can find it here.

Final Thoughts
The most important note to take from this is to use common sense and make smart food choices as often as possible. A proper combination of exercise and healthy eating can save you from that first-year weight gain worry.

Do you have any anti-’Freshman 15′ tips and tricks of your own? Let us know in the comments below!

For more back-to-school content from Cityline, click here.

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