10 Things to do with Your Teens this Family Day Weekend   By Julyanna Trickey Stuck on what to do this Family Day weekend? Whether you’re looking for some outdoor activities or indoor fun, we have ideas to keep the family busy and entertained, while staying safe from Covid-19. Bundle Up and Hit the Trails Enjoy some outside winter activity in your local provincial parks and conservation areas that offer snowshoeing and hiking trails! Snowshoeing is a safe and inclusive activity for all ages and skill levels, plus it’s fun to do as a family! Get some fresh air and maybe even work up a sweat trying something new this weekend! Check out some of these great Ontario Parks that offer snowshoeing: Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area – Kingston, ON Guindon Park - Cornwall, ON Summerstown Trails- Stormont, Dundas, & Glengarry Counties, ON Quinte Conservation Area- Bay of Quinte, ON Get the Skates Out! Take advantage of the outdoor rinks and skating trails! Lace up the skates and meander through forested skate trails or head over to the nearest skating rink. Many venues require you to book ahead to control the number of guests, so make sure you don’t miss out! If you live in Southern Ontario – check out some of the following places: Rideau Canal – the world’s largest skating rink at 7.8km long Countryside Adventures – a family-friendly winter destination with a 3km skating trail located 45 minutes outside of Ottawa and 30 minutes from Cornwall RiverOak Skating Trail – a three-km skating trail through the forest located 30 minutes outside of Ottawa Arrowhead Provincial Park – a 1.3 km skating path through the forest in Huntsville Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh Skating Trail – a 1.2 km loop around 12 acres of cranberries in the Muskoka Lakes region See Some Family and Friends (safely of course) Well, it is called Family Day weekend after all so why not enjoy some family or friend time with a socially distanced walk or a group Zoom call. A friendly face may be just what we need this weekend to chase away those winter (and pandemic) blues! Make Brunch Since we can’t go out to have brunch this weekend, plan your own at home! Get the whole family involved by giving everyone a task, like flipping the pancakes or cutting up the strawberries. You can make it as simple or as fancy as you like! Stay in to Get Out If you like puzzles, mysteries and problem-solving,

6 Valentine's Day Gifts Your Teen Will Love Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers! It’s the perfect opportunity to have some fun with your teen and show them how much you love them! If you’re stuck on thinking about gifts they’ll surely admire, we have some gift ideas your teen will swoon over! We might not be going out much these days but it’s still fun to switch up your makeup. Why not customize a little makeup gift for your teen with some new eyeshadows and lip balms? We love this fun Quo Beauty Wake Up Micro Eyeshadow Quad from Shoppersdrugmart.ca. It’s super cute and combines curated colours that your teen can wear together or alone to create their perfect eye look. We also love these Quo Beauty Avocado Lip Balms. They not only smell delicious — they come in flavours like Pink Lemonade and Bubblegum Burst — but they’re lightly tinted to give you just a hint of colour. They are also formulated with avocado oil to help provide the moisture we need during these colder, dryer months! If your teen is looking to get into their own signature scent, Body Fantasies has launched two new scents in body sprays —. Sweet Sunrise and Vanilla. You can grab them at Walmart.ca and they just make for a really nice light, fresh spritz that’s perfectly indulgent for Valentine’s Day. We can’t forget about our guys! They need some pampering too! This Bulldog Moisturizer is the perfect place to start for the teen who doesn’t know how to start a skin care regimen. It’s an everyday moisturizer that’s hydrating, non-greasy and uses natural ingredients like aloe vera and green tea. It’s also a cruelty-free product that's also sustainable, down to its packaging. If you're doing a movie night with your teen this Valentine's Day, why not up the experience with a soundbar? This Roku StreamBar is an affordable two-in-one device that lets you stream all your favourite content in 4K quality while providing a crisp, clear sound that's way better than your TV speakers. You can also control it with your Alexa or Google Assistant, which is pretty cool. You can't do a movie night without snacks! We're loving these Mini Chewy bars from KIND. They’re the perfect bite when you want a little sweet treat because they have a sweet coating and a decadent drizzle, but they’re actually made with three whole grains and are only

3 Mompreneurs Making a Mark Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of sources but for these three women, inspiration sparked from their journeys to find happiness, health and organization in their daily lives as moms. Shantelle Bisson, Adriana Gentile and Justine McDonald are three women entrepreneurs making an impact in the lives of those needing support to reach their goals. These women are experts in helping others achieve their best. Learn how each of these moms is making her mark. Shantelle Bisson Short story bio about your business My parenting book, Raising Your Kids Without Losing Your Cool, and the products I’m currently creating to work in conjunction with the book/brand, came about because I’m actually not very good at keeping my cool!  I’m a total Type-A, on-the-spectrum-OCD kind-of gal, and I find everyday tasks like parenting teens, moving, aging and breaking up to be pretty challenging.  So, I had to do something to help myself get through life with more joy, peace, and fun.  Enter me writing my first book, which will become the beginning of a series of life books to assist others in getting through this thing called life, or to help other people start off their parenting journey with more preparation, confidence and a lot less angst. How you came up with it The way I came up with the Without Losing Your Cool brand was from me getting my girls to adulthood with my cool still intact.  I realized that if somebody like ME could get to the other side of that difficult, challenging, ever-changing part of life, then I can and should help others do the same!  I have witnessed friends entering the unknown part of parenting years and knew I could support them through it and even help them enjoy it at the same time!  I am also a master at moving. I’ve done it 25 times in the almost 33 years I’ve been married to my husband. I actually LOVE moving and renovating and organizing. I’m always amazed to hear other people say that they don’t!  From things in my life that I have done well and things I enjoy doing where others do not, I felt that creating a business centered around helping people master their time spent in uncomfortable, new and unchartered parts of their lives was a no-brainer. Why it's important? I believe letting people know that it’s okay to lose their cool while they’re in the

3 Holiday Traditions to Connect with Your Teen   By Bernardo Salcido Starting this year as a new principal at middle school has been a wild ride to say the least. I think a coworker of mine said it best though, “The days are long, and the weeks are short.” Christmas sneaks up fast every year and it is my favourite time of year. It’s a time to reflect, connect, and take care of what matters most — family. Despite all the craziness 2020 has brought, we still have an opportunity to love the ones around us. These three strategies are excellent ways to dive deeper into your relationship with your teen and enjoy some time together. Holiday lights and hot cocoa This has been a favourite tradition ever since my children were little, and it still continues to deliver smiles even now that my kids are teenagers. Make a cup of cocoa in a travel mug for each family member, drive to where you know some good light displays are located and crank the Christmas music. Bake and decorate some cookies Finding a simple sugar cookie recipe and giving it a try definitely will lead to time together and enjoyment. The act of completing a task like baking helps a teenager let down their guard and open up. Make sure to prepare some frosting in a Ziploc bag so everyone can have fun making Christmas trees and Snowflakes on the cookies. Decorate and chill Decking your place out with Christmas décor — both new and old will get everyone in the holiday spirit! Break out your decorations from years’ past and get the entire family involved. Once the decorating is finished, break out the holiday snacks and sweet treats and turn on a holiday classic like Charlie Brown or The Grinch. This will surely bring out the kid that still lives in all of us — teens and parents alike. Parent mentor, middle school principal, and author, Bernardo Salcido assists parents with strategies to connect with teenagers. Follow Bernardo’s parenting advice on these social platforms: YOUTUBE - Connecting_with_teens INSTAGRAM - @connecting_with_teens BUY BOOK - https://www.iuniverse.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/807601-connecteen

How to Talk to our Girls about Sex and Pleasure   By Amy MacLachlan “Pleasure is not synonymous with sex,” says Melissa Pintor Carnagey, author of Sex Positive Talks to Have with Kids. “Pleasure is with us our entire lives. It’s a birthright. And it’s through pleasure that we come to know ourselves and the world around us.” Carnagey is the founder of Sex Positive Families, an organization devoted to teaching parents and young people how to talk about sex. Having raised three children, including a daughter who is now 21, she is seeing the positive effects of openly and intentionally teaching her kids to be proud of their bodies, to trust their intuition and that sex is a good and pleasurable thing. “When we talk about pleasure, we’re actually talking about how girls can keep themselves safe,” says Carnagey, who is also a social worker, having spent 15 years in the area of HIV and sexual health. “Teaching children about consent from a very young age and talking about how pleasure is a force in all aspects of our lives, actually prepares them for when they do have sex.” There are all too many alarming stats and stories about things like girls and body image; pressures around giving oral sex and texting naked photos; and consent and safety issues. According to Carnagey, talking openly about pleasure teaches girls to get to know their bodies and to be comfortable with what they can do. It also empowers them to voice their needs and desires — something girls often aren’t allowed to acknowledge. On the flip side, it teaches girls about personal boundaries, and to know when things don’t feel good. “By erasing pleasure from sex ed, we’re failing to prepare our young people for safer, more satisfying experiences,” she says. Teaching girls about pleasure isn’t just about sex, then. It’s about laying the groundwork for healthy relationships, with others and with themselves. But where do we start? Isn’t it awkward? What should parents say? First, relax. Second, be encouraged that honest conversations about this sort of stuff are a great opportunity to connect and build a trusting relationship with your daughter. Third, keep reading. There are ideas and tips (and lots of reasons why!) to talk to your tweens and teens about pleasure and sex. Start with self-reflection Sara Dimerman is a psychologist working with children and teens and believes that when parents struggle with talking about sex, some self-reflection might be

12 Gifts for the Teen On Your List Ask any parent who is the most difficult person to buy for on their list and they’ll most likely say it’s their teenager. With trends and fads that can come and go as fast as a winter blizzard, it can be downright dizzying to choose the right gift. That’s why, this holiday season, we handpicked some holiday gifts that any teen would love to receive this Christmas. Turn Game Night Upside Down We’re all home now more than ever and it’s easy to just dissipate to separate rooms and stare at our devices. Parents looking for ways to connect with their teens can do so with a good board game! This Upside Down Challenge from Giant Tiger is hilarious!  You wear the goggles that make everything appear upside down and then you have to complete a series of challenges like filling the water bottle or write your name! It’s so much fun! You could even up the stakes and make a fun rivalry out of it. “Winner gets out of shoveling the next storm that hits!” https://www.gianttiger.com/507239/p/507239 Get Your Zen On We’re all stressed to the max these days — parents and teens included. While many would escape to the spa for some downtime, they might not feel comfortable right now doing so. So, why not grab your teen and have an at-home spa day?  This Life Brand Charcoal Set from Shoppers Drug Mart is great for detoxifying skin and leaving your complexion looking renewed and refreshed. The set includes a charcoal cleanser, facial cleansing wipes, four facial masks, and a bonus spa headband to match. And at $15, it’s a steal!! https://www1.shoppersdrugmart.ca/ Beautify Your Skin Care Routine This year, Quo Beauty upped its holiday game. Its limited-edition holiday collection is completely revamped — it’s 100% cruelty-free and has a playful, modern look. Besides makeup, they have a ton of accessories and tools too. Some of our favourite picks include the super-soft pink headband and Satin Cat Eye Mask with embroidered lashes. They are perfect for nighttime beauty routines! And how about this cute holiday penguin blending sponge? You can find all these beautiful gifts online at shoppersdrugmart.ca Give Back If there’s anything this pandemic has taught us, it’s to be grateful for what we have. Let your teen help you find a charity to give back to because it really teaches them about the joy of giving back and

6 Ways to Have Fun During the Holidays on a Budget By Olha Vovk It’s official. According to a survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies, half of Canadians view 2020 as the worst year ever. It’s a small wonder since according to Statistics Canada, 12.4 per cent of local paid workers aged 15 to 64 were laid-off monthly since February. And, as we’re in the thick of the second wave of Covid-19, the situation does not seem to be getting any better. But there’s good news! You can still have a festive, fun holiday season with your teens, even if you’re on a budget. Educator and counselor, Sarah Fewson, recommends focusing on balance and positive well-being during the winter holidays. “Attempt to engage in outdoor activities, fit in exercise, and do not forget to spend a few minutes a day in mindful silence to remain connected to your thoughts and feelings.” Need more ideas to spread the Christmas cheer? Cultural and developmental service worker, Diana Prokofieva offers up these tips on how you can still enjoy the festivities of the holidays on the cheap. Bring in the New Year in the Backyard If you have an adventurous nature and are not afraid of the cold, welcome New Year’s Eve outdoors. Gather your family around a bonfire in your backyard, decorate your trees and spend time roasting marshmallows, sipping hot cocoa and singing Auld Lang Side at midnight. Start a family potluck challenge Parties may be out this year, so why not try a family potluck challenge instead? Each day a new family member can prepare a dish. Zoom your extended family members, exchange recipes with your friends and post your Insta-worthy pictures of your masterpieces on the Gram. Deck Your Halls Instead of buying a Christmas tree, incorporate home plants and decorate them with decor from a dollar store or Christmas ornaments you already have at home. Before you know it, the Santa hats, twinkle lights and Christmas stockings will fill your home with festive flair. Play The “Elephant” Game The “elephant game” is another way to save money on presents. Instead of buying gifts for the whole family, consider preparing one present per person, nicely wrapped. A host puts pieces of paper with numbers into a hat and gets every participant to pull a piece from the hat to determine their order of turn. Each player then chooses whether to open a new present from the bunch or steal the gift

5 Tips to Help Kids Find Inner Peace During the Pandemic This school year looks like nothing we’ve seen before. Among the many challenges teenagers and young adults are facing in their life, a global pandemic is sure to add some stress! Conversations with your child about mindfulness will have immediate benefits to their mental well-being. It will not only help them navigate the unprecedented school year ahead, but it will also introduce healthy habits they can build on for a lifetime of inner peace. Of all the ancient and modern practices designed to wake us up, the simple practice of mindfulness has arrived at the forefront of our cultural sensibility. Over 30 years ago, when Jon Kabat-Zinn began sitting and adapting Zen Buddhist mindfulness practices to the healthcare arena at UMass Medical Center and writing Full Catastrophe Living, no one and certainly not he, could have predicted the Mindful Revolution. While so much is out of our control right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more vital than ever to focus on taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. This must begin with the personal responsibility of mindful living. Here are some proactive everyday tips to help your child maintain his/her mental health and find inner peace during times of unrest and uncertainty: Stay Balanced and Grounded through Self-Care Remember you’re not alone if you’re worried or anxious. Schedule self-care into your day and do at least one thing for yourself. Go for a walk, enjoy a quiet cup of coffee or tea, take a long shower or bath, etc. Tune into your breath and body regularly Simply bring your attention to your breath, noticing each inhale and exhale. At the same time, feel both feet grounded to the earth. Your breath becomes an anchor in the body to the present moment. Bringing our attention to the present helps relax the body and mind and lessen any worried or anxious thoughts you have. Express your feelings to close friends and family, don’t keep them inside Worries or anxious thoughts can seem more difficult if we keep them inside. It helps to share and express your feelings to someone you trust. Make human connection a priority for your mental health several times a week and you’ll feel less alone. Consider limiting time on social media and watching the news You’ve probably heard this before but make some positive choices for yourself about how much time you look at social media

3 Simple Money-Saving Hacks for Families with Teens Raising a teenager while also keeping an eye on your family’s finances can be a tricky balancing act. All parents want to provide their teens with the best possible opportunities and preparation for adulthood, but this can be an expensive undertaking, especially when you’re readying your young adult for college or university. Here are some easy ways for your family to get the most out of your hard-earned money and spend quality time enjoying those unique teenage years. Make higher education more affordable by applying to these easy scholarships It’s one of life’s eternal truths that higher education is expensive — really expensive. And while responsible saving and budgeting can help reduce the costs of tuition, textbooks (see below), and room and board, going to college or university is always going to be a costly decision. Although having a student loan may be inevitable, scholarships are a great way to reduce the cost of higher education. Unfortunately, many students are daunted by the idea of applying for scholarships, especially when there are long application forms and multiple essays involved. However, there are a number of excellent scholarship platforms that offer young people access to thousands of funding opportunities, no matter where they are in their education or what they hope to accomplish. There are numerous little-known scholarships that are just waiting to be awarded to the right applicant. Not only are scholarships available for academic excellence, but there are also scholarships that recognize athletic achievement, extracurricular involvement, community service, hobbies, career interests, family background and much more. Finding these scholarships might sound difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Platforms such as Bold.org have helped a growing number of students locate and apply for funding. Bold.org uses comprehensive student profiles to match applicants with the scholarships that are most relevant to them, and that they are most likely to get. Notably, Bold.org boasts a wide variety of scholarships that aren't found on any other platform. These scholarships have been donated by philanthropists and organizations focused on everything from mental health and chemical engineering to female entrepreneurs and African-American journalists. Bold.org also has a lengthy, frequently-updated list of no-essay scholarships that high school and university students can apply for in a matter of minutes, thus increasing their chances of receiving a scholarship and making their education more affordable. Save hundreds of dollars every semester by renting textbooks Textbooks are a huge expense that