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4 Fun Winter Advent Calendar Ideas for the Family by Rachel Naud   The cold, dreary days of winter may be coming soon, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! Here are some ideas for your family's winter advent calendar that will keep you and yours entertained!   Guides for Managing Finances With the holidays coming up—and the cost of everything going up—now is a good time to have a talk with your teen about finances. Have a teen that is at that age where they don’t have a job but seems to have expensive taste? Teach them about financial literacy and how to manage their money!      The SideKick Mastercard from Hero Financials is a reliable tool that helps tweens and teens understand and manage money efficiently and effectively. No need to set your kids up with a new bank account, you just sign up at herofinancials.com and you can load money on it and use the budgeting tool to divide the money between pre-created categories: general, living expenses, eating out, travel, shopping, and fun which will help your kids budget for what is most important to them. There’s actually a cash-back promotion on the site right now (sign up for Hero's annual plan and get $50 cash back plus a free upgrade after your first load!), which is super cool and the card can be used anywhere a prepaid Mastercard is accepted–in-store or online.   Hot Meals for Cozy Nights Is there anything better than cooking a delicious, hot meal on a cold, snowy night? Here’s an idea: get your teen involved and celebrate Pizza Fridays! It's so easy to make, and when you use good-quality ingredients, it makes for a great pizza!      To make the sauce, use Mutti tomatoes—it’s fresh just like a summer tomato, even though outside the snow may be flying! Made with 100% Italian tomatoes, this sauce makes for a simple, yet absolutely delicious meal. Fun fact! Some tomatoes are better for certain recipes and to pick the best one for your recipe, Mutti has come up with a handy guide to bring your recipe to the next level—check it out on muttipolpa.ca.      Games for Game Nights When the weather turns cold, don’t you just like to heat up the competition with a family game night? Your family will absolutely love the Nintendo Switch OLED Model because it has a 7-inch screen and the colours and graphics are even more vibrant. With the Mario Kart 8

Back-to-School Survival Kit by Rachel Naud   It's back-to-school time!  Teens everywhere may be dreading the start of another year, but we've got some good news: it's easier than ever to make your teen's back-to-school experience enjoyable! Check out our list of essential items that will help make the transition into the new school year easier for both you and them.   For Taking Notes   Remember during university days and not wanting to write or jot notes in your textbooks so you could keep them pristine and sell them afterwards? Post-it® Notes are perfect for this job! They are handy for making study notes as well as jotting down quick ideas and tasks to help keep you organized.     These Post-it® Super Sticky Notes have two times the sticking power compared to the original Post-it® Notes. They’ll not only stick to most flat surfaces but also come off easily and cleanly! And, of course, who doesn’t love the fun new colours they’ve launched this year?    For Scratch-Free Dorm Rooms     If you have a university student moving into a dorm, they’ll want to keep Scotch® Wall-Safe Tape on hand. In most dorms, you're not allowed to nail anything to the walls. This tape is ideal for displaying posters, photos, and more. As an added bonus, Scotch® Magic™ Tape is invisible, which makes it perfect for school projects, crafts, or simply mending torn pages!    For Managing Finances   Does your teen have expensive taste and you want to teach them how to effectively manage their money? Get them started with Hero Financials and teach them financial literacy. It’s a reliable tool that helps tweens and teens understand and manage money efficiently and effectively. Your kids don't need a new bank account! Just sign up at herofinancials.com, and you can load money on it and use a variety of features, including a budgeting tool, recurring allowances, and block lists, to help them budget for what matters most to them. It comes with a physical SideKick Mastercard, which can be used anywhere a prepaid Mastercard is accepted in-store or online. Hero has some incentives going on at the moment for new signups, so make sure to visit Hero Financials to check it out.     For Easy Organization     Want to teach your teen the art of time management? The Echo Show 15 has widgets that are Alexa-powered to help keep your teen on track with shared calendars, personal sticky notes, to-do lists, shopping lists, and assigned reminders. Not only that, but they

Back-to-School Top 5 Picks by Rachel Naud It’s that time of year!  Whether you have a middle school, high school, or university student in your house, every student will want some cool essentials to start the back-to-school season off right!   For a Bright and Fun School Year It is hard not to shop at Staples Canada when it comes to back-to-school shopping since they offer many noteworthy products that are not only great for working and learning but are also very fun! With all the tools kids need to work and learn—notebooks, calculators, lunch bags and more—the bright colours make this Pep Rally line a favourite because, let's face it, if your kids love their tools, they will be more excited to learn.   All of these items are available exclusively at Staples stores in Canada, or you can order them online at staples.ca!   For Organizing Toiletries   University students moving into dorms will need some cool bathroom essentials. Bed, Bath & Beyond has everything you need—whether you’re looking for storage solutions or fun décor. Their Simply Essential line has plush towels, flip-flops (a must for any dorm-dweller) and a tote to make storing and carrying their bathroom essentials easy.     You can shop all these items at Bed, Bath & Beyond in-store or online and if you sign up for the Savings Pass, you can get 20% off while earning points towards future purchases! Also, if your child is moving to a different city, you can shop the app or store and use the Pack & Hold program and they’ll have the order ready to pick up near the campus!   For that rewarding study rest     The Endy Weighted Blanket is engineered to promote a sensation of calm and relaxation. This reduces feelings of anxiety, guaranteeing a good night’s rest.  It features a balanced weight that distributes equal pressure across your body. This provides maximum comfort, movement minimization and deeper sleep. Weighing 15 lbs, this personal-sized blanket will envelop you like a warm, soothing hug. This is amazing for power naps and deep sleep, alike!     For a fun, informative, and worry-free academic year     If you’re worried about your teen’s exposure to the Internet, this Fire 7 Kids tablet’s web browser comes with built-in controls designed to help filter out inappropriate sites and let parents add or block specific websites at any time. Your teen can also send announcements and make voice and video calls over wifi to approved contacts with an Alexa-enabled device or app.    For those

What's a Good First Car for Teens? by Arianne Granada   One of the scariest moments for parents is when their teen gets their first car. The teen years are exciting, but they can also be worrisome for parents as teens are more prone to taking risks. Teens are likely to be more accident-prone due to inexperience, immaturity, and peer pressure. Because of this, many parents may find themselves hesitant or even afraid of letting their teens drive a car without adult supervision. These are natural reactions—but that doesn’t mean you have to surrender trusting them with their first car completely! Parents can help their teens avoid these pitfalls by providing a safe environment for them behind the wheel. If you're looking for a reliable good first car for your teen, we have a roundup of beginner-friendly cars and their remarkable features you and your teen will love.     Mazda3 / Mazda3 Sport Cost: Starting from $23,281 Why your teen will love it: If you're looking for a good first car that offers great bang for your buck, The Mazda3 or Mazda3 Sport is one of our top choices. It exemplifies Mazda’s premium design aesthetic and even won Canadian Car of the Year back in 2020 and 2021. You can get it with a manual transmission, giving young drivers a chance to still learn how to drive manual. DID YOU KNOW: Some studies show manual vehicles are less likely to be stolen—so it’s a natural deterrent for theft! Why you’ll love it: The Mazda3 is designed to keep your teen safe on the road. It has advanced safety features like Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Advanced Blind Spot Monitoring. This helps improve visibility and lets your teen know when there is danger nearby.     2022 Hyundai Elantra Cost: Starting from $20,553.35 Why your teen will love it: Your teen will love it because it has a 2.0 Litre tank with great engine power, technology and fuel efficiency in an affordable price range. Why you will love it: If you are looking for a car with a decent price tag, also fuel savings and quality, the 2022 Hyundai Elantra is your car! It will not only offer you a smooth ride but also keep fuel consumption to a minimum.     2022 Mazda MX-5 Cost: Starting from $33,300 Why your teen will love it: A custom Bose sound system for the Mazda MX-5 is the perfect way to make your teen's car their own. The headrest speakers and subwoofer allow them to experience the premium sound system to

Our Top Picks: 5 Summertime Essentials by Rachel Naud   How do you plan on spending your summer? Whether you’re staying close to home, exploring the great outdoors or hosting some summer barbecues, we have some items that will help you survive the year’s hottest season.   Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron If you want to put the magic back into summer for your kids, the Magic Mixies Magic Cauldron is the perfect activity for them. It’s all about potion-making so your kids can take turns being magicians at family barbecues and backyard parties. Let your little star wow the crowd! The toy comes with a spell book, all the magic ingredients and a special wand to mix the potion and make a cute furry friend that comes out of a cloud of real mist — which will be an element of surprise for everyone! The Magic Mixie comes with different modes of play, reacts to your touch and responds to your wand. It even comes with 50+ sounds and reactions so your kids can play with magic over and over again! Beyond Burger Barbecue burger night is definitely a crowd favourite. Just in time for summer BBQ season, Beyond Meat has launched an even juicier version of its game-changing line called Beyond Burger. Available in grocery stores and restaurants across Canada, the Beyond Burger has the meat-like taste, flavour and texture of a real burger. Beyond Burger is made with simple, plant-based ingredients, containing no cholesterol, GMOs, soy or gluten, offering a tasty, better-for-you plant-based protein option perfect for your summer BBQ. It’s such an easy way to incorporate plant-based protein into barbecue night! Coleman Canada If you're hitting the great outdoors, you'll want to invest in some high-quality gear that will last and bring memories for years to come. When it comes to camping equipment, Coleman Canada is a camper’s go-to. They have everything you need to make the most out of summer—whether you’re camping, day-tripping or staycationing in the yard! They're definitely on top of our summertime essentials checklist. Sportflex Backpack Soft Cooler The Sportflex Backpack Soft Cooler has a 4-way stretch pocket at the front to offer maximum storage and easy access to phones, keys and snacks. It comes with padded adjustable shoulder straps and breathable mesh for comfortable carrying. One of its best features is it's insulated to keep food and drinks cold for up to 24 hours. Contigo Tumblers It's important to stay hydrated throughout the day, which makes these re-fillable water bottles

8 Grad Gifts for Her by Arianne Granada   Graduation season is upon us, and just like you, we are on the lookout for the perfect graduation gift.  To your daughter, this ceremony also commemorates her transition toward the next phase of her life. This special milestone encapsulates all your grad’s academic accomplishments in the last four years. Show some appreciation by giving your grad a thoughtful gift that will last a lifetime.  We’ve rounded up eight unique graduation gifts that would make this milestone even more memorable.   $5-$25: Books With summer break coming up, your teen is bound to have a lot of unstructured days—with most of her time spent outdoors. It still won’t hurt to give her something to do during her downtime.    There is no better way to jumpstart a productive summer than by giving a book as a graduation gift for her. One of today’s bestsellers, The Hate U Give, is a page-turning fiction that sheds light on social issues such as racial injustice and police brutality.   $25-$70: Personalized Gifts from Bed, Bath & Beyond Nothing beats a thoughtful gift that comes from the heart. What better way to commemorate your grad's milestone than with a personalized gift? From embroidered names to custom-made frames, go extra with these bespoke gifts from Bed Bath & Beyond.   Personalized Graduation Teddy Bear ($47.99)  This plush teddy bear is an ideal personalized gift for the high school or college graduate. You can have your graduate’s first name and/or class year embroidered in gold thread across the front of the teddy bear’s gown.    "Class Of

Top 6 Gifts for Dads and Grads by Rachel Naud   It’s a time for celebration! With Father’s Day around the corner and graduations from high school and university approaching, many families will be shopping for that perfect way to gift to mark the occasion. Whether the graduate in your house has hit that milestone or you want to show Dad how much you love him we have some great gift ideas for you.   Gifts for Dads   eBay Refurbished Dads never want us to spend too much for Father’s Day, which is why shopping eBay Refurbished is so perfect! The program has a huge selection of premium brands that Dads love. He can choose from brands like Apple, Bose and Miele—but at a discounted price, which Dads really love! Plus, high quality is guaranteed with rigorous program standards, and all items are backed with 1 or 2-year warranties and eBay’s Money Back Guarantee, so there’s no sacrificing quality or peace of mind for savings.      If your Dad is a tech guy, you can gift him a big-ticket item like this Apple iPad mini for a fraction of the cost. eBay Refurbished is so cool because they now have different condition grades — from Certified Refurbished to Excellent, Very Good and Good — so there are lots of options to fit any budget!   Libman Upright Dustpan and Broom Set If you have a weekend warrior dad who loves to putter in the garage or workshop and keep his domain organized and clean, he’s going to appreciate this.     The Libman Upright Dustpan and Broom Set has a built-in tilt that when opened, locks and leaves open—which means no leaning or bending for Dad. It’s a total back-saver! This is perfect for sweeping up sawdust, dirt and even grass clippings! It’s also a space saver with its built-in clips to keep the set together, which helps keep it all organized and handy! You can pick it up at Home Depot.   Gifts for Grads   Old Spice Reserve Collection If you have a graduate who is sweating the next phase in life, this Old Spice Red Reserve Collection will help guide them to the next phase in life with a boost of confidence. This premium collection — which comes in body wash and deodorant — comes in three new scents: Dynasty, Royalty and Sea Spray. The thing is: if you smell good you feel good, which is going to give you that boost in self-esteem.      Old Spice has a great

3 Ways to Suit Up for Prom 2022 By Arianne Mae Granada Roll up your sleeves and put your dancing shoes on because prom is finally back! It is time to suit up for Prom 2022! (WARNING: Marvel reference ahead!) Still can’t have a sensation of the prom fever? Think of it this way: two years ago, Thanos snapped his fingers and took away the biggest events of your teen’s life — prom night, graduation day and spring break. And in a snap (pun intended!), they’ve all been brought back to life. That is their version of the blip. After 2 years of cancelled plans and dampened expectations, the long-awaited prom season is upon us once again. Prom can be a great opportunity to communicate and help you to connect with your teen. The highly anticipated celebration is set to be welcomed back with doubled excitement and 110 percent energy. Considered a huge milestone in every teen’s life, prom is definitely the special occasion they would invest their time and money on. Whether your teen is a first-time goer, a soon-to-be graduate throwing a “make-up prom,” or a hopeless romantic staging a promposal, it’s important that they put together the perfect ensemble to make it worth remembering. Along with failed dalgona coffee attempts and DIY haircuts, we’re leaving boring prom OOTDs behind in 2020. It’s time to suit up and welcome this year’s prom season with creativity and self-discovery. Whether you prefer an unconventional look over the usual prom dresses, or you want to put on a modern take on a traditional tuxedo, there are endless ways to style a basic suit and tie, and we are here to narrow down your options.  For switching up a classic The Slim-Fit Stretch Peak Lapel Tuxedo is a modern take on a fashion classic that will make anyone stand out at the prom venue. This tailored suit is available in a variety of sizes and is gender-neutral… because there are no rules when it comes to fashion!  For a chill night For a more casual look, this Slim-Fit Stretch Suit is available in five different colours including grey, pink and light blue, delivering versatility and an instant confidence boost.  For an instant upgrade TipTop.ca also offers a range of accessories from bowties to pocket squares in a variety of different colours so you can jazz up your look with a pop of colour. One thing the pandemic has taught teens and young adults alike —

5 Creative Ways To Spend Time With Mom For Mother’s Day Although one day a year really isn’t enough to honour the person that gave birth to you and raised you, Mother’s Day is a great way to show mom how much you appreciate her. It turns out that finding the best gift for mom is easier than you think! Here are 5 ways to add some laughter, sweetness, and love to your Mother’s Day celebration.   1. Cook for Mom  There truly is nothing like a home-cooked meal by mom and it is time to return the favour. Cook your mom her favourite meal, buy her favourite wine or cocktail and even have siblings or partners act as hostesses and waiters. Give her a 5-star dining experience at home, one she will never forget.  2. Play games to celebrate If food isn’t her thing, then why not liven up the party with some games to keep the crowd engaged and make cherished memories. Ideas like karaoke, mad libs, and bingo are always fun. We all know mom deserves a break from daily chores. You can create your own game like the “Give mom a break” game that you can create for the day. Let mom be the centre of attention by offering to do all household chores. This can be a wonderful way of showing gratitude while mom puts her feet up on her special day. 3. Something sweet for mom Who doesn’t love ice cream, especially from your favourite brand? Skip the flower store and head straight to dessert with the new Tall Stack Cake from Baskin-Robbins Canada. Customize with mom’s favourite cake and ice cream flavour topped with a special message to let her know how much she means to you. 4. Watch a movie together A budget-friendly way to stay in and avoid crowds is to let Mom cuddle up on the couch in her pyjamas! Yes, we're talking about streaming a movie! We all know that the best Mother's Day gift is quality time, so make plans to catch up and then press play on the TV with some of her favourite movie treats.  5. Get pampered At some point on Mother's Day, mom may want some time alone or a chance for a little rest and relaxation. A few ideas include a 60-minute massage to help her unwind, or by bringing her to the hair salon and treating her to a cute new cut and blowout or taking her

Video Games for Teens: Our Top 5 Picks of Each Console By Arianne Mae Granada noob no more—ever wondered about what video game is the best fit for your teen? With the pandemic forcing us to stay cooped up inside, adults and teens alike have reached for their gaming consoles for some sense of escape. This caused the gaming industry to witness massive growth during the past two years. Video games have always been part of a teen’s life — but not all video games are created equal. Some are tailored to certain gaming consoles to provide your teens with a more unique experience. Whether your teen has developed an interest in world-building games or he/she gravitates towards fantasy action adventures, there will always be a video game suited for your teen gamer’s taste and platform. Spare them the video game talk and don’t even sweat about the research because we’ve rounded up our top picks of video games for teens. #1 Sony PlayStation Video Games Game title: Spider-Man: Miles Morales Available in: PS4 and PS5 Age restrictions: 13 and up Game description: Inspired by the 2018 animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, this action-adventure game is about teenager Miles Morales following the footsteps of his mentor, Peter Parker, into becoming his very own Spider-Man. With trouble underway in his hometown, Harlem, it’s up to you (or your teen, rather) to save the neighbourhood! Spider-Man: Miles Morales is another fine addition to the plethora of superhero games that are making a resurgence in the past few years. This one is guaranteed to tickle that web-swinging itch. #2 Xbox Series X Video Games Game title: Halo Infinite Age restrictions: 13 and up Game description: The latest installment in Master Chief’s saga has been nothing short of mind-blowing. Taking place well after the events of Halo 5: Guardians, Halo Infinite aims to end the informal “Reclaimer Trilogy” in style. Halo Infinite has brought back nostalgia adorned with all the newest bells and whistles. Open world Halo? Yes, please. #3 Nintendo Switch Games Game title: Ring Fit Adventure Age restrictions: 7 and up Game description: Work up a sweat while traversing various dungeons to defeat the bodybuilding dragon named Dragaux. This exercise role-playing game makes use of real physical activities using a Ring-Con Accessory that senses the player’s movements. Think it’s time for your teen to get moving? This game may just be it. #4 PC Games Game title: The Sims 4 Age restrictions: 12 and up Game description: This timeless classic has only gotten