February 2015

Kids' selections provide a variety of ideas for young imaginations

DISCLAIMER: As part of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I will be providing monthly thoughts and suggestions about movies currently showing on Netflix. As with all content on this blog, opinions are completely my own.

“What will I be when I grow up?”

Way back when, kids would dream of being a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker. These desires seem quaint now, as children have much more lofty goals for themselves, fuelled by active imaginations. Whether they dream of being an astronaut, a nuclear physicist, a writer or otherwise, the sky’s the limit when you’re a kid with a dream.

As parents, we strive to foster independent, happy and successful children and do our best to support them in whatever choices they want to make regarding their future careers. Of course, these plans tend to change often, as kids fantasize about the numerous options that they’ve heard about or, more likely, seen on TV or in the movies.

If your child is still trying to make up his or her mind about their future career, you’re not alone. When the sky’s the limit, why stop at just one profession? Netflix has a number of features that will both entertain your kids as well as help them figure out what they really want to be when they grow up.

As the mother of young boys, I’d be lying if I said that they didn’t profess to want to be firemen or construction workers. If you’re in the same boat, Netflix provides a number of shows that will keep your junior firefighters and hardhats engaged.

Fireman Sam is a great show for kids who have big dreams of putting our fires and saving lives.

Fireman Sam Pic


Bob the Builder is a favourite in our house as my boys get to  follow the construction adventures of Bob and his crew.

Bob the Builder pic

Or perhaps your child dreams of living the high life, where work isn’t part of the equation (one can only dream!). Let the kids fantasize and check out the Netflix original, Richie Rich.

Richie Rich pic

For older kids, there are a number of selections to get their minds going.

If your child dreams of finding their bliss through winter sports such as snowboarding, the Art of Flight series is a great selection.

Art of Flight pic

Does your son or daughter enjoy cooking and helping out in the kitchen? If so, foster their inner chef by watching The Mind of a Chef, narrated by Anthony Bourdain.

The Mind of a Chef pic

What does your child want to be when they grow up? Help them figure it out with these and other Netflix selections. Leave your selections about your favourite shows in the comments section below as well!


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CBC Marketplace - Checkout Charity

by Samantha on February 16, 2015

CBC program investigates the popular trend of soliciting donations at the checkout


“Checkout Charity” is a thing.

Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay.

I’ve discussed the topic on more than one occasion, both on this blog and in the media. For details, click on the link below.

IN THE NEWS: Is “Checkout Charity” Just a Money Grab?

checkout aisle

Seems like I’m not the only one who’s fed up with this sneaky way of gathering funds. Consumers in general, are becoming fatigued with the amount of requests that occur on a regular basis. Enough that Canada’s leading consumer investigative show, Marketplace, decided to look into this increasingly popular practice.

I was interviewed for the show and of course gave my two cents. Tune in on Friday, February 20th to watch the full show. I’ll post a link to the program and do a follow-up post once it’s aired as well.




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How to help your child get through the loss of a beloved companion

Boy and turtle

There comes a time when most parents must deal with the inevitable - the death of a beloved family pet. This occurrence is even more painful when the pet is the particular companion of a young child. Your son or daughter likely grew very attached to its turtle, gerbil, cat or dog and now the beloved pet is gone - a harsh reality for a young mind.

When this very real part of childhood occurs, it’s best to be prepared, so that you as the parent are able to calm and comfort your child while they go through the grieving process. While this is a difficult time, it is possible to get through it with your son or daughter understanding and accepting this very real part of life.

Following are five tips for parents on how to help their child manage the death of a pet.

When Your Child’s Pet Dies - Top 5 Tips For Parents

1) Acknowledge the Loss - It hurts. The death of a child’s pet is a painful experience and is one that often comes as a shock to those unaccustomed to the reality of death. As this is likely the first instance in his or her experience of losing something he/she loves, the reality of what has occurred will hit hard. For a child that has lost its animal companion, it can be all-consuming as well as confusing. Recognizing and acknowledging the pain that your son or daughter is experiencing, and providing comfort while they grieve is one of the first steps towards helping your child through this difficult time. Being there and recognizing your child’s feelings will help them get through it.

2) Leave Time For Grief - Just as with people, pets can’t be replaced. Sure, you can get a new dog, cat or gerbil, but a new animal can never take the place of the one that’s died. For this reason, it’s important to take some time for your child to grieve and reflect on the loss of the pet. While the impulse may be there to soothe your child’s pain, don’t jump in and get another pet right away. Kids need to be allowed to mourn the loss of their pet and realize that while their companion can’t be exactly replaced, a new pet can still bring joy - in time.

3) Give it a Proper Send-Off -  The rituals attached to death shouldn’t end with humans. Ceremonies are important, even if they’re small. Whether it’s a fish, a hamster or a larger pet, giving it a proper goodbye will allow your child to understand that the ritual involved is all part of the process and can often help with healing.

4) Talk Honestly About Death - While it’s a difficult time for your child, the death of a beloved companion can also provide parents with the opportunity to talk about the reality that all living things eventually die. Teaching a child that this sad occurrence is a normal part of life may be hard, but it’s an experience that we all have to deal with at some time in our lives. The loss of a pet can open the door to a difficult topic of discussion but one that is needed and necessary. Answering questions about death can give your child a greater understanding about this reality as well as an opportunity to calm his or her fears.

5) Create Memories With Child - “Gone but not forgotten.” While death is a difficult lesson to learn, children can also be taught that the loss of a loved one - pet or otherwise -  doesn’t mean that the loved one will be forgotten. Memories live on, an important lesson to teach your child in the face of their loss. Help them honour their beloved pet by putting together a scrapbook, photo album, or other memento that represents a permanent tribute to their companion.

How have you dealt with the death of a family pet? What additional tips would you provide to parents who are going through this with their children? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.


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