These are unprecedented times and we need to be making sure we are taking care of one another and taking care of ourselves. Kindness is always a good idea and we need it now more than ever. Here are some great ways to create more kindness in the world right now!
Doing you part
We are being asked to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The social distancing and self isolating can be very hard for people to manage. When we feel healthy, young and strong it’s easy to wonder what all the fuss is about, but you are doing a major kindness to the elderly, to people with underlying medical conditions and to those with compromised immune systems by staying home and practicing social distancing when you do need to go out.
Offers of help
Offer your help to people who may be vulnerable. Do you have a neighbour, friend or family member who might not be able to pick up their medication and/or groceries? Are you able to help? This simple and everyday task might be exactly what someone needs help with. Is there anyone you can ask? Perhaps you know and elderly person who is lives alone. Maybe a cheerful phone call would do the trick.
Start a Neighbourhood “Tradition”!
You may have heard about the “Neighbourhood Window Walk” that has been popping up all over Ontario and beyond. It started with putting Shamrocks in your window for St. Patrick’s Day as a way to brighten people’s Spirits. The idea is that you take your family out for a walk (social distancing being respected) or drive and hunt for the item in people’ windows! Check out the picture below for the schedule.
Staying up to date with the latest news is important but social media can be frightening and a breeding ground for negativity. Make it your mission to spread positivity instead! See a feel-good story? Share it instead of the one about toilet paper hoarding. Know someone who is going above and beyond for their community? Talk about that and post about it instead of a negative story. Do you know someone who needs a lift? Send them an uplifting message once a day to let them know you are thinking of them. This isn’t about burying our heads in the sand it’s about staying afloat during tough times.
What kindness can you offer the world?
Birds are singing, the sun is shining and the air smells fresh! It’s time get your toes “sandal ready”! I might be heavy on the weather optimism, but a pedicure is always a good idea! As usual, Lanark County has you covered for great local pedicure and manicure options.
DNA~ Designer Nail Artists
This cute and cozy spa is located at 4 Mill Street in Almonte (Heritage Mall). They offer manicures, pedicures and even a package called The Royal Palace! DNA does both natural and acrylic nails with great nail art too.
Blush & Black
This great spot is located at 76 Mill Street in Almonte and offers facials, pedicures, manicures and hair removal services. They have something called the “Nourished Glow” facial which is a fully customizable skincare treatment that will take you on a sensory journey with the smells of fresh fruit, flowers, herbs and vegetables. Sounds heavenly!
Nestled inside of Orchardview by the Mississippi at 219 Paterson Drive, this spa offers a wide range of services including, pedicures, manicures, facials and electrolysis. They also offer something called Advanced Aesthetics. With a quick treatment, it can help address broken capillaries, blotches, ruby points, skin tags, milia and cholesterol deposits.
This salon is located at 355 Franktown Road in Carleton Place and offers pedicures, manicures, waxing etc. In addition to solar gel, bio gel and acrylic nails, they also do the, much sought after, Dip Powder technique!
Mahogany Salon & Spa
This large and established salon has both a Stittsville location and a Carleton Place spot. In Carleton Place it is located at 369 Napoleon Street. In addition to their hair salon offerings they have a big selection of spa services too including pedicures, manicures, massage therapy and facials. They have a package called “Amethyst” which includes a hot stone spa pedicure!
Angels Roost Organic Spa
This scenic spot is located just outside of Carleton Place at 1731 7th Line Beckwith. This country spa offers pedicures, manicures and facials to name just a few of their services. They have something called a Visible Results Facial which can help improve the appearance of puffy, tired eyes, sagging skin and even the deepest expression lines.
Where is your “go to” pedicure spot?
March break madness!!!
It’s almost March break! If you are still searching for the perfect past time for your kiddos….check out all of these great options available right in Almonte and Carleton Place!
JB Arts- March Break Camp!
This camp is perfect for your crafty kids and is available for kids aged 6-14. JB Arts is owned by Jeff Banks, who has been teaching children’s art programs for over 14 years, and is located in downtown Almonte. You can sign-up for certain days or the whole week! This years’ schedule includes over 20 activities including, pottery, puppets and a “super messy” day to name a few. Drop off, as early as 8 and pick-up as late as 5.
Beckwith Recreation Complex- March Break Day/Sports Camp!
This location is offering a Day Camp for 4-8 year olds and offers a great 5:1 camper counsellor ratio! You children will be busy crafting, playing games and playing low impact sports for the week in a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere.
The Sports Camp is for kids aged 9-13 and is perfect for your active and busy child. The camp’s goal is to offer competitive activities that help develop motor skills and knowledge of a variety of sports.
Mississippi Mills Youth Centre- March Break Camp!
The youth centre is offering a camp for kids aged 10-18 with hours from 9-4. With great activities such as tubing at Mount Pakenham, outdoor learning, sports, art with lunch included daily….this will be sure to be a hit for your kids!
In addition to these great camps, the Almonte Public Library is offering some March Break programming, there is free public skating at the Almonte Arena, public swims at the Carleton Pace Aquatic Centre or sliding at Gemmill Park, which is always a hit!
What is your family doing for March break?
What is it?
On the last Saturday of February, since 2010, Almonte’s beautiful downtown hosts “Mid- Winter Milling”. Many Downtown Almonte shop owners host a spiritual, health and/or self-awareness practitioner from 10am-5pm within their own shop. There are a variety of readers — card readers, a Turkish coffee reader, mediums — as well as energy healers and massage therapists. The variety of modalities, as well as the size of the event, changes every year.
How does it work?
Head to the store that has your TOP practitioner at 10 am and sign-up right away then head to the next store and sign up there. THERE IS NO SIGNING UP IN ADVANCE so you’ve got to be quick! The practitioners are paid directly for the session, in cash (usually $20-$60).
Who is participating this year?
Check out this large list of practitioners and their location that came out in the latest edition of the Humm!
What else is there to do in Almonte?
Shop, shop SHOP! There are so many great shops in the downtown core. Absolutely something for everyone. Great clothing stores and antique stores galore!
If art galleries are more your thing, there are a couple of those too!
There are awesome restaurants and café’s too. Whether you are looking for a gourmet meal or a quick sandwich you will be totally covered….all within walking distance.
Who are you hoping to book a session with???
Lanark County is the place to be for Family Day 2020. So many options!
Family Day at Fulton’s Pancake House & Sugar Bush
Family fun is what it’s all about at Fulton’s! Bring your family to spend a memorable day together. Enjoy a hot pancake meal in the pancake house from 9 am to 3 pm with extras such as toe tapping music & sleigh rides between 10 am – 2 pm.
Carleton Place Comic-con
Bring your family and enjoy a celebration of all things Geeky from 10-4 on Family Day! Comic books, artwork, jewelry, board games, anime, and so much more! With free face painting and a children’s activity area, families of all ages are sure to have a blast. Admission is only $1 per person over 12 years of age, OR a non-perishable food donation to the Lanark County Food Bank. 100% of the food and money collected goes directly to the Food Bank.
Carleton Place Aquatic Centre
Get out for a swim with the whole family! Open to all ages with a child supervision policy in effect. With the main pool divided in half separating the deep and shallow end, there is room for all different swimming abilities. Diving board and Hot/Wading pool are open too for extra fun! Public Family Day swims from 1-2:30 and 6:30-8. Regular swim fees apply.
Free Family Day movie in Almonte!
Bring the family to the Almonte Old Town Hall on Family Day for an 11:00 am showing of “Playing with Fire”. Refreshments will be available for sale. The movie is sure to please all ages: “When straight-laced fire superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena) and his elite team of expert firefighters (Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo and Tyler Mane) come to the rescue of three siblings (Brianna Hildebrand, Christian Convery and Finley Rose Slater) in the path of an encroaching wildfire, they quickly realize that no amount of training could prepare them for their most challenging job yet — babysitters. Unable to locate the children’s parents, the firefighters have their lives, jobs and even their fire depot turned upside down and quickly learn that kids — much like fires — are wild and unpredictable.” www.rottentomatoes.com
Skating and Sliding!
Grab your skates and helmet and head to the rink for some family fun. Tim Horton’s is sponsoring free Family Day skating in Almonte from 1-3 and Pakenham from 3-5.
If you prefer sliding, there is a GREAT hill just steps from the Almonte arena at Gemmil Park.
How will you be spending your family day?IT
Maybe you love the idea and tradition of Valentine’s Dinner with your love or perhaps you are looking for something different or a little more economical. Here are some ideas to bring some love and warmth to your Valentine’s Day.
Preparing a meal together:
I know I said no dinner…but there is something really lovely about preparing a meal together and sitting down, just the two of you, to eat it. Dim the lights, add a few candles and some music and you’ve got a beautiful setting for a romantic evening. Depending on what your life looks like…. maybe the kids are watching a movie or at Grandma and Grandpa’s house? Whatever the situation just remember to put away your phones and give your significant other the gift of presence!
A handwritten letter:
When was the last time you received a handwritten letter from someone, not to mention your partner! For some, expressing emotions is tough but a letter can make it easier! There is nothing more romantic or touching than when someone writes down on paper how they feel about you. Do this for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. Tell them exactly what you love and appreciate about them. Nothing says I love you like your own words.
A romantic walk or snowshoe:
Whether it’s a stroll down Mill Street in Almonte, or Bridge Street in Carleton Place or a snowshoe at Beckwith Trail, this is a great way to have some one-on-one time with your significant other. Doing something active releases endorphins which will make you both feel great and full of life. This will also pull you out of your normal everyday routine and allow for some technology free time together.
Hide notes or candy hearts where you know your love will find them. For instance, you could tape a love note to her steering wheel, slip another one in her wallet, and tape another onto the handle of her toothbrush. Waking up in the morning to find a post-it note on the coffee maker from your loved one saying he/she loves you is the best!
Watch a romantic movie together and make sure to add treats! Whether you have Netflix or another streaming option there are TONS of movies right at your fingertips. You could also head to your local library and choose one of the many DVD’s they have to offer (as long as you still have a DVD player!) Turn on your fireplace if you’ve got one and voila!
What is your favourite thing to do on Valentine’s Day?
It’s winter in Ottawa! A Winter 2020 bucket list
One of the great benefits to living in Lanark County is its proximity to our Nation’s Capital! Depending on where you are located you can be in Ottawa in a matter of moments. While Lanark county has TONS of winter activities to participate in there are lots of great winter attractions that I look forward to in Ottawa every year. For a city that is USED to winter….it is full of winter “stuff” to do!
From Jan. 31 to Feb. 7, 2020, Ottawa hosts Canada’s annual celebration of winter, Winterlude. A special highlight for children (and the young at heart) is Snowflake Kingdom located in Jacques-Cartier Park in Gatineau, with its collection of huge snow slides and interactive activities. The festival’s International Ice Carving Competition attracts carvers from around the world who transform blocks of ice into spectacular works of art. Visit the sculptures during the day and again at night to see them in all their lit-up glory.
Don’t miss the annual Ice Dragon Boat Festival on Feb. 7-8, 2020 where dragon boats race down the frozen Rideau Canal Skateway. Cheer on the dragon boaters as they race down the frozen Rideau Canal Skateway and then warm up inside the Dows Lake Pavilion during the festival’s free concert series!
Skating on the largest naturally frozen skating rink in the world is a ‘must-do’ on many visitors’ bucket lists. The Rideau Canal Skateway is open to skaters daily from roughly late December to late February, weather permitting, at no charge, although this year we had a very late start just a few weeks ago! There are change huts, skate rental shacks and snack stations all along its 7.8 km (4.8 miles) length. Check the ice conditions before you head out.
If ice conditions don’t allow for skating on the canal, you can head to Ottawa City Hall where the SENS Rink of Dreams, a refrigerated outdoor skating rink, is open from December to March from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. This 12,500-square-foot ice rink features LED lighting, a heated change hut, picnic tables and benches. Skate rentals and skate sharpening are available on site on weeknights and weekends
The Skating Court at Lansdowne also offers a longer skating season that stretches from early December to mid-March. Free open skating sessions are available daily, or you can learn how to skate through one of its skating programs (skate rentals are not available at this site).
Cross Country Skiing
You can access cross-country trails in the heart of Ottawa, including the popular Sir John A. Macdonald Winter Trail (known locally as the SJAM Trail). Its groomed tracks are meant for snowshoeing, walking and fat biking (fat tires NOT people!) for 16 km (10 miles) along the Ottawa River running westward from the Canadian War Museum, near downtown. There are also over 150 km (93 miles) of cross-country ski trails in the Greenbelt area encircling Ottawa. You can use the trails for free and all are suitable for beginners and family outings.
Pack up the family, and head out to one of the toboggan hills in Canada’s Capital Greenbelt. These snowy hills are some of the best in the Ottawa region, and are sure to provide thrills for the young and the young at heart.
The Bruce Pit Toboggan Hill is located in the Stony Swamp section of the Greenbelt. The hill offers great daytime sliding but is not lit at night.
The Conroy Pit Toboggan Hill is located in the Pine Grove Forest section of the Greenbelt. At Conroy Pit, you can toboggan in the evening, as well as during the day. The hill is lit daily from 4 pm to 11 pm.
There are also great toboggan hills at Green’s Creek. These hills are also lit in the evening, extending the fun.
What is on your winter 2020 bucket list??
With February in sight this is a great time to talk about the Federal Government’s Home Buyers’ Plan (although this year you have until March 2, 2020 to purchase RRSP’s for 2019– if that’s your plan). I have had many clients, over the years, use this program to make their home ownership dreams a reality!
With this program, you can use up to $35,000 of your RRSP savings ($70,000 for a couple) to help finance your down payment on your first home.
To qualify, the RRSP funds you’re using must be on deposit for at least 90 days. In order to access your RRSP’s, you must have entered into a written agreement to purchase a home (a pre-approval from your mortgage lender does not qualify). You must be intending to live in the home, within one year of purchase, so you cannot use this for a rental property purchase. You must qualify as a first-time home buyer, which means that neither you nor your spouse have owned a home, as your principal place of residence, within the last four years.
One of the benefits is that it is not taxable if you repay it within a 15-year period. The payback amount is at least one-fifteenth a year of the amount you withdrew from your RRSP. So, make sure you set up an automatic monthly, bi-weekly or even weekly contribution to your RRSP, to ensure you do not miss any repayments!
It’s very important to your overall plan that both the pros and cons of this strategy be reviewed. There are several questions you should be asking yourself about this strategy:
- Will you repay the requirement amount each year?
- Is it the right time to cash out your RRSP (i.e., this depends on the investments and rate of return you are getting on your current investment)?
- Is it worth forgoing the future tax sheltered growth potential of your RRSP in favour of reducing the mortgage amount (including default insurance premiums, total interest costs, etc.)
Still not sure if you qualify or if this a good option for you? Seek advice from a financial planner, your mortgage lender or the lawyer you are using to purchase your home to confirm. Happy house hunting!