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My Saskatoon Blog

10 Things You Can Do as a Labour Support Partner

posted by Noël    |   June 23, 2014 11:47

As I am fast approaching my due date, the more specific details of the upcoming labour and delivery are at the forefront of my mind. Of course I've been doing a lot of research, as this is my first go around with pregnancy and childbirth. Even as a newbie, I know that having a well informed and prepared labour support partner is a hugely important asset to easing the stress involved with such a pivotal moment in the motherhood experience. Whoever the labour support partner may be, there a several things this person can do to ease the pain and make the events leading up to delivery run smoothly. Here are 10 practical things that you, as a support partner, can do prior to and during labour and delivery! 

1. Clean your vehicle and ensure it has gas in it. One of my favourite local car washes is Good Morning Car Wash

2. Install the infant car seat and have it checked out at the nearest car seat clinic.

3. Download a contraction counter app on your phone, so that you are ready with the important information that the doctor will need upon your arrival to the hospital.

4. Make a "call and text" list of family and friends, identifying which ones you will notify during the different stages of the labour and delivery.

5. Attend prenatal classes with the mom-to-be.

6. Make arrangements for existing children and pets. 

7. Ensure that the fridge is full with her favourite snacks while she labours at home.

8. Continue to experiment with the different pain relieving positions discussed during prenatal classes.

9. Be informed and in agreement with the birth plan so that you can be a strong advocate for her.

10. Make sure that the overnight bags are packed and are in the vehicle prior to leaving for the hospital. 

Remember that you are an important part of her birth experience, so be flexible and dependable!

Mothers in Saskatoon: do you have any additional suggestions for things that a labour support partner should be prepared for? I'd love to hear about your experience!

What's happening at Kinsmen Park?

posted by David    |   June 9, 2014 11:54

It has been a tradition in my family for almost 20 years. At least once each summer, we will all get together and have chicken in Kinsmen Park. Driving by the park a few days ago, I was reminded of the renovations I had heard the park would be undergoing over the next few years. There are several goals associated with the renovations, as the City of Saskatoon seeks to provide balance between human and environmental needs in our city and along the riverbank. 

Kinsmen Park is Saskatoon's oldest park development. For over 100 years, it has drawn in the young and the young at heart for picnics, rides on the mini train, and summer festivals. When I was a kid, I remember taking a Coke or Pepsi "Taste Test" at a festival there during the summer. Although a small detail, the memory has stuck with me into adulthood. The renovation plans for Kinsmen Park include many small details like this, details that will provide great long lasting memories for us, our kids, and our kids' kids. 

The next 25 years of development have been broken into three phases of construction, rejuvenation, and removal. As of this writing, the demolition period of Phase 1 is complete, and construction has begun with plans to be open to the public by the beginning of summer 2015. This phase will be followed by two more, as Kinsmen Park is transformed into one of the premier parks in Saskatchewan.

 

Photo Credit: City of Saskatoon

First 5 Years

Construction for Phase 1 will include a new play area with activities for all ages (including winter features), new rides including an updated carousel, a new Ferris wheel, a family swinger, and an updated miniature train. Additionally, the train route is being expanded. There will also be a "racetrack promenade" built, which is a paved public walkway along the old racetrack, as well as a winter skate path. 

In 5-10 Years

This phase will bring construction on a land/ski bridge and more terrain for skiers, a year-round concession building with washrooms, a tobogganing slope, community gardens, and enhanced informal space at the north end of the park, including a picnic area and hot air balloon launch. 

In 10-25 Years

Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan will be moved north, to make use of the amphitheatre and a new civic amenity south of the east parking lots. The Spadina interchange will be converted to a roundabout, and there will be expanded boat docks. 

Kinsmen Park has long been a social hub of activity, and it is nice to see the city pushing forward in keeping it functional for future generations. The renovations strive to boost both the functionality and beautification of Kinsmen Park and our city. It is exciting to be a part of a growing city with new projects in the works every day. Personally, I am looking forward to seeing these improvements year by year as I visit with my family for chicken in the park. 

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5 Renos You Should Leave to the Experts

posted by My Saskatoon    |   June 4, 2014 10:00

When it comes to home repairs and renovations, there are certain things that are better left to the experts. Professionals usually know best when it comes to expensive or potentially dangerous projects, despite how easy the job may appear on that YouTube how-to video! Here are some home renovation projects where it is usually better to call in a renovation company for help. 

Bathrooms 

 
 

Simple mistakes in a bathroom renovation project can lead to water leaks in the worst places. A hidden water leak can do tremendous property damage before it is even discovered. Make sure to always call a professional plumber when your renovation project requires it. The initial cost of the project may seem higher, but in the end you will be saving a considerable amount of money and time as well.
 

 

Windows

 

 

Minor imperfections in a window installation can result in costly energy losses during the winter months. Unless you are an expert when it comes to windows, this project is best left to the pros.

 

Granite or Marble

 

  
 
When working with expensive materials like granite or marble, it’s best to hire a professional to do the measurements and installation for you. If you make even a small error with your measurements, you will likely have to spend more money to fix the problem than the cost of a professional. These types of material are also very difficult to work with.

 

Kitchen Cabinets

 

  

Kitchen cabinets are a tricky business. Ordering online or at your local hardware store may seem like a cost effective way to create a dream kitchen; however, this is another job that is best left to the experts. It all starts with a solid plan based on experience. Time and time again we receive calls from consumers who can’t use the cabinets they have purchased because of unforeseen issues with their space. A professional cabinet installer is a master of creating the look that you want for your kitchen.

 

Wiring

 

  

When it comes to dealing with electricity, it is very important to hire the proper person for the job. If you don’t have a thorough understanding of how electrical systems work, a seemingly simple project can end very badly. Renovation projects that involve electrical components can be very, very dangerous and even deadly if done incorrectly – don’t take any chances- have the experts look after you.

Are any of these projects on your to-do list this summer? Saskatoon Woodworks, locally owned and operated in Saskatoon, is a great option for all of these services. Contact Saskatoon Woodworks for a wide range of services, whether the project is big or small. Visit Saskatoon Woodworks' Spotlight Profile for contact details. 

Bringing the Front Porch Back

posted by David    |   May 22, 2014 10:01

It felt like we were in Narnia these last few months - always winter, but never Christmas. As May has, for the most part, brought the warm weather our way, I have begun to experience once again my favourite aspects of Saskatoon. For much of the winter, I huddled up in my house, drank chai lattes, and rotated between reading a good book and following my latest favourite TV show on Shaw on Demand (right now its Fringe). But the moment it got warmer outside, everything changed. Saskatoon came to life. Barbecues began flaring up, people got together, and true community started to happen. 

That is what I love most about Saskatoon - a big city with a community feel. There is so much to look forward to over the summer months. Some of my favourites are the tried and true Saskatoon classics, including Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, Taste of Saskatchewan, and Folkfest. Each of these events promote our city's community feel, through sharing music, good food, and cultural experiences. 

                                                                                                         Photo Credit: Tourism Saskatoon

My wife and I have been living in our home in one of the newest Saskatoon neighbourhoods, Evergreen. It is an exciting neighbourhood to be a part of, as it is surrounded by a combination of parks, open fields, and nature in general. The houses are aligned so that the majority of residents receive the full benefits of the sun, and a walking path is in the works to enable us to navigate throughout the entire neighbourhood on foot. These were all major draws for us, but the icing on the cake was that our house, along with the majority of other houses in Evergreen, had a front porch. 

In the middle of the nineteenth century, the American front porch had come to represent the ideal of "community". Since the front porch existed in between the private home and the community outside, it was seen as an area where community interaction could take place. Families would retire after supper to their front porches and would greet each passing neighbour walking down the street that evening. The porch brought the community together as it encouraged interactions with, and awareness of others. 

Photo Credit: Pinterest

My wife and I are bringing the front porch back. We went to Home Depot last summer, which is a story in itself, to buy patio furniture and a barbecue to fill the space. Right away, we noticed increased interaction with our neighbours and community. A simple act like a smile, a wave hello, or briefly sharing commentary on the weather made us feel even more at home in our new home. We love how this is happening again this summer, as the warm weather drives people in our neighbourhood out onto their porches.  Even if our neighbours don't talk to us, we still get to watch them, which may sound creepy, but who hasn't done a little people watching? We have also enjoyed the new connection we feel with nature as we sit outside watching the sun set. Yes, we are bringing the front porch back, developing community in our neighbourhood, and in turn developing feelings of community in our city. 

Wild About Saskatoon?

posted by Elle    |   May 20, 2014 11:27

I love the prairies and the small, hidden wonders found in nature surrounding us right here in Saskatoon. We don't have to leave the city in order to immerse ourselves in the beauty of the great outdoors. If you are a nature buff like me, you will want to plan your next week around Saskatoon's second annual NatureCity Festival, powered by Wild About Saskatoon, commencing on Sunday after a kick-off at the Farmers' Market on Saturday! The festival includes a full week of (mostly) free activities that are fun for all ages! Take in an educational keynote event, get your hands dirty aiding in spring clean up, spend time in a community garden, join a guided walking tour, or enjoy a relaxing outdoor musical performance.

The festival presents many, many options to enjoy time spent outside in our beautiful city. Check out the week's schedule here. I recently discovered Wild About Saskatoon, a local entity that describes itself as "an informal collective dedicated to the conservation and enrichment of wild lives and wild places in and around Saskatoon". Sounds pretty cool to me! Interested in doing some exploring on your own? Check out this awesome interactive map that Wild About Saskatoon has put together, showcasing the best spots to experience nature, right in our own backyard. I plan to refer to it anytime I'm presented with a beautiful day and nothing to do this summer! Stay connected and informed on other events for nature lovers, through Facebook and Twitter!

See you out there next week!

Should you buy a newer or older home in Saskatoon?

posted by David    |   May 14, 2014 09:39

It is expected that around 1,200 brand new, non-landscaped homes will be purchased this summer in Saskatoon. In an effort to bring down initial housing costs, home builders have cut some previously expected items and left them for the purchaser to do later. These "cut" items include a garage cement pad, walkways, a deck, fencing, landscaping, top soil, sod, sprinklers, and a completed basement development. 

CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) has estimated the cost of a brand new home in Saskatoon is around $430,000. This price, however, does not include the "cut" items listed above. Being forced now to manage these additional home projects, you could be spending something that looks like the breakdown below:

$20,000 for a garage pad and sidewalk

$10,000 for a deck and fence

$6,000 for landscaping (or $8,500 for maintenance free turf that looks and feels like real grass. See my previous post, Are Those Real?)

$50,000 for a completed basement development (good luck finding trades people willing to work on a basement, without pulling favours!)

Adding these post-purchase extras brings our housing price from $430,000 to over $500,000 once everything is completed. 

This bears the question- is it better to buy a new home or an old home? Initial costs are similar between new and old, but what you spend your money on afterwards is much different. Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of buying new or old. 

 

Cons

A newly built house needs time to settle. This can cause cracks in the foundation, door frames, and that new cement path you just had built.

You are forced to manage home projects including a garage cement pad, walkways, a deck, fencing, landscaping, and a basement development.

Pros

While you have to manage home projects, you can make it the way you like it, instead of living with what someone else has done and is too expensive to change.

New homes are more energy efficient, convenient (built-in dishwasher, central vac, wiring systems are easy and networked), and not in need of maintenance.

 

Cons

With an older home you will have many of these "cut" items, but they may be outdated or ugly. Previous owners may have done the home renovations themselves, which often means it was done poorly. It costs more to rip out old construction and then redoing it, than starting with a clean slate.

The wiring, plumbing, furnace, and water heater are old and possibly in need of maintenance. 

Pros

An older home generally is part of a more established neighbourhood with longer term neighbours, mature trees and foliage.

Larger yards are another bonus of buying old, because builders were able to build on larger lot sizes when land prices were cheaper.

The decision between old or new is a difficult one. When my wife and I were going through the pros and cons of each, we decided we wanted to buy new. Our personality types make us a little extra picky and we didn't like how other people had "renovated" their homes before trying to sell them. We figured we would have to rip everything out and start over with these older homes, so for us, buying new made a lot more sense. Each person taking into account their personality and preferences are going to come to different conclusions, but it is important to thoroughly consider what you want before making the decision between new or old. 

We Were on Global Saskatoon News

posted by My Saskatoon    |   May 8, 2014 11:31

We officially launched My Saskatoon this week, and had our first TV interview! Our CEO, Allison Thiessen, had a great time on the air this morning discussing who we are and what we are all about. We are so excited about what this website can do for our city, and we can't wait to feature more local businesses! If you know of any great locally owned shops, restaurants, or service providers that should be a part of My Saskatoon, let us know in the comments! 

We look forward to enjoying and sharing all that our city has to offer this spring and summer! 

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Get a Little Crazy with Color Me Rad

posted by My Saskatoon    |   May 1, 2014 12:42

Color Me Rad Every year, a group of Saskatonians come together for one of the most colourful events you will ever see take place in our city! Chances are that you have seen pictures on Facebook - the event we are talking about is the annual Color Me Rad 5K race. This year, a portion of the proceeds will help to support the Children's Hospital Foundation.

The Color Me Rad website gives us some insight into the event - "Color Me Rad fires off in a blaze of colour bombs, colour cannons, colour mortars, and multi-toned courses that guarantee your outlook will be brighter, your boyfriend will be more affectionate, your boss will finally remember your name, the hair on your head will grow back, and the hair on your back will fall out, and your gray outlook will turn green like a spring morning." This 5k is all about having fun, and supporting a great cause in our city.

In case you are wondering, "why the colour, and what does it mean?", according to Color Me Rad, "the idea is loosely based on the Hindu Festival of Colours, otherwise known as Holi. Just as you usher in a new year of radness in your life by signing up for Color Me Rad, Hindus usher in a new season with the Holi festival. The festive colours used are a sign of winter's end and spring's new beginnings." Help Saskatoon keep things bright as we move into fall by signing up for Color Me Rad!

 

Color Me Rad

Slacker Registration

September 3rd is your last chance to register for Saskatoon's Color Me Rad race!

http://www.colormerad.com/race/saskatoon

At this year's race, bring the whitest shirt you can find, and get ready to be coated with all kinds of colours as you work your way through the race. If you have been taking boring selfies to populate your Facebook feed all year - this will be your perfect opportunity to spruce up your social scene.

Wondering what's in that colour anyway? No need to fear the colour - it's non-toxic, non-rash-inducing, coloured corn-starch. You'll be amazed at how much fun you can have with corn starch! To top it off, while you are having the time of your life, you will also be a part of a group of people that are giving back to a great charity - The Children's Hospital Foundation.

We are excited to cheer on the team from Fitness Focus, an awesome locally owned and operated fitness centre with a big heart for our community. 

Fitness Focus is one of the premiere fitness facilities in Saskatoon, featuring one of the largest weight rooms in our city. The staff at Fitness Focus are friendly and professional, making you feel at home no matter what your fitness level is. Fitness Focus maintains a No Contract approach to gym membership, so you never have to worry about getting locked into a contract you can't get out of. 

Click here to visit Fitness Focus' Spotlight Profile, and learn more about them!

Fitness Focus

We're supposed to have warm temps and sunshine on Saturday, so why not sign up for Color Me Rad and take advantage of one of the last days of summer weather in Saskatoon?

The My Saskatoon Team

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I Wanna be a Rock Star!

posted by David    |   April 29, 2014 10:32

I always wanted to be a rock star. In my teenage years, that changed to freestyle rapper. We all should be happy that neither of these two dreams came to fruition, since keeping a beat or consistent tone have never come naturally. Thankfully, I can live out these dreams through the lives of others. 

I went to “The Duo” Season 4 finale last year at TCU Place, where the incredibly talented Denise & Brock rocked out to Natural Woman by Aretha Franklin and won the $10,000 grand prize. This event featured some of the best young artists in the Saskatoon area, and got me excited about the budding arts community in Saskatoon.

Denise & Brock

Photo Credit: Mark Tiu Photography

The Saskatoon Arts community is growing, not only with amazing homegrown talent, but with the infrastructure to support it. Two local film companies, Sica Films and Fahrenheit Films, have taken the lead in producing high end Saskatoon content. If you are an aspiring artist, these two companies can help take you to the next level.

Sica Films prides itself on telling important stories through photo, video, and time-lapse, with artistry, skill and heart. Taking a look through their portfolio, Sica features a music video created for local band Gunner & Smith's song “Towns”. They do a wonderful job creating artistic imagery to go with the song’s themes. If you are looking for an artistic masterpiece, go with Sica Films. 

Fahrenheit Films is an award winning full service film and video production company whose primary mission is to create “kick ass music videos that make our clients look great.”  They have done music videos for many Canadian country music talents like Chad Brownlee, Jason Blaine, and Shane Yellowbird. Fahrenheit Films is based in Saskatoon and gives artists a little extra swagger in their music videos or TV shows. If you are looking for a “kick ass” music video, choose Fahrenheit Films. 

While I may not be the next Saskatoon rock star, you might be. If you are a local artist looking for a professional music video, check out both Sica and Fahrenheit films. They will give you the professional support you need to help you build your career. And when you hit it big, don’t get weirded out when I start living my dream through you! 

History by Chance in Saskatoon

posted by David    |   April 11, 2014 15:17
Think of the three most memorable experiences in your life. Did one, two, or all three depend upon a chance occurrence? Something that “just happened” to take place to propel you to where you are today? Did you meet your lovely spouse while taking a random walk somewhere? Did you get the job you wanted because the timing just happened to work out perfectly? When you were down and out, did a stranger reach out their hand to help you, motivating you to do the same in other people’s lives? Many of the most memorable positive experiences that happen in our lives, happen by chance.
 
Albert Bandura, former president of the American Psychological Association, says that “chance encounters play a prominent role in shaping the course of human lives” (source). This is indeed true. The day I met my wife, I was her server at a restaurant in town. This chance occurrence has shaped my life dramatically, not only making me more fashion conscious, because wives do that, but by giving me a lifelong partner to share ideas with. It is amazing to think that having her in my life was at least somewhat left to chance.
 
Near the Midtown Plaza in downtown Saskatoon, there is a sculpture representing a chance occurrence that helped shape our entire country. In 1911, when the Midtown Plaza was actually a train station, Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier (the man on the Canadian 5 dollar bill) stepped off the train and bought a newspaper from a young boy. He talked to this boy for awhile, but the boy cut the conversation short because of all the work he had to do delivering papers. This boy was John Diefenbaker, who 46 years later would follow suit and become Prime Minster of Canada as well.
 
 
Chance occurrences have the ability to shape our lives. The next time you are shopping at the Midtown, take a second to check out the Laurier - Diefenbaker statue located near the intersection of 1st Ave South and 21st Street East, and share the story of how this chance occurrence in Saskatoon helped shape our nation. 
 

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