Category Archives: Life

Family Movie Time Reboot #Streamteam

4th October 2016

We are official back to school and back to our fall routine, finally. I love summer and summer break but by the end of the summer, I am ready to be back to a more scheduled lifestyle. Mommy needs a break. Plus it’s cardigan weather and who doesn’t love a cardigan???

Over the summer we watched a ton of movies and shows with the kids whenever we wanted. During the school year however, we watch our movies mostly on the weekends. On Fridays, we have pizza and a movie night. We make homemade personal pizzas then choose/fight over which movie to watch.

(Side Note: Here is the yummiest, easiest personal pan pizza recipe ever. We use Naan bread as the crust, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and then whatever toppings you want, from pepperoni to peppers, and then throw it in the oven at 350. The kids love making their own pizza, they cook super fast because you’re using Naan as the crust and they’re delicious and healthy). I’m a regular Martha Stewart.

Unless it’s a movie that was just released, Netflix is always our go-to for movie night. Thankfully, the kids are older now so they’re much more open to watching documentaries, and classics and John Hughes films. Honestly, re-watching great movies like Ferris Bueller or Mean Girls is so much more fun when you can watch it through your kids’ eyes. I don’t even feel THAT old when I do.

My favourite thing to do for movie night lately is something I did as a kid with my siblings. I move the coffee table out of the way, and make a huge bed on the floor, with several duvets and comforters and pillows. We turn out all the lights and grab some snacks and it’s officially movie time. It’s simple but the kids love it, which makes me love it too.

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So what are some of the movies we’ve seen so far, that we really enjoyed?

  • Zootopia – LOVE it. It’s adorable and clever and really funny.
  • He Named Me Malala – Absolutely fantastic documentary. A must see.
  • The Little Prince – This is actually a new release and not on Netflix yet but it was so so good. We rented it and the kids watched it three times before the rental time ran out.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A huge hit in our house for all of us.
  • Teen Titans Go! – Not a movie, but my kids are obsessed with this show.
  • I Am Big Bird – LOVE LOVE LOVE.

And some movies that are on the MUST SEE LIST coming up this month include:

  • The Breakfast Club – it’s time to share this movie gold with the tweens for sure.
  • Splash – Tom Hanks and a mermaid. Enough said.
  • Zoolander – This one is a maybe – I haven’t seen it so I’m not sure if it’s appropriate.
  • Coraline – Perfect for a Halloween re-watch – both kids think it’s totally freaky.

HAPPY MOVIE WATCHING!!

New Kid’s Book – The Hueys in What’s The Opposite? and a GIVEAWAY! #TheHueys

12th January 2016

the-hueys

I remember when I first discovered an Oliver Jeffers book was when I was in the bookstore with my then toddler son looking for something funny for his bedtime story that night. I just happened to find The Incredible Book Eating Boy on the shelf, and immediately adored the illustrations. And then I read it and fell in love with it’s story and just how funny it was. It became one of our absolute favourite family reads and led to our love of all things Oliver Jeffers. If you haven’t yet read anything written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, you are missing out. They’re creative, hilarious and will amuse your kids, regardless of their age.

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Today is the release date of Oliver Jeffers’ newest book called The Hueys in What’s The Opposite? This is his latest book in The Hueys series, which explores the funny world of opposites. The Hueys are a quirky little bunch that will delight your children. The book is available in hardcover picture book and in board book formats today as well, so even your littlest one can enjoy this delightful book.

I’d love to share my love for Oliver Jeffers’ books with a giveaway today. This prize will include:

  • The Hueys in WHAT’S THE OPPOSITE? (hardcover picture book)
  • The Hueys in WHAT’S THE OPPOSITE (board book)
  • The Hueys in THE NEW SWEATER (board book)
  • The Hueys in IT WASN’T ME (board book)
  • The Hueys in NONE THE NUMBER (board book)

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This giveaway is open to Canadian AND U.S residents and will run until January 21, 2016.

Good Luck!
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Countdown to New Year’s with Netflix and a Giveaway!

31st December 2015

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Netflix is genius.

Do you have little kids who desperately want to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve to ring in the New Year, whereas you’re thinking, “NOPE?” Thanks to Netflix, you can trick them into thinking it’s midnight, at anytime you like tonight!

Netflix is launching six on-demand countdown specials that parents can use to ring in the new year anytime! They can choose when it’s time to say goodnight and the kids choose how to celebrate with their favourite characters including: Puffin Rock, Care Bears & Cousins, Inspector Gadget, King Julien, and favorites from DreamWorks Animation like Mr. Peabody and Sherman and Project Mc2.

Netflix surveyed parents in the US, UK, France, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and Mexico recently and found that 55% would love to be able to ring in the New Year with their kids early, using a special countdown. With 95% of Canadian parents spending this special night with their kids, Netflix’s early countdown options are a brilliant idea. I wish I had had this option when my kids were younger. Sadly, they’re too old to trick at this point so I am REALLY looking forward to dealing with exhausted tweens tonight.

Their poll also found these interesting stats about Canadian families and how they’ll be celebrating this New Year’s Eve:

  • More than a third of Canadian parents would use a special New Year’s Eve countdown as a way to get their kids to bed early (34 per cent)
  • 51 per cent of parents feel that having an on-demand New Year’s Eve countdown will allow them to celebrate as a family
  • Over 70 per cent of parents would start their special countdown before 11 p.m., with one in five parents choosing 9 p.m. as the ideal time to ring in those famous 10 seconds (20 per cent)
  • 65 per cent of parents plan to spend time with their significant other after putting their kids to bed before midnight

To ring in the New Year, I’d love to give away a little Netflix love to one lucky winner. Enter below to win a 6-month membership to Netflix Canada!!! This is open to Canadian residents only and will run until January 7, 2016!! GOOD LUCK and a HAPPY and HEALTHY NEW YEAR to you and yours!!

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12 Days of Picture Books – ROBO-SAUCE

9th December 2015

This might just be the absolute coolest, most ingenious picture book I’ve seen in a very long time.

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I must warn you however, because ROBO-SAUCE by Adam Rubin, is actually two books in one. This awesome picture book turns into a ROBO-BOOK! Seriously. My kids and I were so impressed by how unique this picture book is. The illustrations by Daniel Salmieri are perfectly matched with this delightful story of how a boy who discovers how to turn himself into a robot.

Flash! Bang! Boom! You need to gift this cool book to your favourite little people this holiday season. I promise you they will love the twist at the end!! I shared it with a girlfriend at our local bookstore, and she immediately bought it for her boys.

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Want to win a copy? Penguin Kids is giving away some of the best picture books for their 12 Days of Picture Books giveaway promotion, several of which I will be highlighting on my blog. To enter to win one of SIX copies of ROBO-SAUCE, head on over to the Penguin Kids Facebook Page TODAY and TOMORROW!! This particular giveaway will end 11:59 PM EST on 12/10/15. GOOD LUCK!

12 Days of Picture Books – Mitford at the Fashion Zoo

8th December 2015

I crazy love this book so much.

mitford at the fashion zoo

Mitford at the Fashion Zoo is written and illustrated by the incredibly talented and creative artist Donald Robertson. If you’re not following him on Instagram, you are missing out. I refer to him as the Canadian Warhol – the man has talent!

This lovely picture book is the story of Mitford the Giraffe who desperately wants to work for the fashion magazine Cover. If you know anything about fashion or fashion designers, you will delight in how creative this book is. You’ll encounter the talented Zap Possum, Shark Jacobs, and Mikael Boars just to name a few. The real star of this picture book is the illustrations – they are as Rachel Zoe would say, “Bananas.” Truly incredible.

Mitford at the Fashion Zoo

Mitford at the Fashion Zoo is a fun story that kids will love as much as any adult. This is a winner under the tree this year for sure!

Want to win a copy? Penguin Kids is giving away some of the best picture books for their 12 Days of Picture Books giveaway promotion, several of which I will be highlighting on my blog. To enter to win one of FIVE copies of Mitford at the Fashion Zoo, head on over to the Penguin Kids Facebook Page TODAY!! This particular giveaway will end 11:59 PM EST on 12/09/15. GOOD LUCK!

12DaysofPB_blog tour

12 Days of Picture Books – Pom Pom Panda Gets The Grumps

3rd December 2015

Books are the absolute BEST gift to give (and receive) this time of year. Or anytime of year quite frankly. A gorgeous picture book is a perfect way to show a little person in your life that you adore them. Why not gift them a book that will make them smile like Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps by Sophy Henn.

Look at that grumpy face!

pompom panda

This is a story about a little panda named Pom Pom who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed, and is just a total grump. This is me, Monday to Friday – although I do tend to perk up on the weekends.  This adorable tale follows Pom Pom on his grumpy day where nothing seems to go right, all the way until he gets to school. I wonder how his friends will feel about his grumpy attitude?

Pom Pom Panda is a sweet picture book that any little person would enjoy. The illustrations are SOOOO cute – just love them.

pompom panda

That is a face to love.

Would you like to win a copy for yourself?? For the next twelve days, Penguin Kids is giving away some of the best picture books, several of which I will be highlighting on my blog. To enter to win one of TWO copies of Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps, head on over to the Penguin Kids Facebook Page TODAY!! This particular giveaway will end 11:59 PM EST on 12/04/15. GOOD LUCK!

12DaysofPB_blog tour

Help Feed Children With Cuddle + Kind

23rd November 2015

cuddle-and-kindThis is Everest.

He’s 20″ of cute – hand-knit with premium yarn, stuffed with hypoallergenic goodness and non-toxic. He was handmade in Peru using Fair Trade practices. And when you purchase Everest, you’re not just buying a sweet knit doll, you are also providing ten meals to children in need in North America and around the world, through the World Food Program USA* and Children’s Hunger Fund.

Everest is just one of nine super adorable knit dolls available from Cuddle + Kind. You can also choose from two lovely mermaids (Isla & Pearl), two cute reindeer (Willow & Scout), two sweet bunnies (Chloe & Benedict) and two kittens (Maximus and Chelsea). They’re all so damn cute, but I’ve develped a bit of a crush on Benedict – how could I now with those glasses and bow tie and vest. They’re just the sweetest and they would make such an adorable prezzie for any little boy or girl, while also giving to those in need at the same time.

cuddle-and-kind

Cuddle + Kind sent us Everest and my daughter is in love. He’s officially her new bedtime buddy and has been every single night since he arrived. You can tell he’s been made with care and every detail has been carefully thought out, front and back, from his little scarf and knit hat, to his booties and perfectly yellow beak.

Cuddle + Kind is the brainchild of Canadian couple, Jennifer and Derek Woodgate, and their goal is to provide one million meals every year. To purchase a doll you can go here to order them via Indiegogo. You can also find Cuddle + Kind on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

cuddle-and-kind

Holiday Gift Ideas With Crayola And a Giveaway!

23rd November 2015

Crayola-Holiday

The holiday season is here and it’s time to get shopping for everyone on your list.

My kids started their lists weeks ago – they’ve taped them to the fridge and just keep adding to them as they see things they want. I figure they’ll have a short story by the time we get to December. Lucky me.

My 9 year old always has something from Crayola on her list – she loves being creative and art and is very imaginative. ‘Crayola believes in the genius of imagination, the power of play and the magic of dreams.’  I love that and I’m all for it.

Crayola has some great gift ideas that would be perfect for this holiday season. We had a chance to try some of them out and they are definite winners!

Crayola Crayon Carver

crayola-holiday-ideas

The Crayola Crayon Carver is a multiple award winner and geared to kids ages 6+. The Crayon Carver allows kids to experience engraving by tracing. First, you remove the crayon wrapper using the included wrapper ripper tool. You then place the crayon into the chamber to hold it in place. You select the tiles for the message you want to engrave, and then you trace the tiles which will simultaneously engrave the message into the crayon. This was one of my daughter’s favourites and she was amused with it for a long time. It was a definite hit.

Easy Animation Studio

crayola-easy-animation-studio

Another award-winner is the Easy Animation Studio, geared to kids ages 8+. To use this toy, you must download the Animation Studio app. The toy includes the mannequin and stand, a 30 page booklet, coloured pencils and a device stand. First, you choose which character you want to play with and colour and design it front and back, and then scan it in to your smartphone or tablet. You then place your device in the stand and position the mannequin in various poses. The on-screen character you scanned earlier then mimics the poses of the mannequin and records it as a video.

My daughter LOVED playing with this and didn’t require any help setting it up. She had a great time making videos and recording her voice into them, and then showing them off. Another hit!

Cling Creator, Thread Wrapper and Light-Up Stamper

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Need more award-winning ideas for prezzies this year? The Cling Creator allows you to create clings using included molds that will stick to and peel from virtually any surface. You can make up to 20 clings but refill packs are available as well.

The Crayola Creations Thread Wrapper is a motorized threading machine that allows you to style things you own with colourful threads. The Thread Wrapper comes with six spools of thread but you can use any thread with the machine. You can also use Crayola markers to add colour to the threads as well.

The Light-Up Stamper kit allows for mess free colouring by using Color Wonder inks. These inks are clear but the Light-Up Stamper kit actually lights up so you can see what colour you’re using. The great thing about Color Wonder inks is that they don’t colour or mess up your clothes or furniture or anything. It’s delightful.

Crayola has so many great gift options for the holiday season, and I want to help you get started. I’m giving away two of these fun products – The Crayon Carver and the Easy Animation Studio (valued at $60). You can enter below via Rafflecopter – the giveaway is open to Canadian Residents only and will run until December 1, 2015. GOOD LUCK!!

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Kids Mean Nostalgia And Nostalgia Needs Cake

19th October 2015

I keep wondering if there will ever be a time as a mom, where I don’t wonder how time is passing so quickly. One minute they’re in diapers, and the next they have opinions and attitudes and want privacy and girlfriends.

Slow down children. Mommy isn’t ready for this.

And every so often, without warning, I feel this overwhelming need to slow things down and make every moment count. This is when I pry the electronics out of the children’s hands, and we have family time. Actually, despite my sarcasm, the kids actually really love spending time together doing “things that people did in the olden days” like board games and talking.

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Board games, Bingo and card games are always guaranteed to have all four of us sitting at the kitchen table, laughing and having fun. These times always remind me of being a kid, at home with my four siblings and my parents. Some of my favourite memories are playing Risk with my brother, watching movies all together, and hanging out in our clubhouse. My mom would give us her homemade treats but every so often we’d have a Deep ‘n Delicious chocolate cake too. The five of us would devour that baby without even trying.

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I suppose it’s weird to be nostalgic about a specific chocolate cake, but I am. It’s a sweet reminder of the “olden days” and the importance of family and spending quality time together. So sharing one with my own kids for the first time was just yummy cake for them, but for me it was much more than that.

cakesaves

Cake. It makes the world go round.

*Disclosure: This post was brought to you by McCain Foods Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of McCain Foods Canada*

The Whole 30 – The 30 Day Guide

6th October 2015

whole-30

I bought this book the day it came out, read it and then put it lovingly on a shelf fully intending to try it out at some point. I had read great things about this ‘diet’ and how it acts to reset the body and is great for people with health issues and sugar addictions.

I’m that person, 100%. Besides the fact that sugar is my spirit animal, I’m also dealing with a very intense case of PCOS that I was diagnosed with a few months ago. If you’re as lucky as I am and have every possible symptom connected to PCOS, you’ll get why making dietary changes are really important. I also have a lot of stomach issues that seem to appear whenever I eat any kind of starchy carb – if that’s not an evil thing to do to a Greek girl, I don’t know what is.

So it’s time for me to give Whole 30 a try. What I love about this book, is how easy the ‘diet’ is. Basically, you can eat MEAT, SEAFOOD, EGGS, VEGGIES, FRUIT AND NATURAL FATS. You can’t eat sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy or baked goods of any kind. You also are not allowed to measure yourself or weight yourself during the process. Measure/weigh yourself at the beginning and end of the 30 days instead.

The book is great in that it has a section that answers every possible question you might have about the diet and the food you can and can’t eat. It also covers what to eat when eating out, travelling, and during the holidays. The Whole 30 guide also gives you lots of recipes, a shopping guide, and a suggested meal plan.

the-whole-30

So I’m going to follow this diet for 30 days, but I won’t be that person who’s instagramming/facebooking/tweeting my meals and progress. I’m not much of a food photographer and I know most people have zero interest in seeing what I’m eating so it works out. If you’ve done this ‘diet’, I’d love to know how it worked out for you – what you found easy/difficult and how you felt after the 30 days. I hope you’ll share your experience and/or your tips for someone just starting out. After the 30 days, I’ll let you know if I made it and if it affected my PCOS in any way.

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