Thursday, August 28, 2014

Save Money On Back-To-School Shopping With RBC Rewards (Giveaway)

With all of the credit card rewards programs available today, making the right choice can be overwhelming. If you're like me, you want your purchases to earn you points towards something useful for your family. We all have limited budgets and lots of bills to pay, so we want our points to really make a difference.

Margarita Ice Pops (Recipe & Book Review)

Summer isn't over yet...but it soon will be! Let's send it out in style, shall we? These Margarita Ice Pops would make a great addition to an end-of-summer party, served over a bucket of ice. Or, just enjoy one alone on the deck during a late-summer sunset. I shared a family-friendly recipe for Strawberry Peach Green Tea Ice Pops before. These Margarita Ice Pops are decidedly for the adults. With freshly squeezed lime juice, lime zest, tequila and orange liqueur, they're guaranteed to be a treat.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

This week is the "Oh crap, it's the end of summer vacation and we haven't accomplished any of our home projects" week. That means painting, organizing and purging, with a wee bit of cooking tossed in. It also means I haven't taken as many food photos. So I'm going to share a single day's worth of food pics from yesterday.

I started the day with Bob's Red Mill 7 Grain Hot Cereal. It reminds me of the Red River Hot Cereal I enjoyed as a child. I served it topped with brown sugar just as I did as a child. But I use soy beverage now instead of dairy. The 7 grain cereal keeps me full for a while. It's a combo of wheat, rye, triticale, oats, oat bran, barley, brown rice and flaxseed, so it's full of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Back-to-School Looks Different This Year (With The Nokia Lumia 635)

This year, back-to-school is looking a bit different for my boy. He's 12 now and going into grade 7. (I'm sorry, didn't you just learn how to walk?) Besides the usual backpack and school supplies, he also has a new cell phone. If you're thinking, "Oh my gosh, he's 12 and you're giving him a cell phone," I totally hear you. I'm a bit of an old-fashioned girl myself. I'm not ready for my child to be face-down in a cellphone for the rest of his days.

But I'm also a safety freak. There's a sculpture entitled "Worried Mom" that's modeled on my face. (Okay, not really, but that would be cool.) As a preteen, my guy craves independence, and rightly so. In order for me to give it to him, I have to reassure myself that safety measures are in place. If he's walking home from school or headed to the park with some buddies, a cell phone lets me keep in touch. I can find out where he is or tell him it's time to head home for dinner. It's more convenient (and less embarrassing for him) than me running to and from the park every 10 minutes.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rock The Halls With Sears Fashions For Kids ($100 Sears Card Giveaway)

My Girl's Picks - Fall Fashions From Sears

I think a new outfit for the first day of school is a necessity. I got one (or two!) every year growing up, and I found it helped me to leave summer behind and get excited about the new school year. Now that I carry on the tradition with my own children I'm always interested to see how their style changes from year to year.

While my little girl once adored frilly dresses and a wild mix of colours and patterns, she now favours a more simple and sporty style. She is beginning competitive dance this year, so she is a fan of dance-related clothing such as track pants and hoodies. She also still likes fashion with a touch of whimsy, like the heart-themed tops and leggings from Sears, above.

Vic and Vie Dolls (Giveaway)

When I was pregnant with our first child, I was convinced that we would have a household with minimal toys. But somehow, between birthday presents, Christmas gifts and the occasional purchase of a toy the kids just had to have, our house filled up with an assortment of toys, stuffed animals and games.

Now I'm more cautious of adding to the collection. Any new toy has to be imaginative, useful and/or a certain classic.  Recently, my daughter received a doll that fits nicely into the latter category. As soon as she saw her new Vic and Vie "Laura" doll, she was smitten. She began carrying it around everywhere with her.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday

My little girl and I just returned from a four-day visit to my parents' house. My mom and I share a passion for food and eating out at restaurants. She is always happy to have companions for restaurant meals. We headed into the town of Dunnville not once, but twice to eat at The Minga, a vegetarian cafe. Here's my daughter enjoying a fresh-made lemonade.

Monday, August 18, 2014

30 Days of Beauty With Shoppers Drug Mart

When I was a teenager, I loved to sit on my bed with a little mirror and practice applying makeup. I would do a full smoky eye, soft pink cheeks and a red lipstick. My hair was quite blonde then and my style icon was Marilyn Monroe (the inspiration for my red lipstick!).

These days I don't have as much time to play around with makeup. In fact, I usually apply it quickly before heading out the door. That's sort of a shame, because when I put a bit more time and effort into my makeup I always feel good about it. And I still love the feeling of applying a new lipstick or eyeshadow in a fun, vibrant colour.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Strawberry Peach Green Tea Ice Pops (With the Zoku Quick Pop Maker)

Summer and frozen treats go hand in hand. I distinctly remember the feeling of standing outside the local convenience store as a child with a colourful icy treat dripping down my hands. Being more health conscious now, I'm not so fond of the artificial colours, but I still crave a lovely ice pop on warm days.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday, with a beach day

The end of summer is threatening. Not only is it mid-August, but we have also had a few cooler days and a few rainy days. This past week, I was determined to get in at least one beach day. The weather on Friday was promising, so we headed to Centennial Park in Barrie, Ontario with my visiting in-laws and my sister-in-law and her husband and kids. As you can see, we sure know how to make ourselves at home on the beach. It's all hands on deck when it comes to carrying coolers, chairs and umbrellas to and from the car!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Capturing Special Memories - Our 15th Wedding Anniversary in New York City

My husband and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in July. Back when we were just youngsters, we loved to travel to big cities like London, Rome, Florence, Vancouver and New York. We simply weren't the lounge-at-the-beach types.

Two kids and a couple of decades later, I have to say long days at the beach sound pretty inviting. For our 15th anniversary, however, we thought it was only fitting that we once again hit the big city of New York for sightseeing, food and good fun. We briefly debated leaving the kids with grandparents, but those little beings are truly the best thing to come out of our marriage, so it's only fitting that they came along.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Summer Fun for the Kids

Keeping the kids occupied over summer break is always a concern. We try to balance formal sports/dance activities with family visits, travel and some good old-fashioned downtime. Where downtime is concerned, I find it's helpful to have a solid collection of kids' books in the house. I turned to DK Canada's Summer Fun Boutique for a selection of books to help me keep the kids happy and productive this summer (all at 30% off too!).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday, to New York City and back again

I intended to do a What I Ate Wednesday post from New York City last week, but we were so busy during the days (and tired at night!) that I opted not to do it in the end. So, this What I Ate Wednesday, I have highlights from about a week and a half of eating. Eating healthy on a road trip can be a bit challenging, but I did okay for the most part.

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Visit to Farm Sanctuary, Watkins Glen

On our recent road trip to New York City, we decided to make a pit stop at Farm Sanctuary in picturesque Watkins Glen, New York. One of three Farm Sanctuary locations across the United States, the Watkins Glen sanctuary is nestled in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region. The 175-acre shelter is home to more than 500 rescued farm animals.

Visitors can take an hour-long guided tour, getting up close with the lovely animals that call the sanctuary home. Following the tour, you can also meander through the sanctuary on a self-guided tour too, just as long as you don't open any gates on your own. Some of these beauties are large!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Vegan Eats World (Cookbook Review)

If you are looking for the same old same old vegan recipes, Terry Hope Romero's Vegan Eats World: 300 International Recipes for Savoring the Planet isn't the cookbook for you. This eclectic cookbook, from the bestselling coauthor of Veganomicon, features 300 international recipes that translate the world's different cuisines into delicious vegan eats.

"We can freely indulge, nourish ourselves and save the planet by reinventing vegan food," says Terry in the cookbook's intro. "It's as easy as borrowing from all the cuisines of the world."

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