My Smudge-Proof Kitchen

Once in a blue moon, when we have a no-rush-weekend-morning, I surprise the kids with pancakes. It creates such BLISS. Kids are happy. I am happy. The day is happy. And with my smudge-proof kitchen…I don’t have to worry about a mess.

My Smudge-Proof Kitchen

Surprise The Kids With Pancakes Tips…

Don’t announce pancake-making. Just start making. As they smell…they become blissful.

Don’t feel like you  need to make a from scratch version of pancakes. You can if you want to – but I’m sure even June Cleaver would use a boxed  pancake mix.

You can certainly add on pancake extras…strawberries, blueberries, ground flax are all great (and healthy!) added value pancake surprises.

Make it a family activity. Let the kids measure, pour, stir. And if they are old enough…let them at the range and allow them to pour and flip the pancake batter.

And messes…well, pancake-making messes happen (which is why you only make pancakes when you are not rushed!).  Example of my most recent pancake mess…

My Smudge-Proof Kitchen

As most toddlers, my boy still loves to eat with his hands. He also asks questions with his hands. And discover the world around him with those same lil’ hands. So it was no surprise when he came to me…at my Frigidaire range…with sticky maple syrup hands…asking for more. He, then, discovered he could make the most fantastic streaks and smudges…on my range…with his maple syrup fingers…sigh. Thankfully, Frigidaire range, is easily wipe-able. It went from maple syrup yum…to maple syrup oh no!…to maple syrup yay!

With their patented Smudge-Proof™ Stainless Steel finish, Frigidaire Gallery® and Frigidaire Professional® stainless-steel appliances have a new anti-smudge technology that resists those little fingerprints and is easier to clean than traditional stainless steel surfaces.

Sticky fingers around my appliances used to irk me (great word: irk). However, knowing my smudge-proof kitchen is kid-friendly – I know any smudge, streak, or mess is a wipe away from being clean. And that makes this Mom happy.


Disclosure:  I am part of the Frigidaire Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Divine Denim Fashion For Spring

I don’t know if it’s Spring or the fact that my kids have grown out of all of their clothes over the winter…but I’m shopping these days. This post is about Divine Denim Fashion For Spring because jeans are not only classic pieces…they are becoming the new business casual for work.

Divine Denim

My picks for Divine Denim Fashion For Spring

  • Ruffle-Trim Denim Skirts for Baby, Old Navy
  • Terry Denim-Wash Shorts for Baby, Old Navy
  • Kid Boys’ Denim Crink Short, Joe Fresh
  • Girls’ Capri Jeans, H & M
  • Boys’ Denim shorts with braces, H & M
  • Men’s Slim Fit Shirt, Old Navy
  • Ladies Denim Jacket, H & M

When I go out to a media event (like that time I met Pink) you will almost always spot me in skinny jeans paired with a blazer. Denim is easy. It wears well. You can dress it up or down.

And my kids are everyday denim kids. Boy. Girl(s). Denim is functional for play and cool for skool.

#WW w linky

This week’s #WW w linky inspiration: the Toronto Beaches Easter Parade…ah, the chocolate Lindt bunnies, the grand marshall was a Canadian Olympic Silver Medalist, and we spotted the Easter Bunny on his traditional boat (yes, it is the Beaches Easter Bunny!).

#WW w linky

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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Travel Tips For Families

I have travelled to over seven countries, including Canada, the United States and Europe, with my kids on family trips. I have become an expert in making family travel easier, from how to entertain kids on long car rides to travelling with a baby on a plane. This is the post where I share my Travel Tips For Families…

Travel Tips for Families

FAMILY TRAVEL TIP: A Packing List is a huge sanity saver and will help keep your family organized. Research weather for your destination to ensure you pack correctly for the weather. 

Travel Tips for Families

Travel Tips For Families

An up-to-date passport is the most important thing to have when travelling. Be sure to check expiry dates on passports (during one trip I realized my daughter’s passport was set to expire the day before we came back…eek!). Passport Canada has many in-person locations or your can simply mail it in. (I always choose to mail – it makes life easier).

Snacks are a must for travelling with kids. It keeps them energized and becomes a boredom buster. I pack dry cereal in resealable bags because it’s easy to eat on the go, whether you are en route, in a line up or at your destination, and it’s somewhat healthy.

I always take cash in Canadian or U.S. dollars when we travel. Not a huge sum but enough to pay for border crossings, buy a bottle of water, or pay for taxis. Years ago we didn’t have exact change to cross the border at Windsor/Detroit and I had to walk across six lanes of traffic to go to the duty free shop to get change. I learned my lesson and now carry a small amount of cash, be it a weekend trip to the States or a few weeks in the Caribbean.

When you travel as a family, your smartphone becomes an essential item. From GPS to phone book, to camera to social media connector, to an entertainment device for the kids. I always pack a smartphone when we travel.

Obviously, you want to take a suitcase filled with enough clothes for your trip. However, consider what you don’t have to pack. Going to Europe I never pack diapers, shampoos, or soaps because they are bulky and take up a lot of room. Instead, I pack enough for the travel day plus an extra day (just in case) and then go to a store and buy my essentials there. Saves suitcase room and is usually about the same price I pay for those items at home.

Whether you’re planning a car ride, train trip or plane ride, an activity bag is a must-have for family travel! From Kids Activity Bags (for bigger kids, which would include music devices and paper and pen) to my suggestions for Activity Bag For Toddler Boys, an activity bag is essential.

We share a huge border with the United States and, now you can plan your family’s vacation without worry and on-the-go with real Unlimited Data, Talk & Text across the USA from WIND Mobile. Just another way WIND delivers true mobile freedom.

WIND Mobile logo[1]


Disclosure: This post was brought to you by WIND Mobile via Glam Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of WIND Mobile.

 

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Juice Box Wallet

I had been wanting to try to make this Juice Box Wallet boredom buster for a while now. It just looked like a great way to upcycle something meant for the recycling box. So do you want to know how to make a  Juice Box Wallet…

how to make a juice box wallet

Juice Box Wallet

You will need:

Make it in: 30-45 minutes

Full disclosure: I did not create this activity (and I honestly don’t know who invented it – the internet is full of Juice Box Wallet how tos and DIY). However, I found the template from Spoonful – and I direct you to that site (link above) for the full step-by-step instructions). However, I will share my own tips on how to make a Juice Box Wallet below…

Juice Box Wallet

  1. This is definitely an activity for kids 10 yrs plus (if you want an activity more appropriate for younger kids – I suggest my Toilet Paper Craft For Kids: Mouse activity)
  2. I thought this would make a great birthday party activity but it is actually pretty challenging – I’d recommend it as a play date (or afternoon at Grandmas) sort of boredom buster.
  3. The accordion fold is a bit tricky.
  4. Cut the circle a bit bigger than what is on the Juice Box Wallet Template.

Juice box wallet

All in all it did turn out – and my big kids requested making more. See how you put the change inside, flip the lid over, and use the plastic top to “lock” the Juice Box Wallet?!

Actually, I think it would be pretty great to make a bunch of these for a fundraiser. Think: girl guide/scout activity, class project, craft sale table. They are inexpensive to make, encourage recycling and upcycling, and are a hands-on (screen free) activity for kids. You could even make a case that it develops hand/eye coordination because of the cutting, tracing, and folding.

Aveeno Active Naturals #Giveaway

I honestly believe in natural beauty. And I believe natural beauty comes from many different things: your actions, your beliefs, your priorities, your self-confidence, your love, your gifts, how the world takes care of you, and how you take care of yourself. Which is why you should take a minute and treat yourself to this Aveeno Active Naturals #Giveaway…

Aveeno Active Naturals

 

Aveeno Active Naturals

Like the name suggests…Aveeno has, among its components,  natural ingredients. Oats. Grown from farmers. Milled. Integrated into their wide array lotions and soaps which I love. Being a digital gal, I watched this Aveeno Active Naturals video showing how the develop their products…from farm…to lab…to your skin. (Trivia: the oat farm pictured in the video is right here in Canada! and yes, those are real Canadian Oat farmers).

You will know I’m an longtime Aveeno fan. From including Aveeno suncreen in Tips To Prevent A Sunburn to confessing my  Aveeno hand lotion daily need What’s in your diaper bag? (seriously, I wash my hands over and over throughout a day…I would be lost without hand lotion). And everyone in my household is welcome to share my Aveeno at any time (I trust it on my skin, as well as my teen, right down to my toddler). My experience has been that Aveeno lotions and washes – sooth my skin, moisturize my skin, making me feel better about the skin I’m in. Which is a HUGE factor in natural beauty n’est pas?…

WinAveeno Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win an AVEENO ACTIVE NATURALS  prize bundle (approx. value $100). This is a great gift to give your skin (or the skin of someone you like very much). This giveaway is open to Canadians only, excluding Quebec. [Read more...]

Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Cereal #Giveaway

Some products just “click” with your family. This this the true story of how much my kids like Nature’s Path Envirokidz Gorilla Munch cereal…and why I as a Mom choose to buy it…and oh…a little Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Cereal #Giveaway to make your breakfast and snack time a little easier…

Nature's Path Envirokidz giveaway

Why I buy EnviorKidz…

My kids aren’t big cereal eaters for breakfast…but they are HUGE cereal eaters for snacks (they eat it dry – like popcorn – probably a habit I built during our many car rides as I always found dry cereal an easy snack to pack).

I discovered  Nature’s Path EnviroKidz cereal  while I was searching for a new cereal to try several years ago (I was specifically looking for cereal which did not have “refined sugar” in the ingredient list). Nature’s Path EnviroKidz cereal is Certified Gluten-Free, Certified Canada Organic, Verified Non-GMO (Non Genetically Modified Organism)…all of which impacts our health and food systems.  No additives. No preservatives. Just organic, real food, ingredients. Oh, and it’s has granulated sugar cane juice NOT refined sugar. #WIN.

The Nature’s Path Envirokiz box was then…and is still now…a huge hit in our house. The back of the box has a fun quiz and facts about animals. I don’t buy products based on packaging…but I think taking advantage of box space to share added-value learning is smart. Nature’s Path EnviroKidz cereal boxes offer intelligent and engaging activities on their packaging as well as presenting a great “teachable moment” opportunity for kids to learn about the habitats, animals, and the world around them.

Nature's Path Envirokidz

My kids like to eat it by the handful. They count it. They sort it. Truly, a favourite in our house.

Nature's Path Envirokidz

Nature’s Path EnviroKidz makes delicious organic options that the whole family can feel good about. Kids love the yum factor and fun animals on the boxes, and moms love it because they’re certified organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, whole grain, and made without toxic pesticides and artificial flavours or colours.

Because EnviroKidz is a 1% For the Planet member, every time you buy one of our EnviroKidz products, 1% of the sales are donated to support endangered species, habitat conservation and environmental education for kids worldwide. As a 1% for the Planet member, to date Nature’s Path Envirokidz has raised over $1.6 million to help our partnering organizations with their educational and protection efforts.

Specifically, EnviroKidz Choco Chimps Cereal supports The Jane Goodall Institute, global leaders in chimpanzee protection, andEnviroKidz Jungle Munch Cereal supports Fauna & Flora International, acclaimed heroes in Sumatra elephant conservation.

WIN!

Just in time for Earth Day, Nature’s Path EnviroKidz has introduced two new whole grain cereals, including chocolate Choco Chimps Cereal, and cinnamon Jungle Munch Cereal. Your family could be one of the first to try them by winning this EnviroKidz prize pack full of organic cereal and bars, valued at $100! This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec. 

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Homemade Garlic Croutons

This week I decided to be a bit daring and create my own Homemade Garlic Croutons. See, my kids LOVE the garlic goodness but I wanted to see if I could make a healthy version. The result: an easy, inexpensive, delicious Homemade Garlic Croutons recipe. You gotta try this…

Homemade Garlic Croutons

What made my Homemade Garlic Croutons healthy? I used Demptser’s Garden Vegetable Bread (vegetables in bread?! yes, there are carrots and pumpkin in it…but I assure you it doesn’t have an overbearing “veggie” taste).

Homemade Garlic Croutons Recipe

Homemade Garlic Croutons
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Making Homemade Garlic Croutons is easy, inexpensive, and yummy! Great for salads, snacks, and cheese plates.
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of Dempster’s Garden Vegetable Bread
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • garlic powder (to taste)
Instructions
  1. Heat over to 375C
  2. Place 6 slices of Dempster’s Garden Vegetable Bread on a cookie sheet
  3. Brush melted butter over each of the bread slices
  4. Sprinkle garlic powder on each bread slice (to taste)
  5. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 12 minutes.
  6. After baking (turn off oven), place toasted garlic bread slices on a cutting board and cut into cubes.
  7. Then, return garlic bread cubes to cookie sheet.
  8. Next, return cookie sheet to hot oven (which is turned off) for 3-5 minutes.
  9. Serve warm immediately or store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.

Homemade Garlic Croutons Ideas

These Homemade Garlic Croutons are great for after-school snack (and in the lunch box too). They are also crunchy additions to any green salad. Oh I realized a grown-up switch up when I stumbled upon my husband munching on my Homemade Garlic Croutons…

Garlic Toast with Brie and Salami

Homemade Garlic Croutons

I know what I’m putting out for the guests the next time we do a wine & cheese!


Disclosure: #spon and these Homemade Garlic Croutons were truly a hit with the Brie. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. Visit Dempster’s on Facebook and follow @Dempsters on twitter 

Mother’s Day Gift Idea – Hatchery #Giveaway

I love gifts that keep on giving…which is why you should have a look at Hatchery for your Mother’s Day gifting this year. An exclusive, monthly, tasting box for Mom to discover. TEASER: there is a #giveaway below…

Mother's Day Gift Idea - Hatchery #Giveaway

Mother’s Day Gift Idea – Hatchery

Give Mom the gift of discovery. Hatchery is a monthly food subscription service (great for foodie Moms – and even foodie Dads – if you want to think to Father’s Day).  This gift is like no other…unique artisan cooking ingredients like condiments, spreads, cooking sauces, jams, honeys, syrups, oils, vinegars, salts, spices, seasonings and specialty baking ingredients. It is a great solution for buying for the tough-to-buy-for person in your life.  Personally, I love getting new honey…it’s kinda like a hug…in food form ;-)

Hatchery

For $20 per month, sign up and receive a delivery of curated, sample-size artisan ingredients and condiments to your doorstep every month. We’re here to help you discover flavors you would have never discovered on your own.

  • Only $25 monthly (free shipping)
  •  5-6 hand selected artisan ingredients
  • Exclusive member promotions and discounts
  • Culinary concierge support team

Sometimes I don’t have the time (or energy) to browse the grocery store shelves for something new. And though I’d like to shop at the farmer’s market – it’s a seasonal venue. Hatchery offers the chance for foodies to discover new tastes and products – delivered right to your door. Break the routine and try a new taste or smell right in your own kitchen.

I’m inspired by the Hatchery recipe for New Potato Salad with Argula and Mustard Vinaigrette (using  Mustard & Co. Mustard Sauce - by the way – Hatchery includes a write-up on each of their producers. It’s a great way to learn – and support – emerging small business). And if you love something which you stumbled upon in your Hatchery box – you can easily order another on their site.

GIVEAWAY!

Enter for your chance to win a three month subscription to Hatchery. This is a fantastic Mother’s Day Gift Idea! Open to residents of U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec. 18 yrs and older.

[Read more...]

Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review

My experience and knowledge of baby carriers grew with every one of my babies. With my first baby I thought fashion was most important for a baby carrier (you want to look good right?). Then, with baby #2 I thought comfort was most important (you want it to fit). Then, with baby #3 I thought function was most important (can we wear this carrier in more than one way?). I now realize you want fashion, comfort, and function! Read my Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review for information to make choosing your next baby carrier easier…

Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review

Stokke MyCarrier Cool. The breathable 3 in 1 baby carrier

The Stokke® MyCarrier Cool has the same unique design as the Stokke® MyCarrier, but is made with breathable mesh textiles. This reduces heat and moisture to keep both you and baby cool and dry for outdoor, active or warm weather use.

Stokke is a family owned Norwegian company (established in 1932) – very well known as a solid brand for children’s products. You might know the Stokke strollers, highchairs, nursery line, as well as the popular baby carriers. Stokke’s reputation (and brand) is well known throughout the baby gear world.

When choosing a baby carrier – I think it is important to research the brand.  The reviews. The product specifications. You don’t just choose the baby carrier with the “right price” but the baby carrier which is right for YOU (personally I take into account fashion, comfort, and function as my top 3 guidelines).

What I like about the Stokke My Carrier Cool is the fact that it is a 3 in 1 carrier. This means the baby carrier can adapt to your growing baby. When my son got to be a bigger baby…I really wished we had a back carrying baby carrier (I hadn’t thought of it when he was a newborn and we were baby gear shopping). Though he still loved being front facing…it didn’t work for me (ouch-my-back!).

How you can wear the Stokke MyCarrier Cool

Facing inwards

From newborn (minimum 3.5 kg/ 7.7 lbs and 53 cm/ 21 inch) until your child can hold his/ her head unaided.

Facing outwards

Only to be used once your child can hold his/her head unaided. Every child is unique, but a rough guide is around 4 months +.

Back carrying

When your child can sit unaided and is longer than 72 cm/ 28 inch with a maximum load of 15kg/33lbs.

Stokke MyCarrier Cool Review

The breathable mesh is a great feature of the Stokke MyCarrier Cool baby carrier.  It allows for better airflow for cooling (great for warmer weather or hot kids/parents). And the look is simply clean and classic.

The Ergonomic design is super important (especially when you have to ensure it is a good fit for different sized parents). This Stokke carrier has a fantastic unisex fit. It’s adjustable for all sizes and body types.  It’s easily adjustable (something I realized is something very important when I had a not-easily-adjustable baby carrier with baby #2 – it was cumbersome, took forever, and ended up causing a lot of back pain for me).

And they thought of parents…it’s machine washable, has a pocket for your keys, and integrated sun shade for baby.

A baby carrier is one of the baby gear items which you might use every day (I did for a while). You really want to invest in research…determine what factors are most important to you…and you might even want to try one on at a Stokke retailer to get the real life feel.

#WW w linky

This week’s #WW w linky inspiration: theToronto Blue Jays home opener (Go Jays Go!) against the New York Yankees.

Trivia: I was once a Mets fan

Parent Club w linky

As always comments appreciated and links to your own #WordlessWednesday posts most welcome!

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Disclosure: Thanks to Honda Canada for hosting us!



Egg Shell Art

I created this kid activity last year after a few of our Easter eggs cracked. What to do with those colourful egg shells?! I devised Egg Shell Art…and it’s super easy!

Egg Shell Art

Related: my post on How To Boil Eggs (yes, you need boiled eggs to make Egg Shell Art)

Egg Shell Art

You will need:

  • Small coloured egg shells
  • White school glue
  • Construction paper
  • Washable markers
  1. Have kids choose a piece of construction paper.
  2. Then, have kids colour a green stem and green leaves.
  3. Next, put a dab of white school glue where the flower petals would go.
  4. Then, sprinkle the egg shell pieces over the glue.
  5. Allow to dry.
  6. Done!

I know…too easy right?! But it turned out to be a great Boredom Buster which reused materials and created artwork in an Easter theme. I call that a arts & crafts win.

And we might just do Egg Shell Art again this year…but this time…we’ll break the eggs on purpose ;-)