House Of Botori Review and #Giveaway

Fashion, function, comfort…these are all the things I look for in a diaper bag. In this House of Bortori Review we review the Amara Shoulder Bag…does this diaper bag have everything baby and parent needs to make life easier?…PLUS a #Giveaway below you will not want to miss!

 

House of Botori Review

ABOUT HOUSE OF BOTORI

House of Botori was born from the desire to bring bright, bold patterns to chic and style-lovin’ moms and babies everywhere. We’re setting the fashion bar just a little higher, but keeping it well within your reach. Our high-quality and affordable gear is designed to get you through your busy days with class, sass and panache.

The first takeaway you need to have in this House of Botori Review is what you’ll find inside the bag: Baby Zone and Mom Zone. Unlike other diaper bags – the House of Botori has taken into account that parents and kids require seperate and organized sections in a diaper bag. This is a fantastic feature.

House of Botori Review

The Amara Shoulder Bag

With eleven compartments this bag is organized. In the Mom Zone you will find a zippered pocket for valuables. Key fob, 2 wide expandable pockets for cell phone and other necessities.  And 2 pen pockets. In the Baby Zone you will find 2 extra wide bottle pockets (insulated with eco-friendly PEVA and fits multiple bottle sizes). Alson with 2 extra large pockets for diapers and wipes and a very roomy middle area of bag for change of clothes, toys, blankets and more.

The Amara Shoulder Bag is fully zippered (so nothing will topple out) and comes with tote handles as well as a long shoulder strap (allowing you to carry it as a tote or messenger style or sling).

The Amara Should Bag also comes with (and all matching the vibrate fabric of the bag): an insulated bottle holder (great for keeping water cool!), change pad, wet clothes bag, and mini pouch (great for soothers). It also has four feet at the base.

Of all the reviews I have done…this House of Botori Review probably had the most work…no only was it tested for a day at the park…it was tested as on a family vacation…

House of Botori Review

That’s me and the House of Botori bag in France. If you have ever taken a diaper bag on a plane and then on vacation – you know the kind of testing it went through. It had to be the diaper bag, Mom tote, snack bag, change of clothes bag, activity bag, and purse all in one. And my findings?…

GREAT DIAPER BAG.

Very comfortable to carry (and that is #1 when I look at reviews). The pockets kept everything organized and within arms-reach (I used the magnet pockets to keep small toys handy for the “I’m tired” kid meltdowns).  I wore it both as a tote and messenger style (and I add: Papa also carried it messenger style; proving this is a solid Dad bag). The colour was netural enough to go with any outfit. Recommend!

GIVEAWAY

Eneehi Roving Nursing Clutch - Adire Sand

Enter for a chance to win Eneehi nursing clutch (colour choice at discretion of House of Botori). This clutch opens into a nursing cover; providing privacy and comfort to both you and nursing baby. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. Also open to residents of the U.S., excluding Alaska, Puerto Rico, Western Territories and Hawaii. 18 yrs and older. 

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Dyson Cool Fan Review

I have always been curious about Dyson’s fans – the blade-less feature really attracts me (as a parent of a small child – fans with blades are a safety worry) – but blades are what makes the air blow right?! Would a fan without blades really cool? This is my Dyson Cool Fan Review…

Dyson Cool Fan

 

Out of the box…the Dyson Cool Fan is an easy set up (my teen set it up actually). And know what, it’s actually a very attractive looking fan. The round circle has a very clean look making it a funky design addition to your room.

The airflow was consistent and cool. It comes with a remote so that you can turn up or down the airflow along with chose to keep it in one position or have it rotate (setting #7 on the airflow and rotation was deemed perfect by my family). It is also very quiet. The Dyson Cool Fan  was awarded the Quiet Mark by the Noise Abatement Society because of its new Air Multiplier technology.

How does Air Multiplier™ technology work?

First, air is drawn in by an impeller, which is turned at high speeds by an energy-efficient, brushless DC motor.  Then, a high velocity jet of air exits the loop amplifier and creates an area of low pressure that draws in air from behind the fan. Finally, as the jet of air leaves the front of the loop amplifier more air is drawn in from the surroundings, amplifying the initial airflow even further to project smooth, powerful, high-velocity airflow.

But about those blades…Dyson Cool Fan Review

The Dyson Cool Fan is truly safe for little fingers. And yes, that picture above was taken while the fan was blowing.  No blades = no safety danger for kids or pets. I. Love. That.

Think: apartment, home, or cottage – I definitely recommend the Dyson Cool Fan.

So share…what do you use/do to cool off during the summer?

Disclosure: A Dyson Cool Fan was provided for this review. And setting number 7 truly was our favourite. As always, the opinions on this post are my own. 

Endless by Diane Kroe Review

When I saw Diane Kroe at the One of A Kind Show in Toronto I knew I had to share her designs…seriously, this will make your life easier when it comes to packing! Her philosophy is “Have Fun and Travel Light” – how more perfect can that be for busy Moms travelling with families?! Planning a trip soon – then you will want to read my Endless by Diane Kroe Review…

Endless by Diane Kroe Review

Endless by Diane Kroe Review

  1. One Shoulder Top
  2. Scarf
  3. Off Shoulder Wrap
  4. Halter Top
  5. Poncho
  6. Dress
  7. Skirt

This one-size-fits-most piece is a great addition to your suitcase. I love how this 1 outfit can turn into 7 different looks (think: resort, European vacation, cruise). The fabric is light and easily washable. I note that it’s one-size-fits-most because I fit into 6 of the 7 possible variations (as a skirt it the opening was a tad too big for me…however, I am more slender than the average lady).

However, I would certainly recommend it for any lady. As busy Moms, we are often packing for everyone else and leave our own packing to the last minute (and often run out of suitcase room). Diane’s outfits are easily packable (read: you don’t have to iron!). And the functionality factor of these items is not to be missed.

Diane Kroe is a Canadian designer with a complete collection of convertible dresses, tops, and pants. Her wardrobe really does allow you to pack lighter. I have a fashion crush on her Convertible Dress (think: weddings, events, parties, travel, work, date night!).

And if you need more reasons to love Diane…

“My design philosophy is to create timeless yet functional clothing for women who love to travel.    I am committed to supporting our economy by continuing to design and manufacture quality merchandise here in Canada.”

Diane Kroe

Canadian, functional, fashionable…is this not a great find?!

#WW w linky Imagination Movers

It was one of the BEST live concerts for kids I have ever seen…we were out-of-our-seats when they sang “Mover Music (Jump Up!)“,  they were awesome at engaging kids to sing and move, nothing “silly” (you know how some live performances for kids can be over-the-top silly – I so dislike that)… AND my ds and I had the opportunity to meet the guys in person….this is our #WW w linky Imagination Movers

Parent Club w linky Imagination

The Imagination Movers (Rich, Scott, Dave, and Smitty) were all incredibly nice to all the kids.  No lip syncing or pre-recorded soundtracks – they played live – and it was the same great quality as when you see them on their show on Disney Junior Canada. I would love to see them again…and you can too!

Imagination Movers Live In Concert Canadian tour runs from Sept 13 – Oct 1 from west coast to east coast. You can get complete details and purchase tickets online at Disney Junior. Guys, I highly recommend seeing them – we had such a good time!.

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

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Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas From Kobo

Is Mother’s Day sneaking up on you?! (yeah, me too!). Ok, here are some awesome Last Mimute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas From Kobo – easy, one-size-fits-all, and a little something every mother would love…I’m obviously including myself in that…nudge nudge family members!…

Last Minute Mother's Day Gift Ideas From Kobo

  • Kobo Arc 10HDFor the techy mom KoboArc 10HD offers the highest resolution screen on the market and it’s ultra-fast.
  • Kobo Arc 7HDFor the social mom TheKobo Arc 7HD is the best HD tablet for eReaders with Internet browsing capabilities and downloadable apps like Facebook, Skype, Netflix and others.

You will remember I reviewed a Kobo Arc and can authentically attest to it being a fantastic Mother’s Day gift contender. Personally, I found the tapestries feature (where you can pin apps, games, and pretty much anything you want into categories on your main page) to be really unique and handy. It plays videos with amazing definition and the sound is pretty great too.  And yes, browsing is easy and awesome (great for keeping up with your social network in real time!).

Both devices are brilliant for busy Moms *waves hand*. Great size for portability. Super resolution. Brings all the apps you need for work/life/entertainment along with the apps you don’t need but love (I’m looking at you Firetruck-game-which-my-kids-are-addicted-to)

Kobo’s Mother’s Day Offer:

To celebrate Mother’s Day in Canada, Kobo is offering $10 off the Kobo Aura and $30 of free content*, $20 off the Kobo Arc 7D and $30 of free content*, and $50 off the Kobo Arc 10HD and $30 of free content* from April 23 – May 11. Available at IndigoBest BuyFuture ShopStaples, and The Source.

*Free content includes eBooks and eMagazines.

I have always been curious about trying out eMagazines (ok, I admit I love turning a magazine printed page but feel guilty about the amount of magazine paper which ends up in my recycling bin). This free content deal in the Kobo Mother’s Day bundles would be a great way to test drive eMagazines (and from everything I hear…they are pretty great).

Has anyone tried eBooks or eMagazines…thoughts?

Gifts For Mom and an Umbra #Giveaway

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. Buying for Maman can be tough – so this is the post where I try to make life a little easier by sharing some ideas on Gifts For Mom and an Umbra #Giveaway. So what are you thinking of gifting Mom this year…

Gifts for Mom

Gifts For Mom

  • little black dress $20.00
  • foresta turtle jewelry box $20.00
  • burst jewelry tree $20.00
  • ulove wall multi frame $40.00
  • mantra wall decor $30.00
  • family tree frame $50.00
  • pelica book prop $20.00

All of the above items are available at Umbra

Gifts For Mom Tips…

Think about what Mom would love. Kitchen gadgets? Wine bottle opener? Picture frame? Bath items? Fun small things? I’m one of those Mom’s who love it all. However the Pelica book prop pictured above is the perfect Mother’s Day gift for me…wouldn’t a copy of Boredom Busters look great on it?!

Think beyond YOUR Mom. Do you Mother’s Day shop for your Mother-in-law? Grandma? Aunt? Friend? Favourite Mom neighbour? Shop at Umbra now for your Mother’s Day gift giving…and enter the giveaway below for a belated gift (or you could keep it for yourself!…I won’t tell).

And I’m thrilled to share this exclusive deal for Parent Club readers. You can get free shipping (valid May 7-24, 2014) by using the promo code*: PARENTCLUB at checkout on www.umbra.com! No minimum purchase required, valid with regular priced items only.

*Valid for Canada and US (excluding Alaska, Puerto Rico, Western Territories and Hawaii). Promo code cannot be stacked with any other promotion

GIVEAWAY!

The folks at Umbra want to help make your Mother’s Day shopping a little easier. Enter for a chance to win a Family Tree Frame from Umbra ($50 value!). This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S., excluding Alaska, Puerto Rico, Western Territories and Hawaii,  and Canada, excluding Quebec.  [Read more...]

Protinis Complete Protein Snack

These is a new way to make lunch easier and full of protein. I stumbled on the NEW Protinis Complete Protein Snack at my grocery store a few weeks ago…and they have fast become a staple in our fridge. So much so, that when grocery shopping with my teen, she asked to buy Protinis by name…and that never happens…Oh, and there is a FLASH GIVEAWAY below!

Protinis

So my kids prefer the Protinis oven roasted chicken + cranberry. But there are other choices available: oven roasted chicken + superfruit (cranberries & blueberries), sweet Thai Chilly chicken, mild salsa chicken, oven roasted chicken + mango, honey garlic chicken (I bet my family would like that one too!), oven roasted chicken + apple, and oven roasted chicken.

What I have found it that these Protinis are easy and healthy snack choices. From adding it to a green salad to putting it in school lunch to a before karate class power snack – Protinis are simple but fill the nibble cravings.

Protinis Complete Protein Snack

A “complete protein” contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. Examples of foods with complete protein: milk, eggs, fish, meat and poultry, like the delicious chicken bites in PROTINIS™!

Protinis Complete Protein Snack

I love that Protinis come two to a pack – so that my tween can take one for lunch and I can serve the other to my toddler (with crackers of course…he eats everything with crackers these days).

TIP: I recommend re-using the Protinis package for a Boredom Buster. It can be easily be cleaned and re-purposed as a paint pot – super handy for kids’ art activities!

FLASH GIVEAWAY!

Enter for your chance to win 5 Protinis coupons to give this new complete protein snack a try.  Enter via rafflecopter form below. Two winners will be chosen at random. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, excluding Quebec. 

Deal: Get your $2.00 off Protinis coupon here!

Connect with Maple Leaf Foods on Facebook

Connect with Maple Leaf Foods on Twitter
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Breakfast Wrap Ideas

Some mornings breakfast wraps just make life easier. Grab-n-go, we are late, I’m hungry, weekday morning solution! One of my daughters actually has a wrap practically every morning (her choice). This is the post where I share my easy Breakfast Wrap Ideas…

Breakfast Wrap Ideas

Breakfast Wrap Ideas

The #1 pick chez moi is our chocolate hazelnut breakfast wrap on a Dempsters Tortilla. As a Mom, I feel good that one Dempsters Tortilla provides 15%, respectively of my kids’ daily intake  of Folate and Selenium.

A granola, yogurt, strawberry breakfast wrap is my #2 choice. Crunchy, sweet, and a little creamy.

I just bought almond butter to try out a Almond butter breakfast wrap on my toddler tomorrow (he doesn’t have a nut allergy – and is a tough guy to eat breakfast – hoping this breakfast wrap is up for the challenge!).

A bacon, lettuce, and tomato breakfast wrap would hit the bacon lover spot.

Peanut butter and banana breakfast wrap might appeal to some (I’m not a PB lover so I’ll pass but I recognize the nutritional value).

Scrambled eggs and spinach breakfast wrap. Ham and swiss breakfast wrap. Apple and cinnamon breakfast wrap. I love how you can switch up a tortilla (something I normally only think about when it comes to Quesidilla dinner night!) and turn it into part of a healthy breakfast.

breakfast wrap ideas

And any of my breakfast wrap ideas can be after-school – or on the way home for *insert sport* game snack.

We all have busy family lives…and deserve to find ways to make life a little easier.  A portable breakfast can sometimes make or break your day…but I don’t think you should have to give on nutrition in order to get out the door. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it fuels your mind and body for the day ahead. Don’t be the parent who just has coffee. Don’t have the kid who goes to school without breakfast. Make breakfast. And make breakfast work for your life.


Disclosure: #spon and yes, my daughter eats a breakfast wrap almost every morning. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. Visit Dempster’s on Facebook and follow@Dempsters on twitter.

Hot Wheels Track Builder Challenge

Are you up for some screen free fun?! Sharing some deets about the Hot Wheels Track Builder Challenge which inspires kids (and adults) to build and create. This is play-based learning at it’s best…and a great #boredombuster…

Hot Wheels Track Builder Challenge

Hot Wheels Track Builder Challenge Tips

I am new to the world of Hot Wheels and pretty much had no idea how to build a track (I’m hand/eye coordination delayed really). So I invited a bunch of kids to have a track party and build together. I was amazed at how they read directions, made a plan, and worked together as a team. I had ages 3-13 involved (and yes, a 43 year old at one point…the Hot Wheels Builder Challenge seems to have a wide age range!). The big kids helped the little kids and the little kids loved being involved with the big kids.  It was pretty awesome…

Hot Wheels Track Builder Challenge

Ready for some tips from the experts?

Add a Hot Wheels booster before a jump to make the car go farther. Make sure the tracks are all lined up well. Raise the outside corner of your jump to make a turn faster.

Upload a photo of your own awesome track and you could WIN the Grand Prize of an awesome Track Party!

Hot Wheels will come to your house and build a giant indoor track for you and all your friends. We’re also giving away Hot Wheels® prize packs worth $100 each.

You can visit Hot Wheels Track Builder Challenge to get more info on that fantastic giveaway (and even more track builder tips!). 

Hot wheels track builder challenge

Play-based learning is a great way for kids to fine tune their decision-making skills, learn patience, and take turns. Boys and girls, little kids and big kids….they all had a pretty awesome time at our track building party.


Disclosure: #spon And my kids truly spent hours building tracks together. As always, the opinions in this post are my own. 

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...]

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 

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.