Contests

Grab a Taste of the Big League! #Giveaway

Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

Take me out to the ball game… Take me out with the crowd!
Buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks… I don’t care if I never get back!

Yes folks, the boys of summer are back! It is officially Opening Weekend for the Toronto Blue Jays – Canada’s favourite (okay, Canada’s only) major league baseball team. After a long, cold winter, it’s a treat to welcome the sights and sounds of the ballpark – the buzz of the crowd, the snap of a baseball bat, and my favourite, the call of the hot dog vendor! Hot Dogs! Sausages! Get ‘em while they’re hot!

Sigh. Can’t you just taste it? A plump, juicy hot dog on a soft, fresh baked bun. It is summertime perfection! And in the spirit of things that go great together, I’m pleased to announce that once again, Schneiders is the official hot dog – and Villaggio is the official sausage bun – of the Toronto Blue Jays!

And now, you can grab a taste of the big league at home! Recreate the iconic taste of the ballpark with Schneiders Country Naturals Jumbo Beef Wieners. They’re made with beef raised without antibiotics and crafted with only authentic, wholesome ingredients so you and your family can experience meat the way it’s supposed to taste – free of artificial ingredients and preservatives. Then, wrap it in a Villaggio Italian Style Sausage Bun for the ultimate fan experience. Now that’s a home run!

So, will you be cheering on the Toronto Blue Jays this Opening Weekend? Show your team spirit by supporting the boys in blue… and entering to win a fabulous prize pack!

Courtesy of our friends at Schneiders and Villaggio, I’ve got $100 worth of FREE product coupons up for grabs! So, whether you’re at the ballpark or in your backyard, you can enjoy the most epic Country Naturals Hot Dog or Grill’ems Sausage on us.  (more…)

Contests

Get Ready to #BakeWithStyle!

Tenderflake knows how good you feel when you #BakewithStyle and wants to help women coping with cancer feel good too. That’s why they’ve partnered with Look Good Feel Better, Canada’s only charity dedicated to empowering women by helping them manage the effects that cancer and its treatment have on their appearance.

Sounds amazing? IT IS. And here’s how you can help: Vote on one of their stylish Easter recipes and you’ll be making a $1 donation toward the Look Good Feel Better organization.

Of course, a campaign this wonderful is a cause for celebration – and we’re celebrating with a #BakeWithStyle Twitter Party! Join @TenderflakePie as they share stylish and scrumptious recipes like these Easter Sweet Treats. Best of all, we’re giving away FREE Tenderflake coupons and TWO KitchenAid Artisan Mixers – valued at $499.99 each!

RSVP below for a chance to win, and get ready to #BakeWithStyle!  (more…)

musings

#livein: The Evolution of the Home

If you were a child in the 70′s or 80′s, chances are, you encountered a couch condom.

Okay, so maybe you’re unfamiliar with the term. You may know them as slipcovers, or the shrink-wrapped plastic that our parents layered on the furniture to preserve and protect what was underneath. You know, like a condom.

And what were they protecting the furniture from? LIFE, of course! Sticky fingers, wayward juice boxes, muddy pants, shedding pets, sharp toys, cookie crumbs and baby bums… all the things that come with being blessed with a family. Plastic slipcovers were the equivalent of a velvet rope; lifted with caution – and only for VIPs.

I often wonder why furniture required such proficient preservation. I mean, did our parents think that they’d be handing down that sofa through the generations? Or maybe in the off-chance the Queen visited for tea, the pristine velvet couch would signify grooming and grace.

Regardless, the message was loud and clear: this is our home, but we don’t actually live in it.

Did you grow up in a shrink-wrapped home? Did you have a formal living and dining room that were only used on “special” occasions, and then, just as quickly preserved the second the guests left? Looking back, I often marvel at the amount of space in homes that was for show only; the living room at the front of the house, the overly formal dining room, the guest room that was perfectly made up – and perfectly unused. However, times are changing.

A recent Ipsos-Reid survey conducted on behalf of Urban Barn revealed the majority of Canadian homeowners (71%) are “living” differently in their homes compared to the one they grew up in.

“Homes are evolving to accommodate the ever-changing ways in which Canadians are living in their homes”, says Candice Laughlin, architecture & home design expert, Urban Barn.  (more…)

musings

#ThrowbackThursday #tbt: The Stagette

In 2014, I will be participating in #tbt courtesy of the Epson Expression Premium XP-810 Small–in–One printer, the ultimate choice for scanning and printing. Ultra powerful and ultra slim, it produces stunning borderless photos and documents quickly and affordably. Featuring the ultimate in wireless printing, the XP-810 makes it easier than ever to print from your iPad, iPhone, tablet or smartphone, whether in your home or out and about.

2007: A rite of passage. The stagette, of course! My girlfriends stuffed me into a posh hotel room – and fed me marshmallows and liquor until I threw up. And THEN we began the celebration!

The photo above was taken before the late night dancing… but shortly after I was subjected to numerous well-planned and expertly executed stagette games I won’t repeat here. Swaying back and forth and stumbling, I protested that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the club, and motioned for the girls to go on without me. Undeterred, they found a walker-styled shopping cart in the hallway and wheeled me to the elevator.

(I shudder to think whose walker they pinched! And sincerely hope it made it back to the proper owner.)

I have almost no memories of that night, including the exact moment this photo was taken, why it was taken, who took it… but I do know that the silly grin on my face ended with a grimace when I face-planted on a couch in the nightclub. Ah, to be young again! This is my throwback.

Contests

We’re Celebrating #EggsAtEaster!

Few things go hand in hand like Easter… and Easter Eggs, of course! And just in time for the EGGcellent feast, the Egg Farmers of Canada are hosting a party of EGGpic proportions. EGGcited? So am I!

(In case you’re wondering, no, I don’t think I’ll ever tire of inserting “egg-isms” where appropriate. Too much fun!)

Join @eggsoeufs on Tuesday, April 8th at 9pm ET for the #EggsAt Easter Twitter Party. We’ll be chatting up a storm about your Easter traditions, creative tips for decorating Easter eggs, and how fresh, local Canadian Eggs play a supporting role in your holiday feast. From Festive Brunch Pie to Chocolate Bunny Bread, there are so many reasons to celEGGbrate the holiday!

We’ll have fabulous prizes up for grabs, including 7 x Easter Get Cracking Prize Packs (includes tons of Get Cracking Swag and an Easter Egg Decorating Kit), plus a GRAND PRIZE of an Easter Quiche-in-a-Box Prize Pack!

The Easter Quiche-in-a-Box Prize Pack includes everything you need to create the perfect Easter morning celebration – Get Cracking Swag, an Easter Egg Decorating Kit, a KitchenAid Mandolin slicer, a Quiche Dish Set from Crate and Barrel, a KitchenAid Box Grater, and a variety of special seasonings like thyme, basil, rosemary, peppercorns and sea salt. The prize is valued at $250.00! (Please see our official rules.)

RSVP below for a chance to win, and be sure to bring your #EggsAtEaster recipes, tips and ideas to share! (more…)

food

Simple Spring Ideas: Orange-Ginger Chicken Salad

The sun is shining; the birds are singing – and the only thing on my mind is a light, tasty salad that is a tribute to the season… and maybe a remedy for the extra pounds I put on over the cold winter months. My Orange-Ginger Chicken Salad is bursting with citrus flavour and features tender, juicy Maple Leaf Prime Naturally Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts.

The salad is actually a great way to #loveyourleftovers; I serve baked orange-ginger glazed chicken breasts with rice the night before, and always remember to reserve two for our favourite salad the next day. The orange segments brighten the flavour and are perfectly balanced against the acidic, aromatic dressing. Enjoy!

(Day 1)
4  Maple Leaf Prime Naturally Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1-1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
salt and coarsely cracked black pepper, to taste

(Day 2)
1 package baby romaine lettuce mix
1 orange, peeled and segmented

Day 1: Whisk juice concentrate, vinegar, oil, soy sauce and ginger in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Set aside two tablespoons and refrigerate.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Generously brush chicken breasts with remaining dressing and marinate for 30 minutes. Bake in a shallow baking dish at 400°F for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear. Serve with with your favourite side dish, reserving two breasts for the next day’s salad.

Day 2: Toss baby romaine lettuce mix with 2 tablespoons dressing; divide into two portions. Slice chicken breasts and layer over salad greens, finishing with orange segments. Serves 2.

For more delicious simple spring ideas, visit Maple Leaf Prime on FacebookTwitter or Pinterest

musings

It’s Time to Have “The Talk”.

My boys are only about a month shy of their 4th and 6th birthdays, so I’m a little surprised that it’s already time to have “the talk”.

Truthfully, I assumed I had at least a few more years. My sons are barely out of the toddler stages! I had convinced myself that the the dreaded conversation would take place sometime in the distant future, so I did little to prepare myself – I gave it little thought and importance. Let the parents of tweens worry about it, I thought, I’m still PVR’ing Disney Junior shows!

But it happened. It happened and I was caught off-guard; silently cursing the acceleration of childhood. And it happened at the most inopportune moment; I was flustered, disorganized and trying to accomplish about a thousand things at once, and there stood Ryder, hovering in my doorway. I could tell he wanted to ask me something, and I turned to him, my face dripping with annoyance and expectation. “What is it?” I snapped.

If I had known this would be the pivotal moment, the moment I had both feared and dreaded would come eventually (but not now!), I would have been better prepared. I would have had all my key points of love, nurturing and most of all, quiet authority and instruction, ready to dole out with calm, maternal intelligence. I would have called out to my husband, who, as the man of the family, would’ve been able to delve from his own experience.

Yet my perfect vision of “the talk” crumbled at my feet when out of mouth of my sweet, young and naive son, the dreaded words flowed: “Can we get a dog?” Unprepared, I blurted out an unintelligent, garbled response that only the most practiced ears would understand and interpret as no f*cking way.

So, my friends, the hour is upon us and it’s time to have the “No Dogs Talk”. As an aside, I blame my best friend for the premature timing of the discussion, as she recently acquired the most adorable puppy I’ve laid eyes on and I’ve been showing the boys his photos. So I suppose I’ve had a hand in this debacle after all, and now it’s time to set the record straight. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to stand firm – and that troubles me. In fact, my husband is fairly convinced I’ll eventually give in. But for the time being, I will only take care of two babies, dammit.

Do you have pets? Were you convinced by your children – or, as a child, did you convince your parents? 

fashion

Introducing: Pink Tartan at TSC! #Giveaway

NOTE: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

I *may* have a girl crush on the talented, beautiful Kimberley Newport-Mimran.

From producing sleek uniforms for Porter Airlines and Holt Renfrew, to covering the front pages of FLARE and Vogue, Newport-Mimran’s Pink Tartan label is coveted among fashion lovers the world over. Her modernized classic designs include well-fitted, elegant pieces in easy-wear, easy-wash fashions.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kim backstage at her sold-out runway show at Toronto’s World Mastercard Fashion Week last fall. Charming and approachable, her collections are a testament to her breezy persona.

Worn by celebrities such as Charlize Theron and Gwyneth Paltrow, the designs are updates to modern classics and offer simple yet strong designs complemented by luxurious fabrics. Kim describes sexy as “what you don’t see.”

And now, The Shopping Channel is pleased to announce the addition of Pink Tartan to its roster of luxury brands. On Sunday, March 30 at 8 a.m. ET, Kimberley Newport-Mimran will debut her collection live! The designs will be available online at tsc.ca.

“As a fashion designer, I’m thrilled to be partnering with The Shopping Channel to bring runway to real life into the homes of all Canadian women,” said Newport-Mimran. “My clothes are built with integrity and style, meant to live your life in and easily transition from day to night – what all women deserve.”

Highlights from the easy to wear and care for Spring collection available at The Shopping Channel include closet must-haves like the black and navy legging pant, a tech pencil skirt, a figure-flattering striped dress, a cropped knit tee and a square-patterned wrap dress. The stylish collection ranges in price from the zipper tee for $95, to the knee-length floral trench for $395.

DAY TO NIGHT

From boardroom to bar stool, I love the simple elegance and clean lines of TECH PENCIL SKIRT and SHORT SLEEVE VOGUE DRESS. Both items perfectly balance professionalism with a hint of sultry charm.

(more…)

family

#ThrowbackThursday #tbt: Make a Wish!

In 2014, I will be participating in #tbt courtesy of the Epson Expression Premium XP-810 Small–in–One printer, the ultimate choice for scanning and printing. Ultra powerful and ultra slim, it produces stunning borderless photos and documents quickly and affordably. Featuring the ultimate in wireless printing, the XP-810 makes it easier than ever to print from your iPad, iPhone, tablet or smartphone, whether in your home or out and about.

Ah, the primary school birthday party.

In 1983, it meant three things. One, my mom insisted that I wear my most showy, most elaborate pink dress – just in case anyone didn’t realize that I was the girl of the hour, of course. Two, chocolate birthday cake. Glorious chocolate birthday cake! I realize I can never show this photo to Ryder, whose classroom code of conduct states that only fresh cut fruit is allowed on birthdays. (Even I think this is sad.) He’ll take one look at my chocolate-sprinkled cake and wish he lived back in the good ol’ days.

And three – the VERY best thing about having a primary school birthday party? You instantly became the most popular kid for the day. Hooray for buying kids’ friendship with sugary concoctions!

food

Five Steps to Five-Minute Pizza #Giveaway

Note: The following giveaway is open to Canadians only.

Pizza is a BIG thing in my house. As a mom of two boys with hollow legs, I’m constantly looking for satisfying meals and snacks that will keep the boys’ hunger at bay. In recent months, I’ve discovered that often, pizza is simply the best option; it’s loaded with protein, is a finger food, and most importantly, can be customized to suit tastes and preferences.

Yet it occurred to me some time ago that my kitchen drawer was littered with delivery flyers. My freezer was overstocked with frozen pizzas – both family-sized and snack portions. A growing fraction of our children’s diet was dedicated to convenience food; surely there had to be a better way?

Yes, I could make pizza myself. And I do! But I am also realistic: I am not the type to make my own pizza dough from scratch on a weekly basis. I choose my battles carefully, and battling with sticky dough is not a war I will ever win. So, I found a wonderful alternative in flatbreads; they’re easy to work with and offer a desirable thin crust. But the equation wasn’t perfect just yet – because making your own pizza also means you have to preheat your oven. And bake it. And watch it. Hmmm… where were those microwaveable pizza snacks?

But just when I thought I had doomed my boys to a childhood of convenience food, the heavens parted… and I was introduced to a game changer. The Hamilton Beach Pizza Maker. YES, a countertop pizza maker! It’s a snazzy, easy-to-use appliance that makes pizza, snacks and appetizers in a flash. Heat up a 12” pre-made frozen pizza or create your own delicious and nutritious pizza from (almost) scratch!

The kicker: It cooks up to 40% faster and is up to 52% more energy efficient than your kitchen oven.

Do the math, friends: in the time it takes to preheat my oven for a frozen or fresh pizza, we could have pizza on the table. And for this mom of boys who say “I’m still hungry” exactly 8.2 times per day, that is very attractive indeed!

Presenting: Five Steps to Five-Minute Pizza. Made possible ONLY with the Hamilton Beach Pizza Maker.

Step One: Get your hands on a Hamilton Beach Pizza Maker, of course! Available at TruServ, Amazon.ca and SHOP.CA, the unit retails for $69.99 and for pizza lovers, is worth every penny. In addition to cooking pizza, you can also warm appetizers, wings, cinnamon rolls and more. Bonus: the gorgeous red colour looks great on your countertop or tabletop.

Step Two: Add your frozen pizza, fresh pizza dough or flat bread to the pizza maker, and load up your toppings. Did you see that? I created my pizza directly in the pizza maker. So, there are less dishes and almost ZERO cleanup! Because my boys can get picky about toppings, I hide them between layers of shredded mozzarella. On this particular pizza, I’ve buried pepperoni and sauteed mushrooms – a classic combination.  (more…)

Contests

Sing Along Now: I #FeelGood(Bread)!

Now that I’ve started a James Brown earworm, tell me – what makes you feel good?

Is it taking care of yourself by eating right? Maybe you burn off extra energy by hitting the gym. Or perhaps you keep your life a drama-free zone (recommended). Whatever it is, Dempster’s Feel Good Breads are made for movers and shakers who like to look and feel oh so good.

Great taste, good-for-you ingredients and customized to fit your lifestyle. What could be better? From boosting your protein intake to maintaining a healthy diet, Feel Good Breads are satisfying food choices that can help keep you on track and complement your busy lifestyle.

So far so good? Join us at the @Dempsters #FeelGoodBread Twitter Party, where we’ll chat about ways to spread the goodness, including how you can help your city top the Dempster’s Feel Good Index!

Visit www.feelgoodindex.ca. The Feel Good Index monitors what Canadians are tweeting across the country. It then calculates the overall feeling in each region by comparing the number of times people use keywords associated with “good” feelings to the number of times people use keywords associated with “not-so-good” feelings.

If people in a city tweet more “feel good” keywords than “feel not-so-good” keywords, the city is given a positive score – or a negative score if they tweet more “feel not-so-good” keywords. The Index then adds up all the scores from each region and averages them out equally to calculate the mood of Canada as a whole.

Want to improve the Feel Good Index of your city? Use the Feel Good Tweet Generator for a random feel good message to tweet to all your followers. I tried it, and it’s fabulous! See my Feel Good Tweet.

Intrigued? Join our Twitter Party on March 31st at 9pm EDT, where you know there will be amazing prizes up for grabs… up to $1,000 in Feel Good Prizes, to be exact!  (more…)

fashion

Ahoy Matey! Nautical Handbags for Spring 2014

So maybe you don’t belong to a Yacht Club. And it’s possible that the Hamptons isn’t on your list of preferred weekend getaways. But when all else fails, fake it.

Nothing says “I’m with the Vanderbilts” more astutely than a fashionable, nautical-inspired tote. This Spring, cult icon Tory Burch has placed navy stripes in the spotlight, while mainstream fashion retailers like ALDO and Nine West have gained sea legs of their own with affordable, wearable designs.

Nautical handbags are best paired with an all-white wardrobe, but for fun, mix and match with bursts of turquoise and coral. I’ve had my eye on the Michael Kors Tote for some time… is it finally time to join the navy (trend)?


Clockwise, from top: Michael Kors Multi Colour Jet Set Mid Size Stripe Leather Tote Bag, $480; Nine West Strong Current Foldover Clutch, $88; Ann Taylor Nautical Tote, $178; Coach Legacy Weekend Saint James Clutch, $178; Accessorize Nautical But Naughty Clip Frame Purse, $16; Tory Burch Kerrington Shopper, $295; Forever 21 On The Shore Striped Crossbod, $14.80; ALDO Karstensen Shoulder Tote, $55. Tell me – are you nautical by nature?

Contests

Protect Yourself: The #FellowesProtects Twitter Party

If you read my post Protect Yourself with #FellowesProtects, you’ll know that like so many, I’ve been a victim of credit card fraud. And, I don’t want the same to happen to you! Be sure to check out the Top 10 Documents You Should be Shredding, and enter to win a Fellowes Powershred 63cb Cross-Cut Shredder to help protect against identity theft. (Giveaway ends in two weeks! Good luck!)

Since March is Fraud Prevention Month and I’ve got Family Travel on my mind, I’m eager to share the following tips to Protect Yourself from Identity Fraud while on Vacation:

1. Put a hold on your mail. If you are planning to be gone for an extended period of time (a week or more), it’s a good idea to put a hold on all your mail (bank statements, credit card bills etc…).

2. Take out the garbage. Don’t leave any personal items that are not shredded in your blue bins or garbage cans. If thieves notice you are away, it doesn’t take long to go through your bills and obtain information leading to fraud.

3. Alert Credit Card Companies. Be sure to let your credit card providers know you will be travelling, so if any suspicious charges appear on your card, they will know ahead of time. Also, this will help them keep track of other possibly suspicious charges that could appear elsewhere.

4. Limit Online Banking.  If you use internet cafes or other public- usage computers, ensure you log out of all sites that may give out personal information – especially when on a public computer.

5. Keep your wallet light. Travel with as few cards and personal information as possible. Lock all valuables in your hotel safe or your suitcase. Pickpockets are more common than you think!

6. Never leave valuables unattended.  Be sure to never leave your passport, birth certificate credit cards etc. lying around your hotel room. Most hotels provide a safe in each room, so use it!

7. Keep a close watch on your bills. When you get home from your vacation, ensure you thoroughly check your bank statements and credit card bills for any possibly suspicious activity.

8. Choose ATMs carefully. Banks have been reporting more and more ATM-skimming crimes. This is when thieves insert a card reader into an ATM to capture your account information and PIN number when you use your card. It’s best to stick with ATMs located directly in a bank.

Looking for more information? Be sure to like Fellowes Canada on Facebook to gain access to a great variety of ID Theft Prevention Resources, including an ID Theft Prevention Kit, Shredding Tips, What To Do if You’re a Victim and more. And for a great chat focused on keeping your personal information safe and secure, please join us at the @FellowesCanada #FellowesProtects Twitter Party!

Join us on Wednesday, March 26th at 8pm EDT as we tweet up a storm with important, relevant information perfectly timed for Fraud Prevention Month, and in advance of tax season! Of course, we’ll have amazing prizes up for grabs:

2 x 63Cb shredders (retail value $189.99)
2 x P-12C shredders (retail value $99.97)
4 x 4-pk of Fellowes Bankers Box R-Kive boxes (retail $19.99)

RSVP below for a chance to win, and see you on Wednesday night! (more…)

musings

Need an Escape? The World’s Best Beaches

Mother Nature, how I detest thee! *ONE* day after welcoming Spring, Toronto is set to welcome 5cm of snow tonight.

Now normally, I’d curl up in a ball with a note attached: “Wake me up when April ends.” However, just in time to pull me from the grips of depression, TripAdvisor has released their annual list of The Best Beaches in the World. To some, it serves as inspiration when planning a tropical getaway. To me, it serves as a reminder that somewhere on this great planet, it is sunny and warm. And that gives me the strength to persevere.

Topping the list this year is Baia do Sancho in Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. The rankings are based on trusted reviews and advice from real travellers, adding an element of confidence and authenticity to the selections. The list of 25 beaches covers the world – everywhere from Providenciales, Turks and Caicos to Camps Bay, South Africa. But my money is on Elafonissi Beach in Elafonissi, Greece pictured below… I think there’s just something about pink sand and turquoise water that is so me.

Click here to see the entire list of The World’s Best Beaches. Tell me – which beach will you visit first?

musings

#ThrowbackThursday #tbt: Happiness Is…

In 2014, I will be participating in #tbt courtesy of the Epson Expression Premium XP-810 Small–in–One printer, the ultimate choice for scanning and printing. Ultra powerful and ultra slim, it produces stunning borderless photos and documents quickly and affordably. Featuring the ultimate in wireless printing, the XP-810 makes it easier than ever to print from your iPad, iPhone, tablet or smartphone, whether in your home or out and about.

Before the controversies, before the public outrage. Before Marineland’s present owner John Holer was accused of subjecting sea mammals at Marineland to inhumane conditions. Before the expose by The Toronto Star where it was revealed too many “performers” suffered from a variety of illnesses caused by problems with water quality and chronic under-staffing. Before Canadians took a stand against the cruel treatment of animals in captivity. Before that… we all proudly sang along… “Happiness Is Marineland!”

Marineland, Niagara Falls Ontario, 1980. I have no recollection of this day; as a chubby 2-year old toddler, I was likely balancing on my mom’s knee as my father took the photograph. I marvel at the lack of protective gear; instead of wet suits, the trainers are sporting a t-shirt and shorts. An unkempt, grassy enclosure marks the location of the sea lion show. Two red balloons, suspended from the ceiling, are demonstrative of the killer whale’s impressive range.

A scoreboard in the background flips through comedic images featuring “Nootka”, one of five orcas captured off the coast of Iceland in 1979, just one year prior.

“During her life in captivity, Nootka went through eight pregnancies. Many of her offspring survived the most critical days in life, but just two of them reached adulthood, Splash and Neocia. Nootka was described as a very protective mother, and although a moody orca, she was long considered the best performer at the park. Nootka sadly died during off peak season at Marineland in 2008. The cause of death has never been released.” RIP Nootka.

family

#FamilyTravelCA: We’re Chatting Theme Parks!

This month, me and my girls @ChildMode@FeistyFrugal and @SassyModernMom are daring you – no, we’re triple dog daring you – to ride the tallest roller coaster… eat the most towering tube of cotton candy… or spend five minutes in the haunted house. You guessed it – this month, we’re chatting THEME PARKS!

Join us on Tuesday, March 25th at 9pm EDT. We’ll tweet up a storm discussing the BEST ways to make the most of theme park time with your family, and hear all about your favourite spots to chase thrills in North America.

But hey, a chat wouldn’t be nearly as fun without prizes! And what’s the first rule of theme park hopping? That’s right – wear comfortable shoes! This month, please say thank you to SKECHERS Canada – they’re our official prizing sponsor and have provided SIX pairs of Memory Foam shoes for our lucky winners!

Follow @FamilyTravelCA, RSVP using the linky below and tweet using #FamilyTravelCA to be eligible to win. See you on Tuesday night – I promise, it will be a thrilling chat!  (more…)

food

Love Your Leftovers: Grilled Chicken Wrap with Lemon-Basil Aioli

I love lunch. No really, I absolutely, positively looooovvvveee it.

But why wouldn’t I? I always have Dempster’s Tortillas on hand, and simply put, they make EVERYTHING taste delicious. Leftover curried chicken – wrap it up. Miscellaneous cold cuts – wrap it up. Last night’s meatloaf – wrap it up. Chickpea salad… trust me, you can wrap it up. The options for weekday lunches are endless! And often, with a little inspiration and a few staple ingredients, I can create a quick, simple meal that my family will love.

Today’s lunchtime inspiration was derived from leftover grilled chicken breast. Normally, I’d throw the chopped breast in a soup or salad, but today I decided on a Grilled Chicken Wrap with Lemon-Basil Aioli. 

(Hint: It was phenomenal.)

INGREDIENTS

2 Dempster’s 10-inch Tortillas
1 cup grilled chicken breast strips
1 cup baby romaine lettuce leaves
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
pinch red pepper flakes

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp freshly squezed lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Mix the mayonnaise, basil and lemon juice in a small bowl. Spread generously over the tortilla. Layer the lettuce, chicken and cheese, and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Wrap it up! Serves 2.  (more…)

musings

Secret to a Successful Marriage? The #SwifferEffect

I should probably write a book. Or at the very least, submit my story to those seeking relationship counselling. Because friends, gather ’round: I have found the secret to a successful marriage.

I know what you’re thinking… communication, friendship and companionship, right? Of course. Of course those are important attributes of any fulfilling relationship. And for better or worse, richer or poorer… I married the man of my dreams. He’s smart, he’s charming, and he knows his way around the kitchen just as he knows the way to my heart.

But that’s not why I hang on to him.

My man has something I’ll be hard-pressed to find in another potential mate. Until now, I’ve kept his special skills a secret from the world. Because truthfully, I fear women everywhere will try to steal him away. And before you start to speculate, I’ll just come clean: no, he doesn’t send me romantic texts – or leave doting messages written in raspberries. And – shockingly – he doesn’t whip out an acoustic guitar, serenading me with words of love. But he does have the one thing that keeps me coming back for more – he has the #SwifferEffect.

Yes, ladies, my man does all the cleaning. And when he cleans, he only trusts Swiffer.

By day, he’s a successful business executive. He likes high definition smartphones and a high definition clean. Swiffer Dusters pick up dust and lock it away with thousands of flexible fluffy fibres. Lightly coated with Dust Lock Adhesive, these fibres change shape to reach into nooks and crannies, trapping up to 2x more dust than a dust cloth.

Conference call at 3pm? No problem. He’s on it like dust on shutters. Now THIS is what you call multi-tasking 101.  (more…)

food

ZERO Inhibitions: Maple Rum Bread Pudding

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon after a very long, very cold week. The kids are at a birthday party; your husband is at a hardware store. You prop your feet on the couch and drape your favourite knit blanket over your body for warmth. Reaching for your latest romance novel, a guilty glance at the clock serves as a warning that you’ll have only an hour or so of complete, uninterrupted, undisputed peace and quiet. For the next little while, you have #ZEROInhibitions.

“The sights and scents of Dempster’s Bakery were sending her into sensory overload. The utilitarian elegance of the stainless steel machinery was a visual contrast to the luscious aroma wafting from the hundreds of loaves of bread that were currently baking to golden perfection. The effect was comforting and sumptuous all at once.”

As you turn the pages of your book, a new craving takes over – and it’s right there. Right in front of you. So close you can taste it: soft, comforting and pleasurable. You know that if you just reach out and take it, there’ll be no going back. And that’s exactly what you want to do; throw caution to the wind and sink your teeth in. Dempster’s ZERO. With no added fat or sugar, you can have your bread, and eat it too. Dempster’s ZERO gives you all the taste and texture you love from a Whole Wheat bread.

And how will you enjoy your Dempster’s ZERO bread? With my recipe for Maple Rum Bread Pudding, made in your slow cooker, of course. The prep work couldn’t be more simple, and the warm, gooey, comforting afternoon treat is just what you need to give into pleasure.

This rustic recipe is assembled in minutes and since the slow cooker does all the work, you’ll have more time to catch up on your reading. You can omit the rum if you wish, but please, don’t omit the maple syrup. Sweet goodness drizzled over warm bread pudding? Yes, you need this in your life. (more…)

Contests

Disney’s Frozen Will Melt Your Heart! #Giveaway

Walt Disney Animation Studios presents a chilly twist on one of the most humorous and heartwarming stories ever told. Widely acclaimed as one of Disney’s best animated features of all time, Frozen will melt your heart.

Fearless optimist Anna sets off on an epic journey – teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff and his loyal reindeer Sven – to find her sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

Bring home Frozen on Blu-ray High Definition on March 18th, 2014 – featuring a blizzard of never-before-seen bonus extras with gorgeous animation, memorable characters and unforgettable music. It’s dazzling fun for the whole family!

“Oh, I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved the idea of summer, and sun, and all things hot.” << Me too Olaf! But for one lucky reader, I’ve got a Frozen Blu-ray Combo Pack up for grabs!

Simply fill the form below with your qualifying entries. Good luck, and remember: some people are worth melting for! (more…)