Reviews, promotions and giveaways

You won’t be surprised how thrilled I am to welcome our newest bloggy sponsor: Points East Coastal Drive in beautiful Prince Edward Island! You don’t have to go very far back in my archives to see how madly in love we fell with PEI, and working with Points East Coastal Drive seemed like a perfect partnership – and gives me another excuse to talk about how amazing PEI is all the livelong day.

When we were planning our summer trip to PEI last year, we didn’t know anything about the Island. However, a bit of research revealed that the eastern side of PEI was a little more rural, a little more laid-back, and with an old-fashioned charm. In fact, the cottage we chose near Murray Harbour was at pretty much the south-easternmost point of the Island, and we spent the vast majority of our blissful week exploring the villages and attractions along the Points East Coastal Drive.

All of our favourite spots were in the Points East Coastal Drive region. Panmure Island:

PEI revisited

Basin Head:

Souris and Basin Head PEI

Georgetown:

Adventures in PEI

St Peter’s Bay and PEI National Park at Greenwich:

Adventures in PEI

And of course, Souris:

At the Flavour Shack

We loved everything about this region – the red dirt roads cutting through rolling green fields, the breathtaking coastlines, the friendly and welcoming Islanders. And when we booked our 2015 summer vacation, we knew we wanted to stay in the Points East Coastal Drive region.

If you’re considering a summer getaway this year, I can’t say enough good things about the Points East Coastal Drive and the terrific resources they have to help plan your vacation. Need a place to stay? They have a list of accommodations as well as some package deals. If you’ve already booked your cottage but are looking to plan your adventure (this is my favourite part of vacation planning!) check out the day trips and discovery drives.

Or you could do what we did: choose a loose destination or direction, and follow the happy starfish signs along the road that map the Points East Coastal Drive to guide you to your next adventure!

Want more information? You can order a free Points East Coastal Drive Tour Map and the Prince Edward Island Visitor’s Guide from the Points East Coastal Drive site. And can I tell you that the printed map is the Best! Map! Ever! We love to explore and hate to take the same route twice, and this paper map was 1000x more useful than any app. In fact, crumpled and marked with coffee stains and sand and sunscreen though it was, it remains one of my favourite souvenirs from our trip last summer.

Hey, I just realized we’ll be arriving in PEI exactly three months from today. Time to get serious about our vacation obsessing planning! :)

So, who else is going to PEI this summer?


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You know I love Ottawa, and you know I love family fun, and you know I love to give stuff away to my awesome bloggy peeps. I really love it when all three of those things come together! How would you like to win a set of four tickets to see the HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS at the Canadian Tire Centre on April 12?

Harlem Globetrotters Ottawa giveaway

I know, right?! Amazing!

My boys are going to LOVE this show. I remember seeing the Globetrotters live when I was a kid back in London Ontario, and the fun of their show always stayed with me. Plus Simon has been patiently waiting all year for the time to come for tryouts for his school basketball team, which should be any week now. The timing couldn’t be better! (I have to say, I gave a little extra squee when I saw that one of the Globetrotters who will be visiting is the awesome Big Easy Lofton who also starred in the Amazing Race 15!)

Here’s the official description of the event: The world famous Harlem Globetrotters, featuring some of the greatest athletes and entertainers on the planet, will bring their unrivaled family show to Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre on Sunday, April 12, at 3 p.m. during the Harlem Globetrotters 2015 Washington Generals’ Revenge Tour.

The Globetrotters will face a great challenge this year, as the infamous Washington Generals are more determined than ever to match the franchise’s historic last victory over the Globetrotters nearly half a century ago. It has been five years since the Globetrotters and Generals have faced off, as the Generals have been searching far and wide for the best players to retool their roster and have been preparing for one thing, a victory over the Globetrotters.

With a star-studded roster featuring Big Easy Lofton, Ant Atkinson, Hi-Lite Bruton, Thunder Law, Bull Bullard, Firefly Fisher and Moose Weekes – plus female stars TNT Maddox, T-Time Brawner and Sweet J Ekworomadu* – the Globetrotters’ one-of-a-kind show is unrivaled in the world of family entertainment. With incredible ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction, this must-see event is guaranteed to entertain the whole family.

Harlem Globetrotters Ottawa giveaway

Are you ready? Here’s the fine print: this giveaway is for a set of four tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa on Sunday April 12 at 3 pm. The retail value of this prize is $260. In order to enter this giveaway, you must use the rafflecopter giveaway widget below to leave a comment on this blog post to earn one entry (mandatory), and you may earn additional entries (optional) by posting a tweet via the widget or by visiting my bloggy Facebook page (optional) and I would be grateful if you liked the page while you were there! This giveaway will run from Sunday March 29 through Sunday April 5. One winner will be chosen via rafflecopter’s random draw option and the winner will be contacted. Please ensure you leave a valid email address and that you are able to see the show on Sunday April 12.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tickets start as low as $16 for this one-of-a-kind show that continues to thrill fans of all ages. If you don’t want to take your chances with the giveaway and want to buy your tickets right away, I’m happy to be able to share a 25% discount promo code with you. Click here to buy your Globetrotters in Ottawa tickets and enter promo code MOMS. To purchase courtside or VIP seats, please visit www.CapitalTickets.ca, call 613-599-FANS (3267) or visit the Canadian Tire Centre box office.

Want a little preview?

Pffft. I can totally do that full-court no-looking one-hand over-the-shoulder nothing-but-net shot. How hard could it be? 😉

Good luck to everyone who enters, and thank you to the fine folks at the Canadian Tire Centre for making this giveaway possible!

Disclosure: We were offered a set of tickets to the show as compensation for this promotion. I take full responsibility for my admiration of the Globetrotters and any blatant lies about my athletic prowess. All multi-media courtesy of and copyright Harlem Globetrotters.


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It has been a long, late winter, hasn’t it? Relentless cold, snow still piled high – at least that’s what it’s been like in my end of Canada. Have faith, though, my bloggy friends, because spring is coming and Easter is a scant two and a half weeks away. And what says Easter treats better than a Kinder Surprise egg?

Image: Where do Kinder eggs from from? Eggplants, of course

To celebrate spring, Kinder Canada has a new app and contest running on their Facebook page through March 31. Tap to unwrap the egg and you will either be an instant prize winner (two instant-win prizes of a $50 Kinder Easter basket available each day) or see a message encouraging you to try again. Every time you tap to unwrap, you’ll be entered into a grand prize draw for a $3,000 gift card. The app is quite cute – Lucas was sitting beside me the first time I tried it and he thought it was pretty cool. And I like that although it’s a Facebook app, you don’t have to jump through the usual hoops to allow a ridiculous amount of permissions on your account.

Also on the app, you’ll find craft and activity ideas that you may find helpful to keep kids engaged during March Break or until the weather finally warms up enough to break out the bicycles and sidewalk chalk.

You know where I’ve really found Kinder Surprise Eggs to come in handy this year? In the loot bags for the boys’ birthday parties. I’ve always been vaguely resentful of the entire concept of loot bags – you invite a kid to a party, give him a fun experience and some food, and then a parting gift for showing up. I get that it’s supposed to be a token to say thank you for coming, but at some parties the boys have attended they’ve come home with loot bags worth more than the gift they brought. So I don’t want to spend a lot, I don’t want to seem ungrateful and abandon the idea of loot bags entirely, but I don’t want to send the kids home with dollar store crap that I would probably throw away anyway. Solution? Kinder Surprise eggs for everyone! I’ve yet to meet a kid who didn’t like them, and we pair them with a small but meaningful token – in the case of Lucas’ party, it was a pack of pencil crayons and the t-shirt the kids had created during the party.

Of course, it’s also handy to have Kinder Eggs in the house when you’re looking for a snack and just can’t put your finger on what will satisfy the craving. 😉



DISCLOSURE: I’m a #KinderMom who is part of the KINDER® Canada influencer team. As part of my affiliation with KINDER® Canada, I am provided with special perks and products. I take responsibility for all opinions, puns and snack recommendations in this post.


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Some blog posts are more fun to write than others, and I had WAY too much fun collaborating with Beloved and all three boys on this one. And then I had TWICE as much fun creating the visuals.

Blog post title graphic: One dozen reasons why kinder eggs are better than chicken eggs

(A dozen! Get it? Cuz they’re eggs? I slay me. Just wait, it gets better!)

Let’s do this countdown style. One dozen reasons why Kinder Surprise eggs are better than chicken eggs:

12. Because the white inside a Kinder Surprise egg is not slimy.


11. Because people are delighted when you surprise them with the gift of a Kinder egg.
(Not so much with the chicken egg.)

10. Because chicken eggs don’t have toys inside!
Here’s a look at some of the new toys in the classic eggs for 2015! (There’s 50 new toys in each of the classic and pink eggs!)



9. Because you can keep a Kinder Surprise egg stashed in your glove compartment or work desk drawer or other hidey hole and they won’t spoil.


8. Because a Kinder Surprise egg makes a much more compelling bribe reward than a chicken egg.


7. Because Kinder eggs don’t come from a chicken’s, um, chicken parts.


5. Because it’s easier to share a freshly unwrapped Kinder Surprise egg with your brothers than a freshly cracked raw chicken egg.


4. Because Kinder Surprise toys are more fun to play with than yolks. Seriously, it’s no yolk!

Did someone say yolk, I mean joke?

Riddle: What do you do if your Kinder Surprise egg is upside down?

Where were we? Right – countdown! Top three reasons why Kinder eggs are better than chicken eggs:

3. Because you don’t have to cook a Kinder Surprise egg before you eat it.


2. Because you don’t have to spend five minutes trying to pick out slippery and evasive bits of shell when you unwrap a Kinder Surprise egg.

And the number one reason why Kinder Surprise eggs are better than chicken eggs? BECAUSE THEY’RE CHOCOLATE!!

What’s that? You want more jokes? Of course I have more jokes!

Riddle: Where do Kinder eggs from from? Eggplants, of course

Joke: Why should you never tease a kinder blogger? Because they can't take a yolk.

Craving a Kinder Surprise egg of your own? Who could blame you! If you aren’t already, follow Kinder Canada on Facebook, because they’ll be celebrating Games and Puzzle Week from January 26 to 30 with prizes and giveaways!

DISCLOSURE: This post was not endorsed by chickens. Also, I’m a #KinderMom who is part of the KINDER® Canada influencer team. As part of my affiliation with KINDER® Canada, I am provided with special perks and products. All thoughts, opinions and horrific exquisite puns are my own.


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The other day when I was talking about Rubbermaid’s Easy Find Lids containers and the unexpected benefits of learning to cook from real ingredients, one of the things I mentioned was leftovers. When the food tastes better, the leftovers taste better too. Somehow I’m thinking this should be less of a surprise to me than it is.

You know what’s another really great use for leftovers? School lunches!

Sometime in the last year or two, I have managed to burden Beloved with the whole school lunch thing. I am not a creative lunch maker. Left to me, the kids would get this for lunch almost every day: an apple (whole), a sandwich of sorts, and a muffin or cookie or other bakery treat. Maybe a yogurt every now and then to mix things up. I’d give myself a B for nutrition, maybe a C+ for variety, but a big fat F for creativity.

Beloved is the good lunch parent. While he doesn’t craft hermit crabs out of croissants or Pokemon bento boxes (he doesn’t have a Pinterest account, after all) he will take the time to cut up an apple and sprinkle it with cinnamon, or make veggie matchsticks with dip. The bar is not high, I know, but he still puts my efforts to shame. Let’s just say he’s far more patient and creative than me, and the boys are only stuck with boring sandwiches on the days that I’m packing lunches.

The Rubbermaid folks have been thinking beyond the sandwich, too. Have you seen the LunchBlox? They’re perfect for both little kid and big person lunches. (Now that the leftovers are yummy, even the big people pack lunches for themselves!) The LunchBlox containers are perfect because they come in a variety of sizes that fit nicely together. The containers snap together for easy stacking, and the lids have a strong seal that prevents leaks but that opens easily for wee fingers. They’re also freezer, microwave and – happy sigh – dishwasher safe.

Sandwiches are boring, and these LunchBlox containers are a great way to pack kid-friendly food. You could pack a salad in one (post for another day – my kids actually love salad now! When did that happen?) and croutons in another and dressing in a third – and still have room to spare. The containers snap to each other or to the Blue Ice cooling pack to make for easy stacking and packing. I really do love these things! (Ahem, well, I love them on Beloved’s behalf. *blush*)

I actually find myself thinking of meal plans that will make for good lunch leftovers now. Some emerging favourites are pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon (because bacon!), taco fixings layered into a dip with leftover taco shells for scooping, and home made pizza.

The next frontier is getting the kids to pack their own lunches. We’re getting there – slowly. While I’m glad to see that they’re taking after Beloved and thinking beyond the sandwich, I’m not sure that an entree-sized container of goldfish with a side of grapes, some cheese cubes and four sweet and sour pickles is exactly an ideal lunch. Then again, it’s probably healthier than a baloney on white bread sandwich!

Who makes the school lunches in your family? Got an easy favourite that the kids love that I could steal and, um, suggest to Beloved? 😉

Disclosure: I am part of the Rubbermaid Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are always my own.


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One of my leitmotifs for this year has been learning how to cook. I continue to be surprised at my capacity to cook healthy and tasty food for my family – real food from scratch ingredients, instead of assembled meals from prepared foods. This has had all sorts of benefits. There’s the ones I expected, like the fact that I know what’s in the food and I can control the ingredients and I can cut out huge amounts of additives and preservatives. And the fact that food is actually tastier, and the kids are more willing to eat it without argument. That much I could see coming.

But there are other benefits, too. One is that even foods that I used to cook as part of the regular rotation now taste better. Chili seasoned with adobo peppers and onions and chili powder tastes so incredibly much better than chili seasoned with one of those flavour packs of sodium and dehydrated spices. Who knew?
Another unexpected benefit is that (and this is really big) I actually like leftovers now. If you know me, you know how truly shocking this is. Me, eating leftovers. Go figure!

Which brings me to the point of this rambly post. The nice folks at Rubbermaid were looking for bloggers to talk about their food storage boxes with Easy Find Lids (TM), and I was all over that. I love these things and waved my hand in the air to be selected for this campaign.

I know, I know, the bloggy peeps are sure that I’ve finally lost it. (It being my mind, not the lids to my plastic containers.) Maybe, but with our busy life I am all about the short-cuts, the streamlining, and the simplifying. If my sanity is so tenuous that it rests in the balance between a teetering pile of tupperware that crashes out of the cupboard every time I open the door versus a neat pile of of carefully organized Easy Find containers and lids snapped together into a solid little tower, I’m okay with that.

I really do prefer the Rubbermaid containers to all others, which is why I was fine with the idea of blogging about them. We’ve bought other brands through the years, and they’re the ones that crack after running them through the dishwasher a few times or leak strawberry yogurt all over the inside of a lunch bag. (And when you forget to empty the lunches on a Friday of a long weekend and discover that congealed mass of ick on a Monday evening? In the summer? Not pretty. Take my word for it.)

This is a not-staged, legitimate photo of the cupboard where we store plastic food containers. On the top shelf, growing collection of Rubbermaid containers with Easy Find Lids, and some semi-disposable Rubbermaid sandwich containers that have proved to be incredibly durable. Overflowing the basket that is supposed to contain them on the lower shelf is my rag-tag assortment of bits and pieces of non-Rubbermaid food storage devices I’ve tried through the years. I’m afraid to dig in the pile because it will take me forever to sort and restack the lot of them.

photo of cupboard showing storage containers

If I wasn’t such an inveterate packrat and container collector, I’d have pitched the lot of the precariously piled mismatched containers ages ago.

So, TL;DR: Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids (TM) snap together and attach to bottoms of containers. No teetering piles of mismatched pieces! They have graduated sizes so you only need to use a container as big as you need. No need to take up extra room in the fridge or cupboard. Multiple sizes of containers can share one lid size. And they’re microwave, fridge, and – be still my heart – dishwasher safe. Because ain’t nobody got time for handwashing anything!

You know I’m not going to hawk every product that comes through my inbox, but I have no trouble rambling about the ones I really like, and this one definitely qualifies. :)

Disclosure: I am part of the Rubbermaid Blogger Campaign with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are always my own.


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Anticipating holiday fun with new KINDER advent calendars – and a giveaway!

14 November 2014 Reviews, promotions and giveaways

We love advent calendars. We have so many of them! The boys always get a Lego advent calendar to share, and they take turns opening each day’s treat. We usually get each boy one of those inexpensive cardboard advent calendars with the chocolate that always seems to taste vaguely of soap. And we have a […]

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Ottawa giveaway: Win tickets to the 32nd Annual Signatures Show!

4 November 2014 Life in Ottawa

One of my favourite places to browse pretty things is Ottawa’s annual Signatures Show. We rarely skip a year, and some years I go twice – once with my mom and once with Beloved. It’s a great source of Christmas gifts and I almost always find a few treasures, but it’s also fun just to […]

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Fun bloggy news: I’m a KinderMom!

26 September 2014 Reviews, promotions and giveaways

I remember getting Kinder eggs from my grandparents when I was a kid, just about the same time they first became available in Canada in the early 1980s. (Did you know the brand is 40 years old?) I was fascinated by the exotic milky white insides of the chocolate eggs, aside from loving the wee […]

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Chef Michael Smith’s new Family Meals cookbook: a review and giveaway!

8 August 2014 Eating and thinking and thinking about eating

So I may have mentioned (cough cough) that I’ve become something of a fangirl of Chef Michael Smith lately. But please believe me when I tell you that even if I weren’t already predisposed to great affection for the towering chef from PEI, I would still rate his new Family Meals cookbook as the best […]

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