Friday, November 30, 2012

A Heartfelt Thanks to all of You! #Preemie #NICU


Many of you have asked how our fundraiser/benefit concert for Mount Sinai Hospital's Perinatal Parents Association went last weekend. We want to give a BIG thank you to everyone who came out and supported  our cause and to those who supported us from afar.  It truly means a lot to us to be able to "give back" to Mount Sinai after having a preemie in the NICU. We are so thankful to be able to contribute to something so important and near and dear to our hearts. Making sure we can help other parents with babies in the NICU is so very important to us...especially during the Holiday season.
Photos of Little One in the NICU at Mount Sinai Hospital in 2008

We have raised $1,435 and it is all going to the Perinatal Parents Association at Mount Sinai! 
Special thanks to the following businesses for their generous donations:
  • KIOKKO Bebe Couture
  • sammyg*s.com
  • Oliver's Labels
  • Almond Fresh & So Good
  • Nack's A Little Bit of Everything
  • Gordon's Park Eco-Resort
  • Sew Cool
  • Peter Baumgarten (Original Art Work)
  • Manitoulin Midwifery
  • Joni Roy (Mary Kay)
A very special thank you goes out to:
  • Great local band, Rural Roots (for providing amazing musical entertainment for the evening)
  • Our community
  • My friend, Valerie O'Leary (without her, this event would not have been possible)
  • My husband (for putting up with me and for being so good when put on serving/kitchen duty and clean up)
  • Robert Maxwell of Digital Peasant Media (for capturing this special event on video to share with Mount Sinai, the NICU, parents with babies in the NICU, and readers of this blog)
  • Little One's babysitter (for doing door duty)

We are very excited to present Mount Sinai's Perinatal Parents Association with the $1,435 cheque! What a great way to help other NICU parents and raise awareness for November's Preemie Awareness Month too!

@SoberJulie's Mocktails & More Book Launch + Twitter Party #HolidayMocktails


I'm sure many of you already know my dear friend, Julie (aka @SoberJulie).  She's an inspiration to many, a trusted friend, a go-getter, an "I speak only the truth" kinda gal, and a definite belle of the blog.  That's why we all love her so much! Another thing you probably already know is that she has written a fabulous book filled with Holiday Mocktails!

I am so excited for my friend and cannot wait to share Mocktails & More with all of you!



{Mocktails & More Twitter Party #HolidayMocktails}

Exciting, isn't it? I'm so excited about the mocktails! The photos are spectacular!

Julie is celebrating the launch of Mocktails & More with a Twitter party, come on out and discuss your holiday plans and win some great prizes! I'm thrilled to be included in this momentous event. So proud of her! I honestly think that this is "The Year of Sober Julie"! Only great things ahead for this shining star. Love this lady!
Mark your calendar!
When: December 4th, 9pm EST
Hashtag: #HolidayMocktails
Hosts: @MommyMatter, @ThisLilPiglet @SoberJulie, @ChancesMommy
Prizes: @TheTaxiGuy vouchers, Molson Coors T shirts & Golf shirts, 5 pdf copies of book and more tba.
Sponsors: @MolsonCoorsCDA, @MolsonMelisa , @MolsonCdn67, @TheTaxiGuy
RSVP by entering in your Twitter URL and handle using the Linky Tool over at Sober Julie's blog here.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Gift Ideas + a $258 MGA Entertainment Prize Pack Giveaway! #holidayshowcase


Still thinking of gift ideas for those special little people in your life? Hopefully this will make things a little easier for you!

MGA Entertainment has tons of products to choose from that will appeal to a wide range of ages of boys and girls. Lalaloopsy dolls seem to be the rage with my little girls' friends these days. I also noticed that quite a few of Little One's friends have Rescue Pets too. My little girl is afraid of the dark.

The Action Adventures Robot flashlights would be great for her! I'm thinking that my nephews would love these flashlights too!
{The Prize}

  • Action Adventures Robot flashlights – 3 (at $12.99 each) = $38.97 
  • Lalaloopsy bundle – 4 (at $29.99 each) = $119.96
  •  Bratz Catz – 4 ($24.99 each) = $99.96 Total Prize Value: $258

A special thanks to Kidsumers for organizing this giveaway.
Contest closes Dec. 10th. Open to US and Canada. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Shopping Made Simple + Celebrate & Save #FisherPriceMoms


Little One two years ago. Oh, she is so going to hate me for this when she gets older!

Every year right after Halloween, it seems the stores take down all the Halloween merchandise and all of a sudden, shopping malls, stores, restaurants are magically transformed into a Winter wonderland with festive decor and Holiday music playing in the background.

Immediately, this puts me in Holiday mode. I feel like I need to grab a hot chocolate with a peppermint stick or candy cane in it, and buy those huge tins of assorted shortbread cookies that come out every Christmas so I can keep on hand for people who happen to 'drop in' during the Holidays.

I used to get a little stressed out when it came to shopping for Christmas presents for loved ones. The malls are always so crowded, the line ups at the cash too long, parking always a pain, and people not their most polite. T'is the season!

This makes me think of my Holiday shopping habits now.

  • I usually pick up gift items here and there over the course of the year whenever I see something on sale. Sometimes I get multiples of the same items if the prices are right. We have a lot of babies in the family and pretty much all of our friends have children around the same age as Little One. 
  • I don't really have a specific time of the year to start shopping for presents. Like I mentioned, I buy items throughout the year. I've got a big Rubbermaid bin marked "gifts" and I store items in there for when I need them.
  • Closer to Christmas, I make a list of what my nieces, nephews, brothers, their spouses/significant others, Hubby, Little One, Hubby's family members, and my parents want or need. I keep that list in a folder on my BlackBerry so I have it on hand all the time.
  • I look through flyers, websites, gift guides, etc.
  • Sometimes, I have a clear idea in my head of what I want to shop for and other times, it's an impulse buy. I try not to make impulse buys though and prefer to stick to my plan.
  • I shop locally - Manitoulin Island has a lot of creative and artistic inhabitants! I love promoting local businesses and try to buy locally whenever I can and as much as I can. Handcrafted, original items mean so much to me because of the thought, love, and labour that goes into making them. Also, many of our local shops carry items we can get in the "big cities". Many times, if the shops don't have the items, you can also ask them to order them in.
  • For items on loved ones lists that are not available locally, I shop online. I do a lot of my shopping online. I buy everything from clothing, toys, and electronics online. It's super easy, hassle-free, stress-free (I don't have to fight anyone for a parking space or tackle anyone for the last [insert name of whatever the most popular toy is these days]!)
  • We have two new additions to our ever growing family! Two nephews! Some of my friends have recently had babies as well. When looking for gifts for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and even school aged kids, check out the Fisher-Price Joy of Learning. It's an easy way to see which Fisher-Price toys are best suited for specific age groups. You can tell by the symbols which areas of development the toys work with. Physical (sensory, fine motor, gross motor, balance & coordination), Cognitive (curiosity & discovery, imagination & creativity, thinking & problem solving, academics), and Social & Emotional (security & happiness, self-expression & confidence, listening & communication, sharing & cooperation).
Holiday shopping doesn't have to be stressful. As long as you do your research, make a list, hit up all the sales, give yourself ample time, it should be less stressful and even enjoyable! Okay, I admit that I love shopping!!!

Make sure to check out websaver.ca for your Fisher-Price savings coupons! There are some great savings on Fisher-Price baby items (swings, jumperoos, toys), as well Fisher-Price Little People play sets and so many other fun toys! Shop for gifts to go under the tree and save money at the same time! How great is that?

Disclosure: I am a Fisher-Price Mom and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Monday, November 26, 2012

KINDER® A Joy To Share Program! #KinderMom


Seeing the expression on Little One's face when she receives her special Kinder Surprise treats is incredible. Who knew that something so little like receiving a chocolate egg with a surprise inside could totally make a child's day?

We give Little One a Kinder Surprise treat when she accomplishes a task like getting her coat buttoned and zipped by herself or cleaning up her toy room. Sometimes she gets an occasional treat just because.

The best part about being a #KinderMom is that now we receive Kinder Surprise to share with all of Little Ones friends! For Halloween, she shared ALL of her Kinder eggs with her Junior Kindergarten class. She's even made random egg drop-offs to unsuspecting neighbours. We live in the countryside and our community has a lot of senior citizens. They love it when Little One pays them a visit. Sometimes, she brings them a Kinder egg. I find it amusing that she says, "I love chocolate! You can eat the chocolate. I'll let you, but can I have the toy?" *sigh* Kids!


Here are some of the awesome Holiday-themed Kinder Surprise goodies we received.
This photo is of the GIANT Kinder Surprise!

Little One has discovered my hiding place (Yes, I hide all the Kinder Surprise loot!), and she ate some of the chocolate and continues to enjoy playing with the toys. This said, she has done a super job at sharing.  We always get odd comments like, "Wow! For an only child, she's really good!" or "Wow! I'm shocked! For an only child, she's good at sharing!" We have absolutely no idea what that's supposed to mean. We're just glad that she loves to share with friends and family though.


Since the Holiday Season is fast approaching, so is the season for sharing and giving.  We realize that sharing and giving is important year-round, but during the holidays especially.

Little One is no stranger to the idea of "Giving Back". Because she was a preemie and spent the first 72 days of her life in the NICU at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Mount Sinai and the NICU are near and dear to our hearts. I keep telling people this, but it's true. If not for our "second family", Little One would not be with us today. We give back monthly by monetary donations and this year with a fundraiser where 100% of proceeds go to our cause - the Perinatal Parents Association. We want to help families with babies who are in the NICU. We know what it's like, because we've been through it.

Little One is also giving back this year to children less fortunate than she is. Though we are by no means rich monetarily, we are so rich in many other ways. Little One will be donating her clothing she has outgrown, as well as giving some of her toys away. Hubby wants to do "for each new toy Little One receives, she must give one old one to a child who doesn't have as much as she does".

Speaking of sharing...

I'm excited to tell you about the KINDER® A Joy To Share Program! 

KINDER® Canada is proud to support the Children's Miracle Network. The Children's Miracle Network has been to save and improve the lives of children by raising funds for children's hospitals since 1983.

In support of The Children's Miracle Network, KINDER® Canada will be giving away 7,500 coupons to enjoy their delicious KINDER® Mini Eggs for free! Giveaway begins November 26th and lasts for 10 weekdays (750 coupons each day at 12pm EST)! This is exclusive for KINDER®’s Facebook community and is celebrating KINDER®’s 'A Joy To Share' program in support of Children's Miracle Network of Canada!
{Not-So-Secret-Mom-Confession}
Little One has decided she doesn't like nuts. She doesn't seem to like the texture of nuts. Unlike Kinder Surprise, Kinder Mini Eggs do contain hazelnuts. Mommy and Daddy got to share the Mini Eggs. So good!

Disclosure: I’m part of the Kinder® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Saturday, November 24, 2012

Supporting Parents with Babies in the #NICU ~ #Preemie Awareness Month


This Saturday (tonight!), local band, Rural Roots will be performing at our fundraiser for Mount Sinai's Preninatal Parents' Association.  Honestly, without Mount Sinai Hospital, Little One would not be here today.  Without our "second family", the NICU parents and staff, I would not have survived life those first 72 days of Little One's life in the hospital.

Since November is Prematurity Awareness Month and we are nearing the holidays, this was the one thing we could think of that we could do to make a difference in the lives of others. Yes, even if it is something little like having a fundraiser.

Tickets are only $10/person and children are free. This is a family friendly event.

We were touched by the offers from some of our friends, family, community, and even brands! There have been some anonymous donations, as well as a few companies offering prizes for raffles and door prizes at our fundraiser.

Just to name a few, KIOKKO Bebe Couture is offering TWO $25 Gift Certificates to their online store and sammyg*s.com is donating 15% of sales to Mount Sinai's Perinatal Parents Association! Just use the "manisinai12" code upon checkout!
'Nacks A Little Bit of Everything is donating TWO gift baskets for our fundraiser! They're giving us a kitchen-themed basket and a kids' basket to use as prizes at our event! What an amazing, generous, and supportive local business! THANK YOU!

Gordon's Park Eco Resort is donating a gift certificate valued at $70.00 for a family adventure package for four that includes the solar heated swimming pool, 18 hole miniature golf, nature interpretive cenre, educational hiking trails, playground, and picnic area. Fun for the whole family for the whole day!

A huge surprise for me! Oliver's Labels has said they want to donate a $50 Gift Card for our fundraiser!!!
Here are some of the items that are available at Oliver's Labels:
 Personalized labels (above photo) and Room-eez (below) are just a few of the products available at Oliver's  Labels.
{WOW! This just in!}
Almond Fresh/So Good has informed us that they will be donating $150 do our cause!


Thank you so  much, Almond Fresh and So Good! It always amazes me when companies support good causes and get involved in any capacity they can. A million times thank you!

We are totally blown away by the support everyone has given so far! I can tell you that this is so appreciated (coming from a family who has had a baby in the NICU during the holidays)!

Thanks so much, everyone!  Can't wait to see you all tonight for an evening of great music, wonderful company, and best of all...a good cause!

For more information about the event visit the event's page on Facebook or contact me at christine (at) lifeonmanitoulin (dot) com. If you are unable to attend and would still like to purchase a ticket or make a donation, please contact me via e-mail.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Make Your Own Crystals! Great Kids' Science Experiment!



At our home, we love science experiments!  I'm not talking about making penicillin/growing mold by leaving food in the fridge for too long (although I'm embarrassed to say that may or may not have happened in this house before)!  I'm talking about learning about why things are the way they are or how to create or manipulate matter. We love hands on experiments!

Kids learn by doing, so why not make it fun?!

One of my friends teaches in public school and she has got to be one of the coolest teachers around! I'd LOVE to be a student in her class. She always has lots of fun experiments to do with kids. When we have play dates with our kids, we always have fun projects for our 3, 4, and 5 year olds to do. For example, making our own polymer (aka: Goop!), making stained-glass with wax paper and melted crayons, and baking gluten-free cookies.

Recently, we grew our own crystals!

How cool is that?

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • string
  • wide mouth pint jar 
  •  pipe cleaners (we used sparkly, shiny ones)
  • Borax 
  • pencil, stick or BBQ skewer
  • boiling water
  • scissors


INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. To make borax crystal snowflakes we need to first make the snowflake shapes with the pipe cleaners. Cut a pipe cleaner into three equal sections. You need to then twist the sections together at their centers, forming a six-sided snowflake shape. It doesn't have to be even because you can cut and trim the sides. Because our kids are so young, my friend and I did this step for them. Make sure the snowflake can fit inside the jar.
  2. Next, tie the string to the end of one of the snowflake 'arms'. Then, tie the other end of the string to the pencil, stick, skewer. Make sure the length is so that the pencil hangs the snowflake into the jar. Not touching the bottom of the jar, but enough that the snowflake is fully immersed in the solution.
  3. ADULTS, this is where you need to come in. Fill the wide mouth pint jar with boiling water. 
  4. Now, add  one tablespoon of  borax at a time to the boiling water. Stir to dissolve after each addition of borax. The quantity: 3 tablespoons of borax per cup of water. 
  5. Hang the pipe cleaner snowflake in the jar. Rest the pencil, stick, or BBQ skewer on top of the jar.  Make sure the snowflake is completely covered with liquid solution. Ensure that it hangs freely and doesn't touch the bottom or sides of the jar. If doing more than one experiment at a time, make sure none of the snowflakes are touching.
  6. Let sit undisturbed overnight.
  7. Presto! As my four year old will tell you, "It's like magic, but it's science!" You can now admire all the pretty crystals and hang your snowflake as a decoration or in a window to catch the sunlight. We're using ours as Christmas tree ornaments!

Looks like some kind of wacky science experiment, doesn't it? The water turned pink because of the purple pipe cleaners. We used some sparkly silver, blue, and purple pipe cleaners just to see what the effect would be. You can use regular pipe cleaners, but the sparkly ones really do add to effect and make the crystals look even more brilliant!

Important Notes

  1. Borax is available at most grocery stores in the laundry detergent aisle. The one that is readily available in our local grocery stores is the 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster.
  2. Parents and adults required to not only supervise, but assist with this experiment. Boiling water is used and Borax is not meant to be eaten. Please make sure that there is an adult to supervise!
  3. If you don't have Borax, you can also use sugar or salt. It may take longer to grow the crystals without the Borax, so be patient. Add sugar or salt to the boiling water until it stops dissolving. Ideally you want no crystals at the bottom of the jar.

These are so beautiful! My four year old was AMAZED to see the crystals form right before her eyes! We left the solution and the pipe cleaners overnight and within a short time we saw crystallization begin. By morning, the crystals were bigger and fuller. Truly amazing!  

The crystal snowflakes and stars make gorgeous decorations for the holidays! Try it! I'm sure your kids will love doing this fun "science experiment".




#NoRoadSalt This Winter for This Family! @EcoTraction Review & Giveaway



Nobody likes an icy and slippery driveway, walkway, pavement or set of steps in the Winter.  I remember a few years ago, when Little One was a newborn, Hubby was walking from the van to the house and slipped on a patch of ice. Everything happened in slow motion right before my eyes. I saw Hubby's feet go out from right under him (his feet did that super fast shuffle that you only see cartoon characters do on TV when they slip on a banana peel). I saw Little One's car seat carrier fly up in the air and out of Hubby's arms and land on the ice, overturned.

Of course, instead of asking if Hubby was okay, I instinctively yelled, "OH, MY GOSH! THE BABY!!! IS THE BABY OKAY?!?!?!"

To be honest, the baby was the only thing I was worried about. Sure, Hubby had a hard fall and injured himself, and I think I may have startled the baby more than anything else.

In all fairness, Hubby wasn't the only one who slipped on ice while carrying the baby. Two winters ago, I was trying to get from the van to the house while clutching onto the baby, my purse, my diaper bag, and two grocery bags. You know, doing the "crazy mama juggle". It was so icy, that I slipped and landed on my behind! I held Little One tightly and dropped everything else. I ended up with a sprained ankle and a bruised ego (okay, and a bruised bum too).

After those incidents, I made sure we always de-iced our walkway.

Now, the problem with road salt is it gets in between our dog's paws and hurts him. It's also messy, not good for the environment, plants, animals, etc. Plus, it always seems to get dragged into the house with everyone's boots (or when the dog comes in)! I can't stand the damage salt does to everything. For example: the salt used to melt the ice in the Winter always ruins my boots, shoes, the bottom of my pants, and it gets all over my van! I can't stand that white salt stain. It's so impossible to get out!

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out a new and innovative product called EcoTraction.

What is EcoTraction?

It's the smarter alternative to road salt. Made from naturally-occurring volcanic mineral, EcoTraction is eco-friendly, kid-friendly, and pet-friendly.

Simply sprinkle EcoTraction on ice and snow for instant traction and grip! This is also perfect to give to my Mother-in-law and my parents.  I worry about them in the Winter with slipping and falling. Serious damage can be done.

We only had one day recently when it snowed and we had a bit of ice. It didn't last too long, but I made sure to bust out the EcoTraction to see how it would fare. It did a great job, but I am (don't be mad at me!) looking forward to the next snow/ice so I can try EcoTraction out a bit more!

The fact that EcoTraction granules can be swept into the lawn and garden in the Spring after the snow melts and be able to help our lawn grow and thrive is a a big selling point for me. That and the fact that it's safe for our child and pets to be around!

There's an interesting tidbit about EcoTraction that I'd like to share with  you. I am a die hard Dragons' Den fan, so this bit of trivia is of particular interest to me. When EcoTraction founder, Mark Watson's dog died from licking harmful road salts, he developed an all-natural, eco-friendly substance (since there was a lack of options for alternatives). When he presented the product to Dragons' Den for investment, all five dragons went in on the deal! How cool is that? Can I tell you  how much I love Brett Wilson? LOVE!


For other EcoTraction videos, check out them out on YouTube. You can also connect with EcoTraction Twitter and on Facebook.

Exciting Announcement!
Did you know that EcoTraction is a PTPA Award Winner? It's been Parent Tested, Parent Approved and has earned the PTPA Seal of Approval! Knowing that parents like myself have tested and approved and that PTPA endorses this product gives me confidence in this product.

Where to Buy:
You can purchase EcoTraction at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Shoppers Drug Mart, Home Hardware, and other retailers. To find a retailer near you, visit store locations/retailers here.

WIN IT!
Would  you like to try EcoTraction yourself? One lucky Life on Manitoulin reader will win an EcoTraction Prize Pack that contains:

  • 1 jug of EcoCompo MSRP $14.95
  • 1 jug of EcoTraction MSRP $11.95
  • 2 boxes of EcoAirO MSRP $ 7.95/each
Total ARV: $42.80

To enter: Simply enter the Rafflecopter form below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada and ends on December 5, 2012.

Tomorrow, feel free to head over to Powered by Mom and Outside the Box to check out more information about EcoTraction and to enter another giveaway!

Disclosure - I was provided with an EcoTraction package containing a variety of EcoTraction products to facilitate this honest review.  All of the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

#WordlessWednesday ~ Mechanical Bull @RAWF90


Fun at the Royal Winter Fair



My brother is so awesome. Ummm...and, he may kill me when he sees this. Just kidding! He's a really good sport!

Link up your Wordless Wednesday posts!



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Somewhere Over the Rainbow


My little four year old was in bed and listening to this song this morning:



We spent some of the morning doing something we don't normally do. Instead of jumping out of bed, quickly getting ready and rushing out the door (yes, even on the weekend!), we cuddled in bed and listened to some of her favourite songs.

It was a beautiful moment. It reminded me of how life is filled with so many beautiful moments. We just need to slow down sometimes in order to really enjoy them.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?


Israel Kamakawiwo`Ole's lyrics are a bit different. LOVE his version of the song. 
Friday, November 16, 2012

Outset Media #holidayshowcase Giveaway


For as long as I can remember, board games have been a part of my family's "Family Time". With busy schedules, having some family time is really important. Board games foster family togetherness and it's fun having a few laughs and just spending time together. Now that I have a family of my own, we're trying to introduce board games, puzzles, and family games nights to our Little One. We love silly and fun games, as well as games that really make us think and do some problem solving! Outset Media has games that have piqued my curiosity.
Canadian Trivia Family Edition - I love trivia games, and I love the idea of families being able to test their knowledge of Canada.
What Bird Am I? Yeah, yeah! I know you probably think I'm a big geek! We live on an island where we see hundreds of different species of birds indigenous to our area. I often find myself marvelling at all the different birds on the Island. Little One, at only four years of age is also interested in the birds of Manitoulin Island. For this reason, What Bird Am I? is of particular interest to our family. We can test our species identification skills with this game!

 Here's a video of Outset Media interacting with people on the street and asking trivia questions! How fun is
that?
 
  A little bit about Outset Media: Outset Media is a Canadian company that has been operating out of Victoria, BC since 1996. As David Manga, President of Outset Media says in Manga's Message, "In an era where people are spending more time “socializing” with a computer screen, REAL social interaction is becoming more important." Games developed and manufactured by Outset Media create lasting memories and are built to last.

 With the Holidays just weeks away, finding the perfect gift can be a challenge sometimes. Good news! You can win a $250 Prize Pack from Outset Media!
To enter this giveaway, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to Canadian and US residents. Entries will be accepted until 12:00 midnight EST, Dec. 2, 2012.

 Thank you to Kidsumers for organizing this giveaway!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrate the Holidays with a #MerryHasbroChristmas {Giveaway}


With just over a month to go until Christmas I am very pleased to be able to announce the Merry Hasbro Christmas Giveaway!! I've teamed up with Sober Julie , Mommy Matter, and This Lil Piglet to bring you an amazing prize pack any child would love to find under their Christmas tree. Thanks to Hasbro we had the opportunity to hand select a prize pack of fabulous gifts worth over $215 which we just know you're going to be excited about.

FURREAL FRIENDS BABY BUTTERSCOTCH MY MAGICAL SHOW PONY

butterscotch-hasbro-christmas-giveawayIncludes: BABY BUTTERSCOTCH toy pony, brush, carrot and instructions. What child doesn't want a pony? Well you can fulfill that dream with beautiful Butterscotch! Baby Butterscotch pony is a lovely pony who responds to touch and makes little sounds to let your child know how happy she is. Butterscotch has special sensors on the sides of her head, her muzzle and on her body which stimulate her to respond. She will nuzzle into your child and move her head in their direction when they touch the sensors. She also moves her ears, and when your child speak to her she’ll respond with little pony sounds. Butterscotch comes with her own brush so your child can help her prepare for the next big pony show. She loves her special carrot and will make real munching sounds when you place it in her mouth. Her legs are poseable and bend in such a way that lets her lie down by your child's side. Your BABY BUTTERSCOTCH pony will snore gently as she falls asleep near you after a busy day of grooming and playing. hasbro-christmas-beyblade-destroyer-dome  

BEYBLADE METAL FURY DESTROYER DOME

Includes: 2 five-piece tops, 2 DOME SPIN TRACKS, 2 RIPCORD LAUNCHERS, 2 assembly tools, 2 collector cards and instructions. One of the hottest toys for Christmas 2012, the Destroyer Dome brings Beyblade battles to a whole new level! The arena is closed and the Beyblade tops zip up the sides for gravity-defying combat! Your child will love pitting the two included tops against one another, this is a wonderful gift to play with friends or siblings!  

TWISTER DANCE

Twister-Dance-Christmas-GiveawayGet the whole family ready for this fun, active game. Twister dance combines the epic game TWISTER polka dotted mat with the latest dance music. The TWISTER dance console has coloured lights which indicate where to place your feet on the mat, before you know it you'll be busting a move! Dances can be performed at 3 levels, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Song choices include:
  • Till the World Ends," TWISTER REMIX, performed by Britney Spears.
  • "Whip My Hair," performed by Willow Smith.
  • "We R Who We R," performed by Ke$ha.
  • "Cupid Shuffle," performed by Cupid.
  • And an exclusive track, "Caught Up in a Twister."
TWISTER DANCE has beat-detection technology that can teach you dances to your OWN music! Plug in your MP3 player to keep the dance party rocking!

ENTER TO WIN!

To Enter you must be a resident of Canada, 18+, winner will have 48 hours to respond to notification email. Contest closes December 11, 2012.
Rafflecopter code link: in case it doesn't work: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/preview/44/ Rafflecopter Code a Rafflecopter giveaway
Wednesday, November 14, 2012

@PGinsider's #PGmom Event


Last week, I had the opportunity to take part in a great event put on by P&G. #PGmom ambassadors are 50 bloggers/social media ladies who will be sharing insight and information about P&G with our readers and followers.

Let me first say that I am really excited to be included in this.  For as long as I can remember, P&G has been a part of my family's every day life. It wasn't until I attended the #PGmom event that I realized just how many P&G products we have in our own household!

We've used everything from Pampers, Febreeze, Tampax, Always, Tide, Charmin, Head & Shoulders, Duracell, Gillette, Olay, CoverGirl, Crest, and a whole slew of other products that belong to the P&G family.


Seeing this Pampers video made me think of my Little One and how Pampers were used on her in the NICU at Mount Sinai Hospital. Pampers has preemie diapers! Thank you, Pampers for having diapers to fit even the tiniest babies!

One of the things I loved about the event was that we got to learn more about the history behind the company and we also had the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns if we had any.  As moms, we want nothing but the best and the safest for our families.  The few questions I had (which were asked by other moms who had the same questions) were answered.  Questions about ingredients, testing, and about the gel-like substance when a Pampers diaper gets saturated were all answered.
I was also surprised to discover that P&G celebrates their 175th birthday this year! Since 1837, P&G brands have helped make everyday life a little better.

We also learned of the extent of research and testing that goes into making products available to consumers. It takes years of research before products are able to hit the market and be placed on store shelves.

I was interested in:

  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Social Responsibility
  • Product Safety
All of those topics were addressed during the morning session. You can also read about them here.

I also learned a bit more about the company's Olympic sponsorship -

Not to take away from the Dads out there, but P&G just took that opportunity to recognize and celebrate Moms. 

I know for myself, it's all about my daughter, husband, family, work, friends, community, and me always last.  I'm sure many other women out there find themselves in the same position as me.  

Olympian, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep described how important her mom is in her life. She spoke about how her mom encouraged her and helped her by taking care of her daughter when she competed in the Olympics. Moms really do a lot for everyone and it's important to recognize this.

We also got to meet Christine Sinclair from the Canadian Women's Soccer Team.
One of the things I struggle immensely with is finding BALANCE. I have a hard time juggling being a mom, working from home, taking care of my family, taking care of the house, helping my husband on the farm, and taking on a whole slew of other responsibilities...yet I do it all.  I do it all with a big smile on my face (and a few meltdowns behind closed doors).

Well, Caird Urquhart spoke to us about seeking HARMONY instead of balance. Au lieu of finding balance between every aspect of our lives, we should try to find happiness with where we are right now.

This means:

  • Following our intuition
  • Choosing our "A-Team" - SO important to have a support network to HELP us and not discourage us
  • Defining your values and stand by them
  • Accepting where you are in life and just be yourself
  • Embracing the evolution of life

We also learned about oral health care for children. I love the "Attack from behind" method. I never had to use this on my own daughter, as she is obsessed with brushing and flossing her teeth! I can see how this method would be great for parents who do need to brush their kids' teeth for them. Incidentally, Little One does brush her own teeth, but I do help her after she's done. I tell her "Your turn. Mommy's turn. Your turn. Mommy's turn" and I get the hard to reach spots like the upper and lower back teeth and molars.

It's true that once you go electric (toothbrush), you won't go back to the old fashioned manual kind! We've got the Oral-B® ProfessionalCare SmartSeries 5000 with SmartGuide™ Electric Toothbrush and LOVE it! My teeth and mouth feel so much cleaner and I know it has reduced plaque build-up tenfold. Wow. That makes it sound like I have lots of plaque. I'm just saying that it does a tremendous job cleaning my teeth and after using it for about a month, I can see and feel the difference.
I also got to hang out with some of my favourite ladies.  Here's Mom vs. the Boys taking a photo of me taking a photo of her.
Please excuse the poor quality photos below: That's me (@chancesmommy) with my good friends, @nugglemama, @momvstheboys, @BewilderedBug, @adomesticmomma and Olympian, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep.

P&G even takes care of the canine members of our family! You can sign up for Iams Lifelong Rewards to receive exclusive offers and coupons. For every sign up, Iams will make a food donation to your shelter.
Apart from the make-up and hair products, this was my next favourite section! Healthy teeth are important!
The #PGmom Event was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto. 
I'm not going to lie.  The first thing I do whenever I stay at a hotel is...

CHECK THE BATHROOMS!!!

Yes, I'm one of those fussy people that is obsessed with clean bathrooms. My husband likes to joke (although I do think he's serious most of the time) that our four year old daughter gets it from me! She REFUSES to use public restrooms because they're "stinky" and "gross".  Well, there could be worse quirks a parent can pass onto their offspring!

I was so HAPPY that P&G Charmin-ized the bathrooms at the PGmom Event! Heavenly! Plus, you can #tweetfromtheseat and chat with @Charmin or like them on FB.

I was really impressed with the washroom set up they had in the ladies' room. A wide array of 'feminine products' was made available for us. There were also Febreeze products just in case a little air freshening was needed! 

I forgot to mention that thanks to P&G, I spent the night at the Four Seasons in Toronto. The beautiful brand new 55 storey hotel in Yorkville was so welcoming and inviting.  To be honest, I didn't want to leave my hotel room! 
 A beautiful basket filled with goodies from P&G awaited me in my hotel bathroom.

I took photos of the bathroom just to show Hubby how I'd like our basement bathroom done.  EXACTLY like THIS! Nice bathtub for hot bubble baths, a stand alone shower, separated section for toilet, double sink and extra long counter, and a TV built into the mirror. Yes, EXACTLY like that!

I have to say (and I almost feel guilty about saying this), that was THE BEST sleep I had in ages. An entire bed to myself, extra fluffy pillows, and no waking up every few hours because someone has had nightmares or leg cramps. My one night of good sleep and it was so worth it. Thank you so much, Four Seasons and P&G!

 I am pleased to say that the nail polish from the manicure I had at the event has not chipped yet! We have a farm and I do 99.999999% of the household chores in our home. The fact that the polish is still on my nails is a testament to how great the quality is.
No make-up and just-out-of-the-shower hair. Please excuse the following photo, but this is me trying out the Crest White Strips. I pay a lot of money to get my teeth professionally whitened. Yes, it's true. At the P&G event, we were asked if we wanted to test the Crest strips and see the difference and the ease of use for ourselves. I really wanted to try it out right there and then, but rather shyly asked if I could try it out in the privacy of my own home.

Why? Let me tell you that I have horrible gag reflex. I simply cannot have anything in my mouth or near my eyes (tough putting mascara or contacts!). Everything makes me yack. I'm not kidding.
My experience with the Crest White Strips? They go on really easily and they stay in place really well. They are super easy to apply. I was doing great until minutes after I put them on. The gag reflex kicked in. This has absolutely nothing to do with the product itself. It's all me. Me and my crazy "I can't have anything in my mouth or I'll gag" reflex. Embarrassing. THIS is why I wanted to try them on my own and not in front of my fellow bloggers!

The result? I left the strips in for the allotted time and I kid you not, you can see results even after the first use! I was amazed. Sorry, professional teeth whitening place! I'm going to have to say buh-bye! Hello to my new best friend (but only in the comfort of my own bathroom)!

Thank you to P&G for including me in such a great event! I am looking forward to working with you more and am excited about all the exciting things to come!


Disclosure- I am a #PGmom. Although I am affiliated with P&G, all the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.

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City girl moves to the country, falls in love, and marries a farmer. She tries to incorporate her city ways with her new country lifestyle and blogs to keep in touch with friends, family & students who live far, far away :) Can this city girl go country? Watch as she learns all sorts of exciting things about life on the farm and in a small rural community. *UPDATE* We are now parents! Our baby girl was born on Nov. 11, 2008 (at 28 weeks gestation- 12 weeks premature, but she's quite the trooper)!!!
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