Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Special Anniversary


Today marks a very special day for our family. It marks the ten year anniversary of my father-in-law's death.  Sadly, I never had the opportunity of meeting my father-in-law, as he died just over two years before Hubby and I got together.

From what everyone tells me, my father-in-law was a wonderful man and a very hard worker.  I am sad that Little One and I never had a chance to meet him, but we talk about him and she loves looking at photos of him.

There's another reason May 31st is of special significance to us.  On this day four years ago, we found out we were expecting!

For absolutely no reason at all, I got up in the morning and decided I needed to take a pregnancy test.  I don't know why.  I had no pregnancy symptoms.  I just felt like taking a pregnancy test.

I totally was not expecting to see the two lines on the test and was in total shock!

I was in such disbelief that by the end of the week, I had taken ten (yes, TEN!) pregnancy tests!  I had also been to the doctor and had the blood test done, but I STILL couldn't believe we were going to be parents!  It was one of the most exciting days of my life.
Yes, I know. Pretty crazy, right?  I don't know if it was so much as obsessiveness or complete shock and disbelief! :)

#Kelloggers - Have Your Chips and Eat Them Too {Giveaway}


As much as we love our chips, we try to limit our chip consumption in this house.  Why? Well, I really don't like the idea of feeding my family things that are high in sodium and saturated fats.  I'm guessing this is why my 3 year old loves going to other people's houses!

I've convinced her that homemade kale chips and oven baked sweet potato fries are da bomb! She loves them! She even thinks raisins are candy! Shhhhhh!

Then just the other day, a parcel arrived at our doorstep.

As a Kellogger, I receive Kellogg's products to try out and talk about with you guys!  We just received Kellogg's Special K Cracker Chips. Three boxes - one of each flavour!  We received the Original, Cheddar and Sour Cream & Onion.

I have to say that I believe the Special K Cracker Chips are a hit in our house.  How do I know this? Well, I was in the midst of a Skype meeting when my 3 year old decided to help herself to the Cheddar Cracker Chips! She ate almost half the box while I was in my meeting! I know. #TotalMommyFail!

I'm happy to say that the savoury snack is low in saturated fat, is trans-fat free and has no artificial flavours or colours.  The Cracker Chips are a crispy, tasty blend of potato and rice and they are lightly seasoned. They're also only 80 calories for 18 chips!

Hubby came in from work and saw Little One snacking on the Kellogg's Cracker Chips, and swiped a few.
"Mmmmmmm! Honey! These are good! Where can we get them? I'd totally buy them at the store. They're better than some of the other snack alternatives out there! These are the best tasting snacks!"  He wasn't kidding either. I know when my husband is being serious!

Okay, I guess the verdict's in. The Special K Cracker Chips are a hit!

I love my Special K cereal, so the fact that they've got a new product like this out is really neat.

You think I'm lucky because we get to try this delicious snack?  Well, you can try them too! One lucky reader will win a Kellogg's Cracker Chips Prize Pack that includes all the flavours.
{WIN IT}
To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway open to Canadian residents only. Ends June 15, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure - As a member of the Kelloggers Network, we received a variety of Kellogg's products, plus some branded items.  This is a personal blog. All the opinions on this blog are honest and my own
Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Poser


Got an awesome Wordless Wednesday post you'd like us to check out?  Feel free to link up and we'll head on over!

World Mosaics 3 - Fairy Tales {REVIEW & GIVEAWAY}



I've got a little secret.  I like playing games.

At  night, before I go to bed, I unwind by playing a few games.  I usually play word games with friends online.  When it comes to my little one though, I am very particular about what she is exposed to.  At first, I was adamant that she would not be exposed to online games, computer games, video games, etc.  I wanted her to spend more time playing outside, using her imagination, reading books, playing with her toys and her friends...but not in front of a computer monitor or TV screen.

That soon changed when she saw her peers playing with their parents' iPad. They were playing age appropriate games and Little One was very interested. It was at that point that Hubby and I decided that if she was going to be exposed to things like that, we might as well make sure she is getting age-appropriate games.

I was asked to try out and review my choice from the Big Fish Games collection. I chose World Mosaics 3 - Fairy Tales.

Of course, the game was too difficult for my little one (she's only 3 years old), but it kept me interested and I enjoyed playing it.

{STORY}
Because I love fairy tales, I thought this would be interesting.  The main character of the game finds a book in the library and discovers that it is enchanted. This book of fairy tales transports you into each page and the only way to escape is to find the twelve emblems by completing the twelve fairy tales and helping the characters. The fairy tales include children's classics - Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc.

The idea of the game is appealing. Is it weird that I kind of felt like Bastian from the movie The Neverending Story?

{GAMEPLAY}
The game is in the form of puzzles and each puzzle is a grid with numbers on the top and on the left. Underneath, you will find an mosaic.  The numbers basically give you a clue as to where to click so you can uncover parts of the mosaic. Whenever you reveal a mosaic, you get to read parts of the story.

The puzzles increase in level of difficulty as the game progresses. If you like puzzle type games, then this is a good one for you.  Though I'm more of a word game girl, World Mosaics 3 - Fairy Tales kept my brain working.

There are many more games to choose from. Like I said, I chose this one because I like fairy tales.  Check out some other games available:

Puzzle Games:
Adventure Games


GIVEAWAY TIME!

Are you a lover of online puzzle games? Would you like to win a free code for a Big Fish Games online game of your choice?

Enter the Rafflecopter form for your chance to win. TWO lucky readers for this giveaway! Open world-wide! Ends June 8, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Saturday, May 26, 2012

Kenya Help?


Too often, we get wrapped up in our every day lives and focus on just getting through the day.  We get absorbed in our work, we get distracted by the things that need to get done in the house (like feeding our families or making sure they have clean clothes to wear), and we sometimes don't have time to sit down and think.  I mean really think.  I'm talking about the kind of thinking that involves seeing what we do and how we have an impact on the lives of others.

Do we benefit or make a difference in the lives of others? Do we touch their hearts and change their lives forever?

This is the case of Nancy Stevens and the Kenya Help Project.

Read all about Nancy here and check out the video of the Kenya Help Project.


Here's an excerpt from the Kenya Help website:
The children in Ngong, Kenya are mainly AIDS orphans. They are the children who live full time at orphanages, as well as the children who go there each day to eat their only meal. The story of how and why the children are there is a hard one to tell. It is heartbreaking and sad, and at the same time, I am very proud of them to be able to make the choices they did at such a young age. As well, for their parents to know they need to give their child a chance. 

As the number of orphans grows, along with their needs, the children continue to laugh and play, and have dreams for their futures. They all want to go to school, they all want to have a job when they grow up, and they all want to have a family. They are so happy despite their past, and you, the donors, are the ones who are helping to give them a better future. 
I love Nancy's efforts, her dedication, and the tireless hours she has put into the Kenya Help Project.  I cry when I think about all the amazing work she has done.  This woman is so special and so spectacular. The world needs more people like Nancy Stevens.

Nancy's projects for the children in Ngong, Kenya  include:

  • Health and First Aid
  • Food
  • Education
  • Recreation
Nancy's Kenya Help also received the 2011 YMCA Peace Medal.


Another reason the Kenya Help Project has a special place in my heart is because my brother, PJ Lee is heavily involved in the project as well. He has accompanied Nancy to Kenya on a number of occasions to help her film the documentary for her cause.

PJ has received various accolades for his work . He is the winner of the 2011 Innovative Storytellers Award. Forgive me if I sound like a proud older sister, but I am!
After reading all about Nancy and the orphans in Sidai, doesn't that make you want to see what you can do to enrich the lives of others? Kenya Help?

Under Pressure


 
When I'm nervous, I sweat. When I'm hot, I sweat. When I'm working out, I really sweat!

Sweat.

I was discussing this with Hubby. He doesn't sweat much. No, really. I'm serious! Although he works really hard on the farm and in the fields all day,  he's much of a sweater. Though he doesn't sweat much, I have noticed some "pit stains" on some of his white shirts. I hope this is the one post he doesn't read! He claims to not have pit stains, but I have found a few white t-shirts and a few white dressy shirts.

Urgh. The dreaded pit stain.

That yellow stain in the underarm part of one's shirt is just so unsightly.  It just ruins a perfect, beautiful, crisp, white shirt.

When I was asked to try out RAISE armpit stain remover, I thought it was something we could use in our household.  I don't get pit stains, but Hubs does on occasion. Only on white shirts and t-shirts though, it seems.

How it Works:
is a powerful pre-treatment, laundry stain remover that will make sweat stains disappear! This innovative solution targets and dissolves yellow armpit stains without ruining clothing.
Not all stains are alike -- unsightly stains produced by body sweat won't come out with standard stain removers or even bleach. When it comes to discolored perspiration spots, bleach actually sets the stain making it permanent.
This tough formula works on lifting and dissolving sweat stain deposits and even works on old stains and ring around the collar.

I don't use bleach in our laundry, but one of the things I learned while reading about RAISE is to never use bleach on sweat stains, as it will react with the proteins, making them permanent. Thanks for the heads up, RAISE!

I  tried RAISE on some of Hubby's shirts.  It certainly did the job in removing the stains on most of his shirts.  Some of the shirts with older stains were harder to get completely clean of pit stains. I was rather surprised and impressed at how well RAISE works.  I wasn't expecting it to get rid of some of those ugly yellow marks.  Some of the shirts were so far gone (way beyond repair!) that they've become cleaning rags for around the house.  The majority were saved though...thanks to RAISE.

I liked the effectiveness of RAISE, but if I can be completely honest, the smell was a bit strong for me. Barring this fact, I do believe that RAISE will be a great laundry room asset, as I'm convinced it will extend the life of Hubby's shirts.

You can purchase RAISE online on the company webpage.

Disclosure - We received the above mentioned product for review purposes.  All the thoughts and opinions on this blog are honest and my own.
Thursday, May 24, 2012

She Said WHAT?!?!


Rushing in the morning on an already hazy, humid mosquito filled morning, I could feel myself getting tense.  Little One was dawdling - stopping every few feet to pick up a white-headed dandelion (which she calls "giant wish flowers").  I scooped her up, put her in her car seat, hopped into the driver's seat, and drove up our lane way.

Little One: Mine too! Mine too! Mine too! (screaming, tears rolling down her cheeks)
Me: Oh, dear. Now what?!
Little One: (pulling at her seat belt straps) My seat belt! Mine too!!

At this moment I feel like the world's most horrible Mom. I never forget to buckle her into her car seat. NEVER!

It was one of those days.

Above photo taken a few months ago.  Please excuse the helmet. She takes car safety very seriously.  Either that, or she thinks my driving is absolutely horrible.

We started singing the entire score for Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers. Little One mentioned that she was thirsty.

Me: We left your sippy cup at ThatCoolTeacherMom's house. She's going to return it when she sees us next.
Little One: Mommy, where's my Princess p3nis?
Me: (in shock) Pardon me? Your what?
Little One: My. Princess. P3nis!
Me: Ohhhh! Your Princess THERMOS! (this is the second day in a row that she's called her Thermos a p3nis)
Little One: Why? Why is it not a p3nis?
Me: Honey, you know what a p3nis is. That stainless steel thing that keeps your drinks hot or cold is called a Thermos.
Little One: (laughing) What is a p3nis?
Me: Honey, you remember! What do girls have that boys don't have?
Little One: A vag!na.
Me: Boys have a ______?
Little One: P3nis!
Me: That's right.
Little One: What's a vag!na for?

(Urgh. She's only three years old. I think I'll just stick with the non-$exual functions of this part of the anatomy for now)

Me: Well, a vag!na is a part of the female body and you pee from there.
Little One: What's a p3nis for?
Me: (Haha! Oh, boy. Trouble!) Males - boys and men have them and when they pee, pee comes from there.
Little One: Mommy, and [insert Little One's real name here], and Lola have VAG!NAS!
Me: Yes. That's right, honey.
Little One: Daddy and [insert LO's friend's little brother's name here] and Grampy have P3NISES!
Me: That's correct. Oh! What does Chance (our dog) have?
Little One: (quietly thinking and then laughing) I don't know!
Me: Chance is a boy! He has a...
Little One: P3NIS!
Chance is a boy dog?!
Oh, the questions!

Little One is three years old and I explain things as openly and honestly to her in a way I feel is age-appropriate.  I know some people do not feel that proper anatomical terms are appropriate for children, but I do not believe calling girl parts "cupcake", "flower", "hooha", or "peach" and boy parts "turtle", "birdie", "lizard", or "wee wee" appropriate. Neither way is right or wrong...or better or worse.  For me, I'd just like Little One to know the proper names of things.

We've got bodily functions down. Let's hope the $ex questions don't come for another few years.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Filipino Adventures








If you've got a Wordless Wednesday post you'd like to share, we'd love to pop by and check it out!
Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Family


At the risk of sounding depressing, I thought I'd post more of my "Grandma (aka Lola) posts".  I don't want to keep posting about my lola's death and have you think I'm dwelling too much on things.  I'm fine...for the most part. I have my moments.  I'm trying to convince myself that I know this is best for her and that she is no longer suffering.  I'm trying.

It's been a week since she died and almost two weeks since I last saw her and held her hand.

My last memory of her alive was me having some quiet time with her in her ICU room. I remember holding her hand, praying with her, and telling her "Mommy, you know I love your, right?". She nodded. I could tell how tired she was.  Tired of fighting for her life.  Tired of trying to stay alive for us. She just needed to finally be able to rest in peace.

I've also been trying to find out how best to deal with death and dying with my three year old.  She's been taking it pretty badly and has been asking demanding to see her great-lola again.  I get the tears and the "I don't want my great-lola to be dead! I want to see her NOW!" and it is heartbreaking.

Searching for info on "bereavement and children" has proved to be a little overbearing. There's just so much info out there, I don't know where to begin.

Since Lola's death my cousins and I have been corresponding back and forth on Facebook, sharing memories of our grandparents and of our childhood.  We're a tightly-knit family because of my grandparents.

I remember being in elementary school and high school and friends would say, "Wow. You hang out with your cousins?! I don't even know my cousins."  Truth be told, my cousins were all like siblings to me. They still are. When I lived in Montreal, we'd see each other all the time and hang out together. I always wished that my own children would have the same kind of relationship with their family that I had when I was a growing up.

Family is EVERYTHING


That's what my lola taught us. 

One thing about my grandma is that is wrote down everything.  She kept notebooks of all the family birthdays, wedding anniversaries, special occasions. She did all her bookkeeping "old school style". She even kept a log of each time she spoke to us on the phone.  She'd write the date, time, and which family member she spoke to. 

I was leafing through the recipe book my Maid of Honour put together for me for my bridal shower, and came across a few sheets of paper that were tucked into one of the sleeves.  I cried when I realized they were my grandmother's favourite recipes.  My grandparents were both fabulous cooks and food, as most people know, is a huge part of the Filipino culture.  Food is a huge part of celebration.  Food brings people together.  Food is shared with friends, family, and strangers. 

I poured over Lola's recipes of breaded shrimp, Caldereta, Sinigang, Garlic Ribs, and so many others.  I almost forgot that when she was last on the Island visiting us, she had taken the time to write out by hand all her special recipes for me.  Looking at my grandmother's beautiful penmanship and thinking of the time it had taken her to do that for me just makes me smile...and cry.

I think I'll celebrate her life this week and make some of those special recipes of hers.
Monday, May 21, 2012

Mommy! Something's Stinky!!!


My three year old has had this insane sensitivity to certain smells lately. She refuses to "go" in public washrooms. She'd "hold it" until we get home.

The other day, she started crying like crazy.

Me: What's wrong? Is everything okay?
Little One: Mommmmmy! Something's stinky!!!!
Me: (sniffing) I really don't smell anything.
Little One: I don't like it! Something is stinky!!! (wailing)
Me: Ummm...what does it smell like?
Little One: It smells like POO!
Me: Oh. Well, you do know we live on a farm, right?

The crying didn't stop until I lit the HunnyB Soy Candle I received (and should have reviewed prior to that impromptu trip to the Philippines we had to make a few weeks ago).

I have to say that I have a sensitivity to fragrances and very potent scents make me nauseous and headachy...even when I'm not pregnant. These, however, are fantastic!  I'm a fan of aromatherapy candles, but I am extremely picky when it comes to the fragrances. Anything too strong makes me ill, so I always have to go for really good quality aromatherapy candles.  The good thing is that with the better quality candles, the burn time is longer too.

Some info on HunnyB Soy Candles:
While other popular candles are made of paraffin wax, HunnyB's Soy Candles are made of 100% non toxic, clean burning soy. Our soy wax is a 100% natural soybean product, and collected from farmers right here in the US. Unlike other products, our candles are biodegradable and contain no carcinogens. The result is a cleaner burning candle leaving no black jars, walls or ceilings. Additionally, HunnyB's Soy Candles burn longer and provide a larger and superior scent throw. 
Isn't that great?

I was blown away by their selection of scents! They have over 300 fragrances to choose from!

I ended up choosing Coconut Lime Verbena. I love anything citrus or coconut scented, so this was a no brainer! The rich, creamy coconut scent combined with the refreshing, fruity citrus smell of the lime just made my house smell so good!

There were no more "Something's stinky!" cries from my three year old after that.

Check out the amazing HunnyB Soy Candle selection and try some out for yourself! They're Little One approved! :)

Disclosure -  I received a HunnyB Soy Candle (of my preferred fragrance/scent) to facilitate this review.  All the thoughts and opinions on this blog are honest and my own.
Sunday, May 20, 2012

@FollowMeFoodie is one Super Cool Gal!


Many of you are familiar with Recipe to Riches, the hit reality TV cooking show where foodies all over Canada competed for their best recipes to be turned into a President's Choice product (to be sold nationwide) AND there was a fair bit of money to be won as well.

I was excited to be an official Recipe to Riches food blogger during the show's first season last year. I got to test out winning recipes and blog about them. So much fun! The show itself was very interactive, as viewers got to keep up with all the updates, news, and chats via Facebook and Twitter.

Throughout the season, I was fortunate enough to be able to get to know contestants Melissa (Chocolate Banana Wow Cake), Rosy (Kulfi Karma) and Melaney (Savoury Bannock Pie).  They are such lovely, LOVELY ladies!  I even had a chance to have coffee (and these monster-sized muffins) at a cafe with Melissa when we went to the taping of the finale for Recipe to Riches. I also had Dim Sum (and a lot of laughs) with Melaney that weekend too. Honestly, it felt like we were all old friends catching up over a meal!

One of my favourite contestants was MiJune Pak.  I loved her idea of the "pie in the jar"! It looked so sumptuous, delicious, and very marketable! Too cool!

I knew of Mijune because of her blog, Follow Me Foodie! I love, love, love her blog! Obviously, you know she's a foodie extraordinaire and that she comes up with some pretty stellar culinary masterpieces. I bet you didn't know that she is soooooooo funny though! Check it!

Recently, she wrote a blog post for Food Revolution Day #KidsAndFood. Check out her post! You may just find a certain "Little One" you know (from this blog)!

Thanks, Mijune! Little One wants to be able to cook like you, Melissa, Rosy, Melaney, and the rest of the talented contestants on Recipe to Riches! Yes, yes...I've created a little FoodNetworkCA addict out of my three year old child!


Friday, May 18, 2012

Hey, Bobble Head!




Never in my life would I have ever imagined having my very own bobble head! It's actually kind of cool!  I guess this is the one time being called a bobble head is actually a compliment? :)

 I'm excited to announce that I have been selected as a Brand Ambassador for the ShesConnected Conference 2012. I was invited to attend the conference last Fall, and had a fabulous time. I met up with other social media women I had been communicating with for a year or so (some even longer!). I also learned quite a lot about social media, branding, and relationships with brands, what our blogs can convey to others and even how social media can 'do good' (examples: Look Good, Feel Better's story about Tamara's Wig, Heather Hamilton's story of her lovely Zack and Zack's Dream Room) from the panels and speakers.

While at the conference, I was able to get to know some of the brands better and from SCCTO I developed great working relationships with some of the sponsors there. I received many opportunities from SCCTO and after. It seemed that the network I was already building (can I tell you how much I love Twitter?!) grew bigger immediately after the conference. Soon after, I was offered opportunities I never thought I'd get. For me, it isn't about the number of opportunities one gets, but more importantly, the relationships you build.

By the sounds of things, this year is going to be a very exciting one over at ShesConnected! Thanks again to everyone at ShesConnected. I am looking forward to being a Brand Ambassador and seeing everyone at the conference this Fall!

In the meantime, I think you should "meet" the other ShesConnected Brand Ambassadors!
Thursday, May 17, 2012

#FisherPriceMoms Spring Weather is Here and it's Time to Play!


Little One and I have just returned to Canada from a very bittersweet trip to the Philippines to spend some time with my grandmother while she was in the ICU. Only days after our return, my grandmother passed away.

Fortunately, there was a HUGE box from Fisher-Price that was waiting for Little One when we got home from the airport.  What a treat for my amazing little traveler.  She was a trooper on our very long flight from Manila-Tokyo-Toronto.  The parcel cheered her up, as she was really sad that we had to leave the Philippines and great-grandma.

As odd as this sounds, Fisher-Price couldn't have picked a more appropriate time to send over something for our three year old.  It really made her day.

In the past few weeks, I have noticed that Little One's imagination has blossomed tenfold.  She's always had a vivid imagination and has always been creative when it comes to playing.  Lately, she has been really into playing with dolls. This is something she wasn't as interested in before. Now, it's all about feeding, changing, burping, rocking, and singing to her dollies. It's so sweet to observe.

Our little girl is growing and it feels like if I look away for even a minute, I miss out on something!

I think I mentioned that she asked for a baby sister for Christmas and "Santa" gave  her a doll house, right?  The doll house she received was one of those collapsible cardboard ones that fold away for easy storage. Well, let me tell you that the doll house did not last even one week. I think on the second day of having the doll house, Little One and her friend SAT in the doll house and it was ruined. Great.

This is why we were all so excited when Little One opened up her Fisher-Price box and saw her Little People doll house! It came furnished and with its very own Little People to inhabit it! Not only that, but she also received the coolest Little People vehicle. She loves that when she plays with the house and the SUV, there are sounds and songs.


The Little People doll house and car are a great distraction for a little girl who just lost her great-grandma.  Sure, it's not a replacement, but it's a good distraction from what we're having to deal with right now. This post isn't supposed to be a sad one. Really, it's a joyful one.

Seeing Little One play "house" with her Little People toys and listening to her chirping away and making up different scenarios is just too precious. In fact, in the past few weeks that we have been away, she's gotten a lot clearer in her speech and pronunciation. She's also speaking in more complex sentences. It's amazing what kind of thoughts she formulates and is able to convey. I was shocked when I heard her say, "This is the Mommy Little Person. She's peeing in the toilet. See the toilet on the first floor of the doll house? The Mommy needs to drive the baby to play group. The baby needs to be in his car seat. See? There's a car seat in the back. Babies are not allowed to sit in the front and they need their car seats all the time."  That just cracked me up. She wouldn't stop talking. It was just too cute.

There is nothing so joyful in life than to see our child playing, learning, and growing.  She is certainly enjoying her Little People toys. Thank you, Fisher-Price and Mom Central Canada!


In the Community:

Check out the brand new Thomas the Train live show! It will be touring Ontario this Spring and Summer and will feature a live 20-minute story show with fun music for kids to sing and dance along to.  There will also be an area where kids can interact with the brand new Thomas the Train trackmaster toys after the show! 
To preview the full Thomas the Train trackmaster lineup, check out fisherprice.ca
For dates, locations and times of the show, check out: http://treehousetv.com/Live/Calendar.aspx?year=2012&month=5&prov=&id=1
Disclosure:  I am part of the Fisher-Price Play Panel and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Remembering Grandma




It's not your typical Wordless Wednesday...

#FinishRevolution Finish Quantum = Better Dishwashing & a Giveaway!



 I have a little confession. I thought having a dishwasher would solve all my problems with washing dishes and saving time. I thought it would mean I'd have more time to do other things like play with my daughter, get work done, get household chores done, etc. I soon discovered that I'm technically challenged in many things...like loading my dishwasher!

You think I'm kidding? I'm totally serious. Is there a right way to load a dishwasher? Should dishes be facing a certain way to get the optimum cleaning power from your dishwasher? With my participation in the #FinishRevolution Campaign, I was fortunate enough to be able to view a webinar on how to get the most out of my dishwasher.

My husband thought it was funny that I would need a webinar on how to get the most out of my dishwasher. "It's not rocket science." Oh, ho, ho! Actually, it is! Sort of. I was completely unaware of the science behind dishwashing detergents.
Top 5 Tips I Picked Up from the Webinar


  • Not all detergents are made the same, my friends. You need to make sure that the detergent you use has all the cleaning agents you need. There are two types of cleaning agents: Enzymes (which break down protein and starch stains) and bleach (pick up where enzymes left off in the wash cycle and like higher temperature).
  •  I also had no idea that we needed to care for our dishwasher by routinely cleaning it once a month or so. A cleaning agent like Finish Dishwasher Cleaner is important in order to have your dishwasher running well and odour-free. Use the dishwasher cleaner every once in a while. I know some people who use it once a month. Me? I think I'll be doing it once every month or every other month. I cannot believe I NEVER thought of using dishwasher cleaner before. I never even thought of maintaining my dishwasher that way. I find now that I've started doing it, my dishwasher runs much more smoothly and my dishes are cleaner (no debris, caked on gunk, water stains, or calcium build-up)! 
  •  How many of you store your dishwasher detergent in the cabinet under your sink? Do you keep your detergents, soaps, and cleaners under the kitchen sink? You answered yes, right? Well, that particular area is one of the dampest areas in the house! When you leave detergents under the sink, the detergent sometimes goes hard, right? I had no idea, but that is actually the moisture activating the cleaner and once that cleaner is hardened, it will not have the same cleaning power. Again, totally not kidding you! 
  •  I'm a "nester". I'm guilty of "nesting" when it comes to my dishes. I always thought that if I could get as many dishes into my dishwasher, I'd be good. No. When spoons, bowls, cups, or other dishes "nest" into one another, it stops the water from hitting the dish above it. Duh! I should have known better. I mean, I've noticed that when I stick a bowl under a pot, there's water on the surface of the bowl and the pot doesn't get cleaned properly. *sigh* 
  •  Another thing I learned is that we should use HOT water! Dishwashers are designed to use hot water and work best with hot water. Make sure your water temperature is set accordingly in order to get the maximum cleaning power out of it. Did you know that Quantum is rated #1 phosphate-free detergent according to Consumer Report Magazine.
 Oh, there are so many things I needed to know about my dishwasher! I am so thankful for the webinar!  Barring the fact that I am part of the #FinishRevolution, my opinions are independent of this program. I can honestly say that I have been converted. No other detergent has ever gotten my dishes so clean.
I know it seems crazy to be so excited about dishwasher detergent, but I can't  help it! I'm so excited to let you know that one lucky reader will receive TWO boxes of Finish Quantum Powerball tabs!

TO ENTER:
Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway only open to Canadian residents. Ends May 29, 2012.

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Disclosure: I am part of the Finish Blogger Program by Mom Central. I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I want to Smile, but My Heart aches


Friends always tell me how lucky I am to be close to my family. It's true. I come from a very closely knit family. I attribute this to my grandmother, who was the glue that bound our family together.

A devout Catholic, fabulous wife, a school principal, a caring mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend, "Mommy" (affectionately called by all) was the most wonderful woman I have ever met.

Little One and I were fortunate to have spent the last few weeks of her life with her. We left the Philippines last Wednesday and we got word that she just passed away.

Though my heart is torn into a million pieces, we knew she would be leaving us any day now.  She told me when I was in the ICU with her that it was her time to go.  She mouthed "I love you all. I am suffering. I need to go to Heaven now".

Somehow, I'm still that grandchild that wants to think that grandparents are immortal and will live with us forever. Of course, such is not the case...except for in our hearts and in our memories.

I love you, lola. Thank you for being part of my life and for teaching me so much about family, life, and love. I am blessed and honoured to be your grandchild.
 Why is letting go always so difficult, even when you know that someday that time will come and that sometimes it's better off this way?





You are missed already. 
Monday, May 14, 2012

Olivieri Lasagna Sheets Review & Giveaway


 When I was a kid, lasagna was my favourite food. I love me some lasagna! I even knew the answer to the Trivial Pursuit question "What is Garfield's favourite food?"

Lasagna, of course!

When my husband and I were still dating, I asked him what his favourite food was.  I was so excited when he answered "lasagna"!

Even our three year old loves lasagna! This is a kid who will eat EVERYTHING (from tofu, spicy Korean food, Japanese seaweed, sushi, Mexican jalapenos, Vietnamese pho, etc), but does not like eating carbs in the form of bread-type products or French fries. However, she absolutely LOVES pasta!

The only thing is that making lasagna is so labour-intensive that I don't make it often.  I can probably count on one hand, the number of times I make it in a year!  I've tried ready-to-bake noodles, but they always seem to come out hard and crunchy.  I've tried cooking the pasta sheets first and then cooking the lasagna, but I just don't have the time to do that.  I've even tried making my own lasagna noodles! It was fine and tasted delicious, but again, who has the time to do that when you are tired from a long day and have a little one begging for attention?

Enter Olivieri Lasagna Sheets!

When I was asked to try the Olivieri Lasagna Sheets and share my thoughts, I was really excited! I was crossing my fingers and hoping that this would solve my lasagna-cooking dilemma! They're ready to pop into the oven and the cooking time is cut in half! You only need to bake your lasagna for 35 minutes covered and then 5 minutes uncovered!
When I opened up the package, I was a bit perplexed. The lasagna sheets didn't quite fit my 9x11 pan.  I was a bit confused, as I thought everyone baked lasagna in 9x11 pans. Maybe it's just me, but the sheets were kind of small.

That didn't deter me though. I just overlapped the sheets and everything was fine!

 Just a shot of the Olivieri lasagna sheet in my 9x11 pan to show you what I mean.
 Will I use Olivieri lasagna sheets again?  YES!  For sure!
 My lasagna turned out fabulously! It was delicious! The lasagna sheets cooked really well. They entire dish was flavourful. I will definitely be using Olivieri Lasagna Sheets next time I make lasagna!
Don't just take my word for it! Do you want to try them too?

WIN IT
TWO of my lucky readers will win 4 coupons for FREE Olivieri products (Try the lasagna sheets! Try the lasagna sheets!).

To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway open only to residents of Canada. Ends May 28, 2012.

Check out the Olivieri Facebook Page and see what exciting things are going on there!
a Rafflecopter giveaway




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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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Life on Manitoulin: Just a bunch of ramblings from a city girl gone country!

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