Thursday, February 28, 2013

Passport to Explore ~ National Geographic Contest



National Geographic has been a household name in our family for as long as I can remember. We traveled a lot with our family as children, visiting our father's home country of Trinidad and Tobago, driving all over the United States and some parts of Canada.  

When I got older, I traveled to Barbados on my own for the very first time! I met up with my friend and stayed at her mother's house. I think I was 16 or 17 when I took my first plane trip on my own! It opened my eyes to the amazing world around me. I was bitten by the travel bug!

I wanted to see and experience the world and visited Bali, Singapore, Japan, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, and many other exciting countries!

As a child, I remember pouring over the collection of National Geographic magazines in her basement and wanting to visit ALL of those countries in the magazines! My aunt and uncle worked for Air Canada, so traveling to pretty much all of the countries and continents were second nature to them. I had dreams of visiting Machu Picchu and Stonehenge, and exploring everything from the coral reef and the rain forests.

Now that I have a daughter of my own, I'm glad that she enjoys her subscription to National Geographic Kids! Our 4 year old is really into her NG Little Kids Magazines (Ages 3-6).

National Geographic has a fun contest on right now

DISCOVER THE MYSTERY ANIMAL FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A DREAM VACATION!

You and a guest could be off for a 7-day adventure to the North American destination of your choice. Simply visit a participating National Geographic and National Geographic Explorer luggage retailer to identify the mystery animal and fill out the form below for your chance to win.


About National Geographic luggage
As experts in travel, adventure, and exploration, National Geographic has launched its luggage collection. National Geographic brand is synonymous with exploration, adventure and high quality.

Did you know that National Geographic’s net proceeds support vital exploration, conservation, research and education programs?

The product line covers a wide range of use, including:

  • Leisure travel – lightweight with wide range of models for vacation travel
  • Adventure travel – rugged and functional for adventure travelling
  • Business travel – lightweight and stylish for travel to meeting with business cases and computer to tablet cases.

Contest entrants may earn ballots 3 different ways:
 How to enter

  • Visit a National Geographic Explorer luggage retailer and identify the mystery animal; enter the animal in the contest form. 
  • By entering a blogger code: This blog's code is 540
  • By sharing the contest
  • Enter here: passporttoexplore.ca
The Grand Prize – A 7-day adventure for 2 to a North American Destination of the winner’s choice (anywhere Air Canada flies, with accommodations at Loews Hotels).
Contest closes March 31st, 2013

Disclosure - I received compensation for this post, however all the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own..


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Canadian Beef Helping Hubby Get Dinner on the Table! @CanadianBeef #loveCDNbeef



Canadian Beef has partnered with Hamburger Helper! Makes sense! When I think beef, I think of hamburger/ground beef. While Hubby loves his steaks and roasts, to me, hamburger is the most versatile. I use ground beef in so many recipes! You can make  meatloaf, stuffed peppers, cabbage rolls, casseroles, lasagna, chili, spaghetti sauce, Tourtière, Shepherd's Pie...the list goes on and on!

This month, Hamburger Helper is running a big promotion with a $3 off coupon on each box of Hamburger Helper towards your ground beef purchase.  See complete details about the content by following the link on www.beefinfo.org

As a Canadian Beef Ambassador, I received a box of each of the six Hamburger Helper varieties. Remember how I said hamburger is the most versatile? There are just so many ways you can cook with it!  If you're lacking ideas, you can always head to www.lifemadedelicious.ca as well! They have lots of ways to be creative with  Hamburger Helper and their recipes.

I have a confession. My 4 year old has never had Hamburger Helper. I make pretty much everything from scratch. This said, I was in a rush and had a meeting to get to. After school is super busy, and Hubby had to get Little One fed when she got off the bus and rush her to ballet. Guess what he fed her?
Hubby made the HH lasagna with a salad. He said it was super fast to make and tasted good. The thing is, this is an incredible novelty for my husband too. Having grown up on his mom's home cooking, he has never had HH either! It was a first for both him and Little One!

The Hamburger Helper definitely came in handy for Hubby. He and Little One didn't have much time to eat since they had to rush to ballet soon after!

Since we're talking beef, in case you hadn't already noticed, the Canadian Beef blog already features Joyce’s blog post on how this product is helping her teach her son to cook. Sure, boxed products get a bad rap sometimes. These are great ways to show how you can make meals for the family with the use of HH products that help make life a little easier.

Here is a very helpful blog post w links to a video and pdf resource all about the different packaging types and how they can help with meal planning.

I first heard of Big Batch Ground Beef from @CanadianBeef. What a great way to make sure you always have ground beef ready to use in your recipes and also get supper on the table in a pinch!

Thought you might enjoy this:

Here is a link to Canadian Beef's  big batch beef recipes. There are lots of recipes to choose from! There are two types of big batch beef – one is the ‘simple’ version using an onion soup mix, the other calls for chopped onion and peppers.  In our house, we like the addition of lots of veggies. It's a great way to make sure there are veggies in your meal even when the fridge is empty of veg!

Big batch beef instructions and cooking video:

Big Batch Beef: Cook 4 lb (2 kg) Extra-Lean Ground Beef in Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, breaking into small chunks with back of spoon, until browned. Drain and return to pot. Add 4 EACH onion and cloves of garlic, minced, simmer for 15 minutes until vegetables are softened. Spread in a single layer on several foil or parchment paper-lined baking trays; freeze until meat is firm, about 1 hour. Loosen into chunks, scoop meal-sized portions into freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Disclosure - I am a Canadian Beef Brand Ambassador. Though I have received compensation for this post, all the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

#WordlessWednesday ~ Kid's Lunch



Little One's school doesn't have a lunch break, but two nutritional breaks. The upper part of her bento box has a Vietnamese style salad on rice vermicelli and the lower part of her bento has grapes, sliced pear, sliced orange, and a muffin. She also had a yogourt and a Thermos filled with water to accompany her lunch.

What do your kids like to eat for their school lunches?

Feel free to link up your Wordless Wednesday posts! Ha! Mine's not so "wordless" this week!

Conquer the Cold Giveaway #PGMom


Are you dreaming about lazing on a tropical beach, listening to the waves crash on the shore? It's Winter in Canada, folks! Many of us love the outdoors and activities that Winter brings, right? Snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, skating, hockey, sledding, snow fort building, snow angel making, and snow ball fights! Right?

As fun as all of the above are, we all know that unforgiving Winter conditions (Brrr! Freezing temperatures, windchill, and yikes...harshness on our hair with dryness of air from furnace or electric heaters!!!) all make our skin dry and itchy, and make our hair frizzy and uncooperative. Tell me you love the way you get static from removing your tuque?

To conquer the cold, P&G would like to share the following:


The Issue: Kinky, curly, wavy and unruly frizz

The Cause: Some hair types, like curly and coarse tresses, are just naturally prone to frizz, but more often than not, frizz is a sign of damaged hair. The combination of outdoor air and indoor heating can do a number on your strands, causing frizz, fly-aways and dryness.

The Solution: Moisture. Start by using a shampoo and conditioner designed to fight frizz.  Don’t be afraid to skip washing daily - it’s unnecessary and hard on hair.  Try to air-dry your hair when possible to help reduce split ends from heat damage.  And always use heat-protecting products before heat-styling to help protect your hair from high temperatures and unnecessary breakage.

Product to try: Herbal Essences None of your Frizzness Shampoo and Conditioner’s serum-infused formula moisturizes hair with the right amount of conditioning ingredients for lusciously soft and shiny hair.  $4.49* each


The Issue: Delicate hair

The Cause: Blow-drying and heat-styling tools can contribute to more breakage during the winter. Blistery snowy weather also tends to wet and freeze hair in the cold leading to additional breakage.

The Solution: To help avoid winter breakage, it’s important to get regular trims every eight weeks. Split ends split upwards, so the less one trims, the more breakage they will experience. It’s also important to practise a good at-home daily hair routine in between cuts to avoid breakage and keep hair moisturized. Protect hair against damage from the cold outdoors and styling heat by applying a moisturizing mist that’s designed for daily use.

Product to try: Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Moisture Mist strengthens dry fragile hair against damage and preps it for styling.  Try the Pantene Daily Moisture Renewal line (Shampoo, Conditioner and Silky Moisture Whip) for added damage control. $5.99* each

The Issue: Parched skin from battling ‘Old man winter.’  

The Cause: Dry furnace air, wind burn and warm clothing can lead to dry, flaky and itchy skin. 
  
The Solution: In the winter months you should moisturize at least once a day and more if you’re prone to dry, flaky skin. Look for moisturizers with petrolatum or mineral oil to prevent evaporation and water loss from the skin.  

Product to try: For an immediate burst of moisture, try Olay Ultra Moisture Lotion. This lotion contains petrolatum and replenishes and nourishes skin’s moisture barrier to break the cycle of dry skin. In one week, your skin will feel noticeably soft. Pay special attention to areas that are prone to dry out quickly, such as hands, elbows, knees, ankles and toes. Adults need about 20 ml - approximately a shot glass - of lotion to cover their entire body. $10.99*

My Thoughts:
I've been a fan of Herbal Essences since I was in high school. I love the one that adds volume to my hair. Plus, I love the way it smells! I'm excited to have these as part of my Winter arsenal!

I have also been a fan of Pantene because it always makes my hair feel smooth and silky. I switch between Herbal Essences and Pantene. I guess you can say I'm a loyal brand user, but I not monogamous when it comes to hair products. Sometimes my hair needs Pantene, other times it needs Herbal Essences. 

The one product I absolutely love and cannot live without is Olay Ultra Moisture Lotion. I get extremely dry, cracked skin in the Winter. My feet are an issue. So dry, cracked, and unsightly. My four year old daughter LOVES getting out the Olay Ultra Moisture Lotion and giving her Mama a "foot massage"! Her idea, not mine! 

The Olay Ultra Moisture Lotion really works in moisturizing skin well and leaving it feeling soft and smooth.

You know how I feel about the products. Do you want to try them too?



Conquer the cold with a great giveaway from P&G!


One lucky reader will be able to conquer the cold with the seven products below valued at $44!
  • Olay Body Ultra Moisture Lotion 
  • Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Moisture Mist 
  • Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo 
  • Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Conditioner 
  • Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Silky Moisture Whip  
  • Herbal Essences None of your Frizzness Shampoo 
  • Herbal Essences None of your Frizzness Conditioner
Simply enter the Rafflecopter form below. Open to residents of Canada. Ends March 12, 2013.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

By entering the following contest you are accepting that if you win your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  
This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the  #PGmom program, however, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected.

Disclosure - As a #PGMom, I receive perks such as products like the ones listed above. Though affiliated with P&G, all the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.
Monday, February 25, 2013

What if Men Experienced Labour Contractions?


A few friends and I organized a baby shower for a friend of ours recently. One of our friends at the party mentioned a video about this Dutch TV program that had two Dutch guys hooked up to devices that simulated contractions a woman would experience during labour. 

I've often wondered what it would be like if men could experience childbirth. Would they be able to endure the pain and appreciate the experience afterward?

  

Watch this hilarious video.

.  


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cranberry Madeira Chicken & Tofu w/ Quinoa & Walnuts ~ @summerfresh @FoodBloggersCA



I'm on a Summer Fresh Sauces kick over here! It's like a Summer Fresh Marathon in my kitchen! Ever since we received the new sauces to test out in the kitchen, I haven't been able to stop coming up with fun ways to use the sauces!

The first recipe I made was a Thai Beef Curry.  Then the next night, my four  year old insisted I add Butter Chicken and spaghettini together and make Butter Chicken Pasta! I have to say, we are really enjoying the Summer Fresh Sauces!

The next sauce I wanted to try out was the Cranberry Madeira: Portuguese Madeira sweet wine blended with cranberries and traditional spices.

I didn't have any pork loin, which I thought would pair really nicely with the sauce, so I scrambled to think of what else I could do with it.

I came up with a Cranberry Madeira Chicken & Tofu over a bed of Quinoa with walnuts.  It sounds a bit crazy and busy, but it actually turned out so well! My friend's 2 year old even devoured a big serving of it!

{ Cranberry Madeira Chicken & Tofu with Quinoa & Walnuts }

Ingredients:
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 a container of tofu, cut into bite sized cubes
a little oil for cooking
1 container of Summer Fresh Cranberry Madeira sauce
Quinoa
Walnuts, crushed (to sprinkle over the dish as garnish)

Instructions: 
In a skillet, heat oil and cook chicken.
When chicken is cooked, add tofu, and brown.
Cook Quinoa as per directions on box.
Add Cranberry Madeira sauce to chicken and tofu. Cook.
When Quinoa is cooked, put a serving of Quinoa on a plate. Top with Chicken & Tofu Cranberry Madeira mixture.
Chop walnuts or break into small pieces with fingers. Sprinkle crushed walnuts. If you want to add colour, garnish with parsley or even cilantro if you wish.


I was pleasantly surprised at how well this recipe came together and turned out. Walnuts and cranberry are always a great combination, so I figured they'd go well together in this dish. The walnut also gives an nice texture and crunch.

This was the of the five new Summer Fresh sauces that I experimented with, and once again, this was a hit.
Looking forward to trying the Mushroom Marsala and 3 Peppercorn this week!

Disclosure -  I was given the complete line of Summer Fresh Sauces and a non-stick Wok in order for me to come up with some exciting recipes and try out the new sauces. All the thoughts and opinions on this blog are honest and my own.

Butter Chicken Pasta ~ @SummerFresh Sauces @foodbloggersCA


Remember the post where I said I was trying out the new Summer Fresh Sauces and trying to come up with some great new recipes to make with those sauces? The Thai Beef Curry was a hit, and the next recipe equally as impressive!

I'm a lover of Butter Chicken. I knew I was going to love the Summer Fresh Butter Chicken sauce. The only thing was, Little One wanted noodles! Remembering how much my 4 year old loved Food Network Canada's Recipe to Riches winner,  Rick Matharu's Butter Chicken Lasagna, I figured her request for spaghettini and Butter Chicken would be an interesting combination.

It was SO good!

Ingredients:
1/2 a red pepper, diced
1/2 a green pepper, diced
1 c shredded zucchini
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
1 container of Summer Fresh Butter Chicken Sauce
a drizzle of oil to cook chicken
Pasta of your choice. I used spaghettini

Instructions:
In a heated pan, drizzle a little oil and cook chicken.
* Add veggies and cook.
Add Summer Fresh Butter Chicken Sauce and mix.
Cook pasta as per instructions on box/bag.
Drain pasta.
Serve Butter Chicken on top of pasta with a delicious salad!

* As a farmer's wife, I always have veggies from our farm in our vegetable freezer that I can use during the Winter. We harvest the veg during harvesting time and I freeze them for Winter use. You don't have to add any veg to this recipe, but I love adding lots of vegetables to our meals. Plus, the colours are beautiful!

Because I've been learning to become more frugal, I have learned how to feed my family with a single portion of meat! I can feed my family of three with a single chicken breast. Cut it up, cook it, and add lots of vegetables! I do this with all meats. I can feed our family on a single steak!



Rich, creamy, buttery, flavourful goodness. For more info on Summer Fresh Butter Chicken, visit the website here.


Little One absolutely loved "her" creation! *ahem* Inspired by Rick Matharu's Butter Chicken Lasagna, of course! Gotta love a 4 year old who loves Food Network Canada! Maybe she'll be a future Food Bloggers of Canada member someday!
The funny thing is that she ate all the Butter Chicken first and pasta last! The kid loves her Butter Chicken!

Disclosure -  I was given the complete line of Summer Fresh Sauces and a non-stick Wok in order for me to come up with some exciting recipes and try out the new sauces. All the thoughts and opinions on this blog are honest and my own.
Friday, February 22, 2013

@Pampers Ding Dong Diaper Ditch Challenge! #PGMom @PGInsider



I remember what it was like when Little One was a newborn.  Though she spent the first 72 days of life in the NICU at Mount Sinai, bringing baby home was an amazing yet eye opening experience.

I remember just wanting to hold her and stare at her all the time. Of course, with having a new baby at home comes the mountains and mountains of laundry and the diaper changes! The diapers! Who knew that babies go through that many diapers?!

One of the things I love about being a #PGMom is that I get to share the luv with friends, family, and readers.  I am able to share great products, savings, and so much more. This post in particular warms my heart.

A bunch of PGMoms were given opportunity to participate in the Pampers Ding Dong Diaper Ditch Movement. Our mission was to surprise an unsuspecting family with a wonderful baby package (valued at $85) that consisted of:
  • Pampers Swaddlers diapers - Number one choice of hospitals. The nurses in the NICU used Pampers on the babies when Little One was in the hospital. Love that Pampers have diapers for preemies too! Soft, comfortable and wraps baby in comfort and security.
  • Pampers Sensitive wipes - Gently cleans baby's delicate skin. Clinically proven mild. Dermatologist tested. Perfume and alcohol free.
  • Ivory Snow Liquid Detergent - Gentle on baby's sensitive skin yet designed to clean tough messes from baby's clothing.
  • a copy of "Caring for Kids: The Complete Guide to Children's Health"
  • a Canada onesie (with bib and tuque)
I have tons of friends with babies, but wanted to share this special baby package with someone I had been thinking about for the past while. I hadn't seen her in ages, and now she has another little one!

When I was on Facebook with her this past week, something our conversation made me feel I had to perform a random act of kindness and she was the person I wanted to make smile. I guess that wasn't really random then. It seems a tad predetermined/premeditated!

On a blustery Friday afternoon, I drove to the family's home and propped the box by their front door! Sadly, I was too excited about the Drop Off that I didn't have the foresight to wrap up the baby package in a pretty basket and with a pretty bow! Check out the little video I made with my BlackBerry Z10's Story Maker
app!
  

No video of the surprised mom, as she was...ummm...nursing her sweet baby! So thrilled to be able to spread the warmth and joy.

Thankful to have been given the opportunity to surprise a special family.

Well.ca wants to help new parents too by ensuring mom and dad don't have to go past their doorstep for a refill on Pampers. Subscribe to Pampers on well.ca before April 15th and get a 15% discount and up to 500 Gifts to Grow points on select Pampers purchases. You also get 50 bonus Welcome points when you sign up!  

Disclosure - As part of the PGMom program, I received the above products for an in-person giveaway. As a member of the PGMom program, I receive perks and products for review and am given the opportunity to share with readers via giveaways. Though affiliated with P&G, all the thoughts and opinions on this blog are honest and my own.
Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thai Beef Curry! Yum! @SummerFresh


By now you already know that my husband is a beef farmer and he and our four year old daughter love beef. Right?

Here's something you probably didn't know (because I haven't had a chance to tell you yet!). I'm a member of Food Bloggers of Canada! Although my blog is not strictly a Food Blog, I do post quite a bit about food. I love sharing recipes and trying new things. I'm in love with all things foodie. Whether it be fave restaurant finds, exciting new recipes, or even kitchen gadgets, I'm all over it! To me, sharing a meal is all about spending time with loved ones.

As part of Food Bloggers of Canada, there are some great opportunities for members. Anyone attending the Food Bloggers of Canada Conference in April? I can't wait for that!

My first opp as a member is a Summer Fresh opp! This is exciting for so many reasons! 1) I am a big fan of Summer Fresh Salads! 2) Summer Fresh has launched Fresh Sauces! The line-up is tantalizing!
We were sent a fabulous Wok to cook with, as well as the entire Summer Fresh Sauces line-up:
  • 3 Peppercorn - A traditional peppercorn sauce made with a blend of 3 peppercorn varieties and real Burgundy red wine
  • Butter Chicken - A rich and buttery Indian sauce made with stewed tomatoes, real cream and ginger
  • Cranberry Madeira - Authentic Portuguese Madeira sweet wine expertly blended with whole cranberries and traditional spices
  • Mushroom Marsala - A traditional marsala sauce made with a blend of Cremini Porcini and button mushrooms
  • Thai Curry - An authentic Thai sauce made with fresh coconut milk, lemongrass and spicy chili peppers
Because Hubby and Little One wanted beef, and because I was craving Thai food, I decided to make Thai Beef Curry!

Can I tell you how fragrant the house was with the mouthwatering aroma of the lemongrass and spicy chili peppers?

{Thai Beef Curry}

Ingredients:
1/2 lb to 1 lb beef, cubed into bite sizes
1 onion, sliced
1 tomato, diced (or a small can of diced tomatoes)
1-2 potatoes, peeled and diced (if you're worried about carbs, omit the potato or don't eat this dish with rice)
Whatever other veggies you like - make sure they're diced/cubed (eggplant, okra, etc all work well with this dish)
Spinach if you wish
Summer Fresh Thai Curry
a bit of oil

* I added red and green pepper, because that's what I had on hand.

Cooked rice (Something fragrant, like Jasmine. We had Basmati rice, so I used that)

Instructions:
Heat oil in wok and brown beef.
Add onion and cubed potatoes. The potatoes take a little longer than the other veggies to cook.
Add remaining veggies. Let cook until tender.
Stir in contents of one container of Summer Fresh Thai Curry.
Let cook on med heat until meat is tender and veggies cooked.

Serve with rice and salad.

The Summer Fresh Thai Curry was a hit with my family! It was so fragrant and flavourful, and creamy with the coconut milk! It was a tad on the spicy side for Little One, who loves all things spicy. Not bad for a four year old gourmet gourmande! She wanted to eat it though, and every time she felt the spice was too much, she'd take a swig of milk! Too cute!

Can't wait to try out the rest of the Summer Fresh Sauces! Check in again for more recipes! 

Disclosure -  I was given the complete line of Summer Fresh Sauces and a non-stick Wok in order for me to come up with some exciting recipes and try out the new sauces. All the thoughts and opinions on this blog are honest and my own.
Wednesday, February 20, 2013

@TimHortons Children's Foundation Send a Kid to Camp Penny Drive #TimsPennyDrive #SendaKidtoCamp



Did you know that each year, the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation sends more than 15,000 kids - who could otherwise not afford it - on the camping adventure of a lifetime? The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation started in 1975 in Parry Sound, ON, with just one camp and 200 kids. It now operates six year-round camps across North America and has served more than 165,000 kids through its programs.

I remember attending Summer camp as a child and think that all children should be able to have the opportunity to experience the many valuable lessons one learns while at camp.

In fact, camp was so special to me that as a young adult (after high school and during Summer break from college), I worked as a camp counselor and eventually a section head and was in charge of Arts & Crafts at the girls' camp.

All kids deserve a chance to go to camp, so if you have pennies floating around the bottom of your purse or sitting in a jar at home,  the Tim Horton Children's Foundation has a suggestion on how to put this spare change to good use. You can help spread the message too.  The Tim Horton Children’s Foundation raises almost $1 million per year in pennies.   With the penny going out of circulation as of February 4th, they are undertaking a penny drive to help raise money to help send even more kids to camp.

Because of camp, I learned how to be able to do much more than I thought I could. I learned everything from how to canoe, start a fire, be independent of my family and work as a team with other campers. It taught me so much more than words can describe.

Check out what some campers learned because of camp.
Because of Camp

One more video to share. Break out the Kleenex, because this one really made me cry.
 I’m the Person that I wanted to be

The Tim Horton Children's Foundation Penny Drive began on January 21st and runs until February 24th.  
The copper coin may be coming to an end, but its impact is long-lasting for the economically disadvantaged kids who take part in Tim Horton Children’s Foundation programs.

We wondered if you could help spread the word about the THCF and the Penny Drive using the hashtags #TimsPennyDrive and #SendaKidtoCamp. 

Check out http://www.sendakidtocamp.com  for more details.

Disclosure - This is not a sponsored post. This is something close to my heart and I just wanted to spread the word. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.

Heart Health Month w/ Kashi Blueberry Oat Clusters & Flakes Cereal


February is the month associated with hearts. It's not just for Valentine's Day though. February is also Heart Health Month . Did you know that? 

 Kashi has introduced the newest addition to its family of natural foods! Continuing on its mission to provide great tasting, nutritious and innovative foods, the brand is introducing Kashi Blueberry Oat Clusters & Flakes cereal. 

Made with the perfect blend of natural ingredients, including whole grain oat clusters and sun-ripened blueberries, this cereal has a lot to love. Not only does it taste great, but each 1 cup serving of Kashi Blueberry Oat Clusters & Flakes offers 45 percent of the daily amount of fibre shown to help lower cholesterol – just in time for Heart Health Month . With 6 grams of protein per cup, the cereal is free of trans fats, low in saturated fat and has no artificial flavours or colours.
Since Heart Health is something on our minds these days, especially with a family history of heart issues, high cholesterol, and other health issues, I've been focusing on heath and exercise. I've also been making a conscious effort to make sure my family eats well and that we get our recommended fibre intake.

Kashi gave us the opportunity to try their Kashi Blueberry Oat Clusters & Flakes cereal.

You know how we're always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? We all  know this, but do we all remember to have a good breakfast every morning? I try, but usually my mornings are so rushed with trying to get Little One washed up, dressed, fed, and out the door so we can trek all the way to her bus stop. I often occasionally forget to eat something for my own breakfast. When I get in I grab an apple or a yogurt...if I remember.

I don't know how I have time to make oatmeal (with steel cut oats) for Little One, but not enough time to have anything myself. Now that we are trying Kashi's new cereal, Little One and I both have a bowl of cereal together.

I have to say that I loved it because I know that fibre is shown to help lower cholesterol, but Little One loved it for the taste! Everyone in the family is happy with Kashi Blueberry Oat Clusters & Flakes.

Little One has been asking for it for breakfast every morning!
Disclosure - We received the above product to include in our post for Heart Health Month. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#WordlessWednesday ~ Canadian Winters! Brrr!


School bag. Check. Snowsuit, hat, and mitts. Check, check, and check. Sled. Check. Sled dog. Check. ;) Just kidding. He doesn't pull the sled. He just comes along for the trek.

Just another Winter day in Canada. Okay, in the rural North!

Feel free to link up your Wordless Wednesday posts! We love to check them out and comment!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Old Navy Baby & Kid Sale! #ONKidtacular @OldNavyCA


Every parent knows that when you have little ones, they outgrow their clothes so quickly! With our four year old daughter, I'm forever having to get new pants for her because she keeps outgrowing her pants in no time! This is why I'm excited about the Old Navy Baby & Kid Sale!

The thing I love about Old Navy is that the clothes are well-made, affordable, fashionable, and can withstand the wear and tear of everyday play.  I often buy multiples of the same item in different colours for Little One. Plus, Old Navy has something for the entire family!

I've perused the Old Navy site for items for Little One. She's four years old now and loves anything Dora, Hello Kitty, Disney princess or ballerina. Good thing Old Navy  has graphic tees with those characters! Check these out! Huge sale on all of these cute girls' clothes!



Though Little One loves her characters on her clothing, I'm a fan of no logos or characters on clothing. THIS is what I prefer for Little One:

Little One is so petite that she wears anything from a 2T to a 4T. She's got a tiny waist, but long legs and a long torso. I often find things that will fit her in the toddler section

With Old Navy's prices being so great, I often don't just shop for Little One. There are usually a few cute items I find on sale for friends' babies. With my friends having newborns at home, it's so fun to shop for them! I have a weakness when it comes to cute baby clothes! Check out some of the great boys' clothes on sale at Old Navy too!

How adorable are these?

Also, be sure to participate in the Old Navy Pin to Win Sweepstakes. Entering is super easy! Pick one of the Old Navvy outfits featured in my blog post, enter your e-mail and pin for a chance to win daily prizes of $50 Old Navy gift cards and a final grand prize of $1,000 for one lucky winner! How great is that? Good luck!

Disclosure: This sponsored content was brought to you by Old Navy. As always my words and opinions are my own.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Bacon Wrapped Mac 'n Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf ~ @CanadianBeef #LoveCDNBeef #bacon


Being married to a beef farmer, it comes to  no surprise that his favourite food is none other than...You guessed it. Beef.

Even our four year old daughter loves beef.

For Valentine's Day, I thought I was going to be whisked away to the Royal Michael's Bay Restaurant for a romantic dinner. Instead, we had an appointment with our accountant for tax season.  Granted, first thing in the morning, Hubby presented me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers and some red velvet cupcakes with pink icing and candy hearts sprinkled all over them. I'm not a big fan of overly sweet things, so Hubby and Little One thoroughly enjoyed them.

Since I had to make dinner, I decided to make something I don't often make. Of course, to please the troops, it had to have beef as an ingredient. This is a recipe I saw when Hubs and I were watching The Phantom Gourmet a few years ago. You will soon see why I don't make this recipe often!

MAC & CHEESE STUFFED MEATLOAF WRAPPED IN BACON

See? I know it's comfort food on a cold Winter's day. Hubs says bacon-wrapped anything is a good thing. Not for your arteries and cholesterol level though. Anyway, this is always a crowd pleaser and the recipe resurfaces maybe once a year or so.

Ingredients:

Meatloaf:
2 lbs ground beef
1 c Italian breadcrumbs
1 to 2 eggs, beaten
black pepper (no salt, because the bacon has salt)

Mac & Cheese:
2 c macaroni noodles/elbow noodles (you can use whole wheat or rice pasta if you want)
butter, a couple of pats
2 c cheese (I used 2 kinds: grated marble cheese and goat cheese)
1-2 tbsp flour
milk

Bacon

Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, black pepper. Make sure to mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  3. Boil macaroni/elbow noodles until al dente.
  4. In a pan, melt butter and gradually add milk and flour to make your roux. Add shredded cheese and goat cheese and cook until you have a lovely thick and cheesy sauce.
  5. Drain noodles and add to cheese mixture. Coat noodles in cheese mixture, making sure to coat everything evenly. 
  6. Add some black pepper to taste. Little One loves this homemade mac and cheese.
  7. Line a loaf pan with strips of bacon side by side (not lengthwise). Make sure to leave a bit of an overhang on each end. 
  8. Add a layer of meatloaf mixture to cover the bottom of the pan (over the bacon) and the sides.
  9. Add a good layer of mac and cheese over the layer of meatloaf mixture.
  10. Cover mac and cheese layer with remaining meatloaf mixture.
  11. Pull bacon overhang over (it won't completely cover the meatloaf. It'll cover maybe an inch or 2 on each side. Add a few strips of bacon lengthwise to cover the top of the meatloaf. If the bacon is too long, just tuck it into the sides.
  12. Bake in oven for 60 minutes.
Serve with salad and lots and lots of veggies! You don't need a side of mashed potato, pasta salad or rice, since there's already pasta in the meatloaf.

I couldn't find the recipe from the episode of The Phantom Gourmet, so I used the idea of the stuffed mac and cheese meatloaf wrapped in bacon and used my own recipe.
 Little One requested leftovers for her school lunch the next day. I have her 1/2 a piece of meatloaf, cucumber salad, carrot & celery sticks, an apple, grapes, a yogurt, and her Thermos with water. My kid is not a sandwich eater. I often wonder what her classmates think of her unconventional school lunches.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you do try it, please let me know what you think! My husband and Little One are fans of this dish. Like I said, I only make it once a year or so because I worry about cholesterol and the meatloaf being wrapped in bacon may not be something people should have on a regular basis, I'm sure!

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Surprise Visit from the Fairy Hobmother!


I've seen the Fairy Hobmother around the blogosphere, popping by random blogs and spreading happiness wherever he visits. Three or four of my bloggy friends have had visits from him, and I thought it was pretty cool.  I wondered what the odds were that the Fairy Hobmother would happen to stumble upon my blog.

Well, as chance would have it, he did! The Fairy Hobmother visited me.

He saw a comment I had left on a fellow blogger's post. Let me tell you, the friends' whose blogs he  has visited are all seasoned bloggers.

Lo and behold, I received an email from the spritely creature.
Hi Christine, I stumbled across your comment on a post about me over at  [friend's blog] and I thought I’d come on over to check out your site.

I was very impressed with what I saw – you clearly work very hard, and I think that such hard work deserves to be rewarded. I’d like to send you a gift...
The email was a total pick me up after a rough day. You see, living on a farm, there are always repairs, purchases, and so on that need to be made. This amazing email totally made my day!

I did have a moment of panic though, because not knowing things always freaks me out. I thought, "Who is the Fairy Hobmother? Is the Fairy Hobmother a good fairy? This isn't going to spread a virus, is it? Is this a hoax?"  

I tell my child never to accept anything from strangers, yet what makes an adult so ready to accept a gift from someone they don't know?

You see, I'm usually an overly trusting person, but when it comes to things like this, I get nervous. I immediately went on Google and read blog after blog about the Fairy Hobmother's visits. After two hours of reading and researching, most bloggers posted that they were graced by his presence.

So, what's the scoop on this mysterious Fairy Hobmother who flies around the blogosphere spreading joy through random acts of kindness?

The one thing the Fairy Hobmother asks is to mention his fairy home, Appliances Online.

I even checked out the site, since I wouldn't post any links on here that I wasn't certain of. I actually spent a while on there, looking over washers and dryers. I'm slightly obsessed with appliances.

Bottom line: I have to say that the visit from the Fairy Hobmother did in fact make my day. It was just so random of an experience.  
Thank you so much, Fairy Hobmother!

How does one get a visit from the Fairy Hobmother?

Do you want a visit from the Fairy Hobmother? Simply leave a comment below, and make sure to include your blog URL so that you can be contacted. Hoping that you get a visit too! It really is a pleasant surprise to have some random acts of kindness sprinkled your way! It totally made my day!

Do you perform random acts of kindness? What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you? What's the kindest (random) thing you've done for someone else?

Kissing & Telling ~ Gillette Kiss Giveaway #PGMom


I don't believe in kissing and telling, but I have to say that I'm not a fan of facial hair. Not on Hubby or on anyone. I'm  just not a fan of facial hair, period!

My husband prefers to grow a goatee and a moustache, especially in the Winter. He tells me that being a farmer, having facial hair keeps him warm and protects him from the elements when working outdoors in the freezing cold.

Perhaps there is some truth to this, but I'm still not a fan.  I have really sensitive skin and really do not like the scratchy, abrasive facial hair. Even Little One displays her displeasure when being scratched by Daddy's goatee when he kisses her.

Ladies, is it just me or do you also prefer a clean-shaven man? Which is sexier? Smooth, soft skin or a goatee, beard, or moustache?

Check this out:

With signs pointing to the decline of kissing in Canada, the ever- increasing number of men sporting stubble and facial hair styles could be part of cause. Gillette asks, is stubble killing the kiss? 
Gillette surveyed Canadian women and had a similar response from east to the west—women (80%) like their man with a smooth or clean shaven face.  When Canadian women think of clean shaven men, a vision of a smooth, good looking and kissable gentleman comes to mind.  Of course, we can’t deny that 60 per cent of women like the look of light stubble or a five o’clock shadow, describing this man as sexy and rugged above all else. While women may like the look of a sexy, rugged man with stubble, overall, 75 per cent said they prefer to kiss a guy who is smooth or clean shaven.  
Not only do women claim to have long, lingering kisses most often when kissing a smooth/clean shaven man, four in ten also claim that they would kiss a clean shaven man more often. Less than 10 per cent who make the same claim about men with facial hair.   
KISS & TELL: It’s official, stubble is killing the Canadian kiss!  When surveyed, 72 per cent of women reveal that kissing a guy with facial hair has irritated or scraped their face.  Overall, half of women claim to have used a facial cream or  lotion on irritated skin, tried to cover it up with makeup (23%) and some even added an accessory to hide the irritation (5%). In addition, almost one in four women have actually avoided kissing a guy romantically because he had facial hair.   
To help avoid this kissing issue, P&G wants to arm your man with the proper tools to get rid of that scratchy, abrasive facial hair.

As a P&G Mom, I received a bundle for Hubs. Can I tell you that I gave it to him as part of his Valentine's present? Totally not kidding!

Hubby was really impressed with the Fusion ProGlide Razor. The funny thing is that I wasn't anticipating his reaction at all. He was excited about the bundle!
 { WIN IT! }
One lucky reader will receive a Gillette Kiss bundle, including the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Silver Touch razor and Gillette Fusion ProGlide Sensitive Shave Gel valued at $22*.

To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. For more information on the smooth vs stubble debate visit www.kissandtellus.ca. By entering the following contest you are accepting that if you win your contact information will be shared with a PR agency for the purpose of mailing your prize. This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the  #PGmom program, however, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.  If your name is chosen more than once, another winner will be selected.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway



Disclosure - I am a PGMom and receive product and other perks for my participation in the program. All the thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.
 
*Pricing is at the sole discretion of the retailer
Thursday, February 14, 2013

Streaming ChromeBook Laptop Giveaway #ChromeBookEvent




Welcome to the $250 Streaming ChromeBook Giveaway hosted by This Lil Piglet, Sober Julie and Simply Stacie, along with several other bloggers who made this giveaway possible! One lucky reader will win a Samsung ChromeBook laptop valued at $250 US.

 I don't know about you, but I'm always on the look-out for what's new and exciting in the world of laptops and notebooks. I've got a great, trusty, reliable desktop computer for all my office needs, but with work, I often find myself on trips, which means I need something portable and reliable. Last year, my laptop battery exploded and my main computer died. With two computers down and a job that relies on the use of a computer and internet, this simply could not do. My wonderful husband got me a new desktop for Christmas, but I still haven't replaced my laptop. There are so many great laptops on the market and each has amazing features to take note of!

The Samsung Chromebook sounds like a laptop I could easily take with me on trips, meetings, and conferences. It does all the things I look for in a laptop.

Go ahead and enter this amazing giveaway! Maybe you'll be our lucky winner and will walk away with a new laptop! Good luck!

This giveaway is open to US and Canada and ends March 7th at 12:00 am EST. Come back every day for more chances to win by completing our daily entries! (Canada winner would receive a $250 gift card to Amazon.ca)
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

#WordlessWednesday ~ Be My Valentine


What will you be doing for Valentine's Day?

Link up your Wordless Wednesday posts! We'd love to check them out!


Monday, February 11, 2013

What on earth is a Pomelo?


What on earth is a Pomelo, you ask? Well, I could try to sound knowledgeable and worldlier than I am and tell you with authority that a Pomelo is a large citrus fruit grown in South East Asia and the South Pacific islands. In fact, I've only heard of the Pomelo from cooking shows and food magazines. Yes, I am addicted to the Food Network and if the wonderful celebrity chefs say the Pomelo is the next big thing, then you betcha I'm gonna try it!
Pomelo photo from eBay (I was surprised too!) via Google Images

For our Chinese New Year celebration, my friend brought two Pomelos. I asked why she brought them and she said, "Well, I figured that you were Chinese and I read on the internet that Chinese people eat Pomelo on Chinese New Year, so it was a good idea!"

I had to laugh, because though I am part Chinese, I have never eaten Pomelo in my life. I was excited to try it though!

Observations:
  • The Pomelo is huge! It's about twice the size of a grapefruit (before peeling).
  • From doing the sniff test, the exterior (the skin/rind) of the Pomelo smells sort of like that of a grapefruit.
  • The Pomelo is quite difficult to open, since its skin is so thick!
  • The fruit itself looks like grapefruit, only not as soft.
  • The texture is surprisingly nothing like any citrus fruit I've ever tasted. It's "meaty" and not juicy.
  • It is very delicious, in a not overly sweet way. Only the membrane/pith is bitter.
 Above photos via Wikipedia: Photo of Pomelo segments and Pomelo flesh.

I'm so glad my friend brought these over, because I think they're my new favourite fruit at the moment! This is not good for us trying to eat only local fruits and vegetables though!

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About the Blog Author


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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