Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh, Canada! Recipes To Make Your Canada Day Weekend A Fabulous One! #LMDConnector


School is officially out for Summer!  Little One just completed her first year of school!  Forgive me if I get a little bit weepy!  I cannot believe our little preemie is now a Junior Kindergarten graduate!

With the end of the school year and the beginning of Summer, what better way to celebrate than kicking the Canada Day long weekend off a little early?


Oh, Canada!  How we love thee! 

We also love BBQ season...especially with a Canadian favourite ingredient --maple syrup!

Check out my Maple BBQ Ribs recipe. Gotta love adding a little bit of Canadiana with some maple syrup made on our farm!


For outdoor entertaining,  I've also got my Filipino BBQ recipe (which was featured in Eat In Eat Out Magazine!) and my Manitoulin Shawarma recipe (which recently made the Eat In Eat Out Blogger Spotlight).

I have a bunch of favourites my family and friends request that I make, but I'm always on the look out for new recipes to try.  When I'm stumped, I frequent the Life Made Delicious website for recipe ideas.  The recipes are quick, easy, and made with busy parents in mind, I'm sure!  The neat thing is that for most of the recipes, Little One gets to help me from prep, cook, to assembly and plating!

Of course, nothing is sweeter than enjoying quality time with loved ones and a light, refreshing beverage and  a scrumptious dessert together!  Outdoor dining and spending time on the patio is what we look forward to in the Summer!

Some great ones to try are:


I've found these and countless other recipes on lifemadedelicious.ca. They've quickly become family favourites.

Check out the lifemadedelicious.ca website and let me know which recipes you'll be serving up this Summer!

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious. Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bee-autiful! #WordlessWednesday w/ Linky


 It's that time of the year!  We've got lots of strawberries in our garden!
Strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, strawberry ice cream...strawberries straight up! I love strawberry season!

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


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bringing Home Baby ~ Pampers Twitter Party #ILoveSwaddlers


Every parent can relate when it comes to bringing baby home for the first time.  There's the first time putting baby in the car seat, first car ride, sitting in the back seat with them, going home for the first time, and first sleep at home!

I think it's pretty universal that as first time parents, many of us have the same feelings of excitement as well as apprehension bringing baby home for the first time!

For myself, there was a little more drama with Little One being born at 28 weeks gestation.  There was the whole air ambulance trip, hospital bed rest, "spontaneous birth" (Yes! That's what was written in her chart after she canon-balled her way into the world!), 72 days in the NICU and a huge roller coaster ride of emotions.


After our life in the NICU, we got to take Little One home.  Then it sank in...Wow! We're bringing baby home!

I  have to say that I was really impressed to discover that Pampers makes diapers for even the tiniest babies.  The hospital we were at used Pampers Preemie/Size P for the preemies in the NICU.  Though the hospital provides preemie diapers for the preemies in the NICU, something I just learned and think parents should know is that parents need to bring diapers to the hospital with them.

Pampers Size P (for preemies) were the diapers we used when we brought Little One home.  I was so thankful to have diapers that fit my tiny baby!  Little One was 980 grams at birth and when we brought her home from the hospital, she was 5 lbs! Finding a diaper that fit such a small baby would be a challenge had we not had Pampers.  Even Hubby thought Pampers Size P fit Little One really well.  He really liked the fact that the yellow line turns blue when baby has wet the diaper. The indicator line was one of Hubby's favourite Pampers features.

It's no surprise that Pampers Swaddlers is the #1 Choice of Canadian parents and hospitals for newborn babies.


I remember when my brother and his wife had their twins and they used Pampers on their girls. It's a brand they trusted and preferred for fit and leakage protection.

Speaking of leakage protection, I was chatting with a friend recently and she said she loves that Pampers' 12 hour leakage protection helps her baby sleep through the night without waking up with a leaky diaper.  Yes, Pampers has Mom's back from birth to potty training with Cruisers and Easy Ups for baby at each stage.

Have you heard of Pampers Village (pampers.ca)?  It's a loyalty program that enables consumers to redeem rewards for every package of Pampers purchased, exclusive coupon offer, newsletters with parenting tips, and exclusive promotions.  Discover all the benefits you can get by joining over 500,000 Canadian parents!  I'm a member!  Despite the fact that Little One is now in Junior Kindergarten, I still enjoy  reading what's on pampers.ca. It's a great resource for new and experienced moms as baby moves through the stages. Plus, who knows if Little One will have a sibling in the future?

For new moms, getting a tailored newsletter for baby based on their stage is a great thing! I also like letting friends know about the exclusive rewards and coupons they can get from Pampers Rewards. Let's face it, moms (first time or veteran) can always use the support of a community and being able to share experiences with other moms.  This is what it's like on the Pampers Canada Facebook page! Chat about everything from bringing baby home for the first time, baby sleeping through the night, and more!

I was just talking about Pampers with my best friend yesterday and smiled when she said, "Pampers is like wrapping your baby's bottom in a cloud".  I love that!

Twitter Party!

#iloveswaddlers Twitter Party—over $1,500 in prizes to be won!

Ready for some exciting news?  Summer is the season of new bumps and babies, and with the Royal baby on the way, Pampers Canada wants to share memories and tips from experienced moms with those preparing for their first big day!

As  an experienced a mom who has been there before, I'll be tweeting with @Pampers, @Gingermommy, @momvstheboys, and @myweeview on June 26th, giving some mom to mom support by sharing what new moms need to know about bringing their first baby home.

It's going to be a lot of fun! Who doesn't love talking about baby experiences?! Plus, the prizes are phenomenal!  Definitely things any new mom would love!

$1,500 in prizing with a Grand Prize worth almost $700! 

GRAND PRIZE: The ultimate expecting mom bundle includes diapers and more to keep baby comfortable and capture precious moments.

* Over 1,200 Pampers Swaddlers diapers
* Over 500 Pampers wipes
* Canada onesie (0-3 months)
* Two bottles of Ivory Snow Liquid detergent,
* “Caring for Kids: The Complete Guide to Children’s Health”
* Kodak Play Sport video camera

 Pampering Mom Prize Pack (over $250)

Whether new or experienced, mom always deserves to be pampered!
* Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Moisture Mask
* Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Moisture Mist
* Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Shampoo & Conditioner
* Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal Silky Moisture Whip
* Venus & Olay razor and Satin Care with a Touch of Olay Shave Gel
* CoverGirl Blast Flipstick
* COVERGIRL LipPerfection
* Secret Outlast deodorant
* Vidal Sassoon Hair Colour coupon
* Olay Ultra Moisture Lotion
* Olay Total Effects Daily Anti-Aging UV Moisturizer Plus Touch of Foundation Cream
* Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging Eye Cream Line and Dark Circle Minimizing Brush
* Olay Total Effects Refreshing Citrus Scrub
* Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting Night Moisturizer
* Olay Total Effects Tone Correcting Eye Treatment
* COVERGIRL Outlast Stay Brilliant Nail Gloss (two shades)
* Febreze Candle

Pampers Swaddlers & Memories ($200) THREE WINNERS!
* Two boxes of Pampers diapers
* Pampers Wipes
* Kodak Play Sport video camera
* Ivory Snow Liquid Detergent
* Canada onesie (0-3 months)

Pampers Swaddlers ($80)  THREE WINNERS!
* Two small packs of Pampers diapers
* Pampers Wipes
* Ivory Snow Liquid Detergent
* Canada onesie (0-3 months)


That's a whole lot of prizes to give both Mom and baby the Royal Treatment!

Please join us on Wednesday, June 26th from 8pm-9pm EST.

Follow Host: @chancesmommy
Co-Hosts: @Gingermommy, @momvstheboys, @myweeview
Sponsor: @Pampers
Hashtag: #ILoveSwaddlers

All Canadian participants, excluding residents of Quebec are eligible to win.  
Please RSVP with your Twitter handle (Ex: @yourtwitterhandle) using the linky below:




Rules & Regulations
Contest is open to legal residents of Canada (excluding Quebec) and are 18 years or older. TO PLAY: Be sure to follow @Pampers, Host  @chancesmommy, as well as co-hosts @Gingermommy, @momvstheboys, and @myweeview.  You must RSVP in order to be eligible to enter to win.

 Disclosure - I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I am hosting the #iloveswaddlers Twitter party and have been compensated for my services. The opinions on this blog and during the Twitter party are my own.

Manitoulin Botanicals ~ Natural Goodness for your Body #Manitoulin #ManitoulinSpotlight



When people think of Manitoulin Island, they think of the outdoors, untouched land, and nature at its best.  Many associate Manitoulin with fresh and natural food too.  Our island Farmers' Markets are popular with locals and visitors alike

I recently met up with Manitoulin Botanicals to chat about the products they offer. Manitoulin Botanicals is a Canadian cosmetics business that was founded and is based in Meldrum Bay, Ontario, Canada.

I  had an interesting chat learning about the products and the story behind them. I also learned more about the ingredients used and the reasoning behind it.
"Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Anything that you put on your skin goes into your bloodstream and into your organs and tissues. At Manitoulin Botanicals we choose to put only healthy natural products in our bodies.
We make beauty products that actually are natural; 100% and completely natural. Not 99% or 99.9% natural. They contain no petrochemicals, no synthetics or heavy metals, no alcohol and they are cruelty free and 100% Vegan. We use essential oils containing natural anti-oxidants that are known to keep skin healthy and looking young & naturally sourced vitamin E.
We have our ingredients list, on our site, in English, for each item, so that you can see for yourself what our products contain. If the list of the ingredients is not in English then you might not really know what you are buying.
Some companies claim that their products are 90 or 99 percent natural, but even a small percentage of impurities can be a problem. 1 part per billion of some substances is enough to cause birth defects, cancer, liver problems, skin irritations and sensitivities, allergies, to change hormone functions effecting reproductive success." - Manitoulin Botanicals
I have tried the Lavender Liquid Soap and the Orange Lip Balm.  Lavender just happens to be one of my favourite scents.  I love fresh lavender and lavender dried and added to my tea. 
What surprised me was the consistency of the liquid soap. It wasn't as "thick" as store-bought soaps.  This was much runnier than anything I had tried. The ingredients are natural and safe on the skin and for your body. There are no harmful ingredients used. It took some getting used to to adjust to the consistency. My 4 year old always uses too much soap from the dispenser, but after some practice, we figured out that we only need just a little bit of product to do the job. A little goes a long way.
I'm very pleased with the liquid hand soap as well as the Orange Lip Balm. My lips feel so soft and smooth. Plus, I love anything and everything orange-flavoured!



Here are some other Manitoulin Botanicals products:


 Get some bath salts for yourself or give some as a gift.
 The lip balms are also great gift items! I guarantee you'll want to get some for yourself too!
Connect with Manitoulin Botanicals on Facebook, their website, or via email ManitoulinBotanicals@gmail.com

 Disclosure - This is not a sponsored post.  Just promoting local businesses and the island we love.
Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Funnies #PGMom



Key Lime Parfaits ~ Refreshing Summer Treat


I have two really good girlfriends that I wish I had more time with.  We all live on the Island, except on opposite ends.  Getting together takes planning in advance.  I miss these lovely ladies and really do wish we could see each other more often. Crazy how we all live on the Island, yet due to life, kids, work, and the every day things that keep us busy, we only see each other a few times a year.

This is why we came up with our Key Lime Pie dates.  We love our key lime get-togethers!  It's a great chance for us to catch up, chat, enjoy each other's company, and enjoy a great lunch.  We always end our visit with a slice of key lime pie.

I made something a little bit different for our lunch date today.

Key Lime Parfaits

Ingredients:
Zest of 1 key lime, grated (2 tbsp)
Juice of 1 key lime (or regular lime if you don't have access)
OR 2 tbsp limeade concentrate
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz can)
2 cups homemade whipped cream (I use Martha Stewart's whipped cream recipe)
1 c Graham Cracker Crumbs
3 tbps granulated sugar
3 tbsp butter, room temperature 

Instructions:
  1. In a bowl, mix together condensed milk, lime juice OR limeade (I use the limeade because I like the extra bit of punch), and grated lime zest.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix Graham Cracker Crumbs, sugar and butter. I use room temperature butter. No need to melt the butter. It mixes nicely at room temp.
  3. Scoop 2 tbps of crumb mixture into parfait cups and press firmly to form the base/crust.
  4. Add 2 tbsp of key lime mixture.
  5. Add a layer of whipped cream.
  6. If you wish, you can add another layer of crumbs, key lime mixture, whipped cream, or keep it sweet and simple.
  7. To garnish, I just added a sprinkle of Graham Cracker crumbs and a slice of lime.
  8. Chill for 2 hrs+.  I chill mine in the refrigerator overnight to make sure everything is solidified.  The first time I made this, I was so impatient and we wanted to dig in. The result was more like a key lime soup! Note to self: Make sure you chill the key lime dessert long enough!
Et, voila! Makes for a quick, easy, refreshing treat to enjoy with your favourite gal pals.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Turón Bites ~ A Spin on a Filipino Street Food Fave



As a little girl, I remember my Mom, grandmother, and aunts sitting around the kitchen table, telling stories, laughing and wrapping Turón. The ladies would expertly wrap sliced up plantain, jack fruit and sugar in spring roll wrapper, and fry them.

It was always a special treat and a family favourite.

Whenever I have this Filipino treat, I think of my family and my childhood.

I was so shocked to see the local Foodland had plantain!  I promised myself I'd only cook with local produce in my attempt to tread lighter on the earth, and also help support local farmers.  I couldn't resist though.  I had picked up a few cans of jack fruit when I was in Ottawa recently and had Turon on the brain.

My aunt's original recipe calls for large spring roll wrappers. Our local grocery store only carries the small wonton and egg roll wrappers.  From experience, I know that the egg roll wrappers get bubbly when fried.  That would be a definite no-no.  I settled on the wonton wrappers.  After all, we use what we have or have access to, right?

Ingredients:
1 large plantain, sliced
1 can jack fruit (slice the jack fruit into strips)
sugar to dust (white or brown sugar)
1 pkg spring roll wrappers (in this case, 2 pkgs wonton wrappers)
oil for frying

Instructions:
1. Slice plantain into small, thin slices. I did them about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch thick.
2. Drain jack fruit and slice 3/4 cm in thickness.
3. Take one won ton or spring roll wrapper and place 1 slice of plantain and 1 slice of jack fruit in centre.  Dust with sugar. Brown sugar works best for this treat. The caramelized brown sugar is lovely with the banana.
4. Wrap and form a "roll" by folding ends over the banana and jack fruit, using water to seal.
5. Repeat process until you have used up all the spring roll wrappers.
6. Heat a skillet or pan and add cooking oil. Add a few rolls, but be careful not to overcrowd pan. Cook until golden on med heat, then turn over. Keep cooking until other side is golden. It doesn't take too long to cook.
7. Remove from pan and either place on plate with paper towel. Sprinkle sugar over top while still hot.

These are smaller than the original Turon. Perfect bite-sized treats for entertaining and also perfect for little ones, as I've noticed that the original size Turon can be a bit too much for little kids to eat.  Hubby, on the other hand, can eat his fair share of the original-sized Turon!

Enjoy! This is best when eaten hot!

Walmart Canada + P&G Make Shopping Easier #PGMom #ShopWalMartonline #Sponsored


"Toilet paper, shampoo, deoderant, wipes, snacks.  Toilet paper, shampoo, deoderant, wipes, snacks."  If I keep chanting, I won't forget what's on my list.  Right?  I've written down a carefully itemized list of things I need to pick up at the store, but in true Christine fashion, I forgot the list at home.  I made my husband BBM me the list, but I left my BlackBerry in the van and already have the kid in the shopping cart.  Can't be bothered to go all the way back to the parking lot.

I've committed some of the more important items to memory.  "Toilet paper, shampoo,deoderant, wipes, snacks.  Toilet paper, shampoo, deoderant, wipes, snacks..."
Meanwhile, I've got a four year old who loves to shop.  This is why I purposefully put her in the shopping cart.  "Mommy, can we get _______" or "Mommy, I want __________" are phrases all too familiar to me.
I used to be a take-your-time-saunter-window-shop-enjoy-the-shopping-experience kind of gal.  Now, I'm more of a go-in-get-what-you-need-and-get-out kind of girl.  No, if I'm on my own and can enjoy a leisurely shopping experience, I love it.  Otherwise, get me in and get me out!  I'm a woman on a mission.
Of course, I always end up forgetting to get something or sometimes oftentimes I get tons of items that weren't on the list.
It just seems that when you're in a rush and have other things on your mind, you're bound to forget items.  Either that or you can suffer from frequent bouts of "Momnesia"/"Mommy Brain like I do!
Thank goodness that picking up those last minute items just got easier for busy moms.  To help with our weekly shop, Walmart and P&G have partnered and have launched a virtual store with a QR-based shopping experience for families in urban centres.  This month, to celebrate the launch of Walmart Canada's virtual store, P&G has a special challenge.  They're giving #PGMoms the chance to shop for our favourite P&G items and share the experience with our readers!


How cool is that?  I was given a challenge to shop for my favourite P&G items at walmart.ca and share my experience.  I'm always up for a challenge and I'm always up for shopping!

Since I remember what it was like when Hubby and I were new parents, wanted to help out friends with a new baby.  I asked what P&G items they would like me to share with them.  These are what they added to the online shopping cart:

-Tide Pods Detergent Spring Meadow

- Pampers Baby Dry Diapers Giant Pack

- Downy UNSTOPABLES Shimmer In-Wash Scent Booster

- Downy UNSTOPABLES Spring In-Wash Scent Booster

- Swiffer 360 Dusters Unscented Refills

- Swiffer Sweeper Wet Cloths Refills Citrus Breeze

- Crest 3D White Vivid Toothpaste Radiant Mint

The virtual shopping process at Walmart.ca was super easy.  The items will be shipped to my friends, and these new parents are very excited!  Thanks to P&G and walmart.ca for making shopping that much easier for these new parents!

Have you tried shopping via Walmart.ca's virtual store? Do you shop using QR codes?  What are your favourite P&G items?

Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.

So Happy Together ~ @flyerland #itsbettertogether Contest


When my friend (and co-worker), @Dogpaddling told me about the @flyerland #itsbettertogether contest, I couldn't get this song out of my head...


So happy together

When I think of things that go well together, I immediately think:
  • Toast and jam
  • Honey and cheese (don't know why!)
  • Apple and  pie
  • Hugs and kisses
  • You and I
  • Sand and surf
  • Chocolate and cake (or chocolate cake!)
  • Simon and Garfunkel
  • ET and Elliot
  • Romeo and Juliet
  • Gin and tonic
  • Malibu and pineapple
Do you really want me to go on?  I totally can.

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of things that go better together?

Fellow English teachers, please don't chastise me for using the word "thing" (and twice in the same sentence)! It's been a busy week and my brain is fried!


To enter, simply upload any two things you think of that are better together and you will be entered to win a Canon Camera and Camcorder from Shop.ca PLUS a $2500 shopping spree from Well.ca!

I can't resist a fun contest, so this is what I submitted:


Check out @Dogpaddling's post here

Go on and check out the challenge.  I'd love to hear what things you think go better together!  Enter here. Contest ends July 16th, 2013.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What Little Girls Are Made Of ~ Not So #WordlessWednesday w/ Linky


Little One is a veritable girlie girl.  She loves all things blingy, sparkly and pink.  She goes to the barn to feed the bull in her puffy tutu and rubber boots.

If you recall, I boycotted pink when Little One was born because I didn't want her to be under the whole notion that girls are all about princess, frilly things, and pink.

Despite my protests and not introducing her to all that is girlie, she somehow embraced all of those things anyway.  She loves Disney princesses, fairies, ballerinas, and PINK!

She also loves digging in the dirt and playing with snails and whatever other bugs she finds in the garden.


Little girls and little boys can do anything and everything they want to do when it comes to establishing their preferences in toys, activities or sports.  I think it's great for boys to play house and play with dolls, just like I think it's fabulous for girls to play with dirt or play with toy tools.  I think it's wonderful for boys to do ballet and girls to play hockey.


What do you think?

Link up your Wordless Wednesday posts here.  Sorry mine is a little "wordy"! We'd love to check your posts out!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Plan & Organize the Perfect Summer Wedding + Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 Giveaway #LoveNote8


Seven years ago today, I had my dream wedding on the beach at Carter Bay.  Yes, it's true!  Today is our 7 Year Wedding Anniversary!


The white sand beach, the turquoise water, all our closest family and friends, and the perfect sunny day just made our special day a fairy tale come true.

I remember the planning and organizing too.  I felt fortunate that technology like the internet enabled me to do most of my drafting of ideas online and on my computer.  I researched everything from bridesmaids' dresses, motifs, bombonieres, to the perfect wedding cake. 


When I saw this video of Mindy Weiss talking about planning weddings, I was in awe.  I won't lie.  The video made me think, "Wow. If we ever renew our wedding vows, I want  Mindy and that Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0!" 

Wishful thinking.  I know.  Not only is Mindy Weiss a celebrity event planner for the stars, but she is just a fabulous event planner in general.  See for yourself in this video:


Mindy explains that what makes a person's event different from other people's is truly personalizing it. Every detail can be visualized with the use of the Galaxy Note 8.0.

The SamsungGalaxy Note 8.0 features:

·         Large 8” screen that is still small enough to toss into a purse.
·         Wifi capable for connecting at home or while out and about.
·         Bluetooth
·         5.0 MP Rear-facing Camera and 1.3 MP Front-facing Camera with Flash. Capture those big and small moments that make each wedding unique.
·         Light weight, at just 340 g it won’t weigh you down.
·         Decent battery life will get you through an event without having to worry about recharging. (depending on which apps are in use).
·         S Pen for precision sketching, quick navigation and easy handwriting. The S Pen is the perfect tool for taking notes, personalizing emails, making last minute changes to invitations, or just doodling. And with the convenience of Air View, you can preview content without actually having to open it. Save everything to Dropbox and/or Evernote and have access to everything in the cloud.
·         Keep on track and on schedule with Awesome Note, calendar and even sync it with Google’s calendar to seamlessly track everything across devices. With Multi Window, you can use two apps on the same screen, at the same time.
·         Take your notes with you wherever you go with preloaded Polaris Office. View, edit and create documents, spreadsheets and guest lists without having to download anything.
·         Expandable memory to take your documents from your Note to your desktop and back again with ease.
·         Meeting up with the girls for a last minute farewell to singledom? No worries. Coordinate your event through social media (Facebook, Twitter and more) with any one of the many apps available for free in the Google Play store.
·         Share photos with a roomful of people with AllShare Play™. With a simple click your images are beamed wirelessly. It’s seriously cool.
·         If you are more artistically inclined take your photos to the next level before sending them to family and friends with the Note 8.0‘s powerful and mobile photo editing option.
·         Catch up with the latest novel or magazine while waiting to get your hair or nails done. The Note’s compact size makes it easy to bring your library with you wherever you go.

The Samsung Galaxy Note is available for purchase at major retailers including Staples, Futureshop, Best Buy, Visions and NCIX for around $430 CDN.

One lucky Canadian will get to take this beautiful tablet to events with them this summer thanks to the generous people at Samsung. To enter please fill out the form below. All entries will be verified.



Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Good luck!
Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blue Jay Creek Art Farm #ManitoulinSpotlight


On Manitoulin Island, there is a place where friendly faces greet you as you stop off to pick up your eggs and vegetables.  You'll likely find people working in the garden and cultivating produce -- food that nourishes the body. Real food...straight from the garden to your table.  You'll no doubt hear singing coming from the garden too.  It's a magical place.

This place is Blue Jay Creek Art Farm.



"Blue Jay Creek Art Farm grows and sells tomatoes, potatoes and other art! We are a work in progress, a living art-meets-survival experiment in organic community-building. In the 'High Season' our roadside stand carries honey, organic Loon Song oats and flours, delicious jams and jellies, and seasonal fruit and vegetables from our gardens. Throughout the year we produce or host unique and original events based in wonder and reverence for All Our Relations. The Blue Jay Creek runs through the farm and brings sheer magic to this farm experience."

Blue Jay Creek Art Farm is a beautiful 100 acre farm with a pristine creek that runs through it.  Aside from their roadside stand, you can find outdoor galleries and a performance venue.  You'll also find dogs, cats and chickens at Blue Jay Creek Art Farm.  The one thing you will note upon your first visit is how positive and welcoming the energy is at the art farm.

If you're planning a visit to Manitoulin Island (or if you are a resident of Manitoulin), make sure to visit Blue Jay Creek Art Farm!  The fabulous produce will draw you in, but the friendly people will keep you coming back!

For more information, visit Blue Jay Creek Art Farm's Facebook page or their link on the Manitoulin Chamber of Commerce website here.

*Photos are property of Blue Jay Creek Art Farm

Celebrating Dad on Father's Day #PGMom


I remember when I was in elementary school, saving up my allowance and being excited to bike to our local Jean-Coutu (a pharmacy in Quebec) and "splurge" on a Father's Day gift and card for Dad.  Back then, a tie or some kind of item that had "Best Dad" or "Dad of the Year" were things I thought were amazing gift ideas for Dad!

Funny how Dad never complained about not wanting yet another tie, coffee mug or pair of socks.  The purchase that made me the proudest was when I got Dad a bottle of Old Spice.  It seemed like all the dads wore it and it was in my price range.  Plus, my grandfather always wore Old Spice.

To this day, whenever I smell Old Spice, I think of my grandfather.  It turns out, my Dad wasn't much of an aftershave or cologne guy.  He wasn't really into fragrances period.  My grandfather was though!  It makes me smile when I think of how good my grandfather always smelled! Old Spice makes me miss my grandfather.

I was reminded of Old Spice and the memories of my grandfather and of my childhood when my four year old got hold of one of our monthly PGMom packages. I detected the scent of Old Spice and came running down from my office.  Little One was sitting on the couch, putting Old Spice deodorant on. She was shocked to see me and smiled, "I'm putting deodorant on, Mama! Now I smell good!"

I immediately thought of my Dad laughing if he saw what Little One was doing.  I also knew that if my grandfather were still alive today and saw Little One putting on Old Spice, he would have a good laugh too.

On Father's Day, we celebrate the men in our lives.  Of course, the first man I'd like to celebrate is my Dad. To the man who sat with us as we did our homework (and helped me as I toiled over math problems), and made sure to always have time for us after work...Thank you.  To the man who built ice forts with us and took us skating and tobogganing...Thank you.  To the man who taught us how to tie our shoes and ride a bike...Thank you.  To the man who taught us so many important life lessons and continues to do so...Thank you.

When I see the special relationship my Dad has with my four year old daughter, it makes my heart fill with joy.  I'm so lucky to have my Dad around.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and a special Father's Day wish for my Dad!



Disclosure: I am a P&Gmom. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.
Friday, June 14, 2013

What Makes Summer "All Good" For You? WIN $100 for Pinning w/ The McCain All Good Pinathon


Ahhh! I can almost picture it. Gentle breeze blowing through my hair as the waves wash over my feet at the beach. Feeling the sand between my toes, and listening to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore (drowned out by the boisterous cries of glee from my four year old as she makes and destroys a sand castle).  Those are but a few things that make me smile when I think of Summer.


Those last few days of school are within reach and the feeling of freedom and celebration of Summer are almost within grasp.  There's also nothing like going for an ice cream cone on a hot Summer day and just "being".  No worries in the world.  Just good times.  Ice cream and the beach?  It's "All Good"!


Some other things I love the most about Summer is the fact that we can get delicious fresh produce from our gardens and farmers' markets!  Picnics, BBQs, trips to the beach, and just lounging around the patio with family and friends for a meal are all part of what makes Summer so special to me.

FAMILY. FRIENDS. FUN. FOOD.  

Yep! That's what Summer means to me.  That's what makes Summer "All Good" for me!

McCain wants to know some of what makes Summer "All Good" for you too!  



The McCain All Good Pinathon

To find out what makes Summer all good for you, McCain is hosting an All Good Pinathon and awarding $100 each to 5 pinners whose boards make them "laugh, cry, or do a conga line around the office!" For full criteria, please see rules and regulations below. Entering is fun and easy:
  1. Create a board on Pinterest and name it “McCain All Good Pinathon.”
  2. Pin the things that make summer all good for you. For example: a perfectly ripe peach, the smell of grass, a picnic with friends
  3. Include one pin from McCain that makes you feel happy.
  4. Tag each pin in your board with the keyword McCainAllGood and you’re good to go! So good luck!

This is great for all those who love Pinterest and love Pinning!  I'm a self-professed Pinterest addict.  I can get lost for hours Pinning recipes, DIY ideas, crafts, items for my Dream House, and more!

The contest goes from June 13th to July 11th.  You can win 1 of 5 $100 Gift Cards! C'mon...Go ahead and Pin! You know you wanna!

Here are some of things that make Summer "All Good" for me!

Disclosure - I have partnered with McCain for this promotional post. All thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eat Locally ~ #WordlessWednesday with Linky



Have you ever stopped to really look at an egg before?  They're so perfect and so beautiful.  Each one is so unique.

We get our eggs from Hubby's sister, who as chickens.  We also get eggs from Blue Jay Creek Art Farm.  For the most part, we try to grow what we can and eat and buy locally as much as we can.

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

When Blogging Was Just Blogging



There was a time when I used to blog for the love of blogging.  I moved to an island in the middle of one of the Great Lakes and needed an outlet to ward off isolation (though I was in love with the Island, I missed my loved ones) and to share my new life with my friends and family far away.

I blogged about my life on an island and in a small rural Northern Ontario town. Did you know that the Island is the world's largest fresh water lake island? The blog also served as a place where I planned my wedding details and asked readers for tips and advice. I asked about things like wedding etiquette, what kinds of bombonieres to give guests at our wedding, what kind of food to serve, music to play, etc. That was back in 2006. I had no idea that people other than my friends and family could read the blog until comments started filtering in.

Why would anyone other than my friends and family want to read a boring blog like mine?

All of a sudden, I had a core group of friends in the blogosphere whose blogs I frequented.  We commented on each other's blogs religiously.  We blogged for the love of blogging.  Things were different back then. I miss the daily banter between Ms.Mamma, JellyJules, Uncivil, Wisconsin Candy Dish, and Curiosity Killer.  The only one from that vintage who still corresponds via the blog regularly is CanineCologne.  Though I keep in touch with my old school bloggy friends, it's outside of the blog. Canine has actually visited us with her family twice in the past few years and is a regular fixture in our loves via email, phone calls, text messages and care packages.

Where was I?  Oh, right...

Then I ended up on complete bed rest for my high risk pregnancy, and to my surprise, blog friends around the world were watching, praying, giving me phone calls from California and New Zealand!  It's hard to describe the amazing friendships the blog brought me.  It was a community family that was built.  Genuine interest and genuine comments.

Little One catapulted herself into existence at 28 weeks gestation.  It the most difficult and the most terrifying time of my life.  Our life in the NICU lasted 72 days.  It was a long and challenging journey for us, yet she proved (and continues to prove) what a fighter she really is.

I had become a Mommy.

I was a Mom with a blog.  I guess by default, that made the blog a "Mom blog".  I blogged about life with a preemie, parenting, and everything under the sun.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.

That was then

This is now

All of a sudden, the blog morphed into something else.  It turned into a way I could supplement our family income.  I was able to put teaching English on the back burner because I was monetizing the blog.  I was shocked to see how the blog took on a life of its own.

There was a brief time a few years ago (I think Little One was two years old), when I wanted to shut down the blog.  I went on a brief hiatus.  It was turning into something that wasn't me.  I felt like I was losing my voice and losing the reason I started blogging in the first place.  Though the blog had been around since 2006, I didn't really start monetizing until 2009 and wasn't even seriously blogging until 2010.  That's when all the big opportunities started coming in.  The blog also became secondary to all the social media jobs I was getting as an offshoot of the blog.  My main job is with PTPA as their Social Media Community Manager on Twitter.  Had I not started a blog back in 2006, I wouldn't have opened up a Twitter account.  Had I not opened up a Twitter account, I would not have engaged and formed relationships like I did on Twitter.  Had I not done all of that, I wouldn't have been given the amazing jobs I am now happily working at.  It's almost dizzying to think of how one thing led to another and how so much has changed.

A girlfriend of mine shared her new blog with me and as I read, it was bitter sweet to me.  She recently moved to the Island and started her blog for pretty much the same reasons I did back in 2006.  Her blog posts made me smile.  Reading her posts made me wistful and nostalgic. That was me seven years ago.  Holy smokes! Seven years? That's crazy!

As I read my friend's blog, I remember a time when blogging was just blogging.  I remember a time when I blogged because I loved it.  I still love it, but sometimes I feel like the blogging world has turned blogs into something else.  It's not a bad thing - As long as we preserve our voice and continue to write about what we love and are passionate about.

I guess I just miss the older blogs where people used to visit and read each other's posts. I mean really read and comment.  Don't get me wrong.  I love each and every comment I receive and I adore my friends and readers.  There's a kinship I feel with those in my blogging community.  I do feel people who comment on the blog are genuine in their comments.  It's just that somewhere between the reviews and giveaways, and producing posts like you're a machine, I think we've lost something.  We may be gaining readers and followers, but part of me just misses the old school blog.

I love the blog and all it has given me.  It's an extension of me and something to keep for posterity.  It has given me so many incredible opportunities from ambassadorships and conferences, to sponsored posts and making fabulous friends (many of whom are not simply online friends, but in real life friends too). Feeling a little nostalgic and wistful tonight. Kind of miss the old school blogs.

Know what I'm sayin'?

End of rant.

Please show my friend, New Country Mama Manitoulin some love.  She's new around here. :)
Monday, June 10, 2013

The Great Grocery Giveaway & BBQ Time with @MarcAngeloFoods!


It's a known fact that I love hosting dinner parties.  With Father's Day just around the corner, I'd like to fire up the BBQ and have a meal for the two special men in my life - my husband and my Dad. This said, special occasions or no real reason at all, every day is a celebration for friends and family.  Most of the time, I spend hours cooking up a storm, but there are days when it's nice to have a little help in the kitchen.  


Recently, I learned that MarcAngelo carries a wide variety of both fresh and frozen items in grocery stores across Canada. You've probably seen them at your local grocery store already! Some favourite items include Souvlaki and Kabobs, Steaks and Sausages perfect for the BBQ, and they even have newer items like Turkey Burgers, Breakfast Rounds, Chicken Breast Roasts with Bacon, and more!

Some other interesting facts about MarcAngelo Foods:

With friends and family with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, I'm always looking for great meals to serve that everyone can eat.  This is why I was excited to learn that MarcAngelo is working with the Gluten-Free Certification Program.  Many of the same great tasting sausages that Canadians know and love are now gluten-free* certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Program (GFCP). Many other MarcAngelo products are also safe for those with Celiac disease and other gluten intolerances. (*just look for the GFCP trademark on packages)

To help kick off BBQ season, MarcAngelo has something fun and exciting for their fans and customers. The Great Grocery Giveaway!  Perfect timing, since Father's Day and BBQ go hand in hand!


The Great Grocery Giveaway

Play the Great Grocery Giveaway scratch game on Facebook for your chance to win daily and weekly prizes and be entered for a chance at the Grand Prize, Groceries for a Year valued at $10,000!
Play the scratch game for the chance to win instant prizes:
• 1 chance at a $5 MarcAngelo Coupon
• 1 chance at 10 bonus ballots into the Grand Prize Draw
• 5 chances at 3 bonus ballots into the Grand Prize Draw

Each week there is a draw for a $200 prepaid grocery card, and winners are announced on Facebook and http://www.marcangelofoods.com/

Thousand of Prizes are still available to be won! The Contest is open to all residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority in the province or territory in which they reside.

If that weren't exciting enough, MarcAngelo and Life on Manitoulin will be giving readers a chance to win a $50 MarcAngelo Gift Card! 

Enter to WIN a $50 MarcAngelo Gift Card!


To enter, simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway open to residents of Canada only. Ends 6/28.

Disclosure - I was compensated for this post.  As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest and my own.

Experience Manitoulin Island - Bayside Resort Style! #ManitoulinSpotlight


With the school year coming to a close, and kids ready for Summer, you'll no doubt want to look into cottage rentals and vacation plans for the family!  I may be a bit biased, but if you're planning a road trip, Manitoulin Island should be on your bucket list!


Experience Manitoulin Island

With its white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise water, incredible fishing, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, local artists and many points of interest (Bridal Veil Falls, Cup and Saucer hiking trail, the boardwalk and beach at Providence Bay, etc), there is something for everyone to enjoy on the Island.

Bayside Resort


Open year-round, Bayside Resort is a great place to stay.  Bayside Resort is located close to many amenities (a short drive to the grocery store, golf course, bank, restaurants), yet tucked away enough for you to enjoy peace and quiet so you can enjoy a restful vacation.


If you want to go fishing, there are a few packages you can consider.  Boating trips are available as well. There are many activities for you to enjoy and make the most out of your visit on Manitoulin Island.

Beauty and Comfort: The Cabins

Bayside Resort has three cabins available for rent. All cabins are newly structured, with comfort and beauty in mind.  The log cabins are spacious and can sleep up to six people comfortably.  Each cabin also comes fully equipped with all the necessities for your stay. 





You can enjoy lounging around in one of the Adirondack chairs, take a walk on the sandy beach or go for a swim!  You can also sit by the fire pit or use the canoes or paddle boat.

If you're thinking of visiting Manitoulin Island and are looking for a place to stay, you'll be pleased with Bayside Resort.

For more information, visit http://www.baysideresort.ca
Contact:  Phone / Fax no. (705) 859-1070

* Photos courtesy of Bayside Resort

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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!

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

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