Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The greatest cookies ever!

I'm quite proud of my Soft Ginger Cookies. They even took first prize at a cookie exchange competition a couple Christmas' ago. They are my favourite cookies and when I make them I just can't stay away from them.
 
However, I might have found something that tops them (which makes me slightly sad but I'll just have a cookie to get over it).
 
Skor Shortbread

Shortbread Meltaway Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, not melted
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn startch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chipits SKOR toffee bits (I usually use a whole bag, since 1 cup is just shy of a bag anyways)



PREHEAT oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets w/ parchment paper

BEAT butter, icing sugar and vanilla until creamy. In a separate bowl, combine flour, corn starch, baking powder and salt; stir half into butter mixture. Stir in toffee bits, and then remaining flour mixture.

ROLL heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Place on prepared cookie sheets, spacing about 2" apart.

BAKE in centre of preheated oven for 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes. Dust with more icing sugar if desired (I never do this, but it's an option).

TIPS:
Can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 weeks, and they freeze extremely well too!
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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Circus!

I've always wanted to go to the circus.
 
I got my chance and took Joseph on Thursday night (along with my parents and my nephew).
 
Shrine Circus Canada
Tickets were $30.00 per person, except for kids three and under who were free as long as they sat on your lap so Joseph was free. We figured he's be sitting on our laps anyway in order to see what was going on.
 
The show started late, due to some technical difficulties apparently, but it's hard to explain that to antsy kids.
 
The circus opened with the tigers. They performed some neat tricks and skills. Joseph's favourite part of the entire circus was when the tigers jumped through the hoop that was on fire.
 
 
There were some clown acts, aerial acts and unicycle acts. The unicycles were quite interesting because they were two little boys and they were really good at it!
 
The next animal act were the horses. It started with a Clydesdale and another little pony that looked exactly the same. They did some tricks and then went away. Six other beautiful horses came out and performed some more equine acts. They were gorgeous and the girl that trains and performs with them is fairly young and part of the long family history of the Zerbini circus.
 


My favourite part was the Poema family. The father flips the kids around using his feet! They sit on his feet and get flipped up and spun around over and over! All members of the family are included even the youngest, 7 year old Tommy!
 


The last act that we saw (because it was getting late and Joseph wanted to go home) was the big elephants! The girl that trained the horses also worked with the elephants. They were absolutely adorable! They came walking out with the one in the back holding onto the tail of the one in the front! They did a couple tricks and then headed out. As did Joseph and I.
 


The circus was great! The only negative things that detracted from it were the protestors and the timing, other than that it was perfect. I know people aren't pleased with circuses and their history, but the OSPCA was there investigating everything the entire weekend so they were meeting Ontario standards.

I will most definitely take the boys to the circus in the future (probably next summer!) and will enjoy it just as much as I did this time. Next time, we might go during the day as opposed to the evening because it ended about 2 hours after Joseph's bedtime (way too late for him!).

Will you take your kids to the circus?

 Or do you disagree with them?
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Monday, July 29, 2013

What have I done?

I did something crazy a couple weeks ago.
 
Like, out-of-this world, ridiculously crazy.
 
I changed my registration at the Niagara Falls International Marathon from a registration in the 10k to do the Half Marathon.
 
That's 21.09 kilometers of running after not even being able to run more than 5 minutes straight back in January/February.
 
The course
 
So now, once I'm done my next race in August (a 15K) the training really begins. I want to be really prepared for this race.
 
At least it's in Niagara in the fall right? I love Niagara in the fall.
 
Maid of the Mist - Niagara Falls - Tourism Media
 
Hopefully, it'll distract me enough while I'm running that I won't notice the kilometers flying by.
 
The Husband and I are also getting a night away from the boys, which will be a nice break for a night and hopefully some good sleep!
 
I'm hoping you're going to follow me on this training journey and on race day which is October 27th!
 
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ronald McDonald House Charities

With the two boys, we have been so lucky. We've had our share of pink eye, ear infections, eczema, croup and colds but we haven't had anything serious and I definitely knock on wood.
 
However, there are so many families that run into serious health complications. They are often away from home for months on end and are forced to be kilometers away from family, friends and their support.
 
In steps Ronald McDonald House.
 

 
Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for those families that are forced to be on the road during the difficult time while their child is being treated. Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada is the organization responsible for supporting these houses.
 
There are currently 14 Ronald McDonald Houses, 9 Ronald McDonald Family Rooms and 1 Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. With all of those resources, by the year 2014, Ronald McDonald Houses will be able to serve 20,000 families a year. Since it's inception back in 1981 in Toronto, Ronald McDonald Houses has been home for over 227,000 families during these strenuous times.



The average cost to operate a bedroom in a Ronald McDonald House is $122.00 a night.
Thanks to the support of McDonald’s and their many partners, families pay just $11 per night on average and no family is ever turned away due to their inability to pay.

RMHC is the official charity partner of the RBC Canadian Open. Funds donated to RMHC through the RBC Canadian Open will help families of sick children across Canada.

Since coming on board as title sponsor of the RBC Canadian Open in 2008, RBC along with Golf Canada  have raised more than $5 million for charitable organizations across Canada that support children’s wellness initiatives. Throughout its history, Canada’s National Open Championship has generated more than $45 million  in charitable proceeds for important causes
.


McDonald’s generosity and family values are demonstrated daily through their actions:
• 10 cents from the sale of every Happy Meal is donated to Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada
• McDonald’s restaurants across the country host McHappy Day
• Restaurants also collect public donations through coin boxes
• Every year, Owner/Operators, executives and employees of McDonald’s Canada volunteer thousands of hours and champion Ronald McDonald Houses across the country.
• Many McDonald’s suppliers support Ronald McDonald Houses as contributors, volunteers and national donors.



McDonald’s is proud of the incredible impact and support the Ronald McDonald Houses have on
health care and healing in this country. They remain committed to the founding vision of Ronald
McDonald Houses as a “community house,” where McDonald’s, along with individual donors, corporate donors and community groups all work together to ensure families with seriously ill children have a place to stay and the support they need.

I was compensated for this review of Ronald McDonald House and it's accompanying charity.
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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

It's cottage time!

Pretty soon, we're heading to some cottages.

Downfalls Of Cottage Ownership
 
The first is a cottage that went to when I was a little kid. It's my aunt's cottage and it used to belong to her father-in-law J.D. Until this year, I held the record for the largest first caught. It was only about 3.5lbs but the cottage is on a small lake.
 
A few days after getting home from that cottage (and doing laundry), we're heading to a cottage with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and my nephew and niece. There will also be a whole bunch of their friends there. Apparently, it's also a meat-fest. Every meal has meat of some sort. Glad I'm not a vegetarian and I think The Husband will be in heaven.
 
In my grand plan of things I wanted to make a quilt for the cottage as a gift. Unfortunately, I didn't think of this until just recently and probably don't have time to finish one before we head up there. I'll probably make it for Christmas and give it to her then.


Something like this (source)
 
Instead, I'm hoping to make a plaque like this:

16x20 Cottage Rules Typography Style Painting
Source
 
This means a trip to Michaels! I'm so excited! I've tried to stay away from it because it's like a giant vacuum for my money, but if I have something specific I want then I give myself permission to head in and only by the necessities of the project.
 
I'm also thinking of creating some little busy bags and activities for Joseph to do in the car and in case of the rain. Pinterest, here I come!
 
Are you a cottager or camper? Any tips ahead of time?
 
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My latest race recap!

After I ran my first race back in, I kind of went crazy and signed up for races at least once a month. I guess I just got really excited! However, when the race gets closer I start to panic and think "Why did I sign up for it"? (anyone else think something is a great idea until one or two days before?)
 
So, in my haste, I signed up for a race called the Eaton Downtown Dash couple of cities over from ours. Randomly, it was on a Thursday evening. I figured this would work because it won't take over a weekend and it's an evening so the boys could come without too much of a hassle.
 
 photo 59a970c2-27a6-4db7-b806-f7791218ff2f_zpse3217f5b.jpg
My bib and latest medal!
 
Well, Joseph has become quite interested in my running and wants to 'help'. He was quite excited to come watch me run, until he saw a park on the way to the start/finish line. I dropped the boys off at the park (priorities to a 2.5 year old) and continued along.
 
 photo DSC_1308_zps533aabe1.jpg
 What happens while I run
 
The race started, I almost got taken out by a jogging stroller. I'm all for jogging strollers but they should be at the back of the race and off to one side so they don't trip someone up. I think if I had fallen, I would have gotten trampled on like Black Friday at Wal-mart! Luckily I stayed on my feet, but the guy looked at me like it was my fault.
 
They had a water station set up at 2.5 km. Did I mentioned the heat? Oh ya, the race was during the heat wave so the temperatures were up near 40 degree Celsius (104 F). I run up to the water station, double check that I grabbed water and not Gatorade, had a sip and dumped the rest on my head. It was cold water. Like take your breath away cold. Not good when running. I already had no breath.
 
I ran my little heart out and made it to the 3rd kilometer before the 10K runners started catching up with us. I yelled out some encouragement but under my breath whispered "I hate you!".
 
We passed a lot of residents in the neighbourhood with hoses, spray buckets and sprinklers set up to spray on the road. I wanted to run up and hug each and every one of them!
 
 photo DSC_1312_zps2b982683.jpg
Run, Mommy run!
 
I eventually had to walk here and there but kept moving or my feet would have melted into the road.
 
I finished the race in 32:07 and set a new personal record in the 5K.
 
I then headed to the get the goodies. Ice cream, pizza, massages, Shreddies and a nice, cold bottle of water. I'm convinced that this is why Joseph actually comes. He knows there'll be food for him to eat.
 
 photo DSC_1319_zps8a1d71c0.jpg
Mmm..pizza
 
Overall, the race was great. Nothing could be done about the heat and humidity so there's no sense complaining about it.
 
Next race - 15km Midsummer Night Run in August
 
 photo DSC_1320_zpse282ab3a.jpg
My littlest athletic supporter!
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Monday, July 22, 2013

New Baby Necessities Prize Package!

It's time for another BIG giveaway featuring some of our favorite products for new babies! This fabulous prize package has you covered on all of your new baby necessities.

New Baby Necessities Prize Package:

líllébaby - COMPLETE Baby Carrier ($135 value)
Yummi Pouch - Little Munchkin Set and pair of BabyLegs. ($40 value)
nuna - LEAF navy ($299.95 value)
ubbi - diaper pail ($79.99 value)
Trumpette - POP socks - black ($29.50 value)
Trumpette - Large Baby Schleppbag - grey ($79.50 value)
Bamboobies - Multi-pack nursing pads ($29.99 value)
Bamboobies - Brahhh ($34 value)
Bamboobies - Natural Nipple Balm ($12.99 value)
Nested Bean - 2 Zen Swaddles ($79.98 value)
Milkmakers - 1 month supply of cookies ($49 value)
Buttons Diapers - 6 cloth covers (blue, pink and white) + 12 daytime inserts ($108 value)
Babiators - 2 pairs of Polarized Babiators with Cloud Case ($70 value)
Ambajam - Mini-Cuddle Baby Blanket ($24 value)

Total Value = $1,071.90

new baby necessities giveaway

Enter to Win

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Don't forget the giveaways!

Hey everyone!
 
I just wanted to take the chance to remind you about the giveaways that are going on right now!
 
The first is my 2 year blog giveaway.
 Two $50 giftcards, two winners - one for Amazon, one for Etsy.
 
 
The second is the Baby Welcome Package. It has tons and tons of fantastic baby necessities.
 
 
On Monday, I'll have a post about my latest 5K race and the winners of the giftcards!
 
Until then, have a fantastic weekend! Hopefully it's not too hot!
 
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

My Grandmother

On Friday morning, I got the call that I had been dreading for awhile.
 
Unfortunately, my Grandmother passed away peacefully in her sleep some point between going to bed Thursday night and Friday morning.
 
Yesterday, was her memorial service.
 
Surprisingly, it wasn't as tough as I thought it was going to be.
 
 photo DSCN2807_zps9f81e612.jpg
 
I think what made it easier was the fact that she lived a whole, happy life. She accomplished a lot and touched so many lives.
 
One of my favourite stories from yesterday was one my uncle told.
 
My grandmother was a teacher and a librarian. My uncle is a supply teacher and one of the parent's of one of his students recognized his last name. He asked if my uncle's mother's name was Pearl, which he replied to with a Yes. The student said that my grandmother gave his father his first book and he wanted to thank her. My uncle passed the message on to my Granny, and she said that she never gave him any book. The book just disappeared from the library one day. In fact, it had over $3000 in fines. However, she told my uncle not to mention that to the student and just say Thank you.
 
My grandmother was amazing and my life was definitely enriched with her being in it.
 
The picture above is one of my now favourite memories. It was the first time she met Andrew (her 3rd great-grandchild). He was 2 weeks old and we wanted to make sure she got to see him. Just a week or two before this, she was having a hard time with her health. We had a great visit and just as we were leaving, it was dinner time and all the other residents and nurses were around. She was absolutely beaming showing off her new great-grandson. Everyone had to see him before we were able to leave the building.
 
I took the boys (and my nephew) back to see her at the beginning of June. The boys were so hyped up and were crawling all over her, on top of her bed, under her bed, playing in her wheelchair and just having a blast. It turns out that when we left, my grandmother and my aunt took a 20 minute nap. We wiped them out. But while we were there, I could see her soaking it all in and just being so proud to be their great-grandmother. Again, anyone that walked by, she had to catch and tell them her great-grandsons were visiting.
 
With this funeral, there are no great-grandparents left for the boys to visit with. It's sad, but also very interesting to see the new generation begin.
 
Rest in Peace, Granny.
 
We love you.
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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Baby Welcome Package Giveaway!

We are so excited to once again share an opportunity to win a collection of great products from some wonderful companies! Our New Baby Welcome Package has everything you need for your little one's entrance into the world — from feeding, to sleeping, to soothing, and even playing and learning new motor skills! One lucky momma who wins this giveaway will be all set for her little one's precious needs.

Yummi Pouch - Reusable Food Pouches

 
Little Munchkin Set - Retail Price: $28.95
The Little Munchkin set has everything you need to get started with using Yummi Pouches! Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches are perfect for filling with homemade baby food, blended snacks, healthy smoothies, and more. Designed by a husband a wife team, Yummi Pouches are dishwasher and freezer safe, BPA-free, phthalate-free, easy to fill and clean through the wide zipper opening, and encourage healthy snacks for active kids! For more information visit yummipouch.com.
 
Set of 6 Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches - hold up to 6oz each
16oz filling funnel pitcher
10 dishwasher safe name label stickers
2 decorative dishwasher safe sticker sheets
6 mixed color extra pouch caps

Buttons Cloth Diapers

 
Buttons Cloth Diaper Set - Retail Price: $108.00
6 covers and 12 daytime inserts (small or large)
Buttons Cloth Diapers were born at home. As a husband and wife team, we designed our diapers to be easy to use and affordable for everyone - the way it should be. We believe in keeping our lives simple, even when it comes to diapering.

Buttons Diapers feature soft, leak-proof, and durable diaper covers. The double-gussets around the legs keeps the mess in, so your little one can run, jump, climb, and sleep while your mind is at ease. Elastic at the back and tummy makes a custom fit. The durable snaps allow the covers to adjust to fit any baby (approximately 9-35 lbs.). And, they come in five adorable colors! For more information visit buttonsdiapers.com.

2 Red Hens

2 Red Hens Studio Coop Carry-All Diaper Bag - Retail Price: $70
Custom-designed, highly functional bowling bag style diaper bags. When not in use as a diaper bag mom can use as an overnight bag. Includes extra-long changing pad in 2 Red Hens signature red dot pattern.
Available in 5 custom designed vintage-inspired patterns: Chevron Stripes, Grey Damask, Peacock Mum, Pink Lemonade and Owl Dots.
Based in Denver, Colorado, 2 Red Hens Studio was founded in 2011 by designer and resident 'Mama Hen' Lori Holliday. The 2 Red Hens Studio collection of Vintage Chic Inspired Items for Modern Mamas include diaper bags, the Toy Nanny, Shopping Cart Nests, and a range of accessory items. Limited edition handcrafted one-of-a-kind diaper bags and dolls are also offered. For more information visit 2RedHens.com.

L'ovedbaby LLC

 
4-in-1 Nursing Shawl, Brown - Retail Price: $33.00
Use as pregnancy poncho, nursing cover, stroller/carseat canopy, lightweight blankie. Comes in a matching, drawstring carrying pouch. Machine wash/dry. One size fits all.
 
 
Gl'oved-Sleeve Overall & Cute Cap - Retail Price: $28.00
Size: newborn - 24 months. Machine wash/dry; winner picks color.
L'ovedbaby is adored by A-list celebrities for their stylish Nursing Covers & coordinating Burp Cloths as well as their mix-and-match Cotton Basics Collection, ranging from Newborn/preemie to size 6 in kids. Coming this November: the Organic Cotton Basics collection from L'ovedbaby! For more information visit lovedbaby.com.

Kushies Baby

 
Kushies Zolo Linko Toy - Retail Price: $33.99
Kushies Baby - Based in Ontario, Canada, with U.S. headquarters located in Niagara Falls, New York, Kushies® creates and provides an innovative collection of quality baby products and accessories. Trusted by moms since 1987, Kushies offers more than 350 superior baby products including stylish layette and playwear, washable diapers, the award-winning Kushies Zolo toy collection and a broad range of baby essentials. The worldwide market leader in reusable cloth diapers and accessories, Kushies takes great pride in operating as a responsible company and as an environmentally concerned member of our planet. For more information visit kushiesonline.com.
  • Look! Feel! Chew! Connect Linko shapes together to create a love chain!
  • Easily attaches to other Kushies Zolo baby toys with signature clips.
  • Age: 0+ months
  • Contains: 4 Textured teething rings, 4 hold-together rings, 3 plush characters, and 6 signature rings for easy attachment.
  • Encourages: Visual development, flexible thinking,dexterity, tactile stimulation.

Oh, That Baby! Ltd.

 
Toofeze Baby Teether - Retail Price: $19.99
Toofeze® is a functional, durable, and all-natural alternative to traditional teething rings and toys. Its three distinct chewing surfaces allow babies to self-manage their changing teething needs. The food grade ingredients are hypoallergenic and intentionally selected to meet the high standards of today's health- and eco-conscious consumers. For more information visit toofeze.com.
  • Therapeutic - The cool stainless steel disk clinically reduces painful teething symptoms caused by swelling and inflammation - a tried and true remedy for teething pain.
  • Convenient - Chills instantly in cold water. Perfect for out and about when a fridge isn't handy. No need to freeze your teether - or your baby's fingers!
  • Ergonomic - Our soft silicone handle and stationary design make it easy for babies to control, and aids in early motor skills development.
  • Sanitary - Toofeze is easily cleaned with soap and water or antibacterial wipes, and is durable enough to be boiled or run through the dishwasher as often as you like!

líllébaby

 
líllébaby COMPLETE Original Baby Carrier - Retail Price: $110.00
The future in babywearing is here! Compare the líllébaby® COMPLETE with any baby carrier and you will see why it deserves its name. COMPLETE in function, comfort, and style, this carrier grows with your family. It includes every carrying position and ensures your baby is positioned ergonomically correct in every setting. It's all about options - it's COMPLETE
Resonating the Scandinavian values of quality of life, honesty, and a love for nature's beauty, líllébaby strives to make baby products that bring this functional style to parents, anywhere. We wish parents to attain the simple luxury of keeping their baby close while building a natural bond, in perfect comfort and style. For more information visit lillebaby.com.
  • Complete age range, newborn – 45lbs (no insert needed)
  • All-in-one carrying (front, hip or back; baby face in, out, or in fetal position.)
  • Ergonomic leg position in every setting, including when baby is facing forward.
  • Seat adjusts to perfectly fit baby at every stage and enables carrying through the otherwise "baby wearing gap"
  • Adjustable neck support with elastic attachments gives ideal support while allowing for movement.
  • The adjustable torso is taller than most brands, giving your baby sturdier support and better posture.
  • Padded side straps protect baby from webbing.
  • Removable sleeping hood adjusts in length and includes elastic edging for comfortable fit. Protects from sun and wind, gives privacy and supports baby's head while sleeping.

Enter to win these must-have items for your baby!

Prize Pack includes:
Yummi Pouch little munchkin set
Pair of BabyLegs leg warmers
Set of 6 Buttons Cloth Diaper covers + 12 daytime inserts
2 Red Hens Studio Coop Carry-All Diaper Bag
L'ovedbaby 4-in-1 Nursing Shawl
L'ovedbaby Gl'oved-Sleeve Overall & Cute Cap
Kushies Zolo Linko toy
Toofeze baby teether
líllébaby COMPLETE Original Baby Carrier

Plus! 3 runner ups will receive:

Set of 6 Yummi Pouch reusable food pouches
Pair of BabyLegs leg warmers
Toofeze baby teether
 
Yummi Pouch new baby welcome 

package giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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