Saturday, March 30, 2013

Canucks Rock: All Canadian Link Up! 03/30

Welcome to our weekly All Canadian Link Up!  This weekend and every weekend, Canucks Rock! with our All Canadian Link Up and Candid Canuck feature interview.  Brought to you by your hosts: Did you know Canada?, Tales of a Ranting Ginger and Maple Leaf Mommy!

This week's Candid Canuck is Karen from Nourish With Karen. Check out our interview with her..


What prompted you to start your blog?
I started to blog because I love food and I want to share my ideas about healthier options!  There is such disconnect between food and health right now.  As a Nutritionist, I know that what we eat becomes the foundation of our health and wellbeing.   So many of the medical symptoms we treat with drugs can be alleviated with proper nutrition.    I want people to know that!

How do you meal plan when you have the challenges of food tolerances in your home/family?
When you first figure out that food intolerance plays a part in a family member’s health and you realize that the cure is changing what they eat, you are relieved!  Then you start thinking about the logistics of meal planning.

There is a desire to replace products with like products.  People, and children specifically, want the foods they are familiar with, but with time you find new favourites.  Quite honestly, food intolerances were a blessing in disguise.  We eat so much better now that we are aware of the food issues.  There is much less dependence on packaged food.  We eat fresh food, much less sugar and more fruits and vegetables.  If you are travelling you often end up taking food with you.

It is amazing the baked goods you can make with wheat flour substitutes like almond flour and coconut flour, which are high in protein and fibre.

If you could give our readers one piece of advice when it comes to healthy meal planning, what would it be?
My advice regarding healthy meal planning is to stop relying on manufactured products like salad dressings, meals in a box, packaged cookies, etc.  These products are high in salt, sugar and preservatives and low in nutrition.   Shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  This is where you will find whole, fresh foods which are so much better for you.

What do you think of as the ultimate Canadian comfort food?
I think of “one pot meals” as the ultimate Canadian comfort food.  There is nothing better than coming home to a hot crockpot meal that is ready to serve on a busy weeknight.

Do you have a recipe you are particularly proud of?
I make a delicious chilli, which I have been tweaking for years.  The flavours are complex and delicious.  This is in part because of the play between the sweetness of the molasses and honey and the sour flavour of the tomatoes and apple cider vinegar.  The smoked paprika and chipotle pepper add a smoky, rich flavour to it as well.  It is the ultimate comfort food and can be prepared the night before, refrigerated, and then popped into the crockpot on low for 4-5 hours.  (You can find this chilli recipe HERE, at Karen's website.)

Share with us a few other Canadian bloggers you think our readers should check out.
There are so many awesome Canadian bloggers in the blogosphere to choose from and the sense of community is overwhelming.  I am grateful to the hosts of Canucks Rock: Did you know Canada?, Tales of a Ranting Ginger and Maple Leaf Mommy!  These ladies are dynamic for their promotion of others!

Other websites I enjoy are:  Satori Design for Living, Shauna has great ideas, gorgeous pictures and I always come away inspired.  Just a Smidgen is another beautiful site which is described as a lifestyle blog filled with recipes, photography, poems, and DIY.  It oozes creativity!  Angie at Echoes of Laughter dabbles in all sorts of ideas, and I love her bright, sunny disposition.  Of course being a foodie, I am drawn to all kinds of food blogs as well, Ceci n’est pas un food blog and Dan’s Good Side, to name a couple.

Thanks so much Karen!
Want to be one of our featured Canucks?  Sign up here.

Right now, link up your Canadian blog and social media accounts, find some new reads and new friends!

Click here to grab this linky for your site!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Made by Hand Show

Did you know Canada..  The Spring Made by Hand Show is less than one month away.  The Made by Hand team has been busy planning to give you another amazing show.  As a media sponsor, we wanted to be the first to give you a little sneak peak about the upcoming spring show.


SAVE THE DATE! 
Saturday April 20, 2013 is the Spring Made by Hand Show, held once again at the International Centre, Hall 1 in Mississauga. 
  
Show Highlights:
Over 190 Handmade Exhibitors - full list of exhibitors
Free Face-painting - Farco Entertainment
Princess Photo Booth – H2Photo & Parties by Carrie
FREE SWAG BAGS to the 1st 100 families
FREE PARKING
ADMISSION $5.00 (Children free) – Buy Tickets Online




With an amazing exhibitor line-up featuring just over 190 Canadian handmade exhibitors - It is a one-stop shopping experience not to be missed. There is something for everyone in every media: original artwork, baby/toys, body, candles, clothing, ceramics, fashion accessories, jewellery, photography, knitting, pottery, paper goods, wood and a range of gourmet goodies.  Click here for a preview of the 190 exhibitors.



The Spring Made by Hand Show wouldn't be complete without their line-up of FREE children attractions.  Returning this year is Farco Entertainment who will once again be providing free face-painting and balloon animals.  You'll remember seeing Cinderella and Snow White who visited the 2012 Made by Hand Show.  This Spring, you can get your photo taken with a Princess. 

What we love about this show it that it supports local Canadian handmade businesses.  With only $5.00 admission (children free) and free parking, it’s the place you need to be on Saturday April 20, 2013.   



Don't delay, mark it on your calendar and RSVP to the Spring Made by Hand Show facebook event - better yet invite your friends too.  More information please visit www.madebyhandshow.ca - We have a great surprise for our readers as well, enter below for your chance to win 2 tickets to the Made by Hand Show!

Giveaway

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#Upopolis launch at Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre


Did you know Canada..  today I visited the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre (the same hospital I just had my little man at 8 weeks ago, who knew I'd be back so soon!) for the launch of Upopolis.



Founded and created by Kids’ Health Links Foundation and powered by TELUS Health, Upopolis.com is the only private, secure and trusted online social network designed just for children receiving care in hospitals. Upopolis provides familiar features of social networking, such as personal profiles, micro-blogging, instant chat, group chats, multiple photo uploading and event calendars. In addition, the platform gives patients the opportunity to stay up-to-date with their schoolwork, navigate through child-friendly health and wellness information and connect children with similar experiences and interests.

Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre the first to launch Upopolis in Southwestern Ontario, the first launch of 2013 and the first launch of Upopolis 2.0 - full of even more fantastic features like groups where children can connect with others that have received a similar diagnosis - I do believe this is my favourite feature, allowing kids to know they are not alone.

(a great demo by a current in-patient of Children's Hospital)

Free to use, this is a fantastic tool for children to use during their treatment, and can continue to use and connect with new found friends even from home.  Research has shown that fear, anxiety and stress experienced by children and youth in medical care can affect treatment outcomes. The potential for adjustment difficulties is inherent regardless of the particular illness.  Through the power of innovation, knowledge and communication, Kids’ Health Links Foundation’s programs help to improve the mental health and preparedness of children by alleviating their stress, isolation and loneliness.

KHLF and TELUS Health launched the first Upopolis program in 2007 at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton and since then it has expanded to eight additional hospitals and health organizations across Canada. More launches in 2013 to watch for include Montréal Children’s, Janeway Children’s (Newfoundland), Eastern Health Center for Youth Mental health and Addictions (Newfoundland) and Central Health Center for Youth Mental health and Addictions (Newfoundland).

I hope my children never need to use this service, but as a parent I am so happy it's available and know how useful, comforting and relaxing this will be to kids while in the hospital and during treatment.  What an exciting venture with KHFL and TELUS Health, I am so honoured to have seen it welcomed into Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre.

Stay up to date with these great people on Twitter:   TELUS Health: @TELUSHealth, TELUS: @TELUS, Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre: @CHFHope and Kids’ Health Links Foundation: @KidsHealthLinks.

Easter Ideas from Hasbro Canada

Did you know Canada..  around here we try to make Easter less about chocolate and candy (though the bunny does leave a few treats) but we would rather provide the boys with a few fun items that can be enjoyed much longer than a few bites.

Hasbro Canada has some fantastic ideas for the bunny to bring, promoting imaginative play, busy minds and lots of fun.  Check out a few items we've been enjoying..



Nerf guns, a spring item for every little one, even I remember receiving a Nerf gun at Easter!  How cute is this, the boys grabbed our empty diaper boxes and made a target in the basement to play with!  Easy enough for little hands, packs a punch but thankfully not enough to start any tears, my guys have been having so much fun with the NERF N-STRIKE JOLT Blaster, NERF N-STRIKE REFLEX IX-1 Blaster and NERF N-STRIKE ELITE TRIAD EX-3 Blaster.  Don't forget to sneak a little water gum in there either like the NERF SUPER SOAKER MICROBURST Blaster, you can never have too many, and the warm weather has to be right around the corner, right?!

For any and every gift occasion  we always include the favourite - Angry Birds!  I love the little ANGRY BIRDS STAR WARS Mystery Bags, it's a present within a present and a great size to add to a gift basket, hide for Easter, place on top of another present for an extra treat, the boys love them!



Some more items that are the perfect size to create a fun Easter basket for any little man in your life..
MARVEL ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN 3.75" Figure Assortment (my guys loved the spider that came with ours, a fun pack!)
MARVEL IRON MAN 3.75" All Star Action Figure Assortment (I bet you've seen the commercials for the new one! So exciting)
BEYBLADE METAL FURY HYPERBLADES Deluxe Battle Top Assortment (are the kids crazy about these at your guys school too?)
G.I. JOE Series 1 MICRO FORCE Mystery Bag (so popular right now, and a great gift idea as they are so new, stay tuned for more info on G.I. JOE products from Hasbro!)

What are you putting in the Easter Basket?

The Healthy Shopper’s Picks for Spring 2013

Did you know Canada..  Spring is making progress, even with cold days we feel that warmth and see the awakening of nature.  In spring we are looking forward to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. To make every day an earth day the Healthy Shoppers, Randy Boyer and Andrea Donsky encourage Canadians to pursue a natural and healthy lifestyle because it is good for us, our health and also for environment.  Their Spring Picks 2013, I received to review on Did you know Canada? behalf, are a great range of healthy products including food, hygiene products and homeopathic medications.



It is great that nowadays many local grocery stores (even small ones) and pharmacies have organic and healthy section to shop from, so almost all of the products from The Healthy Shopper Picks for Spring Picks 2013 can be easily found there.

The first product in a list is certified-organic and 100% natural yogurt Olympic Dairy which we already love for the taste and buy quite often.  The Healthy Shoppers chose Organic Coconut, Mango and Lemon, these three new flavours with the original Organic Plain and French Vanilla. We tried mostly all the flavours and I love that feeling of eating fresh and tasty fruits.

Second pick is Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread, the newest addition to the line of organic alternatives for butter and margarine. First I found it tastes quite different but after a while I feel like becoming addicted a little bit to that taste, I think because it is free of lactose, soy, dairy, casein and gluten.

Third choice is Simply Natural Organic Salsas, made using only organic ingredients. My family tried different flavors including Pineapple, Mango, Black Bean & Corn, and we loved their grandma’s homemade taste, they are so good for organic tortilla chips or as toppers for meat and fish.



Hygiene category has always been important for everyone especially for women and babies, so The Healthy Shoppers have chosen Natracare products again. My boy absolutely likes Natracare’s 100% Organic Cotton Baby Wipes same as I like Intimate Wipes.  Natracare’s wipes are free from parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate -  SLS, alcohol and synthetic preservatives and are perfect to use for the whole family.  Donsky explains, “the baby wipes are also great to remove make-up, put in your gym bag or keep in your car to wipe sticky hands, and they’re perfect for camping, picnics and the list goes on.”   Plus Natracare’s products are biodegradable, compostable, and are derived from sustainable, renewable resources and never tested on animals.  
    
Next two the Healthy Shopper Spring 2013 Picks: Zax’s Original Bruise Cream and Hyland’s Homeopathic Leg Cramps are my favorites too. I feel so lucky to be introduced to them and try these products, because when I have bruises or suffer from leg cramping I leave it as it is, do not take any medication as these are conditions not severe or strong.  But now after trying these two products I came to the certain relief level and I can better sleep also knowing that Zax’s Original Bruise Cream is Paraben and Propylene Glycol free, and Hyland’s Leg Cramps the only non-prescription OTC solution for restless legs, it is side-effect free, non-habit forming and drug-free.

In addition to Spring 2013 selection of high-quality natural and organic products, the Healthy Shopper also encourage people (consumers) to understand the importance of reading labels. As co-founder of the Healthy Shopper Randy Boyer said:  “We want people to understand that it’s not just fat and calories they need to watch, it’s also what’s in the products they’re using. Our focus is on the importance of reading labels, if you don’t understand it, you probably shouldn’t be eating or using it.”

Faniya

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter ideas from Hallmark Canada

Did you know Canada..  Easter is sneaking up quick this year, but Hallmark has you covered with some cute ideas, see what we've been trying out..



Thumpin' Thumper (only $14.95 with a 3 card purchase!) - super cute, he thumps his foot and has 3 different sayings, what a great segue into introducing the kids to Bambi as well.  The boys have been enjoying this guy, he is their new in bed friend :-)



Squakin' Egg Droppin' Hen ($15.95 with a 3 card purchase) - we got this fun gal last year, she is HILARIOUS, when turning on the hen bounces up and down, sings a funny song and lays actual Easter eggs, we all this is so funny, great treat for the whole family.



New Mason Interactive Story Buddy and Mason's New Friends Interactive Storybook 2.0 ($34.95, $9.95 for additional books) - a sweet gift for a little one in your life, Mason is a really cute teddy bear who responds when you read his story book, all 3 of my boys have been enjoying listening to this and it's been great for working on my old boys reading skills.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Canucks Rock: All Canadian Link Up! 03/23

Welcome to our weekly All Canadian Link Up!  This weekend and every weekend, Canucks Rock! with our All Canadian Link Up and Candid Canuck feature interview.  Brought to you by your hosts: Did you know Canada?, Tales of a Ranting Ginger and Maple Leaf Mommy!

This week's Candid Canuck is Serena from The Bewildered Bug. Check out our interview with her..


What prompted you to start your blog?

I originally started my blogging in 2008.  I did this because I was arranging my wedding in Trinidad while going to school in Toronto.  Only one of my friends from Canada was able to make the wedding, so I thought that it would be an easy way of keeping them up to date on what was going on while I was in Trinidad.  It also helped me to not have to answer the same questions a million times, but rather, just email everyone the private link.   After the wedding I used it to keep my family and friends in Trinidad updated on my new married life.  I decided to go public because a few of my friends encouraged me to.  I started with writing about life events and doing writing challenges.  I later was mentored by Kim from Tales of a Ranting Ginger and started doing product reviews on my blog.

I have many, many allergies, the worst of which are my food allergies.  After writing about it once, there were so many questions from readers that I decided to start writing about food allergies and promoting allergy friendly foods and products.  I have also been diagnosed with Clinical Depression and Panic Disorder, and try to write about Mental Health to help get rid of stigma about Mental Illnesses and to help educate the public.


What are some of your favourite topics to blog about?

This is a difficult question.  Blogging is therapeutic for me, so I like to blog about issues that bother me and my Mental Health challenges.  However, I love blogging about food, I love attending events and travelling and then telling you about the awesome places I have been and things I have seen.  I love jewellery and makeup, so when I get those products to try and write about I am over the moon!


As a gluten free blogger do you have a favourite recipe you'd like to share?

I still consider myself a newbie at gluten free cooking - the reason is because food, in itself, is actually pretty easy to convert to gluten free.  If I write a recipe, I want it to be original and from me, not some form of someone else's recipe.  Gluten Free baking, however, is a completely different matter.  It is all about mixing different flours to get an effect close to normal wheat flour - which does not always work.  Dairy free cooking and baking is probably the easiest because you replace dairy with dairy free on a 1:1 basis.  The hardest allergen to replace is egg....because nothing in the world comes close to reacting like an egg!

I digress.  My favourite recipe is actually not one of mine, but one from Carol A
at Simply Gluten Free - Dairy Free Chocolate Pots.  I just make them without berries.  I just die when I have them!  I have made them with milk chocolate as well and those are quite divine and loved by my dairy-loving friends and family.


You recently moved from Canada to the U.k.  What do you miss most about Canada?

I miss so much!  I think it is due to me having to get used to it here.  I am living at least 4 hours away from anyone I know so I am pretty lonely.  I miss the familiarity of Canada and I miss having my usual support system.  I definitely miss meeting up with my bloggy girlfriends!  We did not do it that often but I always loved seeing them.  I miss living near a big city where things do not close up at 5pm.  I miss the 24 hour Korean restaurant down the road from me.  I miss the stores (cause I am a shopaholic).  I miss Pho!!!!!!! Wow I can go on and on, but in the end, moving somewhere new is a process and I just have to be patient (which I have a hard time doing).


What are some of the challenges of blogging from overseas?

There are a few challenges.  When I knew I was moving I swore to upkeep the Canadian part of my blog because I have so many North American followers, and let's face it...without their readership, I never would have had a blog.  So, the biggest challenge with regards to that is doing the reviews and attending the events.  I am not there, so I have to depend on others (in my case my MIL and my cousin) to do what I used to do.  My MIL is not the most reliable with getting info to me on time and she leaves it to my BIL to take photos which he NEVER does.  After that, when I ask what they think, I get a one sentence answer ("I liked it" or something similar), which I have to tell you is impossible to write a review from.  My cousin is more reliable but just learning the ropes.  A lot of the time I end up buying a review item if they sell it here and reviewing it myself.  With regards to events, I have to contact my cousin to see if she could go, and she has a newborn....and does not check her email very frequently...so I feel as if I am in the dark, but we are figuring things out (I hope).

With regards to British companies, I feel as if I am starting all over, and it is frustrating not to have the support and network that I had in Canada.  If I ever needed help or advice, I knew who to turn to.  If I needed to contact a company rep, I knew how to and who would answer.  The British reps have no clue who I am and take their time getting back to you, if they get back to you at all.  It just is very frustrating to have to start from scratch with my product reviews after a year and a half of it.

The awesome thing is that this is forcing me back to my personal blogging and I am starting to think out of the box to bring my readers interesting content that are not reviews and giveaways, but full of information and tales to make them react (hopefully in a positive way).


Share with us 3 other Canadian bloggers you think our readers should check out.

There are so many great bloggers that I will be doing an injustice to the ones who don't get mentioned. Let me first say that all of the Canadian bloggers I have met and read are amazing ladies, and each one of them have spectacular stories!

I love sarcasm and cynicism, so Tanis Miller (formerly Attack of a Redneck Mommy) is one of my absolute favourites.  She lives in an incredibly difficult situation, yet she always manages to make me guffaw out loud when I read her writing.  I think the first blog of hers I read was "Blue Thunder" - and what a read that was!  She is so awesome that I have actually never gone up to her to meet her at conferences because I am too intimidated.  Sad I know!

I seem to like people who struggle with problems and manage to get past them somehow...and then take it that step further to try to help, in their own little way.  My friend Sober Julie has a section on her blog called "Sober Doesn't Suck" where she talks about her alcoholism, addictions, her sobriety story and ways to help others get sober/clean.  I admire people like that.

Not really a blogger, but rather, a community of bloggers, I like Masalamommas because in the one year that I was alone in Toronto, Anjum, Sheba and Kulbinder, three of their bloggers, supported me to a ridiculous extent online and IRL.  If it wasn't for their encouragement I am not sure I would have gotten through my loneliness as easily as I did.  Anjum in particular also somehow got through some of my fears of mingling with a South Asian community and I truly appreciate her welcoming me with open arms to Masalamommas events even though I am neither South Asian, nor a Momma.


So what is the future for Bewildered Bug?

I am looking into starting "Wandering Wednesdays", a series of posts with loads of photos that describe the areas I now live in.  England is so different and I want you to discover it along with me!

Also not so much this blog, but soon to be an affiliated website, I am starting my allergy free baking business, The Baking Bug.  I will be specialising in professional allergy free celebration and wedding cakes for the West Yorkshire area.  Unfortunately I cannot ship to Canada.  Oh, and yes, I am formally trained.


Thanks so much Serena!
Want to be one of our featured Canucks?  Sign up here.

Right now, link up your Canadian blog and social media accounts, find some new reads and new friends!

Click here to grab this linky for your site!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Earth Hour 2013


Did you know Canada.. this Saturday, March 23rd, is Earth Hour from 8:30PM – 9:30 PM local time across 152 countries.

Earth Hour is a time when we turn off the lights and consider climate change. According to the WWF, climate change is the biggest environmental threat to our planet and the number one concern for Canadians.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia when 2.2 million individuals and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change. The next year more than 50 million people across 35 countries participating. By 2010, Earth Hour had created history as the largest voluntary action ever witnessed with participation across 128 countries and every continent.

During Earth Hour 2011 many world landmarks switched off their lights including the Forbidden City, Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, Golden Gate Bridge, Table Mountain, Christ the Redeemer statue and Sydney Opera House.

Last year, 2012, the campaign experienced the largest growth since 2009, what will be in store for 2013?

Unfortunately, one the least co-operative areas traditionally has been Alberta. In 2008 Calgary's power consumption actually went up during Earth Hour. In 2011 Edmonton's power usage also increased during Earth Hour. So let's get the word out to Canadians, flick off the lights this Saturday night from 8:30 - 9:30PM and stand up for climate change!

Peace of Mind: How You Can Stay Connected and Keep Your Sanity


Did you know Canada..  If the bulk of your socialization is online and you pride yourself on completing shopping on the Internet, you're in danger of tech overload. Working in front of a screen and playing in front of a screen all day creates tension and isolates you. Learn how to stay connected, and regain your peace of mind.

More than 50% of University Students Suffer Tech-Related Pains

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4059/4357228667_8f03047bd9.jpg
Image via Flickr by English106

Potentially, more than 2 million University students could develop discomfort and chronic pain before they enter the workforce. The number comes from a study conducted by Boston University researchers. More than half of all students who participated experience pain due to sitting at their computers. Out of those surveyed, 1 in 7 admitted to feeling pain after being at the computer for 60 minutes.

Set Boundaries to Avoid Techno-Stress

http://farm2.staticflickr.com/1064/1406685537_f725d5ecc9.jpg
Image via Flickr by goodold

Physical pain is only one aspect of tech overload. California State University professor Dr. Larry Rosen studies the effects of techno-stress. He says this is the “irritation and frustration” that comes from being constantly plugged in.

Rosen advises setting boundaries to prevent overload. Go offline often. Don’t look at your mobile device during dinner, or stare at the laptop all evening after work. Take frequent breaks. Stand up and walk away from the computer every 30 minutes, even if it’s only for a few moments.

Unplug to Stay Connected to Your Sanity

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2019/2271647729_351096429d.jpg
Image via Flickr by functoruser

How important is unplugging for your health? In 2008, the Journal of Environmental Psychology found that patients who were given a window had less stress and lower blood pressure than those who were given a nature view on a plasma TV screen.

Try unplugging from technology for one day a week. That’s what Reboot suggests. This organization invented the Sabbath Manifesto, which encourages you to take a day of rest away from the cyberworld. Many large corporations are applying a theory of unplugging to keep workers healthier. Nike, Google and others have dedicated nap space for employees who want to meditate or rest.

Stay Healthy Even When You’re Plugged In

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3196/2910785202_42d07787c8.jpg
Image va Flickr by meddygarnet

Avoiding technology altogether just isn’t an option for most. The world is becoming increasingly more plugged in. There are ways to stay healthy and avoid tech overload, even when you have to stay plugged in.
  • Maintain good health: Try to practice healthy eating habits and take care of yourself. Take supplements to get the nutrients you need. Save money on supplements and stress-reducing drugs at sites like Canadadrugcenter.com.
  • Connect in real-time: Don’t rely on electronics to stay in touch. Lack of face time can lead to loneliness and poor mental health.
  • Practice good posture: Be mindful of your positioning when you use technology. Stretch your arms, shoulders and legs often to avoid getting stiff muscles.
  • Get regular exercise: Try to exercise for 30 minutes a day. Regular physical activity reduces stress.
Keep your sanity and your health by staying connected to the world, and get disconnected from the tech. Strike a balance between online and offline time to experience better physical and emotional health.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Posterjack

Did you know Canada..  well of course you know we have a new little man in the house, 6 weeks old now.  When he was just a week old I took him over to a friends house where she took the SWEETEST photos of my little guy, they are so beautiful  I stare at them everyday.  One in particular was my favourite, and so I was SO excited to work with Posterjack.ca on a review to check out their service and get a print of our babe for the wall.

First up, Posterjack.ca offers the COOLEST services, all made from their Toronto location (get this, they actually produce more photo art than any other company in Canada!).  Not only can you get the more usual photo enlargements and mounted prints, but you can also get a canvas like I did, METAL prints (how cool is this?!), gorgeous acrylic prints, peel n' stick - I could redo all the wall art in the whole house with Posterjack's services!  The hardest part would be picking what photos I wanted.

Knowing I wanted to print this specific picture of my newborn I didn't have that problem this time, I decided on canvas because I thought it would really stand out and it's something different than other pictures we have on the wall.  So all I had to do was select Canvas Prints on Posterjack.ca - upload my image, pick a size and I was good to go!  I really liked the features on Posterjack that let me know my image quality was excellent, I could crop the photo right there if I wanted to, everything was very simple yet robust - not an easy combination!

Checking out was simple and talk about fabulous customer service - my image was just the right fit for the canvas, if any of the picture wrapped around the frame part of the baby's head would be cut off.  Posterjack emailed me to let me know about this and gave me options on how to do the wrap around frame, including the option they thought was best.  This means they actually LOOKED at my picture, they made sure something crazy didn't happen like just doing it and sending me an awful looking picture, I was so, SO very pleased with the fact they they obviously don't just run off the next project in the queue, they actually look at your photo, let you know if something isn't going to work, and give you options on how to make it look the best, THIS is customer service.  So I choose for them to use a mirror image of picture for the wrap around frame, and it looks fantastic!



When this arrived, my heart stopped, I was so happy, as any of my Facebook friends can attest, I posted about it immediately, praising my friend for the photo, Posterjack for the great work.  This canvas print will be on my wall for the rest of my life, I will always cherish this image of my baby boy, and thank you so much to Posterjack for making it happen, having amazing customer service and quality products.



Easy to hang, quality job done, I couldn't be happier!

I can't wait to order more prints in the future, would love to try a metal or acrylic print, what a great talking piece for your home! Truly, a work of art!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Sears The Baby’s Room is launching the Newborn Nesting Event! #SearsBabysRoom

Did you know Canada..  Sears has a fabulous promotion going on this month - If you buy $250 (before tax) worth of nursery must-haves (including cribs, furniture, gliders, and nursery decor/bedding) you’ll receive 15% back on a cash card!

This cash card works similarly to a gift card, so you can come back to The Baby’s Room for any last-minute additions to your nursery until May 31! For those shopping in Edmonton, you’ll receive 15% off at the point of purchase, instead of a cash card.  How awesome is this??



Our new little man is here and nicely set up in his room, a few of our must haves from Sears included Carter's receiving blankets (monkey themed of course) and our sweet monkey lamp as well.  A few other must haves for any nursery I think include a chair, laundry basket, some sweet baby bedding and of course your big items like a dresser, change table and crib.



That's not all that's happening at Sears this month, Sears The Baby's Room has you covered for Easter dress wear, with prices starting at just $19.97!  No need to break the bank for one special day, especially if sadly any outdoor egg hunts will be in winter coats (what's going on with the weather this week??).  You can still have your little ones dressed in a cute outfit for the season, snap some great photos and not be too sad when they are covered in chocolate at the end of the day. ;-)

The nesting event runs March 22 – April 4, so be sure to plan for a stop at Sears next week, and let me know some of your nursery must haves!

Disclosure: I am part of the Sears Canada The Baby’s Room Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Camp Expo 2013

Did you know Canada..  Toronto Representative Faniya has another great event update to share with us..

Spring is already here and we on the way of making plans for summer thinking about summer camp, adventures and vacation.




At the end of February we attended CampExpo2013, Canada’s largest camp fair to explore the day and overnight camps in Ontario and Quebec.  The week was snowy and stormy, but this did not stop parents and guardians to come to Roy Thomson Hall that day to learn about summer camps. The event was quite packed with attendees ready to find the right camp for their kids.   




The impression I received after talking to the Camp Representatives, most of them are people who work in camps with kids and even directors and owners, is that Summer Camps are more than just great places to spend summer days for your kids, Summer Camps are the places where kids continue learning the subjects and developing new skills but in another environments. Summer Camps are perfect for kids who want to advance their skills for example in sports or arts; or try something absolutely different never done before like kayaking or sailing. Choices are incredible! Some Camps caught my eye that day were Debate Camp which offers training in public speaking and debating; Camp KANDALORE traditional camp near the Lake Kabakwa focused on canoeing, canoe tripping plus about 30 other activities for kids; Camp Mini-Yo-We – unique combination of programs, activities and experienced staff with camp for boys, girls and Discovery Camp; CrestwoodValley Day Camp with first-class facilities in Toronto and exciting programming. There are so many to choose from.




There are lots of advantages of sending kids to camp from personal growth and skills development, teamwork to leadership, making friends and networking in a safe place. According to results of Canadian Summer Camp Research Project in 2012 over 65% of children showed positive change in making social connections and new campers showed the greatest degree of improvements in social integration.




If you did not attend Camp Expo this year, no worries, OurKids has awesome resources starting from choosing the right camp, location and type to budgeting and safety. Happy Camping!




Faniya

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Canucks Rock: All Canadian Link Up! 03/16

Welcome to our weekly All Canadian Link Up!  This weekend and every weekend, Canucks Rock! with our All Canadian Link Up and Candid Canuck feature interview.  Brought to you by your hosts: Did you know Canada?, Tales of a Ranting Ginger and Maple Leaf Mommy!

This Week's Candid Canuck is Alanna from Fridays Off. Check out our interview with her..



Tell us why you created your blog?

In February 2010 I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks pregnant and was completely devastated. I had been thinking about starting a blog and that was the event that pushed me into it. I needed something to occupy my brain when I got home from work and blogging helped heal my broken heart. Happily one year later I gave birth to a healthy, cute baby boy who I affectionately call L'il E in my blog posts. I'm pregnant again with number 2 and due in July, so I'll be dishing about pregnancy round 2 and life with baby all over again.


What is your favourite thing to write about?

This is a tough question to answer because it can change on a daily basis. When it comes to writing my blog I don't get bogged down with editorial calendars. I just write what feels right at that time whether it be a really great recipe I've tried, relationship advice, parenting advice, coping mechanisms, a cool beauty product I'm loving. I like writing about it all and I don't like to box myself in to specific categories.


If you could give a tip to a new blogger what would it be?

Write your blog for you and don't try to be someone you're not. If you're you, the words will naturally write themselves and your readers will love your posts.


Do you have a project you've created (food or fabric) you are most proud of?

My latest project is a big one and I'm super proud of it. I just launched my own online fabric shop aptly named Fridays Off Fabric Shop. I'm in the start up phase and slowly building my inventory of 100% cotton designer fabrics, sewing cards, and creating sewing kits. I am so excited about this project and my blog led me down this new avenue. You can check out my shop at http://fridaysoff.ca


Tell us about where you live in Canada. What do you want the rest of the world to know about your town/province/country.

I live in Toronto, Ontario. I think most of you know about Toronto and sadly have your own preconceived notions about the city. I live in the city's west end, I'm sandwiched between West Queen West and Parkdale. It's an awesome part of the city that has a little bit of grit combined with great restaurants, your choice of indy coffee shops, great parks for the littles, and cute little boutiques. I love living here and couldn't imagine living outside of my little bubble.


If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Sadly it wouldn't be in Canada :( I would come back and visit often though. I need sun, sand and heat and if I could live anywhere it would be either California or Costa Rica.



Thanks so much Alanna!

Would you like to be one of our featured Canucks?  Sign up here.

Right now, link up your Canadian blog and social media accounts, find some new reads and new friends!

Click here to grab this linky for your site!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

BlueWater Seafood - Giveaway

Did you know Canada..  Canadian company BlueWater Seafood, located in Lachine, Quebec), are now serving Gluten Free products as well!  BlueWater took the steps necessary to ensure that all of its Grill Fish products are gluten free. The great taste has remained the same as it always has been, but now procedures have been implemented at the production location to avoid cross-contamination, and there is ongoing monitoring and testing to ensure that Grill Fillets are gluten free.



Check out our post over on Canadian Moms Cook, not only for a couple great recipes, but also a giveaway!  Enter to be one of 3 BlueWater Prize Pack winners!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March Break Fun with Hasbro Canada

Did you know Canada..  we are on Day Two of March Break here.  I know some of you still have March Break coming next week and the week after.  For fun every day of the week Hasbro Canada has you covered with some great ideas on family fun!

Yesterday we checked out 2 fun items from Hasbro, their Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven and Angry Birds Star Wars Millennium Falcon Bounce Game!



My boys just finished taking a cooking class through our local Parks & Rec and have REALLY enjoyed cooking and creating in the kitchen, which I LOVE and their future wives can thank me for..haha..  So to foster that love even more at home, what a better way than the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven!  At 5 years old, the big oven is off limits to the boys, so they were very proud to have their own to use (with Mom's help of course).  We made cookies and had lots of fun!  The only thing the boys were a little disappointed about were not being able to watch the cookies cook like you can on the big oven, but it won't stop us from trying out more treats with the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven.



My guys two loves - Angry Birds and Star Wars - it's so exciting to see them put together!  And if you are any kind of Star Wars fan you know how very cool the Millennium Falcon is on it's own, add Angry Birds to it and you're a hero!  Fun to set up, even the box is part of the game that you get to decorate with stickers on the inside.  The boys have been having tons of fun with this, whether they are playing the actual game or just playing imagination games with all the pieces, it's one they enjoyed for hours yesterday, which was fantastic!!

Hasbro Canada also has many more fun ideas for this March Break, like their Play-doh Sweet Shoppe, JENGA Book Game, BeyBlades and more, you'll be able to have fun with the kids every day of the break!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Canucks Rock: All Canadian Link Up 02/09

Welcome to our weekly All Canadian Link Up!  This weekend and every weekend, Canucks Rock! with our All Canadian Link Up and Candid Canuck feature interview.  Brought to you by your hosts: Did you know Canada?, Tales of a Ranting Ginger and Maple Leaf Mommy!

This Week's Candid Canuck is Jacquelyn from The Gourmet Housewife. Check out our interview with her..



Tell us what inspires your recipes.

I subscribe to over 75 cooking blogs and 3 magazines. I love pouring over other recipes, which give me ideas for food I want to make.

What made you start a blog?

Not only do I love cooking, but I love sharing recipes too. I always have people comment about how my food is so "fancy", when it really isn't. I wanted to show that it is possible to cook restaurant quality food at home, with very little time and effort. You don't have to be a 5 star chef to move away from pan fried pork chops and boiled peas.

Have you ever tried a recipe that just did not turn out? Tell us about it.

Oh yes. Many times. Those ones just don't get documented. ;) I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so most times it's actually perfectly edible...and it drives my husband crazy that I'm so critical of myself.

For actual failures, there are two that stand out clearly in my mind:

#1: I used to make this chocolate cake as a kid, but every time I did, it didn't hold together and kept falling apart. It was still delicious, but you had to eat it in a bowl with a spoon. The recipe called for "1 cup sour milk (1 tsp vinegar)", which I assumed meant: "If you don't have sour milk, just put in the vinegar." I didn't understand that I was supposed to add the vinegar TO the milk to make buttermilk.

#2: I am TERRIBLE at doubling or halving a recipe. I always miss one ingredient. I made oatmeal cookies using the recipe on the back of the Robin Hood bag. They were flat and see-through. I kept ranting, "You would THINK that the people who made the oats would know how to make oatmeal cookies!" Turns out...when I was doubling the recipe, I forgot to double the oats.

Is there something you want to try but have not had a chance to do it? If yes, what?

So much! A couple on my list to try soon are making my own homemade chèvre (goat cheese) and dumplings.

Why do you dislike cilantro so much? If a recipe calls for it, what do you use?

I used to be okay with cilantro, but something changed about 10 years ago. The smell actually gives me a headache. I keep trying to train myself to like it, so I can handle it in small quantities, but I find that for me it adds nothing to a recipe. Most times I just omit it from a recipe, though once in awhile I'll substitute fresh parsley instead.

Surviving Canadians winters, what can you simply not live without during the wintertime?

My oven. There's just something about snowy winter days that makes me want to bake. It's always going full steam during the winter months, popping out bread, cinnamon buns and cookies on a weekly basis. My husband and coworkers love it. ;)



Thanks so much Jacquelyn!  Want to be one of our featured Canucks?  Sign up here.

Right now, link up your Canadian blog and social media accounts, find some new reads and new friends!

Click here to grab this linky for your site!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Time to Play with DK Canada

Did you know Canada..  our friends at DK Canada, who make the most beautiful, entertaining books in my opinion, think it's Time to Play this March Break, and we agree!



Check out their Time to Play Boutique for savings on books and activities that will keep everyone busy and having fun next week.  We recently checked out the Lego Brickmaster Lego City and Star Wars sets.



These fun books come WITH the appropriate legos to make buildings, vehicles and people!

You follow the fully coloured, step-by-step instructions, all compacted in a nice kit to keep the legos together (Thank-You!) and the kids can make up to 6 different models!  Lots of fun to build, play, destroy, and rebuild!



Check out what we've created so far, my boys are so proud of their accomplishments, this is something we enjoy doing as a family, and what a perfect project for March Break that can be done over a series of days.



That's not all the Time to Play Boutique has to offer either, check out books on crafts, cooking, doodling, science experiments and more - great for any ages and genders!

Visit DK Canada today for awesome savings on these fun books and more!

First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit

Did you know Canada..  I still have taxes on the brain, as many of you do I'm sure.  There are more credits not everyone knows about, like the First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit.

The First-Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit is part of Canada's Economic Action Plan to help Canadians purchase their first home (You must not have lived in a home owned by you or your spouse in the last five years).  This doesn't have to be a free standing home, it can also include townhouses, semis, apartments, mobile homes or condos like Sax condo.  It does have to be your principal residence though, something like a cottage would not count.

So what it is is a $750 rebate for everyone buying their first home.  After you buy your first home, the credit must be claimed within the year of purchase and it is non-refundable, claiming it on your personal income tax return on line 369.

While it won't sway a decision on purchasing a home or not, it's a nice bonus anyways.

What tax credits are you taking advantage of this year?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Family Day with Sears Canada #SearsBabysRoom

Did you know Canada..  our Toronto Representative Faniya attended a fantastic event for us last month at Sears..





In February on Family Day I was lucky to be with Sears Canada to celebrate the exciting launch of Carter’s and OshKosh brands. Buying these brands before I can say that they are fabulous new additions to Sears family of products.

I am glad that Tracy Culleton,  Sears Canada VP, Kids Room, and Carter’s Inc. VP of Wholesale and eCommerce, Charlotte Taylor-Wright were with us that day to celebrate this amazing news and tell us more about these family-focused brands.      



Carter’s and OshKosh  colourful prints and fancy design will make you enjoy the spring and anticipate the summer as the summer collections feature jungle graphics and stylized animal prints.  At school, on the beach or a playground your kid will look stylish and feel comfortable thanks to brands quality and thoughtful design details. I walked through the isles that day and I was feeling a summer breeze of these colours around me.



Since I have a boy and I buy mostly boy’s clothes and I was impressed with great prices at OshKosh on tees, jackets, shorts and other clothing. 

Carter’s offers stylish clothing from newborn - 24 months for babies and young children up to size 7.  OshKosh clothing range in size from newborn - 24 months for babies and children 2T-5T, from $7-$24. These clothes will be on the shelves at 79 Sears locations across Canada and online at Sears.ca

Faniya

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Boating in Canada

Did you know Canada..  if you are like me, you're already day dreaming about May 2-4 weekend, trips to the beach, maybe renting a cottage or getting out on the water.  If you are thinking about renting a boat or renting a cottage that supplies a boat, there are things you need to know.

You must have a canadian boat licence - yes, you, you and even you.  Everyone who will be operatoring a recreational powered watercraft who operate within Canadian waters needs a card. Regardless of age, engine size, or length of boat.  Once you have the card there are no restrictions for those 16 and older, there are still some restrictions for those less than 16 though...

  • Under 16 years of age - Not allowed to operate a PWC 
  • Between 12 years and under 16 years of age,and not directly supervised - Can operate vessels with under 40 hp
  • Under 12 years of age, and not directly supervised - Can operate vessels with under 10 hp


My husband got his boating licence a few years ago, at that time he had to take an in class lesson, do the exam during the class and it was a bit of a pain in the butt to be honest.  But now it's much simpler.

You can take the course and test online in the comfort on your own home, retakes are free as well if you do not pass the exam the first time.  Once you pass you can print off your temp licence and you are good to go!

The fines for not having your Pleasure Craft Operator Card on board with you vary province by province; it may be as high as $250.  Always make sure you have the card with you to avoid fines!

Who's planning on going boating this summer??

Monday, March 4, 2013

WSPA

Did you know Canada.. the WSPA is the World Society for the Protection of Animals.  They have worked to expose animal cruelty and prevent animal suffering for more than 30 years.

The WSPA works with individuals, organizations and governments across the globe, they work towards ending the mass suffering of industrially farmed animals, protecting animals in disasters and more.




You can make the world a better place for farm animals every day too. Simply commit to making more humane food choices when you shop and eat.  You can take the pledge and join the global barnyard!

Take the pledge and commit to making life better for farm animals.  By making more humane food choices when we shop and eat (such as choosing pasture-raised animal products, cage-free eggs, etc.), we can use our purchasing power to change the conditions in which farm animals live.

This is kinda fun too, as a thank you for taking the pledge,  you can “Farmify” your face, and share the fun photo with your social networks, friends and family.


Sadly most farm animals live in extremely cramped conditions. They are fed unnatural diets, antibiotics and suffer painful mutilations like de-beaking and tooth breaking so they can be kept at huge numbers on factory farms.  I think it's time to take the pledge, what about you?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Canucks Rock: All Canadian Link Up! 02/02

Welcome to our weekly All Canadian Link Up!  This weekend and every weekend, Canucks Rock! with our All Canadian Link Up and Candid Canuck feature interview.  Brought to you by your hosts: Did you know Canada?, Tales of a Ranting Ginger and Maple Leaf Mommy!

This Week's Candid Canuck is Elizabeth from Frugal Mom Eh! check out our interview with her..




Do you have a money saving tip you would like to share?
I think the best way to save money is to take a good look at your monthly bills. Your cell phone bill, your electrical/hydro bill, your cable bill etc… All your telecommunication bills are NEGOTIABLE! Shop around at your providers competition and call in to your current provider armed with the “amazing” offers you are considering switching to. Ask for the “loyalty” or “retention dept” to get the most savings. If you are paying for services without any discounts or offers you are being ripped off! As far as utility bills take a look at how you can reduce your consumption. You can easily cut down on your water usage and your electrical usage without depriving yourself.

You have had some great products featured on your blog. What is your fave product/brand you have reviewed and why?
That’s so hard! I have been really blessed to have worked with some really great companies over the past year, it’s incredible. LilHelper has been really fabulous to deal with, I can’t say enough good things about those guys, and their cloth diapers rock! I also recently worked with SodaStream and Samsung on product reviews and I definitely have to put the SodaStream Fizz and the Samsung Series 9 UltraBook up there with my favourite products I’ve reviewed. DK Canada books are really wonderful to deal with and have such amazing quality books. Hasbro is also a lot of fun to work with – my daughter absolutely loves the Rocktivity Sit to Stand Musik Skool we reviewed. Honestly this is such a difficult question to answer because I really value the relationship I have with so many brands I can’t pick just one!

What is your biggest pet peeve about blogs, bloggers or blogging?
Oh but I have so many! When it comes to blogs themselves, I can’t stand an unorganised messy looking blog.


Where do you see your blog in a year from now? Do you have any fave blogs you read often? Share with us 2 of your must reads.
Bigger, better but similar. I’m not planning any big changes. Just hoping for growth like everyone I suppose.

I have so many blogs that I read regularly and have since before I started blogging myself. I have 3 Canadian blogs that I’ve been reading for a while now and motivated me to start my own so I am going to share all 3 rather than just 2. Tales of a Ranting Ginger, Feisty Frugal and Fabulous and Mommy Kat and Kids.

You have one hour alone to yourself, what do you do?
Oh gosh I would take the longest, hottest, bubbliest bath in the history of bathing with a BIG glass of wine and a book. Bliss!



Thanks so much Elizabeth!  Want to be one of our featured Canucks?  Sign up here.

Right now, link up your Canadian blog and social media accounts, find some new reads and new friends!

Click here to grab this linky for your site!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 
Blog Giveaway Directory
Sweepsadvantage