23 Jul

Summer with Epicure

Summer is in full swing here on the east coast of Canada. Thankfully the weather has been mostly co-operative which means we spend lots of time on the deck with family and friends and eating of course.

burgerThere’s nothing better than BBQ eats during the summer months.  Whether it’s hamburgers, steak, chicken, lobster, you name it, it nearly always tastes better when it’s been cooked on the BBQ.  I was introduced to Epicure a few years ago by a very good friend of mine.  I, like other friends went to an Epicure party to try some of the low salt dips.  Well, they aren’t just limited to dips anymore, but also include spices meant just for the summer.  The first time I tried Epicure I found that the spices lacked salt, that’s when my friend said “you then have control over how much salt is added to your meals”.  Bingo! This made so much sense.

The summer line, which we’ve been enjoying includes glazes and rubs:

Fish Rub
Montreal Chicken Rub (my favourite for kabobs)
Montreal Steak Rub
Oh Canada (Maple glaze and garlic)

Good Burgers Really FastAnd if making your own burgers is on your list, there’s a special Good Burger. Real Fast. package that has everything you need including a “special sauce” which tastes very much like “the original” really yummy burger sauce, but a little cleaner.

burger pressBut it didn’t even stop there, we made our own burgers,,, from scratch – no kidding!  I know it’s really easy to buy frozen premade burgers from the store, but making your own burgers from scratch can be just as easy with this Burger Press and then you know exactly what it is you are eating.  You add the spices, you add the cheese and then you press the burgers into a patty you’ve made yourself!  The Epicure recipe doesn’t call for an egg, but I recommend it to keep your patties together.

penguin popsMy personal favourite product of all however is the Squeeze and Eat Pops. These cute little penguins molds freeze up within a few hours and I get to control how much “liquid sugar” the kids get to enjoy.  1 part juice to 1 part water.  They love cold pops during the summer (well anytime really) and I always prefer making these at home.  The mold can stand up on its own and the suction of the cover is so tight that the liquid doesn’t fall out when they are right side up to freeze.  When the pop is frozen turn the mold and cover upside down and the cover becomes a holder – genius.  This also helps to keep the pop upright (ie. not dripping on the floor) while the kids are eating it.

We will continue to BBQ until at least the end of October, making the most of the good weather until the snow starts to fall.  As the for Squeeze and Eat Pops… Those will be in use all year round.

In all honesty, at first I did find Epicure lacked in salt content, but when I start cutting back on salt you realize how salty everything else was.  In a way, it’s actually kind of scary…

Giveaway:  
1 lucky Canadian reader will receive a $100 Epicure summer package including the Squeeze and Eat Pops and more.   (Open to Canada, closes August 7th @ 11:59pm PST)

To Enter: 
Let me know what your favourite BBQ item is in the comments below.

Bonus:
Visit the epicure site And let me know what you’d like to try out this summer in the comments below.

Bonus:
Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post.

**Disclaimer:  I received these items from Epicure to test out with my family and friends.

14 Jun

Your Family Doesn’t Have to Rely on “Dr. Google!”

“Is there a doctor in the house?” These are common words heard in an emergency situation and the truth is, yes there’s always a doctor in everyone’s house.  It’s a doctor we rely for every ailment from fevers to tummy aches and the doctor’s name is “Dr. Google”.

I am so guilty of using Dr. Google, for myself and the kids. It’s probably a very bad habit to get into as the outcome usually surrounds the worst case scenario.  Try searching something simple like “mole growth” and the results will be: You have cancer and are dying, get to a doctor now… Actually you’re lucky if you even make it to a doctor because you’re so close to death just go to the emergency room.  This may be a bit of an exaggeration but more often than not, when I Google a symptom there’s an example of the same symptoms leading to quick and sudden death.  This is very scary, especially as a parent with 2 young kids.

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A “deadly cancerous mole” that is getting bigger and bigger is actually just a “regular mole” but is growing because the once baby is now a toddler and she’s getting bigger too. I’m not sure why I continue to use Dr. Google as s/he’s mostly incorrect and only creates anxiety.  It turns out, I’m not alone. You guys are all doing it too!  According to a recent study, 71% of Atlantic Canadians rely on the internet to make health diagnosis… and more often than not, the diagnosis is wrong.

It’s way easier to consult Dr. Google than it is  to go visit your doctor for a minor ailment.  We don’t want to be a pest or bother or busy doctor with our “minor” issues, so we consult with the Internet.  Well, luckily for us in Nova Scotia, there are other, more easily accessible options.  We can consult right with our local pharmacist.

A pharmacist can give informed advice on over the counter medication as well as consult and write a prescription (when appropriate) for minor medical ailments.

Please view the below chart for treatments a pharmacist can help you with:

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So next time you turn to your In house Dr. Google and are feeling frightened after reading stories worse than Stephen King horror stories; there’s no need to full on panic. Make a quick stop into your local Shoppers Drug Mart and talk to your friendly local pharmacist.  One just happens to be my lovely aunt, so I can truly vouch for how helpful, friendly and sensitive they can be.

18 May

Delta Temp2OTM shower head

I remember as a child I would act out what my parents did with their daily routine.  While dad lathered his face with shaving cream and took a sharp razor to his face, I would use Popsicle sticks, clean them off in the water and then take another swipe to get that “close shave”.

IMG_5567The same thing is now happening in my home with the two girls.  Luckily I’m not the one needing to shave my face, but I do put on makeup, straighten my hair and paint my nails.  The girls are right there behind me.  I’ve made them fake makeup and we have kiddy nail polish so they can have fun playing dress up as well.

As it turns out, it doesn’t stop there.  My 6 year old now wants to take showers just like her mom and dad.  I admit, there’s nothing more I love than a hot shower or tub, who doesn’t love the “quiet time” with  water splashing and massaging your back (while the kids bang on the door asking what’s taking so long).  I’m not sure at 6, my daughter doesn’t really understands the true benefits of a shower (apparent quiet time), but she’s starting to take them on her own now.

Since I enjoy a steaming hot shower, my own guesstimate on an appropriate water temperature for a  baby/toddler or child is most likely way off.  I think I’ve been known to over compensate towards coldness because I know my tolerance for hot is above average.  Delta has created the perfect solution, a shower with the Delta Temp2OTM shower head, it has a built in thermometer.

My vision is very poor, my eyes are -9.5.   The first few times I was using the new delta shower head, I didn’t even know there was a temperature displayed.  Thankfully there’s a change in colour when things get really hot or cold, all I knew was that I liked it when the dark purple colour nearly turned red, but red was too hot.  I would fiddle with the hot and cold water until I got it to that perfect level.

One day, I wore my contacts in the shower (not recommended, I’ve lost a few this way) and I was very amused and chucked to myself over the brilliance of the actual temperature degrees displayed on the devise.  This is genius for parents like myself that have young kids that want to be independent and use a shower.  The suggested temperature for kids is 36-38, I personally would think 36 is probably the best temperature to keep them comfortable.  With the colour change, it’s easy for parents to keep a close eye on the kids without having to hover and stick your hand under the shower every few moments to ensure the temperature is right.

Where the temperature is displayed, there are no spray holes which creates a natural shape for rinsing shampoo from hair.  I find this most beneficial for the 6 year old it has significantly reduced the amount soap that ends up in her eyes.  She’s still learning how to tilt her head back to get rinse out the suds. For myself, I have had nearly 30 years of bending my neck back to a certain angle to get the shampoo rinsed from my forehead, now I have to put it back even further than I’m accustomed to, but once again no soap in eyes is a good thing.

This will also be great for cleaning our dog, with the handle I can take the shower head down, and know that the temperature is ok for our dog.

On another note, I love it when the kids want to copy me and brush their teeth!
Winner: @tobyhir

Giveaway:

One lucky Canadian reader is going to receive a Delta shower head.  Open to Canadians only and closes on June 1st @ 11:59pm PST.
To Enter:
Please make a comment below about what other types of things kids tend to copy.

Bonus Entry: 

Follow me on Twitter and send out a tweet about this giveaway. (Make sure to put your tweet link in the comments below). 

**Disclaimer: I have received this product from Delta to try out, and it turns out, we like it… So I wrote about it.  If you have kids/pets at home, chances are you may like it too, but as always these are my personal views.

17 Apr

Being Fit is a Daily Thing

 

 

 

 

I was part of subway Canada’s commit to fit 6 week challenge once again this spring. If you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen the weekly updates and tips on daily activities you can do to help you stay fit and keep motivated.

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What were Carl’s weekly tips? Well if you missed them, here they are, plus a bit of my thoughts:

Week 1: More Water

This week’s challenge is to drink 1L more water daily than you usually do, to a maximum of 2.7 L for women and 3.7 L for men.

My thoughts: Although I know the importance of water, I do need that reminder.

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Week 2 – Load Up on Fruits and Veggies

Your challenge for this week is to have fruits and/or vegetables with every meal and every snack throughout the week. Vegetables should take up half of the space on your plate, and fruit acts as a great substitute for unhealthy desserts. I challenge you to try some new vegetables, too!

My thoughts: if I’m hungry and want to make a smart choice, fruits and veggies are absolutely the best. I know I can pretty much eat as much as I want without feeling guilty. I also load my subs upwith veggies – including banana peppers.

Week 3 – Squats

We’re going to start slow with 10 squats in the morning on Monday, and 10 in the evening. Throughout the week, I challenge you to increase your squat count by 10:

* Tuesday: 20 in the morning and 20 in the evening

* Wednesday: 30/30

* Thursday: 40/40

* Friday: 50/50

My thoughts: I’m really terrible with this challenge. While I completely understand the benefits, it’s really hard to get squats in throughout the day. I have to start working them it into my routine, perhaps while I wait for coffee to brew.

Week 4 – More Sleep/Relax Time.

Each day this week, try to replace time in front of a screen – computer, TV, phone, tablet – with reading a book or quietly relaxing before sleep.

My thoughts: It’s not always possible with a bust household. Once the kids are asleep, I do like to take a bit of me time, and like I always tell girls “good nights make for good days”. I always feel better after a good nights rest.

Week 5 – Food Journal

This weeks challenge is to keep a daily, written food journal of everything you eat.

Keeping a food journal helps us to know exactly what we’re eating and when. Tracking this information will help you to better understand your eating habits and make you really think before you eat something. You’ll be able to see how much you’re eating throughout the day, and if there are specific patterns to your eating habits – do you eat a snack at 3pm every day because you’re hungry, or just because you feel like it?

My thoughts: if I had to suggest just one thing, it would be to keep a food journal including calories. Using an app and keeping track each day has been the most successful method I have used to date. If you’re looking for a sure way to trim down, this is your absolute best bet. The hard part is sticking to your daily allotment of calories however. If you keep a journal but continue to “go over your limit” you’re not going to see results.

Week 6 – Me Time

This week’s challenge is to take 30 minutes for your own personal health goals each day. This could mean taking a 30-minute walk, listening to a podcast on the latest health trends, or reading a magazine to learn about new exercise routines or healthy dinner ideas. No matter what your individual training schedule is, it’s important to take time to turn down the intensity of exercise and let your body recover.

My thoughts: in a busy house hold, it’s very easy to lose track of yourself and your goals. I think having that daily mental check is important.

Overall, the thing with fitness and health is that it’s something you truly need to look at each and every day. Dont look at these tips and think they are for one week at a time and that’s it. These are all things to incorporate into each and every day. Don’t focus on being health just for tomorrow because with it comes to health, today is the day that counts and all we’re guaranteed is today.

Giveaway:

1 lucky Canadian reader is going to win a $25 subway canada gift card. (Open to Canadians, closes April 24th @ 11:59 pm PST)

To Enter:

Please make a comment below about your favourite tip or if you have another tip you’d like to add

Bonus Entry:

Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post (comment below with a link to your tweet you can include @subwaycanada in your tweet too)

*Disclaimer: I love Subway and have for many years, so I’m super pleased to work with them on this campaign.
Winner: Tammy Dalley

16 Mar

Give Them Confidence

Having to raise two girls puts a lot of stress on a mother.  I was a young girl myself long ago and the world has certainly changed since the days I wore over sized red glasses and had bangs that reached 2.5 inches high.  How am I to ensure the girls have confidence in this new world, not just while they’re young, but in their teen years and right through to adulthood?

No pressure, parents, but this one rests solely on you…. Ok, thankfully not completely, but it’s important we can give them a good base to begin with.

The other day my daughter was drawing a picture at the dinner table. I struggled to sip my coffee in one hand while, with the the other, I was trying to balance a toddler on my knee as she lunged for more crayons to imitate her sister’s drawing.  The girls drew their pictures and I watched in awe as they showed off their work.  It’s a common occurrence in our home.  The girls are always busy drawing/colouring/crafting… (Insert any kid activity, they enjoy doing everything), I participate and life is good.  When the project is done, we’re all pleased, then we do it all again the next day… Or hour.

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This one time, however, I was encouraged to look at these activities in a new light during a visit from my cousin, who’s a father of four. The girls did their artsy thing, I balanced the young toddler as she imitated her sister and they showed off their work as usual.  I didn’t even think twice, but as they finished their work, they showed everyone and asked “do you like it? do you like it?” And of course as an encouraging mother, I replied “yes of course, it’s beautiful, let’s put it on the fridge”.  That’s when my more experienced cousin chimed in, asking the girls whether, more importantly, THEY liked the drawings they done. This struck me really hard.

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It’s more important for my girls to feel pleased in their own work than to seek approval from others.  This is true not simply in their artwork, but for everything in life.  If they learn this at a young age, it’s my hope that they will have confidence in themselves as teenagers and not always seek the approval of their peers.  As long as they can feel pleased with the way they look, their clothing, their grades….  the approval and confirmation from peers and boys hopefully won’t be required, because they have already satisfied themselves with their own confidence.

 

From now on, rather then simply saying “yes, I love the way you managed to rearrange the Christmas tree with all the ornaments at the bottom”, I will be more inclined to ensure they are proud of their own work. It’s a very simple thing I feel that I, as a parent, can instill in the girls; their own confidence and future depend on it.

 

Confidence starts at a young age…

 

It’s time to deal with bedwetting head-on. Visit Control bed wetting www.controlbedwetting.ca to learn about helpful tips on dealing with your child about bedwetting.

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Ferring Canada via Mode Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Ferring Canada.

 

19 Feb

Tax time – what you can claim

It’s Tax Time Again. Here’s the 411 on What’s New for Your Tax Return.


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The holidays weren’t that long ago but believe it or not, spring will be here before we know it. And with spring comes tax season. Are you ready? Make sure you are up to date on what’s different about your tax return this year because there are new tax credits that can help keep a few dollars in your pocket where they belong. Caroline Battista, senior tax analyst with H&R Block, provides insight into these new credits and who can benefit from them:

• New Family Tax Cut: The Family Tax Cut provides a tax credit to families with children under 18 equal to the tax savings that would be realized if up to $50,000 of taxable income were transferred from the higher income to the lower income spouse or common-law partner. The maximum credit is capped at $2,000.

• Pumped up Children’s Fitness Tax Credit: If your children are active, the government increased the Children’s Fitness Tax Credit to $1,000 and made it retroactive for 2014. Parents should claim the receipts in the year they paid – not the year the activity takes place.

• Remember the First-Time Donor Super Credit: Much like the name implies, if you were a first-time donor in 2014, you will get some extra credit for your donation. Originally introduced last year, when we asked Canadians on a Leger survey if they were aware of the credit, 72 per cent said no.

• New search and rescue credit: Meant to complement the volunteer firefighters credit, search and rescue volunteers who put in 200 hours or more of work can claim a personal amount of $3,000, which means $450 tax savings.

IMG_6458-1And more good news for Canadian families. Though the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB) does not show up in your tax refund, parents with children under 18 will start to see an increased benefit in July 2015. For children under six, the monthly amount will be $160 (up from $100) and for children between six and 18, it will be $60 a month. The increase for January to June will be paid in a lump sum in July 2015. And then parents can expect the increased amounts to arrive monthly after that. If you haven’t applied for the Canada Child Tax Benefit, use Form RC66.

These, and other possible credits, can make a difference on your 2014 tax return; even a few dollars can make a difference. Battista advises Canadians to do their homework before they file in order to take advantage of every credit you are entitled to. If you don’t feel comfortable doing your own taxes, visit a local H&R Block office where a professional can assist you in every step, do a thorough review of your information and ensure you don’t miss a thing.

** Disclosure: this is a sponsored post, but I hope you will be able to use some of these tips to get some money back come tax time.

12 Feb

Valentine’s Day Love – Red Velvet Blizzard Cake

We’re in the middle of winter here in Canada.  Despite the cold weather, every year around this time, things heat up because the warmth of love is in the air – if just for a few days.  I truly enjoy showing people love.  I have a lot to give, so while many feel Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday, I think it’s fine if we’re reminded if only once a year, that it’s marvelous to show other people love and celebrate it.

Red Velvet Blizzard Cake

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to just be for “lovers” either.  It’s important to show love to everyone we meet throughout the day (everyday) and especially to those who are nearest and dearest to us.  Caring doesn’t mean you have to buy the most expensive presents like diamond rings; giving people your undivided attention, being truly engaged, listening, and helping around the house are simple ways to show others you love them. I’m a firm believer that love is present in it’s actions and not simply in words.
I’d be remiss however if I didn’t mention a little something about chocolate (and ice cream) at Valentine’s Day.  It’s pretty much my favorite things together in harmony, love and chocolate and ice cream. The only thing that would make it better is if I was on a warm beach. Valentine’s Day … chocolate … Ice cream … Beach – ok that was kind of a hint – I hope my darling husband is reading this.  Friends, could you please tag him, I prefer to be discrete.

Dreaming……

And I’m back…. But without a tan :(

This Valentine’s my family and I cooled things down with a little Red Velvet Blizzard Cupid cake from Dairy Queen.  This cake is the perfect size for our little family of 4 / 5 (my mom’s with us most of the time).  We each had a few small pieces without feeling too guilty.   Generally Dairy Queen cakes are for special occasions with lots of people, birthdays, anniversaries and big parties.  This mini Red Velvet blizzard cake (at only $12.99) is perfect for a smaller get together, family or maybe for lovers to share.  The cake is made with the classic Dairy Queen ice cream but on the inside there’s  a layer of red velvet cake and a layer of blizzard.  We were also able to get the cake personalized in less than 1 minute.  I should have thought of something more creative, but I guess Happy Valentine’s pretty much covers it.

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We often call desserts “love”, so this Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to bring a little “love” home.  This little red velvet blizzard cake is available in adorable cupcake form too.

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Giveaway: 1 lucky Canadian reader is going to receive a $20 Dairy Queen GC as well as a special jewellery box with a fitting surprise.

To Enter: Make a comment below on how you show others love

Bonus Entry: Follow me on Twitter @myweeview and Tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post

Bonus Entry: Like my page on Facebook

 

Giveaway is open to Canadians, closes February 28th @ 11:59 PM AST

 

 

*Disclosure, this is a sponsored post.  But seriously, please think about love not just at Valentine’s Day, but all year round.