20 Oct

Memories with McCain’s

With thanksgiving behind us and Christmas right around the corner it’s hard not to be nostalgic about the wonderful traditions I remember as a young child and try to make the best memories for my own kids.

I remember spending time at my grandparents house surrounded by loving family and friends and an abundance of food.  We played games, we sang songs we joked we laughed we cried (when it was time to leave) overall, my parents have left me with the most amazing memories.

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A few things will stick in my mind forever, like the hours we spent playing IQ 2000  and the Game of Life – I think there were only 2 games at granny’s house.  Whenever I see either of those games I’m taken back to my childhood and teenaged years and it puts a smile on my face as it’s all good memories.  Thankfully I don’t have a van full of twin boys.

I was recently asked by McCain if I was interested in their classic cakes.  When I received the email, I couldn’t help but think of the time I spent at my grandmothers as a child with all my cousins.  The McCain Deep n Delicious cakes were guaranteed to be in my grandmas fridge when we visited.  The moist chocolate / marble/ vanilla cake with creamy chocolate or vanilla frosting and topped off with perfectly laid out sprinkles.  Without even seeing a cake in front of me, I can recall  the perfection in each cake and eating more than a slice or two over the years.

It’s not that my grandmother can’t or didn’t/doesn’t bake, she can certainly whip up a pie better than anything I’ve ever made, but value for dollar and in terms of a bought cake, the McCain Deep n Delicious cakes are one of the best and she could always have a frozen one waiting and ready to go for our arrival. Even today when I go to my grandmas house (and I won’t tell you how old she is, but I am 35… So take that into consideration), there’s still a Deep n Delicious cake waiting for us.  While I personally love the chocolate cake (you’re surprised, I know) with chocolate frosting, there are a lot of different options:

Who would think that a signature cake would bring back so many great memories? I’ll think of my grandparents place for years to come every time I’m served a piece of delicious McCain cake.  And, just to add some extra nostalgic feeling, I’ll make sure to serve it on the finest China with a cup of tea, just like granny.  Or have a piece while watching the Blue Jays game with my grandfather while he watches the game with two sets of glasses on… These are good times!

“Disclosure: This post was brought to you by McCain Foods Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of McCain Foods Canada.”

28 Sep

Children’s Vision Month

I was 5 when I got my first pair of glasses. I’m by no means an expert, but I would think 5 is one of the more common ages kids get glasses for the first time. It wasn’t until I started school and my teacher noticed I was struggling to see the chalkboard (yes chalkboard it was 1985) that I was sent for eye testing. Sure enough, I required eye glasses. This same type of story is most likely consistent with many early glasses wearing kids. I would also feel confident to make the assumption that teachers are the ones that suggest to parents that their kids get their eyes checked.

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(my first pair of glasses – 1985)

October is Children’s Vision Month. With the kids back to school and settled in for a new year, it’s the best time to get eyes checked. Kids have all summer to play and not have to worry about seeing the whiteboard, the beginning of the school year would be the time to catch any vision problems to ensure the best success for the school year (don’t wait for the teacher to make the suggestion).

Every week from September 28th – November 9th, one randomly selected winner will receive an HP Pavilion laptop and a rebate of up to three-hundred dollars CAD of goods and services from a Doctor of Optometry (excluding eye exams). Five of these prize packages will be awarded, with winners randomly selected on Wednesdays, from October 7 to November 4. All contest entries will also automatically be entered to win the grand prize.

The Grand Prize, which will be randomly selected on November 12, includes an HP ENVY Recline computer (valued at $,1700), one five-hundred dollar gift certificate to a sporting goods store of the winner’s choice, one rebate of up to three-hundred dollars of goods and services from a Doctor of Optometry (excluding eye exams), and one $2,500 contribution towards an RESP or other educational savings plan. That’s a huge giveaway!

This contest is open to all Canadians (except residents of Quebec) who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. Full sweepstakes rules are available at DOCcontest.com . Participants must have a valid Facebook account to enter.

So parents you now have some homework set for yourselves.

1. Get your families eyes checked

2. Visit DOCcontest.com to learn more and enter the giveaways.

Good Luck!

*Disclosure: I strongly encourage all parents to get their kids eyes checked, as I know my story is not unique.  While this is a sponsored post, it’s a reminder about the importance of regular eye checkups.

09 Sep

When to Visit a Pharmacist

Welcome to the new school year. Summer has gone by in the blink of an eye and now we’re back to the “regular routine” which actually feels like a whirlwind. With all the activities and two kids it seems like my calendar is so jammed packed there’s no time to think.

A few months ago, I wrote a post about pharmacists and how they can give advise, and in some cases, prescriptions for minor ailments. Have you taken advantage of that yet? If not, I would recommend it. A quick session with a pharmacist is easy to build into your regular routine while picking up “a carton of milk, a loaf of bread or a stick of butter”. While you may be tempted to search Dr. Google I only recommend it if you want to increase your stress levels.

What can you visit your pharmacist about? I’ll give you a refresher:

Allergies
Acne
Cold sores
Joint and muscle pain

Or just print out this handy dandy quick reference sheet and walk in to talk to your neighborhood pharmacist. (Click Image for larger view)
Minor Ailment Treatment Options - Rx & OTC-2

My husband is a seasonal allergy sufferer. The runny, drippy nose, itchy eye type of allergies. He visited the local pharmacist and has used their advise to find the best medication for his allergies. For the past 2 years he’s been very pleased with the service and the results he’s had during allergy season (or should I say allergy seasons… Spring, summer and fall). He’s suffered with the allergies for years and years and this is now the best he has ever felt.

The school year is busy enough with the kids, if there’s a way to make your life easier, take advantage of it.

Happy “return to chaos” I mean back to routine month!

**Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. This is has been my families own experience using a pharmacist, your experiences may differ. And if you see my auntie, say hello, she’s super kind.  She’s been a pharmacist at Shoppers for at least 20 years.

12 Aug

Cesar’s Mix Feeding Program

If you would have told me a month ago there was a solution to my dogs rancid breath, I would have passed your suggestion by.  Sure, I know there are solutions, like chewing doggie bones but my little Cammy isn’t into those bones and sending her to the dentist… I may as well be singing off on her death certificate.  I’ve brushed them myself regularly with peanut butter flavored toothpaste but within just a few hours, doggie breath makes its reappearance.  We all still love Cammy to pieces, but she has rank dog breath.

A few months ago, I was asked to participate in the #mixfeeding blogger program with Cesars.  The mix feeding program included using wet and dry food.  This is something we  regularly did anyway.  Cammy would enjoy 1/2 a tin of Cesars on dry food every morning.  The big change would only be the brand of dry food.   I’m always up for a good challenge and it seems Cammy was ready too.

Cammy once ruled the house but now with 2 kids in toe, it’s not often she gets anything new.  The people at Cesars sent Cammy a new bed a new collar and a few other nice treats including a brush and dishes.  She was in her glory with her new digs although the girls quickly sorted through the assortment, once again leaving Cammy not being able to enjoy her new toys first. But being 12 years old in dog years, she’s learned a lot and she didn’t let it get to her.

The program started on June 25.  For one month we were to start her on the Cesars dry food as well as 1 can on wet food.  I already knew how much she enjoyed the wet food and being only ~10 pounds I figure 1/2 a serving a day is enough for a good treat.

>cesarsRight away I was surprised at how much she enjoyed her dry food.  She’s never been one to regularly lick her plate clean, but in the first few days, I noticed we had to replenish her dish.  It seemed that Cammy really enjoyed being part of the program too.  While we didn’t serve her a generic brand of dog food before, she is a senior now and we had been buying the same food for a number of years.  Perhaps a bit of a change was good?

It took about 2 weeks to fully notice the big difference but one day, it struck me really hard.  We were sending Cammy for a sleepover and I always feel so embarrassed for poor Cammy’s dog breath.  When I went to pack her up and cleaned up her eyes and beard I noticed she didn’t smell bad.  Not only didn’t she smell bad, she didn’t smell at all.  I was shocked.  She really had the worst doggy breath ever.

I know these are pretty big claims to make.  And I have tried to come up with every other reason that her breath could be normal now, but nothing else in her life changed.  It’s the only thing that has been different in the last month an a half.

I will say without a doubt, the Cesars dry food has definitely convinced me that it’s doing good things for my little Cammy.  I can’t explain how or why, but I have continued and will continue to feed Cammy this food even though the program has been completed for over 2 weeks now.  A part of me does want to go back to the old food just to test, but for the sake of those around her, we much prefer her current breath over what we had for the last years.

Thank you Cesars for getting us out of our regular routine and for asking us to try something new.  We always love Cammy but now we enjoy snuggling even more without having to hold our breath.

Prize
Giveaway: 1 lucky Canadian reader is going to receive a prize pack over $100. (contest ends August 30th @ 11:59 PM PST)

To Enter: Please make a comment below about a time you have been surprised by something.

Bonus Entry: Tweet about this giveaway and send me the link to your tweet below.

Extra Bonus Entry: Tell me a little about your Fur Baby.

**Disclosure: I was selected to be a part of this program through the PR agency and received perks for being a part of the program… including but not limited to – a dog with great breath now!

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.

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.