Monday, December 12, 2011

3 giveaways going on

Get your entries in for the 3 great giveaways on right now - they are all ending in the next 7 days.

TruKid products
Howard B. Wigglebottom
Rubbermaid FilterFresh Water Bottle

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Funhaven - review part 2

Now that you have read part 1 of my Funhaven review,  I will let you know how our experience was.

Grand Opening of Funhaven is Wednesday, December 14th~! Head on over and check it out for yourself!

Hannah was an awesome tour guide - she is one of the party hosts, and I can see why. She certainly knew how to help show us a great time - I can only imagine how much fun a birthday party would be with her!

Julien was so patient while she was showing us around, and I know he was really wanting to try out the Jungle Gym/Ballocity. Once she finished giving us our tour, we headed over to the cashier so we could get our funcard. I decided to purchase the Hobbyist pack - since he also wanted to bowl, it seemed a perfect fit for our needs.

He had a blast on the jungle gym. The floor is padded with soft mats, so it's easy to walk on. The balls are super soft, so no need to worry about getting hit with them. They have 6 guns (3 on either side) on the upper level of the jungle gym, so you can load them up with balls and shoot them at people.  If your looking for a place for your kids to burn off some energy - it's awesome. I joined Julien on the climber, and it was pretty fun!  They have yellow bags that you can fill with balls so you don't have to constantly run and grab a few at a time!

Julien looking out from the upper level

Jule's heading for a gun


posing for mommy to take a picture
I don't think Julien ever would have been finished at Ballocity, but I wanted to try out the bowling lanes. We headed down the twisty slide (it goes fast and you land hard - but it was fun!) and off we went to bowl!  I think 4 is a little young - he doesn't quite get that you don't THROW the balls, he did enjoy it, but it didn't hold his attention for too long; I think a few years older and it would be an awesome attraction - they even have the gutter guards up!

When we finished with bowling, we headed to the gaming area and played air hockey - it's one of my favorite games, so I had a blast!

Julien taking a shot - he scored!
After air hockey, we had a look around the games to see what else he might like to play, a motorcycle racing game it was!

posing for mommy again!
He found a game that he wanted to try, but we were out of money on our card. I headed off to the kiosk to load it up. I found it slightly confusing at first, but it didn't take me long to figure it out. If your someone who is not technically inclined, then you could always have the cashier load the card for you. Be warned, it won't give you money back - so make sure you have the right amount of coin to load on, or use your credit card.  I only had a few dollars in change - so I chose to load on $3.00 - unfortunately, it wouldn't accept my looney, or 2 of my quarters.  After some digging around, I managed to find 2 more quarters that it did accept.

We headed over to the next game that caught his eye - but when I scanned my card I noticed that it was saying I had less money than I loaded with.  I figured when we finished playing that game, I would go to the cashier to have her look into it. Unfortunately - the game would not let us play.  When I saw the cashier, she looked up the card and it showed that we HAD played. There was a supervisor/manager there, so she brought us over and scanned her card so we could play - but there were still issues. She had her tech guy come over ,and in the meantime took us over to the claw game (candy prizes) and gave us 4 free plays - which was awesome. She was super friendly, and Julien had a lot of fun.  I am sure the glitches will be worked out - and I felt she did MORE than she needed to rectify the situation. Again, a testament to the employee's that they have hired.

After playing with the claw, we tried a few more games and then headed over to the redemption counter.  The clerk scanned our card, told us how many tickets we had and Julien picked his prize.  We still have 4 tickets left to carry over to our next visit.

Be warned - they have an extremely large selection of prizes - so if you have a lot of tickets to use, it may take awhile to decide what you want (or should I say what the kids want!)

We honestly could have stayed for another 2 hours - I know Jules would have loved to get back to the jungle gym, but we needed to get home. So we headed to the frozen yogurt bar and got a cup. Julien liked that he could get his own (with a little help from me) and he enjoyed sitting at a table to finish his treat.

Enjoying his treat at the end of a fun day, and his prize sitting on the table!
I found the staff to be extremely friendly, the floors are clean and the attractions were as well. I was really impressed with the cleanliness of the bathroom (automatic toilets, soap dispenser and taps) and the fact that they have a child sized sink thrilled both Jules and I.

I really think that all ages would have fun here. I probably wouldn't go just with Kyle (15mths) but to bring him with us as a family outing would be fine. He would have a blast at the ballocity/jungle gym.

Cost wise, it may work out to be a little expensive - but I think the prices are worth the experience that you receive.  If the staff can maintain their friendly attitudes, and the place stays clean (cause a lot of times things start to slip after being open for a while) then I think that Funhaven will do amazingly well

All in all, we had an amazing Mommy and Julien afternoon! I will definitely head back with the kids!

**I was not compensated at all for this review; I paid for our experience out of my own pocket, and this is an honest review of our experience. As always, opinions stated are that of Tales of Mommyhood, and your experience/opinion may vary**

Funhaven - Review part 1

Funhaven is Ottawa's newest indoor attraction. They have so much to choose from, and it is great for all ages.  They had their opening day on Wednesday, December 7 - and their grand opening will be this coming Wednesday, December 14th.

I was pretty sure that Julien would have a blast, so I contacted the Sales Manager, Lydia - and asked if I could come in and do a review. She arranged for me to have a tour with one of Funhaven's AWESOME employee's, Hannah.

I am going to write the review in 2 parts. The first, I will tell you about our tour, and in the 2nd, I will post about our experience!

The centre is huge. When you walk in, there is a large space where you can hang up coats and leave boots (it is wide open, so you wouldn't want to leave any sort of valuables) but there is ample room for hanging coats and lots of hangers.

There is small window into an office, and here you will find your party experts. If you want any information on birthday or corporate parties, you can get that all in this spot. (I think that this should have a sign above it - there were a few people waiting in line, only to find out when they got to the window that they needed to go to another area)

Hannah was awesome as a tour guide - and it took us almost 30 minutes to go through everything and learn more about the games/attractions and birthday parties..

To your left is a HUGE rounded counter, and that is where you will find the cashier and the redemption clerks.

You then enter into a large area that is filled with arcade games (a photo booth, wheel of fortune, deal or no deal, the claw game (with candy as a prize!) motorcycle racing, air hockey and much more!)

They have bumper cars - there is a minimum height requirement for the bumper cars (44inches) and they are built for a single rider. They do have a height sheet at the entrance to the attraction if you are unsure of your child's height.

Next to that is the ballocity/jungle gym - this was Julien's favorite attraction. It is a very large climbing structure  that uses soft mats and mesh. You can climb your way up and shoot soft balls at other people - they have a few small slides and one large turny slide. There are a few ball cannons that are easily operated by little hands!

There will be a toddler area immediately beside the jungle gym - right now they have a few toys but I was told that it will be getting much bigger soon.

Once you enter the area for ballocity, there are a few comfy chairs that parents can sit and relax while the kids play - or, you can join them for the fun!

They have 4 mini-bowling lanes; laser frenzy (it's a mission impossible style game where you make your way through laser beams!) and a climbing wall (they have very secure harnesses, and a staff member present at all times!)

They have a very large laser tag area that is glow in the dark. They have 30  vests/guns so a number of people can play at a time. Each round lasts for 15minutes.

There is a canteen that serves pizza, subs, drinks and more. Also a selfe serve frozen yogurt bar- I saw 10 different flavors and they will be receiving there topping centre very soon (50 toppings!)

The bathrooms are large and clean, and they have a child sized sink which was awesome - no more having to pick up your kids to wash their hands!

They have a nice sized party room on the main level - they can use this room if a guest has mobility issues or needs a wheelchair accessible room. Upstairs, they have a very large room which can be divided and they can host a number of parties at one time!

To play at funhaven, you need a funcard. This card can be registered and re-used. You have your choice of paying for a package (with the cashier) or loading a set amount of money (can be done at 1 of 3 kiosks)  To gain entrance to any of the attractions, you swipe your card. It reads the card and then deducts whatever amount from your total. The ballocity is unlimited - once you pay for the attraction ($9.99 on it's own 18+free with purchase for child) you can play all day if you want - your card will allow access until end of business the day your purchase it.

Some of the arcade games require tokens, and there is a token machine (you use your funcard to purchase tokens) other games you just swipe your card and it will deduct the amount needed. It will also calculate how many "tickets" you win and they are held virtually on your card. When you are finished, you can go to the redemption counter and choose your prize. Should you have any tickets or money left on your card, it will carry over to your next visit*(as long as you register your card, which can be done at any of the funcard kiosks located throughout the centre - you can load money onto your card as well. If you want to buy a package, you need to see the cashier)

All of the staff specialize in certain area's - so they really know there stuff for their specific attraction.

**I was not compensated at all for this review; I paid for our experience out of my own pocket, and this is an honest review. As always, opinions stated are that of Tales of Mommyhood, and your experience/opinion may vary**











Friday, December 9, 2011

StyleFind



I posted quite awhile about StyleFind, but thought I would bring it up again. It is a website brought to you by the publishers of InStyle.  You can search their database for over 500,000 items including accessories, shoes, clothes and more!

I found out about it when I joined the BzzAgent campaign

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Howard B. Wigglebottom - review and giveaway

I recently posted about Howard B. Wigglebottom and the lessons shared through his books.

I was sent the book "Howard B. Wigglebottom learns to listen" to read with my boys; it is hardcover and was also signed!

The book walks you through a day in the life of Howard B., and the different instances where listening properly would have changed the outcome of the situation.

I was really impressed with the book - the illustrations are wonderfully coloured and detailed; the story isn't super long, and there are only 1 to 2 sentences per page (great for keeping the attention of a young child) and since it is hardcover - it is very sturdy.

Julien sat with me and we read the book - while we were reading, he would point out different things he saw in the picture that related to the story.  It opened up an opportunity to speak about why listening is important.

His favorite part of the book - that Howard B. is a rabbit.  All the characters in the story were different animals, which again is great for getting children interested.

Check out the website for all sorts of free activities to do with the kids!

Buy It:  Howard B. books are available at most Canadian and US book retailers. If your in the States, visit We Do Listen and you can purchase the books (all 10 for only $50.00!!)

Win It: my readers have the chance to win their choice of ONE of the Howard B. Wigglebottom books - use the rafflecopter form below to enter (and please remember to complete all steps, or your entries will be disqualified)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trukid - review and giveaway!






I had the opportunity to review 2 products from TruKid - the Silly Shampoo and the Bubbly Body Wash. TruKid products are BPA and Phthalate free, and TruKid is cruelty free!
TruKid is a California-based lifestyle company for kids - they focus on creating healthy haits and promoting positive choices.  The company was created by a mom of 6, Jennifer.  To learn more about the history of TruKid, click here

Both of the products have an awesome smell to them, I can't quite place it - but it is somewhat fruity, without being overpowering.


I have been using the shampoo and body wash on both of my boys for the last little while, and am really happy with them.  Julien has mild eczema, and Kyle has moderate to severe, so I was quite hesitant about trying them out on him at first. But I decided to give it a go and I was happy to discover that they did not trigger a flare up.

The shampoo and body wash both really lather up well and provide lots of bubbles! The boys hair smelled so nice, and they had lots of fun playing in the bath water with the body wash bubbles!

TruKid has also created a unique learning system for kids, that is incorporated on the packaging to teach children what the products are for (hair, face, body) which will help to encourage independence.

In my review package, they also included 2 packets of their Rock'in Rash Relief serum (not yet available - in the consumer testing phase) for me to try. I used it on Kyle (he had a patch of eczema on his cheek) and it worked quite well. It is thin, and goes on easily - it has a calming sent to it (reminds me of oils used in massage therapy). It can be used on scratches, burns, eczema, hives, diaper rash or any skin irritation!

Buy It: you can purchase these products or more of their line at the TruKid website.  If you place an order of $35 or more, enter coupon code sillymom for a free bottle of the Silly Shampoo! (can be used once per customer)

Win It:  TruKid is offering one of my readers the chance to win BOTH of the products that I got to test out!  Entering is easy, fill in the rafflecopter form below !

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Howard B. Wigglebottom

Have you heard of Howard B. Wigglebottom? if not - then you should definitely check out the website.  The We Do Listen foundation is a not for profit foundation - their goal is to help educate children and teach them to communicate in a more effective way.  They use the books to teach lessons (listening, bullying, sportsmanship and more)

The website is filled with lots of fun, free activities (online songs to sing with, pages to print and colour - you can even create your own book to colour!)

Keep your eyes on the blog in the next few weeks for a review of one Howard B. Wigglebottom's books, and a giveaway too!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Winner - Sibu beauty facial cream

Congratulations to Adriana!

She was the winner of the daytime facial cream from Sibu Beauty!

Thank you very much to the sponsor for providing Tales of Mommyhood with the products to review/giveaway!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Paid Surveys

Are you looking to get paid for taking surveys? If so - then check out survey savvy. That's my referral link - once your signed up, you can start making your own referrals and earning money off your surveys and theirs!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sibu Beauty - review and GIVEAWAY



I was recently contacted by a company called Sibu Beauty. They asked me to do a review for them, and I chose the Daytime Facial Cream.


Sibu Beauty products are free of any and all preservatives. They are also Paraben and cruelty free. They are 100% natural; contain no wheat, gluten, dairy, sodium or yeast.
About the company (from the website)

The journey to create a successful company can be as arduous as scaling a Tibetan mountainside, but well worth the view from the top. Bruce McMullin founded Sibu in 2003 after series of events led him to Calcutta, India where he crossed paths with an ayurvedic specialist in Chinese plants and herbs. In passing, this expert mentioned a powerful holy fruit, the Sea Buckthorn berry.

From there McMullin's quest took him to new heights, figuratively and literally, as he journeyed to some of the most remote locations of the Himalayas to find the superior source of Sea Buckthorn that is the foundation for all Sibu products.

In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Bruce has a thirteen-year history of philanthropic efforts worldwide serving as executive chairman of Choice Humanitarian.


Sibu Beauty uses a berry called Sea Buckthorn in their beauty line. It is found in the Himilayas, and has been used for over 1000 years in beauty products for skin, hair and nails.


Some of the benefits (from the website)


Traditional health-related uses for the sea buckthorn berry include:
Sustained energy levels
Improved cellular health
Cardiovascular support
Healthy inflammation response
Joint support
Moisturizing dry and damaged skin
Improved immune health
Decrease in wrinkles and fine lines
Addressing exzema and rosacea symptoms

Dr. Oz has even featured Sea Buckthorn on his show, you can watch a clip here.

REVIEW

As I mentioned above, I was sent the daytime facial cream to try out. I am hesitant about trying out new skincare products, as I have VERY sensitive and acne prone skin. When I received the product, it took me a few days to actually try it out - for fear that I would end up having a reaction to it.

However, I was very pleasantly surprised. My skin tolerated the cream, and I have been using it as a part of my morning routine for the last 3.5 weeks. I haven't had any breakouts or irritation of my skin! This was awesome!
The daytime facial cream goes on easily, and you don't need very much - a little goes a long way. It left my face feeling very smooth. I didn't find it oily or heavy, and it definitely didn't leave me feeling like I was coated in something. I was also really happy with the scent. It has an earthy, natural scent to it. It took me quite a while to place it, but I realized after a week or so that it reminded me of a lemon cookie that my mom makes.

Connect with Sibu Beauty on Twitter and Facebook

Buy It:  if your interested in learning more or placing an order, check HERE

Win It: Sibu Beauty is offering one of my readers the chance to win a bottle of the daytime facial cream! Fill out the rafflecopter form below!


about entering giveaways

Please be sure to actually complete the task that you say you do. I DO check to validate before I notify the winner; there have been a few times where the winner's entry has been disqualified because they have not done what has been asked.

Whether it is done on purpose to "cheat" or just an oversight,  I am not sure. But in any case, a new winner is chosen in those situations.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

baking FAIL

I decided to try out a new truffle recipe.

I wanted to make white chocolate vanilla bean truffles, and I was going to coat in dark chocolate.  I got the ganache made and chilled it in the fridge, but it just wouldn't set - I think I may have had a tad too much cream.

So, since it wouldnt set - I couldn;t roll them. I decided that I would coat mini muffin tins in dark chocolate, drop in some ganache, and then cover in chocolate.

ugghhh - huge fail.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Review - Healthy Eating for Kids




Healthy Eating for Kids - by Trevor Dumbleton

I had the opportunity to review this recipe book. It has lots of ideas for healthy recipes that would appeal to kids (and adults too!) The recipes have neat names that kids will enjoy, and are also mostly made in about 15 minutes - so you can keep up with your busy family life!

They have put emphasis on ideas that:

* Are healthy
* Contain nutrients that are difficult to add to a child's diet
* Fast and easy for parents to make
* Use ingredients that most households have on hand
* Encourage your child to get involved with his or her own nutrition

There are a total of 60 recipes (some you may have seen before - like Ants on a Log) in the categories of snacks, drinks, at home lunches, school packed lunches, dinner and desserts!

I tried the Banana Milkshake - and it was pretty good - the boys really enjoyed it!


Banana Milkshake
This tasty drink is packed full of calcium, protein, potassium, and vitamins.
Ingredients:
1 fully ripe banana
1/4 liter cold milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Kiwi slices for garnish
Directions:
1. Peel the banana and cut it into large chunks.
2. Put one half of the banana into a blender.
3. Add half of the milk and blend for about 15 seconds.
4. Add the rest of the milk, the vanilla flavor, and the sugar. Blend for about 10 seconds, or until smooth.
5. Pour into a glass.
6. Alternate remaining banana chunks and kiwi slices around the rim of the glass for decoration. Serve with a straw

To have a look at the other recipes, you can purchase the kindle version using the amazon link below!







I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest we forget

Today is Remembrance Day - a time to remember those that have fought to keep us safe, some giving up their lives in the process.

Both of my grandfathers were in the military - both pilots. One fought overseas and the other was an instructor.

Are any of your family members vets or current military? What will you do today?

In Flanders Fields
By: John Mcrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

LeapFrog Review

Recently, the boys and I received a large box. What was in that large box you ask? 4 Leap Frog toys!

First Up:

Fix and Learn Speedy





This car is geared for 18 - 36mths, but both of my boys love it (14mths and 4.5!) Kyle doesn't really know what to do with it, but he loves to push it around and press the buttons. He gets quite hysterical when it starts to make noise!
Julien knows exactly what to do with it and has just as much fun as his little brother! It even withstood being thrown down the stairs (the hood came off, but went back on without a problem!)

Next:

Learn to Count and Draw:

This is geared for 3+, and Julien really enjoys playing with it. I gave it to him, and he sat at the kitchen table for 30 minutes with it. Later in the day, I couldn't find him and he was hidden in a corner, again, playing with it!  It has a few different options for play - you can press the numbers and then learn how to trace. It will also count aloud until it hits the number you pressed!

One thing that I am not too fond of (and it's the same with the scribble and write pad) is that you need to press down pretty firmly on the screen for the lines to stay visible. Julien is pretty good with that now, but when he was a little younger he had trouble and would get frustrated easily.

Third: (I wasn't able to get any pictures of the boys using it - Julien wasn't in a picture posing mood)


Tag Jr.
We actually have owned the tag jr. in the past - and it was a big hit. Unfortunately, it didn't survive it's fall down a flight of stairs to the tile floor. Up until that point, Julien loved it. Now, we have a new one and the boys are both quite fond of it. Kyle is way to young, but he likes to sit (for a minute or 2!) while Julien uses the tag jr to "read" some books. You take tag jr and place him on the page of the book and move it around, and he reads to you as you go! It's pretty neat. You buy the books, and then head online to download the content to tag jr.

It has an 8mb storage capacity, which  I *think* would be 4 or 5 books. You may have to erase a book to add a new one. It's simple to do, and doesn't take too much time - but you will need a computer with internet access and a usb port to do it.

Last, but not least:

Leap Frog Count and Scan Shopper

This is a pretty cool toy. It is a little scanner that comes with 10 items (a grocery list and other items found in a grocery store - milk, eggs, grapes) and a child sized re-usable shopping bag!  You turn the scanner on and then point it at the object and it will tell you what it is, or count the number of grapes etc.  Kyle is much to young to actually "get" it, but enjoys that it makes noise, and putting the items in and out of the bag. Julien is slighlty old for it, but has fun with it - although I think the target age of 3 would be perfect.

One thing I don't like about it - altogether (including the scanner and bag) it is 12 pieces. I know with my kids, the pieces never end up staying together ( even though they were supposed to be put immediately back in the bag when finished) so we have 2 rogue grocery items at the moment. Other than that, it is a wonderful toy!

Buy It: Check out the  Leap Frog website to discover what toys and books they have available!

Thank you to Leap Frog for sending us these wonderful products!

**The products above were given to me for review purposes, no other compensation was received. The opinion stated is that of Tales of Mommyhood - your opinion and experience may vary**

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Are Canadian - Blog Hop

Looking for new blogs to follow? check out the We Are Canadian Blog Hop hosted by Tales of a Ranting Ginger and The KnitWit by Shair!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

when friendships fizzle

During my life, I have had many friendships. Some have evolved into lifelong friendships, that no matter where we are, how often (or little) we see each other - it doesn't matter. Others have been great relationships for a small time, or some for a long time - but for whatever reason, seem to fizzle out.

I don't want to say that it was based on any one event or occurence; maybe just a shift in each of our lives. But for whatever the reason, I often find myself wondering how they are doing.  What is going on in their life - and maybe even where they live (a friend from elementary school moved to Australia with her family when we were 9)

It makes me sad when I realize that a close friend and I have drifted apart. I sometimes try and pinpoint why or how it happened, even though I know it isn't based on something specific.

Do you ever wonder about your old friends? Did you have a huge fight and never speak again? or did your life just take you in a different direction?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Refuge on Crescent Hill - BLOG TOUR

Refuge on Crescent Hill


A Novel



This homecoming wasn’t what she expected . . .
Jobless, homeless, and broke, Camden Bristow decides to
visit the grandmother she hasn’t seen in years. But when
Camden arrives in Etherton, Ohio, she discovers that her
grandmother has passed away, leaving her the 150-year-old
mansion on Crescent Hill. The site of her happiest summers
as a child, the run-down mansion is now her only refuge.
When Camden finds evidence that she may not be the
mansion’s only occupant, memories of Grandma Rosalie’s
bedtime stories about secret passageways and runaway slaves
fuel her imagination. What really happened at Crescent Hill?
Who can she turn to for answers in this town full of
strangers? And what motivates the handsome local Alex
Yates to offer his help? As she works to uncover the past and
present mysteries harbored in her home, Camden uncovers
deep family secrets within the mansion’s walls that could
change her life—and the entire town—forever.


About the Author:
Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author

of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and
Together for Good. A former corporate publicity manager at Focus
on the Family, Melanie has worked in the fields of journalism and
publicity for more than eighteen years. She and her family live in
Oregon.

I can always tell within the first 2 chapters if I will like a book or not. If I cannot get into the book right away, then I tend to not finish reading it. That was not the case with Refuge on Crescent Hill - I was able to submerge myself immediately, and I quite enjoyed the story. I  did find it a little confusing at first (it tells the story of 2 women, and flips back and forth between them - I just wasn't sure how they connected originally). I love reading about the Underground Railroad - and while the book isn't about that, it does touch on it some.


Buy It:



Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

This morning I will be taking K to our local mall to go trick or treating around the stores -a couple of my girlfriends are coming with their kiddo's as well! This will be Julien's first year not coming with me - he will be at school instead!

Tonight we will take K to a few of the neighbours, and then J and Julien will continue on with Grandpa and Grandma while K and I head back home to hand out candy.

What are your plans for Halloween? do you let your kids keep all their treats? or do you sneak some away when they are sleeping?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thursday blog hop - hosted by bassgiraffe's Thoughts!

Bassgiraffe's Thoughts Thursday Blog Hop

head on over and join the thursday blog hop!

Rodelle Baking Challenge!

Rodelle BakingChallenge – Kicked off October 1 and runs until December 25, 2011.

I was given the wonderful opportunity to help promote the Rodelle Baking Challenge.  They were very kind and sent me a couple of their vanilla beans to work with, and then post about my experience, along with info on the challenge.

How the vanilla beans arrived!

Out of their container.    


What the seeds actually look like
I have never worked with vanilla beans before, so I was VERY excited for this opportunity.  Seeing as how I have never worked with them before, I did a long web search to find a recipe that looked good. I came upon THIS recipe @ The Busty Baker for vanilla bean cupcakes, and decided to pair it with a vanilla bean buttercream (just a basic recipe – I substituted v.b. seeds for the extract in the recipe).

I have taken pictures to document my experience, and I am thrilled!  The end result is fantastic. 

For those of you that have never used vanilla beans before – give it a try! You take a paring knife, split the bean down the centre and then scrape out the seeds (I used the end of a childs plastic feeding spoon, and this worked well.) I was quite surprised when I opened the bean, as I had no idea what to expect for the seeds.  At first, it didn’t even look like there was anything inside, but as I scraped I discovered that the seeds are all “stuck” together – it was kind of clumpy, and I thought I did it wrong. BUT – as I mixed it in the recipe, I noticed that they came apart and there were tiny black seeds.





As I mentioned, I am thrilled with the recipe I chose, and the flavour is quite tasty. 






all mixed up and ready to transfer

ready to bake

buttercream mixed up

frosted

upclose

and I had to add a shot of  my big helper!

Now – onto the baking challenge!




Bakers share their baking moment on the Rodelle Facebook page…the most creative posts with photos or videos are more likely to stand out. The winners are selected by the Rodelle team and with a variety of criteria. Everything from creativity to sentimentality is taken into consideration. Rodelle is sweetening the pot this year by adding a KitchenAid® Mixer to the three grand prizes, which include a yearlong supply of premium Rodelle baking essentials: vanilla beans, baking cocoa, pure vanilla extract, almond/lemon/anise extracts and vanilla sugar. Three runners up will win a yearlong supply of pure vanilla extract, vanilla beans, and rich dark baking cocoa. People are invited to upload entries from October 1 through December 25, 2011. Winners will be announced New Year’s Day, 2012.

“At Rodelle, we are all about the finest ingredients bringing holiday magic to baking,” says Joe Basta. “Our goal is to inspire families to take their baking to a new level– using Rodelle really does make a difference,” he adds.






About Rodelle:
Rodelle has created premier baking and cooking essentials since 1936. Originating from the south of France, the Rodelle family revolutionized the standard for gourmet flavors when they came to the states, bringing with them, their passion and expertise for the flavor industry. In 1984, Rodelle became part of Custom Blending Inc. where a relentless commitment to high quality continues. Today, Rodelle provides home bakers and culinary professionals alike with the finest ingredients on the market. From Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans to Dutch-processed baking cocoa and Herbs de Provence, quality comes first. The company is wind powered and has consistently given a portion of sales back to its growing regions.







** I was sent the product at no charge in exchange for this post; this has not influenced my oppinion in any way.**

Monday, October 17, 2011

Update on us!

It's been a while since I posted an update on my family!

Julien has really adjusted quite well to Kindergarten - which is awesome!  He has reverted back to some previous behaviours (aggressive, not listening) and I am hoping that we can get those nixed ASAP - but for the most part things are great.

He goes to daycare one day a week after school; he is home with me 2 afternoons; he goes to his grandma's 1 afternoon and he has skating lessons another afternoon - so he has quite the full week!

Kyle is a cheeky little monkey - oh boy, is he ever inependant.  He is curious, busy and doesn't stop. I thought Julien was a busy boy - I hadn't seen anything.  Julien was content to sit and watch a show for a few minutes or read a story - Kyle cannot possibly sit still long enough.  He has taken to banging his head on the floor when he doesn't get his way - he really hurt himself one day, so now it's funny to watch - he starts to throw his head down - then very slowly finishes just to barely touch the floor.

Hubby is busy with work, and I am busy with the boys.  Over the past few days I have had a few confirmations on review/giveaway products - so keep your eyes peeled in November for them!

iPhone app giveaways!

Night and Day studio's is offering a few more apps to my readers!  There will be 3 winners, and each will get to choose 1 of the apps!



Go away big green monster

Lucha Libre USA : Make your own masked warrior

Counting with the very hungry caterpillar!

To enter is very simple - use the rafflecopter form below: first, you must be a GFC follower of my blog; then head on over to twitter and follow @nightdaystudios, and tweet to tell them which app you would like to win! (there will be 3 winners, and each can choose which app they would like). All THREE steps must be completed to qualify.

DO NOT leave blog post comments - they will be deleted and your entry will not count. Use the rafflecopter form below This Giveaway has ended

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Used diaper sale

If your in the Ottawa area and in need of some new (used) cloth diapers, check out Chiquitababy in Kanata. They are having a used Cloth Diaper sale today!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Want to advertise?

I am now offering a few spots for advertising! If you would like to see your product/company advertised on Tales of Mommyhood, send me an email and we can discuss rates!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Start your christmas shopping early - with Regal!

Check out my Regal Web store for all your Christmas needs! Cards, bags, wrap, tags and gifts - you can do it all from the comfort of your home!

http://apicco.shopregal.ca/MySite/Story.aspx

Your items will be shipped directly to you - so no need to hit the malls!

Boston Pizza raised over $423,000 for childrens' charities!


I just received this press release from Boston Pizza, in regards to their Kids Cards, and thought I would post it for you! Thank you to anyone that purchased 1 (or more) of the BP kids cards!




BOSTON PIZZA KIDS CARDS RAISE $423,000 FOR CHARITY

Mississauga, ON, October 12, 2011 – Boston Pizza is proud to announce that more than $423,000 has been raised for charity through the sale of BP Kids Cards during the month of September.

“Once again our guests have demonstrated their incredible generosity by purchasing a record number of BP Kids Cards,” says Steve Silverstone, Executive Vice President of Marketing at Boston Pizza International Inc. “This success of this year’s campaign is a testament to the longstanding commitment of our franchisees and their staff to give back in the communities where we live and operate restaurants.”

With more than 340 stores across the country, Canadians from coast-to-coast showed their support for the Boston Pizza Foundation by purchasing BP Kids Cards throughout the month of September for a minimum donation of $5.00.  In exchange for their donation, guests received a card with five free kids meals. 

Leading the fundraising efforts were Boston Pizza locations in Fort McMurray, AB, Saint-Bruno, QC and Winnipeg, MB.

“We are extremely proud and appreciative of the efforts made by our franchisees and restaurant staff to sell a record number of BP Kids Cards,” says Cheryl Treliving, Executive Director of the Boston Pizza Foundation.  “The Boston Pizza Foundation has a long-standing commitment to helping children and families in need and the money raised by our Kids Card program will go a long way towards helping us do even more work in this area.”

Since its inception, the Boston Pizza Foundation has raised more than $12.1 million for a number of worthwhile charitable organizations across Canada including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Kids Help Phone

About Boston Pizza
Boston Pizza International Inc. is Canada's No. 1 casual dining brand with more than 340 restaurants in Canada. Annually, Boston Pizza serves more than 40 million guests. The company has been recognized as one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies and was named one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures by Waterstone Human Capital for 2007 and 2008. Boston Pizza International Inc. is located in Richmond, B.C. and has regional offices in Mississauga, Ontario and Laval, Quebec. For more information visit www.bostonpizza.com.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hevea - natural rubber baby products REVIEW

I was contacted by Hevea and asked to do a review of their products.  They are based in Denmark, and they make Natural Rubber baby products (teething toys, pacifiers and bath toys).

From Hevea:

All Hevea products and packaging are sustainably and responsibly produced, using recycled,
biodegradable materials and soy ink. Its products are designed in Denmark and produced in Malaysia. The name Hevea comes from the Latin meaning natural rubber.
 Orlando Bloom and his wife have chosen Hevea products for their son


A picture of the panda teether
 and the bath toys I was sent
REVIEW:
Julien was thrilled when the package arrived! He always loves to see the products I receive, and is generally hopeful that there will be something for him!

I let him decide whether he wanted the large duck, or the 3 smaller toys (frog, duck and fish) - and he chose the large duck. He thought that since he was bigger than Kyle, he should get the biggest toy.  I love the fact that it is a natural product, there is no paint or anything on it.  They don't have a chemical smell to them either.

They are soft (which some bath toys aren't - so when Julien threw it at Kyle, I didn't need to worry about him getting hurt); I think my favorite thing about the Hevea bath toys though - they don't have a hole in them. So, you don't need to worry about mildew or grime inside your bath toy - since water cannot get in.

To learn more about Hevea and the products they carry, check out their website.

Even though it is a European company, they have many Canadian retailers - to find Hevea products near you, check here.

You can also connect with Hevea on Facebook

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada - and that brings food, family and fun!  I have a wonderful family to be thankful for, a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies.

One of the best things about THIS Thanksgiving? I was able to re-connect with an old friend!  A woman I have known pretty much all my life - we lived a few houses down from each other when we were younger, and her parents are my God-parents. Even though she lives in the US, we saw each other every summer when she came up to visit her dad;  some of my favorite childhood memories include her!

It has been 10 years since we saw each other, but it was a wonderful reunion this afternoon!

Tonight we are off to dinner with extended family!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Toopy and Binoo surprise today! PICS added

Surpruse - you get to see Toopy and Binoo

With his wand

Telling his friend Marcus!

The show about to startToopy and binoo marshmallow moon

Getting into it!
I recently won 4 tickets to Toopy and Binoo Live from A Motherhood Experience. The show is today, and I haven't told Julien that we are going.  A good friend of mine has a little one close in age, and we are meeting them there and going together!

I am so excited to see his reaction when he finds out.  It's been a while since he has watched T&B - but he used to LOVE them and watch it everyday!

I will try and get some pictures and post back with his reaction!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Story of Noah's Ark - Review

Kregel Publications gave me the opportunity to review this book.  The Story of Noah's Ark: Storybook and Wall Clings is written by Lori C Froeb and illustrated by Luana Rinaldo.

It is a childrens version of Noah's Ark, and it comes with wall clings that the kids can use to make scenes of the story on the wall.  I read it to my 4 yr old, and he seemed to enjoy it.  He really LOVED the fact that he could put the animals on the wall as I was reading the story to him. The book is filled with bright colours, and pictures of the animals; the author has used simple words that children can understand, and it is relatively short - which is great for a childs attention span!

To read more about the author you can click here

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

cherishing the time

For the past few nights, Kyle has been having a rough go.  He just isn't sleeping well, and wants mommy to snuggle with him.  For the first time in months, he as actually sat with me and let me rock him to sleep - as rough as it was in the middle of the night, it reminded me of when he was small.

I remember sitting in the chair with him and he was soooo tiny he took up hardly any space at all - and now he is overflowing the chair.

It makes me realize just how precious the time is when they are small - it really doesn't last for very long; amazing how quickly the time can go.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Playful Planet - Storyland Yoga REVIEW and GIVEAWAY (TOMOSON)



Sponsored by Tomoson.com
I was lucky to have the opportunity to review the Playful Planet Storyland Yoga DVD. It is a winner of the Mom's Choice Awards, Parents Choice Approved; It was a Dr. Toy Winner for best green product!

This yoga dvd is geared for teaching children, aged 3-8, basic yoga.  It is hosted by "Ahmed Fahmy" and involves a group of children.

Ahmed narrates and enacts a story based on animals and nature, and while doing so is teaching the children yoga positions.  Once they have finished acting out the story, they practice the positions they learned in a "routine".

I will admit, that I have never tried yoga before. It wasn't my "thing".  I must say how enjoyable this was!  Julien had a lot of fun (he was a little antsy in the beginning, but once the story got going he got into it).  I was very surprised at how much of a workout it actually is - and realized how out of shape I am.  Julien was able to keep up with it much more than I was.

There are two programs on the DVD - Condor Trek and Save The Whale. Julien enjoyed them both equally; I really like that they use the animals in the stories - I found that it really helped to keep his attention focused on the program - and he really didn't even realize that he was "exercising".

Ahmed does a great job of portraying the animals and making their sounds; he has the kids get involved and I will definitely be keeping this in our DVD library.

To learn more, check out their website


BUY IT:

You can purchase your own copy here on Amazon.com for $14.99 ( a portion of the proceeds go to the "Save the Whales" and "Kids vs. Global Warming" foundations.)

WIN IT:

1 of my lucky readers will win their own copy! Use the rafflecopter form below to enter! Contest will run September 28th to October 10th at 9pm EST.





I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

GIVEAWAY - Caillou's World, Busytown and Peekaboo Barn Apps!

I was recently asked to host a giveaway for these Apps which are available for iPhone, iPad and Android.
Unfortunately, I cannot review them because I do not own any of the appropriate devices, however - I am still offering the giveaway for my readers!

Caillou's World 
Recommended for ages 2-5, explore Caillou's World while practicing the basics of phonics and spelling. Available on iPhone, iPad and Android, and Android tablets
Busytown
Busytown, the memorable storybook world filled adorable animal families, outrageous pickle cars, and endless items to discover and examine has now come to life!

Peekaboo Barn
Inside a little bouncing barn, friendly farm animals are waiting to pop out and surprise your little one. Try and guess who they are; tap the doors to find out!

To enter is very simple - use the rafflecopter form below: first, you must be a GFC follower of my blog; then head on over to twitter and follow @nightdaystudios, and tweet to tell them which app you would like to win! (there will be 3 winners, and each can choose which app they would like). All THREE steps must be completed to qualify.

DO NOT leave blog post comments - they will be deleted and your entry will not count. Use the rafflecopter form below
This giveaway is closed. You can enter current giveaways

Friday, September 23, 2011

School

Julien LOVES going to school! He doesn't complain in the morning; there are no tears; no screams and no pleading with me not to go.

I am so thrilled with how well he is doing; after all the fighting we went through with nursery school, it is amazing to watch him head off to school and no that he WANTS to go to school!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Oxo Candela Glow (bzzz agent) UPDATE!

So after having them for the last week, I love these lights! I put them on the book shelves in the boys rooms, and use them as night lights! They can be left unattended, they don't get hot and they have about an 8 hr charge to them.

The charging station is nice - it holds them both at the same time, is slim and not too wide so it doesn't take up much room.  One thing that I don't like, they need to be put on the charging station between uses. I would rather let them die and then recharge, but it's not too big a deal!

I will definitely recommend to my friends/readers

Monday, September 19, 2011

Amish Friendship Bread

Have you ever made it? ever heard of it?

When I was in high school, a friend of my brothers gave my mom and I a starter for it.  Being bakers, we were both intrigued and decided to see what it was like.

The one we made was a chocolate chip loaf, and it was pretty good.  Over the years, I had forgotten about it.  Then, not long after I got married I saw a recipe online and decided to make it, but it wasn't really what I remembered.

I take part in a gift exchange with some ladies every couple of months, and recently received a book entitled "Amish Friendship Bread".

The book tells about a town that is changed by 1 starter that is passed around.  It goes on to give different recipes/variations of the bread that can be made.

So, I decided to try again.  I made my starter on Friday, and it is now sitting on my dining room table fermenting as we speak!  It will be ready to bake on Sunday - I am going to try a few different kinds of bread with my starter - a pumpkin loaf, a chocolate chip loaf and just the regular cinnamon bread!

I would love to hear your stories too - please share!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

school

So today, my first "baby" starts school. I am so absolutely excited for him, for what he is going to learn, the friends he will make and the experiences he will have.

But, I am so incredibly emotional. I am not sad that he is growing up - I am thrilled. I am sad that my baby is old enough to go to school I guess. I am not really completely sure how to describe the emotions I am having - I guess the only ppl that would really understand are other mothers that have done this before.

I made him pancakes for breakfast this morning - and they were all ready when he woke up. At the moment, he is consuming said pancakes and watching Special Agent Oso on Disney Jr.

I will update when I get back from the bus stop.

UPDATE

He kept saying he didn't want to go to school, or take the bus. He just wanted to stay home with mommy and Kyle. I told him that mommy and Kyle would be waiting at the bus stop when he got off, with big smiles - and that there was a surprise when we got home (I made a welcome home cake for him!)

My mom came over to stay at the house with Kyle when I took Jules to the bus, but Julien wanted us all to go - so when Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ended, we were out the door.  It was a quick walk this morning, and we had a 5minute or so wait when we got to the stop.

I was fine - until I saw the bus come down the street - then I got a little teary.  When the bus stopped, the driver said hi and Julien got on the bus, and didn't look back.  There were no tears, or emotional outbursts! I was so happy that my fears didn't come true.

When the bus pulled away, I had a little cry and mom, Kyle and I walked back home.

Picture time!

Julien watching MMC before heading off to school


Ready to go






going to the bus



 and the cake waiting for him on the counter when he gets home!