Friday, May 31, 2013

June Grocery Challenge : Week 1

Even though I am shopping on May 31st, since the food is for June today's shop is the first in my challenge.  You can read about it HERE (giveaway ends at midnight May 31st - but don't fret - I will have another coupon giveaway up in mid-June)

I have been looking through the local flyers online, and checking out the list provided by the coupon group I belong to - this allows me to find the best prices.

In the photo above, I have 10 boxes of pasta (price matched to $0.99 each, with 10 $0.75 coupons; 8 bbq sauce (price matched to $0.50/each) 6 Kraft Dinner (price matched to $0.50/each) and 4 kraft peanut butter (price matched to 2.97 each) These are all items that I stocked up on; I won't need to buy more of these until mid fall.

Here is a breakdown of my spending - keep in mind, my freezer is pretty stocked with meat (steak, ground beef) I wasn't able to purchase the chicken I need (they were out, will make another trip this week for that) which will add approximately $8 dollars to my total for the week.

My total VALUE of todays shop:  $140.24
Total Coupons:                              -$11.50
Total Price Matching :                   -54.58
Total Savings                              (66.08)
Total out of pocket:  $74.16

I saved approximately 47% of my bill - all by using coupons and price matching to the best sales.

My goal for the month is $400.00 - after today, it leaves me with $325.84 for the rest of the month

ETA: I did another shop today to pick up 10KG bag of flour (pm to 7.97 from 13.97) and 2 family packs of chicken (pm to 7.72/kg from 13.82/kg)  I ended up spending $28.00 as well as 2 boxes of yogurt tubes and 1 pack of danino minis which I spent $3.75 on (2.00 each less 0.75 coupon each). So my new total for spending this week is $105.81  (PM savings $69.08 and coupon savings $13.75 = $82.83) and for the rest of the month I now have $294.19

June 1-8th Meal Plan

To go along with my grocery challenge, here is our meal plan for the week; I am only going to list dinners - breakfast foods we always have on hand (cereal/bagels/waffles) and lunches are most often sandwhiches and fruit/yogurt (PB, Bologna, Grilled Cheese are the main ones the kids like)

Meal 1: Sweet and Sour Meatballs served over rice, green beans (there will be enough for leftovers)
Meal 2: Spaghetti w/meat sauce, garlic bread
Meal 3: Tortellini and garlic bread
Meal 4: BBQ chicken, carrots and sidekick
Meal 5: BBQ steak, potatoes and greek salad
Meal 6: leftovers
Meal 7: chicken nachos

When I am buying my groceries for the week, I will be purchasing the veggies for these meals; all the meat is already in the freezer from previous stock ups.  The main part of my groceries this week will be fruits and veggies; as well as stocking up on great sale items (pasta, peanut butter, toothpaste).

How to make S'mores

Having grown up eating S'mores, you can imagine my surprise to come across someone that hadn't tried them before.  This was when I discovered that S'mores are a North American treat.  My friend is from England, and had never tasted the gooey, chocolatey goodness. I made sure to change that, and introduced her to the delicious treat that evening! If you haven't made them before - keep reading to learn how to make s'mores yourself.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Morning at the park

We had such a gorgeous day yesterday that I decided to get the kids out of the house in the morning.  We loaded up the wagon with all the trucks, buckets and shovels we have; then we grabbed some snacks and drinks, slathered on our green beaver sunscreen and headed out the short distance to the park.

When we got there, Mr. J was set on building volcanoes out of sand - and he spent pretty much the entire 90 minutes we were there doing just that. Mr. K alternated between digging, sliding and swinging!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer fun at the cottage

One of our favorite summer activities is heading up to my aunt and uncle's cottage.  It is only approximately 90 minutes away, which makes it easy to go up just for the day; we have stayed over a few times - but mostly it is a day trip for us.  We always stop at Tim Hortons half way up to get timbits and coffee; it's such an easy drive (well, except when Mr. K was a year old and screamed the entire way home...that wasn't so easy)

They purchased the cottage in 2008 and Mr. J took to it right away - here is a picture from our first visit

There are so many activities to do - swimming, building sand castles, collecting pine cones from the yard

watching the ducks swim across the lake

and playing in the boats they have

It took a few summers for Mr. J to be comfortable going out in the boat, which he can only do with my uncle, as none of us have our boaters license.  In Canada, anyone driving a boat is required to be licensed (it is now mandatory), you can check out the website here for more information.  

Another favorite activity is heading to the restaurant across the street from the cottage, they have delicious ice cream and the boys look forward to getting a cone to have! Sometimes we sit in the parking lot to eat them, but other times we cross the street back to the cottage and sit on the deck over looking the water!

Mr. J and Mr. K can hardly wait until our first visit to the cottage this summer.  What about you - what are some of your favorite summer activities or places to visit?

Monday Giveaway Linky

It's Monday again - and that means it is time for Tales of Mommyhood's Monday Giveaway Linky; feel free to list all your open giveaways below, but remember to list which countries the giveaway is open to! Thanks for listing, and good luck to those entering. To gain more exposure, tweeting or sharing the linky is greatly appreciated.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mr. K and the Lilac

A few years ago, we let Mr. J pick out 2 lilac bushes to plant at the back of our yard.  We don't have a fence, and thought this would add some privacy.  We realized that we would need another one, and since Mr. J had picked out the first ones, we let Mr. K pick out the new one.

Last Monday (Victoria Day) hubby and Mr. K planted the tree; Mr. K was so proud of "his" tree. That is, until yesterday.  They were in the back doing putting down some soil and grass seed, and the tree was gone. Dug up, and completely gone.

Someone STOLE our lilac tree. Who does that? Mr. K is VERY upset over the fact that HIS tree is gone (he is quite dramatic at the best of times, but I don't blame him for being sad and upset over this)

Apparently, there was a write up in the paper last week or the week before about people going around stealing freshly planted flowers and shrubs.

Have you ever had something stolen from you?

Price Matching and Couponing - GIVEAWAY

I have been price matching my groceries for over a year, and am amazed at how easy it is to save some money on my grocery bill.

I go through the flyers weekly and find the sales I am interested in, then I gather up my flyers and head to RCSS; I separate everything in my cart with the flyer I am price matching to (bags and bins work well for this, each flyer gets it's own bin/bag).

When I am done, I grab my coupons and add them with my items. I can average saving about $15-$20/week - however I have saved up to half my regular grocery bill before.

This week, I had two shops - each approximately $50 out of pocket (I think I spent about $95.00 total) however, this was for almost $170 worth of groceries.

I am challenging myself to spend no more than $400 for the month of June - this will include diapers and wipes (although I am really hoping Mr. K will be potty trained by the end of this challenge).

I was lucky and found a local group on facebook just after I started price matching; the two ladies that started the group are wonderful, and super helpful.  They even do a grocery list weekly with coupon and check out 51 match ups, and upload it for us to use if we want.

How will I do this? A few ways.

1) Meal plan - I will plan out the food for the week and stick to it (I don't need to decide which days we will have what, but just ensure I have all the food for the week so I can decide each morning)
2) Price match - I will only buy items that are on sale for a decent price (if this means not having strawberries because of the price, and getting peaches or pears instead, I will) same goes for veggies
3) I will only buy meat/poultry if it the /kg price is $8.80 or less (and if it goes below $7.00 I will stock up on it)
4) Coupons - I use coupons every week (there are lots out there, you just need to find them. In Canada, we can't stack like in the US - but if you pair it up with a great sale you can still get some decent prices, and often times I can end up getting an item for free)

There is no reason for the challenge other than cutting our bill down to add to our savings (we are still planning on going to Disney next year). If I don't make it - I don't make it; to help stay on track I will be blogging about my weekly grocery shops (with pictures of my great deals and my receipts)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Quest for the Crystal Mickey - review

Disney Jr is our go to channel for the boys - and they are very familiar with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. When I had the opportunity to review Quest for the Crystal Mickey, I knew the boys were going to be very happy - and I was right! They love the adventures that Mickey and the gang have and this was no different!

Join Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and all their pals in the newest Clubhouse crusade. When the legendary Crystal Mickey goes missing, Mickey and friends go on an adventure to save the Clubhouse from losing its magic. Grab your hat, buckle your seatbelt, and get ready to embark on a thrilling adventure in “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: The Quest for the Crystal Mickey!”

There’s no time to lose after greedy Plunderin’ Pete snatches the legendary Crystal Mickey statue from the Clubhouse. Without this sparkly statue’s magic, the Clubhouse will disappear forever! Can the world’s most extraordinary hero "Kansas City Mickey," get the magical statue back in time? Only with help from young viewers at home…and the right Mouseketools can Mickey journey across the Sandy Desert, brave the Rushing River and make his way through the Hidden Jungle. But watch out for Pete’s trickiest traps!

Full of magic and mystery, the DVD includes four extra episodes of Disney Junior's Emmy®-nominated series "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" (over 2 hours of content!) and a FREE Adventure Activity Map plus Stickers. Don’t miss this latest Clubhouse adventure as it arrives for the first time on Disney DVD on May 21, 2013.

Mr. J and Mr. K loved watching the gang search for the Crystal Mickey - Mr. J is a big fan of Pete, and thought he was really "sneaky" and they like to "help" the gang choose which Mouseketools to use.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Stork Stack - Review

Back in April I was sent a Stork Stack for review and it arrived earlier this month; Stork Stacks are "stacks of love delivered monthly".  The stacks are tailored for the gender and age of the child (from third trimester to third birthday) and also have something special tucked inside for you.  Each stack is delivered at the beginning of the month and can be purchased in a subscription bundle.

Our April stack arrived and was met with a very eager Mr. K! When we opened up the box, it had a letter explaining the different products included in the package

We took out all the goodies and found a stacking set from Little Green Toys (the cups are made from recycled milk bottles, and the packaging is all made from other recycled materials), a furry friend from apple park (which is 100% hypoallergenic organic cotton), Green Envee Organics Children lotion, Eco Sprout laundry detergent and from Clandestino a chocolate/banana treat.

When we had everything out, we decided to reuse the box and use it to hold some of the straggling toys that we have strewn all around the house.

Stork Stack as a company gives back; they are partnered with 2 great philanthropic organizations to help out families in need. For every 3 month subscription, they donate 1 stork stack; for every 6 month subscription they donate 2 stacks and for 12 month subscription they donate 3 stacks.

If you have a new mom in your life, then  I would highly recommend that you check out Stork Stack - a great little monthly pick me up.

**I was sent the above product free of charge in exchange for this review; all opinions stated belong to Tales of Mommyhood and your opinion/experience may vary**

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WW: sleepiness

Someone was a wee bit sleepy on our walmart trip

Ottawa Splash Pads - now open!

If you live in Ottawa and have young kids, I am sure you are happy to know that the splash pads opened this past weekend! They will now run from 9am-9pm all summer long!

Here is a list of the splash pads in the Ottawa area (there are many more in the East end than in the West end)

You may need to google if you are unsure of where they are; we have only visited the one at Walter Baker Park in Kanata.  Have you been to many - which is your favorite?



Aladdin Park (East)
3939 Albion
 Andrew Haydon Park (West)
 3127 Carling Avenue
Arnott Park (East)
691 Hartman
Bandmaster Park (West)
230 Mistral Way
Barrington Park (East)
1705 Orleans
Banner Park (West)
90 Banner
Beacon Hill North Recreation Centre (East)
2132 Radford
Billy Bishop Park (West)
1 Bishop Mills Way
Bearbrook Park and Pool (East)
99 Bearbrook
Bluegrass Park (West)
199 Bridgestone
Blue Willow Park (East)
6011 Longleaf
Brookshire Park (West)
1035 Klondike Rd
Bordeleau Park (East)
349 Bruyere
Celebration Park (West)
200 Central Park
Brewer Park (East)
100 Brewer Way
Centrepointe Park (West)
114 Centrepointe
Butterfly Park (East)
711 Long Point Circle
Chapman Mills Main Street Park (West)
424 Chapman Mills
Cardinal Creek Valley (East)
2130 Bergmot Circle
Chapman Mills Park (West)
139 Windhurst
Cardinal Glen Park (East)
11 Dunbarton
Charing Park (West)
37 Chartwell
Cedarcroft Park (East)
1200 Cedarcroft
Citiplace Park (West)
285 Citiplace Drive
Champagne Park (East)
1861 Markwell
Glebe Memorial Park (West)
75 Glendale
Chapel Hill Park (East)
1556 Forest Valley
Greenbank Park (West)
895 Greenbank
City Centre Park (East)
1800 City Park
Harrold Place Park (West)
1 Harrold Place
Claudette Cain Park (East)
660 River Road
Hintonburg Park (West)
1064 Wellington
Cummings Park (East)
980 Cummings Ave
Huntley Centennial (West)
108 Juanita
Cyrville Park (East)
1420 Meadowbrook
Kilbirnie Park (West)
665 Kilbirnie Drive
Delorme Park (East)
6591 Delorme
Kilreen Park (West)
1250 Southwood
Dr. John Hopps Park (East)
300 Den Haag
Laroche Park (West)
52 Bayview
Elmridge Park (East)
1841 Elmridge
Leslie Park (West)
Dayton Crescent
Emerald Woods Park (East)
3795 Alderwood
Lincoln Heights Park (West)
175 Lincoln Heights
Fairfield Park (East)
49 Appleford
Morrison Park (West)
1095 Morrison
Fallingbrook Park (East)
681 Deancourt
Piazza Dante Park (West)
470 Booth
Four Seasons Park (East)
4386 Spratt
Plouffe Park (West)
930 Somerset
Gardenway Park (East)
2001 Gardenway
Roy Duncan Park (West)
295 Churchill
Gerald Poulin Park (East)
1899 Du Clairvaux
South Nepean Park (West)
700 Longfields
Glen Park (East)
1766 Grey Nuns
Stonecrest Park (West)
220 Stoneway
Greenboro Park (East)
1505 Cahill
Teirney Park (West)
50 Heritage Glen Drive
Heatherington Park (East)
1560 Heatherington
Upcountry Park (West)
310 Upcountry
Hiawatha Park (East)
6218 Voyageur
Walden Park (West)
130 Walden Drive
Jasmine Park (East)
2040 Jasmine
Walter Baker Park (West)
100 Walter Baker
Joe Jamieson Park (East)
6940 Bilberry
Westcliffe Park (West)
681 Seyton
Kaladar Park (East)
2554 Kaladar
Whitehaven Park (West)
970 Parkhaven
Kiwanis Park (East)
395 Levis Avenue
Manor Park (East)
100 Braemar
Marcel Beriault Park (East)
1691 Sunview
McCarthy Park (East)
3320 Paul Anka
Meadowbrook Park (East)
1485 Meadowbrook
Montgomery Memorial Park (East)
61 Main
Nault Park (East)
325 St-Denis
Mountain Meadows (East)
3740 Mountain Meadow
New Edinburg Park (East)
193 Stanley
North Vineyard Park (East)
6026 Voyageur
Owl Park (East)
185 Owl
Palmerston Park (East)
1326 Ogilvie
Portobello Park - Jérémie J. Audette (East)
670 Aquaview
Provence Park (East)
2085 Provence
Queensway Park (East)
1580 Telesat
   Queenswood Heights Centennial Park (East)
   1485 Duford
Queenswood Ridge Park (East)
346 Kennedy
Roy Park (East)
6210 Meadowglen
Sheffield Glen Park (East)
2320 Southvale
Sieveright Park (East)
2999 Sable Ridge
Silverbirch Park (East)
6105 Silverbirch
Sir Wilfred Laurier Park (East)
288 Chapel
Stanstead Park (East)
861 Stanstead
Stonehenge Park (East)
1434 Ridgebrook
Thornecliffe Park (East)
45 Provender
Turtle Park (East)
720 White Alder
Whiterock Park (East)
1245 Matheson
Winterwood Park (East)
1844 Johnston Rd

Disney's BRAVE Princess Merida - redesigned?

I love the movie Brave; hubby and I took Mr. J to see it in the theatre on his birthday last year, and the character of Merida really stuck out to me.  I loved how they portrayed her as a strong heroine.  A princess that had a mind of her own and didn't want to coform to what was "expected" of her.

I was shocked when I read online that Disney had changed her in anticipation of her official induction as a Disney Princess.  They re-designed the dress giving it a low - cut neckline;  the transformation made her seem older and sexy - and was something definitely NOT called for.

There were a lot of unhappy people writing about it and requesting that Disney leave her alone.  It hasn't been announced officially from Disney yet, but apparently the newer version of Merida has been removed from the Disney website. I can only hope this means that they listened to the viewers and fans and kept her in the original state.  You can read mor about it HERE

Monday, May 20, 2013

Spring Cleaning Your Vehicle

This post brought to you by Insurance Hunter. All opinions are 100% mine.

Most people have already started (or maybe even finished) spring cleaning their homes.  What about vehicle spring cleaning? Here are some tips from  Insurance Hunter to help you ensure your vehicle is in top shape as we head into the warmer months:

- when having your winter tires removed, have a maintenance check on your vehicle to make sure it's running as it should be after the cold winter

- change your winter safety/survival kit to a summer one. Different seasons require different supplies (you can ditch the winter gloves and shovel for sunglasses and sunscreen - bottled water is good too)

- clean the interior of your car; the salt and slush can stain the mats and upholstery - now is a great time to freshen up the vehicle by giving it a good vacuum (and a wash would be nice too)

- get rid of things that are cluttering up your vehicle; people tend to allow things to build up throughout the winter, now is the time to clean it out and keep only what is needed

Do you spring clean your car? It's something I really need to do  - although I need to make a conscious effort to do a sweep every week - my car is always full of stuff. I would like to blame my children, but I can't. It's pretty much always been like that.  I am horrible for leaving un-needed receipts, empty drinks, and now that the kids are here there stuff clutters it up too.

If you are in the market for vehicle insurance, don't forget to check out auto insurance quotes

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Monday Giveaway Linky

List any of your open giveaways here - please make sure to include who is eligible to win (can/us/ww) and sharing this linky would be very much appreciated! Thanks to all those that list, and good luck to those that enter!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How we spent our May 2-4 weekend

After checking out the weather forecast earlier in the week, I had big hopes of spending the entire weekend outside with the boys. Hubby was going to be working all weekend - so I knew I needed to keep the kids busy so I didn't go crazy.

Saturday was absolutely beautiful, and we did manage to spend pretty much all day outside.  We started the morning by cleaning our family room (Mr. J and I; Mr. K got relegated to his bedroom because he was being quite destructive)  once we were finished cleaning, I threw ingredients for a french baguette into the bread maker.  After that, slathered the 3 of us with sunscreen and outside we went.
Our fantastic neighbour was outside gardening, so of course the boys wante to "help" (these particular neighbours are like another set of grandparents to my boys; so much so that they will invite themselves over to their house and be fed freezies and juice boxes to their hearts content.)  While the boys were trying to help, Dorothy was so patient with them.

Boys being Boys and climbing a tree

We were outside for a few hours and then I made them come in for a quick bite to eat and rest from the sun/heat.  It was with much protest from them, but it refreshed us all and we headed back outside for another 90 minutes or so until it was time to come in (they needed a bath - playing in the dirt all afternoon had them FILTHY).

After bath was dinner, and Mr. K fell asleep while I was getting it ready. 4:30pm he was passed out on the couch - and he was out until 6am!

This morning,  I was excited to see that it was 14 degrees, but noticed that the sun was nowhere to be found. After checking the weather forecast again, I was VERY disappointed to see that there was no sun to be found wasn't really cold - but the weather wasn't enjoyable.

We ended up heading to The Carp Custom Creamery, a new ice cream place that opened recently; owned by 2 wonderful people, Crystal and Dustin (owners of The Cheshire Cat Pub - great little pub, although they are closed at the moment while they restore from a fire earlier this year :( and Alice's Cafe).  While it would have been nicer had the weather co-operated with me, the boys enjoyed the treat and it was absolutely delicious! (They both opted for soft serve twists)

enjoying their soft serve twists

Carp Custom Creamery is just down the road from one of my aunts houses, so we made an impromptu visit - they have some wooded property and we took a quick walk to see the pond, then I headed home with the boys.  Hubby was home from work, so he took Mr. J out to get cleats and shin guards - soccer starts next weekend so we needed to prepare.

When they got home they went outside so Mr. J could get used to his cleats; then back in the house and we all watched Brave (love that movie).

Finished up with breakfast for dinner and then the hockey game!

How did you spend your weekend? Was the weather nice where you are, or were you stuck inside?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ideas to entertain the kids

We have a 3 year 2 month age gap between our boys; this can make it pretty hard to keep them occupied doing things together. When my youngest was really little (around 10 or 11 months old) I started needing ideas that could keep them both busy at the same time. Mr. K was old enough to be interested (and want to participate) in what his brother was doing, but to young to ACTUALLY participate.

Here are a few of the ways I used to include them both:

1) baking
- I would put Mr. K in his high chair and wheel him over to the work area; give him a snack and some measuring cups and then Mr. J and I would bake.  When we were finished mixing, I would give Mr. K a wooden spoon and let him have a quick mix of the batter.

2) bath time
- I would throw them in the bath together (even if it was the middle of the day) and just let them play; they had a blast splashing around together

3) Pots and Pans
- I would let them haul out all my pots from the cupboard and play "orchestra"; this would entertain them for quite awhile, and when they got bored playing with the pots, they would climb in the cupboard and "hide" from me.

4) painting/crafts
- I would give Mr. K a snack and have Mr. J do the craft at the kitchen table; when Mr. K was finished his snack, I would put some paper on his tray and give him 1 crayon (if he started to eat the crayon, I would switch it up and give him a board book or something else to look at)

5) Forts
- make a fort with your oldest and then they can both enjoy it afterwards

What kinds of things do you do with your kids when you have an age difference to worry about?

Nokia Lumia 620 - review

I was recently given the chance to test out the Nokia Lumia 620 from Telus;  it piqued my curiosity when I found out about the great photo options available on the phone.  I played around with it inside the house and outside in the yard. 

The Nokia Lumia 620 is a Windows 8 smartphone; it has a 3.8 inch ClearBlack display with sunlight readability enhancements (much easier to use outside!). When it first arrived, I quickly tested it out by calling my hubby. I was really surprised at how clear the call was, and there was no echo either.
What I really loved was the Smart Shoot feature - it takes 5 consecutive photo's, and you choose the one you feel is best.  Here are a few of my favorite photo's taken with the Nokia Lumia 620.

Being an avid baker, I love taking pictures of my creations

Baking captured by the Nokia Lumia 620

I also took it outside with us while the boys played;

And used it randomly to play around with the different features

Telus also offers a terrific service to their customers; you are able to book a one-on-one training session with a Telus rep. This appointment allows them time to teach you all about the features your device has to offer, and how to use them all.

Do you have a cell phone? What is your favorite feature?
*I was sent the phone for my own use along with a gift basket as compensation; this did not alter my opinion and as always, the opinion stated belongs to Tales of Mommyhood - your opinion/experience may vary*

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Doc McStuffins: Review and Giveaway (CAN/US)

If you have young ones that watch Disney Junior, I am sure you are aware of Doc McStuffins. My boys absolutely love watching her and they really enjoy the fact that she is a doctor for toys.

Doc McStuffins: Time for your Check Up has just been released on DVD, and it contains 5 great Doc McStuffins episodes.  This is the 2nd DVD in the collection, and it also comes with a FREE growth chart.

Out of the episodes on the DVD - Mr. J's favorite one is Gulpy, Gulpy Gators.  One of the gators from the gulpy, gulpy gators game eats too many marbles and doesn't feel well. He was able to relate to when HE eats too much and gets an upset tummy!

Are your kids fans of Doc McStuffins? Use the rafflecopter form below to enter for your chance to win a copy of Doc McStuffins: Time for your check up!  Open to CAN/US and ends on May 26th at 11:59pm.  Good luck!

Win passes to the #OTTAWA International Childrens Festival!

I am super excited to share this latest giveaway with you! Thanks to The Ottawa Mommy Club for including me on this giveaway for the Ottawa International Children's Festival! I hadn't heard of it until a few weeks ago - have you been?

Welcome to the

Ottawa International Children's Festival



Childrens_MK_webAd (1)

The Ottawa Mommy Club is pleased to host the Ottawa International Children's Festival Giveaway with the help of our co-hosts: Canadian Blog House, Shannon's View from Here, Journeys of the Zoo and Tales of Mommyhood!

Enter to win 4 tickets to

The Ottawa International Children's Festival

"Where The Wild Things Are"

on Thursday, May 30 @ 7:00 p.m

  The Ottawa International Children’s Festival (OICF), the largest children’s festival in Ontario, is gearing up to celebrate its 28th year in the Capital, May 28-June 2, 2013 at Lebreton Flats Park and Canadian War Museum sites. Each year the OICF proudly presents some of the finest visual and performance arts programming for young audiences. Thousands of area children, families and businesses come together to celebrate and take part in live performing arts that serves to surround young people with excellence in the arts community and to promote creativity, boundless imaginations and individual expression in children of all ages. 887fb35d1204a842f0a37b3adfb1756a This year, the Festival proudly presents the finest visual and performance arts programming for young audiences. Counties Shaped Like Stars, by Ottawa’s Mi Casa Theatre, is making its debut at The Ottawa Children’s Festival with a whimsical theatrical productionfeaturing characters Gwendolyn Magnificent and Bartholomew Spectacular, as told through a tin-can telephone. The show has received race reviews and five-star designations from audience members and critics alike, performing across Canada and as far south as New Mexico. The programming schedule for this show is as follows : * Wednesday, May 29 @ 9 :30 am – Atelier C&D Canadian War Museum (English) * Thursday, May 30 @ 10 :00 am – Atelier C&D Canadian War Museum (English) * Friday, May 31 @ 9 :30 am and 12 :30 pm – Atelier C&D Canadian War Museum (English) * Saturday, June 1 @ 1 :00 pm – Atelier C&D Canadian War Museum (English) * Sunday, June 2 @ 10 :00 am – Atelier C&D Canadian War Museum (English) The high-energy, Quebec-based Evolution of BBoying by Ottawa’s Mi Casa Theatre, featuring local choreographer/dancer Yvon ‘Crazy Smooth’ Soglo, explores street dance tradition in a modern performance setting. This show brings together 10 of Canada’s most talented dancers and performersin a piece that evokes the essential nature of street dance. The programming schedule for this show is as follows : * Wednesday, May 29 @ 1 :00 pm - Tent 2 LeBreton Flats Park (Bilingual) * Thursday, May 30 @ 9 :15 am and 11 :00 am - Tent 2 LeBreton Flats Park (Bilingual) * Friday, May 31 @ 1 :00 pm and 7 :00 pm - Tent 2 LeBreton Flats Park (Bilingual) * Saturday, June 1 @ 9 :30 am and 12 :00 pm – Tent 2 LeBreton Flats Park (Bilingual) * Sunday, June 2 @ 12 :30 pm and 3 :30 pm - Tent 2 LeBreton Flats Park (Bilingual) Denmark’s A Sonatina, by Gruppe 38 Europe’s oldest artistic creative, is a hysterical theatrical version of Little Red Riding Hood, featuring an un-cooperative live chicken and a newly laid egg. Highly original and tremendously imaginative, this performance is sure to be an audience favourite. The programming schedule for this show is as follows : * Wednesday, May 29 @ 9 :30 am and 12 :00 pm - Barney Danson Theatre – War Museum (English) * Friday, May 31 @ 10 :00 am, 12 :30 pm and 7 :00 pm - Barney Danson Theatre – War Museum (English) * Saturday, June 1 @ 10 :00 am and 12 :00 pm - Barney Danson Theatre – War Museum (English) * Sunday, June 2 @ 10 :00 am - Barney Danson Theatre – War Museum (English) WTWTAThe award-winning adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are is back by popular demand. It is a whimsical, joyful piece of participatory theatre that will delight one and all. Kim Selody brings our favourite characters to life in this Dora-nominated production. Get your tickets soon, this one sells out fast! The programming schedule for this show is as follows : * Thursday, May 30 @ 9 :30 am, 12 :30 pm and 7 :00 pm – Barney Danson Theatre – War Museum (English) * Saturday, June 1 @ 2 :30 pm - Barney Danson Theatre – War Museum (English) * Sunday, June 2 @ 12 :30 pm and 3 :00 pm - Barney Danson Theatre – War Museum (English) Ghosts and Ladders, featuring acrobats and musicians combining music, movement and poetry. This show originating from Quebec, has audience members transported to an imaginative, engrossing world that won’t soon be forgotten. The programming schedule for this show is as follows : * Saturday, June 1 @ 1 :00 pm – Tent 1 LeBreton Flats Park (English) * Sunday, June 2 @ 11 :00 am and 2 :15 pm - Tent 1 LeBreton Flats Park (English) Please refer to the Festival’s activities schedule for more activities. Tickets for the Festival are $12.50 per person, or you can choose your three favourite shows by purchasing a 3-Show Package (any 3 shows) for $30.00 per person. Tickets can be purchased through the festival office by calling 613-241-0999, by visiting the office at 294 Albert Street, Suite 602, Ottawa (Mon-Fri, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm), through the Festival website or on-site at Lebreton Flats Park, between May 28 and June 2. These shows usually sell out, so please call early to avoid disappointment! For more information about the schedule or ticket information please visit the website at or call (613) 241-0999. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest! Contest is open to 18 + Canadian Residents only. You have 48 hours to reply by email once you are notified as the winner. If you don't, we will draw another entry. Prize may not be substitute. Contest ends May 26th at 11:59pm.   Win 4 tickets to The Ottawa International Children's Festival

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Selling used items - be safe

I have used kijiji and usedottawa to sell/buy baby items since Mr. J was an infant. It is a great way to make some money back on items you only use for a short period of time.  The return you get is higher than taking the items to a consignment store, although a downfall is the time it takes to list items and respond to inquiries.

After hearing about Timothy Bosma, it really got me thinking about all the times buyers came to my house in the middle of the day, when I was alone with the kids.  I even went and picked items up from people without thinking twice about it.

After hearing about Tim's death on the news today, they listed some great tips on how to continue selling privately, but being safer about it.

1) ask questions of prospective buyers on the phone; try and get a phone number to reach them at. IF they won't give you one, that should raise some red flags
2) always try and meet during the day, and in a public place
3) never go alone - bring a friend or family member with you

Do you buy or sell online or through classifieds?  What are your thoughts - will this change your mind about it?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Giveaway Linky

Feel free to list any open giveaways you have, but please make sure to write who is eligible to win (CAN, US, WW) For maximum exposure, it would be great if you could share the linky via twitter or facebook. Thanks for linking up and good luck if you enter!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mothers Day

Today is a day marked to celebrate Mothers.  Time to tell them how much you love and appreciate them, because while you know everyday, sometimes it is easy to let it go by without showing them just how much.

Today, however can also be a day of sadness for some.  For those that have lost their own mother; for those that have lost their babies; and for those who have so dreamt of carrying a child, but have been unable to.

Hugs to all of you

Thursday, May 9, 2013

CHOOZE Shoes - Review and Giveaway (CAN)

I like my boys to show their individuality; I let them dress themselves, and almost anything goes (as lomg as it is season appropriate and clean, I am pretty good with whatever they want) even if it means wearing batman pj's (come on, capes are awesome) to school.

I have always been someone that isn't overly fond of wearing socks - however, my feet get cold so I suffer through wearing them and make it fun.  Bright coloured, funky designs - I love them all. Most of the time though, my socks don't match.  I don't have the time (or the desire) to dig through them all and match em up.  My boys (especially Mr. J) have followed suit, and even if they have a pair of matching socks, often choose to mismatch them.

When I first learned about CHOOZE shoes, I knew I needed to test them out. I was sure that Mr. J and Mr. K would love them.

CHOOZE very kindly sent us TWO pairs of shoes, 1 for each of the boys.  I was thrilled when they arrived - they are slip on style which is perfect for summer. Easy for them to grab and go, and they don't really need my help with them.

CHOOZE shoes are made from all vegan materials; in addition to this, instead of shoe boxes, they have "art boxes" which are made from recycled materials and help kids get creative in decorating them.

Chooze gives back - at the end of every year, they take the profits and invest in anti-poverty projects, you can read more about that here.

Chooze offers shoes for girls, boys and women.  They have slip ons, sandals, flip flops and sneakers. The shoes co-ordinate, but don't match - Mr. J noticed immediately, and thought they sent him the wrong shoes.  When I asked him what he thought, he said it was awesome and would "match" his socks since they did not match either.

you can see his mis matched socks also!
The shoes are fully washable, which is great for kids - I love that when they get dirty I can just throw them in the washing machine with the rest of their laundry (on gentle cycle) and then let them air dry. 

They have an anti-microbial insole (helps keep the smells away!) and the soles are really firm, which is great to protect their little toes and bottoms of their feet.  I measured the boys feet and then checked the website for their size.  I added a little on just in case; Mr. J's are slightly big and Mr. K's fit perfectly. 

Would you wear Chooze shoes? I would! I think I need to buy myself a pair now.  Here is a chance to give them a try - one lucky Tales of Mommyhood reader is going to win a pair of shoes*!  (winners choice of size/shoe from a selection in stock at that time) Giveaway is open to residents of Canada who are 18+.  To enter, use the rafflecopter form below.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kids and video games/tv time

Today I have a post up on the CHEO Moms and Dads blog; it's about kids and screen time.  What are your thoughts on the subject?

Are you super strict with the amount of time your children have with electronics? or are you more relaxed?

We are fairly relaxed - mainly because our kids don't focus solely on electronic devices. They are happiest when they are outside playing, and they get plenty of outdoor time. They also have lots of time to use their imaginations and be creative indoors with the tv off.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Streak Free Window with Norwex!

Norwex Enviro Cloth and Polishing Cloth give your windows a streak free clean - using NO harmful chemicals! Water and microfiber will get your windows looking great!

Before (left) and After (right)

Monday Giveaway Linky

Feel free to list any open giveaways you have, but please remember to add eligibility (country) and end date. Not required, but sharing the linky is always appreciated!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Angry Birds Star Wars - review and giveaway (US only)

Like most children are, my oldest is obsessed with Angry Birds.  Hubby and I only upgraded our phones late last year, so it is a relatively new thing for Mr. J.

May the Fourth be with you! In celebration of Star Wars Day, Hasbro offered me the chance to review (and give one away!)  the Angry Birds Star Wars At-At-Attack Battle Game. They also sent a Foam Flyer (we received Chewy)  When it arrived, I got to work setting it up. I will say, it is a little time consuming to get ready considering how long it lasts (given that the point of the game is to destroy it); however, there are so many different ways you can set it up (and it is all up to your imagination!) - that it was a lot of fun coming up with new designs.

The age on the box says for 5 and up, and Mr. J (who is turning 6 in a couple of months) really enjoyed the game.  He did get frustrated as the structure isn't super stable and can fall down easily; although that didn't stop him from putting it together again and again, and he really took pleasure in being able to launch his angry birds towards it (what kid doesn't like being able to DESTROY something?) The game contains many little pieces, so it is NOT suitable for kids that are still putting things in their mouths (like my youngest)

at at attack angry birds game

Do you have an Angry Birds Star Wars fan at home? Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for your chance to win your own copy of the At-At Attack Battle Game!  Runs from April 30 - 11:59 pm EST May 8, 2013 - only open to US entrants

Thursday, May 2, 2013

OZ The Great and Powerful - June 11

Go Deeper Into the Spectacular Land of Oz


New To Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Digital and On-Demand - June 11, 2013

BURBANK, Calif. May 1, 2013 — Disney’s “Oz The Great and Powerful” will once again provide audiences with a magical entertainment experience when it debuts for in-home release on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, DVD, Digital and On-Demand, June 11, 2013.