Monday, November 30, 2015

November 30th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

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Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend.  We spent time this weekend getting our house ready for Christmas!  Our tree is up, decorations are placed and the outside lights have been turned on!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Turning "Me" Into "We" This Christmas #MoreSurprises

Christmas time is approaching and minds are starting to race with gift ideas for those special people on our shopping lists.  As the holiday season approaches, my mind also goes to ways that we can help others. Donating toys to a toy drive, adding non-perishables to the food bin in the grocery store, making Christmas cards for seniors, and this year, buying gifts for my family and knowing that purchase is also going to help someone overseas.
"Warm hearts are giving hearts, give with all your heart."
Back pack, mittens, infinity scarf, socks, passport holder, adult beanie and toiletry bag 

The Staples Canada "Me To We" program is filled with gift ideas that can be purchased - warm mittens, back packs, school supplies, passport holders, magnets, water bottles and many more useful, everyday items.  When you purchase any of these products, life changing gifts are given to a child overseas.  The gift given depends on the gift purchased.  Each product has a tag attached that tells you (and your gift recipient) what gift was given to a child overseas.

Gifts available for purchase have a wide range of prices from $1.50 up to $49.98; gifts given to children overseas range from clean water, food, trees planted and even medicine for a sick child. Each purchase has a code that allows you to track your impact.  Go to the track your impact website, input the code and you will see how you are helping!

We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have access to clean water at our fingertips, warm clothes and healthy food. This year, while making your Christmas shopping list why not add some of these useful gifts, and feel good knowing that your purchase is helping a child in need.

Tales of Mommyhood received the products shown above in exchange for this post.  My family will be donating these to help people in our community that are in need.  A small way for us to help those around us this Christmas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Have an XL Christmas With HASBRO and Jenga XL

Our family loves to play games. Board games, card games, video games - we like them all.  Mr. J played Jenga for the first time when he was 6, and it was a game that he really enjoyed.  When I saw that there was a new Jenga game out - Jenga XL, I knew it was a must have for our family.

Like traditional Jenga, you take blocks and build a tower, and then you need to remove pieces and build higher without knocking the structure down.  
Jenga XL, Christmas gift guide, 2015 gift guide, gift ideas, family gift, games

The twist on XL is that the blocks are extra large (XL).  

This gives you a much larger tower to play with, and much bigger topples!  

  • a lot of fun
  • blocks are cardboard and need to be folded together (be careful doing this, if they get bent, they won't build as securely)
  • have a bin or large bag to store blocks in so that you don't have to unfold and refold each time
  • if you are using a carpeted floor, a board underneath will help to keep the tower sturdy
Jenga XL makes our list for top holiday gifts! If you are looking for something to gift to a family, this is a great choice!

Tales of Mommyhood received the above product in exchange for inclusion in the 2015 Gift Guide. All opinions are honest and belong to ToM. Your opinion/experience may vary

Monday, November 23, 2015

November 23 Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

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Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend.  My hubby and Mr. J attended the Ottawa RedBlacks game yesterday and got to witness the win that got them to the 2015 Grey Cup! 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kellogg's Treats For Toys #TreatsForToys

It's no secret that I love to bake, and both my boys enjoy helping me in the kitchen.  Rice Krispies treats are one of our favourite things to make together.  My latest Kellogger package arrived this week, and it was filled with goodies for making Toy Treats! Yes, you read that right TOY treats.  In the package were all that was needed to make Rice Krispies treats, along with instructions and decorations to turn them into toys (hard to tell the kids not to play with their food when they make it into a toy!)

Back again this year is the Kellogg's #TreatsForToys program.  For each Rice Krispies treat toy that is made, photographed and uploaded to social media with hashtag #TreatsForToys, Kellogg's will donate $20 to the Salvation Army toy drive (up to $30,000)

What a great way for you to help spread some Christmas cheer - baking with your kids!  Quality time together and a gift for a child in need - how awesome is that?

Mr. J wanted to make a dinosaur, and Mr. K ended up making a puzzle - he used cookie cutters to cut shapes and then stuck them together like a puzzle.  We had a lot of fun together creating.

Kellogg's wants YOU to participate in the #TreatsForToys program and is giving you the chance to WIN a prize pack like the one I received.  It will contain Rice Krispies cereal, marshmallows and some candy to decorate the treats with.

Sound good to you? Just use the form below for your chance to win. This is open to Canadian Residents that are 18+ and ends on December 6th 2015 at 1159pm EST

As a Kellogger, Tales of Mommyhood receives packages a few times a year in exchange for these posts/giveaways.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish {giveaway}

I love the Christmas season.  The Christmas movies on tv, songs on the radio, decorations etc.  I am not sure what appeals to me so much about it, but it is a time I look forward to every year.  We are trying to teach our children that it is not about the gifts that are under the tree. But celebrating with family and remembering Christ.  Of course, being young they want the biggest and best, but it doesn't always happen.

"Holiday sequel to The New York Times bestselling Pout-Pout Fish series reminds young readers what being merry is all about
The grumpiest fish in children’s literature is back with another case of “the dreary wearies.” This time, Mr. Fish, star of The New York Times bestselling Pout-Pout Fish series, is down in the dumps over holiday shopping. With a message for readers of all ages, The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux Books | Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, Ages 2-6) finds Mr. Fish so consumed with finding that perfect gift for each of his friends that he forgets the true meaning of the holidays.
 When Mr. Fish—with his signature Pout-Pout Fish frown—comes up empty-handed, Miss Shimmer intervenes with a plan to make homemade gifts. He soon learns that it’s not about busting the budget or gifting the season’s hottest item, but giving from the heart. Together they experience the joy that comes from giving and sharing—the merriest gifts of all."
The author and illustrator are both on tour right now, you can check the list below to see if they will be near you:

Book Tour Schedule
Author Deborah Diesen
November 14, 3pm - Square Books, Oxford, MS
November 16, 3:30pm - Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC
November 18, 4pm - Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
November 19, 7pm - Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA
November 20, 4pm - Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA
Illustrator Dan Hanna
November 15, 11am - WORD Books, Jersey City, NJ
November 16, 4pm - Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY
November 17, 4:30pm - Towne Book Center & Cafe, Collegeville, PA
November 18, 4:30pm - Cover to Cover, Columbus, OH
November 19, 4:30pm - Lake Forest Books, Lake Forest, IL
November 21, 12pm - Anderson’s Book Shop, Naperville, IL
November 21, 2pm - Anderson’s Book Shop, La Grange, IL
Learn more at

Interested in a copy for yourself? You can buy it on or - or, you can enter to win a copy right here!  Use the form below to enter!  This is open to residents of Canada and the United States. Giveaway ends at 1159pm EST November 23rd.  Winner will have 24 hours to respond or will forfeit.

Tales of Mommyhood received the above mentioned product in exchange for hosting this giveaway.
Plus a bit of bling-zing,
So I’ll shop till I drop
For each just-right thing.”

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

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This past weekend marked the beginning of Santa for our town.  The Santa Claus parade was on Saturday morning, and now Santa is at the local mall for visits.  If you are curious what other Santa Claus parades are happening around the Ottawa area, check out this list I put together.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Give The Gift Of Experience This Christmas

Like most children, mine enjoy receiving gifts at their birthdays and Christmas.  However, like most parents, we prefer that they be kept to a minimum.  A few years ago we changed the way we do gifts at Christmas and started to follow the saying:
"Something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Adding Memories To Our Walls With CanvasPop {giveaway}

I have always wanted to have a canvas print done, but never got around to actually doing it. When CanvasPop contacted me a few weeks ago to see if I would be interested in partnering for a review, I quickly said yes!  Photo's on canvas are great gift ideas (especially for grandparents) so I was happy to be able to add this to the 2015 Gift Guide.

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 9th Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

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November is prematurity awareness month.  We went down that road when Mr. J was born, and I put a post together with some tips to help if you know someone with a child in the hospital.  You may have read it already, but I would love if you could share the tweet that is in the post.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town - A List of Ottawa Area Parades 2015

We have an annual tradition.  Every year on the day of our local Santa Claus parade, the boys and I (and hubby if he is home) head to my brothers for breakfast in the morning, and then we bundle up and head outside to watch the parade.

We are so lucky that they actually live ON the parade route.  We just have to walk out to the end of the driveway.

November is here and the Santa parades will be happening soon, so I decided to put together a list of local ones that you might enjoy.

Kanata - November 14th, 10am
Ottawa - November 21, 11am
Barrhaven - November 22, 5:30pm
Stittsville - November 28th, 6 pm
Carleton Place - November 28th, 5pm
Orleans - November 28th, 6pm
Light Up The Night Almonte - December 4th, 7pm (not a parade, but an outdoor Christmas concert)
Osgood - December 5th (no time posted)
Perth- December 5th, 5pm

I have never been to a night time parade before; I think it would be really neat to see all the lights. Timing just hasn't worked out for us, but we do always make our local parade where Santa is brought in on a fire truck!

Do you attend a Santa Claus parade in your area? If you do, remember that most of them collect non-perishables for the local food bank - so try and have a donation with you to contribute!

If you are looking to find out the Mall Santa hours at the local malls, my friend Stacey at Not Just Baby Brain has rounded them up!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Great Stocking Stuffer Ideas From Hasbro

When it comes to stockings in our house, we tend to fill them with things that are used daily (new toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo) but we also like to add in a few treats as well.  We will have a lollipop, their favourite chocolate bar, and also a small toy or 2.

Hasbro always has some really neat items that can be used for stocking stuffers.  Mr. J and Mr. K will each find a Jurassic World Stomp N' Chomp Dinosaur in their stockings.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I See Me Personalized Puzzles

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This year for Christmas my boys will each be receiving a personalized puzzle from I See Me.  There are 9 puzzles to choose from, and whichever one you choose will be personalized with their name on it.  

Mr. J is really into sports at the moment, so we ordered the Kick! Score! Run! theme for him, and Mr. K is all about dinosaurs right now, so he is getting the Dino-Mite themed one.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Disney's Tomorrowland {review}

"Dreamers Wanted…Disney invites you to an incredible world of epic imagination where anything is possible. Buckle your seat belt, as the
director of The Incredibles takes your family on an action-packed thrill ride.
Join former boy genius Frank (George Clooney), optimistic, science-minded teen Casey (Britt Robertson), mysterious Athena (Raffey Cassidy)and the brilliant David Nix (Hugh Laurie) in a world of pure Disney imagination. Tomorrowland transports you on an inspiring and magicaljourney of wonder and adventure to a place where if you can dream it, you can do it."
As a Disney loving family, we were all really excited when a copy of Tomorrowland showed up for us to watch and review.

We sat down as a family to watch the movie, and while I wish I could say we all loved it, that is just not the case.  The visuals of the movie are stunning, and I am a fan of George Clooney, so it was great to see him in a little bit of a different role than what he normally plays.  In terms of the actual movie though, I just found it didn't really ever GET anywhere.  Mr. J seemed to enjoy it, but he didn't understand a lot of what was happening; Mr. K wasn't really interested after the first 30 minutes or so.

If you are a Disney loving dreamer, then it may appeal to you.

Tales of Mommyhood received the above mentioned product in exchange for this post.  All opinions are honest and belong to Tales of Mommyhood.  Your opinion/experience may vary.

November 2 Monday Madness Giveaway Linky

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Happy November! I hope that you all had a great Halloween.  My kids had a blast, got lots of candy and I got to see a ton of amazing costumes.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

How To Make Your Own Homemade Vanilla Extract

As you all know, I love to bake.  It is a hobby that I have had for many years, and I don't foresee that changing anytime soon.  One of my favourite ingredients to use in baking is vanilla.  I always double the amount that a recipe calls for (and sometimes triple, depending on what I am making).

Pure vanilla extract can be expensive though, and a few years ago I found out that you can make your own using two ingredients.  Vanilla beans and vodka.
homemade vanilla, vanilla extract, gift guide 2015

It is super simple, and is an amazing gift to give that special baker in your life.

What you need:
  1. 5 Vanilla Beans
  2. 1 Cup Vodka
  3. Glass/Plastic Jar (with tight fitting lid)

To Make:
  1. Split vanilla beans lengthwise 
  2. Insert split beans into jar
  3. Pour in Vodka
  4. You want the beans completely covered by the vodka. If they aren't, then you can do a few things
    • use a smaller jar
    • cut the beans in half
    • add more beans and vodka (try to keep the 5 beans/1 cup vodka ratio
  5. Shake. Give the jar a good shake 2-3 times a week
  6. Wait. It will take approximately 8 weeks before the extract is ready to use

If you make it now, it will be ready in time for Christmas.  If you don't have 8 weeks until Christmas, it still makes a great gift just be sure to let the recipient know that the jar needs to be shaken and the date when it will be ready.

Do you have someone that would love to receive this for Christmas? I know my mom will! I made her a jar a few years ago, and will be gifting her another one this year!