Back to School with Hallmark #LoveHallmarkCA

In the hustle that is back to school sometimes it is so nice to have a box of must haves arrive at your door. My teen and I have been trying to take in the last few days of summer while juggling getting ready for back to school.  Sometimes I miss the days of simple shopping lists. My daughter’s list changes daily it seems after all she is a teen.

Supplies for high school depend on the classes they will take. This year my daughter was even told to bring a device with her. My teen will be filling each semester with 4 high school courses and one college. She will split her time between her local high school and George Brown College. This week we have been seeing what we have on hand and then heading shopping. She still needs some of the basics and a new laptop.

Hallmark Back to school

Thanks to my friends at Hallmark Canada some of the things she needs can be scratched off the list. They sent a box filled with great items for the back to school teen. She loved picking out a calendar, and yes I will use the other one. For her, she was happy to see journals and notebooks. She said these are perfect for taking quick notes and making lists. The folders will be used to keep class work organized.

 


As someone who loves Hallmark, I am thankful she is going off to her new school with items of great quality. She feel in love with the cute fun socks that were also included. They also included adorable Peanuts glassware. The teen loved that her favourite character Linus was on one of the glasses, the other had Charlie Brown.  So fun. The past couple of weeks she has been using her Linus glass exclusively.  The other item included was a sweet glass dish perfect for those end of the day pocket dumps.

Check out everything they have  at Hallmark.ca to help yours be more organized this year. Let me know are you almost ready for back to school?

Getting Her College Room Ready with Canadian Tire

This summer has flown by. It seems like yesterday my daughter was finishing up her high school career. This year she is doing a Gap year. Have you ever had one of yours take one? She will be splitting her time between high school and college. Back to school is just over a week away.  She needs a few more science courses to take the college program she is most interested in. She will be taking those and at the same time taking a digital animation course at George Brown. She has a busy year ahead. To get her ready, we are giving her room a makeover and getting her college ready. Think of it like a dorm room at home.

She has had most of the current stuff in her room since we got here six years ago. Most of what we got back then were hand me downs or items I picked up second hand. She deserves and needs an upgrade. She is an eighteen-year-old young woman who needs a space to do the things she loves. She also needs to be organized because for the first time she will have actual homework.  How did she get through high school with no homework? She did it all at school.

We have been looking for a new desk, dresser and bookcase for her room. We have also been looking at computer chairs, lamps, and rugs. She was on the Flipp app recently and was flipping through the sales flyers when she noticed that Canadian Tire had some things that would look great in her room. She loved that she could finally have pieces that match. No more hand me downs.

Getting Her College Room Ready

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My daughter fell in love with the Sauder Oak 5-Shelf Bookcase. She loved how grown up it looked. The fixed and adjustable shelves are great for her. You should see her collection of books and art supplies. This bookcase will be perfect for storing them all.

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She also fell in love with the Sauder Salter oak desk. She loves the two small drawers to keep all little things in. This will give her lots of space for writing those essays and reviewing lab notes.

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To complete everything she wants the Sauder Salted Oak 4-drawer dresser.  After all, what young woman doesn’t an elegant and contemporary place for all her clothes? This one will have ample storage space for her.

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Her room here is small, and I can imagine her dorm room will be just as small, so she loves Arden shag rug in linen. She loves the feel of shag and doesn’t want to wake up to cold feet.

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Every student needs a good lamp, and she wanted a swing arm desk lamp.  She will have enough light for those late night study sessions.

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While checking out what she needs now for her new room, she was also thinking ahead to next year when she will have to buy small kitchen things like a mini fridge, microwave, toaster oven and kettle so she even checked those out and a few were placed on her Christmas list. She was excited when we found much of what she needs for her college room.

So tell me how did you have to get your teen ready for university or college? Were you shopping for the dorm room? Buying a few new things for home to help them adjust?

Make sure you enter to win a $400 Canadian Tire Card here:

Get Ready for Back to School with Canadian Tire

3 Tips to Help Teens Have a Healthy Smile this School Year

It’s that time of year, and we are busy getting our kids and teens back on schedule and making sure great habits are in place for the coming school year.  One of the things we had to concentrate on with my teen was dental health.  You see, like over 50% of teens, she was not brushing her teeth at least twice every day.  How can we get our teens brushing their teeth? How can we make sure our teens have a healthy smile for this school year?There are some simple things we can do as parents to get them brushing. For me, as a mom, it meant working within certain boundaries. My daughter has some sensory issues and is allergic to mint.

Here are some tips that I used with my teen, who is now brushing twice a day without being reminded. I count that a win for mom and my daughter’s teeth.

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Less Junk Food

You can’t always control what they eat when out with friends, but you can control what you purchase. This summer I have been making sure there is less junk food in the house. Healthy snacks and beverages are vital for dental health.  I find my teen is now even ordering healthy options when we are out.

Compliment Them

I know my teen loves being told she looks good. Does yours? When we reinforce with a sincere compliment, we tend to have to remind them less. Let them know their new or improved dental habits are noticed.

 

Keep the Right Supplies on Hand

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When dealing with my teen’s sensory and allergy issues, I learned that having the right tools was so important if I wanted her to improve her dental health habits. She is allergic to mint. Do you know how many toothpastes have a mint flavour? We went shopping for a different flavour and, after checking with her dentist, found that even a flavoured kids toothpaste is fine to use as long as it had fluoride.  Nice to know if you have a kid like mine who reacts to mint. I also learned to have the right floss (unflavoured works for her) and the right toothbrush. Stock up on what works when they are on sale; that way you will have a small stockpile ready for the school year.

When it came time to find the right toothbrush, we chose the new Sonicare Series 2 Plaque Control Toothbrush from Philips. It retails for about $79.99.

Phillips Sonicare toothbrush

Why did we choose it? The toothbrush uses patented sonic technology to drive fluid deep between teeth and along the gumline for a super clean. After a recent visit to my dentist, I know how important that is. My teen says when she uses the Sonicare toothbrush it feels like she has just come home from the dentist. She loves how easy it is to use and how it makes her mouth feel.

I love knowing that it removes 6x more plaque than a manual toothbrush, which helps to reduce cavities. Thankfully, she has only ever had one. I also love that this toothbrush did not break the bank.My teen loves that hers is pink, though a variety of colours are available.

Have you ever had trouble getting your teens to brush their teeth? If you have, try my tips and let me know how they work. For my teen, changing these three things has helped her to develop some great dental health habits that will give her a great smile this school year.

Philips Sonicare uses dynamic cleaning action and patented sonic technology to gently and effectively reach deep between teeth for a superior clean you can see and feel.   Switch to Sonicare 2 Series and remove 6X more plaque than a manual toothbrush.

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

 

 

sckechers

Back to School With Skechers (Giveaway)

sckechersI know that we are right in the midst of summer, but in less than a month the kids will be headed back to school. As both my teen and I will be taking courses this fall, we are both starting to get in the mind space where we think about what we need. This fall we are lucky we will be heading back to school with Skechers on our feet.

I am hard to fit when it comes to shoes. I have a wide foot. I was delighted last fall when I found the most comfortable pair of Skechers last fall. I have worn them almost every day for months. They are a spend that is worth the money. Sometimes it is okay to spend money on things that do matter like your feet. If you are travelling back and forth to school or even work, you want to be comfortable.

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Last month, we went to Skechers.com and checked out all the great footwear options. My teen is very picky, but she oohed and awed over the selection in front of her. I did the same. As I said, I have a wider foot, so the first thing I checked was the selection. They have over 50 pairs of shoes that will fit a wider foot. How cool is that! For me, that was a huge plus! It gave me lots of options.

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I settled on a great pair of SKECHERS Relaxed Fit®: Bikers –  it is a Cruisin shoe. I love that it gives me a casual professional look and has that great memory foam insole. If your shoes do not have a memory foam insole, trust me it is something you want to try! It helps that they just look great as well!

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My teen decided she wanted the navy/pink Skechers GO STEPs. These shoes will be great for her as they feature Goga Mat Technology and Goga Pillars on the midsole and outsole which means she gets the correct arch support and shock absorption. With these shoes as well my daughter who loves to go sockless can! These shoes also feature the Integrated Ortholite® anti-microbial sock liner which helps inhibit odor and prevent slippage. These shoes are also very lightweight which my teen loves. I can see her wearing them all year.

Now here is some great news for my readers: You can win two pairs of Skechers just in time for back to school.

All  you have to do is leave a comment and let me know which shoes you would pick for those going back to school in your house.

You can check out the selection of shoes on their website. 

*this giveaway closes August 31st, 2016 at 12 pm and is open to Canadian residents only.

*you can earn an extra entry by sharing this giveaway, just leave me a link to where you shared in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

What Parents Need to Know About Pokemon Go

 

169Are your kids excited that Pokemon Go is now here in Canada? I know mine is and on Sunday even with the server down time found herself wandering around our neighbourhood catching Pokemon. It seems there are Pokestops on my street.

So what should we be aware of and what should we be talking to our kids about when it comes to Pokemon Go?

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Privacy

If you have already downloaded and installed the game be sure to update the app, there is a much-needed fix you want to have.

When you signed up, did you use your Google account? Your child’s account? Then be aware they are collecting information such as your child’s age, email address, locations they visit, and websites they have visited. Please make sure you remind them against using third party apps as some contain trojans, adware, and malware. If you are signing up for apps etc. you may want to have a separate Google account to ensure safety and to keep your information private.

Cost

Pokemon Go is a free app, but there is a temptation to spend money on in-game items like Pokeballs when you run our of them in the middle of trying to capture that one Pokemon. You child also needs to be using a smart phone or device that has a data plan. You can play using just wifi but be aware many pokestops and gyms don’t have hotspots.

Saftey

Your kids will be getting outside and getting physical. That is a good thing but in outdoor adventure, you want to be playing safely. That means being aware of your surroundings. There have already been accidents caused by playing Pokemon Go.

Meeting Strangers

The most desirable Pokemon destinations are called Pokestops and Pokemon Gyms, and they are often found in public or community places such as parks and churches some are even at stores that want you to visit them. The locations are where your child will most likely encounter other players, both children, and adults.  Talk to your children about being aware of their surroundings and don’t forget to discuss private property. Police are reminding the public not to trespass, as some Pokemon Go players are wandering off paths and over fences. It’s not okay to trespass into yards, gardens, and business offices any given permission. Public spaces are okay.  There is also the consideration of where it might be inappropriate to play Pokemon Go. Locations such as Sick Kids Hospital are asking players not to plant lures near the hospital and not to play inside the hospital. It is also in bad taste to play in certain museums and never monuments that remember the dead. Businesses can attract customers by creating lures right inside their locations even the police have used it to lure criminals. Have a talk about respecting private property, also have a talk about good Pokemon trainer manners.

The good news is the app is not eating up data! That is the good news the bad is that it drains the battery so carry an extra battery or a phone charger if you plan on spending the day hunting.

We have started Pokemon Go seeking together, and it is a great family activity to do after dinner to spend time interacting with family and in the community.

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trippin’ Around Canada this Summer and a Giveaway #ChurchandDwight

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July is the perfect time to take a family road trip, last week we took off for St Jacobs Market and Statford for the day. For us, school is not out – school’s in! My teen is busy studying science this summer at summer school as she prepares to take some advanced science courses in the year ahead. So instead of it being a family road trip. I roadtripped with my girlfriend Tammy and her family. With it being summer there are so many possibilities when it comes to road tripping. You could do like we did and just take a short jaunt or your could do like I did last summer and drive all the way to the coast.

Not sure where you want to go? Here are three great adventures to get your mind wandering and maybe inspire your next trip: Quebec City, Haliburton and Tofino. Not sure what each has to offer? Read more below!

1.       Tofino, British Columbia. Looking for something truly picturesque? Head to Canada’s surf capital – Tofino. Get your family on a ferry from Vancouver to Nanaimo and drive along the Pacific Rim Highway for a truly breathtaking view of mountains and lakes, along with rainforest. The area is also known for its trees, which grow in spectacular sizes. Some trees are believed to be 1000 years old.

2.       Haliburton, Ontario. Truly the quintessential summer escape from the big city, you’ll practically feel the stress lifting as you start driving into cottage country. There are several scenic route options, dotted with great ice cream parlours along the way, which all lead to good times ahead. Whether you stay for the day or rent a cottage, you’ll want to make sure you stop at Webers in Orillia, a Canadian burger landmark since 1963.

3.       Quebec City, Quebec. Whatever direction you’re coming in from, stop in a few francophone villages on your way into the old city to soak up the culture, food and French! Making your way through the beautiful and lush countryside, you’ll be thrilled to arrive at your final destination: old Quebec City, a city full of history, architecture, cobble stone streets and endless charm.

Before you head out on a great adventure, make sure you’re well prepared, especially when kids are involved – we’re hoping for less “are we there yet?” and more “wow, this is amazing!” You’ll always want to pack things like a GPS system, snacks, sunscreen, and sun protection, first aid supplies and good music! Personally, when it comes to music I am loving my Spotify app!

To get you ready for your family adventure this summer, here are some very practical products to put in your travel toolkit. We’re sending along product samples to get you started and also have a giveaway for your readers.

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The Church and Dwight Summer Giveaway

GRAVOL™ Natural Source™ Ginger Lozenges – curb motion sickness for you and your kids (over the age of six) with these chewable lozenges – convenient, portable and no water required! GRAVOLTM Kids Quick Dissolve Chewables are a great option for your little ones two years and over! (GRAVOLTM Kids Quick Dissolve Chewables are not included in giveaway).

·         OxiClean™ Foam Pretreat – spills and stains are bound to happen on road trips, treat them the day they happen and then throw the item in the wash a few days later when you make it to your destination!

·         ORAJEL™ Anticavity Fluoride Toothpaste 119g, in either Super Mario™ or The Ultimate Spider-ManTM or My Little Pony™ – with road trips come snacks and fast food so ensuring your little ones are brushing is of the upmost importance.

·         Vitafusion™ Women’s and Men’s Complete Multivitamins – are geared towards providing essential nutrients specifically needed by men and women to maintain their health, in a tasty gummy that you can take without water, perfect for on-the-go!

Approximate retail value of the giveaway: $50

Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below and let me know in the comments where you are road trippin to this summer.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

graduation gift idea

Graduation Gift Ideas from Hallmark Canada

It is that time of year in many households, it seems about a quarter of my friends have a graduate of some sorts in their house this year. My own daughter is in grade 12 but she will be done with high school next year. There are plenty of graduation ceremonies next week here locally.  Our little one next door is graduating from kindergarten and many of my friends have grade 12  graduates this year and a few had university and college graduates as well. So what do you get for the graduating class of 2016?

My daughter did not to celebrate with her friends this year. We will next. She wants to travel and we will see if that is possible before she starts college.

Now my friends at Hallmark Canada have some pretty sweet gift ideas for the graduates. Shush, but I have a few of these ready to give Rachel.

graduation gift idea

When Rachel graduated kindergarten I got her the Dr Suess book “Oh the Places You will Go”. Well, Hallmark has a whole line of Oh The Places you will go gifts that are perfect for giving to your graduate .  I love the mug, the suitcase gift card holder, the frame and the luggage tag and keychain. I also love the paperweight globe which is a great reminder the world is now hers.

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Having a graduation party for your child? I love the Pop Up Card Keeper with Photo Holder and the 2016 Autograph Poster. Both are perfect keepsakes of the event.

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As they say good bye to friends there is always the Autograph Owl. It even comes with its own black permanent marker.

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Do you have someone graduating from kindergarten? I loved the My First Graduation frame that came from Hallmark this year. I gave one to my neighbour for her daughter.

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There are also some great pictures frames as well for that older graduate.

As we get ready for graduation this weekend, there is definitely some last-minute shopping going on. What will you be picking up for your graduate?

 

The P&G brandPACKS are back

brandPack_main-e1465307656320One of the things you may not know about me is I love to sample before I buy. Any chance I get to sample I always take advantage. It is such a great way to test drive a product that is why we love the P&G brandPacks. We love the new sample packs even if we have to pay a small shipping fee.

The brandPACK start at only 4.99 and include all your favourite P&G products. Several of the brands even include family favourites like Mr Clean Magic Eraser, Cascade, Unstoppables and Pampers Swaddlers. Really if you have a small one in the house grab bundle E for $6.99 ( well worth is as it includes 20 diapers). To take advantage simply register at pgeveryday.ca, select your favourite bundle, pay and wait for your bundle of goodies to arrive. Let me know which sample pack most interests you.

 

True True Pizza Review

On Saturday, Rachel and I had a busy day. I was at the Canadian Grand Opening of doTERRA and Rachel was busy studying downtown so we met up for lunch at True True Pizza located near King and Jarvis. We had heard about and since it had a build-your-pizza option my teen was excited to try it out!

True True Pizza

Both of us at first noticed the colours and decor and commented on the retro vibe we were feeling. It kind of made you feel like you were in South Beach for a little bit of your day.  It definitely has a relaxed feel to the place.

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My teen was thinking hard as she checked out all the options for a build your own pizza. I decided to have a half pizza and a side salad. I had “The Aristocrat”, a pizza  covered in a classic tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, garlic confit, pesto, arugula, extra virgin oil and fresh parmesan.  Along with the pizza, I had a “Sidecar Salad” which had arugula, sliced pear, walnuts, goat cheese and a sweet lemon dijion vinaigrette.

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My teen topped her pizza with several of the offerings and since there was no limit on toppings she definitely had some fun. She called it her taco pizza, lots of tomato, a few types of cheese, and some meat toppings. She loved it.

beverages at True True Pizza

 

Both my teen and I loved the retro drink bottles and my teen loved that they had her favourite Black Cherry craft soda. They also had on tap wine and beer if I was in the mood for that.

dessert at true true pizza

My teen wanted to top off her meal with one of their giant cookies. She told me in was divine.

For us it was a great escape from a busy Saturday and a time to reconnect while checking out a new to us place in Toronto. That is something we both want to do more of this summer.

My teen and I rate the restaurant a 5/5. No complaints here, except that it is so far from home so no delivery for us.

 

frugal tips for a new mom

How to Save When You Have a Baby #PampersSavingsCA

Disclosure: I am a Pampers Savings ambassador. As part of my affiliation with this group, I have been compensated to share deals and test diaper subscription services. The opinions on this blog are my own.

From the moment you find out you are pregnant the costs start adding up. It seems for the first little while all you are doing is spending money to get things ready for your new bundle of joy. Once they get here, those costs start to skyrocket, but there are some simple ways you can save money when you are having a baby.

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Get Setup for Less

Look for Furniture and accessories that are multipurpose. Many cribs can be transformed into toddler beds and daybeds. When it comes to a highchair many transform as well. When it comes to car seats and strollers, I found ones that I could use for the longest period getting the most for my dollar spent.

Breastfeed if You Can

Nurse if you can. By nursing alone, you can save yourself over $1000.00 that first year. That money adds up. Don’t buy a huge breastfeeding wardrobe or kit, like I did, only not to use when my daughter didn’t latch. I misspent a wee bit of money for things I never used. If you are going to use a breast pump, see if you can borrow one instead of buy one.

Save on Clothes

One of the things I learned fast, was how fast babies grow! They are like weeds and shoot up a size or two very quickly. We stocked up on all in ones. I think my daughter spent most of her time in onesies till she was at least six months old. As well, if you are planning a family and this is your first child, think unisex. Be prepared for a boy or a girl. Everything I brought to the hospital was yellow and green. My friends went out and bought the dresses. As well as we ones start to crawl and walk, they learn faster if they barefoot indoors. Use soft booties to keep feet warm outside.

Saving on Food

Nursing is good for your baby. Try it if you can, but the reality is most moms stop breast feeding by the time a baby is six months old which means you are going to be spending money on formula.  Have a favourite brand? Sign up for their newsletters and social media sites. Coupons count, and they help you save. Now when it comes to actual baby food and snacks, we made most of ours, my daughter seemed to love it.

Save on Diapers

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There are many ways to save on diapers. In my house, we used Pampers for years.  It’s a great value offering a quality product we can rely on to keep our babies dry and help promote their happy, healthy development. Pampers know parents are looking for every opportunity to save without compromising quality which is why Pampers is offering Canadian parents many ways to help them save throughout the year via print-at-home and in-store coupons, subscription services, and app deals. Parents can save on a variety of Pampers products including Pampers Swaddlers, Pampers Cruisers, Pampers Easy Ups, Pampers UnderJams and more!
To get a better sense of what coupons are available, here are a few deals going on right now:

Download the Checkout51 app and get $3 cash back on Pampers Wipes, Pampers Cruisers, Pampers Swaddlers and Pampers Easy Ups or $2 back on Pampers Baby Dry (while quantities last).

$1-$3 off Pampers products at pgeveryday.ca and pampers.ca

SAVE $3.00 when you buy any ONE Pampers® Easy Ups or ONE Pampers® Wipes 320ct or higher at Loblaws, Real Canadian Super Stores and Shoppers Drug Mart. Coupons available in-store while quantities last

As well, if you use an app like Flipp you will always find the best price and since several stores do price match, be sure to maximize your savings.

Let me know if you have little ones in diapers and I will be sure to bring you more great deals.