7/26/17

My oldest daughter is having a birthday next month. We have been throwing around ideas for her party since the summer began and when I say we, I mean she. Having a birthday close to back to school time means mom and dads funds are limited. 

After some serious consideration, she's decided on something we can both live with: a couple of girl friends over for an afternoon of movies, snacks, and fun. Finishing off with cake or cupcakes (that she hasn't made a solid decision on yet). I think this could work out quite well for someone like me who is the furthest thing away from a professional party planner.



The planning has begun! We are going to transform part of the house into a teenaged movie party room. Either the basement living room or the one upstairs, we will see how that goes with two younger kids around. Either space has plenty of seating room for the girls to relax and have fun.  

The one problem with having a summer birthday is that the birthday girl is on summer break and around me almost ALL of the time which makes it difficult to be any kind of sneaky when it comes to getting things for her birthday be it gifts or other fun party items

I like being able to shop online for some things and have them delivered, it beats bringing everyone out to the store and although it's not a surprise party, I can still be sneaky with her present! 

Stay tuned in August for an update on our 13th birthday party fun!


Sponsored by Amazon in participation with Amazon Associates. Comments and opinions are my own. 







7/24/17

July is almost over, it's hard to believe we will be saying "back to school" soon enough. Until then we will continue enjoying our summer holidays. The city can get overwhelming in the summer. We live across the street from a park and pool. It's nice but it can get loud and crowded pretty fast. I like to have quiet from time to time, life is hectic enough. We've been leaving the noise of the city for day trips on the weekends to visit family out of town. When I say out of town, I mean there is no cell phone reception, out of town and that's fine with me.
 

Beautiful view of a beach we went to while visiting family at Lac D'Argile; the kids love swimming in the lake (it's super warm on really sunny days). I forgot my bathing suit the last time we went but next time, I'm going in! 


Off to the park after swimming! They burn the left over afternoon energy before supper and we can take a short (but much needed) break with some adult conversation.  


What better way to warm up a chilly evening than a camp fire? The kids were amazed when their grandfather lit it up. I, on the other hand, was paranoid and kept nagging them to back away from it; you never know! It was pretty though, something mesmerizing about the dancing flames. 


We arrive early and leave just before the sun goes down; living in the city, I think we tend to forget the beauty this planet has to offer. I'll get more pictures on our next trip to Lac D'Argile, we'll be taking a special ride with Ford! 

Stay tuned for more summer fun! 

7/19/17

Online shopping has been welcome into my life since the dawn of the digital shopping age. Convenience in shopping from your computer, the simplicity of your package arriving at your door. The only thing I don't like is missing out on a good deal.


One place I enjoy visiting, even if it's just to check out the latest deal is Amazon.ca. It's not just another online bookstore (although they have some great books you may want to check out!)! They have a wide variety of items for different lifestyles; categories ranging from Home Decor, entertainment, clothing, electronics and more. You can literally spend hours browsing their catalog, I have! 

Plus, if you are an Amazon Prime member, you get even more savings plus free shipping on select items; I've always loved that feature because honestly, shipping can kill the online shopping mojo, am I right? 

I have a little announcement to make:

Three of my favourite things: shopping, sharing and earning come together with Amazon associates. A program that allows you to search your favourite deals, share them on your own website with your audience and potentially earn from purchases made through your links. It's easy to get started and free to sign up.



I am an official Amazon associate and I will be posting awesome deals I find with the option for you to buy them through my link. You'll thank me! Click here to learn more about Amazon associates and how you can join, too! 


Sponsored post on behalf of Amazon.ca. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.



7/17/17

Typically when I am with my kids, I'm with my kids. I won't send them off to play and read a book or be buried face-down in my iPhone liking and commenting to my heart's content. Other than to take a cute photo, my phone stays in my purse. I love my kids and the quality time we do spend together but it's summer holiday for them and honestly; this mom needs some me time, at least once in a while.

Sneaking is the new binging.

#MomSneak. Did you know that 95% of Canadian moms say they had more "me" time before kids, and over half (58%) admit to being a little sneaky when it comes to getting some alone time and taking an hour out to do what they love most; binge watching the latest on Netflix!  

We have to be creative when it comes to getting away from the kids; we even have two designated areas the kids are not allowed to go into: our basement living room and our bedroom. These are the two places where we go (besides outside on our deck in the nice seasons) where the kids know they aren't allowed to follow; Mom goes in her room for a reason - alone time. When they were younger and didn't understand said rules, locking the bathroom door even if we didn't really need to go to the bathroom, was essential to keeping our sanity. 

So, don't be ashamed if you smuggle your tablet into the bathroom to sneak a peek at the next episode of GLOW or catch up on The Walking Dead while you're parked in the grocery store parking lot to just take a moment to get away. You are not alone. You'd be surprised at the funny ways moms (and dads) sneak around to get their binge on during "me time". 

A recent survey says 16% of moms feel less stressed and more refreshed after sneaking in some "me time". Don't worry dads, we know why you take so long in the bathroom, you need it just as much as we do. 

Have your kids caught you sneaking? Click here to download a free printable activity sheet! 

Posted in participation with the Netflix Canada #StreamTeam. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.


7/14/17

Summer has not been very nice in terms of weather; so far every day we have planned something, the weather decides to change to cold, dreary rain. Not even the nice summer rains I remember years ago. Anyway, we are Canadian and we never let the weather put a damper on our fun, am I right?


This week we headed to Limoges, ON for our 3rd annual Calypso Theme Waterpark family adventure. We had a good time even though the weather wasn't what we had hoped for; the overcast decided to follow us from Ottawa.

The kids hit their favourite slides with the youngest two delighted they were tall enough this year for ones they couldn't ride last year. Although she did go on more slides this year, the youngest still wanted to play in the Zoo Lagoon where it was warmer.


My better half had fun in the Kongo with the kids and I took the girls in the (much warmer) lazy river, giving him a break to relax on the beach chairs. My son was having too much fun, by the time we were done a ride he was heading off to go for another round.

We ended our day with a hamburger from the cafeteria leaving tired and happy after a fun family day!

Click here to see our Instagram pics!

You can join the fun at Calypso Theme Waterpark now until seasons end in September! Planning a visit with your family? Click here to visit the official website and get info on rides, tickets and more! 

Posted on behalf of Calypso Theme Waterpark. We spend a day complimentary of Calypso in exchange for our review. Opinions and comments are our own. 

7/12/17

We are already half way through July, the summer time seems to go by too quickly. Throughout the outings and fun we've been having, I found myself thinking: this is one of the last few summers that we'll have all of our kids around. Maybe not, I could end up with adult children who forever want to live in their childhood bedroom, I can't predict the future but they aren't babies anymore.



Long gone are the days of late night feedings, dirty clothes, and smelly diapers. I feel as though I'm saying goodbye to one chapter and saying hello to a new one in my life, my book is getting thicker; I am still mom, I'll always be mom but I am no longer that new mom. I no longer have to worry about all things baby. I am a mom of bigger kids now and these kids are growing up fast; if I blink I might miss something. They're not babies anymore.

With a new chapter will come new challenges for both kids and us parents; we are now raising a teen, a tween and a school-ager. Being a parent, every day is an adventure, even when they aren't babies anymore. Don't worry, I'll still be writing my motherhood journey, one experience at a time! 

Let's enjoy the rest of this summer and make some memories because they're not babies anymore. 

7/7/17

With hectic school-time schedules now weeks behind us, we are enjoying our summer holidays spending time doing things as a family. From swimming to visiting the camp site to waterslides and day trips just because, whatever we are doing, we can be sure our feet will love summer as much as the rest of us with new Skechers summer kicks!


While hubby enjoys his flip flops and sandals as much as the next guy; he still wears shoes during the hot summer months. That's what ankle socks are made for, right? I really like these Skechers Citywalk - Elison. They're casual and comfortable but don't lean too much into the typical "running shoe" look which makes them great for different summer occasions wearing shorts or pants.



Staying away from my shoes, our oldest, K will be wearing a new pair of Skechers YOU - inspire (in gray) this summer. Comfy and lightweight, they are a perfect shoe for a young lady to Sport.



I was lacking in the sandals department. Up until last fall, our oldest daughter could fit into my shoes, slippers, and sandals. This often resulted in her borrowing and eventually taking over most of my footwear. I'm kind of happy she's a size bigger now; I know she won't take over my new Skechers Reggae Slim - Keep Close sandals. I had better keep my pedicure intact because I have a feeling I'll be getting a lot of wear out of these comfy babies this summer.



Putting on shoes can be a task for little kids. When you're getting ready to go somewhere, laces can take forever or not get tied at all. Miss M has always done best with slip on or velcro shoes. Skechers Bobs Pureflex - Sporty Chic II bring comfort and ease in a lightweight summer slip on shoe. We chose this colour because she loves pink but they do come in other colours also.


You can find these and more fantastic summer footwear on the Skechers Canada website!

Stay tuned for a special feature on shoes for kids that like a little light in their lives! ;-)

Posted on behalf of Skechers Canada. Complimentary shoes received for review purposes. Opinions and comments are those of the author.

7/3/17

You have to love summertime in Ottawa. Last weekend our nation's capital threw a huge birthday bash on Parliament Hill in honour of Canada's 150th.

The celebrations continue throughout the summer; Ottawa's Bluesfest returns July 6-16th! This year’s line-up includes over 200 artists including 50 Cent, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Claude Munson, Tegan and Sara, Sam Roberts Band and Pink to name just a few. It sounds like it's going to be an exciting weekend!

In celebration, we spent the past week on the road to Bluesfest with a 2017 Ford Focus Titanium sedan.


We took our first long ride in the rain and although we are used to driving in an SUV this car handled wonderfully on the otherwise slick highway. The leather seats are comfy, there is AC, heated steering and heated seats (depending on the weather, right?) and of course you have your safety features such as childproof door locks and airbags. 


It's got power, it's fuel efficient, it's got a luxury look, and my favourite part; the technology. Standard Intelligent Access with push-button start; it means you can open doors and the trunk with keys in your pocket, start up with the push of a button. The blind spot info and lane keeping systems make driving easier by showing you when you are too close to an object (like the curbside or another vehicle), the rear camera makes backing out less stressful with lines showing you your safe zone right on the screen. It's amazing what Ford has put into their cars over the years!


Another fun feature was the SYNC®3 technology with Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto if you're an Android) which allows you to connect your phone to the car and use voice (or touch screen) activated navigation to interact with the car! We could receive phone calls, text messages show up on the screen with the option to have them read to you, find out where the best routes were avoiding construction or road closures, ask for the nearest gas station or Tim 
Hortons,  and of course the most important part - access our favourite iTunes playlist!  The sound was really great (hello, Sony!); it was fun being able to listen to a shuffle mix of our over 1000 songs in iTunes. 


Overall, we had a great time with the 2017 Ford Focus Titanium; it's powerful, fun, and luxurious for a smaller car. We are kind of sad to have to say goodbye but we had a great experience!

You can learn more about this and other great Ford Canada vehicles at your local Ford dealer and online


*Sponsored post on behalf of Ford Canada. We received a week-long car loan to review and access to 2017 Ottawa Bluesfest as a Thank you. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.* 

6/23/17

WE movement has raised over $45 million given to over 1000 charities around the world. What this charity does is simply amazing. We have attended WE DAY twice; it's such an inspiring, motivating and educational experience. WE Day Canada will be celebrated on parliament hill July 2nd.



Also, celebrating Canada's 150th WE Store is opening a pop-up shop at CF Rideau Centre. The WE Store is a physical manifestation of the WE movement bringing to together WE organizations - WE Charity, ME to WE social enterprise and WE Day.


The We store will be a place to come together and make a change; when purchasing a unique Me to We product, you've committed to helping transform the world. Every purchase gives a life-changing gift to a child or family in WE Charity’s partner communities, from school supplies to health care to alternative income opportunities and more.



The store will have a graphic WE wall at the back of the store that encourages interactive photos and pledges – helping to grow the movement through social media posting.

Also, people will be able to create their own beautiful bracelets at the "Rafiki Bar", at two large harvest tables. This space converts into a classroom, learning or assembly space: multifunctional and engaging!



There many great products like beautiful handmade Rafiki's, greeting cards, apparel, decor and much more! There are even special items like hats, t-shirts and water bottles celebrating Canada's 150th - We Are Canada!



Celebrating the new store, WE is hosting a grand opening on June 24 from 1:00 pm to 3:0pm. Visitors can meet WE youth ambassador and WE Day Canada speaker Hannah Alper, who will be on site for the launch. WE co-founder, Marc Kielburger and Mama Helen, one of the first women to join ME to WE Artisans in Kenya, will also be there for demonstrations. Visitors can also participate in creating a 150 foot long WE are Canada Rafiki as an homage to Canada's 150th anniversary. 

Follow along on social Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for the latest Me to We news!




In celebration of the grand opening and Canada 150, one lucky AME reader has the chance to win a WE are Canada prize pack (t-shirt, hat, water bottle and Rafiki). 

Open to Canadians 18+ (excluding Quebec). Ends June 30th, 2017

Click here to see full general giveaway policy.



Posted on behalf of WE charity organization. Complimentary product received as a thank you. Opinions and comments are those of the author. Prize provided by representatives of WE. 




6/22/17

The kids are just days away from finishing school; I can hardly wait. I think I may even be more excited about summer holiday than they are. I say "holiday" instead of "vacation". We don't really go anywhere but it's a holiday from such a scheduled day-to-day! 

While summer is more relaxed when it comes to the regular "school year routine", family life is still very busy. We are usually on constant go mode with activities; I love summer. I like to be out enjoying as much of it as I can. We aren't doing camps and the kids aren't enrolled in any sports but our summer is still jam packed. Camping at the grandparent's visits to other grandparents, family BBQs, water park visits, celebrating birthdays and more.

In our family, we like to settle down in the evenings after a busy day and relax; both adults and kids. Sometimes we watch shows and movies together and some of the time (thanks to multiple screens) we sit and unwind with what we each enjoy; our favorite Netflix shows and movies.


As a fun way to unwind, take your kids on a special journey and explore with the help of Netflix. Travel has proven to be a great way to open kids' eyes to new and diverse worlds; with Netflix, you can introduce your kids to the vast Arctic Plains with Frozen Planet or deep into the depths of the jungles with Wild Ones. There are so many options with Netflix, you can virtually take them anywhere.  Start the fun by downloading this super cool Netflix printable passport and take them on a journey they won't forget!

For even more fun, check out Netflix newest addition to family entertainment Dreamworks Puss In Book: Trapped In An Epic Tale. This is a new kind of show which introduces interactive watching capabilities and puts the storytelling power in the hands of the most important audience member--kids. Kind of like a new-age "choose your own adventure", you have to see it believe it! 


Click here to download free printable colouring books to turn screen time into activity time. Don't forget to show off your little artists work with hashtag #Streamteam! 

Have fun!



Posted in participation with the Netflix #StreamTeam. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.