12/31/11






As New Years Eve approaches many of us are preparing our New Years celebrations with loved ones, family and friends.

We hope everyone out there has a Happy and above all SAFE New Year celebration. Don't drink and drive, take a cab or sleep at a friends, arrive alive.





Remember to be a smart host and don't let your guests leave your house drunk unless they have a cab waiting for them, make your couch into a bed if you must.

Remember to Deflate the Elephant and let your guests know your rules before they crack open that first beer of the night.

We decided we will just have a quiet New Years at home, have a couple of people over perhaps but nothing crazy. We hosted the three days of Christmas this week and are still recovering from it. I'll pop open my STLTO wine and hubby can have a beer neither of us going anywhere - cheers to health, wealth, & happiness for 2012!






- Posted by @AMotherhoodBlog

*All opinions on this blog are honest & my own*

12/29/11


RESOLUTIONS

Every year people set them but I can guarantee (being guilty myself) not very many actually stick to them - New Years resolutions.

New Years resolutions are promises made to oneself to make an improvement in light of the coming new year. When that clock strikes midnight on the dawn of New Years morning, we turn a new page and hope for a happy, healthy and successful new year.

I have made my share of failed attempts at resolutions in the past. They lasted anywhere from a week to a month before I'd forget and let old habits take over once again. Things that could ultimately be done without the motivation of a New Years resolution.

With that, I hadn't made any serious resolutions for 2011. I had goals, I always have goals both personal and professional but I never set out to really change anything in particular. Maybe this year I should make some, just a few.

Aside from the typical ones like "be more organized", "eat better", and all that, my top 5 resolutions are:

Stop being so hard on myself. You are your own worst critic, I've been told. I tend to beat myself up about things I really shouldn't. From small unavoidable things to bigger things that maybe should have been thought through better, Im hard on myself. I am only human and we all make mistakes. Mistakes are often lessons in disguise. I need to remember this.

Call my parents more often and actually use Skype with mom. We can't visit as often as we like but we both have access to today's technology, there is no excuse. My dad calls me every other day if not everyday, I'm not much of a phone person but I at least want to make the effort for them. I thought about this as I missed my grandmother this holiday, she isn't just a phone call away anymore but my parents still are.

Take more pictures. Being a blogger I take my fair share of pictures but rarely am I in any of them. We need more candid family photos, of all of us.

Take time to enjoy the little every day things. Sometimes we get caught up in the rush and forget to slow it down once in a while. This one follows my final resolution.

Unplug more often. With new technology there are almost too many ways to connect online, it doesn't mean we have to have our devices welded to our hands 24/7. Its always nice to disconnect from the online world and reconnect with life. Our kids have limited time with devices, lets set an example and do the same more often.

Overall I think 2011 was a pretty fair year. Many  blessings in disguise. I think these are reasonably easy to follow resolutions, its reminding myself that's going to be the hard part. Here's to another amazing year!

Do you make resolutions and are you able to keep them throughout the new year?



12/28/11


Dream it. Design it. Dare to wear it.


It's no doubt little girls love dolls, do you remember paper dolls? Books with cut-out cardboard dolls and paper clothes and accessories for them. I remember when I was a little girl my parents would take us shopping and at this certain store I always ran back to the toy section and chose a paper doll book to bring home. We have been able to find a few paper doll books over the years for our daughter to enjoy too, she always loves them.

A couple of weeks ago I was on twitter and happened to retweet a message that won me a Sass Factory Me-T! A new t-shirt concept that brings traditional style dressable paper dolls and sassy girls clothing line together in a cute, fun t-shirt for girls! I was thrilled to have won one for our daughter and I think the idea is really cute - paper dolls on a shirt!






Sass Factory Me-T's come in pink or purple and there are six different Me-T characters to choose from. Each come with a changeable outfit and detachable pet who also has a changeable outfit! Me-T Characters are printed directly on the soft fabric t-shirt, the pet and clothing for both the character and pet are made out of material with Velcro on the back to fasten and remove items. Sass Factory Me-T's are recommended for girls aged 5 to 12. They are quite delicate, you have to be careful when removing and fastening the items to the Me-T character and dog. Also, be careful when washing it. I can tell by the way it's put together it will need a delicate wash, flipped inside-out and hang to dry, leaving the accessories and dog to be washed by hand.



Extra outfit sets and different pets can be purchased on the website as well as the T's themselves. Girls can also go online to the Sass Factory design studio and design their own Me-T character outfits, submit one and you could be the next winner and have your own design featured on the website! Collect SF Cash and redeem it for items for your Me-T character! For the quality (meaning delicate - kids don't always take care of their things as we'd like them to), they do run on the pricey side being $39.99 each, the clothing sets being $8.99 and pets $9.99 but it does make a nice novelty gift for that little fashionista in your life!



When it comes to something fashionable and cute, these make a great gift for a little girl. I didn't want to spoil our daughter right before Christmas so this went under the tree from mommy and daddy this year. I chose "Elle" Me-T for her, the blond character of course. The Sass Factory Me-T came with an extra outfit set for the character and dog, it also came with a card to redeem some SF cash so we will have to sign up this week and check it out! She loved it, she thought it was great and a really fun idea! 

If you want to check out Sass Factory Me-T's for yourself head on over to www.sassfactory.com. You can also like Sass Factory on Facebook and Follow @SassFactoryFans on Twitter for the latest!

*Alyssa*

*This post was written by A Motherhood Experience on behalf of Sass Factory. We won a Me-T and this is our review. No compensation was received for this post otherwise. All opinions are honest and our own.*

12/26/11


Every year we have a lot of celebrating to do. Between my hubby's family and mine, it makes for a minimum of a weekend worth of celebrating or as I call it "Three Days of Christmas".

Oh Christmas Tree 2011

We kicked off our celebrations on Christmas Eve, hubby's family which consists of his parents, sister, brother in law, two nieces and nephew came over to our house. This year, since we were hosting and most of the family would be there, we invited my father to join us. This was the first Christmas we spent together under the same roof in years and it felt good. It felt good to have everyone happy and healthy, celebrating another awesome Christmas together.

K in her Christmas dress. She looks SO grown up, she borrowed my earrings ;)

The party is what you make it, we had plenty of fun with Karaoke, the kids were singing Christmas carols although hubby's family speak french and my kids speak English so there was a little bit of a language gap when it came to the singing but I told K just to sing in English, the melody is all the same plus she had her aunt helping her out with the words, it was fun!

K giving thumbs up with her two cousins and uncle :)
We had a huge buffet style dinner, everybody brought something to the table from appetizers to dinner to desserts. It was nice and my fridge has enough left overs to celebrate three more days of Christmas or more. Everyone enjoyed the goodies I worked hard all week making too!

After dinner hubby's sister prepared everyone a Spanish Coffee or "Cafe Espanol" - mmm the whipped cream! They were amazing!




We even had a visit from "Santa" in our living room before the gift exchange. Our 14 year old nephew thought it would be fun to dress up for K and D (the two youngest of the five kids there). Of course K knew it was her older cousin and just played along, D wasn't sure and kept wanting to rip the beard off his face. The beard was covering his whole face and his English is not the best so us grown-ups got a good kick out of it. He's such a good sport to come up with that for the younger kids.



After Santa's quick visit we exchanged gifts, those gifts that literally took me hours and a few nights to wrap. I'm so happy everybody enjoyed what we gifted them with and we enjoyed ours as well. Toys for the kids that they had asked for, an NHL sweater, a bottle of vodka and Timmy's cards for hubby and I myself, was spoiled. I pretty much got my wish list.



Aside from the chocolates, STLTO wine and holiday cookies, it was a huge surprise when my father went all out this year and got me a gift I wasn't expecting. He bought me a Toshiba Tablet! I almost started to cry. Not because of the tablet itself (although I have been drooling over them since ShesConnected) but that my dad thought of me. He knew it would be something I appreciate.



Christmas morning ended up being a late one, the kids were so exhausted they didn't wake us up until close to 9:30am which is really good considering well, it was Christmas morning and there was a tree full of gifts waiting to be opened!

I remember waking up at the crack of dawn to run down stairs and see what the big guy brought, tired or not. Either way, the kids were overjoyed with what Santa brought them, Christmas eve was just a tease as the gifts they asked for were waiting for them in Santa's sleigh.



With festive music playing, it only took us about an hour to get through everything. I find D is still a little young and becomes overwhelmed with too many toys at once, we did good this year as he seemed to be okay other than a little tired.

The day was spent lounging around checking out the gifts and trying to keep the house clean for our final day of visits on boxing day when grandma was coming to visit.



K and My mom


We didn't go all out for our last of three days of Christmas. We exchanged gifts once again and made a simple meal of sandwiches and left over salads from Christmas. It was nice, quiet and relaxed. Something all of us needed after the rush.

The only part I hate about the holidays is saying goodbye to the ones you don't get to see often because when you are together celebrating it feels like home again, to me anyway.

All that commotion, panic and stress for three days of Christmas but it was worth it. Every minute spent was a memory made, I'm happy we truly had a Merry Christmas.

Note: Most of my pictures came out really dark or I was way too busy hosting to take any but if anybody else who was there sends me theirs I will definitely share!

*Alyssa*

*This post was written by A Motherhood Experience. Not a paid post. All opinions are honest and those of AME. Happy Holidays.*

12/25/11

For all of you celebrating today as we are - MERRY CHRISTMAS!!


We hope all your Holiday wishes came true!
*AMotherhoodExperience.com*

12/24/11



I enjoy making our own breakfast sandwiches, similar to those you find in certain fast-food restaurants but better. Bacon, Eggs, Cheese, English muffins - goodness put together in a simple sandwich.

From time to time however, I do enjoy a good breakfast sandwich from Tim Hortons to go with my extra large triple triple coffee or now, Mocha Latte. I hadn't had one in a long time before my trip to Toronto back in October and since then, it has become one of my favourites once again. I find Tim Hortons breakfast sandwiches more filling and less greasy than others I've had that aren't home made.

Did you hear about the new breakfast sandwich at Tim Hortons? Another choice on the go for a busy morning, Tim Hortons brings the new Egg White breakfast sandwich to it's Canadian menu.



The Egg White breakfast sandwich is an egg white omelet, delicately flavoured with cheese and onion and served with hickory smoked ham on a toasted whole-wheat English muffin. It has 240 calories, 17 grams of protein and 3 grams of fibre. Paired up with a glass of orange juice and a fruit yogurt, makes for a great filling breakfast!

Did you know Tim Hortons serves more breakfast sandwiches in Canada than it's competitors? That proves they know what Canadians want in that first meal of the day. The Egg White breakfast sandwich is just what some people may be looking for in a protein packed-punch as they rush around finishing up the Holiday shopping or maybe ready to start a New Years resolution a couple of weeks early.

Starting December 19th the Egg White breakfast sandwich can be enjoyed at Tim Hortons across Canada for $2.69

Have a happy breakfast!

*Alyssa*

*This post was written on behalf of Tim Hortons Egg White breakfast sandwich campaign. We received a gift card to try a sandwich for ourselves during the holidays. All opinions are honest and our own*

12/23/11


We have been a Kraft Dinner family forever, it was a fond food of my own childhood too. I don't mind serving it, yes we have made our own home-made macaroni and cheese but there's something about KD that has kids coming back for more. Our kids love it as lunch or a side for dinner, sometimes they'll just want KD for dinner, of course I will try to sneak in a side of veggies now and then.

A few weeks ago I was watching TV and I saw a commercial for Kraft Dinner's new KD Smart - Kraft Dinner with 1/2 a serving of vegetables right in the noodles. I thought it would be something interesting and was looking forward to finding it in our local grocery store. Lucky me, instead of having to go out and hunt for it, our friends at Kraft Canada asked us if we would like to try it out!

About Kraft Dinner Smart:

KD Smart is macaroni and cheese with the classic cheesy KD taste kids already know and love, but with added ingredients like oats and vegetables right into the noodles. There are no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, and every 50g bowl (3/4 cup prepared) contains a half serving of veggies, is a source of fibre or a source of Omega-3 polyunsaturates - all without changing the taste. Best of all, it's a quick solution that, paired with a serving of vegetables or fruit, makes a balanced meal. Stress averted. Phew. And picky eaters will never now the difference!

Our Experience:

The kids were delighted when we opened up the box and inside was a mini shopping cart containing boxes of Kraft Dinner Smart and four bowls for our family to enjoy it all in! It actually came at the perfect time because I was deciding what to make for a quick dinner and of course once they saw the package they wanted to try out the new KD Smart!




I cooked it up, just like you cook up regular classic Kraft Dinner. I noticed the colour wasn't your typical brigher "cheddar" orange, Kraft Dinner Smart vegetable has more of a darker orange colour and the noodles are a little smaller. The box says it makes 3 servings but with my two kids one box makes two servings which is alright, just double up for more!

The kids enjoyed eating in the new bowls, they each chose a specific colour out of the four. I thought they would notice the slightly darker pasta but they didn't and gobbled it right up! When they finished eating I asked my oldest what she thought about it and she said it was good. When I told her there was 1/2 a serving of vegetables in the noodles she just ate she was surprised and said she didn't notice a difference and enjoyed it as much as the regular kind I normally prepare for them.



Since they only wanted the KD Smart for supper we topped it off with a scoop of ice cream and mixed fruits for dessert. Overall I am pleased with the Kraft Dinner Smart, kids get what they need from a food they already love. I will most likely be buying it in the future.

Learn more about Kraft Canada by following @KraftCanada on Twitter and checking out the Kraft.ca website! 

12/22/11



I have successfully completed recipe #2 from @KraftCanada's #Dessert1st menu. I'm getting better at this!

This time I had both kids home too! Originally I had planned on dropping K off at bus, coming home and starting the squares before D woke up. Unfortunately a freezing rain warning caused the buses to be cancelled and there was no way I was walking anywhere if the weather was bad enough buses wouldn't even risk it. Both kids were up at 7am after K shrieked she was missing pajama day. I reminded her it wasn't me who cancelled the bus. Kids!

Needless to say it turned out to be a busy morning anyways because after breakfast I decided to make the squares because we are days away from our Christmas eve celebrations and the clocks a ticking!

Thanks to Kraft Canada I had all my ingredients. I only had to pick up candy cane for this one which I bought one of those big candy cane sticks instead if a box. It was already broken too, it worked out great!

I got all my dry ingredients ready, crushed the broken candy cane, broke up the white chocolate and measured out the butter and brown sugar. I followed the recipe to a T. At first, I wasn't sure if I was doing it right because the crackers slid along the parchment paper once the brown sugar and butter mixture began to boil a bit in the stove but that may have been because my pan was too big.

I managed to press them back together before spreading the white chocolate and topping them off with candy cane pieces. Most of the candy cane turned to candy dust though, I crushed it a little too much but it gave them this Christmas sparkle, how festive!




The recipe made 32 squares with no left overs to spare. You could make more by adding more ingredients though, they are pretty simple!

The kids finally got to try them in the afternoon once they set and boy, did they ever love them!


I thought they would be way too sweet with brown sugar, white chocolate and candy cane in the mix but I think the salt from the butter and crackers even it out because they were just right!

Thanks to Kraft Canada &
dessertcentre.ca for coming up with these quick and easy holiday treats! It'll be so fun to try #dessert1st with everyone this weekend!

Make your own White Christmas Crunch squares, they're quick and easy!

What You Need

32 Premium Plus Crackers
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 pkg. (6 squares) Baker's White Chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crushed candy canes

How to make it

Heat oven to 350°F.


Arrange crackers in single layer in parchment-lined 17x11-1/2x3/4-inch pan.

Cook butter and sugar in saucepan on medium-high heat 3 to 4 min. or until butter is melted and mixture is well blended, stirring occasionally. Bring to boil; cook 3 min. (Do not stir.) Spread onto crackers.


Bake 4 to 6 min. or until golden brown. Immediately top with chocolate; bake 1 to 2 min. or until melted. Spread chocolate to completely cover crackers; top with crushed candy. Cool completely. Break into squares.

Note: Although we used traditional crushed up candy cane to create a festive feel, you can always replace crushed candy cane with something else like drizzled dark chocolate or other holiday candies!

I hope we have time to make the Gingerbread wreaths before Saturday! If not, we will have a project to do over the holidays while both kids are home from school!

Enjoy!

12/21/11



A few weeks ago we were introduced to Hartz newest pet toy line - Angry Birds. I know Christmas is just days away and everyone is pretty much done their shopping but this post isn't about last minute gift shopping.

I want to tell you how Hartz is bringing joy to shelter animals for the new year with Toys for Tails.

Right now when you visit the Hartz facebook fan page and gift your friends with a virtual Angry Birds toy, Hartz donates $1 to animal shelters in need, you give a gift and they give a gift.


There are 12 virtual Angry Birds toys you can choose from to gift to your facebook friends. I've gifted some to my facebook friends too, actually!

It's simple and free to help make the holidays a little brighter for our furry friends who aren't lucky enough to have a loving home to ring in the new year.

Next time you're on facebook, click on over to the Hartz fan page and give to Toys for Tails!

*Alyssa*

*This post was written on behalf of Hartz Toys for Tails. No compensation was received and all opinions are honest and those of A Motherhood Experience*


I love chocolate and any excuse to have some. I especially love chocolate around the holidays when you really don't care about what your eating because it's a time to forget your troubles and have an enjoyable time with loved ones.

I always try to include a chocolate dessert of some kind as long as it isn't too difficult to make. Which is why I chose to make Kraft Easy Oreo Truffles as part of our #Dessert1st series with Kraft Canada and www.dessertcentre.ca!



The only thing is, I have never before made truffles in my life. They always looked so difficult and time consuming but the recipe I was introduced to (which you will find at the end of the post) is pretty simple for the average baker. But I'm not the average baker. I love baking and creating yummy treats, I think I was nervous because these are being served at our holiday dinner Saturday so there will be people besides my two kids and hubby trying them. The perfectionist in me comes out! I was hoping mine turned out as pretty as in the picture.

I managed to find the cream cheese at the grocery store, Kraft Canada provided the Oreos and Bakers chocolate in my holiday basket! I found out that these freeze really well so I made them a few days in advance, it's been busy so having these premade in the freezer will save us a lot of time on Saturday!

Crushing up the Oreos was easy, no problem but then came adding the cream cheese which I accidentally left in the fridge until the last minute instead of taking out and letting it soften a bit, it was hard to mix. I even tried the hand mixer, it broke. Eventually hubby helped weak little me soften it enough that I could finish and put it back in the fridge for a bit to harden and make the truffle balls.

After making the truffle balls they went back in the freezer. I find it was easier to coat them when they were chilled. In between waiting periods the door bell wouldn't stop ringing and making the dogs go wild barking. That's every day but when you are trying to bake something to perfection that you have never made before and are hoping doesn't come out as mush, it's stressful!

A little while later I went to check and see if they were ready so I could start melting the chocolate and get these truffles made. As I open the freezer little guy is bouncing around in the living room (no, he had no chocolate or cookies while I was making these!) and fell into the side of the lounger.

When I looked to see if he was OK the pan of chocolate truffles slipped out of the freezer. I managed to catch them and salvage them back into position on the pan. I am never that good, on a typical day they probably would have hit the floor and had me sobbing about all my hard work gone to waste.

I put them back in the freezer and melted the chocolate on the stove top. I am happy to say the melting and coating process was a success! Nothing was burned (including myself) or ruined in any way! I used one of Kraft's kitchen tips and used two spoons to roll the truffles in the melted chocolate for an even coat and little to no mess.

Guess what? They look lovely and they taste awesome! In fact K taste tested them and asked if she could give a few to her teacher as a gift for Christmas. I thought it was a great idea so I set up a little gift bag with a few wrapped in saran wrap and decorative holiday tissue paper. Perfect gift as they are nut free too!




I had left over chocolate and cookie crumbs for some reason so I mixed the two together and let them harden in the freezer making some yummy, chocolate Oreo treats for the kids!

Thank you Kraft Canada for sending along the holiday kit and getting me into the spirit of things with holiday baking! We can't wait to whip up our next batch of holiday sweetness. In the meantime, here is the recipe we followed for the truffles!




Easy Oreo Truffles Recipe:


What You Need

1 pkg. (350 g) Oreo Cookies, finely crushed, divided
1 pkg. (250 g) Philadelphia Brick Cream Cheese, softened
2 pkg. (8 squares each) Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate
Make It


Crush Oreo cookies into fine crumbs.


Remove 1 Tbsp. cookie crumbs; set aside. Mix cream cheese and remaining cookie crumbs until well blended. Shape into 42 (1-inch) balls. Refrigerate 30 min.

Melt chocolate squares as directed on package, you can add a tsp of butter or margarine to give the chocolate a glaze shine. Dip balls in chocolate; place in single layer on parchment or waxed paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.

Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Join in the conversation of bringing back sweetness to the holidays and have dessert 1st with @KraftCanada and hashtag #Dessert1st this holiday season!

Happy Holiday baking and making!

12/17/11

Christmas is literally just days away and we have been spending much of this last month of 2011 preparing for the big day among many other things keeping us really busy. Decorating is almost complete, I know we should be done by now but we had some other personal things to deal with that sucked a lot out of me. I couldn't focus on Christmas stuff until it was over and that it is. Don't worry, everything is alright and we are looking forward to a Merry Christmas here at our house.



I keep saying almost all of the gifts are bought. No matter how early I try to begin my holiday gift shopping I am constantly buying things until the last minute be it for one of the kids, dh or a family member I may have over looked on the gift list. This time it's dh's nephew, his brother in law and my mom. We didn't over look anybody but we have the same problem every year for the same people but mostly my mom, she buys what she wants when she wants and I have no idea what she has or doesn't have, would like or wouldn't like. I hate asking specific gifts and people knowing what they get, whats the point in that. I have a slight idea of what I could get her, I won't post it here though as I never know when she could be reading this. (Hi Mom!). Other than that, not to toot my own horn or anything but I think the family are going to be pretty happy with the gifts we are giving this year.

Our version of "Elf on the shelf"
Now, I can't wait for this Christmas. The past couple of years everyone has not seemed to be in the spirit of things. Yes, celebrations were had either way but you could tell there was something missing. Maybe it was lacking the spirit of Christmas or maybe it was the fact we were missing certain people under the roof to celebrate with us. This year feels different.

We are hosting Christmas Eve dinner at our house this year with all of the family except maybe two relatives who can't make it. For dinner we are having a family pot-luck. Instead of putting the entire task on us to prepare everything ourselves, my partners family agreed it would be a good idea if everybody bring something. I am focusing on deserts which I already have planned out thanks to @KraftCanada and DesertCentre.ca. I'll be sharing those yummy recipes with you a little later on in the next couple of weeks!

Christmas day has been a tradition since dh and I first celebrated our first Christmas together back in 2003. We stay home on Christmas day, celebrating with our own little family and those who wish to make a Christmas visit are more than welcome. Coffee is always on at our house. My dad was originally only going to come on Christmas Day but we convinced him to come and join us all on Christmas Eve dinner. It's nice because it's the first Christmas my real dad is with us in three years.

I won't be making a big meal on Christmas day because guaranteed we will have left overs from the night before. The company will be great, the food will be great - I'm so excited to finally be back into the spirit of the holiday season!

I don't know if I'm more excited to have Christmas eve dinner or see the kids smiles on Christmas morning when they finally open those gifts we've had hidden away, some for months! I mean, those gifts Santa has had his elves make and hide...for months.

What ever your plans this holiday season I wish everyone the happiest of them all.

12/16/11

As you may or may not remember we have featured Kraft Canada several times here on A Motherhood Experience including last year's "Recipe for Joy" and this summer's "Celebrate Canada Day with Kraft" celebrations. I always enjoy trying out Kraft Canada recipes, they are simple to make and ingredients can be found at the local grocery store with ease.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a contact for Kraft Canada offering me and my family to try out some recipes from www.dessertcentre.ca by starting a new #desert1st tradition during our holiday celebrations this year. That is, serving deserts before dinner. I thought it was a fun idea and great excuse to try out some Kraft Canada recipes while baking with my daughter.

We chose three yummy recipes (which can be found on the website):
  • Easy Oreo Truffles
  • Gingerbread Wreaths
  • White Christmas Crunch Squares
Kraft Canada generously sent me a lovely gift basket full of goodies we will need to create our #desert1st sweets including a personalized desert serving dish, isn't that sweet? I love it, it has my twitter handle on it! :) I will be sharing our yummy experience in a couple of weeks but feel free to share your sweet holiday recipes using hashtag #desert1st on Twitter or feel free to leave a comment below to get the conversation started!



I love it!


We can't wait to celebrate the sweetness with @KraftCanada and DessertCentre.ca!

*Alyssa*

*We were chosen to participate in the Celebrate the Sweetness of the Season program with Kraft Canada and DessertCentre.ca. We received complimentary product and a gift card to facilitate our recipe making. All opinions are honest and those of AME*

12/14/11



Huge congrats to Indigo for winning the PTPA seal for their online experience! There is a cool PTPA contest going on right now, if you spot the seal at your local Chapters/Indigo store simply snap a picture of it (you can be in it or not, it's up to you) and share it on the PTPA Facebook wall stating "I spotted the seal at (store location)". You can also tweet your photo to @PTPA using hashtag #spottheseal (tweet "I #spottheseal at *store location*).



Random winners will be drawn throughout the month of December to win Indigo prize packs and gift cards! Click here to see more info including a list of Chapters/Indigo stores with the seal!

We spotted the seal at Chapters on Rideau Street, downtown Ottawa!

Good luck and happy spotting!

*Alyssa*

*This post was written by A Motherhood Experience on behalf of PTPA. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are honest and our own*

12/13/11


World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) was founded in 1967 and has become one of our country's leading organizations working toward the conservation of endangered wildlife and their habitats. WWF-Canada has ongoing, active support from more than 150,000 Canadians and counting. 

In its fundraising efforts, WWF offers some great gifts for the holidays or anytime at the WWF Store. Gifts range from direct donations toward certain animals and conservation efforts to key chains, hats, water bottles, t-shirts and our favourite - Wildlife adoption.

What is Wildlife adoption?

No, you don't adopt a live animal to come and live with you, This is a symbolic adoption of an endangered species. When you adopt an endangered species be it for you, or someone else, the recipients get an adoption kit that's both fun and educational. It includes:

- Personalized adoption certificate
- High-Quality wildlife plush and collector card
- Recycled gift bag
- Details on the work this gift will help support


You can also adopt animals such as Polar bear, Caribou, Grizzly bear, Snow Leopard, Arctic Fox, Common Loon, Blue Shark, Black-footed ferret, Tiger, Orangutan, emperor penguin and so many more.

You can buy a personalized kit for $40 at the WWF Store, proceeds fight threats such as climate change and poaching, as well as support WWF-Canada efforts. They also offer free shipping over $80!

When we were introduced to the Wildlife adoption kit I immediately thought about my daughter and how she has been recently learning about the environment, global warming and polar bears in science class at school. I knew adopting a polar bear would be perfect for her.

About the Polar Bear:

The polar bear is the world's largest terrestrial carnivore and one of Canada's most majestic symbols. Unfortunately the polar bear's survival is challenged by the effects of global warming. Melting sea ice due to climate change means polar bears have a shorter hunting season leaving them malnourished and starved.


Over time, the work that WWF-Canada does has expanded from simply protecting wildlife species and habitats to protecting life in its entirety on earth - including our own.

Join in the effort and visit the WWFstore today!

Win it!

Our friends at WWF-Canada want to adopt a species for you! One lucky AME reader has the chance to win their choice of Wildlife Adoption kit which includes everything mentioned above!

Fill out the rafflecopter ballot below to be entered to win! Open to Canadian residents 18 years and older. Please use a valid email address for contact purposes.

12/12/11



Popcorn is for more than just movies, we enjoyed trying out different snack ideas from Orville Redenbacher like Popcorn bars at back to school time. Now with the holidays just around the corner we share with you some fun ways to use popcorn during your holiday festivities too!

A big bowl of white, fluffy popcorn acts as a "single bowl solution" for a variety of holiday tasks:

Decorate
  • Create festive garlands by threading popcorn onto string the old fashioned way. Add fresh cranberries between every other kernel for a pop of festive colour, or red and green candies for a sweet surprise.
Serve
  • Seasoned popcorn can be displayed in holiday containers offering guests a light, fun snack that's full of fibre and satisfying crunch. It's simple, just divide popped corn into three bowls and add Parmesan cheese to one, taco seasoning to the second and hot chocolate powder to the third for a mix of savoury and sweet.
Bake 
  • Here is an easy to make recipe featuring Orville Redenbacher Popcorn to serve during the holidays that everyone can enjoy! Made even more festive with the addition of red and green sugar or sprinkles. Leave them out for Santa or package them for a yummy hostess gift too! Please note this recipe contains Almonds and is not recommended for those with nut allergies but you could be inventive and try substituting the Almond for something else of your liking!
Cranberry Almond Popcorn Bars
You will need:

  • PAM Original Cooking Spray
  • 1 bag (99g each) Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Gourmet Butter Popcorn
  • 2/3 cup (155ml) honey
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) almond butter
  • 1 cup (120g) dried cranberries
How to make it:
1.  Lightly spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray; set aside. Prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove all unpopped kernels and place popcorn in a large bowl.
2.  Place honey and almond butter in 2.5-quart microwave-safe dish and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes or until honey mixture is hot and bubbly.
Pour it over the popcorn and toss gently to coat it evenly. Add in the cranberries; gently combine the mixture.

3.  Press popcorn mixture into baking dish and cool to room temperature. Cut into 40 bite-sized bars.

Tips:
- 1 bag of Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop Gourmet Butter popcorn can be substituted.
- Remove unpopped kernels easily by lifting popcorn out with your hands and putting it into a new bowl. Throw away remaining unpopped kernels and proceed with the recipe as directed.

Make any holiday "pop" with more great recipes of festive favourites on www.Orville.ca.



Happy Holiday Snacking!

*Alyssa*


*This post was written by A Motherhood Experience on behalf of Orville Redenbacher. We received complimentary product. No monetary compensation was gained. Images obtained via google search and information provided by Orville Redenbacher. All other opinions are honest and those of A Motherhood Experience*

12/7/11

We started our holiday decorating this week - first up, the Christmas tree! This Christmas we are taking an Eco-Friendly approach to the holidays by putting up the Massimo Christmas tree by Cascades that we posted about a couple of weeks ago.

It was the easiest and most stress free tree we've ever put up before and it looks great! The tree is bigger and sturdier than what it looks in images, from afar you can't tell that the entire thing is made of recyclable cardboard. The lights are bright and twinkley, it just needs a tree skirt and presents to give that finishing Christmas touch ;-)

We still have a little decorating to do like garlands, our favourite ornaments and holiday nick nacks. Laugh if you will but I have this Santa bobble head ornament I place on the entertainment unit every year, my mom bought him for me about ten years ago and I thought he was just hilarious. Still makes me laugh every time I see the thing.

Christmas decorating always brings back some fond memories. I'll post more decorating pictures as we go :)

What kind of tree are you putting up this year?


*Alyssa*


*This post was written by A Motherhood Experience. No monetary gain was obtained through this post. All opinions are honest and those of A Motherhood Experience*

12/6/11

Holiday Pet Safety Tips from Iams Home 4 The Holidays!


As the holidays approach its easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, please don't forget to take precautions when pets are around the festivities. Here are some holiday Pet Safety Tips From Iams Home 4 The Holidays:
  • Avoid the temptation to tie ribbons and bows around your pet's neck. Although adorable, these festive additions can become a choking hazard if not properly monitored. We buy festive coloured collars for our dogs to celebrate the season, you can find them at most pet supply stores.
  • Keep festive plants like Poinsettia, Holly and Ivy out of pets reach. They may be attracted to the scent and these pretty plants become a poisonous hazard for your four legged friends. With both pets and kids we don't have any real plants in our home.
  • Watch your Christmas tree water! Water in the base of your Christmas tree can contain bacteria and fertilizer, very dangerous if your pet decides to drink it. We don't have a real tree so that problem is solved.
  • Foods like chocolate are yummy for us but toxic for dogs, make sure to tell guests big and little not to feed the dogs the treats that come from their stockings!
  • Decorations like tinsel, garland etc can be chewed and swallowed by pets causing severve intesinal blockage. That's scary, our adult dogs never go after the Christmas decorations but new puppies and kittens are known for this.
  • Lights contain chemical which can be fatal to pets if they chew through the cord, also risk of electricution. Keep dangling cords out of sight!
  • Keep extension cords tied up out of the way of pets to avoid risk of electricution.
  • Decorations can be knocked off the tree, ruined and maybe cause injury if they break upon falling. Keep heavy or breakable decorations away from the bottom of the tree or use lighter plastic, wooden or metal christmas decorations instead of glass or porceline.
These are simple tips for the holidays brought to you by Iams Home 4 the Holidays! For more tips and info about Iams Home 4 the Holidays program visit http://www.facebook.com/Iams

Alyssa

*This post was written in participation of Iams Home 4 The Holidays campaign. No monetary compensation was gained. Information provided by Iams. All other opinions and comments are those of A Motherhood Experience*

The holiday season is a time to spend with friends, family and loved ones - including the family pets. Pets bring an unexplainable joy to your life, they are the friend who will always listen, cuddle and be there when you need them only wanting love and a little attention in return (and maybe a meaty treat once in a while).

Our dogs are lucky they live in a warm, loving home because sadly, thousands of animals around the world go homeless for the holiday season, living in adoption centers waiting for that perfect family to come and take them home. There are many reasons why a dog or cat may become homeless and whatever the reason it is rarely ever the animals fault. There is something you can do to help, give them a Home for the Holidays.

Last year we told you all about Iams Home 4 the Holidays, an adoption program in participation with the Helen Woodward Animal Cente to help animals across the country find loving homes for the holidays. Iams Home 4 the Holidays is back for it's 13th year, already helping over 5.8 million pets find a family for the holiday season.




So, how can you become involved in Iams Home 4 the Holidays? Visit Iams Facebook page and for every like, Iams donates a bowl of food to participating animals shelters in Canada. The Iams Facebook page allows you to search for adoptable pets using the Pet Finder App to find a local Iams Home 4 the Holidays shelter near you! Create a custom adoption announcement to tell everybody about your new family member or create a holiday card to share the cuteness of your family pet with your loved ones on Facebook. For every card created, Iams donates a bowl of food to a participating animal shelter in Canada.

You can help offline too, for every specially marked bag of Iams  pet food sold from now until January 3rd, 2012 Iams will donate one bowl of food to a participating shelter through Iams Home 4 the Holidays bags for bowls campaign.


Our Doberman Zeus

As I said last year, if we had more room (and time) we would be at our local shelter in a heart beat to help out and adopt an animal for the holidays but we have a full house! We adopted a Chihuahua two years ago from a friend of ours who couldn't take care of him anymore - just to think he could have been one of those animals still waiting for a loving home.

Adopting an animal truly warms both your home and your heart.


Our Chihuahua Ruffy


Alyssa

*This post was written by A Motherhood Experience on behalf of Iams Home 4 the Holidays campaign. No monetary compensation was gained. All opinions are honest and my own*