7/29/13



Pizza night is one of the most welcome meal nights in our house. It can be take out, take in or make it ourselves - my family loves their pizza! 

My family can be quite traditional when it comes to favourite foods, especially pizza. A nice golden crust, cheese and pepperoni are always favourite toppings. My daughter doesn't like when the crust is too thick, she doesn't like putting many toppings (especially olives which everyone else in the house loves). With a picky eater - it's great to have options. 

When I was asked to try new thin and crispy gluten free pizza from Sabatasso's Pizzeria. For me, pizza is pizza. I'm not very picky when it comes to the kind you make in your oven but I had never tried this particular kind before so I wasn't sure what to expect. 



If you are looking to slice gluten from your menu, this crispy and thin cheese pizza could become a household favourite. Gluten free doesn't mean that taste has to be compromised. This frozen pizza comes in simple two-cheese pizza which is great because if you want toppings, you can always add your own like we did! There are 320 calories per 1/4 pizza, plain with no toppings. 



There are two pizza's per box which is great for our family considering the kids can devour one pizza between the two of them! The pizza is simple to cook, at 425*F for 10-12 minutes (crust should be golden brown) or until it is cooked to your satisfaction. It's recommended to cook directly on the rack but honestly I don't like cooking food like that. I just used a disposable aluminum pizza tray, it did the trick. 



Having this been the first time trying a new kind of stove-pizza, I was impressed. We tried it both with extra at-home toppings and alone by itself, just cheese and both ways are great. You wouldn't even tell it's gluten-free, like I said taste doesn't have to be compromised. The whole family enjoyed their Sabatasso's new crispy and thin cheese pizza! 



Like pizza but want more than just cheese? Click here for some great recipes to use Sabatasso's new crispy and thin cheese pizza with! 

Sabatasso's New Crispy and Thin Gluten Free Pizza can be found at your local Costco store in the frozen foods section! At least we know where to find more, I know these won't last very long in our house!




Disclosure: Posted by AME on behalf of Sabatasso's Pizzeria. Product was received for review purposes. Comments and opinions on this blog are those of the author. 




7/23/13



Monsters come in different shapes and sizes, different colours and patterns. Some are scary, some are friendly - it's all about the imagination. My son is your typical boy and to him like anything else, monsters can be anything he wants them to be.

Sometimes monsters to him are friendly but come from another world and he has to help them get back home. Other times monsters can be bad and he has to figure out how to get an army together to send those scary monsters back where they came from!

He also plays "monster in the closet" with his sister which is a game they came up with where one of them hides in a closet scares the other, jumping out in monster mode! At least we know nobody is afraid of monsters in their closets! 

I think this idea came from the movie Monsters Inc., which is of course one of our family favourite movies of all time. The kids even have a set of Mike and Sully plushies from the original Monsters Inc movie. I'm a big kid at heart myself and got them as a gift years ago before I even had kids, imagine! 



Needless to say we are looking forward to seeing Monster's U, one of the movies on our summer "must see" list. 

Speaking of Monster's U, Kinder® Canada has teamed up with Disney/Pixar and have released special edition Monster's U Kinder® Surprise® eggs to collect! The best part, every Kinder® Surprise® is guaranteed to contain a Monster's U toy! This makes it so much easier to collect them all or at least most of them.

The kids were super excited when our box of Monster's U Kinder® Surprise® arrived! They couldn't wait to start collecting some of their favourite characters from Monster's U! Little guy was SO happy one of the first eggs he opened up contained his favourite monster, Sulley. He's hoping for Mike next time, he wants the pair! 



Your little ones will have fun playing with and collecting all 12 Monster's U themed Kinder® Surprise® toys including characters from the movie, stickers, a keychain and more! Plus, everyone can enjoy a delicious nut-free milk chocolate treat at the same time. 

You can take a peek at all the Monster's U toys on the Kinder® Canada Facebook page. There's a special gallery dedicated to our monstrous friends and you can vote for your favourite monster too! 


Disclosure: I’m part of the KINDER® Mom program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

7/18/13




My daughter used to have hair like rapunzel  I'm not joking, she loved her long "princess hair". She loved wearing it up and braided, looking like Anne of Green Gables but blonde. It was her trademark you could say, if someone didn't know her by name they knew her as the girl with the long hair. 

As of late she had been complaining about it though. It's no longer "princess hair" but a pain. It takes us a lot to maintain it, keep it healthy. I had given her trims over the years but never had she wanted to actually cut much off. 

It was up in pigtails under that hat!

Things change as they get older don't they, which is fine by me. I have always been a believer of letting kids express themselves (with limits of course, theres a difference between getting a hair cut and dying it a fun colour at the age of not quite 9 years old). 

K was invited to go camping with her grandparents and as a surprise, her grandmother wanted to bring her to have her hair cut. Something she had wanted and something she also needed. So off they went, hubby was nervous. He was sure she would come home with a bob or some style he wouldn't approve of. Typical dad, always watching out and protecting his kids. 

Now, I haven't seen it in person as K is camping until Sunday but we got a text from my mother in law, letting us know she did get her hair cut and the hair was being donated. She then sent a picture and I for one am happy with the results. A smiling *almost* 9 year old who actually looks like a 9 year old. A mature haircut that suits her age, layered and thinned out. She not only looks fantastic but she feels great too and that's the important part.

The "new" do! 

It's not as thick, it won't have to be tied up all the time and she doesn't have to worry as much. She can even start using some of the hair accessories she has that would either get caught in or slide out of her really long hair - it was long enough for her to send it off for charity and still have plenty on her head! 

I want to thank my mother in law and sister in law (and the hairdresser) for putting such a big smile on our little girls face. Shes beautiful no matter what and her happiness shines through in that smile! :) 



Disclosure: Personal post by AME. Opinions and comments on this blog are my own. 



7/16/13



I have always been into social media, even before everyone referred to it as social media. I used to love being part of forums and chat groups in areas of interest. Remember the good old days of ICQ, Yahoo and MSN messenger? MySpace was just a baby and MSN Live Spaces, blogger (nor Google) didn't exist just yet, those were my platforms.

I was single, childless and had NO idea about how strong the online world could be other than connecting with old friends. I should tell you the story of how I found my old childhood friend (who had sadly moved away to the Netherlands with her family when we were around 8 years old) via ICQ. I forget who searched who but thanks to technology I got to experience Europe that time.

Zip the time frame about 13 years later and boom, look at what the internet has brought us. Not only can I share my stories, likes and dislikes but I can also join up likeminded groups and such, be part of some great online communities.

I blogged in the past but nothing compared to what it is today. I had a blog on MSN Spaces at one time, to keep in touch with family when our son was in the NICU. I closed up that blog for personal reasons. That was about the time I started to realized how much the internet could do. It wasn't of course until much later I fell into social media and more blogging.

There's a whole lot of social media going on these days. So many different ways we communicate and keep in touch. Whether it be for business or pleasure there is almost always a way to share today. 

Aside from blogs and forums we also have Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Stumble Upon, LinkedIn and now we can add the new 6 second video sharing network Vine to the list. If you haven't tried Vine, it's pretty fun. A (very) small list of the social media fun we can get into online.


You can now follow me on Vine. I don't have that many videos up yet and you have to be a follower to see them! Just download the Vine app (iOS or Android) and search AMotherhoodBlog! I'm olanning on posting product review type videos soon enough, I think I have to make it public again to be able to embed them on my blog. I'll figure that out as I go I suppose, like everything else!

Although each social media circle brings something to each of us, my heart will belong to Twitter. It was one of the first tools I used to kick off AME, it is one of (in my opinion) the easiest ways to get a message across (besides Facebook, everyone is on Facebook these days).

Are you part of way too many social media networks? Which are your favourites? I can't wait to see what the next 13 years of technology brings us.




Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, not endorsed in any way by mentioned brands/companies.

7/15/13


Our littlest one, Baby M is now 6 months old! She has begun moving around more, rolling over and trying to sit up. Before we know it she will be crawling away! Different baby stages of course take different diapers, we have moved up from Swaddlers to Cruisers, giving Baby M so much more freedom and comfort when she moves. 

One great tip when changing a baby who doesn't want to stay still - try to keep her entertained while you change her! Sing a song (itsy, bitsy spider works on Baby M), play a game, make silly faces or let her hold onto a toy while you change her diaper. This is the easy part, wait until she starts to actually crawl! :) 




Take a look at these great videos by Pampers featuring fellow P&GMom's! These are real moms sharing real mom experiences from a baby's first Swaddlers to a toddler's potty training journey in Easy-Ups with Pampers!  

Please meet the fabulous fellow #PGMom's who share their tips and tricks with Pampers and parents everywhere: 

Stacey Kazmir and her little guy Lucas as she shares tips for new moms! 
Sarah Lynn and her little girl Hannah love to play and explore!
Tammy Mitchell and her active two-year-old son Oakley take the potty training journey!
Rachel Cleland joins 500,000 Canadian parents in the Pampers Village community!

Show the P&GMom's some love by leaving a comment below the videos on YouTube, they'll appreciate it! :) Thanks so much ladies and Pampers for sharing these great video tips with all of us! 

Don't forget to join the Pampers Village community! It's free and there are all kinds of cool things for you to do there like get high value coupons at the Pampers coupon portal, get rewards with the Pampers Gifts to Grow program, sign up for the Pampers newsletter and more! Sign up for free at www.pampers.ca

Connect with Pampers Canada on Facebook! 

Disclosure: Posted by AME in participation as a #PGMom Ambassador. Perks and incentives are received as part of this program. Prize sponsored by partners of P&G. Opinions and comments on this blog are otherwise those of the author. Information collected for giveaways is not shared otherwise than for shipment of prizing only.  



7/11/13



Ever want to capture something moment for moment? A flower blooming in your garden, a party or other important event, maybe you want to catch that sunset at just the right moment. Life is full of opportunity to capture the best moments to remember.

Capturing and sharing the moment is becoming more and more popular with so many different ways to share. Time lapse filming is becoming more and more popular among aspiring and professional photographers. Time lapse cameras capture images at preset time intervals and converts them into seamless videos.

I for one am far from a professional photographer but I love playing around with new cameras, features and software to create special moments in our lives. It would be really neat to record a milestone moment, they always seem to happen when we aren’t watching!

Brinno’s new Time Lapse camera, the TLC200 from Phase 3 Systems does just that. It captures whatever you like with moment to moment brilliance. The Brinno TLC200 is small but powerful, a great solution to recording long periods of time. Uses in nature, at home and just for fun, the TLC200 is the perfect addition to any photo enthusiasts camera collection.



Brinno’s TLC200 can be customized to record within a specific time period, anywhere from two shots per second to a shot every 24 hours, automatically capturing images for you. It supports up to 32GB of SD storage, up to 10,000 images per gigabyte. That’s a whole lot of still action! With advanced battery life technology, the TLC200 can take up to 300,000 photos on just 4AA batteries.




This camera has an LCD viewfinder, you can see what you are recording at any time taking precise images and it even turns off to save battery. Shooting in HD quality, the TLC200 takes and showcases crisp, high-def images. The camera lense itself is adjustable and rotatable so you can aim in the idea direction and angle. It also has a place to insert a tripod (sold separately) should you need to help perfect your still action video.
The Brinno TLC200 has some great accessories available too like an external shutter line, used to create stop action movies. It plugs right into the side of the camera via USB and has a three foot long cord, plenty of room to create your masterpiece. Also, the TLC200’s wide-angle lens allows you to capture moments from outside the camera lens’ traditional view. There is also a Motion activation sensor available which activates the camera upon subjects motion and lastly for those who do a lot of outdoor photography you can get a weather resistant housing and travel bag for your accessories when on the go. Accessories are also sold separately. The Brinno TLC200 comes in two colours, green and blue!



This is a great camera because its compact and easy to set up just about anywhere. We have so many ideas to put this camera to use with like recording our daily going-abouts for a 24 hour period, how people or pets live, plants outside or capture the early morning moments, the imagination is the limit. The tripod pictured is one we bought years ago when Radio Shack still existed.
Here is a neat video capturing a hot air balloon festival, so pretty and really neat to watch. Take a look!
The Brinno Time Lapse Camera can be found at most Henry’s Camera locations across Canada or find it on Henry's Online!

Follow @HenrysCamera on Twitter and Like Henry’s Photo-Video-Digital on Facebook!

Disclosure: Posted by AME on behalf of Henry’s Camera. Product was received for review purposes. Opinions and comments on this blog are otherwise those of the author. Video by Brinno.

7/10/13





Back in May we celebrated McHappy Day with our readers across Canada. McHappy Day is a day you can go into any local McDonald's restaurant and purchase any hot McCafĂ© beverage, Big Mac or Happy Meal and $1 will be donated toward Ronald McDonald House Charities and other local children’s charities. A great way to give back to a charity that gives so much.

Founded in 1982, Ronald McDonald House Charities have been helping families across the nation for 30 years, that’s something to celebrate!  So many families depend on the support that Ronald McDonald Houses provide when their little one is sick.

There is more of a demand for Ronald McDonald Houses now than ever before with 70% of Canadians living outside of a city with a children's hospital. Ronald McDonald Houses currently serve over 10,000 families a year and this number is expected to double to 20,000 families
by 2014.

Stories about families’ experiences at Ronald McDonald Houses inspired the Ronald McDonald House Charities Family Moments campaign which helps provide Canadians with a better understanding of the role Ronald McDonald Houses play in family-centered healing in Canada.

We are fortunate to live in Ottawa and close to the Children’s Hospital. If our kids get sick, where to stay is one less worry we have to deal with on top of everything else going on. When your
child is sick or hurt, they are your first priority. They need their parents but the parents also need someone to lean on during such a difficult time.

I can’t imagine how hard it is when they can only phone their loved ones for that kind of support. It is so important for families to have the emotional and financial support they need when a child
is sick; they are going through a lot.  I am proud to know there are charities such as Ronald McDonald House Charities that give these families support when they need it most. And a home away from home.

I will be taking an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at our local Ronald McDonald House Ottawa, located next to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (and Western Quebec).

This visit will not only give us a hands-on experience as to what families encounter when staying at a Ronald McDonald House but it will also give us a better understanding of exactly how Ronald McDonald Houses across the country are helping families and what the experience of being a parent staying at a House can be like.

Do you live in Ottawa? Are you interested in joining me on an exclusive tour of Ronald McDonald House Ottawa? It would be a great first-hand learning experience I would love to share with AME readers who may be interested in learning more!

On July 16th we will be meeting up at Ronald McDonald House Ottawa (Smyth) at 11am for an in-depth tour of the House! Space is limited to six people (including myself and daughter) so I have room for FOUR more! 

If you can come along, please fill out your info and I will contact those who are interested with further details by Saturday, July 13th!

Thank you in advance and I look forward to meeting you on our visit day!

Disclosure: Sponsored post by AME on behalf of Ronald McDonald House Charities. Compensation was received for this post however opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. 



7/9/13



With the everyday of being a mom of three, a wife, a pet owner, a blogger and everything in between, life sometimes finds “me time” pushed to the back burners. I try not to let this happen because it’s important to take time for ourselves, do something we enjoy even just for a few minutes at some point in our day. Everyone needs a daily dose of delicious.

Now, my daily dose of delicious is at the beginning of my day after my shower. Having my morning coffee with an inbox full of opportunity. It’s the moment in the morning when it’s still quiet, none of the kids are up and I am able to just think. I find taking this time in the morning helps wake me up and boosts my mood rather than waking up half-asleep and dealing with the everyday from the get-go. It doesn’t happen every single morning (that would be too perfect) but when it does, its a glorious day!
How do you get your daily dose of delicious? Maybe its slipping away to your favourite coffee shop for your favourite latte while the kids are in school or maybe that moment you’re alone in your car and can sing to your hearts content out loud. Maybe your daily dose of delicious is that glass of wine waiting for you after a hard day at work. Taking care of yourself is important and it all starts with your daily dose of delicious.
Thanks to my friends at HALLS, I’ve found that there’s another way to get your daily dose of delicious, while also helping you feel healthy. New HALLS Vitamin Drops Vitamin D in Tropical Pineapple and Vitamin Drops Antioxidants in Pomegranate Berry  are available not only taste great, but also have no added sugar.

HALLS Vitamin Drops are a fantastic addition to the HALLS family. We already trust HALLS to help lessen annoying cold symptoms, its nice to have HALLS that can help you feel good every day!
Learn more about the benefits of HALLS Vitamin Drops Vitamin D and Antioxidants by visiting gethalls.ca! You can find HALLS Vitamin Drops where HALLS are sold!
Find out how others are getting their daily dose of delicious and share yours by following along on Twitter with hashtag #DailyDelicious!
Win it!
Our friends at HALLS want to give you your daily dose of delicious! 20 lucky AME readers are going to be eligible to receive a bag of HALLS Vitamin D Drops and Antioxidants to try for yourselves!
Simply enter using the rafflecopter ballot below for your chance to win!
Giveaway open to Canadian residents only (excluding Quebec, sorry!). One entry per household. Mandatory entry must be completed to be eligible to win. Prize sponsored by our friends at HALLS! Ends July 20th!
Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: I am helping to inject a Daily Dose of Delicious into Canadians’ lives with new HALLS Vitamin Drops. This post is sponsored by our friends at HALLS. I received compensation as part of my affiliation in the program. All opinions on this blog are my own.

7/8/13

When it comes to shopping for my family, majority of the time I do my research online before heading out to any stores. Sometimes we will even skip the stores altogether and just shop online. Many stores are starting to jump on the bandwagon of online shopping, making it easier for customers like us to find options when shopping for everyday things our families need or just want!

One store that has evolved since its initial online launch is Best Buy Canada. They are not just for home entertainment and computers anymore!
Now while you shop home entertainment, toys and more you can also shop personal care with VIVA from Best Buy

VIVA from Best Buy is a standalone brand that evolved from Best buys ever expanding offerings of personal care products online!
A new lifestyle brand that focuses on products to enhance personal health and well-being. You can find products in Personal Care, Health and Wellness, Baby and Naturals - with Beauty and Style coming soon!
We were sent an assortment of some of the brands available on VIVA from Best Buy to try out: Burt's Bees and Kiss My Face - all natural products.
Burt's Bees offer Eco-friendly, natural skin care, hair care and baby care products! I like Burt's Bees and I have used some of the products in the past. I especially like the Baby Bee line. Designed just for baby they are safe, natural and effective, plus they smell great! Products in the Burt's Bees Baby Bee line include body wash, shampoo, lotions, ointment and wipes.

Other products in the Burt's Bees line include tinted lip gloss, lip shimmer, after-sun cream, kids soap, body wash, shampoo etc.
Kiss My Face has a variety of products as well including body wash, shampoo and conditioner - leaving you feeling kissable soft! I haven't cracked open these babies yet but I have heard nothing but good about this particular brand too.
You can find these and other great personal care products by visiting VIVA from Best Buy!
Follow VIVA on Twitter and Vine (search for VIVA Best Buy)!

Win it!
In celebration of VIVA from Best Buy, TWO lucky AME readers have the chance to win a Burt's Bees Baby Bee Bundle (includes Baby Bee shampoo, bubble bath, wipes and petroleum-free multi purpose ointment) - $42 value!
Open to Canadian resident 18 years old and older (excluding Quebec). Please fill the rafflecopter ballot below following the giveaway terms and conditions. Ends July 19th!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Posted by AME in participation with VIVA from Best Buy. Product was received for review purposes. Giveaway prize provided by partners of Best Buy. Opinions and comments on this blog are otherwise those of the author.


7/4/13



There is nothing my dogs love more than eating (okay, maybe running around like crazy and taking random naps too). There is nothing more satisfying to a dog owner than when their dog enjoys their dog food.

Although Fido might enjoy that kind you buy, did you ever stop and wonder what exactly goes into your dogs food, into your dog? We always stress how important healthy eating is in humans, how we always encourage our kids to eat nutritious, wholesome foods from the main food groups. This is the same for our dogs, they too are living beings who need nutrition. 

Did you know half the "other guys" dog food contains things like preservatives, dyes and sugar? All useless to our dogs, almost like feeding them junk food for dinner. 




New IAMS SO GOOD dog food boasts to be made with delicious, nutritious and wholesome ingredients with no added sugar, dyes or preservatives. It boasts in its name SO GOOD, your dog will love it. 

IAMS sent me over a fun "lunch box" containing two bowls - one bowl had all the goodness of IAMS SO GOOD and the other bowl, all the bad that's in "the other guys". Looking at the comparison in some of the other guys, I'm surprised by it really. 


IAMS SO GOOD! vs. the "Other Guys"

You can see how nutritious IAMS SO GOOD is compared to "the other guys" dog food brands. food like chicken, spinach, corn, apples and peas sounds more appetizing than dyes, preservatives and a bunch of sugar not to mention healthier for our dogs.

Along with our IAMS SO GOOD lunch box we got two product coupons to try IAMS SO GOOD on our dogs. Seeing they are already IAMS dogs, this was the perfect test. 

The dogs excitedly awaited their bowls to be filled and went in for the taste test. Victory! All three dogs seemed very satisfied with IAMS SO GOOD and as a pet owner it makes me feel good knowing we are feeding them something healthy. As we all know a healthy pet is a happy pet! 

Learn more about the difference between dog foods by visiting www.whatsreallyinyourbowl.com. Talk healthy pet eating on Twitter using Hashtag #IAMsSoGood!




Disclosure: Posted by AME on behalf of IAMS. Product provided for review purposes. Comments and opinions on this blog are those of the author. 

7/3/13



Summertime for us is all about being out and enjoying fun in the sun. Trips to the local pool and park are frequent here, the kids can spend an entire day there if we let them go. Why not, thats what the lazy days of summer are for! 

Of course on our outings we like to bring along our own food and beverages, theres nowhere to buy anything at the pool or park and we all know kids are always hungry or thirsty (or both!). 

The Coleman 30-can soft-sided cooler is perfect for those times we need to take food and drink on the go, and keep it cold! 




It has a big interior that fits up to 30, 355ml pop (or other beverage) cans and has exterior pockets for extra storage. The nice thing about cooler bags is they are versatile and can be used for more than just cans. The great thing about the Coleman 30 can soft-sided cooler is that its light weight and has an adjustible shoulder strap so you don't get the extra weight of the cooler on top of whatever you are carrying inside. 

With Coleman you know you are getting quality to last, unlike some makes. My last cooler bag was a cheaper one, it was insulated with aluminum foil looking material which ripped when a corner of a juice box got caught somehow the first (and only) time I used it. The Coleman 30 can soft-sided cooler has a phthalate-free, BPA-free PEVA liner inside. Much better quality, I know it can handle whatever we put in it this summer. 

For a summer on the go, keep it cool with Coleman! You can find the Coleman 30 can soft-sided cooler and other great Coleman camping gear at www.colemancanada.ca

Show your camping love by following @ColemanCanada on Twitter and Liking Coleman Canada on Facebook!




Disclosure: Posted by AME on behalf of Coleman. Product was received for review purposes. Comments and opinions on this blog are those of the author. 





7/1/13


 

Happy Canada Day, this year marks our nations 146th birthday! Did you know that on July 1st, 1867, Canada became a self-governing dominion of Great Britain and a federation made up of only four of our now ten provinces: Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec.  Our other six provinces and three territories came to be later on over the years. 

In the beginning Canadians celebrated "Dominion Day". O' Canada became our official national anthem July 1st 1980 but it wasn't until 1983 that July first was declared Canada Day across the country.

A little bit of history to celebrate Canada day 2013! I think Canada Day is more fitting a name for this holiday, Dominion Day sounds a bit scary. Either way it the first official long-weekend of the summer season now that school is out!

The weather has not been as cooperative as we had hoped, raining on and off here in the nations capital. The one place everyone gets excited to make their ways downtown to celebrate on Canada Day.


Are you packing up for the day and heading out for Canada day in your city/town?  It's always fun to pack up a lunch and snacks to go, spending the day outside with the family.

One other cool thing about Canada Day in Ottawa is that the OC Transpo bus service is FREE today! Take advantage and get out with your family! :)

We spent a quiet Canada Day at the home-front, oldest girl wasn't feeling so well - we even skipped swimming although it was cloudy and not the best swimming conditions. OH well we celebrated our nations birthday in our own quiet little way, who said you have to go crazy anyway.

Fireworks aren't a problem, there's always someone shooting off fireworks in the park (even though they aren't supposed to but hey its nice and the kids enjoy the show).


Whatever you do, have fun and above all be safe! :) HAPPY CANADA DAY CANADA!



Disclosure: Posted by AME in celebration of Canada Day. Opinions and comments are those of the author.