4/29/16

I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.

We have a big household, so cleaning daily is something I cannot avoid. Most of the time it's light maintenance like sweeping or mopping up a mess. We have to keep up with things or it can easily get out of hand with everyone's hustle and bustle through the house. It can go from picture perfect to tornado wreckage in a matter of minutes if nobody does anything about it. 

I don't particularly like cleaning, who does? But it has to be done and for me the easier, the better. I usually turn to my favourite P&G products to help me get the important jobs done. The best part, they are easy and safe enough to use that the kids can help too!

Dust here, there and everywhere with Swiffer 360 Duster. Make your floors shine with Swiffer Sweeper! The extending arm on the Swiffer 360 Duster makes reaching for tough places like up light or down low, less of a job. 



The Swiffer Sweeper with wet/dry replacement pads has always been one of my favourites for a quick floor clean up between my weekly deep cleanings. Dog hair, outside dirt and even whatever the kids drop on the kitchen floor can easily be cleaned up with a simple swipe of the Swiffer.



There's nothing like having crisp, clean and fresh linens in the house. Whether it be bedsheets, towels or curtains, Downy Unstopables Fresh in-wash scent and Bounce Free & Gentle Dryer sheets are sure to freshen things up. 

Out of these two, which are both good, my favourite is Shimmer.

Not only do Bounce Free & Gentle Dryer sheets give your linens a fresh scent that lasts but they are also clean and gentle on you, too. 



The final touch when cleaning around here is creating an atmosphere of clean, fresh scents. I like using Febreze Air Fresheners and Febreze Unstopables Candles in common areas like the living and dining rooms. Candles are always great in the evening. They change the smell and they are also relaxing.

Of course, I have more favourite P&G products that help me and my family get our home clean. These are just a simple few. To learn more about P&G products and how to get coupons and savings, sign up at PGEveryday.ca

4/28/16

Have you ever wondered what goes into making your family vehicle? During the BConnected Conference last weekend, Paula Roy, a well-known Ottawa food commentator and food editor of Ottawa Home Magazine gave an educating and informative morning keynote speech as well as curated an impressive breakfast inspired by Ford's approach to sustainability. 




Did you know that food by-products, oversupply, and other biomaterials are used in Ford vehicles? 



Ingredients like soybeans, rice hulls, wheat straw, coconut, and cellulose all go into parts of making a Ford vehicle! They are continuously looking for ways to keep green. Other foods like sugar cane, tomatoes, dandelion, corn, bamboo and algae are currently being tested, too! 



There was a fantastic buffet-style arrangement of healthy and delicious food for the attendees to enjoy on our first morning. The food we enjoyed was organic and locally sourced where possible and was prepared by the kitchen at the Courtyard Marriott. 



On our menu we had:

Tropical Green Smoothies

Yogurt Parfaits with Sustainable Muesli

Breakfast Polenta with Spiced Apple Compote

Cane Syrup and Five Spice Glazed Pork Belly

Asian-spiced Tomato and Egg Frittata with Pickled Bamboo Shoots

Fruit Summer Rolls in Rice Paper with Spicy Honey




Although I didn't try all of what was on the menu, what I did eat was enjoyable but different than what I have ever tried! Thank you to Paula Roy for her great speech and thank you, Ford, for providing the inspiration for our breakfast! 

If you'd like to try these recipes at home, click here

To learn more about Ford's approach to sustainability, and its use and research into sustainable materials please click here

Have a question about Ford and sustainability? Ask your questions on twitter using hashtag #FordFarmToCar. 

4/27/16

I am a P&Gmom/mamanP&G. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events and opportunities. The opinions on this blog are my own.

With three kids in the house, we have had many messy times which make messy memories to look back on (and laugh at) today. They sometimes happen when mom and dad are preoccupied and they get a bright idea to create something resulting in a mess to clean up. 

It starts off innocent, you finally sit down with a hot cup of coffee and suddenly realize it's a little too quiet and you haven't seen your kids for a few minutes. You bolt upstairs into the bedroom to find your wall and your child covered with colourful marker! This has happened on more than one occasion in our house, our son once drew a lovely bunny behind his bedroom door. Our oldest loves to draw and do crafts. Our youngest still gets into things she shouldn't like markers, pens, crayons etc and creates artwork on a wall.

Did you know that 65% of parents have said "no" to their kids request to create something because of a possible mess it would make? I have been there but sometimes remind myself that when you have kids, you have messes. It's all part of learning!

With the help of Swiffer, us parents can stop worrying so much about it and say "Yes to the Mess!". 70% of parents agree mess making helps encourage creativity.  

There are several celebrities who even agree with this creative process. Actress Sarah  Michelle Gellar recently hosted a Swiffer event in New York City where she encouraged parents to say "Yes to the Mess" in an effort to foster children's creativity and independence. 

As our kids grow up, we won't ever wonder "what could have been" when it comes to the creativity they express, as long as we're providing them a warm and welcoming (and Swiffer clean) environment. 

Share your kids most brilliant mess to date via social media twitter or instagram using hashtag #YesToTheMess! 




Check out the entire Swiffer line of products at Swiffer.com!

Get coupons and offers to save on the everyday via P&GEveryday.ca!


WIN IT!

This month we are offering one AME reader the chance to say #YesToTheMess by offering a Swiffer kit to handle clean up with ease! The kit ($80 value) includes:

- Swiffer 360 Duster Starter Kit $5.95*
- Swiffer Wetjet Starter Kit $29.97*
- Swiffer WetJet refill $14.88*

- Swiffer Sweeper $14.97*
- Swiffer Dry Refill $9.97*
- Magic Eraser $7.24* (not pictured above)

Good Luck!

*Prices at the discretion of the retailer

Enter for your chance to win by using the ballot below! Open to Canadians 18+ (excluding Quebec). Mandatory entry must be done for others to count. One entry per household. 

Representatives of P&G are providing the prize to the winner on AME's behalf. By entering, you accept your information will be shared with the representatives of this brand should you win. Winners must qualify with a valid email address by filling out a winners claim form with skill testing question. Winners have 48 hours to claim before prize is redrawn. 


This giveaway may be offered on more than one blog. You may enter as many blogs as you like however this prize can only be won ONCE. More about giveaways can be found here. Giveaway ends May 10th!



4/26/16

What a whirlwind of a weekend we had, I know my head is still swimming! I left the kids with hubby and headed off to the BConnected Conference. Although not far for me being local, it was a weekend retreat to connect, reconnect, network and learn. 

Friday evening started off with checking into the hotel room with my roommate @ReeseSpeaksBlog at the Courtyard Marriott on Dalhousie Street in the Byward market. It had been a while since I had been on the market, especially on the weekend. It was nice to see the hustle and bustle, get out a bit in my own city. 

After getting settled we headed off to lobby to meet up with other committee members and bloggers to kick off the BConnected Tour, Sip, and Socialize with Ottawa Tourism & Haunted Walks

Attendees had two tours to choose from. My group took a spooky tour through the Old Carleton County Jail, apparently one of the most haunted buildings in North America! I couldn't believe the size of the jail cells inside, I would not survived as a criminal in those days! Our tour guide did a spectacular job of telling a tale of the man who may have been wrongly hanged for the death of D'Arcy McGee and haunts the converted Hostel today! 


Our tour ended with the BConnected attendees meeting at the Lowertown Brewery for some drinks, food and good company! 

Day one of the BConnected Conference began with an early Bodygym class by Fitness with Jules. Although I didn't participate in this (I'm not much of a morning person some days) it did look like fun! 

After registration we had a special breakfast inspired by Ford's sustainability. You will be able to read more about this here. It was a good breakfast and we learned a lot about how Ford is keeping things green and how they are keeping their voice while building the brand with Paula Roy. 



The day went on with some very informative sessions: 

Periscope: It's Time for Your Close-up with @cyngagen - I have dabbled with Periscope but my big problem is being camera shy. I don't like my own voice, I think I look weird etc (you know!) but after Cyn's session, I may just try Periscope again. She talked about Periscope and how to really get use out of this live video social media tool. 

"Be Authentic". I can't even count on my fingers how many times I have heard that phrase since I began blogging in 2009. @joeboughner gave us a lesson about what it really means to be authentic with his session Authenticity Means Never Having to Censor Your Curse Words. Now, mind you I may curse from time to time in my personal life, I try to keep those away from my blog because well, we are family friendly here people! I really enjoyed Joe's speech, it was raw and it was real - just how we all should be here in the blogosphere and everywhere else.

Lunch time came with a special Keynote that was inspiring, brave, amazing and all of the other good things. Change: You (And Your Audience!) Can Handle It with @MayvenOfMayhem. Amanda Jette Knox gave an incredible speech about her own journey and changes in her own life, in her family and in herself. She deserved that standing ovation X100! I read her story online but hearing her speak it was something else.



The afternoon continued with an informative session Trademarks, Copyrights and Image Consciousness in Content Creation by @ari_FYW which is something everyone who works in social media and blogging has to know. It was great to hear what we have been doing here on AME has been good! 

@JordanDangerInc gave an insightful workshop about how we portray our image, message and brand through staying "on message", losing the audience's attention and our self of direction, called Your Image and Brand: How to Look, Talk and, Walk With a Message. It reminded me to not let things go so easily and keep on it. 

After a break checking out the sponsor booths and selfie booth, we headed in for roundtable discussions. We chose our tables ahead of time and mine were: Community Management 101 with @commoncentsmom, Rock Your Photography with @LifeOverEasy and Can My iPhone or iPad Satisfy all of my video needs? Yes, if... with @DoMoreVideo

I can say I am very pleased with the selections I made for attending the roundtables. Each expert had some great information for me to take away and use in every aspect of my own blogging  from what tools or apps to use for creating great video to DIY backdrops for taking those product shots.

After day 1 ended we headed off for a bite to eat at the Rideau Centre again, this time poutine at Big Smoke Burger before getting ready for the BConnected Social Blowout Party.



The party was hosted by Derick Fage and included a silent auction where proceeds went toward The Canadian Continence Foundation. The party was spectacular! On top of the silent auction there was music, a dance floor (and let me tell you some of us really got our groove on!), drinks, a candy bar (so yummy!) plus a very amazing demonstration by @Ottawa_Pole_Fit! We finished off dancing the night away! I think the best part of the evening though were the amazing people who were at the party, you guys are what made it happen! I had a great time! 



After somewhat of a night's sleep in the hotel room, we were ready to take on BConnected day 2! Breakfast was provided by Egg Farmers of Canada along with our morning Keynote with Julie Cole of Mabel's Labels! You may have seen my Mabel reviews over the years here on AME, love them! 

Next up was a panel session hosted by @Sab_Media featuring @joeboughner, @finding_joy@DoMoreVideo and @larawellman discussing Next Stage of Blogging and Social Media. They had some expert information to share with everyone. 

@ImFreckles talked to us about creating kickass content - remember that grammar, people! I think she may have a thing or two to say about my writing sometimes here on AME, I try! :) 



Lunchtime came with a great session, Shared Roots & Rubber Boots, Connecting with Canadian Farmers by @amyemathe. Amy explained to us just how her farm works, how the cows are treated like family and she even debunked some milk-farmer myths for us.

We learned more about how to make our videos work better for us with Tips to get your video found and viewed by @DoMoreVideo. Anthony Wong really knows his stuff when it comes to videos! He had some good tips and introduced us to some useful tools!

The last session of the day was Email Marketing with @larawellman. Here at AME we have a weekly blast and sometimes send the odd surprise and that is how we keep our readers updated and in the know about what's going on here at AME! Lara gave some great tips to maximize the use without overdoing it. 

I didn't stay for the Blogging Concentrated workshop although I am hearing wonderful things about it. I had to say my goodbye's after the closing remarks to go get my daughter from her weekend at her grandmothers. It was time to get back to reality! 

I had a great time being part of the BConnected Conference 2016 team and am so proud of everyone who worked so hard to make it happen, again.

It was a wonderful weekend of learning, networking and connecting. It was fantastic to see so many familiar faces and meet so many new. If we didn't get see each other, I'm sorry!  :-(

For those who couldn't make it for one reason or another, we missed you BUT it was announced that the BConnected Conference is heading to Toronto next Spring!

I can't wait to see what the next year will bring us! 


Posted in participation with the BConnected Team. Opinions and comments on this blog are honest and my own. 

4/25/16


The weather seems to be playing tricks around here lately. Warm and then cold and then back again. I am sure we will finally be able call it patio season soon enough though! Patio season means finding any excuse (besides the nice weather) to invite over family and celebrate with friends!


Cinco De Mayo is coming up - if you don't celebrate, you should! It's a great way to learn and also teach the family about Mexican culture, especially the food! 

Que Pasa has everything you need for a Mexican-style celebration with Que Pasa tortilla chips and salsa! You can share them with family and friends or create some yummy, Mexican-inspired recipes! 

Serve up some Cinco De Mayo goodness with these Zesty Lentil Tacos


Z
Ingredients
·         Que pasa corn tortillas (or flour tortillas of your choice) 
·         1 Tbsp coconut oil 
·         1 yellow onion, minced
·         1 can brown lentils, drained
·         1 small jar green chile enchilada sauce (or try this Roasted Tomatillo Salsa)
·         ½ tsp onion powder
·         sea salt
·         2 limes
·         Feta cheese (optional)

Spicy Sriracha Cream Sauce:
·         ½ cup plain yogurt (dairy or alternative) or sour cream
·         Sriracha to taste – depends on how spicy you like it!
·         Juice of 1 lime

Finishing Fixings:

·         Pineapple tidbits – left fresh or grilled
·         Red onion, thinly sliced
·         Cilantro, chopped

Directions

1.      Add coconut oil to a medium-size frying pan over medium heat. Saute minced onions until translucent and add the whole can (drain first!) of brown lentils. Saute for 2 minutes more and add green chile enchilada sauce, sea salt and onion powder.

2.      Prep the spicy sriracha sauce sauce by combining yogurt (or sour cream) in a small bowl with lime juice and sriracha, stirring well to combine.

3.      Build your tacos by first heating your tortillas, adding lentil mixture followed by pineapple, red onion, cilantro and spicy sriracha sauce.

For more recipes and information about Que Pasa Mexican Foods please visit the official website! Show some love and follow QUE PASA on Twitter and Instagram!


WIN IT!

AME wants you to have fun and celebrate everything Cinco De Mayo! That's why we are giving ONE lucky AME reader the chance to win a yummy Que Pasa prize pack with includes an assortment of chips and salsa plus FPC coupons courtesy of Nature's Path! 



Fill out the ballot below to be entered for your chance to win! You must complete the mandatory entry to be eligible. One mandatory entry per household. Open to Canadian residents 18+ (excluding Quebec). 

Representatives of Nature's Path are providing the prize to the winner on AME's behalf. By entering, you accept your information will be shared with the representatives of this brand should you win. Winners must qualify with a valid email address by filling out a winners claim form with skill testing question. Winners have 48 hours to claim before prize is redrawn. More about giveaways can be found here. Giveaway ends MAY 5th 2016! 

Good Luck!

4/12/16

With times being as busy as they are, it can be hard to sit everyone down for a family meal. Hubby might work late, our oldest daughter might go to a friends but we always try to make it a thing at least several times a week. If I could demand it every single night, I would. Family meals are an important part of being a family and an important part of growing up. It's our time to sit down, reconnect and just be a family. It's what we all remember doing with our families when we were young and something we want to pass on to our own. 

Our meals aren't usually fancy, they are quick and many a typical Canadian go-to. One of the main ingredients in many staple meals we eat in our home is of course beef. Ground beef, beef steaks, beef cubes etc can all be created into simple and delicious home-cooked meals for the family with a little help from a good recipe.


During a busy weeknight I may turn to my classic "anything goes" pasta and meat sauce, featuring beef! It's simple to put together and you can use almost any veggies you have in the fridge that need to be used. I like onions, green/red/yellow peppers, carrots and sometimes peas. Brown the beef and drain, chop up your veggies and simmer with the cooked beef for a few minutes. Add in a jar or can of your favourite pasta sauce (store bought ones are so plain jane I love adding my own mix of meat and veggies) and let the sauce simmer with the beef and veggies for a few minutes. Serve over your favourite pasta and enjoy! 




Do you know where your beef comes from? 

Team approach
Canadian Beef heads up a league of farmers and ranchers from each and every province that work together? They are greater than the sum of the parts as they continue to work together towards a common goal. 

Economy
- The beef industry contributes almost $25 billion to the Canadian economy annually.
- Canada is the 8th largest exporter of beef in the world. 
- 35% of Canada's beef is exported.

Sustainable farming
- In Canada, 1 in 3 acres of agricultural land is not suitable for growing crops but is suitable for grazing cattle.

- Canada enjoys around 930K tonnes of beef a year

- Feeding high energy grains lowers the environmental footprint of finishing cattle. 

Another one of my family's favourite meals is Shepherd's Pie. It's a classic Quebec dish that's nutritious, tastes great and feeds more than just a couple of people. It can be eaten freshly baked or you can freeze it for another day. 




Although there are many ways to make this dish, here is a yummy and simple Sunny Day Shepherd's Pie recipe from Canadian Beef! 

Next time your family is hungry, #makeitCDNbeef! You can find Canadian Beef on social media:

Twitter - @loveCDNbeef and #makeitCDNbeef
Facebook - facebook.com/ILoveCanadianBeef
Youtube - youtube.com/user/LoveCDNBeef
Instagram - instagram.com/lovecdnbeef/ 

Canadian beef brand also has a great video on YouTube!

*Posted in participation with the #makeitCDNbeef influencer program. Comments and opinions on this blog are my own. 

4/11/16

Did you know that Friday is #NationalLaundryDay? 

Celebrating all things clean clothes, GE Appliances is hosting a fabulous Twitter party where you could win a NEW GE Designer Line laundry pair (that's a washer and a dryer)! 

Find the details below! 


#NationalLaundryDay Twitter Party details:
Date: April 15, 2016
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST
Prize: GE Designer Line laundry pair (yes – a laundry pair – washer and dryer combination)
Eligibility: Canada Only except the Province of Quebec

See you at the party! 

4/10/16


This weekend we did something different and watched the new Netflix original movie Pee-Wee's Big Holiday and played along with an interactive game courtesy of Netflix! 

A bit about the movie:

Paul Reubens reprises his role as Pee-Wee Herman in Pee-Wee's Big Holiday on Netflix! Pee-Wee is a fun-loving  guy who can find the good in just about every situation. When his luck seems to get him down he has a chance encounter from a mysterious visitor (played by Joe Manganiello) which points Pee-Wee toward his destiny - living it up for the first time on his first ever holiday! 



Geared with our Pee-Wee's Big Holiday "game", we followed along with Pee-Wee on his first holiday! As he made his way from his hometown of Fairville to New York City to celebrate his new friend's birthday, we used the interactive map to follow along and open some surprises along the way! 



The kids suited up with cool Pee-Wee t-shirts, raised a flag to Fairville, made milkshakes, plus shared chips and friendship bracelets all in Pee-Wee style! We had a blast celebrating Pee-Wee's Big Holiday right here at home! 





The movie is fun for the whole family, your typical light-hearted jokes and tricks along the way. If you haven't checked it out you can see the trailer (and watch the movie) on Netflix

Posted in participation with the Netflix Canada #StreamTeam. Special perks are obtained however opinions are always honest and my own! 

4/6/16



The time has come - my eldest child is officially preparing to head off to high school next year. Come September we'll be seeing earlier mornings and more homework. Hot lunches and lockers. No more "recess" with playing on swings. No more excuses for missing homework or lost lunch bags. No more "wear whatever you pull out of your closet" to school every day.  

She has been attending Catholic school since her preschool years so naturally she will be going to the sister High School. This high school requires students to wear uniforms, school crest and all. 

I went to public high school and we wore whatever we wanted as long as it suited the dress code, like K does now. This is a whole new world to us. We just got our order forms for the school uniforms, everything she will be needing to start her off. We went through the list and wrote down what she would need, working this on a budget. I'm happy with the results. The uniforms aren't cheap but they aren't as expensive as we had imagined. 

Being it our first time doing this, we scheduled a fitting and info session next week at the school. Early, yes but I can imagine the store that the uniforms come from have many schools to deal with from now until September. 

I'm nervous but at the same time I'm excited for her, can you tell? She is heading off to a new chapter in her life and she is *sob* growing up. She's only going into grade seven. Once being the eldest grade in her school down to being the youngest again. 

The main thing is that she is looking forward to it even though she knows it's going to be tougher than grade school. She hasn't always liked school and I am hoping a change in environment will do her good both on a personal level and on an academic level. 

For now we will take it one step at a time, they grow up too fast! :)


4/4/16

Springtime at our house means cleaning up from last season. Aside from doing our interior and exterior spring cleaning we will also be getting our vehicles ready for the warmer seasons! Hubby knows cars, he is good at making sure everything that needs to be done, gets done when it comes to maintaining our family vehicles. 

Have you started getting your car ready for the new season? I know if I was on my own in the car department, I would have some serious questions. I am not nearly as knowledgeable as my better half! 

Canadian Tire Auto Service makes car care easy and worry free by offering:

Extended Hours - Walk in or book an appointment to your schedule. Check your local Canadian Tire store for service bay hours. 

They know your car - Visit any of the 5500 Canadian Tire service bays across Canada and they will have your vehicle's history there in order to provide the best diagnosis.

Services all makes and models - Bring your vehicle to any of Canadian Tire's 3000 licensed technicians for expert guidance, warranty-approved. 

Nationwide warranty - Get your vehicle serviced at any Canadian Tire service bay and your manufacturer's warranty remains valid!

Make an appointment at your local Canadian Tire or check out www.CanadianTire.ca for more info!


Canadian Tire is hosting a Twitter Party this week! There will be an auto technician available to answer any questions you have about getting your car ready! 

When: Thursday April 7, 2016

What time: 7pm ET


Hashtag: #CanadasGarage

Twubs page for Twitter Party Newbies: http://twubs.com/canadasgarage

There is no RSVP for this party and $1000 in prizing to be won! Anyone can join in the fun but only Canadians can win the prizes. This excludes the province of Quebec.

See you at the party!