12/28/16

Busy just doesn't describe the last few weeks, or even the last month of craziness that has been the holiday season. It was all worrying about getting things ready, the kids being overly-excited, family feuds and being sick, I don't know how we survived. 

We had a good but quiet family Christmas, neither hubby nor I were in any shape to host or attend any kind of Christmas parties this year so we kept it low key at home. I made us a yummy Christmas Eve dinner of ham, potatoes, carrots, rolls and more. The kids stayed up a little later than usual, watching the movie Elf and excitedly awaiting Santas arrival that night. 

Christmas morning was so much fun. We have a tradition, once the adults are up (and caffeinated), we turn on Christmas music and let the present opening begin!  We may have been a bit under the weather still but we made the best of it and as far as I could see in the kids faces, we had a very Merry Christmas.



Never being big Boxing Day shoppers (I think we spent enough this month), we spent the day after Christmas recovering from the weekend and hiding away from the freezing rain. The city and beyond was covered with a layer of slippery, ice. Definitely not ideal conditions to go out driving with the family. 

We planned post-Christmas family visits to both of my parents houses the next day since the roads would most likely have been cleaned up by then. The visits were short but they are always nice. Seeing everyone happy is what's most important.

Christmas time doesn't have to be about big parties, over-the-top dinners and presents through the roof. For me, as long as I have the people who are most important to be by my side, that's what makes a Merry Christmas. 

We hope you had an amazing holiday celebrating with your family! Merry Christmas! 




12/21/16

Christmas is only a few more days away. We have been very busy making plans and getting things done. Running around like a bunch of secret Santas to make sure we are ready so that our kids can enjoy the magic of Christmas. 

Once the presents have been unwrapped, the meals have been eaten and the toys have been played with, winter break blues can set in. It's that time between Christmas and New Years before the kids go back to school that it hits them. "I'm BORED!"

Bored? That word doesn't exist in my vocabulary. If you can't find something to do, you can always find something to watch on Netflix. 

Did you hear about the new Netflix Original Series Dreamworks Trollhunters created by Guillermo del Toro? It's streaming December 23rd, right on time to help cure the winter break blues! 

A bit about the show: "After uncovering a mysterious amulet, an average teen assumes an unlikely destiny and sets out to save two worlds!"



Celebrate the release of DreamWorks Trollhunters by making some yummy Hard Rock Candy and make your own Trollhunters Battle Armour and Sword with handy (printable/downloadable) instructions below! 


DreamWorks Trollhunters - Hard Rock Candy Recipe!

Click  the image to get the recipe! 


DreamWorks Trollhunters - Create Your Own Battle Armor & Sword!

Click the image to get the instructions!
My kids will love this show (plus, the candy and crafts!), especially my son who is always asking me or browsing Netflix kids section to find the latest releases! 

Heading out of town for winter break? You can bring Netflix with you, even if you don't have internet access where you're staying! Now, you can download certain series and movies right onto your device (tablet or phone) and take your favourites with you! Make sure your Netflix app is update check out the "Available for download" menu! You never know when the weather outside may be frightening! :) 


Thanks to Netflix, the winter break blues are a thing of the past! Not a Netflix member? You can sign up today and get a free 30 day trial! 




Posted in participation with the Netflix Canada #StreamTeam. Special perks are part of my affiliation however comments and opinions on this blog are always my own. 

12/14/16

Christmas is only a few more weeks away and we have already started organizing everything from decorations to presents and deciding what we are going to eat (and who's hosting!).

Every year, even if I'm not hosting the big family Christmas dinner get together, I always love to have the house all decorated up and looking like Santa's work shop! There doesn't even have to be a specific theme as long as all the decorations scream Christmas!

Hallmark Canada never disappoints when it comes to getting ready for any occasion, especially Christmas with a wide variety of decorations, gifts and thoughtful (and unique) holiday cards. It's all about putting smiles on faces and that is just what Hallmark Canada does once again this holiday season!

Holiday decorating:

Rockin' around the Christmas tree we have some amazing new ornaments to add to our collection this year with Disney Star Wars BB-8 and Disney Frozen Elsa itty bitty's ornaments. I like these because they are cute and also plastic so if the kids decide to "look" at (touch) them, I don't have to worry about breakage. $6.95 each
Being a coffee lover, the Coffee Signature Ornament is proudly displayed on our Christmas tree. Yes, it's breakable but that's what the higher branches of the tree are for! I love the little cozy around the cup! Adorable! $16.95 each

Something a little more delicate but simply beautiful is the Red Poinsettia Blown-Glass Ball from the Hallmark Heritage collection. It's HUGE, not something I added to the tree but hung as a decoration on a hook in the living room. It almost looks like a Christmas disco ball. So pretty when the lights shine off of it! $24.95 each

Bring gifts to your next Christmas party in style with a Reindeer and Snowflakes Carryall Tote Bag. These are reusable, fabric totes with handles that are cute enough to gift, decorate or tote your holiday goodies in. $24.95 each



Give as a gift or lighten your holidays with a beautiful Snowflake Candle Holder $16.95 - $19.95

What's Christmas without stockings to stuff? This beautiful velvet and cotton stocking is perfect for Santa to fill with goodies for someone special!

Gift Ideas:

There is always a last minute gift to be bought. Invited to someone's place last minute, just one more stocking stuffer or the last minute announcement of extra guests at the gift exchange - whatever the reason, these would make great gifts for family!



- Peanuts Holiday Through The Years book $14.95
- itty bitty Frosty The Snowman Stuffy and Book set $6.95 
- Guest Towel and Basket Set $16.95
- Not on the naughty list socks $12.95
- Scottie Dog Ornament-Shaped Memo Pad $7.95
- Frosty's Friends Shivering Polar Bear $29.95
- Smiling Snowman Flannel throw blanket $24.95



Gift Bags and Tags:

Of course Hallmark wouldn't be Hallmark without its beautifully creative, signature greeting cards for the holidays.



- Preppy Multi pattern Gift tags $4.99 pack of 10.
- Cute Snowman Honeycomb Characters Bow gift attachments $4.99 pack of 2.
- Wonder-folds White Christmas Tree Cards $19.99 5 cards + envelopes.
- Home and Native Land Canadian Exclusive Boxed cards $19.99 box of 16 cards.
- Signature Boxed Card, Enjoy every merry minute $16.99 box of 8 cards.
- Joy Medium bag and Cheers Bottle Bag $7.99 each

Last but not least, for those celebrating Hanukkah, Hallmark Canada has a beautiful Hanukkah Menorah and Decorated Dove Hanukkah cards



However you celebrate this holiday season, may your home be filled with laughter and love! Find these and more gorgeous holiday greetings, gifts and more at your local Hallmark Canada store or online at the Hallmark Canada website!

Follow Hallmark Canada on social media for the latest updates! 

Facebook - Twitter - Instagram

WIN IT!

We want to share the joy with you this holiday season! One lucky AME reader has the chance to win a Hallmark Canada Peanuts Holidays Through The Years Book ($14.95 value). Enter using the ballot below!

Open to Canadian residents 18+ Excluding Quebec. One entry per household. Mandatory entries must be complete to be eligible. Please see our site disclosure for more detailed giveaway rules. Ends December 21st 2016!




Posted in participation with the Hallmark Canada #LoveHallmarkCA blogger panel. Complementary product recieved as a Thank You. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.

12/12/16

The Power Of Toys #PowerImagination With Hasbro and Duracell
Christmas is coming which means the room I made purging all of our old toys, clothes, and other items this past fall will come in handy with new gifts under the tree for the kids. The lists aren't long but they are things they have been asking for. We hope they are as happy to get them as we are to give them. 

Everyone deserves to smile on Christmas and nothing brings that smile to any parent's face more than seeing the joy their child has Christmas morning, opening that new toy they've been hoping for like Hasbro's Bop It powered by Duracell batteries. 


Bop It has always been a family favourite, it's been around for ages and keeps getting better with every new update to the classic speedy memory game. I know the kids are going to just love it this Christmas! 

As much as we love the holidays, an unfortunate reality is that many Canadian families spend the holidays in the hospital with a sick child. Something as simple as a new working toy or game can brighten a child's hospital stay by sparking the power to imagine a better tomorrow.

Duracell believes in powering the imagination of sick children by making sure kids can still be kids, and enjoy the magic of the holiday season, no matter what. For a 10th year in a row, Duracell will be donating a year's supply of brand new batteries to hospital playrooms across the country to power smiles this holiday season and beyond. 

You can help simply by purchasing Duracell batteries at your local Walmart this December.  For every pack of batteries sold, Duracell will donate to Children's Miracle Network with a goal of $150,000. There's nothing more disappointing than "batteries not included".

Find out more about how you can help Children's Miracle Network hospitals this holiday season by visiting Duracell.com/cmn.

Sponsored post on behalf of Duracell and Hasbro. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. 

12/9/16

In 2013, little girls (and many parents) around the world fell in love with one of Disney's most epic movies, Frozen. People are still talking about it three years later. We just can't "Let it go!"

Our oldest daughter was 9 years old when the movie came out, she loved it but wasn't at the age of wanting to really collect any toys or apparel themed from the movie. We added it to our (ever growing) movie collection and it has been watched over, and over again. Not by our oldest child but by our youngest, Miss M.

At almost four years old she is obsessed with all things Frozen. She is always referencing Anna and Elsa in some way or another. When it snowed a few weeks ago, she told me Elsa did that. It was not surprising that this year she asked for Elsa and Anna dolls from Santa.

Hasbro has some great Frozen toys available for your little one this holiday season such as:

Disney Frozen Fashion Change Elsa Doll




The star of the show, Elsa, comes dressed in her beautiful icy gown and comes with her coronation dress and matching accessories to really play out the movie! I know our own little "Elsa" will be very pleased this Christmas! Includes doll, two outfits, two pairs of shoes and a crown. Ages 3 and up. $19.99 ARV

Disney Frozen Anna and Kristof Set


What's Frozen without two of the most important characters, Anna and Kristof. This 2-pack set includes Anna and Kristoff wearing outfits they are wearing during the ice-skating finale in Frozen. Includes 2 dolls, 2 outfits and 2 pairs of shoes. ages 3+ $24.99 ARV

Disney Frozen Fever Olaf


Even serious play time needs some comic relief. Add Disney Frozen Fever Olaf to your Frozen collection! Celebrate with Olaf and 3 Snowgies from Anna's birthday party in the Disney short, Frozen Fever. Mix and match all the pieces, including the Snowgies. With a birthday cake, 2 cups and a snow globe gift for Anne, Olaf is ready for some celebrating! Ages 3 and up. $22.99 

You can find these and other great Hasbro toys at your local toy retailer like Toys R Us or find a retailer near you on the Hasbro.com website! 

WIN IT!

For the Frozen fan in your house, AME is giving away ONE Disney Frozen Fashion Change Elsa Doll! Enter using the ballot below!



Open to Canadian residents 18+ Excluding Quebec. One entry per household. Mandatory entries must be complete to be eligible. Please see our site disclosure for more detailed giveaway rules. Ends December 16th 2016!




Posted on behalf of Hasbro Canada. Complementary product received in exchange for coverage. Giveaway prize provided by representatives of Hasbro Canada. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. 


12/8/16

The holiday season is upon us which means once Christmas time has come and gone, we will be on winter holidays from the everyday. The kids will be off from school for a couple of weeks which means I also slow things down and use my time to relax and regroup for the coming New Year.

I have developed a habit when it comes to watching my favourite shows and movies. I tend to binge watch a whole new season in just a few sittings, leaving myself with an empty feeling and searching to find out when the next season is rumored to becoming back to my favourite streaming service, Netflix. 

While I'm taking a little break for the next round of episodes from my favourite shows to stream, I find myself searching for movies of similar taste or movies with actors from the show I just finished, to see what else they have done and keep myself entertained until the next run. 

Apparently, I am not the only one who does this. Netflix released data explaining a new binge routine with 65% of users taking about a three day break before starting up a new show and during that break over half (61%) watch a movie to fill the gap. That's more than 30 million people who agree, some things just go better together! 

Canadians have some interesting pairings when it comes to movies that most often follow series among Netflix users. Some popular choices are:

- Quick paced, coffee loving Gilmore Girls fans keep pop culture references fresh with movies like Clueless and Mean Girls. If you have not binged through Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life yet, get to it! The last four words will have you wanting more! 
- When it comes to relationship dramas like Grey's Anatomy, movies like Sleeping with Other People and Couples Retreat are popular choices. 


-After a round of Marvel's Jessica Jones, fans look for other strong leading ladies in movies like The Hunger Games and V for Vendetta.
 
- People enjoy continuing the silliness of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt with  movies like 13 Going On 30 and The Princess Bride.

Changing to movies between series also gives people a bit of a change from watching one genre to another. If you're watching something a bit scarier like The Walking Dead which CAN get your heart pumping, you can calm yourself down with a movie like The Martian or The Do-Over.

Check out the graphic below for more popular series/movie combos! 

Click to enlarge!
For every series, there is a matching themed movie to keep you in the mood for more only on Netflix

December is a great month to get comfy and stay in for some serious Netflixing.

Do you find yourself looking for movies between binge watching series? 


Posted on behalf of the Netflix #StreamTeam. Opinions and comments are those of the author. 



12/7/16

The digital world is all about streaming. Whether you are a gamer, a YouTube video creator, a pod caster or all of the above, one of the most important tools is your microphone.

Turtle Beach Stream Mic is a USB plug-in digital microphone made for people who want to sound great, no matter what they say. It's the first professional-quality, plug and play device that's compatible with PC, Mac, XBox One and PS4 so you can sound great on any platform. 


We are very familiar with Turtle Beach products, hubby's favourite gaming headset was one of his best investments when it comes to his gaming. Although somewhat on the pricer side of things, you know that you are getting a good quality product you will really enjoy. 

You already game like a pro, now sound like a pro with Turtle Beach Stream Mic. With a simple USB plug-in, you can stream directly from your console and through Adaptive Mic Patterns with TruSpeak technology, on board processing and dual capsule mic, your audience will hang on to your every word - even if you're just trash talking.

I personally love the look of this mic, it resembles an old radio mic from back in the day with a little bit of new age added to it. The front is sleek with a mute/unmute button for full control. The back has a headset plug, volume control, console input switch and USB plug. The mic is small enough but has weight to it. It comes with a desk stand or you can mount it elsewhere. 

I also like that it is pretty universal when it comes to usage. Hubby can use it for gaming on his XBox One or we can use it for voiceovers in videos. Who knows, maybe I can take up pod casting on the side. 

If you're looking for a great digital gaming or recording mic, I recommend checking out the Turtle Beach Stream Mic. 

Check out the videos on the official website to learn more and see just how the Turtle Beach Stream Mic works! 

You can find these at Walmart online for $129.96

Follow @TurtleBeach on Twitter and Like the Turtle Beach Facebook Page for the latest updates! 


Posted on behalf of Turtle Beach. Complementary product recieved as a thank you. Opinions and comments are those of the author.


12/2/16

Star Wars has been a huge thing ever since I can remember. We have seen every Star Wars movie, of course, Star Wars items would be on somebody's Christmas list this year! Hasbro Canada has come great Disney Star Wars toys and collectibles for the biggest of fans! 

Chewbacca Electronic Mask



Remember the "Chewbacca Mom" video, that pretty much made this toy popular earlier this year. It stars a mom, her (very contagious) laugh and pure fun in a simple toy. Of course my kids saw this viral video too and wanted one of these to add to their mask collection. Our son has a bunch like Iron Man, Spider-Man, G.I. Joe and now for Christmas, Chewbacca. This mask works with movement to make wookie sounds that would scare any Storm Trooper. Open your mouth slightly for a low wookie growl or really scare them off with a roar by opening your mouth wide. Fun for kids of all ages! You can find this mask at most toy retailers for around $29.99. Ages 4 and up.

Star Wars BladeBuilders Spin Action Light Saber



My younger kids love playing make-believe. Over the years we have gifted our son with dress up accessories themed with things he loves like super heroes and now Star Wars. This holiday season he will love recreating his favourite Star Wars action scenes with his very own light saber! The Star Wars BladeBuilders Spin Action Light Saber comes with everything he needs to create adventures and scenes on the Dark side from the Star Wars Universe. It includes Spinning Connector Light Saber hilt and it's customizable with other BladeBuilders Lightsabers (each sold separately). You can find these at most toy retailers for around $59.99. Ages 4 and up.

Star Wars Interactech Imperial Storm Trooper Figure


Storm Troopers are clad in white and serve the Dark Side in the Star Wars franchise. Dressed in the typical Storm Trooper gear, he has over 65 different sound effects and phrases and uses a motion sensor to respond to specific movements. You can equip him with the included blaster accessory to hear special battle sound effects, or have him engage in hand to hand combat for punching sounds! Gear him up with the jetpack and move him around to hear amazing sound effects based on different motion-activated aerial movements! You can find the Star Wars Interactech Imperial Storm Trooper for around $29.99 at most toy retailers. Ages 4 and up. 

One thing I love about Hasbro toys is that if they require batteries, chances are your new toy will come with batteries included so your little one (or you!) can get down to the fun of things right away this holiday season. 

You can learn more about these and other great Hasbro toys for the holiday season by visiting www.hasbro.ca!


Win it!

For the Star Wars fan in your house, AME is giving away one Star Wars Interactech Imperial Storm Trooper Figure ($29.99 value)! Enter using the ballot below!

Open to Canadian residents 18+ Excluding Quebec. One entry per household. Mandatory entries must be complete to be eligible. Please see our site disclosure for more detailed giveaway rules. Ends December 9th 2016!



Posted on behalf of Hasbro Canada. Complementary product received in exchange for coverage. Giveaway prize provided by representatives of Hasbro Canada. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author
Just because the temperature has dropped doesn't mean we automatically turn into bears and hibernate all winter long (oh but wouldn't that  be nice!). Getting out and about with the kids in the winter time is important not only to get some quality time in with the kids but also encourage outdoor physical activity which may lack a bit when the weather is so cold, you don't want to leave your warm bed! 

MSR Tyler Kids Snowshoes are perfect for beginners who want to go out, get active, and enjoy the snow.

MSR Tyker™ Kid's Snowshoes ($59.95)



A kid-sized version of MSR's strong, reliable Denali™ snowshoes, these easy-to-use snowshoes are intended for children who weigh up to 90 pounds (41 kg). They feature steel crampons and kid-friendly molded traction bars for great all-around traction and added safety. They also feature Kid-Friendly secure bindings that are designed for smaller, mitten-clad hands and can be used on most any footwear. Fits Wide Range of Sizes: Kids' shoe sizes 7.5–13.5 and adult sizes 1–4.5.

If you're looking for something new for the little adventurer in your house, you can find MSR Tyker Kids snowshoes at sporting goods shops like mec.ca

Product provided for review purposes. Comments and opinions are those of the author.