I don't hide TV from my kids, they're allowed to watch age appropriate programming and I don't mind them watching movies either. We all grew up with our faces glued to TV sets when our favourite shows came on, we still do it as adults and my kids are no different. 

Naturally with older siblings occupying the same livingroom as she plays in, Baby M has begun watching the odd cartoon with her siblings. My one rule for the older kids while the baby is around, keep it preschool friendly. 

Recently Baby M has fallen in love with TreeHouse TV, rather she has fallen in love with Dora the Explorer. It's cool, her older sister (despite not wanting to admit it) once adored the brown eyed, friendly little explorer herself. Lately it's all she wants to watch. She even says "Doh-Ah" when it's coming on.

As much as we both adore that show, we need to switch it up once in a while. I made the mistake of trying to introduce her to something besides her beloved Dora *Gasp*.

Something new to her and something both her older siblings loved at young ages, Barney the big purple dinosaur. He's friendly and I figured she loves music, what's more musical than Barney! I love you, you love me, you know! 

Sorry Barney, looks like you're going into retirement.
Well, he was too much for Baby M before he even got to his first song. I started up a random episode where the school kids were bird watching. The little boy is looking through binoculars and spies the beloved Barney doll. Suddenly Barney pops out of nowhere, with a flash and a POOF sound - in all Barney fashion. 

Baby M jumps in shock, pouts and begins to cry. Oops! Bad parenting moment at it's finest. We tried to tell her Barney was fun but she would have none of it. It wasn't entirely Barney's fault and I didn't think his transformation from stuffy to "real" would startle the heck out of my baby.

Needless to say we switched back to Dora and are thankful she once again saved the day. Something about that theme song that captivates her every time. She doesn't get a whole ton of TV time but we know what she likes and well what she doesn't now.

Sorry Barney, you're just too much for the littlest one, can't say we didn't try. 

This post is in no way sponsored by any of the mentioned children's television programs, characters or TV channels. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. 


We had the opportunity to attend Disney On Ice 100 Years of Magic, opening night at the Canadian Tire Center here in Ottawa last week. When it comes to big events such as these, I prefer not to tell my kids whats going on until the absolute last minute. All they had knowledge of was that there was some sort of surprise after school that day.

We invited family friends to come with us this time. They met us at our house a couple of hours before show time to get the kids all ready and settle the baby with her sitter. We finally told the kids where we were going before we departed and they were beyond thrilled. This was the second show my daughter has had the chance to see but it was our sons first time, he had no idea what to expect. 

We arrived at the Canadian Tire Center about an hour before the show. Plenty of time to get our tickets, get the kids to the washroom and maybe stop for a coffee, hot chocolate and Timbits from Tim Hortons.

Shortly after getting organized we found our seats and settled in. We had a little bit of a wait but that was alright. Being at an event with a 5 year old who downs his hot chocolate like water meant for many a toilet break.

The show started and the kids were thrilled, gazing in delight at the beautiful ice show before us. I may or may not have teared up seeing my kids eyes light up when Mickey and Minnie (among other favourites) came onto the ice.

Disney on Ice - 100 Years of Magic is a fun filled show for all ages. It showcases a montage of our favourite Disney movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and all of the Disney Princesses like Snow White, Belle and The Little Mermaid to name a few. It was an event my kids are still talking about a week later. 

From the characters to the props and familiar songs, music and heartwarming moments this was definitely a must-see show for every family. Disney on Ice never fails to amaze its audience.

If you missed out on this show don't worry! Disney Live presents Mickey's Rockin' Road Show at the NAC in March! :) 

For more information about this and other events please visit www.DisneyOnIce.com and follow @DisneyOnIce on Twitter to find out when the show is coming to a city near you! :) 

*Review published on behalf of Feld Entertainment. Complimentary event tickets were supplied for review purposes. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.*


We are a peanut butter family and not just any peanut butter - it has to be Kraft Peanut Butter. For over 50 years, Kraft Peanut Butter (also known popularly as Kraft PB) has been Canada's favourite peanut butter and with good reason. I love how many different options Kraft PB comes in like regular, smooth, extra smooth, creamy, whipped and crunchy among others.

Peanut butter is great for a snack on toast, apples, in baking and also goes amazingly well with one of my other favourite foods - chocolate. I am happy to tell you that Kraft recently added a brand new flavour to their PB family with new Kraft Peanut Butter With Chocolate! Every PB+Chocolate fan's dream come true! You may have seen the recent buzz on Twitter with the hashtag #KraftPBChocolate! 

With 50% less sugar than the leading hazelnut spread (only 80 calories per 1 tbsp serving), Kraft PB with Chocolate is a great way to liven up your breakfast routine, enhance your favourite baking recipe or as a spread on fruit or toast for a delicious snack any time of the day.

Kraft sent us over a lovely breakfast tray containing goodies and a jar of Kraft Peanut Butter along with some yummy recipes to try for ourselves. One of my favourite ways to enjoy new Kraft PB with Chocolate is simply spread on toast and that is just the beginning. There are so many ways to enjoy new Kraft Peanut Butter with Chocolate. 

Enjoy a delicious, wholesome breakfast with yummy Peanut Butter Chocolate-Stuffed French Toast featuring new Kraft Peanut Butter with Chocolate! Check out the recipe below and try it yourself, you won't look at French Toast the same way again. 

Thank you Kraft for introducing us to perhaps our favourite addition to your ever so yummy Peanut Butter family!

You can find Kraft Peanut Butter with Chocolate at your local grocery store. To learn more about Kraft Peanut Butter please visit the official Kraft Canada website. 

*Posted on behalf of Kraft Foods Canada. A gift basket was provided however opinions and comments on this blog are always those of the author.*


Here we are on our final week of the Family Financial Challenge! Do you ever notice how easily stuff can pile up around your home? How many lipsticks do you have? Pairs of shoes? Winter jackets? Unused toys, maybe? Human beings have this crazy ability to gather and collect stuff. The worst part is we hoard and allow it to accumulate taking up space and cause clutter in our lives, yet we always buy more!

Week 4 Clothes:

This weeks challenge is focusing on what we have and sticking to it before we buy more. Using up what we have in our cupboards and closets, taking care of our things to make them last their full potential. Taking care of our stuff!

- Take inventory of our closets making lists of every shirt, shoe, jacket and anything else. Make a commitment not to buy anything new until we absolutely need to. 

- If items are still good but no longer useful to use we must sell them or give them away and then wait until we desperately need a replacement item before we buy anything else new. I always prefer donating unused items and clothing to those who can use it. In December we did a huge clothing purge and donated to the local Diabetes Foundation who gladly picked up our donations! 

- No buying new hangers. We can only replace whats on existing hangers once we get rid of it. This isn't a problem, I always forget to buy hangers. I bought new ones for the front entrance so everyone could properly hang their jackets as the hooks we have are too high for our middle child. 

- Fixing what's broken like shoes, bags, belts etc can save money. Fix what needs fixing and use them instead of buying new. With regular maintenance clothes and accessories can last a long time, its up to us to take care of our stuff! 

That last one is so true. I bought a pair of black leather flats almost three years ago and I have taken care of them, they are my go-to black flats I will cry when they finally do get too old. 

Overall, we don't spend a whole lot on clothes every year. I think the most expensive time of year is back to school when it comes to clothes because we stock up and get everything the kids need for the fall and winter months. From snowsuits, boots, jeans, tops, socks, underwear and shoes we have to shop smart with three kids to consider. 

With the extra expenses it can put a bit of strain on the September/October budget but with the tips and tricks we have been learning throughout this challenge, I think we can manage better this time around.

I start donation boxes once I notice the kids are starting to outgrow a size of clothes. I eventually eliminate the sizes they don't need and when they box is full and I have enough of them, we donate like I said. If you want to make some extra cash to replace the like-new items your kids outgrow (babies in particular are great for outgrowing clothes before actually wearing them more than once or twice) local consignment shops sometimes buy and sell used clothes. You can sell what you don't need and buy what you do at a way cheaper price. 

I'm sure we will have several more bags to donate after our mid-winter purge and as we sort through the old and still good we will be recording anything going in and out of our weekly budget for clothing! 

Laundry tip from Tide: 

A great way to take care of your clothes and make them last longer is to use an effective and efficient laundry detergent. This helps keep costs low in a couple of ways: When using a detergent that works you avoid having to pretreat or rewash to remove stains and odours. Not all detergents preform the same in cold water and we all know cold water is much better and cheaper to wash with than hot! Using cold water with the quality and benefits of any Tide product will save both your clothes and your energy bill in the long run.

Do you want to live SMART by saving more? Take the challenge along with us and tweet out your results using hashtag #SavingMadeSimple! Sign up for your own personal profile on www.mymoneymychoices.com!

Posted in participation with the Family Financial Challenge with #PGMom Ambassador program. Perks and incentives are received as part of this program however opinions and comments are those of the author. 


Cold arenas, early mornings and long hours are three things hockey parents know all too well. All the carpooling, weekend road trips, practices and games can get overwhelming for parents to juggle on top of other priorities like work and home.

I admire each and every one of you who do whatever needs to be done to help your child thrive and have fun playing their favourite sport. My son loves sports but isn't part of any organized teams just yet. 

It takes a lot to get everything organized from sign ups to buying gear and some. It takes a lot to watch them on the sidelines during their games and do whatever it takes to help them reach their goals and do something they love to do. 

The atoMc Hockey program builds on McDonald's 25 year with Hockey Canada and supports Atom teams across Canada (excluding Quebec where Bantam teams are supported). atoMc Hockey goes above and beyond standard sponsorship by providing participating teams a full set of pro-style jerseys and socks. atoMc Hockey also offers young players a unique opportunity to improve both their on-ice game skills and off-ice life skills. 

Debbie Bonhomme and Connie Doughty are long time hockey parents and moms to atoMc Hockey Ambassadors, Tessa Bonhomme and Drew Doughty  to help hockey parents stay organized and get the most out of their hockey season this year. (click on the image to get a bigger picture!)

Learn more about atoMc Hockey by visiting the official website!

Posted on behalf of McDonald's Canada and atoMc Hockey. A McDonald's gift was supplied as a thank you. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. 


The selfie has had a bad wrap lately. All the duck-faces trying to be poutier, the bad mirror images with a phone in front of the face, terrible lighting and so many many more. The selfie to me is a way to take a picture of oneself when nobody is there to hold the camera in that moment you feel great and want to share it with the world. Although I haven't ever done the "duck face", I have taken bad selfies before. They just didn't make the cut to be shared with the world. 

Let's change the face of the selfie and have a #CoverMoment. 

A #Covermoment celebrates the uniqueness in everyone - it celebrates the moment when one feels most confident and authentic.

Say good bye to the duck face and hello to that gorgeous smile of yours! According to a recent survey by COVERGIRL, two-thirds of Canadian women survey'd said they were unhappy with the results of the selfies they snapped. 

Why not take your selfie to the next level and let your #Covermoment shine through! Watch COVERGIRL makeup pro Amelie Ducharme share some quick and simple makeup tips in this video!

You've probably seen us #PGMom's sharing our #Covermoment and you can too! Just upload a photo of yourself looking and feeling your best to Twitter or Facebook using Hashtag #Covermoment and let your true self shine!

Posted in participation with the P&GMom Ambassadors. Sample product was provided however opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. Prize provided by representatives of Proctor and Gamble. 


What do you do when you plan a nice night out (say dinner and a movie or dancing, something that you never get to do) with your spouse only to have it cancelled because a bad cold came to visit? 

Obviously kids come first, at least in our family. When the kids get sick, we try to work around it. You don't need to completely cancel date night, time can still be spent together at home. We do it often enough ourselves. We tend to the kids and make sure they are comfortable. Warm baths, snacks (if they feel up to it), fresh PJ's and a vaporizer to sleep.

We compromise and choose a movie to watch, order some food or make a meal for two. Sometimes we just sit and chat, we reconnect in our own ways. No devices, Internet or anything else. Just the two of us. 

This winter hasn't been kind to us. It seems every cold, flu and virus has come to visit and overstayed their welcome. It's exhausting for everyone and date night has been a rare occasion but I am happy to say Orange Naturals Kids has been to the rescue this winter. 

From coughs to stuffy noses and all the awful that comes with being sick - Orange Naturals Kids Cough + Cold is my new go-to remedy. It helps the kids with their symptoms and it gives us parents peace of mind knowing we are helping them in an all-natural way.

Did you hear the news? Orange Naturals Kids product line (including ND Shakes and Tinctures) has won the prestigious PTPA award! That doesn't surprise me though, as a mom and Ambassador I can tell you first hand - you can count on Orange Naturals for your family. Check out the official PTPA winners page

Have you read the latest on the Orange Naturals blog? There are some great articles up now and new content is continuously being added! I have it bookmarked!

Don't forget to show some love and like the Orange Naturals Facebook Page and follow @OrangeNaturals on Twitter using hashtag #NaturallyAtHome to see what the other Orange Naturals Moms are saying!

Posted in participation with the Orange Naturals Mom Ambassadors. Perks and incentives are received as part of my affiliation however opinions and comments are those of the author. 


Magazines, television, movies, music and ads in between. No matter where we turn, we are constantly bombarded by societies general idea of what "beautiful" is. That thin, perfect body with perfect skin, hair and a "knock-out" look. Next to this beautifully photoshopped model, the word "DIET" can be seen. Phrases like "look your swimsuit best" and "Lose fat fast", making the woman reading them and looking at the image feel ashamed about herself. 

The image allows young boys to believe that THAT is how a woman is supposed to really look, that dieting and looking "perfect" is what every woman does. It casts a bad shadow in many different ways and it is not the message we need to be sending out to our next generation. 

I have never had a battle with weight except being on the slimmer side. I try to eat well, I don't diet and never have had the need for it but thats just me. Everyone is unique. That doesn't stop me from wanting to teach my children the right thing when it comes to being happy no matter what and loving themselves. 

Beauty doesn't come entirely from what you can show off on the outside. Sure there is cosmetic beauty but that will only get you so far. Real beauty comes from being happy and part of being happy is being healthy. That is what I want to teach my children. 

A recent survey conducted by Cheerios which examined young women between the ages of 10 and 17 revealed some compelling results which should be a sign right here that we need to re-educate ourselves and properly educate our youth about what exactly self-image is all about.

- 3 in 5 women have gone on a diet. Ouch.
- 52% of young women get their information about dieting and nutritian from family members. 
- 1 in 5 girls under 17 is currently dieting. 

Nutrition is better than deprivation and dieting is harmful to us and our children. Teaching our youth that dieting is your "fix all" is wrong, teaching them ways to maintain healthy eating while still getting the nutritious foods they need is right.

We need to empower ourselves and the next generation to erase the word "Diet" from their vocabulary and replace it with words like "nourished, strong and fullfilled". Let's teach our children to live with healthy balance by living that way ourselves. Lead by example as they say. Together we can build a healthier future for everyone! 

To help create a world without dieting, Multi-Grain Cheerios invites Canadians to take the first step in being a positive, healthy role model by taking the "Never Say Diet" Oath at www.WorldWithoutDieting.ca

I took the oath for myself and my children starting with my oldest girl, I have always believed in trying to set a positive example and teach them about loving themselves for who they are.

For more information visit the website and also follow along on twitter using hashtag #WorldWithoutDieting and like the Life Made Delicious Facebook fan page and show your support!

Win it!

Help empower the youth in your life and take the "Never Say Diet Oath" with Multi-Grain Cheerios! Its as easy as visiting the WorldWithoutDieting website, submitting your oath and then submitting your link here to win a prize! 

What could you win? How about a $100 Loblaws Gift Card and vouchers for Multi-Grain Cheerios to get you started on your way to healthy eating! Fill out the entry ballot below to be eligible to win! 

Open to CANADIAN residents 18+ only (excluding Quebec). Mandatory entry must be done for extras to count. Winners chosen at random by GiveawayTools and contacted via provided email. Winner has 48 hours to claim before a redraw is done. Prize provided by representatives of General Mills Multi Grain Cheerios. 

Posted on behalf of General Mills in participation with the #WorldWithoutDieting" campaign. Loblaws gift card was provided for participating. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. 

Welcome to week 3 of the Family Financial Challenge! This week we are talking about something that can drain the wallet of any of us with kids and that is activities! We are constantly comparing ourselves to friends and family, wanting our kids to have the best and do the best that everyone else does. If it's not in the budget, you can find yourself turning to credit to help pay for these extra activities and that is just putting you on the road to financial debt. You're paying in the longrun for things you can substitute for something fun and more affordable within your means. 

Family activities don't have to break the budget, you can save money with these simple tips:

- Check out your community calendar (most community centers offer them) and find some fun and free local activities the whole family can enjoy. This is especially good for planning out PD days and holidays where the center would be open. 

- It's winter but that doesn't mean taking things outdoors can't be fun. Take the kids out to a local rink for some skating, take them to the local hill for some sliding fun or go for a family winter nature walk, take pictures along the way to capture the memories. Make sure to have Puffs on hand for those cold, little runny noses! 

- If you're staying inside a pot-luck craft session could be in order. Set up various craft supplies at the table and let the family pick and choose what they want to create. Add a musical vibe while everyone is busy cutting, pasting, sparkling and creating - each family member can help play DJ by choosing different songs they like! 

- If you are in for some quiet time a comfy blanket, warm hot chocolate and a good story time can be easily done. Made up stories or a silly memory from your childhood could work wonders as well. You're kids will be full of questions! You could even wear your PJs and have everyone pick their favourite teddy bear for a daytime PJ nap party!

All of this indoor activity in the winter can increase the go! Now, there's a roll for everyone. Charmin Basic has an everyday great price plus its 2X stronger wet than the other guys. More tips, tricks and savings at www.hms.pgeveryday.ca.

Our challenge:

Using the tips above, find something fun and inexpensive our family can enjoy. Today happens to be Family Day, the kids are off school and most businesses are closed so that everyone can spend some good quality time together. 

Our community center is all about families and is celebrating Family Day with a mini carnival in the afternoon. Activities like taffy, horse sled rides, skating and more. It's close to home and best of all, it's free. 

Also this week we are taking the kids to a special event, Disney On Ice which is coming to Ottawa starting Wednesday night for it's annual tour. Not only a special evening out but memories to be made. I am looking forward to this final week of our Family Financial Challenge. 

Do you want to live SMART by saving more? Take the challenge along with us and tweet out your results using hashtag #SavingMadeSimple! Sign up for your own personal profile on www.mymoneymychoices.com

See you next week!

Posted in participation with the Family Financial Challenge by P&GMom Ambassador program. Perks and incentives are received as part of the program however opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author! 


Today we celebrate all things LOVE from our significant other to our best friends, kids and fur babies - it is the official day of LOVE!

However you celebrate today - do it with a smile! Show the world how much love your heart can hold.

My kids woke up super excited to hand out their Valentine's at school. My son seemed more excited about giving his teachers Valentine's than his classmates, he's sweet like that. 

Everyone had to wear red or pink to celebrate the day, how fitting. Of course my oldest couldn't find a red or pink shirt so she went outside the box and wore a purple Monster High shirt that has some hearts on it. She's 9, you can't argue with that. The boy was much easier with his simple black jogging pants and a red T-shirt. 

The kids will get some Valentine's day treats when they get home from school. They are going to love those Build-A-Bears! :) 

I am spending my Valentine's Day puttering around the house, hiding from the snow and awaiting a new washer/dryer set - story to come about that, all I'll say is it was a gift from my mama and step dad that I couldn't be more grateful for!

This evening, hubby and I may attempt some kind of date night. You never know how it's going to go with kids! 

Whatever you do this Valentine's Day remember: Roses are red, voilets are blue - AME wishes a Happy Valentine's Day to all of you!

Posted by AME in celebration of Valentine's Day. 


From head to toe, what we wear can empower us and make us feel good. It should be the same for whats under your clothes. Underwear isn't just underwear anymore, its what can make us feel comfortable underneath it all. 

Knix Wear are underwear for women that out preform expectations of traditional run-of-the-mill under garments. Comfortable, beautiful and technilogically state-of-the-art. Every pair of Knix Wear features Fresh Fix technology; A thin yet absorbant layer that wicks away wetness and eliminates odour, keeping you feeling fresh all day. 

Knix Wear comes in several different styles to suit your personality from Knix everyday basic to something more intimate with lace or boyshort style to power through your morning workout, there is a pair of Knix for every woman's lifestyle.

Aside from quality undergarments, Knix Wear uses REAL women - not super models or photoshop images on their website to display their underwear, you can see there are styles for everyone from the athletic to the curves - the everyday woman. 

That right there made me feel good about this company; Showing women how we really are each unique and perfectly imperfect. An important message to spread not only to women but to our next generation of women. I don't want my daughters growing up thinking the latest fashion magazine model is what they should look like. They are already perfect in every way and I am not just saying that because I am their mother. I believe that about all women. 

Now, these are not your typical underwear so they do not come with a typical price tag, they are on the bit of the expensive side when it comes to undergarments starting at $34 depending what style you like but they are gorgeous, comfortable and they work. They are the kind of underwear that let you feel like a woman underneath it all, after all plus they come in a cute little cylender container which is useful for storing. 

Maybe I shop for deals on everyday run of the mill underwear but I would make an exception for Knix Wear. It's OK to treat ourselves once in a while, ladies - we deserve it! 

Sign up for the Knix Wear newsletter and get $10 off! 

Knix Wear are available online or in store at The Bay!

Show some love and like the Knix Wear facebook page and follow along Twitter with @KnixWear using hashtag #realwomeninknix! 

Posted on behalf of Knix Wear. Complimentary product was provided for review purposes. Comments and opinions on this blog are those of the author. 


The sweet innocence of chubby toddler fingers...:) 


I know Valentine's Day is only a few more days away but hey, there's always time for one or two last gift ideas, right? 

What can you give someone who has everything? A monthly subscription to something new! AmazingClubs.ca are a leading supplier of gourmet gift-of-the-month clubs in Canada. With 22 different clubs to choose from and cross-country shipping, AmazingClubs has something for everyone.

For your man - with a subscription to the "neck tie club" he will receive a 100% silk designer neck tie every month & fashion/dressing tips with every monthly personalized delivery.  

For the couple - with a subscription to the "wine of the month" club, you will receive TWO full-sized bottles of hard to find, premium wines from award-winning boutique wineries from across the globe and the wine lovers newsletter with every personalized delivery.

Wine of the month club 
These are just two great examples of what you can find at AmazingClubs.ca. Other monthly deliveries include the "Teddy Bear of the month", "PB & J of the month club" and the "Chocolate of the month" clubs are some more examples of a great gift that keeps on giving. You can also choose a variety of clubs which sends out a different gift each month to the recipient.  

It's easy to get started, the hardest part is making an actual decision, so many enticing options! Prices vary depending on what you want, you're sure to find something for your budget. Once you make a decision you can order online or by phone (they accept major credit cards). If you are making a gift purchase you can have a gift announcement sent  by mail or email. You can also have one to download and hand over yourself, making for quite the personalized gift experience. Gift of the month clubs come in 3 month, 6 month, 12 month or Seasonal options.

Check out www.AmazingGifts.ca to see for yourself and give a gift that will make someone smile on Valentine's Day and beyond! Show some love and like the Amazing Clubs Canada Facebook Page! Also, follow @AmazingClubsCA on Twitter using hashtag #whatsyourclub for updates and chat buzz! 

Happy shopping! 

Posted on behalf of AmazingClubs.ca. Sample box supplied. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author.


Every year we try to come up with a little something for the kids to show our love on Valentine's Day. Sometimes it's a special treat, a Valentine's day plushie, a book, along with a special Valentine's card. I know Valentine's day is not about the gift giving, it's not about that at all but it's nice to get the kids involved and learning about celebrating love. Thinking of others is part of love, isn't it? 

The kids enjoy giving out Valentine's to friends at school and collecting them to show off at the end of the day. They give out paper, sometimes bought and sometimes homemade, Valentine's to all their friends. Last year we bought some that had lollypops with them. 

All kids enjoy Play Doh, at least the ones I know. There are so many play sets available and it comes in a variety of colours, the imagination can go wild with a little doh! 

Just like the Halloween and Christmas versions, Hasbro offers "treats without the sweets" in the form of colourful Valentine themed Play Doh for little ones. 

You can offer it up to your kids as part of a Valentine gift or for your kids to give out. Each pack comes with 15 mini Play Doh containers in assorted themed colours and Valentine sticker labels for about $5.99. With two bags, you can pretty much cover the Kindergarten class! They also make a great activity for a Valentine's Day party, favors for everyone!

For more about Play Doh and other great Valentine ideas from Hasbro please visit the official website

Posted on behalf of Hasbro Canada. Sample product supplied. Opinions and comments are those of the author. 

Last week we embarked on our journey with the Family Financial Challenge.  Signing up for MyMoneyMyChoices.com just took a couple of minutes and helped get us off on the right track.

It was really interesting to see everything broken down using the interactive budget worksheet available on Gail’s website, it gave me a different perspective of how our household budget is spent and what we can possibly do to help maintain our budget. I saved copies of our budget for the challenge which are easy to update as we go. 

The first week was a little different, using only a set amount of cash on hand from whatever we put in the jars and having to cut back on some of the luxuries (multiple take out nights, grab-at-the-cash treats etc) but overall wasn’t so bad. Maybe we can do even better this week! 

Week 2 – Food

Now that we have the basics set up to get us started, this week is all about learning where we can save money right at home! Winter is very cold and makes everyone want to stay indoors. This can often lead us into bad habits like ordering food, which is not always healthy and definitely not easy on the bank account.

When you spend more time cooking at home, you spend more time cleaning up at home. Cleaning products you choose can also increase the grocery bill and nothing makes me angrier than spending money on products that don’t work the way I want or need them to. This is why I always stick to my favourite P&G brand products for the kitchen like Ultra Dawn (my favourite dish soap!), Bounty Basic that’s strong enough for everyday tasks, and if I had a dishwasher I would be using Cascade ActionPacs!

With P&G you get value products you can rely on time and time again to get the job done for less. Use those BrandSaver.ca coupons to save on your favourite household P&G products!

Other ways to save money at home are:

Meal planning – instead of buying weekly fresh groceries (milk, eggs, fruits and veggies), go the whole week making due with what you already have in the fridge and pantry. There’s nothing wrong with a meal of leftovers or frozen premade meals you may have in the freezer can be big money and time savers as well.

Learn the costs of what you buy, compare prices and start a weekly meal plan before grocery shopping so you can shop smart and save while making your family wholesome, homemade dinners. It doesn’t mean giving up your favourite products and foods, it’s just looking for them at the best deal for your budget.

Coffee at home instead of on the go can save you about $20 a week if you make it yourself. Often enough your favourite coffee can be found in an at-home version for you to make in your own coffee maker. If you are 30 years old, cutting the take-out coffee habit can mean $84,000 in your pocket while still enjoying your favourite cuppa Joe!

Our challenge:

This week we will be making meals from what we have in our fridge and cupboards, showing you just what our family can do in the kitchen, and showing off our sparkley clean dishes using Ultra Dawn! We will also continue inputting our finances into our daily spending journal to keep a running tally of our expenses for the Family Financial Challenge!

Discover more great tips, solutions, reviews, recipes and get coupons by mail by signing up at P&G site HomeMadeSimple www.hms.pgeveryday.ca!

Do you want to live SMART by saving more? Take the challenge along with us and tweet out your results using hashtag #SavingMadeSimple! Sign up for your own personal profile on www.mymoneymychoices.com and start saving today! 

See you next week!

Posted in participation with the Family Financial Challenge with P&GMom Ambassador program. Perks and incentives are received as part of this program however opinions and comments are those of the author. 


One of the best gifts you can give your sweetie on Valentines Day is a thoughtful, healthy breakfast. Even if it's not breakfast in bed, preparing someone a thoughful breakfast is a fantastic way to show how much you care.

Nature's Path offers a variety of great, healthy breakfast foods like granola, cereals and granola bars to help you kick off your day in a healthy way! Nature's Path products are Canada Organic, Non-GMO project certified and Vegitarian - you know you're getting wholesome, quality food for your dollar.

Start the day off right by showing the love with a special Valentine's Day organic breakfast featuring Nature's Path Love Crunch GranolaNature's Path helps you eat well and do good. 

Eat well and indulge in the perfect combination of decadent organic ingredients including flac granola, strawberries, raspberries, coconut and dark chocolate chunks. It's like a bowl full of Valentine's!

There are different ways to enjoy Nature's Path Love Crunch Granola, one of them is making these yummy and fitting "Love Crunch Berry Bars". They are easy to make, healthy and a great idea even as an afternoon Valentine's Day snack! 

Click here to get the recipe! 
Nature's Path Love Crunch Granola was inspired by a true life love story and philanthropic endeavor by Arhan Stephens, son of Nature's Path's founder Arran Stephens, in celebration of his recent marriage. At their wedding, instead of gifts the newly wed couple asked guests to take action, do good and give back to their communities. 

To expand the giving spirit, every bag of Love Crunch sold, Nature's Path gives the equivalent in food and cash to Food Banks Canada as part of their Bite4Bite program.

For more information about Nature's Path and their array of organic breakfast foods, please visit the Nature's Path website! Don't forget to show some love and like the Nature's Path Facebook page and follow @NaturesPath on Twitter for the latest updates! 


Sharing the love this month, I am giving a fantastic prize to one lucky AME reader on behalf of Nature's Path. Enter for your chance to win an incredible "Love Crunch Breakfast Prize Pack" which includes:

  • Nature's Path Love Crunch Granolas
  • A Month's Supply of Nature's Path Organic breakfast foods
  • Love Crunch Berry Bars recipe card
  • Kicking Horse Organic Coffee
  • Choice Organic Tea

All presented on a beautiful, sustainably sourced wooden serving tray and includes a bowl and spoon to enjoy your Nature's Path!

To enter, fill out the entry ballot below using a valid email address. Open to Canadian residents 18+ (excluding Quebec). One entry per household. Mandatory entry must be completed to qualify. Winners are chosen at random by Giveaway Tools and contacted via email. Winners have 48 hours to claim prize before a redraw is done. Entry ballot closes February 21st, 2014. 

Good Luck!

Posted on behalf of Nature's Path. Complimentary product was provided. Comments and opinions on this blog are those of the author. 


Valentine's Day is for just about everybody celebrating a loved one these days. There are so many different gift ideas available why not give the gift of Build-A-Bear Workshop and give them a gift along with an experience they will always treasure.

Build-A-Bear Workshop is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. There are more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide including 14 stores in Canada throughout the GTA, one in Dartmouth, Ottawa, London, Niagara Falls, Edmonton, Saskatoon, two in Calgary, Winnipeg and one in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. 

We were first introduced to Build-A-Bear Workshop several years ago when our oldest daughter received a bunny for her birthday from her cousins. They had visited the Build-A-Bear Workshop and decided to get a custom made bunny for my girl. She loved it and still tells the story of how she got it to this day, she calls it "Miss Bunny".

There are a wide variety of lovable furry friends available at Build-A-Bear Workshop to make the perfect gift for your one in a million. You can choose to go in to an actual Build-A-Bear Workshop or you can choose online to purchase just a bear or a bear with clothes and accessories!

Choose from Big Hearts Bear decked out in Valentine's wear or Big Top Bearemy who is ready for a Valentine's date ($23 each)! Tons of Love Elephant and Huge Hearted Lion ($25 each), Happy Hugs Teddy and Pawlette Coufur ($19 each) are also decked out for this day of love! Pink Hearts Hello Kitty is also a great choice for Valentine's Day! You can add the realistic feel of a heartbeat to any furry friend for only $6.50*.

Build-A-Bear Workshop also has special Disney Princess bears in Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella from $19. Limited Edition Build-A-Bear smallfrys are pre-stuffed pals you can gift to show someone just how much you care. There is Be Mine Bear, Hugs-A-Plenty Puppy or XOXO Kitty available for $11 each*. 

Give the gift of the Build-A-Bear Workshop Experience and memory that lasts a lifetime with a Bear Buck$ Gift Card. Cards are available in a variety of designs and can be purchased for any amount. They are also available online along with bears and accessories. 

Build-A-Bear Workshop is not just for kids, the bears available are beautifully created, have soft fur and trendy accessories for just about any occasion. We decided on Big Hearts Bear and Big Top Bearemy (pictured above) all dressed up and ready for their Valentine's day date! These will make wonderful gifts for our two oldest kids this Valentine's Day! I know they will love them as much as I do! 

Learn more about Build-A-Bear Workshop by visiting the website and follow along on Twitter @BuildABear and Like the Build-A-Bear Facebook page for updates!

*Prices stated in this post do not include the cost of clothing and accessories for Build-A-Bear Workshop stuffed animals. Please see the official website for full pricing details.*

Posted on behalf of Build-A-Bear Workshop. Complimentary product was supplied. Opinions and comments are those of the author. 


Do you love animals as much as we do? We have three dogs who may have become shelter dogs had we not taken them in from the owners who could no longer take care of them at the time. We do a lot for our pets from making sure they are healthy to making sure they are entertained and loved. We become more than pet owners, we become family. 

Unfortunately we hear story after story about lost, unwanted or abused animals coming in to animal shelters on a daily basis. The staff who run these shelters can only give these animals so much love and support, they really do need forever homes. Pets like dogs and cats have one goal in life and that is to love and be loved by their owners. Having three dogs myself, you can't tell me otherwise. 

I love my pets and I also love baking, that's why today I am sharing with you, a simple way you can help animals and bake up everybodys favourite sweet treat, cupcakes for National Cupcake Day! 

"Bake a difference" and celebrate the 2nd annual National Cupcake Day to benefit the Ottawa Humane Society and organizations that prevent cruelty to animals across Canada. 

Everyone is encouraged to register for free online at www.nationalcupcakeday.ca, collect donations through their "Online Bakery", bake cupcakes and host a National Cupcake Day party for their friends, family or colleagues on National Cupcake Day taking place February 24th, 2014!

Anna Olson, Celebrity Chef and host of Food Network Canada's Bake with Anna Olson, is joining the baking party this year as a Cupcake Crusader. A long-time supporter of animals and the SPCA, Olson has created a special original cupcake recipe for this year's event! Her yummy Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting recipe can be found at www.nationalcupcakeday.ca

How to participate:

- Register for free on the National Cupcake Day website. 

- You will receive a FREE Cupcake Host Welcome Package in the  mail, which includes a poster, sticker, balloons, fundraising guide and recipes to get you started. 

- Personalize your National Cupcake Day Online Bakery page and send it out to everyone you know!

- Encourage family and friends to support you by donating online.

- Plan our National Cupcake Day Party at home, work, school or wherever you think people would love to eat your cupcakes! 

- Bake, decorate, eat and share delicious cupcakes to raise funds to support animals in need. 

- Collect and forward funds to the Ottawa Humane Society (Vising the website for details)

National Cupcake Day will help the Ottawa Humane Society and shelters across the country give a surrendered animal a new forever home, rescue a neglected or abused animal and give it a second chance at a new life and provide emergency surgery to injured animals. 

Show your support by liking the National Cupcake Day Facebook Page and Following @NationalCupcakeDay on Twitter. 

Happy baking!

Posted on behalf of National Cupcake Day and the Ottawa Humane Society. Opinions and comments on this blog are those of the author. 


Disney Live! is on tour and heading to Ottawa at the National Arts Center March 9th, 2014!

Hit the road with Mickey Mouse and your favorite Disney friends for a hilarious talent search in the all-new Disney Live! Mickey's Rockin' Road Show! Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy set out on a zany road trip where audiences join in and help find the coolest acts around. Along the way, hit a high hote with Cinderella, get your bounce on with Tigger, and should out your loudest "Yee-Haw!" at a hoedown with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear from Disney/Pixar's Toy Story! Grab your family for a fun-filled getaway at this live, show-stopping adventure jam-packed with unexpected twists, turns and hiojinks - right in Ottawa!

What: Disney Live Presents - Mickey's Rockin' Road Show

When: March 9th, 2014 - 12pm, 3pm and 6:00pm

Where: National Arts Center, Ottawa Ontario

Tickets are on sale now ranging in price between $27.50 - $85.00 and you can get $4 off per ticket by using promo code MUM4 at checkout! For more information about tickets and to purchase yours, click here!

*Discounts exclude Front Row, Rinkside, and VIP tickets. No double discounts. Additional Fees May Apply. Weekday is defined as Monday thru Thursday and Friday Matinee. Weekend is defined as Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday.*

For more information about this and other live shows please visit www.DisneyLive.com! Show some love and follow @DisneyLive via Twitter and chat using hashtag #DisneyLive! Are you on Facebook? Make sure to like the Disney Live Facebook page for the latest news and updates! 

Win it!

Now is your chance to make some memories with your little ones and win a family pass (four tickets) for March 9th at 6pm to celebrate with Disney Live Mickey's Rockin' Road Show!

Please fill in the entry form below for your chance to win! Must be a resident of Ottawa or willing to travel for the show. This giveaway is for TICKETS to the show ONLY. Please use a valid email address upon entry for prizing purposes. One entry per household, must be 18+ to participate.



Posted on behalf of Feld Entertainment and Disney Live. Tickets provided by Feld Entertainment. Comments and opinions on this blog are those of the author.