Friday, May 31, 2013

Kraft Celebration Tour -- Childhood Memories

                                         CHILDHOOD MOMENTS TO LAST A LIFETIME
Childhood memories are some of the most precious moments that are etched in our minds. Whether parents, grandparents or close friends, they have all played a vital role in creating these events.
   Thankfully for me, when I look back to when I was a child, I can do nothing but smile. 'Today's Special,' 'Under the Umbrella Tree' and 'Polkadot Door' were my television favourites. I was brought up by two loving parents and I had one older sister; over time, a small Jack Russell Terrier was brought into the mix as well. We lived in a newly built house in Dundas, Ontario (outside Hamilton) and that is where I lived until moving out at 20. Dundas was a smaller, quiet town of about 15,000 people at the time. You knew a lot of people, but it wasn't small enough that everyone knew each others business.
   What I loved most about that new survey I lived in was that many young families with children resided there too; especially one close family across the street. That is where I met my best friend, Stacey, when I was only 2 years old. To this day, we are still friends--which is very rare these days! Vivid memories of our friendship that really stand out are: taking dancing lessons for the majority of our youth, making friendship bracelets and trying to sell them to other kids in the neighbourhood (I must have been a business woman from a young age!), 'Skip-Its' (how many of you remember those dangerous toys?!) and finally, walking our 'babies' in strollers up and down our street. We often still laugh at that last memory because we were about 12 years old and still walking our dolls, trying to keep it a secret because we thought we were "too old to still be doing so."
   There was also so much room to roam and explore around our neighbourhood. This was before any and all open fields were turned into rows of new houses like any area today. We could climb trees to see who got the highest, hunt frogs and run for miles in the wilderness of the Dundas Valley Conservation area 5 minutes from our homes. In the winter, the Conservation Area became the hot spot for tobogganing--the hill there was MASSIVE, however, was always such a pain to climb back up after sledding to the bottom! Lol.
   In Dundas, sports were popular in the evenings for many families. I was very active and on average I engaged in about 4 different sports a year (baseball, basketball, and both dancing and swimming lessons). For a few summers, soccer was also added in there as well. I was so lucky because my Dad coached my teams for the majority of my athletic years, until I became a teenager and found everything "boring" (aka. boys became my interest.) Typical teen I guess you could say! Hehe.
    A childhood represents pure innocence, where the world is one large playground to explore. Now that I have grown up and become a parent myself, my goal is to help in creating everlasting memories for my children too.
   Our family has recently moved to Port Dover, Ontario (beach town) and I hope for my little ones that they may be surrounded by happiness, great friends, and good health that will shape the adults they will become.

   So what motivated me to reminisce on my past memories as a child? Well, I am introducing this year's Kraft Celebration Tour!  If you are unfamiliar with this contest, both Kraft Canada and TSN have partnered to recognize the passion and community spirit that brings people together and promotes healthy, active lifestyles from all of Canada.  Since 2009, the Kraft Celebration Tour has helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians in 40 deserving communities with a total of $1 million toward projects such as skateboard parks, youth centres, renovating sports field or boxing facilities to name a few.
Does your town or city need a much needed upgrade? Well here's your chance to nominate your area by submitting a short essay, along with 5 photos to explain why YOUR community should be a part of the Kraft Celebration Tour and deserve $25,000 to put towards these upgrades. Hurry though, because you only have until JUNE 7TH, 2013 to submit your entry through or Become involved and up to date via social media on the Kraft Celebration Tour Fan Page or on Twitter by using #KCT or #tourneedecelebrationkraft. Judges will select 20 finalists by June 30th, and then it's in Canada's hands from then on!

Good Luck & HAVE FUN! xx


Disclosure – I am participating in the Kraft Celebration Tour Blogger Campaign. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, May 27, 2013

GUEST POST: Couponing Basics from Coupon Christine

Couponing in Canada: Is the savings and time commitment to learn to coupon worth it?


I am sure if you asked any avid couponer in Canada if the savings is worth the investment in time to learn, collect, clip and organize their coupons, they would astoundingly say they wish they had started earlier!  It is true; there is a time commitment with learning to coupon, just like with any other hobby.   You need to learn how to coupon, learn what stores allow you to use coupons, learn how to read and understand the lingo, price matching, scanning code of practice, overage, the list goes on.  This is no different than other skill you are learning – you need to learn the basics before advancing.
When I first started couponing, it took me months to catch on.  Simply, there was an overload of information on Facebook and the internet.  I wished they had workshops in my area; that would have saved me a ton of work hunting around looking for information.  If you are from London and area, Coupon Christine offers extensive 2 hour workshops on learning to coupon regularly.  You can email her at to be included on her email list.

If you are just starting to learn the basics in Canada on couponing, I suggest these 4 tips:
1) Start slowly and read as much as you can! I found myself overwhelmed by the end of the day with the number of bloggers I was following.  Sometimes they would be posting all the same things, other times it was province specific, and often times I was sifting through bloggers who posted 90% external contests to actually find coupon offers.  Find a maximum of 3 coupon bloggers you have found useful and get on their daily email list. At the end of the day you can simply scroll through the posts shared by your favourite blogger sites all the information is streamlined into one email.

2) Get a few coupons from sites such as,, and on products you will be using.  That is the key, do not get into the habit of buying products you do not use in your home ~ that isn’t savings!  Then visit your favourite grocery store and use coupons.  Expect to save anywhere between $5 and $10 on your first shopping trip just by using a few coupons.  Don’t forget you can also price match on top of using coupons to add further savings.   To find out which stores accept coupons and allow price matching, you can check out this easy to read guide provided to us by (

3) Ask Questions!  If you need help, just ask!  The best place to get a response is on Coupon Christine’s Fan Page at  You are guaranteed a response on her page as her and Lily are there to help you!

4) Learning to coupon successfully is something that takes time and patience. Do not feel overwhelmed, do not take 80 coupons on your first shopping trip and try to remain calm at checkout.  Best to go shopping during non-peak hours if you want a better experience and start to learn to coupon with a friend, this way you can share deals and shop together for added enjoyment and encouragement.

Quick FAQ section

1) Can you use coupons when products are on sale?  Absolutely!  That is when you will obtain the best savings.  Coupons will say “not to be combined with any other offer”, this pertains to stacking rules out in the west coast of Canada.  This does NOT mean that you cannot buy products using coupons when they are on sale.  That is not correct.  Ask to speak to a manager if a cashier is not clear about the wording of coupons.

2)  How much can I expect to get FREE using coupons?  This depends from month to month.  But trust me when I say you will be shocked at what you can get for FREE using coupons.  Once you start to follow sites such as you will find a lot of great companies want customers to try their new product lines and will over FPCS (free product coupons).  Check out this list of what couponers have received absolutely FREE using coupons -

3) Will stores actually pay me to shop? What is overage?  Overage is when a coupon value is worth more than the product is listed on sale in the store (ex. toothpaste is on sale for .88cents, but your coupon is for $1, where does the .12cents go?).  Walmart and Giant Tiger will pay you the overage towards your other basket purchases in situations like this.  Does it happen a lot? No.  But when it does, it is a couponers dream!  Read this for more information -

Friday, May 24, 2013

My Fitness Success Story

     So I wanted to share my workout success story with all of you for one reason--to motivate others!
At the beginning of my journey, I was comfortable with my weight and for the most part, had accepted my body after giving birth to my two beautiful children; if anything, I would just 'tone' what I already had. With that being said, I hated browsing through my social media hearing about everyone's hard workout that day, friends posting pictures of themselves at the gym or the constant fitness photo quotes spamming my Facebook news feed. This dislike did not come from being jealous of their lifestyle, but it quite frankly became obnoxious and overwhelming. At that time, I just simply wasn't into that type of active life, mainly because my kids and housework left me exhausted on a daily basis!
Ironically, it was during that time that I came across a post on my Facebook news feed that a friend had shared and it truly caught my eye. It was different than most and actually seemed ACHIEVABLE. I researched it a little more and was presented with REAL result photos" that fans had posted. It came from "The Fit Community" and was titled "30 Day Squat Challenge."
It would only take a few minutes out of my day and I was both curious and anxious to see what type of results my body could achieve. So there I went starting my first day of the challenge--from that point on, I promised myself that no matter the burning or pain I felt, I would not stop until the challenge was complete. I then snapped that dreaded "before" picture which I hid very well deep in my phone..haha!
Day One was over and I felt quite a bit of pain in the front of my thighs--strange considering a squat is meant to mainly tone and lift your backside! Anyways, I continued the next day and by day three, I literally could not walk, which was accompanied by so many tears! What was I doing so wrong?! Surely I wasn't in THAT bad of shape. I began asking friends and researching squats on Youtube only to find out I was doing them completely WRONG! So moral of that story is: never jump into something without doing your proper homework!
I began Day Four the following day and considered that previous painful day my 'rest day.' Miraculously (and thankfully) that fourth morning I had woken up in minimal pain! From that point on, I continued the squat challenge, at the same time every morning after eating a big breakfast, right to the end with very little discomfort! A little side note: if mornings do not work with your schedule, try incorporating your little ones (if you have any) into an evening routine. Mornings were hectic for me at times, but I had my two kids doing squats alongside me at 7:30am everyday! If someone saw us, it would be pretty funny to see a six year old and 2 year old attempting their version of a 'squat!' :)
I can honestly say that doing that 30 days opened a door to a NEW me! As mothers, we have a lot resting on our shoulders everyday and can easily become both stressed and depressed. I will admit that I was in a very difficult depression as a result of many factors in my life. I always heard the cliche told to me time and time again, "you need to get out and exercise--you will feel so much better" but as many of us do, I brushed it off with a roll of my eyes. Well, generally cliches are created for one single reason, they are TRUE; how about that!
As I previously said, my workout routine has truly turned my life around! After beginning to do squats, my mindset also began to change. I would wake up in the morning searching through my cupboards for 'healthier alternatives' for breakfast, I started taking vitamins AND I began drinking green tea (my family and friends will attest to my utter disgust for green tea prior to this!)
The feeling you get after exercising becomes an addiction--but a positive one! You want more, so you are continuously searching for ways to better yourself and creating new challenges to conquer.
I did this challenge (and still do) by myself. Some people like a workout 'buddy' or partner to come along as motivation, however, I disagree. I have my own mindset, my own goals and I feel like another person would simply lead me to question myself and compare results. Everyone has their own limits, so stick to what YOU are comfortable with! Also know that it is OKAY to cheat every once in awhile and eat that fatty meal--you are only human. It becomes bad when you don't have the willpower to stop after that!


My Fitness Start-up Tips:
1. Start on a day when its beautiful out--open the windows, go outside for a minute, etc. Beginning on a 'dreary' day wont lift your spirits or get you moving.

2. For the first few days, stand sideways in front of the mirror so you can watch yourself doing squats to ensure you are doing the proper form. (see "The Perfect Squat" below for instructions)

3. Be patient! This is one that I had to tell myself almost everyday. Initially I wasn't seeing the results I had hoped (or wished) for, which was very upsetting.

4. Eat a good breakfast.  Without one, you will not have the energy to complete your workout each day, and you are also essentially wasting your time. Drink plenty of WATER as well! I personally do not like the taste of pure water, so I always add a wedge of lemon to my glass.

5. Create a Motivational Board--you can post anything that will keep you focused-- ie. quotes, magazine clippings, photos, charts, countdowns, etc.

The Perfect Squat
Go Low: Drive butt back (as though sitting on a chair), keeping thighs parallel to floor and knees over toes. This may take awhile to achieve, but as the days pass by, it will become easier on your legs. DO NOT OVER-DO IT  AT FIRST!

Get Grounded: Position feet shoulder-width apart and slightly turned out with your weight on heels. You should be able to wiggle toes.

Open Up: Place hands behind head. Lift chest, and draw shoulders back and down.

Stay in Line: Keep a neutral spine without arching your back; engage your stomach.

So WHAT'S NEXT??? Once you complete the 30 Day Squat Challenge, I can almost guarantee you will want to continue with some other type of routine. For me, I continued with 40 squats a day--4 sets that consisted of 15-10-8-7 and 45 minutes of cardio (which was generally going for a walk while pulling my kids in their wagon--its tough work!) I also researched other challenges online and am about to begin the  "30 Day AB Challenge!"

Feel free to share your success stories! I would love to hear from you! xx

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tips for Traveling with Children

     As a parent, you know how tough and stressful a long trip with children can be. It can feel more like a chore than a real holiday or vacation! I have spent many road trips in the car with two screaming or bored children, so I have learned a few ways to cope with these situations and help in keeping the kiddos entertained. Hopefully some of these tips can assist you on your next vacay as well!

1. Bring MANY packages of wipes--they are great for any age! From spills to stains, they can quickly clean any area or face. Remember to keep them close up with you in the car, instead of packing in the trunk where you will need to stop to retrieve them (this has happened more than once with us!) ;)

2. Kids always seem to be hungrier during long trips (probably more out of boredom than anything), so packing snacks ahead of time is ideal and prevents you from having to stop for food and saves some cash! Try using a tackle box to store a variety of snacks by placing different ones in each slot.

3. Along with snacks, comes drinks! Freeze juice or water the night before in water bottles or sippy cups. This will allow for a single drink to stay cold and within your child's reach when they need it.

4. If you do not have a problem with your children watching television, I highly suggest investing in a portable dvd player (possibly even two if you have more than one child.) Watching movies or shows will allow you to have some peace and least for a little while :)

5. Make your own DIY games for the road. Create a table on paper and draw or write in objects, letters or numbers for the kids to find along the way. You can even make an 'i-SPY' game like the one in the photo! It will keep your little ones entertained for hours. For full instructions, click here.

6. To prepare yourself and keep all items organized, pack emergency 'theme' packs/bags for the family. Some packages may include other activities, first aid necessities, craft supplies or clean up items.

7. Purchase a plastic cereal container to use as a garbage disposal in the car. There is nothing worse than stinky or messy garbage laying all over the interior of your nice vehicle. Place a sand bag or bean bag in the bottom to keep it from getting tossed around in the car while you drive.

 8. Pack your child's clothing in large Ziploc bags for each day of the week to save room. Bring along a few hangers to hang articles of clothing for the next morning if they get wrinkled.

9.  Remember to be patient! You are traveling with kids. They are going to act like kids. They will probably fight, yell, get tired and whine and have to pee often. So try to remain as calm as you can and BREATHE.  Factor in that you will probably need to make a few unscheduled pit stops to allow the kids to stretch their legs and 'reset.' 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tip of the Day #323: Planning a New Garden Design

Defining the best contour for a new or expanded planting bed doesn't have to be a frustrating process of trial and error that leaves spade scars in the lawn. A rubber garden hose is an ideal tool for laying out the lazy curves of a flower garden. Shape and reshape the hose along the ground until you're satisfied with the design!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Robyn's Scentsy Review - Independent Consultant

    I am fairly new to the whole "Scentsy World" and this was my first time trying their products! I always loved the idea of a safe, wick-less alternative to scented candles for adding a nice aroma to my home--mainly because of the house fire in our last home! I swore I would never have another candle present since that was the reason our place went up in flames. Plus, candles are just unsafe around small children, plain and simple.
    Recently, I had been thinking how expensive plug-in fresheners cost and how they not only last a short time, but do very little in freshening up a large space. This is when I turned to Scentsy and spoke to consultant, Robyn Gibson, to discuss my options. She was so helpful and caring to say the least. With such a personal approach, she was able to select a warmer and scents that appealed to me perfectly. Her excellent customer service skills really did shine when I received consistent emails informing me of the status of my order--not something you see too often these days with businesses! A job well done, Robyn! I highly recommend her to everyone reading!

    After making my decision, my goodies arrived a few days later and I couldn't have been more excited! Included in my order was: one warmer, 3 scented bars (Perfectly Pomegranate, Camu Camu, Lime & Kiwi Cantaloupe ) and Robyn even threw in a full-sized tube of Layers hand cream for me! Within 10 minutes, I had set up my warmer with 2 cubes of 'Camu Camu' melting in my living room (this is probably my favourite scent out of the 3 I received, it has a really fresh, summer fruity smell.) I even had a neighbour stop by the other nite who said, "Wow, your place smells amazing! What is that?!"

    Many people may wonder how long the wax cubes last while in the warmer. Well, I would say 2 cubes last about 21-24 hours total. I left my Scentsy warmer on for about 7 hours a day, but you can leave it on for as little or long as you want; think of it like a lamp! Plus, it will NEVER get too hot that it becomes worrisome.

    Overall, my experience with Scentsy was wonderful. From the positive customer service, to a timely delivery, to the actual scented experience, I am more than satisfied.
    Again, I highly recommend speaking to Robyn Gibson about how you can begin enjoying Scentsy--I absolutely guarantee you will not be disappointed!

To get in contact with Robyn, visit: or you may like her facebook page here to view offers, specials and other products!

Tip of the Day #322: Lightweight Pot Filler

To conserve soil when planting up large containers, consider how much soil your plants really need, then fill the bottom of the container with lighter-weight materials. An upended plastic nursery pot does a fine job of taking up space; fill in alongside it with Styrofoam peanuts.