Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our Quick Toronto Getaway! #wordlesswednesday (LINKY)

When the company hands you box seats to the Toronto Maple Leafs game for the next night, you make it work. And that we did! Toronto is one of my favourite places for a quick getaway. There is just so much to see and do there, it could never get old!

1. The King Edward Hotel is AMAZING. The architecture, the décor, the staff...everything was simply the best.

2. Dinner was at one of my favourite restaurants, Bier Markt on the Esplanade. Their mussels and frites will always be my number one choice. Serious LOVE.

3. When your first NHL experience is box seats..I'm just not sure you can do it any other way going forward. What an incredible experience. I may have indulged in a fantastic amount of wine, sushi, and desserts. Unfortunately the Leafs lost :( 

4. And finally, downtown Toronto at night is breathtaking.
Now it's your turn, link up your WW post :)

*NOTE: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just wanted to share what an amazing time we had on our little getaway.

Quick and Delish Blueberry Muffins #recipe

There have been some fantastic sales on blueberries around here lately. Which then leads me to get baking. I love that sweet burst of warm yumminess when fresh from the oven. SO GOOD!

So what did I make this time?

Oh hello delicious! These muffins are super easy to whip up, and oh so yummy while still slightly steamy.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup veg oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare muffin pan by greasing the bottoms or lining w baking cups.
  • In medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
  • In small bowl, combine milk, oil, vanilla, and egg. Blend well.
  • Add blueberries to the dry mix and stir.
  • Pour wet mix into dry mix and stir until moistened. Note: Batter will be lumpy.
  • Fill baking pan/cups to 2/3 full. Bake for approx. 18 mins or until toothpick test comes out clean.
  • Let cool for 1 minute and then remove from pan.
  • Serving while warm is encouraged and wonderful :)
What's your favourite addition to blueberry muffins? I did vanilla this time, but love lemon zest, or almond flavour too!

Encouraging Kindness and Giving Back - #CleanWater #giveaway

My youngest goes to school in one of the more fortunate neighbourhoods here in town, and I am so very pleased to say that they band together and give back on a regular basis. During the holiday season, they always do a major drive for the food bank, and also adopt several families in need, making sure that they have more than enough food and gifts to enjoy the holidays. They've done coat drives, and donated games/books to less fortunate schools too. Every few months there is something new to help with or donate to.

In a time where so many major businesses are closing up shop, and more and more people need help, it's vital that we all learn to give in whatever way that we can.

Two weeks ago, the grade 5 classes, which included my daughter, took a field trip to our local food bank to volunteer a few hours sorting the food and packaging it up for it to be handed out. They were also encouraged to bring in a bag of non-perishables with them for donation. So they could truly see what happens from the donation point onward. My daughter came home that day so excited to tell me all about it, what she did, and how we could help further.

Children's Safe Drinking Water Program
The lack of clean drinking water in developing countries is a global crisis. Since its inception, the P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water program has worked with more than 140 non-governmental organizations, charities and governments to raise awareness and deliver clean water.
You can help make a big difference to someone’s life just by doing your weekly shopping. Every time you buy one the P&G products such as Tide, Gillette, Pampers, Pantene and Bounty, P&G will donate one day of clean drinking water.
You can also donate using this secure web form.
With your help we will help to reach the goal of providing 25 million days of clean drinking water to those who need it. Together we can help make a real difference!

How Can Your Family Show Kindness?
  • Encourage your children to pick a charity to support, based on their own passions and interests
  • Get your kids involved with a local youth organization, where they will have the opportunity to participate regularly in community initiatives
  • With our never-ending winter, does an elderly neighbour need a hand shovelling the driveway? Know a new mom who could use a surprise home cooked meal delivery to beat the winter blahs? Show your children how easy it is to make an impact.
We want to know how YOU give back, or how you foster kindness and giving in your children?
One lucky reader will win this FAB P&G Kindness prizepack (arv $95)
  • Swiffer Sweep & Trap Starter Kit - $19.97
  • Mr. Clean Antibacterial Multi-Surfaces Liquid Cleaner – $3.97
  • Tide Pods Spring Meadow -$19.94
  • Dawn Ultra Original Scent with Active Suds Dishwashing Liquid – $3.97
  • Febreze Extra Strength – $4.78
  • Febreze Air Effects Unstopables Fresh – $6.47
  • Febreze Air Effects Unstopables Lush – $6.47
  • Febreze Candle Unstopables Fresh – $7.97
  • Febreze Candle Unstopables Lush – $7.97
  • Febreze Fabric Refresher Unstopables Lush – $5.99
  • Febreze Noticeables Unstopables Fresh – $5.99
  • Febreze Noticeables Unstopables Shimmer – $5.99

  • a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure: 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.
    *This giveaway may appear on other blogs as part of the #PGmom/#mamanPG program.  However, to be fair, you can only win once per giveaway.
    *By entering the following contest you are accepting that if you win your contact information will be shared with a P&G PR and shipping agency for the purpose of mailing your prize.  Please allow 4-6 weeks from the contest closure date to receive your prize.
    Monday, March 30, 2015

    Did The Magic Just End?

    We've always been a family about believing about the good in the world. That miracles can happen. That there is magic all around us. My girls are 10 and 14, and until last week I happily and eagerly continued to be 'the magic' here in my home, and my girls never said anything otherwise. I mean really, all the movies and books out there really reinforce that if you say you don't believe the magic stops. No more money under your pillow, no more egg hunts, presents, etc...so I guess it's really about how my girls never said "Mom, I know it's you...".

    So last week this happened..
    ..and it was still there FOUR days later :(
    There was no excitement. No running to find me and show me what was left. Just nothing. And I know some parents would be like "Woohoo! It's finally over!". I've seen those frantic "Oh man, I forgot to ____ last night!!" posts on facebook and twitter. But I am NOT happy about this. We're celebrators in this house. I check the weird observances calendar daily to find out if it's "oatmeal cookie day" or "hug your cat day" and we CELEBRATE it. Little things to bring joy in this big crazy world.
    But now I am left with this unease. Especially with Easter this upcoming weekend. I think that I will continue to bring the magic, because you know what, I don't care, we all need a little magic FUN in this life! And really isn't an chocolate hunt just good solid fun? I'll let you know how it goes! :) 
    Tell me about the magic in your home!
    Is it there? Is it long over? Did you never start it in the first place?

    The Adventures of Pajama Girl... - book review and #giveaway

    Imaginative dreams, cupcake queens, and missing sprinkles - what's not to love?!
    As an avid lover of cupcakes and sprinkles, this book was such a colourful and whimsical WIN for me! A sweet storybook bearing a positive inspirational message of "Thou shalt not steal" (Exodus 20:15). Read on to learn more about The Adventures of Pajama Girl and the Coronation of the Cupcake Queen, and enter to win a copy for the cupcake queen or little princess in your life!

    A cute, illustrated story about a girl's imagination and her magical pajamas. In this adventure, Ellie's cupcake pajamas pave the way for she and her Sis to take a journey to a land filled with all kinds of sweet treats. Their journey quickly turns into an adventure to help the Cupcake Queen find the missing sprinkles needed for her coronation ceremony. In searching for the missing sprinkles, Ellie and Sis uncover a life lesson that is important for every child to learn.

    About the Author: Sandra Hagee Parker lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, Ryan, and their daughters, Olivia and Elliana — the original pajama girls. A practicing attorney, Sandy is also a part of the music ministry at Cornerstone Church where she and her husband are leaders. When not working or writing, Sandy enjoys traveling with her family and mastering the art of making Pancakes à la Pajama Girl with her two girls.

    BONUS - When you buy the book from any store or online and then enter the receipt at http://pajamagirl.com/downloads.php. You’ll receive 10 free Pajama Girl Activity Sheets sent via email! (there are 2 activity sheets already available on the pajama girl website!)

    One lucky reader will win a copy of Pajama Girl!
    (open to Can/US, ends Apr 8)
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    *Disclosure: I received a copy of PajamaGirl, for free, in exchange for my review. No further compensation will be received.

    The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies BluRay #giveaway

    Oh, I've got a good one today! Up for grabs is a bluray of the final installment of The Hobbit, thanks to Warner Bros and PartnersHub! Read on and enter!

    From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.
    Special Features on the Blu-Ray combo pack include:

    • New Zealand: Home of Middle-earth Part 3
    • Recruiting the Five Armies
    • Completing Middle-earth: A Six-Part Saga
    • Completing Middle-earth: A Seventeen-Year Journey
    • The Last Goodbye: Behind the Scenes
    • Music Video
    • Trailers

    Now for some fun! Be sure to mouse over the map of Middle-Earth, take the quiz, and let me know if you are BRAVE LIKE BILBO!

    Also be sure to check out this cool 'making of' montage for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies!

    One lucky reader will win a bluray of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies!
    (open Can/US, ends 04/12)
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    * Disclosure: This post is NOT sponsored.

    * Giveaway Note: Open to Can/US. No PO boxes, sorry. Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Blu-ray The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
    Thursday, March 26, 2015

    Grace of God DVD - review and giveaway

    For girls night last night we all sat down to check out Grace of God, a new inspirational family movie that released March 24th. Based on the Ten Commandments, it's the perfect movie for an Easter movie night!

    Having lost his faith many years ago, Detective Bill Broadly is called to investigate the disappearance of the local church’s collection plate. As he questions its various church members, rumors swirl as more congregants learn about the theft. When one unexpected church-goer confesses to stealing the funds, the confession resurrects Broadly’s views on God, and helps him see that through faith and belief there really is rebirth and redemption.
    Stars in this movie include: John Ratzenberger (Cheers, Wall-E, Toy Story), Erin Bethea (Fireproof, Letters to God), and Lorenzo Lamas (The Bold and the Beautiful, Falcon Crest).
    My Thoughts:
    I'll start with the good.. The storyline is fantastic! $30 000 goes missing from the church, and everyone is a suspect! They did an amazing job of keeping you guessing through the entire movie of "who dunnit", and the culprit was one that we didn't expect! Next, the casting. I actually decided to review this movie based solely on who was in it! lol. No disappointment there! The cast is fantastic!
    Now onto the flaws..and honestly they're not big. It was only an hour and a half, but I honestly felt that it dragged on. I found that I checked my phone a few times throughout the film, and noticed that my friends were getting kind of antsy too. Another complaint I have was the music, specifically when there were suspenseful or dramatic moments...the music was just too much and I found myself taken away from the movie. Also over the top were some of conversations in the movie. I guess I just don't find heavy scripture quoting going on in everyday life, and the majority of my friends are church-going Christians.
    So truly, the pros definitely outweigh the cons, and really the cons are just my opinion. I recommend that you check out Grace of God movie for yourself, and then let me know what you think!
    Pick up your copy of Grace of God now: http://bit.ly/Walmart_GraceofGod or ENTER TO WIN!
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

    Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.