Category: Lifestyle

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TeaProudly #CollectiveBias

Victoria Day long weekend, a weekend that so many of us view as the unofficial kick off to summer in Canada. This long weekend has so many great memories tied to it for me, from camping to fishing to fireworks. Despite the weather still being chilly, as children it never seemed to bother us. We were ready to begin our summer adventures!

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

Now as an adult with my own kids, the Victoria Day long weekend is a very special time for us. It is affectionately known as our ‘outdoor spring clean up’. Our kids look forward to this weekend every year as we always open the pool over the three days. The pool is still frigid but our youngest always braves the elements and dives right in. I watch in horror as he does this and stand back as far as possible to avoid being splashed by the water and to protect my favourite cup of tea. I feel extra spoiled this year as Bigelow Tea have six new flavours of their famous organic tea here in Canada! To learn more about the new flavours and to purchase a box of their new tea, hover over the picture below to click over to Walmart to purchase one of the new flavours!

While my boys are working on the pool, I am busy working away at my gardens – pulling out weeds, replacing soil and planting my vegetables now that the fear of frost over night is gone (knock on wood as we all know how quickly weather in Canada can change).

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

In order to prepare for our busy long weekend, we have to be super organized and start picking up supplies and planning out the weekend roughly two weeks in advance. We find that this gives us just enough time so that if something unexpected pops up, we are still prepared.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

Two weeks before the official long weekend, we begin to create a supply list for both my husband and I. My husband’s list will have all the pool supplies (pucks, chlorine, etc.) and mine will have the garden supplies and food that will be needed (because lets face it – boys can eat and Mom definitely deserves her favourite drinks if she is going to be on her feet all day).

I always include some of my favourite items that help me to relax during this very physically demanding time. For me, the best way to relax and unwind is with a steaming cup of organic Bigelow tea. I love how a hot cup of tea melts away my problems and makes me feel that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to. There is a reason why so many people wont tackle a problem until they have had a hot cup of tea! This has been engraved in me through my Mother – she loves her tea and whenever we had a busy week or day, tea was her go to.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

My Mom instilled a great love of tea but she always taught us to be picky with choosing the tea brand as that makes or breaks a cup of tea, this is why Bigelow Tea has been my go to drink. I was stoked to find out that Walmart now carries the six new flavours of steeped Bigelow Tea.

You can just imagine my joy at finding ALL of the six new flavours (Chamomile Citrus, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Green Tea with Pomegranate, Lemon Ginger and Green Tea) at our local Walmart when I went to get groceries.  You can pick up all six new flavours in the tea aisle at Walmart while picking up your other items in the grocery department at your local store.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

A week before make sure to take a final stock of all of your supplies and items that you purchased to make sure you have enough and that you didn’t miss anything. If you need to, head back to Walmart to pick up any forgotten items. If you did forget anything – don’t be hard on yourself, with kids and life it is easy to forget items!

I use my Friday night to prepare the meals and snacks for the next day, from preparing meat to cutting up veggies to making lemon ginger oatmeal bites. My oatmeal bites are a family favourite that uses the Lemon Ginger Bigelow tea to give a burst of flavour and energy which we all need come Saturday morning and mid-day.

The bites only use three ingredients (bananas, oats and Lemon Ginger tea) and take under twenty minutes to prepare and bake, I love simple recipes in my house and you couldn’t get any simpler or healthier in my mind. The bites do have to be refrigerated but they taste great cold as the flavours seem to be that much richer the next day (find my recipe for them at the bottom of this post). I end my night with a warm cup of Chamomile Citrus tea as I find it helps get  my mind and body ready to sleep.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

With everyone excited on the Saturday, it can be hard to remember to eat a healthy breakfast but it is so important in order to keep our bodies energized for the day. That is why I love those oatmeal bites! We can eat them on the go or even come back to them as we need to – pair it with a cup of Lemon Ginger tea and you are set for the day.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

Above all else, enjoy the craziness that is the outdoor spring clean up. It can easily get boring for young children, so take breaks to have fun – blow bubbles, use chalk, let them ride their bike and even use their water guns to help water your newly planted seeds. Cherish each one of those memories because too soon the kids will have grown up and started their own long weekend memories.

Lemon Ginger Oatmeal Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of oats (may need up to an extra 1/4 cup of oats depending on the size of your bananas)
  • 2 Bigelow Lemon Ginger tea bags
  • 1/2 cup of boiling water

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Mash the two ripe bananas in a large bowl with a fork.
  3. Boil 1/2 cup of water and add both bags of Lemon Ginger tea. Steep for five minutes. Allow the tea to cool for an additional five minutes. Add the tea to your bananas.
  4. Add in the one and a half cup of oats. If the mixture is too wet due to the size of the bananas used, add in a little bit more oats. The mixture is supposed to be wet so be careful not to add too much.
  5. Bake in the oven for fifteen minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

The oatmeal bites should be refrigerated after being prepared.

Start the Victoria Day Long Weekend with a Bang with Bigelow Tea #TeaProudly

How do you celebrate the Victoria Day Long Weekend? Do you have a fond memory or favourite tea attached to the holiday? Tell me how you #TeaProudly over the long weekend!

Make sure to follow Bigelow Tea on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with new flavours and more.

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Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

The adorable Shopkins, which are North America’s number one toy (and my niece’s favourite) are hitting the stage live in Canada in their Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Tour.

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

About Shopkins Live! Shop It Up!

The beloved Shoppies make their theatrical debut in an original live show featuring musical performances by Jessicake, Bubbleisha, Peppa-Mint, Rainbow Kate, Cocolette, Polli Polish and more! The fun and fashionista Shoppies are joined by the Shopkins – Apple Blossom, Strawberry Kiss, Lippy Lips, Kooky Cookie, Poppy Corn, Slick Breadstick and Shady Diva. An ensemble cast of multi-talented performers brings the show to life on stage through urban style music, song and dance.

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

All of Shopville is in a tizz as preparations get underway for the annual, “Funtastic Food and Fashion Fair.” Shady Diva showcases her latest fashion designs; Lippy Lips gives colorful advice at the nail salon; Kooky Cookie tries to get in a beauty nap! No event is complete without a few hiccups! Who has high-jinxed the fashion pageant? Where is the super-secret celebrity guest? Will Slick Breadstick ever find a dance partner? The Shopkins and Shoppies need your help because as we all know – the show must go on!

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

Our Thoughts

Music, dancing and all of your favourite Shopkins characters can be found in this adorable live show now touring in Canada.

In this show, the Shoppies are given specific tasks to complete in order to make the festival a success. There is a fashion show to prepare, booths to finish off, sweet dishes to make and a special celebrity guest to meet. No one wants to disappoint the ever so cheeky Shady Diva (who was honestly my favourite part of the show, she had me in tears laughing with her cheekiness!). Jessicake is responsible for meeting the celebrity guest but in her rush to please Shady Diva assigns the task to Kooky Cookie and the guest disappears! They must work together to solve the  mystery of the kidnapped celebrity and still pull off the show.

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

The show had a fantastic story line that was delivered extremely well. I found myself laughing out loud at the humour which was great for both parents and children a like. I loved the one liners like “This is not how we party!”, “OMGG” and “Can’t a cookie get some beauty rest”. I knew a bit about the Shopkins going into the show but my niece was an expert and would fill me in throughout the show on the characters names and what they are famous for. I was blown away by how much the children there knew about the Shopkins. The characters are beyond precious and I can relate to why young children LOVE them. Rainbow Kate was my favourite Shoppie with her burst of fresh air and optimism – you couldn’t help but smile when she came out.

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

While the show itself is full of humour and fun, it had some great underlying messages. We learned about friendships and sticking together because with our best friends by our sides we can do anything. We learned that it is okay to make a mistake but that you need to own up to your mistake, try to fix it and even apologize to others if it affected them. We also learned that we shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover – everyone has feelings and they can be easily hurt.

Shopkins Live! Shop It Up! Canadian Tour

One of the most heart warming parts of the show was watching the young audience dancing in their seats, in the aisles, screaming (literally screaming) every time their favourite character came on stage. The Shoppies had a fantastic stage presence and really drew you into the show. You felt as though you were part of the action which is so important for young children who were enthralled by the characters. The Shoppies and Shopkins truly came to life for them and you could see the amazement in their faces.

This show is a definite must see for all young fans. The show runs until the end of this month in Canada, to find more tour dates head over to their website here.

You can also follow Shopkins Live! On Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with all the latest information.

Shopkins Live! Trailer

Disclosure: We received tickets to the show in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Educate and Grow with Bring Back The Bees and Honey Nut Cheerios

Educate and Grow with Bring Back The Bees

600 Million.

That is the number of wildflower seeds that Canadians have planted across our country in the first two years of the Bring Back The Bees initiative from Honey Nut Cheerios. Pretty impressive right?

In 2018, Honey Nut Cheerios hopes to add another 300 million more wildflowers planted in Canada and want YOU to be a part of this journey.

Children are naturally curious and love to learn about the world around them. They love to be in nature, exploring and learning how the world works. They can learn a lot from educational resources like books and teachers but it is just as important to take that lesson outside and give them a hands on approach to learning.

The bees are such an important part of our environment – so many food crops rely on the pollinating assistance that bees provide (is this bringing back memories of a movie where turmoil started when bees stopped pollinating and so much was affected). Without bees, the world that we know and love wouldn’t be the same.

Educate and Grow with Bring Back The Bees

To help inspire children (and parents!), this year Honey Nut Cheerios has partnered with Canadian author, Paulette Bourgeois and Kids Can Press to bring you a fantastic new book, Bella and Jack Bring Back The Bees. Paulette is known for her work in the Franklin series of children’s books and brings her style to this special book that is illustrated by Josee Bisaillon.

Educate and Grow with Bring Back The Bees

The book tells the story of Bella and Jack as they learn about what threatens our bees and how they want to do their part to bring back the bees. What starts off as a discussion about a possible science project, leads them on a great journey to find a special group of bees. During their travels, they learn a lot of cool new facts about bees (some were new to me too!) and how every person can do their part to help them. Bella and Jack share simple ways that children of all ages can participate in this great campaign. The book also contains beautiful illustrations that really help to bring the story to life and showcase the importance of bees in our everyday life. This includes the simple planting of wildflowers anywhere you can, regardless of what type of home you live in – from rooftops, to window planters to balconies to gardens, a child can turn their space into a haven for bees.

Educate and Grow with Bring Back The Bees

If you are interested in receiving a free copy of Bella and Jack Bring Back The Bees head over to the Bring Back The Bees home page to find your nearest location and online ordering details. The books are available in both English and French through Indigo, Chapters and Coles. Once you receive your book, get ready to dive into action with your child as you learn all about bees and what you can do to help them.

To enter to win the prize pack pictured above (including Bella and Jack Bring Back The Bees, three seed packages and two boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios) head over to my Facebook page now.

Have you participated in the Bring Back The Bees campaign with planting wildflowers? Will you be participating in 2018?

Disclosure: I received a Bring Back The Bees Packaged (pictured above), all opinions expressed are my own.

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How to Create the Ultimate Homemade Easter Basket

How to Create the Ultimate Homemade Easter Basket

Easter is just around the corner and you may be struggling to come up with ideas that are outside of the traditional giant chocolate eggs. You may have even left this to the last-minute as the season seemed to come up pretty quickly this year.

How to Create the Ultimate Homemade Easter Basket

I love to create baskets that are personalized to the child and more than just sweets and chocolates as let’s face it, as parents we know our children don’t need anymore sweets – they get enough. But sometimes we may be at a loss on what to purchase and how much. I like to follow my three item checklist: something educational, something fun and then something sweet and delicious. But where do you start?

Here is your complete Easter basket checklist:

Know the child you are buying for! Sounds simple right? But a lot of times people forget this and get things that look cute and are Easter branded. Look at the child’s hobbies, extra curricular activities, their personality and their age. All of these factors will give you great clues into what to buy for them.

Set a budget and stick to it. We spend roughly $40 on each boy and $30 each for our niece and nephews. Now before you think that is too much you could easily blow that on chocolate alone for each child and we try to shy away from that.

Add in something educational. I love reading and always include at least one book in every gift that I give someone. Personalize the inside cover with a special message to make the book that much more memorable for the child.

How to Create the Ultimate Homemade Easter Basket

Add in something fun – this is a must for kids of all ages. This year, we added in Zing’s Glove-A-Bubbles. These “bubble gloves” come in eight different animal themes including lion, alligator, hippo, elephant, dinosaur, panda, bunny and monkey. Each package comes with one glove and two bubble solutions for hours of active play. They are super easy to use (especially for younger kids who struggle with the bubble wands and their smaller fingers), just dip the glove that is on their hand into the solution and begin to wave it around to create bubbles. These super fun gloves come in at a great price of $3.99 Canadian and can be found at Amazon, Mastermind, Indigo, Giant Tiger and Canadian Tire. You can find even more unique and fun gifts for all year round at the Zing Store online.

How to Create the Ultimate Homemade Easter Basket

Add in something sweet. Let’s face it while we can try to avoid the sweets as much as possible, the kids still expect a little something in their basket. I like to avoid the holiday commercialized sweets as much as possible and go for candies and chocolates that my children will actually eat. This means I pick up a couple of chocolate bars from the Dollar Store to add to the basket.

Pick a base. Now that you have all the items for your basket, you can choose the type of Easter basket you want to use. I have used everything from a traditional basket to a plastic basket to even a plant pot. I have also just used the green “grass” under the presents and wrapped the entire gift up in cellophane with no firm base at all.

Beautify it! Once the base is chosen, I like to add in the extras like green “grass” and some small plastic eggs around the gifts. Then wrap it all up in cellophane and tie it off with a bright bow in a colour of your choosing. Then display it proudly for Easter morning in a giant wooden basket.

What are your top choices of Easter basket gifts? Do you prefer sweets or choose practical gifts to add to your homemade basket?

How to Create the Ultimate Homemade Easter Basket

Make sure to follow Zing on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all of the coolest new toys and games.

Disclosure: I received Glove-A-Bubbles in order to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

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A New Year, A New Binge: Our Top Historical, Action and Family Lists #StreamTeam

netflix

We are already almost a month into the new year, hard to believe right. Where does the time go?

You may have set some new resolutions and some of these you may still be holding strong to but others may have fallen to the waste side. My top two goals (I like the term goal better than resolution personally) for 2018 was to focus a bit more of my time and attention on myself and to set (in stone) bi-weekly family downtime.

So how am I helping myself achieve these two goals for 2018, with Netflix of course!

A New Year, A New Binge #StreamTeam

One of my favourite things to do is to watch historical (romance ones are even better) movies and series. I have found that you can learn so much from a great historical movie or television series and once I start watching I can’t stop! They have this incredible way of sparking your curiosity and imagination. After a good binge, I find myself surfing the internet to learn more about that time period, the event that happened and the people. This is “Mom Time” in our house and while my kids tend to make fun of me for my movie selection, these three to four hours a week really helps me to unwind, refocus and be a better wife and Mother.

Here are my top binge picks for parents who love history and romance:

  1. Morocco Love in Times of War: A Duchess leads a group of privileged ladies from Spanish society to Melilla during the Rif War to open a hospital and nurse the wounded. This series has subtitles which actually makes the show even better if you can imagine!
  2. The Crown: A Young Princess Elizabeth marries Prince Philip. As her Father, the King, health continues to worsen, Winston Churchill is elected Prime Minister for a second term. Follow the story of Princess Elizabeth.
  3. Cable Girls: In 1920s Madrid, four women at the National Telephone Company ring in revolution as they manage romance, friendship and the modern workplace.
  4. The Bletchley Circle: In 1952, four women who worked at the wartime code-breaking center, Bletchley Park, reunite to track down a serial killer.
  5. The Red Tent: The story of the twelve tribes of Israel is told through the eyes of Jacob’s only daughter, Dinah.
  6. Land Girls: Follow the lives, loves, highs and lows of four members of the Women’s Land Army who are working at the Hoxley Estate during WWII.
  7. Rebellion: Rebellion is a five-part serial drama about the birth of modern Ireland. The story is told from the perspectives of a group of fictional characters who live through the political events of the 1916 Easter Rising.

A New Year, A New Binge #StreamTeam

My husband didn’t want to be outdone and so he has created his own list for those who want some more action and adventure, so here are his top picks for parents:

  1. Black Lightning: School principal and retired superhero Jefferson Pierce leaps back into action as the legendary Black Lightning after a gang threatens his family.
  2. Taxi Brooklyn: Unable to drive, headstrong detective Cat Sullivan relies on streetwise, French-born Brooklyn cabbie Leon for transportation and help solving cases.
  3. The Punisher: A former Marine out to punish the criminals responsible for his family’s murder finds himself ensnared in a military conspiracy.
  4. Van Helsing: Vanessa Helsing, distant relative of famous vampire hunter Abraham Van Helsing, is resurrected only to find that vampires have taken over the world.
  5. The Ranch: Being a pro athlete didn’t pan out for Colt. Now he’s helping his dad and brother keep the ranch afloat, and figuring out how he fits into the family.

Can you see how our nights sometimes turn into fights over what we choose to watch on Netflix? Our tastes are completely opposite! I used to have to watch my shows in the early mornings when everyone is asleep but now I am giving myself the time I need to enjoy and relax at normal hours.

Family move nights in 2017 were planned and executed on the go but I wanted to ensure we were setting time aside for us to sit back on the couch with a pizza, some popcorn and our favourite Netflix shows a couple of times a month (at least!). We decided that twice a month would be our perfect number and Friday’s worked the best for us because we have no soccer and who really wants to cook on a Friday? Not me that is for sure! Our kids were completely on board with this goal and we started it this month and so far, two thumbs up from the whole family. We have watched a really great movie (Camp Cool Kids) and caught up on Fuller House and started some of the original Full House episodes (which hasn’t yet become as much of a hit with the kids as Fuller House is).

A New Year, A New Binge #StreamTeam

Here are our families top picks to binge on for Family Movie Night 2018:

  1.  Fuller House (our family is officially hooked on this show – oh my Atlanta!): The Tanner family’s adventures continue as DJ Tanner-Fuller shares a home with her sister Stephanie and friend Kimmy who help raise her three boys.
  2. The Adventures of Puss in Boots: The famous cat protects the city of San Lorenzo, a mythical land invisible to the outside world.
  3. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The extraordinary Baudelaire orphans face trials, tribulations and the evil Count Olaf in their fateful quest to unlock long-held family secrets.
  4. One Day at a Time: In a re-imagining of the TV classic, a newly single Latina mother raises her teen daughter and tween son with the “help” of her old-school mom.
  5. Camp Cool Kids: A young boy attends summer camp, where he overcomes his fears, stands up to bullies and learns important lessons about faith and life.

Hands up if you love to binge on Netflix shows!

Tell me: what are the top shows you have been bingeing on in 2018 so far?

Disclosure: I am a Netflix #StreamTeam member and receive perks with this affiliation. All opinions expressed are my own.

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