Month: November 2015

Kids Write 4 Kids Challenge

Kids Write 4 Kids

Children by nature are expressive and imaginative. They come up with the best stories and leave you craving for more. It is when we encourage our youth to keep up with their creativity, to continue to explore the world of reading and writing that this passion grows. We need to ignite the love of reading and writing at a young age so that they do not become discouraged later on in life.

Kids Write 4 Kids

This is the reason why the Ripple Foundation launched the Kids Write 4 Kids Creative challenge for children in grades four to eight, to inspire, encourage and foster a love of reading and writing. This will be the fourth year of the creative writing challenge and they are looking for Canadian youth to share their stories. The bonus: The winning story (or stories) will be published in digital and print! How exciting would that be? Who wouldn’t want to see their work in print!

Here is what they are looking for in the Kids Write 4 Kids Challenge:

  • Canadian youth in grades four to eight, enrolled in a school in Canada.
  • Story must be original and written by the author submitting the story.
  • One entry per an author.
  • Stories must be written in English.
  • Stories can be fact, fiction, poetry – the choice is yours!
  • Stories will be printed as they are submitted (so double-check that spelling and grammar)

Some of the past winning titles include; Escape from the Taco Shop, A Truly Gross Adventure and The Wish. You can see the complete list of winners here.

Head over to the Kids Write 4 Kids Creative challenge place to find more information on how to enter your little author’s story. Be sure to check out this interview to meet the authors.

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Computer Science, Coding & Microsoft #CodeGeneration

Technology is evolving rapidly and you can clearly see this all around us. Items that may not have been on your radar ten to twenty years ago are common place now. The computer science sector has taken off but the skill sets needed are not there. It is projected that by 2019, the skills gap in the Canadian IT sector will be 182,000 jobs! (ICTC). That figure is astonishingly high especially when compared to the fact that one in four of Canadian youth are part of the working poor and youth unemployment is at an all time high.

So where does coding come in? It is clear that computer science and coding is the way of the future and by giving students the tools to compete in these jobs, they too can have a successful and rewarding career. Coding is a fun, exciting and unique experience that is easy to learn and something that our youth can get in to. I know for myself, I have fallen in love with the coding behind websites and watching it build up. Taking courses in coding has been an enriching experience for me over the last three months.


To encourage students to dive into the world of computer science, Microsoft is launching the #CodeGeneration campaign starting now and running through Computer Science week (December 7-13).

The campaign includes:

As if that wasn’t awesome enough, Microsoft is partnering with to offer Minecraft coding tutorials! I am sure there are many of you with Minecraft fans in the house, so this would be perfect for them to check out and get started with.

Get ready to learn, explore and code with Microsoft from now until December 13. Looking forward to seeing what you ‘code’!

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Beat the Holiday Shopping Madness with RBC Avion Holiday Boutique

Beat the Holiday Maddness with Avion Holiday Boutique

I love the holiday season! The shopping, finding the perfect gift, the baking and all the added in family time. The draw back at this time of the year is that everyone is also in the mood to shop!. This results in long waits for parking spots at malls, long line ups in stores, nowhere to sit, long lines to pick up a drink and having to drag around your purchases and heavy jackets. This all works together to dampen the merry spirit you may have left your home in (especially if you have children in tow!).

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday BoutiqueRBC understands how this can ruin your holiday shopping expierence and came up with a pretty unique way to combat the holiday rush to benefit their Avion customers: The Avion Holiday Boutique at Yorkdale Shopping Centre!

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday Boutique

The Avion Holiday Boutique experience starts with valet parking. Avion customers need to head to the South side of the mall and are directed to a drop off area. Avion Holiday Boutique staff are there to help you out of the car, take your keys and give you a slip that matches the slip they keep on your keys. They then park your car for you. There is no searching for a parking spot, no circling the parking lot, no long walks! Valet service was something I wasn’t sure I would even like but I was amazed at how much this simple service made our shopping trip! As a little tip, if you call the number on the slip of paper they give you fifteen minutes before you want to leave they can have your car ready for you on your way out! Or you can do what we did and just wait under the outdoor heaters and it only took an additional five minutes for them to bring our car around.

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday Boutique

After you drop off your car, you can quickly head over to the Avion Holiday Boutique to drop off your jackets and if you are thirsty you can grab a drink at their cafe that is located in the centre of the boutique. The decor and music inside the Avion Holiday Boutique will have you in the mood to get your holiday shopping done! Christmas trees, holiday rewards, winter decorations and a musician playing on a piano compliments the boutique holiday experience.

Bead the Holiday Hustle with Avion Holiday Boutique

The complete list of Avion Holiday Boutique services at Yorkdale Shopping Centre include:

  • valet parking
  • coat and parcel check
  • VIP lounge (with WiFi) and cafe
  • concierge services
  • gift wrapping services

Beat the Holiday Madness with Avion Holiday Boutique

The overall Avion experience helped make our Saturday afternoon shopping an incredible experience. I never felt rushed, frustrated or wanted to leave early which usually happens when I feel overwhelmed while holiday shopping. I was relaxed and was able to focus on finding the perfect gift for my family members which at the end of the day is the most important part.

Additional Avion Holiday Experiences will also be open in Halifax at the Halifax Shopping Centre and in Ottawa at the St. Laurent Centre. An Avion Holiday Boutique will also be open in Burnaby, B.C. at the Metropolis.

Make sure to follow RBC on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new information, special holiday information and more!

Disclosure: I am part of the RBC® Avion Holiday Boutique Influencer Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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The Thread That Binds

iRead Book Tours

In The Thread That Binds, five women once strangers form bonds that will be everlasting.

Thread that Binds Book Review

About The Thread That Binds

Sherice is a new mother, a sonographer, quilter, and wife; an overworked young woman whose elderly mother is slipping away from her.

Sylvie is a newlywed and recent immigrant, unemployed and virtually penniless. Her husband’s paycheck can’t even cover prenatal care, let alone a baby, and her due date is only drawing nearer.

Joanne’s unconventional pregnancy turns her world upside down, redefining her career and relationships, and even bringing to the surface long-buried demons from her past.

Payton is seventeen, pregnant, and on the run. She flees to her uncle in Georgia with the hope of making a fresh start, but discovers making it on her own is harder than she could ever have imagined.

Gloria is trapped in an unhappy marriage; in love with someone else. Her life is falling apart. With a baby on the way, would it be selfish to flee?

My Thoughts

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Thread That Binds. I laughed, I cried and I connected so much with this book.

The characters were lovely and you felt like you were seeing them from an intimate level. You felt their pain, their fear and their frustrations. Each character grew so much during the course of this book. They learned things about themselves, they grew stronger and more confident in their decisions. They made peace with their past in order to move forward. My favourite character was Joanne, I can honestly say I wish I had a friend like her! Honest, strong-willed and fierce! Everything you can want and need in a friend.

The Thread That Binds is a feel good novel of friendship, love and how we are all connected for a greater purpose. It will be a book you will share with your friends, sisters and mothers for years to come.

You can purchase a copy of The Thread That Binds on Amazon.

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Originally from Winchester, England, Alice’s plans to read law at a British university were disrupted when she fell deeply in love with Georgia, USA, while studying abroad. After moving all over Georgia, Alice has finally settled in Athens and has no plans to go anywhere else.

She is a single mother to a three-year-old girl and a 65 lb hound dog. She likes coffee, wine, and anything edible with the words ‘salted caramel’ in its description.

At the time of publication, Alice is a 24-year-old history student working full-time in a law office, and writing fiction at every stolen moment. She hasn’t slept in approximately two years. Her first published novel, The Thread That Binds won third place in World’s Best Story contest.

The Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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The Lion Guard Return of the Roar

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar

The Lion King has to be one of my all time favourite Disney movies. From the hilarious characters, the inspiring music to the beautiful animations, The Lion King is a favourite for all age groups. So when we received an invite to see The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, I was stokked and couldn’t wait to catch this sequel!

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar

Based on Disney’s The Lion King, the television movie picks up where the epic feature film left off and  introduces Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, who is destined to become the leader of the Lion Guard. Many of the beloved characters from The Lion King will appear in the movie including Mufasa and Pumbaa, voiced by James Earl Jones and Ernie Sabella who reprise their original roles. Rob Lowe (The Grinder) and Gabrielle Union (Being Mary Jane) star as Simba and Nala, respectively; Max Charles (The Strain) as Kion; Joshua Rush (The Adventures of Puss in Boots) as Bunga; Atticus Shaffer (The Middle) as Ono; Diamond White (Sofia the First) as Fuli; and Dusan Brown (Blaze and the Monster Machines) as Beshte.

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar
The Lion Guard Return of the Roar, came with a special introduction by Director Howy Parkins! This was definitely a highlight of our day, even my son was amazed by meeting the director of this film. You could hear his love for his work and gave you a stronger appreciation of the amount of time spent in putting together this film and how dedicated his team was at making this film a success.

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar

While we are introduced to some new characters, some of your old favourites are back in this film and remain true to their personalities (oh Timone and Pumbaa!). My favourite new character was Bunga, who was funny, cool and brave all rolled into one. Bunga even develops a brand new catch phrase for this movie (no more hakuna matata!). The movie was full of laughs, great music that brings back memories of the first Lion King but still gives this film a unique flair. I love the lesson that this story tells, that we don’t always have to be the biggest (or in this case a lion!) to be the best or bravest. Sometimes, it is the strongest of heart that can conquer and win.

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar premiered on television November 22nd and on Disney Junior on December 1st. Check out this trailer to get a glimpse of The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. The television series will premiere on Disney Junior in 2016.

Disclosure: We were given advance viewing of this film in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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