Category: products

Celebrating Family Around the Table with Hamilton Beach: Bread Maker

My favourite memories as a child and teenager were spent in the kitchen cooking with my Dad. I loved the holidays as we would prepare cannelloni, lasagna, veal and all types of desserts. I would spend half my time helping prepare the meals and the other half eating the ingredients (cannelloni stuffing is still my favourite – all of that delicious spinach and cheese goodness).

Good food and family were the two most important things we had growing up in our home. They were the centre of every happy, fun moment and especially around the holiday season. This is the gift I want to give my own kids – family and good food.

The one thing I always wished I learned how to do in my youth? Make bread.

There is nothing better then fresh, warm bread to accompany your meal (it is like a giant hug on a bad day). We always had a loaf of bread with every meal and I was always the first to volunteer to go pick one up at the bakery (I loved the smell and how the bag would just heat up). Not to mention, bread is the best way to clean up those dirty sauce pots over the holidays!

My only problem? I have been incapable of making bread from scratch – it doesn’t rise, it is still uncooked after it is finished cooking in the oven or it is rock solid. After many failed attempts, I gave up (my pride couldn’t handle the bad loaves and the teasing from the kids).

We were able to test out the Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread maker leading up to the holiday season and I can honestly say that I am in love with this machine.

The Hamilton Beach Premium Dough and Bread maker is on the bigger size but it does tuck away perfectly in our pantry closet, although I tend to leave it on my counter as it fits right in the corner. It has a beautiful, sleek stainless steel design so it can match any kitchen decor and will fit in with your other appliances.

The bread maker looks intimidating at first but it is actually very simple to use. You adjust each setting with the turn of the dial (which for me was the hardest part to learn) – making changes for the type of bread, loaf size and the crust colour (light, medium or dark). Once you have added all of your ingredients, adjusted the settings – it does the rest for you. You can literally just step away and enjoy the smell of the bread rising, warming and baking.

The clean up? Surprisingly very simple. My husband teased me a bit thinking that the machine would be messy on the inside but I could clean the inside with a paper towel. There was no sticky dough left in the machine (similar to when you make the bread by hand) and the pan that contains the ingredients was simple to wash in the sink. Nothing stuck to any of the parts, except for a bit of dry crust on the mixer piece.

Hamilton Beach has a great selection of recipes on their website – we have been using the French bread and Italian Parmesan recipes. Both have become huge hits in our home and take roughly three to four hours to bake with roughly a five minute prep time. So no excuses for not being able to make fresh bread, you can whip those ingredients out and have them in the machine in five to ten minutes.

The bread always came out perfectly, despite being paranoid the whole time that it wouldn’t work. The first time we made the french bread we realized we didn’t like the recommended crust colour (it came out a bit harder, which I know french bread can be but my kids like their bread softer) so the next time we went for a medium and it was perfect. Be careful when you are removing the pan from the machine, it gets very hot! I burnt the edge of my finger on the fourth time, but everyone was so excited to snag a piece of bread that they didn’t notice I hurt myself (no worries, it didn’t even blister!).

The bread maker made it possible for us to enjoy delicious home made bread with minimal effort, mess and clean up. Every recipe came out exactly as expected and added that missing piece from my childhood.

Do you have a baker in the family? This would make a perfect gift for the holiday season for them. The machine is roughly $149 Canadian, you can find more details on their website here.

Make sure to follow Hamilton Beach on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with the latest recipes and products!

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned product in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Your Home, Your Oasis – Keep it Fresh with Febreze Air Purifier


I love my home – I can not wait to come home from a busy day at work to throw off my shoes, get into comfy clothes and just unwind with my kids before we are back out the door for soccer practices. I know I am not alone in this, your home should be the one place in the world that is your special place where you can escape the craziness of life.

The only complaint I have?

Between two dogs and two active young boys, our home can become stinky and full of dust quite fast. There are weeks that I feel I can not keep up with the dust, dog dander and the smell from the soccer cleats (honestly – how is it even possible that cleats can become so stinky???).

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

But look at those adorable faces – I wouldn’t change it for anything even when you come home and have to clean before you can relax.

To top it off, both of my boys and myself have allergies and asthma which means we have to be extra careful in the home with dust and the dog dander. To combat the allergies and dog dander in the home and to prevent medical flare ups, we make sure that we follow the steps below:

  • Limit the amount of carpet in the house. Our main floors and bedrooms are laminate which makes it easier to spot the dust and vacuum on a regular basis. I know this isn’t the most budget friendly option for every home but this has definitely helped us out as a family.
  • Change dog bedding three times a week. Our eldest dog has a skin condition that I like to explain to others as similar to dandruff. Her skin is always itchy and she constantly scratches and pulls off layers of skin and fur. When she has a flare up, we have to be careful and ensure we are vacuuming her sleeping area and keeping her blankets clean to remove the flakes from the floor. For reasons that the vet can not explain, when she has these flare ups her skin also becomes oily and emits a foul smell.
  • Chore charts to include our children in the dusting, vacuuming and dog walks. We have tried many different methods in the past but we found that recording their completion of chores on the fridge puts a competitive edge to their chores and helps get it done.

The number one item that we have introduced into our home to help improve air quality? A Febreze Air purifier.

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

This air filter comes in three sizes (table top, mini tower and tower) and has the ability to trap up to 99% of the most common airborne particles like dust, pollen and pet dander with the added bonus of the famous Febreze scents.

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

We used the tower for the toughest area in our home, the living room, and the table top for the bedroom. Once you have decided on the most appropriate size for the area, set up is extremely easy. We literally pulled the system out, removed the taping, inserted the filter and Febreze cartridge and the unit was ready to go.

Your Home, Your Oasis - Keep it Fresh with Febreze

We noticed a marked improvement in as little as a day – when the units were operating you didn’t notice the smell from our dogs and the dust didn’t bother us, the air quality in our home was greatly improved. When you forgot to turn the units on and came home, the smells and air quality hit you like a wall (for me I feel it the worst in my sinuses with instant sinus pain, sneezing and irritation).

You can choose from three air cleaning settings on the unit, we had a personal preference for the highest setting for a good portion of the day and using the middle setting at night. The setting choice would come down to how tough the area is with the air particles and smell, since our family spends a great amount of time in our living room and on the main floor – we needed the strongest setting to combat the smells and dust/pet dander. The same applies to the scent setting, you can choose how strong you want the Febreze scent to be. The units are discreet and can be placed in any room without distracting from your décor.

Are you fighting dust and indoor particles? Use my tips above and check out this helpful video that provides you with additional steps to keep your living room clean, fresh and free from airborne particles:

How do you help control and eliminate airborne particles in your home and keep your home smelling fresh?

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Better Life: Making #CleanHappensCA for the Whole Family #giveaway

After having kids I realized how important it was for me to make healthy and natural choices for our family. It wasn’t as if I was not doing this before but I became more conscious of my decisions after kids. I wanted to use products that would be not only safe for my kids but also for the environment. Trying to find a cleaning product that is natural and does an excellent job at cleaning the house was a challenge. Not to mention convincing my husband that cleaning products that do not contain bleach are just as effective as ones with bleach in it! Remember the whole idea that everything should be bleached? I think many of us may have grown up with this belief!

Better Life products were developed by two Dads who wanted to take the toxins out of their cleaning supplies. They wanted products that were natural, safe and unbeatable in performance. To be honest who doesn’t want this? Especially with a home full of children and pets who rely on us to protect them from harsh chemicals that could hurt them.

The Better Life brand stands by their promise to provide safe products and each product is:

  • hypoallergenic (a bonus for those with allergies and respiratory conditions)
  • synthetic fragrance free
  • sulfate and petroleum free
  • solvent free
  • cruelty free (they are not tested on animals)
  • no dyes or alcohol

Better Life uses plant derived products and essential oils to create their unique cleaning solutions. The essential oils leave a pleasant smell that doesn’t linger long so it won’t bother noses.

One of my favourite Better Life products is their what-EVER all purpose cleaner. Not only is the name awesome but you can literally use this product on anything and everything. We used it to clean the stove, the kitchen counters, kitchen table, bathroom sink and the list goes on and on. It performed amazing each and every time – no extra muscle was needed to remove the spills off the stove (this was my husband’s fear – that you would need more to do the same job as a regular cleaner). The what-EVER! all purpose cleaner comes in both scent free and Clary sage and citrus (my personal favourite!).

Dish It Out Natural Dish Liquid was another hit in our home. Although we have a dishwasher we still hand wash all of our pots, pans, containers and fragile glass. Dish It Out also comes in the same two formats as the what-EVER all purpose cleaner. It removes grease easily and because it is sulfate free it will not harm your hands (no more gloves needed!).
Even the Kitchen Sink works literally on everything including your kitchen sink. It is the product to use when you need that little extra to get off stains, food and even marks on the wall! 
Take It For Granite works to clean, polish and shine all your high end counter tops (granite, marble slate, concrete). It is safe to use on your counter tops and wont damage them.
Einshine Stainless Steel cleaner is used to clean the stainless steel appliances in your home. We don’t currently own any so I gave them to my co-worker who LOVES it. She found it cleaned well and left no streaks or smudges.
Simply Floored removes the need to carry around a bucket full of dirty water around with you while cleaning the floors in your home. All you need to do is spray the product on the floor and wipe off. No need to put water on to wipe off the solution. I actually enjoyed cleaning the bathroom floors when I used this – never has it been this simple before! Simply Floored was also named the top all surface cleaner by Real Simple! 
We were also given a bottle of Automatic Magic dishwasher gel. We have currently been using the pod like dishwasher gels from Costco and notice that many times they do not release all of the soap or it gets stuck on our glasses (yuck!). One squirt is all that is needed for regular loads (two for larger loads) and it left no streaks on any of the glasses and left our dishes sparkling.
Better Life even has laundry detergent – their Spin Credible laundry detergent comes in two styles: Lavender Grapefruit and Free & Clear. I have never been so excited to do laundry – I love all lavender scented products!! The bottle is ultra concentrated allowing you to get 64 loads per a bottle and is compatible with both standard and HE machines. 
The best feature of Better Life products? They are so safe and natural to use that you do not have to worry about letting your child use them to help you clean! Children love to clean but none of us want to let them use harsh chemicals (what if they spray it in their eyes, get it on their skin or what if they ingest it somehow?!!). My boys were able to get in on all the cleaning action this week and we loved it!
Better Life products can now be found in Canada and are sold exclusively at Target! You can find their products in the regular cleaning aisles.
Make sure to follow Better Life on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to keep up to date with new info.
Better Life is giving my Canadian readers a chance to win a Better Life package of products valued at $50.00! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products free of charge. All opinions expressed are mine alone. 

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The 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Submission Form

Holiday season will soon be here (our boys are so excited that they have already started to plan their holiday wish lists!). This year is a very special year for me here on the blog and will mark the very first Holiday Gift Guide at Working Mommy Journal – something I am very excited to put together.


We are now accepting submissions for the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide until November 10th, 2014 in the following categories:

  • Stocking stuffers
  • Gifts for him or her
  • Children’s gifts
  • Personalized gifts
  • Gifts for the home

We have several options available for you and we are always happy to work with you to ensure the best possible exposure. All options will include:

  • Original and creative post featuring the product.
  • Original photos.
  • Inclusion in the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Page.
  • Inclusion in the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Pinterest Board.
  • Two to three no-follow links of your choosing.
  • Social media syndication including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Google + with all links reported back to you.

Package options include:

  • Review only with a product value over $50 CDN (no fees assigned).
  • Review only with a product value under $50 CDN (a possible fee will be assigned after discussion).
  • Review & Giveaway – This options provides greater exposure for your product and brand. No fee will be assigned. 
  • Product feature will be treated as a sponsored post with a fee of $50 CDN.
  • Product feature with a giveaway will also be treated as a sponsored post with a fee of $25 CDN.

Important guidelines to remember:

  • All giveaways MUST be open to Canadians. Your giveaway can also be open to residents of the US or WW.
  • Shipping and any related costs of giveaway prizes is the responsibility of the company.
  • Giveaway prizes must have a minimum value of $25 CDN.
  • Review products will not be returned.
  • All shipping costs will be covered by the company – we are located in Canada so please keep that in mind as well.
  • All fees are payable via Pay Pal

Please fill out the form below or email me at: – I look forward to working with you this holiday season!

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