Friday, December 17, 2010

Empire Theatre Coupons!

I love going to the movies. Before I became a mom, my husband and I would go to the movies once a week. Since becoming a busy mom of two, I don't go to the movies as often as I used to, but when I do get the chance, I love every second—especially the popcorn!

With one week left until Christmas, I am pretty much finished my holiday shopping. The easiest people to shop for are my children, because I know what they love and what they want. I have the most fun selecting their 'big ticket' items that Santa will bring them, and I have fun shopping for their stocking stuffers and other gifts, too.

The hardest person to shop for? My husband! He always buys himself whatever he wants, leaving me with no good ideas! This year, I am thinking of sticking a gift certificate to Empire Theatres in his stocking, so that we can enjoy a night out.

Did you know that this year, when you purchase $30 in Empire Theatres' Gift Cards, you'll receive $30 in Empire Theatres Coupons? Inside the booklet, you'll find 2 for 1 deals, and discounts on popcorn and so much more. A great stocking stuffer idea! This awesome booklet is like the gift that keeps on giving—the coupons are valid in 2011, and each coupon is valid for a one month period.

You can pick up your coupons either at the theatres or online.

Offer expires December 24th, and only good while quantities last, so hurry to get your booklet of goodies soon!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Empire 'Give and Get' program by Mom Central on behalf of Empire Theatres. I received an Empire gift card and coupon bundle as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The perfect present!

Can you believe Christmas is almost here? It's only three weeks away! Our shopping days are limited. And you know what the scary part is? I have only managed to buy a couple of presents so far—I'm so behind!

If you're still looking for a cool idea on what to buy that 'hard to shop for person' on your list, how about getting them awesome leather messanger bags from CSN Stores? So many to choose from, and these bags would also make a great diaper bag for someone, too!

CSN Stores has offered to give me this amazing play kitchen to review—my amost three year old son is going to LOVE it!


I can't wait to see the expression on his face when he sees what Santa got him on Christmas morning! I'm sure it will provide countless hours of entertainment for him and his older brother.

Stay tuned for my review on this fabulous play kitchen!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tanged: a movie review

I have loved Disney animated movies ever since I was a little girl. Bambi, Cinderella, Finding Nemo, Aladdin and The Lion King are some of my favourite Disney classics. Last weekend I was invited to the premier of Disney's new film, Tangled, and I fell in love! Tangled has definitely been added to my list of 'favourite' Disney films!


I took my five year old son and his three cousins to see Tangled in 3D and we were all captivated the entire movie. My son absolutely loved the movie—it's great for the entire family.

Of course, like with most Disney films, I cried in the first 10 minutes, and again, like with most Disney films, I was laughing for pretty much the rest of the movie.

Tangled is about Rapunzel (voiced by Mandy Moore) who has lived her entire life inside a tower, kept there by her controlling 'mother', Mother Gothel, who in fact is evil—she stole Rapunzel from her parents when she was just a baby (sob!) because her golden hair contained the magical power to keep Mother Gothel young and attractive. Mother Gothel is a great villain—you can't help but dislike her and her manipulative ways! She's also... likeable, too, in a strange way.

Of course, Flynn Rider (voiced by Zachary Levi) enters the picture and the Tangled story begins! Confident and handsome Flynn has wit, charm, and good looks—and he knows it. He's also a thief who gets held hostage by Rapunzel, and well... you'll just have to see the movie to find out what happens next.



Tangled made me cry and laugh and I recommend it to all my friends—young or old! It's one of those awesome movies that will have you leaving the theatre with a smile.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Aquafresh Advanced Futures contest!

What do you wish for your children?

Every day, I think about my children and their future. I think about the things that they'll do, the places they'll go, and what they'll become.

I watch my children developing and I wonder what they'll be when they grow up. My children have such distinct personalities, and I know they'll both do great things in life.

No matter what, I will support them, and I'll be the proudest mom at every graduation ceremony and at every event, whether it is a soccer game or spelling bee.

I wish for nothing but the best for my children; for health, happiness and success, and for them to find their passion and to make their dreams a reality.

Of course, saving money for their future is something that was started the day they were born. I want to make sure there is enough money saved up for their education, future vacations, and to help them get started out when they want to buy a house (next to mine, of course!) when they're older.

Aquafresh Advanced Futures has a contest going on right now where all you have to do is share your wish for a chance to win a $10,000 RESP courtesy of the new Aquafresh Advanced—how amazing is that?

Contest closes on November 30th, so go enter now! After you enter, you can read other people's wishes for their chidren—these wishes will surely bring a smile to your face.

Since we're also on the topic of toothpaste (thanks, Aquafresh!) here are some helpful tips on getting your children brushing twice a day:

Make it a habit! Children should get into a routine, brushing their teeth in the morning and before bedtime, for at least two minutes. Remember that a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is enough for a child under the age of six.

What are your tips for getting your children to brush their teeth? Leave me a comment below and you'll be entered to win a Philips Sonicare for Kids Toothbrush valued at $70 and Aquafresh Advanced toothpaste!

I'll pick a winner randomly on November 30th.

Disclosure:I am participating in the Aquafresh Advanced Futures program by Mom Central on behalf of GSK. I received a sample of Aquafresh Advanced and a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Where to go for your holiday shopping!

It's that time of year again—time to start your holiday shopping because Christmas is right around the corner! If you're like me and and are pressed for time and don't want to spend hours in a crowded mall in December, CSN Stores is the place to go to for all your on-line shopping needs.

CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can literally find everything from stylish handbags to modern bar furntiure and even great cookware.

I also love the home office furniture they have—so many things to choose from for the home!

CSN Stores also carries everything you need for your baby and children—furniture, educational toys, diaper bags, strollers and so much more.




It can really be your one-stop shop for everything you need to buy this holiday season!

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lilac Lingerie: lingerie giveaway!

I was recently asked to MC the Grand Opening of a new lingerie store in Westboro called Lilac Lingerie.

I met one of the owners at a cosmetics gala I was co-hosting at The Bay, and I was very flattered when I was asked to be a part of Lilac Lingerie's opening night. Westboro is one of the coolest places in Ottawa—very hip and urban—with many fine specialty stores and restaurants. Lilac Lingerie is a perfect addition to Richmond Road.

The Grand Opening was a huge success—with giveaways going on throughout the night, champagne and signature martini's flowing freely, cupcakes from The Flour Shoppe, and relaxing hand massages from Renu Spa—it was a great night.




Lilac Lingerie is a beautiful and intimate lingerie store where the owners pay attention to detail, carry the finest designer lingerie, and help you find exactly what you're looking for. They also carry Cake Lingerie—a maternity and nursing line from Australia.

Cake lingerie and Lilac Lingerie are offering one of my lucky readers a set from Cake's Let's Them Eat Cake line, worth $80.


If you'd like to get your hands on some fancy maternity lingerie, just leave me a comment below.

For an bonus entry, becoming a follower of Loulou's Reviews.

Good Luck! I'll pick a winner randomly on November 22nd.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tangled: Family four pass giveaway!

Are you children buzzing with excitement about the new Disney movie Tangled? I can tell you one thing—I sure am! I love Disney movies, and this one looks fantastic! I wonder, though—will I be crying at some point during this movie? I've yet to see a Disney film that didn't make me cry!

Here's what Tangled is all about:

When the kingdom’s most wanted—and most charming—bandit Flynn Rider (voice of Zachary Levi) is taken hostage by Rapunzel (voice of Mandy Moore), a feisty teen with 70 feet of golden hair who’s looking for her ticket out of the tower where she’s been locked away for years, the unlikely duo sets off on a hilarious, hair-raising escapade filled with adventure, heart, humor and hair—lots of hair.




If you're dying to see Tangled, you're in lucky, because I'm giving away a family four pass!
If you and your family are free at 10 o'clock a.m. on November 20th, then you should enter this giveaway! The movie will be taking place at Silver City Gloucester.



Just leave me a comment below telling me what Disney movie is your favourite!

I will pick a winner randomly on November 18th.

Good Luck!



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mini Mioche: Giveaway!

Sometimes, it's hard to find really nice clothes for children—sure, I shop at the usual Gap Kids, Gymboree, and Children's Place for the most part, with some Lacoste, Burberry and Polo throw in there as well, but somtimes, I want to find items that are more unique and stylish. That's why I was so excited to start working with Mini Mioche last summer. Mini Mioche is a wonderful Canadian children's clothing company that makes fabulous and stylish clothes for girls and boys.

As a Mini Mioche Ambassador, my little one was lucky to have some clothes sent to him last summer and again this fall. Since I'm really picky when it comes to the quality of clothes I put on my children, I was thrilled that I was asked to work with Mini Mioche. Their fall line up is amazing!

Mini Mioche has the usual basics and fashion styles, the absolute softest organic cotton, great fitting products, and a variety of solid colors—which is great when you're the mom of two boys!

Each piece is designed and made in Toronto, and the clothes are made from 100% organic cotton. Mini Mioche is sold in fine baby and children's boutiques in Canada, the United States and online.

My 2 year old received the softest grey sweater and brown long-sleeved shirt from the fall line, and these two tops have been my 'go to' items when getting him dressed in the morning. He loves the 'soft', too.

I am so excited to say that Mini Mioche is giving away an item from their fall line to you! All you have to do is head over to Mini Mioche and pick out your favourite piece.

Leave me a comment below about why you love the piece you chose. I will randomly pick a winner on November 30th!

BONUS! If you feel like doing some online shopping, you can use this discount code: MCFALL, for a 20% discount on online orders! But hurry—get your Christmas shopping done now, because that discount is only valid until November 30th!

Disclosure: I am participating in a Mini Mioche ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf Mini Mioche. I received an outfit for my child to try as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cheerios Milestones

Children grow up way too quickly. Every milestone my children reached was very bittersweet for me.

I remember vividly the day each one of my children started walking across the room. Now that I think back to those early baby days, I miss them terribly! From first smiles to first words, milestones are things to celebrate—while shedding a few tears, too. The pictures of my children sitting in their high chairs with Cheerios scattered about the tray table will always be priceless to me. Cheerios were a huge 'snack' food in our house. Easy for our babies to eat on their own, safe, and healthy. Cheerios are a staple breakfast food in my house, too—I'm a big fan of cereal in the morning!

Cheerios is celebrating your special milestones and rewarding you, too!

All you have to do is go here and upload a favourite picture to be entered for a chance to be one of 20 finalists to appear on a special edition Cheerios box and win Cheerios for a year!

PLUS one lucky grand prize winner will walk away with $10,000 towards an RESP fror TD Canada Trust! Contest ends on December 15th, 2010.

BONUS! Leave me a comment below sharing a story about one of your children's milestones for the chance to win a Cheerios playbook—perfect for learning and fun! I'll randomly pick a winner by November 8th and have your Cheerios book mailed out to you!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Cheerios Milestones program by Mom Central on behalf of General Mills. I received a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Moon Kitchen COOKIES: Yummy Giveaway!

At BlogHer 2010 in New York City, I received a ton of fabulous swag. So much so, that the night before I had to leave, I stayed up until 4 a.m. trying to pack everything back in my suitcase!

One of the yummmiest items I received were some New Moon Kitchen cookies. I was extremely happy when I was contacted by this company and asked to do a review and giveaway of their cookies.


New Moon Kitchen cookies are available in various stores throughout the United States, and are now being sold at Farm Boy in Ottawa.

Not only are these some of the best cookies I've ever had—they are also healthy! And safe for your children to bring to school! The cookies are allergy-friendly, made from 100% organic spelt flour, and are kosher, nut, dairy and preservative free.

When I first read that, I wasn't sure how yummy they would be. Let me tell you, after devouring the entire box of Oatmeal cookies, they are GREAT. My children loved them, too. In fact, I had to hide the boxes from them. I know, how awful of me!

Would you like to win some New Moon Kitchen cookies? Of course you do! Just leave me a comment below and I'll pick a winner randomly on November 1st. Ne Moon Kitchen will then send you a package of fresh, ready-to-devour cookies! We should all be off our sugar-high from Halloween by then, right?


New Moon Kitchen is an all-natural gourmet bakery that has been dedicated to making delicious and healthy baked goods since 1997. They carry eight varieties of cookies along with cakes, breads and their own brand of granola. Products can be found at fine food and health food stores across Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec, with plans of expansion across North America. I received a variety of cookies to review as part of my review and giveaway.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cow and the Moon stationary giveaway!

You may not know this about me (or, maybe you do, since I tend to say a lot online!) but I LOVE stationary. I love paper and I love cards. I love receiving cards in the mail, and I especially love mailing out cards to people on their birthdays and for Christmas.

My friend Kelly has an awesome company called Cow and the Moon, and she makes super cute cards that I just cannot get enough of, including some very original invitation and birthday cards.

Seriously, look:


So cute, right? Kelly was so nice, she gave me an assortment of cards for myself, including the bird on a tree cards, the awesome cards, and the bubble thank you cards. My personal favourites are the itty bitties cards - the birch tree, the awesome itty bitties and my absolute favourite - the lovin' itty bitties.

Guess how awesome Kelly is? She's generously giving away an entire set to one of my lucky readers, too! (Thank you!)

And now all you have to do to win the set? Leave me a comment below! Do you love stationary as much as I do?

I'll randomly pick a winner on October 18th. Contest is open to US and Canadian residents!

Good Luck!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Children's Play Kitchen review from CSN Stores!

I have worked with CSN Stores several times before, and when they contacted me and asked me to do another review of one of their amazing products, I quickly said yes.

CSN Stores have literally thousands of amazing items for the house—everything from kitchen gadgets, to bar stools, to children's furniture and toys. CSN Stores include over 200 online stores where you can find literally anything you're looking for. Like handbags. And gorgeous furniture. And lamps.

I'm excited that I've been given the chance to review this amazing play kitchen:



My 2 and a half year old will love this! I think it will make a great Christmas gift from Santa, don't you?

Monday, October 4, 2010

SECRETARIAT: Family 4 pass giveaway!

When I was recently contacted by Walt Disney Studios Motions Pictures Canada to go the press screening of the movie SECRETARIAT, I was really excited because I'm a huge fan of both stars of the movie, Diane Lane and John Malkovich.


Based on the remarkable true story, SECRETARIAT chronicles the spectacular journey of the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Housewife and mother Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over her ailing father’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables, despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge. Against all odds, Chenery—with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich)—manages to navigate the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and what may be the greatest racehorse of all time.

The movie is the story of a hero: a massive, chestnut-colored horse, known to his friends and family as Big Red. Everyone else calls him Secretariat. The movie is also about another hero—Penny Chenery Tweedy, whose faith in this horse galvanized the nation, revolutionizing horse racing and ultimately, changing her life's course completely.

I'm giving away a famiy four pass to SECRETARIAT for Wednesday, October 6th at 7:00 p.m. at Silver City, Gloucester.


Leave me a comment if you're interested in attending!


I'll pick a winner randomly tomorrow.





Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Live Clean Baby giveaway!

Congrats number 6 - Lady Mama! Email me your address!


As a mom of two young children, I'm very picky when selecting products to use on their fine baby skin. We usually stick to brands that are trusted and true, like Johnson's Baby Shampoo and lotions.

However, I was recently introduced to the Live Clean Baby line, and I instantly fell in love. The products can be used for children and adults, and when I received the Live Clean Baby line, I used the Baby Bath, Shampoo and Wash, Baby Lotion and Non-Petroleum Jelly on my boys—and myself—and we were all happy with the results. I would give the Live Clean Baby line to any friend with a new baby—that's how much I love the products! Live Clean also makes a bar soap for children that is lightly scented, as well as a fragrant free bar for babies with extra sensitive skin.

Live Clean was the first company to take 'green beauty' out of the health food stores and into stores where more Canadians shops. You can find Live Clean products on the shelves at the Superstore, Loblaws, and WalMart, to name a few.

The best part about Live Clean is that the products—from the soaps to the shampoo to the moisturizers—are not only luxurious, but are also environmentally-responsible products that are good for the Earth. Live Clean formulations are made with 96% replenishable, renewable and sustainable plant ingredients that are as good for the earth as they are for your body

Live Clean would also like to give one of my readers the entire Live Clean baby line! All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment below!

I will randomly pick a winner on September 27th.

Good Luck!






Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Turbo Dogs DVD Giveaway!

Congrats to the winners: Mom2Michael, Shannon, and Shannon! Please email me your address!

A few months ago, while watching CBC in the morning with my children, we stumbled across a new show called Turbo Dogs.

My children are not huge television watchers, but they instantly liked this show! Turbo Dogs is about a group of, well, dogs who also happen to be race car drivers. Dash, Mags, G7, Strut, Stinkbert and Clutch are the towns 'turbo dogs' and even though they are very competitive, as well as local celebrities in their city - they try to remember that winning isn't everything!

Turbo Dogs is funny, action-packed, colourful, and it teaches children positive messages. It also won the 2009 Parents Choice Award.

Turbo Dogs was adapted by the picture "Racer Dogs" by Bob Kolar, and the show was created by the producers of Veggie Tales.

Your children can watch Turbo Dogs on CBC every Monday to Friday at 7:15 and 11:15 a.m.

I'm happy to announce that I'm giving away 3 Turbo Dogs DVD's, each featuring 7 episodes, to 3 lucky readers!



If you would like to win a copy of the DVD, all you have to do is leave me a comment below.

Good Luck!

3 winners will be picked randomly on September 20th.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Summer may be over, but Lay's Chip Trips are not!

It was a great experience being one of the Lay's Chip Trips Ambassadors!

This summer, my family was able to experience some of the great perks Lay's Chip Trips had to offer simply by collecting points with Lay's Chips, things like free kids meals at Boston Pizza, half-price at the Marriott hotel, free meals at Subway, and so much more!

All you have to do is get yourself a bag of any flavour of Lay's Chips, enjoy, and then submit the points online to redeem your savings on a number of amazing attractions and places - from discounts at museums, amusements parks, restaurants, and so much more, there is something fun for the entire family to enjy!

The Lay's Chip Trips program will remain open until December 31st, 2010, so there is still plenty of time for your to redeem your points for some fun across Canada!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Lay’s® Chip Trips program by Mom Central on
behalf of Frito Lay Canada. I received Lay’s® Chip Trips points and a gift card to off-set my trip costs to facilitate this post. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Win a back-to-school gift basket from Avery Demison!

Congratulations to lucky number 4, REBECCA! Yay!

One of my favourite things about going back-to-school was the shopping. Not only for new clothes and boots, but for actual school items like pens, binders, and Hi-Liters. I love school supply shopping!

When I was at the Avery sponsored SocialLuxe party during BlogHer in New York City this past August, I started thinking about my son going back to school, and how it meant that I'd have to start buying supplies again—and that made me very excited! (I was also busy eating lots of fine Ghirardelli chocolate, which was so delish, I almost forgot to bring some back home for my boys!)

Well, the fabulous folks at Avery Demison have put together this amazing back-to-school gift basket filled with everything you need (or everything your child needs) to return to school. Or, for you to use at work. Or at home.

The products in this gift basket are amazing! You'll receive Avery NoteTabs, Label Pads, Hi-Liters, Glue Stics, Labels, Binders, Dividers, Markers and more—a retail value of $50!





One of my readers will get all this without even having to go shopping for their must-have back-to-school items! How fabulous, right?

Avery has also put together a sweepstake just for teachers! If you're a teacher, you can also enter the Avery Celebrates Teachers Sweepstakes here. In honour of all that teachers do for children on a daily basis, (did you know that teachers on average spend $500 of their own money on supplies for their students?) this sweepstake aims to alleviate some of the financial burden they spend on supplies throughout the year.

The Avery Celebrates Teachers Sweepstakes closes on September 15th so enter now! Here is the link to the rules. Contest open to U.S. residents only.

The grand prize package includes: a goodie bag of Avery products valued at $500, a SpaFinder gift card valued at $350, and a Starbucks gift card valued at $150.

Three second prize packages valued at $200 each.

Five third price packages valued at $80 each.

If you would like to enter to win this awesome gift basket, just leave me a comment below!

I'll pick a winner on September 12th, randomly.

GOOD LUCK!

Disclosure:I will be receiving products from Avery and an AveryGift Basket valued at $50 to give away to one of my readers and in return I am getting the word out about the Avery Teachers Sweepstakes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Thermos giveaway: Lunch Kit, Straw Bottle and Food Jar!

Updated: Congrats lucky number 16 on winning the Thermos package! Email me your info!

Can you believe it's almost time for back to school? While some of you may be singing along to the Staples commercial, happy to see your little ones go back, I'm feeling... well, okay. I am kind of excited, too! I'm not nervous like last year, when my oldest son was starting kindergarten for the first time - instead, I'm happy because I know he'll do amazing!

One of my favourite things about going back to school was the shopping, of course. My son doesn't seem to share the same enthusiasm as me, but that's okay!

Last year, I looked all over for a cute backpack and lunch kit for my son to use at school, and I finally found the perfect set at Pottery Barn Kids.

This year, Thermos sent me the new blue camo lunch kit, fun-tainer straw bottle, and fun-tainer food jar. My son loves his new lunch kit, bottle, and food jar!

The lunch kit is heat sealed, leak-proof, and contains a PEVA lining. With IsoTec technology, contents stay fresh and safe from spillage. (It's really nice, and easy to carry, too!)

The fun-tainer straw bottles keeps drinks cold for up to 12 hours, thanks to the ThermaMax vacuum insulation technology. The neat thing about this drinking bottle is the push button lid with pop-up straw for easy sipping. Perfect for the little ones!

I can pack something warm for my son to eat in the fun-tainer food jar, too - the jar keeps food hot for 5 hours! It's also a great container to put sliced fruit in, because it keeps food cold for 7 hours.

Of course, I'm not the only one who gets to enjoy these fabulous new products!

Thermos is giving away one of each to one of my lucky readers, too! That's right - you can win a lunch kit, fun-tainer straw bottle and fun-tainer food jar just in time for school!

You can choose from either the pink camo set, the peace sign set, or the green army set. See pictures below.

All you have to do to win? Leave me a comment telling me if you're excited about your children starting school again!

Bonus entry: Become a follower of this blog!

Good Luck - I will pick a winner on August 24th! Contest open to U.S. and Canadian citizens.




Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Fun!

My family and I recently went to Mont Tremblant for our summer vacation. Mont Tremblant is always a gorgeous place to visit, and we were excited to take our children there for the first time.

We got there in the new GMC Terrain, thanks to GM Canada. The ride up was a great one, despite the couple of times we had to make emergency stops due to car-sickness! (The children, not me!) However, my boys loved the vehicle, and it was roomy enough to fit all our luggage, too.



We stayed at the lovely Marriott Hotel, and thanks to the Lays Chip Trips campaign, we were able to enjoy 50% off our second night at the Marriott. It was such a great deal and something that was super easy to attain, too! The Marriott offered free buffet breakfast for the whole family, which was a great deal, and the hotel had a great pool for the kids to enjoy, as well.

Mont Tremblant is stunning during the winter months, but it's just as breathtaking in the summer, too - and there is so much to do for the entire family!

We had fun taking the gondola rides over and over again, looking at the beautiful views, taking a boat ride on the lake, swimming in the pool and enjoying the new water park in the village.







We can't wait to go back - hopefully in the winter!

For more great suggestions on where to go for family fun, Lays Chip Trips has also partnered with the Canadian Tourism Commission to bring you all the information you need about where to go with the entire family in Canada. Check out the new website to see all the great deals.

There is so much to explore and so much to do in this gorgeous country!




Disclosure - I am participating in the Lay’s® Chip Trips program by Mom Central onbehalf of Frito Lay Canada. I received Lay’s® Chip Trips points and a gift card to off-set my tripcosts to facilitate this post. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Playhouse Disney Canada Blog Tour!

Congrats to the winner, lucky number 5! Email me your address! Thank you!

My children are not huge television watchers, especially in the summer months, but there are some shows they enjoy watching - like recently, they discovered the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Handy Manny, thanks to my involvement in the Playhouse Disney Canada Blog Tour.


Playhouse Disney is a channel that moms have come to respect because the programming features quality shows and content that both kids and parents can like! There is something for children of all ages to enjoy.

And it's pretty cool to see our favourite characters from when we were young (Mickey Mouse! Goofy! Donald Duck!) come to life again for our children.

To show you how great Playhouse Disney is, I'm giving away a prize pack to one of you lucky readers! The prize pack includes:
- A DVD with 5 full episodes of Handy Manny, Imagination Movers, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso and My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

- Pencils and a magnetic pen.

- Colouring magnets.

All you have to do is leave me a comment about your child's favourite Disney show for your chance to win!

Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only and I'll pick a winner randomly on August 18th.
Good Luck!

I am particiapting in the Playhouse Disney program by Mom Central. I received a Playhouse Disney prize pack and a thank you gift card to facilitate this post. The opinions on thsi blog are my own.



Tuesday, August 3, 2010

iTunes giveaway!

Congrats Mom2Micael! You're the lucky winner! Email me your address! Thanks!

I don't know about your children, by my boys, who are 5 and 2, have almost no problems at all with using mine and my husband's iPhone and iPad. They're so young, and yet, they're very familiar with touch screen technology as well as finding the things they're looking for on our devices - such as games, stories, and songs! I wonder what the future has in store for our children, who are already so tech-savvy? Good things, I'm sure!

My 5 year old loves the app 'Elements' on our iPad, and he certainly knows more about the periodic table of elements than I do! He also loves playing the game Memory on the iPad and he has a few favourite apps on the iPhone, as well. My 2 year old loves the app Talking Carl - he laughs and laughs!

Now we have something new to add to the list of fun apps our boys love! I was selected to be part of the My Living Stories Blog Tour, which is amazing, since like I mentioned, by boys love using our iPhone's! My husband always downloads fun apps for them, and now we are adding this one to our list, too.

The My Living Stories apps combine beautiful artwork, narration and interactive features in an easy to use platform that is perfect for preschoolers to read along all on their own! It's a great way to entertain the kids on road trips, while teaching them to read, too. Bonus! Interactive sounds and animation bring your children's favourite stories to life - it's very neat! Another amazing feature? The ability to record your OWN voice to go along with the story - how cool is that?

Some of the My Living Stories include The Princess and the Pea, The Tortoise and the Hare, Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. My oldest son loves Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears!

How about a chance for you win a $25 gift card to iTunes?

All you have to do is leave me a comment telling me which My Living Stories story you think your children would love the most.

Bonus entry: What do you think the best apps for children are? Let me know in a seperate comment!

This iTunes giveaway is open to Canadian residents only, and I'll pick a winner on August 9th!
Readers may enter the contest on multiple blogs but are only eligible to win one iTunes gift card as part of the My Living Stories contest.

Disclosure: I am participating in the My Living Stories program by Mom Central on behalf of Decode Entertainment. I received 3 free apps and a gift card as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I'm giving away a bottle of yummy Merlot. Yes, a WINE giveaway!

“I’ve been fortunate to be able to provide for my children. I want to do my part to make sure other kids get the opportunities in life they deserve." (Stuntman Stu)

Several years ago, I worked with a local television station on a show called Ottawa Living - which was - you guessed it - all about living in Ottawa! I was the 'Girl Around Town' and the show was hosted by a local radio personality, Stuntman Stu.

Recently, Stuntman Stu (who can be heard every morning on 93.9 BOB FM) launched his own wine label to raise money for the Sens Foundation. The Sens Foundation is an organization that supports hundreds of local charities dedicated to improving the lives of children.

Two dollars from the sale of every bottle goes to the Sens Foundation. Stuntman Stu teamed up with Ottawa sommelier Debbie Trenholm, president of SavvyCompany for this fun project. Because I am no good as describing wine to other people other than saying: "It was SO good! You have to try this wine!" I'm going to use a quote from Debbie Trenholm to describe the taste of this amazing Merlot: "This medium-bodeid Merlot has aromas and tastes of black cherry and plum, with a peppery finish. It is smooth and easy to drink with anything from pizza to barbeque steak."

I was given a bottle of Stuntman Stu's Red Line Merlot VQA 2008 to try and I can honestly say it was one of the best Merlot's I've ever tasted! And, um. I drink a lot of wine! It was smooth and I polished off 2 glasses in a very short period of time.

Do you want to try this yummy wine, too? Well - I am giving away a bottle right here! Just leave me a comment telling me what your favourite type of wine is. I will pick a winner using random.org next Wednesday, August 4th!

Contest is open to anyone who lives in Ottawa, or is willing to come to Ottawa to pick up the yummy bottle of wine!

Good Luck!

Stuntman Stu Red Line Merlot VQA 2008 can be ordered from www.stuntmanstu.com orwww.savvycompany.ca for $19.95 a bottle ($239.40 per 12-bottle case).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fantastic Crayola Giveaway!

Congrats number 37, you are the lucky winner! ModernMom, just send me your address so I can mail you your Crayola products!)

When you think of crayons, what do you think of? If you said Crayola, you're not alone! Crayola products are everywhere in our house, and the only crayons my children use are Crayola crayons because they are so much more vibrant than other brands, and the selection of colours is never ending!

One of my favourite things to do with my children is to draw and make crafts with them - it's our special time and we often do a craft or two every night before bedtime, even if it's just colouring. Also, in the summer, we spend a lot of time having fun with our Crayola Sidewalk Chalk!


As a member of the Crayola’s Mom Advisory Panel, I am fortunate to receive various Crayola products throughout the year to test out with my boys - we love using the Markers, Sidewalk Chalk, Crayons, Color Wonder Stow & Go Studio (especially on road trips!) and the Pip-Squeaks Color Writers.

Well, guess what? It's giveaway time! Crayola is offering one of my lucky readers two amazing products - the Pip-Squeaks Color Writers and the Color Wonder Stow & Go Studio!



The Pip-Squeaks Color Writers are a huge hit with moms and children because you'll never lose the caps of the markers - the cap is attached to the marker, which is a huge bonus because it means you don't have to worry about markers drying out or lost marker lids that could be a choking hazard for infants.

The Color Wonder Stow & Go Studio is a fantastic product that we always take on road trips - it's a perfect activity for summer travel because it has a section for marker storage and a section for book storage, allowing your kids to write while they're in their car seats without a hassle! And if children are happily occupied in the car, it makes for a much more pleasant drive for mom and dad, too!

Would you like to win these great Crayola products? (Of course you would!)

All you have to do is leave me a comment below!

Bonus entries:

Tweet about this giveaway!

Follow Loulou's Reviews and Loulou's Views!

Good Luck! (This contest is open to both US and Canadian residents. I will pick one winner using random.org on July 28th!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lay's Chips Trips Summer Fun!

I'm so excited!

Next weekend we are packing up and heading on a road trip for our little summer vacation to beautiful Mont Tremblant.

Because I'm a Lay's Chips Trips Ambassador, I was able to use some of my points to score 50% off our second night at the Marriott Hotel!

Of course, what's a road trip without some yummy junk food to enjoy en route, right? You can bet you'll see some pictures of us enjoying some 'can't stop at just one' Lay's Chips along the way!

Once we arrive and check-in to our beautiful hotel, we plan on staying busy - taking in the sights of Tremblant, going on the Gondola ride over and over again, eating at some of the fine restaurants in the Village, walking around, doing some shopping, and, of course, swimming in our hotel pool, and exploring the beautiful lake!

We usually go to Tremblant in the winter months, so we're even more excited to experience the beauty of Tremblant in the summer - thanks to Lay's for helping make this trip happen!

Have you signed up with Lay's yet? Once you do, you'll be able to save on so much this summer - from amusement parks and hotels, to restaurants and local attractions! It's so simple - just go here to get yourself started! All you have to do is buy a bag of chips, (I know, I'm twisting your arm, right?) bank your points online, and then... find a trip and redeem your points as you choose! It couldn't be more simple - or more rewarding!




Disclosure - I am participating in the Lay’s® Chip Trips program by Mom Central on behalf of Frito Lay Canada. I received Lay’s® Chip Trip points and a gift card to off-set my trip costs to facilitate this post. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Try not to pee yourself - but - diaper giveaway!

Update: Winners have been selected using random.org. Congrats to: Sherriemae23 - you won TWO packs! And congrats to Krystyn and Lyndsey!

If you have an infant in diapers, this giveaway is for you!

My 2 year old son is almost all toilet trained - thanks in part to his big brother, because everything he does, my little one wants to do, too. However, we're not completely out of the diaper stage just yet!

Huggies has come out with some new diapers - have you seen the 'jeans' diapers? They're pretty cute, don't you think? I was given a pack of the new Huggies Jeans Diapers to try, but they were too small on my 40 pound 2 year old! The company were nice enough to mail me a coupon for another pack of Huggies, though! Thank you!

That doesn't mean you can't get some for your little fashionable babe - however, Huggies Jeans Diapers are here for a limited time only, so if you want your child to wear them, you're going to have hurry! Huggies Jeans Diapers are shaped to fit like classic Huggies Little Movers Diapers - offering great leakage protection moms can trust!


You have a chance to win! I'm giving away 4 packs of Jumbo Huggies diapers right here! The 4 winners will receive a coupon in the mail that will be good for one jumbo pack (any kind!) of Huggies diapers.

To enter:

Leave me a comment!

Bonus entry 1:

Follow Loulou's Reviews and tell me so in a seperate comment.
Bonus entry 2:
Follow @Huggies on Twitter, and tell me you follow them in a seperate comment!

Easy-peasy, right?

This giveaway is open to Canadian and U.S. citizens.

Good Luck! I'll pick a winner on July 13th using random.org.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh, Canada! A story book prize pack worth $200!

Update: Congrats, lucky number 7 - Maria aka BORED MOMMY - you won! Enjoy the prize pack.

One of my most favourite things to do with my children is to read to them. Especially before bedtime. It's a routine I have shared with my oldest son (with my youngest, we're almost at that book before bed routine!) since I can remember.

He has quite a few 'favourite' books we read each night, and he'll select from his vast collection of books the ones he wants me to read to him each night. Of course, some nights, I'll even read the same book twice!

Among his favourite books? Anything by Richard Scarry, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Amelia Bedelia, Down By The Station, and so many more!

Do you remember your favourite bedtime story as a child?

Whatever the book, reading with your children before bedtime is an excellent way for you and your child to share in something special together while creating memories that will last forever.

Despite the busy lifestyles faced by the majority of Canadian families, storytime is something many of them are still making part of their bedtime route. In fact according to a recent survey commissioned by Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal, 88 per cent of parents with children under the age of 12 read a bedtime story to their children on a regular basis.

In an effort to make bedtime easier and to encourage storytime among parents and their children, Kellogg partnered up with Kids Can Press, and is offering a free copy of Per-Henrik Gürth’s Oh, Canada! book with the purchase of specially-marked boxes of Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal while supplies last.

Just in time for Canada Day, the story will take families on a whirlwind tour of Canada to discover all there is to see and do.

We have ABC of Canada by the same author, and my son totally loves it- the illustrations are great, and the book itself is a wonderful read. It was also helpful in getting my son to learn the alphabet.

You don't have to buy a box of Rice Krispies to receive a copy of Oh, Canada! though - all you have to do is leave me a comment below telling me what your favourite bedtime story was when you were a child, and why.

Not only will you win this book, you'll win a gift basket with over $200!


The package includes:

  • A signed copy of Per-Henrick Gürth’s Oh, Canada! book, as well as Canada 123 and ABC of Canada.

  • A child-sized apron and lunch bag monogrammed with Gürth’s familiar Canadiana artwork designs.

  • A warm and soft Rice Krispies snuggle blanket, perfect for storytime.

  • A matching set of two Rice Krispies cereal bowls/spoons.

  • A generous supply of Rice Krispies cereal for the whole family to enjoy!

So go ahead... tell me what your favourite bedtime story was! I will pick a winner randomly on July 4th.


Good Luck, and happy reading!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Giveaway! Keeping YOU protected this summer!

Winner selected by random.org: Karma! Lucky number 2! Congrats to you!

What do Marcia Cross and Matthew McConaughey have in common? They both dress their children in UV Skinz!




The owner of UV Skinz recently sent my boys some stylish, high quality sun protective swim wear, including 2 adorable sun hats to wear during these summer months - and they couldn't have come at a more perfect time, since we spend so much time in the pool and in the sun!

UN Skinz swim wear carries a UPF rating of 50+, blocking out over 98% of the sun's harmful UV rays while at the same time protecting skin from damaging sunburns.
If you're like me, it can sometimes be a struggle to apply sunscreen to young children - so wearing the UV Skinz protective swim wear can protect your children that much more!
UV Skinz keeps babies, kids - and adults, too - covered from head to toe in reversible UV bucket hats, long and short sleeved UV swim shirts, UV boardshorts and UV boy-cut shorts.

My oldest son received his board shorts and shirt in his favourite colour - turquiose - that reverses to navy blue, with a matching bucket hat.
The swim wear is bright and colorful and designed to be mixed and matched with the added benefit of helping you be able to easily spot your children during water play time or in crowded public places.
UN Skinz wants to keep your children protected this summer, too!

The owner of UV Skins is offering one of my readers one UV Skinz item of your choice - all you have to do is go to the website and select the item you want to win!

Leave a comment below telling me what item you would pick if you won this giveaway, and I'll pick a winner on Wednesday, June 30th!
For a bonus entry, follow my review blog!
Contest is open to both U.S. and Canadian residents.
Good Luck and stay safe in the sun!



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Coming soon!

I wanted to let you know that over the next few weeks I'm going to be hosting some really great giveaways and reviews that you are not going to want to miss!

CSN Stores, a company I have worked with before (having received a awesome play tent for my boys and giving away a Melissa and Doug wooden fruit toy) contacted me again for another giveaway and review! How fabulous! I'll be receiving and reviewing this awesome tricycle for my 2 year old:



I just know he'll love it, because his favourite thing to do is ride on cars and bikes!


And? You'll be receiving a gift certificate to use at one of their hundreds of online stores, too!

Contrary to what you may believe, I'm not a huge online shopper. However, with CSN, there is literally something for everyone - no matter what you're looking for! If you're looking for a new bathroom vanity? You will certainly find what you want here. There are hundreds of educational and fun toys to choose from too, as well as children's furniture, wall art and mirrors. If you're looking for a new set of pots and pans for your kitchen, well, you'll find quite the selection, too! Head over to this site to find top brands like Henckels, DeLonghi, Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid - to name a few - for everything you need for your kitchen! I am so excited to be working with CSN again - stay tuned for the giveaway!

Even more great giveaways to come, including your choice of product from UV Skinz to keep your children protecting from harmful UV rays this summer, a fun package from Crayola, and... wait for it... WINE! Yes, I'm giving away a bottle of yummy red red wine tomorrow, so make sure to stop by for your chance to win!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Boppy love - a double giveaway!

Winners selected by Random.org: Congrats to lucky number 6 and lucky number 9! Contact me so I can arrange to have the Boppy's sent to you!

Before you have a baby, there is so much you don't know. Like what the must useful items will be that you'll end up using over and over again once your baby is born. One thing every new mom should have is the Boppy.

The Boppy has been voted America's favourite baby product seven times - and it's no wonder, really!

Essentially, the Boppy is a nursing pillow - used for feeding your baby - but it's also so much more. The Boppy can be used as a support pillow, placing you in a more comfortable position to help relieve stress on your back and neck, while allowing you to get even closer to your baby while you feed him or her.

Your baby can relax and play when they are a few months old while safely being propped up with the Boppy - so you're free to empty that dishwasher or have that much needed cup of coffee!

The Boppy helps your baby sit, and as baby’s muscles get stronger, the Boppy offers the perfect little nest to support sitting.

The Boppy pillow also provides the support your baby needs to help build upper body strength during tummy time.

You can build your own Boppy, by selecting from a wide variety of slip covers. The choices are endless!

The wonderful folks from Boppy have given me three Boppy pillows - one to give to my sister who is about to have her baby (ANY day now!) and two to give away to a couple of my fabulous readers.

Are you pregnant?
Are you a new mom?
Do you have a good friend or relative who is a new mom, or is about to become a new mom?

Then you should enter this giveaway! The Boppy makes a great baby shower gift, too!

Below are the two pillows I'll be giving away to lucky people. Aren't they so nice?

All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me who you'd give your Boppy to - or if you'll keep it!

For a bonus entry, become a follower of Loulou's Reviews and tell me in a seperate comment.

Good Luck!


For more information on the Boppy, click here!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

$50 Boston Pizza gift card giveaway!

The winner is... lucky number 11 - Congrats to A Crafty Mom! I know it's a bit of a drive for you, but it's worth it! Enjoy!

If you live in the Ottawa area - you are in luck, because this giveaway is just for you!

This week, Boston Pizza Orleans had a private taste-testing party to introduce new items on their menu - items that will leave your mouth watering - like new thin-crust pizzas and pasta dishes that will be very hard to avoid if you're trying to avoid carbs! I was invited, but unable to attend, which is really too bad, because pizza is my favourite food!

I used to frequent Boston Pizza when I worked at what was then The New RO - News Six Ottawa, and now, I go to the Orleans location with my family whenever we get the chance.

It's a great place for the entire family. Boston Pizza has a great children's menu, and something for every adult to enjoy - from wings, to salads, to crispy chicken wraps and nachos, to gourmet pasta dishes, (baked seven cheese ravioli, anyone?) and of course, pizza - the classic, the make-your-own, the thin crust... you will never leave hungry, but you will leave wondering when you'll be back!

Leslie, the wonderful Community Relations Coordinator at Boston Pizza Orleans (you're all following her on Twitter, right? If not, you should be - she's a sweetheart! She's @BPOrleans) has generously given me a $50 gift certificate at Boston Pizza Orleans for me to give to one of my awesome readers!

And it is SO easy to win - all you have to do is leave me a comment telling me what menu item you're most excited to try!

For a bonus entry, follow Loulou's Views and Loulou's Reviews!

I will pick the winner on Monday, June 14th, using random.org.

This giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. Note: The $50 gift certificate can only be used at the Boston Pizza Orleans location. I will mail the gift certificate to the winner.

Thanks - and good luck!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mama cards!

I'm a huge fan of Mabel's Labels. I was first introduced to them before my oldest son started kingergarten this year, and I quickly purchased the school combo pack. Once my package arrived in the mail, I labelled my son's clothes, and used the tag mates for his backpack and lunch box. They were so cute, I had to get some for my youngest son, too, to put on his sippy cups and clothes, even though he wasn't in school yet.

Aside from seeing the cute Mabels Label's ads in countless numbers of magazines, I got to know the ladies behind Mabels Label's through Twitter this year. Let me just say, Julie and Caitlin are amazing women - it's no wonder they have such an amazing and useful company! (You can follow Mabels Label's on Twitter: @mabelhood)

Just last week, I heard that Mabel's Labels had come out with 'mama cards' - basically, business cards for moms that are much cuter than the average business card - with room on the back to write personal messages, too.


I sent out a tweet saying how cute I thought the Posey design was (pictured above; you can choose from 5 different styles) and the next thing I knew, the lovely ladies at Mabels had sent me 100 beautiful personalized mama cards! How nice was that? Very.

I can't wait to use my new cards at BlogHer to pass around to everyone, and I also can't wait to pass around these cards to the people I meet at the playground and at my son's school. Talk about cute and practical! If you need new cards, Mabels Label's is the place to order them from!

Thank you, Mabels Label's!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Shut Up and Eat: Interview with the author AND a giveaway!

Congrats to the winners! Lucky numbers 6, 7 and 18! (Jen, Poppyweed, and Shan! Just email me your address, winners, so the books can be sent out to you!) Thanks again for entering!

A few months ago, I met Canadian author and writer Kathy Buckworth. Kathy was a joy to meet - super sweet, funny, and easy to get along with. She's also the only two-time winner of the Professional Writers Association of Canada Excellence in Humour Writing Award! Her new book, "Shut Up and Eat! Tales of chicken, children, and chardonnay" recently hit book shelves, and I was given the chance to read and review her book.

I thought it was hilarious! The best part were the recipes that were in the book. Some are simple enough for even ME , Mrs. Culinary Disaster, to master. (Not that I've tried any, but I know one of these days I will!)


I asked Kathy a few questions about her book, and about writing in general - here are her answers:

Kathy, what inspired you to write Shut Up and Eat?

Shut Up and Eat grew out of an article I wrote for Today’s Parent (called "Dinner Diaries") which actually won a humour award. It was all about how we have this idealized vision of what a family meal is going to be like..and then the startling reality. I started thinking about how food is such an integral part of raising kids – from the minute they’re born with breast versus bottle, all the way up to picky toddlers, Instant-vegetarian teenagers, and everyone in between. I also wanted to share some recipes that I’ve been using for years that seem to be real family favourites.

One of my favourite parts of the book was when you talked about giving your husband a list for the grocery store, saying: "He will 'shop the list'. What I mean by this is that he doesn't add a single item to the car that isn't on the list." That happens to me, too! Every time my husband goes grocery shopping with a list I've prepared, I wait in anticipation to see what treats he'll bring home to me, only to be greated with... nothing more than what I had on the list. WHY does this happen? Why do we know to stock up the cart with emergency chocolate? (*In all fairness, I must say, the only person who does the cooking in our house is my husband!)

I’m not sure why these guys don’t give into impulse shopping at the grocery store – the same way they do at the Home Depot, or even at a car dealership. I think it comes down to them really not knowing (and hence not OWNING) how we feed our families. I want to be them in my next life. It seems quite peaceful.

The breakfast battle - so glad to read I'm not alone here! And I only have two children to feed in the morning! How do you make sure all 4 of your children are fed before heading out the door? (For me, as long as I'm making eggs - one of the few things I have mastered - my boys are happy!)

My older kids grab something as they run out the door, and if they don’t....well they don’t. I know breakfast is important but not everyone is hungry first thing in the morning. I start hounding my little guys early to make sure they have time to eat, and I basically give them three choices every morning, otherwise they would never decide. I really don’t mind if they have the same thing every morning, as long as they don’t miss that school bus!

What's your favourite recipe in Shut Up and Eat? (I think mine is the Sugar Pie - does it taste as good as it sounds?)

Sugar Pie is awesome. Love it. My favourite recipe though, is probably the Salsa Pot Roast because it only has two ingredients and you can make it in two minutes. Love my crockpot, winter or summer.

You talk about the snack culutre in your book, how we brings snacks with us no matter where we go - I am so guilt of this, but even if we go to the grocerty store - for crying out loud - I've loaded up the car with snacks! (I think I get this from my mom who even on a two-hour road trip will bring a 10 course meal!) What would happen to our children if we didn't leave the house with a snack? Would the world fall apart?

I think kids need to get good and hungry sometimes so that they’ll appreciate the big family meal when they sit down, instead of complaining and becoming picky eaters. My kids go to sleep away camp, and there are no midday snacks – just three big meals – and all of my kids come home saying how amazingly good the food is. I think it’s because they’re so hungry (hunger being the best spice), and that they know this is it and if they don’t eat it, there’s no Mom running behind them with Shrek fruit chews or an organic banana. When my kids say "I’m hungry!" I say "Good! Maybe you’ll eat the nasty dinner I made now!"

I loved reading your dieting tips - what is your number one piece of dieting advice for your readers? (Aside from taking Body Pump - something we often love to talk about on Twitter!)

I think the best piece of dieting advice I received is to take small portions, and don’t go back for seconds, even if you feel hungry. It takes our brains about half an hour to catch up to whether we’re still hungry or not. I drink lots of water and eat non-cream based soups to keep me going during the day. And remember – one work out probably only lets you have one extra granola bar a day (about 300 calories), so don’t rely entirely on exercise. It can in fact make you hungrier. Exercising is for what’s under the skin.

Any plans for another book?

I am currently working on my next book and having fun with it. I’ll reveal it when I’ve settled on the title. But I think it’ll be something all Moms will be able to relate to. I hope!

What words of advice do you have for people who want to write and publish a book of their own? How did you get started?

1. Write. It’s amazing to me how many people say they want to be writers, yet they haven’t written a single word that they would care to have published. Write. Keep writing.

2. Do your homework. I went to the library and read the Canadian Writers Handbook, the Canadian Writers Marketplace, I joined writers associations, talked to writers, and got to know publishers and magazines/newspapers where I wanted to be. I mailed out over a hundred book proposals to publishers, and was lucky to get picked up by a busy working Mom editor in Illinois. That was my first book, "The Secret Life of Supermom", in 2004.

3. Develop an audience. Either online (through a blog) or in print – start by writing for local publications, find your voice, and then pitch bigger publications. This will help when trying to secure a publisher or agent.

4. Write some more!

Thank you Kathy!

Now, for the giveaway! 3 lucky readers will win a copy of Kathy's new book, Shut Up and Eat! Tales of chicken, children, and chardonnay AND a copy of The BlackBerry Diaries!

All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment telling me what your favourite meal to cook (and eat) is!

You also get a bonus entry by becoming a follower of Loulou's Reviews! Just leave a seperate comment telling me you're now following!

I will randomly pick a winner on Monday, June 7th. (This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents!)

Good Luck!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

HP TouchSmart 300 PC review!

I was recently given the chance to review the new HP TouchSmart 300 PC. What did I think of it? Read on to find out if this should be your next computer purchase!


Design:

First of all - this is one good looking computer! Having no space left in the house for gadgets, computers, or just about anything else, I decided to put this computer on the dining room table. It actually looks good there! This computer is truly an all in one - no giant box connected to a monitor with wires everywhere. I love it.

Set-up:

Plug into wall, plug into computer. Done, that's it. Seriously. Oh one more step, hit power button. I guess my next observations are based on the ease of use of this system in conjunction with Windows 7. More on Windows 7 in a second. The computer seamlessly picked up the wireless mouse and the multiple function keyboard. This was very pleasing, as I've been in wireless connectivity hell in the past, but not this time! Software set-up was also simple - the usual registration info and that was just about it. (Connecting to the Internet was also almost instant, just entered my wifi password and that was that!)

Windows 7:

Very happy! I am running Windows Vista right now and my frustrations with the slow and poor response times have grown to unbearable levels. I can easily say that is no longer true. Very responsive, very quick and super user-friendly. As I already said, it all just worked. No cryptic questions, it just worked. And what more could I ask for?

Multimedia and Internet:

Import all my pictures in one step, yes. Import all my videos in one step, check. Make a picture CD and video DVD without pulling out my hair, double check! I have to say, this rivals my husbands iMac for ease of use. The internet is blazingly fast and ran without a problem. I blogged, I tweeted, I surfed and shopped. No problems at all except for a smaller balance in my PayPal account! Overall I ran into no issues to speak of. I'm attributing this to the combination of the excellent hardware paired with an awesome operating system.

Hardware:

The word "touch" is in this computer's name for a good reason. The beautiful and vibrant screen is fully inviting as a giant touch screen. Being used to this way of doing things with my iPhone I have to say that the transition could not have been easier. Even more interesting was the fact that my 4 year old was far more happy to use the screen to navigate around. A mouse can be challenging for a child, the touch screen made it a breeze for him. The most useful part of this touch screen technology is when was surfing the net. I don't know much about the inner workings of a computer, but whatever they packed into this elegant machine is much faster than anything I have used in the past. One thing that really bothers me about desktops is a loud fan -not a problem here! I can actually hear what is going on around me with this computer. The wireless mouse is pretty much standard and the wireless keyboard has all the extra buttons you'd expect from a modern computer; volume control, media playback, it's all there.

Conclusion:

HP has made a very quick, responsive and sexy computer. My kids love it, I love it and I think I've caught my technophile husband enjoying it. They are priced well and probably even better when you consider that you are getting everything you need in one easy to set-up box. We are all impressed and are seriously considering making one of these our next family computer!


Thanks HP for letting me test out the new TouchSmart 300 PC!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Lay's Chip Trips!

If I asked you what your favourite snack is, I bet a lot of you would say chips! And why not - who doesn't love chips? I must admit, it is one of my guilty pleasures. You know what else I love? Summer! And taking my children to the local attractions this city has to offer. Well, Lay's Chips has develeped a program called Lay's Chips Trips to give Canadian families a simple way to enjoy summer at home without having to spend a whole lot of money. (It's so simple!)


Here's how it works:

Lay's Chip Trips promotion offers Canadians a chance to celebrate a whole season of fun with friends and family at their favourite local attractions. All you have to do?

• Go to Lays.ca and create an account. Then, enter the code "LOULO-UVIEW" - this will give you 10 free points to get started! (This code is only valid until May 31st though!)

• To add more points to your 'bank', pick up a specially marked bag of Lay’s Chips and enter the code that you'll find on the bag. You can enter as many codes as you want to start banking your points!

• The two new flavours, BBQ RIB and CHEDDAR AND SOUR CREAM are worth double points!

• Use your points to claim discounts on things to do with your family and friends all summer long!
You'll find major discounts at Great Wolf Lodge, Subway, Boston Pizza, Hertz Car Rental, CN Tower, museums, Marriott hotels, and so much more!

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and have some fun!



Disclosure: I am participating in the Lay’s Chip Trips program by Mom Central
on behalf of Frito Lay. I received Lay’s Chip Trip points and a gift card to offset
my trip costs to facilitate this post. The opinions on this blog are my own.



Thursday, May 27, 2010

Let's talk about... sex, baby! Um, Sex and the City 2, that is!

Last night, I attended the premier of Sex and the City 2, after winning tickets from Kelli. (Thank you!)

SATC2 has received some bad reviews and some so-so reviews. What did I think?

I liked it, and I would tell all my girlfriends to go see it. It's a fun girl movie. It was too long, though - it could have been at least 30 minutes shorter, and the entire wedding scene could have been eliminated from the movie (you'll have to watch the movie to see who got married!) but the characters are just as loveable the second time around on the big screen!

However, Carrie totally irritated me! I don't know why it took this long for me to realize how self-absorbed and whiny she is. I'm not going to give anything away, but she's just not cut out for normal married life! Hey Carrie - you can have all the glamour and fun and still enjoy a night in watching TV sometimes too, you know!

So basically, Charlotte, Miranda, Samantha and Carrie are sort of feeling 'blah' in their lives - with work, children, and the usual day-to-day life events, but guess what? Samantha saves the day! Through her connections she jets the ladies off to an all-expense paid trip to Abu Dhabi. From this point on the movie got good - not as great as the first one, but still, plenty of funny scenes as the ladies experience a totally different culture from the one they are accustomed to. The private plane they were on wasn't too shabby, either!

So how did over-sexed Samantha - and the others - do in the Middle East? This exerpt of a review I read sums it up:

"[Director] King manages to navigate sex and the Middle East, religion, female power in a male-dominated society and conservative values coming face-to-face with New York liberalism, without getting burned at the stake — or incurring an ethnic boycott — and for this, he deserves some credit."

My favourite scene was the one where Miranda and Charlotte have a discussion, over drinks, about their 'bad mom' moments. I bet every single one of us could relate to what they were saying!

For me, Samantha stole the show - with her hot flashes and inability to cover up! Her meonpausal temper tantrums were also hilarious - I love her! Truly, she is my favourite character on the show, along with Charlotte.

So while this move wasn't as good as the first one, it's still pretty awesome!

There is so much more I could say, but I don't want to give too much away - you'll have to see it for yourselves to find out what happens!
What did you think of SATC2?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tales from the Trips: An interview and book giveaway!

Update: Congrats, James, you are the winner of this book!

As a mother of two boys, I sometimes wonder how much harder things would be if I had more than two children. I imagine the age of two being especially difficult - imagine chasing after three two year olds who are running in different directions? Seems impossible, right?

A fellow blogger, John Cave Osborne, recently wrote a book called Tales From The Trips - How Three Babies Turned Our World Upside Down. The book is about his adventure as a father of triplets - two adorable boys and one girl. The book chronicles his life from when he and his wife found out they were expecting triplets to the day they learned to walk.



For a glimpse into the crazy life of a parent of triplets, you have to watch this video - it's so cute - you will not stop smiling. Even Ashton Kutcher and Alyssa Milano tweeted about it!

John send me a copy of his book to read, and I have enjoyed it very much - and not only that - he offered one for me to give away to one of my lucky readers!

I did a little a little q's and a's with the author, too:

As a father of triplets - what do you find the most challenged part of you day? Is it bathtime? Bedtime? Or the right-before-dinner part of your day?

Bedtime. Hands down. It’s not unusual for us to go upstairs ten times on any one given night. With three, the odds are overwhelming that at least one of them will give us trouble. They tend to rotate, as far as who the squeaky wheel will be, that is. Currently, our little girl goes down right away, while the boys, who share the same room, give us fits for the next couple of hours. Our little girl is kind enough to wait until four in the morning before starting in with her shenanigans.

How does your wife cope with the triplets - what are her words of wisdom?

Caroline doesn’t necessarily think she copes with them all that well. And I don’t necessarily think I cope with them all that well, either. (Not that you asked me.J) It’s difficult. Especially now that they’re toddlers. Simply put, there’s never a spare moment, especially on weekends when we don’t have any help. It’s funny, a lot of people ask us for words of wisdom, as if we’re, well, wise. But we don’t feel wise. We just feel tired.

Still, Caroline does have three (appropriately enough) tips she’d offer to anyone who suddenly finds themselves in our shoes.

1. Get as much help as you can.
2. Exercise regularly.
3. Pray for patience.


In your book, you were given pretty detailed instructions on how to prepare your oldest daughter's breakfast when your wife was in the hospital - does she still have to give you such instuctions about things like this, or have things gotten easier for you here? ;)

Ha. I love that part. You gotta remember, I was a bachelor well into my thirties. Before marrying Caroline, my roommate had been a brown dog, and we lived in a house which featured a refrigerator that never once contained milk. At the time of receiving Caroline’s detailed instructions, I was only ten months removed from that era, and far from the most domestic guy in the world. So, I needed every bit of direction I could get.

Does she still have to give me such detailed instructions? No. I’m good to go now. Consider it a baptism by fire, but I’m good to go.


What inspired you to right this book?

I’ve always loved to write. Before I started the granite countertop company with my business partner, I wrote quite regularly. I had a “humor column” I did monthly for a nearby local paper, and at one point was under contract with a Manhattan-based publisher for a children’s book I had written. I received an advance and worked on it with an incredible illustrator and editor. I was very excited for it to hit the shelves. Shortly before it was to go to press, however, the publisher went under. I was crestfallen.

So I buried myself in the countertop business and didn’t give writing a second thought. Until the little guys were born, that is. I was blown away by the reaction we got whenever we went out in public. We couldn’t even make it to the grocery store and back without fielding dozens of questions from complete strangers. It seemed that a story was happening to us—one that was of great interest to others. Given how much I like to write, I decided to document it.

I’d love for this book to open other doors for me. I’ve already had a couple of things fall in my lap, and I’m hoping that trend continues. But even if it doesn’t, the worse-case scenario is that this book will serve as the coming-of-age gift of a lifetime for my four children—a gift which details an exciting era in the history of our family.

And that’s what really inspired me to write it—to give that gift to them. Anything else that happens would be gravy.


You were recently chosen to interview the one and only Dooce - how was that experience?

It was interesting. Going into it, I didn’t know that much about her. I’ve only read Heather a couple of times, and honestly? I don’t really understand what all the hoopla’s about. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some bitter Heather hater. I think it’s awesome that she’s had the success she’s had with her blog. But I liken her to Kate Gosselin. It’s undeniable that she’s struck a chord with pop culture, but she doesn’t appeal to me. Still, I jumped at the opportunity to do the interview as I figured it’d be a nice chance to gain a little exposure.

I was given the choice to conduct it by phone or email. I chose email because it’d be so much easier. When her “personal assistant” emailed me back with her responses, I was pleasantly surprised by what I read. Rightly or wrongly, I’ve always considered Heather to be a crass and pessimistic person—maybe even a bit mean-spirited. But she came off sweet and a lot more sensitive than I would have imagined, particularly with regard to people’s opinion of her.

For your chance to win a copy of Tales From The Trips, just leave me a comment telling me how you think you'd be able to handle triplets!

For an extra entry, follow my review blog!

I will pick a winner randomly on Friday, May 21st. This contest is open to U.S. and Canadian residents.