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!