Monday, December 24, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Burt's Bees Intense Hydration Review

I have combination skin but in the winter it becomes really dry in the cheek area especially.  It's flaky every morning which doesn't provide a good foundation for makeup and not matter what moisturizer I have tried over the last few weeks nothing has worked.  I was very excited to try the Burt's Bees Intense Hydration line of products.

The Intense Hydration line includes a cleanser, day lotion, eye cream, night cream and hydration mask.  The products were developed to fight dry skin and the signs of aging.  They contain an ingredient called Clary Sage which is a tough plant that thrives in the harshest of conditions with the ability to retain moisture.  I was sent the facial cleanser and night cream to try.  I was looking forward to the night cream as I've been one the search for something that works.

I really like the subtle flowery scent of the cleanser and it goes on so nice and smooth then rinses easily and completely away leaving my skin refreshed and clean.  The night cream was definitely everything I thought a night cream should be.  It's thicker than a regular day cream but not too thick and goes on nice and smooth soaking into the skin immediately and leaving no residue.  Since using these products I no longer have burning, flaky skin and instead get to wake up to smoother soft skin every morning.  My facial redness has lessened too!  Overall I definitely will be purchasing these two products again and maybe others from this line of skincare.  

The Burt's Bees Intense Hydration line is available at Shopper's Drug Marts and Walmart stores across Canada.

"Disclosure - I am a BzzAgent and was sent these products free of charge for the purpose of reviewing and spreading the word.  All opinions on this blog are my own."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yummy Christmas Treats! - #LMDConnector

I don't bake a whole lot throughout the year but it's my tradition to go all out at Christmas!  Starting Dec 1st I make my baking list, collect my ingredients then start baking!  We always have some family favorites then I try to add a new recipe or two.

This year I decided on cowboy cookies, chocolate chip shortbread mounds, walnut chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cranberry oat bars, sugar cookies and the new recipe is peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chunk cookies.  My kids are still young so I did end up doing most of the baking myself but they did help me with the sugar cookies.

I prepared the dough ahead of time and chilled it in the fridge overnight.  I think for this year I'm just too scared to let my kids help with the mixing and adding flour and such as I've seen what my one year old does when she gets hold of sugar and it's not fun.  This is the first two pans fresh from the oven.  I did the rolling and had the kids pass the cutters and help me push them into the dough.   After the first two dozen or so my three year old got bored and left but my daughter stayed the whole time playing with the cookie cutters and the dough.  

Usually I would also ice and decorate the cookies but again due to not wanting a huge mess on my hands I'll save that until the kids are a little older.

So far this year I've made 23 dozen cookies and counting!  As I write this there's a batch of cowboy cookies in the oven, yum!  We enjoy eating them as well as giving them away.  Because I make so many cookies I tend to freeze them in large freezer bags and take them out for snacks, lunches, desserts or when we have people over.  I look forward to many more years of baking with my kids and continuing on with old and new Christmas traditions.

"Disclosure - I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own." 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Finish Quantum Trade-In Event at Walmart #FinishTradeIn

I have had a dishwasher for many years now and tried different detergents usually opting for the cheap one.  Finally about a year ago after listening to hubby complain about the spots on the dishes or the dishes not being clean we decided to give Finish Quantum a shot as I had a coupon for it.  What a difference!  The dishes are actually clean and spotless and it's by far the best tablets or detergent we've ever used and I'll never use anything else.

At participating Walmart locations across Canada between Dec 7th and Dec 9th you can bring your empty dishwasher detergent box and trade it in for a specially marked box of Finish Quantum and see for yourself how wonderful it is.  The box will have a mail-in rebate for full refund making it FREE!  Take a chance and head down to a participating Walmart this weekend and take part in the #FinishTradeIn event.

"Disclosure - I am participating in the Finish Quantum Trade In Event Blog Tour by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Finish.  I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion.  The opinions on this blog are my own."  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Baby's First Year - #NatrelBaboo

Babies go through a lot of growth and development that first year of life and it's amazing watching them grow from a helpless tiny being to a rambunctious running toddler!  The first time they hold their head up, smile, laugh, roll over, eat solids, sit up, crawl all happen within that short period of time.  I've been blessed to go through this twice now.

Taylor was diagnosed with mild hypotonia at 5 months old when I noticed at 4 months that she wasn't holding her head up well and putting zero weight on her legs.  Her first year of life was full of blood tests, ultrasound, MRI and physiotherapy.  She met the usual milestones but just later than other babies and it made it that much more exciting when she did meet them!  I remember the first time she finally got herself into sitting position and then at 10.5 months started crawling which was a big one.  She spoke her first word around 7-8 months then by 13 months or so had about a 45 word vocabulary which is ahead for that age.  We made it through somehow and now at 16 months she's running and fully caught up!

We had difficulty breastfeeding so after months of pumping she ended up on formula (and boy she did not like that transition!)  then at around 12.5 months old I transitioned her to whole milk which she will drink but doesn't have the same love for it as her brother.  Natrel Baboo is a product designed to help with this transition from breastfeeding or formula to whole milk.  It's easier to digest, made from fresh milk and it an excellent source of vitamins.  Also it can be stored at room temperature which is great for moms on the go and toddlers who aren't used to cold milk yet.

Even though Taylor will drink whole milk I offered her a small carton of Natrel Baboo and she happily downed the whole thing, something she doesn't usually do with her regular milk!  So according to her it tastes great and I love that I can toss a box into my diaper bag and not worry about keeping it chilled.

Right now Natrel Baboo is giving away 50,000 free product coupons for you to try the product for yourself. Just visit their facebook page here and hurry up while supplies last!

Disclosure - I am participating in the Baboo Blog Tour by Mom Central Canada of behalf of Natrel.  I received compensation as thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wonderful Fall Flavors - #LMDConnector

I love fall!  It's definitely my favorite time of year.  The summer heat is behind us and I love going for walks on a crisp sunny day and checking out all the beautiful fall colors around us then cuddling with the family in front of the fireplace on cool evenings.

Another great thing about fall is our yearly visit to the pumpkin patches, corn mazes and apple farms and this year it was actually warm enough to wear shorts.  It's great to be able to pick our own pumpkins and apples straight from where they were grown.  It's equally as great to then turn our handpicked goodies into homemade treats.

I don't cook with pumpkin a lot so I decided to browse the Life Made Delicious website and make the pumpkin crumble cake.  Because it's not after Halloween yet I opted to use canned pumpkin and leave the field picked ones to carve.  I generally stick to baking cookies, bars and muffins rather than cakes but this recipe was really easy.  The store was out of the size can it called for so I bought the bigger one and did a rough measurement.

It was a hit with the whole family!  I did end up using too much pumpkin I think because mine doesn't look cake like in the middle as it does on the website, it's more like a pumpkin pie consistency with some areas that look like cake.  The crumb topping is really good and I don't think the texture ruined the taste.  

I"m looking forward to this season of fall flavors and trying out new rib-sticking stews, chilies and slow cooker meals!

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

It's a longish story that I do not wish to tell but I did not go grocery shopping this week.  I will be picking up what I need when I need it but not doing that weekly big shop.  Not only are we stocked up pretty good but I also grabbed a few good deals the other day.  So off the top of my head here's the plan:

1.  A turkey dinner repeat
2.  Turkey Shepard's pie - ground turkey, not leftovers
3.  Turkey Stew
4.  Chicken Legs and Roasted Potatoes - got a great deal on the legs already coated in some sort of spice rub ready to be baked
5.  Chicken Mini Burgers

New Pillsbury Chocolatey Crescents - #LMDConnector

I always wanted to be the kind of mom who'd always have freshly baked goodies on hand at all times for the kids for snacks or just as a treat.  This was, of course, what I thought before actually having kids.  Between the endless piles of laundry, cleaning up spills and putting away toys constantly there's just so little extra time.

Pillsbury has many products that make our lives easier with the newest addition being the Chocolatey Crescents and I was sent some coupons for my family to try them and some extras to share.

They are similar to the original Crescents but with chocolate in the middle and more chocolate drizzled on top and they were really easy to make but the first time I did manage to make a few mistakes but thankfully we have another box!

I forgot to curve the dough on the ends to make them look like crescents, I cut the hole in the bag that the chocolate is squeezed from too big and I put the chocolate on the top before putting them in the oven instead of after (oops)!  So mine look nothing like the ones pictured on the tube but they still tasted chocolately  delicious and the whole family quickly gobbled them up.  

Grab a box today for a quick, and easy breakfast or delicious afternoon snack freshly baked from your oven!  

"Disclosure - I am participating in the Life Made Delicious Ambassador Program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills.  I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion.  The opinions on this blog are my own."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My computer isn't running all that great right now so I'll make this meal plan (a little late!) short and sweet:

1.  Breakfast for dinner - we don't have time to make a big breakfast in the morning so why not for dinner
2.  Baked Banana Oatmeal - I will have to post the recipe as I can't find it but I make it ahead of time for breakfast and the kid love it!
3.  Chili Sauced Pineapple Pork - can't find this either
4.  Snappy Pineapple Chicken - never made it and the ingredient list looks big but it's a slow cooker recipe so can't be that bad
5.  Cottage Meatloaf - I was never really a meatloaf person but I love this meatloaf
6.  Chili Stuffed Peppers - can't find the recipe I use

Stay tuned for more fall favorites!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Meal Plan

So the last 2 weeks plans weren't posted because the one week was spent just eating up whatever we could around the house without buying much more food as we weren't going to be around for a week and didn't want to leave a bunch of stuff in the fridge and the second week was spent at a cabin eating foods we wouldn't normally eat on a regular basis.

For this week we're having:

1.  Veggie lasagna from the freezer made previously
2.  Pasta with frozen sauce
3.  Slow cooker chicken fajita - quick and easy!  
4.  Tuna cakes
5.  Shipwreck - this is not the exact recipe I"m following but it's really really close.  

I will be going out of town for the weekend which is I'm using some easy stuff from the freezer for hubby to make while I'm gone and he's left in charge of the kids!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Planning and Packing for Vacation with Toddlers!

Today I'm spending the day packing and preparing to leave tomorrow for one week at a cabin on a lake with private beach.  I've done this many times in the past but before having kids and it was a LOT easier then!

We always have a meal plan for the week complete with shopping list and everything bought ahead of time and even some stuff prepared and frozen.  It's taken a few weeks just to do this and I had no meal plans the last 2 weeks since I was focusing on using up leftovers or heating up previously frozen meals.  I also write up lists of other important items such as clothing and toiletries.  Being in a cabin means not having to pack bedding and cookware or dishes though we're taking the kids plates and stuff.  

I think doing all this with both kids underfoot is about 10 times the work of doing the same with no kids.  I have to keep stopping what I'm doing to take them off the back of the sofa, break up a fight, tend to who's crying, feed and change them or see what they're up to when it's quiet.  

The weather at the lake for the week looks hot and sunny so we're happy that it'll still be summer for us which means sunhats, sunscreen and sunshades!  Thankfully there's a bigger town 20 min away from where we're staying in case we forget something (which is pretty likely).  

Stay tuned for more recipes, meal plans and product reviews next week!  In the meantime I'll be working on my tan as I have yet to get some color this year!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Family Taco Night With Old El' Paso and a Contest - #LMDConnector -

I love Mexican food be it the authentic food in Mexico or Old El Paso.  I grew up eating tacos and want to continue that with my children.  Old El Paso has come out with some new products sure to please the whole family on taco night.  The hot and spicy fajita kit, extra mild super tasty hard taco kit and the mild taco seasoning.  I receive the goodies pictured to try them for myself.

For our family taco night we made the extra mild super tasty tacos.  My kids are still young and not too keen on spicy foods so the new mild kit and seasoning is perfect for us and the whole family enjoyed it.  My kids can't eat the shells yet so their dinner more resembles a taco salad but they sure loved the flavor of the ground beef.  My tacos include cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.  I liked that the flavor packet for the meat is a sauce which makes it easier to blend in and  I also really enjoyed the sour cream seasoning. It really adds a nice tangy taste to the tacos.

Visit the Life Made Delicious facebook page and grab yourself a $1 off coupon while they last and try some of the new flavors for yourself.

One of my lucky readers will win the same package of goodies shown above worth $50.  Just leave me a comment whether or not your family prefers hot or mild when it comes to tacos.  Contest is open to Canadians only and closes on Sept 20th, 2012.

Disclosure - I am participating in the Life Made Delicious Ambassador Program by Mom Central  Canada on behalf of General Mills.  I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion.  The opinions on the blog are my own.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Toddler Lunches - Muffins with Cheerios!

My kids are one and almost three so I have a couple years before worrying about making school lunches though I still find lunchtime the hardest meal to make.  I don't want to make something that's time consuming as I already spend enough time in the kitchen making dinner and I don't want them having leftovers everyday.

I work so I came up with a list of lunch ideas for my husband and/or mother in law to feed the kids that's quick and easy though it still gets a little boring so I like to make things once is a while like banana bread or muffins for a change of pace.

My kids love Cheerios and would eat them everyday for breakfast and snacks if we let them so I decided to check out the Life Made Delicious website for recipes with Cheerios and came across the Choco Chip-Applesauce Muffins.  The recipe uses crushed cheerios and has little sugar and oil with plenty of healthy applesauce so they're perfect for moms too.

They were quick and easy to put together which is very important when you're a busy mom so  I made them after the kids were in bed so they'd be ready for lunch the next day.  With a glass of milk, cut up fruits and veggies and cottage cheese these muffins made a delicious lunch and both kids enjoyed them.  I really liked the crunch the cheerios added to the muffins and the added sweetness of the mini chocolate chips.  It was nice to have something other than boring peanut butter and jam sandwiches which my two year old would eat everyday!

Disclosure - I am part of the Life Made Delicious blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

1.  Garden Bounty Beef - easy good slow cooker meal
2.  Tuna cakes
3.  Mexical Special - can't find online
5.  Veggie Lasagna - can't find the exact recipe but it's a basic lasagna minus the meat

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why Meal Plan??

I have been meal planning for years and I don't really know any other way anymore.  I don't understand how people don't meal plan for the week.  I do it to save time and money, take all the guesswork out of "what's for dinner?", make good use of the food I have in the kitchen and to ensure my family has homemade healthy meals to eat.  

I don't really like cooking and never really did but I find that if I know what's to be made and have all the ingrediants on hand then it's not such a daunting task.  Opening cupboards and waiting for food ingredients to jump out at me doesn't work very well.  Quite often one or two items will be missing or stuff that's not used will go bad if a meal plan isn't done.

On Sunday nights I'll quickly scan the cupboards and freezer and try and base some meals on what kinds of meats or canned/dry goods I have already available.  Vegetables can be added to almost any meal to prevent spoilage and Ill often "tweak' recipes based on what veggies I have on hand.  I only plan for dinners as breakfast is usually one of three things (waffles, toast or cereal) and lunch is usually leftovers or from a set "lunches for the kids" list I have on the fridge.  That and I work so I"m not home for most breakfasts and lunches.  I find the recipes I"ll be using and move them to the front of my recipe binder than write the shopping list with quantities needed and whether or not I have a coupon for the item.  While doing this I also scan the weekly flyers looking for great deals.  Monday morning or afternoon my two year old and I head to the store and do the shopping.

This week we're going camping so that's reflected in the meal plan:

1.  Shepard's Pie - so many variations of this and I don't follow a recipe.  I do the basic protein (usually ground chicken or beef), veggies on top of that (usually frozen corn, peas or green beans) then a mashed potatoe/cauliflower blend and topped with cheese and baked in the oven 
2.  Mustard Chicken and Summer Squash - from a recipe book and can't find either one
3.  Tuna Casserole - another one with wide variation using veggies, cream soup and pasta or egg noodles and topped with cheese then baked
4.  Potato Salad - for camping
5.  Hot dogs - camping
6.  Frozen spaghetti sauce and pasta - a quick camping dinner

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

A few days late due to a busy week but here's what we're cooking up in the kitchen:

1.  Hamburgers - trying out the new barbecue
2.  Chicken nuggets and scalloped potatoes - from a box, quick and easy on a busy night
3.  Slow cooker Chicken Pot Pie - can't find the exact recipe but it involves chicken, carrots, potatoes, onions, peas, 2 cans of cream soup, chicken bouillion and some spices.  There are many variations but it's so easy to throw together in the morning and be done.
4.  Tuna Cakes - I've had these before but I want to try them for the kids as an easy lunch or quick dinner.

I did not have to spend too much on groceries this week as I had a lot of stuff in the freezer and pantry and as working on using stuff up.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan!

1.  Tacos - from a package.  
2.  Hamburgers - cooked from frozen on our new barbecue!
3.  Rush Hour Pork Stirfry - quick and easy
4.  Baked Butter Chicken - another quick and easy one and hopefully for a cooler night with having to use the oven.
5.  Pasta With Bean Sauce - from a cookbook and can't find the recipe
6.  Tuna Cakes - for the kids for lunch

I will also be making Cranberry Apple Muffins.  I like to try and make my kids baked goods rather than buy them from the store and I keep seeing this recipe in magazines and such so thought I'd try it.  They look pretty healthy too.  

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Super Easy Cooked Chicken

Whenever a recipe called for cooked chicken I would always be prepared to cut it up and pan fry in a little bit of oil and I'd avoid such recipes (unless I just adding to the chicken in the pan) because it seemed like a lot of work.  I found an easy recipe to make this task really simple.

You take the chicken breast (s) and place in a pot then cover with water (can add salt, pepper, garlic powder etc) or chicken broth until chicken is completely covered.  Then put a piece of wax paper on top to keep the steam in (I've also just used the pot lid and it came out fine).  Bring to a boil then simmer for about 8 min or until chicken is cooked through!  No turning or flipping required.  The chicken comes out nice and moist and is perfect for any recipe needing it cooked ahead of time or for salads and wraps!

I promise this week I will have a meal plan.  Last week work schedules got a little messed up so shopping was done later during the week and everything was thrown off.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan!

This week because summer has finally arrived I'm trying to make meals that don't require my oven which can be difficult as I like using the oven because I can put something in there and it doesn't require my constant attention.  So here it is:

1.  Creamy Pesto Chicken and Bowtie Pasta - quick, easy and good!
2.  Eggs, toast and potatoes - who doesn't love breakfast for dinner and I need to try my 1 yr old with eggs again
3.  Zucchini Pizza Casserole - ok so this is done in the oven so will try and save for a cooler day because it's so good!  
4.  Slow Cooker Santa Fe Chicken - really easy.  Throw in slow cooker and turn it on!
5.  Fries and Chicken Nuggets - for that day I don't have time to cook.  A treat for the kids and something they'll usually eat.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Menu Plan for the Week

Not doing a meal plan this week.  We had my daughters birthday party on Monday and were expecting more people than what came so too much food was bought.  People also brought stuff and as you probably know people usually make way more food then is needed.  Everything was left with us so we're spending the week eating leftovers!  Also two dishes from last week weren't made so I still have the ingredients for those as a back up plan or if my kids get sick of eating the same stuff all week!  I really don't like to waste food.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

That time again to see what's on the menu this week!

1.  Moroccan Stew - from a cookbook so can't find online
2.  Chili With Barley - can't find online but it looks like a pretty basic chili with barley and recipe doesn't call for beans but I think I'll add some
3.  Quick Salsa Chicken and Rice - quick simple and easy though I may use quinoa instead of rice as my kids don't seem to care for rice.
4.  Creamy Chicken Enchiladas - a family favourite.
5.  Sausage with Peppers and Pasta - another yummy one lightened by using turkey sausage.
6.  Chicken Nuggets - the kids LOVE them so it's almost a weekly meal for when I'm feeling lazy.

I start working a longer shift at work soon and won't be home to make lunch for the kids so I'm hoping to incorporate lunches into my meal planning.  Right now we usually have leftovers or I have soup and make them sandwiches or something quickly thrown together but I definitely need a better plan in mind since I won't be the one doing it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Feeding The Smallest Food Critics

My kids are 1 and 2.5 years old so when looking for recipes and ideas for dinner I try and look for something that is quick, not too unhealthy for me and BOTH kids will eat.  It's a tall order but after work I like to spend as much time with the kids as possible (out of the kitchen) and I don't like having to make multiple meals.

They both seem to like pasta and by that I mean most of the time they will eat it but being toddlers because they ate it yesterday doesn't mean they'll eat it today!  Last night I decided to try out the Minestrone Casserole.  It used ingredients from the pantry and required minimal chopping.  Everything was quickly thrown together than while it baked I had that extra time to play.

Apparently I wasn't quick enough with the camera before hubby dug in!  

The pint-sized portion.

Hubby and I loved it, in fact he went back for seconds.  My 2 yr old son had a few bites and my 1 yr old daughter ate the beef and threw the rest of the floor!  Now had I served it again today they might have gobbled it up.  

Life Made Delicious has plenty of quick and easy recipes such as this one for all occasions.

“Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan!

1.  Minestrone Casserole - there will be a separate post soon about this dish.
2.  Morrocan Stew - there's many variations but I can't find the one I'll be using as it's from a cookbook.
3.  Creamy Chicken Soup - from a cookbook and can't find it online
4.  Turkey Sausage Pasta -  I love sausage and pasta!
5.  Chicken Divan - I have made variations of this but this one has been lightened.
6.  Spinach Lasagna Rolls - a favorite in this house!

So again I've been trying lots of new recipes with the family as I work my way through old cookbooks copying good recipes then getting rid of them.  Stay tuned for more exciting posts featuring food and new recipes in addition to my weekly meal plan for the next year!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan!

Lots of new recipes again for this week!  I look for somewhat healthy, quick recipes that are both toddler and baby friendly!

2.  Parmesan Turkey Meatloaf - we used chicken instead and I didn't fry the onions ahead of time, I omitted the egg and I used oatmeal instead of bread crumbs and it turned out fine
3.  Summer Veggie Chili - can't find this
4.  Baked Chops and Stuffing - can't find this either and from the looks it's not very diet friendly! 
5.  Chicken Express - from a cookbook 
6.  Chocolate Zucchini bread - not for dinner but to use up old bananas

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Temptations Review, Contest and a Giveaway!

A little shake of the bag and my cats came running.  With a crunchy outer shell and a soft tasty center my cats will do anything for Temptations.  When it comes to cat treats they are a little bit picky but they enjoyed all three flavours they were sent to try; chicken, beef and tuna.  At under 2 calories each and in a resealable pouch I feel great giving these treats to my cat's and they love all the flavours and will gobble them up every chance they get.  

Each Temptations bag comes with a pin code right on the front of the bag which can be entered here. You can instantly win one of thousands of prizes including up to $100,000!  Each pin that's entered that doesn't win adds Temptation bucks to your account and at the end of the contest you may be one of the five lucky winners that gets to take home the equivalent of their account in Canadian dollars!  

Check out the Temptations Canada facebook page and while there try out the really cute #KittyCat Hijack. It's a button you add to your favorites bar and if you press it on any website then shake the Temptations bag that appears cats will takeover the screen meowing and doing everything they can for Temptations.  Personally I love using the app to drive my cats crazy! 

For the giveaway one of my readers will win a $50 Temptations prize pack perfect for the kitties!  To enter just comment with your email address.  Contest is open to Canadian residents only and ends at midnight June 15th, 2012.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan!

I know I didn't post anything last week.  I just returned to work so we were getting used to the change in schedule for everybody and I had to get used to that awful 5:30 am wakeup!  So now that things are back to normal here's this weeks plan:

1.  Zucchini treats - never made before but I love zucchini!  These will probably for for breakfast/snack
2.  perogies and veggies - the frozen variety for the night I have no time to cook or feeling lazy
3.  Veggie Chili - from a cookbook and can't find online
4.  Chili Hash - also from a cookbook and can't find but basically another chili variation with rice and beef
6.  Almond Chicken - from a cookbook and couldn't find the same version online
7.  Chicken nuggets - box or homemade

Most of the recipes from this week I've never made before.  Stay tuned for some exciting stuff coming up on my blog including more delicious recipes!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lay's Launches Two New Flavours For Western Canada!

Lay's is happy to announce the launch of two new potato chip flavours exclusively to western Canada including BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.  The new flavours are Smoky BBQ and Old Fashioned Ketchup and both are the wavy style potato chips.  PepsiCo Foods supports the western market through partnerships with professional sports teams and new products choices so these two flavours were created with the Western tastebud in mind.

Smoky BBQ is spicier and smokier with added heat for those looking for a stronger bite and Old Fashioned Ketchup is a sweeter, more tomato taste sure to please those who love the classic Ketchup flavour.  Lay's takes pride in providing Canadians with potato chips with homegrown potatoes provided by Canadian Lay's potato farmers.

I was generously provided with both flavours to try.  It was perfect timing with the long weekend and company coming to visit.  My family loves potato chips and I happen to love the wavy chips over the thinner ones that tend to break more easily.  I don't know how true it is but to me the wavy chips tend to be more flavourful.  We enjoyed both flavours!  I don't like chips that are too spicy but I found the Smoky BBQ to have just the right amount of heat without being too overpowering and the flavour was smoky delicious.  Ketchup is one of my favourite chip flavours and these ones didn't fail to please me.  They were a good balance between sweet and tomato.  Sometimes I find with a bag of chips is some chips will have no flavour on them and others too much but these ones were pretty evenly coated which was nice.

These new flavours are available at all major retailers in Western Canada (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba) for suggested retail of $3.49 for 270g bag.

Chips were generously provided to me for review purposes only and all opinions on the blog are my own.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan!

1.  Mardi Gras Pilaf - quick and easy and both kids will eat it! Also pretty good for my weight watchers!
2.  Porcupine Meatball Stew - can't find the recipe for this but it's quick to throw together then roasts for 2 hrs!
3.  Chicken Quesadillas with Corn Tomato Salad - from a weight watchers cookbook
4.  Greek Roast Chicken - from a cookbook and can't find it online
5.  Penne with Creamy Garlic Parmesan Sauce - haven't tried but it's pasta so we'll love it I"m sure!

I've been following weight watchers for almost four weeks now and what I do is have a simple breakfast, a light lunch (usually different from what I feed the kids) then we all eat a healthy dinner together.  If dinner isn't light enough for me then I'll just eat less of it and top myself up with fruits and veggies.  What I've been doing is working so far since I've lost 8.5lbs just on the weight watchers alone!

Friday, May 11, 2012

20 Days.....

In 20 days I leave my wonderful job of being home with my babies and go back to my part-time out of the house job a little bit sadder than when I had to do this the first time around.  For some reason I find it harder to leave 2 babies at home rather than 1.  I think part of it is being a little more overproctective with my daughter than my son at this age.  When it was just him there was no one else around to take toys away from him and knock him over.  He's pretty good with her so I really shouldn't worry but she's also a lot smaller than he was at this age and "more breakable" in my opinion and he has knocked her over and hit her a few times.  Having siblings myself though I know it's going to happen and I can't protect her forever.

Lucky for me my kids don't have to go to daycare.  They'll spend their mornings home with dad while I go to work then when I come home he'll head off to work.  We have a great arrangement actually with both of us having to work to support the family.  I can't complain....  A lot of my friends have it worse having to work full-time and feeling like they barely see their children apart from a couple hours at the end of the day which is often filled with making dinner then an early bedtime and weekends which are filled with grocery shopping and other errands.  I have more time to get everything done during the week and hubby is more than willing to do the grocery shopping with kids in tow as long as I have a list.  So, I am really lucky!

Still not looking forward to getting up at 5:30 for work though but who does!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

This weeks meal plan consists of all meals that I've never made before!  I hope the family enjoys being guinea pigs.  They are all from a cookbook so hoping I can find them online somewhere.

1.  Easy Chicken Cacciatore - this was on lasts weeks menu but we never made it
2.  Penne with Broccoli Rabe - I'll be using swiss chard instead of the broccoli rabe
3.  Arroz Con Pollo - sounds fancy!
4.  Shepard's Pie - couldn't find this but it uses chicken breast and I'll probably do a half potato, half mashed cauliflower mix

So you might notice a few weight watchers recipes because I've been following weight watchers for 2 weeks now.  I've mainly been really good at breakfast and lunch then eat dinner with the family but smaller portion than I'd normally have and I make up a bunch of vegetables to go with it.  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meal Plan This Week!

1.  Baked Macaroni - a family lasagna but easier!
2.  Savoury sausage and rice skillet - I lighten it up with turkey sausages but it's yummy
3.  Chicken and Potato bake - haven't tried yet 
4.  Chicken Cacciatore - don't think we've tried this one yet either
5.  Tuna Casserole - there so many variations on this we just do our own

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Never Enough Time!

Before having children I could relax and put my feet up at the end of the day with a sense of accomplishment.  Now I do still put my feet up after putting the children to bed but I never feel like anything is done!  The to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer.  The stuff that HAS to be done is always done such as cleaning the kitchen for the next day and doing some laundry and picking up most of the toys.  It just feels like time isn't on my side anymore and there's never enough hours in the day!  

I have hobbies and interests I never get to do anymore such as scrapbooking, cross stitching or even reading.  It takes me a good week or two just to get through a magazine I can't be bothered with newspapers anymore of even watching the news.  I have no idea what's going on outside of these four walls most days!  And of course here I am blogging which I would like to have more time to do.  I was working out but that has taken the back burner lately due to lack of time and I've been focusing more on eating healthy instead.  I rarely get a chance to call friends and say hi which makes me sad but I'm sure they understand how much of my day my two favorite little people take up at this point in my life and hopefully I'll be forgiven.  

My focus has turned to what activities can I do with the children, meal planning and coupon clipping since it's true when they say children are expensive.  I also make sure that I do take a little time to myself each evening even if it's only half an hour or so to relax and maybe have a glass of wine.  I go back to work in six weeks and can imagine things will be getting a lot worse time wise so I've been trying to organize my house and everything in general to make things flow smoother around here.  An organized house usually means a more organized brain and less time spent looking for "stuff".  So until they can add another eight hours or so to my day I'll just keep adding to that to-do "eventually" list!  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan!

Though the pizza looks tasty it's not part of this week's meal plan.

1.  Mini meatloaves with broccoli and rice
3.  Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes - done in the slow cooker
5.  Turkey Stuffed Peppers - from a cookbook and done in the slow cooker

I'm following weight watchers so trying to make healthier meals and if the meal is not completely healthy but child friendly I will just eat less and have a big salad with it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Trying To Survive!

There will be no meal plan this week as I've been away from the computer sick.  I don't have a tablet, Ipad, netbook, internet on my phone or anything of the like that allows me to go online from bed!  I've just been trying to survive the week being sick and still having to parent the kids, cooking etc all while getting rest where I can and it's been tricky.  Most importantly I'm trying to keep my kids and hubby from getting sick too and you can only imagine how hard that is with a toddler whose always putting his fingers everywhere and a baby who sticks everything in her mouth.  Until next week!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Astro Original Greek Yogourt Recipes

The winner of the Greek Yogourt giveaway was comment #4 GloGirl!  Congratulations and I know you'll enjoy the yogourt as much as we do!

I didn't realize there we so many different recipes that could be made with yogourt including muffins, smoothies, dips and others for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I decided to make my own strawberry banana smoothies very similar to the raspberry ones on the Astro website.   I used frozen strawberries, Astro Greek Yogourt in strawberry, milk, ground flax, carrots (great way to hide veggies), honey, and bananas.  I don't measure anything, just toss it all into the blender and add more milk or yogourt until it's a consistency I like then enjoy as a nice afternoon snack!

My nine month old is very picky when it comes to veggies but she loves yogourt so I would puree veggies that didn't have too strong of flavor such as cauliflower, zucchini and yams then mix it into the Astro Greek Yogourt strawberry flavour and she would just devour every spoonful!  It's working really well to get her to eat veggies and I feel great feeding this yogourt to her with all the nutritional value it has.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan!

1.  Tacos
2.  Cashew Chicken - from a book
3.  Cheesy Chili Pasta - can't find the recipe online
4.  Turkey Chili - haven't tried this on
5.  Easter turkey dinner 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Best Yogourt in Canada - Astro Original Greek Yogourt and a Contest!!

Astro Original Greek Yogourt was voted best yogourt in Canada for 2012 in the Best New Products Award survey in the yogourt category.  It's got a rich taste and creamy texture and offers twice the protein of regular yogourts so no wonder it's a favourite of Canadians.

I did the survey myself and I did not vote for this yogourt because I had never tried it before.  I got the opportunity to try it and was blown away by the richness and creaminess!  I think it was because I had tried Greek yogourt in the past and didn't like it so I assumed they all tasted the same but I was wrong because this yogourt is amazing and I can't wait to try some recipes.

Astro has been providing dairy products in Canada for over 30 years.  With the introduction of Astro they help people maintain balance in their lives with products true to their yogourt roots.  The Astro Original Greek Yogourt is available in Canada wherever Astro products are sold and comes in full fat and fat free versions.  The full fat is available in honey, strawberry and plain and the fat free in strawberry and peach.  This yogourt has significant health benefits, a superior taste and tastes great on it's own or used in recipes.

One of my readers will win coupons to try this delicious yogourt for themselves.  Contest is open to Canadians only and closes on Apr 6th.  To enter tell me if you've tasted this delicious yogourt for yourself and don't forget to leave an email address unless your account is public.

For extra entries:

1.  Follow my page on facebook and comment
2.  Follow me on twitter and comment

Thank you and good luck!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan!

Yes my menu planning usually involves a combination of what's on sale, what I have coupons for and what I have that needs to be used up.  This weeks dinners are:

1.  Quinoa Chicken Stirfry - quick easy and yummy and I made extra chicken for another dish!
3.  Chili Sauced Pineapple Pork - from a recipe book and I can't find it online
4.  Cabbage Roll Stirfry - quick, easy and full of veggies

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ideal Age Gap Between Children

I was reading a little tidbit in a parenting magazine that said 4 years between children is most ideal as a age gap because they're less affected by the time spent with a new baby.  It also mentioned that anything under a 2 year difference is simply survival (so basically crazy I guess).  Another article online said the best gaps are under 1 year or over 4 years because the chance of sibling rivalry is the least.  I also read that because those first years are so critical for a child's development that the gap should be more than 2 years.

My kids are 20 months apart and I completely agree that it's been all about survival.  Just making sure diapers are changed, everybody is fed, basic shopping, lots of playing and keeping everyone happy.  The first few months were a big adjustment but once you understand the new baby and everyone is on some kind of routine it got easier.  Now my kids are 9 months and 29 months and the sibling rivalry has started!  They're fighting over toys and my toddler is getting really jealous of all the time I have to spend with the baby so he's having meltdowns and tantrums and screaming fits!  I try as much as I can to have one on one time with each child and getting help from the grandmas when hubby isn't around but there are some really difficult days with one kid napping and one not and they eat meals at different times (I hope to change that soon)!  Thankfully they both sleep great at night (most nights) so I'm well rested now and ready to take on most challenges.

So, what is the ideal gap?  I think it really depends on your family situation.  I didn't have my first child until I was 33 so I didn't want to wait too long to have the second because age wasn't on my side and you never know how long it'll take.  Thankfully it didn't take long!  If you have the first child when you're young then I think it would be ideal to wait until they were feeding themselves, potty trained and just more self sufficient before having another baby.  Having 2 in diapers, helping 2 kids to eat and pretty much do everything isn't easy!  Some people even opt for the HUGE gap (some I know have them 16 years apart) which I think is almost as crazy as having them really close!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Weekly Menu Plan!


Toast and Jam


Usually leftovers
PB & J
Soup or Salad


1.  Many Beans Chili Con Carne  - it's been cold so this is warm and filling
2.  Frozen store bought Lasagne - for the day I'm feeling lazy and the toddler LOVES this.
3.  Chicken Barley Risotto - never had but it's a slow cooker recipe and it's from a cookbook so can't find the recipe online but will post if it's yummy
4.  Creamy Chicken and Cheddar Rice - another from Kraft Canada because they're usually good and quick
5.  Tuna Penne Bake - I do a few variations of tuna casserole and this is one of them

This week I've been trying to use up what I have in the pantry and not have to buy a whole lot of stuff.  I got a great deal on Campbell's cream soups last week so will be using those in more recipes to come.  I've also found a lot of great recipes on Pinterest to try in the future! If you haven't tried Pinterest yet you should!  It's a great resource but also really addicting.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Down 6 lbs!!!

I put on a lot of weight my first pregnancy, 60lbs total.  Then after 10 months of breastfeeding I didn't lose a thing!  I was down the 30lbs I lost basically the first few weeks after giving birth.  Few weeks later when my son is nearing 11 months old I'm pregnant again!  Thankfully I only gained 22lbs this time and lost 27lbs the week after she was born.  So fast forward almost 2.5 years after my son's birth I've been struggling with that weight gain for a long time!  I've lost weight in the past but this so called "baby weight" is really stubborn.

Six weeks ago I decided enough is enough so I eat pretty much no junk, a good breakfast, really good lunch, snack on fruits then whatever I make the family for dinner is what I eat too but it's usually fairly healthy.  And I've given up some of my "free" time after the kids have gone to bed to workout 4 evenings a week, a very difficult task with such very little time to myself but it's a priority in my life right now.

After 6 weeks there was very little change in the scale though I could feel myself getting stronger so I wasn't letting it drag me down then today I'm down 6 lbs total!  That's great motivation to keep up the good work and take care of myself as well as my kids!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

This Weeks Menu Plan!!

1.  Creamy chicken enchiladas - a favourite
2.  Mardi Gras Pilaf -  another favourite
4.  Primevera Pesto Pasta - 1st time making this
5.  breakfast for dinner

I am trying to streamline my dinner making as it's becoming more difficult with the two kids so I made all the chicken at once for all the dishes I need it in and I cut up as many veggies as I can.  Along with our meals I also have to plan out and make food for the baby too!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Burt's Bee's Skin Solutions for Sensitive Skin Review

I didn't think I had sensitive skin but lately (last year or two) I've noticed that my cheeks are red pretty much all of the time and products that I was ok with in the past now make my cheeks burn.  It seems to be worse in the winter when the air is dry.  Sometimes my cheeks feel like alligator skin and they peel.

I've tried and keep trying many many products to find a good fit for my skin.  One sample I was sent from a company that does home parties burned my cheeks pretty bad, meaning it was painful for several minutes, before it calmed down.  The toners seem to bother my skin the most.  When the opportunity came to try the new Burt's Bees for sensitive skin I though why not.  I was sent the Sensitive Facial Cleanser and the Sensitive Daily Moisturizer to try out.  With the facial cleanser you simply wet your face and apply it with fingers or a damp cloth then pat dry and apply the moisturizer to a clean face in the morning.  When I followed the instructions for the cleanser I didn't feel my face was very clean so I used a cotton ball with very little toner (one that's ok on my skin) and still got some makeup off that the cleanser didn't remove.  I find that rubbing my face gently with a damp facecloth after applying the cleanser removed more makeup.  I like that the moisturizer doesn't feel greasy or sticky and absorbed really easily into the skin.

One week later and I do notice my skin is softer and neither product burned my skin or irritated it in anyway. I still have facial redness but it's not as bad and I haven't spoken to a doctor yet to see if it's some kind of condition.  I would recommend this line for someone with sensitive skin.

The Burt's Bees Sensitive Skin products contain cotton extract to soften and shield skin from irritants found in soaps and cleansers.  They are hypo-allergenic and fragrance free.  The products have been allergy tested and tested by a dermatologist.  They are also very affordable and found at Walmart and Shoppers Drug Mart nationwide.

I am a BzzAgent and was sent product in order to do this review.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What Are We Doing??

Taylor had an appointment today with a neurologist basically to meet and do some basic tests and family history and Taylor's history then send us for more blood tests (for genetic testing) and make sure where on the right track with tests and such.  No concerns from me as Taylor is showing improvement, though very slowly, it's still improvement!  She rolls around then uses her hands to push her body backwards on the floor where she gets stuck in different places as you can see!  She's very wriggly and roly poly which makes diaper changing really interesting but it means she's getting her exercise.  We still have an appointment with a physiotherapist in a month to assess her physical development and give me an exercise plan but as you can see she's a happy little girl!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Menu Plan Monday!

1.  Garden Bounty Beef (slow cooker) -  easy and good
2.  Beef Creole (slow cooker) - from a cookbook and I can't find it online and I haven't ever made it yet!
3.  Creamy Chicken Enchiladas - easy and everyone likes it
4.  pasta with previously frozen sauce
5.  Chunky Chicken in Dijon Cheddar Sauce with Scalloped potatoes - a very cheesy meal :)

Some of my recipes aren't as diet friendly as I"d like them to be but right now I look for ones that are family friendly, quick and easy then make them as healthy as I can and add extra veggies where I can.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A day late because I shopped today instead of monday!  For this week:

1.  Broccoli quinoa casserole - been on the plan for 3 weeks now but haven't had a chance to make it yet
2.  Thai Chicken Pasta - never had it yet
3.  Lemon Broccoli Chicken - haven't had this in a while but it's quick and easy and can't find the recipe!
4.  Baked Macaroni - a family favourite!!

If I weren't so lazy I'd have lunch plans here too but honestly we usually have leftovers most days or I eat soup and feed the kid a PB&J sandwich because he won't eat most soups.  As for breakfast I eat cereal everyday and my toddler has a choice from cereal, toast, oatmeal or waffles.  I don't have the time to make 3 sqaure meals a day and don't care to either!