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The School Lunch (aka “Kill me now”)

I know some moms who literally rejoice at the start of summer vacation solely because it releases them from the morning grind of the school lunch. And who can blame them? The school lunch really is a tedious task. And it’s fraught with pitfalls -- pitfalls that are just waiting for me to fall into!  So, with school just around the corner, I thought I'd gather some tips for myself. And hey, I might as well share while I'm at it! Pitfall #1: … [Read more...]

Teachers’ Gifts: The Bi-Annual Conundrum


Every Christmas and end-of-year, there is the conundrum: What should I give my children's teachers? I like to give a little something as an expression of thanks, but what to give is often a challenge because I don't want to be giving something that will end up in the lunchroom with the tag "free!" on it. And, well, I also don't want to go broke either. Max has three teachers at his preschool and Stella has two teachers at her elementary school … [Read more...]

A conversation about Twitter and DH

Power outage tweet

I joined Twitter back in January 2010, and at the time I felt really undecided about it. But now, there is no indecision. The plain fact is that I love it. It amuses me to no end. I know that non-Twitter folks find the whole thing "meaningless" and therefore a waste of time. However, I think the meaningless stuff is what is most amusing. Sure, I also hear about local earthquakes, international breaking news, amber alerts, Health Canada … [Read more...]

The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Packing Lunch


Call me crazy, but there's something almost soothing about packing children's lunches ... all the little containers, and bite size bits, snugly tucked into a brightly coloured lunch bag. And yet, this does not translate at all to the act of actually packing a lunch for myself. There are countless good, solid reasons for me to pack a lunch: there is no convenient lunch spot near my work, buying lunch is expensive, I need the time to work-out … [Read more...]

School for Bloggers: Some fellow travel bloggers I’d like you to meet! (#BlogHer10)

Julie Henner

I'm really thrilled to be hosting a guest post tomorrow by Julie Henning of Road Trips for Families! But let me back up a little in order to introduce her ... While I was at BlogHer, there were "Birds of a Feather" lunches that we could join. I dropped into a seat at the "travel" table and met some really cool women who run really clever blogs. These included (and please let me know if I've forgotten someone!): Traci from Go BIG or … [Read more...]

BlogHer Swag: baby & toddler giveaway packages

mother and baby giveaway

Edited to Add: The New Mother & Baby package had a total of 5 entries and the winner via was Tracy! The winner of the Toddler package had a total of 14 entries and the winner via was Judy! Congrats to you both and thanks to you all for participating in the fun! I got back from the BlogHer conference in New York City late last night and I'm still processing everything -- it was non-stop activity from morning until … [Read more...]

Who wears short-shorts?


                                                                                                                                          Do you dare wear short-shorts? If you’re my age and can pull off short-shorts, all the power to you. If you’re a young woman with long tanned legs you want to show off, all the power to you. But please — let’s not dress our young girls in short-shorts. {click here to see why I'm such a prude about … [Read more...]

Skin cancer doesn’t happen in Canada, does it?

When you live in Australia, as we did just recently, you very quickly realize how seriously they take their sun protection. The combination of a light-skinned population with prolonged sun exposure leaves Australians at real risk. The risk is so high, in fact, that according to its Cancer Council two in every three Australians will develop skin cancer before the age of 70. More than 440,000 Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer every year … [Read more...]

Personal style: Sacrificed at the altar of family


Most of the folks in our circle started out strong. We wouldn't sacrifice our personal style just because we were starting a family. Hell no! Just because we'd be parents didn't mean we'd have to give up our sense of "cool." But, one by one, we've all slipped into family-dom. Some jumped in whole-heartedly, while others -- like my husband and I -- tried to hold on stubbornly to as much as we could. Here are some flashing signals that you … [Read more...]

LeapFrog Toy Review: AlphaPet Explorer

The AlphaPet Explorer Toy Test LeapFrog age guide: 2-6 years Price point: Approx $25 The result? None of the children who tested this toy with me took any kind of lasting interest in the AlphaPet Explorer. Although the concept of the toy seems well-founded, it just doesn't seem to execute. We found the games too complex and the buttons too small for children up to 3 years of age, and for over-3 set, the toy seemed too "baby-ish" or … [Read more...]

LeapFrog Leapster 2 toy review (gift idea for children aged 3 to 5)

LeapFrog's LEAPSTER 2 Multimedia Learning System If you are hunting down a toy for a special preschooler in your life, this review may be of interest to you. (Disclosure details and other LeapFrog toy reviews can be read here.) What is it? It's a hand-held multimedia system for preschoolers that offers game-play, reading, drawing and videos. The focus is on educational fun. You can try a demo here. Price point: Approx $70 (see Toys R … [Read more...]

LeapFrog Tag Reading System (toy review)


In follow-up to my "Ho! ho! ho! ribbit! ribbit! ribbit!" post, I am happy to share this toy review* with you -- just in time for Christmas. It's for the LeapFrog Tag Reading System. What is it? The Canadian Toy Testing Council awarded this toy with the Children's Choice Award in 2009 and since then the company has continued to expand its library of books to accompany the system. It's a unique system and I think the best way of really … [Read more...]

Ho! ho! ho! ribbit! ribbit! ribbit!


*** at the bottom of this post you can vote for which children's charity will receive a LeapFrog donation of toys -- please voice your suggestion! *** It's time to get serious about Christmas! Like many things I used to scoff at, shopping early for Christmas is something I now do. I used to think that people who shopped early for Christmas were either too organized for their own good or just plain liked shopping far too much. Now I know … [Read more...]

Crib recall

An important note for all readers with children still in cribs: There's been a recall of a crib sold in popular stores such as Walmart, Sears and Babiesrus. The brand name is Stork Craft drop-side crib and Stork Craft drop-side crib with Fisher Price logo. I feel sick to my stomach thinking about this because four infants in the United States have died from suffocation, while other incidents involved falls from the crib. On this press … [Read more...]

Toys for all ages

will word

As my daughter started to grow out of her toys, I would give them to friends or donate them to charities. I only kept a few toys -- ones that were of high quality or particularly popular -- on the chance that we'd have another child. Now we have a 7-year-old girl and a 16-month-old boy. With a six-year age gap, you would think that these two would never share the same toys. And yet, when I recently dug out Stella's old Word Whammer and put it … [Read more...]

How do you feel about Sigg now?

About a month and a half ago, I wrote this post "Sigg: not so super, after all?" I don't get attached to brands much, but somehow I had developed an affection for my Sigg. The news that Sigg's original liners had been made with BPA felt like a sneaky little trick had been played on me. Sure, I understand that the company says it never claimed its liners were not made of BPA, but rather that its liners didn't leach BPA. (I wanted to provide you … [Read more...]

A Gobbly-good Thanksgiving giveaway!


    I just saw that my bloggy friend Dani is having an awesome giveaway and I thought you might not want to miss out! It's for an HP Photosmart A646 Compact Photo Printer. I'm sure it's an awesome printer, but I'm all about that cute little bag that comes with it. To enter the contest, click here. … [Read more...]

Looking for a good children’s book?

I like it when friends or family take the time to pick out a special book for one of my kids as a gift (and inscribe it with a personal note). And I like to do the same for my friends. Recently, I've come across three great resources that make finding good books a lot easier. (So no, I'm not going to give up on my daughter who is reading 4-inch Pokemon gamer guides and nothing else these days!) #1:  A Diamond in the Window My friend Brenda … [Read more...]

SIGG: not so super, afterall?

We've been using Sigg bottles for ages. And that really says something, since we don't spend our money lightly on fads. We're talking $30 for a water bottle to put in a child's lunch box. When there's a plastic alternative that's less than $5, we've clearly drawn a line in the sand. Why? It's enviro-friendly not to be constantly purchasing plastic water bottles all the time. Sigg bottles are also extremely tough and survive even the worst … [Read more...]

Would your husband notice?

In More magazine's September issue, a writer gets her face pumped up with injectable filler and bets that her husband won't notice. Or at least she hopes, since he's philosophically against these kind of "youthenizer" treatments. Her article "Is my epidermis showing?" reads a bit like a sad commentary on modern family life. When her husband arrives home after work, she's on pins and needles wondering if he is going to notice. Instead: He comes … [Read more...]

How fast can you blow through $1,000?

Tired of budget, budget, budgeting? Let's have some fun! Someone just handed you $1,000 in cold hard cash. It's all yours, but you must follow the rules to keep it. The rules: 1. You must spend it. No savings, RESP and responsible things like that. 2. It cannot be anything you actually "need." It can only be spent on "wants." 3. No big ticket items. No individual item can be more than $200. 4. No time to waver - you must develop your list in … [Read more...]