Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Years Blessing

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Happy New Year from our house to yours!

Here is an old Irish blessing for you...

May love and laughter light your days,

and warm your heart and home.

May good and faithful friends be yours,

wherever you may roam.

May peace and plenty bless your world

with joy that long endures.

May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours!

May you all have a wonderfully blessed 2011

with love,
Tara & Doug
Aiden, Owen & Olivia

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Santa Cruz Organic

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In a little less than a week the kids will be going back to school and I am pretty much always on the look out for things to put in their lunches that they will like AND are good for them!

We were sent some samples of products from Santa Cruz Organic to try and I love them.

Fruit Sauces

The Santa Cruz Organic® brand has taken applesauce to a new level with its line of organic fruit sauces. The base for all flavors is created by grinding certified USDA organic apples into a smooth, saucy blend. Additions like cinnamon and spices, pureed organic fruits such as blackberries, cherries, strawberries and apricots make for flavors more complex and lively than ever before.

You get 100% of your daily value of vitamin C in each 4-ounce serving of the sauce cups - perfect for kids' lunch boxes. See for yourself why the Santa Cruz Organic® brand has received numerous awards and accolades for these outstanding applesauces.

Since the Santa Cruz Organic® brand doesn't add sugar to these sauces, pure enjoyment is all you get.
Olivia is a huge fan of the Santa Cruz Apple Peach and Tropical sauces. I kept them in the fridge at her level and she loved getting them out for her afternoon snack. I also sent them in her lunch kit to school and she always ate them! I managed to grab one of each flavour to try and they are absolutely delicious. They taste like real fruit which is always a bonus :).

Fruit Spread


When we decided to bring our decades of organic fruit expertise to fruit spreads, we felt strongly that we must give you what you want. That’s why the first ingredient listed on every jar is exactly what you expect, ORGANIC FRUIT! Santa Cruz Organic® Fruit Spreads have a home-style spreadable texture that is unmatched. Look at the ingredients, then taste the results. 

When you buy Santa Cruz Organic, you get more than delicious organic products. You help the planet. We’re a Green-e certified company that buys enough renewable energy each year to cover our production needs. We recycle more than 95% of our waste – an award-winning achievement.
We were sent four different flavours of fruit spreads - Strawberry, Seedless Red Raspberry, Apricot, and Blackberry Pomegranate. I am not exaggerating when I say this is the best spread I have ever tasted that is also available in stores! All four are beyond delicious but my personal favourite is the Raspberry. All three of my kids (and my husband of course) happily ate all four flavours on their sandwiches... which is pretty impressive if you know my kids!

Peanut Butter

Light and dark roasts aren't just for coffee anymore.The Santa Cruz Organic® brand peanut butters are offered in both light and dark roasted, creamy and crunchy varieties. Made with USDA certified organic Spanish peanuts, these nut butters not only taste great, they also contain no hydrogenated oils, no added sugars and no artificial ingredients.
We were sent the creamy and crunchy varieties to try out and they are delicious! The kids and I especially love the creamy and my husband is partial to the crunchy. They taste like real peanuts and are very yummy.

All of Santa Cruz Organic’s products are certified organic, do not contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial ingredients or preservatives and are manufactured entirely with renewable energy from a variety of sources, including on-site solar energy and renewable energy certificate purchases.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

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Apparently I forgot I had a camera today and managed to get a whopping 2 pictures of our Christmas morning. And these are them. I can take 46 pictures of frost the other day but forget to take pictures of Christmas. Sheesh.
It was barely 6 am when I took these pictures and mostly I was just trying to hold them off of present opening until Grandma managed to get in the room but don't my children look adorable in the jammies my mother in law made for them? I think the boys look so grown up :).

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Silent Night?

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Silent night, holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight

Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!

Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light

Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace

Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Merry Christmas from my crazy house to yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday 13: Why Winter in Northwest Ontario, Canada Isn't So Bad

Pin It 1. Frost.

It is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. It makes even the simplest of objects look like art. I took all 13 of these pictures in our yard this morning.

2. Bragging Rights.

We can honestly claim to have carried on regular life regularly in -40 degree weather ( Celsius that is... -22 Farenheit for my American friends)

3. We raise hearty children. 

Our kids have no problem playing outside in the snow for hours at a time. They think it is fun.

4. Snow very rarely constitutes a crisis.

When is snows for days on end no one panics. The schools are still open. People still go to work. Everyone still drives. It just creates more work for our local snowplow operators and that makes them happy.

5. Snow makes everything look brighter, fresher, cleaner, and more picturesque. 

This is a picture of our street. It could be on a postcard. You learn to appreciate the beauty of snow when it is around for months and months each year.

6. Bright Sunshine and gorgeous blue skies look lovely against the white snow and we do get a lot of sunshine.

This picture is looking the other direction on our street.

7. We get to wear winter boots, coats, hats, mitts, scarves and snowpants daily. Therefore we get really good at getting our kids in and out of said clothing in a hurry. We could totally win a race.

8. Winter Sports.

People here participate in crazy amounts of winter sports... skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, skating, ice fishing... and they actually enjoy it!

9. It makes us REALLY appreciate the other 3 seasons of the year. 

Spring is eagerly anticipated by everyone. Summer is embraced wholeheartedly. Autumn is reveled in. There is no confusing the seasons... each one is distinct and obvious.

10. Sounds are softer when everything is covered with snow. 

It is hard to describe... but everything just sounds a little less harsh in our snow covered world.

11.  Folks here have learned to be excellent winter drivers.

We know how to drive in ice and snow and blizzards and most of the time avoid accidents. It is necessary for survival around here.

12.  Folks in this area are great to have as neighbours. 

They regularly help each other out... everything from helping a neighbour shovel their driveway to pushing a stuck car out of a snowbank is commonplace.  When winter lasts as long as it does you learn that community is very important.

13. We are guaranteed to have a White Christmas. Every. Single. Year. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

sort of Wordless Wednesday - Early Birthday Present for ME!

Pin It I almost forgot about Wordless Wednesday ... I can't seem to keep the days straight this week! But it is still Wednesday for another hour where I am so I am in just under the wire :). My birthday is Christmas Day and this beautiful bouquet arrived at my door today...

Isn't it gorgeous?!! And the vase is actually an amazing pitcher that I can use again and again! Thanks grandpa Bill- I love them!

You can find more Wordless Wednesday posts at 5 Minutes for Mom and My Organized Chaos.

Gift Idea: Nanny McPhee Returns

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Still looking for a great last minute gift? Nanny McPhee Returns is perfect for family movie nights!

Nanny McPhee Returns

When Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) appears at the farmhouse door of busy young mother Isabel Green (Maggie Gyllenhaal), she discovers that Mrs. Green's children are in an all-out household war with their two spoiled city cousins. Relying on everything from a flying motorcycle and a statue that comes to life, to a tree-climbing piglet and an elephant that turns up in the oddest places, Nanny McPhee uses her magic to show the children five valuable lessons, the most important of which is learning how to get along.

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes

  • Feature Commentary with Director Susanna White.

  • New Film, New Story: Join Oscar® -winning actress and screenwriter Emma Thompson, and the cast and crew as they discover that Nanny McPhee Returns has everything they loved from the first film and more!

  • Magical Movies: A look at how the delightful magic of Nanny McPhee Returns was created.

  • Mr. Edelweiss: Find out more about Nanny McPhee’s relationship with the pesky and mischievous Mr. Edelweiss.

  • Emma Thompson becomes Nanny McPhee: Watch Emma Thompson’s amazing transformation into Nanny McPhee through time-lapse photography.

  • The Pigs: Working with these cute little characters is as much fun on screen as it is off!

  • The Mud: No one can escape the mud! It’s just as challenging for the cast as it is for the crew.

  • A Look Inside: Take a journey through the magical world of Nanny McPhee to see why the second film is as enchanting as the first.


    I loved this movie. Actually I loved both the first and second Nanny McPhee movies! I think Emma Thompson is positively spectacular as Nanny McPhee. I found Nanny McPhee Returns entertaining and fun. It is 100% family friendly so it was perfect to watch with my whole family.

    All three of my kids enjoyed the movie. They found it fascinating how Nanny McPhee got prettier as the movie progressed and spent a great deal of time discussing which of her features had changed and when and why :) . The movie is full of great life lessons too.

    I loved Maggie Gyllenhaal as the overwhelmed mom and I found myself relating to her and wishing Nanny McPhee would show up at my house!  All of the actors did an excellent job and created a delightfully fun movie.

    Nanny McPhee Returns would make an excellent gift for anyone really!

    Thanks so much to Universal Studios Home Entertainment for sending me a copy of this movie to review.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010


    Pin It ... about the excessive number of reviews over the last couple days. I am having trouble with my pre-scheduled posts... I schedule them but for some odd reason only some of them post!! SO I found a whole bunch of gift guide posts that I had scheduled for a couple weeks ago that had never been published. Since they are supposed to be done by Christmas I am having to push them out rather quickly.

    I promise it will end soon!

    My husband asked me if I was ever going to write anything that wasn't product-related any time soon... you know it's bad when you even start to annoy your husband!

    Anyway, there are only a few more to go and then things will be back to normal.

    Did you know it is Christmas in 4 sleeps???

    And no, I am NOT ready yet! Yikes!

    Here is a cute picture of Owen just for fun :)

    Gift Idea: Battle Force 5 on DVD

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    Battle Force 5: Season 1

    The first season of Battle Force 5 ™ follows the team as they tackle their most difficult mission to date, finding a way home! This proves to be anything but easy; everything and everyone is against them: alien wasps, Sherman and Spinner’s BattleZone™ monster and strangely enough – themselves. In a dramatic turn, Sark™ and Vandals™ join forces to trick the BF5 into thinking both enemy forces have been defeated and the war is over, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The BF5 must rescue Sage and find a way home from the Sentient Homeworld.  Can they do this in time?


    My sons have watched Battle Force 5 on TV many times and Aiden was pretty excited when this DVD arrived in the mail. I asked the kids what they thought of it and here is what they said...

    Aiden: It's good. I like it because it is cars that do very damaging things.

    *Owen: I don't like it because it is not that interesting. Well I like the cars but I don't like the people.

    Olivia: I don't like it because it is for boys. 

    * please note that despite what he says every time the show is on he watches it... so I guess the fact that the cars are cool make up for his displeasure with the people.

    I think Battle Force 5 on DVD would probably make a great gift for any car-loving boy. It is 100% kid-friendly with nothing objectionable in it. I personally find some of the characters pretty funny :).

    I was sent a copy of this DVD for review purposes.

    Gift Idea: Leapfrog Tag Reading System

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    Leapfrog Tag Reading System

    Product Features

    • The Tag Reading System encourages children to learn to read and to love reading as words talk, pictures sing and stories live out loud!
    • The Tag library includes over 40 books and games based on favorite TV, movie and classic tales
    • Tag storybooks and learning activities help children build reading skills such as vocabulary, phonics and reading comprehension
    • The Tag Reader holds audio for up to 10 books at a time and is sized to fit small hands with a no-slip grip
    • Parents can connect the Tag Reader online to collect fun rewards their child has earned and to see their child's play

    What I loved:

    - it is educational and encourages reading

    - it is easy for my daughter to use

    - the books have characters she knows and loves in them (like Princess Tiana and Tinkerbell) and are bright and colourful and very kid-friendly

    - it is easily portable and could be taken in the car and on trips

    - it can be used with headphones so it really can be used anywhere

    - there are tons of different activities to do in each book

    - Olivia (age 4) really enjoys it and plays with it often

    What I did not love:

    - it takes batteries. I wish it was rechargeable.

    - it requires an internet connection to download the stories

    - the initial set up takes ages because you have to connect online, set up an account, download the story etc..

    -the included book sucks and in order to really enjoy the Tag you need to purchase a different book right away

    - the books are not as cheap as I would like them to be

    - it claims to be for kids age 4-8 but my 7 & 8 year old sons have not been very interested in it at all. That could change if we purchased books more to their liking though.

    Overall I am pleased with the Leapfrog Tag Reading System. I think it is a clever idea and would make a great gift for most younger children.

    Thanks so much to Leapfrog Canada for sending me the Tag Reading System to review.
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