Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Putting Dinner on the Table With McCains – a Review

My oldest daughter (E) goes to tutoring three days a week.  Her lessons fall just before supper and I have to admit I have been finding it hectic trying to put a decent meal on the table.  It gets difficult because E doesn’t like her food to get mixed up which means all the easy options like crock pots or casseroles are out. 

So what’s a busy mom to do?  Well, McCain Foods (Canada) is introducing McCain® Harvest Splendour™ Medleys, a new side dish combining 100 per cent real potatoes and other wholesome vegetables together, made in only 12 minutes.  No peeling, cutting, chopping or boiling required. You gotta love that so of course, I agreed to try it out.  I had no problems at all finding all four flavours in the freezer section of my local grocery store (Safeway). 

HS_Broccoli_Main Dinner night #1, we tried the Potato and Broccoli Medley.
“Specially seasoned potatoes, crisp broccoli, red peppers and red onions with seasonings such as roasted garlic, parmesan cheese and sea salt.” 

I was glad to note that the seasoning was in a separate pouch and so I could adjust the amount of seasoning to my family’s taste.  I was also pleased to see that McCain® Harvest Splendour™ Medleys are trans fat-free, low in fat and have no artificial colours or flavours.


That night I chose to bake the potatoes in the oven and loved that I could just pop it in, stir it once or twice and leave it to bake for 25 minutes.  I actually used the full seasoning pouch and found it to be the perfect amount.  The potatoes cooked wonderfully, were so soft in the middle and the vegetables were not at all watery.  I won’t go so far as to say my picky eater loved it.  She didn’t, even with picking out the potatoes separately for her but then I didn’t expect her to. She’s anti-potatoes at the moment. The other two enjoyed it just fine and my husband practically devoured the rest of the pan.
HS_Carrot_Main

Dinner night #2, we tried the Potato and Carrot Medley. 
“Specially selected potatoes, carrots, red peppers and red onions with seasons such as roasted garlic, black pepper, parsley, nutmeg and sea salt.”


This night I opted to cook the potatoes on the stove stop.  I did add a little extra oil than the recipe called for but my non-stick pan doesn’t really work that great so I wasn’t taking any chances.  The entire meal was cooked in about 10 minutes and turned out just as great as when I made in the oven.  The only catch was I dumped the entire seasoning packet on this one and it ended up being a little too spicy.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Pepper is one of the ingredients. Duh.  So the kids didn’t care for it that much but hubs and I still enjoyed it.  

On a busy night, I like being able to just throw something in the oven and not have to fuss with it at all.  That time was then spent on cooking the meat, setting the table and all those little things you need to get done.  I will definitely buy the Medleys again and want to try their Three Potato Medley and the Yukon Gold Potato and Mushroom Medley.  Both sound delicious. 

To receive a $1.00 off coupon to try the new McCain® Harvest Splendour™ Medleys visit:www.facebook.com/mccaincanada. Limited quantity of coupons available. While supplies last. For more information on the productvisit: www.harvestsplendour.ca.

How do you get dinner on the table on those busy nights?
Zeemaid


*disclosure I received coupons from McCain so I could try the Medleys out.  The opinions herein as always are my own and reflect my true experience with the product*

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Walking on Air – A Skechers Review



I think you may have heard me mention once or twice how much I love Skechers shoes.  Way back when I was carrying babies (on the inside that is) I started with foot problems and a good friend recommended me to try Skechers because they had helped her feet.  So I bought my first pair of Skecher slip on running shoes and to my amazement my feet were practically cured over night.


Obviously like all good things we don’t always stick with it for whatever reason. Perhaps I was lulled by my non sore feet into thinking I could wear any old piece of cardboard that passes for footwear.  Fast forward three babies later and I now have flat feet and some weird sort of metatarsal problem which makes running around barefoot (my favourite footwear) impossible.  I have learned that not all Skecher shoes provide the same comfort and support that my original runners did so it is important for me to try them out first.  After all, no matter what the line shoes are created for different purposes.


I have been wearing my current Skechers for the past two years.  They are just now beginning to lose their support and my feet are beginning to hurt again so I was excited when I was given the opportunity to try out Skechers new “GOwalk” line.  There are several colours to choose from and I chose Aqua.

This is what Skechers has to say about their shoes.
SKECHERS GOwalk elevates the natural walking experience, allowing you to interact with and respond to practically any surface, while offering the additional benefit of real world protection.
Details:




  • Innovative placement allows the GOimpulse sensors to move together and independently as they provide sensory feedback to the brain
  • Dynamic interaction promotes a natural stride for a more efficient and responsive walk
  • Radically lightweight - No extra material, no extra weight, nothing to slow you down
  • 360 Degree Responsive Flexibility - SKECHERS GOwalk flexes and twists allowing your foot to move naturally
  • Sockless Walking - Integrated OrthoLite™ anti-microbial sockliner helps inhibit odor and prevent slippage
  • Roomier Forefoot - Extra space to reduce friction and allow your toes to spread, grip and push off
  • Resalyte™ Midsole - Proprietary lightweight midsole compound provides just the right impact absorption
    Construction:
  • Nearly weightless synthetic and fabric upper
  • Nearly seamless flexible upper with slip on front
  • Stretch center top panel for easy slip on fit
  • Pull on heel loop design
  • Soft smooth fabric shoe lining for easy barefoot wear
  • Weight: Radically lightweight 3.5 oz per shoe based on a women's size 6.5
  • I have to admit I have no idea what the dealio is with sensors that send sensory feedback to the brain and what that all means.  What I do know is that when I first put these shoes on it felt like I had just stepped onto soft pillows.  These shoes work.  They are so comfortable and truly do feel like barefoot walking.  All the support I need is provided without orthotics.  In fact, I have dubbed these as my new inside shoes and am planning on buying another pair for outside. The more I wear these in the house the more I wish I had them to wear outside. To top it off they are super cute, not clunky at all and look like those cute shoes your friends without the foot problems wear.  These shoes retail at $59.00 and so is pretty affordable at that price. 


    Check out these fantastic shoes and see more colours at Skechers.com


    Have you tried Skechers before and what did you think?  Or, how about sharing a tip you use to help your sore feet.

    Zeemaid


    *disclosure - I received a pair of Skechers shoes in order to conduct my review and was not compensated in any other form.  As always my opinions are my own and reflect my true experience with the product*

    Tuesday, April 17, 2012

    A Different Kind of Post

    crying
    This isn’t exactly the kind of post that I had in mind today.  I had planned on a wonderful little post sharing photos of our mini family vacation this past weekend.  But how can I even possibly attempt a light hearted post when at this very moment….

    I hate my children 

    There I said it.  Gasp if you want but truth be told sometimes they can be real little shits.  While I hit my head on the table I wonder where on earth did I go wrong.  The kind of day where if I had booze I’d be breaking it out. If I had chocolate, I'd be stuffing my face.

    Do you ever feel like putting your head down and crying at the dinner table just because your 4 year old son, who used to eat everything in sight, comes up and frowns over the rice and declares “awwww, you know I only like couscous”?

     I tell you I pressed my fingers to my eyes and wiped away tears as I tried to cheerfully serve up their supper.  Normally I can take their criticism after all it’s not really personal but this has been going on all week if not longer.   He doesn’t like this, She doesn’t like that.  I’m not an unreasonable mom.  I don’t pander to their picky palates but I do try to cook generally what we all like and what they in the past have had no problems eating.  They ARE NOT ALLOWED to change the game plan at this stage.  I completely changed how we all ate potatoes and served up mashed for the past three years because E would only eat them mashed.  That was okay with me. I liked mash and so does everybody else so how fair is it that she suddenly declares she hates mashed potatoes or any other kind except for French Fries.  WTH?

    Of course it’s not just about the food, it’s the constant bickering, pushing, shoving and annoying one another that also gets on one’s nerves.  I try to ignore it as  much as possible, refusing to referee their disputes.  But when they lock the poor kitty in the Barbie suitcase, tow him downstairs and bump around the house with it until my mom radar zones in and they lie to me we’re heading awfully close to a bedtime countdown. 

    In fact, the stage 3 meltdown that occurred prior to the timeout is a pretty big clue that someone’s a little tired.  Followed by a ten minute crying fit when asked to take the suitcase back upstairs and then a hands down dispute as to who gets read to first and suddenly I’ve got two little kids in bed with the lights out at 6:30 p.m. with no books.
     
    My oldest is currently having special time with dad and so I’m on my own as I listen to the 6 year old scream in her bed.  So after I check to make sure they are still in bed, I think I’ll be texting hubby to bring home some chocolate. 

    Then when they are asleep I’ll go back up and check on them and I’ll feel that flood of love for them pour over me again and I will say a little prayer asking for the strength to keep plugging away day by day and to be a better mom. 

    What about you… do you have those days where you simply can’t stand your kids?

    Zeemaid

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    A Little Easter Goodness

    This year the kid’s spring break is two weeks and smack in the middle of it was Easter.  So since the kids didn’t get to do much in the way of Easter projects at school it was up to me to make sure they got to at least decorate some eggs (which we do every year anyway). Of course, I forgot to buy one of those little egg decorating kits and so I had to fall back on good old food coloring, which is probably what those kits are made of anyways so why have I been wasting my money all these years? Of course, the kids were like “where’s the crayon to colour on the egg” and I’m like “we have a ton of crayons pick one” and they were like “it’s not white” and I was like “so, it doesn’t have to be” and then they got down to colouring their eggs with crayons and dipping them into the food colour.  Cause hey, we’re just going to eat them so perfect works of art they don’t need to be. 

    DSC03909
    I even rearranged my kitchen table so that the natural light from the window would filter through onto the kids so I could take better (hopefully) photos and I think a lot of them turned out pretty nice. Thanks to some great tips I learned from Courtney at Click it Up a Notch when I participated in the SITS Pinterest challenge in March.  While I may never have any interest in learning the more technical aspects of photography, it’s still possible to take better photos with a just a few simple tips. 

    DSC03917DSC03925











    Of course the children were spoiled for Easter.  Not only did the Easter Bunny play a little visit to our house but he also managed to stop by their Faraway Nana and their Aunt and Uncle’s house.  Oh my word, I’ve been underestimating Easter as a candy holiday.  It out beats Halloween hands down.  The candy you get on Halloween is small while Easter candy can be enormous.  Take the Kinder Egg for example

    kinderegg

    That is the size of the egg that comes inside the giant Kinder Egg the kids were so lucky to get.  Which brings me to my next point… a slight beef with Kinder Surprise.  I know, it’s a surprise you never know what you are going to get and that fact makes it all the more tantalizing.  Except some of the prizes inside the eggs are lame.  I mean really lame.  Not to mention the time when my daughter got nothing.  That’s right, zip, nada, zilch.  There wasn’t a tiny yellow capsule inside her chocolate egg.  Not such a happy day when her siblings both got something cool. 

    So with an egg that size and for the price, we expected some pretty cool toys.  And in two cases Kinder Egg delivered.
    DSC03952 DSC03951
    Pretty cool right?  Then the four year old got this…

    DSC03953

    At first I thought cool, a deck of cards we can play with as a family.  But no, it’s some sort of punch out the shapes and then move the shapes around so you can recreate the pattern on the back of another card.  Yup.  I can tell you he was thrilled with that one.  And so it sits in the bottom of his Easter basket and probably will get recycled by me by the end of the week because I will keep finding it all over the floor. 

    Still an Easter egg hunt and lots of chocolate made up for it.

    DSC03938  DSC03942

    How did your Easter go?

    Zeemaid

    Thursday, April 5, 2012

    Spring with Hallmark - Giveaway

    GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
    CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNER BINA BUG


    I was excited when I was asked to be a part of Hallmark’s 2012 Press Pause Panel.  Not only because I love everything Hallmark but also because it’s exciting to get the inside scoop on new Hallmark Products.

    One of the newest announcements at Hallmark is their Hallmark Rewards Program. By joining the program, members will benefit by saving on Hallmark greeting cards, receiving exclusive offers and sneak peeks of upcoming new products. Visit www.hallmarkrewards.ca to register online or stop by your closest Hallmark Gold Crown Store to learn more.

    henOne of the things that I love about Hallmark is that they can be silly and that as you all know is a big hit with the kids.  From their Squawkin’ Egg Droppin’ Hen to their plush Story Buddies like Nugget.  Oh yes, the Squawkin’ Egg Droppin’ Hen.  A part of me wanted to save this and give it to the kids on Easter but then I realized I just had to share this for the rest of you because it was so darn cute.  MSRP $30.95 or $15.95 with purchase of three cards.  She squawks and lays her eggs as she sings and dances.  ADORABLE!

     I thought I'd post a video of the Hen in action and you can tell my oldest is being a bit of a ham because when I brought out the video camera she asked if I was going to You Tube it. LOL Which is funny considering I've only done it once or twice.


    Nugget the Dog Story Buddy was just as popular with my children as the Hen.  Nugget comes with the storybook Nugget’s First Day of School.  As you read along Nugget responds with sound to different phrases. To prevent squabbling the kids took turns cuddling Nugget while I read.  Then my oldest daughter was eager to practice her reading so she could make Nugget talk.  MSRP $29.95

    DSC03903


    Of course it can’t always be just about the kids and so I was pleased to pull out a few things from the box that were definitely for the grownups.

    bloom Hallmark’s Bloomin Expressions is charming.  You simple press the button and the flower blooms in front of your eyes to reveal a special saying in the middle.  What a lovely way of letting someone know you think they’re special.  There are four designs (eight sayings)to choose from and my only suggestion was that it would have been nice if it played some sort of soft music appropriate to the message inside.  MRSP $19.95




    DSC03927 The Stationary Tower was particularly delightful to receive because in my house we are forever hunting up paper and a pen.  I love the cute design and the sturdiness of the holder. This would be great for mother’s day, teacher appreciation or even a hostess gift.  MRSP $12.95

    Let’s not forget dad.  For Father’s Day, we have these cool Gear Shaped Frames which would look great both on a desk or in a workshop.  Right now there is a limited time offer:  Buy 1 Card get two Gear Shaped Frames for $12.00  *Buy 2 Cards get three Gear Shaped Frames for $15.00

    ENTER TO WIN
    A BLOOMIN’ EXPRESSIONS FLOWER
    TO ENTER:
    • mandatory - leave a comment telling me what your favourite new Hallmark Product is.
    For additional entries leave an additional comment per item.
    • Follow me on Facebook
    • Follow me on Twitter
    • Tweet about this giveaway (may be done once per day)

    Contest open to Canadians only.  Ends April 29th

    Zeemaid


    *disclosure, I received the above items so that I may review and write about them.  The experiences and opinions regarding said products are my own and I was not compensated in any other way for this review.*



    GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
    CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNER BINA BUG

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    Spring Cleaning The Green Way - Giveaway

    You know you are a mom of three messy kids when you get excited over being asked to participate in reviewing cleaning products as part of the Green Works® Program through Mom Central Canada.  And I do mean excited.  Seriously getting the Green Works® cleaning package was like opening a present on Christmas.  Okay it couldn’t compete with that sparkly little tennis bracelet I had my eye on but still.. it came close.

    The thing is I am sensitive to harsh chemicals especially fumes and had been going through numerous products trying to find one that didn’t require me to hold my breath while cleaning the bathroom.  Then one day I bought

    bathroom cleaner Green Works® Bathroom Cleaner

    For the first time  in years I was able to use a bathroom cleaner that didn’t make me wheeze.  So I was already somewhat familiar with the Green Works® line.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to explore the rest of their products.  All I can say is DU-UH!  So you can understand why I would be excited to receive this package.

    What I have learned about Green Works®:

    · Green Works® products are made with plant- and mineral-based cleaning ingredients. These ingredients are biodegradable and are naturally derived.

    · Green Works® products are not tested on animals.

    · Green Works® products are acknowledged by the EPA’s Design for the Environment program.

    · You can find more information on these products here: http://www.trygreenworks.ca/

    greenworks 

    The glass cleaner works excellent, has a pleasant scent and is ammonia free.  The dishwashing liquid also has a lovely scent and gets just as foamy and bubbly as  any regular dish soap, yes I checked, bubbles are important to me as it doesn’t seem like it’s doing the job unless it does.   The bonus is it’s made from biodegradable plant products so I don’t have worry about what goes into the water and down the drain.

    As a general rule I haven’t been a big fan of cleaning wipes because I figure it’s  just more garbage.  But my husband loves them for that quick and easy clean/sanitizing of knobs, switches, railings etc and when I read that they are biodegradable and compostable I felt much better about using them.  You can just throw the wipes in the green bin when you are done.  Plus, I don’t know if this has happened to you but I’ve had those cleaning wipe containers pinch my fingers because the wipe broke off inside and you have to fish it out again somehow… well Green Works® has solved that little problem by making the teeth collapsible so all you have to do is push and it opens up and you can grab the cloth.  Nice!

    I probably should mention that there are a lot of great deals on right now at the following retailers:

    Wal-mart

    April- Products available may vary by store.

    o Special 2-pack offer (All--Purpose Cleaner and Dish Soap) exclusively at Wal-mart for a great price!

    o Exclusive All-Purpose Cleaner refill only at Wal-mart location

    o April 14/15 Weekend - In-store educational demos. Learn more about the naturally-derived Green Works products in-store at participating Wal-mart locations.

    Sobeys

    April - Products available may vary by store.

    o Buy 2 Green Works products at Sobeys and receive 200 Sobeys Bonus points

    London Drugs

    April - Products available may vary by store.

    o Green Works will be hosting a twitter contest at London Drugs where customers can tweet their favourite Green Works Product to #WinWithGreenWorks to a chance to win 1 of 5 $500 London Drugs gift cards

    OR  …..

    ONE of YOU my lucky readers can have a chance to try out Green Works® too by entering to win a Green Works® Prize Pack.

    TO ENTER

    1.  Leave a comment sharing what your favourite Green Works® is.

    2. Earn an extra entry by following me on Twitter

    3. Earn an extra entry by following me on Facebook

    4.  Earn an extra entry by subscribing by Feedburner

    RULES

    Open to Canadian Residents ONLY. Contest ends April 14th.  Winners must include email in their entry if it’s not on their profile.  Winners will be contacted by email and must respond within 3 days or a new winner will be selected.  Please note you may enter the giveaway across multiple blogs but can only win once.

    Zeemaid

    “Disclosure – I am participating in the Green Works program. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of The Clorox Company of Canada Ltd.”