Showing posts from 2014

Back From My "Technology Break"

Ok, first, I will readily admit that the title of this post is a little misleading.  I didn't take a total break from technology, but I did cut back significantly on my social media presence over the last two and a half weeks.  It was a sort of little experiment for me.  I had been pretty active on social media since the summer.... Twitter Parties, Facebook, Blog Posts, contest shares, etc.  I thought it was time for a little "me time".  I found myself getting stressed about my next post and what I would write.  Then, it hit me, I started this blog as something fun, if it wasn't going to be enjoyable, why would I continue.  So that was it, a little break.

Don't get me wrong, I was still logging in to Facebook and Twitter, and I was still checking in on some posts on my blog, but I posted very little... and in fact... nothing on my blog.  So I appreciate everyone's patience in my lack of content, but I needed that little bit of "me time" to refresh. …

Home-made Christmas Presents

I'm a believer in gifts from the heart.  That doesn't mean I don't buy gifts sometimes that are not meaningful, but I do think that gifts given with lots of thought put in them are particularly special.  It was with this thought in mind that my daughter and I worked on a special gift project for some people in our family.  I will apologize now for the lack of photos, but given that these gifts are for Christmas, I didn't want to give too much away.  Some of the readers of this post may be receiving these gifts.

We decided to make a personalized mug.  I've seen this craft shared a number of times on social media, but I was a little skeptical as to how well it would work, but we decided to give it a try.  I bought a couple mugs at the local dollar store, and we went home to get started.
Supplies needed:
- Mug - permanent markers - Oven
When it comes to the markers, I hear that the oil based ones are best.  I just bought standard "permanent" sharpies.
Step 1…

Letters to Santa

It's that time of year, children are writing (or have already written) their letters to Santa.  As we all know, this time of year is meant to be about more than just presents, but this can be a challenging lesson for children to learn.  Even with my daughter's young age, I have sometimes struggled with how to balance her "wants" with her "needs" when it comes to Christmas gift buying.  

Don't worry, I'm not going to go on a huge rant on the commercialization of Christmas.  But, my daughter is still young, and I try to stay away from an overwhelming amount of toys.  When she does a list for Santa, we tell her she can pick 3 things to ask for, and one of them is usually an "experience", usually a family trip.
I've also started bringing my daughter to volunteer events to help emphasize the importance of giving back.  I organize a blood donor clinic a few times a year in memory of my dad, who passed away in 2013.  Although the concept of &…

Holiday Savings & Coupons Giveaway

It's the most wonderful time of the year, a time where we can all go shopping without guilt in the name of "holiday spirit" lol. The number one thing about the holidays in most people's mind is their family EVEN those family members that drive you crazy you enjoy them that much more . If you're anything like me you wait until there are AWESOME coupons, discounts and deals... so many holiday savings. We know that there are many last minute shoppers SO hurry over and check out all the savings AND get all those gifts for the family that you love! No need to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday, just check out the coupons and deals on Your Life After 25's coupons & discounts page
NOT only are we spreading the word about all of those amazing deals we are also giving you the chance to Win: Your Life After 25 Holiday Savings and Coupon Giveaway!
Whether you're shopping for a new mom or babies, looking for the right present for the kids or trying to fi…

Cash for Christmas Giveaway!

Tammy from My Life Abundant and Tammy from Creative K Kids have gotten together with a few of our bloggie friends to have a giveaway!

We are so excited to be giving away $250 in cash prizes for you to use starting Thanksgiving weekend.  Here are the prizes:

1 - $100 Amazon Gift Card
1 - $50 Target Gift Card
2 - $25 Walmart Gift Card
1 - $20 Kohls Gift Card

Amazing. Right? Well, whats a gift card and getting up early, early to shop if you can't focus on your shopping. So how about we add a $5.00 Starbucks gift card to each one of the prizes above!!

But wait. There is one more prize. 1 - $5 Starbucks Gift Card
Now its time to meet our wonderful co-hosts who have made this giveaway possible.

Starting at the top row we have: Kim of KidPep | Jody of Mom 'N Daughter Savings | Penny of Penny's Passion | Jeanne of Home Garden Joy | Leticia of Desafio In The City | Barb of A Life in Balance | Tricia of The Good Mamma| Mary of Your Designer Dog Blog | Alecia  of Detours in Life, Fami…

Planning our Florida Vacation - Part 1

There are lots of things I love to talk about, but one of my favourite things is to talk about Florida vacation planning!  I know, some people hate planning, but, for me, it helps build the excitement of the trip.  We are currently planning a trip to Florida in 2015, so I thought I would do a blog post series about the planning, as I often get lots of questions about what things I look at when planning our trip.

This year, we're travelling with my husband, my daughter, brother in-law, mother in-law and father in-law.  We all have different interests, but we always seem to come to agreement with most activities in Florida.

To begin the planning, we survey the group as to when we would like to go.  Typically, we have traveled in February in years past.  This year, my daughter is in school, so we are trying to plan around Spring Break.   We're tagging a couple extra days on the trip, but she'll only be out of school a couple days.

We've stayed in the same property the las…

Product Review: Timothy's Dulce de Leche

I know, I've been doing a lot of product reviews lately, but when I find things I like or that I'm interested in, I want to write about it!
Today I'm going to review Timothy's Dulce de Leche hot drink.  I came across a 3-pack of the K-Cup version of this drink.  I was intrigued, because I absolutely love most all things caramel or butterscotch related.  So I decided to pick up a pack and give it a try.
I grabbed this pack at Wal-Mart and the price was $2.96.  So, approximately $1 a cup.  A little more than I like to pay for K-Cups (I'm a bargain shopper), but I thought I would give this little treat a try, and I'm so glad I did.  
Each cup is a creamy delight with a caramel taste.  So yummy!  I love hot chocolate, but this is even better.  It's not a coffee drink, just a yummy treat.  It's sweet, so I wouldn't recommend more than one at a time.  And it's a nice evening treat, especially on a cold night.  
I recommend running it through the smal…

Win with SingleJo Coffee!

If you're anything like me, you must be a coffee lover.  I love the warmth, the way it tastes, and the way it smells.  Well, now I'm sharing a contest where you can win a pretty awesome prize.  My friends at SingleJo coffee are giving away a "Margaritaville® Bali™ Frozen Concoction Maker" with self dispenser and Margaritaville single serve coffee.  This prize has an over $400 value!  Check out the link below for contest details, and you too can be a winner!

Enter here:

Product Review - Jamberry Nails

I love having my nails done.  I don't just mean the luxury of going to the spa for a manicure, I actually love the way my nails look when they're decorated, whether that be gel nails, polish or nail stickers.

I've tried a lot of different nail polishes, treatments, stickers, etc, and I had a number of friends asking me to try Jamberry, so I thought I would give it a go.

I had tried similar "stickers" before, and when I say "similar", I mean, ones that you apply and file off the excess.  I had some good luck with some, and bad luck with some.  What intrigued me with Jamberry is that they are "heat activated".  So, I went "all out" and bought myself one of their little heaters.  They do indicate that these heaters are not necessary as you could do it with a hair dryer, but I liked the idea that these heaters stand on their own, so there's no figuring out how to hold the hair dryer while getting ready to apply the sticker.

This is …

Have You Invested in an RESP for Your Child?

It's been "a few" years since I received my undergraduate degree, but I do remember the costs associated with that degree.  I was fortunate that my parents invested in an RESP for my education.  This investment allowed me to focus more on my studies than worry about my finances.

Although the money I received for the plan did not cover my entire education, it did provide me with piece of mind that a good portion of my tuition would be covered.

When my parents invested in the RESP, they didn't know what or where I was going to study, but they invested anyway to provide me with a good funding so I could make decisions that were based on programs I was interested in and not necssarily the cost of the program.

You can read some more on why I think it's important to invest in an RESP for your child, AND you can also register to win a $2500 contribution to your child's RESP!

Some Topics Close to My Heart

As I was working on a few upcoming posts for my blog, I realized that I have written some great posts as a guest blogger on other websites that I have never shared on my own blog, so I wanted to share those with you all.  They are topics that are close to my heart, so I wanted to be sure you all got a chance to read them.

First, a post about the importance of teaching the value of "giving back" to your children.  Many of you who have read my blog before know that I am passionate about various causes, and I know that it can be a common misconception that volunteering is not a child friendly activity, but this does not have to be the case!  I shared my thoughts on this topic over at the Heritage Education Funds blog, have a look!

Do you volunteer as a family?  Do you talk to your children about charity?  Share your experiences in the comment section or feel free to connect with me on social medi…

Product Review: Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10

I'll admit it, I torture my hair.  I have for years. Bleach, perms, curling irons, straighteners, hair colouring, I've done it all.  So, it comes as no surprise that my hair is brittle.

Over the years I've tried a number of treatments and products in order to help my hair feel healthier.  I've used hot oil treatments, salon brand products and just about any store brand you can imagine.  When I was approached by BzzAgent (a totally awesome product review site that you should check out at to review Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10 products, I went in to it with an open mind.

What I received from BzzAgent was a bottle of Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10 Shampoo, Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10 Conditioner and Pantene Pro-V Ultimate 10 BB Crème.

I was excited to try these products out.  So, the next morning I tried the shampoo and conditioner first.  Both had a nice smell - not over powering, and the smell didn't linger, just a nice clean smell.  And the conditioner w…

Big Brother 16 - FINALE!

Well... this is it folks.  The night we've been waiting for!  The big finale!  A reminder that the final 3 are Cody, Derrick... and Victoria.  I think we can all predict how the night is going to end for her.
Let's pick up with the Jury sitting with Dr. Will to discuss who the best player is.  And Caleb joins them as the most recent evictee.   Side note - I refuse to call him Beast Mode.  Refuse.
Anyway, we have some bitter people here.  Particularly Jacosta, who says that Derrick "fake prayed" with her in the house.  Wait... how do you "fake pray"?  Whatever.  
Frankie is his usually self, doing these dramatic gestures and non-hair flips (that's a term I just invented... it's when someone tosses their head like they're flipping long hair, but doesn't have long hair).   A little note about a rumour I heard - I had read that there was a possibility that Frankie would co-host the next season of Big Brother with Julie, and would take over host…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - September 17

Another abbreviated recap.

So, now we get to find out what the house is like "post Frankie".  And I have to say, I'm happy not to watch him anymore.  Even watching him with Julie I found annoying.  But I digress.

Time for nominations, and Derrick, clever as he is, was able to convince Caleb to nominate himself.  Caleb does so assuming that the boys will stick together until the end, sending Victoria home this week.  What Caleb doesn't know is that Derrick and Cody have had a deal this whole game.

On to the POV where the winner is.... Cody!   This means Cody is safe, and so is Derrick.  Cody also will be the only houseguest that will be voting this week.  And he decides to vote out Caleb.

Caleb feels most betrayed by Derrick and tells Julie so.

Can you believe we're almost at the end?

Big Brother 16 - Recap - September 16

Just an abbreviated recap tonight.

Well this episode was intense and fun!

Picking it up where we left off... Frankie is upset he was nominated.  Surprise, surprise.  So he wants to know why he was nominated, and Caleb spills that they were nervous he would save Victoria.  Seriously.  Come on Caleb.... why did you tell him that?

Anyway... to make a long story short.... Cody wins VETO, and despite Frankie's pleading, he isn't saved.  On to the vote... and he's voted out.

Now next HOH - and the winner is.... Derrick!

Another one voted out tomorrow... and finale next week!  Eek.... busy times!

Big Brother 16 - Recap - September 14

Dear Football,

You are ruining my TV watching.


Overtired Mama

That "letter" was prompted by yet another delay of Big Brother because of football.  I know.... first world problems.

On to the recap....

We pickup with the HOH we're replaying because of the Rewind.  And the new winner is........ Caleb.

Lots of game talk about who should be nominated.

Then.....a luxury competition.  The houseguests find out that the Jury members are coming to play for the luxury competition.  The winner gets $5000.  Then the houseguests are going to bet on the Jury members, and if their jury member wins they will also get $5000.  So no one chooses Christine.  Ouch.  And Nicole absolutely KILLS in this competition.  She knocks out most of the houseguests, then Hayden swings in and wins in the end.  Which means, he wins and so does Victoria.

Part of this competition was that the houseguests had to look for small disks in the house, which results in the house being absolutely torn ap…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - September 9 and 10th

Yes, I cheated and am posting both recaps in one post.  So let's get to it.

So Frankie is HOH, and he nominated Cody and Victoria.  They will have some opportunity to "win their freedom" during POV.  But first (I had to channel my "inner Julie"), Let's talk about Team America.... yes, that's still happening.  Anyway, Team America has to convince the houseguests that there is a mouse in the house and keep them up all night looking for it.  And, SUCCESS!  Apparently everyone is scared of rodents... well, except Caleb.  He makes some kind of trap.

On to POV - which consists of looking a pictures that are composites of 3 different hosueguests.  They have to guess who is in the picture.  And the winner is..... Frankie.  Boo.

Frankie laments in his room about what he's going to do, and once again talks about making a "big move"... but if this show has taught us anything... it's that big moves don't happen.  And Frankie stays true to f…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - September 7

We open with a recap of the previous double eviction episode, including the "rewind" twist.  
Then we see the houseguests reacting to hearing the boos of the audience towards Christine.  Cody assumes that Christine must have been doing things that he didn't know about in order for people to boo her.
Then, the button is revealed to the houseguests.  Speculation runs wild as to what pushing the button would do.  Then, everyone gets to go see the button in person.  
And we also get more talking about why Christine was booed.  Caleb and Frankie tell Cody they think she was booed because of their relationship, because Christine was married.  They tell Cody about how Christine looked at him with "love" in her eyes.  Cody doesn't buy it.  The conversation is interrupted when Victoria heads to the Diary room and the boys celebrate.
Cody, Derrick and Caleb talk about making a big move and nominating Frankie if they get a chance.  *sigh*  How long are they going to …

Giving Back and my Personal Challenge

I open today's blog post with a picture that means a lot to me.  A picture of my dad holding my daughter just a few hours after she was born.

This picture shows the beginning of a truly special relationship between my daughter and her Grampy.  When she was only 2, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Through his battle with the disease, she provided a bright light.  They would read stories, watch funny Simon's Cat videos (if you aren't familiar with Simon's Cat, check him out on YouTube, very funny), and playing games.  Sometimes they did this at home, and sometimes from the hospital bed.  No matter where they played, it was special to both of them.  My dad passed on April 6, 2013. 
Even before my dad's diagnosis, I was involved in the Canadian Cancer Society.  I believe in their programs, services, information resources, advocacy efforts and research.  If you want to read more about why I'm passionate about this organization, check out my previous blo…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - September 4

This is it folks!  The double eviction night!  Let's get ready for some big moves!  Or not.  Who knows.  Let's get in to it.

So Nicole and Victoria are on the block.  Nicole looks pretty nervous as her leg was kicking so much I thought she was going to kick the coffee table over.  When they give their speeches, Nicole tells the houseguests to stop being big babies and start playing Big Brother and make some big moves.  YES!  Nicole gets it.  It's what I've been saying for weeks!  I'm tired of watching these baby moves.  But I digress.  Victoria gives a typical un-notable speech.  Voting time, and Nicole is unanimously voted out.

Now, HOH, it's a question game, and on the very first question, Derrick is the only one to answer correctly and wins HOH.  He nominates Victoria and Christine.  He says that if one of them wins Veto he will nominate Frankie, and I cross my fingers that it happens, but it doesn't.  Frankie wins Veto and decides not to use it.  Voti…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - September 3

As promised, a brief recap of the episode I didn't recap on the long weekend:

Caleb won HOH.
Lots of talk about Donny's leaving.
Derrick starts dealing with his "Hollas".
Nicole and Christine are nominated.

On to tonight's episode.  The boys give Christine a pep talk to assure her she is not a target.  Which Derrick quickly follows up with a diary room message saying she is, in fact, his target.  Love it.

On to POV - the first out of the competition has to dress up like a dinosaur.  The houseguests have to cut wires on a bomb in response to a question asked about a colour sequence they had to view.  If they cut the wrong wire, it explodes.  Best. Challenge. Ever.

Cody is out first.
Then Caleb.
Then Victoria.
Then Derrick who says he thew the competition in hopes of keeping Nicole from getting knocked out... but Nicole is knocked out too.

Christine wins POV.  Frankie runs up to her and starts pumping her up, and says how good she is, then starts yelling about Cal…

Big Brother 16 and the Long Weekend

So, as you all know, it was a long weekend.  So it was long weekend vs. Big Brother 16, and the long weekend won.  We were out at a camp with no cable TV.  I didn't even PVR it because I knew I wouldn't watch it.  Not because I'm lazy (ok, I am lazy, but that's not the reason), it's because my daughter starts Kindergarten tomorrow.  I've been labeling school supplies like a mad woman... and making lunches (yes, plural... I was nice and made lunch for my husband too).

I'm not used to being emotional about these sorts of things.  Let's put it this way.  In high school, I went to watch Titanic in the movie theaters with my friends and while everyone in the theatre cried when Jack died (*spoiler alert*), I was laughing at how ridiculous the whole scene was - there was plenty of room on that board? If she truly loved him, wouldn't she make more of an effort to save him???  Anyway, I digress.  Don't get me wrong, I wasn't laughing out loud... I r…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - Episode 28

This is it, the moment of truth, this is the episode where we find out if Donny or Nicole goes home, and, whether Team America were successful in their challenge.

A little recap of the flip flopping that was happening before this live eviction.  Caleb approaches Derrick about keeping Donny.  Derrick says he's glad he's not the one bringing it up (in the diary room - not to Caleb), but he's open to the idea.  Caleb goes to chat with Cody about it.  Cody is like a brick wall.  Not open to the idea in the least.  Frankie thinks it's a good idea.

In the meantime, we learn that Team America will find out if they were successful in the "coming up with their own challenge" challenge through a "secret code" that Julie will have.  She will ask one of the Team America players what kind of food they would request as a have not this week.  They are to respond "Apple Pie".  If Julie says the request is granted, they were successful, if the request is…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - Episode 27

Aside from the fall out from nominations... we have Victoria, suffering from an apparent tooth ache.  Eventually, she passes out in the bathroom.  Scary moment for the houseguests.  They carry her in to the diary room.  She eventually comes around and says she's feeling better.

Team America gets to come up with their own challenge.  Donny says they should save him... but the other two don't agree.  Frankie says (while doing his makeup in the diary room) that America would never want to save Donny (huh?).  Frankie says he'll figure something out.

Derrick tries to explain to Donny why people are scared of him.  Basically saying it's because he's likable.

Frankie suggests they do a play.  Donny still tries to convince them to save him, but Frankie is not on board.  They decide to do a play, much to Donny's dismay.

POV - Detonators come up with a strategy.  We'll see if it works.  Winner gets POV, but they get to watch CBS's new show "Scorpion"…

My Thoughts on the ALS #IceBucketChallenge

I was prompted to write this post after reading so many negative comments and news articles about this challenge.

Before this challenge, I will admit that I knew very little about ALS.  I have learned so much about this devastating disease throughout this campaign.  Some I've learned because I chose to look in to it further, some I've learned because of people including educational pieces as part of their challenge.

This campaign is positive on two different levels - it's raised an enormous amount of funds, and it's raised awareness.  Yes, I realize there are people doing the challenge that will not donate any money, and yes, there are people that will learn nothing about ALS as a result of this challenge.  But the fact is that funds ARE being raised and people ARE learning things about ALS because of this challenge.

How unfortunate that some are saying that this disease is unworthy of our donations due to the "small" amount of people affected.  Do I realiz…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - Episode 27

People are reacting to Nicole's return to the game.  Unsurprisingly, no one is particularly happy about it.  Nicole and Donny do some game talk, which makes everyone talk about them working together.

Caleb decides to bring out Beast Mode Ninja.  He shows everyone a series of kicks, spins and yelling.  Oh yeah, and then he falls down too.  He's so weird.

HOH - Boxing challenge.  Unfortunately, Nicole is out first.  It ultimately comes down to Cody vs. Donny.  The winner is...... Cody.  Unfortunately, that doesn't sound good for Nicole or Donny.  The Detonator boys start discussing how they will have to get rid of Christine at some point soon.  I'd prefer sooner rather than later.

Cody's HOH room - a couple of notable happenings: 1 - Caleb talks about how good looking Cody's sister is. 2 - Donny says he thought Cody was just "some dumb kid", but turns out he's "a genius".

Nicole goes to chat to Cody to plead her case.  Cody makes it cle…

Big Brother 16 - Recap - Episode 26

Wow, episode 26.   Hard to believe that we're this far in to it, unless you start remembering all of the houseguests that are gone.

Anyway - let's pick up with the fallout from Frankie's nomination of Zach.  Zach decides to go in to full campaign mode.  He's hoping that Frankie will back him up as a good choice to keep in the house, but Frankie doesn't do that.  Poor Zach feels betrayed.  To make matters worse for Zach, Victoria has taken her pink hat back (the hat Zach "borrowed" from her at the beginning of the season).  Zach is devastated.

On to eviction time, and, no surprise, Zach is voted out.  He's pretty classy in his interview with Julie, considering I expected him to throw everyone under the bus and say what horrible people they were.  He didn't even trash Victoria, who, in her goodbye message, showed Zach that she had shredded his beloved hat.  Side note - is THAT her big game move?  This girl is terrible.

While Zach talks with Julie, …

Big Brother 16 Recap - Episode 25

We open with the fallout from the Battle of the Block.  Donny is not a stupid man, he knows that Christine threw the competition.  He believes Derrick is one of the masterminds in all of this.  Derrick also knows something is up with Donny and he tells Frankie that Donny is on to them.

I've been waiting for this episode all season because, it's the return of Zingbot.  When Zingbot arrives, he's not quite himself.  Zingbot is spouting compliments and the Houseguests don't like it.  Christine voices her displeasure - Don't worry Christine, soon enough, you'll be wishing that there weren't any Zings.  So after the niceties of Zingbot, the doorbell rings, and in comes Kathy Griffin to zing everybody.  Some of her zings include: "Who likes to wear pink and cuddle with men?  Zach!"  He tries to look hurt, but eventually can't help but laugh.  There's a Zing about all the cuddling Cody and Christine do.  She gets a little upset.  Cody says in th…

Spotlight: Children's Wish and the Bayside Broncos

Kids are amazing.  I don't just say that because I'm a mom, I say that because I'm surprised all the time by the strength and abilities of kids to do amazing things.  Here in Saint John, New Brunswick (Canada), there is an amazing school full of awesome kids who are doing an incredible thing for their community.  Bayside Middle School has about 600 students and the whole school gets involved in their annual "Walk for Kaitlyn" in support of the Children's Wish Foundation.
Bayside's fundraising efforts began after a child at their school, grade 8 student Kaitlyn Doucette, passed away after a battle with cancer in 2002.  As the school dealt with the loss of Kaitlyn, they decided they wanted to have something positive come out of it, and it was decided that they would partner with the Children's Wish Foundation.  Since they began their fundraising campaign in 2002, they've had 2 more students pass away after battles with terminal illnesses.  This schoo…