Saturday, May 9, 2009

Boom and sparkle!

It is a weird weather day here, alternating thunderstorms (with hail) and brilliant sunshine! It's about 17 degrees. I like it - this is interesting weather!
I'm still waiting for the peas I planted 8 days ago to show any sign of life. I hope they were viable seeds. Our crabapple tree is this close to blossoming - we planted it last fall so we are very excited to see it in bloom! Waiting is the hardest part of gardening!

I was busy yesterday, running around and then out for Indian food in downtown Toronto. It was fun to go out with our friends. For once I didn't get a stomachache after eating Indian food! So I was too busy to post but I'll do a little bit of catching up today as my DH has gone out to run some errands.

For baby:
  • Win a stainless steel baby bottle from Canadian company Organic Kidz at Feisty, Frugal and Fabulous. I don't know how you feel about it, but I can't stand it when a 'z' is used in place of an 's'! I'm a spelling prude. Ends May 18th.
  • Win a pair of Scooterbees baby shoes at {Natural}Mommie. Ends May 18th.
  • Win a Twilight Sea Turtle from Cloud B at All Things 4 Baby and Mom! Ends May 20th.
  • Win a block letter alphabet vinyl wall decoration from Tastysuite at Just for Me... And You. Ends May 17th. I think this would be super cute in a nursery, don't you?
For the ladies:
  • Win a $50 gift certificate to DownEast clothing at Simple Finds. Ends May 14th.
  • Win body scrub and massage oil from tabutoys over at Helping Mommys Win. Ends May 12th.
  • Win your choice of any personalized paper product from Peony Paperie at The Shopping Mama. Ends May 16th.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Crazy Thursday

Okay, how did it get to be Thursday already? I spent the whole day yesterday thinking it was Tuesday (and thus missed Lost, don't tell me what happened!). Plus this laptop thing.. ugh, steep learning curve.
Anyway. I'm eating a cupcake so the morning's getting better :) and here are some giveaways for today...

For the ladies:
For baby/tot:
  • Win a Boon Bug Pod (bath scoop/storage) at Mom Most Traveled! Ends May 15th and you can enter daily.
  • Win a Warmies Wipes Warmer for reuseable wipes at The Green Mom Review! Ends May 18th.
  • Win a One Small Change Portable Changing Station at The Green Mom Review! Ends May 11th.
  • Win a Laundress hypoallergenic gift bag from Pure & Little at MomDot - containing laundry detergent, dryer sheets and stain solution all safe for baby. Ends May 15th.
  • Win a Little Chickie Wear onesie at My Mom's View! Love that 'may contain peanut' one! How cute. Ends May 14th.
  • Win a Mermapillar tee at My Organized Chaos. You choose the size, colour, and Merma-critter. Ends May 15th.
For anyone:
  • Win a bottle of Organic Lavender Hydrosol from Aromatics International at Your Mama Reviews. Ends May 14th. I wouldn't recommend this for boys, infant or not - here's some info about lavender and unusual, unwanted effects on boys!

Mac is making me crazy

I got a new laptop, and it's a Mac. My first Mac since 1994 and guys it is making me twelve kinds of crazy. I woke up at 5am stressing on it.
The main reason is that two of my daily-use programs from my PC I can't get for Mac... Roboform and Sweep!... I have so much data and so much time invested in these two programs!

Roboform is a form filler and password saver
Sweep! keeps track of contests, entries, tells you when it's ok to enter again, takes you to the site. I highly recommend both for PC users who like the giveaways.

Edit: I learned that I can run Fusion, which basically lets you run the Windows OS in a new window on the Mac! Yay. A little less easy than what I'm used to, but at least I can still use my favourite programs!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Published! (and some giveaways)

I'm excited! I am going to have a recipe published in Best Health magazine. It won't come out until September, but still. :) Anyways, on to the giveaways list, I know that's why you really come here! lol.

For the ladies:
For baby/tots:
  • Win a $30 gift certificate to Tiny Soles at Shop With Me Mama. Ends May 7th so hurry!
  • Win a $50 gift certificate to Bei Bambini at Tales from a Shopaholic Mommy! Oh, my gosh. The clothes are lovely! Ends May 20th.
  • Win a pair of See Kai Run shoes at Thrifty Minnesota Mama! Love those SKR shoes! Ends May 20th. Just a reminder, if you do win ask if the sponsor would put 'sample' rather than 'sale' on the shipping invoice if it's coming to Canada! It might save you the $13 in customs/duty.
For anyone:
  • Win Coconut Milk Organix shampoo and conditioner at The Screamin' Deal. Ends May 7th. I have tried the Tea Tree and Mint shampoo and conditioner from Organix and I have to say I was not impressed. It smells great but does not do nice things to my hair (or my husband's). We put it in the guest bathroom - is that mean? lol. But perhaps the Coconut version is nicer. Surely it will smell great.
  • Win a t-shirt from SnorgTees at Simply Stacie. Snorg is the sound my dog makes when he's sleeping. Just FYI. Ends May 19th.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Just giveaways and no blather.

I'm all typed out from yesterday, straight to the giveaways list today! :)

First off, a free sample of Mom's Healthy Secrets organic cereal. This is for Canada only.

For baby:
  • Win a $25 gift certificate to Manhattan Toy at My Mom's View! I like their selection of developmental and award-winning toys! Ends May 11th.
  • Win a Naturepedic crib mattress at {Natural} Mommie! What an awesome giveaway! Ends May 15th.
  • Win a Baby Einstein Lullaby Classics CD at Frugal Shopping with Julie. Ends May 14th.
  • Win a Green to Grow Welcome Home Set at The Army Wife. I'm not sure when this one ends. There are no eligibility rules that I saw, but note that Green to Grow's website says they don't ship outside the US. So, you can take or leave your chances with this one.
  • Win a Little Chickie Wear onesie or tee at Everything Up Close! Cute stuff. Ends May 13th.
  • Win a pair of Jack & Lily shoes at Country Girl, City Life! I adore these. Ends May 8th.
  • Win a Little Towheads onesie at My Funny Bunny! Ends May 30th.
For kids:
For the ladies:
  • Win a Body Shop gift set at Designs by Vanessa! That would be so nice. Ends May 10th.
  • Win a Crunchy Cute coupon organizer at The Shopping Mama! Ends May 16th. I have one but this looks better than mine! Nice!
For anyone:
  • Win a $50 VISA card and Kleenex Anti-Viral tissues at MomStart! Ends May 30th.
  • Win Lunchbots stainless steel containers at The Opinionated Parent. Ends May 12th.
  • Win the clothing item of your choice from Ellembee at Dev's Favourite Giveaways! Ellembee has baby onesies, ladies' tees, tanks, skirts, hoodies, and even scarves! Ends May 11th.
  • Win a custom two-pack of Nuworld Botanicals aromatherapy vials at The Beauty Counter! Ends May 14th.
more to come!

Monday, May 4, 2009

POM Wonderful cupcakes!

So a little while ago I won a coupon for a bottle of POM Wonderful from All Things Edible. Thanks, Jenny! I had thought it would be great in smoothies (I still think so - POM, a little vanilla frozen yogourt and blueberries, yum!), but I was inspired by her brownies to get a little more creative.

I headed to the POM Wonderful website and picked out the POM Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting. Chocolate is my weakness, this sounded perfect. I had picked up the Pomegranate-Cherry variation of POM (there are several different kinds!) and it seemed the perfect choice to go with chocolate.

The first thing I discovered when I opened the fridge was that my dear, handsome, smart and wonderful husband had guzzled down half the bottle of POM during one of his secret midnight fridge raids! Argh! And what do you bet he drank straight from the bottle?! Grr. So straight off the bat I had to halve the recipe. That's okay, though, because with only the two of us 24 cupcakes would be too much.

I bake a LOT, so the cupcakes were a breeze. They turned out perfectly - dark, rich and moist, with a slightly crispy top. I used my silicone baking cups rather than paper ones. They look pretty good, right? They are!

Okay, the icing. Now I am not the kind of baker who ices things. I kind of like my cupcakes plain and find icing too sweet. But I had the recipe right there so I decided to go for it. Not being an icer in general, I had practically no knowledge base for icing. Now I think I know a little better. I followed the directions to the letter (carefully halving all of the ingredients) and ended up with liquid icing. Delicious liquid icing, but liquid all the same. I tried adding more icing sugar. I tried adding more butter. I should have just divided the batch by a third and added more icing sugar, but I was invested in it by then and didn't want to! I added a good 2 cups more icing sugar (on top of the original 1 1/4 cups) and about 1/4 cup more butter. I still ended up with icing the consistency of un-set pudding - now with little lumps.

Finally I gave up and simply dipped the cupcakes in it. It is runny but will harden to more of a glaze. Unfortunately, it's not pretty - there are lumps of butter and sugar. Kind of disappointing. The taste, however, is fabulous, so I think I may be forgiven.

Next time I would leave out all the liquid in the icing recipe (the water and the milk) except the POM. I would beat the butter, sugar, melted chocolate and vanilla together, and slowly add in the juice rather than follow the recipe. Also I would make about a quarter as much - I ended up freezing a bagful of leftover lumpy icing, maybe it will work as a cake filling or in sandwich cookies.

Overall, they taste fantastic so I can't complain too much. I wish they looked better - I simply ran out of patience with the icing. I probably should have abandoned the batch and started over but like I said, I got invested.

And I'm still a little peeved that DH drank all that POM. I will have to pick up a bottle and hide it just for me! Relabel it 'PMS medicine' or something so he doesn't drink it! lol.

Rollercoasters and deliciousness

I had such a fun weekend! Let me start by saying the Behemoth (the giant new roller coaster at Canada's Wonderland) is AWESOME. We went on twice and honestly I would rather have done that one all day long than any of the other rides. So fun, a smooth ride, three+ minutes of exhilarating speed! So I am thrilled to learn that I am not too old for roller coasters, after all.

After that, we took our friend (who's from out west, only in town for a little while) to one of our favourite restaurants. The restaurant is Fresh, down on Queen West in Toronto. It's vegan - if you've ever thought vegan or vegetarian food sounds boring or unsatisfying, get yourself to Fresh for an education. Their food is simply amazing, I highly recommend it. And if you go, save room for the carrot cake - it won't disappoint.

Two things were unfortunate about the day, though. One: we were on Flight Deck (another coaster) and the ride was delayed. We'd finished our ride and were sitting in the cars waiting to get out while the other train was in the station. They had some technical trouble and we ended up sitting there strapped into the seats for a good 10 minutes. There were some young teenage boys (13 or 14?) in the back of the train and they were basically shouting out all the bad words they could think of. Most of them were related to women's body parts. Not cool.

The second thing I saw that wasn't cool... we were waiting in line for one of the other coasters and in front of us were two young girls. Now I am not great at judging ages, but I'd say being just over 4' tall and very young looking, maybe 10 or 12 years old. Just starting to fill out but still scrawny in that kid way. Both girls were wearing a ton of makeup, and one girl had half her chest hanging out. I mean, more skin than I have ever shown as an adult (aside from swimsuits, maybe). Her nipples were just barely covered. I know that young girls are practically trained to be sexual in our society, and I really have a problem with that. These girls have no idea what they are doing. They might think they are smart and cool and in some immature and unformed way 'sexy', but please... 10-year-olds should not be trying to be 'sexy', it's just wrong. And it made me wonder, where is the parenting that is so obviously needed.

Am I way off base thinking these kids really need some parental intervention, and bad? I know kids that age act out. It's part of growing up, testing boundaries, all that stuff. They're still developing morality. And they can be hard to control (I certainly had my moments as a teen). But they are still kids. They need the lines for appropriate behaviour drawn for them, and reinforced. Any comments?

Ok rant over. Thanks for bearing with me, I just had to get that out.