Heading to St Pete Beach to stay at a Tradewinds Resort in Florida

As a family, each of us has a different wish list when we’re planning a holiday. While I’d enjoy spending all of my time shopping and relaxing in the sun, my family has different interests. As you can imagine it can be quite a challenge to find a vacation which hits everyone’s wants and needs (sleep is a priority!).

In the past few years we have fallen in love with Florida, its warm climate, friendly people and fantastic customer service has never let us down. We are actually here in Orlando now, after spending a few days having our minds blown at Disney we are staying steps from the outlets which pleases me immensely! Tomorrow we are heading down to Island Grand, a Tradewinds Resort on St Pete Beach.

TradeWinds Entrance

We specifically chose Island Grand because it has something for everyone in our family at a resort that is not an all-inclusive located right on the beach.

TradeWinds Island Grand has completed all phases of a $20 million renovation project! Renovations include guest rooms, suites and specialty units; meetings space, lobby, Grand Palm Colonnade, and more!

A 20-acre beachfront playground, TradeWinds Island Grand was created with fun in mind. Bask beside one of five heated pools. Let the kids play at the KONK while you indulge in a massage or a romantic dinner. Explore our impeccably landscaped grounds by paddleboat along the meandering waterway. Give our concierge a call to arrange a fishing, golf or snorkeling excursion. At the Island Grand, your choices are limited only by your imagination. You pack your things, we’ll pack your stay.

Activities & Services at Guy Harvey Outpost

The choices here seem endless but each of us has made a wish list of activities which we can enjoy. Many are provided free of cost, and a few will be special treats.

On my list is the Body Works Spa, I’d love to see about getting a pedicure after doing so much walking. I also plan on making good use of the cabanas on the beach, I’m picturing myself utterly relaxed watching the kids play in the water.

CabanaHero3 (2)

Sydney cannot wait to check out Fish Tales with Captain Tim and the Splash Island Water Park. How amazing that there is fishing themed activities for our little angler, honestly this is rare to find located directly within the resort.

Watersports Hero 3

Chelsea is looking forward to having her hair braided on the beach and swooping down the High Tide Water Slide which is right on the beach.

HTS Hero Volleyball

My husband is easy to please. He wanted our own kitchen to prepare meals using local foods, shopping close by and a gorgeous beach. Guy Harvey Outpost has all of his requests and MORE, I cannot wait to see which activities he’ll choose to try.

You can find out more about Tradewinds Resorts on Twitter @TWResorts or FB on their Tradewinds Island Resorts page.

Keep an eye out for my updates over the next few days as we experience all they have to offer. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Disclosure: I was provided a stay at this resort for purposes of review; I was not compensated. All opinions are my own. 

Looking for a Restaurant to Please the Whole family? #MandarinON

When given the choice of where to eat our kids will always scream they want to go to Mandarin!

pink logo

As someone who has recently developed a taste for Oriental foods, in the past I shied away from dining at Mandarin…boy I didn’t know what I was missing! This is a restaurant which caters to all tastes, the atmosphere is amazing, the customer service is stellar and the food…oh the food is delicious!

buffet shot

What began as a small Á-la-carte restaurant in Brampton in 1979 has transformed over the years to the buffet style restaurant which has 20 locations across Southwestern Ontario. Each location’s award-winning buffet has an extensive soup and salad bar, grill tables, a prime rib counter, a sushi corner, and a variety of hot foods showcasing the best in Chinese Canadian fare. An array of desserts and an ice cream sundae bar offer the perfect end to the meal. Take-out and delivery are also available at every location.

Mandarin is committed to customer service, their missions statement is certainly upheld each and every time we visit!

“Every customer must feel welcomed as soon as they arrive. Every customer must be happy and smiling when they leave.”

Mandarin Moon Festival

Recently I was presented with the chance to take our family to experience the Moon Festival at Mandarin. We knew the girls would be super excited and to make it even more of a celebratory dinner we decided to include two of their friends.

Mandarin Outside kids playing

When you enter Mandarin the atmosphere immediately speaks to you. The restaurant was totally dressed to celebrate the Moon Festival and there a gorgeous pond which spans the waiting area at the front of the restaurant. The children were fascinated watching the Koi swim around the area and it kept them occupied as I went to the desk.

mandarin pond

 

The staff greeted us all warmly and our reservation was confirmed. We didn’t have to wait long, right on time we were led through the restaurant by our host who happily explained the entire layout and the legend of the Moon Festival.

Once upon a time there was a famous archer, Hou Yi, who with his arrows was able to slay mankind’s worst enemies, ferocious beasts that inhabited the earth. Yi was married to Chang-O, a beautiful but inquisitive woman who had been an attendant of the queen mother of the west before her marriage. Now at this time, there were 10 suns that took turns circling the earth-one every 10 days. One day, all 10 of the orbs circled, together, causing the earth’s surface to burn and threatening mankind. The wise emperor of China summoned Yi and commanded him to kill but one of the suns. This Yi proceeded to do. Upon the completion of his task, Yi was rewarded with a pill, the elixir of life, and advised: “make no haste to swallow this pill, but first prepare yourself with prayer and fasting for a year.” Being a wise man, Yi took the pill home and hid it under a rafter while he began healing his spirit, In the midst of this, Yi was summoned again by the emperor.

While her husband was gone, Chang-O noticed a beam of white light beckoning from the rafter. She followed it and a fragrant perfume, discovered the pill and swallowed it. Immediately, Chang-O found she could fly. Just at that moment her husband returned home, realize what had happened and began to reprimand his wife. Chang-O flew out the window into the sky. Yi sped after her, bow in hand, and the pursuit continued halfway across the heavens. Finally, Yi had to return to the earth because of the force of  the wind.

His wife reached the moon and there, breathless, she coughed and part of the pill fell from her mouth. Now, the hare was already on the moon and Chang-O commanded the animal to take pestle and mortar and pound another pill so that she return to earth and her husband. The hare is still pounding.

As for Yi, he built himself a palace in the sun as Yang (the sun and the male principle), Chang-O as Yin (the moon and the female principle).

Once a year, on the 15th day of the full moon, Yi visits his wife. That is why the moon is full and beautiful on that night.

It’s a romantic legend which we all appreciated and the decorations were gorgeous. Once we were seated at our table our very engaging server arrived to explain the buffet system to the children and take our drink orders. She had a great sense of humour and totally understood the kids, even to the point of teasing them about eating dessert first.

Mandarin family

There was much banter and the kids boasting about who was going to eat the most….and off we went to experience the buffet. To say there’s something for everyone is the understatement of the year! From salads to desserts Mandarin has thought of every dietary need, low sugar, low sodium…it’s all represented in their delicious dishes.

Mandarin Buffet

The staff at Mandarin were very conscious, we were paid close attention to with offers for drink refills and even warm facecloths to clean up before and after our meals. And in case you’re wondering how the kids did…..well I think that they’d agree the buffet at Mandarin kicked their butts!

Mandarin after dinner

If you’re in Southwestern Ontario, grab your family and head over to your local Mandarin to experience the Moon Festival before October 20th! I promise you won’t be disappointed.

WIN a Trip to Bahamas from Mandarin

In celebration of the Moon Festival, Mandarin is giving away an all inclusive trip for 2 to the Sandals Royal Bahamian Spa Resort in Nassau Bahamas! Head over to Mandarin’s Facebook page and share your story of romance with the one you love to enter.

 

Tips for Protection on Social Media #ESETProtects

As a parent of two girls I was excited when I was asked to use  EST Smart Security 6 and share my findings with you all. Last month I focused upon the features that ESET Smart Security 6 provides and how to set it all up. You can see my review of that on my ESET Smart Security – The Protection We’ve Been Looking For blog post. This month I want to talk to you all about being protected while you’re using social media. October is National Cyber Security Awareness month and I don’t know that we all keep our security in mind while we’re watching YouTube videos or chatting with friends on Facebook or Twitter.

Personally, I spend copious amounts of time on Facebook and Twitter. It’s so easy to access wherever I am, there are times when I’m laying in bed, resting but still able to interact. It’s amazing how far we’ve come…the days when my chronic pain is too bad for me to go out and interact with folks aren’t spent in isolation because I can connect on social media. BUT there are risks involved with this development of technology which we have to be aware of and protect ourselves and our families from.

Tips for Protection on Social Media from ESET

Don’t give too much away…

Be careful how much you give away about yourself in your “About” profile (on the far left of your profile page). The more you add, the more an identity thief can learn about you straight away.

Many people like to say as much about themselves to make them seem more interesting. Resist this, your friends know how interesting you are! So no clues to your home address, mother’s maiden name, age or relatives should be given. You can add your phone number but this can be locked to friends only or even just yourself and Facebook. It can be useful for Facebook to know your mobile number as they can use it to alert you of suspicious activity.

Keeping your private stuff private

Facebook gives you the option to control your privacy settings, although by default it opens up your info to more or less anyone. So, let’s look at Facebook’s Privacy Settings in detail. These are found under the arrow at the far right of the Facebook window. Click on the arrow and then click the Privacy Settings tab. This opens up a menu bar that governs what Facebook can do with the information it holds about you.

Who can see your timeline?

Now go to Timeline & Tagging. This allows you to determine how much or how little of your timeline is seen by others and whether you want to be “tagged” or not.

Who can access your personal data?

This set of options is probably the most important on Facebook as it allows you to control what third parties can access to your Facebook profile.

A Facebook friend is not forever

Unless you are using Facebook for marketing purposes, think about the actual ‘friends” you really want to connect with. For example that guy who you kind of knew in the your first dorm room? The random woman you once met on holiday. Do you have any idea what they are doing now? Are they trustworthy? When was the last time you heard from them? You get the picture. A little pruning of the Friends list is a good idea every now and again. One more tip, don’t publicly announce holidays or other absences on Facebook and use Facebook email to communicate directly with friends.

Set the controls on YouTube

This deserves a special mention simply because of the popularity of the video sharing site among teenagers. Like Facebook, Google states that no-one under 13 should use the site. However the safest bet is to set up a child user account which will block any inappropriate content. You can also turn off comments to prevent your kids being abused or bullied by other users and stop them from doing the same. A quick review of the comments on virtually any YouTube video will demonstrate how nasty these can be – a practice known as “Trolling”.

With regards to social media safety tips, we have a recent WLS blog post that is great, and features Bieber (great for SEO given his high profile) which discusses Five Social Media Posts you should never click.

ESET provides a free tool called Social Media Scanner that can scan your Facebook and Twitter to protect you and your friends’ timeline, messages and newsfeed from malicious objects.

ESET Helps Protect Against Risks on Social Media

Screen Shot 2013-09-23 at 1.14.11 PM

When you purchase ESET Smart Security 6 you also get their Social Media Scanner. Wether you’re logged into Facebook or not, once you install ESET Social Media Scanner it protects your profile from malicious content by providing Facebook security scans of your wall, newsfeed and private messages. It scans these areas looking for any malicious links and if it finds any you’re immediately notified by email with instructions on how to clean the threat.

Installing the Social Media Scanner is very simple, I just went to this link:ESET Social Media Scanner. It asked me for approval to access my approval for the app to access my data and scan it. Next I was asked if it could post on my profile that I was using Social Media Scanner and finally it hit the main screen where I clicked to perform a scan.

social media safety

The scan was completed and I found I had not threats but there were some on my friends walls which I was notified of. Thankfully they weren’t actually threats, they were links I knew but if they were threats I could have the system notify my friend or I could directly.

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Tips to Avoid Theft of Your Device from ESET

Password-protect your computing devices.

While it sounds obvious, if anyone steals your device they will have to defeat your password to get at your data and accounts, which will significantly slow attackers. Although it is not impossible to defeat password protection on a digital device, it adds a useful layer of protection, buying you time to locate and recover the device.

Always backup your files.

Why? Even if you can’t recover a stolen device that does not mean you have to lose all your information and software. Regular backups are the ultimate defense against theft of your files. There are plenty of options for backup these days including online backup. Taking the time to setup backup really pays off if a device is stolen, helping reduce the pain involved in re-creating the sensitive content.

Use tracking software to help get your stolen device back.

Why? Getting your stolen device back is not impossible, particularly if the device itself can tell you where it is and you can communicate with it using a sort of “remote control” via SMS or other methods. You may even be able to communicate with the person who has it. (Here’s an example of how one piece of anti-theft software for PCs.) However, it is not recommended that you physically confront the thief for safety reasons. Always work with your local law enforcement.

Don’t tempt thieves with unattended mobile devices, particularly in public places.

Why? Leaving your computer or mobile device unattended in a car, airport or restaurant is akin to asking for it to be stolen. In a recent survey we found that 1 in 5 stolen devices were taken from a car, 12% from an airport, train, bus, or other public transportation, and 11% from a restaurant or coffee shop. (Here’s an example of anti-theft software for Android devices.)

Encrypt sensitive data

Why? Storing sensitive data in encrypted files prevents anyone exploiting your data if your computer is stolen. Note: File encryption is available free on recent version of both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X operating systems. This step is a lot easier than it used to be, so the pain level is low these days (unlike in years past).

Bonus tip. Think about removing sensitive data from your device.

Why? Your computer may interact with sensitive data but it does not need to store all of it right there in one place. Consider using encrypted removable media for sensitive data and carrying that separate from the computer. Maybe leave sensitive work files on the company network and access remotely over a secure connection. This way, if “bad things” happen, you’ll have much lower likelihood that the bad actors got off with critical information.

In today’s age it’s not easy keeping up with the changes and risks in social media but we ARE living our lives online and we must be sure that we’re investigating and protecting ourselves appropriately.

To find out more head over to the ESET Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter. ESET Smart Security received the esteemed PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) Seal of Approval, the most publicized and highly recognized award seal in North America.

1236278_588610881184933_248625282_nFor a limited time, receive 15% off the purchase of ESET Smart Security 6, the first step to online security for your family.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

Prizes:

5 Eset products (valued at $59.99 each)

1 x $100 Target Gift card

1 tablet preloaded with Eset software (Choice of Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab or Google Nexus)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

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WIN an Acer Iconia Tablet!

Lately I’ve had the pleasure of offering you all many chances to WIN some AMAZING PRIZES! The problem is that most have been for my Canadian readers but thanks to my good fiend Trisha at MomDot, today it’s all about my American friends.  How would you like to WIN an Acer Iconia 8.1″ 32G Tablet???

Acer

Listen, I’m a total technology love and this tablet looks amazing!

The Acer Iconia W3 Series puts desktop PC productivity in a tablet, so you can work on the go more conveniently than ever. At 8.1″, it is compact enough to hold in one hand, yet sports a screen big enough for comfortable viewing. Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 and sporting 8-hours of battery life, this tablet keeps you in touch and productive while traveling, at work or play. Rounding out this premium mobile-productivity package are Windows 8 and a robust Intel processor.

You can find out more about the Acer Iconia 8.1″ Tablet HERE.

Entry is simple, just out the rafflecopter form below to enter.  This giveaway ends on October 11, 2013.  US only, winner will be notified via momdot@live.com and have 48 hours to respond before new winner is pulled. Please allow 6-8 weeks for prize delivery.

GOOD LUCK!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We Are Heading to Walt Disney World! #DisneyHaunt

There’s something BIG on the horizon for our little family! Last week I received an email invitation which made me SQUEAL like a little girl…and believe me it’s been a while since that’s happened! Disney Canada has invited our little family down to Walt Disney World to stay at The Cabins at Fort Wilderness Lodge and experience Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party and the 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!!! We’re tagging it #DisneyHaunt and hope you’ll all follow along on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag.

#DisneyHaunt

You know how we adore Walt Disney World, earlier this year I told you all about surprising our daughters with a trip to Walt Disney World for Christmas and shared our trip with you over 4 posts which detailed our favourite attractions at each theme park.

There’s not much time to prepare, we’re busy here with home renovations and normal daily activities but together we’re getting our things in order to be able to jet out of here soon to sunnier weather! We have never experienced the hotel or the festivities which we’re getting to go to but oh man they look awesome online! Here are some things we’re looking forward to!

The Cabins at Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World

Image https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Image https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

“Escape to the rustic majesty of America’s Great Northwest. Inspired by turn-of-the-century National Park lodges, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge celebrates American craftsmanship and honors the beauty of the untamed wilderness. Soak in the splendor of the great outdoors, from nature trails through pine forests to rocking chairs that overlook a murmuring creek. Inside, discover towering totem poles, headdresses and more, and sink into a plush leather armchair in front of the roaring fireplace.”~ https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

We are staying in a cabin which is super exciting, they’re rustic, quaint and private. They have so much to do at this resort; from campfires, archery, pools, movies to visiting Circle D Ranch I know the girls will be having a blast!

Image: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween

Image: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

Image: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

“Don your favorite costume and get ready to trick-or-treat at this Halloween-themed event held in Magic Kingdom theme park.”

This is going to be AWESOME, ok I have to get some costumes together which is a challenge but we’re really looking forward to experiencing Mickey’s Halloween. There is trick or treating and eerie entertainment throughout the park. This event is one that you purchase passes to, it’s on from Sept 10- Nov 1st on select nights from 7:00 PM to 12:00 AM.

18th Annual Epcot Food & Wine Festival

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“The 46-day festival, celebrated for its inspired food-and-beverage marketplaces, high-energy concerts and premium dining events, debuts a Scotland Marketplace and adds fresh flavor to the Brazil Marketplace, returning by popular demand.  Griddled lobster tail with garlic butter sizzles at the Hops & Barley Marketplace by American Adventure, and the aromas of more than 25 ethnic and specialized marketplaces — Africa, France, South Korea and Florida Local included — waft across the World Showcase Promenade. Guests can have their own complimentary “passport” stamped at each location for a fun festival souvenir.”

Oh I’m sure you can guess how much I’m looking forward to this! We will be surrounded by delicious foods from around the world and I’ll have the opportunity to see and learn things I wouldn’t otherwise. With our park admission we’ll get authentic Taste seminars, Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.

Other festival highlights include:

  • More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country
  • Party for the Senses grand tasting events Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26, and Nov. 2 featuring tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
  • Premium events including “Scotland: Land of Food & Drink” the new “Parisian Breakfast” on Sundays, ”3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery on select Fridays, and Cheese Seminars on Saturdays.The

The 18th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is presented by Chase Sept. 27-Nov. 11, 2013.

We are scrambling to prepare and cannot wait to head out but in the meantime if you’d like to offer your costume ideas I’d love the help! Keep up with the chatter on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #DisneyHaunt

 

WIN a KitchenAid Diamond Blender & Berry Smoothie Recipe #KADiamondBlender

Blenders have become the bane of my existence! There is nothing more frustrating that trying to whip up a Mocktail or smoothie only to have the ice caught in the blade of a blender. Usually I have to unplug the thing and begin prying the ice out to get things moving. It’s definitely a first world problem but one that could easily raise my blood pressure far too high. KitchenAid recently tasked me with testing out the new KitchenAid Diamond Blender and I was amazed to see that I just couldn’t jam this sucker up!

Standalone_1175X1290

As of today I’ve made 3 smoothie recipes, 2 Mocktails and many purees using ice and not once did it jam. This is a gorgeous machine and it performs wonderfully!

Recipes Made with KitchenAid Diamond Blender

Last week I shared two recipes 20 second smoothie recipes with you which I made using the KitchenAid Diamond Blender. The first was the Energy Boost Smoothie which was in the recipe card which came with my blender. It is a gorgeous blend of fruits to fuel you up!

energy fruit smoothie recipe @SoberJulie.com #smoothie

 The second is the Good for You Green Smoothie, this recipe also came with the blender and I must admit I wish I’d tried a green smoothie sooner because it’s delicious!

green smoothie recipe WM

Today I’m happy to share yet another recipe which I made using the diamond blender, I know you’ll all appreciate the fact that it only takes 20 seconds to make and it’s oh-so delicious!

Berry Smoothie Recipe

berry smoothie recipe

Ingredients:

Berry smoothie recipe ingredients WM

  • 1/3 cup blackberries
  • 1/3 cup raspberries
  • 1/3 cup strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 cup of water

 Preparation:

Berry Smoothie recipe 20 seconds

Toss all of your ingredients in, turn it on for 20 seconds and it’s ready. That easy; no prying ice out of a blade or any fuss.

beautiful berry smoothie recipe

KitchenAid Diamond Blender Review

The KitchenAid Diamond Blender, with exclusive diamond blending system, provides the ultimate blending performance to stir, chop, mix, puree and liquify, with pulse 1-5 settings and crush ice mode.   A robust motor, unique one-piece, BPA-Free diamond pitcher, stainless steel blades and electronic controls combine to create a powerful vortex that is fast and thorough for exceptional blending results.  Additionally, Intelli-Speed® Motor Control senses contents and maintains optimal speed to power through all ingredients. Retails for $199. 

What I love:

  • Looks beautiful (yup that matters!)
  • Crushes ice in seconds EVERY.SINGLE.TIIME.
  • Has a 60 oz BPA free shatterproof, scratch proof, stain proof, dishwasher friendly pitcher
  • Rubber feet on the base to hold it in place when I twist off the pitcher
  • Evenly blends ingredients by using the pulse option.
  • Five blending settings—stir, chop, mix, puree, and liquefy

Final thoughts:

This blender has renewed my faith! It hasn’t failed me yet and has been actively used by myself and my kids on a daily basis. There is no fuss and even better no splatters on my counters, this blender is worth every single cent in my eyes.

WIN a KitchenAid Diamond Blender

Today I have the pleasure of announcing I’m giving away one KitchenAid Diamond Blender a very lucky Canadian reader!

#KADiamondBlender

The #KADiamondBlender giveaway will run until October 20th, the winner will have 48 hours to respond via the email they enter with. All entries will be verified so please take your time and enter properly. Simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below and GOOD LUCK!

To check out other amazing KitchenAid products, recipes and connect with the folks there check out the KitchenAid Canada Facebook page where they’re active and very FUN.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided one KitchenAid Diamond Blender to perform this review but as always all opinions are my own.

 

Looking for more great drink recipes? Click here to follow me on Pinterest! 

Follow SoberJulie’s board SoberJulie Drink Recipes on Pinterest.

LuLuLemon Lovers will Dig Ivivva Athletica for Kids! $50 Prize Pack Giveaway

As the parent of 2 girls who are very active I can tell you I’ve learned that the quality of their athletic clothing matters! I don’t know how many pairs of capris, shorts and tanks I’ve had to throw away because they lose their shape, get holes or are just “too hot”. In the past I’ve push-poshed higher price tags but after doing the math on the money I’ve thrown away on cheap products, these days I seek out quality rather than a low price tag. Cue music and lights because Ivivva Athletica has come in to provide me with the perfect products for my busy girls.

ivivva-athletica-logo

Ivivva has Lululemon roots

For many of, the name LuLuLemon is associated with quality, fashionable activewear we adore. Ivivva is the sister store of LuLuLemon, specifically geared to the needs of active 4-14 year old girls. As members of the lululemon athletica family, Ivivva shares the same DNA. That means they use the same high-quality, technical fabrics in all of their clothing and that everything Ivivva make is designed for active girls who love to move and aren’t afraid to sweat.

This to me is an awesome find, not only will I have to purchase less over time but Chelsea immediately fell in love with the clothing and accessories. Ivivva kindly offered us some of their hottest products to review and as usual it took far too much time for Miss Chelsea to make her choices…picture me sitting with her on the laptop, repeatedly going from item to item until finally I had to give her a 1 minute countdown to make her choices. Oh how I love my fashionista!

Ivivva Stores are Unique

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Ivivva stores aren’t your average shopping experience, Ivivva really caters to their customers. Within each change room there is a whiteboard where the staff will write the child’s name and their favourite activities, this really personalizes the shopping experience for the kids. The kids love strutting their stuff on the “run-way” which is located near the change rooms and how about a free dance class? You can sign up for free classes in many different forms from jazz to hip-hop!

Ivivva Quality

The difference between the quality of Ivivva in relation to the too-cheap items I’ve purchased in the past was apparent the moment I touched the first garment. The fabrics are thicker, the seams are flat, they are pre-shrunk, zipper garages protect little chins, fabrics are reversible which gives 2 different “looks”, the tags are placed within pockets so as not to irritate..honestly I was impressed. They have even pre-planned for growing kids by designing products with hems which can be let down and seams which can be let out in store as your child grows.

Ivivva Athletica pockets

The secret pocket and thumb hole

Chelsea’s Ivivva Choices

After much deliberation Miss Chelsea decided on 3 items; the Back 2 Basics headband, the Perfect Practice Jacket and the Rhythmic Short II.

Ivivva Athletica Review

Chelsea putting her Ivivva gear to the test

Each are of amazing quality and as Chelsea says “super comfy & fashionable”. I was really pleased to find that the Perfect Practice Jacket has an extra hair elastic on the zipper for those moments when we’ve forgotten to bring one with us!

 Chelsea Ivivva Jacket close WM

WIN a $50 Prize Pack from Ivivva

Ivivva Giveaway

The kind folks at Ivivva Athletica have provided me with 3 items which value over $50 to giveaway to one lucky Canadian reader! Within the pack is the Back 2 Basics Headband,  the Village Chill Scarf and the Drink Me Up H2O Bottle. Entry is simple, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below, contest ends October 16th and the winner will have 48 hours to respond. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Disclosure: We were sent the items within the review but opinions are our own.

WIN $75 Kit for Chicken Fajita Friday with Old El Paso #YouMexiCAN

Our house often feels like it’s overrun with kids, thankfully the gaggle of children who live on our street are pretty amazing! As Friday sets in the kids all arrive home from their respective schools and begin planning the weekend fun they will be enjoying together. This bunch spans in age from 5-15 and each have very different tastes in food but the one meal that we’ve found works across the board is an easy Chicken Fajita. My love for Mexican food is no secret, it’s simple, nutritious and makes me look really good to the kids in the ‘hood. Given the choice between supervising this gang in the pool or spending hours prepping dinner, I’ll choose hanging with the kids every time. The Old El Paso Fajita kits are fantastic when I want to whip up dinner in a pinch.

kids swimming

Chicken Fajita Recipe With Old El Paso

Chicken Fajitas WM Portrait

Ingredients:

Chicken Fajita kits

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into strips (600 grams, frozen works fine)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • Old El Paso Fajita Kit

Preparation:

Add oil into a pan and cook the chicken strips until they are thoroughly cooked. Throw in the onion, peppers and Old El Paso stir in sauce and sauté.

Chicken Fajita in pan

Sizzle away, stirring or tossing until the chicken is browned keeping the veg crunchy. To warm the Old El Paso Soft Flour Tortillas pierce the packaging and microwave on full power for 35-40 seconds (cooking time may vary depending on microwave). To heat in the oven, remove packaging, separate tortillas and wrap in foil. 10 minutes at 200°C (180°C for fan assisted ovens), gas mark 4 should do it. Keep them covered and warm until ready to serve. Serve with sour cream, cheese, lettuce, salsa or guacamole!

chicken fajita recipe square WM

Our crew loves a good Mocktail with it, my Limeade recipe is always a favourite for Fajita Friday!

Limeade Drink Recipe Square WM

In just 20 minutes I go from frozen chicken to a lovely meal that becomes a Fiesta! Check out the Old El Paso Facebook page for more inspiration!

WIN an Old El Paso Kit worth $75

Old El Paso wants you to enjoy a Fajita Friday or Taco Tuesday and are providing me a kit filled with bowls, a cookbook and of course some Old El Paso kits worth $75! Entry is simple, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below, this is open to Canadians and the winner will have 48 hours to respond. Giveaway ends October 7th. a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Why Do You Need Renters Insurance #RentersNeed2Know

When my husband and I were first together we rented an apartment for a few years while we saved for a home. I can remember the feeling of pride as we purchased our first few pieces of furniture and began decorating. We were living on a tight budget and weren’t exactly worldly when it came to realizing all of the responsibilities involved in renting. Sure, we knew we had to pay our rent on time but when my Dad asked us if we had renters insurance we were a pair of deer in headlights.

Why Get Renters Insurance

After a bit of research we were shocked to learn that we were responsible for anything that happened to people who were visiting us. For example if we had a guest who happened to slip and fall at our apartment they could actually sue us! WHAT?

As soon as we realized that we would be held responsible for this we decided to go ahead and get renters insurance. There were more benefits of course…these may seem obvious to you but for many of us renters insurance is something which we don’t think of.

Benefits of Renters Insurance

  1. As a tenant, you are liable for ANY harm caused to any part of the building and to others who live or visit there. This was HUGE for us; we had an incident when I had forgotten I was making something on the stove. Thankfully we caught the pan in time before a fire actually began but the reality of the situation certainly became clear to us.
  2. Your possessions have value. When we had that conversation with my Dad we laughed when he mentioned the value of our possessions, come on we had almost nothing right? Wrong. Once he began listing everything which was in our bedroom we began to see how much money it would take to replace it all. Just our wardrobes alone would be out of our budget. Renters insurance would help us recover the cost of any replacement items.
  3. Lawsuit protection. As I said above we were in no position to payout if anyone ever sued us for an accident at our apartment, knowing we’d have this kind of protection was important to us.

These are just some of the reasons why I’d recommend getting renters insurance to anyone who is renting a house or apartment. It’s not an expensive endeavour; Statistics Canada says tenant households that bought insurance spent an average of $309 on it last year — less than half the amount spent by those who owned their homes.

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To learn more, head over to the IBC website where you’ll find everything you need to know.

Isn’t your peace of mind worth it?

Disclosure:  Although this post has been generously been sponsored by IBC, the opinions and language are all my own, and in no way do they reflect The Insurance Bureau of Canada.

 

Swim Parent of the Month With @ChickenFarmers

When I was a little girl our next door neighbours had a pool which we were in from sun up to sun down when allowed. Swimming has always been a huge part of my life, swimming lessons were a constant until the age when I became a qualified lifeguard. Now this has extended to my daughters who are either in our pool or in a lake in Muskoka during the warmer months. Swimming is a healthy past time, all of that exercise creates hungry children who are often in need of meals high in protein to keep them going. Chicken Farmers of Canada and Swimming Canada have teamed up to honour swim parents in Canada the swim parent of the month contest.

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Are you that Swim Parent?

Do you go above and beyond to make sure you prepare nutritious, healthy meals in preparation for swimming? Swimming Canada and Chicken Farmers of Canada are jointly hosting a Swim Parent of the Month contest in recognition of parents who encourage eating well and being active as part of a healthy lifestyle.

To become one of our Swim Parents of the Month, all you have to do is email nutritiousrecipes@swimming.ca the information below:
  • The title of your favourite recipe at chicken.ca that you would prepare to fuel your swimmer(s)
  • The correct answer to this skill-testing question – What lean meat is “the official protein of swimming in Canada?” and
  • Register your child to join Canada’s Swim Team HERE 

Prize:

The name of the monthly winner & their favourite chicken recipes will be posted on the Swim Parent of the Month webpage, and included in a National Swim Team Digital Cookbook to be published in December 2014. A “selfie” .jpg photo of the contest winner may be requested (but not required) for promotion of the contest and digital cookbook.
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Enter the contest by September 15th and one individual will have a chance to win this food safety cutting board and BBQ utensil set.
To get more information and view the rules and regulations, go to the Swimming Canada website.

Twitter Chat:

Join Chicken Farmers of Canada on Twitter Friday September 20th at 1 pm ET for a 30 minute chat to kick of the parent of the month contest.  There is no RSVP required, just follow the #ChickenChat hastag.
Disclosure: I am participating in the Chicken Farmers of Canada campaign by ShesConnected. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this blog are my own