Shortcut to a Christmas Feast.

I'll admit. I am TIRED. It is the time of the year to be excited. It the end of one whole year. Work, family, cooking, cleaning ( know that endless list?) has me drained out. Not to forget the cold and cough that storms us every winter. The sleepless nights that I have been through, offering sips of water to keep that cough down - I need to rest!

I have been looking for some great recipes for Christmas and even made a batch of cookies with my son. But I don't think I can do it one more time. I wrapped the gifts , wrote out the cards and mailed them. I am too tired to cook for the holidays. If I really want my family to enjoy this beautiful season, I should take it easy and not fret and sweat about the "treats". 

Though my family would be completely ok with that, I just can't seem to bring myself to "rest-mode".My house needs to smell like Christmas ! 

You may be a super-mom who's got it all under control or someone like me who just needs some time-off and away from cooking up a storm!

There is a shortcut to enjoying a great feast without getting overworked and stressed out about planning the perfect seven course meal.

I was relieved to see some delectable treats that taste absolutely YUM and they are effortless to make.



It had a mild but flavorful taste. We love anything coated with cornflakes and it comes with the skewers too. So pop it in the oven and go watch TV for 15 minutes. The aroma will be irresistible but LET IT COOK. Resist the temptation to bite into a hot-uncooked-seafood- lollipop.


Voila ! This will be one of the best appetizers you have ever had.

Fully boneless, seasoned turkey breast with a flavourful crumb and cranberry stuffing and a pouch of easy to-prepare turkey gravy. It is just as easy as it sounds! It is packed with a flavors and the aroma is irresistible. My folks at home will go nuts for turkey, so this was welcome on our table.



There was a "must-have" sweetie on a my baking list. I was determined to make this work despite the hard work it needed. But after looking at this PC Red Velvet Cheesecake, I decided to put away my baking plan. Guilty of procrastination, I turned to find solace in just 1 piece of this cake that looked so heavenly!

One word - fantabolous! Ditch the calories and have yourself a Merry Little Christmas!


Disclosure: I received a sample for review purpose only. No monetary compensation was received. The above post reflects my personal opinion.

 

Winners!

Eatsmart Digital Scale  -Holly Loveland 
 
Lil Goat Skin Care Products -  Io Sophia 

Congratulations and enjoy your prize!

The Gift of Reading from LeapFrog's Tag Reading System ( Giveaway ends Dec 19, 2012) Open to Canada & DEAL ALERT !


Here's how the world's #1 best selling reading system can be described in a nutshell:
Children love are addicted to it ( reading). 
Teachers recommend it.
Parents praise it.
Won more than 55 awards worldwide.
Let me put a face to my words :  LeapFrog's Tag Reading System.

Here are some features of the Tag that makes it mightier than a sword.
Great for little hands:


It weighs 1.8 lbs and measures about 11 inches in length. It is thick enough with the perfect grip for little hands. All the controls - on/off, volume and other features are easy to locate for children. I did not even have to do a "demo" for my son. He got it right away.  The tag is highly intuitive to operate.
Promotes Self-Learning:
Kids can learn a lot from what they see and hear. Most of the times, someone needs to give them the correct information to filter the wrong information from being absorbed. With the Tag Reading system, you can be sure that your child is learning the right pronunciation. My son can sit with it for 30 minutes and learn by himself without mommy's interference. That is something really amazing because he usually fires 30 questions at me in 30 minutes. 
High Performance & Top Quality
For $49.99, the Tag is designed for superior quality and smooth, flowing performance.As children touch the Tag Reader to the pages of specially printed storybooks, words talk, pictures sing and stories live out loud, engaging children's senses to make reading a rich, fulfilling experience. The Tag's response time is so amazing that it is equally comparable to a human.
The Tag Reader now holds audio for up to 10 books at a time. Simply connect the Tag Reader to your computer with the included USB cable, download the audio for your Tag books and drag-and-drop up to 10 of your child's favorite stories onto your Tag Reader.


The Tag comes with a little practice book which has little snippets of some stories. Other variety of books can be purchased at the Tag Library at Leapfrog.ca
Even if your child is not much into reading, there are other fun and interesting things to do with Tag.
We were able to go around the world to learn about the names of continents, countries and play some games with this Tag World Map. We even learned to greet in many different languages. Every single point on the map where the Tag Reader touches, will give out information. One side of the map is filled with facts about the places and the other side is for learning the name of the countries and continents.

Constructed from solid cardboard, this map is rock-solid! It can be neatly folded into fourths and placed back in the box, when not in use. My son LOVES maps, so it hardly ever goes into the box.But if you do want to fold it, please, please follow the instructions on the note provided! 
This map is a well of knowledge and the springs will never run dry. There is always more to look, more to learn and more to think about. At my age, this map refreshes my geography! So this small investment will bear fruit for many years in a child's life.


This will be THE best way to get ahead with geography facts while really enjoying the whole interactive experience. There are multi-level games that challenge the child to test what they know from the map.
Visually attractive with colorful country patches, entertaining and educational, animated voice and loaded with information, this is a MUST have for a child. It will keep them occupied while filling their minds with knowledge.
You must note that the Tag Reader and the map are sold separately and do not come with each other
Give your child a Tag Reading system and watch them learn and grow. You'll be amazed!
Deal Alert: 

If you want to grab this toy for your child this Christmas, don't miss the super-duper deal from Toys R Us.

LeapFrog Tag Books are selling at $9.97 each ( original $14.99)

The Tag Reading System is on sale for$34.97 ( original $49.99)


Thanks to LeapFrog, one lucky reader will have the chance to win a Tag World Map ( does not include the reader).

.Survival Gifts offer hope where it is needed the most.


We are just a few weeks away from Christmas. Everything is adorned in green, red, silver, gold....there is something magical about this season. It spreads joy , everywhere. The symbols, colors, decorations gives hope. We all look forward to this favorite season of the year ( plus / minus the gift giving stress !).

There are places where bows and ribbons, music, smell of hot cocoa, baked goodies blend smoothly with the giggles and laughter of beautiful families. 

There are corners of the world where ribbons are perfectly paired, baked goodies find their spots on neatly laid tables, but with nobody to hold hands and say "thanks" for the blessings.

There are corners of the world where there is no such thing as a Christmas shopping list, gift list or a table filled with the aroma of meat, spices and sweet treats.Why? Not because they don't like red and silver ribbons. It's because these sparkles don't make it even to the base of their  hierarchy of needs. Their physiological needs are still a big question.


Privileged, less-privileged and under-privileged in some ways. 


Nonetheless, everyone is BLESSED because we have EACH OTHER. The world would be a much better place if we all helped those in need. The fact is that MANY people just need their basic needs to be met, so that they can survive.


Someone across the miles needs me to make their basic needs a reality.Clean water, vaccine pack, three meals a day and clean clothes will be their dream come true. We don't need fancy ribbons, shiny wrappers or bows. We only need a compassionate heart.


Thanks to UNICEF and Plan Canada , we can give some " Survival gifts"  for people whose lives are a matter of survival.




When you purchase a Plan Canada Gift of Hope, you can personalize and print out a gift card for the person you are honouring that includes a photo and description of the gift. 

Newborn Check-Up ($12)

What you’re really giving: This gift supports the important work of community health workers who visit moms and their newborn babies within the first three days of the baby’s birth – a critical time.  The visit helps to ensure the baby is thriving and growing, and the mother is healthy and recovering well from delivery. In communities where health care centres are difficult to access and newborn mortality rates are far too high, this gift saves lives.


How to wrap it: A great gift for new parents –the gift card can be paired with a baby bottle, receiving blanket, onesie or a bib. You could also present the Gift of Hope Birth Certificate ($25) the same way.

Classroom Essentials for One Child ($17)

What you’re really giving: It may be called a classroom, but without the essentials that make learning possible, it’s just a room. Help stock it with chalkboards, maps, desks, chairs, textbooks, pencils and paper.

How to wrap it: Tuck the gift card into a journal with pens and pencils or with a great new book. You could also use this gift-giving idea for the Gifts of Hope Library in a Box gift ($60) or Classroom Essentials for a Whole Class ($250), which is a great group gift.


Vaccine Pack
With this gift, you will come between children and deadly diseases, ensuring more children have a chance to grow up. A critical pack of three vaccines. Contains: 73 Polio Vaccines, 73 Tetanus Vaccines, 83 Measles Vaccines.


Therapeutic Milk
Your gift provides 23 litres of milk - a necessity at emergency feeding centres. Added vegetable fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals make this gift a life-saver for malnourished children.


Water Purification Tablets
A single tablet can mean the difference between a child's survival and mortality. Your gift provides a family of four with enough clean water for four months. 



Christmas is all about giving hope to the hopeless, spreading joy and making peace.

“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.” 
― Mother Teresa

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” 
― Winston Churchill

Would you be the ray of hope in someone's life? 


Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I wrote this as I was moved by the needs that surrounds us. 

 

Winners!

Shelf-safe Milk Prize Pack - Sue2Super

Pure Pearls - Shari Dalton

 2 DVDs from NCircle - Belinda McNabb


Congratulations and enjoy your prize!







A Clever Toiletry Travel Bag / Make-up Bag from ToiletTree Products ( Giveaway ends Dec 20, 2012) US / CAN

Travelling can be quite exciting and also tiring. Considering the amount of organizing that has to be done, I want to be sure that things are accessible and I need to know where they are! Well, I don't want to be pulling out all my clothes to find a toothbrush, do I? I am all about being organized and when kids see us being organized, they are more likely to follow our example.

So I found an interesting organizing tool and hopefully you will find it helpful too.

This bag is from the makers of the Fogless Mirror that was fetched a lot of rave reviews for Toilet Tree Products!

When I saw this toiletry travel bag, I wanted to ensure that it was well built and had TSA approved  containers. It was the first criteria that the bag had to satisfy before proceeding to the others. 




If you look at how sturdy the zippers, you can be a 100% sure that this bag will serve you well whether you use it as a toiletry bag or make-up bag. The 3 containers are also the prefect size to hold shampoo, conditioner and body wash. The collapsible cup is indeed a clever thing! If you press the top of the cup, it collapses to just a ring sort of a thing. This ring just slides under an elastic to fit in the bag  without making it bulky. There is a neat toothbrush holder that comes with the bag.All this easily fits under an elastic right at the bottom compartment.

It has a lot of space to hold other things you may need and the large double zipper just makes it easy-peasy to open and close. And the most important feature is that it has a water resistant interior.


I see a lot of other uses for this wonderful bag. If you are single, you can store all your make-up and toiletries in this bag. But for a family, this will hold all the toiletries just perfectly. If medicines are organized in a little box, this bag can take that too.

This stylish and classy bag is priced at $26.95. It not only comes with containers, but with a long list of uses!




One lucky reader will have the chance to win the same Toiletry Travel Bag!

Perfect for winter and truly Canadian : Caprina Goat's Milk Skin Care Products ( + Gift Basket Giveaway) Ends Dec 15, 2012 ( Canada)

Among the various health benefits of goat's milk, there is one fact that stands out : They are more environmental friendly. Goats require less space and food when compared to cows. 


Caprina is a brand that has tapped the health benefits and environmental friendly factor of goats milk and produce wonderful skin care products that are biodegradable and phosphate-free. Caprina body lotions contain no parabens.



Goat’s milk has unique properties which are acclaimed across the world. Since its molecular structure is simple and short, it facilitates the cream’s absorption by the skin, contributing to a deep and extended hydration. It enables the restructuration of the hydrolipidic film giving it back its suppleness and its elasticity.



Caprina products come in fragrant and non-fragrant scents. The fragrant ones are pleasant to smell and not strong. The body lotion is non-greasy and easily absorbed by the skin. It moisturizes really well and helps keep skin soft and moisturized. The small tubes have been great for travelling as they easily fit in a toiletry bag.


The body wash is really full of freshness. I love products that help cleanse but at the same time do not smell too strong. This body wash never dried my skin and I took it with me when I was travelling and no messes or leaks. It is very gentle on the skin.


We have used the soap and it is a very effective moisturizer as it contains fresh goat's milk. This original scent is the most preferred one in our house as it smells fresh , cleanses and moisturizes.It produces a nice lather and is also creamy, leaving your skin feeling soft and supple.

I have totally enjoyed using these products and would highly recommend them. This is a truly Canadian product. 

They also carry a special collection for babies and toddlers. Li’l Goat’s line of products was created specifically for the soft, sensitive skin of babies and toddlers. It contains fresh goat’s milk, which is a natural product that is a highly effective skin moisturizer.

Li’l Goat’s is recommended by health practitioners for babies, toddlers and children of all ages.


One lucky winner will have the chance to win a gift basket filled with Li'l Goat's products!

Orangutan Diaries from PBS - Recommended for all ages.




We are always excited to watch animal documentaries. There is so much to learn about them. I did not know much about Orangutans except that they looked and acted like monkeys. This DVD was a great source of information and entertainment.

Can you believe my 4 yr old watched it with such interest? Orangutans are so much like humans in the way they interact and behave.The documentary was shot in a Orangutan sanctuary which is understaffed and the small group of staff with a great leader are trying to care, protect and save the species from abuse and extinction. 

There is a school for baby Orangutans who are orphans, where they are taught everything that they would otherwise learn from their mother. Abused Orangutans are rescued and brought to the school where they are taught and helped to integrate back into their natural habitat and community.

It was amazing to know how much care and love they are showered with by the staff. More and more forest areas are being converted into plantations which leaves the Orangutan with less and less food options. Worse is that they loose their home - the wild. The understanding that comes from watching this documentary will encourage someone to empathize with these animals and you might also want to go and volunteer at the animal sanctuary.

You can buy it from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca


Disclosure: I received a sample for review purpose only. No monetary compensation was received. The above post reflects my personal opinion.

 

The gift of fun, joy and peace !

Apart from Christmas traditions, I also have a tradition of purging unused, unwanted and not-played with toys. Reasoning with a toddler about "need" and "want" ? Wish me luck. "Look Mommy, it's not the same toy. See this is a car and that is a monster truck. This airplane can fly and that one..ummm..can just walk on wheels."


There can never be such a thing a having too many toys, especially when there is so much of VARIETY. I guess. That's where I throw my hands up in the air and surrender to the sweetness. I get carried away into  a world of imagination where I listen to stories I have never heard before.Then I tell myself, "Maybe I should let it be. It won't be long before he'll be hanging out with his own buddies and mommy won't hear these stories often."

IMAGINATION takes wings and takes flight to a land filled with cars and trucks. Yeah, a princess here and a pony there.He's ok with a dash of pink.But nothing brings more joy than to hear him mimic cars and have conversations with them. Many a times, I pretend to be busy so that I can listen to his creative conversations. Priceless.

He hasn't asked anything specifically from Santa this year. We have been talking to him specifically about how giving is better than receiving. It is a hard pill to swallow especially when mommy gets so many toys for work! He's been understanding and responding well, so I decided to secretly review his favorite toy and quietly slip under the tree as my gift of love & appreciation.

Enter Chuck & Friends.

Chuck and friends are the coolest bunch to be around. They hang out at the junkyard and talk about races, helping each other and Chuck's got the cutest face.( Take that, Lightning McQueen!)

TONKA CHUCK & FRIENDS TUMBLIN' CHUCK  Dump Truck





This would be one of the most interactive toys that you will come across. He's called Tumblin' Chuck because he really does tumble. Rolling and doing somersaults are some of the fun things he has up his sleeve.



It is extremely well-built and sturdy. Chuck will endure the rough weathers in the hands of a little boy. It is made of warp-resistant plastic.Well, Chuck is a dump-truck, so kids will dump things on it. It will take some weight and I am sure my little man will definitely stand and load himself in. It is pretty big.




This is a very entertaining toy that is packed with surprise phrases, wheelies etc. I think this will be an unforgettable toy as the kids will feel like they really do have relationship with Chuck.Did I mention that Chuck can say over 50 phrases? That's a truck full of talk! 

Chuck has also some musical tunes programmed into him. He can go into nap-mode when not in use. Your child can also have a quite, peaceful playtime without the sounds by just turning the switch off.


Thinking of a gift for a little boy? Give him this gift of fun, joy and peace! The best Christmas gift for a little boy.

Not all toys have the perfect combination of fun, learning, quality build, attractive looks and sound and currently on sale at Toys R Us for $35.97 ( reg $59.99).

Only Chuck.

Disclosure: I received a sample for review purpose only. No monetary compensation was received. The above post reflects my personal opinion.




EatSmart™ Precision Digital Bathroom Scale ( + Giveaway, ends Dec 15, 2012) Open to Canada

How many of you have already started planning what to bake for Christmas? Hi-5!
Does your list have a lot of butter, cheese and oh sugar? Double, hi-5!
It would be silly to have a sugar-free Christmas. I cannot even come close to that thought, let alone implementing it. I have some rich recipes lined up for the holidays and believe me, they will be prepared with no compromise in ingredients! It is also going to hit my waistline hard! But I plan to make up for it post-holidays. Or at least, I'll try.

Weight stats could be a bit alarming after the holidays, but you can monitor it consistently of you have a great and precise bathroom scale.

Why a bathroom scale?
The best time to weigh yourself in in the morning after relieving your bowels. So it is just easy to have a scale that will fit easily in your bathroom.

The EatSmart Precision Digital Bathroom Scale is versatile, easy to use and great for any home. Simply step on the scale and in seconds you'll have an accurate readout on the EatSmart's oversized 3.5" LCD display. Its modern, sleek design of tempered glass compliments any surrounding and weighs up to 400 lbs.





Features
  1. EatSmart "Step-On" Technology - Get instant readings! No more tapping scale to turn on.
  2. Large 3.5" LCD Display with cool blue backlight- Easy to read from any distance.
  3. 4 High Precision Sensors - Consistent and accurate measurement
  4. 3 Measurement Modes: Pounds / Kilos / Stones
  5. Graduation Increments of .2 lbs. / .1kg
  6. Sturdy Tempered Glass Top with large 12" x 13" Platform
  7. Max Weight: 400 lbs / 180 kgs 
  8. Auto Calibrated; Includes 4 AAA batteries 
With my previous scale , we had to tap it and wait for the zero to appear before stepping on. But with EatSmart, you just step-on and proceed with weighing yourself. With 2 years warranty, you can be sure that this scale will help you see all the ups and downs, without having to worry about breakdown.


It also looks sleek and stylish and will blend with almost any bathroom decor.The back-lit display is so cool that you can check your weight in the dark during a midnight visit to the bathroom. If you will loose sleep over your weight, then refrain from doing it! 

It has an easy-to-adjust button which will allow you to choose your weighing unit - kgs / lbs / stone. It is located right at the top, behind the display panel.




We tested it for precision and it passed the test. We got accurate readings continuously for 3 times.

This scale also comes with a measuring tape which is really awesome. The tape is a flexible tape that can go over and bend at corners. At the press of a button the tape is contracted back into the system.



A digital scale is a must have in every home no matter if you are on a diet or not. It will be one of the tools that will help you maintain a healthy weight. 






EatSmart™ Precision Digital Bathroom Scale is available on Amazon.ca for $31.95


Uncle Milton's Toy - The Earth in my Room

My son has been attracted to maps since a very early age. We have maps on the wall, world map puzzles and he thoroughly enjoys learning and knowing more about them. The world is his to discover!

I was excited to review this toy from Uncle Milton.The Earth in my Room.



Features

  • Authentically detailed Earthscape
  • Automatic or manual function with remote control
  • Auto shut-off to preserve battery life
  • Easily hangs on wall
  • Requires 4 AA batteries and 2AAA (Not included)
  • Ages 6 and up
  • Adult assistance recommended


In reality, it is more of a lamp than a toy. It kindles curiosity on how it lights up and in older children, it may an opportunity to talk about sun rise and sun sets in different parts of the world. But there is nothing much to interact with. 


It has a remote with which you can switch to different modes of lighting. We found the lighting to be too dim . That rim of light around the earth is not realistic even in a dark room.



It is a flat structure and not like a globe in 3D. Maybe it will be more interesting to see a real globe light up from east to west. It would help understand the concepts better and I think it will be more clear with names of countries.It can be hung on the wall or supported on a strong base.

I wouldn't say that I am entirely satisfied with the learning that this product offers.It can be improved to be a better learning tool for kids.




Disclosure: I received a sample for review purpose only. No monetary compensation was received. The above post reflects my personal opinion.