Friday, August 9, 2013

YOP this!

The ad campaign says:

'We’ve had it easy all summer-long, not really having to get our kids up, fed and out the door, fueled and ready for a day of learning! Soon, back-to-school will once again be here. Sports, student council, volunteering… the pressure will soon be on to help encourage our summer loafers to become high-achievers (or maybe just “stay-awakers”). YOP, with all its delicious flavours (and new Orange Blast coming soon!), can help!'

And boy, have we ever had it easy. Summer is the time when the kids fend for themselves in the morning, when the toaster and the fruit basket get equal play while they're up and around and my husband and I are still blearily hunting for coffee.

This fall (in eek! FOUR WEEKS!) my son starts junior high (in a new school) and my daughter enters fourth grade. The new bus schedules are bewildering, and the idea of leisurely pointing them towards the bagels or mixing up pancake batter is...well, laughable.

There is NO TIME for leisure when you have to be on the bus at six-thirty. There is only HURRY, HURRY, where'syourcoatandyourshoesandyouragendaIdon'tKNOWwhereyouleftyourbackpackistodaylibraryday? And then a quick gulp of silence before it starts again with the girl who has to be on the bus at seven forty-five.

Hi, honey! Where's YOUR backpack?

School mornings are fantastic for YOP. Grab and go. What could be easier? And I know they'll finish it and it won't be abandoned on the bus, half-eaten. Drinkable yogurt YOP gives them a good start in the mornings so they can concentrate on their schooling and expand their horizons.

Now, if it would only help them remember where in hell they threw those backpacks....

Look for the Life Made Delicious Facebook page for more stories like mine.
It seems funny that YOP has a Facebook page - is it drinkable too? 

Disclosure – I am participating in the Help YOP Help You Blogger Campaign by Mom Central Canada. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mom of the Year!

We all want to be good moms, and we all want to be good examples. Walmart's Mom of The Year competition has highlighted eight semi-finalists that really embody those qualities. Here are eight women that really make a difference - to their families and their communities, and have really 'stepped up' to do all they can.

I am particularly struck by Karen Whitford. Her son speaks of her with such love! And I am very impressed with the way she searches out new ways to assist the people she loves around her. After all, how are we supposed to take care of ourselves if we don't learn to take care of each other? Ms. Whitford seems to embody grace and compassion - two fine qualities I'd like to emulate more often - and I am touched by her story. Please go read some of these finalists' stories! Amazing stuff!

This campaign is a great thing. Next year, it'll be back and better than ever!This annual program will carry on, continuing to celebrate and highlight the truly exceptional Moms among us.

The eight finalists that were selected and will each receive $10,000 for personal use and $10,000 to the charity they have chosen. Plus, at the end of September a gala will be held to announce the Mom of the Year, who will receive $100,000 for her charity! It’s amazing to think how far that could go!

Go to the website. Become inspired. Be the best Mom you can be.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Walmart program by Mom Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my participation. The opinions on this blog are my own. Mom of the Year Award: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY Internet access and valid email account required. Nominations were open May 10, 2012 to July 8, 2012 for legal residents of Canada over the age of majority.  Entrants cannot nominate themselves. One (1) grand prize available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $100,000 donation by Wal-mart Canada Corp. to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000). Seven (7) runner-up prizes available to be won consisting of $10,000 cash, a $10,000 donation to charity/cause and a trip to Toronto (ARV $22,000).  Charity/cause subject to verification and final approval by Wal-mart Canada Corp., at its sole discretion. Odds of winning depend on how the judging panel evaluates each entry according to the criteria. For Official Contest Rules, visit [].

Monday, June 4, 2012

lemon cardamom smiles

After high school, I moved across the state and into an apartment. Living in a second floor walkup is a LOT different than being at home, even if you do have a best friend rooming with you, and it took a long time for Holland to feel familiar. We moved in a few days before Thanksgiving (that was the year we ate turkey dinner off a cardboard box covered with a tablecloth and collapsed the whole thing with a spilled glass of wine) and were good and properly homesick three weeks later.

We were both lounging around on the (New! We weren’t living with cardboard furniture anymore!) couch, talking about what our friends back home were doing, when there was a knock on the apartment door. We exchanged glances (who could that be??) Em went running into the bathroom to hide the extra cat (we were stupid and told the landlord about the one who never came out of the bedroom, instead of the one that liked to sit in the window and rub against strangers’ legs and generally be a chatterbox and public nuisance) and I went to the door, fumbled with the (still unfamiliar) lock, and opened it to find a small older woman, dressed in bright pink and brandishing a plate.

Her name was Mutji. She lived in the apartment underneath us (the one with the generous birdhouses and deep red impatiens in the windowboxes) and she’d brought her new neighbors cookies. Cookies. Little yellow circles of sunshine, with flecks of spice and mint and crispy bits that melted on the tongue. They were good. They were great.

Mutji lived alone for the most part, her truck-driving husband only rolling in and back out every few days, and she loved to hear our stories of the people we were meeting, our new jobs, our adventures when we got lost trying to find the grocery. There were always pots of tea, fresh flowers on the table, and those delectable lemon cardamom cookies.

That spring Mutji began to slow down, complaining of pains in her knees. We tried to help her whenever we could, watering the flowerboxes, feeding her beloved birds,  dropping off plates of dinner (‘do you think she likes spaghetti?’ ‘I dunno. But it’s got to be better than eating by yourself’) and chattering. She was still game to hear stories and laugh with us but she seemed to tire so quickly….and then one day we realized Mutji, the vibrant incredible lady who’d befriended us and eased our homesickness was beginning to look old. And fragile, somehow. We were worried, but there were still flowers, still those wonderful cookies, still mugs and mugs of tea shared while we laughed out on the deck.

That fall, Mutji’s husband re-appeared. We’d met him, of course, but weren’t expecting him to appear at our door and offer us supper. Their apartment felt much smaller with him in it, but there was our friend, smiling widely, offering us tastes of a fabulous meal she’d made, pouring the wine and chattering like old times.

At dessert she served her trademark cookies. This time, though, they were chilled, sandwiched together with a creamy delicious filling. When we complimented her she laughed. ‘It’s a special treat for you all. A special treat for my special friends.’

That winter, after a long bout with illness, Mutji weakened enough so that her husband sold his truck and bought a tiny home in Florida. She was excited to be near her grandkids, but sad to leave her home. The day she left she pressed a recipe card into my hands.

I was looking last week for a special recipe, something that I could wow the kids with when they got home from school, when I found Mutji’s card.  I was astonished to realize that what I had thought must be a complicated sauce was actually COOL WHIP Whipped Topping. Amazingly light and delicious with the sweet cookie, it brought a wonderful finish to the dessert.

I think of Mutji every time I make them. And we always eat them with COOL-WHIP.

It makes it more special.

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I went to the kitchen

Thanks to L'Oreal for sponsoring my post about my favorite beauty looks, tips and tricks! Check out for beauty advice from the experts.

I have always had combination skin. The rich, nourishing lotions that my chin and forehead cry out for is anathema to my oilier nose and t-zone.  That part of my face likes an astringent, please, as sharp and as often as it can get away with.

It feels like I've spent most of my life carrying lots more lotions and potions in my little bag than the other girls. And dating was horrendous, all that hormone-enduced sweating and worrying that my nose was shining again.

I've tried everything. Noxema (mmm! How romantic when your girlfriend smells like Vicks Vapo-rub!) Bonnie Bell, Ten-0-Six, Ivory soap, egg yolks, egg whites, Neutragena, Caster soap, Lancome, cold steeped tea, masks and facials, Aveda, powders, potions and concoctions of every type. I even tried not wearing any makeup. (My skin didn't like that either.)

It began to feel that good skin was a long hard slog to nowhere.

Out of nowhere, a friend started looking radiant. That pure Pre-Raphaelite loveliness which usually comes from falling in love. When asked, though, she had a strange answer.


I recoiled. Oil was the reason my hair was limp, my skin cloudy and dull! Now she was telling me that she used oil everyday, that instead of wiping it away all the time, she was putting more - deliberately! - on her face.

But it was working for her. She easily looked five years younger. My skin hadn't looked that good since high school. I settled in. Maybe....just maybe...there was something to this??

Sara grinned and went on.

Oil dissolves oil. Really. Massaging in natural oils (a blend of castor and virgin olive) dissolves the oil trapped in your skin, letting impurities (hello, blackheads!!)  and toxins be released, opening those blocked pores breathe. 

Castor Oil, the first part of this blend,  is an anti-inflammatory oil that heals and cleanses. Since it is too strong to be used alone, though it's best mixed with olive oil - a lighter, silkier feeling oil that sends the castor oil deep in your skin. The best ratio for my combination skin was about 25% castor, the rest olive.

I was fascinated. 'You do this every day?'

'Well' she said, 'not now. But at first I was doing it every night.'
At night, Sara was taking her makeup off with oil. Using long, smooth strokes, she'd massage it in. Then she'd use a steamy washcloth and give herself a facial, wiping off the oil as the cloth cooled before she'd get another. When she got up in the morning, she swore she could see the change in her skin already, and it just kept getting better.

Now she just did her 'oil wash' twice a week, and was still amazed and gratified that she had reliably gorgeous skin.

I hate to admit that it took me a month before I tried it.

But now? Now I don't carry around wipes and bottles. I don't have to bother with concealer and powder.My nose isn't slick anymore, my forehead, not tight and dry. 

Don't believe me? I don't blame you. But try it. Go in the kitchen and find the answer to your skin problems.

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Click here to learn more about or become a Facebook fan by clicking here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

jack o' lantern teeth

I didn't have them.

But mine were bad enough to have to wear retainers all through middle school. These were the hated horrible type of retainers, the kind that forced you to talk with your teeth together. The kind that huuurt when you flipped them out (fellow retainer wearers remember the jarring thunk when that happened) and stank because you were forced to have them in your mouth all. the. time. To this day I can hiss out a clear instruction when the Mom-stink-eye has failed. (And my kids move then - they know I'm serious.)

I wish I'd had the opportunity to have Invisalign then.

Imagine - braces that you can take out! No yellow spots on your teeth! Brushable! And no avoiding certain foods! (I loved caramels. LOVED them. And couldn't eat them for three years.) No stink-mouth because they're easily cleaned!

And...the best part? It's not just for adults anymore. Developed with leading orthodontists who understand the unique treatment and compliance needs of teens and tweens as well as their active lifestyles, Invisalign is a great choice for kids who need teeth correction too. Invisalign is not limited to mild/cosmetic cases – Invisalign can help correct a broad range of problems:  Overly crowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, crossbite, overbite and underbite.

Wow. I really, really wish this had been around when I was trying to wear my retainer and speak up for the school drama production.

Cass might need braces. Our dentist pooh-poohs it, but I remember how my teeth odyssey began, while still hoping  that I'm wrong. I'd feel a lot better (and so would he!) if he could take his braces off to go through his judo and soccer classes, to be able to smile without a mouthful of metal winking in every picture he takes.

Invisalign is offering one lucky Canadian a free treatment - for you or your child. Get into this by clicking here: (rules and regulations are there too) but HURRY - the contest closes soon!!!

Disclosure – I am participating in the Invisalign Teen program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Align Technology, Inc.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

i can be

anything I want to be....

The song is a little annoying (especially when it gets stuck in your head and you're making up bawdy lyrics and humming because you can't remember the original wording) but it's unabashedly bouncy. Also, true.

Rosey has decided she can do anything. Or several somethings, all at once. She's got grit and determination, that one.  She has several terrific non-traditional female role models in our family, and I think seeing that these women that she loves and admires can 'get 'er done' is a terrific lesson for her to absorb at such a young age.

My Barbie dolls were moms or cheerleaders when I was growing up. Roo has veterinarians that rescue avalanche victims on the side. Equestrians that still wear the prettiest dresses ever to the fair. She has Barbie the Builder that fixes everything with a tiny hammer and her yellow construction hat. There are teachers and test pilots, prom queens and gypsies. It was a complicated thing to teach her, that women can do everything but that not everyone believes that, and that there will be be people along the way that will question her when she says that she can. (It's a philosophy I didn't really think I was going to have to teach my seven year old.)

But believe it she does. And is quite happy to tell you that when she grows up, she's going to be a doctor. And a veterinarian. And a fireman, too.

And somehow, I'm sure she will be.

 There's a new website devoted to inspiring girls. uses Barbie to involve girls into learning all they can do and be. Parenting experts write articles geared to foster the adventurous spirits of girls and teach them that there are no limits - that the sky can be as high as they want it to be. 

It's a great lesson.

Disclosure – I am participating in the Barbie I Can Be campaign by Mom Central Canada on behalf of Mattel Canada.  I received compensation as a thank you for my participation.  The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

whoo's coming for Halloween?

One of the best things that happen every Halloween night after trick or treating is the big candy swap. Everyone empties their bags, the grown-ups sort, and the kids swap.While I'm a sucker for caramels and flavoured tootsie rolls and Cortland apples (and will steal those if I can!), the two monsters are wildly different in which treats are their favorites. Cass tends to like chocolate (we raised him right) and those peanut butter toffees while Rosey likes the colorful stuff - candy corn, Smarties, Skittles, jellybeans. And while neither of my two has peanut allergies (we're lucky that way) they do have friends that are, and who knows who will come on our door looking for treats?

So we've found a good choice.  Gummy candy. In sweets, sours, and tangies. And who doesn't appreciate a Big Green Thumb or Red Hot Lips on Halloween?

Allan Candy, made in Canada.

This Halloween, we're stocking up on Intense Jubes & Jellies, Big Foot, Sour Big Foot, Green Thumbs, Hot Lips, Sour Watermelon Slices, Peach Slices, Sour Cherry Slices, Tangy Wild Strawberries and Sour Grape Slices.

for more than 25 years.
-       Peanut Free, individually wrapped candies that are available for Halloween are:
o       Allan Intense Jubes & Jellies – delivering an intense sour flavor and a soft & chewy bite.
o       Allan Chewy Rascalz – these childhood favourites will keep your taste buds happy!  Packed in one bag, and of course, peanut free – you’ll find Big Foot, Sour Big Foot, Green Thumbs and Hot Lips!
o       Allan Fruit Buddies - offering a variety of fruit flavoured candies that are also peanut free! Indulge in 5 great fruit flavours: Sour Watermelon Slices, Peach Slices, Sour Cherry Slices, Tangy Wild Strawberries and Sour Grape Slices.

We're all excited for Halloween. Aren't you?

Disclosure – I am participating in the Allan Candy Company program by Mom Central Canada.  I received compensation for my participation in this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.